WHAT HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD ME?: FOUR
WHAT HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD ME?: FOURCopyright Š 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
("What House Will You Build Me?: Four" is taken from The Temple of God, copyright Š 2011 by Trumpet Ministries, found in the Kindle Library)
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. (Isaiah 2:2)
The term mountain, in prophetic symbolism, refers to government. The above passage indicates that the Temple of God will be set up on the earth during the thousand-year Kingdom Age and given authority and power over all other government, just as Daniel prophesied (Daniel 2:44). It can be seen also all the nations of the earth will be drawn to the Temple of God and will place themselves under subjection to it.
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)
The Temple of God is the "house of the God of Jacob." Notice the voluntary coming to the Lord on the part of the nations of the saved. This is the time when the world knows that God has sent Christ and has loved the Church as He has loved Christ (John 17:23). In that hour the inhabitants of the earth will have confidence that God will teach them His ways.
In our day the world does not have this confidence in God or His Church, His Temple.
In the Day of the Lord, the nations of the saved will choose to walk in God's ways. They will have this desire because the sons of God, the victorious saints of today, will have taken over the control of the spiritual atmosphere of the earth, Satan having been hurled into the bottomless pit.
The strong man now has been bound and his house is being invaded. The Holy Spirit will be moving in the earth as never before. All evildoers will have been destroyed at the appearing of Christ.
"Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" means the Church, the Temple of God, will teach the laws of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God to every man, woman, boy, and girl on the face of our planet. The laws of the Kingdom of God were announced by Christ throughout His ministry, particularly during the Sermon on the Mount.
It eternally was and is true of Jesus that He is the Kingdom Age and always lives and acts in the Kingdom. He ever reveals in Himself the works of power of the age to come (Hebrews 6:5) and the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Kingdom of God.
The Divine Redeemer, the One who enables every person to come into his own inheritance and gain release from slavery, took His place on the mountain (a type of Mount Zion, the Church of the thousand-year Kingdom AgeMatthew 5:1).
"He opened his mouth, and taught them" the laws of the Kingdom of God: "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall be called the children of God."
The ways of God portrayed in the life and teaching of Christ can be kept by us only through the impartation of Christ's Nature to us accompanied by the immediate prompting and power of the Holy Spirit.
The wicked lords of darkness plus the law of sin in our fleshly nature resist our attempts to be meek, to hunger and thirst after righteousness, to show mercy, to be pure in heart, to create and maintain peace among the people around us. During the Jubilee it will be much easier to keep God's laws because of the absence of hindering spirits and due to the abiding Presence of God among us.
And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:4)
During the Jubilee, God through His Temple will act as a Judge so problems that arise can be settled justly, and amicably. As a result, the nations of the world will not have to go to war to decide their disputes.
The judgments of God will be so just, so perfect in wisdom and compassion, and enforced with such irresistible authority and power, that the reasons for war will have been removed completely. This will remain true throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age.
The Antichrist will be permitted by the Lord to establish a world rulership for a season, but he finally will be destroyed by Christ because Antichrist is a thief, a liar, and a rebel against God. The only legal world ruler is Christ and His Body because the Lord God has given to Christ all authority and power over the earth, its resources, and all who dwell therein.
One of the conspicuous features of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, the Day of the Lord, will be the supreme exaltation of God and His Christ, His Temple. The patience and forbearance of God from the time of Adam until now is remarkable. Men have indulged their vanity in every imaginable form of lust, destruction, and idolatry. Yet, "He that sitteth in the heavens" continues to work quietly with those who respond to His Word and His Spirit.
The world is becoming frantic as human beings manifest the powers of darkness that surround us. The hope of finding a way in which humans can live in every manner of pleasure without having to suffer the consequences of their excesses is motivating learned investigators to pursue every program that promises to solve human problems.
Still, the Holy One of Israel continues to instruct those who choose Him and His way, those who tremble at His Word. God has a plan, and everyone and everything remains under His control.
In God's time, and not one moment before, Christ will appear with His armywith those who have suffered with Him and who therefore will have the privilege of sharing in the vengeance.
Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen [nations], and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord. (Psalms 149:5-9)
The next coming of Christ to the world will not be that of the gentle Shepherd and His sheep-like followers. The trumpet announcing the King will sound and He will come with His armies. The Word of God in His mouth will be a sword that will cut into every soul. The earth will be as Eden before Him, and behind Him a smoking ruin (Joel 2:3).
On through the earth will rush the forces of Heaven, destroying on the right hand and on the left. Spirits and men will scream in terror and anguish but the fire will become unbearably intense.
Men will seek death, but death itself will be held in the steel fingers of the saints. This is the long-awaited Day of Wrath. The cup of Divine wrath has been filled to the brim. It will be poured on the kingdom of darkness until every unclean force on the earth has been crushed under the heel of God's Conqueror (Revelation 1:15; 2:18).
The powers of the heavens will be shaken. An earthquake will rock the great city, the center of civilization. The sun will turn black and the moon will become as blood. The stars of the heaven will be shaken from their places by the wind of God's Spirit.
The veil that conceals the Face of God Almighty will roll together as a scroll. Every mountain and island on the earth will be moved from its place. Those who have refused the lordship of Christ will cry to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" (Revelation 6:16,17).
There shall be weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. The demons know of the Day of Wrath. When Jesus appeared the first time, the demons cried out in terror thinking that Christ had changed His mind and had come before the time set by the Father.
This is the judgment toward which every spirit in the heavens and on the earth is moving. There is no power that can prevent the coming of the Day of Wrath. It is the knowledge of the coming judgment that enables God to work quietly and patiently with those who love and serve Him. God understands well that He and His saints will have the last word.
"The Lord alone shall be exalted in that day." Every spirit, every human, every creature has been allowed to express itself. Now it is God's turn. He will reveal His authority, His power, His wisdom, His love, His ways, His judgment.
Although the "spirits of devils" will "go forth to the kings of the earth and of the whole world to gather them to the battle of that day of God Almighty" (Revelation 16:14), their efforts will serve only to more perfectly fulfill God's victory.
All events, all things, all purposes proceeding from every spirit and every human mind will join together (regardless of the motivations of the spirit or person) to insure that God's victory is total, complete, perfect in every detail. God and His Christ will come suddenly to the world and fulfill every word written by the Apostles and Prophets. There is no way of preventing Their appearing.
And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. (Isaiah 2:19)
The Jubilee is at hand. Because of the resistance of evildoers, the thousand-year Kingdom Age must be ushered in by means of judgment and destruction of all the works of wickedness. There is no manner in which the land of promise can be entered other than by violence and warfare.
Christ is preparing His army now. In fact, one of the main purposes of the period of time before the appearing of Christ is the preparation of His Body for the Day of the Lord (Ephesians 6:13).
And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: (Isaiah 4:3)
In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. (Zechariah 12:8)
During the thousand-year Kingdom Age every Christian will be holy. The Wife of the Lamb, the Church, will be pure in God's sight.
The situation will not be as it was in the days of rebellious Israel, or as it is today where Christians walk in uncleanness, gossiping, hating, lusting, flirting with the things of the world, not serving the Lord. No person, as Paul teaches, ever will enter the Kingdom of God while he or she is practicing such behavior (Galatians 5:21).
In that day, "he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem" (the remnant who remain after the Divine shaking) will be holy in deed, in word, in motive, in imagination. The servants of the Lord will be righteous, holy, obedient kings and priests, showing in their behavior and personality the Divine Nature of Christ.
One provision that God has made for the cleansing of His Church, His eternal Temple, is the "spirit of judgment" and the "spirit of burning." John the Baptist spoke of the cleansing fire: "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire" (Matthew 3:11).
The Church of Christ is weak today and in need of many services from the Lord Jesus. One of the principal blessings needed by the Church at this time is the baptism with Divine Fire. We must have the baptism with fire. The fire of God must test our every deed, every word, every motive, every thought, every behavior.
When the fire of God gets hot enough we will learn righteousness. The Spirit of judgment and burning is not pleasant to experience but it purges our sins from us.
The Word of God is in us. The Word that is in us must be refined in God's fire. A Christian who has not been through God's fire remains full of fleshly uncleanness.
