BEHOLD MY SERVANT!

(Trumpet Minstries, Inc. / Word of Righteousness)

BEHOLD MY SERVANT! Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Servant of the Lord is Christ, the Anointed Deliverer. He is the One sent from God to bring deliverance to God's elect. At the next appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ His saints will be revealed together with Him. The saints constitute the Body of Christ, the Body of the Anointed Deliverer, the Church, the Wife of the Lamb. The Church will have become eternally one with Christ by eating His flesh and drinking His blood. God will establish His Kingdom and bring justice to the nations through Christ--Head and Body.

Table of Contents

Christ

Introductory Scriptures

Chapter I. The Creation     The Promise to Abraham     Three Divine edicts concerning the Servant     The Seed is Christ, the Servant of the Lord     The Threefold Glorifying of the Servant     The Building of the Body of the Servant     The Election of the Servant

Chapter II. Divine Declarations Concerning the Servant of the Lord     God Upholds His Servant     God Delights in His Servant     God's Spirit Is Upon His Servant     God's Servant Is Blind and Deaf     God's Servant Is His Witness     God's Servant Must Not Strive     God's Servant Shall Be Successful     God's Servant Is Created in the Church

Chapter III. The Work of the Servant of the Lord     God's Servant Brings Deliverance to Israel     God's Servant Brings Justice to the Nations     God's Servant Strengthens the Bruised Reed     God's Servant Establishes the Law of God     God's Servant Installs the Kingdom of God     God's Servant Executes the Judgment of God     God's Servant Rules the Creation of God

Chapter IV. The Servant Fulfills the Purpose of God     God's Servant Is in the Image of God     God's Servant Fills the Universe With the Image of Christ     God's Servant Is the Temple of God     God's Servant Is the Light of the World     God's Servant Is Christ Who Is To Come

Christ

And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people. (Isaiah 5:16)

God the Father has given three commissions to Christ (Isaiah 51:16):

To plant the heavens.

To lay the foundations of the earth.

To say to Zion: "You are my people."

These are the three issues with which all of God's people are to be concerned: the condition of the heavens, the condition of the earth, and the condition of God's Israel, His Zion.

The first issue is that of the heavens. The heavens were created before the earth. There still are wicked lords of darkness who rule in the heavenlies above the earth and we have to struggle against them.

Christ has been commissioned to plant the heavens with the righteousness that is in and of His own Person. This righteousness is formed in us as we choose to love righteousness and hate lawlessness. As we wrestle against the rebellious lords of darkness our spirit is perfected in Christ in the heavenly Mount Zion. Thus the heavens are filled with the righteousness of Christ that has been formed in the saints.

The second issue facing each person whom God has called is the doing of God's will in the earth. God's will is that Christ fill both the heavens and the earth, becoming the foundation on which all that is part of the earth is built. There is no eternal foundation other than Christ on which mankind can build. The earth has no stable and lasting foundation until it is founded on God's Christ.

The third issue is that of assuring each person whom God has called that God loves him, that his destiny is to abide in Jesus and Jesus in him, that he is to cleave to the Lord in perfect union, perfect marriage.

All mankind is divided into two groups: God's Israel, His Zion, His elect, and then the remainder of the peoples of the earth. This does not mean the elect are saved and go to Heaven while the remainder of the peoples are doomed to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. It means, rather, that God, according to His own counsel and purposes, has called from the beginning of the world certain members of mankind. They have been predestined to be changed into the image of God's Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-30).

The national, natural aspect of God's Israel consists of the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. However the physical children of Abraham cannot establish their election until they embrace Christ. In addition to the Jews, God has added to true Israel, to the good olive tree, a number of elect Gentiles. These also must embrace Christ.

The Jews and the Gentiles who have been called by the Lord and who have responded to their calling by giving themselves to Christ, are true Zion. They are God's eternal kings and priests, the royal priesthood of whom the Scriptures speak. They make up the Body of the Servant of the Lord, the Body of Christ.

The Lord Jesus is unique. He is the Lord, the Word of God from eternity. He is the eternal Life who was with the Father and now has been manifested to us. Jesus is Christ.

Now the Lord Jesus is adding to Himself a body, a fullness. He is taking to Himself a wife. She is being created from His body and blood and is, therefore, an eternally indivisible, integral part of Himself. She is the holy city, the new Jerusalem. The Throne of God and of the Lamb is in her and she will rule over the nations of saved peoples of the earth forever.

God did not call out His Israel in order to curse and destroy the nations of the earth but to bless the nations of the earth. The calling out of Israel is not a sign that the other peoples of the earth will be destroyed. Rather it is through the Seed of Abraham (which is Christ and all who are of the Body of Christ) that the nations of the earth will be blessed with eternal life.

Christ always comes to those whom God has chosen for Himself and says to them, "You are God's people." We must be told this many times and in numerous ways and forms before we are totally willing and able to turn away from the world.

It is difficult for most of us, elect Jews and elect Gentiles alike, to accept that we have been called to be a part of God in a unique way; that God Himself and not something else is our inheritance. We may believe we belong to the Lord but we desire also to be a part of this present world. We have been called to be saints (holy ones) but we always are seeking some other inheritance.

The Jews and the Christians have suffered throughout the centuries because of their unwillingness to be a holy nation, a royal priesthood, a people separate from the remainder of mankind. The saints usually are seeking popular approval rather than refusing, as did Abraham their father, to take so much as a shoelace from the world (Genesis 14:23).

Christ comes to us through the gifts and ministries given by the Holy Spirit and tells us over and over again that we are not part of the present world, that we are the Lord's personal possession. Christ always comes to Zion, to God's people. He reveals to us the heavenly romance.

But we much prefer to use Jesus to get what we want out of the world and also to obtain from Jesus the assurance of an eternal amnesty, the promise that no matter how we live in the world we will go to Paradise when we die. We often miss the whole point of our calling as Israel.

As for the nations of saved peoples of the earth, their day will come when Christ appears with His saints, His holy ones, and releases the creation from the bondage of corruption. At that time many people will be assigned to the tormenting fire, but others (hopefully the majority) will be brought forward into eternal life. In that Day national Israel will be established as the ruling nation of the world.

Planting the Heavens

For two thousand years Christ has been planting the heavens.

Christ came and shed His blood for the sins of the world, making it possible for whoever chooses to do so to be forgiven of his sins and to enter in prayer into the Presence of God in Heaven.

Also, through the various ministries and gifts given by the Holy Spirit, and through fiery trials, the spiritual nature of the members of the Body of Christ is being perfected. The spiritual Zion consists of the spirits of righteous people made perfect. The spirits of the righteous people of the Church of the Firstborn are being made perfect in the Virtue that is in Christ (Hebrews 12:23).

Because of the length of time being devoted to establishing the heavens, Christianity has come to be regarded as a "heavenly" religion. Salvation is viewed as a means of enabling us to enter permanent residence in Heaven when we die.

The other two commissions of Christ (and of us because we are the Body of Christ) are largely ignored. Most of us understand little about laying the foundations of the earth or saying to Zion, You are my people.

The vision of the Kingdom of God announced by the Hebrew Prophets, the Kingdom preached by John the Baptist, by the Lord Jesus, and by the Apostles of the Lamb, has been lost to the Christian churches.

The blood of Christ is being presented as a "ticket" to Paradise. Physical death has become the redeemer of the typical believer. It is his belief that Christ came to forgive his sins and rebellion, the sins and rebellion that he is convinced will be his portion throughout his stay on the earth. The concept of Christ as a deliverer, particularly as a deliverer from the bondages of sin, has not been established in his thinking.

But when he dies, then he will be sanctified (he thinks). Death will resolve the problem of his sins and rebellions. No matter how he has conducted himself on the earth, when he dies he will go to Heaven where he never can sin again. He will be a mighty king and priest of God, although whom he will rule over and intercede for is not clear.

We apply Isaiah's prophecies to the physical Jews, and are wresting to our own destruction Paul's explanation of the grace of God under the new covenant. The interpretation of John 14:2 to mean Jesus is building houses for us in Heaven is a sublime example of the errors that have entered Christian thinking since the first century.

The absence of a clear, scriptural goal of redemption plus the perversion of the doctrine of grace have resulted in a lack of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God in the Christian churches. We must pray that God will give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so we once again can behold the vision of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

Meanwhile, the wicked spirits in the heavenlies are exerting their influence on the earth.

In our day some of the believers are entering a travail. The purpose of the travail is to build the Body of Christ. Righteousness is returning. The "hair of Samson" is growing.

It is the written will of Almighty God that Satan be crushed beneath the feet of the Body of Christ (Romans 16:20). We yet shall see all the powers of darkness hurled from the heavenlies and the saints of God ascend to those thrones, to the spiritual thrones that govern the material creation (Daniel 7:9; Revelation 20:4).

The heavens will be planted in the Person and righteousness of Christ. First He entered the Holy Place with His atoning blood so God could accept us. Now He is travailing in birth through His ministries until His own Person and righteousness fill His saints, until His righteousness that has been imputed (ascribed) to them becomes an actual righteousness in their personalities. As the righteous Christ is formed in us He is raised to the right hand of the Father, there to await His return to the earth.

The Kingdom of God is actual, de facto righteousness, not imputed (ascribed), de jure righteousness. The light of the world is the righteous deeds of the holy ones of God (Matthew 5:16).

Laying the Foundations of the Earth

Today the nations of the earth have no foundation of truth and righteousness on which to build. The whole world is a lie, a lie of Satan. God's Foundation is the Truth--Christ.

Abraham was waiting for the city that has foundations (Hebrews 11:10). It may be noted that the wall of the new Jerusalem rests on twelve foundations and that the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb are written in the foundations. Any person or thing not constructed on Christ can be shaken (Ephesians 2:20).

We Christians can be shaken if we know only of imputed (ascribed) righteousness, a righteousness assigned to us by faith in Jesus.

It is true that God "sees" us as being clothed in the righteousness of Jesus and for that reason we can come before His Presence with boldness.

But ascribed righteousness is intended to serve only while Christ is breaking the yoke of sin and rebellion in us. Ascribed righteousness is a temporary provision while the new creation is coming forth. To attempt to prolong the provision of imputed righteousness apart from an accompanying daily transformation from death to life, from Satan to God, is to misuse and pervert the grace of God. Justification must not be permitted to become so swollen and poisonous it kills the need for sanctification and consecration.

We Christians have fellowship with God when we are walking in the light of His will; otherwise we come under judgment.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another [with God], and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (I John 1:7)

But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (I Corinthians 11:32)

The Christian redemption is not primarily the forgiveness of our sins. Rather, the Christian salvation is our deliverance from Satan, our personal transformation, and our complete, restful union with God through Christ.

The nations of the earth have little moral light. They are waiting for the Light of Christ to be created in the saints of God. Because the Christians in many instances are limiting God's grace to a legal righteousness and are not growing in actual righteous conduct, the Light of Christ's Person, way, will, and eternal purpose cannot be viewed by the peoples of the earth.

How many persons are being destroyed today because the Christian people are not following Jesus as they should?

The Kingdom of God is not a company of sinners who are received into the wonder of God's Kingdom on the basis of imputed righteousness. There is no sin in the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the holy people (the saints). The Kingdom of God is the doing of God's will in the earth as it is in Heaven.

One day soon Christ and His holy ones will return to the earth and impose God's will on the nations. The nation of Israel will be delivered from its enemies, both spiritual and physical. Israel will be forgiven its sins and will be born again of God's Spirit by a sovereign act of Christ (similar to the experience of Saul on the way to Damascus--Romans 11:26).

The light of God will arise on all of God's elect, including Jews and Gentiles. The nations of the earth will come to that light.

In that Day righteousness and truth will fill the earth. The Glory of God will rest on every continent. The islands will sing the praises of Christ. The wolf will dwell with the lamb and the leopard will lie down with the kid, and a little child will lead them.

The Hebrew Prophets have much to say about the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth:

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)

For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth; To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem; When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord. (Psalms 102:19-22)

Christ has been charged by the Father with laying the foundations of the earth. Working with Him and sharing in His inheritance will be those who, through His grace, were able to conquer the world, Satan, and their own lusts and self-will.

The work of salvation has not been accomplished in us when our sins are forgiven. The work of salvation has not been completed in us until we have been redeemed totally from the authority, power, and effects of sin and have been brought into the image of Christ and into perfect union with God through Christ.

"Salvation" is synonymous with deliverance . To "save" is to deliver from Satan and bring into union with God.

Once we truly have been "saved," in this complete sense, we are ready to return in glory with Christ and to lay the foundations of the earth upon the Person, Life, and truth of Christ.

The Lord Jesus came to save us "from" our sins (Matthew 1:21). As soon as we have been saved from our sins we will be ready to be raised from the dead and to participate in the new world of righteous, holy, and obedient behavior.

Saying to Zion: "You Are My People"

"Zion" is Israel, the elect of God--particularly the stronger among the elect; although it appears the term often is enlarged to embrace all the Lord's people. Zion includes God's kings and priests, His holy nation--those whom He has called out of the world, as He did Abraham, on the basis of foreknowledge and predestination.

Zion consists primarily of those who are Jewish by race but also the elect Gentiles. However, the national, political aspect of Zion always is of the Jews, never of any Gentile nation no matter how devout.

One day Jerusalem will rule the nations of the earth. During the new heaven and earth reign of Christ, which is an eternal rulership, the new Jerusalem will govern the nations of the saved peoples of the earth.

Before Abraham, mankind was without any light from God except for the revelation that may be found in God's created works. God loves the nations of peoples whom He has created and has devised a plan whereby the nations may be able to draw near to God and to learn of His Person, will, and ways. God desires to bless people and to teach them, not to condemn them to the fires of torment.

God called Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees. Abraham's calling was by God's own choice, His foreknowledge and election. God did not speak of Abraham's righteous behavior, as He did of Noah's, nor did God refer to any wickedness on the part of the people of Ur.

The gifts and callings of God proceed from His own choices. Each of us is required to respond diligently and faithfully to God's unique calling on his own life. If we do not we are chastised more severely than are those who are not called with the same calling.

Abraham met all of God's requirements. God then spoke of blessing the nations of the earth through Abraham's Seed (Genesis 22:18).

The promise of God continued through Isaac and Jacob, and the sons of Jacob. Two separate aspects were present: (1) the physical offspring of Jacob; and (2) the Messianic anointing, which Paul was careful to explain was given by promise, never by natural birth. The Seed of Abraham is a seed by promise, not by natural birth alone and not by the works of the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses was added because of sin.

Israel was given the Law. But the Messianic promises were suspended until the Seed should come to whom was to be given the inheritance promised to Abraham. The Seed is Christ. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and all the other heirs of the Divine promise must receive the Life that is in Jesus if they would enter the Kingdom of God.

Well then, as Paul would ask, what profit is it to be born of the lineage of Jacob? There is much profit to being born a Jew. First of all, it is the nation of Israel, especially the city of Jerusalem, that one day will be the spiritual, moral, and political head of the nations of the earth.

Also, to the physical Jews were given the holy Law, the Tabernacle of the Congregation, the anointed Prophets, and the promise of the coming Christ. Christ was born of a virgin of Israel. No other nation ever at any time has been set aside by the Lord God of Heaven in the manner true of the nation of Israel.

In the fullness of time Christ, the salvation of Israel, was born in Bethlehem of Judea. When He came of age, Rabbi Jesus of Nazareth ministered under the greatest anointing of the Holy Spirit ever witnessed on the earth.

The majority of the Jews could not perceive the revelation of God in Jesus because God sent spiritual blindness upon them (Romans 11:7,8). However, the elect of the Jews received Him, and thus the Christian Church, the Body of Christ, came into being.

Immediately God made it known He had elect Gentiles in every nation and that the Jews must go forth and invite them to partake of the salvation in Christ. This caused some consternation at first and God gave Peter a clarifying vision. Then Peter was emboldened to set foot in the house of the Gentile, Cornelius.

God proceeded to disperse the physical descendants of Abraham among the nations, while the Spirit of God began to search out the members of the elect Gentiles from every race, city, tribe, and village on the earth. The calling of the elect Gentiles has continued until Christianity is thought of today as a Gentile religion, while the Jews appear (to the Gentiles) to be crying in vain for their Christ to come.

Soon the full number of Gentile branches will have been grafted on the good olive tree, on Christ, on the anointing and promise that at one time had been given to Abraham and to his natural lineage.

Then it will be time for God to return to the physical descendants of Abraham. God will turn His attention to the Jews and "all Israel shall be saved" (Romans 11:25-27). The Deliverer will come out of Zion and take away the sins of Jacob.

We know from the Scriptures that the Jews will be delivered from all evil but we are not certain when and how it will happen.

And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (Luke 21:24)

God never changes. He has not for one moment forgotten His ancient people, the Jews. We Gentiles have become proud, thinking that the Christian Church is Gentile and that if a Jew is to be saved He must change his religion. The truth is, it is we Gentiles who must turn away from our demon worship and embrace the God of the Jews.

The Jew does not have to change his religion in order to become a Christian. All he must do is repent of his sins, turn in faith toward his own God, and embrace Jesus, His own Christ. He then is to be baptized in water, not as a sign he has left Judaism but in order to represent his identification with the crucifixion and resurrection of his Christ.

In so doing the Jew does not become a Gentile or a member of any Gentile church . Rather he enters the same Body of which Paul, Peter, James, John, and Jude--all Jews--are members. We of the elect Gentiles look on with joy as our Jewish brothers and sisters regain their own inheritance.

For two thousand years the ministries and gifts that come to us from the ascended Christ have been saying to elect Gentiles, "You are God's people. You are not of the world. You have been called out to be one with Christ as He is One with the Father. You are to come out of the world and to offer spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise to the Father, sacrifices acceptable to Him because of the blood and Person of Christ."

The time is drawing near when the eyes of many members of the nation of Israel, the race of the Jews, will be opened. God will use some of us Gentiles to begin teaching them, "You are God's people."

It is not our role to make Gentiles of the Jews or to make them members of any church. God forbid! The Jewish religion was ordained of God. Most of the liturgies and practices of the Christian churches never were ordained of God but merely are human adjustments to the Gospel of the Kingdom. The Jewish Law, feasts, priesthood, and sacrifices were commanded by the Lord!

It is our task as Gentiles to say to the Jews, "You belong to God. God has chosen you to be a king and priest to Himself. Receive your Christ, the Lord Jesus, for your salvation is in His name. Receive your Bridegroom. He loves you with an everlasting love.

"He is your sin-offering. He is your Passover Lamb. He is your Lampstand, your Light. He is your Booth, your Tabernacle in which to dwell before the Lord. The promised salvation has come and it is Christ."

We Gentiles have alienated the Jews by our insistence that they become Gentile Christians, and then have forsaken them in the hour of the Holocaust. How many Gentile nations turned the Jews away from their shores when they sought refuge from Nazi Germany?

Have these nations not refused to minister to the Lord's brothers in their hour of need and will they not therefore be cast into the fiery Gehenna (Matthew 25:41)?

Now we have the monumental task of proving to the Jews that we are of God and that Yeshua is in fact their Messiah. Only the Spirit of God is able to overcome the hurdles erected by the miserable performance of the Christian churches through the centuries and to bring the Gentiles and Jews together into one Body of Christ. The Lord Jesus is coming for one Church, one Body, and it is not a Gentile church. It is a new creation, having been formed from the elect Jews and the elect Gentiles.

It appears that Antichrist, as he consolidates his power, will turn against the Jews with malice. He will attempt to destroy the Jews, as has occurred in recent history.

During the days of Antichrist the true Christian Church will have been refined to a remnant of believers who have been driven from the cities of the earth. The majority of "Christians" will be part of "Babylon" (man-directed Christianity), having the spirit of Laodicea. We see this trend today as Christians begin to speak of becoming wealthy in the world, of using their faith to gain material riches.

It is our point of view that the refined remnant of believers will render physical and spiritual aid to the Jews during the period of the great tribulation. The authority and power of spiritual deliverance and salvation will reside in this remnant of saints whom the Lord shall call (Joel 2:32). The Lord Jesus will draw the elect Jews out into the wilderness and speak comfortably to them.

Jesus has warned the Jews to flee from Judea when they see the abomination of desolation, that is, Antichrist, standing in the holy place (probably the Holy of Holies of a restored Temple--Matthew 24:15,16), claiming to be God. The claim of Antichrist to be God will bring about the great tribulation.

Those who unwisely remain in Jerusalem will suffer at the hands of Antichrist.

At the climactic hour, Christ will appear with His resurrected holy ones on the Mount of Olives. Then He will deliver "all Israel," taking away the sins of the Jews and filling them with His Spirit. The Son of David will sit on the Throne of David in Jerusalem and rule over all the nations of the earth.

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations [this is the Battle of Armageddon], as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. (Zechariah 13:9-14:5)

Christ will come from Heaven with His army. The saints of all ages will appear with Him. They will be clothed in immortal bodies. They will attack Antichrist and his armies and destroy them. The Lord Jesus will be installed on the Throne of David in Jerusalem and then will go forth with His army to bring the entire earth into subjection to Himself, as we read in the second chapter of the Book of Joel.

Jerusalem shall be filled with the living water of God's Holy Spirit and be a holy nation to the Lord.

And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one. (Zechariah 14:8,9)

Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 14:21)

Today our reborn inner spiritual nature is in Christ in Heaven at the right hand of God and is being refined in righteousness by means of our struggle in the earth. When Jesus returns we shall return with Him in order that the will of God, now being done in Heaven, may be performed in the earth.

In the meantime, the Lord Jesus is speaking to His Bride, both the elect Jews and Gentiles. "You belong to Me. Come away My beloved. Follow Me wherever I go. Receive My body and blood that you may become an eternal part of Me and forever be with Me where I am."

Introductory Scriptures

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

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)

And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people. (Isaiah 51:16)

BEHOLD MY SERVANT!

Chapter I. The Creation of the Servant of the Lord

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

When studying about Christ we must keep in mind that the term Christ is precisely synonymous with the word Messiah. Sometimes it is conjectured that the coming of Christ is for the Gentiles while the Jews are waiting for Messiah. Messiah is an Anglicization of the Hebrew term for the "Anointed One" while Christ is an Anglicization of the Greek term for the "Anointed One.

Although most of us may understand that Messiah and Christ are the same term we may not grasp this fact emotionally. We may "feel" that Christ is for us Gentiles and Messiah is for the Jews.

Hopefully our consistent use of the term Christ will not leave the impression that we are describing any person other than the Messiah of the Hebrew Prophets and Christ of the Greek New Testament.

One of the most confusing of the several errors that pervade Christian thinking today is the concept that there exists a Gentile Church destined for Heaven and a Jewish Kingdom that will reign on the earth. The believer who thinks in these terms will never understand the Prophets or the Apostle Paul.

Please bear with us, then, as we discuss the Servant of the Lord and employ the term Christ . Yeshua Hamashiach (Jesus Christ, the Anointed One) is the Servant of the Lord of the Book of Isaiah. Also, because of the marriage that is taking place, the Servant of the Lord, Christ, consists not only of the exalted Head, the Lord Jesus, but also of a Body.

Many hundreds of years before Christ of Nazareth was born, the Prophet Isaiah exclaimed, "Behold my servant"!

Behold whom? There was no one to see. Whomever people were supposed to behold was not available at that time for anyone to observe. Who is the "servant" about whom Isaiah was prophesying?

Isaiah, as well as the other prophets of Israel who spoke concerning the Anointed One to come, did not know of whom the Spirit in him was speaking. Peter informs us that the prophets "searched diligently" in an attempt to understand more about the Person who shall "bring forth judgment to the nations" (I Peter 1:10-12).

What spirit was speaking in Isaiah? Peter tells us it was the Spirit of Christ who was testifying "beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow" (I Peter 1:11).

The Spirit of Christ was commanding, "Behold my servant."

Whom was the Spirit of Christ commanding to behold God's Servant? Peter answers:

Not unto themselves [the Prophets] but unto us [the Christians--Jews and Gentiles] they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them [the Apostles of Christ] that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven (I Peter 1:12)

We understand, therefore, that the Spirit of Christ in Isaiah is speaking to Christians. The Spirit is directing us, as well as the rest of the creation, to behold the Servant of the Lord. Before Christ was born--hundreds of years before, in fact--His Spirit directed the heavens and the earth to behold the Servant of the Lord.

So important is the Servant of the Lord in the eternal plan of God that the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth may be viewed as four stages in the development and ministry of the Servant of the Lord:

The appearing of the Head of the Servant of the Lord.

The birth and building up of the Body of the Servant of the Lord.

The appearing and ministry of the Servant of the Lord.

The eternal reign, under God, of the Servant of the Lord.

The first step in setting up the Kingdom of God on the earth was the coming to earth of our Lord, Christ. Christ was born of the virgin, Mary; grew up in Nazareth of Galilee; was anointed with the fullness of the Holy Spirit; ministered for three years among the people of Israel; and then was crucified in order to make an atonement for our sins.

Christ rose from the dead by the sovereign hand of God Almighty, now possessing all authority in Heaven and on the earth. Christ became the "firstborn from the dead," being declared to be the Son of God by the power of His resurrection.

Christ is the King of the Kingdom of God and the beginning of the Kingdom.

The second step in installing the Kingdom of God on the earth is the birth and building up of the Body of Christ, the Body of the Servant of the Lord. The Servant of the Lord is Jesus, the only Christ from the God of Heaven. Now God is adding to the Servant of the Lord, to Christ, a Wife, a Body. The Christian Church is the Body of Christ.

For two thousand years the ministries and gifts given to people by the ascended Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit have been laboring to bring the saints to "the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ " that is, to the full moral stature that must be true of each member of the Servant of the Lord.

We saints are Christ's Body, His Bride, His fullness. We are the branches growing out from the one true Vine.

The third step in setting up the Kingdom of God on the earth will be the appearing, ministry, and perfecting of the Servant of the Lord; in particular, the perfecting of the Body. The Head already has been made perfect before God through the sufferings He experienced while on the earth (Hebrews 5:8,9).

After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. (Hosea 6:2)

But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. (Malachi 4:2)

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

When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. (II Thessalonians 1:10)

Throughout the thousand-year period (Millennium; Kingdom Age) the saints will rule with Christ, ministering to all the Lord's people and also to the nations of the earth. During the Kingdom Age the whole Church will become perfectly united with Christ, which is the marriage of the Lamb; and also will be embellished marvelously and adorned with the Glory of God, finally appearing from Heaven as the glorious holy city, the new Jerusalem.

The prior preparation of the Wife of the Lamb is indicated by the statement describing the descent from Heaven of the glorified Church:

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)

"Prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." The implication is that the preparation of the Bride occurred prior to the installation of the new heaven and earth, that is, during the thousand-year Kingdom Age. The "adorning" of the Bride speaks of the spiritual adorning of moral purity and restful union with God, not of external finery. It is the beauty of holiness to the Lord.

The fourth step in setting up the Kingdom of God on the earth will be the eternal reign of the Lamb and His Wife over the creation of God. There will be a new heaven and a new earth. The servants of God "shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads" (Revelation 22:44).

The new heaven and earth reign of the Lamb and His Wife, of the Servant of the Lord, will be so exalted, so much higher spiritually than anything we can imagine at the present time, that we must content ourselves with the facts of the Kingdom of God that are closer at hand.

Nevertheless it is inspiring to realize that after billions upon untold billions of eons have passed, each saint still will be standing in the very Presence of the holy Father, continually being perfected in God's image through the transformation of personality that always occurs when a person beholds the Glory of the Lord.

The Servant of the Lord is Christ, the Anointed Deliverer. He is the One sent from God to bring deliverance to the nations and also to reconcile perfectly to God every one of God's elect.

Christ has come to the earth already, having been born, as we have stated, of the virgin, Mary. During the two thousand years that have followed, His Body is being formed--the Body of Christ. Christ's Body is the "fulness of him that filleth all in all" (Ephesians 1:23).

At the next appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ His saints will appear with Him. The saints constitute the Body of Christ, the Body of the Anointed Deliverer.

When Christ was sent into the world the first time He did not bring with Him a church, a body. When Christ comes to the world the second time He will be accompanied by His Church, by the Body of Christ.

It is to this completed Man, the Lord Jesus and His Church, His complement, that the Spirit of Christ is referring when He invites us to "Behold my servant." The Wife, the Church, is included in the Servant because she has become one with Christ by eating His flesh and drinking His blood.

The Promise to Abraham

An elderly man was making his way up the side of a mountain in the land of Moriah. He had his son by the hand. The patriarch's step was firm, his eye and hand steady. But his heart was dead in him. His natural desires now were crucified, so to speak. His obedience to the command of God kept him moving toward the altar that meant the end of the hopes and plans of twenty-five years.

Who has plumbed the depths of a father's love for his son?

The obedience of Abraham stands out in contrast to the miserable disobedience of Adam and Eve.

As soon as Abraham had completed the sacrifice in his heart, God spoke to him from Heaven:

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)

At this point the Servant of the Lord was being announced to the heavens and to the earth. The Servant of the Lord is the Seed of Abraham.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Word from the beginning. He was not created through the obedience of Abraham. The Scriptures inform us clearly that Christ was before Abraham and before all other personages and things. All the universe and its personages were created by Him and for Him.

Although all the members of the Body of Christ will share in the glorious inheritance promised to Christ, yet in some ways the Lord Jesus always remains unique. One aspect of His uniqueness is that He was before all things and by Him all things were created and maintain their existence. The uniqueness of the Lord Jesus abides eternally. No member of the Body of Christ was with Christ from the beginning.

Yet we now are being created an eternal part of the Eternal Word of God, Christ. We cannot share with Him in His past. But we shall, according to the written Word of God, share with Him in His future. Christ Himself has made that possible through His atoning blood, through His unceasing intercession on our behalf, and by every other means.

Three Divine Edicts Concerning the Servant

Because Abraham was willing to give back to God his son, Isaac, the Lord God issued three edicts regarding the Seed of Abraham. The Seed is Christ, as Paul informs us (Galatians 3:16).

In multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven and as the sand that is on the sea shore.

Thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies.

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

Three concepts are embodied here:

Fruitfulness.

Dominion.

Ministry to the nations of the earth.

Notice that the first two of these edicts, fruitfulness and dominion, are the same promises made to Adam and Eve upon their being created by the Lord (Genesis 1:28).

The three edicts spoken to Abraham, the three creative words of God, have not as yet been fulfilled to anywhere near the extent they will be in the future. But it is a comfort to us Christians to realize that everything God has proclaimed shall be fulfilled completely.

The three aspects of the Divine promise made to Abraham are working, working, working in the heavens, working in the earth. They are creating, shaping, lifting up, casting down, tearing apart, comforting, guiding, inspiring, all creatures and circumstances everywhere. All the universe is moving toward this end: Christ shall be multiplied as the stars of the sky and as the grains of sand on the shore. Christ shall have total dominion over His enemies. In Christ shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.

"Behold my servant, . . . he shall bring forth judgment [justice] to the Gentiles [nations]."

Heaven and earth shall pass away; but the Divine purposes in Christ shall move ahead with power and precision until all God has promised concerning Christ has been fulfilled in its entirety.

The Seed Is Christ, the Servant of the Lord

Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. (Galatians 3:16)

Abraham had several children in addition to Isaac, but all of Abraham's inheritance went to Isaac (Genesis 25:5). Abraham gave gifts to his other children and sent them away from Isaac so there would be no confusion as to the inheritance. We can notice in the Scripture that the children of Abraham started family lines of their own and that from these family lines came many of the peoples of the Middle East.

But the Word concerning the Servant of the Lord, Christ, He who is to possess the fullness of fruitfulness and dominion and who is to bless the nations of the earth, continued only through Isaac. The Seed is not plural but singular. There is only one Seed, only one Servant of the Lord, only one Heir of the promises of God concerning the redemption and Kingdom to come.

The Scriptures ignore many of the personages and events of world history. The purpose of the Scriptures is to describe the original Word of God concerning mankind, as found in the first chapters of Genesis; and then to reveal the Anointed Deliverer who is to bring into being the image of God, the union, the fruitfulness, and the dominion that have been promised to mankind by the Lord God of Heaven.

This is why Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, and the other children of Abraham largely are ignored by the Scriptures while the bulk of the text concerns Isaac, Jacob, the nation of Israel, Jerusalem, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus is the Seed of Abraham. The Seed of Abraham is the Servant of the Lord. We Christians also, if we truly are abiding in Christ, are the Seed of Abraham. Many so-called "Christians" are not abiding in Jesus and are not of Abraham nor are they a part of the Servant of the Lord. Those who are abiding in Jesus compose the Body, the fullness of Christ. They are an integral part of the Servant of the Lord.

And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:29)

All the promises of God are to the Seed of Abraham. That Seed is Christ, the good Olive Tree. If we belong to Christ, whether we are a Jew or a Gentile by natural birth, we also are the Seed (singular) of Abraham and heirs of the promises made to Abraham when God spoke to him from Heaven.

Those who are part of the Seed, of Christ, of true Israel, are so by promise. Although there is much advantage to being a Jew by birth in that the Jews are the race God called out from mankind and entrusted with the Law, the Tabernacle, the priesthood, and many other Divine revelations, it remains true that being a part of Christ, of the one true Seed, is by promise only.

