SALVATION: TWOCopyright Š 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
("Salvation: Two" is taken from Three Deaths and Three Resurrections: Volume One, copyright Š 2011 Trumpet Ministries, found in the Kindle Library)
The Church of Christ possesses the keys to the Kingdom of God: that is, the authority to govern the Kingdom. All persons who are part of the Church are part of the Kingdom of God and are kings and priests of the Kingdom.
We can study the relationship of the Church to the rest of the world in the following passages:
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. (Revelation 21:23)
The above verse is referring to the holy Jerusalem, which is known in the Scriptures as the Bride, the Lamb's Wife, the Church, the Body of Christ, the elect of God (Revelation 21:9).
The Scriptures refer also to the nations of saved people who are not part of the Church.
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 Daniel 2:44 we notice the following statement:
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
The Kingdom of God is destined to fill the whole earth (Daniel 2:35). The Church, the new Jerusalem, will be the center of government for the earth just as the Tabernacle building governed and gave significance to the Courtyard of the Tabernacle.
All persons who are saved in these days are brought immediately into the Church (Acts 2:47) because the purpose of the present age is to build the Church, the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb.
Each member of the Church of Christ is invited to press forward to a place of service and responsibility in the Kingdom of God. The fullness of the inheritance will go to the conquerors. In order to conquer we must give our whole attention to following the Lord Jesus (Revelation 3:21).
The believer in Christ passes into spirit realms of light when he dies. However, the spirit realm is not the eternal home of the redeemed of the earth (in spite of our beloved hymns). As soon as the new earth has been created, all the saved will be placed on it. There will be "nations of them that are saved" living on the earth forever (Revelation 21:24).
There seems to be a close relationship between the earth and what must be the lower or first Heaven. Satan is referred to as the "prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2). It is likely that there was a close link between Heaven and the Garden of Eden. The Greek term translated heaven in the New Testament writings does not distinguish between the spirit realm and the space above the surface of the earth. In fact, in the Scriptures, "heaven" sometimes is presented as being not much higher above us than are the clouds of the sky:
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, . . . . (John 17:1)
And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1:10,11)
And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. (Acts 7:56)
It seems clear from the above verses that the spirit Heaven is not beyond the galaxies but begins immediately overhead.
The Garden of Eden, as we can observe, was a joining of two worldsthe spiritual and the material. This dual quality was revealed in the tree of life and in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, neither of which is a tree that grows in the natural world. Also, we are not accustomed to having reptiles speak and advise us.
The two worlds were mingled and working together in the Garden of Eden and no doubt in the remainder of the material creation. Adam and Eve enjoyed the fullness of the blessing of both the material and spirit realms just as God has ordained for the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.
Christ reflects in His Person the union between the spiritual and material domains. Each saint who is changed into the image of Christ will reveal in himself the union between the two domains. Each saint will be filled with Christ who in turn is filled with God the Father. This is the Kingdom of God.
The establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth is the integrating of the righteous spirit realm with the material creation. The coming of the Kingdom will restore to the earth all the heavenly blessings that were lost in Eden. This is why the coming of the Kingdom is "Good News."
When the Kingdom of Heaven rules in the earth, all that is of sin and rebellion is judged and removed. The inhabitants learn righteousness. The spiritual quality is restored so that the material world once again possesses its rightful inheritance of peace, joy, and animation. The restoration of rightful inheritance is termed redemption.
Unfortunately, sin entered Eden, and God cannot dwell where there is sin. The spirit part of the Garden of Eden and of the physical creation withdrew, leaving only the dead material formdead because of the absence of spiritual life. The material realm is little more than a prison when the spiritual qualities are not present to give life, peace, joy, and the Presence of God. The physical world is the "valley of the shadow of death" when it is cut off from its spiritual counterpart.
When we receive the Lord Jesus Christ and are saved we become heirs and citizens of Heaven. Although we do not see the fullness of the effects right away, the spiritual blessings of Heaven gradually come to us. Our material existence is touched with the life and climate of Heaven. Our life on earth takes on peace, joy, and an inspiration that is unknown to the unsaved who must depend on material resources in order to draw any pleasure from life.
