THE TEMPLE OF GOD

THE TEMPLE OF GOD Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

God’s dealings with Christian believers always are based on a specific purpose. God has a definite plan in Christ that He is carrying out. If we are to enter the life of victory in Christ it is important that we recognize we are part of God’s plan that is moving toward fulfillment according to His wisdom and unlimited power.

Central to God’s plan is His desire to dwell in a living temple. The living temple of God is Christ—Head and Body. Christ is the House of God. The members of the Body of Christ are many rooms in the one House of God.

The construction of an eternal dwelling place for Himself is one of the principal purposes of God in the Christian Church. It is difficult for the Lord to come into a satisfying relationship with His creatures. The Body of Christ, which is the Temple of God, removes that difficulty by becoming the hand and heart of God extended to people everywhere.

It is God’s will for us that we, by diligent and consistent faith in Christ, enter our individual role in the Divine plan and then rest with Christ as the Father brings all the enemies of Christ under His feet.

Table of Contents

I. GOD’S SOVEREIGN PURPOSE The Sovereignty of God’s Working The Divine Program

II. GOD’S PLAN FOR HIS TEMPLE The Need for Victorious Christian Living The History of the Plan Adam The exodus from Egypt The Tabernacle of the Congregation The seven houses of God The patriarchs and prophets The Temple of Solomon The Body of Christ The testimony of Stephen The chief Cornerstone

III. THE DESTINY OF THE TEMPLE OF GOD The Kingdom-age Jubilee The time of darkness and light The Kingdom comes The Day of Atonement Atonement means reconciliation Pentecost of Pentecosts The River of Life Worldwide evangelism The Tree of Life Release and restoration The legal basis for the Jubilee The Day of Redemption Redemption past and future A Sabbath of Sabbaths In the Year of Jubilee The rule of the Temple of God The Day of Wrath The baptism with fire Installation by force From Calvary until the thousand-year Kingdom Age Entering the Day of the Lord Christ, and the laws of nature Kingdom power in the earth The Presence of Christ "A voice from the temple" The relationship of the Church to the Kingdom of God The beginning and ending of the thousand-year Kingdom Age Judgment must begin at the house of God A New Heaven and a New Earth The thousand-year Kingdom Age is Davidic in character The Ark is placed in Solomon’s Temple Fulfillment of the Levitical feasts The feast of Tabernacles The dawning of a new age The completion of God’s purpose The dwelling of God in His elect among the nations A time for rejoicing Righteousness, holiness, and obedience God’s Israel is the light Rivers of living water The separated, royal priesthood Spiritual wickedness in the heavens The holiness of the new Jerusalem Rebuilding the walls and gates of Jerusalem The design of the world to come Spiritual maturity The inheritance of the saints

THE TEMPLE OF GOD

CHAPTER I. GOD’S SOVEREIGN PURPOSE

The purpose of this book, The Temple of God, is to portray the destiny of the Christian Church. Because Christians have not understood what the Olive Tree, the Seed of Abraham is, they have not been able to relate the Hebrew prophecies to the role or future of the Church.

Once it has been determined who "Israel" is, that Israel is the elect of God from the time of Abraham regardless of Jewish or Gentile racial origin, then the believer can perceive the destiny of the Church, the Body of Christ, the eternal Temple of God.

The role and future of the Christian Church has been described in the Scriptures, both in the Old and New Testaments, all this time. But we have not had eyes to see.

Hopefully the devout reader will begin to understand that all prophecies related to the Kingdom of God, its past, its present, and its future, are referring to him. He (or she) is God’s Israel, a saint, a member of the Body of Christ.

The eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews defines "faith" in terms of the response of Old Testament personages to God’s commands and interventions. We are one with all of them. They and we shall be made perfect together.

There is only one Israel of God, one anointed of God. There is only one Christ, one Servant of the Lord. There is only one Church, one holy city, one new Jerusalem.

The Lord Jesus is Christ. God is adding to the Lord Jesus a Body. The Lord Jesus the Head, plus the Body, constitute the true Israel, the true Servant of the Lord.

The true Israel, the true Servant of the Lord, is one Olive Tree. There never has been and never shall be another olive tree, another place of anointing, another Christ that God will accept.

The true Olive Tree began with Abraham and Sarah. The Olive Tree continued with the promise to Isaac, to Jacob, and to the sons of Jacob. This is true Israel, the true Seed of Abraham.

The Olive Tree came in perfection in the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the Word of God from eternity, actually was before Abraham. The Olive Tree continued with all who have become part of Christ, whether Jewish or Gentile by physical birth.

In the last days, the promise, the anointing, the Olive Tree, shall return to the physical land and people of Israel. Then the Redeemer shall come out of Zion and all Israel, all of the elect, all of the true Olive Tree, shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation.

God has had, and shall continue to have, a special role for the physical land and people of Israel. Physical Israel is the only nation that has been set apart as holy to the Lord.

The true Olive Tree is the Kingdom of God. In order to enter the Kingdom of God both Jew and Gentile must be born again. The Jew and the Gentile then become new creations in Christ. In this manner, that which began with Abraham becomes eternal.

The Olive Tree, Christ, the Servant of the Lord, is the eternal dwelling place of the most high God. The Olive Tree is the House of the Father. The first, and principal room in the Father’s House is the Lord Jesus. But there are to be many rooms in the Father’s House, the eternal Temple of God. This book is about our becoming a room in that eternal House, the everlasting Tabernacle of God.

Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. (Exodus 5:17)

"In the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in."

The above passage is the beginning of the revelation of the eternal purpose of God.

And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8)

He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever. (I Chronicles 17:12)

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)

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)

He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:56,57)

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)

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)

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)

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. (I Corinthians 12:12)

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)

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)

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 he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11,12)

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: (Colossians 1:27)

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)

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)

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)

God’s work in Christian believers, individually and collectively, always is based on a specific purpose. God has a definite plan in Christ that He is carrying out. Paul states: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

If we are to enter the overcoming life of victory in Christ it is important that we recognize we are part of God’s plan that is moving toward fulfillment according to His wisdom and unlimited power.

It is God’s will for us that we, by diligent and consistent faith in Christ, enter our individual role in the Divine plan, and then rest with Christ as the Father brings all the enemies of Christ under His feet.

The Sovereignty of God’s Working

God is the Creator and we are "his workmanship, created in Christ unto good works" (Ephesians 2:10). What God begins He also finishes (Hebrews 12:2). He is following a blueprint and a time schedule. He knows exactly what He is doing with every creature in Heaven and on the earth (Acts 15:18). God is God.

We recognize, certainly, that man is commanded to seek and to serve God faithfully. We recognize also God is God and that all people, things, and events are in His power.

The sovereign workings and initiative of God are illustrated in the manner in which he apprehended Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus. Saul was not on his way to church. He was not proceeding down an aisle in response to an altar call. He was on his way to arrest and torment Christian believers.

In complete command of the situation, as always, Jesus ordered Saul to "Arise and go into the city." Jesus then made known to him that God has a purpose concerning the Gentiles as well as the Jews, and that he, Saul, had an important part to play in this purpose.

God had laid out a design for Saul’s life in which he would become the Apostle to the Gentiles. Saul was to have an understanding of the plan of salvation and of the way in which grace operates to redeem people. Christ gave all this to Saul at the moment of his becoming a Christian—in fact, while Saul was in the midst of putting Christians to death (Acts 26:11-18).

God’s purpose, which He is pursuing in line with His sovereign will according to His own Divine counsel and foreknowledge, with people whom He has chosen (we are not in any way minimizing the role of our will in choosing to serve Christ), is to bring to full stature the Body of Christ.

Christ is God’s anointed King and Deliverer. The Church of Christ is His Body, "the fulness of him that filleth all in all" (Ephesians 1:23). Christ is the Lampstand of God. The Body of Christ is the second "lampstand," of Revelation 11:4. The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal dwelling place of God Almighty and the chief Cornerstone of the habitation that God is building for Himself. We Christians, being members of His Body, are part of the same dwelling place. We are being "builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:22). We are "lively [living] stones" in God’s Temple (I Peter 2:5).

The Divine Program

The eternal purpose of God is to dwell among the peoples of the earth, whom He has created. God did not create mankind with the idea that God would remain in Heaven and punish people continually because they are of the earth and behave in an earthly fashion; neither is it His will that human beings leave the earth and abide forever in Heaven, as though the creating of the earth were an unfortunate mistake. This would be to suggest that God is not quite sure what He is doing, that He gets caught by surprise, that He does not work in a reliable manner.

God created the physical heaven and the earth. God formed angels, cherubim, seraphim, and other types of spiritual personalities in the spiritual Heaven. He formed man—male and female—in the image of God and placed him on the earth.

God created men as sons of God, in His image, intending to give them dominion, fruitfulness, and glory. More than that, God has designed each individual as male or female so each person is incomplete and can realize his or her eternal destiny only in union with Christ and other people. Man’s highest motivation is love. This is true also of man’s Creator, the Lord God.

If we were neither male nor female, would we find much meaning in the Song of Solomon? Isn’t the Song of Solomon the key to our understanding of the relationship between Christ and His Bride, between the eternal Lord and His Temple, His Body?

Angels, cherubim, and seraphim are neither male nor female. Also, it is true that none of these ever can become a living stone in the Temple of God.

The Divine intention is not that man go to Heaven to live there forever; but, as we read in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation, that the Lord God of Heaven dwell forever among men on the earth.

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)

Why, then, did the sovereign God permit the rebellion of Eden? What is the significance of the terror of Sinai? How could the great and terrible "Lord" of Moses permit Roman soldiers to spit on Him and place a mock crown of thorns on His head?

If we view the historical appearances of God among His creatures, and His dealings with mankind, as tragedies in which God unsuccessfully attempted to have fellowship with us, we fall short in our concept of the sovereignty of God. We do not grasp His Divine foreknowledge and absolute authority and power. How can God make mistakes when He is all-powerful?

If we perceive the fall of Adam and Eve, the flood of Noah, the awful grandeur of Sinai, the carrying away of the Jews into Babylon, and the crucifixion of Christ as necessary aspects of a marvelous plan and purpose, we rest in the fact that God knows all His works from the creation of the world; that the Divine purpose has been accomplished from the beginning of time. We enter this rest of God—the rest based on the finished work (Hebrews 4:3).

What could God achieve by placing a forbidden tree in the middle of the garden, and then allowing Satan, a master deceiver of ancient experience, to persuade the first, innocent babes to sin against God?

Given God’s high ambitions for His sons, it does not require extraordinary wisdom in order to understand the necessity for the rebellion of Eden.

At some point in prior eternity the governing lords of the spirit realm decided to usurp God’s absolute rulership. Sin was conceived in Heaven, not on the earth. Sin is a spiritual reality. The flesh and blood of human beings provide a vehicle for the expression of spiritual personalities.

Sin is the defilement of God’s holiness. Self-will, which is worse than sin, is the desire of a creature of God to seek its own purposes apart from submission to the Majesty of the everlasting Throne.

Sin proceeds from Satan. Sin is practiced by human beings who have been enslaved by Satan.

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifest, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (I John 3:8)

Self-will is demonstrated in Satan’s behavior.

For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (Isaiah 14:13,14)

"I will. I will. I will. I will."

Self-will is the main problem of the human beings whom God has created in His image. Self-will is prominent among God’s chosen people and resulted in the murder of Christ.

For two thousand years the Church of Christ has been characterized by self-will, by the desire to minister and build apart from the supervision of Christ through the Holy Spirit.

Self-will and self-centeredness are found in the human baby and remain through adulthood.

Self-will is the basis of the Antichrist spirit. The true saint of God learns that he must be pressed ever more deeply into union with God through Christ, forsaking his self-will. It is the believer’s cross that does the pressing.

No person can become a living stone in the eternal Temple of God until his will has been brought into oneness with the will of God in Christ.

When God decided to make man in His image, and then to assign to him authority and power over all the works of God’s hands, He had to provide for the eventuality that man would turn against God.

For God to have created man in His image, to have given him authority over all the works of God’s hands, and then not to have provided for the problems of sin and self-will would have been foolish indeed. God is not foolish.

A human being who is in slavery to Satan and who is unwilling to forsake his independence and enter union with God through Christ (submission to and union with Christ are the main issues), cannot be assigned authority and power over all the works of God’s hands. He or she would be a monster. Do we not behold monstrous behavior on every hand today, within and outside the churches?

Therefore God allowed Adam and Eve to sin. God did not tempt them to sin or cause them to sin. God made it possible for them to sin and then permitted them to do so.

Why?

In order to make God’s royal heirs immune to sin.

There is only one immunity to sin and self-will. The immunity is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dying physically does not provide immunity to sin and self-will. Dying physically brings us into the spirit realm, where we are judged and placed with spirits like ourselves.

Going to Heaven does not provide immunity to sin and self-will. Sin and self-will were born in Heaven around the Throne of God.

Where, then, can we find immunity to sin and self-will? We can find such immunity in the Personality of the Lord Jesus Christ. Complete union with Christ makes us eligible to be a living stone in the Temple of God. There is no immunity to sin and self-will other than by receiving the Person of Christ into ourselves.

We may think of God’s dealing with mankind, from the time of Eden to the present hour, as a school. Eden was the kindergarten. The first lesson was, "The soul that sins shall die." God has given us six thousand years in which to reflect on the truth and wisdom of the first lesson.

Then the flood of Noah provided the heirs of the Kingdom, the sons of God, with a lesson concerning the sternness of God’s Character. God was willing to slay every person on the earth, leaving the one human being (and his family) whom God had found to be righteous, to repopulate the earth.

The world of today needs to meditate on the flood of Noah because the Lord Jesus warned us that His return to earth would be "as it was in the days of Noah."

Abraham and Sarah were the beginning of the Church, the Temple of God. Abraham was given an opportunity to express faith, was admonished concerning the need to walk perfectly before God, and then was tested in the realm of self-will, of obedience to the Lord God of Heaven.

The faithfulness of Abraham in returning Isaac to God remains as one of the highest mountain peaks of human experience. We can find a greater denial of self only in the garden of Gethsemane.

Several hundred years after Abraham and Sarah, Mount Sinai blazed with a holy light never before revealed on the earth. The dreadful holiness of God was portrayed in the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are the Divine judgment on the God of the present world.

Can you see in these Divine dealings the curriculum of a school, a progressive course in the knowledge of the Lord God of Heaven?

The Law of Moses made us see our need of God’s help. Adam and Eve, at the time of their creation, possessed no deep realization in themselves that they were in need of immunity to sin and self-will. Adam and Eve were formed in the image of God but they knew very little of God’s Person and ways.

The first two people did not understand that apart from union with God they posed a danger to themselves and to the remainder of the creation of God. It has required thousands of years of human experience in order to bring a tiny remnant of people to the profound conviction that apart from God we always fall into sin and enslave ourselves and our neighbors with our self-will, self-seeking, self-love, self-centeredness.

Only a small minority of earth’s billions has any concept at all of how utterly dependent on God each person is. Most human beings, believers and nonbelievers alike, journey on in slavery to sin and self-will.

In the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son, born of Mary, to live perfectly under the righteous requirements of the Law of Moses.

Here is the Redemption for every human being. Here is the Immunity to sin and self-will. Here is the Vine of God, apart from whom we cannot bear the right kind of fruit. Here is the Divine Lord, apart from whom we cannot exercise dominion over the works of God’s hands.

If it had not been for the rebellion of Eden we would not have been brought to the place of willingness to seek forgiveness through the blood of the cross, deliverance through the power of the Holy Spirit, and finally, release from the bondage of self-will and disobedience through our fellowship with the suffering of the cross.

No human being can please God apart from the righteousness of Christ and the sacrifice of Calvary. No human being can be trusted with the glory assigned to the sons of God apart from a crucified self-life and the formation of a new creation in which his personality and the Personality of Christ have been made one.

No human being can find perfect joy and fulfillment until Christ is abiding in him and the love of Christ is flowing through him to other people.

All of our inheritance as sons of God can be possessed only as we press into abiding in Christ, into God’s rest. The history of the wretched circumstances of human beings without God is a principal reason why thoughtful people are willing and desirous to press into the Lamb of God whom God has given to us.

All things of life and history work together for good to those who love God, to those who have been called according to God’s purpose.

Every painful episode has as its purpose the driving of us into Christ because it is only in Christ that our high destiny as sons of God can be achieved.

From the beginning the Lord God of Heaven has determined to find rest on earth among the peoples whom He has created from the dust of the ground. Therefore He is forming a living temple. Christ is the chief Cornerstone of God’s Temple. We, in whom Christ is being created and is dwelling through the Spirit, are the living stones of the Temple.

God has a plan and is proceeding to carry it out. He knows what He is doing. Nothing catches Him by surprise. God is sovereign in His foreknowledge, His power, His wisdom.

God is building a tabernacle for Himself. When the tabernacle has been completed He will enter it in His Fullness.

The Tabernacle of God will be situated eternally on a high mountain of the new earth. It is called the Bride of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem.

CHAPTER II. GOD’S PLAN FOR HIS TEMPLE

The Need for Victorious Christian Living

The goal of the Christian disciple who has set himself to be an overcomer, a victorious saint, is to attain the place of abiding in God’s temple to which the Father has called him. It is not always comfortable and easy (although God’s wisdom and power make it possible and restful) to match the upward calling of God with a diligent seeking of His will. Such diligence is necessary because only the victorious saints—those who conquer through the Holy Spirit their fleshly nature, the world, and Satan—will receive the fullness of the inheritance (Revelation 21:7).

The Book of Revelation emphasizes the fact that the fullness of the inheritance goes to the conquerors. The relationship of leading an overcoming life to receiving the inheritance needs to be stressed at this time in the Church of Christ.

There is not enough being said today about the need for living the victorious Christian discipleship, the life of triumphant faith in the Spirit. Therefore the believers do not always address themselves with knowledge, purpose, and dedication to laying hold on the fullness of the inheritance.

The believers, in many instances, make a few commitments to Christ and then settle back to wait for His coming. This is a most unscriptural attitude (Philippians 3:8-15). It may be recalled that the Israelites, God’s chosen people, failed to enter their inheritance because of their hardness of heart and unbelief (Hebrews, Chapter Three; Jude 1:5).

If we set our hope on becoming a living stone in God’s Temple we must give ourselves wholly to attaining the place of abiding in Christ in which we come to rest in Him and He comes to rest in us. Every day of our Christian pilgrimage our determination to dwell in the "secret place of the most High" will be tested in one manner or another.

Some days the battle is heavy; other days are quieter. It is a moment by moment, day by day, pressing into the will of God as He leads us and gives us the wisdom and strength to overcome every enemy.

Christians who are looking for a worldly life in which some of their attention can be given to the pursuit of their own desires and some of their attention can be given to the seeking of Christ, will never be able to attain the fullness of abiding in God and Christ that they could have obtained by following Christ with singleness of purpose.

The penalty for not giving full attention to God is illustrated by the Israelites who compromised with the inhabitants of Canaan, the result being that they faced (and still face) continual warfare. They had to endure seeing their sons and daughters take up the abominable Canaanite religions. There is little rest for the Christian outside the bosom of the Father (John 1:18).

The Temple of God is in the process of being constructed now. It has been the plan of God from the creation of the world to make for Himself a habitation composed of human beings who have been transformed into the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-30).

God will dwell only in Christ—nowhere else. God in Christ will dwell in His fullness only in the believer who has been re-created completely—spirit, soul, and body. "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).

If God is to dwell in us we must "come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing" (II Corinthians 6:17). It is not possible that we can find rest in God, or He can find rest in us, until every particle of our animal nature has been dealt with.

The "wood" must be covered with "gold" (Exodus 25:11). We are being made the "Ark of the Covenant," and the "wood" of our personality must be enclosed in the "gold" of the Divine Nature.

The History of the Plan

Adam. Over the past several thousand years the plan for the Temple of God has been unfolding and the necessary preparations, sketches, and measurements have been made. The foundation was poured in Christ. The details of God’s plan for a dwelling place were not revealed to us at the time of the creation of man nor are they all clear to us in the present hour.

Although it was said of Adam that he was a son of God and that he was in the image of God, yet it was not stated that Adam was created to be the eternal dwelling place of the Godhead.

Adam was a living soul with the breath of life in his nostrils. He was made in God’s likeness and image. God walked with Adam, not in him. We understand now that God intends to dwell not only with the Body of Christ but also in the Body of Christ. The "mystery" of the Gospel is that Christ is in us (Colossians 1:27).

In God’s mind while He was having fellowship with Adam in the Garden of Eden was a temple built on the Cornerstone, Christ, and constructed in accordance with exact specification. In the incomprehensible wisdom of God, Adam was given a few rules to obey.

Because Adam disobeyed, just as God who knows the hearts of all men knew he would, all mankind came under the power of Satan, the originator of rebellion against God.

God did not cause Adam to sin. God knew Adam would sin because God was aware of the forces that were ready to invade the Garden of Eden. Every act brought about by evil powers, from the sin of Adam and Eve through the crucifixion of Christ to the present day, serves only to further the plan of God. Such is the wisdom and power of God.

In all that happened in the garden God had a master plan that would, in the maturity of time, furnish Him with a holy, perfect, living temple in which to dwell. Through His living temple God will be able to judge all unrighteousness—the unrighteousness in the heavens and the unrighteousness in the earth.

The exodus from Egypt. As the course of mankind proceeded after Adam was driven from the Garden of Eden, the Holy Spirit began to give glimpses of the idea God has in mind concerning the building of a holy habitation for Himself.

Notice these words from the prophecy sung by Moses and the children of Israel on the occasion of their passing successfully through the Red Sea:

Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. (Exodus 15:17)

"In the place, O Lord, that You have made for Yourself to dwell in." "In the Sanctuary, O Lord, that Your hands have established."

It is an extraordinary fact of world history that two or three million slaves from Egypt, led by a shepherd, having been directed through a deep and broad river that parted until they had passed through and then had closed on their enemies who had dared to follow them into the holy pathway, should suddenly lift up their voices in song—the entire multitude—and begin to sing in prophecy the purposes of God.

The whole Gospel story is revealed in this episode, if one adds to it the Lord’s Passover that the Israelites had just celebrated.

How the wild animals must have crouched and listened and stared in curiosity as they heard a congregation of people begin to sing in the Spirit of revelation, keeping in harmony, standing out in the desert under the cloud—the Angel of God who went before them for forty years. The acacia trees and wild shrubs rejoiced and in their own way sang with Israel the high praises of God.

Here occurred one of the most remarkable incidents in the history of mankind. God some day may provide us with a playback of this scene so we can see and hear Moses, Aaron, Miriam, and the rest of Israel singing in prophecy as the Church of God began its pilgrimage through the wilderness.

The Tabernacle of the Congregation. Notice, in Exodus 15:17, the mention of the "Sanctuary" that the Lord has established and in which he intends to dwell.

In the twenty-fifth chapter of Exodus there is another early reference to God’s desire to have a dwelling place in the earth.

And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8)

Heaven is the Throne of God and the earth is the footstool of God. God desires a house in which he can live and move and have His Being. He is seeking a fellowship of persons who are in His image and who can serve as His dwelling place—a house through which He can extend Himself to all His creation; a resting place in which the throne and footstool are brought together.

To illustrate and emphasize His desire for a holy dwelling place, God directed Moses to build a tabernacle according to precise specifications. "See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount" (Hebrews 8:5).

Did God Almighty actually dwell between the cherubim in that tent? He did indeed and His Glory could be seen. Moses went in to the Most Holy Place and talked to God as a friend; not as a prophet who sees visions and proclaims the burden of the Word of the Lord, but as a personal friend—face to face.

Although at a later date God came down in glory during the dedication of the Temple of Solomon, it is possible that His continuing Presence was manifest more powerfully in the Tabernacle of the Congregation than was true of the larger, more impressive Temple of Solomon.

The Tabernacle of the Congregation was the house of God until the two wicked sons of Eli carried the Ark of the Covenant into battle and it was captured by the Philistines. This occurred after Israel had settled in the land of promise.

All the time that Israel was wandering around in the desert between Kadesh-barnea and Elath, the Glory of God dwelled between the wings of the golden cherubim in the Most Holy Place.

As difficult as it is for us to understand, God actually dwelled in the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The term "house of God" was no mere figure of speech as is true of church buildings today.

The Tabernacle of the Congregation was God’s House, and if you dared to go through the entrances and approach the holy vessels you would breathe your last breath quickly, even though God’s throne was termed the "Mercy Seat" (literally, Atonement Lid or Lid of Reconciliation).

The seven houses of God. Throughout history the house of God has appeared in six different forms. The seventh form, which is the fulfillment and fullness of all that have gone before, has not been completed and perfected as yet.

The first form in which the house of God appeared was Moses’ tent, which was pitched far off from the camp (Exodus 33:7-11). Moses’ tent was termed "the tabernacle of the congregation," but perhaps was not the actual Tabernacle of the Congregation or Tent of Meeting that was set up later (Exodus 40:17).

The tent of Moses served until God was ready to show Moses the pattern for the structure that the King James translation of the Bible refers to as the "Tabernacle of the Congregation."

The second form in which the house of God appeared was the actual Tent of Meeting, referred to as the Tabernacle of the Congregation or Tabernacle in the wilderness. It is the one with which we are familiar, having the Altar of Burnt Offering, the Lampstand, the Ark of the Covenant, and the remainder of the seven holy furnishings.

The Tabernacle of the Congregation would be better termed the Tabernacle of God because it was a dwelling place for the Lord God, not for the Israelites. It truly was the House of God.

The third form in which the house of God appeared was the Tabernacle of David. The Tabernacle of David was a tent that David set up in Zion, a city located in the area of Jerusalem.

Inside the tent of David was placed the Ark of the Covenant, which had become separated from the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

The Ark of the Covenant was brought to Zion by King David amid much rejoicing (II Samuel, Chapter Six). The remainder of the Tabernacle of the Congregation remained at Gibeon, at the high place—a site that had been used by the Gibeonites for the worship of their gods.

The fourth form in which the house of God appeared was the Temple of Solomon. The Temple of Solomon followed the same general design as the Tabernacle of the Congregation but was greatly enlarged and made more elaborate with costly ornamentation and additions.

The destruction of the Temple of Solomon was carried out by the Babylonians about six hundred years before Christ (II Kings 25:9). The Temple was rebuilt after the Babylonian captivity (Ezra 6:15), and again by King Herod in the first century B.C. It was Herod’s Temple that was standing during the ministry of Jesus and the early apostles. Herod’s Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.

The fifth form in which the house of God has been revealed is Ezekiel’s Temple (Ezekiel, Chapters 40 through 48). Our point of view is, in spite of the details concerning sacrifice, that Ezekiel’s Temple represents the eternal Temple of God, the Body of Christ.

The Scripture does not teach in detail the exact relationship between the spirit realm and the material realm during the Millennium (thousand-year Kingdom Age). We do not know whether the saints of God will rule in bodies on the earth or through the Holy Spirit as Jesus does today or in some combination of these two forms. The description of the Temple of God in Ezekiel appears to have this half-physical, half-spiritual quality.

We do know that Christ and His servants will rule the earth for a period of time denoted in Scripture as one thousand years (whether literally or symbolically), and then over the new earth for eternity. It is possible that Ezekiel’s Temple outlines some of the aspects that will be true during the thousand-year Kingdom Age in which there may be situations involving flesh and blood people who are being ruled by saints who themselves are living in glorified bodies.

It seems more likely to us, however, that the representation of Christ in the first chapter of Ezekiel reveals to us the final form of glorified man, the ruler of God's universe, and the description of the temple portrays the development of the inner character of the saint. Finally the member of Christ's Body, having passed through the four levels of water, becomes a tree of life, planted on the banks of the River of Life, bringing life and healing to the saved peoples of the earth.

The sixth form in which the house of God has appeared is our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is the eternal dwelling place of God. In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form. God the Father has His eternal rest in Christ.

All of the houses of God prior to Christ were greatly reduced in significance as soon as the Lord Jesus appeared. The Temple of Herod changed from the house of God into nothing more than an elaborate building the instant Christ came into view.

The God of the house of God stood in the streets of Jerusalem and beheld His handiwork. The supremacy of Moses, Aaron, and the Levites passed away like the dew before the morning sun. Behold, a greater than Moses was here.

The seventh form in which the house of God will appear is the new Jerusalem. The new Jerusalem is the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, the glorified Christian Church (Revelation, Chapters 21 and 22).

When every member of the Body of Christ has come to personal maturity, has been created in union with the Head, Christ, and is one with every other member, then the Head and the Body will be the eternal House of God, the Temple of God, the dwelling place of God and the Lamb forever.

Today we refer to buildings constructed by various groups, Methodist, Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, Pentecostal, and so forth as "houses of God." But the buildings are not houses of God.

After the people go home on Sunday at noon you can desecrate the altar, the platform, the pews, and the choir loft. You can play any secular song on the organ or piano. You can clear the area and hold a dance, gamble, smoke, curse, use God’s name in vain or do anything else. No holy fire will issue forth and slay you. No voice will proclaim, holy, holy, holy. You will not be afflicted with leprosy.

Our natural environment, living and inanimate, is affected by the Glory and Presence of God who dwells in God’s people. His Glory is revealed when the Church assembles and enters worship. Nevertheless, except for unusual instances, it is true that after the people leave, the church building, no matter how ornate, is void of the Presence of God. He has left with the saints.

(When there has been much prayer in one location one can feel the holiness of God there. But this is not the "house of God" in the same sense as the Tabernacle of the Congregation.)

It was altogether different with the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Imagine what would have happened if an Israelite went into the Holy Place, began to sing and dance in honor of a heathen god, or cursed, using God’s name in a blasphemous manner. Of course, we know that this could not have happened because if an Israelite even approached the Courtyard of the Tabernacle with such a thought in his heart he would have been struck dead instantly.

God Almighty, in all His holiness and glory, truly lived in the Tabernacle of the Congregation. It reminds us of the fact that in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead. God Almighty in all His holiness and glory truly lives in the bodily form of Jesus of Nazareth.

The term church can never refer to a building. The building in which Christians worship, no matter what kind of design and furnishings it has, can never be more than a meeting hall for the Church of Christ, the true and eternal Temple of God. As the Holy Spirit announced through Stephen, God never again will dwell in a temple made with hands.

We are the Temple of God. The term church is the English translation of a Greek word that means "called out." We are "called out" from the world to be a holy people, peculiarly God’s own.

A building can never be "called out" from the world. Therefore the term church, technically speaking, cannot be applied to a physical structure. Such usage of the word, although a long-standing tradition, tends to steer people away from the fact that God intends that every Christian leave the spirit of this age and follow Christ with an undivided heart so God may abide in him. The Christian is God’s house.

Although God lived in the Tabernacle of the Congregation and accompanied the Israelites through all their wilderness wandering (just as He accompanies you and me through all our wilderness wandering), nevertheless, the chief purpose of the Tabernacle of the Congregation is to point us toward the eternal Temple of God that is being built on the proven Cornerstone, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The burden concerning the house of God appears many times throughout the Old Testament. The idea of the house of God being constructed from God’s called-out people did not appear clearly until after the Lord Jesus rose from the dead. In Old Testament times the Israelites understood the house of God to be a physical structure, such as the Temple of Solomon or the Temple of Herod.

The patriarchs and prophets. God communicated in many different ways with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Elijah, Elisha, and numerous other patriarchs and prophets. The Holy Spirit of God came upon them and they prophesied, performed miracles, received Divine direction, conquered in battle, and exercised supernatural strength. The Glory of God was revealed in the things they did and taught.

Never once, however, did God take up His permanent dwelling in them. Yet, the New Testament, from the Gospels forward, teaches that God’s plan is to live in the believers. The new covenant re-creates the personality, spirit, soul, and body, providing a holy dwelling place for the Fullness of the Godhead.

The mystery of the Gospel is "Christ in you." Because of the re-creation and the indwelling, the new covenant is superior to the old covenant.

Jesus stated that he who is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than John the Baptist, although John, being "Elijah" who was commissioned to announce the arrival of Christ, was the equal of any of the prophets.

God is in the process of taking up His eternal abode in each member of the Body of Christ from the least to the greatest. God did not create His eternal dwelling place in any of the prophets of old—not even in John the Baptist.

God did not fashion His sanctuary in anyone prior to His coming to earth in Christ. Work began on the construction of God’s Temple after the resurrection from the dead of the Lord Jesus.

The true tabernacle that God is establishing is being built on the holy, tested Cornerstone—Christ. The Christian Church, which is being measured from and constructed on the Rock, Christ, is the new Jerusalem, the Body of Christ, the everlasting Mount Zion mentioned so often in the Book of Psalms (Psalms 102:16; Hebrews 12:22).

The Temple of Solomon. The desire that came into David’s heart to build a house for God can be found in the seventeenth chapter of I Chronicles, beginning with the first verse:

Now it came to pass, as David sat in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, Lo, I dwell in an house of cedars, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord remaineth under curtains.

Then the answer of the Lord to him, verses four and five:

Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in: For I have not dwelt in an house since the day that I brought up Israel unto this day; but have gone from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another.

Also, verses eleven and twelve:

And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever.

Solomon, David’s son, indeed did build a magnificent temple that followed the design of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. When Solomon’s Temple was finished it was dedicated with great ceremony. During the dedication the Glory of God descended into the Temple in such power that the priests were unable to enter the house of the Lord (II Chronicles 7:1,2).

The Body of Christ. When the Scripture is studied it becomes clear that the Lord was not speaking primarily of Solomon when He said, "He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever."

The Holy Spirit was looking down through the years to a greater Son of David, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God to David through the prophet Nathan was a prophecy concerning the Body of Christ, an announcement of the plan the Lord had all along—that of the construction of the eternal dwelling place of the Most High.

King David himself was one of the most outstanding prophets of all time.

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. (Psalms 50:2)

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)

The Scripture just quoted, Psalms 68:16, describes God’s desire to inhabit Mount Zion. Spiritual Zion is the Kingdom of God, the fulfillment of David’s Tabernacle, the building of which is the purpose for the present age (Acts 15:16; Hebrews 12:22). Christ is the chief Cornerstone in Zion.

The eighteenth verse of Psalms 68 gives additional understanding:

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)

The fourth chapter of Ephesians unfolds the meaning of Psalms 68:16,18:

Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Ephesians 4:8)

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (Ephesians 4:11)

The gifts "for the rebellious" are the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit, especially apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers.

Psalms 68:18 reveals the purpose to be accomplished by the gifts and ministries given to the Body of Christ: "that the Lord God might dwell among them." The fourth chapter of Ephesians confirms this statement of purpose: "the perfecting of the saints; for the work of the ministry; for the edifying [building up] of the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:12).

In the fourth chapter of Ephesians, verses seven through sixteen, the method and goal of God’s plan for a temple are set forth in brief form. Paul states, in this chapter, that God has given gifts and ministries to the Church and that the end result of the operating of these ministries is the building of the Body of Christ until it stands complete in all the will of God.

The Body of Christ is to be brought to perfect Divine unity and is to attain a maturity described as "the measure of [maturity as measured by] the stature of the fulness of Christ."

God the Father will dwell only in Christ. He will dwell nowhere else. It is vain for the "high hills" to leap because God will dwell only in Zion, which is Christ—Head and Body. As of now the Head, Christ, is perfect. God has found His eternal resting place in the Lord Jesus Christ.

God desires to have much more room, a much larger family than this. Also, God is in the process of creating a bride for His beloved Son. In order to accomplish His goals, God Almighty has purposed in Himself to build the Body of Christ. The Body is to be fashioned from members selected by Himself (II Timothy 1:9).

In Christ, Head and Body, God can fill the universe with Himself in bodily, visible form (Colossians 1:15; Revelation 3:12).

The Christian Church is far too immature, at the present time, for a calling as high as this. Therefore God, through the ministries and gifts given to the Body of Christ, is fashioning each victorious saint with the end in view of forming the saints together into one body—a body that can be called in truth "the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ," "the fulness of him that filleth all in all" (Ephesians 4:13; 1:23).

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to the Christian Church, the Body of Christ, so the dwelling place of God, Mount Zion, may be a holy and wholly fit place for the Presence of God.

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

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)

Spiritual Mount Zion is the Body of Christ. Mount Zion of the physical world was one of the hills on which the city of Jerusalem was built. It was referred to also as the city of David. It was here that David installed the Ark of the Covenant under a tent, amid much rejoicing, while the Tabernacle of the Congregation remained at Gibeon (I Chronicles, Chapters 15 and 16).

Spiritual Zion is the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of God. Zion is the habitation of God, the place of His rest.

In the Book of Isaiah, Israel is asked this question:

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)

Here is one of the great questions of the Scriptures. The next verse gives the answer:

For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. (Isaiah 66:2)

The follower of Christ who is poor and of a contrite spirit—he is the house of the Lord; he is the place of God’s rest.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3)

If we are rich in our own ways and of a proud and ambitious spirit, then—Christian or not—we are not a suitable dwelling place for the Father in Christ. Christ wishes to come in to us Christians and to dine with us and find pleasure in and with us. This is not possible if we are filled already with other things—even religious things.

The testimony of Stephen. In the seventh chapter of Acts, the question concerning God’s house is asked again—this time through Stephen:

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)

The circumstances surrounding this new covenant posing of a question first asked under the old covenant are significant. The episode concerning Stephen occurred shortly after the giving of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The elders of the Hebrew community had a witness of Christ on trial for his life.

Jesus had stated previously:

But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. (Mark 13:11)

Stephen had been delivered up to the Council by some of the members of the synagogue of the Libertines, and others. They had set up false witnesses who proceeded to distort Stephen’s testimony. These attacks came after Stephen had performed "great wonders and miracles among the people." In accordance with the Word of Christ, it was the Holy Spirit, not Stephen, who was answering the question of the high priest: "Are these things so?"

Because Stephen’s trial took place on the occasion of the birth of the Christian Church it is of the utmost importance. The charges were that Stephen had spoken "blasphemous words against Moses and against God," and, "blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: for we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place, and will change the customs that Moses delivered us."

Notice that it was the Jews, not Stephen, who first raised the question of "this holy place, and the law." The battle was joined right at this point.

Under the old covenant, the Temple had been the dwelling place of God. Somehow the Jews began to be aware Jesus was going to change the location of God’s habitation. "We heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place." What Jesus had said was, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19) referring to His own physical body.

The Holy Spirit was ready to begin building the Body of Christ which, along with the Lord Jesus, is the habitation of God. The scribes and the elders could sense the change coming, being under the influence of Satan, and so they attacked immediately. The Holy Spirit wasted no time in responding. (Acts 7:46-51).

The words with which Stephen (the Holy Spirit, actually) answered the charges should be weighed in light of the fact that they reflect one of the principal concerns of God for the Church age.

Up to this moment the elders of the Jews had supposed that God had restricted Himself to the Temple in Jerusalem and to its ordinances of worship, programs, politics, sales, and other activities. The Holy Spirit had a message for the Hebrew elders. He spoke it through the mouth of Stephen straight into their hearts:

Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. (Acts 7:51)

What the Holy Spirit was testifying to the Jewish leaders may be paraphrased as follows:

"You builders suppose I am dwelling in your temple in Jerusalem and in the activities conducted there. But I am building for Myself a temple made without hands. You have rejected the Cornerstone that I have selected. You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, as your fathers did, so do you.

"The building of My eternal Temple is at hand. Here is a living stone of My Temple standing before you, testifying to you. Yet, you cannot perceive it. My rest, My house, is constructed from the meek of the earth—the faithful, who tremble at My word. I resist the proud but strengthen the humble and cause them to stand.

"If you would submit yourselves meekly to Me with lowly and believing hearts, you would find rest and peace for your souls. But as long as you are filled with pride and your own ways I can not find My habitation, My rest, in you."

The chief Cornerstone. The Lord God has certain specifications that must be met before He will be pleased to rest in a dwelling place. God will dwell only in His Christ, His Anointed One. Christ Himself is the only acceptable pattern for the House of God.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the chief Cornerstone in the Temple of God. Each of the other stones must be measured carefully from Him. More than that, each stone must be created by Him and of Him and He must be formed and dwelling in each of them. The Temple of God is Christ, Head and Body, brought to absolute completeness and perfection as the eternal dwelling place of God.

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)

The preceding verse indicates that none of the manmade institutions ("high hills") has any hope of becoming the dwelling place of God. They may "leap," that is to say, they may desire and attempt to become God’s headquarters. But God has chosen Zion, the Body of Christ, the Christian Church, as His home.

Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. (Isaiah 28:16)

To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 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 2:4,5)

God is in Jesus and Jesus is in God. While He was on the earth the Lord Jesus reminded us continually that it was not He who did the miraculous works but the Father who dwells in Him. Yet, as we find in the second chapter of First Peter, there are more living stones who are to be added to the eternal habitation of God.

The coming of God to dwell in His Church remained a mystery throughout Old Testament times. Now it is revealed openly by the writers of the New Testament.

We who are Christians need to be more aware of the significance of the hour in which we are living and of the nearness of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our realization of His nearness should result in a Spirit-directed, diligent grasping of a life of holiness in the Presence of the Lord.

We firmly believe and desire that the Lord "shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). Not only we, but the whole creation also groans in travail, looking toward and hoping for the coming of the Day of days (Romans 8:19).

We believe also God’s purpose at the present time is the building of a temple in which he can abide continually. Let us make sure we do not go to sleep spiritually while we are waiting for Him to come, and thus miss the plan that Christ has for us as individuals at this moment.

We must make a success of the overcoming life now if we are to be able to pass successfully through the judgments that certainly will come upon the world because of the abundance of sin, and if we hope to be prepared to meet Christ when He appears.

We must give all our attention to insuring that Jesus is having His unhindered way in our personality.

What do we Christians mean when we testify that we have Christ in our heart? Do we mean the Seed, the Word of God, has been planted in our heart? Or do we mean we have undergone a transformation of character?

Is it a fact that God and Jesus are dwelling in us? Do the Persons of the Godhead actually enter us?

Since a considerable portion of the Scriptures is devoted to the concept of the building of a habitation for God, we should take a closer look at what the Word of God states concerning God’s plan for His Temple.

