THREE DEATHS AND THREE RESURRECTIONS: VOLUME THREE

THREE DEATHS AND THREE RESURRECTIONS

CONQUEST Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

There are three major phases of the Divinely provided redemption that is in Christ. The three phases are not like three rungs on a ladder we are to climb or three grades in school we are to attain. Rather, the three phases are as three facets of one diamond. They are three dimensions of the one redemption that we possess, entire and whole, when we receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.

The redemption that is in Christ is a powerful work, a broad work, a perfect work. It includes the growth of the believer to spiritual maturity, which is the image of Christ; the growth of the Church, the Body of Christ, to the Bride of the Lamb without blemish of any kind; and the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The believer is "born again" into the Kingdom of God and baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Church, the Body of Christ. The saint then fights his way, by the wisdom and power that the Holy Spirit gives, into the "throne" phase of redemption. He must "overcome" if he is to rule with Christ and be God’s son.

In order to enter each of the three areas of redemption we must die the specific death God has ordained. If we are willing to go through the "deaths" God has decreed, we will receive the accompanying resurrections.

Christ asks you: "Will you be saved?"

If your answer is yes, He will bring down your old nature into crucifixion with Him and will raise you in the likeness of His resurrection. You will be protected from wrath by His blood, received of the Father, made alive by the Spirit of God, and born again by His Divine Substance placed in you.

Christ ask you: "Will you follow the Holy Spirit in sanctification?"

If your answer is yes, the Holy Spirit will furnish you each day with the wisdom and power to put to death the deeds of your body. Your fleshly lusts will be brought into subjection to the will of the Spirit. In their place will flow deeds, words, and thoughts that glorify God and testify of the redeeming authority and power that are in Christ. You will be holy and behave in a holy manner.

Christ asks you: "Will you lose your life for My sake and the Gospel’s?"

If your answer is yes, He will teach you obedience in the school of suffering. He may demand every one of your rights and privileges as a person and as a Christian. Will you allow Him to treat you in this way without grumbling and complaining? Is there any point at which you will refuse Christ?

If you will obey the Lord through every testing He will raise you to His throne. The fullness of fruitfulness and dominion will be yours.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER V. CONQUEST: THE THIRD AREA OF REDEMPTION Becoming a Conqueror: Conquest Defined

Samson: a type of the Church today Other Old Testament examples The fellowship of His sufferings

Christ: the Servant of the Lord

How we enter conquest

Summary: Conquest Defined 9 Conquest, and the Tabernacle of the Congregation

The veil before the Most Holy Place The Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle The Ark of the Covenant Moving toward the Ark: Psalms Twenty-four The army of the Lord follows the Ark Summary of the meaning of the Ark The Mercy Seat The Most Holy Place: the Oracle Lighted by the Shechinah

The Conquest Domain of Christianity

The inheritance: spiritual dominion over the creation Wresting control of the material realm

The Feasts of the Seventh Month The First Feast of the Seventh Month: Trumpets

Joel’s army and the Day of Christ Habakkuk portrays the Day of the Lord The Day of the Lord in Revelation, Chapter Nineteen The army of Christ, in Second Thessalonians Events of the end-time The fulfillment of the blowing of Trumpets

The Second Feast of the Seventh Month: The Day of Atonement

Two goats: two dimensions of the atonement Christ’s appearing: the day of reconciliation The world to be reconciled to God

The Third Feast of the Seventh Month: Tabernacles

The eighth day: God tabernacles with men Preparation for the land of promise Death to self-seeking and guile: our "Jacob" nature The third resurrection—surpassingly glorious Two armies: authority and power; saints and angels The Lamb and His followers Crushing the head of the serpent The Temple of God: the Church Strengthened with might by God’s Spirit Our resurrection body is being created now After the resurrection, an eternity of rulership and service

Crossing Jordan: Conquest of the Land of Promise

Crossing the Jordan river Entering Canaan: fear overtakes the enemy A time of circumcision of the heart Possessing the promise of God: Jericho Victory, but not in our own strength Five kings of wickedness judged The rest of God From Moses to Joshua

The Last Three Days of Creation

The fifth day: the beginning of "life" The sixth day: the creation of the image of Christ The four directives defining mankind The seventh day: the rest of God Seven aspects of the rest of God

Hosea, Chapter Six: Third Day

The third day: the thousand-year Kingdom Age Perfecting the Church and governing the nations

Waters to the Loins; Waters To Swim in

Judgment and refreshing Church history, and the deepening waters

Christ Walks: Third Day Bearing the Hundredfold Fruit of the Spirit The Third Level of Noah’s Ark Overcoming by Loving Not Our Lives to the Death The Third Anointing of David The Third Temptation of Christ

The pinnacle: God’s prison of waiting The cross

The Area of Conquest

CHAPTER VI. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

CHAPTER V. CONQUEST: THE THIRD AREA OF REDEMPTION

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1,2)

It is the will of God that Christians not only be saved and sanctified but also that they fight on to perfect reconciliation to God. Other titles we could have chosen to designate the third area of redemption are as follows: consecration; perfection; throne-life.

The term conquest suggests the warfare necessary for entrance into the promised-land rest of God, for total victory in Christ. There is an obedient, disciplined, faith-filled Christian discipleship that keeps on marching toward the "city that hath foundations."

We have seen that being saved means we have been absolved of guilt and will be carried through to the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

We have shown that being sanctified means we now are following the Holy Spirit in putting to death the deeds of the flesh and in the diligent application of our gifts and ministries.

The third area of redemption, conquest, results in our being made one in the Son and in the Father and in our being able to express that oneness and Glory throughout the whole creation of God.

Becoming a Conqueror: Conquest Defined

Becoming a conqueror means we are pressing forward each day to the fullness of fruitfulness and rulership. Laying hold on the inheritance to this extent requires that we choose to love not our life to the death. We must be willing to suffer delayed gratification of our most fervent desires.

In some instances the delay may be of many years duration. We must be ready to deny our own desires, our own lives—all of that to which we may have a "right." It is the place of unquestioned obedience as soldiers of Christ, as servants of the Lord.

Not only are we willing to suffer delayed gratification—for years if desired by the Lord, but we also are willing to continue doing things for which we have no heart, in which we take no delight. We do what the Lord tells us to do, and we do it without complaining and without blaming others.

As far as it is possible for us to do so, we rejoice in the Lord and look for blessings in the difficult circumstances. Perfect reconciliation to God, the fullness of victory in Christ, requires that we give our best to the Master without grumbling.

Salvation is for our sake. It brings to us forgiveness of our sins and blessing and joy forever.

Sanctification leads us toward liberty and joy in the purpose and will of God. By the wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit we are enabled to put down the impulses of our flesh and mind, the sin which keeps us in turmoil of body, soul, and spirit. The more liberated from the fleshly nature we become the more peace and joy we receive and the better able we are to serve the Lord.

Walking in the sins of the flesh brings misery and death. Obeying the laws of righteousness works peace in us and causes us to be fruitful and content in this life, even though we always will have tribulation on earth before Jesus appears (John 16:33; Acts 14:22; Revelation 1:9).

The realm of conquest is a deepening and broadening of the process of sanctification. In order for us to achieve total victory in Christ, all that we are, do, and possess must be brought through the Divine fire.

Conquest requires a cutting back of our "rightful" status, accomplishments, and possessions. The Spirit of God beckons us toward the place of denial, of crucifixion, of the loss of our life. Such loss is not easy to accept but it is the only path to total union with God, and fruitfulness and strength in the Kingdom of God.

Referring back to Romans 12:1,2 we find that it is the body that is to be offered. This is the daily offering of our fleshly nature, and it requires strength of spirit on our part in order to hold our beastly self-life before God until He consumes the sacrifice.

"That ye present your bodies a living sacrifice!"

Presenting our body a living sacrifice is no easy, pleasant task. Each day of our life on earth we are to seek the mind of Christ as to what is important for the day. Our body is our link with the earth and the world.

When God requires the sacrifice of our body He is asking for the whole of our existence on the earth. The conduct of affairs on earth has to do almost exclusively with what is happening to, with, and in our body. Except for a comparatively small amount of religious effort that attempts to cultivate the spirit, the whole of life is centered on the enjoyment of the soul through the body.

And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. (Luke 12:19)

The soul satisfies itself through the body in eating, in drinking, and in being merry. God calls for the daily sacrifice of the body and of the corresponding soulish desires.

Notice we are to present our body a "living" sacrifice. It would be much easier if we could offer a "dead" sacrifice, "go into neutral," and resign ourselves to a "don’t care" attitude of mental passivity.

If we could flee to a place of hiding and spend our days in contemplation it might be easier. To stay alive in God with all our powers alert and our will decisive, full of energy, ambition, desires of all kinds, but always allowing God to blunt our thrusts as He will—this requires determination.

Presenting our body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, is our Christian act of worship. Instead of offering a young bull, a sheep, a goat, or a bird, we offer our own body as a whole ascending (burnt) offering to the Lord. We do it every day.

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man of you bring an offering unto the LORD, ye shall bring your offering of the cattle, even of the herd, and of the flock. (Leviticus 1:2)

The first chapter of Leviticus describes the burnt (ascending) offering. Of the five principal offerings, the Altar was named after the burnt offering. The great bronze Altar standing at the entrance to the Tabernacle of the Congregation was referred to as the Altar of Burnt Offering. It can be seen that the burnt offering was of special importance in the sight of God. The burnt offering was not a sin offering but an offering of devotion and consecration.

If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish: he shall offer it of his own voluntary will at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD. (Leviticus 1:3)

We offer our consecration of our "own voluntary will." We choose to give all to Christ. He invites us but does not force us. We offer ourselves at the "door," that is to say, at the cross of Christ. All offerings are made at the cross. We take up our cross and follow Him. The cross of Christ is the only acceptable place of sacrificial death.

Devotees of other religions suffer pain and humiliation of the flesh but their offering is of little value before the throne of God. The only acceptable place for the offering of oneself to God is "at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord." This is where the Altar of Burnt Offering, the cross of Christ, is located.

We are not allowed to choose our own death. We must die the death the Lord requires of us as an individual. Our dying must be the dying of the Lord Jesus as expressed in our unique personality. We must be showing His death on the cross, not our own religious zeal. Otherwise our death is of no profit before the Lord.

. . . and the priest shall burn all on the altar, to be a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD. (Leviticus 1:9)

The sacrifices of the Lord involve fire. When we determine we will present our body a living sacrifice we must set out the sacrifice and wait for the fire of God to consume the offering.

We cannot hurry God. Working with God requires patience. God is never late, He is painstaking and thorough. Our problem is to keep the "birds of the air" off our sacrifice until God "passes between the pieces" (Genesis 15:10-17).

God requires of you and me that we present our bodies a living sacrifice. It is not an option. He insists we do so without delay. The time is short. Now is the hour to set out our offering. Tomorrow Christ may be here and we have lost for eternity our one opportunity to take up our cross of self-denial and follow that social Outcast—Christ.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)

The only way by which we can be transformed into Christ’s image, escaping the molding influence of the spirit of the world, is to offer ourselves each day a living sacrifice. The only way by which we can prove the will of God for our life is to present our body each day a living sacrifice to the Lord Jesus Christ, just as He presented His body each day a living sacrifice to the Father.

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. (Luke 9:23,24)

Notice the choice: "If any man will come after me." It is our responsibility. If we choose to come after Him we must deny ourselves, setting aside our own interests in favor of the interests of Christ until our time on the earth has been terminated.

Setting aside our own life must be performed conscientiously and consistently on a daily basis. We must take up our cross of self-denial and follow Christ every day of our pilgrimage on the earth.

There is nothing to be gained by refusing to give our life to Christ. The cost of refusing is exceedingly great. There is so much to lose! If we seek to save ourselves from the death that Christ requires we end up losing our life.

If we give our life for His sake the Divine promise is that we will save it. We will be saved and resurrected into glory, having emerged unscathed from the fires of sacrifice and judgment.

Our part is to tell God that we wish to take up our cross and follow Christ. God’s part is to take us at our word and furnish the appropriate circumstances. This He does—thoroughly, ingeniously, effectively.

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. (II Corinthians 4:8-10)

There are several benefits that result from being willing to accept the death God sends our way. Two of them are as follows: fruitfulness in the impartation of the Glory of Christ to other people; and the receiving of God’s eternal strength, which enables us to gain dominion in the contest at hand.

God adds His strength to our weakness. The almighty authority and power of our Lord Jesus Christ flow from His crucifixion.

For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inner man is renewed day by day. (II Corinthians 4:15,16)

The perishing of Paul’s outward man, as he gave his life to the will of the Lord Jesus, resulted in the Life of Jesus being made manifest in Paul’s physical body. The resurrection Life of Christ manifest in Paul brought the Glory of God to the listeners and has brought that same glory to those who have read Paul’s Epistles throughout the centuries of the Christian Era.

Divine Life was made available to other people through the "death" of the Apostle Paul. God’s Life must flow from someone’s death—death meaning the giving of our life and activities to the Life and activities of the Lord.

When Paul witnessed the Divine Life being revealed to others he was able to keep from fainting. Our determination to obey Christ is strengthened when we can see other people begin to partake of the Divine Glory.

Paul speaks of the second benefit—that of receiving God’s eternal strength such that we are able to gain dominion over the forces that would resist the doing of God’s will.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (II Corinthians 4:17)

The "weight" of glory referred to here is Paul’s house from Heaven, mentioned in Chapter Five of II Corinthians. Paul’s house is a vehicle of unimaginable power and authority, an eternal, incorruptible source to him of liberty in God, of breadth of service, of glory, of joy, of life.

When we respond properly to the afflictions that produce our death in Christ, weight is added to the house that will descend on us from Heaven at the time of the first resurrection from the dead.

Our willingness to abide with Christ in the furnace of testing causes a Divine purity and an overcoming strength to be developed in us. The Divine Gold in our personality is purified, and the "bronze," which results from the judgment of God that works in us, becomes pure and glowing.

Marvelous things happen in the furnace of tribulation, not the least of which are the companionship of the Son of God and the burning of our bonds.

Both fruitfulness and rulership result from our death in Christ.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. (John 12:24)

It is God’s way that we bear fruit through our death. There are many scriptural examples of the principle of life from death. The greatest example is that of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ did many miracles and taught truth as no other man before or since has taught it.

But it is from His death that the salvation of mankind has come.

Paul the Apostle ministered to people in what are now Turkey, Greece, and Italy. Several thousand people heard Paul teach and preach during his lifetime and witnessed the miracles God performed by his hands.

But Paul’s knowledge of Christ that he recorded in his letters to the young churches has produced eternal life in millions upon unnumbered millions of souls. This knowledge of Christ resulted from Paul’s willingness to "fill up that which is behind of the sufferings of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church" (Colossians 1:24).

The sufferings associated with our consecration sometimes have to do with the bringing of life to other people. If we insist on serving Christ on our own terms, having our own way, refusing to deny ourselves at His request, we may pursue "Christian work" but we will "abide alone." We can only bring forth the fruit of Christ through our death in Christ.

Samson: a type of the Church today. The Old Testament story of Judge Samson gives us a picture of the Church of Christ in the last days. Samson’s hair represented his consecration. His enormous strength was related directly to its uncut length.

Samson enjoyed the pleasures of the world until the world uncovered the secret of his strength. We may marvel at the willingness of Samson to cast away his gift from God, but are we doing the same thing? Are we throwing away our spiritual strength by partaking of the lusts of the present world system?

The Church of Christ possessed enormous spiritual strength in the first century. Because of the willingness of subsequent leaders to socialize with the world and to adopt human solutions for the problems of the Church, the separation of the Church from the world was impaired. The inevitable occurred. The Church lost its spiritual strength.

The world destroyed the ability of the Church to "see" Christ. The world bound the Christian Church with the chains of Satan. For two thousand years the Christian organizations have been "grinding away in prison," attempting to exalt themselves and to impress a world system that always rejects the Lordship of Christ (Judges 16:21).

Whenever a Christian loses his consecration, his separation to the Person and will of Christ, his strength leaves him. He loses his vision of God and of Heaven. He becomes bound in affliction and trouble. He is "thrown into prison," becoming the slave of the world spirit.

Since the time of the Protestant Reformers the "hair" of the Church has been growing back. The separation to God is returning for a remnant of believers. The world does not perceive what is occurring in the godly remnant just as the Philistines were unable to perceive the danger of Samson’s hair growing back.

The day will come when the flood of filth will fill the earth and the demons of Hell will make the Christians come out from their prison of shame and weakness and "make sport" for them. We are entering the days when the peoples of the earth will deride and despise the Christian churches.

The blind Samson was led out by a lad and he played the clown for the entertainment of the Philistines. Often today the churches are so pathetically eager for a wink of approval from the local community leaders that they will "play the clown" for the applause of the world, hoping to ingratiate themselves and win the approval of worldly people. This is done in the hope that those people will be "won for Christ."

The Philistines in their ignorance placed the longhaired Hebrew between the two supporting pillars of the temple of Dagon. Evil spirits and evil people always bring to pass the will of God and heap destruction on themselves.

Samson called out to God and asked to be avenged for the loss of his two eyes. In the last days before Jesus appears, the consecration of the Church will be renewed and the Christians will cry out to God because of the darkness and oppression that have come upon them and the earth through the rulership of the forces of Hell.

At that time the two hands of the Church will be guided by a "lad" to the supporting pillars of the kingdom of darkness.

In the day in which we are living the Lord is bringing forth a generation of young people who will "cross Jordan," so to speak. They will "take the Kingdom." There is no time left to dawdle with the present generation of believers. The characters of today’s Christians, in numerous instances, have been so ruined by the doctrines of lawless grace and the "pre-tribulation rapture" they never will be able to enter the travail that is to bring forth Christ. They are so occupied with their own problems that they are unable to enter the grueling race that the true disciples of the Lord must endure.

The new generation, having been given sound doctrine, will press through to the fullness of victory that now is available. Guided by these young warriors the Church will place its right hand of the blood of the Lamb on one pillar and its left hand of the testimony of the Holy Spirit on the other pillar.

Then the Church will bow itself before God’s throne with all its might in the fullness of the death of consecration to God’s will. The result will be that the kingdom of darkness will come crashing down to destruction. Satan will be crushed under the feet of the Church. The Seed of the Woman (Christ in the saints) will crush Satan’s head under foot.

The Church, through its death to self-will and self-seeking, will bring greater liberation to the people of the world in the last days than it has been able to do through its own efforts during the two thousand years of its history.

At the time of greatest darkness on the earth the saints will attain a level of consecration deeper than has ever been true before, deeper than that of the believers of the first-century churches (with the exception of the Apostles and other notable men and women of God). The result will be a move of God through the Body of Christ that will destroy the kingdom of Satan.

. . . So the dead that he slew at his death were more than they that he slew in his life (Judges 16:30)

Other Old Testament examples. Fruitfulness and strength result from our death in Christ.

And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt [test] Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. (Genesis 22:1,2)

Here is the third death and resurrection, the trial of obedience, the test that is more demanding and difficult than striving against the bondages of sin.

The calling of Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees is a type of salvation. Then, when Abraham was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and required a walk of sanctification (Genesis 17:1).

In the offering of Isaac we witness a much more severe demand—the offering up to God of Abraham’s only son, the promised heir, his inheritance in the Lord. Isaac was the only means of obtaining the abundant fruitfulness God had promised Abraham. Abraham’s righteousness was based on the fact he believed the Word of God concerning that fruitfulness.

Wasn’t this an exceedingly difficult trial?

Notice that God was testing Abraham. God reserves the right to test any one of us at any time He chooses. Our part is to pray and serve the Lord to the best of our ability in as cheerful and uncomplaining a manner as possible. Sometimes the tests of the Lord are quite difficult to endure. The test we are discussing now was extraordinarily difficult, but an eternal issue was being decided.

God said, "Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest."

"Thine only son Isaac." God had promised Abraham he would be the father of many nations and his seed would be as the stars of heaven. Abraham had proceeded to attempt to work out the fulfillment of God’s promise by using Hagar, a servant of Sarah.

God would not accept Hagar’s son, Ishmael, as the heir of promise. God commanded, "Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac." At this point, God did not regard Ishmael as a true son of Abraham. Ishmael had not been given to Abraham by the Lord.

Much of our striving in Christian work is not even recognized by the Lord. It will prove to be wood, hay, and straw. All God will accept in the Christian Church is what He Himself has accomplished in us.

"Thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest."

If God had called for Ishmael the test would not have been nearly as difficult. Isaac was the fruit of the promised miracle. There was no doubt in Abraham’s mind it would be through Isaac that the end would come to his lack of fruitfulness, and that the promise of the Lord would be realized.

If God would require us to sacrifice only those things we have accomplished in the appetites of the flesh it might prove to be a difficult trial of our faith in Him.

When God begins to demand of us what truly is our gift from Him, our acts of obedience bring forth in us the kind of character that is able to receive successfully the fullness of the fruitfulness and strength God desires to impart to us.

To offer up Isaac as a burnt offering was a severe test of obedience. Sometimes when we are tested severely by the Lord we cannot understand what is taking place. We are unable to glimpse the purpose of the test or any end to our misery. It is at such times that the extent of our faith in the goodness of God and in the dependability of Christ is revealed.

Although it appears Abraham had no example to draw on, yet he believed God was going to raise Isaac from the dead and fulfill His promise to Abraham in this manner (Hebrews 11:19).

The aged patriarch had the sentence of death in himself (II Corinthians 1:9). Abraham trusted in God who is able to raise the dead.

It is characteristic of the third death and resurrection that the Lord requires the surrender of relationships, circumstances and things dear to us—things that are lawful and, in some cases, our possession by the promise of God. The test may be surrounded with mystery and we may not be receiving our customary answers from the Lord.

The trial may be accompanied by unfair treatment. It must have been difficult for Paul to see younger men "reign as kings" while Paul, who was responsible for their knowledge of salvation, was in custody in uncomfortable and threatening circumstances.

It is not easy to pass through a seemingly endless tunnel of painful drudgery without understanding the reason for it and yet refrain from blaming people or God. When we understand the reason for our test and know when it will be terminated, the test is not nearly as difficult.

The required sacrifice of Isaac turned Abraham into a living dead man (Romans 12:1). Abraham had the sentence of death in himself that he would not trust in himself but in God who raises the dead.

When God puts us through our most severe trials we become as walking dead people. The heart goes out of us. Only the Word of God carries us forward each day. We are crucified with Christ, yet we live. Now it is Christ living in us.

Those who will ride with Christ in the Day of the Lord will be dead-living people. The guile and self-seeking will have been drawn from them by the death of the cross.

The high point in Abraham’s life was the offering of Isaac and the restoration of Isaac to him. Death and life go together. Until we experience being wounded by the Lord we cannot know the glory of being renewed by the Lord. Those who are willing to go through God’s assigned deaths will come to know the power and Glory of God’s resurrections. There not only are three deaths but three resurrections as well.

There are some aspects of redemption that come about through the death of Christ and other aspects that come about through His resurrection. We cannot obtain the desired goal of rest in God through death alone or through resurrection alone. We must have both death and resurrection in order to achieve the will of God.

So great was the pleasure of God over the obedience and faith of Abraham that God called to him from Heaven. There are not many instances recorded in the Scriptures in which God spoke to people from Heaven. This was a special occasion. Abraham here typifies the saint who is brought to the limits of consecration and faithful obedience to God.

When we consider all that was involved in this incident we are staggered at the degree of consecration God required and also at the strength of obedience residing in Abraham, who was more than one hundred years of age at the time.

We appreciate the quality of stern obedience in the Lord Jesus. Jesus is so much better than we that we are not too astonished at His willingness to go to death, even though His death was more painful spiritually and physically than anything we can imagine.

Abraham, however, was a human as frail as any of us. He had not been born again in Christ. His willingness to slay Isaac portrays the sublime heights that can be attained if we are faithful in pursuing Christ with all our might. From Abraham’s consecration to the will of God came exceedingly great fruitfulness and exceedingly great strength and dominion.

That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; (Genesis 22:17)

The blessing that comes to us from reading the life of Joseph is derived partly from the knowledge of the years that Joseph spent in prison, of the days of his consecration and death to his own ambitions and desires.

Jonah also speaks to us of the life that comes from death (Jonah 2:6).

One of the most dramatic and helpful examples of our death in God is that of Job. Billions of people have lived on our planet. Job was one person from among those multitudes. Yet, few people have made an impact on the personalities of their fellow humans equal to that of Job. His name is a household word, at least among Christians. Why is this?

Job was a wealthy man. He was not distinguished as a prophet, priest, or king, merely as a righteous, wealthy individual. Job followed after righteousness and hated wickedness.

The priceless legacy that Job has left is the story of his suffering in the Lord, the account of his death and resurrection in God. The life of Job would have had little effect on the rest of us if he had lived out his life without incident as a wealthy, righteous person.

Job became one of God’s eternal witnesses because of his suffering and his restoration. Powerful interventions of God in the life of an individual produce a powerful witness of the Person and way of God. It is our death and resurrection that create change in other people.

Both Abraham and Job teach us that what we receive from God must be received twice. Until God removes our gifts the gifts possess us. After God has taken them away in the fire of His judgment, and then has restored the gifts that are part of His plan for our life, our gifts no longer possess us. We worship them no longer.

Instead we, under God in Christ, are set free from the bondages that can result from relationships with other people, from circumstances, and from things. After we have been freed from the bondages, and worship and adore God alone, we are ready to receive Divine fruitfulness and rulership.

Another of the important Old Testament portrayals of our death and resurrection in consecration to God occurred in the life of Jacob. It is found in the thirty-second chapter of the Book of Genesis.

Jacob had been blessed of God. Much of Jacob’s achievement in life had been forced by guile and cheating. Finally there came a day when Jacob had to return and face the consequences of his actions, particularly his actions concerning his brother, Esau.

It often is true of us that much of what we do is accomplished by guile and cheating. But there always comes that day when God calls us to death and resurrection in Himself. If we successfully endure our contest with the Lord we emerge from the battle greatly enlarged in fruitfulness and strength.

Jacob sent his family across the Jabbok, a tributary of the Jordan River, into the land of Canaan. Jacob himself remained alone. This is a type of giving all to God in preparation for our struggle unto death and life.

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. (Genesis 32:24)

We can bring no one with us through our consecration wrestling. It is well if there is another person in whom we can confide and seek counsel and prayer; but there only is so much that others can share, only so far they can go with us. Eventually we wrestle alone in the night. The contest is between God and His saint.

We wrestle "until the breaking of the day." If we let go we lose the fight. If we stay in the contest long enough the morning light will break.

And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. (Genesis 32:25)

The thigh of man is the place of both fruitfulness and strength, the center of reproduction and physical stamina and exertion. We always are affected in the realm of fruitfulness and strength when we prevail with God Almighty.

And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. (Genesis 32:26)

In spite of his guile, Jacob was a determined individual. God told him that the morning was at hand. Jacob was seeking God’s peace, God’s blessing, deliverance from the power of Esau, the favor and protection of the Lord. Jacob prevailed with God, just as we can prevail once we determine we must have the favor of God.

And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. (Genesis 32:28)

Jacob means supplanter, schemer, trickster. Israel signifies he struggles with God. The change of name indicates a change of personality, blessing, and inheritance. Prior to the struggle, Jacob was in the habit of getting what he wanted by scheming and trickery. After the struggle he came to realize the only way to obtain anything of value is to receive it by struggling with God. This is the lesson we learn when we die in Christ and are raised in consecration to God.

And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. (Genesis 32:29)

As a result of the wrestling match, Jacob became more interested in God than he was in obtaining the answer to his prayer. The same change of attitude occurs in us. In the course of our consecration-wrestling we come into such closeness to God that we become more interested in God Himself than we are in obtaining what we sought originally.

And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. (Genesis 32:30)

No man can see God and live. How, then, could Jacob live after seeing God face to face?

The answer is, part of Jacob died. He died and was raised again in God just as we die and are raised again as the result of our consecration-wrestling. We come to the point of believing all hope is gone; but somehow our life is preserved. Not only do we now have the answer to our prayer but—best of all—we have come to know the Lord.

And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh. (Genesis 32:31)

Jacob now had a lame hip and he limped for the remainder of his life. He had been touched in the region of fruitfulness and strength. He was bound forever to God, having always to depend on God for support.

We, too, learn to depend always on God for help and support as a result of our consecration-death in God. No longer are we able to accomplish our goals by our own will, abilities, and scheming. From this point on we are weak in ourselves and must depend on God for every victory. In the sight of God, this is the necessary condition if we are to be entrusted with increased fruitfulness and Divine strength.

The fellowship of His sufferings. The eternal life we seek comes from death. Aaron’s rod sprouted with life after being laid up in the Most Holy Place. If we will place all our ambitions and hopes before the Presence of the holy Fire, and then leave them there until the Lord moves, there will come forth the buds, blossoms, and almonds of eternal, incorruptible resurrection life.

The buds are the first sign of resurrection life. The blossoms are the forerunners of the fruit to come. The almonds are the final result—the Nature and Presence of Christ fashioned in us.

Whatever comes forth after having been placed and left for a season in the Presence of the fire of God has been resurrected from the dead. It has been accepted eternally in the sight of God.

The only means by which the Life of Christ can come to other people is by our death.

Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: (Colossians 1:24)

Eternal life has come to the Body of Christ because Christ was obedient to death. The resurrection Life from God flows from death just as crops on a farm spring from the seed that has been sown in the ground. The only way by which the Life of Christ can keep on coming to the members of the Body of Christ is by the death of those who minister, as they follow the Lord Jesus in denial of self.

People cannot live from what we give to them from our own personality. People partake of God as the result of our having been willing to die the death God has required of us. As we choose to die to self the Life of God raises us up. In the process of that raising, the saints to whom we are ministering are nourished with the resurrection life that is raising us.

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)

If we are willing to be crucified with Christ, to share His sufferings, we will deny ourselves to the point of death, as the Lord leads. We will set aside our own life each day and pursue His desires for us whether or not we enjoy them.

Such self-denial will bring death to our first personality; but from this death will flow His resurrection Life. The result will be expanded areas of fruitfulness plus the possession of the strength of God Himself. "Christ lives in me." This is fruitfulness. This is Divine, eternal strength.

Are we willing to become servants of Christ, each of us being part of the Servant of the Lord (Isaiah 42:1)? If so, we must walk humbly with God to the point of being deprived of our lawful rights. The result will be a generation of fruit so great it scarcely can be described.

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)

Notice the following:

In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. (Acts 8:33)

Christ was not treated justly. His life was taken from Him by an unjust court. Christ was deprived of the material blessings that were His right as a righteous son of Abraham. It appeared that He would have no descendants. But who could possibly measure the amount of fruit that has come to mankind as the result of the willingness of Christ to be thus deprived? Who could count the number of His "descendants"?

Philippians 3:10 speaks of our being brought into the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ and of being conformed to His death. If we suffer with Christ through the depths of the consecration into which God leads us, spiritual life will be brought to other people.

Of course, we never suffer to pay for the sins of others. The full payment was made by Christ. Rather, our suffering is the sowing of ourselves to death in God. Then, when the Spirit of God raises us from death, the power that raises us flows out toward other people and the result is eternal life in them.

The sufferings of Christ into which we are brought are described in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah. Again, let us state we do not atone for the sins of others as did the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet we are invited to suffer in God so the fruit and strength that flow from our ministry will be Divine and not merely human. Also, we are filling up that which remains of the suffering of Christ.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:3)

Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: (Colossians 1:24)

The same type of rejection happened to Joseph, to Job, to Jeremiah, although not as severely as in the case of Christ. If we decide to take up our cross and follow Christ we may be despised and rejected and experience sorrow and lack of esteem. And this from people whom we are attempting to serve!

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)

We may be required to suffer the envy of others, oppression, affliction, and yet be directed of the Lord to offer no complaint nor attempt to justify our position. It is not easy to travel the road of consecration with Christ, but it is the only route to the Presence and power of the Father.

God Almighty will accept only the life He brings forth in us—life that flows from the crucifying of our flesh and self-will. We are not to open our mouth but allow God Himself to vindicate our behavior.

And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. (Isaiah 53:9)

Christ set aside His own life to the point of death. In this manner He overcame all the power of the enemy. It is difficult to imagine what Jesus must have felt when He heard Pilate in one breath declare Him to be perfectly innocent and in the next sentence Him to death as a criminal. The injustice of it!

Pilate knew well that only the envy of the leaders of Israel had brought Jesus of Nazareth to trial. If we follow the Master we must be prepared to suffer this type of perversity and unfair treatment.

In the eleventh and twelfth verses (following) we behold the fruit that resulted from the willingness of Christ to obey the Father through the death and resurrection of consecration. We see the strength and dominion that have resulted from his obedience to death.

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:11,12)

Christ will witness the fruit of the travail of His soul. Much fruit has been brought forth already throughout the two-thousand-year period since His crucifixion. So great will be the increase of the fruit of Christ in the days to come that the earth will be filled with the Life and Image of Christ.

Every saved person on the earth will reveal something of the fruit of the travail of the soul of Christ when He endured the dark hour of Gethsemane.

We too will witness the fruit of the travail of our souls. Although our portion is on a smaller scale than that of Christ, yet the principle remains the same. One day the Apostle Paul will be able to view the results of his faithfulness to death. We believe Paul will be satisfied when he is made aware of the incomprehensible extent of the effect of his Epistles on the history and civilization of the world.

We also, if we are called of God to endure severe pruning of our personalities and accomplishments, will experience a corresponding abundance of fruit. The other products of our consecration to death and resurrection in Christ will be a position of responsibility in the Kingdom, greatly increased strength in righteousness, and opportunities for service.

Because Christ was willing to pour out his soul to death He will receive the spoil due a conqueror. Strength to rule is the direct result of obedience to God. The only Christians who will attain the highest levels of rulership in Christ will be those of whom God requires the deepest depths of sufferings in Christ.

The crown is produced by the cross. If we suffer we will reign. If we enter the bonds of His suffering we will experience the power of His resurrection. It is the conqueror who will rule with Christ.

To sit on the right hand and the left hand of Christ is assigned to those for whom these positions have been prepared by the Father. They will be required to drink of the cup of Christ and to endure a baptism of suffering like His.

There was no need for Christ to experience the first area of redemption, that of initial salvation, because He was guiltless in the sight of God.

There was no need for Christ to experience the second area of redemption, that of sanctification, because He was without inherited or acquired sinful tendencies and practices.

The only area of redemption of benefit to Christ Himself was that of self-denial. Christ learned obedience by the things He suffered.

For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:10)

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; (Hebrews 5:8,9)

Christ was made perfect by suffering. By suffering He learned obedience to God. We also are made perfect by suffering. By suffering we learn obedience to God.

When Christ was in the flesh He offered prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death (Hebrews 5:7). This reminds us of the wrestling of Jacob with the angel.

We also, as we become older and stronger in the Lord, find ourselves in the wrestling match with God. We struggle with God in the throes of death to our self-love. This is the area of conquest.

If we desire to go all the way through to the fullness of redemption we must die and be raised into the Person and Presence of the Father. Here is the ultimate in self-denial. Here is the ultimate in obedience. Here is the ultimate in fruitfulness. Here is the ultimate in Divine strength and dominion over the works of God’s hands.

As soon as we have died this death and have been raised in this resurrection the fire of God no longer will harm us. The Lake of Fire no longer has authority over us. We are alive in God eternally, having been declared to be a son of God by the resurrection from the dead. The sentence of the court of Heaven is that we be raised from the dead in the fullness of Divine Glory to meet the Conqueror as He descends with His saints and holy angels.

Christ: the Servant of the Lord.

The three areas of redemption accomplish several different goals.

Salvation obtains for us preservation in the Day of Wrath.

Sanctification releases us from the bondages of our sinful flesh and human mind so we may be free to pursue the Spirit-filled life of righteous and holy behavior, and also to bear witness and serve in the Kingdom in the will of God.

Conquest brings us into the fullness of our inheritance as sons of God.

The Book of Isaiah has much to say concerning the Servant of the Lord.

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

Chapter 42, and other chapters of Isaiah, describe the ministry of Christ—Head and Body. Christ is the Servant of the Lord God of Heaven. We are being created the fullness of the Servant, the Body of Christ.

The Servant is the elect of God, as Jesus said: "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit" (John 15:16).

The Soul of God "delights" in His Servant. We are being created a delight to the Lord. "I have put my spirit upon him." The reason we have received the Holy Spirit is that we may become part of God’s Servant, God’s Anointed Deliverer of whom the Hebrew Prophets spoke.

"He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles." The task of the Servant, Christ, is to judge and bring justice to the peoples of the earth, in addition to establishing Israel as God’s people. The Servant of the Lord will march throughout the earth at the appearing of Christ, destroying sin and liberating the nations of the earth.

The kingdom of darkness will be crushed under the feet of the Servant of the Lord. No vestige of that kingdom will remain. All the earth will abide under the law of Christ. A rod of iron will bring release to those who obey Christ and receive His lordship; but the rod will bring destruction to the rebels.

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

The Servant of the Lord does not force people and circumstances in his own strength and scheming. He waits on God until the Spirit of God brings all people, circumstances, and things into line with the will of God.

A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. (Isaiah 42:3)

God works patiently with each of His elect until the individual learns to be patient. The Servant of the Lord learns from the Father to be gentle, to minister in patience and love. Many souls can be delivered from the fires of destruction if we do not lose our patience with them.

In the above verse (Isaiah 42:3) there is hope for the weak Christian. It is our conviction that God will save the weak members of the Church and establish them in beauty and glory in the new Jerusalem.

We must keep in mind, however, that there is a difference between the weak Christian and the lukewarm Christian. The weak Christian, as we are using the term, is one who has had little light, has had meager opportunity to grow in the Lord. There is scriptural hope for the weak.

There is no such hope for the lukewarm, careless, foolish believer. He will be vomited from the Lord’s mouth. He will not rise to meet the Lord when He comes. Outer darkness is his destiny.

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

As we are dying and being resurrected in God we come to many points of seeming failure that tempt us with discouragement and disappointment. Then the touch of God strengthens us and failure is transformed into victory. Encouragement comes forth from the grave of discouragement at the voice of Christ and we receive the eternal strength and patience necessary for accomplishing the will of the Father.

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

We must die and be raised in God in order to attain blindness and deafness. We find the same thought in II Corinthians 4:18:

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (II Corinthians 4:18)

As we die in God we are tempted to criticize other people and attempt to place blame on others for our troubles. Also we become vexed because of the wicked, unjust practices in the earth. Our faith is tried because what we see in the natural realm is so contrary to what the Spirit of God is showing us to be the right way to live.

Our task—and it is very difficult at times—is to refuse to look at the things that are seen and to fasten our gaze on Christ. This means we must cease criticizing other people, cease blaming others for our problems, cease fretting over the wickedness in the earth, and cease worrying over the possible outcomes of our impossible circumstances.

The Servant of the Lord is blind and deaf to the people, circumstances, and things that are bringing him into the death and resurrection of union with God. He waits patiently for the wisdom and power of the Father to relieve the pressure.

God’s Servant does not judge after the hearing of his ear or the seeing of his eye. He waits for the Word of the Lord before he passes judgment or responds to a situation. The end result of such obedience is extraordinary fruitfulness and irresistible strength.

The resurrection power and Life of God surround the Servant of the Lord.

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

Here is a portrayal of our conquest experience, our death and resurrection in the Father. We pass through the waters of trials, troubles, denials, discouragements, humiliations, persecutions, and God is with us throughout each painful episode. We pass through the rivers of active opposition, fighting, pressure, envy, but they cannot conquer us because of the resurrection Life from the Father that keeps on protecting us, guiding us, and lifting us up.

We walk through the midst of God’s judgment, but we become judgment-proof by the blood of Christ and by confessing and forsaking our sins. The flames roar up all about us but there is nothing left in us that will ignite. We are becoming pure gold in God and the heat and pressure no longer can harm us. The fiery trials only make us more pure. We are alive forever in Christ.

As to fruitbearing:

He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit. (Isaiah 27:6)

As to the strength needed for total victory:

Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the LORD, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Behold, I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth: thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff. (Isaiah 41:14,15)

Mountains and hills symbolize the governments of the earth and the powers that rule in the earth. The Servant of the Lord will judge these governments and powers and bring them down into obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. All opposition will be cut into helpless chaff before the onslaught of the Servant of the Lord.

Such threshing and beating small is impossible until the Church is ready to become God’s "worm." "Wormology" is one of the more important branches of theology.

We may not enjoy the thought of becoming God’s worm. We do not mind being termed lions or eagles or some other animal that commands respect. But worms? Never!

It is impossible for the Christian Church to bring about the Kingdom of God in the earth other than by becoming a worm. Being a worm has nothing to do with compromising with the world or with currying favor with man. God’s worms never attempt to build anything with the help or approval of the flesh. We do not need so much as a shoelace from the world. The less we lean on the arm of flesh the more fruitful and powerful we shall be.

Being a worm in the true sense means being meek in the sight of God. It means allowing our rights and privileges to be removed unjustly and not resorting to scheming and trickery in the attempt to bring about our own victories.

Being a worm means waiting on God and allowing Him to deny us our desires and to bring us into unpleasant situations. The worm does not murmur or seek to justify its position. The worm is God’s worm, not man’s worm. Our attitude and approach toward God must be one of humility and patience. Worms are humble and patient.

We are not to strike back as does a rattlesnake. We are to keep on burrowing through the messy problems and circumstances under which we nearly are suffocated. In Christ we never suffocate because He raises us up continually.

For two thousand years the major segment of the Christian Church has attempted by means of its own wisdom and strength to accomplish the work of the Kingdom and to impress the world with the rightness and power of its cause. The Church desires to convince the world that the Church is of God and should be esteemed and its statements obeyed.

All such attempts are futile because the methods employed are contrary to the mind of God. In the last days, just before Christ appears, the holy remnant of the Church will understand that God works through our death of consecration and our stern obedience to Christ.

Our task is to allow God to have His way in us, to be perfectly obedient. Then the Holy One of Israel will come thundering forth, bearing witness of Himself through the Body of Christ. When He does—and the Scripture promises He shall in the last days—the Body of Christ will be filled with glory and multitudes of earth’s peoples will be brought into the righteous ways of the Lord.

In that hour of worm-like dependence the Church, having wrestled with God to the death, hardly will notice that all its desires are being fulfilled in abundance. Now, as was true of Jacob, the eyes of God’s saints will become so fixed on God that everyone and everything else will fade into secondary importance.

The Church will become enraptured with the Person of Christ. The single-minded, adoring contemplation of Christ will bring all other persons, circumstances, and things into proper perspective. Such gaining of perspective is true of each of us today who is willing to trust God to the point of ceasing to grasp our own desires and allowing our worship of Him to ascend to first place in our faith and thoughts.

How we enter conquest. The third area of redemption, that of self-denial, is the most trying and difficult of the three deaths and resurrections. Yet, self-denial, the bearing of our personal cross, is the only route to the greatest fruitbearing and the greatest power and glory in Christ.

Are we willing to be brought to the point of ultimate obedience? How does one come to this place of obedience to the Father?

First, we must give our consent to such obedience and faithfulness to God. It is necessary that we tell the Lord Jesus with our mouth we are determined, by the wisdom and strength He provides, to follow Him with a perfect heart.

It also is helpful to tell others of our determination. When the situation is appropriate it is neither proud nor boastful to state that Jesus is our Lord and that by His grace we will serve Him with our whole life. Our verbal statement of our determination will help to strengthen our resolve, and will challenge others in our group who may need that extra bit of encouragement from us to push them over the line of indecision into the ranks of the conquerors in Christ.

Pursuing the life of victory in Christ does not require unusual will power, spirituality or any other extraordinary resource on our part. Every Christian should be—and can be—an overcomer in the Lord. Our part is to obey Christ when He commands us to do something. God’s part is to make it possible for us to perform our act of obedience.

The concept that there is a "permissive" will of God for the disciple of Jesus who will not obey God’s "first" will for him, is utterly false. The only true disciple of Christ is the person who is following Jesus with singleness of purpose. The indecisive, halfhearted, guilt-ridden "profession" of Christ we see about us is not Christian discipleship as described in the Scriptures.

There are many fine people who have come into our churches and who are upset about the sin in the earth. They may have received Christ as Savior and been baptized in water. But until they receive Christ as their personal Lord they are not disciples of the Lord. They are not victorious saints, and the rewards assigned to the victorious saints will not be given to them. When God begins to speak through His prophets some of these people will leave the assembly.

Only the disciple is the true Christian. The remainder are churchgoers who subscribe more or less to the truths of the Kingdom.

In certain instances the believers have been deceived into assuming that indecisive playing around the edges of the faith, halfway measures of obedience, are acceptable to God the Father. Most assuredly they are not! God, in His love, is waiting for us to climb out of the valley of decision. Either we are obeying Christ or we are not obeying Christ. There is no middle ground.

Each member of the Body of Christ must learn to bear endlessly with people who are attempting to come into a right relationship with God through Christ. We must always be full of encouragement, patience, understanding, toward the less fervent Christians.

We shall live to see the day when all the wishy-washy, halfhearted compromising is swept away by the broom of destruction. There will be no more wavering between two opinions. In that day there will be no person joined to the Body of Christ, to the Servant of the Lord, who has any reservations about going through the full death and resurrection God requires.

The Christian disciple carries his cross as a soldier. He marches after Christ. He is a son of God. He endures hardness. His mind is girded with resolve to obey Christ through the suffering that comes his way. He renders immediate obedience as soon as he is certain Christ indeed has spoken.

He wastes no time counting the cost. He is up and after Christ each day. He seeks the will of Christ with his whole heart. He is dependable, steady, faithful unto death.

In the areas of imperfection in his life he submits meekly to the rebuke and chastening of his Lord. If you ask him if he is doing the will of Christ he will answer, "Yes!" His conscience is clear. His heart does not condemn him.

If there is only one such person on the earth, then there is only one disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ on the earth. If there are ten such people on the earth, then there are ten disciples of the Lord Jesus. There are ten true Christians.

Many are being saved from wrath; still others are following on through sanctification to increased knowledge of the redemption that is in Christ. In the present moment of history, God particularly is interested in developing the quality of obedience. Total obedience on the part of each saint is essential to the successful conduct of the Battle of Armageddon.

They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: (Joel 2:7)

After we have given mental and vocal consent to becoming servants of Christ we must set ourselves to accept the joys and sorrows that will come to us. The Father most certainly will take us at our word and bring us successfully through the many experiences necessary for perfecting us in His Person and will.

There is a price to pay for such glory. All precious things have a high cost.

The cost of not following the Lord Jesus with a perfect heart is far greater than the cost of obedience. The waters of eternal life are freely given but we have to turn away from Satan in order to receive them. The price of not obeying the Lord Jesus is the loss of our inheritance as a son of God. We ought to consider many times what we are doing before we sell our inheritance as a son of God for the relationships, circumstances, and things of the world.

Do not lightly regard the fact that Christ, the King of Glory, is offering to you the joy and blessing of the Fullness of His Presence, His very throne.

The development of obedience in us must run so deep that our mental and vocal consent are the merest beginning. The Spirit of God assumes the task of developing obedience in us. Then the hammering commences.

The Ark of the Covenant was overlaid with gold, representing the fact that our glorious house from Heaven will "swallow up" our mortal flesh (II Corinthians, Chapter Five).

Also, our deepest inner being is becoming the gold of God’s Substance. We are being created the Mercy Seat, the Lid of Reconciliation, the place of the Presence of the Consuming Fire of Israel, the eternal throne of God, the covenant of God with people.

The Mercy Seat must be hammered into shape, it cannot be cast into shape from a mold. Moment after moment, day after day, month after month, year after year, the hammering on our Christ-filled personality continues. Will it never cease?

Each painstakingly aimed hammer blow touches some nerve, some point of our old nature. The old passes away and the shaped-and-refined new takes its place. It is not a fun-filled game.

With endless patience God taps, taps, taps, taps. We are brought down to the border of discouragement. We come close to despair. God watches carefully for the breaking point to see if we are getting too close to the edge of collapse.

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. (Isaiah 57:15,16)

Day after day. Day after day. Is there no end to the hammering? The Lord Jesus smiles patiently having experienced the hammer blows Himself.

Our will is ground in the mill of God and the Substance of Christ is "beaten small" and pounded into our will until the two wills are indistinguishable. Each will is present, vital, undamaged, honed to razor sharpness. The two wills, Christ’s and ours, have been beaten fine and pounded together until God has been formed in us and is dwelling in us both to will and to do His good pleasure.

Let us rejoice because the throne of glory is being fashioned in us. Also, the defense of the glory, the wall of the new Jerusalem, the eternal resistance to all sin, is being created in us (Isaiah 4:5).

Covering the Mercy Seat are the two Cherubim of Glory. One is judgment and the other is mercy. Judgment and mercy. The fullness of God’s judgment and the fullness of God’s mercy. God does not sit on the Mercy Seat. God dwells between the Cherubim of Glory. There is no need for God to sit anywhere for He is All-energy, All-power, All-authority, All-goodness, All-wrath, All-mercy. God is everywhere and Everything at once!

Christ is seated on the highest throne of glory and we are seated together with Him and in Him. However, in order to maintain our place in Him, to keep possession of our crown, we must allow the Father to bring us into obedience, into the fullness of death and resurrection in Himself.

We are to follow the Holy Spirit in all matters. We cannot take hold of the program of redemption and manage it. Each of us has been called to a different place in God’s Kingdom. The full extent of our death and resurrection in God will depend on the place of responsibility and service to which we have been called. The calling of the Lord God of Heaven is upon us. Our task in life is to respond wholeheartedly to that call.

The first and second deaths and resurrections are somewhat the same for everyone. We all must accept Christ and be saved, and we all are commanded to renounce sin completely and to learn to live in the Spirit of God.

When we come to the area of conquest, while it most certainly is true that each of us must say "Yes" to Jesus when He speaks to us, yet the working out of death and resurrection in God varies from person to person.

There is only so much forming and testing we can stand. To aspire beyond our measure is to be plagued with spiritual ambition. Spiritual ambition runs perilously close to Satan’s rebellion. Let us be content, rather, with what is required of us as an individual. The accompanying challenges will prove to be as difficult as we are able to endure.

Summary: Conquest Defined

We have set forth some of the aspects of the third platform of redemption, that which we have termed conquest.

We have learned that the process of conquest includes undergoing death to the elements of our personality that are not immoral and, from some points of view, are apparently desirable. Self-reliance is an example. Self-reliance will never be resurrected in God. It is not part of Christ.

The death involved in conquest is in contrast to the first two deaths: death to the world, and death to sin—to the things that are unlawful.

The area of conquest includes judgment on all that our first personality is and does, not just what is worldly and unlawful. It is a reaping to the Father.

The three members of the holy Trinity have to do with all areas of redemption.

The Lord Jesus Christ especially is prominent in developing the area of salvation because it is by His atoning blood that we are saved from wrath.

The Holy Spirit especially is prominent in developing the area of sanctification, because it is by the wisdom and power the Holy Spirit provides that we are able to overcome the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

The Father especially is prominent in the area of conquest. Even the Lord Jesus Himself had to be made perfect in obedience to the Father.

All Christians know that God is our Father. We come to know the Father in an even greater measure when we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into the fullness of death and resurrection in the realm of obedience to His will.

Christ asks you: "Will you lose your life for My sake and the Gospel’s?"

What is your answer?

Conquest, and the Tabernacle of the Congregation

Let us examine the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and its aspects that shed light on the conquest area of our redemption.

We have discussed, in the preceding chapters, how the Courtyard of the Tabernacle speaks of the salvation area of redemption and the Holy Place portrays the area of sanctification. In the present chapter we shall be observing how the Most Holy Place and its various furnishings depict the growth in holiness and ultimate victory in Christ of the conquering believer.

The veil before the Most Holy Place. The Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation represents the place of greatest holiness and victory. The veil that separated the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place typifies the third death and resurrection in God.

And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy. (Exodus 26:33)

The gate leading into the Courtyard, the door leading into the Holy Place, and the veil leading into the Most Holy Place were all formed from blue (Heaven), scarlet (the blood atonement), and fine twisted white (righteousness) linen. The colors were worked into the linen in a beautiful manner just as the three deaths and three resurrections are worked into our personality in a beautiful and detailed manner.

The veil differed in appearance from the gate and the door in that figures of cherubim were included in the design of the veil. The cherubim signify that when we begin to enter deeply into consecration the power of Heaven becomes increasingly involved, as we witness in the Books of Daniel, Zechariah, Acts, and Revelation. Paul refers to the "elect angels" in his writing. An angel from Heaven strengthened Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane.

And thou shalt make a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims shall it be made: And thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of silver. (Exodus 26:31,32)

The four pillars, from which the veil was suspended had no ornamental tops (capitals), as did the five pillars holding up the door of the Holy Place. The absence of the capitals indicates that the conquering saints have cast their crowns at the feet of the Lord Jesus.

"Casting our crowns at the feet of Jesus" is a way of stating we are ready to be obedient to His slightest will. It is one thing to have the crown of life and righteousness. It is another matter to be ready to cast our crown at Jesus’ feet.

The two large sections of the linen curtain and the goats’ hair tent, the two inner coverings of the Tabernacle building, were clasped together over the veil. There is a line of demarcation between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place, signifying that our ministry in the Body of Christ is one level of glory while the Presence of God Himself is an even greater glory.

We are missing the mark when we make a god of our ministry or of our church activities and affiliations. It is possible for us to know the Church and still not know the Lord of the Church; to know Bethel but not El-Bethel.

There is a point in our growth at which we become involved in the development and ministry of the Church. Through the death of consecration God leads us to a further point, at which we understand that only He Himself is to be our chief interest.

As Moses of old we are to become so occupied with our adoration of the Lord that the many problems that absorb our attention now become of secondary importance. The Lord Himself sends us the necessary help from the heavenly Sanctuary when we spend time worshiping Him on His throne of glory.

Moses was the shepherd of several million unsettled and complaining people. After his experience with the Lord on Mount Sinai it appears that Moses devoted much—perhaps most—of his time worshiping God in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle.

The people of Israel met God at the bronze Altar that stood before the door of the Tabernacle but Moses worshiped God before the Ark of the Covenant. Moses’ face became transfigured as a result of his exposure to God on Sinai and in the Most Holy Place. Moses had to wear a veil on his face because of the radiance that blinded the people who looked at him.

Moses always took off the veil when he spoke to God. Through so much contact with the Lord, Moses became part of the Consuming Fire. The veil on the face of Moses served the same purpose as the veil that concealed the Most Holy Place—it protected Israel from the consuming Presence and it concealed the Glory of God from the eyes of the unsanctified.

We are to press on to the place where we become so preoccupied with the Glory of God that we no longer can be brought down into the swamps of unbelief, criticizing, murmuring, doubting.

Before the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified there was only one man on earth (with the exception of Moses) who was allowed to pass beyond the veil and into the Most Holy Place. On the annual Day of Atonement the High Priest entered before the Ark and sprinkled blood on the Mercy Seat for his own sins and for the sins of the people.

When Christ was crucified the veil in Herod’s Temple was torn asunder (Mark 15:38), portraying the fact that every believer in Christ now can come before the throne of God with boldness, presenting his needs and desires before the Presence of the Holy One of Israel.

There is no greater contrast between the old covenant and the new covenant than that of the full access into the Most Holy Place now available to every person, young and old, rich and poor, through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The veil was the third hanging of the Tabernacle. The other two hangings were the gate leading into the Courtyard and the door leading into the Holy Place.

The veil speaks of the third death, the death of our self, the denying of ourselves for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s. The veil parallels the River Jordan in symbolic meaning. The "Jordan" must be "crossed" by us before we can enter our land of promise.

The Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat portray the third resurrection—our resurrection into the fullness of the holiness and power of God Almighty.

The number four of the four posts that supported the veil reminds us of the harvest-rain outpouring of the Holy Spirit that will attend the closing days of the present wicked age. Four is the number of the feast of Pentecost (Leviticus 23:16).

The Holy Spirit has reinforced this symbolism by placing fifty gold clasps (taches) and fifty bronze clasps over the veil. The gold and the bronze reveal that the latter-day outpouring of the Holy Spirit will bring both the Glory and the judgment of God on the earth. The number fifty is associated with the feast of Pentecost (Leviticus 23:16) in that the word itself—Pentecost —is derived from a Greek word meaning fifty. Pentecost is the fiftieth-day feast.

The two sets of fifty clasps portray the double portion of God’s Spirit that will mark the transition from the Church Age to the Kingdom Age.

The number four of the four posts speaks also of the four major stages of the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God through Christ brought into the creation.

The first stage was the birth, ministry, and crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ—the King of the Kingdom of God.

The second stage began with the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus and is progressing with the principal effect of that resurrection and ascension, which is the forming of Christ in the members of the Body of Christ.

The third stage will be the work of the Servant of the Lord, who is Christ—Head and Body, throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

The fourth stage of the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth is the coming down from Heaven of the perfected Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem.

Each of the three hangings, the gate, the door, and the veil, was one hundred square cubits in area. The sum is three hundred square cubits. Noah’s Ark was three hundred cubits in length.

It is our understanding that the development of the Kingdom of God, as represented by the Tabernacle of the Congregation, consists of three "days." During the three "days," those who are willing to accept God’s salvation will be saved.

As in Noah’s Ark, there will be a lower, middle, and upper story, so to speak, of those who are saved. By this we mean that some people will reap Christ thirtyfold, some will reap Christ sixtyfold, and some will reap Christ a hundredfold. All who reap Christ will be saved.

When the three "stories" have been completed, and the length of three hundred cubits has been attained (following the symbolism of the Ark of Noah and the three hangings of the Tabernacle), the destruction of the present heaven and the earth will take place.

The Church today stands at the door of the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. What we see in the immediate future is the rapid maturing of the Body of Christ until the last enemy, death itself, can be challenged successfully. Then our Lord Jesus Christ will appear from Heaven, and the saints on earth at that time—like so many Enochs—will pass the death-barrier safely in terrific power and majesty.

However, the saints on earth will not be raised before the saints whose "sleeping" bodies are awaiting the royal summons.

It is our point of view also, based on the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, that the Father and the Son will enter the members of the mature Body of Christ, in fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, just prior to the visible return of Christ from Heaven. The Lord Jesus will appear from beneath as well as from above, leaving the enemy no place of dominion in the heavenlies or on the earth.

The Lord God Almighty will roar out of Zion. (Isaiah 42:13; Joel 3:16). When He does the iron rod of righteousness will be imposed on the peoples of the earth. This will begin the third stage in the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus, and the resurrection and ascension of the Church, will be triumphs of holiness and power. Perceiving the resurrection and ascension of the Church as the result of victorious faith in Christ is a most important outlook for the disciples. If we view the resurrection and ascension of the dead and living saints as demonstrations of spiritual maturity and power we will press forward in Christ so we may be part of that first resurrection.

If we view the resurrection and ascension of the Church as a flight of immature believers to escape trouble or persecution or tribulation or the Antichrist, we may (and practical experience indicates this actually happens) settle back into the rut of spiritual indifference, waiting to be transformed suddenly from a lukewarm church-attender into a member of the royal priesthood, at the appearing of the Lord.

The above attitude is not scriptural. It will lead to one of three results: (1) the Lord will judge us and we will be chastened; (2) all our works will be burned and we will be saved by fire, void of reward, fruit, or dominion; or (3) we will be put into outer darkness.

The Lord Jesus spoke sternly concerning those who do not prepare themselves for their Lord’s return.

Today the saints are moving past the Lampstand, speaking symbolically of pressing past the manifestation of the Spirit, and are approaching the Altar of Incense. This means we are learning to pray and worship in the Spirit of God.

Praying and praising makes us so desirous of the Presence of Christ that we begin to look with increasing militancy of spirit at sin and death; for the sin and death still resident in our bodies are the last stronghold of the enemy in us. This militant attitude toward sin and death is exactly what Christ is creating in us.

When the saints finally cry out from hearts that are pure in holy adoration and longing, Come, Lord Jesus!, then the Father will be moved to set into motion the final climactic events that will send the Lord Jesus back to the Bride who ardently awaits His glorious appearing.

The army of God is at the brink of Jordan. The Ark (Christ) passed through death and resurrection two thousand years ago (2,000 cubits—see Joshua 3:4). Now the army, the Body of Christ, is attaining the last stages of preparation.

As soon as the Body begins to march it cannot be stopped. The "priests bearing the Ark" will move forward and the waters of death will part. The army will march through death itself "dryshod." No power or authority in Heaven or on the earth can in any manner resist the Body of Christ because the Holy Spirit of God is proceeding onward to the climax of the work of redemption.

Reader, what does your heart say to this? If something in you comes alive, hearing the trumpet call of the Lord Jesus, gird up the loins of your spirit. Prepare yourself to follow the Lord into the fullness of the promised redemption. We who are alive at the end-time will participate in the restoration of the creation. Many who are last will be first in the Kingdom.

He who has an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

The Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle. Beyond the veil was the Most Holy Place. It was half the size of the Holy Place, being a cube about fifteen feet on all three sides. The walls were gold-covered acacia wood. The ceiling was fine white linen fashioned with cherubim. The floor was the desert ground.

The Ark of the Covenant, a gold-covered chest containing its carrying poles in their receptacles perpetually ready for the march, was located in the Most Holy Place. The solid-gold Mercy Seat (properly, Lid of Atonement, of Appeasement, or Reconciliation) served as a lid on the top of the Ark of the Covenant.

Beaten from the same mass of gold as the Mercy Seat were the two covering Cherubim of Glory, one on each end of the Mercy Seat and facing inward. Their wings overshadowed the Mercy Seat.

The most important element of the Most Holy Place was the Lord Himself. It is difficult to appreciate this fact fully, but it is true that God, the Creator, actually resided between the wings of the golden Cherubim of Glory.

We often refer to a church building as being a "house of God." However, this is little more than a figure of speech. The most Holy Place of the Tabernacle actually was the house of God. God dwelled there in Person.

Under the new covenant, the true house of God is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the fulfillment of the symbolism of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Also, the heart of each Christian is being made a true house of God in preparation for our full union with Christ.

The completed Kingdom of God will bring the ultimate fulfillment of all that the Tabernacle depicts in type.

At this point in our book, the focus of our attention is the Presence of God in the Most Holy Place, between the Cherubim of Glory.

And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8)

And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 25:21,22)

Notice the name of this room—the Most Holy Place. It was a most holy area. The Courtyard of the Tabernacle was a holy place. The Holy Place of the Tabernacle was yet more holy. The Most Holy Place was the holiest of all.

So it is with the Christian discipleship. The Holy Spirit always is moving us toward a higher level of holiness. The true disciple always is increasing in holiness. Holiness is the environment in which God lives, moves, and has His Being. It is impossible to walk with the Lord in spiritual uncleanness. Apart from holiness no one can see the Lord.

To be holy means there is nothing in our motivations, imaginations, attitudes, speech, or actions that is not found in the Father.

We have seen that the Holy Place of the Tabernacle represents the activities of the Holy Spirit in the Church of Christ as He keeps on bringing us from a less holy state to a more holy state.

The Most Holy Place portrays the experience of perfect holiness. The Most Holy Place speaks of the goal of the Christian discipleship. The goal of the Christian walk, ministry, and development is the state of holiness such that we can be received of God and know Him as our Father (II Corinthians 6:17,18).

The Most Holy Place typifies the place of the fullness of the indwelling of God in Christ and our absorption into this holy union. It is the realm of Presence, fellowship, victory, inheritance, power, authority, priesthood, service, and the fullness of the Substance, Nature, and image of Christ.

