A SUMMARY OF DIVINE ACTIVITY

Copyright © 2017 Robert B Thompson. All Rights Reserved.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

The Schedule of Events

Some Important Concepts

The Roles and Tasks of the Kingdom of God

A Change of Goal

A Transition

THE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Satan rebelled against God.

I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High. (Isaiah 14:14)

Eve and Adam rebelled against God, introducing self-will into mankind.

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. (Genesis 3:6)

Christ on the cross made an atonement for mankind.

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Christ rose from the dead, making it possible for us to be born again of Him.

And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. (Colossians 1:18)

The Holy Spirit was poured out on those who accepted the atonement.

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:4)

Wars have taken place throughout the centuries.

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. (Matthew 24:6)

Today, Christ is appearing to those who keep His commandments. He is showing His followers their sin and self-will, and directing them to turn away from their sin and self-will. Thus they are being presented at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)

God will pour out His Spirit in unprecedented power, which is the latter, or spring rain.

Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. (Hosea 6:3)

Christ and His saints will preach the Gospel of the coming Kingdom of God in every nation. These are the two witnesses.

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)

The anointing will be lifted from the two witnesses.

Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. (Revelation 11:7)

Antichrist will come into power, resulting in the Great Tribulation.

So when you see standing in the holy place "the abomination that causes desolation," spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. (Matthew 24:15,16)

He will confirm a covenant with many for one "seven." In the middle of the "seven" he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple [possibly wing] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. (Daniel 9:27)

The Lord Jesus Christ was placed on a pinnacle of the Temple and challenged to leap off. This is the test of presumption. It is possible that Antichrist placed a statue of a man in the same place, claiming that now man can do anything that comes into his mind. This then would be the "abomination that causes desolation." It is the self-will of man that is the abomination that causes desolation.

Christ will appear at the "midnight hour," bringing with Him His saints from all eras of history.

For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. (I Thessalonians 4:14)

A staging area will be established in the air, the area of Satan's former kingdom. Located in the staging area will be Christ, the saints, the angel army, and the white war stallions.

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.

The saints who have come with Christ will descend to the earth, and their bodies will be brought forth from the dead. Then their bodies will be changed from flesh-and-blood life to life operating by the Spirit of God.

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 believers on the earth who have set aside their own life and are living by the Life of Christ in them will be summoned to the place where those who came with Christ, now transformed, are located. Then the believers on the earth will be transformed.

For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. (I Corinthians 15:53)

There now shall be a great time of fellowship, as loved ones are reunited. They all are in transformed, resurrected bodies.

The above is an assumption of mine, based on the fact that Christ was on the earth forty days before His ascension; and that in First Thessalonians, Paul was writing to those Christians who were grieving because their loved ones had died.

Both groups of resurrected saints will be brought together as one whole and then be caught up to meet Christ in the air.

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)

At this time the vials of wrath will be poured out on the people on the earth.

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, "Go, pour out the seven bowls of God's wrath on the earth." (Revelation 16:1)

Then Christ and His armies of saints and angels will descend in a great calvary charge. When they arrive at the earth, they will be formed, probably in the dried-up bed of the Euphrates River. These are the "kings from the East."

The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. (Revelation 16:12)

The two armies, saints and angels, will attack the armies of Antichrist. Antichrist and the False Prophet will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. Satan will be bound and thrown into the Bottomless Pit.

The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)

The two armies, with Christ at the head, will go through the earth, making a decision about each person, and destroying the Antichrist institutions, the Antichrist civilization with its cultural artifacts. This is Joel's army.

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)

Christ then will establish His headquarters in Jerusalem. He will call together His saints, assigning to each of them an area of the earth to govern. The people who have been selected to live in the Kingdom of God, as Joel's army passes through, will be assigned to a territory governed by a saint.

To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— (Revelation 2:26)

Since the power of evil has been destroyed by Christ working through His saints, the people who have been selected to live in the thousand-year Kingdom Age will respond to the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, Chapters Five through Seven). This is the Law that goes forth from Zion.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)

The teaching of the nations of saved people (the Sheep) will continue for one thousand years, whether literally or symbolically.

Then the King will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." (Matthew 25:34)

Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)

Meanwhile, during the thousand-year Kingdom Age, the members of the elect, who were not chosen to return with Christ and govern with Him, but whose home always is Mount Zion in the spirit world, will be growing to maturity. They will be taught by more mature saints. This is the reason for the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

We have a little sister, and her breasts are not yet grown. What shall we do for our sister on the day she is spoken for? If she is a wall, we will build towers of silver on her. If she is a door, we will enclose her with panels of cedar. (Song of Solomon 8:8,9)

He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:2)

At the end of the Kingdom Era, Satan will be released from the Bottomless Pit. He will go forth and gain a following consisting of those who refused to surrender to Christ their self-will.

He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:7,8)

They shall attack the camp of the saints. Fire will come down from God and destroy them all.

They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. (Revelation 20:9)

Now all the dead of history, with the exception of those raised in the first resurrection when Christ appeared, will stand before God. The White Throne will be occupied with those who attained to the First Resurrection. Each of the dead will be sent to stand before one of the judges seated on the White Throne.

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. (Revelation 20:12)

Or do you not know that the Lord's people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? (I Corinthians 6:2)

The books will be opened that catalog the behavior of each individual while living on the earth. The dead will be judged from this record. It may be true that many of these people will have one last chance to state that they will obey Christ from now on and not follow their self-will. I cannot say this for certain because there is no scriptural basis for this last-minute confession of obedience. However, we must make some provision for those throughout the history of the earth who never have heard of Christ or the Bible.

The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. (Revelation 20:13)

Those whose names are not found in the Book of Life will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.

Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)

Now a new sky and earth will appear. The people of the nations who have been written in the Book of Life will be directed to an area of the new earth, where rulers God has appointed will show them where they are to live and what they are to do.

Then I saw "a new heaven and a new earth," for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. (Revelation 21:1)

On a high mountain of the new earth will be the new Jerusalem, the dwelling place of God, the Lamb, and the members of the Royal Priesthood. These saints who compose the new Jerusalem will serve the saved people from the nations, making available to them the waters of the Spirit of God, and the Tree of Life, as they have need.

And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. (Revelation 21:10)

Thus the rebellion of Satan and his angels has been overthrown completely. God now has saints who gained victory over sin and self-will during their training period on the earth. They will be quick for the eternity of eternities to put down any sign of rebellion against the Father's will.

The Lamb will have His Wife. Christ will have a body, the Church, who represent Him throughout the creation of God. Christ will have brothers who share with Him the Divine inheritance. God will have sons who love and obey Him.

Thus the Kingdom of God will expand forever. The children who are born during the eternal ages will be taught, by the members of the Royal Priesthood, to love God with all their hearts and their neighbors as themselves.

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:7)

SOME IMPORTANT CONCEPTS

Born of God

The Bride of the Lamb

Brothers of Christ

Christ, Head and Body

The Coming of the Lord

The Continuity of the Covenants

The Day of Atonement

The Day of the Lord

The Disciple

Eagles' Wings

The End-time

Eternal Life

Faith

The Feast of Tabernacles

The Feasts of the Lord

The First Resurrection

The Firstfruits of the Bride

The Four Aspects of the Divine Decree

The Four Great Types

The Goal of Redemption

Grace and Faith Versus the Law of Moses

The Great Tribulation

Image and Union

Israel

The Judges of Men and Angels

The Judgment Seat of Christ

The Kingdom of God

The Love of Money

The Manifestation of the Sons of God

The Nations of the Saved

The New Covenant

The Overcomer

Responding to the Vision of God

The Rest of God

Restoration

The Resurrection

The Royal Priesthood

The Second Death

Shattering the Power of the Saints

Suffering and Glory

Survival and Security, Worship, and Achievement

The Temple of God

The Thousand-year Kingdom Age

The Three Stages of Redemption

The Throne of God

The Two Beginnings

Two Kinds of Righteousness

The Two Witnesses

The Wall

War

The Witness of God

Working Out Our Salvation

Following are some of the concepts that have emerged as the burden of "Christ in you" and the removal of sin through the process of judgment began to unfold in my heart and mind. Each of these concepts is elaborated in the books and booklets I have written.

Perhaps the main theme of our message is, "Christ in you, the hope of glory." The vision of the eternal Temple of God, the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles, has always been at the forefront of our thinking.

Born of God. The first concept we shall present is that of being born of God. The necessity for being born of God is one of the major areas of our doctrine. If we have been born of God we truly are sons of God and brothers of Christ. The new life that has been born in us is from God and over the untold eons of eternity will bring forth the likeness of the Parent from whom it came.

The parables of the Kingdom that the Lord Jesus taught us, such as the parable of the sower, have to do with planting the Divine Seed in human beings. It is Christ who has been born in us who is the Kingdom of God.

One of the central misunderstandings of the Christian faith is the idea that salvation is the bringing of the adamic man to Heaven. We want to be "saved" as we are and brought up to Paradise. However, the destiny of the adamic nature is the cross, not Paradise.

It is our new inner nature that is saved and is the Kingdom of God. The new man who has been born in us finds his way at once to the right hand of the Father in Christ.

The concept that the old nature is not saved but assigned to the cross of Christ, while it is the new nature, Christ formed in us, that is salvation, that is the Kingdom of God, is one of the bases of all of our writings.

For in Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. (Galatians 6:15—KJV)

The Bride of the Lamb. The Bride of the Lamb is the eternal complement of Christ, being made one with Him by eating His flesh and drinking His blood, and living by Him as He lives by the Father. There is no more important event in the mind of God than the joining of the Bride to His Divine Son.

The Bride must be as the Lord Jesus is: born of Divinity and born of humanity. Like must be united with like in the economy of God.

The concept that there are two brides, a Gentile bride in Heaven and a Jewish bride on earth, is part of the set of Evangelical mythical beliefs.

The concept that the Bride of the Lamb is a wife but not a "queen" must become clear to the victorious saint as he or she climbs the "secret place of the stairs."

For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: (Ephesians 5:29—KJV)

Brothers of Christ. The elect are destined to be brothers of Christ. We truly are brothers in that we have been born of the same Father. There are several such promises that have to do with the impartation of Divinity and glory to God's family. We are not to stagger at these but to recognize fully, and certainly without any sense of grasping or self-glorifying, that the Lord Jesus—the Lord of Glory—is the Firstborn among many brothers, many sons of God.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate {to be} conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29—KJV)

Christ, Head and Body. Christ is the Servant of the Lord whose task it is to bring justice to the nations of the earth.

Most Jewish and Christian scholars understand that Christ is to come to the world. What is not as commonly realized is that Christ consists of the great Head, the Lord Jesus, and also a Body composed of the saints.

The Church, the Bride of the Lamb, the sons of God, are terms that speak of the several relationships that exist between God and His saints, His elect, His Israel.