Of all the needs of the Church of Christ today, the greatest is that of the fire of God. O God, send the cleansing fire! Send the fire! Send Divine fire upon your people and then upon the whole world. Everything that cannot go through the fire must be destroyed and removed (Leviticus 13:52; Numbers 31,23; I Corinthians 3:13).
And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. (Isaiah 4:5)
As soon as a member of the Body of Christ goes through the fire with God he will find that there now is a "defense" on his Christian discipleship. No longer will he be as vulnerable, in the area touched by the fire, to the temptations of unclean spirits or to the deceitful conduct of his self-love and self-centeredness.
As the saint goes through God's judgment he becomes aware he is covered with God's protection to a greater extent than ever before. So often today the least root of bitterness is able to wreck an assembly of saints. During the Kingdom Age (and it should become true for God's Temple now!) there will be a protection covering the Glory of God in the Christians. The Lord's sheep will not be quite as defenseless as in time past.
In fact, at this point in history the Lord's little helpless sheep are being prepared to turn into raging lions who, when they go through the earth, will tread down and tear in pieces the enemy; and no power can deliver out of their hands (Micah 5:8).
Christ, our Lamb, is a terrifying sight to behold when His anger is kindled (Psalms 2:12; Micah 5:9).
And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain. (Isaiah 4:6)
First we are made holy by our baptism with God's fire. Second we are placed under the protection of God Almighty. No longer are we weak, innocent, helpless little lambs who are destroyed by every enemy who approaches us. Third we become a tabernacle, a place of refuge, a shelter from "storm and from rain," a place of security where those on the outside who wish to find Christ can come in and find righteousness, peace, and joy.
The churches must become such fortresses, such places of refuge today because the demonic pressures are mounting on the peoples of the earth with every passing hour.
We cannot, however, provide the protection of Christ for others during the seasons of darkness until we ourselves have been purified in God's fire from our own lusts and self-seeking.
Until Christ in His mercy sends the fire of God on our behavior and works, millions of Christians will continue to miss the will of God. The believers are living merry lives in the delusion that a "loving" God would never judge their behavior with severity. They understand neither God nor the Scriptures, nor their own destiny.
Those who think God has an indulgent attitude toward sin in His Temple and in the world are in gross deception, just as Adam and Eve were in gross deception, concerning the true Nature of God.
The spirit of today's Christian churches grasps neither the love of God nor the severity of God. The love of God was expressed on the cross of Calvary. Can you visualize Calvary as the expression of God's love for mankind and also the expression of God's severity? Truly, as the Lord Jesus taught, God is good. There is none good but God. He alone is worthy of our praise.
Look again at Calvary. Every particle of the Personality of the Lord Jesus Christ was roasted in the fires of Divine judgment. Did you ever hear the scream of an animal as it was being slaughtered?
God is the Judge of all the earth. God has proclaimed that those who practice the works of the flesh will be destroyed, as were the citizens of Sodom, and the whole world of the time of Noah. Christ, God's beloved Son, came to deliver us from the works of the flesh so we may escape being condemned with the world. Christ can deliver us if we will put our trust in Him.
Woe to the inhabitants of the earth! Tribulations never before experienced by mankind are nearly upon us. Except that the coming days are to be shortened, no one would be left alive on the earth (Zephaniah 1:3). Believers in Christ will be able to escape (survive) all the coming judgments, but only if they pray without ceasing for themselves and their loved ones.
The Temple of God must be washed in God's fire in preparation for the hour of darkness. The believers who refuse to be baptized in fire today will never be able to resist the Antichrist pressures that even now are being exerted on us.
Human love is the idol of the hour. Human love is self-centered, although it may lead to self-sacrifice on behalf of another. Human love is not Divine love. Human love rejects the cross and the judgments of God on the flesh (Matthew 16:22). Human love seeks to please man, not God. Human love is not strong or pure enough to stand in the hour of temptation.
Human "love" may lead to sexual perversion. God's response to sexual perversion is the Lake of Fire. Human love may lead people to band together against God's prophets, against God's Christ, and against God Himself. God will punish with everlasting fire those who rebel against Himself and His messengers.
