THE CLIMAX OF THE CONFLICT OF THE AGES (EXCERPT OF THE THEOLOGY OF ROBERT B. THOMPSON)
Copyright © 2013 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
“The Coming of the Kingdom” is taken from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson, copyright © 2012 Robert B. Thompson
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Some passages of Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
The Climax of the Conflict of the Ages
Table of Contents
The Great Rebellion
The Coming of the Kingdom
The New World of Righteousness
The Climax of the Conflict of the Ages
I suppose many Christians realize our discipleship is a battle against the forces of spiritual darkness, although this may not be preached as much as it should. Satan goes about as a roaring lion, deceiving as many believers as he can.
However, what may not be realized is that this warfare will be concluded with total victory going to the Lord Jesus and his saints. How often you will hear Christians say, “As long as we are in the world we have to sin.” Added to this is the thought that once we “get to Heaven” we won’t sin anymore. There is no scriptural basis for either idea.
What I would like to present in this brief essay is that total victory finally will be achieved. There is coming a new world of righteousness. God carefully is laying the groundwork for the removal of Satan and all who choose his ways—spirits and humans. We of today are drawing close to the climax of this struggle. It will terminate with a world without any sin or rebellion against God whatever.
Would you enjoy a world in which everyone does the will of Christ at all times and in every circumstance? This is what the present travail relentlessly is bringing us to.
Looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (II Peter 3:12,13—NASB)
“In which righteousness dwells”!
Think carefully about the following passages:
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. (Romans 16:20—NASB)
Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. (Daniel 9:24—NASB)
“To make an end to sin.” “Everlasting righteousness.” Think of it!
But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be handed over to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him. (Daniel 7:26,27—NIV)
Consider these three passages. What are they telling us? They are saying that Satan and all his works are to be done away. Who are to inherit all things? “The holy people of the Most High,” that is, the saints.
Do you know the primary consideration if the saints are to inherit “the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven”? It is that the saints are one with Christ as Christ is one with the Father.
As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. (John 6:57—NASB)
The passage above, John 6:57, may be the most important verse in the entire Bible, as pertaining to the life of the believer. Do you remember that the Lord said He can do nothing apart from the Father? This is to be true concerning you and me. We must do nothing apart from Christ. This means that every thought we think, every word we speak, and every action we perform, must be of Christ.
This may appear impossible to some of our readers. It assuredly is not. I do not say it is accomplished in a moment. But it is the will of God today that we pray continually that our thoughts, words, and actions are part of Christ. Is it possible for Him who stretched out the heaven to achieve this unity with Christ for you and me?
Isn’t this what the Apostle was telling us when he said that it was not he who was living but Christ who was living in him?
If we are to inherit “the sovereignty, power and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven,” then it must be true of us that we have “died in the Lord” and now it is Christ who is living in us. I think that Christians often have quoted Paul when he speaks of being crucified with Christ, but it has been more of an ideal. Today it is becoming a reality in those who are seeking Christ continually and fervently.
At the time that the world is worshiping Antichrist and his image (perhaps the spirit of the world that says man can choose his own way apart from Christ, with money being the image that is worshiped), what does the Spirit advise?
And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.” (Revelation 14:13—NASB)
Today we see the forces of evil filling the world. They are very active in America as well as in other countries. They are too strong for us. The outlook may seem hopeless to people who love Christ.
What is the answer, and the only answer, to this abominable world spirit? The answer is people who have chosen to turn their life over to Christ so their being and behavior are in perfect union with Christ.
Human beings do not have the power to overcome the evil of today. Only the Lord Jesus Christ has the authority and power of the Father to put an end to sin and rebellion. The wisdom and energy of man will not stop the spread of the influence of Satan in the countries of the world.
What are we to do? First, look to the blood of the Lamb to keep us free from the guilt of sin in the sight of God. Second, bear a true testimony of God’s Person and will, as Christ helps us line up our life with the Scripture. There is a good deal of preaching today, but much of it is not giving a true testimony of God’s Person and will.
Finally, and of supreme importance, we must love not our life to the death. This is difficult for us. To think of surrendering our life to another person goes to the core of our individuality. But Jesus Christ created us; and if He wants us to live by his Life, then this is what we must do.
