EAGLES’ WINGS Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
We are brought out of Egypt on eagles’ wings but we enter our inheritance, our land of promise, on our feet.
God has given us everything in Christ. All that people could desire, and eternity in which to enjoy it, are ours the moment we receive the Lord Jesus as our Savior and Lord. But we must lay hold of our inheritance, maintaining it, developing it, perfecting it. The Scriptures are clear that to neglect our great salvation is to risk disaster.
Table of Contents
Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. (Exodus 9:4)
God has several goals for His Church. We shall be discussing some of the goals later in this booklet. Before we do we would like to point out the manner in which God accomplishes the goals He has established for His saints.
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ: (Ephesians 2:6)
The elect start at the Throne of God—as high as it is possible to go in the Kingdom. Then they must go back and work through each aspect of redemption one step at a time.
By faith we begin at the top, the summit of the new Jerusalem. Then faith is worked out in our thoughts, our words, and our actions. If we do not press forward in faith until our personality is a new creation, our original position in Christ is placed in jeopardy.
By grace, by the Lord’s deliberate action, we are placed spiritually on the highest throne. It is possible, however, to pervert God’s grace into lawlessness and immorality.
For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4)
We start at the right hand of the Father spiritually. Then we obey God until what we are in total personality is identical to our spiritual assignment.
What we have initially, when we first receive the Lord Jesus, is a "firstfruits" of redemption. Because the firstfruits is holy, having been offered to the Lord, the rest of our personality and our household, are holy to the Lord. As soon as the firstfruits has been received, God begins the work of judging (reaping) the remainder of our personality and also, in many instances, our household.
Notice the exalted position of the Lord Jesus Christ.
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)
The Lord Jesus can be brought no higher. He is "far above" every other authority. The Father has given Him all authority, all power in Heaven, on the earth, and under the surface of the earth in the dark caverns located there.
Jesus is on the highest throne. All things are being put beneath His feet by the Father.
Then, a remarkable statement is made by the Apostle Paul.
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us [hath made us alive] together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ: (Ephesians 2:5,6)
When we were dead in our sins, God gave us the resurrection life by which the Lord Jesus lives, and then made us part of His ascension so we are seated on the unbelievably high throne of the Lord Jesus.
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-3)
When we receive Christ, although we are dead in our sins at the time, God makes us part of Christ’s crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. Now we are located in Christ in God at the highest level of the ruling city, the heavenly Jerusalem.
We have done nothing to acquire such an exalted station, the position in Christ given us from the creation of the world.
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (Romans 8:30)
Called, justified, and glorified—all in the past tense!
We can go no higher. We are at the highest place we ever shall attain. We have the greatest authority we ever shall possess. We are as close to God as it is possible to be.
God has brought us on eagles’ wings to Himself.
God did not bring us to Canaan, or to Heaven, but to Himself.
There has been, to this point, no pilgrimage, no discipleship, no patience in prayer, no overcoming of obstacles, no service, no works of any kind. While we were yet dead in sins God, according to His own sovereign plan, reached down, made us alive, and then raised us to His own right hand in Christ.
Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. (Exodus 19:4)
God brought the Jews out of Egypt and carried them to Himself on eagles’ wings. In actual fact the Jews, from their standpoint, did not come out of Egypt quite that easily.
One can imagine the chaos and panic of the first Passover night—the grumbling, the fear, the anxiety, the children crying, the screams from the homes of the Egyptians.
At midnight the multitude left Egypt on foot carrying their unleavened bread, leading their herds of cattle, sheep, and goats. It was an exciting adventure for the young but a nightmare of responsibility and dread for the heads of families.
In the eyes of the Israelites the exodus was a desperate, dangerous flight from a cruel government. It was not long before the Hebrews were parched with thirst and complaining against Moses and Aaron.
From God’s standpoint it was eagles’ wings. From the Jew’s standpoint it was an uncomfortable start on a rugged trip to an unknown destination.
So it is with us. The Lord bears us up to His own right hand and welcomes us as His sons and saints. He does this before we have had any "wilderness" experiences.
We refer to the sovereign action of God in raising us up as grace. It indeed is Divine grace. But there is infinitely more to Divine grace under the new covenant than the forgiveness of sins and spiritual participation in Christ’s resurrection and ascension.
