I WILL COME TO YOU

(Trumpet Ministries, Inc. / Word of Righteousness)

I WILL COME TO YOU Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The purpose of the Christian Era is to construct the Body of Christ, to bring it to the standard of unity and maturity required for the indwelling of God and Christ.

God the Father dwells eternally in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is the "Zion" in which God finds perfect rest. Christ is the House of God. There is no other house of God.

In the House of God there are many places of abode, many rooms. The saints are being built into an eternal dwelling place for God. It is the Holy Spirit who is accomplishing this. The construction of the eternal dwelling place of God is the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles.

The power of the Lord’s coming will be revealed in the heavens and also in the saints on the earth. The peoples of the earth will be able to behold not only the Glory of Christ in the heavens but also the transfiguration of the elect who are on the earth. As the nations witness this transfiguring glory they will believe that God indeed has sent Christ, and loves the saints as He loves Christ (John 7:23).

Foreword

We receive by faith the blood atonement made by Christ on the cross of Calvary.

We repent of our worldly, sinful ways and are baptized in water.

Christ is born in our heart.

We are baptized with the Holy Spirit. We learn to live, not by the wisdom and power of our fleshly mind and fleshly nature but by the wisdom and power of the Spirit of God.

Through the Spirit of God we overcome worldliness, the lusts of the flesh, and self-will.

The nature of Christ is formed in us, and by His Presence and Spirit we keep His commandments.

The Father and Christ love us because we are keeping the words of Christ. They come to us and establish Their eternal residence in us.

The coming of God and Christ to us results in further judgment and final purification of all that remains of sin and self-seeking in our personality.

At the end of the period of earth’s greatest tribulation, just before the Lord returns from Heaven, or at the time of His appearing and as an integral part of His appearing, the anointed Christian testimony having been silenced by Antichrist and a number of saints having been purified by afflictions, God and Christ will reveal Themselves in us in unprecedented glory.

The Lord God Almighty will shout for the battle from within the Church. The heavens will roll aside as a scroll and the sign of the Son of Man will appear for all nations to behold. The Lord Jesus will descend surrounded by His holy angels. The Lord’s victorious saints will be caught up to meet Him in the air. 

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)

How shall we who are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord appear with Him in glory since we are living on the earth at the time of His appearing?

The power of the Lord’s coming will be revealed in the heavens and also in the saints on the earth.

The peoples of the earth will be able to behold, not only the Glory of Christ in the heavens but also the transfiguration of the elect who are on the earth. As the nations witness this transfiguring glory they will believe that God indeed has sent Christ and loves the saints as He loves Christ (John 17:23). 

Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. (Hosea 6:3)

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)

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:3)

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14:18)

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 unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

I WILL COME TO YOU 

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. (John 14:1)

Jesus’ hour had come. Judas Iscariot had received the morsel of bread and was on his way to betray Christ. Jesus was preparing Himself to face the giving of His body as a sin offering. The dreadful prospect of falling into the hands of devils and men was oppressing His Spirit.

But Jesus was looking beyond the darkness and death to His return to the Father and to the inheritance that soon would become a reality. He endured the cross by keeping His gaze fixed on the joy that had been placed before him.

He said: 

Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; . . . . (John 13:33)

Peter was troubled at the thought that Jesus was going somewhere without him. Peter was accustomed to following the Lord everywhere He went. He was distressed at the thought of not being allowed to go with Jesus on this new journey. 

. . . Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him, Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shalt follow me afterwards. (John 13:36)

Indeed, Jesus was about to set forth on a terrible, glorious journey. The first stop—Gethsemane—and then Pilate’s judgment hall. From there to the cross followed by the descent into Hell.

Stunning, crashing victory, and the triumphant Christ preached the Good News to imprisoned spirits. Back into the body lying in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea and the vindication of the love of the weeping Mary.

Up to sprinkle the blood upon and before the Mercy Seat in Heaven, and back down to assess the inheritance. Up again in majesty to the right hand of Power, there to await the creating of His brothers.

Then, down from His absolute glory with His created counterpart to direct the crushing of His enemy at Megiddo.

Finally, the magnificent coronation on the Throne of David.

Peter and the other disciples had no understanding of the pathway that was stretched out before the Son of God as they reclined together at the Passover table. They could not follow Jesus on this new journey of agony and triumph. But they would follow one day.

The determined Peter was agitated. And what is this about his denying Christ three times? 

Let not your heart be troubled: . . . .

"Do not be upset by the fact that I am going to leave you for a while, that you cannot accompany me at this time."

These men had been with the Lord Jesus constantly for three years. Naturally they were troubled at the thought of being able to follow Him no longer. It would have been strange indeed if they were not distressed at this news.

It is necessary that radical change take place in our lives from time to time. We must keep on believing in the faithfulness of Christ. What he has begun in us He will finish. He will not abandon us at some point along the way. 

. . . ye believe in God, believe also in me.

The disciples of Jesus were Israelites. They believed implicitly in the God of their fathers. Their faith in God meant more to them than life itself. Jesus was asking them to believe in Him in the same manner in which they believed in God.

We Christians can look back on two thousand years of church history. We can understand that Christ is God manifest in the flesh. His Divinity shines through the record of world history.

The disciples knew in their heart that Jesus is Christ, the Son of God. But their physical eyes and natural brain informed them that Jesus of Nazareth was a man, a carpenter, a gifted rabbi.

One wonders if these men actually could "hear" and perceive what Jesus was telling them, as recorded in John, Chapters 14-17. If Jesus were not God He would be Antichrist. He would be a man making himself God and demanding that other men give their worship to him. He indeed would be guilty of the worst possible blasphemy.

Jesus of Nazareth either is the manifestation of God in bodily form or else He is the ultimate blasphemer! 

