REMOVING THE PRESENCE OF SIN

(Trumpet Ministries,Inc. / Word of Righteousness)

REMOVING THE PRESENCE OF SIN Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

Sin is a law or a spirit that can exist at a place. Paul spoke of a law of sin at work in the members of his body. Paul exclaimed that in his mind he was in slavery to God but in his flesh he was in slavery to the law of sin. Since the chemical constituents of the physical body are morally neutral, sin must be regarded as something foreign that can be removed.

The Lamb of God has come in order to take away the sin of the world. He does this by forgiving the guilt, then giving the believer the ability to subdue it, and finally by removing its very presence.

Introduction Forgiving the Guilt of Sin A Move Forward in the Kingdom of God Internal Conquest and External Conquest What Does the Scripture Say About Removing the Sins of Christians? The Roles of Hearing, Faith, and Patience We Have God’s Promise that He Eventually Will Crush Satan under our Feet Conclusion

REMOVING THE PRESENCE OF SIN

Introduction

Sin is a law or a spirit that can exist at a place. Paul spoke of a law of sin at work in the members of his body. Paul exclaimed that in his mind he was in slavery to God but in his flesh he was in slavery to the law of sin. Since the chemical constituents of the physical body are morally neutral, sin must be regarded as something foreign that can be removed.

The Lamb of God has come in order to take away the sin of the world. He does this by forgiving the guilt, then by giving the believer the ability to subdue it, and finally by removing its very presence.

It is difficult even to imagine a world without the presence of sin. Yet God is going to make an end of unrighteousness.

Seventy "sevens"  are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish  transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.   (Daniel 9:24—NIV)

"To put an end to sin." Hallelujah!

God is beginning with the victorious saints the work of putting an end to sin. From them the deliverance will spread to the remainder of the elect, the new Jerusalem. Finally all the creation shall be freed from sin and shall be in subjection to the Lord Jesus. Then the Lord will turn over the Kingdom to the Father, to Him who brought all in subjection to Jesus.

At present Jesus is waiting until every enemy has been made His footstool.

There appears to be confusion in Christian thinking concerning the guilt of sin and the urge to sin. When the Bible speaks of Christ taking away our sin we usually think of Christ forgiving our sin rather than taking away the urge to sin, the slavery to sin, the bondage of sin. In this essay we will attempt to rigorously hold apart these entirely different elements.

Forgiving the Guilt of Sin

Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (Hebrews 10:14—NIV)

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for  the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2—NIV)

That the Lord Jesus has made an atonement whereby the sins of people can be forgiven has been preached throughout the world. The sacrifice has been completed. Whoever will choose to do so may come to God in Jesus’ name, resolve to turn away from his sinful, worldly behavior, be baptized in water, and receive forgiveness for all his sins.

It is God’s will that the individual’s sins be forgiven continually as he walks in the light of God’s will. If he should slip, he is to confess his sin and resolve that it shall never happen again. God will then forgive his sin and cleanse or purify him from all unrighteousness.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9—NIV)

Whether "purify us from all unrighteousness" means totally forgive our sinful behavior or whether it suggests the further step of cleansing our personality of the presence of sin is not clear. Experience tells us that a forthright confession of a particular sinful behavior brings a forgiveness and a cleansing of conscience that we sometimes can even feel. Also, we seem to gain the upper hand over the sin and with some determination we can overcome it from that point forward.

It is not always true however that the presence of the tendency toward that sinful behavior is removed totally. We have to be on our guard that we do not fall into it again.

Speaking from some fifty years of experience with moral deliverance we can testify that some moral bondages, upon being confessed, seem to leave with such clarity and force that even the urge is almost totally banished. Certainly the fiery strength of the sin has been quenched. In other instances a guard has to be posted continually to make certain this particular snake does not rear its head again. Perhaps the difference in the degree of deliverance depends on the individual personality, or on other frailties that have not surfaced as yet.

As we said before, we must keep a clear distinction in our mind between forgiving the guilt of our sin and removing the compulsion to sin. Otherwise we cannot possibly think clearly about what takes place under the new covenant.

It seems to me that at the present time, in Christian teaching in America, the teaching that Jesus takes away our sin almost always refers to the forgiving of our sin. The removal of the urge to sin or the presence of sin seems to be relegated to another age. Someone said "After we are raptured God will remove our sin." I would like to know the Bible basis for this statement!

