SERMONS ON PASTOR’S PAGE FROM 2010

Copyright © 2010 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. 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.


It seems that the understanding of God’s Kingdom, and also of the manner in which we are being fashioned by the Lord, is becoming increasingly clear. Perhaps these brief thoughts drawn from my sermons will be of help to the saints of the future.


Table of Contents

Introduction
Call on the Lord
The Lord Is Our Refuge; Our Fortress
The Righteous and the Wicked
Living by His Life
Set Free From the Law of Sin and Death
Following the Cloud and the Fire
Faith
Faith continued
He Who Overcomes
Attaining to the First Resurrection
Eternal Life
Laying Hold On Eternal Life
The Fullness of God
Election
The Servant of the Lord
The Ruler
The Two Witnesses
The Baptism With Fire
Holiness
Becoming the Throne of God
Becoming the Throne of God, continued
Living in the Spirit of God
Entering God’s Rest
Canaan, and the Rest of God
The Feast of Tabernacles
Being Led by the Spirit
Being a Disciple
Fruitfulness and Rulership out of Death
Faith, continued
The Royal Priesthood
The Royal Priesthood, continued
From Moses to Joshua
From Moses to Joshua, continued
From Moses to Joshua, continued
Possessing All of Our Inheritance
Circumcised Again
The Battle for the Body
The Battle for the Body, continued
The Battle for the Body, continued
Deliverance From Sinful Behavior
The Resurrection of the Body
The Father’s House
The Lord’s Prisons
Dying in the Lord
Holding Firmly to the End
The Shelter of the Most High
Integrity
Not on Food Alone
From Doctrine to Christ


SERMONS ON PASTOR’S PAGE

Introduction—Welcome to our site. You may notice some ideas that are new to you. Hopefully they will be helpful, or at least cause you to stop and think about what is being said.

We have come to the conclusion, after 60 years as a Christian, that some of our traditions need to be looked at again in the light of the Scripture. Our position is, if our tradition does not square with the Bible, then we need to change the tradition and not the Bible.

We certainly question the idea that our behavior does not affect our salvation, or that our salvation does not affect our behavior. Our salvation normally will be revealed in our behavior.

We question also the doctrine of the pre-tribulation “rapture.”

The “prosperity” and “faith” messages do not fit the Scripture, as far as we are concerned.

We look for the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, rather than eternal residence in Heaven. Have you ever tried to find in the Bible where we are supposed to spend eternity in Heaven?

We want to be with Jesus where He is—in the center of the Person and will of God, not stuck in an unscriptural mansion somewhere.

The Gospel of the Kingdom is beginning to be preached in all the world for a witness. After that, the end of the Church Age will be here


Call on the Lord. Ever since Adam and Eve chose to act independently of God, their descendants have been afflicted with this most deadly of all behaviors. You know, God was present in the Garden. All Eve and Adam had to do was to go to Him and ask if eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil would be good for them. They chose rather to use their own judgment, based on what the serpent had told them.

(2/7/2010) This is my first Sunday back in the pulpit since the fall that broke my right femur. That was on Sunday, 9/13/2009. The fall was on the stairs in my home after returning from the morning service. I am in pretty good shape now, although I am using a cane to prevent falling while I am mending.

Stan Josephsen and Lloyd Darlington have filled in with preaching during those five months. From what people told me, they did an outstanding job. Our Church Council continued with the business of the church in my absence, including the annual business meeting. My thanks go out to Stan, Lloyd, the Council members, and the congregation, all who steadfastly continued with the message of righteous behavior we have preached in Poway for over thirty years. Thanks also to John Arterberry who fashioned a chair so I can sit behind the pulpit while I am preaching.

The burden of the morning has to do with the historical error of mankind. The error is that of acting independently of the wisdom and will of Christ. It is as true of Christians as it is of non-Christians. We simply are not aware, many of us, that Christ wants to direct our lives. We are seeking to please Christ without knowing exactly what He desires of us as an individual.

I am persuaded that most Christians do not realize they can conduct all the aspects of their daily life in the Presence of the Lord Jesus. When the Apostle Paul urged us to pray without ceasing, he did not mean that twenty-four hours of every day we are to beseech Christ to keep our ninety-five year-old aunt from dying. He was speaking rather of living our life in the Presence of Christ.

How do we “pray without ceasing”? We start each morning by committing ourselves to Jesus, asking Him to get us out of bed on time. At my age, one needs supernatural help to get up in the morning!

Then there is the decision, for many of us, of what clothes to wear. Then the decision of what to eat and how much to eat (if we have food). How many cups of coffee to drink. Perhaps helping the children off to school. During the first hour we may have made a hundred decisions.

Now, there are two ways in which we can make a decision. We can bring our desires, experience, and knowledge into play and do what we think is the best. Or we can look up to Jesus and ask His assistance as we bring our desires, experience, and knowledge into play.

Did you know the Book of Proverbs advises us not to lean to our own understanding but to acknowledge Christ in all our ways? This is what it means to pray without ceasing.

