WHAT COMES AFTER PENTECOST?

(Trumpet Ministries,Inc. / Word of Righteousness)

WHAT COMES AFTER PENTECOST? Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Pentecost is not the last gift of God before Jesus returns. There is a definite "more" of Jesus. There are not only two major works of Divine grace. The principal types of Scripture do not portray two stages of redemption but three. The three major aspects of the Christian redemption are as follows: Passover (salvation through the blood of Jesus); Pentecost (the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church); Tabernacles (the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell forever in Their eternal temple).

Table of Contents

PREFACE

PART I. THE FEASTS OF THE LORD The Feasts of the Lord The Three Areas of Redemption Conquest—The Third Area of Redemption The Blowing of Trumpets Preparation for War You Can Be an Overcomer The Day of Atonement The Feast of Tabernacles

PART II. THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES AND THE CHRISTIAN The Concept of the House of God The Glory of God—In His House The Building of the Temple of God One in Christ in God An Eternal Weight of Glory The Kingdom-wide Fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles The Last Feast and the Christian

PREFACE

Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place that he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks [Pentecost], and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty: (Deuteronomy 6:16)

When we first received the baptism of the Spirit, in 1948, the Lord gave us a burden for the work of Divine grace that comes after the Pentecostal experience.

The term Pentecostal is derived from the Jewish feast of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit was sent from Heaven on the day of the Jewish feast of Pentecost (feast of Weeks—Deuteronomy 16:16).

Pentecost is number four in a series of seven feasts. The seven feasts were grouped into the three major convocations of Deuteronomy 16:16. The blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles are the final three feasts (Leviticus, Chapter 23), and appear in Deuteronomy 16:16 as the feast of Tabernacles.

The burden that the Lord gave in those days came to us in terms of the seven feasts of the Lord, and also through the design and furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

The central concept was—and continues to be—Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Years passed, occupied mostly by work in public-school education. The "vision," if we would want to term it that, deepened and enlarged. A picture began to form of the scope of the plan of redemption as symbolized by the types and shadows of the Old Testament.

It wasn’t until 1967, however, that the motivation to write came. The words seemed to flow, perhaps having been formulated unconsciously over the years..

How does one approach the varied aspects of the New Testament fulfillment of the three feasts that follow the feast of Pentecost?

We have grouped the final three feasts together as constituting the feast of Tabernacles, and view their fulfillment as one of the three major aspects of the Christian redemption.

The feast of Tabernacles includes the blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles itself—all coming in the first month Tishri of the Jewish year.

The three major aspects of the Christian redemption are as follows:

Passover (salvation through the blood of the Lord Jesus).

Pentecost (the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church).

Tabernacles (the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell forever in Their eternal temple).

In describing the Pacific Ocean, one might wonder whether to start with its geography, the marine animals and plants, the chemicals found in the water, or its role in the development of California. Like the Pacific Ocean, the feast of Tabernacles is an awesome topic.

Inasmuch as we have, during the last thirty years, written a number of books and booklets on topics associated with the work of grace that follows the new-covenant observance of the feast of Pentecost, it seemed desirable to pull together into one book a compilation of passages dealing with the several dimensions of "Tabernacles."

What is the best way to introduce the Lord’s people to the concept that Pentecost is not the last gift of God before Jesus returns; that there are not only two major works of Divine grace (salvation, and the baptism with the Holy Spirit), but three; that there is a definite "more" of Christ for us before He comes from Heaven with the saints and holy angels?

Perhaps the introduction could include the fact that the principal types of the Scripture, such as the Tabernacle of the Congregation, the feasts of the Lord, the days of creation, and the journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan, do not portray two stages of redemption, but three. It could be added also that an objective view of the present state of the Christian Church, the Body of Christ, will reveal that it has not as yet attained the state of maturity and unity that the Scriptures set forth as God’s will for the Body, the unblemished Wife of the Lamb.

We understand, therefore, that the types predict accurately what we see to be true. They stipulate that a third major work of grace is required in order to bring the Divine redemption to the perfection declared and prophesied in the holy Scriptures.

The several selections included in our text present some of the issues included in the spiritual fulfillment of Tabernacles. Hopefully they will serve the saints as an interpretation of the experiences that are coming now to the Lord’s people—particularly the Spirit-filled people.

Before we begin the text, it may be helpful to state what we mean when we speak of a third platform of redemption, as typified by the Levitical feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-43). We shall endeavor to sum up the "Pacific Ocean" in a few words.

Deuteronomy 16:16 speaks of the three annual gatherings of the Israelite men: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.

Passover, including the first three feasts, typifies the salvation experience of the blood atonement, repentance and water baptism, and the new spiritual birth.

Pentecost portrays the life lived in the Holy Spirit rather than in the wisdom and energies of the physical body and soul.

Tabernacles, including the blowing of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement, symbolizes the spiritual warfare and judgment we experience as the Father and the Son make Their abode with us in perfect, complete union.

Doesn’t Christ come to live in us when we first are saved?

Yes, He does.

However, each of the three areas of redemption has an immediate fulfillment and a prolonged program.

Salvation takes place the moment we receive Christ by faith. Salvation also is a prolonged process, as evidenced by the statement: "he that endureth to the end shall be saved."

Pentecost should be experienced immediately. We should be baptized in water and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit as soon as we repent and place our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. However, learning to walk in the Holy Spirit is a lifelong program.

The Tabernacles experience, the abiding in us of the Father and Christ, takes place when we are reborn. Being reborn is just that—the beginning of a re-creating of all that we are. As we are being re-created, the Father and the Son increasingly are able to abide in us, as Paul outlined in the last part of the third chapter of Ephesians.

The Scriptures indicate there will be a specific, historical, Church-wide dimension of the fulfillment of Tabernacles, just as the atonement made by Christ and the fulfillment of Pentecost were specific historical events. The historical fulfillment of Tabernacles will put the finishing touches on the work of redemption, preparing us for the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It may be noticed that we view the blowing of Trumpets and the solemn Day of Atonement as being integral parts of the feast of Tabernacles.

The Scriptures do not state these two prior feasts are part of Tabernacles, and other writers and scholars that we have studied do not group Trumpets and the Day of Atonement with Tabernacles.

Therefore, an explanation of our position may be in order.

First, Trumpets and the Day of Atonement are considered together, in modern usage, marking the beginning and ending of the "Ten Days of Penitence."

The first day of Tabernacles begins only five days after the Day of Atonement. The Day of Atonement sometimes is considered to be the most important of all the Jewish observances. Because the last three observances take place in the same month, the first, the tenth, and the fifteenth through the twenty-second (counting Simchat Torah, the eighth day), it seems probable that Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles should be considered as one convocation. We think the Lord intends for the concept to be held in this manner.

Also, the first annual convocation, that of Passover, includes the feasts of Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits. Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits are of the greatest symbolic importance, their spiritual fulfillment including the descent into the interior of the earth and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Christ rose from the dead on the day of the observance of the feast of Firstfruits.

In the inclusion of Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits, the second and third of the seven feasts of the Lord, in Passover, the first of the three major annual convocations, we have a precedent for including Trumpets and the Day of Atonement, the fifth and sixth of the seven feasts of the Lord, in the third major annual convocation.

If Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits were included, but not mentioned, in the first annual gathering (as set forth in Deuteronomy 16:16), that of Passover week, it seems reasonable that Trumpets and the Day of Atonement, because of their calendar proximity to Tabernacles, could be considered as being anticipatory of Tabernacles and part of Tabernacles without violating sane and accepted principles of biblical interpretation.

It is not likely that the Lord would stipulate three major annual gatherings, and in the list omit one of the events of supreme importance—the Day of Atonement.

It is not these natural features alone that have caused us to include the blowing of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement as integral parts of the Feast of Tabernacles. Rather, it is the spiritual fulfillment of the three that, to our way of thinking, emphasizes their interrelatedness and unity.

The blowing of Trumpets announces the coming of the Lord and the resurrection of the dead—not only in the worldwide physical sense but also in a personal sense as part of our individual redemption. The blowing of Trumpets proclaims the nearness of judgment, of the Day of Atonement.

The Day of Atonement is the reconciliation of man with God that must take place when the Lord comes to live with man.

The Feast of Tabernacles is the eternal union that God in Christ is seeking with man, a union that can be based only on complete reconciliation.

It can be seen from the above that the three final feasts of the Lord must be considered together. It is impossible to have a "Tabernacles" experience until the King has come and cleansed His Temple in the "Day of Atonement." For this reason we include Trumpets and the Day of Atonement as inseparable elements of the Feast of Tabernacles.

Today many of the saints are seeking power. They desire power with God.

The goal of the true Christian is not power with God, the goal is union with God through Christ. Union with God is possible only as we allow the Lord to purge us, in fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, from all sin and self-seeking.

Why don’t you, dear reader, come with us as we take our journey up from Sinai (Pentecost) and march toward the land of promise. A deeper judgment and reconciliation to God will prepare us for the fullness of God’s Glory promised in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Robert B. Thompson Escondido, California September 27, 2001

PART I. THE FEASTS OF THE LORD

THE FEASTS OF THE LORD

What can we expect after we have experienced Pentecost?

Toward what do we press after Pentecost, after we receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit?

Under Moses, the Jews were given seven feasts to observe annually. Do you know what they were? Do you know how they apply to our Christian walk?

Pentecost was the fourth observance. Have you been as far as Pentecost? There were three feasts after Pentecost, showing us that the Lord has more for us. Christ does not want us to stop at Pentecost.

We should first briefly review the feasts of the Old Testament. These feasts are dealt with extensively in a book by the author entitled The Feasts of the Lord Š 2001 by Trumpet Ministries, Inc., Escondido, Calif.)

The feasts of the Lord are one of the major types of the Scriptures. They portray the scope of the plan of salvation, guiding and encouraging us as we move on with the Holy Spirit to the rest of God, to the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, to the fullness of the salvation that is in Christ.

And the Lord spake to me, saying, Ye have compassed this mountain long enough: turn you northward. (Deuteronomy 2:2,3)

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. (Hebrews 4:9)

The feasts of the Lord are listed in the twenty-third chapter of the Book of Leviticus in the Old Testament. Although they are referred to as feasts, they were not all feasts as we usually think of that term.

However, they were all convocations—observances in which the people of Israel were called together by the Lord.

Two Guidelines for Interpreting Bible Types

Before we go further, let us mention two rules for interpreting Scripture symbols, or "types" as they are called. Types, such as the seven feasts of Israel, help us understand the Lord Jesus and His plan of salvation.

The first rule of interpretation is this: study the symbol, and then ask the Holy Spirit to cause the main truth to rise to the surface. Do not attempt to carry every aspect of the symbol through to its logical conclusion—logical after the reasoning of the human mind.

The Holy Spirit always interprets His own statements and illustrations.

We see through a glass darkly, as Paul mentions in I Corinthians, Chapter 13. The Holy Spirit must be the One who throws light on the passage of Scripture we are studying. Usually a type presents one truth or line of truth, and the Spirit will give us the understanding.

For example: Christ is the "Lamb" of God. The truth that rises to the surface is that Christ was led away as an offering for our sins, and we eat His body and drink His blood as our Passover.

We cannot pursue the symbol further and claim Christ today is led around helplessly and is a prey for every wolf that appears.

Again: in one setting leaven is a type of sin. In another context leaven is a type of the Kingdom of Heaven. There is a flexibility of application showing that we must not create a rigid system of interpretation of the Scriptures based on types. If we do we will miss the point of what the Holy Spirit is revealing to us.

Still another example is this: the Christian Church is referred to in the New Testament as the Bride of the Lamb. The symbol of marriage indicates that we are to enter spiritual union with Christ, becoming one with Him. We cannot infer from this that Christians are feminine because they are termed the "Bride," and that the Bride is a different group from the sons of God who are male because they are "sons."

Every aspect and detail of a Scripture type or parable does not reveal spiritual truth.

The second guideline for interpreting Scripture symbols is as follows: the interpretation of symbols must be clearly taught in the New Testament.

For example, repentance from our sinful ways is portrayed by the removal of leaven during the feast of Unleavened Bread. The New Testament teaches us to put away sin (II Corinthians 7:1). Our adamic personality is to be brought down to death by entering the death of Christ on the cross. Our new sin-free personality is now qualified to rise from the dead and enter the resurrection of Christ. This death and resurrection is represented as we are baptized in water.

Also, we have the provision of confessing and receiving cleansing from the sins that we practice as Christians, as taught in I John 1:7-9.

If we claim the putting away of leaven during the feast of Unleavened Bread portrays the putting away of sin from the Christian, we must be able to turn to the New Testament and find written there that God indeed has provided grace through the Lord Jesus Christ by which we are enabled to put away sin from our life, and that we are commanded to do so.

Christ has made it possible for us, and has commanded us, to put away the old leaven of the world, of Satan, of our bodily lusts, and of our self-will and self-love.

If we are to make a success of interpreting Scripture types we must look to the Holy Spirit for the main idea and not attempt to force an interpretation that does not fit. We are not to press a meaning into each detail.

Also, there must be New Testament teaching for applications we make.

The purpose of types is not to teach doctrine, it is to provide a depth of understanding that is not always present when we read the bare statement of doctrine in the New Testament. A richness of perception comes to us when we read of Noah and his family being saved in the ark, and employ this story as a picture of the Christian salvation.

Enumeration of the Seven Levitical Feasts

1. Passover—"In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord’s passover" (Leviticus 23:5).

2. Unleavened Bread—"And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread" (Leviticus 23:6).

3. Firstfruits—"Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, When ye be come into the land that I give to you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest" (Leviticus 23:10).

4. Pentecost—"And ye shall count to you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: Even to the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering to the Lord" (Leviticus 23:15,16).

The King James translation of the Scriptures uses the term "feast of weeks" or "feast of harvest" for what we would call the feast of Pentecost.

"Pentecost" is derived from a Greek word signifying the number fifty. The feast of Weeks, of Pentecost, is celebrated fifty days (a week of weeks) from the feast of Firstfruits.

5. Trumpets—"Speak to the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation" (Leviticus 23:24).

6. Day of Atonement—"Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation to you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord" (Leviticus 23:27).

7. Tabernacles—"Speak to the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days to the Lord" (Leviticus 23:34).

Seven Feasts Grouped Into Three Observances

The seven feasts of Israel are grouped into three annual observances:

Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the Lord empty: Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee. (Deuteronomy 16:16,17)

The above are the three holy convocations that occur annually.

Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits are termed the feast of Unleavened Bread.

Pentecost is referred to as the feast of Weeks.

Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles compose the feast of Tabernacles.

Every Hebrew male without exception was to appear before the Lord in Jerusalem three times in the year. He was to come with something in his hand to give to the Lord: an animal from his flock or herd, some oil or wine, some grain or money—something taken from the riches with which God had blessed him.

The feast of Unleavened Bread, consisting of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits, takes place in April of our calendar. These three ceremonies suggest to us the first aspect of the process of Divine redemption:

Accepting the Passover blood shed by Jesus.

Entering water baptism for the washing away of our sins.

The born-again experience of being made alive by the Spirit of God and having the Firstfruits, Christ, born in us.

The feast of Pentecost, occurring approximately in May of our calendar, brings to mind the experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit that causes us to grow strong in Christ, bear witness in power, lead a holy life, worship God in Spirit-filled adoration, be ministered to and minister, and serve as a priest of God by bringing the blessing of Christ to the peoples of the earth.

The convocation of Tabernacles, consisting of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the seven days of the week of Tabernacles, and the high Sabbath of the eighth day, takes place in September-October of our calendar.

The Blowing of Trumpets speaks to us of God’s New Year’s Day, of war, of rejoicing, of the redemption of the Year of Jubilee, of victory, of the entering of the King through the everlasting doors of our heart to drive the sin and self-will from us, of the appearing of our Lord, Christ, and of the redemption of our mortal body.

The Day of Atonement calls to mind our continuing need to bring our sins to Christ for forgiveness and cleansing, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Day of Atonement is the Day of Reconciliation, the day of our warfare, the marriage of the Lamb.

Tabernacles portrays the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in us forever; and also the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth, including the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

The eighth day of the feast of Tabernacles signifies the first day of the new week of eternity—the week that has no end. Complete fulfillment of the eighth day will occur during the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. The beginning of the fulfillment takes place at the moment of our believing in Christ: "Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25,26).

In terms of our present calendar, the three annual celebrations were arranged as follows:

Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits were included in The Feast of Unleavened Bread and were celebrated in April.

Pentecost is referred to as The Feast of Weeks and was observed by itself in May.

Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles composed The Feast of Tabernacles and were celebrated in September-October.

We are including the blowing of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement as part of the feast of Tabernacles because the three observances are associated in spiritual fulfillment. The Warrior-King comes to us in the blowing of Trumpets. He wages war against the enemy in our personality in the Day of Atonement. Then the Father and the Son are able to find rest in our personality in the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.

"Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the Lord thy God" (Deuteronomy 16:16).

THE THREE AREAS OF REDEMPTION

There are three major phases of the Divinely provided redemption in Christ. The three phases are not like three rungs on a ladder we are to climb or three grades in school we are to attain. Rather, the three phases are as three facets of one diamond.

They are three dimensions of the one redemption that we possess, entire and whole, when we receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.

The three areas of redemption are pictured in the Scriptures in a number of ways, in addition to the three feasts of Israel, and these portrayals enable us to gain additional insight.

The Outer Court, Holy Place, and Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation (Exodus 40:18-30).

The three divisions of the journey of the Israelites, which were the exodus from Egypt, the wilderness wandering, and the entrance into the land of promise.

The water to the ankles, knees, and loins (Ezekiel 47:3-5).

The hundredfold, sixtyfold, and thirtyfold (Matthew 13:8).

The fruit, more fruit, and much fruit (John 15:2-5).

The three stories of Noah’s Ark (Genesis 6:16).

The three means of overcoming Satan: the blood of the Lamb, the word of our testimony, and loving not our life to the death (Revelation 12:11).

The three "days" (Hosea 6:2; Luke 13:32).

The manifestation of Christ’s glory on the third day (John 2:1-11).

The three testings of Christ (Luke 4:1-13).

The three "cities" in which the saints are overcome: Sodom, Egypt, Jerusalem (Revelation 11:8).

Christ rose from the dead on the third day.

Be alert as you study the Scriptures for events that had to do with a three-day period of time (Joshua 1:11; Nehemiah 2:11; Exodus 19:15; Jonah 1:17; and so forth).

These dissimilar and widely scattered examples may seem to be unrelated at first glance and their "threeness" coincidental. A closer look may show that many of the examples portray much the same thing and yield further understanding of the meaning of the redemption that is in Christ.

Paul speaks of being "caught up to the third heaven" (II Corinthians 12:2), and so it appears there are at least three heavens.

Since Hebrews 9:21-24 informs us that the Tabernacle and its vessels were "patterns of things in the heavens," we may conclude that Heaven itself is in three divisions, and that we can learn many things about the redemption that comes to us from Heaven by studying the Old Testament types, as well as by meditating on what Christ has done and is doing in the earth. This we will do in subsequent chapters.

The redemption that is in Christ is a powerful work, a broad work, a perfect work. It includes the growth of the believer to spiritual maturity, which is the image of Christ; the growth of the Church, the Body of Christ, to "the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ"; and the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The believer is (1) "born again" into the Kingdom of God and baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Church, the Body of Christ. The saint then (2) fights his way, by the wisdom and power that the Holy Spirit gives, into the (3) "throne" phase of redemption. He must "overcome" if he is to rule with Christ and be God’s son (Revelation 3:21, 21:7).

In spite of the "threeness," it is one redemption, one Lord Jesus Christ, one blood of the Lamb of God, one God the Father of whom and by whom are all aspects of the one redemption.

In order to enter each of the three areas of redemption we must die the specific death God has ordained. If we are willing to go through the "deaths" God has decreed we will receive the accompanying resurrection.

The deaths are just that—deaths. The resulting resurrections are so glorious that the deaths soon are forgotten.

"No man can see God and live." Therefore we die that we may live eternally in His Presence.

It is our understanding that the greatest of all revivals of human history now is beginning in the Church of Christ. The third death, which we will be describing by the help that the Spirit gives, never before (as far as we know) has been taught by the churches to any great extent. Yet, the third death is the one that will bring us into the authority and power the Lord Jesus has promised to His Church.

The doctrine that the Holy Spirit is giving us in these days is not new; rather it is apostolic. It has been contained in the Scriptures since they were written. There have been many outstanding saints throughout the centuries who have pressed into close fellowship and union with God by Christ. These have been blessed individuals. Now God is increasing the understanding of the Church as a whole. Perhaps this "latter rain" revival of understanding and experience began with the Protestant Reformers.

It appears we have been in a period of restoration for the past several hundred years. The scriptural teaching that the Holy Spirit is unfolding concerning the maturing of Christ in us is straightforward, clear, and brings peace and joy to our heart.

Sometimes the outworking of redemption in our lives involves of necessity a fiery trial for a season—a "death" out of which can come newness of resurrection life.

Salvation: The First Area of Redemption

The first area of redemption we are terming "salvation." The call of the evangelist is that people may receive salvation.

What does it mean to be saved ? From what are we saved, and toward what are we moving?

To be saved means to possess God’s guarantee that when the Day of Wrath comes—and it surely is coming!—the believer will be kept from destruction by the power of God. God is coming to the earth to judge the works of men and devils. The judgment that is just over the horizon is terrible.

People today, including Christian people, have talked themselves into the belief that God is a kindly old gentleman who will do good but not harm. Paul warns: "knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men" (II Corinthians 5:11). We Christians need to gain some idea of the terror of the Lord before we really can appreciate what it means to be saved from wrath. In fact, it is the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom.

Christ came to seek and to save those who are lost. If any person, young or old, will receive Christ by faith and hold that faith, serving the Lord patiently throughout all the testings and tribulations of life, he or she will be saved in the Day of the Lord.

"He who endures to the end shall be saved." Some will gain an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of Christ, while others will be saved "yet so as by fire."

Perhaps you as an individual are not making a success of the Christian discipleship, at least not in your own opinion. If you will keep your hope steadfast in the Savior and not turn your heart away from Him in discouragement, pride, lust, or rebellion, you too will be saved in the Day of Judgment, the Day of the Lord.

The next coming of Christ will be so frightful that no words of ours can portray adequately what the world is about to face. The most terrifying scene that ever has appeared on the earth will seem like child’s play when compared with the wrath of God that will be poured out under the administration of Christ and His saints.

The blood of Christ is a protection over us and our household when God passes over the earth to judge the gods of the world. Let us make sure we are under the protection of the "Passover blood" in the Day that is at hand.

After the Kingdom Age will come the Lake of Fire. The Lake of Fire is no mere symbol of God’s anger, it is a real lake, a place of eternal torment. It is reserved for the devil and his angels and for all others who reject the lordship of Christ.

There is a lake that burns with the pungent smell of burning sulfur. There will be angels, demons, and people in it.

In Christ there is salvation in the Day of God’s wrath. Let us not neglect this salvation. Let us embrace it and preach it. It is God’s gift freely given, the sacrifice of God’s only begotten Son. We do not want to be numbered among those who reject God and His Gift. Let us receive Christ and be saved.

Heaven is a real place, a Paradise of peace and joy. Heaven is the most wonderful dream of people in solid and enduring form. To be received into Heaven when we die requires accepting Christ in obedience to the will of God. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved."

Each person who receives Christ as Savior and Lord is at once redeemed from the authority, guilt, and death of sin. By death, in this instance, we mean separation from the Presence and acceptance of God.

Each human being is born in sin because of the transgression of Adam and Eve. We all have an inborn tendency toward moral corruption. We sin because it is our nature to do so. There is no way in which we can redeem ourselves. We do not possess the price to pay God for past transgressions and we do not have the power to quit sinning now. We must have a redeemer.

The root of our problem is Satan and the rebellion in the heavens. This is where sin began. Sin was introduced into the garden by the serpent, not by our ancestors, Adam and Eve. God has determined to judge and bring to an end the entire first creation and to punish the angels who rebelled against Him.

We are not to attempt to please God by our own wisdom and strength. God has a master plan and we can enjoy perfect peace and rest only as we are willing to fit into God’s design for our life.

Christ bore on Himself the sins of the whole world. The judgment of God came upon Christ and He was crucified. In Christ, God brought to an end the first creation. In Christ, God brought judgment on the evil lords of darkness and destroyed their authority and power.

God in Christ conquered Satan.

All of this was accomplished on the cross of Calvary. We had nothing to do with it. The Divine program of redemption is concerned with God’s wrath, God’s Law, God’s righteousness, God’s provision, God’s Nature and grace. We must accept it and cooperate with it.

When we come to Christ, God directs us to be baptized in water. "Go down into the water," God commands, "showing that you are willing to die to your first life, to the first creation. Accept My judgment on the source of sin in your life. Take your forgiveness by faith and be believing and thankful. It is my gift to you."

By faith we establish that our "old man," our first personality, is now dead by our participation with Christ on the cross. We count that our sinful nature is being destroyed, its authority over us having been completely removed in Christ. We declare in militant faith that our new inner man, the new life that has been born again in Christ, is now risen with Christ.

We understand from the Scripture that the new life we possess is without condemnation from any source. We are free from all guilt. Every "Egyptian" died in the Red Sea, so to speak, as demonstrated by baptism in water. By the death of our old personality we are free to be married to the Lord Jesus Christ.

At the moment of receiving Christ we gain perfect redemption by the payment of the blood of the Lamb of God. The life’s blood of Christ, God’s Lamb, has paid for our deliverance. We go free. The first creation came to an end on the cross. The believer in Christ comes up from the waters of baptism free from condemnation, having been forgiven every sin by the redemption God has provided.

Salvation is a first reaping of our life. It is a reaping to Christ. It is an instant death by faith, potentially destroying the ability of our old nature, our sin and self-will, to dominate us. We say potentially because the actual destruction of sin and the transformation of our personality depend on our working out in hope, faith, and obedience what God and we declared to be true in our baptism in water.

Water baptism portrays what will become a fact if we follow Christ faithfully: the death of our first personality and the creation of a new personality. Our new life is raised to be hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:1-4).

The righteousness of Christ Himself is imputed (ascribed) to us—freely given to us. It is the grace of God in action. We now are without condemnation and are invited and welcomed to enter boldly into the Most Holy Place in Heaven before the Father, there to make our needs and desires known to Him who sits on the throne of the universe.

We are accepted in the beloved Son, Christ. The holy angels rejoice and the bells of Heaven ring because a prodigal son has returned to Father’s house. From now on, death holds no terrors for us. When we die our spiritual personality will be received into the realms of light, there to dwell with God and the Lamb and with the holy saints and elect angels.

We had been dead spiritually, being cut off from God because of our inherited and acquired sin. Now, through the atonement made by the blood of the righteous Jesus, we are accepted of God. God’s Holy Spirit has taken up His abode in us for eternity (John 14:16,17).

The Spirit of God is eternal Life in us and the guarantee of the more complete redemption yet to come. All past transgressions have been forgiven. The covering of the "Passover blood" shields us from the wrath of God.

In the preceding paragraphs we have described the salvation phase of the Divine redemption that comes through Christ. Every person who would have eternal life must appear here. We must receive Christ personally as our own Lord and Savior and be baptized in water. Then the Holy Spirit causes the Life of Christ to be born in us. We are "born again."

The only way a man, woman, boy, or girl can enter the Kingdom of God is by being born again. Until a person is born again he can neither see nor enter the Kingdom of God.

Our death with Christ on the cross and our new birth into the Kingdom of God are the first death and the first resurrection—the first area of redemption.

Sanctification: The Second Area of Redemption

The first area of redemption is that of salvation, of acceptance by the Lord, of passing from death to life, of remission (forgiveness) of the guilt of past sin through the blood of Christ. The grace of God is given freely to us by Christ and we are received as a child of God.

The second area of redemption is that of sanctification. By sanctification is meant the setting apart of the Christian as holy to the Lord. Many Christians have had a genuine experience of salvation but have stopped there. They never have cooperated with the Holy Spirit in the task of directing their daily behavior into ways pleasing to the Lord Jesus.

In the first area of redemption, initial salvation, we die to the world and are raised in Christ.

In the second area of redemption, sanctification, we die to the works of the flesh, the fleshly nature, and are raised into the life lived in the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit.

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:4,5)

The second area is the area of the testimony, the area of the Holy Spirit. He predominates in this area as He leads us, instructs us, builds us up in preparation for our presentation to the Lord Jesus Christ as the Church without spot or wrinkle. The area of sanctification is one of conquering sin, of instruction in godliness, of the testimony of the Person, will, and way of God Almighty, of preparation for greater transformation and blessing to come.

Here the Holy Spirit enables us to live by the Scriptures and to bring other people to the Savior. The Holy Spirit leads us as we share with them our personal experiences with Christ. He imparts to us gifts and ministries. Through the anointing of the Spirit, the Word of Christ is confirmed in our life with powerful signs and wonders.

The Holy Spirit works night and day to form Christ in us. He intends to bring us into the image of Christ and into oneness with Christ. If we will cooperate with Him, He will set us apart each day as holy to the Lord. He is the Holy Spirit.

It is the will of Christ that the members of the Body of Christ begin to follow the Holy Spirit into putting to death the deeds of the body (Romans 8:13). If He is not leading us into conquest of the deeds of our flesh we are not sons of God. No person walks in peace and fellowship with Christ and continues in known sin.

Although our deliverance from the bondages of the flesh takes a while to accomplish (we are not delivered into sinless perfection overnight), yet our redemption in this area is as definite, as certain, as is our initial step of salvation. The Book of I John holds forth the idea that Christians are not to continue in sin, that whoever is continuing to sin is not walking in Christ and has neither seen Him nor known Him.

In time past we have not understood how to overcome our sinning, and so we have put our trust in Christ and have left the problem with Him. Now the Lord is showing us that if we will allow the Holy Spirit to do so, He will enable us to wash the robes of our conduct in the blood of the Lamb, becoming sparkling white in the righteous conduct God requires.

We must learn to judge ourselves through the Holy Spirit. Little by little we achieve the victory of sanctification of spirit, of soul, of body. In this manner we purify ourselves in preparation for His glorious appearing (I John 3:1-3).

We may say that the area of sanctification is a reaping to the Holy Spirit just as the area of initial salvation is a reaping to Christ. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit always work together in all aspects of our redemption. Nevertheless, dividing the Christian redemption into these three areas for the purpose of analysis may be helpful to us as we ponder the meaning of redemption and atonement.

Sanctification is a second death and resurrection. In sanctification we become dead to the life lived in the impulses of the flesh and mind. By the power that the Holy Spirit provides we are raised into freedom from the need to keep on serving the lusts of the flesh and of the eyes. The second area of redemption is a place of wilderness wandering, of learning the ways of God, of coming under God’s law of the Spirit of life, of Christ pruning back the fruit of our life and the bearing of more fruit, and of daily manna from the Lord.

In the area of sanctification the Church, the Israel of God, begins to be formed into an army. The Body of Christ moves toward maturity as the Servant of the Lord (Isaiah, Chapter 42).

However, the fullness of the development of God’s warriors and servants takes place in the third area—that of conquest, as we shall see later on.

In the first area, salvation, we Christians are so occupied with what we are receiving from God that not too much is accomplished from the standpoint of what we will return to God in the way of service. Growth in service comes to us if we follow on to know the Lord. We begin to exercise a priestly role as we learn more about how to please the Lord and serve Him.

Spiritual warfare rages about us as we press on past initial salvation into the fullness of sanctification and victory. There yet is much evil in the Christian churches—sometimes more than is found in the world. It may be recalled that when Pilate was faced with the Lord Jesus Christ he wanted to release Him, but he was prevented from doing so by the leaders of God’s chosen people.

The rulers of Israel howled for Christ’s blood. Here is Satan working in a religious setting. Pilate represents the world. The leaders of Israel represent religious activity and church government. When the world would have set Christ free the church authorities demanded He be crucified.

This is an example of the problems of covetousness and self-seeking that exist at the second level of spiritual life, the level of ministry and church activity. Today the world is evil and becoming worse all the time. There is increased satanic activity in the world and abominations are being committed. When Christ pours out His Spirit in these last days there will be persecution from the churches as well as from the world. Satan will be cast down from the heavenlies into the earth, and his thrashing about in the earth will be expressed both in the world and in the religious organizations.

The battle against sin, against the kingdom of darkness, is taking place in every true believer in Christ. The battle against sin cannot be waged successfully in unsaved people because the world is dead in sin. The Holy Spirit of God is dwelling eternally in the believers in Christ. Therefore, in them there is a struggle going on night and day.

Satan is striving to maintain his hold over the conduct of each Christian. The Holy Spirit in each Christian is attempting to bring him or her into deliverance from having to obey the spirit of the world, Satan, and the lusts of the body. Also, his or her self-will and self-love are in the process of being "crucified."

The Christians who are pressing forward in the Lord Jesus Christ are gaining the upper hand over sin. Victory requires a period of time for its accomplishment. The Lord God of Heaven has promised that He will deliver even the lords of darkness into our hands and that we will destroy them until they have been utterly consumed (Deuteronomy 7:23).

Through the wisdom and power of Christ, and in His time, we will be able to tear down the strongholds of Satan in the heavenlies. Every spirit will be brought under the feet of Christ, who will use the members of His Body to crush the evil armies of wickedness (Romans 16:20).

When a Christian confesses a sin, and gains victory over that sin through the authority of the blood of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, the victory constitutes a judgment of Christ on the particular sin and on the spirit performing that sin.

The members of the Body of Christ are to walk in absolute righteousness and holiness of deed, word, motive, and imagination. God’s judgment is on His own household in these days. God can have no fellowship with the evil works of darkness and neither can His children. We must learn to put to death the deeds of our flesh by the wisdom and power the Holy Spirit provides.

The second area of redemption, that of sanctification, is a protracted actual death of the compulsion to sin that resides in our flesh. It is a protracted spiritual resurrection as we change from walking in the sins of the flesh to walking in the holiness of the Life of the Holy Spirit.

The "dying" and "living" consist of a long series of lessons in learning how to resist sin and how to live, speak, think, fight, and minister in the Spirit of God. Such sanctification of behavior requires a period of time, and sometimes we become discouraged "in the wilderness" of testing.

There will come an end to the instruction, at least for the present stage of our transformation into the image of Christ. We will "graduate" eventually. We must not allow ourselves to become weary in the battle. Our end will be glorious if we do not faint.

In the preceding paragraphs we have discussed the sanctification phase of the Christian redemption. Every person who would be a member of the Body of Christ must appear here.

We must be baptized with the Holy Spirit. Upon entering the Life of the Spirit we begin to receive power to minister, and also power to bear the fruit of the image of the moral Character of Christ (Galatians 5:22,23). The law of the Spirit of life guides us in putting to death the deeds of our body. We must confess our sins as the Spirit directs and empowers. We must submit ourselves to God, draw near to God, and resist the devil.

Only then are we prepared and equipped to enter the third aspect of our full redemption.

Conquest: The Third Area of Redemption

Salvation from Divine wrath is the first area of redemption. Salvation requires that we leave the spirit of the world, and includes the birth of Christ in us.

Sanctification is the second area of redemption, and has to do with learning to follow the Life of the Holy Spirit rather than the life of the natural man. The natural man is the human, soulish, flesh-and-blood personality that was born of our human parents. The natural personality has a strong tendency toward the lusts of the flesh, covetousness, and self-exaltation.

One of the results of the process of sanctification is the elimination of unclean spirits from our personality.

Conquest is the third area of redemption. Conquest is the level at which we gain victory over every enemy of God and man, particularly over self-love and self-seeking. Such victory begins with salvation, is developed during sanctification, and attains its fullest expression as we follow Christ into obedience to the Father.

Such victory in our lives is made possible by the blood of the Lamb, by the testimony that the Holy Spirit works in us, and by our willingness to love not our own life to the death (Revelation 12:11).

Initial salvation, the first area of redemption, makes it possible for us to enter the plan of redemption.

Sanctification, the second area, is a school. It is the place where we make the transition from the life of flesh to the life of the Spirit.

Conquest, the third area, is the final result, the goal of the first two areas. In the realm of conquest we enjoy the fruitfulness and dominion promised to the heirs of the Kingdom of God.

Conquest comes in a third death and resurrection. The blood of Jesus leads the way toward conquest. The Holy Spirit testifies to us, in us, and through us, moving us along toward the rest of God—the place of total victory in Christ. The final victory depends on our willingness to allow God to slay our will. We must be willing to deny our self. Death to our will is the deepest of the deaths that we die. It leads to the fullness of resurrection glory.