Being a part of Christ is by election, by the foreknowledge of God. One cannot become a member of God's Christ by being born of Jewish parents. One must be called of God in Christ and be born again of the Spirit of Christ. The inheritance is always and only by promise.

Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed. (Romans 9:7,8)

It is paradoxical that the Seed is singular and yet the Seed is to be as the stars of the heaven and the grains of sand in number. How is it that the Seed can be singular and yet multiplied after this fashion? How can we be the Seed when only Christ is the Seed--the Seed being singular in number?

The answer is as follows: we Christians are being made the Wife of the Lamb. God has stated that when a man cleaves to his wife they no longer are two but are one flesh (Genesis 2:24). When we are joined to Christ there no longer are two persons, there only is the one Person. That Person is Christ and we in Him.

Therefore the Seed remains singular in number and yet is multiplied throughout the heavens and the earth in those who are part of Christ.

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

For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:30-32)

Christ is the Vine and we are the branches. There is but one planting of the Lord God destined to "blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit" (Isaiah 27:6). We are in Him and He is in us. We have been grafted on the one true Vine. Christ is the Head and we are the Body. The Head is not separate from the Body and the Body is nothing at all without the Head.

If we are in Christ we are part of the great multiplication of Christ as the stars and grains of sand. We shall overcome our enemies and through us the nations of the earth shall be blessed.

We ourselves are the beginning of the blessing promised to the nations (Galatians 3:8), a "kind of firstfruits" of God's creatures (James 1:18). When the saints become one in Christ in God the blessing of faith in Christ will be extended to the rest of the world.

"That the world may believe that thou hast sent me."

Only Christ is the Seed in whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed. The Christian Church is of service to mankind only as the saints enter union with Christ and Christ is revealed in them.

The work of the Servant of the Lord includes bringing forth justice to the peoples of the earth.

The Threefold Glorifying of the Servant

And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people. (Isaiah 51:16)

There are three aspects of the glorifying of Christ:

Planting the heavens.

Laying the foundations of the earth.

Saying unto Zion, "Thou art my people."

Christ is one Person--Jesus, the Lord, the only begotten Son of God.

It is the will of God that Christ be glorified. All the saved persons, creatures, and things of the heavens and the earth will one day be part of Christ. They all will be a reflection of His Person, His will, and His way. This is the eternal purpose of the Most High God (Ephesians 1:10).

The city of Jerusalem has a special role to play in the glorifying of Christ in that Christ always will rule the creation from Jerusalem. Today the spiritual nature of Jerusalem is in the heavens while the body of Jerusalem is on the earth. In the age to come the Jerusalem in Heaven that now is being perfected will come down from Heaven and be installed for eternity on the new earth.

Those who are called to be saints, that is, who are of the true Israel of God, are the members of Christ's Body. They are called to reveal Christ's glory in a special way. They are the ruling priesthood of the world to come. They are the center of government of the Kingdom of God. They are the eternal Temple of God.

One day the Throne of God and of the Lamb will enter them in fullness. They are the new Jerusalem , for Christ's Presence always is centered in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is God's choice for the capital city of the earth.

The first aspect of the glorifying of Christ is the planting of the heavens with the spirits of righteous men made perfect--righteous because Christ has been formed in them. The planting of the heavens, of the heavenly Zion, is the perfecting of the inhabitants of the eternal Jerusalem. When the citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem have been brought to perfection they will descend to abide forever on the new earth.

The reborn spiritual nature of the believer always ascends to Christ at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. Then, as the believer submits on earth to the program of crucifixion and resurrection, his spiritual nature is perfected in Heaven by means of the tribulation he experiences on the earth.

In the Day of the Lord he will descend with Christ. His perfected spiritual nature will then be joined with his body whether it is asleep in the ground or still living on the earth.

The second aspect of the glorifying of Christ is the laying of the foundations of the earth. Civilization is in chaos today, being built on lies. Only Christ is the truth of God. Only He is the Answer to the problems of living in the world.

The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the hearts of the saints and finally in the hearts of all those who inherit the new earth. The outward manifestation of the Kingdom of God began on the Mount of Transfiguration and will continue in great power and glory at the appearing of Christ and His saints in the clouds of the heaven.

Then will Christ be crowned King on the Throne of David in Jerusalem. Jerusalem and the nations of the earth will be governed by the Lord Jesus Christ. He will delegate His authority and power to His princes, His mighty men, His victorious saints. They are those in whom He and His Father are dwelling in restful union (Revelation 3:21; 20:4).

Jesus will come from Heaven and set up His government in Jerusalem. Then the Word of God will flow from Him to the farthest reaches of the earth. Every person left alive on the earth at that time will experience the way, the truth, and the life that are in Christ and in the members of His Body.

Although there will be resistance at first, the nations having to be ruled with a rod of iron, order eventually will come forth from chaos. The peoples of the earth will go up to Jerusalem to hear the Word of the Lord. Peace will come to the nations as they accept the Person and Word of Christ. In this manner Christ will lay the foundations of the earth.

The heavens are being planted now as the Holy Spirit is calling out the members of the Body of Christ, taking them from many nations. The Holy Spirit is causing them to be built up in the Head, in Christ. They are being brought to unity and maturity in the Spirit of God.

After the conquering saints have been prepared to the Lord's satisfaction, Jesus will return and lay the foundations of the earth. When the Lord builds up Zion, that is, the heavenly Zion, He will appear in His glory. Now will the material creation be released into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.

The third aspect of the glorifying of Christ is the saying to Zion, "You are my people." Zion refers to God's elect--those individuals from among mankind whom God foreknew and whom He elected to be justified and glorified.

In particular, Zion represents the victorious saints, the Lord's warriors, His mighty men, beginning with the Jews. These are persons whom the Father has given to Christ to be with Him where He is forever (Revelation 14:1). They are not of the world, having been called out from the world by the Lord Himself. The Father's name is written in their foreheads.

Even though all the members of the elect Israel have been called to be part of the royal priesthood, the holy nation, many of God's chosen people find it difficult to be reconciled to God. To be reconciled to God to the extent God requires of one of His chosen priests is a totally demanding experience. God deals with each of His elect day and night, night and day, perfecting him or her in righteousness, holiness, obedience, faith, trust, patience, and love for God.

Because the chosen saints (holy ones) have so much trouble being reconciled to God in the supremely holy, fiery union the Father requires of every living stone of His eternal Temple, it is the task of Christ to exhort and comfort continually each person who has been called to be a saint.

Christ will say, over and over again, "You belong to Me. You are not of the world. I have chosen you from the creation of the world to love Me, to become an integral, eternally indivisible part of Me, to be with Me forever where I am."

The process of instilling in the chosen saints, in God's elect, the concept that they belong to God in a unique way, that God Himself is their Salvation and their Inheritance, will continue without letup until every member of true Israel knows the Lord and loves the Lord above everyone and everything else of his being and existence.

And they [the house of Israel and the house of Judah] 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)

We understand, therefore, that the glorifying, the enlarging of Christ is taking place along three dimensions:

The populating of the spiritual Jerusalem that is in the heavens, with the spirits of righteous people who have been perfected in obedience to God through the things they have suffered in Jesus' name. The spiritual heavens always have been the source of the chaotic, wretched conditions on the earth. Until there is victory in the heavens there cannot be victory on the earth.

The establishing of the peoples of the earth and their environment on the foundations of the Person and Word of Christ. The nations will know neither truth nor justice until they have been founded on the Christ of God.

The reconciling (marrying) of God's chosen people to God's Lamb so all of them are one in Christ in the Father as Christ and the Father are One. The oneness of the saints in Christ in God is the Divine means of magnifying the Incarnation, of bringing into bodily form the invisible God. Christ, Head and Body, is Emmanuel--God with us.

When all persons and things have been brought into subjection to Christ, and each saved person and thing has found his or its place in Christ, then Christ will give the Kingdom to His God and Father so the Father may be All in all.

The total glorifying of Christ is described briefly in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation. The Throne of God and of the Lamb are at rest in the Body of Christ, which is the new Jerusalem. Also, the nations of saved peoples of the earth are in subjection to Christ who is dwelling in Jerusalem, and will bring their glory and honor into God's city.

The Building of the Body of the Servant

Christ is the Servant of the Lord. We who belong to Christ are the one Seed of Abraham, the Body of Christ, the fullness of the Servant of the Lord.

Because God is creating us the completion, the fullness of the Servant of the Lord, we have become the recipients of the Divine declarations concerning the Servant of the Lord. We have been charged with the responsibility of performing, through the Holy Spirit, the work of the Servant of the Lord, and we are partakers of the eternal destiny of the Servant of the Lord.

. . . because as he is, so are we in the world. (I John 4:17)

None of us Christians was in the beginning with God. We did not create all personages and things as did Christ. We are not offerings for sin.

But as to the present and future Substance, responsibility, and inheritance of the Lord Jesus Christ we are coheirs in every sense of the word. This is the Divine declaration of the God of Heaven. We are part of Christ, united with Christ, and share in all Christ is and Christ does. This is the Word of God to us: You are my people!

How is the Body of Christ, the completion, the fullness of the Servant of the Lord, created and formed? The Body of Christ is formed as the members of the Body work together in the Spirit of God. The Body builds itself up through the grace given to it by the Head through the Holy Spirit of God.

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 [building up] of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11,12)

The apostles lay the foundation, which is Christ. The prophets declare the burden of the Holy Spirit. The evangelists spread the good news of redemption in Jesus' name and of the coming to earth of the Kingdom of God. The pastors and teachers work with the believers, assisting them as they learn to walk in the Spirit of God.

All the ministries and gifts of the Spirit are extensions of the authority, power, wisdom, and virtue of the ascended Christ. All of them are laboring to bring about the perfecting, in the Head, of each saint. The purpose of the Christian ministry is to produce perfect maturity and perfect unity in the Body of Christ, the Body of the Servant of the Lord.

Till 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 fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13)

The standard of excellence for the final result of the travail of the ministries of the Church is Christ Himself. It is the perfect and complete enlarging of Christ by bringing each saint to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. The standard against which our growth is measured is the stature of the fullness of Christ.

It is not our strength and wisdom that will bring about such an incredible attainment, it is the Word of God that accomplishes everything of value in the Kingdom of God.

In the mind of God is a vision, an understanding, an idea, a concept, an expression of desire and purpose. That purpose is Christ. Christ is the Word of God from the beginning. Having come forth from God, the Lord Jesus is the perfect fulfillment of the vision, the concept, the expression of God. He alone is the Truth!

The God of Heaven dwells in His Fullness in Christ and has given to Christ the Spirit of God without measure.

It is God's further purpose to multiply that perfect concept and expression in millions of people. God has spoken. He has declared there will be many brothers of Christ, many persons who are to be changed into the image of His beloved Son (Romans 8:28,29).

Every person, every thing, and every action in the universe, willingly or unwillingly, is contributing toward this end--that those whom God foreknew and predestined shall be changed into image of His Son, Jesus Christ.

We are not stating that all persons consciously are doing God's will or that people have no choice in what they do.

We are saying, rather, that God has issued the sovereign Word that the Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, will be completely, perfectly in the image of His Son, Christ.

The members of the Body of Christ individually and collectively will be in the express image of Christ in their spirits, in their souls, in their bodies, in the communication of their personalities, in their behavior, and in every other way in which people live, move, and have their being.

Yet each of these holy ones, although losing his individuality because of being brought into the Oneness of the Godhead, will retain his unique identity throughout eternity.

So utterly important, so surpassingly significant, is the enlargement of the Being of God that all else of the universe is serving as a backdrop and supporting cast for this one supreme purpose. God will permit nothing--absolutely nothing--to hinder in any manner the perfect, total accomplishment of His Divine purpose in Christ.

The Word of God is infinitely more than a directive issued to mankind so people may understand mentally what it is they are supposed to become and do. Rather, the Word that proceeds from the Father is creative Power and Substance that contain in themselves everything necessary for the fulfillment of that which the Word proclaims and describes.

The Word of God is working today, bringing into existence a church, a wife for the Lamb, a body for Christ, that will be of the Substance and in the image of Christ. The Church will fulfill all that has been spoken in the Scriptures concerning the work and destiny of the Servant of the Lord.

No person, no spirit, no authority or power of any kind can prevent the fulfillment of the Word of almighty God. In the future the heavens and the earth to which we are accustomed will be tossed aside as a soiled garment (Hebrews 1:12). But Christ, who is the Word of God and in whom all of the Word shall be fulfilled, will remain as powerful, as fresh, as vital, as perfect, as the moment the Word proceeded from the Father. So it is with all who do the will of God. (I John 2:17).

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Ephesians 4:14)

It is characteristic of children that they are deceived easily. They do not possess the wisdom, strength, and purpose that come from experience. They are led with equal ease into truth and into error.

Many--perhaps most--Christian people are like that. They are immature in the ways of God. They readily fall prey to self-seeking preachers and teachers who never were charged by Jesus with the responsibility for feeding and taking care of His sheep.

No member of the Body of Christ, the Servant of the Lord, will remain as a small child in understanding. Each member will have had his senses exercised in the discernment of good and evil. They all will know the Lord from the least to the greatest (Hebrews 8:11).

When the Lord has finished building up the saints they will be perfect in the exercise of judgment, excelling in the knowledge of the ways of the Lord.

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)

They shall take control of the gates of the enemy, the gates of Hell. They are conquerors. They overcome through Christ the spirit of this present wicked age, the lusts of their bodies, the adversary and his legions, and their own self-centeredness and self-will. They love not their lives to the death.

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (Ephesians 4:15)

Christ is the Head of the Servant of the Lord. We are to grow up, to mature in the Head. We do so by continuing to announce the Word of God in a spirit of love and gentleness. The Servant of the Lord must not strive.

During the present age, before the army of Christ comes from Heaven, the Servant of the Lord on the earth does not force His way or harm other people. He always is judging, as He hears from His Father, but He never executes vengeance on people.

We capitalize the pronoun he although we recognize that human beings are included in the Servant of the Lord. The point is, the Servant of the Lord always is the Lord Jesus Christ even though the expression of Jesus is found in us. We are the branches of the one true Vine.

All we are required to do is to keep on declaring to the members of the Body what God has proclaimed: that is, that Christ is Lord of all; that He has died for our sins; and that we are being created in His image. If we just "speak to the Rock," not smiting the Lord and His people in our arrogance, presumption, and harshness, the Word of God will do the rest.

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying [building up] of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:16)

Every Christian has a part to play in the building of the Body of Christ. In time past the work of building the Body of Christ has not progressed rapidly, perhaps because the majority of the believers have not been participating according to the scriptural pattern in the work of building the Body. Many Christians have been attending church meetings but have not actively been seeking their place of responsibility in the Kingdom of God.

Now is the time for each of us to make his or her individual contribution to the unifying and maturing of the Servant of the Lord and to arise and build the wall of defense against sin, the wall of the new Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:17).

It is not necessary for us to be anxious about what we are supposed to do. Our part is to present our body each day a living sacrifice in order that we may prove the will of God for the particular day.

If we keep ourselves in readiness to hear and obey the Lord, spending time each day in prayer and in the reading of the Scriptures, the Spirit of the Lord will direct us into our own part in building the Body of the Anointed Deliverer.

The Anointed Deliverer, the Servant of the Lord, will bring the kingdom of darkness to total defeat. He will exercise dominion over all the works of God's hands. He is the eternal dwelling place of God Almighty. He brings judgment, justice, deliverance, and great joy to the whole earth. He multiplies and fills the entire universe with the Person and image of God in Christ.

Our responsibility is to be obedient and faithful to what is presented to us each day, whether the issue or task is great or small, significant or seemingly insignificant, prominent or humble and commonplace. God's responsibility is to bring to pass His eternal Word.

The Election of the Servant

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; . . . . (Isaiah 42:1)

The Servant of the Lord is a called Man, a chosen vessel. The meaning of the term church is called-out , that is, called out from the world, from the nations of the earth. Each person who will ride with Christ in the Day of the Lord is first called, then chosen, then faithful. The calling of the Lord comes first (Revelation 17:14).

The scriptural concept of election, of calling, does not signify that no matter what we do, how faithfully we serve God, we have been assigned a predetermined destiny. The Scriptures teach clearly that each individual will be rewarded according to his own works (Revelation 22:12).

The record of the entire Scriptures plus our Christian experience inform us that many events and things in the world come about in response to our prayers or lack of them, our obedience or lack of it. We do not teach passivity, fatalism, or inevitability.

A spirit of inevitability has in some instances settled on the Christian people. The Antichrist is coming! We are going to be raptured! Why become too concerned about personal holiness, about overcoming sin and self-will, about the unifying and maturing of the Body of Christ, about making disciples from the people of the nations, teaching them to obey the Word of Christ, about our personal ministry? What is going to happen will happen. Why make the effort? We are saved by grace in any case!

The spirit of inevitability is the opposite of the admonitions and promises of the Scriptures. It has settled on the churches because of the lack of prayer, lack of faith, ignorance of the Scriptures, and love of the world.

The saints need to stir themselves and take hold of God in the present hour. It seems clear that God's people have been lured into deception concerning the role of the Church in the end-time.

We hope we have made clear our position concerning a fatalistic, passive, inevitable approach to the matters of God's Kingdom. Having done that, let us go on to discuss the Divine election of the Servant of the Lord.

The Scriptures teach, both in the Old Testament and the New, that God knows precisely what He is doing. He could have prevented the sin that took place in the garden of Eden. God is not bound by any thing, person, or spirit. God does what He will in the heavens and on the earth. No person or spirit can by any means hinder God or call Him to account for His behavior in any area.

God is God!

God is working in terms of His own purpose. His purpose is directing the course of history. If that were not the case it would not be possible for a person to prophesy of the future. We have the Book of Revelation that outlines for us the events of the future all the way to the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. Could that be possible if God did not have perfect knowledge and were not in control of all people, events, and things?

Abraham is the father of all true members of Christ. The Seed of Abraham is Christ--Head and Body. Abraham was a called-out man. Paul refers to the calling of Abraham when he teaches the meaning of the grace of God given to us under the new covenant. When we can see clearly the picture of Abraham being called out of Ur of the Chaldees and being made the father of many nations, then we can understand what it means to be saved by grace and not by works.

Archaeological findings suggest that Ur of the Chaldees was an important city of its day. Apparently there were many people living there. The Scriptures give no indication Abraham and his family were any different in behavior from the other citizens of Ur.

On what basis, then, did God call out Abraham and his family and assign such significance to them? Why was Abraham given the opportunity to become the father of all who believe in Christ? Why did the Lord promise Abraham that his Seed would be as the stars of the heaven for multitude, and then account him as righteous on the basis of his believing the promise of God?

The basis was, and yet is, the sovereign working of the Lord God among His creatures. When we can accept that the Lord saves us by His grace in a manner similar to His calling out of Abraham; that Divine grace operates in terms of election; that election works according to God's desires, will, and foreknowledge; then we can begin to grasp the principle that Israel always is a chosen nation; that each member of the Body of Christ, the Christian Church, the Wife of the Lamb, has been called out from the peoples of the world to be a person peculiarly God's own; that we have not chosen Christ but Christ indeed has chosen us (John 15:16).

This is why the Apostle Paul was so emphatic that the physical Jew is not necessarily the heir of Abraham. While the land and people of Israel are the only physical land and people that God has designated as belonging to Himself, it remains true that the Messianic inheritance always is by promise and cannot be given by physical birth. Christ is the only true Seed of Abraham. The members of Christ are revealed when the Spirit of God brings them to Christ.

The physical Israelites were removed from the Olive Tree, from Christ, after having sought the inheritance by the works of the Law in the wisdom and energy of the flesh, not by faith in God. The elect Gentiles have received Christ by faith in the promise of God. God has shown favor to the Gentiles in order to provoke Israel, His own chosen physical nation, to jealousy.

The Abrahamic inheritance always is by faith in the promise of God, according to God's election. If the inheritance came by our righteous endeavors we could boast of our own righteousness. But God has deemed all men to be in sin and unbelief in order that He may show mercy to those to whom He has chosen to show mercy. Let us, therefore, cease from our own works and press into the rest of God, into the perfect will of God, into the place of abiding in Christ.

Having grasped the principle of grace operating through election and through our faith in the promise of God, our task is to lay hold firmly upon the promise in order that we may press on toward our inheritance with every bit of our attention and energy.

We make certain of our calling by following after Christ with singleness of heart and purpose. If we do this we will not fail to attain the inheritance. But if we are indifferent toward our election we may discover some day that God has given our place to another. Remember Esau!

Whenever we consider the life and testimony of one of God's heroes of faith, whether Jacob, Moses, Gideon, Samson, Elisha, John the Baptist, or Paul, we can see the grace of God working through election. The Scriptures are not a record of holy people seeking God. The Scriptures are a record of Almighty God reaching down from Heaven and calling out people according to His own purpose and grace.

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (Hebrews 1:1)

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ before the world began, (II Timothy 1:9)

The Servant of the Lord is an elect Man, a chosen vessel. Every member of the Servant of the Lord was designated before the events of the first chapter of Genesis came into being. When we do the work of the Lord we do not just march forth, the results springing up through means of our own wisdom and energy. Rather we go out seeking the mind of the Spirit of God who, in turn, is working in terms of the will of the Father. Isn't this what the Book of Acts teaches us?

. . . And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (Acts 2:47)

Notice (verse above) that as the Apostles and the remainder of the church did the will of God, the Lord Himself added souls to their number--and He did so on a daily basis.

And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48)

The above verse reveals the role of God's sovereignty in the imparting of belief to hearers of the Word of God.

Notice also:

Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not [did not permit them]. (Acts 16:6,7)

For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city. (Acts 18:10)

Consider the expression, "I have much people in this city."

The Christian Church consists of called-out saints. In the above passage we can observe that the Lord has people whom He has called and that He knows who they are and where they are: "I have much people in this city." God knows what He is doing.

The Servant of the Lord already is perfect and glorified in the sight of God. "Behold My Servant, whom I uphold." " Behold Him," God commands us, "because I have called Him in righteousness. I will hold His hand, and will keep Him, and give Him for a covenant of the people, for a light of the nations of the earth."

The glorification of the saints is in the past tense: "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified" (Romans 8:30).

God "calleth those things which be not as though they were" (Romans 4:17).

God never is confused. He knows exactly what He is doing with every person. God is in control of all people and all events. God is far greater than any of us can conceive at this time.

The Servant of the Lord is an elect Personage. Each member of the Servant of the Lord, of the Body of Christ, has been Divinely called to this office.

No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:44)

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (John 15:16)

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: (I Corinthians 1:26)

It can be a help to our pursuit of Christ when we begin to understand the sovereignty of God in the building of the Kingdom of God. There is a plan. There is a design. God knows precisely what He is accomplishing with every creature in Heaven and on the earth, down to the smallest sparrow.

What is our part, then, if God is sovereign in the plan of redemption? Our part is to lay hold on that for which we have been grasped by Christ. God came to us when we were in the bondage of the devil and opened our eyes to the blood of the cross. God came to us. The Holy Spirit moved on us and we were convicted of sin. At that point we could have refused to repent. We could have hardened our heart. The choice was ours.

So it is with all points of growth along the way. Redemption always is an opportunity we can refuse or grasp. God initiates an outpouring of grace on us. The Holy Spirit brings an assigned portion to us. When the grace comes, the calling to a higher, better place in God, we can answer yes, or no. We consider the cost. We weigh the reward of Christ against our comforts and desires. We then cast all else aside and follow the will of Christ or else we cling to the things of the world.

Each believer chooses to lose his life in Christ or to save it in the world.

God constantly is challenging us and inviting us to a deeper relationship with Himself. Each day abiding in Christ becomes more demanding. We constantly are making up our mind, day by day, whether or not we wish to lay hold on the fullness of the grace of God.

Meanwhile the Spirit of Christ keeps on saying, "You are mine! You are mine!"

Many Christian people are wandering in the wilderness of confusion, unable to make up their mind concerning the pull of the Holy Spirit on them. Others are hardening their heart, being unwilling to go any further with God because of the death to self that is involved.

But the victorious saints, the conquerors, are wasting no time in indecision. They are pressing on! Pressing on! Pressing on! When God invites, they respond. They are insistent on attaining the fullness of the Glory of God. They go straight to the goal fixed in their heart.

There are two great dynamics involved in the formation of the Servant of the Lord. The first dynamic is the power and wisdom of God who reaches down and calls the individual into God's plan for his or her life. The second dynamic is the will of the believer as he keeps on choosing to grasp Christ, or else as he wanders in the wilderness of the world without being able to make any clear, stable decision with respect to the drawing of the Holy Spirit toward the holiness of God.

"A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." It is impossible for a person to remain in indecision and at the same time pursue God's highest plan for his life. We must make up our mind to perform the will of Christ. Christ will not wait forever for us to decide to forsake the world and follow Him.

There is power in the Word of God--unbelievably great, universal, galaxy-creating power. Every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God Almighty contains more power than we are able to comprehend.

God's Word is absolutely powerful, trustworthy, eternal. It cannot be changed by any other force. Everything God has proclaimed shall come to pass in its entirety.

God has announced:

. . . all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

"All things"! There is no exception. It requires faith to believe in the word all .

The condition is that we love God.

God calls people out of the world. Every true saint has been called out of the world by the Spirit of God.

The people of God, true Israel, always are a called-out nation. God chooses whom He will and calls them to approach unto Himself. God does the selecting.

God has a specific purpose. We have been called according to that purpose. God's purpose is in Christ. The fullness of God's purpose is known to no one other than God Himself. It is a design, a plan hidden in the mind of the Father. There are many parts of the plan that are a complete mystery to the angels. God is working all things according to the counsel of His own will.

What is the "good" for which all things are working together? The good consists of the fulfillment of the Divine promises concerning the Seed of Abraham. The promises include the fullness of fruitfulness, the fullness of dominion over the enemies of Christ, and the fullness of blessing for the nations of the earth.

Of even greater importance in the purpose of God is the creating of the fullness of the image of Christ in the brothers of Jesus.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be changed into the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)

God possesses foreknowledge. He knows in advance what will take place. The time through which God is able to look ahead is so vast we humans can by no means conceive of it. To envision the events of thousands of years in the future is as nothing to God. The specificity of detail included in the Divine foreknowledge is another element we cannot comprehend. He numbers the hairs of our head.

God can see into the future at His will and in detail. God knows what is going to happen in the future concerning every creature, every thing, every environment in existence.

Christ remains unique, being the Word of God from the beginning. Now God is using Christ as the goal, the pattern, the standard of excellence. The Word of God has proceeded from the Father: there shall be "many sons" created in the image of Christ.

God will fulfill His part of the covenant. Unless the believer decides he has had enough pain, enough deferral of his desires, enough interference with his life, and removes himself from the program, the Word of God will work until there has occurred a perfect, complete transformation into the image of Christ.

Christ's brothers will be in His image, of His Substance, or else they will not be His brothers.

The promise is to whoever is willing to respond. The brothers of the Lord Jesus are not an exclusive group of exceptional Christians. To be in the image of Christ is the calling of every member of the Church of Christ, the Body of Christ, the Servant of the Lord.

We do not look to ourselves or trust in ourselves that we can do anything at all. We trust only in the Word of God to accomplish the purpose of God in us and through us.

Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (Romans 8:30)

He predestined. He called. He justified. He glorified.

This is the sovereign Word and work of God Almighty. Until we absorb deeply into our consciousness the sovereignty of God in the building of the Kingdom of God we cannot find the rest of abiding in Christ. God often works in a manner so contrary to our understanding of what is appropriate, necessary, and desirable that we worry continually concerning our personal welfare and the adequacy of the work of redemption in the earth.

The question keeps coming to us: "Can these bones live?" The only answer is: "O Lord God, thou knowest."

God knows what He is doing. God is in control. His response to the insane desire of people to cast off His restraints is to laugh. We may be fretting ourselves concerning wickedness but God is laughing.

God is not laughing at the misery of the prisoners of the earth. He understands every pain, every tear, every experience of terror, anguish, and futility. God cares about people, about His offspring in the earth. God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son for us.

But God laughs in derision at the rebellious kings and rulers of the earth, both the human rulers and the angelic rulers. Woe to the rulers of the earth when God ceases to laugh and begins to tread the winepress of His wrath! In that Day only our position in Christ will shield us from certain destruction.

We have been predestined for glory. We have been called to be saints (holy ones). We have been declared to be righteous. In the sight of God we have been glorified although we do not as yet see the state of glorification accomplished in us. But God sees us perfect and complete. This is why the Spirit of Christ exclaims, "Behold my servant"!

The Servant of the Lord already has been perfected in the mind of God.

We have been called, justified, and glorified according to the sovereign counsel of God's own will. Whether we come to actually experience glorification depends on our willingness to follow the Lord Jesus patiently in cross-carrying obedience, our willingness to cooperate with the Spirit of God as He produces holiness in us.

If we choose to live in the wisdom and appetites of the flesh we will die spiritually whether or not we have been predestined for eternal life. If we, on the other hand, sow to the Spirit of God, we will reap eternal life. Every believer in Christ is living either in the wisdom and appetites of the flesh or else in the Spirit of God.

If we yield to our fleshly nature we will receive the wages of sin, which is physical and spiritual death. But if we Christians follow on to know the Lord, then the reward of eternal resurrection life, of glorification in spirit, soul, and body, will be ours.

Each member of the Body of Christ has been predestined for glory, having been pronounced righteous by the Lord. If he works with the Holy Spirit in dying to the love of the world, in putting to death the deeds of the fleshly nature, and is willing to die the death of stern obedience to the will of God, he will be able to attain glorification.

Death to the love of the world.

Death to the appetites and lusts of the fleshly nature.

Death to self-will, self-centeredness, and self-love.

When all has been completed he then is eligible for the fullness of the inheritance promised to the Seed of Abraham.

 

Chapter II. Divine Declarations Concerning the Servant of the Lord

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

God Upholds His Servant

We Christians do not uphold God or the work of the Kingdom of God. God upholds us. When we commence the Christian pilgrimage we have a grip on God, or at least we think we do. But little by little God works matters around until He is gripping us.

The transition from our grip to God's grip occurs as we continually are being brought down to death because of the circumstances through which the Spirit of God leads us. At first we may be able to fight our way through to victory without too much trouble. But sooner or later the problems become too strong for us. God is gentle with us as He leads us to the realization there is nothing good in us. It requires a period of time before we learn how to "let go and let God."

The spiritual tasks that must be accomplished and the war that must be fought and won are so totally beyond our feeble powers to accomplish that we soon come to understand the necessity for the wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God and the blood of the cross can enable us to make any headway in the Kingdom of God.

We have discussed previously the concept of the sovereignty of God in the plan of redemption, that is, the initiative of the Lord who predestines us according to His foreknowledge to be members of the Body of Christ. The further we go with Christ the more we are able to grasp that God is sovereign, not only in our initial acceptance of Christ but also in every part of our pilgrimage thereafter.

God desires to give us His wisdom and strength in exchange for our wisdom and strength; His grasp in exchange for our grasp; His plan in exchange for our plans; His zeal in exchange for our zeal; His judgment of people, events, and things in exchange for our judgment of people, events, and things.

We die day by day that He may live day by day. Our adamic nature must decrease so the new born-again nature, which is Christ being formed in us, may increase.

If we would be part of the Servant of the Lord, God must do the upholding. If we will follow the Holy Spirit moment by moment, performing by His wisdom and strength the simple tasks He sets before us, He will bring us to the place where our old personality is crucified with Christ and the new man, Christ, is living in us.

We do not hold up the Rock. The Rock holds us up in every aspect of our Christian life and walk.

Notice how God Almighty asserts His sovereignty when speaking of the Personality and the work of His Servant:

Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles [nations]; (Isaiah 42:5,6)

God is the LORD ! He is the One who brings into existence the Servant and who guides and empowers the Servant in every aspect of personality and actions. God is the Lord, the Lord God Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and earth.

We Christians are not to be operating at the lower levels of fleshly striving as we attempt to bring about the Kingdom of God. If we will wait on God He will lead us into His program. In God there is no strife. We are to be as Isaac, a person of peace and laughter. We laugh joyously with God.

"He that created the heavens." God always creates the heavens first. The promise to Abraham is that His Seed will be as the stars of the heaven. God is Master of the heavens and He is bringing the members of the Body of Christ up to the thrones of spiritual dominion.

The Body of Christ must gain dominion over the spiritual powers of the heavenlies before it can gain dominion over the earth. God's will must be performed in the spirit realm before it can be done in the earth. The strong man must be bound before his house can be spoiled.

The Servant of the Lord has mastery over the heavens. Whatever the Church binds on the earth is bound in the heavens.

Then comes the earth. Christ plants the heavens and then lays the foundations of the earth. The promise to Abraham is that his Seed shall be as the "sand which is upon the sea shore." God created the earth, its peoples, and its resources. The earth and its peoples belong to God, not to Satan. "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein" (Psalms 24:1).

The Lord God has determined that the Presence of His Christ shall fill not only the heavens (the "stars"), but also the earth (the "sand which is upon the sea shore"). Christ shall cause the will of God to be performed perfectly in the earth as well as in the heavens. The nations will learn righteousness, truth, and worship when Christ comes.

God possesses all power in the heavens and on the earth. God has given the fullness of His authority and power to Christ. Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords, both in the heavens and on the earth.