Do you know what happens to you if you persevere in this manner of living? Eventually you can say with Paul, “It is not I who am living but Christ who is living in me.” To live by the Life of Jesus Christ is our very highest goal.

What kind of world would this be if every person looked to Jesus for every decision he or she made? What would have happened in the Garden of Eden if Adam and Eve had looked to God to see if they were supposed to eat the forbidden fruit?

The American ideal is the self-possessed individual who is “in control.” This may be the American ideal but it is not God’s ideal. The self-directed person is a loose cannon in the universe. This is why the world is in such an uproar.

Having been a Christian for 65 years, I am fairly well acquainted with the manner in which churches and denominations operate. It is very seldom that one hears of a church or a denomination waiting to hear from God before it embarks on a plan. The assumption is that we are to go into all the world and build Christian churches.

You may notice, in Matthew, that Christ did not charge the multitude of believers and disciples to “go into all the world.” He spoke to eleven chosen individuals whom He named Apostles.

And Christ did not command them to build Christian churches, but to make disciples. There is a vast difference. One can build a church that has few or no disciples in it. A disciple is someone who denies himself, takes up his cross, and follows Christ at all times. How many genuine disciples are there in your church?

I do not know how often the missionaries of today hear from the Spirit of God as the Apostle Paul did. I think in many instances we are working for Christ instead of obeying Christ and following His directions.

I believe the Lord Jesus has new and surprising things for us today, if we will get our eyes off what has been and just look to Jesus. Maybe–just-maybe–He has some ideas that will more than conquer the spiritual darkness into which we are sinking in America.

A corollary of the willingness of the believers to seek to work for Christ instead of listening to what Jesus actually wants, is the practice of looking for spiritual formulas for success. We have arthritis, so we do this. We need money, so we do this. We want to save our marriage, so we do this. We need healing, so we take this approach.

Believe me, we are entering the hour of darkness in which no man can work. In order to survive and help others we absolutely must “die in the Lord.” Only the wisdom and power of Jesus Christ will be able to operate in the coming days.

Therefore, when you are facing a need, do not try to use a formula for success. It may have worked at one time. It will not work in the future. Check out the eighteenth Psalm and see what King David did when he was in trouble.

In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears. (Psalms 18:6)

“I called to the Lord”! Can you hear this? David called to the Lord. He did not attempt to wait for the sound of marching in the mulberry trees or do anything else that had worked in time past. David called to the Lord.

In my experience, this concept is violated continually as Christians seek to employ some recipe for spiritual success. In fact, people travel to locations where God has moved in time past, hoping that somehow God will repeat what He has done before.

God does not repeat Himself, ordinarily. But people want to “work the moves.” They would rather water the plants in the sanctuary, or organize a parade, or do whatever, in order to get God to move. They may use a computer to find out what parts of the world need evangelism.

All of these religious efforts are attempts to find something that will “work.” Why don’t we quit doing this and call on the Lord? God is not broke. Jesus is in control. He is not confused or impressed with the vain boasting of today’s political leaders.

If you want to be shocked, read the rest of Psalms Eighteen and see what took place when David called on the Lord. These kinds of results are not obtained when we assume from reading the Bible what Christ wants, and then set out to accomplish it with money and human talent and effort.

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The Lord Is Our Refuge; Our Fortress. There are many promises in the Bible informing us that God will protect us in the time of trouble. I think most Christians know of these promises. But God’s promises may not mean too much to us until we are in serious trouble. The days ahead in America are going to be dreadful and very threatening. We need to keep ourselves under the protection of Christ.

(2/14/2010) It may be true that the ninety-first Psalm is one of the more familiar of the passages that deal with the time of trouble.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. (Psalms 91:1-4)

I would like to point out an aspect of the promises of this familiar Psalm:

  • “Dwells in the shelter.”
  • “Rest in the shadow.”
  • “He is my refuge.”
  • “And my fortress.”
  • “Saved from the fowler’s snare.”
  • “Saved from the deadly pestilence (disease).”
  • “Cover you with His feathers.”
  • “Under His wings.”
  • “Your shield and rampart (an embankment for defensive purposes).”

Do you see the commonality here? In order to be protected we have to abide in Christ.

I hope I am incorrect, but I don’t believe many believers in America actually abide in Christ. They are good religious people, church people, but they have not been taught what it means to abide in Christ.

You can think of Christ as a castle. One type of castle has an outer wall surrounding the outer ward. Then there is an inner wall surrounding the inner ward. The inner ward is where the people and animals conduct their lives.

There are towers in the inner ward, sometimes consisting of rooms at three levels. The rooms are entered by climbing a spiral staircase. These rooms are where people reside.

If an enemy breaks through the outer wall he is faced with an even higher wall, the inner wall. If he manages to break through the inner wall he will find that the inhabitants of the castle have taken up their positions in the towers.

The towers are large and solid, and have arrow loops so that the defenders can shoot at anyone in the inner ward; and also at anyone in the outer ward if the tower forms part of the wall guarding the inner ward.

If a person goes out through the inner and outer gates, and across the drawbridge, the several defensive elements no longer will protect him.