In initial salvation we are assigned to the death of Christ and we share with Him in His stupendous resurrection from the dead.

In sanctification we die to the desires of our flesh and mind and are raised into life lived in the Life of the Holy Spirit of God.

In conquest, the third area of redemption, we die to the deepest level of self—the origin of our identity. God has His own methods of touching the center of our being, often using suffering as a tool.

Death of the self-will. If we allow the Lord to enter the source of our individuality we will be raised into the fullness of fruitfulness and dominion in God the Father as one of His eternal servants (Revelation 22:3; Philippians 2:5-9).

All living creatures, whether physical or spiritual, have wills of their own. Mules, men, and angels all have wills of their own. In bringing us to the fullness of conquest God does not take away or destroy our will; rather, He transforms it until our will corresponds to His will.

It is difficult to die to the deepest levels of the will, even for the most devout Christian. We are glad to be saved from wrath and to be accepted of the Father. We are thankful to be delivered from the sins of the flesh and the other bondages that Satan places on human beings.

The re-creation of the will, the death to what in many instances is lawful, is not easy to accept. However, death to our self-will and self-exaltation leads to the highest realms of fruitfulness and service to God.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. (Mark 8:35)

It is not easy or pleasant to lose one’s life.

There are many flaws in the human will. These flaws must be corrected by the grace of God working through the Lord Jesus Christ before we can serve as kings, priests, and prophets in the Presence of the Lord God of Heaven. Christ was probed for these flaws during His three temptations (Luke, Chapter Four). Christ passed the tests with honors.

Some of the more prominent of the flaws of the will include: presumption, personal ambition, disobedience, double-mindedness, suggestibility, man-pleasing, self-aggrandizement, stubbornness, pride, self-pity, self-destruction, self-preservation.

We Christians are to walk in the way that Christ directs us and not attempt to force spiritual results before the Lord prepares the time and place. There is a significant difference between presumption and aggressive faith, although sometimes we must be prayerful in order to distinguish between the two.

Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. (Psalms 19:13)

Presumption leads to sin and defeat. Faith leads to victory in the Lord.

No person can serve the Lord and personal ambition at the same time. He will end up hating one and cleaving to the other.

Some of the principal motives behind the desire of the elders of Israel to crucify the innocent Christ were their envy, personal ambition, pride of station, desire for self-glorification, and instinct for self-preservation. They were fearful that Christ was threatening their position as the leaders of the Jews.

An uncrucified will can lead to tragedy. Jonah was a disobedient prophet. The nation of Israel, from the time the people demanded a king until the carrying away into Babylon, witnessed few periods in its history when God was able to bless the nation because of obedience to His ways.

It requires the resources of Heaven and earth in order for the Holy Spirit to create obedience to the Lord in the will of a human being. We by nature are disobedient to the will of God. We must learn obedience, and it is a difficult curriculum.

A double-minded person is unstable in all his ways and cannot proceed in the plan of redemption because he cannot make up his mind. Double-mindedness is a flaw in the will.

The Christian who is suggestible is unable to proceed straight on in God’s will because he is open to all voices. Do you recall the prophet who was led into disobedience by the suggestion of an older prophet? (I Kings, Chapter 13).

It is well that we "salute no man by the way," so to speak, but steadfastly go about our business in the Lord without being led astray by the suggestions of others. We are not recommending that we refuse to heed the advice and counsel of other Christians, because it is a fact that there is wisdom in the multitude of counselors. Rather, we are speaking of being led off course by suggestions and by not bringing each decision that we make into careful prayer before the Lord.

It is impossible to be a true prophet of the Lord if we are given to man-pleasing. Jesus never went out of His way to "sell" the Gospel or to please His listeners. "The fear of man brings a snare."

If we fear the faces of clay that are looking at us we never will be free to declare the whole counsel of God. We must prepare the Divine food and make it palatable so the sheep will be inclined to eat. However, we never are to hold back what the Holy Spirit is speaking in order to gain the approval of our audience.

Neither self-pity nor harsh criticism of ourselves is pleasing to the Lord or has any place in the Kingdom of God.

It is impossible for one to be God’s prophet, priest, and king—God’s servant, in other words—while being subject to presumption or personal ambition or disobedience or double-mindedness or suggestibility or man-pleasing or self-pity. Christ is able to correct these flaws in our will so our will begins to correspond to the will of God.

From self-centeredness to God-centeredness.

In the first death and resurrection, that of salvation, we pass from spiritual death into spiritual life in the Presence of God.

In the second death and resurrection, that of sanctification, we pass from sinful behavior to holy behavior—behavior free from the lusts of the flesh.

In the third death and resurrection, that of conquest, we pass from self-will to God’s will, from self-centeredness to God-centeredness, from self-love to the love of God, from self-seeking to the serving of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As soon as we possess the fullness of Divine Life in body, soul, and spirit, perfect liberty in body, soul, and spirit, and perfect obedience to the Divine will in body, soul, and spirit, having been joined perfectly to God through Christ, then we have been redeemed fully. We are able to receive the fullness of the abiding of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit.

The product of all three deaths and resurrections is our acceptance by the Lord God and our rest in Him. In the third death and resurrection we die to the imperfections of our will and are raised into the Presence and fellowship of the Father. It is a reaping to the Father. It includes the crucifixion of our self-will.

How blessed to be released from the bondage of having to have our own way! God strikes down our youthful glee, our striving for position and preeminence, our impulsive enthusiasms. We rest in His will.

The means to the righteousness of the first resurrection is the blood of Christ. We overcome the accuser by the blood of the Lamb of God.

The means to the liberty of the second resurrection is the Holy Spirit, who brings us into accord with the written Word of God. We become and we declare the Word of God, and this testimony overcomes the accuser.

The means to the fruitfulness and dominion of the third resurrection are the power of Christ’s resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. We overcome the accuser by loving not our own life to the death. This is the path to the throne of Christ.

Every Christian, through the blood of his Redeemer, has access to the Throne of God, there to offer adoration and to make his needs known to the Father. The extent to which the believer is able to abide in the Presence of God in every situation depends on his willingness to allow the grace of God to work full redemption in him.

The third death requires a period of time for its accomplishment. It is a protracted death to our tendencies toward presumption, toward the desire to be pleasing to our hearers, to gain the admiration and support of people. The third resurrection is a protracted entering into rulership with God and into restful service to Him in our land of promise.

As soon as we have been saved from wrath, set free from the bondages of sin, and transformed from self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness, we are ready for the making alive of our mortal body. This will occur "in the twinkling of an eye" for those who have prepared themselves, at the appearing of our Lord and Savior, Christ.

The third death and resurrection is necessary for the fullness of the image, union, fruitfulness, and dominion that accompanies coheirship with Christ. It is a death to attempting to serve God in our own wisdom and power. It is judgment on us as individuals, on the deepest center of will and being.

The fullness of the inheritance will be assigned to those who are faithful to God at this level of redemption.

The third death and resurrection is typified by the crossing of the Jordan River. It is a change from Christ as Moses, the shepherd, to Christ as Joshua, the commander of battle. It is the throne phase of Christianity.

The third death and resurrection brings us into the rest of God, into the image of Christ, into the realm of power, into the consummation of redemption. The Servant of the Lord must be in the image of Christ, of the Divine Substance of Christ, of the Divine Nature of Christ.

The composite Servant of the Lord is Christ—Head and Body (Isaiah, Chapters 42 and 43).

As soon as God has brought His sons through the three areas of redemption it will be time for the Lord Jesus to appear, the hour of the revealing of the sons of God (Romans 8:19). The entrance of Christ and His brothers into the earth will cause the Battle of Armageddon—the confrontation between Christ and Antichrist.

Prior to Armageddon the sons of God must come to know Christ, to know the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering. Then they will be prepared to put down all opposition to the rule of Christ. Christ is King of all kings and Lord of all lords. The creation, whether of the heavens, the earth, or the spirit realms in the interior of the earth, must bow the knee to Him.

Are we willing to have the "sentence of death" in ourselves until we do not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead? Are we willing to be troubled on every side, perplexed, persecuted, cast down, as we attempt to follow the Lord? Are we ready to say yes to the death of the "I will"?

If we consent to die the death God requires of us as an individual we will cross the Jordan, speaking figuratively, and begin to conquer our land of promise. We will enter the Most Holy Place and abide there. We soon will be eating of the "old corn of the land" with the Lord Jesus. We will know and understand as we are known and understood.

We have termed the third area the conquest phase of redemption. Every believer who would rule with Christ must appear here. We must learn to depend on the power of His resurrection. The power of Christ’s resurrection will be developed in us as we are willing to share in His sufferings. This is the route to becoming part of the Servant of the Lord and to fighting alongside the Lord in His war against His enemies.

We must accept the sentence of death in ourselves and learn to trust in God who raises the dead. We must never attempt to serve God out of ambition or presumption, or neglect to serve Him because of fear, double-mindedness, or disobedience.

Experience teaches us to serve from our position on the cross, and to bear our own cross behind Jesus. Our personal cross converts us from the rule of self to the rule of Christ. The cross is the wisdom of God.

Until a disciple consents to serve Christ after this fashion he may be alive unto God and he may have victory over many of the sins of the flesh. However, he still is in bondage to his own will. Now he is to allow Christ to bring him over Jordan until he can testify: "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:.. ". (Galatians 2:20).

The material creation is waiting in the chains of corruption and futility until God’s sons have died to their self-centeredness, until King Jesus, rather than King Self, is sitting on the throne of their personality (Romans 8:19-21).

Death to self is the third area of redemption. From this vantage point the sons of God will be revealed.

Redemption includes the establishing of a relationship with God such that freedom from the guilt, bondage, and effects of sin is obtained along with release from the bondage of self-will.

The person who is wise, whether he or she is young or old, will turn away from everything else in life, if need be, in order to more perfectly lay hold on the fullness of redemption. It is the Father’s good pleasure to bring many sons through every aspect of redemption—all the way to the full measure of the Glory of God.

There is no route to complete redemption other than by battle against the adversary. Satan is our enemy. He will utilize every device to block our attempts to escape from his influence. But Christ is greater than Satan.

One of God’s greatest joys arises from beholding His son or daughter lay hold on the grace and Virtue He has provided through Christ, and by them escape from every unclean influence. God anoints us with the Holy Spirit when we love righteousness, hate lawlessness, and are perfectly obedient to Him.

Christ asks you: "Will you be saved?"

If your answer is yes, He will bring you through death and resurrection.

Christ asks you: "Will you follow the Holy Spirit in sanctification?"

If your answer is yes, He will bring you a second time through death and resurrection.

Christ asks you: "Will you lose your life for My sake and the Gospel’s?"

If your answer is yes, He will bring you a third time through death and resurrection.

What are your answers to His three questions?

CONQUEST—THE THIRD AREA OF REDEMPTION

There are other titles we could have assigned to the third area of redemption, such as "consecration," or "perfection," or "throne-life."

The term conquest suggests the warfare necessary for entrance into the promised-land rest of God, and speaks also of the life of victory in Christ—the positive, dynamic, faith-filled Christian discipleship that keeps on marching toward the "city that hath foundations."

We always are to be pressing on toward the fullness of Christ in God.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1,2)

It is the will of God that Christians not only be saved and sanctified but that they fight on to total reconciliation to God.

Being saved means we have been absolved of guilt and shall be brought through to the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

Being sanctified means we now are following the Holy Spirit in the diligent application of our gifts and ministries, and also in putting to death the deeds of the flesh.

To become a conqueror we must press forward each day to the fullness of fruitfulness and dominion. Laying hold on the inheritance to this extent requires that we love not our life to the point of death. We must be willing to suffer delayed gratification of our most fervent desires.

In some instances the delay may be of many years duration. We must be ready to deny our own desires, our own lives—all of that to which we may have a "right." It is the place of unquestioned obedience as soldiers of Christ, as servants of the Lord.

Not only must we be willing to suffer delayed gratification—for years if desired by the Lord, but we also must be willing to continue doing things for which we have no heart, in which we take no delight. We are to do what the Lord tells us to do, and we are to do it without complaining or blaming others.

As far as it is possible for us to do so we are to rejoice in the Lord and look for blessings in the most difficult circumstances. Perfect reconciliation to God, the fullness of victory in Christ, requires that we give our best to the Master without grumbling.

Walking in the sins of the flesh brings misery and death. Obeying the laws of righteousness works peace in us and causes us to be fruitful and content in this life, even though we always will have tribulation on earth before Jesus appears (John 16:33; Acts 14:22; Revelation 1:9).

The realm of conquest is a deepening and broadening of the process of sanctification. In order for us to achieve victory in Christ, all that we are, do, and possess must be brought through the Divine fire.

Conquest requires a cutting back of our "rightful" status, accomplishments, and possessions. The Spirit of God beckons us toward the place of denial, of crucifixion, of the loss of our life. Such loss is not easy to accept but it is the only path to total union with God, and fruitfulness and strength in the Kingdom of God.

Referring back to Romans 12:1,2 we find it is the body that is to be offered. This is the daily offering of our fleshly nature, and it requires strength of spirit on our part in order to hold our beastly self-life before God until He consumes the sacrifice.

"That ye present your bodies a living sacrifice!"

Presenting our body a living sacrifice is no easy, pleasant task. Each day of our life on earth we are to seek the mind of Christ as to what is important for the day. Our body is our link with the earth and the world.

When God requires the sacrifice of our body He is asking for the whole of our existence on the earth. The conduct of affairs on earth has to do almost exclusively with what is happening to, with, and in our body. Except for a comparatively small amount of religious effort that attempts to cultivate the spirit, the whole of life is centered on the enjoyment of the soul through the body.

And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. (Luke 12:19)

The soul satisfies itself through the body in eating, in drinking, and in being merry. God calls for the daily sacrifice of the body and of the corresponding soulish desires.

Notice that we are to present our body a "living" sacrifice. It would be much easier if we could offer a "dead" sacrifice, "go into neutral," and resign ourselves to a "don’t care" attitude of mental passivity.

If we could flee to a place of hiding and spend our days in contemplation it might be easier. To stay alive in God with all our powers alert and our will decisive, full of energy, ambition, desires of all kinds, but always allowing God to blunt our thrusts as He will—this requires determination.

Presenting our body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, is our Christian act of worship. Instead of offering a young bull, a sheep, a goat, or a bird, we offer our own body as a whole ascending (burnt) offering to the Lord. We do it every day.

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the Lord, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock. (Leviticus 1:2)

The first chapter of Leviticus describes the burnt (ascending) offering. Of the five principal offerings, the Altar was named after the burnt offering. The great bronze Altar standing at the entrance to the Tabernacle of the Congregation was referred to as the Altar of Burnt Offering. It can be seen that the burnt offering was of special importance in the sight of God. The burnt offering was not a sin offering but an offering of devotion and consecration.

If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord. (Leviticus 1:3)

We offer our consecration of our "own voluntary will." We choose to give all to Christ. He invites us but does not force us. We offer ourselves at the "door," that is to say, at the cross of Christ. All offerings are made at the cross. We take up our cross and follow Him. The cross of Christ is the only acceptable place of sacrificial death.

Devotees of other religions suffer pain and humiliation of the flesh but their offering is of no value before the throne of God. The only acceptable place for the offering of oneself to God is "at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord." This is where the Altar of Burnt Offering, the cross of Christ, is located.

We are not allowed to choose our own death. We must die the death the Lord requires of us as an individual. Our dying must be the dying of the Lord Jesus as expressed in our unique personality. We must be showing His death on the cross, not our own religious zeal. Otherwise our death is of no profit before the Lord.

. . . and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the Lord. (Leviticus 1:9)

The sacrifices of the Lord involve fire. When we determine that we will present our body a living sacrifice we must set out the sacrifice and wait for the fire of God to consume the offering.

We cannot hurry God. Working with God requires patience. God is never late, He is painstaking and thorough. Our problem is to keep the "birds of the air" off our sacrifice until God "passes between the pieces" (Genesis 15:10-17).

God requires of you and me that we present our bodies a living sacrifice. It is not an option. He insists we do so without delay. The time is short. Now is the hour to set out our offering. Tomorrow Christ may be here, and we have lost for eternity our one opportunity to take up our cross of self-denial and follow that social Outcast—Christ.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)

The only way by which we can be transformed into Christ’s image, escaping the molding influence of the spirit of the world, is to offer ourselves each day a living sacrifice. The only way by which we can prove the will of God for our life is to present our body each day a living sacrifice to the Lord Jesus Christ, just as He presented His body each day a living sacrifice to the Father.

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. (Luke 9:23,24)

Notice the choice: "If any man will come after me." It is our responsibility. If we choose to come after Him we must deny ourselves, setting aside our own interests in favor of the interests of Christ until our time on the earth has been terminated.

Setting aside our own life must be performed conscientiously and consistently on a daily basis. We must take up our cross of self-denial and follow Christ every day of our pilgrimage on the earth.

There is nothing to be gained by refusing to give our life to Christ. The cost of refusing is exceedingly great. There is so much to lose! If we seek to save ourselves from the death that Christ requires we end up losing our life.

If we give our life for His sake the Divine promise is that we will save it. We will be saved and resurrected into glory, having emerged unscathed from the fires of sacrifice and judgment.

Our part is to tell God that we wish to take up our cross and follow Christ. God’s part is to take us at our word and furnish the appropriate circumstances. This He does—thoroughly, ingeniously, effectively.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. (II Corinthians 4:8-10)

There are several benefits that result from being willing to accept the death God sends our way. Two of them are as follows: fruitfulness in the impartation of the Glory of Christ to other people; and the receiving of God’s eternal strength, which enables us to gain dominion in the contest at hand.

God adds His strength to our weakness. The almighty authority and power of our Lord Jesus Christ flow from His crucifixion.

For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the Glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inner man is renewed day by day. (II Corinthians 4:15,16)

The perishing of Paul’s outward man, as he gave his life to the will of the Lord Jesus, resulted in the Life of Jesus being made manifest in Paul’s physical body. The resurrection Life of Christ that was manifested in Paul brought the Glory of God to the listeners and has brought that same glory to those who have read Paul’s Epistles throughout the centuries of the Christian Era.

Divine Life was made available to other people through the "death" of the Apostle Paul. God’s Life must flow from someone’s death—death meaning the giving of our life and activities to the Life and activities of the Lord.

When Paul witnessed the Divine Life that was being revealed to others he was able to keep from fainting. Our determination to obey Christ is strengthened when we can see other people begin to partake of the Divine Glory.

Paul speaks of the second benefit—that of receiving God’s eternal strength such that we are able to gain dominion over the forces that would resist the doing of God’s will.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (II Corinthians 4:17)

The "weight" of glory referred to here is Paul’s house from Heaven, mentioned in Chapter Five of II Corinthians. Paul’s house is a vehicle of unimaginable power and authority, an eternal, incorruptible source to him of liberty in God, of breadth of service, of glory, of joy, of life.

When we respond properly to the afflictions that produce our death in Christ, weight is added to the house that will descend on us from Heaven at the time of the first resurrection from the dead.

Our willingness to abide with Christ in the furnace of testing causes a Divine purity and an overcoming strength to be developed in us. The Divine Gold in our being is purified, and the "bronze" in our personality, which results from the judgment of God that works in us, becomes pure and glowing.

Marvelous things happen to us in the furnace of tribulation, not the least of which are the companionship of the Son of God and the burning of our bonds.

Both fruitfulness and dominion result from our death in Christ.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. (John 12:24)

It is God’s way that we bear fruit through our death. There are many scriptural examples of the principle of life from death. The greatest example is that of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ did many miracles and taught truth as no other man before or since has taught it.

But it is from His death that the salvation of mankind has come.

Paul the Apostle ministered to people in what is now Turkey, Greece, and Italy. Several thousand people heard Paul teach and preach during his lifetime and witnessed the miracles that God performed by his hands.

But Paul’s knowledge of Christ that he recorded in his letters to the young churches has produced eternal life in millions upon unnumbered millions of souls. This knowledge of Christ resulted from Paul’s willingness to "fill up that which is behind of the sufferings of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church" (Colossians 1:24).

The sufferings associated with our consecration sometimes have to do with the bringing of life to other people. If we insist on serving Christ on our own terms, having our own way, refusing to deny ourselves at His request, we may pursue "Christian work" but we will "abide alone." We can only bring forth the fruit of Christ through our death in Christ.

Samson: a type of the Church today. The Old Testament story of Judge Samson gives us a picture of the Church of Christ in the last days. Samson’s hair represented his consecration. His enormous strength was related directly to its uncut length.

Samson enjoyed the pleasures of the world until the world uncovered the secret of his strength. We may marvel at the willingness of Samson to cast away his gift from God, but are we doing the same thing? Are we throwing away our spiritual strength by partaking of the lusts of the present world system?

The Church of Christ possessed spiritual strength in the first century. Because of the willingness of subsequent leaders to socialize with the world and to adopt human solutions for the problems of the Church, the separation of the Church from the world was impaired. The inevitable occurred. The Church lost much of its spiritual strength.

The world destroyed the ability of the Church to "see" Christ. The world bound the Christian Church with the chains of Satan and put it to work "building treasure cities for Pharaoh." For two thousand years the Christian organizations have been "grinding away in prison," attempting to exalt themselves and to impress a world system that always rejects the Lordship of Christ (Judges 16:21).

Whenever a Christian loses his consecration, his separation to the Person and will of Christ, his strength leaves him. He loses his vision of God and of Heaven. He becomes bound in affliction and trouble. He is "thrown into prison," becoming the slave of the world spirit.

Since the time of the Protestant Reformers the "hair" of the Church has been growing back. The separation to God is returning, for a remnant of believers. The world does not perceive what is occurring in the godly remnant just as the Philistines were unable to perceive the danger of Samson’s hair growing back.

The day will come when the flood of filth will fill the earth and the demons of Hell will make the Christians come out from their prison of shame and weakness and "make sport" for them. We are entering the days when the peoples of the earth will deride and despise the Christian churches.

The blind Samson was led out by a lad and he played the clown for the entertainment of the Philistines. Often today the churches are so pathetically eager for a wink of approval from the local community leaders that they will "play the clown" for the applause of the world, hoping to ingratiate themselves and win the approval of worldly people. This is done in the hope those people will be "won for Christ."

The Philistines in their ignorance placed the longhaired Hebrew between the two supporting pillars of the temple of Dagon. Evil spirits and evil people always bring to pass the will of God and heap destruction on themselves.

Samson called out to God and asked to be avenged for the loss of his two eyes. In the last days before Jesus appears, the consecration of the Church will be renewed and the Christians will cry out to God because of the darkness and oppression that has come upon them and the earth through the rulership of the forces of Hell.

At that time the two hands of the Church will be guided by a "lad" to the supporting pillars of the kingdom of darkness.

In the day in which we are living the Lord is bringing forth a generation of young people who will "cross Jordan," so to speak. They will "take the Kingdom." There is no time left to dawdle with the present generation of believers. The characters of today’s Christians, in numerous instances, have been so ruined by the doctrines of grace and of the "pre-tribulation rapture" that they never will be able to enter the travail that is to bring forth Christ. They are so occupied with their own psychological problems that they are unable to enter the grueling race that the true disciples of the Lord must endure.

The new generation, having been given sound doctrine, will press through to the fullness of victory that now is available. Guided by these young warriors the Church will place its right hand of the blood of the Lamb on one pillar and its left hand of the testimony of the Holy Spirit on the other pillar.

Then the Church will bow itself before God’s throne will all its might in the fullness of the death of consecration to God’s will. The result will be that the kingdom of darkness will come crashing down to destruction. Satan will be crushed under the feet of the Church. The Seed of the Woman (Christ in the saints) will crush Satan’s head under foot.

The Church, through its death to self-will and self-seeking, will bring greater liberation to the people of the world in the last days than it has been able to do through its own efforts during the two thousand years of its history.

At the time of greatest darkness on the earth the saints will attain a level of consecration deeper than has ever been true before, deeper than that of the believers of the first-century churches (with the exception of the Apostles and other notable men and women of God). The result will be a move of God through the Body of Christ that will destroy the kingdom of Satan.

"So the dead that he slew at his death were more than they that he slew in his life" (Judges 16:30).

Other Old Testament examples. Fruitfulness and strength result from our death in Christ.

And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt [test] Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. (Genesis 22:1,2)

Here is the third death and resurrection, the trial of obedience, the test that is more demanding and difficult than that of striving against the bondages of sin.

The calling of Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees is a type of salvation. Then, when Abraham was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and required a walk of sanctification (Genesis 17:1).

In the offering of Isaac we witness a much more severe testing—that of the offering up to God of Abraham’s only son, the promised heir, his inheritance in the Lord. Isaac was the only means of obtaining the abundant fruitfulness that God had promised Abraham. Abraham’s righteousness was based on the fact that he believed the Word of God concerning that fruitfulness.

Wasn’t this an exceedingly difficult trial?

Notice that God was testing Abraham. God reserves the right to test any one of us at any time He chooses. Our part is to pray and serve the Lord to the best of our ability in as cheerful and uncomplaining a manner as possible. Sometimes the tests of the Lord are quite difficult to endure. The test we are discussing now was extraordinarily difficult, but an eternal issue was being decided.

God said, "Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest."

"Thine only son Isaac." God had promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations and that his seed would be as the stars of the heaven. Abraham had proceeded to attempt to work out the fulfillment of God’s promise by using Hagar, a servant of Sarah.

God would not accept Hagar’s son, Ishmael, as the heir of promise. God commanded, "Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac." At this point, God did not regard Ishmael as a true son of Abraham. Ishmael had not been given to Abraham by the Lord.

Much of our striving in Christian work is not even recognized by the Lord. It will prove to be wood, hay, and straw. All that God will accept in the Christian Church is what He Himself has accomplished in us.

"Thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest."

If God had called for Ishmael the test would not have been nearly as difficult. Isaac was the fruit of the promised miracle. There was no doubt in Abraham’s mind that it would be through Isaac that the end would come to his lack of fruitfulness, and that the promise of the Lord would be realized.

If God would require us to sacrifice only those things we have accomplished in the appetites of the flesh it might prove to be a difficult trial of our faith in Him.

When God begins to demand of us what truly is our gift from Him, our acts of obedience bring forth in us the kind of character that is able to receive successfully the fullness of the fruitfulness and strength God desires to impart to us.

To offer up Isaac as a burnt offering was a severe test of obedience. Sometimes when we are tested severely by the Lord we cannot understand what is taking place. We are unable to glimpse the purpose of the test or any end to our misery. It is at such times that the extent of our faith in the goodness of God and in the dependability of Christ is revealed.

Although it appears Abraham had no example to draw on, yet he believed that God was going to raise Isaac from the dead and fulfill His promise to Abraham in this manner (Hebrews 11:19).

The aged patriarch had the sentence of death in himself (II Corinthians 1:9).Abraham trusted in God who is able to raise the dead.

It is characteristic of the third death and resurrection that the Lord requires the surrender of relationships, circumstances and things that are dear to us—things that are lawful and, in some cases, our possession by the promise of God. The test may be surrounded with mystery and we may not be receiving our customary answers from the Lord.

The trial may be accompanied by unfair treatment. It must have been difficult for Paul to see younger men "reign as kings" while Paul, who was responsible for their knowledge of salvation, was in custody in uncomfortable and threatening circumstances.

It is not easy to pass through a seemingly endless tunnel of painful drudgery without understanding the reason for it, and yet refrain from blaming people or God. When we understand the reason for our test and know when it will be terminated, the test is not nearly as difficult.

The required sacrifice of Isaac turned Abraham into a living dead man (Romans 12:1). Abraham had the sentence of death in himself that he would not trust in himself but in God who raises the dead.

When God puts us through our most severe trials we become as walking dead people. The heart goes out of us. Only the Word of God carries us forward each day. We are crucified with Christ, yet we live. Now it is Christ living in us.

Those who will ride with Christ in that day will be dead-living people. The guile and self-seeking will have been drawn from them by the death of the cross.

The high point in Abraham’s life was the offering of Isaac and the restoration of Isaac to him. Death and life go together. Until we experience being wounded by the Lord we cannot know the glory of being renewed by the Lord. Those who are willing to go through God’s assigned deaths will come to know the power and glory of God’s resurrections. There not only are three deaths but three resurrections as well.

There are some aspects of redemption that come about through the death of Christ and other aspects that come about through His resurrection. We cannot obtain the desired goal of rest in God through death alone or through resurrection alone. We must have both death and resurrection in order to achieve the will of God.

So great was the pleasure of God over the obedience and faith of Abraham that God called to him from Heaven. There are not many instances recorded in the Scriptures in which God spoke to people from Heaven. This was a special occasion. Abraham here typifies the saint who is brought to the limits of consecration and faithful obedience to God.

When we consider all that was involved in this incident we are staggered at the degree of consecration that God required, and also at the strength of obedience residing in Abraham, who was more than one hundred years of age at the time.

We appreciate the quality of stern obedience in the Lord Jesus. Jesus is so much better than we that we are not too astonished at His willingness to go to death, even though His death was more painful spiritually and physically than anything we can imagine.

Abraham, however, was a human as frail as any of us. He had not been born again of Christ. His willingness to slay Isaac portrays the sublime heights that can be attained if we are faithful in pursuing Christ with all our might. From Abraham’s consecration to the will of God came exceedingly great fruitfulness and exceedingly great strength and dominion.

That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; (Genesis 22:17)

The blessing that comes to us from reading the life of Joseph is derived partly from the knowledge of the years that Joseph spent in prison, of the days of his consecration and death to his own ambitions and desires.

Jonah also speaks to us of the life that comes from death (Jonah 2:6).

One of the most dramatic and helpful examples of our death in God is that of Job. Billions of people have lived on our planet. Job was one person from among those multitudes. Yet, few people have made an impact on the personalities of their fellow humans equal to that of Job. His name is a household word, at least among Christians. Why is this?

Job was a wealthy man. He was not distinguished as a prophet, priest, or king, merely as a righteous, wealthy individual. Job followed after righteousness and hated wickedness.

The priceless legacy that Job has left is the story of his suffering in the Lord, the account of his death and resurrection in God. The life of Job would have had little effect on the rest of us if he had lived out his life without incident as a wealthy, righteous person.

Job became one of God’s eternal witnesses because of his suffering and his restoration. Powerful interventions of God in the life of an individual produce a powerful witness of the Person and way of God. It is our death and resurrection that create change in other people.

Both Abraham and Job teach us that what we receive from God must be received twice. Until God removes our gifts, the gifts possess us. After God has taken them away in the fire of His judgment, and then has restored the gifts that are part of His plan for our life, our gifts no longer possess us. We worship them no longer.

Instead we, under God in Christ, are set free from the bondages that can result from relationships with other people, from circumstances, and from things. After we have been freed from the bondages, and worship and adore God alone, we are ready to receive Divine fruitfulness and dominion.

Another of the important Old Testament portrayals of our death and resurrection in consecration to God occurred in the life of Jacob. It is found in the thirty-second chapter of the Book of Genesis.

Jacob had been blessed of God. Much of Jacob’s achievement in life had been forced by guile and cheating. Finally there came a day when Jacob had to return and face the consequences of his actions, particularly his actions concerning his brother, Esau.

Isn’t it true of us that we accomplish much by guile and cheating? There always comes that day when God calls us to death and resurrection in Himself. If we successfully endure our contest with the Lord we emerge from the battle greatly enlarged in fruitfulness and strength.

Jacob sent his family across the Jabbok, a tributary of the Jordan River, into the land of Canaan. Jacob himself remained alone. This is a type of giving all to God in preparation for our struggle unto death and life.

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. (Genesis 32:24)

We can bring no one with us through our consecration wrestling. It is well if there is another person in whom we can confide and seek counsel and prayer; but there only is so much that others can share, only so far they can go with us. Eventually we wrestle alone in the night. The contest is between God and His saint.

We wrestle "until the breaking of the day." If we let go we lose the fight. If we stay in the contest long enough the morning light will break.

And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. (Genesis 32:25)

The thigh of man is the place of both fruitfulness and strength, the center of reproduction and physical stamina and exertion. We always are affected in the realm of fruitfulness and strength when we prevail with God Almighty.

And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. (Genesis 32:26)

In spite of his guile, Jacob was a determined individual. God told him that the morning was at hand. Jacob was seeking God’s peace, God’s blessing, deliverance from the power of Esau, the favor and protection of the Lord. Jacob prevailed with God, just as we can prevail once we determine that we must have the favor of God.

And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. (Genesis 32:28)

Jacob means supplanter, schemer, trickster. Israel signifies he struggles with God. The change of name indicates a change of personality, blessing, and inheritance. Prior to the struggle, Jacob was in the habit of getting what he wanted by scheming and trickery. After the struggle he came to realize the only way to obtain anything of value is to receive it by struggling with God. This is the lesson we learn when we die in Christ and are raised in consecration to God.

And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. (Genesis 32:29)

As a result of the wrestling match, Jacob became more interested in God than he was in obtaining the answer to his prayer. The same change of attitude occurs in us. In the course of our consecration-wrestling we come into such closeness to God that we become more interested in God Himself than we are in obtaining what we sought originally.

And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. (Genesis 32:30)

No man can see God and live. How, then, could Jacob live after seeing God face to face?

The answer is, part of Jacob died. He died and was raised again in God just as we die and are raised again as the result of our consecration-wrestling. We come to the point of believing all hope is gone; but somehow our life is preserved. Not only do we now have the answer to our prayer but—best of all—we have come to know the Lord.

And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh. (Genesis 32:31)

Jacob now had a lame hip and he limped for the remainder of his life. He had been touched in the region of fruitfulness and strength. Now he was bound forever to God, having always to depend on God for support.

We, too, learn to depend always on God for help and support as a result of our consecration-death in God. No longer are we able to accomplish our goals by our own will, abilities, and scheming. From this point on we are weak in ourselves and must depend on God for every victory. In the sight of God, this is the necessary condition if we are to be entrusted with increased fruitfulness and Divine strength.

The fellowship of His sufferings. The eternal life that we seek comes from death. Aaron’s rod sprouted with life after being laid up in the Most Holy Place. If we will place all our ambitions and hopes before the Presence of the holy Fire, and then leave them there until the Lord moves, there will come forth the buds, blossoms, and almonds of eternal, incorruptible resurrection life.

The buds are the first sign of resurrection life. The blossoms are the forerunners of the fruit to come. The almonds are the final result—the Nature and Presence of Christ fashioned in us.

Whatever comes forth after having been placed and left for a season in the Presence of the fire of God has been resurrected from the dead. It has been accepted eternally in the sight of God.

The only means by which the Life of Christ can come to other people is by our death.

Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: (Colossians 1:24)

Eternal life has come to the Body of Christ because Christ was obedient to death. The resurrection Life from God flows from death just as crops on a farm spring from the seed that has been sown in the ground. The only way by which the Life of Christ can keep on coming to the members of the Body of Christ is by the death of those who minister, as they follow the Lord Jesus in denial of self.

People cannot live from what we give to them from our own personality. People partake of God as the result of our having been willing to die the death that God has required of us. As we choose to die to self the Life of God raises us up. In the process of that raising, the saints to whom we are ministering are nourished with the resurrection life that is raising us.

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

If we are willing to be crucified with Christ, to share His sufferings, we will deny ourselves to the point of death, as the Lord leads. We will set aside our own life each day and pursue His desires for us, whether or not we enjoy them.

Such self-denial will bring death to our first personality; but from this death will flow His resurrection Life. The result will be expanded areas of fruitfulness plus the possession of the strength of God Himself. "Christ lives in me." This is fruitfulness. This is Divine, eternal strength.

Are we willing to become servants of Christ, each of us being part of the Servant of the Lord (Isaiah 42:1)? If so, we must walk humbly with God to the point of being deprived of our lawful rights. The result will be a generation of fruit so great it scarcely can be described.

There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth. (Psalms 72:16)

Notice the following:

In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. (Acts 8:33)

Christ was not treated justly. His life was taken from Him. Christ was deprived of the material blessings that were His right as a righteous son of Abraham. It appeared that He would have no descendants. But who could possibly measure the amount of fruit that has come to mankind as the result of the willingness of Christ to be thus deprived? Who could count the number of His "descendants"?

Philippians 3:10 speaks of our being brought into the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ and of being conformed to His death. If we suffer with Christ through the depths of the consecration into which God leads us, spiritual life will be brought to other people.

Of course, we never suffer to pay for the sins of others. The full payment was made by Christ. Rather, our suffering is the sowing of ourselves to death in God. Then, when the Spirit of God raises us from death, the power that raises us flows out toward other people and the result is eternal life in them.