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power [authority] is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (Matthew 28:18)

When the Servant of the Lord, Christ--Head and Body, ministers through the Spirit of God performing the will of God, then all authority and power in Heaven and on the earth is supporting the effort.

I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; (Isaiah 42:6)

First of all, we are called in righteousness . God will not work apart from righteousness. We receive imputed (ascribed) righteousness when we first accept Christ. Righteousness is assigned to us on the basis of the shed blood of the cross of Calvary. Then, as the Holy Spirit leads us in the conquest of our fleshly nature and self-will, righteousness is wrought in us--an actual, observable righteousness of deed, word, motive, and imagination.

In the ultimate sense, all righteousness is imputed. God reserves the authority to determine who is righteous and who is not righteous. As we obey God, walking by faith in Him, He imputes righteousness to us. In the beginning our behavior is not according to God's standards. Yet, God imputes righteousness to us because we have obeyed Him. Divine righteousness was obtained for us through the fact that the Lord Jesus died on the cross in our place.

As we move ahead in our discipleship our behavior begins to approach God's standard. God still imputes righteousness to us because we are obeying Him, because we are living by faith in Him, because we are receiving the salvation He has provided through the death of His Son. But now it is an actual righteousness, as measured by both the Divine and the human standard, that has been produced in our personality by the grace of God working in us.

The mammoth error of much Christian thinking is the concept that our salvation in Christ includes only forgiveness and a righteousness imputed to us independently of and without reference to our personality and behavior. This error has destroyed the Christian churches. It is a modern expression of the ancient heresy termed antinomianism .

The truth is, Jesus did not come primarily to forgive us and to give us righteousness apart from what we are and what we do but rather to conform us to His image in personality and behavior. God's Glory is not so much in forgiving the sinner as it is in making the sinner a son.

The Servant of the Lord always is called "in righteousness." The warfare between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil is not waged in terms of power. God possesses all power and never relinquishes His almighty power. God never gives His glory to another. No creature, angelic or human, has any power whatever except that which has been assigned to him and is supervised directly by God Himself.

Rather, the battles of the Lord are fought according to righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God. Michael and his angels can cast Satan and his angels out of Heaven only as the saints overcome the accuser. The saints do not overcome the accuser by fighting in their own strength but by faith in the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their Spirit-created testimony, and by loving not their own life to the death.

Every soldier in the army of Christ is clothed in the righteous conduct of the saints (Revelation 19:8,11,14). There can be no victories for Israel when there is sin in the camp. The Old Testament narratives assure us of that.

We cannot work the works of Christ apart from righteousness: first, imputed only; and then created in us through means of the Word of God, the body and blood of Christ, and the resurrection Life of the Holy Spirit of God.

"I . . . will hold thine hand." If we take a child into a dangerous situation we do not allow him or her to hold our hand. We hold the child's hand. So it is that God lovingly but firmly shakes loose our grasp on Him and in its place substitutes His grasp on us.

"And will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles [nations]." The entire program is of God. We do not save the world. God calls us, holds our hand, and gives us for a covenant of the people, for a light of the nations.

The Servant of the Lord--Head and Body-- is the covenant God has made with the nations of the earth. God creates His holy law, His Word, in our hearts and minds. We become the personification, the expression, of God's Word. Christ is the Word of God made flesh. We are the flesh being created the Word of God.

As we become an increasingly pure expression of the law of God the nations of the earth begin to have a light, a picture of God they can behold. If the nations respond joyfully to the expression of God's Person, ways, and will they see in us, they will be accepted of God. This is the manner in which the Servant of the Lord is becoming a "covenant of the people."

We saints are the light of the world. But it not only is what we say that is the light, it also is what we are and do. It is Christ who is the Light of the nations, and it is as Christ is created in us that we become a covenant of the people.

For two thousand years the Christian churches have been attempting to teach the world of the will of God. But what the world sees, in many instances, is the self-seeking and sin of religious people. The world is waiting to behold Christ.

Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. (II Corinthians 3:3)

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (II Corinthians 4:6)

Notice the upholding, saving, protecting power of God directed toward Israel, toward the Servant of the Lord:

But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. (Isaiah 43:1)

The sovereign will expressed in the above verse reminds us of some of the statements made by Paul concerning the Divine will of God in selecting the members of the Body of Christ:

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ before the world began [before the ages of time], (II Timothy 1:9)

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (Ephesians 1:4)

And then Peter says:

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)

Every member of the Servant of the Lord has been called, has been chosen, that he should become holy. To be holy is to be free from the uncleanness of evil spirits and to belong to God and be reserved for His own use. In its purest sense, holiness is the Presence of God.

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

Here is the protection of the Lord. The Lord protects His Servant whom He upholds. Water and fire, in the Scripture, symbolize the judgment of God. The earth was destroyed by water in the days of Noah. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire.

God is promising Christ and each person who is part of Christ, part of the Servant of the Lord, that none of the judgments, pressures, perplexities, dangers, plagues, distresses, confusions, overwhelming catastrophes, or accidents or pitfalls that are a part of life on the earth will be able to destroy Christ or any member of Christ's Body.

A way of escape always is open to the faithful Christian no matter how severe the test or how potentially destructive the environment may become. No plague can harm us when we are abiding in Christ. The Lord delivers us from the snare of the fowler (Psalms 91:3,10).

How wonderful it is that God has provided such protection for His witnesses! The days in which we are living are filled with danger, perversity, distress, confusion, tormenting situations that cause the hearts of people to quake with fear. But the Servant of the Lord is able, through the Holy Spirit of God, to gain victory over all fear.

Love, power, courage, and a sound mind are being created in each true saint. Although he may be called on to pass through the rivers and through the flame, no lasting spiritual harm will come to him if he keeps looking to Jesus. He will profit from his tribulations and testings. He will be fed in the time of famine (Psalms 37:19) and received into the Presence of Jesus when his work is completed.

In the heart of each diligent Christian believer will be found righteousness, peace, and joy in the midst of an age becoming lawless and insane as people lust for "fun" and "self-fulfillment." The Servant of the Lord will be a giant in the earth, a strong man who rejoices to run the race of righteousness. His Head is Christ Himself.

This holy warrior is strong in the strength of the Lord's might. He is destined to inherit the heavens and the earth--all the works of God's hands. He cannot be harmed because of the protection of the Lord. Every weapon formed against him shall turn back on its inventors. Those who spread traps for him shall fall into their own traps. The Servant of the Lord is upheld by the power of the Lord God Almighty.

The twelfth chapter of the Book of Isaiah describes the member of the Body of Christ who has learned to exchange his own strength for God's strength; who has entered the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles.

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. (Isaiah 12:2)

During the first part of our experience with God we come to understand that Christ is our Lord and Savior and that we must serve Him to the best of our ability. But as we press forward, the Lord Himself becomes our salvation. Christ Himself Is the Salvation. Our position changes from that of conducting our own program of redemption by our own wisdom, our own strength, our own faith, into that of trusting Christ.

This does not mean we become passive or fatalistic. But it does mean that we come to God with an ever-increasing awareness that He is in charge of our redemption. Such a change in attitude requires an enlarging of our trust that God knows what He is doing, that He is absolutely dependable and trustworthy, and that He is seeking our good. It was this concept of God that Satan challenged in the garden of Eden.

Many of us are fearful that God is not able or not willing to bring us into the image of Christ or to perform all the other good works He has promised us. As our trust increases, our fear decreases. "Perfect love casteth out fear," John informs us, and our love for God grows stronger as we draw closer to Him.

God saves us and keeps us through means of His own sovereign power and wisdom. It is difficult for us to let go of our things, our circumstances, our relationships with people even though it appears God may be asking for them. We are not certain the Lord knows precisely what He is doing, that He is interested in the details of our life, that He always is seeking our good. Perfect trust in the goodness and faithfulness of God is the mark of the mature Christian.

When we begin our Christian discipleship we commence the study of the Scriptures. There we discover many teachings and admonitions we cannot perform in our own strength. Jesus commands us to be loving and forgiving to those who harm us; to act toward other people as we would have them act toward us; to make the seeking of the Kingdom of God, the will of God, the number one priority, the chief interest, the focus of our whole life. Our adamic nature, our first personality, finds the Word of Christ exceedingly difficult and, in many instances, impossible to obey.

As we attempt to obey the Words of Jesus we soon discover we must pray constantly for the wisdom and strength to do what is pleasing to God. As we gain experience in the way of Christ there comes into our heart and mind the creation of inner righteousness, peace, and joy.

The new man, the Lord from Heaven begins to be formed in us. Little by little Christ becomes our Strength. He Himself becomes our Song. He Himself becomes our entire Salvation, our All in all.

The Christian who has come to the fullness of the stature of Christ, of the Servant of the Lord, is the one who has been created the expression of the Word, of the way, of the Person, of the will, of the Divine purpose, of God Almighty. This is a high calling. The program is not of man but of God. The same God who created the heavens and the earth is the One who creates the new man in us and then fills that new creation with Himself.

Paul was living in the rest of God, trusting in Him.

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)

Paul, after a remarkable life of Christian experience and service, still was seeking a more perfect grasp on the righteousness that can come only through faith.

And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (Philippians 3:9)

Paul understood and had received the assigned righteousness that comes to us on the basis of the atonement made by Christ. He had been justified by his faith in the blood of the cross. But Paul was not speaking here of being saved from wrath by an assigned, substituted righteousness. He was referring to the righteousness that comes to us as day by day we die to our adamic nature and learn to live in resurrection life, that is, as we learn to walk in dependence on God, living by God's wisdom and strength.

We know this is so by the context:

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed unto his death; (Philippians 3:10)

Philippians 3:10 assures us that Paul, when referring to "the righteousness which is of God by faith," was not speaking primarily of the righteousness assigned to him on the basis of professing belief in theological facts concerning Christ. Paul was learning to live in the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord--to live rather than just to believe .

Previously Paul had earned righteousness by observing the numerous ordinances of the Law of Moses.

The expression "the righteous shall live by faith" is being employed today to mean if we profess a correct theological position our sins will not be held against us. This is not what the expression means. The just shall live by faith is an Old Testament declaration that indicates men ought to live by humble dependence on God and not by their own wisdom and strength.

The eleventh chapter of Hebrews was written as a definition of the just shall live by faith, and there is no suggestion in this chapter that the just shall live by faith means that if we profess a correct theological position our sins will not be held against us.

Living in the "rest" of God is not as easy as it may sound. We have to labor to enter the rest of God. The pressures of the world, the lusts of our flesh, our personal ambition and stubbornness--all seek to move us out of the peaceful abiding in Christ. In addition, we have our own ways of attempting to assist God, our own standards that must be met before we can believe that God is pleased or that the Kingdom of God is being established according to God's will.

Yet it remains true that the Christian salvation is a Divine intervention in our life, not the product of our religious efforts. Simply to abide in Christ and to trust God Almighty for our righteousness, our life, our joy, and our accomplishments is a way of life a child can understand but which the most mature saint finds quite challenging.

"Letting go and letting God" is fairly easy at times. But in other instances it can be difficult. It requires considerable experience as a saint before we are able to dwell in God's rest without being seduced into sin, without lapsing into spiritual carelessness and inactivity, or without going back and picking up some burden we had committed to God previously.

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed unto his death; (Philippians 3:10)

The saint spends his life in diligent seeking in order to begin to know Christ the Lord. There must be consistent, earnest walking in the Spirit of God, continual meditation in the Word of God, daily victory over the lusts of the flesh and eyes and the pride of life, and total obedience to the will of God before we gain some proficiency in being able to live by the power of the resurrection of Christ.

Resurrection power is available to every believer from the moment of accepting Christ as his Lord and Savior. The power of Christ assists us from the first day of our Christian pilgrimage. But there is a gradual increase of resurrection life in us as we make our way toward the fullness of Christ.

To attain the fullness of resurrection life is to attain perfect redemption. To always think, speak, and act in the power and wisdom of eternal resurrection life is to abide in the land of promise.

John 14:23 and 17:21-23 teach us of the coming to abide in us of the Father and the Son. These verses reveal to us the perfect oneness, the complete reconciliation to God, that is to be ours through the Lord Jesus Christ. There is to be nothing whatever in us that is not in Christ, of Christ, and through Christ.

As we walk in stern, joyful obedience to the Lord Jesus, through the wisdom and power given to us by the Holy Spirit, we find that the Lord is making us aware of our total dependence on Himself. Sometimes trouble and afflictions are sent to us and these may call to our attention the areas of our life that have not as yet been brought wholly into oneness with God through Christ.

We always must be pressing on to the fullness of life in the Spirit of God. If it is our intention to abide in Christ, and Christ in us, we must learn to think, speak, and act in the Spirit of God.

If the Spirit of God uncovers sin in our life, that particular sin must be confessed and then resisted in the Lord. If the Spirit of God leads us into difficult situations in which we are required to do things unpleasant to us, our prayers not being answered for a season, then we must ask the Spirit to give to us the body and blood of Christ in order that we may possess sufficient virtue to overcome the present evil with the good of Christ.

It is time now for the saints to wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb and to progress to a union with the Lord Jesus so perfect and complete it may be referred to truly as "the marriage of the Lamb."

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)

God will not be content with His work of redemption until He has brought His elect, and finally every member of the nations of the saved, into perfect oneness with Himself. God desires to be our Salvation, our Song, our Wisdom, our Health, our Life.

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)

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

"Christ, who is our life"! God will be upholding us fully when He Himself is dwelling in us and is our eternal Life. His Holy Spirit is bringing us to the place where we shall be able to accept the coming to rest in us of the Father and the Son. Then God Himself will be our Life.

The member of the Body of Christ does not live and walk in his own strength. Little by little he is led to exchange his wisdom and strength for the Divine wisdom and strength of the Lord Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit who directs the process of exchange. The Spirit of God brings us down into death in order that He may raise us in His eternal strength.

This exchange goes on each day if we are walking in obedience to the Spirit of God. Death, and life! Death, and life! Death and life until we are filled with resurrection life.

Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. (II Corinthians 4:10,11)

God Delights in His Servant

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; . . . . (Isaiah 42:1)

The persons whom God calls to Himself often are worried about pleasing God. In some instances they are zealous people who become unduly concerned if they are not making sufficient spiritual progress according to their own standard.

It may come as a blessing and relief to such believers to begin to understand some small measure of the love and pleasure of God that always is directed toward them.

God delights in His Servant.

We do not always comprehend the full extent of God's pleasure in us. It helps us to understand God's delight in us when we learn that we were called to be God's Servant before the creation of the world. He knew us and called us by name before He created the heavens and the earth.

But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. (Isaiah 43:1)

Known unto God are all his works from the creation of the world. (Acts 15:18)

In the beginning God created each of His elect in the image of His Son, Christ. God observed that all He had created was very good. Then God rested. Our task is to enter that rest through the means God has provided for us.

In the mind of God the saints already are perfect and complete in Christ. God sees not only us but also people yet unborn as being in the image of His Son.

When God commanded, "Behold my servant" there was no servant for us to behold. But now we see Jesus who Himself fulfills all that was spoken concerning the Servant of the Lord.

In addition, God is bringing many sons to glory, many heirs of salvation to full age. God already beholds them in the image of His Son. Moreover, God is greatly delighted with the brothers of Christ.

One of Satan's devices in the day in which we live is to persuade Christians they are worthless, that God does not love them, that they are failures, that they cannot succeed as a Christian and so forth. This attitude of defeat and unbelief is destructive of our laying hold on our inheritance in Christ.

Depression is a serious malady. We must pray that the Lord Jesus will heal our moodiness. We must gain His help so we do not take refuge in our inadequacies. The Scripture commands us: "Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 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 12:12,13).

Clinical depression does not always respond readily to the prayers of the saint. He or she must be patient, just as in any other malady, until the Lord grants the victory. Sometimes medical assistance is needed and the Lord will direct in this. While we are doing our best with the help that is at hand we always are to remain in hopeful expectation that God will intervene and grant the miracle of healing we desire. He often does this!

God delights in His saints. He is not scolding us all the time because of our weaknesses and mistakes. God always is inviting, leading, encouraging us, offering to provide every resource to help us on our way with rejoicing.

God is good. There is no one good other than God. God delights in us.

We can press on to the fullness of Christ because God's holy, unchanging, unfailing Word directs us to do so. God Himself has promised to meet every need of the obedient saint.

The Lord delights in each of His elect.

God's Spirit Is Upon His Servant

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: . . . . (Isaiah 42:1)

"I have put my spirit upon him."

The term Christ means Anointed One. Christ is the One who is anointed with the fullness of the Holy Spirit of God.

The reason why Christians are given the Holy Spirit is that we may be created the Body of Christ, the fullness of the Servant of the Lord (Ephesians 1:22,23). The peoples of the earth who are not Christians do not have the Holy Spirit of God abiding in them.

It is significant that the holy anointing Oil is abiding in and upon us. It is a priestly anointing. The Holy Spirit baptizes us into the Body of the Anointed One, into the Servant of the Lord.

During the present age the Holy Spirit is recruiting members for, and building up spiritually, the Body of Christ, of the Anointed Deliverer. During the Kingdom Age, which will be instituted at the return to earth of Christ, the Spirit of the Lord will empower the Servant of the Lord to bring forth justice to the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

Before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth. (Psalms 96:13)

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

The scepter of Christ's Kingdom is a scepter of justice!

Our physical body is composed of a great number of contributing parts, some external and some internal. Yet we possess only one body even though there are many systems and parts that operate in it.

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)

It is true of Christ, of the Servant of the Lord, that He includes a great number of contributing members. Christ is the exalted Head of the Body of Christ. The Body itself is made up of a multitude of saints, each of whom makes a unique contribution to the Body.

This fact in no manner detracts from the preeminence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Rather, it glorifies Christ; for He always is glorified in us, in His Bride.

The emphasis in the mind of God the Father is not that there be many replicas of Christ in the universe. The Scripture may appear to teach this in some passages, but it is not true.

What God has in mind is to enlarge Christ.

The Holy Spirit is forming Christ in us; not Christ-likeness, but Christ ! Christ is dwelling in us and His Divine Substance is being formed in us.

When the process has been completed we will be in the image of Christ, it is true, but it will be an image flowing from Christ who is dwelling in us.

We are an integral part of Him! He is an integral part of us! It is a marriage, a union, a pounding together of molecule into molecule until separation is impossible. It is an eternal welding of two personalities into one Personality, neither identity being lost.

God the Father always retains His identity. Christ always retains His identity. But all that the Father is the Son is, and all that the Son is the Father is. The Father and the Son are One.

The Lord Jesus Christ always retains His identity, His uniqueness. The Father always retains His identity. The members of the Servant of the Lord always retain their identity. But when the process of reconciliation has been completed it will be true that all that the Father and the Son are the saint is (except in realms of authority and greatness), and all that the saint is the Father and the Son are. The Father, the Son, and the saint shall be one!

What is the motive behind the program that is proceeding from the Father in Heaven? There is but one motive; there are not two motives. The motive is Divine love.

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (I Corinthians 12:13)

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:16)

There is only one Body of Christ. When a person becomes a Christian, a true, born-again saint (not according to the undemanding ritual that passes today for conversion or for being born again), the Holy Spirit comes upon him and baptizes him into the Body of the Servant of the Lord, that is, into the elect Israel. The Servant of the Lord is true Israel, the Seed of Abraham, the Anointed One who will bring justice to the nations of the earth.

The Kingdom of God will come to the earth, under the administration of Christ in His Church (which is true Israel, consisting of both Jews and Gentiles), and the will of God shall be done in the earth as it now is being practiced in Heaven in the Presence of God.

The Church of Christ, being the Body of the Servant of the Lord, is to be filled with the Spirit of God.

And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; (Isaiah 11:2)

It is the will of God that the Church, the Body of Christ, be filled with these several aspects and abilities of the Spirit of God. The reason we do not possess the fullness of the Spirit of God is that we do not beseech God in Jesus' name for the Spirit. When we ask, seek, and knock, diligently, consistently, and continuously, never, never ceasing, then God will give to us the fullness of the anointing God's Word promises to the Servant of the Lord.

The Spirit of wisdom is necessary if the Church is to know what to think, say, and do as it encounters the dilemmas, confusions, and catastrophes of our time.

Ours is a day in which more people than ever before in the history of the Christian Church are acquainted with the gifts and ministries of the Spirit. Great opportunity is before us and also great danger.

The danger is that we, not knowing the mind of God, may blindly run about attempting to deliver people. This is what is taking place. The Charismatic movement is an illustration of people exalting themselves through the blind, self-centered use of the gifts of the Spirit of God. The Charismatic movement is on its way to becoming the False Prophet (Revelation 13:11).

The Spirit does not give us gifts so we may go about as so many deliverers in the earth. The gifts are given to us so we may build up the Body of Christ, but only as the Lord directs. Any ministry that does not proceed from the cross, from a minister who is living a crucified life, is in immediate danger of becoming part of the False Prophet.

We need wisdom. We need to know what Christ is thinking. It is not enough to attempt to do good in the Kingdom of God. We must find God's will for the present hour.

The Spirit of understanding is required so we may have a clear sense of the mind of God in all areas of endeavor. It is relatively easy for us to gain a head knowledge of Christ, a knowledge of the facts of theology. But knowing God Himself, understanding His Person, His way, His will, and His eternal purpose in Christ and in Jerusalem, can come only through the Spirit of understanding. We need to know God Himself, not just a set of theological facts about God.

The Servant of the Lord must not be harsh with people (which can happen when we do not have an understanding of the ways of the Lord, when we are attempting to enforce our own religious will). We may have knowledge about a situation and even a certain amount of wisdom concerning the right thing to do. But the Spirit of understanding enables us to mix judgment with a deep appreciation for the many pressures and factors that cause people to do as they do. Our wisdom and knowledge always must be seasoned with love, mercy, joy, peace, humility, kindliness, and a dash of good humor and common sense.

We need the Spirit of understanding in order to rightly interpret the Scriptures. Each passage, each verse, must be viewed in the context of the entire Bible. The Scriptures are one whole from Genesis through Revelation. If we limit our understanding of salvation to a handful of verses that support the current understanding of "how to get saved." the great bulk of the Scriptures, the types and statements, will lie untouched.

We must beware of the spirit of the Pharisee. The Pharisees obeyed the letter of the Scriptures blindly. The letter of the Scriptures forbade the drinking of blood. The Lord Jesus requires of His saints that they drink His blood. Because of this and other statements and actions the Pharisees had a scriptural basis for putting the Lord Jesus to death.

The Pharisees were not in touch with God, only with the Scriptures. As infallible and as necessary as the Scriptures are, both Old and New Testament, they are never to be a substitute for knowing the Lord Himself.

No commandment of the Old or New Testament is to be obeyed blindly. Indeed we must obey the numerous commandments found in the writings of the Apostles, but we are to look always to the Lord for strength and guidance in keeping His Word. If we do not we will be as a Pharisee, ready to murder our Christ. The letter kills but the Spirit gives life.

The Spirit of counsel is in great demand today. Many people are looking for someone who will listen to their problems and offer suggestions that will bring relief from the anxiety, confusion, and pain of living. We need to pray to God that He will give to us a word in season for the weary and distressed.

Here again we must insert a caution because of what is taking place in our time.

"Counseling" has become fashionable. The ministry instead of proclaiming the Word of Christ is "counseling" people and people are flocking to the counselors.

It often (not always) is true that people request counseling as much as they do because they are not living according to the Scriptures. They are not living according to the Scriptures because the ministry is not preaching the Word of God. It is a vicious cycle.

People today are reaping what they have sown. No amount of counseling can remove all the pressure from an individual who is being judged by the Lord. We can pray. We can advise. But there is no formula that works in all situations.

The ministers of today are studying psychology in the hopes of becoming expert in counseling. The discipline of psychology is based on research, experience, and sometimes on the Scriptures, and can be learned. (However, some of the theory and practice of contemporary psychology and psychiatry is demonic in origin.)

There often is value in psychological counseling. It is true also that the contemporary need is for people to serve God. If Satan has gained a foothold in the individual's life the expert advice may prove to be ineffective.

In some instances there are manifestations of demons in the client's home. It may be true that we will be seeing in the future a great increase in demonic manifestations and visitations. Counseling that is not godly will not be able to solve those types of problems and may intensify them.

God has not called us to patch up the woes of mankind. God has called us to proclaim the will of God. Christ will heal those who are walking in righteousness, after they have suffered for a season while they are learning of God's holy Person and ways.

To attempt to solve the problems of disobedient Christians through counseling techniques is not a proper use of the Spirit of counsel. The Spirit of counsel is for those who are ready to serve the Lord, not for Christians who want to get repaired so they may continue in their self-seeking, lustful ways.

The Spirit of might, of the miracle-working power of the Kingdom of God, must come to the Church in these days so we freely can demonstrate in advance the glory that will come to the earth with the return of Christ. Until the signs and wonders are following the Gospel we have only half a Gospel. The peoples of the earth must behold as well as hear the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Once more the danger flag must be raised. During the twentieth century we have seen powerful gifts of healing, of faith, of miracles. Thank God for them!

But self-seeking entered along with the gifts of power. Miracles are attractive to people, and soon the minds of the ministers and of the people were turned away from what the Lord desires. Evangelists began to argue among themselves about who had the largest tent. Money became a temptation because of the willingness of the crowds to give money when they saw the power of the Lord.

When the Lord gives a gift of power in our day it sometimes is perverted into a tool to exalt the recipient. He or she becomes the new idol of the believers, particularly the Charismatic believers.

In some instances the exalted minister is not adhering even to the basic principles of Christian living. He becomes a kind of God and his publications and institutions proclaim his name throughout the world. It is the False Prophet!

The "two witnesses," that is, the anointed saints of the latter-rain outpouring of the last days, will be "clothed in sackcloth" (Revelation 11:3). They will have been purged of self-seeking and self-aggrandizement. They will reveal in themselves the Glory of the Lord. They will be as little children in their heart, trusting the Lord with their hand in His.

In the eyes of God the character of the saint always is more important than his ministry. His or her ministry during the present age is for the briefest of periods. But the saint will be God's servant for eternity.

God may take steps to purify some of His "stars" so God does not lose His servants because of their exposure to success and prominence. In other cases the ministers who are working unrighteousness will pass into eternity, there to be driven from the Presence of the Lord. Success in ministry never is a substitute for godliness.

God will give His saints the Spirit of knowledge of facts and events past, present, and future if they will pray for such knowledge. The Body of Christ is not to be blind to the future, as is the world, but must be shown by the Spirit the things that are to come to pass.

Tremendous changes are to occur in the immediate future in both the Church and the world. It is a fact of the Scriptures that God warns His prophets, and through them His people, of the things that are to come to pass in the earth. Knowledge and warning concerning the future is one of God's provisions for His elect.

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

Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7)

Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them. (Isaiah 42:9)

Lot was ignorant concerning the forthcoming overthrow of his city but Abraham was not.

The Spirit of the fear of the Lord , a godly fear, must return to the churches of Christ. Our overfamiliarity with the things of God and our notion that God and His Christ exist for our pleasure are not founded on truth. Paul persuaded men because he knew the terror of the Lord--what it will mean to fall into the hands of God.

The Christian churches have been deceived concerning the fear of the Lord.

We have been led to believe that God is anxious to play our little games. We do not know God as well as we think we do. We have not seen Him !

When we do see God and come to know a little of His Personality we shall obey God in godly fear. God is the greatest of all kings. He deserves and demands the reverence due the mightiest of monarchs. That God loves His elect dearly and is using every means to enable us to make a success of our calling does not change the fact that we should be rendering to Him the obedience and respect that are the right of the most awesome of all potentates.

Why must we have the Spirit of the fear of the Lord? Apart from the fear of the Lord there is no way in which we can gain and keep a correct perspective on life. The plan of redemption cannot be understood and the Kingdom of God cannot gain ground in the earth apart from an awe of, a respect and reverence for, a genuine fear of, the Lord of Armies.

People today are teaching that it is not appropriate for the saint to fear God, only to reverence God. By this teaching they are revealing that they are coming short of the Glory of God and that we are in the last days. It is the influence of Antichrist and humanism.

Reverence and fear are not the same attitude. One may reverence the statue of a famous individual or his memory. But this is not the same as fearing the statue or the memory. Wisdom teaches us the fear of the Lord as well as love for the Lord.

God's Servant Is Blind and Deaf

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

The Holy Spirit instructs each Christian to be blind and deaf. To be blind and deaf in the Lord means we see only what God wants us to see, in a given situation, and we hear only what God wants us to hear. We learn to walk by the Word, will, and purpose of God rather than by what we observe in the material world. Such blindness and deafness are a mark of spiritual maturity and require a period of time for their development.

When we are walking in the wisdom and strength of the flesh we see by the light of this present world, but we are as blind to the will of God as were the Pharisees of Jesus' day. When we are walking in the flesh we hear the multitude of voices that counsel us to eat, drink, and be merry in the attractions of the present age, but we do not have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. We must become blind so we may see God's Glory in the earth. We must become deaf so we may hear the voice of God's Christ.

And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: (Isaiah 11:3)

The Servant of the Lord is blind and deaf as far as the glitter and noise of the present age are concerned.

Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not. (Isaiah 42:20)

When the Servant of the Lord looks about Him in the world He beholds the Glory of the Lord. The disciples showed Jesus the magnificence of Herod's Temple. But Jesus "saw" the Temple in a condition of complete destruction.

Jesus beheld with His physical eyes what His followers were pointing out. But Jesus did not perceive Herod's Temple in the manner in which they had expected. Jesus, being full of the Holy Spirit, perceived the Temple of God as God perceived it--a den of thieves soon to be demolished by Roman soldiers.

God desires to develop in each member of the Body of Christ blindness and deafness to the things and events of the present world in order that we may behold what the Word of God is bringing into existence. Commencing with the Church of Christ, the entire creation of God is to be re-created in Christ. No creature, thing, or situation is excepted.

And he that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (Revelation 21:5)

"All things new."

Jesus did not pay too much attention to what He was seeing and hearing in the world. He was listening to the voice of the Spirit of God. As a result, He made righteous judgments.

I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. (John 5:30)

Many times we make decisions on the basis of what we are seeing and hearing in the world rather than what we are hearing from God. Therefore the judgments we are making are not righteous but warped, being founded on incorrect information plus our own perceptions and feelings.

The Servant of the Lord is "blind and deaf" to the sights and sounds of the present age, to the demands of his own will and fleshly nature, and to the threats and enticements of the devil and his hordes.

This does not mean the Christian is to be unaware of what is about him, ignorant of the needs of his family, unappreciative of beauty, impractical, or foolish. What it does mean, however, is that the believer is to perceive everything about him through the eyes of the Lord and that he is not to be moved solely by external circumstances. He does not make quick judgments based on what he sees and hears but waits for the Lord to reveal the truth of the matter.

The Servant of the Lord has the mind of Christ. He hears the voice of the Spirit of God and "sees" the will of God for the present and the future. He interprets the past as God gives understanding to him.

Every human being seeks to understand his or her immediate situation and desires to have the power to change that situation according to his or her needs and inclinations. We enjoy having the ability to plan what we should do next, how our circumstances should be arranged so as to secure our interests for the future.

Little by little the Lord brings us to the place where we are willing to sit in darkness until He reveals His will to us. If we remain faithful, sitting in the Lord's darkness (not in the darkness of sin, rebellion, passivity, or indecision), He will come to us in His time. There will be light at the end of the tunnel if we abide in Christ.

Let us not force our way out of the prison in which God is keeping us.

Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay on his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow. (Isaiah 50:10,11)

When we come into a dark place in the Lord and have no light, then we must trust in the name of the Lord and wait for God to make the pathway clear to us. Meanwhile we are to keep on doing what is at hand, "occupying" until He comes.

We are to avoid "kindling fires" of our own and "compassing ourselves about with sparks." This is a figurative way of saying we should not attempt to break out of the tunnel God has put us in by working out solutions of our own.

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)

The Servant of the Lord is willing to wait on God. Waiting on God productively requires considerable experience. Eventually we learn to distinguish among the many sights, sounds, and impressions that come to us. The observations God wishes us to make and the voices He desires that we regard will appear in time, although there may be confusion and uproar before the gentle voice of the Spirit speaks to us.

The Lord's sheep know His voice but sometimes the lambs are not as discerning. One of the main lessons we learn in our Christian walk is to follow the leading of the Lord and to be "blind" and "deaf" to everyone and everything else.

And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into the world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. (John 9:39-41)

The judgment of God causes those who "see" by the light of the present age to be blind to the truth, and those who are "blind" to the things of this age to see the Kingdom of God. The children of darkness see by the light of the world but the children of light behold the glory of the Kingdom of God.

Jesus advises each of us:

I counsel thee to . . . anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. (Revelation 3:18)

The Servant of the Lord is blind and deaf to the ways and things of "the prince of this world." The Lord's Servant observes the will and way of God and hears the voice of the Holy Spirit, and bears witness of these.

We Christians are to keep ourselves, through the wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit, in the place where we are sensitive to God's will for our life. Such sensitivity and awareness require time set aside for prayer, Scripture reading, and Christian fellowship.

Also, strict obedience to the Spirit is necessary. If we "walk in the light," that is, in the will of God as it is made known to us, we have fellowship with God and with all the saints.

