THE ARMY OF CHRIST
Copyright © 2012 Robert B Thompson. All Rights ReservedScripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. (Revelation 19:11)
There are three great incidents in human history:
The first coming of Christ.
The second coming of Christ.
The third coming of Christ and His Royal Priesthood as the new Jerusalem.
The second coming of Christ is that of an army descending from Heaven to install the Kingdom of God--- the rule of Christ and the Firstfruits of His Church, over the nations of the earth.
By the expression "the Firstfruits of His Church I am referring to the following passage from the Book of Revelation:
These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. (Revelation 14:4)
It is my point of view that the virginity mentioned here has to do with an attachment to persons, things, or circumstances that is stronger than the believer's attachment to the Lord Jesus.
These are the conquerors, the victorious saints. Through the Lord Jesus they have overcome all the obstacles that Satan has placed before them. They are totally obedient to God and Christ, and shall govern with them forever.
To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—that one 'will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star. (Revelation 2:26-28)
The mention of the "morning star" means that Christ in them is governing their thoughts, speech, and actions.
To ride behind the Lord Jesus Christ when He invades the earth and establishes His Kingdom is a rare honor. It begins with those in Heaven who have surrendered themselves completely to the Lord Jesus, looking to Him for every thought they think; every word they speak, and every action they take.
They will come from Heaven with Him mounted on the white war-stallions. This parade will stop when they arrive at the staging area. This is the area in the air where Satan ruled formerly.
In which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. (Ephesians 2:2)
Satan was cast down from His position in the air when God found believers who trusted in the blood of the Lamb; who overcame Satan by the word of their testimony; and who loved not their lives to the death.
The march from Heaven stopped because those who came from Heaven with the Lord Jesus did not have bodies that had been changed by the resurrection life of the Lord Jesus. This had to be remedied.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (I Thessalonians 4:16)
"The dead in Christ" are those spirits who came from Heaven with the Lord. It was necessary that they retrieve their dead bodies and have them transformed by the Life of the Lord Jesus.
They did not rise into the air. They rose from their place of burial, just as the Lord Jesus did on the third day.
After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (I Thessalonians 4:17)
Since we are caught up together with them in the clouds, and they now have resurrection bodies, it is likely that we also will have our body changed into resurrection life at the time that we all are caught up together to meet the Lord in the air.
Such are the firstfruits of the Christian Church. No lie is found in their mouth. They are holy in personality, righteous in behavior, and in a body that is suitable for their holy, righteous inner nature.
Let me pause for a moment while we reflect on the Firstfruits. If these are the believers who are drawn to Jesus when He next comes, we are saying that not all of the believers, only a minority go with Christ when He appears.
Can this be true?
(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:5,6)
So if we expect to be drawn to the Lord, to be resurrected, when the Lord Jesus next appears, we must be living by His Life today in preparation: thinking along with Him, just as He thinks along with the Father; speaking along with Him, just as He speaks along with the Father; and acting along with Him as He acts along with the Father.
It is possible for any believer in the Lord Jesus to live like this, but they must be a person of continual prayer.
Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:57)
I fear we have thousands, if not millions, of Christian believers who are trusting that one day they will be carried into Heaven. But they may not be prepared to join the army of the Lord.
Also, those who are believing they will be gathered to the Lord Jesus may not realize it is not to go to Heaven but to war against the evil powers in the earth.
When the believers who are being caught up to staging area in the air arrive at their destination, they will be assigned to a white war stallion. It is my thought that angels will assist those who have not had experience riding a horse.
Then the trumpets will sound. The drums will beat to the attack. Hurtling down from the staging area will charge the invading army with the Lord Jesus Christ at the head.
Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. (Revelation 19:15)
The political leaders of our day sit behind their desks. Christ is where a commander-in chief ought to be—at the head of his troops!
Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army. (Revelation 19:19)
The result of this attack is that Antichrist and the False Prophet are thrown into the Lake of Fire.
After this engagement, Christ and His army go through the earth, judging the people and burning up all of the works of Antichrist.
Before them fire devours, behind them a flame blazes. Before them the land is like the garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste—nothing escapes them. (Joel 2:3)
It appears to me, from what I have read in the Bible, that at this point Christ and His Firstfuits go up to the city of Jerusalem. There they will make their plans about the divisions of the nations, and designate specific saints to take control of certain area.
It is my opinion that each governing person will have angels to assist him or her with teaching the nations, and particularly with maintaining discipline.
Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery. (Psalms 2:8,9)
My point of view is that the Father will guide the Lord Jesus in the work of disciplining the unruly members of the nations. Christ will tell the angels whom to dash to pieces. The saints will be the representatives of Christ, not the agents of destruction.
Why is such severity necessary when the Kingdom of Christ is one of righteousness, love, peace, and joy? It is because human beings insist on maintaining their right to do as they please. This seems to be the greatest problem we have.
The Kingdom of God is the doing of God's will in the earth as it is in Heaven. How many Christian church people in our day in America find delight in doing God's will? "I delight to do thy will, O Lord."