It is the area of transformation, the re-creation of our substance, character, ways of imagining, thinking, speaking, acting. In the Most Holy Place the Divine gold formed in us is refined several times until it is transparently pure (Revelation 21:18); for we must abide eternally in the Bosom of Him concerning whose radiant glory Moses exclaimed, "I do exceedingly fear and quake."

The Most Holy Place is the arena where God’s will is proved. You may recall that the ordaining of the priesthood was tested by placing representative rods before the Ark in the Most Holy Place. The rods were exposed to no light except the Fire of God’s holy Presence.

In due time the rod of Aaron, whom God had chosen as priest, gave forth buds, blossoms, and almonds.

So it is that we must place all the decisions of our life in the Presence of the Fire of God. In due time God’s choice will begin to bring forth signs of life. This is not natural life, for Aaron’s rod was not a cutting placed in water. It was supernatural life sprouting from a dead stick that had been hardened and aged so it could serve as a staff.

The Ark of the Covenant.

And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about. And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it. And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them. The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it. And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee. (Exodus 25:10-16)

The Ark of the Covenant was a chest made of acacia wood, about three feet nine inches wide, two feet three inches high, and two feet three inches deep. It was covered inside and outside with refined gold.

Unlike the other holy furnishings of the Tabernacle, the carrying poles always remained in place in the supporting receptacles that were "in the four corners thereof." Every time the Tabernacle was set up the carrying poles were withdrawn from the bronze Altar, the Table of Showbread, and the Altar of Incense. However, the carrying poles remained in the Ark. They were partially drawn out when the Ark was placed in the Temple of Solomon (I Kings 8:8).

Inside the Ark were the two tables of stone on which were written the Ten Commandments. Also in the Ark were the memorial jar of manna and Aaron’s rod that budded and bore fruit. Alongside of the Ark was placed a copy of the writings of Moses (Deuteronomy 31:26).

When Israel was on the march the Ark, with its covering Mercy Seat, was carried by poles on the shoulders of the Kohathite Levites. The Ark and Mercy Seat first were wrapped in the veil, then the porpoise-skin protective cover was placed over the whole. Finally the exterior covering of blue cloth proclaimed the Presence of the God of Heaven.

A wandering shepherd who might stand and observe the procession go by would see only the blue cloth and the gold overlay of the carrying poles.

As we have said, the Tabernacle reveals to us that if we would press on toward Christ (the Ark of the Covenant) we must progress toward increased holiness of conduct. Christ dwells in the Most Holy Place. The fact that the poles never were removed from the rings on the corners of the Ark shows us that we always must be ready to move with the Spirit.

There always is movement in God. We always are pressing into Him. Our maturing in God will not cease at the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ. We shall be drawing ever closer to the Lord throughout eternity. After many billions of eons we still shall be in the process of being transformed into His image.

Consider His greatness: He knew your name and all about you before He created the heavens and the earth. (Ephesians 1:4; II Timothy 1:9).

It is impossible for us even to begin to conceive of the fullness of the Glory of the Lord. How long would it take for us to visit and measure all the stars in all the galaxies? Yet, this would be a small feat indeed compared with drawing near and beginning to conceive of the Creator of all these. Nevertheless, it is our destiny to be changed from glory to glory into His image.

The Ark of the Covenant was constructed of wood and then covered with gold. The Ark represents, first of all, our Lord Jesus Christ. It typifies also our perfection in Him. In addition, we see revealed in the Ark of the Covenant the mature Body of Christ, now grown up into the Head.

Finally, the Ark speaks to us of the warlike Nature and actions of the Lord Jesus Christ as He establishes the rule of God in the earth. The Ark bears on itself the fullness of the holiness and power of the Almighty God. It is the place of the Presence of God, the God of battles.

The wood of the Ark of the Covenant represents the humanity of the Lord Jesus and the gold portrays His Divine Nature. He is both Son of Man and Son of God. His Divinity is terribly perfect. He is very God of very God.

Christ is the Word from the beginning, the Creator of all things. His meekness before His Father as He wrought redemption for us must never deceive us as to His awful majesty. He is God. John, one of the Lord’s closest friends on earth, fell as one dead when he beheld the Lord Jesus in His Glory.

It is inspiring to contemplate the Divinity of the Lord and also His humanity. He was born of a woman and was tested in all points as we are. Yet He conquered.

Of all the mighty potentates in the heavens, the angels, the seraphim, the cherubim, and doubtless other personages of awesome wisdom and dignity, the One who occupies the highest throne in the universe is a man—one of our race. We can lift up our heads at the thought. The body that walked along the shores of the Sea of Galilee is now seated on the throne of authority and power that none other can approach. Very God of very God is also man born of woman. Truly this is a mystery far surpassing any other.

Just as the gold-covered Ark portrays the Lord Jesus Christ, it reveals also the perfected saint, the conqueror in Christ. At the appearing of the Lord Jesus our mortal body will be made eternally alive by the indwelling of the Spirit of God. Then the resurrected mortal body will be clothed with our new house from Heaven.

Here is the gold coming down and overlaying the wood of our mortal frame. The covering of the wood on the inside of the Ark is happening now as our inner man is being re-created—transmuted into Divine Substance by the permeation of the Divine Virtue.

Our old body will never be seen again. It will be present in our glorified body just as the ancient leaves and organisms are preserved in the rock. The good news of the Gospel is that we shall not perish but that we, including our body, shall be raised and clothed with eternal life.

In the Ark were the two tables of stone on which were inscribed the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s rod that budded and bore fruit, and the jar of memorial manna. These three elements must be present in every believer before he or she is ready to be clothed with the glorified body of extraordinary capabilities.

The tables of stone inscribed with the Ten Commandments, which were the testimony for which the Ark was named, represent the Word of God that has been fashioned in us under the new covenant. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh. We are the flesh being made the Word of God.

We Christians are being made living epistles. The new covenant is being written on the tables of our hearts. Absolute holiness and righteousness is the final result of the Spirit of God working in each saint.

Aaron’s rod that budded speaks of the Holy Spirit who is in us. We possess the resurrection life that flows from our death in Christ. We are learning to live by the eternal wisdom and strength of the Spirit.

As we come into the bond of Christ’s sufferings we are experiencing the uplifting, invincible power of the Spirit of God directing us in the will of God. We are declared to be sons of God by the power working in us. First there come buds, and then blossoms, and finally the fruit of the Spirit. We must keep on sowing to the Spirit so that of the Spirit we may reap eternal life.

The Divine Life that resurrected Aaron’s rod declared that God had chosen the house of Aaron to stand before Him as a royal priesthood. It is at this point that an essential issue of the Kingdom of God is brought into focus.

For two thousand years, self-seeking, self-serving men and women have dominated the large Christian organizations. Throughout the same period of time there have been unknown saints who truly were called of God and who served Him in the Spirit. Neither the churches nor the world have recognized the true priesthood, the priesthood God has chosen.

Today the Pentecostal believers are at a crossroad. Some have decided to take the gifts and spiritual understanding that have come to us during the twentieth century and by these bring the Kingdom of God into the world. This is the False Prophet of which the Book of Revelation speaks. The False Prophet comes out of the "earth," that is to say, out of the soul of self-centered people (Revelation 13:11).

A much smaller group of believers is hearing from the Lord Jesus, from Him whose eyes are as a flame of fire. These are the believers whom God has chosen to be as Esther, in the last days; to be as the "lad" who guided the hands of Samson (the Church) to the "pillars" that support the kingdom of Satan.

The Lord is not exhorting this holy remnant to "go forth and bring the Kingdom into the earth." Rather, He is facing them with the personal cross of self-denial, with the fires of judgment on the works of the flesh. He is teaching them humility, not arrogance. He is leading them back to the old paths of cross-carrying obedience to the Lord.

This is the remnant God has chosen. Meanwhile, the Christian churches are as Vashti. They are making a banquet of their own, although doing so "in the royal house that belonged to king Ahasuerus" (Esther 1:9). They are so full of their own ways that when the Lord calls to them they refuse to come.

The remnant is as Esther, coming before the Presence of Jesus with fear and trembling. Truly, Esther has been called to the Kingdom in the present hour because of the destruction facing God’s people, both Jews and Christians.

The church leaders are as Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, seeking to rule the congregation of the Lord. They "leap" as the mountains of Bashan. The holy remnant are as Aaron. They do not vaunt themselves, scheming and plotting in order to gain power and prestige. Rather, they wait on the Lord until they bud, blossom, and bring forth fruit.

The memorial jar of manna speaks of the Substance of Christ, the body and blood that nourish the born- again inner man. Each day of our life we come to realize to a greater degree that in our natural man dwells no good thing, no wisdom, no strength, no righteousness.

The Divine Virtue in us sustains us as we are being brought daily into conformity with the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The Virtue is from God Himself. It is the daily portion of Christ, the "hidden manna," given us in order to provide strength during our wilderness sojourn. As our days so is our strength from the Lord.

Day after day the Lord knocks down our old nature by circumstances beyond our control. Day after day the Lord feeds us with His body and blood. We learn to live by Him as He lives by the Father. We drink His blood and eat His flesh. This is the true Bread from Heaven. Christ is our manna, and by His strength we are able to overcome the evil that comes against us each day.

The saint must possess in himself the holiness of the Word of God, resurrection life from the Holy Spirit, and the Divine Substance. Day after day, month after month, year after year, the three aspects of the Personality of God are being perfected in us.

As soon as the fullness of inner preparation has been accomplished, the gold of the glorified bodies of the saints will descend from Heaven by the hand of the Lord Jesus Christ. His reward is with Him, the just recompense of each believer is before Him at His appearing.

Every Christian will receive the things done in his body. Each will be rewarded according to his faithfulness in serving the Lord.

The conquerors, those who have overcome the world, Satan, and their own fleshly nature and self-will, will receive the gold of their house from Heaven that will overlay their mortal frame. They then will be part of the spiritual fulfillment of the Ark of the Covenant.

The Church of Christ, along with the Head, Christ, is the fulfillment of the Ark of the Covenant. The Body of Christ is coming to maturity as the individual members come to maturity. This fulfillment of the Ark of the Covenant is the "Mount Zion" of the Prophets. When the Head and Body of Christ flow together, at the appearing of the Lord Jesus, the Servant of the Lord, Christ, the Anointed Deliverer, will commence His ministry.

Oppressive darkness will cover the peoples of the earth. At the darkest hour, as Isaiah informs us (Chapter 60), the fullness of the Spirit of God will arise upon the Body of Christ. The Head will descend in awful majesty. The nations of the earth will tremble as the army of God, described in prophecy by Joel and Habakkuk, marches through the land. Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.

The Ark is the sixth of the holy furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. It portrays the coming of the Church into the fullness of the image of Christ, just as man was created in the image of God on the sixth day of creation. The Wife of the Lamb will be perfected during the sixth phase of redemption, the Day of Atonement (thousand-year Kingdom Age; Year of Jubilee).

What will occur when the Body of Christ approaches spiritual maturity? The Lord Jesus will return. The Headstone will descend with shouts of "Grace, grace to it" (Zechariah 4:7). Then the forces of darkness will tremble before the onslaught of righteousness as the Lord Jesus rides forth at the head of His army.

Moving toward the Ark: Psalms Twenty-four. Let us turn now to the twenty-fourth Psalm. Most of us know the gentle Shepherd of the twenty-third Psalm. Do we know the Conqueror of the twenty-fourth Psalm?

The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. (Psalms 24:1)

As we move past the Altar of Incense, enter behind the veil, and stand before the Ark of the Covenant, the place of the fullness of the purpose of the Lord God of Heaven, we become increasingly aware of the Lord’s ownership of the earth and the people of the world. The earth and the nations are the inheritance of the Lord Jesus. As we press into coheirship with Him, the burden for the deliverance of the earth and its people becomes our daily bread.

The Lord never has turned the earth over to the forces of darkness. The earth belongs to those who are meek before God. The adversary is a thief and a liar and comes only to steal and destroy. The earth and its inhabitants belong to Christ and His saints.

For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. (Psalms 24:2)

We find in the account of the creation (Genesis, Chapter One) that the waters existed before the dry earth. When the waters were gathered together the dry land appeared. No matter how the waves have roared and the rivers have churned since that time, the earth and its inhabitants have survived, Yet the water always is around us, reminding us of the days of Noah.

We could wish that the Lord had founded the earth and its people on granite rock. All through our pilgrimage on the earth we are aware we are established on nothing more dependable than a flood. Until our life is founded on Christ we are pulled one way and then the other depending on the powerful currents in which we find ourselves.

Earth and its peoples are at the mercy of each "storm." Wars and disasters of all kinds come and go. Let us keep firmly in mind, however, that it was the Lord God, not Satan, who established the earth and its peoples. Satan and his angels are intruders into the domain of mankind.

No matter how the waves of conflict and destruction rage about us the earth and its people will survive. It is the Lord God who caused the dry land to appear and who created mankind on the earth.

The future deliverance and blessing of mankind through Christ is as certain as the Person and dependability of the Lord God. He has founded the earth and its inhabitants. He has established them. Let the waters rage as they will, the Lord will preserve the world and give it to His Christ. Let the atom bombs fall as they may, mankind will survive.

In the new heaven and earth reign of Christ there is "no more sea" (Revelation 21:1). The storms of spiritual and natural turmoil will have subsided and peace will reign throughout the universe. The basis for the security of people will still be the Word of God, just as is true today.

Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. (Psalms 24:3-5)

The ascent to Zion, the "hill" of the Lord, His holy place, is the Christian pilgrimage toward the Person and holiness of God in Christ. Who is it that will be able to press through to God’s fullness? Who is it that will be able to move past the Altar of Incense and arrive at the Ark of the Covenant?

"He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart." It is the believer who behaves in a righteous and holy manner, showing mercy toward people and humility toward God, who will be blessed by God. To each person who makes the effort to live righteously the Lord will appear, bringing with Him increased ability to live righteously.

He who conducts himself in a righteous and holy manner will be able to become even more holy and righteous during the Day of the Lord. To those who have will be given more and they will possess abundance. Those who choose to live in uncleanness will receive more uncleanness, and they will perish in their lawlessness.

As soon as the present Divinely ordained opportunities have been withdrawn, the holy will remain holy and the filthy will remain filthy. The way of the Lord will be made straight.

When we are moving toward Christ, toward the Ark of the Covenant, we are moving from the less holy to the more holy. Each day of our pilgrimage we are moving toward increased righteousness, holiness, and obedience of conduct. In so doing we become eligible for the blessings of the Lord and for the strength to overcome the enemies of the Lord Jesus.

This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah. (Psalms 24:6)

Clean hands, purity of heart, a truthful spirit, integrity of character—this is the description of the true seeker of God. There is a need for holy people to seek the face of Christ. It is not enough to be holy and it is not enough to seek the face of Christ. The two must go together—holiness and seeking. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16).

Now we come to the purpose of God. As we move toward holiness and righteousness in these days, seeking the face of Christ with unrelenting zeal, the Spirit of God sounds the alarm of war in the spirit realm. We hear the trumpet of God. We have known the Lord Jesus as the gentle Shepherd. Now it is time to learn of Him as the Lord of Hosts, of Armies. There is a tremendous conflict facing us—the battle of the ages. Who is on the Lord’s side?

It is time for the army of the Lord to be prepared for the crossing of Jordan. The necessary strength-giving food must be provided so the Lord’s people can enter combat. "Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals, for in three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, that the Lord your God giveth you to possess it" (Joshua 1:11).

The Day of the Lord is at hand. The army of the Lord is getting ready for the battle. Are we hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit as He prepares us for what lies ahead?

Will you be faithful during your trials and testings so you can ride with the Lord in the day of battle? You must be faithful as well as being called and chosen. His name is Faithful and True. The army in Heaven is ready. The army in the earth is being prepared rapidly.

It is time for the Lord Jesus to return and receive His rightful position as King of all kings and Lord of all lords. He is a terrible King. Let the inhabitants of the earth tremble.

Before He presents Himself as King to the earth He first will present Himself as King and Lord to the members of His Body. The following four verses describe what happens in us if we will allow the Lord Jesus to have His way with us.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. (Psalms 24:7)

The "gates," the "everlasting doors," are the hearts of men. Christ stands today before the eternal doors of our hearts. Will we open them wide so that He may come in? "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him and we will come to him, and make our abode with him" (John 14:23).

If we will open the gates of our hearts to Christ today, He will come in to us and will dine with us. Will you make room in your life for Jesus, crowning Him as Lord of your own life? Or will you choose to deny Him entrance, enthroning the abominations of the world in His rightful place?

The question comes, "Who is this King of Glory who desires to enter our heart?"

Who is this King of Glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. (Psalms 24:8)

When the Lord Jesus enters our personality He sets up a camp of war. He marches to war against the sin and self-will in our life.

When He, through our cooperation, puts all His enemies who are in us under His feet, He then has made us ready to march with Him against His enemies in other people. We cannot reign with Him until first He achieves dominion over us.

The coming Day of the Lord must have its rise now in our own heart. The Day of the Lord is that condition in which Christ is Lord over all. Every one of His enemies has been placed under His feet. Will you allow Him to accomplish that total victory in you? When you do, you will become part of the Ark of the Covenant, the Ark that leads the way into battle.

Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of Glory shall come in. (Psalms 24:9)

Again, the Spirit of God exhorts us to open our personality to Christ. The promise to us is that if we will do this, God’s Warrior and Conqueror, the Lord Jesus Christ, will enter us and put His enemies under His feet.

As soon as the Lord enters us in this manner we will have a foretaste of the coming thousand-year Kingdom Age. There will be nothing left in us that hurts or destroys the work of God. We will be in the rest of God and possess the peace of God.

Who is this King of Glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of Glory. Selah. (Psalms 24:10)

The Lord Jesus comes to us at one point in our Christian experience as the Good Shepherd. He leads us beside the quiet waters. Then, as we become older and stronger in the Lord, He begins to reveal Himself to us as the Lord of Armies. He still takes care of us as the gentle Shepherd. In addition He prepares us for the conflict of the ages.

We learn to endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ. Our spirit becomes wise and tough, disciplined, ready to endure all things in His name. There is a tremendous work of judgment and deliverance yet to be accomplished in the earth. The destruction of the ungodly that is to come will be administered through the saints.

And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the LORD cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (Jude 14,15)

Notice that the verse above is speaking of the ungodly in the churches!

The Church of Christ operates at many levels. In some places the Church is making disciples from among the nations. In other places believers in Christ are experiencing for the first time Divine healing, speaking in tongues, singing in the Spirit, and intense worship of God in the assemblies.

The growing edge of holiness and revelation is moving past these activities, although each of them needs to be, as the circumstances indicate, practiced continually by all of us. We need to come to greater maturity in every area of Christ.

Yet there remains a further challenge to us, a mark toward which we are to be pressing, a light now appearing on the horizon. The point farthest out is that of the Ark of the Covenant—our death of self-denial and obedience, an increased knowledge of the Father, and the coming of Christ to us in greater fullness.

Behold, the Judge, the Lord Jesus, stands at the door of the Church. The Altar of Incense of the Tabernacle typifies the area into which the advance guard of the Church is moving, the level of increased prayer and praise to God and obedience to His will. The veil represents our death in Christ. We set aside our own lives in favor of the purpose of God as He establishes His Kingdom on the earth.

Just behind the veil is the Ark of the Covenant, the appearing of God’s Warrior-King from Heaven. Do you see how close we are now to the coming of Christ? Do you see how the maturing of the Body of Christ is related to the coming of Christ?

Sometimes it is maintained that the Lord Jesus is coming to His Body as a thief. Such is not the case. Paul writes, "Ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief" (I Thessalonians 5:4).

Christ is coming as a thief to the world and to the lukewarm believers, taking the sinners in the churches by surprise. But the Bride will be on tiptoe, ready to participate with her King in the setting up of the Kingdom of God.

We Christians experience trials, pressures, problems, tribulations, persecutions, during our discipleship. This has been true throughout Church history and is just as true today. God works closely with Christian people in the furnace of affliction and trouble. God has no need to withdraw us from the battlefield unless He wishes to do so for His own reasons.

Consider the Ninety-first Psalm. Consider Israel in Goshen. Consider the Apostles of the first century and the early church. God did not remove them from tribulation. He guarded each believer carefully and accomplished His purposes in him in the midst of fiery tribulation.

God assists us where we are. An ignorance of this principle of the Divine working causes the saints to complain about their sufferings rather than to work cooperatively with the Holy Spirit as He perfects them by trials.

A saint who has been taught he is not required to suffer will not bear his cross after the Lord Jesus. He will not make the preparations in his own life that will prove to be necessary if he is to triumphantly "meet the Lord in the air." Anyone who teaches otherwise is a false prophet and is deceiving God’s people.

When the Lord Jesus appears, just as Paul teaches, the trumpet of the Lord will sound. The dead in Christ will stand on their feet in resurrection life, and then rise to meet the Lord in the air. The living saints will be changed into an immortal state and will be raised with them to meet the Lord as He descends from Heaven.

The nations of the earth will witness the resurrection and ascension of God’s saints. How could it be otherwise? The sound of the Lord’s trumpet will shake the earth, just as it did at Sinai. The Lord Jesus is not going to come with a whisper and sneak His Church away. As the lightning shines from the east to the west so shall the coming of the Son of Man be. The wicked of the earth will cry out for the mountains and rocks to cover and hide them from the face of the avenging Lamb. Then it will be too late.

The Lord and His prepared saints, those who have proved to be faithful under testing and discipline, will descend as a striking force, moving with incredible speed and power. The rulers of the earth will attempt to resist the invasion of the Lord and His army but they will be dashed to pieces by the onslaught.

This is how the Lord Jesus will gain possession of His rightful inheritance—the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth. God has promised the earth to the meek of mankind, and through the Lord Jesus the meek will inherit the earth.

On and on the army of saints will advance until wickedness has been destroyed from the earth and righteousness fills the whole world. The Judge has appeared and His warrior-saints are ruling with Him. What a time of recompense! What a day of glory! What a manifestation of the power of God!

The Day of the Lord is the manifestation of the fullness of the overcoming strength that Christ is creating in His followers. The resurrection and ascension of the saints, as described in I Thessalonians, is the climactic act in the program of redemption—a step that will require unwavering faith on the part of the participants.

Resurrection faith is being created now. One aspect of that faith is our ability to stand as a rock in steadfast faithfulness during difficult trials of our belief in the goodness of God and in the dependability of Christ.

If we are willing to pay the price of obedience to death, no matter how severely our faith is tried, we will be ready to take the next step, which is to receive the transformation of our body and to see Him and work with Him at His glorious appearing.

Are you willing to proceed onward with Christ in total consecration? If you will agree to do so (and He never will force you), your treasures in Heaven are as sure as the Word of Christ. Following Christ requires all the strength and courage we possess; but the rewards are surpassingly glorious.

The Lord Jesus stands at the door of your life today. He is the Lord, strong and mighty in battle. Will you open the eternal doors of your heart and allow the Lord Jesus to rule in you? If you will, He shall lead you into battle against the work of the enemy in your own life and—as He directs—in the lives of others.

Finally, you will ride with Him during the tremendous days that are ahead.

"So shall we ever be with the Lord."

The army of the Lord follows the Ark. The tenth chapter of Numbers describes the organization of the tribes of Israel into the army of the Lord. It is an Old Testament type of the organization of the Body of Christ into the army of the Lord.

The Ark of the Covenant was carried on the shoulders of the Kohathite Levites in the center of the line of march; except when there were special needs, such as for the direction in which to travel or for spearheading an attack. When these needs occurred, the Ark moved out in front.

The Ark of the Covenant at the head of Israel represents the Lord Jesus Christ at the head of His army when He returns to judge the world.

And they departed from the mount of the LORD three days’ journey: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them in the three days’ journey, to search out a resting place for them. (Numbers 10:33)

And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel. (Numbers 10:35,36)

As soon as the ministry of Joshua had been established, and the army of the Lord actually was ready to cross Jordan and enter the land of promise, the Ark of the Lord came into increased prominence.

As soon as the Church actually is ready to destroy the forces of wickedness from the earth, having been willing to participate in the death to self that God requires, and otherwise prepared to undergo the resurrection of the body, the Lord Jesus will move from His headquarters in Heaven and take His place at the head of His army. Together they will descend to the earth to assume the rulership of the nations.

And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host; And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it. Yet, there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore. (Joshua 3:2-4)

A space was maintained between the army and the Ark "that ye may know the way by which ye must go."

The Lord Jesus was ready two thousand years ago to assume control of the earth. He could have gathered multitudes around Himself, given them all power to heal the sick and cast out devils, and power also to destroy all resistance. The warrior angels, fighting under Christ’s command, would have made all resistance hopeless.

Christ could have established the Kingdom of God at that time. However, there would not have been a personal transformation of the people whom He was using to bring in His kingdom.

The members of the Church would not have been transformed by the elements of Divine grace. They would have been good, diligent, conscientious believers, obeying Christ in all matters. But they would not have been fashioned internally and externally into His image.

They would not have been like Him, of Him, indwelt by Him, bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. It has required two thousand years of travail of the Christian Church in order for the Body of Christ to be born and to be of the Substance and Nature of Christ (Micah 5:2). This is the reason for the interval of time between the first and second appearings of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ was born in a manger, the Word made flesh for all to see. Soon He will descend from Heaven to the world but in the Church. The difference between the Church and the world is that the Lord is coming to the world but to, with, and in the Church. It is the coming of the Lord in the Church that is the point of major significance and the reason for the numerous lessons we must learn and the deaths to sin and self we must die.

We have stated that the Lord Jesus first will overcome the works of the enemy in His Church, and then through the Church will extend the Day of the Lord to the farthest reaches of the earth.

Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen [nations], and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD. (Psalms 149:5-9)

It can be understood from the above passage that the judgment of God on the earth will be administered by the saints. The saints have the honor of executing on the wicked of the earth the judgment of God written in the Scriptures.

Not only will the saints escape the wrath of God, but if they live victoriously in Christ they will be the ones who administer the judgment of God on the earth during the Day of the Lord.

I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. (Daniel 7:21,22)

After the worldwide revival that will precede the return of the Lord Jesus, the devil through his people will make war against the saints and overcome the testimony. Christ will destroy those evil forces with the brightness of His appearing, and His saints will receive the power to execute judgment and will possess the Kingdom of God.

"This honor have all his saints."

And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? (Joel 2:11)

And saviours [deliverers] shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD’s. (Obadiah 21)

And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. (Micah 5:8)

. . . when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. (Habakkuk 3:16)

And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. . . . (Romans 16:20)

Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? . . . (I Corinthians 6:2)

Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the LORD Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (II Thessalonians 1:6-9)

And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 4:3)

And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the LORD cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (Jude 14,15)

And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. (Revelation 2:26,27)

And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power [authority], but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)

Summary of the meaning of the Ark. The Ark of the Covenant represents, as we have said, our Lord Jesus Christ. The wood of the chest shows that He truly is the Son of Man. The pure gold covering on the outside and the inside reveals the Divinity of Christ. He is very God of very God. He is both Son of Man and Son of God.

The ever-present carrying poles of the Ark portray the fact that the Presence of God is always moving and that we always are to press into a greater fullness. There never is to be the smugness of complacency and superiority in the personality of the Church because there always is so much more to receive and accomplish in the Lord.

The Ark is the sixth of the seven holy furnishings of the Tabernacle, revealing to us that we will have reached the Ark when we are in the image of Christ; for mankind was created in God’s image on the sixth day.

The Ark is the portrayal of our individual perfecting in that the gold of the Ark portrays both the forming of Christ in us and the Divine "house from heaven" that will "swallow up" our mortal body so we are filled with the fullness of the Holiness and Life of God Almighty. Thus we shall be covered with Divinity on the inside and the outside.

The Ark is the fullness of Christ—Head and Body. Christ will abide eternally in His fullness in the perfected Body while God the Father abides eternally in His fullness in Christ. We are made one in the Son and, through the Son, in the Father.

The Ark signifies the coming of the Lord of Armies of the Twenty-fourth Psalm. We are to "lift up" the eternal doors of our heart. As we do, the Lord strong and mighty in battle will enter us and bring every part of our personality, including our imaginations, into captivity to Christ.

Submission to the lordship of Christ is the beginning of the Day of the Lord in us and the establishing of a personal kingdom age in us. When the personal Day of the Lord and personal kingdom age have been created in us, we then will be prepared to join with Christ in the spreading of the worldwide Day of the Lord and the worldwide thousand-year Kingdom Age of righteousness and peace.

Such is the design for the establishing of the Kingdom of God on earth.

The Mercy Seat. The Mercy Seat (Lid of Reconciliation) was the seventh of the seven holy furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. It was the most holy element of the Tabernacle. The Mercy Seat represents God Himself.

The Lid of Reconciliation (Mercy Seat) signifies the fullness of Divine Person, Divine Substance, Divine purpose, Divine ways, Divine Word, Divine authority and power, Divine wrath, Divine mercy. The Mercy Seat typifies the fullness of All that God Is. It is the place of the Shechinah, the Glory of the Holy One of Israel.

The Mercy Seat is to the old covenant what the concepts of John, Chapter 17 are to the new covenant. It is the area in which God and man, through Christ, come into such holy union that we immediately must "take off our shoes" in order to approach the holy Fire.

If it were not for the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ we would have as much chance of surviving before the Mercy Seat as we would if we were cast into the center of the sun.

The Mercy Seat was one piece with the Ark of the Covenant, revealing to us that the Body of Christ is being created one in Christ in God just as Christ is one in God. Truly, the Father loves the Church, the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, as He loves His only begotten Son.

And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof. And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat. And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof. And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be. And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 25:17-22)

The Mercy Seat, the Propitiatory (Hebrew kap-PO-reth ), the place of appeasement, atonement, mercy, pardon, covering, reconciliation, was three feet, nine inches long, and two feet, three inches wide—just fitting on top of the Ark of the Covenant. The Cherubim of Glory, looking toward each other, covered the Mercy Seat with their outstretched wings.

The Mercy Seat and two covering cherubim were beaten from one mass of pure gold. Although the art of casting metal was known to the Israelites and utilized by them in the manufacture of some of the elements of the Tabernacle, the Mercy Seat and cherubim were beaten from pure gold—a prolonged and difficult process.

The beating into shape of the Mercy Seat typifies that even the Divine Christ was "beaten" into perfection through the hammering of suffering. We ourselves also will not be "cast" into the image of Christ in one sudden Divine operation. Rather, we are being "beaten into shape," into the image of Christ, by the grace of God working through the many trials and circumstances into which the Spirit of God is leading us.

Wood cannot be hammered into shape. Wood can be sawed, carved, planed, and molded into shape; but wood cannot be beaten into shape with a hammer.

So it is that the problems of our life do not beat our old nature into a shape pleasing to God. God’s fire destroys the wood of our nature, unless it is overlaid with the Divine "bronze" and "gold."

It is the Divine Substance of Christ in us that is made perfect through suffering. The "wood" of our humanity serves as a support for the structure. It is the Gold of God’s Person that is perfected in us.

The Word of God always must be refined in the fire. Our grasp of the Word of God merely is mental until the Word is refined in us in the furnace of affliction. Then the Word of God becomes bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh, substance of our substance, being of our being, person of our person. Oneness with the Word of God is the end result of the working of the new covenant.

The Mercy Seat of God’s Presence is being beaten into shape in the Church of Christ. The Church is becoming an integral, eternal part of the Glory of God. Since the concept of the Mercy Seat is that of appeasement, of mercy, of pardon, of reconciliation, we understand that the Church is the means and the place through which the nations of the earth can be received of God.

Truly, the Church is being created the light of the world.

When the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb, descends in absolute perfection from the new heaven, God will wipe away all tears. Not the tears of the Church but of the nations of saved peoples of the earth. The Church is the means through which God will wipe away the tears of mankind and reconcile people to Himself. "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."

Deep in the personality of every Christian there is being hammered into shape an area overlaid with pure gold. It is the eternal dwelling place of Christ and God in Him. The two covering cherubim, judgment and mercy, cover this sacred realm with their wings. The area is holy. It is a place of complete and perfect holiness and Divinity. It is filled with Divine Presence.

The hammering on the Mercy Seat and on the Lampstand reveal to us that we must share the sufferings of Christ if we would experience the glory of His resurrection. It is through suffering that the death and resurrection of conquest, the third area of redemption, are fashioned in us.

The Mercy Seat was not a seat on which God rested but rather a location of His Person. God dwells between the cherubim. He is full of fire and life, always in motion and we in motion with Him.

The "rest" that God finds in us and we in Him is not the cessation of work due to tiredness but the rest of love, of blessing, of joy, of strength, of continual renewal, of re-creation, of victory over every situation that would detract from our joy in the Person of Christ.

We rest from our own works, our own efforts, and are carried along in God through His eternal Spirit.

The fullness of possession of the Glory of God in Christ that the Mercy Seat typifies is part of the "all things" of Revelation 21:7. If we are inspired enough to give all our attention to the work of Christ in us we will inherit the fullness of God in Christ. So glorious is this reward, so incomprehensible in its staggering riches, that anyone who sees the vision leaves all, takes up his cross, and follows the Lord Jesus Christ through every situation—joyous and painful.

Either that or he is as foolish as Esau and trades his birthright as a son of God for the "lentil soup" of the present age.

When first we glimpse the Glory of God in the face of Christ, part of our personality dies and is reborn in the image of the Glory of the Lord. If we use this bit of Divine strength that has been born in us to press forward in Christ we begin to see a little more of the Glory of the Lord.

As we behold more of the Glory, we die further and receive additional resurrection life. If we employ this added strength to press still further into Christ we die to a yet greater extent, being raised in greater spiritual strength. Day after day the process of death and life continues. The end result is that we are transformed into the image of the Glory of the Lord—that which we have been beholding and reflecting.

It is "command upon command, command upon command; rule upon rule, rule upon rule; here a little and there a little." This is the manner in which our flesh is being transmuted into the refined gold of the Word of God.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (II Corinthians 3:18)

The servant of the Lord keeps on dying and being raised into further strength in the rest of God. Dying and living. Dying and living. Dying and living. We always have the sentence of death in ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead (II Corinthians 1:9).

All of the flaws in our will are corrected in the process: the disobedience, presumption, personal ambition, double-mindedness, suggestibility, man-pleasing, pride, fear, self-preservation, unbelief, timidity, rebellion.

No man can see God and live. As the Mercy Seat is beaten into shape in us there must come a death to all that is of self. We are bringing down into death the sins of the flesh—a process that began in the Holy Place.

The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life are being weakened in their ability to harm us. There is an ever-deepening death and resurrection taking place in us: death to what is not of Christ in the source of our motives and will; death to the "I," to the center of our whole ambition to be and to live.

Sins of the flesh are relatively external to our "I." "It is no more I that do it," Paul explains, "but sin that dwelleth in me."

Through the Holy Spirit we can achieve victory over the sins of the flesh. But what about our right to be a person at all? Will we deny that right for the sake of Christ and the Gospel? Will we let the "I" die?

The accompanying resurrection is as supremely glorious as the death is penetrating and total. Whereas the resurrection of the Holy Place is resurrection to holiness and power, the resurrection of the Most Holy Place is resurrection to the fullness of God’s own Being.

Will I allow God to tamper with my legitimate self, my individual ways, even if they are not sinful? Will I allow God to judge my person? Will I forsake what I am, as He directs, and go in the direction toward which He nudges me without requiring an explanation from Him?

Will I leave the known and walk into the unknown, becoming unsure of my own identity in the process?

At stake is eternal kingship and priesthood in God. Involved is the protracted death to my will and the protracted resurrection to strict, unwavering obedience to the will of God.

At the appearing of our Lord Jesus from Heaven there will occur the instantaneous resurrection of our mortal body and the receiving of our house from Heaven. What kind of house will we receive? The house we receive as a reward will be a reaping of what we have sown. If we have sown to our flesh, living in the appetites and lusts of our body, our house will be corrupt. If we have sown to the Holy Spirit, our house from Heaven will be fashioned from eternal life. Whatever we sow we surely will reap!

No man can see God and live. Therefore God brings what we are down to death so that the new, eternal being that is raised and clothed with glory can behold God and live. We have been called to live, not die, in the Presence of the Almighty God.

Billions upon unnumbered billions of eons will not be time enough for our change into all that God is. Therefore we have before us the prospect of endless growth in Him. He is so holy, so righteous, so mighty, so unimaginable in scope, that when we are brought by the Lord Jesus into the terrible Presence we will be thankful we do have all eternity to come to know Him.

Jesus is making it possible for us to become capable of living in the August Presence of the Father.

Through the processes of death into what God is bringing us (and we must never blame people or circumstances—it is God who is working in us) we are coming to the end of our will to be somebody or do something. It is not that our will becomes weak or indecisive. Rather it is that we allow God to prevent or modify the fulfillment of our desires as He will.

It would be easier for our soul if we could lose all interest in life and become passive. But passivity in the things of God leads to destruction. Instead, we are required to remain fervent in will and in prayer. Only then can the death that God requires be properly worked out in us.

We are being resurrected into the fullness of the holiness and power of the Presence and fellowship of God in Christ. We are learning to dwell in Christ and to have Christ dwell in us. Abiding in the Presence of such awful Divinity and Majesty has a transforming effect on all that we are and do.

No person rushes into death to all that he is, without fear and trembling. God has created us with an instinct for self-preservation. If we allow God to have His way in our life we lose nothing except the things and relationships that keep us in bondage. Everything of eternal value is purified by the fire and raised again to be our possession throughout eternity.

The Glory of God through Christ is given to us freely. To keep and increase our portion we must be subject to Christ-appointed seasons of delayed gratification and painful circumstances. There is no other way. The cross and the crown go together.

Unless we are willing to suffer we cannot reign with Him. The extent of our glorification at His appearing is related directly to our willingness to accept and work through in faith, trust, and hope the trials that are sent our way by the Lord.

We are coheirs with Christ. God is bringing many sons to glory and He will do it His own way. His job is to call, to justify, to sanctify, to glorify. Our task is to lay hold on the faith that results in obedience and faithfulness; for this is the kind of faith that overcomes the world.

A willingness to rejoice in hope makes the obedience and faithfulness more acceptable to the Lord and more effective in results.

For it became him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:10)

God the Father is bringing many sons to glory, to the Mercy Seat. The Lord Jesus Christ is unique in many aspects. He is the Creator-Word from the beginning. He is the atoning Lamb of God. He is the Captain of our salvation. These things we can never be. Yet the Word of God states He is One among many sons, many brothers.

Christ was made perfect through suffering. In view of the greatness and perfection of the Lord Jesus, such a statement is incomprehensible to us. It is true, nevertheless, that the Nature of the Lord Jesus Christ was refined through suffering. The sufferings of Christ are described in the Eighteenth Psalm, the Twenty- second Psalm, the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, the four Gospel accounts, and in other passages of Scripture.

Searching what, or what manner of time the spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. (I Peter 1:11)

Christ was brought so low and into so much pain and terror that His obedience to the Father was tested. He passed all tests to the Father’s satisfaction. In the process He was perfected. He left the earth a better Person than when He entered.

For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, (Hebrews 2:11)

The above verse is very significant. It states that Christians are of the same Divine Substance as the Lord Jesus Christ. He is of God and we are of God. He was tested and made perfect through suffering and we are being tested and made perfect though suffering.

If we merely were good people, accepting all the doctrines of the Scriptures as we make our way toward Heaven, the Lord Jesus could call us servants or even friends. But to call someone "brother" lifts the person to equality with one’s self.

If we were not born of God we never could be called brothers of Christ. He is the Son of Man and Son of God. We are children of men and children of God. We are being created like Him in every respect.

If we possessed only the refined qualities of animals, as scientists inform us, Christ could call us servants and friends, perhaps, but never brothers.

It is said that a dog is man’s best friend. Many of us have animal pets that are friendly toward us, and in some cases animals serve mankind as servants. But we do not call the animal "brother." The animal was not born of the same kind of parent as we.

Man and dogs are classified scientifically as mammalia because of some common characteristics, such as nourishing their young with milk from the mother. When a person is born again the similarities between him and the remainder of the animal kingdom cease to have much significance.

By being born again man is lifted to God. He becomes an integral, eternal part of the Creator. The animal returns to the dust of the ground. By partaking of the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ we are becoming one in the Divine Substance.

In the natural creation the law of the seed prevails. Dogs mate with dogs. Cats mate with cats. Horses mate with horses. Apes mate with apes. Oak trees beget oak trees. Such is the procreative pattern—like begets like.

The Lord Jesus Christ is Divine, the Creator-Word from eternity. The Wife of Christ will be of His Being—like Him in every respect. Christ will not be given in marriage by the Father to a lesser creature. The living Word of God can be wedded only to another living Word of God. If it were otherwise, God’s creation would be disrupted. He has called many sons to glory—to the Mercy Seat.

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (John 20:17)

Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. (Hebrews 2:12)

Christ associates Himself with His brother and takes the greatest pleasure in doing so. When the members of the Body of Christ adore God in Spirit-filled praises, the Lord Jesus Christ joins in the worship and lifts up His voice also in Spirit-filled adoration and praise to the Almighty. Christ—Head and Body, the Servant of the Lord, renders Divine worship to the Father.

Christ declares the Name of God, the Personality of God, to His brothers. He came down to our level so He may lift us to His level. He bridged the gap. If He had not done so it would have been eternally impossible for mankind to realize its potential as children of God and lords of the universe. We all would have perished because of our rebellious, disobedient, self-seeking, sinful nature.

And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. (Hebrews 2:13)

In the Gospel of John, Jesus refers to "those that thou gavest me" (John 17:12). Again, "the men that thou gavest me out of the world" (John 17:6).

The concept of calling and election runs throughout the Scriptures. The Scripture indicates that we did not choose Christ but that He chose us. Christ works in the people whom God has given Him until they can be presented without shame to the Father.

Christ has no greater joy than to be able to present a new young brother to the Father. His joy knows no bounds when He does this. He is delighted with His brother just as Joseph was delighted with Benjamin.

Christ became flesh and was made a merciful and faithful high priest over His brothers. He came to earth so He could understand our temptations. Through death He was able to destroy the devil, who has us in chains. Now Christ is feeding us with Himself so we may be able to return with Him to His highest level of environment—the throne of the Father. He desires that we be with Him eternally where He is.

In order to bring us "home," Christ must transform us totally.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, . . . . (II Corinthians 5:17,18).

We must be transformed in order to be like the Lord Jesus in every respect. Such a change cannot take place overnight. We must bear patiently with the Holy Spirit as He examines all our characteristics and then selects the most effective means of cutting away the dead flesh and replacing it with the Divine Substance.

The process of Divine transformation is so far above our understanding, so far above our ability to accomplish, that our task becomes one of cooperating with the Holy Spirit and holding steady while He operates. We do not enjoy many aspects of the re-creation process, but this is to be expected. We do not enjoy having a surgeon operate on a broken bone either. We are not called to be amused in this life but to serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

If we serve Christ faithfully we will have our seasons of enjoyment. When all the facts are known we shall discover we enjoyed a better life serving the Lord than was true for sinful and disobedient people. Our crowning joy is the gaining of the everlasting Glory of the Lord.

Every person suffers in this life. The suffering of worldly people leads to death. The suffering of the Christian leads to glory if he responds to his suffering by seeking the Lord and obeying the will of God.

The Ark of the Covenant was crowned with the Mercy Seat and the two covering cherubim. As we are fashioned into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ, and are established in our place in the perfected Body of Christ, then the Mercy Seat, the Glory of the Lord, descends on us. The fullness of the Divine holiness and power, wrath and mercy, and all the other attributes of God will be an inseparable part of our new personality forever.

The Most Holy Place: the Oracle. The Most Holy Place was the cubical room behind the veil, on the western end of the Tabernacle building. In it were placed the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat. God Himself resided in the Most Holy Place, and it was here that Moses communed with God. The Most Holy Place was ten cubits (fifteen feet) on each side. A cube has three equal dimensions, denoting the perfection of the Godhead.

God is drawing us to perfect unity in Himself. God is not expecting perfection from our human efforts. He understands far better than we the frailties and wickedness of our spirit, soul, and body. He knows our human mind is the enemy of the Holy Spirit.

When we receive Christ we become God’s workmanship. He shall perfect us.

God commanded Abraham, "Walk before me and be perfect." David cried out to God for perfection. Paul was pressing toward the mark of perfection.

There is a place of perfection in God. We have not attained that mark as yet, but the Spirit of God invites us on and on and on. Let us press on to perfection. There will be many who will press on to the perfection that God requires and that is of God’s Nature and way. God’s standard of perfection is Christ who is being formed in us.

In order for the members of an assembly to be inspired to press on to the fullness of Christ there must be a "Most Holy Place," the fiery Presence of the Lord, in the assembly. This must be true in every Christian assembly or work.

The Most Holy Place, as we are employing the term, consists of one or more Christians who are given wholly to the will of Christ. They are walking in strict obedience to the Lord and the prophetic fire and burden rests on them. Every Christian effort must have one or more disciples who are practicing holiness and obedience, and these consecrated people must be spending time in prayer.

When there is such a "Most Holy Place" in the local assembly there will be a glow of the Spirit, the awe of God, the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ on the assembly and its enterprises. If there is no believer walking in strict holiness, obedience, and prayer before the Lord, there may be an assortment of worthy activities but the awe of God will not be present.

When we say "walking in strict holiness and obedience" we do not mean the believer has arrived at spiritual perfection. We mean, rather, that the believer is abiding in Christ at the level to which Christ has brought him or her.

It is possible for every Christian church to have such a member or members, and preferable that every member of the assembly be walking in absolute obedience to Christ.

If there is no saint given over wholly to Christ, the "Most Holy Place" is missing from the "Tabernacle" and the supernatural fiery Presence and burden, the Divine strength, and the Divine fruitfulness, will not be present to the desired degree.

Solomon’s Temple possessed the "cube," the Most Holy Place."

And the oracle in the forepart was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height thereof: and he overlaid it with pure gold; and so covered the altar which was of cedar. (I Kings 6:20)

The purpose of the oracle "Most Holy Place" is to receive the Ark of the Covenant, the Glory of God in Christ.

The fiery Presence will abide eternally in the perfected Church, the new Jerusalem. The city is the Bride of the Lamb, the eternal dwelling place of God and the Lamb. Therefore the city is cubical in proportion, representing perfection. The holy city is the mature Body of Christ.

And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. (Revelation 21:16)

The holy city, the new Jerusalem, is holy. Each victorious saint is having holiness created now in the inner part of his or her personality. In due time that holiness will spread until the Church of Christ is immersed in the holiness and power of God.

Those who allow the Holy Spirit to create such a work in them now will reap an incalculable harvest of righteousness in the days to come.

We, after Christ, are the first of the new creation of God. We are a kind of "firstfruits of his creatures," as James says. We are pioneering a trail for generations to come. This is why it is so difficult along the way.

If we hold steady and endure the things that must be endured in the Lord, the day will come when we will witness the results of the travail of our soul. Our fruit will "shake as the trees of Lebanon" for quality, size, quantity, and grandeur (Psalms 72:16). Our spiritual seed will inherit the fullness of the blessings of the Lord our God, and we ourselves will shine as the stars for eternity.

Lighted by the Shechinah. We have mentioned before that there were three lights in the Tabernacle:

The first light was the sunlight that lighted the Courtyard. Christ was crucified on a hillside, not in a church building. Salvation takes place openly on the earth for all to see and receive.

The second light came from the Lampstand of the Holy Place. The fact that the light from the Lampstand was concealed in the Holy Place portrays the fact that the activities of the Christian Church, the Body of Christ, are not to be directed or understood by the human mind of unregenerate man.

We Christians are to look for the revelation and guidance of the Holy Spirit in all matters, from the least to the greatest. Only then will the efforts of the Church proceed to unify and mature the one Body of Christ. Left to the mind of man, the Church rapidly disintegrates into disunity, powerlessness, uncleanness, and spiritual confusion.

The light from the Lampstand, the second of the three lights, portrays the gifts and ministries given to the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. The gifts and ministries are glimmers of light shining in an area of murky darkness, and we see as "through a glass darkly."

The Lampstand leads us to the more perfect Light, the Shechinah of the God of Israel, which is guarded by the veil.

The third light of the Tabernacle of the Congregation was that of the Shechinah (Divine Presence) of God Almighty. The more perfect light, mentioned in I Corinthians, Chapter 13, is the Glory of God in the face of Christ. It is the more perfect understanding of the will and Person of God.

The Shechinah shines from between the Cherubim of Glory. The cherubim represent the fullness of the holiness and power, the wrath and mercy, of the Lord God of Heaven. Out from the Fire of His holiness and power blazes the glorious Light of the Presence—the Glory of the God of Israel.

When we pass beyond the veil, through the death of consecration that God requires, we have fashioned in us the holiness and power of God. From this area in us God meets us and we behold Him face to face. We are coming to know as we are known.

When we cross the river of death to self, the manna will cease and we will eat "the old corn of the land." This is a figurative way of stating that once we reach the perfection of redemption—and it will require the appearing of the Lord Jesus to put the finishing touches on our perfection—we will possess the fullness of the Presence of God shining from the Divine throne that has been created in us.

The Shechinah, which is the Glory of God in the face of Christ, will prove to be the light of the world throughout the coming age of the Kingdom of God. The Christian Church is destined to be the light of the world in a more substantial manner than we may have imagined.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (I Corinthians 13:12)

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (II Corinthians 3:18)

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

This is the light of the new Jerusalem.

The Conquest Domain of Christianity

We are referring to the Courtyard of the Tabernacle as the salvation domain of redemption; to the Holy Place as the sanctification domain; and to the Most Holy Place as the conquest domain. Our terms have been chosen somewhat arbitrarily and are only for the purpose of discussion.

Our intention is not to chop up the one Body of Christ or to split off segments from the Kingdom of God or to trap some little band of devout believers into considering themselves to be the "throne group." Rather, our intention is to describe some aspects of the manner in which the Lord works with His Church.

All true Christians are of the Kingdom of God. All Christians are part of the Church, the one Body of Christ. All Christians have been called to be members of the royal priesthood.

The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, indicate that Israel, the chosen of God, has been called out from the rest of mankind in order to reveal God to the peoples of the earth. Isaiah has much to say about the role of Israel among the nations.

Also, we find in the Book of Revelation that the nations of the saved will walk in the light of the holy city, which is the Wife of the Lamb. Clearly, then, it is scriptural to say that the Church is called to reveal God in Christ to the peoples of the earth.

However, we can see differences among people who claim to be Christians. There are some Christians who believe that Jesus is God’s Son and that He redeems us by His blood atonement. Beyond that they do not care to press. When we attempt to discuss gifts and ministries, the one Body of Christ, conquering in Christ, and so forth they become uncomfortable. The are abiding in the Courtyard of the Tabernacle.

Many of the "Courtyard Christians" are led by the Lord to move forward into a deeper walk, and then they become more aware of the Presence of the Holy Spirit. The Body of Christ is brought into clearer focus, and they may experience tongues, various types of prayer and praise ministry in their assemblies and homes, and general enthusiasm for Bible study and fellowship with fervent Christians. This is the Holy Place.

Again, let us remind the reader we are not referring to grades in an elementary school or little groups of mystical believers or anything of the kind. We merely are pointing to facts that are observable throughout Christendom.

To deny the facts is to deny what exists. Also, the Scripture indicates that there are three areas of fruitbearing. There is much overlap among these experiences. Clear, permanent definition is not possible. The deepest experiences of the Lord remain readily available to "whosoever will."

Many of God’s saints who have enjoyed the blessings of the first two domains have been led by the Holy Spirit into yet deeper spiritual depths. Christian literature contains the writings of believers who have been so drawn: Madame Guyon, Jessie Penn-Lewis, A.W. Tozer, Oswald Chambers, Watchman Nee, A. B. Simpson, and others.

It can be noticed that these saints of God teach much the same thing, yet each adds to our knowledge of the conquest domain. In some instances they teach (without using our terminology) that we are called into a third death and resurrection, a death to our self and a resurrection into the Person of Christ. The third area is seen to be a step beyond sanctification and beyond ministry. It is to know the Giver rather than just the gift. It is the rest of God.

The conquest domain is the area of rulership with Christ—the place of overcoming the adversary, the spirit of the world, and our own fleshly nature.

And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. (Revelation 12:5)

Notice that it is the Church, the heavenly woman, who travails in birth until Christ is formed and brought forth. This calls to mind the words of Paul: "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you" (Galatians 4:19). Christ, the male Son, is being formed in the members of the Body of Christ.

Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. (Micah 5:3)

The above passage indicates that Christ’s conquerors will be brought forth through the ministries of the Church. They may be misunderstood and separated from the Church for a brief season, in Joseph fashion. In due time they will appear with the Lord Jesus and all Israel will then be set free from oppression and bondage and enabled to enter the abundance of blessing and ministry in the Lord.

The above paragraph is not an attempt to divide the Church into the saints and the remainder of the Church. Rather, it merely is an illustration of the strong members aiding the weaker members (Romans 15:1).

We can observe divisions of strength in Israel in many passages of the Scripture. Such division occurred among the followers of Jesus, as recorded in the four Gospel accounts.

The multitudes of Israel were blessed and healed by the Lord, as they came to Him with their needs. From among the multitude were selected the seventy, and then the twelve. Three from the twelve were chosen and privileged to see the Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration.

Here is the manner in which the Lord works. Some are drawn out for a season so they may be strengthened. Then they must return and strengthen their brothers. The double portion is given to us so we may nourish the family of God.

"When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren" (Luke 22:32).

The male Son always ascends to the throne of God. When Christ is formed in us He ascends to the throne. Christ will abide nowhere other than on the throne of Glory at the right hand of the fullness of Holiness and Power.

If you have Christ in you do not expect Him to remain earthbound. He rises to the throne immediately. Christ always is called upward to the throne the moment He is brought forth.

Christ who is being formed in you is King of all kings and Lord of all lords. The fighting in you is the struggle of Christ for mastery.

Will you give victory to the adversary, the world, and your flesh? Or will you give victory to the Lord who purchased you with His own blood and who is struggling for His rightful place on the throne of your life? It is your decision. The power is of God.

It is your responsibility to cast your vote at each moment of decision. The Lord creates each new day so you can have another opportunity to allow Christ to sit on the throne of your heart and then ascend to the right hand of the Power in the heavens.

The throne domain is the realm of rewards. We have referred to the second and third chapters of Revelation and the numerous rewards to each person who conquers in Christ. The Lord Jesus is coming again. His rewards are with Him, the recompense for our actions is before Him. Christ will assign glorious positions of service and responsibility to those who prove faithful under difficult conditions.

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. (I Corinthians 3:11-14)

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (Revelation 22:12)

The rewards of Christ have to do with dominion, power, life, a body of tremendous capabilities, the fullness of authority and responsibility, and eternal abiding in the Presence of God.

The rewards Christ is bringing with Him are so astonishingly marvelous we are not able to imagine or describe them. To receive the full inheritance we must set ourselves to conquer each day through the ability Christ gives us.

Each resource we need in order to enter the "all things" of God is given us when we need it through the Lord. He never fails. He never is late. The only power that can prevent us from receiving the full reward is our own unbelief. Nothing else can defeat us. Christ does not require strength, wisdom, or righteousness from us. He provides all we need in every arena of challenge. He asks only that we believe what is written and obey His commands.

As we enter the conquest domain of redemption we discover that two worlds are in conflict. The further into the Divine throne we press the clearer the issues become.

Satan has bound the earth in the chains of sin and death. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Tree of Life and has come to the earth in order to demolish every work of Satan. We have been called to reign with Christ and to partake of victory through Him.

If we abide faithful in that to which He has called us we will find ourselves riding with Him one day soon. All the works of darkness will be crushed beneath our feet. The world of sin will be destroyed by the onslaught of the forces of righteousness from Heaven (Joel 2:3). Victory is at hand!

The throne of Christ represents the full authority and power of the government of God. Christ was made lower than any man. He bore our sins. He was physically abused and became an object of mockery to both the material and the unclean-spirit realms. He allowed Himself to be humiliated.

Because Christ was willing to obey God to this extent, God has highly exalted Him and given to Him the Name that is above every other name in the universe.

Christ now possesses all authority and power in Heaven and on the earth. Such glory and power are far beyond our comprehension. Christ upholds the universe by the word of His power. There is no power that can oppose Him. He does whatever He will.

God has given all judgment into His hands. He has no successful rival. He sits alone—supreme—on the highest throne of all.

Now He has called us as individuals to the throne of glory. The way to Christ’s throne is through humiliation and obedience to the point of death. If we would share His Glory we also must share His sufferings.

God keeps on testing us to observe how far we are willing to trust Him. The higher our destiny in Him the more we are pressed beyond measure. We are buffeted. We are drawn out, prodded, stretched, despised, abused, scorned, humiliated, cast down, bent out of shape. Every conceivable trial is administered to us so all we are can be brought to clarity and perfected.

When God is satisfied we will be obedient no matter what we suffer, He raises us up. His desire is to give us all good things in Christ. The end is perfect joy.

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

In raising people to the throne of Christ, God merely is performing what He spoke originally concerning mankind.

For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. (Hebrews 2:5)

The world of the future will be in subjection to the heirs of salvation, that is, to Christ and His brothers. The world no longer will be in subjection to or even influenced by the wicked spirits.

But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? (Hebrews 2:6)

What is man that the Lord God is mindful of him?

Man is different from all other creatures of God, spiritual and material. Man is different in that he has been created in the image of God.

What is the image of God? What is the likeness of God? God is different from the other personages of Heaven in that He has a Spirit, a Soul, and an outward form resembling mankind (Ezekiel 1:26-28).

God the Father has a Holy Spirit in which is His Life; and a Soul that is His Character and Nature, the source of His judgments, His decisions.

He has a spiritual form of which mankind is a crude duplicate. God can hear, see, touch, smell, and so forth in a manner superior to us. He clothes Himself with the glorified Body of Christ, and finally with the glorified bodies of the saints.

The glorified bodies of Christ and the saints compose the eternal Temple of God.

God the Father has begotten Christ, His Son. The Spirit of Christ is so merged and identified with the Spirit of God as to be one Spirit. The Soul of Christ is His own Character and Nature, the source of His judgments.

Jesus retains the body in which He ministered during the days of His sufferings on earth. Now His earthly body has been overlaid with the glorious body of eternal life (Revelation 1:13-15).

The image of God is the fullness of the Life of the Holy Spirit; a soul that is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control, and a form capable of communicating God’s will.

Included in God’s Spirit and Soul is an intelligence possessing wisdom and knowledge of incomprehensible scope and profundity neither describable by us nor understandable to us. God can create. He also is a God of judgment, hating all sin and unrighteousness. He has the power to perform His will in any area.

God possesses constancy of character, integrity, friendliness, courage, confidence, cheerfulness, fierceness, humor, a readiness to play, and all the artistic, scientific, and technical abilities there are. The genius and talents of men come from the one Person—Christ.

It is beyond our powers to describe what is meant by the image and likeness of the Lord God. The above may help us better understand what we mean when we state that mankind was created—and is yet being created—in the image and after the likeness of God.

The first chapter of the Book of Ezekiel presents the image of the Lord and consequently of glorified man.

Adam was created a living soul, having much more intelligence than any animal. His spirit was in touch with God’s Holy Spirit and his body resembled the spiritual form of the Lord. Adam and Eve were the offspring of God and as such were unique in all the creation. They were the children of the Most High, a new type of creation. And all the heavens observed them carefully!

There is a gap between Adam and Eve and the complete image of the Lord God and that gap is very great. Yet Adam and Eve were the children of God, the crude material in which the full image of God Almighty is to be developed.

In order to create the full image of God one must commence with a flesh-and-blood human being. Then on the human stock must be grafted Divinity—the Lord Jesus Christ; for it is not possible that the true image and likeness of God can be fashioned from the dust of the ground.

The plan of God began with people on the earth in animal bodies, but what the Lord God has spoken concerning mankind can be fulfilled only in the Lamb and His Wife. The work will continue in the ages to come until all that the Father has purposed has been brought forth perfectly and completely.

At the beginning of the new heaven and earth reign of Christ (Revelation, Chapters 21 and 22) we can behold the true Adam in Christ, and the true Eve in the Bride of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem. This is the fulfillment of what God has spoken concerning the creation of man.

Then, after a few billion eons have passed and we have been enveloped in the fiery Presence of God Almighty, we may begin to reveal some signs of maturity in the image of the Lord God of Heaven.

Through Christ we are born again. By means of the Word of God, the body and blood of Christ, and the Holy Spirit we are being created in the image of Christ. The gifts and ministries of the Church are in travail so Christ may be created in us.

The new creation being formed in us is the true heir of salvation. God is mindful of His workmanship in man and will "visit him"; for the new creation being fashioned in mankind is none other than the image and Substance of His beloved Son, Christ. We are the Body of Christ.

Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: (Hebrews 2:7)

The sons of God, heirs of salvation, have been made inferior to the angels until they have been prepared adequately to come into their inheritance. As soon as they have been made ready to rule they will sit on the throne of Christ and will judge mankind and angels.

No angel has ever been begotten of God. But every person who receives Christ possesses the authority to be a child of God (John 1:12).

"Thou crownest him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands." Upon receiving Christ we inherit the promises of God concerning mankind. Our task now is to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He enables us to bring the throne-life of God down into our personality.

We must engage in battle in order to obtain our inheritance just as the Israelites had to fight their way into their land of promise. In the present hour Satan and his usurping forces occupy the inheritance of the sons of God.

To mankind has been given the universe. It is ours to command. We cannot participate in our inheritance as yet because of our sin. Also, we remain in bondage because of the ever-present fear of physical death.

In Christ we are crowned with glory and honor and are being brought by the Lord God to the place where we can rule the works of the hands of God. None of the material creation belongs to Satan by inheritance. All the creation belongs to Christ—Head and Body.

The inheritance: spiritual dominion over the creation.

Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. (Hebrews 2:8)

Part of the inheritance of the brothers of Christ is to have "all things" put under their feet. "He who overcomes shall inherit all things." The "all things" refers to the creation of God.

The physical creation today is being ruled by spiritual forces. It appears to people that the earth is being ruled by human beings, but such is not the case at all. Human beings are only the tools of spiritual forces. The material creation always responds to spiritual wisdom and power. The wisdom and power of the flesh is negligible.

"A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven." Nebuchadnezzar learned that "the heavens do rule." The history of mankind is a physical portrayal of spiritual realities. When Christ addressed the seven churches of Asia He directed His words to the angel of each church, for this is where the wisdom and power reside.

The material creation is spiritual in origin, having been spoken into existence by the invisible, spiritual Word of God. The material creation will be recalled by the Lord after the Millennial Jubilee (thousand-year Kingdom Age) has served its purposes (Revelation 21:1).

Christ is at home in both the spiritual and material realms. He is the Son of Man and the Son of God. At present we Christians are at home in the material realm only, but we now are being oriented to the spirit realm where mastery of the material realm lies.

Wicked spiritual beings hold the material realm in the grip of sin and death, and there is little we can do, while we are bound in the physical realm, to throw off the effects of spiritual bondage. For example, the further the science of medicine advances the more sicknesses there are to combat. Yet, Christ is the Healer of all sicknesses. The ultimate source of all sickness and all healing is in the spirit realm, as is true of all our blessings and curses.

The struggle for control of the material realm is between opposing spiritual personalities. God has assigned all authority and power over the material realm to His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. When we receive Christ we receive the authority to inherit all things.

Satan, on the other hand, is a thief, a liar, and a murderer who possesses no authority over the material realm, though he would have us believe that he does. By his lies Satan attempts to hold us in chains of darkness, but Christ is redeeming the material realm from the bondage of the enemy. The only reason Christ does not appear now and claim what rightfully is His is that He is waiting for His Body to throw off the influence of Satan.