God's Servant Is His Witness

Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour. (Isaiah 43:10,11)

When God puts His Spirit on His Servant, the Servant becomes the witness of the Person, the ways, the will, and the eternal purpose of God Almighty.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come on 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 1:8)

The power of the Holy Spirit enables the Christian people to be the Lord's witnesses by means of signs and wonders, by the fruit of moral character grown in the Christians, and by what the Christians testify with regard to what they have seen and experienced in Christ.

Notice (Isaiah 43:10,11) how the power to bear witness depends on our personal knowledge of God. The testimony is developed between us and God before it works between us and people.

That ye may know Me!

That ye may believe Me!

That ye may understand that I am He!

"Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me."

"I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour."

We grow in the power of our testimony as we grow in the personal knowledge of the Lord. All of us saints want to give a clearer testimony. The route to the heart of God is the route to a purer testimony. The closer we walk to God the more powerful the testimony becomes. We can bear witness of God only to the extent that we know and believe God. The Holy Spirit creates the testimony in us and through us.

The Servant, Christ, is the Lampstand of the Tabernacle of the congregation, to speak figuratively. Christ is the Testimony of God, the Light of the world. The Holy Spirit is the Oil that burns in the Lampstand giving light (Exodus 25:31).

The Lampstand of the Tabernacle was a heavily ornamented shaft of refined gold beaten into shape. On top of the shaft was a cup filled with oil and a wick in the oil. This shaft represents Christ, the Son of God, the Servant of the Lord, the Light of the world.

There were six side-branches that were formed as part of the Lampstand as it was being beaten into shape. They also held oil-filled cups. The purpose of the side-branches was to shine on the central shaft. Six is the number of man, man being created on the sixth day.

The central shaft is Christ. The six side-branches plus the central shaft support seven cups, seven lights. Christ possesses the seven Spirits of God.

John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; (Revelation 1:4)

We might think of the Lampstand as being the olive tree of Romans, Chapter 11. If this is true, the side-branches of the Lampstand represent Israel. Israel then is seen as an inseparable part of Christ, the Servant of the Lord.

At one time the physical descendants of Jacob were the children of promise. The calling and Glory of God abode on them. But when physical Israel rejected Christ the calling and Glory of God departed from the nation, except for a remnant. The nation of Israel was broken off from the Lampstand and the elect Gentiles are being inserted in its place.

The members of the Body of Christ always are so by the Divine promise, not by physical birth. The Divinely ordained inheritance of Abraham cannot be passed from father to son by physical birth unless ordained so by promise. The election comes to each individual by promise according to God's foreknowledge.

After the full number of foreordained Gentiles have been grafted on the golden shaft of the Lampstand of God, the Spirit of God will open the heart of the nation of Israel to Christ. Then the elect Jews will be grafted on the Lampstand. The nation of Israel once again will assume its original role as Israel, the witness of God.

The whole Lampstand, the shaft and side-branches, is Christ--the Light of the world. It is the Vine of the Lord that is destined to "blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit" (Isaiah 27:6).

The Holy Spirit is the power and wisdom of God. He creates in us the witness of Christ.

The Holy Spirit continually is bringing us to a fuller revelation of Christ. As He does we are empowered to give a fuller witness and revelation of the Person and will of God. The revelation of the Person and will of God is Christ, the living Word of God.

Christ is the Expression of the Life of God. That Life is the Light by which all mankind can see and understand the true Person and Nature of God Almighty, thus obtaining righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (I John 1:3)

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (I John 1:5)

The heroes of faith of the Scriptures were witnesses of the Person and will of the Lord. God kept drawing them to a fuller knowledge of Himself. They were holy people--holy in the sense that they belonged peculiarly to God and were under His guidance.

When we look closely at the lives of Jeremiah, Moses, Abraham, David, we can notice that the circumstances of their lives led them ever closer to the holy Fire. They were not perfect men but the Spirit of God made them the testimony of the Person and will of God.

Noah, the only righteous man on the earth of his day, bore witness for more than a century. But people did not gather to him or repent. Yet Noah gave, and still is giving, a true witness of the Person and will of God.

God draws people of His own choosing to Himself and creates them the witnesses of His true Being and way. God's covenant with His witnesses always is by blood, always by fire, always by the Spirit, always by the Word, the sword of God.

We cannot learn much about God through means of our intellectual processes. When we attempt to do so we often miss the Lord. The knowledge of God comes to us when He draws us to Himself. Then we become witnesses of the one true and living God. We declare then that Jesus is Lord and that there is salvation in no other name.

God's Servant Must Not Strive

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

He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. (Matthew 12:19)

The meaning here is not that Christ never raises His voice because we know from the record that He did:

And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. (John 11:43)

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. (John 7:37)

The concept of not striving or crying has to do with the gentle, kindly ways of the Servant of the Lord and with the enormous authority and power of the Word of God spoken by the Servant. The power of the Holy Spirit performs the work if we are in the will of God and are announcing the Word of God that the Spirit of God is directing toward the specific occasion.

We are not to "smite the rock" but merely to speak to it (Numbers 20:8). The Servant of the Lord is a prophet. He prophesies according to the burden of the Spirit of the Lord. When we behold the "valley of dry bones" we do not rush forth and attempt to make something of the bones by sticking them together. We "prophesy to these bones" (Ezekiel 37:4).

The concept of not striving but rather speaking the Lord's Word often is ignored. Each Christian church organization sets out to build the Kingdom of God by its own efforts. The result has been the employment of every kind of human force available, ranging from begging for money to the torture of heretics.

To the present hour the great whore, Babylon (man-directed Christianity) stands in the marketplace and heralds the things of God, offering them for a price. "Money, money, money," she cries. "Give me your money and I will sing and dance for you. I will give you the graces of God."

Soon the true Bride of the Lamb will depart from the whore, the religious enterprises, and will embrace Him who comes skipping on the mountains of spices.

The work of the Kingdom of God is accomplished by means of the wisdom and power of the Spirit of God, not by the ambition and striving of the will and flesh of men.

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (II Timothy 2:24-26)

We Christians are not to be constructing the Kingdom of God in our own strength. Our task is to gently teach all people, waiting patiently for them to cease opposing themselves so God may enable them to recover themselves out of the snare of the devil. If we will do our part God will do His part, and many souls will be turned to righteousness according to the will of God.

If anything permanent and of value in the Kingdom is to be accomplished the Lord Himself must be working with us, confirming His Word with signs following.

Nothing built by adamic wisdom and energy will endure in the Kingdom of God.

Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. (Psalms 127:1)

Every man's work shall be made for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. (I Corinthians 3:13)

How much of the work of the Church of Christ has been put together by man and how much is of God? We shall know in the Day of the Lord because the works of men will perish. What has been wrought in God will abide eternally (I John 2:17).

Those of us who feel the desire in our heart to accomplish the works of the Kingdom of God have to learn this great lesson: "the Servant of the Lord must not strive." We must learn to wait for the Lord. We must follow Him in all things, doing as He does, speaking as He speaks, walking as He walks.

To commit every aspect of our life to God requires faith and experience. We must labor to enter the rest of abiding in Christ. Our reward is that "as he is, so are we in the world."

The Spirit of God performs the work of the Kingdom of God. Sometimes we who are laborers in the Kingdom must work hard, extending and overextending ourselves as necessary. But when we are moving in the Spirit of God there is renewal.

The "water comes out of the jawbone" (Judges 15:19). God raises us from the dead, as it were. We live and work in His strength. We renew our failing mortal strength from His eternal strength. We are given the "hidden manna."

We never attempt to force the will of God on anyone nor do we run ahead of God. We do not argue, fret, or become upset when matters are not proceeding as quickly as we wish or in the manner we think they should.

We do not "try" to bear witness. Our efforts are to be directed toward serving the Lord to the best of our ability. The witness comes as an indirect result of our serving the Lord. To try to bear witness in the conventional sense is just one more of the fruitless duties put on the believers by men who are seeking their own glory, not the Glory of God. It often is an attempt to proselyte, not to bear witness.

Noah, Abraham, and Job did not "try" to bear witness of God. But because of their trust in God they are ranked among the eternal witnesses of God. The same is to be true of us.

We are the Lord's ambassadors and we are to go before Him announcing His coming as He directs and empowers us to do so. We declare the will of the Lord with the confidence that springs from the certain knowledge that He who has called us and is directing us is the Lord and Master of all men and every situation. He possesses all authority and power in Heaven and on the earth.

God's Servant Shall Be Successful

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)

It helps us serve the Lord more effectively when we understand the sovereignty and extraordinary wisdom and power of the Lord God Almighty. Salvation is of the Lord. Foreknowledge, predestination, and election play important roles in the program of redemption and restoration.

It is difficult for us humans to find the balance between our efforts and the sovereignty of God. If God has all authority and power, why is it necessary for us to seek God with all our strength? Why must we pray so fervently and consistently for God, who knows all things, to perform His own will? Yet both sovereignty on God's part and diligence on our part are built into God's plan of redemption in Christ.

After we have done all we can we begin to doubt the outcome. We become discouraged. The task appears to be impossible. Wickedness increases in the earth after all of our efforts. It is during such times as these that we need to call to mind the awesome majesty of the Lord. All that is written shall come to pass precisely as God has stated.

Christ never shall fail because God Almighty has declared He shall not fail. No matter how tumultuous the conditions of the earth may become, no matter how wickedness may flower and grow to mature fruit, no matter how the nations may rage and the people imagine foolish, fruitless things, the Kingdom of God shall come to the earth.

God's will shall be performed on the earth to the same extent it is performed at the highest level of Heaven. Christ shall be King of kings and Lord of lords both in the heavens and on the earth.

Sometimes it appears as though our wrestling against evil spirits results merely in a compromise at best, in defeat at worst. Sometimes it seems as though the devil will inherit the earth and most of the peoples of the earth.

But such is not the case. God Almighty has a plan, a blueprint, a master schedule. Every person, every event, every circumstance, every thing, is moving along according to the knowledge and will of the Most High God. God is certain of what He is doing. He understands completely the outcome of what is taking place in the heavens and on the earth. Nothing ever takes God by surprise.

We may ask, if God is sovereign, if He can perform His will, why does He allow sin and anguish to continue in the earth?

God never causes anyone to sin. God is not the author of sin. God did not cause Adam and Eve to sin but He understood fully that they would. God easily could have prevented their sinning by sending an angel, but He did not do so.

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was put in the garden by the Lord (Genesis 2:9). God knew that the first people would fall and that the result would be thousands of years of agony, labor, frustration, ugliness, rebellion, insanity, and death.

God is God. God is not a man, He is God. His wisdom is infinitely greater than ours. The eternal plan of God took into account that the first humans would sin and that every one of Adam and Eve's descendants would be born with a lawless personality.

The Divine program of redemption includes the creation of a royal priesthood. God is creating judges and kings who are destined to govern the works of God's hands, and each member of such a ruling priesthood must be perfected in obedience in the midst of temptation.

Out of the human travail of the centuries God will bring forth innumerable relationships, creatures, and things of incomprehensible value and glory.

Of one fact we can be certain: God is good; there is none good but God.

God is righteous in all He does. God is equitable. God is true. God is holy. God is merciful. God loves us and is not willing that any should perish but desires that all come to repentance. The death of God's only begotten Son on the cross of Calvary teaches us of the compassion of God toward mankind. There is no fault in the Lord God or in Christ, His Son.

When a man sets out to build a house he works with hammer and saw. It is well that wood cannot talk or there would be moaning and complaining all the while that the carpenter was working: "Quit sawing on me! Please don't drive any more nails in me! Ouch, that planing hurts!"

We are dearer to God than wood is to a carpenter. (What carpenter would give his life for his wood?) But the Scripture does state that God is a builder (Hebrews 3:4). It states also that God is the potter and we are the clay (Romans 9:21).

No doubt wood and clay have little comprehension why the carpenter or the potter do what they do. So it is that God's dealings with the universe and with the individual person are as far above our understanding as a carpenter's understanding is above that of his wood. We must learn to trust in God in His goodness, in His perfect knowledge of the details of our life.

When pain is necessary for our perfecting, God will cause pain to come to us. It cannot be helped. Character, like precious stones, is formed under pressure and heat.

The Scripture informs us that those whom God foreknew He also predestined to be changed into the image of His Son. All things and events in the universe are working toward the end of shaping the brothers of Christ into His image.

By stressing foreknowledge and election we are not teaching that it is of God that some people wallow in the filth of immorality or that this is what God desires. What we are stating is that God knows how people will react and He plans accordingly. No matter how mankind may reject God, God slowly and with certainty is moving toward the establishment of His Kingdom, His will, in the earth.

Even when we come to accept fully the concept of Divine sovereignty we are, nevertheless, to continue letting God know the desires of our heart. If we are abiding in Christ we can ask what we will and it shall be done. Therefore let us never give up. We shall receive our heart's desire if we will do the Lord's will with rejoicing. Let us ask in faith, nothing doubting, and the Lord God shall bring to pass what we are requesting.

The Book of Revelation describes the years that will follow our day, even to the rebellion of Gog and Magog at the end of the thousand-year period. Those people have not been born as yet! Here is an example of the Divine foreknowledge and predestination.

God has spoken concerning you, dear reader. He knew you before the creation of the world. The Spirit of God has opened your eyes and granted you repentance unto life. God gave His Son to die in your place.

God already has provided the solution for every problem you ever will encounter, the escape from every snare the adversary will set for you, the wisdom and strength to overcome every tribulation and testing that ever will befall you. God has called you, justified you, and glorified you. There is a plan for your life.

God gave His Son for you. Will He not, therefore, add to you every blessing, fulfilling the desires of your heart? Will He not with Christ freely give you all things?

But you must be diligent if you are to be successful in laying hold on the inheritance to which the Lord God has called you. All the Messianic promises are for those who are an integral part of the Servant of the Lord, for those who are abiding in Christ and in whom Christ is being formed. However, you continually must grasp that for which you have been grasped.

Our great salvation always remains an opportunity; it never is a foregone conclusion. We must match God's calling with a corresponding zeal if we expect to attain fully to the inheritance to which we have been called in Christ.

Christ will succeed in bringing justice to the peoples of the earth. The islands of the sea will wait for His law. There will be no failure, no discouragement for the Servant of the Lord.

Why is it there can be no failures in the life and ministry of the Servant of the Lord? How can we be sure that even our mistakes and shortcomings will work for our good as we follow on to know the Lord? How do we know that one day God's will shall be performed in the earth as it is in Heaven? How can we be certain all wicked spirits will be cast into the Lake of Fire and that even the memory of sin will be erased from mankind?

We are confident of all these things because of who God is and what God has stated.

As to who God Is:

Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people on it, and spirit to them that walk therein: (Isaiah 42:5)

And as to what God has stated:

I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles [nations]; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. (Isaiah 42:6,7)

There is no doubt about it. God will bring to pass exactly what he has stated. When we are baptized into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit we are baptized into the Conqueror. No matter how low we may be brought, no matter how discouragements may mount up against us, no matter how weak we may become, no matter how bleak, grim, and oppressive the future may appear, we yet shall reign in glory with Christ.

We do not have to strive. We do not have to force people or circumstances. We do not have to fret ourselves because of those who are bringing their wicked plans to fruition and who appear to prosper in their lawlessness. We are not obligated to become dismayed and fearful because of the world situation. We are not required to rush about in panic and distraction.

If we are in Christ we are in the Conqueror. We are in the one true Vine. We are abiding in Him who possesses all the authority, all the power, all the promises, all of the Word and will of God Almighty.

Christ cannot, shall not, fail.

You shall not fail if you are in Him.

Christ never shall fail or be discouraged. The Day most assuredly will come when justice and truth have been firmly established throughout the entire earth and the peoples of the islands of the sea are lifting their hearts expectantly in joyous anticipation of the knowledge of God being brought to them by the Servant of the Lord.

Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (Hebrews 10:35,36)

God's Servant Is Created in the Church

Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. (Isaiah 44:2)

To note the actual creation of the Servant of the Lord we must go to the New Testament writings.

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. (Revelation 12:1,2)

The "great wonder in heaven" is the Church of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, the heavenly Jerusalem (Galatians 4:26). Church-attending people, believers in Christ, worship and work on the earth. But the true Church of Christ is a heavenly institution--a wonder in Heaven. The life of each believer in Christ is now at the right hand of God, far above every other authority and power (Ephesians 2:6).

The Church is clothed with the "sun" (the Glory of Christ). All the created works of God (the moon) are under the feet of the Church because of the dominion given to the Church through her marriage to Christ.

It is our point of view that the twelve stars of the woman's tiara are the saints of God of all ages who have been true to God: Moses, Job, Daniel, Jeremiah, Peter, John, Paul, John Wesley, Watchman Nee, Oswald Chambers--those who have lighted the long night and have been a guide to the multitudes of pilgrims who have made, and yet are making, their way toward the city "which hath foundations."

Such are the Lord's own who remained true to His Word, both the written Word, and the Word revealed to them personally. God's stars reach out to us across the years and help us remain in the righteous ways of the Lord.

The woman (the Church) is not at rest but is in travail. So it is today that all the ministries and gifts of the Church of Christ are laboring to bring forth Christ in the Christian believers. Sometimes the travail results in pain for those who are bearing the burden!

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

We who love the Lord can feel the call of the Spirit in these days. We can hear the sound of the trumpet. God is drawing us to a deeper, stronger place in Himself. Christ is being formed in us. However, the fullness of the glory that God is seeking has not as yet been created in the Church.

And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns on his heads. (Revelation 12:3)

We can notice that there are two wonders in the heaven. The Church of Christ is a wonder in the heaven. Also, the great red dragon is a wonder in the heaven. It is the destiny of the Christian Church to bring forth Christ. Christ will cast the dragon out of the heavenlies. The battle of which we are a part is being waged in the heavens.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of the world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)

And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. (Revelation 12:4)

When Jesus was born of Mary, King Herod was "exceeding wroth" (Matthew 2:16). Herod was not concerned about Mary or Joseph, he was concerned about Christ. Herod was a king. Christ is the King chosen by God. Herod did everything in his power to destroy Christ. King Herod was being motivated and guided by the great red dragon.

Satan still is attempting to resist the birth of Christ. Satan is not afraid of the Christian believers. It is Christ who is the threat. It is Christ who is the Destroyer of the works of the devil. Satan is terrified of Christ, of the Holy Spirit, of God the Father.

And she brought forth a man child, 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 "man child" (Greek, male son) represents Christ who is being formed in the saints through the travail of the Church.

Notice that the Son, although portraying the members of the Body of Christ, is singular in number. In other passages of Scripture the "many sons" are emphasized, but not in Revelation, Chapter 12. The male Heir is singular because this chapter is emphasizing the formation of Christ, the Seed of Abraham, in the Church.

The Son is singular in number. The Seed of Abraham is singular in number. It is important we keep in mind that Christ, and Christ alone, is the Word of God. The battle is His alone (in the ultimate sense) and the victory is His alone.

We Christians do not overcome the world and Satan. It is Christ in us who is the Conqueror. We overcome because of the Overcomer who is in us. We conquer because of the Conqueror who is in us. We emerge victorious because the Victor is in us.

We Christians do not enter merely into our own death, our own resurrection; we enter Christ's death, Christ's resurrection, Christ's rest in God.

The Church is bringing forth Christ. It is Christ who is being formed in us; not merely Christ-likeness or the image of Christ, as important as our change into Christ's image is. The central truth on which everything in the Kingdom of God depends is that Christ is being formed in the Church. We are the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

It is Christ who is the Servant of the Lord.

There are two principal ways in which we can err concerning the truth of our identification with the Glory of Christ. We can lean too heavily on the identification or we can lean too lightly on it. Either error can weaken our spiritual strength.

The first error, leaning too heavily on our identification with Christ, is produced by an extreme emphasis on "grace." This attitude reveals itself in such expressions as: "There is nothing good in me. He did it all. I know I am sinning but He saves me by His grace. Jesus suffered so I shall not have to suffer."

Who could deny the truth of such statements? To the repentant sinner they are the light shining across the rocks on a dark and stormy night. We do not minimize the greatness of the grace of Christ in saving us sinners.

But if this attitude is carried throughout the Christian pilgrimage, if it is extended past its proper scope, it can prove to be a means of avoiding the demands for personal growth and discipleship made on each of us daily by the Holy Spirit. It runs dangerously close to calling Jesus "Lord" and then not doing what He says. The doctrine of grace can become error if it is not kept in perspective with the remainder of the Word of God. A bloated justification destroys the need for righteous behavior.

The second error, leaning too lightly on our identification with Christ, can be made by fervent disciples. In some cases we may become preoccupied with our death, our resurrection, our spiritual power, our victories. Such zeal is scriptural and it will bear fruit to a point. But if we are not careful we may lose sight of the fact that the Church is in travail to bring forth Christ, not to bring forth expert Christians.

Also, the struggling overcomer may become discouraged if He does not learn to lean more heavily on who Christ is and on what Christ has done, is doing, and yet will do. In this case the believer may be attempting to hold up the Rock instead of trusting in the Rock to support him. Indeed, one of the keys to the life of victory is knowing when to emphasize our identification with Christ and when to emphasize our own diligence and zeal.

Today there are many who are emphasizing grace to the point of error. The concept of humanism, of man-centeredness, finds merit in the idea that God suffered so man does not have to suffer; Christ became poor so men may become rich. The humanist will endorse a religion that is man-centered and brings happiness and security to the adamic nature of people.

Another great error of our day is that of stressing the power God wants people to have. In the current "prosperity" and "faith" messages we may be witnessing that which will culminate in the False Prophet.

Christ is seen as a spiritual power whose desire is to help the believer get what he wants. One would think the idea of making Jesus our butler would never be received by any blood-washed saint. But the error of attempting to use Christ to assist men in the attaining of their goals is widespread in the various Christian movements.

The way to overcome the deceptions of the last days is to seek union with Christ. Strictly speaking, God is not multiplying believers. God is multiplying Christ. The Seed is One. Our willingness and ability to fall back on Christ and on the victory of Christ over Satan can make the difference between victory and paralyzing discouragement in the rugged trials that lie ahead.

The battle is the Lord's. Christ in us is coming against God's enemies. The judgment we exercise is the judgment of God working through Christ. We can become a vehicle for the exercise of that judgment if we will allow Christ to have His way in and with us. Apart from the Divine judgment there can be no deliverance, truth, or justice for mankind.

The correct concept of the oneness of Christ, of the Seed, of the Victor, must fill the whole Servant of the Lord. Each member must identify totally with Christ and view himself as an integral part of Christ. Yet, the believer is not to allow this identification to become an excuse for an undisciplined, lawless life.

That we are complete in Christ does not mean God has done away with the many New Testament statements that warn us of the fatal consequences of continuing in sin as a Christian.

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. (II Timothy 2:19)

When the male Heir is born he is "caught up unto God, and to his throne." As soon as Christ is formed in us He is caught up to the Throne of God Almighty.

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ: (Ephesians 2:6)

Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in the world, but also in that which is to come: (Ephesians 1:21)

Today the Servant of the Lord is in Heaven at the right hand of God. Although each of us is busily engaged in learning the lessons being taught to us by the Holy Spirit, and in ministering to the Body of Christ as the Lord leads, yet that part of us that is Christ, that is the Servant of the Lord, has ascended already. Our eternal life is in Heaven with Christ, far above the principalities and powers with which we are wrestling.

Very soon the whole Servant of the Lord--Head and Body--will appear from Heaven. He will bring justice and truth to the nations of the earth. In that Day all who are rebellious will be destroyed out of the earth by the judgment of God.

The Day of the Lord, the day of redemption, is a great day, a terrible day. Although the Lord God will use the members of the Body of Christ to judge men and angels in that Day, in actual fact it will be the Lord Himself working through Christ--Head and Body. The Lord God will be performing the work of judgment and redemption (Joel 2:11; 3:16).

For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:3,4)

 

Chapter III. The Work of the Servant of the Lord

God's Servant Brings Deliverance to Israel

The responsibility assigned to the Servant of the Lord is threefold:

To plant the heavens.

To lay the foundations of the earth.

To say to Zion: "You are my people" (Isaiah 51:16).

"Zion" is the Seed of Abraham. "Zion" refers to God's elect, His chosen, the Seed of promise, whether Jewish or Gentile by physical birth. In the present hour Zion is above us in Heaven.

One day the perfected spiritual Zion will come down and enter Jerusalem on the earth. The Lord Jesus Christ will sit on the Throne of David in Jerusalem. All that the Old Testament promises to Jerusalem will come to pass in the perfected spiritual Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22,23).

God always is saying to His elect, "You are My people." It is difficult for each of us to come to the realization that God has chosen him from before the ages of time so he may stand before God forever as a royal priest. We are not of the world. We are holy unto the Lord, having been chosen from among mankind and set aside by Him for His special use and pleasure.

God always is asking His elect if they love Him (John 21:15-17).

The Lord's elect are the members of true Israel whether they are Jewish or Gentile by natural birth.

It is our understanding that in the Day of the Lord there will be an awakening of the nation of Israel and the Jewish people will become aware that Jesus is Christ.

We believe also, following the symbolism of the life of Joseph, that before the coming of the Lord there will be a reconciliation to Christ of a chosen remnant of the Jews because of, and during, the hour of tribulation that is coming; and that the Lord Jesus will assist the Jews, especially the remnant, through all the troubles that will take place before He returns.

The coming salvation of the Jews does not, of course, change the fact that the Seed of Abraham is One and includes all who are part of Christ whether Jewish or Gentile by race. No person, Jewish or Gentile, can enter the Kingdom of God other than by being born again of Christ. Flesh and blood cannot enter the Kingdom of God. There is but one Shepherd, one fold, one Holy Spirit, one Church, one Body of Christ.

First, the Jews must return to Jerusalem from all places where they have been dispersed. We think it is God's will that the nation of Israel once again become one of the major nations of the earth. After a season, when Antichrist has captured Jerusalem and has taken his seat in the Temple, it will be time for the elect Jews to flee into the wilderness.

There, in the Valley of Achor to speak figuratively, the place of trouble and judgment, the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to the elect Jews and they will become one with the elect of the Gentiles, who also have been compelled to flee from the face of Antichrist.

It would not be wise for Jesus to reveal Himself to the nation of Israel in the present hour because the rabbis, being weakened by the knowledge that they have resisted God's Christ throughout the centuries, would fall prey to the great whore--man-operated Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant. They would move from one error to another error--perhaps worse than the first.

We believe that God in His goodness will protect His original chosen people from fleshly Christianity and self-seeking special interest groups and Christian entrepreneurs, until the day Jesus is ready to receive the Jews as part of Himself (not as part of Babylon (man-directed Christianity)).

The concept that there will be a Gentile church in Heaven and a Jewish kingdom on the earth is an error made commonly by Christians. Such a totally unscriptural concept prevents an understanding of the Hebrew Prophets, cutting off the Christian churches from the revelation of Scripture. This confusion is unfortunate and unnecessary.

When referring to the coming of the Lord we are emphasizing the "remnant," that is, the saints of the Lord (Jewish and Gentile) who will give themselves wholly to Christ, becoming a firstfruits "unto God and to the Lamb" (Revelation 14:4).

The Presence and work of the remnant during the days surrounding the return of Christ is mentioned in several places in the Scriptures (Isaiah 4:3; 32:1,2; Joel 2:32; Obadiah 21; Micah 5:3; Zechariah 12:8; Romans 11:5,26; for example).

The story of Gideon and his three hundred is one of the scriptural types of the power of the Lord working through His remnant in the end-time. Even though the great victory will be won with a remnant, eventually every member of Christ will "know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest (Hebrews 8:11).

One of the major tasks of the Servant of the Lord is the building up of Israel--the people chosen by the Lord to be His peculiar treasure in the earth.

By the term Israel we mean all the elect of God, whether Jewish or Gentile by physical birth. The reader may complain we are repeating too many times that the elect consist of both Jews and Gentiles. The reason for the repetition, whether excessive or not, is that currently there is confusion over this point.

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, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; (Isaiah 61:1,2)

The above passage is directed toward "Zion," that is, toward the Lord's elect, His chosen. While the Servant of the Lord is destined to bring justice and truth to the nations of the earth, He also is charged with the responsibility for building up Zion--the royal priesthood of God (I Peter 2:5).

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me."

The Spirit of God abides on Christ--Head and Body. "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Romans 8:9). The reason we of the Church are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ is that we may become working parts of the Servant of the Lord, of the Anointed Deliverer who is to come.

It is through the Holy Spirit that the Body of Christ will be built into the fullness of unity and maturity. All the ministries and gifts given by the ascended Christ are for the purpose of perfecting the saints, for the bringing of God's Israel into the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ.

"The Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek."

The "good tidings" are the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The "meek" are those of Israel who are willing to open their hearts to the voice of the Spirit. The meek are not proud, defiant, self-sufficient, always resisting the Holy Spirit. They are teachable and they desire to serve God. They fear God and are submissive to His Word.

The God of Heaven has anointed Christ to bring the good news of God's salvation to each of the elect who will receive the Word with humility of mind, and will repent--that is, who will change the way he or she is thinking and acting and will think and act according to the revealed Word of God.

"He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted."

There are those of Israel who are happy and prosperous being content, like Lot, to take their chances in a world filled with wickedness and rebellion against God. Although they think of themselves as the Lord's people (whether they are Jews or Gentiles) they "have no room in their inn" for Christ. This has been true of physical Israel and is true today of Christian people.

Then there are those of God's people who are in distress and trouble. They always seem to be out of joint in the present age (even in the churches at times). Such never can be completely happy when the Presence of God is not in their midst. They are not satisfied with things as they are. They find no rest in the world or in a lukewarm, smug, self-satisfied church or synagogue. They weep and mourn for God and are not comforted by the things of fleshly religion.

God always is seeking those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. To them He sends His Servant with healing and blessing. The Servant comforts them and brings the Presence of God to them. He binds up their broken heart and gives them joy and gladness.

Has the Lord ever sent one of His servants to you in the power of the anointing of the Spirit? Did that individual bring healing, blessing, comfort, and the Presence of God to you? If so, then the one who ministered to you is a part of the Body of Christ, of the Servant of the Lord.

Those of Israel who are proud and filled with their own ways--even doctrinally-correct religious ways--will not be ministered to by the Servant of the Lord. The self-sufficient dwell in barrenness and confusion. They will remain in a desolate state, a spiritual wasteland, unless they forsake their proud ways and turn to the Lord.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, . . . . (II Chronicles 7:14)

If God's own people will humble themselves! The need today is for God's elect, His Israel, to confess their sins and turn from their wicked ways. The Servant of the Lord always encourages Zion to repent and turn to God.

"To proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound."

The "captives," in this context, are those of God's people who are bound and oppressed by Satan.

And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? (Luke 13:16)

Jesus of Nazareth, Christ of God, went about doing good and healing all of Israel who were oppressed by the devil. The first sign to follow the believers in Christ is the casting out of devils. The Son of God always destroys the works of the devil.

The Kingdom of God comes as the power of the anointing of the Spirit of God casts out devils. The coming of the Spirit of God tears apart the kingdom of darkness. This is the power that abides on Christ--Head and Body.

Many believers in Christ are heavy and oppressed in spirit!

But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore. (Isaiah 42:22)

It is the will of Christ that every one of His people be gloriously delivered from all that is not of the Lord. Who among us will seek God on behalf of God's people? Who among us will lay aside his own life so the saints may be built up in the most holy faith? Who among us will "stand in the midst of Jordan," in the waters of judgment, so God's people may cross over into their inheritance?

The Lord Jesus commands us to feed His sheep and His lambs. Will we provide food for the household of the Lord so the saints may be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might?

Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. (Matthew 24:45,46)

During the Kingdom Age, further opportunities for building up Israel may be assigned to those who in this life have faithfully nourished God's children. It is true even today that as we are faithful in small responsibilities the Lord entrusts us with a larger area of His Kingdom.

"To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God."

The acceptable year of the Lord is now. Each member of the Body of Christ is to bring deliverance to God's people now as the Spirit of Christ guides and empowers him to do so.

(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) (II Corinthians 6:2)

It is God's will to bless His saints now with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. It is God's will to save us today, to heal our bodies today, to give us gifts and a ministry today, to pour out His Spirit on us today, to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom with signs and wonders throughout the entire earth today. Today is the Day of salvation. Today is the time accepted of God for every one of His elect to grasp the fullness of God in Christ.

Yet, in order for us to gain any of these blessings we must overcome the resistance of the enemy. God enables us to conquer the enemy as we wait on Him, following Him patiently, moving in His wisdom and timing.

There are specific spiritual opportunities available to the Lord's people during each period of history. The day in which we are living is a time of unprecedented revelation and power, and opportunity to take the Kingdom.

It also is a season of deliverance, of judgment on the unclean spirits that have been dwelling in the house of God. It is an hour of eternal judgment, of vengeance on the forces of wickedness that have produced unrighteousness and rebellion in the saints.

It is time now to make the way of the Lord straight in His Church. It is impossible for God to move when the saints are neither hot nor cold. The Servant of the Lord is pleased when both righteousness and lawlessness are well-defined and mature.

It is time now for righteousness to become exceedingly righteous and sin to become exceedingly sinful. God will work in your life and mine until we make up our minds whom we shall serve. Shall we choose to serve Christ, or Satan?

There are multitudes of God's people in the "valley of decision." "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision" (Joel 3:14).