A Move Forward in the Kingdom of God

"See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, (Malachi 3:1-3—NIV)

I think the passage above has to do with the day in which we are living. It is an example of some of the statements found in the Scriptures that are hard to understand or place until they happen. It is difficult to know in advance what is being referred to. But I believe the event set forth in Malachi is occurring today and we actually are in a specific move forward in the Kingdom of God.

According to Malachi, the day will arrive when the Lord suddenly comes to His temple, not to the world but to His temple. When He appears He will purify those who have been set aside to serve Him. The result will be servants who come before the Lord in righteous behavior.

Well, Peter tells us we are the holy nation, the royal priesthood. We know the eternal Temple of God is the Christian Church. It seems to me the Lord has come to us today to cleanse us from the sin that keeps us in slavery.

The passages in the New Testament that inform us we are not to continue in the sins of the flesh, and that if we do we will not inherit the Kingdom of God, have always been in the text. Also the exhortation to not permit sin to have mastery over us has always been in the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans. But for whatever reason we have not been able to grasp these warnings and exhortations.

Now the veil is being lifted. Now God is highlighting the passages He wants emphasized in our day.

We have been at Pentecost, so to speak, throughout the present century. The observance that comes after the feast of Pentecost is the Blowing of Trumpets—Rosh Hashanah of the Jews. The Blowing of Trumpets is New Year’s day in the Jewish calendar, the beginning of the year of kings and contracts.

The spiritual significance of the Blowing of Trumpets is that it represents the entrance of the Kingdom of God into the earth. The Lord Jesus said, "If I with the finger of God cast out devils then the Kingdom of God has come to you."

Now consider: before the Lord Jesus came, no prophet is recorded as having cast out devils. The Hebrew prophets healed afflictions but did not cast out devils as such.

The moment Jesus came He began to cast out devils, for the Kingdom of God comes by the casting out of devils.

Yet the Lord, when reading from Isaiah, closed the scroll just before the expression "the day of vengeance of our God." Therefore although the Lord cast out numerous demons of blindness and deafness He never once cast out a demon of moral bondage, such as lying or gossiping. The time had not come for God’s vengeance on moral bondage.

I think the day of vengeance of our God has begun, and it has commenced with God’s judgment on the evil forces dwelling in the flesh of those believers who fervently are seeking the Lord. These sources of bondage have been present and sometimes active in us, but God has not called them to our attention while we were pursuing other aspects of our discipleship. The blood of Jesus has kept us without condemnation in God’s sight. Now the Lord is ready to judge them. He is pointing them out to us. We are to confess our sins and turn away from them with His help.

Please keep in mind that this is not a judgment on us as a person but on the sin that dwells in us. God is beginning the destruction of His enemy, and the judgment and destruction must commence in the house of God.

You may have been a Christian for many years. Now you suddenly have become aware of sin in your life. The Lord suddenly has come to His temple and is ready to deliver you from slavery to sin.

The best way to prove what I am saying, after it seems to you like it might be in the Bible, is to try it to see if it works. When the Spirit of God brings a sin in your life to your attention, get down before the Lord and confess the sin to Him. Tell God exactly what you have done. Describe the behavior and name it as clearly as you can. Then see if it does not leave. See if confessing it clearly does not make a difference in the hold it has maintained over you. If you like, get a fellow Christian to hear your confession and pray with you. Then you will know whether or not I am telling you the truth.

I think we are in a new day when it comes to deliverance from slavery to sin! I think we are on the threshold of Canaan, ready to enter and take possession of the land of resurrection life.

Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27,28—NIV)

In the above passage we see that Christ was sacrificed to take away the sins of many people, not just to forgive the sins but to take them away. His appearance the second time is to bring salvation. It is possible that the taking away of sin requires two actions. First, the forgiveness of the sins. This was completed by the blood sacrifice made on the cross of Calvary. The second, which will be fulfilled at the appearing of Christ, is salvation in the sense of removing sin.

The question is, when the Bible says "he will appear a second time" is it referring to the worldwide second coming of the Lord or another appearing? Since the Book of Revelation states plainly that when Christ returns at His second coming every eye will see Him, and the verse above says He will appear to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him, our opinion is that the coming mentioned here is not referring to the great second coming of the Lord to set up His Kingdom on the earth but to the coming mentioned in Malachi, the coming to cleanse the Lord’s servants.

The idea of a coming to cleanse the priesthood prior to the coming to establish His Kingdom is supported by logic and also by the Scripture.

The concept of a pre-advent appearing is supported by logic. When Christ appears to the world to set up His Kingdom He will be surrounded by His saints who are coheirs with Him of the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth. It is not possible that Christ will come with His saints until the enemy in their personalities has been driven from them. The Christians absolutely must be cleansed before they can descend with the Lord.

