KINGDOM INSTRUCTION FROM THE BOOK OF JOSHUA
KINGDOM INSTRUCTION FROM THE BOOK OF JOSHUA Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
God has a plan for today. He is preparing an army that will invade and conquer the earth. Moses (many traditional aspects of Christianity) is dead. Now God will speak to Joshua. God performed one aspect of Kingdom work through Moses and a different aspect of Kingdom work through Joshua. The Lord Jesus has been as Moses and now is coming to His Church as Joshua.
KINGDOM INSTRUCTION FROM THE BOOK OF JOSHUA
Now after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord it came to pass, that the Lord spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. (Joshua :1,2)
Change takes place in the Kingdom of God and in the lives of the people who are associated with the Kingdom of God.
For forty years Moses had represented God on the earth. Whenever the Israelite thought about God he thought about Moses.
There came the moment when Moses died.
Throughout the history of God’s working with man there have been points of change: the flood, the calling of Abraham out of Chaldean Ur, the burning bush, the Babe of Bethlehem. These epochs have been associated with outstanding personalities.
Change is difficult for human beings to accept and it often creates fear and resistance.
Change—sometimes great change—does come. Although Moses was a most extraordinary individual, an institution, God having made him so, there did come a day when he was gone from the earth.
Then the Lord spoke to Joshua, who had been Moses’ servant.
The hour in which we are living is one such crisis. Changes are taking place in the world. Greater changes than these are occurring in the Kingdom of God. The coming of Jesus is near.
Worldwide revival is upon us including the empowering of the original Gospel of the Kingdom of God. After that will come the days of trouble that shall purify the Bride of Christ. The "tares" also will come to maturity. Divine judgment, wrath on all disobedience, the harvesting of the earth, are at hand.
It has required nearly two thousand years to bring the Christian Church to the brink of Jordan, to the death to self and the stern obedience to the Father that will enable us to gain spiritual dominion over the material realm.
We shall treasure and profit from the wisdom and strength we have inherited from the godly men and women of the past as we press forward into the earthwide demonstrating and preaching of the Gospel, which already has begun. We must prepare ourselves for Armageddon and the seizing of the rulership of the world, at the coming of the Lord Jesus.
Ours is a new day—the "times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets" (Acts 3:21). Wisdom and power without precedent in man’s experience are being assigned to God’s elect. The Kingdom of God is at hand, the rule of God in Christ in and with the saints over the nations of the earth. "The kingdoms of this world" are about to become "the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 11:15).
The Lord Jesus Christ is walking today among the lampstands, the Christian churches, in order to prepare us for the critical role we shall play in the climax of the present age and in the installation of the Kingdom Age on the earth.
Moses is dead, so to speak. The world is in transition and uproar. We are not to copy the old techniques of church operation except as the Holy Spirit leads us to do so.
There are several billion people in the world. Each of them must hear the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. There is no time left for theological disputations or denominational strivings. There is time only for the healing of the sick, the raising of the dead, the casting out of demons, and the bringing of the Good News that the Kingdom of God soon will be installed on the earth.
We have Divine Life to bring to human beings—Life that will save their souls, heal their bodies, and give them the wisdom and power to live in this world. God is looking for individuals who will allow the Lord to prepare them to be bread for the nations.
It is not God’s will that hostile governments be allowed to prevent human beings from receiving the Word of God. It is the Lord’s will that every person see the power of the Kingdom of God and hear the Word of repentance.
God shall open the political doors for us and He shall confirm the Word with signs following, just as soon as we are prepared to preach Christ and not ourselves.
God has a plan for today. He will bring the Gospel of the Kingdom to every creature. Moses is dead, it is true. Now God will speak to Joshua. God performed one aspect of Kingdom work through Moses and a different aspect of Kingdom work through Joshua.
Moses typifies the Lord Jesus as the meek and gentle Shepherd who calls His people out of Egypt, out of the world, and then leads them through the wilderness.
Joshua typifies the Lord Jesus as the Commander in Chief who directs His people across Jordan and into battle against the enemy, and then divides to them their inheritance.
We have known the Good Shepherd of the Twenty-third Psalm. We have not been as familiar with the Lord of Armies, the Lord strong and majestic in battle, of the Twenty-fourth Psalm.
We may ask, "Who is this King of Glory who is appearing now to the Christian people? We have not known this Person."
The answer comes, "He is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Armies."
We have known the gentle, loving Christ—the Friend who caresses the little children and speaks to them of the love of their heavenly Father.
Who is this cunning, ferocious Warrior, this majestic Emperor, this Judge whose terror caused Paul to persuade men?—whose countenance and Presence overcame the Apostle John?—whose voice shakes Hell like an earthquake and paralyzes the fallen angels with fear?
We are to march forward under His leadership toward "the land which I do give to them" (Joshua 1:2).
An unscriptural aimlessness pervades the Gospel preaching and teaching of today. The Word of Christ is being preached as though it were a means of benefiting people. "Bring Christ with you wherever you go," we hear.
There is little Lordship of Christ in our time. There is a lack of the sense of God’s Divine and eternal purpose. Man is in the driver’s seat. The believers are the lord and Christ is the servant.
It is not true that we are to march toward whatever land appears to please us. We are to press forward to the specific land God has given to the Church as a whole and to each conqueror as an individual.
We currently are preoccupied with spiritual formulas for achieving happiness and success. We have little or no idea where we are heading, what we are supposed to be doing. Every believer does what is right in his eyes.
It is time for the Lord to "speak to Joshua."
Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. (Joshua 1:3)
First we determine where God wants us to go. We discover this by waiting on the Lord, from the Scriptures, from special revelation to us, from experience, and by all the other means the Lord uses to guide the saint.
Then we move forward prayerfully.
One error made by the inexperienced believer is to run ahead of the Lord, mistaking enthusiasm or personal ambition or apparent human needs for the voice of the Spirit. A great deal of practice is required before we become skillful in recognizing the leading of the Lord. Even then we can be deceived if we do not continue to watch in prayer.
Another error made by the inexperienced believer is to not press forward, because of his mistaken idea that God will come upon him and force him to perform God’s will.
God seldom thrusts aside our normal course of living and reveals His will in a blaze of glory. Such Divine intervention does occur, as in the case of Saul on the way to Damascus. But it rarely happens.
The desirable manner of cooperation between God and man takes place when the Christian learns what his responsibility is and then prayerfully, diligently, and faithfully works at his own task in the Body of Christ.
We have to keep on stirring up the gifts that are in us. It is easy to settle back or to become so involved in the things of the world that there is little time left to spend waiting on God.
The secret of the victorious Christian life is the vigorous daily pursuit of the Lord. Part of this pursuit is the faithful performance, as the Lord leads, of the tasks that have been set before us. We learn to lean on the Lord’s strength and wisdom as we do God’s will.
The conquering life is one of pressing forward, pressing forward, pressing forward. We never give up. When we stumble we get up, with the Lord’s help, and press on. This relentless attitude leads to victory.
We put down the sole of our foot, as the Lord leads. Then He gives us dominion over that area. We have to move. If we cease moving forward, no more conquest takes place.
There are times when God "puts us in prison" and no apparent movement is occurring. Even then there are areas of conquest if we keep looking to the Lord and do not give place to discouragement or self-pity.
From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. (Joshua 1:4)
The Lord assigned the geographical boundaries of the land of promise. God told the Israelites He would give them all the territory on which they set their feet. However, He defined the territory in advance.
So it is with us. God knows where He wants us to go. He works with us in order to confirm His plan for our lives. We press toward the mark the Lord has established.
There is no greater joy than to seek the will of God for our life. As we do, God gives us enough faith to accomplish that for which we have been called. As we move ahead our eyes are lifted up to behold a horizon of glory that exceeds all we could ever ask or think.
God described the land of promise of the Hebrews. What about the members of the Body of Christ? What is our land of promise?
Our land of promise is "all things."
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:7)
Our land of promise is the spiritual throne that governs the universe.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
Speaking of "man," the Scripture states:
Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. . . . (Hebrews 2:8)
"All things" refers to the material creation, to all God has created—the works of His hands. "My throne" refers to the fullness of authority and power of Christ over all things.
Therefore the land of promise, the inheritance of the victorious saint, is spiritual rulership over the material creation.
Man was created to be the throne of God.
The inheritance of the Lord Jesus Christ is the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth (Psalms 2:8).
The inheritance of the saint, because he is a coheir with Christ, is the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth.
There are parts of the earth today that the demons still claim for their own, there being no Christian testimony in that place. However, no area of the earth belongs to the demons. All of the earth is the inheritance of the saints of the most high God.
The Scriptures assign to mankind dominion over all the works of God’s hands.
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: (Psalms 8:4-6)
The context reveals that "all things" refers to the heavens, the moon, the stars, and all animal life on the earth.
Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s. (I Corinthians 3:21-23)
Adam and Eve chose to obey Satan and in so doing they lost the authority and power to rule the works of God’s hands.
Dominion over the works of God’s hands was usurped by Satan and the other fallen nobles of the spirit realm.
As we look out on the world today we can behold the fruit of the rule of evil spirits. The earth, originally a paradise of love, joy, and peace, has become a howling furnace of rage, agony, and despair. What we are seeing is the personality and works of a spiritual nobility that in time past chose to defy God Almighty.
Man today cannot control the works of God’s hands nor can he control his own spirit, soul, or body. The spiritual control of the material creation is held in the vengeful, malicious grasp of rebellious spiritual lords and their demon offspring.
The traditional understanding of the Christian salvation is that belief in Jesus qualifies us to go to Heaven when we die.
To die and go to Heaven is not to inherit all things. It is not the reward of the overcomer set forth in the Scriptures. To die and go to Heaven is to rest from the battle while awaiting the moment when the Lord Jesus and His saints descend from Heaven and seize the rulership of the material creation.
The conquering personality is formed in us during our days on the earth. If we learn to conquer now we will rule with the Lord Jesus when He appears from Heaven. If the world, Satan, and our lusts and self-will are able to overcome us now, we will not inherit all things. We will come short of the glorious destiny of the sons of God.
There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Joshua 1:5)
The trusting saint is invincible and indestructible. Each of us who has been baptized into the Lord Jesus Christ has been baptized into His death and resurrection. In order for Satan to overcome us he would have to be able to overcome Christ’s resurrection.
Many believers either do not understand this or else they are unwilling to believe it. They are timid and fearful. They become moody, introspective, allowing themselves to be bound by oppressive or lustful spirits. They permit Satan to overcome them.
Faith in the Lord Jesus is the victory that overcomes the world.
God has promised us power over all the power of the enemy. In Christ the Church is the most powerful force on earth. The nations of the world appear to be authoritative and powerful. One saint who is walking in Christ is more authoritative, more powerful than the combined nations of the earth.
Certainly we are being tested constantly and thoroughly. Certainly we are brought low as God develops truth in the inner parts of our personality. Sometimes we are crushed almost to the point of despair. There are long seasons of oppression. God seems far away. When those periods take place we are to keep trusting the Lord, waiting patiently for Him. His strength is made perfect in our weakness.
We are being tested with rigor because we are being trained to rule the creation.
First of all we must learn to rule the small (and sometimes not so small) problems with which we are faced now. Are we conquering in Jesus’ name and power? Are we stretching forward in faith? Are we placing our faith and trust in Jesus and marching on?
Every believer in Christ can be a victorious saint. There is no exception. No man or spirit shall be able to stand before the believer in Christ when he is following the Lord. Whenever there appears to be a setback it is because God is working out something in the saint or in the circumstances. Christ, and those who are in Christ, are always victorious.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (Romans 8:37)
No devil can stand before the believer who presses forward in the blood of the Lamb, who keeps on bearing a faithful witness of God’s Person, will, and eternal purpose, who loves not his own life to the point of death.
No government on the earth has the power to shut the doors against Gospel work when the saints are marching in Christ. It is only as we begin to rely on the arm of flesh that we see the doors being shut against the message of the Kingdom of God.
The God whom we serve is greater than all. There is no door He cannot open.
Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. (Isaiah 40:15)
God will not fail or forsake the saint who is performing His will. The battle being waged on the earth can become severe indeed. Sometimes we are required to wait on the Lord year after wearying year as patience works perfection of spirit in us.
During this time our faith maintains its grip on the invisible God. He has prepared joys and blessings for us that we have never seen, heard, or imagined. God is our Hope and He will not change. He clothes Himself with faithfulness as with a garment.
Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. (Joshua 1:6)
Faith is made up of many parts. One of these parts is courage—a willingness to stand up in the face of danger and pain as we press forward in the Lord’s will and Word.
Faith, courage, and strength go together in the Lord. Unbelief, fear, and weakness also are partners.
Fear caused the Israelites to displease God to the point that He turned them back into the wilderness for an additional thirty-eight years. Fear is the first-mentioned barrier to entrance into the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:8). Fear and double-mindedness go together. The person who is double-minded, who cannot decide what he wants, cannot receive anything from the Lord.