I would imagine that the traditional Christian Gospel is preached successfully in numerous places, and people are placing their faith (at least nominally) in Christ. However the kind of Christian religion most of us are used to will not survive, much less overcome, the evil that is filling the world today.
To place our faith in the blood atonement is absolutely necessary if we are to please God. God will meet man only at the cross where Christ gave his life.
The baptism with the Spirit of God is absolutely necessary if we are to be able to overcome sin. We must put our sinful compulsions to death through the Spirit.
However, neither of these two steps of faith will suffice to enable us to work with Christ in destroying all sin and rebellion from the creation. We absolutely must turn over our thinking, speaking, and acting to the Lord Jesus. Until we do this, we still are using our own wisdom, our own talents, our own ambitions, our own strength, to serve Christ.
We believe in the authority of the blood atonement and we have been filled with the Spirit of God. But the power of darkness will be so great we will be defeated in one way or another.
Jesus said the time is coming when no man can work. We must be quite close to that time. But Christ can work during the hour of darkness. No door can be shut against Him. Therefore we have to die to our own efforts and ways so that his unlimited authority and power can be expressed in us.
We always must be living through Christ in front of the Throne of God, casting down our crown, our self-will, at all times. Then we are elders who can govern the creation. First we are tested, and tested again.
Finally we take our place with Christ and work only as He works. In this case we never will “die”; but when we do die physically we will find that we still are “alive” in the spirit world, the true, eternal world, with all our faculties unimpaired, except those that are part of our dead body.
The Apostle Paul said that the ministries of the Spirit would continue until we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to full maturity as measured against Christ. It is obvious that few Christians during their lifetime attain to this lofty goal.
This fact tells us that ministry will continue after we die. However, it is a mistake to put off serving Christ fervently in the hope of gaining spiritual maturity when we die. The Bible is clear enough in the parable of the talents that if we have not used our God-given gifts in the work of the Kingdom, when we die our talent will be removed and we will be driven into the land of darkness.
So the current understanding is that if we do not serve the Lord diligently while alive on the earth, it does not really matter because when we die our sin and rebellion will not be mentioned and we will be a servant of Christ. This belief is rendered invalid by the parable of the talents.
Physical death is not our redeemer, it is our enemy. The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the Law. Only those who through Christ have overcome sin can look forward to entering joyously into the Presence of the Lord, continuing to serve Him just as they did during their lifetime on the earth.
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name. He replied, I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. (Luke 10:17-19—NIV)
The Great Rebellion
It usually is difficult for us to “place” ourselves historically. I think most people assume that, by and large, what we are experiencing today has always been true of people. What we may not realize is that the philosophy of humanism, like a foul virus, is infecting many nations—and the Christian churches as well. We may assume that “it has always been like this.” But it hasn’t!
From 1400 A.D. onward the philosophy of humanism began to compete with religion for the thinking of learned men. Whereas the Christian religion had, in Europe, generally been assumed as truth, scholars and teachers now were looking toward human reasoning as the basis for values and behavior.
America from its foundation has been oriented toward the Christian Gospels as the basis for values and behavior. This point of view came with the immigrants from Europe. In our day, however, secular humanism is striving successfully against our traditional Christian values.
Our current President as well as some members of Congress do not seem to uphold the typical Christian attitude toward abortion or deviant sexual lifestyles. Piece by piece the traditional American cultural norms are reflecting humanistic rather than Christian beliefs.
Anyone can see that the removal of the fear of God as a basis for a disciplined life is leading us toward moral, educational, military, political, and financial chaos. In today’s paper we notice that for the first time America is being warned by Standard and Poor that its financial stability is being viewed with concern.
The philosophy of democracy is allied to humanistic thought. I suppose we Christians always have considered that democracy somehow is a Christian philosophy. It is not. Democratic government is the rule of people. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God. Democracy and the Kingdom of God are opposite in their basic premise.
Democracy supposes that people are basically good and should be free to pursue happiness. The Christian Gospel supposes that people are driven by a sinful nature and are to be pursuing righteousness of behavior. These two suppositions actually are hostile one to the other.