The Servant of the Lord announces that whoever will choose to do so may come and drink freely of the waters of eternal life. Christ has paid the full price on the cross. Eternal life is free to whoever will accept it as the gift of God in Christ. God's forgiveness readily is available to each person who will repent and receive the love of God in Christ.

At the same time, God's wrath is directed against the kingdom of Satan and against the believers in Christ who are taking pleasure in the things of the world, in the works of Satan.

Today is the day of salvation, of deliverance, of blessing, of glory to all who will receive Jesus as both Lord and Savior--Lord of their conduct and Savior of their soul. In the near future the Lamb will appear in wrath, executing vengeance on the enemies of God. It is the Lord's will that each of His people escape the wrath that is to be poured on the ungodly.

When the Lord Jesus read this passage (Luke 4:19) He did not include "and the day of vengeance of our God." Apparently, the day of vengeance had not come at that time.

It may be true that the scroll has been reopened in our day and this phrase ("the day of vengeance of our God") now is being included. The Lord has come now to cast out Satan from His Church. This is the beginning of the Day of Vengeance--an era that will continue until the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

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)

When Christ builds up Zion, His Church, He is building up His own Body. It is true also of us that when we build up our brothers and sisters in Christ we are building and strengthening the Body of Christ of which we all are members. As we grow strong in the Lord we are to assist the weaker members. When we are converted we are to strengthen our brothers (Luke 22:32). The Body is building itself in the Head--Christ.

The Lord anoints us with the Holy Spirit so we may comfort His people. Because of sin and ignorance the people of the Lord find themselves in miserable circumstances, their joy gone, being oppressed, guilt-ridden, and in various kinds of trouble. There are domestic problems, divorce, sickness, debt, gloom, dread, ignorance of the will of God. Often there are many sins being practiced by God's people. There is an accompanying spiritual and physical weakness, shame, and loss of confidence in God.

The Servant of the Lord brings the beauty of holiness in exchange for the ashes of the bondage of sin; the oil of joy in the Lord in place of sadness and despair; the uplifting spirit of hope, praise, and confidence in God in exchange for heaviness and moodiness.

The Servant of the Lord is victorious in faith and filled with the Spirit of God. He brings resurrection life to the Lord's people. He heals them physically and imparts eternal life to their spirits. He shows them that God loves them and is able to give them the power and wisdom they need.

It is Christ who does all this for God's people, and He frequently does it through the gifts and ministries the Holy Spirit gives to each member of the Body of Christ. It is the anointing of the Spirit that breaks the yoke of oppression.

God is not always scolding His people because of their sins and weaknesses. Rather, He is waiting lovingly until they return to His goodness and mercy. God loves His people with a very great love. Many times we are led to believe that God is angry with us when such is not the case. God is waiting for us to come to Him in faith in His Word (Mark 9:23).

God must have saints who are willing and able to build up their brothers and sisters in Christ. Those saints who bless and nourish the members of the Body of Christ are performing the ministry of the Servant of the Lord to Israel.

"That they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified."

It may be true that there are not many oaks of righteousness in the Christian churches. To a great extent the believers in Christ sit in spiritual ashes (although some of them are wealthy in material riches).

When the Servant of the Lord ministers to God's people they become righteous, holy, and obedient to God in their daily behavior. Wherever there is unrighteous behavior in the churches the will of God is not being performed.

God did not save us in order that we may wander about in the wilderness of sin and lawlessness. God redeemed us so we may demonstrate a holy and righteous life in our deeds, our words, and our thoughts.

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)

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

When we are not learning righteousness, holiness, and obedience we are not fulfilling the purpose of God in saving us. We are not bringing forth the fruit for which the Divine Farmer is waiting (John 15:2,8,16; James 5:7).

The reason God called us out of the world is that we may portray His righteousness and praise; that we may be the light of Christ in the darkness of the world; that we may reveal in ourselves the holiness and power of the Person and will of God Almighty.

Whenever we behave in an unrighteous, unholy manner we are not fulfilling the purpose of our calling as saints. When the "branches" do not bear the fruit of righteous and holy behavior they are cut off from the Vine, from Christ, and men gather them in piles and they are burned, so to speak. The reason men "burn" them is that they are useless for the purpose for which God has called them.

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people [people for God's own possession], zealous of good works. (Titus 2:14)

Having your conversation [behavior] honest among the Gentiles [nations]: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. (I Peter 2:12)

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)

The nations of the earth must come in contact with the Life of Christ in order to live. The only source from which needy people can obtain the Life of Christ is the Israel of God. But the Divine Life is not present in God's Israel when the saints are walking in sin.

The Servant of the Lord is anointed in order that He may build up the members of Israel into trees of righteousness. When Christ is dwelling in a righteous and holy Church the nations of the earth experience the Person, way, will, and eternal purpose of God.

Those of the nations who accept the Life of Christ that is in the Church, the Israel of God, will be saved in the Day of judgment and brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

The nations of the earth will "keep the feast of Tabernacles" by coming to the Church and receiving the blessing of God and Christ, who then will be dwelling (tabernacling) in the Church.

But those who reject the Presence of God in Christ in the Church will deprive themselves of eternal life.

And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. (Zechariah 14:17)

The rain of the Spirit will not fall upon them if they are unwilling to hear the voice of the Spirit and the Bride and do not come to the water of eternal Life that will flow from the saints for eternity.

God's Servant Brings Justice to the Nations

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

We have just discussed the fact that the Servant of the Lord must build up Zion before He can bring justice to the nations of the earth.

Notice the following passage from Matthew. Jesus was ministering to the people of Israel. He healed a man with a withered hand. Then great multitudes of the Israelites followed Him and He healed them all.

But observe the extraordinary significance that Matthew attached to the healing of the Israelites:

That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment [justice] to the Gentiles [nations]. (Matthew 12:17,18)

Show justice to whom? To the nations ?

But these were Israelites!

The answer to this seeming contradiction is simple.

The delivering, healing, uplifting ministry of the Servant of the Lord will one day be directed toward the nations of the earth. But first it must be brought to the people of the Lord, to God's elect. As soon as the Lord's elect have been built up into trees of righteousness the Arm of the Lord will be extended to the nations.

The "justice" that the Church will bring to the peoples of the earth is described in the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 2:3 for example) and in the other Prophets as well (Psalms 67:1,2; Joel 2:32; Zechariah 14:16).

Many today are seeking to bring comfort and assurance to people, but God is willing to go a step further and bring justice to them. God looks upon people, such as the man with the withered hand, and God sees the unclean spirits that are keeping the man in this state of bondage. God's justice removes the weakness, pain, and disfigurement, assigning Satan to the regions of darkness, and bringing the individual into the light of God's Presence.

The nations of today are staggering about in blindness, drunkenness, in an agony of pain because they are ignorant of the moral principles that bring peace and healing. The Servant of the Lord, when He is brought to maturity, will release and teach all who will believe and be saved from destruction. This is the "justice" that God has promised to His creatures.

God desires to reach all mankind. God is not willing that any person be lost to His Kingdom. But first of all the Church must be revived into righteous conduct and fervent love of the Lord. How can the Church bring deliverance to the nations before the Church itself has been delivered?

To understand what it means for the Servant of the Lord to bring justice to the nations of the earth we first must be made aware of the relationship of the Church of Christ, of God's Israel, to the other peoples of the world.

The Christian Church, the elect of God, is the Body of Christ. It is the true Israel of God, the Body of the Servant of the Lord. The Church is a called-out group of people as was true of the nation of Israel under the old covenant.

The task of Israel, the Lord's elect, His saints, both Jewish and Gentile, always is to bear witness of the Person and will of God and also to bring the knowledge and blessings of God to the nations of the earth.

When we force a division between Israel of the old covenant and the so-called "Gentile Church" of the new covenant we obscure the role of the Church in bringing justice and truth to the nations of the earth.

There is no such thing as a "Gentile Church," a church of the nations. There is only Israel, the elect of God. Any Gentile who would become a part of Christ, of God's Servant, of the new covenant, must become a part of the true Israel. The new covenant is made only "with the house of Israel" (Hebrews 8:8).

God called out Israel, His elect people, both Jewish and Gentile by natural birth, from the nations of the earth in order to bless the nations through them. Every member of the Body of Christ is called out from the world so God may make him a blessing to the world.

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

The meaning of the term church is called-out . Christians, whether Jewish or Gentile, have been called out by the Spirit of God from all other peoples on the earth, as was true of Abraham our father. God calls us out so that through us He may reveal Himself to mankind, bringing justice and truth to the nations of the earth. We of the elect are God's kings and priests and will rule throughout the ages to come.

The Church is the light of the world . The Church is the set of people who peculiarly are God's own possession, separated to God in order that the love, mercy, holiness, and power of the Lord may be revealed to all persons on the earth.

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)

God loves the peoples of the world. In fact, God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son as full payment for the sins of those who are cut off from Himself. God is not pleased that people are perishing in their ignorance of redemption, in anguish of spirit, soul, and body.

God does not work among men the way He does because He hates people but because He loves people and desires to save them from their cruel bondage to Satan. God is creating the Church, the Body of Christ, in order that salvation may be brought to the ends of the earth.

Because human beings are bound in sin, and God is utterly holy, people cannot draw near to Him. People are self-seeking, sinful, rebellious, stubborn, proud, disobedient. God cannot accept human pride and rebellion. No proud flesh can stand in His Presence.

Thus we have the "lonely" God. God loves His creatures but He cannot communicate His love and delivering power to them without destroying them in His wrath.

The death of Christ on the cross of Calvary reveals to us the love that God Almighty has for the people whom He has created. Let no man say that God does not care for him.

God's solution to the separation between Himself and His creatures is the creation of a witness, a living temple, a body, a servant who knows God and who also can communicate with human beings. The Servant of the Lord has one hand in God's hand and the other hand on mankind.

The Servant of the Lord is the hand and heart of God extended to the world. The justice, truth, and saving power of God are brought through the Church, through God's Israel, to every person who will receive His love and mercy.

The called-out Servant of the Lord is the Church of Christ, the Israel of God, the Wife of the Lamb. The members have been willing to work with the Holy Spirit in the destruction of sin and self-will from their own personalities. They have died to sin and self-centeredness, through the grace of God, and now are acceptable to God in Christ. Through them God will be able to bring eternal life and healing to the ends of the earth.

The Servant of the Lord is the Lord Jesus Christ who is multiplied in the members of the Body of Christ.

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

The blessings of God can come to the nations of the earth only through Christ. There is no other source of Divine help for people. It is the will of God that the Presence, love, and power of Christ come through the members of the Body of Christ.

As soon as Christ has been formed in the saints the Kingdom of God will come to the earth. In the present hour the Holy Spirit is adding people to the Church and also building up the spiritual quality of the Church.

When the Body of Christ attains the desired level of maturity and unity the Head of the Body will appear. Then God through Christ--Head and Body--will reach out to the nations of the earth. This is the Kingdom of God, of Heaven, that is at hand.

We must not, however, relegate the saving, healing power of Christ to the future coming of the Kingdom. It is God's will today for each member of the Body of Christ, each Christian believer, to prepare himself or herself to be a well of healing, delivering power through whom the Lord Jesus can touch and relieve the distressing circumstances of people everywhere.

We prepare ourselves by praying, studying the Scriptures, gathering together with fervent believers whenever possible, giving, serving, and continuing in all other aspects of Christian discipleship.

We are to pray for a greater portion of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Now is the season of the latter (harvest; spring) rain. To each person asking in faith will be given "grass in the field," that is, spiritual fruitfulness (Zechariah 10:1).

Today God is preparing His saints to receive an unprecedented power to bear witness. The fullness of the latter rain is at hand. The power and glory of the latter rain will prove to be the forerunner of the coming of Christ to set up His Kingdom on the earth. It is the Elijah-Elisha anointing to show the peoples of the earth the Kingdom that is at hand so they may be saved in that hour.

The latter-rain outpouring is symbolized by the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11. Christ in and with the members of His Body (the two witnesses) will go forth in a double portion of the Spirit (the two olive trees) to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God for a testimony to every nation. The way of the Lord must be made straight.

When the testimony of power and glory has been completed there will be a season of intense spiritual darkness. The testimony of the anointed saints will be silenced in the large cities of the earth. The man of sin will rule. The Lord's people will be required to exist on the spiritual food they have stored up during the "seven good years" of revival that are upon us now.

Suddenly, at the darkest hour, Christ will appear with His saints and holy angels and destroy the man of sin.

At the coming of Christ the testimony of the saints once more will shine throughout the earth, but now in a quality and quantity of power and glory far more excellent than the latter-rain revival; although the present latter-rain revival is destined to exceed any revival of past history.

The nations are without justice in our day. They are governed spiritually by Satan and physically by politicians who are seeking their own glory, in many instances. They are bound in sin and they need someone who can set them free, who can bring the kind of Divine judgment upon Satan that will release people from their sins, making it possible for them to receive eternal life.

The peoples of the earth, and the entire realm of nature itself, are awaiting the unveiling of the sons of God.

For the earnest expectation of the creature [creation] waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19)

In the day Adam and Eve sinned they died and all nature died with them. Their bodies kept on breathing. The rivers kept on flowing. The trees continued to pass through the cycles of the seasons. But spiritual life, God's Presence, had left the creation.

The only true life is the Presence of God in Christ. Adam and Eve were driven from the Presence of God, from eternal Life. Adam and Eve, and all nature along with them, died in spirit, in soul, and in body.

All the creation is dead. The unsaved are dead in spirit, in soul, and in body. People are dead because they have no contact with Life, with Christ. The contact was lost because of disobedience to God's will.

As soon as someone accepts Christ he is received of God and his inner man becomes alive with the Life of Christ. The Spirit of God is eternal Life dwelling in him. But the believer's body continues in a state of death, as is true also of those who have not been born again. There is no eternal life in the believer's flesh (Romans 8:10).

At one time Adam and Eve and all of nature were alive with spiritual life as well as with the flow of chemicals necessary for their composition and activity. But sin entered and the eternal Life of God departed. The motion of the molecules continued. The various chemical, muscular, and electrical systems kept on operating. But these do not constitute life .

There is no life in atoms and molecules. Life does not consist of breathing, growing, and moving. Life is the knowledge and Presence of God. Life is in the Person of Christ.

Christ Is the Tree of Life. Christ is the Resurrection and the Life. Mankind cannot live apart from the Divine Word of Life.

In Christ there is eternal life, and that life is the only light of men, the only truth concerning the significance and purpose of all things and events.

When Jesus returns with His saints, the entire Christ of God--Head and Body--will go throughout the earth judging behavior and executing the vengeance of God against sin (Revelation 19:11). As lust and disobedience are being destroyed out of the heavens and the earth, spiritual life will return to the creation.

All the peoples left on the earth, and the entire realm of nature as well, will be touched by the Person of Christ dwelling in His saints. Paradise will return to the earth. Eden will be restored. The trees of the field will clap their hands and the hills will skip for joy. The nature of the fiercest of animals will be made harmless and innocent.

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)

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. 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 55:12,13)

It is not God's will that the world of nature and the bodies of people be forces that lead us away from God. Rather, the Day is near at hand when nature and our bodies will lead us toward God rather than away from the Presence of God. In that Day the very rocks of the landscape will be praising God continually, reminding us of His Person, His will, His way, and His eternal purpose in Christ.

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)

God has ordained the Servant of the Lord as the One who will bring justice, truth, and deliverance to the nations of the earth.

In order to bring eternal life, righteousness, peace, and joy to the earth on the scale God intends, the Church must be brought to maturity and unity by receiving the Glory of the Lord. As soon as the Church has been made one in the Father through the Son, the whole world will believe that God has sent Christ.

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)

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

The prayer of Christ (above) shall be answered!

When the Servant of the Lord, who is the Temple of God, has been brought to the fullness of maturity and unity in Christ, God through the Servant will be able to wipe away the tears of the peoples of the earth.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [which is the Church, the Servant of the Lord] is with men [with the nations of saved peoples of the earth], and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes [from the eyes of the members of the nations of the saved]; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things [that the nations have suffered since the fall of Adam and Eve] are passed away. (Revelation 21:3,4)

The preceding passage describes the coming to earth of Christ--Head and Body, for Christ is the "tabernacle of God." But the work begins today as individual Christians are able to receive the Spirit of the Lord and as the Church grows toward unity and maturity.

However, the emphasis of the Church Age is on bringing the members of the Body of Christ to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. The nations cannot be delivered until the Body of Christ has been prepared according to God's standard.

God's Servant Strengthens the Bruised Reed

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

A bruised reed is a reed that has lost its strength and can be broken easily. A smoking flax is the wick of a lamp that has burned down, giving a dim light.

Human beings often are as bruised reeds and dimly-burning wicks. We are so battered by life that we come near to the breaking point. The light and strength of our life in many cases has nearly been destroyed.

What is the attitude of God in Christ toward the weak and oppressed? What should be the attitude of the stronger members of the Body of Christ toward the unsaved, and toward those Christians who are having difficulty serving God and making their way through the wilderness of life as they seek the city that has foundations?

The Servant of the Lord does not despise the weak. He does not flaunt His spiritual strength, His ability to choose God over Satan, His knowledge of God, His strength in the battle against the enemies of the Lord (Philippians 2:5-8).

The Servant of the Lord keeps on looking for ways to bring strength to the weak and the oil of the Holy Spirit to those whose light is going out.

Some Christians are spiritually strong. They are conquerors. They are eligible for the glorious rewards mentioned in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation. They are kings and priests of God. They are the heirs of all things in joint account with the Lord Jesus Christ.

But many other believers are not strong. They are not victorious saints. They are not victorious in battle. They are not strong in the Lord. What about them?

It is the will of God that the strong assist the weak (Romans 15:1).

In the Church of Christ there are those who have been given a double portion of spiritual strength. Christian literature tells of the lives of many of God's heroes of faith. Doubtless there were, and yet are, many strong saints who are not well known.

The Lord's victorious saints do not receive spiritual strength in order to make them proud. Rather, those who receive much Divine grace are charged with the responsibility of assisting their brothers and sisters in the Lord.

. . . For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: . . . . (Luke 12:48)

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. (Romans 15:1)

Our attitude toward our weaker brothers and sisters is improved when we realize God loves them just as human parents love their handicapped or sick children. God is a Father, not a harsh taskmaster who never can be pleased no matter how hard we try, who despises his weak children, who forever is cracking the whip over us and blaming us for our weaknesses and shortcomings. Such is not the personality of the Lord.

God always is encouraging us, always inviting us to better things, always cheerful and confident concerning the future, always looking for ways in which to help us along. This is not to say God does not respond in anger toward those who willfully scorn His Word (Hebrews 10:26,27)!

But in the case of so many of the weaker believers, they have no intention of scorning God's Word. They are weary, discouraged, and frightened because they know that one day they will stand before God. It is to such people who fear the Lord that the goodness and mercy of God are extended if they but knew it.

The Servant of the Lord seeks to comfort the sorrowful, to strengthen the weak, to bring faith to the wavering, inspiration to the discouraged, a new vision of hope to the perishing. The Servant continues to mend the bruised reed and to feed the flame of the feeble lamp.

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (II Timothy 2:24-26)

Many Christians are "little sisters" (Song of Solomon 8:8). They are not mature now and will not be mature at the coming of Christ. According to the writer's interpretation of the Song of Solomon, Christ does not intend to destroy the immature believers. He will deliver them and nourish them and make of them a structure of eternal value, beauty, and glory in the Kingdom of God.

We must be careful to distinguish between immature, ignorant believers who are serving the Lord sincerely, and careless, lukewarm Christians who are refusing to take up their cross and follow the Master. The careless and lukewarm, of whom there are many, are facing a frightful future. They will be spit out of the Lord's mouth. They will be assigned to outer darkness.

When the Lord Jesus appears in His Glory, His officers, His "mighty men," will appear with Him. Jesus has strong saints who will "return from the wilderness with Him," so to speak, just as was true of King David. Any Christian can be one of the Lord's "mighty men" if he or she so chooses. The believer may be weak now; but if he calls on Christ in sincerity there will come to him the strength and wisdom needed to conquer the current problems.

Christ possesses enough power to lift the faithful believer to the highest throne. But we must seek Him with all of our determination.

When the Lord Jesus returns, the wicked will be ashes under the feet of the Church.

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 4:3)

But God's people will grow up as "calves of the stall."

But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. (Malachi 4:2)

Those who fear God's name will be healed when the Sun of righteousness arises. There will be no sin in that day.

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

Where there is righteousness there is healing, there is peace in the midst of tumult, there is joy in the presence of despair and grief. The Servant of the Lord ministers righteousness and blessing to God's people and also to the nations of the earth. He will continue to strengthen the bruised reed and to stir into flame the smoking flax until every soul whom God has ordained to life achieves righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

All the blessings of God are to "whoever will"; and "whoever" certainly means you !

God's Servant Establishes the Law of God

I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles [nations]; (Isaiah 42:6)

The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable. (Isaiah 42:21)

God's law is His revelation concerning what He considers to be good or evil, pure or impure, clean or unclean, righteous or unrighteous, holy or unholy, acceptable to Him or unacceptable to Him. Without God's law we have no knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong, what brings life and what brings death. We are as Adam and Eve, as little children, not being able to distinguish between good and evil.

The conscience of people guided them until the Law, the light of God shone from Sinai.

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been introduced to Yahweh , the Lord of Israel. But to them was given no law other than personal directives from the Lord, personal revelations of the will of God for themselves. The remainder of mankind had only conscience and the world of nature to instruct them concerning righteousness.

All of that was changed the moment God wrote the Ten Commandments on the two tables of stone. What a giving of light that was! First to the Jews, and then to those who came in contact with the Jews, was revealed the Nature and will of God.

But, as Paul informs us in Romans 7:10, the Ten Commandments brought death to us instead of eternal life because our fleshly nature is opposed to the law of God. A law that brings conflict and death does not strengthen the bruised reed or stir into flame the feeble light that people have.

God is determined to save people, not to destroy them. The Law of Moses makes sin exceedingly sinful, bringing death instead of life. Death is not God's will for mankind. But the Law of Moses does serve us by bringing us to Christ for salvation.

The fullness of the eternal moral law of God, the light of God, shone in Christ. Christ is the Word, the Covenant, the Law magnified and made honorable. Christ is the eternal law of God Personified. Jesus not only gives us the law, He Himself is the Law of God. Christ is the new Covenant. He is eternal Life. He is the Pleasure of God. He is the Light of God, the perfect revelation of that which is good, right, life-giving, clean, pure, righteous, holy.

The new covenant is the writing of the law of God in the human heart and mind, not the Law of Moses but the eternal moral law. Since Christ is the eternal moral Law of God, the new covenant is the forming of Christ in the heart and in the mind of the members of the Body of Christ. When Christ comes to maturity in us we shall act, speak, and think according to the eternal moral law of God. Thus we ourselves become the new covenant the Lord has made with mankind.

The Servant of the Lord is the new Covenant. The Servant of the Lord magnifies and makes honorable the law of God by personifying the law and by bringing the power and wisdom that enable all men to serve God acceptably. On many occasions mankind behaves as though the law of God is not honorable; as though the law of God is an antiquated moral standard repugnant to decent people.

There is, popularly, a reproach connected with the law of God, the ways of God. There is a dishonor associated in the minds of people with God, His law and His Christ. But the Presence of Christ changes that point of view and makes the law of God honorable among men.

It is necessary for Christ to destroy the works of the devil in order to create righteousness in mankind. It is necessary also for Him to impart to people His Divine Nature and the power of eternal, incorruptible resurrection life and glory if they are to become pleasing to God.

The holy city, the new Jerusalem, is the highest expression of God's law. The new Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb, is the law of God in glorified form. The holy city is the light of the world, the means through which all the nations can learn to conduct themselves in the manner accepted of God Almighty. The new Jerusalem is the light of the world because it is filled with Christ.

Christ is the new Covenant, the Law of God personified and made great and glorious in the eyes of the peoples of the earth. The Body of Christ also is the new covenant, the law of God personified and made great and glorious in the eyes of the peoples of the earth. The Head and the Body are to be One (John 17:21-23).

Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in the world. (I John 4:17)

"As he is, so are we in the world"! Think of it!

The concept of the Church, the Israel of God, the Body of Christ, being the personification and glorification of the law of God, being the light of the world through the good works it performs, has suffered a serious setback in the days in which we are living.

In the first place, a misunderstanding of the teaching of the Apostle Paul concerning salvation by imputed (ascribed) righteousness has caused Christian teachers to take the position that God is not especially interested in the conduct of His people.

A spirit that is not of God, not of the Scriptures, has entered the minds of the Christians. This spirit has brought about a concept of the Christian redemption as being a special gift of God to bring Gentiles to Heaven on the basis of their doctrinal faith. It is obvious that such a concept wipes out any possibility of the Christian Church being the personification of the law of God. The current doctrine that the Christian redemption is an undemanding gift or plan to "bring people to Heaven" is not found in the Scriptures.

The Christian salvation is the development of a standard of righteous personality and behavior in the members of the Body of Christ, a radiant righteousness and holiness that will make the law of God great and glorious in the eyes of the nations of the earth. This is the scriptural concept of salvation.

The Scriptures are not a description of a struggle between belief and unbelief in doctrine, at least not in the sense in which we employ those terms today. The Scriptures are a description of the struggle between sin and righteousness, between good and evil, between obedience to God and disobedience to God.

In the Scriptures, true faith is synonymous with obedience and unbelief is synonymous with disobedience. Currently the terms belief and unbelief are used to describe our acceptance or rejection of the truth of certain theological facts.

The demons know the facts of the spirit realm and of the Divine plan of redemption. It is not our assent to these facts that brings salvation, it is our obedience to God.

How many believers are trusting in their adherence to theological facts to carry them into blessedness when they die? They are in error. Their "belief" will not bring them into Paradise after death any more than it has saved them from the bondages of sin before their death.

The rise and fall of Israel as a nation was not related to its belief in the Law or lack of it, except as faith is defined to mean obedience and righteousness. Theological faith was not at issue. The Ten Commandments have to do with deeds of righteousness, not with an assertion of the truth of the Torah. The Pharisees stumbled over this very point.

The same is true today. Revival power has left the Christian churches, not because of a lack of belief in the virgin birth or the Divinity of Christ but because of the prevailing sin and disobedience to God. The need today is for repentance, not for an abstract belief that there is a God, or for "faith" to get out of God what we want. Seeking the power of God apart from the will of God creates the False Prophet who is to come.

God is interested in bringing forth righteousness and praise in the sight of the nations of the earth.

God does hear the prayers of His saints concerning their personal and family needs. God is helping us along the path that leads to the fullness of the stature of Christ. One day we will be in the image of Christ and the result will be glory and a light by which the nations of the earth can see God.

Christ is the Word of God made flesh. We, the members of the Body of Christ, are the flesh being made the Word of God.

Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. (II Corinthians 3:3)

The old covenant can be written on stone, paper, wood, parchment, or on any other writing material. However, the new covenant cannot be written on any of these materials. The new covenant can be written only on the human mind and heart.

The old covenant can be written with ink. The new covenant can be written only with the Spirit of God.

God wrote sovereignly on the tables of stone and Israel was commanded to obey what was written. In the new covenant, God writes sovereignly on the human mind and heart. The Christian obeys because the Word is written in him and is part of him and he of it.

The Christian himself is the covenant; he is the testimony; he is the witness of God concerning Himself; he is the law of God just as the Ten Commandments were the testimony, the witness of God concerning Himself.

The Word of God re-creates us so that Christ--the new Covenant of God with man--is living in us (Galatians 2:20).

We cannot transform ourselves into the Word of God; only the Glory of God can do that.

Speaking of the working out of the new covenant in us, Paul states:

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (II Corinthians 3:18)

The transformation of the saints into the Word of God was prophesied in the Old Testament:

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: (Isaiah 28:10)

And that is just the way it happens to us.

As we press forward in our Christian pilgrimage we continually are being brought down into death to our old nature so the Life of Christ may take its place. We die so He may live in us. We must decrease in order that He may increase.

Command upon command, rule upon rule, the Word of God, the new covenant, is written in us by the finger of God. We are becoming the Word of God, the law of God, the new covenant.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (Hebrews 8:10)

We who are Christians are the epistles of the apostles and teachers who are sent by the Holy Spirit to minister to us (II Corinthians 3:2). We are written in their hearts, the ever-increasing righteousness and holiness of our conduct being the proof that they indeed have been sent by the Lord. We are their credentials.

We are the light of the world, meaning that the Person, will, and ways of the Lord are being revealed through our deeds, our words, and our motives. It is God's intention that the peoples of the earth learn to distinguish between right and wrong, between what is pleasing to God and what is not pleasing to God, by means of the image of God presented through Christ through the Church, which is His Body.

Christ--Head and Body--always fulfills the eternal moral law of God. The Servant of the Lord makes the law workable and practical for people by delivering them from Satan, by setting an example for them, by teaching them the laws of the Kingdom of God, and by empowering them to practice what they have been taught.

Teaching not accompanied by the power of deliverance and performance brings people to the knowledge of God's will but does not enable them to put into practice what they have learned.

Deliverance without teaching sets people free from spiritual bondage but does not point out to them the necessity for righteous, holy, and obedient conduct--the conduct that can be accomplished only through the grace given to us through Christ.

If demons come to a house that has been swept and decorated but has not been filled with the Glory of the Lord, they will enter again into that house and the end of the delivered one will be worse than if he never had been delivered in the first place (Matthew 12:43-45).

The Kingdom of God is not in word but in power. The power of God sets the captive free. Then the Word of God is written by the Holy Spirit on the mind and heart of the convert until he becomes the Word of God, the new covenant, the light of the world.

The power and wisdom necessary to create us in the full stature of Christ can come only from the creative Word of God. There must be faithfulness, patience, conscientiousness, and diligence on the part of the believer so the Holy Spirit can perform the work of transformation into the image of Christ.

The blood of the Lamb provides the legal basis on which the work of transformation can proceed.

If we have not been faithful, patient, conscientious, and diligent the Lord will make us so if we will ask Him. But if we are double-minded, lazy, indifferent concerning the things of redemption, choosing rather to walk after the lusts of the flesh and fleshly mind, then we will reap corruption rather than eternal life in the Day of the Lord.

The Body of Christ causes God's will to be done in earth as it is in Heaven by casting out devils, healing the sick, pointing to the Redeemer on the cross, witnessing of Christ's resurrection, and by teaching the ways of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to all men in preparation for the return of the King and His Kingdom.

We work at these tasks today, and so much the more as we see the Day of the Lord approaching. When He comes our ministry will be increased a thousandfold until the entire earth is filled with the knowledge of the Glory of God as the waters cover the sea.

The fullness of the new covenant will be in effect when "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). This covenant is made with God's elect, with the house of Israel. Such fullness has not been attained as yet. All the members of Christ do not know the Lord to this extent. We still have need that we minister one to the other.

But when that which is perfect has come, that is to say, when Christ comes to us in the fullness of the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles, then we shall know the Lord fully and clearly just as we now are known by the Lord fully and clearly.

The fullness of the knowledge of the Lord then will be ours. No longer will it be necessary for us to teach each other, for every member of the Body of Christ will be in possession of the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord.

It appears likely that much progress toward the maturing of the new covenant will take place during the thousand-year Kingdom Age known as the Millennium. The Kingdom Age is the time when righteousness and praise will spring forth before all the nations as they never have during the Church Age (Isaiah 61:11).

From the time of Abraham, God has been pointing toward and working toward the Day when His Servant will bring justice and truth to the peoples of the earth. The followers of Christ are being prepared as kings and priests so that justice, truth, righteousness, and the knowledge and joy of the Lord may be established among the nations.

Let us take heart. Let us lift up the hands that hang down and strengthen the feeble knees. The Lord is coming and He is bringing the reward for our patient endurance and faithful service. Our blessings and responsibilities will be marvelous in that Day. Our fruitfulness and dominion in Christ will fill the heavens and the earth.

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice Before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth. (Psalms 96:9-13)

Only a few more steps, a bit more faith and trust in God, some final lessons, and then we will be ready for the appearing of Christ and our appearing with Him, bringing truth and righteousness to the nations of the earth.

Meanwhile let us do all the good we can, ministering to the saints, bearing a true witness of God to the world, being adults in spiritual understanding and children in malice.

The role of Christ, Head and Body, is to "magnify the law and make it honorable." This means we are to enlarge God's Person and ways and make them approachable and wonderful for all peoples, young and old, through the direction and enabling power of the Holy Spirit.

When the Church of Christ has attained the Divine standard of perfection, which is the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, being ready to descend from the new heaven to find eternal rest on the new earth, then the testimony, the law of God, will have been established forever.

The Presence of the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb, will shed forth the light, the eternal law God to the entire universe. The highly-ornamented foundations of the wall of the city signify that no form of sin, uncleanness, or rebellion ever again will defile the Divine creation. The jewels in the foundations are the marks of character of those who have overcome sin and rebellion through Christ.

The holy city is the supreme development of the Servant of the Lord, the fullest expression of His role of bringing the law of God to the nations of the earth.

The Servant Himself is the testimony, the covenant, the witness of who God is and of what is pleasing to Him.

God's Servant Installs the Kingdom of God

The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies. 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 42:13,14)

It is difficult for us to picture God in travail. Why would God cry like a woman in labor? What is the Lord bringing forth?