There is an Alpha of redemption. But there also is an Omega, a finish, an ending in which God’s goals for us are realized.
If God’s goal for us were that we reside in Heaven forever, perhaps our abiding spiritually in Christ in God would suffice. But since eternal residence in Heaven is not the goal of the old covenant or the new, forgiveness of sins and participation in Christ’s resurrection and ascension do not fulfill God’s purposes concerning us except as they work out in our actual personality and behavior.
The Kingdom of God. The Hebrew Prophets and the Apostles and Prophets of the new covenant announced the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
During the centuries of the Church Age the original Gospel of the Kingdom has been lost. In its place has come the concept of going to live forever in Heaven. The idea of eternal residence in Heaven may have come from the religions of the East that promise residence in a spirit paradise after death or from the philosophy of Gnosticism.
But the Kingdom of God spoken of by the Apostles and Prophets has to do with the earth, with the return of the Lord Jesus to set up His Kingdom on the earth—first on the present earth and then on the new earth.
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)
And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ [viper’s] den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:8,9)
The Kingdom of God is the infusing of the material realm with the Spirit of Jesus and of those who are belong to Him. If the Kingdom of God were not a righteous material realm there would be no reason for the resurrection from the dead. The saints would not be given back their bodies.
When we first are brought to the Lord our newly born spiritual nature is raised to the right hand of God but our physical body remains on the earth, spiritually dead because of the sin dwelling in it.
Man is spirit, soul, and body. When he does not have his body he is not man, he is a spirit. A spirit does not have flesh and bones, as the Lord explained.
Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. (Luke 24:39)
When we come to Jesus, God divides our personality. He takes our born-again spiritual personality to His own right hand but He leaves our sinful body on the earth.
The purpose of the Christian discipleship is to regain immortality in the body. God has given us a start by forgiving us and raising us to His right hand. But whether or not we attain to the resurrection to eternal life depends on our willingness to subject our body to the rule of the Spirit of God.
Affecting the plan of redemption by our behavior. As we have seen in Jude, it is entirely possible to turn God’s grace into lawlessness and immorality. We can abuse the grace of God by our bodily behavior until God’s grace no longer saves us.
. . . turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [immorality],.... (Jude 1:4)
The ungodly people described by Jude fellowshiped with the believers, partaking of the grace of God. But they did not bring their physical bodies into subjection to the Holy Spirit.
Paul spoke of the fact that the resurrection from the dead already dwells in the Christian.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)
Then Paul reveals that if we, the elect of God, chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, choose to live in the appetites of our flesh we will kill the resurrection life in us. The Divine Seed will be choked out, as in the parable of the sower. We will succeed in slaying our own resurrection.
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)
Jude teaches that while God brings us out of Egypt on eagles’ wings we must persevere in faith and patience throughout the distresses and deprivations of the wilderness. If we do not, the plan of redemption is brought to a halt. We are not permitted to continue on to the rest of God, to Canaan, to the goal God has ordained for us.
I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. (Jude 1:5)
It is commonly taught in evangelical churches that once the Lord saves us out of Egypt, so to speak, we never can be destroyed. If such is the case, why did Jude make this statement?
Christian teachers sometimes seem to ignore the warnings of the New Testament concerning the need to fight the fight of faith.
The Kingdom of God is an actual Kingdom and will be located on an actual earth. It is not a mystical position in God in the spirit realm. A royal priesthood is being created that will judge and bless the nations of saved peoples of the earth.
The holy city, the new Jerusalem, does not consist of untransformed believers who are "saved by grace," as we ordinarily employ the term. If that were the case, the new Jerusalem would be filled with sinning people who are righteous only in the sense that God has declared them righteous. They would not be righteous except by the Lord’s declaration. They would still lie, steal, use profanity, seek their own gain, gossip, criticize, break laws, and practice every other ungodly behavior.
The holy city is the holy city. Every member of the new Jerusalem began in sin and then was made alive and brought up to the Throne of God. After that, each member patiently followed the Holy Spirit through a painful wilderness experience until the image of God had been formed in his or her personality.
The Alpha is incomplete apart from the Omega. Until the heavenly grace that lifted us to the Presence of God begins to transform our bodily behavior, the program of redemption is not operating.
To be saved is not only to be given life and raised to the right hand of God. To be fully saved is to follow the Lord Jesus in cross-carrying obedience until we are experiencing the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.
