Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved An excerpt from The Conqueror, by Robert B. Thompson
When God performs a deep work in His people He often does it through a remnant, such as the three hundred of Gideon’s army. The Scriptures reveal many instances in which God used just one or two people to advance His cause.
In the last days another remnant, a group of warriors representing the heart of the Bride, will be used mightily by the Lord in the work of judgment. These will walk in white with Jesus, being worthy of union with Him.
What does it mean to overcome, to conquer ?
Why does Christ appear in a different manner to each of the seven churches of Asia?
What are some of the problems found in the churches that must be overcome if the saint is to rule with Christ?
Exactly what are the rewards are given to those who conquer these problems? What is the relationship between the rewards given to the victorious saints and the first resurrection from the dead?
Is it necessary for the Christian believer to be a conqueror in order for him to attain the first resurrection, to rule with Christ at His appearing? If so, how does the believer become a conqueror? How can the disciple be sure he is living as one of Christ’s conquerors?
Christ spoke to the church at Sardis. The name Sardis means "remnant."
Throughout the Old and New Testaments we find that God works with a remnant, a fragment of the mass of people who are involved in the worship of the true God and who bear the name of Israel or of Christ. How can we recognize the Lord’s "remnant"? Why is the concept of the remnant so important to the Christian who desires to be one of Christ’s conquerors?
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. (Joel 2:32)
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. (Romans 1:5)
Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4)
A "few names" out of the whole church!
And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. (Revelation 3:1)
Christ "hath the seven Spirits of God." Christ is all-powerful. Christ always is in control of every person and every situation. Christ never is limited by the weaknesses and shortcomings of the churches.
Christ possesses the seven Spirits of God. He is the Lord of glory.
Christ holds the seven stars, the ruling spirits of the churches, in the right hand of His power. Christ never is held or controlled by the churches. He holds the churches. He remains above the churches and is Lord of the churches.
Christ is being formed in us today, it is true, and some have been so occupied with this thought they have lost sight of the Lord Jesus who is at the right hand of God in Heaven. Christ at His pleasure stands aloof from the churches. We pray to Him and look to Him always. He is the Lord. He works with us as well as in us when we are obedient to Him, taking up our cross and following wherever He leads us.
Each time Christ appears to us it is in a form that is instructive and helpful to us. The manner in which He presents Himself to each of the seven churches in Asia is corrective and helpful with regard to the weaknesses and sins of the particular church.
There were a few believers in Sardis, a remnant who had not soiled their garments with sin. They are worthy to walk as companions of Jesus.
The majority of the believers in Sardis had a serious spiritual shortcoming we shall be describing as the Holy Spirit helps us. Because of this shortcoming Christ presented Himself as the One who has the fullness of the Spirit of God, as the One who holds the seven churches in the right hand of His power.
Whoever would be a conqueror in the midst of a Sardis-type assembling of believers must come to know Christ as the One who lives in the Spirit of God and as the One who is Lord of the churches; for it is in the realm of the anointing of the Spirit, and of the lordship and power of Christ, that the Sardis-type church comes short of the Glory of God.
"I know thy works." Christ makes this statement to each of the seven churches in Asia. Sometimes we are so busy in the ministry or in the various activities of our church that it seems the Lord Jesus is a million miles away. Let us never forget that He knows our works . Christ instantly is aware of each of our deeds, our words, our motives, and our imaginations.
"Thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead." What was the problem with Sardis? It appears that the church in Sardis had a reputation among Christian people for being a living, active, growing assembly. We can assume the teaching was fundamental, members were being added, and the believers were happy and prosperous.
How could a Christian assembling of believers have a reputation for being alive and yet be regarded as dead by Christ? The word dead signifies that life has gone and a corpse remains. In scriptural terminology, life is the Substance of Christ that comes to us in the Holy Spirit. The church in Sardis was dead. It possessed none of the Life of Christ in the Holy Spirit. Sardis was an active, growing corpse to which members were being added daily.
If the church in Sardis had a name that it lived, and yet the Holy Spirit was absent, the apparent life of Sardis was the life of human endeavor. The church was being administrated with skill. There was concerted, diligent action on the part of the committees and members of the assembling. The programs of the church sparkled with talent. The church in Sardis was an attractive, exciting place to go on Sunday morning. The size of the congregation was increasing with each passing week.
In the eyes of the Lord Jesus Christ the church in Sardis was a corpse. It was a corpse propped up and animated by the wisdom and energy of human beings. Apparently it was fundamental in its attitude toward the Scriptures and Christian in experience. Otherwise it would not have had a reputation for being alive.
But its "life" was human rather than Divine.
However, there were a few believers, even in the animated corpse in Sardis, who were found worthy to walk with Christ in the white garments of righteous behavior. There was a remnant.
The name Sardis means "remnant," or "those who have escaped." Even in Sardis there was a small fraction of the mass of believers who knew the Lord Jesus and were following Him.