The Apostle Paul warned us what would take place when humanism, and its political handmaid, democratic government, begin to flower:
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these. (II Timothy 3:1-5—NASB)
When there neither is strong governmental control, nor strong ecclesiastical control, with predictable rewards for good behavior and punishments for bad behavior, the sinful nature of people will come to the front.
The above list of behaviors is the fruit of humanistic thought. People are not inherently virtuous. All of us have a sinful nature. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can deliver us from such destructive thoughts, words, and deeds. Because of this, secular humanism and democratic government, albeit with the best of intentions, always will result in moral chaos. And moral chaos results in the most undesirable and destructive relationships.
At the present time we are attempting to spread the American way of life to other countries, particularly Arab countries. This is so foolish! We here in America do not even have enough money to put everyone in jail that should be there. We are in a mess, socially and financially.
It may be true that the Arab people would favor some sort of theocracy rather than a democracy. In this case, we are wasting money attempting to force our form of government on them. From the looks of things, we have enough trouble at home without attempting to force other people to adopt our way of life. Our culture increasingly resembles Second Timothy 3:1-5 (above).
The subject of the present essay is the Great Rebellion. The Great Rebellion is the ultimate flowering of secular humanism. Let’s turn now to see what the Apostle Paul had to say about this flowering.
Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, (II Thessalonians 2:1—NASB)
In First Thessalonians, the fourth chapter, Paul spoke of the coming of the Lord and our gathering together to him. The Greek term for “coming” is the same word throughout First and Second Thessalonians. It is the same coming and gathering described in Matthew, Chapter Twenty-four, also employing the same Greek term.
Paul is going to speak now concerning the one coming of the Lord Jesus and our gathering together to him.
That you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. (II Thessalonians 2:2—NASB)
Notice that the coming of the Lord and our gathering together to Him was in dispute. Apparently in Paul’s day there were various splinter groups who were preaching their own beliefs. We know that some were into Gnosticism. Others were baptizing for the dead. And now we find a group who were claiming that the Day of the Lord already had come. Sounds kind of like the situation today, doesn’t it?
Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy [the great rebellion] comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, (II Thessalonians 2:3—NASB)
It sometimes is taught that prior to the rise of Antichrist, and the consequent Great Tribulation, all who have “accepted Christ” will be carried up to Heaven to avoid suffering. There absolutely is no scriptural basis whatever for such a notion.
Now notice: “It (the coming of the Lord and our gathering together to Him) will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness (Antichrist) is revealed.”
The “apostasy” (the Great Rebellion) comes first and Antichrist is revealed. After that will occur the coming of the Lord and our gathering together with Him.
It does seem, doesn’t it, that the Great Rebellion and the revealing of Antichrist will take place before the Lord Jesus comes and we are gathered together to him. For myself, I prefer to go by the Bible rather than by the traditions of Christians teachers.
Who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. (II Thessalonians 2:4—NASB)
“Who,” in the above verse, is Antichrist, the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction.
Daniel has quite a bit to say about the man of lawlessness.
Out of one of them came forth a rather small horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land. It grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it trampled them down. It even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host; and it removed the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down. And on account of transgression the host will be given over to the horn along with the regular sacrifice; and it will fling truth to the ground and perform its will and prosper. (Daniel 8:9-12—NASB)
You can see from the above the power that Christ will permit the man of lawlessness to exercise. All this will take place before the coming of Jesus and our gathering together to Him.
Know and understand this: From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven “sevens,” and sixty-two “sevens.” It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two “sevens,” the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one “seven.” In the middle of the “seven” he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. (Daniel 9:25-27—NASB)
The “abomination that causes desolation” possibly refers to the man of lawlessness sitting on the Mercy Seat in a restored Temple in Jerusalem. Also, there may be a statue of a man erected on a wing of the Temple, standing at the place where Satan invited the Lord Jesus to jump off and prove that He is the Son of God. This is the invitation to presumption, which still is given to us today. We refer to it as “stepping out in faith.”
Let us think about this for a moment. The whole issue is that of obedience to God. People either are going to be their own God, or they are going to worship and serve the Lord. The man of lawlessness will personify the human being who rejects all gods except himself.
Here is the problem with secular humanism and democracy. Both philosophies imply that man should be his own God.
The coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth means that only one will shall be performed. That will is the will of God, the only valid will in the universe.