So it is in Christ. If we go outside of Him, the promises of protection in the day of trouble no longer can be relied on. Did you know that? It is not enough to say “Christ will protect me.” He will not protect you, even if you name His name, if you do not abide in Him.

Now, how do we live in Christ, in the Castle God has constructed?

Living in Christ requires a conscious effort at all times. We always must be aware that He is present, even though we may not feel it. His Presence and protection are there if we are praying continually.

In my own experience, I find that I am confronted with numerous choices throughout the day and part of the night. Should I eat this or that? If so, how much? What time should I go to bed? What time should I get up? What should I do before I go to work? What should I do when I return from work? And so forth. There are numerous such choices each day for many of us, aren’t there?

Now, how we decide what we should do at each point of decision will determine if we are living in Christ.

If we just choose to do what we want, or what seems pleasurable, or what has proven in time past to be the best choice, or what we are afraid not to do, or what we feel is expected of us, or what we believe will bring the best results, then we are not living in Christ. We are living in the flesh, according to our own resources, experiences, and talents.

There is another way of making a decision. This is to look to Christ in every instance. As the Bible says, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” This admonition is found in the Book of Proverbs.

“But how about little things I do every day, like eating breakfast or taking care of the children?” (“In all your ways”)

Yes, bring Christ into those decisions also. Bring Christ into every decision. Talk to Him constantly. “Pray without ceasing.”

“But I can’t do that. It is too hard!”

Many activities are too hard when you first attempt to do them. You could not play music on the piano the first time you tried. It is only after years of practice that one can play the piano or violin with any kind of assurance.

So it is with abiding in Christ. It is going to take you a period of time and unrelenting practice to bring Christ into every decision. But this is how you:

  • Dwell in the shelter.
  • Rest in the shadow.
  • Make God your refuge.
  • And your castle.
  • Are saved from the fowler’s snare.
  • Are saved from the deadly disease.
  • Stay under His feathers.
  • Remain under His wings.
  • Make God your shield and rampart.

Another important illustration of dwelling in Christ is Noah’s Ark. It was a day of Divine judgment. God called the righteous into a place of protection. They were saved through the Divine judgment by remaining in the Ark.

If they had stepped out of the Ark during the rain they would have been destroyed with the wicked.

I have just described what the Bible means by “walking in the light.” It is when we walk in the light of God’s perfect will that the blood of God’s Lamb cleanses us from all sin.

It may be true, although I hope it isn’t, that most believers in America are not filled with eternal life. I think there are many who have no eternal life at all, they just have made a profession of belief in Christ but they do not abide in Christ.

When the Lord said, “He who believes in Me shall never die” He meant those who were spiritually alive and abiding in Him.

I do not know where all the nominal (dead) Christians go when they die. Perhaps to a place of instruction where they have a chance actually to receive Christ into their lives, or else to reject Christ altogether. American people do love their independence of thought, speech, and action!

Divine judgment will fall on America soon, I am convinced. Today God is calling those who love and serve Him into a place of abiding in Christ. If they turn away from the wickedness of America, they and their loved ones will be saved during the destruction, just as was true of Noah and his family. But those who choose to live their lives in the ways of the world will be destroyed.

“Isn’t it enough to pray and read my Bible each day, and go to church on Sunday?”

No, it is not. These are necessary activities. But their purpose is to bring you to the place where you are abiding in Christ at all times, in every detail.

You can attain success in abiding in Christ. But you will have to bring the best that you are, the best that you have, to this challenge, this war, if you are to gain the complete victory Christ desires that you have.

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)
He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. (Psalms 112:7)
I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. (Psalms 34:4-7)

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The Righteous and the Wicked. In our day the wheat and the tares are coming to maturity. The rise of lawlessness in our own country and in the rest of the world is obvious. What may not be as obvious is the way the Spirit of God is moving on some of the Christian believers. While the Christian denominations stagger forward in their spiritual blindness, frustrated because they are not making the impact on the world they desire, individual believers are following the Spirit of God as He leads them on to the fullness of redemption.

(2/21/2010) As I prayed about the sermon this Sunday, the thirty-seventh Psalm came to mind. I have preached many times from this Psalm. Yet, its message is so relevant, as wickedness and unbelief increase in our country as well as in the remainder of the world, I thought I would have another go at it.

The Psalm tells us not to fret because of evil men, nor to envy wrongdoers. I think fretting is going to be a major problem with us who love Jesus.

The New Testament commands us to rejoice in the Lord always. We are told that we are seated with Christ in the heavenlies. When we fret, which, of course, is what Satan desires, we are not rejoicing. We are coming down from our high place in Christ that we may contemplate the works of Satan among mankind. We are disobeying the command not to fret.

We pastors need to be more firm, perhaps, in urging our congregation to refrain from spending our time cursing the darkness.

“But if we don’t curse the darkness, the wicked will prevail,” some may say. Well, it is certain we are not going to accomplish anything by disobeying the Bible. If we are in a position to prevent wrongdoing, that is one thing. But to just fret about the evil in the government does nothing but weaken us spiritually.