The concept of a pre-advent appearing to His people is supported by the Scriptures. Notice carefully:

On that day you will realize I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?" Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:20-23—NIV)

"And show myself to him." "Show yourself to us and not to the world." "We will come to him."

I think this fits the expression, "he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him."

It is my opinion that the coming of Christ mentioned here is the spiritual fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles, the three observances that follow the feast of Pentecost.

The Blowing of Trumpets signifies Christ will come as a warrior, sounding the trumpet of battle. He will declare judgment and war against the sin that dwells in our flesh. I think this is why so many of the recent choruses are emphasizing spiritual warfare.

The Day of Atonement signifies Christ will come to reconcile God’s people to God in the area of worldliness, the lusts of the flesh, and self-will. We have been reconciled to God legally by the blood of the cross. But to claim the Christian believers in America have been reconciled to God in the area of love for the world, the lusts and passions of the flesh, and self-will, personal ambition, and disobedience to God’s Spirit, is to deny what is apparent even to people of the world.

It is worthy of note that when David Brainerd went to the Indians to evangelize them, one of the first obstacles placed before him was the low opinion held by the Indians of the "Christians" who had stolen their land and sold them whiskey. These Christians may have been reconciled to God legally by the blood of the cross but it is certain the Indians were not persuaded the "worshipers of Christ" had been reconciled to God in reality.

Is this true today in America?

The feast of Tabernacles signifies Christ will come to the believer with the Father. They will make Their eternal home in him or her.

War and judgment against the enemy, reconciliation to God in every aspect and element of our personality, and the indwelling of the fullness of the Godhead are necessary if sin is finally, utterly, and eternally to be removed from us. This is a wonderful prospect, isn’t it?

Internal Conquest and External Conquest

Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (I John 2:6—NIV)

To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery —just as I have received authority from my Father. (Revelation 2:26,27—NIV)

One may notice that the first verse (above) has to do with our personal walk in Christ, that is, with the internal conquest of our personality. The second has more to do with external conquest.

Before the Jews were directed to cross the Jordan River and conquer the Canaanites, the external enemy, they first had to suffer many experiences at the hand of God in order to conquer their own personality.

So it is with us Christians. We have been told that one day we will govern with Christ the nations of the earth. But it is obvious before we govern the world with Christ we first will have to learn to govern our own personality. Would you agree with this?

The common understanding among Christians is that we will change from imputed righteousness to actual righteousness when we die and go to Heaven or when the Lord returns. (Some may believe we never will be righteous except by imputation. We always will be sinners who are seen through Christ.) There is no scriptural basis for the concept that the Kingdom of God consists only of imputed (ascribed) righteousness.

Our transformation from the adamic nature into a life-giving spirit cannot occur by virtue of death; cannot occur by virtue of the fact we are in Heaven (after all, sin began in Heaven around the very Throne of God); cannot occur as an instantaneous act when the Lord appears.

Cannot occur by virtue of death. Death is our enemy, not our redeemer. Our sin is spiritual in nature and will not stay with our body in the ground. It has to be dealt with somewhere. There is no scriptural basis whatever for believing death will cause us to become a new creation of righteous, holy behavior.

Cannot occur just because we are in Heaven. The mere fact of existence in the spirit realm will not cause us to become a new creation of righteous, holy behavior. There is no scriptural basis for the concept that when we arrive in Heaven we will automatically be delivered from sin. Dying and going to Heaven does not solve the problem of the sinning Christian, rather it intensifies the problem. It is appointed to men once to die and after this the judgment.

Our transformation cannot occur at the time the Lord appears from Heaven. We must be ready to appear with Him. There is no scriptural or logical basis for the commonly held concept that Christ will transform us instantaneously at His appearing.

The coming of the Lord will not change what we are, it will reveal what we have become during our lifetime on the earth.

Consider: when the Lord appeared He did not transform the foolish virgins. Rather He denied them entrance into His Presence.

Consider: when the Lord appeared He did not transform the servant who had buried the talent given to Him. Rather Christ took away the talent from His servant and sent him into the outer darkness.

Unless we are willing to continue with the current Christian mythic vision of a bubble of abstract grace that surrounds Gentile believers, a totally unscriptural vision, we are faced with the fact that at some point and in some manner the Lord must undertake to deliver His people from their sins, and then transform them by being formed in them and then coming to dwell in that which has been formed in them.