The eternal Servant of the Lord, described in the Book of Isaiah, is Christ—Head and Body. To the Apostle Paul was given the revelation that Christ, the Anointed One of God, consists of the exalted Head, the Lord Jesus, and also of a Body made up of those who are called, chosen, and proven faithful. Christ is the perfect Deliverer who is being fashioned by the ministries given by the ascended Lord.

The churches are the raw material from which the members of the Body of Christ are drawn. Christian organizations often assign leaders to the churches who have been trained by the denomination and voted in by a majority of people. However, because of the Divine Nature and purposes of the Body of Christ, only the Holy Spirit of God can correctly assign and direct the gifts and ministries needed to build the Body to the perfection required if it is to serve the Head adequately.

For this reason the churches of today must begin to emphasize ministry by the Spirit of God rather than by organizational assignment. The Christian organizations must become very much more sensitive to the mind of the Spirit.

Bible schools and seminaries cannot create apostles, prophets, or gifts of healing. They can inform the mind and create an environment that is holy and set apart from the world. But the leaders of the churches must look to the Holy Spirit to establish the ministries of the Body. When they do they will discover the riches latent in the local assemblies.

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—KJV)

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also {is} Christ. (I Corinthians 12:12—KJV)

The Coming of the Lord. The concept that there will be a secret pre-tribulation coming of the Lord to "catch away a Gentile bride" is an error. There is no "Gentile bride," only the one new Man, who consists of all Jews and Gentiles who are part of Christ. There will be no Jewish kingdom on earth. There is but one second coming.

Great confusion exists concerning the Lord's coming. Satan has impressed the Church that the Lord's coming means our going to Paradise to reside forever in a golden mansion. Satan may desire that we leave to go to Heaven, but such will not take place. The Lord's coming is just that—His coming. The Lord Jesus Christ is coming with His saints as King of all kings and Lord of all lords. The kingdoms of this world are to become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ—Head and Body.

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. (Matthew 24:30—KJV)

The Continuity of the Covenants. God's work from the beginning of time has been one progressive movement toward the new world of righteousness that is to come. The present heavens and earth are temporary.

Dispensational teaching, the concept that God keeps changing His method of dealing with man, including the teachings that accompany Dispensationalism such as the pre-tribulation rapture of the Church and the division between the Jewish elect and the Gentile elect, has made logical, clear, straightforward Bible interpretation impossible.

It is difficult to imagine a model of interpretation more destructive to the Kingdom of God than Dispensationalism. It has succeeded in destroying the moral strength of the believers and preventing the Christian people from understanding God's purposes in the physical land and people of Israel.

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; (Ephesians 2:19,20—KJV)

The Day of Atonement. The Levitical Day of Atonement (Leviticus, Chapter 16) portrays both forgiveness of sin and deliverance from sin. We are forgiven our sin through the blood of atonement shed on the cross of Calvary. We are delivered from sin as God judges the works of the enemy found in our personality.

The Church of the twentieth century has come as far as Pentecost. Before the Church can attain the rest of God it must pass through the work of reconciliation portrayed by the Day of Atonement.

The trumpet of the Jubilee was blown on the Day of Atonement revealing the relationship between restoration, and forgiveness and deliverance from sin.

The coming thousand-year Kingdom Age will be the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Day of Atonement.

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—KJV)

The Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord will be characterized by war: God against Satan; the Holy Spirit against the False Prophet; Christ against Antichrist. The wisdom and power of human beings is as nothing compared with these galactic spiritual forces.

The Day of the Lord will dawn in fire. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken. The heavens and the earth will be shaken. Here is God's answer to the great rebellion that took place before the world was created.

Only that which is established in Christ will stand the shaking of the Day of the Lord. Numerous so-called "believers" in the Lord Jesus will be terrified, being tossed about as straw in a hurricane. All their works and most of their personality will be burned away, if the Lord judges them worthy of salvation.

The churches are hoping for a "rapture" that will carry them into the Presence of the Lord in their worldliness, sin, and self-seeking. To be brought into the Presence of God in their condition would result in unbearable torment.

The Day of the Lord is characterized by a large, powerful army of holy people—the saints of all ages. The judgment of God will be administered through them, resulting in the cleansing of the heavens and the earth and the filling of the whole earth with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord.

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: (II Thessalonians 1:7,8—KJV)

The Disciple. There is a difference in kind between the average church attender of today and a true disciple. Multitudes of believers attend church. Of these believers only a handful, it appears, are disciples. A disciple is someone who has laid down his life, taken up his cross, and is following the Lord Jesus each day. Only the disciple is a true Christian.

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26,27)

Eagles' Wings. God carries us until we learn to walk uprightly. Much is given to us when we are spiritual babies. As we mature in the Lord, Christ is able to assign more difficult tasks to us. The Lord does all the fighting when we come out of Egypt, but we must participate in the battle when we enter the land of promise.

Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and {how} I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. (Exodus 19:4—KJV)

I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able {to bear it}, neither yet now are ye able. (I Corinthians 3:2—KJV)

But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, {even} those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14—KJV)

The End-time. Babylon, Laodicea, the False Prophet, and Antichrist are four areas of deception of which the saint of the last days must be aware.

Babylon is the great Christian organization and may finally be located on the bank of the Euphrates River at the site of ancient Babylon.

Laodicea speaks of Christians who have been overcome by a government that speaks comfortably to them and supports them but is not itself governed by the Lord Jesus. The Laodicean believers are occupied with their "rights."

The False Prophet is the attempt of believers to use the power of Christ before they have been crucified with Him.

Antichrist is the striving of man to be his own God.

The False Prophet is man-centeredness in the spirit realm. Antichrist is man-centeredness in the political realm. Babylon is man-centeredness organizational realm. Laodicea is man-centeredness in the church realm.

Power will be given to Antichrist to overcome the saints in the last days and he then will be free to bring forth the fullness of lawlessness in the earth.

And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. (Revelation 13:7)

Eternal Life. Eternal life is a kind of life. Biologic life is the life of the animal. Eternal life is the Life of God. Until a human being is given a portion of eternal life from the Lord he or she is little more than an intelligent animal. All flesh is as grass, destined to perish with time.

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have {it} more abundantly. (John 10:10—KJV)

Faith. Scriptural faith is that which depends on God for all things. "The just shall live by faith" has little to do with the acknowledgment of theological facts concerning Christ. The just shall live by faith means righteous people live by depending on God rather than on their own resources.

True faith is neither belief in doctrine nor the effort of the soul to manage the spiritual realm by believing what the Scriptures declare.

There is, however, a true militant faith that includes the bold declaration of that which God has stated. However, this is not an attempt to work miracles by attempting to believe. It is a call to the Lord for help. There is a total difference between attempting to use the Scriptures to work magic and calling upon the Lord Jesus in faith. One is of the False Prophet. The other is the faith of the prophets and apostles.

But without faith {it is} impossible to please {him}: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and {that} he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6—KJV)

The Feast of Tabernacles. The feast of Tabernacles is the last and greatest of the seven feasts of the Lord. During one week of each year the people of Israel are to celebrate the feast of Tabernacles by living in a booth constructed outside of their house or apartment.

The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is the climax of the work of redemption. After all of the graces and provisions of God have operated in our life, the Father and the Son will come through the Holy Spirit and make Their eternal abode in us. This is the Kingdom of God and the goal of all our efforts in Christ.

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. (Leviticus 23:34—KJV)

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—KJV)

The Feasts of the Lord. The seven feasts of Israel, found in Leviticus, Chapter 23, are an excellent set of types which a believer can study and thereby gain some concept of the beginning, the program, and the goal of salvation. Many Christians think of salvation as something that took place in their life years ago, which they remember, and on the basis of which they hope to be taken to Paradise when they die. That the Divine redemption is a process that must be taking place every day of the disciple's life has never been made clear to them.

With the exception of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, the seven feasts of the Lord well may be the most important scriptural picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, the growth of the Christian from birth to maturity, the development of the Church into the Bride of the Lamb, and the creation of the Kingdom of God.

Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, {Concerning} the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim {to be} holy convocations, {even} these {are} my feasts. (Leviticus 23:2—KJV)

The First Resurrection. Although the expression, "the first resurrection," is found in the Scriptures its implications have not always been pursued. The expression indicates there is no resurrection of believers prior to the one described in Revelation 20:4-6.

It appears there are to be two main resurrections, one at the beginning of the thousand-year period and one at the end. The first resurrection must be attained by the believer (Philippians 3:11) and is reserved for the blessed and holy members of the royal priesthood. The second resurrection is the general resurrection of the dead in which all persons will participate, with the exception of those were called up by the Lord at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

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, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:5,6—KJV)

The Firstfruits of the Bride. The Bride of the Lamb includes all of God's elect—the whole family of God from the time of Abel. There is a firstfruits of the Bride, a specially dedicated, warlike remnant of people who will, as we understand it, be raised when the Lord appears. We think that the balance of the Bride will not appear until the end of the thousand-year period.

There are major scriptural types that portray the firstfruits of the Bride meeting the Lord when He appears. One type is Gideon's three hundred. Another major portrayal is the separation of the Ark of the Covenant from the remainder of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. A third major portrayal of the firstfruits is the rule of David over Judah prior to His rulership over all Israel.

Our understanding is that the entire Church will not be united until the holy city descends from Heaven and is established upon the new earth.

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. (Revelation 19:7—KJV)

The Four Aspects of the Divine Decree. God always understands the full significance and aspects of all He does. In the beginning God gave four decrees concerning man: man is to be in the image of God; man is to be male and female; man is to be fruitful; and man is to exercise dominion. These decrees shall never be altered. They constitute what man is.

Adam and Eve were a prototype, a preview of what man is destined to be. The fullness that God has in mind concerning man is as follows:

The Lord Jesus and those who are like Him and part of Him are true "man."

The Lord Jesus and His Bride are what God means by male and female.

The spreading of the Divine Vine, the Olive Tree, the Seed of Abraham throughout the universe fulfills the edict concerning fruitfulness.

The Lord Jesus and His victorious saints, the sons of God, shall be seated forever upon the Throne of almighty God, governing all the works of God's hands. Man was created to be the throne of God.

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—KJV)

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21—KJV)

The Four Great Types. There are four great types in the Old Testament:

The Tabernacle of the Congregation.

The Feasts of the Lord.

The journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan.

The days of creation.

Each of the four types is divided into seven segments that correspond to the seven segments of the other three types.

The four major types reveal seven aspects of the Lord Jesus Christ, and also seven aspects of the growth to maturity of the individual believer, the Church, and the Kingdom of God.

Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. (I Corinthians 10:11—KJV)

The Goal of Redemption. The goal of salvation is to bring human beings into the image of God and into complete, untroubled union with God through Christ.

There are several Divinely assigned roles for which man is being prepared. At the beginning of this book we listed fourteen roles and functions for which salvation prepares us.