The sufferings of Christ into which we are brought are described in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah. Again, let us state we do not atone for the sins of others as did the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet we are invited to suffer in God so the fruit and strength that flow from our ministry will be Divine and not merely human. Also, we are filling up that which remains of the suffering of Christ.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:3)

Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: (Colossians 1:24)

The same type of rejection happened to Joseph, to Job, to Jeremiah, although not as severely as in the case of Christ. If we decide to take up our cross and follow Christ we may be despised and rejected and experience sorrow and lack of esteem. And this from people whom we are attempting to serve!

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)

We may be required to suffer the envy of others, oppression, affliction, and yet be directed of the Lord to offer no complaint nor attempt to justify our position. It is not easy to travel the road of consecration with Christ, but it is the only route to the Presence and power of the Father.

God Almighty will accept only the life that He brings forth in us—life that flows from the crucifying of our flesh and self-will. We are to not open our mouth but allow God Himself to vindicate our behavior.

And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (Isaiah 53:9)

Christ set aside His own life to the point of death. In this manner He overcame all the power of the enemy. It is difficult to imagine what Jesus must have felt when He heard Pilate in one breath declare Him to be perfectly innocent and in the next breath sentence Him to death as a criminal. The injustice of it!

Pilate knew well that only the envy of the leaders of Israel had brought Jesus of Nazareth to trial. If we follow the Master we must be prepared to suffer this type of perversity and unfair treatment.

In the eleventh and twelfth verses (following) we behold the fruit that resulted from the willingness of Christ to follow the Father through the death and resurrection of consecration. We see the strength and dominion that have resulted from his obedience to death.

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:11,12)

Christ will witness the fruit of the travail of His soul. Much fruit has been brought forth already throughout the two-thousand-year period since His crucifixion. So great will be the increase of the fruit of Christ in the days to come that the earth will be filled with the Life and Image of Christ.

Every saved person on the earth will reveal something of the fruit of the travail of the soul of Christ, when He endured the dark hour of Gethsemane.

We too will witness the fruit of the travail of our souls. Although our portion is on a smaller scale than that of Christ, yet the principle remains the same. One day the Apostle Paul will be able to view the results of his faithfulness to death. We believe Paul will be satisfied when he is made aware of the incomprehensible extent of the effect of his Epistles on the history and civilization of the world.

We also, if we are called of God to endure severe pruning of our personalities and accomplishments, will experience a corresponding abundance of fruit. The other products of our consecration to death and resurrection in Christ will be a position of responsibility in the Kingdom, greatly increased strength, and opportunities for service.

Because Christ was willing to pour out his soul to death He will receive the spoil due a conqueror. Strength to rule is the direct result of obedience to God. The only Christians who will attain the highest levels of rulership in Christ will be those of whom God requires the deepest depths of sufferings in Christ.

The crown is produced by the cross. If we suffer we will reign. If we enter the bonds of His suffering we will experience the power of His resurrection. It is the conqueror who will rule with Christ.

To sit on the right hand and the left hand of Christ is assigned to those for whom these positions have been prepared by the Father. They will be required to drink of the cup of Christ and to endure a baptism of suffering like His.

There was no need for Christ to experience the first area of redemption, that of initial salvation, because He was guiltless in the sight of God.

There was no need for Christ to experience the second area of redemption, that of sanctification, because He was without inherited or acquired sinful tendencies and practices.

The only area of redemption of benefit to Christ Himself was that of self-denial. Christ learned obedience by the things He suffered.

For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:10)

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; (Hebrews 5:8,9)

Christ was made perfect by suffering. By suffering He learned obedience to God. We also are made perfect by suffering. By suffering we learn obedience to God.

When Christ was in the flesh He offered prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death (Hebrews 5:7). This reminds us of the wrestling of Jacob with the angel.

We also, as we become older and stronger in the Lord, find ourselves in the wrestling match with God. We struggle with God in the throes of death to our self-love. This is the area of conquest.

If we desire to go all the way through to the fullness of redemption we must die and be raised into the Person and Presence of the Father. Here is the ultimate in self-denial. Here is the ultimate in obedience. Here is the ultimate in fruitfulness. Here is the ultimate in Divine strength and dominion over the works of God’s hands.

As soon as we have died this death and have been raised in this resurrection the fire of God no longer will harm us. The second death no longer has authority over us. We are alive in God eternally, having been declared to be a son of God by the resurrection from the dead. The sentence of the court of Heaven is that we be raised from the dead in the fullness of Divine Glory to meet the Conqueror as He descends with His saints and holy angels.

Christ: the Servant of the Lord. The three areas of redemption accomplish several different goals.

Salvation obtains for us preservation in the Day of Wrath.

Sanctification releases us from the bondages of our sinful flesh and fleshly mind so we may be free to pursue the Spirit-filled life of righteous and holy behavior, and also to bear witness and serve in the Kingdom in the will of God.

Conquest brings us into the fullness of our inheritance as sons of God.

The Book of Isaiah has much to say concerning the Servant of the Lord.

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. (Isaiah 42:1)

Chapter 42, and other chapters of Isaiah, describe the ministry of Christ—Head and Body. Christ is the Servant of the Lord God of Heaven. We are being created the fullness of the Servant, the Body of Christ.

The Servant is the elect of God, as Jesus said: "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit" (John 15:16).

The Soul of God "delights" in His Servant. We are being created a delight to the Lord. "I have put my spirit upon him." The reason we have received the Holy Spirit is that we may become part of God’s Servant, God’s Anointed Deliverer of whom the Hebrew Prophets spoke.

"He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles." The task of the Servant, Christ, is to judge and bring justice to the peoples of the earth, in addition to establishing Israel as God’s people. The Servant of the Lord will march throughout the earth at the appearing of Christ, destroying sin and liberating the nations of the earth.

The kingdom of darkness will be crushed under the feet of the Servant of the Lord. No vestige of that kingdom will remain. All the earth will abide under the law of Christ. A rod of iron will bring release to those who obey Christ and receive His lordship; but the rod will bring destruction to the rebels.

He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. (Isaiah 42:2)

The Servant of the Lord does not force people and circumstances in his own strength and scheming. He waits on God until the Spirit of God brings all people, circumstances, and things into line with the will of God.

A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. (Isaiah 42:3)

God works patiently with each of His elect until the individual learns to be patient. The Servant of the Lord learns from the Father to be gentle, to minister in patience and love. Many souls can be delivered from the fires of destruction if we do not lose our patience with them.

In the above verse (Isaiah 42:3) there is hope for the weak Christian. It is our conviction that God will save the weak members of the Church and establish them in beauty and glory in the new Jerusalem.

We must keep in mind, however, that there is a difference between the weak Christian and the lukewarm Christian. The weak Christian, as we are using the term, is one who has had little light, has had meager opportunity to grow in the Lord. There is scriptural hope for the weak.

There is no such hope for the lukewarm, careless, foolish believer. He will be vomited from the Lord’s mouth. He will not rise to meet the Lord when He comes. Outer darkness is his destiny.

He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. (Isaiah 42:4)

As we are dying and being resurrected in God we come to many points of seeming failure that tempt us with discouragement and disappointment. Then the touch of God strengthens us and failure is transformed into victory. Encouragement comes forth from the grave of discouragement at the voice of Christ and we receive the eternal strength and patience that are necessary for accomplishing the will of the Father.

Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the Lord’s servant? (Isaiah 42:19)

We must die and be raised in God in order to attain blindness and deafness. We find the same thought in II Corinthians 4:18:

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (II Corinthians 4:18)

As we die in God we are tempted to criticize other people and to attempt to place blame on others for our troubles. Also, we become vexed because of the wicked, unjust practices in the earth. Our faith is tried because what we see in the natural realm is so contrary to what the Spirit of God is showing us to be the right way to live.

Our task—and it is very difficult at times—is to refuse to look at the things that are seen and to fasten our gaze on Christ. This means we must cease criticizing other people, cease blaming others for our problems, cease fretting over the wickedness in the earth, and cease worrying over the possible outcomes of our impossible circumstances.

The Servant of the Lord is blind and deaf to the people, circumstances, and things that are bringing him into the death and resurrection of union with God. He waits patiently for the wisdom and power of the Father to relieve the pressure.

God’s Servant does not judge after the hearing of his ear or the seeing of his eye. He waits for the Word of the Lord before he passes judgment or responds to a situation. The end result of such obedience is extraordinary fruitfulness and irresistible strength.

The resurrection power and Life of God surround the Servant of the Lord.

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (Isaiah 43:2)

Here is a portrayal of our conquest experience, our death and resurrection in the Father. We pass through the waters of trials, troubles, denials, discouragements, humiliations, persecutions, and God is with us throughout each painful episode. We pass through the rivers of active opposition, fighting, pressure, envy, but they cannot conquer us because of the resurrection Life from the Father that keeps on protecting us, guiding us, and lifting us up.

We walk through the midst of God’s judgment, but we become judgment-proof by the blood of Christ and by confessing and forsaking our sins. The flames roar up all about us but there is nothing left in us that will ignite. We are becoming pure gold in God and the heat and pressure no longer can harm us. The fiery trials only make us more pure. We are alive forever in Christ.

As to fruitbearing:

He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit. (Isaiah 27:6)

As to overcoming strength:

Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. (Isaiah 41:14,15)

Mountains and hills symbolize the governments of the earth and the powers that rule in the earth. The Servant of the Lord will judge these governments and powers and bring them down into obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. All opposition will be cut into helpless chaff before the onslaught of the Servant of the Lord.

Such threshing and beating small is impossible until the Church is ready to become God’s "worm." "Wormology" is one of the more important branches of theology.

We may not enjoy the thought of becoming God’s worm. We do not mind being termed lions or eagles or some other animal that commands respect. But worms? Never!

It is impossible for the Christian Church to bring about the Kingdom of God in the earth other than by becoming a worm. Being a worm has nothing to do with compromising with the world or with currying favor with man. God’s worms never attempt to build anything with the help or approval of the flesh. We do not need so much as a shoelace from the world. The less we lean on the arm of flesh the more fruitful and powerful we will be.

Being a worm in the true sense means being meek in the sight of God. It means allowing our rights and privileges to be removed unjustly and not resorting to scheming and trickery in the attempt to bring about our own victories.

Being a worm means waiting on God and allowing Him to deny us our desires and to bring us into unpleasant situations. The worm does not murmur or seek to justify its position. The worm is God’s worm, not man’s worm. Our attitude and approach toward God must be one of humility and patience. Worms are humble and patient.

We are not to strike back as does a rattlesnake. We are to keep on burrowing through the messy problems and circumstances under which we nearly are suffocated. In Christ we never suffocate because He raises us up continually.

For two thousand years the major segment of the Christian Church has attempted by means of its own wisdom and strength to accomplish the work of the Kingdom and to impress the world with the rightness and power of its cause. The Church desires to convince the world that the Church is of God and should be esteemed and its statements obeyed.

All such attempts are futile because the methods employed are contrary to the mind of God. In the last days, just before Christ appears, the holy remnant of the Church will understand God works through our death of consecration and our stern obedience to Christ.

Our task is to allow God to have His way in us, to be perfectly obedient. Then the Holy One of Israel will come thundering forth, bearing witness of Himself through the Body of Christ. When He does—and the Scripture promises that He shall in the last days—the Body of Christ will be filled with glory and multitudes of earth’s peoples will be brought into the righteous ways of the Lord.

In that hour of worm-like dependence the Church, having wrestled with God to the death, hardly will notice that all its desires are being fulfilled in abundance. Now, as was true of Jacob, the eyes of God’s saints will become so fixed on God that everyone and everything else will fade into secondary importance.

The Church will become enraptured with the Person of Christ. The single-minded, adoring contemplation of Christ will bring all other persons, circumstances, and things into proper perspective. Such gaining of perspective is true of each of us today who is willing to trust God to the point of ceasing to grasp our own desires and allowing our worship of Him to ascend to first place in our faith and thoughts.

How we enter conquest. The third area of redemption, that of self-denial, is the most trying and difficult of the three deaths and resurrections. Yet, self-denial, the bearing of our personal cross, is the only route to the greatest fruitbearing and the greatest power and glory in Christ.

Are we willing to be brought to the point of ultimate obedience? How does one come to this place of obedience to the Father?

First, we must give our consent to such obedience and faithfulness to God. It is necessary we tell the Lord Jesus with our mouth that we are determined, by the wisdom and strength He provides, to follow Him with a perfect heart.

It also is helpful to tell others of our determination. When the situation is appropriate it is neither proud nor boastful to state Jesus is our Lord and that by His grace we will serve Him with our whole life. Our verbal statement of our determination will help to strengthen our resolve, and will challenge others in our group who may need that extra bit of encouragement from us to push them over the line of indecision into the ranks of the conquerors in Christ.

Pursuing the life of victory in Christ does not require unusual will power, spirituality or any other extraordinary resource on our part. Every Christian should be—and can be—an overcomer in the Lord. Our part is to obey Christ when He commands us to do something. God’s part is to make it possible for us to perform our act of obedience.

The concept that there is a "permissive" will of God for the disciple of Jesus who will not obey God’s "first" will for him, is utterly false. The only true disciple of Christ is the person who is following Jesus with singleness of purpose. The indecisive, halfhearted, guilt-ridden "profession" of Christ we see about us is not Christian discipleship as described in the Scriptures.

There are many fine people who have come into our churches and who are upset about the sin in the earth. They may have received Christ as Savior and been baptized in water. But until they receive Christ as their personal Lord they are not disciples of the Lord. They are not victorious saints, and the rewards assigned to the victorious saints will not be given to them. When God begins to speak through His prophets some of these people will leave the assembly.

Only the disciple is the true Christian. The remainder are church-attenders who subscribe more or less to the truths of the Kingdom.

In certain instances the believers have been deceived into assuming that indecisive playing around the edges of the faith, halfway measures of obedience, are acceptable to God the Father. Most assuredly they are not! God, in His love, is waiting for us to climb out of the valley of decision. Either we are obeying Christ or we are not obeying Christ. There is no middle ground.

Each member of the Body of Christ must learn to bear endlessly with people who are attempting to come into a right relationship with God through Christ. We must always be full of encouragement, patience, understanding, toward the less fervent Christians.

We shall live to see the day when all the wishy-washy, halfhearted compromising is swept away by the broom of destruction. There will be no more wavering between two opinions. In that day there will be no person joined to the Body of Christ, to the Servant of the Lord, who has any reservations about going through the full death and resurrection God requires.

The Christian disciple carries his cross as a soldier. He marches after Christ. He is a son of God. He endures hardness. His mind is girded with resolve to obey Christ through the suffering that comes his way. He renders immediate obedience as soon as he is certain Christ indeed has spoken.

He wastes no time counting the cost. He is up and after Christ each day. He seeks the will of Christ with his whole heart. He is dependable, steady, faithful unto death.

In the areas of imperfection in his life he submits meekly to the rebuke and chastening of his Lord. If you ask him if he is doing the will of Christ, he will answer, Yes! His conscience is clear. His heart does not condemn him.

If there is only one such person on the earth, then there is only one disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ on the earth. If there are ten such people on the earth, then there are ten disciples of the Lord Jesus. There are ten true Christians.

Many are being saved from wrath; still others are following on through sanctification to increased knowledge of the redemption that is in Christ. In the present moment of history, God particularly is interested in developing the quality of obedience. Total obedience on the part of each saint is essential to the successful conduct of the Battle of Armageddon.

They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: (Joel 2:7)

After we have given mental and vocal consent to becoming servants of Christ we must set ourselves to accept the joys and sorrows that will come to us. The Father most certainly will take us at our word and bring us successfully through the many experiences necessary for perfecting us in His Person and will.

There is a price to pay for such glory. All precious things have a high cost.

The cost of not following the Lord Jesus with a perfect heart is far greater than the cost of obedience. The waters of eternal life are freely given but we have to turn away from Satan in order to receive them. The price of not obeying the Lord Jesus is the loss of our inheritance as a son of God. We ought to consider many times what we are doing before we sell our inheritance as a son of God for the relationships, circumstances, and things of the world.

Do not lightly regard the fact that Christ, the King of Glory, is offering to you the joy and blessing of the Fullness of His Presence, His very throne.

The development of obedience in us must run so deep that our mental and vocal consent are the merest beginning. The Spirit of God assumes the task of developing obedience in us. Then the hammering commences.

The Ark of the Covenant was overlaid with gold, representing the fact that our glorious house from Heaven will "swallow up" our mortal flesh (II Corinthians, Chapter Five).

Also, our deepest inner being is becoming the gold of God’s Substance. We are being created the Mercy Seat, the Lid of Reconciliation, the place of the Presence of the Consuming Fire of Israel, the eternal throne of God, the covenant of God with people.

The Mercy Seat must be hammered into shape, it cannot be cast into shape from a mold. Moment after moment, day after day, month after month, year after year, the hammering on our Christ-filled personality continues. Will it never cease?

Each painstakingly aimed hammer blow touches some nerve, some point of our old nature. The old passes away and the shaped-and-refined new takes its place. It is not a fun-filled game.

With endless patience God taps, taps, taps, taps. We are brought down to the border of discouragement. We come close to despair. God watches carefully for the breaking point to see if we are getting too close to the edge of collapse.

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. (Isaiah 57:15,16)

Day after day. Day after day. Is there no end to the hammering? The Lord Jesus smiles patiently, having experienced the hammer blows Himself.

Our will is ground in the mill of God and the Substance of Christ is "beaten small" and pounded into our will until the two wills are indistinguishable. Each will is present, vital, undamaged, honed to razor sharpness. The two wills, Christ’s and ours, have been beaten fine and pounded together until God has been formed in us and is dwelling in us both to will and to do His good pleasure.

Let us rejoice because the throne of glory is being fashioned in us. Also, the defense of the glory, the wall of the new Jerusalem, the eternal resistance to all sin, is being created in us (Isaiah 4:5).

Covering the Mercy Seat are the two Cherubim of Glory. One is judgment and the other is mercy. Judgment and mercy. The fullness of God’s judgment and the fullness of God’s mercy. God does not sit on the Mercy Seat. God dwells between the Cherubim of Glory. There is no need for God to sit anywhere for He is All-energy, All-power, All-authority, All-goodness, All-wrath, All-mercy. God is everywhere and Everything at once!

Christ is seated on the highest throne of glory and we are seated together with Him and in Him. However, in order to maintain our place in Him, to keep possession of our crown, we must allow the Father to bring us into obedience, into the fullness of death and resurrection in Himself.

We are to follow the Holy Spirit in all matters. We cannot take hold of the program of redemption and manage it. Each of us has been called to a different place in God’s Kingdom. The full extent of our death and resurrection in God will depend on the place of responsibility and service to which we have been called. The calling of the Lord God of Heaven is upon us. Our task in life is to respond wholeheartedly to that call.

The first and second deaths and resurrections are somewhat the same for everyone. We all must accept Christ and be saved, and we all are commanded to repudiate sin completely and to learn to live in the Spirit of God.

When we come to the area of conquest, while it most certainly is true that each of us must say yes to Jesus when He speaks to us, yet the working out of death and resurrection in God varies from person to person.

There is only so much forming and testing we can stand. To aspire beyond our measure is to be plagued with spiritual ambition. Spiritual ambition runs perilously close to Satan’s rebellion. Let us be content, rather, with what is required of us as an individual. The accompanying challenges will prove to be as difficult as we are able to endure.

Summary: Conquest Defined

We have set forth some of the aspects of the third platform of redemption, that which we have termed conquest.

We have learned that the process of conquest includes undergoing death to the elements of our personality that are not immoral and, from some points of view, are apparently desirable. Self-reliance is an example. Self-reliance will never be resurrected in God. It is not part of Christ.

The death involved in conquest is in contrast to the first two deaths: death to the world, and death to sin—to the things that are unlawful.

The area of conquest includes judgment on all that our first personality is and does, not just what is worldly and unlawful. It is a reaping to the Father.

The three members of the holy Trinity have to do with all areas of redemption.

The Lord Jesus Christ especially is prominent in developing the area of salvation, because it is by His atoning blood that we are saved from wrath.

The Holy Spirit especially is prominent in developing the area of sanctification, because it is by the wisdom and power the Holy Spirit provides that we are able to overcome the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

The Father especially is prominent in the area of conquest. Even the Lord Jesus Himself had to be made perfect in obedience to the Father.

All Christians know God is our Father. We come to know the Father in an even greater measure when we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into the fullness of death and resurrection in the realm of obedience to His will.

Christ asks you: "Will you lose your life for My sake and the Gospel’s?"

What is your answer?

THE BLOWING OF TRUMPETS

The emphasis in the third area of redemption is on our perfection, our obedience, our ascent to the throne of Christ, our fruitfulness, the dwelling of God in Christ in us, and the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The Blowing of Trumpets occurs on the first day of the civil year. Today the observance is termed Rosh Hashanah (the head of year). The blowing of the trumpets calls attention to the nearness of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which is celebrated on the tenth day of the first month of the civil year (the seventh month of the religious, ceremonial year).

The name of the seventh month of the Jewish sacred, ceremonial year is Tishri. Tishri is the first month of the agricultural (civil) year. Since the blowing of Trumpets is celebrated on the first day of the first month of the agricultural or civil, year, Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah ) is celebrated as New Year’s Day. The shofar (ram’s horn) is sounded in the local synagogues.

We see, then, that when the Church arrives at the three subfeasts of the third major convocation of Tabernacles (Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and the week of Tabernacles itself) we have arrived at the beginning of a new year in the Lord.

It is not that we forsake the previous lessons and ways in which the Lord has worked in and with us. The previous experiences have brought us to the place of newness in Christ. We are becoming new creations in Christ.

Just as the Jews have two overlapping years, so it is in the Kingdom of God. We have in our experience a "religious year" of faith, doctrines, and observances. These have to do with our "coming out of Egypt."

When we come to Trumpets we are entering the "civil year" of doing business for the Lord in the earth. Trumpets heralds the coming of the Kingdom of God into the earth.

First, the Lord of Armies enters our heart and establishes His throne there. After this He will come in the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the blowing of Trumpets. The Trumpet of the Lord will sound and the King, the Lord Jesus Christ, will descend from Heaven with His saints and holy angels.

Every eye will behold Him and we, to the consternation, confusion, and terror of our enemies, will be caught up in the clouds along with the dead in Christ to meet the Lord Jesus in the air. So shall we ever be with the Lord.

The Blowing of Trumpets is the fifth of the seven Levitical feasts described in the twenty-third chapter of Leviticus.

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. (Leviticus 23:24)

The number five symbolizes the beginning of the Kingdom of God. You may recall that animal life was begun on the fifth day of creation. The bronze Altar of Burnt Offering (Exodus 27:1) was five cubits square. The height of the linen fence (Exodus 27:18) that surrounded the Tabernacle of the Congregation was five cubits.

Both the bronze Altar and the linen fence stood at places where an individual first encountered the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Five pillars supported the door of the Holy Place. The fifth article of furniture, the Altar of Incense, was placed directly before the Mercy Seat.

The blowing of Trumpets (feast number five) signifies the beginning of the conquest of the material creation by the Lord Jesus Christ working in and with His anointed Body.

The greatest things in Christ are yet ahead of us!

The sounding of trumpets, in the Scriptures, often is in connection with warfare.

So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. (Joshua 6:20)

And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. (Judges 7:20)

My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. (Jeremiah 4:19)

For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? (I Corinthians 14:8)

The forces of righteousness and the forces of sin and rebellion are drawing near to the battle of the ages. Although sin is yet to reach a hideous flowering in the earth, nevertheless the end of darkness is at hand. The Christian Church is in travail today, bringing forth the Body of Christ. As soon as Christ has attained the necessary level in His saints the battle will be joined. The kingdom of darkness will be cast from the heavens and then from the earth.

The end is in sight. The full redemption of the Year of Jubilee is at hand. The wrestling match will be concluded when Christ in the Church pins the adversary to the mat, totally destroying Satan for all eternity.

Christ is passing among the members of His Body in these days, looking for those who will be faithful enough to be in His army. He requires officers and men of the sternest discipline. Will you be one of these?

The coming of Christ is the coming of the King, the Lord of Armies. His appearing is that of God’s Conqueror who will set up His reign in the earth. The trumpet of God will sound, announcing the Presence of the rightful King and Heir.

So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. (II Samuel 6:15)

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; (Joel 2:1)

And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:31)

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (I Corinthians 15:52)

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (I Thessalonians 4:16)

The trumpet of God announcing the return of the Lord Jesus is made up of seven trumpets.

And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. (Revelation 8:2)

The Lord will appear and we shall be changed, at the sounding of the last of the trumpets.

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (I Corinthians 15:52)

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)

The Blowing of Trumpets is celebrated by each of us when we welcome the Lord Jesus into our heart as King of kings and Lord of lords. The Blowing of Trumpets will be celebrated in the kingdom-wide fulfillment as He descends from Heaven to take over the rulership of the earth.

The eighth chapter of Revelation reveals the connection between Trumpets, which is the fifth Levitical feast, and then the Altar of Incense, which is the fifth of the holy furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

As the Spirit-empowered, Christ-filled prayer and praise ascend to the Father from the Body of Christ in the days in which we now live, the hand of God Almighty will be moved and He will command His angels to sound the trumpets announcing the return of the King. This marks the entrance of the Kingdom of God into the earth.

And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. (Revelation 8:2,3)

The trumpet was employed to alert Israel, and to prepare the nation for the march.

Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps. (Numbers 10:2)

Also, the trumpet was blown by the Church toward God to remind Him of his promise concerning His chosen people.

And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the Lord your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. (Numbers 10:9)

The trumpet represents the worship, supplication, and intercession that must proceed from the Church as it assembles to serve the Lord Jesus. We need to direct our attention toward Heaven and not become too occupied with our earthly needs and desires. The first commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the Lord your God. (Numbers 10:10)

The Lord remembers us when we praise Him and pray to Him. It is possible to go through all the activities of the churches and then forget to worship the Lord and beseech His help. Prayer comes before even the ministry of the Word. (Acts 6:4).

The Glory of God will be present among us when we pray.

It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the Lord, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord; so the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God. (II Chronicles 5:13,14)

If such worship and praise ascended to God under the old covenant, what should worship and praise be like under the new covenant?

The voice of the prophet was employed as the trumpet of God to reveal to the Israelites their sins and to warn them of the consequences of sin against the Lord their God.

Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)

The close relationship between the Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the coming judgment and deliverance (redemption) of the earth and its people, can be seen in the trumpet of the Jubilee.

Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. (Leviticus 25:9,10)

The trumpet of the Jubilee was sounded on the Day of Atonement.

We have seen, then, the importance of the trumpet in the Scriptures. We are discussing the third death and resurrection of redemption, our dying to self so we may realize the will of God more perfectly.

We are being raised into the fullness of God’s purposes in Christ, particularly those purposes having to do with the destruction of Christ’s enemies and the judgment and deliverance of the nations of the earth.

The concepts associated with the blowing of the trumpet have direct bearing on the Kingdom purposes of the Lord God. The Blowing of Trumpets is the New Year’s Day of doing business in the Kingdom of God. We are emerging from the ecclesiastical forms of religion and coming into the union of the spiritual and the material in such a way that the material realm is brought under subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Kingdom of God shall have been established when God’s will is done in the earth (the material realm) as it is in Heaven (the righteous part of the spirit realm). We have seen that the earth always is governed by spiritual forces and that the purpose of the redemption in Christ is to change the governing spiritual forces from those of wickedness to those of righteousness.

The trumpet, as mentioned in the Scriptures, is related to spiritual warfare. The next feast after Pentecost is Trumpets, signifying that after we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit we are to enter the war against the Lord’s enemies.

The greatest of all battles, Armageddon, is yet ahead and is associated with the return of the Lord Jesus from Heaven. The Battle of Armageddon will result in the destruction of the armies of wickedness and the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

Meanwhile, Christ is being formed in the heart of every true Christian. Each time we are willing to go through the death that the Lord requires, and the accompanying resurrection, Christ is strengthened in our inner man.

If we cooperate totally with the Holy Spirit, the process of death, resurrection, and strengthening of our inner spiritual nature will continue until Christ is reigning in us and with us in complete power and glory.

We are to consent voluntarily to Christ’s Lordship. It is not that we lose our own will. It is true rather that His will and our will are ground together in the mill of tribulation until the two wills become one.

In this sense, the Day of the Lord, the thousand-year Kingdom Age, has its beginning in the heart of each saint. There is coming in the future a kingdom-wide Day of the Lord including a Jubilee of release for the prisoners of the earth. But the true essence and quality of the Day of the Lord are obtainable now to "whosoever will." The personal fulfillment in our life of the Blowing of Trumpets brings us into our personal day of the Lord, our personal rule of Christ.

Holy Spirit-empowered prayer and praise play a large role in our experience of the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. The feast of Tabernacles is the third death and resurrection we encounter in the program of redemption.

We cannot stand up under the pressure being brought to bear on us as we are being pruned back, and still further back, until we are willing to keep on praising the Lord and praying instead of fainting. "Men ought always to pray, and not to faint."

We are tempted to blame other people and to grumble as the Lord brings us through the fires of judgment. We must keep on seeking His face in prayer and keep praising God for His faithfulness—even when we cannot see the end of the tunnel. Otherwise we shall be defeated just before the fullness comes.

There is no way to enter the land of promise, the fullness of Christ, other than through spiritual warfare. God does the fighting when we come from Egypt but we do the fighting in order to enter Canaan.

The climactic spiritual battles cannot be fought by people who are alive in their own wills, their own ambitions, their desire for preeminence, their own plans and ways. The battles of God can be fought only by those who have been through death and resurrection in the Lord God.

The River Jordan represents the third death of redemption and the land of promise is the third resurrection. We have come to the end of all that we are attempting to be and do, and now are ready to accept the suffering of Christ. The Lord’s army consists of warriors who have died and been raised in God.

Because they have been resurrected, in this spiritual sense, they are invincible. The Lake of Fire has no authority over them. They fall on the sword, the Word of God, and cannot be wounded. The sword of the Lord already has accomplished its final work in them. They can be hurt no longer. They are free in the Son and alive eternally.

These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. (Revelation 17:14)

We are "called" in the first death and resurrection. We are "chosen" in the second death and resurrection. We are proven "faithful" in the third death and resurrection.

Joel’s Army and the Day of Christ. The following passage describes the army of Christ that will descend with Him against the wicked forces of the earth, judging them and destroying them, and delivering the peoples of the earth from the oppression of the wicked spirits who currently are occupying vantage points in the heavenlies.

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; (Joel 2:1)

The trumpet of the Spirit of God is blowing in the churches today. An alarm is sounding throughout Zion, the Body of Christ. The Spirit is not saying to us, "Sleep on. Everything is fine. Do not bother to seek the Lord because no matter what happens on the earth you will not be disturbed during your pursuit of material rewards and advantages."

Rather, the Spirit of God is speaking to us to seek Christ with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, to stir up our gifts, to pray, to praise, to arm ourselves to suffer in the flesh and endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ.

Now is the time for us to allow the Holy Spirit to make us wise and tough spiritually because the Lord Jesus is preparing to tear down the forces of wickedness in the heavenlies. These forces are not going to be pleased with the removal of their ancient privileges of ruling the earth. We need to stay close to the Lord Jesus so we will not lose sight of the Lord and be swept away or deceived during the heat of the conflict.

"The day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand."

The Day of Christ will not be a dainty era during which we sit on fleecy clouds playing golden harps. The Day of the Lord, the period when God judges the earth through Christ, Head and Body, will be the most terrible intervention of Divine wrath and judgment yet known on the earth— far more terrifying than the flood of Noah.

The people of Noah’s day did not have to bear the sight of the Son of God in the heavens, the innocent Lamb executed without cause, now returning in the fullness of His wrath to avenge Himself on the sinners and rebellious of the world.

A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. (Joel 2:2)

Before the Lord Jesus appears, the earth will experience a period of apparent security and peace for everyone. There will be one worldwide government. There will be a religious organization, void of the Spirit of God, that will work together with the government to keep everyone in control.

Unity and order will be brought about and war will be absent. The peoples of the earth will be occupied with buying and selling, marrying and giving in marriage. They will assume peace and prosperity have come to stay. It will be a time of peace and prosperity apart from Christ.

Then, as a thief in the night, the Lord Jesus and His "great people" will appear. All who have made a covenant with Him and have accepted Him as their Savior and lawful King will be protected during the invasion. This will be a frightful period of violence and destruction.

Can you imagine the reaction of the rulers of the earth, and the peoples under their administration, when all realize Christ actually is the Son of God and the rightful ruler of the earth? If Christ never did anything else other than appear in the clouds and call up His army, the nations of the earth would destroy themselves in their wrath and frustration. However, they will not have that opportunity. Judgment will be brought upon them through the Lord and His army.

There are several passages of Scripture that emphasize the fact that the Day of Christ will be a period of darkness on the earth. One of the more prominent of these passages is found in Isaiah:

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. (Isaiah 60:2)

At the time of the coming of Christ the world will be in total spiritual darkness. The appearing of Christ will be as the morning sun arising to burn away the mists and bring the light of the Day of God.

We notice the same description in Zephaniah:

That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, (Zephaniah 1:15)

Again, we find in the Book of Revelation that this darkness is the judgment of God on the forces of evil in the earth.

And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, (Revelation 16:10)

The concept here is that God will pour out His wrath directly on the "peace and safety" that have been created in the earth apart from the Lordship of His Son. At the climax of the wrath the Son Himself will appear with His army of faithful saints. Then will be brought to pass the onslaught described in Joel 2:1-11. Those who ride with Christ in that day will be "a great people and a strong." The world never before has witnessed an army like this. These are the mighty men of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are "called, chosen, and faithful." God has tested and proved them in every manner conceivable. Their training has not been an easy one.

Like Joseph of old they have been shut up in prison for a long period of time while being tested by the Word of the Lord.

David’s mighty men were formed and bound to him in the wilderness before Saul died in battle. Many mighty men of the Lord Jesus are being formed and bound to Him now, at this time, so they may be prepared to ride with Him at His appearing.

These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. (Revelation 14:4,5)

The concept of not being defiled with women has to do with the freedom of Christ’s "firstfruits" from the defilement produced by Christ-displacing union with institutions, things, situations, and people. The firstfruits are the first reaping of the vine of mankind. There is no guile, no Jacob-like supplanting, trickery, knavery, in their behavior. They are simple, clear, direct, forthright—just like their Lord, Christ. The warriors of the Lord Jesus stand without fault before the throne of God.

And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off. (Micah 5:8,9)

The above passage is a picture of the savagery of Christ acting through His Body in the Day of the Lord. At that time, those of earth’s peoples who resist His rule will be overcome and destroyed.

A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. (Joel 2:3)

The Lord Jesus and His army will descend from the heaven to an earth that has achieved peace and prosperity under an ungodly rule—the rule of a government that has rejected the Lord Jesus Christ. The land is as the garden of Eden before them, meaning that all the fair works of the flesh are in the path of the Lord’s soldiers. They could inherit the fair works of the flesh if they wished, but the sons of God will accept none of these because the stench of demons and of the appetites of flesh and human self-will is on them.

The flaming judgment of God issues from them. They leave behind them a burning desolation. Before the members of the Body of Christ can rebuild the earth the works of the flesh must be consumed with fire and the remains plowed into the ground.

Nothing shall escape the army of Christ! When Israel invaded Canaan they won some excellent initial victories; but soon their will to conquer began to weaken as they met determined resistance from the Philistines.

This will not be the case with Christ’s soldiers. They have been trained, trained, trained by the Holy Spirit. They are tough, well-disciplined, organized in the Spirit to perfection. They will follow Christ and none other.

Christ’s soldiers possess His love of righteousness and hatred of sin and rebellion. They are invincible and they have an unconquerable desire to please Christ. They never will show mercy to the enemies of God. They cannot be stopped or appeased. On and on they will march until every enemy of Christ has been judged and destroyed.

The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. (Joel 2:4)

The army of the Lord is a mobile striking force. Their charge is that of a cavalry. The horses are spiritual creatures and transport their riders with speed and strength unparalleled in the material realm. There are other passages where the same vision is described:

Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters. (Habakkuk 3:15)

And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)

God’s horses of war are as fierce as their riders.

He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet. (Job 39:24)

The appearing of Christ with His mighty men will occur with the sound of a furious onslaught.

Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. (Joel 2:5)

Christ will descend from the heaven as the advance of a roaring fire that consumes everything and everyone in its path.

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: (II Thessalonians 1:8)

The world will have established a well-developed culture and imposing institutions under the guidance of the lords of darkness. The culture and institutions will possess none of the saving Presence of Christ in them. They all shall be destroyed at the appearing of the Lord and His saints.