Each Christian must learn to live in the fire of God's judgment.
The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? (Isaiah 33:14)
Christ will return at the head of His army. He will smash through every defense that devils and men raise against Him. His fury in that day will be like that of a roaring lion against those who oppose Him, except that the visage and wrath of the most ferocious lion will seem to be the playfulness of a kitten compared with the avenging Christ.
Better that a person should molest a grizzly bear with her cubs than resist the Lord Jesus of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.
The only manner through which peace can be achieved, whether in Heaven or on the earth, is by the destruction of the wicked. God will not dwell in the midst of rebellion and perversion.
Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is returning to earth in the authority and power of God Almighty to crush all rebellion under His blazing feet. His feet of glowing bronze are the victorious saints, the conquerors. God has purposed to crush Satan under the feet of the Body of Christ (Romans 16:20; Revelation 2:26,27).
The Jews of Jesus' day pictured the coming of Christ as that of a conqueror who would free them from the Romans and restore the kingdom of David. But Christ was born as a helpless infant in a stable.
The Christian Church envisions the return of Christ as that of a gentle teacher who will flutter meekly about the earth, entreating the rulers of the nations to listen to his loving call; meanwhile enabling his followers to escape to Heaven, there to float peacefully playing harps in clouds of bliss.
Instead, the Lord Jesus Christ will return as one more powerful and far more exacting than Caesar. By force, punishment, and destruction He will avenge every injustice and set up His world empire. He and His saints will rule all nations with a rod of iron, breaking them to fragments at every point of rebellion.
Therefore we preach and testify to the Church and to the world: "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand."
Antichrist, famine, pestilence, economic chaosnone of these judgments can injure us if we will keep our eyes fastened in faith on the Lord Jesus. God has everything and everyone under His control.
The vision that inspires us to press on to the fullness of redemption is the assurance that the life and work we have begun now will proceed until the day when we stand with Christ and look out over an earth in which all sinners and the effects of sin have been removed. Everything of value and beauty in the earth will be preserved and brought to perfection in Christ.
The judgment and destruction that will occur in the meantime do not trouble us. Why not? Because no spirit, person, or thing in any manner can touch a child of God except as the Father directs for the purpose of perfecting His child. Only God has the authority and power over us; no one else! There is glory for the saints from now on.
If we were to dwell on the realization of the sin, the famine, the misery that are in our world, we could become cynical and filled with despair concerning the message of the angels to the shepherds of Bethlehem. There is little peace on the earth. There is little good will among men. Of what benefit to the world has been the birth of Christ?
Then, when the outlook seems hopeless, the Scripture reveals to us what is just ahead. We understand that Christ will never fail nor be discouraged until His Kingdom has been set up on the earth and all the nations of the world come to Him for healing, for wisdom, for righteousness, for counsel, for government, for His approval and blessing.
The Kingdom-age Jubilee is not an impractical dream of poets and visionaries. He, Christ, the only lawful Ruler of the earth, is coming in thunder and fury to set up His throne exactly as it is written in the Scriptures. Woe be to anyone who attempts to resist His rulership!
If Christ can destroy the devil and all sinners by His stupendous power and reveal His Glory to all men everywhere so they will believe, just as He will do during the thousand-year Kingdom Age, what, then, has been the purpose of the rise and fall of human kingdoms attended by so much misery? Of the sufferings of Christians? Of the fumbling of mankind in its attempt to keep the world functioning from the time of the resurrection of Christ to the present hour?
The working of God during the period of time between Calvary and the thousand-year Kingdom Age has been filled with purpose and productivity from the standpoint of the Kingdom of Christ. God never wastes anything, not time, not money, not personnel, not resources of any kind whatever. God does not allow His children to suffer one moment past the point necessary to bring about God's purpose in the earth.
There is no movement or state of a single living creature or inanimate object in all the universe except that God knows about it altogether. He is aware of each sparrow and of every hair on the head of each of His people.
If a person does not understand the completeness of the authority and power of God or the extent of the knowledge and interest that God possesses concerning His creation, he will not comprehend the perfection of all that God is performing in His Church and in the nations of the earth. He will come short of the Glory of God in his thinking and behavior.