Satan works through fear and breeds fear. Christ is a Man of courage and imparts courage to His disciples.
Joshua was tempted to fear. Moses no longer was present to speak with God. The burden of the millions of Hebrews rested on Joshua. Bringing the children of Israel into the inheritance for which they had been waiting forty years was a plunge forward into dark waters.
Would Joshua be able to lead the Israelites to victory? Or would he bring them into disaster?
God had sworn to the children of Israel that He would give them a land of milk and honey. God’s oath was the guarantee of success. He had given the land to them; but, as often is the case, God assigned a man to work with Himself in the accomplishment of His Divine purpose.
God develops a plan and then He chooses human beings to bring His plan to fruition. The Kingdom of God is not man deciding what is good and then attempting to persuade God to do it. The Kingdom of God is God deciding what is desirable and then guiding people into the obedience and faith that will make it possible for God to accomplish His plan in and through them.
The Lord commanded Joshua to be strong and of a good courage. Christ will enable each of us to overcome fear. He has given us the Spirit of love, of power, and of a sound mind. He commands us to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:7)
Notice how the Holy Spirit emphasizes strength and courage. It is the strong, the determined, the courageous who succeed in entering the Kingdom of God. The timid and fearful find it difficult or impossible.
As we wait on the Lord and keep on doing His will to the best of our ability He gives us His strength and courage in place of our strength and courage. The substitution of God’s strength and courage for our strength and courage demands that we be brought down to weakness.
It requires the Lord’s strength and courage if we are to do what the Scriptures command. In our day many of the Lord’s preachers and people have departed from the written Word. Grace has become an excuse for lust and self-will. God is love but not a consuming fire, it is implied (and sometimes expressed). No person who professes Christ need have any fear of the Judgment Seat of Christ. Repentance is not a necessary part of salvation. If Christian people have faith they will be rich in this world. Such are the doctrines of the False Prophet—the spirit of religious deception that is proceeding from the soul (the earth—Revelation 13:11) of believers.
The above doctrines are foreign to the writings of the Apostles of Christ. Many thousands—perhaps millions—of "Christians" believe they are scriptural.
In place of persecuted and imprisoned prophets we have fashionable entertainers who are singing to God’s people that one day soon the whole fleshly mess will be caught up to Heaven while the Jews preach the Gospel of the Kingdom in the midst of tribulation.
We have been deceived.
We must have strength and courage if we are to resist this worldwide deception and return to the Word of God. If we seek the Lord in earnest, turning not to the right hand or the left, God will cause His elect to follow us. He will enable us to stand because we are following His Word while the majority are walking in the flesh and playing religious games in the name of Jesus.
We will prosper spiritually if we adhere to the written Word of God, if we separate the precious from the vile. The worldly "believers" seem to be prospering now. The fire and shaking that are at hand will destroy their kingdoms because they have been built on the sand.
Therefore thus saith the Lord, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile [worthless], thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them. (Jeremiah 15:19)
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua 1:8)
Both the Old Testament and the New Testament are necessary for the building up of the Christian saint. The Old Testament contains the types and examples that portray the Christian salvation and the installation of the Kingdom of God on the earth.
The New Testament tells us what to do so we may cooperate with the Holy Spirit as Christ is formed in us, as the Word of God is engraved in our mind and heart.
The greatest error in Christian teaching today is the concept that being saved by grace means we do not have to do what the Scriptures command. We are saved by "faith" in Messiah Jesus apart from righteous behavior, it is claimed. This is not the Christian salvation, it is the ancient heresy of antinomianism. The fruit of this error are Christian churches that, while they are full of "ministry," have lost their testimony of the Person, Word, will, and eternal purpose of the Lord God.
"That thou mayest observe to do according to all is written therein." The Jews made the Word of God of none effect by their volumes of traditions and interpretations. The Christians have made the Word of God of none effect by their volumes of traditions and interpretations.
The New Testament shows us how receiving Christ will cancel our sins and change our behavior. Much, if not most, of the writings of the Apostles has to do with the change in our behavior.
Because the Christian churches have chosen to convert the New Testament writings into a set of creeds rather than a manual for spiritual warfare, tribulation and persecution are at hand. The world and the churches soon will be experiencing catastrophic conditions.
The believer in Christ can stand throughout the uproar that is coming upon us, and he or she can help others to stand. Christ’s hand is not withered that He cannot save.
In order to stand we will have to repent, confess our sins, and seek the Lord with our whole heart so we can gain the strength to serve Him.
We are the Lord’s servants and slaves. He died for us, therefore our life belongs to Him. We are to spend our days in righteousness, in holiness, and in the strictest obedience to the Spirit of God.
We are to take up our cross and follow Jesus each day. We are to present our body a living sacrifice. We are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the lusts of our flesh. We are to come out of the world and out of the worldly, pleasure-loving churches. If we do not, the judgment of God will fall on us.
The Christian churches of today are facing Divine judgment. They are not without condemnation. They are condemned by the writings of the Apostles of the Lamb. They have forsaken the Lord and are leaning on the arm of flesh. In many instances they are insincere.
The individual can stand throughout the present lukewarmness if he or she will "speak" the Scriptures, "think" the Scriptures, and do what the Scriptures say—particularly the New Testament, and also the Old Testament as it applies. Even the Old Testament commands us to practice righteousness, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God. This is what God always has required and always will require.
Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:9)
When we come to understand God’s will for our life we must march forward in faith. It is the time to take the Kingdom. If we will follow the Word courageously the Lord will go with us. When the Lord is marching with us there is no authority, no power, no obstacle in Heaven or on the earth or under the earth that can in any manner prevent us from performing the Lord’s will. If we have to stand alone we can perform the Lord’s will if He indeed is with us.
Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying, Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God giveth you to possess it. (Joshua 1:10,11)
God’s people had started out as sheep following the shepherd, Moses. Now they were a host, an army, following the general, Joshua.
God did all the fighting when we came out of Egypt, out of the world. We first must believe what God did on the cross of Calvary. Then we have to fight in order to enter the land of promise.
The land of promise is the universe, the works of God’s hands. The universe is to be ruled by God in Christ in the saints. Today the earth and its peoples are governed by Satan, but they belong to Christ and His saints by Divine promise. We must take possession of them by spiritual warfare.
Now it is time for Christ to "pass through the host." God’s preachers and teachers are beginning to speak to us of the Kingdom of God.
It is a day of command, of discipline. No longer is every believer to be practicing what is right in his own sight. The army of the Lord is being addressed by the Commander in Chief, the Lord Jesus Christ. We are being prepared to drive out Satan and his angels from the creation of God.
"Prepare you victuals." Spiritual food is being given today wherever there are teachers who are waiting on the Lord. This food is not to be wasted. It will have to last us throughout the catastrophes, the days of moral horror that are at hand. Every grain that the Lord is giving is to be stored up carefully by the hearers.
Those who are wasting time in the pursuit of the things of this world, giving themselves to the desires of the flesh and fleshly mind, will perish in the near future. They will be swept away by the gargantuan spiritual forces that are to be unleashed. They did not take advantage of the hour of abundance. They allowed the precious moments of preparation to go by while they occupied themselves with houses and lands, with marrying and giving in marriage. They did not recognize the day of their visitation.
Now is the hour. Now is the day of preparation. Now is the time to lay up spiritual food. Those who are full of the Word of God will stand in the midst of the floods and enable other people to stand.
Prepare yourself carefully now. Only the Word of God will stand throughout the shaking that is coming upon the peoples of the earth.
And to the Reubenites, and to the Gadites, and to half the tribe of Manasseh, spake Joshua, saying, remember the word which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, The Lord your God hath given you rest, and hath given you this land. (Joshua 1:12,13)
Joshua here is reminding the two and a half tribes that Moses had yielded to their request and had promised them land on the east side of the Jordan River, while the rest of Israel was to go across the Jordan and occupy the territory on the west side.
The tribes of Reuben and Gad were wealthy in cattle, and there were plains on the east side of the Jordan River well suited to raising animals. Therefore Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh desired to remain on the east side of Jordan and receive their inheritance there.
Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle: and when they saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, that, behold, the place was a place for cattle; (Numbers 32:1)
Moses, after expressing the greatest displeasure over their request, agreed to give them the lands east of the Jordan that had been ruled by Sihon and Og—two kings that the Israelites had defeated in battle. But the men of these two and a half cattle-loving Hebrew tribes were required to cross the Jordan River and fight alongside the rest of the tribes until the land of Canaan (on the west side of the Jordan) had been subdued.
Speaking to Reuben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Manasseh, Joshua commanded:
Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them; (Joshua 1:14)
Even though they had received their inheritance on the east side of the Jordan River they were required to go across the Jordan and help the rest of the tribes enter their respective inheritances.
The problem with remaining on the east side of Jordan was that Reuben, Gad, and the half of the tribe of Manasseh were separated by the Jordan River from Jerusalem, from Zion, from the Tabernacle of the Congregation, from the Altar of Burnt Offering, from the priesthood, from the Ark of the Covenant, and from the manifestation of the Glory of God Himself.
The request of the two and a half tribes was denounced vehemently by Moses who perceived immediately the error of their hearts.
Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh cared more for their cattle than they did for God. It was of little interest to Reuben, Gad, and the half of Manasseh whether or not they were close to the Presence of God, who manifestly was in the midst of Israel and who was moving forward with the Ark of the Covenant; whether or not they would be present to see the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel; whether or not the other tribes would be successful in obtaining their own inheritances.
Their hearts were with their cattle.
The two and a half tribes did not have a fervent desire to follow God and come to know God. God was not in all their thoughts. Their hearts and minds were fixed on settling down with their families and their cattle.
They were not married to the Lord of Israel, they were married to their livestock.
Reuben, Gad, and part of Manasseh had managed to make it difficult for themselves to enjoy the most precious aspect of belonging to the nation of Israel—closeness to the Presence of the Lord.
How disappointing to God is such an attitude!
How would you feel if the people whom you loved most were preoccupied with the gifts you had given them and did not care whether they were close to you or separated from you? They did not care for you, only for what you could do for them?
What would your response be? Would you begin to look for others who would care about you and not just about what you could give them?
This is the case today. Multitudes of the Lord’s people are satisfied with their own spiritual development. They are ready to settle down and make a little nest in the world, enjoying what they think they have attained in Christ to this point. They do not seem to have in them the fierce joy of the victorious saint, the joy of seeking the Lord and of pressing on to the fullness of the possession of God in Christ.
They do not love God. They do not have a heart to press into marriage to Jesus. They may love the things of God or the things of the churches or what God has done for them. They may desire to go to Heaven to "live in a mansion," and they are afraid of Hell. But they do not love God Himself. They do not love Christ.
Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh did not love God. It is as straightforward as that. Their cattle were of greater importance. Being close to God’s Glory was not as important as their animals.
Many believers are willing to remain at the thirtyfold or the sixtyfold level of fruit bearing. The prospect of pressing further into the death and resurrection of Christ and of helping other people enter the rest of God (for deeper consecration leads naturally to increased service to others) does not appeal to them.
They are "saved" according to the current formula. They are willing to lead a "relatively" decent moral life and to attend some church meetings. Why not be content with what has been gained thus far?
The love of Christ does not abound in such. The cries of the people who have never heard the name of Jesus fall in vain on their ears.
The infinitely greater tragedy is that they do not love the Son of God. They take little pleasure in waiting hopefully and patiently for the precious voice of the Bridegroom. The idea of cleaving in total union to the Lord Jesus, forsaking all others for Him alone, is foreign to them.
Although Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh were permitted to settle with their families and cattle on the east side of the Jordan River, they were required, nevertheless, to endure the hardships and dangers of the invasion and occupation of Canaan.
The contented believers of our day must fight anyway. Even though they are satisfied with coming short of the fullness of the Glory of God, remaining selfishly wrapped up in their own house and yard, they still are required to fight alongside their fellow members of the Body of Christ who are attempting to enter their own inheritance in the Lord and also are trying to bring the Good News to those who never have heard.
While we are in the world we must fight. It is impossible to find a comfortable niche and there worship God, leaving the rest of the believers (and the unsaved) to gain their own place of safety and contentment.
The inheritance of Christ and of the coheirs with Him is the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth (Psalm 2:8). Satan still is in control of Christ’s inheritance. Christ’s enemies have not as yet been subdued under His feet.
Every member of the Body of Christ is obligated to put on the whole armor of God and participate in the conflict of the ages, as the Spirit of God directs him.
Several countries of the world are safe and comfortable for the Christian believer. He or she can find a home, work, raise a family, and attend church.
Other sections of the earth are not safe and comfortable for the believers in Christ. The Christians are being persecuted, imprisoned, sometimes tortured and put to death.
Numerous Christians of today, especially those who live in the safe and comfortable areas of the world, are "at ease in Zion." They suppose that by living somewhat decently and attending church on a regular basis they are fulfilling the requirements of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh felt their request was perfectly proper and in Divine order. It is likely they were amazed at the furious indignation of Moses.