If you can imagine, I was taught in Bible school that no one can do God’s will completely; and for this reason God has given us grace so we can escape Hell and go to Heaven, even though we do not do God’s will to any great extent.
I defied that reasoning at the time. I told God if He would make his will known to me, and give me the grace to do it, I would do his complete will at all times for the rest of my life. Although I have been deceived on a couple of occasions and got off the track, I have made things right and have fought on. I can say truthfully that right now I am doing God’s complete will for me, as far as I know.
I have found God’s will to be a delight. The Christian people to a certain extent have accepted a lie concerning the doing of God’s will. I will say also that to not do God’s will at all times and in all circumstances is to rebel against God. The modern teaching of “grace” is a massive, destructive lie, a sophisticated form of rebellion against God!
It is true that we have not been perfected as yet. It is true also that we can be perfect for the day and are expected to be perfect for the day.
The reason Christ and his saints are going to have to govern with a rod of iron when He appears is that people have been infected with the virus of self-will, with their so-called “rights.” Brother, sister, the only right we have is the right to do the will of Christ as it is revealed to us.
Anything other than the doing of God’s will is lawlessness. Antichrist is the man of lawlessness; therefore the son of destruction. In the new world of righteousness that will come after the Lord returns, every person who is saved to that world will have to do God’s will at all times.
No disobedience to Christ shall be permitted in the Kingdom of God. There will be no such creature as a “free moral agent.” The Lord Jesus will give us the Spirit of delight in the doing of God’s will, if we ask Him to.
Antichrist is the man of lawlessness. Secular humanistic thought leads to anarchy, to rebellion against God’s will. This is true also of democratic thinking. Such thinking is related more closely to agnosticism than it is to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Another thought is as follows:
And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; (II Thessalonians 2:6-8)
Traditional teaching often states that “what restrains him” is the Spirit of God, and that the Spirit of God will be lifted to Heaven with the Gentile believers prior to the coming of the Lord and our gathering together to him. Those teachers should realize that God never will remove his Spirit from the earth and turn the earth over to the spirit of Satan, leaving his chosen people, the Jews, here to try to serve God without the Holy Spirit.
“He who now restrains” is the Lord Jesus Christ bearing witness in his saints. But sin and rebellion against God will become so prevalent the witness that today restrains the full revealing of the man of lawlessness will be overcome. Isn’t it true that when a saint is overcome with sin, his witness no longer is effective? That is all I am saying.
When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. (Revelation 11:7,8—NASB)
Antichrist will wage war against the saints who will bear the last great witness. There are two witnesses: Christ, and then the victorious saints. We see that it actually is Christ bearing witness; just as when the Father was dwelling in Christ, it was the Father who was speaking the words and doing the works.
Now, how are the saints overcome? By three means: first, by Sodom; second, by Egypt; third, by Jerusalem.
Sodom represents sexual lust. Many of God’s leaders of today are falling into sexual lust. Thus their witness is destroyed.
Egypt represents material wealth. Many of God’s leaders of today are forsaking the Gospel in order to become wealthy. Thus their witness is destroyed.
Jerusalem represents self-will and presumption on the part of religious leaders. How many of today’s famous Bible teachers and pastors are acting from their own self-will and presumption? As they do, their witness is destroyed.
In the above three areas, lust, money, and pride, the last-day witness will be slain. It is the removal of this powerful witness that opens the door to the revealing of the lawless one, the son of destruction. This individual, whether man or woman, will come to prominence before the coming of the Lord and our gathering together to Him.
Whenever man begins to assume the role of God, as we see today in England and America, every kind of destruction follows. Financial ruin occurs. Also God raises up vicious enemies whose intent is to destroy America and England, because these two nations have been strongholds of Christianity.
The forces that have been let loose upon the earth in our day are spiritual titans. We can make every political, military, and educational effort of which we are able. There will be no remedy. In order for the United States and England to regain their former power, the citizens would have to abandon their sexual lust, pursuit of money, and self-direction, and turn again to the God who at one time had made them great.
Since such national repentance may not take place, the leadership of the world will move from the Western nations to the Eastern nations. I expect this to occur in the not too distant future.