The unsaved are poverty stricken though they be millionaires when compared with the least person in the Kingdom of God.
When a true Christian dies he immediately passes over into the spirit realms of light, there to dwell in the beautiful, peaceful, joyous world of the redeemed souls and the holy angels of God. This is one of the benefits of being saved.
All levels of Heaven touch the material world in many ways. The third Heaven is the place of supreme authority. In the Lord Jesus the third Heaven strode among men and laid down the terms of the Kingdom of God. Christ was crucified by His own consent. If He had wished He could have resisted. He possesses the power to dissolve the galaxies into their original energy.
When an adult or child receives Christ, Heaven reenters the material world, pointing toward the glorious day when the earth again will enjoy the fullness of the blessings of the life and joy of the spirit realm.
On the advice of Satan, sin entered the material creation. Judgment and death followed immediately as they always do. The kingdom of Satan then was established on the earth. To the day in which we live, the kingdom of Satan still is corrupting the earth.
God has planted the cross of Christ, the beginning aspect of redemption, in the center of Satan's kingdom. The cross still is in the world, in the center of the kingdom of darkness. All who embrace the cross pass from the authority of Satan to the authority of Christ.
Christ met Satan on the cross, and the authority over the earth and its inhabitants passed into the power of Christ. Although Satan still has his kingdom in the earth, any individual who chooses to do so can pass from the power of Satan to the power of God by receiving Christ as his Lord and Savior.
There is a close relationship between what takes place in the spirit realm and what takes place on the earth. In the lower spirit realm, in the vicinity of the surface of the earth if we can think of it that way, the cross of Christ has been established, and is available as a gift to every person who will accept it from God.
Here on the earth, where the vilest of sins are practiced under the advice and inspiration of Satan, and where the joyous qualities of the higher heavens have been lost, we pass from the kingdom of darkness to the authority of the Kingdom of God as soon as we receive the Lord Jesus Christ. We receive in our soul in a small measure the joy and peace of Paradise.
This is not the end of our struggle against the rulers of the darkness of the world, as we understand from Ephesians 6:12. It is the all-important beginning. From this point onward we are to fight our way into the fullness of victory in Christ, relying on the Holy Spirit to bring us into freedom from all guilt, tendencies, and effects of the kingdom of darkness.
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 first convocation, that of the week of Unleavened Bread, includes these three celebrations: Passover, Unleavened Bread, and the feast of Firstfruits.
The Passover celebration, one of the most important periods of the Jewish calendar, takes place on the fourteenth of Abib (also known by the post-exilic name Nisan ).
The week of Unleavened Bread lasts seven days, from the fifteenth through the twenty-first of Abib. The first day of the week of Unleavened Bread, the fifteenth of Abib, is a high Sabbath, and is referred to as the feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:23:6).
The sixteenth of Abib, the second day of the week of Unleavened Bread, also is important, being the day of the feast of Firstfruits.
Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: (Exodus 12:3)
And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. (Exodus 12:6,7)
And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:13)
Passover is the first of the seven Levitical feasts (Leviticus Chapter 23). The first three of the seven feasts are grouped together and referred to as "the feast of Unleavened Bread" (Deuteronomy 16:16). Passover is the only one of the seven feasts ever to be celebrated in the midst of the Egyptians.
There was one actual Passover, that which occurred over three thousand years ago. However, the feast of Passover has been celebrated annually ever since the Jews left Egypt (perhaps missing a few times due to difficult circumstances). These subsequent observations commemorate the original Passover. The feast of Passover gives Christians insight into salvation, the first area of redemption.
It is worthy of note that the blood on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses of Israel was for a token, a sign. Nothing was said about the sins of Israel when the Passover was instituted by the Lord.
The Passover was an act of salvation, protecting the Israelites while the death angel struck the Egyptians because of their worship of demon gods. The Law of Moses had not been given as yet and so the people of Israel were largely ignorant of the moral demands of the Lord.
This is true of our initial salvation. God invites us to be saved by the blood of His Passover Lamb, Christ. He does not concern Himself with many of our specific sins until Christ has been born in us and the Holy Spirit has begun the work of sanctification.
