A ANOINTED DELIVERER
THE ANOINTED DELIVERER
From: Behold My Servant!, by Robert B. Thompson Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
The Servant of the Lord is anointed in order that He may build up the members of true Israel into oaks of righteousness. When Christ is dwelling in a righteous and holy Church the nations of the earth will experience the Presence, Word, will, and eternal purpose of God.
Table of Contents
Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. (I Corinthians 2:27)
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)
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)
Why is God creating the Body of Christ? What are the Divine purposes that the Body of Christ will accomplish? What will the Body do when it has attained the fullness of the stature of Christ?
Jesus of Nazareth is both Lord and Christ. He is the very Word of God, and is Christ, the Anointed Deliverer who was, and is, and is yet to come.
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 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 we are describing any person other than the Messiah of the Hebrew Prophets and the 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.
The members of the Body of Christ are just that—members of His body, of the Body of the Messiah. We capitalize the word Body, not from any false idea that we are anything more than believers in Christ but in recognition of our relationship with Him who indeed is "very God of very God."
Christ is the true Vine. We who believe in Christ are nothing more—but nothing less—than branches growing out from the one true Vine.
Let us examine the Scriptures to find what the Lord God of Heaven has stated concerning the responsibilities and tasks He has assigned to the Lord Jesus Christ and to those who labor in and with Christ as members of His Body.
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 [nations]. (Isaiah 42:1)
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 prophesied 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 will "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 to themselves [the Prophets] but to us [Christians] they did minister the things that are now reported to you by them [the Apostles of Christ] that have preached the gospel to 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 us 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—in fact, hundreds of years before—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 appearing of the Head 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, Jesus 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; was crucified in order to make an atonement for our sins; and then by the power of God's Spirit rose victoriously from the grave.
Christ arose from the dead by the mighty hand of God Almighty, now possessing all authority in Heaven and on the earth. Christ is the "firstborn from the dead," having been 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 that kingdom.
The birth and building up of the Body of the Servant of the Lord. The second step in setting up 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 from the one true Vine.
The appearing and ministry of the Servant of the Lord. The third step in setting up the Kingdom of God on the earth will be the appearing and ministry of the Servant of the Lord, including the perfecting of the Body itself. The Head and the Body will work together as one Anointed Deliverer, one Servant of the Lord, to bring justice to the nations of the earth.
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)
For the earnest expectation of the creature [creation] waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19)
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)
Throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age (Millennium) 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 saints 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.
O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. (Isaiah 54:11)
For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. (Isaiah 62:5)
The eternal reign of the Servant of 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 22:4).
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 begin to 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 after unnumbered billions of eons have passed, each saint still will be standing in the very Presence of the holy Father, continually being perfected in His image by 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.
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 over 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 (Genesis 1:27,28).
This is why Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, and the other children of Abraham are largely ignored by the Scriptures, while the great 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 we are 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 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.
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)
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 that great multiplication of Christ as the stars and grains of sand. We will overcome our enemies and through us the nations of the earth will 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 remainder of the world.
". . . that the world may believe thou hast sent me."
Our principal responsibility and task is to abide in Christ. If we are willing to abide in Christ, waiting on His will, learning the lessons He is teaching us, putting Christ first in all we do, say, and think, then the almighty power of God will begin to carry out the promises made to the faithful Abraham.
In Christ are contained all things in the creation worth possessing. When we are abiding in Him and walking in Him we inherit everything that is desirable. Apart from Him we return to the dust and our spirit and soul await with trembling the Day of Judgment.
If we are coheirs with Christ His responsibilities and tasks become our responsibilities and tasks. If we are abiding in the Vine, Divine wisdom, energy, and all other necessary resources flow through the Vine to the branches so the responsibilities and tasks can be accomplished in God's time, in God's way, and to God's standard of excellence and perfection.
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 a person to come to the realization God has chosen him before the ages of time that he may stand before God forever as a royal priest. We saints are not of the world. We are holy to 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).