The Divinely ordained roles and functions are possible only to those who are in the moral image of Christ and who are in a state of complete, total oneness with the Father and the Son to the degree that they have become an essential, integral, eternally incorruptible part of the revelation of the Father to His creation.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29—KJV)

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—KJV)

Grace and Faith Versus the Law of Moses, not Versus Righteous Behavior. When the Apostle Paul contrasted faith and works he was not speaking of a profession of doctrinal belief versus godly behavior. Yet this interpretation of Paul has persisted mightily since the Reformation.

First of all, by "faith" Paul means a life lived in dependence on God, not a doctrinal position. The righteous shall live by faith means by humble dependence on God rather than by independence of thought and action (the American ideal).

By "works" Paul means the works of the Law of Moses, such as circumcision. He is not referring to honesty, faithfulness, and truthfulness.

We are justified by placing our faith in Christ and living in Him rather than by obeying the statutes of the Law of Moses.

This misunderstanding of Paul has destroyed the moral strength of the Christian churches.

A careful study of Romans and Galatians will reveal clearly that Paul is not seeking to turn people away from righteous behavior but from the works of the Law of Moses.

In other passages Paul insists that if we do not live righteously we will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; (Romans 3:21—KJV)

Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (Romans 3:28—KJV)

Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:21—KJV)

The Great Tribulation. The Bride of the Lamb must be without blemish. It is obvious that in the present hour the Bride is filled with division and blemishes of every sort.

During the closing days of the present age the Lord Jesus will give of His Glory to His Bride and also purify her in the fires of the great tribulation. The great tribulation will separate the Bride from the Christian organizations and purge her from sin and self-will until she comes up from the wilderness leaning on her Beloved.

In the Valley of Achor, the place of judgment, the Lord will minister to His Bride until she knows Him as her Husband.

When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. (Isaiah 4:4—KJV)

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: (I Peter 4:12—KJV)

Image and Union. None of the Divinely ordained roles can be assigned to a believer until he or she has been conformed to the image of the Lord and has been brought into untroubled union with the Lord. Oneness with the Son in the Father is the highest attainment possible for the human being.

We have been predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ. However, image apart from union is not desirable. To be like Christ but not married to Christ could lead to the pride of Satan, who seeks to be like God but not part of God.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate {to be} conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29—KJV)

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:23—KJV)

Israel. God's Israel Is One. The Church is one, beginning with Abraham and Sarah. The olive tree is one.

The new covenant is not a change of the religion of Judaism to a new religion of Christianity. Both the old covenant and the new covenant are made with Israel. To participate in the new covenant a Gentile must become part of the Israel of God.

The Divine redemption is given as one progressive revelation of God to Man. Christianity is the giving of eternal, Divine Substance and Life to the Altar, the Lampstand, and the Booth of Judaism.

There is no Gentile church and no Jewish church. There is only the one new Man.

The Christian Church and the physical people and land of Israel are on a converging course. The form of Israel is on the earth. The spiritual nature of Israel is in Zion in Heaven, in righteous people made perfect. When Christ appears the spiritual nature of Zion will come to earthly Zion.

God in the last days will turn once more to physical Israel. All that the Prophets have declared will come to pass in fullness. Jerusalem will become the center of government of the world. All nations on the earth will come to Jerusalem to receive instruction from the Lord, who will be dwelling there. The eternal moral law of God will be enforced throughout the creation by the rod of iron, the strength of the Spirit of God.

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 2:3—KJV)

And if ye {be} Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:29—KJV)

The Judges of Men and Angels. The first creation, beginning with the angels, has risen in rebellion against the Lord God. God made man for the purpose of judging the rebels, both angelic and human. After the judgment has been completed it will be man's responsibility to govern the universe, both spiritual and physical, that God has created.

Man was created to be the throne of the Judge of Heaven.

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—KJV)

The Judgment Seat of Christ. The Judgment Seat (beema) of Christ is not an awards ceremony, it is a court where accused criminals are brought to trial. Each Christian, along with everyone else, will be revealed before the Judgment Seat and rewarded according to his works. Divine grace does not change what we reap but what we sow.

It is God's way to bring us into situations where the hidden elements of our personality cause us to act. Then God judges our actions.

It is of the utmost importance that God's people understand clearly that they will be rewarded according to what they have done while living in the world. They will receive eternal life if they have practiced good and lashes if they have practiced evil.

We are to confess of our sins now and repent of each of them. As we do, God forgives our sins and cleanses us from them. In that case they will not be held against us in the Day of the Lord.

Let no person—Christian or otherwise—think that he or she will not face the Judge. Each of us indeed will face the Judge one day, and it is a cause for trembling.

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—KJV)

The Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is coming to the earth. Heaven is coming to the earth. The Divine Throne is coming to the earth. The Day shall come when Jerusalem will be referred to as the Throne of the Lord.

In that Day people will pray to God in Jerusalem, for Jerusalem then will be all we associate with Heaven.

There is an inner Kingdom and an outer Kingdom. The outer Kingdom cannot appear to the world until first the inner Kingdom has been created in the hearts of God's elect. The inner Kingdom is established in us when the only lawful King, Christ, is firmly seated upon the throne of our personality.

The Lord alone shall be exalted in that Day!

At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. (Jeremiah 3:17—KJV)

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 Love of Money. Covetousness is idolatry. Of all the gods in the world, the love of money is the greatest source of evil. Men hoard money in order to protect themselves in case God should prove to be unfaithful and undependable. From Balaam to Judas, from Gehazi to Ananias and Sapphira, the Scriptures teach us to trust in God rather than in money.

Where an individual's treasures are, there his heart will be also. What we truly love is what we truly worship. The firstfruits of the Bride of the Lamb are free from marriage to other relationships, things, and circumstances. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes.

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:5—KJV)

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. (Revelation 14:4—KJV)

The Manifestation of the Sons of God. It is God's plan and delight to give the works of His hands to His sons as an inheritance. The first and greatest Son to receive the inheritance is the Lord Jesus.

When the Lord Jesus appears, those who live by His Life will be revealed together with Him. They will go throughout the creation (which they will inherit along with the Lord) judging, delivering, teaching, and blessing the peoples of the saved nations.

The nations will continue in the bondage of corruption until the Son and the sons are revealed from Heaven.

For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19—KJV)

The Nations of the Saved. It appears that the nations of the saved constitute an unknown group of people as far as modern theology is concerned. Yet it is utterly impossible to understand the Kingdom of God until one realizes that there are two groups of saved people—the members of the Church, and the nations of saved people for whom the royal priesthood of God serves as Christ's representative.

The concept of Israel, of God's elect, is not that the chosen people are destined to go to Heaven while the remainder of mankind is assigned to eternal torment in the Lake of Fire. Rather, the elect of God, the Seed of Abraham, are those people whom God has chosen out of the world, whether Jewish or Gentile by physical birth, to represent Himself to the nations of the earth.

No doubt many people will be cast into the Lake of Fire because of the wickedness of their deeds. However, the majority of people who have been born on the earth will be raised from the dead and then brought into the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. These saved individuals will live on the earth and be ruled, guided, and blessed by God's elect, by the Lamb's Wife, by the members of the new Jerusalem. If this were not true, Christ and His saints would have no inheritance.

But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: {men} shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. (Isaiah 61:6—KJV)

And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. (Revelation 21:24—KJV)

The New Covenant. The purpose of the new covenant is change—the change of the believer from a lawless individual into one in whom the eternal moral law of God has been eternally engraved.

Forgiveness is included in the new covenant. But the purpose of the Divine forgiveness is to make possible the new creature who serves God by nature, not to perpetuate lawlessness and immorality.

The new covenant made with man by the God of Israel is probably the most misunderstood contract ever made.

The new covenant is never made with a Gentile. A Gentile must become part of Israel through marriage to Christ if he or she is to participate in the new covenant.

The mainspring of the new covenant is death and resurrection. Our adamic nature must be assigned to the cross with Jesus and our new born-again spiritual nature must be assigned to the right hand of God in and with Christ. Any other approach or emphasis will lead only to the unproductive programs and activities of manmade religion.

The Divine grace of the new covenant is not God's apology for the sins of man. Neither is Divine grace a new dispensation in which God, being discouraged with attempting to make man in His image, has decided to accept him in his sin and rebellion.

Divine grace is the Presence of God made available through the Lord Jesus Christ so that every need and true desire that man has may be met perfectly and completely. However, the program of redemption is first of all for God's benefit and only secondarily for man's benefit. Man is transformed so he may worship and serve God.

Divine grace, if it is not to be aborted, must result in actual righteousness and holiness of personality and behavior. It is the righteousness and holiness created in us by Divine grace that result in eternal life. This is in contrast to the Evangelical lawless-grace-rapture doctrine.

But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. (Romans 6:22—KJV)

Eternal life is both the source and the result of holiness of personality and behavior.

The concept that salvation is unconditional, that we cannot lose our salvation by willfully continuing in sin, is clearly unscriptural and has hindered the establishing of the Kingdom of God in the believers.

The eternal moral law of God can never be altered in any manner. The purpose of the new covenant is to change what we sow, not what we reap. The Kingdom law of sowing and reaping shall never be made of none effect.

The adamic race died on the cross. God is not saving our first personality. The Kingdom of God is the new personality that is born within us.

Salvation always is a season of opportunity, always conditional, always based on our response.

It appears that some of the Protestant reformers emphasized belief in doctrine at the expense of the moral transformation that is salvation under the new covenant. The moral and doctrinal chaos of the Christian churches of our day is the fruit of the incorrect emphases and myths of Catholic and Protestant theology. Faith without works is dead!

For this {is} the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (Hebrews 8:10—KJV)

The Overcomer. All the promises of God are to the victorious saint, the one who is living in Jesus each day. There are no promises to the defeated believer except very stern warnings concerning lashes and outer darkness.

Satan always is conquered as we trust in the blood of the Lamb, as we stoutly, defiantly, consistently, diligently declare God's Presence, Word, will, and eternal purpose in Christ, and as we cease grasping the things of this world and follow Jesus into death to our self-centeredness and self-love.

If we do not trust in the blood of the Lamb, or if we declare something other than that which the Word declares, or if we grasp relationships or things or circumstances and do not place all our treasures on the altar of God, then it is impossible for us to live in victory. We will go down in defeat and are no longer eligible for the rewards assigned to the overcomer.

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—KJV)

Responding to the Vision of God. God's way is to declare a thing to be done. For example, He already sees the saints glorified—perfect in Christ. The problem is, how are we to respond to the timeless vision?

How are we to address ourselves to that which God has declared to be true but we do not see to be true? The correct response to the prophetic vision insures the successful attainment of all God has stated. An incorrect response leads only to confusion and emptiness.

The sixth chapter of Romans advises us to count ourselves as dead to sin. Does this mean we are unable to sin? Not at all! Does this mean it does not matter whether or not we sin because God does not view our sinful conduct as being sinful? Not at all!