In my Father’s house . . .

There are at least two keys that unlock the meaning of Jesus’ words, as recorded in John, Chapter Fourteen. The first key is that Jesus is speaking of returning to the Father and not merely to Heaven or to the spirit realm. The second key is that the Father’s house is not Heaven or the realm of spirits. The Father’s House is Christ and the Body of Christ.

Christ has returned to the Father. The Father’s House is Christ. These two facts are the keys to the understanding of the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John.

The two concepts are crucial to our understanding of the Kingdom of God.

The Father is a Person. Heaven is a place. It is of the greatest practical importance to us Christians that we understand we are on a journey toward God as a Person, not primarily toward Heaven as a place. We will go to Heaven when we die, and rest and serve Christ there until the Day of resurrection. But residence in Heaven is not the goal of the Christian redemption.

The Father is our Goal. The Father, not Heaven, is our eternal Home. There is an important difference between these two goals.

If the Father and Heaven were to be treated synonymously (and they are not at all synonymous—God is just as much the God of the whole earth as He is the God of Heaven), then at least once in John, Chapters 14-17 the Lord Jesus should have stated that He was returning to Heaven.

But notice: 

. . . that he should depart out of the world unto the Father, . . . . (John 13:1)

Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; (John 13:3)

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. (John 14:20)

. . . I go unto the Father. (John 14:28)

. . . I go to the Father. (John 16:16)

I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. (John 16:28)

. . . and I come to thee.... (John 17:11)

And now come I to thee; . . . . (John 17:13)

We cannot find an exception to this. Jesus was not speaking concerning Heaven or our going to Heaven. The context of the "many mansions" is not Heaven.

When we make Heaven the goal of our discipleship, in place of the Father, the nature of redemption becomes confused—an aimless wandering while we wait to die so we can leave the earth (which actually is our inheritance) and flee to the spirit realm.

God Himself in Christ is our Goal. Nothing else! The demands Christ makes on us are to prepare us to dwell in the Person of God.

The first key to our understanding is that Christ was returning to the Father and that He is bringing us to the Father through Himself. Christ is the Way to the Father. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus, that is, except through trusting and abiding in Jesus and Jesus in him.

The second key to our understanding has to do with the Father’s house.

Because of our self-centeredness we have come to regard John 14:2 as a discussion of houses (mansions) that Jesus is building for us. John 14:2 is not a discussion of the believer’s house but of God’s house. One of the central purposes of the Christian redemption is the building of a dwelling place for God.

What does the Scripture have to say about the Father’s house? What is God’s house?

We know that Heaven is God’s throne and the earth is God’s footstool. In Christ, Heaven and earth are united. The footstool is joined to the throne. Christ sits on the throne, rests His feet on the footstool, and reigns over the creation of God.

But Heaven is not the house of God. Earth is not the house of God. Christ is the eternal House of God. There is no other house of God. 

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (Colossians 2:9)

There are at least three houses of God mentioned in the Old Testament, and each of them typifies Christ: the Tabernacle of the Congregation, David’s Tabernacle, and the Temple of Solomon. God dwelled for a season in these "temples made with hands" but never permanently in any human before Christ rose from the dead.

Since one of the central purposes in the creation of human beings is the construction of the eternal temple of God, the theme of the house of God appears in several places in the Scriptures. 

Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? (Isaiah 66:1)

We humans have a natural inclination to want to build a temple for God. Peter desired to build three tabernacles. The building of the Tower of Babel is in every human personality.

The great question is, "Where is the house that ye build unto me?"

The Holy Spirit spoke through Stephen prior to his death: 

But Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, 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 7:47-49)

The house of God is a central issue of the Scriptures.

The New Testament writings answer this question. They state in several places that Christ is the House of God and that the saints are being fashioned into one living whole as an abiding place, a place of rest for the Father.

In the strictest sense it is only Christ who is the House of God. A human being can become a living stone in the eternal house of God only as Christ is formed in him and dwells in him. For the Father will abide and rest only in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Consider the following statements: 

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)

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)

For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (Colossians 2:9)

God the Father dwells eternally in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is the "Zion" in which God finds perfect rest. Christ is the House of God. There is no other house of God.

But in the House of God there are many places of abode, many rooms. 

In my Father’s house are many mansions: . . . .

The saints are being constructed an eternal dwelling place for God. It is the Holy Spirit who is accomplishing this. The construction of the eternal dwelling place of God is the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:24).

From the Book of Acts forward, no physical structure ever is referred to as the house of God. Also, the Scriptures do not refer to Heaven as the house of God.

But the New Testament writings in several instances do inform us that God and Christ will make their eternal abode in the saints. Christ and the members of His Body are the many-roomed house of the Father. 

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 unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:23)

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (I Corinthians 3:16,17)

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)

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)

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 2:21,22)

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)

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 3:12)

The new Jerusalem, the Christian Church, the Wife of the Lamb, is the House of God, the Tabernacle of God, the eternal dwelling place of God. 

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 new Jerusalem, the Christian Church, is the house of God of which Jesus was speaking in John 14:2. In the fourth chapter of Ephesians, Paul speaks of the gifts of ministry given to the saints by the ascended Christ. Paul declares that the purpose of the gifts of ministry is that the Body of Christ may be brought to the "measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."

Paul is quoting from Psalms: 

Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them. (Psalms 68:18)

We can understand from the fourth chapter of Ephesians and Psalms 68 that the purpose of Christian ministry is to build the Body of Christ, the house of God.

Speaking of the new Jerusalem, the Tabernacle of God: 

And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. (Revelation 21:22)

The reason there is no temple in the new Jerusalem, the perfected Church, is that the entire city is the Tabernacle of God. God and the Lamb dwell in unconcealed glory in the personalities of the saints who compose the holy city. God and the Lamb Themselves are the Temple of it.