The true Christian of today is spending and being spent for the Gospel of the Kingdom. Every moment of his time, every dollar of his money, is on the altar of God. He is dedicated totally to using the talents the Lord has given him in order that the work of the Kingdom may be accomplished; that the enemy may be driven out of Christ’s inheritance and utterly crushed.
How do you think God regards these two different kinds of believers? The one group is living to themselves with their families and "cattle." The other group is entering faithfully and courageously into the Kingdom warfare. Is it true that the first group loves its blessings and the second group loves the Lord?
Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty (Judges 5:23)
The curse invoked on Meroz by the angel of the Lord was not because of moral sin, it was because of the unwillingness of the Israelites who lived in Meroz to participate in the warfare of the Lord. They did not come to the aid of the King, the Lord of Armies.
It is not enough to keep ourselves from sin. We also must take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus Christ into service in the Kingdom of God.
One of the strongest denunciations of human conduct to be found in the Scriptures is that which appears in the parable of the talents.
To the servant who had done no wrong other than that of hiding his talent, the Lord said:
. . . Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: (Matthew 25:26)
And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:30)
The curse of the angel of the Lord falls on disinterest, laziness, and an unwillingness to participate in the rigors of Kingdom warfare.
Queen Esther is a type of the Bride of the Lamb. Esther had attained the luxuries of the queen of a vast empire. But there came a day when the lives of her fellow Jews were in danger.
For Esther to intercede before King Ahasuerus could very well have cost her life. She may have been tempted to forget about the troubles of her countrymen.
But Mordecai, her close relative who had raised her, warned her concerning her responsibility to her people, Israel:
Then Mordecai commanded to answer Esther, Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (Esther 4:13,14)
No Christian has been called by the Lord Jesus to sit at home, raise a family, and live happily and contentedly in this present world. Two spiritual kings are at war—Christ against Antichrist. Every Christian has "come to the kingdom" in order that he or she may play a necessary and substantial part in the establishing of the Kingdom of God in the earth.
Notice the question that Moses asked the tribes that desired to settle down before they arrived in Canaan, before they came to the fullness of the inheritance that had been promised to them when they left Egypt:
And Moses said unto the children of Gad and to the children of Reuben, Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here? (Numbers 32:6)
That very question could be asked of unnumbered Christian people of our day: "Shall your brothers go to war and shall you sit here?"
Every member of the Body of Christ is a part of every other member. It is not appropriate or scriptural that some Christian people are giving their lives for the Gospel while others are following the ordinary pursuits of mankind; that some believers in Christ are in prison for their faith while others are building bigger houses, buying more expensive automobiles, and worrying about their bank account and the color of the bedroom walls.
The Body of Christ is one body. When one member suffers we all suffer. Not one member of the Body is allowed to settle back at ease in the world until every other member has obtained his inheritance in God. How can we occupy ourselves with material comforts when our brothers and sisters in Christ are being tortured and imprisoned for the Gospel? Will we not be held accountable for such treachery?
Moses was concerned with the effect that the request of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh would have on the remainder of the Israelites.
And wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord hath given them? (Numbers 32:7).
It requires every bit of dedication we can summon in order to keep pressing forward in the pursuit of the Kingdom of God. Whenever a believer chooses to be content with a partial entrance into the Kingdom of God he influences those around him to also become content with a partial entrance into the Kingdom of God.
When we keep on giving ourselves wholly to the things of Christ many people around us are encouraged and strengthened. If they see us grow careless their determination is weakened. The righteous are as a light that will increase in brightness until the fullness of the Day of the Lord is here. But one sinner destroys much good.
No fully dedicated saint marches alone. A great train of people are inspired to march along with him.
The fearfulness and unbelief of the ten spies who were sent from Kadesh-Barnea infected the entire camp of Israel. All became fearful and unbelieving and the judgment of God fell on the congregation as a result.
The attitude of living for ourselves without intense commitment to the worldwide work of the Kingdom of God affects everyone with whom we come in contact. Those who are striving to take the Kingdom are not supported by our attitude, while the careless and lukewarm take pleasure in knowing that they are not the only ones who are taking their ease in the world.
Speaking to these cattle lovers Moses exclaimed:
And, behold, ye are risen up in your fathers’ stead, an increase of sinful men, to augment yet the fierce anger of the Lord toward Israel. (Numbers 32:14)
We may have found exactly what we think we want in the Lord. But if we do not leave it for now and enter with a whole heart into the work of the Kingdom, into the battles of the Lord, we are committing sin, and our sin of rebellion against the Lord will be revealed in the Day of Christ.
But if ye will not do so [take part in the warfare with your brothers], behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out. (Numbers 32:23)
One of the greatest sins any Christian can commit is the sin of neglecting to press into the inheritance, into the rest of God. If we neglect our salvation, if we are busy with buying and selling and going here and there when the King needs us for His business, then we surely will be punished severely in the Day of the Lord.
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; . . . ? (Hebrews 2:3)
The Hebrew Christians had made an excellent start in the Lord. They had suffered persecution because they had associated themselves with the Apostles (Hebrews 10:32-34).
But now they were losing interest and were not pressing forward into the fullness of the inheritance. Evidently their "cattle" were demanding their attention.
Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. (Hebrews 4:1)
The sin of neglect is one of the greatest of the spiritual problems that affect Christians in our time.
Christ has called us to the intense, consistent, lifelong seeking of the Kingdom of God. What is our response?
And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. (Luke 14:18-20)
"Please excuse me, Lord. I must take care of my ground, my oxen, and my wife."
The master of the house did not accept these excuses. Like Moses he became very angry. And well he should have!
God always will help us provide properly for our ground, our oxen, and our wife. But He expects us to place the seeking of His Person and will as the number one priority and interest of our life.
When the King invites us to participate in some aspect of the work of His Kingdom we are not to make excuses. No excuse will be accepted. Either we love Him above all or else we love our "cattle." Where is our heart?
The sin of fornication is a great contemporary evil. Lying, stealing, and drunkenness are on the rise in many nations.
But not entering spiritual warfare and not pressing toward the mark of total union with the Bridegroom also are great sins in the sight of the Lord.
The Christian who keeps himself morally clean but who does not take up his cross each day and follow Christ into the Kingdom is guilty of sin in the sight of God. He or she has "sinned against the Lord" and the sin will be judged in the Day of the Lord—if not before. That individual will not prosper in spiritual riches.
If we are willing to go forth and help all the members of the Body of Christ as they struggle to enter their own inheritance, they then will be able to enter the rest of the Lord’s perfect will that we ourselves have found. But if we are not willing to be ground in the mill of Divine service we will lose our own position with the Lord.
As soon as each saint has gained his inheritance we can return to our own inheritance and enjoy it for eternity.
And Moses said unto them, If ye will do this thing, if ye will go armed before the Lord to war, And will go all of you armed over Jordan before the Lord, until he hath driven out his enemies from before him, And the land be subdued before the Lord: then afterward ye shall return, and be guiltless before the Lord, and before Israel; and this land shall be your possession before the Lord. But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out. (Numbers 32:20-23)
And they answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go. (Joshua 1:16)
When the leadership God has appointed becomes strong and courageous, ready to do all the Lord has declared, the Lord’s people will follow. Obedience to God is contagious, and rebellion against God also is contagious. When we set our heart to be obedient to God, to give ourselves to God’s purposes with all our mind and strength, we save ourselves and those who hear us.
The greatest blessing that can come on any human being is the heartfelt, earnest desire to perform the will of God. The Kingdom of God is the doing of God’s will. Redemption works toward this end—that the will of God may be done in earth as it is in Heaven.
According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the Lord thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses. (Joshua 1:17)
The Lord’s people learn to trust those whom God sends. The saints will (sometimes amid much complaining) do what they believe to be God’s will. They expect God to be with those who are leading them.
Therefore, responsibility is borne by those who accept the task of teaching and directing the flock of God. Their reward will be great if they lead the people in the Lord’s will. If the leaders attempt to use the things of God for their own advantage, not giving their lives for the sheep, their punishment will be severe in the Day of Christ.
My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. (James 3:1)
The people repeated the admonition of the Lord to Joshua. The people around us often will testify of the Lord’s will for us.
. . . only be strong and of a good courage. (Joshua 1:18)
It is not possible for the fearful and unbelieving to enter the city of God, the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:8).
And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there. (Joshua 2:1)
The Lord does some things in secret. The soldiers of Christ’s army must learn to control their tongue. If we are willing and obedient, keeping our heart and ears open to the Lord, He may reveal His secrets to us. Then we are to keep our mouth closed until the Spirit of God leads us to speak the Word of the Lord.
Many spiritual battles are lost because the saints talk too much. A wagging tongue produces spiritual weakness and sin.
Joshua himself had been one of the two men who brought back a good report concerning Canaan. Now Joshua is sending out two spies. The two spies are a type of the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11. Before the Lord brings His people into new territory He sends a remnant ahead of the Church so the Church will know how to prepare itself for the battle.
God has witnesses today who are informing the Body of Christ what is to be expected in the near future and how we are to prepare ourselves for the battle.
It was not by accident that the two spies lodged in Rahab’s house. The Lord knew that Rahab would become one of His heroines who would be declared righteous by faith in God (Hebrews 11:31, James 2:25).
And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country. (Joshua 2:2)
Satan understands that God is moving today and that Satan’s kingdom will be invaded and destroyed. There is nothing he can do about it. He is as powerless as the king of Jericho.
When works of God fail it is because well-intentioned believers are attempting to serve Christ in their wisdom and strength. When God Almighty Himself begins to move there is no authority or power in Heaven or on the earth or under the earth’s surface that can in any manner hinder what God has undertaken to perform. Let us look to Christ and work His works. Then we cannot be defeated.
And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country. (Joshua 2:3)
We are not told how the king of Jericho found out that the two men who entered Rahab’s house were Israelites or that they were spies who had come to Jericho to gather information. Perhaps they had been noticed and followed when they came through the gates of the city. Or it may have been true that some of Joshua’s officers were talking too much.
The king’s knowledge was limited, as we can notice. So it is with our adversary. He has some information but his knowledge is limited. However, Christ’s knowledge is not limited.
And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were: (Joshua 2:4)
To hide the two spies and to lie to the king’s messengers were high crimes against the government of Jericho. Every true saint keeps the laws of his government.
But there come times when Christians are required to disobey the secular government. Let us never take refuge in a false show of righteous obedience and patriotism. When the government begins to lead us away from stern obedience to Christ, we then are ready to go to prison or to death rather than to disobey God.
There are few if any governments on the earth that are "Christian." Governments usually are controlled by men in whom is working the spirit of disobedience to God. The government may allow the saints to live in peace. If it does, thank God. We will obey every law, being more diligent to obey the laws of the land than are the unsaved.
If that government begins to direct us away from the Lord we will obey God and disobey the government. We are citizens of Heaven. Our first allegiance is to the Kingdom of God.
Rahab deliberately committed treason, providing important military information to the enemy of her country. Her homeland was destroyed as a result.
Also, she lied. But the Holy Spirit declares that Rahab was acting in faith!
By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace. (Hebrews 11:31)
There is a time to disobey the government. There is a time to deceive. There is a time to smuggle the Scriptures and people across international borders in the name of the Lord God of Heaven.
Rahab was rewarded richly. She and her family were saved. In addition she became the mother of Boaz who married Ruth the Moabitess. Boaz and Ruth were ancestors of King David and of Jesus of Nazareth.
In the days of tribulation that are ahead, the peoples of the earth will have the opportunity to hide and nourish the Spirit-filled remnant, protecting the saints from the face of Antichrist (Revelation 12:16).
The nations that help the Lord’s brothers during seasons of persecution will inherit eternal life. The nations that do not assist the Lord’s brothers, His witnesses, will be turned away into everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46).
And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them. (Joshua 2:5)
The greatest glory the Church of Christ has known to this time will be given "about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark." When darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people, the Glory of God will arise on the saints. The scriptural types and parables reveal that the Day of the Lord will come at earth’s midnight hour.
The army of God is at Jordan today. Tomorrow we shall begin to take possession of the works of God’s hands. We shall be given spiritual control over the material creation (Daniel 7:22).
First there must come the earthwide testimony of the nearness of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth (the ministry of the "spies"—the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11), and then the period of tribulation during which the wheat and the tares will come to maturity. After the tribulation the Lord Jesus will return from Heaven with His army, destroying all the works of Satan.
But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof. (Joshua 2:6)
Rahab had heard of the works of the Lord, no doubt from the men of the caravans who stopped at her inn. What she had heard implanted faith in her heart. Many of the Israelites did not believe in the faithfulness and power of their Lord to save them. Rahab, who had never seen one miracle but believed what was told to her, became full of faith toward the God of Israel.