CHAPTER III. THE DESTINY OF THE TEMPLE OF GOD

The Christian tradition is that the believers will make their eternal home in the spirit realm, continuing in a state of bliss and accomplishing little of importance. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Numerous passages of the Old Testament portray the destiny of the Body of Christ, Israel, the Temple of God. The Kingdom of God is being designed to govern the nations of saved peoples of the earth. Heaven is coming to the earth. Our inheritance to a great extent is here in the earth. The Temple of God will be located in the earth. The remainder of our book describes some aspects of the destiny of the Temple of God.

Christ, Head and Body, is the Temple of God. Christ is the Anointed One who is to come (Isaiah 11:10). Jesus is Christ, the Anointed Deliverer. The Christian Church is the Body of Christ, the Body of the Anointed Deliverer.

The Lord Jesus is the Head of the Body, He came to earth two thousand years ago. The Body of Christ is being formed now and has not as yet been revealed to the world.

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (I John 3:2)

The revelation of the Head and Body of Christ is drawing near (Romans 8:19; Colossians 3:4). The son of God was revealed in order to "destroy the works of the devil" (I John 3:8). The Head and Body of Christ will be revealed so the task of destroying the works of the devil may be completed (Romans 16:20).

The purpose of the coming of the Lord is to separate the good from the evil, the light from the darkness.

Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (Matthew 24:40)

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. (Matthew 13:47,48)

The work of Christ, Head and Body, is to loose the bondages produced by wicked spirits and to remove from the earth every trace of the works of darkness.

The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:41,42)

God has assigned the responsibility for destroying the Kingdom of darkness to Christ. The task will be accomplished totally. No part of it will be left undone.

Unlike the incomplete conquest of Canaan by the Israelites, the fighting forces of the Church of Christ will leave no area of bondage touched. The Lord’s soldiers will invade every segment of the earth and bring all nations under the Head, Christ. The conquering saints totally share Christ’s love of righteousness and hatred of sin and rebellion.

Christ, the Seed of Abraham, shall deliver the earth from bondage.

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; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:17,18)

The Seed of Abraham is Christ. There is only one Christ, and yet Christ will be multiplied as "the stars of the heaven." Christ, the Seed, is being multiplied in us. It is Christ, the Seed, who will be revealed in the end-time and who will release the created universe from the chains of futility into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Romans 8:20,21).

The Seed is multiplied through the members of the Body of Christ. How many are the Seed? The Seed is destined to be as the stars of the heavens and as the grains of the sand on the seashore. No man will bring deliverance during the Day of the Lord. It is Christ, Head and Body, who will set the creation free.

The birth of the ruling Son, described in Revelation, Chapter 12 is an expression of Christ formed in the Church. It is Christ in the Church, in His Body, who will judge and deliver the earth, bringing justice to the nations (Isaiah, Chapter 42).

Ultimately the Wife of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem, the Temple of God, will assume its rightful place as the highest government of the earth, possessing authority and power over all God’s creation.

The belief that wicked people will continue indefinitely to govern the earth is laughable.

The Son who is born represents the authority and power of the multiplied Christ. As He announces the Lord’s army, Joel cries: "There hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations" (Joel 2:2).

The victorious saints have attained eternal life through Christ and are the "firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb" (Revelation 14:4). They are the right arm of the Church of Christ that will reach into every corner of the earth and enforce obedience to Christ. They will rule with a rod of iron. They are the bronze feet of Christ that will crush Satan under foot shortly (Revelation 1:15; Romans 16:20; Genesis 3:15).

The Kingdom-age Jubilee

The Temple of God will usher in the Kingdom-age Jubilee. The return of the Lord Jesus with His saints will be a consuming fire on all the works of unrighteousness but a time of blessing and edification for Israel and of deliverance for the nations of the earth. It is the Year of 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 thousand-year Kingdom Age (Millennium) is the Year of Jubilee, the Day of Atonement, of Reconciliation, the Day of the Lord, the establishing of the rule of God on the earth.

There are several aspects of the Year of Jubilee that give us understanding concerning the millennial rule of Christ:

The term jubilee is associated with musical instruments (Genesis 4:21), indicating that the thousand-year Kingdom Age will be a period of rejoicing.

The trumpet of the Jubilee was sounded on the Day of Atonement, showing that the thousand-year Kingdom Age will be a period of reconciliation to God by the removal of sin (Hebrews 9:28).

The trumpet was heard throughout all the land, suggesting that during the thousand-year Kingdom Age complete deliverance will come to the children of God and "all Israel shall be saved" (Romans 11:26).

Jubilee was celebrated on the "fiftieth" year, making the Jubilee a type of Pentecost (Pentecost means "fifty"), pointing toward the unprecedented outpouring of the Holy Spirit during the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

Every Israelite was to return to his original house and field, signifying that the slavery to sin into which mankind has sold itself will be abolished during the thousand-year Kingdom Age—especially with regard to the Church. Every true believer will have restored to him his birthright as a child of God.

The time of darkness and light. The Scriptures give us a solid basis for rejoicing. A time of glory and of the Presence of God is coming to the earth because of the love of God for those whom He has created. The Temple of God, Christ—Head and Body, will be that Presence.

No matter how dark the cloud may become that even now is settling on the peoples of the earth, the Glory of God shall appear. All the revivals of past history have been but the merest sprinklings compared with the deluge of harvest rain soon to come.

Economic chaos, famine, the Antichrist, the False Prophet, violence, unbridled lust, and every other abominable work are appearing on the horizon of the earth. The days ahead will be times of shaking, of sin, of judgment, of heavy spiritual darkness, of despair, of men’s heart failing them for fear. God will demonstrate once and for all to both the heavens and the earth the consequences of rebellion against His will.

There will be no sin that wicked spirits can conceive that will not abound in the last days of the present age. Weak, unstable, halfhearted Christians will be tossed about like straw in a hurricane. Some will be saved as by fire. Others will fall away and be destroyed (remember Lot’s wife!). Every Word of Christ will be fulfilled to the letter. It is the great and terrible Day of the Lord.

The days of God go from evening to morning. Man has had his day to show what he can do. Now the Day of the Lord has come upon us. It will begin with an "evening." There is coming a darkness never before known on the earth.

The oppression, pain, and insanity of sin will be intensely horrible. Except those days were shortened by the Lord no flesh would be saved. All life on the earth would perish. The Book of Zephaniah describes the great tribulation.

And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. (Zephaniah 1:17)

For His elect’s sake the Lord will execute His work on the earth quickly (Matthew 24:22; Romans 9:28).

All during the period of coming darkness, even when the oppression reaches its blackest and heaviest, there will be spiritual protection for the true believers, God’s remnant, and for those who go to the remnant for safety. It may be recalled that when God poured His wrath on the gods of Egypt, the land of Goshen was spared (Exodus 9:26). No matter how dark Egypt became, Israel had light in the midst of the darkness (Exodus 10:23).

We find in Revelation, Chapter 12 that the Woman, representing the Christian Church, will be "nourished" from the face of the serpent. "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee" (Psalms 91:7).

There shall be seasons when the saints will be persecuted, thrown into prison, and otherwise suffer for the Gospel. Persecution for the Gospel’s sake is taking place now in some parts of the world. It always has been so with the Church of Christ because we must "with much tribulation" enter the Kingdom of God.

Jesus says to us, "Fear none of the things that 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).

Yet, as far as the Church of Christ is concerned, there always will be light—especially at the height of the darkness (Isaiah 60:1-3). God will not leave Himself without a witness in the earth.

The wrath that will be poured out is the anger of God against the gods of the world, against the spirit of the present evil age that is attempting to carry on the business of the earth apart from the Spirit of God. God will crush and destroy this spirit and all who embrace Babylon. "Babylon" refers to man-directed, institutional religion, including (and especially) the Christian religion.

"The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God" (Psalms 9:17). It will be a period of horror until men cry out for death; but death will flee from them.

"The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein" (Psalms 24:1). God will never turn over His earth, Christ’s inheritance, to the wicked one. God will exercise His wrath on the evil spirits in the earth—and they tremble at the prospect! (James 2:19).

Yet, even in the midst of the terrifying judgments that soon are to come, "Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered" (Joel 2:32). The earth belongs to the Lord and He will not leave it.

The Glory of the Lord will increase in the saints as the Day of the Lord draws near. "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the Glory of the Lord is risen upon thee" (Isaiah 60:1). The remnant of saints will be the source of God’s authority, protection, and blessing for all who seek Christ during the great tribulation.

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. 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 2:31,32)

At the climax of the darkness, when the world cries "Peace and safety," having destroyed (so it believes) the testimony of the saints, Christ will appear in glory. The dead in Christ will rise. Those who are alive in Christ on the earth will be caught up together to meet the Lord and to participate with Him in the destruction of the forces of wickedness.

The Church at that time will arise (Ezekiel, Chapter 37). The Church, the army of the Lord, will shine as never before because the Father and the Son will be dwelling in the saints (John 14:23; Joel 3:16,17). The Light of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ, will descend from Heaven and avenge the blood of the saints who have been tortured and martyred on the earth.

Christ will come to tread the grapes of the wrath of God, and all the ungodly will drink of the unmixed wine until they are full.

The Kingdom comes. God’s wrath will issue from His Temple.

I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once. (Isaiah 42:14)

There will be poured on the wicked, to an extent never before witnessed on the earth, the destructive vengeance of God. Statesmen, generals, the wealthy, the famous, the poor—all who have chosen the spirit of this age and have refused the Gospel of the Kingdom—will be destroyed at the coming of Christ and His army.

The rulers of the earth will attempt to resist the government from Heaven but all their efforts will be crushed. Finally they will throw down their weapons and cry out to the mountains and rocks to hide them from the Face of God and from the wrath of the Lamb (Revelation 6:16).

To no avail. They will be sought out and killed. Every person who resists Christ will be consumed by the fire of God’s judgment.

The thousand-year Kingdom Age will be a period of judgment, war, and liberation. It will result in the destruction of those who resist Christ but also in the building up of the saints of God and in deliverance and healing of the earth and its peoples.

The Millennium (thousand-year Kingdom Age) is the period of redemption and release—redemption and release by judgment, war, and then the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the earth. It is the time of the imposition of the power of the Holy Spirit on the Church and the nations such that the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord will fill the earth—the knowledge of the righteous Person and ways of God. This righteousness will be enforced with the rod of iron that characterizes the Kingdom Age reign of Christ and His saints.

In spite of the outpouring of blessing and praise that will cover the earth during the thousand-year Kingdom Age, the nations will be governed by a rod of iron. This is because the rebellion against God has gone so deep into the personality of mankind and has been of such long duration that it will not be purged from people in a moment.

In fact, after the Kingdom Age period of the rule of righteousness and the teaching of God’s ways throughout the earth, Satan still will be able to deceive the nations and lead them in revolt against the rule of God through Christ and the saints.

After the Battle of Armageddon, Satan will be bound and locked in the bottomless pit. The saints will stand with Christ upon the earth in transfiguration splendor. It may be a highly select company of saints, as we think about the fact that only three of the twelve disciples were present with the Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration.

The Lord Jesus, who by then will have manifest all authority and power in Heaven and on the earth, will delegate portions of His authority and power to His faithful disciples. They will go out from his side to their appointed realms.

As soon as the victorious saints have been enthroned in their places as spiritual overseers, the Church will begin its ministry to the saved people of the earth—people who have been protected throughout the judgments of God on the workers of sin and rebellion.

The light of the Glory of God will be abiding on the saints. The nations of the earth will flow to the Church asking for the knowledge of God Almighty, the God who came down in thunderous wrath on the vileness that had grown in the cities of the world until they had become ten times worse than Sodom and Gomorrah.

As the Church begins to minister and teach, exercising the authority and power of the Kingdom of God, the Holy Spirit will commence His work of healing the people of the land. The ends of the earth will come, seeking the Lord. The Life that is in our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Tree of Life, will be supplied through the saints so the nations of the saved can partake and live.

The ministry of the Church will increase, the nations becoming more and more obedient, until the Holy Spirit is as a mighty ocean of glory covering the earth. The destroyed areas of the earth will be rebuilt.

The saints will be called "restorers of paths to dwell in," "the seed that the Lord hath blessed" (Isaiah 58:12; 60:9).

The fiercest of animals will become harmless. Sickness and death will be removed. The wisdom and blessing of God will flow to all people as they receive His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus. The nations will believe in Christ because they will see Him in the saints (John 17:21-23). All rebellion will be put down under a rod of iron, the disciplining power of the Holy Spirit that will be exercised through Christ and His saints.

This era of judgment, deliverance, reconciliation, and healing will continue until the entire Church has been perfected and is ready for its installation on the new earth as the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb.

The Presence of the Holy Spirit will increase until the Glory of God is a broad river of Divine Life issuing from the believers (John 7:38). The destruction of the spirit of the current age, this Sodom and Egypt, this attempt to live on the earth without Christ, will be total. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon and through the fervent disciples of the Lord Jesus also will be total. "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Romans 5:20).

The Church of Christ will be delivered from the power of sin and death and made ready for its ministry to the prisoners of the earth (Isaiah, Chapter 42). The thousand-year Kingdom Age will be an age of such joy and rejoicing in God that we Christians scarcely can visualize it in our most wonderful dreams.

In view of the events that are approaching the earth, the message of the Church to the unsaved is now and will continue to be until the Lord returns: "Flee from the wrath to come. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Be baptized in His name and you will be saved in the Day of Wrath. Enter the covenant now because terrible destruction is coming from the Lord."

All can be saved by accepting the blood of God’s Lamb, Christ. No person will be able to stand in the Day that is near unless he has accepted the protection of the blood of Jesus.

The Day of Atonement. The coming thousand years of redemption will be a jubilee of deliverance and glory for the Israel of God as well as for the nations of saved peoples of the earth, as God reveals His Glory through His Temple. The term "Israel of God" refers to those persons whom God has called out from the world under the old covenant and the new covenant. It has a secondary, significant reference to those who are Jews by race because of human birth (Romans 2:28,29; Galatians 6:15,16).

The fact that the trumpet of Jubilee was sounded on the Day of Atonement is worthy of note. The Day of Atonement (Leviticus, Chapter 16) was the only day of the Hebrew year during which the high priest was instructed to pass beyond the veil that hung in front of the Most Holy Place. The blood of a young bull and of a goat was sprinkled upon and before the Mercy Seat, the young bull being offered for Aaron and his household, and the goat for the sins of the people.

Then the sins of the children of Israel were placed, by the laying on of Aaron’s hands, on the head of a live goat and that goat was led out of the camp. Here is a picture of I John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

During the Day of Atonement, God performs two services for us: first, He forgives our sins (the blood of the slain goat sprinkled upon and before the Mercy Seat); second, He cleanses us from all unrighteousness (the sins placed on the living goat and carried out of the camp). God through Christ both forgives and delivers us.

The blood of the Lord Jesus Christ was shed on Calvary for our sins. His blood was sprinkled upon and before the Mercy Seat in Heaven and also on our heart. As we confess our sins, after we have become a Christian, our sins are carried away from us so we do not continue committing them.

After our sins have been forgiven and removed from us, we then are eligible for all the blessings of the Jubilee. Deliverance is appointed for us. It is with the greatest rejoicing and praise that we glorify God in the returning of our birthright as God’s children. Little by little we are enabled by the Holy Spirit to fight our way into the land of promise and to begin to recover the spiritual life that was lost in the Garden of Eden.

The redemption that is drawing near has to do especially with the restoring to us of immortality. Adam and Eve had access to the Tree of Life. If they had eaten of it they would still be alive on the earth to the present hour. When they sinned, spiritual life withdrew from their bodies. They "died" the moment they sinned, as God warned they would, although their physical bodies did not manifest the death for nearly a thousand years.

Christ "hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (II Timothy 1:10). We who are Christians have been sealed to the Day of Redemption that soon is to come. In that day eternal life will be restored to our bodies. We will be immortal on the earth.

Even though we are Christians our bodies are "dead because of sin." We are dragging around a "body of death." Christ was offered as a sacrifice to God for the forgiveness of our sins. Having been forgiven we now are looking for His glorious appearing. When He appears, He will raise our mortal bodies from the dead without sin unto salvation (Hebrews 9:28). The Millennial Jubilee will commence with the restoration to life of the victorious saints.

The door is open now to "whoever will." Those who set their heart and mind to the task of conquering in Christ can fight their way into the riches of the Kingdom of God. Even though the remainder of the Church may be slow to realize their opportunities in Christ, any person who will seek Christ with his whole heart can forge ahead in God and begin to eat the old corn of the land.

When the thousand-year Kingdom Age comes, and the Head and Body of Christ appear in glory, the blessings of the Day of Atonement will be applied to the whole earth, particularly to the Lord’s people. During that Day, as Paul teaches us, the Lord will restore the nation of Israel to His favor. "All Israel shall be saved" (Romans 11:26).

A multitude of people who are Jewish by physical birth will be brought into the one Seed, Christ, thereby becoming heirs of the promises of God.

In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek. Any man, woman, boy or girl who receives Christ as Savior and Lord becomes a part of the Israel that will rule with God throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age and the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. God will "make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles" (Romans 9:23,24).

The full blessings of the Day of Atonement will be applied to all Israel during the thousand-year Kingdom Age. The sins of the Lord’s people will be forgiven and their bondages broken. This is the promise of God to His people in the Day when He shall take away their sins.

What a day of release is at hand! The authority and power of the blood of the cross shall deliver all the people of God.

The guilt of sin was removed on the cross. The power of sin will be broken as the army of God, the victorious remnant of saints, goes forth in the full anointing of the Holy Spirit. This is the coming of the Kingdom of God into the earth.

No other kingdom can withstand the coming of the Kingdom of God. As soon as Christ has His saints ready to appear with Him, every other personality and force will move before their advance. The saints will come with Christ at their head to cleanse and deliver the peoples of the earth.

This will be the greatest period of rejoicing imaginable. The appearing of Christ with His army will usher in the Day of Jubilee for the earth. All the cleansing and delivering will be founded on the work of atonement accomplished on Calvary.

When the Lord Jesus comes to set up His Kingdom on the earth, "He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied" (Isaiah 53:11).

Atonement means reconciliation. The term atonement has many shades of meaning. One of the main concepts is that of reconciliation.

Before we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior we were alienated from God, separated from the life of God. We were not in God’s family. As soon as we accepted Christ, putting our faith in Him, the process of reconciliation commenced. It began in our inner man and will be completed when our body is raised from the dead into immortality.

Atonement brings us from alienation from God all the way to reconciliation to God. Our final level of reconciliation will be as complete as was true of our former level of alienation. We were alienated completely and we shall be reconciled completely. It is a perfect atonement, a perfect reconciliation.

The works of the devil separate us from God. When man sinned at the beginning he came under the authority and power of the wicked one. Over many thousands of years the nature of the adversary has been developed and revealed in mankind to such an extent that humans are conceived and born in sin.

Rebellion against God and His ways saturates our every fiber—we were born that way. The evil nature of people is not reconciled to the Father in a moment, although any person can gain forgiveness and come under the protection of God in the moment of receiving Christ.

The first step in the process of absolute reconciliation is the removal of the authority and the guilt of sin. This removal was accomplished perfectly on Calvary. Satan has no authority whatever over a human being who has asked Christ for salvation. At the moment of receiving Christ the individual passes from the authority of darkness to the authority of Christ.

God has provided the legal foundation for the change of authority. There is nothing anyone can do to prevent the change of authority from occurring when a human being fulfills the legal requirement by believing and being baptized.

At the moment of believing in Christ, the person is found to be not guilty, by the Judge of the court of Heaven. Therefore the authority of the wicked one is nonexistent as far as the believer in Christ is concerned. However, the Lake of Fire retains jurisdiction over sin whether found in a non-Christian or Christian.

What about the power of sin? So great is the power of sin over Christians that many churches deny that it is possible for the believer to overcome his sinful habits; although the Scripture states: "Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live in the appetites of the flesh" (Romans 8:12).

We understand that Satan uses the lusts of our fleshly nature, guiding and deceiving us into the "works of the flesh." The world, Satan, and our fleshly nature conspire against us as we attempt to live in a righteous, holy, and obedient manner. We love to obey God but sometimes we find it difficult to perform His will with a pure heart.

If we will cooperate with the Spirit of God He will come in judgment against the control that the world, Satan, and our fleshly nature have over our behavior. The result of the Divine judgment will be the destruction of sin and the bringing of us into the fullness of resurrection life. Seen from this point of view, the judgment of God is to be greatly desired by the believer in Christ.

To the extent that we sin we have not been reconciled to God. It continues to be true, however, that our guilt has been removed and we are without condemnation as long as we are doing God’s will to the best of our knowledge and ability.

The fact that sin still retains some control over our behavior is proof that a part of our personality has not as yet been reconciled to God. Our mortal body remains unredeemed. It is still under the power of the enemy. It is dead because of the sin that dwells in it.

Every part of our personality that has been reconciled to God obeys God promptly. The part of our personality that still is hostile toward God and seeks to compel us to live in the lusts of the flesh is under the judgment of God and will be destroyed.

Insofar as a part of us still lusts after the world, to that extent, and in that particular area of lust or rebellion, the atonement (reconciliation) made by Christ has not as yet accomplished its work in us.

The trumpet of Jubilee signaling release from servitude and restoration of property was sounded on the Day of Atonement, the Day of Reconciliation (Leviticus 25:9). The fact that the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, which is the thousand-year Kingdom Age, is still ahead for the Church of Christ, indicates to us that a more complete salvation and reconciliation to God than we have known will come to the Church in the future.

The thousand-year Kingdom Age that will begin when the Lord Jesus returns to earth will be a period during which the Church will become reconciled to God through Christ. It is the time of the marriage of the Lamb, the union of Christ with His Bride.

Mankind was separated from God originally by the working of Satan. The only manner in which reconciliation to God can be accomplished is by the destruction of all the power and influence of the devil, his authority having been destroyed on the cross of Calvary.

Since the route to reconciliation to God is destruction of the enemy, the way to bring about full atonement is war. Our complete redemption will have been accomplished when every trace of the kingdom of Satan has been driven from us by unrelenting war.

The Kingdom of Christ comes against the forces of darkness. Now we can understand why it is that the trumpet of Jubilee, the establishing of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, and the Day of Atonement are all associated with warfare and judgment. Peace and restoration can come to the nations of the earth only through Christ’s rule with a rod of iron.

The thousand-year Kingdom Age will be installed on the earth by the power of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Army. The saints will judge and cast out all the works of darkness. The peoples of the earth, particularly the Israel of God, will enter glorious liberty during the Kingdom Age. All the deliverance and glory is founded on the blood of the Lamb. It is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Day of Atonement.

Pentecost of Pentecosts. The Year of Jubilee is associated with the Levitical convocation of the Day of Atonement in that the trumpet announcing the Jubilee was blown on the Day of Atonement.

The Year of Jubilee is associated also with the Levitical convocation of Pentecost. The Jubilee was celebrated every fiftieth year. The term Pentecost is derived from the Greek word meaning fifty. Pentecost, the feast of Weeks, was observed fifty days after the celebration of Firstfruits (Leviticus 23:16).

The Book of Acts portrays the new-covenant significance of the feast of Pentecost. Pentecost is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit being the One who is charged with bringing to pass the will of God in the Church of Christ.

Since Pentecost was celebrated once each year, on the fiftieth day after Firstfruits, and since the Year of Jubilee was observed every fiftieth year (Leviticus 25:10), we may say that Jubilee is the Pentecost of Pentecosts.

The fulfillment of the Jubilee is the climactic outpouring of the Spirit of God on the saints, to which the Scriptures refer in several passages—an outpouring of glory so extensive that the whole earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord. The Jubilee outpouring of glory, the Pentecost of Pentecosts, will come to pass during the Kingdom Age.

One of the first references to God’s intention to fill the earth with His Spirit is found in the Book of Numbers. The occasion was the provoking of God in the wilderness and the resulting threat of God to "kill all this people as one man."

In response to the prayer of Moses, God pardoned the complaining and rebelling of the Israelites. Then God revealed what is in His mind concerning His purpose in the earth:

But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. (Numbers 14:21)

We find the same promise in the prayers of David:

And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen. (Psalms 72:19)

Again:

So the heathen [nations] shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy glory. When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. (Psalms 102:15,16)

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaiah 40:5)

For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14)

God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. (Habakkuk 3:3)

Ezekiel has quite a bit to say about the Jubilee, the Pentecost of Pentecosts, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that will accompany the bringing in of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

The message of Ezekiel describing the Day of the Lord, as is generally true of the revelations of the Prophets of Israel concerning events connected with the ministry of Christ, is found in the context of teaching that had to do with the problems of the nation of Israel—a group of people living at the time of the Prophet who was speaking.

When the hour of fulfillment arrives, the Holy Spirit causes the spiritual message to shine through the admonitions of the Prophets of ancient Israel (I Peter 1:10-12).

First, Ezekiel points toward the coming of Christ at the beginning of the Kingdom Age:

And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory. (Ezekiel 43:2)

The next two chapters of Ezekiel describe the activities of Israel, revealing the special interest that God will show toward His people during the Kingdom Age. By "His people" we mean primarily the true Israel of God: that is, all who have received Christ as Savior whether or not they are Jewish by physical birth. Hopefully there will be millions of Jews by race added to Christ in our time and in the days to come.

As we stated previously, we believe Ezekiel is referring also to the nation of physical Jews. Ezekiel addressed both the Church and the physical nation, as we understand it.

Then Ezekiel portrays the covering of the earth by the Spirit of God and the resulting life and healing for the nations:

Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. (Ezekiel 47:1)

The "door of the house" is Christ. The "house" is the Temple of God. The "water" of the Spirit of God always flows from the throne of God, from nowhere else. The throne of God will be located for eternity in Christ—Head and Body.

The reference to "eastward" and "east" typifies the saints who are "looking for and hasting unto [hastening] the coming of the day of God" (II Peter 3:12). They have their spiritual gaze focused on the dawning of the Day of the Lord. It is through these dedicated disciples of Christ that the Glory of God will come to the earth.

The River of Life.

And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ancles. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. (Ezekiel 47:3-5)

The line in the man’s hand represents the judgment of God, for it is a measuring line. The Day of Atonement is the day of God’s judgment on sin. Therefore the line in his hand is associated in meaning with the Day of Atonement, the Day of Reconciliation.

The "waters" of this passage represent the Holy Spirit of God who will be poured on the Church in connection with the exercising of God’s judgment. We can notice in Matthew, Chapter Three that Jesus baptizes us with the Holy Spirit and with fire; not just with the Holy Spirit, but with the Holy Spirit and fire.

The Holy Spirit is the "waters" of Ezekiel, and the baptism of fire is the "line" in the man’s hand. The reason there will be so much of the Holy Spirit in the earth during the Kingdom Age is that the fires of God’s judgment will burn with unprecedented fury and thoroughness just prior to the Kingdom Age.

The "ankles," the "knees," and the "loins" speak of the three areas of Christian development.

The "ankles" refer to the beginning commitment of receiving Christ as Lord and Savior.

The "knees" speak of the Pentecostal blessing that brings us to the place where our "walk" increasingly comes under the control of the Spirit of God.

The "loins" represent the "death to self" conversion where our strength begins to be broken and resurrection life, the strength of God, is given us in exchange.

During the Kingdom Age the outpouring of glory will, as we understand it, bring the Israel of God through these three areas of conquest. The "waters to swim in" portray the giving over of the Christian to the will of God after he has experienced the deaths and resurrections of the "ankles," the "knees," and the "loins." The Life of God in him now governs his deeds, words, motives, and imaginations. He has become the Temple of the living God.

The victorious saints will press toward this point of full consecration before the return of Christ. Fullness of dedication to God’s will is available now to whoever chooses to embrace it.

The whole Church of Christ will receive glory during the thousand-year Kingdom Age that will further the ability of every Christian (every Israelite) to walk in the Spirit of God (Malachi 4:2). We all shall grow in the knowledge of God throughout eternity.

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit without measure that will occur during the thousand-year Kingdom Age will bring about the answer to the prayer of Christ recorded in John, Chapter 17. The Church will be made one (reconciled) in God in the abundance of the Glory of God, and the world will come to know that God is the One who has sent Christ and that He loves the Body of Christ with the fullness of Divine love.

Our teaching concerning the work of perfecting the Wife of the Lamb that will take place during the thousand-year Kingdom Age of atonement, a work of purification that will result in the glorious new Jerusalem, must not be interpreted to mean the believer can be careless today in the hope that he will attain in the next age what he was unwilling to grasp in the present hour.

We will not escape punishment if we neglect our present calling and opportunities for spiritual growth. We must keep in mind the terrifying judgment that fell on the lazy slave who buried his talent.

Also, there are specific character transformations and capabilities for union with God through Christ, fruitfulness, rulership, and eternal service to God that are available now but never again will be available. Today Christ is inviting us to sit with Him on His throne. Although the training for such ascension is exceedingly rigorous, yet it is possible, through Christ’s grace, for any believer to match Christ’s upward calling with a corresponding grasp of faith.

If we are not faithful in the lesser we would not be faithful in the greater.

If we will give our all to God today we will become God’s son and will inherit all things. Every aspect of our personality and life that we hold back from Christ will cost us unimaginable, incomprehensible, staggering loss in the Kingdom of God.

The wise believer will not take the chance that God will give him during the Kingdom Age what he ignored today.

The passage from Ezekiel that we are discussing portrays judgment and blessing, more judgment and more blessing, and so forth. This is the manner in which we grow in Christ now. We bear fruit. Then He prunes us and we bear more fruit. He prunes us again, cutting us down to the ground, and then we bear abundant fruit.

Has this been your experience?

Let’s go for a swim in the waters of God. Come on! The water is fine. We cannot drown, although we are not able to swim all the way across, because it is the water of eternal Life.

Ezekiel’s river is the outpouring of God’s Glory, the Pentecost of Pentecosts, the Year of Jubilee. Notice that these waters go into the desert (the dry places of the Church) and then into the sea (the peoples of the earth). This is the pattern of the Kingdom Age outpouring. First, the Church will be revived with the Holy Spirit of God (Ezekiel 37:10). Second, the Life of Christ will flow from the Church, the Temple, to the nations of the earth (Ezekiel 47:9).

Worldwide evangelism. As soon as the Water of Life flows out to the nations of the earth they will be healed of the death caused by the bondage of sin.

Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. (Ezekiel 47:8)

The "waters" of the sea will be healed, meaning that the souls of people all over the world will be renewed in the Spirit of God. The Glory of Christ given to the Church will reach out to the peoples of the nations and they will receive a portion of eternal life. The sons of God will bring release to the physical creation.

Because the creature [creation] itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:21)

It always is true that people who reject the rule of Christ will be cast into the Lake of Fire. Every person who receives Christ during the seasons in which he appears in His Church will be saved. Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered.

After the destruction of the wicked during the Battle of Armageddon, all the ends of the earth will be converted and the "earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Habakkuk 2:14).

Our teaching concerning the work of Christ during the thousand-year Kingdom Age, and the pattern of the operation of God described in the Book of Ezekiel, should reflect back on our conduct today, inviting and leading us to cease from the bondages of the flesh and to press forward to victory in Christ.

We should be preparing ourselves spiritually for the Day of Christ that even now is approaching its darkest hour as a prelude to the dawning of the day of release. If the vision of Ezekiel moves us toward faith, holiness, and service today we have received his message correctly.

The greatest evangelistic outreach of all time will follow the worldwide outpouring of the Glory of God.

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)

Here we see the release of the natural creation, mentioned in Romans 8:21. The "bondage of corruption" is broken and the peoples of the earth are awakened to God’s Life and are healed by His Spirit. The River of God, the Holy Spirit, will cover the earth. Every person and every thing will be touched with Divine Glory.

Notice that the word river is both plural and singular in the above verse. It is the one River of God, the Holy Spirit, but each Christian is a "river," or "tributary" so to speak, of the one Holy Spirit.

In fact, there will be rivers (plural) flowing from each believer in whom the Divine throne has been established. There will be an abundance of Divine Life that never will cease. The Lord Jesus came that we may have life and have it in abundance

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38)

The Christians will go to every nation on earth. Out from the sons of God will issue the River of God. The River of God always flows from the throne of God, and the throne of God is being established in the heart of the saint.

We can see that the flowing of the River of Life from the elect will result in worldwide evangelism:

". . . there shall be a very great multitude of fish, . . . ."

The "fish," of Ezekiel 47:9,10, will be "caught," taught, and otherwise served by the Israel of God during the Kingdom Age. Notice the vision that Ezekiel presents showing the flowing together of the saints, exactly as Jesus prayed in John, Chapter 17, and the resulting release of the peoples of the earth from the harsh bondage of wickedness.

Isaiah had the same vision:

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 [nations] shall come unto thee. (Isaiah 60:5)

The above verse is an Old Testament portrayal of the answer to the prayer of Jesus in John, Chapter 17. The Glory of God will arise on the Church of Christ while gross darkness covers the peoples of the earth. At that time the Glory of God will be seen on the Body of Christ.

The nations of the saved, that is, the saved people who are not members of Israel, the Church of Christ, the Lord’s anointed, will come to the light shining from the Church. The rulers of the earth will behold and marvel at the manifestation of the Glory of God resting on the Church.

The inhabitants of the farthest reaches of our planet will stream to the Church. We Christians will behold the results of the Glory of Christ abiding on us. When we see the ends of the earth coming to us to be blessed of God we will become radiant with joy. Our heart will throb, trembling at the sight of the prisoners of the earth making their pilgrimage with their families to God who is dwelling in us.

Our personalities will be enlarged with compassion and understanding because of the opportunities for service suddenly set before us, as the nations of the earth come to us seeking God’s blessing. It will require a thousand years for the Church to minister to the needs of people—needs that can be met only by the Lord Jesus Christ ministering through His Body, the eternal Temple of God.

The act of ministering to these "fish" will work toward the perfecting of the saints themselves. By the end of the Kingdom Age the Church will be ready, for the first time, to descend from Heaven as a finished masterpiece.

The Tree of Life. The Tree of Life grows along the banks of the River of Life.

And by the river upon 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)

We find in the first Psalm that the saints are the Tree of Life from whom the world may derive food and healing:

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalms 1:3)

Man cannot live by bread alone, although many people are attempting to live without God in these days. Man lives by receiving the Word of God—the daily portion of strength and wisdom that comes to him from Heaven above. The Church of Christ is becoming, through Christ, the visible expression of the continual flowing of the Glory of God. "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he that winneth souls is wise" (Proverbs 11:30).

The nations of the earth will eat of the "fruit of the righteous" during the thousand-year Kingdom Age and will live in the sight of God as a result. The saints will become wise in the ways of God, and this kind of wisdom will save men and women, boys and girls, from destruction.

The "fruit" of the Tree of Life is food for the peoples of the earth. The fruit is the Word of God made alive by the Spirit. It is the Substance of Christ, the living Word, because Christ Himself is the Tree of Life.

The "leaf" of the Tree of Life is for the healing of the nations of the saved. It is a medicine that will heal their hurts and illnesses. The fruit provides nourishment and life, and the leaves are restorative. Even today the Substance of Christ, His holy body and blood, is our necessary food, and His anointing brings healing to our bodies and the solution to our problems.

We Christians are becoming in our character the fruit of life for other people. Our gifts and ministries are as leaves that heal the sick. All things that pertain to life and godliness will be contained in the Church of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. The nations of saved peoples of the earth will be required to come to the Church in order to receive the blessings from the Lord (Isaiah 60:12; Zechariah 14:17).

No matter how willingly the saints give of themselves while serving the needs of the peoples of the earth, their "leaf" will not wither and their "fruit" will not be consumed. They will give and give and yet have abundance to give, just as Jesus gives and gives and never is depleted.

This never-ending source of nourishment is true of our ministry today if we are working in Christ and not in our own strength. The "river of God" is "full of water" (Psalms 65:9). The River of God remains full of water no matter how much we spend and are spent. If we are planted by the rivers of water we always will be ready to bring life and healing to others.

The waters issued "out of the sanctuary," that is, out of the Temple of God, out of the wells of eternal life that have been created in the saints. The fruit of the Tree of Life is ever new, ever nourishing, ever available because the Life that the Church offers to the world is coming from God and not from the resources of the Church itself. "His leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper" (from Psalms 1:3).

Whenever the Church of Christ fails to benefit the nations of the earth it is because the "waters" are not coming "out of the sanctuary." They are proceeding from the good intentions of the flesh, not from God.

Whatever is done by the Holy Spirit is always successful (from the Divine standpoint), always blessed, always enduring. Whenever we attempt to do the Lord’s work in our own wisdom and strength we soon find ourselves in bondage and confusion.

Release and restoration. The Year of Jubilee, the Day of the Lord, is a season of the greatest rejoicing. It is the time of complete reconciliation to God on the part of the Church, the release of the nations of saved peoples of the earth from their servitude to wickedness, the Pentecost of Pentecosts in which the Holy Spirit flows from the saints as an ocean of glory that covers the earth, bringing the knowledge of God to each of the inhabitants thereof.

It is our understanding that the coming of Christ and the blessings of the Kingdom Age are at hand. One of the features of the thousand-year Kingdom Age will be the release of every person from "servitude" and the restoration to him of his "home and property."

Then we shall not be required to fight against wicked spirits in order to do God’s will. It will be the greatest pleasure of all to perform God’s intention in the smallest of details. The curse will be lifted from the earth under the administration of the sons of God. The hard bondages we endure now will afflict us no longer.

People have been robbed of their birthright as the children of God because of the sin of Adam and Eve. At one time immortality was available in the Tree of Life. The beautiful Garden of Eden and the pleasures thereof; a life lived in the Presence of the Lord God without the drudgery of having to wrest from a stubborn earth enough food for survival—these are the natural rights of people by the fact of their being children of God.

During the Kingdom Age all the beauty of nature will be enhanced a thousand times. The creation will be free from thorns and thistles, destructive diseases and insects, and the other curses and catastrophes that have ruined the fairest of landscapes since the fatal day in the garden.

The proper home of mankind is an earth that is gloriously alive because of the immediate Presence of the Spirit of God. Anything other than such an environment is not proper and has come about only because God’s children chose to give their worship to the devil and to accept his rule over them. Christ and His brothers will change all that.

We humans rejoice in the beauty of natural scenes. We attempt to find peace and happiness while looking at a rural scene, a woodland display, or in feeling the spray and listening to the thunder of ocean waves breaking against the rocks of a shore.

However our enjoyment of God’s handiwork in nature is marred because of the pressures of life that always are bearing down on us. Disaster is but a breath away from us in every setting. Truly, we are attempting to live in the valley of the shadow of death.

During the thousand-year Jubilee we shall have a much more glorious environment to behold and live in, while the harassment of demons and other Divine curses that hinder us now will then be absent.

During the celebration of the Year of Jubilee that was established under the old covenant, every Hebrew who had been forced to sell his house and land was given back his property free of encumbrance. Also, if it had come to the point where he and his family had been sold as servants to a wealthy Hebrew, he and they were released from service and allowed to return home as free people. What a wise and wonderful provision from the hand of our God!

The legal basis for the Jubilee.

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 25:10)

The legal principle on which the Jubilee is based is that the earth and its fullness belong to God.

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

The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is Mine, for ye are strangers and sojourners with Me. (Leviticus 25:23)

The first of the above two verses informs us that the earth and all the peoples who dwell on it belong to God. The second verse points out that Israel belongs to God in a special way and is more closely identified with God than is true of the other nations of the earth.

The earth and all its resources belong to the Lord. He assigns the riches of the earth to whomever He will. This is true of every cubic inch of the earth and for all time. God created the earth and it belongs to Him. He has not sold it to anyone.

Men trade the things of earth back and forth without reference to the Spirit of God. God puts material possessions where He wants them. He always provides for His saints.

The resources of the earth belong to God, to no one else. When God appoints a piece of land to a person or gives him any other form of material wealth, it belongs to that person until he sells it or forfeits it in God’s sight. Any person or spirit who takes something from the lawful owner is a thief and comes under the judgment of God.

All wicked spirits, and people who are moved by them, are thieves because they continually are attempting to steal from God what belongs to Him. Only Christ and those who are living in Christ are free from thievery. They give back to God everything that belongs to Him.

The Kingdom-age Jubilee will be a time of restoring spiritual and material goods to the lawful owners.

If an Israelite through foolishness, difficult circumstances, laziness or some other reason, lost his freedom and his possessions, he and his family regained them during the Jubilee because they were given to him and to his descendants permanently by the God of all the earth.

Today the governments of the world utilize various devices, such as taxes, to attempt to prevent the accumulation of material wealth by individuals. God’s device, which was the Year of Jubilee, is infinitely wiser and more compassionate than is true of the inventions of men.

Notice the expression, "ye are strangers and sojourners with me" (Leviticus 25:23). God’s hand is on every true Israelite because God has appointed Israel, His elect, to represent Himself among the peoples of the earth. Israel is a stranger and temporary resident of the earth, his true home being with God. Therefore, God chooses with care the worldly possessions of each of His servants.

Every member of the Body of Christ is a priest and prophet. He bears in himself or herself the name of God. He is God’s representative on the earth. Every Christian is an ambassador of the Kingdom of Christ, a living stone in the eternal Temple of God, a stranger and temporary resident of the earth.

In the time before Christ, God would permit one of His chosen to endure for a season a condition of servitude and loss of possessions. After a while his goods must be restored so the identity of his family as a priest of God would be maintained.

The Day of Redemption. The right of redemption was preserved intact for every Hebrew.

And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land. If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold. And if the man have none to redeem it, and himself be able to redeem it; Then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the overplus unto the man to whom he sold it; that he may return unto his possession. (Leviticus 25:24-27)

Christ has purchased our possessions, spiritual and natural, that were stolen from us by wicked spirits. He is our Redeemer. Through Him we are receiving back all that was lost because of sin.

The Kingdom-age Jubilee is the fullness of the Day of Redemption. We Christians are being kept under the blood of Christ, having been sealed by the Holy Spirit "unto the day of redemption."

And she [Anna] coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. (Luke 2:38)

The Jews at that time were under Roman jurisdiction. They were looking for redemption to come by the hand of Christ. Redemption would mean release from servitude to Rome and their return to their ancestral possessions.