Each of us can pray. That is one thing we can do. I have prayed much about the evil I see in our government. You know what? The Lord is telling me that our enemies are prospering because the covering of God is lifting from our country.

And why is the covering lifting? Because of sin, particularly that of abortion. We can rail against the liberals and what they are doing; but until abortion-on-demand is made illegal, all of our efforts, financially, militarily, politically, will end up only in disaster. God will never accept a country which is murdering its children.

One thing to keep in mind is that eventually evil men will wither and die away. The infallible Scriptures promise this; and for this reason we are not to fret. Sometimes God is doing something we do not understand, and we need to pray and ask Him what He is doing before we begin to rage about what sinners are doing.

If we will heed the Scripture, and trust in the Lord and do good, we will be taken care of. We do not have to spend our time fretting about the actions of the lawless.

The fourth verse of Psalms 37 is one of my favorites. It informs us that if we will delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart—not just provide our needs, but grant us the desires of our heart.

I don’t know about you, but I am a dutiful, conscientious person. It is difficult for me to know what the desires of my heart are, because I am so loaded down with responsibilities and worries.

So I have to get before the Lord to find out what it is I really want. But when I do, I often am surprised. Then I am assured that if I keep on delighting myself in the Lord, I finally will receive what I truly desire. Why, then, should I fret about the corruption brought about by lawless people?

I am old and experienced enough to see the stupidity that is being practiced in our nation and it is difficult to quit fretting about it. But fretting does no good. I can pray, and find peace by doing this. You can too.

We are to commit our way to the Lord. Proverbs advises us to acknowledge God in all our ways. I am endeavoring to do this, right down to the smallest decision.

I am tying my shoes. I miss a turn and one of the laces knots up. Now I can rage and fume, particularly if I am late for a meeting. Or I can stop yanking on the lace and look up to the Lord for help. When I do this, the knot comes undone as I work on it. Try it for yourself!

And then there are the major decisions that face every pastor, and every other person as well. “What should I tell this person?” “What should I do about that individual who is causing division in the church?” Of course I can act out of anger, but that only compounds the problem. Or I can commit my way to the Lord. As you might guess, doing this will solve the problem.

Then God makes our righteousness evident. If we ask God’s help, and do what He counsels, we act righteously.

You know, the only people who do not know what righteousness is are the Christians. Why is this? It is because we have perverted Paul’s teaching of grace to mean that we must believe in Christ, but it is not necessary to obey what He and His Apostles have commanded.

We have been instructed to believe in Christ and also informed that if we do not obey Him there is no trouble because we are “saved by grace.” This means we will be brought up to a mansion in Heaven and spend eternity admiring how rich we are.

Indeed, it is time for a reformation of Christian thinking!

The scepter of Christ’s Kingdom is one of righteousness. We have been taught that this means we are righteous because we believe in Christ, or are identified with Christ.

How do you like that for a masterful lie?

The result of believing our righteousness is one of belief, and not integrity of behavior, has resulted in a religion that is not bearing witness of Christ. Now the pollsters are telling us that people are leaving the churches. Why shouldn’t they?

The churches are teaching a lie.

The world knows that anyone who really is serving God will behave righteously. The Christian churches are the only group of people, it appears, who do not understand this, believing in a mystical, fruitless “grace.”

When we commit every decision and action to the Lord, He causes the onlookers to witness true righteousness. They glorify God when they see our good works. The Christian churches are demanding that the leaders of our government act righteously, while every work of the flesh is being practiced by the Christian people.

There must be a billion people in the world who adhere to the Muslim faith. There is a part of this group who are villainous terrorists. The majority are ordinary people who want to serve God according to their lights. These people, whom God loves, will never, never, never come to Christ when they see how the American Christians behave.

The testimony of America reaches around the world. It is coming from Hollywood. This is where the Muslim people receive their impression of America.

I have felt for some time, that in view of the severe Divine judgment that is to fall on America, it may be too late to save our nation from destruction. But each of us as an individual believer can draw near to Jesus, thus saving ourselves and our loved ones. Let’s you and I do this.

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Living by His Life. It may be true that the greatest confusion in Christian thinking lies in the transition from Moses to Christ. Are we under at least part of the Law? Are we completely free from the Law? Does being under “grace” mean there are no laws governing our behavior? I have never heard this problem resolved clearly. It seems today, in Evangelical thinking, the majority opinion is that “we are not under the Law but under grace,” meaning that if we believe in Jesus we will go to Heaven when we die no matter how we behave.

(2/28/2010) I came to Christ in 1944. I was taught by fellow Marines that the purpose of the grace of the new covenant is to forgive us, since we are unable to meet God’s righteous demands. Then we would be eligible to go to Heaven when we die. Since that time, probably before you were born, I have found this to be the prevailing doctrine of most, if not all, Christian churches.

According to the Scriptures, this is not the purpose of the grace of the new covenant. The purpose of the grace of the new covenant is to forgive all of our sins so we will be able to focus on the work of the Holy Spirit as He creates the Life of Christ in us. As the Life of Christ is formed in us, we begin to meet God’s righteous demands. The objective of the new creation is to create us in the image of God in order that we might please God and have fellowship with God wherever we are.