The concept of the remnant, of those who have escaped the sins and corruption of the churches, appears in the writings of the Prophets of Israel and also in the New Testament. The idea is that of the "Elijah" company—faithful individuals who serve God with a pure heart during a period when the people of the Lord are cold and backslidden.
And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God. (Isaiah 10:21)
Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: (Romans 9:27)
Speaking of Elijah, of the remnant, and of election, Paul states:
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. (Romans 11:5)
The "remnant" are those persons, either Jewish or Gentile by natural birth, whom God has called—as Elijah—to stand before Israel and the world as the representatives of His Person, will, ways, and eternal purpose. The greater part of natural Israel have been given by the Lord "the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear" (Romans 11:8). The greater part of the Gentiles, those who have not been elected to the remnant, continue in spiritual ignorance and death.
From the days of Elijah to the present there has been a godly remnant. It is our understanding that the remnant will give an earth-shaking testimony of Christ during the days of Antichrist, as symbolized by the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11, and that Antichrist then will overcome the Christian testimony so wickedness and rebellion can come to maturity in the earth.
Finally the remnant, the conquerors, will be lifted up to meet Jesus in the clouds in the full view of Antichrist and his followers. As soon as the remnant have been lifted up the vials of God’s wrath will be poured on the wicked followed by the descent of the Lord Jesus and His army of conquerors from Heaven. They will return to the earth and set up the Kingdom of God, meanwhile delivering the nation of Israel (Zechariah 14:3-5).
The remnant will serve as the source of spiritual deliverance in the earth, even in the darkest hour of the tribulation. Notice the following passages:
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. (Joel 2:32)
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: (Romans 11:26)
We see, then, that the remnant, who are the true Seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:29), those who "keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Christ" (Revelation 12:17), are the elect who bear witness to unsaved Jewish people and to the Gentiles concerning the Person of God, His love and His wrath. They testify especially concerning the means of reconciliation and redemption God has provided for all persons through Christ, His only begotten Son. The saints advise all persons everywhere that God has appointed Christ both Savior and Judge of mankind.
Why does Christ appear to the church in Sardis as "he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars"? Christ appears this way because it is in the area of the anointing, and of the Person and majesty of Christ, that the human-oriented churches come short of God’s glory and the remnant fulfill the will of God.
The human-oriented church does not trust in the anointing of the Holy Spirit or the Person and power of Christ to accomplish its goals. The human-oriented church trusts in human wisdom, human energy and diligence, human talents, money, entertainment, and all other fleshly endeavor to built itself up. Such an organization may develop an excellent reputation in the eyes of people but it is dead in the sight of God.
The battle cry of the remnant, the Elijah-Elisha company, is: "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts" (Zechariah 4:6). This also is the war cry of the two witnesses, for they are the "two olive trees, and the two candlesticks [lampstands] standing before the God of the earth" (Revelation 11:4, referring to Zechariah, Chapter Four).
Those who walk in the anointing of the Spirit of God are the remnant. They are alive in the sight of Christ. They always are conscious of the Presence and almighty power of Christ. An expression used only by Elijah and Elisha, who are important Scriptural types of the remnant, was, "the Lord God before whom I stand."
The remnant always live in the anointing (the seven Spirits of God) and remain conscious of the universal power of Christ (the seven stars). The seven stars speak of the power and authority of Christ in that He holds the seven stars, who are the ruling spirits of the seven churches, in His right hand.
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. (Revelation 3:2)
The warning to the Christians of the Sardis-type assembling is to begin watching in prayer in order to regain the mind of the Holy Spirit. Whatever remains of worship, of holiness, and of the unadulterated Word of God, strengthen this; for all that is of God will be choked out and die when the success of the assembling is being brought about by the ability and industry of human beings.
One principal difference between the human-oriented churches, and the living remnant of those churches, is the amount of prayer that is exercised. The human-oriented, Sardis-type assembling will crowd out prayer in favor of any number of religious activities. Such a church will not set aside a centrally located room for the purpose of prayer. Prayer will not be a primary concern of the church. Although the importance of prayer always will be mentioned, in actual practice intense prayer and praise will not predominate in the services and activities of that church.
Of late there are assemblings in which there is a great amount of praise. Such services are attractive to people and sometimes there is a large attendance. Care must be taken, however, that the worship of God does not stop at this point. The Spirit-empowered praise of our day is comparable to the hailing of the Lord as He entered through the gates into Jerusalem. Immediately He went into Herod’s Temple and cast out the moneychangers. So it is true that the blowing of trumpets heralds the solemn Day of Atonement, the period of judgment and repentance.
High praises are being restored today along with many forms of worship, including dancing and banners. In order for all things to be done decently and in order, and result in the building up of Christ in the saints, the high praises of God in our mouth must be accompanied by the two-edged sword in our hand (Psalms 149:6). If it is not, immorality will follow because of the sensuous aspects of prolonged worship.