What can we as an individual do? We must cease from our own works and enter the rest of God, that place where we are looking to Jesus for every thought we think; every word we speak; and every action we take. We absolutely must learn to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus if we are to survive and help our loved ones and friends to survive the chaos that is on the horizon.
The issue is obedience to God, which is the same as obedience to Jesus Christ. Will we as an individual set ourselves to obey Christ in every aspect of our life? If not, we ourselves are part of the Great Rebellion. We are a rebel against God.
And we cannot say “I am saved by grace and therefore do not have to obey God completely and sternly.” Such an attitude will lead us to destruction.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10—NASB)
The Coming of the Kingdom
John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus declared that the Kingdom of God is at hand. That was two thousand years ago.
The Jews knew about the Kingdom that is to come to the earth, for it was revealed by the Prophets. Notice their question to the resurrected Jesus:
So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6—NASB)
What has happened since? How did the Christian hope change to the idea that if we are saved we will go to Heaven to live forever? Was it the influence of Gnosticism or of other religions? What has happened to the Gospel of the Kingdom of God?
The advent of Dispensational theology did not help, because it cut off the Prophets from the Christian believers. The truth is, the destiny of the Christian Church is found in the Prophets. When the Prophets spoke of Israel, they spoke concerning the one Olive Tree. That Olive Tree is the Spirit of Christ, and once we Gentiles receive Christ we become part of the one Olive Tree.
So today we have another gospel, the gospel of Gentiles going to Heaven to live forever in mansions while the Jews inherit the earth. Such confusion! It is completely opposed to the teaching of the Apostle Paul about the one new Man.
It may be true that the Prophet, Isaiah, was foremost in declaring the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. (Isaiah 60:1—NASB)
The “you” above is Christ, Head and Body. During the last days, which we are entering now, the disciples of the Lord are in a travail to bring forth Christ in his followers. The maturing of Christ in his followers will bring them into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God.
When the Church (or a remnant of the Church) has been brought to maturity, the world will believe that God is the One who has sent Christ to the earth. That which has been the goal of missionary endeavors for the past two thousand years will be accomplished in a short time.
We of today are at the very beginning of the work of bringing the disciples to maturity. Much remains to be done. But all that God has declared in his Word shall come to pass, and there is no power than prevent any part of it.
For behold, darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples; but the LORD will rise upon you and His glory will appear upon you. (Isaiah 60:2—NASB)
The spiritual darkness is increasing today. Would you agree to that? It is to grow much worse. Perhaps the Muslim religion will prevail in many countries of the world. This is not likely, though. What most people want is democracy. They want a voice in how they are governed, as we see today in several Muslim countries.
Shariah law finally will give way, I believe, to the so-called “rights of people,” so loudly proclaimed by the nations of the West. The philosophy of Humanism has the potential to affect the thinking of the majority of earth’s peoples, just as it has already in England, France, and America, as well as other nations.
At the height of the darkness the Lord Jesus will clothe his true people with Divine glory. All the nations shall see this light and be drawn to it. It is the same Glory that God has given to the Lord Jesus. Then the people of the nations will understand that God loves the saints as He loves the Lord Jesus.
Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. (Isaiah 60:3—NASB)
Here is the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, announced by John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus.
Now it will come about that in the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains, and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it. (Isaiah 2:2—NASB)
Lift up your eyes round about and see; they all gather together, they come to you. Your sons will come from afar, and your daughters will be carried in the arms. (Isaiah 60:4—NASB)
The Father promised the Lord Jesus that He would inherit the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth. The Apostle Paul informed us that we are coheirs with Christ. Here we see it happening as families of people come from all over the earth bringing to us our sons and daughters. People are the best inheritance of all.
Then you will see and be radiant, and your heart will thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of the sea will be turned to you, the wealth of the nations will come to you. (Isaiah 60:5—NASB)
I believe the “seas” symbolize nations of people. Perhaps the “riches” are children. The nations will bring material wealth also; but the true wealth always is people. I do not believe that the heart of a true saint would “throb and swell with joy” because he or she received material riches. But children? Yes indeed!
Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the LORD. All Kedar’s flocks will be gathered to you, the rams of Nebaioth will serve you; they will be accepted as offerings on my altar, and I will adorn my glorious temple. (Isaiah 60:6,7—NIV)
In the present hour “money” and other forms of material wealth reign as gods. They are worshiped. The true disciples of the Lord seek the Kingdom of God first, trusting all such things will be added to them. They place their treasures in Heaven, and sometimes are among the poor of the earth.
It will not be so when the Kingdom comes to the earth. The people of the nations will turn from their worship of material wealth and will bring their treasures to the Lord’s saints. Please keep in mind that God’s “glorious temple” is Christ, Head and Body. They are God’s Throne. They have come from Heaven to the earth to receive their inheritance.
Who are these who fly like a cloud and like the doves to their lattices? (Isaiah 60:8—NASB)
Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all peoples on earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. (Revelation 1:7—NASB)
Jesus is coming with clouds. No doubt these are clouds of saints; for the Scripture declares that we will appear with him. A dove returning to its nest is coming home. It has been preached for so long that Heaven is our home that this concept is commonly accepted. But it is not Scriptural. It is true that our citizenship is in Heaven, but it is the earth that is our home. The meek shall inherit the earth.
After we die we will be busily occupied in the spirit world. But the spirit world, while it is the home of the angels and other creatures of God, will never be the home of human beings. Even though our life may be joyous while we are waiting, having died and living in the spirit world, for the time when we are to appear with the Lord Jesus, we still will have a longing in our heart to return to man’s home, which is the earth.
Surely the islands look to me; in the lead are the ships of Tarshish, bringing your children from afar, with their silver and gold, to the honor of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor. (Isaiah 60:9—NASB)
We may notice how America is becoming increasingly secular. Little by little the Christian people, who in time past were at least accepted if not honored, are being regarded as some kind of fanatics who do not want to “get along” with ordinary people. The idea is that we must not offend anyone. Yet the wicked have no problem with offending us!
But in the future the saints will be governing, with the Lord Jesus, from Jerusalem, The Light of the Glory of God will be on them. This light will be seen all over the earth, and people will come from every part of the globe to honor the saints, realizing that by doing so they are honoring God.
Foreigners will build up your walls, and their kings will minister to you; for in My wrath I struck you, and in My favor I have had compassion on you. (Isaiah 60:10—NASB)
If we think back about the history of God’s anointed people, Jews and Gentiles alike, we become aware of the amount of suffering and deprivation that the holy people have endured. Even today, while we in America are asleep in our beds of ease, Christian people are being imprisoned and killed by Muslim activists. The eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews describes the suffering of the saints. God’s people have left bloody footprints in the snow.
But when the Kingdom of God comes to the earth. the people of the nations will make haste to serve God’s elect.
And they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; (Revelation 21:26—NASB)
Your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night, so that people may bring you the wealth of the nations—their kings led in triumphal procession. For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined. (Isaiah 60:11,12—NIV)
It may seem impossible that those who live by the Life of the Lord Jesus Christ will one day be the center of government of the earth, and that all other nations and kingdom will be forced to bring their wealth to Jerusalem and serve God’s holy people.
In the present hour it appears that a perimeter has been established around Israel, with Lebanon on the north; Jordan on the east; Gaza on the west, and Egypt on the south. It may be true that there is gloating as the Muslims see the possibility of completely destroying Israel.
They do not understand that Israel is unique. While the Israelis appear to be at this time a largely secular nation, depending on the United States to help them, the truth is, God has called the Israelis by name and will help them in their darkest hour. God has said the Israelis belong to Him. He will not desert them in their hour of need. God’s honor is at stake here.
Every nation that does not help the Jews will be punished, and every nation that assists the Jews will be blessed. We can count on this immutable fact!
Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end. Then all your people will be righteous and they will possess the land forever. They are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor. The least of you will become a thousand, the smallest a mighty nation. I am the LORD; in its time I will do this swiftly. (Isaiah 60:20-22—NIV)
Go out at night and look up to the heavens. The Lord Jesus Christ stretched out these bodies. Their number and size cannot be comprehended. The distances between them are beyond our ability to imagine.
He who spoke all this into existence, and who one day will remove them as one would throw dirty clothes into a hamper. and who after that will breathe out a new and incredibly larger sky and earth, has said: “In its time I will do this swiftly.”