How, then, are we to respond to the fact that God has declared us to be dead with Christ and risen with Christ?

God has said we are a new creation in Christ, that we are crucified and Christ is living in us. Does this mean we are a new creation even though the people around us see the same old personality?

The Scriptures state we were healed by the wounds of Christ. What if we still are sick? How are we to regard ourselves—sick or healed?

The right response leads to glory. The wrong response leads to frustration and deception.

The only correct way to work with the timeless Divine vision is to grasp the vision by faith, declare it is so because God has said it is so, recognize clearly it is not a fact when it is not yet a fact, understand that we have enemies in the spirit world that are determined we never will possess the victory, and then start out after God every day, following His every guidance, enduring in patience until that which has been promised is possessed in solid reality.

Cry out, "Give me this mountain!" If you do not quit, the mountain someday will be yours. With God, all things are possible.

Remain sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Follow God's timing. Let God modify your desire as He sees fit. Do not clutch anything (remember, you do not understand even your own desires). If you do these things you will receive the Divine treasures. They shall be given to you. Hope deferred makes the heart sick but when the desire comes it is a tree of life. Never, never, never quit!

That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:12—KJV)

The Rest of God. God created all things in six days and then God rested. "All things" include the eternal destiny of each of us through to our role in the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus. Our task in life is to strive to enter the rest of God, turning away from our own attempts to create heaven and earth according to our opinion of what is righteous and profitable.

As we seek the Lord Jesus, cooperating with Him as He strikes down our adamic nature and guides us in paths of righteousness and peace, we are increasingly able to find joy in the will of God. The individual whose supreme joy is to do God's will has obtained the greatest good possible to a human being. He rests with Christ in God as God brings into view the wonderful world of righteousness He has envisioned from the beginning.

Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left {us} of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. (Hebrews 4:1—KJV)

Restoration. The story of the prodigal son is the basic story of human life.

The story of the prodigal son is the story of God's Israel, the story of Samson, of the Christian Church, of man himself. We are given a fabulous inheritance, we lose it because of lack of appreciation and experience, and we gain it back to an even more glorious extent by hard work.

God has promised that all the locust has eaten will be restored. The glory of the latter house will be greater than the former. The latter rain, the greatest revival to date, is on the horizon. The glorifying of the Church that will take place at the Lord's return is greater still. The new heaven and earth reign of the Lord will be many times more marvelous yet.

God gave man Paradise on earth. Man forfeited his right to the tree of life, to immortality. Now we have to gain back the Presence of God by centuries of agony and patience. But God will return in far greater glory than was true of Eden. God has kept the good wine until now.

Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:21—KJV)

The Resurrection. The resurrection into the new world of righteousness, the central hope of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, has been so twisted and obscured by the unscriptural, destructive stress on the catching up of the saints (termed the "rapture") that not one believer in a thousand has a clear understanding of the resurrection to eternal life—this most important act of redemption.

The Scriptures do not emphasize the ascension of the saints. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament speak of the resurrection. It is the resurrection that is the goal of redemption, the overcoming of the last enemy.

As Paul declared, the first resurrection, the resurrection of the royal priesthood, must be attained. The first resurrection, the resurrection that will take place at the Lord's return, can be attained only as we press through to life lived in the power of Christ's resurrection.

The first resurrection, the resurrection out from among the dead, will occur at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, the historical Year of Jubilee.

Every human being who has ever lived will be raised from his or her place of decease at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, with the exception of the blessed and holy members of the royal priesthood. Those who have practiced righteousness will be brought forward to the new world of righteousness. Those who have practiced wickedness will be cast into the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, where the wicked will be confined for eternity.

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28,29—KJV)

The Royal Priesthood. The Church, the Bride of the Lamb, is a royal priesthood destined to govern the saved nations of the earth. It can be seen today that self-seeking government has caused the moral and sometimes physical destruction of the inhabitants of the earth. Many people are plagued with overweight while multitudes of others are starving to death. There is no greater need than that of righteous kings and priests who through Christ will bring the Person, Word, will, compassion, wisdom, justice, and eternal purpose of God to the nations.

The physical nation of Israel was set apart by the Lord to be a holy priesthood—His representatives to the other nations of the world. It appears that the nation of Israel often has rejected this role, striving instead to make peace with other nations and dwell among them in the customary pursuits of life. Because many Jews have not obeyed the Lord's will they have suffered throughout the centuries.

Meanwhile, God has gone to the Gentiles and purchased a people for His name. A few of them are willing to serve God as a separate, holy people whose chief purpose in life is to worship and serve God, while the majority merely are church-attenders.

In the last days the true saints will turn to the physical people and land of Israel and bring the Presence and blessing of the Lord to them.

But ye {are} a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; (I Peter 2:9—KJV)

The Second Death. The Lake of Fire is referred to as the "second death." It appears that the second death is eternal separation from God in an area of torment.

Revelation 21:8 describes the kinds of people that will have their part in the second death—people who refused to be separated from the behaviors over which the Lake of Fire has authority.

He who overcomes the world, Satan, and his own lusts and self-will shall not be injured by the second death. As long as we practice the behaviors over which the second death has jurisdiction, the second death retains authority over that part of our personality. This is true whether or not we believe in Christ.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. (Revelation 2:11—KJV)

Shattering the Power of the Saints. The books of Daniel and Revelation inform us that the end will not come until first the witnessing power of the saints has been overcome by Antichrist. Antichrist will wage war against the Spirit-filled witnesses of the last day. God will permit Antichrist to prevail until the Christian testimony has been destroyed from the cities of the earth.

Then, when people are speaking of peace and safety, the Lord will appear and the glory of His appearing will destroy Antichrist and all the wicked of the earth.

We notice today in the United States of America that the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ has been destroyed by the viewing of the new covenant as an unconditional forgiveness of the sins of the believers, with a minimum emphasis placed on righteous, holy behavior. Thus the power of the saints already is being shattered by the skillful deceptions of the adversary.

And I heard the man clothed in linen, which {was} upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that {it shall be} for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these {things} shall be finished. (Daniel 12:7—KJV)

Suffering and Glory. Because of the rise of the humanistic spirit, the "rights of people," it has become fashionable to ignore the large role suffering plays in the redemption of God's people. The emphasis today is on "positive" preaching, on preaching and teaching that appeal to the self-love of the listeners. Ours is the age of the ear-ticklers.

However, it remains true that God's people have been and will continue to be "sheep for the slaughter" until the Lord comes and establishes His Kingdom on the earth.

Suffering in the flesh produces the strength of holiness in us, if it is accepted in faith and trust in the Lord and not in unbelief and bitterness. It is especially important that the chosen rulers suffer with Christ because suffering is the tool God uses to remove self-will and rebellion from us.

If we suffer, we shall also reign with {him}: if we deny {him}, he also will deny us: (II Timothy 2:12—KJV)

Survival and Security, Worship, and Achievement. These are the three pursuits of mankind on the earth. They are the three areas in which every son of God is tested.

Physical life includes eating, playing, working, sleeping, and reproducing. We can seek to obtain survival and security for our physical life by trusting in the world spirit, or by looking to the Lord for all things.

We do not as yet understand all the wonderful aspects of spiritual life that will be true of the world that is to come.

Worship is that to which we cleave in order to find joy. We can seek to obtain joy by obeying the lusts and passions of our flesh, or we can look to the Lord for joy.

Man was made to be fruitful and to have dominion. The healthy human being seeks to expand himself and to govern his circumstances. This is the realm of achievement. We can seek to be fruitful and have dominion, to achieve something of significance, by trusting in our own understanding and strength; or we can trust in the Lord that our life is worthwhile.

We are in the rest of God when our total life, our total worship, and our total desire for fruitfulness and dominion are found only in Christ.

And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. (Luke 4:3—KJV)

And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. (Luke 4:6—KJV)

And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: (Luke 4:9—KJV)

The Temple of God. God is building a living house for Himself. The Christian Church is the eternal habitation of God. This is the reason for the existence of the Church. Through the Church the God of Heaven will be able to minister to the needs of all His creatures.

The holy blood of the cross gives us the authority to be children of God. The Holy Spirit of God gives us the power to overcome unclean spirits and also to bear witness of God.

The authority of the blood and the power of the Spirit have been given to us that we may become the living temple of the Lord. It is as the Lord Jesus Christ comes with the Father and takes His place on the throne of our personality that our destiny is fulfilled.

The Father and the Son dwelling in the fullness of the Spirit in the saint constitute the Kingdom of God. This is the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles—the omega of salvation.

There are two aspects to our becoming the eternal temple of God. The first aspect is that of Christ being conceived and then brought to maturity in us. Christ formed in us is the eternal temple of God.

The second aspect is that of the Father and the Son coming to make their abode in the temple that has been formed in us, making it Their eternal dwelling place.

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 2:21,22—KJV)

The Thousand-year Kingdom Age. The thousand-year Kingdom Age is for the purpose of perfecting God's Israel. During the Kingdom Age the saved nations will be governed in righteousness. But the main purpose for the age, as we understand it, is to serve as an opportunity for growth from the present stage of development of the Church to the incredibly glorious state of the Church during the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

We believers are far too crude, in the present hour, to experience the Divine Glory that will fill the new Jerusalem. The thousand-year period of fellowship with the Lord Jesus will help prepare us for the Glory that will be given to the elect of God.

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

The Three Stages of Redemption. Three deaths and three resurrections are included in the Divine salvation: death to the world and resurrection to citizenship in God's Kingdom; death to sin and resurrection to eternal life; death to self and resurrection to fruitfulness and dominion.

Salvation takes place in three broad stages. The first stage, the blood of atonement for sin, gives us authority to participate in the Divine salvation. The second stage, the anointing of the Holy Spirit, gives us the power to participate in the plan of salvation.

It is the third stage, the entrance of the Father and the Son into the believer, that is the purpose of salvation, and is the Kingdom and rest of God.

Self-will is the most virulent poison in the human personality. God uses suffering to slay our self-will and to establish Christ on the throne of our personality. Religious pride and envy, the desire for prominence and exaltation, always is at the door of God's Church. Some people whom God has not chosen observe carefully God's elect with the intention of usurping, if they can, the glory and honor assigned to the saints. For this reason the elect must be on their guard constantly or they stand in danger of having their crowns of authority stolen from them.

If each of us will remain on his guard, looking to Jesus at all times, the Lord will protect us from Korah, Absalom, and their fellow conspirators.

The third death, death to self-seeking and to the lust for preeminence, is the only route to the throne. But death to self-seeking is gained through the prolonged deferral of our most intense desires and prolonged immersion in distasteful circumstances.

Patience, and the Kingdom of God!

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—KJV)

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (I John 1:7—KJV)

{This} I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16—KJV)

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—KJV)

The Throne of God. What is "man" that God is concerned about him and visits him?