And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luke 21:28)

Christ already has brought to us the beginning of the restoration of the spiritual blessings that were lost in Eden. The balance of redemption, including the redemption of our mortal body and our ability to live joyously for eternity on the earth, is yet ahead of us.

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ: (Romans 3:24)

The price of our redemption from the authority and power of Satan is the blood of God’s Lamb, Christ. There is no other payment that will be accepted by the Father. The blood of Christ is the only "money" that a human being can present to God for his release from bondage.

And not only they [the material creation], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)

The redemption of the Christian has not been completed until the physical body has been made alive by the Holy Spirit. This part of our inheritance, our body, is still in the possession of the enemy.

When the thousand-year Jubilee arrives, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven, we shall go forth in freedom. The price of our redemption has been paid already on the cross of Calvary. However it will require the exercise of Divine force in order for us to wrest the purchased possession from the lords of darkness.

Which [the Holy Spirit] is the earnest [pledge] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:14)

In the present hour just a part of our inheritance has been restored to us. When the trumpet of Jubilee blows (the Day of the Lord) we will receive our full inheritance in the Lord.

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

The Holy Spirit has sealed us now, protecting and preserving us, identifying us as the redeemed possession of Christ until we gain full release and our full inheritance during the Day of Redemption that is coming with the return of Christ to the earth.

In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Colossians 1:14)

Redemption past and future. It may be observed that some of the passages dealing with redemption indicate that it is yet ahead of us. We have been "sealed unto the day of redemption." Other passages of Scripture state that we already possess "redemption through his blood." We understand that redemption is ours the moment we accept Christ; and yet it still is ahead of us.

If the redemption is past but is still future, the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement is past and yet still future. This is true. Our Christian experience of the Day of Atonement and the Year of Jubilee is present with us now but is coming to an even greater extent when the Lord returns from Heaven. It is true also of the Kingdom of God that we are in it now, and yet it is coming to the earth in the future.

We can observe, while studying the feasts of the Lord (Leviticus, Chapter 23), that the Day of Atonement is sixth in a series of seven observances.

In the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the feasts of the Lord, the Day of Atonement will come after the blowing of the seventh trumpet—the trumpet of God that announces the return of the King, Christ. Yet, our traditional, customary understanding of the atonement is that the Day of Atonement was accomplished through the death of Christ on the cross two thousand years ago (Hebrews, Chapters Nine and Ten).

The Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross and shed His blood. His blood is the atonement for our sins. He brought His blood before the Presence of God Almighty in Heaven and sprinkled His blood on the spiritual realities there.

It was therefore necessary that 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)

The above passage is the new-covenant fulfillment of the Levitical Day of Atonement (Leviticus, Chapter 16), that is, of the sprinkling of the blood of the slain animals. This part of our redemption has been accomplished already.

The redemption that is coming in the future and that even now is working in us is the visible fruit of what was accomplished on Calvary. All that was purchased on the cross will be released into the "glorious liberty of the children of God."

The inheritance of each believer will be restored to him. It will be the "redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:14).

We lost our inheritance and were brought into servitude by our sins. During the aspect of the Day of Atonement that is yet to come, the consequences of our sins (our sins already having been forgiven in Christ) will be removed from us. The power and effects of sin will be destroyed so God can restore to us all that was lost through the fall of Adam and Eve.

As we look about us we can see the truth of the above statements. Christ has died for our sins—of that we are certain; and we who have accepted Him possess the sure knowledge that our sins have been forgiven and that we have passed from the authority of Satan to the authority of Christ. We know of a certainty that this is so and we have the Holy Spirit as a foretaste of the additional glory that is to come in the future.

We discover also, to our dismay, that we still are bound by many chains. We do not behave in righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God as we should. We fail in many ways as we attempt to reveal the Person and Glory of Christ.

We suffer sickness, in some instances, as well as confusion and unbelief. Also, the world continues to grow worse and worse in its sins and darkness until the message of the angels to the shepherds of Bethlehem appears to be a cruel mockery of the prisoners of the earth.

The foulest of sins, famine, frantic unrest, nervousness, fear—all ravage the inhabitants of the earth in this hour. Where is He who is our Redeemer? Look up, children of the Highest. The fullness of the atonement made by Christ is yet to come. Lift up your heads and walk as sons of God. Your redemption is drawing near.

Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (Hebrews 9:12)

Christ on the cross shed His blood to make an atonement for our sins before the Throne of God. The High Priest of God, Christ, has entered beyond the veil and sprinkled the blood of the new covenant before the Mercy Seat in Heaven.

The price of eternal redemption already has been paid. What remains for the Church, and for the nations of the saved of the world, is the "redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."

And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. (Hebrews 9:15)

The above passage is a summary of the Gospel. Christ’s death was for the purpose of redeeming what was in bondage under the old covenant so each person whom God calls may regain the lost inheritance. We gather from this verse that the Year of Jubilee is one of the major Old Testament types of the Gospel of Christ.

A Sabbath of Sabbaths. In addition to being a Pentecost of Pentecosts, and the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, the thousand-year Jubilee will be a Sabbath of Sabbaths. The Jubilee represents the Lord’s Day, the period of time during which man ceases to work and enters God’s rest.

And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. (Leviticus 25:8)

The heavy emphasis on the Sabbath in relation to the Year of Jubilee signifies that the strivings of human beings will be greatly reduced during the thousand-year Kingdom Age. The second chapter of Isaiah, in describing the Day of the Lord, uses this expression: "the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day."

In addition, the Jews were commanded not to work during the observance of the feasts of the Lord.

In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. (Leviticus 23:7,8)

And ye shall proclaim on the selfsame day, that it may be an holy convocation unto you: ye shall do no servile work therein: it shall be a statute for ever in all your dwellings throughout your generations. (Leviticus 23:21)

"Ye shall do no servile work therein."

Man has had his opportunity to demonstrate what he can do. Now it is the Lord’s turn. During the thousand-year Kingdom Age, all the attention of the Church, and of the peoples of the earth as well, will be on Christ and His actions in the earth.

The business of the thousand-year Kingdom Age will include the perfecting of the Church, Divine judgment on sin exercised through the saints, release, restoration, and the spreading of the knowledge of God over the face of the whole earth (Isaiah 42:1; 51:16). God’s Temple will be His means of spreading His knowledge throughout the earth.

Because of the Divine curse that resulted from the disobedience of Adam and Eve, the attention of the inhabitants of the earth throughout the past thousands of years has been focused on the acquisition of adequate and surplus material needs and luxuries. During the Kingdom Age, however, the acquisition of material needs and luxuries no longer will occupy first place in the thinking and striving of mankind.

The nations of saved peoples of the earth will be giving their attention to the problem of gaining reconciliation to God and to the business of building His Kingdom in the earth, just as is true of the victorious saints today. The whole world, like Mary of old, will lay aside the housework, so to speak, and sit at Jesus’ feet and hear His Word as it comes forth from the members of the Body of Christ.

The obtaining of food, drink, clothing, and the other necessities of life will not be the principal concern of mankind during the thousand-year Kingdom Age. In fact, it never has been God’s will for His children that their first attention from morning to evening should be directed toward what they will eat and what they will wear.

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? (Matthew 6:25)

Christ exhorts us to trust God for the items necessary for our survival on the earth and to turn our attention toward the gaining of the Kingdom of God. This does not mean, however, that we should quit our job and pray all day, accomplishing nothing constructive but going from house to house and living from the substance of people who are more conscientious.

The important issues during the Kingdom Age will be in the realm of God and His plans and purposes, just as the saints must be occupied in the present hour with the plans and purposes of the Lord. It is likely that during the thousand-year reign of Christ there will be plenty for everyone to do just to keep up with all the programs God has in mind (Isaiah, Chapter 61).

In the Year of Jubilee.

In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession. (Leviticus 25:13)

All of the inheritance, the dominion over the earth, the blessings and benefits that God gave to man at the time he was created, will be restored to him during the Kingdom Age. Man was created in the image of God so he may have fellowship with God and come to know God as his Father, dwelling in love and union with God. The earth and the remainder of the physical universe were designed as a suitable and enjoyable environment for the benefit of man.

All of this was stolen from mankind by the deceits of the wicked one.

The earth and its resources always have belonged to the Lord along with every creature therein. The unclean lords of darkness have deceived, robbed, and destroyed the people of the earth until it seems nature itself must rise up in revolt.

We can expect earthquakes, floods, famine, disease, and every other natural disaster to occur as the nations of the earth turn to the worship of their lusts and magnify in themselves every abominable desire of the wicked spirits which, it appears, have come into the earth in greater numbers than ever before.

The sights and sounds of the age in which we are living are becoming increasingly disgusting to the earnest Christian. The darkness and insanity of evil oppression are mounting. We know from the Scriptures that this is just the beginning of wickedness. We can expect evil to come to an unprecedented fruition until even the inhabitants of Sodom will rise up in the Day of Judgment and condemn the cities of the world of our time.

We know also evil rulers will appear and that mankind will develop a social and economic order that will allow no place for God or His elect. During this period the saints will testify of God’s Person and will with authority and power (Revelation, Chapter 11).

Finally, even this witness will cease as God removes the spiritual restraints (II Thessalonians 2:7) so the wicked spirits may become manifest through those individuals who have allowed themselves to be deceived by Satan. The maturing of wickedness (the tares) will attain the depths of foulness, demonstrating to the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth the result of rebellion against the will of God Almighty.

"We have attained peace and safety," the unbelievers will exclaim, as they rejoice in a world whose only guidelines come from the wisdom of demon-possessed minds. Meanwhile the saints will be hidden away under the protection of God’s hand (Isaiah 26:20).

Suddenly, at the time least expected, the most powerful sound ever heard on earth will bring the world to a standstill. The Lord Jesus Christ will shout for the battle. Michael, the archangel, will echo the shout as he raises his sword at the head of the warrior angels. The seventh trumpet, the trumpet that heralds the Battle of Armageddon, the trumpet that announces the Day of the Lord, the trumpet of the Kingdom-age Jubilee, the trumpet blast that signals our transformation into immortality, will reverberate from the farthest ends of the heavens to the farthest ends of the earth.

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 above verse portrays the return of Christ, the Day of the Lord. Notice the statement of the twenty-four elders as they worship God, falling in reverence on their faces:

Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. (Revelation 11:17)

At this point, the Lord God has appeared to announce the Jubilee and the destruction of all the thieves, murderers, sorcerers, and other destroyers of the earth. The hour has come for the meek to inherit the earth. It is time for the creation to be released from bondage and to enter the liberty of the children of God.

Now will Christ take to Himself His Bride so she may be made perfect in Him. Now will the nations of the earth beat their swords into plowshares and learn from the Church about the Person, will, and ways of God. Now will every one who receives Christ be able to return to his inheritance and obtain release from oppression and fear.

And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. (Revelation 11:18)

The Lord Jesus will come from Heaven at the head of His army and attack the evildoers of the earth. They will resist with all their power but they will be crushed under the feet of the Church of Christ.

All of the spirits and people who resist Christ in the Day of the Lord will be destroyed from before His face. The Word of God is an all-consuming fire and no force will be able to resist the Word in the Day of Judgment.

Satan will be bound and cast into the bottomless pit. The sons of God will move throughout the earth in the Spirit of God, throwing down every trace of resistance to the will of Christ. Nothing shall escape their onslaught (Joel 2:3).

The destruction of wickedness and rebellion will be brought to terrible finality. Not one evil spirit will remain on the earth. The judgment will be total. The oppressor will be removed. Christ and His Church will stand before the Lord God Almighty, holding the sword of the Spirit.

The earth will become quiet, still, not one voice left to bring to remembrance the spirit of an age that rejected God and His Christ.

Then the sound of a Divine stirring will be heard throughout the land. The countryside will be transformed as though nature itself is being born again, just as happens sometimes in the eyes of a newly converted Christian.

The Spirit of God will flow from the sons of God to the peoples who are left on the earth. Under the supervision of Christ and the members of His Body the work of restoring the earth will commence.

What a task of rebuilding and restoration lies ahead! Yet, there will be such glory and harmony that the thousand-year Kingdom Age will be to the Body of Christ, the Temple of God, as one symphony of praise. The wisdom and energy of God will flow in broad streams of eternal life. The saints will be at rest in God as they minister to the nations of saved peoples of the earth, singing aloud His praises as they increase daily in love, knowledge, and understanding from Christ.

The world in each of its parts will be brought under the full blessing of God. The sons of God will, as the Spirit directs them, carefully remove the Divine curse. The trees of the field will clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12). The rocks and hills will sing the praises of God. The wild animals will dwell in peace with the tame animals.

The boys and girls will laugh and play in the Presence of the Lamb of God. The older people will dwell in restful happiness, secure under the blessings of the Lord.

Thus saith the Lord of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. (Zechariah 8:4,5)

All will be engaged in useful occupations and will live out their days in tranquility.

Over this glorious realm will stand guard the sons of God, ruling with a rod of iron, ever vigilant, ever diligent, keeping the creation under absolute obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 14:11).

The rule of the Temple of God. It appears that the Book of Isaiah has more to say about the Jubilee than does any other portion of the Scripture. There are many aspects of the thousand-year Kingdom Age that we can observe in Isaiah:

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. (Isaiah 2:2)

The term mountain, in prophetic symbolism, refers to government. The above passage indicates that the Temple of God will be set up on the earth during the thousand-year Kingdom Age and given authority and power over all other government, just as Daniel prophesied (Daniel 2:44). It can be seen also all the nations of the earth will be drawn to the Temple of God and will place themselves under subjection to it.

And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)

The Temple of God is the "house of the God of Jacob." Notice the voluntary coming to the Lord on the part of the nations of the saved. This is the time when the world knows that God has sent Christ and has loved the Church as He has loved Christ (John 17:23). In that hour the inhabitants of the earth will have confidence that God will teach them His ways.

In our day the world does not have this confidence in God or His Church, His Temple.

In the Day of the Lord, the nations of the saved will choose to walk in God’s ways. They will have this desire because the sons of God, the victorious saints of today, will have taken over the control of the spiritual atmosphere of the earth, Satan having been hurled into the bottomless pit.

The strong man now has been bound and his house is being invaded. The Holy Spirit will be moving in the earth as never before. All evildoers will have been destroyed at the appearing of Christ.

"Out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem" means the Church, the Temple of God, will teach the laws of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God to every man, woman, boy, and girl on the face of our planet. The laws of the Kingdom of God were announced by Christ throughout His ministry, particularly during the Sermon on the Mount.

It eternally was and is true of Jesus that He is the Kingdom Age and always lives and acts in the Kingdom. He ever reveals in Himself the works of power of the age to come (Hebrews 6:5) and the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Kingdom of God.

The Divine Redeemer, the One who enables every person to come into his own inheritance and gain release from slavery, took His place on the mountain (a type of Mount Zion, the Church of the thousand-year Kingdom Age—Matthew 5:1).

"He opened his mouth, and taught them" the laws of the Kingdom of God: "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall be called the children of God."

The ways of God portrayed in the life and teaching of Christ can be kept by us only through the impartation of Christ’s Nature to us accompanied by the immediate prompting and power of the Holy Spirit.

The wicked lords of darkness plus the law of sin in our fleshly nature resist our attempts to be meek, to hunger and thirst after righteousness, to show mercy, to be pure in heart, to create and maintain peace among the people around us. During the Jubilee it will be much easier to keep God’s laws because of the absence of hindering spirits and due to the abiding Presence of God among us.

And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:4)

During the Jubilee, God through His Temple will act as a Judge so problems that arise can be settled justly, and amicably. As a result, the nations of the world will not have to go to war to decide their disputes.

The judgments of God will be so just, so perfect in wisdom and compassion, and enforced with such irresistible authority and power, that the reasons for war will have been removed completely. This will remain true throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

The Antichrist will be permitted by the Lord to establish a world rulership for a season, but he finally will be destroyed by Christ because Antichrist is a thief, a liar, and a rebel against God. The only legal world ruler is Christ and His Body because the Lord God has given to Christ all authority and power over the earth, its resources, and all who dwell therein.

The Day of Wrath.

The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. (Isaiah 2:11)

One of the conspicuous features of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, the Day of the Lord, will be the supreme exaltation of God and His Christ, His Temple. The patience and forbearance of God from the time of Adam until now is remarkable. Men have indulged their vanity in every imaginable form of lust, destruction, and idolatry. Yet, "He that sitteth in the heavens" continues to work quietly with those who respond to His Word and His Spirit.

The world is becoming frantic as human beings manifest the powers of darkness that surround us. The hope of finding a way in which humans can live in every manner of pleasure without having to suffer the consequences of their excesses is motivating learned investigators to pursue every program that promises to solve human problems.

Still, the Holy One of Israel continues to instruct those who choose Him and His way, those who tremble at His Word. God has a plan, and everyone and everything remains under His control.

In God’s time, and not one moment before, Christ will appear with His army—with those who have suffered with Him and who therefore will have the privilege of sharing in the vengeance.

Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen [nations], and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord. (Psalms 149:5-9)

The next coming of Christ to the world will not be that of the gentle Shepherd and His sheep-like followers. The trumpet announcing the King will sound and He will come with His armies. The Word of God in His mouth will be a sword that will cut into every soul. The earth will be as Eden before Him, and behind Him a smoking ruin (Joel 2:3).

On through the earth will rush the forces of Heaven, destroying on the right hand and on the left. Spirits and men will scream in terror and anguish but the fire will become unbearably intense.

Men will seek death, but death itself will be held in the steel fingers of the saints. This is the long-awaited Day of Wrath. The cup of Divine wrath has been filled to the brim. It will be poured on the kingdom of darkness until every unclean force on the earth has been crushed under the heel of God’s Conqueror (Revelation 1:15; 2:18).

The powers of the heavens will be shaken. An earthquake will rock the great city, the center of civilization. The sun will turn black and the moon will become as blood. The stars of the heaven will be shaken from their places by the wind of God’s Spirit.

The veil that conceals the Face of God Almighty will roll together as a scroll. Every mountain and island on the earth will be moved from its place. Those who have refused the lordship of Christ will cry to the mountains and rocks, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" (Revelation 6:16,17).

There shall be weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. The demons know of the Day of Wrath. When Jesus appeared the first time, the demons cried out in terror thinking that Christ had changed His mind and had come before the time set by the Father.

This is the judgment toward which every spirit in the heavens and on the earth is moving. There is no power that can prevent the coming of the Day of Wrath. It is the knowledge of the coming judgment that enables God to work quietly and patiently with those who love and serve Him. God understands well that He and His saints will have the last word.

"The Lord alone shall be exalted in that day." Every spirit, every human, every creature has been allowed to express itself. Now it is God’s turn. He will reveal His authority, His power, His wisdom, His love, His ways, His judgment.

Although the "spirits of devils" will "go forth to the kings of the earth and of the whole world to gather them to the battle of that day of God Almighty" (Revelation 16:14), their efforts will serve only to more perfectly fulfill God’s victory.

All events, all things, all purposes proceeding from every spirit and every human mind will join together (regardless of the motivations of the spirit or person) to insure that God’s victory is total, complete, perfect in every detail. God and His Christ will come suddenly to the world and fulfill every word written by the Apostles and Prophets. There is no way of preventing Their appearing.

And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. (Isaiah 2:19)

The Jubilee is at hand. Because of the resistance of evildoers, the thousand-year Kingdom Age must be ushered in by means of judgment and destruction of all the works of wickedness. There is no manner in which the land of promise can be entered other than by violence and warfare.

Christ is preparing His army now. In fact, one of the main purposes of the period of time before the appearing of Christ is the preparation of His Body for the Day of the Lord (Ephesians 6:13).

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

In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. (Zechariah 12:8)

During the thousand-year Kingdom Age every Christian will be holy. The Wife of the Lamb, the Church, will be pure in God’s sight.

The situation will not be as it was in the days of rebellious Israel, or as it is today where Christians walk in uncleanness, gossiping, hating, lusting, flirting with the things of the world, not serving the Lord. No person, as Paul teaches, ever will enter the Kingdom of God while he or she is practicing such behavior (Galatians 5:21).

In that day, "he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem" (the remnant who remain after the Divine shaking) will be holy in deed, in word, in motive, in imagination. The servants of the Lord will be righteous, holy, obedient kings and priests, showing in their behavior and personality the Divine Nature of Christ.

The baptism with fire.

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)

One provision that God has made for the cleansing of His Church, His eternal Temple, is the "spirit of judgment" and the "spirit of burning." John the Baptist spoke of the cleansing fire: "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire" (Matthew 3:11).

The Church of Christ is weak today and in need of many services from the Lord Jesus. One of the principal blessings needed by the Church at this time is the baptism with Divine Fire. We must have the baptism with fire. The fire of God must test our every deed, every word, every motive, every thought, every behavior.

When the fire of God gets hot enough we will learn righteousness. The Spirit of judgment and burning is not pleasant to experience but it purges our sins from us.

The Word of God is in us. The Word that is in us must be refined in God’s fire. A Christian who has not been through God’s fire remains full of fleshly uncleanness.

Of all the needs of the Church of Christ today, the greatest is that of the fire of God. O God, send the cleansing fire! Send the fire! Send Divine fire upon your people and then upon the whole world. Everything that cannot go through the fire must be destroyed and removed (Leviticus 13:52; Numbers 31,23; I Corinthians 3:13).

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

As soon as a member of the Body of Christ goes through the fire with God he will find that there now is a "defense" on his Christian discipleship. No longer will he be as vulnerable, in the area touched by the fire, to the temptations of unclean spirits or to the deceitful conduct of his self-love and self-centeredness.

As the saint goes through God’s judgment he becomes aware he is covered with God’s protection to a greater extent than ever before. So often today the least root of bitterness is able to wreck an assembly of saints. During the Kingdom Age (and it should become true for God’s Temple now!) there will be a protection covering the Glory of God in the Christians. The Lord’s sheep will not be quite as defenseless as in time past.

In fact, at this point in history the Lord’s little helpless sheep are being prepared to turn into raging lions who, when they go through the earth, will tread down and tear in pieces the enemy; and no power can deliver out of their hands (Micah 5:8).

Christ, our Lamb, is a terrifying sight to behold when His anger is kindled (Psalms 2:12; Micah 5:9).

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

First we are made holy by our baptism with God’s fire. Second we are placed under the protection of God Almighty. No longer are we weak, innocent, helpless little lambs who are destroyed by every enemy who approaches us. Third we become a tabernacle, a place of refuge, a shelter from "storm and from rain," a place of security where those on the outside who wish to find Christ can come in and find righteousness, peace, and joy.

The churches must become such fortresses, such places of refuge today because the demonic pressures are mounting on the peoples of the earth with every passing hour.

We cannot, however, provide the protection of Christ for others during the seasons of darkness until we ourselves have been purified in God’s fire from our own lusts and self-seeking.

Until Christ in His mercy sends the fire of God on our behavior and works, millions of Christians will continue to miss the will of God. The believers are living merry lives in the delusion that a "loving" God would never judge their behavior with severity. They understand neither God nor the Scriptures, nor their own destiny.

Those who think God has an indulgent attitude toward sin in His Temple and in the world are in gross deception, just as Adam and Eve were in gross deception, concerning the true Nature of God.

The spirit of today’s Christian churches grasps neither the love of God nor the severity of God. The love of God was expressed on the cross of Calvary. Can you visualize Calvary as the expression of God’s love for mankind and also the expression of God’s severity? Truly, as the Lord Jesus taught, God is good. There is none good but God. He alone is worthy of our praise.

Look again at Calvary. Every particle of the Personality of the Lord Jesus Christ was roasted in the fires of Divine judgment. Did you ever hear the scream of an animal as it was being slaughtered?

God is the Judge of all the earth. God has proclaimed that those who practice the works of the flesh will be destroyed, as were the citizens of Sodom, and the whole world of the time of Noah. Christ, God’s beloved Son, came to deliver us from the works of the flesh so we may escape being condemned with the world. Christ can deliver us if we will put our trust in Him.

Woe to the inhabitants of the earth! Tribulations never before experienced by mankind are nearly upon us. Except that the coming days are to be shortened, no one would be left alive on the earth (Zephaniah 1:3). Believers in Christ will be able to escape (survive) all the coming judgments, but only if they pray without ceasing for themselves and their loved ones.

The Temple of God must be washed in God’s fire in preparation for the hour of darkness. The believers who refuse to be baptized in fire today will never be able to resist the Antichrist pressures that even now are being exerted on us.

Human love is the idol of the hour. Human love is self-centered, although it may lead to self-sacrifice on behalf of another. Human love is not Divine love. Human love rejects the cross and the judgments of God on the flesh (Matthew 16:22). Human love seeks to please man, not God. Human love is not strong or pure enough to stand in the hour of temptation.

Human "love" may lead to sexual perversion. God’s response to sexual perversion is the Lake of Fire. Human love may lead people to band together against God’s prophets, against God’s Christ, and against God Himself. God will punish with everlasting fire those who rebel against Himself and His messengers.

Each Christian must learn to live in the fire of God’s judgment.

The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? (Isaiah 33:14)

Installation by force. The thousand-year Kingdom Age will be installed on the earth by force.

Christ will return at the head of His army. He will smash through every defense that devils and men raise against Him. His fury in that day will be like that of a roaring lion against those who oppose Him, except that the visage and wrath of the most ferocious lion will seem to be the playfulness of a kitten compared with the avenging Christ.

Better that a person should molest a grizzly bear with her cubs than resist the Lord Jesus of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

The only manner through which peace can be achieved, whether in Heaven or on the earth, is by the destruction of the wicked. God will not dwell in the midst of rebellion and perversion.

Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is returning to earth in the authority and power of God Almighty to crush all rebellion under His blazing feet. His feet of glowing bronze are the victorious saints, the conquerors. God has purposed to crush Satan under the feet of the Body of Christ (Romans 16:20; Revelation 2:26,27).

The Jews of Jesus’ day pictured the coming of Christ as that of a conqueror who would free them from the Romans and restore the kingdom of David. But Christ was born as a helpless infant in a stable.

The Christian Church envisions the return of Christ as that of a gentle teacher who will flutter meekly about the earth, entreating the rulers of the nations to listen to his loving call; meanwhile enabling his followers to escape to Heaven, there to float peacefully playing harps in clouds of bliss.

Instead, the Lord Jesus Christ will return as one more powerful and far more exacting than Caesar. By force, punishment, and destruction He will avenge every injustice and set up His world empire. He and His saints will rule all nations with a rod of iron, breaking them to fragments at every point of rebellion.

Therefore we preach and testify to the Church and to the world: "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand."

Antichrist, famine, pestilence, economic chaos—none of these judgments can injure us if we will keep our eyes fastened in faith on the Lord Jesus. God has everything and everyone under His control.

The vision that inspires us to press on to the fullness of redemption is the assurance that the life and work we have begun now will proceed until the day when we stand with Christ and look out over an earth in which all sinners and the effects of sin have been removed. Everything of value and beauty in the earth will be preserved and brought to perfection in Christ.

The judgment and destruction that will occur in the meantime do not trouble us. Why not? Because no spirit, person, or thing in any manner can touch a child of God except as the Father directs for the purpose of perfecting His child. Only God has the authority and power over us; no one else! There is glory for the saints from now on.

If we were to dwell on the realization of the sin, the famine, the misery that are in our world, we could become cynical and filled with despair concerning the message of the angels to the shepherds of Bethlehem. There is little peace on the earth. There is little good will among men. Of what benefit to the world has been the birth of Christ?

Then, when the outlook seems hopeless, the Scripture reveals to us what is just ahead. We understand that Christ will never fail nor be discouraged until His Kingdom has been set up on the earth and all the nations of the world come to Him for healing, for wisdom, for righteousness, for counsel, for government, for His approval and blessing.

The Kingdom-age Jubilee is not an impractical dream of poets and visionaries. He, Christ, the only lawful Ruler of the earth, is coming in thunder and fury to set up His throne exactly as it is written in the Scriptures. Woe be to anyone who attempts to resist His rulership!

From Calvary until the thousand-year Kingdom Age. If Christ is able to return with irresistible authority and power to set up His Kingdom, why did He not establish His Kingdom two thousand years ago? If He can release the whole world by His Glory, taking away the sins of the world and healing all sicknesses with a wave of His hand, why then was it necessary for two thousand years of agony to occur?

If Christ can destroy the devil and all sinners by His stupendous power and reveal His Glory to all men everywhere so they will believe, just as He will do during the thousand-year Kingdom Age, what, then, has been the purpose of the rise and fall of human kingdoms attended by so much misery? Of the sufferings of Christians? Of the fumbling of mankind in its attempt to keep the world functioning from the time of the resurrection of Christ to the present hour?

The working of God during the period of time between Calvary and the thousand-year Kingdom Age has been filled with purpose and productivity from the standpoint of the Kingdom of Christ. God never wastes anything, not time, not money, not personnel, not resources of any kind whatever. God does not allow His children to suffer one moment past the point necessary to bring about God’s purpose in the earth.

There is no movement or state of a single living creature or inanimate object in all the universe except that God knows about it altogether. He is aware of each sparrow and of every hair on the head of each of His people.

If a person does not understand the completeness of the authority and power of God or the extent of the knowledge and interest that God possesses concerning His creation, he will not comprehend the perfection of all that God is performing in His Church and in the nations of the earth. He will come short of the Glory of God in his thinking and behavior.

During the era between the resurrection of Christ and His return as earth’s lawful King, God is creating the Kingdom of God and all the necessary elements of the Kingdom. The Body of Christ is being brought to unity and maturity.

Many souls have been, and are yet, believing and being baptized. From among them are being chosen the various leaders and officials of God’s Kingdom. The Temple of God is being completed—the eternal dwelling place of God among men. The Wife of the Lamb is being made ready for the heavenly Bridegroom.

The brothers of Christ are being trained for their appearance in glory with Him and for the destruction of every evil force in the earth. Sin is being permitted to come to maturity and will suffer the vengeance of eternal fire as an everlasting example to all of God’s creatures.

Because of the manner in which the foundation of the Kingdom must be established it was necessary that the construction be accomplished during two thousand years of tribulation. If the Kingdom of God could have been established in a happier environment it would have been brought about in that way.

Every believer enters the Kingdom of God through much tribulation. God is blessed when we sing to Him our songs of praise and thanksgiving. The melody is sweet indeed when by faith we sing to God in the midst of our furnace of afflictions. We are being perfected in the fire.

Entering the Day of the Lord. Christ was living in the Kingdom Age while He was here on the earth. He is the thousand-year Kingdom Age, the Jubilee. The laws He proclaimed during His Sermon on the Mount and at other times when He addressed His apostles, and when He healed the multitudes and taught them, are the laws and power of the Kingdom Age.

The laws of the Kingdom Age are summed up in Micah 6:8:

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to practice righteousness, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Micah gave the laws of the Kingdom Age before Christ, who is the Kingdom Age, came to earth.

The laws of the Kingdom Age are repeated in Galatians 5:22,23:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

The Holy Spirit, the law of the Spirit of life, is the Law of the Kingdom Age.

Christ Himself gave the most accurate and concise summary of the laws of the thousand-year Kingdom Age when He taught:

. . . Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40)

Whoever keeps these two commandments is a true man or woman and is living in the Kingdom of God in a personal, immediate sense. The individual who has had Christ formed in him and dwelling in him, and who is living in the Spirit of God, is beginning to keep these two commandments by nature.

Christ always lives in the Kingdom Age, in the Day of the Lord, in the Kingdom of God. The early apostles and the first-century churches were living in the Kingdom to the extent that they were abiding in Christ.

We can notice in the life of Jesus and in the ministry of His apostles the "powers of the world to come" (Hebrews 6:5). The dead were raised, the sick were healed, demons were cast out. The demons protested at what must have seemed to them an early exercise of Kingdom vengeance on the unclean spirits. But the authority and power of Christ prevailed, as they always do.

The Day of Vengeance had not come, as evidenced by the fact that Jesus did not include that phrase ("the day of vengeance of our God"—Isaiah 61:2) when He read from the scroll of Isaiah to the synagogue members. But the authority and power of the Day of Vengeance were present in advance in the eternal Christ, so the demons were forced to leave their victims.

The Battle of Armageddon is the confrontation between Christ and Satan-filled man. Armageddon will occur historically when the Lord Jesus invades the world and imposes His Kingdom rule (I Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 1:7).

However, Armageddon in a true sense is being fought in each overcomer now. The struggle to subdue lust and self-will takes place continually as we seek to press into Christ. The enemy employs every possible devise to deceive us, bluff us, frighten us, tempt us, entice us, infuriate us, and especially to remove our gaze from Christ and to focus it on somebody or something else.

Any person who thinks that there is not a genuine Armageddon being fought now in the spirit, soul, and body of each of God’s saints is not one of God’s saints. The battle is taking place. If we are to overcome the world and our sins and self-love we have to do so by the blood of the Lamb, by the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit, and by loving not our life to the point of death.

As far as the disciples of the Lord are concerned, the issue of the Kingdom of God is being decided today. The "day star" heralding the Day of the Lord is arising in the heart of the saints even now (II Peter 1:19). From the standpoint of Christ and His Body, the worldwide events of the Kingdom of God will be no more significant than the decisions being made right now in the heart of each believer in Christ.

To what extent are we surrendered to the will of Christ? To what extent are we being obedient to the Holy Spirit? How intently are we pursuing Christ? How far are we willing to go in allowing Christ to be formed in us?

Are we willing to praise God in the furnace of affliction? The victories of God are gained first in the spirit realm. Then the natural realm reflects the spiritual victory. This is one of the laws of cause and effect of the Kingdom of God, of the Jubilee.

Christ, and the laws of nature. Can we see the present-day reality of the thousand-year Kingdom Age in Christ? It is a delight to our soul to behold the grand disregard that Jesus, when the occasion warranted, showed for the "laws" of nature. Nature responded to Jesus’ will like a puppy to its master.

During the Jubilee the earth and its elements will be under the control of Christ-filled saints just as God ordained from the beginning (Psalms 8:6; Hebrews 2:5-8). In Christ as Son of Man, control over nature by a man was demonstrated in daily living.

The believer has only to call to mind the multiplying of the loaves and fish. While mankind loses its soul seeking material security, Jesus joyously multiples the food that is available until his followers have eaten their fill.

We are not advocating that men should not work. This is a trap into which some of the converts fall. What we are teaching is that in Christ the "natural laws" of earth are subject to the higher laws of cause and effect of the Kingdom of God.

It was so when the Spirit of Christ brooded on the face of the waters (Genesis 1:2). It was so "when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" (Job 38:7). It was so when Jesus of Nazareth walked out of the cave of Joseph of Arimathea. It is so today as healings and miracles are being witnessed in the churches. It will continue to be so during the thousand-year Kingdom Age and on into the incredible glory of the new heaven and the new earth.

The multiplying of the loaves and fish was a demonstration of the power of the age to come. Christ is the eternal Jubilee—our everlasting song of glory and melody of praise. God desires that we press into the Jubilee, into Christ, today. We shall, with the help of the Holy Spirit.

A fish from the sea responded with the Temple tax (Matthew 17:27). Apart from whatever symbolic meaning this episode may have, we see here an example of mastery of Christ over the elements of the earth. We can notice also, in the incident of the fish and the tribute money, an illustration of the manner in which animals and nature will work together to serve mankind during the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

It is significant that Jesus chose Peter to go and get the money—"Go to the sea, and cast a hook"—in that Peter was a fisherman, no doubt a good one, and would rush back to his nets at the first opportunity. Jesus put a miraculous touch on Peter’s natural ability.

By sending Peter, a fisherman, on such an errand, Christ was bringing into view the subordinate role that toiling for material gain has in the Kingdom of God. Peter was not to catch a boatload of fish and sell it for the money.

"Go and take hold of the first fish that comes up," Jesus directed, "and the amount of the tribute money will be in its mouth." This is the Kingdom of God, the Jubilee.

During the thousand-year Kingdom Age there will be, as there are today, innumerable interesting, pleasurable, and constructive tasks to perform instead of the soul-deadening, frantic labor that crushes the joy (and Christ) out of the hearts of people.

Scientists bring us into bondage by attempting to remove God from "natural law." They are ignorant of the fundamental laws of cause and effect, of the fact that the things that are visible were created by the invisible Word and Spirit of God.

Christ, on the other hand, sets us free by declaring that to mankind has been assigned rulership over the universe (Hebrews 2:5-8; Revelation 21:7; John 14:12).

During the thousand years of righteous government that are at hand, the elements will be "alive" to the extent that they will obey the Word of God proceeding from the mouth of the saints. This rulership exists today but we are required to ask, seek, knock, and abide in Christ without letup until God moves His hand in answer to our prayers. Christ shall move and modify the physical elements as necessary when we are abiding in His will.

Christ marvels at our unbelief.

And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? (Mark 4:39-41)

And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. (Luke 17:6)

Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. (Matthew 21:21)

Christ walked on the water. Why not? Is a son of God helpless when confronted with the laws of gravity and molecules?

We are not advocating presumption. It may be recalled that the adversary attempted to persuade Jesus to perform a presumptuous act in jumping from the gable of Herod’s Temple (Matthew 4:5,6). Christ refused because it was not the Father who requested that He throw Himself down.

There did come a time when the Father directed Christ to walk on the Sea of Galilee.

But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. (Matthew 14:24,25)

What a contrast between the power of men and the power of Christ!

Jesus had directed the disciples to get into a ship and cross over to the other side of the Sea of Galilee while He sent the multitudes away. However, the wind was blowing against them. The ship was being rocked by the waves that were mounting every minute. By the early hours of the morning the disciples were making no progress at all and were in danger of their lives.

Isn’t it just like Jesus to give us a directive and then to invent circumstances that confuse us, that prevent our moving ahead, and that attempt to get our attention off Christ and on our problems? The result of such carefully designed situations often is that we lose our faith and become frightened. The purpose of such pressures is to convince us that we can do nothing at all apart from Him.

Christ’s followers were helpless in the storm. They were attempting to perform His will and were facing disaster because of it.

Completely at peace in the midst of the uproar, Jesus came walking on the seas as though He were strolling down a country road. The disciples were frightened and cried out, "It is a ghost."

Jesus didn’t laugh at them. He understood that their terror was intense. Instead, He comforted them.

"Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid." How wonderful it is when Jesus comes to us in our hour of terror and assures us He has everything under control.

Peter requested that the Lord command him to walk on the water. None of the other disciples were bold enough to ask. If they had, they all could have held a dance right there in the middle of the Sea of Galilee in the storm and the darkness.

How often we miss glorious experiences with the Lord because of our inability to lay hold on the remarkable Divine opportunities that suddenly appear before us from time to time. In spite of all the fear, noise, and confusion, Peter rose to the occasion.

You and I did not have that particular opportunity to walk on the sea with Jesus in the early morning hours during a violent storm. But each of us will have our chance, in the midst of fear, noise, and confusion, to lay hold on the miracle-working power of the living Christ. However, we must maintain a close contact with Christ so we will be prepared when our moment arrives.

Peter asked Jesus to command him to walk on the water.

"Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water."

Peter did not jump from the boat as soon as he saw Jesus. He was not presumptuous. He asked Jesus first and then waited for the answer, for the Word of Christ to come to him.

If we expect to experience Kingdom power we must learn to ask Christ first. We must wait patiently for the Word of His power to come to us. We are not to move until He gives the Word.

Today, some are attempting to use "the word of faith" apart from Christ’s direction.

Christ is Lord. The thousand-year Kingdom Age is His Day. In that day, Christ alone is exalted as Lord. He alone possesses authority and power except as He chooses to share His authority and power with His Body, His Temple. If we would work the works of power of the age to come we must always wait for His Word to come to us—on each occasion!

It is important that we ask Him to command us.

Peter prayed, "Lord, if it be thou, bid me come."

We need to make our request, as Peter did, and come to Christ doubting nothing. Jesus has stated that we do not have the things we need and desire because we do not ask. Peter did not need to walk on the water for any particular reason, he just wanted to do so. Jesus graciously granted him his desire.

Jesus never wastes words.

He invited Peter, "Come."

Peter took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the wind. Therefore he began to sink. The Lord saved him.

Because of his willingness to come to Christ at every opportunity, Peter became the first of our race to experience the power that the members of the royal priesthood will have during the thousand-year Jubilee—that of walking on the surface of the seas and oceans of the earth.

During Old Testament days God parted the water for His servants. Under the new covenant the servants of the Lord walk on top of the water. It is a much superior covenant!

The natural environment is a servant of Christ. It was created by Him and always obeys His voice. The elements of nature react also to sin.

It may be recalled that God said to Moses:

And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. (Leviticus 18:25)

"The land itself vomits out her inhabitants."

Perhaps this is more than a mere figure of speech. The realm of nature responds directly to the spiritual atmosphere.

The claim has been made recently that experiments were conducted during which green plants were exposed to hatred and cursing and similar plants to love and blessing. The two sets of plants, it has been asserted, showed marked differences in growth that cannot be attributed to chance. The plants subjected to love and blessing turned out to be much healthier.

All through the Scriptures, commencing with the days of creation, there are incidents that illustrate the relationships that exist between the spiritual environment and the physical environment. There have been some extraordinary examples of these relationships, such as the sun and moon standing still for Joshua, and the incident of the water pouring from the rock to quench the thirst of the parched Israelites.

There have been innumerable lesser incidents, both in Scripture and in our own experience, in which the Presence of Christ and His righteousness have produced a favorable physical environment, whether in bodily healing, deliverance from danger, or good weather on a picnic.

David Wilkerson, in prophetic utterance (The Vision—Fleming H. Revell Company), has warned us that nature is about to go on a rampage unparalleled in history. Earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, famines—every conceivable catastrophe is waiting in the wings for Christ to give the cue.

We must keep in mind that all natural disasters remain under the control of Christ. It is the Lord who always sits as "king of the flood."

The Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea, the Lord sitteth king for ever. (Psalms 29:10)

For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him. (Psalms 32:6)

Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it? (Amos 3:6)

The prophesied mounting violence of nature will result from the filthy lusts, avarice, murder, and sorcery in which people are submerging themselves. Nature will rise in protest, under the hand of Christ, and rebel against the unclean spirits, against the destroyers of the earth, against the enemies of God and man.

The world has been in the "evening" of the Day of the Lord for the past two thousand years. The "morning" is just ahead. We now are approaching the dark hour just before the dawn. The physical elements will react in fury against the works of evil in the earth.