The remnant live on their knees, so to speak. To them, prayer is everything. Prayer is the way they think and act. They have been taught by the Lord to pray over all matters great and small. The remnant are pleased when the Divine service is dominated by Holy Spirit-inspired prayer and worship. The Sardis-type church would consider such activities to be impractical and ineffective in terms of the true work of the church. Also, there would be a fear that people would be driven away by "excessive" spiritual activity.
A Sardis-type assembling would never place fervent and prolonged prayer and worship, on the part of the congregation, in the forefront of its main services. It is easy to see why the Lord Jesus (and His remnant) would consider such a large growing assembly to be dead.
There is a clear illustration in Scripture of the contrast between the anointed, praying remnant and the busy religious people of the popular churches. This illustration has to do with two people, Simeon and Anna. The story is told in the Gospel of Luke.
When the days of Mary’s purification according to the Law of Moses were accomplished, she and Joseph brought the baby Jesus into the Temple in Jerusalem in order to present Him before the Lord (Luke 2:22).
The Temple of Herod in Jerusalem was a costly structure of great strength and beauty. It was built of marble and gold. The Temple area was filled with people who were busily engaged in the statutes of Moses and in the numerous customs and practices that had grown up around the original statutes.
The most important men of Israel gathered here. The priests, scribes, and Pharisees practiced the politics and discussed the problems of their nation. Money changed hands. Younger men studied under the leading rabbis and made the important contacts that would insure that one day they too would be distinguished as leaders of prominence in Israel.
Such is the way of the Sardis-type assembling.
Into the midst of this bustle of activity came Joseph and Mary of Nazareth holding in their arms the Word of God Incarnate.
Every mouth should have shut. Every action should have stopped. Every eye should have been fastened on Immanuel. Every knee should have bent in worship before the thundering God of Sinai now appearing as a Babe.
There should have arisen from every throat an anthem of exalted praise to the almighty God of Israel who this day had visited His people with salvation, with redemption, with eternal atonement for sin.
Men and women should have recognized that God had appeared in the flesh. All human activity should have ceased in wonder and joy at the Presence of the Divine King of kings and Lord of lords—the Heir of all God Is and possesses.
The "I Am" was now in the midst of His people.
None of them turned. None of them worshiped. The priests, scribes, and Pharisees continued to practice the politics and discuss the problems of the nation. Money continued to change hands. The young men continued their studies.
Why could they not see their Christ? Why would they not stop their religious efforts and worship God who now was among His people?
They neither could see God nor perform His works because they were putting human effort ahead of prayer and reliance on God.
There were a man and woman in Israel, a remnant of the thousands of Israelites, who were people of prayer and of the anointing. These two had "escaped" the spiritual blindness of "Babylon" (man-directed religion).
Simeon was "just and devout." He was a man of prayer who was longing for the coming of Christ.
And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. (Luke 2:26)
Simeon was led by the Holy Spirit into the Temple just in time to see Mary and Joseph come in with the Baby, Jesus.
Simeon took Jesus in his arms and began to prophesy of the Divine Glory that was at hand for the Gentiles and the nation of Israel.
At this moment the aged Anna came in. Anna was a prophetess, a woman of much prayer. She also recognized her Christ and prophesied of the redemption He would bring.
The priests, scribes, and Pharisees continued to practice the politics and discuss the problems of their nation. Money continued to change hands. The young men continued their studies. The leaders of Israel were living in the blindness of the flesh.
The common people baked their bread, worked in the fields, watered their animals. Yet the Lord God of Heaven was in their city as a Baby.
Sometimes when the Lord says a few will walk in white He means only two or three. The Scriptures teach us that God often chooses one person, or a few, to do His work.
How wretched to spend one’s life in religious activity and then to have God pass us by! To miss the Lord’s Christ!
How can we avoid having this happen to us? By watching diligently in prayer. By looking to the Holy Spirit for guidance and enablement rather than to human help. By exalting Christ in the church and worshiping Him rather than filling up the Divine service with activities operated by human skill and talent.
Now the Lord Jesus points the church in Sardis back to its place of beginning:
Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. (Revelation 3:3)
Christ advises a Sardis-type, human-oriented church to "remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent." He tells the members to go back to the fire in which their church was born, to the faith in God and holy living that were passed on to them by their founders.
Go back! Go back! Go back to the fire, to prayer, to reliance on the Spirit of God! Go back and seek the old paths and inquire where the good way is! There we shall discover the wells of power and peace that have been dug by the prayer warriors of old. We do not want "success" apart from the Spirit of God.
Christ does not tell us to go back and imitate the events that transpired in former years. The Holy Spirit always has a present truth, a present burden, a present way of building the Body of Christ, of bearing witness to the nations, of preparing the way for the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
We are not to go back and copy what was done before, not even by the churches of the first century, for we know from the writings of Paul that those people were as imperfect as we are.
Rather, we are to return to prayer, to holy living, to the preaching and teaching of the Scriptures rather than the traditions of men, to reliance on the Person of Christ and the anointing of the Holy Spirit of God instead of on the ideas and ambitions of human beings.