God is laboring to bring forth the Life and image of His Son, Christ, in the heavens and on the earth.

God is readying Himself to put an end to sin and rebellion and to bring forth a new creation that reveals His Person, will, and ways.

Notice that the context of Isaiah 42:14 includes the announcement of the Servant of the Lord and a statement concerning the overcoming of the enemies of God.

The Kingdom of God is about to be born. The Kingdom of God is Christ. The way of Christ is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

The Servant of the Lord, Head and Body, holds the keys of the Kingdom of God. The Servant of the Lord possesses the authority and power to forgive sins, to retain sins, to loose the captives, to bind the wicked. The Servant of the Lord has been commissioned by the Father to bring the Kingdom of God to the earth.

The "Lord's Prayer" reveals the burden of the Holy Spirit. First of all we are to ascribe holiness to God the Father ("Hallowed be thy name"). Then follows immediately the burden on the heart of God: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."

God is in travail today to bring forth His Kingdom--the doing of His will in the earth as it is performed in Heaven.

For many thousands of years, for spiritual ages that reach back into eternity past, God has allowed His sentence upon the devil and the rebellious angels to remain unexecuted. That sentence is eternal confinement in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. Some of the evil angels are ruling in the heavenlies although they are bound in the chains of sin and rebellion. They are awaiting the Day of Judgment. The Day of Judgment, of Vengeance, is at hand!

Why has God the Father permitted such a long period of time to pass before putting an end to sin? Why has He permitted a once-pure earth to become horribly defiled by sins too filthy, too hideous, to mention? Christians cannot contemplate or talk about the deeds being practiced in the earth today without themselves being defiled.

Why does God permit this state of affairs to continue?

So more people can be saved?

It is possible more people are being born today than are being saved.

Does God know what He is doing?

The reason for the delay is found in the Scriptures. The Servant of the Lord is being created. It is the task of the Servant of the Lord to destroy wickedness out of the earth. The Body of Christ, under the authority and direction of the Head, shall crush Satan. It is the Seed of the woman who will crush and tread under foot the head of the devil (Genesis 3:15).

And the God of peace shall bruise [crush] Satan under your feet shortly. . . . (Romans 16:20)

The authority, power, and wisdom flowing from the Head, Christ, will enable the Body of Christ, the saints, finally to tear down the spiritual lords of darkness from their thrones in the heavenlies and in the hearts of men.

Jesus is waiting patiently until the Father makes His enemies His footstool. The authority of the enemy was taken from him on the cross of Calvary. Now the full expression of that victory is upon us. It is time for Christ, working with and through His Church, to bring an end to all sin and rebellion.

Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? (I Corinthians 6:2,3)

Every creature and every thing in the entire universe is waiting for the Church, the Body of Christ, the fullness of the Servant of the Lord, to come to maturity and unity. As soon as the Church has been made ready by the Holy Spirit of God, the Head, Christ, will return. This time Christ will not be born as a baby in a manger. This time Christ will appear as the avenging Lamb of God.

Christ will roar out of Zion (the Church) against His enemies. He will go forth in thunderous majesty, treading the grapes of the wrath of God Almighty. Those who are called, chosen, and faithful will ride with Christ in that Day.

Christ's faithful have gone outside the camp with Him, bearing His reproach. They have suffered abuse, the loss of their possessions in some instances, the humiliation that always falls on the righteous, on those who choose to walk in the ways of the Lord and do His will.

The true disciples have relinquished their right to justice in the world. They have committed their judgment to God alone, looking to Him to settle their affairs in His own way and time. They have become the garbage of the world, a weak, despised segment of the earth's population.

But in the Day of the Lord, the people who have been following the Lord Jesus patiently and faithfully will discover to their eternal delight that they finally are coming into their inheritance. This time the shoe will be on the other foot; the tables will be turned. Instead of being the victims of persecution they will be the judges of those who persecuted them. Instead of being the weak they will be the powerful, the rulers, the kings and priests of the most high God.

The Church will appear with Christ bringing destruction upon all the enemies of God, both spiritual and physical; and bringing deliverance and teaching to those of earth's peoples who fear God and are meek before Him.

The earth will tremble before Christ and His holy brothers. It is the Day of the Lord, and Christ will ride at the head of His army. There never before has been an army such as this. "The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining" (Joel 2:10).

The whole creation shall bow in travail along with the Lord God, for the Day of visitation has come to the heavens and the earth (I Peter 2:12).

The Kingdom of God is the supreme authority and power in the heavens and on the earth. The rule of wickedness will be overthrown by the force of the Holy Spirit acting on the basis of the blood of Calvary. Christ and His victorious saints, His mighty men, those in whom the Substance and Nature of Christ have been created, are to shepherd all nations with an iron rod.

Because of their oneness with Christ the saints will possess the authority and power to command righteousness in the earth, to enforce the keeping of the laws of the Kingdom, such as the principles given in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, Chapters Five through Seven). Those who resist the rule of Christ and His saints will be destroyed (Malachi 4:3). The meek of the earth who choose to follow the righteous ways of the Lord will prosper and enjoy all the blessings of God's creation (Isaiah 11:4-9).

Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. (Psalms 2:10-12)

The coming of the Kingdom of God is at hand. It will be a day of refreshing and glory for the faithful saints, an hour of chastisement for the Lord's people who have been unfaithful, and a time of judgment and torment for the wicked and rebellious.

The Servant of the Lord--Head and Body--will be given control of the creation of God. For one thousand years (literally or figuratively) the Lord Jesus Christ will reign on this earth as King of His saints and Lord of His righteous kings and priests, the nobility of the Kingdom. Christ is King and Lord over the princes whom He has chosen to govern the nations of the earth (Isaiah 32:1).

It is useless for Christ to return to the earth until His Church, His Body, has been made ready for the work of installing the Kingdom of God on the earth. If Christ intended to accomplish the task by Himself He would have done so two thousand years ago, preventing the centuries of anguish that have ensued since His first appearing.

But in order for the Kingdom of God to come to the earth the Body of Christ must be created, the Body of the Servant of the Lord.

Let us, therefore, hasten the coming of Christ by growing personally in all godliness and holy behavior.

The Judge stands at the door. Let us prepare our heart to receive Him.

Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brothers shall return unto the children of Israel. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thine hand shall be lifted up on thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off. (Micah 5:3,8,9)

Our Lord Jesus Christ is meek and lowly of heart, not striving, not forcing. He strengthens the bruised reed and stirs into flame the dimly burning wick. He does not justify Himself but commits His way to His Father. Truly, He is the "Good Shepherd."

But in the Day of the Lord, Christ will appear in such frightful wrath that the strongest of men will cry out for the mountains and rocks to fall on them in order to hide them from that furious Countenance.

We Christians also are to be meek and lowly of heart, neither striving nor forcing, apt to teach, meekly instructing those who oppose themselves. The Lord God is our Avenger. He justifies us in all matters and brings forth our righteousness as the light and our judgment as the noonday.

But one day we too will appear as the judges and lords of the earth. We too will ride in thunderous majesty and fury against the enemies of God, both spiritual and physical. The Bride of the Lamb is "fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners" (Song of Solomon 6:4,10).

The Servant of the Lord is as meek and lowly in heart as a gentle lamb. Yet He is destined to break and shepherd the nations of the earth with an iron rod, an irresistible rod of the iron of the strength of the Holy Spirit of God.

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)

God's Servant Executes the Judgment of God

The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies. (Isaiah 42:13)

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 Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment on 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 1:14,15)

We cannot describe in detail the rebellion of angels against God because the Scripture references concerning this wickedness are not comprehensive. We do understand, however, that sin originated in the heavenlies--in the spirit realm, in the very Presence of the Father.

Sin was not created by humans but by evil spirits. It is Satan, not Adam, who is the father of lies. The Lake of Fire has been prepared for the devil and his angels.

Sin did not originate in Eden. Sin was introduced into Eden by a cherub who already was in rebellion against God. Whenever we begin to think about God's judgment, about redemption and deliverance from sin, we are confronted with the kingdom of darkness. This is where the problem is. One cannot occupy a strong man's territory without first dealing with the strong man himself.

One of the principal tasks of the Servant of the Lord is to destroy totally the kingdom of darkness. There will be nothing left of wickedness when the Lord ceases working. Even the memory of sin and rebellion will have been blotted out of the heavens and the earth.

Speaking prophetically of the wicked rulers in the heavenlies:

But the Lord thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed. And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them. (Deuteronomy 7:23,24)

In the present hour we are struggling against the lords of darkness who rule the earth from their thrones of power in the heavenlies (Ephesians 6:12). But in God's time every one of them shall be forced down to the earth and crushed under the feet of the saints.

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 12:9)

And the God of peace shall bruise [crush] Satan under your feet shortly. . . . (Romans 16:20)

There is coming an end to the wrestling match. Christ will destroy His opponent without mercy. He will do it through His Church.

The total destruction of wickedness will be accomplished by the Lord God moving through His Church. "The Lord shall roar out of Zion." In order for the saints to be available for such employment they must be living victoriously in the Spirit of God.

The three qualities that must be true of the saints before they can exercise the judgment of the Lord are guiltlessness (justification), righteousness and holiness of behavior (sanctification), and joyful, strict obedience to the Lord (consecration).

The saint of God must be justified by the blood of the Lamb. He must be made holy by the power of the Holy Spirit. He must be consecrated to the point where he loves not his own life to the point of death--totally obedient to the Father. If there is a problem with one of these three areas the saint is disqualified from participating in the coming assault upon Hell.

Guiltlessness. It is impossible for the Lord to execute judgment through a Church that itself is under condemnation because it is not abiding under the blood of justification, is not walking in righteousness and holiness, and is not obeying the Spirit of the Lord.

God's war against Satan is not a question of who has the greater power. God always retains all power. When the appointed moment arrives it will require only one angel to bind Satan and cast him into the bottomless pit.

Rather, the requirements for victory in the war against the enemies of Christ are the protection, cleansing, and virtue of the blood of the cross, holy motives and behavior, and obedience to the will of God. Each of these elements is critically important in spiritual battle.

Our concern is not with obtaining enough power to conquer Satan, it is with our own state of acceptability before the God of Heaven. The necessary power will be forthcoming when we are eligible to receive it.

God's first warfare is against the saints. When God's saints have been reconciled fully to God it will be time for the destruction of Satan. First, Satan in the Church; after that, Satan outside the Church.

Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins. (Isaiah 40:2)

For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. (Isaiah 54:7)

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. (I Peter 5:10)

Guiltlessness (justification) comes to us by way of the blood of the Lamb. "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him" (Romans 5:9). We are justified fully (held to be without guilt in the sight of God) through the gift of God's righteousness that comes to us on the basis of our faith in the atonement made by Christ on the cross of Calvary.

No accuser can win his case in the court of Heaven against those who are justified by the blood of God's Lamb, Christ.

The authority of the blood in spiritual warfare is demonstrated by the fact that the armies of Heaven follow the Commander in Chief whose robe is dipped in blood. The blood of Christ remains in front of His troops throughout all the spiritual warfare in which we are engaged.

We overcome the accuser through the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:11).

Righteousness and holiness of behavior. Not only must we be guiltless through the blood of the cross but our being and conduct must be righteous and holy as well. Guiltlessness is imputed (ascribed) to us on the basis of the sacrificial offering of Christ on the cross. But righteousness and holiness of thought and conduct are created in us through the Word of God, through the Life that is in the body and blood of Christ, and through the resurrection Life of the Holy Spirit who is working in us.

Righteousness and holiness of personality and behavior are wrought in us as the Holy Spirit leads us in putting to death the deeds of our body (Romans 8:13). The Holy Spirit is the Law of the Spirit of life. He enables us to conquer the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

Each day of our discipleship we must bring our deeds, words, and thoughts under the control of the Holy Spirit. By so doing we keep on growing in the power of righteousness and holiness. If we are to fight against the kingdom of darkness, executing the Lord's sentence of judgment on wickedness, we must do so in righteousness and holiness.

The Servant of the Lord is called in righteousness.

It is the pure in heart who will see God. An unholy person never shall behold the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).

We cannot fight successfully against Satan when we are yielding to the lust of our flesh, the lust of our eyes, or the pride of our life. When we are practicing sin we are spiritually weak. We go down in defeat. We are deceived and led astray. We are distracted, double-minded, weak from guilt and fear. If we are walking in darkness we cannot possibly fight victoriously against the darkness. If we are full of Satan we cannot overcome the armies of Satan.

Hundreds of thousands of Israelite men of war marched under Joshua. But the sin of one man--Achan--brought all Israel into condemnation and defeat (Joshua 7:5).

The armies of Heaven are clothed in fine linen, clean and white. The white linen is the righteous conduct of the saints. The saints are shielded by the atoning protection of the blood of the Lamb and they themselves are clothed in their own righteous conduct (Revelation 19:8,13).

Both imputed righteousness and actual righteousness and holiness of personality and behavior are necessary if we are to serve the Lord in spiritual battle. Satan cannot not cast out Satan. It is the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous (righteous in deed) man that avails much in the Kingdom of God.

We overcome the accuser by the word (not words , plural) of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). The living of a godly life is an important part of our testimony (Matthew 5:16). The "word of our testimony" is that which our personality is declaring to be true of the God of Heaven and of Christ His Son. We are the flesh being made the Word of God. This is the new covenant.

Another important aspect of our testimony consists of the words and works of power exercised through the saints by the Holy Spirit of God. A pure life plus spiritual power are the two horns of the testimony. A holy life and works of power both come from the Holy Spirit, not from the adamic nature.

Joyful, strict obedience to the Lord. The third state that must be attained by the saint before God can employ him in the execution of judgment is that of strict, stern obedience to Christ, to the Spirit of God, to the Father. Obedience is wrought in us as God requires distasteful duty of us and we remain faithful. Obedience calls for the sacrifice of Isaac, the imprisonment of Joseph, the afflictions of Job, the crucifixion of Christ, the martyrdom of the early Christians and of numerous believers throughout the history of the Church.

Obedience demands that we love not our lives to the death. Obedience and faithfulness are closely related.

We can be progressing in righteousness and yet have some important lessons to learn concerning absolute obedience to the Father. If we are willing to suffer with Christ we will reign with Christ. If we are to experience the full power of His resurrection we must experience also the fellowship, the sharing, of the sufferings of Christ.

We learn obedience, as did Christ, through the things we suffer. The Servant of the Lord accepts the sufferings God sends, and as much as possible, maintains a cheerful, uncomplaining attitude. The Servant does not blame God or people for his problems. He looks only to the Lord. He continues in prayer in his prison until God brings him forth.

It is the quality of strict obedience to the Father that finally will bring the Church to the level of spiritual strength at which the kingdom of darkness can be destroyed. The Church, as Samson of old, will tear down the temple of sin and rebellion by means of its own death--the death of total obedience to God.

The true Church, the refined remnant, will learn to bow in obedience before Christ, dying to its own ambitions and self-aggrandizement. When it does, the entire structure of sin and rebellion will be crushed by the authority and power of Christ. The honor and responsibility of executing the sentence of Divine judgment has been given to the saints of the Lord (Psalms 149:9).

We of the Church are learning obedience today. As we become increasingly willing to obey the Lord, no matter what He requires of us, no matter whether or not we understand what He is doing, and walk in obedience without complaining, then the Lord becomes increasingly able to destroy the kingdom of darkness in us and in those to whom we are ministering.

As God's people become willing to obey God perfectly and completely He shall proceed to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth.

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

Speaking of Adam and of Christ, Paul states:

For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Romans 5:19)

Notice in the preceding passage how the power and authority of redemption flowed from the obedience of Christ, as contrasted with the terrible consequences of the disobedience of Adam. Disobedience to God always brings death. Obedience to God brings eternal life. God will not tolerate disobedience on the part of any of His creatures.

God is extremely pleased when we are obedient under painful, difficult conditions. Both fruitfulness and dominion flow directly from strict obedience to God.

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 on 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)

Abraham received imputed (ascribed) righteousness on the basis of believing what God said to him concerning children yet unborn (Genesis 15:6).

Abraham grew in holiness and righteousness as he walked before God and became perfect in behavior (Genesis 17:1).

Abraham received blessing, fruitfulness, victory over his enemies, and the power to confer blessing on the nations of the earth because he obeyed God throughout an excruciating trial of his faith.

God does not change and His ways with His saints do not change. The moral law remains eternally the same because its principles are based on spiritual realities, not on transitory circumstances or environments. The spirit of murderous hatred is sinful. Covetousness of the possessions of another is sinful. False testimony is sinful. Sorcery is sinful. Envy is sinful and produces the image and works of Satan. All these behaviors are sinful because they proceed from unclean spirits--spirits that have been driven from the Presence of the Father.

The difference between the old covenant and the new covenant is not, as is taught commonly, that we no longer are required to practice righteous and holy living. Rather the difference is that under the new covenant we receive more help (grace) from God so we can attain righteous, holy, and obedient conduct of living.

God did not change the eternal moral law when the new covenant was instituted. God does not change and His standard of right and wrong does not change. Under the new covenant God is making it possible for us to keep the moral law, not only in the legal, imputed sense but also in the actual, visible sense. The moral image of the Lord Jesus Christ is the standard of personality and behavior to which every creature of the new world is to aspire.

The church is destined to destroy out of the earth every trace of sin and rebellion against God. The Lord has determined that even the memory of sin and rebellion shall be removed. It is the responsibility of the Body of Christ, as enabled by God's Spirit, to destroy the tendencies and effects of sin out of the creation. Then the creation will be brought into the liberty of the glory of the children of God (Romans 8:21).

The Body of Christ possesses, through the Holy Spirit, the keys of the Kingdom of God, the key of David, the authority and power under Christ to loose and to bind, to forgive sin and to bind over to judgment. These are awesome responsibilities and many of us are not quite ready for them.

To the Servant of the Lord--Head and Body--has been assigned the authority and power to open to God's creatures the way into the Presence and blessing of God; and also, as long as sin and rebellion continue to be practiced, the authority and power to remove from God's Presence those who defy Christ.

Satan will be crushed beneath the feet of the saints.

It is the Servant of the Lord, Christ--Head and Body, who will judge the world and also the angels.

Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we will judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? (I Corinthians 6:2,3)

It was mankind that opened the door to Satan in the earth, and it is mankind, through the Spirit of Christ, that is responsible to drive Satan out of the earth. This is true for mankind as a whole and also for the individual believer.

Although it is helpful to the embattled saint to have his brothers and sisters pray for him, final deliverance from Satan can come only as the individual who allowed Satan to enter him is willing and able, through Christ's help, to drive him out.

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15)

Man forfeited his inheritance because of his inability to resist the counsel of the adversary. Through Christ man can regain his inheritance, treading on the head of Satan in the process.

Satan has bruised the heel of man so he cannot walk uprightly. Christ destroyed the authority of Satan on the cross of Calvary, and through the saints Christ will destroy every trace of the adversary's power.

Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. (Daniel 7:22)

In the Book of Revelation emphasis is placed on the wall of the new Jerusalem. The wall portrays that in the holy city, which is the Church, the Wife of the Lamb, there will be no sin. Sin will be driven out by the Spirit of God working through the saints and will be walled out for eternity.

The wall against sin and rebellion is being constructed now, in the spirit realm, as Christ is being formed in the personalities of the victorious saints. One day the completed and perfected new Jerusalem will descend from Heaven and be installed on the new earth, where it will abide forever.

Sin originated in the heavens and then entered the earth. The wall against sin is being created in the saints. After the Day of Judgment has been completed, the walled city, which is the glorified Church, will descend from Heaven to the new earth.

One of the main tasks of the Church, the Body of Christ, in the present hour is that of rebuilding the wall--the defense against sin--of the city of God. The current rebuilding is typified by the activities of Nehemiah (Book of Nehemiah). It is time now for the saints of God both to build and to fight.

We are building the Church's eternal defenses against sin. We are standing against every spirit and person that would attempt to discourage us or prevent us from establishing the righteousness, holiness, and obedience the Lord requires on the part of those who would live in His Kingdom.

When the saints return to the earth with Christ they will complete the work of destroying the kingdom of darkness by removing it altogether from the earth (Revelation 19:19-21). The Prophets have much to say about the war against the kingdom of darkness (Joel 2:3; Micah 5:9; Habakkuk 3:13; Malachi 4:1; etc.).

Total victory will come through the Servant of the Lord.

The Lord God will go forth as a fierce man of war. His Spirit of indignation and vengeance has been awakened. He will roar through the Church and will prevail over His enemies. God's enemies are the wicked, rebellious spirits that introduced sin into Eden, that plague God's saints and accuse them night and day, that deceive the whole world, that destroy the earth, and that have been assigned to the Lake of Fire. The church is God's instrument of warfare against His enemies.

God has an army. He will utter His voice before His army. The heavens and the earth will shake before Him as He marches against the kingdom of darkness.

God is in travail in the present hour in order that Christ may be formed in the saints, that righteousness and holiness may be established on the earth. As soon as Christ has been formed in the members of His Body, God will be able to go to war in and with His Servant.

The Day of the Lord is great and very terrible. The Day of the Lord will be executed through the saints. We are being prepared to be the Arm of the Lord. We are to bring justice to the nations by crushing the oppressor who has kept the peoples of the earth in the chains of sin and death, and then by teaching and healing the inhabitants of the earth.

In order to redeem the prisoners of the earth, God first must deal with the jailer. This He has chosen to do through Christ, the Servant of the Lord.

God's Servant Rules the Creation of God

And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people. (Isaiah 51:16)

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (Matthew 28:18)

That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; even in him: (Ephesians 1:10)

Christ is the Servant of the Lord. As representative Man He has inherited all things. He possesses all authority and all power in the heavens and He possesses all authority and all power in the earth, and in the realms under the earth's surface. Jesus Christ sits on the highest throne of all, and we are there in Him and with Him.

Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: (Ephesians 1:20,21)

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ: (Ephesians 2:6)

In the first chapter of the Book of Hebrews the Holy Spirit describes the glorious inheritance of the Son of God, Christ.

Then, in the last verse of the first chapter the Spirit suddenly changes from the Heir of all things to the "heirs" of salvation; for we too, in Christ, possess the authority to become sons of God. Wherever the promises of God appear in Scripture there is an interplay between the singular and the plural, between the Seed and the multiplying of that one Seed, between the Vine and the branches, between Christ and His saints.

Christ always is supreme, always is the Seed , always is the One to whom all the promises of God are directed. Christ is singular. Because we are one in Him the promises of God are directed toward us also. The single Christ becomes as the stars of the heaven and as the grains of sand in number. Christ is multiplied in and through us (Galatians 2:20).

The Spirit of God, in the Book of Hebrews, interprets the eighth Psalm for us.

But one in a certain place [the eighth Psalm] testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? (Hebrews 2:6)

What is man? Man is a new creation. No doubt the other creatures of God were astounded when God announced He was creating an order of beings in His own image. It is likely this never had occurred previously.

There are heavenly orders of angels and cherubim. Many of them are of such holiness, such size, such strength, such intelligence, such energy, such glory, were we to behold them we would faint.

But of all the heavenly orders, none of them has been assigned the status given to man. Man is destined to rule the creation of God.

No creature other than man possesses the inheritance of a son of God. No creature other than man has been created in the image of God. No creature other than man is an heir of salvation. No creature other than man is the dwelling place of Almighty God. All things have been placed in subjection to Christ-filled man.

Man is the supreme creation of God. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are the Members of the Divine Godhead. The members of the Body of Christ are being made one in Christ in God. Oneness in God never can be true of any creature of God other than man, so far as we know.

If we were to ascend into the heavens we would behold orders of personages that would overpower us by their glory and beauty to such an extent we would not be able to continue in contemplation of them without receiving a special impartation of strength from the Lord. Their number is so great and the heights of the heavens to which they attain is so far beyond our ability to grasp that we are the merest specks of dust in comparison.

But high above all such creatures and personages there is a supreme throne. There is no throne above that throne and no other throne on the same level as that throne. It is preeminent. It is over all. It has been established forever by the Lord God Almighty.

On that throne there sits a Man, not an angel, not a cherub, not a seraph, a Man! A Man who has nail prints in His hands and feet. A Man who at one time made His way through the pains and problems of the world.

We are on that throne--high above all other personages--in Him and with Him.

Christ is very God of very God. But His exalted position on the highest throne of the universe is not because He is the Son of God but because He is the Son of Man .

For the Word of God has assigned the rulership of the creation to man--not to man apart from Christ but to man nevertheless.

Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: (Hebrews 2:7)

Man's inferiority to the angels is temporary, for the angels are ministering spirits to the actual heirs of salvation.

Man is crowned with glory--the very Glory of the Father. Man is crowned with honor. God has created mankind to be the ruler of His creation.

Today the Church is struggling against the lords of darkness who have left their first estate; who have taken it upon themselves to govern the earth. But God has given to mankind, and only to mankind, the authority to exercise dominion over all the works of God's hands. Every other creature that attempts to exercise dominion over the works of God's hands is a usurper, a thief, a liar. It is man--the image of the Father--who is crowned with glory and honor in the sight of God.

Yet we must keep firmly in our mind and heart that the Seed of Abraham is Christ, and only Christ, and all the promises of God without exception have been assigned and always will be assigned to Christ.

The shuttling back and forth between the Heir and the heirs, the singular Seed and the multiplied Seed, is resolved by the fact that we are married to Christ and therefore are one with Him and identified completely with Him. We are nothing apart from the Vine.

Man was created male and female. Christ, the Head of the Servant of the Lord, is the Male. We, the Body of the Servant of the Lord, are the "female," in this context, and the glory of the Lord.

. . . but the woman is the glory of the man. (I Corinthians 11:7)

We are one with our Lord. Because of our oneness with Christ, all that has been given to Him by the Lord God Almighty is our inheritance also.

Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. (Hebrews 2:8)

To mankind has been given dominion over all things--things in Heaven and things on the earth. Man, being the offspring of God and the image of God, is destined by inheritance to rule the creation of God.

When the Spirit of God says "all things" He does not mean almost all things. All created works have been placed under subjection to man. Nothing is excepted. The Scriptures cannot be changed.

But we find that in many instances God's people are not ruling in Christ. Rather they are being ruled by evil spirits, by circumstances, by other people, by their own lusts, and by many other things and influences in their environment.

A considerable portion of our Christian experience consists of God gently but firmly removing our bondages and giving us dominion in Christ over things, relationships, and circumstances.

Sometimes the process of giving us dominion is painful. But God's salvation finally brings peace to us if we receive the instructions of the Holy Spirit in an attitude of meekness and obedience. We do not have lasting peace when any thing, person, or situation other than Christ is governing us.

God Almighty is the supreme Ruler of the universe. Directly under God, and part of God, is His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Directly under Christ, and part of Christ, is His Body, the Church, There is no power or personage between Christ and His Church.

God does not want His sons to be ruled by any creature or thing but only by His Son, Christ. God's sons are called to rule, not to be ruled. They are the sons of the highest King of all.

Throughout the entire heavens and earth there is no name, no title, no authority, no lordship, no power equal to that of Christ and His Body. The saints, having been born of God and created an integral, eternally indivisible part of Christ, have inherited the fullness of God.

The angels will be judged by the Church. The world will be judged by the Church. Judges possess great authority. The execution of sentence is determined by their decisions.

Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's. (I Corinthians 3:21-23)

All things are in subjection to man when man is one with Christ. "He left nothing that is not put under him."

In the present hour the saints are under tutors and governors as is fitting for the royal sons of the Greatest of all emperors.

"But we see Jesus, . . . ." (Hebrews 2:9).

The only man (not to detract in any manner from His perfect Deity as the Word, Son, and Heir of God) who has received the dominion, glory, and honor promised to man, to the heirs of salvation, is Christ.

Christ is the perfect image of the invisible God. To Christ, the Father has assigned total fruitfulness in the heavens and on the earth. Christ has been given unlimited authority and dominion. Christ is the Judge of all. He possesses all power. He has been crowned with all glory. He has been crowned with all honor.

Christ alone has received the inheritance promised to "man," in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis.

The Lord Jesus, the perfect Son of God, is perfect Man.

In Jesus, man reigns on the highest throne of the universe.

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9)

Jesus is our Redeemer, our Kinsman who redeems us (Leviticus, Chapter 25). If it were not for Him, people never could come into their inheritance as sons of God. Through Christ's obedience and atoning blood it has been made possible for us to enter the plan of salvation and to receive the Holy Spirit of God.

Because of our sin we are not able to overcome the power of death. Christ, being without sin, overcame death for us. In Him we too can overcome sin and death and attain eternal life as heirs of God.

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

God the Father is the One for whom are all things and by whom are all things. He is bringing "many sons" to the glory, honor, and dominion promised to mankind.

God brought Jesus along the pathway of suffering because to Jesus has been assigned the rule, under God, of the entire creation in accordance with that which God has promised concerning "man." Jesus learned obedience at the deepest level of His Personality through means of the pains and problems He suffered on the earth.

We also have to learn obedience; and obedience can be learned perfectly and completely only through suffering. It is not possible to attain our inheritance as "man" until God brings us through much suffering. We learn obedience to God in the school of suffering.

We must learn perfect obedience at the deepest levels of our nature if we are to be able to rule successfully under Christ, not seeking our own advancement but always responding to the will of the Father.

The cross comes before the crown. If we suffer with Christ we will reign with Christ. The Christian who never has suffered in God has not as yet received in himself the power of instinctive obedience that grows in the individual who obeys God in the unpleasant trials as well as in the more joyous experiences.

The Christian pilgrimage is a satisfying, a profitable walk on the earth. But part of our journey has to do with learning obedience in fiery trials so we shall be able to reign with Christ without destroying ourselves or others with whom we come in contact. (The unsaved also suffer fiery torments, but there is no profit in their pain unless their problems turn them to Jesus for salvation.)

Suffering plays an important part in the Christian experience. We are refined in the fire. Sometimes God places a desire in us for a relationship, a thing, or a situation, and the desire burns in us with intensity. It is so difficult to refrain from reaching out and taking that which, although perhaps lawfully ours, has not been given us as yet!

While we are in the wilderness of testing and waiting our faith and obedience are being perfected and we are learning to live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of Jesus.

If the reader is going through just such a season of trial, be encouraged. The test will not last forever. There is light at the end of your tunnel. Every part of your experience has significance in the purpose of God.

Do not force yourself out of the prison in which the Lord has placed you. If you do you may be captured and given a longer sentence. Commit the keeping of your soul to Him as to a faithful Creator.

After the Word of the Lord has tried you, you will come forth as pure gold. The King will send for you, not one second too late--punctually in God's time. Everything you have learned in the school of suffering will be used over and over again as you take your assigned place in the Servant of the Lord.

For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, (Hebrews 2:11)

"He that sanctifieth" is Christ. "They who are sanctified" are the members of His Body. Christ and the members of His Church are all of God, having been born of the one Father in Heaven. For this reason Christ is not ashamed to call us "brethren."

Until we have been born again, Christ cannot call us brothers. Creatures of flesh and blood, of the dust of the ground, cannot be the brothers of the Divine Christ. As long as we continue to walk in our fleshly nature Christ cannot call us brothers.

As the Divine Substance, the Word of God, is implanted in us, we become of the same Substance and Nature as Christ. We are born of God. We are partakers of Christ's broken body and shed blood. We have the same Father. Christ can now call us brothers.

Before His resurrection Christ was the only begotten of the Father. After His resurrection the Lord became "the firstborn from the dead"--the first of many brothers.

We Christians are being made the new covenant, the Word of God, the Arm of the Lord.

Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. (Isaiah 40:10)

The Servant of the Lord rules the creation under God Almighty. The Servant of the Lord is Christ, the Son of God. We also, being members of the Body of Christ, are integral parts of the Servant of the Lord. We share in His inheritance because we are one with Him, having been created from His body and blood and having His Spirit abiding in us. We are the fullness of Christ who is destined to fill the heavens and the earth (Ephesians 1:22,23).

 

Chapter IV. The Servant Fulfills the Purposes of God

This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise. (Isaiah 43:21)

God has some purposes of His own that He is pursuing. God is not plowing aimlessly on the face of the earth. The elements of the physical universe are not flying about randomly according to chance, especially not when those elements affect the people who have been called according to the eternal purposes of the Lord God of Heaven (Romans 8:28).

The hand of God is on mankind and all of nature. Not a sparrow plunges to the ground except that God knows every detail of the circumstances surrounding the fall.

The Church, the Body of Christ, is of special concern to God. The Lord has goals, purposes, outcomes toward which He is working. We Christians must understand that God does not exist for our pleasure; rather, we exist for His pleasure.

When we begin to grasp that God has goals toward which He is working in terms of His own desires we then are able to gain a true perspective concerning all that God is accomplishing through Christ.

God has placed His Word in the mouth of His Servant. He has covered His Servant in the shadow of His almighty hand. He has done so in order that He may accomplish His purposes: that the heavens may be planted with the Person and righteousness of Christ; that the foundations of the earth may be established on Christ; and that every one of God's elect may be reconciled totally to God through Christ in the bonds of love and complete trust.

It is the responsibility and task of the Servant of the Lord to accomplish these three goals. They are being pursued as the history of the Christian Church progresses and will be brought into tremendous power and glorification when Christ returns with His saints.