The disciples, meanwhile, are attempting to "make for the other shore" (the fullness of redemption in Christ).

So tempestuous will be "the sea and the waves roaring" (Luke 21:25), the nations in distress and perplexity, the sun turning black and the moon into blood, the stars of the heaven falling to the earth, men’s heart failing them for fear, that the saints will begin to despair for their lives.

However, in the "fourth watch" of the night, in earth’s darkest hour, just before the dawning of the morning of the Day of the Lord, Christ will come, walking on the sea (on the tumult of civilization). Christ will save His followers—those who are trusting in Him.

In this instance, Peter typifies the victorious saints who will "walk on the water with Jesus" before He "gets into the boat" with the remainder of the Church. "Walking on the water" is the ability to live in the Spirit of God in such trust and obedience that all the difficulties of life prove to be a highway that leads ever upward to the fullness of redemption.

It may be true that we now are entering the darkest hour of earth’s history. Such violence and confusion are about to grip the world that people no longer will be able to manage their environment. Those who remain in the "ark of safety" (in Christ) will be tossed about but will remain safe in the hands of God.

At the height of the storm Jesus will return through the Holy Spirit, prior to His visible, bodily return. The tribulations of the world will be the road on which He walks. The "clouds" that hide the heavens from men will be the "dust of His feet."

The believers will cry out in fear, never before having seen Jesus in this setting.

In that day there will be those in the Church, represented by Peter, who will go to meet the Lord. After having proved that the Person whom they are beholding is Jesus, and not another, they will request and receive the ability to tread miraculously on the tumultuous elements to which other men are subject.

Only the Lord Jesus is to be worshiped in that hour.

Going to meet the Lord when He comes, and walking on the distresses and perplexities of nations, are privileges available to every believer in Christ. Such an adventure requires faith and courage. How about you? The opportunity is present for whoever chooses to act on it.

As soon as Jesus and Peter got into the ship the wind ceased. John adds, "Immediately the ship was at the land whither they went."

When our Lord returns, the saints will receive "immediately" that for which they have been striving so arduously. Isn’t it often true that as soon as Jesus appears we instantly possess what we have been seeking?

The victorious saints always return with Jesus to the Church, bringing with them the peace and victory they have found in the midst of the storm. At once the "winds subside" and the "boat is at the desired haven," which is rest in the Father and the Son.

Only Jesus is to be worshiped in that hour.

In the midst of the catastrophic violence and turbulence that even now are at the door, the Church suddenly will be saved, not by being carried out of the earth but by the Fullness of the Father and the Son entering the personalities of the obedient Christians (John 14:23).

The resurrection and catching up of the saints to meet the Lord in the air will occur after Christ through His Church has demonstrated victory over Antichrist and complete contempt for the worst the enemy can do. The "catching away" is not for the purpose of shielding the believers from suffering but for uniting Christ’s army of victorious saints with the Commander in Chief. It is the prelude to Armageddon.

In the same hour the earth will be subjected to increased disturbances as the creation travails in the labor of bringing forth the Kingdom Age (Revelation 11:13).

Christ Himself instructed Peter to walk on the water, and there was revealed in that fisherman—no doubt to the never-ending amazement of those in later years to whom the story was told—the works of power of the Jubilee to come.

We may need frequent repetitions of this kind of supernatural ability during the missionary enterprise that will cover the earth with the Gospel of the Kingdom during the next few years. We say "supernatural," but miracles are natural in the Jubilee that is at hand.

Kingdom power in the earth. Given the love that God has for the world, and the exceedingly great interest of Christ in the creating of His Bride, the truly extraordinary situation would be if Christ did not intervene in nature. The fact is, however, He does intervene constantly for one reason or another.

We are surrounded by miracles. The angel of the Lord bears us up in his hands all the day. Any person who believes that the creation moves solely by the power and guidance of physical principles is as blind as Elisha’s servant (II Kings 6:17).

Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus, Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration. Here is a picture of what it is like in the Kingdom of God; not of what it will be like but what it is like in the Kingdom, as far as Christ, Moses, Elijah, Peter, James, and John are concerned.

The transfiguration took place many hundreds of years ago. How much more are Christ and these five men interested in the development of the Body of Christ in the earth today, as we approach the overthrow of the forces of darkness (Hebrews 12:1)?

We already have come to the gathering of multitudes of angels and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect (Hebrews 12:22,23). The saints of God are all alive and much interested in what the Spirit of God currently is accomplishing in the earth.

As the power of the Kingdom Age increases in our midst we will come to a greater awareness of Mount Zion and its inhabitants. Remember, the saints in glory will go before us in the resurrection (I Thessalonians 4:15; Hebrews 12:1).

We all are one army (Ezekiel 37:10). Perhaps Christ’s soldiers now in Heaven are as interested in the Kingdom as we. Jesus always lives in awareness of both the spiritual and the physical domains of His Kingdom, and so shall we as we press into Him.

Notice how Paul charged Timothy before Christ and the elect angels, although neither Christ nor the angels were visible at the time. However, Christ and the angels were present in Paul’s consciousness.

I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. (I Timothy 5:21)

What profit is it to consider the elect angels, the spiritual domain of the Kingdom of God? Much. The touch of Heaven on our consciousness lifts us above the world now and will help us to stand as we enter the days of trouble that are just ahead.

The vision of Heaven continues to broaden our spirit, relieving us of the grubbing competition that causes us to forget that the values in life are not material possessions but our relationship with God and with our fellow pilgrims.

Our one regret as we pass from the bondage of our flesh, after we have made our peace with God, will be that we were not kinder, gentler, more patient with other people—especially with those close to us.

The touch of Heaven on our consciousness while we still are at home in the appetites of the flesh permits us to maintain a better perspective concerning our relationships with people, as we become aware of the gentle good will and kindliness that permeate the social atmosphere of Heaven.

Speaking of the deeds of Jesus that He accomplished while He was here on earth, John wrote: "There are also many other things that Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen" (John 21:25). The Kingdom-Age glory was in Christ while He was on earth.

He was with the wild animals in the desert without harm to himself (Mark 1:13). He passed through the midst of people, and through doors with the same ease (Luke 4:30; John 20:26). He was ministered to by angels (Matthew 4:11; Luke 22:43). No man took the Life of Christ from Him. He laid His body down and then took it up again (John 10:18). He ascended into the clouds in full view of His followers (Acts 1:9).

He cannot be contained by the barriers to which people ordinarily are subject. He is Christ, the Redeemer, the Son of God, the Son of Man, Jacob’s Ladder reaching from earth to Heaven (Genesis 28:12).

He is the Resurrection. He is the Life. He is the Jubilee. In Him and through Him all the creation will obtain release into the glorious liberty of the children of God. The only creatures who will not be brought into liberty are those who resist the will of Christ.

There were many examples in the early Church of the exercise of Kingdom authority and power. One example, comparable to Jesus walking on the water, was that of Philip traveling in the Spirit to Azotus (Acts 8:39,40). Philip was used as an angel (messenger) of the Lord in this instance.

Ananias and Sapphira were pierced through by the Sword (Word) of the Lord (Acts 5:1-10) exactly as evildoers will be slain during the period in which Christ and His army impose the Kingdom Age on the earth.

Another demonstration of Kingdom power occurred when Paul shook off the beast (viper) into the fire and felt no harm (Acts 28:3-6). This incident not only is a foreshadowing of the Day when the deadliest and most vicious of the animals become playmates for toddlers, but also is symbolic of the coming of the Day of the Lord.

The Church, through the authority and power of Christ, will "shake off" the power of sin and death into the fire of God’s wrath. When the people of the world see this happen they will change their mind about Christ and say He is God (Acts 28:6).

The full authority and power of the thousand-year Kingdom Age awaits the maturing of the Body of Christ. However, many works of power of that age are available to each Christian today. What an hour in which to be living! Like Paul, we must lay aside every distraction and press on toward the fullness of resurrection life, not worrying too much about a little suffering along the way.

During the thousand-year Kingdom Age the tame and wild beasts will be reconciled and the destructive nature will be removed from ferocious animals.

And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ [viper’s] den. (Isaiah 11:7,8)

There will be marvelous rejoicing when sin has been removed from the earth and the Spirit of God is able to have free course among the nations!

They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)

The peoples of the earth no longer will work from dark to dark seven days a week because of fear of not obtaining the necessities of life. They will recognize that the world-spirit (Satan) by deception and for his own interests kept them grinding away in slavery to the acquiring of material goods or for fame, power, or some other elusive, joyless goal.

God will feed us and clothe us as Jesus promised. The rest is vanity. How easily we are deceived into turning away from God! We spend our life in the dark, pursuing temporal goals that never can satisfy us. Jesus brings light, blessing, an easy yoke, a light burden. Why shouldn’t we love and serve Him.

And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon (Satan operating through man-directed, institutional Christianity), and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! (Isaiah 14:3,4)

With all evildoers gone, the earth will be a glorious place in which to live.

The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing. (Isaiah 14:7)

The Presence of Christ. When Adam and Eve sinned, the Presence of God withdrew from the Garden of Eden. God indeed had walked there, enjoying the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8).

Because of sin, God withdrew from the company of those whom He had created. God never will abide where there is sin and rebellion. The only reason God can walk in fellowship with us today is that the blood of Christ covers our unrighteousness, our uncleanness, and our disobedience.

God separated Himself from mankind. People soon recognized that we humans cannot live without the Life and help of God. Men began to "call upon the name of the Lord" in prayer, just as we do today (Genesis 4:26).

Mankind discovered that it is not difficult to lose God’s Presence but it can be extremely difficult to receive Him back again.

In the Day of the Lord, however, God will be able to draw near to the earth through His Church, His living Temple. Mankind will walk under an open Heaven. People will be able through the Church to see God and hear His voice. Death will be driven from the earth along with sin. Those who accept the rule of Christ over them will eventually have access to the Tree of Life.

We can observe the Kingdom Age operating in the Life of Christ on the earth. In Christ, all people could see and hear God. Jesus cast death out of several people while He was here. Men, women, boys, and girls had access to God through Him. Each person who received Him as Lord and Savior received eternal life.

It always is God’s will that we receive more of the Presence of the Father and the Son in ourselves. As we do we are able to bring, to each person who chooses to receive it, the Divine Life that is in Christ.

We must seek the Lord so He will command us to bring His Presence into the world today.

And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaiah 25:7,8)

The Church will bring forth the fruit of Christ now and throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

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)

The authority and power of Christ in His saints will enable them to purge the earth of all unrighteousness.

And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate. (Isaiah 28:6)

The Millennial Jubilee will be a Pentecost of Pentecosts.

Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. (Isaiah 32:15)

The preceding verse means the Presence of the Holy Spirit will be so abundant and widespread that those who are weak spiritually will grow and flourish and those who are strong spiritually will become towers of glory and strength in the Lord.

Sickness and sin will be driven from the earth during the Jubilee.

And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity. (Isaiah 33:24)

Nature will be touched with Divine Glory.

The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. (Isaiah 35:1)

Holy conduct will be established in the earth.

And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. (Isaiah 35:8)

The above aspects of the Kingdom of God become increasingly true concerning us as we press into Christ. The Kingdom is at hand and the diligent and courageous are laying hold on it. You can too.

The Lord Jesus Christ does not change. His Presence is the Day of the Lord. Christ Himself is the Divine Standard, the Plumb Line, the Divine Pattern. All mankind must be brought into conformity with His desires and He must become central in all creatures, things, and activities. His laws, ways of doing, likes, and dislikes are to be taught throughout the earth. Rebellion against Him ultimately shall be crushed.

There will be no hesitation during the Kingdom Age when it comes to bringing to pass the will of the Almighty Christ. He comes to us now in gentleness, wooing us, inviting us to go His way. In many instances His representatives suffer at the hands of those who desire to force their own will and way on people.

At the onset of the Kingdom Age Christ will spring on the leaders and the rich of the world, striking terror into their hearts.

Even those closest to Him will stand back in astonishment. When the Apostle John, who was as close to the Lord Jesus as most men, and who wrote, "perfect love casts out fear," saw Christ in His Glory, he promptly "fell at his feet as dead" (Revelation 1:17).

One does not come flippantly into the Presence of the most dreadful Power in the universe, assuming that He is pleased with all that we are doing, saying, and thinking. It is best that we work out our own salvation "with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12).

There is a spirit of lightness and of overfamiliarity with Christ among the Christian people of our time. This attitude is not seemly, it is not realistic, it is spiritually dangerous.

Christ is not some acquaintance to whom we say, Hey, Jesus when we want His attention.

The Lord Jesus is loving and does not turn away the presumptuous new convert, just as a ruler of today does not drive a baby from his presence because the baby does not show proper respect and subservience. Nevertheless it is not a good idea to come before the supremely powerful Emperor of the universe without showing due respect.

The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

It is encouraging to know that Christ will not become discouraged, He shall prevail ultimately.

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)

At the last trumpet the victorious saints will be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in the air in preparation for His entry into the earth in avenging fire. We shall return with Him and the nations of the saved will come to us to be judged, delivered, and taught.

Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, give up; and to the south, keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. (Isaiah 43:5-7)

Speaking of the time when God will bring His whole Church into unity and maturity (and each believing saint into victory now), Isaiah proclaims:

Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel. (Isaiah 44:23)

The preceding verse is referring to the release of the creation at the manifestation of the sons of God. Yet, these promises are true for us today as we press into Christ, into the Kingdom of God.

Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted. Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim. Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. (Isaiah 49:8-13)

The governments of the earth are to be brought into submission to Christ in His Church.

And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me. (Isaiah 49:23)

Nature rejoices when the Lord God returns to the earth.

For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12)

When Jesus comes, the curse of thorns and thistles (the things that plague the inhabitants of the earth) will be lifted and the earth will become the paradise that God intends it should be. We may suffer for a season as God is perfecting us. Eventually, however, righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit will prevail in our life. This is the coming of the Kingdom of God.

Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. (Isaiah 55:13)

Isaiah, Chapters 60-62 portrays the coming and characteristics of the Kingdom of God. The darker our environment becomes the greater is the opportunity for the light of God’s Glory to arise on us.

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)

Christ will come "suddenly from heaven." The rule of peace will descend with Christ and His army. The righteousness of God bringing redemption with it will be brought down from above and imposed on the earth.

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

The Light of Christ coming on a church or an individual results in an ingathering of souls into the Kingdom:

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 [nations] shall come unto thee. (Isaiah 60:5)

It is God’s will that every member of His household conduct himself in a righteous and holy manner; that there be no more sin and disobedience in His Church.

Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. (Isaiah 60:21)

The anointing of the Holy Spirit on Christ and on the members of His Body brings about the redemption of the peoples of the earth, and the deliverance of the earth itself. The release always is accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit and will commence with the members of His Body. Jesus announced this fact two thousand years ago:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,... (Isaiah 61:1,2)

At this point Jesus stopped because now He must wait "until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth" (Micah 5:3). The Body of the Deliverer must be created before the Day of Vengeance of our God can be brought to pass in the earth.

As soon as "we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13), the remainder of Isaiah, Chapter 61 can be announced:

. . . and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:2,3)

Chapter 61 proceeds to describe the work of restoring the "former desolations" and the "waste cities." God’s elect, the living stones of His Temple, have become "trees [oaks] of righteousness." The peoples of the earth will refer to the Christians as "the Priests of the Lord," "the Ministers of our God."

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 following verse is the response of the Christian to his being clothed with his "house from heaven,"

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)

The Seed of Christ is being sown now throughout the earth. In every corner of the world, missionaries have brought and yet are bringing the Life of Christ to all who will receive.

The past two thousand years have been a period of sowing. However, there will come a day when the Seed of Christ comes to harvest. As harvest time arrives, all evildoers and every vestige of their person and ways will be driven from the Kingdom of God.

As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. (Matthew 13:40)

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)

Our response as Christians to the vision of the coming Jubilee should be a giving of ourselves wholly to the King who rules the Kingdom, to do His will at every moment, day and night.

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)

And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem [the Israel of God, the Christian Church] a praise in the earth. (Isaiah 62:7)

The proclamation has come from Christ:

Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. (Isaiah 62:11)

The Kingdom Age will be a thousand years of the righteous rule of God in Christ in and with the saints over the nations of saved peoples of the earth. As we understand it, the nation of Israel especially will be blessed.

During the Day of the Lord the meek will receive back their inheritance in the earth. The receiving of their inheritance will be possible because the Redeemer—Christ, Head and Body—will plead their cause.

The Word of God will issue from the mouth of Christ and His Body under such an anointing of the Spirit of God that it will carry unlimited authority and power.

The Word of Christ contains in it the force that created the galaxies of stars in their positions in outer space. When the Day of God arrives, the Word of God coming from the mouth of Christ and His brothers, the conquering saints, will impose control over the activities of the peoples of the nations. Any individual who resists the Word of Christ in that day will be overcome, just as Ananias and Sapphira fell dead before the servants of Christ.

The Word of God when uttered in the Spirit of God has the force to move everybody and everything in front of it. Who on the earth will be able to resist the word of command that roars from Christ in His Church?

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 judgment of God against wicked spirits, and against people who yield to the unclean spirits, proceeds from Christ and His Bride. This has been true throughout Church history, is increasing in power today, and will increase in scope in the future until the full expression of the authority and power of judgment is exhibited at the installation of the Jubilee.

"A voice from the temple."

A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the Lord that rendereth recompence to his enemies. (Isaiah 66:6)

In the above verse the "city" is Jerusalem, the Church of Christ, the Zion that is in Heaven at this time and from which every Christian is born (Galatians 4:26). It is the "Lamb’s wife" (Revelation 21:9).

The "temple" is the Temple of God, again, the Church of Christ (I Corinthians 6:19). The work of the Church is to destroy the enemies of the Lord. The intention of God is that the Church tread on all the power of the evil one and finally crush his head.

Tearing down and removing the power of evil is the role, the service, of the Church of Christ. It is the wisdom of God that the Church first suffer every pain and humiliation at the hands of the lords of darkness. Then, when the obedience of the Church has been fulfilled, the Church will be the instrument of vengeance in the hands of the Lord God (Isaiah 41:15; II Corinthians 10:6).

The Church of Christ will be the judge of men and of angels (I Corinthians 6:2,3).

John the Baptist cried, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2).

Two thousand years ago the Kingdom Age, in the Person of Christ, was about to appear. Christ is the King of the Kingdom of God.

Today we are at the very gates of the Day of the King. The Scriptures teach us that when the moment of judgment arrives the Church suddenly will bring forth an army of saints who will go through the earth and tread down all the works of darkness.

Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. (Isaiah 66:7)

Christ was born of Mary before the Church travailed.

Now the Church is travailing and Christ is being born in the saints.

Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. (Isaiah 66:8)

The above passage emphasizes the suddenness with which the army of the Lord will be raised at the coming of Christ. It will be as in the case of Gideon’s three hundred men who were stationed, each in his place, "round about the camp" (Judges 7:21). After they had been equipped and arranged so the enemy was surrounded, they were revealed suddenly.

Isaiah inquires: "Will the earth be made to bring forth in one day?"

Paul responds: "He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make on the earth" (Romans 9:28).

In our day the Church may seem to be dry and hopeless: "Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts" (Ezekiel 37:11).

In a moment the Spirit of God will "breathe on these slain" and create an invincible army (Ezekiel 37:1-14).

Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. (Micah 5:3)

It is the Deliverer, Christ, the Servant of the Lord, who is being created by the travail of the ministries of the Church. The "man child" born of the Church is Christ in His Church, which is "the fulness of him that filleth all in all" (Ephesians 1:23).

The saints in that day will be as David’s mighty men, going forth to war with Christ at their head, treading down lawlessness, tearing down evildoers and their works, and "none can deliver" out of their hands (Micah 5:8).

Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God. (Isaiah 66:9)

The Kingdom of Christ is associated with tribulation and patience (Revelation 1:9). We of the Church of Christ are required to learn the patience of Christ and to wait with Him until His enemies have been made His footstool (Psalms 110:1).

The hope that keeps us from becoming discouraged is that God will not bring us to the point of birth into His glorious power and liberty, and then fail to "open the womb" so we never can experience that for which we have been waiting with such joyful expectancy.

We must wait patiently for God. Our vindication will come in God’s time and by His power. The Church will have the "last laugh," the ultimate victory (Isaiah 37:22). God Himself laughs in derision at those who would resist His Anointed One. Let us learn to laugh with God at the enemies of Christ. (Psalms 2:4).

What a Day! What a Day is coming, and even now is upon us! The Kingdom of God is coming into the earth. All the glorious blessings seen by the prophets of Israel are available to whoever will reach out and grasp the fullness of Christ.

The authority and power to deliver from spiritual oppression is found only in the Christian Church because it is in the Church that Christ is dwelling, and God in Christ.

Let us of the Church look to Christ in faith that we may go forward, walking every one "in his path" (Joel 2:8). Let us request of the Lord, as Peter did, to command us to walk on the waters of perplexity and distress and to bring the blessings of the Kingdom of God to every one to whom the Spirit of God sends us.

The relationship of the Church to the Kingdom of God. Jesus employed the term church on only two occasions, as recorded in the Gospels. Jesus did not preach the coming of the Church but rather the coming of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus stated that the authority and power of judgment resides in the Church. When He was discussing a dissension between two people He taught that reconciliation should be attempted. In the event that the offender would not yield, the injured party should seek judgment from the elders of the Church.

And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. (Matthew 18:17)

Jesus indicated also the Church will be the instrument of war in the hand of God:

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)

The Church is the vehicle through which God will lay waste the "gates of hell" and bring judgment into the earth. The above two verses are the only instances of Jesus’ use of the word church, as recorded in the King James translation of the four Gospel accounts.

The fact that the term was used by the Lord Jesus in the context of judgment and of resistance to the forces of Hell indicates that these are important purposes of the Church in the work of the Kingdom of God.

Peter, along with the other apostles and prophets of the Church, was used by Christ to lay the foundation of the Temple of God, the Church of Christ, Christ Himself being the chief Cornerstone. The Church is founded on the Rock, Christ (I Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20).

Notice Jesus’ words to Peter:

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:19)

The above verse points toward the relationship of the Christian Church to the Kingdom of Heaven. The Church holds the keys of the Kingdom. The Church, when walking in the Spirit of God, possesses, through Christ, the authority and power to install the Kingdom of God on the earth, to allow people into the Kingdom or to keep them out.

Christ in the Church is the Judge who has been invested with the fullness of authority by God Almighty. The power of judgment resides in the Church when the Church is abiding in Christ and is acting under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The Apostles of Christ were interested in the restoration of the power of the Kingdom of Israel, as had been true under David and Solomon:

When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? (Acts 1:6)

The question raised by the Apostles had to do with the coming of the kingdom of the Jews. Jesus set aside their question. He gave them the only answer they were capable of receiving at that time:

And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:7,8)

When will the kingdom be restored to Israel? Jesus did not come to restore the Davidic or Solomonic thrones as they existed under the old covenant. Jesus came to set up a kingdom in the hearts of the saints that has the spiritual authority and power to overcome the real enemies of God—the lords of darkness. The disciples did not understand this because they had not as yet received the Spirit of truth.

So Jesus answered their question by saying in effect, you will receive the power of the Spirit of God so you can go out to all the world and bear witness of me—the King of the Kingdom. All who will believe and be baptized will be saved and live forever in my Kingdom. Meanwhile, I am going to build a Church, a holy Temple, that will become my means of ruling over the earth.

Jesus understands that the earth and everyone and everything in the earth will belong to Him as an everlasting possession. He realizes also He is required to wait patiently for God Almighty to bring all in subjection under Him.

The Apostles knew little about the scope or the spiritual nature of the Kingdom of Heaven. They were expecting Jesus to return in their lifetime.

Jesus answered their question concerning the Kingdom to the extent possible at that point. He gave them the next step in the plan for building the Kingdom. This step still is being taken today. We are to receive the power of the Holy Spirit and bear witness of the King, Christ, so people all over the earth will be prepared for His return from Heaven.

The Day of the Lord, the period of the setting up of the Kingdom of Heaven on the earth, is the time of redemption, of the full maturing of the fruit of Christ’s work of atonement, of the beautifying and adorning of the Wife of the Lamb, and of the restoration to the earth of all that was lost in the Garden of Eden.

The whole earth will be full of the knowledge of the Glory of God as the waters cover the sea. The wild animals will dwell in peace with the tame animals and a "little child shall lead them."

As most of us may realize, people are occupied too much with the pursuit of money. But "In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth." (Isaiah 2:20,21)

The beginning and ending of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. The judging and casting out of evil at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age will result in peace and prosperity for the meek. The nations of the earth will choose to come to the Church in order to learn how God wishes them to live.

God in Christ in the Church will settle all disputes and will sit in judgment, just as He did for Israel under the old covenant (Numbers 15:35; 27:6,7). God will rule through His Temple, which is Christ—Head and Body.

The nations of saved peoples of the earth will be able to pursue their vocations without the constant pressure from demons who are attempting to push them into rebellion against God. This is the Kingdom of God that Isaiah described and that John the Baptist and Jesus proclaimed.

The Kingdom of God is close to the earth now and we should be lifting up our heads in hope, in joy, in expectation, in faith, because our redemption is drawing near. The King is coming.

After Christ is revealed in and with His saints, "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), there will be a thousand years of righteous government on the earth. This era of release, joy, and prosperity is the Jubilee, the Day of the Lord, the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement.

The coming of Christ into His Kingdom is portrayed in the Old Testament by the ascension of David to the throne of Israel. It may be recalled that David had been anointed king by the Prophet Samuel long before Saul was killed in battle (I Samuel 16:13). David, though anointed king, had to keep away from his kingdom while Saul, the "flesh," had his day.

During the past two thousand years Christ has been anointed as the lawful King over the whole earth but has had to keep away from His Kingdom until the "flesh" has been "killed" by the Lord God.

It is true even of the disciples of the Lord that Christ is not able to rule us as individuals until our "flesh" has been "killed" by the Spirit of God.

And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. (Revelation 19:6)

During the Kingdom Age, Satan and all the power of sin will be imprisoned in the bottomless pit. The saints will take their places as the lawful rulers of the authority of the air (Ephesians 2:2; Daniel 7:27). The atmosphere throughout the earth will be the same as it is in Heaven now—joyous, peaceful behavior in accordance with the Spirit of God.

The Kingdom of Heaven shall be ruling in the earth. God’s will shall be being done in earth as it is in Heaven.

The "beloved city," Jerusalem, the Body of Christ, will be on the earth at the site of the physical Jerusalem, giving forth the Word of the Lord and serving as the "light of the world" and the Throne of God. The Glory of God will be abiding on the Church. Every member of the Body of Christ will know the Lord, "from the least to the greatest."

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 Glory of God in the saints will be protected throughout the thousand-year Jubilee, as it is written:

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)

We are of the opinion that this protection already is being established for the warlike remnant that is being drawn from the churches, because of the rise of evil in the world.

As soon as the years of the Jubilee have been fulfilled, Satan will be released from the bottomless pit. He then will resume his work of seducing the nations and leading them astray.

Permitting Satan to go forth in this manner, after the peoples of the earth have enjoyed a thousand years of the rule of the Kingdom of God, is an example of the wisdom of God—a demonstration of the sovereignty of the manner in which God works according to His power and foreknowledge.

And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. (Revelation 20:7,8)

Prior to the releasing of Satan from the pit, the nations of the earth had sought God’s will and delighted in it.

And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)

Now, deliberately, at the end of the thousand years, the Lord God will allow to pass among all the nations in the "four quarters of the earth" the deceiver who will successfully seduce them to turn against the saints.

God never causes anyone to sin. People sin because they are led astray by their own lusts. God does allow circumstances to arise so the seeds buried in the human heart will germinate and spring into definition that they may be judged.

During the process of salvation certain types of pressure are required, designed specifically for each individual, to bring out the depths of deceit in the heart. First, God forgives and "covers" our sins. After that, He defines and removes them. The covering, and then the uncovering, defining, and removing must be accomplished in God’s time. If the processes are not performed in God’s wisdom and timing, disaster results concerning those whom God is saving.

The history of Adam and Eve demonstrates the tragedy of sin uncovered before its time.

In the present hour the Holy Spirit is beginning to uncover the sins of Christians, in the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament Day of Atonement. It is time now to confess our sins so God may forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

After the thousand years of the Kingdom Age mankind still will be vulnerable to temptation. Can you imagine that! It is no surprise that Adam and Eve were led astray so quickly and easily. They did not have teachers or the history of the world to instruct them concerning the folly of breaking God’s laws.

It is God’s intention that there will be no person in the new earth who can be led away from Him that easily. There will be no more "sea" of people who are driven and tossed by the "wind" of spirits. Therefore, there will be one last earth-wide screening of the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

At the time of the fiery destruction of Gog and Magog (Revelation 20:9) there will be a multitude of people on the earth, "the number of whom is as the sand of the sea" (Revelation 20:8).

There also will be the "camp of the saints," and the "beloved city" (Revelation 20:9). The expression "camp [fortress] of the saints" signifies, as we understand it, that the Presence of the Lord of Armies, the God of battles, will be with the saints for the purpose of establishing and maintaining the rule of Christ on the earth.

The adversary, having brought up his ancient accusations against God and against the people of God, will deceive and seduce the nations into making war against the saints. The nations of the earth will have in their memory the knowledge of the destruction that Christ and His army brought on earth’s armies at Armageddon (Revelation 19:19-21). But these deceived people will suppose on this new occasion evil will triumph over God.

Isn’t their blindness and hardness of heart amazing? Isn’t it true also we obtain a victory from the Lord and then wring our hands in despair and unbelief at the next battle, supposing this time Christ will be overcome or will forsake us?

And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp [fortress] of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. (Revelation 20:9)

God doesn’t even bother to have a battle at this point. His tests have now been concluded. All His creatures have been assigned to their appointed places. The Book of Life is finished.

God’s judgment, covering the period from the occasion of the first sign of rebellion in Heaven to the moment when the last person chooses to march against the saints in the armies of Gog and Magog, has been concluded. Now God Almighty receives back into Himself the energy and mass that brought into being His physical universe.

Fire comes down from God out of Heaven and devours Gog and Magog. The universe passes away with the cataclysmic roar of galaxies disintegrating.

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation [conduct] and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto [hastening] the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (II Peter 3:10-13)

God takes His eraser and wipes the slate clean. God wants all remembrance of former things to pass from the minds of His people; for now He will begin again with the new creation that He has envisioned and constructed in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The process of forgetting the past and bringing forth the new creation in Christ begins in us today, if we allow the Spirit of God to press us into Christ.

The devil is cast into the Lake of Fire, which already contains the Beast and the False Prophet, and will be tormented day and night forever. The great white Throne of God Almighty is revealed for all to behold. At the appearing of the Face of Him who sits thereon the earth and the heavens will vanish into nothingness. No place will be found for them.

Every support on which God’s creatures have depended (except His Word) has disappeared. God alone is exalted for all to behold.

Before Him will stand all the dead of the earth, from the days of Adam and Eve to the last soldier of God and Magog consumed by Divine fire.

The dead will come forth from the sea, from death, and from Hell.

And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (Revelation 20:13)

There is a deeper meaning to the above verse than what appears at first glance. How could the sea give up its dead when the earth and the heaven already have fled (Revelation 20:11)?

How can it be that some of the dead are in the sea, some are in death, and some are in Hell? Are the bodies of some in the sea, others in death, and yet others in Hell? Or are the spirits and souls of some in the sea, some in death, and others in Hell?

Do the dead stand before the throne in their bodies? If so, why is it that their bodies were not destroyed along with the earth and the heaven?

This particular passage of the Scriptures has been oversimplified and its meaning distorted. The emphasis of verse fifteen has been changed to fit Christian theology.

The writer’s understanding is that only Christ’s victorious saints are raised physically prior to the thousand-year Kingdom Age. Their judgment is accomplished before they die and pass into the spirit realm. Their sentence in the Day of the Lord is to be with Christ and to reign with Him over the nations of the earth.

The remaining dead are raised at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. We believe Revelation 20:13 is referring in symbolic terms to the various conditions of people.

Each individual is judged carefully and precisely. Each of his or her deeds is weighed justly and compassionately.

If the person has heard the Gospel of Christ, then that is taken into account. No individual can refuse the salvation of God and still be saved.

If the person has never heard the Gospel, he or she will not be judged by the Gospel. "Ignorance of the law is no excuse" is a human maxim. In the Kingdom, people are judged according to the light given to them.

Notice in the following passages how people are judged according to their knowledge of God’s will.

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:18,19)

When the light came into the world some people rejected the light and chose the darkness. Before an individual can choose darkness he must be presented with the light.

If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. (John 15:22-24)

And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:47-48)

For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. (Romans 2:12-16)

(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed (ascribed) when there is no law. (Romans 5:13)

For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. (Romans 7:9)

The Judge of the bench of Heaven considers the individual case. Each person is judged according to the light and the talents that were issued to him. Much is required of those to whom much has been given. Little is required of those to whom little has been entrusted.

Each soul will be judged fairly and mercifully. The Book of Life will be consulted. The dead will be judged according to what is written. Every deed, word, and thought of the lifetime of every human being has been written in a ledger, apparently.

Death and Hell will be cast into the Lake of Fire. If any person’s name is not found written in the Book of Life, that individual shall be thrown into the Lake of Fire. He or she has not been found worthy to continue in the ranks of mankind. He or she shall not be brought into the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus. God has driven that individual from His Presence forever.

The Lake of Fire is a fate so frightful that the human mind cannot grasp it. It is reserved for the servants of Satan.

The rest of the dead now are ready to take their place as members of the nations of saved peoples of the earth—those who walk in the light of the new Jerusalem, which is the Lamb’s Wife, the Body of Christ, the eternal Temple of God (Revelation 21:24).

The judgment of the white Throne of God does not include those who have part in the first resurrection because the second death, which is the Lake of Fire, no longer has any authority over them. The Lake of Fire has authority over us until every aspect of our personality has been made new in Christ (Revelation 20:6).

The decision of the white throne, based on "the things that were written in the books, according to their works," is whether a creature is thrown into the Lake of Fire (which is the second death) or whether he or she is saved from eternal torment.

This is the climax and conclusion of the Day of Judgment, the period which began with the appearing of Christ on the earth at His first coming. It is at this point that a person either is saved for eternity or lost for eternity.

Let us repeat the concept that any individual who spurns the offer of God’s salvation in Christ is condemned already. The wrath of God abides on Him from that moment forward. He has turned aside from God’s love and salvation.

Judgment must begin at the house of God. Those who have a part in the first resurrection have gone through a prior judgment before being assigned positions of authority and ministry in the Kingdom of Christ. The prior judgment of God’s saints is more exacting than the standards of conduct required of the rest of mankind.

God never "winks" at the sins of His people, only at the ignorance of the nations (Acts 17:30). Jerusalem always receives of the Lord’s hand "double for all her sins" before her warfare is accomplished and her sin and rebellion pardoned (Isaiah 40:2).

As we have pointed out before, the events of the last days are taking place in the Christians now. The closer we walk with Christ, with the Lord of all judgment, the sooner the Day of the Lord is brought to pass in us.

Of all our experiences that foreshadow the Day of the Lord, none is more current than that of judgment. It is time now for judgment to begin with the house of God (I Peter 4:17). God judges both the living and the dead (I Peter 4:5).

We who are seeking the Lord with a full heart, in all fervency of spirit and desire, are drawing near to Him who is the consuming Fire. The closer we come to Him the more our sins are magnified.

As the Holy Spirit points out to us our sins of action, of word, of imagination, we are to confess them to God—and sometimes to Christian brothers or sisters as well if this seems to be the way the circumstances and the Spirit of God are leading. The fire of the Presence of Christ is holy.

Being saved "by grace" means we are accepted of God even though we are clothed in filthiness of behavior. We are accepted of Him if, when He comes to us in the Spirit and begins to teach us His ways, we act in obedience.

To claim we are saved by grace and then to ignore the admonitions of the Holy Spirit regarding purity of conduct, stating that we have no sin because of "grace," is to walk in deception.

Those who continue to practice the uncleanness of the flesh will never inherit the Kingdom of God, whether or not they name the name of Christ (Galatians 5:21). To believe otherwise is to be deceived. If we will not judge ourselves by the Word and Spirit of God, God will judge us (I Corinthians 11:31,32).

If we are willing and obedient we will "eat the good of the land" (Isaiah 1:19). The Holy Spirit is dealing with the saints in the present hour and revealing to us our sins. Our part is to confess our sins (I John 1:7-9), obtaining forgiveness and cleansing. Then we are to submit ourselves to God and resist the devil (James 4:7).

Little by little we obtain release from the bondages of the flesh and by this means enter Christ’s Kingdom. "The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Romans 14:17).

Sometimes God must heat up the furnace "seven times more than it was wont to be heated" before our bondages are burned through (Daniel 3:19; I Peter 4:1,2).

If we examine our behavior now, by the wisdom, power, and joy of the Holy Spirit, not in the gloom and despair of self-criticism, we will not be condemned with the world (I Corinthians 11:31,32; Romans 8:13). It is God’s will that we be made holy through our contact with the risen Christ.

Christ possesses the authority and power to tear down every point of rebellion in our life and to set us free. If we will allow Him to do that we will have our part in the first resurrection from among the dead.

Those who participate in the first resurrection from the dead can rest with Christ in the day of the great white throne judgment, while the dead are being judged from "the things that were written in the books, according to their works" (Revelation 20:12). If we overcome Satan, and are created in Divine love "we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in the world" (I John 4:17).

Finally death itself and Hell will be cast into the Lake of Fire. "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (I Corinthians 15:26).

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)

This is the termination of the first creation. All evil and all evildoers have been destroyed. The Day of Judgment has been completed. The curtain is rising on a scene so glorious our imaginations of the present hour cannot grasp it.

A New Heaven and a New Earth

We have come now to the full manifestation of the new creation that God has created in Christ. All that God declared in the first chapter of Genesis concerning the creation of man has been accomplished.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. (Revelation 21:1)

We can examine the relationship of the thousand-year Kingdom Age to the new heaven and earth reign of Christ by employing three figures from the Old Testament: (1) the Davidic and Solomonic kingdoms; (2) the incorporating of the Ark of the Covenant and the remainder of the Tabernacle of the Congregation in the Temple of Solomon; and (3) the Levitical feasts, in particular the Day of Atonement and the feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:27-44).

The thousand-year Kingdom Age is Davidic in character. There are some parallels that can be drawn between the Kingdom of David and the thousand-year Jubilee, and between the Kingdom of Solomon and the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. The thousand-year Kingdom Age tends to be Davidic in character, with Christ being the fulfillment of King David. The new heaven and earth reign tends to be Solomonic in character, with Christ being the fulfillment of King Solomon.

It may be recalled that soon after Saul had failed to keep the commandments of the Lord (I Samuel 15:14), Samuel anointed David King of Israel (I Samuel 16:13). However, Saul continued as king over the nation and David had to flee for his life (I Samuel 20:33).

From then on, until the death of Saul in battle, David and his men were outcasts from Israel.

David and his fellow fugitives are a type of the present day. Saul is a portrayal of the rule of the fleshly nature over the people of the Lord. The death of Saul typifies the death of soulish self-seeking in the Christian churches.

This symbolism can be applied to us personally in that our self-seeking nature must die before Christ can rule in our life. We cannot see or hear the Lord until "the year that King Uzziah dies."

The type also may be applied in a kingdom-wide sense. The rule of self-seeking men must be destroyed at Armageddon before the lawfully anointed King, Christ, can take over the government of His people and of the rest of the world.

The thousand-year Kingdom Age may be compared to the reign of King David, following as it does the destruction of the rule of Satan-filled flesh. The new heaven and earth reign, on the other hand, is comparable to the reign of Solomon in that it follows a thousand years of righteous government, just as Solomon followed the righteous government of King David.

The thousand-year Kingdom Age will be installed and maintained with force (the rule of a rod of iron).

The new heaven and earth reign of Christ will be dominated by the holiness, light, love, peace, and joy issuing from the holy city. The nations of the earth will be overpowered by the spectacle of the glory of the city of God (John 17:21) just as the Queen of Sheba was astonished at the magnificence of Solomon. When she beheld "his ascent by which he went up into the house of the Lord, there was no more spirit in her" (II Chronicles 9:4).

During the new heaven and earth reign of Christ there will be no nations, such as Gog and Magog, that are able to be deceived nor will there be any more loosing of Satan to seduce the people. The new heaven and earth reign will be similar to the reign of Solomon, both being eras of peace.

David came into power as a man of war just as the Lord Jesus is coming as the Man of war to impose the Kingdom Age on the earth.

Jesus is coming as the Good Shepherd to His flock (Isaiah 40:11; Malachi 4:2). But as far as His enemies are concerned, Christ is coming into His Temple, the Body of Christ, as the Lord, strong and mighty in battle. He shall "prevail against his enemies" at that time (Isaiah 42:13).

The call to the Day of the Lord is as follows:

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. (Psalms 24:7,8)

David took over the throne of Israel in the midst of bloodshed (II Samuel 3:1-5:4), just as the thousand-year Kingdom Age will be installed with violence because of the unwillingness of man to surrender to Christ the rulership over the nations (Revelation 19:15-21).

Solomon came into power relatively peacefully (I Kings 2:12). In the same manner the new heaven and earth reign of Christ will be ushered in by the sovereign power of God, the rebellion of the nations having been subdued by the rule of a rod of iron, and finally by fire from Heaven.

The destruction of Gog and Magog, which comes before the new heaven and earth reign of Christ, will not be a war similar to Armageddon. Rather, it will be a sovereign act of judgment, a prelude to the appearing of the white throne (Revelation 20:9).

David was a man of war; Solomon was a man of peace.

But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight. Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. (I Chronicles 22:8,9)

Much of David’s time and energy went into overcoming the enemies of the kingdom of Israel. His reign was marked by the conquest of the tribes that had made a practice of invading the borders of Israel. The Lord loved David and gave him success in his battles.

And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies; That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains. (II Samuel 7:1,2)

Notice how the concept of the habitation of God came to David as soon as his enemies had been put down. This is true of us also. As soon as the Holy Spirit has enabled us to begin to put down the sin in our life we receive the desire for a greater portion of the indwelling of the Father and the Son (John 14:23).