Most of the historic denominations were at one time a godly remnant. Then they had the prayer, the fire, the holiness.
At one time the Protestant Reformers were a remnant. At one time the Methodists were a fiery group of young radicals. At one time the Baptists were a remnant and bitterly persecuted. At one time the Quakers were a remnant and their leader, George Fox, was a prophet of God.
At one time the Pentecostal people were a remnant, a small group of radicals who emerged from the Evangelical churches. Pentecost had the fire, the prayer, the holiness. The Word of God spread in Pentecostal fire over the face of the earth.
None of these movements is a remnant now. They are large, active, well-financed denominations of Christian people who command respect from the world. Their colleges are filled with young people who are skilled in the arts and sciences of civilization, in the wisdom and knowledge of "Egypt."
Where are the persecuted reformers, the methodical advocates of love and holiness—those who recognized that buildings are secondary to the human temples of the Holy Spirit?
Where are the poor, storefront, tongues-speaking, devil-wrestling pioneers from the humbler section of the city who were scorned as "holy rollers"? Who were dynamited out of their churches? Who labored among the uneducated—among those who trusted in God, coming to church with their Bibles under their arms, returning home late Sunday evening after praying at the altar with a seeker after the baptism with the Holy Spirit?
Holy Spirit-empowered remnants change into animated corpses because of the self-will of Christian people. The believers follow their own desires instead of waiting on the Lord for His direction. They are not willing to be crucified to their adamic impulses.
But the Lord always has His remnant—the seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal. He has them today.
How can we recognize the remnant? How can a believer be sure he or she is one of the Lord’s remnant? One of the Lord’s conquerors?
The issue, at least in Sardis, is this: are we proceeding onwards with a program of human-oriented activity? Are we building the Kingdom of God by the wisdom and efforts of flesh and blood? Or are we watching faithfully in prayer, waiting on the Lord always for every detail of what we are and do?
If we do not watch and pray, looking to Jesus for His wisdom and power in every matter and small, the Lord Jesus will come upon us as a thief. One moment we shall be a fine show on the earth. The next moment we shall be spiritually naked and destitute. We shall be caught by surprise because we have not been watching carefully in prayer for the Presence and blessing of Christ.
The works of people, even religious people, are as grass that springs up in a moment and perishes in a moment.
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. (Isaiah 40:7)
The works of Christ are eternal. They never shall pass away.
The eternal accomplishments of the Kingdom of God are not brought to pass by the strength or wisdom of the flesh but by the Spirit of God.
If we have been caught up in Sardis-type activities we are to "hold fast, and repent." We are to press steadily forward in all good works but to repent of our employment of human talent in the attempt to build the Kingdom of God. If we do not repent of our man-centeredness we will be caught off guard one day and found penniless as to the true riches of Heaven.
There was a remnant in Sardis. There were believers who looked only to the Holy Spirit for the building of the Kingdom of God. They were the Elijah-Elisha company—those who live in the anointing even in "the days of Ahab and Jezebel," in the midst of apostasy on the part of the majority of the Lord’s called-out people.
Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4)
The concept that the life of victorious living in Christ brings the believer into a condition of worthiness may be new to us because of extremism in the preaching of "grace." The idea of being worthy to walk with Christ in white is found in the New Testament writings. We must be proven "worthy of the kingdom of God" (II Thessalonians 1:5). We must walk "worthy of the Lord" (Colossians 1:10).
The believer becomes worthy by the righteousness of Christ that is assigned freely to him on the basis of his confession of faith in Christ, and then by the righteousness, holiness, and obedience created in his character as the result of Christ being formed in him.
There was a remnant in Sardis, a few saints who had not "defiled their garments." Our "garments" are our actions, our words, our motives, our thoughts, and our imaginations. The believer who is wearing "dirty clothes" is the one who is unclean in actions, words, motives, thoughts, and imaginations.
We soil our garments with hatred, with spite, with jealousy, with lust, with unforgiveness, with criticism, with impatience, with unbelief, with self-seeking, with drunkenness and revelry, with foolish behavior, with covetousness, with untruthfulness, with dabbling in the occult, with violence and anger.
The believer in Christ who is acting, speaking, or thinking in lust, hatred, violence, criticism, bitterness, covetousness, occult practices, or drunkenness and revelry is spotting his or her "robe" with the filth of the present age.
What are we to do when we get ourselves dirty? How do Christ’s conquerors keep their garments clean while walking through the filth of the world?
First we must confess our sins. We must say to God: I lied today; I stole a certain item; I spoke spitefully; I dwelled on lust in my mind; I cannot forgive him or her; I am addicted to drinking or smoking; I am eaten up with jealousy and envy; I am full of anger and hatred and cannot control myself; I am selfish and self-centered in all I do.