Before God's Servant, Christ, can bring justice to the nations He first of all must build up Israel, the Seed of Abraham, the Lord's people. 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 a great awakening of the whole nation of Israel and the Jewish people will be born again by the working of God's Holy Spirit, becoming aware Jesus of Nazareth is Christ.
We believe also, following the symbolism of the life of Joseph, that prior to the spiritual rebirth of Israel a chosen remnant of the Jews will be reconciled to Christ because of, and during, the period of tribulation that is coming; and that the Lord Jesus with and in His Gentile saints will assist the godly remnant of Jews throughout the troubles that will take place before He returns.
Gabriel informed Mary, the mother of Jesus, that Jesus will sit on the Throne of David (Luke 1:32). From this we conclude that the nation of Israel will be the principal Christian nation, and the governing nation, throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age.
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 great nations of the earth. After that, when Antichrist has captured Jerusalem and has taken his seat in the Temple of God, it will be time for the elect Jews to flee into the wilderness.
There, in the Valley of Achor to speak figuratively, in the arena of judgment and trouble, the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to the elect Jews and they will be one with the elect of the Gentiles who also have been forced 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 be misled by the leaders of Christian organizations. They would move from one error to another that might be greater than the first.
We see this happening today where Jewish converts to Christianity become rabid Evangelicals, determined to make proselytes (not disciples), having little sense in their lives of the Presence of God or His timing. Sometimes the Jews who follow the Torah demonstrate more actual knowledge of God, more genuine integrity, righteousness, and holiness, than is true of many Christians whether or not they are Jewish.
We believe God in His goodness will protect His original chosen people from self-seeking special interest groups and Christian entrepreneurs until the day that the Lord Jesus is ready to receive the Jews as part of Himself.
The idea that there will be a Gentile church in Heaven and a Jewish kingdom on the earth is an error in present Christian doctrine. This unscriptural concept prevents the understanding of the Hebrew Prophets, cutting off the Christian churches from the Divine vision.
In this booklet we are stressing the remnant, that is, the saints of the Lord (Jewish and Gentile) who will give themselves wholly to Christ, becoming a firstfruits "to 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; 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 men is one of the scriptural types of the power of the Lord working through His remnant in the closing days of the present age. First Gideon and his men were used of the Lord to overcome the enemy. Then all Israel joined in the victory.
With the thought in mind that eventually every member of Christ will become mighty in the Lord (Hebrews 8:11), let us proceed with our teaching that one of the tasks of the Servant of the Lord is to build up 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.
It cannot be repeated too often that the elect include both Jews and Gentiles. There currently is confusion over this point. Until the believer thoroughly grasps the fact that there is only one Kingdom of God, one Bride of the Lamb, one Temple of God, one Body of Christ, and that the one work of God began with the Jews, is continuing with a remnant of Jews and Gentiles, and will conclude with the exaltation of the nation of Israel, the Prophets cannot be understood. Also, many statements of the writers of the New Testament become incomprehensible (for example, Ephesians 2:11-22).
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; 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 61:1-3)
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 of building Zion—the royal priesthood of God (I Peter 2:5-10).
"To appoint to unto them that mourn in Zion, . . . that they might be called trees of righteousness, . . . ."
When Christ builds up Zion, His Church, He is building 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 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 by the Holy Spirit that the Body of Christ will be built up 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 bringing 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 to 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 meekly 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 begin to 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 always has been true of natural 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 out those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. To them He sends His Servant with healing and blessing. The Servant comforts 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 Christ-filled servants to you in the power of the anointing? Did that person 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, the Son 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.
So 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)
It is our belief that in the Day of the Lord, further opportunities for building Israel will 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 look to Him, follow Him patiently, and move 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 period 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 sin and rebellion 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 will serve. Will 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; therefore eternal life is free to whoever will accept it as the gift of God in Christ. God's forgiveness is readily 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 will be poured on the ungodly.
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)
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.
There are not many trees of righteousness in the Christian churches, largely because of an overemphasis on imputed (ascribed) righteousness. The believers in Christ sit in spiritual ashes although some of them are wealthy in material riches.
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 all the power and wisdom they need.