Man has been created to be the eternal throne of God Almighty.

Some of the lords of the spirit realm rebelled against the Father. The creation of man is the Father's response to the rebellion. Through man God will govern all the works of His hands. Through man God will prevent all further rebellion against His will.

The victorious saints will rise to meet the Lord in the air when He returns in the clouds of glory. The reason the resurrected saints rise into the air is that they may replace the fallen lords on the thrones that govern the creation.

The wicked rulers of the spirit world will be overcome by the saints who trust in the blood of the cross, who maintain a true testimony of the Person and Word of God, and who love not their own lives, take up their cross, and follow the Lord Jesus.

It is the placing of the victorious saints on the thrones in the air that will cause the chains of futility and corruption of the earth to be broken and the Spirit of God, of righteousness, of peace, of joy to cover the earth in waves of Divine Glory.

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. (Revelation 20:4—KJV)

The Two Beginnings. The Lord Jesus is the Firstborn, the Beginning of two creations of God. God through the Logos created all of the first creation. The first creation included the angels, the heavens, and the earth—all the spiritual creation and all the physical creation.

The first creation rose in rebellion. The Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary brought to an end the first creation when He said, "It is finished."

When Christ rose from the dead He began a second creation. The second creation is what God has had in mind since before the first creation came into existence. God knows in advance all that will take place—God is that great!

The Lord Jesus is the Firstborn from the dead, the Beginning of the second creation. Every angel and every human who would be saved into the second creation, the eternal righteous creation, must have the Lord Jesus as his Center and Circumference. The Father has been pleased to make Christ the Center and Circumference of the new world.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone and Capstone of the Kingdom of God and of every person who is part of the Kingdom of God.

Our response is to assign the first creation, that is, our first personality, to the cross with the Lord Jesus. Then we are free to be raised with the Lord into the new creation. To be "saved" is to be brought into eternal life in the second, eternal creation, the new world of righteousness.

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether {they be} thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: (Colossians 1:15,16)

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all {things} he might have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:18—KJV)

Two Kinds of Righteousness. Two types of righteousness are set forth in the New Testament. The first kind, actual righteousness of behavior, such as honesty, truthfulness, kindness, patience, mercy, is the subject of both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

The second type of righteousness, imputed (assigned) righteousness, has to do with the manner in which the Lord regards us. Imputed righteousness was assigned to Abraham when he believed God's promise. Imputed righteousness is assigned to us when we put our faith in the Lord Jesus instead of in our observance of the Law of Moses.

There is no greater misunderstanding in Evangelical thinking than that concerning the proper roles of actual righteousness of behavior and imputed righteousness. Imputed righteousness is given to us because we trust in the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, God's Sin-offering. But imputed righteousness must lead us to actual righteousness of behavior. If it does not it has not served its purpose. If we continue to sin after we have received the Lord Jesus, the Divine righteousness no longer will be imputed to us.

The continual—almost exclusive—emphasis on imputed righteousness has destroyed the moral strength, the testimony of the Christian churches.

And account {that} the longsuffering of our Lord {is} salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all {his} epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as {they do} also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (II Peter 3:15,16—KJV)

The Two Witnesses. Just before the Lord returns, the greatest witness of all time will be borne to the nations. The two witnesses, Christ and the Body of Christ, will announce the coming of the Kingdom of God. They will be anointed with the fullness of the power of the Holy Spirit as portrayed by the two lampstands of Revelation, Chapter Eleven.

The present-day ministry of the Spirit of God, including the judgment and deliverance that is cleansing the saints from the works of the flesh and from self-will, is preparing those who will be used of God to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom to every nation under Heaven. No doubt the children of today will play a special role in the end-time revival.

Every era of history has had its two witnesses that have spoken in advance of the purpose of the era, and in whom has been demonstrated the purpose of the era and what was to take place during the era. Beginning with Adam and Eve, each of the seven "days" (eras) has contributed and keeps on contributing to the coming world of righteousness, and each day is eternal.

We now are approaching the sixth day, the day of the Kingdom of God. The two witnesses of the day of the Kingdom are Christ and His Body. They will bear witness under an unlimited anointing of the Holy Spirit, as portrayed in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation. Christ and His Body reveal in themselves the righteousness and power of the coming sixth day.

The fourth chapter of the Book of Zechariah announces the symbolism of the golden lampstands: "Not by might nor by power but by My Spirit, the Lord says." The eternal temple of God will not be completed by the resources of the flesh of man but by the Spirit of God.

And I will give {power} unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred {and} threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. (Revelation 11:3—KJV)

The Wall. If the Paradise of God is to survive it must be protected by a wall against sin and rebellion. Man was unable to keep possession of the garden of God because it was unwalled. The serpent had access to the beauty and wonder of God.

The wall of defense and the rod of iron are being created in the victorious saints in the present hour. The wall is the impenetrable, eternal wall of the new Jerusalem, the overcomer's resistance to sin. The rod of iron is the stern discipline of those who obey God in every circumstance, under every adverse condition, throughout every pain and frustration.

Every era of history has had its two witnesses that have spoken in advance of the purpose of the era, and in whom has been demonstrated the purpose of the era and what was to take place during the era. Beginning with Adam and Eve, each of the seven "days" (eras) has contributed and keeps on contributing to the coming world of righteousness, and each day is eternal.

Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we {are} in, how Jerusalem {lieth} waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. (Nehemiah 2:17—KJV).

And had a wall great and high, {and} had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are {the names} of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: (Revelation 21:12—KJV)

War. The Kingdom of God will be established on the earth by violence, by war. To a world weary with wars and rumors of wars this does not come as good news. However, wars will continue on the earth because there is war in the spirit realm.

The first creation of angels and men has risen in rebellion against the Father. The sin must be judged. The wicked must be removed from the creation. The righteous must be delivered and made invincible in righteousness so the will of God may be performed and the peace and harmony of the universe maintained.

The sin was judged, the atonement was made, the justice and wrath of God were appeased, on the cross of Calvary. But Satan and his followers are unwilling to acknowledge this. They are unwilling to surrender the creation to Christ even though He has paid for it with His blood. This is why war is necessary.

There will continue to be wars until the Prince of Peace comes with His armies and removes sin and sinners from the heavens and the earth.

A description of the righteous army that will invade the earth is given several times in the Scriptures. The only manner in which Christ and His saints can gain their inheritance, the land of promise, is by unrelenting war.

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—KJV)

The Witness of God. There is a difference between ministering and bearing witness. To minister is to bring forgiveness and deliverance to people and to build them up in Christ. To bear witness is to faithfully reveal the Person, Word, will, and eternal purpose of God.

It requires many years of patient suffering to produce an eternal witness of God. Gifts and ministries can be assigned to an immature believer in a moment of time, and the gifts of the Holy Spirit do bear a true witness of God. However, gifts and ministries often are temporary and operate only during the lifetime of the individual. The witness borne by the personality and testimony of the individual who does God's will is eternal, as in the case of the writings of the Apostle Paul.

A faithful witness of God always is eternal. Noah, Job, and Abraham are bearing witness to us today, not only because of their gifts but especially because of God's dealing with them and their response.

There is much Christian ministry throughout the world today, for which we thank God. But the testimony in many instances has been destroyed because of the sinful, self-seeking behavior of God's messengers.

The true testimony of God always is in supernatural power and always is clothed in righteousness, holiness, and stern obedience to God.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16—KJV)

Working Out Our Salvation. One of the major misunderstandings of Evangelical theology is that the Christian salvation is a sovereign work of God; that the believer has little to do but believe. "The just shall live by faith," the cry of the Reformers, has come to mean that the righteous go to Heaven because of their belief in theological facts concerning the atonement, the resurrection, and the lordship of Christ.

However, the Scripture does not support this one-sided position. Such statements as "in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee" (I Timothy 4:16) and "if the righteous scarcely [with difficulty] be saved" (I Peter 4:18) reveal clearly that the current program of salvation by mere mental assent is not at all what the New Testament teaches.

Let us turn away from the frivolous Christianity of our day and by faithfully serving the Lord save ourselves and those who hear us.

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. (I Timothy 4:12-16—KJV)

THE ROLES AND TASKS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

To be a member of the Bride of the Lamb (Revelation 21:9)

To be part of the Temple of God (Ephesians 2:22)

To be a member of the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:12)

To be a son of God (Revelation 21:7)

To be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14)

To be a part of the vehicle for the end-time revival (Isaiah 60:1,2)

To be a source of eternal life and healing for the nations (I Corinthians 15:45)

To be a member of the royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9)

To be a witness of God (Isaiah 43:10)

To be salt (Matthew 5:13)

To be an overcomer of the Accuser (Revelation 12:11)

To be a governor of the nations (Revelation 2:26,27)

To be a soldier in the army of the Lord (Joel 2:11)

To be a wall of defense around the Glory of God (Revelation 21:14)

To be the revelation of God in Christ (Revelation 3:12)

A CHANGE OF GOAL

Here is the true and eternal goal of salvation:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20—KJV)

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The Traditional Way of Salvation

The traditional goal is to arrive at and remain for eternity in a mansion in Heaven. What we will do once we are in Heaven will be arranged by the Lord.

The main purpose is to obtain everlasting love, peace, and joy. "We'll sing and shout and dance about." (The Homecoming Week; Dr. Raymond Browning)

We arrive at our goal by mercy and grace, as we place our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. God views us as righteous because of our faith in Christ.

Belief in Christ, which may or may not be a genuine faith in the living Christ, is the most important aspect of our salvation.

The Scriptural Way of Salvation

The scriptural goal is to attain to eternal righteousness, love, joy, and peace in an incorruptible body. Our location will be wherever God places us. The mansion Christ spoke of is a room, a place of abiding for the Father and the Son in us.

Our main purpose is to provide a home, a place of rest, and a location for the Throne of the Father and the Son.

To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21—KJV)

Our righteousness originally is imputed to us apart from observing the tenets of the Law of Moses. After that we must obey the commands of Christ Jesus in order to maintain our righteousness in the sight of God.

We must live always in the rest of God; abiding in Christ. This means that we look continually to Christ for all we think, say, and do. All of our personality and behavior that is not of Christ is loss for God, for us, and for humanity.

We will work with Christ, in whatever role is assigned to us, at the task of bringing justice and stern obedience to God throughout the creation of God.

To maintain our position in the rest of God we must faithfully obey the Spirit of God by confessing our sins and self-will as they are pointed out to us; and, with the assistance of the Lord Jesus, turning away from them.

If it is true, that the goal of our salvation is to conform us to the image of God and to find untroubled rest in His will, and if it is true that we are not saved to live eternally in Heaven but so God can have a home, a rest, and a place in which to install His Throne, can you see how radically this change of goal would affect Christian teaching?