There are many places of abode, of rest, in the Father’s house—as many as there are members of the elect whom God has called to reveal and portray His way, His truth, and His Life to the heavens and the earth. 

. . . if it were not so, I would have told you. . . .

If Christ were to remain as the only house of God He would have told us so. In that case the nature of Christianity would be altogether different from what it is.

If God and Christ were to remain external to our personality the demands upon us would be a small fraction of what they are. But because God and Christ are seeking total union with us, desiring to enter us and become one with us and we with Them, our character transformation must be total.

Becoming an eternal part of the Almighty God is the most significant, the most awesome experience imaginable; but it is the natural destiny of man.

If Christ had decided to remain as the only room in the House of God and to keep us forever external to God’s Personality, He would have set up His Kingdom on the earth at His first coming.

But Christ has determined to bring people into the relationship to God that He enjoys. Therefore, the Divine grace that He has shed upon the saints has been working for two thousand years in order that He may appear to the world, not only in His isolated Lordship and majesty but also as the Divine Glory abiding in a multitude of transformed and glorified saints.

He has informed us that He must return to the Father in order that we too may be a room in the eternal Temple of God. As soon as these new rooms have been constructed and occupied, Christ will return as the King of Israel, sitting on the Throne of David. 

Therefore will he [Christ] give them [the children of Israel] up, until the time that she which travaileth [the Christian Church] hath brought forth [Christ in the saints]: then the remnant of his [Christ’s] brethren [God’s elect] shall return unto the children of Israel. (Micah 5:3)

The purpose of the Christian Era is the construction of the Body of Christ—the bringing of it to the standard of unity and maturity required for the indwelling of God and Christ. As soon as this has been accomplished, as soon as Zion has been built up, the Lord will appear in His Glory. 

. . . I go to prepare a place for you.

The Lord Jesus went to prepare a place for us in God.

While the Lord was alive on the earth it was impossible for any person to enter union with God. Mankind was cut off from God because of the sin of Adam. The way had to be made, the place prepared.

Christ went to Gethsemane, to the arena of final obedience. He had to be willing to pay the awful price if people were to be able to enter union with God.

From Gethsemane to the cruel mocking of the ecclesiastical and civil authorities, an unjust trial, and then to the cross.

The soldier’s spear opened an entrance in Christ’s side, signifying that the way has been opened for us to enter God through Christ.

Christ’s blood was shed on the cross. His life was offered as an atonement for our sins; the innocent took the place of the guilty. This offering prepared a place for us in the house of God. Apart from the shedding of Christ’s blood it would have been impossible for any person to approach God and dwell in God.

Christ descended into Hell in full payment for the sins of men. Then He rose from the dead and ascended to the Father. If Christ had remained in Hell, none of us could have become a room in the house of the Father. Christ rose from the dead and has proceeded to prepare a place for us in God.

Christ sprinkled His blood upon and before the Mercy Seat in Heaven. Whoever will choose to do so may now come into the very Presence of the Father in order to obtain mercy and grace in his time of need. Also, Christ sprinkles each believer with His blood. The holy and righteous God can receive us sinners because the blood of Christ satisfies God’s law of sin and judgment.

When we Christians confess our sins, God is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We are enabled thereby to continue to abide in God through Christ.

Christ presented His own broken body and shed blood before the Father. The Father has blessed the body and blood of Christ. Now Christ is feeding His Church with His body and blood—His very Life. Because the body and blood of Christ abide in us, and we live by Christ’s body and blood, we are able to abide in God the Father through Christ.

As we said, the ascended Christ gave gifts of ministry to the saints. As the members of the Body of Christ use their gifts through the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit, Christ is built up in each member. As we are built up we are better able to dwell in God through Christ.

Christ has been conceived and is being formed in each saint. The new creation in us has been born of God and does not sin. It is the Father’s house.

Christ has shed the Holy Spirit of God on His Church. The Holy Spirit enables us to abide in God through Christ. If it were not for the Holy Spirit we would not be able to dwell in the Father’s house.

Our High Priest, Christ, makes intercession for us night and day before the throne of the Father. By so doing He makes it possible for us to dwell in the Father’s house.

Finally, the Lord Jesus Himself comes to us, in fulfillment of the Levitical feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34). He personally introduces us to the Father. The Father and the Son take up Their everlasting abode in us. Thus we are created a room in the Father’s house.

When we reflect on what has just been stated we can see it was not possible before Christ’s death and resurrection for any of the Apostles to have become a room in the Father’s house. It is Christ’s death and resurrection that has prepared a place for the Apostles and for each of us in the Father’s house.

Christ Himself is the Father’s House. Christ has prepared a place for each of us in Himself. He has made room for us in Himself. He invites us to dwell in Him as He dwells in the Father.

Peter and the other Apostles could not dwell in Christ while Christ was alive on the earth. It was necessary for Christ to suffer and die, to be raised from the dead, and to return to the Father, in order for the saints to dwell in Him.

He could not explain all of this to His disciples. Jesus knew that the Holy Spirit would explain it later.

No human being can dwell directly in God nor will God dwell directly in any saint. God dwells only in Christ and Christ dwells in God. As Christ is formed in us and abides in us we are enabled to dwell in God through Christ. Also, God dwells in Christ in us.

Christ is the everlasting House of God. Christ has prepared a place for us so that we may abide in Christ and He in us. This is the Father’s House and the Kingdom of God. 

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; . . .

The blessed hope of the Christian Church is the coming of Christ from Heaven with the saints and holy angels. 

Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7)

Jesus promised, "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself." 

I will come again . . . !

Of what coming is the Lord speaking?