It is Christ who does all this for God's people and He does it by the gifts and ministries the Spirit gives to each member of the Body of Christ. It is the anointing of the Spirit that breaks the yoke of Satan.
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 God is angry with us when this 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."
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 saved us so we may reveal 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)
When we are not learning righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God 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 declare His 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. 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 people when they 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, having experienced the Life of Christ in the Church, in the Israel of God, partake of the eternal Life dwelling in the saints, 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 are dwelling (tabernacling) in the Church.
But those who reject the Presence of God in Christ in the Church will be punished.
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 on them shall be no rain. (Zechariah 14:17)
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 [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 to the Gentiles [nations]. (Matthew 12:17,18)
Show judgment 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 one day will 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 into oaks of righteousness the Arm of the Lord will be extended to the nations.
The blessings that the Church will bring to the peoples of the earth are 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).
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 Israel bring deliverance to the nations before she herself 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, 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.
One of the greatest hindrances to Christian understanding is the forcing of a division between Israel of the old covenant and the so-called "Gentile Church" of the new covenant. This division does away with 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 or her 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." We Christians, whether Jewish or Gentile, have been called out by the Spirit of God from all peoples on the earth, as was true of Abraham our father. God calls us out so 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 the lost. God is not pleased with the fact that people are being destroyed in their ignorance of redemption, existing 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 the cruel bondage of 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 portrays the love that God Almighty has for the people whom He has created. Let no man say 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 by the Church, by 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 personalities. They have died to sin and self-centeredness, by 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 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, move forward the saving, healing power of Christ to the future coming of the Kingdom. It is God's will today—now—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 life. 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 tremendous power to bear witness. The fullness of the latter rain is at hand. The power and glory of the latter rain is the forerunner of the coming of Christ to set up His Kingdom on the earth. It is the Elijah-Elisha anointing to reveal to 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 is to 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 live 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 need someone who can set them free, who can bring the kind of Divine judgment on Satan that will release people from their misery, 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 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 to 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 true 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 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.
When Jesus returns with His saints, the entire Christ of God—Head and Body—will go throughout the earth judging and executing the vengeance of God against sin (Revelation 19:11). As lawlessness and disobedience are 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)
The Day is near when nature and our bodies will lead us toward God rather than away from the Presence of God. In that Day it may be true that 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 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 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] are passed away. (Revelation 21:3,4)
The passage above describes the coming to the 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.
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.
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 fullness 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. It often is true that where 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. But because we are one in Him, the promises of God are directed toward us also. The single Christ becomes as the stars of 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. The other creatures of God were astounded when God announced He was creating an order of beings in His own image. This never had occurred before.
There are heavenly orders of angels and cherubim. Many of them no doubt are of such holiness, such size, such strength, such intelligence, such energy, such glory, that 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. This oneness never can be true of any other creature of God.
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 position; 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. 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 the heavens and things on the earth. Man, being the offspring of God and the very 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. Man was created to be the throne of God Almighty.
But we find 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 person, thing, or situation other than Christ is governing us.
God 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, Jesus 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 could never 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 what God has promised concerning "man." Jesus learned obedience at the deepest level of His Personality by the pains and problems He suffered on the earth.
We also must learn obedience, and obedience can be learned perfectly and completely only by 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 matters 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 will 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. On occasion God places a desire in us for something and that desire may be intense. It is so difficult to refrain from reaching out and taking what is lawfully ours but has not been given to us as yet! But He who conceives in the saint never fails to bring to birth.
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 experiencing just such a season of trial, take heart. The test will not last forever. There is light at the end of your tunnel. If you are serving the Lord devotedly, every part of your experience has much 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 to early or 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 [makes people holy] and they who are sanctified [are made holy] are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, (Hebrews 2:11)
"He that makes holy" is Christ. "They who are made holy" 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 "brothers."
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.
We Christians are being made the new covenant, the Word of God, the Arm of the Lord.
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)
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 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.
The first area of activity is the planting of the heavens. Sin began in Heaven in the spirit realm—apparently in the vicinity of the Throne of God.