We do not achieve victory over sin in order to enter salvation. Rather, salvation works in us and gives us victory over sin.
God knew of the multitude of sins that were practiced by the Israelites. He brought them out of Egypt first and after that gave them His holy Law and the various sacrifices by which an atonement could be made.
God did not appear to the Israelites and reprove them for their sins, and then offer the Passover as the solution to their problems of the sins of the flesh. God did not speak to them concerning adultery, fornication, sorcery, hatred, backbiting, idolatry, covetousness, timidity, fear, and so forth, although we know from their behavior in the wilderness that they were filled with such tendencies. Provision for sins and trespasses was made later, when the Law of Moses was given.
The Lord Jesus came not to condemn the world but to save the world. The Holy Spirit works with the unsaved along one line: "Look to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"
When the Lord approaches the unsaved men and women of today He does not raise the question of the need for forgiveness for specific sins, except to point out to them their miserable state of bondage. Rather, He invites the person to receive His pardon and to sprinkle the blood of protection on himself and his household.
If a person will apply the blood of the cross by faith, he and his family will not be destroyed when God acts against Satan and the host of unclean spirits that are in rebellion against Him. If the unsaved person were to try to justify himself by disciplining his own behavior it would be of little spiritual profit. He must accept the blood as the atonement for his sins.
When a human being applies by faith the Passover blood of Christ to himself and his household he enables the Lord to "pass over" him and strike down the gods of the world, the evil lords of darknessSatan and his army of unclean spirits. By this means the believer is rescued from the authority of the kingdom of darkness and the Lord is able to begin the work of judging and destroying the wickedness from his personality.
At the time of the original Passover the Lord came down to execute judgment against the gods of Egypt, of which there were many. Eight of the gods were as follows: Phtah, Neith, Ra, Chnubis, Ammon, Mendes, Thou, and Osiris.
For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. (Exodus 12:12)
When this judgment took place the Passover blood was the token, or sign, so that when the destroyer from God went through Egypt to execute God's destruction against the gods of Egypt the people of the Lord would be saved.
Consider, if you will, the kindness and the terror of God: kindness toward the unsaved person who is in bondage to sin; terror toward the spirits that practice wickedness and uncleanness.
The first three feasts constituted the first calling together of the men of Israel. This convocation was termed the "feast of Unleavened Bread."
The fourth feast constituted the second convocation, known as the "feast of Weeks" (Pentecost).
The last three feasts composed the third convocation, the "feast of Tabernacles."
It may be noted that we are including the blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the week of the feast of Tabernacles as one convocation, referring to all three observances as the feast of Tabernacles.
As far as we know, nowhere in the Scriptures are the blowing of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement referred to as part of the feast of Tabernacles. We are not expert enough in Jewish tradition to know if the commandment to "appear before the Lord thy God in the place that he shall choose" included Trumpets and the Day of Atonement as part of the third convocation, the feast of Tabernacles.
It is likely, however, that the last three were combined as the feasts of the seventh month. The "Days of Awe" (of Jewish tradition) include the blowing of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement, relating these two holy days. The week of Tabernacles began only five days later.
However, it is in the spiritual fulfillment that the grouping of the last three becomes compelling, from our point of view. The Lord of Glory comes with the blowing of Trumpets. He then cleanses His Father's House, in fulfillment of the Day of Atonement. Now the House is clean and God and His Christ can settle down to rest in Their eternal Temple, fulfilling the feast of Tabernacles.
The convocation of Unleavened Bread, as we have stated, consisted of the Passover, Unleavened Bread, and the feast of Firstfruits. We have just discussed the meaning of Passover as applied to the first area of redemption.
Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. (Exodus 12:15)
Leaven, as used here, is a type of sin. It can be seen from the preceding passage that God did not want leaven in the camp of Israel at any time during the week following the Passover. The prohibition against leaven reveals to us that each person who comes to Christ for salvation must put away the wickedness that characterizes the old nature and come to Christ in the sincerity of repentance. The convert must renounce and forsake his first life and look to God for a new life in Christa life in which the leaven of the evil of the world is not present.
