THE REVIVING OF A DEAD ELECT
THE REVIVING OF A DEAD ELECTCopyright Š 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
By the term "elect" I am referring to all those whom God has called to His Kingdom purposes. Some of the elect are Jewish by physical birth. Some are Gentile by physical birth. But together they are one Olive Tree, one anointed prophet of God.
There only is one Olive Tree, one Church, one called-out people of God. There are not two churches!
Today the elect are spiritually dead, compared with the eternal resurrection Life they are destined to have. The Jewish elect are dead because they have rejected God's Messiah. The Jewish elect who have converted to Christ are dead because they have believed the unscriptural teaching of the Christian ministry.
The Gentile elect are dead, most of them, because of the unscriptural teaching of the ministry.
Four the past forty years I have been attempting to ferret out the common denominator of today's unscriptural Christian preaching. I could see bits and pieces here that obviously are unscriptural. But the source eluded me.
I think I am getting closer to the root of the problem. I realize the current errors have been fabricated with satanic cunning, and so what is unscriptural has not been clearly manifest, at least not to me.
I began to understand that the common denominator of the lawless-grace error, and the frivolous escape-by-rapture doctrine, was the view that eternal residence in Heaven is the goal of the Divine salvation. There is not a shred of Scripture to support the venerable concept that we are "saved" to go to Heaven. Many of the common traditions lose their foundation if we are not saved in order to go to Heaven when we die.
I have understood for some time that the idea of Heaven being our goal is not scriptural and leads to false conclusions, such as if we once "accept Christ" we forever are forgiven our sins no matter how we behave, and we will go to Heaven by "grace."
As our Lord said, "seek and you shall find." At some point in the middle of last night (I am writing now on September 16, 2012), the answer came to me: The original Divine fiat was and remains, "Let us make man in our image."
Let us make man in our image. I had noticed previously that many of the errors had the common theme of "Jesus did it all." By receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior, there is nothing more we are to do. This idea is verbalized continually wherever the Gospel of the Kingdom is preached.
Of late I noticed an enlargement on this theme. The notion has been advanced that God did not make the new covenant with any person except the Lord Jesus Christ. This in spite of the fact that the statement concerning the new covenant in the Book of Hebrews is that God has made the new covenant with Israel and Judah, we Gentiles being part of Israel in that we are married to Christ.
In spite of the clear unscripturalness of the doctrine that God has made the new covenant only with the Lord Jesus, I prophesy that this teaching will spread like wildfire because it emphasizes Satan's doctrine that we are to do nothing but believe in Christ and we shall go to Heaven by grace.
Satan's goal is to frustrate the plan of God to make man in God's image. His project is to destroy any emphasis on righteous behavior. We may rebuke demons all day long and they regard it as worship. But a believer in Christ who chooses to pursue righteous behavior is a terror to Hell.
The believers continually are being taught that we are to do nothing. Christ has done it all. We can live like the devil and it does not matter because our judgment was completed on the cross. This in spite of Peter's announcement that judgment has begun in the household of God.
But what is the fundamental error behind all this. Why is Satan so anxious that we do nothing but trust that Christ will bring us to Heaven because we are identified with Him? No really significant change in us is necessary. We become a new creation, an overcomer, by identification with Christ.
I will tell you what I think God showed me at some point last night. The original Divine fiat was, and always shall be, that God created man (and this includes woman) in the image of God. In the image of God!
This does not mean man looks like God because man has arms, legs, eyes, and ears. There is something deeper here concerning the image of God.
Jesus declared that anyone who sees Him sees the Father. The Book of Hebrews explains this by saying Jesus is the express image of God.
The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. (Hebrews 1:3)
Jesus is the exact representation of God's being. Jesus is the Image of God. Can you see that Jesus is not the Father in another form? If one person is the image of another person, we are speaking of two different persons, are we not?
Because Jesus is the Image of the Majesty in heaven, at whose right hand the Lord Jesus is seated, the person who sees Jesus sees the Father. Jesus is the exact representation of the Father.