We work out our salvation with fear and trembling because we understand we have not attained the goal God has set for us until we stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. (Colossians 4:12)
From throne to throne. Paul states we are saved by grace through faith.
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ: (Romans 3:24)
But we must bring our body under subjection to our new life in Christ.
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (I Corinthians 9:27)
Again, we are justified by faith in God’s promise:
To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. (Romans 3:26)
But then we realize we must purge ourselves from all unrighteousness:
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:5)
God has moved in a sovereign manner in our lives:
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (Ephesians 1:5-7)
But then there is something we must do in order to establish ourselves in the grace of God:
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (II Corinthians 6:17,18)
If we would make a success of our salvation we must maintain a balance between God’s gift of grace and our response to that grace. Otherwise we make shipwreck of the life of faith.
Christian teachers often emphasize the passages that describe the position given us at the outset of redemption. Few of them it seems stress also the passages that point out the critical need for faithful cross-carrying obedience to the Lord.
There is an Alpha and there is an Omega. There is a time when God carries us to Himself on eagles’ wings. There also is a protracted period when we plod faithfully through a dry, desolate, forbidding wilderness. The sons of God are born at the right hand of God. The sons of God are formed in the wilderness of tribulation.
And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:2,3)
We begin on the highest throne of glory. Then we must climb the mountain of Zion to gain the throne. We must overcome the devil, just as the Lord did.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
We are born resurrected. Then we must attain to the resurrection.
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [Greek, out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:11)
We are given Christ in the beginning. Then we must win Christ.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, (Philippians 3:8)
The parable of the sower teaches us that the growth of the Divine Seed can be choked out. It can be killed before any lasting fruit is borne.
And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: (Matthew 13:7)
In the beginning we are carried on eagles’ wings and brought to the highest level of the new Jerusalem. When God has completed His work of redemption in us we will be able to walk on our feet through the gates into the city.
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14)
When God reaches down to us He lifts us to the highest point of glory possible. His grace does this. Then the same Divine grace begins the work of re-creating our personality until our whole man, spirit, soul, and body, can maintain the position freely given at the first.
It is not a case of earning our free position in Christ. Rather it is a case of being found worthy of the Kingdom, of grasping that for which we have been grasped, of keeping our crown lest it be taken, of maintaining what has been given us by the Lord.
Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: (II Thessalonians 1:5)
We must fight to enter Canaan. Under Moses, God delivered the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt. He brought them to Himself on eagles’ wings. Israel did not have to fight in order to escape Egypt.
But after Moses died and the crown of anointing passed to Joshua, God spoke of the Israelites invading Canaan on their feet.
Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. (Joshua 1:3)
We do not have to fight in order to come out of Egypt (out of the world, to speak figuratively). But in order to enter Canaan we must enter warfare. God will not do all the fighting and we cannot achieve victory by ourselves. We must learn how to follow the Lord and work with Him if we are to accomplish the goals the Lord has set before us.
Notice that Paul spoke of our discipleship as being a race and also a warfare.
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. (I Corinthians 9:24)
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. (II Timothy 2:3)
Being forgiven and brought spiritually to the right hand of the Father obviously is only part of the whole plan of redemption. God’s grace in bringing us to Himself must be followed by grace that operates to guide us all the way from the world to the fullness of our inheritance. Otherwise our inheritance remains a vision in the mind of God. The actual goals are not realized.
Whoever would be a victorious saint must learn the balance of resting in God, on the one hand, and pressing forward in the Lord, on the other hand.
It is "the sword of the Lord and of Gideon." God has to do His part and we have to do our part. God will not redeem us with no effort on our part.
We must know when to rest in the Overcomer, Christ, and when it is our turn to overcome through the Spirit of the Lord.
A study of the life of King David, the way in which he fought his battles, is an illustration of the proper manner in which to march forward in the plan of redemption. David looked to the Lord for each battle. He did not rely on prior victories. God would lead David one way, and then another, but always to victory.
There is a time to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. There is a time to march around the wall. There is a time to set an ambush. There is a time to wait for the sound of the army of the Lord.
Victory comes only as two armies march, the army of saints (the Lord’s judges) with the army of angels led by Michael.