The thousand-year Kingdom Age is the time of the establishing of the government of God throughout the whole earth. As soon as this has been done there will be a cry in the Spirit for the coming down to earth of the holy city, the new Jerusalem.

At the time of the ascension of Solomon to the throne of Israel the conquest of Israel’s enemies had been accomplished. The extension of Israel’s power, in accordance with the boundaries established by the Lord (Joshua 1:4), had taken place during the rule of David, just as the extension of God’s rule over His creation will take place during the thousand-year Kingdom Age (I Corinthians 15:24).

Solomon is known for the construction of the Temple of God. The new heaven and earth reign of Christ will be distinguished by the coming down to earth of the "tabernacle," the eternal dwelling place of God (Revelation 21:3).

David’s reign was characterized by the mighty men with whom he surrounded himself (I Chronicles 11:10-40). One of the first achievements of David upon his ascension to the throne of Israel was the capture of Mount Zion from the Jebusites (II Samuel 5:7).

The capture and building of the fortress, Zion, has prophetic significance (Psalms 102:16). Mount Zion represents the overcoming saints, the conquering strength of the Church of Christ. Mount Zion is the camp (fortress) of the saints (Revelation 20:9).

The Lord Jesus Christ in our day (while He is in exile because of the reign of "Saul," so to speak) is gathering together His mighty men, His personal bodyguard (Revelation 14:1-5; 17:14).

Christ is getting ready to take control of the most heavily fortified positions of the enemy. He will tear down all the "rulers of the darkness of the world" (Ephesians 6:12) at the time of His coming and His Kingdom.

In the hour in which we are living, Christ is preparing a company of victorious saints—disciples who have overcome the accuser by the blood of Christ, by the word of their testimony, and who love not their lives to the death (Revelation 12:11). He will place His Glory in these victorious saints. From this stronghold (spiritual Zion), which will serve to protect the Kingdom of God from attack and invasion, just as fortress Zion served to defend Jerusalem against attack and invasion, Christ will extend His dominion over the earth.

All such fighting and overcoming will have been completed by the time of the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

The new heaven and new earth will be under the reign of eternal peace, love, and joy. Solomon sat on a "great throne of ivory" overlaid with gold (I Kings 10:18). This brings to our minds the white throne, "overlaid" with the Divine Presence of God Almighty that appears just before the reign of peace of the new heaven and earth.

When King David was not occupied with putting down enemies along the borders of Israel he collected material for the temple that he was not allowed to build (I Chronicles 29:2-5). This suggests to us that preparation will be made during the thousand-year Kingdom Age for the holy city, the new Jerusalem, that will come down from Heaven as soon as the new heaven and earth have been created.

It seems likely that much of the effort and activities of the thousand-year Kingdom Age will be directed toward preparation for the coming new heaven and earth rule of the Lord Jesus Christ. When all has been made ready, "then shall the Son also himself be subject to him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all" (I Corinthians 15:28).

There will be no more "God and Magog" uprisings after the new heaven and earth reign begins.

The Ark is placed in Solomon’s Temple. Another Old Testament incident that reveals the relationship of the thousand-year Jubilee to the new heaven and earth reign of Christ is the incorporating of the Ark of the Covenant, and the rest of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, in the Temple of Solomon (I Kings 8:3-6).

At this point in our discussion of the destiny of the Temple of God we are associating the Ark of the Covenant with the thousand-year reign of Christ, and the Temple of Solomon with the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

Christ will rule after the manner of David, and then He will rule after the manner of Solomon. Christ is the fulfillment of the eternal realities of which both King David and King Solomon are types.

I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah. (Psalms 89:3,4)

I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. (Revelation 22:16)

Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever. (I Chronicles 22:9,10)

Both David and Solomon are types of Christ in His Kingdom, and the placing of both the Ark and the Tabernacle of the Congregation in the Temple of Solomon portrays the transition from the Davidic rule of Christ to the Solomonic rule of Christ.

The reader may recall that the Ark of the Covenant at one time was part of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. In fact, the Ark was the holiest item of the Tabernacle and the first piece of furniture that God called to the attention of Israel (Exodus 25:10).

The Tabernacle of the Congregation with all its parts was "one tabernacle" (Exodus 36:13). It was never contemplated that the Ark of the Covenant should be removed from its location in the Holy of Holies and located somewhere else (Exodus 40:21).

Sin intervened. The two wicked sons of Eli the Priest, Hophni and Phinehas, removed the sacred Ark of the Covenant from the Most Holy Place and brought it to the scene of the battle between Israel and the Philistines.

The Ark of God was captured at that time (I Samuel 4:17). It never again was returned to its rightful place in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

After an eventful trip through the land of the Philistines, and a few subsequent stopovers, the Ark of the Covenant was brought by David to Zion, the fortress of the city of Jerusalem. David did not restore the Ark to its proper place in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle but instead pitched a special tent for it (I Chronicles 16:1). This tent became known as the Tabernacle of David (Amos 9:11).

The remainder of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, with the bronze Altar of Burnt Offering, Laver, Table of Showbread, Lampstand, and Altar of Incense, was located at the "high place that was at Gibeon" (I Chronicles 16:39). "High places" were centers of idol worship.

According to our present understanding of the plan of God, the separation of the Ark of the Covenant from the Tabernacle of the congregation is symbolic of the condition of the Christian Church. The removal of the Ark and its capture by the Philistines depicts the departure of the Glory of God from the Church of Christ (I Samuel 4:22).

The Glory that rested on the apostles and prophets of the early Church, with the accompanying revelation of the Word and the signs and wonders of the Holy Spirit, began to leave the Church soon after the end of the first century. Ichabod ("no glory") was written on the churches of Christ.

Throughout the hundreds of years that followed, the Christian faith, in some instances, became just one more of the many religions of the world. Christianity possessed its priests and temples, its sacred vessels, its peculiar rites and ceremonies. The Glory of the Presence of Christ had long since departed. The historical account of the nature and operations of the early Church began to seem more like a legend than a factual record.

Then, through the Protestant Reformers, the Holy Spirit commenced the restoration of the "Tabernacle of the Congregation," to speak figuratively: justification by faith in the blood of Christ (Altar of Burnt Offering); water baptism by immersion, and holy living (Laver); the reality of the born-again experience (Table of Showbread); baptism with the Holy Spirit (Lampstand); Spirit-filled prayer and worship (Altar of Incense).

Even though these elements of the Body of Christ have been recovered from the dead, as it were, it appears that the churches in many instances still are showing signs of being located at the "high place in Gibeon" in that the "services" are a mixture of the Holy Spirit and the fleshly nature of people (I Kings 3:2-4; II Chronicles 1:3-6).

It may be true that God, meanwhile, will form Christ in a militant remnant drawn from the churches, as symbolized by David’s Tabernacle. This would be fortress Zion, the conquering strength of the Church, the "camp of the saints."

When the remnant of the Church is ready to go into battle with the Lord, Jesus will appear and Armageddon will be fought. The Lord and His army will emerge victorious and the Kingdom of Heaven will be brought down and installed on the earth.

During the Kingdom-age reign of Christ, the Holy Spirit will work with all members of the Church of Christ, as we understand it, although only the Lord’s firstfruits will possess glorified bodies. It is the firstfruits who will be instrumental in bringing about the rule of Christ in the earth.

We see in Revelation the camp (fortress) of the saints (possibly the warlike remnant, the firstfruits), and also the "beloved city." The beloved city may be the earthly city of Jerusalem because the new Jerusalem, which is the Church, the Wife of the Lamb, will not descend from Heaven until the thousand-year Kingdom Age has been completed (Revelation 20:9, 21:2).

The Ark of the Covenant in its special tent was the "Tabernacle of David" of which James spoke:

After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. (Acts 15:16,17)

We understand from the fact that the above verses were placed in the Book of Acts that the Ark of the Covenant, apart from the remainder of the elements of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, has an especially prominent role in symbolizing the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

At the time of the sounding of the seventh angel, which is the hour of the Lord’s appearing and the raising from the dead of the bodies of His victorious saints, "the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament" (Revelation 11:15-19). This means the holiness and power of the Ark of the Covenant has been established in the hearts of the warlike remnant of the last days.

The Ark of the Covenant, which has been lost from the possession of mankind for more than two thousand years, will again be seen when Christ is ready to set up His Kingdom on the earth. But now the Ark of the Covenant will be the throne of God and of the Lamb that has been created in the personalities of the victorious saints.

And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. (Jeremiah 3:16,17)

The Ark of the Covenant is associated with the victorious remnant of saints who will be a tool in the hand of God to bring the Kingdom to Christ. Being a conqueror and marching in the army of the Lord is available to every Christian who will prepare himself or herself to march with Christ. The Kingdom of Heaven is waiting today for those who will take God at His Word and lay aside all else in order to grasp Christ.

If we do not become a member of Christ’s firstfruits, His remnant, it is our fault, not His. God has given us the opportunity to press into Christ, to gain complete victory over sin and self-seeking. If we do not avail ourselves of the grace of God in Christ we have no one to blame but ourselves.

We are associating the Ark of the Covenant and the remainder of the Tabernacle of the Congregation with the present hour as well as with the thousand-year Kingdom Age; and we are associating the Temple of Solomon, which was constructed on the same pattern as the Tabernacle but on a grander scale, with the new heaven and earth rule of Christ.

As soon as the Temple of Solomon had been completed the Ark of the Covenant was brought up from Zion, the city of David. The remainder of the Tabernacle of the Congregation was carried from Gibeon to Jerusalem. Then the vessels of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, including the Ark of the Covenant, were placed in the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem.

As we understand the significance of this event, the inclusion of the vessels of the Tabernacle of the Congregation in the Temple of Solomon typifies the merging of the Kingdom-age reign of Christ with the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

Then Solomon assembled the elders of Israel, and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers of the children of Israel, unto Jerusalem, to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David, which is Zion. (II Chronicles 5:2)

The bringing up of the Ark and the other furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation with the intention of placing them in the new temple was an event of the most extraordinary importance in the history of Israel. Solomon understood this fact, and so he brought together in solemn assembly the eldership and the people of the nation.

Wherefore all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto the king in the feast which was in the seventh month. (II Chronicles 5:3)

The "feast that was in the seventh month" refers to the feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:33-43). The new heaven and earth reign of Christ is the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles and is identified especially with that feast.

When we consider the many aspects of the feast of Tabernacles, and then read the Twenty-first and Twenty-second chapters of the Book of Revelation, we discover several concepts that are common to the feast of Tabernacles and the new heaven and earth reign of the Lamb of God and His Wife.

And all the elders of Israel came; and the Levites took up the ark. (II Chronicles 5:4)

God had ordained that only the Levites were to carry the Ark. Solomon was following the ordinances of the Lord in this matter.

And they brought up the ark, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, these did the priests and the Levites bring up. (II Chronicles 5:5)

The incorporating of the vessels of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, including the Ark of the Covenant, in the Temple of Solomon, suggests that every member of the Body of Christ, the Christian Church, will be created a part of the new Jerusalem.

From the Apostles of the Lamb, whose names are in the foundations of the wall of the holy city (Revelation 21:14), to the "little sister enclosed in cedar" (Song of Solomon 8:8,9), every true saint will be brought to perfection through the Holy Spirit of God.

The new Jerusalem will be perfect in every detail (Isaiah 42:3; Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 13:21).

And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the Lord unto his place, to the oracle of the house, into the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubims: (II Chronicles 5:7)

The furnishings in the Holy and the Most Holy Places of the Tabernacle of the Congregation were ornate. The articles either were solid gold or covered within and overlaid with gold. The ceiling was decorated elaborately and of great beauty (Exodus 36:8). The walls were acacia wood covered with gold. The articles in the Holy Place were illuminated at night by the light from the golden Lampstand.

For the most part, the glory and beauty of the Tabernacle were visible only to a few persons—the priests of Israel. The Holy and the Most Holy Places were covered with a protection of animal skins. The intricate craftsmanship of the interior could be viewed only by those who were engaged in the service of God.

Speaking of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, Isaiah proclaims: "for upon all the glory shall be a defence" (Isaiah 4:5).

One wonders if the Glory of God that will rule the earth throughout the Kingdom Age will be hidden in some manner to all except the members of the Church of Christ—the kings and priests of God (I Peter 2:9).

If it should prove to be true that the glory and beauty of the Wife of the Lamb are concealed to a certain extent during the Kingdom Age that is just ahead, this will not be the case during the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

Just as the Temple of Solomon was a structure of such surpassing external beauty that the Queen of Sheba was left without spirit upon beholding it, so will it be true that the new Jerusalem, the holy city, will be revealed in such breathtaking glory and beauty that "the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it" (Revelation 21:24).

There was nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put therein at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt. (II Chronicles 5:10)

Originally there were three articles in the Ark of the Covenant: (1) the golden pot containing manna; (2) Aaron’s rod that budded; and (3) the Tables of the Covenant—the Ten Commandments (Hebrews 9:4).

By the time the Ark was placed in the Temple of Solomon, Aaron’s rod and the jar of manna had disappeared. Only the tables of stone remained.

Here is a forceful reminder that although the heaven and the earth pass away, as they do before the coming down from the new heaven of the Wife of the Lamb, yet the Word of God shall never pass away.

The old will have passed away and all things will have become new. The manna, the remembrance of the period when God sustained His people with a daily miracle for forty years in the wilderness, teaching them that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, will then be a thing of the past. Every member of the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, will be living by the Word coming continually from God.

Aaron’s rod, representing God’s endorsement of those whom He has chosen in the sight of the spiritually ambitious of Israel who would seek preeminence for themselves, will have disappeared from sight. Self-seeking no longer will be found among the saints.

The righteousness of the moral law, which has been embodied forever in the transformed character of the victorious saints, will pass unchanged into the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. The moral law will be in force forever and the saints will govern the creation forever, because it always will be possible for any person or any angel to sin against God.

And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)

"They shall reign for ever and ever."

The Ten Commandments bring to our mind the righteousness and holiness of God. The incorporating of the Ark of the Covenant containing the Covenant itself (the Ten Commandments) in Solomon’s Temple emphasizes the fact that the Presence and holiness of God was placed in the "oracle" (Most Holy Place) of the Temple.

In the new heaven and earth reign of Christ we behold the Presence and holiness of God everywhere we look.

Holy is the term that best describes the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. God and the Lamb are holy. The city is holy. The Spirit of the city is the Holy Spirit. The Wife of the Lamb is holy. Everybody and everything that enters the city must be holy.

Every person, relationship, circumstance, and thing found in the Father is holy. Any person, relationship, circumstance, or thing not found in the Father is not holy. This is the definition of holiness.

And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:27)

Fulfillment of the Levitical feasts. We have examined the relationship of the thousand-year Jubilee to the new heaven and earth reign by studying the kingdoms of David and Solomon, and also the placing of the Ark of the Covenant and the remainder of the vessels of the Tabernacle of the Congregation in the Temple of Solomon.

These two Old Testament figures are rich in spiritual significance, yielding insight that can be applied to our personal experience of redemption as well as to the working of God in the Church, and also to the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

A third Old Testament figure that demonstrates certain aspects of the relationship between the Kingdom Age and the new heaven and earth reign is that of the feasts of the Lord, particularly the three feasts that occur in the seventh month. These three feasts are: the blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:23-44).

The three observances respectively are on the first day, the tenth day, and the fifteenth through the twenty-second day of the seventh month.

The seventh month of the Hebrew ceremonial year, the year that commences with the Passover, is the first month of the civil year.

The ceremonial year of the Hebrews begins with the month in which Passover is observed.

The civil (business; agricultural) year of the Hebrews begins on the seventh month of the ceremonial year, just as our fiscal year, July first through June thirtieth, begins on the seventh month of our calendar year.

Therefore the last three feasts, Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles, are observed on the first, tenth, and fifteenth through twenty-second, of the first month of the civil year.

The fact that the last three feasts are celebrated during the first month of the civil year suggests that the three holidays typify a beginning of government and of doing business in the Kingdom of God.

The Hebrew ceremonial year, which runs approximately from March through February of our calendar year, may be thought of in connection with the creating of the Church of Christ from the body and blood of Christ.

The creating of the Church of Christ begins with the application of the Passover blood and attains completion with the celebration of Tabernacles, that is, with the dwelling of the Father and the Son in the faithful saints (John 14:23).

The Hebrew civil year, which extends approximately from September through August of our calendar, may be thought of in connection with the actual setting up of the Kingdom of Heaven on the earth.

The setting up of the Kingdom of Heaven begins with the blowing of the seventh trumpet, at the coming of Christ, and attains completion when the redemption of the cross has touched every saved person on earth.

The seven Levitical feasts are set forth in the twenty-third chapter of Leviticus. The last three feasts, Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles, typify the Kingdom Age, and also the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

The blowing of Trumpets, the blowing of the shofar (ram’s horn), Rosh Hashana of the Jews, is New Year’s Day and currently is celebrated as such by the Jewish people. In terms of the Scriptures, the trumpet is to be sounded on the first day of the first civil month and announces the new year.

When the trumpet of God sounds in the Church of Christ it signifies the beginning of a new year with God. It marks the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven in answer to the prayer that Jesus taught us: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10).

The trumpet of God will herald the return of the King, the Lord Jesus Christ. Christians who have experienced a personal Pentecost may enjoy knowing that Trumpets is the feast that follows the feast of Pentecost.

The Holy Spirit leads us to the King and into His Kingdom. The Holy Spirit gives us power to bear witness of the King and His Kingdom and to keep His laws.

The Blowing of Trumpets followed the feast of Pentecost just as the coming of Christ in His Kingdom follows the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This sequence of events holds true in our individual experience with Jesus as well as in the universal, kingdom-wide sense.

The last three feasts, Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles, are to be experienced personally by Christians immediately after receiving the Holy Spirit. Also, these three Old Testament holidays will be fulfilled under the new covenant in earth-transforming glory and power, on a kingdom-wide scale, at the coming of Christ in His Glory.

The Day of Atonement is divided into two major areas. The first part of the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Day of Atonement occurred on the cross of Calvary where the blood of God’s offering, the righteous Jesus, was "shed for many for the remission of sins" (Matthew 26:28; see also Hebrews, Chapters Nine and Ten).

The blood of Christ was offered once for all persons and for all time as the atonement for our sins, and "not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (I John 2:2).

At Calvary, all legal authority was transferred to Christ including the possession of the keys of Hell and death (Revelation 1:18). Satan possess no authority whatever except the portion that Christ assigns to him so the Bride may be perfected by enduring testing and tribulation. All authority in Heaven and on the earth is held by the Lord Jesus Christ.

The second phase of the Day of Atonement is the actual judgment and deliverance of the nations of saved peoples of the earth. Every individual who is willing to accept Christ as Savior and Lord shall be saved from sin. The kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Day of Atonement will be the complete removal of the bondages of sin from the face of the earth.

The fulfillment of the Day of Atonement will produce an earth in which there exists neither the guilt nor the power nor the practice nor the effects of sin (II Peter 3:13). There will be no sin whatever, either covered or uncovered.

The presence of sin will be gone!—destroyed!—removed! The earth, in that day, will be as pure as Paradise in Heaven is now. "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."

The Lord will go one step further with His Church, the new Jerusalem. The Church will be not only free from sin but also will be the image of Christ in spirit, in soul, and in body and in complete, untroubled union with the Father through Christ.

Deliverance from the guilt and power of sin is the negative side of the atonement, bringing us to a state of cleanliness and right standing with God. Release from sin means we no longer can be compelled to sin by wicked forces acting through the weaknesses of our flesh. We shall be pure, without condemnation, guiltless before God, able to conduct ourselves in a righteous, holy manner.

We shall be restored to the moral condition of Adam and Eve before their disobedience.

However, there is more included in the atonement (reconciliation) than the removal of the guilt and power of sin. It is not enough that we be restored to the original moral innocence of Adam and Eve.

In order to prevent future sin and rebellion it is necessary that there be developed in each saint a militant, vigorous, diligent righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God’s laws such that we shall not be led astray and deceived; such that we shall love righteousness and hate sin and disobedience. If Christ had been formed in Adam and Eve after this fashion they would not have sinned against God.

The conquering saint is immersed in the will and service of God. There is being created in him a spirit of obedience that will serve God under every condition. There is a disposition to perform good works and an ever-broadening compassion and understanding regarding the people with whom the saint comes in contact. Such character formation is a very necessary aspect of the atonement.

Transformation into the image of Christ and a consuming desire to be in total union with God are the positive side of the atonement. We not only do not sin but we become filled with Divine love, joy, and peace. There is a growing patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and temperance in our personality as well as a militant love of righteousness and hatred of sin.

The love of God and for God is increasing in our heart.

The Day of Atonement includes every phase of our reconciliation to God the Father, from our beginning in chaos of spirit, soul, and body all the way to our transformation into the image of Christ and our abiding in perfect oneness in the Father through the Son.

The Day of Atonement is the sixth convocation, and man was created in the image of God on the sixth day of creation. We are associating the complete atonement, the reconciliation to God through Christ, with the thousand-year Jubilee.

As individual believers we can enter an ever-increasing reconciliation to God each day of our discipleship on the earth. There is coming also a kingdom-wide work of reconciliation that will affect all the nations of the earth.

We are not suggesting that everyone ultimately will be reconciled to God. Reconciliation to God depends on our willingness to receive Christ, to receive the atonement and redemption that is of, in, and through the Lord Jesus Christ.

The feast of Tabernacles. The feast of Tabernacles is the seventh and last convocation. We are associating this last and greatest of the feasts of the Lord with the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

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. 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: (Leviticus 23:39,42)

The feast of Tabernacles, being the seventh of the feasts of the Lord, typifies the completion and perfection of all that God has purposed concerning the redemption and reconciliation of mankind. The twenty-first and twenty-second chapters of the Book of Revelation describe that perfection, the glorious beauty which is the spiritual fulfillment of the Levitical feast of Tabernacles.

Eight concepts common to both the feast of Tabernacles and the new heaven and earth reign of Christ are as follows:

1. The dawning of a new age.

2. The completion of God’s purpose.

3. The dwelling of God in His elect among the nations.

4. A time for rejoicing.

5. Holiness, righteousness, and obedience to God.

6. God’s Israel is the light of the world.

7. Rivers of living water.

8. The separated royal priesthood.

The feast of Tabernacles speaks of the dawning of a new age.

. . . and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end. (Exodus 34:22)

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. (Revelation 21:1)

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. . . . (Revelation 21:5)

The feast of Tabernacles (ingathering) came in the fall after the half-year summer drought. It was a season of the greatest rejoicing, not only because of the abundance of the past year but also because of the hope and promise ushered in by the new agricultural year now at hand.

The past was over and done. The seed (former) rains soon would be falling, moistening the sun-baked clods so the soil could be prepared for the sowing of the new crops.

The difficulties and pains of the previous year were finished. The new year was certain to bring a greater harvest, to solve many of the old problems.

Hope encourages human beings to attempt to better their circumstances, although sometimes the new year or the new situation brings an increase in their sorrow.

The celebration of the feast of Tabernacles signaled the end of the old and the beginning of the new—whether for better or for worse the Israelite could not know during the festival.

Hope keeps the saint marching forward. He is saved by hope. He is looking for the city that has foundations. He knows that whatever temporary suffering there may be, his resurrection will be glorious.

We Christians know from the Scriptures that all that happens to us will work together for our good as long as we are walking with the Lord Jesus Christ.

The history of mankind has been a labor of body, agony of soul, imprisonment of spirit. Attempts to improve the condition of people by education and reform have resulted in increasingly terrible wars. We are locked into anguish and tragedy because of the invisible spiritual warfare that affects us directly.

The history of God’s elect has been that of rejection, torture, and murder. The world has persecuted the saints and the ecclesiastical organizations have cast out and slain the Lord’s prophets.

The history that began in the paradise in Eden will come to its conclusion as men scream for death and cannot die. The earth is becoming an arena in which one horrid, nightmarish episode follows another. People have been hoping for improvement for thousands of years, but the current century has witnessed two terrible world wars, lesser wars, civil wars, as well as a record-breaking martyrdom and imprisonment of Christian people. In addition there has been the Holocaust, the slaughter of the Jews in Europe.

Jesus is coming soon to put an end to the experimental social programs and governments of the Antichrist spirit. After Armageddon, Christ and His saints will take over the rulership of the nations of the earth. Because of the sinful and rebellious nature of people, God’s King and His princes will rule with a rod of iron. The nations will obey or be punished severely, shattered to fragments according to the Scriptures.

After one thousand years of righteous rule, the Church having been perfected and the nations having been taught righteousness, Satan will be released for one brief final season. Mankind will be tested for the last time, and the end of the heaven and the earth that we have known will be here.

The new creation will be so incredibly better than anything we ever have imagined that comparison is not possible. Not only will sin and the rebellion be confined to the Lake of Fire and the painful, disgusting effects of sin be banished from the earth, but the full grandeur and wonder of God will surround and fill every creature, circumstance, event, and thing.

We can gain a small idea of the sublime glory by the fact that God’s servants "will see his face" (Revelation 22:4). We cannot comprehend such a state of transcendent spiritual life, such an unheard of privilege.

To see the face of the Father! In what condition will we be abiding that we can behold God Almighty?

The purpose of the thousand-year Kingdom Age of the Kingdom Age is that we may be so changed from what we are now that our personality will not perish as we are brought near to God. We will be much more loving, selfless, and pure. It is certain that we could not at the present time be carried up to see the Face of God. We cannot gaze on the Purity, Fire, and Love who has brought all creatures and things into existence.

A thousand years of closeness to the Lord Jesus will so transfigure every atom of our personality that it will be possible for us in the coming ages to dwell in the Presence of the Fire of Israel.

"Behold, I make all things new."

God did not say, I make all new things, all different things.

There is a distinction between making all things new and making all new things.

In the beginning, God created the substantial, material world that we know. God gave the world substance, form, and purpose. Its purpose is to be the home of mankind.

Our material world originated in the spirit realm. It also is true that our world has a reality of its own—an eternal reality. If that were not true there would be no resurrection from the dead.

Christ is termed "the light of the world," not the light of Heaven. Only Christ can reveal to us God’s truth in the material world. Through the Lord Jesus Christ we are beginning to understand that the physical realm is intended to become the incarnation of God through Christ. This is the reason for the world of molecules. The Kingdom of God is the establishing of God as All in all in the material realm.

The substance, form, and purpose of things as we know them are eternal, except that flesh and blood life will be replaced by spiritual life—a tremendous improvement. God, who possesses foreknowledge, created all things the way He wants them.

How can we say that the physical realm is an abiding reality, when the Scriptures state that the earth and the heaven will flee from the Face of God and that there will be a new heaven and a new earth?

The universe of stars and planets, and the earth as well, will disappear with an inconceivable, tremendous noise. In the Day of God’s judgment only spiritual realities will be in evidence, all material forms having vanished.

After that, Christ will speak back into existence a new heaven and a new earth.

The point is, however, that the new heaven and the new earth will not be different from that to which we have become accustomed.

So far as we know, the sky will extend as an arch over the earth as is true today. The earth will be an earth. People will be people. Trees will be trees. Mountains will be mountains.

People will not be triangular having three arms coming out of their head or out of where their head used to be.

The substance, form, and purpose of things as they are, are eternal.

"A spirit does not have flesh and bone as you see me have."

Why didn’t the resurrected Lord Jesus appear as a large ball having a thousand eyes and a thousand ears or no eyes or ears or hands? Why did Christ return as a flesh and bone man? Why did Christ eat the honeycomb?

It is because God is making all things new, not all new things.

God will bring forth a new heaven, a new earth, and a new world composed of people who have been made new through the Lord Jesus Christ. The new creation still will be a heaven, an earth, and a world made up of people.

The material realm was meant to be filled with spiritual life, the Life that is in Christ. This Life is the true light, the only light that gives meaning to the material realm.

The flesh profits nothing. A world of people not filled with the Life of Christ is nothing more than a cage full of intelligent animals. There is little value in it. Eventually the animals will destroy one another.

In the beginning the material realm was alive spiritually. We can see this from the fact that there was light during the first three days of the creation before there was a sun or moon or stars. Also, the trees of Eden were of spiritual quality. To eat the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was to have one’s moral eyes opened. The serpent spoke without occasioning surprise that an animal should speak.

As soon as the first rebellion took place, the spiritual dimension of the world was withdrawn by the Lord God leaving only the material substance. This is death. The body without the spirit is dead.

In Christ the new creation is brought forth. The new creation is the imbuing of what we are with the Life of God.

In Christ there is a new creation. But Paul is still Paul, isn’t he? Peter is still Peter. Christ is still Christ. You are still you.

How can this be true if there is a new creation.

Because it is not a different creation!

God takes the form of what is, the substance of what is, and He places His Divine Life in what already is. The placing of God’s Life in us is the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is the doing of God’s will in earth as it is in Heaven.

The principle of redemption is not that God is destroying the creation, it is that God is removing the wicked spirits who are destroying the creation. God is making the creation—all things—new by filling it with Christ and giving it usefulness and significance through Christ.

The person, thing, relationship, or situation that is not made alive through Christ is corrupt and dead. The person, thing, relationship, or situation that is renewed in Christ is eternal.

How about yourself? Are you becoming a new creation in Christ? Are old things passing away in your life? Are all things becoming new and of God? Yet, you are still you!

The feast of Tabernacles signals the end of the old agricultural year and the beginning of the new. The new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus Christ marks the end of the old creation and the beginning of the new. The new has been resurrected from the old. Every element of the new is a part of the resurrection of Christ, reveals Christ, and Christ is central in it (Ephesians 1:10).

The feast of Tabernacles signifies the completion of God’s purpose.

. . . and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field. (Exodus 23:16)

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)

And he said unto me, It is done.... (Revelation 21:6)

By the time of the feast of Tabernacles, all that had been sown by the Israelites had been reaped and processed. Their crops included nuts, citrus fruits, barley, wheat, olives, grapes, cucumbers, melons, and other vegetables.

The concept that there is a mark, an omega, a perfection and completion of the work of God, is of the greatest practical importance to us. If we do not hold this concept the Christian redemption is viewed as a never-ending struggle in which we try to improve but, more often than not, fall short of our expectations.

The Christian redemption is not like that. It is a masterpiece envisioned by a peerless Artist, performed by a master Craftsman.

The Bride, the Body of Christ, the Church, the new Jerusalem, is a "prepared" city. God has done the preparing. God possesses the knowledge, the wisdom, and the power to prepare perfectly the Wife of the Lamb, the counterpart of His Son, Christ.

The holy city is not the imperfect work of religious man. The holy city is the workmanship of the Almighty God of Heaven. There is not one flaw, one blemish, one spot, one wrinkle, in the new Jerusalem. The Tabernacle of God is perfect. It is prepared. It is completed to God’s satisfaction.

So great is the foreknowledge and power of God that every aspect of the Bride of the Lamb was finished before the foundation of the world. When God spoke the universe into existence in six days He merely was bringing into visible form the marvelous glory He had conceived in His own will and purpose.

The new heaven and earth already has been completed, in this sense. Now it is being worked out in the dimension of time. God is resting. Christ is resting as God is bringing His enemies under His feet. We who believe in the wisdom and power of God are resting in Christ in God. We are not endeavoring to do something in our own wisdom and strength. We are resting in the completed work of God.

For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. (Hebrews 4:3)

When God speaks a fact into existence in the spirit realm it already has been accomplished, even though we do not see it in existence in the physical realm.

John could witness the new Jerusalem descending from God out of heaven because that glorious event already has been established as reality in the spirit realm. It is finished as far as the work of redemption is concerned.

God has planted good seed, the Seed of His Son, Christ, in the world. The enemy, Satan, has planted the seed of wickedness.

Both of these seeds have been growing during the past several thousand years. They have been growing side by side and they will come to maturity side by side.

At the end of the present age the messengers of God will come into the field where the mature plants are waiting to be harvested. They will cut down the wicked plants and gather them in bundles to be burned. Then the Lord’s planting will be revealed, the true Seed that God has blessed.

The nations of the earth are in confusion today. There are two different "day stars" professing to be bearing witness of the true Kingdom of God. One of these day stars is Satan. The other is the Lord Jesus Christ.

The two seeds are growing in the hearts of men. Each seed is claiming the world for its possession. Only one of the seeds is of God and will lead to glory. The other is enticing men and women into the Lake of Fire.

God possesses more patience than any man. He is permitting the insane howling and posturing of the wicked to continue in the earth while the planting of the Lord is coming to maturity.

All is proceeding under the control of the God of Heaven. God is waiting until the seed rain and the harvest rain have fallen and the sun of persecution and tribulation has brought the heads of wheat to maturity.

One day soon the heart of the wicked will be revealed. The righteous will abide in joy and glory while the wicked are separated from among the righteous and dealt with according to their wickedness. The day of harvest will bring every deed, every word, and every imagination to the fullness of maturity so each element can be seen and understood clearly.

What has been whispered in the ear will be announced on the housetops. What has been determined in secret councils will be proclaimed before the heavens and the earth. The Day will declare it.

Then the righteous will be glorified in the glory of their Father.

The wicked will gnash their teeth as they are driven into outer darkness. They have preferred to walk in darkness without God, and an abundance of darkness will be given them.

Harvest time is coming.

One day we will hear our God proclaim: "It is done."

Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord. (Isaiah 54:1)

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3)

Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. (James 5:7)

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)

The coming down from God of the new Jerusalem is the springing forth of righteousness and praise before all the nations.

The feast of Tabernacles portrays the dwelling of God in His elect among the nations.

Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: (Leviticus 23:42)

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 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)

. . . Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, . . . . (Revelation 21:3)

The concept of the Levitical feast of Tabernacles is that of the Lord and His chosen people, His priests and servants, dwelling together in booths.

Here is the central idea and purpose of God’s eternal plan. God has called out to Himself a chosen nation, a royal priesthood, from among the peoples of the earth. As soon as they are called out, all natural distinctions cease. There is neither Jew nor Greek, master nor slave. From henceforth they are the Temple of God, the Body of Christ.

They are a firstfruits to God from among mankind. They are God’s inheritance and belong to Him in a unique way.

As soon as the members of the Body of Christ have been prepared, God and Christ will enter Their Tabernacle. A firstfruits of the Church (a firstfruits of the firstfruits) will be ready at the coming of the Lord. The labors and events of the thousand-year Kingdom Age must transpire before the entire Church has been reaped to the Lord, as we understand the program of redemption.

When the work has been completed, the omega has been attained, God and Christ will find rest in Their eternal Tabernacle. As soon as that is true, the Tabernacle of God, which is the perfected Church, the new Jerusalem, will come down from the new heaven and dwell among the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

The Church has not been prepared in order to live in self-contained bliss. The members of the Church have been created in such a manner that they cannot find rest or fulfillment until they lose their life in God, and then in other people as God flows through them. This is their eternal destiny—to be the extension of God’s Glory and Presence among His creatures, to be the Tabernacle of God dwelling among people.

The voice speaks from the new heaven: "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."

This is the mystery of the Gospel—Christ in us. It is the central, the most significant revelation and truth of the Scriptures. The greatest word in the Scripture is, "Abide in me, and I in you." Here is the supreme goal of Divine love, and it is proclaimed with a "great voice."

The construction of the house of God is the central topic of the Word of God.

The reason for the chaos that exists in the world today is that the peoples of the earth, including the Christians, are attempting to solve the problems of mankind apart from union with God through Christ.

God made man in His image, male and female, and gave man both dominion and fruitfulness. In addition, God has given us several thousand years in order to demonstrate to us, and also to the creatures of the spirit realms, that image, fruitfulness, and dominion apart from union with Himself through Christ is folly. Every effort will produce desolation, pain, confusion, and other evil conditions.

God must be All in all. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God, the performing of His will in the earth.

And when all things shall be subdued unto him [Christ], then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him [the Father] that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (I Corinthians 15:28)

To our way of thinking, one of the most destructive of the doctrines of Christianity prevalent in our time is the concept that the Divine redemption primarily is a Barabbas-type release in which we are released to pursue our own ways while Christ staggers forward to Calvary under the timbers of the cross, blinded by His blood and tears.

Those who are so careful to point out that grace is God’s riches given us at Christ’s expense are not always equally careful to remind us that if we would be a disciple of the Lord we must take up our cross and follow Christ. Any type of response on our part to the gift of God, they teach, is "law," and "legalism," and "works," and must be rejected immediately.

Some Christian believers are fanatical in their insistence that the Christian must not lift a finger in order to participate in the plan of salvation. We are to believe the facts presented in the New Testament and confess them to be true, and that absolutely is all we are to do. Having done this we can never be lost to God’s purposes. Indeed, they are the blind of the blind!

According to these interpreters of the Apostle Paul, Jesus must bear the cross alone while all the world goes free. This teaching is cruel and self-centered. If such lawless grace actually is true doctrine from the Lord, then the present author should not attempt to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom because he is greatly deluded.

We do not believe we are deluded. We believe the central purpose of God is the construction of an eternal Temple, a tabernacle in which God and the Lamb can settle down to rest. God and Christ will rule and bless the whole universe of creatures through Their eternal house.

Rather than setting us free to do as we will, the Divine purpose and program is bringing us each day, moment by moment, into the likeness of the image of the Lord Jesus and into the likeness of His will. We are coming to know the power of His resurrection and are sharing His sufferings.

Little by little our ability to serve God in our own wisdom and strength is diminished and in its place are being created the wisdom and strength of the Lord Jesus Christ. No longer are we merely good men and women seeking God. We are becoming the expression of the Lord God of Heaven.

God through Christ through us is communicating successfully, in some instances, with the peoples of the earth. This is the new covenant of God with mankind. Christ—Head and Body—is the covenant of God with man. The priesthood is the covenant. The holy city is the law of God brought to its highest form. This is the Kingdom of God.

Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; (Isaiah 49:8)

"I will preserve you and give you for a covenant of the people"!

One day the Lord spoke to us, we believe. He said: "I did not come to set men free on their own terms. I came to make them My possession."

Was this the Lord Jesus speaking? Is it a fact that God set the heroes of faith free to become successful in the world? Or did He bind them to Himself so they became His bondslaves?

Does Christ set us free to be our own master or does He make us His slave to do His bidding without question? Is God primarily interested in setting us free from our bondages and problems or is He primarily interested in using us for His own desires? What is your opinion?

Our decision makes a practical difference in our Christian walk.

Haggai, a prophet of the restoration, proclaims the choice that the present writer has made concerning the issue of "freedom" or "bondage":

Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord. Ye looked for much, and, lo it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the Lord of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house. (Haggai 1:8,9)

"Build the house"! "I will take pleasure in it." "I will be glorified."

The only acceptable road to righteousness, peace, and joy, and to material prosperity as well, is to lose ourselves in Christ’s purposes and, as He leads, in devoted service to others. Whoever attempts to preserve his life—even by using the promises of God—will eventually lose his life. He who loses his life in Christ truly will find it, and his life will be multiplied like the Seed of Abraham.

The feast of Tabernacles is a time for rejoicing.

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 8:17)

Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3)

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 21:4)

For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. (Isaiah 65:17,18)

It appears, from the historical account, that the eighth day of the feast of Tabernacles was celebrated by the Israelites with rejoicing and hilarity. Today in the land of Israel there is rejoicing over the Law, on the eighth day of the feast of Tabernacles.

The feast of Tabernacles begins on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. In order to prepare the people for the rejoicing of Tabernacles, Ezra brought the Book of the Law on the first day of the seventh month, on Rosh Hashanah, and began to read so the people could hear and understand the Law given to Moses.

The people were joyous. They were ready to serve the Lord, to perform all the tasks associated with the rebuilt Temple of Solomon. They did not realize how far they had gotten away from the Law of Moses.

As soon as they began to understand the extent of their sins they commenced weeping. They became distraught, unable to respond to the Word of the Lord.

At this point, Nehemiah, Ezra, and the Levites wisely proclaimed a festival. They sent the people out to eat and drink and to give a portion to the poor.

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. So the Levites stilled all the people, saying, Hold your peace, for the day is holy; neither be ye grieved. (Nehemiah 8:10,11)

The above passage sets forth an important Kingdom principle. God wants a people who are joyful while they practice righteousness. God loves a cheerful giver. God takes little pleasure in us when we are doing His will but hating every minute of it. It is a polluted offering. God will not receive it, unless He sees that this condition of sadness is temporary and is leading to righteousness and joy.

Chapter Nine of Nehemiah reveals that the Israelites still needed to separate themselves from the world and to confess their sins.

Hearing the Word of God, particularly the laws of righteousness, holiness, and obedience, and consecrating ourselves and confessing our sins, requires strength and maturity. Such attitudes and actions are difficult to maintain and practice. They cannot be performed by morose, chafing, grumbling believers.

The new-covenant fulfillment of the last great convocation, which includes Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles, has begun. The Lord’s people are ready to move past Pentecost, and the prospect of more of God, of being filled with all the fullness of God, is a cause of rejoicing on the part of many Christians.

The preaching of the past hundred years has left much to be desired regarding the laws of God. Grace has been stressed to the point of becoming error. Many Christian teachers and their disciples are under the impression that all God’s creatures are commanded to be holy and live righteously with the exception of the members of the Bride of Christ. To many modern Christians the Bride of Christ is a special group of Gentiles who are excused from obeying God’s laws on the basis of "grace."

This disastrous misunderstanding of the Apostle Paul, together with its handmaid, the removing of the Gentile believers to Heaven in a pre-tribulation "rapture," has resulted in the present state of abysmal ignorance concerning the laws of God.

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. (I John 2:3)

. . . Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (II Timothy 2:19)

As we press forward into the grace and glory available to us today in the name of Christ, the Holy Spirit is opening our understanding and convicting us of the sinful deeds that are spreading unchecked among the Christian people.

If we begin to grow sorrowful when the Divine fire comes, preferring that we be told pleasant things, that we all will disappear from the earth and watch the Jews suffer while we are occupying a seat in the balcony of Heaven in air-conditioned comfort, we never will attain the first resurrection from the dead. We will not be prepared to meet Jesus when He comes.