I do not know if I will see the sun tomorrow. But after serving Christ for sixty-five years, I am certain of one thing: All that Christ has spoken in the sixtieth chapter of the Book of Isaiah the Prophet, shall come to pass in detail. Let God be true and every man a liar. Amen.
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. (Isaiah 60:1)
The New World of Righteousness
There is coming a new world of righteousness. Our present world was designed by the Lord to create rulers of the new world of righteousness, and to test people to see what they would do should they be placed in the new, eternal world.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. (II Peter 3:10-13—NASB)
There are three worlds to be considered. The present, physical world. The invisible spirit world. The new world of righteousness that will come in the future. The new world of righteousness, the new sky and new earth, will not appear until the first sky and earth have been destroyed by burning. This will take place 1,000 years after the Lord returns from Heaven.
The present world we understand. The invisible spirit world we do not understand clearly because little is said about it in the Scriptures. You would think the Bible was filled with descriptions of mansions, harps, golden slippers, with people reclining at their ease in their mansion. In actual fact, most of what is preached today as being where Christians go when they die neither is scriptural, nor even desirable when you think about it.
Often images having to do with the third of the three worlds, such as the street of gold, are confused with where we will go when we die. The truth is, we will not go to the new Jerusalem until after the thousand-year Kingdom Age has taken place.
The third of the three worlds is found in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation. Here we have the new sky, the new earth, the Tabernacle of God, which is the Wife of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem, and the River of Life with the Trees of Life. None of this is our environment until after the Day of Resurrection.
I believe it is true that so much blood will be shed in the near future the Lord Jesus is making many of us more aware of the second world. This has happened to me. The world that we will pass into after death is a very practical, familiar world filled with people waiting for the Day of Resurrection. I think the Lord wants us to realize that for most individuals, to die is to pass from a horrid environment into a far more peaceful and secure world.
It is important for people to understand that our present world Is not God’s idea of what a world should be. He is preparing an eternal world that will be better than any “heaven” we ever imagined. The present world is temporary and shall be done away, according to the passage above.
And, You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of your hands; they will perish, but You remain; and they all will become old like a garment, and like a mantle You will roll them up; like a garment they will also be changed. But you are the same, and your years will not come to an end. (Hebrews 1:10-12—NASB)
As we see the increasing revelation of Satan’s character in our day, we wonder if worse things could happen to people. Murder, rape, torture, betrayal, cheating and so forth are on the increase. There are instances in which children have murdered their parents or their grandparents.
I suppose we are becoming used to some of the grotesque crimes that are perpetrated. How many times have we read of a sheriff saying, “In all my experience I have never seen a person mutilated in this manner.”
Sometimes we may question if God knows what He is doing. Why doesn’t He put a stop to these horrible crimes? Why doesn’t He prevent people from harming others, including children and animals, in such horrible ways? Sometimes people say there cannot be a God because of what takes place on the earth.
The answer is, we are not in God’s world as yet. Rather we are in a temporary environment in which the righteous rulers of the world to come are being selected, tested over and over again until their obedience to God is beyond doubt, and taught about God and His Christ.
Each of these future rulers must be taught iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to the Father until these three virtues are an integral part of his or her character.
Because of the prevalence of humanistic thinking, the rule of Christ and His saints will have to be with the iron rod of righteousness, smashing totally all resistance to the will of God in Christ. His Kingdom shall come and his will shall be done.
This means that all the victorious saints, those who shall govern with Christ, must endure hardships, continually obeying God whether the way is pleasant or unpleasant, until the rod of iron righteousness is formed in them.
Another reason for the insanity of the present world is that angels and people might learn about Satan and the evil angels. The history of our planet is one great audiovisual lesson so that rebellion against the Father will never take place again—no, not for eternity!
Our present world was made from the invisible spirit world. The two worlds really are one world; but the spirit world, which is much, much larger, is invisible to us. Even though it is invisible, it is real and eternal. It is not formed from the properties of molecules but is substantial, whereas the world we see around is somewhat of an illusion.
Actually we do not really see anything. Light bounces off the molecules of an object and travels along our optic nerve. Then our brain interprets the signal on our optic nerve.