When we receive the Lord Jesus He raises us immediately in the Spirit to the throne. We are fighting through the Spirit, overcoming every spiritual enemy and obstacle that would tear us down from our heavenly position. Christ’s almighty power helps us and none can hinder.

Christ charges us to establish our heavenly place through spiritual combat, to prove we can hold such an exalted position. We must "overcome." We must overcome all that would attempt to pull us down from that which Christ has given us, just as Christ Himself had to overcome all the challenges of the devil.

The land of promise has been assigned to us by the Lord. Now we, through the Spirit of God, must take eternal possession of it.

The moment we are born again our new nature is raised to the highest throne of the universe. Our body and soul remain in the earth. By prayer, faith, and obedience we are striving to bring the throne-life downward to where our soul and body are in the earth.

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

Our soul and body, yet in the earth, are striving by prayer, faith, and obedience to cooperate with the throne- life that already is victorious in the spirit realm. Our soul and body are climbing upward as it were. We are seeking to save our soul. A redeemed body is the prize.

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 3:2,3)

Our soul and body are to set their affections where our new born-again nature already resides.

"Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet." God has called us to the throne of Christ. All else must be placed under our control. Only Christ and God are to be in command over the saint.

When we begin our discipleship there are many human relationships, many circumstances, and many things that attempt to rule us and often do rule us. One by one God puts all things under our control until we are in bondage to none of them. At times this is a painful process. Some of the bondages keeping us in slavery are dear to us. Letting them go can be excruciating. We must let them go if we are to gain the freedom and power God has ordained for us.

As long as Christ and God have control over us we are free and without bondage of any sort. When there is any relationship, any circumstance, or any thing that has us in bondage we are not free. The circumstance or thing or person stands between us and Christ. All must be brought under subjection to the saint as he rules in Christ.

"In that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him." There is to be no exception. There is nothing in the physical realm that is to have dominion over a son of God. There is nothing that God has not put under him.

Because of our sinful, rebellious nature we have many gods. Our covetousness brings us into bondage to things. Man brings himself into bondage to the creation but in Christ we are set free from the tyranny of the creation. In Christ we gain control over the material realm.

Only Christ possesses mastery over the material creation. If we desire to lawfully possess mastery we must receive the mastery from Christ. He gives rulership over the creation to whomever He will.

The inheritance is ours by right of birth in Christ. We, like Esau, can lose our birthright to someone who desires it more than we do. If we are careless, someone else may take our place in the army of God.

Wresting control of the material realm. "But now we see not yet all things put under him." For a season we must remain in subjection to people and circumstances. If we attempt to force our way to rulership apart from Christ we soon become further bound in sin and rebellion.

The story of mankind is the record of people attempting to gain control over the material realm in some manner other than through Christ. God keeps us all in the prison of futility and decay, saved and unsaved alike. Whenever we attempt to gain release from prison before God’s time we break God’s laws.

When God has you in prison you cannot get out before God’s time without breaking God’s laws.

The day quickly is approaching when we will receive our lawful inheritance. Satan always attempts to persuade us to attempt to wrest our inheritance before God’s time. Satan does not do this because he desires that we receive something of value. Satan never seeks our well-being.

Satan desires that we move ahead of God’s time because he obtains gratification when we do so. He tried to persuade Christ to take an easier path to power. Satan’s price was worship. When we attempt to force circumstances and people in order to gain our desires, to obtain our inheritance by some means other than through the Holy Spirit, we are worshiping the devil.

The sins of the flesh are attempts to take control of the material realm other than through God’s Spirit. Five main branches of sin are lust, violence, covetousness, drunkenness, and sorcery. These five have many variations. They all are attempts to gain control over some aspect of the material realm apart from God’s Presence. They all involve the worship of Satan.

For example, drunkenness is Adam’s attempt to find joy and peace apart from Christ.

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9)

Jesus temporarily was made lower than the angels so that through death He might destroy the power of the devil. By being strictly obedient to God, thus reversing the effects of Adam’s disobedience, Christ made it possible for each of us to follow Him into our own inheritance.

Breaking the grip of Satan is impossible for us because we are born in sin. Christ did this for us and now invites us to follow Him into lawful rulership over God’s creation. Rulership is ours by inheritance because we are coheirs with Christ.

Psalms Eight proclaims, concerning man, that God has crowned him with glory and honor and has set him over the works of God’s hands. To what extent is man crowned with glory and honor and set over the works of God’s hands? The answer is, to the same extent that is true of the Lord Jesus Himself.

Jesus now possesses all authority in Heaven and on the earth. He has absolute rulership over all the works of God’s hands. He is crowned with glory and honor to such an extent we are unable even to behold His Glory or to describe it.

The same dominion and glory belong by inheritance to each son of God. We are coheirs with Christ. This is our inheritance and through Christ it has been made possible for us to attain it.

We are not to hold back from the promise of God through unbelief but are to march straight forward in Christ and claim our inheritance as sons of God. If we conquer in Christ we will be crowned with glory and honor and placed in authority over all the works of God’s hands. We all are the children of God by faith in Christ.

For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:10)

God has called many sons to glory. Christ is the Head, the elder brother, the Lamb of God, the Captain of our salvation. In these ways He always is superior to us. Christ is the Lord. Nevertheless God has called each Christian to the glory assigned to mankind.

It is the delight of the Lord Jesus Christ to work with His younger brothers until the new sons can be presented to the Father. Christ takes the greatest joy in presenting us to His Father (John 20:17). He is not ashamed to call us brothers because we have been born of the same Divine Substance as Himself.

The throne of Christ is the seat of supreme authority and government over all the creation of God. It is wonderful to note, once again, that on the highest throne there is a Man—a man possessing the same body that experienced suffering and pain on the earth. That body now is in such a state of glorification that the Apostle John fainted upon seeing it, upon beholding Christ in His Glory. Of all the tremendous authorities and powers in Heaven it is a Man who rules over all.

After the thousand-year Kingdom Age has been concluded, the perfected Church, the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, will descend from the new heaven to reside forever on the new earth. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be located in the Church of Christ, which is the new Jerusalem. The center of government will be moved down from Heaven and located on the earth.

The blending of the spiritual and the material, as these two realms are combined in Christ and in the Body of Christ, will find their joyous marriage when the Body of Christ, containing the throne of God and of the Lamb, is located permanently in the new earth.

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: (Revelation 22:3)

The throne of God was located in Christ in the earth while Jesus of Nazareth was among us. There is no curse in Him. Now the throne of God is being created in us while we yet are on the earth. During the thousand-year Kingdom Age, the living Temple of God will be perfected and expanded. After that, the throne of God and of the Lamb will descend in the Temple of God, the new Jerusalem, and be located on the earth forever.

The Feasts of the Seventh Month

In an earlier chapter we discussed the fact that there were three occasions on which the men of Israel were called together to serve the Lord God in solemn assemblage: the feast of Passover, the feast of Weeks (Pentecost), and the feast of Tabernacles. These three annual convocations typify the three deaths and resurrections of redemption.

Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: (Deuteronomy 16:16)

We have spoken in another book (The Feasts of the Lord ) of the manner in which the Levitical feasts typify the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, the redemption of the believer, the growth to maturity of the Body of Christ, and the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

When discussing in the present book the fulfillment of the symbolism of the Levitical feasts we are focusing on the three major aspects of the redemption of the believer. However, we may touch on the other areas of spiritual fulfillment of the feasts of the Lord.

The feast of Unleavened Bread includes Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits. We already have presented the manner in which these portray the salvation aspect of redemption.

The second major convocation is the feast of Weeks (Pentecost), and we have mentioned this observance in connection with the sanctification aspect of redemption.

The third principal gathering was that of the feast of Tabernacles. The feast of Tabernacles came five days after the Day of Atonement.

We have spoken in a previous section (The Feast of Unleavened Bread —Three major convocations) of our reason for regarding the three feasts of the seventh month as subfeasts of the major convocation of Tabernacles.

If we accept this concept, then the feast of Tabernacles consisted of the blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles proper. We shall present the three subfeasts of the annual gathering of Tabernacles as portraying the conquest aspect of redemption.

The heavy emphasis in the third area of redemption is on our perfection, our obedience, our ascent to the throne of Christ, our fruitfulness, the dwelling of God in Christ in us, and the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

The First Feast of the Seventh Month: Trumpets

The Jews have two overlapping years, the religious year beginning with the month of Passover and the civil year beginning with Trumpets. The civil year begins in the seventh month of the religious year.

The Blowing of Trumpets occurs on the first day of the civil year. Today the observance is termed Rosh Hashanah (the head of year). The blowing of the trumpets calls attention to the nearness of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which is celebrated on the tenth day of the first month of the civil year (the seventh month of the religious, ceremonial year).

The name of the seventh month of the Jewish sacred, ceremonial year is Tishri. Tishri is the first month of the agricultural (civil) year. Since the blowing of Trumpets is celebrated on the first day of the first month of the agricultural or civil year, Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah ) is celebrated as New Year’s Day. The shofar (ram’s horn) is sounded in the local synagogues.

We see, then, that when the Church arrives at the three subfeasts of the third major convocation of Tabernacles (Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and the week of Tabernacles itself) we have arrived at the beginning of a new year in the Lord.

It is not that we forsake the previous lessons and ways in which the Lord has worked in and with us. The previous experiences have brought us to the place of newness in Christ. We are becoming new creations in Christ.

Just as the Jews have two overlapping years, so it is in the Kingdom of God. We have in our experience a "religious year" of faith, doctrines, and observances. These have to do with our "coming out of Egypt."

When we come to Trumpets we are entering the "civil year" of doing business for the Lord in the earth. Trumpets heralds the coming of the Kingdom of God into the earth.

First, the Lord of Armies enters our heart and establishes His throne there. After this He will come in the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the blowing of Trumpets. The Trumpet of the Lord will sound and the King, the Lord Jesus Christ, will descend from Heaven with His saints and holy angels.

Every eye will behold Him and we, to the consternation, confusion, and utter terror of our enemies, will be caught up in the clouds along with the dead in Christ to meet the Lord Jesus in the air. So shall we ever be with the Lord.

The Blowing of Trumpets is the fifth of the seven Levitical feasts described in the twenty-third chapter of Leviticus.

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. (Leviticus 23:24)

The number five symbolizes the beginning of the Kingdom of God. You may recall that animal life was begun on the fifth day of creation. The bronze Altar of Burnt Offering (Exodus 27:1) was five cubits square. The height of the linen fence (Exodus 27:18) that surrounded the Tabernacle of the Congregation was five cubits.

Both the bronze Altar and the linen fence stood at places where an individual first encountered the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Five pillars supported the door of the Holy Place. The fifth article of furniture, the Altar of Incense, was placed directly before the Mercy Seat.

The blowing of Trumpets (feast number five) signifies the beginning of the conquest of the material creation by the Lord Jesus Christ working in and with His anointed Body.

The greatest things in Christ are yet ahead of us!

The sounding of trumpets, in the Scriptures, often is in connection with warfare.

So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city. (Joshua 6:20)

And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon. (Judges 7:20)

My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. (Jeremiah 4:19)

For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? (I Corinthians 14:8)

The forces of righteousness and the forces of sin and rebellion are drawing near to the battle of the ages. Although sin is yet to reach a hideous flowering in the earth, nevertheless the end of darkness is at hand. The Christian Church is in travail today, bringing forth the Body of Christ. As soon as Christ has attained the necessary level in His saints the battle will be joined. The kingdom of darkness will be cast from the heavens and then from the earth.

The end is in sight. The full redemption of the Year of Jubilee is at hand. The wrestling match will be concluded when Christ in the Church pins the adversary to the mat, totally destroying Satan for all eternity.

Christ is passing among the members of His Body in these days, looking for those who will be faithful enough to be in His army. He requires officers and men of the sternest discipline. Will you be one of these?

The coming of Christ is the coming of the King, the Lord of Armies. His appearing is that of God’s Conqueror who will set up His reign on the earth. The trumpet of God will sound, announcing the Presence of the rightful King and Heir.

So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. (II Samuel 6:15)

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; (Joel 2:1)

And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:31)

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (I Thessalonians 4:16)

The trumpet of God announcing the return of the Lord Jesus is made up of seven trumpets.

And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. (Revelation 8:2)

The Lord will appear and we shall be changed, at the sounding of the last of the trumpets.

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (I Corinthians 15:52)

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)

The Blowing of Trumpets is celebrated by each of us when we welcome the Lord Jesus into our heart as King of kings and Lord of lords. The Blowing of Trumpets will be celebrated in the kingdom-wide fulfillment as He descends from Heaven to take over the rulership of the earth.

The eighth chapter of Revelation reveals the connection between Trumpets, which is the fifth Levitical feast, and then the Altar of Incense, which is the fifth of the holy furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

As the Spirit-empowered, Christ-filled prayer and praise ascend to the Father from the Body of Christ in the days in which we now live, the hand of God Almighty will be moved and He will command His angels to sound the trumpets announcing the return of the King. This marks the entrance of the Kingdom of God into the earth.

And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. (Revelation 8:2,3)

The trumpet was employed to alert Israel and to prepare the nation for the march.

Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps. (Numbers 10:2)

Also, the trumpet was blown by the Church toward God to remind Him of his promise concerning His chosen people.

And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies. (Numbers 10:9)

The trumpet represents the worship, supplication, and intercession that must proceed from the Church as it assembles to serve the Lord Jesus. We need to direct our attention toward Heaven and not become too occupied with our earthly needs and desires. The first commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God. (Numbers 10:10)

The Lord remembers us when we praise Him and pray to Him. It is possible to go through all the activities of the churches and then forget to worship the Lord and beseech His help. Prayer comes before even the ministry of the Word. (Acts 6:4).

The Glory of God will be present among us when we pray.

It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God. (II Chronicles 5:13,14)

If such worship and praise ascended to God under the old covenant, what should worship and praise be like under the new covenant?

The voice of the prophet was employed as the trumpet of God to reveal to the Israelites their sins and to warn them of the consequences of sin against the Lord their God.

Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. (Isaiah 58:1)

The close relationship between the Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the coming judgment and deliverance (redemption) of the earth and its people, can be seen in the trumpet of the Jubilee.

Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. (Leviticus 25:9,10)

The trumpet of the Jubilee was sounded on the Day of Atonement. The spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement includes the removal of sin from God’s elect and finally from the entire creation. Therefore it is fitting that the trumpet of the Jubilee, of release from slavery, should be blown on the Day of Atonement.

We have seen, then, the importance of the trumpet in the Scriptures. We are discussing the third death and resurrection of redemption, our dying to self so we may realize the will of God more perfectly.

We are being raised into the fullness of God’s purposes in Christ, particularly those purposes having to do with the destruction of Christ’s enemies and the judgment and deliverance of the nations of the earth.

The concepts associated with the blowing of the trumpet have direct bearing on the Kingdom purposes of the Lord God. The Blowing of Trumpets is the New Year’s Day of doing business in the Kingdom of God. We are emerging from the ecclesiastical forms of religion and coming into the union of the spiritual and the material in such a way that the material realm is brought under subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Kingdom of God shall have been established when God’s will is done in the earth (the material realm) as it is in Heaven (the holy part of the spirit realm). We have seen that the earth always is governed by spiritual forces and that the purpose of the redemption in Christ is to change the governing spiritual forces from those of wickedness to those of righteousness.

The trumpet, as mentioned in the Scriptures, is related to spiritual warfare. The next feast after Pentecost is Trumpets, signifying that after we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit we are to enter the war against the Lord’s enemies.

The greatest of all battles, Armageddon, is yet ahead and is associated with the return of the Lord Jesus from Heaven. The Battle of Armageddon will result in the destruction of the armies of wickedness and the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

Meanwhile Christ is being formed in the heart of every true Christian. Each time we are willing to go through the death that the Lord requires, and the accompanying resurrection, Christ is strengthened in our inner man.

If we cooperate totally with the Holy Spirit, the process of death, resurrection, and strengthening of our inner spiritual nature will continue until Christ is reigning in us and with us in complete power and glory.

We are to consent voluntarily to Christ’s Lordship. It is not that we lose our own will. It is true rather that His will and our will are ground together in the mill of tribulation until the two wills become one.

In this sense the Day of the Lord, the thousand-year Kingdom Age, has its beginning in the heart of each saint. There is coming in the future a kingdom-wide Day of the Lord including a jubilee of release for the prisoners of the earth. But the true essence and quality of the Day of the Lord are obtainable now to "whosoever will." The personal fulfillment in our life of the Blowing of Trumpets brings us into our personal day of the Lord, our personal rule of Christ.

Holy Spirit-empowered prayer and praise play a large role in our experience of the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. The feast of Tabernacles is the third death and resurrection we encounter in the program of redemption.

We cannot stand up under the pressure being brought to bear on us as we are being pruned back, and still further back unless we are willing to keep on praising the Lord and praying instead of fainting. "Men ought always to pray, and not to faint."

We are tempted to blame other people and to grumble as the Lord brings us through the fires of judgment. We must keep seeking His face in prayer and keep praising God for His faithfulness—even when we cannot see the end of the tunnel. Otherwise we shall be defeated just before the fullness comes.

There is no way to enter the land of promise, the fullness of Christ, other than through spiritual warfare. God does the fighting when we come from Egypt but we do the fighting in order to enter Canaan.

The climactic spiritual battles cannot be fought by people who are alive in their own wills, their own ambitions, their desire for preeminence, their own plans and ways. The battles of God can be fought only by those who have been through death and resurrection in the Lord God.

The River Jordan represents the third death of redemption and the land of promise is the third resurrection. We have come to the end of all we are attempting to be and do and now are ready to accept the suffering of Christ. The Lord’s army consists of warriors who have died and been raised in God.

Because they have been resurrected, in this spiritual sense, they are invincible. The Lake of Fire has no authority over them. They fall on the sword, the Word of God, and cannot be wounded. The sword of the Lord already has accomplished its final work in them. They can be hurt no longer. They are free in the Son and alive eternally.

These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. (Revelation 17:14)

We are "called" in the first death and resurrection. We are "chosen" in the second death and resurrection. We are proven "faithful" in the third death and resurrection.

Joel’s Army and the Day of Christ. The Day of the Lord will be marked by the army of Christ descending with Him to wage war against the wicked forces of the earth, judging and destroying them and delivering the peoples of the earth from the oppression of the wicked spirits who currently are occupying vantage points in the heavenlies.

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; (Joel 2:1)

The trumpet of the Spirit of God is blowing in the churches today. An alarm is sounding throughout Zion, the Body of Christ. The Spirit is not saying to us, Sleep on. Everything is fine. Do not bother to seek the Lord because no matter what happens on the earth you will not be disturbed during your pursuit of material rewards and advantages.

Rather the Spirit of God is speaking to us to seek Christ with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, to stir up our gifts, to pray, to praise, to arm ourselves to suffer in the flesh and endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ.

Now is the time for us to allow the Holy Spirit to make us wise and tough spiritually because the Lord Jesus is preparing to tear down the forces of wickedness in the heavenlies. These forces are not going to be pleased with the removal of their ancient privileges of ruling the earth. We need to stay close to the Lord Jesus so that we will not lose sight of the Lord and be swept away or deceived during the heat of the conflict.

"The day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand."

The Day of Christ will not be a dainty era during which we sit on fleecy clouds playing golden harps. The Day of the Lord, the period when God judges the earth through Christ, Head and Body, will be the most terrible intervention of Divine wrath and judgment yet known on the earth— far more terrifying than the flood of Noah.

The people of Noah’s day did not have to bear the sight of the Son of God in the heavens, the innocent Lamb executed without cause, now returning in the fullness of His wrath to avenge Himself on the sinners and rebellious of the world.

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)

Before the Lord Jesus appears, the earth will experience a period of apparent security and peace for everyone. There will be one worldwide government. There will be a religious organization, void of the Spirit of God, that will work together with the government to keep everyone in control.

Unity and order will be brought about and war will be absent. The peoples of the earth will be occupied with buying and selling, marrying and giving in marriage. They will assume that peace and prosperity have come to stay. It will be a time of peace and prosperity apart from Christ.

Then, as a thief in the night, the Lord Jesus and His "great people" will appear. All who have made a covenant with Him and have accepted Him as their Savior and lawful King will be protected during the invasion. This will be a frightful period of violence and destruction.

Can you imagine the reaction of the rulers of the earth, and the peoples under their administration, when all realize that Christ actually is the Son of God and the rightful ruler of the earth? If Christ never did anything else other than appear in the clouds and call up His army, the nations of the earth would destroy themselves in their wrath and frustration. However they will not have that opportunity. Judgment will be brought upon them through the Lord and His army.

There are several passages of Scripture that emphasize the fact that the Day of Christ will be a period of darkness on the earth. One of the more prominent of these passages is found in Isaiah:

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. (Isaiah 60:2)

At the time of the coming of Christ the world will be in total spiritual darkness. The appearing of Christ will be as the morning sun arising to burn away the mists and bring the light of the Day of God.

We notice the same description in Zephaniah:

That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, (Zephaniah 1:15)

Again, we find in the Book of Revelation that this darkness is the judgment of God on the forces of evil in the earth.

And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, (Revelation 16:10)

The concept here is that God will pour out His wrath directly on the "peace and safety" that have been created in the earth apart from the Lordship of His Son. At the climax of the wrath the Son Himself will appear with His army of faithful saints. Then will be brought to pass the onslaught described in Joel 2:1-11. Those who ride with Christ in that day will be "a great people and a strong." The world never before has witnessed an army like this. These are the mighty men of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are "called, chosen, and faithful." God has tested and proved them in every manner conceivable. Their training has not been an easy one.

Like Joseph of old they have been shut up in prison for a long period of time while being tested by the Word of the Lord.

David’s mighty men were formed and bound to him in the wilderness before Saul died in battle. Many mighty men of the Lord Jesus are being formed and bound to Him now, at this time, so they may be prepared to ride with Him at His appearing.

These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God. (Revelation 14:4,5)

The concept of not being defiled with women has to do with the freedom of Christ’s "firstfruits" from the defilement produced by Christ-displacing union with institutions, things, situations, and people. The firstfruits are the first reaping of the vine of mankind. There is no guile, no Jacob-like supplanting, trickery, knavery, in their behavior. They are simple, clear, direct, forthright—just like their Lord, Christ. The warriors of the Lord Jesus stand without fault before the throne of God.

And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles [nations] in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. Thine hand shall be lifted up upon thine adversaries, and all thine enemies shall be cut off. (Micah 5:8,9)

The above passage is a picture of the savagery of Christ acting through His Body in the Day of the Lord. At that time, those of earth’s peoples who resist His rule will be overcome and destroyed.

A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the Garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. (Joel 2:3)

The Lord Jesus and His army will descend from Heaven to an earth that has achieved peace and prosperity under an ungodly rule—the rule of a government that has rejected the Lord Jesus Christ. The land is as the Garden of Eden before them, meaning that all the fair works of the flesh are in the path of the Lord’s soldiers. They could inherit the fair works of the flesh if they wished but the sons of God will accept none of these because the stench of demons and of the appetites of flesh and human self-will is on them.

The flaming judgment of God issues from them. They leave behind them a burning desolation. Before the members of the Body of Christ can rebuild the earth the works of the flesh must be consumed with fire and the remains plowed into the ground.

Nothing shall escape the army of Christ! When Israel invaded Canaan they won some excellent initial victories; but soon their will to conquer began to weaken as they met determined resistance from the Philistines.

This will not be the case with Christ’s soldiers. They have been trained, trained, trained by the Holy Spirit. They are tough, well-disciplined, organized in the Spirit to perfection. They will follow Christ and none other.

Christ’s soldiers possess His love of righteousness and hatred of sin and rebellion. They are invincible and have an unconquerable desire to please Christ. They never will show mercy to the enemies of God. They cannot be stopped or appeased. On and on they will march until every enemy of Christ has been judged and destroyed.

The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. (Joel 2:4)

The army of the Lord is a mobile striking force. Their charge is that of a cavalry. The horses are spiritual creatures and transport their riders with speed and strength unparalleled in the material realm. There are other passages where the same vision is described:

Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters. (Habakkuk 3:15)

And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)

God’s horses of war are as fierce as their riders.

He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet. (Job 39:24)

The appearing of Christ with His mighty men will occur with the sound of a furious onslaught.

Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. (Joel 2:5)

Christ will descend from Heaven as the advance of a roaring fire that consumes everything and everyone in its path.

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: (II Thessalonians 1:8)

The world will have established a well-developed culture and imposing institutions under the guidance of the lords of darkness. The culture and institutions will possess none of the saving Presence of Christ in them. They all shall be destroyed at the appearing of the Lord and His saints.

Anyone who thinks that the members of Christ’s army are anything like the double-minded, pleasure-loving, churchgoers of our day has no concept of the Divine strength and fury being created in the personalities of God’s saints in the present hour.

David had many extraordinary warriors in his army. Notable among them were the Gadites.

And of the Gadites there separated themselves unto David into the hold to the wilderness men of might, and men of war fit for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains; (I Chronicles 12:8)

The Gadites exemplify several characteristics being created in the saints in the present hour. First, they were separated to David, that is, they gave themselves wholly to their lord.

The Gadites did not attempt to satisfy both Saul and David so that they would be accepted by whichever side prospered. They chose one side. The true saints of God always must go outside the camp with Christ, bearing His reproach. In one way or another this decision will be forced on each of us.

Christ is "in the wilderness" today and King Saul (the flesh) is on the throne. Saul tolerated the growing popularity of David as long as Saul profited and was not injured in any way. But soon Saul’s true murderous instincts for preeminence revealed themselves.

So it is today that organized Christianity may accept the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In the days to come, as the Body of Christ begins to emerge from the Saulish sectarian structures, the true nature of all sectarianism will come out of hiding and show itself to be the murderer of Christ.

How many contemporary religious organizations do we see possessing the pure desire to allow the Holy Spirit to exalt Christ to absolute preeminence in the Body of Christ?

The Gadites were men of strength and experience in battle. They were swift and courageous. The saints of today are being made strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. The strength of the saints is the strength of faithfulness, holiness, and obedience. By many methods of His own choosing the Holy Spirit is guiding us into ever-increasing faith and strength in Christ.

Little by little we are maturing in the ability to resist the flesh, the world, and the adversary. We are gaining skill in using the shield of faith to quench the fiery arrows of the wicked one. We are learning to pray, to praise, to meditate in the Word, to look to Jesus for solutions instead of to other people. We are not as easy to frighten or to deceive as when first we were saved.

We are learning to lean on the wisdom and strength of the Lord Jesus.

The Gadites were men of war, fit for the battle. They always were prepared for war. They were skillful in warfare. We Christians are being alerted by the trumpet of the Lord. We understand that we are being prepared for the conflict of the ages. To this end we are learning to endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ. We are refusing to entangle ourselves with the affairs of the world.

The Gadites could handle shield and buckler (a small, round shield). They were excellent in defending themselves against thrusts of the sword. Many times each day there are thrusts of the enemy aimed at us. As the Lord teaches us we learn how to parry each thrust. Hard words from the world. Harsh treatment from Christian people. We learn to turn all this aside in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ sets a table before us in the presence of our enemies and we are enabled to look only to Jesus and to forget those who would do us harm. We may live in an ocean of envy and perversity, but we ignore the venom and press forward with our eyes fixed on Christ.

The faces of the Gadites were like the faces of lions. The saints who ride behind Jesus will have the same ferocity of countenance that will characterize His appearance. This is not a committee of kindly philosophers. These are the Lord and His warriors. They are intent on establishing the Kingdom of God in the earth.

The soldiers of Christ have endured rugged training under the watchful eye of the Lord God. Now their hour has come. The conquering saints have one objective, and that is to please Christ and to bring all power into subjection to Him. They will show no mercy on sin. All whom they confront either will receive the rule of Christ or will be destroyed. There will be neither softness nor wavering in their attack on sin. Each has the visage of a charging lion.

The Gadites were as swift as the gazelles on the mountains. Jesus charged some of His listeners with being slow to believe. There is a sluggishness of understanding that characterizes people who nominally are Christians but who still are longing for the things of the world. They are slow to move, slow to believe, slow to receive, slow to learn, in the area of spiritual warfare.

Such is not the case with Christ’s warriors. They are swift to obey, swift to believe, swift to learn, swift to hear the voice of Christ and to move in savage fury against the enemy. The army of Christ will move with a speed not attainable in the material world. Its descent from the heaven with Christ will come upon the earth with such speed and force that no power available to the ungodly will have any chance of slowing its charge. This is the end of the kingdom of darkness but the bringing of deliverance and peace to every person on earth who is willing to obey the Lord Jesus Christ.

Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. (Joel 2:6)

When the conviction of the Holy Spirit comes upon people they appear to be in pain. Their faces reveal their inner torment. This conviction and pain will be multiplied many times during the appearing of Christ. Like Judas of old, the peoples of the earth will hurl down the gold and silver for which they were willing to trade Christ. But, as in the case of Judas, it will be too late for those sinners. The doors of mercy will be closed eternally against them. The frightful fate of Judas Iscariot will be theirs.

The rebellious will rage against God in that day and the screams of anguish will be a thousand times more intense than in the days of Noah. It will be too late for those who have rejected Christ and chosen Antichrist. The year of the Lord’s redeemed has arrived.

They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: (Joel 2:7)

The "mighty men" mentioned above are those who have allowed God to deal with them until their own strength has been brought down to weakness. They have been faithful to the point of death to their self-will. Therefore God has clothed them within and without with His eternal strength. They can run and never grow weary of running. They can walk and never become tired. They possess in themselves the inexhaustible, eternal Life of God Almighty.

They have learned how to surmount obstacles by the Lord’s wisdom and power. While nominal Christians are blaming other people, Satan, and God for their pain, the members of the Lord’s army have been taught to look only to Christ for the solution to each problem no matter how great or how small that problem may appear to be.

Christ’s soldiers waste no time grumbling about their circumstances or blaming other people. They bring each matter to the Lord Jesus. Through Him they receive the ability to overcome each difficulty. They will carry this ability and all other training given them by the Lord into the Day of battle that is coming.

Each of Christ’s soldiers marches on his individual way. He has learned the voice of the Spirit and he does not make side excursions into areas that interest him but are of no profit to Christ. He has learned to follow the Spirit of God each day with intense concentration.

He is not easily led off the track. When he does get off the path the Lord reproves him and leads him back to the way of truth. There is no place among the ranks of Christ’s soldiers for people who can be led away easily from the mission that is before them. The Lord’s warriors come straight ahead and their concentration, their singleness of purpose, is terrible to behold.

They do not break their ranks. They do not allow the enemy to penetrate their wall at any point as he attempts to drive a wedge between brothers and thus become able to wound some Christians from the side or back. They understand that the main tactic of the enemy is to accuse their brothers in the Lord. These soldiers have had created in them such a holy wisdom and Divine hatred of sin that evil is destroyed at every point at which it comes against them.

No matter how fierce the defense against them becomes they do not stop their advance. They possess the certain knowledge that Christ is invincible. They trust Christ with their whole life as well as with their eternal salvation in God’s Presence. Therefore they cannot be frightened into yielding.

The conquering saints have come to realize that God always will support the Word of Christ and that there is no other power as great as Christ’s. As a result, their ranks never break or weaken. They are an irresistible tide of Divine fury rolling across the earth—a global holocaust. This is the Lord Jesus Christ and His army.

Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. (Joel 2:8)

One of the principal devices of the enemy is to tempt Christians to thrust one another. Not only are there a thousand divisions in the Body of Christ, but in many local assemblies the envy, jealousy, criticizing, backbiting, gossip, slander go on continuously. The pressure for such behavior comes from the "accuser of the brothers."

The Holy Spirit is teaching us today concerning the unity of the Body of Christ. He instructs us that all division in the Church originates in the Satan-inspired fleshly nature.

The Holy Spirit commands us to cease from all criticizing of one another as individuals. We are not permitted to blame, criticize, or otherwise find fault with another person.

There occur instances when we must rebuke (or even separate ourselves from) a fellow Christian because of his or her sin against us or against God. This is different from maintaining a critical, judgmental attitude toward our fellow saints because they do not always behave in a manner we deem proper.

Freedom from criticizing other people can be a difficult place in Christ to achieve. Such personal victory is necessary if we expect to ride with Christ in the Day of the Lord. We are not allowed to join with Satan in the accusing of our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Whatever evil is directed toward us through the world or through Christians we are to take to the Lord. We achieve victory over each problem by Christ’s wisdom and strength.

Sometimes it becomes necessary for us to speak and defend ourselves. In such cases the Lord will lift us up from the realm of criticizing and hatred and help us act as a true Christian. In most instances we are wiser if we wait for the Lord to take care of the evil that is attempting to wound our spirit.

The members of the Lord’s army do not thrust each other when they become irritated or provoked. They move as one in Christ, having learned how to look only to Him for the solution to every problem, for the healing of every wound. They do not attempt to assign blame to other people.

Each soldier of Christ has learned to walk in his own path. There are many experiences in life that are lawful for Christians. But for the saint there is only one will of God for the moment. The will of God extends down to the smallest detail of our life.

Either we are in prayer at any given time and seeking the will of the Spirit or else we are living carelessly according to our own impulses and thoughts. The true son of God walks straight ahead in the Spirit, praying over each step he takes, continuing in supplication and thanksgiving.

There is only one acceptable path for each Christian. It is our responsibility to look to the Lord Jesus continually, insuring we are in the center of His will in every circumstance.

The Word of God, the sword of the Holy Spirit, tests our way, tests our deeds, tests our words, tests our motives, tests our imaginations. The sword of the Word cuts deeply into us, dividing the soul and spirit, the joints and marrow of our bones. The thoughts and intentions of our heart are revealed.

Every part of our personality must be tested by the Divine fire until only the gold of God’s Substance remains. Then when we ride with the Lord in that day the sword of judgment no longer can wound us.

The Day of the Lord is the day of the judgment of all spirits and people. The sword of the Spirit will turn this way and that, piercing and slaying all in its path. The army of Christ can fall on the sword and not be wounded. Even the Lake of Fire has no harmful effect on the Lord’s conquerors.

They have been crucified with Christ and it is Christ who is living in them. Neither sword nor fire can in any manner injure the Lord Jesus Christ.

They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. (Joel 2:9)

The evil forces of the end-time will rule from the cities of the earth, or perhaps all the cities will be combined into one large city. It seems that the major portion of the frightful judgments of the last days will be poured on the cities, on the headquarters of the rule of Antichrist and the great Babylon (man-directed Christianity).

The Lord and His army will invade these centers of demon rule. They will tear down every wall, every defense that people will erect against Christ’s appearing. The sons of God will enter every home, judging the inhabitants concerning their attitude toward the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the horror stories with which we entertained ourselves as children there are descriptions of monsters coming to our windows and peering in. We shrieked in horror at the imaginary sight of weird faces as we huddled in our house in terror.

The reverse of this will come to pass during the Day of the Lord. The practitioners of every ungodly, filthy, demoniacal wickedness will be cowering in their houses in that day. Then at the windows of their dwellings will appear what will be to them the most tormenting sight in the universe—the faces of God’s saints radiating a pure light as bright as the sun. The Divine brightness will expose every filthy practice, every unclean deed, word, and fantasy in which the demon-possessed revel.

The peoples of the earth already are practicing in their homes filthy works that the saints are not allowed to mention. In that day the filth will have reached its climax. The Spirit-filled saints of the Lord will break into every dwelling, bringing the Divine light into the private moral cesspools.

The demon-possessed will crouch in their dark corners in terror just as the demons screamed in fright whenever Jesus of Nazareth came close to them. Their homes may be barricaded in those days but the righteous will break into their privacy unhindered.

The Day of the Lord will surprise the hypocrites like a thief in the night.

The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: (Joel 2:10)

So great will be the onslaught of Christ and His army that the earth will shake. The heavens also will tremble. The army of Christ will affect not only the wickedness in the earth but in the heavens as well.

Every person, spirit, and thing in the universe, physical and spiritual, will tremble when the army of the Lord begins its march. All acts of men and angels will be brought into judgment. Nothing will be able to stand before the advance of this army. It is the avenger of all the sin and rebellion against God that has ever occurred. The army is filled to overflowing with the power and fire of Divine judgment. God has delegated to His army the execution of His wrath, and the army is instantly obedient to God.

The sun, moon, and stars will cooperate with the saints by ceasing to give their light, just as in the time of Joshua. Darkness will cover the earth, but the light coming from the sons of God will be as many suns.

The Light of the Lord’s Presence will bring into terrible contrast the distinction between what is holy and what is unholy, what is clean and what is unclean. The brightest light in the world in that day will be the Light of God Almighty in Christ radiating from the invading troops.

And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? (Joel 2:11)

Christ will shout from the mouths of His troops just as a warrior gives his battle cry. The Lord will roar from Zion in anticipation of the battle. Those who are riding with Him are called, chosen, and faithful. The camp of the Lord is very great. Remember that God promised Abraham that his Seed (Christ) would be as the "stars of the heaven" and that His Seed would "possess the gate of his enemies."

There are many saints in the Lord’s army, disciples who have been set aside for this hour from the time of the creation of mankind. It truly is the greatest of all armies, some of the soldiers already having had thousands of years of experience in the knowledge of Christ. Each warrior has been tested in every area of personality and conduct and has been proven to be faithful.

God the Father has assigned all authority and power in Heaven and on the earth to His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. This authority and power is resident in the Lord’s army. Nothing in the heavens or on the earth will be able in any manner to withstand the march of the army whose Commander in Chief has the full support of God the Father.

The Day of the Lord indeed will be both "great and terrible." The only persons who will be able to endure the terror of that Day will be those who have made their covenant with God through the blood of Christ. Only those who have obeyed the Lord God will be able to survive the onslaught of the Lord Jesus and His troops.

The Spirit is testifying that the marching orders soon are to be issued to Christ and His army.

Antichrist will be given the power to make war against the saints and to overcome the testimony. After Antichrist has revealed in the earth the depth of the foulness and destruction that is in the personality of Satan, the Lord and His army will put an end to the reign of Antichrist throughout the world.

I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. (Daniel 7:21,22)

But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. (Daniel 7:26)

Habakkuk portrays the Day of the Lord. Another account of the army of Christ can be found in the third chapter of Habakkuk:

O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy. (Habakkuk 3:2)

When we hear what God is speaking concerning the wrath to be poured out on the sin in the world, on the arrogance of the nations, we pray for mercy. We ask God to revive His work by pouring out His Spirit on us. Today is a day of revival. If we will beseech the Lord Jesus He will pour out the Holy Spirit in an unprecedented manner.

When we listen to the Holy Spirit He speaks to us not only of the present revival but also of the great and terrible Day of the Lord just over the horizon. When we hear the Lord’s speech we tremble because of the wrath to come, as did Habakkuk, even though we understand we shall be saved through the holy atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. (Habakkuk 3:3)

Teman (Edom) and Mount Paran (Sinai region) represent the wilderness area. When the Church has wandered in the wilderness of instruction long enough, the Lord God will reveal Himself in the Day of the Lord.

The Day of the Lord will affect both the heavens and the earth. The Glory of the Lord God Almighty will shine through the heavens and there will come an answer of praise from the saints in the earth. The Lord God will appear in the Body of Christ on the earth and also will appear visibly in the heavens.

The fact that God came from the Sinai region reveals to us that the Lord always moves from the place of the Law. The Law was given on Mount Sinai. Whenever the Lord acts, the moral law must be in operation. The Lord God never will perform His works in an atmosphere of uncleanness or disobedience. When revival comes it always brings with it a return to purity of deed, word, and thought.

We cannot know the Glory of the Lord in the realm of victory in battle until first we have had our wilderness experience. Each of the Lord’s conquerors will have had a rigorous testing in the wilderness of tribulation. The Glory of God comes out of the wilderness.

And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power. (Habakkuk 3:4)

The coming of Christ and His army will be characterized by an exceedingly brilliant light streaming from the Lord God, who will be dwelling in and working through and with the Head and Body of Christ—just as He dwelled in and worked through and with Jesus of Nazareth, the Head of the Body. The light will be extraordinarily bright in contrast with the oppressive spiritual darkness that will be covering the peoples of the earth.

Flashing from the Presence of Christ and His army will be the rays of the power of God Almighty. "Horns" are spoken of several time in the Scriptures. Horns represent the power to overcome resistance, just as the horns of bulls and goats overcome whatever is in their path.

The power of God in the exercise of judgment never before has been revealed to the degree that will be true during the onslaught of the army of the Lord against the rebels of the heavens and the earth.

Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet. (Habakkuk 3:5)

The Day of the Lord is the day of fire. It is a baptism of fire on the works of the flesh, on the willfulness of mankind, on the uncleanness and rebellion of wicked spirits. All will be baptized in the fire of God.

The members of Christ’s Body are to be baptized with fire now, in these days, so that we will not be harmed in the Day of the Lord. Ours is a baptism that burns away from us all that is not of Christ. The fire on sinners is a baptism to destruction.

We noticed the fiery judgment when we were discussing Joel’s army: "A fire devoureth before them, and behind them a flame burneth." The Presence of Christ, the Consuming Fire, is a blessing to the saints but a horror to the ungodly.

He stood, and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations; and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting. (Habakkuk 3:6)

The measuring of the earth refers to the judgment on the peoples of the world that will be exercised through the saints at the coming of Christ and His army from Heaven. The authority and power of the national governments of the earth will be dissolved in that day.

The rule of men will be torn asunder and scattered. All the powers and institutions of the earth will bow in homage to Christ. "For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God" (Romans 14:11).

The ways of God come to us from eternity. Our own ways are new and untested. God’s ways are eternal and they will be established in the earth. The ways of the world to which we are accustomed will be tested by fire. The practices that cannot survive the Divine fire will be consumed by it.

I saw the tents of Cushan in affliction: and the curtains of the land of Midian did tremble. (Habakkuk 3:7)

All of the glamour of the rule of the flesh in the earth will tremble in terror before the Lord Jesus in that day. The inhabitants will be punished for their sins.

Was the LORD displeased against the rivers? was thine anger against the rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation? (Habakkuk 3:8)

The rivers mentioned here are the hearts of men, and the sea represents the nations of the earth that roll back and forth according to the winds that blow on them. There will be no "sea" on the new earth. There will be no mass of mankind that can be swayed by forces of error. Each saved person will be an individual who has Christ in him, who is known personally to God, and who knows God as Father and Friend.

There are many "rivers" spewing from the hearts of men today, and the billions of mankind are as a sea that is beginning to swell in agitation and disturbance because of the filth and violence being poured into it. The rivers of lust, murder, drunkenness, covetousness, and sorcery are gushing from the hearts of the ungodly.

The wrath of God is against the sea of mankind and against the rivers of ungodliness that swell the sea with foulness of every sort; but especially against the demon powers that are the real source of the murder, perversity, lust, drunkenness, and rebellion.

Thy bow was made quite naked, according to the oaths of the tribes, even thy word. Selah. Thou didst cleave the earth with rivers. (Habakkuk 3:9)

The making naked of God’s bow portrays the coming of God to make war against His enemies. Every true saint of Christ prays for this to happen soon. We cannot in our own strength overcome the forces of Satan. They make war against us all the time, causing pain and sorrow. It is God who will avenge us and chastise the wicked and rebellious.

God has promised that all evil will be put under our feet and we shall inherit the Kingdom of God. We have the Word of God for that. No matter what happens to us, no matter how our faith is tested, we are to maintain our hold on the oath of God. He has promised us victory in the end.

The cleaving of the earth with rivers signifies the rivers of living water of the Holy Spirit that will flow from the hearts of those who believe in Christ. In place of the rivers of lust, murder, covetousness, drunkenness, and sorcery will flow the rivers of eternal life, healing, righteousness, peace, and joy. The nations of the earth will be moved to worship God because of the abundance of the Holy Spirit in the earth.

The rivers of the Spirit pouring from Christ, Head and Body, will unite to form one clear River of Life that will flow throughout the earth as soon as the enemies of God have been judged and destroyed by the fire of God’s wrath.

The saints will bring both the fire and the water, judgment and deliverance, the curse and the blessing, death and life. Christians are baptized in both the Holy Spirit and the fire of God’s judgment. Therefore they are able to administer both blessing and judgment.

The mountains saw thee, and they trembled: the overflowing of the water passed through: the deep uttered his voice, and lifted up his hands on high. (Habakkuk 3:10)

The established institutions and governments of the world will behold God. They will witness the dead and the living in Christ ascend before their eyes just as Jesus ascended up to Heaven in the sight of people. In stark terror the wicked will observe the sign of the Son of Man in the heavens.

They will see the face of the Lamb of God as He surveys the peoples of the earth. They will witness the vengeance of God in that face. They will behold the Son of God riding at the head of the fiercest army ever to appear on the earth or in Heaven.

The "overflowing of the water" passing by speaks of the tide of judgment that will wash over the earth in destroying fury. The judgment will be administered under the direct supervision of Christ and His saints. The "deep" refers to the world spirit in the mass of mankind. The meek of the earth will lift up their hands in worshipful recognition of the glory, wisdom, and power of God Almighty.

Throughout all the earth the inhabitants will realize that God has sent Christ and that God loves the saints as He loves Christ.

They will behold the Lord God as He reveals Himself in Christ, Head and Body. The nations will worship God, as we are told so many times in the Book of Psalms (Psalms 148, for example). The whole earth will be full of the glory and praise of God. The physical landscape, the mountains and oceans, the hills and rivers of the earth, will be affected by the coming of Christ and His army of saints. The spiritual changes will be reflected in the material universe.

The creation will demonstrate an animation that has not been seen on the earth since the Garden of Eden. All nature will join with the saints in spewing out the rottenness with which the wicked who practice sin and rebellion have destroyed God’s handiwork (Romans 8:21).

The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear. (Habakkuk 3:11)

The sun and moon stood still at the word of Joshua. We notice the sun and moon working together with the sons of God as the judgment continues over the face of the earth. The stars in their courses will fight against the forces of darkness in that day. We see this effect on the heavenly bodies, in other passages of Scripture.

The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: (Joel 2:10)

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: (Matthew 24:29)

For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. (Isaiah 13:10)

During the Day of Christ that is to come there will be massive shakings of the mountains and the hills. The oceans and rivers of the earth will be affected. The sun, moon, and stars will behave in unusual ways at the word of Christ and His saints.

Every seemingly substantial element in which people trust will be shaken and moved from its place so mankind will understand that the rule of man has been concluded and Christ now is installing a new government and a new way of life.

Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen in anger. (Habakkuk 3:12)

It is the Lord God Almighty who will be striding through the land in Christ and the Body of Christ. It is the judgment of God on His creatures. God is coming in the fire of His royal indignation because of the despising of His commandments and edicts, just as would any other emperor.

The word thresh portrays separating the wheat from the chaff. In the Day of His judgment God will remove all that is undesirable from the creation. God will judge the world in anger in the Day of Christ.

Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah. (Habakkuk 3:13)

The coming of Christ will be a time of judgment and destruction for the rebels in the heavens and the earth. It will be the greatest period of salvation for every individual who puts his trust in Christ. "To them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Hebrews 9:28).

One of the significant aspects of the Day of Christ is that Satan will be sealed in the bottomless pit. The evil forces in the heavenlies will be torn down from their vantage points and then lowered yet further to the caverns within the earth.

No more will we be dealing with the symptoms of evil, obtaining minor deliverances here and there. In that day God will give us the necks of our spiritual enemies. We shall cut off the head of the forces of darkness. The Church will crush Satan under foot. There will be total victory over the power of sin. Everything after that will be a mopping-up operation. God will enable us to strike the fatal blow.

Thou didst strike through with his staves the head of his villages: they came out as a whirlwind to scatter me: their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly. (Habakkuk 3:14)

This verse has to do with the conflict between Christ and Satan. The enemy is rejoicing in his wickedness but God has pierced the head of the wicked one with his own spears.

The evil princes did all in their power to destroy Christ while He was being tested by the Father, and they do all in their power to devour each saint while he or she is being tested by the Lord.

The lords of darkness will gather together the leaders of the earth to resist Christ at His appearing. God Almighty will pierce them through with their own arrows, as God always does to the wicked when the righteous cry out for deliverance.

If we will keep our situation before the Lord and not fight back against the wickedness that is done to us, the Lord Jesus will make certain that every arrow directed against us will find its way back into the heart of the one who shot it. The wicked will set traps for us but they will fall into their own traps.

This is the manner in which God’s judgment works on our behalf, provided we do not avenge ourselves. When we avenge ourselves we rob God of His rightful role of avenging sin and rebellion.

Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters. (Habakkuk 3:15)

Here, as in Joel, we see the Lord Jesus and His saints on the white horses of war. These are spiritual horses, perfectly equipped to enable their riders to execute the Lord’s vengeance. The horses of God love the conflict and rejoice as they charge against the enemies of God. They prance with excitement when they hear the shouting of the captains. The thunder of the battle is the sweetest sound heard by their ears.

The horses and their riders will move through the mass of mankind executing the judgment of Christ. No power on earth or in the heavens can withstand Christ’s army. Michael will lead the army of Heaven in coordination with the army of Christ on the earth. This is a double camp, able to destroy all enemies both in the heavens and on the earth.

When the "Shulamite" returns there will be a double camp.

Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? as it were the company of two armies. (Song of Solomon 6:13)

One army is made up of Christ and His saints. The other army is composed of Michael and his angels.

When Joshua began the invasion of Canaan the captain of the Lord’s army came to meet him. The Church of Christ cannot drive Satan from the land of promise until God directs Michael to coordinate his activities with those who are leading the Church.

When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. (Habakkuk 3:16)

The above passage parallels: "let all the inhabitants of the land tremble," of Joel 2:1. There is a weakness and decay that enters our bones, even as Christians, when God appears to us in the kind of anger, war, and judgment recorded in Habakkuk, Chapter Three. Habakkuk sought "rest in the day of trouble," in the Day when the Lord invades the earth with His troops.

This is the passage Paul was thinking of when he was comforting the saints in Thessalonica.

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, (II Thessalonians 1:7)

Habakkuk had learned from the Spirit of Christ (I Peter 1:11) that the Day of Christ will be a period of destruction on the earth.

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: (Habakkuk 3:17)

Yet God has promised those who love Him and who abide in Christ that their bread and waters will be sure (Isaiah 33:16). They will be clothed (Matthew 6:30). They will be protected from all harm and danger (compare Psalms 91—a Psalm prepared for the Day of Christ).

Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk 3:18)

We Christians can rejoice at the thought of the coming of the great and terrible Day of the Lord because we shall be under the watchful protection of the Lord God no matter where we are or in what circumstances we may find ourselves.

The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments. (Habakkuk 3:19)

This last verse is important to us. It reveals the fact that in the Day of the Lord, each member of the Body of Christ will be especially equipped to move with the speed and strength of the Lord. The strength of the Christian in that day will be the strength of God. This is why God spends so much time teaching us to wait for Him, giving our strength and wisdom in exchange for His Divine, supernatural strength and wisdom.

Human wisdom and strength will be of no avail in the Day of the Lord.

The purpose of the third death and resurrection is that we may die to our own ways and gain the strength and wisdom of God. The members of the army of Christ no longer are alive to themselves. They have denied themselves in Christ to the point they are crucified with Christ. It is Christ who is living in them, as Paul stated.

Therefore their strength rises in God and flows along with God’s purposes. They are invincible in the Day of Christ because the strength in them is proceeding directly from the Lord God Almighty. God Himself is their strength in that day.

The Day of the Lord in Revelation, Chapter Nineteen. We have seen the coming of Christ in Joel, Chapter Two and Habakkuk, Chapter Three. Let us turn now to Revelation, Chapter 19 and examine how a prophet of the New Testament describes the same burden, the same vision.

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. (Revelation 19:11)

Notice that the army of the Lord will descend from Heaven to the earth. Christ is ready at this point to judge and make war in righteousness.

The names "Faithful and True" are worthy of special note. We know well that Christ is faithful and true. In Revelation 17:14 we learn that "they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful."

Not only must the disciple be "called" in salvation, and "chosen" because of his remaining with the Lord Jesus, as did the first apostles (John 6:70), he also must be proven "faithful." The faithful area is that of the third death and resurrection.

We must be tried, tried, tested, proven, shaken, everything in us brought under the searching eyes of Him with whom we have to do. God is looking for absolute faithfulness of the type that Abraham demonstrated. Every soldier who rides with Christ will be called, chosen, and faithful. Some are called and chosen, and now are enduring tests to demonstrate the quality of their faithfulness. There can be no mistakes once that army commences its charge.

His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. (Revelation 19:12)

Again we notice the reference to the "flame of fire" that characterizes the army of the Lord as it invades the "paradise" that has been put together under the guidance of unclean spirits. The nations will be speaking of peace and security just before the Lord comes, but it will be a filthy, perverse, abominable peace, like that which people are attempting to manufacture in the world in the days in which we are living.

There is no righteous, lasting peace apart from Christ!

On the head of Christ are many crowns. The many crowns speak to us of two facts. First, they signify that Christ is absolute Head over all nations and over all facets of life—material and spiritual.

Second, they reveal that Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. The kings and lords over whom Christ is King and Lord are God’s saints. Each saint is being prepared to be a king and priest of God. Each saint gives his crown to Christ in token of the fact he voluntarily and personally has chosen Christ as the Lord of his life.

Remember how the elders in Heaven remove their crowns and give them to the Lord? Christ is King over all of God’s kings and Lord over all of God’s lords. Christ does not desire to be king over the ungodly, fleshly politicians of the earth. They soon are to be cut down like grass unless they choose to receive Christ as their rightful King.

The "name written, that no man knew" is significant. In other passages of Revelation we find reference to the giving of new names to Christ and to the victorious saints. The giving of a new name, which Jesus of Nazareth occasionally would do to His disciples, indicates that God has revealed to the one who receives the new name something concerning his character and destiny.

No person knows of the new character and destiny other than the person to whom God assigns the new name.

Sometimes God brings us through a difficult period and we "die" in the Lord. Then He raises us up by His power. When He does, He sometimes reveals to us new facts about what we have become in Him and what our role in His purposes is to be.

We do not tell others the secrets of the Lord. We watch and wait prayerfully to see how God will interpret what He has spoken. It is a new name, a new identity, and we must wait for God to confirm it and to bring forth into reality what He has spoken in secret.

And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. (Revelation 19:13)

The blood of Christ always must go before the saints into battle. We overcome the adversary by the blood of the Lamb. The blood stops the mouths of all the accusers of God’s people. The blood enables God to work with us and it keeps us under Divine protection.

When the angel of destruction sees the blood he passes over us. This protection is ours when we first are saved. The blood perseveres throughout our Christian discipleship and will continue to guard us during the Day of Wrath.

Christ’s name in that day is the Word of God. Christ possesses many names. He is the Lion of Judah, the Lord, the Savior, the Bridegroom, the Good Shepherd, the King.

In the Day of Christ His name will be The Word of God. This also must be true of every saint who rides with Christ in that day. He must be the Word of God. The Word of God is the weapon with which the Holy Spirit will judge and liberate the peoples of the earth.

Christ is the Word made flesh. We are the flesh being made the Word.

It is the Word of God that is testing us as it did Joseph. It is in terms of the Word that we are being proven faithful. Only as we are willing to deny ourselves and allow God to resurrect the Word of God in us will we be prepared to ride with Christ in the Day of the Lord.

In Joel, Chapter Two we learned that "when they fall on the sword, they shall not be wounded." The reason the Lord’s saints cannot be wounded in that day is that they already have been judged by the Word of God. The sword of the Spirit no longer can harm them. The Church in that day will have become the sword of the Holy Spirit of God.

And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)

The "fine linen, white and clean" portrays the righteous actions of the saints. The fine linen is not the imputed (ascribed) righteousness that is assigned to us at the first level of redemption but rather the righteousness fashioned in us at the sanctification and conquest levels of redemption.

The army of Christ is not a group of people who are gossiping, backbiting, murdering, hating, lusting, and hoping that somehow the grace of God is covering their ungodly conduct. This is an army of saints, of holy ones who have laid hold on the grace of God in Christ until their deeds, motives, words, and imaginations have been brought into subjection to Christ.

Every self-seeking motive in them has been brought under the feet of Christ. They are holy as He is holy. They walk as He walks. They are without guile as He is without guile. They have been found faithful. They have overcome the accuser by the grace of God. They are the army of the Lord. Their raiment is not merely white with the innocence of Adam and Eve, their garments are dazzling—radiantly brilliant with the militant righteousness of Christ.

They love righteousness and hate sin and rebellion, therefore God has anointed them with the oil of gladness.

And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. (Revelation 19:15)

All the nations of the earth will be forced to obey the Lord Jesus Christ. A rod of iron represents the irresistible power and determination with which the Spirit of God will compel obedience to the Lord. The full measure of the fierceness of wrath of Almighty God—a fierceness and wrath that has been held in reserve for thousands of years—will be administered through Christ and the saints.

The Word of God in judgment will prevail throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

The power of the Word to destroy will be manifest, especially in the beginning when the Kingdom Age is being installed. The death of Ananias and Sapphira is a portrayal of the operation of the Word of God in judgment during the Day of Christ.

And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:16)

There is a difference in the appearance of Christ, and of those who ride with Him. His army is clothed in sparkling white linen like that of the transfigured Christ—robes created from and reflecting the godly conduct of the saints.

The saints have achieved this godly conduct by confessing their sins, receiving the forgiveness and the cleansing that proceed from the blood of Christ, and then resisting the adversary.

In that day the saints will be clothed in their own righteous conduct.

Christ Himself is not robed in white but in material dyed red by dipping it in blood. The saints of Christ’s army are invincible because Christ, their Commander in Chief, overcame the accusations of Satan by the shedding of His innocent blood.

On Christ’s garment is emblazoned the title: King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Satan has always desired this preeminence, and he attempted to be the god of Jesus while Jesus was in the wilderness of temptation. Jesus has redeemed His followers by the shedding of His blood. His title no longer can be questioned. The kingship lawfully is His.

If the saints were led by anyone except someone clothed in blood, the exercise of the wrath of God could lead into danger those who were exercising it. It is a fearful thing to wield the two-edged sword of the Spirit. God is righteous, and if there were a trace of lawlessness in any of Christ’s soldiers, and Satan understood it, the battle would falter at that point.

Since the Leader of the saints is clothed in His own innocent blood that was shed on behalf of the saints, and since those who are with Him are faithful, and since the blood will keep on appeasing the wrath of God as far as the saints are concerned, the attack will not falter at any point.

At the present time we are not allowed to exercise vengeance against wrongdoing. Vengeance belongs to God and we must never avenge ourselves. Whenever we attempt to avenge ourselves, to justify ourselves, God becomes displeased with us. The judgment with which we are judging falls back on us. We are wounded by the two-edged sword we are wielding. With what judgment we judge we ourselves are judged.

In the Day of Christ the struggle against wickedness will be different. In that day we will be permitted to exercise the vengeance of God against the enemies of God. The vengeance we have been forbidden to exercise in the present hour will then be placed in our hands.

However, one principle will remain the same: we ourselves will be judged as we are judging others. Because our Leader, Christ, is robed in His own blood, and we are under His covering, His authority, the judgment of God will not harm us. The Day of Christ will be a fearful time indeed. We need to know exactly what we are doing when we enter the administration of the release of the wrath of God Almighty.

The title King of Kings and Lord of Lords is inscribed on the thigh of Christ. The third death and resurrection has to do with the "thigh" of man, to speak figuratively. Jacob was lame in the area of his thigh after he wrestled with the angel. The thigh is the area of strength and reproduction in mankind.

In the third death and resurrection we are brought down to death, as God requires that we keep on denying ourselves for Christ’s sake and for the Gospel’s. Our natural power and fruitfulness are destroyed in the process. In their place appear the strength of God and the fruitfulness of God.

Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords in His thigh because He died on the cross, being made lower than any other man. He suffered shame and humiliation. Therefore God has exalted Him above every other man. Because He became barren for God’s sake, God has made Christ fruitful above every other man. Now He is King and Lord of all who likewise have died and become barren in God, and whom God has raised in His power and His fruitfulness.

And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. (Revelation 19:17,18)

So much rebellion and perversity will have been sown in the earth during the reign of Antichrist that many people, although they have been visited with the wrath of God until the earth is reeling under the destruction, still will hate Christ and will suppose they can resist His coming. As always, men and women in their perversity and rebellion will imagine they will be able to repair the damage caused by the Divine wrath during the great tribulation and the outpouring of the bowls of wrath, and then be able to continue in their Christ-rejecting ways.

Thousands of years before, Pharaoh of Egypt demonstrated the rebellion and perversity that will be shown by the nations of the earth when Jesus returns to call out His people. We can observe the same rebellion and perversity in our own behavior. God deals with us severely until we repent. As soon as the pressure is removed we begin to scheme how we can return to our life as it had been previously.

Plague after plague descends on "Pharaoh." While the plague is present Pharaoh is willing to repent. As soon as God withdraws the plague, Pharaoh will begin to scheme how he can restore "Egypt" (the world) apart from obeying God.

It will be necessary that multitudes of people be slain in the Day of Christ. They will hate the appearing of Christ just as they hated the first coming of Christ and the presence of the early Christians among them. His appearing will destroy those rebels. The birds that feed on carrion will have the greatest banquet of all time during the Day of Christ because of the dead bodies lying about in heaps.

And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. (Revelation 19:19)

The above verse is hard to picture. First of all, for us who long for the coming of the Lord above all else it is difficult to conceive of people deliberately resisting His return to the earth.

Second, it would seem that when the peoples of the earth saw the Lord Jesus and His saints, each manifestly being full of the power and wrath of God Almighty, they would throw down their weapons and cast themselves on His mercy. However, being led of demons, they will attempt to resist Christ and His army.

Whether earth’s peoples will be so foolish as to shoot at spiritual beings with material weapons (something like putting Peter or Paul in jail after they have risen from the dead), or whether they will attempt to utilize supernatural methods to repel Christ and the saints, remains to be seen. Some combination of the two undoubtedly will occur.

Perhaps earth’s leaders will call on the assistance of those who deal in occult matters, as did Balak, hoping to enlist supernatural support against the takeover of Christ and His army of kings and lords. In our own time we see political leaders and the police asking assistance from those who demonstrate psychic power, in order to obtain wisdom and knowledge, or to learn of the future, or to solve some crime that has not yielded to ordinary police methods.

It may seem strange to us that anyone would be so foolish as to attempt to repel the onslaught of Christ and His army. When we come in contact with evil spirits, and with people who have been deceived by them, we soon realize that they will proceed onward in all confidence, persuaded they can accomplish their goals and prosper in joy and peace while they are disobeying Christ.

The forces of evil live and move in such deception they trust that somehow the Scriptures will not prove to be true concerning the destruction of sin and rebellion in the Day of the Lord Jesus.

And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with sulfur. (Revelation 19:20)

We are encouraged when we understand that although our wrestling against sin seemingly is an endless struggle, a final, decisive victory is at hand. God will give us the necks of our enemies. Satan will be crushed under the feet of the Church.

If we follow the Lord Jesus faithfully we have no reason to fear the coming of the Day of the Lord or the events and circumstances surrounding that coming. God’s covering and provisions are sure.

If we are not serving the Lord faithfully we do have reason to fear the Lord’s coming. We are facing fiery judgment whether or not we profess belief in the Lord Jesus!

The army of Christ, in Second Thessalonians. We have studied the army of Christ in Joel, Chapter Two, Habakkuk, Chapter Three, and Revelation, Chapter Nineteen. Christ’s army appears also in Second Thessalonians.