For example, the concept that grace forgives our sinful behavior and brings us safely to Heaven without any effort on our part, no longer is valid. Grace can be seen for what it is—a Divinely ordained instrument which releases us from the authority of the tenets of the Law of Moses, freeing us so we can follow Christ without distraction.

Our hymnology would change. We no longer would be singing about how merry we would be in Heaven, dancing around in a state of bliss.

In actuality when Christ has come to the fullness in us, God will change our environment to conform to our new spiritual state. We always will be in Heaven and will bring Heaven wherever we. We may wonder, "How about the Christians who have died? They have not had a chance to come to such perfection?"

I believe the Scripture indicates that they will proceed past the basic salvation experience, or the Pentecostal experience, after they die and are in the spirit world.

Let me hasten to state that I am not teaching "second chance." We will not be able to proceed toward perfection after death unless we already have been leading the life of victory in Christ while alive on the earth.

Of course, there are people on the earth who for one reason or another during their lifetime never heard of Christ or the Bible. God will deal with them according to His righteousness. But the Christians who wasted their time while living on the earth will not then be invited to press forward to perfection after they die.

The parable of the talents reveals what will happen to the lazy, wicked believer after he or she dies.

Let us proceed now to speak about our assertion that diligent Christians who never were taught about maturity in Christ will be brought further along after they die and are in the spirit world.

I am basing my belief on two Scriptures. Also on the fact that there is only one elect, one Wife of the Lamb, one Body of Christ, whether the members be on earth or in the spirit world. We all will come to perfection together.

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:39.40)

Please consider carefully that the heroes of faith mentioned in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews are in Heaven. But they had not received what had been promised. Can you see from this that Heaven is not the land of promise?

These deceased members of God's elect have not been made perfect as yet. But they are being made perfect along with us.

But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. (I Peter 4:5,6)

Christ is ready to judge the living and the dead. This judgment is the fulfillment of the Jewish "Blowing of Trumpets" and "Day of Atonement" that lead to the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.

This judgment is taking place today on the earth. The Holy Spirit is bringing us past the Judgment Seat of Christ by showing us our sins and self-will and enabling us to put them to death by turning away from them. We are assisted in doing this as we call upon our Lord Jesus for wisdom and strength.

This identical judgment is being experienced by the diligent Christians in the spirit world. They are being judged and directed and strengthened so they are able to turn away from their sins and self-will and receive the Fullness of Christ in exchange.

This judgment is taking place now.

In 1948, while I was in Bible school, Jesus spoke to me. He said that the Jewish Day of Atonement portrays judgment on His Church. Now I understand what the Lord was referring to.

We do not realize how our life in Christ continues after we die. We really have a mythological view of the next world, of our life after death.

If you will consult the Scriptures you may notice that very little is said about what happens to us when we die, other than that we will be "gathered to our people."

One deadly misunderstanding is that when we die we will be freed from our sins and self-will. There is no scriptural basis for this belief.

In fact, the parable of the talents, in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Book of Matthew, does not speak of our being delivered from laziness, if we have "buried our talent," but of our talent being removed from us. Then we are sent into the outer darkness.

It is my point of view that all decent people will be sent to a place of instruction in the spirit world, when they die, and taught the righteous, holy ways of Heaven. This is not true if they have been presented with Christ and have rejected Him. The first rule of the Kingdom of God is obedience to the Lord Jesus.

But it may be different for the members of God's elect, His royal priesthood. They are being prepared to represent God to the other people of the creation. They have to be brought through the rigorous demands that begin with faith in the blood atonement and conclude with the coming of the Father and the Son to make Their eternal abode in them.

The last step prior to the Royal Priesthood being filled with the Fullness of God is that of appearing at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This judgment is taking place today for those who are being qualified and made competent to participate in the first resurrection—that which will occur when Jesus comes to change their bodies and catch them up to the staging area in the air where Jesus is waiting with the army of angels.

This change in the body and catching up to meet the Lord in the air will take place simultaneously with the saints who have come with Christ and those who are alive on the earth at the time of His appearing.

Here is the meaning of: "only together with us would they be made perfect."

Not all people have the same destiny in the Kingdom of God. Each one of us, as did the Apostle Paul, must be diligent in laying hold on that for which God has grasped us, or we will be regarded as a lazy, wicked servant.

Unlike "Heaven teaching," in which there are no ranks, there will be thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and hundredfold according to the fullness of Christ in us. It will be a case of having heaven formed in us.

Those who are greatest in the Kingdom will be servants of all.

This is a great deal better than just going to Heaven to "sing and shout and dance about" for ten thousand years, isn't it?

Both sin and self-will must be removed from us if we are to abide happily in Christ. Spirits of disobedience, great and small, have no place in the Kingdom of God and shall be removed totally with no mercy shown to them.

To abide in Christ is to live in the will of God, the rest of God. It is the spiritual fulfillments of the Jewish Day of Atonement and the feast of Tabernacles eternally forged together in the believer.

The spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement occurs as the Spirit of God points out to us our sins and self-will, and we confess and turn away from them, as Christ helps us.

The spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles occurs as we keep the commands of Jesus Christ; and the Father and the Son make Their eternal home, resting place, and throne in us.

Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." (John 14:23)

I think it is easy to see that the coming of the Father and Christ to make Their resting place in us depends on our ceasing to obey our sinful urges and our self-will. This is why I say the Day of Atonement and the feast of Tabernacles are forged together in the believer. As they are, we are prepared for an eternal life of service to God.

The reason people of the Christian churches are not more diligent in driving out the sin in their behavior is that they are picturing residence in Heaven as their goal rather than the rest of God as their goal.

If you, as a Christian, are committing some sin that you know of, you are not in the rest of God; you are not in the perfect will of God. Get busy and ask Christ how to gain victory over it.

The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. (I John 3:8)

The Lord Jesus Christ did not come from Heaven to earth merely to forgive our sins but to destroy the devil's work in us.

Grace does not cover known sin. If you do not get busy and gain victory over it through Christ, you may lose part or all of your inheritance.

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. (Hebrews 4:1)

To enter and remain in the rest of God we continually must seek to know the Lord's will, praying constantly, listening, presenting our body a living sacrifice. We must do God's will. Then we can rest in God and God can rest in us.

We will be His home, His rest, and a place in which He can install His throne.

This is His reason for creating man.

God cannot find a home, a resting place, or install His throne in us until we set aside our own will and do His will cheerfully, completely, and promptly at all times.

I have covered the same material in other writings. But the simplicity of my thesis can be hidden under a multitude of words.

Therefore in this essay I will strive for clarity.

For two thousand years eternal residence in Heaven has been the goal of salvation. We are "saved" so we may go to Heaven when we die.

However, the Old and New Testaments do not present eternal residence in Heaven as the goal of our salvation.

The goal of our salvation is entrance into God's rest, as the Book of Hebrews states.

Am I claiming there is no Heaven? Of course not. Our Lord Jesus Christ came to us from Heaven. We are to place our treasures in Heaven.

But eternal residence in Heaven is not the goal of the Christian salvation.

As I said, for two thousand years Heaven has been presented as the goal of the Christian salvation. How did this concept begin, when it is not found in the Scriptures?

My guess is it was introduced into Christian thinking during the early years of the forming of the Christian religion; just as the practice of building special buildings for Christian worship was commenced some three hundred years after the birth of the Church— or so I have been led to believe.

We have created a religion from the teachings of the Lord Jesus that is not scriptural in some instances. Our Lord did not teach us to build a religion but to change our ways so they correspond to the moral image of God. Isn't that so?

It may be true that a simple group of disciples meeting and observing the Lord's supper, without setting up a religious organization, no longer is possible, given human nature. But that pattern of worship may be restored to us as we see, even in America, the rejection of Christ and His Bible.

In any case, one of the major innovations that has been introduced into Christian thinking is the idea that we are saved in order to live in Heaven forever. Yet the New Testament teaches clearly that the Kingdom of God will be established on the present earth when Jesus returns—not today, as some are erroneously teaching. At the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, the Kingdom will be established on the new earth.

These facts being indisputable, at what point would we be living in Heaven, other than during periods of transition?

You know, we have no idea what Heaven is like. We may assume it will be some sort of Paradise, such as was true of the Garden in Eden.

The Lord promised that He would bring the thief to Paradise along with Himself.

The Apostle Paul visited Paradise and heard "unspeakable words."

But our born-again spiritual nature already is in Heaven, isn't it?

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:3,4)

It seems from the above that when the Lord Jesus next appears, we also will appear from Heaven with Him.

And what about the following?

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, (Hebrews 12:22)

If we are a true Christian we already have come to the heavenly Jerusalem. Notice the tense of the verb: we have come. Not we will come, but we have come to the heavenly Jerusalem.

"Heaven" is not the entire spirit world; it is a city in Heaven where the Lord Jesus and His Church reside. And we are there already, according to the Book of Hebrews.

Perhaps Paradise is a part of the city in Heaven, the new Jerusalem. Or maybe the term refers to the entire city. "Paradise" often refers to a garden or park, and sometimes is associated with the Garden of Eden.

So we have to think again about the tradition of going to Heaven when we die to live there for eternity, since we are there already in our reborn spiritual nature.

Let us return now to the statement in Hebrews:

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. (Hebrews 4:1)

Entering God's rest.

It appears from what I have written thus far that our spiritual nature can be in Christ in the heavenly Jerusalem, but we have to address ourselves today to the problem of entering and remaining in God's rest. These apparently are two different concerns.

Now, let us think for a moment about the Christian people to whom the Book of Hebrews was written.

It appears they were Jewish. But according to the Apostle Paul, himself a Jew, once we are part of Christ there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile. So we can apply the exhortations of the Book of Hebrews to ourselves, whether we are Jewish or Gentile by physical birth.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, (Ephesians 2:14)

Jews and Gentiles are one in Christ, and this is how we will regard them in this essay.

Those believers being addressed in the Book of Hebrews were mature saints—more advanced in Christ than many of us today may be.

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age (Hebrews 6:4,5)

What do most of us know about the "powers of the coming age"?

In addition they had been persecuted and their material goods confiscated..

You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. (Hebrews 10:34)

If these Jewish Christians were mature by the standard we employ today, then what is the meaning of the following exhortation:

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. (Hebrews 4:1)

Exactly what is the rest of God that the experienced, mature Jewish Christians needed to be concerned about? Is it a condition that we of today need to be concerned about?

Notice that "going to Heaven" is not at issue here. These believers were not being instructed that even though they were not attaining to God's rest it did not really matter, because they were going to enter Heaven, at their death, by grace.

The rest of God is based on the following statement:

Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'" And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world.

God's works have been finished since the creation of the world.

Since this is true, you and I have a choice. We can plan our lives the way we want them, or we can spend our time on the earth seeking every day to discover what God's will for us is for that day.

I have to insert a caution at this point.