Anyone who thinks that the members of Christ’s army are anything like the double-minded, pleasure-loving, churchgoers of our day has no concept of the Divine strength and fury being created in the personalities of God’s saints in the present hour.

David had many extraordinary warriors in his army. Notable among them were the Gadites.

And of the Gadites there separated themselves unto David into the hold to the wilderness men of might, and men of war fit for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains; (I Chronicles 12:8)

The Gadites exemplify several characteristics being created in the saints in the present hour. First, they were separated to David, that is, they gave themselves wholly to their lord.

The Gadites did not attempt to satisfy both Saul and David so they would be accepted by whichever side prospered. They chose one side. The true saints of God always must go outside the camp with Christ, bearing His reproach. In one way or another this decision will be forced on each of us.

Christ is "in the wilderness" today, and King Saul (the flesh) is on the throne. Saul tolerated the growing popularity of David as long as Saul profited and was not injured in any way. But soon Saul’s true murderous instincts for preeminence revealed themselves.

So it is today that organized Christianity may accept the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In the days to come, as the Body of Christ begins to emerge from the Saulish sectarian structures, the true nature of all sectarianism will come out of hiding and show itself to be the murderer of Christ.

How many contemporary religious organizations do we see possessing the pure desire to allow the Holy Spirit to exalt Christ to absolute preeminence in the Body of Christ?

The Gadites were men of strength and experience in battle. They were swift and courageous. The saints of today are being made strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. The strength of the saints is the strength of faithfulness, holiness, and obedience. By many methods of His own choosing the Holy Spirit is guiding us into ever-increasing faith and strength in Christ.

Little by little we are maturing in the ability to resist the flesh, the world, and the adversary. We are gaining skill in using the shield of faith to quench the fiery arrows of the wicked one. We are learning to pray, to praise, to meditate in the Word, to look to Jesus for solutions instead of to other people. We are not as easy to frighten or to deceive as when first we were saved.

We are learning to lean on the wisdom and strength of the Lord Jesus.

The Gadites were men of war, fit for the battle. They always were prepared for war. They were skillful in warfare. We Christians are being alerted by the trumpet of the Lord. We understand we are being prepared for the conflict of the ages. To this end we are learning to endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ. We are refusing to entangle ourselves with the affairs of the world.

The Gadites could handle shield and buckler (a small, round shield). They were excellent in defending themselves against thrusts of the sword. Many times each day there are thrusts of the enemy aimed at us. As the Lord teaches us we learn how to parry each thrust. Hard words from the world. Harsh treatment from Christian people. We learn to turn all this aside in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ sets a table before us in the presence of our enemies and we are enabled to look only to Jesus and to forget those who would do us harm. We may live in an ocean of envy and perversity, but we ignore the venom and press forward with our eyes fixed on Christ.

The faces of the Gadites were like the faces of lions. The saints who ride behind Jesus will have the same ferocity of countenance that will characterize His appearance. This is not a committee of kindly philosophers. These are the Lord and His warriors. They are intent on establishing the Kingdom of God in the earth.

The soldiers of Christ have endured rugged training under the watchful eye of the Lord God. Now their hour has come. The conquering saints have one objective, and that is to please Christ and to bring all power into subjection to Him. They will show no mercy on sin. All whom they confront either will receive the rule of Christ or will be destroyed. There will be neither softness nor wavering in their attack on sin. Each has the visage of a charging lion.

The Gadites were as swift as the gazelles on the mountains. Jesus charged some of His listeners with being slow to believe. There is a sluggishness of understanding that characterizes people who nominally are Christians but who still are longing for the things of the world. They are slow to move, slow to believe, slow to receive, slow to learn, in the area of spiritual warfare.

Such is not the case with Christ’s warriors. They are swift to obey, swift to believe, swift to learn, swift to hear the voice of Christ and to move in savage fury against the enemy. The army of Christ will move with a speed not attainable in the material world. Its descent from the heaven with Christ will come upon the earth with such speed and force that no power available to the ungodly will have any chance of slowing its charge. This is the end of the kingdom of darkness but the bringing of deliverance and peace to every person on earth who is willing to obey the Lord Jesus Christ.

Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. (Joel 2:6)

When the conviction of the Holy Spirit comes upon people they appear to be in pain. Their faces reveal their inner torment. This conviction and pain will be multiplied many times during the appearing of Christ. Like Judas of old, the peoples of the earth will hurl down the gold and silver for which they were willing to trade Christ. But, as in the case of Judas, it will be too late for those sinners. The doors of mercy will be closed eternally against them. The frightful fate of Judas Iscariot will be theirs.

The rebellious will rage against God in that day, and the screams of anguish will be a thousand times more intense than in the days of Noah. It will be too late for those who have rejected Christ and chosen Antichrist. The year of the Lord’s redeemed has arrived.

They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: (Joel 2:7)

The "mighty men" mentioned above are those who have allowed God to deal with them until their own strength has been brought down to weakness. They have been faithful to the point of death to their self-will. God has clothed them within and without with His eternal strength. They can run and never grow weary of running. They can walk and never become tired. They possess in themselves the inexhaustible, eternal Life of God Almighty.

They have learned how to surmount obstacles by the Lord’s wisdom and power. While nominal Christians are blaming other people, Satan, and God for their pain, the members of the Lord’s army have been taught to look only to Christ for the solution to each problem, no matter how great or how small that problem may appear to be.

Christ’s soldiers waste no time grumbling about their circumstances or blaming other people. They bring each matter to the Lord Jesus. Through Him they receive the ability to overcome each difficulty. They will carry this ability and all other training given them by the Lord into the Day of battle that is coming.

Each of Christ’s soldiers marches on his individual way. He has learned the voice of the Spirit and he does not make side excursions into areas that interest him but are of no profit to Christ. He has learned to follow the Spirit of God each day with intense concentration.

He is not easily led off the track. When he does get off the path, the Lord reproves him and leads him back to the way of truth. There is no place among the ranks of Christ’s soldiers for people who can be led away easily from the mission that is before them. The Lord’s warriors come straight ahead and their concentration, their singleness of purpose, is terrible to behold.

They do not break their ranks. They do not allow the enemy to penetrate their wall at any point as he attempts to drive a wedge between brothers and thus become able to wound some Christians from the side or back. They understand the main tactic of the enemy is to accuse their brothers in the Lord. These soldiers have had created in them such a holy wisdom and Divine hatred of sin that evil is destroyed at every point at which it comes against them.

No matter how fierce the defense against them becomes they do not stop their advance. They possess the certain knowledge that Christ is invincible. They trust Christ with their whole life as well as with their eternal salvation in God’s Presence. Therefore they cannot be frightened into yielding.

The conquering saints have come to realize God always will support the Word of Christ and that there is no other power as great as Christ’s. As a result, their ranks never break or weaken. They are an irresistible tide of Divine fury rolling across the earth—a global holocaust. This is the Lord Jesus Christ and His army.

Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. (Joel 2:8)

One of the principal devices of the enemy is to tempt Christians to thrust one another. Not only are there a thousand divisions in the Body of Christ, but in each local assembly the envy, jealousy, criticizing, backbiting, go on continuously. The pressure for such behavior comes from the "accuser of the brothers."

The Holy Spirit is teaching us today concerning the unity of the Body of Christ. He instructs us that all division in the Church originates in the Satan-inspired fleshly nature.

The Holy Spirit commands us to cease from all criticizing of one another as individuals. We are not permitted to blame, criticize, or otherwise find fault with another person.

There occur instances when we must rebuke (or even separate ourselves from) a fellow Christian because of his or her sin against us or against God. This is different from maintaining a critical, judgmental attitude toward our fellow saints because they do not always behave in a manner we deem proper.

Freedom from criticizing other people can be a difficult place in Christ to achieve. Such personal victory is necessary if we expect to ride with Christ in the Day of the Lord. We are not allowed to join with Satan in the accusing of our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Whatever evil is directed toward us through the world or through Christians we are to take to the Lord. We achieve victory over each problem by Christ’s wisdom and strength.

Sometimes it becomes necessary for us to speak and defend ourselves. In such cases the Lord will lift us up from the realm of criticism and hatred and help us act as a true Christian. In most instances we are wiser if we wait for the Lord to take care of the evil that is attempting to wound our spirit.

The members of the Lord’s army do not thrust each other when they become irritated or provoked. They move as one in Christ, having learned how to look only to Him for the solution to every problem, for the healing of every wound. They do not attempt to assign blame to other people.

Each soldier of Christ has learned to walk in his own path. There are many experiences in life that are lawful for Christians. But for the saint there is only one will of God for the moment. The will of God extends down to the smallest detail of our life.

Either we are in prayer at any given time and seeking the will of the Spirit or else we are living carelessly according to our own impulses and thoughts. The true son of God walks straight ahead in the Spirit, praying over each step he takes, continuing in supplication and thanksgiving.

There is only one acceptable path for each Christian. It is our responsibility to look to the Lord Jesus continually, insuring that we are in the center of His will in every circumstance.

The Word of God, the sword of the Holy Spirit, tests our way, tests our deeds, tests our words, tests our motives, tests our imaginations. The sword of the Word cuts deeply into us, dividing the soul and spirit, the joints and marrow of our bones. The thoughts and intentions of our heart are revealed.

Every part of our personality must be tested by the Divine fire until only the gold of God’s Substance remains. Then when we ride with the Lord in that day, the sword of judgment no longer can wound us.

The Day of the Lord is the day of the judgment of all spirits and people. The sword of the Spirit will turn this way and that, piercing and slaying all in its path. The army of Christ can fall on the sword and not be wounded. Even the Lake of Fire has no harmful effect on the Lord’s conquerors.

They have been crucified with Christ and it is Christ who is living in them. Neither sword nor fire can in any manner injure the Lord Jesus Christ.

They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. (Joel 2:9)

The evil forces of the end-time will rule from the cities of the earth, or perhaps all the cities will be combined into one large city. It seems the major portion of the frightful judgments of the last days will be poured on the cities, on the headquarters of the rule of Antichrist and the great Babylon (man-directed, institutional Christianity).

The Lord and His army will invade these centers of demon rule. They will tear down every wall, every defense, that men will erect against Christ’s appearing. The sons of God will enter every home, judging the inhabitants concerning their attitude toward the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the horror stories with which we entertained ourselves as children there are descriptions of monsters coming to our windows and peering in. We shrieked in horror at the imaginary sight of weird faces as we huddled in our house in terror.

The reverse of this will come to pass during the Day of the Lord. The practitioners of every ungodly, filthy, demoniacal wickedness will be cowering in their houses in that day. Then at the windows of their dwellings will appear what will be to them the most tormenting sight in the universe—the faces of God’s saints radiating a pure light as bright as the sun. The Divine brightness will expose every filthy practice, every unclean deed, word, and fantasy in which the demon-possessed revel.

The peoples of the earth already are practicing in their houses filthy works that the saints are not allowed to mention. In that day the filth will have reached its climax. The Spirit-filled saints of the Lord will break into every dwelling, bringing the Divine light into the private moral cesspools.

The demon-possessed will crouch in their dark corners in terror just as the demons screamed in fright whenever Jesus of Nazareth came close to them. Their homes may be barricaded in those days but the righteous will break into their privacy unhindered.

The Day of the Lord will surprise the hypocrites like a thief in the night.

The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: (Joel 2:10)

So great will be the onslaught of Christ and His army that the earth will shake. The heavens also will tremble. The army of Christ will affect not only the wickedness in the earth but in the heavens as well.

Every person, spirit, and thing in the universe, physical and spiritual, will tremble when the army of the Lord begins its march. All acts of men and angels will be brought into judgment. Nothing will be able to stand before the advance of this army. It is the avenger of all the sin and rebellion against God that has ever occurred. The army is filled to overflowing with the power and fire of Divine judgment. God has delegated to His army the execution of His wrath, and the army is instantly obedient to God.

The sun, moon, and stars will cooperate with the saints by ceasing to give their light, just as in the time of Joshua. Darkness will cover the earth, but the light coming from the sons of God will be as many suns.

The Light of the Lord’s Presence will bring into terrible contrast the distinction between what is holy and what is unholy, what is clean and what is unclean. The brightest light in the world in that day will be the Light of God Almighty in Christ radiating from the invading troops.

And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? (Joel 2:11)

Christ will shout from the mouths of His troops just as a warrior gives his battle cry. The Lord will roar from Zion in anticipation of the battle. Those who are riding with Him are called, chosen, and faithful. The camp of the Lord is very great. Remember that God promised Abraham that his Seed (Christ) would be as the "stars of the heaven" and that His Seed would "possess the gate of his enemies."

There are many saints in the Lord’s army, disciples who have been set aside for this hour from the time of the creation of mankind. It truly is the greatest of all armies, some of the soldiers already having had thousands of years of experience in the knowledge of Christ. Each warrior has been tested in every area of personality and conduct and has been proven faithful.

God the Father has assigned all authority and power in Heaven and on the earth to His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This authority and power is resident in the Lord’s army. Nothing in the heavens or on the earth will be able in any manner to withstand the march of the army whose Commander in Chief has the full support of God the Father.

The Day of the Lord indeed will be both "great and terrible." The only persons who will be able to endure the terror of that Day will be those who have made their covenant with God through the blood of Christ. Only those who have obeyed the Lord God will be able to survive the onslaught of the Lord Jesus and His troops.

The Spirit is testifying that the marching orders soon are to be issued to Christ and His army.

PREPARATION FOR WAR

The Book of Joshua teaches us many aspects of warfare.

And Joshua said to the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you. (Joshua 3:5)

The Word and the Spirit are telling us that God will do great things. It is an hour of preparation.

Sanctify yourselves! Sanctify yourselves! Sanctify yourselves!

There come times in the history of the Kingdom of God when God is ready for a major step forward. In order to be prepared for God’s move we must sanctify ourselves. We must set ourselves apart as holy to God’s Person, purpose, and ways.

We must address ourselves with renewed determination to serving the Lord. We must repent, putting out of our lives all that is not holy. The things we are doing that are merely good must give place to that which represents our most sincere efforts and dedication.

Today is one such time. God is ready to perform wonders in the heavens and on the earth. The Spirit of God is exhorting us and warning us to turn to the Lord with the greatest diligence of which we are capable.

All sin must be put away. We must forsake all competing and distracting interests, ambitions, plans, and desires, take up our cross, and follow the Lord Jesus Christ.

If we prepare ourselves we will be ready for the worldwide harvesting of souls that is at hand. If we do not prepare ourselves we will fall into the snares of the devil, because tribulation and temptation are at hand.

We must watch and pray, watch and pray, watch and pray so we may be able to stand in the Presence of the Son of Man. To be able to stand spiritually throughout the shaking that is coming on both the spiritual and material realms will require total consecration to Christ. Jesus will provide us with the wisdom and strength to go from victory to victory throughout earth’s darkest hour.

When gross darkness covers the peoples of the earth, the light of God’s Spirit will arise on the saints.

And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, And pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people. (Joshua 3:6)

God is speaking to His leaders and teachers today. We are to set an example to the Lord’s saints. What we preach we are required to practice. We cannot expect the people to stop sinning and take up their cross until we stop sinning and take up our cross.

It is the responsibility of God’s preachers to "pass over before the people." There is to be no more moneymaking, no more seeking our own advantage and gain from the Gospel of the Kingdom. We are to lay down our lives so the resurrection life of Christ may enter those who hear us.

The Ark of the Covenant represents the Presence and will of God, the testimony of His holiness and righteousness in Christ.

And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee. (Joshua 3:7)

God has richly anointed and blessed the ministries of the Christian Church as they have labored throughout the centuries. Multitudes of people have made their peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. There have been a few individuals who have pressed past the rudiments of salvation and have found their joy in the Spirit of God. They have come into a fuller relationship to Christ than has been true of the majority of believers.

In addition, the Christian Gospel has inspired social reform and works of mercy in many areas of human life, such as the improvement of the educational opportunities of children, nursing care, abolition of slavery, prison reform, and providing for the poor. In numerous instances Christian people can be found at the heart of benevolent, humane enterprises.

God indeed has magnified the spiritual and social works of those who have labored in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ours is a new day. The Kingdom of God is at hand. What was envisioned by the Prophets of Israel is soon to come to pass in the earth.

We are witnesses of what happens when mankind trusts in its education and achievements apart from the Lord God. Wars, famines, rape, perversion, murder, hatred, and every other abomination fill the earth. The harder man works apart from God to achieve peace and abundance the more he is denied peace and abundance. Meanwhile the humble of the earth who trust in the Lord find peace and the supplying of their needs.

The abomination that produces desolation is here already. The trinity of man is 666—man attempting to make himself God.

Whenever man makes himself a god, such as in the religion of Humanism, the inevitable result is desolation—spiritual, moral, financial, intellectual, artistic impoverishment.

We of the "civilized" nations are approaching the midnight hour. The wheat and the tares are growing toward maturity. Christ and Antichrist are heading toward the ultimate confrontation.

God will provide in the near future a power to bear witness that will make the true believers more than conquerors in Jesus’ name. The fullness of the witness is portrayed in symbolic form by the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11. Christ will bear witness through and with His saints, warning both His Church and the world of the nearness of His Presence. The Day of Wrath is just around the corner. The world is to repent of its wicked practices and believe in the Good News of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

The end of the present age is near. All the works of men will be exposed for the pitiful groping and gleaning which indeed they are.

The Lord God of Heaven is displaying before the creatures of the heavens and the earth the folly of existence apart from His glorious Presence and blessing.

Jesus is coming soon. In preparation for His coming the Lord is issuing to His elect wisdom and power without precedent in the history of mankind. "Greater works than these shall ye do".

We have witnessed the blessing of God on the Christian enterprises of the past and present. Now "Moses is dead." God is speaking to "Joshua." The Lord is enlarging the dimension of militancy, of spiritual warfare, that is part of the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb.

The spiritual control of the world will not be yielded by Satan and his followers without a fierce, vicious struggle. The armies of Satan consider the earth and its peoples to be their inheritance, not the inheritance of Christ and His saints.

We now are in the Levitical Blowing of Trumpets, to speak in terms of a scriptural type (Leviticus 23:24). It is the time of spiritual warfare. The Jubilee is near, the hour of release from the tyrant who has held the peoples of the earth in spiritual chains and slavery (Leviticus, Chapter 25). Satan and every one of his followers are to be driven from the presence of the peoples of the earth.

The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. (Psalms 24:1)

What right do Satan and his angels have to keep on destroying the inhabitants of the earth, to keep on bringing the curse of God on the inheritance of the Lord Jesus Christ?

We Christians are being trained to fight in the conflict of the ages. We were called by the Lord Jesus. We have been chosen because we responded wholeheartedly to the call. Now we are being proven faithful as we serve the Lord in difficult and vexing circumstances that are testing our patience.

The war has commenced already. Are you standing against the enemy in your assigned place?

The ultimate confrontation will be the Battle of Armageddon. This is the invasion in which Christ attacks Antichrist and destroys him out of the earth.

Today the Lord Jesus, in anticipation of Armageddon, is beginning to confront His people with the realities of spiritual warfare. Every day we are presented with a new challenge, a new lesson to learn. Has this been true in your life?

This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel.

We can see that the God of Heaven is "magnifying" this new dimension of Christ. Christ is becoming to us the Lord of Armies. We are beginning to perceive the enormous authority and power of the galactic Christ—authority and power that control the heavens, the earth, and the spiritual prisons in the interior of the earth.

We have not passed this way before. Change is upon us. The Kingdom of God is at hand. The authority and power to crush Satan under our feet, which have been designated as belonging to us by the Lord Jesus, were gained on the cross of Calvary and will be completely, perfectly demonstrated throughout the universe as the Kingdom of God is exercised in the victorious saints, in the Church, and finally in every creature in the heavens and on the earth.

The conflict of the ages in all its fury is upon us. The cross of Christ is leading the way. The soldiers of the cross are standing up for Jesus.

Will you stand in your place "round about the camp"?

YOU CAN BE AN OVERCOMER

We are pardoned by God the Father when we believe in Christ. Now what do we do? Do we wait until we die so we can escape from the pain of this life and go to live eternally in Heaven? Or do we set out to gain the Kingdom of God, to attain the first resurrection from the dead?

Is our goal to die and go to Paradise? Or is our goal to live in the fullness of the resurrection power of Christ?

If the rewards described in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation actually are the fruit, the result, of the behavior we are practicing today, and are not unrelated "gifts" that will be handed out to all who profess belief in Christ whether or not they learn to live as saints, then it is important that every believer understand what it means to overcome—to conquer according to the guidelines of the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation.

The term overcome refers to a struggle. It is a fight between two or more personalities, two opposing forces, two wills. The one that overcomes is the force that manages to impose its will on its adversary.

Basically, two wills are involved in the Christian warfare—God’s will and Satan’s will. God’s will is being performed in Heaven. To a certain extent, and always with Christ’s permission, Satan’s will is being performed in the earth. The Kingdom of God is the performing of God’s will in the earth as it is in Heaven.

The believer chooses whether to agree with God’s will or with Satan’s will (Romans 6:16).

A person believes in Christ, is baptized in water, and thus becomes a Christian. His sins are pardoned. God hears his prayers. If he should die he will be saved from the claims of Satan and his demons.

Let us assume the individual was saved at the age of twenty and lives to be seventy-five years of age. He acts, speaks, and thinks on the earth for fifty-five years after receiving Christ as his Savior.

How important is it that he act, speak, and think in righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God? Is he limited, in the Christian redemption, to being pardoned while the spirit of the world compels him against his will to act, speak, and think in unrighteousness, uncleanness, and disobedience to the God of Heaven?

Does the Lord Jesus Christ save us from our sins or in our sins?

The question is, is it possible through Christ to overcome the world, or are we doomed to failure? Does the New Testament teach that we can conquer sin and disobedience to God, or does it teach that as long as we are in the world sin will have dominion over us?

The New Testament teaches us that the Christian redemption includes pardon from the guilt of sin and also the ability to overcome the power of sin. It warns that if we do not lay hold on the freely given grace of Christ until we conquer our sinning we stand in jeopardy of serious loss in the Kingdom of God.

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. (Romans 6:14,15)

Therefore, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:12,13)

Notice how verses twelve and thirteen (above) are in the context of, and have a direct bearing on, the resurrection from the dead (Romans 8:11).

Two forces are resisting each other in our lives. The Holy Spirit and Christ in us are striving to perform the will of the Father. Satan, the world, and our flesh and self-love are striving to perform the will of Satan. This is true in our actions, our words, and our motives and imaginations.

Which force will win, in our case? Which force will overcome, will conquer? Which force will maintain control of our behavior and be displayed in the earth? This is the challenge of the Christian discipleship.

It is not a question of who possesses the greater power. Christ possesses infinitely greater authority and power than is true of Satan.

The question has to do with our faith and truth. Faith is the victory that overcomes the world.

If we desire to perform God’s will while we are on the earth, and if we believe Christ can and will enable us to perform God’s will, then we gradually will learn how to conquer our lusts and self-will. Little by little we will gain the upper hand. Through Christ we actually will conquer the sin and death that reside in our flesh and in the world.

The sin and pride in our actions are burned and driven out. The sin and pride in our speech are burned and driven out. The sin and pride in our motives and imaginations are burned and driven out.

We do not conquer sin and self by our striving, although God expects us to use what strength we have in choosing to perform His will. But the true and eternal victory comes as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the total destruction of sin and self-seeking from our personality.

The Lord Jesus through the Spirit of God is leading us to victory upon victory. Lust is fleeing before the army of the Lord. Lying is being destroyed. The gossiping tongues are being stopped. Fornication is being speared through by the Word of God.

Self-seeking is being crucified. Satan’s personality and works are being crushed, cut in pieces, speared through, denounced and mutilated in every conceivable manner as Christ comes to us in the power of the latter rain.

Through Christ’s grace we are conquering. We have chosen to conquer. The written Word states that we can conquer. God is giving us the faith to conquer. We will not cease until all sin of action, all sin of speech, and all sin of thought have been driven out of the earth.

We are looking and hoping for new heavens and a new earth in which dwells righteousness of conduct. Is this what you desire? Then have faith in God. God has determined to destroy the works of the devil, through Christ, not only in the heavens but also on the earth.

Is this what you truly desire? Would you care to live in a world in which there is no sin of any kind? Not even one tiny sin? Not even your tiny sin and disobedience to the Father?

If an uncompromising Yes! roars from the depths of your personality, then join the ranks of God’s conquerors. He has placed His Spirit of Holiness eternally in you. Let your faith be strong. You are moving toward complete and perfect victory in the Lord Jesus Christ.

If, however, a timid and fearful Maybe proceeds from your heart, then you need to ask God for faith. The timid and fearful cannot possibly enter the new Jerusalem.

You are the one who will decide. Satan has no power to overcome you if you choose to serve the Lord. In order to conquer a Christian, Satan must persuade him to believe a lie. Satan must successfully deceive him in one way or another.

In order to overcome a saint, Satan must enlist the saint’s cooperation, either by lust, or pride, or an incorrect understanding of the written Word, or in some other manner that prevents the believer from choosing to conquer in Jesus’ name.

People can be healed from sickness in Jesus’ name, if they will put their trust in Christ and obey Him. People can be healed from sin in Jesus’ name, if they will put their trust in Christ and obey Him.

Both sickness and sin are works of the devil, although sometimes God uses sickness in order to accomplish His purposes in us. It is not a sin to be sick.

We can conquer sin if we will follow Christ. We can be established in righteousness if we will read what God has written to us and then mix faith with that holy Word.

We can gain the upper hand over the works of the devil.

We can conquer.

THE DAY OF ATONEMENT

Previously we described the application of the Blowing of Trumpets to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and to our riding with Him on the war horses of God. Now we will examine the events associated with the Day of Atonement, the sixth in the order of the seven Levitical feasts (Leviticus, Chapter 23).

The Day of Atonement is especially rich in symbolism, in terms of our redemption, because it is feast number six. Mankind was created in the image of God on the sixth day of creation. The Day of Atonement portrays the crowning work of God in redemption. Therefore it is placed just before the "rest of God."

The rest of God is typified by the seventh feast, the feast of Tabernacles, and signifies the full possession of our inheritance and our deliverance from all the enemies of God and man.

The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur ) is celebrated on the tenth day of the seventh month. It was the only day of the year when the high priest of Israel was allowed into the Most Holy Place. The anointed priest went behind the veil and sprinkled blood upon and before the Mercy Seat to make an atonement for his own sins, and then for the sins of the nation of Israel.

The second act of the observance of Yom Kippur was the confessing of the sins of Israel and the laying of them on the "scapegoat." The scapegoat then was led away into the wilderness by a man appointed to that task.

The word atonement includes the concepts of covering over sin, of appeasing (propitiating) the wrath of God, of forgiveness, of annulment of debt, of remission (forgiveness) of sin, of reconciliation, and of healing. Every factor necessary for the complete reconciliation of a sinful human being to the holy Lord God of Israel is contained in the atonement made by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The term mercy falls short of describing all that is contained in the Divine atonement. We can have "mercy" on someone, and then let them go their way and ignore them. God’s atonement brings us from chaos of body, soul, and spirit all the way to change into the image of Christ and union with Him.

Surely this is more than merely the showing of mercy. This is reconciliation in the fullest significance and implications of the term. The Mercy Seat could be termed more correctly the Lid of Reconciliation. The Day of Atonement is the day of reconciliation. It is the moment when we are brought wholly into the Presence of Christ and God, and when judgment and deliverance are extended through the Church to the nations of the earth.

The Day of Atonement is described in the sixteenth chapter of the Book of Leviticus:

And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. (Leviticus 16:2)

Aaron’s two sons had just been slain because they had offered incense in an improper manner before the Lord God. God now was impressing on Aaron that the sanctity of the Most Holy Place was not to be violated and that any person who dared to behave in a presumptuous manner in the Tabernacle would be slain.

God Himself was dwelling between the wings of the covering Cherubim of Glory.

And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house. (Leviticus 16:5,6)

Here is one of the major differences between the priesthood of Aaron and his and the priesthood of Christ. Aaron and his sons were required to offer bulls for their own sins. Christ never had to offer any sacrifice for His own sins because He was without sin. His sacrifice was offered for us.

Two goats: two dimensions of the atonement.

And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat. (Leviticus 16:7,8)

There is an important concept revealed in the preceding passage. There were two goats, not just one goat. One goat was offered for a sin offering. It was the Lord’s goat. The other goat remained alive and was let go into the wilderness. It was the scapegoat. These two goats portray the two aspects of the atonement.

The first aspect occurred on the cross of Calvary, in which the sin offering was made and the guilt of sin was removed.

The second aspect of the Day of Atonement will take place at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The presence of sin will be removed from the Church, and finally from the whole world, just as the scapegoat was removed from the camp. "To them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" Hebrews 9:28).

Christ is not satisfied with appeasing the wrath of God and forgiving sin. He will proceed to demolish the power of sin and to remove it from His Body—a process that already has commenced in the conquering saints.

At His glorious appearing, Christ will finish removing all aspects of sin from His Church and then will proceed to remove sin from the nations of saved peoples of the earth. His name is Jesus, not because He saves His people in their sins but because He saves His people from their sins.

The Lord is faithful and righteous, not only to forgive our sins but also to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The atonement made by Christ includes not only forgiveness but also deliverance. It is a complete and full reconciliation to all that God desires and to all that God Himself Is.

And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:9,10)

One goat was slain and one lived. Christ died but He rose again. We are baptized not only into His death but also into His resurrection.

Because Christ lives we shall be saved to the uttermost, meaning we shall be reconciled fully to the Father. There is part of our personality that must die on the cross of Christ. There is a new creation born in us that is alive forever. The Divine redemption includes not only forgiveness, as marvelous as that is, but also re-creation and absorption into the Divine Nature.

Every guilt, tendency, and effect of sin is being removed from us by the authority and power of the Divine Atonement that has been made by Christ. Shall we allow the Holy Spirit to work a perfect work of atonement in us?

The removal of the scapegoat signifies not only the complete reconciliation of the members of the Body of Christ to God but also the removal of the presence of sin from the earth. One of the principal missions of Christ—Head and Body—is the judgment and destruction of all sources and forms of sin in the earth. The planet on which we now are living will be purged of all sin.

Think of it! God will not destroy the present heavens and earth until He first demonstrates for one thousand years that He is able to rule in righteousness on this earth or in any other area that He chooses. God cannot be defeated.

After the Lord has demonstrated His power, wisdom, righteousness, and compassion with clarity, He will cast aside in disdain the material creation—the present heavens and the earth—and create a new heaven and a new earth.

God has made new creatures. He will not permit any element that has been sullied by sin and rebellion to continue in existence in the new heaven and the new earth.

The Lake of Fire will burn throughout eternity. Whoever wishes to do so at that time may go out and observe Satan, Antichrist, the False Prophet, and the souls of people who have rebelled against God.

And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not: (Leviticus 16:12,13)

The cloud of perfume that arose when the holy incense was poured on the hot coals of the censer was an important part of the observance of the Day of Atonement. The fragrance of the perfume was to "cover the mercy seat." This type was fulfilled when the holy prayers and praises of Jesus of Nazareth ascended to the Father, especially in Gethsemane and also during the time of His crucifixion.

The kingdom-wide fulfillment of the enveloping of the Mercy Seat by the holy perfume is described in Revelation, Chapter Eight. The incense, which is the fragrance of Christ, is mixed with the prayers of the saints. The whole is poured on the coals of the golden censer. The holy perfume ascends "up before God from the angel’s hand" (Revelation 8:4).

Then the trumpets of the Lord prepare to sound. There must be an increase in the prayer and praise that ascends from the members of the Body of Christ in our day before God will consent to give the signal for the trumpets to sound that announce the return to earth of the Lord Jesus.

Christ’s appearing: the day of reconciliation. Christ will appear as the complete fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, the day of reconciliation. The trumpets will announce the Millennial Jubilee, the time of the restoration of all things to their rightful owners.

Satan has stolen what belongs to Christ and His saints, but it all will be returned in the Jubilee. Can you believe the kingdom of darkness will be defeated and those who harm the earth will be destroyed? There is nothing anyone can do to prevent it. The Day of Atonement is coming—the day of reconciliation, the day of the completion of redemption.

Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. (Leviticus 25:9,10)

The Day of Christ’s appearing is the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement—Yom Kippur of the Jews. He will appear "without sin unto salvation." The fullness of redemption is yet ahead of us, as the New Testament indicates. We Christians possess the Holy Spirit as the firstfruits and pledge of the Day of Redemption that is yet to come.

The Day of Christ will be the period of reconciliation, deriving its authority from the blood of the cross. The Church will be united with Christ, as expressed in the words: "The marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready."

All sin will be judged and removed from the earth. The Lamb and His Wife will then shepherd the earth with a rod of iron. There will be a peace imposed by Divine force that will endure for one thousand years. During the thousand-year Kingdom Age, the Israel of God and the nations of saved peoples of the earth will be reconciled to Christ and the Father (II Corinthians 5:19; Isaiah 2:2-4).

The third death and resurrection, in which we must deny ourselves and be raised by the power of Christ, is necessary if we are to inherit the fullness of fruitfulness and strength that will bless the nations of the earth during the thousand-year fulfillment of the Day of Atonement (the Kingdom Age).

Today, God is seeking saints who will be able to rule with Him and experience unbounded fruitfulness and dominion. In order for the Lord God of Heaven to give us the fullness of the fruitfulness and dominion promised to the victorious saints He first must make us weak, deprived of the strength that we possessed prior to this most severe of prunings.

To those whom God has made barren will be given the most extraordinary fruitfulness (Isaiah 54:1). To those whom God has made weak will be given the most extraordinary strength (II Corinthians 12:9).

The Divine fruitfulness and strength of the conquering saints will result in their being kings and priests of Christ throughout the Millennial Jubilee, and then on through eternity during the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. "Come, and let us return to the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us, he hath smitten, and he will bind us up" (Hosea 6:1).

And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: (Leviticus 16:14,15)

During the Day of Atonement the atoning blood was sprinkled on the eastern side of the Mercy Seat, the side facing the land of promise. The blood of Christ looks forward to the day when the Church is married to Him in total, complete union, and the earth is free from sin, having been perfectly reconciled to God.

The blood was sprinkled seven times signifying that the blood will work a perfect work of reconciliation in us. As in the case of Naaman the Syrian, when we come up after the seventh "dip" we shall be healed. We shall be as a little child, ready to enter the Kingdom of God (II Kings 5:14).

We are being redeemed "to the uttermost." (Hebrews 7:25).

The redeeming blood of Christ keeps on working throughout all areas of redemption. Each of the Levitical feasts included the offering of animals. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb. We are reconciled to God by the blood of Christ. All through the working out of the phases of our redemption the blood keeps on making up the difference between our actual attainment in holiness and righteousness and the standard of righteous and holy conduct required by the Lord.

We noticed previously that the army that will invade the earth from Heaven will be led by the Commander in Chief who is "clothed with a robe dipped in blood." It is the blood of Christ that will make possible the union of the Church with Christ, and also the cleansing from sin of the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

The blood of bulls and goats was sprinkled on the east side of the Mercy Seat and before the Mercy Seat, no doubt indicating that some of the blood fell on the Ark of the Covenant and some on the ground in front of the Ark. This was the "reconciling" of the "holy place" (Leviticus 16:20).

In addition, blood was put on the horns of the Altar of Incense (Exodus 30:10). This was the reconciling of the "tabernacle of the congregation."

Finally, blood was sprinkled seven times on the "horns of the altar round about" (Leviticus 16:18). Scholars are not in agreement as to whether the "altar" of Leviticus 16:18 refers to the Altar of Incense or to the Altar of Burnt Offering that stood in the Courtyard of the Tabernacle. We have come to the conclusion that it refers to the Altar of Burnt Offering, and that this sprinkling with blood was the reconciling of the Courtyard and its Altar and Laver.

If we are correct, the three parts of the Tabernacle were reconciled: (1) the Most Holy Place, with the sprinkling of the blood on the Mercy Seat and before the Mercy Seat; (2) the Holy Place, with the putting of the blood on the horns of the Altar of Incense; and (3) the Courtyard, with the sevenfold sprinkling of the blood on the horns of the Altar of Burnt Offering.

The blood placed upon the Mercy Seat and before the Mercy Seat speaks of the work of reconciliation in the Holiest of all in Heaven. The Holiest of all in Heaven is the throne of the Father. Also, God has a Most Holy Place in the heart of each saint.

The blood sprinkled before the Mercy Seat reminds us that the way to the throne of God must be sanctified as well as the throne itself. It is not sufficient that we attain our goal in God. We must attain that goal according to God’s rules or we are disqualified.