We are not to rush out "in faith." We are to look to the Lord and very carefully, very prayerfully, take one step at a time. We are to commit all our ways to the Lord. Sometimes we must make a decision and the Lord does not tell us exactly what to do. In that case we must proceed with utmost caution, watching carefully the results of our actions.
In the days in which we are living we cannot always trust prophecy or words as from the Lord. We are to listen to the prophecies, and to the words, and then we are to prove all things by presenting our body a living sacrifice.
The closer we get to the coming of the Lord the more deception there will be. The precautions taken in the past are not adequate. The powers of Hell are rising to confront the powers of God and His anointed. The victorious saint is the one who follows the Lord closely, devoting every energy of his life to the battle.
The Christian Church has wandered in the wilderness for two thousand years. Today we stand at the brink of Jordan. The officers are giving food to the people. In a short time we are to pass over Jordan, meaning we are to die to our self-will and self-direction. We are to be circumcised in heart, putting away the flesh with its appetites and lusts. The cloud and the fire will guide us no longer. The manna will not be found in the morning.
It is time to take the Kingdom of God. Wherever our feet walk, God will give that ground to us as an inheritance—but only as we go where He leads by His Spirit.
There are at least seven objectives of our redemption. These objectives are our land of promise, our Canaan.
God saves us from Egypt on eagles’ wings. But to actually attain the Divine goals necessitates our following the Holy Spirit in battle against the enemy who is guarding our land of promise.
The winning of Christ.
Rest in God’s perfect will.
The rewards to the overcomer.
Our physical body.
The nations of the saved.
The material universe.
Our unique destiny.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, (Philippians 3:8)
When Paul first received Christ he was forgiven his sins. He was issued eternal resurrection life and raised on eagles’ wings to the right hand of the Father.
But toward the end of his ministry the aged apostle stated he was striving to win Christ.
Paul was given Christ as the gift of God. Then he spent his lifetime maintaining, developing, perfecting the Divine gift.
What does it mean to "win Christ"? From the context of Paul’s statement, the meaning is to have nothing in one’s life that is not of Christ; to live in the resurrection Life of Christ; to share in the sufferings of Christ; to attain to the resurrection out from the dead in the sense that all of one’s thoughts, words, and actions are of Christ; to be completely prepared for the change in the body at the coming of the Lord from Heaven.
Even though we have believed in Christ we are made a partaker of Him only if we continue to abide in Him throughout our days on earth.
But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; (Hebrews 3:13,14)
If we as a believer continue in sin, not pressing forward in Christ, we will not share in Christ at His coming. This is stated so clearly that those who insist redemption is not dependent on our behavior, or that once we believe in Jesus we never can be disowned by Him, are close to willful perversion of the Scriptures.
We are part of Christ on the condition we bear the fruit of His image in our personality.
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2)
We are to live by Jesus as He lives by the Father.
As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:57)
The end of our quest is the crucifixion of our adamic nature and the fullness of Christ in our personality.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
When the Father gives us to Jesus, and we come to Him, the Lord will not reject us. We receive Christ freely. The remainder of our life must be occupied with maintaining, developing, and perfecting the forming of Christ in us and total union with Christ.
We are to become one with Him as He is one with the Father. This is what it means to "win Christ." Anything short of perfect oneness with Christ is unacceptable to the Lord.
The first of the seven goals is the winning of Christ. We receive Him as a gift. Then we journey through the wilderness until we arrive at our land of promise, which is Christ.
Christ is the beginning, the journey, and the land of promise.
One may ask, "How can the occupying of Canaan be a type of winning Christ when Canaan was occupied by the enemy?
The moment we set out to win Christ we will discover that the enemy is resisting us fiercely. The world, Satan, the fleshly churches, our relatives, the lusts of our flesh, and our self-centeredness and self-love never cease endeavoring to prevent our making the transition from self-life to Christ-life.
The closer we get to our goal the more intense the conflict becomes, the hotter the flames of Divine judgment burn, the more subtle the enemy’s deceptions grow. Satan understands that a human being who has become one with Christ is a terrible threat to his position.
Satan has little fear of all the Christian churches and activities in the entire world. But one person who is becoming filled with Christ is a kingdom against which Satan is helpless.
In the last days there will be a revival in the Christian churches. Christian enterprises, schools, hospitals, television and radio stations, books, tapes, will abound to an extent that will stagger even the most optimistic Christian denomination.