The fact that God's will concerning us, our destiny, has been decided upon since the creation of the world does not mean that no matter what we do, our life will follow the pattern that God has determined in advance.

If that were the case, if we were to do nothing, or if we decided to pursue our self-will with all our might, even though we are not behaving according to God's plan for us, the destiny God has planned for us would come into being regardless.

If such were the case, the writer of the Book of Hebrews would not be exhorting us fervently to be careful that we do not enter God's rest. Evidently to enter God's rest we must cease from our own works and press at all times into the will of God for us.

We do not end up doing what God has chosen for us apart from some effort on our part.

Notice the example the Apostle Paul set for us:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)

It sounds at first glance as though Paul was endeavoring to enter Heaven, doesn't it?

The rest of God comes to us from Heaven, but it is not Heaven itself, unless we view Christ as "Heaven"—and that is not far from the truth! Every good thing that we associate with Heaven is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.

When Paul protested that he had not already arrived at his goal, we know He is not speaking of residence in Heaven, since he was on the earth when he was writing these words. He was not speaking foolishly.

Also, the preceding verses in Philippians reveal that Paul was seeking the resurrection life which is in Christ, and the knowledge of Christ. Paul was not striving to return to Paradise and hear "unspeakable words"!

The rest of God, which is our goal, occurs when we are joyously doing God's will in every aspect of our being and behavior. This is our objective.

The land of Canaan is a type of the rest of God. The Israelites were not determined enough to fully possess their land, their rest.

But Manasseh did not drive out the people of Beth Shan or Taanach or Dor or Ibleam or Megiddo and their surrounding settlements, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that land. (Judges 1:27)

And so forth.

The Israelites were so thankful to be out of the desert and into good farmland, they settled for partial conquest of their inheritance.

Perhaps it is that way with us. We receive forgiveness through the blood atonement, are born again, and baptized with the Spirit of God. Maybe we are content to remain with the spiritual gains we already have made.

For some reason we do not continue to press forward until everything in our life that disobeys God, that is not in His image, is overcome.

Perhaps the reason we do not press into full victory is that we have perverted Paul's teaching of "grace" to mean that even though we do not gain victory over our sinful behavior, God overlooks our lack of determination and receives us into Heaven by "grace."

Once we products of "lawless grace" are in Heaven we can fight with one another about the area we choose in which to "sing and shout and dance about" for ten thousand years.

God warned the Israelites about their lack of perseverance, didn't He?

The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, "I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I swore to give to your ancestors. I said, 'I will never break my covenant with you, and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.' Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? And I have also said, 'I will not drive them out before you; they will become traps for you, and their gods will become snares to you.'" (Judges 2:1-3)

This precisely is the condition of many of the Christian churches in America. We have received a part of God's plan of redemption, and have concocted an excuse for not pressing through to total victory.

As a result, our leaders of government have no clear moral example to follow. Therefore God has raised up enemies against America, as He always does when a nation practices immorality.

When I pray concerning the disasters coming upon our country, God says, "Tell the congregation to press into the Lord Jesus. He will be your safety in the coming days of Divine judgment."

God does not tell me to pray for America—perhaps because America has gone over the line with its abortions, gender confusion, public nakedness, and worship of money.

I think one of our main problems is the belief that after we receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit we have gone as far as God intends to bring us in this life. Jesus Savior, Healer, Baptizer, soon-coming King; and after that, eternity in Heaven.

The truth is, the baptism with the Spirit of God is the means, along with the blood of the cross, of enabling us to press on to the fullness. Speaking in tongues is the God-given means to enter the rest of God!

Very well then, with foreign lips and strange tongues God will speak to this people, to whom he said, "This is the resting place, let the weary rest"; and, "This is the place of repose"—but they would not listen. (Isaiah 28:11,12)

Speaking in tongues indeed is a wonderful rest as we allow the Spirit of God to express the present burden!

There remains the rest of God, the state of being in which we are living in God's perfect will, having fellowship with the Father and the Son.

We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. (I John 1:3)

The following verses tell us of the coming of the Fullness of God to dwell in us. The Holy Spirit is as a Steward who facilitates this personal coming to us. The goal toward which we are to be pressing is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles.

"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.

Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them."

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?"

Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." (John 14:18-23)

The Holy Spirit prepares the way, and the Father and the Son come to us and make Their home with us. One of the actions of the Spirit when preparing the way for the Father and the Son to find Their rest in us is by pointing out to us our sins and self-will, and helping us put them to death.

For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13)

The next verse in the Book of Romans informs us that the Holy Spirit always is leading the sons of God to deal with the misdeeds of the body, so they may be suitable as dwelling places for the Father and the Son.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children [lit. sons] of God. (Romans 8:14)

We are led by the Spirit of God to put our sins to death. This is an experience, just as the baptism with the Holy Spirit is an experience.

Am I teaching that there is more of redemption for us after we have received the Spirit of God? Yes, that is precisely what I am teaching. There is a specific "more." The Bible terms the "more" as the "rest of God", and it is into this "more" that the Hebrews believers were urged to enter.

If we have been around Christian people very much, we know from their behavior that they have not attained to the fullness that God has promised. I have read that the patriarchs of orthodox churches in Jerusalem have fought over their assigned rooms in the Old City. The Catholic and Protestant Christians in Ireland have had their "troubles," although they both revere the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Many if not most Christians have not pressed forward to full victory over sin. In fact, they do not believe full victory over sin is even possible!

And to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)

No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. (I John 3:6)

There has to be a further work of redemption, and I believe the further work has begun in our time.

The twelfth chapter of the Book of Isaiah is the testimony of a believer who has moved past the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Pentecost to the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. This is why the twelfth chapter was sung by the Jews during the feast of Tabernacles:

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:2,3)

The God of Heaven has given us salvation and strength and has defended us against the enemy. Now an increase in redemption has occurred. He Himself has entered us and has become our salvation, our strength, our defense.

Prior to the "Tabernacles experience" we have played "volleyball" with God. Now we are on the same side of the net.

We see, therefore, we have arrived at a change of goal. Our goal no longer is to attain to eternal residence in Heaven. Our goal is to cease from our own works, our own plans and ambitions, and enter the rest of God. Such rest can be accomplished only as we pursue the life of victory in Christ until sin and self-will have been overcome in our behavior.

We must be absolutely determined to fight through to total victory, and not be like the unfaithful Israelites who did not do this. As a result, the nations of Canaan finally overcame the Israelites, as God warned they would.

Going to a better place will not satisfy our desires, although we think it would. It is the coming of the Father and the Son to make us Their home, Their resting place, the location of Their Throne, that is God's eternal plan for us.

It is fellowship with the Father and the Son that we crave, not a novel environment.

And it is God's will that we have such fellowship. It is His rest that we enter. It also is our rest. Heaven is a place of warfare, as the evil struggles against the good. It is in God and Christ that we find the righteousness, love, peace, and joy that are our goal.

Taste and see that the Lord is good!

"All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:27-30)

The rest we are seeking is the knowledge of the Father.

Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you. (Isaiah 12:6)

The Enemy in Our Land of Promise

When the nation of Israel made its exodus from Egypt, God did the fighting. When the next generation sought to take possession of the land of promise, the Israelites had to do the fighting, with God's help.

The passages below are the kind of enemies we must fight in order to enter our land of promise:

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.

Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:17-32)

It is my point of view that the "Day of Redemption" has begun. It is for this "Day" that we have been sealed by the Spirit of God.

Self-will

There is another enemy that confronts us. It is our self-will, self-love, self-centeredness. We are under the impression that God has been created to meet all our needs and desires. The truth is, we were created for God's pleasure, to meet His needs and desires.

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4:11—KJV)

God is seeking a home, a resting place, and people in whom He can install His Throne. God and we rest together because His work was finished from the beginning of the world.

This is why self-will is the ruination of the people of the world, and also of the Christians. We are attempting to create our own Heaven and earth. God did all this thousands of years ago, and now He and we are to rest in God's finished work.

The overcomer of the Church in Smyrna must endure the prison in which he or she is placed. We understand that such confinement is under the strict control of the Lord Jesus, in that He said, "You will suffer persecution for ten days."

Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor's crown. (Revelation 2:10)

When Christ permits us to be placed in some kind of prison, the purpose is to destroy our self-life. We can choose to escape from our prison, to come down from the cross, or to be faithful to the point of death.

We cannot have fellowship with the Father and the Son when we are being directed by our self-will.

When the new generation was getting ready to invade Canaan, they had to be circumcised. This circumcision typifies the crucifixion of the old nature and the putting on of the new man of the Lord.

And after the whole nation had been circumcised, they remained where they were in camp until they were healed. (Joshua 5:8)

Our old nature may have many good features. But until those good features are born again in Christ they are not of eternal quality.

We understand, therefore, that Heaven is not our land of promise. Our land of promise is our own personality made new in Christ and housed in an incorruptible body.

Satan and his demons are persuaded that they have a right to our personality, even though Christ removed that right on the cross of Calvary.

Because of the Lord Jesus Christ we have legal standing to invade and conquer the enemy in our personality, just as Israel had a God-given right to Canaan.

This is a real change for us, because we thought God would do all the fighting for us and bring us into Paradise if we would just "accept Christ."

But that is not the case. From this point forward we have to call on Christ day and night to help us overcome the enemies in our land. There are great rewards for those who drive out their enemies and find rest in the center of God's Person and will.

I do not know from the Bible what will prove to be true concerning those who wait for God to save them and bring them to Heaven by "grace."

One episode that comes to mind is the Lord's rebuke directed at the servant who had buried his talent.

Well, there it is. The Spirit of God is looking for those who will set aside their own plans and desires and enter wholeheartedly into the present phase of redemption.

I hope to be one of these. How about you?

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Do not get drawn into an anxious struggling against sin. Confess your sin clearly and ask the Lord Jesus to remove it from you. Do this every time you think of it, and mingle your supplication with praise.

Do whatever you can to avoid temptation. The force of the sin will leave relatively easily if you are determined that it go.

Some bondages are determined to remain in your personality. If you do not surrender to temptation, eventually you will gain total victory over every force of sin and self-will.

Overcoming sin is not a question of power. Christ spoke the universe into being with the Word of His power. He certainly can deliver a creature of dust from spiritual bondage.

It is your patient determination to be in the image of God and to do God's will at all times that eventually will gain complete victory over sin and self-will.

Do not be troubled about anything. When a worry comes to mind, ask Jesus to solve it. He will. Then go on your way rejoicing.

***

I have learned during my lifetime about some of the traits of God's Personality. God is strict, loving, faithful, playful, honest, upright, loyal, creative, knowledgeable, wise, righteous, holy, gentle, slow to anger, helpful, honorable, courageous, fatherly, friendly, patient, upright, fair, charitable, peaceful, joyous, good, meek, self-controlled, plain and simple, kind, courteous, gentlemanly, has a sense of humor, keeps His promises, is practical, cheerful, diligent, and compassionate.