This means that Jesus is the first Man (not to degrade His Divinity in any manner whatever) to fulfill that awful Word, a word that reverberated throughout the heavens as well at the earth: LET US MAKE MAN IN OUR IMAGE, IN OUR LIKENESS.
I think of being in God's image as being having the same moral character. Being in God's likeness as meaning looking like God. Do with this as you will; it is not really basic to our discussion here.
In any case, our Lord Jesus, who is both Son of God and Son of Man, is the first man to fulfill the Divine fiat. The Lord Jesus is of the same Substance of God, the same moral character, and, in His glorified state, is in the likeness of the Father.
Please let me add that Jesus is not the same Person as the Father. This aspect of "trinity" teaching is not scriptural and hinders our relationship to our Lord as His brothers and friends.
It is clear to me that when God said, "Let us make man in our image" He meant that we should be of the same moral character, and after our resurrection, will be in His likeness, although smaller assuredly.
There is one problem here. When we refer to Peter's statement that we are partakers of the Divine Nature we may be accused of being blasphemous and making ourselves equal to God, or little gods, or something of the kind.
Let me explain the problem, because in this essay, which has to do with the reviving of the dead elect, we may get into the fact that we are one with Christ just as He is one with the Father. We are one in Them. This the Scripture states plainly.
"God" is not the name of the Father. "God" means the supreme Ruler of everything and everyone. He gave birth to the Word, at some point, and the Word is God's Son. However, the Word, now known as Jesus Christ, is not "God" in the sense of being the supreme Ruler. Rather, Christ is the Son of the supreme Ruler and therefore is of the same Divine Nature as the supreme Ruler.
Any unbiased reading of the New Testament will reveal that while Jesus is of the Divine Nature, and God has made Him Lord of all, Jesus is not "God" in the sense of being the supreme Ruler. However, Jesus Christ still is Divine, God made all things through Him, and He is to be worshiped as our Lord.
But, as King David said while speaking in the Spirit, "The Lord said to my Lord."
"The Lord" is the Father, the supreme God and ruler of all. "My Lord is the Lord Jesus."
Please let us have done with this confusion. It is not necessary. Today God is bringing many sons to glory. He is conforming them to the image of His greater Son that they might be the brothers of the greater Son.
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)
I really believe the above verse ought to be preached more than it is. It says so much about our being made in the image of God.
Now Jesus said, as recorded in the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, "He who has seen me has seen the Father." This is because Jesus acts the same way the Father does. Also, it was the Father who spoke the words uttered by the Lord Jesus. Jesus is the image of the Father, the exact representation of the Father's Being.
Let us suppose, that Jesus was a liar, a fornicator, a murderer, and a thief. Would He still be the exact representation of the Father?
You say, "Horrors! Of course not!"
But what are you saying? You are saying that intuitively you, and everyone else in the world, understands that the Father is righteous. How do we sense that? I am not certain. But the truth is, we all know instinctively that God is not a liar, a fornicator, a murderer, and a thief. don't we? How do we know that of a certainty? I do not know, but I know that if Jesus were not righteous in behavior He would not be the exact representation of the Father.
You agree with that?
All right then. when God said let us make man in Our image, in Our likeness, God meant that man would tell the truth; would be morally pure; would be kind and gentle; and would be scrupulously honest.
Are you with me thus far. Remember, for forty years I have been seeking to understand what is wrong with Christian teaching; why God's elect are dead.
If follows that if we are to fulfill what God has spoken concerning us, we must become a new creation of righteous behavior. This is what it would mean to be made in God's image.
Notice that nothing is said in the four aspects of the original Divine decree about being "saved," or going to Heaven. Did you notice that.
God did not create us to be saved or to go to Heaven. God created us to be in His image, just as Jesus is in His image. Is that scriptural or not? If you believe this, you can see readily how far off base contemporary Christian teaching is, and why the elect need to be revived.