Christ is the Way as well as the Truth and the Life. The most holy Presence of God is found first in the Lord Jesus Christ. The way to reconciliation to God was opened up for all people when Jesus offered His blood upon and before the Mercy Seat in Heaven.

Next, the blood placed on the horns of the Altar of Incense portrays the sanctifying of the prayer and praise that ascend to God from the Church. The blood of Christ makes our prayers holy and acceptable.

Perfect holiness is being developed in the hearts of the fervent disciples of the Lord Jesus. The work of Christ in the Church will not cease until the Church is perfect—a complete counterpart of the Lord Jesus Christ in every way. The reconciling of this "holy place" is made possible by the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus. Otherwise, our worship, supplication, and service would not be acceptable before the throne of the Almighty in Heaven.

Finally the sprinkling of the blood on the horns of the Altar of Burnt Offering reveals to us that the purpose of God is to fill the earth with the worship of Himself.

The world to be reconciled to God.

But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. (Numbers 14:21)

We learn from the above verse that God, being provoked by the unbelief of Israel in the wilderness, swore by Himself that He would fill the whole earth with His Glory. The filling of the earth with the Glory and praise of God appears many times throughout the Old Testament, as various prophets gave voice to the burden of the Word of the Lord. This particularly is true of the Psalms.

Let all the earth fear the Lord: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. (Psalms 33:8)

Be still, and know I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalms 46:10)

God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness. (Psalms 47:8)

According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness. (Psalms 48:10)

The Sixty-seventh Psalm is devoted to the coming rule of God throughout the earth. This rule will be accomplished during the day of reconciliation, as administered through the Lord Jesus Christ and the Body of Christ.

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him. (Psalms 67:1-7)

It is abundantly clear in the Scripture that God will bless the earth through Christ—Head and Body. First, the blood and Spirit of Christ will work redemption in the Church until the Church itself has been reconciled to God in deed, in word, and in thought.

Then, through the Church, God will reconcile the earth to Himself. This is the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Day of Atonement. The reconciliation will have been completed by the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. After that, the final judgment will take place as the nations rebel, the Divine fire falls, the universe disappears with a terrific noise, and the white throne of judgment appears.

The fruit of the program of reconciliation will be carried over into the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. Christ then will behold the fruit of the travail of His soul and will be satisfied. The work that has been accomplished will prosper in God’s hand forever, age without end.

The enormous fruit and strength gained by the members of the Body of Christ as the result of the work of Divine reconciliation will proceed from and is dependent on the willingness of each member of the Body to deny himself and die the death that the Holy Spirit directs for him or her as an individual.

God’s way is to bring forth life from death. Christ Himself is our example, divesting Himself of His Divine Glory and going to the cross. Because of His willingness to die the death that the Father required, Christ has been given all authority and all power in Heaven and on the earth.

Now it is our turn. Will we believe Christ and be willing to "fall into the ground and die"? Are we willing to lose our life? Are we willing to love not our life to the death?

To save one’s life is to lose it. If we lose our life for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s, exceedingly great fruitfulness and strength will proceed from us.

The high priest, as we have stated, reconciled to the Lord the Most Holy Place, the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and the Altar of Burnt Offering. The threefold application of blood reveals to us that the blood of the Lamb will purify the Kingdom of God, commencing in the Presence of God in Heaven and proceeding downward through the hearts of the saints and out through the earth until the heavens and earth have been reconciled to the Father.

It was therefore necessary the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: (Hebrews 9:23,24)

All the iniquities of the children of Israel were put on the head of the living goat and it was led away into the wilderness. All their transgressions were born away to "a land not inhabited." Here is one of the clearest pictures in the Scripture of the fact that our sins are not only forgiven through Christ but also removed from us by the Lord.

And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:21,22)

Christ did not come from Heaven only to forgive those of earth who would accept His forgiveness. He came to do that but also to remove from the believers all the tendencies and effects of sin,—and finally to judge and destroy all sin from the earth.

The Book of I John deals with sin in the Christian discipleship.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

Here are the two aspects of the atonement—the forgiveness and the cleansing, the dead goat and the living goat.

There are two major historical works indicated here: (1) Calvary, which has to do with the forgiving of the guilt of sin and the destroying of the authority of the devil over mankind; and (2) the next appearing of the avenging Christ, which has to do with the cleansing of the Church and the world from all unrighteousness.

We have spoken, during our discussion of the second death and resurrection, of the deliverance of the Christian from the guilt and power of sin. In the third death and resurrection, that which we have termed conquest, the Christian is to endure the self-denial necessary to bring the blessings of forgiveness and deliverance to other people.

The third area of redemption will not have been completed until the world has been reconciled to God.

We are not teaching that all people ultimately will be saved. There will be some who will not receive Christ as Savior and Lord. These will enter everlasting torment in which there can be no redemption forever.

We have stated before that redemption is past, present, and future. Past redemption has to do with the forgiveness of our sins on the cross of Calvary. Present redemption has to do with accepting the atonement and with washing the robes of our conduct and making them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Future redemption has to do with receiving our glorified bodies and with the judgment and removal of sin from the earth. Future redemption will commence with the appearing of the Lord Jesus from Heaven, although the authority and power of judgment and deliverance are being issued now to a warlike remnant, a firstfruits of the Church. All these acts of redemption are the spiritual fulfillment of Yom Kippur, the most sacred day of the Jewish year, the Day of Atonement.

The next coming of Christ will bring to those who look for Him a redemption free from every trace of the guilt, tendencies, and effects of sin.

If we would be prepared for such a glorious, sin-free salvation, we must be in the process of purifying ourselves now. Our time of preparation is described in the following verse:

And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (I John 3:3)

Another important area of fulfillment of the Day of Atonement is that of the end-time redemption of the Jewish people. The reconciliation of the Jews with their Christ will take place during the dark days of the rule of Antichrist. The Body of Christ will be the instrument the Lord will employ to restore Christ to His own racial family, the Jews.

Asenath, the Egyptian bride of Joseph, is a type of the Wife of the Lamb—she who is being drawn out from all races today, even from the Jewish race. The Bride will be part of Christ, just as Asenath was part of Joseph, when He reveals Himself to the nation of Israel.

In order for us to understand how salvation can come suddenly to a group of people, such as the Jews, we first must realize Christ possesses and can exercise the authority and power to forgive, cleanse, and deliver any person whom He will. Our salvation is not by our works but by the grace and election of the Lord. We do not choose Him, He chooses us.

Notice how the Lord can forgive sin at His pleasure:

And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. (Matthew 9:2)

And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. (Luke 7:48)

Christ reaches down and saves those whom the Father has given to Him. Of course, when He speaks to us we must obey. If we do not obey we run the risk of being among those who are rebels against the Lord and who will be consumed by the fire of eternal judgment.

The concept that Christ can reach down and deliver whom He will is important to our understanding if we are to grasp the whole plan of God. We witness the sovereignty of Christ exercised in the case of Lot, who was delivered from Sodom at the last minute. In this instance, as so often is true, another human being (Abraham) was involved in the exercise of God’s sovereign delivering actions.

We can observe the ability of Christ to reach down and save from darkness in the incident of Saul on the road to Damascus. Saul was forgiven and commissioned to be an apostle before he had had much time to examine the alternatives. We are not saved by works of righteousness we have done, as Paul understood and taught so clearly, but according to the purpose and calling of God.

Paul describes how God in the end-time, after leaving them in blindness to His salvation for so many hundreds of years, will reach down and redeem the people who are Jewish by natural birth. This is a very important fulfillment of the Day of Atonement. It is a sovereign act of reconciliation.

For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. (Romans 11:25-27)

Do you see the sovereignty of Christ in the preceding passage? The Deliverer shall come and He shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. There are no "ifs" involved here. He shall take away their sins.

And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. (Zechariah 3:4)

Christ always retains the power to redeem, to give eternal life, to as many as God has given Him. He saves whom He will, when He will, by the means He chooses. The faith to believe in Christ is the gift of God to us. The desire to repent is the gift of God to us. The thirst for righteousness is the gift of God to us.

Often Christ invites people to share with Him in prayer and in other forms of service as He goes about saving those whom He has chosen.

We have seen that in the end-time Christ will demolish all the works of the kingdom of darkness. He will crush Satan under the feet of the Church.

The most important issue now is that the members of the Body of Christ wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. We Christians must confess our sins and receive the Divine pardon and cleansing, as expressed in I John 1:9.

Next, the members of the Body of Christ must submit to the death of self-denial. After we, by the blood of the Lamb, the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and the fiery trials we must undergo, gain some measure of victory over the world, a further reconciliation to God is yet needed. We must become perfectly and completely reconciled to the will of God. Our will must become one with His will.

Those who ride with Christ in the Day of the Lord must be clothed in the sparkling white linen of righteous conduct. Also, the army of saints are living dead-men. They have been crucified with Christ and now Christ is living in them.

When Abraham climbed Mount Moriah with Isaac at his side he was a living dead-man, a living sacrifice.

The hundred-year-old patriarch walked with firm step having a steady hand on his staff. His path was straight as an arrow toward the stone altar on which he was to slay his only son. Two thousand years later, Abraham’s Redeemer, the Lord Jesus, went straight as an arrow toward Gethsemane and the cross of Calvary, Himself a living dead-man.

Abraham’s heart was an iron weight in his breast. He was dead while he walked. Life, hope, joy, purpose, reason for living, were gone. The Word of God moved the faithful Abraham toward the mountain of sacrifice.

This is the kind of person who will ride with Christ in the Day of the Lord. Each, without exception, will have had his personal Mount Moriah. Each will be able to keep on moving under no other power and direction than the will and Word of God.

Christ and the members of His army cannot be slain because they have died already. Now they are moved by the will and Word of God. The Word of God is indestructible, the greatest power in the universe.

The redemption of mankind requires two principal actions. First, there must be a full payment of the debt associated with the bondage. The full payment of mankind’s debt was made when the blood of Christ was shed on the cross (I John 2:2).

Second, there must be an exercise of force sufficient to destroy the enemy who, being a thief and a murderer, will not recognize the payment of the debt but will insist on keeping his victims in slavery to himself.

The payment of the debt took place two thousand years ago. The exercise of the power of the Holy Spirit in the deliverance from slavery is taking place now in the conquering saints—those who "through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body.

Deliverance requires the exercise of superior force. There is relentless warfare taking place on in the spirit realm at the present time.

Christ’s blood is sufficient, not only for the reconciliation of the Church but also for the salvation of the world, if people will receive His mercy and grace.

And he is the propitiation [appeasement] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2)

The sins of the Body of Christ are being removed now as we work with the Holy Spirit in confession, repentance, and resisting the devil. At the coming of Christ the removal of sin will extend to all God’s people, including the weaker members of the Church, the nation of Israel, and the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

It is important to keep in mind that by "weaker members of the Church" we are not referring to careless, lukewarm Christians. We mean, rather, those who, for one reason or another, did not have the opportunity to become strong in the Lord. Lukewarm, careless Christian will have their part in outer darkness.

The nations of the earth will be subjected to the righteous, vigorous discipline of the rule of a rod of iron. Whoever attempts to rebel against Christ will be judged immediately. The laws of the Kingdom of God will be obeyed throughout the earth.

God will not be mocked. The whole earth shall be filled with His Glory according to His Word.

How wonderful it would be if Christ would appear and establish His rule today! But first, the fullness of Divine Life must be developed in the saints. Also, sin must come to full expression in the earth (Genesis 15:16). Then Jesus will appear and the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement will take place.

Christ is the High Priest of God. When the time comes to reconcile the whole earth to God, the Lord Jesus will be revealed as the long-awaited Christ—the Anointed Deliverer.

The "mystery" of the Gospel is that Christ is in the Church. The Church is an integral part of Christ.

The Christian Church is the Body of Christ. When the Head, the Lord Jesus appears, then the Body of Christ will be joined eternally to the Head. This is the marriage of the Lamb. The Head and the Body are the fullness of the "Servant of the Lord" of whom Isaiah spoke. The Servant of the Lord is God’s Covenant with mankind, God’s instrument of reconciliation.

When Christ appears in and with His Body, and the nation of Israel is reconciled to its rightful King, the Lord Jesus, then the Glory of God will come upon all Israel.

Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. (Isaiah 60:5)

All the ends of the earth will turn to God, who will be dwelling in Zion (Christ—Head and Body) and whose glory will be seen on Israel, the chosen nation.

The fullness of reconciling glory is portrayed in the Book of Ezekiel:

And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. (Ezekiel 47:9)

The "waters" are the "living water" that flows from the heart of the saint. When the saints have been made one in Christ the individual streams of living water will flow together to make the River of Life seen by Ezekiel.

The River of Life will flow to the ends of the earth as the saints go everywhere, bringing to the peoples of the earth the Presence and the ways of the God of Heaven.

"Thou hast kept the good wine until now." The coming to the earth of the fullness of God’s Spirit is yet ahead. The earth-wide revival of which the prophets spoke will occur at the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ with His saints. This supreme revival of the Spirit will result in deliverance for all who will receive the rule of the Lord Jesus, but in destruction on every person who defies Christ.

The era of worldwide deliverance is the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Year of Jubilee (Leviticus, Chapter 25). It is the Millennial Jubilee.

The Day of Atonement occurs on the tenth day of the seventh month of the religious, ceremonial year, the year that begins with the month in which the Passover is celebrated.

The feast of Tabernacles takes place on the fifteenth through the twenty-second day of the same month (seven days of Tabernacles, and then the designated eighth day).

The work of reconciliation associated with the Day of Atonement is the necessary preparation for the eternal dwelling of Christ and the Father in us, that is associated with the feast of Tabernacles.

The Millennial Jubilee, the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, is the necessary forerunner of the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. The new heaven and earth reign of Christ is the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.

We use the expression "kingdom-wide fulfillment" to distinguish the broad, historical fulfillment from the individual fulfillment that takes place in the personality of the conquering saint.

The stupendous acts of redemption that will take place in the future on a worldwide scale are developing today in the lives of the conquering saints—those who are forsaking their own desires and following the Lamb wherever He goes.

The feast of Tabernacles typifies the rest of God, as God dwells in and with His people. Such rest and abiding is impossible until there has been reconciliation. This is why there must be a Day of Atonement before there can be a feast of Tabernacles, whether we are speaking of one individual, all Israel, or the whole world.

The Day of Atonement is the act of uniting the Bridegroom and the Bride.

THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES

The celebration of the feast of Tabernacles was the most joyous occasion of the year. For seven days the Israelites were to dwell in booths made of branches. Tabernacles marked the end of the harvesting and processing of all the grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts farmed by the Jews. The Law was read. Water from the Pool of Siloam was poured on the Altar of Burnt Offering. It was a time of the most extreme rejoicing and hilarity.

One can imagine an Israelite coming from his house each year and living for a week in a booth made from the branches of trees. This was the Lord’s way of repeatedly bringing to the attention of the Jews that their most important contribution to the nations of the earth is not to be in the area of government or economics or in the arts and sciences, as significant as their contributions in these realms may be.

The most important gift that Israel brings to the family of mankind is the Presence and Law of God.

Also, living in the booths points to the day when God dwells in Israel and Israel dwells in God; God rests in Israel and Israel rests in God. The Prophets testified of that Day to come, and Jesus and the Apostles taught us how God is bringing His plan to pass in human beings. God’s plan is Christ in us, the hope of glory.

The three great symbols of Israel are the Altar, the Lampstand, and the Booth. These correspond to the three great platforms of the Divine redemption: salvation through the blood of Jesus; the Presence of the Holy Spirit; and the dwelling of the Father and the Son in the hearts of God’s people.

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. (Leviticus 23:34-36)

The Blowing of Trumpets was observed on the first day of the seventh month, Tishri. The Day of Atonement took place on the tenth day of Tishri. The feast of Tabernacles lasted seven days, from the fifteenth through the twenty-first of Tishri.

Notice the expression, "the eighth day (twenty-second of Tishri ) shall be a holy convocation unto you" (Leviticus 23:36). The eighth day is a high Sabbath celebrated with extraordinary rejoicing. The eighth day of the observance of Tabernacles typifies the first day of the new week of eternity—the week that has no end. The eighth day will find its most complete fulfillment during the new heaven and earth reign of Christ (Revelation 21:3).

Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles are observed during the seventh month of the religious year, the year that begins with Passover.

The seventh month (Tishri ) of the religious year is the first month of the agricultural year, agriculture being a chief occupation of the people of Israel.

The last three feasts, beginning with Trumpets, typify the beginning of doing business in the Kingdom of God.

The "religious" year, which occurs approximately from March through February of our calendar, typifies the plan of salvation—our personal redemption through Christ. Our personal redemption commences when we are in chaos of personality and attains maturity when we are at rest in the state of perfect reconciliation to the Father.

The religious year typifies also the creating of the spotless and unblemished Bride of the Lamb from His body and blood.

The farming year, which begins with the month Tishri, occurs approximately from September through August of our calendar. The farming (civil) year typifies the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

Continuing to read in the twenty-third chapter of Leviticus:

Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. (Leviticus 23:39)

The observances of the seven feasts were taught to the Israelites and enjoined on them while they were wandering in the wilderness between Egypt and Canaan. The Jews could not celebrate Firstfruits or Pentecost or Tabernacles while they were in the wilderness because these feasts have to do with the harvesting of crops. They could not gather in "the fruit of the land" until they were in Canaan. The feasts were given to them in preparation for the time when they were in possession of the land of promise.

This kind of training-in-advance takes place also with us Christians. God is teaching us many lessons in the present hour. We are to learn our lessons carefully now for they will be necessary for us in the ages to come. Much of what God is enjoining on us today will have increasing significance throughout our lifetime on the earth and even more in the future beyond that.

... but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. (I Timothy 4:8)

We must, as the Holy Spirit directs us, apply the lessons we are learning each day. Yet, our instruction and preparation are for the Kingdom Age (Millennial Jubilee) and the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. We shall bear much responsibility throughout eternity as God’s kings and priests. Is it any surprise, therefore, that we must be trained so very carefully in the present life of our wilderness sojourn?

The celebration of Tabernacles signifies the end of one agricultural year and the beginning of the next. All that has been sown in the land has by this time been reaped and processed. The "fruit of the land" includes wheat, barley, lentils, peas, beans, onions, millet, grapes, cucumbers, melons, citrus fruits, and nuts.

And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. And ye shall keep it a feast unto the Lord seven days in the year. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations: ye shall celebrate it in the seventh month. Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the Lord. (Leviticus 23:40-44)

It was the Lord’s intention that the feast of Tabernacles be a season of rejoicing over the goodness of the Lord.

Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine: And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates. Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the Lord thy God in the place which the Lord shall choose: because the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice. (Deuteronomy 16:13-15)

Sometimes the feast of Tabernacles is referred to as the feast of Booths or the feast of Ingathering.

The feast of Tabernacles is associated with the reading of the Law of Moses to the congregation of Israel in solemn assembly:

And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, When all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: (Deuteronomy 31:10-12)

The feast of Tabernacles is associated also with water. By the latter part of our month of September and the beginning of October (the time of the feast of Tabernacles) the dry season (May through August) has about ended. The early (former, planting) rains soon are to fall. The rivers will begin to flow.

The hard clods of earth baked by the summer sun will be moistened so they can be plowed in preparation for the sowing of the seed of the upcoming farming year. During the celebration of Tabernacles the Jews were rejoicing, not only because of the abundance of the preceding year but also in expectation of the coming of refreshing rains and the hope of the satisfying blessings that the new year might bring to them.

Tabernacles is celebrated for seven days; and then comes the eighth day, a high Sabbath, the "great day of the feast" (Simchat Torah ). It was the practice at the time Jesus was on earth for water to be brought in golden vessels from the Pool of Siloam. Then the high priest poured the water into a basin on the Altar of Burnt Offering.

On the eighth day trumpets were blown and Isaiah 12:3 was sung: "Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. " It was on this occasion of fervent thanksgiving and jubilation that Jesus stood in the midst and cried: "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:37,38).

When we read the twelfth chapter of Isaiah, remembering that this passage was closely connected with the celebration of Tabernacles, we realize the Holy Spirit is teaching us that the feast of Tabernacles concerns the abiding of God in Christ in us and that out from the Throne of God established in us shall pour rivers of living water. These are waters of eternal life that one day will flow from the members of the Body of Christ to the farthest reaches of the earth.

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:2,3)

The fact that God required His people to live in booths for one week out of the year had to do with the special history and mission of the nation of Israel, and particularly with Israel’s unique relationship with God. The Jews were not like the Egyptians, the Babylonians or the Philistines. They were a special called-out nation, a kingdom of priests, the elect of the Lord God Almighty, the recipients of the Divine Testimony—the Ten Commandments.

If an Egyptian or an Amorite or a Hittite went out to live in a booth for a week there was little of national history and significance he could reflect on other than the accomplishments of the wisdom and energy of his race.

But the Jew could meditate on the dealings of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; on the provision God had made through Joseph for the perpetuation of Israel; on the revelation to Moses and the judgments of the Lord on the gods of Egypt; and then on the unparalleled miracles that brought them safely from Egypt and through the wilderness region.

Why would God lay His hand on one nation of all the nations of the earth, and deal with that nation in such a remarkable manner? It was something to think about as one gathered with his family in the little booth of palm and willow branches.

On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. (Leviticus 23:35)

Again, we see the injunction of God on Israel—during the Sabbath day and the other holy days—that the people cease for a time their grubbing in the earth and look up in adoration, worship, and thanksgiving to the God who is interested in and provides for His people.

One of the most important celebrations of the feast of Tabernacles recorded in Scripture can be found in the eighth chapter of the Book of Nehemiah.

It is significant that the occasion was associated with the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. It is our understanding that the greatest fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles will occur at the descending of the perfected holy city, the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb, on the great, high mountain of the new earth. At that time there will be the fullest expression of the Law of God (the beauty of holiness); eternal water in abundance (the River of Life); and the fullness of light (the Glory of God shining from the Throne of God and of the Lamb).

This will be the descent of the Tabernacle of God to dwell among the nations of saved people so He may dwell among them and wipe away all tears.

Reading in Nehemiah:

And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel. (Nehemiah 8:1)

Each of the gates of the walls of Jerusalem that were rebuilt under the administration of Nehemiah the governor is a prophetic symbol of the establishing of the Kingdom of God. In the above verse we see the "water gate," a symbol, or type, of the Holy Spirit who will flow from the saints and cover the earth during the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.

Also, it is true in us today, on a scale more limited than will be true during the coming thousand-year Kingdom Age, that as Christ is formed in us and dwells in us the Glory of God flows to other people.

And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month. (Nehemiah 8:2)

The reader may recall that the first day of the seventh month was the memorial of blowing of Trumpets. Again, we have the prophetic symbolism of the Day of the Lord. The trumpet of God will sound, the Glory of God will flow forth (the water gate), and the laws of the Kingdom of God will be renewed in God’s people.

Then through the saints the Divine laws will be carried to the ends of the earth until the Kingdom from Heaven rules the peoples of the earth.

. . . and the Levites, caused the people to understand the law: and the people stood in their place. So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. (Nehemiah 8:7,8)

As the feast of Tabernacles is fulfilled in us, as Christ is formed in us and dwells in us, we gain increased ability to walk in the ways of the Holy Spirit of God. Our conduct becomes increasingly righteous.

The next passage (in Nehemiah) presents a concept that is important to us if we are endeavoring to live a victorious life in Christ. The concept is this: if we are to pursue holiness and righteousness of personality and conduct under the guidance and enabling power of the Holy Spirit, we must learn to do so, not in grief and gloom but in the greatest joy.

We confess our sins before the Lord and embrace His righteous ways with joy and gladness of heart. We rejoice in the Lord. With this attitude of joy we become strong in the Lord and are enabled to go from step to step in the ascent toward holiness of deed, word, motive, and imagination.

And Nehemiah, which is the Tirshatha [governor], and Ezra the priest the scribe, and the Levites that taught the people, said unto all the people, This day is holy unto the Lord your God; mourn not, nor weep. For all the people wept, when they heard the words of the law. Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. (Nehemiah 8:9,10)

As the people who had determined to restore the glory of Jerusalem studied the Scripture they discovered that they were obligated to observe the feast of Tabernacles.

And they found written in the law which the Lord had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written. So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim. And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness. (Nehemiah 8:14-17)

The feast of Tabernacles is associated with rest in the land of promise.

Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. (Leviticus 23:39)

The feast of Tabernacles was not celebrated under Moses but rather under Joshua. The reason was that Tabernacles can be celebrated only in the land of promise ("when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land").

That your generations may know I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 23:43)

The passage above sounds as though the Israelites lived in booths in the wilderness or celebrated the feast of Tabernacles in the wilderness. We have not found this to be the case in the account of the wilderness wandering. Perhaps the meaning is that the feast is in remembrance of the forty years during which the Israelites lived in tents in the wilderness. Or it may signify merely that the Israelites dwelled in booths in the land of promise after God had delivered them from Egypt.

And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. (Exodus 33:8)

"Every man at his tent door."

The feasts were designed for the land of promise. Notice the following concerning the feast of Firstfruits:

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: (Leviticus 23:10)

"When ye be come into the land."

To continue in the Book of Nehemiah:

Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner. (Nehemiah 8:18)

During the time of Jesus on earth it was a custom for the Jews, during the feast of Tabernacles, to come in procession to the Temple carrying torches. The combined light from the processional torches and the lampstands of the Temple lit the area in and around the Temple.

To the Israelites, who were familiar with this custom, Jesus taught:

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (Matthew 5:14)

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

When one studies the traditions that have accumulated around the Jewish celebrations, of which the lights of the feast of Tabernacles are an example, one can see the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit. The Jews are so close to the truth of Christ that when God opens their eyes they will move into the worship of God through Christ in such power and glory that Jerusalem truly will be the joy of the whole earth.

Let us never forget, however, that the inheritance of the saints is available today—now—to whoever will move forward in faith and grasp the fullness of God in Christ. The inheritance is open to all—Jew and Gentile, male and female, young and old.

Now is the accepted time. Today is the day of salvation.

The nations of saved peoples of the earth will be required to come up to Jerusalem and receive the Glory of God, who in that Day will be tabernacling in His saints:

And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. (Zechariah 14:17)

Since the feast of Tabernacles is the seventh feast, is in the seventh month, and lasts seven days—a trinity of sevens, we are led to believe it typifies the consummation and perfection of redemption.

The spiritual fulfillment of Tabernacles is the "mark" toward which Paul was pressing. Tabernacles speaks of our rest in Christ in God and is associated with the resurrection from the dead of the victorious saints—the clothing of us with our house from Heaven (II Corinthians 5:4). The spiritual fulfillment of Tabernacles is "that which is perfect," of the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians.

The glorious fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles in the Kingdom of God was illuminated in the mind of Christ when He stood and cried:

. . . If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37-39)

The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is described in the Book of Revelation:

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:3,4)

PART II. THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES AND THE CHRISTIAN

THE CONCEPT OF THE HOUSE OF GOD

During the observance of the feast of Tabernacles the Israelites dine outside their homes in booths constructed from the branches of trees. They are dwelling with God, so to speak. Each year they are to make a special effort to leave the customary pursuits of life for a week and to spend time meditating on what the Lord means to them and has done for them.

The central issue of the Scriptures is that of God abiding in us and we in God. The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in us, and we in Christ in God. The mutual abiding is the concept of the new Jerusalem—the Tabernacle of God among men.

When we are perfectly at rest in Christ, and Christ is perfectly at rest in us, we have attained perfection.

Let us always keep in mind, however, that it is the rest of God. It is His rest that is so important, not our rest.

It is God’s house, the Father’s house, that is being constructed.

We who are rooms in God’s house benefit immeasurably, it is true. But the fact is, God is seeking a dwelling place for Himself, a living temple constructed from living stones. The house is for God!

When the fulfillment of Tabernacles has come to maturity in our lives we will be at rest in Christ in God. More importantly, God Himself will be enlarged and at rest.

The true Christian saint is occupied primarily with pleasing God, with performing His will. Whether the saint’s pleasure and will are attained is secondary in importance.

And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8)

For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it. (Psalms 132:13,14)

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? (Acts 7:49)

In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22)

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)

The First Three Visitations

God’s point of view is understandable in terms of human experience. He desires to rule, bless, and live with people—to be a merciful and gracious King and Father to His children. The accomplishment of God’s desire is not as easy as it might seem.

God lived as a neighbor with Adam and Eve in the garden. This condition was not successful because Adam and Eve did the one thing God told them not to do. The result was panic on Adam’s part and judgment on God’s part.

God came down in majesty on Mount Sinai. But the holiness of God was outraged by the behavior of the people and the children of Israel were terrified by the awful thundering and lightning. Such a display does not lead to the loving obedience and fellowship God is seeking.

God walked among men in Christ, His Son. But the guardians of the Jewish faith would not accept Him. Christ told them plainly that He is the God of their fathers. They laughed in His face, spat on Him, yanked the hair from His beard.

Finally they crucified Him—the thundering God of Sinai. Again, not an acceptable basis for ruling, blessing, and living with people.

The Temple of God

Eden! Sinai! Galilee! There was little success from the standpoint of Him who desires to be a merciful and gracious King and Father to His children.

However, there is another way, and this way will be successful. God is creating a great temple for Himself of which the Lord Jesus Christ is the chief Cornerstone and of which we also are living stones and pillars. That temple is Christ—Head and Body.

The Temple of God is being fashioned now from the personalities of the saints as Christ is formed in them. By dwelling in Christ, including the great redeemed Body of Christ, God can rule, bless, and live with people. After God has brought the Church into perfect oneness with Himself in Christ He can be the merciful and gracious King and Father that He desires to be to the peoples of the earth.

As soon as God has perfected the union of the Church with Christ, just as Christ is in perfect union with the Father, the nations of the earth can be blessed of God and brought into a fruitful relationship with Himself (Genesis 22:18; Isaiah 60:5; John 17:21-23; Romans 8:19; Revelation 21:24)). God will be able to rule and dwell among earth’s peoples in a manner that will neither violate His own perfect holiness nor terrify His subjects and neighbors.

The fact that the nations of the earth will be subdued under the rule of Christ, as soon as the saints have been brought into complete union with Him, does not mean we are to stop preaching the Gospel to the ends of the earth in the present hour. The Gospel must be preached as a witness to every man, woman, boy, and girl on the earth—specially in these days when the greatest revival in the history of Gospel power is just breaking upon us.

It is the "Ark of the Covenant," the "Tabernacle of David," to speak symbolically, that is being formed now. The "firstfruits" to the Lord must be perfected. The ministries and gifts given to the members of the Body of Christ are for the perfecting of the saints until we all come to the full stature of Christ (Ephesians 4:12-16).

All the glory, joy, and responsibility—the best that God has to offer—is available in these days to every person, young and old, who will follow the Lord Jesus in sincere, wholehearted discipleship.

After thinking about the acts of God from the creation of Adam to the coming down of the new Jerusalem, it appears to us that the Scriptures are not as much a record of man seeking God as they are a record of God, out of His own desire and wisdom, building a temple and setting up a kingdom.

As we meditate on the lives of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, we can see that the burden of the action was on God. The men were not perfect, as we usually think of perfection, and made many mistakes. But God revealed Himself through them for His own glory. In keeping with this observation we must realize the Temple of God is God-centered rather than man-centered.

Christ in You

The concept of Christ dwelling in the members of His Church is one of the major ideas of the New Testament writings. The forming of Christ in His Body has been the plan of God from the beginning. But it was not until after Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the descent of the Holy Spirit, that the mysterious purpose of God became understandable to people.

Most Christians know of the hope of the Jewish people that Christ will come and deliver them from their troubles, and restore the glory of the kingdoms of David and Solomon.

What the Christian Church needs to understand is that Christ, the Anointed Deliverer from God who will glorify Israel and establish the Kingdom of God in the earth, consists not only of the all-powerful Head, Christ but also of a righteous, holy, sternly obedient body that now is being formed from each member of the Christian Church who will follow Christ in faithful discipleship.

We say a righteous, holy, sternly obedient body, not because of any spirit of exaltation but because the Body of Christ is part of and being fashioned from the Divine Substance of the Head, Christ. It is not that we are anything at all but that He is working in us (Hebrews 2:11).

The mystery of the Gospel is that Christ is in us. He will appear to the world as the visible Christ of the Divine throne of Glory. Every eye will see Him.

While the members of the Church certainly will behold Him on the throne of glory, the relationship of Christ to His Church is of a much different nature than is true of His relationship to the world. Christ is being created in us. As He is being created in us, the Father and the Son can come through the Holy Spirit and dwell in us forever.

We are not in darkness as the world is but even now are experiencing victory as the Lord Jesus Christ brings every enemy in us under His feet. The light of the Day of the Lord is rising in us so we are not in darkness but are aware of the Presence and purposes of God in Christ.

We are not confusing our personal reign of Christ and personal day of the Lord, now being experienced by the victorious saint, with the historical Kingdom Age and historical Day of the Lord that yet are ahead of us.

The Father’s House

It is interesting to note that Stephen’s exhortation and testimony (Acts, Chapter Seven) proceeded without interruption until he came to the idea concerning the place where God intends to dwell. At this point (Acts 7:49) the Holy Spirit of God assumed control and reprimanded the members of the Jewish Council. They were rebuked for resisting the Holy Spirit, for being "stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears," for betraying and murdering the Lord Jesus.

The Spirit of God came forth as soon as Stephen began to talk about finding a "tabernacle for the God of Jacob." The reason for the action by the Holy Spirit concerning this particular issue was that the building of the house of God is one of the main burdens of the new covenant. The Father in Christ through the Holy Spirit desires to settle down to rest in the heart of each Christian disciple.

The saints are to be formed into the Temple of God, the eternal Throne of God Almighty, the new Jerusalem. The members of the Jewish Council were under the impression the important "house," as far as God was concerned, was the Temple of Herod in Jerusalem. They crucified Jesus because He did not fit into the religious politics that were part of the Temple.

The Council members were reproved by the Holy Spirit for their hardness of heart and unwillingness to abide in harmony with the will of the Spirit of God.

The Gospel of John contains many comments by Jesus stating the Father lives in Him, speaks in Him, works through Him.

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. (John 14:10)

The Lord Jesus is the Temple of God and God dwells and rests in Him. However, John 14:2 informs us that there are many dwellings in the Father’s house. The Temple of God consists of many rooms, many abiding places. The Father and the Son desire to find Their rest in a great multitude of hearts, each of which has been fashioned into a holy of holies from which the Glory of God can shine.

Each true Christian is being fashioned as a room in the Body of Christ. Christ, Head and Body, is the Temple of God, the Father’s eternal house. It does not matter whether we find ourselves in a cottage or a mansion, in Heaven or upon the earth, just as long as God in Christ has found rest in us and we have found rest in Him.

As God has His dwelling in Jesus, in like manner Christ and God desire to have Their dwelling in us: living in us, speaking in us, working through us, resting in us. This is the mystery of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God (John 6:56,57; 14:23; Colossians 1:27).

The Design

There are two main aspects of the concept of Christ being in us. The first aspect is the entire re-creation of the Christian’s personality—spirit, soul, and body (II Corinthians 5:17). The second aspect is the coming of the Persons of Christ and the Father to dwell in the re-created personality (John 14:23).

The first part is essential to the second part. God and His Christ cannot find rest and pleasure in a self-willed, unholy adamic personality (Ephesians 3:16-19; 4:24), or in the adamic personality at all!

Only Christ is the dwelling place of God. It is only as Christ is formed in us that we become the dwelling place of God.

This, then, is the design. God dwells in Christ. In the same manner, Jesus dwells in us. Since God is in Jesus, and Jesus is in us, then both God and Jesus are dwelling in us. The Scripture states this fact clearly.

Such is the climax of the Christian discipline, a plan and goal far greater than the human mind can conceive, worthy of God Almighty, and worked out altogether in and through the Lord’s everlasting love toward us.

The Process

Christ in you is the goal toward which the Christian discipleship leads and also is the means by which the goal is attained. Jesus is the Way to the truth and the life, as well as the Truth and the Life.

Christ in you is a phrase that can be stated simply and understood easily. It can be understood easily in a general sense, not including all the intricate details of the manner in which God brings about this experience in the believer’s life.

Although we will be setting forth a description of some of the factors involved in the creating of Christ in us, an understanding of them is not sufficient to enable us to bring about the abiding of Christ in us. It is the Holy Spirit of God who, like Eliezer of Damascus, brings the Bride to the Son and Heir (Genesis, Chapter 24).