I have said the following numerous times, until I am sure people are sick of hearing me. Nevertheless I will repeat it. There might be someone it will help:
When I was in Bible School, in 1948, I was different from many of the other students. It was an Assembly of God school and the teachers and students were familiar with church doings, particularly with speaking in tongues and prophecies.
This was not true of me. Speaking in tongues was new to me.
The teachers told us the world was waiting for someone to do God's will. Their feeling was that no one was able to do God's will. It was too difficult, and that is why He has given grace to us.
This thought that no one was able to do God's will bothered me. My mother was in a hospital. My father was at sea in the Merchant Marine. I have no brothers of sisters, so I was not too worried about the consequences of devoting myself to the doing of God's will.
So during one recess, I went off by myself and told the Lord if He would show me His will clearly, and give me the grace to do it, I would do His will in every instance.
When I went back into the class, one of the students, I do not know who, said, "If you mean what you say, it will be a blessing to many people."
I have kept my promise for seventy years.
To this very day I ask the Lord during the day and night: "Am I where I am supposed to be? Am I doing what I am supposed to be doing?"
When guidance is needed, Jesus supplies it.
My reward for this obedience is, I can see some areas where today's preaching is not scriptural, and I have wrote numerous essays that I think clarify the error. Like "grace" being an acceptable substitute for obeying Christ; and the prospect of an "any moment rapture" of all believers in Christ into Heaven.
I have made many mistakes over those seventy years. When I discover I am off the trail, I do what I tell other Christians to do: "Tell the Lord you have been mistaken. Make restitution if Jesus leads you to do that. Ask Him to help you to walk in the right way."
The Christian discipleship is a rugged way. Make no mistake about that. My motto is, iron righteousness; fiery holiness; stern obedience to the Father.
So there is one guy in the world doing God's will, and I am certain there are numerous others, whether they realize it or not.
Doing God's will is not that grievous, although there are a few times when it is very demanding. The normal state of a human being is to do God's will in every part of their life and at all times. That is just the way it is.
The area in which Audrey and I live is very scenic, with many trees and shrubs. If every person here was doing God's will, we would be in Paradise. And why not? To not be doing God's will at all times is to be in rebellion against our Creator. That is not a pleasant way in which to live and accounts for the disasters taking place today in every part of the world.
The thousand-year Kingdom Age is designed to get all people who will surrender their will to God prepared for the time when Heaven comes to earth in the new Jerusalem. When God get's through working with people, His will shall be done in Heaven and then upon the earth.
God's will was being done in Heaven until Satan and the angels who followed Him felt they could do a better job than the Father was doing.
To the present hour, these unclean spirit beings are accusing the saints and doing what they can do wreck what God is endeavoring to do in the earth.
But God has a master plan that began with the Lord Jesus. From Jesus the spirit of total obedience will spread to a firstfruits of the Christian Church and finally to the entire Body of Christ.
God will send Jesus and His Firstfruits into the earth to clean out the spiritual garbage that is present there.
The task of cleansing the universe from the self-will of angels and men has not been completed as yet. But little by little, as the heavens are cleansed, there are believers who are willing to let Christ have His way in their personalities. These are the forerunner of the Kingdom of God.
I asked Jesus the other day why I feel like I am shut up and cannot come forth, as the Psalmist said.
The Lord responded, "Go read about butterflies."
I brought up "butterfly" on Google on my computer.
I learned that there are four stages from the egg to the butterfly.
What was of special interest to me was the third stage, that of the cocoon. The caterpillar goes into a cocoon. In due time, the caterpillar emerges as a butterfly. What a miracle!
I think that is what my problem is. I am in a cocoon, waiting for the day when I come forth as a life-giving spirit.
But what astonished me was, as far as I could tell, there was nothing left of the caterpillar in the cocoon when the butterfly emerged.
When I had thought about Christ in us, I had pictured there were two entities present in us—Christ and our old nature. I pictured that the old nature was to die and Christ was to remain.
But it seemed to me that the caterpillar somehow had become the butterfly. While the caterpillar remained in the cocoon, it was changed into a butterfly. The butterfly was the caterpillar in a new form, a new creation.
What I'm saying is that the new creation, the life-giving spirit that we are becoming, is not a separate person. The Life of Christ has entered our inward nature and has taken what is there and changed it into a life-giving spirit like Himself.
So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being" the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. (I Corinthians 15:45)
Since I am old enough to think seriously about dying, I was lying in bed and doing just that. I realized that I am not going to world where everything is perfect as yet. There still is a monumental struggle against evil that must take place, and I may be involved.
I believe God spoke to me during my meditations and said, "I already have purged My creation of evil. The job already is done."
I know the Bible says that God calls things which are not as though they were. I believe this is just such an instance. God has planned in His mind exactly how to get rid of the tiniest trace of rebellion, and so in this sense it already has been accomplished.
If such is the case, what then is my role? It is to walk patiently as God directs me, footstep after footstep, in perfect obedience and faith. Then I can rejoice as I see all the high towers of wickedness come crashing to the ground and then disappear.
Isn't that wonderful.
I do not have to plan how the perfect removal of disobedience will be accomplished. The Father has it all under control.