Every truly born-again believer, the individual who has been forgiven and touched with eternal life, is raised to God's right hand, as we have stated previously. The task of the Christian life is to maintain that which has been declared to be true of us. If we do not press forward after our initial experience of salvation we will lose what was given to us in Christ. This is the warning of the Book of Hebrews.

For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; (Hebrews 3:14)

The above verse means that our being saved depends on our pursuing our discipleship throughout our lifetime. The Israelites died in the wilderness because they did not continue joyously in faith in God and His Word.

The believers of today are left with the impression that all the promises of the Scriptures belong to them by the mere fact that they have read them and assented to them as being Divinely given.

Our being established in Heaven at the right hand of God is not only a statement of Scripture but also an experience (sometimes agonizing) of new birth. The Church must travail in birth until Christ is formed in us. There is a difference between being conceived and being born.

Death and life! Death and life! Every day of our pilgrimage (if we are abiding in Jesus) a part of our adamic personality is brought down to death and in its place is produced a part of the Divine Life of Christ. It is when Christ is fully formed in us that we truly are born again in the mature sense; and as Christ is born in us He is caught up to the right hand of the Father (compare Revelation 12:2-5).

The concept that we must follow the Lord carefully in order to maintain what we have been given, that we must take care that our name is not blotted out of the Book of Life, is largely being ignored today. Perhaps the greatest error of our time is the idea that one cannot lose what is given at the time of accepting Christ.

The teachers who reject the numerous passages that warn the believers of the need to live an overcoming life are leading Christ's lambs to destruction. Such teachers and preachers will not escape the wrath of God. They are false prophets (Hebrews 2:3; Revelation 3:5).

There were two cherubim overshadowing the Ark of the Covenant. One cherub represents the goodness of God. The other cherub represents the severity of God. When the Lord's ministers do not stress the severity of God as well as the goodness of God they are misrepresenting God and are false prophets. Satan still is maintaining, "Ye shall not surely die."

Who could estimate how many people from the time of the resurrection of Christ have been elevated to the right hand of God? Doubtless it is a large number. Every one of them who has maintained his position in Christ is there, hidden with Christ in God--high above every other creature in the universe.

God is planting the heavens with Christ, including those who are of Christ and in Christ.

When Jesus appears, those who are hidden in Him will appear in glory with Him. Then the foundations of the earth will be laid, which is the second task of the Servant of the Lord. The Kingdom of God will be set up on the earth as the reigning authority and power, and all the nations of the saved will be shepherded with a rod of iron wielded by Christ and His saints.

God's will shall be performed in the earth as today it is being performed at God's right hand in Heaven, by Christ, by the elect angels, by those who are abiding in Christ and in whom He also abides.

The third assignment is to say to Zion, "Thou art my people." One of the main concerns expressed in Isaiah, and in the other Prophets, is the restoration of Israel, including those who are Israelites by physical birth as well as the Gentiles who have been grafted on the one true Vine.

For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit in you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. (Ezekiel 36:24-28)

O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. (Isaiah 40:9-11)

The above passage reveals that the Lord's elect, the Israel of God, will be ministered to when Christ returns. Notice also that part of Israel ministers to the other part: "Zion" and "Jerusalem" point "the cities of Judah" toward the Lord.

The Servant of the Lord is Israel but also ministers to Israel. The strong help the weaker come to know the Lord until all Israel has been reconciled perfectly to God through Christ (Hebrews 8:11).

The concept of a remnant of Israel bringing victory to the remainder of the nation can be observed in Gideon's three hundred, in the victory of David over Goliath, and in the mighty men of David who were more capable in battle than was true of the rest of the nation.

Jesus declared that His Apostles would judge Israel:

And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28)

Here we have part of the elect judging the remainder of the elect.

The Kingdom of God is arranged in levels of closeness to God as symbolized by the multitude, the seventy, the twelve, and then the three on the Mount of Transfiguration. God ranks people in His Kingdom according to His will.

It is the author's point of view that our own day is especially significant in terms of the rulers, the nobility of the Kingdom of God. We think it is time to "take" the Kingdom and that many of those who are willing to follow Jesus in the face of Antichrist and the lawlessness of the last days will be first in the Kingdom.

It may be true that even the holy priesthood of the first resurrection will be divided into the firstfruits to God and the Lamb who sit as judges on the spiritual thrones that govern the universe, and the remainder of the victorious saints who rule as kings on the earth.

We derive this concept from the wording of Revelation 20:4; and also from the dividing of David's mighty men into the "three," and then the "thirty"; and the dividing of the twelve into the "three" of the Mount of Transfiguration, and then the remaining nine Apostles.

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)

First the thrones and those who sat on them; and then the remainder of the victorious saints.

The second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation make a distinction between those who overcome and those who do not overcome. The Scriptures are clear, both in type and in direct teaching, that there are ranks in the Kingdom of God. There are the hundredfold, the sixtyfold, and the thirtyfold.

It may be possible that "his arm" that will rule for Him refers to the victorious saints, the overcomers, while the "lambs" are those who need assistance in order to grow in Christ (Isaiah 40:10,11).

We believe that God will use the victorious saints to bring His elect to glory, to the fullness of the perfection of the new Jerusalem.

O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. (Isaiah 54:11-13)

God yet will bless and restore His chosen people, both Jews and Gentiles, for they constitute the one Israel of God.

And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. (Joel 2:26,27)

It is true of each saint, as it is true of all Israel, that after he is called the Lord seeks to "slay" him, just as He sought to "slay" Moses (Exodus 4:24). But after a season of various tribulations and testings he arrives at the point where his warfare has been accomplished, his iniquity has been pardoned. Then the Lord comes and speaks words of comfort and encouragement to him. The years of sadness of his life have been completed and the Lord invites him to dwell forever in righteousness, peace, and joy with Himself.

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. (I Peter 5:10)

There does come an end to the Lord's controversy with us!

Paul also speaks of the restoration of Israel:

And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion [out of the heavenly Zion--Hebrews 12:22] the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. (Romans 11:26,27)

The Lord Jesus and His victorious saints will appear and bring spiritual victory to Israel:

. . . and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. (Zechariah 14:5)

Looking at Isaiah 51:16 on the kingdom-wide scale we could say that the present age is devoted to planting the heavens.

The thousand-year Kingdom Age is to be occupied with laying the foundations of the earth. At the present time the earth is founded on the seas and floods (Psalms 24) and as a result is unstable. But God's intention is that the earth be established on Christ (Hebrews 11:10; 12:27).

It is our understanding that the thousand-year Kingdom Age will be concerned also with building up Zion, that is, with bringing to unity and maturity, to the fullness of the expression of Christ, all of God's Israel--His elect from the creation of the world. Zion will be reconciled completely to the Lord.

The new heaven and earth reign of Christ will be characterized by the presence of the glorified Zion. The perfected Jerusalem, the holy city, the Wife of the Lamb, will descend from Heaven in order that God may dwell among the nations of peoples whom He has created. Then it will be evident to all that the members of Zion indeed are God's people.

But even today we should attend to these three areas of responsibility as the Holy Spirit enables us. As we labor in the Lord's vineyard we find that God is still planting the heavens with new souls born again in Christ.

Our task is to perform the Lord's will in our own corrupt body in today's demonized environment so that in the future we may be entrusted with a body like that of the Lord Jesus and be allowed to participate in laying the foundations of the earth on Christ.

We are to keep on saying to the members of the Church, "You are God's people" so they will not become discouraged and begin to neglect their great inheritance in Christ.

The following are six of the specific purposes of God, purposes that will be fulfilled through the Servant of the Lord:

To bring forth sons of God, brothers of Christ, a wife for the Lamb, saints--each of whom is in the image of the Lord Jesus and filled with the Life of Jesus.

To establish a godly, creative, beneficial, and joyous rulership over the creation of God.

To fill every creature and thing in the heavens and on the earth with the Person of Christ, filling all with Him and centering all upon Him.

To create a living temple for God that eternally will be the visible expression of the invisible God.

To execute the judgment of God until all unrighteousness is destroyed out of the universe.

To display the heavenly Lampstand--Christ and His Body, the shining of the radiantly beautiful Light of God so that every corner of the creation is illuminated with the knowledge of the Person, way, and will of the Lord.

These are specific objectives of God that He will accomplish through Christ. We who are members of the Body of Christ are ourselves the fulfillment of the purposes of God in Christ, a "kind of firstfruits of his creatures" (James 1:18).

Let us therefore continue in patience while God brings to pass His purposes in the heavens and on the earth. Our destiny is glorious beyond our imagination. Let us not shrink back in fear or discouragement. Let us press forward to the will of God in Christ.

God's Servant Is in the Image of God

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:26,27)

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be changed into the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)

The preceding passages set forth the original Divine proclamation concerning man. Man is to be in the image of the almighty God. Also, we notice that the complete image of God is male and female. To mankind has been assigned fruitfulness and dominion over all things. Such is the Word of God.

The Word of God is living and powerful. It contains in itself all the authority, all the power, all the wisdom, all the resources necessary to bring into being the totality of that which has been spoken by the Lord.

The original proclamation concerning mankind governs every fact and circumstance of history. The Divine commission has controlled all the creatures and events of the past. It supervises all the creatures and events of the present. It will continue to govern all creatures and events throughout eternity.

All things are working together, are being compelled to work together, for good to those who have been called according to the eternal purpose of God in Christ and who are cooperating with the Spirit of God in fulfilling God's purpose.

God views each of His elect as perfect in Christ and as possessing extraordinary fruitfulness and dominion. "The works were finished from the foundation of the world," meaning the proclamations made in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis bind all creatures and things for all time (Hebrews 4:3).

Everything God proclaimed at the outset will come to pass in fullness and in detail. Now God is resting and Christ is resting in Him and with Him. They are awaiting the perfect accomplishment of all God has announced concerning "man." Our task is to be totally diligent in entering that rest, into that completed work of God.

We have been predestined to be changed into the image of Christ. We are being changed into that image by means of the resources of the Word of God unless we are turning our back on God and refusing His love and calling.

It is God's plan that His Servant be in His image. Apart from our being in His image, fruitfulness and dominion are impossible of attainment. But as we grow into His image and come into perfect union with Him, fruitfulness and dominion are assigned to us because of the Word of God from the beginning.

We must be in the image of God in order to come into the fullness of our inheritance as sons. We must be in the image of God in order to be the brothers of Christ. We must be in the image of God in order to be part of the Wife of the Lamb. We must be in the image of God if we are to be given dominion over the works of God's hands and are to be able to govern the creation properly.

We must be in the image of God if we are to accomplish the filling of the heavens and the earth with the image of Christ. We must be in the image of God in order to be the Temple of God. We must be in the image of God if we are to be able to execute the judgment of God upon all unrighteousness. We must be in the image of God in order to be the light of the world, the holy Jerusalem.

The purposes of God in Christ can be brought to fruition only as the members of the Body of Christ are transformed into the image of the Head--Christ.

What does it mean to be in the image of God? It means to be like Christ in spirit, in soul, and in body.

Man was created in the image of God. "Man" is male and female and is composed of spirit, soul, and a material body. No other creature of God is male and female and composed of spirit, soul, and a material body.

In terms of the new creation of God (that which is based on the original physical creation but transcends it to the extent that Christ transcends Adam), even Christ Himself is not complete apart from His Bride. She is His body, the fullness of Him. Adam was not in the image of God apart from Eve. Christ Himself, although the express image of the Father, is incomplete apart from His Church, His Body. It is not good that a man be alone.

To be fully in the image of God, and to fulfill the Divine commission, there must be male and female. The reason Christ longs for His Bride with such intensity is that She is an integral part of Himself, being created from His body and blood. She is His Being!

Man is in the image of God in that man possesses a spirit. The Spirit of God is the Holy Spirit. The spirit of man is that part of him that can reach forth and touch God. God is Spirit, the Spirit of life, holiness, power, wisdom, knowledge, counsel, love, joy, peace. When man is not in union with God through Christ his spirit is dead just as an isolated puddle of water is stagnant and "dead."

It is God's will that our spirit be so merged with His Divine Spirit that the two become one Spirit.

But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. (I Corinthians 6:17)

When we become one Spirit with the Lord we reveal in ourselves the life, the holiness, the power, the wisdom, the knowledge, the counsel of the Spirit of God. We are filled with love, joy, peace, and righteousness in the Holy Spirit.

In order to be part of Christ we must cleanse our spirit so our spirit can become one with the Holy Spirit of God.

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)

Man is in the image of God in that man possesses a soul. The soul of man is his will, his power of judgment, his self, the basis of his unique personality. God has a soul and man has a soul.

And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. (Leviticus 26:11)

And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: (Leviticus 26:15)

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Thessalonians 5:23)

Angels never are spoken of as having souls, for angels do not possess a personality like that of God. Neither are angels able to dwell in God or have God dwell in them, as is true of the lowliest of humans. Only man is in the image of God. Man alone is the offspring of God. Man is unique among the creatures of God.

The soul of Adam was not sinful, neither was it righteous. It was blank--a slate on which no one had written. The Word of God had not been written on Adam's soul or in his mind except for the sense of right and wrong contained in his conscience.

Adam did not have a rebellious soul as we have, a fleshly nature that--working through the appetites of the flesh--tends toward wicked behavior. Adam was not filled with self-will, self-seeking, self-centeredness, self-love, or rebellion against God. Adam was neutral as far as sin and righteousness are concerned.

The soul of Adam was not forcefully, militantly righteous, holy, or obedient to God. Adam neither loved nor hated righteousness or wickedness. Adam was in the image of God in that he possessed a soul. But he was not in the image of God to the extent of possessing a soul that loves righteousness and hates iniquity.

Christ is the first man to appear on the face of the earth having the fullness of the Holy Spirit of God. Also, His love of righteousness and hatred of lawlessness exceed by far any other person who has lived on the earth.

Jesus Christ is the first Man to be perfectly and completely in the image of God in spirit and soul. Therefore Jesus possesses total fruitfulness in re-creating His image, and total dominion over the heavens and the earth.

Because the Father is absolutely pleased with Christ He is sowing Christ in us. Our soul is being transformed into the likeness of Christ as we behold the Glory of the Lord. We are being brought down into the image of Christ's death so the Spirit of life from Christ may be filling all that we are, all that we think, all that we say, all that we do. We must decrease while He increases in us. This is the true redemption, the true eternal life, the true Kingdom of God.

Only as Christ is being created in us is the will of God being wrought in us. The end is that we may be changed into the image of Christ in spirit and in soul and that we may be brought into total union with Him.

Man is in the image of God in that man's form is like that of God. God does not have a flesh and blood body as we do, but God became incarnate in Christ and today remains incarnate in Christ in a glorified body of flesh and bones. God does not have the form of an animal, as some religions teach, but has the same form as man, who alone is the offspring of God.

And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about in it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the Glory of the Lord. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake. (Ezekiel 1:26-28)

The Lord possesses attributes and powers similar to our attributes and powers. Our temporary attributes and powers are shadowy forms of His eternal attributes and powers. God sees; God hears; God sits; God rides; God walks; God touches; God speaks; God comforts; God makes war; God writes.

Christ was born of a human mother, being given a flesh and blood body. Christ still possesses the same body although now it no longer is bound by the limitations of human physiological processes. Also, Christ's body has been glorified--invested with majesty and capabilities of Divine power and glory.

We Christians are imprisoned in flesh and blood bodies. But the Day of the Lord will bring to us an animation of our present body and an overlay (body from Heaven) of vast power and capabilities--like that of the Lord Jesus Himself. This will be true on the condition that we allow Christ to make us victorious saints; that we sow diligently to the Spirit of God and not to our fleshly nature.

The Word of God is creating us in the image of Christ.

Our spirit is being made holy. Our spirit is receiving the Life of the Holy Spirit and is increasing daily in the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord. We are being created in the image of God in our spirit. All uncleanness is being removed from our spirit as we wash our robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Also, our soul is undergoing a process of change. Our soul is being transformed completely, something like a caterpillar being changed into a butterfly. The Substance of Christ has been born in our soul. Through the Word of God, the body and blood of Christ, and the Holy Spirit, our soul is being broken and re-created into the moral character of Christ.

The disciple can emphasize the reality of Christ being formed in him without fear he is pushing this doctrine to an extreme, provided one fact is kept in focus: God is not creating many Christs, He is enlarging the one Lord Jesus Christ.

It is the Father's pleasure that Christ be conceived and formed in the believers. This is the multiplication of Christ of which the Scripture speaks. As Christ is formed in us we are brought into oneness in Christ in the Father. This is the supreme will of God. All else of the Gospel is to bring to pass this single, supreme objective--that the saint be made perfectly one in Christ in God.

The Holy Spirit is inscribing the Word of God in our mind and heart. Our old nature is diminishing as the Lord from Heaven is being created in us. There is a new creation. All things that pertain to us are being made new.

There is more to the operation of redemption than the entrance of our soul into Paradise in the hour of physical death, as wonderful as that prospect is. Our soul, at the present time, is being completely re-created, changed, transformed into the image of the Person of Christ. That image includes love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control. The ninefold fruit of the Holy Spirit are traits and attitudes of the new man, the image of the Soul of Christ.

There are other aspects of the Personality of Christ, such as His kingly majesty, His fierce anger, His dauntless courage, His unswerving obedience to His Father, His love of righteousness and hatred of lawlessness, and the beauty of His holiness.

The new covenant results in the total transformation of our spirit and soul into the image of the Glory of the Lord (II Corinthians 3:18).

As soon as our spirit has been made holy and filled with life and power, having been made one with the Spirit of God, and our soul has been re-created into the image of the Character of the Lord Jesus Christ, then our physical body with its appetites and limitations no longer will be a suitable covering and vehicle for our spirit and soul. New wine cannot be contained in an old wineskin without the danger the old wineskin will burst.

God has prepared for us (and has prepared us for) a body from Heaven that will clothe our present body. The new body will be perfectly suited to our transformed spirit and soul. Our new body will reflect the Glory of God, as will our cleansed spirit and our re-created soul.

Then we will be at rest in God because there will be no part of us in rebellion against the will and way of God. There no longer will be sin or rebellion in us. Our spirit, soul, and body will be in the complete image of God in every respect.

As soon as our transformation has been accomplished we shall be suited to be God's sons, brothers of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, the rulers of the creation of God, the fullness of the image of Christ in the heavens and upon the earth, the eternal Temple of God, the judge of men and angels, the radiantly beautiful light of the world.

The Lamb and His Wife are the fulfillment of the Word of God concerning "man." To them have been assigned unlimited fruitfulness and the fullness of dominion throughout all ages to come, world without end.

God's Servant Fills the Universe with the Image of Christ

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)

Christ, the Servant of the Lord, is the beloved Son in whom God is well pleased. Christ is the Word of God from the beginning, the image of God's Person, God's Being, God's will, God's way, God's holiness, God's love. There is nothing in Christ that is not in God and there is nothing in God that is not in Christ.

Christ is the perfect, complete revelation of God Almighty.

God is so pleased with what Christ Is He has determined to fill the creation with the image of Christ. For this reason God counts the creation currently in existence as being dead--finished.

Christ is the Firstborn of the new creation. He is the Seed that eventually will influence every saved creature on earth and in the heavens. The heavens will be planted with Christ and the foundations of the earth will be laid upon Christ.

Christ is the Way in which God desires that every creature exist. Whether we are referring to the heirs of salvation or to the spirits that minister to the heirs of salvation, all will find their proper place in Christ. All will be subject to Christ.

Christ is King and Lord of all. He inherits and fills all things.

Only people can be transformed into the image of Christ. It is not given to angels to become the temple of God, sons of God, brothers of Christ, heirs of salvation, or the Wife of the Lamb. The Presence of Jesus Christ will fill the heavens and the earth, all angels and other spiritual creatures being in absolute subjection to Him.

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:15-18)

The method God is employing to fill the universe with the image of Christ is the creation of a company of brothers, of holy ones who themselves are the image of Christ.

The Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the sons of God, the brothers of Christ--call the saints what you will, is the enlargement, the magnification of the image of Christ. The Church is the fullness, the completion of Christ. It is the Body of Christ. The Church is the Body of the Servant of the Lord.

According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. (Philippians 1:20)

In the disciples of Jesus the eternal moral law of God is magnified and made approachable and desirable to people. The disciples are God's covenant--the new covenant--with the nations of the earth.

The saints are the living epistles of the ministry of the apostles, written with the ink of the Holy Spirit of God, known and read by all people. The disciples are the light of the world, the salt of the earth. But not of themselves--it is because Christ is in them and with them.

The Church, the Servant of the Lord, is the fulfillment of the original proclamation concerning man: "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth." This announcement points toward the day when the heavens and the earth are filled with the image of the Lord Jesus Christ, as expressed through His saints.

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)

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 Church, the Body of the Servant of the Lord, is the Seed of Abraham that is multiplying in the heavens as the stars for number and on the earth as the grains of sand on the shores of the oceans and seas.

Christ is singular in number, being the Seed. But the singular Seed is multiplying and influencing the entire heavens and the earth. Christ is becoming All in all, under God the Father.

The Church of Christ, the Servant of the Lord, is Israel. Israel, Christ, is destined to "blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit." The fruit being borne by the Church is the fruit of the Spirit, the righteous and holy image of Jesus Christ.

It is in the Church that Heaven and earth behold the love, the goodness, the holiness of God Almighty. We are revealing in ourselves, because of the transforming operations of the Holy Spirit in and upon us, the Glory of God in the face of Christ.

All the peoples of the nations of the earth, the "Gentiles," of Isaiah, Chapter 42, will behold the Seed--Christ. "All that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed" (Isaiah 61:9).

Everywhere the Servant of the Lord goes the people will see in blazing light on Him (them) the name of God, the name of the holy city of God, and the new name of Christ. Each of the members of the Body of Christ will be readily identifiable to the peoples of the earth. They will serve forever as the kings and priests of God. They have been called out from the nations and chosen by the Lord to be His unique treasure.

Christ, the Servant of the Lord, is the Vine whom God has planted. We, the members of His Body, are the branches growing out from the one true Vine.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:5)

In Christ there is neither Jewish, nor Greek, nor English, nor Japanese, nor American, nor African, nor male, nor female, nor poor, nor rich, nor slave, nor free. The Vine of the Lord is singular in number. The Vine is Israel, the Servant of the Lord, Christ.

Each saint was cut out of his natural background and race and grafted on the true Vine. The true Vine is Christ. The Vine of God will continue to grow and expand until all saved creatures, things, and places have been imbued with the Personality of Christ, who is the living Word of God. This is the effect of the new covenant.

Apart from Christ the saint is dead, a barren branch, useless, fit only for the fire that destroys what is worthless. But in Christ the saint is part of the Vine of God destined to fill all the creation.

That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth; even in him: (Ephesians 1:10)

As the saint remains in Christ, walking in Him, he bears the fruit of the Spirit The fruit of the Spirit is the image of Christ's Nature. As the saint continues to bear fruit he is pruned again and again by the Father until he is more perfectly in the image of Christ. He who bears fruit is able to be used by the Spirit to bear fruit in other people. He who bears much fruit is able to bear much fruit in other people.

All creatures, things, and circumstances have been placed under the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ. They already have been placed there legally (de jure ); and it has been assigned to the Church, as God directs and enables, to bring about the actual (de facto ) subjecting, the actual subordinating of every creature, thing, and circumstance to Christ. We are to portray in ourselves the supreme lordship of Jesus.

And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:22,23)

In the present hour we are wrestling against fallen rulers and authorities, who in fact are beneath us in spiritual authority, so we may bring into visible reality the total dominion of Christ. It has been assigned to us to make manifest His victory.

It has been appointed to the saints to bring down to destruction the enemies of God so Christ may rest His feet upon them. It is the Holy Spirit of God in the saints who is bringing about the total destruction of the adversary and all his forces.

It has pleased the Father in Heaven that in Christ should dwell all the Fullness of Almighty God. Christ is destined to fill all things in the heavens and on the earth. As we abide in Him we partake of His inheritance. Let us press forward to the full realization and achievement of all God has written concerning His eternal purposes in Christ. The purposes of God will be fulfilled through the Servant of the Lord.

God's Servant Is the Temple of God

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)

Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? (Acts 7:48,49)

Heaven is the Throne of God and the earth is the footstool of God. But neither Heaven nor the earth is the house of God.

The Tabernacle of the Congregation, David's Tabernacle, the Temple of Solomon--all were houses of God. But none of them is the house of God today, for God no longer will dwell in a temple made by human hands.

Where, then, is the house of God? What is the place of His rest?

The Lord Jesus Christ together with His Body compose the eternal house of God, the place of God's rest. The Servant of the Lord is the dwelling place, the house, the temple of the Lord God Almighty. Christ is the eternal Temple of God. Christ is filled with all the Fullness of God.

The Christian Church is Zion, the city of God.

But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, (Hebrews 12:22)

Notice there are two Jerusalems: there is the natural Jerusalem, which "is in bondage with her children"; and then there is the "heavenly Jerusalem," which is the mother of all true saints--Galatians 4:25,26).

To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just [righteous] men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:23)

Notice what the Spirit of God has to say about the destiny of Mount Zion:

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)

And again, still referring to Zion:

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)

Psalms 68:18 is quoted by Paul in Ephesians, Chapter Four. The interpretation of the passage in Psalms 68 is that Zion is the Body of Christ. It is the "hill" in which God will dwell forever. The "gifts" are the ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit. They are given by the ascended Christ for the purpose of building the members of the Body of Christ to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

As the Church, the Body of Christ, grows toward maturity and unity, the Lord God increasingly is able to settle down to rest in the Church.

In his letter to the saints in Ephesus, Paul comments on the fact that the Body of Christ is the eternal Temple of God:

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:20-22)

Again:

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)

The church in Ephesus, to which Paul was writing, consisted of the saints of God, the faithful in Christ. Paul was beseeching the Father that the believers would be "strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man," the result being they would be "filled with all the fulness of God."

It is not enough just to receive Christ as Savior, and perhaps speak in tongues and prophesy, and then wait for Christ's return. We must press on and on and on in the Spirit of God in order that we may become strong enough to be a part of the living Temple of God.

God will dwell only in Christ. Christ must be formed in us so we will be a fit place in which the Father and the Son can dwell in Their Fullness. We are being created the living stones of the eternal Temple of God.

Christ, the Servant of the Lord, is the eternal Temple of God.

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. (John 14:10)

We also are being formed into the eternal Temple of God.

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)

God and Christ will make Their eternal abode with us provided we continue to abide in Christ and walk in His Word.

It may be true that the most significant passage in the Scriptures concerning our being made the eternal dwelling place of God is John 17:21-23:

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 that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

The holy city, the new Jerusalem, is the fullness of all God has purposed in Christ, in the Church, in the Servant of the Lord. The holy city is the image of God. The holy city rules the creation under God.

The holy city fills the universe with the image of Christ. The holy city is the temple, the tabernacle of God. The holy city has a wall of defense against sin. The holy city, the new Jerusalem, is the light of the world.

The holy city is the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, the fullness of Christ, the place of the Throne of God Almighty and of the Lamb. The holy city is the law of God brought to the perfection of refined glory, holiness, and beauty.

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 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 21:2,3)

The holy city, the new Jerusalem, is the Wife of the Lamb, the Church of Christ. The Church is the eternal tabernacle of God. God dwells in Christ in the Church in order that God may dwell with the nations of saved peoples of the earth. God is preparing the Christian Church as a living house in which He can dwell and through which He can wipe away the tears of the saved peoples of the earth, the "sheep nations."

God's purpose in the Servant of the Lord is to bring justice and truth to the nations. The Servant is able to do this because it is the Lord God Himself dwelling in the Servant who brings justice and truth and wipes away all tears.

This dependence on the Father is true of the Lord Jesus:

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. (John 14:10)

We Christians are beginning to recognize we can do nothing of ourselves. It is Christ in us who is living and working. We have not as yet arrived at the fullness of the indwelling of Christ, but through the Holy Spirit we are growing toward a greater experience of Christ in us.

The saints must proceed toward maturity and unity in order to become the Temple of God. In the day in which we live we are giving freely of the grace of God that we have so that our fellow members of the Body of Christ may be brought to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. We teach them, pray for them, exhort them, and minister to them according to our gifts, as the Holy Spirit guides and enables.

But it is not until after the thousand-year period, the Kingdom Age, that the Christian Church will be completely ready to descend from Heaven as the eternal Temple of God, bringing the Presence of God to the nations of the earth.

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

From the standpoint of the saved peoples living on the new earth, the holy city will be the tabernacle of God, the walled area in which the Creator dwells. They will be allowed to "walk in the light of it" and to "bring their glory and honour into it."

Sin never can enter the new Jerusalem. The city will be surrounded by an impregnable wall and at each of the twelve gates will stand an angel of God.

From the standpoint of Israel, the Wife of the Lamb, there will be no temple in the new Jerusalem. The lack of a temple is the fulfillment of the promise of the new covenant:

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)

The absence of a temple signifies that God is present in open revelation before the adoring eyes of His saints. That which is perfect has come. The saints know as they are known. They see His Face and go forth to rule the works of His hands.

It is the Lord's will that every member of the Israel of God, of God's elect, be a king, priest, a holy person, a prophet, a witness of God's Person and eternal purpose. This is Israel's role among the nations of the earth.

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: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:5,6)

This same commission is repeated in the New Testament:

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)

And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:10)

Every member of the Seed of Abraham is destined to be a king, a priest of God, a member of the servant of the Lord. The least is greater than John the Baptist. Think of it! The feeble among them will be as David (Matthew 11:11; Luke 7:28; Zechariah 12:8).

A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time. (Isaiah 60:22)

All the saints are brothers and there is no priest among us. Our priesthood extends to the nations of the saved, not to our fellow members of the Body of Christ. Each member of the Body of Christ, from the least to the greatest, will know the Lord for himself. Christ Himself, the Son of God, is the only Priest who stands between God and a member of the royal priesthood.

There is no temple, no priesthood, to serve the inhabitants of the new Jerusalem. The entire city is the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, the Tabernacle of God. The new Jerusalem is, we believe, an actual city, and its characteristics are imbued with and reflect the virtues that have been wrought in the members of the Bride of the Lamb.

The city is a visible expression of the Glory of God in Jesus Christ in the saints. This is the Kingdom of God that will rule over the nations of the earth forever (Daniel 2:44; 7:14).

Each member of the Body of Christ will behold the Face of the Father throughout eternity and have God's name written on his forehead.

God shall find perfect rest in the new Jerusalem. Every challenge to His will and way shall have been brought under the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ. God will move His throne to the earth in that Day in order to demonstrate fully that all authority has passed from the heavens to the earth; that to man has been given, in accordance with the Scriptures, rulership over all the works of God's hands.

God's sons will be in His image and will be crowned with glory and honor. Their fruitfulness and dominion will be great and will fill the entire creation.

Then will Christ Himself be subject to the Father so the Father may receive back to Himself a universe that shows forth in its minutest detail the image of His beloved Son.

God's Servant Is the Light of the World

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. 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. And the Gentiles [nations] shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. (Isaiah 60:1-3)

We understand that in the creation of the world as we know it, God created the heavens and the earth. We know also that darkness covered the "face of the deep."

The next act of creation was the bringing forth of light. We know that the "light" of Genesis 1:3 was more than physical light, for two reasons: (1) the light was "divided" from the darkness; and (2) there was no physical source, apparently, from which the light originated.

First of all, one cannot "divide" physical light from physical darkness since physical darkness merely is the absence of physical light. However, spiritual light can be separated from spiritual darkness. One is not merely the absence of the other. Christ is infinitely more than the absence of Satan. Godliness is infinitely more than the absence of sin. Love is infinitely more than the absence of hate.

Second, the sun, moon, and stars had not as yet been created. There was no source of physical light.

We conclude that the "light" of Genesis 1:3 was the Word of God--the Logos.

We do not infer from this that there ever was any darkness in the Logos for assuredly there was not. Rather the concept is that in the beginning God made a distinction between the darkness and the light (they both were present), keeping them separate and naming them. God chose the Word, the Logos, over Satan.

Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Psalms 45:7)

Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. (Psalms 45:6)

In the beginning God separated the light from the darkness. From that time to the present the darkness has not been able to find any place in the light. The darkness cannot overpower the light, understand the light, have fellowship with the light, or have any relationship with it whatever.

The light is the light and the darkness is the darkness. God has separated the one from the other. Never again will the two be allowed to mingle. Never again will Satan be allowed to sit in the council of the sons of God. Rather, he will be cast into the eternal torment.

A major part of the Christian life consists of our cooperating with the Holy Spirit as He separates the light from the darkness in us so we can identify clearly the point of origin of our deeds, our words, and our thoughts. Light is truth, and Christ is the Truth and the only truth. As He grows in us we understand truth; we walk in the light.

It becomes obvious upon reading the first few chapters of the Book of Genesis that there was a spiritual quality in the creation, a Divine Life that left because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve.

The entire material creation came into existence through means of the Word of God, which is spiritual (Hebrews 11:3).

The "light" that will arise on the Servant of the Lord (Isaiah 60:1) is not physical light. It is the Glory of Christ, the Light that God separated from the darkness in the beginning.

In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not [did not understand or overcome it or have any relationship to it]. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (John 1:4-9)

We can notice in the above passage that eternal Life is in Christ, the living Word of God. The eternal Life is the light of "every man that cometh into the world."