During all of this spiritual activity Satan will seek to steer the believers away from the one essential aspect of the Divine redemption—crucifixion and resurrection in and with Christ.
God will have a warlike remnant of saints who have entered the power of Christ’s resurrection and the sharing of His sufferings. The great majority of Christian believers will remain as they are today. They will continue to enjoy the Christian culture, supposing they all will be carried up to Paradise in a "rapture."
Only those who take up their cross and follow Jesus will be able to discern between the activities of the churches and the beckoning of the Lord Jesus. God will open their eyes because they have guarded the word of Christ’s patience. The remainder of the believers will remain blind.
Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. (Hebrews 4:1)
The Book of Hebrews is a lengthy exhortation to press on to perfection, to the "rest" of God. The rest of God is the condition in which we have ceased from our own works and are resting in the finished work of the Lord.
For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. (Hebrews 4:10)
The rest of God is associated with God’s ceasing from His works on the seventh day, and with Canaan, the inheritance, the land of promise.
For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. (Hebrews 4:4)
For if Jesus [Joshua] had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. (Hebrews 4:8)
God finished all His works in six days. The history of the world, from the creation of light to the setting up of the new Jerusalem on the new earth, was finished at that time. Then God rested.
Our goal is to enter God’s rest. The same enemies that seek to prevent our entering the fullness of Christ strive also to keep us creating our own Heaven and earth, our own destiny.
The most joyous condition possible to the human being is perfect rest in God’s will. How miserable we make ourselves as we attempt to force people and circumstances to conform to our lusts, ambitions, or fears! Much of our discipleship is occupied with bringing these idols under our feet.
The ambitions, fears, and lusts that drive us are often spirits. The spirits use us to exercise their natures but we suffer the consequences. We are driven by unclean spirits, and by our own pride and treachery, to injure other people in order to obtain our desires.
The objective of the true saint is to enter God’s perfect will and to rest in it while the fire of his passions burns itself out under the supervision of the Holy Spirit.
Eternal fruit is brought forth only as the Word of God is sown in an honest and good heart. Unless there is integrity in our adamic nature we will not be able to remain steadfast throughout the crucifixion of our adamic nature and the formation of the new, Divine nature in our personality.
The Christian churches of our day are characterized by guile, treachery, self-seeking, covetousness, envy. Such behavior can never enter the city of God.
We are given God’s rest, the land of promise, the moment we receive the Lord Jesus. But then we must present our body a living sacrifice in order to prove the Lord’s will every day of our life. We commence in the Divine rest, but then we must maintain, develop, and perfect our position in God’s perfect will.
The rewards to the overcomer. As we have said, we begin on the throne of Christ. Then we must press forward each day, overcoming every enemy, every obstacle. We must overcome Satan if we are to gain the rewards promised to the overcomer. The ultimate reward to be given to the conquerors, which is the first resurrection from the dead, includes their being seated for eternity with Christ in the highest throne of the universe.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
There will be a strong remnant of saints who will come out of the churches in the last days.
A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. (Joel 2:2)
The fruit of the holy remnant will be strong and enduring, while the remainder of the believers will blossom and then perish as the grass of the field. All flesh is grass—even Christian flesh.
The remnant will overcome Satan by trusting in the blood of the Lamb, by holding fast to the testimony of the Scriptures concerning God’s will and trustworthiness, and by serving Jesus to the point of death to their own nature.
The struggle to overcome Satan will be terrific. Numerous believers will be deceived. Many Christian leaders will fall. The spiritual struggle will rage as Satan utilizes every device to keep the saints from pressing through to total victory.
The remnant will follow the Holy Spirit until there is nothing in their personalities Satan can accuse before the Father. A Gideon’s army will crush Satan’s head.
The remainder of the Christians will continue in their church activities, aware only that the world has become chaotic. Meanwhile every element of the personality and behavior of God’s warriors will be purified by fire.
The holy, warlike remnant that God is calling out today will overcome Satan. This is precisely what shall take place. Now is the time. The believer who reserves for himself any part of his own life will never keep his place in the army of the Lord. The members of that army are perfect in the Lord, having been made that way by Christ Himself. They have paid the price in self-denial, and victory will be given to them.