Now we understand Satan's motive in the Jesus-did-it-all teaching. All we have to do is accept Christ. All we have to do is be identified with Christ, and we will go to Heaven. But Heaven is not the goal! Being changed into the image of God is the goal.
It is written that Heaven rejoices when a sinner comes home to God. That is the old, old story. What would we do without it? Butnotice carefullythe sinner going home, the one who was rescued from falling off the cliff, did not fulfill God's original decree that man be in the image of God.
When Satan stresses that Jesus did it all, Satan is saying: Do not bother about your behavior, whether or not you act righteously. Just say you believe in Jesus. That is all God requires. The rest of salvation will come later. This is what is assumed, I guess.
However, the New Testament does not teach that dying will make us in the image of God. The New Testament does not say that going to Heaven will make us in the image of God. The New Testament does not say that the return of Christ will make us in God's image. Sin and rebellion began in Heaven around the very Throne of God, when Satan decided he wanted to usurp the place of the Father; so going to Heaven will do nothing to change our behavior.
The reason for the spiritual demise of the elect is that they have been taught an unscriptural message. They have been taught that all they have to do is believe in Jesus. But Paul said in Romans that God has predestined us to be in the likeness of the Lord Jesus. That cannot be accomplished while we merely wait to die and go to Heaven. Every day provides us with a chance to be more in God's image, if we will listen to the Spirit of God.
The older saints will tell you of the difficulties and stresses the experienced Christian suffers as he or she struggles with God. They tell you, in the older hymns, of the true way of redemption, if you will take heed to the words. "Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come."
The following four passages are as much of God as is true of John 3:16. Yet, you may never have heard them preached or taught.
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)
And to know this love that surpasses knowledgethat you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)
Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:13)
That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:21)
These four passages have to do with our being made in God's image. And there are many more such passages in the New Testament.
How could it be possible that you may never have heard them preached or taught, at least never emphasized as though they somehow are a part of our salvation? It is because they do not fit the current emphasis on "all you have to do is believe in Christ. He did all the work for you. Just relax and wait to go to Heaven where you may recline forever in your mansion."
The Apostle told us that we have died with Christ and now are living with Him in resurrection Life. Therefore we are to place our attention on things above where Christ sits on the right hand of God.
How many times have you heard that preached?
Paul spoke of being anxious to enjoy the fellowship of Christ's suffering. Paul was forgetting his former high office in Judaism and pressing forward that he might know Christ, thus attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
Paul's teaching in the third chapter of the Book of Philippians is a "must read" for anyone who seeks to be in the image of God.
How could it be that we have been so ignorant of the New Testament? How is it that we never understood that we are to be made in God's image?
It is because we have come now to the time when the Spirit of God is teaching us how to be reconciled to God. It is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement, Day of Reconciliation. It is the time when the sins of Israel are laid on the scapegoat and the scapegoat is removed from the camp and let into the wilderness.
We are in a step forward in the Divine plan of redemption. We cannot be in God's image until we are delivered from worldliness, lust, and self-will. These are not God's image. They must be removed from us.
Our responsibility now is to listen carefully to the Spirit of God at all times. He will point out to us the areas of spiritual darkness in us that are not of the image of God.
When the Spirit points out an area of worldliness, lust, or self-will, we are to confess that specific behavior clearly. Then we are to renounce it emphatically, asking the Lord Jesus to remove it from us eternally. To be effective, we must be utterly sincere about this, confessing what we are doing and turning away from it for eternity.
This program of confession and repentance begun, and will continue until all sin and rebellion have been removed from God's creation. It is beginning with God's elect.
As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:40-43)
The passage above has begun today. It is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement. It will continue through the thousand-year Kingdom Age---least until the last resurrection of the dead.
If we are to be part of the world-wide witness of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, the testimony described in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation, we must be judged and delivered from all sin and rebellion of every sort. This judgment and deliverance is part of the Judgment Seat of Christ, and has begun with those who have an ear to hear the Spirit of God.