The context of John 14:3 does not appear to be the second coming of Christ from Heaven in the clouds of glory (as in Revelation 1:7, above). Rather, it is the coming of Christ to the elect, to those for whom He has prepared a place in the Father.

Notice carefully: 

Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 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 unto him, and make our abode [mansion] with him. (John 14:22,23)

It seems reasonable to conclude from the preceding passage that Christ will come to the faithful disciple, bringing the Father with Him, and will put the finishing touches on this new room in the Father’s house.

It stands clearly in the Scriptures that Christ and the Father will come to the disciples in a manner not observed by the world. It is our belief that this coming will take place just before the visible coming announced in Revelation 1:7; and that the visible coming will be the climax, the concluding act of the work of tabernacling and coming that commenced with the born-again experience and has proceeded through many subsequent guidances and impartations of the Holy Spirit.

We believe that the coming of Christ and the Father, as described in John 14:22,23, will take place in increasingly greater increments before Christ returns in the clouds of glory, for four reasons:

It is reasonable that this is a prior coming.

The pattern of fulfillment of the three major Levitical feasts suggests an inner coming prior to the outer coming.

The concept of the day star points toward a prior inner coming.

The visions of the Hebrew prophets, notably Isaiah and Joel, speak of an inner work taking place before the worldwide appearing of the Lord.

First of all, it seems reasonable that the coming of the Father and the Son mentioned in the fourteenth chapter of John will take place before the Lord Jesus returns to earth in visible power and glory. It hardly makes sense that Christ would come in a personal manifestation to His disciples after His return in worldwide glory.

Second, it is our opinion that the pattern of fulfillment of the three major feasts of the Lord suggests that the tabernacling of God in Christ in the saints will take place before the Lord returns in the clouds of heaven. 

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: (Deuteronomy 16:16)

The feast of Unleavened Bread; the feast of Weeks; the feast of Tabernacles.

The feast of Unleavened Bread typifies the experience of basic salvation. We receive the blood of atonement by faith; we repent of our life of sin; we are baptized in water; we are born again of Christ. The experience of basic salvation brings us out from the authority of Satan and places us in the family of God.

The feast of Weeks (Pentecost) typifies the life lived in the Spirit of God. We receive the Holy Spirit. He enables us to bear witness of Christ, to minister in the Body of Christ, and to overcome the lusts of our flesh and human mind. The experience of Pentecost results in the beginning of the change of our life processes from the wisdom and energy of the flesh to the wisdom and energy of resurrection life.

The feast of Tabernacles portrays the permanent residence of the Father and the Son in us through the Holy Spirit. We become the eternal Temple of God in Christ, our will becoming merged with God’s will. The experience of Tabernacles converts us from a self-centered individual into the house of God.

We know that basic salvation, the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Unleavened Bread, takes place in us today—before the Lord Jesus returns to earth in visible glory.

We know that the Spirit-filled life, the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Weeks (Pentecost), takes place in us today—before the Lord’s glorious appearing.

It seems likely, therefore, that the tabernacling of God in Christ in the saints will take place in us today—before the second coming of the Lord to the earth.

Isn’t this what Paul described in his own life? 

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)

"Christ liveth in me"! Paul’s first personality had been crucified through many sufferings. "Paul" is living no longer. Christ is living in the place of the first Adam. This is the spiritual fulfillment of the third feast, the feast of Tabernacles.

In the Father’s house there are many dwelling places. God, Christ, and Paul are living together in one of these.

A third reason for believing that the personal coming of Christ to His disciples will occur before He returns in glory is the concept of the day star.

The day star is mentioned in Second Peter 1:19, in Revelation 2:28, and in Revelation 22:16. It is evident that the Holy Spirit intends for us to consider the concept of the day star.

The day star is a brightly shining planet which appears while it is yet dark, prior to the rising of the sun in the morning.

The Holy Spirit states in the Scriptures that Christ is the Day Star, that the Day Star will be given to the victorious saint, and that the Day Star arises in our heart. It is the manifestation of Christ in us.

The concept of the day star is that before the Lord Jesus returns to earth as the rising Sun of the morning of the Day of the Lord, He will arise in the hearts of the victorious saints as a day star, heralding the soon coming to earth of the Day of the Lord. 

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 [Christ] arise in your hearts: (II Peter 1:19)

The victorious saints will not be taken by surprise by the Day of the Lord because Christ’s Light already is dwelling in their heart. 

But ye, brothers, are not in darkness, that day should overtake you as a thief. (I Thessalonians 5:4)

A fourth reason for believing that the coming of the Lord described in the fourteenth chapter of John will take place before and will lead up to the great earth-wide appearing of Christ, is founded on the visions of the Hebrew prophets. The prophets speak of the Presence of God’s Glory coming to the saints during the dark days that will occur just prior to the second coming of Christ to the earth. 

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. (Isaiah 60:1)

The Spirit of Christ in Isaiah speaks of a time in which the Light of God will come to God’s people. The Glory of the Lord will be revealed through them. In that Day they are to arise from their obscurity and shine as the Day Star that heralds the dawn.

But when will this Divine Light come? When will the Glory of the Lord rise upon His people? 

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: . . . . (Isaiah 60:2)

There will come a day when spiritual (and perhaps natural) darkness will blanket the entire earth. Thick, oppressive spiritual darkness originating in the depths of Hell will blanket the minds and spirits of the peoples of the world.

This is the hour of unprecedented trouble of which the Scripture warns. It is the night during which no man can work. We believe that its shadow has fallen on us already.

It is the midnight hour—the background for the glorious appearing of the Lord Jesus.

But what will take place in the Church of Christ during earth’s darkest period? 

. . . but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. (Isaiah 58:13)

It is possible that Isaiah, Chapter 60 is speaking of the worldwide return of Christ—and no doubt this chapter flows into the thousand-year reign of Christ.