As soon as the saints have overcome Satan he will be thrown down from his place in the heavens by Michael and the holy angels. Sin originated in the heavens and came down to the earth. Sin must be conquered first in the heavens, and this will be accomplished by the "handful of corn."
There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth. (Psalms 72:16)
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:10,11)
The Lord Jesus overcame Satan, and we enter that victory when we receive Jesus by faith.
To him that overcometh . . . even as I also overcame . . . . (Revelation 3:21)
The rewards of Revelation, Chapters Two and Three begin with access to the tree of life and climax with a position in the throne of God. Included are the crown of life, nourishment with the hidden manna, and power over the nations of the earth.
These rewards, some of which are given to us now to a certain extent, compose the first resurrection from the dead.
The rewards of life, authority, opportunity for service, and nearness to God that traditionally have been associated with belief in Jesus are promised only to the overcomers. Being a member of the royal priesthood, a member of the Body of Christ, a part of the Wife of the Lamb, must be attained.
Because all of the rewards are ours at the moment of receiving the Lord the conclusion has been drawn that they are ours forever by "faith" and without any effort on our part.
The writings of the New Testament hardly support the position that we share in Christ by grace through faith without any effort on our part. Yet this is the prevailing understanding among numerous Christians.
Scriptures can be found that appear to support the view we have everything by faith the moment we receive Jesus. Scriptures also can be found that support the view we must labor to make our election certain and we are to "work out" our salvation with fear and trembling. We must endure to the end if we would possess our soul, if we would be saved.
The resolution of the two doctrines is as follows: we are given everything in the beginning. Then we must cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He enables us to maintain, develop, and perfect what has been so freely given to us. To not follow the Holy Spirit is to draw back to destruction, losing our gift.
But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition [destruction]; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:39)
Rebecca was selected by Eliezer, according to God’s leading, to be the bride of Isaac. But if she had not left her home and followed Abraham’s servant on the long, unfamiliar journey to Isaac’s tent, she would not have been Isaac’s bride after all.
Many are called but few chosen. It is not all those who start but those who finish who gain the crown.
Our physical body. One of the primary goals of redemption is the immortalizing of the physical body. Eternal life in the body was lost in the garden of Eden. Salvation may be considered as our journey back to Eden, back to the tree of life.
God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whoever chooses to believe in Him may receive back his body in an immortal state.
While the eternal energies of love, peace, joy, righteousness, and strength will be issued to our entire personality, the focus of the New Testament is on our mortal body.
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54)
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (I Corinthians 15:22)
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (I Corinthians 15:26)
The destructive error of the pre-tribulation "rapture" of the believers has so confused the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead that the all-important concept of attaining to immortality in the body has nearly disappeared from Christian teaching. The current emphasis is on ascension, which is not a scriptural emphasis. The emphasis of the Scriptures is on the resurrection—the restoring of bodily life to the saints so they may rule with the Lord on the earth.
The first resurrection, the resurrection that will occur when the Lord returns, will not just happen to the believers. Not by any means! The first resurrection must be attained. It is a goal—perhaps the primary goal—of redemption.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:24)
And not only they [the material creation], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: (II Corinthians 5:2)
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [Greek, out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:11)
The last enemy to be destroyed is physical death. All of the other enemies in our "land," our worldliness, the lusts of our flesh, our pride, our self-will, our treachery, our devious nature, must be dealt with by the Holy Spirit and destroyed. This is how we "attain to" the first resurrection.
Resurrection life was given to us when we received Christ. Resurrection life, the "oil" of the Holy Spirit, is in us now. But we must maintain, develop, and perfect the inner resurrection life. If we do not, when the Lord comes the door will be shut against us.
No individual will be raised into eternal life on the basis of belief in doctrine. It is the position of many churches that belief in Jesus is sufficient for the obtaining of every aspect of salvation, but this is not scriptural.
We must attain to the first resurrection, the resurrection to life in Jesus at His appearing, by living today in His Presence, by depending on His Life, His wisdom, His strength. No adamic nature accustomed to living in the flesh will be given back its body in glorified form on the basis of a profession of faith.
He who lives and believes in Jesus will never die. Although his body may die and be buried, it will be raised to glorious life in the Day of the Lord.