The church at Thessalonica was enduring persecution and tribulation. Paul wrote to inform the saints that these troubles are proof of the righteous judgment of God and that the saints of Thessalonica were suffering so they may be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God:

Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; (II Thessalonians 1:6)

The Church will suffer persecution and tribulation throughout its history, particularly in the days just prior to the appearing of Christ. The coming of Christ will bring a recompense to Christians because of the distress and afflictions they have received at the hands of the ungodly. The distress and afflictions will be heaped a hundredfold on the enemies of Christ and His saints in that day.

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (II Thessalonians 1:7-9)

This is the coming of the army of the Lord. Notice again the "flaming fire," as we found in Joel, Chapter Two. It is the fire of God’s vengeance on His enemies administered under the supervision of Christ and His army of saints.

We can observe also the army of Heaven—the "mighty angels" who will wage their own part of the warfare. It is the Day of the power of Christ, the Day of redemption, the avenging of the blood of all of God’s prophets and saints. It indeed will be a frightful time for all who have not obeyed the Gospel of Christ.

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

Compare:

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

Christ will gather together His elect from the four corners of the earth, with the trumpet blast of God. After that, He will descend from Heaven with His army, being glorified "in his saints" and "admired in all of them that believe." All the peoples of the earth will witness the exodus of the dead and living saints, and then the return of Christ with His army. At that time they will understand that God has sent Christ and that He has loved the saints as He has loved His own Son.

Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (II Thessalonians 1:11,12)

It is not enough that a person make an initial profession of Christ and then wait passively for the Lord to come. Passive believers will never ride with Christ in the Day of the Lord. God must count us "worthy of this calling." He must "fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power." We must adopt an attitude of militant faith and press forward in the power of God; always, however, watching carefully for the Lord’s will.

If persecution and tribulation come, and we fall away in coldness and unbelief, we are not to suppose that Christ will return and be glorified and admired in us.

He who endures throughout tribulation will be saved. The task of overcoming the accuser lies before us. No matter what trouble comes upon us we are to lay hold on the promises of God and continue to be strong in faith, praying to Christ for wisdom and strength.

The quality of patient enduring is one of the many factors that go together to ensure success in the Christian pilgrimage. It is relatively easy to make an initial show of salvation. It is quite another matter to attend patiently to Christ each day of our lives—particularly when we are suffering testing and trouble of all kinds. Those who ride with Him are "called and chosen and faithful."

Events of the end-time.

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. (II Thessalonians 2:1,2)

In the second chapter of II Thessalonians, Paul informs the believers of the events that must occur before the Lord comes and we are gathered together to Him. Notice that Paul is speaking of the "day of Christ."

Apparently some teachers were emphasizing to the church at Thessalonica that the Lord Jesus suddenly was going to appear. As a result, some of the believers were not working at their jobs. Also, they were growing impatient with the persecution and afflictions they were enduring. They felt that Jesus should come immediately so they no longer would be required to endure the laborious pilgrimage to which each Christian has been called.

We can observe a similar attitude in some of the assemblies of today. People are hoping they will be caught away to be with the Lord so they can escape the problems of this life. As a result they take an unprofitable attitude toward trials, not realizing that the trials are the means through which God is making them worthy of His Kingdom.

The saints will not seek the will of Christ for their lives if we advise them that they will be leaving any minute. They become impatient with the work of the Spirit in their lives. They are not willing to go through the deaths and resurrections of redemption.

Some of the churches of our day practice for the "rapture" by jumping up and down next to their pews. They would do better to practice for the first resurrection by counting themselves crucified and risen with Christ.

Any doctrine that turns us away from a patient cross-carrying discipleship, away from bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit, away from seeking God for worldwide revival and for our part in that revival, is not of the Spirit of God.

Some false teachers had worked the Thessalonians into a troubled frame of mind regarding the coming of Christ. Their teaching was that the Lord was coming immediately. The result was (as might be expected) that the Thessalonians ceased taking seriously their labors in the Lord. They believed that everything would terminate at any moment. Why bother making an effort to seek the will of God for one’s life?

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition [destruction]; (II Thessalonians 2:3)

The Lord Jesus will not come for us until worldwide lawlessness occurs and Antichrist has been revealed, according to this teaching of Paul. It seems to us, after comparing the many passages throughout the Scriptures that refer to the Day of the Lord, and after waiting on the mind of the Holy Spirit, that—generally speaking—the events of the end-time are as follows.

We are entering a time of revival without precedent in the history of all of God’s working with His creatures. The Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached for a witness to every nation under the heaven. All the peoples of the earth will see and hear the Gospel. Tremendous works of power, miracles, manifestations of the Spirit, will abound as never before.

It is our understanding that this double anointing of power is the fulfillment of the "two witnesses" of Revelation, Chapter 11. Their testimony will be a "John the Baptist" ministry, preparing the way of the Lord.

The first coming of Christ was announced by John the Baptist (Elijah). The second coming of Christ will be announced by the power of the Spirit of God moving through each member of the Body of Christ (Elisha). It is the latter (harvest) rain, far surpassing the revival of the first century in power and glory. The Book of Acts, which concludes with Paul preaching the Kingdom of God, will be continued gloriously.

At the same time, and increasing all the while, there will arise persecution and lawlessness. Both lawlessness and revival will exist side by side; but the lawlessness will be held in check while God brings forth His Word in power.

The power of the Spirit of Christ in the saints will prevent the mature expression of Antichrist (the man of lawlessness; unrestrained freedom of expression), until the fullness of time has come. The saints will preach the Gospel with signs and wonders and the whole world will behold the witness that God will give concerning the coming of His Kingdom.

The message of the saints will be, "The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe the Gospel."

While sin is coming to maturity in the earth, and the Gospel is being preached in the fullness of the Spirit, the Church at the same time will be bringing forth in the hearts of the saints the image of Christ, the coming Ruler of the nations, the "man child" of Revelation, Chapter 12. As soon as God has determined that everyone on the earth has had an opportunity to understand His purpose in Christ, the lawlessness and trouble in the earth will greatly increase. The members of the Body of Christ, who up to this time had been allowed to bring their testimony to every nation under the heavens, will be forced to go into hiding, just as happened in the early centuries of the Church.

Because lawlessness will be widespread at that time, many of the newly converted believers will be deceived and their love will grow cold. Spiritual deadness and unbelief will corrupt the hearts of the majority of Christian people. The coldness and unbelief, having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof, is the "falling away" of II Thessalonians 2:3. Through much tribulation the Body of Christ will come to unity and maturity. The true disciples of the Lord, those who will be faithful to Christ no matter what happens to them, will be forced to flee for their life. They no longer will be accepted by the nations of the earth.

The people of the world, in many instances, will help shield the Church from the dragon (Revelation 12:16). When the Church Age has been concluded, Christ will judge the nations on the basis of how they have treated His brothers—especially during the difficult period just ahead (Matthew 25:31-46).

God is preparing strong Christians today who will be able to assist the weaker disciples in the day of trouble (Daniel 11:33). It is God’s will that the strong come to the aid of those in need. When Christians are gifted and blessed it is so they may strengthen others. The strong are to help the weak, just as Joseph fed and protected his family in the time of famine.

The persecution of the saints and the deceiving of multitudes of believers by the growth of lawlessness will coincide with the ascent of Antichrist to the temporary rulership of the world (II Thessalonians 2:3). The deceived "believers" will compromise with the moneymaking spirit of the world and form the church of lawlessness and self-will. This powerless "Babylon" (man-directed Christianity) will be a vicious persecutor of the saints, for such is the pattern of history.

Antichrist is the evil world-ruler whose spirit has been in the world since the first century. The spirit of Antichrist is mentioned by the Apostle John in his first Epistle. Antichrist is not yet free to ascend in his corrupt glory before the eyes of the world. Before Jesus returns, God will allow Antichrist to deceive the peoples of the world.

The spirit of Antichrist is that of libertarian democracy. It is the self-rule of man. The idea of man governing himself and being free to express himself as he will, appears on the surface to be almost a Christian ideal. However libertarian democracy is thoroughly and incurably anti-Christian. Since people are only the dust of the ground, self-rule quickly becomes Satan-rule. The demons take advantage of our weakness and do our thinking for us.

In the nations of the earth that strive for libertarian democracy we may observe every possible form of depravity. The debauchery in the so-called "free" nations is becoming more foul each day.

The Scriptures do not teach libertarian democracy. The Scriptures teach that we must repudiate our self- centeredness, self-will, self-love, and become the slaves of Christ. It is only as we become one with the will of God that we find liberty. The stricter our discipline under the Lord’s hand the more glorious our freedom to truly be ourselves. Such a concept is abominable to those who pursue freedom of speech, thought, and action.

Freedom to speak results in profanity and moral filth. Freedom to act results in fornication and drunkenness. Freedom to think results in abominable fantasies and motivations. Complete servitude to the Lord Jesus in each of these areas leads to wholesome, constructive speech, godly behavior, and a pure mind.

Through his union with the governments of earth and with the formalized, Spirit-less, Christ-less churches, Antichrist will achieve what has not been achieved before on the earth. The world finally will be united. At last, people will come to experience the absence of war.

There will be peace, prosperity, and security for every man, woman, boy and girl (Revelation 11:10). Many so-called Christians will accept the world order. They will keep the name of Christ but they will be worshiping in a form of godliness without Divine power. They will accept this compromise just as people do today.

The peoples of the earth will settle down to rest. The ancient dream of mankind has been realized. People now are free to occupy all their time with buying and selling, marrying and giving in marriage.

At this point the saints of the Lord will be in hiding, being protected by the promises of the Thirty-seventh and Ninety-first Psalms as well as by the remainder of the promises of God’s unchanging Word.

As calamities of nature begin to express the wrath of God concerning the hideous maturing of rebellion and sin in the earth, the Lord Jesus will come into the saints to a far greater extent than has been true previously. The inner coming of Christ and the Father is the fulfillment of the Levitical feast of Tabernacles. The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is spoken of by the Lord Jesus in the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John.

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

Antichrist will express his personality in the peoples of the world. God will take up His abode in the hearts of His saints before the Lord Jesus returns.

One of the acts of the Lord Jesus upon entering His people to this increased extent will be to open the eyes of the Jewish people. Just as Joseph took care of his family throughout the famine, so will the Lord Jesus, ministering through His Body, take care of the elect of the Jewish race—those whom Antichrist at that time will attempt to destroy.

The saints and newly reconciled Jews will await the return of the Lord Jesus from Heaven. The world will be exclaiming, Peace and safety!

Then there will appear signs in the heavens. The sun and the moon will be darkened. The sign of the Son of Man will appear for all to see. The heavenly Moses has appeared to call His people out of Egypt.

"Pharaoh" will attempt to reassure his people, but plague after plague will descend on the world. The people of the Lord will be hidden under the hand of protection of the Lord God, just as Israel in Goshen was not harmed by the plagues that fell on Egypt.

Darkness will cover the earth and oppressive spiritual darkness the people. Suddenly, light will appear on the people of God. The Lord God now is ready to "roar from Zion." The trumpet of God will begin to peal, shaking the earth. Michael will give his war cry. Suddenly the saints of all time will be filled with resurrection life. Their dead bodies will arise and stand on their feet.

To the consternation of the rulers and peoples of the earth, every dead saint will come from his place of burial and stand on the earth. There will be a time of rejoicing among God’s people as they are reunited in holy fellowship, that will far exceed in glory any previous occasion in the history of God’s dealings with mankind.

Antichrist, the rulers, the peoples of the earth, who one moment before had been declaring peace and safety, must now stand and—to their excruciating horror—watch the saints of God embracing each other and praising the Lord (Revelation 11:11).

God has prepared a table before His people in the presence of their enemies. The living Christians will gather together with all who have died in Christ. Such a time of praise! Such a time of rejoicing, of reunion of family members! There is nothing the peoples of the world will be able to do about it other than to look on in trembling—and tremble they shall!

The most awful thing yet will then occur. The most powerful sound ever to stir the air will be heard. Christ will cry: "Come up here!" (Revelation 11:12).

The saints of God will begin to ascend just as Jesus ascended in the sight of witnesses. They will go up through the air to be with the Lamb of God, their bodies having been changed so there is no injury to them. There will be multiplied millions of them—as clouds that hide the face of the sun.

The people left on earth will now proceed to destroy each other. They will turn on their rulers with cursing and murderous hatred. They will hurl down the pieces of silver with which they have betrayed Christ, so to speak, and demand an answer of the evil forces.

Like Judas, they will realize they have betrayed Christ and are lost forever. The result will be anguish of spirit, weeping, gnashing of teeth. Just as Judas was driven by despair to commit suicide, so people will attempt suicide but will not be able to take refuge in death (Revelation 9:6).

The bowls of God’s wrath will be poured out. Plague after plague will strike the earth. Humans will howl in torment, cursing God, cursing Christ, cursing the Christians. They will be mocked by the demon hordes. The most frightful visions of Hell ever witnessed by anyone will be a Sunday-school picnic compared to the earth after the saints are lifted out and the wrath of God is poured on the rebellious.

After the world has writhed in pain for a season, the ungodly must endure another great terror. Down from the heavens with the speed of light will thunder the Lord and His army. Filled to overflowing with the wrath of God, invincible, ready to avenge the injustices of the world, will appear the sons of God (Jude 1:14,15). Men will scream in terror for the mountains and rocks to hide them from the face of the Lamb. Death itself will flee away in fear in that day.

The coming of the saints seen by Enoch, Joel, Isaiah, Habakkuk, Daniel, Micah, Malachi, John, and others of the Prophets is the Day of Vengeance of our God and the release of the creation from the bondage of evil.

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: (II Thessalonians 2:8)

We Christians are to have no fear of Antichrist. The spirit of Antichrist has been in the world since the first century. It is the spirit that attempts to create a world order apart from the lordship of Christ. It is man making himself God.

We understand from the Scriptures that the spirit of Antichrist will be personified in the end-time in a very talented administrator, perhaps a deceived Christian, perhaps a woman. The kingdom of Antichrist may be a material kingdom or he may rule in the hearts of men as does the Lord Jesus Christ. Most likely both will be true. In any event, every trace of Antichrist will be destroyed by the brightness of the appearing of the Lord Jesus.

We Christians are to have no fear of the Beast, his mark, or the False Prophet. The spirit of the mark of the Beast has been in the world since the first century and today is stronger than ever. The spirit of the mark of the Beast is dependence on the world system for our survival, with an emphasis on the seeking of money.

Under the spirit of the world, mankind strives to attain security without reference to God. The trinity of sixes (666) in the mark of the Beast means that man has exalted himself to the place of God—six being the number of man and three the number of God.

In some countries of the world today there are complicated financial systems that attempt to insure that people will have enough money for all the necessities and luxuries of life on the earth. Every kind of welfare and pension plan is in effect, both in the government and also in industry. The idea is to secure the individual against any condition that will leave him or her without the means to obtain the desired things and circumstances.

One of the most important characteristics of the man or woman of God is the ability to look to God for all necessities and desires. It is a difficult lesson to learn, being the first temptation of Christ, especially if we live in a country that has been accustomed to prosperity.

Perhaps we cannot imagine what it would be like to look to God for our daily needs, but this is the pathway of life in Christ. While the Lord Jesus was on the earth He was independent of the economic order. He looked to God for every need and desire. The mark of the Beast is revealed when we are unable to perform God’s will because doing so will deprive us of material security.

In His Word, God has promised to supply all our needs if we will seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Antichrist informs us that such an approach to life is impractical and we must rely on the world economic system for our survival. Antichrist further advises us that there is no need to live by the Word of God; we can survive and prosper apart from God and Christ.

Whom are we to believe, God or the world economic system? Christ or Antichrist? We have made our final choice. How about you?

As we have seen, Antichrist will be destroyed by the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in and with His saints. Antichrist is the ruling spirit of the world. The mark of the Beast will be a means by which Antichrist will gain control over people by giving them or withholding from them economic security.

Although we Christians make excellent employees and work hard and faithfully when we have the opportunity, we must never allow the world economic system to hinder our obedience to the will of Christ.

The fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (I Thessalonians 4:16,17)

Notice that the trumpet figures prominently in the Day of Christ:

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (I Corinthians 15:51,52)

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:30,31)

The sounding of the trumpet of God in the Day of the Lord is the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets. We discover in Revelation that the Lord’s trumpet will sound seven times.

When we examine the blowing of trumpets, as described in Revelation, we notice the events leading up to the Day of Christ. When the seventh angel begins to sound, the mystery of God will be finished, and the kingdoms of the world will become the kingdom of God and of His Christ. At the time of the sounding of the seventh trumpet the saints will be resurrected and then ascend into the heaven in a cloud.

And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. (Revelation 11:11,12)

Standing upon their feet is the resurrection. Rising into the heaven in a cloud is the ascension. The saints will experience resurrection and ascension. (There may be an interval of time between the two experiences; there were forty days between the resurrection of Christ and His ascension.)

The "Spirit of life from God" entering them is described in Romans, Chapter Eight:

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)

Let us review what has transpired prior to the resurrection and ascension of the saints.

It is our understanding, from the fourth chapter of Zechariah, that the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11 are a symbolic portrayal of the double portion of God’s Holy Spirit that will be poured on the members of the Body of Christ, in order to serve as the forerunner of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The measuring of the Temple of God, Revelation 11:1, refers to the fact that God at this time will be refining in judgment those closest to Him. Divine judgment always begins in the household of God, and it commences in His sanctuary (Ezekiel 9:6).

The world system will be left unjudged for a season and the nations will be heading toward the revealing of Antichrist. The flood of filth that already has begun in the earth will keep on rising in anticipation of the hideous flowering of sin that is to come.

The double portion of the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the fullness of God’s holiness and power, is coming to the Church so that it may give one last trumpet call to all the peoples of the earth: Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.

It is our belief that the double anointing already is descending on the Church.

There will be increasing persecution and affliction in the earth and the saints will be sustained miraculously during this period of time. The Word of God will be as fire in the mouths of God’s people. Whoever attempts to harm the saints in those days will come under judgment and be destroyed.

If a city refuses to hear the Gospel, and the servants of Christ shake off the dust of their feet as a testimony against it, it will be more pleasant in the Day of Judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for that unbelieving and rebellious city.

As soon as the Lord has determined the testimony has been sufficient, days of trouble will set in. Antichrist will rise against the Church. There will be religious persecution and a further rise in lawlessness. The members of the warlike remnant of saints will be driven from the cities of the earth.

At this time the Jewish people will be brought into trouble, but Christ will come to their aid, ministering to them through the remnant of true Christian saints. It will be a period of reconciliation between the elect Jews and their Christ.

Satan will attempt to finish the task of destroying the Christians but will be unable to do so. Multitudes of the recent converts will fall away and their love for Christ will grow cold because of the deceiving miracles performed by Satan and the temptations offered by the exceedingly wicked practices of the peoples of the earth.

The peoples of the world under the advice of their leaders will not allow the Christian religion to be "put in graves," that is, to be destroyed from the earth. They will tolerate and support many "Christian" institutions, but those institutions will be destitute of the Spirit of God. The wicked of the earth will rejoice because the power of the testimony of the end-time Church had been a constant reminder of judgment to come, preventing the full flowering of the abominable sin and perversity in which the wicked delight.

The nations of the earth will be judged at the feet of the enthroned Christ on the basis of how they treated Christ’s "brothers" during the closing days of the Church Age and during the previous eras of history.

Before the Church Age closes the saints will take part in the most powerful witness of the Kingdom ever experienced on the earth. Then they will be scattered, and many converts will grow cold because of the rule of Antichrist and the economic system imposed by Antichrist.

The "dead bodies" will lie "in the streets of the city," meaning that the world will permit the Christian churches to exist as part of an ungodly religious system. The form of godliness will be permitted to remain but the churches will be void of the power of Christ.

The "great city" will be called "Sodom and Egypt." "Sodom" represents the fullness of the lusts of sin. "Egypt" signifies covetousness and materialism. Our Lord was crucified in "Jerusalem," in the city of religious pride, envy, and self-seeking.

When the world finally has achieved peace and security at the hand of the Antichrist, having put down the testimony of the Church, the trumpet of God will sound and the Spirit of life from God will enter the dead and living saints and they will stand on their feet (Ezekiel 37:10; Daniel 12:13; Revelation 11:11).

The first resurrection will be the greatest time of reunion of God’s saints ever seen on the earth. All the peoples of the nations will see them raised and fear will fall on the onlookers.

The confusion and panic that will accompany the worldwide realization that the Christian testimony is true, and that the peoples of the earth were deceived by their leaders and teachers, will result in ugly scenes of bitterness and recrimination. The anguish and remorse, as people realize they have sinned against the Spirit of God, will result in a terrifying wail of despair arising from every continent.

The enemies of the saints, those who persecuted them, must endure seeing the hated Christians pass from mortality into resurrection life in the body, and then rise up gracefully, clothed in the Glory of Christ. The ascending saints will depart from sight into the clouds, there to be united forever with the Lord Jesus.

The wicked will gnash their teeth and scheme how to prevent the ascension of the saints, but their plans will be hopeless. The Lord God will grasp the saints in His hand, and there is no power that can resist that withdrawing force.

Now the wicked must endure the bowls of the wrath of God. Then, most terrible of all, will come the onslaught of the Rider robed in red and His army of faithful saints, descending on the earth in thunderous fury and power, ready to crush all signs of resistance to the reign of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The fearful sight of the resurrection of the saints and then their ascension into the clouds will be followed by a massive earthquake. Immediately the seventh angel will sound, signaling the finishing of the "mystery of God." The mystery of God is the creation of Christ in human beings, and then the indwelling of the Father and the Son through the Spirit of God in each of the members of the Body.

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)

The saints now are with Christ for eternity, being part of the Personality of Christ (the marriage of the Lamb). Soon the Lord’s called, chosen, and faithful will ride with Him in the administration of God’s vengeance on the earth.

Meanwhile the wrath of God will fall so horribly on the earth that people will blaspheme the name of God and gnaw their tongues in pain. The judgments of God will be poured without mercy on the world order of Antichrist and on the ungodly church.

As soon as God has finished judging the "great whore," the worldwide institutionalized church, the time will be at hand for the rule of the Lamb and His Wife over the nations of the earth.

The Body of Christ is passing now from the feast of Pentecost into the Blowing of Trumpets, speaking figuratively in terms of the Levitical feasts. Whoever chooses to do so may participate in the Divine redemption. Following on to know the Lord is not the special possession of some little group hidden away in a parlor. The trumpet of the Lord is announcing to all who have ears to hear, the glorious events of which we have been speaking.

If we are willing to press forward to the fullness of self-denial and obedience, participating in the death and resurrection of total consecration, we will inherit all things. Who, then, will dedicate his service this day to the Lord? Will you? If so, the fullness of Christ is yours. You have this one chance in life to demonstrate your love for the Master. Soon your opportunity will be gone forever.

You may be in the place of Abraham. You were saved from the world, just as Abraham was called from Ur of the Chaldees. These many years God has required of you to walk before Him in perfection. You may have done this. You may have brought forth your "Ishmael" by your own works and may have learned through experience that God fulfills His Word by His own wisdom and power, not by our own well-meaning attempts to fulfill the vision.

You may have arrived at the place where "Isaac" has been born, that is, you have received from the Lord the promise He made to you as an individual—the promise of fruitfulness and strength.

Now God is requiring of you to put the knife to your Isaac, so to speak. This is almost more than you can bear. You have become a walking dead man. You are being crucified with Christ, and yet you are living because Christ is living in you.

You are being given the opportunity to ride with Christ in that day.

Have you ever considered what would have occurred if Abraham had refused to give Isaac back to the Lord? If Abraham had been unwilling to sacrifice Isaac, it is likely that Isaac would have been the cause of sorrow to Abraham and Sarah for the remainder of their days.

There would have been no Jacob, no Israel, no Joseph, no Moses, no children of Israel, no Seed, no Christ who could crush the head of the adversary.

What fruitfulness and strength would have been lost to Abraham and Sarah, and to the nations of the earth, if Abraham had not obeyed God in the matter of Isaac! What fruitfulness and strength will be lost to you and to me, and to countless multitudes yet unborn, if we do not obey God in all He requires of us!

Let us be like faithful Abraham and do whatever God is demanding of us. If God insists that we become barren and weak, let it be so. In God’s time, our barrenness will be replaced with the most extraordinary fruitfulness and our weakness with the most extraordinary strength.

The Second Feast of the Seventh Month: The Day of Atonement

We are speaking at this time of the manner in which the three major convocations of Israel portray the three deaths and resurrections of redemption. We have mentioned the following:

The first convocation (Unleavened Bread) typifies salvation from wrath.

The second convocation (Pentecost) portrays our sanctification, the work of the Holy Spirit in our life.

The month in which the third annual gathering of Israel (Deuteronomy 16:16), the convocation of Tabernacles, takes place, begins with the memorial of blowing of Trumpets. The blowing of Trumpets prepares the way for the solemn Day of Atonement on the tenth of the month. The week of Tabernacles commences five days after the Day of Atonement.

Each of the three observances of the seventh month gives us insight into the plan of redemption, particularly into the third phase of the plan, which we are terming conquest.

Previously we described the application of the Blowing of Trumpets to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and to our riding with Him on the war horses of God. Now we will examine the events associated with the Day of Atonement, the sixth in the order of the seven Levitical feasts (Leviticus, Chapter 23).

The Day of Atonement is especially rich in symbolism, in terms of our redemption, because it is feast number six. Mankind was created in the image of God on the sixth day of creation. The Day of Atonement portrays the crowning work of God in redemption. Therefore it is placed just before the "rest of God."

The rest of God is typified by the seventh feast, the feast of Tabernacles, and signifies the full possession of our inheritance and our deliverance from all the enemies of God and man.

The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur ) is celebrated on the tenth day of the seventh month. It was the only day of the year when the high priest of Israel was allowed into the Most Holy Place. The anointed priest went behind the veil and sprinkled blood upon and before the Mercy Seat to make an atonement for his own sins and then for the sins of the nation of Israel.

The second act of the observance of Yom Kippur was the confessing of the sins of Israel and the laying of them on the "scapegoat." The scapegoat then was led away into the wilderness by a man appointed to that task.

The word atonement includes the concepts of covering over sin, of appeasing (propitiating) the wrath of God, of forgiveness, of annulment of debt, of remission of sin, of reconciliation, and of healing. Every factor necessary for the complete reconciliation of a sinful human being to the holy Lord God of Israel is contained in the atonement made by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The term mercy falls short of describing all that is contained in the Divine atonement. We can have "mercy" on someone, and then let them go their way and ignore them. God’s atonement brings us from chaos of body, soul, and spirit all the way to change into the image of Christ and union with Him in the Father.

Surely this is more than merely the showing of mercy. This is reconciliation in the fullest significance and implications of the term. The Mercy Seat could be termed more correctly the Lid of Reconciliation. The Day of Atonement is the day of reconciliation. It is the moment when we are brought wholly into the Presence of Christ and God and when judgment and deliverance are extended through the Church to the nations of the earth.

The Day of Atonement is described in the sixteenth chapter of the Book of Leviticus:

And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. (Leviticus 16:2)

Aaron’s two sons had just been slain because they had offered incense in an improper manner before the Lord God (they probably were drunk). God now was impressing on Aaron that the sanctity of the Most Holy Place was not to be violated and that any person who dared to behave in a presumptuous manner in the Tabernacle would be slain.

God Himself was dwelling between the wings of the covering Cherubim of Glory.

And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house. (Leviticus 16:5,6)

Here is one of the major differences between the priesthood of Aaron and his and the priesthood of Christ. Aaron and his sons were required to offer bulls for their own sins. Christ never had to offer any sacrifice for His own sins because He is without sin. His sacrifice was offered for us.

Two goats: two dimensions of the atonement.

And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. (Leviticus 16:7,8)

There is an important concept revealed in the preceding passage. There were two goats, not just one goat. One goat was offered for a sin offering. It was the Lord’s goat. The other goat remained alive and was let go into the wilderness. It was the scapegoat. These two goats portray the two aspects of the atonement.

The first aspect occurred on the cross of Calvary, in which the sin offering was made and the guilt of sin was removed.

The second aspect of the Day of Atonement will take place at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The presence of sin will be removed from the Church, and finally from the whole world, just as the scapegoat was removed from the camp. "To them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Hebrews 9:28).

Christ is not satisfied with appeasing the wrath of God and forgiving sin. He will proceed to demolish the power of sin and to remove it from His Body—a process that already has commenced in the conquering saints.

At His glorious appearing Christ will conclude the removing of all aspects of sin from His Church and then will proceed to remove sin from the nations of saved peoples of the earth. His name is Jesus, not because He saves His people in their sins but because He saves His people from their sins.

The Lord is faithful and righteous, not only to forgive our sins but also to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The atonement made by Christ includes not only forgiveness but also deliverance. It is a complete and full reconciliation to all that God desires and to all that God Himself Is.

And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:9,10)

One goat was slain and one lived. Christ died but He rose again. We are baptized not only into His death but also into His resurrection.

Because Christ lives we shall be saved to the uttermost, meaning we shall be reconciled fully to the Father. There is part of our personality that must die on the cross of Christ. There is a new creation born in us that is alive forever. The Divine redemption includes not only forgiveness, as marvelous as that is, but also re-creation and absorption into the Divine Nature.

Every guilt, tendency, and effect of sin is being removed from us by the authority and power of the Divine Atonement that has been made by Christ. Will we allow the Holy Spirit to work a perfect work of atonement in us?

The removal of the scapegoat signifies not only the complete reconciliation of the members of the Body of Christ to God but also the removal of the presence of sin from the earth. One of the principal missions of Christ—Head and Body—is the judgment and destruction of all sources and forms of sin in the earth. The planet on which we now are living will finally be purged of all sin.

Think of it! God will not destroy the present heavens and earth until He first demonstrates for one thousand years that He is able to rule in righteousness on this earth or in any other area that He chooses. God cannot be defeated.

After the Lord has demonstrated His power, wisdom, righteousness, and compassion with clarity, He will cast aside in disdain the material creation—the present heavens and the earth—and create a new heaven and a new earth.

God has made new creatures. He will not permit any element that has been sullied by sin and rebellion to continue in existence in the new heaven and the new earth.

The Lake of Fire will burn throughout eternity. Whoever wishes to do so at that time may go out and observe Satan, Antichrist, the False Prophet, and the souls of people who have rebelled against God.

And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not: (Leviticus 16:12,13)

The cloud of perfume that arose when the holy incense was poured on the hot coals of the censer was an important part of the observance of the Day of Atonement. The fragrance of the perfume was to "cover the mercy seat." This type was fulfilled when the holy prayers and praises of Jesus of Nazareth ascended to the Father, especially in Gethsemane and also during the time of His crucifixion.

The kingdom-wide fulfillment of the enveloping of the Mercy Seat by the holy perfume is described in Revelation, Chapter Eight. The incense, which is the fragrance of Christ, is mixed with the prayers of the saints. The whole is poured on the coals of the golden censer. The holy perfume ascends "up before God from the angel’s hand" (Revelation 8:4).

Then the trumpets of the Lord prepare to sound. There must be an increase in the prayer and praise that ascends from the members of the Body of Christ in our day before God will consent to give the signal for the trumpets to sound that announce the return to earth of the Lord Jesus.

Christ’s appearing: the day of reconciliation. Christ will appear as the complete fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, the day of reconciliation. The trumpets will announce the Millennial Jubilee, the time of the restoration of all things to their rightful owners.

Satan has stolen what belongs to Christ and His saints, but it all will be returned in the Jubilee. Can you believe that the kingdom of darkness will be defeated and those who harm the earth will be destroyed? There is nothing anyone can do to prevent it. The Day of Atonement is coming—the day of reconciliation, the day of the completion of redemption.

Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. (Leviticus 25:9,10)

The Day of Christ’s appearing is the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement—Yom Kippur of the Jews. He will appear "without sin unto salvation." The fullness of redemption is yet ahead of us, as the New Testament indicates. We Christians possess the Holy Spirit as the firstfruits and pledge of the Day of Redemption that is yet to come.

The Day of Christ will be the period of reconciliation, deriving its authority from the blood of the cross. The Church will be united with Christ, as expressed in the words: "The marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready."

All sin will be judged and removed from the earth. The Lamb and His Wife will then shepherd the earth with a rod of iron. There will be a peace imposed by Divine force that will endure for one thousand years. During the thousand-year Kingdom Age, the Israel of God and the nations of saved peoples of the earth will be reconciled to Christ and the Father (II Corinthians 5:19; Isaiah 2:2-4).

The third death and resurrection, in which we must deny ourselves and be raised by the power of Christ, is necessary if we are to inherit the fullness of fruitfulness and strength that will bless the nations of the earth during the thousand-year fulfillment of the Day of Atonement (the Kingdom Age).

Today God is seeking saints who will be able to rule with Him and experience unbounded fruitfulness and rulership. In order for the Lord God of Heaven to give us the fullness of the fruitfulness and rulership promised to the victorious saints He first must make us weak, deprived of the strength we possessed prior to this most severe of prunings.

To those whom God has made barren will be given the most extraordinary fruitfulness (Isaiah 54:1). To those whom God has made weak will be given the most extraordinary strength (II Corinthians 12:9).

The Divine fruitfulness and strength of the conquering saints will result in their being kings and priests of Christ throughout the Millennial Jubilee, and then on through eternity during the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. "Come, and let us return to the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us, he hath smitten, and he will bind us up" (Hosea 6:1).

And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: (Leviticus 16:14,15)

During the Day of Atonement the atoning blood was sprinkled on the eastern side of the Mercy Seat, the side facing the land of promise. The blood of Christ looks forward to the day when the Church is married to Him in total, complete union, and the earth is free from sin, having been perfectly reconciled to God.

The blood was sprinkled seven times signifying that the blood will work a perfect work of reconciliation in us. As in the case of Naaman the Syrian, when we come up after the seventh "dip" we shall be healed. We shall be as a little child, ready to enter the Kingdom of God (II Kings 5:14).

We are being redeemed "to the uttermost." (Hebrews 7:25).

The redeeming blood of Christ keeps on working throughout all areas of redemption. Each of the Levitical feasts included the offering of animals. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb. We are reconciled to God by the blood of Christ. All through the working out of the phases of our redemption the blood keeps on making up the difference between our actual attainment in holiness and righteousness and the standard of righteous and holy conduct required by the Lord.

We noticed previously that the army that will invade the earth from Heaven will be led by the Commander in Chief who is "clothed with a robe dipped in blood." It is the blood of Christ that will make possible the union of the Church with Christ, and also the cleansing from sin of the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

The blood of bulls and goats was sprinkled on the east side of the Mercy Seat and before the Mercy Seat, no doubt indicating that some of the blood fell on the Ark of the Covenant and some on the ground in front of the Ark. This was the "reconciling" of the "holy place" (Leviticus 16:20).

In addition, blood was put on the horns of the Altar of Incense (Exodus 30:10). This was the reconciling of the "tabernacle of the congregation."

Finally, blood was sprinkled seven times on the "horns of the altar round about" (Leviticus 16:18). Scholars are not in agreement as to whether the "altar" of Leviticus 16:18 refers to the Altar of Incense or to the Altar of Burnt Offering that stood in the Courtyard of the Tabernacle. We have come to the conclusion that it refers to the Altar of Burnt Offering, and that this sprinkling with blood was the reconciling of the Courtyard and its Altar and Laver.

If we are correct, the three parts of the Tabernacle were reconciled: (1) the Most Holy Place, with the sprinkling of the blood on the Mercy Seat and before the Mercy Seat; (2) the Holy Place, with the putting of the blood on the horns of the Altar of Incense; and (3) the Courtyard, with the sevenfold sprinkling of the blood on the horns of the Altar of Burnt Offering.

The blood placed upon the Mercy Seat and before the Mercy Seat speaks of the work of reconciliation in the Holiest of all in Heaven. The Holiest of all in Heaven is the throne of the Father. Also, God has a Most Holy Place in the heart of each saint.

The blood sprinkled before the Mercy Seat reminds us that the way to the throne of God must be sanctified as well as the throne itself. It is not sufficient that we attain our goal in God. We must attain that goal according to God’s rules or we are disqualified.

Christ is the Way as well as the Truth and the Life. The most holy Presence of God is found first in the Lord Jesus Christ. The way to reconciliation to God was opened up for all people when Jesus offered His blood upon and before the Mercy Seat in Heaven.

Next, the blood placed on the horns of the Altar of Incense portrays the making holy of the prayer and praise that ascend to God from the Church. The blood of Christ makes our prayers holy and acceptable.

Meanwhile perfect holiness is being developed in the hearts of the fervent disciples of the Lord Jesus. The work of Christ in the Church will not cease until the Church is perfect—a complete counterpart of the Lord Jesus Christ in every way. The reconciling of this "holy place" is made possible by the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus. Otherwise, our worship, supplication, and service would not be acceptable before the throne of the Almighty in Heaven.

Finally, the sprinkling of the blood on the Altar of Burnt Offering reveals to us that the purpose of God is to fill the earth with the worship of Himself.

The world to be reconciled to God.

But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD. (Numbers 14:21)

We learn from the above verse that God, being provoked by the unbelief of Israel in the wilderness, swore by Himself that He would fill the whole earth with His Glory. The filling of the earth with the Glory and praise of God appears several times throughout the Old Testament, as various prophets gave voice to the burden of the Word of the Lord. This particularly is true of the Psalms.

Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. (Psalms 33:8)

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalms 46:10)

God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness. (Psalms 47:8)

According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness. (Psalms 48:10)

The Sixty-seventh Psalm is devoted to the coming rule of God throughout the earth. This rule will be accomplished during the day of reconciliation, as administered through the Lord Jesus Christ and the Body of Christ.

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him. (Psalms 67:1-7)

It is abundantly clear in the Scriptures that God will bless the earth through Christ—Head and Body. First, the blood and Spirit of Christ will work redemption in the Church until the Church itself has been reconciled to God in deed, in word, and in thought.

Then, through the Church, God will reconcile the earth to Himself. This is the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Day of Atonement. The reconciliation will have been completed by the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. The entire Church will be reconciled to God, as we have stated, and also multitudes of the peoples living on the earth who are not part of the Church.

After that, the final judgment will take place as the wicked people of the nations rebel, the Divine fire falls, the universe disappears with a terrific noise, and the white throne of the Judgment Seat of Christ appears.

The fruit of the program of reconciliation will be carried over into the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. Christ then will behold the fruit of the travail of His soul and will be satisfied. The work that has been accomplished will prosper in God’s hand forever, age without end.

The enormous fruit and strength gained by the members of the Body of Christ as the result of the work of Divine reconciliation will proceed from and is dependent on the willingness of each member of the Body to deny himself and die the death that the Holy Spirit directs for him or her as an individual.

God’s way is to bring forth life from death. Christ Himself is our example, laying aside His Divine Glory and going to the cross. Because of His willingness to die the death that the Father required, Christ has been given all authority and all power in Heaven and on the earth.

Now it is our turn. Will we believe Christ and be willing to "fall into the ground and die"? Are we willing to lose our life? Are we willing to love not our life to the death?

To save one’s life is to lose it. If we lose our life for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s, exceedingly great fruitfulness and strength will proceed from us.

The high priest, as we have stated, reconciled to the Lord the Most Holy Place, the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and the Altar of Burnt Offering. The threefold application of blood reveals to us that the blood of the Lamb will purify the Kingdom of God, commencing in the Presence of God in Heaven and proceeding downward through the hearts of the saints and out through the earth until the heavens and earth have been reconciled to the Father.

It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: (Hebrews 9:23,24)

All the iniquities of the children of Israel were put on the head of the living goat and it was led away into the wilderness. All their transgressions were born away to "a land not inhabited." Here is one of the clearest pictures in the Scripture of the fact that our sins are not only forgiven through Christ but also removed from us by the Lord.

And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:21,22)

Christ did not come from Heaven only to forgive those of earth who would accept His forgiveness. He came to do that but also to remove from the believers all the tendencies and effects of sin, and finally to judge and destroy all sin from the earth.

The Book of I John deals with sin in the Christian discipleship.

If 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)

Here are the two aspects of the atonement—the forgiveness and the cleansing, the dead goat and the living goat.

There are two major historical works indicated here: (1) Calvary, which has to do with the forgiving of the guilt of sin and the destroying of the authority of the devil over mankind; and (2) the next appearing of the avenging Christ, which has to do with the cleansing of the Church and the world from all unrighteousness.

We have spoken, during our discussion of the second death and resurrection, of the deliverance of the Christian from the guilt and power of sin. In the third death and resurrection, that which we have termed conquest, the Christian is to endure the self-denial necessary to bring the blessings of forgiveness and deliverance to other people.

The third area of redemption will not have been completed until the world has been reconciled to God.

We are not teaching that all people ultimately will be saved. There will be some who will not receive Christ as Savior and Lord. These will enter everlasting torment in which there can be no redemption forever.

We have stated before that redemption is past, present, and future. Past redemption has to do with the forgiveness of our sins on the cross of Calvary. Present redemption has to do with accepting the atonement and with washing the robes of our conduct and making them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Future redemption has to do with receiving our glorified bodies and with the judgment and removal of sin from the earth. Future redemption will commence with the appearing of the Lord Jesus from Heaven, although the authority and power of judgment and deliverance are being issued now to a warlike remnant, a firstfruits of the Church. All these acts of redemption are the spiritual fulfillment of Yom Kippur, the most sacred day of the Jewish year, the Day of Atonement.

The next coming of Christ will bring to those who look for Him a redemption free from every trace of the guilt, tendencies, and effects of sin.

If we would be prepared for such a glorious, sin-free salvation we must be in the process of purifying ourselves now. Our time of preparation is described in the following verse:

And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (I John 3:3)

Another important area of fulfillment of the Day of Atonement is that of the end-time redemption of the Jewish people. We have referred to this area of reconciliation when discussing the events of the last days. The reconciliation of the Jews with their Christ will take place during the dark days of the rule of Antichrist. The Body of Christ will be the instrument the Lord will employ to restore Christ to His own racial family, the Jews.

Asenath, the Egyptian bride of Joseph, is a type of the Wife of the Lamb—she who is being drawn out from all races today, even from the Jewish race. The Bride will be part of Christ, just as Asenath was part of Joseph, when He reveals Himself to the nation of Israel.

In order for us to understand how salvation can come suddenly to a group of people, such as the Jews, we first must realize that Christ possesses and can exercise the authority and power to forgive, cleanse, and deliver any person whom He will. Our salvation is not by our works but by the grace and election of the Lord. We do not choose Him, He chooses us.

Notice how the Lord can forgive sin at His pleasure:

And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. (Matthew 9:2)

And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. (Luke 7:48)

Christ reaches down and saves those whom the Father has given to Him. Of course, when He speaks to us we must obey. If we do not obey we run the risk of being among those who are rebels against the Lord and who will be consumed by the fire of eternal judgment.

The concept that Christ can reach down and deliver whom He will is important to our understanding if we are to grasp the whole plan of God. We witness the sovereignty of Christ exercised in the case of Lot, who was delivered from Sodom at the last minute. In this instance, as so often is true, another human being (Abraham) was involved in the exercise of God’s sovereign delivering actions.

We can observe the ability of Christ to reach down and save from darkness in the incident of Saul on the road to Damascus. Saul was forgiven and commissioned to be an apostle before he had had much time to examine the alternatives. We are not saved by works of righteousness we have done, as Paul understood and taught so clearly, but according to the purpose and calling of God.

Paul describes how God in the end-time, after leaving them in blindness to His salvation for so many hundreds of years, will reach down and redeem the people who are Jewish by natural birth. This is a very important fulfillment of the Day of Atonement. It is a sovereign act of reconciliation.

For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 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: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. (Romans 11:25-27)

Do you see the sovereignty of Christ in the preceding passage? The Deliverer shall come and He shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. There are no "ifs" involved here. He shall take away their sins.

And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. (Zechariah 3:4)

Christ always retains the power to redeem, to give eternal life, to as many as God has given Him. He saves whom He will, when He will, by the means He chooses. The faith to believe in Christ is the gift of God to us. The desire to repent is the gift of God to us. The thirst for righteousness is the gift of God to us.

Often Christ invites people to share with Him in prayer and in other forms of service as He goes about saving those whom He has chosen.

We have seen that in the end-time Christ will demolish all the works of the kingdom of darkness. He will crush Satan under the feet of the Church.

The most important issue now is that the members of the Body of Christ wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. We Christians must confess our sins and receive the Divine pardon and cleansing, as expressed in I John 1:9.

Next, the members of the Body of Christ must submit to the death of self-denial. After we, by the blood of the Lamb, the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and the fiery trials we must undergo, gain some measure of victory over the world, a further reconciliation to God is yet needed. We must become perfectly and completely reconciled to the will of God. Our will must become one with His will.

Those who ride with Christ in the Day of the Lord must be clothed in the sparkling white linen of righteous conduct. Also, the army of saints are living dead-men. They have been crucified with Christ and now Christ is living in them.

When Abraham climbed Mount Moriah with Isaac at his side he was a living dead-man, a living sacrifice.

The hundred-year-old patriarch walked with firm step having a steady hand on his staff. His path was straight as an arrow toward the stone altar on which he was to slay his only son. Two thousand years later, Abraham’s Redeemer, the Lord Jesus, went straight as an arrow toward Gethsemane and the cross of Calvary, Himself a living dead-man.

Abraham’s heart was an iron weight in his breast. He was dead while he walked. Life, hope, joy, purpose, reason for living, were gone. The Word of God moved the faithful Abraham toward the mountain of sacrifice.

This is the kind of person who will ride with Christ in the Day of the Lord. Each, without exception, will have had his personal Mount Moriah. Each will be able to keep on moving under no other power and direction than the will and Word of God.

Christ and the members of His army cannot be slain because they have died already. Now they are moved by the will and Word of God. The Word of God is indestructible, the greatest power in the universe.

The redemption of mankind requires two principal actions. First, there must be a full payment of the debt associated with the bondage. The full payment of mankind’s debt was made when the blood of Christ was shed on the cross (I John 2:2).

Second, there must be an exercise of force sufficient to destroy the enemy who, being a thief and a murderer, will not recognize the payment of the debt but will insist on keeping his victims in slavery to himself.

The payment of the debt took place two thousand years ago. The exercise of the power of the Holy Spirit in the deliverance from slavery is taking place now in the conquering saints—those who "through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body."

Deliverance requires the exercise of superior force. There is relentless warfare taking place in the spirit realm at the present time.

Christ’s blood is sufficient, not only for the reconciliation of the Church but also for the salvation of the world, if people will receive His mercy and grace.

And he is the propitiation [appeasement] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2)

The sins of the Body of Christ are being removed now as we work with the Holy Spirit in confession, repentance, and resisting the devil. At the coming of Christ the removal of sin will extend to all God’s people including the weaker members of the Church, the nation of Israel, and the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

It is important to keep in mind that by "weaker members of the Church" we are not referring to careless, lukewarm Christians. We mean, rather, those who, for one reason or another, did not have the opportunity to become strong in the Lord. Lukewarm, careless Christians will have their part in outer darkness.

The nations of the earth will be subjected to the righteous, vigorous discipline of the rule of a rod of iron. Whoever attempts to rebel against Christ will be judged immediately. The laws of the Kingdom of God will be obeyed throughout the earth.

God will not be mocked. The whole earth shall be filled with His Glory according to His Word.

How wonderful it would be if Christ would appear and establish His rule today! But first, the fullness of Divine Life must be developed in the saints. Also, sin must come to full expression in the earth (Genesis 15:16). Then Jesus will appear and the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement will take place.

Christ is the High Priest of God. When the time comes to reconcile the whole earth to God, the Lord Jesus will be revealed as the long-awaited Christ—the Anointed Deliverer.

The "mystery" of the Gospel is that Christ is in the Church. The Church is an integral part of Christ.

The Christian Church is the Body of Christ. When the Head, the Lord Jesus appears, then the Body of Christ will be joined eternally to the Head. This is the marriage of the Lamb. The Head and the Body are the fullness of the "Servant of the Lord" of whom Isaiah spoke. The Servant of the Lord is God’s Covenant with mankind, God’s instrument of reconciliation.

When Christ appears in and with His Body, and the nation of Israel is reconciled to its rightful King, the Lord Jesus, then the Glory of God will come upon all Israel.

Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles [nations] shall come unto thee. (Isaiah 60:5)

All the ends of the earth will turn to God, who will be dwelling in Zion (Christ—Head and Body) and whose glory will be seen on Israel, the chosen nation.

The fullness of reconciling glory is portrayed in the Book of Ezekiel:

And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. (Ezekiel 47:9)

The "waters" are the "living water" that flows from the heart of the saint. When the saints have been made one in Christ the individual streams of living water will flow together to make the River of Life seen by Ezekiel.

The River of Life will flow to the ends of the earth as the saints go everywhere, bringing to the peoples of the earth the Presence and the ways of the God of Heaven.

"Thou hast kept the good wine until now." The coming to the earth of the fullness of God’s Spirit is yet ahead. The earth-wide revival of which the prophets spoke will occur at the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ with His saints. This supreme revival of the Spirit will result in deliverance for all who will receive the rule of the Lord Jesus but in destruction on every person who defies Christ.

The era of worldwide deliverance is the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Year of Jubilee (Leviticus, Chapter 25). It is the Millennial Jubilee.

The Third Feast of the Seventh Month: Tabernacles

The Day of Atonement occurs on the tenth day of the seventh month of the religious, ceremonial year, the year that begins with the month in which the Passover is celebrated.

The feast of Tabernacles takes place on the fifteenth through the twenty-second day of the same month (seven days of Tabernacles, and then the designated eighth day).

The work of reconciliation associated with the Day of Atonement is the necessary preparation for the eternal indwelling of Christ and the Father associated with the feast of Tabernacles.

The Millennial Jubilee, the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, is the necessary forerunner of the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. The new heaven and earth reign of Christ is the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.

We use the expression "kingdom-wide fulfillment" to distinguish the broad, historical fulfillment from the individual fulfillment that takes place in the personality of the conquering saint.

The stupendous acts of redemption that will take place in the future on a worldwide scale are developing today in the lives of the conquering saints—those who are forsaking their own desires and following the Lamb wherever He goes.

The feast of Tabernacles typifies the rest of God, as God dwells in and with His people. Such rest and abiding is impossible until there has been reconciliation. This is why there must be a Day of Atonement before there can be a feast of Tabernacles, whether we are speaking of one individual, all Israel, or the whole world.

The Day of Atonement is the act of uniting the Bridegroom and the Bride. The feast of Tabernacles is the eternal expression of that union. Tabernacles portrays the "mark," the goal, the "prize," the "omega," the "rest" into which we are to enter, as the writer of the Book of Hebrews exhorts us so fervently.

Seven is the number associated with perfect redemption. Tabernacles, the seventh of the Levitical feasts, lasted seven days (the eighth day having special significance), and was celebrated in the seventh month—three sevens. Three represents the fullness of God. Therefore we have the fullness of God participating in a perfect redemption.

The eighth day that follows the seven days of the feast of Tabernacles speaks of the beginning of the "week" of eternity, the week that has no end. Eternity with God commences after redemption has been achieved perfectly.

The convocation of Tabernacles celebrated the completion of the harvesting of the farms of Israel and the processing of all the farm products. The fruit, nuts, grain, wine, oil, and vegetables had all been gathered and prepared.

The feast of Tabernacles was a time of the greatest gladness and rejoicing. Included in the joy was the anticipation of the seed (former) rain that soon was to bring an end to the half-year dry season of summer and hope for the new farming year that was ready to commence.

The fulfillment of the Day of Atonement includes the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and also the Millennial Jubilee. The fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles includes the appearing of the Lord Jesus in the Church prior to His visible appearing to the world, and also the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

The fullness of death to sin and self occurs as the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement in us as an individual. The fullness of our resurrection is our individual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. Christ Himself Is the resurrection from the dead, and to have Him wholly abiding in us is to have the resurrection from the dead wholly abiding in us.

The spiritual fulfillment of Tabernacles occurs as the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit take up Their eternal abode in us. We then are permanently established as pillars in the Temple of God. Christ Himself has become our Resurrection and our Life.

The Father in Christ in us brings us to the greatest multiplication of fruit and amplification of strength. The Holy Spirit reveals to us the meaning of Isaiah, Chapter 12. God Himself now has become our Joy, our Life, our Strength, our Health, our Peace, our Wisdom, our Security, our Salvation, and everything else of value to us.

The guile now is gone from our personality. All self-seeking has been burned away. The King of the Kingdom of God is dwelling in us and we are inheriting all things. Our grasping nature has been replaced with the Nature of Christ, and so the "all things" of God are held rightly by us and no longer exercise dominion over us.

During the feast of Tabernacles (Succot ) the Jewish family ate together in booths constructed from branches. The Law of Moses was read in the hearing of the people. Water from the Pool of Siloam was poured on the Altar of Burnt Offering accompanied by the singing of Isaiah, Chapter 12. The feast of Tabernacles was the final observance of the ceremonial year and was celebrated with the greatest rejoicing.

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD. On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein. (Leviticus 23:34-36)

The eighth day: God tabernacles with men. The feast of Tabernacles was celebrated for seven days. Then came the "eighth day," the twenty-second of Tishri.

The kingdom-wide fulfillment of Tabernacles will take place as the Temple of God, the Wife of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem, descends on the earth to rule the nations of saved people (Revelation, Chapter 21). This is the point at which God will declare that all His "crops" have been reaped and processed. The work of redemption has been successfully completed. The pain, the labor, the sorrow, now are over and gone and rapidly fading from memory.

There will be such a period of rejoicing on the new earth and in the new heaven that no words of ours can do more than indicate that the celebration indeed will take place.

Then, after every soul has had ample time to revel in thanksgiving and joy before the Lord, who at that time will be dwelling in His fullness in the Church, the "eighth day" will commence. The eighth day is the first day of the week of eternity, the week that has no end. The saints of Christ will behold the Face of the Father and will serve Him forever. Redemption has been finished and true life has begun.

Redemption is typified in the Scriptures by the metal silver. No silver is shown in the description of the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb. All will be gold (Divinity) and precious stones (the virtues fashioned in the saints under the heat and pressure of circumstances in the world).

Those who choose to be saved have been saved and full reconciliation has been attained in every member of the Body of Christ. The Lord God now can settle down to rest in His redeemed creation.

This is God’s way. He is a God of preparation. He wanted to have the Israelites ready for life in the land of promise. Therefore He prepared them ahead of time.

Preparation for the land of promise. So it is with the Christian experience. Much of what God has enjoined on mankind will come into fruition during the thousand-year Kingdom Age, and then during the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

For example, think about II Corinthians 5:17. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold, all thing are become new." This statement can be discouraging to a new convert. All things have not become new. Yet the convert believes and testifies that such is the case.

The gap between what God has stated and what experience demonstrates to be a fact can produce dismay if one does not understand God’s way of working with us. God pronounces certain things to be true that we do not see or experience to be true as yet.

The faith that overcomes the world "is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." With the guidance of the Holy Spirit we are learning to walk in newness of life. In the new heaven and earth reign of Christ, every member of the Body of Christ will be a new creation—spirit, soul, and body. The old personality will be gone forever. All things in the saint will be of God.

The only way we can obtain the fullness of the indwelling of God in Christ is to go beyond our own age into the Kingdom age. Joshua and Caleb did this in type. They went into Canaan, a type of the rest of God, and brought back some of the grapes of the land for the remainder of the Jews to see.

By so doing, Joshua and Caleb became one of the several Old Testament types of the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11. Joshua and Caleb represent the double portion of the Holy Spirit that will be given to the Lord’s remnant so they can bear witness of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God in the days prior to the appearing of the Lord Jesus in the clouds of heaven.

The warrior-remnant will reach ahead into the Kingdom age, as it were, and obtain the authority and power of the age to come (Hebrews 6:5). The victorious saints will bear witness by showing to the remainder of God’s people, and to the nations, the glory and the judgment that are coming—not just the glory but the glory and the judgment.

God’s witnesses are to heal the sick, raise the dead, open the blind eyes, unstop the deaf ears, cause the lame to leap for joy, and preach the Good News to the poor, to the meek of the earth. The nations will both see and hear the Gospel before the worldwide rebellion against authority takes place and Antichrist is revealed.

Before the Divine redemption has been completed, every part of the personality of the Christian will be reaped in fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. Spirit, soul, and body will be saved, filled with the Holy Spirit, and covered with eternal glory—the Presence of God in Christ.

Every member of the Body of Christ, from the least to the greatest, will find his place in the Temple of God. God will perfect His workmanship in the Body of Christ and bring the Body to the fullness of the stature of Christ, both individually and corporately.

There can be no corporate perfection apart from individual perfection. God is testing and working on each Christian in the most painstaking detail.

Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: (Leviticus 23:42)

The Father and the Son will be dwelling in us to a much greater extent than is true today (John 14:23). Such fullness of indwelling requires the completion of all the processes of redemption in our personality, including our body.

The feast of Tabernacles is associated with the reading of the Law of Moses. One of the principal requirements for the fullness of the indwelling of the Father and the Son is the creation in us of the moral law of the Holy Spirit. God cannot abide where there is any trace of sin or rebellion.

And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: (Deuteronomy 31:10-12)

Our personal fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles occurs when we have been created in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ in spirit, soul, and body; and God in Christ is able to find His rest and pleasure in us. In order for God to find His complete rest in us we must pass through each of the three deaths and three resurrections of redemption.

We must pass through the first death and resurrection of accepting the blood of Christ for the remission of our sins and the Lordship of Christ over us. We then are raised with Christ in newness of life (Romans, Chapter Six).

We must pass through the second death and resurrection of learning to walk in the Spirit of God rather than in the appetites of the flesh. We then are raised by the Holy Spirit of God into the liberty of holy and righteous conduct in our actions, in our words, in our thoughts, motives, and imaginations, and into effective participation in the work of the Kingdom of God.

We must pass through the third death and resurrection of allowing God to bring us into self-denial. The guile and self-seeking of our personality must be burned away in order for God to find rest and pleasure in us. We then are raised in the Person of God, being found in Him. He Himself becomes our Resurrection and our Life.

Death to sin is one problem, and death to self, although related to death to sin, is a somewhat different problem. There are some aspects of redemption that deal directly with death to self, the issue of death to sin being set aside for the moment.

All of this preparation, while useful to us now, will find its glorious fulfillment in the life that is ahead.

For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. (I Timothy 4:8)

"Promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come."

Death to self-seeking and guile: our "Jacob" nature.

Each of us human beings has in us the poisonous nature of the serpent. We are self-seeking, self-centered, self-willed. We accomplish our ends by trickery and disobedience to God. Little children are without this adult guile, to a certain extent, and therefore are closer to the Kingdom of God.

We adults, as we follow on to know the Lord, discover we are full of guile—even after we obtain a measure of victory over the bondages of sin. Let us examine how this guile entered the human race, and the steps the Lord God takes to remove the guile from us.

And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. (Genesis 3:13)

Here is the entrance of guile into the race of mankind. Notice that the guile was introduced originally by Satan and that it resulted in covetousness and disobedience to God. Ever since this instance guile has been part of the nature of mankind.

We humans are driven by the desire to acquire position, honor, fame, and riches, and to gain these by disobedience and rebellion against the will of God.

The third death and resurrection through which Christ brings us deals directly with the deceitful, self-willed, self-centered nature of the believer. God extracts this poison by removing things or people that are much loved, by delaying the gratification of fervent desires, and by requiring us to do what is unpleasant.

The fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, which is the death of the cross, draws out the poison of guile that comes from the serpent.

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15)

The serpent is Satan and the woman is the Church, the elect of God. The seed of Satan is Antichrist, and the Seed of the woman is Christ—Head and Body. Christ will bruise the head of the serpent who has bruised the heel of mankind. The Church represents mankind before God and will crush the head of the adversary on behalf of mankind.

The Church itself is grievously afflicted with the "bruised heel," with guile and self-seeking, until it is delivered by the third death and third resurrection.

The "bruised heel" is the "Jacob" nature, the poison of guile, self-seeking, and disobedience in our personality. When one man challenges another he does not cry, "I am going to strike you in the heel. I am going to bruise your heel." Bruising the heel is the work of the deceiver, the sneak, the serpent.

A wounded heel prevents us from standing upright. A person with "poison in his heel" moves from side to side. He cannot stand squarely and steadily and look other people straight in the face. He is shifty. An individual with two solid heels can stand uprightly to his full height.

The name Jacob means heel-snatcher.

And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them. (Genesis 25:26)

As the twins were being born, Esau came forth first. Technically he was the elder (by a few seconds). Jacob, while still an infant, demonstrated his determination to obtain the birthright from his brother, Esau. Jacob, while being delivered from the womb, stretched out his hand and took hold of Esau’s heel. In doing so he became Jacob —the heel-snatcher, the supplanter.

Jacob was anxious to obtain the birthright of the oldest son. We know the Old Testament story that tells of the manner in which Jacob took advantage of the hungry Esau and traded lentil stew for Esau’s birthright. Esau was foolish to make such a trade, despising his birthright. Jacob was a schemer. Jacob should freely have given to Esau all the stew he desired, Esau being his brother.

We know also of the manner in which Jacob, with the prompting and aid of his mother, Rebecca (a supplanter in her own right), deceived Isaac and obtained the blessing of Abraham. Jacob’s underhanded methods forced him to flee to another deceiver, his uncle, Laban. In Jacob and Laban the serpent’s poison in the heel was demonstrated clearly.

Jacob remains one of the most important scriptural types of the guile that is in mankind, particularly in God’s elect. He represents striving to obtain the blessing of God by means of guile.

There is no guile in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Church cannot tabernacle with Christ until the guile has ben removed.

Of the two young men, Jacob and Esau, Jacob—a type of those who have been called to be saints—was the one who acted dishonorably. Esau had purposed to slay Jacob before Jacob went to Padan-aram. When Jacob returned, Esau did not harm him. It sometimes is true that dishonor characterizes the Church of Christ more than it does the world.

In the test of the pinnacle, which is the temptation that has to do with self-seeking, presumption, and disobedience, Christ was brought by Satan to Jerusalem. It is in the area of "Jerusalem," to speak figuratively, among the called of God, that men often act presumptuously and arrogantly.

It was the leaders of Israel, not the Roman governor, who insisted that Christ be crucified. Pilate acted from political considerations, according to the self-seeking and deviousness of his personality. The leaders of Israel were moved with the envy that springs from guileful, supplanting, heel-snatching attempts to rule God’s people.

God, in His infinite foreknowledge, predestination, and purpose, had stated: "the elder (Esau) shall serve the younger (Jacob)."

Jacob and his mother responded to the Divine election by coveting the birthright. Esau, the man of the flesh, despised his birthright.

The problem is not that we Christians covet the Divinely-ordained inheritance. We are elected and commanded to press on toward the fullness of Christ. Most assuredly we never will receive God’s fullness until the day we seek Him with our whole heart.

The problem is, rather, that we allow our desire to receive what God has prepared for us to express itself in sneakiness, self-seeking, guile, and contriving in an underhanded manner to gain what lawfully belongs to another person. We run ahead of God in our self-seeking.

God has His own antidote for the poison of guile that is in us. This antidote is the suffering and death of the cross. It is an effective medicine.

When we have guile and self-seeking in our heart we are apt to strive for what we consider to be lawfully ours.

Isaac revealed in his own life the correct manner for a Christian to approach a situation of contention over possession.

And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them. (Genesis 26:18)

Here is a type of a Christian going back to seek the old paths. He is digging out the wells—a type of the saint seeking revival. The enemy had stopped up the flow of water. Isaac opened up the flow and restored the names that had been assigned to the wells by Abraham.

And Isaac’s servants digged in the valley, and found there a well of springing water. (Genesis 26:19)

The church was in a "valley" experience, to speak symbolically. Water may run close to the surface in a valley. Isaac’s servants dug there and found "a well of springing water."