Paul informs us that we are dead to the old leaven of sin and he directs us to "keep the feast" with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (I Corinthians 5:8). When the Apostles preached Christ they included repentance from ungodly living as a major part of the message. Receiving Christ must be attended by the determination to live from this time forth in a manner pleasing to God. It is impossible to truly receive Christ apart from the attitude of repentance.
This was true also of the original Passover. Its observance would have been meaningless had it not been followed by the exodus from Egypt.
When we come to Christ we are not merely attempting to make ourselves presentable to God by renewed determination to behave in a desirable manner. Rather, we count our old life (and the whole world, in fact) as crucified on the cross of Calvary. We are born again of the water and of the Spirit of God.
None of the leaven of our old life is to be brought forwardnot one speck. "Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17).
Sometimes a convert to Christ attempts to hold on to some of his or her old ways of behaving. It is not long before he or she is forced to choose between Christ and the old nature. God commands us to put away every trace of the evil practices of the world and of our soulish nature. The Lord has for us a new life of righteousness in Christ into which He intends to bring us as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit.
As we have stated, the week of Unleavened Bread lasted from the fifteenth through the twenty-first of the month Abib. The feast of Firstfruits occurred on the second day of the week of Unleavened Bread, that is, on the sixteenth of Abib. It is believed that Christ rose from the dead on the day of the feast of Firstfruits. According to the Scriptures, He rose on the third day. (Passover was the first day. The first day of the week of Unleavened Bread, a high Sabbath, was the second day. The feast of Firstfruits was the third day.)
Barley was the first grain of the wheat harvest to ripen. The main part of the celebration of Firstfruits took place as the first sheaf of barley to be cut was brought to the high priest to wave before the Lord. This ceremony marked the beginning of the barley harvest, which meant the commencement of the grain harvest. (Pentecost celebrated the end of the wheat harvest.)
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: And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. (Leviticus 23:10,11)
What does the feast of Firstfruits teach us about salvation, the first area of redemption?
We have seen that salvation is a first reaping of our life to Christ. God accepts and sanctifies our whole personality on the basis of the shed blood of His beloved Son, even though only a portion of our personality has been touched by His Divine Life.
When we believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit communicates with our spirit and we receive eternal life. We are born again by the water of baptism and by the Holy Spirit. At this point most of our personality remains unconverted. The whole is received of God because a firstfruits has been blessed by the Lord.
The feast of Firstfruits portrays our coming up out of the water of baptism and entering our new life in Christ, the old leaven of Egypt (the world) having been left behind and remaining under the judgment of God.
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)
We now are risen with Christ. What part of our personality is risen? Not our body, for our body will rise at the appearing of Christ. It is the new man of the heart, the portion of Christ that has been born in us, which always is raised up "to God, and to his throne" (Revelation 12:5). When Christ has been born in us He immediately is caught up to the Throne of God. Our new life has its beginning in the heavenlies.
Because God has accepted the part of us that has been born again our entire personality is set aside as holy to the Lord. God already views us as having been perfected and glorified through Christ. The Lord envisions and receives the final result before the work has been completed in us. This is the principle of the firstfruits.
If the firstfruits is holy to the Lord, the harvest is holy to the Lord. The acceptance by the Lord of the new man of our heart signifies that God will bring the remainder of our personality into a harvest of righteousness, to the praise of His Glory.
Because part of us has been born again and is risen with Christ we ought to be following after the heavenly thingsthe treasures that are located where Christ sits on the right hand of the Majesty in Heaven. Our longing and desire should be centered on the throne of Christ while our inclination toward the things of the world should be growing increasingly weak.
The reason for our change of affection is that we have died to the present evil world and the roots and springs of our life now are hidden away in Christ in God. The fullness of our personality never again will be seen on the earth until Christ returns. Then we shall be revealed together with Him and share with Him the riches of the glory of His Kingdom. We are coheirs with Him.
If what we possess now is but the firstfruits of the Spirit, can you imagine what will be true of us when God has completed the harvesting of our life in Christ?