But the wording of the chapter raises some questions. Notice that the emphasis is not on the Lord Jesus or His glorious appearing. The people are not gazing on Him whom they have pierced but on the saints.

When the Lord returns He will descend from Heaven and His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives—perhaps on the very place from which He ascended. He Himself will be the center of interest, the focus of everyone’s attention.

Isaiah, Chapter 60 does not portray the majestic Lord descending to the Mount of Olives. Rather, it describes the Glory of Christ arising on His saints.

Notice carefully: 

. . . thy light is come, . . .

. . . the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.

. . . the Gentiles [nations] shall come to thy light, . . .

. . . kings to the brightness of thy rising.

. . .all they gather themselves together they come to thee: . . . .

The emphasis is not on the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ but on His glory abiding on His saints.

Since the setting of Isaiah, Chapter 60 is the hour when darkness covers the earth and thick darkness the people, we see in this passage a coming of the Glory of the Lord to His people while it is yet spiritually dark, in advance of and leading up to the appearing of Christ in the clouds with His victorious saints and holy angels.

Notice the statement made in a preceding verse: 

So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. (Isaiah 59:19)

When shall the enemy "come in like a flood"? Certainly not after the Lord Jesus has returned but in the days attending His appearing.

It seems that in earth’s darkest hour, when a flood of wickedness covers the earth, the power of Christ will come upon His people. 

And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. (Isaiah 59:20)

Here is a coming of the Lord, not to the world but to Zion; to those who "turn from transgression in Jacob."

Paul speaks of this event taking place at the time that the full number of Gentiles has been grafted on Israel (Romans 11:25,26).

And in Hebrews: 

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)

Christ will appear to those who are looking for Him, without sin unto salvation.

But the earth-wide coming of the Lord is not restricted to those who are looking for Him! 

Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, . . . . (Revelation 1:7)

It appears possible that Hebrews 9:28 and Revelation 1:7 are referring to two different comings of the Lord. The first coming is "unto them that look for him." The second coming, that of Revelation 1:7, will be seen by "every eye."

Both the Old Testament and the New Testament do teach that there shall be a coming of Christ to those who are looking for Him, a coming that will not raise the dead bodies of those who sleep, or translate the believers up to Heaven in a literal sense, but will be for the salvation of the individual believer—as Jesus taught in John 14:18. The coming of which we are speaking will fill the saints with the Presence of the Father and the Son so they will know that Christ is in His Father, and we in Him, and He in us. Christ’s Glory will fill us so we can stand in Him throughout the tribulation period.

Christ’s appearing to the faithful will cleanse His Church of sin, preparing it for His visible appearing and the summoning of the bodies of His elect from the ground.

When Christ enters His temple, the Body of Christ, He will "drive out the moneychangers." He will cleanse the hearts of His saints. He then will dine with them and they with Him (Revelation 3:20). 

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: And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. (Malachi 3:1-3)

Let us consider carefully the preceding passage: the Lord will come suddenly to His temple; His coming will judge and refine His people until they are able to worship the Lord in righteousness and holiness.

When will this coming of the Lord take place? How does the New Testament explain the vision of Malachi?

John the Baptist proclaimed: 

. . . he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:11,12)

It is our opinion that Malachi 3:1-3 and Matthew 3:11,12 are speaking of the same event.

But when will this coming of the Lord take place? When will the Lord sit and purify silver? When will He "throughly purge His floor"?

Is the Lord interested in silver and gold? Is the Lord interested in wheat?

Yes, He is! But not the silver and wheat of the world. 

Silver is used in the Scriptures to symbolize redemption. The redeemed saints are the Lord’s "silver." But that silver must be purified in the trials and afflictions that come upon us in the world. There is much dross, much that is worthless, in the saints. We must be heated, and heated, and heated again before the work of God in us is pure enough to meet His standards.

Malachi refers to the period of purification as "the day of his coming."

Was the vision fulfilled during the Lord’s three years of ministry on earth? We do not think so. He did not baptize His people with the Holy Spirit and with fire while He was on the earth.

Will the vision be fulfilled after the Lord returns from Heaven with the saints and holy angels? This is not reasonable. Would the Lord Jesus raise His people from the dead and after that burn up the chaff in their lives? Would we be raised and revealed in glory with Christ and then be baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire?

Is Malachi 3:1-3 speaking of the coming of the Lord in visible glory, the time of the raising of the dead and the ascending of the saints to meet the Lord in the air?

From our point of view, Malachi 3:1-3 does not fit the description of the Lord’s return given to us by the Apostles.

The second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is not a coming to His temple as a refining fire, a purging of His floor. Rather, Revelation 1:7 is the triumphant advent of the King of kings as He descends to take over the rule of the nations of the earth. We will be caught up at that time in order to share His glory with Him. It will be our hour of greatest rejoicing, not a fiery cleansing and purifying of God’s people.

As we understand the Scriptures:

The coming of the Lord described by the prophet Malachi did not take place while Christ ministered on the earth for three years.

The coming of the Lord described by Malachi will not occur after the Lord returns in the clouds of glory.

The coming of the Lord described by Malachi is not the return of Christ in the same manner in which He ascended from the Mount of Olives into Heaven.

Therefore, the "day of his coming" proclaimed by Malachi must take place after the resurrection of Christ and before He returns to earth the second time.

We believe that the coming of Malachi is the same coming that Christ announced in the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, and that this coming includes the fiery purification of the saint and also the entrance of the Father and the Son into him in eternal union.

As we have stated previously, Deuteronomy 16:16 mentions the three great gatherings of the Hebrew males: Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.

Unleavened Bread typifies basic salvation.