We must confess our sins as sin . We are not to evade the seriousness of our behavior or protect our pride. We are to denounce such behavior as sinful, as of the kingdom of Satan, as unworthy of the Kingdom of God.
In order to wash our robes in the blood of the Lamb we first must decide once and for all, clearly and decisively, that what we are doing, saying, and thinking really is sin and not some pardonable frailty God is winking at.
Second we must repent of our sins. Having denounced them as unworthy of the Kingdom of God we must resolve that by the Lord’s help we never again will practice those deeds, words, or thoughts.
Third we must believe firmly in God’s promise that when we "confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9).
Finally, when the same temptation returns we are to submit ourselves to God and resist the devil. Then the devil will flee from us (James 4:7).
Confession, repentance, faith in God’s forgiveness, and steadfast resistance—these are the four Scriptural steps for washing our robes and making them white in the blood of the Lamb. Every one of Christ’s conquerors keeps his robe clean by washing it regularly in the blood of Lamb. He conquers by the blood of the Lamb.
If we keep ourselves "white" through the blood of the Lamb we are worthy to walk with Christ. If we do not resist sin by the grace God has given us through Christ we are not worthy to walk with Christ.
The first reward to the conqueror in Sardis is that he or she will be "clothed in white raiment." Being clothed in white raiment is part of the early resurrection from the dead that Paul was seeking to attain (Philippians 3:11).
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (Revelation 3:5)
The white raiment with which we are to be clothed at the appearing of the Lord is the power to live righteously. Notice the following:
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness [righteous deeds] of saints. (Revelation 19:8)
The word "righteousness," as used above, is misleading. It should be translated righteous behavior . It is not referring to the imputed (ascribed) righteousness that has been assigned to us because of our faith in the blood of Christ. Rather it is speaking of the righteousness of deed, word, and thought that proceeds from our abiding in Christ. It is the fruit of righteousness, not the imputation (assignment) of righteousness.
Paul sought the power to live righteously:
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:24)
Christ has promised us the power to live righteously:
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. (Matthew 5:6)
The "fine linen" of Revelation 19:8 is an important aspect of the resurrection from the dead, of the Day of the Lord. As we, through the Spirit, put to death the deeds of our physical body, a robe of white linen is being woven in Heaven. The robe of white linen is the power to live righteously. We shall be clothed with that robe at the coming of the Lord Jesus. The robe of righteous behavior is the garment of salvation.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)
Each time we, through the Spirit, overcome the pressures of a trial or the temptations of a sin, our robe of righteousness grows more glorious. When our robe is completed it will be reserved in Heaven for us, to be presented to us at the coming of the Lord Jesus.
In that Day the saint will be clothed in his righteousness and the sinner will be clothed in his sin (II Corinthians 5:10). We shall reap what we are sowing.
Our robe of righteousness, if we have woven one from the Substance of His Life (which is imparted to whoever calls on Him in the hour of need), will clothe our spirit, soul, and body so we are righteous in our behavior just as He is righteous. No longer will we be dragging around a physical body full of sin, or attempting to pray while being opposed by our fleshly mind, which is the enemy of God.
Instead, every atom of our being will be seeking to praise God and to do His will. Can you imagine anything more wonderful than this?
Our light afflictions are creating for us a house from Heaven, an exceeding and eternal weight of glory, a crown of righteousness which will be given us when the Lord Jesus returns in His Kingdom (II Corinthians 4:17).
Now we are weaving our robe of righteous conduct. The righteousness we are gaining now through Christ will serve us well throughout eternity. It will be a wall of defense against every sin, every rebellion. It is the wall of the new Jerusalem.
Our resurrection from the dead is being created in us and in Heaven at the same time. We shall be clothed with our deeds. Here is the justice and righteousness of the Judge of Heaven.
There is one important aspect of the appearing of Christ we always must keep in mind. The coming of the Lord from Heaven will not result principally in a change in what we are as much as it will in a revelation of what we have become during our discipleship on the earth.
The contemporary teaching is, "Christ came only to forgive our sins. If we receive the forgiveness, when we die we will go to Heaven. In Heaven we will be changed so we cannot sin and also be in an environment in which it is impossible to sin." This teaching is not scriptural.
Christians do not speak much of the resurrection from the dead (except for a manmade "rapture" to Heaven), or of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, because neither one of these principal doctrines of the Scripture fits into the popular scheme of dying and going to a sin-free environment in Heaven.
Much current Christian teaching is not found in the New Testament writings.
The teaching of the Scriptures, both Old and New Testament, is that Christ will come and redeem Israel and the world from the hand of Satan. The new covenant includes the destruction of the sinful nature of man. The new covenant has nothing to do with going to Heaven to live in a sin-free environment. There is no passage of the New Testament that teaches the Lord is coming to bring His Church to Heaven.
If we have laid hold upon that which is being offered to us in Christ, then, when He appears, we will shine in the righteousness that has been created in us. What we have become through His grace (His Divine Nature) will be revealed for all to see.