Paul was upset with some of the Christian Jewish leaders.

When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?” (Galatians 2:14)

Then the Apostle Paul explained the only manner in which we can be free from the demands of the Law of Moses:

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

It simply is not true, and an error of the greatest magnitude, that because of “grace” we are free from the laws that govern our behavior. It is only as we have died to our first life and now are alive in Christ, and living by His Life, that we are free from external laws.

Until we are living by the Life of Christ we are under the moral laws of the Old Testament. There never is a time when a person is not under one of God’s laws. Either we are living by the Life of Jesus, and therefore being directed by the Spirit of God; or we are under the Law of Moses. There is no place in between, that is, for a lawless person, and still be accepted of God.

There are at least six major goals toward which the disciple is to press. Each of the six is to be true of us eternally: righteous in character and behavior; completely holy; totally obedient to God; love for God and our neighbor; always filled with joy; abiding in peace in our calling. The only way in which these goals can be attained to is to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is no greater challenge to the disciple of Jesus than to live by His Life. From the time of our birth we are endeavoring to stay alive in our original inward and outward natures. We are a person. Like all the other creatures of God we fight for our life.

Then along comes the Lord Jesus. He tells us that if we would see and enter the Kingdom of God we must be born all over again.

Now what? We are not speaking of religion at this point but of killing of our first nature as we choose to live by a new Life that has invaded our personality. If you think such death and resurrection are easy to experience, you have not attempted to make this transition.

We cannot make such a radical change in a moment. This is why the current teaching that states the moment we “accept Christ” we are born again is so misleading. The expression “born again” is not used many times in the New Testament, although what the expression implies is the heart of the new covenant.

We might be more accurate if we said, “I have decided to die with Christ and live with Christ; and if I am faithful through the years the day will come when I am a new creation, that is, I have been completely born again in Christ.”

What does it mean to live by the Life of Christ? It means that our thoughts, our imaginations, our motives, our words, our actions, while they are part of who we are and what we are doing, have continually been presented to Jesus so that they reflect His thinking, imagining, motives, words, and actions. To enter this blend of us and the Lord we must pray without ceasing. This does not mean we continually are beseeching God for our needs; it signifies rather that we keep looking to Jesus and listening to Jesus as we go about our daily business.

Right now as I am typing I am looking to Jesus and listening to Jesus. I desire that He speak to His people in this hour. In fact, I looked to the Lord for the current burden: “Man is to live by every Word of God.” At the time I went to sleep last night, and the moment I awakened, I was asking God what His Word is to me right now.

I looked to Him as I was eating breakfast, just kind of musing. Then I decided to work on the present topic in preparation for Sunday’s sermon. I could have put off working on the topic until tomorrow, Saturday. But as I was reviewing my E-mail I decided to look to Jesus to see if I was supposed to write the weekly essay today.

I asked the Lord what the topic should be. Immediately I “heard,” “living by His Life.” As I began to type, the paragraphs were formed in my mind. This is how all my writing has been done. It is a combination of His thoughts and my efforts.

The process, or program, I am describing actually is steps to the first resurrection from the dead, the inward resurrection that always must precede the outward. Also, it is the new covenant—the writing of God’s eternal moral law in our mind and heart.

My latest four books, Godwill Castle; Heaven–God’s Wonderful World; The Theology of Robert B. Thompson D.Ed.; and John and Mary Visit Heaven; and also the piano composition “God Is My Salvation,” came rather suddenly with an increased Divine impetus after about a year of not writing.

It is interesting, and just like the Lord’s sense of humor, that I, who have preached over and over that Heaven is not our eternal home, should find myself writing about the spirit world, which is becoming increasingly clear to me. I tell you, learning to live by His Life is an adventure with a surprise at every turn.

Another interesting thing: I had titled the children’s book (written for children who are facing death) “God’s Wonderful World.” But then I thought, people will think it is about the present world (which I do not regard as wonderful). So I added the word “Heaven.” It sure is a good thing I did. I did not realize how many books are on the market with “God’s Wonderful World” as the title.

So God was leading all the way. I felt Jesus telling me to hurry up and get out Godwill Castle and Heaven–God’s Wonderful World, because a lot of blood is going to be shed in the United States as God’s covering is withdrawn from our nation because of our sin.

Heaven–God’s Wonderful World is currently available in bookstores. Hopefully some publisher will pick up the other three books.

Each moment of each day and part of each night we choose whether to keep Christ in our consciousness or whether to pursue our own thoughts, pleasures, and ambitions. Sometimes to choose what we think Christ desires rather than our own lusts and passions is a real crucifixion leading to an increase of our possession of the Life of Christ. This is why the Apostle Paul spoke of being crucified with Christ, but living nevertheless by the Life of Christ.

Living by the Life of Christ is the “rest,” the primary thesis of the Book of Hebrews. We have to fight continually to enter the rest and remain in the rest. God has planned our life from the foundation of the world. Now we have to labor continually to attain to that which from the beginning was spoken concerning us.