Speaking of Satan:
Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth [perhaps the very Mercy Seat in Heaven]; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. (Ezekiel 28:14)
Ever since the resurrection of Christ, God has been planting the spirit realm, the heavens, especially the highest area of Heaven—the region of His throne, with Christ and those whose life Christ Is.
Every time a person receives Christ and is born again his new nature ascends to the Throne of God. He is hidden with Christ in God in preparation for his return with Christ to the earth.
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:3,4)
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 said. The task of the Christian life is to maintain what has been declared to be true of us. If we do not press forward following our initial 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 believers of today are left with the impression all the promises of the Scriptures belong to them by the mere fact that they have read them and acknowledged them as 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 is replaced with 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 maintain what we have been given by carefully following the Lord, that we must take care that our name is not blotted out of the Book of Life, is largely being ignored today. One of the major errors 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 a victorious 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).
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 all 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 it is being performed at God's right hand in Heaven by Christ, by the elect angels and by those who are abiding in Christ and in whom He abides.
The third assignment is to say to Zion, "You are my people." One of the main concerns expressed in Isaiah, and in the other Prophets as well, 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 in 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 within 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)
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 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)
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 that is ahead 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 Millennium (the thousand-year Kingdom Age) will be concerned also with the building of Zion, that is, with bringing to unity and maturity, to the fullness of the expression and revelation of Christ, all of God's Israel—His elect from the creation of the world. Zion shall be reconciled completely to the Lord.
The new heaven and earth reign of Christ that will follow the thousand-year Kingdom Age 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 God is 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. If we do, then 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 marvelous inheritance in Christ.
The third task of Christ, reconciling God's elect to Himself (which is the marriage of the Lamb), is beginning today with the firstfruits of the Bride. The Bride of the Lamb is asleep spiritually, but it is time for her to be awakened by the kiss of the Bridegroom.
Organized Christianity has dominated the scene for so long that the true Bride of the Lamb has little concept of the heavenly romance. She has been "burned black" by the sun of tribulation. She wanders about looking for Christ, not understanding the terrible, fiery love He has for her. The religious leaders have sought to use her for their own ends. The "keepers of the walls" have struck her and wounded her and have taken away her veil.
It is time now for the Bridegroom to appear on the mountains of spices, singing and dancing as He comes. For nothing is as important to Jesus as His Bride. God has put in the heart of the Lamb the passionate desire that His Bride be one with Himself and be with Him where He is, in the bosom of the Father. The desire is overwhelming. It dominates everything else in His mind.
He is ready to give her all He Is, all He has, all He ever will Be or will have. He is ready to lose His individuality so before the Throne of God there is one new Man—Jesus Christ and those who have been brought into fiery, incorruptible, eternal union with Him.
It is not good for a man to be alone. No man can be complete by himself. Jesus, being man, cannot be complete by Himself. At present He is incomplete. There is a sense of loss, a heartbreaking emptiness, in His Personality. He is sick with love. He cannot be at peace, He cannot experience undisturbed joy until she is one with Him.
And so we are to cry to the elect, "You are God's people! Turn away from all else that attracts you!
"One day organized religion will pass away because it is merely a scaffolding.
"Enter your hiding place and seek the face of Him who loves you so intensely. He will draw you to Himself and His right hand will embrace you."
Christianity was never meant to be a religion. Christianity properly is the giving of eternal life and substance to the forms of Old Testament Judaism. Christianity, in its purest sense, is a romance, a love story—the gaining of a Bride for the only begotten Son of God.
The Servant of the Lord, the Anointed Deliverer, rules the creation under God Almighty. His kingship and priesthood is based on the anointing of the Holy Spirit, on the power of endless, indestructible resurrection life.
The Servant of the Lord, the Anointed Deliverer, is the Lord Jesus Christ—the beloved Son of God.
We also, being members of the Body of Christ, are part of the Anointed Deliverer. We share in His inheritance because we are one with Him, having been created from His very body and blood and having His Spirit in us and upon us. Jesus Christ is living in us.
We are the fullness of Christ, who is destined to fill the heavens and the earth (Ephesians 1:22,23).