The following passage is speaking of the judgment that must precede the preaching of Christ and the firstfruits of His Body. Christ in the members of His body will declare to every nation the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, "Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there." (Revelation 11:1)
God wants to know personally every believer who is worshiping at the Altar of Incense, that is, crying out "Not my will but Yours be done." These will pass into the darkness of the Holy of Holies, being lighted only by the Glory of God, no longer by the Lampstand. They will become part of the Ark of the Covenant that is to appear when the kingdoms of the world become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.
All worldliness must be destroyed from our personality. All the lusts and passions of the flesh and spirit. All self-will and self-love. All of these prevent the image of God from being seen in us.
It is not up to you to accomplish all this. God is ready to do all this for you and to fill you with His Fullness. Your part is to trust and obey, "for there's no other way," as the old hymn teaches us.
As I have been describing, we are entering revival. But it is not a revival unto basic salvation, it is a revival unto the spiritual maturity that has been so lacking in the Christian churches.
The revival unto spiritual maturity, that we have been setting forth, is necessary if we are to serve as those who bear the end-time testimony. The end-time testimony will be borne by two witnesses. The one Witness is the original Lampstand, the Lord Jesus Christ. The second witness is a firstfruits of the Body of Christ. This is the second Lampstand. It is made up of the overcomers, of the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation.
The world will see only men (and possibly women) working mighty miracles of destruction and announcing the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
However, dwelling in these witnesses, and unseen by the world, will be the One who actually is doing the preaching and confirming His own Word with signs following. It is the Lord Jesus Christ, the original Lampstand. These two witnesses, Christ and His Body, will minister under a double portion of the Holy Spirit, as symbolized by the two olive trees.
Obviously the people through whom Christ is bearing witness are not baby Christians, or dead members of God's elect. They are living, mature Christians. So today the Spirit of God is bringing to life the dead members of God's elect, His Israel, both Jewish and Gentile by race.
The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" (Ezekiel 37:1-3)
When we read the standard of spiritual growth announced in the New Testament, and think about how far short we are to the fullness of the stature of Christ, we might question whether the dead bones of God's elect ever can be brought to life.
Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones and say to them, 'Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.'" (Ezekiel 37:4-6)
Today we are to prophesy to God's elect, telling them that God is commanding that they live. This tells me that a powerful measure of the Spirit is God is ready to come upon us. It is a revival unto maturity rather than to basic salvation.
So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them. (Ezekiel 37:7,8)
I think we can begin to look for a commotion among the people of God as the Lord impresses them that there only is one true Church and that it is characterized by obedience to God and by righteousness and holiness of being and behavior.
Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.'" So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feeta vast army. (Ezekiel 47:9,10)
It may be true that if we had spiritual eyes to see the Christian churches in America we would see paupers in rags. God is prepared to blow on this raggle-taggle mob and transform it into the army that will follow Christ in the victory at Armageddon; and then later in a march through the earth to judge the people and destroy the Antichrist institutions.
Before the army of the Lord marches it will bear testimony throughout the whole earth of its coming to set up the will of God on the earth.
Then he said to me: "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, 'Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.' Therefore prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign Lord says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel,'" (Ezekiel 37:11,12)
Remember, the whole house of Israel includes Jews and Gentiles. It does not include all Jews and all Gentiles, but those who are called, that is, the elect of the Jews and Gentiles.
I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins." (Romans 11:25-27)
From the above passages from the Book of Ezekiel, and then from the Book of Romans, we see that although the Christian churches are spiritually dead today because of the teaching that grace takes the place of obedience to Christ and His Apostles, God yet shall raise up an army.
The army first shall testify of its coming to govern the nations of the earth, and then return with Christ to carry out the prophesy.
The days we are in now are a period of preparation. Let us listen to the voice of the Spirit of God. He will show us how to be released from the power of our sinful nature and to overcome it through Christ.
If we will be diligent now in obeying Christ, we will be part of the glorious aspects of the Divine redemption that yet are ahead of us.
If we do not turn away from our sinful ways and follow Christ today, our destiny will not be enviable.
As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:40-42)