But living and believing in Jesus does not mean subscribing to a doctrinal statement and being a member of a Christian church. It means living in and by Jesus as He lives in and by the Father. Such integration into the Personality of Jesus requires the crucifixion of our adamic nature. Crucifixion is painful, requiring a life of self-denial, patience, and self-control. Christian believers often are not willing to submit to the crucifixion of the human nature required by the Spirit.
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. (Galatians 5:24)
That ye put off concerning the former conversation [manner of life] the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; (Ephesians 4:22)
Our goal is to gain immortality in the body. Immortality is given us when we receive the Lord but it must be established by a lifetime of sowing to the Spirit of God.
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:8)
The nations of the saved. The most valuable inheritance anyone can have is God Himself. The second most valuable inheritance is people.
The Lord Jesus will inherit the nations of the earth, and the earth itself.
Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen [nations] for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. (Psalms 2:8)
Because we are coheirs with the Lord we also shall inherit the nations—and the earth as well.
Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. (Isaiah 60:4)
While we are climbing the rugged slopes of Zion our goal is to enter Christ, to enter rest in God’s perfect will.
At the point in our development judged suitable by the Father, God’s love for the nations is imparted to us in one manner or another. From then on, the ordinary Christian pursuit of spiritual power, status, a large church, or whatever else the believers may seek, becomes of little importance to us. We realize that the Kingdom of God is God’s love in Christ in us reaching out to the world.
After we press through to waters to swim in (Ezekiel, Chapter 47) we return to the bank of the river as a tree of life. From then on we live to give the Life of God as He directs.
We draw water with joy from the wells of salvation that have been dug in our personality, water to be given to other people. Along with the Holy Spirit we cry, "Come, whoever will, and drink freely of the water of life." The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come."
There is no joy comparable to the joy of bringing forth water to the dead of mankind. There is no other gift comparable to the gift of a human being. To be given one person is better than to be given all of Paradise, and Jesus understands this better than anyone else.
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned. (Song of Solomon 8:7)
The Lord and His Bride delight in governing and blessing the peoples of the nations of the saved. These are Their inheritance from the Father.
When we first receive Christ we understand that the Father has chosen us to be a priest of God, prepared to offer spiritual sacrifices to Himself.
Ye also, as lively [living] stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (I Peter 2:5)
If we continue faithfully abiding in Christ, doing the Lord’s will from the heart, we are re-created until we are perfectly acceptable to God, and also bread for the people whom the Lord gives us.
A lifetime of daily crucifixion and resurrection is necessary in order to create a member of the royal priesthood. What we have in the beginning of our salvation is the Divine pledge that we have been called to be a priest. But the actual formation of God’s priest in our personality is a demanding, sometimes painful procedure requiring much patience.
Much breaking of us is necessary before we are entirely acceptable to God and entirely acceptable to people. God’s priest must be able to enter the Presence of God and able also to touch the hearts of people.
The priesthood is given us as a gift. Then we must appropriate the gift, maintaining it, developing it, perfecting it as the Holy Spirit leads and enables us.
The material universe. Somehow the Christian churches have been convinced that the goal of redemption is to bring us to the spirit realm, the domain of angels. This hardly is the case.
Before the heaven and earth were created the spirit realm existed. When God created the heaven and the earth He brought forth a realm superior to the spirit Paradise.
The inheritance of Jesus is "the farthest reaches of the earth." In the last days the throne of God, the new Jerusalem, will descend from the new heaven to rest forever on the new earth.
The world of molecules, of things, is a better realm, a more desirable realm than the spirit realm. The physical body is a better body than the body of angels, even though temporarily it has been subjected to corruption.
The wicked angels left Heaven and came to earth because the physical environment is a better realm.
Christians seem to be eager to leave the earth and reside in the spirit realm. This is because they never have been there. The anticipation of the Father, Jesus, and all of Heaven is that one day soon the Day of the Lord will be here and all that we desire in Heaven will descend to earth.
Satan desires the earth because it is a marvelous creation of God. But God has given the earth and its inhabitants to Jesus, who then was required to buy earth’s inhabitants with His own blood.
The earth is the inheritance of the meek, whom God loves.
The wicked can never inherit the earth. The earth belongs to the righteous.
In the Day of Resurrection the righteous Spirits of Christ and His Body will enter the material realm, displacing the lords of darkness. The thrones that govern the earth will be given to the victorious saints. Then nature will come alive as in the beginning.