I will say one thing: The evil approaching our country is so great no human will be able to survive spiritually and do the works of God. But Christ can survive spiritually and do the works of God. We absolutely must die to our first nature that Christ may live in us. When we do, we will reign with Him throughout the dark days of Divine judgment on the United States of America.

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Set Free From the Law of Sin and Death.The explanation of redemption, beginning in Chapter Six of Romans and ending with Chapter Eight, is not the easiest argument to understand.

(March 7, 2010). In Romans, Chapter Six, which numerous Bible teachers incorrectly apply to the unsaved, Paul tells us that when we have been baptized in water we should count that we are dead with Christ and alive with Christ in order that the body of sin that lives in us may be destroyed. Paul states that if we then continue to sin we will die spiritually, because the wages of sin is death. God, on the other hand, will give us the gift of eternal spiritual life provided we continue in slavery to righteousness and holiness.

Chapter Seven is written to “men who know the Law,” that is, to Jews. Paul is saying that under the Law, while our inner nature wants to practice righteousness, our sinful nature causes us to act as a slave to sin.

I realize that Christian teachers often use Paul’s words as an excuse for sinful behavior, maintaining that as long as we are alive in the present world we can be compelled to sin. They are misapplying Paul’s argument. Paul is saying that trying to be righteous under the Law is futile, because of our sinful nature. He then proceeds in Chapter Eight of Romans to show us how under Christ, instead of under the Law of Moses, we can be set free from slavery to sin.

The exceedingly important issue with the Jew is whether he can abandon Moses and look to Christ, and remain righteous in the sight of God. This is why Paul, as he begins to explain how Christ can set us free from bondages of sin, starts off with “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.” You can leave Moses, come to Christ, and still be counted righteous. This is an awesome concept to the Jew who has lived under the Law for many years.

One troublesome area of Christian thinking is the misunderstanding that being set free from sin means being set free from the guilt of sin. Actually, when speaking of being set free from sin, we are not referring to being set free from the guilt of sin but from the sinful bondages that cause us to sin against our will. In other words, we are referring to righteous behavior.

The monumental error in the Christian thinking of our day is that Christ forgives our sin, but He cannot set us free from slavery to sinful behavior–that is, not in this present world. This misunderstanding arises perhaps from applying Chapter Seven of Romans to Christian people.

Because our tradition holds that to be saved is to be ready to go to Heaven when we die, it is difficult to understand substantial parts of the New Testament. Actually the subject of the New Testament is the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, not the going of saved people to Heaven when they die.

The Father promised Christ that His enemies would be made Christ’s footstool. All the works of Satan are to be crushed under the feet of Christ. Therefore, putting to death the actions of our sinful nature is equivalent to Christ’s enemies being put under His feet. We understand, therefore, that it is time now for God’s saints to begin to work with the Spirit of God in putting to death all of the sinful actions of our body.

The eighth chapter of Romans is not primarily about deliverance from the guilt of sin but deliverance from the practice of sin.

Consider the following carefully, remembering this is written to “All in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints”:

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:12-14)

Please notice that we are not obliged to live according to our sinful nature.

Does the above passage sound to you like deliverance from the guilt of sin or deliverance from the practice of sin?

There are two aspects of redemption we might consider. First, the critical role of God’s Spirit in delivering us from the practice of sin.

Second, the above three verses (Romans 8:12-14) follow Paul’s statement that if we diligently live in continual obedience to the Spirit of God, then eventually the Spirit of God will redeem our physical body by filling it with Himself.

The following three verses confirm what we are saying in this essay:

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16-25)

Notice the sorts of behaviors we are to crucify:

Sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.

These spirits dwell in our flesh. God has designed our battles so He may choose from among His elect those who will govern His Kingdom. If we do not put these behaviors to death through the Spirit of God, we will not be given an incorruptible body when the Lord comes. But if we do put them to death through the Spirit of God, if we are an overcomer, if we are a victorious saint, we will govern the creation with Christ at His appearing and His Kingdom.

So we see that we have a part to play in our destiny. If we choose to live in victory, we will live and reign with Christ. If we choose to live as most Christians in America do, we will live and die as any other person, and then be raised and judged at the final resurrection of the dead.

Paul’s point is this: The making alive of our physical body, which will take place when the Lord Jesus next appears, depends on our being faithful in putting to death the sinful deeds of our body. If we thus are faithful, when Jesus appears, at the sounding of the last trumpet, those who sleep in Jesus will be raised from the dead and our body will be made alive in the Spirit of God. The redemption of his body, which was Paul’s goal, would enable Paul to have that freedom from his “body of death” that he so desired, freedom from the desire to sin.

One reason we Gentiles have a difficult time correctly interpreting Paul’s writings is that Paul’s goal was righteous behavior, whereas our stated goal is eternal residence in a mansion in Heaven. The true goal of the Divine redemption is righteous people. It is a change in what we are as a person, not the transfer of us from earth to Heaven.

Romans 8:13 offers us the redemption of our body if through the Spirit of God we keep putting to death the desires of our sinful nature; but–Christian or not–the assurance that if we continue to live according to our sinful nature we will not experience a change in our physical body when the Lord appears.