Pentecost typifies the Spirit-filled Christian life.

Tabernacles speaks of the permanent residence of the Father and the Son in us through the Holy Spirit.

Tabernacles includes three subfeasts: Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles itself.

Trumpets typifies the coming of the King in the Spirit, the resurrection of our spiritual nature, and the resulting judgment and spiritual warfare. The true Christian life is a daily battle against sin, as the Holy Spirit leads. Also, Trumpet announces the forming of the army of the Lord.

The Day of Atonement foreshadows all the workings and graces of God which cause us to be reconciled to God in every aspect of our total personality. These workings and graces include the blood of Christ, the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit, and the fiery trials and testings through which the Holy Spirit guides us.

We are not completely reconciled to God in a moment, except in a legal sense through the blood of the cross. The actual reconciliation to God of our entire personality takes place every day of our Christian pilgrimage.

The feast of Tabernacles itself, the third subfeast of the great annual gathering of Tabernacles, announces the coming of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit to make Their eternal abode with us.

It is our understanding that the spiritual fulfillments of the three annual gatherings, Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Tabernacles, as far as the Lord’s firstfruits are concerned (Revelation 14:4), will all take place before the Lord Jesus returns to raise His holy warriors from their graves in the first resurrection from the dead.

When will the fiery coming of Malachi 3:1-3 take place?

Peter refers to our fiery trials: 

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: (I Peter 4:12)

First Peter 4:12 fits Malachi 3:1-3. It is a fiery testing of God’s saints.

First Peter 4:12 fits Matthew 3:11,12. It is a baptism with fire of the saints.

According to Malachi and John the Baptist, the baptism with fire is a purification, a removal of the chaff from the Lord’s threshing floor.

How does Peter interpret our fiery trials? 

Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved [is saved with difficulty], where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (I Peter 4:16-18)

There appears to be a sound scriptural basis for applying the vision of Malachi to the coming of Christ to us in purifying fire after we are saved and filled with the Spirit, and before we are raised from the dead and caught up to meet Him in the clouds.

The program of redemption, then, would proceed somewhat in this order:

1. We receive by faith the blood atonement made by Christ on the cross.

2. We repent of our worldly, sinful ways and are baptized in water.

3. Christ is born in our heart.

4. We are baptized with the Holy Spirit. We learn to live, not by the wisdom and power of our human mind and our fleshly nature but by the wisdom and power of the Spirit of God.

5. Through the Holy Spirit we are enabled to overcome the love of the world, the lusts and passions of the flesh, and self-will.

6. The Nature of Christ is formed in us and through His grace we keep His commandments.

7. The Father and Christ love us because of we keep the words of Christ. They come to us and prepare to establish Their eternal residence in us.

8. The coming of God and Christ to us results in the judgment and final purification of all that remains of sin and self-seeking in our personality.

9. Just before the Lord returns from Heaven, or at the time of His appearing and as an integral part of His appearing, at the end of the period of earth’s greatest tribulation, the anointed Christian testimony having been silenced by Antichrist and a number of saints having been purified by afflictions, God and Christ will enter the remnant in unprecedented glory.

The Lord God Almighty will shout for the battle from within the Church. The heavens will roll aside as a scroll and the sign of the Son of Man will appear for all nations to behold. The Lord Jesus will descend surrounded by His holy angels. The Lord’s victorious saints will be caught up to meet Him in the air.

It is our understanding that numbers eight and nine above, and perhaps some of the other items, will take place at the same time in all of the members of the Body of Christ whether in Heaven or on the earth. Remember, "they without us should not be made perfect" (Hebrews 11:40).

Peter tells us that it is time to judge the living and the dead. 

Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick [living] and the dead. (I Peter 4:5)

It appears likely that those living on the earth and those living in the spirit realm will be judged in the same manner.

Think about Colossians 3:4, which we believe to be associated with the outpouring of glory described in Isaiah, Chapter 60: 

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)

Now, how shall we who are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord appear with Him in glory since we are living on the earth at the time of His appearing?

Perhaps it is true that the power of His coming will be revealed in the saints on the earth as well as in the saints who will return from above: 

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. (Genesis 7:11)

"As it was in the days of Noah."

"All the fountains of the great deep broken up."

The water came from beneath as well as from above.

It appears that the peoples of the earth will witness not only the Glory of Christ in the heavens but also the transfiguration of the elect who have just been raised from the dead as well as those who are alive on the earth at the time of Christ’s coming. As the nations behold this transfiguring glory they will believe that God indeed has sent Christ, and loves the saints as He loves Christ (John 17:23 above).

No doubt whatever is happening to the elect on earth is happening at the same time to the spirits of the righteous who are in Heaven. The Body of Christ is one body. Our dying and going to Heaven does not affect our place in the Body of Christ.

It seems reasonable to us that John 17:21-23 and Isaiah, Chapter 60 are indicating the same event. It appears likely that the revealing of the Glory of God in the saints will take place just prior to and blending into the return of Christ in open manifestation to the world.

The program of redemption we have outlined is in harmony with the passage containing Peter’s declaration to the people of Israel. 

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution [restoration] of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:19-21)

Certainly the sixtieth chapter of Isaiah can be viewed as the description of a time of restoration of all things spoken by the Prophets!

Christ is coming now as the Day Star to the Body of Christ in Heaven and on the earth. Each member of the elect is judged and purified as the necessary preparation for the entering of the fullness of the Glory of God into the Church.

The fullness of the Glory of God revealed in the Church will serve as the Day Star that will announce to the world the nearness of the rising of the Sun of the Day of the Lord.

The appearing of Christ in the heavens will be the climax of a slowly increasing Presence of Divine Glory that commenced with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the early Church, continued with the building of the Body of Christ, and today is being expressed in the fiery purifying of God’s people.