A young Christian starts out joyously on a shining highway, commencing his or her pilgrimage to the land of promise. After a season of happiness and confidence, the new disciple may find himself groping and stumbling through a desolate wilderness.

At this point of trouble and uncertainty the goal of Christ in you may seem far off and unrelated to the numerous and varied burdens that now must be borne. The joyous Gospel walk has turned into a struggle through a swamp of doubts and frustrations.

If the Christian does not give up and turn back he begins to learn the many lessons that God teaches in the wilderness. The path begins to be visible again from time to time. Christ in you develops from a mental concept into a personal experience of Divine Life.

It is not God’s intention that the Scriptures be used only as the basis for a confession of doctrinal belief. Rather, the Scriptures are the Divine testimony that can bring us to a personal experience of Christ in us. It is God who is working in us both to give the desire for, and also to bring about the accomplishment of, His will concerning us (Philippians 2:13).

Christ in us is the fullness of resurrection life and glory. The power of the Father brings us from Egypt (which symbolizes bondage to the world spirit, to Satan, and to our fleshly nature) all the way to the land of Canaan (which typifies the complete redemption of our spirit, soul, and body, the full abiding in us of the Presence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and spiritual rulership over the material creation). Canaan is resurrection ground.

Notice that the goal of our Christian pilgrimage is not Heaven, although Heaven most assuredly is a real place. Rather, the goal of our journey is the fullness of Christ. The Presence and knowledge of Christ are created in us as the Holy Spirit leads us into areas with which He is familiar but we are unfamiliar.

We are moving toward eternal participation and residence in the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the Temple of God among men. We are pressing toward the experience of the fullness of the Presence of the Godhead. We must fasten our eyes on the true goal of the Christian discipleship, which is the possession of Christ. "O that I may know Him!" Paul cried.

It is as though Christ at first were with the believer and then, after a season of travail, appears in him (John 16:12-22). The natural strength of the believer has begun to be broken and the Life of Christ in him is playing a role of ever-increasing importance in determining his deeds, words, and thoughts (Galatians 2:20).

Although Christ at this hour is preparing His triumphant appearance and entry into the earth followed by His armies, as described in the second chapter of Joel, the third chapter of Habakkuk, and the nineteenth chapter of Revelation, He also, in the days in which we are living, is being formed in His saints. The Day star, the forerunner of the great Day of the Lord, now is rising in the heart of each disciple who, by his godly life and hope of salvation, is hastening the coming of the Day of Christ.

As faith is increasing in the saints Christ is being formed in their heart. As Christ is being formed in their heart, faith is increasing more and more. "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18).

The process of forming Christ in the disciples is complicated and there are many different experiences along the way. In the Scriptures, God has provided a number of illustrations and doctrines to help us progress successfully through the transition from natural life to spiritual life (I Corinthians 15:45,46).

The Holy Spirit helps us understand the process of change and the background activities: the rebellion of spirits and their eternal judgment; the resistance maintained by Satan; and the immediate availability of the Presence, power, and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ to everyone who asks and is willing to receive. We learn to live in and by the holy body and blood of Christ.

Christ, the Temple of God

The plan of God from the beginning has been to construct a living temple for Himself. The temple consists of a group of sons of God and brothers of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29; a bride for the Lamb (Ephesians 5:32); a weapon in God’s hand for the destruction of His enemies (Jude 1:14,15); and an eternal dwelling place from which God can contemplate, rule, and enjoy His creation (Psalms 68:18). Here is God’s resting place forever (Psalms 132:13,14).

The Temple of God is Christ, Head and Body. The Lord Jesus is the great Head of the anointed company. He is the tested Cornerstone of the building, the elder brother, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He might have the preeminence.

The remainder of the structure is being constructed from Christians. We are the Body of Christ, the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Ephesians 1:23). Christ, Head and Body, is the Tabernacle of David, Mount Zion, the "hill" where God will dwell forever (Hebrews 12:22). The Christian Church is the new Jerusalem, the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife (Revelation 21:2,3,9,10).

To the peoples of the earth the Temple of God will be Emmanuel—"God with us." The nations will recognize that the Christians are the "seed which the Lord hath blessed" (Isaiah 61:9; John 17:23; Revelation 21:24). The saints will be kings and priests and will reign with Christ throughout the ages of ages (Revelation 22:5).

Some of the passages of Isaiah refer to the effect on the nations of the earth when the Temple of God has been completed (Chapters 60 and 61, for example). Mount Zion will be the eternal source of Divine light on the earth.

During the first three days of creation, before God brought forth the sun, moon, and stars, the light of the world came directly from God. As soon as the city of God has been established in the earth, the light of the world once again will come directly from God. But this time it will shine through the Church, which is the Body of Him who is the Light of the world.

In that day, people will be able to come to the Presence of God who will be dwelling manifestly in the Church. Those who come will receive justice, wisdom, healing—whatever they need.

The second chapter of Isaiah gives voice to the burden concerning the Temple of God:

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 preceding passage means the Christian Church will be the ruling government in the earth. Christ will be the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords. The peoples of the earth will bring their treasures to Mount Zion, the Body of Christ, just as the ambassadors of the nations carried gifts to the court of King Solomon. God has promised Jesus the nations for His inheritance and the farthest reaches of the earth for His possession.

We are coheirs with Him!

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)

It is true even today that only in the Christian Church can the peoples of the earth hear the Word of the Lord. In the days ahead the world finally will acknowledge its need for the rulership and the priesthood("the law, and the word of the Lord") of the Body of Christ.

Jesus prayed to the Father for the creation of His Body (John 17:21-26) If there were no other Scripture reference to the eternal House of God we would know, nevertheless, that it will arise in majesty, block upon block, because of the moving of the hand of God in answer to the all-powerful prayers of the beloved Son.

The thought of the days of God’s rulership through His Church is inspiring to us. But when we observe the divisions and weaknesses of the Body of Christ we may ask with God, "Can these bones live?" (Ezekiel 37:3).

But then we can rejoice with God because of the certainty that these bones shall live indeed and that they shall stand upon their feet "an exceeding great army" (Ezekiel 37:10).

When the sons of God are revealed and the full Presence of God in Christ is manifested in them and through them, God and Satan will be facing each other in the earth in a confrontation that can have only one outcome. Sin will be judged and the Kingdom Age will commence. This is how the conditions described in the second chapter of Isaiah will be brought about (Romans 8:17-21).

The River of Life

The Temple of God is described in Ezekiel, Chapters 40 through 48. As is true of many visions of the Prophets of the Old Testament, the temple seen by Ezekiel undoubtedly has several meanings. It is likely that the Jews of the captivity would be thinking about the restoration of the Temple of Solomon whenever a prophet spoke of seeing a temple.

But the scenes that Ezekiel portrayed just before he described the temple, plus some of his statements about the temple that he saw, suggest to us that God may have included some of the spiritual truths that apply to the Body of Christ.

The Body of Christ is the true and eternal dwelling place of God Almighty. Never again will God live in a temple made with hands (Acts 7:48).

Revelation 21:22 states: "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it>"

The entire new Jerusalem is the Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the dwelling place of God among people.

Chapter 47 of Ezekiel describes the waters that come out "from under the threshold of the house eastward." This river is the Glory of God which will be poured out until the whole earth is filled with His brightness and power. "Eastward" points toward the morning of the Day of Christ.

But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. (Numbers 14:21)

For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14)

In symbolic language, Ezekiel 47:9 portrays the outpouring of God’s Glory that is to stream from the members of the Body of Christ.

And it shall come to pass that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. (Ezekiel 47:9)

Notice also verse 12 of the same chapter, and compare it with verses 1 and 2 of the twenty-second chapter of the Book of Revelation:

And by the river on the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine. (Ezekiel 47:12)

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1,2)

Now, think about the following statement of the Lord Jesus:

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38)

The Throne of God is the heart of the saint. It is out from the believers, as Jesus has declared, that the rivers of living water will flow. In the days in which we are living, Ezekiel’s "river" is springing forth as Christians are allowing the Holy Spirit of God to reveal the Glory of Christ in them.

In the hour to come the Glory of God in Christ will issue from the believers until the whole earth is filled with His Glory. The Godhead will come and abide in the Body of Christ in far greater power and revelation of Divine Glory than was experienced by the prophets of Israel in the days of the Law of Moses.

The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts. (Haggai 2:9)

There have occurred many marvelous revelations of the Holy Spirit to the Israel of God, from the time of Abraham. But the vast floodgates of Heaven will be opened in the last days, the time of the return to earth of the Lord Jesus Christ with His saints and holy angels.

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim. (Joel 3:18)

For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. (Isaiah 61:11)

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them (raising the dead, casting out devils, healing the sick, speaking the words of the Father, the Presence of the Holy Spirit without measure); that they may be one, even as we are one: (John 17:22)

The Glory of Christ, which is the life, light and power of the age to come (Hebrews 6:5), will, according to these words of Jesus in John 17:22, cause the Church to become united in the perfect unity that exists in the Godhead.

Psalms 133 relates the unity of the brothers to the holy anointing oil that was poured on Aaron, the high priest.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment on the head, that ran down on the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended on the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. (Psalms 133:1-3)

Christ, Head and Body, is God’s High Priest. The holy anointing oil of the Holy Spirit coming down upon the Body of Christ creates the oneness that is true of the Godhead.

The rising of the Lord on His people and the putting of His Glory on them causes them to "flow together":

Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted to thee, the forces of the Gentiles [nations] shall come unto thee. (Isaiah 60:5)

When the disciples are in one accord and the Glory of God is abiding on them, believers by the multitudes are added to the Church (Acts 2:1,2, 43-47).

The Glory of God in Christ is the life-giving water that pours out from under the threshold of Ezekiel’s temple. The extent to which the Holy Spirit flows to the world is related to the degree of unity that God has created among the believer and to the amount of Glory that God has given them.

As true unity in Christ increases, the Glory of God increases. As the Glory of God increases, true unity in Christ increases. An increase in one brings an increase in the other.

As the unity and the glory increase, the Son of God, Christ, is revealed to the world, and God is glorified in Him. God has glorified His Son in order that His Son may glorify God.

God has glorified His name once in Christ and He will glorify it again (John 12:28; 17:1). The first glorification was in Christ, the Head. The second glorification will take place as the authority and power of the Head are revealed in the Body. The best is yet to come. He has kept the good wine until now. The greater works are at hand.

The new Jerusalem is described in Revelation, Chapters 21 and 22. Chapter 22, verse 1, tells of the River of Life. The perfected Church descends from Heaven, having the Glory of God (Revelation 21:11). At this point the city of Jerusalem has become the Lamb’s Wife, the dwelling place of God among people (Revelation 21:2,3).

There is no temple in the new Jerusalem because the city itself is the eternal Tabernacle of God. God has taken up His abode in and with His saints, and they will be in Him and with Him, and He in them, to the ages of ages.

From the viewpoint of the rest of the world, the new Jerusalem is the place where God lives and where the nations can come and pay tribute to God Almighty (Revelation 21:24).

God’s Temple forever is Christ—Head and Body. The victorious saints are pillars in that temple and will never again depart from the fullness of His Glory—never, never again!

The entire area is "holiness to the Lord" (Joel 3:17; Zechariah 8:3). Mount Zion has been established in the earth, and God and His Christ have come to live here eternally (Ezekiel 37:26-28). The River of Life, which always is "full of water," is now available to all who will drink. The Tree of Life, which is Christ, and those who are part of Him, provides food and healing for the nations of the earth.

THE GLORY OF GOD—IN HIS HOUSE

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God,.... (II Corinthians 5:17,18)

It is a new creation. It is the Body of Christ, the eternal habitation of the fullness of the Father and the fullness of the Son through the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

As Christ gains in stature in us we taste the good Word of God and the works of power of the age to come (from Hebrews 6:5). There is in us a healthy appetite for the Word of God; and the saying, "Man shall not live by bread alone" takes on vital meaning to us. There is a deeply felt hunger for the Bread from Heaven (John 6:48-53). The old things are passing away. All things are becoming new.

Transformed by the Glory of the Lord

The Glory of God, that even now is working in the personality of each of us as we give our lives to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, will increase day after day until we are filled and clothed with the Spirit. If we move forward with God until the Holy Spirit has become the Source of our life, then, at the coming of our Lord, Christ, the Holy Spirit will make alive our mortal body.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (II Corinthians 3:18)

The text of the third chapter of II Corinthians includes a reference to the face of Moses (verse 13). The condition referred to is described in the thirty-fourth chapter of Exodus:

And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face. But when Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him. (Exodus 34:33-35)

Moses’ face was transfigured permanently because of repeated exposure to the Glory of the Lord. In the same manner the character and personality of the Christian undergo a permanent transformation as he beholds the Glory of the Lord in the new covenant.

When we rest our faith on Christ the light of the Glory of God shines in our heart. Repeated exposure to the Glory of God, as it is reflected in the face of Christ, transforms the disciple just as the face of Moses was transformed. The overcomer beholds God until he is in God’s image and is able to commune with God directly, as was true of Moses.

Therefore (Revelation 22:4 is able to announce, "they shall see his face." But Exodus 33:20 declares, "Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live." Anyone who has set his heart on beholding God will be brought to the death of his sinful, self-centered nature. Only the pure in heart shall see God.

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. (II Corinthians 4:11)

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inner man is renewed day after day. (II Corinthians 4:16)

The formation of Christ in the heart is not completed instantly (although we are saved from wrath instantly). The forming of Christ is developed over a period of time while being forged in the fires of temptation, confusion, and trouble. It is "command upon command, command upon command; rule upon rule, rule upon rule; here a little, and there a little" (from Isaiah 28:10).

The end result of the Divine transformation is Christian character—character that has been changed permanently into the image of Christ. First John 3:2 declares that "when he shall appear we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." We shall have been "changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18).

The Image of Christ

When the Word of God is brought to maturity in our life we shall be in the image of Christ.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be changed into the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

Our transformation into the image of Christ is the purpose of God. In line with this purpose we were foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified (Romans 8:30). The purpose of God, that for which we have been predestined, is not to be born again, or healed, or to exercise our ministry, or even to go to Heaven. Rather, the purpose of God is that we be changed into the image of His Son, Christ.

We need to give more attention to the idea of conformity to the image of Christ, because such transformation is of first importance in the mind of God and gives direction to His efforts. Transformation into His image is the "good" for which all things are working—working on behalf of those who love God, those who are called according to the Divine purpose (Romans 8:28).

There are at least three areas that must be considered when we contemplate the image and likeness of Christ:

His character—that which He Himself is in essence, disposition, and moral conduct.

His relationship to God—He is the eternal habitation of the fullness of the Father through the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

His outward appearance—a human form fashioned from the Substance of Divine Life.

The image and likeness of Christ consists of what He is in character, His relationship to God, and His outward appearance. His soul, spirit, and body are in perfect harmony, each making its contribution to the threefold image and likeness. Every member of the Church, the Body of Christ, will be made perfect in each of these three dimensions. Then will the holy city, the new Jerusalem, be ready to descend from Heaven to the new earth (Revelation 21:1,2).

To be "changed into the image of his Son" is to have our soul, spirit, and body transformed according to the three aspects of Christ. First, His character must be developed in us. His character consists of what He is in essence, His disposition, and His moral conduct. Our natural life is transmuted into His Essence, which is Divinity, as we partake of His body and blood, and as the Word of God grows in us.

Our disposition is changed as the Holy Spirit instructs us, by the ministries of the Body of Christ and by the circumstances of our daily living, how God expects us to behave. The Spirit teaches us to be gentle, cheerful in adversity, patient in frustrating situations, steadfast and reliable concerning our responsibilities, loving and forgiving toward those among whom we live, and resolute concerning the will of God.

Our moral conduct is purified as we lay hold on the authority of the blood of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. We overthrow and demolish the uncleanness in our behavior. God forgives us and keeps on enabling us to put to death the deeds of our body.

Second, we are to become the eternal habitation of the fullness of the Father in the fullness of Christ through the fullness of the Holy Spirit (John 14:23; John 17:21-23; Ephesians 2:21,22; Revelation 3:12).

Third, we shall receive and possess forever a body like that of Christ in form, and fashioned from eternal life (Philippians 3:21; II Corinthians 5:4; I Corinthians 15:53,54; John 3:16).

Another way of describing the image of Christ, that which we are to become, is found in Ezekiel 1:10 and Revelation 4:7. The image and likeness of Christ is pictured as the lion, the ox, the man, and the eagle.

The lion is the unconquerable majesty and strength of the Son of God. The ox is the ability and willingness of Christ to continue patiently under the heavy load of service to God. The man is the perfected soul, spirit, and body of the person—that with which God can have fellowship. God cannot have fellowship with lions, oxen, or eagles, only with people who are like Himself.

The eagle is the ever-renewed resurrection life that soars up from the earth and ascends into the heights of worship and glory.

If we are deficient as the lion, God will add to us the courage and ability with which to stand against and destroy the enemies of God and man.

If we are deficient as the ox, God will develop in us the willingness, strength, and patience to carry heavy burdens over a period of time, as the Lord directs.

If we are deficient as the man, God will build us up in soul, spirit, and body according to His standard for personal characteristics.

If we are deficient as the eagle, God will create "wings" in us so we can soar into the heavens in the fierce independence and freedom of the sons of God.

The saint is brought from total alienation from God all the way to the image of Christ. The making of an atonement, in the fullest meaning of the term, includes this entire transition.

Justification leads to sanctification, and sanctification leads to glorification. Glorification begins with the developing of the character of Christ in us.

The maturing of the character of Christ in us leads to our being filled with all the fullness of God. Our being filled with all the fullness of God leads to our being clothed with a body of eternal life.

The grace of God justifies us and leads us into sanctification. The grace of God consists of three elements:

The Word of God in general and specific application.

The body and blood of Christ.

The Holy Spirit as the Enabler.

These three portions of Divinity constitute the grace of God toward us.

The Word of God applied to us generally in the Scriptures and specifically through personal revelation, the body and blood of Christ, and the Holy Spirit as our wisdom and strength—each has a part to play in the resurrecting of the disciple, in the building of Christ in the disciple, and in the cleansing of the disciple. It can be seen that each of the three factors of justification creates each of the three factors of sanctification.

The grace of God in justification brings us to sanctification. Being sanctified means we have been resurrected spiritually, that Christ has been formed in us, and that we have been cleansed from the guilt and power of sin.

By the expression "have been resurrected" we are not referring to the making alive of the mortal body at the coming of Christ. Rather, we are speaking of the resurrection life being developed in us at this time, as we give ourselves over to His death, as the Holy Spirit leads us, and as we experience the power of His resurrection (II Corinthians 4:11; Philippians 3:10).

The three aspects of sanctification—resurrection life, Christ formed in us, and moral cleanliness (Aaron’s rod, the pot of manna, and the Ten Commandments inside the Ark of the Covenant, to speak figuratively)—create the character of Christ in us. The character of Christ consists of His Divine Substance, His disposition, and His moral conduct.

The Divine Substance of Christ Himself is created in us, and our natural, soulish life is changed into Divine Life, as the Word of God grows in us; as we partake of the body and blood of Christ; as we behold His Glory in the ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit; and as our natural man is brought down to the death of the cross by the many experiences that the Holy Spirit Body of Christ brings our way.

The disposition of Christ, the love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control that characterize our Lord Jesus Christ, is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. A disposition such as this can be found in us only as we abide in the Life of the Holy Spirit of God; as the Divine Substance of Christ Himself is created in us; and as we are cleansed from our sin.

The moral conduct of Christ has to do with His absolute obedience to the Father, with His embracing of the holy ways of the Father, with His love of righteousness, and with His hatred of sin and rebellion. The same type of moral conduct is being created in each believer. We must be forgiven, cleansed, and delivered by the blood of the cross and by the power of the Holy Spirit. We must have the very Substance of Christ formed in us if we are to be changed into the moral conduct of Christ.

We are studying how the Word of God comes to maturity in us. We have mentioned that there are three aspects of the maturing of the Word of God, the maturity of the Word being the image and likeness of Christ. The three aspects are as follows:

The character of Christ formed in us.

Our becoming the Temple of God.

Our being clothed with a body of eternal life.

Our discussion was directed toward the first of these three aspects—the forming of the character of Christ in us. The character of Christ includes His Divine Essence, His attributes of personality, that we have termed His disposition, and His moral conduct. To develop the character of Christ in us requires the Word of God, the body and blood of Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

The Word, the body and blood of Christ, and the Holy Spirit are the grace of God. They have been given to us freely and cannot be added to by our fleshly efforts. Because of the blood of Christ we have been justified totally in God’s sight, having been made free from all condemnation so we may follow the Holy Spirit all the way to the fullness of the image of Christ.

THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE OF GOD

There are two aspects of our being made the Temple of God. The first aspect is that of our personal preparation for receiving the fullness of God into our personality. The second aspect is that of our becoming part of the Temple of God, the holy city, the new Jerusalem.

The corporate Temple of God will be assembled from individual "stones," each of which has been made perfect in advance. There will be no imperfect unit in the Temple of God. God is taking great care with each stone at this time so when the building comes together it will be perfect.

He is the Rock, his work is perfect: . . . . (Deuteronomy 32:4)

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

The Temple of Solomon is a type of the corporate Temple of God. The stones were not shaped on site as they were being placed in the structure. Rather, they were prepared in advance before they were hauled to the building site. They had been formed so expertly that there was no sound of hammering while the Temple of Solomon was being erected. This extraordinary accomplishment was possible only because of the careful planning, skill, and effort that went into the stones prior to their being assembled into the Temple.

And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building. (I Kings 6:7)

Years of preparation preceded the construction of Solomon’s Temple. Before David died he gave to Solomon the plans for the Temple (I Chronicles 28:2-9), and precious metals and stones. Solomon, in his God-given wisdom, carried forward the work of preparation by contracting with Hiram, the King of Tyre, for cedar and fir lumber. In addition, Solomon obtained the stone blocks for the foundation of the Temple.

And the king commanded, and they brought great stones, costly stones, and hewed stones, to lay the foundation of the house. And Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders did hew them, and the stonesquarers: so they prepared timber and stones to build the house. (I Kings 5:17,18)

So it is with the eternal Temple of God. God Almighty, the greatest King, is the designer and builder of it. Only eternity will reveal the amount of thought, time, and material that God has spent, is spending, and will yet spend on His holy dwelling place. It is a living temple; for the Temple of God is Christ—Head and Body.

There is no resource in the universe that will be withheld if its contribution is needed. In fact, "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." His purpose is that we may be in the image of His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and become one with Christ in God.

We, as individuals, must be fashioned into the image of Christ. If we are not in the image of Christ, God will not be able to find His rest in us (Psalms 68:18). All of the ministries of the Body of Christ work to the end that we may be created in the image of Christ and that Christ may be brought to fullness in us (Ephesians 4:7-13).

God will dwell only in Christ, and the more of Christ we have the more of God we will be able to receive. Each of us must allow God to finish, to perfect His work in us no matter how pleasant or unpleasant the process may become. Only as we become perfect in His sight will we be ready to be fitted into the corporate Temple of God that will rule all of God’s creation to the ages of ages (Revelation 22:5).

The Temple of God will be composed of each individual who has been made ready in advance by the Word of God, by the body and blood of Christ, and by the Holy Spirit. We must lay hold on the grace of God that has been freely given to us so God can fashion us into a perfect fit in the Temple.

In the mind of God there is an exact place in His temple for each of us, a position in the structure that each of us is to fill. God knows the exact place and what will be required of that part throughout eternity. God has foreknowledge and we have been predestined according to His foreknowledge (Romans 8:29).

It is possible for any of us to miss God’s plan for our life by not attending to the things of God as we should. But God will see to it that the construction of the Temple goes ahead on schedule. Someone else will take our place. Therefore, we behave wisely when we strive for God’s highest and best plan for our life.

Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. (Revelation 3:11,12)

It is clear, then, that since God will dwell only in Christ we must have Christ formed in us if we expect God to take up His abode in us. Having the promise of becoming an integral part of the eternal Temple of God (II Corinthians 6:16), we must "come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing" (II Corinthians 6:17). We must "cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (II Corinthians 7:1).

If we continue laying hold on the Lord Jesus each day of our Christian life, and do not quit because of unbelief or because of some trial or temptation, we finally will be ready to be placed in our assigned location in the Temple of God. As we have stated, there is a certain place in the Temple of God reserved for each saint.

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:20-22)

The preceding passage from Ephesians reminds us of God’s declared intention to have an eternal dwelling place, as set forth in Exodus 25:8. And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8)

The whole Body of Christ, the Temple of God, is built up by the gifts and ministries of all the Christian people.

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:15,16)

Peter speaks of the living stones:

Ye also, as lively [living] stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (I Peter 2:5)

ONE IN CHRIST IN GOD

The change in personality of which we have been speaking to this point might be termed the maturing of the born-again experience. We have referred also to the dwelling in us of the fullness of God; but our main point of emphasis has been the change in us in preparation for the coming of the Lord to abide in us.

We have spoken of the power of the blood of Christ to make an atonement, the initial spiritual resurrection of the believer, the planting of the Word of God in our heart, bringing our daily conduct under the discipline of the Holy Spirit, the growth of the Word of God in us, putting to death the deeds of our body, and the maturing of the Word of God in us. Through the processes of God in redemption we are becoming a new creation (II Corinthians 5:17).

But all the above are changes in us—our personal transformation of spirit, soul, and body. The coming of the Persons of the Godhead to abide in us is yet another matter. God comes into us at the moment of our receiving Christ. But He desires to come to us in a much greater way as soon as we have been made ready for such glory.

The new covenant is the creating of the image of Christ in the mind and heart of the believer (Hebrews 8:10). It is an inner work. Christ in us is the hope of glory. As the likeness of Christ begins to appear in our personality, the Glory of God can take up residence in us to an increasingly greater extent. Peter admonishes us to take heed to the Scripture until the Day of the Lord dawns in us.

We have also a more sure word of prophecy [the Scriptures]; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (II Peter 1:19)

The Lord Jesus told us the same thing:

Jesus answered and said to him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

After we receive Christ and are baptized in water we are to study the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments. As the Holy Spirit makes clear to us the directives and the promises, we are to look to the Spirit for the wisdom and strength to do the will of God.

We are to make use of every resource the Lord has provided for us, including studying and meditating in the Scriptures, prayer, assembling with fervent believers as possible, and the Communion service. We must practice diligently the good works set before us, such as giving, working in the local church, receiving and operating the gifts of the Spirit, and assisting the work of Christ wherever possible. We do the will of God, by His help, "building our house on the rock."

As we take heed to the things of Christ, a wonderful transformation occurs in us. Christ is formed in us. As Christ is formed in us the Father and the Son come to dwell in us. They make their abode with us.

Our task is to keep the words of Jesus and to open the door of our heart to Him.

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

God’s plan is described as follows:

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)

Before the Father and the Son can take up residence in us we must be strengthened in the inner man. We must be converted in the depths of our character, not just in our mind.

The prayer of Paul for the saints at Ephesus was that they would be "strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man." He prayed that Christ would dwell in their hearts by faith—the faith that comes as a result of the strengthening of the inner man by the Spirit of God.

The increase of Christ in the heart means an increase in our possession of the love of Christ. Being established in the love of Christ makes it possible for the saint to grasp the riches of God’s Glory. As we grasp the riches of the Glory of God we grow closer to the place where we can be filled with all the fullness of God. We become the eternal dwelling place of the Godhead. God finds His rest in us. We find our rest in God.

The Father dwells in Christ in totality.

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (Colossians 2:9)

The Father loves the Son and dwells in Him completely. All that the Father is and possesses He has given to the Son. The Father is in the Son in His fullness and the Son is in the Father in His fullness. If we can understand the relationship of the Son to the Father we can gain some understanding of the relationship of the Body of Christ to the Son.

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)

Jesus prayed for the filling of the saints with the fullness of the Father and the Son. The prayer is recorded in John, Chapter 17. "That they all may be one; "

Although various denominations have come into being over the last several hundred years, the Body of Christ, the Temple of God, is one. Its division into sects is superficial. When the Lord gives the Word the members of the Body of Christ will flow together in perfect unity.

"as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee,"

The unity of the Body of Christ is a spiritual unity that comes through the impartation of the Substance of God.

The Christian Church is much more than groups of saved people. The Church is born from above; "not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:13). The Body of Christ, the Temple of God, is, in fact, the Substance of Christ that has been imparted to people by the Holy Spirit.

Eve was Adam in another form, having been fashioned from Adam’s rib. She was not created from the dust of the ground but from a piece of Adam. In like manner the true and only Christian Church is not made from flesh and blood. It is the Substance of Christ that is taken Him and formed into people. The true Church, which is Christ in another form, always and forever abides in absolute unity because it is all created from the one Christ of God. The Body of Christ is one with the unity that exists only in the Godhead.

"that they also may be one in us:"

It is not that the Church is one that is so significant. It is that the Church is one in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Being one in the Godhead makes the crucial difference. If the Christian Church became one apart from the Godhead it would be the greatest enemy of Christ in the universe. It would be the worst antichrist of all time.

"that the world may believe thou hast sent me."

The churches are attempting in their own strength to influence the world for good; and certainly there are many worthy works of all kinds being performed. But God’s revival is yet ahead of us. As soon as the Body of Christ, the Temple of God, has been brought to perfection by the ministries of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians, Chapter Four), then the Body will be filled with all the fullness of the Godhead.

When the Church becomes one with the Father and the Son, the world will believe the Father indeed has sent the Son. The world will never believe God has sent Christ until the Church becomes one in the Godhead.

"And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them;"

The Father imparted to the Son the fullness of His own Glory. Christ has passed on to us the fullness of the Glory of God. We do not as yet have the fullness of the Glory of God because we are not able to receive it. But the Holy Spirit is making us ready to receive the Glory of God, if we are moving along under His direction.

If we are not following the Holy Spirit but are idly standing by without seeking to grasp more of Christ, then we are not being made ready to receive the Glory of God. There are no limits placed on the Glory of God given to the Son by the Father. There are no limits placed on the Glory of God given to the Church by the Son.

"that they may be one, even as we are one:"

The Body of Christ will be perfect in unity. It is "one tabernacle" (Exodus 26:6). There will not be a shadow of disunity in the mature Body. The unity of the Body of Christ is being created by the Lord God. The Body will be one in the Glory and the love of God. The perfected unity of the finished Body of Christ can be compared only to the unity that exists in the Father and the Son.

"I in them, and thou in me,"

God the Father dwells totally in God the Son. The Son will dwell totally in His Body. Therefore the Body of Christ will have the totality of God because the fullness of the Father is in the Son.

The Father will dwell only in Christ. He who has Christ has the Father also. He who has the fullness of Christ has the fullness of the Father. He who does not have Christ does not have any part in the Father because the Father dwells only in the Son. The more of the Son we have, the more of the Father we have as a result. The Father is pleased to dwell in the Son because He loves the Son and has given all things into His hands.

"that they may be made perfect in one;"

Each member of the Body of Christ will be made perfect. If there were one imperfect member the Body would be imperfect. In addition, the Body has a perfection in its completeness that is not true of an individual member.

In the Body of Christ, as in the case of the physical body, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The finished Body of Christ is the new Jerusalem, and it has a perfection of design that makes it a completely acceptable tabernacle for the residence of the Lord God and for the blessing of the nations of the earth.

We cannot make ourselves perfect in these terms of perfection. Our task is to be absolutely obedient to the Holy Spirit. We are learning each day how to be obedient as the Spirit brings us through the appropriate experiences. The Spirit’s assignment is to bring each of us to the perfection Christ has ordained for us, for which He prayed in John, Chapter 17, and which is necessary for the end He has in mind. The Holy Spirit accomplishes this perfection by many methods, including the use of the ministries and gifts He alone gives and empowers.

"and that the world may know thou hast sent me,"

Today the world is confused about the Person of Christ. There appears to be general agreement that He was a good man—probably a philosopher who died in order to demonstrate the sincerity of his beliefs.

The soldiers who guarded Christ and stood around the base of the cross were typical of the people of the world: some mocked; some gambled for His clothing; some offered Him vinegar to drink; one "glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man" (Luke 23:47).

Although the world is not certain concerning the Person of Christ, the Church is on its way to maturity, attempting to preach the good news to every creature while it itself is growing in God’s Presence and Person.

As soon as the Church has reached maturity and has been made one in the Godhead, the world will know God Almighty has sent Christ. There will be no confusion, no uncertainty. Then the world of its own choice will go to the Church for instruction in righteousness (Isaiah 2:3).

"and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."

There is no limit to the love of God for the Church. God loves the Son, and God loves the Bride of the Lamb with the same love. Notice, in the context of the above passage, that God loves the Church when Christ is in it—when it has been made perfect in the Father and the Son. If God so loved the world while yet in its sinful state He was willing to give His only begotten Son for its redemption, how much more does God love the Church that the Holy Spirit has fashioned from the body and blood of God’s Son?

There still is much of our personality that is hostile toward God. He therefore waits patiently while Christ works in the garden of our life, rooting out all that is displeasing to God and nourishing the new Plant that now is growing there.

The love of God abides on the Church because the Church has been born of Christ. The Church is loved with the same love with which the Father loves the Son.

When the world sees the Glory of the Father and the Son abiding on a Church that is completely one with the Father and the Son, the world will know the Father loves the Church with the same love with which He loves the Son.

Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24)

Although it may be difficult for us to understand, and it may appear to conflict with our independence of thought and action (in actuality it does not conflict), the members of the Body of Christ were given to the Son by the Father. It is not a case of our choosing Christ, though from our point of view it seems we did it all ourselves. It is true, however, that it is the Father brings us to Christ.

We are a called-out people just as Israel of old. The Lord adds to the Church daily such as should be saved. Every member of the Body of Christ is a gift of the Father to the Son, and when we come to Christ He does not cast us out (John 6:37). If we are to understand the true quality of the Church, and the attitude of the Father toward the Church, we must realize every member of the Church is hand-picked and presented to Christ by the Father.

"be with me where I am;"

Christ is on the highest throne of the universe. He is at the right hand of God Almighty. There is no greater throne. Christ has all authority in Heaven and on the earth. He is exalted to a point past the ability of the mind of man to conceive. Yet, He has summoned us to this level. How can that be? It is the unfathomable love of Christ for His Bride that so commands.

"that they may behold my glory,"

When we speak of the Glory of Christ we have only a faint idea of what we are describing. The Glory of Christ is so stupendous that the most exalted of the angels in the highest level of Heaven draw back in awe and fear whenever Christ is exercised. The communication between the Father and the Son is so wrapped in Divine fire that none of the heavenly host can bear to witness the exchange. It is the Glory that upholds the stars in their courses, billions of which are larger than our sun.

The Glory of Christ is absolutely unimaginable and unapproachable in its staggering extent. It cannot be described in the language of humans. His Presence and authority fill all things and extend into infinity and eternity. He created all things and can destroy all things just as easily and quickly.

"that thou hast given me:"

The Father has given His Glory to Christ. But since the Father and Christ are in perfect unity, the Glory remains with the Father. When the Church reaches maturity it will become one with Christ and the Father and receive the fullness of the Glory of God. God will not give His Glory to another. We must become one with him in order to receive His Glory.

"for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."

We do not know much about Christ as He was before the world was founded. We do know "all things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:3). It appears the "Lord" of the Old Testament, in many instances (perhaps in every instance), was Christ, and that it was His Spirit who spoke through the Prophets of Israel (I Peter 1:11).

Christ was before Abraham. He spoke the worlds into existence. He was the Word in the beginning. He was with God and was God. Before the world was founded the Father loved the Son.

Then there came into the mind of the Father a concept of the perfect Church, the Bride and Body of Christ. God proceeded to set in motion the forces that would in time bring a perfect "wife" for the Lamb, a counterpart who herself would be as the Lamb—in His image in every detail. Everything that has happened since that time has been for the purpose of bringing forth the Wife of the Lamb. All of this has come about because of the love of the Father for the Son.

In the book of Revelation the Bride is not termed the wife of the Word nor is she called the wife of the Son of God, nor even the bride of Christ. She is referred to as the "Lamb’s wife" (Revelation 21:9). It is the marriage of "the Lamb" that is to come (Revelation 19:7).

The reason for the terminology is as follows: the Church is created from the Substance of Christ—that which was taken from Him. The Church eats His body and drinks His blood. His body was broken for the Church and His blood was shed for the sins of the Church. It was the Lamb of God who was slain for the Church and whose body was broken and the blood shed.