Paul says the same thing in the Book of Galatians:

The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:8)

Perhaps we could sum up Paul’s statements in the sixth through the eighth chapters of the Book of Romans by saying that if we choose to obey the Spirit of God each day, the guilt of our sin incurred under the Law of Moses is removed on the basis of the blood atonement made by the Lord on the cross of Calvary.

Now we are free to be led by the Spirit of God. The Spirit is ready, willing, and able at all times to guide us in each aspect of our daily behavior. As we choose to turn aside from behavior that we know to be displeasing to God, the Spirit strengthens us and puts to death the sinful compulsions that are in us.

The process, or program, I am describing actually is steps to the first resurrection from the dead, the inward resurrection that always must precede the outward.

In light of some of the current teachings, let me utter a word of caution. It is true that the Spirit of God performs every act of significance in the Kingdom of God. We have fellowship with Him, as well as with the Father and the Son. We are baptized into the Name of the Spirit of God.

However, the fellowship is one-sided. The Holy Spirit speaks to us and guides us. But we never speak to Him or attempt to guide Him. We never pray to Him. We never are to sing to Him. We never are to worship Him.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Lord of all. He died for our sins. The Spirit did not die for our sins. Christ is the Bridegroom. The Holy Spirit is not the Bridegroom. Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This is not true of the Spirit of God. Jesus Christ is our elder Brother. The Holy Spirit is not our elder Brother.

Think of the Spirit as one whose Presence we feel, a Presence that comforts us. Whatever we need, we are to go to Christ who in turn goes to the Father. We can go to the Father directly, if we wish. Then the Father guides and empowers the Son so He can direct the Spirit to assist us in our hour of need. This is the actual, scriptural, management pattern of the Kingdom of God. This is what the Spirit guides us to do.

If we look to Jesus at all times, in all situations, the Spirit of God will continue to guide and strengthen us. We have been delivered from the guilt of sin and now are being delivered from the power of sin to control our behavior. (from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson)

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Following the Cloud and the Fire. During my recent devotional readings in Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, I have been amazed at how present God was and how detailed were his directions. I kept wondering, “Since we are under a better covenant, why isn’t Christ just as present? Why doesn’t he give us detailed directions about building his Church, as he did about the construction of the Tabernacle of the Congregation?”

(3/14/2010). Sometimes it is claimed that now that we have the New Testament we do not need to hear personally from the Lord. This is not true. All of us are faced with decisions each day that the Bible does not address specifically so we know what to do.

Should a young person go to college? Whom should he or she marry? He has two job offers. Which should he take? You want to go on vacation. Should you go, and where should you go?

The Bible tells us to commit our way to the Lord and he, not the Bible, will direct our paths.

The Bible says the sons of God are led by the Spirit, not by the Bible.

It is impossible to enter the rest of God, mentioned in the fourth chapter of the Book of Hebrews, until we commit every decision of every day to the Lord, looking to him for guidance. The role of the Bible is to enable us to tell when we are being led astray by unclean motives or spirits. In this manner the written Word is a light on our path.

In addition to the numerous specific directions God gave to Moses and Aaron, there were the Urim and the Thummin, the “lights and perfections.” These were some kind of device on the breastpiece of the High Priest at which a person could inquire and receive advice in a specific situation.

I came to the place where Moses asked his brother-in-law, Hobab, to help the Israelites find suitable camping places in the desert. Can you believe this? After God had been leading them so specifically with the Cloud and the Fire! When I read of Moses doing this I become angry against him, a person I truly admire.

“Moses, why in the world did you ask Hobab to guide you when God himself was specifically leading you by day and night? What nonsense is this!” (Behold how I vaunt myself against the elders!)

Then I thought about how, during the days of Samuel, the Israelites wanted a king they could see. They were not content with the Lord leading them through the Prophet, Samuel.

Believers want a pope, a priest, a pastor, an evangelist, who will pray for them and to whom they are willing to give their spiritual proxy. Then they can give him or her money and continue to live their own life.

Why is it that God’s people insist on being guided and ruled by human beings rather than being governed and guided by the Lord? But it has been this way throughout human history. It is God, not man, who is to be guiding all human activity—every element of it.

When we humans are left to guide ourselves through life we continue to do foolish, hurtful, destructive things. Every sane individual has love, joy, and peace as his or her goal. But we simply cannot trust God to direct us to our goal. As in the case of Eve, we believe we will gain what we desire by taking matters into our own hands.

Some might respond that now we are to live by faith, meaning God is not willing to speak to us. This excuse will not hold up. The “faith chapter” of the Bible is the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews. Every example of “faith” in this chapter comes from God’s heroes of olden times. Moses certainly was a man of faith, as was Noah. Yet God spoke to them clearly.

No, it is not because now we are supposed to live by “faith.” Rather it is because we prefer to lean on our own understanding. We simply do not look to Christ to guide us in every aspect of our daily life, nor do we trust him to lead us to love, joy, and peace. We would rather continue with our own works than enter the rest of God in which God conducts our life.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, And he shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5,6)

To every individual who is reading my words, and who would love to live a life directed in detail by the Lord Jesus, let me tell you it is not only desirable but possible and expected. It is the way I have learned to live, after serving Christ for over sixty years. Have I made mistakes? You bet I have. But I have learned from them and am pressing on the upward way.