Rahab placed herself in danger by hiding the spies in the stalks of flax. Can you imagine what would have happened to her if the spies had been discovered? Her faith saved her—a faith that caused her to act with courage and boldness. "Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way" (James 2:25)?
And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate. (Joshua 2:7)
The greatest revival of history now is upon us. When it has been concluded, the peoples of the earth will rise up revolt against all authority. They will drive God’s "spies" out of the cities of the earth. As soon as that has been accomplished, the "gates" of the present age will be closed.
And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof; (Joshua 2:8)
A few years ago the churches were ready to "lie down and go to sleep" and allow Satan to inherit the earth.
Then the Spirit of God began to inform us that God has given the earth to us, that the eternal home of the saint is not Heaven but the earth, that the Kingdom of God is not going to be lifted from the earth and installed in Heaven but will return from Heaven and be installed on the earth.
Now we are not seeking to go to Heaven to live for ever. We are striving, rather, to perform God’s will in the earth. Our goal is dominion over the earth. If we should die before the Lord returns, He will give us rest in Paradise until it is time to return with Him and set up the rule of God among the nations of saved peoples of the earth.
We are not advocating the current "reconstruction." The "kingdom now" doctrine is more of the False Prophet than it is of the Holy Spirit of God. We believe the Lord Jesus and His saints will establish the Kingdom of God at their appearing, not during the Church Age. Self-willed people are attempting to build the Kingdom now, apart from the Presence of Jesus. Such premature building is a form of rebellion against God.
There are two positions the believer can take with respect to Christ. One is to attempt to use Jesus’ word and name to accomplish one’s own goals. The other is to seek union with Jesus so nothing is done apart from the flowing of His Life. One position is to use Jesus. The other is to marry Jesus.
The "reconstruction" doctrine, if we understand it correctly, is an attempt to use Jesus to make a better world for men. It is of Antichrist because man, not Jesus, is in control. The new Jerusalem is not only the "Church triumphant," it is the Wife of the Lamb.
Let the reader beware of the current "faith," "prosperity," "reconstruction" doctrines. We do not believe that they are of the Lord Jesus. We think they will lead the believer to destruction.
And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. (Joshua 2:9)
Rahab had more faith in the Lord than did the Lord’s people.
At this point, Rahab was providing Joshua with valuable military information.
Notice that the terror of the Lord had fallen on the people of Jericho. It is helpful in war to know when your enemy has become frightened.
So it is today in the spirit realm. The forces of Hell are terrified. They know that the end of their opportunity to express themselves in people is near. They lie, and pretend they possess authority and power. But their end has come.
The demons cried out in fear when Jesus of Nazareth came close to them and their victims.
For two thousand years the churches of Christ have attempted to spread the Kingdom of God by physical force, human wisdom, plans, actions, money, politics, human talents, and entertainment. Hell is overcome by none of these things. Satan does not fear any number of Christian people who are singing hymns and repeating among themselves their theological positions and their plans to convert the people of the world to their way of thinking.
There is one aspect of Christianity that causes every unclean spirit to tremble in abject horror. It is the Presence of the Godhead.
If the Christians ever choose to abandon their own schemes and to beseech the Lord Jesus earnestly to come to them through the Holy Spirit, to become the Head of the Body, to become the General of His army, to work His works through the saints, Hell will be driven out of the earth.
It is time today for us to pray for the harvest rain of the Holy Spirit. It is time for us to look to Christ for His plans and His means of accomplishing those plans.
It is time today for us to allow the Holy Spirit to become God among us instead of a "good feeling" or someone whom God has sent to assist us as we try to do what we think is best.
Hell is terrified of the Godhead. You can be sure that the fallen angels and demons will use all their wisdom to attempt to insure that the churches do everything except look in humility and simplicity to the Lord Jesus Christ to come and show us what to do.
There is a multitude of voices in the land today. Schemes for saving the lost are being advanced among God’s people. The voice of Christ seldom is heard.
However, when Jesus does speak a word or two, it is then that works of eternal value are accomplished. All else is Babylon, the efforts of well-intentioned (and sometimes not so well-intentioned) people to build a tower to Heaven.
The terror of the Holy Spirit indeed has fallen on the realm of Satan. The evil spirits understand well (although they will keep on clinging to people to the last moment possible) that the hour is at hand for the Holy Spirit to heal the sick, cast out devils, raise the dead, and announce the soon coming of the Lord Jesus from Heaven.
They understand also that when Jesus returns, all rebellious and sinful spirits will be forced out of the earth.
Therefore their efforts are one last abandoned revelry before they are cast into the fires that give no light. They are spitefully determined to take with them into the darkness every human being whom they can deceive—especially people who have at one time professed to be believers in Christ.
Knowing that the "inhabitants of the land faint" because of us we are to boldly follow the Lord Jesus and do exactly what He commands. He is leading us toward dominion over all the works of God’s hands.
The earth and its people belong to Christ and to those who are coheirs with Christ. Satan and his angels have no claim to the earth or to its inhabitants. The rebellious angels left their appointed places in Heaven. They chose to bring their rebellion into the material realm and to make human beings their slaves. God has permitted them to do this because He is utilizing their sinful works among people for His own His plans and purposes.
Now it is time for Christ with and in His Body to drive the rebellious spirits from the material realm into the spirit realm in which they were created, of which they are a part and in which they lawfully belong.
The wicked spirits will never be allowed back into the light of God’s Presence. Rather, they have been assigned to the Lake of Fire for eternity. Theirs is a fearful fate. This is what God has decided and His decision will never be revoked.
Adam was created from the earth. Human beings were created in the earth, they are a part of the earth, and they rightfully and lawfully belong in the earth.
When we die physically we are required to enter the spirit realm because our body is our link to the earth. Our body will be raised from the dead at the coming of the Lord from Heaven. Our spirit and soul will return with Jesus from paradise. Then we shall be able to live once more on the earth.
We will live and rule with Christ on the earth throughout the Millennium (the thousand-year Kingdom Age) if we are walking in victorious discipleship today.
We will live and rule with Christ on the new earth if we are part of the Wife of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem. The nations of those who are saved will abide in peace on the new earth (Revelation 21:24).
We humans were created in the earth. We now are living on the earth. We shall dwell with Christ on the earth throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age. We shall live forever on the new earth that God will create after the Kingdom Age. The earth is the eternal home of the saint and of all who are saved.
Unlike mankind, wicked spirits were created in the spirit realm. They left their appointed realms of authority and service and entered the earth, into the material realm. Their access to the earth is for a brief season while God brings to maturity His purposes in Christ.
The moment God’s purposes in Christ have been fulfilled the saints will be given the authority of judgment. Every sinful, rebellious spirit will be driven from the earth.
Satan, his angels, the demons, and every other evil force no longer will be permitted to live on the earth among people. All wickedness will be forced back into the spirit realm, not to Heaven but to the dark caverns of torment. The people whom they persuaded to become like them will go with them as their companions to the caves in which there is no light, located in the interior of the earth.
This is a frightful destiny to contemplate.
Now the earth will break forth into singing because the oppressing spirits that have brought down the curse of God have been removed by the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Praises to God and to His Christ will ascend from every nation, every island, every jungle, every city, every village, every dwelling.
There is no need for an obedient Christian to fear the devil. The material creation belongs to mankind, according to the Word of Almighty God. When we behave righteously and resist the devil he is forced to flee because the terror of the Lord comes upon him.
The good land is ours. Let us take it now.
For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. (Joshua 2:10)
Caravans passed between Egypt and Canaan. The traders who traveled with the caravans carried news back and forth from one city to another.
The citizens of Jericho had heard about the destruction of the kingdoms of Sihon and Og, as Moses led the people to the eastern bank of the River Jordan; and how forty years before that, God had parted the waters of the Red Sea as the Hebrew slaves made their exodus from Egypt. Sihon and Og were powerful kings and their defeat that Israel was a dangerous enemy.
The spirits of Hell know what Christ did on the cross. They understand He took the keys of Hell and death away from Satan and that Satan was powerless to prevent Christ’s resurrection and ascension. They know about the coming to earth of God’s Holy Spirit. They remember the casting out of devils, the healing of the sick, the raising of the dead that have taken place throughout the history of the Christian Church.
Evil spirits know that the Church is a dangerous enemy. They always will strive to prevail against the Church.
When the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are working with and through the Church, Satan is crushed and his works are destroyed and cast out of the earth. The armies of Satan are powerless against the Godhead.
And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. (Joshua 2:11)
The Israelites knew about the Red Sea and the destruction of the kingdoms of Sihon and Og. Yet they had difficulty believing God. However Rahab, the harlot, was filled with faith when she heard of the victories.
One person will hear of the works of the Lord and not be moved. Another person will hear and be filled with faith and set out to follow Christ. Each individual chooses for himself or herself after he hears of Christ, His atoning death, His triumphant resurrection, and His soon return to the earth.
The Israelites feared greatly because of the warriors of Canaan. The Canaanites themselves were paralyzed with fear because they realized the Lord was helping the Israelites. We Christians are not to be fearful of wicked spirits or superstitious concerning them. We are to realize that the rebellious angels and demons indeed are frightened because they understand Jesus is coming soon and that He will sit with God in His throne, judging all spirits as well as all human beings.
When Christ was on earth the first time the demons cried out in anguish and fear. They thought He had come to punish them before the Day of Judgment had arrived. The Day of Judgment is at hand now, and the punishment of evildoers—spirits and people alike—is soon to come.
As Rahab proclaimed, the Lord is God "in heaven above, and in earth beneath." The earth, its peoples, and its resources belong to the Lord. Christ is coming soon to take to Himself His inheritance. The will of God shall be done in earth as it is in Heaven.
If we would be saved we must make our peace with God through Christ. The Lord is God in the earth and soon this fact will be demonstrated in the sight of all nations.
Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token: (Joshua 2:12)
Rahab was not married. She had no family of her own. She was concerned about her close relatives. She wanted them to be saved in the day of destruction.
As soon as we hear about Christ and become persuaded He is coming again to judge the peoples of the world, we grow concerned about the fate of our relatives and friends.
And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death. (Joshua 2:13)
This is one of the greatest prayers of intercession to be found in the Scriptures.
One wonders what kind of attitude Rahab’s relatives had toward her. Did they care for her? Did they cut her off because of her occupation? We do not know how they regarded her or treated her, but there may be a touching story here.
In any event, Rahab, who knew how to deal in business we can be sure, immediately began pressing for the safety of her immediate family. She asked for the life and possessions of her father, mother, brothers, and sisters. Would they have asked for her life and possessions? We shall find out some day.
If we will choose to put our faith in the Lord Jesus, and help Him in His war against His enemy, He will hear us when we ask for the salvation of our loved ones.
And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the Lord hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee. (Joshua 2:14)
Jesus is coming soon. The kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdom of God and of His Christ. If we will help the Lord now, while His enemies are being made His footstool, we will be dealt with in a kindly manner. If we do not help in the battle today we will be judged in the Day of the Lord.
Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall. (Joshua 2:15)
(Perhaps this is where the disciples in Damascus conceived the idea of delivering Saul of Tarsus by letting him down by the wall in a basket—Acts 9:25.)
We can get some idea of how thick the walls of Jericho were by the fact that Rahab’s house was built on the wall and she lived on the wall.
No doubt there were other houses constructed on the wall and roads leading to the top of the wall. The surface of the wall must have been lined with spectators each day as the Israelites marched: the armed men, the seven priests blowing with the rams’ horns, the Ark of the Covenant, and the rear guard of armed men.
This parade, and the blasts of the priests blowing the rams’ horns, day after day for six days, may have proved to have been unnerving to the inhabitants of Jericho. Or they may have grown accustomed to it and have started to go about their business as usual.
On the seventh day their defense was stripped from them.
This is the pattern for the Day of the Lord. God’s saints will be disciplined and organized into an army. Those who speak under the anointing of the Holy Spirit will keep on proclaiming that the Lord has given us the victory over this world. The Gospel of the Kingdom of God will be repeated for "six days."
The Scriptures that announce the coming of the Kingdom of God have been in existence for thousands of years. Yet it seems the world forever will go about its business of buying and selling, marrying and giving in marriage.
One day soon, however, the defenses of the enemy, Satan, will be stripped away. The Lord Jesus Christ and His saints will inherit the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth.
And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way. (Joshua 2:16)
Christ was in the spirit realms in the earth for three days and three nights and then He rose from the dead. The thousand-year Kingdom Age will be the "third day" of the work of the Kingdom of God, the two thousand years of the Christian Era being the first two days.
At the end of the third day, the Kingdom Age, Satan will be cast into the Lake of Fire, the dead will be judged, and the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb, will come to dwell among the nations of the earth for eternity. Then we can "go our way."
And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear. (Joshua 2:17)
Notice the integrity of the two spies. Faithful men are in the minority today. People cannot be trusted. Character is being eroded as public opinion more and more favors the individual who gets what he wants whether by lying, stealing, or violence. "The faithful fail from among the children of men" (Psalms 12:1).