What Does the Scripture Say About Removing the Sins of Christians?

For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14—NIV)

Now, in light of the other verses in the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans, precisely what does the above statement mean—"sin shall not be your master"?

We know the Lord said, "Whoever practices sin is the slave of sin." How do we escape slavery to sin?

It is implied in the above verse that if we were under the Law of Moses sin would be our master. Why is this? It is because the Law of Moses points out the sin in our life but it does not provide a method of deliverance from slavery to the sin.

The other implication is that because we are under grace sin shall not master us; sin cannot keep us in bondage.

Now, how does grace set about to deliver us from the bondage of sin?

First, new-covenant grace forgives us on the basis of the blood atonement made by the Lord on the cross of Calvary. Now we have a clear conscience and can serve God without being under condemnation.

Second, new-covenant grace enables us to be born again. Being born again means Christ has been conceived in us. As Christ continues to be formed in us by the many experiences through which the Spirit brings us, by the body and blood of Christ that are fed to us as we choose to turn away from the desires of our adamic nature and adopt the way of righteousness, and through the various gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit as they bring the Divine Nature, power, and wisdom to us, there is an inward transformation—a change from the ungodly adamic nature to the Nature of Christ.

Third, when we pray and avail ourselves of the grace of God we are able to keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles.

Fourth, the Holy Spirit provides us with wisdom and strength so we can add to our faith goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, and godliness.

Fifth, as we follow the Spirit of God He will enable us to put to death the sinful actions of our body.

By all these means and more the Divine grace given to us under the new covenant breaks the hold of the devil on us. Sin shall not have mastery over us because we are not under the Law of Moses but under new-covenant grace. The Law of new-covenant grace is the Holy Spirit Himself. The Spirit is our Law and as we follow Him each day He breaks the chains of sin that bind us and make us slaves.

As Paul says, we do not owe it to our flesh that we should fulfill its desires. Our body is dead because of sin. But the righteousness of God is living in our inward nature if we are obeying the Spirit. As many as are led by the Spirit are putting to death the deeds of their body and growing in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. These are the true sons of God. The remainder are only churchgoers. They are not participating in the program of removal of sin and they will not appear with Christ at the time of the first resurrection from the dead.

The Roles of Hearing, Faith, and Patience

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17—NIV)

We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (Hebrews 6:12—NIV)

There are many Divine promises found in the New Testament: the promise of salvation; the promise of Divine healing; the promise of tongues and the other gifts of the Spirit; the promise of deliverance from slavery to sin.

All of the Divine promises are fulfilled in the same manner:

We have to hear the message or read the promise in the Bible. We have to know God gave the promise.

After we realize this is what God has promised, we have to accept the fulfillment by faith. We then have hope based on our conviction that what God has stated is true.

Once we have set our conviction and hope toward the fulfillment of the promise we must wait patiently for God to honor His Word.

Hearing, faith, and patience. This is how we are saved, healed, how we speak in tongues and minister, and how we are delivered from slavery to sin.

The question then becomes, does the new covenant promise the removal of the presence of sin from us? What does the New Testament say about this?

First, the New Testament promises us that we can gain the upper hand over sin. We can be an overcomer, a victorious saint. All the promises we associate with salvation are designated for the believer who through Christ gains the victory over sin.

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, (Romans 8:13—NIV)

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Galatians 5:16—NIV)

Through the Spirit of God we are enabled to put to death the deeds of our body that proceed from the sinful nature. If we live by the Spirit of God instead of according to our fleshly life, if we pray each day, meditate in God’s Word, deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus, present our body a living sacrifice, assemble with fervent saints, covet the gifts of the Spirit, and do all else we have been commanded, we will not be compelled to gratify the desires of our sinful nature.

Second, the New Testament promises us the ultimate removal of sin. If we have been faithful in the lesser, that is, if we have pursued the life of the Spirit of God in overcoming the sinful desires of our flesh, then the Lord finally will bring the greater salvation to us, meaning He will remove the presence of sin from us.

Notice carefully:

Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (Hebrews 10:11-14—NIV)

Jesus made one sacrifice for sins. Thereby He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy (not those how just take "the four steps of salvation" and then live their life as before).

Now think. Have we actually been made perfect? Yes, and No. Yes in the timeless vision of God in which we also have been glorified. No in the actual state of our personality.

But what has God said? Christ is waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool. Where will they first be made His footstool if not in those closest to Him?