Because the Church lives by eating His flesh and drinking His blood the Church is united to Him in Substance. The Church is united, or married, to the Lamb whom God gave for her protection, for her cleansing, and for her transformation into life (John 6:54). In this manner the Church is married to the Passover Lamb.

"O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee:"

The world has sought God in many different ways, from the lustful rites of savages to the more refined but no more effective philosophies of scholars. But God cannot be found by the efforts of the flesh just as an ant cannot master algebra. It is impossible for the unregenerate human being to lay hold upon the God of Israel by his own strength.

The world does not know God and is attempting at the present time to construct a social order apart from God. God laughs in derision at the preposterous spectacle of the dust of the ground attempting to thrust aside the wisdom and power that formed it. All of the efforts of mankind to do anything at all without God end in disaster for all concerned.

God Almighty is God indeed and He chooses the time, place, and manner of imparting the knowledge of Himself to the proud flesh of the earth. In His great love He has given us His Son as an offering for our sins.

The gift of Calvary is a perfect gift, entirely worthy of God. Whoever will choose to humble himself as a child can have the gift of God. But whoever attempts to meet God on some basis other than the blood of the cross is traveling down the wrong road. The end is total destruction. We must come God’s way or else perish.

"but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me."

We of the Church know beyond all doubt that Christ came from God. We put all our faith, trust, and hope in Him. We know all the Substance of God is in Christ and that He alone has the authority and power to present us to the Father. Christ is the door to God and there is no other way.

And I have declared to them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. (John 17:26)

"When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory" (Psalms 102:16). We are being built up in Christ in order that we may be able to receive the love with which the Father loves the Son, and may be able to receive the fullness of Christ. The ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as our environment and circumstances, are all working together to bring us into the likeness of the image of Christ.

As soon as our change has been completed He will appear on the Mount of Olives. We shall appear with Him in Glory and the world will be convinced that Christ was sent from the God of the universe, and that God loves the Church with the same love with which He loves His Son.

We must be made ready, in the meantime, and learn the lessons to be gained from each circumstance in which God places us. People are changed into the image of Christ in the situation where they are, just as the blocks of Solomon’s Temple were fashioned at the quarry. God’s workmen are exceedingly skillful, and in the Spirit’s time the Temple of God will be erected with no forcing being necessary.

When we hear the sound of "hammering" (the sound of a believer being shaped by the various situations in which the Holy Spirit places him or her) we know the blocks are still at the quarry.

God is supervising intently the forming of each block in accordance with the specifications of His master plan. At the precise moment the "blocks" of the Temple of God will "flow together" and the world will know God has constructed His holy dwelling place. No man can assemble the stones of the Temple of God. We can, however, pray to the end that Jerusalem will be made a praise in the earth.

For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. (Isaiah 62:1)

When Solomon’s Temple was assembled it was filled with the Glory of God.

And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord. (I Kings 8:10,11)

In God’s house there are many dwelling places (John 14:2). If Jesus were to be the only dwelling place of God He would have told us. But there will be a multitude of rooms in the great house of God. Jesus went away in order to make ready a place for us. He will return for us in order that we may be with Him where He is.

It is His will that each of us become a home, a room in the Temple of God. Our being joined with Christ in the love of God brings great pleasure to God and Christ, and it is to this end that God has planned and operated all things in the world.

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (I Corinthians 3:16)

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (II Corinthians 6:16)

AN ETERNAL WEIGHT OF GLORY

For we know if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (II Corinthians 5:1)

Here we see our two bodies in contrast. Our present physical body is liable, as was Paul’s, to dissolution. Paul was in danger of his life on many occasions, the most recent instance having occurred "in Asia" (II Corinthians 1:8).

None of us knows when his body may succumb to sickness or to an accident. But we have also a "building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." That house cannot be dissolved. The "weight" of our house from Heaven is created by our "light affliction." Our present body will be glorified by being clothed with the eternal body.

For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from Heaven: (II Corinthians 5:2)

When we state the "weight" of our house from Heaven is created by our "light affliction" we are explaining that our response to our afflictions and tests, as we are brought down to death and raised again by the Life of Jesus, is creating the body from Heaven with which we shall be clothed in the Day of the Lord.

Now—today—we are weaving our eternal robe, our house from Heaven. As we sow, so shall we reap. If we do everything in our power to escape the tests and prisons the Lord would have us endure we will be clothed with corruption in the Day of the Lord. If we faithfully endure the tests and remain in the prisons assigned by the Lord we will be clothed with a body of eternal life.

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:8)

The above verse was written to Christians. It applies only to Christians. A non-Christian does not have the choice of sowing to the Spirit.

If a believer continues to live in the flesh he will slay his own resurrection. Today’s overemphasis on grace, which is a perversion of the true doctrine of Divine grace, has destroyed the truth of Galatians 6:8. If we would be clothed with a body of glory like the body of the Lord Jesus, then we must come to know the power of His resurrection and we must share His sufferings. Those who do so will attain the first resurrection from the dead. Those who do not will be judged by the Lord.

From Paul’s writings we know he was pressing toward the "mark" of being clothed with the house from Heaven. As soon as we move past Pentecost in our Christian experience, the Holy Spirit begins to create in our heart the fervent desire to attain the body of resurrection life.

We always are more than willing to escape this present wilderness, whether by death, by translation, or by any other means. But such a desire is to be expected when one compares the life of bliss that God’s creatures enjoy in Paradise with our daily problems in the world. Who wouldn’t want to go to Heaven? Yet, there are loved ones in the world, and these ties of love temper our desire to go home to be with the Lord Jesus.

But being clothed with the body of life—this is something else again! This is no sorrowful leaving of loved ones on the earth so we can go to Paradise. Rather, the clothing of life is the triumphant overcoming of the last enemy. Here is victory! Here is joy! Here is reunion!

On that Day there will be no breaking hearts (among those who have served the Lord faithfully), no tears of anguish then. This is the Year of Jubilee when the slaves go free and everyone returns to his inheritance in the Lord. May God hasten the day when the sons of God are revealed.

The Spirit of Christ in Isaiah portrays the wonderful joy and glory of the saint at the moment of being clothed with eternal life.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)

We already have the first installment (earnest; pledge) of the Holy Spirit. But if we serve Christ faithfully until He returns, or until we go home to be with the Lord, whichever comes first, then we can look forward to the Day when our mortal body is made alive by His Spirit who dwells in us (Romans 8:11). The same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead will set our body free by His eternal power and glory.

If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. (II Corinthians 5:3)

It appears from the Scriptures that some Christians will be saved apart from any reward. They will be saved in the Day of the Lord but will be found naked as far as any spiritual accomplishment is concerned.

If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (I Corinthians 3:15)

People will be saved who have not laid up for themselves an eternal weight of glory. They will not be destroyed in the day of God’s wrath, but they will be found "naked."

Paul emphasizes the desire of the saint for immortality:

For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed up, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. (II Corinthians 5:4)

We who are in the body of flesh do groan because we are burdened. But we are not groaning "that we would be unclothed" (leave the body and go to Heaven). Rather, we are groaning that we might be clothed with resurrection life. We are groaning that "mortality might be swallowed up of life."`

Paul asks, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:24).

God’s answer to Paul is, "The Lord Jesus is coming with a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. The Holy Spirit who now dwells in you will make alive your mortal body and you will be free from sin and death just as your Lord Jesus Christ is free from sin and death."

Resurrection life will swallow up mortality, as portrayed by the covering of the acacia wood of the Ark of the Covenant with gold (Exodus 25:10,11).

Acacia wood, symbolizing mortality, was always present in the Ark, but the wood was never seen because it was completely covered with gold, which typifies Divinity. Our original body will be our dwelling place throughout the ages to come. But it will never be seen as it is now because it will be "swallowed up of life."

Jesus still has the same body. He still has the nail prints in His hands, we believe. But He is in a greatly glorified state. After we stand in the Presence of God Almighty for a few billion years, steadfastly beholding His Face, we shall be so glorified that every atom of our being will be changed into the Divine Nature. However, our original form will be there, just as the outline of the leaf can be traced in the rock after eons have passed.

We are not groaning that we might leave our body and go to Paradise, although that is a blessed prospect. Rather, we are longing for and pressing toward the putting on of the "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," our "house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

Our hearts are overcome with joy as we consider the greatness of the inheritance that is to be ours at the return of the Lord. We yet shall possess the righteousness and peace for which we are fighting. We are laboring to enter the rest of God. God’s rest will be ours if we do not give up but continue on as one faithful to Him whose name is "Faithful" (Revelation 19:11).

God is preparing us for the putting on of the house from Heaven.

Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest [pledge] of the Spirit. (II Corinthians 5:5)

God has created us for the purpose of conforming us to the image of His Son, Christ, that He may be the firstborn among many brothers. We must be changed into His image in our spirit, in our soul, and in our body.

It is God’s great joy and good pleasure that we inherit His fullness. No greater joy can be brought to the heart of God than that which comes from beholding His sons fight their way by faith into the fullness of all He has prepared for them.

Israel displeased God by not maintaining the courageous faith required for the full possession of the land of promise. Let us not be like faithless Israel. Let us rather go on until death itself, the last enemy of our Lord Jesus Christ, has been crushed under our feet by the God of peace (Romans 16:20).

We have the Holy Spirit as an "earnest," a guarantee, a pledge, a first installment on the greater glory that is yet to come. The greater glory will include, among other blessings, the clothing of our body with a house fashioned from eternal life. Let us never lose sight of that goal, for it is the fullness of salvation. The pursuit of the fullness of God is His will for us now. We need faith and patience if we are to lay hold on our entire inheritance in Christ.

We always are willing to leave this fleshly body and go home to be present with our wonderful Lord Jesus. As long as we are at home in the body we are absent from Him. We continue in the pursuit of righteousness in order that we may be accepted of Him, whether we are present with Him or still in a mortal body.

We have the sure knowledge that we possess an eternal house in the heavens and that we shall be clothed with it if we steadfastly keep our gaze on Christ. For we must yet appear before the judgment seat of Christ that we may receive the consequences of the manner in which we have answered His call on our life.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)

The body of resurrection life is a reward for faithfully serving Christ no matter what the inconvenience or pain may be. From the context of the above verse we understand Paul was thinking about the reward that will come to the Christian who has labored in Christ in order that the will of God may come to pass in the earth. Paul was considering the "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory" that is to be his at the appearing of the righteous Judge.

After having accepted the freely given salvation in Christ a person may or may not go on to the gaining of a reward.

If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. (I Corinthians 3:14,15)

Every one of us will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. We may hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter the desires of your heart, the righteousness, love, joy, peace, and gladness that have been prepared for you from the creation of the world."

Or, He may have cause to say, "It became necessary for me to remove those things that hindered you, but you remained faithful throughout your fiery trial. Welcome to My kingdom." Christ then will wipe away our tears and we will be saved from the wrath of God.

There are some believers who will hear neither of these comments. Rather, they will face an angry Christ who will command that they be thrown into outer darkness (Matthew 25:30).

There appear to be some misconceptions concerning the giving of rewards under the new covenant. Consider, if you will, the following two seemingly inconsistent statements:

Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. (Romans 4:4)

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (Revelation 22:12)

In Romans, Chapter Four Paul seems to be saying if we do nothing except believe in Christ, God will reward us because of our belief. If we do anything about our salvation, God then owes us something and this interferes with His grace.

In Revelation, Chapter 22, however, John informs us that Christ shall reward men according to their works. The two passages appear to be in opposition. Romans seems to state righteous works interfere with the grace of God while Revelation maintains there is a reward for righteous works.

The seeming clash between Paul and John is caused by the fact that they are referring to two different aspects of salvation. In Romans, Chapter Four Paul is declaring works of the Law of Moses are not the way to obtain the righteousness of God.

Paul presents Christ as the answer to our need for right standing with God. If a man "works," if he attempts to gain God’s favor by keeping the laws and ordinances of the old covenant, he is avoiding the cross of Christ.

Through keeping the Law of Moses he hopes to earn the reward of God’s approval on his life. Therefore, a righteousness that comes by faith in God’s Lamb is not necessary. He has gained the reward by blameless observance of the Law and the Levitical ordinances. God owes salvation to the observant individual because he has earned it by his efforts.

God no longer will accept this approach!

We cannot earn salvation by performing righteous works. But true salvation always produces righteous works. Where righteousness is not being developed, where moral transformation is not taking place, no Divine redemption is occurring.

Revelation 22:12 is not referring to the strict observance of the Levitical statutes and ordinances as the work that earns the reward from Christ. Rather, the "work" of Revelation is referring to the type of Christian faithfulness of which Christ speaks so highly in Revelation, Chapters Two and Three.

For example: "I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first" (Revelation 2:19). The works mentioned here have nothing to do with the observance of the Levitical statutes—that to which Paul was referring in Romans 4:4. Paul is speaking of our reward, in II Corinthians, Chapter Five—a surpassingly marvelous reward at that! Our mortal body will be clothed with a body of resurrection life. We shall reign with Christ from His throne at the right hand of the Almighty (Revelation 3:21) We shall inherit the "all things" of Revelation 21:7.

For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. (Matthew 16:27)

If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereon, he shall receive a reward. (I Corinthians 3:14)

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23,24)

Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. (II John 1:8)

The house from Heaven is a reward for uncompromising faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the crown of incorruptible righteousness, glory, and life.

And every man that striveth for mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. (I Corinthians 9:25)

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but to all them also that love his appearing. (II Timothy 4:8)

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (James 1:12)

And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. (I Peter 5:4)

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)

Paul’s life was pointed straight as an arrow on a fully drawn bow. Paul’s target was the full knowledge of Christ—arrival at the resurrection from among the dead. Paul exhorts us to march along with him and not break rank. "Follow me," he cries, "as I follow Christ."

Paul already had been saved. Now he was seeking the full attainment of life! of righteousness! of glory! of fruitfulness! of authority and power!

Who will follow Paul as he follows Christ? Will you?

Readiness for Translation

The promise of God is that if we live in the Spirit of God each day of our Christian pilgrimage we finally will come to the time when God delivers our mortal body "from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God."

Our physical body will be made alive by the Holy Spirit who, in the present hour, is dwelling in us. Our body not only will be made alive but also will be filled with love for the things of the Spirit of God, as is true now of our born-again inner nature.

Instead of a desire for adultery there will be a desire for God Himself. Instead of lust for indecent acts there will be a desire for holiness of conduct.

In place of the craving for things and the worship of the material creation will be the desire for God and the things of God. In place of hatred will come love for God and for His people. Occult practices will be replaced by faith in God’s Word; envy, by contentment with our place in God; fretfulness, by peace; strife, by the wish to better the condition of our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Instead of drunkenness our resurrected body will seek self-control. In place of the spirit of heaviness will be the garment of praise. Grief and anxiety will be overcome by love, joy, power, and a sound mind.

Our inner man longs for these changes from sin to righteousness to take place in us now. And so they do as we bear the fruit of the Spirit of God. But the mortal flesh in which we are housed has some ideas of its own. It far prefers the fulfilling of its appetites and lusts. We must give ourselves wholly to the Son of God in order to keep our body in submission or else the body will take command of our thoughts and actions.

The clothing of our present body with the body from Heaven will abolish the bodily tendencies toward sin and will bring us immortality. The main idea of the coming of Christ is not that we will go to Heaven. We go to Heaven when we die, and the thought of it is enough to cause the heart of the overcomer to take up the fight with renewed vigor. But the meaning of the coming of Christ, as far as the overcoming Christian is concerned, is that of being clothed with the body from Heaven so complete and perfect righteousness of life is obtained.

When we die we go to Heaven, it is true. But the major blessing of redemption is that Heaven comes to us and fills us with the righteousness and life of Heaven. That is salvation! That is redemption! Let us, therefore, put to death now the uncleanness of the flesh and spirit so we shall be prepared for the change in us that is to come with the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ with His holy angels.

There are many reasons why a proper preparation must be made now if we hope to be ready for the redemption of our body when Jesus appears. We must, through the Spirit, "put to death the deeds of the body." Without such preparation it is impossible for us to have an abundant entrance into the "everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (II Peter 1:11).

First, it is not reasonable to suppose God will clothe us with a body like the body with which Jesus is clothed unless our spirit and soul have been made ready. If we are weak in the faith, undecided about serving the Lord, double-minded, unfaithful, we are not ready to be clothed with the power and authority of eternal life. The cherubim are still guarding the tree. Only the victorious saints have access to the tree of life (Revelation 2:7).

The body of glory is associated with authority and power over the nations—with the throne of Christ. We must be prepared to rule in and with Christ. Our inner man must be prepared and strengthened for the Divine Glory that is to descend on us. If the fullness of the Glory of God were to come on us in the present hour we might not be able to bear so much of the Presence of God Almighty.

We must be strengthened in the inner man before we will be able to receive the fullness of God. Otherwise, what is meant for our good might prove harmful to us.

Enoch and Elijah were translated into the Presence of God, and it appears this has been true of other saints as well (Matthew 27:52,53). Do we have enough faith for this experience?

The Scripture teaches us that Enoch was translated "by faith" (Hebrews 11:5). Is our faith strong enough for translation glory? If our faith fails in that Day we might look back.

Jesus has warned us about looking back. "Remember Lot’s wife." (Luke 17:32).

The point is, we need to be strengthened in faith now, bearing the fruit of faith in increasing measure, so when the trumpet of God sounds we will have the faith required for receiving the fullness of God’s Glory. Strong faith will be required for a successful response to the summons of Christ in that Day.

Then, too, we need to ask if we really desire to live this close to God all the time. Will we really enjoy dwelling in such close relationship to the fiery holiness of God Almighty? Is this what we truly want?

. . . who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? (Isaiah 33:14)

Perhaps we need to think twice before we rush into the Presence of God in the pursuit of the body of eternal life.

But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: (Malachi 3:2)

The greatest reward prepared for the saint is nearness to God and the continual beholding of His Face.

And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. (Revelation 22:4)

If our goal in life is to abide in the fullness of the Presence of God forever, being clothed in a righteous and immortal body, we need to purify ourselves by the power of the Holy Spirit. If we do not, our actions testify that closeness to God is not our goal after all. We are seeking God with the mind and mouth but not with the heart.

God loves us too much to bring us into a situation where we would be miserable and where we would make others around us miserable. The atmosphere of Heaven is filled with perfect love and harmony. A spirit of gentle good will, of thinking the best about everyone, of meekness and selflessness of attitude, permeates every area of Paradise. Would we bring into Paradise our gossiping, our hating, our murmuring, our criticizing?

Love, peace, joy, and complete and perfect obedience to the Father characterize the saints in Glory, the Elders, the elect angels, and the other inhabitants of Heaven. People who rush about in the violent passions of the body and spirit would not enjoy the company of the inhabitants of Heaven. God will not seal the doom of an immature, self-centered person by clothing him or her with eternal life.

The new body will be an aid to righteous living. But the new body alone cannot live a holy life. Being in Heaven will not guarantee a loving obedience to God on our part. Satan and his angels originally were in Heaven and it is not recorded that there was a law of sin governing their bodies. Yet, they rebelled against God!

It is the love of righteousness and hatred of sin and rebellion inherent in the Nature of Christ that must govern the spirit and soul of the believer, and his body as well. Righteousness, holiness, and obedience are developed in us while we are on the earth in mortal bodies.

We demonstrate now, in the present life, our determination to live the kind of life found in Heaven, that characterizes the inhabitants of Heaven—those with whom we are seeking fellowship. We show our determination by putting to death the deeds of our fleshly body. We reveal on earth whether or not we are citizens of Heaven. Living in the appetites and lusts of the flesh works against our being prepared for the heavenly attitude and behavior.

There is this about Enoch, Elijah, Moses, and the other heroes of faith: they please God. They are the kind of people God and Jesus enjoy having around themselves. David is a man after God’s own heart.

Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus as He prayed on the mountain and they discussed "his decease that he should accomplish at Jerusalem" Luke 9:31) There is a heavenly fellowship and it is pleasing to the Lord, just as the fellowship of like-minded people is enjoyable to us.

If we say we love God and enjoy His company, and we do not obey God or cooperate with His Spirit in putting to death the deeds of our fleshly nature, there is a question about whether we really love God after all (I John 2:15).

The maturing of Christ in us, which is the same as the maturing of the fruit of the Spirit, will create in our personality a heavenly attitude radiating blessing and good will toward all God’s creatures, and terror toward the workers of darkness.

If this kind of attitude and actions is being developed in us, our ruling with Christ over the nations of the earth will bring about the kind of environment for earth’s peoples that God desires. There will be a peaceful, happy, and righteous spiritual and social environment. Persons who, through Christ, can accomplish such a government, will be clothed by the Spirit of God with a body of eternal life and invested with Divine authority and power over the earth.

The "dew" of the Holy Spirit on the grave of a saint is as the natural dew on a plant—it will result in return to life.

Thy dead men will live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. (Isaiah 26:19)

The physical remains of the Spirit-filled Christian have been "sealed" by the Lord. They are not the same as the remains of the sin-filled unbeliever. The anointing of the Holy Spirit who abode on Elisha remained in his bones after his death.

And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet. (II Kings 13:21)

Each of God’s true saints is alive in Christ and has the stamp of God on the members of his mortal body. At the summons of Christ the body of the Christian will respond to the incorruptible resurrection Life of Christ—the Holy Spirit of God. The grave of the believer will open and the Holy Spirit will convert his body into an eternal state.

The parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) is an illustration of the need for readiness during the Day of the Lord; of the relationship between the quality of our Christian life now and our fitness for the body of life when Jesus comes; and of the necessity for having the anointing of the Holy Spirit on our life now in order that we may participate in triumph in the resurrection from among the dead, at the appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The virgins took their lamps (the Word of God) and went forth to meet the bridegroom (started out on their Christian pilgrimage). The virgins who "took no oil with them" represent Christians who live in the flesh rather than in the Spirit of God.

When the bridegroom delayed his coming they all slumbered, speaking of the fact that the Christians of the first century and of succeeding centuries have died without witnessing His expected appearing.

"At midnight there was a cry made," indicating that the appearing of our Lord will take place at "midnight"—at the time of the maturing of sin on the earth.

"Then all those virgins arose"—the time of the resurrection had come. But the five foolish virgins discovered to their dismay that the light of Christ in them, their faith in His Word, had gone out because they had not obtained enough oil (the resurrection Life of Christ in them). While they attempted to seek the Lord for the "oil" of the Spirit, the five wise virgins went in to the marriage and the foolish virgins were left outside the door.

When we say that the virgins have the anointing of the Holy Spirit we are not referring to speaking in tongues or any of the gifts of the Spirit, as valuable as these tools are for the building up of the members of the Body of Christ. Rather, we are referring to the Life of Christ that is being formed in the cross-carrying victorious saints who are living and walking in obedience to the Holy Spirit, who are learning to love righteousness and hate sin and rebellion, and who therefore carry the abiding Presence of the Glory of the Lord in their lives.

So will it be at the appearing of Christ. The Christians who have died with the Life of the Lord Jesus in them will be caught up to meet the Lord, as will the Christians who are alive at that time and are walking in the Spirit of God.

But the "Christians" who have lived in the appetites and impulses of the flesh, whether they are dead or alive at the coming of Christ, will not have the eternal Life required in that Day.

All of us need more of the abiding Presence of the Holy Spirit and the Life of Jesus in us during every moment of our time and throughout every aspect of our personality and behavior.

As part of our preparation for ruling with Christ, and for the first resurrection (which is associated with our ruling in Christ—Revelation 20:4,5), we first must suffer. The cross and the crown go together.

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:17)

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)

Paul linked knowing the power of Christ’s resurrection with knowing the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings.

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death; (Philippians 3:10)

The Book of First Peter shows us the necessity for our suffering and comforts us with the hope of the "glory that shall be revealed."

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: (I Peter 1:7)

It is through suffering that we are brought to the place where we cease from sin and live no longer "in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God." It is through suffering that we experience the power of resurrection life and are prepared for the body fashioned from resurrection life.

Another way in which God views our pursuit of eternal life and glory is as a business transaction. The grace given to us in Christ, and the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit, are pictured as sums of money. We can apply the money in a businesslike manner, earning interest and making a profit. Or we can refrain from using the Divine money, keeping it out of circulation. God is displeased with the latter action. Lack of diligence in the use of God’s money is one way to be unprepared when Jesus appears.

And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (Matthew 25:20,21)

The parable of the talents shows us that the Christian who has attended diligently to the gifts of God that have been given to him will take part in the joy of Christ at His appearing. The joy of Christ is the inheriting of the nations and the possessing of the farthest reaches of the earth. Included also is the surpassing joy of the fullness of life in the Holy Spirit of God.

But the slothful Christian will not find the Day of the Lord to be such a pleasant experience. A wrathful Lord Jesus will say to him:

. . . Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him that hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:26-30)

The gifts and ministries that God has given to us as an individual may seem small to us now; but Jesus knows that if we are not faithful in the use of them we would not be faithful with greater responsibilities. However, if we faithfully use the gifts He has given us, seeking His will in all that we say and do, we can be trusted with the riches of the Kingdom when Jesus returns.

We know the coming Day of days will bring redemption to the Body of Christ Our physical bodies will come from the grave and we shall live and rule with Christ forever. Eternal life is the hope of the Gospel of Christ. If we follow Jesus with all our strength, and the Glory of God rests on our life, then the sting of death has been removed from us and victory of the grave has been turned into defeat (I Corinthians 15:55).

Enoch (Genesis 5:24) and Elijah (II Kings 2:11) are forerunners of those who will be taken up to God at the appearing of Christ. Whether or not Christians are physically alive at His coming is of little consequence (I Thessalonians 4:15). The important factor is that the Glory of God must rest on us if we are to attain the first resurrection from the dead. Many of the saints arose immediately after Christ’s resurrection and joined with Him in His triumphal procession (Matthew 27:52,53) as a sheaf of the firstfruits of the earth (Leviticus 23:10).

When Jesus returns, the multitude of those who have died in Him will rise to meet Him in the air. It is the bodies of the disciples that will be rising from their place of burial, because the reborn spiritual nature of each believer will be returning from Heaven along with the Lord Jesus (I Thessalonians 4:14; Colossians 3:1-4). These are God’s saints who have suffered with Christ, who have been faithful to death, and who now are receiving the crown of righteousness, glory, and eternal life.

If we hope to be clothed will the body of resurrection life we must be strengthened in the inner man. Our faith must be brought up to translation strength. We must be purified so we shall enjoy dwelling in the fiery holiness of God’s Presence. We must adopt the heavenly attitude and behavior.

We must come under the discipline of the Holy Spirit, being quick to confess our sins and forsake them by the wisdom and strength given us through the Spirit. We must leave all in order to know Christ, to know the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being struck down in the likeness of His death in order that we may experience the likeness of His resurrection. We must take up our cross and follow Christ daily, diligently employing our talents in building the Kingdom of God, faithfully carrying out each small task and responsibility.

Let us not be among those who neglect their salvation. Let us rather be "followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises" (Hebrews 6:12).

THE KINGDOM-WIDE FULFILLMENT OF THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES

Now we come to the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. To do so we pass from the thousand-year Kingdom Age of Christ into the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. The fulfillment of everything God has purposed, concerning all persons and all things, reaches completion in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ—that which is described in the twenty-first and twenty-second chapters of the Book of Revelation.

Our efforts and the events prior to the coming down to the new earth of the glorified Wife of the Lamb have as their focus bringing to pass the conditions of the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

There are at least six aspects of the new heaven and earth reign of Christ, as described in the last two chapters of Revelation, that are foreshadowed by the elements of the feast of Tabernacles:

The completion of the harvest of all crops grown in the land of promise—"Behold I make all things new."

The tabernacling of God with mankind—"Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men."

The living waters—"And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb."

Eternal service to God—"his servants shall serve him."

The Law of God—"they shall reign for ever and ever."

The light of the world—"the Lamb is the light thereof."

The Completion of the Harvest

The feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:23-39) marks the end of the harvest season. All the food grown in the land of Israel has by this time been reaped and processed. Beginning with the citrus harvest in February and March, and continuing through the harvest of wheat, vegetables, corn, figs, grapes, and nuts, all has been gathered and threshed or otherwise prepared by the time of the feast of Tabernacles.

It is a celebration of the most extreme joyfulness and gratitude toward the Lord. God has received His people and has blessed them. The long drought of summer is over and the September (early; former) rains are about to commence.

Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. (Leviticus 23:39)

It is easy to see how the new heaven and earth reign of Christ is associated with the feast of Tabernacles. Everything God has planted in the Christian has attained maturity. Christ has been formed in each aspect of his personality. There is nothing left of the first creation.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [a new creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (II Corinthians 5:17)

God demonstrates clearly that the past is over by creating a new heaven and a new earth.

Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (II Peter 3:13)

God creates the new heaven first, then the new earth. God always creates the heaven before the earth. This is the manner in which He works with us Christians. God is creating the "heaven" in us, the spiritual domain, first. After we have a "new heaven," so to speak, He will create for us a "new earth," a new body.

The "Tabernacles" phase of the redemption that is in Christ marks the completion of the work of atonement in the believer. The spirit of the Christian has been made one with the Spirit of the Lord (I Corinthians 6:17). His soul, or inner man, has been filled with the Nature and Substance of Christ and taught of the Lord in God’s fires of suffering. His mortal body has been made eternally alive by being clothed with a body from Heaven that has been fashioned from the substance of eternal life.

The "long drought of summer" has come to an end. The harvest and processing of the personality has been completed. The new year, with its "refreshing rains" and its hope and expectations for a future too glorious to imagine, has arrived.

And he that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (Revelation 21:5).

The symbolism of the elements and activities of the feast of Tabernacles suggests to us that the new heaven and earth reign of Christ has to do with the completion of the "harvest of all crops grown in the land of promise," which is a figurative way of describing the maturing of all that God has planted in the personalities of His children.

Tabernacles, and the Habitation of God

A second concept common to the feast of Tabernacles and the new heaven and earth reign of Christ is that of the dwelling of God with mankind. It can be seen that the idea of the tabernacling of God with people is central to all we are saying to the reader.

God finds rest in us and we find rest in God. We abide in God and God abides in us. The main concept that stands out as we think about the new heaven and earth reign of Christ is the abiding and resting of God Almighty and the Lamb in the new Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb.

There will be nations of saved people on the new earth.

And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. (Revelation 21:24)

God will be able to dwell among the nations of the saved because He now has a tabernacle, the Wife of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem, that is able to please God perfectly. The tabernacle of God will be placed among the nations of the saved, and God thus will be able to wipe away the tears of mankind.

The churches of today are a very imperfect form of the eternal house of God that one day will be present on the earth. The churches are a poor representation of God in the earth. In the future, God will be dwelling in His Church, the new Jerusalem, to such an extent that all saved peoples may be able to approach God in a satisfying and beneficial manner.

During the feast of Tabernacles the Israelites dwelled in booths. The Jews were commanded to build little booths of tree branches outside their houses and to live in them for seven days. The term tabernacles (temporary dwellings) is derived from the booths in which the Hebrews dwelled during the celebration.

Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: That your generations may know I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 23:42,43)

Each year the Israelite family, no matter how rich or poor, was to put together a small booth of palm and willow branches, and other foliage, and live in it for a week. The change in their routine of living gave them the opportunity to bring to mind their history ("that your generations may know I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt"); and also to think about their special relationship to God as His chosen people.

Also, the booths pointed toward the day when the people of God become the eternal Tabernacle of God (Revelation 21:3).

Sometimes it becomes necessary for us to take a moment to remember who we are, what we are doing, where we are going, and what our relationship is to God. We continually must call to mind our individual role as a king and priest of God. Otherwise we become sidetracked and lose our purpose and direction in all we are and do. Other interests and desires capture our imagination and heart. God is jealous of these secondary issues. He desires our complete attention at all times (Exodus 34:14).

During the new heaven and earth reign of Christ the nations of the saved will pursue their own interests. They will "walk in the light" of the holy city and "bring their glory and honor into it" (Revelation 21:24). But the Wife of the Lamb will spend eternity in worship of God and in union with His Personality. Her role is priestly, and she will never forget her purpose among the nations of the earth.

The Bride cannot lose sight of her service and destiny because God Almighty and the Lamb will be tabernacling in her midst.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)

The above passage sums up the work of God, from the creation of the heaven and the earth all the way to the descending of the new Jerusalem from the new heaven to its eternal resting place on the new earth.

It always has been God’s desire to dwell among His creatures but sin has made it impossible. From the hour of Adam’s sin to the malicious treatment Jesus received at the hands of the Jewish elders and the Roman soldiers, until the present hour, most people have not been able to practice righteousness, love mercy, or walk humbly with God. It is not possible for humans to conduct themselves in this simple and good manner because of their inheritance of sin, their wicked "shape" (Psalms 51:5), and the poisonous spiritual atmosphere of the age in which they are attempting to survive.

God revealed His eternal purpose, in Exodus 25:8:

"And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them."

Just thirteen words, but they encompass the Godhead, mankind, Heaven, earth, and thousands of years of travail, agony, triumph, and glory.

Jesus added to the revelation of Gods’s intention to dwell in people:

Jesus answered and said to him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

From the Lord Jesus we learn that the dwelling place of God will be a living temple rather than a temple made from stone, gold, wood, or other nonhuman materials.

Paul enlarged our understanding of the living Temple of God by his teaching concerning the Church, the Body of Christ. It is Christ—Head and Body—who is the Temple of God.

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: (Ephesians 2:19-21)

We are being "builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." There is no statement in the Scriptures more central to the working of the Lord God.

Why, then, does God not come into the Church in His fullness and take up His residence in us now? Why all the confusion, delay, tribulation, worry, grief of mind and heart, and pain of body?

It is because we cannot dwell with Him in our present condition. The fire of His Presence would destroy us. He does not enjoy our ways and we do not enjoy His ways. He loves us and we love Him, but the lust and rebellion remaining in us are at war with God.

The Ark of God always must come to rest in a prepared place. Our entire personality must welcome the Presence of God. We must be willing to wait on God’s pleasure at every moment and in all circumstances. How many of us attempt to keep Christ in some inconspicuous place in our life so we can use Him when we get ready and yet not inconvenience ourselves to any great extent?

It may be true that many of us Christians are not ready to receive the Presence of God into our life fully and give ourselves wholly to His likes and dislikes, His ways of doing things. It is difficult for two strong-willed people to live together in harmony. God has definite ideas and He takes no pleasure in having to explain everything He does before we will act, and then be required to resist our stubbornness at every turn.

We have so much to learn! So much to become!

The eternal habitation of God is the glorified Church, the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb. Revelation, Chapters 21 and 22 informs us that gold and precious stones predominate in the construction of the new Jerusalem. The pure, transparent gold is the Substance of Christ in us that has been refined by suffering—the only method that accomplishes the desired transparency—until we are as clear as glass (I Peter 1:7).

The assortment of precious stones that embellish the foundations of the wall of the city speak of the different Christian personalities that have been formed by extreme heat and pressure, under the precise supervision of the Holy Spirit, until their infinitely-varied radiance illumines the creation. The Holy Spirit being manifested through the separate personalities produces one hue, and then another, in a heavenly rainbow of color.

The gates are pearl because pearl is created in response to suffering. The "pearl" in our nature is built layer upon layer as we patiently bear the cross that has been assigned to us. As God sends the grace to bring us through the day in victory, another layer is added to our pearl.

The pearl in us is hard material, not easily changed, because it is formed at the deepest level of consecration—the secret place of the heart of the saint where God and he work out the transformation day after day. The gates that control entrance into the city are of the highest quality pearl.

It is only by prolonged patience in tribulation that we become capable of serving as a door through which the poor and needy can be admitted to the Presence of God and the Lamb.

The new Jerusalem is the eternal resting place of the Ark of God’s Presence. The city is perfectly proportioned and of incredibly immense size. The light of God and the Lamb fills the city and the whole earth.

The pure light, the beauty of holiness, the Glory of God, renders unnecessary the light of the sun and moon, as was true during the first three days of creation.

The Bride of the Lamb will be perfect in every detail. No longer will God be required to compromise His deepest wisdom and desires in order to dwell among His children. The Church will have been so wrought upon by the Holy Spirit of God that it will be a suitable dwelling place for the Lord God Almighty and His Son, Christ.

No adjustment will be needed. God will be perfectly at home in every area of His Temple. As the billions upon unnumbered billions of eternities go by, the house of God will become increasingly imbued with all that God is until God and His Temple are indivisible—one magnificent Divine Entity.

God will be in His house, and His house will be in God, to the degree that separation no longer is possible. This is true marriage. Physical marriage is a type of the one true marriage, which can exist only between the Lamb and His Wife.