During the era between the resurrection of Christ and His return as earth's lawful King, God is creating the Kingdom of God and all the necessary elements of the Kingdom. The Body of Christ is being brought to unity and maturity.
Many souls have been, and are yet, believing and being baptized. From among them are being chosen the various leaders and officials of God's Kingdom. The Temple of God is being completedthe eternal dwelling place of God among men. The Wife of the Lamb is being made ready for the heavenly Bridegroom.
The brothers of Christ are being trained for their appearance in glory with Him and for the destruction of every evil force in the earth. Sin is being permitted to come to maturity and will suffer the vengeance of eternal fire as an everlasting example to all of God's creatures.
Because of the manner in which the foundation of the Kingdom must be established it was necessary that the construction be accomplished during two thousand years of tribulation. If the Kingdom of God could have been established in a happier environment it would have been brought about in that way.
Every believer enters the Kingdom of God through much tribulation. God is blessed when we sing to Him our songs of praise and thanksgiving. The melody is sweet indeed when by faith we sing to God in the midst of our furnace of afflictions. We are being perfected in the fire.
The laws of the Kingdom Age are summed up in Micah 6:8:
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to practice righteousness, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Micah gave the laws of the Kingdom Age before Christ, who is the Kingdom Age, came to earth.
The laws of the Kingdom Age are repeated in Galatians 5:22,23:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
The Holy Spirit, the law of the Spirit of life, is the Law of the Kingdom Age.
Christ Himself gave the most accurate and concise summary of the laws of the thousand-year Kingdom Age when He taught:
. . . Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40)
Whoever keeps these two commandments is a true man or woman and is living in the Kingdom of God in a personal, immediate sense. The individual who has had Christ formed in him and dwelling in him, and who is living in the Spirit of God, is beginning to keep these two commandments by nature.
Christ always lives in the Kingdom Age, in the Day of the Lord, in the Kingdom of God. The early apostles and the first-century churches were living in the Kingdom to the extent that they were abiding in Christ.
We can notice in the life of Jesus and in the ministry of His apostles the "powers of the world to come" (Hebrews 6:5). The dead were raised, the sick were healed, demons were cast out. The demons protested at what must have seemed to them an early exercise of Kingdom vengeance on the unclean spirits. But the authority and power of Christ prevailed, as they always do.
The Day of Vengeance had not come, as evidenced by the fact that Jesus did not include that phrase ("the day of vengeance of our God"Isaiah 61:2) when He read from the scroll of Isaiah to the synagogue members. But the authority and power of the Day of Vengeance were present in advance in the eternal Christ, so the demons were forced to leave their victims.
The Battle of Armageddon is the confrontation between Christ and Satan-filled man. Armageddon will occur historically when the Lord Jesus invades the world and imposes His Kingdom rule (I Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 1:7).
However, Armageddon in a true sense is being fought in each overcomer now. The struggle to subdue lust and self-will takes place continually as we seek to press into Christ. The enemy employs every possible devise to deceive us, bluff us, frighten us, tempt us, entice us, infuriate us, and especially to remove our gaze from Christ and to focus it on somebody or something else.
Any person who thinks that there is not a genuine Armageddon being fought now in the spirit, soul, and body of each of God's saints is not one of God's saints. The battle is taking place. If we are to overcome the world and our sins and self-love we have to do so by the blood of the Lamb, by the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit, and by loving not our life to the point of death.
As far as the disciples of the Lord are concerned, the issue of the Kingdom of God is being decided today. The "day star" heralding the Day of the Lord is arising in the heart of the saints even now (II Peter 1:19). From the standpoint of Christ and His Body, the worldwide events of the Kingdom of God will be no more significant than the decisions being made right now in the heart of each believer in Christ.
To what extent are we surrendered to the will of Christ? To what extent are we being obedient to the Holy Spirit? How intently are we pursuing Christ? How far are we willing to go in allowing Christ to be formed in us?
Are we willing to praise God in the furnace of affliction? The victories of God are gained first in the spirit realm. Then the natural realm reflects the spiritual victory. This is one of the laws of cause and effect of the Kingdom of God, of the Jubilee.