It is the Lord’s will that His people be people of character. We are to demonstrate faithfulness and integrity before God and before man. What we promise to do—this we are to do, the Lord helping us. The Lord’s name is "Faithful" and "they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful" (Revelation 17:14).
What the two spies promised Rahab all Israel was required to honor.
Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee. (Joshua 2:18)
There is a "line of scarlet thread" that runs through the whole Scripture. It is the holy blood of Christ. Mankind can meet God only at the cross, only at the altar of blood sacrifice. No other element in the world can make an individual acceptable to the Father in Heaven.
When God goes forth to judge Satan and his works His Divine wrath is exercised. Terrible destruction follows, as took place at Jericho. When God sees the blood of Christ we have applied to our life by faith, He "passes over us" and spares us.
We are to bring all our relatives "home to us." We are to tell them of the blood-covenant God has made with man, as the Holy Spirit gives us the opportunity and wisdom. We must urge our relatives, by our example of godly living and also by our words when appropriate, to come under the shield of protection we have found.
And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him. (Joshua 2:19)
There is an important principle of the Kingdom of God set forth in the preceding verse. It is the principle of "abiding in the house."
In order for us to be covered by the blood of Christ we must "abide in the house." We cannot accept Christ and then live in the world. We are required to abide in Christ. If we choose to live in the world we come out from under the protection of the blood.
Unnumbered multitudes of professing Christians are trusting in the blood of Christ while not abiding in Christ. They are not being careful to live and behave in the Presence of God. They believe they are under the protection of the blood of Christ but they are not.
It is when we walk in the light of God’s Presence that the blood of Christ cleanses us from all sin. We will be saved if we "abide in the house," if we endure to the end in faithfulness, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence all the way through to the conclusion of the battle—to victory in Christ.
If our life is one of being in Christ part of the time and then out of Christ part of the time, the Lord may come to us at one of those moments when we are not serving Him. Then He will appoint us our portion with the thieves and drunkards. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Let us "abide in the house" and encourage our relatives, friends, and all who will hear us, to receive Christ and live in Christ. If we do we will save ourselves and those who hear us. In the Day of Divine wrath we and they will be saved from destruction.
And if thou utter this our business, then we will be quit of thine oath which thou hast made us to swear. (Joshua 2:20)
There are times to talk about what God has done for us and then there are times to "tell no man." One of the truest signs of maturity in the Christian life is the ability to control the tongue.
Notice that Rahab and her family were saved provided Rahab did what she was commanded. So it is with our salvation.
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; (Hebrews 3:14)
There is an "if" here just as there was with Rahab. Rahab was saved "if" she kept her part of the agreement. We have been sealed to the Day of Redemption that is to come with Christ. We will be saved in that Day provided we keep ourselves holy, look always to Jesus in every aspect of life, and do not partake of the spirit of the world.
And she said, According unto your words, so be it. And she sent them away, and they departed: and she bound the scarlet line in the window. (Joshua 2:21)
Every believer must abide "under the blood of the Lamb." We overcome the devil, the accuser of the brothers, by faith in the blood of the Lamb. When Jesus descends from Heaven He will be clothed with a robe dipped in His own blood. The army of God always follows the blood of the righteous Jesus.
And they went, and came unto the mountain, and abode there three days, until the pursuers were returned: and the pursuers sought them throughout all the way, but found them not. (Joshua 2:22)
So it is that Satan has pursued the Church, attempting to prevent the forming of Christ in His Body (Revelation 12:4,13). He has pursued the saints "throughout all the way" of history for nearly two thousand years.
He has not "found" them. He never will "find" them; for the Church is being built by the Lord Jesus Christ and it is impossible for the forces of Hell to prevail against it. The Church will be victorious in the end because God Almighty has decreed it shall be victorious. Jesus shall rule until every enemy has been put beneath His feet.
Jesus is Lord. At His name, every knee will bow in subjection, of creatures in Heaven, on the earth, and in the spiritual prisons under the earth’s surface. Every creature of God will confess that Christ is Lord.
So the two men returned, and descended from the mountain, and passed over, and came to Joshua the son of Nun, and told him all things that befell them: (Joshua 2:23)
As we stated previously, the two spies are a type of the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11. The two witnesses are the remnant of God’s people, anointed with a double portion of the Holy Spirit, who shall, in the last days, bear witness of that which will take place when the Lord returns and the saints take the Kingdom (Daniel, Chapter Seven).
Today there are people who are walking with God. The Lord has brought them into some of the experiences that are just ahead for the Church. They are beginning to bear witness to the Church of what the Church is about to enter, assuring the Lord’s people that God loves them, that they indeed are His people, and that Christ is in control of all things and is leading them to certain victory.
God has scouts and spies. They serve as spiritual "eyes" for the main party of believers just as a wagon train or an army on the march has need of scouts.
And they said unto Joshua, Truly the Lord hath delivered into our hands all the land; for even all the inhabitants of the country do faint because of us. (Joshua 2:24)
Those whom God has brought into deeper experiences in Christ are bringing back to us the good news that Satan has been delivered into our hands. The victory was gained on the cross two thousand years ago. The demons will flee at the name of Jesus when we are walking in the Spirit and in faith in God.
We do not have to fear the devil. Christ has given us authority over all the power of the enemy. We are to press forward, as Jesus leads us, until even the memory of Satan and his followers has been destroyed out of the earth.
And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them. (Deuteronomy 7:24)
"Truly, the Lord hath delivered into our hands all the land." He who overcomes will inherit all things. Christ is abiding at the right hand of God, waiting until God makes His enemies His footstool. We are waiting there with Jesus, far above all other authority and power. We are coheirs with Him of the nations and the uttermost parts of the earth.
In the present hour the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth are being held in the chains of slavery to unclean spirits. The Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary gained the Divine authority to forgive and receive to Himself any person of His choice, as the Father directs Him. As the chosen individual receives Christ and continues to place his trust in Christ throughout his lifetime on the earth, Satan and his angels have no more claim on him. The believer has received the fullness of the authority to become a son of God.
The Lord has delivered into our hands spiritual control over the creation of God, as Christ directs us. We are the judges of men and angels. All things have been delivered to Jesus by the Father, including all judgment of angels and men. Jesus shares the Kingdom He has been given with whomever He chooses to share it.
Ours is the greatest opportunity of all time. We have been invited by the Lord Jesus to share the Kingdom of God with Him, the dominion over all the works of God’s hands. In order to enter this tremendous inheritance we are required to lay aside every other interest and seek the Kingdom. We have been commanded to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Satan is working night and day to confuse our thinking and prevent us from gaining dominion over the works of God’s hands.
If we overcome the accuser, the world, and our fleshly lusts and self-will we shall inherit all things.
Satan was destroyed on the cross of Calvary. Through unrelenting faith we manifest that victory in every area of our personality, in everything we do, say, and think, every day of our pilgrimage on the earth.
The enemy was destroyed two thousand years ago. Let us without delay seize the spoil. The spoil that has resulted from Calvary is the nations and the outermost areas of the earth.
And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. (Joshua 3:1)
It is time for Christian people to "get up early in the morning" both literally and figuratively. It is time to demonstrate diligence in the taking of the Kingdom of God. The present day is not an hour in which to become occupied with the affairs of this life. It is the time to take the Kingdom. Those who lay aside every other interest and seek the Kingdom of God will be rewarded beyond their abilities to conceive.
Many of the saints are staying up late at night when they are not required by their employment to do so, and getting up late in the morning. They are defeated before they start the day because they do not begin with prayer and seeking the Lord. Let us fix our minds on the one goal of seeking the will of Christ each day of our life. Then let us use self-control in all we do, just as a champion athlete does, not eating, playing, and sleeping as though the rulership of the creation were not at stake.
There comes a place of lodging, of preparation, before we move ahead to the victory that God has for us. It is the Lord’s way to bring the saint to a time of waiting just before launching him or her into a new realm of victory and ministry. It is important, during such periods of preparation and waiting, to watch the Lord carefully. We may be mistaken concerning what it is the Lord desires to do with us. We have to watch in prayer and listen to the Spirit of God.
And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host; (Joshua 3:2)
Some Christian teachers believe there is one work of Divine grace available to us before Christ returns—the work of salvation through the blood of God’s Lamb.
Other Christian teachers and preachers believe there are two works of Divine grace available to us before Christ returns: salvation through the blood of Christ, and sanctification through the Presence and working of the Holy Spirit in us and with us, often accompanied by speaking in tongues and other expressions of the Spirit of God.
However the Scriptures teach clearly, by type and direct exhortation, that there are three works of Divine grace available to us before the Lord returns: salvation through the blood of Christ, victory over the world, Satan, and our lusts through the Presence and working of the Holy Spirit in us, and freedom from self-will, resulting in the abundance of eternal life, fruitfulness, and rulership . Full salvation is possible as the saint exercises uncompromising faith and obedience.
There are Christians who reap Christ thirtyfold. There are Christians who reap Christ sixtyfold. There are Christians who reap Christ a hundredfold.
The major types of the Scriptures, such as the Tabernacle of the Congregation and the Feasts of the Lord, portray three platforms of salvation. Noah’s Ark was constructed in three levels. Israel experienced an exodus from Egypt, a wilderness wandering, and an invasion of the land of Canaan.
There are three areas of redemption. Redemption is the program of freeing us from the person and works of Satan and bringing us into perfect union with the Person and works of God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is the third aspect of redemption, that into which we are entering today, that will bring into view the Church without spot, wrinkle, or any blemish whatever. The ministries given to the Church by the ascended Christ will labor until the Church is unified perfectly and attains the maturity described as the fullness of the stature of Christ. This is what the Scriptures teach.
The "officers," the leaders of the Body of Christ, are going through God’s army today. The Holy Spirit of God has things to say to us and is preparing us for the task of invading our land of promise.
As we mentioned before, our land of promise is spiritual control over the material realm. Until the present hour the Lord’s people have been unable to control the material realm—not even their own bodies. Redemption includes making the kingdoms of this world the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.
It was not necessary for us to do any fighting when we "came out of Egypt," when we were saved out of the world. The Lord Jesus Christ, by the atonement He made on the cross of Calvary, did all the fighting concerning our escaping the Pharaoh of Egypt. However, we are required to fight if we are to gain control over the material realm, the Lord guiding and helping us every step of the way.
It is the sword of the Lord and of Gideon, so to speak. God will not do it alone and we cannot do it alone. If we are to become an overcomer both God and we must work together. Our part is to exercise faith, obedience, courage, and patience. God’s part is to bring us into victory over all the works of Satan.
There come points in the development of God’s plan in the earth that require new programs and new direction. We are in one such period of transition today. Our God is a God of preparation. As always, He is preparing us carefully for the revival and the great tribulation that are before us today. We have no need to fear the coming tribulation if we will allow the Lord to prepare us thoroughly.
And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it. (Joshua 3:3)
We are being instructed today to fasten our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ, for He is the Ark of the Covenant.
We must be ready to move . Many of God’s people are loaded down with the responsibilities and cares of the present world. Today you must ask the Lord Jesus to help you rid yourself of these many entanglements. No man who wars entangles himself in the cares of this world. If you do not come out of the world now you will perish in the future. You and I must keep ourselves ready to move with God.
It is time for the officers to go through the army of the Lord. They will "command" the people. Do not expect Kingdom preachers to coddle you. They will not do it. They themselves are under the stern discipline of the Lord Jesus and they expect you to do what He says.
Follow the Ark. Forget about how you intend to use Christ to help you get what you desire. Follow the Ark. Remove from your place and go after it.
Change is coming to our nation, to the world, and to the Kingdom of God. Are you prepared? Will you be able to stand in the coming hour when all around you is chaos? Will you be able to trust the Word of God and teach others to trust the Word of God?
All through the darkness that is ahead there will be deliverance in Mount Zion, in the remnant of saints who refuse to participate in the fleshly practices that abound in the churches. People will come to you looking for strength and wisdom from God. Are you preparing yourself, as Joseph, to assist people in their hour of extremity?
As a Christian you have the Word of God. The Word of God is the only power that will be able to stand in the upheaval and shaking that already have commenced. Are you filling yourself with the Word of God? Or are you wasting your time and God’s time with the things of the flesh, with the toys of the world? There is no time left for indecision. The Day of the Lord is at hand. There are multitudes in the valley of decision.
Can you leave everything behind and follow Christ at a moment’s notice? If you cannot, you are not a disciple. You are not a Christian. You have a faith without works and that is a dead faith.
A true Christian is an individual who forsakes all, takes up his cross, and follows the Lord Jesus Christ every moment of every day.
During the last few years the Lord’s people have entangled themselves in the affairs of the world. It is time now to ask the Lord to help us throw off the concerns of this life and begin to watch in prayer. The Ark of the Covenant is ready to move forward against the enemy—Satan. We must be ready to move after it.
Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore. (Joshua 3:4)
About two thousand years ago the Lord Jesus Christ went through death and resurrection. Now it is time for His Body to experience the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.
There is to be no distance between us and the Lord when we are referring to the marriage of the Lamb and our union with Him.
There is to be a distance between us and the Lord Jesus when we are following Him into spiritual battle. Christ is our Leader. We are not to become overfamiliar with Christ, to follow so closely we cannot observe Him carefully and what He is doing. The great problem of the last days is deception. We must be very careful not to rush ahead, thinking we know what Jesus is going to do. We are to take nothing for granted.
We have not passed this way before.
We are to watch and pray so when the Lord moves we can move with Him.
The concept of the Church being victorious in the earth and ruling the nations is new to us. The concept of Christ as the Lord of Armies and the all-powerful Emperor, King of kings and Lord of lords, is new to us. We may have been thinking of the Lord Jesus as someone who is preeminent in Heaven but whom the nations of the earth will never serve.
They shall serve Him!
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalms 46:10)
For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding. God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness. (Psalms 47:7,8)
All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations. (Psalms 22:27,28)
All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah. (Psalms 66:4)
Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him. (Psalms 72:11)
For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. (Romans 14:11)
The redemption that is in the Lord Jesus Christ is an unfolding mystery. The world has never been in the same circumstances as today. It is a new hour. The Holy Spirit has a specific plan for our generation, a plan that shall exalt Christ as never before and bring the doing of God’s will in the earth a step closer to fulfillment.
Because we have not passed this way before it is difficult to make plans for the future. We need to watch the Lord carefully so we do not miss His program for our generation.
And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you. (Joshua 3:5)
The Word and the Spirit are telling us that God will do great things. It is an hour of preparation.
Sanctify yourselves! Sanctify yourselves! Sanctify yourselves!
There come times in the history of the Kingdom of God when God is ready for a major step forward. In order to be prepared for God’s move we must sanctify ourselves. We must set ourselves apart as holy to God’s Person, purpose, and ways.
We must address ourselves with renewed determination to serving the Lord. We must repent, putting out of our lives all that is not holy. The things we are doing that are merely good must give place to that which represents our most sincere efforts and dedication.
Today is one such time. God is ready to perform wonders in the heavens and on the earth. The Spirit of God is exhorting us and warning us to turn to the Lord with the greatest diligence of which we are capable.
All sin must be put away. We must forsake all competing and distracting interests, ambitions, plans, and desires, take up our cross, and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
If we prepare ourselves we will be ready for the worldwide harvesting of souls that is at hand. If we do not prepare ourselves we will fall into the snares of the devil, because tribulation and temptation are at hand.
We must watch and pray, watch and pray, watch and pray so we may be able to stand in the Presence of the Son of Man. To be able to stand spiritually throughout the shaking that is coming to both the spiritual and material realms will require total consecration to Christ. Jesus will provide us with the wisdom and strength to go from victory to victory throughout earth’s darkest hour.
When gross darkness covers the peoples of the earth, the light of God’s Spirit will arise on the saints.
And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, And pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people. (Joshua 3:6)
God is speaking to His leaders and teachers today. We are to set an example to the Lord’s saints. What we preach we are required to practice. We cannot expect the people to stop sinning and take up their cross until we stop sinning and take up our cross.
It is the responsibility of God’s preachers to "pass over before the people." There is to be no more moneymaking, no more seeking our own advantage and gain from the Gospel of the Kingdom. We are to lay down our lives so the resurrection life of Christ may enter those who hear us.
The Ark of the Covenant represents the Presence and will of God, the testimony of His holiness and righteousness in Christ.
And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee. (Joshua 3:7)
God has richly anointed and blessed the ministries of the Christian churches as they have labored throughout the centuries. Multitudes of people have made their peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. There have been a few individuals who have pressed past the rudiments of salvation and have found their joy in the Spirit of God. They have come into a fuller relationship to Christ than has been true of the majority of believers.
In addition, the Christian Gospel has inspired social reform and works of mercy in many areas of human life, such as the improvement of the educational opportunities of children, nursing care, abolition of slavery, prison reform, and providing for the poor. In numerous instances Christian people can be found at the heart of benevolent, humane enterprises.
God indeed has magnified the spiritual and social works of those who have labored in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
However, ours is a new day. The Kingdom of God is at hand. What was envisioned by the Prophets of Israel is soon to come to pass in the earth.
We are witnesses of what happens when mankind trusts in its education and achievements apart from the Lord God. Wars, famines, rape, perversion, murder, hatred, and every other catastrophe and moral abomination fill the earth. The harder man works apart from God to achieve peace and abundance the more he is denied peace and abundance. Meanwhile the humble of the earth who trust in the Lord find peace and the supplying of their needs.
The abomination that produces desolation is here already. The trinity of man is 666—man attempting to make himself God.
Whenever man makes himself a god, such as in the religion of Humanism, the inevitable result is desolation—spiritual, moral, financial, intellectual, artistic impoverishment.
We of the "civilized" nations are approaching the midnight hour. The wheat and the tares are growing toward maturity. Christ and Antichrist are heading toward the ultimate confrontation.
God will provide in the near future a power to bear witness that will make the true believers more than conquerors in Jesus’ name. The fullness of the witness is portrayed in symbolic form by the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11. Christ will bear witness through and with His saints, warning both His Church and the world of the nearness of His Presence. The Day of Wrath is just around the corner. The world is to repent of its wicked practices and believe in the Good News of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
The end of the present age is near. All the works of men will be exposed for the pitiful groping and gleaning which indeed they are.
The Lord God of Heaven is displaying before the creatures of the heavens and the earth the folly of existence apart from His glorious Presence and blessing.
Jesus is coming soon. In preparation for His coming the Lord is issuing to His elect wisdom and power without precedent in the history of mankind. "Greater works than these shall ye do."
We have witnessed the blessing of God on the Christian enterprises of the past and present. Now "Moses is dead." God is speaking to "Joshua." The Lord is enlarging the dimension of militancy, of spiritual warfare, that is part of the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb.
The spiritual control of the world will not be yielded by Satan and his followers without a fierce, vicious struggle. The armies of Satan consider the earth and its peoples to be their inheritance, not the inheritance of Christ and His saints.
We now are in the Levitical Blowing of Trumpets, to speak in terms of a scriptural type (Leviticus 23:24). It is the time of spiritual warfare. The Jubilee is near, the hour of release from the tyrant who has held the peoples of the earth in spiritual chains and slavery (Leviticus, Chapter 25). Satan and every one of his followers are to be driven from the presence of the peoples of the earth.
The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. (Psalms 24:1)
What right do Satan and his angels have to keep on destroying the inhabitants of the earth, to keep on bringing the curse of God on the inheritance of the Lord Jesus Christ?
We Christians are being trained to fight in the conflict of the ages. We were called by the Lord Jesus. We have been chosen because we responded wholeheartedly to the call. Now we are being proven faithful as we serve the Lord in difficult and vexing circumstances that are testing our patience.
The war has commenced already. Are you standing against the enemy in your assigned place?
The ultimate confrontation will be the Battle of Armageddon. This is the invasion in which Christ attacks Antichrist and destroys him out of the earth.
Today the Lord Jesus, in anticipation of Armageddon, is beginning to confront His people with the realities of spiritual warfare. Every day we are presented with a new challenge, a new lesson to learn. Has this been true in your life?
This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel .
We can see that the God of Heaven is "magnifying" this new dimension of Christ. Christ is becoming to us the Lord of Armies. We are beginning to perceive the enormous authority and power of the galactic Christ—authority and power that control the heavens, the earth, and the spiritual prisons in the interior of the earth.
We have not passed this way before. Change is upon us. The Kingdom of God is at hand. The authority and power to crush Satan under our feet, which have been designated as belonging to us by the Lord Jesus, were gained on the cross of Calvary and will be completely, perfectly demonstrated throughout the universe as the Kingdom of God is exercised in the victorious saints, in the Church, and finally in every creature in the heavens and on the earth.
The conflict of the ages in all its fury is on the horizon. The cross of Christ is leading the way. The soldiers of the cross are standing up for Jesus.
Will you stand in your place "round about the camp"?
And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan. (Joshua 3:8)
There are three deaths and three resurrections that the saints are to experience.
The first death is death to the world. Death to the world is typified by Israel passing through the Red Sea. The resurrection is to membership in the family of God.
The second death is death to sin. Death to sin is represented by the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai. The resurrection that follows is to eternal life (Romans 6:22).
The third death is death to self-will and self-seeking. Death to self is typified by Israel passing through the River Jordan. The resurrection is to fruitfulness and dominion—to spiritual dominion over the material creation.
The first death brings us into the Kingdom of God.
The second death brings us into victory over Satan and our fleshly nature.
The third death brings us into our full inheritance of fruitfulness and dominion.
The Lord God instructed Joshua to command the priests who bore the Ark of the Covenant on their shoulders to come to the brink of Jordan (Joshua 3:8).
It appears that for the past two thousand years the majority of the Lord’s preachers and teachers have attempted to serve the Lord from a position of "life." No doubt much good has been accomplished through such endeavors.
A few have discovered that the eternal work of the Kingdom of God proceeds from the "death" of those who bear the Ark of God.
The leaders of the Lord’s people are to come to the end of themselves and stand still in death to self, allowing Christ’s resurrection life to flow through them, until every one of the saints has crossed safely over onto resurrection ground.
There is a time for us to stand still in the middle of the self-denying circumstances into which God brings us and to wait for the Lord to perform powerful works among His people.
To take our place on the cross and allow Christ to work can be difficult at times. But the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings is the only acceptable companion and source of the power of Christ’s resurrection, and it is the power of Christ’s resurrection that delivers people from the chains of Satan and brings them into the Presence of God.
Samson slew more Philistines by his death than he ever did by his life. The Church of Christ has accomplished some aspects of Kingdom work by its life and ministry, but it will be through the "death" of the Church that the army of Satan is destroyed.
The epistles of the Apostle Paul have borne much fruit during the past two thousand years. These epistles were written by a man suffering affliction and imprisonment.
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. (II Corinthians 4:8-11)
The Lord’s preachers and teachers who bear the glory of the Lord must be willing to "stand still in Jordan." Satan continually will urge us to "come down from the cross." If we will bear patiently with the situation in which God has placed us the Life of Jesus finally will flow forth in Kingdom power.
And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the Lord your God. (Joshua 3:9)
There are many voices in the material and spirit realms today. Which voice is the voice of Christ? Only one Person has been sent of God, and that is Christ. All other leaders are seeking their own gain.
We need to hear the true words of the Lord today. We must ask God to cause us to love the truth, to keep us out of temptation and deception, to strip from us what is false and what comes short of the Glory of God.
Any human being, no matter how sincere, can be deceived. The individual who is most deceived is the one who is persuaded he cannot be deceived.
It is not in the power of the flesh to discern between truth and error. Only the wisdom of the Spirit of God can enable us to recognize the truth.
Each Christian is more or less certain that what he or she believes is correct. Obviously some of us are mistaken. The wise attitude to take is that since we may be incorrect in what we believe we must remain prayerful that we not remain in deception.
We have learned through the years that we can be mistaken when we were certain we were correct. Therefore our attitude before the Lord is one of openness—a willingness to repent and turn in the direction God reveals to be His will.
So we exhort everyone to seek the Lord today. We are persuaded that God is speaking to His people. It is a time to rid ourselves of our pharisaic smugness and to seek the face of the Lord.
The Pharisees of Jesus’ day prided themselves on the steadfastness of their belief in the one true religion. They were terribly deceived concerning the Rabbi from Nazareth. They murdered the Lord’s Christ. Let us be warned from this and cast off our religious pride and smugness.
It is a good idea every once in a while to ask the Lord where we stand in His sight.
And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites. (Joshua 3:10)
The living God is among the Christian churches when the believers walk in righteousness and holiness with an attitude of repentance toward God.
God will not fail to deliver us from all evil if we truly will serve Him, live righteously, purge the uncleanness from our life, obey Him in all matters, and press forward in faith in His Word.
God through Christ has promised us authority over all the power of Satan.
We who bear the name of Christ are the heirs of all things. The earth and its peoples are the spoils of war. Christ defeated Satan on the cross of Calvary. Christ will divide the spoil with the strong. The Kingdom of God will be taken by those who care enough to fight for it.
Why do we have to fight for the Kingdom if Christ already has won the war? The same reason the Israelites had to fight for their inheritance in Canaan even though God already had given it to them.
Christ has won the war. Now he is waiting, expecting God to put His enemies under His feet.
God has determined to crush Satan under the feet of the saints. Christ is waiting for His saints to decide to obey Him in every detail so they may be able to enter by faith into their inheritance.
We must be led by the Spirit of God. We must also be serving God in righteousness, holiness, and obedience to the Father. We must know the written Word and mix faith with the written Word.
Then we are ready to march.