There is no other moral light by which men can see the truth or in which people can walk without stumbling.

Today, great emphasis is placed on education, on the acquiring of knowledge, of facts. But the meaning, significance, and profitable application of the facts can be perceived only in Christ.

In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. There exists only one Light by means of which people can perceive reality, can distinguish between what is true and what is false. The one true Light is Christ and those in whom His Life is being created and revealed; for it is His Life that is Light.

It is difficult to understand how life and light can be the same; how eternal life itself can be our light. But it is true! Christ does much more than inform us of the Person, the will, the way, and the eternal purpose of God. Rather, the Life itself that Christ is is imparted to us, and that Life reveals to us the true knowledge of the Person, the will, the way, and the eternal purpose of God in Christ.

The Life of Christ given to us leads us into the knowledge of the Father. Christ Himself is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He Himself is our wisdom, our power, our authority, our sanctification, our redemption, our joy--all we ever shall need or desire.

This does not mean, as some have supposed, that because Christ is holy we are holy by imputation and identification; that because Christ has joy we have joy vicariously; that we actually are joyless but we say we have joy because Christ has joy. It signifies rather that Christ Is our Sanctification and Joy working in us. We live in Him and experience His holiness and joy because He is in us. In this manner His Life becomes our light by which we are brought to the place where we love righteousness and hate lawlessness. It is a new creation working in us.

The Law of Moses is light only. There is no life in that light. The Law of Moses informs us of the Person, will, and way of God in a negative manner but it does not provide the life that enables us to rejoice and practice righteousness. Light without life kills. The letter of the Word without the Holy Spirit kills rather than heals. It is the Spirit who gives Life--the Life that Christ is.

We understand that the true Light has shone from the beginning, and that the darkness from which it was separated by the Lord never has been able to overpower it or relate to it in any manner. The Light of Christ has been separated eternally from the darkness. All the Glory of Christ has been separated eternally from Satan. Satan has no more place among God's nobles. It is God's will that we Christians should be separated eternally from sin and rebellion.

It is the will of God that the rebellious angels be bound eternally in the chains of darkness, never again to partake of the Light of Christ.

One of the greatest of the problems found among the Christian churches is that we tell about the Light but do not reveal the Light itself. We preach about Christ instead of preaching Christ. We live and work for Christ instead of living and working by and in Christ. There is teaching about God rather than the experience of the Presence of God. As a result the Light is polluted. The world beholds the fleshly wisdom, knowledge, ambitions, talents, and energies of well-intentioned religious people rather than the Light of the world. "We would see Jesus"!

There are many ways in which the Church of Christ bears witness of and reveals the glory of the resurrection of Christ. The Holy Spirit always is involved in any testimony that has eternal significance. The Spirit provides the wisdom and power, the Divine Life. The Spirit is the "oil" of the Lampstand, the Light that leads all men to the blazing Shechinah of Almighty God Himself.

One important means of revealing Christ, the Life of God, the Light of God, is by mighty signs and wonders. Miraculous powers and signs were necessary in the first century and are needed just as much in the twentieth century. The Gospel of the Kingdom, if it is to be presented in scriptural form, must be accompanied by supernatural works of power.

Men can talk by the hour and tell all about God and what they plan on doing for God. But the demonstration of one Divine miracle shuts the mouths of people and the attention of all is turned toward the awesome Presence of Christ Himself.

This is the difference between preaching about Christ and preaching Christ. Where Jesus is there will be miracles.

But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. (John 5:36)

God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? (Hebrews 2:4)

The same is true today. Any man can preach any doctrine he wishes. But he who is walking in and with Christ is a worker of miracles.

A second means of revealing the true Light is by the gifts and ministries distributed by the Holy Spirit.

But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. (I Corinthians 12:11)

Every member of the Body of Christ possesses one or more gifts of the Holy Spirit by means of which he can minister to the Body. These gifts are supernatural forthshinings of the Spirit of God. They are given for the building up of the Body of the Servant of the Lord. They are the abilities, the "talents" given by the resurrected and ascended Christ and brought to us through the Spirit of God.

The gifts of the Spirit are not natural talents, such as music or art. Rather, they are abilities given to us after we are born again of the Spirit. They are revelations of Christ. We are to desire them fervently. They are God-given means of imparting the Life of Christ to people.

Many--perhaps most--of God's people do not realize that the Spirit gives special abilities to each member of the Body; neither do they understand the purpose of the supernatural gifts given to the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. It is not common knowledge that the believer is responsible before the Lord to use what has been given to him.

The believers do not pray and seek the Lord with nearly enough diligence. This is why they do not understand what their own roles are in the Body. Yet they will be held to strict account, in the Day of Resurrection, for the employment of their gifts and ministries.

The churches prefer to march along in their own strength and wisdom, using music to take the place of the areas of supernatural revelation that are missing, telling God's elect about Christ instead of revealing Christ to them. As a result the elect remain perpetually in a state of babyhood. It requires the revelation of Christ through the Spirit in order for Christ to be formed in the saints (Galatians 4:19).

A third means of bearing witness of Christ, of the Light, is by teaching, living by, and holding fast to the words of the Scriptures, both of the old Testament and the New Testament.

Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (Philippians 2:16)

Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. (Titus 1:9)

If we are to be strong in Christ we must learn the Scriptures, live by them as the Spirit of God helps us, and affirm them to be true even during difficult seasons of trial. We are bearing a true witness of the Light when we live by the Scriptures and teach other people that the holy Scriptures indeed are the Word of God.

However, bearing witness of Christ in the above manner must be accomplished in the Holy Spirit. It often is true that those who teach the Scriptures do so by their fleshly energy and ability. Most preaching and teaching, it appears, is so mixed with the human there is little Divine Life and Light in it. Much Christian preaching brings delusion and spiritual death.

Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. (II Corinthians 3:6)

There is no eternal life in either the Old Testament or the New Testament. Only in Christ is there eternal life. There is a tendency today to make the Scriptures equivalent to Christ. Assuredly, the Scriptures are not equivalent to Christ. Mary did not ask the gardener where he had laid her Bible but where he had laid her Lord.

The fervent desire of the scholar to make an everlasting refinement of the exegesis of the words of the Epistles of Paul will never lead to the Lord of Paul. Analyzing every brush stroke will never reveal the grace and beauty of a portrait.

The Scriptures testify of Christ. The Scriptures are not an end in themselves; neither is there life in them. The Scriptures are an eternally true witness of Christ. But Christ is greater than the words that bring us to Him.

The Scriptures are a true witness of Christ only when the Spirit of God employs them, investing them with the Life they describe. Apart from the Holy Spirit the Scriptures are dead.

We are to study the Scriptures continually, meditating in them day and night. If we do this faithfully and diligently, walking in the Spirit and obeying the Lord, the time will come when the Day Star, Christ, is formed in our heart (II Peter 1:19-21).

Men may master the Scriptures but Christ masters men. The study of the Scriptures should cause us to look up and cry, "My Lord and my God!" Otherwise we commit the sin of the Pharisees, which is to worship the Scriptures instead of Christ.

The diligent study of the holy Scriptures is one of the most helpful exercises the Christian can pursue. But that study must lead at last to the true Light. The true Light is not the words of the promise but the Life that Christ is. Without the Presence of Christ we are preaching about Christ rather than preaching Christ.

Paul did not claim that the Scriptures were his life. Paul declared: "For me to live is Christ." Paul's life is Christ. Here is the all-important distinction.

Another means of bearing witness of Christ, of the true Light, is by telling others of our personal experiences with Christ.

Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this Christ? (John 4:29)

This woman's personal testimony led other people to Christ:

And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed Christ, the Saviour of the world. (John 4:42)

Notice that the woman was not preaching only of what she had learned but was telling of something she had experienced.

For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. (Acts 22:15)

When someone who has been touched by Christ is led by the Spirit to recount his experience, there is a shining of the Glory of Christ. He or she actually is "preaching Christ."

Christ is seen also in the transformed character of the saint:

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)

Our good works are the behavior described by the Lord Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, Chapters Five through Seven). They have to do with our pure love for God, particularly as our love is revealed in showing compassion and justice toward other people.

The miraculous change in the sinner who becomes a disciple of Jesus, his godly, sincere, upright, and holy behavior, is the Light, the expression of the Life of Christ. It is Christ in him revealing the Person, will, and way of God to the peoples of the earth.

Of all the means by which the saints light the world, the most important may be their godly character and behavior. Righteous and holy behavior that proceeds from the Divine Nature of Christ being created in us and working out through us is the law, the testimony of God, to the nations of the earth.

A godly, upright life, having been created so by the Virtue of God, is the clearest revelation of all to men and angels of the truth concerning God Almighty. If our goal is to lead people to God and keep them moving forward with God, there is no substitute for the example of a human being who is portraying in himself the pure and holy character that has been created by eternal Life working in him.

The effect of the other means we have mentioned of bearing witness to the Light is greatly weakened and sometimes destroyed altogether when unclean behavior is practiced by the believers in Christ. That is why a minister of the Gospel, although he may be gifted with an extraordinary ability to present the Word of God, will eventually prove to be a liability rather than an asset to the Kingdom of God if he is walking in self-centeredness and sin. Although the Holy Spirit may use him to present the Word of the Gospel to multitudes of sinners, he will not be received of Christ in the Day of the Lord nor be permitted to rule with Jesus during the Kingdom Age.

In order for the sinning Christian to continue with his testimony, for his "lampstand to be restored to its place" (Revelation 2:5), he must repent sincerely and renew his untarnished consecration to God's holy will.

We stated previously that one of the ways in which the saint bears witness of Christ is by teaching and living the standards of behavior presented in the Scriptures. To live according to the principles of the Scriptures is to conduct one's self in a godly manner, for that is what both the Old Testament and the New Testament command.

As we keep the words of Christ, practicing them as He gives us the ability, a transformation takes place in us. Christ is formed in us and dwells in us. Now we begin to act like Christ because we are becoming an inseparable part of Him.

First we keep the Word. Our godly behavior reminds mankind that there is a God in Heaven and that He is holy.

Then the Word begins to keep us. God becomes our salvation. We act righteously by nature--the Nature of Christ in us.

Notice the transition described in the following passages:

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)

We have also a more sure word of prophecy [the Scriptures]; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (II Peter 1:19)

Godly behavior is both a means to the end and the end itself. It is a means to the end in that if we keep the commandments of the Lord and His Apostles, Christ will come to us and make His abode with us.

It is the end itself in that the image of Christ is godly personality and behavior. We have been predestined to be changed into the image of Christ, and our participation in the inheritance and responsibilities of the Servant of the Lord depends on Christ being formed in us and His Personality and conduct being revealed in us.

First we point to the Light by bringing our conduct under the discipline of the Scripture, the Holy Spirit helping us. Then Christ enters us to an increasingly greater extent and becomes our salvation. As more and more of our personality is filled with Christ we become part of the Light itself, the light of the new Jerusalem.

Paul became part of the Light itself. He was crucified with Christ. The life that he was living in the world was not his own life but the Life of Christ dwelling in him. The Light of the world was dwelling in Paul.

You may be going through a terrific battle now. But the day shall come, according to the Word of God, when Christ will enter you to a greater extent than you have known. In that day your joy will be full. You will receive the inheritance of the conqueror. You will serve God by the Nature of the Light of God who has been formed in you and is dwelling eternally in you.

In the last days the fullness of the anointing of the Spirit will come upon Israel, upon the saints of the Lord. When that takes place there will be a Divine light, a witness to the nations of the earth concerning the Person and will of the God of Heaven. This is another manner in which the saints become the Light itself.

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)

The Scriptures teach us that what we Christians possess at the present time is a firstfruits of the Holy Spirit and that there is coming a far greater measure of the Spirit that will be poured on the Church at the beginning of the Day of the Lord.

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)

Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. (Joel 2:23)

The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts. (Haggai 2:9)

In the present hour the Holy Spirit is bearing witness through us in gifts and ministries. Also, the Spirit confirms our word as we hold forth the Scriptures. But in the Day that even now is dawning the Holy Spirit will be the great Light abiding eternally on the Servant of the Lord--Head and Body.

Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest [pledge] of the Spirit in our hearts. (II Corinthians 1:21,22)

The word "earnest" means pledge , signifying that what we possess now is a pledge or deposit on the fullness yet to come.

The hour will arrive when the Body of Christ is filled with the actual Presence of God in Christ. The Spirit will abide on the members of the Body in His fullness. The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit dwelling in the members of the Church.

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

The clearest light, the purest testimony the Body of Christ can give, is the shining of the resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus Himself. As Jesus Himself is seen in the saints, the saints become part of the Light of the world.

First we are as John the Baptist, pointing to the Light. Then, as Christ is formed in us, we become an integral, eternal part of the great Light of the world.

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)

For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. (II Corinthians 4:11)

The saints labor long and hard to do the work of the Lord. But there are occasions when the Lord Himself steps through the Church, as it were, and reveals His glory. Then the nations can see the Light of God for themselves.

The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. (John 12:21)

No doubt the peoples of the earth greatly desire to see Jesus.

It is not often one gets a glimpse of Jesus in His churches. More often than not we are presented with the religious works of well-intentioned people. One may search for Jesus in vain among the religious processions of His "relatives." But He Himself can be found only in His Father's house doing His Father's business.

We of the churches tend to exalt our own works and ascribe greatness to our leaders. But such efforts are unprofitable to the Kingdom of God. It is only as Christ Himself is lifted up that men and women are drawn to God.

We draw people to ourselves. Christ draws people into the Presence of God. He Himself is the only Good Shepherd. The rest seek their own, not the things that belong to God.

We Christians are but the side-branches of the one Lampstand, the one Christ. Christ Himself always is the Life that is the Light of every man, woman, boy, and girl born into the world.

Every person on the earth who does not possess Christ is abiding in darkness and death. Every person on the earth who possesses Christ has the eternal Life and Light of God. The Life of Christ in us brings us to the Person, the will, the way, and the eternal purpose of God.

In his letter to the saints the Apostle John points out that the Word of God, the eternal Life, the Light of the world, is a tangible Substance--the Substance of Christ Himself:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked on, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) (I John 1:1,2)

Eternal Life, the "light of men," can be heard; can be seen with the eye; can be handled with the hands. Eternal life, in the scriptural sense, is infinitely more than everlasting consciousness. All spirits, good and evil, have everlasting consciousness. Rather, eternal Life is the Substance of Christ. It is the Light, the knowledge and Presence of God Himself.

Apart from the possession of Christ all persons are dead, although they may be alive in the knowledge and energy of the flesh and soul. All men and women, boys and girls are dead until they receive Christ into themselves. Our physiological processes, such as breathing, speaking, moving, digesting, and so forth are neither life nor light, from the viewpoint of God.

John goes on to say:

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he [God] is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (I John 1:5-7)

God Himself is Light. There is no darkness in God. Walking in darkness means we are walking outside of God, outside of eternal life. We understand from this that all that is of Satan, of sin, is outside of God.

Sin is darkness and death, and the Life and Light of God have been separated eternally from it and can never again be mixed with it. All that is of Christ is in God, is the Light of the Glory of God, and is eternal Life.

The Lord Jesus made the following declaration concerning the Church, His Body--the fullness of the Servant of the Lord:

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

The Church is the light of the world because Christ, who Himself is the Word of God, the Resurrection and the Life, the true Light who lights every man who comes into the world, is the Head of the Church and is dwelling in the Church.

The Christian churches, in the earthly sense, are made up of flesh-and-blood people. There neither is life nor Divine Light in flesh and blood. There is nothing in the flesh or blood of Christian people that can bring eternal life or Divine Light to other people.

It is Christ, the Word of God, dwelling in the Church who is the Light of the world. Christ is the Substance of eternal Life. His eternal Life destroys the darkness of sin in us and brings the light of righteousness, holiness, obedience to God, joy, and peace into the spirit, the soul, and (at the resurrection) the body of the believer.

Christ is the eternal Light and Life of the Glory and Presence of God. By Him we come to understand and experience the Person, will, and way of God. As we, through the grace of God given to us in Christ, are enabled to act, speak, and think in the holy ways of Christ, we are brought into the Presence of almighty God.

Only the pure in heart ever will see God. Christ Himself is the Way to that purity. He is the Truth of God and the eternal Life from God.

The new covenant consists of people in whose mind and heart has been written the Word, the Torah , of God. Command upon command, rule upon rule, here a little and there a little the Spirit of God is transforming us into the Word of God, into the Light and Life of God. We are becoming the Word of God. We are becoming the light of the world. We are becoming eternal life.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (II Corinthians 3:18)

As the Spirit of God reveals to us the Glory of Jesus Christ we are changed into that same image. We are transformed into the Glory of the Lord by means of the working in us of the Word of God, the body and blood of Christ, and the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit. This is what the new covenant is--the transformation of a flesh-and-blood human into the "Lord from heaven" (I Corinthians 15:47). We become an inseparable part of the Lord. Here is the marriage of the Lamb.

The Servant of the Lord is the covenant of God with His creation. He is the tree of life, the eating of whose fruit brings eternal life. He is the light by means of which people can see, understand, and experience God. Healing comes to all mankind through the Servant of the Lord.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (II Corinthians 4:6)

The "light" of Genesis 1:3 that shone out of darkness was the "light of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

This glorious light, this eternal life, is abiding and shining in the heart of every true saint. It is the way to the Father, the truth concerning the Father, and the life from the Father.

The Way which Christ Himself is leads us to the truth of God's Person, will, and ways. The truth teaches us to keep God's commandments, setting us free from all the works of the devil. Increasing freedom from sin brings us into increasing ability to receive resurrection life in our spirit, in our soul and (when Jesus returns) in our mortal body. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.

Christ Himself is the map, the road, and the destination. Jesus Christ never is the means to any end other than Himself. Jesus Himself is the End. This is the greatest truth any person can learn now or in eternity.

Each member of the Servant of the Lord must be willing to endure with patience the many lessons taught in the Holy Spirit's school of righteousness, holiness, and obedience. There is a wilderness wandering prior to our entering the land of promise.

We have so much to learn! So much to become!

If we will continue to persevere in Christ, setting our face like a flint, praising God for the pleasant experiences and seeking His face in the hour of trial, enduring patiently until our course has been completed, we will be ready for the fullness of resurrection life when Jesus returns.

Then we no longer will have the light of the knowledge of God in an "earthen vessel" but shall possess the Divine Life in a body like the glorious eternal body of our Lord Jesus Christ. We will be an integral part of the Light that illuminates the creation of God.

The Church of Christ, the Body of Christ, the new Jerusalem, the holy city, the Servant of the Lord, the Kingdom of God, is the eternal light that will reveal the Lord God to all mankind.

And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; (Revelation 21:10,11)

Eventually every one of God's saints will be prepared as a polished jewel and will find his place in the holy Jerusalem. When the inhabitants of the holy city have been perfected according to God's standard of perfection, which is the measure of the stature of the full completion and perfection of Christ, they will descend from the new heaven to be located on a high mountain of the new earth.

And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. (Revelation 21:15)

The virtue of the city is being formed now in the hearts of the saints.

The glorious light streaming from the new Jerusalem is radiantly beautiful, clear as crystal. The beauty of the city is the beauty of holiness. It is the holy city.

And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the Glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. (Revelation 21:23)

In Genesis, Chapter One we find that God created the sun, moon, and stars in order to divide the day from the night, for signs and for seasons, for days and for years, and to give light on the earth. But there is no night in the holy city. There is no need for signs or seasons because the Lamb always is present. Eternity is not governed by days and years. The original Light, the Glory of God and the Lamb, has now become the Light of the holy city of God.

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)

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)

God saw the light that it was good and God separated the light from the darkness. May God, who has created the Light of Christ in each saint, now completely separate that Light from the darkness that yet is in us. Then we, having been separated from all darkness and death, will be ready to go forth in the fullness of the glory of the Servant of the Lord, bringing justice and truth to the nations of the earth.

God's Servant Is Christ Who Is To Come

And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles [nations], that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. (Isaiah 49:6)

Christ, Messiah, the Anointed One, came two thousand years ago. He revealed in Himself the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God. He provided a foretaste of what it will be like when He appears in His glory, surrounded by His saints and the holy angels.

Why, then, did He not set up the Kingdom of God on the earth at His first coming? Why did He permit another two thousand years of war, famine, human anguish? Why does God allow sin to fester and raise into a hideous boil on the face of the earth?

One reason for the delay is that God is waiting for sin to come to maturity. God's purpose in allowing sin to come to maturity is best known to God and has to do with His own wisdom and ways of accomplishing His goals, particularly among the spirit inhabitants of the heavens.

To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by [through] the church the manifold wisdom of God, (Ephesians 3:10)

God's willingness to permit sin to come to maturity was expressed to Abraham:

But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. (Genesis 15:16)

God must wait for both the wheat and the tares to come to maturity so that when God uproots the tares from His creation the wheat will not also be destroyed. It is God's way to wait until the spirits and their activities come to clear definition before He exercises His judgment.

A second reason for the delay is that God desires that all people come to repentance.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (II Peter 3:9)

A third reason for the delay is that the Body of Christ, the fullness of the Anointed One, was not in existence when Christ first came to the earth. The Body of Christ is being created from the broken body and shed blood of the Lord Jesus. This process has been continuing for the past two thousand years and now is approaching maturity in preparation for Christ's glorious appearing.

The sin and rebellion in the earth are assisting in the development of the Body of Christ, especially in the formation of the conquering character of the victorious saints. Our faith is as gold being refined in the fire.

How could an overcomer be formed if there were nothing to overcome? It is necessary for the accomplishing of God's eternal purposes that offenses come. Just as manure is used to fertilize the plants that yield the food we eat, so the presence of offenses assists the development of the fruit of righteousness as we overcome sin.

God is causing all things to work together for good to those who are called according to His eternal purpose in Christ.

The first and second appearings of Christ are revealed in the fifth chapter of the Book of Micah:

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brothers shall return unto the children of Israel. (Micah 5:2,3)

Christ, the Word of God, the Servant of the Lord, is the "ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."

"She who travails" is the Church of Christ. The travail of the Church, when it truly is the travail of the Spirit of God, always brings forth Christ. All the ministries and gifts the Spirit has given to the saints are laboring to build the Body of Christ "unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."

"The remnant of his brothers" are the members of Christ's Body. Christ has been formed in them through the travail of the Church.

As soon as Christ has been formed in the Church to the degree God has in mind, the Head of the Body will return. The result of the joining of the Head to the Body is described as follows:

And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth. (Micah 5:4)

"They" who "shall abide" are the people of true Israel, the Lord's elect.

John 17:23 repeats the revelation of Micah 5:4:

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

Again, in Ephesians 1:22,23:

And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:22,23)

The extent to which Christ is central in the plan of God becomes more apparent as we press into Him. The more we mature as saints the greater Christ becomes in importance to us.

All the promises of redemption and blessing found in the Scriptures are directed toward Christ. They are available to us only because of our relationship to Christ.

Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. (Galatians 3:16)

The promises of fruitfulness, of dominion over the enemies of the Seed, and of being a blessing to the nations of the earth were made to Christ. Christ is the only Seed of Abraham. All the promises made to the Servant of the Lord, as recorded in the writings of the Hebrew Prophets, are directed toward Christ. We are so accustomed to "claiming the promises of Scripture" we do not always realize that these promises are directed toward Christ.

In fact, the burden of prophecy concerning the Kingdom of God declared by the Prophets of Israel did not apply to the Jews of their day. The announcements leaped over their heads and settled down to abide eternally on the Babe of Bethlehem and on those who belong to Him.

Unto whom [the Hebrew Prophets] it was revealed, that not unto themselves [the physical Israelites], but unto us [the Christians--Jews and Gentiles] they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. (I Peter 1:12)

Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. (Galatians 3:19)

The only utterances of the Prophets that apply to physical Israel are those dealing with the flesh and blood issues of their own day or with some physical characteristic of their future history. Every declaration of spiritual significance, including all those statements that have to do with the Kingdom of God, is directed toward Christ even though it is spoken to "Israel."

Christ Himself is the only true Israel of God, the only true Vine of God. No person is a member of the true Israel unless he or she is part of Christ. The Seed of Abraham is One.

No promise concerning the Kingdom of God applies to physical Israel or to any believer as an individual apart from Christ. The promises concerning the Kingdom of God apply only to Christ. A man, woman, boy, or girl must be in Christ in order to be a recipient of the promises of the holy Scriptures.

Perhaps the clearest prophetic picture of Christ to be found in the entire Scriptures is the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The Tabernacle of the Congregation is described in Exodus, Chapters 25-40. The Tabernacle is an illustration of the Person of Christ, Christ, the Anointed One, the Servant of the Lord.

Imagine, if you will, the Tabernacle standing on end with the Altar of Burnt Offering at the bottom and the Mercy Seat at the top. There you have Christ, the Servant of the Lord.

The Head of Christ is God Himself.

But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. (I Corinthians 11:3)

God is represented by the solid-gold Mercy Seat with its covering cherubim. Dwelling between the cherubim is the Fullness of the Glory of God Almighty. The Mercy Seat (Lid of Atonement) reveals to us the desire of God to reconcile to Himself the fallen race of man. Christ always is seeking to reconcile people to God (II Corinthians 5:20).

The two covering cherubim remind us there are two sides to God's Personality. God possesses a fiery, undefilable holiness. God is the great Judge, the great Lawgiver. The soul that sins shall die. That part of the Nature of God has not changed over the passage of time although some believe that it has.

God possesses also a great Father heart of love for His creatures and continually is seeking ways to save them. Gentleness always has been true of God, even on Mount Sinai. God does not change. We must accept both aspects of God's Nature if we wish to have a true understanding of Him. God is perfect fiery holiness. God is perfect redeeming love.

Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: . . . . (Romans 11:22)

The Head of Christ is the Mercy Seat. Crowning the Head is the Fullness of the Glory of God, including the fiery judgment of God and also the redeeming love of God.

The soul of Christ is represented by the Ark of the Covenant. Inside the Ark are the Ten Commandments (the law of God written in the mind and heart); the memorial jar of manna (continual reliance on every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God); and Aaron's rod that budded (the power of endless, incorruptible life that abides in and upon every priest whom God has chosen to stand before Himself).

The Altar of Incense is the voice of Christ continually offering to God worship, supplication, and intercession. Christ prays without ceasing. As Christ is formed in us we become part of that burden of worship, supplication, and intercession. Christ always is speaking and singing to the Father. This increasingly becomes true of us.

In the right hand of Christ is the golden Lampstand, the Spirit of Christ. The Lampstand of the Tabernacle represents the fullness of the seven Spirits of God who dwell in their fullness in and upon Christ.

And the spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; (Isaiah 11:2)

The Spirit of God without measure will abide on the Body of Christ as soon as the Head is joined to the Body. We Christians possess the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit. But in the Day of the Lord the fullness of the holy anointing oil, the priestly anointing, will flow down over the entire body of God's anointed Servant.

It is like the precious ointment on the head, that ran down on the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; (Psalms 133:2)

The fullness of resurrection life will abide eternally on the Servant of the Lord "as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended on the mountains of Zion" (Psalms 133:3).

In Christ's right hand, then, is the fullness of revelation and power.

In the left hand of the Servant of the Lord, Christ, is the Table of Showbread. The Table of Showbread typifies the body and blood of Christ, the Divine Substance that is the Bread of God "which cometh down from heaven and giveth life unto the world" (John 6:33). It is the body and blood of Christ in us, by which we are to live, that will raise us up to Christ at His appearing.

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 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 6:54-57)

Christ is the Tree of Life. He is the Resurrection. He is the Life. The victorious saints have the opportunity to eat of Him (Revelation 2:7). The body and blood of Christ compose the Substance of the Word of God, the eternal Life that is Christ and from which the Body of Christ is formed. The members of the Wife of the Lamb can bring life and light to the nations of the earth because the members have been formed from and live by the body and blood of Christ (John 6:57).

In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:2)

The new Jerusalem itself is a portrayal of Jesus Christ, of each saint who has come to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, and of God in Jesus in all the true saints.

The bronze Laver represents the hip area of the Servant of the Lord. The Laver speaks of the righteousness, holiness, and obedience produced by the "washing of water by the word" (Ephesians 5:26).

Righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God form the basis for the fruitfulness and dominion that are the inheritance of God's Servant. Cleansing, fruitfulness, and physical strength proceed from the hip area of man.

Righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God are the moral image of Christ. Only as the image of Christ is perfected in us are we eligible to receive and capable of receiving the fruitfulness and dominion promised to "man" (Genesis 1:27,28). Christ and His Body are the firstfruits of "man" (James 1:18).

The feet of the Servant of the Lord are portrayed by the bronze Altar of Burnt Offering. The altar of sacrifice was constructed from acacia wood covered with bronze (Exodus 27:1,2). Bronze typifies that which can withstand the fire of God's judgment.

The bronze Altar is Calvary in its perfect and complete work of redemption, bringing the Divine reconciliation to the ends of the earth. The acacia wood reveals the humanity of Christ on the cross. The overlay of bronze speaks of the fiery judgment that always will fall on sin and rebellion against God, burning up all that is displeasing to the Lord.

Christ strides through the earth executing the judgment of God. He is the "new sharp threshing instrument having teeth" (Isaiah 41:15). It is given to the Body of Christ to judge men and angels. God will crush Satan under the feet of the saints.

We see, therefore, that the purposes of God will be fulfilled in and through His Servant who is Christ, the Anointed Deliverer who is to come.

The earth is rolling along in the grip of sin and death. The original curse still binds mankind and nature. The disobedience of Adam and Eve condemned every person born on the earth to a life of sorrow.

But Jesus Christ has come and has brought to mankind His Life, the life that is the light of men. Christ's death on the cross removed from Satan all legal right to the creation of God.

However, the removal of his "rights" does not prevent Satan from continuing with his actual influence on the affairs of the world. Today the earth is filled with lust, violence, covetousness, sorcery, rebellion against God, pride, and every other sinful and rebellious perversity. These manifestations of hatred and defiance against God always result in unrest, confusion, and anguish of spirit, soul, and body.

The world is "the valley of the shadow of death" of which David wrote. Every year that passes produces an increase in the work of demons among men, in the manifestation of the spirit of Satan. The earth is becoming an unfit place for the habitation of righteous people. As soon as God's purposes have been accomplished He will bring the present age to a close.

The ministry of Christ did not come to an end on the cross of Calvary. Instead, the Substance of the resurrected Christ has been sown and yet is being sown in millions of devout believers. A stupendous harvest of Christ is appearing on the horizon. Truly, God is bringing many sons to glory. Christ is being multiplied "as the stars of the heaven and as the sand that is on the sea shore."

At the precise moment designated by the Father, the Servant of the Lord--the branches as well as the Vine--will be empowered to bring judgment and deliverance, justice and truth, to the nations of the earth.

The judgment and deliverance, justice and truth, are being created now in the members of the Body of Christ. The Body is not yet mature in the area of judgment and righteousness. Full deliverance for the earth is impossible until the Church itself is walking in Kingdom righteousness and power.

As soon as God has brought Christ to maturity in the sons of God, the sons will be unveiled and all the creation will behold the image of Christ that has been created in God's holy ones.

So magnificent, so galactic in breadth and energy will be the Presence of God revealed in the sons of God, that the entire creation will be released into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. The release will take place in the "midnight hour," when the nations have fallen into the "inner prison," into the deepest dungeon of sin and death ever experienced on the earth. Can this period be far away?

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 that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. (Acts 16:25,26)

In the last days of the present age another set of "two witnesses" (Christ and His Body) will be released from their "prison." Then will there be a great earthquake, and the kingdoms of the world will become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Revelation 11:11-15).

Hundreds of years before Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, the Spirit of Christ in Isaiah commanded us: "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth!"

Thus far in history we have seen the Lord Jesus. Jesus is the Head, and the Standard against which every other aspect of the Servant is being measured.

Christ, the Servant of the Lord, is being formed in the Church. God has mighty, eternal purposes that cannot be accomplished apart from the development of the fullness of Christ in the members of the Body of Christ.

Each day the members of the Body of Christ portray in themselves the death and resurrection of Christ; for the death and resurrection of Christ are the power of God unto salvation. "As he is, so are we in this world" (I John 4:17).

The Holy Spirit has been charged with maturing and unifying the Body of Christ.

Let us who are of the Church of Christ reach out toward the Lord Jesus with single-mindedness of purpose in order that we may grasp that for which we have been grasped by the Lord. If we do this we cannot fail, for He has promised to keep that which has been committed to Him against the Day when the Kingdom of God is brought into the earth by the Lord God of Heaven.

Our calling is exceedingly high. The One who is calling us is higher than all. He neither shall fail nor be discouraged with you or me if we will set our love on Him. We must be faithful in the small tasks set before us each day and continue to look to God for the wisdom and strength needed to achieve victory over the problems at hand.

If each of us will remain steadfast in our hope in Christ we will, in the not too distant future, serve God as an integral part of the eternal Servant of the Lord.

O God, grant to each of us the fervent desire to do Your will. Guide us into uprightness and holiness of thought, word, and deed. Help us overcome sin and self-seeking. Create in us a true love for the Lord Jesus.

Keep us from the evil one, we pray. We sanctify Your great Name in our hearts. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done in earth as it is performed in Heaven.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Amen.