During the Jubilee the earth and its elements will be under the control of Christ-filled saints just as God ordained from the beginning (Psalms 8:6; Hebrews 2:5-8). In Christ as Son of Man, control over nature by a man was demonstrated in daily living.
The believer has only to call to mind the multiplying of the loaves and fish. While mankind loses its soul seeking material security, Jesus joyously multiples the food that is available until his followers have eaten their fill.
We are not advocating that men should not work. This is a trap into which some of the converts fall. What we are teaching is that in Christ the "natural laws" of earth are subject to the higher laws of cause and effect of the Kingdom of God.
It was so when the Spirit of Christ brooded on the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2). It was so "when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" (Job 38:7). It was so when Jesus of Nazareth walked out of the cave of Joseph of Arimathea. It is so today as healings and miracles are being witnessed in the churches. It will continue to be so during the thousand-year Kingdom Age and on into the incredible glory of the new heaven and the new earth.
The multiplying of the loaves and fish was a demonstration of the power of the age to come. Christ is the eternal Jubileeour everlasting song of glory and melody of praise. God desires that we press into the Jubilee, into Christ, today. We shall, with the help of the Holy Spirit.
A fish from the sea responded with the Temple tax (Matthew 17:27). Apart from whatever symbolic meaning this episode may have, we see here an example of mastery of Christ over the elements of the earth. We can notice also, in the incident of the fish and the tribute money, an illustration of the manner in which animals and nature will work together to serve mankind during the thousand-year Kingdom Age.
It is significant that Jesus chose Peter to go and get the money"Go to the sea, and cast a hook"in that Peter was a fisherman, no doubt a good one, and would rush back to his nets at the first opportunity. Jesus put a miraculous touch on Peter's natural ability.
By sending Peter, a fisherman, on such an errand, Christ was bringing into view the subordinate role that toiling for material gain has in the Kingdom of God. Peter was not to catch a boatload of fish and sell it for the money.
"Go and take hold of the first fish that comes up," Jesus directed, "and the amount of the tribute money will be in its mouth." This is the Kingdom of God, the Jubilee.
During the thousand-year Kingdom Age there will be, as there are today, innumerable interesting, pleasurable, and constructive tasks to perform instead of the soul-deadening, frantic labor that crushes the joy (and Christ) out of the hearts of people.
Scientists bring us into bondage by attempting to remove God from "natural law." They are ignorant of the fundamental laws of cause and effect, of the fact that the things that are visible were created by the invisible Word and Spirit of God.
Christ, on the other hand, sets us free by declaring that to mankind has been assigned rulership over the universe (Hebrews 2:5-8; Revelation 21:7; John 14:12).
During the thousand years of righteous government that are at hand, the elements will be "alive" to the extent that they will obey the Word of God proceeding from the mouth of the saints. This rulership exists today but we are required to ask, seek, knock, and abide in Christ without letup until God moves His hand in answer to our prayers. Christ shall move and modify the physical elements as necessary when we are abiding in His will.
Christ marvels at our unbelief.
And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? (Mark 4:39-41)
And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. (Luke 17:6)
Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. (Matthew 21:21)
Christ walked on the water. Why not? Is a son of God helpless when confronted with the laws of gravity and molecules?
We are not advocating presumption. It may be recalled that the adversary attempted to persuade Jesus to perform a presumptuous act in jumping from the gable of Herod's Temple (Matthew 4:5,6). Christ refused because it was not the Father who requested that He throw Himself down.
There did come a time when the Father directed Christ to walk on the Sea of Galilee.
But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. (Matthew 14:24,25)
What a contrast between the power of men and the power of Christ!
Jesus had directed the disciples to get into a ship and cross over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee while He sent the multitudes away. However, the wind was blowing against them. The ship was being rocked by the waves that were mounting every minute. By the early hours of the morning the disciples were making no progress at all and were in danger of their lives.
Isn't it just like Jesus to give us a directive and then to invent circumstances that confuse us, that prevent our moving ahead, and that attempt to get our attention off Christ and on our problems? The result of such carefully designed situations often is that we lose our faith and become frightened. The purpose of such pressures is to convince us that we can do nothing at all apart from Him.