God will without fail drive out every enemy from before us. Sickness, death, every demon power and manifestation must flee before the army of God when the army is anointed with the Spirit of God.
It is time for the soldiers of Christ to arise. There is fruit to be plucked for the Lord’s table. There are souls to be saved, sick bodies to be healed, people to be taught the righteous ways of the Lord.
There also is an eternal Temple of God to be constructed, a Body of Christ to be brought to unity and maturity.
None of this is possible to man. All is possible to the Spirit of God. It is not the wealth or ability of man that will construct the Temple of God, it is only the Spirit of God who will build the Temple of God.
Ours is the greatest hour of history. All things are possible to him who believes. The Kingdom of God is at hand, and those who care enough to press forward will gain for themselves a destiny glorious beyond the mind of man to conceive.
Jesus prophesied of the believers performing greater works than He performed because of His ascent to His Father. Now is that time.
The Church is at the brink of Jordan. God is ready to drive out every enemy. Are we at ease in Zion or are we ready to lay aside every worldly entanglement and seek the Presence and will of the Lord Jesus Christ?
Those who go forth to battle today will be rewarded by the King when He comes. Those who prefer to serve the Antichrist spirit, which already is deceiving the Christian people, will be beaten with many stripes because they knew the Lord’s will and did not prepare themselves to do it.
This is what the Scriptures teach.
Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan. (Joshua 3:11)
It is God who will dispossess the devil from every nation under the heavens and give those nations to us. The living God is among us.
It is the responsibility of the Christian leadership not to point to themselves but to keep on pointing the people toward Christ and toward the Word of God.
Our task is to be obedient, to rest when God says to rest, to march when God says to march. God’s task is to be among us and to drive out the enemy from before us.
The Israelites compromised with the enemy. They lost sight of God (Judges 1:27-36). Their faith to conquer became weak because they removed their eyes from the invisible God. They began to consider what was possible and what was impossible based on what they could see and understand.
Let us never limit our vision by what we can see and reason. Let us expand our vision and our hopes to correspond with the Word of God. Let us grip the invisible. All things are possible to him who believes.
God is the God of the whole earth, not only of the Christian Church. God owns all the continents, their natural resources, and all the people. Satan owns nothing whatever.
God is marching ahead of us in this present hour. He is moving in China, Russia, the Middle East, Indonesia, Scandinavia, South America, North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, the islands of the sea.
When we go forward as witnesses in the end-time revival, and later as the sons of God at the return of Christ to the earth, we are taking back what already belongs to us.
The earth and its peoples do not belong to the devil, to the fallen angels, to the demons. They belong to the Lord and His saints. The enemy is a thief, a liar, and a murderer, laying claim to and striving to keep what does not belong to him lawfully.
Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man. (Joshua 3:12)
The number twelve is used in the Scripture to indicate the whole family of God. Both Jacob and Moses prophesied concerning the twelve tribes of Israel. It may be noticed that the prophecy changed as it moved from tribe to tribe (Genesis 49:1-28, Deuteronomy 33:6-29). In spite of this diversity, Israel was the one chosen people of the Lord.
We can observe this same diversity in the one Body of Christ:
For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. (Romans 12:4,5)
The unity of Israel was not to endure, however. Because of the lack of wisdom of Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, the tribes of Israel were divided into two hostile camps—Israel against Judah. Israel and Judah actually went to war against each other, Israelite against Israelite, brother against brother (II Kings 14:11, for example).
And so with the Christian Church. It appears that Satan, playing on our adamic nature and self-centeredness, continually and successfully attempts to use the differences among the members of the Body of Christ to keep them divided and fighting against one another.
There is division and hatred among the members of the Christian churches. Division is one enemy we cannot seem to overcome.
The Lord directed Joshua to have twelve men, one from each tribe, carry a stone from the river bed of Jordan and place it at the site of their first lodging west of Jordan. The twelve stones were a permanent memorial that all the tribes of Israel, including Reuben and Gad, had passed over Jordan after wandering in the wilderness forty years. The tribes of Israel were one nation worshiping the one true God.
At the time of the resurrection from the dead, when God creates His people as an army and establishes them forever in their land, the unity of Israel will be restored perfectly.
Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. (Ezekiel 37:19)
The Scriptures are clear that the final outcome of the Body of Christ will be unity and maturity. All of the tribes will cross Jordan and find rest in the land of promise.
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13)
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)
And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. (Hebrews 8:11)
The holy city, the new Jerusalem, is the Wife of the Lamb. It is the Israel of God, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The fullness of the Glory of God abiding upon it reveals its complete maturity. The light radiating from it demonstrates its singleness of eye, its unity in the Lord.
Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; (Revelation 21:11)
Today the Christian Church is a valley of disjointed, dry bones. Tomorrow the Christian Church will be the army of the Lord, the Body of Christ, the eternal Temple of God, the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the Servant of the Lord who brings justice to the nations, the destroyer of the works of the devil, the deliverer of the creation from all bondage, and the judge of men and angels.
And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap. (Joshua 3:13)
There was an important difference between the way the Red Sea parted and the Jordan River parted.
The pathway appeared in Jordan when the priests stepped into the water. The pathway appeared in the Red Sea when Moses stretched out his hand.
And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. (Exodus 14:21)
The atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary was a supremely Divine work. God stretched out His majestic hand and the pathway of salvation appeared. Whoever will believe and receive can walk forth to meet the Lord on "dry land."
Now the Church of Christ, having spent many years in the wilderness of instruction, is ready to pass over into the dominion and fruitfulness that God has promised to man.
There is no Moses and his rod. No hand is stretched out so we can proceed forward. The only assurance we have that we shall not perish is the Word and the faith God has given to us.
The Red Sea parted and the dry land became visible before Israel went down to the floor of the sea.
However it is not always as evident that the waters will part when we are ready to enter our land of promise. The River Jordan may still be flowing when we are commanded to march forward to the land of promise. The priests, those who were bearing the Ark of Covenant, the Glory of Israel, had to step into the Jordan when it was at flood level. This was an act of faith.
True faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will enable us to gain victory over every circumstance that is hindering us today. It is faith in Christ, not faith in faith, that works the miracle.
There are passages of Scripture that can be used to support a metaphysical faith, the use of a positive attitude to manipulate the material realm. Metaphysical faith combined with presumptuous actions is not of Christ and will lead the individual to destruction. We do not advocate presumption.
Jesus told us we can ask what we will and it shall be performed. The priests stepping into Jordan would appear to reinforce the concept that miracles will take place if we dare to defy natural law.
There is a nucleus of truth in the "faith message" that is being preached today. This nucleus of truth accounts for its success.
Jesus did rebuke us for our unbelief. Christ did encourage us that all things are possible to him who believes. The Lord cannot lie. The Word of God cannot be broken.
Many saints have plodded along for years with heavy loads of disappointment and frustration when an active faith would have turned their mourning into dancing. We do not have what we need and want because we do not ask. "Only believe," Jesus exhorted us.
One aspect of faith has to do with marching forward into Jordan, as the Lord directs.
The experienced Christian understands there is an element that must be added to faith if we are to make a success of the life of victory. This element is the Presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. When we are living in prayer and obedience, following the Spirit of God, the Spirit gives us the faith to believe for miracles. The combination of obedience, faith, courage, boldness, patience, hope, confidence, and trust produces the miracle.
Awesome miracles are taking place today. Let us believe God. Let us believe God now, today, that the Gospel of the Kingdom will go forth in signs and majestic wonders to every man, woman, boy, and girl on the face of the earth. We believe this will take place in the near future.
Joshua and Israel were being directed by the voice of God. They were not scheming what to ask for next. It was God who had called them out of Egypt. It was God’s idea, not theirs. It was God who was leading them every step of the way. They were doing what God was telling them to do.
The priests were bearing the Ark, the Glory of God Himself. In the Ark were three objects:
The Ten Commandments, representing the righteousness and holiness that must be present in every member of the royal priesthood.
Aaron’s rod, representing God’s election concerning role and service in the Kingdom.
The jar of manna, portraying the complete dependence of God’s sons upon the Word that comes continually from the mouth of God.
When the righteous, life-filled, Christ-indwelt saints, who are bearing on themselves the glory of the Lord, walk forward in obedience to the Spirit of God, miracles will take place. There is no power in the heavenlies, on the face of the earth, or in the spiritual caves in the interior of the earth that can in any manner stand before a righteous, faith-filled elect who are following the Lord Jesus Christ.
Every law of nature will be set aside as necessary when God’s witnesses are filled with the Spirit of God. All things are possible to the man or woman, boy or girl, who is filled with the faith of God.
May we add that sometimes people do not hold on to their prayers, hopes, dreams, and visions long enough. We must never give up. God hears us the moment we begin to pray. He then sets the wheels in motion for the accomplishment of our request. It may take months or years before the circumstances are appropriate and the prayer is refined so God, others, and we will be blessed by the answer.
A delay in the answer to our prayers does not mean we shall never receive. We are to keep on believing, keep on hoping, keep on trusting, keep on committing. We keep our vision bright and shining from youth through to old age. One day, when we least expect it, the answer will come, and it will be a tree of life. "The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it" (Proverbs 10:22).
Jesus said, "If you shall ask anything in my name, I will do it."
It isn’t faith that brings the answer, it is Jesus who brings the answer.
Don’t ever give up on your dreams. Look always and only to the Lord Jesus Christ. If your vision truly will bring you lasting peace and joy, the answer is coming. Only believe.
Notice (Joshua 3:13) that the path opened as soon as the priests stepped into the water. We have stated that this kind of courageous and obedient faith is required if we are to follow the Lord into the land of promise.
We may prefer that God part the river so we can march across in obvious safety. The idea of stepping into the river and then having it part is not always a pleasant prospect.
God is moving today. God is bringing us to spiritual control over the material creation. Satan has kept the creation in spiritual slavery, in sin, in rebellion, in separation from the glory and peace of God’s Presence.
It is not possible we can overcome Satan while we are living in the flesh, while our life and behavior is dominated by our self-will and self-seeking.
Only "dead men" can overcome the devil. Only "dead men" can "fall on the sword," the Word of God, and not be wounded (Joel 2:8). The control of God’s creation can be taken from the enemy only by living dead-men. The Lord always seeks to slay us before He brings us before the Pharaoh of this world.
By what means does God slay us? By the cross: the cross of trouble, the cross of perplexity, the cross of persecution, the cross of being cast down by circumstances, the cross of always bearing about in our physical body the dying of the Lord Jesus, the cross of denying ourselves what we desire fervently.
God must have an army of saints who are dead to themselves and alive in the resurrection power of Christ.
There is a graphic incident in the Book of Joshua that illustrates our death and resurrection in Christ.
And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the Lord spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there. And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day. (Joshua 4:8,9)
Notice the two sets of twelve stones. The first set of twelve stones was carried to the west shore of the Jordan and set up in Gilgal for a memorial.
And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal. (Joshua 4:20)
The second set of twelve stones was set up in the middle of the Jordan River where the priests stood while Israel passed over.
So it is with us. The Lord Jesus Christ stands in the middle of death while His Church passes over to resurrection ground.
We are baptized into Christ’s death, into the stones left in the middle of the Jordan.
We are baptized into Christ’s resurrection, into the stones set up in Gilgal.
Our task throughout our lifetime in the earth is to reckon ourselves dead with Christ and to reckon ourselves alive with Christ. We must receive fully the death and we must receive fully the resurrection life. Thus our adamic nature is dead and our new born-again nature is eternally alive in Christ at the right hand of God.
So God brings us to the brink of Jordan, and then into Jordan. The water parts when we go forward into the river.
The Red Sea typifies death to the world. Mount Sinai typifies death to sin. The Jordan River typifies death to self-will, self-seeking.
Only those saints who are willing to follow the Lord Jesus into death to all their ambitions and hopes can march across Jordan and enter the inheritance, the rest of God.
First we said we must never let go of our dreams and hopes but keep them bright and shining before the Lord. Now we are stating that unless we are willing to follow the Lord Jesus into death to all our ambitions and hopes we cannot enter our inheritance. How can this be?
When we attempt to hold onto our life, we lose it. When we willingly forsake our life for the sake of Christ and His Gospel, we gain it.
It is not possible to possess something for eternity until God gives it to us twice. Think about Abraham and Isaac.
God gives many things to the human being: health, possessions, relationships with people, a beautiful earth on which to live, all kinds of pleasures. We may possess all or some of these for a brief season.
Then God asks that they be returned to Him. He requests that we give them back to Him in faith. One by one He calls for our idols. We are brought into various types of prisons and compelled to perform all kinds of disagreeable duties. Our most fervent desires are denied. Gratifications are delayed. Hope is deferred. This is Jordan.
The eternal destiny of the saint is formed by his response to the death of the cross. If he is willing and obedient he suffers for a while and then is given to eat of the good of the land.
If he holds back from the Lord even the smallest area of his life he cannot enter the glorious destiny of the sons of God.