If we gird up the loins of our mind, receive as cheerfully as we can the rebuke and correction of the Word and Spirit of God, separate ourselves from the world, confess and repent of our sins, we will be strong enough and prepared to work with Christ during the important period of judgment that is at hand.

One of the purposes of the great tribulation is to separate the tares from among the wheat. If we will with patience keep the Word of Christ, He will guard us through the days to come and we will grow to maturity in the Lord.

It does not matter that Antichrist will be revealed, that the tares will come to maturity. What matters is that the promises of God will keep us from every evil work and we will come to unity and maturity in Christ.

Then God and Christ will enter us and the nations of the earth will realize God indeed has sent Christ and loves the Church as He loves Christ. At that point the nations will stream toward the Body of Christ so they may receive the blessing of God. Woe to them if they do not "keep the feast of Tabernacles"!

When God and Christ pour out Their love and blessing on earth’s peoples, and we are allowed to set the captives free, we will know joy and fulfillment we cannot comprehend in the present hour.

Antichrist and his armies will attempt to cut us off from our ministry to the nations of the earth. But God will spread a table before us in the presence of our enemies. The Lord Jesus Christ will descend from Heaven and destroy Antichrist by the power of His Presence. Then we will be enabled to continue with our appointed destiny—that of bringing the love and Presence of God to the peoples whom God has given into our charge.

Unbelievable, excessively surpassing, wondrous joy is before us. Let us, therefore, in faith in God, accept the present corrections of the Spirit. Whomever Jesus loves He rebukes and chastens. If we will choose to be joyful in the Lord, to rejoice and practice righteousness, we will possess the strength required to undergo the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in our life.

The feast of Tabernacles is associated with righteousness, holiness, and obedience.

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)

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and sulfur: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)

. . . and his servants shall serve him: (Revelation 22:3)

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14)

The new earth that is coming will contain a righteous world. The city of God, the new Jerusalem, will be filled with people who are holy, righteous, and obedient to God and His Christ.

It is not possible to enter the holy city on the basis of "grace," on the authority of assigned righteousness.

The temple of God is holy, which temple we are. It is not an imputed (ascribed) holiness, it is a holiness formed in us as we cleanse ourselves from the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Notice the blessing: "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life."

Many today are attempting to get into the city of God by some means other than doing His commandments. They will never be permitted to enter.

The new Jerusalem is not a city of ascribed righteousness, ascribed holiness, ascribed obedience. We are not allowed in because of the righteous, holy, and obedient conduct of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are allowed into the city on the basis of the righteous, holy, and obedient behavior produced by the new creation that God is forming in us in the present hour.

The Kingdom of God is the new creation that has been born in us. If we continue to live in the appetites of the flesh, not allowing the new creation to be formed in us, we will not be permitted to enter the new Jerusalem. In order to partake of the Tree of Life and to enter through the gates into the city we must keep God’s commandments.

When considering entrance into the City of God, the question of doctrine is not raised. The issue always is one of righteousness, of holiness, and of obedience to God. The inhabitants of the holy city, the new Jerusalem, are not practitioners of evil whose sins are covered.

Paul taught us in many places that it is not possible to keep on sinning and then enter the Kingdom of God.

Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:21)

For this ye [saints that are at Ephesus] know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:5)

The feast of Tabernacles of the Old Testament always was celebrated by a refreshing in the Law of God. So it is true that the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus Christ is the occasion for the revelation of the beauty of holiness; for the adorning of the foundations of the wall that separates unrighteousness from righteousness; for the unveiling of the glory that covers every faithful servant of the Lord Jesus.

It may be true that we have accepted only one-half of the message of the Apostles of the Lamb. We have received by faith the blood atonement made by Christ on the cross of Calvary. We have not received with equal fervor the call to repentance that the Apostles issued:

Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. (Acts 3:26)

The Apostles of Christ never preached that God sent Jesus to forgive us while we continued in our sins. The Apostles of the Lamb always preached repentance. God sent Jesus to turn us away from our sins. We no longer are bound by the ordinances of the Law of Moses but we certainly are obligated to observe the laws of morality, and we receive grace from the Spirit of God to do so.

Are we to continue to sin because we are under grace and not under the Law of Moses? Certainly not! He who continues to sin will find himself, when the kingdom-wide fulfillment of Tabernacles is celebrated, not in the holy city of God but in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.

This is what the Book of Revelation declares. Only those who are ready to receive in themselves the dreadful penalties established by the Spirit of God should attempt to change the Book of Revelation.

The last two chapters of the Book of Revelation describe the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. The new heaven and earth reign of Christ will be characterized by righteous behavior on the part of all people who have been saved; by the pure, utter, terrible, holiness of God Almighty and His Christ shining from the new Jerusalem in an unprecedented display of glory; and by the faithful, eternal service of those conquering saints whose privilege it is to stand before the Throne of God and of the Lamb and to behold the face of the Father.

All unrighteousness will be imprisoned forever in the Lake of Fire. All uncleanness will be imprisoned forever in the Lake of Fire. All disobedience and rebellion will be imprisoned forever in the Lake of Fire.

Sin, uncleanness, and lawlessness will continue to be present in the new creation but they will be confined in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. The spectacle of the wicked dead will serve future generations as the eternal Divine warning of the consequences of unrighteous behavior, of uncleanness of deed, word or imagination, and of rebellion against the Lord God and His Christ.

The feast of Tabernacles reminds us that God’s Israel is the light.

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)

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:... (Revelation 21:23,24)

When Jesus was alive on the earth it was a custom during the feast of Tabernacles for the people of Israel to come to the Temple in procession, carrying torches. The lampstands were lighted in the Temple of Herod, as we understand the ceremony.

When the light from the lampstands was added to the light of the torches of the Jews, the white and gold of the Temple became a blaze of glory. What a marvelous type of the Day when the Glory of Christ descends from Heaven and is added to the inner light of the victorious remnant that remains alive on the earth!

Christ has been the Light of the world from the beginning. Before God created the sun, moon or stars, there was Light. This Light was and is Christ.

In Christ is eternal Life, and that Life is the light of every person who is born into the world. Apart from the Life of Jesus there is no light, there is no way of distinguishing what is spiritually and morally true and what is false.

Christ is the Lampstand of God, Christ being portrayed by the golden Lampstand of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Christ is the Lampstand described in the fourth chapter of the Book of Zechariah.

Now a second lampstand is being formed. It is the Body of Christ. Before the Lord Jesus returns there will be two Lampstands, two witnesses of the Person and will of God Almighty.

Before Jesus returns to set up His Kingdom on the earth the two Lampstands will work together. Christ and His saints will prepare the world for the coming of the Kingdom of God. The events of the last days will serve to separate the "tares" from the "wheat." As the separation of the wicked from the righteous takes place, the light coming from the Lampstand that is the Church will blaze with ever-increasing purity and brilliance.

As the "wheat" comes to maturity, and as the "tares" mature and are separated from the wheat, the contrast between the light and the darkness will become absolute. The nations will begin to understand that Satan is the false day star and Christ is the true Day Star, the true witness of God.

The Light of God in Christ will enter the members of the Body of Christ in fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.

Christ is the only true Light of the world. As His Life is formed in us and abides in us we become the Light of the world.

The nations of the world of today are walking in darkness. They are walking in darkness because the only source of light, the churches of Christ, are filled with fleshly wisdom and strength rather than with the Life of Christ. Also, the churches are a mixture of the "wheat" and the "tares," the planting of Christ and the planting of the devil.

The great tribulation, the harvest rain, the increase of the knowledge of the Scriptures, the power-filled testimony of the two witnesses, the maturing of evil, the maturing of Christ in the saints, the opportunity that God will give to Antichrist to overcome the saints and to rule the world, will all combine to separate the saints from the assemblies of the wicked and also to purify the saints from worldliness, sin, and self-seeking.

As God’s people separate themselves from the worldly believers, and as God’s people are purified from lust and from self-love, the Light of Christ will grow in power and purity in them. This is the light described in the sixtieth chapter of Isaiah that will guide the nations to salvation during the hour of earth’s greatest darkness.

The fullness of the glory of the Divine Light in the saints will not be revealed until the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

The light of the new Jerusalem is the light of its righteousness, its holiness, its obedience to God. Love of righteousness and hatred of sin and rebellion characterize every individual in whom Christ has been formed and is dwelling.

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)

One editor of the Scriptures, molded by the Christian overemphasis on Divine grace as being only forgiveness, has added the word "imputed" so the passage from Isaiah reads, "until her imputed righteousness and vindication go forth as brightness, . . . ." This is not what the text says and it is not what it means. The righteousness that will go forth from Jerusalem as brightness is not an ascribed righteousness but an actual righteousness of personality and behavior—the new creation brought forth as Christ is formed in us.

Jerusalem cannot be a "crown of glory in the hand of the Lord" while the people are practicing sin and rebellion. It never has been God’s intention that His Kingdom be one of imputation (assigned righteousness). Imputed righteousness is designed to serve until actual transformation of personality takes place. The hope of glory is not a Church forgiven by the Lord but a Church formed in the image of the Lord and filled to fullness with His Person.

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)

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)

"See your good works"!

When the nations of the earth see that the righteousness and holiness of Christ is in the Lord’s people they will come to the Church to learn of God.

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)

An unrighteous, unholy church is wasting its time when it attempts to bear witness of God to the world. The witness is not the words we speak, the witness is the righteous Christ who lives and works in us.

Would we claim to be bearing witness of Jesus while we are worldly, sinful, and disobedient to God? Are we showing the world that the Lord Jesus is worldly, sinful, and disobedient to God?

During the new heaven and earth reign of Christ the nations of the earth will recognize that God and Christ are abiding in the saints. The nations will respond to the love, blessing, deliverance, and guidance that will flow from the members of Christ’s Body for eternity.

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)

The saints, the Wife of the Lamb, never again will have need of the light of the sun or of the moon. They will be abiding eternally in the Presence of Him whose Life is the true Light. This is the Light that illuminated the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, a light superior to the light of the golden Lampstand, the Light that transfigured the face of Moses.

It is the Glory of God in the face of Christ, the Light that is in every saint in whom God in Christ is tabernacling.

After we have beheld the face of the Father, that pure and perfect Light, for billions of eons, we ourselves will be transfigured and glorified to an extent incomprehensible to us in our present embryonic level of development.

The Temple of God will light the world forever.

The feast of Tabernacles is the source of rivers of living water.

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. (John 7:37,38)

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. (Revelation 22:1)

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17)

Water is associated with the feast of Tabernacles. We can notice this in the symbolism attending the first observance of the feast of Tabernacles by the Jews who returned from the captivity.

And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; . . . . (Nehemiah 8:1)

Water is associated with the Temple of God.

Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward:... (Ezekiel 47:1)

In Old Testament times, the feast of Tabernacles was celebrated in the season that came at the end of the half-year drought of summer. It was the time for the former (planting) rains to commence. The fall rains moistened the ground so the sowing of seed became possible, and also replenished the rivers.

It is difficult for people who have never lived in an arid climate to understand the dramatic differences that occur in the land when the rains come. Cracked trenches in the earth become sparkling rivers. Flowers spring up in the desert. The world is renewed. Truly, water is life.

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)

God’s conquering saints bring the living waters wherever they go. They are wells of water. The Lord works with them, pouring down the rain from above:

Who [the victors] passing through the valley of Baca [weeping] make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. (Psalms 84:6)

The Lord Jesus will come as rains of spiritual refreshing to every Christian who presses forward in God in the days in which we are living.

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

Salvation is the water of life to the ankles. The baptism with the Holy Spirit is the water of life to the knees. The "Tabernacles" experience of becoming the Temple of God is the water of life to the loins, and finally waters to swim in—a river that cannot be crossed.

Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. (Ezekiel 47:5)

The measuring means the downpour of God’s Glory always is accompanied by Divine judgment on the lives of those who are being blessed. The high praises of God must include the two-edged sword of God’s Word in judgment against what is unrighteous and unholy; otherwise, the glory that is designed to produce life produces death. Rain causes both the wheat and the tares, the works of Christ and the works of Satan, to come to maturity.

After the members of the Body of Christ, the Temple of God, are filled with the waters of life, these waters will flow through them to all the needy 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)

Again, in Isaiah:

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 [nations] shall come unto thee. (Isaiah 60:5)

There is "no more sea" in the new earth because the "fish" have been caught and there is no more need for a "sea" of undisciplined mankind. The waters of life are flowing out to the nations of the saved from the personalities of the members of the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb. The Tree of Life, which is Christ, is available to all the peoples of the earth because Christ has been enlarged in His saints.

In the last (eighth) day, the greatest day of the celebration of the feast of Tabernacles, Jesus watched the priest of Israel dip water from the Pool of Siloam into a golden pitcher. The priest poured the water into a basin on the Altar of Burnt Offering.

Isaiah 12:3 was chanted: "With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation."

Then the Lord Jesus spoke of the "wells of salvation":

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38)

In the last days, the great tribulation working together with the outpouring of God’s Glory on His people will produce suddenly the unified and mature Body of Christ—that which the efforts of religious men have not been able to accomplish in two thousand years.

God and Christ will enter Their eternal Temple.

Then the rivers of living water will flow from the personalities of the believers, bringing life to the "dead sea" of humanity. The waters of the sea "will be healed" (Ezekiel 47:8). "Every thing that liveth, that moveth, withersoever the rivers shall come, shall live" (Ezekiel 47:9).

For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14)

The Glory of the Lord shall cover the "dead sea" of mankind.

This is the fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles and the nature of the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. God in Christ in the saints is the Kingdom of God.

The feast of Tabernacles reminds us of the separated, royal priesthood.

Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: (Leviticus 23:42)

The feast of Tabernacles is for those whom God has called from the nations of the earth to be His servants.

Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: (Exodus 19:5)

The concept of God choosing certain people to belong to Him in a "peculiar" manner is not agreeable to us in the present climate of "the rights of people." Nevertheless, the concept of election, of our destiny being governed largely by God’s foreknowledge and determination rather than by our choice and zeal, is a basic teaching of the Scriptures.

. . . and his servants shall serve him: (Revelation 22:3)

This is not to say that our works are not important. They are indeed! But predestination is a fact of the Kingdom of God.

The whole scene of the new heaven and earth reign of Christ illustrates vividly the concept of the Church, and then the "nations of them which are saved."

The division between the Church and the nations of the saved is emphasized by the monumental wall that is so prominent in the vision.

The wall of the new Jerusalem, typified by the work of Nehemiah and the Jews of the Restoration, was established forever by the Lord Jesus Christ in His prayer:

I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. (John 17:9)

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (John 17:16)

To claim that the Christian churches are social institutions is to misunderstand the true nature of the Church. The Church is the new Jerusalem, the holy city, the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, the eternal Temple of God.

The Church is an elect creation of God, foreknown, predestined, called, justified, and glorified in advance. Yet, our sanctification, and the establishing beyond doubt of our calling, are responsibilities to which we must take heed or lose our crown to someone else.

The Church is not of the earth. The Church is of God and comes down out of Heaven from God. The Church was begun by God, is being built by the Lord Jesus Christ ("on this rock I will build my church"), and will be brought to completeness and perfection by the Lord. The Church is Divine and is married to Divinity.

The Church is not of the world.

One of the greatest problems of numerous Christians, as is true also of many Jews, is their inability to grasp the fact that they are not of the world. We strive in every manner to be accepted by the nations of the earth, to win people to our way of thinking, to make the Church understandable and accessible to everyone we can.

We cannot seem to understand and appreciate that fellowship with the world is impossible. All we succeed in doing is losing our strength. Our strength, like that of Samson, depends on our separation as a "Nazarite" to God. The moment we reveal the secret of our strength, our covenant of separation to God, the "Philistines are upon us." They put out our eyes, our spiritual sight, and chain us to the mills of the work of the world. Now we are playing the clown for Satan and his servants.

Do you recall the basis for evangelism in the Book of Acts? "The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved"; "as many as were ordained to eternal life believed"; "I have much people in this city"; and so forth.

What kind of perversity abides in us that we will not accept the truth of our election as saints, God’s holy ones? Why will we despise the approval of God and seek to please men? What is the basis for our refusal to be a royal priesthood?

The nations of saved peoples of the earth will accept our role as belonging peculiarly to God as His elected, preordained holy nation (I Peter 2:9). It is we who will not accept it.

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, 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)

We have stated, in the last few pages, that there are at least eight concepts that are common to both the feast of Tabernacles and the new heaven and earth reign of Christ:

The dawning of a new age.

The completion of God’s purpose.

The dwelling of God in His elect among the nations.

A time for rejoicing.

Holiness, righteousness, and obedience.

God’s Israel as the light.

Rivers of living water, and

The separated, royal priesthood.

In the day in which we are living the Church is being called past the feast of Pentecost to the feast of Tabernacles. Each time we are invited to enter further into union with God in His eternal purpose in Christ we become more separated from, more incomprehensible to, the peoples of the world. Paradoxically, it will be the final separation and perfection of the Church that will release the nations from their bondage to corruption.

The religious delusion of the last days will stress that we Christians should become part of the worldwide movement to improve the quality of living for all the members of mankind. This attempt on Satan’s part to "join" the Church will deceive the majority of the believers in Christ; for they cannot conceive that our purpose as saints is to meet God’s needs first, and man’s needs only as God directs. But all else is Antichrist—the imitation of Christ.

But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the Lord God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us. (Ezra 4:3)

Our answer to the world is as follows:

"You have nothing to do with our building a house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the Lord God of Israel."

Spiritual wickedness in the heavens. The new Jerusalem is defended by massive ornate walls and gates. The attention given to the description of the walls and gates of the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb, proclaims one eternal truth: No unclean person, spirit or thing will enter this city.

The new Jerusalem is the Body of Christ. The destiny of the Body is to drive out and wall out sin—out of the heavens and out of the earth.

The destruction of sin is one of the main tasks of Christ, Head and Body. Keeping sin from entering the Presence of God and His saints is the purpose of the wall and gates of the holy city, which is the new Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb.

The wall of the new Jerusalem reveals to us that God intends that all sin be driven out and kept out of His Presence and the presence of His people.

The wall and gates of the new Jerusalem proclaim a condition unlike that of the defenseless Eden. The wall announces to the beholder that sin has been cast out and now is walled out of the Presence of God. The sulfurous fumes of the Lake of Fire, wherever that area is located, will remind the inhabitants of the new heaven and earth of the consequences of disobedience to the laws of God.

The time has come now for the Church of Christ to "rebuild the walls and gates of Jerusalem." The walls of a city keep out the enemy. If there were no enemy there would be no walls.

The walls of a city indicate the boundaries of the city, the area that belongs to it and is part of it. A large region outside the city walls may belong to the city and be governed by the city. This is true in the case of the Kingdom of God.

The gates of a city control the flow of traffic into and out of the city. The Church of Christ holds the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and controls the flow of traffic into and out of the Kingdom (Matthew 18:18; John 20:23).

There were no walls around Eden, indicating that Paradise at that time possessed no defense against invaders. Every kind of unclean spirit could roam freely in Eden. The inevitable result of such weakness was sin and the resulting banishment from the Presence of God.

One of the most prominent features of the new Jerusalem is the gates and the impregnable wall. It may seem strange and not in keeping with our concept of the new heaven and earth that there would be a massive wall and gates guarding the holy city. Yet, the wall and gates are stressed in the description of the city.

The wall and gates are there for a reason: "for upon all the glory shall be a defence" (Isaiah 4:5).

The saints, who will rule for a thousand years during the Jubilee (Daniel 7:26,27) will always remain prepared to crush any signs of resistance to the will of Christ wherever such resistance may appear.

The nations of the saved will always be able to sin, even during the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. They will not be able to enter the new Jerusalem while they are sinning. If they persist in sin, not responding to the guidance of the sons of God, they will be cast into the Lake of Fire.

We do not understand much about the original rebellion of the angels against God. We do know that some of the high-ranking angels of Heaven resisted the will of the Father and sought to increase their own glory.

Apparently Satan led the revolution. The few scriptural allusions to this dreadful occurrence provide us with a glimpse of what took place and what influence the event has on us to the present hour.

Some of the disobedient angels are bound in chains of darkness, awaiting the Day of Judgment:

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; (II Peter 2:4)

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. (Jude 6)

Some are known as the wicked lords in the heavenlies, against whom we are wrestling at this time.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)

And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness [in the wicked one]. (I John 5:19)

When Satan was cast out into the earth "his angels were cast out with him." After this victory, Satan and his angels never again will have a place in the heaven.

And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:8,9)

The condition and activities of the Body of Christ are related to the conditions and events that are in existence and are taking place in the heavenlies.

And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:17-19)

We understand from the Scriptures that an abominable uprising against the Lord God took place in the heavens. Every sin which has taken place on the earth and is now taking place has come down to us from the heavens.

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifest, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (I John 3:8)

Acts of sin by people reflect the wicked nature of unclean spirits. Mankind is influenced by the condition of things in the realm of spiritual personalities. The authors of sin are not human beings. Rebellion against God’s law came down to earth from the heavens.

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (John 8:44)

Satan and his angels are forever doomed. Man can be redeemed. All sin originated with unclean spirits. Human beings are drawn into the uncleannesses because of the rebellious nature of our personalities—the pride that has entered us because of the sin of Adam and Eve and the subsequent God-rejecting actions of the human race.

Every human being has a sinful nature (Psalms 51:5; Romans 3:10). Christ possesses the authority and power to deliver human beings. But evil spirits can never be redeemed.

The Lake of Fire was prepared for the devil and his angels. The Lake of Fire was not prepared for people. The only people who will be cast into the Lake of Fire are those who refuse to allow Christ to separate them from the fallen angels and other wicked spirits.

Sin did not originate in the earth. Sin is not inherent in the earth and does not belong properly in the earth. Sin originated in the heavens and proceeds from the heavens.

In the beginning God created the heavens before He created the earth. Before the saints can bring the power of redemption to the nations of the earth they first must overcome the wicked spirits in the heavenlies.

Whatever the saints bind on the earth is bound in the heavens, in the spirit realm. Otherwise our actions would have little effect.

Satan and those who have followed him were not born in sin. They were not driven against their will by bodies that strive constantly to break God’s laws.

Of their own will they chose to disobey the Father. Therefore God has cast them from the highest level of the heavens. They never can be redeemed.

These wicked spiritual personalities are expressing their natures in the earth with increasing lust and violence. It is the purpose of the Most High God that His will, His law, which now is being performed at the highest level of the heavens, be carried down into the earth. The unclean spirits will be cast into the Lake of Fire and abide there forever.

This one fact we proclaim: God is righteous in all that He does.

His goodness, His power, and His truth are absolute. They are undeniable and impregnable. Let God be true and every man a liar. God alone is good! No spirit or person is able to resist the Father’s power.

Of all the personages of the heavens, God has chosen Christ, His firstborn Son, to inherit His authority and power. It does not matter who in the heavens approves of God’s choice or who does not. The Lord Jesus Christ has been given all authority in Heaven and on the earth. Some may be pleased with this and some may not be pleased. It makes no difference. Christ eternally retains all authority and all power.

The next step in God’s plan, as He cleanses His creation from all rebellion and sin, is to enlarge Christ and to cause Him to be central in every person and every thing in the universe (Ephesians 1:10). The Lord Jesus is to be the Center and the Circumference of all that exists.

The Father is well pleased with Christ and desires to further His purposes in Him. Christ always does the things that please the Father. God is building from Christ’s Substance a Wife who is an inseparable part of Christ and an extension of Him. The Wife of the Lamb is the Temple of God, the holy city, the new Jerusalem.

As soon as the holy city has been brought "to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ," God will move His throne, His center of authority and power. Instead of being located in Heaven, the headquarters of God’s authority and power will be placed in the earth. God has purposed to settle down to rest in Mount Zion, His new site of government.

There are many different orders of inhabitants of the spirit realm. Their number is very great. The heavenly citizens, in whose midst sin originated, are not members of the Wife of the Lamb nor will they be part of the nations of saved peoples of the earth. Their home is the spirit realm. It may be true that they will remain forever in the spirit realm, from which every trace of the dreadful rebellion will have been destroyed.

In the future, if the personages of the heavens desire to appear before the Father to make their petitions known to Him, they must come to the earth in order to do so.

Now we can understand the reason for the wall and gates of the new Jerusalem. The holy city is God’s fortress-Zion. God is a terrible King and He dwells within. Let the heavens and the earth take note: God reigns supreme within these walls in the midst of His Church, a company of righteous people, of sons who have been made perfect by sharing in the sufferings of Christ.

Sin cannot enter here or be permitted anywhere else in God’s realm.

God in Christ in the saints will eternally rule and minister to the heavens and the earth.

For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. (Isaiah 60:12)

There will be no more rebellion in the heavens or on the earth. The cursed spirit of rebellion has been conquered by Christ in the saints. The saints have overcome the accuser by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony, and they have loved not their lives to the death.

As soon as the Body of Christ has been built up to the purity, power, and size that God has in mind, then salvation, strength, the Kingdom of God, and the authority of God’s Christ will come to the heavens. But the throwing down of Satan will mean trouble for the inhabitants of the earth.

Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. (Revelation 12:12)

Why haven’t Michael and his angels cast out Satan long ago? It is because the Body of Christ must be built up to the fullness of stature. "She which travaileth" must bring forth (Micah 5:3).

The holy angels cannot move in judgment against the sinful inhabitants of the heavens except as Christ is brought forth in the saints. It has pleased God that all judgment, both of angels and people, will come through the Church. It is Christ-filled Church that will crush Satan under foot and avenge all disobedience.

The holy angels cannot execute the sentence of judgment until the saints, who are the Divinely appointed judges, have been brought to the fullness of righteousness, holiness, and obedience. All authority and power in the heavens and on the earth will be exercised through the Church because Christ is the Head of the Church.

The Church possesses through Christ the keys of the Kingdom of God. Only the Church has the authority to provide or deny entrance to the Presence and blessing of God.

The holy city is the eternal dwelling place of God, the location of His throne, His seat of government. The heavens and the earth must obey the government of the holy city. There is no superior authority or power anywhere else in the heavens or on the earth, for Christ possesses complete, perfect authority and power.

The saints will share the authority and power with Christ. God is bringing many sons to glory and the sons of God will inherit all things (Revelation 21:7).

Woe to sinners and their sin when God has prepared His saints for judgment and battle! Sin will be destroyed out of the heavens and the earth.

The victorious saints are typified by Gideon’s three hundred men. Just as that small army made it possible for the remainder of Israel to overcome the Midianites, so also will the warlike remnant of saints make it possible for all the Church of Christ to gain ground in God against the enemy.

Each member of the Body of Christ who gains a victory through Christ strengthens the whole Body. Each member who lets down his end of the load makes it that much more difficult for the other members.

We find this principle of extended victory operating on a large scale in the Book of Revelation, Chapter 12. The result of the victory gained by the faithful saints is that their accuser is removed from his place in the heavenlies. He had "accused them before our God day and night." Also, all the members of God’s Church will benefit from the casting down of the accuser from the heavenlies.

Casting down the accuser from his place before God means every child of God will profit; his shortcomings will not be presented constantly before God. Never again will God permit anyone to accuse His people in His Presence. God justifies His people (Romans 8:33).

After the accuser has been cast down, God will listen only to the intercession of Christ (Hebrews 7:25) and of those saints who are making intercession in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18).

God in His saints is a consuming Fire. The saints, by the enabling wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit, perform the will of God everywhere throughout His creation. This is why God’s name, the name of the holy city, and Christ’s new name are impressed in every part of their personality.

The saints represent God and are of His Being and Presence. Christ has created them so, patiently feeding them with His body and blood and immersing them in the Holy Spirit. Now they are ready to go forth and execute God’s judgment throughout His creation. They are God’s sons, His "arrows," His means of dealing with "the enemies in the gate."

As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. (Psalms 127:4,5)

Whoever has control of the gates of a city has control of the city. God’s saints have something to say to the "enemies in the gate."

. . . and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; (Genesis 22:17)

. . . and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)

Although the Wife of the Lamb is exceedingly beautiful in Christ’s eyes, she also is a terrible sword in God’s hand. The sight of the Bride, in the eyes of the Lord’s enemies, will produce the paralyzing fear of the ferocious charge of an indestructible, irresistible cavalry. This fierce quality will never leave the Wife of the Lamb for she is married eternally to the God of battles, the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

The Wife of the Lamb is no innocent and defenseless Eve. The Church of Christ is a knife in the soul of God’s enemies.

The holiness of the new Jerusalem. The holy city, the new Jerusalem, is the law of God evolved into utter, radiant holiness. The holiness of God will be breathed into the Church as the eternities roll by. The consciousness of sin will have been lost in past ages as far as the Wife of the Lamb is concerned.

The Lake of Fire will glow as hot as ever. A sulfurous stench will surround it. By contrast, surrounding the city of God will be walls and gates of breathtaking beauty and size.

The holy city, the Wife of the Lamb, is not only legally free from sin (claiming the righteousness of Christ as a covering) but also is militantly righteous in nature. She is a conqueror of evil tendencies, having been created so by the Holy Spirit of God.

The Wife of the Lamb is not an innocent Eve ready to be deceived by every liar who comes along. The Wife of the Lamb is protected on every side by the inwrought holiness of Christ that resists fear, unbelief, murder, lust, occult practices, idolatry, and lying.

The new Jerusalem is the city of truth. Sin can never enter there. This is the meaning of the wall and gates.

The Scripture places extraordinary emphasis on the wall and gates of the new Jerusalem:

And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. (Revelation 21:12-15)

Remember that walls and gates in the history of Jerusalem have to do with defense against the enemy. The wall of the city is "great and high." There is no way of getting through it or over it. Whoever would enter the city has to do so through one of the twelve gates.

An angel is stationed at each gate. The names of the twelve tribes of Israel are written on the gates. The names of the twelve Jewish Apostles of the Lamb are inscribed in the twelve foundations of the wall of the city (Revelation 21:12-14). God’s intentions toward the nation of Israel never change.

God measures the city, the gates, and the wall with a "golden reed," signifying that each of these three parts will be judged by His Divine standard (which now has become the standard also of the saints). The dimensions must be precise because this is the new Jerusalem, the Temple of God, the Bride of the Lamb. Only perfection is accepted here. Not only must the city be perfect in each detail but the defenses of the city must be perfect as well.

No unclean spirit shall ever be allowed entrance into the holy city.

In the Scriptures the number twelve represents the completeness of God’s family. One hundred forty-four cubits, twelve times twelve, is the measurement of the wall. This indicates that the defense of the city is complete in every respect. The full number of the holy remnant, the victorious saints who protect the city of Jerusalem, have been brought to the fullness of the stature of Christ.

And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. (Revelation 21:18-20)

The foundations of the wall of the new Jerusalem are spectacular in beauty. The precious stones reveal the diverse personalities of God’s conquering saints who have been made perfect through the work of the Holy Spirit.

The defense of the city against uncleanness is founded solidly on Christ formed in God’s saints, the result of long years of patient obedience as the Holy Spirit led them through one test and then another.

God’s faithful saints will shine as the stars forever, having been made glorious in holiness. There yet will come an end to their crucifixion, the process of dying and living that they now are experiencing. They will be rewarded abundantly by seeing what God has created in them.

And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. (Revelation 21:21)

Pearls are formed by an oyster’s response to a grain of sand or other foreign matter that has entered its shell. A pearl is built up from carbonate of lime secretions and layers of animal membrane. Pearls are made by living creatures.

Gold is an element, a mineral dug from the earth. In the Scriptures, gold represents God’s Glory. Gold is given from God, it is not produced by living creatures as are pearls.

Natural gold must be refined in order to remove impurities. Spiritual gold also must be refined in man so all that is not of God may be removed from the personality. This is not the case with pearls. Gold is refined but pearls are polished.

We Christians know from experience that our cross has caused the Nature of Christ to be formed in us as we have labored patiently in the Lord. If we accept our problems and work through them in faith and patience, looking always to Christ for help each day, a "pearl" is formed in us.

A Christian who journeyed through the world without tribulation, who had no cross to bring him constantly to prayer, would never have a pearl to bring to the Lord. He still would be the old fleshly self. Such a personality could never be trusted to prevent the entrance of evil into his own life or into the city of God.

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)

Our light affliction, which the Lord in His goodness sends our way under carefully controlled conditions, creates in us a pearl that is an exceedingly surpassing glory—an eternal glory.

How wise God is to station at the entrance to His Glory those who have been subjected to the sufferings of Christ and who are part of the Divine Substance and resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus! They will not be moved throughout the ages (just as they are not moved now) by any factor other than the will of Christ, when someone seeks entrance into the Presence and blessings of God.

Let us pause here a moment for explanation. By this time, the reader may be confused as to whether there is a literal city or whether the new Jerusalem is only a description of the saints, the Church of Christ.

There is a real city, a new Jerusalem, we believe. The virtues and characteristics of the saints are incorporated in the city. Every city on the earth reflects the personalities of the inhabitants of the city. This especially is true in the case of the new Jerusalem.

The twenty-first chapter of the Book of Revelation refers to the new Jerusalem as the "bride, the Lamb’s wife." We understand therefore that whatever else the city may be, it is the Lamb’s Wife, the Body of Christ, the Christian Church, the eternal Temple of God.

God is not concerned with real estate, such as a city constructed from gold and jewels. God’s joy is in the righteousness, holiness, and obedience of His people. These are the important elements of the Kingdom of God.

We may be impressed with gold, emerald, jasper, topaz, amethyst. God most assuredly is not. From God’s point of view, one person who has gone through the purifying fire with Him and has come forth in the image of His Son, Christ, is worth much more than the mineral wealth of the entire universe.

If the Lord God remains unimpressed with mineral wealth or with a beautiful city or with fifteen hundred beautiful cities, but is impressed only with the quality of His saints, why should the Holy Spirit devote a chapter of the Scripture to a discussion of precious stones and gold?

God cares nothing at all about gold and precious stones and He desires that His children care nothing at all about gold and precious stones. Our life does not consist in the abundance of things we possess.

Why is such emphasis placed on ornamented foundations of a wall, and gates of tremendous monetary value and dazzling material beauty when these things are as nothing in the sight of God and His saints? Many of the faithful have turned their back on the wealth of the world so they may gain the true gold and precious stones of the Spirit of God.

The answer is this: apart from any material reality of the new Jerusalem, the description of the holy city with its emphasized walls and gates is a portrayal of the Church of Christ when it has attained the fullness of the Divine redemption and reconciliation.

Let us go further: the holy city also is a picture of each Christian brought to maturity in Christ. So perfect is the working of the Lord God that each mature Christian summarizes in himself the principal attributes of the Church of Christ.

Let us examine a few passages that point toward the spiritual quality of the treasures of the holy city:

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: (Matthew 6:20)

The treasures of which the Lord speaks have to do with favor in the sight of God—the treasures that come from knowing Him and sharing in the riches of the Kingdom of God. None of the truly important treasures of a man, such as the respect of God or the love of his family, can be purchased with money.

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; (I Corinthians 3:11,12)

We desire to be of those who build gold, silver, and precious stones on the foundation Christ.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (II Corinthians 4:7)

The "treasure" contained in our "earthen vessels" is the "light of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." During the new heaven and earth reign of Christ, and also during the thousand-year Kingdom Age, the conquering saint will bear the light of God’s Glory in a glorified vessel rather than in an earthen vessel.

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: (I Peter 1:7)

The gold in which we are interested (and there is a great deal of such refined gold in the holy city) is our faith in God through Christ. This gold cannot be stolen and is imperishable. It is worth infinitely more than the purest gold found in the banks of the world.

I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; . . . . (Revelation 3:18)

Jesus gives us wise counsel. He advises us to buy from Him a quantity of gold that has been refined until it is as transparent as glass. He urges us to invest in the holy city.

It can be seen that the gold, precious stones, and pearls in which God is interested, and in which we ought to be interested, are not the material wealth of the world.

The holy city, though it were a million miles on a side and constructed throughout of diamonds and emeralds, would be worthless and disgusting to God if it contained one gossiper, one slanderer, one liar, one murderer, one sorcerer. It is not the wealth or beauty of the city that interests God Almighty, it is the spiritual nature of the inhabitants.

From the Lord’s point of view, the beauty of the new Jerusalem is not the rainbow of color streaming from the gems set in the foundations of the wall. Rather, the beauty of the city is the beauty of holiness to the Lord. It is the holiness of the people who compose the city that ravishes the heart of the Lamb of God.

Their holiness is the reflection of His holiness. The holy city is part of the Lord Jesus just as Eve was part of Adam.

The reds, the greens, the blues, and the purples flashing from the foundations of the wall speak of the fact that the blood of Christ, resurrection life, the moral purity of Heaven, and the majesty of Christ have been created in the personalities of the saints on whom the city is founded. The perfection of this city of cities is the spiritual perfection of the people of whom the city consists.

The close identity of the city with its inhabitants is revealed in Revelation 3:12:

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.

The city is the Temple of God. There is "no temple" therein for God and the Lamb are the temple of it. This means there is no separating wall, no veil between God and His people. Each of them will see the face of the Father.

Each overcomer is an integral part—a pillar—of the city. Also, the fact that the name of the city of God is written on each overcomer suggests that this is a living city. It extends to wherever the overcomer goes.

The new heaven and earth reign of Christ is the kingdom-wide expression of the maturing in us of the rule of God in Christ.

The extraordinary emphasis placed on the wall, on the twelve foundations of the wall, and on the twelve gates of the city reveals to us why God expends seemingly endless amounts of time on the perfecting of our defenses against sin.

If one considers the entire Scriptures it appears that God has spoken more to us about His holiness and our sin than He has any other topic. Therefore the revelation of the new Jerusalem commences with a description of the wall, the foundations of the wall, and the gates controlling the entrances.

Also included in the revelation is a statement concerning those who will not be allowed into the city and those who will be allowed to enter the city (Revelation 21:8, 22:14).

God desires that each Christian be holy as He is holy; not just with a legal holiness borrowed from Christ but actually holy in our personality such that we think holy thoughts, speak holy words, practice holy behavior.

It is the holy city, filled with the Holy Spirit. The citizens of the new Jerusalem are to speak holy words and act in a holy manner. We are to be holy through and through, like transparent gold.

What good would be a spectacularly beautiful city full of people who were saved by imputed (ascribed) righteousness but who could not or would not behave in a holy manner? It would be confusion, like a perfectly proportioned cathedral of mature craftsmanship and exquisite detail full of backbiters and gossipers. God would never be pleased with it.

The wall of jasper, clear as crystal, means our defenses against sin have become transparently pure and as hard as rock.

The twelve foundations of the wall reveal that our holiness is based on our receiving the Person, work, and testimony of Christ as presented through His holy Apostles. Our foundation of faith is embellished with the perfections of character that the Holy Spirit has formed in us.

The gates of the city are pearls. People must enter the city of God by way of the pearl, that is, by way of the Nature of God that has been built up in the saints as they have responded in Christ to tribulation, patiently bearing their cross and submitting to crucifixion with Him.

We can never serve as a door to God’s Presence until we have shared the sufferings of Christ. The more we suffer in the Lord the easier it is for people to approach God through us, provided we respond to our suffering in the correct manner. If we respond to suffering by blaming others and becoming bitter, then our suffering has not made us a gate to the Presence of God.

In our patient endurance we possess our souls. The "pearl" of our character is produced as we draw upon the virtue of Christ in order to cope with the problems of life. The resulting Divinely impregnated strength and beauty in our personality is as hard as it is beautiful. Nothing unclean ever will get past one of God’s "pearls" and enter the holy city.

How about the pearl in your life? Is it as hard as it is beautiful? Is it growing larger and more perfectly formed each day? Or do you flee from God’s Presence, as did Jonah, every time the Lord attempts to create a pearl in your personality?

The clear gold of the city is the faith of the saints refined to clarity by fiery trials.

We are being married (united; reconciled) to the Lamb of God now. We are being created from His body and blood just as Eve was created from Adam. This creation is taking place if we are following the Lord and walking in the Holy Spirit.

If we are allowing Christ to set up His Kingdom in us today, then out from us will flow rivers of the living water of the Holy Spirit. We are becoming a tree of life from whom the people around us may receive food for their souls and healing for their bodies.

The closer we come to true spiritual maturity the more profitable we become to the people around us.

Each member of the Body of Christ is the new Jerusalem in miniature. The "pearl" of the Substance of Christ is being formed in us—a tough, polished resistance to all forms of wickedness, yet possessing Divine-human compassion and understanding. We are becoming the holy city, meaning that God’s Word, His law is becoming incarnate in us in the radiant beauty of holiness. Christ is the Word made flesh. We are flesh being made the Word.

Rebuilding the walls and gates of Jerusalem. When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem he found that the walls were broken and the gates of the city had been burned up.

And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire. (Nehemiah 2:13)

Nehemiah "arose in the night" to observe the city of God. He was in the city of Jerusalem three days (2:11). The first two days we understand to be typical of the two thousand years of the Christian Era. The "third day" typifies the Millennial Jubilee, the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

The Body of Christ will be perfected during the "third day" (Luke 13:32; Hosea 6:2).

The fact that Nehemiah "arose in the night" (2:11,13) suggests to us that Christ will rebuild the defenses of His Church during the dark hours just prior to the glorious Day of His appearing. The light of God will arise on the church—and even now is arising—as gross darkness begins to cover the nations of the earth (Isaiah 60:2).

God had put it into the heart of Nehemiah to rebuild the city of Jerusalem just as God has put it into the heart of many today to build the Body of Christ.

The first thing Nehemiah came to was the "dragon well." As soon as the Church of Christ becomes serious about rebuilding the defenses against sin, the "dragon" will be "seen in heaven" (Revelation 12:3). When the "woman," the Church, travails in birth to bring forth the "male Son," which is Christ in the saints, the ancient dragon will appear.

We notice in Revelation, Chapter 12 that both the "woman" and the "great red dragon" are in the heaven. It is impossible that they both should remain there for they are eternal enemies. One or the other must be removed.

The woman, the Church, is there by Divine right, having received the Son of God (John 1:12). It is the dragon who shall be forced to leave.

The next ruins Nehemiah approached was the "dung port." The Church of Christ is filled with garbage: gossiping, bitterness, hatred, lust, adultery, slandering, sorcery, envy, pride, haughtiness, arrogance, smugness, unbelief, and every other evil work.