The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints filling, ruling, judging, blessing, the material realm.
The Kingdom of God is the removal of darkness from the material realm and the filling of the material realm with the Spirit of God in Christ.
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)
What belongs to the saints? The world, life, death, things present, things to come.
We have been given all things in Christ. Now we are required to follow the Holy Spirit until we are able to possess all things, circumstances, and relationships without their becoming gods to us.
Numerous trainings and testings must be administered to a son of God before he is able to receive his inheritance, which is "all things."
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: 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 2:7,8)
It is God’s will that His sons inherit all things.
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:7)
Everything imaginable has been bequeathed to the sons of God. But in order to maintain, develop, and perfect their inheritance, which is the world of things, they must live in victory in Jesus.
If we would be a son of God, if we would have God for our Father, if we would inherit all things, we must overcome Satan. We must walk in Jesus in victory each day. When we stumble we are to confess our sins and lawlessness to Jesus, receive His forgiveness and cleansing, and continue forward in restored fellowship.
It is only as we abide in Jesus each day that we are eligible to inherit God’s creation.
Everything has been given to His sons by the Father. The Lord Jesus is the Firstborn among many brothers, many heirs of God. The Lord Jesus had to overcome Satan in order to receive His inheritance. We must overcome Satan in order to receive our inheritance. We are brought out of Egypt on eagles’ wings, but we enter our inheritance, our land of promise, on our feet.
Our unique destiny. Each of God’s elect, His holy ones, was chosen from the creation of the world. Each has a unique destiny, a place prepared for him or her.
And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. (Matthew 20:23)
"For whom it is prepared of my Father."
From the beginning of the universe God prepared a place, or places, on the right hand and on the left hand of Christ.
This extremely exalted position is a gift to the chosen individuals.
But the question comes, "Are you able to drink from the same cup that I must drink? Are you able to be baptized with the baptism with which I must be baptized?"
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
The good works that the elect are to perform have been prepared for them from the foundation of the world.
The higher the calling in the Kingdom the more rigorous are the demands. God is faithful to bring each of us to his predetermined destiny. But it is required that we abide in the calling in which we have been called.
The concept that we will attain our destiny regardless of our faithfulness is false. The gift of redemption, the gift of our place in God’s Kingdom, always is an opportunity we can take advantage of or neglect.
Breaking a contract is a serious violation of law. God never will break a contract He makes. Men often break the contract they make with God. As soon as the contract is broken by either party it no longer is binding on the other. Believers cannot defy the words of the Apostles and then expect God to honor His part of the contract.
Notice that God has assigned a unique inheritance to the Apostle Paul, and Paul was required to respond diligently in order to lay hold on the gift of God.
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ. (Philippians 3:12)
"For which also I am apprehended."
Paul has a specific calling but he had to follow the Lord in order to grasp that for which he has been grasped.
God has given us everything in Christ. All that people could desire, and eternity in which to enjoy it, is ours the moment we receive the Lord Jesus as our Savior and Lord.
But we must lay hold of our inheritance and make certain we receive the full benefit.
If we do not, if we are not careful to replenish the oil of God’s grace continually, the door will be closed to us when the Lord appears. The Scriptures are clear that to neglect our salvation is to risk disaster.
Christian teachers of today, perhaps influenced by the prevailing spirit of humanism, often are promising the believers that no matter how they conduct themselves there is no possibility of losing their inheritance as sons of God.
This is not true. The Lord Jesus will divide the inheritance with the strong (Isaiah 53:12) The lukewarm believers will be vomited from the Lord’s mouth.
We have been brought to the throne on eagles’ wings. Now we must lay hold on the grace of God until our spirit, soul, and body are filled with the Presence of Christ. Any aspect of our personality that is not of Christ can cause unimaginable loss to us if it is not quickly put to death and raised again in the Lord.
The Jews had a clearly defined goal.
From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. (Joshua 1:4)
So do we. Our clearly defined goal is:
To win Christ.
To rest in God’s perfect will.
To receive the rewards promised to the overcomer.
To gain back our body in immortal, glorified form.
To possess the people of the nations of the saved.
To inherit the material universe.
To arrive at the destiny planned for us from the beginning.
All this is ours in Christ. Now we must take possession of it.