Whenever we get back to the Word of God, and begin to worship God and beseech Him for the grace that comes from Heaven, the Holy Spirit rewards us with "wells of springing water"—the Presence and anointing of the Holy Spirit bringing to us the good things of Christ.

And the herdmen of Gerar did strive with Isaac’s herdmen, saying, The water is ours: and he called the name of the well Esek [contention]; because they strove with him. And they digged another well, and strove for that also: and he called the name of it Sitnah [enmity]. (Genesis 26:20,21)

It is wise to name matters for exactly what they are.

As soon as we begin to receive refreshing from the Lord there may arise contention and enmity from those who desire to possess the fruit of our labor. The person who has not had the poison of self-seeking drained from his nature will quarrel contentiously over what he considers to be lawfully his.

The saint who has passed through the third death and resurrection will laugh (Isaac means "laughter") and go to Christ for the decision.

Whenever two levels of spirituality begin to contend, the more spiritual person must give the matter to Christ. If he does not he denies his own testimony. It is difficult to relinquish all to the judgment of Christ in such moments of competition, but letting go brings a song to the heart and laughter to the lips.

And he removed from thence, and digged another well; and for that they strove not: and he called the name of it Rehoboth [broad places]; and he said, For now the LORD hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the land. (Genesis 26:22)

Notice the wonderfully meek and generous spirit of Isaac. Although all the wells were the fruit of his industry and diligence, he gave them away when contention and enmity arose. How like the example and teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ!

The result of freedom from grasping is Rehoboth (broad places). Rehoboth is God-given peace, enlargement, and fruitfulness for us. May God bring us to our broad places. He will do so if we will cease grasping and wait patiently until there is no more strife. We must wait for Christ to give us what is ours.

If we insist on grasping what we feel should be ours, shoving aside other people in the process, we still are exhibiting the poison that the serpent injected into the heel of mankind. When we demonstrate peace and forbearance toward all men, Christ is tabernacling in us.

Jacob’s wrestling with the Lord, a scriptural illustration we have mentioned previously, provides insight into the resurrection that is free from guile and self-seeking. The struggle of Jacob with the Lord is a dramatic representation of the change fashioned in us when the Lord draws out the poison of self-interest and guile.

Jacob’s fight for survival has some points in common with the ordeal of Job.

And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok. (Genesis 32:22)

Our severest testings happen to us at "night," not in times of light and rejoicing. Jacob had left the land of promise as a single man, bearing a blessing and an inheritance he had gained by grasping, by lying, by guile, by selfishness. He had prospered during his sojourn, again by trickery on his job, and now he was attempting to return to the land of his fathers, to the land of promise.

Whenever we become surfeited with walking in the appetites of the flesh and decide to return to the anointing and fire of the Holy Spirit, we experience a confrontation with the Lord.

Just prior to crossing the Jabbok, Jacob had encountered the warrior angels of God’s army (Genesis 32:1,2). When we arrive at a certain point in our Christian experience, God begins to speak to us about pressing into our inheritance in Christ. Gradually we understand that the conquest of the land of promise will be made by Mahanaim (two armies)—the army of saints and the army of angels, not by our scheming.

As that Divine impetus grows in our consciousness, and we become determined to return to the awesome (and yet peaceful and wonderful) Presence and power of the Holy Spirit, we are brought face to face with the fact that we have been somewhat less than honorable and righteous in our deeds, words, and imaginations.

There is one thing of which we always can be sure: our sins will find us out.

For the first time in his life the resourceful Jacob had no way of escaping the truth. He desired his inheritance in the land promised to his father. The Divine covenant with Abraham and Isaac was compelling him to return to the promised land. But the armed and dangerous Esau lived there. Esau was Jacob’s twin brother, but Esau had been abused, tricked, cheated.

No matter how much we may have prospered under salvation and the baptism with the Holy Spirit, it is the third death and resurrection, death to self and resurrection in God’s will and Presence, that brings to light what we actually are.

Gone is all the religious culture we have hidden behind—perhaps unwittingly. Gone are the syrupy religious words and posturing.

Now we have come face to face with our own character. Behold, it is "Jacob"!

And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had. (Genesis 32:23)

Jacob had gained for himself a fine family with his deviousness and his uncle Laban’s deviousness. In Laban, Jacob encountered a relative who was as skilled in deceit as Jacob and his mother were.

Jacob already had worked out a scheme to save part of his family (Genesis 32:8). So it is with us. When we come to our "Jabbok" we become frightened that we will lose all that is precious to us.

Even at this point, if you will notice the wording carefully (Genesis 32:11), Jacob was more concerned about his own skin than he was with the safety of Leah, Rebecca, and the children.

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. (Genesis 32:24)

When finally we are brought to the place where we shall see the Lord we are brought there alone. We cannot bring anyone else with us, not a friend or relative or Christian elder or even our husband or wife. The struggle is between the individual and the Lord.

Jacob sent his family and possessions over the brook Jabbok, and he was left alone to wrestle with God concerning the treacherous manner in which he had treated his brother, Esau.

Jacob’s opponent was the Lord. Job’s opponent was the Lord. It was the Lord who demanded Isaac. It was the Lord who sought to kill Moses (Exodus 4:24).

There are occasions when we are required to struggle with God for our life. At such times we mistakenly may believe that people or the devil are the source of our problems.

There are two different wrestling matches in which the Christian is engaged. The first struggle is with the Lord. The second is with the angels in the heavenlies who once had held positions of high rank in Heaven.

We cannot overcome the lords of wickedness until first we have prevailed with the Lord. Each member of the Body of Christ who hopes to ride with Christ in the final victorious attack must endure his personal struggle with the Lord.

How do we wrestle with God? We wrestle as did Jacob. We will be buffeted until our true name, our true identity has been revealed.

Is our name Mr. or Mrs. Self-seeker? Or is our name Brother or Sister Faithful-in-obedience? What is the source of our motives?

In the moment of truth we behold the Lord God, and we see revealed before us our own character and nature. If we then give the glory to God, as did Jacob, God changes our character. Then the poison is "drawn from our heel" and we possess power with God and with men.

The only way in which we can lose the struggle is to flee from the Presence of the Lord. We can quit. We can hide our true personality. Jacob, in spite of his self-seeking deviousness, exclaimed, "I will not let you go except you bless me." Jacob did not quit.

How many times have we been tested severely by the Lord and then have given up just before the answer came?

Jacob wrestled until the breaking of the day. If we will hold steady throughout the long night of trial the morning light will come. With the morning will arrive the answer to our petitions. A new day will dawn on a new person. Our nature will be changed.

And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. (Genesis 32:25)

God understood that Jacob was not going to surrender. We need to come before the Lord with our needs in the attitude that we are not going to surrender. If there is any wavering, any double-mindedness in us, you can be sure our indecision will be exposed as soon as we begin to grapple with God. God pushes us down to the point of absolute sincerity and integrity.

"He touched the hollow of his thigh." The thigh of a man is the area of both fruitfulness and strength. When we press into the fullness of God’s Person and purposes the Lord touches us in the region of fruitfulness and strength. The fruitfulness has to do with the reproduction of Christ in other people. The strength has to do with the enforcing of righteousness and praise in the earth.

When the Lord understands we will not surrender but will press through to our answer and blessing, the Divine renewal is given to our personality in terms of fruitfulness and rulership. The renewal flows from our barrenness and weakness.

No more will we seek to gain our inheritance by scheming. No more will we be able to solve problems in our own wisdom and strength. From this point forward our own ability to achieve our goals will be "out of joint" and we will learn to trust God for all that is to be accomplished.

And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. (Genesis 32:26)

God was testing the character of Jacob. The Lord said, "Let me go." The night of Jacob’s trial nearly was over and God was giving him one last opportunity to quit. Jacob’s determination, which so often had manifested itself in supplanting and deviousness, was fastened on God with a death grip.

Jacob would not let go. He was ready to die first. He died in God.

When we reach the place where we must hear from God, the place of unchanging resolve and desperation, God will respond. Part of us dies in the process. This is the third death.

We have come to the place of final determination in order to gain the prize of the high calling of God in Christ. We will be tested to the limit of our strength and character. We will succeed with God if we do not quit.

(There is a "giving up in God," a surrender to the Lord’s will; but that is another subject.)

"Ask!" Jesus advises us! "Seek! Knock! Do not quit! Keep on asking! Keep on seeking! Keep on knocking! You shall receive! You shall find! It shall be opened to you!

"Only believe. All things are possible to him that believes."

How determined are we to attain our inheritance in the Lord? Do we have the strength of determination of Jacob? Or do we faint in the heat of the battle? If we will press on to victory we will receive the blessing from the Lord. We will be changed eternally as the result of our contact with the Lord.

And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. (Genesis 32:27)

There comes a moment in our discipleship when God asks us concerning our identity. The truth of the matter is that God already knows who we are, but He is enabling us to see who and what we are. To our surprise and disappointment we discover we are Brother or Sister Guileful, Self-centered, Self-loving, Self-seeking, Schemer, Liar, Swindler, Ambitious-for-self, Usurper.

We had supposed that our name is Faithful Christian. God allows us to discover that our true name is All-for-me. The struggle with God exposes all we truly are. It is not an endearing picture we behold. Fortunately, better things are at hand.

The third resurrection—surpassingly glorious.

And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob [supplanter; heel-snatcher], but Israel [he struggles with God]: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. (Genesis 32:28)

When we rise in the third resurrection there is a difference in the manner in which we seek to obtain our inheritance in Christ. We change from being a schemer, a deceiver, an acquirer of self-glory, into a person who trusts in God for all matters. We become a striver with God. We seek the inheritance in God and then accept His decision concerning all we are attempting to bring to pass or desire to happen.

We meet God and men in a straightforward manner and possess power with God and with men.

The third death, death to self, is a difficult death to die. It requires all the faith, trust, and hope that are in us in order to prevail. We cannot move God to do what we want by our schemes nor will God bless our schemes.

The third resurrection is as surpassingly glorious as the third death is comprehensive and penetrating. As did Paul, we "reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18).

Prior to this experience we had supposed that power with God and men comes from our ability to outscheme our opponents. When the Lord reveals the true character of our motives we begin to realize that all promotion comes from God alone, and that the only way to please God is to behave righteously, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. (Genesis 32:29)

Notice that Jacob finally had ceased thinking about his own problems and had become interested in the God of Abraham and Isaac. What a day it is when we get our eyes off of ourselves and gain a vision of the Lord! This reminds us of Moses who became occupied with God Himself rather than with the enormous responsibility he was carrying as the leader of Israel.

In the year that King Uzziah (presumptuous flesh) dies we see the Lord; and He is high and lifted up.

God had asked for Jacob’s name. Now Jacob was asking the Lord for His name. It is characteristic of the person who rises in the third resurrection that he becomes God-centered rather than self-centered.

Again the Lord asked Jacob a question that helped Jacob (now Israel) understand what was taking place in himself.

"Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name?"

When Jacob sought the answer to that question he began to realize that more than his name had been changed. For the first time in his life he was more interested in God than in what he could obtain from God.

It wasn’t long after this that Jacob erected an altar to El-Elohe-Israel (God, the God of Israel).

When we start out in the Lord we are occupied with Bethel (the house of God). When we rise in the third resurrection we become more occupied with El-Bethel (the God of the house of God). Many Christians are quite familiar with Bethel but never have met El-Bethel.

God blessed Jacob there. The greatest good that comes from dying to self and being raised in God’s will and Life is our personal acquaintance with the Lord and the resulting change in our personality.

In addition, there come to us the Divine fruitfulness and strength for which we have longed, for which we were created, and that Satan and our self-centered nature had been persuading us to grasp by some fleshly means. "If we would just worship Satan and our self-love the kingdoms of the world would be ours." This is what is being taught today in the churches as well as in the world..

Whenever we meet God in the lawful manner we receive the blessing. He is the King and He is able to reward His subjects wonderfully.

And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel [the face of God]: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. (Genesis 32:30)

No man can see God and live. Jacob had seen the Lord face to face and his life had been preserved. It no longer was the schemer, the deceiver who was living. It was the new man, Israel—he who struggles with God.

So it is with us. We lose nothing of value in God’s fire. Our life is preserved. Yet, our life has been changed eternally. The poison of self-seeking has been drawn from us and there is a new creation in Christ.

We discover we have been crucified with Christ and that Christ now is living in us. We have changed from being supplanters into being strugglers with God. We now have power with God and as a result with men.

And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh. (Genesis 32:31)

When we emerge from our contest with the Lord the light of the Day of the Lord rises on us. We no longer are walking in our own power to bear fruit or to overcome our enemies. We are "halting on our thigh."

We are not trusting in our own ability to do anything but are "leaning on our beloved." We are returning from the wilderness of humbling and instruction, leaning on Christ (Song of Solomon 8:5).

Jacob had left the land of promise to seek a wife from the daughters of Laban, his uncle. Jacob had served Laban for some fourteen years, and then God had spoken to him to return home.

As soon as Jacob was free from the influence of Laban he met the angels of God. The warrior angels appeared to him because he was preparing to re-enter Canaan, the land of promise, the place of Jacob’s birth.

Jacob’s story, as is true of all of us, is that of the prodigal son. We cannot possess the blessing of God until we receive it the second time. We may have been given some marvelous gifts, but we must receive them again in the Lord.

Two armies: authority and power; saints and angels.

And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God’s army: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim. (Genesis 32:1,2)

When Jacob beheld the heavenly warriors, he named the place where he was Mahanaim (Two Armies). Mahanaim is near Penuel, on the east bank of the Jordan.

The Seed of the woman, Christ, is destined to crush the head of the serpent and Hell understands this. The enemy of God and men will resist any attempt of the Seed to enter the land of promise. The only manner in which the enemy can be overcome is by the joint effort of the saints of Christ and the army of angels.

God is the Lord of Armies ; not the Lord of "an army" but the Lord of Armies. There are two armies: the army of saints, and the army of angels.

The army of angels possesses strength and performs the will of God Almighty. The army of angels is given the spiritual power that can overcome a spiritual enemy.

Bless the Lord, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. (Psalms 103:20)

The army of saints possesses the authority of judgment because it is the Body of Christ, and to Christ has been given all authority of judgment by the Father.

For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: (John 5:22)

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:19)

Both judgment and power must be operating if the war of redemption is to be won. Judgment alone cannot prevail and power alone cannot prevail. The authority invested in Christ—and mankind—through the Word of the Lord, and the power given to the angels, must work together. Then the land of promise can be invaded and the enemy dispossessed.

The soldiers of Heaven appeared two thousand years ago at the birth of the Commander in Chief (Luke 2:13,14). Now the creation is waiting for the authority of righteous judgment to be brought to perfection in the saints. Before Jacob could summon the strength of the heavenly army he had to have his wrestling match with the Lord. If one is to crush the head of the serpent he must have two good heels.

Passing over the Jordan River is another portrayal of the third death and resurrection—that of death to our devious self, and resurrection into the Person of God Almighty.

As soon as Joshua came to Jericho he was approached by the captain of the army of the Lord. Joshua was the captain of the earthly army. The personage who approached Joshua may have been Michael, the angel who commands the warrior angels.

And he said, Nay; but as captain of the army of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? (Joshua 5:14)

This visitation is similar to other angelic appearances found in Scripture. Some believe the personage who addressed Joshua to have been Christ Himself, but this appears unlikely. Christ is the Lord, not the "captain of the Lord’s host."

The appearing of the captain of the army of the Lord at the entrance to Canaan parallels the experience of Jacob as he sought to return to the land of promise. As we have stated before in connection with other prophetic portrayals, when the believer approaches the place of the fullness of reconciliation to the Lord and to the Lord’s purposes he becomes increasingly aware of the heavenly, or spiritual counterpart of redemption.

It was necessary for both armies to work together if Israel was to invade the land of Canaan, for there was much demon worship there. The army led by Joshua was carrying in its ranks the Ark of the Covenant of the God of Israel. The Ark, containing in itself the Ten Commandments, was the center of Divine authority and judgment.

The spiritual army of the Lord was preparing to assist the saints on earth, first of all by knocking down the walls of Jericho.

When the two armies fight side by side we have both authority and power at work. The sword in the hand of Joshua represents the Ten Commandments—the terrible Word of God in judgment against the lords of Hell. The sword in the hand of the angel represents spiritual power—the power of God Almighty assigned to the angels who are performing His Word.

The Bride of Christ looks forth as the morning of the Day of the Lord (Song of Solomon 6:10). She is as fair as the moon, being clothed with the Glory of Christ Himself. To the enemies of God she is an avenging army. The Bride makes war and receives the cooperation of the army of Heaven.

Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? as it were the company of two armies. (Song of Solomon 6:13)

We can see the interdependence of the two armies in Revelation, Chapter 12. As soon as Christ is created in the members of His army, the angelic army of Michael can win the battle in the heavenlies.

And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. (Revelation 12:5)

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. (Revelation 12:7,8)

The elect angels are concerned about the development of righteousness in the members of the Body of Christ.

I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. (I Timothy 5:21)

Concerning binding Satan, only one angel is required. There is no lack of power among the obedient angels of God (Psalms 103:20). The release of angelic power for the setting up of the Kingdom of God is awaiting the coming to maturity of the members of the Body of Christ, who are God’s judges.

Satan will be crushed under the feet of the Church (Romans 16:20), but the actual power will be exercised through spiritual creatures. We are not wrestling against flesh and blood but against angelic lords. The army of Michael is needed if we are to see the Kingdom of God established in the earth.

Satan will be crushed beneath the feet of the Church, but notice that a spiritual being performs the binding and imprisoning:

And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, (Revelation 20:1,2)

Before the members of the Body of Christ can work in cooperation with the army of Heaven in the destruction of the forces of darkness, the members must be converted completely. Being converted means more than merely being saved. Being saved is the first step in our redemption and the beginning of our conversion into a new creation.

We are emphasizing in this book that the third and crowning act of our conversion consists of the destruction of our personal ambition. Sometimes God permits Satan to test us so the poison of guile and self-seeking can be burned from us.

And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. (Luke 22:24)

Even among the Apostles of the Lord, the chosen of God, the guile and self-seeking began to reveal themselves. Before the Lord Jesus was crucified and resurrected the disciples were fighting over who would be the leader of the Church.

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: (Luke 22:31)

Peter was being prepared to receive much fruitfulness and strength. Of those to whom much has been given, much will be required. Sometimes God allows Satan to sift us carefully, probing for every area of sin and self-will. Such screening is necessary before we can work together with the heavenly army in the destruction of the kingdom of darkness.

The sifting process is not a pleasant one. The wheat of our character and nature is filtered through an exceedingly fine screen.

But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. (Luke 22:32)

It is our faith that is tested to the limit when we are sifted in the sight of God. Christ prays for us that our faith will not fail in the hour of testing. The test of our faith results in the conversion of our nature from "Jacob" to "Israel." We learn to contend with God rather than with men. We learn to gain power with men by first gaining power with God. As soon as we are converted we are to strengthen our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Here is the true sign of the Divine conversion: increased love for God followed by a sincere interest in the welfare of other people.

And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. (Luke 22:33)

At this point in his life, Peter was certain he was able to drink the cup of Christ and be baptized with Christ’s baptism. But the "rock" was still a pebble. He had not been converted to Christ to the extent he thought to be true. Jesus knew by the Spirit that Peter would fail in the moment of testing. Peter learned to his dismay that his spirit was willing but his flesh was weak.

So it is with us. We have declared with our mouth that we will follow Christ wherever He leads us. Our statement is sincere. But the obedience God requires must be fashioned in us at such a depth of our personality that it becomes instinctive under the most difficult circumstances.

Peter was still a young Christian when he denied the Lord in the hour of temptation. He slept in Gethsemane, and denied knowing Christ when in the palace of the high priest. Had these incidents occurred in the later years of Peter’s life, Peter would have watched and prayed with Christ in Gethsemane and would have stood with Christ in the high priest’s house with much the same resoluteness as his Master.

Absolute obedience in the moment of fierce testing is fashioned in us by the Holy Spirit over a period of time. God cannot trust us with the full authority and power of the Kingdom of God until He is assured of our faithfulness and obedience under all conditions.

Christ never had one drop of the poison of self-seeking in His "heel." He emptied Himself of His Divine rights and possessions and took on Himself "the form of a servant" (Philippians 2:5-8). Yet Christ Himself learned obedience to the Father by the things He suffered. He was made perfect in the area of obedience.

Christ had to be made perfect in obedience because of the awesome, terrible authority and power that were to be assigned to Him. Christ now possesses all authority, all power, all control over decisions of judgment in the entire creation of God.

At the Word of Christ the heavens and the earth will cease to exist. His is the highest throne of all. The heart of the Father safely trusts in the beloved Son because God knows that Jesus will be faithful—totally obedient in every situation.

The Lamb and His followers. The work of redemption that takes place in those who will ride with the Lord Jesus in that day can be studied in Revelation, Chapter 14. We behold Christ and those who will ride with Him—His mighty men.

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)

Christ is revealed, first of all, as the "Lamb." He appears in the Book of Revelation as the Lamb, even in the exercise of His fierce wrath: "And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?" (Revelation 6:16,17).

God is well aware of the incongruity of presenting the avenging Christ as a lamb. A lamb is a gentle, helpless animal. The avenging Christ is not a gentle, helpless person. It would be more fitting to portray Christ of the second coming as a grizzly bear robbed of her cubs; or as a famished lion that has had fresh meat yanked from between its teeth. Why, then, a lamb?

And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. (Psalms 45:4)

There are three reasons why Christ must appear as a lamb during the Day of Vengeance of our God:

The Lamb has redeemed us by His blood and therefore has been given the authority and power of judgment. His sacrificial love has purchased the right to judge those who are rebellious.

The meek obedience of the Lamb and His disciples has earned them the right to avenge disobedience.

The persons making the awful decisions that will result in the eternal destruction of sinners and their sin will not be judging from their own anger and impatience but from the wrath of God.

The sacrificial love of Christ has purchased for Him the right in the sight of God to judge those who will not accept His rule. Christ, the Lamb of God, bore our griefs and carried our sorrows. He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. The Lord God has laid on Him the lawlessness of us all.

Christ patiently took all our sins on Himself, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. He did not open His mouth to justify Himself. The cost to Himself was very great—greater than we will ever be able to comprehend fully. Yet He meekly went to the cross in obedience to the will of the Father. Because He was willing to lay down His life on the behalf of sinners, the Father has given to Christ every person who will accept the sacrifice that Christ has made.

Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:12)

In addition, the Lamb possesses the authority to save and to destroy, to heal and to wound, to bless and to curse. All judgment has been committed to Him who was willing to become the Lamb of sacrifice. The Lamb served the Father in meekness and obedience, bearing on Himself the sins of mankind. Therefore, to the Lamb has been given all authority and power of judgment.

The "lamb" is the portrayal of meek obedience. Sin entered the world through the lack of meek obedience to the Lord on the part of Adam and Eve. Salvation entered the world through the meekness and obedience of Christ.

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Romans 5:19)

The Lamb of God pleased God by His obedience. Therefore God has chosen the Lamb to bring judgment on all disobedience. As disciples of the Lamb we must walk before Christ in lamblike meekness and obedience. If we do not we cannot possibly ride with the Lamb in that day.

And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. (II Corinthians 10:6)

The lamb is a sign of the righteous judgment of God acting to avenge the injustices that have fallen on Christ and His followers. It is a case of recompensing wicked people for the harm they have done to the disciples of the Lord.

God has commanded the Christian people to be like lambs, to not avenge themselves but leave all vengeance in His hands. God has promised that if we will do that He will make sure justice is carried out.

We are to repay evil with good as the Lord guides and enables us. We are not allowed to harbor any bitterness or unforgiveness in our heart. We are not to fight back. We are to keep our mouth closed and suffer injustice unless directed by the Lord to do otherwise. We are to put our trust in Christ and allow God to plead our case.

Christ suffered more injustice than any other person on earth. Yet He opened not His mouth in self-justification. He accepted the perversity of men and devils without complaining. He is our example.

When Christ returns the situation will be reversed. In that day Christ will execute the judgment of God Almighty. The slain Lamb will become the Slayer. Christians will behold the judgment of God falling on those who persecuted the Church. Even though the saints would save the wicked if they could, it will be too late.

As soon as God had shut Noah and his family in the Ark there was no authority or power in Heaven or on the earth that could bring into the Ark the victims of the flood.

As soon as the Church of Christ arises from the dead there will be no way to hold back the wrath of God from the wicked.

Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (II Thessalonians 1:6-9)

Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (Romans 12:19)

The saints will judge the world, and judge angels as well.

Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? (I Corinthians 6:2,3)

It is necessary that the persons making the awful decisions of the Day of Christ be judging not from their own anger but from the wrath of God.

When Christ judges people He does not do according to what He sees or hears with His own eyes or ears. Rather, He listens for the judgment of the Father. When the will of the Father is plain to Him He makes His decision. Christ judges righteously because He seeks not His own will but the will of God who sent Him.

This kind of "blindness" and "deafness" is very desirable. It is a mark of spiritual maturity.

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

Christ by nature is meek, forgiving, and loving. He is the Lamb. When the Father moves in Him in the sentence of judgment the Lamb becomes terrible in wrath. The avenging Christ will be a terrifying sight. The wrath of Christ does not proceed from His own spirit of revenge or vexation against sinners. His wrath proceeds from the throne of Him whose righteous and holy ways have been scorned.

The same condition must be true of each member of the Body of Christ. We must not jump to conclusions and judge our fellow believers. We must not judge after the sight of our eyes or the hearing of our ears. We must listen for the judgment of Christ. When we are sure of the mind of Christ, then we are able to make a righteous decision.

We must avoid acting from impatience or from vexation with frustrating circumstances. We must be taught by the Spirit to judge righteously, not seeking our will but the will of Christ of whom we are ambassadors.

Christ is creating meekness, forgiveness, and love in us. Many of us are wild animals by nature—anything but lambs. We go about blaming, criticizing, avenging ourselves—usually acting from mistaken judgment because we do not understand the reasons people act the way they do. God judges righteous judgment because He understands all the reasons for the actions of people.

As long as we are wild animals we never can ride behind the Lamb in the Day of Judgment. As we become meek, forgiving, loving, like lambs in nature, Christ can move in us in the sentence of judgment. The wrath of God proceeds from the throne of God, and it has been assigned to Christ—Head and Body—to administrate the Divine wrath. But judgment and wrath never is to proceed from our self-will!

Christ remains the Lamb, even in the administration of wrath. If there is a tinge of personal anger or impatience in the person who is acting as God’s representative in that day, the judgment becomes unrighteous. Only God’s Lamb, and those who are coheirs with the Lamb, can righteously administrate the judgment of the Most High.

God is making each of His saints as gentle as a lamb:

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, (II Timothy 2;24)

It is not a roaring lion that we see on Mount Zion (Revelation 14:1) but the avenging Lamb of God—the same Lamb who stands ready today to take away the sin of all who will receive Him.

Mount Zion, the city of David, is symbolic of God’s fortress—the fighting, ruling strength of the Christian Church. David captured Zion from the Jebusites and then was able to command Jerusalem. Zion, the fortress, remained David’s favorite city. Zion speaks to us of the coming of Christ in overwhelming strength to place every one of His enemies in subjection to Himself.

The number 144,000 is the square of twelve, times one thousand. Twelve, in Scripture, is symbolic of Israel. In Revelation, Chapter 14, twelve times twelve signifies the arrival of the remnant of Israel, the Lord’s true saints (Romans 11:5; Micah 5:3), at the place of total victory, which is Mount Zion.

As soon as the victorious saints have come to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, the Lord Jesus will return, gather together His saints, give rewards based on faithful service, and then commence His rule with a rod of irresistible authority and power.

In the days in which we are living the Holy Spirit is moving wherever there are Christians, without regard to denominational creed or affiliation, seeking those who will submit to the full discipline of Christ. The Lord Jesus needs officers for His army.

Each person who hears the voice of Christ is challenged to go through the door of absolute consecration to the service and will of Christ. Christ then begins to invite the cooperating believer up to the throne of fruitfulness and rulership. It is the third death and resurrection.

Christ in us always is moving toward the throne of glory. We may be groaning and complaining about the cost. This is not wise.

To sit with Christ on His throne is given to whoever will grasp in faith this highest of honors. Dominion never is assigned to any church or system of churches, only to the members of the one true Church—the Body of Christ. The promises of fruitfulness and rulership are offered to the individual victorious saints.

The angels of the churches receive praise or blame as conditions may warrant. The rewards of coheirship with Christ are held in trust for the individual who overcomes Satan, the world, and his or her own sin and self-will.

Here and there, scattered throughout the churches, can be found Christians who are signifying their willingness to press through to the fullness of Christ. Some of these believers have had to meet in small groups outside the large churches because of the lack of fervency of the larger assemblies.

In many cases the Lord’s victorious saints are included among the most faithful and productive workers in the larger churches.

The true disciples of Jesus can be found everywhere: as missionaries serving on the field; as members of home prayer groups; as pastors, teachers, and evangelists; as bedridden saints who spend their nights in intercessory prayer.

The victorious saints do not constitute a recognizable group that we on earth can identify, such as a denomination, an independent church or group of such churches, or a movement. Throughout Church history—and it is the case today—the true disciples of Christ have been known to God alone. Only the Lord Jesus knows the members of His army.

Again, let us emphasize that being an overcomer is available and possible to every Christian without exception. Christ does not prevent anyone from following Him in fullness of faith. He invites us one and all. The only wall that can shut us off from the best gifts Christ has to offer is the wall of our own unbelief and disobedience.

When Christ appears the saints will be glorified together with Him, having already been united with Him by sharing His death and resurrection. This is the meaning of Revelation 19:7:

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

The saints stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion. They have become meek, gentle, and loving as He is meek, gentle, and loving. Our avenging Christ will not include in this fellowship of deliverers those who are self-seeking, cruel, determined to be preeminent and to accomplish their will in every circumstance.

The writing of the Father’s name in their foreheads (Revelation 14:1) shows us that each member of the Body of Christ waits for the mind of God on a given matter before he acts or thinks. Our thoughts must be brought into subjection to Christ. Having the mind of Christ is necessary for each member of the Lord’s army.

We are being trained in obedience now. We are learning to submit to the Lord in prayer all our ways, both in important and in "unimportant" matters. A prayerful approach to acting, speaking, and thinking is taught to us by the Spirit over a period of time in the midst of the heat and pressure of our earthly circumstances.

It takes us a while to come under the Lord’s discipline, but finally we slow down enough to receive our moment-by-moment directions from the Lord. It is necessary for each of God’s judges to be perfectly in tune with His will if the work of judgment is to proceed according to God’s standards.

Do you remember how Joshua was tricked by the enemy?

And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD. (Joshua 9:14)

Cataclysmic forces will be unleashed during the Day of the Lord. It is essential that each of God’s judges instantly be aware of the Lord’s thoughts and attitudes. Awesome authority and destructive power will be at work. The eternal destinies of people and angels will be assigned.

Each of Christ’s saints will be a deliverer.

And saviours [deliverers] shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD’s. (Obadiah 21)

Christian disciples now are in the process of "coming up on Mount Zion." When they overcome, as Christ overcame, they will sit on the throne of Christ and rule as coheirs with Him. These are the "ten thousands of his saints," mentioned in Jude 1:14. They are the saints of the most High to whom judgment is given, as revealed in Daniel 7:22. These are they who sit on the thrones of judgment, portrayed in Revelation 20:4. We doubt that the number 144,000, of Revelation 14:1, is a literal number. Scriptural symbolism suggests that this group is a representative firstfruits of Israel, of the people of the Lord, whether they are Jews or Gentiles by physical birth. The number twelve and its multiples are significant in Scripture.

And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts [living creatures], and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. (Revelation 14:2,3)

The "voice of many waters and of a great thunder" is the voice of Christ (Revelation 1:15). It is the voice of all worship and all power. Christ is speaking of His overflowing pleasure because of the ascension of His mighty men to their positions of power and glory.

It also is the voice of resolution concerning the establishing of Christ’s Kingdom in the earth. It is the voice of command to his army of judges.

The "many waters" refers to the River of Life that flows from the inner being of each of the saints. The thunderous roar of Christ issues from the mouths of the saints as a fearful battle cry (Isaiah 42:13; Joel 3:16). The enemies of the Lord are to be destroyed at once.

The musicians of the court of Heaven sing and play a new song that belongs exclusively to the Lord’s mighty men. The song tells of Christ’s love for them and of their love for Him. It is the song of those who have become one in Christ in God. It is a song of worship and the Glory of God and of victory near at hand.

The "mighty men" never can be separated from Christ. They are identified eternally as part of Christ just as Christ is identified eternally as part of God the Father. It is an eternal marriage. What therefore God has joined together can never be torn apart. They are the Lord’s possession forever.

These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. . . . (Revelation 14:4)

Defilement with women (above) is not speaking of physical marriage but of spiritual marriage. Physical marriage is "honourable in all" and the marriage bed is "undefiled" (Hebrews 13:4).

The Lord’s saints are undefiled in the spiritual sense. There is nothing in their spirit that is competing with Christ for their affection. They have washed themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.

People spiritually "marry" all kinds of circumstances, relationships, and things. Their spirits, then, are not pure. Many Christians are defiled. They "love" Jesus but they are "married" to their ambitions, their jobs, their special church groups or doctrines, their money, their sins.

When they hear the voice of the Holy Spirit to "come up higher" their many "wives" demand that they not be forsaken in favor of Christ. So the would-be throne-ascender is tied down to a lesser place. Christ will never accept this kind of challenge to His supreme Lordship.

The Lord Jesus will accept no rivals. His name is "Jealous." He will have first place in our heart or trouble will come our way.

Jesus’ warriors learn to accept many kinds of relationships with people. They can prosper or suffer deprivation concerning circumstances and things. But their only true marriage is to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ works in them until their spiritual purity is assured before Himself. If there is the smallest question in any area the Word of God cuts into that soft spot. The area of darkness is put to the test of Divine fire.

The saints who stand on Mount Zion are married wholly to Christ and have become "one spirit" with Him.

. . . These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. . . . (Revelation 14:4)

"Following the Lamb wherever He goes" speaks of discipleship. Peter had in mind to follow the Lamb into trouble, but Peter fell away in the hour of testing.

However, each of the saints on Mount Zion, of whom Peter now is one, is ready to follow Christ anywhere. Each has been instructed in how to be abased and how to abound. In all matters and in all places they serve the Lord Jesus.

If Christ requires one of His saints to remain in a certain place for a season, laboring under difficult and vexing conditions, he remains there in the Lord. He does his best to avoid complaining and blaming and prays continually for strength and for deliverance in the Lord’s timing. He stays in his place. In this manner he follows the Lamb wherever the Lamb goes.

If the Lamb goes into danger the faithful saint is there. If the Lamb goes into war the saint is there. If the Lamb makes seemingly impossible demands on him the saint continues to be faithful.

When the Lamb walks, the saint walks. When the Lamb speaks, the saint speaks. When the Lamb suffers, the saint suffers. When the Lamb rules with a rod of iron, the saint rules with a rod of iron.

The firstfruits follow the Lamb wherever He goes without turning from the path. It has taken each of them a long time to master the lessons of absolute obedience. Having passed their tests to the Lamb’s satisfaction they now are with Him in all circumstances.

. . . These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. (Revelation 14:4)

Here are the firstfruits of the earth. They are the disciples of the Lord, the victorious saints, Christ’s mighty men. They are the firstfruits of mankind, the first reaping of the vine of the earth.

These are the Christian people who have turned aside from all their hopes, their ambitions, their dreams, fortunes, and everything else of value or concern to them that they may without distraction follow the Lamb wherever He goes.

Christ’s warriors always appear on Mount Zion, the city of David, because they belong to the heavenly David. The Ark was kept in the city of Zion throughout the period that David was king over Israel. The saints will reign with Christ throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age and on into the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

Any individual can become one of the Lord’s saints. Overcoming is not accomplished by our strength and wisdom but by the Lord’s strength and wisdom. The only obstacle that holds back any person from a place of victorious rest in Christ is his unbelief.

Every resource necessary for the gaining and maintaining of the life of victory over sin has been supplied by the Lord God through Christ. All that remains for us to do is to mix faith with the Word of God and enter our inheritance.

The Lord Jesus will allow no competitors for our love and attention.

In reaching for the highest prize we must lay all else aside. We must press forward toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ. If there is any point of indecision the Holy Spirit will enable us to overcome it.

Christian discipleship requires all of our attention and strength. Victory is impossible for the halfhearted. Victorious discipleship demands everything that is in us as we jump the hurdles in the race for the prize that Christ has set before us.

We have spoken of the guile of Jacob and how it is to be removed from us. The poison in our "heel" has to be drawn out by the cross of Christ. The victorious saints have two strong heels with which to crush the head of the serpent. They stand straight on their two feet and look everyone in the eye because they are not schemers, tricksters, supplanters, deceivers.

And in their mouth was found no guile: . . . . (Revelation 14:5)

The saints are simple, straightforward, clear of eye, mind, and heart. Obedience to the Lord fills their mind and they have been delivered from personal ambition. They have strong desires of their own, but all their desires are held before God so that the answers to their prayers are wrought in God and are not achieved by scheming and grasping.

The guile is taken from us in the third death and resurrection. It is here that God proves us as to the method by which we attain our inheritance. God brings us into suffering by stripping us of many things we desire fervently. Our willingness to hold fast to God in faith determines how deep we can go in the third death and as a result how high we can go in resurrection life.

The deeper the death the fuller the resurrection. In order to know the power of His resurrection we must be willing to share His sufferings. The cross comes before the crown. The more thorough the work of the cross in us the more glorious the crown.

It is God who must accomplish all this. If we lay our hand on the process, other than to obey God, we are attempting to solve the problem of guile by employing more guile. Finally we run out of plans and tricks and allow God to deliver the fatal blow to our self-centered nature.

If we would stand on Mount Zion with the Lamb we must be without guile. We must be converted from arguing among ourselves concerning who is to be the chief apostle.

. . . for they are without fault before the throne of God. (Revelation 14:5)

Flesh and blood human beings are full of sin and self-love. What a marvelous plan of redemption it is that can start with a person deeply bound in sin in spirit, soul, and body, and bring him to the place where he is without fault before the throne of God Almighty!

The victorious saints are "redeemed from among men." There is nothing special about their personal abilities, education, appearance, talents of any sort. Their distinguishing characteristic is they have chosen to believe God and to be faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. Anyone can choose to do that.

The saints of the Lord are not those whom you or I would guess. They are not the people we would have chosen. God looks on the heart. It is God who places the holy unrest in the heart of the elect.

We may look for those who are above other people in appearance, in intelligence, in abilities, in religious zeal. God looks for the faithfulness of the heart and for meekness toward God.

Christ’s victorious saints are an unpretentious group. No one ever would guess they are being trained to rule the world.

How marvelous are the ways of God! Any true disciple of Christ will be quick to confess his own inadequacies, having had them pointed out to him many times by the Holy Spirit. It is this deep recognition of one’s dependence on Christ for all things that characterizes the true saint.

When the Holy Spirit has finished working with one of the disciples he is without fault before the throne of God.

The arrival of the firstfruits company on Mount Zion (a figurative way of stating that the Christians have fought their way through all opposition and, by the grace of Christ, have gained victory over the world, Satan, and their fleshly nature) is the point at which the Lord Jesus Christ will make His appearance. Christ has been waiting two thousand years for the maturing of the vine of the earth.

The Lord Jesus soon will receive His inheritance. His enemies soon are to be crushed beneath His feet. The moment the saints are ready to ride with Him He will appear in imperial majesty and bring the present evil age crashing down in flaming ruins. The creation will be purified by fire so that the redeemed may have a clean earth on which to live.

The perfect example of spiritual virginity, faithfulness, guilelessness, and faultlessness before the throne of God is the Lord Jesus Christ. He had to overcome and prove Himself faithful to God so He could be the Author of our eternal salvation.

Christ was tested in all areas of personality and behavior just as we are tested in all areas of personality and behavior. Therefore He is able to be a merciful high priest on behalf of His brothers. By His prayers and assistance we are laboring in order to achieve our own inheritance. Christ is bringing us into faultlessness before the Presence of the Father just as quickly as possible.

Christ suffered much on the earth. Supreme obedience must be mastered on the earth, it cannot be learned in Heaven. Christ learned obedience by the things He suffered on the earth. He was perfectly obedient to His Father at all times and in all ways.

We profess obedience, as did Peter. But, like Peter, we find our spirit is willing but our flesh is weak. We can speak obedience with our mouth, and such vocal expression is a necessary first step. But unfailing obedience must be created in us by the Holy Spirit through many fiery trials.

Only God can create actual obedience in us. When the testing becomes difficult human determination breaks down. God must develop obedience in us. Our desire to be obedient is a necessary beginning. We must ask the Lord to create strict obedience in every part of our personality.

We know that to Christ has been given all authority and power in Heaven and on the earth. Such absolute power cannot be comprehended by us. No other man ever has had or ever will have such power. Christ has a will separate from the Father. "Not my will, but thine be done."

Before a will other than the will of the Father could be entrusted with all power, all authority, all judgment, that will had to be crushed and pounded together with the will of the Father until there could be no possible chance of conflict. This is the third death.

Therefore Christ experienced a long cross-carrying trial of self-denial, humility, mockery, meekness, reproach, lack of comfort, loss of prestige and reputation, misunderstanding, perversity, and every other factor that can frustrate, irritate, humiliate, discourage, and bring pain to a person. There was much crushing disappointment and anguish in the brief life of Jesus of Nazareth.

Yet the Lord Jesus was so established in God that He bore every pain and humiliation without complaining, without blaming others (in the personal sense), and without losing His joy and victory in God.

Christ was tested much more severely than we, suffering the loss of all things. Finally He was executed in His innocence after having suffered numerous indignities and enormous spiritual and physical agony.

The result of this kind of treatment, if experienced in the Spirit of God, is the development of obedience to the will of God. There was nothing of self-seeking left in the Lord Jesus after His crucifixion. He is to be trusted with all power, all authority, and all judgment. Christ is Lord.

We also are called to positions of power and judgment, being coheirs with Christ. Therefore we are required to share the sufferings of Christ. If His road was filled with thorns and stones, what are we to expect who are altogether wretched in sin and rebellion? Let us not complain but rather commit ourselves to a faithful Creator, knowing all things are working together for our good.

We have been called by the Lord to be in the image of Jesus Christ. It is not surprising, then, if we must be brought low in humility as part of our training as sons of God. If we will cooperate patiently with the Holy Spirit our fruitfulness and strength soon will come from the hand of God Almighty.

A little way to go. A few more faithful steps. The finishing touches put on our character. A bit more understanding. Then we will be ready to sit on the throne of glory.

When we hear Jesus say, "Well done, good and faithful servant," the memory of the toils of the road will vanish as dew before the morning sun. Let us press on, knowing our reward is as sure as the promise of Christ.

The angelic army, as we have said, was present at the birth of Christ. It was assembled to give homage to the King (Hebrews 12:22). This army is ready to hurl the thunderbolts of God but it must wait until the King’s mighty men have been prepared. Then both the saints and the angels will march together as the company of two armies. This invading force will be perfect in righteousness, irresistible in power, and commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ.

Crushing the head of the serpent. When the trumpet of God blows, the attack of the two armies will be at hand. The head of the serpent soon will be crushed.

And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? (Joel 2:11)

Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed; thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation unto the neck. Selah. (Habakkuk 3:13)

And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 4:3)

And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (Romans 16:20)

The Church will crush the forces of darkness under heels that have been healed.

And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. (Luke 10:18,19)

The Christian Church at its birth began treading on serpents and scorpions by healing the sick, raising the dead, and casting out demons. The Church at the end of the present age will crush all sin, and the authors of sin, under its feet.

Christ has promised us we will not be harmed in so doing. Protection from danger is promised to those who abide in the secret place of the Most High, in the center of the will of God.

The Church is associated with the feet of Christ. It is the feet that will execute judgment.

And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. (Revelation 1:15)

The feet of Christ are portrayed as being of brass (bronze). Brass and bronze typify that which can survive the fire of God’s judgment. The feet of Christ are associated in prophetic significance with the bronze Altar of Burnt Offering of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

The strength to move one’s feet comes from the loins. The loins of man are typified by the bronze Laver of the Tabernacle. The Laver speaks of the fruitfulness and strength that flow from us as the result of the judgment of God’s Word working spiritual cleanliness in us (John 15:3).

The bronze Altar was kept hot with the offering of animals. Christ will march through the earth, clothed in a robe dyed red by dipping it in blood. No sin can withstand those fiery feet of bronze.

After the fires of judgment have burned away all that is unclean and useless, the "many waters" of the Spirit of God in the hearts of the saints will flow forth in cleansing and healing, preparing the world for the rule of the Lord Jesus Christ. The water of the Holy Spirit follows the fiery judgment of the Altar of Burnt Offering.

We have found that this terrible, avenging Christ is meek and gentle and that his Apostles are lowly among us.

Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: (II Corinthians 10:1)

God cannot dwell where there is any trace of self-seeking. Christ emptied Himself of all glory and preeminence, taking the place of a servant. He never attempted to gain His inheritance by any means other than through absolute obedience to God.

Likewise, on our part there must be a straightforward, honest, sincere walk in the Holy Spirit. All insincerity, self-seeking, trickery, dishonesty, must be removed from us. We are to be obedient to the Holy Spirit, seeking the approval of Christ alone.

As we enter the sufferings of Christ our desire for acquiring relationships with people, desirable circumstances, and an accumulation of things is transformed as we behold the Glory of the Lord (II Corinthians 3:18). We begin to enjoy a peaceful rest in God and are content with the relationships and things He gives us.

We become increasingly free from bondage to people and from the need for seeking glory from other people. We covet the approval of God alone. There is a destruction of the deviousness in us and of the fear of not accomplishing our own will. The death is that of the cross, and the resurrection is the fullness of the indwelling of the Father and the Son in us and we in Them.

The Temple of God: the Church. The third death is the deepest death of all. The resulting resurrection leads to the spiritual fulfillment of the Levitical feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:39).

The third resurrection is the eternal reign of God in us. As God perfects His rule in the Church He can settle down to rest in the Church. Then the Church can serve as the intermediary between God and the peoples of the earth.

God loves the peoples of the nations. Yet He cannot approach them because they would perish instantly in the consuming fire of His Presence. God has created the Church as the means through which to receive His other creatures.

It is a continual grief in the heart of Christ to witness the deep sorrow heaped on people by the cruel perversity of the demons to whom they are in bondage. Christ desires to set people free and to teach them how to please God.

The Church, the Body of Christ, will serve to unite God and mankind. The Church itself is a firstfruits of the earth, a holy nation, a chosen people belonging especially to God. Through the Church, God will liberate the creation. All nations will flow to the Church and learn the ways of God.

When the Church is walking in the Spirit of God it possesses the authority to usher people into the Kingdom of God. This authority derives its legal basis from the shed blood of Christ. The Church, in Jesus’ name, can open and shut the doors of the Kingdom of God. It holds the key of David.

It is because of its role of intermediary, of priest, of prophet, of apostle, of teacher, of representative of God to people and of people to God, that the Church is required to undergo the strict curriculum of the school of the wilderness.

Each member of the Body of Christ must have a side of his personality that relates successfully to God and another side of his personality that relates successfully to people. Neither side is developed properly in the natural man. Our side toward God is marred by uncleanness and disobedience (a lack of holiness). Our side toward people is marred by deviousness, lust, and self-seeking (a lack of righteousness). Both sides of our personality must be re-created by the Lord God in terms of His own standard for us as individuals.

When God is finished creating us we will be edible "bread" for other people. They will not have to swallow our self-seeking along with the Bread of Heaven. Also, we will be holy personalities in Christ, being acceptable to God. The result of the re-creating of our personality will be that we are acceptable both to people and to God.

People will have someone who understands them and is interested in helping them and leading them to God. God will have someone whom He can trust with His riches and who is acceptable to Him through His beloved Son.

As soon as the Church, the eternal habitation of God, the Wife of the Lamb, has been completed according to God’s standard, God will remove the present heaven and earth and will create a new heaven and a new earth. God will reign over the nations of saved people through His Church.

The rule of God through the Church of Christ is described in Revelation, Chapters 21 and 22.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:3,4)

The eternal habitation of God is Israel, the called-out, holy nation of which we Gentiles have been made a part through Christ.

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19- 22)

The construction of the "building" (the habitation of God) commenced when Abraham was called from Ur of the Chaldees. The building will be finished at the conclusion of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. As soon as God’s purposes for the thousand-year Kingdom Age have been accomplished the books containing the detailed accounts of the lives of people will be opened.

When the Judgment has been concluded the new heaven and the new earth will come into view. The heaven and the earth we know now will be discarded at the appearing of the throne of judgment. The peoples of the earth, having been raised from the dead, will be faced with the fundamental moral issues of right and wrong. The good they have done and the evil they have done will be revealed.

The wicked will be cast into the Lake of Fire. The righteous will be carried over into eternal life in the new heaven and earth rule of Christ.

Then God in Christ in the Church will reign forever over the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

The Church of Christ is being constructed upon Christ Himself. He is the chief Cornerstone and the Rock from which every element of the building is measured and derives its significance. Christ is the standard, the plumb line, having been established by the Lord God with very great care.

In Christ the whole Church, being framed by the gifts and ministries of each member of the Body of Christ, is growing into a "holy temple in the Lord." It is a place of dwelling for God Almighty and Christ, as was the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The eternal dwelling place of God and the Lamb must pass through the three deaths and resurrections, being made holy in the smallest detail.

When we realize we are "builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit" our understanding is enlarged and we become more patient with the numerous dealings of the Holy Spirit with us.

The creation of the Temple of God is one of the major purposes of God. The need for a "house" in which He can find the kind of rest He desires, a "body" through which He can communicate with His creatures in an acceptable manner, is one of the principal reasons for bringing into existence the Church of Christ.

Strengthened with might by God’s Spirit. Much work remains to be done before we will be able to contain the Lord God in the fullness He desires.

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)

The power of the riches of the Glory of God is strengthening us "with might by his Spirit in the inner man." We are being strengthened in order that through an ever-increasing faith on our part the Lord Jesus Christ may find rest and make His permanent home in us.

It requires much inner strengthening in order for us to be able successfully to receive and hold the Glory of Christ. We may think that all that is needed is for God and Christ to enter us; but Their coming creates all kinds of problems. Wherever the Ark of the Presence of the God of Israel goes, judgment follows.

One of the first problems caused by the indwelling of Christ in us is that of sin (Malachi 3:2). The closer we come to the Glory of God in Christ, the more light is thrown on our sinful deeds and thoughts. Therefore the coming of the Lord may solve some of our problems but cause many more (Amos 5:19).

Christ brings unrest and division before He brings peace. There can be no peace between Christ and wickedness. War erupts in us.

Another problem is that of our own self-seeking. There cannot be two masters of the same house. Through the third death and resurrection we are freed from our self-assertiveness. It then becomes possible for God and Christ to take the position of leadership in our "house."

Two people cannot walk together unless they are in agreement. God will not change His ways, so we must change our ways if there is to be a successful marriage.

As the love that is the Substance of Christ increases in us we become better able to lay hold on the fullness of God’s Person and ways in us. An enlargement occurs in us. We had been a "garden inclosed, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed" (Song of Solomon 4:12). Only Christ is able to come into that garden, to open the spring, to uncover the fountain of our spiritual nature.

It is the will of God that each member of the Body of Christ be filled with His fullness. To this end the Holy Spirit brings us through three deaths and resurrections, including many detailed instructions and processes.

The third death and resurrection, of which our present chapter speaks, brings us face to face with Almighty God. We die as a result. God in Christ assumes His rightful place on the throne of our heart and we experience a crucifixion and transformation at the core of our nature.

Moses’ wife, Zipporah, complained of his being a "bloody husband." The Lord always meets us and seeks to "kill" us just before He sends us forth to represent Himself (Exodus 4:24-26). There is no way to escape it. We are sinful, self-centered creatures. God is pure Holy Spirit. When the Person of God comes in contact with our self-centered, sinful nature the inevitable occurs. Our flesh shrivels and dies and God’s Person, righteousness, and holiness are shown to be blameless and perfect in every respect.

As soon as God has gained His way, and His Person has been enlarged in us, He can find rest in us. He desires to dwell in us in His fullness. This is possible only as we submit to His Person and ways and are willing to suffer the transformation of our person and ways.

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. (Revelation 3:12)

The above verse reveals the eternal purpose of God in Christ. God has elected from all Israel a remnant (Romans 11:5). To those who will diligently follow the Holy Spirit, overcoming the world, their own fleshly nature, and Satan, there will be assigned rewards so fantastically magnificent as to stagger the faith of the most daring of God’s saints.

One of the greatest of all the rewards is that the overcomer will be created a pillar, an integral supporting element of the eternal Temple of God. Having been made a pillar he never can go out again or the structure would collapse.

God has many ways of expressing the greatness of His love for us. One of these ways is that of placing us in His house in such a manner that we are dependent on Him and He is dependent on us.

The three names written on the overcomer seal him forever as the personal property and part of the Personality of God Almighty. He never again can be separated from God.

We shall be serving God throughout His creation. In the days to come we shall have the ability to remain before God and yet have part of our person ministering in some distant place. Jesus possesses this ability of multiple-presence today. We do also, in the sense that we now are in Christ at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1-4) and also are at home in our flesh (II Corinthians 5:6).

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

John 17:21-23 speaks of our spiritual marriage to God in Christ. Marriage on earth is temporal, the uniting of two people so they can be heirs of the grace of life. Our marriage to Christ is eternal, the union of Christ with us so we can be heirs together of the Person and throne of God.

Our marriage to Christ begins now as He calls away our spirit to Himself. At His coming our marriage to Him will be manifested, being arrayed in the righteous conduct of Christ produced in us by the Holy Spirit.

And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness [righteous conduct] of saints. (Revelation 19:8)

Every Christian who hopes to be part of the Bride of the Lamb must purify himself (I John 3:3). John teaches us that if we say we abide in Him we ought to walk as He walked. In this life it is difficult to walk in a holy manner; yet we are to be following the Holy Spirit into full victory over the deeds of our flesh.

If we do not attempt to follow the Holy Spirit, but instead make a profession of Christ and live according to the appetites of our body and soul, we have no hope of being arrayed in the sparkling white linen of those who will ride with Christ in that day.

The white linen is not the imputed (ascribed) righteousness assigned to us upon receiving Christ. Rather it is our righteous conduct. The Wife of the Lamb will be clothed at His appearing in the righteous conduct she is developing and exercising today. She is clothed with the righteous conduct that has been created in her by the working of the grace of God.

The righteous conduct being created in us at this time is hindered by the dead flesh we are dragging around. In the Day of the Lord our body will be fashioned from resurrection life and will be of a size and quality determined by our behavior now—in this world.

Our resurrection body is being created now. Our new body that will clothe our resurrected mortal frame is in Heaven at the present time. It is being fashioned and added to by our conduct—conduct that should be becoming increasingly holy by the operation in us of the Word of God, the body and blood of Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

There is a direct connection between what we are doing now and the size and strength of the robe of righteousness, the body of life, with which we shall be arrayed at the appearing of the Lord Jesus. We are at this time working out the details of our own resurrection. (Romans 8:11-13; I Corinthians 15:42; II Corinthians 4:17; 5:5; Philippians 3:11).

The body with which we shall be clothed is being fashioned from resurrection life. We Christians are in pursuit of eternal life. What we are sowing we shall reap. If we sow to our flesh we will reap corruption. If we sow each day to the Spirit of God we will reap a body of eternal life. God cannot be mocked. Our reward will be determined by what we are doing now.

The Wife of the Lamb must make herself ready today. If we do not make ourselves ready now we will not be prepared for the Day of Christ. How many will be caught without a wedding garment in that day? If in that hour we have no power of righteous conduct in us we may find ourselves driven from the marriage supper by the King when He comes in to see the guests. (Matthew 22:13).

The song we will sing to the Lord at the moment of our being arrayed in eternal life is as follows:

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)

Paul described the relationship between the developing of righteous conduct now, and the body of life, the robe of righteous conduct, with which we shall be arrayed at the appearing of the Lord Jesus.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (II Corinthians 4:17,18)

Our light affliction is creating the robe of righteousness that now is in Heaven and that will descend upon us at the appearing of Jesus. As we sow our present body to death our new body is having its rise before the throne of God.

We are sowing our mortal body. We are reaping before God a body of resurrection life. When we are clothed with that body, which will be dazzling in its whiteness (Mark 9:3), we will be life-giving spirits ready to carry the Light and Life of God throughout His creation (I Corinthians 15:45-49).

For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (II Corinthians 5:1)

The robe of righteousness is our house from Heaven. It is the sinless garment of salvation, of Isaiah 61:10. It is the substance of eternal life. Our present body is the body of our humbling, a vile body, a body of futility. The robe of righteous conduct is a surpassingly glorious body.

Our godly response to our afflictions is putting weight on our new body as it is taking shape before God in Heaven. The body from Heaven is our "mansion." It is our treasure that neither thief nor moth can harm. It is gold, silver, precious stones. It is our reward that the Lord Jesus is bringing with Him. Our body from Heaven will reflect our present conduct on the earth.

For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. (II Corinthians 5:2,3)

If we are not allowing the cross of Christ to transform us now, we may discover in that day that we will be saved as by fire. We will have no robe of righteousness because we have not allowed the Holy Spirit to weave one by means of our behavior.

If we are living in the appetites of the flesh we will die spiritually. If we live after the Spirit of God we will reap everlasting life. We must be purifying ourselves, cleansing ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. We must be making ourselves ready to receive the robe of righteousness.

If we are not making ourselves ready now, how can we expect to have an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of God at His glorious appearing?

For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. (II Corinthians 5:4)

At the coming of Christ our mortality will be swallowed up by a body of eternal life, a robe of righteous conduct. This body is gaining weight each time we press forward into victory in Christ.

Our current afflictions are weaving that robe now, provided we are accepting our problems in such a way that resurrection life is being brought forth in our mortal body.

When the New Testament speaks of shrinking back to destruction, or reaping corruption, it is speaking of the Day of Resurrection. It means we are destroying the body with which we were to be clothed.

But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:39)

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)

In some respects, the Christian discipleship is a fight for the body filled with eternal life. Paul was groaning for the redemption of His body.

And not only they, 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)

It is possible that not as much attention has been paid, as should have been, to the kind of body with which we will be clothed in the Day of Resurrection. In any case, however, it remains true that the promised salvation has to do with the kind of body with which our spiritual nature will be clothed.

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. (Romans 13:11)

The third death is the work of the cross in our emotional, soulish, fleshly self-life. We endure pain, denial, trials of every kind. As we receive these tribulations in the manner acceptable to the Lord the Life of Jesus is revealed in our flesh. Other people receive of the Life that is raising us up. They live from the overflowing of the Life that keeps on raising us up, while we continue to be brought down to death.

At the same time we are creating a house before the throne of God, and that house will be brought to us at the coming of the Lord.

Now he that hath wrought us [fashioned us] for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest [pledge] of the Spirit. (II Corinthians 5:5)

"He that hath wrought us."

The Holy Spirit, whom we have now and who is preparing us for the body from Heaven, is our guarantee that one day we will possess the fullness of the Holy Spirit. We shall be clothed with incorruptible life at Christ’s appearing.

If we sow to the flesh we will reap corruption now, and then be ashamed at His appearing because of our nakedness. If we have had developed in us a strong inner man that has become militantly righteous, sturdy as a rock in Christ, Christ will clothe us at His coming with a body suitable for our transformed inner man.

Our new body will be a direct counterpart of the spiritual state that has been developed in us. The fine linen is the righteous conduct of the saints. The clothing with eternal life will occur at the beginning of the invasion of the earth by the Lord Jesus Christ and His army of conquering saints.

After the resurrection, an eternity of rulership and service. As marvelous as will be the clothing with the body of life, which will take place at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, the state of the Wife of the Lamb at the beginning of the new heaven and earth reign of Christ will be even more glorious—very much more glorious.

During the thousand-year Kingdom Age a marvelous transformation of the people of God will occur. The entire Church will become a city of such holiness and magnificence that the Apostle John was allowed to do little more than describe the protecting wall and gates, and to mention the Presence of God, the Lamb, the Holy Spirit, and the saints who compose the city.

The spiritual union set forth in John 17:21-23 will develop and mature until each saint has been brought into the heart of Christ. At the present time we are learning to walk in the consuming fire of God. During the thousand-year Kingdom Age we will have a long period of close relationship with Christ in worship, fellowship, and service that will establish our rest in God.

We have our opportunity now, in the present life, to learn righteousness, holiness, and obedience. If we, by the Spirit, conquer the obstacles placed before us we will be an eternal part of "Zion"—the remnant that will bear the Glory of God throughout the days of darkness that will come upon the earth just prior to the return of the Lord.

If we follow the Lord with our whole heart we will receive the rewards designated for the victorious saints. We will rule with Him throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

"Zion" is associated with war, with King David, with the remnant, with the Ark of the Covenant, with the Glory of God, with the saints, and with the return of Christ. We understand from Scripture and from what we see around us that many believers will continue to slumber until the return of the Lord. Where these "sleepers" will be during the thousand-year Kingdom Age is unknown to us (Romans 11:8).

The Scripture is clear that if we are to attain the first resurrection from the dead, and the associated rewards of union with Christ, of responsibility, and of service, then we must press forward in the Lord with all our attention.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)

The Church of Christ is the Tabernacle of God, His eternal Temple. On the earth there will be the nations of saved people. God loves these people. It is His will to live among them and to meet all their needs. Therefore God is creating a tabernacle for Himself in which he can abide forever on the earth.

The first step in the construction of the Temple of God is the establishing of Christ as the Cornerstone from which the Temple is to be measured.

The second step in the construction of the Temple of God is the restoring of the Ark of God, the Presence of God, to Zion—that is, to the remnant of God’s people who are seeking Christ with a perfect heart.

Through "Zion" God will reconcile all Israel to Himself.

Finally, the Word and the Glory of God will fill the whole earth.

When all this has been accomplished, the earth and the heaven that we know will be discarded and the Wife of the Lamb will be established on a high mountain of the new earth, there to reign forever over the nations of saved people.

Our first business as the Lord’s saints is to reveal the glory and praise of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. We did not choose Christ (John 15:16). Each member of Christ’s Body has been elected according to the foreknowledge of God and in due time is presented to the Lord Jesus.

Each Christian has been ordained to bring forth fruit unto God: first, the fruit of the nature of Christ in himself; second, the fruit of the nature of Christ in other people.

Each Christian has been chosen in order to bring to the peoples of the earth the Presence, the ways, and the love of God. This is the reason for our calling and for the abiding of the Holy Spirit in us. We are bringing people to God now and we will have even greater opportunities in the future.

We are branches from the true Vine, who is Christ. Christ’s commission is to reconcile people to God (II Corinthians 5:19). Let us cooperate with the Holy Spirit so we may be an instrument of God for the reconciling of people to Himself.

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

Through the Church, God will wipe away all tears from the eyes of the nations. Pain, sorrow, and crying will be experiences of the past. No inhabitant of the new earth can die. All plagues and curses will have been put under the feet of the saints.

How many people will there be on the earth? Multitudes upon unimaginable multitudes. Perhaps enough people for each saint to have a kingdom of his own. The Glory of God will be maintained throughout the earth by the ruling priesthood, the Body of Christ.

The reason God is spending so much time on each disciple at the present time, so much loving, patient examination of every detail of his or her life, is that we have an eternity of rulership and service ahead of us.