Christ's followers were helpless in the storm. They were attempting to perform His will and were facing disaster because of it.
Completely at peace in the midst of the uproar, Jesus came walking on the seas as though He were strolling down a country road. The disciples were frightened and cried out, "It is a ghost."
Jesus didn't laugh at them. He understood that their terror was intense. Instead, He comforted them.
"Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid." How wonderful it is when Jesus comes to us in our hour of terror and assures us He has everything under control.
Peter requested that the Lord command him to walk on the water. None of the other disciples were bold enough to ask. If they had, they all could have held a dance right there in the middle of the Sea of Galilee in the storm and the darkness.
How often we miss glorious experiences with the Lord because of our inability to lay hold on the remarkable Divine opportunities that suddenly appear before us from time to time. In spite of all the fear, noise, and confusion, Peter rose to the occasion.
You and I did not have that particular opportunity to walk on the sea with Jesus in the early morning hours during a violent storm. But each of us will have our chance, in the midst of fear, noise, and confusion, to lay hold on the miracle-working power of the living Christ. However, we must maintain a close contact with Christ so we will be prepared when our moment arrives.
Peter asked Jesus to command him to walk on the water.
"Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."
Peter did not jump from the boat as soon as he saw Jesus. He was not presumptuous. He asked Jesus first and then waited for the answer, for the Word of Christ to come to him.
If we expect to experience Kingdom power we must learn to ask Christ first. We must wait patiently for the Word of His power to come to us. We are not to move until He gives the Word.
Today, some are attempting to use "the word of faith" apart from Christ's direction.
Christ is Lord. The thousand-year Kingdom Age is His Day. In that day, Christ alone is exalted as Lord. He alone possesses authority and power except as He chooses to share His authority and power with His Body, His Temple. If we would work the works of power of the age to come we must always wait for His Word to come to uson each occasion!
It is important that we ask Him to command us.
Peter prayed, "Lord, if it be thou, bid me come."
We need to make our request, as Peter did, and come to Christ doubting nothing. Jesus has stated that we do not have the things we need and desire because we do not ask. Peter did not need to walk on the water for any particular reason, he just wanted to do so. Jesus graciously granted him his desire.
Jesus never wastes words.
He invited Peter, "Come."
Peter took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the wind. Therefore he began to sink. The Lord saved him.
Because of his willingness to come to Christ at every opportunity, Peter became the first of our race to experience the power that the members of the royal priesthood will have during the thousand-year Jubileethat of walking on the surface of the seas and oceans of the earth.
During Old Testament days God parted the water for His servants. Under the new covenant the servants of the Lord walk on top of the water. It is a much superior covenant!
The natural environment is a servant of Christ. It was created by Him and always obeys His voice. The elements of nature react also to sin.
It may be recalled that God said to Moses:
And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. (Leviticus 18:25)
"The land itself vomits out her inhabitants."
Perhaps this is more than a mere figure of speech. The realm of nature responds directly to the spiritual atmosphere.
The claim has been made recently that experiments were conducted during which green plants were exposed to hatred and cursing and similar plants to love and blessing. The two sets of plants, it has been asserted, showed marked differences in growth that cannot be attributed to chance. The plants subjected to love and blessing turned out to be much healthier.
All through the Scriptures, commencing with the days of creation, there are incidents that illustrate the relationships that exist between the spiritual environment and the physical environment. There have been some extraordinary examples of these relationships, such as the sun and moon standing still for Joshua, and the incident of the water pouring from the rock to quench the thirst of the parched Israelites.
There have been innumerable lesser incidents, both in Scripture and in our own experience, in which the Presence of Christ and His righteousness have produced a favorable physical environment, whether in bodily healing, deliverance from danger, or good weather on a picnic.
David Wilkerson, in prophetic utterance (The VisionFleming H. Revell Company), has warned us that nature is about to go on a rampage unparalleled in history. Earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, faminesevery conceivable catastrophe is waiting in the wings for Christ to give the cue.