In the days to come the tribulation in the world will separate the remnant of saints from Babylon (man-directed Christianity). The Glory of Christ given to the Church will bring the Church suddenly to maturity and unity. The holy nation will be born at once. God and Christ will enter the Church in order to begin the destruction of Satan. Then the Lord will appear in the clouds of the heaven.

The vision of God entering His people in the last days in order to attack Satan appears many times in the visions of the Hebrew prophets: 

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)

Notice, in the following parallel passage, that the setting for the roaring of God is the time of the second advent of Christ: 

The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. (Joel 3:15)

We know that the events mentioned in Joel 3:15 are the signs of the soon return of Christ in the clouds of glory (Matthew 24:29).

But observe what will take place in that hour: 

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 3:16)

The Scripture teaches clearly that at the time of the return of Christ to the earth the Lord will roar out of Zion and utter His voice from Jerusalem—not from Heaven but from "Zion" and "Jerusalem."

It is our understanding that Zion refers to Christ and His Body. Zion is the "hill" where God dwells. 

Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever. (Psalms 68:16)

When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. (Psalms 102:16)

When the Lord Jesus builds up the Body of Christ He shall appear in His glory. 

But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven [in the heavens], and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just [righteous] men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. (Hebrews 12:22-24)

We Christians already have come to Mount Zion. When we are abiding in Christ we are part of the one Church, the one Body that is sprinkled with the blood of Jesus. Mount Zion, according to the above passage, is the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Firstborn from the dead.

God shall roar out of Zion at the time of the coming of the Lord Jesus from Heaven.

Again in Isaiah, speaking of the fiery purging of God’s people and the creating of the dwelling places (many mansions) of Mount Zion: 

And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: (Isaiah 4:3)

We believe that the above verse is speaking of the Lord’s faithful disciples who have remained true to Him throughout the days of trouble that will precede His appearing from Heaven, during the period when the love of the majority grows cold. 

When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. (Isaiah 4:4)

We can see that there will be a purifying by fire of the Lord’s people. No doubt this is the baptism with fire mentioned by Malachi, John the Baptist, and the Apostle Peter.

The believers in Christ of our own time are wallowing in the lusts of the flesh. The daughters of Zion are filthy. The coming fiery judgment will wash away the filth of the flesh, preparing the Lord’s people to be raised from the dead and to meet Him in the air in glory. 

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. (Zechariah 13:9)

But how many will remain true throughout the purging of sin and self-seeking from the Christian Church? How many will allow Jesus to prepare them to be a room in the Father’s house?—to make them a vessel suitable for containing the Glory of God that will be revealed at the coming of the Lord? 

And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. (Isaiah 4:5)

It is our point of view that this protection is being developed in the saints of today, and that the spiritual wisdom and strength being issued now will be necessary if we are to stand and serve the Lord throughout the coming era of moral horrors. 

Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for in three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God giveth you to possess it. (Joshua 1:11)

God always will prepare us for the events that lie ahead of us if we are seeking Him diligently and listening to His voice.

No doubt the "dwelling places" of Mount Zion are the "many mansions," of John 14:2. For it is certain that Mount Zion is the house of God.

"This is the hill which God desireth to dwell in."

It is in the time of greatest darkness that the Lord will arise on His people. 

And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain. (Isaiah 4:6)

God always prepares in advance a place of safety for those who serve Him.

Noah’s Ark was a haven, a protection from storm and rain. 

The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. (Proverbs 18:10)

Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. (Psalms 91:9,10)

Joseph was trained by the Lord so that Israel, and the other peoples of the earth as well, would have a place of nourishment throughout the worldwide famine.

The suburb of Goshen was kept under the cover of God’s hand during the outpouring of Divine wrath.

God is preparing people in whom He can dwell in His fullness. These prepared vessels will serve as places of refuge throughout the dark days that are ahead.

Notice the signs that announce the soon coming of Christ: 

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. (Joel 2:31)

Now observe what will be true on the earth at that time: 

And it shall come to pass, that whoever 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)

Jesus promised, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:3).

The coming of Christ to us will lead up to and find completeness and perfection in His glorious descent from Heaven with the saints and holy angels. This is a different concept from that of awaiting His coming from Heaven but not pressing into Him during our period of waiting.

When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior He is born in our heart. He comes and lives in us. We know He is alive from the dead because He is living in us. This is the beginning of the coming of the Lord to us.

Filling us with the Holy Spirit is a coming of the Lord to us.

When we are healed miraculously, that is a coming of the Lord to us.

Some of us have had the Lord come to us and call us into the ministry.

Numerous Christians have had personal visitations from the Lord that were their own unique experience.

Christ has not left it up to men to build His Church. He died in order to purchase the Church with His own blood. Now He personally is building the eternal Temple of God on the Rock that He Himself is.

He who died and left to us the legacy of the new covenant has been raised from the dead. He, the living Christ, is administrating His own testament. Throughout church history men have been attempting to do what Christ has reserved for Himself—the building of the Church of God.

Christ comes personally to each believer and receives him to Himself. He does not leave us desolate, having to fend for ourselves as we attempt to press into the Kingdom of God. He Himself comes to us. He personally guides the progress of each saint.

When the maturing saint enters seasons of suffering, as explained in the fourth chapter of First Peter, this is a coming of the Lord to him in judgment. Divine judgment has overtaken this particular "room" of the Father’s house.

Though we go through the fire and the water, the Good Shepherd is there to comfort us in every trial. Christ always is present in our hour of need when we are serving Him. He never abandons His own. He is with us always through to the end of the wicked age in which we are living.

The most wonderful aspect of the new covenant is that Christ Himself brings the believer through the various stages of redemption. He guides us every step of the way. We can be victorious in every situation because Christ is with us and is assisting us.