If we have not laid hold upon what is being offered to us in Christ but merely have made a profession of faith, not experiencing the painful transition from a living soul to a life-giving spirit, then, when Jesus appears, we will not be revealed in righteousness because no righteousness has been developed in us. The New Testament teaches that such fruitless members of Christ will be cut out of the Vine and burned (John 15:2,6).
The contemporary teaching is in error. Those who adhere to it rather than to the living Lord Jesus are awaiting a disappointing—if not terrifying—future. It is time now to repent and begin serving the Lord with sincerity and diligence.
The Kingdom of God is not limited to a profession of faith in Christ, although a profession of faith in Christ is the only entrance into the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is actual righteousness, actual peace, and actual joy—all in the Holy Spirit of God.
Let no man deceive you.
The conqueror in Sardis will not have his name blotted from the Book of Life (Revelation 3:5).
If we, as believers in Christ, are compromising with the demands of our fleshly nature, the world, and Satan, and are participating in a human-oriented church program that is not living and working in the Spirit of God, we are faced with the possibility of being blotted out of the Book of Life—a fearful prospect indeed!
When the Lord states that the conqueror in Sardis will not have his name blotted from the Book of Life, there is a clear inference that the defeated believers in Sardis stand in danger of this worst of all fates.
There are numerous errors in the Christian doctrine of today. One of the erroneous concepts is defended fiercely. The concept is that once an individual makes a profession of belief in Christ he or she never again can stand in danger of being lost to the Kingdom of God.
Since the Scripture clearly teaches the opposite, one wonders at the source of this error. It certainly is from Satan ("thou shalt not surely die!") because the idea that no professing believer can ever be lost to God’s Kingdom has had a very weakening effect on the determination with which believers pursue the Christian life. The multitude of passages that warn us of the danger of not serving the Lord lose most or all of their intended impact on our sincerity and behavior.
It is commonly taught that no believer will be punished at the Judgment Seat of Christ. There are some who teach this who reject the doctrine of eternal security (we can never be lost), not realizing that they are being inconsistent. If we teach that no believer will be punished or could lose his salvation at the Judgment Seat of Christ, then, whether we realize it or not, we are a proponent of the doctrine of eternal security—no believer can be lost to the purposes of God.
The argument that those who are lost were never saved in the first place is neither sound nor scriptural. If this were the case, no believer could know if he were saved until he dies and goes to his destiny in the spirit realm.
The doctrine of eternal security comes from Satan. But what is Satan’s motivation? It is to keep the Christians morally weak, foolish, careless, lacking in the iron resolve necessary for gaining the rewards assigned to the conqueror. It is the warlike remnant who keep God's commandments who pose a threat to Satan’s kingdom.
Another motive of Satan is the hope that by creating resistance to the concept that God actually will punish people, he himself will escape the judgment written.
Whenever we seek to turn people away from the suffering that accompanies entrance into the Kingdom of God, the suffering that humbles us under the hand of God, we are speaking with the voice of Satan. Whenever we insist that God will not punish the wicked with extreme severity, that we ought to reverence God but not fear the punishments described in His Word, we are speaking with the voice of Satan. It is the influence of the philosophy of Humanism on Christian thinking.
Whenever we seek to make the Gospel of the Kingdom a plan for improving the earthly life of people we are speaking with the voice of Satan. Whenever we strive to say only that which is positive and not put forth the commandments to refrain from sin, we are speaking with the voice of Satan. Whenever we refuse to warn people to flee from the wrath to come we are speaking with the voice of Satan.
The Christian churches of our day are speaking with the voice of Satan. Without realizing it they are taking the side of people instead of the side of God.
When Israel was sinning, Moses asked, "Who is on the Lord’s side?" The people of Levi responded. Moses then commanded, "Go kill your brothers." This the descendants of Levi did and in so doing became the keepers of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
There were two sides. The side of the Lord and the side of the Lord’s people. It always has been this way and remains so today. The Lord’s people usually hate the prophets of God! The writings of the Hebrew Prophets seldom had anything good to say about Israel. It is so today. The remnant appear as the enemy of the churches.
Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. (Exodus 32:26,27)
Phinehas received the blessing of the Lord because he acted sternly and decisively in killing a sinning Israelite.
Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy. Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace: (Numbers 25:11,12)
Whoever would be in the army of the Lord must be ready to take God’s side against Satan, against worldly believers, and, in the Day of the Lord, against wicked people.
There is a great need for repentance on the part of the Christian in the United States of America. But true, deep, lasting repentance is impossible while the believers have the false sense of safety and blessing so widespread in our day and are filled with the spirit of humanism—a false, fleshly love for humanity.
The simple truth is, the Christian churches are in a sinful condition and the judgment of God is upon them. "The Book of the Law has been found in the Temple," so to speak, and the prophets are warning us that the judgment of God is ready to fall upon the churches unless there is through repentance, a turning away from sin and a running into the Presence of God. We have been burned and we do not realize it. We are living in deception, in a false sense of security.