Everything that Christ says is established eternally according to the intent to which it was spoken.

We will begin to reveal these traits in our own personality as Christ is formed in us. Some of God's traits, such as all-power and authority, the avenger of all injustice, a judge of the behavior of people, jealous over His role and possessions, harsh and destructive when the need arises, majestic, may be true of us in the future, but not as yet.

Satan is the opposite of most of these traits. If you choose to serve Satan, your end will not be a happy one.

A TRANSITION

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—KJV)

The verse above, Galatians 2:20, came to my attention when I first became a Christian, about 70 years ago.

I realized that this had something to do with my being a Christian. Yet, in all my years I do not recall hearing anyone preach that this verse applies to us. I am sure, however, that many faithful pastors and evangelists have preached Galatians 2:20 so the believers would understand where Christ was taking them.

I know that Paul urged us to follow him as he follows Christ. Also Paul said, "Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded," referring to his single-minded effort to know Christ.

Before I venture into the little bit I know about our transition from our first, adamic personality to living by the Life of Christ, I must present some warnings:

First, we are not to take the attitude that we will do nothing until Jesus speaks to us. This is to fall into the error of passivity. We will become the prey of demons, and be indecisive in all that we do. If you find yourself in this traps, ask Jesus to help you jump out of it.

You have to continue being your old, mean self and allow Christ to modify your behavior.

You never lose your first personality. You always will be "you." The Apostle Paul always will be Paul. Rather, Christ helps you remove the parts of your personality , such as lying or self-will, that are destructive; and puts to death your good features, such as generosity, and then raises them as part of Himself.

Christ has been begotten of God, is the Word of God, and is an integral part of God. You and I have been begotten of God, are being made the Word of God as Christ is written in our mind and heart, and are becoming an integral part of our Lord Jesus Christ as we eat and drink His body and blood. We are being made "faithful and true."

But you always will be "you"; and while you never will be as exalted in the Kingdom of God as is the Lord Jesus, you will be a glorified "you"—changed into the image of the Lord.

It is going to be a while before you hear the Lord's voice accurately. There are numerous voices in the spirit world. There is only one voice of the Lord.

Learning to be led by the Spirit of God is drawn from a difficult curriculum. Notice how Jeremiah was not certain of the validity of what he had been told until the word was verified by circumstances.

So Hanameel mine uncle's son came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the Lord, and said unto me, Buy my field, I pray thee, that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is thine, and the redemption is thine; buy it for thyself. Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord. (Jeremiah 32:8—KJV)

Sometimes what we hear is not the Lord. We discover this, when what was told us does not bear out in the circumstances.

If we will adopt an attitude of meekness and learn from our mistake, this incident will lead to an increased knowledge of God and the Lord Jesus.

But if we are arrogant and say our word was true but people just did not have enough faith to make it happen, then we will learn nothing from our error.

When it is God who has spoken, miracles take place!

What Jesus tells you to do will never be absurd, like going to the beach and jumping into the water with all your clothes on.

It will never contradict the Scriptures. Sometimes the Lord will direct Christians to go against the government, as the Christians did when they hid Jews from the Nazis. This sort of thing requires the prayers of mature Christians.

The midwives defied the government in the matter of keeping the Israeli boys alive. God blessed them for this deceit.

Some evangelists have smuggled Bible into countries where the Bible is forbidden.

But, as Peter said, we must obey God rather than men.

However, this sort of thing is rare. When a voice tells you that you are free to go against the Bible, that voice almost certainly is not that of the Lord.

When you are certain God has spoken to you, but the ensuing circumstances do not agree with what you have been told, do not panic. Pray carefully and ask the Lord Jesus how you should proceed. Do not attempt to force the issue. If you stay calm and keep looking toward the Lord, He will guide you along the path of common sense.

With these disclaimers it may be safe to proceed.

The Apostle Paul claimed to be crucified with Christ. This means the original Saul of Tarsus no longer thought, spoke, or acted out from his original personality—that is, this was his goal.

God did many things to Saul to make Saul's goal a reality:

For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: (II Corinthians 1:8,9—KJV)

There are many statements in the Book of Second Corinthians that record the afflictions of Paul.

Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. (II Corinthians 11:24-27—KJV)

If these experiences were not enough to kill Saul of Tarsus, God used Satan to injure Paul's eyes. Paul prayed three times that God would lift this affliction. But Christ assured Paul the purpose of the affliction was to keep Paul looking to Christ for the strength to live.

"I am crucified with Christ."

Paul was unable to keep on thinking, speaking, and acting in his original strength because he continually was being "killed."

The important step in the transition from our old personality to our new personality is the "killing" of the first personality.

Are you and I prepared for this "death"?

"Nevertheless I live. Yet, not I, but Christ lives in me."

This means that my thinking, speaking, and acting are proceeding from the Life of Christ and not from my human life.

I realize that Paul was not fully in Christ at the time of the writing of the Book of Galatians, but he was pressing toward this goal.

Our familiar goal of going to Heaven to live eternally in a mansion is not presented in the Scriptures as the goal of salvation.

The goal of our salvation is to know Christ; to be filled with all the fullness of God; to live by the Life of Christ.

It makes a practical difference in our Christian discipleship whether our goal is eternal residence in a mansion in Heaven, or, as in the case of Paul, to know Christ to the uttermost.

It would make a big difference in your Christian life, and mine, wouldn't it?

Going to Heaven to live forever is not a scriptural goal. Living by the Life of Christ as He lives by the Life of the Father is a scriptural goal. We need a change of goal if we are to grow in Christ and stand in the moral chaos that is approaching America!

Our goal is to make the transition from the life of Adam to the Life of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The life of Adam consists of eating, drinking, working, playing, and reproducing.

The Life of the Lord Jesus Christ consists of thinking, speaking, and acting as the Father thinks, speaks, and acts.

It is the prayer of the Lord Jesus that each one of us become one with Him in God just as He is One with God.

This means that we must think, speak, act as we "see" the Lord Jesus thinking, speaking, and acting. Then we are related to Him, and to the Father through Him, just as He is related to the Father.

Now, exactly how do we learn to life by the Life of the Lord Jesus, to think, speak, and act as Jesus is thinking, speaking, and acting.

It is a matter of continual prayer and obedience, and of repeated deaths and resurrections.

Each day and night we make numerous decisions, most of them minor, occasionally a major decision. How we make each decision determines whether we are nurturing our adamic life, or the Life of Christ in us.

Let us say we are deciding what to eat for breakfast. (I realize that multitudes of people in the world have only one choice, or maybe no choice since they have no food. But this is a simple example that many people in the world would recognize).

Should I eat eggs or oatmeal?

We can decide from our appetite, or our diet, or what we are accustomed to. But here is an excellent opportunity to look to the Lord for His choice. If you become accustomed to asking Jesus about minor decisions, you probably will look to Him for major decision.

You might be considering moving to another state or country. You may wish to investigate many facts about where to move, and you should do this. But in addition, you should look to the Lord Jesus and ask His opinion.

Perhaps a nuclear warhead has landed near to your neighborhood. You do not know if you should panic and join the people fleeing from your city. But if you hold steady in prayer, God will guide you.

Learning to live by the Life of Jesus is an art. It is a good idea to begin with one area of your life, like when to set aside a time to pray and read your Bible. Then what to do during your spare time, if you have any.

Once you make the attempt to pray continually, as Paul advised, you will discover many opportunities to look to Jesus for direction and strength.

There are several forces that hinder our entering the rest of God, in which we continually are looking to Christ for wisdom and strength.

One force is the sin that lives in our flesh. When the Holy Spirit shows us a sin, we are to confess it and ask Jesus to help us resist the sin.

If the passions of sin are burning in us, it is nearly impossible to keep looking to Jesus for help with the decisions we are making.

Personal ambition is another such distraction.

Self-will is the greatest of all the forces that keep mankind, including Christians, from serving the Lord. We absolutely must take up our cross of deferred desire and follow the Master at all times.

Most of us have many idols, sometimes people; sometimes things; sometimes situations. We must give each of these up to Jesus as He calls for them. We must place our treasures in Heaven. They will be kept safe for us and given to us in the Day of Resurrection, if not before.

No one gives up any person or thing to the King, the Lord Jesus, without receiving it back many times over.

The answer to the problem of the transition from our old life to a new life in Christ is faith—faith that God is loving; that He is kind; that He knows and understands the desires of our heart; that He is fair; that He is patient; that His desire is that we attain to eternal righteousness, love, joy, and peace.

So it is true that the righteous live by faith.

We understand therefore that if we abide in Christ the time will arrive when we are a totally new creation, old things will have passed away, all has become new and is of God.

All that God has spoken concerning us has come to pass.

Then we can assist with the task of reconciling to God the peoples whom He has created.

I believe that if Christ is forming eternal righteousness, love, joy, and peace in us, Heaven will be a better place because we are there.

Heaven is a desirable place because of its inhabitants. Will we add to or subtract from its desirability should we arrive there?

Heaven is what it is because of Christ. The more of Christ that is formed in us, the more of Heaven we bring wherever we are.

Righteousness, love, joy, and peace are found in Heaven only to the extent Christ is there. Are you and I adding these virtues wherever we are?

Will we add righteousness, love, joy, and peace to Heaven should we arrive there; or will we add hatred to Hell should we arrive there?

What would Heaven be like if Christ were not there? Would Heaven be different if you and I never were there? Would it be lacking something of value, a presence that brings righteousness, love, joy, and peace?

Every person who is willing to set aside his or her own life that Christ might live, strengthens Christ's hand in the war again Satan. A Christian believer who never has abandoned his own will and plans may be strong in prayer and righteous in behavior. But the overcoming of the evil in the creation can be accomplished only by Christ Himself. This is why the death of our old nature is so necessary.

The Christian Church is to travail in birth in our day that Christ may be formed in us. He is the Ruler whom God has chosen. All of our Christian activities are of eternal value only as they contribute to the forming of Christ in us.

We make it possible for God to destroy Satan as we deny ourselves, take up our cross of deferred desire, and follow and obey the Master with the greatest possible diligence.

The believers residing in the spirit world will mill about, having fellowship and worshiping God, perhaps occupied with some sort of project, until those predestined to be changed into the image of Christ have satisfied the Father that righteousness has come to the fullness. Then God shall give an angel the power and authority to imprison Satan in the Bottomless Pit.

The imprisonment of Satan shall take place after the victory of Armageddon.

And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven,having the keyto the Abyssand holding in his hand a great chain.He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan,and bound him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:1,2)

When Christ has been formed in His brothers, righteousness has come to the fullness, and Satan has been hurled down from his position in the heavenlies, those in Heaven shall rejoice!

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death." (Revelation 12:10,11—NIV)

It can be maintained, therefore, that the true Christian goal is to be transformed into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then we will be about our Father's business, whether we are on the earth or in Heaven.