The full expression of what was portrayed in type by the Levitical feast of Tabernacles will occur at the descent of the Wife of the Lamb from Heaven to be the Tabernacle of God on the new earth. There will be no temple in the new Jerusalem because the city will be one temple of God and of the Lamb.

The new Jerusalem is the visible expression of the invisible God. The new Jerusalem is the house of God, just as our body is our house. God is creating a body for Himself.

The fullness of the Godhead dwelled in Christ when He walked on the earth and does yet dwell in Christ. We saints are the enlargement of Christ, therefore, the enlargement of the house of God (John 14:2; Ephesians 1:23).

Our position before God during the marvelous events soon to come to pass depends on our willingness to allow the Holy Spirit to bring us through death and resurrection: first, in salvation; then, in sanctification; finally, in the self-denial of consecration.

Remember that Jesus says to us:

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (Revelation 22:12)

Crossing Jordan: Conquest of the Land of Promise

The Church, the Body of Christ, stands today at the brink of Jordan. Jordan symbolizes the third death and the land of promise portrays the third resurrection.

When Jacob crossed over Jordan in order to claim his inheritance in the land of Abraham and Isaac he had to struggle with God because of the poison of guile and self-will in his nature.

We too must face God as individuals, for God desires to bring each of us into the fullness of rest in Himself.

There is a land to be conquered. There is a rest of God. There is an omega of redemption. There is a mark toward which we are pressing. There is a goal, a victory, an inheritance in Christ. There is a land that flows with milk and honey. We left Egypt to enter and possess a promised land. What is it and where is it?

The land of promise is the fullness of our inheritance in Christ.

Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. (Joshua 1:2)

What land is to be invaded and possessed by the Church, the Seed of Abraham? The land of promise is the earth and earth’s peoples and all else of God’s creation.

We found in the Book of Revelation that the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb, is destined to descend from Heaven and govern the saved nations of the earth. We Christians are being trained and transformed so we can rule with Christ over the nations of the earth. The earth and it peoples are the inheritance of Christ. God loves people and it is His plan to settle down to rest in us, and through us to teach His creation of His Person and ways.

God created the heaven and the earth, and then mankind in His own image. After this He settled down to rest. We Christians are laboring to enter that rest, that finished work of God in Christ. Each individual has a unique role in God’s plan. Each individual has to fight his way, by the wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit, into his own part of the rest of God.

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)

The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. (Psalms 24:1)

Satan and the army of wicked spirits have taken control of the earth and the earth’s peoples. Evil spirits control the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth, just as the Canaanites were occupying the good land that God had promised to Israel while Israel was wandering in the misery and deprivation of the wilderness.

When we say that Satan and the host of wicked spirits rule the nations we do not mean that God has turned over the earth and its peoples to Satan. God has the power at any time to put an end to wickedness. The earth and those who dwell therein always belong to the Lord.

God, in His infinite wisdom and inscrutable counsels, has given the Church the task of destroying Satan from all areas in which he is entrenched, just as God gave to Israel the task of destroying the Canaanites from the land of promise.

Each of us Christians was at one time under the total control of Satan. Today we are wrestling against the lusts of the flesh and slowly are gaining victory in Christ. Yet we still are dragging about a body that remains dangerously susceptible to the enticements of Satan. Also we are undergoing severe training in order to remove the guile that was injected into mankind in the Garden of Eden.

The earth and its peoples groan under the cruel servitude imposed on them by the wicked lords of darkness; but the earth and those who dwell therein belong to Christ by Divine decree. How long will it be before the members of the Body of Christ are able to overcome sin in themselves, and then to ride with Christ in the invasion of the earth and in the complete overthrow of the kingdom of wickedness?

The Jordan River divides the land of promise from the wilderness.

The wilderness is our life in the world, the undergoing of rigorous instruction and transformation into the image of Christ.

The Jordan River represents death to our guile, self-seeking, and disobedience. It is death to who we are, a death brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit in us. Our death to self commences at the Red Sea and is completed in the Jordan River, to speak symbolically. All persons, relationships and things become new in God’s land of promise.

The land of promise portrays our resurrection into the Person and ways of Christ. The land of promise is the rest of God, the fullness of our inheritance in Christ.

We begin experiencing death and resurrection the moment we believe in Christ and are baptized in water. The history of our life from that point forward is the working out in us of death and resurrection.

Physical death has little or nothing to do with the death and resurrection of which we are speaking. Physical death happens to every person, righteous or wicked, and is nothing more than the succumbing of the sinful body to the power of Satan. It is the separation of our body from our personality. There is no spiritual profit in physical death, as far as redemption is concerned. Physical death is an enemy that finally will be destroyed through Christ.

There is profit in death and resurrection in Christ.

The death and resurrection in Christ is for Christians only. The spiritual death and resurrection of which we are speaking commences with our receiving Christ as Lord and Savior, continues throughout our Christian experience, and will realize full expression at the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven.

We will, at that time, break through the bondages of our fleshly body and be clothed with the body formed from our righteous conduct, the substance of the new body being the resurrection Life of the Holy Spirit of God.

Crossing the Jordan River. Like the veil of the Tabernacle, the Jordan River portrays the completion of our death in Christ.

As soon as the high priest passed the veil of the Tabernacle he stood before the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant typifies the appearing of Christ as King.

As soon as the believer crosses the Jordan River, so to speak, he stands in the land of promise. The land of promise is the rest of God (Hebrews, Chapter Four). The land of promise is associated with the coming of our heavenly Joshua to lead His troops into the full possession of their own spirit, soul, and body, and then into dominion over the earth and its peoples.

And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host; (Joshua 3:2)

Here are our "three days" again. The symbolism of the total victory of Christ after "three days" appears throughout the Scriptures. The "officers" of the Lord Jesus are passing "through the host" today. The Church is drawing near to the coming of the Lord to assume His rightful place of rulership over the nations of the earth.

The members of the Body of Christ are being commanded by the Lord Jesus to enter the place of obedience to Himself. We are being advised and urged to untangle ourselves from the affairs of the present age so we may be able to prepare ourselves for the strenuous times that are just ahead.

Today is a day of training, of discipline, of recruiting soldiers for Christ. Will you accept Jesus as Lord of your life? Will you swear allegiance to the Lord as your Commander in Chief? Will you enlist in the Lord’s army? Will you be totally obedient to Him?

And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it. (Joshua 3:3)

It is time for us who are members of the Body of Christ to cease wandering about in the Kingdom of God and to come under discipline. It is not enough that someone has a new scheme to build a church or to save the world. We must look to Christ (the Ark) and observe what He is doing.

It is being suggested today that we are to attack the forces of wickedness. It is being stated that God is raising an army of saints who, by faith in God, will drive out the sin from the nations. We are to come against homosexuality, abortion, drugs, and so forth and drive them from our nation.

This is error. Our task is to follow the Ark of the Covenant, the Lord Jesus. He is not instructing us to attack sin in the world at this time. That attack will come later, at Armageddon.

The Lord through the Spirit is counseling us concerning internal conquest, that is, the conquering of our own evil nature. It is folly to attack the people of the world because of their sinning and rebelling when we also are sinning and rebelling. We shall be judged as we are judging!

Christians have two tasks in the present hour. The first task is to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He brings us through the three deaths and three resurrections of redemption. The second task, also performed through the Holy Spirit, is to bear witness of the soon appearing of the Lord Jesus in His Kingdom. To attack the enemy before the Lord appears, not following the Ark but following our own irritation with sinners and their practices, will not have a lasting effect and will bring persecution upon us.

When we see Christ move, then we are to move. When He stops we are to stop. We cannot go across Jordan on our own. God has appointed Christ as Commander in Chief. We are to be under absolute obedience to Him.

Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore. (Joshua 3:4)

Two thousand years ago, the Lord Jesus passed before us through the death and resurrection that God had ordained for Him. We are following "two thousand cubits" (two thousand years) behind Him, to speak according to the prophetic figure. Christ has gone ahead of us in the death of obedience to the Father.

Christ is standing today in the midst of Jordan, holding back the waters of death so we can pass over without being harmed. The Holy Spirit is directing us to follow Christ through death and resurrection, and on into the rest of God.

And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the LORD will do wonders among you. (Joshua 3:5)

The Holy Spirit is commanding us to separate ourselves from all that is of sin, of Satan, of the world, of self-will, and to attend to the Lord Jesus in utter consecration to His will. He is coming to "do wonders" among us, and it is time now to purify ourselves in preparation for His appearing.

And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites. (Joshua 3:10)

Seven nations are mentioned here, typifying the fact that God will tear down every force of wickedness. There will be no trace of evil left when God has completed His work of redemption. Seven is the number of complete redemption. The Body of Christ stands on the brink of the conflict that will destroy the forces of sin and rebellion in the heavens and on the earth.

The proof to Israel that God intended to drive out the seven tribes of Canaan was the moving of the Ark ahead of them into Jordan, and the parting of the Jordan to allow the priests safe passage into the midst of the river.

The proof to us that God intends to destroy sin and rebellion is the entering of Christ into death, bearing our sin upon Himself, and the raising of Him again without sin and without harm to Himself.

Because of the perfect victory of Christ over death we know that we too can commit our lives to God and that the full authority and power of death holds no terror for us. Christ has created a firmament in the midst of the waters, so to speak, and we can pass from the physical realm to the spirit realm without being hurt by judgment. Christ will continue to hold back the waters of judgment until every saint has passed safely across.

And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) (Joshua 3:15)

"Harvest," in Scripture, represents judgment. Harvest is the reaping of fruit that was sown at a previous time. All crops come to harvest, and all sin and righteousness comes to the Day of Judgment.

In the above verse we notice that Jordan, representing death, overflows its banks throughout the time of harvest. So it is that death enlarges its borders in the Day of Judgment.

When God brings us into a season of judgment there is a working of death. If we have been disobedient there is remorse. If we have been obedient the death merely removes our bondages and there is an increased resurrection to righteousness.

So it will be in the Day that Christ is revealed. To those who have been disobedient there will be grief, anguish of spirit, remorse, frustration. To the righteous there will be the removal of the bondages of the flesh and a glorious resurrection into eternal life.

And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan. (Joshua 3:17)

Our Lord Jesus Christ has gone ahead of us. He now possesses the keys of Hell and death. He is standing on dry ground in the midst of Jordan. The waters of death can in no manner hurt the members of the Body of Christ. Judgment and death will be held back by the Lord Jesus until every member of His Church has passed safely through death into eternal life.

Entering Canaan: fear overtakes the enemy.

And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the LORD had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel. (Joshua 5:1)

It is helpful for us to realize that terror has entered the spirit of the forces of darkness. They have seen what Christ did on Calvary and how the Spirit of God raised Him from the dead to sit on the highest throne of judgment. They understand that their end is at hand.

Whenever Jesus of Nazareth drew near one possessed by a demon, the evil spirit cried out in fear. We of the Church need to realize there is no more strength left in the ranks of the enemy. It remains only for us to follow the Lord Jesus Christ into victory in the earth.

The kingdom of darkness does not fear our talents, our efforts, our ambition, our enthusiasm, our zeal, our money. The fear of the wicked lords comes from what they have learned of the manner in which God brings us safely through death and resurrection. They understand that God is leading us, and that death itself cannot harm us.

Christ has promised we will tread on all the power of the enemy and nothing will by any means harm us. Let us, as Christ leads, put our feet on the necks of the enemies of the Lord God.

A time of circumcision of the heart.

At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time. (Joshua 5:2)

All the men of war who came from Egypt under Moses, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, died in the wilderness. They did not enter the land of promise. The army that crossed Jordan under the leadership of Joshua was another generation. Therefore circumcision was necessary.

We are drawing near the time when the Church will enter unprecedented victory in Christ. Then the Lord Jesus will appear and we will take the last step of redemption. We shall experience the change in the body.

There must be a circumcision of the heart of each person who would press on to greater victory in Christ. There must be a cutting back of the adamic nature. This is necessary if we expect to enter the final, successful attack on the forces of wickedness in the heavens and on the earth.

The saints of time past have known what it means to offer one’s self to the Lord patiently and diligently and to experience a circumcision of the heart. No matter how the power of the Lord increases on us in these days, there still is no substitute for the patient, diligent offering of our lives to the Lord. All the grace our fathers have known must be possessed by us also. Righteousness, holiness, and obedience still are the only route to victory in Christ.

And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day. And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year. (Joshua 5:11,12)

God fed Israel by a miracle for the forty years of the wilderness wandering. As soon as the food of the land of promise became available, the manna ceased to come down each day from Heaven.

Manna typifies the temporary provisions with which God sustains us in the wilderness of the world—particularly the ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit. As soon as we enter the fullness of Christ at His appearing, the temporary provisions will vanish. We shall know as we are known. What is perfect will then be here and there will be no more need for the daily mercy drops of grace.

The "corn of the land" typifies the indwelling of the fullness of Christ and the Father that we believe will come to the overcoming remnant just prior to, and in connection with, the appearing of the Lord Jesus from Heaven.

It is our understanding that a revelation of Christ far greater than we may have thought possible will be given us in order to enable us to perform the many acts of grace and judgment that will be needed in the last days to prepare the Church and the world for the coming of Christ. Also, we understand that the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself in a greater way to Jewish people so they will be preserved throughout the dark days that are ahead.

We are being strengthened at the present time in order that we may be able to contain the fullness that God has determined to entrust to us. The habitation of God is being prepared in us now. In the last days the Lord Jesus will enter us to such an extent that the glimpses "through a glass darkly" no longer will be necessary. The ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit will cease "on the morrow" after the Lord comes to be glorified in us and through us.

And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries? (Joshua 5:13)

The "man" whom Joshua saw was the "captain of the host of the Lord." The captain had his sword drawn in his hand.

Joshua had but one question: "Are you for us or for our enemies?"

This is a helpful attitude to take toward all spiritual visitations. We are not to be gullible, ready to follow all spirits that appear to us. We are to test every spirit.

"Are you of Christ?" is an appropriate question. Meanwhile we are to call on the Lord to reveal the true identity of the spirit whom we are addressing. Even then we must keep in an attitude of prayer so we do not become enticed and drawn away by a seducing spirit.

Joshua was moved to worship at the appearance of the leader of the army of Heaven. Therefore we understand that he was a personage of high standing before God and represented God. Whoever he was, the captain directed Joshua, who himself had been chosen of God to lead the people of the Lord, to put off his shoes. Joshua promptly did so.

Possessing the promise of God: Jericho.

Now Jericho was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in. (Joshua 6:1)

When God moves us forward in the power of deliverance He gives us full authority and power to bind the enemy. It remains only for us to obey the Lord strictly in order for perfect victory to be won.

Even before the walls of Jericho fell the Church of God had the enemy bound tightly. So it is that as we draw near the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Church will receive the power to bind the enemy and hold him in check. The Church, the Bride of the Lamb, is a fearful power in the heavens and on the earth. She is "terrible as an army with banners"; she is "the company of two armies" (Song of Solomon 6:10,13).

And the LORD said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. (Joshua 6:2)

The Lord Jesus Christ has promised us total power over the enemy. However, we are not to exercise this power for our own purposes. We are to be led of Christ in every detail. We are to be consecrated to the Person of the Lord Jesus. If we will follow the Lord closely He will give into our hand the accuser and every other evil lord of darkness, just as the Father has given them into His hand.

And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. (Joshua 6:3)

The number six represents the Day of Atonement, the Day of Vengeance, the Day of Reconciliation. Man was created in the image of God on the sixth day. Therefore six portrays the point at which we experience change into the image of Christ.

"Six days" speaks of all the workings of grace in us that bring us to the place where we are ready to enter the rest of God. The "sixth day" is eternal judgment (Hebrews 6:1,2).

And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. (Joshua 6:4)

The number seven is the symbol of complete redemption. Naaman dipped seven times in Jordan. The blood of the bird was sprinkled seven times during the cleansing of the leper. There were seven tribes in Canaan. There were seven Levitical feasts. There were six days of creation followed by the seventh day of rest. There were seven holy furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

Redemption is not a single work that takes place at some point in our life. We must keep applying the blood, going down and coming up as did Naaman the Syrian, before the work of redemption has been completed in our personality.

Victory, but not in our own strength. The ceremony that took place outside the walls of Jericho portrays the true nature of the Christian warfare. This was anything but a military strategy. The march of the priests around the walls of Jericho was foolishness in terms of accepted practices of warfare.

The point emphasized is that the battles of the Lord are not won by the wisdom and strength of the saints. The battles always are won by the Spirit of the Lord. We are to be obedient to the Lord Jesus.

We Christians are not to scheme and plan concerning how we are to establish the Kingdom of God in the earth. Rather we are to follow the Lord Jesus so closely we can hear His voice and know what it is He wishes us to do.

When Christ commands us to do something we are to obey whether we understand it or not. The direction may seem "impractical," as in the case of the priests parading around the walls of Jericho. But the battle is the Lord’s.

And it shall come to pass, that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when ye hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him. (Joshua 6:5)

It was not the air from the lungs of the Israelites that made the wall of Jericho fall flat, it was the power of God.

Here we see the two armies working together. The army of saints on earth obeyed the directions of the Lord, and then spiritual power made victory possible.

When Israel left Egypt the Lord was the One who fought against Pharaoh. Israel’s responsibility was to sprinkle the blood on the door posts. When Israel entered the land of promise the Lord did some of the fighting and the Israelites did some of the fighting.

The task of the saints of today is to wrestle against the rulers and powers in the heavenlies. We have no strength in ourselves that can conquer the lords of darkness. Our responsibility is to follow the Lord Jesus Christ in every detail as He directs us by the Holy Spirit.

When we are perfectly obedient God issues the power that enables the righteous spiritual forces to conquer the unrighteous. Victory is related directly to our obedience. This is God’s way.

It is in the third death and resurrection of redemption that we learn obedience, making it possible for us to obtain the fruitfulness and rulership that belong to us by inheritance.

Joshua suffered only two defeats: one because of the disobedience of Achan; the other because of Joshua’s own carelessness in not inquiring of the Lord concerning the Gibeonites. The first defeat was due to sin. The second defeat was due to lack of careful seeking of the Lord, to carelessness.

When the Lord teaches us consecration He impresses on us that we are never to be careless in spiritual battle. We always are to walk diligently before Him, remaining watchful in prayer at all times.

The incident of Achan demonstrates the certainty of defeat when there is sin in the camp.

Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. (Joshua 7:11,12)

The Israelites had been commanded to burn everything in the cities they captured, with the exception of the gold and silver and the articles of brass and iron. These were to be put in the treasury of the house of the Lord.

Achan took and hid a garment and some silver and gold. One man was disobedient. As a result, thirty-six Israelites died and Israel lost the battle of Ai.

God blamed the whole camp of Israel. "Israel hath sinned." One covetous person tied the hands of the spiritual forces that were making it possible for the Israelites to be successful in battle.

So it is in the churches of today. We can prosper in the work of the Kingdom only as long as we walk in righteousness, holiness, and obedience. One small act of willful sin can prevent a major victory. The Presence and revival glory of the Holy Spirit depend on the state of holiness of the saints.

"Israel hath sinned." Not "one soldier has sinned" but "Israel has sinned."

There are many instances in the Scriptures when God refers to Israel as one whole. The Christians of today are apt to be preoccupied with their individual problems and spiritual abilities and progress. It is helpful, wholesome, and at times very liberating to adopt the concept that each one of us is one small part of a massive plan of God.

It is Israel, the elect of God, as one whole, that will constitute the holy city, the new Jerusalem. The light of Jerusalem, the light that will guide the nations of the saved of the world, will proceed from the one Lampstand of God.

The victorious saints, of the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation, always are addressed as individuals. Overcoming always is an individual matter between the Lord and His saint.

The Lord Jesus perfects the cells of His Body one at a time.

There are situations and circumstances when we are to concentrate on our individual relationship to the Lord. There are other situations and circumstances when we are to be very aware that we are one living stone in a huge edifice that is designed to house the Lord God of Heaven. We are one element of millions of like elements.

It is of extreme importance that we obey God in every detail of our existence, because we have no way of understanding how the Lord is fashioning and employing us as a part of His tremendous Body.

Most of the members of the Body are in the spirit realm, no longer living on the earth. But the Body of Christ, the Servant of the Lord, is one whole whether in Heaven or on the earth. Let us continue to be utterly diligent and obedient because the work of building the Body of Christ, and cleansing the universe of rebellion, are much greater tasks than we possibly can understand.

The saints who will ride with Christ in that day are "called, chosen, and faithful." One small act of sin in the army will destroy the power of the return of Christ. There can be no unrighteousness of any kind in the army of Christ.

The Gibeonites were able to deceive Joshua because he became overconfident.

And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai, They did work wilily, and went and made as if they had been ambassadors, and took old sacks upon their asses, and wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up; (Joshua 9:3,4)

If we become careless Satan can deceive us. The carelessness and overconfidence of Joshua and the princes of the congregation resulted in the preservation of the Gibeonites, a nation that should have been totally destroyed. The Gibeonites thereafter were a source of confusion in Israel.

And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: (Deuteronomy 7:2)

One of the principal lessons we must master if we are to enter the land of promise is the need for maintaining constant awareness of the mind of the Lord in every matter, great and small. The slightest tendency to trust in the enthusiasm, ambition, sympathy, or logic of the human mind will bring confusion and defeat.

The power of the forces of evil was demolished at Calvary. The devils can never win over the saints unless we are enticed into sin by our lusts or are deceived into disobedience, carelessness, passivity, ambition, fear, or presumption.

Joshua and his lieutenants did not "ask counsel at the mouth of the Lord," and fell into deception as a result. We too can fall into deception if we become careless or make assumptions.

There is no Christian so secure in Christ he cannot be lured into deception if he is not careful. "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (I Corinthians 10:12). If we are certain we never can be deceived we have taken the first step toward deception.

Every saint is required to watch and pray unceasingly whether at work, at rest, or in the service of the Lord.

And it came to pass, as they fled from before Israel, and were in the going down to Bethhoron, that the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them unto Azekah, and they died: they were more which died with hailstones than they whom the children of Israel slew with the sword. (Joshua 10:11)

Joshua and the "mighty men of valor" fought valiantly against the kings of the Amorites, and then the Lord helped from Heaven by hurling down hailstones. Again we behold two armies fighting side by side against the enemies of the Lord. More of the Amorites were slain by the Lord’s hailstones than were put to death by the sword thrusts of Israel’s mighty men of valor.

When we are in the center of God’s will and doing our best the Lord Jesus assists us. He accomplishes more than we do. We must do our part and He must do His part or victory will not be won.

Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. (Joshua 10:12)

This most extraordinary miracle is an example of the kind of supernatural assistance the saints of the Lord will receive in the battle against the forces of darkness. We noticed before, when discussing Joel’s army, that the elements of the firmament will be disturbed when the Lord goes forth to war.

Joshua spoke to the Lord and to the sun and moon at the same time. In our commanding of miracles we are to address the Lord Jesus and the created realm at the same time. To address the Lord alone does not reflect the full weight of authority that has been assigned to the members of the Body of Christ. To address the created realm alone is to run the risk of losing sight of the ever-present leadership of the Lord Jesus, and also that of not giving glory to God.

Both Christ and the creation must be addressed simultaneously if there is to be a miraculous setting aside of the laws of nature.

Five kings of wickedness judged. The incident of the five kings hidden in the cave at Makkedah is a prophetic representation of the manner in which Christ is proceeding to demolish the sin in the earth (Joshua 10:16-27).

The Amorite kings, as soon as they were captured, were left under guard in the cave of Makkedah. Jesus has left the principalities and powers that influence the world under the guard of His blood while He goes forth to "slay the Amorites."

Then Joshua returned and brought out the five Amorite kings, made a public spectacle of them, killed them, and finally hanged each on a tree. Jesus will return and bring forth the kings of wickedness, the evil lords of darkness. Christ will make a public spectacle of them, having the members of His Body put their feet on the necks of these evil princes. Then the Lord Jesus will destroy them utterly.

The Lord Jesus commands us to be baptized in water, locking up for a season the kings of sin in us. He directs us to assign our old nature to the cross, to become occupied with our new position at His right hand in the heavenlies and with our daily walk in the Spirit.

Christ returns to us later in our Christian discipleship and calls forth the roots of sin in us. He then shows us how to put these monsters to death and to have no fear of them whatever.

So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded. (Joshua 10:40)

God ordered the destruction of the enemy who lived in the land He had promised to His people. After Joshua died, Israel never went on to possess the land of promise to the extent God had commanded. The Israelites were not diligent to put all the enemy to death or to burn up the material goods of the cities of Canaan.

The Jews did not follow through to complete victory but made peace with the tribes of Canaan. In some cases the natives of the land resisted the soldiers of Israel. Because the enemy resisted fiercely, the Israelites preferred to settle down in the areas they had conquered and live as neighbors with the unconquered peoples whom God had appointed to destruction.

The compromises produced the inevitable result, just as God had warned. The Israelites intermarried with the Canaanites and adopted the worship of demons. The people of the Lord began burning their children in the fire to the demon God, Molech. Their own sons and daughters, over whom the Lord desired to rejoice, were roasted in the flames of the ovens of human sacrifice required by the unclean spirits of Canaan.

The land of milk and honey began to curdle and stink with the abominable adultery, fornication, murder, and worship of devils practiced by Jews and Gentiles alike. When God tells us to destroy the enemy He does not mean destroy part of the enemy.

The Lord Jesus Christ never will rest until every last trace of the enemy has been destroyed from the heavens and the earth. We are moving toward the total destruction of the forces of Satan. There can be no possessing of the promise of God apart from the complete tearing down and removal from the camp of every trace of sin.

Christian, do you have a heart to follow Christ into the destruction of sin? Or are you willing to compromise as soon as you have attained a reasonable amount of spiritual success in your life? Those who are privileged to ride with the Lord Jesus will not rest until the very memory of sin and rebellion has been destroyed from the creation.

The Rest of God.

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. (Hebrews 4:9-11)

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 Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war. (Joshua 11:23)

We must accept the concept that we are going somewhere. There is a goal of the Christian pilgrimage. There is a "mark," a "prize." The land of promise is specific, not just any inheritance we select at random.

Our salvation is not without an objective. The Christian race has a finish line. The plan of redemption includes a specific beginning and a specific destination.

There is nothing vague about God’s plan of redemption. Jesus is Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, the Author and the Finisher of our faith. God gave to Israel a geographical description of their lawful borders. Christ is leading us toward a specific, designated region of conquest.

Our Christian experience is not to be an aimless wandering toward an uncertain destination.

We also need to understand that the rest, the inheritance, still is available to us. The Church to this point never has "arrived," never has grasped the promise of God. The saints in Heaven are looking down on us and cheering us on because they without us cannot enter the inheritance, cannot be made perfect.

The material creation is in travail, bound in futility and corruption, waiting for the deliverance that can come only through the sons of God. Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit is moving on the saints. The cloud and the fire are lifting and forging ahead.

It is time now to take another giant step forward in Christ. We are being prepared to cross Jordan and drive the enemy from the land of promise.

God labored for six days and finished His work. Then He rested. Now it is our turn to labor to enter God’s rest.

There are many obstacles, many enemies, that challenge each day our progress toward the rest of God. The Christian life always will be a struggle until every enemy finally has been overcome and we are able to receive the fullness of our inheritance in Christ.

God has made every provision for our victory in Christ. He has set before us promises so astounding that our minds cannot grasp the extent of such glory. There only is one real enemy, as far as entering the rest of God is concerned. The only power in Heaven or on the earth that can stop us is our own unbelief, an unbelief that manifests itself in disobedience.

God is taking care of every other problem. The forces of Hell cannot stop us, only our unbelief and disobedience.

The faith that God gives and that overcomes the world is compounded from faithfulness, hope, love, trust, and courage. We must maintain an unshakable grip on our confidence in God’s Character. The first action of Satan in Eden was to bring into question God’s dependability and His motives. We must be careful to keep giving God the glory due His name.

What God has promised He most assuredly will perform. Are you sure of that? Are you certain that God is good and is to be trusted?

There can be no rest for us until we have pushed through to total victory in Christ. If we compromise at any point there will remain areas of disturbance in our life. The longer and harder we fight, the more of our personality and environment we will bring under the control of the Lord Jesus.

We cannot fight in our own wisdom or strength. The Holy Spirit leads us forward and empowers us. We must cooperate with the Holy Spirit, be obedient, and keep ourselves in the place where we can hear and obey His voice. "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."

What has the Lord God promised to you, both in the Scriptures and also in personal revelation? Whatever He has promised to you, that is your inheritance, that is your rest, that is your possession forever. Will you labor in Christ until you have received all He has promised to you?

The Israelites fell short of the Glory of God. They gave up far too quickly. We must learn from their mistakes and press on in unrelenting faith and courage until we possess all that God has promised.

God has promised many things to our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is not one to give up in defeat. He is waiting patiently until His enemies have been made His footstool. He will not quit before He receives His inheritance.

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

If you desire to be one of Christ’s warriors, one of those who will ride with Him in the invasion of the earth, He wants you to receive His indomitable Spirit of conquest, of laying hold on the fullness of the Word of His Father. Will you receive that Spirit?

The writings of the Hebrew prophets are filled with the promises of God to Christ. This especially is true of the Book of Psalms. Let us consider for a moment the powerful declaration outlined in the second Psalm:

I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen [nations] for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. (Psalms 2:7-9)

The Father has promised to Christ the peoples of the earth for His inheritance and the farthest reaches of the earth for His possession. Today, Satan and his followers rule the peoples of the world and their influence extends to the ends of the earth. But these belong to Christ by Divine decree.

Will Christ compromise by saving a few people and removing them to Heaven while Satan enjoys Christ’s inheritance?

Never! Never! Never!

Christ shall return, in the will of the Father, and take control of the peoples of the earth and the material creation. He has been promised absolute rulership: "You shall break them with a rod of iron. You shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel."

Christ will not share His throne with anyone except the members of His Body.

He does not quit as we do. He exercises eternal patience and waits for God to bring about the fullness of the reward God has promised.

Christ’s faith in His Father is without measure. He possesses the tireless faith in God’s promises that moves steadily onward until every inch of the promise of God has been attained in its fullness. He desires that we begin to receive some of His faith in our own heart.

Let us receive of the faith that is in and of Christ so we may enter the fullness of the inheritance God has promised to us.

What has God promised to us? What has God promised to you? All through the Old and New Testaments there are promises to Christ and to the members of the Body of Christ.

The Book of Revelation contains many specific promises to the victorious saints. Some of us have on our dining room table a "promise box" of selected passages of Scripture. All such passages taken together compose part of the rest of God, the inheritance of the saints. Let us labor to attain each promise as the Holy Spirit leads and enables.

Paul informs us we are "coheirs with Christ" (Romans 8:17). There is no greater promise in the Scriptures. Christ has inherited all things. If we are coheirs with Him we have inherited all things. It is as straightforward as that.

If anyone asks you the extent of your inheritance in Christ, tell him, "all things." You will be correct. Will you labor onward in the Holy Spirit until "all things" are yours in solid possession?

What has Christ promised us? He has promised we will be kings and priests of God. He has given us access to the tree of life, authority over the nations of the earth, the white raiment of righteous conduct.

We can become part of the eternal temple of God. We can sit with Christ on His throne. In short, we can possess the "all things" that He Himself has been promised by the Father.

Christ teaches us in the Scripture that we are being re-created into His image, that we will be united in fellowship with Himself, with His Father, and with each other. He has promised us a glorified body formed of the substance of resurrection life. He has promised us power over the second death. He has promised us that we will serve God and behold His face throughout eternity.

In the light of such a total, awesome inheritance, can we do other than to cry, "Lead on, Lord Jesus"? We must remain steadfast in faith and courage until every particle of the inheritance is our in total possession. This is the kind of attitude that pleases the Father.

The first death and resurrection bring us into a covenant with God through the blood of Christ, making us candidates for the inheritance of God in Christ.

The second death and resurrection enable us to turn aside from mere flesh-and-blood living and teach us to walk in the Holy Spirit of God.

The third death and resurrection fashion obedience in our personality and straighten out our self and our will to the degree that God is pleased to accept us and to trust us with the tremendous responsibilities of the Kingdom of God.

Let us press on to the fullness of the inheritance in Christ. To do so requires a conversion of our self at the deepest levels of our personality. "No man can see God and live (in his original personality)."

From Moses to Joshua. Moses represents the ministry of Christ during the present age and Joshua represents the ministry of Christ during the coming Kingdom Age. In the present hour, as we are drawing nearer to the Day of the Lord, it becomes increasingly necessary for Christ to work through the ministry of the Body of Christ in Joshua-like manifestation.

Moses is the "come-out" ministry and Joshua is the "enter-in" ministry. Every ministry of the Body of Christ must contain some of the "come-out" burden and some of the "enter-in" burden. We continually are calling people to come out from the spirit of the present age and to enter the good things of the Lord. These two efforts will continue until Jesus appears.

We will be experiencing an increase of the "Joshua" type ministry as we draw near to the return of Christ and His entrance into His inheritance. There is coming into the consciousness of the Church a greater understanding of spiritual warfare and of the fact that the Church will reign on the earth with Christ.

Our inheritance is becoming increasingly real to us. Prior to this time our exodus from the world has been real to us but exactly what it is that we are to enter has been somewhat vague. Now the Holy Spirit is bringing into increased clarity the land of promise, the goal of the struggle for spiritual mastery.

"Moses" never can enter the land of promise. We must experience the characteristics of the "Joshua" ministry if we are to make a success of entering the land of promise.

Moses was an apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher in turn. Joshua was a man of war, a commander of battle. It was Joshua, not Moses, who encountered the "man" with the sword drawn in his hand. It was Joshua, not Moses, who brought Israel across the Jordan (third death) and into the land of promise (third resurrection).

Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, (Joshua 1:1)

The Lord must "speak" to a ministry before it can become fruitful and gain dominion. As long as Moses was leading the people, Joshua was in a period of preparation and was ministering to Moses. There came a time when the Lord spoke directly to Joshua.

There comes a time in each of our lives as Christians, if we are following the Lord, when God brings change into our ministry and into our way of doing things. We cannot force such change but we can pray and look to the Lord each day.

If we remain diligently before Him He will give us the desire for needed change, and He Himself will bring about the desired change in His almighty wisdom and power.

The differences between Moses and Joshua are interesting to consider. Moses was chosen by the Lord in a most extraordinary manner. The circumstances surrounding his birth and the extent of his training as a son of Pharaoh were remarkable.

The burning bush, prophesying before Pharaoh, the exodus, receiving the Ten Commandments, Moses’ personal experiences on Mount Sinai—has anything comparable to these things happened to any other human? Moses was the friend of God. God spoke to him face to face, not "through a glass darkly."

By contrast, the circumstances surrounding the birth of Joshua were, as far as we know, unremarkable. Joshua was Moses’ minister. Moses went down in history as one of the greatest leaders of all time. The career of Joshua is of interest only to God’s people and to teachers of strategy and tactics in military academies.

Joshua communicated neither with God nor with men to the extent true of Moses. Joshua’s training and ministry were all in the confines of the holy purposes of God in Israel—not nearly as colorful a record as was true of Moses.

Moses brought the people from Egypt but Joshua brought them into the land of promise. Can it be possible that the nature and operation of the Body of Christ from here on may not be as understandable to the world as has been true formerly?

Are we coming to the hour when God will move His Church into a heavenly plane of worship and battle? If this is the case, the style of ministry to which we have been accustomed may undergo some changes. There will be more emphasis on following the Holy Spirit and on the ministry and perfecting of the members of the Body of Christ.

Just before the Lord returns, the "Moses" ministry of calling people from the world will be empowered and multiplied as never before in human history. Added to the greatly empowered and multiplied worldwide evangelism will be a "Joshua" ministry that will bring God’s saints into deeper levels of worship and spiritual victory than has been true previously.

As soon as a Christian arrives at a certain level of spiritual maturity there must occur some changes in the ministry provided for him and also in his own ministry to other members of the Body of Christ. Traditional forms of ministry and worship no longer suffice for the deep inner calling toward spiritual warfare and full consecration to the purposes of Christ.

The "Moses" ministry of shepherding "sheep" begins to give way before a more disciplined and militant structuring of the Body of Christ.

When Moses dies, God commissions a new leadership. As soon as the new leadership has been anointed it becomes impossible to keep Moses alive. When Moses dies, He dies, but Christ moves forward in the form of "Joshua."

We must remain in close contact with the Holy Spirit so that when change does come in our walk with the Lord we do not attempt to force the old ways to work. We must learn to flow with the Holy Spirit.

As blessed as the ministries with which we are familiar may have been, we always must keep our eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ and on no other person, group, program or institution. If we do not, we may find ourselves attempting to prop up a dead "Moses"—a previously successful pattern of ministry—in an attempt to perpetuate the old ways.

God has His Moseses and His Joshuas, His Peters and His Pauls. All these are the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is Christ Himself who must remain preeminent. To keep Christ preeminent in our human affairs is not as easy as it sounds, particularly if we have been blessed for a long period of time by a certain type of ministry or by a beloved minister of the Gospel.

The Lord God spoke directly to Joshua, after Moses died:

Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. (Joshua 1:2)

We have stated that Jordan represents the third death and the third death results in a diminishing of ourselves and an enlarging of Christ. It is fitting, therefore, that Joshua was not nearly as conspicuous and colorful a person as Moses.

Moses was the great prophet and lawgiver who delivered the Israelites from the chains of Pharaoh and brought the Presence of God to them. Joshua was only a general who led the Israelites in battle and directed the apportioning of the areas of Canaan to the twelve tribes.

Just before the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in conjunction with His appearing in the end-time, the Holy Spirit will lead us away from placing as much emphasis on outstanding and colorful personalities as has been true to this date. Hopefully the gap between "clergy" and "laity" will disappear completely.

In the present hour, both in the Body of Christ as a whole as well as in our individual lives, there must be more stress on what the Holy Spirit is commanding and less emphasis on what human effort and organization can accomplish.

Joshua appears to be a type of ministry that is more Holy Spirit-directed than has been true previously. However, all Christian ministry, whether it possesses Moses-like or Joshua-like characteristics, is of and through the ascended Lord Jesus.

It must be God who raises up "Moses" and it must be God who raises up "Joshua." Our only responsibility is to follow the Holy Spirit. We do not need to attempt to inform the Spirit concerning how He must operate. We do need to remain diligent in prayer so that we do not miss the Lord’s current moving.

What a wonderfully interesting experience the life of faith is!

God has appointed a specific land into which His saints are to enter. Our task is to labor to enter God’s land, into His rest. God’s rest is our inheritance in Christ.

God is not working in a random manner. He has a highly specific plan. He knows exactly where and how He is moving. His timetable is accurate to the split second. There is no guesswork with the Lord God of Heaven.

God gives us the land and the leadership that will bring us into the land.

Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses. 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 1:3,4)

The two verses above describe exactly how the overcoming life operates. First, we must have leadership chosen by the Holy Spirit. Second, that leadership must move forward but only into the territory set forth specifically by the Lord.

When we are following the Holy Spirit in the life of faith, it is not that God gives us whatever we stumble on in our mind, it is rather that the Lord gives us what He has described in detail. We must move forward in order for God to bless. We must learn to move in the path commanded by the Lord.

It often is very difficult to determine the path of God’s choice and we must offer our body a living sacrifice in order to prove God’s will. There may be years of confusion and of little understanding of what is taking place. If we are willing to die the death God has ordained for us there eventually will come light at the end of the tunnel. As soon as we know where to walk, we are to walk there. Then God gives us every place the sole of our foot treads on.

There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Joshua 1:5)

When we move forward as God directs, there is no power in the heavens above or on the earth beneath that can stop us. This promise is to us as long as we live. God has been with the men of God of the past and He will be with each of us.

God did not fail the saints of old and He will not fail us. When our commission comes to do the work of Christ, God always will be with us to the end of the age. Who is that power that can resist Christ? God is faithful. He will neither fail us nor forsake us.

Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. (Joshua 1:6)

To move against the enemy in the land of promise requires the specific leading of the Lord Jesus. It also requires strength and courage on our part. The battles of the Lord cannot be won by the faint-hearted.

Joshua no doubt was alarmed by the enormous responsibility that fell upon him with the death of Moses. Joshua always had had Moses to look to. Now Joshua had to get his own answers from God.

For forty years Israel had relied on Moses to furnish the solution to all problems. The burden of several million people now fell on Joshua. From this moment onward it was between the Lord and Joshua.

Sometimes in our own lives, "Moses dies." Then we must find God for ourselves.

Christ commands us to have courage, to be bold in the Lord, to be strong in faith. "Men ought always to pray, and not to faint." God had sworn to the children of Israel that He was giving them a land of milk and honey. It required strength and courage on the part of Joshua to lead Israel across Jordan and into battle against the seven nations of Canaan.

God has sworn to us Christians that He is ready to give us all things as our inheritance in Christ. Courage and strength are required on our part if we are to move past the spiritual position where we are now and press on toward the fullness of God in Christ.

Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:7)

The holy ways of God are taught to us while we still are in the wilderness of training. As soon as God begins to move in an exciting manner in our lives there is a temptation to become careless about the finer points of holiness.

While we are under the pressures of testing we learn to be careful about cleanliness of deeds, words, and thoughts. As soon as God begins to use us we may come to the conclusion we are favored of the Lord, and rules that other Christians, other people, are required to obey, somehow no longer apply to us. Now we have become God’s favorite.

Such is not the case. The reason God taught us the ways of holiness and obedience with such care and in such detail is that when we finally do make some progress against the enemy we do not become careless about following the Lord.

No matter how exciting the situations become or how much success we may think we are having, God still is recording every word, every deed, every thought.

The battle is against the enemies of God, and the holy angels come to help us. There are victories on the right hand and on the left. The victories continue even when we grow a little careless about the finer points of holiness and obedience.

If we are to proceed from victory to victory and not run into trouble with God, we must remain exceedingly careful to walk a straight line with God and with men. Evil spirits became the enemies of God by not adhering to God’s holy ways. Let us be careful that after preaching to others, we ourselves do not end up in the bondage of sin and disobedience.

A considerable degree of strength and courage is necessary if we are to adhere to the words of the Scriptures. It would be a great deal easier at times if we could relax just a bit. Blessed is the person who remains close to Christ and does exactly as He says.

Many in our day may give up in despair because of the high level of sanctification and consecration Christ demands and the Word of God teaches. Some may refuse to accept the fact that the Scriptures speak to us concerning the benefits of suffering in the Lord, concerning the value of freeing ourselves from the entanglements of the world.

Such people hover in their dark corners, clutching to themselves the few trinkets and bits of tinsel they have found in the world. It frightens them to think of letting go of any thing or any relationship to which they have become accustomed. They are trading the family of God and the treasures of the Kingdom for their poverty-level accumulation of friends and fragments of wood, glass, steel, and ribbon.

What a tragedy! God gladly would have shared with them the throne of glory.

We can prosper only as we diligently obey the Scriptures and walk carefully in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God interprets the Scriptures to us, applying them to our daily life. It is impossible for us from within ourselves to bring forth the wisdom and strength required to obey the teachings of the Word of God. The Holy Spirit alone can enable a person to adhere to the Scripture.

He can enable us and does enable us when we turn to Christ as candidates for discipleship.

We must give ourselves to Christ each day of our life, never ceasing to do so. "They who are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." If we do not turn away from Christ at any point we will prosper wherever we go. This is God’s promise to us.

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua 1:8)

Again, the Spirit of the Lord impressed on Joshua, the commander of the army of the Lord on the earth, that constant meditation in God’s Word is necessary if we are to fight the battles of the Lord. We can never master God’s Word. The more we meditate in the Scriptures the more strength and wisdom we draw from them. It seems, sometimes, that the Spirit of God, if He so chose, could take one verse and give us a million thoughts from it.

There appears to be no end to the wisdom and knowledge contained in each passage of the Scriptures. The Spirit keeps on revealing, revealing, revealing truth from the written Word. Verses we have known for years suddenly come alive and their relationship to other familiar passages are established in new and enlarged understanding.

His commandment is "exceeding broad" and we become blessed as we meditate continually in the Word of God. Our way is made prosperous and we have good success.

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:9)

Again the Lord charges Joshua to be strong and courageous. Many Christians have a desire to reign with Christ, and they expect to do so at His appearing. Such rulership will require strength and courage on our part. We are being trained in that strength and courage in the present hour.

Sometimes it is advisable for us to pray for faith, for strength, for courage, because we lose heart in the struggle. When we call on Christ He pours into us His own strength and courage. When we receive of His faith, strength, and courage we are enabled to press forward against all obstacles.

If any Christian loses heart in the fight he is to wait on Christ. The Lord will help us if we do not quit. We cannot press forward in ourselves. We must possess Christ’s faith, strength, and courage. He will impart these to us if we will ask Him to do so.

The Lord is with us wherever we go. Yet, we are to be "going" where He commands. Christ leads in the direction we should go, and if we go there He is with us. It is not enough just to launch out into the dark, we must walk in the Spirit of God. Neither is it enough just to wait on the Lord. We must take a step once in a while, watching diligently in prayer as we observe the results of our action.

There must be a going forward in the indicated direction, and then the Lord Jesus will be with us. When He is with us every need is met. Christ knows the details of our life. He understands our needs. He is abundantly able to provide every thing and circumstance required for our success and joy.

Never, never, never does He forsake us. We must be of good courage and wait on the Lord in joyful anticipation of deliverance and good things to come. The answer will appear in God’s time. Christ never has failed anyone yet and He does not intend to fail you or me in our hour of need.

The invasion of the land of promise under the leadership of Joshua portrays our individual entrance into the rest of God, and also the victory of the Body of Christ as a whole. God has promised us dominion over all things including the earth and earth’s peoples.

The Body of Christ will be mobilized as an army in the last days, and Christ will lead us onward to the redemption of our body. Then He will ride at the head of His army as the glorified saints assume control of the earth.

The Father has promised to give to Christ the nations for His inheritance and the farthest reaches of the earth for His possession. We are drawing near to the fulfillment of that promise.

The Jordan River symbolizes the final step of consecration we must take if we are to be soldiers in the army of Christ. There can be no possibility of sin or disobedience in us when we enter the terrible battle for control of the creation.

If we do not enlist in the Lord’s army now, vowing obedience to Him, we are in for a fearful time in the days ahead. We will not be able to draw on the protection Christ provides for each of His soldiers nor will we be able to stand against the evil lords of darkness. We will be as so much debris tossed on the raging waves of the spiritual and material turmoil that soon is to cover the face of the earth.

Let us run into the Mighty Fortress now so we can rule with Christ in the days to come.

Moses never encountered the man with the sword in his hand. The Moses-type ministry cannot take us across Jordan and into the land. Christ now will reveal Himself in His Body as the Lord strong and mighty in battle.

Moses was an apostle, prophet, evangelist, and teacher-pastor as the occasion required. Joshua never was an apostle or a prophet or an evangelist or a pastor-teacher. He was a battle commander. In the differences between the roles of the two men we can observe the differences between the purpose of the wilderness experience and the purpose of entering the land of promise.

The purpose of the wilderness experience was to teach Israel the holy Person and ways of God. The purpose of Israel’s entering the land of promise was to overcome the enemy and possess the land that flows with milk and honey.

The purpose of the two-thousand-year period in which the Church of Christ has been wandering in the wilderness of the world is to teach the Church the holy Person and ways of Christ. The Church is being built up during the present period of preparation. One day it will arrive at the unity of the faith and the fullness of the stature of Christ. Such preparation is necessary if the Church is to enter the land of promise, fulfilling the purposes of God.

The purpose of entering the land of promise is that the forces of wickedness may be destroyed from the creation, and the inhabitants of the earth—and the earth itself—set free from futility and corruption and brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

The Joshua-type ministry leads us to deliverance and rulership, enabling us to enter our inheritance. Moses calls us out of the world and teaches us in preparation for the conquest of the land of promise. Joshua brings us into our eternal possessions in Christ, as we stated earlier.

Both ministries are working in us as we move ahead in the life of discipleship. The full expression of the Joshua-type ministry will be in operation when Jesus rides at the head of His army in the invasion of the earth.

As soon as we, through the Holy Spirit, have made a success of the conquest of our own personality, we will be ready for the external conquest of our environment. The Day of the Lord, that is, the unhindered reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, must commence in our heart now.

When we ourselves have been brought under Christ’s rule in internal conquest we will be able to bring the Day of the Lord to the remainder of the world.

Meanwhile we are to exercise diligence in the tasks at hand, laboring in the ministry the Lord has given us. When each member of the Body of Christ is faithful in the small tasks set before him, the whole Body moves ahead toward unity and maturity.

Christ knows that if we are faithful in the small responsibilities before us now we will be faithful in the kingdom-wide responsibilities that will be present when the Lord returns.

When the Lord Jesus read in the scroll from the sixty-first chapter of Isaiah (Luke 4:16-20) He stopped just before saying, "and the day of vengeance of our God."

Why did the Lord stop reading so abruptly? The reason is that the anointing for the operation of the Day of Vengeance is reserved for the ministry of both Head and Body. Christ, Head and Body, will administrate "the day of vengeance of our God." It is the day of the entering of Israel into the land of promise, which to a great extent is the earth.

Total victory is just ahead of us at the appearing of our Lord Jesus from Heaven with the holy angels. We must prepare ourselves now if we expect to ride with Him in the Day of Vengeance.

There will be "seasons of refreshing," increased portions of Christ given to us, that will come to the saints before Jesus returns. Such increased portions are at hand. Every Christian is to look to the Lord now. He is coming to us as the latter rain on the earth. Be sure you do not miss the increased measure of glory available to you now. You will need it in order to know what it is you are to do, and to be able to stand in the days ahead.

When we hear the "going in the tops of the mulberry trees" (I Chronicles 14:15) we know the army of Heaven has gone ahead of us into battle. It is the tread of the Lord’s warrior angels. God will strike the enemy by His mighty power. The Seed of Abraham is destined to tear down all the power of the enemy and to set the captives free.

The Last Three Days of Creation

The first chapter of Genesis contains one of the types of the Divine redemption. We have seen already how the first three days portray the initial work of salvation.

On the first day, the light was created and separated from the darkness.

On the second day, the waters were separated—speaking of the raising of our new born again nature to the right hand of the Father in Christ, while our adamic personality remains on the earth.

On the third day, the earth and its vegetation were revealed, symbolizing the new life in Christ that results from the born-again experience.

The work of the fourth day, corresponding to our baptism with the Holy Spirit, brought forth light in the expanse of the heavens. The sun typifies Christ. The moon portrays the Church, lighted by the reflected Glory of Christ. The stars symbolize the victorious believers—the saints who turn many to righteousness.

The overcoming saints are fighters and they lead others into the righteous ways of the Lord.

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12:3)

They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera. (Judges 5:20)

The stars enable men to stay on a straight course at night. God’s saints will enable people to find Christ during the blackness of the night. The night is coming in which no man can work, but Christ will give light through His saints in that day.

The bringing forth of light is the work of the Holy Spirit. The world can see the Glory of Christ at "night" by looking at the saints, who shine by the light of Christ who is dwelling in them. It is God’s "stars" who keep on pointing the way toward the purpose of God. It was a star, not the moon, that led the wise men to the baby Jesus.

Now we come to the last three days of the creation. Animal life began on the fifth day. Man was created on the sixth day. God rested on the seventh day. The spiritual counterparts of these types are fulfilled after we receive the Holy Spirit, for the giving of the Spirit is the work of the "fourth day," according to the pattern here.

The number seven is associated with the perfect work of redemption. Our discipleship is strengthened when we begin to realize redemption has a specific conclusion as well as a specific beginning. The hour will come when redemption has been completed to God’s satisfaction, and then God can rest in joyous contemplation of the works of His hands, and we in him.

God will not rest until mankind has been redeemed. God will not rest until mankind has been created in His image. God will not rest until sin has been demolished completely. God will not rest until He is satisfied with His workmanship and is dwelling in Christ—Head and Body—in total love and joy.

The fact that the Scriptures state "God ended his work that he had made, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had made" reveals that God already beholds the finished product through to the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. God is able to speak of things that are not in existence as though they were.

The day will arrive when we shall be able to behold the completion of God’s workmanship, including our own perfection in Christ. Let us labor to enter the finished work of God so God can rest in us and we in God. Such rest is possible only when every particle of creative wisdom in the mind of God has been fulfilled in His workmanship, we having set aside our own schemes in order to do God’s will with a perfect heart.

We Christians are both human and spiritual. Both our humanity and our spirituality are being perfected by the Lord. Being in the image of Christ means being perfectly human and perfectly spiritual.

We are the firstfruits of a new creation of God. There is no end in sight of the size of the number of inhabitants of the new creation. It is possible that it will grow forever. "Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, . . . ." (Isaiah 9:7)

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

The above words are spoken to the Lord’s Servant, to Christ—Head and Body. The role of Christ is to plant the heavens, to lay the foundations of the earth, and to reconcile God’s people to Himself. Christ is a planting, a foundation.

Christ is the firstfruits of a new creation of God that reaches into a future so vast in scope that the extent of the plan is known only to the Father and is understandable only as God places part of His mind in us. Some day, a billion years from now, we may begin to gain some faint concept of the greatness of God Almighty.

We are at the beginning of the new creation and are being created the bedrock on which the structure can be erected.

Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (James 1:18)

The fifth day: the beginning of "life."

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. (Genesis 1:20-23)

The fifth of the seven dimensions of redemption concerns the beginning of doing business in the Kingdom of God. Five is the number of entrance or beginnings. The fifth of the Levitical feasts was Trumpets, the first day of the first month of the agricultural year—New Year’s Day.

The fifth step of the wilderness wanderings was the organizing of Israel into an army. Silver trumpets were made and were used for the "calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps." Prior to this time the Israelites were a disorganized congregation of former slaves. The silver trumpets marked their organization into an army prepared to accomplish the purposes of the Lord.

The fifth of the holy vessels of the Tabernacle of the Congregation was the Altar of Incense. The Altar of Incense stood at the entrance to the Most Holy Place, signifying that we are to come before the King of kings with prayer and adoration, letting our love and our needs be made known to Him.

The Altar of Incense typifies the preparation for the coming of Christ and the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord begins on a personal basis in the heart of every Christian who accepts without reservation the rule of Christ in his heart.

We notice that when Gabriel appeared to Zacharias to bring him the good news of the coming birth of his son, the son who was to be the forerunner of Christ, the angel stood "on the right side of the altar of incense" (Luke 1:11). Zacharias was ministering at that time at the Altar of Incense. The birth of John, the prophet who announced the King, was associated with the Altar of Incense, the fifth of the seven furnishings.

Also, the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11, whose role will be to announce the coming of the King, are spoken of in context with the Altar of Incense (Revelation 11:1).

There was no animal life of any kind before the fifth day of creation. Vegetable life is different in kind from animal life. An animal is a "moving creature that has life." Therefore the fifth day marked the beginning of true life.

Everything created before the fifth day was for the purpose of providing a suitable environment for the animals and mankind. The environment was the background for what was to come.

The creation of animals was a "trumpet" announcing the arrival of the first of the inhabitants of the new creation. Animal life began in the oceans, seas, rivers, and lakes of the earth. Every form of marine life sprang forth in abundance at the Word of the Creator. Also, every kind of bird was created on the fifth day.

In our Christian discipleship we receive Christ, are born again, are baptized in water, are forgiven all our sins, receive the Holy Spirit, receive ministries and gifts, and, if we are in need of physical healing, in many instances we are healed. All this is foundational. It is the forming of an environment in which life can begin and be sustained.

The gifts of grace are the prerequisite for what God has determined to create in us.

The fish that were created on the fifth day typify the bringing of "fish" to Christ. Christ made His disciples fishers of men. After we receive the Holy Spirit we are to become witnesses of Christ to every nation.

The birds created on the fifth day portray our entrance into heavenly life in the Spirit, including our ever-increasing resurrection life.

The birds portray also the ministry of angels (Hebrews 1:14; John 1:51). The Body of Christ is to sound the trumpet of the Lord, bearing witness in the earth of the coming of the Kingdom of God. These are matters in which the angels are both interested and involved. Angelic activity will increase with the approach of the Day of the Lord, as we understand from reading the Book of Revelation.

The greatest revivals are yet ahead. It is God’s intention to give to Christ the nations for His inheritance. As soon as God has brought the Church to the desired level of maturity, the light of God will arise on the Church and the Holy Spirit in the Church will flow as a river. The result will be a worldwide ingathering of souls.

And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. (Ezekiel 47:9)

Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles [nations] shall come unto thee. (Isaiah 60:5)

In the above two passages we read the account of the bringing of the nations of the earth to the Lord Jesus Christ. This enormous ingathering of souls will result from the flowing of the rivers of eternal life that will proceed from the Church when it becomes one in Christ in the Father.

The purpose of the past two thousand years has been the building of the Church, the Body of Christ. As soon as the Church has been readied, the Glory of Christ will flow to the farthest reaches of the earth. Then the Lord’s "fish" will be caught and He will receive the nations that the Father has promised Him.

Birds were created on the fifth day—the "fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven." During the "fifth day" there is communication and activity heavenward and earthward. The angels of God ascend and descend on "Jacob’s ladder" (Genesis 28:12).

The members of the Body of Christ become active in their ministries and gifts, which are the trumpet of the Lord, and at the same time make headway in their understanding of the spiritual origin and purposes of the Lord’s creation. We begin to understand that a "man can receive nothing, except it be given from heaven" (John 3:27) and that the "flesh profits nothing" (John 6:63).

The power that establishes the earth and its inhabitants does not originate in the earth but in God in Heaven. It is Christ who upholds all things by the Word of His power.

The three hangings of the Tabernacle portray the three deaths of redemption. The hangings were identical in color. However, the third hanging, the veil before which the Altar of Incense stood, was decorated with figures of cherubim. The cherubim may be associated in meaning with the birds of the fifth day of creation.

When the members of the Body of Christ receive the empowering of the Holy Spirit and begin to bear witness of the Kingdom of God, the Lord Jesus working with them and confirming the Word of God with signs following, then there will follow an increasing degree of cooperation between the righteous forces in Heaven and the righteous forces on the earth (I Peter 1:12; I Timothy 3:16; Acts 8:26; Acts 10:3; Acts 12:7; and Acts 27:23).

Angels were active in the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ from the announcement of His birth, through the temptation in the wilderness, the garden of Gethsemane, to the day of resurrection and then the ascension. Jesus continually was surrounded by angels.

The ministry of angels appears several times in the Book of Acts. Angels are involved in the events described in the Book of Revelation, and the holy angels of God will accompany the Lord Jesus Christ when He returns to the earth. Angels are spirits whom God employs to minister to the needs of the heirs of salvation.

The importance of the ministry of angels, and of the role that spiritual forces play in the development and activities of the Christian Church, does not become apparent until we begin to move past Pentecost and make some progress in building the Body of Christ.

On the "fifth day" the Church of Christ is to lift up its voice as a trumpet and announce the coming of the Kingdom of God. The Church is to prepare herself for her Lord from Heaven, and the peoples of the earth are to submit to the King of kings and Lord of lords who is coming to shepherd all nations with a rod of iron.

Great will be the multitude of "fish" caught by the Lord in the days preceding His glorious appearing, the days into which we are entering now. Righteousness, peace, and joy are flowing from the Holy Spirit in the hour in which we are living. Let us look to the Lord Jesus for "rain in the time of the latter rain." Then the rivers of God will be full of water.

The sixth day: the creation of the image of Christ.

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:24-27)

And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31)

The animals, with the exception of marine life and birds, were created on the sixth day. So it is true that the major work of creation in the Kingdom of God is ahead of us. All that has taken place in the Church, from the time of Abraham to the present day, has been preparation for the Day of the Lord that now is at hand.

Speaking figuratively, the Kingdom of God has been developed as far as the separating of the light from the darkness, the dividing between the soulish and the spiritual, the springing up of the first signs of life of the new creation, and the appearing of the sun (Christ), moon (the Church), and stars (God’s saints) in our spiritual consciousness.

Many "fish" have been caught in the last two thousand years. The Holy Spirit now is testifying that a downpour of God’s Spirit, and a revelation of Christ far greater than has ever been witnessed, are upon us. The inhabitants of the earth are to see and hear the Good News of the Kingdom of God in preparation for the coming of the King Himself to rule the earth.

The "sixth day" is the greatest day of all. Everything that has been created before, in the work of the Kingdom, is in anticipation of the sixth day. The Holy Spirit will bring forth the likeness of Christ throughout the universe so that all peoples will be touched by the Life that is in the Son of God. The creation of God will be transformed into one great expression of Christ.

Some of the aspects of the "sixth day" of God can be studied in the other types and symbols of the Scriptures. For example, the "sixth day" of the wilderness wanderings was the crossing of Jordan and the occupying of the land of promise. In the process, the inhabitants of the land had to be slain.

So it is that the sixth day is a time of judgment for the enemies of God and a day of warfare and enlargement for the members of the Body of Christ. The temporary manna ceases and we begin to eat the fruit of what is grown in the Kingdom of God.

The sixth item of furniture of the Tabernacle was the Ark of the Covenant, indicating that the Lord Jesus Christ will return from Heaven and rule the earth during the "sixth day." The sixth day is the Millennial Jubilee, the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

The thousand-year Kingdom Age will be inaugurated by the coming of the Father and the Son into the Church in power and glory. Then the "tares" will be destroyed from the land.

The sixth Levitical feast is the Day of Atonement (Leviticus, Chapter 16). The authority and power that are in the blood and in the resurrection of Christ will be applied to the peoples of the earth so that every person and every thing on this planet will be transformed by the eternal life that flows from the redemption.

The only persons who will not be transformed are those who refuse God and decide to resist the reign of the Lord Jesus. It is the will of God that the earth be redeemed and that the Person and ways of God’s Divine Son be expressed in every personality and every thing of which the creation is composed.

For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. (Isaiah 60:12)

We have been born again into the Kingdom of God—the only manner in which one can see or enter the Kingdom, because it is the Kingdom that is born in us when we are born again. We now are learning to live and move and have our being in the Kingdom. The full power and glory of the Kingdom scarcely have begun.

We have been brought to the birth of the Day of God. Our eternal personality is now in the forming stage. We are a firstfruits of the Kingdom of God—the Kingdom that in all likelihood will continue growing in the image of Christ and in number of inhabitants forever.

God is pleased with His workmanship and no doubt will build on this foundation for billions upon billions of multiplied billions of eons to come—an age without end. Christ will multiply in a limitless fashion, fulfilling God’s promise to Abraham to a most astonishing extent.

An extraordinary number and variety of species of animals were brought forth on the fifth and sixth days, portraying that God is creating all kinds of living forms in His Kingdom. We are surprised at times by the expressions God brings forth in us. We behold in our nature the ox, the lion, the eagle, and the man. Each of these is essential to the fullness of our personality.

As the Kingdom of God is being created in us there are wild as well as domesticated forms of life that reveal themselves. Yet, because of the touch of Christ the wild learns to lie down with the tame and there is nothing that hurts or destroys.

The "little child" of our personality leads us in the innocence and simplicity of the Kingdom of God. We learn the diligence of the ant, the craftiness of the serpent, the harmlessness of the dove.

All the while the dominating person of our being is in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is this new man in us who, through the wisdom and power given daily by the Holy Spirit, learns to subdue all the other aspects of our personality.

We humans are intricately put together. We reflect the diversified and comprehensive Personality of our Father, God Almighty. There are many parts of us, all "fearfully and wonderfully made."

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalms 139:13-16)

The creation of man in the image and likeness of God is the crowning work of the Lord God. The kingdom-wide spiritual fulfillment of the sixth day of creation is the thousand-year Kingdom Age; and so we can expect to see a tremendous increase in the expression of Christ during the Kingdom Age.