The Body of Christ must be cleansed of all this trash and corruption before the Lord appears. God has provided a "dung port" for His Church. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9).

In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. (Zechariah 13:1)

The walls of Jerusalem were broken and the gates were consumed with fire (Nehemiah 2:13). So it is today. When the Church attempts to accomplish the work of the Kingdom of Heaven primarily by the efforts of flesh and blood, money, and building materials, without an accompanying righteous living, prayer, and faith on the part of the members of the Church, the spiritual defenses are destroyed. The walls against sin are broken. The gates are consumed by the fire of God’s judgment.

The "gates" are the ability of the church to discern clean and unclean spirits, to admit the righteous and resist the wicked.

Today unclean spirits run wild throughout the city of God. Will you "arise in the night" and help rebuild the walls and gates of Jerusalem, the defenses of the Body of Christ?

First we must repair the walls and gates of our own life. We cannot build spiritual strength in other people until we ourselves have been built up in righteousness.

The ruined condition of the walls and gates is symbolic of the neglect of righteous, holy, and obedient service to the Lord. The walls and gates represent defense against sin and the maintaining of holiness and separation to God. Defense against sin and the maintaining of holiness are the purpose of God’s law.

Notice that Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem come into view as soon as someone became serious about building the walls and gates of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:19). The moment we become concerned about holiness, about driving the sin out of our life, we will be opposed. "He that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey" (Isaiah 59:15).

The first stones that hit us may be those of scorn and despising (Nehemiah 2:19). Scorn and derision are designed to take the heart out of us as soon as we attempt to gain spiritual strength. The purpose is to discourage us before we are able to do anything about the ruined condition of the walls and gates of our personality.

Apart from the walls and gates, Jerusalem is helpless before the enemy.

The building of the walls and gates of the city is described in the third chapter of the Book of Nehemiah. One can discover in this chapter some of the principal elements of God’s plan of redemption.

Notice that when Nehemiah began (2:13) he went out "by the gate of the valley." Today, we of the church may be at the gate of the valley. The valley is the "valley of decision" (Joel 3:14), which is associated with the nearness of the Day of the Lord. The valley is the place of the very dry bones—the reminder of what at one time had been alive.

The valley of decision. It is impossible to build personal holiness if there is indecision in one’s life. Many today are attempting to hold both Christ and the world.

Ananias and Sapphira attempted to please the Apostles and at the same time to hold on to their money (Acts 5:2). They were in the valley of decision. As the Day of the Lord draws near we must decide between Christ and Satan.

We must make up our mind. We must choose to serve either Christ or the world. Indecision brings defeat and death in spiritual matters. "A double minded man is unstable in all his ways" (James 1:8).

As soon as Nehemiah went out through the gate of the valley he was confronted with the dragon well and the dung port.

As soon as we attempt to climb out of our valley of decision and serve Christ we are confronted with the red dragon and with the uncleannesses in our life. Then our eyes are opened so we can perceive the broken condition of the wall of God’s city (God’s city is our heart) and the consumed condition of the gates (the ability to enter the Presence of God and to enable other people to enter the Presence of God, and at the same time to keep out evil).

Our walls and gates have been weakened and sometimes destroyed by God’s judgment on our sin and self-seeking. When we shake ourselves, like Samson, we find our spiritual strength has departed. The Lord has departed from us but we did not realize it because we have been asleep in the lap of the world.

Nehemiah went on to the "gate of the fountain, and to the king’s pool" (Nehemiah 2:14).

Whenever there is a sin problem (broken walls and gates, and dung port not operating) in the churches of Christ, and whenever there is indecision concerning consecration and obedience to Christ (the valley of decision), the "gate of the fountain" and the "king’s pool" will be full of rubble. The waters of the Holy Spirit, the waters of eternal life, will not be flowing freely.

In many of our churches today there is a lack of the manifestation of the power of Christ. The Lord is raising up those with various gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit and they are traveling from place to place, encouraging and blessing the Lord’s people.

The reason why so many of our assemblies of saints are not at their peak spiritually is that sin is being practiced and the level of consecration and faith is not high enough. We are in a period of lukewarmness. We are neither hot nor cold and therefore are distasteful to the Lord.

The grace of God has been turned into immorality. Material gain is considered to be a sign of godliness. The conditions of discipleship are being compromised. God’s people are not being challenged often enough or emphatically enough to take up their cross and follow the Master. Therefore the showers of blessing and power are being withheld.

In order for the "gate of the fountain" and the "king’s pool" to be restored to us we are required to do four things:

We must confess and forsake our sins of the flesh under the guidance and enabling power of the Holy Spirit of God.

We must consecrate ourselves to Christ with utmost sincerity.

We must pray without ceasing to God to restore His blessings and power to us,

We must act in faith according to the statements of Scripture, as the Spirit guides us.

If we will practice these four acts the Holy Spirit will be given to us.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (II Chronicles 7:14)

In many instances the condition of the Body of Christ is a reproach. The world looks down on the Church with amused condescension and sometimes with hatred and persecution.

The world is not beholding the holiness and power of the resurrected Lord Jesus. Although the only hope for the salvation of the world is in the Christian Church, the Church often allows itself to be deceived by the world, the flesh, and the devil.

When we take heart and begin to rebuild the holiness and power of the Church, the true saints are encouraged. They say, "Let us rise up and build." They strengthen "their hands for this good work" (Nehemiah 2:18).

When we turn again to Christ in sincerity of heart we may experience a derisive protest from those who have known the churches but have never known the Lord of the Church.

Our answer to those who would turn away in scorn from the idea of repenting and humbling ourselves before Christ is as follows:

. . . The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 2:20)

As soon as we begin to look to Jesus for revival He causes us to understand that one of His first concerns is the feeding and care of His sheep.

Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests, and they builded the sheep gate; they sanctified it, and set up the doors of it; even unto the tower of Meah they sanctified it, unto the tower of Hananeel. (Nehemiah 3:1)

The move today to restore the strength and defenses of the Church is of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our heavenly High Priest is rising up with His "brothers" (Romans 8:29). The awakening of spiritual life is not taking place just in one area. The restoration of the Glory of Christ in the Church is occurring wherever Christian people desire the Presence of the Lord.

The "sheep gate" speaks to us of the need to strengthen the Lord’s sheep and His lambs. Before anything else can be accomplished the sheep must be fed. If we truly love Jesus we will feed His sheep.

Also, the sheep of God must be alerted and prepared for the spiritual battles that lie just ahead as the Day of the Lord draws near.

The sheep gate must be sanctified—set apart unto holiness. Without holiness the Body of Christ is powerless.

There never is a lack of power with God. The battles of the Lord never are lost because of a lack of power on God’s part. When the churches of Christ become dry and powerless it is because of the lack of holiness and obedience. In holiness and obedience there is power with the Lord.

The Lord’s sheep must be consecrated to the Lord’s service. We never will arrive at the full realization of our inheritance in Christ until we are willing to receive Jesus as Lord and to serve Him without question in every area of our life. It is in becoming one of Jesus’ lambs, one of His sheep, that we are able to obtain eternal life—and that more abundantly (John 10:10).

The doors of the sheep gate must be set up. Then we will be able to find our way into the green pastures. There are green pastures and quiet waters for each of the Lord’s sheep, but the "doors" in some instances have not been set up.

The hour in which we are living is filled with voices and confusion of all kinds. Men’s hearts are failing them for fear. There is distress and perplexity.

God has a place of peace and safety for every person on the earth. It is the responsibility of the ministry of the Church of Christ to build up the Door (Christ) that leads to safety in God—to point to that Door and hold it up above every other that all may enter and find rest for their souls.

God is still the same. He has not changed. It matters not how the world may reel under the burden of sin and despair, green pastures and quiet waters are available for every person. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only true Shepherd. Whoever will choose to receive and follow the Good Shepherd may enter the Door to salvation and come in and go out and find pasture (John 10:9).

First, the Lord’s sheep must be strengthened. Then there are the "fish."

But the fish gate did the sons of Hassenaah build, who also laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof. (Nehemiah 3:3)

The Lord Jesus desires to make us "fishers of men." Before Jesus returns, the Good News of the Kingdom of God must be preached to every nation. It is our understanding of the mind of the Holy Spirit that we now are in the beginning of the most powerful revival of the spread of the Gospel of the Kingdom ever witnessed on the earth. We believe this is the promised "latter rain" and that it is portrayed symbolically by the "two witnesses" of Revelation, Chapter 11. We envision the saints going forth under a double anointing of power and revelation, performing signs and wonders, working miracles of healing and deliverance, bringing the Spirit of revelation that unlocks the Scriptures so the purposes of God are made clear.

It is our firm conviction that this most stupendous of all outpourings of the Spirit of God will bring the power and message of the Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven to every man, woman, boy, and girl on the face of the earth.

The original Gospel of the Kingdom will be restored in the last days. The "two witnesses" (Christ—Head and Body) will perform signs and wonders, casting out devils, healing the sick, raising the dead, preaching the Gospel to the poor of the world, as well as performing acts of judgment and destruction.

They will cry: "The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News. Every person who believes in Christ and is baptized shall be saved."

Hopefully the Spirit-anointed testimony of the last days will result in the bringing of multiplied millions of "fish" into the Kingdom of God.

Notice the "beams," the "doors," the "locks," and the "bars." These speak to us of strength, of solidity, of security, of permanence. It was a time of repairing, just as today is a period of repairing that which has been destroyed during the Church Era.

Everything man truly receives must be given to him twice. First, God gives us a possession. Then, we lose it because we are neither worthy of it nor capable of maintaining it and profiting from it.

After that we must set out to regain what we forfeited by our weakness and foolishness. We regain our inheritance one beam, one door, one lock, one bar at a time. As soon as we regain our inheritance in this manner we never lose it again.

This is the story of mankind, of Israel, of the Church, of Samson, of the prodigal son. We receive the gift, we lose it by foolishness, and then we regain it with the help of the Lord. Now it is ours for eternity.

The work of building the Body of Christ that currently is progressing will produce a stability and permanence in the Body that has not always been true of past revivals.

The souls who are brought in during the unprecedented ingathering will be screened by a period of testing. The love of the majority of the believers will grow cold, resulting in the lawless rule of Antichrist.

Yet it is true also there will have been created, as part of the last revival, a mature Church that will be ready to receive Christ and to share the inheritance with Him at His coming.

The peoples of the world and the members of the Christian churches must have one last opportunity to see and hear the goodness and the severity of God.

When the nations of the earth witness the works of the resurrected Christ, and hear the Good News of the glorious Kingdom of God that even now is looming on the spiritual horizon, a multitude of "fish" will be caught for the Lord.

It is hoped also many believers will stream out of the confused and deceived institutions that name the name of Christ today and come to love the truth that is in Jesus. The Christian churches are in a deplorable condition!

When the whole world has seen and heard the testimony, and many "Laodicean" believers have purchased from Christ "gold tried in the fire," then our Lord Jesus will return (Matthew 24:14).

Notice in Nehemiah 3:5 that "their nobles put not their necks to the work of their Lord."

It will do us no good to wait for the gifted and prominent leaders in the churches to take the lead. Each of us who has the call of God on his or her heart must arise and build as the Lord directs.

This is harvest time and we do not want our heavenly Father to be ashamed of us.

Hopefully many of the leaders of the churches will put their "necks" into moving God’s people toward repentance, toward holiness, toward restoring the purity and power of the Body of Christ.

We must have the contribution of the ministries and gifts of every member of the Body of Christ in order for the work of building the body, and the work of bearing witness of the Kingdom, to move ahead as they should.

The Lord Himself will appear in His Glory as soon as He builds up Zion. We fervently desire to hasten His appearing.

Moreover the old gate repaired Jehoiada the son of Paseah, and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah; they laid the beams thereof, and set up the doors thereof, and the locks thereof, and the bars thereof. (Nehemiah 3:6)

The "old gate" must be repaired because we are returning to the apostolic doctrine and ways—back to the truth and anointing possessed by God’s heroes of old.

Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. (Jeremiah 6:16)

We are seeking the "old paths" of the holy men and women of God so we may walk therein. These tested and proven ways will never be lost to us again because they are being established forever with "beams, doors, locks, and bars."

The graces and ministries of the first-century church were lost to us when the Apostles of the Lamb died. They have been in the process of being restored to the Body of Christ since the Protestant Reformers became aware "the just shall live by faith." "Beams" are giving the Divine truth permanent form. "Doors" are allowing the elect to enter by prayer and faith and obtain the fullness of the Divine redemption. "Locks" and "bars" are keeping deception, sin, and rebellion out of the Body of Christ forever.

As we return to God’s way, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and begin to construct the defenses of the Church, we will receive increased spiritual strength for defense against the enemy.

No longer will the Church of Christ be a weak institution that begs pitifully for crumbs of assistance and comfort from the "uncircumcised." Instead the Church will be as Samson, tearing down the kingdom of darkness as the saints bow in worship before the Lord and die to the ways of the flesh and the world (Judges 16:30).

And next unto them repaired Melatiah the Gibeonite, and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon, and of Mizpah, unto the throne of the governor on this side the river. (Nehemiah 3:7)

The "throne of the governor" must become an important aspect of the Body of Christ. If we are determined to come to the unity and maturity of the full stature of the Body of Christ we must be willing to accept the direction pointed out to us by messengers sent from Christ. There must be a restoration of spiritual oversight and authority.

It is not sufficient that we run about in every direction doing what is right in our own eyes, seeking to build the Kingdom of God as we see fit. The Kingdom of Heaven is a realm of authority—authority that is determined, appointed, empowered, and supervised by the Lord God of Heaven.

Apart from such Divinely ordered authority and discipline the Kingdom of God cannot be established in the earth. The Kingdom of God is a government that rules vigorously from the top down. God’s government will be established eternally in the earth in spite of the vicious opposition of fallen angels and self-seeking men.

The Body of Christ is the government of the ages to come, and must itself be governed perfectly by the Lord Jesus Christ who Himself is governed by the Father.

Because the government of the Kingdom of God is near, because God is forming an army, and because military discipline is appearing on the horizon, there exists an intense temptation for well-intentioned men and women to attempt to get together and organize the army and the plan of attack.

This writer’s point of view is that all such efforts to organize the Christian army and develop plans of attack proceed from the human mind. The believers involved in this premature undertaking will resist Christ when He presents His own warriors. They will not understand how the Lord could pass them by when they had assured themselves that God is obligated to honor their schemes. God will raise up someone they never heard of. If this individual does not join their group they will not accept him. They will acknowledge only their own prophets and apostles, their own efforts to build the Kingdom.

It requires much painful experience before we are willing to take our hands off the Ark and allow the Lord to govern every step we take, every thought we think, every effort we make, and not to conclude from one visitation of the Lord that all future battles will be fought in the same manner. Think about the diversity of the battles fought under Joshua, under David. No two battles were alike. Joshua and David were God’s generals and whenever they sought the Lord they prospered.

We are in an hour of unprecedented danger and unprecedented opportunity. The danger is that we, having spiritual gifts and insights, will attempt to use them according to our own wisdom. The opportunity is that of entering the Kingdom of God. Many that are last in time shall be first in the Kingdom of God.

Let us cease our endless planning, our schemes to install the Kingdom of God, and wait on the Lord Jesus at every point. Let us cease joining hands with one another and take the Lord’s hand. Let us follow the Ark instead of attempting to carry it, instead of seeking to use the Glory of God to win the battles we ourselves are directing.

It is time now for the Kingdom of Heaven to rise up and destroy the kingdom of darkness. One of the aspects of the coming battle is the creation of clear lines of command. The flesh and human mind are worse than useless in conducting spiritual warfare.

The Holy Spirit must come upon the members of the Body of Christ with power just as He did upon Samson. Only then can the Church take possession of the gates of the enemy (Judges 16:3).

It is time now for the Lord to restore the holiness and power of the Body of Christ. It is time now to pray for the "latter rain" (Zechariah 10:1), to spend time each day in the Scriptures, to seek the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit, to dedicate ourselves to the service of Christ.

Behold, the Judge is at the door! Will we wait for His appearing without having taken the steps that will bring us into His will and favor?

If we bury our talents we may find it difficult to explain to Christ why we kept putting off into the future the praying and studying of the Scriptures that are necessary in order to establish His will in our life.

It is time to seek Christ now!—today! There is no tomorrow when it comes to deciding to serve God. The battle always is today. The flesh, the world, and Satan understand this well. They will struggle without ceasing to keep us putting off until tomorrow what we should be doing now.

Let us arise and build. The Lord Jesus will strengthen us if we do. We must take that first step toward Him, and then He will encourage and assist us.

Will you labor in Christ with your tools in one hand and your sword in the other?

If you do not arise and seek Christ today you will weep bitter tears when the Lord returns because you passed up your chance to strengthen the Body of Christ in its hour of preparation. You did not report for duty when the Lord needed help against His enemies (Judges 5:23).

Next unto him repaired Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, of the goldsmiths. Next unto him also repaired Hananiah the son of one of the apothecaries, and they fortified Jerusalem unto the broad wall. (Nehemiah 3:8)

Notice the mention of the "goldsmiths." As soon as we address ourselves to the business of building the Church’s defenses against sin, the Lord begins to give us some of the "gold" of His Divine Nature.

Concerning salvation, redemption, deliverance, spiritual warfare, there is little or nothing we can accomplish by the wisdom and energies of the flesh of man. The flesh, as Jesus pointed out, "profiteth nothing."

If we would escape the "corruption that is in the world through lust" we must become "partakers of the Divine nature" (II Peter 1:4). The Lord’s "goldsmiths" are ready to begin covering us within and without with Christ’s holy Substance.

The inclusion of the "apothecaries" reminds us that in order to construct the defenses of the Church of Christ we must be anointed with the holy oil, the Holy Spirit, in all that we are, think, do, and say.

And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil. (Exodus 30:25)

Every aspect of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, including the priesthood, had to be anointed with oil. Only that which is anointed is of any use in building the Body of the Anointed One.

And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein, and sanctified them. And he sprinkled thereof upon the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all his vessels, both the laver and his foot, to sanctify them. And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron’s head, and anointed him, to sanctify him. (Leviticus 8:10-12)

Much if not most of the activities of the Christian churches are not anointed with the Spirit of God. This is particularly true of music, including choir music and "specials." No matter how pleasing the music may be to our soul it seldom is anointed by the Holy Spirit.

Most church music is entertainment and of little use in actually building the Body of Christ. In fact, it often is a hindrance because the music occupies the time that might be spent in activities that are anointed, such as the exercise of the gifts of the Spirit.

Music may be used, along with other activities, to occupy the youth in a harmless, Christian-oriented activity, or for some similar purpose. But music as it sometimes is used in the assemblies does not build up Christ in the believer.

Children and young people are more able to participate in fervent discipleship than we understand. The youth need to be challenged!—not browbeaten or forced to sit quietly with their hands folded, but challenged to be disciples of the Lord. The children can participate in pageantry, dancing before the Lord, marching into the assembly with banners while praising the Lord, and playing musical instruments. There are things children can do that God will bless and anoint with His Presence.

The consecrated elders of today need to look to the Lord for the children and young people because the average Christian church is attempting to attract the young with social events and popular worldly activities, and wild, soulish, contemporary music instead of the holy practices of the Spirit of God.

Challenge the children with the rigors of discipleship and the fervent worship of the Lord and they will respond! You will build a holy, righteous army that will bear witness during the coming days of darkness. The younger children need lots of time for games and wholesome activities. But we need to present more of a challenge to the adolescents.

The holy perfume of our fervent and Christ-filled supplications and worship is necessary in the work of the Body of Christ.

And he made the holy anointing oil, and the pure incense of sweet spices, according to the work of the apothecary. (Exodus 37:29)

One of the greatest needs of today is Spirit-filled prayer and worship. It is God’s will that there be a powerful revival in our time, including repentance, increased spiritual strength and holiness on the part of Christian believers, and also the bringing of the witness of the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of Christ to every group of people on the earth.

Christ will not just "dump" revival on us either individually or collectively. We are required to repent and to consistently practice fervent prayer and praise if we are to realize the power and blessing God has available for us now.

The fortification of Jerusalem to the "broad wall" signifies it is time for the Body of Christ to construct a broad "highway of holiness."

And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. (Isaiah 35:8)

Every valley must be raised and every high place must be brought down until the way of the Lord is made straight, easy to find, and uncluttered.

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: (Isaiah 40:3,4)

In our day the only broad road is the path leading to destruction. The way to eternal life is narrow and difficult to find and walk in.

It is the business of the saints of the Church to construct a highway of holiness that is wide, straight, and easy to find so all of God’s people can get to Him without falling into destruction.

Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people. (Isaiah 62:10)

Let us through the Holy Spirit cast up the highway of righteous, holy conduct so those who follow us do not stumble or fall but go forward to the loving embrace of their heavenly Father.

There always is someone ahead of us in the Lord and also people who do not know the Lord as well as we do. Our task is to follow those ahead of us as they follow Christ, marching along in the same rank (Philippians 3:16,17).

Then we are to reach back to those who are behind us so they can follow us as we follow Christ. By giving ourselves wholly to the things of Christ we save ourselves and those who hear us (I Timothy 4:16).

We are to live so people can follow us without stumbling, as we follow Christ. We endure all things for the elect’s sake that they may obtain the fullness of the Divine redemption. May our lives be the vision of the Lord so the souls hastening by can read the message easily and quickly.

And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. (Hebrews 12:13)

And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. (Habakkuk 2:2)

Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way. (Romans 14:13)

We must have the fire of God if we are to perform His will. "Our God is a consuming fire."

Malchijah the son of Harim, and Hashub the son of Pahathmoab, repaired the other piece, and the tower of the furnaces. (Nehemiah 3:11)

The "tower of the furnaces" must be repaired because the fire of God’s judgment always must abide in the midst of the Body of Christ.

In many instances the fire of God is absent from our assemblies. There is little or no consciousness of sin on the part of the members of the Body of Christ. Yet, the sins of the flesh are clearly defined by the writers of the New Testament.

The works of the flesh are practiced commonly and openly by the church people of today. Of all the needs of the Church of Christ in our time, one of the greatest is for the Christian people and all their works to be baptized with the Divine fire.

Otherwise, adultery, fornication, spiritism, hatred, perversion, violence, gossiping, backbiting, envy, jealousy, spite, evil speaking, arrogance, remain unjudged among us.

There is more than a baptism with the Holy Spirit. There is a baptism with fire. It is time for the Christian Church to be baptized with the fire of God.

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is more powerful than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: 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)

When we draw near to the Lord God of Heaven we are drawing near to the fires of judgment. If we would see the Lord and stand in His Presence we must be holy and pure of heart.

The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? (Isaiah 33:14)

Let us run to the fires of Divine judgment. Let us pray for the Lord’s judgment on ourselves and our works.

God will help us judge ourselves so we will not be condemned with the world (I Corinthians 11:31,32). The judgment of God upon us and our conduct is greatly to be desired in the present hour.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalms 139:23,24)

The "furnaces" speak to us also of the energy, the power of God. The Kingdom of God is not in word but in power. Prayer and obedience are necessary on our part if we hope to witness the power of God working among us.

There is no lasting strength in the efforts of the flesh of men. If we would have the power of the Kingdom of God we must pray fervently in the Spirit and be obedient to the Spirit of God at all times.

The valley gate repaired Hanun, and the inhabitants of Zanoah; they built it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and a thousand cubits on the wall unto the dung gate. (Nehemiah 3:13)

"The day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision" (Joel 3:14).

The "thousand cubits on the wall to the dung gate" speak to us of the coming Jubilee and the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Day of Atonement—the removal of all garbage, all sin and corruption, from the Wife of the Lamb.

Today the Lord Jesus is commanding all members of His Body, His army, to come to the place of resolution, to climb out of the "valley of decision."

"Choose you this day whom you will serve."

We must cast every idol out of our heart and mind and cleave to the Lord Jesus with singleness of purpose. No longer will the slightest deviation from Christ’s will be acceptable.

In time past we may have stumbled along in a halfhearted, lukewarm, consecration to Christ. Not any longer! All lukewarmness must be banished from our midst.

A separation is upon us now bringing an ever-widening gulf between the righteous and the wicked. Both righteousness and sin, the wheat and the tares, are coming to maturity and to harvest.

The Lord’s people are to be holy—separate from all sin and sinners as far as personal behavior is concerned. We are to "come out from among them."

There will be opportunity no longer to walk on the fence of indecision. The eternal roles and destinies are being established. If we do not allow Jesus to be the Lord of our life we will not inherit the rewards that have been assigned to the victorious saints.

The Lord Jesus is so wonderful! Can we do less than give Him all of our personality and ambitions? If we do not, we will not be able to stand in the days of trouble that are at hand.

But the dung gate repaired Malchiah the son of Rechab, the ruler of part of Bethhaccerem; he built it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof. (Nehemiah 3:14)

The repairing of the "dung gate" symbolizes the restoring of the ability of the Church of Christ to rid itself of the sins of the flesh. We need to learn how to wash our robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. We wash our robes by confessing and forsaking our sinful practices and then by resisting the devil.

There is to be no sin or rebellion in the Church of Christ. When the Lord returns He will be a consuming fire, the incarnation of the wrath of God against sin.

If we have been leading a careless life, not putting away our sins, we are heading for trouble in the Day of Christ. Let us repair the "dung gate" in our life, making ourselves ready for the Day of Christ that is just over the horizon.

But the gate of the fountain repaired Shallun the son of Colhozeh, the ruler of part of Mizpah; he built it, and covered it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and the wall of the pool of Siloah by the king’s garden, and unto the stairs that go down from the city of David. (Nehemiah 3:15)

The saints are "the king’s garden." They are the "elect" of the Lord in whom His soul delights (Isaiah 42:1). We are loved of the Lord God with an exceedingly great love and He takes pleasure in us as we make progress in the knowledge of Him.

The Body of Christ is "a garden enclosed," a "spring shut up, a fountain sealed" (Song of Solomon 4:12). For nearly two thousand years the Lord Jesus has waited, knowing that the Father has promised that He will "see of the travail of his soul" (Isaiah 53:11).

The history of the Christian Church may appear to be a confused mixture of stops and starts, of spiritual coldness and revivals. There exists a multitude of competing denominations. But these "clouds" are only the dust of God’s feet. The plan of God is moving along with precision. The end result will be a beautiful garden nourished by the sparkling, flowing fountain of the waters of eternal life.

Even today the Christian Church is "enclosed" and "shut up." The days are at hand when the winds of God will blow on the Church and the long-awaited maturing and perfecting of the Wife of the Lamb will take place.

Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits. (Song of Solomon 4:16)

The Christian Church of today is a "valley of dry bones." The four winds will yet breathe on the slain and they shall live! (Ezekiel 37:9).

The Word of the Lord to the Church is, "Repent"; and having repented, to "Rise!" to "Shine!" The Glory of Christ will abide on His Body throughout the darkest hour of the night that is just ahead.

When the Lord Jesus returns, the Church will be prepared for Him in unity, in holiness, and in His image in every characteristic.

God understands clearly what He is doing. The time for the perfecting of the Bride of the Lamb is upon us. All that God has promised concerning the glorifying of His saints is nearly ready to be unveiled in the sight of the heavens and the earth.

The august Presence of the Father, the fullness of the resurrection power of the Son, and the governing influence of the Holy Spirit will abide forever in and upon the Body of Christ. One of the results of the abiding of the fullness of the glory of the Godhead will be the conversion of the nations of the earth—their turning to the Lord and His ways, as described by the Prophet Isaiah.

Notice, in Nehemiah 3:15, the expression: "and to the stairs that go down from the city of David."

The city of David was Zion. Zion was an area in the larger city of Jerusalem. Zion had been the fortress of the Jebusites from which they had defended the city of Jerusalem. David captured Zion and the location became associated closely with him.

So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inner. (II Samuel 5:9)

Zion is mentioned many times in the Book of Psalms, the Spirit of Christ in David indicating that Mount Zion is a major scriptural type of the Body of Christ—especially of the warlike remnant, the firstfruits of the Body. The Book of Hebrews informs us that we Christians have come to Mount Zion (Hebrews 12:22).

One of the first acts of David when he came into power in Israel was to bring back the Ark of the Covenant from the private household where it was being kept.

However, David did not restore the Ark to its familiar place in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Instead, he erected a tent for the Ark and established praise and worship in Zion, the location of the tent.

Meanwhile, the remainder of the Tabernacle of the Congregation remained at the high place in Gibeon.

It is our understanding that the separation of the Ark of the Covenant from the rest of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and the later incorporation of both the Ark and the remainder of the Tabernacle in the Temple of Solomon, are important symbolic representations of the manner in which the Lord Jesus is working with His Church.

We view the Ark of the Covenant as signifying the coming of the Lord Jesus with an army of firstfruit-saints, a victorious, Spirit-filled remnant, a forerunner of what the Christian Church will be like at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. The firstfruits, the victorious saints, will govern the earth with a rod of iron.

The Lord’s army is described in Joel, Chapter Two, Habakkuk, Chapter Three, Revelation, Chapter Nineteen, and in other passages of the Scriptures. This army of conquering saints consists of Christ’s "mighty men," foreshadowed by the mighty men of King David.

The conquering saints are members of the Body of Christ who are being prepared for war and rulership. The Kingdom of God will be established in the earth by violence and then maintained with the rule of iron discipline of the Spirit of God.

Those who ride with Christ in that day are called, chosen, and faithful (Revelation 17:14).

After him repaired Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, the ruler of the half part of Bethzur, unto the place over against the sepulchres of David, and to the pool that was made, and unto the house of the mighty. (Nehemiah 3:16)

As soon as progress has been made in the building of the walls and gates, which is a symbolic portrayal of the creating of resistance to sin in the members of the Body of Christ, God’s "mighty men" commence showing signs of life in the "sepulchres" of the churches. The spiritual strength of the Church of Christ, the strength to overcome the devil, is revived.

Some have seen visions of a gigantic warrior who has awakened as if from sleep and who now is getting ready to perform the works of God among the peoples of the earth. One couple while on the way to service paused to watch the figure of an armed warrior in the sky. This sign, if we wish to term it that, was observed by both husband and wife for several minutes.

The warrior had no head.

As we understand it, the Body of Christ is a "mighty man of valor" who now is being created in the Christian people. This is the fulfillment of the resurrection of Ezekiel’s "dry bones" (Ezekiel, Chapter 37).

When God's warrior reaches the necessary level of maturity he will be caught away in clouds to be joined to the Head in the air. Then will Christ—Head and Body—fall on the forces of evil in the earth with relentless fury and unconquerable strength and wisdom.

As soon as Zion, God’s mighty man of war, has been built up by the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself will appear in His Glory (Psalms 102:16).

And next to him repaired Ezer the son of Jeshua, the ruler of Mizpah, another piece over against the going up to the armoury at the turning of the wall. (Nehemiah 3:19)

Notice the involvement of many people and the adding of each piece by the (somewhat) dedicated Israelites who followed Nehemiah’s lead. Each person repaired straight before him. The architectural supervision and the perfection of the original wall were lacking. The rebuilding took place in a hurry and under harassment as the defenses were thrown up by each Jew who had a heart to work and fight.

So it is today. If we wait for some "grand plan" to be set in motion it will be too late. The Spirit of the Lord is calling now on every member of the Body of Christ to rebuild the spiritual area set in front of him or her. We are to get busy now and follow the Spirit of God moment by moment.

Nothing else can be accomplished in the Church of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, until the enemy is thrown out of the Church and kept out.

The "armory" is mentioned. An armory contains defensive and offensive weapons of war. Even the strongest of warriors, the fiercest of fighters, does not rush into combat unarmed.

The Holy Spirit has made provision for our warfare against the enemies of God and man: "The weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds" (II Corinthians 10:4).

At this point in history we are diligently building the Body of Christ. Our fighting is mostly of a defensive nature, holding off "Sanballat and Tobiah" while we construct the Church’s defenses against the kingdom of wickedness.

We are exhorted to take to ourselves the "whole armor of God" so we may be able to "stand against the wiles of the devil" (Ephesians 6:11).

We must be protected by the armor of "light" and of "righteousness on the right hand and on the left" (Romans 13:12; II Corinthians 6:7).

It is necessary that we put on the "breastplate of faith and love, and for an helmet, the hope of salvation" (I Thessalonians 5:8).

Our loins are to be "girt about with truth" and our heart protected by the "breastplate of righteousness" (Ephesians 6:14).

Our feet must be equipped with the "preparation of the gospel of peace" (Ephesians 6:15).

Having done all, we are to stand on the mountain of rock, Christ Jesus (Ephesians 6:13).

From God’s armory we are to obtain the "sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:17).

The sword of the Spirit is living and powerful, sharp enough to divide asunder the soul and spirit, and the joints and marrow of bones. The living Word of God pierces to the discerning of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

In the present hour the Holy Spirit of God wields His sword through the hands of the saints in order to save people—to cut through their bondages so they can be released into righteous living and peace.

In the Day of the Lord, the Spirit will thrust and slash with dreadful effect, destroying the forces of wickedness and slaying those who resist the will of the Lamb of God.

The Word of God is the mightiest, the most terrible weapon in the universe. One thrust and the most powerful enemy is destroyed.

And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. (Revelation 19:21)

We have arrived now, in our discussion of the rebuilding of the defenses of the Body of Christ, at the "house of . . . the high priest."

After him Baruch the son of Zabbai earnestly repaired the other piece, from the turning of the wall unto the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest. (Nehemiah 3:20)

"Zabbai earnestly repaired."

Earnestness and zeal are important virtues in the Body of Christ. Spiritual resources are available today. They will be assigned to those members of the Body who demonstrate diligence in pursuing the Lord. We find Christ when we ask, seek, knock, following after Him with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

The Kingdom of God will be given to the earnest, the zealous, not to the halfhearted, the lukewarm, the double-minded.

The "house of Eliashib the high priest" is mentioned because our High Priest, Christ, will make His appearance as soon as we get into the armory of God and begin to equip ourselves to stand in the day of battle. The Lord will work with us as we bring the witness of the Kingdom of Heaven to every creature. He will confirm the Word of God with signs following.

The fullness of the "high priest," of the Servant of the Lord (Isaiah, Chapter 42), of the Vine (John, Chapter 15), of the Anointed Deliverer who is to come in order to bring glory to Israel and justice and deliverance to the peoples of the earth, is Christ—Head and Body.

The Head of Christ is the Lord Jesus. The Body of Christ, of the "high priest," is the Christian Church. The Church is being brought to unity and maturity as the gifts and ministries of the Church travail in birth until Christ is formed in us (Galatians 4:19).

As soon as the Lord builds up Zion, the Body of the High Priest, He will appear in His Glory. Today the members of the Body of Christ are moving toward maturity, through the grace of Christ given us by the Holy Spirit.

Each member remains where he is located, as the Lord leads, just as the stones of Solomon’s Temple were perfected at the quarry before they were brought to the building site (I Kings 6:7).

When the trumpet of God begins to sound, the Glory of God Almighty will come down from Heaven and cover every member of the Body of Christ—those who are living by means of His body and blood (John 6:56,57). Each faithful saint will arise in the Spirit and go to meet the Lord.

It is the Body of Christ, the Body of God’s High Priest, the eternal Temple of God. No authority or power in the heavens or on the earth can prevent the flowing together of the Body of the Servant of the Lord in that day. All the various church trappings will fall away, just as the forms that no doubt were used in the building of Noah’s Ark fell away when the Ark began to float.

We do not worry about the ability of God to bring the Body to oneness in Himself. The Body shall flow together just as the Spirit of God brought the animals from distant places to find their place of refuge in Noah’s Ark.

The trumpet of God will sound, and the Church of Christ, already having been made one by the work of the Spirit prior to the appearing of the Lord, will be resurrected and will ascend to be joined with the Head—Christ. Then "all Israel," including the elect Jews, will be delivered and the Kingdom of God will be established in the earth.

The unity of God’s High Priest was set forth by the Spirit of Christ speaking in David:

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon 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 upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. (Psalms 133:1-3)

The holy anointing oil of the Aaronic priesthood, which is an Old Testament type of the Holy Spirit, will flow down from the Head of Christ and continue on down to the "skirts of his garments." The glory that the Father has given to Christ will be extended to the entire Body of Christ.

The result of the Glory of God coming down on the Body of Christ will be the unity of the Church in Christ in God. Then the Lord in and with His saints will bring justice and deliverance to the nations of the earth.

The Spirit of God is portrayed as "dew," the refreshing that comes just before the breaking of the day. When that "dew" descends on the mountains of Zion, the Lord God will command the blessing of eternal life for each person who will believe and receive and we shall know that the Day of the Lord is at hand.

The "high priest" reminds us also of the resurrected Lord Jesus of the first chapter of the Book of Revelation. The great High Priest is moving among the seven lampstands (Christian churches), trimming and adjusting the wicks and replenishing the oil. The "wicks" are the saints through whom the oil flows, and the "oil" is the Spirit of God. The Lampstand of the Tabernacle was lighted each evening so the things of God could be perceived throughout the night.

Palal the son of Uzai, over against the turning of the wall, and the tower which lieth out from the king’s high house, that was by the court of the prison. After him Pedaiah the son of Parosh. (Nehemiah 3:25)

It is possible while we yet are in this life to ascend to heights of glory with the Lord Jesus. However, "the king’s high house" always is located by "the court of the prison." It is only as we allow the Lord Jesus to confine us ever more closely that we are enabled to attain the fullness of the Life of the Spirit.

It is only as we remain in the prison of the cross that life and release can come to us and to other people. The prison of the cross frees us form the prison of sin and self-will.

As soon as the Lord Jesus begins to work with us with signs following, as we are bearing witness to the Good News of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God, the "court of the prison" comes into view. The Church of Christ, when it is filled with the Spirit, has the authority and power to set free those who are being held captive by unclean spirits.

The nations of the earth are groaning in bondage in the present hour, waiting for the revealing of the sons of God. The revealing of the sons of God will result in the destruction of all the works of the devil.

The task of the Body of Christ in our time is to build itself up, under the guidance and enabling strength of Christ given us through the Holy Spirit, to the place where it will be prepared to go forth in the Spirit to destroy the bondages Satan has placed on the inhabitants of the earth.

When the Body of Christ neither is tearing down the works of unclean spirits nor building itself up in preparation for the task of tearing down the works of unclean spirits, it is not in the will of God. The Holy Spirit is not being obeyed.

The mission of Christ, Head and Body, is to open the prison doors so the nations of the earth can be brought out into the glorious freedom of the children of God (Romans 8:21)

Both the members of the Christian Church and the peoples of the earth labor in the bondage of sin and rebellion against God. Through the cross, Christ has delivered us from the authority of the devil. The blood of the cross has made it possible for us to be accepted of the Father, even though our conduct on the earth reflects the condition of bondage from which we have not as yet been redeemed.

As the saints pray, sing, and otherwise minister to the Lord, the power of God comes down and releases both the saints and those who are hearing the saints. Then everyone’s bonds are loosed. So it will be at the unveiling of the sons of God.

And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. (Acts 16:23-26)

These many years the "jailor" has kept us "safely" in the bondage of sin. We have been in an "inner prison" and our feet have been locked in the paths of uncleanness and rebellion against the Lord God.

In the darkest hour ever to come to the world, during the reign of Antichrist, the Body of Christ will pray and sing praises to God. The prisoners of the devil will "hear" the Church as it ministers to the Lord.

Suddenly the Day of the Lord will fall upon the earth. The "foundations of the prison," the throne of the evil princes of the air, the gates of Hell, will be shaken.

All the doors will be opened. The irresistible power of the Spirit of God that will raise the bodies of the saints will spill over into the creation and loose the meek of the earth, just as the power that raised Christ from the dead spilled over to the "sleeping" saints so they arose from the graves and appeared to many in Jerusalem (Matthew 27:53).

Moreover the Nethinims dwelt in Ophel, unto the place over against the water gate toward the east, and the tower that lieth out. After them the Tekoites repaired another piece, over against the great tower that lieth out, even unto the wall of Ophel. (Nehemiah 3:26,27)

As we observe the pattern of restoration of the walls and gates of Jerusalem, it appears that at this point the end-time is being portrayed. We started out with the sheep and fish gates symbolizing the beginning works of the Church of Christ. Now we are dealing with such advanced areas as the house of the mighty, the armory, and the high priest—types of spiritual activities associated with the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven with His saints and holy angels.

The Hebrew prophets, particularly Isaiah and Ezekiel, reveal to us that the greatest outpourings of the Spirit of God will take place during the Day of the Lord. The types speak clearly that the thousand-year Kingdom Age will be a Pentecost of Pentecosts.

The "water gate" is "toward the east," that is, toward the morning of the Day of the Lord. Associated with the end-time outpouring is the "tower that lieth out." The Glory of God will be an enormous River of Life extending the Life and victory of Christ to the farthest reaches of the earth.

The Spirit of Christ, speaking in the third chapter of the Book of Nehemiah, mentions "the tower that lieth out" followed by "the tower that lieth out." The double emphasis here signifies the "greater works," the double portion of the Spirit made available to the saints during the days attending the coming of the Lord.

A quantity of "fish" will be caught by the Lord as His Spirit flows from the saints to bless the nations of the earth.

Notice that it is a "tower" that is projecting. The tower speaks of defense against the enemy. God is creating a defense that will protect all of His Glory. The revival that will fill the earth will be brought into being and maintained by warlike saints.

As marvelous as the past revivals have been they are not to be compared in power and effectiveness with the work of Christ yet to come. The whole earth will be filled with the Glory of Christ and the peoples of the earth will be turned to God. The Lord Jesus shall see the travail of His soul and be satisfied.

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 [nations] shall come unto thee. (Isaiah 60:5)

In speaking of the conversion of the nations to God—and that is exactly what will take place—we are not stating that every individual ultimately will be saved. If any person rejects the redemption and lordship of Christ he will suffer the vengeance of eternal fire. Rebellion against the Lord God of Heaven never will be accepted.

From above the horse gate repaired the priests, every one over against his house. (Nehemiah 3:28)

In the Scriptures the horse is thought of in terms of speed and strength. There are several references that associate the horse with war, particularly with the return of Christ and His conquering army (Joel 2:4; Habakkuk 3:15; Revelation 19:14; for example).