John 14:23 announces that the Father and the Son will come and make Their eternal abode in the personality of the saint who, through the Holy Spirit, is keeping the words of Christ. This is a coming of the Lord in fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.

When Jesus stated, "I will come again and receive you unto myself," perhaps He is including all of these visitations—visitations that will climax and find perfection and completeness in His glorious, visible descent from Heaven in the sight of the nations of the earth.

One of the characteristics of the Christian Church Age is that the Lord Jesus Christ has been kept on the outside. When He comes and knocks, only a few open the door and allow Him to come inside.

It sometimes is true that those who do allow Him to come in and receive them to Himself in a greater measure are resisted by those who have decided that Christ has come far enough and it is up to human beings to finish the work of the Kingdom of God.

The Scriptures appear to indicate that the coming of the Lord includes a series of events that commence when we are born again and will reach completeness at the time of the coming of Christ in the clouds. In that Day the Lord Jesus will appear both in and with the saints.

Each of the two dimensions of His coming, in and with the saints, has its own aspects and purpose. According to the Scriptures, Old Testament and New Testament, both dimensions certainly shall take place in the last days of the present age.

Notice, in the following passage, that the revivals of church history are one form of the coming of the Lord: 

Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. (Hosea 6:3)

"He shall come unto us as the rain."

It can be seen from the above that the outpourings of the Spirit of God are a part of the multistaged coming of the Lord.

When Jesus declared He would prepare a place for us in the Father’s house, and then come again and receive us to Himself, it appears that He was referring to all the forms of His coming that take place as we progress from the born-again experience all the way to the first resurrection from the dead.

Christ does not leave us to our own devices. He comes and administrates the construction of the rooms of the house of God.

The many stages of the coming of the Lord seem to be indicated in the words of Peter in Acts 3:19,21:

"The times [seasons] of refreshing shall come."

"The times of restitution [restoration]."

According to Peter, God’s sending of Christ to us is associated with seasons of refreshing and times of restoration. Perhaps these are related to the coming of the Lord as the latter and former rain to the earth (Hosea 6:3).

Inasmuch as John 14:21-23 proclaims clearly that Christ will come to His faithful disciples in a manner not shared by the world, it is likely that the expression "I will come again, and receive you unto myself" may include, but is not limited to, the return of Christ at the last trumpet. 

. . . and receive you unto myself; . . .

Here is the point. Christ desires that we be brought to Himself; not just to Heaven, not merely into the spirit realm, but to Himself.

There is an interesting parallel between Christ and Paul. Christ was filled with the fullness of the Godhead. Yet He returned to His Father.

Paul was filled with Christ. Yet he desired to be present with the Lord.

The greater the extent of the internal relationship the greater the desire for the totality of the external relationship. 

We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (II Corinthians 5:8)

It does not appear from his writings that Paul had any great desire to go to Heaven as to a place. But he does indicate his desire to be with the Lord. 

For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: (Philippians 1:23)

If Christ had returned to Heaven in order to make a way for us to go to Heaven, then one type of program of redemption would be necessary in order to accomplish this objective.

But if Christ has returned to God in order to prepare a place for us in God and in Himself, and comes to us in all the ways necessary for the establishing of an eternal union with Himself, then a different type of program must operate.

To dwell somewhere in the country called Heaven is one matter. To dwell eternally in Christ in God in the most intense, the most personal manner conceivable, being compared to physical marriage, is a different matter.

To dwell somewhere in a nation requires adherence to the specific requirements of citizenship in that country. But to marry the son of the president of the country, thus becoming a permanent part of the president’s immediate family, is a different situation. The demands on the candidate would be greater. The president would be interested in every aspect of her background and personality, which would not be the case if she merely applied for citizenship.

Christ did not state that He would come again and receive us into Heaven. He promised that He would come again and receive us to Himself. There is a great difference here.

Our God is a consuming Fire. Christ dwells in the center of the Divine Fire. That is where He is. To be with Him where He is, is to be in the center of the Divine Fire.

If we would fulfill the highest purposes of God we must be willing each day to take a step further into the holy Fire. The path becomes increasingly narrow. 

Then I went on to the gate of the fountain, and to the king’s pool: but there was no place for the beast that was under me to pass. (Nehemiah 2:14)

"No place for the beast that was under me to pass"!

Every saved person at the time of his or her physical death will be met by the Lord, or angels, or deceased relatives, and conducted to Heaven. Every wise human being realizes that the Son of Man may come to him or her suddenly and unexpectedly, in physical death, and require an accounting of all the things done and said during his or her lifetime. The Son of Man may come in an hour that we "think not." We must live each moment as though Jesus were coming the next moment.

But John, Chapter 14 is not emphasizing our acceptance into Heaven or our banishment into outer darkness. Rather, this passage is referring to our becoming one in Christ in God.

Christ has returned to the Father in order to prepare a place in God for each member of the elect. He has promised to come again and receive each saint to Himself, to His Person.

Because our destiny is to be joined with Christ forever, the steps that the Lord takes to prepare us for such closeness to Himself are many, varied, intensely demanding of us, and painful at times. The Lord deals, deals, deals with us night and day. And why not? He is inviting us into His Person!

Today, Christ is standing at the door of the personality of each Christian. He desires to enter us and dine with us, and we with Him.

If the spirit of Babylon (man-directed Christianity) is controlling us we will keep Christ outside and pursue our "Christian" activities.

If the Holy Spirit of God is controlling us we will open the door and Christ will enter eternal union with us. He will come in to us and receive us to Himself. We ourselves decide how far Christ may enter our personality.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of Glory. Selah. (Psalms 24:7-10)

Will you obey the Word of Christ speaking in King David?