The Lord, He is God. We are His creatures. Any display of disobedience on our part prevents us from enjoying fellowship with God.
God puts His desires for us in our heart. However, we may interpret our desires in a manner different from what the Lord knows to be best for us—that which will bring us everlasting joy.
Throughout life we are chastened, if we are one of God’s elect, and required finally to give back to God every one of our desires. If we do not we fail as a son of God, a victorious saint. If we give back to God every desire without exception, God purifies, refines, adds to, subtracts from each desire until the true value is attained. Then He gives back to us what alone can fulfill our deepest longings.
Only the person who is persuaded of God’s goodness and faithfulness is able to stand under the searching and testing of the Lord. If he stands, the throne of glory is his. The fullness of joy is his. The land of promise is his.
And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people; (Joshua 3:14)
The Christian life is not static. It does not consist of an assent to a set of theological statements. It is a day-by-day movement from union with Satan to union with Christ. Every true saint continually is experiencing change in his personality as the Holy Spirit converts him into the image of the Lord Jesus and brings him into union with Christ.
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (II Corinthians 3:18)
The people "removed from their tents." There was a going forward. There was a period of instruction followed by action.
The genuine disciple of the Lord Jesus lives in a "tent," so to speak. He is not a part of this world system and is not at home in the world. He or she is ready to pack up and move at a moment’s notice. The Lord Jesus is visiting people today, some of whom are new Christians and some of whom are experienced saints, and giving them a hunger and thirst for righteousness.
They shall be filled. They shall obtain the increased Presence and knowledge of Christ for which they hunger if they are willing to leave what is familiar and press forward into a closer walk with the Lord.
Some believers reap Christ thirtyfold. Some believers reap Christ sixtyfold. Some believers reap Christ a hundredfold.
What causes the difference in reaping? It is the willingness of the believer to be pruned by the Father.
Some believers are willing to be pruned once. They reap thirtyfold.
Other believers consent to be pruned again after they have borne some fruit. They reap sixtyfold.
A third group places no limitations on God. Whatever He does to them and with them is agreeable to them. They recognize that the only important issue of life is Christ, and all their plans and energies are directed toward the pursuit of Christ. They reap a hundredfold.
Our faith is our testimony concerning God’s character. If we are persuaded God is trustworthy we commit ourselves into His hands to do with us as He will. If God is not to be trusted, as Satan suggested to Eve, we may hold back part of our personality. Any area of our life we hold back from Christ will result in very great loss to us.
The priests bore the Ark of the Covenant before the people.
In time past there have been a few outstanding saints who have pressed forward into death to self and into the fullness of rest in God. Madame Guyon, Jessie Penn-Lewis, and A. B. Simpson are three names familiar to many dedicated believers in Christ.
Now it is time for all the Lord’s people to press forward into a more complete union with Christ. Those who are leading and teaching the Church must themselves pass into the death to self-seeking God requires. Then God will cause His elect to follow. We who are preaching and teaching must follow Christ so the saints may follow us.
Most people will never give themselves wholly to Christ until someone sets an example for them.
Notice that Paul himself was a living illustration of the Word of God:
But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. (II Corinthians 4:2)
Religious talk can waste a great deal of time. The world is waiting to see people who are filled with the power and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then they will believe in Christ.
And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) (Joshua 3:15)
Notice that the priests were required to step into a river that was overflowing its banks. It was harvest time, the time for Jordan to rise to flood level.
Harvesting signifies judgment, in the Scriptures. Judgment always begins with the household of God, with those who are closest to the Lord. The Church’s greatest hour of suffering and resurrection glory will be in the last days as the Lord draws near to judge the world for its wickedness.
Before Christ judges the world He will judge those who are closest to Him. Notice this principle in the following passage:
But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (I Corinthians 11:32)
The moment we decide to press forward into the fullness of Christ, Jordan comes to flood, so to speak. God gives us a hunger for more of Himself. We move forward in faith to gain Christ. Then we are shaken and those who are near us are shaken because the judgment of the Lord comes upon us.
We finally agree to serve God, and then He comes to "slay" us. This is what happened to Moses (Exodus 4:24).
Why is this?
The reason judgment comes on us every time we press forward in the Lord is that we are in a process of reconciliation to God, to His Person, His will, His ways, His holiness, His righteousness.
Every Christian has been reconciled to God by the blood of Christ. This is a legal reconciliation that preserves us while the Spirit of God works out the actual reconciliation in every area of our personality.
It is when we "come out from among them, and touch not the unclean thing" that God receives us (II Corinthians 6:17).
Today the judgment of God is near at hand because of the lawlessness and lust that abound in the centers of civilization. Before God judges the world He will purify His people so they will not be destroyed when God begins to judge the wickedness of mankind.
America is near to judgment. We have turned away from God, as happened to Israel of old. Change is coming to our nation. Our decline has commenced already and we can observe the hand of Divine judgment falling on us.
The few days that are remaining are for the purpose of giving the Lord’s people an opportunity to come out of the world and begin to seek the Lord.
As you decide to return to Christ much trouble may come your way. This—although you may not understand it just now—is a good and desirable thing. David asked the Lord to search and test him. The victorious saint welcomes the correction of the Lord. Do you welcome the correction of the Lord?
Listen to the Apostle Peter:
Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. (I Peter 4:16)
The suffering we experience as we are walking in Christ is an occasion for us to "glorify God."
Notice how the Holy Spirit interprets our sufferings:
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (I Peter 4:17)
The sufferings of the Christian are a judgment on the works of darkness that are in him, a judgment occurring before the world is judged. The purpose of this prior judgment is that the Christian may be saved in the day in which the world is judged.
Peter goes on to ask:
And if the righteous scarcely be saved [saved with difficulty], where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (I Peter 4:18)
"If the righteous is saved with difficulty."
The Christian person who is walking in righteousness is seeking to please God by his deeds, his speech, and his thinking and attitudes. The suffering that comes upon him, particularly persecution, helps him put away his sin and self-seeking and live in holiness and obedience to God.
His sufferings press him into the Lord so he will be saved in the Day of Wrath.
Paul comforted the saints in Thessalonica concerning their persecutions and tribulations.
Paul interprets their trouble as follows:
Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: (II Thessalonians 1:5)
As we press forward into Jordan the Lord comes to us. He is "like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap" (Malachi 3:2). He is enthroned in our heart as a refiner and purifier of our redemption.
The crowds always will hail the Son of David when He enters through the gates into the city of God. But when He goes into the Temple of God He casts out the moneychangers.
The hearts of God’s people today are full of "moneychangers." Christ is driving the love of money from the personalities of His people.
Perhaps you have been a Christian for a while and now severe troubles have come upon you. You have believed that such things would never happen to you. God seems far away.
Your distress may be an indication the Lord is drawing near to you. Whenever Christ draws near to an individual He will judge that person. But it is judgment to life, not to death.
God is a Spirit. God brings people into a relationship to Himself by the blood of the Lamb, by His sword, by the fire of tribulation. There must be a circumcision, a cutting back of the proud flesh of a man, before God will accept him.
We may know God as a Teacher or as the Good Shepherd. God is much more than these. He is a consuming Fire. Before we can dwell in peace with the consuming Fire the chaff in our life must be burned away.
If you are in suffering today, commit the keeping of your soul to God as to a faithful Creator.
God’s way is to wound and tear us before He accepts us.
Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. (Hosea 6:1)
Recently a believer was heard to say, "I would not serve God if I thought He would allow me to suffer."
Such a statement is the fruit of the horrible deception that pervades the thinking of the Lord’s people in our time. We have been taught that grace is an alternative to godly living, that God is love and not a consuming fire, that God will not allow tribulation to touch His people, and that God’s people should be rich in this world.
All four of these current doctrines are unscriptural and self-centered—contrary to the principles of the Kingdom of God. They are of the False Prophet, the spirit of religious delusion.
We understand that the deceiver will come in the last days and confuse our thinking, enticing us to sin. He has done so already. The nature of deception is such we do not realize when we have been deceived.
Great change, tribulation, chaos, are at hand. Christ is walking among the churches preparing each of us for what is at hand. Whosoever will choose to do so may become an overcomer and enter resurrection life, authority, power, and complete union with Christ.
The Lord does not heal until He first has "torn." The Lord does not bind up until he first has "smitten."
God tears out of us what is sinful. God smites what is self-seeking, self-centered, self-willed, and therefore harmful to us.
God heals us with an impartation of His love and eternal life. God binds us up with eternal healing virtue and love that are stronger than death itself.
What God tears and smites is passing away with the present age. What God heals and binds up becomes eternal. It will never perish.
It is harvest time today. "Jordan" is overflowing its banks bringing shaking and change to all whom it touches.
Sinners are to turn to the Lord, both the unsaved sinners and the saved sinners. The Judge is standing at the door. God is measuring what He has performed in the earth to this point.
God is speaking to your heart. Do what He tells you. Place your eyes stedfastly on the Lord. Follow Him.
When God commands you to press forward it may appear to be the worst possible time. Expect this and move ahead with God. No power in Heaven or on the earth can stop any soul who is moving forward in obedience to God.
Only our fear and unbelief can destroy us. There is no other enemy that can prevent us from being a victorious saint, from receiving our full inheritance.
That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho. (Joshua 3:16)
As soon as the "feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water," the waters from upstream were blocked off. The army of the Lord was enabled to cross the Jordan River without harm.
If God commands you to do some impossible thing, do not waste time informing the Lord that it is impossible. He understands this. Concentrate on perceiving exactly what God wants you to do, and when He wants you to do it.
It is not correct to decide on an action and then do it, daring God to rise to the occasion. This is practiced today with the idea of challenging God to do "great things." This is not faith, it is presumption. It is tempting God to act. It is an example of man endeavoring to harness the power of God so what the individual thinks ought to be accomplished in the Kingdom will be brought to pass.
Sometimes a Christian will know what it is God wants him to do, but the believer adds to the correct burden methods and timings that are incorrect. Then he cannot understand why the "river" does not part before him.
Following the Spirit of God requires careful attention to prayer and the Scriptures. It demands patient, cross-carrying obedience if we are to avoid adding incorrect methods and timings to what God has entrusted to us.
When God prepares to move, the whole spirit realm becomes "jumpy," so to speak. This restlessness and excitability finds ready lodging in the immature Christian. The winds blow and the rocks fly and the believer runs down the road, regarding every warning sign God puts in front of him as a hindrance from the devil or from wicked or unbelieving people.
Sooner or later the saint "comes to himself," like the prodigal son. He is exhausted, confused, depressed, fruitless.
The best thing to do when this happens to us is to ask the Lord’s forgiveness and allow Him to take us back to the point where we moved out of His will, back to the altar where we are sure we heard from God. Now the circumstances may be different but the familiar textbooks are opened to the well-worn page.
The Holy Spirit’s lessons follow one after the other and they accumulate, each lesson depending on the mastery of the discipline gained previously. It is not possible to skip over one of the areas of instruction.
When our patience brings us to the fullness of time we step forward in faith. We go out with joy and are led forth with peace. The miracle takes place before our astonished gaze. The waters part by a miracle. The Lord does for us what He promised.
Truly, "hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life" (Proverbs 13:12).
When we march forward in God’s time, we are "right against Jericho." The enemy is in plain view, and we have been prepared to overcome him.
We will conquer in God if we do what God says, in God’s time, and use the methods God says to use. We cannot fail if we obey God faithfully.
And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan. (Joshua 3:17)
Those of us who are called to "stand firm" in the midst of death to our pride, self-centeredness, self-seeking, lusts, and personal ambitions, who are permitting the Lord to use us as He will so His glory may be performed in the lives of other people, will remain on "dry ground." The "waters" of death will never be allowed to flow over us.
All those who "hear us" will also remain on dry ground. We shall succeed in saving ourselves and those who hear us.
The struggle will not last for ever. One day, God will be able to say, "It is finished. Behold, I have made all things new."
What God commences He also finishes to perfection.
And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. . . . (Revelation 21:6)
The Church, the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb, is made up of a multitude of people. The spirits of those of the Church who already have passed away are in Paradise, in the garden of God. The remainder of the Church is being made new creatures by the Lord. Step by step, detail by detail, the Lord is creating the new Jerusalem, the holy city. When the new Jerusalem has been completed in Heaven it will descend to the earth as the eternal dwelling place of God and Christ.
When God is finished the Church will descend from Heaven as a bride adorned for her husband. The nations of saved peoples of the earth will marvel at the stunning beauty of the new Jerusalem. The Church will be without spot, wrinkle, or blemish of any kind whatever. It will be one in Christ in God, an eternal manifestation of God. It will be Emmanuel—God with us.
There will be no unrighteousness in any member of the Wife of the Lamb. There will be no uncleanness in any member of the Wife of the Lamb. There will be no rebellion or disobedience to God in any member of the Wife of the Lamb.
Every one of the elect who is part of the new Jerusalem will have "passed clean over Jordan."
It is time now to begin to take the Kingdom.