One of the outstanding passages concerning the role of the war-horse is found in the Book of Job:

Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible. He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men. He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword. The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield. He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet. He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting. (Job 39:19-25)

The characteristics assigned here to the war horse reflect the attributes of each soldier in Christ’s army.

Christ’s soldiers are strong, and their "neck" is "clothed with thunder," meaning that the Word of God in judgment comes forth from their mouth with overpowering force.

The soldier of Christ is without fear of anyone or anything except God Almighty. His "nostrils flare with eagerness" as he goes to battle in the name of the Lord of Armies.

The strength of the saint comes from Christ and he hastens to the battle. He understands that his sword is greater than the sword of the enemy and so he is certain of victory.

The war horse "paws in the valley." Each of Christ’s conquering saints, the members of His Body, "paw in the valley." They do not want to remain at any time in the valley of decision. They desire to climb out of the valley altogether and to serve Christ with their whole heart, soul, mind and strength.

A soldier in a valley is at the mercy of an enemy who is on higher ground. The conquerors are not pleased with indecision. They wish to know who is on the Lord’s side. They desire that everyone "choose this day" whom he will serve. The victorious saints "paw" with determination and restlessness whenever they come near the "valley of decision."

The soldier of Christ goes forth to the Lord’s battles with such "fierceness and rage" against the enemy that he covers ground rapidly. He appears to "swallow the ground" because he is moving so quickly in Christ.

Fearful Christians hold back in the day of battle, and sometimes lose their position in God because of their timidity and hesitation.

Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. (Judges 5:23)

God takes no pleasure in timidity and fear because these two attitudes are related to unbelief. It requires courage on the part of a believer if he is to press forward to the fullness of his inheritance in Christ.

When the conquering saint hears the trumpet of the Lord he is ready to go to war. He laughs with Christ, a strong, confident laughter. In Christ he is not afraid of the enemy. He knows that God has given all authority and power to Christ and that no power can harm a person who rests his faith in the Son of God.

The saint goes forth with Divine assurance to tread on all the forces of wickedness.

The overcomer "smells" the battle at a distance. The "nose" of the Body of Christ has not been working as it should. The "nose" refers to the discerning of spirits, which must be part of the weaponry of the conquering remnant.

In some instances today it may be true that a substantial part of the activities of an assembly of Christians is of the flesh and of Satan. Yet the members of the congregation, for the most part, have no knowledge that such is the case. They suppose Christ and His Spirit are part of all they are doing.

Each of us should be calling on God to send to us the ability to discern what is of the flesh and Satan and what truly is of the Spirit of God. "Lead us not into temptation" is a prayer we must pray daily if we would avoid falling into the snare of the devil.

The soldier of Christ can "smell" when there is to be a battle. The Spirit of the Lord begins to move on him and he prepares himself or herself for the conflict. The true saint of God never will compromise with the spirit of this age, with his flesh or self-will, or with evil spirits.

To one of Christ’s soldiers, "the thunder of the captains and the shouting" is an inspiring sound. The saint hastens to the battle because he loves righteousness and hates sin and rebellion.

Whenever the Spirit of God begins to move toward the liberation of someone or a group of people, the overcomer is filled with Divine glory. He hears, as it were, the "thunder" of the voices and movements of Christ’s officers and the "shouting" of directions as Christ moves against the enemy. The saint rejoices in anticipation because he knows that righteousness, peace, and joy will proceed from the victory Christ always brings.

After them repaired Zadok the son of Immer over against his house. After him repaired also Shemaiah the son of Shechaniah, the keeper of the east gate. (Nehemiah 3:29)

The "east gate" is brought to our attention. Christ’s coming will be the rising of the Sun of the Day of the Lord.

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. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 4:2,3)

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 heart: (II Peter 1:19)

Then there is mention of the "goldsmiths," and of the "Nethinims" (temple servants), of the "merchants," and of the "gate Miphkad" (Muster Gate).

After him repaired Malchiah the goldsmith’s son unto the place of the Nethinims, and of the merchants, over against the gate Miphkad, and to the going up of the corner. And between the going up of the corner unto the sheep gate repaired the goldsmiths and the merchants. (Nehemiah 3:31,32)

The "goldsmiths" speak of the pure gold, the tested, transparent faith and character of the saints of the holy city.

The Nethinim (temple servants) remind us that "his servants will serve him" in His Temple, the new Jerusalem, forevermore.

The reference to "merchants" indicates that when the walls and gates of Jerusalem (the defenses against sin of the Church of Christ) have been constructed, the Church then will be ready to do God’s business in the earth. The Kingdom of God will be established and ruled diligently by the Church.

The "gate Miphkad" (Muster Gate or Inspection Gate) represents the conquering remnant, the Lord’s army, which eternally will remain ready to carry out the judgments of God against all wickedness. It is time now for the Commander in Chief to inspect His troops and to muster the host for the battle!

The final mention of the "sheep gate" reveals that our Good Shepherd will be among His flock, gently and lovingly making them to lie down in green pastures and leading them beside the quiet waters (Isaiah 40:11).

Such are the walls and gates of Jerusalem. The gates of the holy city, the new Jerusalem, are twelve in number, symbolizing the whole family of Israel, the priestly nation.

Israel is the holy nation, the priesthood of God. Each of the twelve sons of Jacob was unique. The prophecies given by Jacob and Moses reveal the differences among the tribes. The result is that each member of the nations of the saved has a priest who is uniquely able to minister to his individual needs. The twelve gates bearing the names of the twelve sons of Israel provide access to God for every type of human being.

Sanballat and Tobiah became frantic and exceedingly angry as they saw the walls going up and the breaches being stopped (Nehemiah 4:7). They prepared "to come and to fight against Jerusalem" (4:8).

As long as the Church of Christ remains without defense against sin and uncleanness we can expect only scorn and derision from evil spirits and from the peoples of the earth. They understand that we have no more spiritual strength than they do.

As soon as the Christians become serious about true holiness, about sincere consecration to Christ, about separation from the spirit of the present age, there will be vicious persecution. Are you preparing yourself for the coming persecution of the Church? If so, laugh with God and Christ. God always laughs in derision at those who resist His Christ (Psalms 2:4).

The determined threats and opposition of the heathen tribes surrounding Jerusalem put fear into the Jews who were repairing the walls and gates of the city. Nehemiah worked out a plan of defense, using a trumpet as a means of warning in case of an attack. From then on, everyone who was working on the construction of the defenses of the city carried his building implement in one hand and his spear in the other.

They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me. (Nehemiah 4:17,18)

In the day in which we live the Holy Spirit is restoring gifts and ministries to the Body of Christ so we may begin to build the Church in preparation for the appearing of the Lord Jesus. There will be opposition from the enemy. We must build with one hand and be ready to fight with the other.

The saint must never let down his spiritual guard. Each Christian must "keep a watch posted at all times." Whether he is in a church service or involved in secular matters, working or playing, resting at home or going for a drive, in the school or in the factory, among friends or enemies, the saint must instantly be "prayed through." He or she must be in contact with the Lord Jesus.

We must look continually to the Holy Spirit in all that we do. We are in a battle to the finish. We must be armed and ready to fight at a moment’s notice, day or night.

We are building the Body of Christ with one hand and fighting with the other. This dual task will continue until the Lord comes. Every word, every motive, every action, every step must be presented to the Holy Spirit for His judgment.

One moment’s carelessness, foolishness, sin, or self-will may get us into trouble and problems that will take ten years to correct—or may never be corrected!

The design of the world to come. The new Jerusalem, the Temple of God, shines with the righteousness of Christ. The holy city is the counterpart and fulfillment of the Most Holy Place of the Temple of Solomon. The "oracle" (Most Holy Place) of the Temple of Solomon was cubical in proportion.

And the oracle he prepared in the house within, to set there the ark of the covenant of the Lord. And the oracle in the forepart was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height thereof: and he overlaid it with pure gold; and so covered the altar which was of cedar. (I Kings 6:19,20)

The new Jerusalem also is cubical in proportion: "The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal"—fifteen hundred miles on a side (Revelation 21:16).

The Holy Spirit wants us to think of the new Jerusalem as the Most Holy Place, the eternal dwelling place of God Almighty. Truly, the holy city is the ultimate in holiness. It is all that the Lord desires in perfection of the beauty of holiness. The new Jerusalem is exceedingly precious to God.

Whatever is included in the Scriptures is of importance in the mind of God. The Book of Revelation describes only a small fragment of the things to be seen and heard in the holy city, but these are the elements that God considers to be essential to our understanding of His plan of redemption.

We are told nothing about what is heard in the new Jerusalem, such as the sound of instruments of music or of people singing or talking. The kinds of houses, buildings, occupations, appearance of the inhabitants, and so forth found in every culture, are not shown.

No children are heard or seen playing in the streets, no animals, no movements of people and things are portrayed. We are impressed with the thought that what we do have included in the description must be of immediate importance in the mind of the Holy Spirit.

The twenty-first and twenty-second chapters of the Book of Revelation set forth just a few concepts—those that are necessary for our understanding at this time.

First, there is "no more sea." No longer is there a multitude of people who can be swayed to good or evil depending on the spiritual "wind" that is blowing.

Then we are informed that the new Jerusalem is the Wife of the Lamb, the Tabernacle of God—His eternal dwelling place among mankind.

It is emphasized that there will be no unclean practices in the holy city. No enemy of God will be allowed to enter. This is what is signified by the extraordinary emphasis on the wall, its foundations and its beauty. Holiness has a special kind of beauty that the Lord and His saints love.

The twelve gates of pearl speak of the access to God that has been created in the personalities of the saints as they have endured a lifetime of patient cross-carrying. In their hearts are the highways to Zion so whoever is thirsty may have access to the Water of Life.

The Throne of God and of the Lamb are located permanently in the Wife of the Lamb. So great is the light shining from the Glory of God and Christ in the Church that there is no more need for the sun and moon.

The nations of saved peoples of the earth are guided by the light from the city. The kings of the earth pay homage to the city (Isaiah 60:12).

The Holy Spirit in the city is a flowing River available to whoever will drink. The Tree of Life is nourished by the River of Life, revealing the continually renewed ability of the saints to bring the Life and healing of Christ to the peoples of the earth.

And he [the person who delights in the law of the Lord] shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalms 1:3)

The main concepts, then, are the making of all things new, the Presence of the throne of God and of the Lamb, the Tabernacle of God, the Wife of the Lamb, absolute holiness and defense against sin and rebellion, dominion over the nations of saved peoples of the earth, and the availability of eternal life to all who choose to partake.

Also of central importance are the ideas of our spiritual union with Christ (we are the wife of the Lamb) and our eternal service to God Almighty.

These are the concepts that the Holy Spirit deems to be first in emphasis. They are the basis for what is taking place in the Church of Christ today. They are the elements of the Kingdom of God.

The Church of Christ holds the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, meaning that the Church can bar people from, and admit people to, the Presence and blessing of the Lord God—truly an awesome responsibility.

In the present hour the Spirit of God and the Bride of the Lamb are extending the invitation to all to come and drink freely of the waters of eternal life. Who could resist such an invitation?

One day the Divine decree shall be proclaimed: "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still" (Revelation 22:11).

When that awful sentence proceeds from the Father there will be no more opportunity to repent. The destiny of each creature will have been fixed for eternity. The way of the Lord will have been straight. The line between the godly and the ungodly will have been established permanently.

The end of those who reject the eternal Life of God is as horrible as the end of those who accept the Life of God is glorious. The Book of Revelation describes the destiny of people who choose Satan in place of God.

The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. (Revelation 14:10,11)

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and sulfur: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)

And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:27)

For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. (Revelation 22:15)

Then appears a statement bearing on the Book of Revelation itself that reveals the extraordinary importance God has placed on the vision given to the Apostle John:

And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:19)

The Book of Revelation is not to be added to or diminished from in any manner whatever.

If at any time we yield to the idea (which Adam and Eve were sold so successfully) that God does not mean exactly what He says, we are in danger of a fate worse than physical death. The promises God has made to the ungodly are as certain of fulfillment as the promises God has made to the godly.

Our God is a consuming Fire. We are foolish indeed if we believe God will change His mind at the Day of Judgment.

There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth in the Day of Christ because people are hoping for an avenue of escape that somehow will diminish the terror of the fate of the wicked. Even to hope for such an escape is to invite deception. God means what He has stated. We urge all who read these pages to come to Christ without delay, receiving Him as both Lord and Savior.

There is a Lake of Fire. It will be situated somewhere outside the holy city. It will remain throughout eternity as a terrifying testimony to the certainty of God’s Word.

A spirit cannot be destroyed. It must abide somewhere. There is no redemption for spirits who defy the will of God.

The fires of the lake that burns with sulfur do not purify the inhabitants no matter how long they remain therein. The wrath of God is nonredemptive. As far as we know there will be no improvement in their condition forever. They are doomed to eternal punishment.

If rebellious spirits were released from the Lake of Fire they would destroy the new earth just as they have destroyed and yet are destroying the present earth.

We can see that the moment Satan was released from the bottomless pit—although he had been confined there one thousand years—he immediately set out to destroy all that had been established by the efforts of the saints throughout the Jubilee (Revelation 20:7,8).

God is righteous, wise, and compassionate in all that He does.

For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. (Isaiah 66:22-24)

The Book of Revelation declares emphatically that no one will enter the eternal city who practices uncleanness. The Scriptures, when describing the new Jerusalem, never speak of people who are "saved by grace" in the sense that they are continuing to practice uncleanness but are relying on the imputed (ascribed) righteousness and holiness of Christ to save them.

In the Scriptures, silver is symbolic of redemption. There is no mention of silver in the holy city. The inhabitants of the new Jerusalem have already been redeemed, meaning they are holy in thought, in word, and in deed.

The citizens of the new Jerusalem have received the ascribed righteousness of the cross. In addition they have drawn on the virtue of Christ until they themselves are walking in holy conduct. The holy city does not contain one person who practices sin. No evil spirits are present.

How do we get from here to there? In our churches we have unnumbered multitudes of people who are trusting Christ for salvation but who are not practicing holiness and righteousness of conduct.

Somehow, somewhere, whether on earth or in Heaven or on earth during the Jubilee, or in some other place or manner, Christ will purify His people. Otherwise there will not be many inhabitants of the new Jerusalem.

We do not advocate waiting to be cleansed in the future, as we have explained previously. The Scriptures command us to purify our conduct, to wash the robes of our conduct today. If we are not faithful in the small things of today we will not be faithful in the greater things of the future.

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1)

And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (I John 3:3)

. . . These are they which came out of [the] great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:14)

To wash our robe (our conduct—see Revelation 19:8) is to cleanse our personality from all filthiness, to purify ourselves as Christ is pure. We purify our behavior each day by the authority of the blood of the Lamb and the power of the Spirit of God. We confess and forsake our sins with God’s help.

It is our understanding of God’s purpose in Christ that Christians who expect to be ready to meet Jesus and to participate in the first resurrection from the dead must begin to purify themselves, to wash their robes in preparation for His appearing.

Those who take part with Christ in the destroying of sin out of the earth are a blessed and holy group of believers. They are the victorious saints mentioned several times in Revelation, Chapters Two and Three.

Are we to believe weak, immature Christians suddenly will be lifted into exalted stations of judgment and rulership at the appearing of Christ?

The Scriptures do not present such a concept. Everything we have learned from God is against it. Common sense does not permit it.

We cannot give what we do not possess. We cannot teach others the spiritual lessons we ourselves have not mastered. We cannot judge angels or people who are practicing the same wickedness we have been unable to overcome through Christ.

What, then, is the destiny of the multitudes of Christian people who are weak, who are immature, who are not victorious saints, who do not purify themselves, who have received Christ in a profession of belief but who, for one reason or another, have never grown in the Lord?

The destiny of the immature believers is not clear in the Scriptures. The Scriptures emphasize the victorious saints. There are some passages that offer hope for the undeveloped believers. Then there are several passages, such as the one setting forth the plight of the foolish virgins, and that of the individual who did not use his talent, warning those who are careless concerning God’s salvation that they are heading toward severe punishment.

Those who receive Jesus and then do not take up their cross and follow Him are not worthy of Him. They will not walk with Him in the white raiment of a glorified body.

The severity of God is not being emphasized today, and many man-pleasing teachers will stand with their students before an angry Christ.

Paul’s doctrine of grace is difficult to understand and Christian theology has twisted Paul’s teachings until the believers have been destroyed spiritually and morally.

The current lawless-grace, pre-tribulation-rapture, Dispensational theology currently taught by Christians is completely alien to the Scriptures. It is a deadly error, giving a totally false impression of the nature of the Christian salvation.

Let us give two recent examples of the incredible blindness of so-called "fundamental" Christians.

In one instance we were typing on our notebook computer while traveling on an airplane. The stewardess, apparently a believer, became interested and asked what we were writing. We replied that we were writing on the subject of righteousness.

She exclaimed, "Oh, I hate that word," and then referred us to a contemporary Christian book.

She is a believer and she hates the term that represents God’s chief concern. Perhaps the passage that states we are not saved by works of righteousness we have done (Titus 3:5) had been emphasized to the point that she felt even the mention of the term righteousness was destructive of her faith. Yet, righteous behavior is the principal topic of the Old Testament and the New Testament (Titus 2:12).

The Lord Jesus came to forgive our sins and then to make it possible for us to behave righteously. Otherwise, the forgiveness is of little value since we shall proceed to practice the same sins over and over again.

Her ignorance of God and His salvation is the product of modern Christian theology.

Again, three women stopped by the house of a lady who attends our church. They asked her if she was saved. She replied that she was. They then asked her how she knew she was saved, how she knew she would "escape Hell and go to Heaven."

The lady, who is a fine Christian, began to quote Scripture passages that bear upon salvation.

During the course of her answer she used the term "obey." She was stating that part of salvation is obeying Christ.

At this the three women became angry, apparently because it seemed as though obedience to Christ were somehow being associated with "faith" and "salvation."

This may appear to be an extreme example but it actually took place a few days ago.

Because of current teaching the believers do not do what Christ commanded. They profess faith in His name and His work of atonement, but they do not do what He commanded in the Gospels. They are not denying themselves, taking up their cross, and following the Lord Jesus. They are building their house on the sand even though they "profess Christ." Their "house" will fall apart when the floods come.

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: (Matthew 7:24)

"And doeth them."

Much is said today about the need to "believe in God." Parents of public-school children are upset because the foolish hypothesis of evolution is taught in the classes as though it were scientific fact. The parents are afraid the children no longer will believe there is a God.

The forces of Hell are only mildly interested in our belief that there is a God. All of us will learn soon enough that God exists. The demons find satisfaction in our lusting, our lying, our stealing, our coveting, our drunkenness, our violence, our sorcery. As long as we keep practicing such behavior the demons find satisfaction and fulfillment whether or not we believe there is a God.

It is when we cease our lusting, our lying, our stealing, our coveting, our drunkenness, our violence, our sorcery, that Hell becomes enraged. Such a change in our behavior means the Kingdom of God has come to us.

When the Kingdom of God enters, sinful behavior ceases. A "salvation" that does not release us from the bondage of wickedness is no salvation at all.

Current Christian teaching, stressing a profession of belief apart from a conversion to godly behavior, is a spiritual wasteland. The churches have been ruined, understanding nothing other than that they are about to fly away to their mansion in Heaven.

As bizarre as it may sound, at least one congregation was encouraged to jump in place next to their pew so they would be ready for the "any-moment rapture."

How long the Lord will permit Christian leaders and people to perpetuate the unscriptural myth of the lawless-grace, any-moment "rapture" to a "mansion" in Heaven we do not know. But we would encourage sincere believers to read once again the New Testament, from Matthew to Revelation, and see if the text supports a lawless-grace, any-moment pre-tribulation ascension of Christian people.

Do not pick out a familiar verse here and there, read an entire epistle and see if the general sense supports today’s Christian teaching. If you will read a book of the New Testament, thinking about what it is stating, you will discover that you are left with an unceasing exhortation to holy living against the backdrop of a stern warning concerning the consequences of not living a holy, righteous, obedient life.

Today’s ministers are preaching a few familiar passages. They could not take a whole book and follow it verse by verse because the text would contradict their principal doctrines.

It is possible to take the writings of Paul and warp and force them until we destroy ourselves and our hearers.

As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (II Peter 3:16)

On the one hand, Paul taught that our righteousness is based only on our faith in Christ (Romans 4:5—but this is not a mere doctrinal belief or head knowledge, however).

On the other hand, Paul taught that those who practice the sins of the flesh will not enter the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:21), to which Revelation, Chapters 21 and 22 agree.

Paul wrote both Romans and Galatians. The doctrine in these two books is consistent.

We are made righteous by our faith in Christ, never by adherence to the Law of Moses.

It is equally true that the plan of redemption includes our transformation into the moral image of Christ, and that only as we receive grace to actually conform to the righteous, holy, and obedient Character of Christ do we enter the Kingdom of God. It is as straightforward as that. Redemption is moral transformation.

Where sin is, the Kingdom of God is not.

When a Christian commits an act of lust, this is not of the Kingdom of God, it is of the kingdom of darkness. Being a Christian does not change lust into righteousness.

When a Christian speaks, acts or thinks in envy, jealousy or spite, this is not the Kingdom of God, it is the kingdom of darkness.

When a Christian inquires of an astrologer or fortune teller, this is not the Kingdom of God, it is the kingdom of darkness.

All the grace and faith in the universe cannot transform a sinful act into a righteous act. Sin is sin and righteousness is righteousness. The moral standard of God never will change—even after the earth and the heaven pass away.

What grace and faith do accomplish, however, is to apply the righteousness of Christ to the sinner, hiding his spiritual nakedness until such time as the sinner is able, through the Holy Spirit, to behave in a righteous and holy manner.

When a Christian through Christ conquers lying he reveals in himself the Kingdom of Heaven in the realm of truth-telling.

When a Christian conquers lust he reveals the Kingdom of Heaven in the realm of moral purity.

When a Christian ceases to covet he reveals the Kingdom of God in the realm of freedom from idolatry.

We are saved from wrath by believing in Christ and being baptized in water. Then we are baptized into the Church, the Body of Christ, by the Holy Spirit. After that, we begin to portray in ourselves the characteristics of the Kingdom of God.

We overcome our fleshly nature, the wickedness of the world, and the wickedness of Satan by the wisdom and power of Christ given us through the Holy Spirit. Christ has made provision for us but we must "take" the Kingdom of God by God’s mercy and assistance.

The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Each day of our Christian pilgrimage we are obtaining righteousness, we are obtaining peace, we are obtaining joy—all through the Holy Spirit. By the ability that Christ is giving we are "taking the Kingdom."

It is not always clear to us that we are making progress. Sometimes it seems as though we are going backward. We need to keep in mind that salvation is of the Lord, not of us, and that it is the wisdom and power of God Almighty that are constructing the Temple of God in us.

Christ wants soldiers. We must fight our way into our inheritance as the Lord leads and enables us. All saints will not be rewarded equally. There is a reward for perseverance in discipleship (Matthew 19:27,28).

How about you? What have you done with your talents? Will you qualify for rulership over cities when Christ appears? Will you hear "Well done, good and faithful servant"?

Spiritual maturity. As for those who stumble along in a weak Christian discipleship but who maintain their trust in Christ for salvation, we seem to find in Scripture an indication that God will continue to work with each of His elect until holiness of character has been attained.

There is a passage in the Song of Solomon suggesting there are some who will have opportunity to become more like the Savior through continued association with Him:

We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for? If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver: and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar. I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour. (Song of Solomon 8:8-10)

Notice that the Wife of the Lamb is a "wall" of defense against the enemy, and she is mature.

The Wife of the Lamb has a close relative, a "little sister," who is not mature "in the day when she shall be spoken for."

The fact that the immature one is a "little sister" of the Bride indicates that she is a Christian, although young and inexperienced in righteousness. God does not destroy her because she is immature.

If the little sister is a "wall," that is, if there is at least some defense against evil in her personality, a "palace" (fortress) of silver (symbolizing redemption) will be constructed on this wall.

If, however, there is a "door" in the life through which sin can enter, God’s workers will enclose the believer in "boards of cedar." Boards of cedar were prominent in the interior of the Temple of Solomon, suggesting that even the weakest of God’s elect eventually will be established as part of the holy city.

If an individual rejects Christ, he or she is lost without hope of redemption along with unclean spirits. There is no second chance throughout eternity. God’s word in this respect is as certain and everlasting as His statement concerning the issuing of salvation to every one who receives Christ.

Some of the Lord’s people have accepted Christ but have not become heroes of faith. They are not stalwart in the Lord, overcoming the Philistines in every battle. They trust in the Lord, and Christ loves them. It is our understanding that such will be saved—some indeed by fire because of the worthlessness of their works (I Corinthians 3:15).

As we stated previously, the careless, lukewarm "believer" is facing much pain and loss, and possibly loss of salvation. We cannot emphasize too strongly that there are very harsh words in the New Testament concerning those who draw back from the Lord, not pressing forward to salvation.

But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition [destruction]; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:39)

God is glorified in the fact that of all whom He brings to Christ, not one of them is lost.

While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition [destruction]; that the scripture might be fulfilled. (John 17:12)

But we must balance that assurance with such verses as the following:

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2)

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (I Corinthians 9:27)

But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; (Hebrews 3:13,14)

It is possible for a Christian to backslide away from God. It is our understanding that any one of us can fall away if we do not give very careful attention to the things of the Spirit. We must press forward to maturity in Christ.

As we look about us in the churches we can see that there are some who are seeking Christ with their whole heart, who are pressing on each day with a sturdy determination to resist sin and to follow the Lord Jesus.

The remainder of the people—and God loves each one—have received Christ as Savior but are having difficulty accepting His lordship over their lives. Weak Christians are typified by Lot. They are "relatives of Abraham" who choose to "sit in the gate of Sodom" (Genesis 19:1).

Lot was saved, but by fire. His wife, representing his fruitfulness and rulership, was lost in the destruction that God poured on sin. Abraham interceded for Sodom, no doubt with Lot in mind.

Abraham represents the saint of God. Lot represents the "little sister" of the Song of Solomon who is related to the Wife of the Lamb, who is vexed with the lawlessness of the world, being a righteous person, but who chooses to live each day "in the gate of Sodom."

Do you have any relatives like that? Are you yourself like that?

Are you hoping to use someone else’s "oil" in the Day of Christ?

Lot decided to pitch his tent toward the exceedingly sinful city of Sodom. After Lot had departed for Sodom, God showed Abraham the land of promise (Genesis 13:14).

God saved Lot (Luke 17:29: II Peter 2:7-9), although the city of Sodom was destroyed.

The relationship between Abraham and Lot, the dealing of the Lord with each of them and the choices they made, illustrate some of the aspects of the relationship between the victorious saints and the remainder of the Church of Christ.

The victorious saints are Christian people who portray in their lives an Abraham-like covenant with the Lord. They have come out of the world in obedience to the Lord’s call and now are wandering as pilgrims and strangers in the earth—a place they will possess in the future as their inheritance.

The conquering saints obey the Lord, even to the point of offering up to Him their most treasured possessions.

Multitudes of believers in Christ do not reveal in themselves this single-minded serving of the Lord. They are more like Lot in that they are "related" to the saints but are living much closer to the world (Sodom).

In spite of their involvement in the world, such churchgoers are righteous people and do not agree with the abominations that are practiced by the wicked around them. They deplore the stealing, lusting, lying, murdering, and other works of darkness that the saint cannot so much as mention without defilement.

Abraham and Lot are of the family of God. The group of Christians who resemble Abraham will possess the fruitfulness and rulership promised to Abraham.

The group of Christians who resemble Lot will be saved by fire (if they are saved at all), as was Lot.

"Remember Lot’s wife."

Lot was saved by the purifying fires of God’s judgment but he lost his wife, his source of fruitfulness.

The Lord’s saints will be kept far from the fires of judgment just as Abraham was living far from the destruction that was poured on Sodom and Gomorrah.

Lot barely escaped with his life. Yet, he did escape. His wife was not as fortunate. His daughters seemed eager to practice the incest they had learned in Sodom.

Perhaps it is true that the Christians who are not mature spiritually are "little sisters," "Lots" as it were, who are related to the Wife of the Lamb but who need to grow in Christ (Isaiah 40:11; Malachi 4:2; Romans 11:26).

The "little sisters" must continually be rescued from captivity by "Abraham." They do not have an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of God. They will not be kings and priests to God, participants in the first resurrection. Hopefully their spirits will be "saved in the day of the Lord Jesus" (I Corinthians 3:15, 5:5).

It is the Lord’s intention that the stronger Christians clear the path, making it possible for the weaker members to enter their inheritance in Christ. The concept of the double portion is that of the oldest son being given a greater inheritance so he can take care of his brothers and sisters.

There are also the scriptural examples of one Israelite or a small group of Israelites saving the remainder of Israel and enabling the nation to enter its inheritance. We think of Gideon’s army, David going forth alone against Goliath, the judges of Israel such as Samson, and Joseph who saved his family, the citizens of Egypt, and the rest of the world from starvation.

The Christian Church itself is a remnant of people who have been called out of the world in order to become the "light" of God for the remainder of mankind (James 1:18).

Christ is the greatest expression of this principle of God’s working. It is the principle of the "firstfruits" (Revelation 14:1-5). Christ is the Overcomer who has made it possible for us, the younger, weaker brothers, to enter our inheritance.

Each of us Christians can help someone else who does not know the Lord as well as we do. The Lord is pleased when we assist the weak.

The fact that the holy city does not appear until after the thousand-year Kingdom Age, and when it does appear is perfect in every detail, suggests that by the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age every member of the Christian Church will have found his place in the Lord. The whole Church will be glorious in holiness, as portrayed by the new Jerusalem.

And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. (Hebrews 8:11)

Jesus informed us that many who are first shall be last and many who are last shall be first. We understand this to mean some of God’s heroes of faith will be brought forth just before the appearing of the Lord. They will attain positions in Christ that were not attained by many who went before them. They will be filled with the Spirit and will proclaim in authority and power the coming of the Kingdom of God. They will be transformed into immortality while yet alive and on their feet (Matthew 19:30; 20:16; I Corinthians 15:51).

"We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves" (Romans 15:1). It is the will of the Lord that each Christian, as the Spirit directs, do everything in his power to enable every other believer to enter his or her inheritance in the Lord.

When we help the weak we are working side by side with Christ who is able to save those who trust in Him. Jesus can turn the feeblest member of the Church into a blazing light in Himself. Such is God’s ability, wisdom, faithfulness, and boundless love and patience.

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)

Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time. (Isaiah 60:21,22)

God’s way is not to destroy those who are weak or immature but to work with them by His grace and glory until they become a "strong nation." Mature Christians are not to please themselves but are to conduct themselves in such a manner that the weaker believers are led into paths of righteousness, until we all come "to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."

If any person who names the name of Christ walks willfully and deliberately in sin, understanding God’s will for himself but not performing it, he is incurring the wrath of God. Even though he may have made a profession of Christ and may be correct in all doctrinal points, he cannot remain in God’s favor if he continues to disobey willfully the Spirit of God.

But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned. (Hebrews 6:8)

For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, (Hebrews 10:26)

There is no sacrifice, under the old covenant or the new, that makes provision for willful sin.

If we receive Christ by faith, are baptized in water, and obey the Lord when He gives directions for our life, the Scripture declares that we will be saved in the Day of Judgment. Christ makes up our deficiencies and we are without condemnation (Romans 8:1).

However, being an overcomer, a conquering saint, requires more than the minimum demands of redemption. The rewards of rulership, of the first resurrection, of inheriting all things, are for the victorious saints.

The victorious saints are those who have made the pursuit of Christ the whole purpose and meaning of their existence, and who have appropriated the grace of God in Christ to the extent they are able to overcome evil with the "good" that Christ Is.

But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Matthew 13:23)

Anyone who reads these lines can be a "hundredfold" fruitbearer. You can be an overcomer, a wholehearted disciple of Christ. Tell Jesus that from now on every second of the day is for Him, and then back up your promise with daily prayer, daily Bible reading, and holy living, as God gives you the ability.

Assemble for worship and ministry with Christian people who are fervent in the Lord. Give of your material substance. Serve in your church. Obey the Lord instantly as soon as you have proved His will in any situation. Present your body a living sacrifice. Put away the animal nature with its lusts and covetousness and be transformed into Christ’s image by the renewing of your mind in His Word and will.

The life of victory in Christ is possible and available to each Christian without exception. We must become serious concerning our discipleship. We are to live each day in the center of the will of Christ insofar as we can perceive His will.

If our heart does not condemn us we have confidence toward God. We are in His will and we can claim overcoming status with all assurance.

Sometimes the accuser robs us of our assurance of victory by raising questions on the horizon of our mind. Our task then is to go straight to the issue and present it to God. If there is something God actually is requiring of us we are to seek His wisdom and strength until we can be totally obedient in the matter.

In many instances our problem merely is an accusation of the enemy. As soon as we come to Christ our peace and joy are restored.

Living the victorious life is possible for the new believer as well as for the experienced saint. Overcoming is accomplished by His Presence and Glory, not by our determination or abilities.

To overcome does not mean we attain a certain standard in the future. To overcome means to live in victory at the moment.

It is God’s will that every Christian be a conqueror of the world, of Satan, and of his own fleshly nature. Many Christians never arrive at the place where they have confidence that they actually are in the center of the will of Christ. This is so unfortunate because victory in Christ is not as difficult to achieve as we may think.

All the resources of Heaven are ready to move into action on behalf of the needs and desires of the newest babe in Christ, as well as of the older disciple. Victory is gained by the degree of faith we exercise, not by our own strength or experience.

As soon as we cast our whole personality on Christ, trusting Him for all we need both spiritually and physically, we become part of the Lord’s army of conquerors. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" (I John 5:4).

Why don’t you, now, lay down this book and turn over your whole personality to Christ. Do it now. Do it again tomorrow morning. Again the next day. Then every day for the remainder of your life on the earth.

The fullness of the authority and power of Christ is yours the moment you dedicate yourself to Him without reservation. Christ Himself is victory. When you possess Him you possess perfect Victory.

The inheritance of the saints. God Almighty has given to the Lord Jesus Christ all authority and power in Heaven and on the earth (Matthew 28:18).

The saints are coheirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). Christ’s inheritance includes the earth and the nations thereof.

Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen [nations] for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. (Psalms 2:8)

There is no limit to the authority and power of Christ, for it pleases the Father to give all things into the hands of His beloved Son.

Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre [scepter of righteousness]. (Psalms 45:6)

Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords in the heavens and on the earth. There is no throne or authority or power that can resist His will (Revelation 17:14).

Mankind today is attempting to govern itself apart from the rule of Christ. Such an effort is hopeless because God has decreed otherwise.

The result of all human rule apart from the Presence and blessing of God is chaos whether the rule is over one person or a nation.

Just as the Father’s love has moved Him to give unlimited authority and power to Jesus, so Jesus’ love has moved Him to desire to share His authority and power with His friends (John 15:15). We, of course, must cooperate with the Holy Spirit so we can be prepared to assume properly such awesome responsibility.

It can be seen that it is the victorious saints who share the inheritance with Christ. Notice the similarity of the following passages. First, concerning Christ:

Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. (Psalms 2:9)

Then, concerning the saints:

And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. (Revelation 2:26,27)

The authority and power to rule are associated with suffering (II Timothy 2:12) and also with living a victorious Christian discipleship. Even Christ was required to overcome the obstacles placed before Him.

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)

The following are a few of the many passages of Scripture that describe our participation with Christ as He comes into His rightful position as Ruler and Judge of God’s creation:

. . . thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; (Genesis 22:17)

And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:29)

Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen [nations], and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord. (Psalms 149:5-9)

Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners? (Song of Solomon 6:10)

And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. (Daniel 7:27)

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)

And saviours [deliverers] shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s. (Obadiah 1:21)

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. (Micah 5:8)

. . . when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. (Habakkuk 3:16)

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)

For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19)

And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (Romans 16:20)

Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?... (I Corinthians 6:2)

Know ye not that we shall judge angels? . . . . (I Corinthians 6:3)

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people [people for God’s own possession]; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; (I Peter 2:9)

. . . Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (Jude 14,15)

And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:10)

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

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power [authority], but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)

And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)

It seems clear, from the preceding verses, that all authority and power in Heaven and on the earth have been given to Christ and that He has chosen to share His authority and power with those who leave all and follow Him.

The promises are to the conquering saints. There is no scriptural basis for the belief that we will rule with Him whether or not we follow Him faithfully in this life.

It is not that we earn the position of rulership with Christ. Rather, it is that we must, through His grace, be prepared for such an undertaking. If we do not cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the process of preparing us for rulership, there is no possibility that we can join with Him in the work of judgment and release of the earth and its inhabitants.

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:7)

The challenging goals held out to us in the New Testament are intended to inspire us to press forward. God has called us to both glory and virtue (II Peter 1:3). In accordance with His calling He has given us "exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (II Peter 1:4).

"To sit with me in my throne" is the promise of Revelation 3:21. Here indeed is an extraordinary challenge. Meditating on such a promise helps us escape the corruption that is in the world through lust and enables us to take heart in the midst of our fiery testings.

And she brought forth a man child [male son], who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. (Revelation 12:5)

The "male son" is Christ formed in the Church. Christ alone is the Ruler. Christ is the Head. The Body of Christ now is in the process of coming to maturity (Ephesians 4:12-16).

It is Satan, the accuser of our brothers, who is conquered. He is overcome by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of the testimony of the victorious saints, and by the saints loving not their lives to the death.

It requires the blood of the Lamb, the proclaiming of the Word of God truly and faithfully, and a forsaking of one’s life, in order to overcome the accuser of our brothers (Revelation 12:10,11).

As soon as the accuser has been overcome, the salvation, power, and Kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ, can come forth.

Everything hinges on the overcoming of the accuser. The conquering of the accuser awaits the bringing forth of the "male son." The Son is Christ who is being formed in the Church of Christ (Galatians 4:19).

Only Christ in the saints can overcome Satan.

The conquering saints are the wall and gates of the new Jerusalem. They will have ruled with Christ during the thousand-year Kingdom Age, sharing His Glory with Him.

Because of the thousand years of such immersion in the Glory of God, sitting with Christ in the throne of the universe, they will be transformed into precious stones and pearls.

Truly, the conquering saints inherit all things.

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)

The servants of God will serve Him throughout eternity. They will see His face and His name will be in their foreheads. They will rule the creation of God throughout the endless eons of eternity.

And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)

There are passages in the Book of Isaiah that portray the rulership of the new Jerusalem, the Temple of God, over the kingdoms of the earth:

Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles [nations], and that their kings may be brought. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. (Isaiah 60:11,12)

All that God has planted in the earth, from the time of Adam and Eve until the Day of the Lord, will spring up in its time and bring forth righteousness and praise.

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)

Christ will work through His Body until every enemy of God has been subdued. As soon as this has been accomplished, Christ will turn the Kingdom back to God the Father.

The work that is performed throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age of Christ will be in preparation for the endless age during which God rules through Christ over the new heaven and earth.

And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (I Corinthians 15:28)

The end of the matter is that "God may be all in all."

Is Christ making God All in all in your life now?

The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints, ruling over the nations of the earth.

Daniel prophesied that the "street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times" (Daniel 9:25).

We believe in the difficult days in which we are living it is time to "build the wall of Jerusalem," in the spiritual sense.

The street of the new Jerusalem is the "highway of holiness." It is the "way" of Him who said,"I am the way" (John 14:6).

The street of the holy city, and the city itself, are of gold that has been refined to a state so pure the gold has become as transparent as glass.

The "gold" of the city is the refined faith of the saints (I Peter 1:7). The "fire" of our "manifold temptations," our problems and difficulties, purifies the gold of our faith until it becomes transparent.

God has ordained that there be no impurities of any kind in the refined faith of the saints. Our faith is not to be mixed with lust, hatred, sorcery, self-will, unbelief, fear, ignorance of God’s Word, personal ambition, deception, self-pity, pride, presumption, sentimentality, or fleshly enthusiasm.

Only the fire of God can refine our faith to the degree that it is as clear as glass. One of the greatest needs of the hour in which we are living is that the fire of God baptize the members of the Body of Christ in order to prepare them for the coming of Him whose eyes are a flame of fire.

The task of Christ will not be completed until every enemy of God has been subdued and God is all in all.

It is our understanding that the significance of the days in which we are living is greater than those of any past era, except for the few years that Jesus of Nazareth lived among us on the earth. We make this statement because we believe it is time now for two events of kingdom-wide importance to take place.

These two events are as follows: (1) the testimony of the two witnesses (Revelation 11:3); and (2) the coming to birth of the male Son (Revelation 12:5).

As we understand the symbolism, the two witnesses represent the "latter rain" revival, mentioned in Joel, the sixth chapter of Hosea, and Zechariah 10:1. The Gospel of the Kingdom will go forth to every nation under the heaven for a witness, accompanied by signs and wonders of power and glory never before seen on the earth (John 14:12; Matthew 24:14).

The male Son represents the coming to maturity of Christ, the Ruler, in the members of the Body of Christ. Christ—Head and Body—is the Servant of the Lord who will bring release and blessing to Israel, and justice to the nations of the earth (Isaiah, Chapter 42).

Armageddon (Christ against Antichrist) is near. After that smashing victory there will dawn on the earth a thousand years of righteousness under the iron rod of Christ and His saints. Then the Throne of God and of the Lamb will descend upon the new earth in answer to the Lord’s prayer: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."

The Temple of God will stand on the earth in the last days. God in Christ in the saints will govern and bless the nations of the saved throughout the ages of ages. Heaven shall emerge from the spirit realm and become flesh and bone so all who desire God and His righteous ways may be filled to overflowing with the desire of their heart.

The Holy Spirit says, Come!

The Wife of the Lamb says, Come!

Let him who hears say, Come!

Whoever is thirsty, let him come and drink freely of the waters of eternal life.

It is time now to sit at the Lord’s table and feast on the abundance of the Kingdom of God. He has prepared a banquet for us in the midst of our enemies. We may eat and drink of all the good things of the Kingdom.

Jesus says, "Surely I come quickly."

We say with the Apostle John, "Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus."

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with every one who loves Him and keeps His Word.