At what point will God crush under our feet His enemies that are in us? Not at His coming (except for our human enemies in the world) or after His coming but at some point before His coming. Otherwise there would be tremendous spiritual confusion at the coming of the Lord. He could not descend with His saints and judge the wicked if the saints themselves, the members of His army of judges, had wickedness in them.

The current teaching of the pre-tribulation "rapture" is completely misleading. Would Christ come and carry up to Himself the present Christian churches in which lust, hatred, and slander abound? It cannot happen. The Bible says throughout the Gospels that when the King returns He will reward His servants according to their behavior, separating the righteous from the wicked. The Bible does not say when He returns He will transform the moral nature of His servants, but judge them and give rewards or punishments to them according to their deeds.

"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. (Revelation 22:12—NIV)

There is not one verse in the entire New Testament that so much as suggests when the Lord returns to establish His Kingdom, at the time of the resurrection from the dead, He will receive to Himself believers who have been forgiven through imputed righteousness but who never have been transformed through the operations of new-covenant grace.

No aspect of salvation occurs through a sudden, sovereign action of God that operates independently of our behavior.

The Divine redemption is portrayed in the seven feasts of the Lord, as well as in the other three major types of salvation—the Tabernacle of the Congregation, the journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan, and the six days of creation and the seventh day of rest.

The first feast, Passover, a type of initial salvation, was instituted by the Lord and then had to be carried out by the obedience and faith of the Israelites.

The second feast, Unleavened Bread, a type of repentance, was instituted by the Lord and then had to be carried out by the obedience and faith of the Israelites.

The third feast, Firstfruits, a type of the born-again experience, our entrance into the resurrection life of Christ, was instituted by the Lord and then had to be carried out by the obedience and faith of the Israelites.

The fourth feast, Pentecost, a type of the work of the Spirit in the Church, was instituted by the Lord and then had to be carried out by the obedience and faith of the Israelites.

The fifth feast, the Blowing of Trumpets, a type of the Lord of Hosts coming to declare war against His enemies, was instituted by the Lord and then had to be carried out by the obedience and faith of the Israelites.

The sixth feast, the Day of Atonement, a type of the two aspects of the removing of sins from God’s elect, first by forgiveness and then by the actual removing of the sin-laden scapegoat from the camp, was instituted by the Lord and then had to be carried out by the obedience and faith of the Israelites.

The seventh feast, the feast of Tabernacles, a type of the Father and the Son making Their eternal resting place in us, was instituted by the Lord and then had to be carried out by the obedience and faith of the Israelites.

Christ has performed His part of the Day of Atonement by shedding His blood for our sins and then by descending into Hell, carrying our sins upon Himself. In so doing Christ completely destroyed the authority of Satan over us.

Yet, the enemies of Christ abound in the Christian churches. It is obvious the presence of sin has never been removed from us.

How, then, are we to gain the full benefit of the Day of Atonement.

The three areas of sin in us are the love of the world, the passions of the flesh and soul, and self-will.

We put the love of the world to death by asking God’s help as we choose to present our body a living sacrifice, not being conformed to the ways of the world but being transformed by the renewing of our mind.

We put the sins of our flesh and soul to death by confessing them, receiving the forgiveness and cleansing, and then drawing near to God and resisting the devil.

We put our self-will to death by remaining patiently in the prison where God permits Satan to place us and not attempting to break out. Sometimes these confining situations in which our most fervent desires are set aside last for many years—long enough to destroy our self-will and perfect our obedience to Christ.

Such reconciliation to God in these three areas operates as we through faith and patience wait in hope for the removal of sin from us.

We have God’s promise that He eventually will crush Satan under our feet.

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. (Romans 16:20—NIV)

The above verse signals the final removal of the presence of sin from us.

But what about the believers who do not grasp the promises by faith; who do not gain victory over the world; who do not bring the lusts of their body and soul under subjection; who do not remain in the confining situation where they have been placed, choosing instead to save their life on their own terms. What does the New Testament state concerning them (and there are numerous such today)?

The New Testament states with utmost clarity that they will reap what they are sowing. The iron Kingdom law of cause and effect governs them. Paul says those who live according to the flesh, not coming under the discipline of the law of the new covenant, which is the Holy Spirit Himself, will reap corruption. Paul warns they will not inherit the Kingdom of God. The Lord Jesus informs us that the foolish virgins will be denied entrance to the Kingdom; the servant who buried his talent will be sent to the outer darkness.