We must keep in mind that all natural disasters remain under the control of Christ. It is the Lord who always sits as "king of the flood."
The Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea, the Lord sitteth king for ever. (Psalms 29:10)
For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him. (Psalms 32:6)
Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it? (Amos 3:6)
The prophesied mounting violence of nature will result from the filthy lusts, avarice, murder, and sorcery in which people are submerging themselves. Nature will rise in protest, under the hand of Christ, and rebel against the unclean spirits, against the destroyers of the earth, against the enemies of God and man.
The world has been in the "evening" of the Day of the Lord for the past two thousand years. The "morning" is just ahead. We now are approaching the dark hour just before the dawn. The physical elements will react in fury against the works of evil in the earth.
The disciples, meanwhile, are attempting to "make for the other shore" (the fullness of redemption in Christ).
So tempestuous will be "the sea and the waves roaring" (Luke 21:25), the nations in distress and perplexity, the sun turning black and the moon into blood, the stars of the heaven falling to the earth, men's heart failing them for fear, that the saints will begin to despair for their lives.
However, in the "fourth watch" of the night, in earth's darkest hour, just before the dawning of the morning of the Day of the Lord, Christ will come, walking on the sea (on the tumult of civilization). Christ will save His followersthose who are trusting in Him.
In this instance, Peter typifies the victorious saints who will "walk on the water with Jesus" before He "gets into the boat" with the remainder of the Church. "Walking on the water" is the ability to live in the Spirit of God in such trust and obedience that all the difficulties of life prove to be a highway that leads ever upward to the fullness of redemption.
It may be true that we now are entering the darkest hour of earth's history. Such violence and confusion are about to grip the world that people no longer will be able to manage their environment. Those who remain in the "ark of safety" (in Christ) will be tossed about but will remain safe in the hands of God.
At the height of the storm Jesus will return through the Holy Spirit, prior to His visible, bodily return. The tribulations of the world will be the road on which He walks. The "clouds" that hide the heavens from men will be the "dust of His feet."
The believers will cry out in fear, never before having seen Jesus in this setting.
In that day there will be those in the Church, represented by Peter, who will go to meet the Lord. After having proved that the Person whom they are beholding is Jesus, and not another, they will request and receive the ability to tread miraculously on the tumultuous elements to which other men are subject.
Only the Lord Jesus is to be worshiped in that hour.
Going to meet the Lord when He comes, and walking on the distresses and perplexities of nations, are privileges available to every believer in Christ. Such an adventure requires faith and courage. How about you? The opportunity is present for whoever chooses to act on it.
As soon as Jesus and Peter got into the ship the wind ceased. John adds, "Immediately the ship was at the land whither they went."
When our Lord returns, the saints will receive "immediately" that for which they have been striving so arduously. Isn't it often true that as soon as Jesus appears we instantly possess what we have been seeking?
The victorious saints always return with Jesus to the Church, bringing with them the peace and victory they have found in the midst of the storm. At once the "winds subside" and the "boat is at the desired haven," which is rest in the Father and the Son.
Only Jesus is to be worshiped in that hour.
In the midst of the catastrophic violence and turbulence that even now are at the door, the Church suddenly will be saved, not by being carried out of the earth but by the Fullness of the Father and the Son entering the personalities of the obedient Christians (John 14:23).
The resurrection and catching up of the saints to meet the Lord in the air will occur after Christ through His Church has demonstrated victory over Antichrist and complete contempt for the worst the enemy can do. The "catching away" is not for the purpose of shielding the believers from suffering but for uniting Christ's army of victorious saints with the Commander in Chief. It is the prelude to Armageddon.
In the same hour the earth will be subjected to increased disturbances as the creation travails in the labor of bringing forth the Kingdom Age (Revelation 11:13).
Christ Himself instructed Peter to walk on the water, and there was revealed in that fishermanno doubt to the never-ending amazement of those in later years to whom the story was toldthe works of power of the Jubilee to come.
We may need frequent repetitions of this kind of supernatural ability during the missionary enterprise that will cover the earth with the Gospel of the Kingdom during the next few years. We say "supernatural," but miracles are natural in the Jubilee that is at hand.