Most people are afraid of dying. The truth is, if they have been decent, and have received Christ as their lawful King when He is presented to them, they have nothing to worry about. They may have to go through a season of instruction as they are taught the ways of Heaven, but after that they will settle down to life as usual.
There are no mansions; and the street of gold of the new earth is symbolic of the way of faith. The spirit world is an ordinary world. As I stated, our present world was created by forces in the real spirit world, so as you might expect, the two worlds are similar.
Our residence in the spirit world is temporary while we are waiting for the Day of Resurrection. It is the Day of Resurrection that is so totally important. In that Day our eternal destiny will be decided.
Even though our residence in the spirit world is temporary, we will have to wait a thousand years until the Day of Resurrection in order to find out our position in the Kingdom of God.
The exception to this are those who live a victorious Christian life (not those who just make a profession of belief in Christ). They will be raised from the dead when the Lord appears, and then be caught up to meet Him in the clouds. They then will descend with Him and govern the nations of the earth with the iron rod of righteousness.
Our religious background is quite immaterial. What counts in the Kingdom of God is what kind of person we are, not what religious affiliation we may have had.
In the Day of Resurrection, what kind of person we are will be revealed. If we are kind, generous, peaceful, truthful, faithful, self-controlled, and are willing to obey Christ in all matters, we will be brought over to citizenship in the new world of righteousness. We will live on the new earth under a new and glorious sky.
If we are unkind, selfish, hateful, a liar, treacherous, self-seeking, we are in trouble. God will send angels and human teachers to us when we die to see if we can be taught righteous behavior. Also, we must accept the Kingship of the Lord Jesus Christ.
If we are willing to change so that we can bring righteousness, love, joy, and peace to the situations in which we find ourselves, then we are a candidate for life in the new world of righteousness. If, however, we persist in our selfish ways, we will have to suffer in the Land of Darkness.
If, after God has made every effort to change our behavior, we still do not love God with our whole heart and our neighbor as ourselves, we will be removed from the society of decent, God-fearing people—perhaps for eternity! One such individual would ruin Paradise for everyone else. “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.”
If the individual has an admirable personality, is well spoken of by everyone, is kind and gentle toward young and old, but will not submit joyfully to the Lord Jesus Christ and obey Him sternly and diligently, that person is doomed to spend eternity in the outer darkness. The Father has made Jesus Lord of all, and that is the end of the matter. There will be no person who is his or her own god in the new world of righteousness.
I do not wish to leave the impression that we can ignore Christ now and make up for it after we die. This is not true, though I think many Christians believe this because of the teaching of “grace.”
The parable of the talents teaches us that when Christ confronts us He will demand to know what we have done with the Kingdom riches given to us. If we have wasted what Christ has entrusted to us, our abilities will be stripped from us and given to another who has been diligent with the things of Christ. We ourselves then will be led away into the Land of Darkness to await our final judgment in the Day of Resurrection.
The new world is the composite of the spirit and physical worlds. The best features of the spirit world are present and the best features of the physical world are present.
As it is true that man is the structure of the Kingdom of God and woman is the heart, home, and joy of the Kingdom of God, so it is true that the physical elements are the structure of the new world, while the spirit elements are the heart, home, and joy of the new world of righteousness.
The new sky and earth will be glorious far, far beyond our ability to imagine. The new earth will be exceedingly larger than our present earth. Even at that, because people do not die, it soon will be necessary for families of people to migrate to a star of their choice. The stars will not be lighted by nuclear fusion but by the same light that governed the first three days of creation, that is, the Light of Christ.
“Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end”!
The new sky and earth are the real, eternal world. Out present world has been fabricated so the purposes of God may be accomplished, as I suggested earlier. Our present world is an insane asylum populated to a great extent by liars, murderers, and thieves. It is not at all suitable as an environment for the offspring of God.
You can hasten the abolishing of the present disastrous environment by cooperating with the Spirit of God as He makes you one of those who can be trusted to maintain Paradise once it has been restored. There still are thrones to be filled; and many who are last in time will be first in the Kingdom.
It can be you or me. Let’s press forward in Christ. He has kept the good wine until now, as He always does.
For we have not here an abiding city, but we seek after the city which is to come. (Hebrews 13:14—ASV)
(“The Climax of the Conflict of the Ages”, 3856-1)