The Lord Jesus warns us also that at the end of the age the messengers of God will first gather out of His Kingdom the things that offend. After that those who offend will be cast into the fire. I believe the messengers already have come and are beginning to remove from Christ’s Kingdom, from those who will cooperate, the things that offend. Those who do not cooperate, who choose to remain associated with the works of Satan, will be thrown into the fires of Divine judgment. God will not permit sin to remain in His Presence!

There is no scriptural evidence whatever that at the coming of the Lord the lukewarm, disobedient Gentiles of Christianity will be carried up to Heaven in a rapture. There is an abundance of scriptural evidence that those who are lukewarm will suffer punishment, or worse!

The good news is that there is a promise of the ultimate removal of the presence of sin from those who have been faithful to God, who have exercised the patience necessary if one is to inherit the blessings described in the Word of God.

I have been reading recently about David Brainerd and the spiritual awakenings that were taking place in his day. As I thought about what I was reading I could see that periodically the Christian churches go through the coldness and apostasy that are present today. The Puritan preachers of that time would not settle for a quick, easy acceptance of Christ. There had to be a moral transformation demonstrated by changed behavior before they would accept that an individual had been saved.

I could see also that some of our Pentecostal antics are not characteristic of the genuine moves of God of previous times. The wild displays of emotionalism we witness today are just that and should not be mistaken for a genuine Heaven-sent revival.

The awakenings of time past accompanied solid expository sermons based on the competent exegeses of the Puritan ministers who were fluent in the Hebrew and Greek languages. In the midst of such scholarly preaching the Holy Spirit fell and people were in an agony because of the conviction of sin they were experiencing. In some instances the conviction reached out into the surrounding areas. It was not a phenomenon worked up in a church meeting.

It was in this milieu that Brainerd brought to the Indians the Calvinistic concepts of redemption held by himself and Jonathan Edwards, and then God sent His Spirit and the Indians came under the intense conviction that the settlers also were experiencing.

Things today seem so trivial, so cheap, so ready to flatter the believers. It is a kind of Hollywood, Disneyland atmosphere in some instances that does not call forth the depths of conviction in the congregations. The iron and fire of the God of Israel are not always felt.

There is no doubt we are in line for a great revival in America. I think the Spirit has been telling me that the promised revival will take place amidst much trouble.

Genuine revivals, I believe, are characterized by sincere repentance, worldwide evangelism, and a step forward in the understanding of the Kingdom of God.

The step forward in understanding in our time may have to do with the spiritual fulfillments of the last three feasts of the Lord. For I think we are close to the actual coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, and this will result in the casting out of all demons, fallen angels, and Satan himself.

I do not mean the Kingdom will be established by us before the Lord comes, for that is not scriptural. I mean rather that we are so close to His return to earth that preparations are being made for His arrival. Isn’t that the case with the coming of any king?

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—shout for joy before the LORD, the King. Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity. (Psalms 98:4-9—NIV)

Conclusion

We are near to the coming of the Lord. The Lord Jesus Christ is not returning in order to carry His Church to Heaven, as is commonly taught. Our goal, the goal of salvation, is not that we might be forced to flee from our inheritance, from the earth and its peoples, and exist in the spirit realm for eternity. This is the current mythic concept. It is not at all scriptural.

The hastiest review of the Book of Isaiah will reveal that the Lord is coming to bring justice to the nations. The Servant of the Lord who is to appear is Christ—Head and Body. When Christ who is our life shall appear, then we shall appear with Him. This is what the Scripture teaches.

We who will appear with Him must first be judged and delivered from all sin. When this has been accomplished, and not before, the Lord will return and establish His Kingdom on the earth. He will judge among the nations. He will remove from the earth all who are destroyers of that which is good. The meek will inherit the earth and sing and dance for joy.

The Kingdom is at hand. Rosh Hashanah is upon us—the new year of the Kingdom of God. Sin is to be removed from the Church and then from the nations of the saved. This is the climax of the work of redemption that has been proceeding for six thousand years. To think that we should be alive to see this day of days approaching!

So our services are beginning to be characterized by songs of war, by the carrying of banners, by marching, by dancing, by jubilant praise. And why not? Isn’t the King sitting on His great white stallion ready to descend on the earth? Would we be occupied only with three points and a conclusion when Christ and His generals are at the door of our church, ready to march down the aisle?

The vision today is mighty and it is speaking to us of the glory soon to fill the earth. Before it does, however, there must be a cleansing of the Church in preparation for her role in the installation and administration of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

Let us prepare the way of the Lord by following the Holy Spirit as He brings our enemies under subjection. The host is massing on the east side of Jordan in the plains of Moab. It is time to follow the Ark and cross over onto resurrection ground.