The reason for the delay in God coming to us and dwelling in us, in accordance with His eternal purpose in Christ, is that we have not as yet been fully prepared. We are being brought to maturity in the present hour.

Our service to God and mankind throughout the thousand years of the Kingdom Age will result in an ever-increasing refinement of our nature because of our close contact with Christ. One fact is certain—the new Jerusalem will not descend in radiant beauty until after the thousand-year Kingdom Age, the Millennial Jubilee, has been completed.

We are being prepared today for the abiding of God in Christ in us.

God dwells in Christ in His fullness because Jesus is a perfectly prepared place for God. In all of Jesus’ ministry on the earth we see God the Father. Jesus always is perfectly at rest in the Father, and through Him the Father is able to dwell among men.

Every person who sees the Lord Jesus sees the Father. Men do not need to ask to see the Father or to inquire what the Father is like. We can witness the Father’s moral character in Christ. We can behold His works of power in Christ. We can hear His words from Christ., Christ is the perfect spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles, in that God dwells in Him to the fullest extent.

The destiny of the Church is the attainment of perfect rest in Christ in God. The Day will come when mankind will be able to observe God Almighty through Christ in the Church. Men will see the moral Character of the Father, behold the works of power of His hands, and hear His words—all through the members of the Body of Christ. The Church will be the revelation of God in Christ, and God will find His rest in Christ—Head and Body.

The Church will come down from the new heaven and remain forever on the new earth. Through the Church, God will be approachable to the nations of the saved of the new earth.

In our time, the Body of Christ is the dwelling place among men, the manifestation, of God in Christ. But our sinful flesh muddies the water of eternal life and obscures the "light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (II Corinthians 4:6).

We who are members of the Body of Christ (and you, dear reader, may partake of the Glory if you pursue the fullness of Christ) are destined to be filled with the fullness of God in Christ through the Spirit. Just as the Lord Jesus eternally is filled with the Presence, the love, and the Glory of God, so shall we—when we have been prepared—be filled with the Presence, the love, and the Glory of God in Christ.

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:22,23)

Tabernacles, and the Water of Life

We have seen that the feast of Tabernacles parallels the new heaven and earth rule of Christ in that both are associated with the maturing of what has been planted in the land of promise, to speak in a figure. Also, Tabernacles and the new heaven and earth rule bring to our mind the thought of God "tabernacling" in and with us.

A third area of salvation common to the feast of Tabernacles and the new heaven and earth rule of Christ is that of the water of life (Revelation 22:1). The concept of the water of life is important in the feast of Tabernacles, and also in the new earth.

The feast of Tabernacles is closely associated with water. The feast was celebrated on the fifteenth through the twenty-second day of the seventh month, which occurred approximately during the last part of the month of September and the first part of October of our present calendar.

In terms of the climate of the Holy Land, the long dry season from May through August, relieved only by heavy summer dew, comes to an end by the time of the feast of Tabernacles. The early (former) rains are now at hand. The coming of rain brings the replenishing of rivers, and portrays the refreshing of the Holy Spirit as He comes to us and creates in us "rivers of living water."

Because the land of Israel is located in an area of the world where the availability of water often is a major concern, many of the passages of the Scriptures associate the blessing of God with an abundance of water.

And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. (Isaiah 58:11)

And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim. (Joel 3:18)

Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13,14)

The following words of Jesus have a direct bearing on the feast of Tabernacles:

In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37-39)

The "last day, that great day of the feast," was the eighth day of the feast of Tabernacles (see note on John 7:37 by Reverend David Brown, A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments; Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1945, Volume V, pp. 396,397).

Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath. (Leviticus 23:39)

The eighth day of the feast of Tabernacles is symbolic of the "first day" of eternity. After we have arrived at the perfect rest of God, as portrayed by the first seven days of Tabernacles, we have fulfilled a complete cycle, a "week" in which the total work of redemption has been accomplished in us.

On the "sixth day," so to speak, the Day of Atonement, we have been reconciled to God and created in the image of God. On the "seventh day" we have found rest in God and God has found rest in us—the result of our reconciliation to God and our being created in His image. The sin which causes unrest has been rendered powerless and removed from our personality by the Holy Spirit.

But now we have come to the eighth day, the first day of the week that has no end. The new week is eternity, and the eighth day of the feast of Tabernacles signifies the beginning of our eternal priestly service to God Almighty, our eternal reign as kings and priests over the nations of the earth.

One of the high points of the eight-day celebration of Tabernacles occurred as a priest brought water in golden vessels from the Pool of Siloam and the water was poured into a basin on the Altar of Burnt Offering. On the eighth day trumpets were blown during the ceremony and Isaiah 12:3 was sung: "with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation."

The Israelites were beside themselves with jubilation on this occasion. During the celebration, Jesus stood in the midst and cried: "If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."

The Jews were taken up with their joy and thankfulness over the abundance of the harvest, were praying for and expecting the soon coming of the fall rains that would soften the sun-baked clods so seed could be sown, and were ecstatic over the idea of the Glory of God and their special relationship to Him.

Jesus of Nazareth was exulting because of a circumstance unrealized as yet. In prophetic vision He saw the throne of the Almighty eternally established in Himself and His Wife, and the Holy Spirit of God issuing as a fathomless, uncrossable river, bringing life and healing to all who would drink.

Coming out from the Throne of God and of the Lamb, which is to say out from the hearts of the saints, will be the River of Life that nourishes the peoples of the earth.

And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. (Ezekiel 47:9)

The "fish" are the multitudes of people converted by the Glory of God that will come upon the Church (John 17:21).

The spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles is portrayed in the twelfth chapter of Isaiah. The Lord Himself becomes our strength, our song, and our salvation. It no longer is true that we are striving to gain these blessings from Him. As Tabernacles is fulfilled in us, the Lord Jesus Christ enters us and becomes these virtues.

The Lord God of Heaven in Christ becomes our salvation!

And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee. (Isaiah 12:1-6)

When Jesus proclaimed, "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water," He could have been referring to Isaiah 58:11, or Joel 3:18, or Ezekiel 47:1. But it seems to us that the Lord had in mind the twelfth chapter of Isaiah. The "wells of salvation" are the members of the Body of Christ, and the saints bring forth the waters of eternal life with joy. Truly, the "Holy One of Israel is great in the midst of" each inhabitant of Zion.

The feast of Pentecost typifies the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon us, while the feast of Tabernacles speaks of the springing up of the well in us. It is interesting to note that the waters of judgment in the days of Noah came up from the earth as well as down from the heavens: "The same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened" (Genesis 7:11). In the Day of the Lord the water of life will flow from the Christians as well as down from Heaven.

The tree of our life is planted with the help of the refreshing rains of Pentecost. But the saving, healing fruit of our tree becomes available to the peoples of the earth at Tabernacles.

Pentecost is associated with the Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, with the gifts and ministries of the Church. Tabernacles is associated with the Holy of Holies, with the Ark of the Covenant and the full, clear communication of the Glory of God.

The Pentecostal rain comes down upon "all flesh" but the water of Tabernacles flows from the Throne of God and of the Lamb created in the believer. Therefore, the development of "Tabernacles" in us is exceedingly more demanding than the Pentecostal level of redemption. If we are to enter the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles we must give ourselves to God without reservation of any kind whatever.

The Kingdom Age will be a Pentecost of Pentecosts, and the Church will be brought to maturity during that period. The new heaven and earth rule of Christ will be a Tabernacles of Tabernacles, and the fullness of the Father, the fullness of the Son, the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and the complete perfection of the Wife of the Lamb—all will shine in unimaginable splendor, revelation, and communication throughout eternity.

Eternal Service to God

The concept of eternal service to God as His royal priest is a fourth aspect of the Christian salvation common to the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles and the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. The entire nation of Israel was a "kingdom of priests" before God.

And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:6)

By commanding the Israelites to live outside in booths made with tree branches, God was guiding them to the reality that they were not like the other nations of the earth. The Jewish family indeed had some astonishing historical events to call to mind—events that to this day are deeply meaningful, not only to the person who is Jewish by birth but also to the Christian saints.

A man named Abraham, living in one of the large, advanced cities of his time, was chosen by the Lord and directed to leave his home and go forth into a strange country. God appeared to him on several occasions and required holy living of him—"holy" in the sense of personal devotion to God.

God blessed Abraham and his family, and after two generations his descendants went down to live in Egypt because of famine in the land to which Abraham had been called. Several hundred years later, when the descendants of Abraham were numbered in the hundreds of thousands, the same Lord revealed Himself to Moses and called Abraham’s children to leave Egypt and go into a strange country just as He, the Lord, had required of Abraham hundreds of years previously

Egypt, refusing to let God’s servants go, was destroyed as a result.

Never before had God sacrificed one people in order that a second people might come to worship, serve, and know Him. Never before had God formed a highway in the midst of the sea, caused water to flow from a rock, fed a hungry multitude with bread from Heaven. Never before had God led one nation of people into the homeland of another nation, helping the invaders destroy the inhabitants who were defending their families, houses, and lands.

Never before nor since has God revealed Himself and blessed an entire nation of people after this fashion. No other country of people ever has received commandments and ordinances that regulated the conduct of daily living. Israel, and Israel alone, has a history that a person can meditate on for seven years, much less the seven days of the feast of Tabernacles, and never comprehend fully its significance.

Each of the seven feasts of the Lord is designed to illustrate the truth that Israel is a called-out people, a nation of priests. All the peoples of the earth belong to the Lord. But Israel belongs to God in a special way, and the Christian Church is part of the same Seed of Abraham.

The feast of Tabernacles, with its requirement for living in booths, portrays in a dramatic manner that the nation of Israel plays a unique role among the peoples of the earth. Israel is a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, a "peculiar treasure" to God above all other nations.

The priestly responsibilities and privileges of Abraham in his day, of Abraham’s descendants at a later period, of the Christians now and during the Kingdom Age, will be brought to fulfillment in the new heaven and earth. The Wife of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem, will be immersed in the fullness of God Almighty, will gaze in resurrection purity on God’s face, and will serve and represent Him throughout the ages of ages, world without end.

Christ Himself will write on each overcomer the name of God, the name of the new Jerusalem, and Christ’s new name (Revelation 3:12). The purpose of the three names is to seal forever the identity of the individual. He now belongs to and is an indivisible part of God.

The overcomer is forever a pillar in the Temple of God, a supporting, integral, essential element of the structure. Apart from him the building collapses. It is marred, losing its symmetry and perfection. Each overcomer is an inseparable unit of God’s dwelling place in the earth.

Christ writes on each overcomer His new name. What the new name of Christ is we do not know. But he who bears the name of Christ is of the Personality and Presence of God Almighty. Under God, Christ is All in all in the new heaven and earth, and those who have His new name written on themselves are His Presence wherever they may go (Galatians 2:20).

The peoples of the new heaven and earth will recognize the priests of God. They will understand God has sent Christ and loves those whom Christ has chosen as He loves Christ (John 17:23).

And the Gentiles [nations] shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. (Isaiah 60:3)

But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles [nations], and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. (Isaiah 61:6)

And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles [nations], and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed. (Isaiah 61:9)

The new Jerusalem, the holy city, the Wife of the Lamb, will be a kingdom of priests among the nations of the earth.

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. (Revelation 22:3,4)

The members of the Body of Christ will serve God throughout eternity. Eternity will be a "new week" because the memory of the fall of Adam and Eve, and the subsequent thousands of years of rebellion and uncleanness, tragedy, and anguish, will have been erased from the consciousness of the peoples of the earth.

From the original rebellion in Heaven to the fiery judgment on Gog and Magog, the total guilt, tendency, and effects of sin will have been purged from the earth. All evildoers will have found their place in the Lake of Fire. The family of God will be so united in the fullness of His Glory that resistance to His will shall be unthinkable. Every creature, circumstance, and thing in the creation will be radiant with the Personality of Christ.

The concept of a priest is that of a person who represents God to people and people to God. We must have considerable experience as a believer before we can bring God’s grace and Glory to another person. When we attempt to minister to another human being in the time of his or her deepest need we are as a "tinkling cymbal" if we never have had fiery trials ourselves.

When Paul exhorts us in Philippians to "rejoice in the Lord alway," and we understand he was a prisoner in Rome and being closely guarded at the time, we can take heart in the hour of our tribulation.

But our real problem as a priest arises when we approach God in order to render service directly to Him. Our God is so holy that the efforts of humans to please Him, no matter how sincere and conscientious, are often not perfectly acceptable.

We are so inadequate that we can only throw ourselves on His mercy. Thousands of years of travail have been necessary in order to bring forth God’s kings and priests, the Body of Christ, the Temple of God, the Wife of the Lamb.

We would have no hope at all of becoming an eternal servant of the Lord if it were not for the redeeming blood of Christ. Through Him, and only through Him, we have boldness to enter the Presence of God and to present our needs before the Throne. Our access to the Throne in prayer, through the blood of Christ, marks the beginning of our acquaintance with the Father (Hebrews 4:16).

Calvary provided us with the price of our redemption, and with the living Substance of God that we must eat continually if we are to be created a servant of the Lord. The Substance of Christ is the Divine gold that must be refined in us by endless testing, night and day, day after day, year after year.

The ministries and gifts of the Church groan in travail as the burden of the Lord comes upon us, transforming us, guiding us, rebuking us. All the fiery furnaces of affliction and the desolate wildernesses to which we are subjected are the crucible in which the gold of God is refined.

Meanwhile, the Seed of Christ is growing in our heart as the Holy Spirit is invading and conquering the life processes in us. We are being created in the image of Christ. There is not one element of our being that is not of the greatest interest to God and that will not be subjected to the most intense scrutiny of the Godhead. We are being made the eternal priests of God Almighty and must be able to dwell in the consuming Fire forever.

As soon as we have been received into the Kingdom Age we shall have a thousand years of exposure to the Glory of God—the blazing Holiness that transfigured the face of Moses, at which no man can gaze and live. We shall be bathed in the holy Fire continually.

Prolonged exposure to God’s Glory will refine and mature the Divine gold in us. The glass-like transparency, so prominent in the new Jerusalem, will characterize our personality. Still, we scarcely will be able to minister before Him in the manner that Christ ministers before Him. We are speaking now of the Ancient of Days, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, at the memory of whom the demons tremble in terror.

One day we shall be able to behold God’s Face. One day we shall be prepared to minister to Him and have His name impressed in our personality—body, soul, and spirit. God dwells forever in the beauty of His holiness, the same holiness that now is being created in us.

The holiness of God includes more than refraining from indulging in a prescribed list of behaviors. The radiant beauty of holiness is the transparent Nature of God Himself. There is no darkness, no uncleanness whatever in the Nature of God. His holiness is so pure, so clean, so shining, so blameless, so loving, so single-minded in purpose and intention, that we by contrast are seen to be very small and mean.

Indeed, we have been called by the Lord to be a holy nation, a royal priesthood. Since God has called us to Himself, to love Him alone, to be a peculiar treasure to Him out of all the peoples of the earth, should we not lay aside all other ambitions and enthusiasms and direct the springs of our desires and energies toward obeying diligently His every desire?

It will require our whole attention and willingness if we are to bear faithfully with the rigorous training to which we shall be subjected.

We must, as did Paul, look toward the glory that is to be ours if we are willing to endure with steadfast patience the circumstances God sends our way. To minister as a priest before God is a calling so high that no other destiny can be compared with it in any manner.

Whoever has difficulty deciding what calling to pursue, that of God or that of his own, will have trouble until he makes a decision. God will not be spurned. He is jealous over those whom He has chosen.

Let us Christians, each having been chosen as a priest of God Almighty, be diligent to make serving the Lord the first business of our life. If we do, His training program will result in our being able to behold His Face forever and to represent Him throughout His creation to the ages of ages.

We have mentioned that the feast of Tabernacles parallels the new heaven and earth rule of Christ in that each is associated with the maturing of all crops sown in the land of promise. We have discussed the fact that both the feast of Tabernacles and the new heaven and earth rule of Christ have to do with the "tabernacling" of God with mankind through His Church. The thought has been presented that the water of life, with the Tree of Life growing along its banks, is also part of the feast of Tabernacles and of the new heaven and earth.

The role of priestly service to God was emphasized in the annual dwelling in booths of the Israelite families. The perfection of priestly service will occur when "his servants shall serve him" in the new Jerusalem.

Tabernacles, and the Law of God

There is yet another area of salvation common to the feast of Tabernacles and the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. The area is that of the Law of God. The feast of Tabernacles is associated with the formal, oral reading of the Law to every Israelite, from the youngest to the oldest, and to the non-Israelite sojourning among them at the time.

And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and unto all the elders of Israel. And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, When all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: And that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it. (Deuteronomy 31:9-13)

Israel was to assemble "in the place that he shall choose," that is, in the place that God shall choose. The place that God has chosen for the revealing of the perfect expression of His Law is the new Jerusalem on the new earth. The holiness of the holy city is the perfect expression and fruition of God’s Law. The beauty of the holy city is the beauty of holiness.

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. (Psalms 96:9)

Every man, woman, boy, and girl of Israel was to hear the Law, to learn the Law, to fear the Lord, and to obey the Law. Also, the "stranger that is in thy gates," typical of the nations of the earth, must understand and act in accordance with the holiness of the Lord God of Israel.

The Law of God was brought before the people "at the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles."

The Law was given in the wilderness by the hand of Moses. But the Law was pointed expressly at the practices of the Israelites in the land of promise, which proved to be under the supervision of Joshua and the judges who followed Joshua, and then under the kings of Israel.

Notice in particular the directive: "as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it." The lessons in holiness that the Holy Spirit is teaching us are given in order to guide our conduct now, and will continue to guide our conduct throughout the coming Kingdom Age and on into the new heaven and earth rule of Christ.

Every bit of personal righteousness, holiness, and obedience of behavior being developed in us at this time will have direct application in the ages to come, and has far-reaching consequences as far as our position in the Kingdom of Christ is concerned.

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:19)

Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered. Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. (Malachi 3:14-18)

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12:3)

For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. (I Timothy 4:8)

"Having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." Think of it!

We are being made in the moral image of Christ now so we can rule in righteousness (a rod of iron) throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age, and so we can radiate the beauty of holiness for eternity in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

The eighth chapter of Nehemiah discusses the celebration of the feast of Tabernacles. Let us review this passage as we speak about the association of the feast of Tabernacles with the Law of God.

Here is a prophetic picture of the coming of the Law of God into the earth. The ministers and people were all in their places on this occasion. It is a portrayal of the Day of the Lord.

So the priests, and the Levites, and the porters, and the singers, and some of the people, and the Nethinims, and all Israel, dwelt in their cities; and when the seventh month came, the children of Israel were in their cities. (Nehemiah 7:73)

It is true of us Christians today that as soon as we have made some progress against sin and the enemy (as typified by the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem—Nehemiah 7:1), we should be looking to the Lord for opportunities to bring the knowledge of God and His holy ways to other people.

Notice the first verse:

And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded to Israel. (Nehemiah 8:1)

It was now possible for "all the people" to gather themselves together "as one man" into the street that was before the "water gate." The wall (against sin, to speak symbolically) had been built. The Lord’s servants were set in their places for the work of the ministry. The "peoples of the earth" were assembled to drink of the water of life.

The people came to hear Ezra read the Law of Moses. What a scene this is! Ezra represents the Christians. The people represent the nations of the earth who will come to the Christians to learn of God.

And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. (Zechariah 14:16)

Ezra’s reading of the Law took place on the first day of the seventh month, the day of the blowing of Trumpets, and continued through the week of the feast of Tabernacles (Nehemiah 8:18). We see that the last three of the feasts of the Lord—Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles—are associated in significance with the establishing of God’s Law, God’s Kingdom, in the earth.

The most complete expression of the relationship between the feasts of the Lord and the Law of God will occur in the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the feasts of the Lord, which is the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. The purpose of the Law of God is to produce holiness of behavior. The most complete expression of God’s holiness that Heaven and earth will ever see is the holy city, the Wife of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem. The holiness of the new Jerusalem is the holiness of Christ Himself.

The "water gate" and the Law of Moses are linked together in Nehemiah 8:1. This is because the Holy Spirit, who is the water of life, is the heavenly Power who enables us to live righteously and fulfill the intent of the Law. The Holy Spirit judges us, delivers us, heals us, and enables us to live in righteousness, holiness, and obedience to the Father.

The Light of the World

Light was an important feature of the celebration of the feast of Tabernacles. The new Jerusalem will be filled with the light of the Glory of God in Christ.

At the time of Jesus it was a custom during the feast of Tabernacles for the Jews to come to the Temple carrying torches. Lampstands were lighted in the Temple of Herod. The result of the combining of the torches of the worshipers with the lampstands of the Temple was a flood of light that lit the surrounding area, just as will be true when the light of the Glory of God, at the coming of our Lord, Christ, is combined with the inner light of each of the Christian believers.

It is the light of God in Christ in the saints, both on the earth and in Heaven, that will be as the lightning that "cometh out of the east, and shineth even to the west."

It was in the context of the torches and candlesticks [lampstands] of the celebration of Tabernacles that the Jews could understand the meaning of Jesus when He presented His Church as the light of the world.

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (Matthew 5:14)

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

When one studies the traditions that have accumulated around the Jewish celebrations, of which the lights of the feast of Tabernacles are an example, one can see the guiding influence of the Holy Spirit. The Jews are so close to the truth of Christ that when God opens their eyes they will move into the worship of God through Christ in such power and glory that Jerusalem truly will be the joy of the whole earth.

Let us never forget, however, that the inheritance of the saints is available today—now—to whoever will move forward in faith and grasp the fullness of God in Christ. The inheritance is open to all—Jew and Gentile, male and female, young and old.

Now is the accepted time. Today is the day of salvation.

There are at least three dimensions of the light that is to shine from the Body of Christ:

Christ shining through the Church in godly behavior.

Christ shining through the Church in supernatural power.

Christ shining through the Church in revelation concerning the Person, purpose, and way of God.

These three constitute:

What the Church is in moral character.

What the Church can do.

What the Church states.

The "good works" that mankind sees in the saint of God are the actions that spring from the nature that has been transformed by the Holy Spirit and filled with the Substance of Christ: good deeds performed in love; the maintaining of a joyful spirit in all kinds of difficulties; peace in the midst of turmoil; patience in the face of threats and belligerence; self-control and temperance in the use of the world; cleanliness of speech and behavior (Galatians 5:22,23). These good works enable the people of the world to gain understanding of the true Character of God. They are the light in the darkness of the present hour.

The supernatural works of power that the Christian Church is enabled to perform also serve as a light to the world. Faith that comes from God and that brings about God’s intervention in circumstances; extraordinary healings and miracles that temporarily set aside the laws of nature; the ability to discern the good and evil spirits that are active in a given situation—these are the Lampstand of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, to speak figuratively.

Supernatural manifestations of wisdom and power are the shining of the Glory of the Spirit of God in the material world (I Corinthians 12:8-10).

The light of Christ was revealed not only through the moral perfection of His Nature but also through the miraculous signs with which His ministry was surrounded. If Christ had been morally perfect but had not performed miraculous deeds, He would have been the world’s greatest teacher and example of how people should conduct themselves but He would not have been the Teacher from God.

On the other hand, if Christ had worked His many miracles but was not morally perfect, it would have been evident that He came from another world but there would have been a question as to which world He came from. Also, He would not have been able to serve as the unblemished Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

What the Church is and does in moral character and behavior is one dimension of the light of the world. What the Church is able to perform in the area of miraculous works of power is a second dimension of the light of the world.

A church made up of members who are morally perfect but who are not exercising works of Divine power may be the world’s greatest example of righteous living, but part of the Divine witness is lacking.

A church composed of members who perform supernatural works in Jesus’ name, but who are careless about their moral conduct, is in contact with spiritual power; but the testimony is sullied and the members will be rejected by if they do not repent. God cannot operate His plan of redemption when His people are continuing in uncleanness and unrighteousness.

The third aspect of the light that is to shine from the Body of Christ concerns what the Church has to say about God’s attitude and plan with regard to the peoples of the earth. The Church possess the truth of God. The Holy Spirit provides Divine wisdom and knowledge; oracular utterance that reveals the mind of God; instantly-gained ability to speak and understand foreign languages.

The ascended Christ has given apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers in order to build the Church, the Lampstand of God, so through the Church the knowledge of the Lord can be given to the nations of the earth.

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; (Philippians 2:15)

As the spiritual darkness is settling on the earth in our day, just before the coming of our Lord, there appears to be a growing willingness of people to openly mock and scorn the Lord Jesus and His teachings.

God knew well in advance that this darkness would come upon us. He always is in perfect control of every situation because of His unlimited power and foreknowledge. God never turns back from what He sets out to do. God never changes.

It is the will of God that the peoples of the earth walk in accordance with the laws of His Kingdom. The laws of His Kingdom are the guides to human conduct Jesus presented in the Sermon on the Mount. How, then, in view of the fact that people are moving further away from rather than closer to these guides, will God have His way in the earth?

God is moving according to the principle of the firstfruits. First came Jesus. He is the One who perfectly observed the laws of the Kingdom of God in the earth. One Man among the hundreds of millions on the earth. Yet He walked without fault, keeping all the laws of the Kingdom of God.

Next, the saints of the Lord are being guided and strengthened by the Holy Spirit so they can keep the laws of the Kingdom. Keeping the laws of the Kingdom in a demon-filled world is not easy, and doing God’s will means a complete overthrowing of the works of darkness in our lives. How our flesh kicks and rebels! But little by little, command upon command, rule upon rule, teaching upon teaching, the Spirit of God is converting us from the inside.

The Holy Spirit begins in the core of our being, in our "holy of holies," creating Christ in us. Total conversion from our wild fleshly nature to a person who walks in the Spirit of God does not take place overnight. But if we follow the Spirit of God as He brings us to Christ, our conversion to righteous, holy, and obedient conduct is as certain as the promises of God.

First, Christ. Then, the firstfruits of the Church, the warrior- remnant. After that, every member of the Church including the smallest and weakest of the believers (Isaiah 60:21,22; Song of Solomon 8:8,9; Luke 7:28; Hebrews 8:11). Every member of the elect who obeys the Lord will be created a priest of God Almighty, a person who lives, moves, and has his being in the righteous and holy ways of the Lord.

But what about the nations of the earth? Are they forever doomed to wallow in lust, idolatry, covetousness, murder, strife, filthiness of speech and mind, drunkenness, bitterness of spirit, as we see today? Not so! The righteousness that God is creating in the Church, His Temple, the righteousness that proceeds from Christ in us, will be ministered to the nations of the earth through the Lord’s kings and priests—His Church. The nations will learn of God from the Church. This is one of the great purposes that God has for the existence of the Church.

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)

Christ is Truth. In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Those who come to Him find the understanding needed to overcome every problem, the key to every mystery, the way to resolve every dilemma. Christ is the Light of God shining in the darkness of the world. We have Him in our heart, and so there is light in us.

All who would have light must come to Christ in the Church, for there is no other light that can illumine the darkness in mankind. God’s light is God’s law. As we obey God’s law we "see" the way that leads to eternal life. Such is the fulfillment of the eternal moral law of God. In His light we see light.

God’s Glory is light. The New Jerusalem is filled with the fullness of the Glory of God, with the fullness of His light. So complete is the light of God that there is no more need of the sun or moon to give light on the earth.

And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the Glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. (Revelation 21:24)

In the beginning, Christ was the light of the world. There were the evenings and the mornings until the fourth day. On the fourth day the sun, moon, and stars were created. How could there have been evenings and mornings apart from the existence of the sun? The answer is, Christ gave light to the earth until the heavenly bodies were created.

In the new heaven and earth rule of Christ He again will be the light of the world. His saints will have Him dwelling in themselves. His light will shine from them and illumine the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. (Isaiah 62:1)

THE LAST FEAST AND THE CHRISTIAN

The last three of the seven feasts of the Lord are as follows:

The blowing of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24).

The Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:27).

The feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34).

The blowing of Trumpets, the observance that follows Pentecost, announces the coming of the King to raise us from the dead. Being raised from the dead brings us into judgment and spiritual warfare. As the Christian believer learns to enter the Holy Spirit he is raised from the dead in the spiritual sense, and will be raised physically at the return of Christ.

Our being raised spiritually from the dead brings us, as we have said, into judgment and spiritual warfare. The more we are raised the more clearly we can see our sins of the flesh and disobedience to God’s will. When we see our sins and disobedience we are to confess our sin and rebellion, turn away from such behavior, resist the devil, and submit to God. This is our personal experience of the Day of Atonement, which follows the blowing of Trumpets.

Confession and repentance cleanse our personality, making room in our heart for a further growth of Christ in us. Christ in is the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.

As we receive more of Christ in us we are raised yet further from the dead, spiritually speaking. We continue coming to know the "power of his resurrection." The increased resurrection life causes us to become conscious of the sins and disobedience remaining in our life. We then proceed to confess, repent, and turn to God with increased diligence. Increased repentance and submission make way for an even greater growth of Christ—the Resurrection—in us.

It is the will of the Lord that this process continue until Christ has been developed fully in us, making us eligible to be filled with all the fullness of God.

The Pentecostal experience, along with salvation, is being proclaimed widely throughout the earth today. We must never let up on the task of bringing the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to every man, woman, boy, and girl on the face of the earth.

In addition, it appears the Holy Spirit is ready now to bring believers who have come as far as Pentecost forward to the fulfillment of the remaining three feasts of the Lord. The Holy Spirit will not cease working with the Church until the Church is without spot or wrinkle.

The Lord Jesus through the Spirit will continue to perfect the Church until His coming in the clouds of glory. The process of perfecting the Church will take place throughout the darkest hours of earth’s history—the days of the fullness of sin which even now are destroying the earth’s inhabitants.

The Lord Jesus is coming in His external kingdom and every eye shall see Him. But the issue of the present hour, as far as the Church is concerned, is the perfecting of the internal kingdom. As soon as we are under His blood the Lord is able to have fellowship with us, provided we continue to walk in the light of His will. But the feast of Tabernacles points toward the Lord’s Presence in us.

The developing of the Lord’s Presence in us is the all-important work of the Holy Spirit as He brings us through the processes of salvation. Christ will appear in His Church, as well as visibly to the world, in order that the Church may bring the Presence and Glory of God to the peoples of the earth.

The internal kingdom must be perfected in us before the external kingdom appears from Heaven. This is how we know Christ will not appear just yet. It is because His internal kingdom has not been perfected in the Church.

If Christ desired only an external kingdom He would have returned long ago. But Christ is seeking to take up residence in the Body of Christ, and for this reason the Body must be perfected. The Body of Christ has not as yet been perfected. There is more of God for us.

As the dark clouds gather over the earth there is coming an entrance of Christ into His temple—the Christian Church. It does not matter that Satan may become incarnate in a man who will sit in the Holy of Holies of an earthly temple. God in Christ will come to the Body of Christ and His vessels will have an inner glory vastly exceeding and conquering anything Antichrist can produce.

The inner manifestation of the Lord’s Presence will take place, as we understand it, just before Christ’s coming, and is the necessary forerunner of and preparation for the first resurrection—the resurrection of the victorious saints that will take place at Christ’s appearing.

Let us look now at the Scriptures, both Old and New Testament, to see what the Holy Spirit has said about the internal dimension of the Kingdom of God.

Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. (John 14:19,20)

We can notice, from the above passage, that this particular manifestation of the Lord can be witnessed only by the disciples, not by the world. His Life becomes our life. We see Him because we are living by Him and in Him.

He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:21)

The inner manifestation of Christ cannot be obtained by the average careless churchgoer. It can be gained only by the sincere disciple of Christ—the person who keeps Christ’s commandments.

The question that naturally would arise after hearing such a promise was stated by Judas.

Judas saith to him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? (John 14:22)

How can Christ reveal Himself to us without being seen by the world? How is this possible?

The answer is, Christ will come to each disciple in an inner Presence, in fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. If we follow the pattern of the feasts of the Lord we come to the conclusion that the inner Presence of Christ will come after Pentecost because the feast of Tabernacles came after the feast of Pentecost.

Jesus answered and said to him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

It is our understanding that the "Tabernacles" experience of the dwelling of the Father and the Son in the saints will take place before the resurrection of the dead, before the change in the mortal body, and that such indwelling will enable the saints—God’s remnant—to be more than equal to anything Satan is able to bring forth on the earth during the last days.

We can find the concept of the inner Presence of Christ in the writings of the Prophets of Israel. In Joel 2:31 we have a statement concerning turning the sun into darkness and the moon into blood—two events that we know will occur just before the return of Christ in the clouds of glory.

But look what else will be true during those darkest of days!

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. (Joel 2:32)

In the darkest hour of earth’s history, just before the return of Christ, there will be power in Zion—the Body of Christ—to deliver "whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord."

Again, in chapter three of Joel:

The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. (Joel 3:15,16)

At the moment of what appears to be the greatest defeat for the Kingdom of God, the Lord will take His place in the Church and roar defiantly against the enemy. Instead of weakness in that hour there will be the hope and strength of the Lord that will make each believer a Divine source of power, bringing victory over the worst evil the enemy can achieve.

It is our point of view that the preparation for the entrance of the fullness of Christ into His Church has begun already, while in the world sin is descending to foul depths. Because of the Holy Spirit’s work in us we are learning to confess our sins, opening the doors of our heart so the Lord Jesus can enter us to a greater degree.

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: (Malachi 3:1,2)

The temple of the Lord is the Body of Christ. As we lift up the everlasting doors of our heart the Lord of Armies enters, ready to do battle against His enemies. Therefore, we must confess our sins and repent so Christ can obtain victory and settle down to rest in us. We are His inheritance, His land of promise.

We notice the Glory of God during the darkest hour of earth’s history:

For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be straw: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. (Malachi 4:1,2)

The destruction of the wicked on the earth is associated with the healing of God’s people and their growth to maturity.

Isaiah informs us of the manner in which God in the Head and Body of Christ, who is the Servant of the Lord, will respond to the maturing of wickedness in the earth.

The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies. (Isaiah 42:13)

When will God "go forth as a mighty man"? When will He "cry, yea, roar"? When will He "prevail against his enemies"? When will all this take place?

It will happen during the night in which no man can work. The preparation for the going forth of the Lord is occurring now as we allow the Lord Jesus to enter our heart to the fullest extent, giving ourselves to Him in strict obedience and diligent discipleship.

If we accept Christ as Lord over us, the Father and the Son will make Their abode with us. Meanwhile, the peoples of the earth will bring themselves down to the lowest cesspools of filth, even as we see in our day. Sin and rebellion cause Divine judgment to fall on the nations of the earth.

Then, at the appointed hour, the Father in the Son will "roar" through the Church. The saints of the Lord will be the vessels God uses to bring utter destruction upon the kingdom of darkness.

Isaiah teaches that the darkest hour to come on the earth will be the occasion for the greatest light to arise on the saints of Christ.

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. (Isaiah 60:2)

We Christians are to make sure we do not allow ourselves to become troubled or afraid no matter what we see coming to pass on the earth. Rather, we are to dwell "in the secret place of the most High." If we shall keep ourselves in the center of the will of Christ, serving Him diligently, the protection of the Lord will cover us. The plagues of judgment will not come near us. No evil will befall us.

We can hide ourselves under the wings of the almighty God.

Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. (Isaiah 26:20)

By receiving the fullness of God’s Presence into our lives we shall become pillars of strength, a great help to the weaker Christians and also to the unsaved who will be tossed to and fro on the waters of violence and lust rising in the earth. We shall be prepared, as was Joseph, to nourish the family of God in the time of famine with the "manna" that Christ will pour into our souls.

No matter how dark the hour there will be light in the hearts of all the saints, just as Goshen remained lighted when Egypt was wrapped in thick darkness. Our Light will be the Father and the Son who will be dwelling gloriously in us and dining with us on the unlimited abundance of the internal kingdom.

Then, at a moment that will catch the ungodly unprepared, God in Christ will rise up in the Church. The Lord will roar out of Zion. He will bring terrible destruction on His enemies. The Lord Jesus will descend from Heaven and the powers of darkness will find themselves surrounded on every hand by both the internal and the external ferocity of the Kingdom of God.

Christ will be in the saints, saving those who call on the name of the Lord. Christ will be with the saints, coming in external form in the clouds so every eye will see Him. The external Christ, the avenging Lamb, will hurl down the thunderbolts of God on the wicked. Their destruction will be total. The memory of sin will be wiped clean from the planet Earth.

Then will the creation break forth into singing. All of nature will be released into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. The saints will have God and Christ eternally in them, and God and Christ without in the external kingdom. Can you think of anything more wonderful than that?

"So shall we ever be with the Lord"!