The four directives defining mankind. In the beginning, four awesome pronouncements were made concerning mankind: (1) that mankind is to be in the image and after the likeness of God; (2) that mankind is to be male and female; (3) that mankind is to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth; and (4) that mankind is to subdue the earth and have dominion over every other living creature.

Before the plan of redemption has been completed, each of these four directives will be carried through to completion.

The first concept is that of our being in the image and after the likeness of God. The first Person on the earth who revealed in Himself the fullness of the image and likeness of the Father was and is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Adam could have said, "He that has seen me has seen the Father"; and he would have been speaking the truth to a very limited extent. But Christ is the fullness of the image of the Father.

Now it is our turn. The working of God in us is for the purpose of creating us in the image of Christ.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be changed into the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:28,29)

"Changed into the image of his Son."

Christ is the Son of God and He walked the earth in the image of God. Whoever saw Christ saw God Almighty, as Jesus stated. God has in mind to bring forth many sons in His image, although Christ always will remain preeminent, being the Firstborn.

For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:10)

It is our understanding that we shall have all of the thousand-year Kingdom Age in which to be perfected as the Wife of the Lamb; and that once the Wife has been made perfect she will spend eternity multiplying the image of Christ throughout a universe limitless in size and populated with creatures so vast in number and varied in uniqueness that there will be no end to the increase.

It may be true that those who press on in Christ now will retain throughout eternity a peculiar splendor before God, just as it is said that Christ retains the scars of the nails in His hands.

The jewels that have been formed in the saints as the result of the pressure and heat they have had to withstand are the sparkling adornments of the new Jerusalem. It appears unlikely that there ever again will be a similar opportunity to have precious jewels of character formed in one’s personality. It may never again be true that men and women must bear a cross through a lifetime of pain and bewilderment.

The character of the saint is created through suffering, and there will be no suffering in the new age. Christ Himself was perfected in the earth, revealing that the development of the quality of absolute obedience to God cannot be accomplished in the serene environment of Paradise.

While we point toward the future development of God’s creation, let us keep in mind that the program in which we are enrolled today well may be the most significant of all, when viewed in the light of eternity.

What we can accomplish today in the Kingdom of God, whether it is in the realm of our own perfecting or in the realm of the salvation of other people, will be blessed and multiplied in the eons to come to an extent beyond our ability to imagine.

Certainly the concept of Christ growing forever in the universe would have been incomprehensible to Abraham as he picked up the knife that was to have severed his relationship with Isaac. Just as certainly, God has sworn to us that if we will obey Him sternly, after the manner of the faithfulness of Abraham, our own fruit and strength will reach into the future with an effect comparable to the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham (Isaiah 41:15, 51:16, 60:5, 22, 61:9, Daniel 12:3). Let us believe God.

We have been predestined "to be changed into the image of his Son," and already are glorified in the mind of God. All the resources of Heaven and earth are cooperating in the work of bringing about our change into the image and likeness of Christ.

God is resting because the work is finished in His sight. We are still experiencing the fulfilling of the creative Word in our spirit, our soul, and—when Jesus appears—in our body. To be created in the image of God is the greatest gift we can receive from His hand. Let us not complain as we are brought through the three deaths and three resurrections of redemption.

The first of the four Divine pronouncements is that mankind will be created in the image and after the likeness of God, as we have just discussed. The second decree is that mankind will be male and female. This refers to the capacity of man for union, especially our capacity for being brought into union with Christ in God.

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. (Genesis 2:18)

And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. (Genesis 2:21-23)

Not only are we to be created in the image of God but we also are to be united with Christ in spiritual marriage. Christ is the "Adam," the Son of God. God has decreed that mankind is to be "male and female." In order to fulfill the purpose of God, Christ must take to Himself His Wife. The image and likeness of God consists of both Christ and the Body of Christ.

God was pleased with all His creation, stating it was "very good." There was one aspect that was not good. It was that the man whom He had created had no one like himself with whom to communicate.

The animals were not able to satisfy the need for companionship for Adam. The creatures of the heavens are not able to satisfy the need for companionship for the Lord Jesus Christ. Eve was created in order to complete Adam. The Body of Christ is being created in order to complete Christ. The Wife of the Lamb is being created in order to complete the Lamb.

Calvary was a "deep sleep" that fell on Christ, to take a figure from Adam. God drew from the Lord Jesus His body and blood. The body and blood of Christ, the Substance of Christ, is being made a woman, just as the rib taken from Adam was made a woman.

The Wife of the Lamb is taken from the Lamb. She is bone of His bones and flesh of His flesh. She is the fullness of Him. The Bride is in the image of the Lamb. More than that, she is the Lamb in the sense that she is created from Him and is part of Him. She is not separate from Him and has no life apart from Him. What therefore God has joined together can no longer be torn apart.

We notice that the Bride is arrayed in fine linen at the appearing of Christ (Revelation, Chapter 19), and then comes down from Heaven in the fullness of glory at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age (Revelation, Chapter 21).

The "wife" of Revelation, Chapter 19 refers to the saints who overcome the world in the present age. The remainder of the holy city will not be ready until the thousand-year Kingdom Age has been completed.

It seems that the thousand years of the Kingdom Age will be required in order for the whole Church to become completely reconciled to Christ, every member being perfected in his place in the new Jerusalem. When every member of the Church of Christ has attained the fullness of the knowledge of Christ, the new covenant will have performed its work.

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13)

And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. (Hebrews 8:11)

Being incorporated into the holy Personality of the Consuming Fire that spoke the universe into existence is no small accomplishment, considering that we began as dust of the ground.

The third creative Word of the Almighty God is that man is to "be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth." We have mentioned before that it requires the third death of consecration in order for us to bear the amount of fruit that God envisions. Classic Bible examples of fruitfulness through death are as follows:

The Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.

The offering of Isaac.

The testing of Joseph.

The Epistles of Paul written from prison.

As long as we are striving in our own strength and wisdom our fruitfulness is limited. In order to fulfill the Divine edict concerning fruitfulness we must "fall into the ground and die."

The uniting of the Lamb and His Wife brings forth spiritual children. By this we mean that Christ is formed in people as the Life of Christ is revealed in the saints.

The universe will be populated to an unimaginable extent in the eons to come through the union of the Lamb and His Bride. From Adam and Eve came the billions of people alive today, and there might have been many times the present number if it were not for sin. Eve is the mother of all living.

The children who will proceed from the union of the Lamb and His Wife will be superior in quality, when compared with the descendants of Adam and Eve, to the extent that the Lamb is greater than Adam and the Church is greater than Eve.

The whole creation will be filled with the offspring of the Lamb and His Wife. These spiritual children will be in the image of the Lamb and His Wife and will be trained properly in the way they should behave. The children will show the virtues of their parents and will fill the earth with the praises of God. God the Father will love them and bless them.

He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit. (Isaiah 27:6)

And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles [nations], and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the LORD hath blessed. (Isaiah 61:9)

The offspring of Christ and His Church will be arrayed in God’s own virtues. In order for such fruitfulness to occur we must submit to the barrenness and death God has ordained for each of as an individual.

If we are willing to die in Christ, God will raise us up in His own time, and our fruit will proceed from the uniting of our spirit with the Spirit of God. We must keep our hands off the process and allow God to bring us through death and resurrection. If we will allow God to do that, His promise to us is that we will "be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth."

The fourth proclamation concerning mankind is that we are to "subdue" the earth and "have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth on the earth." Not only are we to be in the image of Christ, to become united with Him, and to be fruitful and replenish the earth with Christ’s image, but in addition we are to "subdue" the creation. It is given to mankind to rule the works of God’s hands.

"He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (I Corinthians 6:17). When our spirit is joined to the Lord we are able to govern the flesh and the material creation. The flesh and the material creation are never to have power over our spirit when it is joined to the Holy Spirit of God.

The only reason we have been made subject to the flesh and to the material creation is that we may be humbled and taught the righteous and compassionate ways of the Lord. As soon as we have been humbled and instructed we are to rule with Christ.

Man is not to be in subjection to his flesh or to the creation. When the spirit of a man has found its rest in God’s Holy Spirit, the flesh and the material creation are to be brought into subjection and governed with diligence.

No creature or thing is to have dominion over a disciple of Christ. To subdue means to overcome. We are to subdue all things, as the Holy Spirit leads and enables, and to rule diligently in Christ. We have been created so we may subdue and rule the creation.

Much of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is for the purpose of bringing us into correct relationship with the creatures and things of the universe. When we commence our discipleship there are many people and things that govern us, that we worship as gods.

Little by little the bondages that control us are removed until Christ alone rules over us. The Lord re-relates all relationships, circumstances, and things to us by bringing us down into death and then raising us up again. He whom Christ sets free in this manner is free indeed.

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: (Psalms 8:3-6)

When we consider the immeasurable expanse of space and the number of the celestial bodies, the planet Earth and its inhabitants appear microscopic in comparison.

Then we ask the question, "What is man, that thou art mindful of him?"

The answer returns to us that man is the offspring of the almighty God and was fashioned in His image. Man is destined to rule the works of God’s hands. Man is God’s throne.

In the Book of Hebrews, the Holy Spirit interprets the eighth Psalm and reveals that the "Man" who is in God’s image is Christ, the Son of Man, and that He is the captain of the salvation of many brothers.

Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. (Hebrews 2:8)

The Lamb and His Wife will receive dominion over all the works of God. The Lamb already possesses all authority and power and is waiting until every one of His enemies has been subdued under His feet. He intends to share the throne of authority and power with His Wife.

Christ has been crowned with glory and honor in fulfillment of the promise made to mankind.

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9)

We understand, then, that Adam and Eve were only a partial, a beginning fulfillment of the Word of God concerning the creating of mankind in God’s image.

The complete fulfillment can occur only in Christ and His Wife, His Body. It is They who are in God’s image, who will replenish the creation, and to whom have been assigned authority and power over all the works of God.

It appears that the creation of the Church is only the beginning of the expansion of the Person and ways of Christ throughout the universe. During the ages to come the Church will bring the Spirit of Christ to every saved person on the earth so there will be no one who does not have the touch of Christ on his life to some extent.

As the endless ages of eternity roll by, Christ will increase until the universe is one marvelous reflection of His Glory.

God dwells in His fullness in Christ. As Christ is multiplied the resting place of God is multiplied. God Almighty ultimately will fill all the creation through Christ.

The eternal destiny of the Church is to keep on being transformed into an increasingly accurate expression of Christ, and the role of the Church is to transform the universe into an increasingly accurate expression of Christ.

We can see this process operating today. As we ourselves receive more of the Person and ways of Christ, God is increased in us. As we become stronger Christians our environment begins to reflect the Kingdom of God which is working in us. Our testimony of the risen Christ is growing in power and effectiveness.

Christ is destined to be the center and circumference of the universe.

We have been anointed with the Holy Spirit so that we may bring Christ everywhere we go, that all persons, circumstances, and things may be brought into subjection to Him.

And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:22,23)

The seventh day: the rest of God.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. (Genesis 2:1-3)

God worked for six days, and then He rested. Every thing, every animal, and every person ever to be formed was finished in those six nights and days. The creative activities of God extend into the future. This is why the process of redemption is governed by foreknowledge and predestination. Known to God are all His works from the creation of the world. The creation was completed and perfected in God’s mind before the elements described in the first chapter of Genesis were formed.

Our task as a Christian is to press into that completed and perfected creation. We are not to seek a new rest, a new inheritance. Rather we are to enter the inheritance already finished and perfected in the mind of God.

Seven aspects of the rest of God. There are at least seven closely related and interdependent aspects of the rest of God:

The completion of God’s eternal purpose in Christ; the resting of God from all His work, and entrance into our individual role in that plan and into that rest.

Entrance into rest from our trials and tribulations at the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven or at our physical death—whichever comes first.

The destruction of the enemies of Christ.

Our grasp on the fullness of the inheritance of fruitfulness and rulership promised to Christ and to the coheirs.

Entrance into the fullness of abiding in Christ—awaiting His pleasure, putting down all rebellion, all stubbornness, all disobedience in our nature, resting with Him at the right hand of the Father until the will of God has been accomplished in us and in our environment.

The Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit abiding eternally in us.

Being changed into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ in spirit, in soul, and in body.

The first aspect of the rest of God is that of the accomplishment of everything God has purposed and the joyous repose of God in contemplation of the exceeding excellence of all He has created.

And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. (Genesis 2:3)

The fact that God already has completed His works leads to the concept of predestination. The doctrine of predestination in terms of Divine foreknowledge is found in the writings of the Apostle Paul. The grace of God is related to foreknowledge and predestination in that God makes choices concerning people before they are born.

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)

(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) (Romans 9:11)

Because we are finite creatures, limited in our ability to comprehend the mind of God, we cannot understand how God can work out in advance the details of such an undertaking without depriving people of their opportunity to make choices. The opportunity to choose, and predestination through foreknowledge, are both set forth in the Old and New Testaments. The Scripture has spoken. It is our responsibility to mix faith with the Word of God and to trust that God is just and merciful.

The two concepts of predestination and choice, which are opposites from our point of view, are reconciled perfectly in the mind of God. The reason God can complete a work as complicated as the creation, a plan that stretches back into ages unknown to us and forward into a future so distant our minds cannot define it, is that He has absolute foreknowledge. God "knows" thousands of years in advance what each person will do, and He plans accordingly.

We put quotation marks around "knows" because God does not completely know what is in a person until the individual responds in a given situation. Consider the following:

And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. (Genesis 22:12)

"Now I know that thou fearest God."

It seems that salvation is a window of opportunity. We make our choices as God brings us into various situations. God tests our heart. We respond according to what is in our personality. Somehow God is able to perceive our responses in advance and plans accordingly. In this manner God can design His Kingdom in advance but our power to choose has not been violated.

Those of us who are responsible for other people may have a limited idea of what predestination according to foreknowledge is like. We develop a feel for the way people will react in a given situation and we plan accordingly. Yet we do not take away their power to decide.

Sometimes the Holy Spirit imparts to us part of the thinking of God concerning the future. We then are enabled to act wisely in advance of a given situation. No one’s power to accept or reject Christ is harmed in the process.

Before Esau and Jacob were born the Lord informed their mother, "The elder shall serve the younger" (Romans 9:12). God could make this decision because He knew every choice that each of the twins would make in his lifetime.

So great is God that every detail of the new heaven and earth reign of Christ was completed before the events of Genesis 1:1 took place. Time, space, things, people—all are proceeding with precision. Every choice each person makes is bringing about certain conditions in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. The choices are being made with a certain amount of freedom, although no person is totally free to make the smallest of decisions. All of us are hemmed in by many pressures.

It can be said in truth that God does not cause any person to sin. If God did He would come under His own judgment.

If God has planned the whole creation through to the new heaven and earth reign of Christ, and now is resting in joyous contemplation of His workmanship, the wisest thing we can do is to enter that rest—into the perfection and joy of the finished creation.

Christ Himself is resting, waiting until God brings every one of His enemies under His feet. Let us rest with and in Christ until God brings all our enemies under our feet.

The sovereignty and grace of God operates in all areas of redemption.

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

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be changed into the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:28,29)

What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, (Romans 9:22,23)

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, (Ephesians 1:4,5)

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: (Ephesians 1:11)

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

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (I Peter 1:2)

The above passages are a sample of the manner in which the Scriptures describe the sovereignty of God in building the Kingdom of God. The idea of a "chosen nation," a "church," is an illustration of the manner in which God chooses, God calls out, according to His own counsels.

There were millions of people dwelling in the progressive city of Ur. God spoke only to Abraham. On what basis? On the basis of the election and grace of God. The people of Ur knew nothing of what transpired between God and Abraham.

No passage of the Scriptures suggests that God picked Abraham because he was seeking God or living a more righteous life than the other people of Ur.

The history of the events in the life of the father of the believers is a clear example of the sovereign manner in which God reaches down and works on the earth according to His own blueprint.

God did not cause the inhabitants of Ur to sin. They had the created world plus their own conscience to guide them. God did not deprive one person of Ur of his opportunity to choose to obey the degree of the knowledge of God available to him.

Yet in Abraham the Church was brought into existence by Divine grace.

In terms of deliverance from the kingdoms of the world, from Satan’s authority (such deliverance constituting the first death and resurrection of redemption), the Lord God spoke to Abraham as follows:

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. (Genesis 12:1-3)

In terms of a holy walk of sanctification, the second death and resurrection of redemption, the Lord God spoke to Abraham in these words:

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. (Genesis 17:1)

In terms of the obedience of absolute consecration, the third death and resurrection of redemption, the Lord God tested Abraham to the uttermost:

And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt [test] Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. (Genesis 22:1,2)

We can observe from the above passages that all areas of redemption are sovereign acts of God’s grace coming to us and working in us and through us.

The dramatic manner in which Saul of Tarsus was struck down and called to the apostleship is another outstanding example of the calling of God according to God’s own foreknowledge and counsel.

Your life and mine are a third and fourth example of Divine grace in redemption. It is not by works of righteousness we have done that God reveals Christ to us. Rather, it is His grace operating in us that gives us the faith to receive salvation through the blood atonement.

We are saved, sanctified, and perfected by God’s grace through the faith of Christ imparted to us. Our salvation is the gift of God to us, not a reward for our own righteousness or religious fervor. Christ loved us before we heard of Him. He reached down and opened our eyes just as He did the eyes of Abram of Ur of the Chaldees. He then placed in our heart the burning desire that causes us to pursue the Lord Jesus Christ with singleness of spirit and mind.

No man can come to Christ except the Father draw him, and Christ will turn no person away. Our task is to respond to the drawing of the Holy Spirit and to cooperate with Him as He brings us into the complete, perfect creation of God.

It is possible for us to lose our glorious inheritance through unbelief or slothfulness. There is abundant security for us in Christ if we will be obedient children and do the things each day that the Holy Spirit presents to us.

The first aspect of the rest of God is our responding to the Holy Spirit so we can enter the creation that God finished in six days but which from our standpoint still is being worked out. All the brothers of Christ already have been called, already have been justified, already have been glorified (Romans 8:30).

The Body of Christ was completed in perfection and brought into union with Christ from the creation of the world. This is the interpretation of the expression "male and female created he them." Although Christ remains preeminent in all things, it is not only Christ but Christ (the Lamb) and His Wife who are the Heir of all things. Such is the decree of God.

Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created. (Genesis 5:2)

In the Mind and Word of God, the Lamb and His Wife already have been brought to the fullness of fruitfulness and to absolute dominion over the works of God’s hands. Truly, He "calleth those things which be not as though they were" (Romans 4:17). The wisdom, strength, greatness, and Glory of God are more than we can comprehend.

The seventh day of creation points toward our rest in God’s accomplishment.

The second aspect of the rest of God is our own Sabbath-day rest. It begins when we finish our tribulations and tests in this life and emerge as victorious saints, being ready now to welcome with the greatest joy the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven.

We have fought the good fight. We have kept the faith. Now we can rest as the Lord Jesus descends in His galactic power from Heaven, recompensing with tribulation those who troubled His saints.

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, (II Thessalonians 1:7)

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (II Timothy 4:7,8)

We labor on, pressing toward the mark of God’s upward calling in ourselves and assisting others as we have the opportunity. We continue to fight, serving our own generation by the will of God until Jesus says, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter the joy of your Lord."

The first aspect of the rest of God is our entering the work of God that was finished from the creation of the world. The second aspect of the rest of God is our entering the joy of the Lord upon the completion of our service in this life—that which we have been commissioned to perform.

The third aspect of the rest of God concerns the destruction of God’s enemies. We must keep on fighting the good fight of faith until the Lord gives us rest from His (and our) enemies.

When the Lord was charging the Israelites concerning entrance into their inheritance, the land of promise, He gave them strict orders concerning the destruction of the enemy. In like manner, the Lord Jesus Christ commands us to make no peace with the evil spirits of sin but rather to destroy them from our personality as the Holy Spirit leads and provides the wisdom and power.

If we are faithful in resisting uncleanness in our own life, in due time the Lord Jesus will extend our influence so that others may be delivered from the bondage of the enemy. We cannot rest until all unclean spirits, root and branch, have been destroyed from the inheritance of the Lord.

And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them: neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee. (Deuteronomy 7:16)

There is to be no compromise in the war against the kingdom of darkness. Christ is giving us power against all the power of the enemy. Nothing is able to harm us as long as we are in Him.

We are to cast out evil spirits, to destroy all their works and influences, to have no pity on them, to resist all their ways and desires, to drive them from ourselves and others every time the Lord Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, delivers them into our hands.

The demons cried out in terror whenever Jesus came near. So it is to be in the Church of Christ. We are to follow the Holy Spirit in the strictest obedience, moving relentlessly against the enemy as Christ provides the wisdom and power.

If thou shalt say in thine heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them? Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt; (Deuteronomy 7:17,18)

Many Christian people have been taught (and therefore believe) that as long as we are living in a physical body in the earth we must sin, we must be sick, we must have allergies, we must be defeated at every turn. According to this belief, the only true release from the bondage of the devil is to die and go to Heaven.

This is not a scriptural attitude. God has commanded us to not be afraid of the enemy. We are to look back frequently to the destruction of the authority of Satan on the cross of Calvary and then to press forward in Christ, being full of faith that God will destroy all sin, all sickness, all confusion, and every other work of Satan from the warrior-remnant, from the whole body of believers, and finally from the heavens and the earth, leaving sin and sinners neither root nor branch nor any influence in the heavens or on the earth.

It is Jesus who is our Deliverer from sin, not physical death or Heaven.

All of God’s enemies shall be destroyed without mercy. Even the memory of sinners and their works will be removed from the consciousness of the redeemed (except as the Lord specifically directs otherwise—see Isaiah 66:24, for example). If we but realized it, the terror of God already has fallen on the forces of Hell. They are aware that their destruction through the saints is at hand (Joshua 2:9-11).

The great temptations which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the LORD thy God brought thee out: so shall the LORD thy God do unto all the people of whom thou art afraid. (Deuteronomy 7:19)

In the above passage, the Lord is reminding the Israelites of the Divine power that God exercised in destroying Egypt and in bringing His people through the Red Sea. The concept is that God will employ the same mighty power, the same signs, the same wonders, the same outstretched arm in bringing us into the land of promise He employed in bringing us from Egypt (the bondage of the world spirit). Satan could not resist the Lord when the Lord first delivered us from the world, and Satan will be unable to resist the Lord in His further works of redemption in us and through us.

Those of us who are Christians recognize that Christ defeated Satan on the cross and as a result we were forgiven all our sins and redeemed from the kingdom of darkness in a moment’s time. Our translation from the kingdom of darkness was not our own accomplishment but the accomplishment of the Lord God of Heaven.

In like manner, God will bring us into the land of promise, employing the same power, the same sovereignty, the same Divine grace. Although we must fight our way into the land of promise (which was not true of our exodus from Egypt, from the spirit of the world), the Lord of Calvary has promised to be with us and give us victory.

We have no need to be afraid of evil spirits or of human beings who are moved by them provided we remain in the secret place of the Most High, the center of God’s will.

Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and hide themselves from thee, be destroyed. (Deuteronomy 7:20)

When we begin to move in the Spirit of God, destroying the bondages placed on people by the kingdom of darkness, the evil spirits will attempt to hide in people—sometimes in our own person. Sin is deceitful, and we can be deceived if we are not prayerful and obedient to the Scripture.

If we are walking in the Spirit, God will cause circumstances to arise that will drive the enemy into the open so that through the Spirit we can destroy him.

God does not intend to hide the sin that is in His people. Instead, He is causing situations to come about that force into the open the sin and rebellion that remain in us—the envy, malice, lust, lying, profanity, and every other evil work.

Do not be surprised, after having been a Christian for a number of years, to discover that some of your thoughts and deeds are not glorifying the Lord. The Spirit is causing the unrighteousness and rebellion that are "hiding" in you to come out into the light so you can confess your sins and rebellion and obtain forgiveness and cleansing.

Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible. (Deuteronomy 7:21)

Again, God commands us not to be frightened. When we enter spiritual warfare we begin to fear for our safety. We are not to yield to fear but are to keep looking to Christ. He possesses all authority in Heaven and on the earth. As long as we are abiding in Him there is no cause for us to fear.

Christ is greater than all. The evil spirits quake in anguish at the Presence of Christ. When He is dwelling in us we are a terrifying threat to the workers of lawlessness. We must make certain we are walking in Him and not in terms of our own impulses or ambitions.

And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee. (Deuteronomy 7:22)

There have been Christian teachers who have taught we can become sanctified instantly.

It is true that we are justified instantly by putting our trust in the blood of Christ. Also, we are sanctified (set apart to God as one who is holy) when we receive Christ as our Savior.

But the abolishing of the tendencies and effects of sin and rebellion in our lives requires a period of time for its accomplishment.

The reason God does not destroy instantly the works of Satan in us is that we would not be able to maintain the land that would be opened up (See Deuteronomy 7:22 above). The Israelites had to conquer the cities one at a time because of the lions, bears, and other wild animals that would increase rapidly as soon as the Canaanite peoples were killed.

While Israel was conquering one city, the Philistines in the remaining cities were keeping those cities intact and the farms maintained. Of course, the Philistines had no idea they were preserving the land against the day that the Israelites were ready to assume control. Even if they had understood the plan of the Lord there was nothing they could do about it unless they wished to destroy their own possessions.

So it is with us. God delivers us from bondage little by little, giving us a specific victory and then enabling us to grow into and possess our new "territory," our new liberty in Christ. When we make a success of our enlargement, He brings us into new conquest. If the Lord were to give us all of our inheritance at once we would not be able to keep it. One way or another we would lose it.

If there is a "room" in our personality that is "swept and garnished," but Christ is not in control there, the enemy returns in greater numbers and we are worse off than before.

When we move along on God’s schedule of conquest, all things work together for good—even the "husk" of our nature. The husk serves a purpose until the corn is ready to be used. If we will trust and obey the Lord, Christ will work a work of conquest in us, causing even our mistakes and shortcomings to bring us into the rest of God.

But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed. (Deuteronomy 7:23)

We are to follow the Spirit of God into battle against the forces of Hell. If we do, God will deliver the evil spirits into our hand and through the Spirit we will destroy them with terrible destruction. The rooting out and destroying will continue until there is not one evil spirit left in the heavens or on the earth. It is a work of total, complete destruction of Satan and his entire empire.

The Israelites seemed never to be able to gain the determination necessary to destroy the Canaanites as God wanted them destroyed. In the end-time, the remnant whom the Lord calls will attack the enemies of God and slay them until every trace of uncleanness has been destroyed from the earth.

The Day of Christ will witness a work of destruction of the enemy, leaving not one alive (not one unclean spirit left in a position to hinder the will of Christ). The destruction of evil will be carried out without pity or mercy for the enemy. He will be treated as he has treated us, for so the Lord God has commanded us.

And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them. (Deuteronomy 7:24)

The kings of darkness, those described in Ephesians 6:12, are to be torn down from their heavenly vantage points and crushed beneath the feet of the Church. There is no lord of darkness who can withstand the Lord Jesus Christ moving through His Body.

Christ has commanded us to tread on serpents, scorpions, and all the power of the enemy. In God’s time the enemy himself will be cast down and all his power destroyed (Habakkuk 3:13).

It is wonderful to contemplate an earth in which there is no sin, no spiritual pressure to rebel against God. Such freedom from sin and rebellion is no fantasy. It is solid reality and it shall come to pass before long.

Even now the trumpet of God is sounding in the spirit realm, awakening God’s mighty men to the battle. Who, then, will enlist his services in the Lord’s army? Each saint who enlists in the army must have in his heart the unchanging determination to root out and crush every unclean spirit. There is to be no compromise, no halfway measures. This is fierce warfare until every trace of resistance has been eliminated and Christ is Lord of all.

It has happened in history that wicked leaders of nations have prevented complete victory for their own country by making peace with the enemy at a crucial moment, in the mistaken notion that something of value can be gained in this manner. Wicked men are determined to dwell in the palaces of ease, and they will sacrifice every person, every virtue, all that is worthy, in order to maintain their position.

The lords of darkness know they cannot win against the Lord. It is not unlikely that in the last days they will reveal themselves as supernatural creatures who desire to make peace with man. If this happens there will be no lack of treacherous political leaders and other people of "importance" who will be ready to accept the fallen lords in the name of peace and good will, hoping thereby to maintain their own comfortable positions of leadership.

But the day of the self-seeking destroyers will have come to an end. The sons of God will come upon the lords of darkness, and on their human hosts as well, and hack them to pieces in the name of the Lord. There will be no compromise in that hour!

Saul, an example of self-seeking men, kept King Agag alive after God had condemned him to death. Judge Samuel dealt with Agag in the manner in which the sons of God will deal with the lords of darkness.

And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal. (I Samuel 15:33)

There can be no rest for God or for His saints until every particle of sin has been destroyed from the creation—finally, totally, utterly. Victory must—and shall be—absolute!

A fourth aspect of the rest of God is the gaining of our inheritance in the land of promise, the obtaining of all God has promised to each Christian as an individual, and to all Christians collectively as the Body of Christ.

For if Jesus [Joshua] had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. (Hebrews 4:8)

Joshua brought the children of Israel into Canaan, the land of milk and honey, the promised-land inheritance, the rest of God. The Israelites never did receive the fullness of the inheritance because they were stoutly resisted by the inhabitants of the land.

As soon as we endeavor to rest with God in the blessings of His creation we discover there are enemies already living in the places assigned to us and that they will resist being dispossessed.

The present inhabitants of "our land" are crafty, diligent opponents who are determined to destroy us. It is impossible for us in our own wisdom or strength to obtain our inheritance. We are flesh and blood. The enemy is spirit. He is wiser, stronger, and more experienced than we.

Every time we attempt to enter God’s rest something happens that produces unrest, pain, unbelief, sin, rebellion or some other evil or troublesome situation. Such opposition is caused by the enemy, with God’s permission. God is using the enemy to humble us and to instruct us, to teach us discipline, and to make us know that man does not live by bread alone but by the words proceeding from the mouth of God.

Even though the works were finished before the world was created, and the land of promise is legally ours by inheritance, yet it is impossible for us to enter. What do we do? We come to Christ and follow Him as He destroys His enemies because He and we have the same enemies.

We learn to follow the Holy Spirit into the land of promise. We labor in the Spirit of God to enter our rest, our inheritance in Christ. Anyone who is of the opinion that we just fall into the fullness of Christ by accepting Him as our Savior and then continuing with our business as usual, has no idea of what it means to enter the rest of God.

Entering the rest of God requires total diligence on our part. We must give ourselves to Christ wholly if we expect to make any progress. No one can be a disciple of Jesus until he forsakes all he has, takes up his cross, and follows the Lord Jesus.

We cannot earn the rest of God, but we must follow the Holy Spirit every second of every day of our lives in order to wrest the inheritance from the hand of the enemy. The Christian discipleship is a battle to the death. There is a crown of glory to be attained. Let us make sure we do not lose the reward but are followers of those who through faith and patience obtain the fullness of the inheritance.

The promises of glory and authority are to the victorious saints. To be an overcomer requires all that a person is and possesses. Christ must become the center on which life revolves in worship and obedience. Anything less than total devotion to Him will prevent the seeker from laying hold on the fullness of God’s rest. We must labor with everything that is in us to enter the rest of God.

That labor is not the wearying striving of the religious seeker. The labor that is effective in the Kingdom of God is the labor of perceiving the mind of the Holy Spirit and then resting in the strength of God while the Spirit brings victory.

All of the wisdom and power is of God. This is true for every aspect of the plan of redemption we are describing in this book. We must be diligent to keep ourselves in the wisdom and power of God; otherwise we drift away because of the demands and bondages of the world, the adversary, and our fleshly nature.

The first aspect of the rest of God is our coming to understand the value of all that God has planned and our joyous repose with God in the contemplation of the exceeding excellence of all He has created. Such joyous repose works out in our daily life as we cease from our fleshly, self-centered striving and look to the Lord for every expect of thinking, speaking, and acting.

The second aspect of the rest of God is the entering of rest at the end of our life on the earth. Our trials and tribulations are over and we rest in Paradise, awaiting the glorious resurrection day in which Christ returns to earth and we are glorified together with Him.

The third aspect of the rest of God is the destruction of the forces of Hell.

The fourth aspect of the rest of God is our laying hold on the fullness of what God has promised to us: the demolishing of the guilt, tendencies, and effects of sin in our spirit, soul, and body; the full maturing of the Nature of Christ in us; the making alive of our mortal body and the clothing of it with the glorious house from Heaven; our complete union with the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit; the authority and power given us as God’s kings and priests as we enter coheirship with our Lord Jesus Christ; and an eternity of fruitfulness in God and the Lamb throughout the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

The fifth aspect of the rest of God concerns our abiding in Christ.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:4,5)

While we are laboring toward the fullness of the inheritance we are to be abiding in Christ, finding in Him a rest that is free from strife, worry, fear, and self-seeking. If we abide in Christ, living by the virtue, wisdom, and strength that flow from His unlimited resources, we achieve rest from our sin, our disobedience, our unbelief, and our personal ambition.

The "abiding" aspect of the rest of God is in the realm of means, while the "inheritance" aspect of the rest of God is more in the realm of ends. The idea is that we are to rest in Christ as the means of attaining the fullness of the rest that God has for us. Abiding in Christ is the rest of the Way while we are pressing toward the rest of the Truth and the Life. We rest in Christ while we are entering the rest of God.

God surveys with the greatest of pleasure the creation He has conceived and is bringing into being. He views the tapestry from Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21 and He works back and forth, weaving each detail from beginning to ending. All the energy, wisdom, virtue, resources, that will ever be needed have been provided already. They are in Christ. All we are required to do is abide in the Vine.

A thousand circumstances arise, it seems, that strive to tear us from our rest in the Vine. Our task is to remain steadfast in Christ, remaining strong in the faith, hope, and trust by which we are being saved. We are saved by maintaining an unshakable confidence that God is performing in us, and with us, exactly what He has promised.

We take our place in the Vine each morning whether we are in pleasant or unpleasant circumstances, and we cooperate as cheerfully and uncomplainingly as possible with the Holy Spirit as He unfolds the program for the day. Living in Christ is always a challenge, always a fight, always an adventure. If we keep our faith strong in Him He will bring us into the rest of God.

The sixth aspect of the rest of God is God settling down to rest in us and we in Him. This is the temple dimension of the rest of God.

The settling down of God to rest in us and we in Him is one of the central purposes of the plan of redemption. God desires to have a temple, a living house, in which He can abide in joy and tranquility of Personality. We are being created that living temple, the city of God, the new Jerusalem.

The necessary transformation is taking place in us now so that God Almighty will have a habitation through which He can live, move, and have His Being throughout His creation. God is bringing each of us into Divine peace, order, and repose in Himself. Otherwise we cannot serve as His dwelling place.

The Lord’s plan was announced at the beginning of the construction of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8)

The sanctuary (which we are) is being made for God so He may dwell among us. We enter His rest. The creation is for God first, for us second.

Christ is the only Temple God will accept. Each of us must become a part of the one Body of Christ if we expect to be included in the house, in the rest of God.

The attitude of the Lord toward His eternal resting place is set forth in the following Psalm:

Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the LORD will dwell in it for ever. (Psalms 68:16)

The spiritual aspirations of mankind have produced many religions. Some of these require destructive acts of devotion. The strivings of men and women to relieve the pressures of conscience and to gratify personal ambition result in unrest and "leaping" of all kinds.

Our religious efforts are to no avail. God has chosen His own plan in Christ. All else is futile. God will dwell in Mount Zion forever.

The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the LORD is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. (Psalms 68:17)

God is seeking many vehicles in which he can "ride" and go from place to place. The righteousness of God was demonstrated as Mount Sinai shook and the holy Law was carved in tables of stone.

God desires a living house, living stones made from people, of which Christ is the chief Cornerstone. Therefore God, while thundering on Mount Sinai, directed the building of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, the type of His eternal home.

Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them. (Psalms 68:18)

The beginning of the house of God was the resurrection and ascension of Christ. The "gifts for men" are the apostles, prophets, teacher, gifts of healing, tongues, and so forth that serve to build the Temple of God into the fullness of the stature of Christ (Ephesians, Chapter Four).

Rebellious people are given the ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit so they may conquer their own rebellions and the rebellions of those who hear them. God cannot find rest in us as long as there is one mote of rebellion in our nature. The third death and resurrection removes every drop of rebellion from us.

The purpose of it all is that the "Lord God may dwell among them." As soon as the Body of Christ has been perfected the Lord God can settle down to rest in His living Temple.

The first Christian martyr, Stephen, speaking under the anointing of the Holy Spirit of God, revealed the purpose of God in the creation of the Church.

Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, (Acts 7:48)

The Tabernacle of the Congregation, Solomon’s Temple, and Herod’s Temple were only shadows of the true house of God. The eternal Temple of God cannot be constructed from stone and wood assembled by the skill of men. Stone and wood are perishable materials. God is building a temple that will increase in glory and perfection throughout the endless eons to come.

Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things? (Acts 7:49,50)

Notice in the above passage that the house of God is the place of His rest. God is explaining to human beings that it is impossible for mankind to provide rest for God by religious service and construction because God Himself has made all these things, including the heavens and the earth. If they were what He wanted He would have used them to fashion His dwelling.

Men cannot assist God or provide for God’s needs. The only lasting service we can render is to give ourselves to God, for this is what He is requesting. The Jewish elders realized this fact deep in their hearts, and their fear of what that might mean to them personally caused them to shut the mouth of Stephen.

We commence our spiritual service by trying to buy God’s good will with money or with part of our time or with a service. Eventually we understand that God will not accept our gifts. He is seeking us personally, not what we can do for Him. God desires unhindered access to us so He can build us into that which He considers acceptable for His purposes. Since God’s methods take the activity and planning out of our hands, and sometimes bring us into situations disagreeable to us, we resist.

Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. (Acts 7:51)

The ordinary condition of the people of God is uncircumcision of the heart and uncircumcision of the ears. We may not enjoy looking at it, but that is our picture. This was the condition of Israel under Moses, the condition of Israel at the time of Stephen, and the condition of the Christian Church today.

The hearts of Christian people often are in favor of an attractive display of the flesh, preferring to be entertained and have a "Saul" rule them instead of the Spirit of God. They are unable to receive the Word of God unless it is agreeable and comfortable for their fleshly personality.

Whenever the flesh rules in the house of God the believers will resist the Holy Spirit. They may give of their time and money to "the Lord’s work" but they will not surrender their heart. Christ remains afar off.

Yet from such fleshly congregations Christ is drawing those who will hear His voice and open the door of their heart. They are as a lovely bride coming forth from the ranks of Christendom.

Christ beckons His beloved ones to ascend with Him to the Bosom of the Father. These consecrated believers sometimes have a difficult time, as we read in the Song of Solomon (Song of Solomon 5:7). However, they do not become discouraged because they have heard His call:

My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. (Song of Solomon 2:10- 13)

The answer to the question raised by the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:49) is as follows:

For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. (Isaiah 66:2)

Mankind cannot build a house for God, although that is the desire of the flesh. God’s hand has made all things and He is not interested in stone, wood, steel, plastic, or glass. God is interested in the hearts of His saints. Believers who are not rich in their own ways and devices but who are of a humble, broken spirit, who fear God and are quick to obey His Word—these are the living stones in the Temple of God.

God is unable to find rest in the proud and self-seeking.

To be a vessel of the Lord we must be washed in the blood of God’s Lamb, we must love righteousness and hate lawlessness, and we must be rich in God’s ways and poor in our own ways. These are the results in us of the three deaths and three resurrections of redemption.

The seventh aspect of the rest of God concerns our being changed into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ in our spirit, in our soul, and in our body.

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

The creative Word of God was pronounced, as described in Genesis, Chapter One, stating that man is to be in the image of God. Adam and Eve were the beginning of the fulfillment of the creative Word. They were the children of God and, unlike the angels, were created in the image of God.

Then we see Jesus who, through His mother, Mary, was descended from Adam and Eve. His Spirit is One with the Holy Spirit of God. His Soul and Nature are filled with love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control.

Christ is kingly in bearing, childlike in innocence, consuming in wrath. His glorified body can move faster than light and is more powerful than the stars in their courses. His mind contains all the wisdom and knowledge in the universe.

Christ is perfectly, completely the image of the Father. He is the fulfillment of the Word of God concerning the image assigned to mankind. He who has seen Christ has seen the Father. He who has heard Christ has heard the Father. He who has known Christ has known the Father.

At the present time, only Jesus exists as the fulfillment of God’s Word concerning God’s image. Now there are coming into being many sons, many brothers who are being created according to the pattern—Christ. We Christians are a long way from being in the full image of the Lord in our spirit, soul, and body; but the Word of God has stated that God has predestined us to this end.

We cannot explain when or under what circumstances the Word of God will be fulfilled perfectly in us. We do know of a certainty that the Word of God never will cease working until every member of the Body of Christ has been changed into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.

One of the supreme goals of the working of God’s creative Word is the forming of the brothers of Christ in the image of Christ. This goal will be attained perfectly, as will every other stated purpose of the Word of God.

All of the creatures and things of the universe are working together so that the purposes of God may be fulfilled in Christ. The wisdom and power of the Word of God are so awesome as to be incapable of description by any human. We only can acknowledge that the Word of God has been issued concerning the conforming of the foreknown, predestined brothers of Christ to the image of Christ, and that the wisdom and power behind the issued Word is irresistible, being superior to every other wisdom and power in existence.

The Word of God proclaims that all the universe has been put in subjection to mankind. Everything God has created must come under the rule of man.

Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. (Hebrews 2:8)

The reason "we see not yet all things put under him" is that man is not yet in God’s image to the degree God requires. We do see Jesus who is in the image of God. He possesses dominion over all things—the fullness of the authority and power promised to man.

The fruitfulness and rulership promised in the Word are given to those who are in the image of the Lord God and who are united in oneness with the Lord God. God never will give His Glory to any person who is not in His image or who is not united in oneness with Himself.

The fulfillment of the Word spoken concerning mankind will occur when the Lamb and His Wife are in union, she being in His image. Then the fullness of fruitfulness and rulership will be given to Them. They will be one image of the Glory of God Almighty.

In review, there are at least seven aspects of the rest of God:

The resting of God from all His work, and our entrance into His rest.

Rest from the trials and tribulations of this life after our course on earth is finished.

The destruction of the enemies of God.

A firm grasp on the fullness of the inheritance.

Residence in the Person and will of Christ.

The settling down to rest of God in us as He finds His eternal abode in His living Temple.

Transformation into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ in our spirit, our soul, and our body.

Hosea, Chapter Six: Third Day

Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. (Hosea 6:1-3)

The Spirit of Christ is revealing here that after two thousand years of tearing and then healing us, smiting and then binding us up, the Lord will come to us as the harvest and spring rains. In so doing He will "raise us up, and we shall live in His sight."

Because of the above passage, and many others in the writings of the prophets, we are of the opinion that the power and blessing of Christ on and in His Church will increase from the present hour until the Lord returns visibly to the earth. The return of the Lord will be the climax of a slowly-building crescendo of revelation, of godly living, and of Spirit-empowered testimony.

The Lord Jesus Himself will come to us as an ever-increasing downpour of rain—both harvest and seed rain. Is this what Peter announced?

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution [restoration] of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:19-21)

Notice there are to be times (seasons; opportunities) of refreshing and times (periods) of restitution (restoration) of all things. Notice also that these opportunities and periods are associated with the coming of the Lord. According to Peter, God through His prophets has announced the periods of restoration ever since the world began.

We see then, in Hosea and Acts, that the revealing of Christ will not be one simple event that will come upon the world but rather will be the high point, the climax of a steadily-increasing issuance of the Holy Spirit to God’s people.

It does not state that the Lord Jesus will send the rain. It states, rather, that Jesus will come as the rain, as the harvest and seed rain to the earth.

"To them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Hebrews 9:28). There have been refreshing rains of the Holy Spirit during the two thousand years of Church history. All of these have been "comings" of Christ to His Church. However, none of the previous "sendings" of Christ can be compared with the glory yet to come.

The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is not for the purpose of saving us from the troubles of the earth, although we shall be gathered to Him before God pours out His fiery wrath on rebellious and disobedient people. Rather, the coming of the Lord Jesus is the bringing of eternal life to the saints by the resurrection of their mortal bodies and the clothing of their resurrected bodies with bodies of Divine glory. The concept here is that the resurrection of the righteous is the climax of the overcoming life of victorious faith.

We shall be delivered from persecution when the Lord is revealed. It is the appearing of the Lord that will destroy the enemy.

The purpose of our resurrection and ascension is not that we may escape the enemy or the necessary lessons God is teaching us in the wilderness of this life.

The doctrine of escape from vexing circumstances by means of the Day of the Lord is something like the idea that graduation from school is an escape from doing your homework. Graduation is a time of rejoicing for the diligent student, but graduation day may be filled with remorse and shame for the student who has been careless in school.

The Day of Christ will be a fearful time of judgment and rewards. Christ is coming to raise the Church and to reward each believer according to his works. He is bringing bodies of life like His glorious body. The more faithful we have been the more life we will receive. There is a reward for diligent, faithful, holy Christian living.

"In the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight." Our bodies will be raised on the "third day" and we shall be clothed with resurrection life. The purpose of such Divine impartation is that we may "live in his sight." We shall "live" during the "third day."

The third day: the thousand-year Kingdom Age. The third day is the Millennial Jubilee, the thousand-year period during which the Lord Jesus and His saints will shepherd the nations with a rod of iron. We are being prepared now to be raised at the appearing of the Lord Jesus and to live in His sight—in the throne of God and on the earth at the same time just as He lives in the throne of God and on the earth at the same time.

The thousand-year Kingdom Age will be an era, a wonderful era, and it is close at hand. The "going forth" of Christ is the dawning of the new day the Lord has made for us. The nations of the earth will learn righteousness in that hour, and the Wife of the Lamb will live in His Presence and be purified and transformed by His Glory.

When we observe "all Israel," the whole Church of God, at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, the effect of the thousand-year work of God in Christ is apparent. She is now ready to descend to earth as the city of God Almighty, being able to gaze in adoration on the Face of God Himself.

The thousand-year Kingdom Age is the subject of much of the writings of the Hebrew prophets. Our position during the Kingdom Age will be that of rulers over cities, just as is true of the evil lords of darkness in the present hour.

The Church will cast down the evil lords of darkness and assume their vantage points of dominion over the earth. This is why the third death and third resurrection are so important. We cannot be assigned such responsibility until it has been demonstrated beyond a doubt that we are to be trusted.

The authority, power, life, responsibility, opportunities for service, discussed in the second and third chapters of Revelation, are "licenses" that give evidence of adequate preparation. We do not earn the licenses by accumulating points. Rather, we allow the Holy Spirit to prepare us for the roles associated with the royal priesthood.

Current Christian thinking is in error concerning the royal priesthood. The concept is that by grace through faith we will be made members of the Bride, of the royal priesthood. This is not at all true. This would be equivalent to saying that those on whom the state has mercy will be given a license to practice medicine.

No person will be made a member of the royal priesthood until he or she has been adequately trained. Mercy and grace are a lifeline to the sinner; but the royal priesthood consists of sons of God who have experienced very difficult training and have passed the most rigorous testing imaginable.

If we are not faithful in this life in that which is least there is no possibility that we will reign with Christ. The teaching that indifferent church-attenders suddenly will be transformed into spiritual kings and priests of Christ proceeds from ignorance of Kingdom realities. We reap exactly what we sow in this life.

We know the parable of the ruler who gave out the talents as he took his leave. When he returned he demanded an accounting of his money. To those who had been diligent he entrusted the oversight of cities.

If we are diligent with the grace of God entrusted to us, giving time each day to the single-minded seeking and serving of the Lord Jesus, He will put us in charge of cities on the earth, just as He promised.

If we are not diligent, having taken the initial step of salvation in Christ but then having spent our days in the things of the world, we assuredly will not be entrusted with greater responsibility. Furthermore we run the risk of having the faith and the opportunity for service that we do have taken from us by the Lord and given to another believer who is employing everything God has given him in the fight to establish the will of God in the earth.

Violent times are just ahead and we will need every bit of grace we possess. So let us be diligent with the things of the Lord.

Let us take heed to ourselves and to what Christ has given us for He will come to us suddenly and demand an accounting. Let us be like faithful Moses, serving Christ with all our heart, soul, mind and strength so that no matter when He comes to us we will rejoice to see Him and will be glad for our earthly conduct as we render to Him an accounting of our actions.

The manner in which we are responding to Christ now is having a direct effect on our lives during the ages to come. If we are faithful warriors we will be numbered among His mighty men, His rulers, when He appears. If we have been careless and indifferent we will be ashamed before Him at His coming.

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power [authority], but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6)

One of the most important concepts of the "third day" is that of rulership. John beheld "thrones" and "they" sat on them. We understand from Daniel, Chapter Seven, and Revelation, Chapter Three, that "they" are the saints of Christ, the victorious believers. "Judgment" was given to them.

Many passages of both Old and New Testaments inform us that Christ and His faithful ones are coming to judge the heaven and the earth, destroying sin and sinners and extending the righteous rule of Christ throughout the earth.

Another concept is that of discipleship. The rulers and judges of the third day are those who give their lives for Christ in the spiritual sense, and sometimes physically as well. They live their lives in obedience to the Holy Spirit and consistently testify to the truth of the Word of God, no matter what it may cost them in suffering or inconvenience.

They are "living sacrifices" whether or not they live or die in the physical body (Hebrews 11:4). They are not careless Christians but are the dedicated disciples of the Lord Jesus.

They will not worship the God of this age or any institution that Satan-directed man sets up. They are steadfastly for Christ and against Antichrist. They come out from the lust and murder of the world and purge themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. They refuse to serve Satan. They turn away from the pleasures of the flesh.

Whatever sacrifice Christ requires of them they offer with diligence. They count themselves as dead and Christ as their life. They present their bodies a living sacrifice and are changed into the Spirit of the Lord rather than the spirit of the world. They are transformed by the renewing of their mind as they meditate continually in the Word of God.

The work of their hands is dedicated to the service of God, and they cannot be frightened into bondage to the world economic system. They would starve to death before they would deny Christ. They are ready to walk in faith, as the Lord leads, and trust God for their daily bread, their families, their clothes, their shelter.

These rulers and judges have overcome the God of this age and their own flesh, being ready at all times to go outside the camp with Christ, bearing His rejection and humiliation. They esteem "the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt," for they have "respect to the recompence of the reward" (Hebrews 11:26).

"They lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." "We shall live in His sight."

We are in the pursuit of Divine life. It is not enough merely to "accept" Christ and then return to our customary way of living. We must spend our days sowing to the resurrection, just as Paul did (Philippians 3:11; Galatians 6:8).

We must make a total effort if we are to lay hold on eternal life. We cannot hold back one particle of our personality but must give all to the quest. There is life more abundantly in Christ. Abundant resurrection life is a prize we gain by sharing the sufferings of Christ.

The "first resurrection" of Revelation, Chapter 20 (not the first of the three resurrections that are the subject of our book) is the resurrection of the conscientious Christians who are faithful disciples of the Lord Jesus. It is the out-resurrection Paul was striving to attain (Philippians 3:11).

Those who attain the first resurrection are "blessed and holy." The second death, the Lake of Fire, has no authority over them.

Perfecting the Church and governing the nations. The ruling saints abide eternally in the consuming Fire. They are made ever more pure in Christ’s image by the Divine Fire because their Substance is Divine gold. Their reward is to be "priests of God and of Christ."

The victorious saints will represent and bring the Presence of God and Christ throughout the creation for one thousand years. During the thousand-year Kingdom Age the whole Church of Christ will be perfected. The nations of the earth, through the Church, will be taught of the Person and ways of God Almighty and of His beloved Son (John 17:21-23).

The perfecting of Israel, the Church of God, is described by the Spirit of Christ speaking through Isaiah:

For the LORD shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody. (Isaiah 51:3)

O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children. (Isaiah 54:11-13)

A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the LORD will hasten it in his time. (Isaiah 60:22)

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3)

The holy city, the new Jerusalem, the Church of Christ, is being constructed. It will be perfected during the ages to come. As the Church is being perfected by the Lord the members will be busy serving Christ as kings and priests throughout the creation. They will restore everything of worth that has been destroyed. We now are entering the program that is perfecting us in Christ and we are ready to serve Christ throughout the earth as He directs. However, we shall "live" during the Kingdom Age to an extent not available in the present hour.

And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. (Isaiah 61:4)

The members of the Body of Christ will bring redemption to every person on the earth who does not resist the lordship of Christ.

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

The role of the Church is to teach the nations the righteous ways of the Lord.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:2,3)

The thousand-year Kingdom Age is the "third day" of Hosea, Chapter Six, according to our understanding. The victorious saints will rule as kings and serve as priests of God and Christ throughout the thousand-year period of peace, a peace enforced by a rod of iron. There will be righteousness on the earth.

Our ability to assume such a high level of authority and responsibility depends on our willingness to obey God now. He has three deaths and three resurrections to bring us through. The third death and resurrection, that of victory through consecration and obedience, must be wrought in us if we are to attain the resurrection of more abundant fruit and enormous power and authority to which the Lord has called us in Christ.

Waters to the Loins; Waters to Swim In

And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ancles. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. (Ezekiel 47:3-5)

There may be no clearer picture in the Scriptures of progressive redemption in Christ than that of the river Ezekiel saw in vision. Ezekiel’s river is a type of the three deaths and three resurrections and of the resulting flowing of the River of Life to the peoples of the earth.

We notice, in verses eight and nine (of Ezekiel, Chapter 47) that as soon as the fullness of life has been developed in the Church the water will "go into the sea" and "there will be a multitude of fish." As soon as the Church has been made one in Christ and in the Father, the world will believe (John 17:21-23).

Judgment and refreshing. The "man that had the line in his hand" represents the judgment of God. The blessing of the Holy Spirit always is associated with judgment. The cloud and the fire go together. Christ baptizes us with the Holy Spirit and with fire. The Holy Spirit sat on the early Church as tongues of fire. Where the Holy Spirit is, there is judgment against sin.

As the man proceeded "eastward," that is, toward the Day of the Lord, the Word of God "measured" the Temple of God and those who worship therein (Revelation 11:1). The judgment resulted in an increase in the depth of the "waters," the depth and fullness of the Holy Spirit.

The power to bear witness follows judgment (Revelation 11:3).

When a Christian church prays earnestly for revival, the Holy Spirit will respond by sending conviction on sin. Men and women, boys and girls, will begin to confess their sins and make their lives right in God’s sight. When the confession and repentance have been completed to the Lord’s satisfaction He will send blessing, enlargement, and the ability to bring life to those around us.

The more of the Holy Spirit we would possess the more sensitive we must be to sin. When the Holy Spirit comes He convicts us of sin in our deeds, words, motives, and imaginations. If we confess our sins and turn away from them, the blessing increases on us and we become more effective witnesses of Christ.

The "man with the line in his hand" is walking among the Christian people today and we are being made aware of the holy demands of the Holy Spirit. The judgment of the Lord is in the land and it always begins with the household of God (I Peter 4:17).

The "waters" represent the Holy Spirit of God. The Spirit of God was active in the creation of the heaven and the earth, brooding on the "face of the waters."

We can notice the Spirit of God working in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and their descendants. The Spirit, who guided their lives, gave them the ability to bless their children in prophetic utterance (Genesis 48:15, for example). Many prophets, judges, priests, and teachers were moved by the Holy Spirit during Old Testament times.

Joel prophesied that God has determined to pour out His Spirit on all flesh. The fulfillment of Joel began on the original Day of Pentecost. After centuries of spiritual desolation sprinkled with the lives of outstanding saints, the Holy Spirit began through the Protestant Reformers the wonderful restoration described by Joel and the other prophets of Israel. Many revivals have occurred in various geographical areas since the time of the Reformers.

The Spirit was poured on Wales toward the end of the nineteenth century, and in other parts of the world in the early twentieth century. Speaking in tongues and other manifestations of the Holy Spirit have become increasingly widespread.

In the middle of the twentieth century, impetus was given by the Spirit to the manifestation of Divine healing. Also, the Spirit began to testify that the harvest rain was on the way and that now is the time to pray for the increase of the harvest rain.

In the latter days of the twentieth century we notice the Holy Spirit moving in Indonesia, South America, Africa, Europe, and in other areas as well. In addition there has been a greater willingness to respond to the Spirit on the part of many persons who attend the churches of the large denominations of Christendom.

A thoughtful observer may conclude that the entrance of the Spirit of God into the earth is increasing rapidly, exactly as prophesied by Joel and the other prophets of Israel. The Holy Spirit seems to be testifying that the restoration that began with the Protestant Reformers is moving forward in this hour at a rapidly increasing rate and soon will attain a magnitude never before witnessed on the earth since the time the Holy Spirit first hovered over the watery surface of a formless planet.

It is our understanding that the outpouring of power to bear witness will not reach its climax until every man, woman, boy, and girl on the earth has both seen and heard the Gospel of the Kingdom of God in the fullness of Divine power and authority. After that there will be a rise of lawlessness, including the revealing of the "man of sin," with the result that the love of the majority for Christ will grow cold.

The man with the line in his hand always is moving "eastward" toward the rising of the Sun of righteousness. So it is that both judgment and refreshing will increase as we approach the Day of Christ, especially in the "remnant" of saints whom the Lord is drawing to Himself. We must be made ready for the coming of Him whose eyes burn as a flame of fire.

Church history, and the deepening waters. We may think of the "cubits" as years, when studying this passage from Ezekiel, Chapter 47. During the first thousand years of the history of the Church the "waters were to the ankles." The Holy Spirit in the Church affected the conduct of most of the communicants in the "Christian" countries to a limited extent, or so it seems.

The spiritual experience of millions of Europeans consisted mainly of attendance at Divine service and the observance of the sacraments, along with unscriptural practices such as the buying of indulgences. The concept of living one’s daily life in moment-by-moment cooperation with the Holy Spirit appears to have been limited to a few outstanding saints.

During the second millennium of Christian Church history the Holy Spirit will increase until the "water" has reached the "knees." The influence of the Holy Spirit on the members of fervent Christian assemblies has been increasing—especially since the days of the Reformers. The early Methodist and Baptist churches, for example, made strong demands on the spiritual life of their members and the Spirit of God was among them.

The teaching of the "holiness" and Pentecostal churches, in some instances, have added to these demands. The believers have been exhorted to "walk in the Spirit."

It is our understanding that the third "day," the third thousand-year period, will be the thousand-year Kingdom Age. At that time the Holy Spirit will be to the level of the "loins," that is, to the place of fruitfulness and strength.

The nations of the thousand-year Kingdom Age will not have a choice as to whether they wish to serve the Lord. The saints will be in control in both the spiritual and natural realms. The laws of the Kingdom of God will be enforced with the iron discipline of the Holy Spirit. All who resist Christ will be destroyed.

This is "waters to the loins," to the area of fruitfulness and strength. Satan and wicked people will not be allowed to destroy and corrupt throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age, until the thousand years have been fulfilled. Then Satan will be released for a short period while God is putting the finishing touches on His complete work of judgment and redemption.

The further the whole Church goes into the "waters" of God the easier it is for individual saints to press forward into even greater victory. Now, in these days, the Spirit of God is beckoning to each of us to press forward to the fullness of victory in Christ. There will be a "remnant" of saints who will bear witness of Christ with unprecedented power through to the coming of the Lord.

Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. (Ezekiel 47:5)

The fourth of the thousand-cubit lengths, the "waters to swim in," speaks of the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. Four is the number of Pentecost, in that the feast of Pentecost is the fourth of the seven feasts and the Lampstand is the fourth of the seven furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

During the eternal reign of Christ the Presence of the Holy Spirit will be available to us as a "pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the Throne of God and of the Lamb" (Revelation 22:1).

Perhaps the most outstanding feature of the new world will be that the saints are permitted and able to look on the Face of God—an unheard of glory.

And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. (Revelation 22:4)

How do we proceed from our present animal state to a level of spirituality where the Spirit is available as a crystal river and we are able to see the very Face of God?

We pass from the salvation level, waters to the ankles, to the sanctification level, waters to the knees. Then we proceed to the conquest-consecration-throne level of water to the loins.

The first three levels are the works of redemption. The fourth level is the fullness of God.

After we have been brought through the third death, in which we learn obedience to God, all we have gained spiritually must be returned to God from whom it came. The goal is union with the Father through Christ—total, complete, restful union. The end is love. We abide in perfect love in Christ in God. This is waters to swim in and it passes knowledge, it cannot be crossed over.

Now we become a tree of life. We are brought back to the bank of the River of Life. The love of Christ in us is expressed toward other people.

And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink [bank] of the river. (Ezekiel 47:6)

We begin to understand that God called us out of the world to become His Church, and then out of the churches to become a holy remnant, the firstfruits of His Church, being prepared to assist those who possess less of God than we do. The firstborn receives the double portion so he may assist his brothers and sisters.

If we are called to the Bosom of the Father, to be a part of her who is "the only one of her mother," we must proceed to the fourth level, and then return to where the "fish" are. All that is ours must be returned to God, and then all that is God’s will belong to us. There must be nothing in us that is not found in the Father.

Our ultimate goal is not some sort of transcendent spiritual perfection but rest in the Bosom of the Father. Those who have been called to the fullness of Christ are in a place of great danger and great opportunity. The danger is that after having been delivered we will retain our self-will and become another satan. The Charismatic churches are dangerously close to this position in the present hour.

The desirable state is that in which we are content to rest in the Father’s will, caring no longer for preeminence, power, fame or any of the other goals to which the spiritual person may be attracted.

Most of the churches and organizations, it appears, are "leaping" in order to excel, to call attention to themselves and their programs. It is a babylonish (manmade, man-centered, man-directed) condition, a circus of activity in which each ambitious individual seeks to outdo and control the others.

God is calling His elect away from the leaping and striving of the Christian churches.

My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; (Song of Solomon 2:10-12)

Can you hear the voice of the Bridegroom? If so, go to Him in prayer until He visits you and you know your place in Him. We have this opportunity in the present hour.

Pure love, pure joy, pure peace, can be ours only when we have come into restful union with God and have been brought by Him to the people whom God has appointed to eternal life. Then with the greatest joy we shall bring forth waters of life from the wells of salvation that have been formed in our personality. We shall continue in the love of Christ, having forgotten all our former desire for preeminence and spiritual power.

The saints are to become such a part of God and Christ that they dwell forever in the abundant fullness of the Spirit of God. They will be absorbed eternally into the Divine holiness—"waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over."

Let us move from the ankles, to the knees, to the loins, and finally to the river that cannot be passed over. Such fullness is available to each of us if we will submit to the working of God in us through Christ.

When we are wading around ankle-deep we merely are playing with the things of God. Let us go out to deeper water and find the place where Christ abides. We may have the Holy Spirit, but does the Holy Spirit have us?

The fullness of the Holy Spirit will come to us in the "third hour" (Acts 2:15), in the "third day" (Hosea 6:2), in the third death and resurrection of redemption. We Christians have not "arrived" yet.

It is the sworn intention of the Almighty God to bring people and circumstances to the place where He can pour out His Spirit until the whole earth is covered with the Spirit of God as the waters cover the sea.

But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD. (Numbers 14:21)

For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14)

Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. (Ezekiel 47:8)

The outpouring and prevalence of the Holy Spirit in the days prior to and then throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age will be intense and widespread. A foretaste of such glory occurred in Wales during the last century.

Can you imagine the anointing and glory that accompanied the evangelist Finney abiding on every member of the Body of Christ? Wherever Christians are—and they will be active everywhere throughout the creation, serving God as kings and priests—there will be the Presence and comfort of the Holy Spirit.