Fiery judgment is facing Christian believers. Their pastors rush to assure them no harm will come to them from the hand of the Lord, that the Christian life is an easy way, filled with delight and prosperity. This is not true. The churchgoers shall suffer unbearable remorse when they discover what they have lost (while they were waiting to be raptured into Heaven!)
We of today do not know the fiery God of Israel!
Let us turn again to the Scriptures and note the exhortations of the Apostles of the Lamb. Then let us get on our face before God and repent of our lust, covetousness, love of pleasure, lying, unfaithfulness, stealing, self-will, sorcery, bitterness, rebellion against authority, the criticizing of those whom God has placed over us, and all of the other sins with which the churches are filled. No person who practices these shall inherit the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21).
The Scriptures can never be changed—not one particle of them. Especially the Book of Revelation. The Christian who does not overcome is in danger of having his or her name blotted from the Book of Life!
As soon as we make up our mind to be one of the remnant, one of those believers who press forward in the Spirit of God when the majority of the church people are living and working in the strength and wisdom of the flesh, the Lord assists us by clothing us each day with increased ability to embrace godliness and shun sin and rebellion. The end result of such walking with Christ is that our name is engraved for eternity in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Truly, there is a reward for seeking the Lord. There is a reward for righteous behavior. Truly we are rewarded in terms of our deeds and we shall reap, when Jesus comes, what we are sowing now.
Another reward assigned to the conqueror in Sardis is that Christ will confess his name before the Father and the holy angels.
The remnant always are a testimony of the Person of God and of Christ, of Christ’s ways, of His will, of His love, of His wrath. The Sardis-type assembling does not give a clear testimony, either in word or in deed, of the Person, way, and will of Christ or of the true nature of His love and His wrath.
In the human-oriented church there is shame and embarrassment associated with the manifestation of the Holy Spirit and with the Presence of Christ in the midst. Instead, there is a tendency to exalt Christ in the abstract—Christ of the past and of the future—and to elevate talented men and women. People seek the glory that comes from other people rather than the approval that comes from God alone.
Because of the willingness of the remnant to flow with the Spirit of God, to point to the immediate Presence of Christ among us, and to seek the approval of Christ whether or not people also give their approval, Christ confesses the name of each member of the remnant in the Presence of the Father and of the holy angels.
First, Christ knows each conqueror by name. Notice that Jesus says, "Thou hast a few names even in Sardis." As the name of Jesus is the sweetest of all sounds to each true Christian on earth, so the name of each true Christian becomes exceedingly precious to Christ in Heaven.
Christ never will allow the name of one of His true saints to be blotted out of the Book of Life. Instead the name of each overcomer will be announced before the Throne of God in the presence of the holy angels who excel in strength.
The Father, God Almighty, pays careful attention to each name proclaimed in His Presence. The attention of God is drawn to that individual saint because he or she has lifted up the name of God’s beloved Son in the midst of human beings who are determined to seek their own welfare, who scorn the thought of laying aside their interests in favor of exalting the Lord Jesus.
The overcomer, having been announced in the Divine courtroom, is well on his way toward becoming a pillar in the Temple of God, toward being seated with Christ in His throne.
The holy angels who perform God’s will take special note of each name confessed by Christ in the Presence of the Almighty, for the elect angels are spirits who minister to the heirs of salvation. They have been charged with the welfare of the sons of God (I Timothy 5:21).
The elect angels are careful observers of all that takes place on the earth. They know the name of each of Christ’s conquerors. But all who choose to worship and serve Antichrist will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels (Revelation 14:10).
Ours may be the greatest period of all, in the Kingdom of God, because it appears that the Lord is emphasizing the forming of the firstfruits of the Bride. As we understand the Scriptures, the Church is the Bride of the Lamb. God’s elect, including first Jews, and then Gentiles, are the Church, the Body of Christ.
There are several types and statements, both in the New Testament and the Old, that indicate there will be a firstfruits of the Church, a Gideon’s army. The firstfruits stand on Mount Zion. It is our point of view that it is the firstfruits, not the entire Bride, that will appear with the Lord at His coming.
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)
The task at hand is the overcoming of the accuser. He can be overcome only by those who are willing to die to their bodily lusts, their desire for the world, and their longing for importance and achievement. It seems that only a small part of the Church is willing to submit to such thorough pruning.
A work of Divine judgment is necessary, and only those who have been purged of all lawlessness will be able to follow Christ into the tearing down of the kingdom of darkness.
From the days of Samuel to the time of Solomon, the Ark of the Covenant was separated from the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
During the reign of King David the Ark was kept in Zion, a part of the city of Jerusalem. Meanwhile the Tabernacle was located on a hill in the city of Gibeon.
This separation continued until the building of Solomon’s Temple. As long as the Ark of the Covenant was not in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle, the Day of Atonement, the work of Divine judgment, could not be conducted in the Tabernacle. The ceremony of the Day of Atonement included the sprinkling of blood upon and before the Mercy Seat.