In the new heaven and earth reign of Christ the Presence of the Holy Spirit will be so glorious, so pure, so intense, so consuming, so pervading, as not to be understandable by us in our present state of mortality. We know it will be so because of what God has said in His Word. We are not mature enough to comprehend such Divine Glory.

Christ Walks: Third Day

And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. (Luke 13:32)

For two thousand years the Church of Christ is to cast out devils and heal the sick. Whenever Jesus is working in the Church these two signs will take place. During the "third day" the Body of Christ will be perfected in Christ.

Jesus Himself was made perfect through sufferings (Hebrews 2:10). Each member of the Body of Christ is being made perfect through the varied workings of the Holy Spirit. As the members of the Body are being made perfect they are being united with the Head, Christ, so that the whole Person is one work of God.

The New Testament writings contain many passages having to do with our perfecting. The doctrine of perfection (Hebrews 6:1) has given rise to argument, with some Christians maintaining that perfection is not possible in the world and others claiming that the doctrine of perfection is taught in the Gospels and in the Epistles of the Apostles.

It is easy to appreciate both sides of the argument. Those who claim perfection is impossible are emphasizing the weakness of human beings. Those who maintain we are to be perfect are emphasizing the statements of the Scripture and are not looking too closely at our shortcomings.

Each of us humans is not merely weak, we are in fact helpless and hopeless in our flesh. Then we come under the blood of Christ and our sinful nature is forgiven. But our words, deeds, motivations, and imaginations remain far from perfection.

It is not difficult to understand how sincere Christians cannot believe that perfection is possible in this life. But let us consider a few facts:

First, the Scripture commands us to be perfect (Matthew 5:48; Luke 6:40; John 17:23; I Corinthians 2:6; Colossians 1:28; Colossians 4:12; II Timothy 3:17; Hebrews 12:23; James 3:2; I Peter 5:10; and so forth).

Second, we are not to consider our own body "now dead" (Romans 4:19) but are to consider the Glory and promise of God.

Third, what God means by perfection and what we mean by perfection may be two different concepts. Many of God’s heroes of faith were perfect by God’s standards but imperfect by our standards.

Abraham was a perfect man by God’s standards but not by human standards. The father and mother of John the Baptist no doubt had many shortcomings, as we would judge them. The father was struck dumb because of disbelief in the angel’s glorious announcement. But it is written of them: "They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless" (Luke 1:6).

What God calls blameless is blameless!

If it were left to our fleshly abilities, perfection would not be attainable. Our perfecting is the task of the Holy Spirit. Can we state it is impossible for the Holy Spirit to make us blameless? Is God unable to complete to His own standard of perfection what He has begun in us? Does God have the power and wisdom to perfect a human being in His image? We believe He does.

One of the principal reasons why Christians do not push ahead in the overcoming life is that they have no goal. People will not run a race that has no finish line. If one does not believe in a mark, in a perfection, in an attainment, in an omega, in a completion, in a maturing, in a coming of age, or understand that the attaining of the mark will affect his eternal destiny, he will not exert effort in this direction. "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18).

If we spend our time thinking about our own imperfections and are ignorant concerning the promises of God we never will lay hold on the fullness of the redemption that is in Christ.

Imagine the frustration of God as He looks down on us. He is abundantly able to create us in His image. Yet our refusal to consider His abilities and promises keeps us earthbound. Somehow there has crept into Christian thinking a fatalism, a fatalism caused by the ignorance of the Church concerning the promises, the total power, and the total knowledge of the Almighty God.

We present God as a kindly but chagrined old gentleman who wishes we all would behave and is disappointed when we do not; as an indulgent parent who scolds his children from time to time and frequently is heard to exclaim, "Boys will be boys". This concept is false.

A truer picture of God is that of a master craftsman who has set out to construct a house for himself, a craftsman with knowledge, wisdom, and in command of all resources in Heaven and on the earth.

What kind of a dwelling would such a craftsman construct?

How inappropriate it is for the materials that he is using to fret about their own incompleteness and imperfection. The only question is that concerning the power and ability of the builder and his access to materials. We think you will agree there is no question about the power or ability of God Almighty or His access to materials.

If the above is true, the only remaining question is whether God has declared in His Word that the Church will be made perfect. If He has, we understand that our doubts and fears are groundless and that we will be made perfect in Christ if we follow His program.

Being made perfect in Christ does not mean our imperfections will be covered up because they are hidden from view by the Glory of Christ’s own perfection. Imputed (ascribed) perfection has to do only with our guiltlessness when we receive Christ as our atonement. Imputed perfection is not the radiance of our wedding garment.

When we start out as Christians our imperfections are covered by the blood of Christ. Being made "perfect" in Christ means that each Christian will be created in the full image of God in his spirit, soul, and body. Then the perfected saints will be combined into the perfect Body of Christ. After that, the Body of Christ will be made one in the Father and the Son. This is what it means to be in Christ.

If there were one imperfect member in the Body of Christ the Body would be imperfect. One Israelite, Achan, caused God to declare, "Israel hath sinned." The army was defeated because of the covetousness and disobedience of one person (Joshua, Chapter Seven).

Solomon’s Temple is a type of the eternal dwelling place of God. The stones of the Temple were not shaped at the construction site in order to fit. They were fashioned at another place so when the Temple was erected there was no sound of cutting or hammering into place.

And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building. (I Kings 6:7)

Each of us Christians is being "made ready" in the wilderness of the world. As soon as we have reached the standard in the mind of the Master Builder we will be brought together in one flawless joining by the Glory of God.

Each living stone, having been formed in advance, will fit perfectly into place in the house of God, the Body of Christ. No forcing or compromise will be necessary in that day because of the unparalleled wisdom and skill of the Builder.

There will be both individual and corporate perfection in the Body of Christ. Each member will be perfect and the whole Body will be perfect as a unit. All the ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit are working to accomplish the unity and maturity of the Body of Christ.

By perfection we mean three things: (1) the removal of the guilt, tendencies, and effects of sin; (2) the fullness of unblemished conformity to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ in spirit, soul, and body; and (3) the completeness of union with the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit.

And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; . . . . (John 2:1)

The "third day" is the thousand-year Kingdom Age, as we understand it. During the thousand-year Kingdom Age the Lamb will be united with His Wife. All the perfections that have been wrought in the saints during their discipleship will be glorified and made their eternal adornment.

The Divine Gold of Christ’s Substance and the stones of character formed under pressure and heat will be refined, hammered, polished, and set into place until the dwelling place of God, the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb, has attained a beauty so dazzling that the light of the sun and moon no longer will be needed. This is the perfection of the Bride.

The most outstanding feature of the new Jerusalem is the indestructible, immovable, impregnable wall. The wall indicates that the members of the Body of Christ have had created in them the power and determination to resist evil spirits, unlike the defenseless Adam and Eve.

The transparent gold of the city is the Divine nature created in each saint and then purified by suffering until Christ in him has become clear as glass—no rebellion or sin remaining. The precious stones set in the twelve foundations of the wall are virtues of character, such as faith, patience, humility, and obedience. These forever will adorn the personality of those who have believed in Christ and have remained faithful throughout every trial.

Christ has been made perfect, and the Lord God Almighty will present to Christ a perfected Wife. Our task is to walk each day in obedience, accepting the joys and sorrows of the Christian discipleship, allowing each experience to bring forth in us the qualities desired by the Holy Spirit.

If we remain faithful to the end, not turning away from the pathway placed before us by the Lord Jesus, keeping ourselves in the love of God in Christ, we will reap a harvest of perfection one day. This perfection will not be something we have accomplished but a state brought about in us by the wisdom, purpose, and power of God Himself.

The present Christian concept that "ten thousand years from now we still will be praising God for His grace," meaning that ten thousand years from now we still will be exclaiming over the fact that God loves us while we remain in the filthiness and darkness of our lusts and self-seeking, is totally false.

As we understand the program, the warlike remnant of the Church will press forward toward perfection in the present hour, but it will be during the "third day," the thousand-year Kingdom Age, that the entire Church of Christ will be brought to the Divine perfection.

Meanwhile it is possible to be perfect right now. If we have done all we know to do, then, through the blood of Christ, we are at this moment perfect in God’s sight. Tomorrow is another challenge.

Bearing the Hundredfold Fruit of the Spirit

But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Matthew 13:23)

Every person who receives the Lord Jesus Christ has the opportunity to reap a hundredfold. In Christ is everything that God is, has, and can do. He who possesses Christ possesses everything. Yet some bring forth a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.

As we look around in the churches of today we can see many levels of spirituality. Some Christians are vigorous disciples. Their whole life is Christ. Although they are active and fruitful in the work of their own church, they have something in common. They are the brothers and sisters of all the saints regardless of denomination. Jesus is their Lord, their Master, their Friend, their Savior, their Provider, their Teacher, their All in all.

They never stop in their pilgrimage. Christ always remains the center of their interest. There is a savor of the blood of the cross and of the nail prints about them. They are growing each day, increasing in holiness and knowledge all the time. One gains the impression that their lives are on a straight line proceeding upward. They are not declining spiritually in old age after the manner of nature.

They are open to the voice of the Spirit of God and are not "stuck" on some doctrinal position. They are solid in faith and understanding, not given to doctrinal "novelties." They are productive in service, righteous in character, able to maintain the romance of the mystery of the daily pursuit of Christ. The "dew of youth" is on their "garments" because they are "skipping from hill to hill" with Him who always abides in joy and gladness of heart.

After they are saved they press on into Spirit-filled service. Yet they do not become married to their ministries and accomplishments but keep moving forward to pruning after pruning and victory after victory. The Lord Jesus reveals Himself to them because they are after His own heart.

They are the strongest and "wealthiest" people on the earth because the source of their life, wisdom, and power is the throne of Christ. Such never will be content until every aspect, every thought, every imagination, word, deed of what they are and do has been reaped unto the Lamb of God. The "waters" of their lives come from the ocean of God’s Spirit and return to that same ocean.

There is no limit to the amount of fruit they will bear throughout eternity because the Seed that has been sown in them comes from God. When the Seed of God germinates, grows, and matures to the fullest extent of its potential the result will be a son of God in the image of the Father.

All of the goodness we have mentioned is in the Lord Jesus Christ. It all is yours. There only is one wall that can keep you separated from the all that God Is and has for you. The wall is your unbelief. God remains ready and able to fulfill your richest vision. Will you tear down the wall of unbelief and allow God to reap a hundredfold in your life?

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:5)

Three things are necessary if we are to bring forth much fruit:

We must be taken out the world, out of our former life in the appetites of the flesh, and grafted on the Vine, Christ.

We must remain in Christ and not go about attempting to bring forth fruit by our own wisdom and strength.

We must submit to the pruning and dressing of the Vinedresser.

If these three conditions are met in our lives we will bring forth much fruit.

Christ is as a Vine that has been planted by the Lord God. Into that Vine is flowing all that God Is. There is no limit to the goodness, love, strength, joy, peace, nourishment, that eternally are flowing into the Vine. When we are abiding in the Vine the resources flowing into us are boundless. We will bring forth much fruit.

All of God’s creation is to be filled with the fruit of the Vine.

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

He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit. (Isaiah 27:6)

Apart from Christ we are nothing more than the dust of the ground. When we are abiding in Christ we partake of the destiny of the Vine. If we allow God to bring forth the fruit of Christ in us we will become part of the Servant of the Lord who has been commissioned to plant the heavens, lay the foundations of the earth, and reconcile each of God’s chosen people to Himself.

The fullness of God has been given to the Vine and comes forth through the Vine. There is no limit to the fruitfulness of our life when we abide in the Vine. If we do not abide in the Vine we will wither and die and be burned in the fire.

Nothing good can come from our flesh. Christ is the true Light who lights every person born into the world. Without Christ, without the Divine Life of the Vine, mankind remains the dust of the ground and returns to the ground. Only in Christ is there eternal fruitfulness and strength.

If we remain in union with the Vine, and the words of Christ remain in us, we can ask what we will and it shall be done for us. If we live in Christ and His words live in us our every prayer will be answered. This is what Jesus said.

The fruit that the Father desires is Christ in us and in those to whom we minister. If we continue in the Vine, accepting the necessary pruning and dressing, we will bear much fruit. God is glorified when we do so.

We have not chosen Christ, He has chosen us and ordained us to be fruitful branches. The fruit that grows in our lives comes from the virtue that flows in the Vine. The fruit is the image of Christ, His moral character, the likeness of the Glory of the Lord.

If we give ourselves wholly to the things of Christ, the fruit grows in us and in those to whom we minister. It is God’s intention that Christ blossom and bud and fill the face of the world with fruit. God desires that the image of His beloved Son be everywhere, in all creatures and things in the universe.

The more Christ is growing in us and through us the more our prayers are answered. As God brings us to the place of conformity to His beloved Son we begin to pray according to the will of God. It pleases God to answer the prayers of those who obey Him. When our prayer comes before the Father, and is proceeding from a life filled with the nature and obedience of Christ, the Father delights to give the answer.

God opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing, often sending good things to those who hate Him. How much more will He answer the prayers of those who are praying according to His will, are in the image His Son, have His Son dwelling in them, and are living in obedience to His will?

He will answer their prayers in matters great and small and find His pleasure in them. They will reign before Him and serve Him throughout His creation forever.

"This is my covenant with them," says the Lord. "I will never leave them nor forsake them. Though the heavens and the earth pass away, My Word to them stands eternally sure. Christ, the Vine, will fill the creation and those whom He appoints to high places will not be removed from their inheritance.

"Who, then, will serve Me with his whole heart? He will find that I am God in truth and My Word is yea and amen to every one who believes."

The Third Level of Noah’s Ark

A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. (Genesis 6:16)

The Ark of Noah is one of the clearest and most familiar of the scriptural types of salvation. We have the "pitch," which is a type of the atoning blood of Christ; the destroying waters, a type of the judgment to come; and the Ark itself, a type of our safety and preservation in the Lord Jesus.

Unlike the ships to which we are accustomed, the Ark had a roof. It was covered and sealed shut by the Lord. When Noah let the birds out he had to open the window. In order for Noah to see if the waters had dried up he had to remove the covering of the Ark (Genesis 8:13).

Although the Scriptures do not say, it seems likely that the large animals were at the lowest level, the smaller animals were at the middle level, and the birds and humans lived at the third level. It also seems probable that the window was at the highest level.

The lesson to us is that all who enter the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved in the Day of God’s wrath. We are saved from wrath through Christ. This is the meaning of the term salvation.

Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Romans 5:9)

The hold of the Ark, the lowest level, typifies those who have been saved by the blood but have made no further headway into Christ. This is the same level of redemption represented by the Courtyard of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.

Such believers have sprinkled the Passover blood on their lives and have gone through the Red Sea of water baptism. They may sit on the eastern bank of the Red Sea, so to speak, and look back across and see the sights and hear the sounds of the world (Egypt). They have not set out to bear their cross through the instructional tests and tribulations of the wilderness.

The middle deck of the Ark, then, would represent the Christian who is following the Lord in discipleship. He is active in the work of the church, receiving from the ministry of others and making his own contribution. He is discovering what sin is and how to overcome it. He is learning to obey the Holy Spirit.

The top deck of the Ark speaks of the throne of God and of Christ. It portrays the place of conquest, of victory in Christ. This is perfection, the "mark" toward which Paul was pressing. It is the fullness of resurrection life, the place of responsibility, of rulership, of discipline, of battle, of priestly service to God and the Lamb.

Christ addresses the victorious saints in the second and third chapters of Revelation. Each disciple of Jesus is invited to be an overcomer.

The design of the Ark brings two facts to mind: (1) all who put their trust in Christ will be saved; and (2) there are three levels of attainment in salvation.

One of the problems of the Church is that people cease pressing to a fuller grasp of Christ. The Book of Hebrews is an exhortation and warning concerning the need to keep on pressing toward the land of promise, the rest of God.

Multitudes of believers quit the race after being saved. They are content to wait for the Lord from Heaven. Meanwhile they are living too close to the fire of judgment, to the waters of destruction. They are as Lot—too involved in Sodom. This is a dangerous and unfruitful condition in which to remain.

What if Abraham had been too busy or too tired to pray when God came to overthrow Sodom? What would have happened to Lot?

In the present revival we find that many Christians are entering the life of the Holy Spirit in a greater manner. Hopefully this experience will result in an abundance of ministries and gifts operating in the churches. We receive the Holy Spirit so we may bear witness of the will of Christ to ourselves and to other people.

It is our understanding that Jesus is leading thousands of believers in active participation in prayer groups, in personal evangelism, in ministries of deliverance, in home Bible studies, in missionary work and support, in ministries in convalescent homes and institutions for mentally and physically disabled people, in prison work, and in all other areas of service to Christ. Such anointed service is typified by the middle deck of the Ark.

As we learn to stir up our ministries and gifts, realizing that the only important business in life is God’s business, the Holy Spirit points us toward the "top deck." Following the example of the Apostle Paul we do not make Christian service an end in itself. The throne of Christ is our goal.

While we are serving others to the best of our ability, as the Holy Spirit enables, we personally are climbing toward the power of His resurrection. We are willing to share His sufferings.

Day after day we inch up the rugged slopes of Mount Zion, the "secret places of the stairs," as the Lord Jesus directs. O that we may know Him!

Perfection is the place where each of our deeds, words, motives, and imaginations proceeds from the resurrection life of Christ. Such perfection of personality and action is not arrived at overnight. We are making progress each day.

Today finds more of our actions proceeding from resurrection life than was true yesterday. Another piece of us has died and in its place is resurrection life. We, by Christ’s help and encouragement, intend never to cease pressing toward the fullness of the knowledge of Christ until we have attained the first resurrection.

Overcoming by Loving Not Our Lives to the Death

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 12:11)

Salvation and strength, the Kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ, cannot come in the heavens or the earth until the accuser of our brothers is cast down. The accuser of our brothers cannot be cast down until the saints overcome him by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony, and by loving not their lives to the death.

Thus we see that there are three great areas of conquering Satan:

By the blood of the Lamb. Here is the authority for victory.

By the word of our testimony. Here is the power for victory.

By loving not our lives to the death. Here is the consecration for victory.

The authority of the blood; the power of the Word of God; the complete consecration of the saint: this is the formula for victory over the accuser. If one of these elements is lacking, the accuser cannot be overcome.

We are relating the "blood of the Lamb" to the first death and resurrection of redemption, the "word of their testimony" to the second death and resurrection of redemption, and "loving not their lives unto the death" to the third death and resurrection of redemption.

We overcome the accuser of our brothers by loving not our life to the death. All that we cherish must be on the altar of God, ready to be offered to Him at any time. Loving not our life to the death is the way in which we express our absolute obedience to Christ. It requires stern obedience on our part in order to overcome the accuser. It was because of disobedience to God that the accuser fell from his first position.

The first death and resurrection concerns our trusting in the blood of the Lord Jesus for our righteousness before God. It is difficult for us to surrender our pride in our own works and to accept the righteousness that comes to us from God on the basis of the shed blood of the Lamb of God.

Whether we find it easy or difficult to receive Christ, all of us have to do so if we hope to be saved in the Day of Wrath. We must believe and be baptized. Then we begin to learn to overcome the accuser by steadfast reliance on the redeeming blood of God’s own Lamb.

The second death and resurrection concerns our learning to walk in the Holy Spirit. It is a death to sin and a resurrection to life in the Spirit of God. The second death is more difficult for most of us than was true of our initial receiving of salvation in Christ. This new walk in the Spirit requires daily diligence in putting down the appetites of our flesh, choosing each moment to be obedient to the Spirit.

We do not learn to walk in the Spirit after one or two attempts. Learning to walk in the Spirit of God requires all of our attention and devotion. It may be true that most of us are only scratching the surface of life in the Holy Spirit. We have quite a bit more to learn about spiritual warfare, about victory over sin, about resting in the wisdom and strength of the Holy Spirit, about the power of Christ’s resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. "Then shall we know if we follow on to know the Lord."

As we follow the Holy Spirit in the program of sanctification, the testimony is created in us, the testimony that overcomes the accuser. We learn to hold fast to God’s Word, declaring it to be true and unchanging. As we do, the power of God overcomes the accuser.

Careless Christians neglect to follow the Spirit. Weak Christians do not know how to follow the Spirit. Neither one has the spiritual strength to overcome Satan. Satan does as He will and the weak are largely powerless to hinder him. Careless believers do not bear a true testimony of God’s Person or will.

The third death and resurrection concerns our personal obedience to the Lord. It is death to what we are in the deepest part of our being and resurrection into the Person and ways of God Himself. It is in this realm of death to self that the fullest, ripest fruit is grown. It is here that the kings of darkness are pulled down from their thrones and crushed under foot.

The first death is difficult because of our self-righteousness. The second death is more difficult because we do not enjoy letting go of the weaknesses and unclean practices and thoughts of our flesh, soul, and spirit.

The third death, that of loving not our life to the death, is the most difficult of all. It is an offering up of Isaac, a Joseph imprisonment, a Job-stripping of all gain, a crucifixion with Christ.

Like Jacob of old, we wrestle with the Lord for our life. The outcome is death, life, and a change of name. We gain power with men, but first of all we gain power with God. In the fight we die to self.

The enemy was destroyed by the death of Christ. The enemy can be destroyed today only by the death of the Church, not by its life. We have grand programs and plenty of enthusiasm. All must die! All must die!

God Himself will destroy the enemy. This will take place in us and through us. We give ourselves wholly to God and then the wisdom and the strength become His and His alone. The battle is lost as soon as we come to life and begin to fight the enemy in our own wisdom, strength, and ambition. The battle is the Lord’s.

We cannot enter the third death in terms of our own choosing and timing. God comes to us in His own time, when He sees that we are ripe. It is best for us to rejoice on the level where we are and to make the most of every opportunity to do the work of Christ at hand.

The joy of the Lord is our strength. We are not to be morose people, always dreading what God will say or do next in our life. If we become gloomy, morbid, fastening too much on God’s chastening, the program of redemption will stop until we recover. We cannot move on to the fullness of Christ until we enjoy happy victory in the area already conquered by us.

In God’s time He lays His hand on our life. We kick, we groan, we question God, we hate to let go, we do not like what we are being requested to do. We blame and criticize everybody and everything. Little by little it seeps into our consciousness that it is God, not the devil or people, who is causing our difficulties.

Then we have the choice. We can choose to obey Christ and accept our discipline or we can turn away from the cross.

The crucifixion of our nature is a painful, complicated process that only God can direct. Our part is to endure and to praise God as much as we can.

We often do not understand what God is doing, why He is doing it, what is being accomplished, or when it will be finished. We trust there will be light at the end of the tunnel but we cannot see it from here. God has shut us up in His prison and we cannot come forth without sinning and being disobedient.

Sometimes there is physical pain and literal martyrdom. For many of us, physical martyrdom would be the easier way out. It is quite difficult to endure our troubles day after day with no sympathy from anyone, and yet not fall into surliness or the blaming of people and circumstances. We are to look to God always whether or not we understand what He is doing, and trust in His Word that all things are working together for our good.

We are learning obedience. Obedience is taught to us in the school of frustration and suffering. We are being taught obedience at such a deep level that in the future we can be trusted with responsibility and service to God and the Lamb on a high level.

Our obedience to the Lord Jesus must be instinctive as well as premeditated. We must choose to obey and be so trained by the Lord that in the most difficult of situations we keep on obeying, even when it seems our heart is as stone within us.

We must obey! obey! obey the Lord Jesus! No matter what it costs, we must be obedient. We must deny ourselves and follow Him. Every soldier in the army of Christ is called, chosen, and faithful.

Paul declared he was crucified with Christ and living no longer—Christ was living in his personality. This is the end result of the third death and resurrection. Much pain and perplexity are required to bring us to the place where we are dead and Christ is living in us. Yet this is the "mark" toward which Paul was pressing.

We overcome the accuser by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of our testimony, and by the denial of self to the point of death. If there is one point of weakness in these three areas the accuser will know it and will refuse to be cast down.

If we hold back one grain of self, not giving all to the Lord Jesus, the accuser cannot be overcome.

The Holy Spirit is searching throughout the ranks of Christian people today, looking for those who will follow the Lord Jesus in unreserved discipleship. The rewards of fruitfulness and strength to those who will respond with obedience are incalculable.

Will you be one who says Yes? Will you give all to Christ? Will you love not your life to the death? If you will agree to this you will overcome the accuser of the brothers. You will help clear the way for the full victory of Christ in the heavens and on the earth. You will win a victory for multitudes of others who will partake of the spoil left by the enemy in his flight.

It always has been true in Israel that the multitudes have profited from the willingness of God’s "stars" to accept the demands of the Lord. Think about the fruitfulness and strength that have flowed to others as a result of the obedience of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Esther, David, Daniel, Jeremiah, Peter, Paul, the Protestant Reformers, Wesley, Finney, Moody, Brainerd, Watchman Nee, of Christ Himself.

How about us today? Will we take the third step and love not our own life to the death? Are we willing to fall into the ground and die? Will we put all our gain, materially and spiritually, at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ, allowing Him to bring us into humiliation and rejection in the world—and in the churches also if He so requires?

Will we allow our justice to be taken from us so we do not receive the rights or gratitude that belong to us? Or will we kick and shove to keep our place in the sight of men?

Christ is looking for those who will share His sufferings. To them will be given the crown of life. They are known to Him and will reign with Him forever. He too had to suffer humiliation and rejection in the world and in the synagogues. He too was denied the rights and gratitude that belonged to Him. He did not kick and shove to keep His place in the sight of men.

Therefore God has exalted Him and has given Him a name that is above every other name. Christ will exalt us if we will be patient and obedient throughout our trials. God is putting every one of the enemies of Christ under His feet. If we will deny ourselves, take up our own cross, and follow the Lord Jesus Christ in absolute obedience, even to the point of death, we will share in His victory over the enemies of God and men.

The Third Anointing of David

So all the elders of Israel came to the king to Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah. (II Samuel 5:3-5)

David is one of the most significant types of Christ to be found in the Scriptures. It was the Spirit of Christ in David who gave the Psalms. Christ is descended from David and possesses the "key of David."

Jesus was hailed by the Israelites as the "son of David." The fact that there were three anointings of David as king has a direct prophetic bearing on the installation of Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords.

The first anointing of David was performed by Samuel and was occasioned by the disobedience of Saul (I Samuel 15:22). The events in David’s life after that were similar to what has taken place in the earth since the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and will take place in the future..

The flesh (Saul) still is on the throne of the churches (Israel). Christ (David) has been anointed King by the Spirit of God. Christ still is outside the camp of respectability but He is gathering together His mighty men.

The second anointing took place immediately after the death of Saul. David and his warriors were in Hebron, and the men of Judah came and anointed David king over the house of Judah. David reigned over Judah seven and one-half years before he was anointed king over all Israel.

When David came into power in Judah, he brought four hundred warriors with him (II Samuel 2:3). David’s warriors shared his glory with him. They no longer were in distress, in debt, or discontented. Rather they were the ones who had served the true king during his exile. You can imagine the positions of power and prestige they enjoyed when they returned from the wilderness with David!

So it will be when Jesus returns. His "victorious saints" will be placed in positions of authority and power.

It is our understanding that the second anointing portrays the position of rulership to which the Lord’s victorious saints have been called. This first, partial rulership will come into being at the Lord’s return from Heaven. The Scripture is clear that there will be a rulership assigned to a godly remnant before the remainder of God’s elect is brought to such fullness—if in fact they ever do attain the fullness!

The doctrine of the godly remnant of saints, through whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow Satan and save all Israel, certainly is emphasized in the Scriptures. The division of the Lord’s elect into the more holy and the less holy, the greater in the Kingdom and the lesser in the Kingdom, is presented several times and is prefigured in prophetic symbolism.

The story of Gideon and his three hundred is one of numerous portrayals. The multitude, the seventy, the twelve, and the three on the Mount of Transfiguration is another.

Christ today is calling to Himself from the ranks of Christians of all persuasions those who will serve and worship Him with their whole heart. Although Christ is not served with a perfect heart by all who profess faith in Him, yet there are some in many congregations who are victorious saints. They live for Christ with singleness of heart and mind even though they are surrounded by people who are not as fervent.

Christ is knocking on the door of the heart of every believer. Who will open the door of his life to Jesus and allow Him to be Lord of all? The invitation is to "whosoever will." Wherever people name the name of Christ, there the Spirit is seeking those who will come under the Lord’s discipline.

Peter, James, and John—along with Moses and Elijah—on the Mount of Transfiguration are a type of those among the disciples who will appear with Christ in the fullness of His Glory. Revelation, Chapter 14 speaks of Christians who are "firstfruits."

We do not wish to encourage the development of little groups of believers who spend their time finding fault with all that God does in the large churches. These are not the victorious saints. The victorious saints are found among the most fruitful and diligent of the members of all churches.

Being one of God’s saints is an opportunity open to everyone, not just to the members of a prayer group made up of kindred spirits. Whether or not one is a member of a denomination or a particular church group is of little importance when we are speaking of the ranks of the victorious saints. The important consideration is that we anoint the Lord Jesus King over all that we are and do.

The "overcoming call" is a big move of the Spirit, a grand sweep of all believers, blowing as the breath of Heaven wherever Christians are found. Will you be one of those who will accept Jesus as Lord at this moment, crowning Him Lord of your life? If so, the rewards of the overcomer are yours.

Remember, being an overcomer requires only your belief and obedience. The wisdom and power are from God. The only factor that can prevent you from taking your place with Christ’s heroes of faith is your unbelief. All else stands ready, waiting to be sent to your aid.

If you ask God He will provide the faith that you need plus the desire and strength to obey Him. Ask and receive.

The second anointing of David speaks, in the kingdom-wide sense, of the return from Heaven of our Lord Jesus Christ. At His return, His victorious saints, His "mighty men," those who have made Him Lord of all, will take their places as kings, priests, and judges. They will be as an army following Christ. All rebellion in the earth will be crushed under their feet. The saints will be filled to overflowing with righteousness and praise. They will reign with Christ throughout the thousand years.

It is our understanding that the third anointing of David, the anointing that made him king over all Israel, refers to the fact that eventually every Christian will be brought to the place where Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords over his life and that together all the peoples of the Lord will compose the Wife of the Lamb, the holy city, the new Jerusalem. Every believer, from the least to the greatest will know the Lord.

Another way of interpreting the progressive anointings of David, and an interpretation in agreement with the three deaths and three resurrections of redemption, is that these anointings point toward a progressive capturing of the saint by the Spirit of God.

After the first death and resurrection Christ is anointed King over our life, but we keep Him out in the wilderness while the flesh has its way with us. After the second death and resurrection the flesh dies and we begin to praise the Lord (Judah). The Lord Jesus now is reigning over a substantial part of our personality.

After the third death and resurrection Christ is anointed King over our whole personality. There is not one particle of us that is not under subjection to Christ: not one action, not one word, not one thought, not one imagination.

The first thing David did after being anointed king over all Israel was to capture the fortress Zion, enabling him to control all Jerusalem. Next, he brought the Ark of the Covenant to his city, Zion, and established it there.

As soon as Christ has become Lord of our life, when we have assented to join the ranks of the victorious saints, He speaks to us of the need to make Jerusalem a praise in the earth. He places in us His desire to establish His Glory and Presence in His Body, to establish His Body in Jerusalem, and then to fill the whole earth with His Glory.

Christ is coming with thousands of His saints, a holy remnant, to set up His Kingdom, the Kingdom of God. His Glory will be in the hearts of His saints who appear with Him. He will be established with them in the city of Jerusalem.

After that He will increase His dominion over the hearts and lives of all His people, and finally over the nations of saved peoples of the earth. The nations will come to learn the righteous ways of the Lord.

The prostitute, Rahab, and her family represent those who will be saved from destruction when the Lord returns to set up His kingdom on the earth. Rahab was a citizen of Jericho, a city marked for destruction. She and her family were saved by the scarlet cord (portraying the blood of Christ) because of her kindness to the Israelite scouts whom Joshua had sent to spy out the land. (Joshua 6:25).

In like manner, the peoples of the earth who are kind to the Lord’s brothers, especially during the great tribulation, will be considered "sheep" and will be saved in the Day of the Lord.

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: (Matthew 25:34,35)

The Third Temptation of Christ

And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle [gable] of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. (Luke 4:9-13)

The three temptations of Christ represent the three ways in which all people are tested.

We are tested concerning material survival and security (turn the stone into bread).

We are tested concerning sin and the lusts of the flesh (the kingdoms of the world).

We are tested concerning obedience (the pinnacle of the Temple).

The third test, that of the pinnacle, is a difficult experience for some of us. The devil brings us to Jerusalem for this test, to the arena of church activity. Although the three deaths and three resurrections of redemption are not experienced one-two-three like the grades in an elementary school, yet it is true that the pinnacle test is addressed to those who already have been saved and now are anxious to serve God.

It is believed that the pinnacle of the Temple was a wing or gable, on the southeast corner of the Temple, overlooking the Kidron Valley. There was a drop straight down of 450 feet or more. Jesus was placed on top of this gable. What a foolish and useless place to be! How ridiculous!

The Mosaic ordinances were being conducted beneath Him in the Temple according to the statutes He Himself, the Lord of Glory, had given Moses on Mount Sinai. What a contrast between Sinai and the pinnacle of the Temple! What a contrast when we are removed from the place of glorious revelation and brought into the prison of weakness and futility!

On top of the Temple, Christ could see the horizon, symbolizing the scope of God’s plan for the redemption of the earth and the needs of the people laboring in chains therein. In the Temple below Him were the priests observing sacraments and rituals the Lord Jesus understood better that anyone else, He being the Author and Fulfillment of them all. Yet He was sitting on the gable without the opportunity to do one thing. What a temptation!

The pinnacle: God’s prison of waiting. Before we can move on to God’s fullness we must have our pinnacle experience. We must be brought to the place of uselessness and emptiness. This comes after we have had the vision of the needs of the world and God’s plan to meet those needs, and also when we possess an understanding of what the Lord will accomplish in the Church.

Now that we understand to a certain extent what should be brought into being, and God’s anointing is on us, can the world, the devil or our own ambition or fears move us to action? Can we be tempted, cajoled, worried, frightened or otherwise pushed into "stepping out in faith on God’s Word" apart from the leading of the Holy Spirit?

Jesus was so obedient to God that He would be sitting there yet if the season of temptation had not come to a close. Are we that obedient? Will we remain perched on the pinnacle of futility until God brings us down?—until the angels minister to us?

There are times in our Christian experience when we must walk in faith; and then there are seasons when God says, "Wait!" It is not always clear to us what we should do, whether to wait or to take a step and observe what happens.

We must be cautious but not overly cautious. Each of our moves must be preceded by prayerful attention to the mind of the Spirit and also to the actual results of what we are doing. We must present our body a living sacrifice in order to prove the will of God.

Sometimes God moves extremely slowly, it seems. On other occasions He acts like a flash of lightning. Meanwhile the world, the adversary, and our own self-willed nature challenge us to do something, to come down from the cross.

The three temptations of Christ followed Him throughout His ministry just as they follow us throughout our ministry. Finally, as He hung on the cross, the ultimate pinnacle, the voice of temptation cried out to Him: "If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross. Do something. If you are what you claim to be, demonstrate that fact now."

The Christian churches have never, to any great extent, faced and overcome the temptation of the pinnacle. That is because the motivation of each denomination is to "get to work and do something for the Kingdom of God."

The concept of being put in a place of helpless waiting on God for direction may be difficult to work with in an organizational framework. Yet, the only path to the fullness of fruitfulness and strength is by way of the pinnacle.

William Branham, a Baptist preacher with an outstanding gift of knowledge and of miracles and healings, was an excellent example of the Christian who endeavors to wait on the leading of the Holy Spirit. We heard Branham minister in Long Beach, California, in about 1950, and witnessed his sincere desire to follow God in every detail of ministry.

At that time he expressed his confusion publicly. He had a certain manner in which the Lord had led him to minister but he was being pressed by fellow ministers to form a healing line in order to accommodate more people. At the service we were in he did both. First, he ministered to a few people by the word of knowledge. The power of God was awesome. Then he formed a healing line which, to our personal knowledge, proved ineffective.

An incident occurred during a visit to Africa. The Spirit of the Lord forbade Branham to go to a certain town to minister, while the members of his party urged him to go to that town. The Spirit warned him he was to go to another place and rest. Branham, following the advice of his associates, went on to the town and became quite ill (described in Footprints in the Sands of Time, Jeffersonville, Indiana, Spoken Word Publications, 1975).

William Branham’s concern was that of the Christian who possesses a gift of God and then must avoid all pressure that would divert the will of the Spirit as to how and when to use the gift. People run to anyone who receives power from the Lord and attempt to persuade him or her to utilize the gift in some desirable or predictable fashion.

If someone today could multiply food by the power of the Spirit, can you imagine the social pressure that would be placed on him or her to use that power to relieve the suffering of mankind? What if God gave that gift and then forbade the use of it until some unknown future date? This is the pinnacle temptation.

We humans sometimes desire to use the Lord Jesus in a manner tailored to our own fancies. "Lord Jesus, send us a revival of the Spirit. Do not let anyone speak in tongues or be healed because we do not believe in that. Let us use You in the manner we think will be most acceptable to everyone and therefore of the greatest help in building Your Kingdom."

Isn’t this what the Lord hears every day?

God visited William Branham with one of the several extraordinary ministries that have so blessed the twentieth century. Dr. Henrietta Mears, Smith Wigglesworth of England, Kathryn Kuhlman, Watchman Nee of China—all were "Elijahs" and "Elishas," prophets of the end-time who announced the coming of the Kingdom of God. They were forerunners of the outpouring of the Spirit of God that is beginning to come upon the Body of Christ, the outpouring that will reveal the power of the Kingdom of God and call all people everywhere to repentance in preparation for the Day of the Lord that is at hand.

It may be difficult for the Christian denominations to understand that the gifts and callings of God are not given to meet the needs of the world. They are for the building of the Body of Christ and are to be used only under the precise guidance of the Spirit of God. They are not to be the means by which well-intentioned believers attempt to ease the pain of the world.

When the Body of Christ has come to God’s standard of maturity the Lord will return with His Body and bring justice to the nations. Meanwhile, to attempt to help the nations or to seek to gain their favor in the hope they will believe in Jesus will only prolong their misery.

We are not stating that Christians should not participate in works of charity that assist the poor and needy. What we are saying is that all Christian works, even works of charity, should be performed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If something is to be done we should look to the Lord for His wisdom and assistance.

In numerous instances, the people who are coming to the churches for deliverance are seeking to remove the judgment of God from themselves so they can continue to live their lives apart from God and His Christ. To deliver them is to go contrary to the purpose of God. Christians have often worked against the Spirit of God, and remain ignorant of this fact.

Are we willing to "wait on the pinnacle" as long as the Lord requires even though we may have the answer to the needs of the Church and the world? Or are we going to go forward in ministry before God’s timing and fall into the sewage of the Kidron Valley?

The death of the pinnacle, that of helplessness, futility, weakness, is a difficult test of the servant of the Lord. We may be just one step away from ministry in the power of the Spirit and everything in us may be leaping toward the freedom to move forward in the Lord.

Here we sit, the picture of absurdity.

Meanwhile, everyone who passes by is tempted to be scornful, to mock our inability to do anything of value. We can become quite frustrated as we wait on the Lord.

Christ Himself was willing to become nothing, to do nothing. He waited helplessly on God for all things. People attempted to make Him a king but He would not accept the position. He remained throughout His ministry on the pinnacle of helplessness, coming down to act only in the express timing of the Father.

There are moments when we must go ahead in faith. If we walk prayerfully and carefully in the Lord, one step at a time, we can move along in Christ. We are to proceed prayerfully and cautiously unless the Lord Himself urges us to greater speed—as He does on occasion.

At other times it appears every door closes. We are on the pinnacle. The temptation comes to do something—anything. "Jump off and God will meet you. This is what the Scripture teaches. Saw through the prison bars. You are supposed to be possessing the good land of milk and honey!"

When God shuts us up in prison we cannot come forth without breaking God’s Laws.

God had Abraham on a pinnacle concerning the birth of his heir. Abraham jumped off the pinnacle and Ishmael was the result. Ishmael, the wild man, always results from climbing down from the pinnacle before the Lord’s time.

How we die! What patience waiting on God requires! We are ground to powder as we wait up here on our futile perch. Will we remain here until Jesus comes? Yes we will unless the Spirit of God directs us to do otherwise.

We will be obedient even though the death is piercing. We must learn thoroughly that God’s work is to be done by God Himself and that He Himself must direct us in the use of our God-given abilities. The gift of the prophet is subject to the prophet. The prophet is subject to the Spirit of God.

Why would God waste time by giving someone gifts and then moving him into a place of futility? It is because God is more interested in the spiritual maturity and obedience of His servant than He is in his or her works. The manner in which we do things is more important than our success, in the present hour. God is developing sons who will walk in obedience, never being moved by personal ambition, by fear, or even by the obvious needs at hand.

We are not teaching we should be impractical or insensitive to the human needs around us. If someone is hungry or cold, and we have the means to provide the food or warmth, we are to do so. The Book of James instructs us to be charitable and practical. Good works of all kinds are an important aspect of the Christian discipleship. Rather, we are speaking here of the saint whom God has brought into "prison."

Joseph is a scriptural example of such helplessness. While Joseph was in prison the Word of the Lord tested him. When his hour came he was released and placed in a position of great authority over the land of Egypt. Through the obedient Joseph, the Lord brought deliverance to Egypt, to Israel, and to the other nations of the earth.

When Jesus’ hour came He was released from the pinnacle and brought into His ministry in the fullness of the power of the Holy Spirit.

Later the Lord was released from another pinnacle—the cross. After paying the price of redemption for mankind He ascended to all authority in Heaven and on the earth.

The cross. The throne of God is reached only by way of the cross. The cross is death to our self—to our own way of behaving, our impulses, our timing, our own understanding, our eagerness to help God and people.

The world does not understand the cross. The cross is weakness, defeat, shame, disgrace. To Christians the cross is the power of God. But think of what Christ felt as He was hanging there! The cross is arrayed in light and glory until we ourselves are hanging there. Then the cross is seen as weakness, futility, shame, helplessness, pain, confusion.

There is no way to the fullness of God other than through the pinnacle (cross) experience. It is the devil who puts us on the pinnacle, but only in the deliberate will and timing of the Father.

God Himself studies our reactions on the pinnacle for He is creating sons in His image. He requires obedience in the inner parts of our personality. God’s way of creating obedience in us is by taking from us many relationships, things, and circumstances that we embrace, by delaying the gratification of our most fervent desires.

Sometimes physical pain, weariness, and discomfort are our portion. We are brought into situations we detest and are required to face such situations anew each morning for a season. Dread and fear may be the principal actors in the play and fill our future with gloom and seeming doom..

Such trials can be exceedingly unpleasant and we may lapse into bitterness and blaming people. If we will keep on praising God instead, trusting in His Word and giving Him glory for the relief we hope and believe will come our way in His time, jewels of patience, faith, courage, and obedience will be created in us.

We may groan in bondage for a season. Then the day breaks and we find ourselves in a larger place with God.

He knows! He knows! Christ Himself has been on that pinnacle. God is mindful of your willingness to suffer in His name. He who upholds the heavens and the earth and all who dwell therein will make certain you emerge in victory over all your enemies.

Your prison doors will open by God’s hand. There shall come an end. Just remember that—there shall come an end to your misery. If you die in the will of God you shall be raised in the will of God. The deeper your death of obedience the higher will be your ascension into the Glory of the Lord.

Keep your eyes on the reward ahead of you and you will be able, by the wisdom and strength God provides, to remain in the place where He has positioned you. If you are faithful in the lesser He will entrust you with the greater. Keep on looking to the Lord and you will take your place alongside the other saints who also have had to endure their pinnacles.

The Area of Conquest

Total obedience is more of a problem with "self" than it is with sin. In sanctification, the Holy Spirit leads us to put to death the deeds of the flesh—the lust, violence, murder, covetousness, idolatry, sorcery, stealing, lying, drunkenness, and all the other manifestations of the nature of evil, unclean spirits.

Conquest, on the other hand, has more to do with our desire to be ourselves, to be noticed, to succeed, to receive honor, to achieve, to insure that our will is performed. Such yearnings are not always thought of as being hindrances to pleasing God.

The desire to succeed, to receive honor for an outstanding performance, to achieve—these ambitions are not sin. They are not a violation of the moral law as is true of adultery, murder, lying, stealing. They are self. Why does Christ want to interfere with our right to be ourselves?

The answer to this question lies in the destiny of mankind, particularly the destiny of the Church. The Church is destined to be in the image of Christ, to be united in Christ in the Godhead, to be a coheir with Christ, to be the eternal Temple of God, to be the Servant of the Lord who will judge and liberate the inhabitants of the earth.

God will not permit a member of the Body of Christ to be saved from wrath, delivered from the bondages of sin, and then arise as a judge of the creation. He would be a monster of pride and self-seeking.

A further step is necessary. This step is the re-creating of his whole personality such that he is broken to powder and pounded into the Essence of Christ. We are being made part of God Himself by marriage to God’s Son. The process is not always enjoyable but the final result certainly is worth the discomfort.

If God’s will for Abraham were only that he be a good man, a God-fearing, honest herdsman, God would not have required the offering of Isaac. If Abraham were to be merely a righteous sheik of the desert, raising livestock by day and dancing to the flute by night, he never would have been subjected to the awful demand.

Abraham was called to be the father of those who believe. His Seed is destined to be as the stars of the heavens and the source of blessing for the nations of the earth. Because of this inconceivably great inheritance Abraham had to be made obedient to the point of death.

The imprisonment of Joseph, the afflictions of Job, the suffering of Jeremiah, the persecutions of Paul were not because of sin or to break the chain of sin. The purpose of these tearings-down were that God might build up His holy dwelling place, that the resurrection life of Christ might supplant flesh and blood.

Your present pressures, dear reader, may have nothing to do with sin. Instead, they may have come so you may grow in His Substance, in His image, in His resurrection Life, until you become the purified expression of single-minded obedience to the Father.

CHAPTER VI. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

The theme of our book is the three deaths and the three resurrections of redemption. Redemption through Christ is the central topic of the Scriptures. To redeem is to restore to the original or rightful owner something that is not in his possession.

God has given to mankind His own image, the ability to experience union with another person, the authority to multiply and replenish the earth with creatures having God’s type of personality and that look like God, and dominion over all the works of God’s hands.

The Divine inheritance was stolen from the sons of God by the deceitfulness of the devil. Christ came from Heaven to destroy the works of the devil and to restore to mankind what has been stolen from it.

Redemption is past, present, and future. We were redeemed on the cross of Calvary by the atoning blood of Christ. We are being redeemed now by the working of the Holy Spirit in us. We shall be redeemed in the future when Jesus appears and brings life to our mortal bodies. When Jesus comes, sin and unrepentant sinners will be destroyed and the earth will be redeemed. This is the promise of God’s Word.

We have labeled the first redemptive death and resurrection, salvation. It is to be understood that the word salvation is not used in such a limited sense in the Scriptures. The Scriptures employ the term to indicate not only the favor and deliverance of God but also the fullness of the inheritance given to the sons of God.

We are not making any special point of employing the terms salvation, sanctification, and conquest as we do. They merely are pegs on which we are hanging concepts. We are setting forth three concepts of redemption and are using these three terms because we think they are useful in conveying a broad understanding of the work of the Divine Redeemer.

In our book we may have covered some ground relatively new to the reader. Yet, if one stops to think about it, we haven’t said anything so new. Our point is that the Christian salvation consists of salvation through the blood of the cross, of holy living, and of obedience to God. This is in agreement with the writings of God’s saints of all ages. Nothing new or strange after all.

We have taught that we die to the world in water baptism, taking our place on the cross with Christ, and are raised into newness of life in Him and with Him. This is the first death and resurrection and is expressed in the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans. The person who has a clear understanding of the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans has a good grasp of the Christian salvation.

We have taught also that we are to die to life lived according to the lusts of the flesh, putting to death the deeds of our body, and are to be raised into holy living and into Divinely inspired, Divinely enabled service in the Lord’s vineyard.

When we walk according to the dictates of our body we die spiritually. When we walk according to the dictates of the Holy Spirit we live spiritually. It is as simple and direct as that.

We have taught further that God requires more of us than the covering of the blood of Christ, and more than righteous and holy conduct through the Holy Spirit. God requires a breaking down of our self-seeking, our Jacob nature, and the creating in us of a new person who walks in obedience to God rather than in the guileful ambitions of self.

If any man be in Christ there is a new creation. His old nature is passing away and his entire personality is becoming new, being re-created by the Lord in the Lord’s own image. The third death is death to self and the resulting resurrection is eternal life in the Person and will of God Almighty.

God has given us in His Word many illustrations of the three deaths and three resurrections of redemption. We have mentioned a few of these types. Each illustration adds a bit of insight to our understanding.

The occurrences of the phrases "the third day" and "after three days" are so numerous in Scripture that we have not attempted to list them all. We have set forth the interpretation of these expressions in two ways: in the personal sense, as indicating the bringing of the whole personality of the saint into subjection to Christ; and in the kingdom-wide sense, as portraying the Day of the Lord—the return of Christ to the earth to receive His inheritance.

Redemption does not proceed neatly in three steps, like the rungs on a ladder. Rather, the Holy Spirit sweeps back and forth, applying all the grace of Christ to us in each area, working the three aspects at the same time. All the grace of God is in Christ. When we have Christ we have all redemption and all of God. Christ is the All Things of God.

The three deaths and three resurrections we have presented are but one way of examining and thinking about our experience of following Christ and growing in Him. It is not necessary that we understand all the ways of the Lord in order to be redeemed. Many saints are incorrect in their doctrine but correct in the attitude of their heart toward Christ. Our responsibility is to love Christ and to be faithful to Him. The Spirit of God will do the rest whether or not we understand what is taking place.

We do not have to understand doctrine perfectly in order to love God and to be loved of God and received of Him. Yet we have found that unless people believe that God has something available for them they do not reach out and lay hold on it.

Those who do not believe in salvation are not saved. Those who do not believe in Divine healing do not, for the most part, receive supernatural healing. Those who do not believe in tongues or know about tongues usually do not speak in tongues. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).

Those who do not know what God has said about victory over sin do not obtain victory over sin. Those who do not know what God has stated about consecration do not proceed onward in obedience to God. As soon as we discover what God has written about a matter, and then mix faith with God’s Word, we move into the position where we can receive an added portion of redemptive grace.

The promises that have been set forth by us are in God’s Word. The reader can look up the references and determine for himself whether God has promised the glorious inheritance we have described. If he finds that we have been faithful to what God has proclaimed, the reader’s responsibility is to mix faith with God’s Word. If he does so, and is obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit, he most assuredly will receive all God has promised.

Look to the Lord in faith, believing all God has promised. You and I are dust of the ground, God does not expect good to flow from us. His desire is that we may know and understand His promise of redemption, that we may be pointed toward His land of promise.

God is not asking us for wisdom, strength, intelligence, riches, education, or any other resource or ability we may possess. All that God requires is that we believe what God has revealed and that He is able to perform what He has spoken concerning us. The question is not what we can do for God but what God has done, is doing, and will yet do for us, in us, and through us.

The only hindrance between us and the fullness of the land of milk and honey is our own unbelief and disobedience. No power in Heaven or on the earth can hinder one of God’s elect from entering the fullness of the inheritance. No present, past, or future situation, no economic or political condition, no material or spiritual obstacle of any kind, can stop us. The success or failure depends on whether or not we believe what God has stated.

If we believe the Lord Jesus and follow Him we will overcome all enemies and obstacles. If we do not believe the Lord and do not follow the Spirit we will be overcome by the world, by Satan, and by our own lusts and fears.

To God belongs the Kingdom, the power, and the glory. The first death and resurrection bring us into peace with God through the blood of Christ. The second death and resurrection bring us into life lived in the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit. The third death and resurrection bring us into the highest glory—the fullness of fruitfulness, and power with God and with men.

We have mentioned four major types of redemption: the days of creation, the pilgrimage from Egypt to Canaan, the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and the feasts of the Lord.

Each of these four types contains seven areas that are combined into three major aspects. The three major divisions are easy to see in the three segments of the Tabernacle, the three convocations into which the seven Levitical feasts were divided, and the three parts of the pilgrimage of Israel (the exodus from Egypt, the wilderness wandering, and the entrance into Canaan).

It is not as easy to see the three divisions in the seven days of creation. The reader may observe that the first three days of creation had to do with the carving of the form of the earth and its environment. The fourth day had to do with a creation in the heavens. Then the fifth, sixth and seventh days found us back on the earth again. Actually the seventh day is universal, there was no evening and morning.

Isn’t this true of salvation? Salvation comes down to us from Heaven and redeems us where we are. Then on the fourth day we become oriented toward our heavenly citizenship. We learn to set our affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Although our body is on the earth our spiritual nature is with Christ at the right hand of the Father and we are commanded to set our heart and mind there.

The ministry of the Christian Church has been occupied, during the previous centuries, with turning the attention of the Lord’s people toward Heaven because our redemption comes down to us from Heaven. Christ and the Father are in Heaven and the Holy Spirit comes down from Heaven.

We know that no solution to the world’s problems will spring from the activities of people on the earth. The saints look toward Heaven as the only dependable source of wisdom, strength, renewal, blessing, provision, joy, peace, redemption, and every other thing, relationship, and circumstance of value.

Because of the efforts of the Christian ministry to point people toward Heaven for their treasures, their source of joy and hope, the tradition has developed that God created mankind to live in Heaven, that an eternal mansion in Heaven is the goal of the Christian discipleship.

Heaven is not the goal of the Christian discipleship although Heaven no doubt is a place of blessed relief where we can rest until the Lord brings the Body of Christ to the unity and maturity required for His return in glory (Daniel 12:13).

It is our personal belief that the saints go straight to Heaven, to Paradise, when they die, there to be reunited with their loved ones who have gone on before (Luke 23:43; II Corinthians 5:8).

However, the main hope of the saints, as expressed in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, is that Christ return from Heaven and set up His Kingdom on the earth. The New Testament Christians were awaiting the return of Christ, not that they might return with Him to Heaven but that He might establish His Kingdom on the earth and that they might rule with Him in glory.

We want to be where Jesus is, and He is coming to govern the earth. Christ is returning to sit on the throne of David on this earth.

His Kingdom shall come. His will shall be done in earth as it is in Heaven.

As we are approaching the return of the Lord we have arrived at the last three days of creation. We are coming back down from the fourth-day creation in the heavens, so to speak, and God is orienting us toward His intention to save the peoples of the earth.

The Lord God of Heaven has given to Christ the nations for His inheritance and the farthest reaches of the earth for His possession. We also inherit these because we are coheirs with Christ.

The Kingdom of God is at hand and God has promised to bring His Glory into the earth until the whole world is filled with people singing His praise (Psalms 96).

The Scriptures are filled with symbolic portrayals of Christ’s victory during the "third day," that is, during the thousand-year Kingdom Age, and of the three stages of overcoming that constitute our personal discipleship.

For example, there were the buds, blossoms, and almonds of Aaron’s rod (Numbers 17:8).

The buds portray the first signs of spiritual life, of Christ in us.

The blossoms represent the beauty of the sanctified life, the beauty of holiness and of Christ-likeness.

The almonds are the fruit, the Substance of Christ that is being formed in us. The Seed contained in the fruit will bring forth buds, blossoms, and fruit in other lives as God nourishes those other lives from the Divine Life that has been formed and is dwelling in us.

Under Levitical law, when the leper was cleansed, which is a type of redemption, the blood was placed on the tip of his right ear, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the toe of his right foot. Then the holy anointing oil was put on the blood.

The blood and oil on our ear is the hearing and receiving of the Gospel of Christ, the work of salvation in us.

The blood and oil on our thumb is the sanctifying authority and power of the blood as the Holy Spirit puts to death the deeds of our flesh.

The blood and oil on our toe is the consecration of our walk so that we move in obedience to the will of God.

On the third day, the priests of Dagon decided not to tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod because the head of Dagon and the palms of both of his hands were cut off on the threshold (I Samuel 5:4,5). The cutting off of Dagon’s head and hands portrays the destruction of the devil and all his works.

On the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, speaking of the jubilation and rejoicing that will fill the Church at the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven (John 2:1).

We now are nearing the end of the "second day," speaking in the kingdom-wide sense. We are entering the preparation for the glorious appearing of the King of all kings and Lord of all lords, Christ Himself.

In our day, many extraordinary events will transpire in the Church, in the world, and in the realm of nature. The interpretation and fruition of all that has gone before in history is at hand. Much of what has been prophesied in the Scriptures will be fulfilled in a few short years as the present age draws to a close.

Both righteousness and sin will come to maturity. Righteousness will conquer in the end.

The Day of the Lord is at hand. Some of the greatest of God’s heroes of faith will be brought forth from within the Church and will perform exploits of revelation and power. This will take place just before Jesus returns.

The knowledge of the Scriptures will be increased. Those who know their God will be approaching maturity in righteousness, wisdom and power. Many will be purified and made white in the fires of affliction and tribulation.

The double anointing, the "ministry of Elisha," now is coming upon the Body of Christ to serve as an advance proclamation of the appearing of the Kingdom of God. Ministries and gifts of all kinds will fill the Church, and the Gospel of the Kingdom will be brought to the ends of the earth in unprecedented power and glory.

It is time now for the holy "remnant" of the Lord’s people to press forward in the faith of Joshua and Caleb and obtain some of the "grapes of Canaan" to bring back and show to us so we may fix our hearts and eyes on the good land of promise toward which the Spirit of God is directing us.

The Spirit is moving among all Christians even now, seeking those who will serve the Lord in total obedience. Christ desires such for His army. The army of the Lord is in preparation now. It will descend with the Lord in awesome power, bringing judgment and deliverance into the earth.

Now is the time for saints everywhere to prepare "victuals" for themselves (Joshua 1:11). There are spiritual treasures coming forth in books, in home prayer meetings, in conventions, in local churches, in Sunday-school classes. Everywhere that Christian people are seeking the Lord the anointing of the Spirit is present and the meat of the Word is being handed out.

Days of tremendous revival, and of trouble and persecution, even now are coming upon us. Men’s hearts are failing them for fear. Only the conquering saints possess security.

The Body of Christ is preparing to go across the Jordan into its inheritance, and Jordan is coming to flood level. The coming of Jordan to flood level is a figurative way of saying judgment is about to break forth on mankind, especially on the members of the Christian churches.

The closer we draw to the coming of the Lord the more we can expect the fire of the Lord to test our imaginations, motives, words, and deeds. Judgment always begins with those who are closest to the Lord.

Crossing the Red Sea signifies our passing from the authority of Satan to the authority of Christ. Mount Sinai signifies death to the lusts of our flesh—death to that which is demonic in us, and resurrection into Spirit- filled life.

Crossing the Jordan River signifies death to human self-centeredness and self-will, and the fullness of Glory in the Presence of God.

We need to lay up rich spiritual provisions in the present hour, strengthening ourselves in Christ, because we must stand firm throughout the turmoil that is increasing.

God is teaching us we are not to fear what is taking place among the peoples of the earth. It is necessary that the latter-rain revival be brought to its foreordained fullness, and then that there be the worldwide falling away from the faith, before the Lord Jesus returns from Heaven.

Through it all, the godly, Spirit-filled remnant will be the source of deliverance for all who call on the Lord.

The way of the Lord must be prepared. The wall of defense against sin must be rebuilt in the churches. The highway of holiness must be constructed in the hearts of the saints.

There must come a clear division between the Church and the world.

The high places must be brought down and the valleys raised. The crooked places must be made straight and the rough places smoothed out. The hearts of the fathers must be turned to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers.

When we witness the disturbances in nature, the turmoil of the nations of the earth, the issuing of authority and power to the saints, the rise of both righteousness and sin until righteousness becomes exceedingly righteous and sin becomes exceedingly sinful, then we are to look up for our redemption is drawing near. All these events must come to pass before Jesus returns.

There will be no secret "rapture" before the return of the Lord Jesus from Heaven. This is a false doctrine and is to be rejected by those who love God. It is very destructive of the correct interpretation of the Scriptures.

The doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture is opposed to the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Whenever the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and of righteous behavior is presented, those who hold to the lawless-grace- rapture belief will rise up in protest and begin to talk about how much God loves us.

The Gospel of the Kingdom of God and the doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture come from two different spirits and therefore fight against each other. The Gospel of the Kingdom of God will prevail because it is of the Spirit of God. The doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture shall be swept aside for it is not found in the Scriptures.

We are to make straight the way of the Lord. Those who are wise will walk in righteousness and turn many to righteousness. The love of the majority of those who profess Christ will grow cold, but those who do know their Lord will be bearing witness of the holiness and power of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is not the will of Christ that we live in fear but rather that we turn our attention and faith toward Him. He maintains a solid wall of protection around us, even when it appears as though everything in which we have trusted is falling to pieces.

The Lord remains in control of all persons, all events, all circumstances. Every moment of our life is known to Him, down to the smallest detail. He will provide our every need if we will put our hand in His and bring to Him our every need and desire.

Because the powers of the heavens are to be shaken, because the contest is between God and Satan, between Christ and Antichrist, there is nothing human beings can accomplish while acting in their own wisdom and strength. We are as dust, and the ancient authorities and powers of the spirit realm are perfect in cunning and of tremendous size and strength.

God desires to use us as a man would put on a glove. Because we are given to pride of wisdom and knowledge, being filled with personal ambition, a desire to please people, a sense of obligation put on us by others, sympathy, and other fleshly motives, God must very carefully bring us to the place where we cease acting in our own abilities and wait on Him in every matter no matter how seemingly unimportant. We can do nothing of ourselves.

Such dependence of God, such leaning on our Beloved, can come to us only through much suffering. We must come to the end of ourselves.

God permits Satan to put us in the prison of the cross. Will we attempt to save ourselves or will we put our trust in the Lord?

Christ asks you : "Will you be saved?"

If your answer is yes, He will bring down your old nature into crucifixion with Him and will raise you up in the likeness of His resurrection. You will be protected from wrath by His blood, received of the Father, made alive by the Spirit of God, and born again by His Divine Substance placed in you.

Christ asks you : "Will you follow the Holy Spirit in sanctification?"

If your answer is yes, the Holy Spirit will furnish you each day with the wisdom and power necessary to put to death the deeds of your body. Your fleshly lusts will be brought into subjection to the will of the Spirit. In their place will flow deeds, words, and thoughts that glorify God and testify of the redeeming authority and power that are in Christ. You will be holy and behave in a holy manner.

Christ asks you : "Will you lose your life for My sake and the Gospel’s?"

If your answer is yes, He will teach you obedience in the school of suffering. He may demand every one of your rights and privileges as a person and as a Christian. Will you allow Him to treat you in this way without grumbling and complaining? Is there any point at which you will refuse Christ?

God will keep on wrestling with you and asking your name until your true identity, your real motives, are clear to God and to you. From the bewildering confusion of the workings of Christ a true love for God will be created in you. You will not be able to explain how God accomplished His work in your personality. God is God.

You are learning to have faith in the goodness of God and in the dependability of Christ.

Father, we thank You for Your great love toward us through Christ, Your Son. We say yes, without reservation, to Your three questions because we love You, fear You, and know there is great reward in serving the Lord.

We realize we are the dust of the ground and You are the Creator. We do not try to meet Your standards by our own virtue, wisdom or strength. We turn to You for salvation, and rest with You in joyous contemplation of Your creation in Christ.

Our sincere prayer is that Your Kingdom shall come and Your will shall be done in earth as it is in Heaven. Send the Lord Jesus back to earth soon that He may enter the fullness of His inheritance as King of all kings and Lord of all lords.

Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Amen.