We see in the removal of the Ark from the Tabernacle a separation of a warrior-remnant from the remainder of the Church. God will use the warrior-remnant to judge and destroy the enemy. After that, all Israel (all of God’s elect) will be able to join in the destroying of Satan and his followers, similar to what took place after Gideon’s three hundred men had taken the lead in driving out the Midianites.
If this is true, the remnant being called out today will be subjected to intense dealings of God. Every aspect of their personality will be tested again and again as the Lord judges them. They will be brought close to despair as the Spirit of God uncovers every trace of bodily lusts, every trace of love for the world system, every trace of a desire for personal achievement apart from the Lord.
Those who follow the Lord through the wilderness of judgment, allowing God to wound and then heal them, will emerge from the fire as new creatures. They will be dead-living people in that all they are will have been brought through death and resurrection.
The remainder of the elect will be participating in the customary works of salvation: evangelizing, baptizing believers, assisting people with the new birth and the baptism with the Holy Spirit, encouraging them to consecrate themselves to the Lord. These aspects of redemption are typified by the remaining five furnishings of the Tabernacle: the Bronze Altar, the Laver, the Table of Showbread, the Lampstand, and the Altar of Incense.
As we have stated, the Ark no longer was in the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle but in a tent in Zion.
The Ark was called the Ark of the Covenant because it contained the tables of stone on which were inscribed the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments were God’s covenant with Israel.
The Ten Commandments are God’s judgment on Satan and his followers. The remnant portrayed by the Ark bring God’s holy judgment upon the enemy.
God will work with both companies—those symbolized by the Tabernacle of the Congregation at Gibeon and those symbolized by the Ark of the Covenant in Zion in the city of Jerusalem.
No doubt an opportunity to be a part of the heart of the Bride (for that is what is being formed as a holy remnant) will never again be given to mankind. While all of the Bride eventually will be brought to a state of spotless perfection, the remnant forever will possess an inner steel, a warlike character, a soul well acquainted with the fiery judgments of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and is sternly obedient to the Father.
They will have an iron, warlike soul because they were perfected by the Lord during an hour of great spiritual darkness. They came forth from great distress and pressure into the light of God. Righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God were created in them at a time when Antichrist was being given authority that reached to the heavens (Daniel 8:10).
Let each reader of this book decide now to become a member of the remnant. We become a member of the remnant by making up our mind that the Holy Spirit is the One who establishes all things in the Kingdom of God. We make up our mind also that Christ is Lord of the churches and that the churches are not humanly-conceived, humanly-operated institutions.
We become as Simeon and Anna, growing each day in strength in prayer, and in willingness to wait on God instead of pursuing our own desires. As we wait on the Spirit of God, looking always to Christ, the Spirit of prophecy comes upon us. "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Revelation 19:10).
The hour in which we are living is the time of the harvest (latter) rain. To each individual who turns to Christ there will be given bright clouds, showers of rain, "to every one grass in the field" (Zechariah 10:1).
The time is at hand for the coming to maturity of both the wheat and the tares. Men’s hearts will fail them as they see the shaking of the heavens and the earth. Sin and deception will attain unprecedented, monumental proportions.
Religious people will be brought to despair in our day. The remnant whom the Lord has chosen will come to know the Lord Jesus. They will keep on growing in strength and the glory of the Lord will flow through them.
. . . but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. (Daniel 11:32)
During earth’s darkest hour the light and Glory of God will arise on the Lord’s conquerors (Isaiah 60:1,2).
You can be one of Christ’s victorious saints. Look to Jesus and ask Him to make you an overcomer. He will hear you. He shall remove your chains and fill you with love, joy, and peace.
A period of terrible destruction and spiritual oppression is just ahead for the world. Human wisdom and energy will fail utterly but God will take care of His saints.
Now is the time of revival. The power of the revival will increase; and the revival itself will be extended if God’s people will pray. It is God’s will that every man, woman, boy, and girl on earth receive Christ and enter joyous spiritual liberty in the Kingdom of God.
The windows of Heaven are open. God is attentive to each plea for His grace and mercy to be given to men. Now is the hour for all the gifts and ministries to be restored to the churches. Now is the time in which Christ will pour out the Holy Spirit on each seeker.
The prayers of one person will make a difference in the worldwide revival that is upon us. Whatever we are planning to do in Christ we are to do now. The hour quickly is approaching in which no man can work.
Every reward assigned to Christ’s conquerors can be yours. Your part is to pray, read the Scriptures, believe what they state, and by the Lord’s help seek the will of the Spirit for your life and do what He directs you to do—now!
The Lord’s part is to provide every resource, every circumstance, thing, and relationship necessary for your complete and perfect victory in Him. Christ will conquer in you if you will open every door of your life and allow Him to dwell in you and express Himself to you and through you.
Therefore this is what the LORD says: "If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them. I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you," declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 15:19,20)