The sons of God are to be led by the Spirit of God. The purpose of the Bible is to keep us on the right track, because there are numerous voices in the spirit world that strive continually to deceive us and lead us astray. But if we remain prayerful and patient, meditating in the Scriptures daily, we can make a success of the Spirit-directed life.

People, including Christians, often long to hear God more frequently than they do. Well, we can, even though this fact is often not emphasized in Christian churches, and sometimes is scorned as being a frivolous, dangerous area we should not investigate.

Perhaps it is true that in many instances Christian leaders do not tell their followers that they can hear from God personally each day, if they will ask and obey. In fact, the most exciting part of our discipleship is to hear from Jesus each day. Why don’t we tell the believers that such communication is possible?

All of our discipleship is by faith. But that faith includes and results in having a daily awareness of God’s will for us on each occasion. This requires continual prayer and looking to Jesus in every situation.

I trust in the promises of God found in the Bible and read them each day. In addition, I hear from Jesus at each point of decision of my life because I continually ask for such direction. This does not mean I always hear a voice. It means, rather, that I am guided in one manner or another.

I learn about Christian conferences, gatherings, and what the promoters hope will result. Have they actually heard from Christ that they should make such an effort? Or are they doing what they imagine God wants them to do?

I remember overhearing a pastor and his associates planning a “revival” and who the speakers should be. The pastor said a certain individual should be invited because “he draws the crowds.” Can you imagine the Lord Jesus saying such a thing to his disciples? Neither can I. As I recall, this “revival” did not accomplish much.

Jesus Christ said he would build his Church. When we attempt to build his Church there is confusion. Consider the multitude of competing denominations! Soon, I think, Christ will call to the dead bones and they will come together to form an army.

What do you think would happen if all the Christian leaders in the world stepped back for a moment from their programs and plans and listened to Jesus? What do you think Jesus would say to them? I believe the Holy Spirit is proclaiming today that the Christian people should turn away from their sinful ways and cease using grace as an excuse for their transgressions and rebellions. Is this what the leaders would hear from the Lord do you suppose?

What we are hearing from the leadership is a renewed emphasis on saving the lost.

It is well that those who are called to evangelize go forth to preach the Gospel to the lost. But what about the Christians in America who are not growing in Christ? Is the primary emphasis of the Spirit of God in America that we should try to “save the lost,” or is it that we should lead the Christian people from their infancy to maturity in Christ? If the primary emphasis of the Spirit is that of leading the believers to maturity, then the leadership is not hearing from Christ. It is not following the Cloud and the Fire.

Which is the greater threat to Satan’s kingdom: more people who confess Christ, or a Christian who has set aside his or her own life that Christ may live in him or her? Are we more interested in overcoming the accuser or in spreading our religion?

If a Christian who is setting aside his own life that Christ may live in him is more of a threat to Satan than numerous new converts, why are our primary efforts devoted to gaining more converts? It is this kind of misguided emphasis that is a direct result of making our own plans without hearing from the Lord.

From the standpoint of the Kingdom of God, would it be more important to gain more new converts to Christianity, or to impress on the current believers the supreme need of setting their own lives aside that Christ may live in them?

There is a great need that each Christian in America come to understand that if God has called him to a high place in his Kingdom, he is going to have to die to his own ways. He is going to have to accept the fact that if he attempts to save his own life, to cause matters to go according to his own ways and standards, he may succeed in preserving his life; but in doing so he will lose part or all of his appointed inheritance.

It seems most Christian churches are implying that we should be led by the Bible. But the Bible itself states the sons of God are to be led by the Spirit. I think that people prefer to be led by the Bible rather than by the Spirit of God so they can remain in control. To be led by the Spirit we must ask Jesus to guide us, and we must obey him strictly when he shows us what he wants.

There is no adventure available to man on the earth more marvelous than that of walking hand in hand with the Lord Jesus through the minefields of life.

He will guide us through our times of sickness, trouble, financial distress, and also when the way appears to be simple and easy. We have to keep looking to him, asking him for help, and obeying what he directs us to do.

If we don’t keep praying and looking to the Lord at all times, we won’t know when the Cloud and the Fire have lifted from the Tabernacle and we are supposed to move to a different place.

It is a common practice today to ask Christ for healing, for deliverance from trouble, for money. There are instances when such a prayer is appropriate and necessary. I am not referring to this common practice. Rather I am suggesting that we use each of our distresses as an opportunity to have close fellowship with the Lord. Sometimes he leads us in new and surprising ways to the victory we need.

We cannot be led by the Spirit and then expect to plan our own way. We must ask the Lord to help us keep all of his commandments spoken to us personally, as well as those we read about in the New Testament

Following the Cloud and the Fire can be like walking on the water. On some occasions, if we are not truly hearing from the Lord, the consequences can be severe. We must have courage as we learn to be led by the Spirit, and Christ will help us if we sincerely are seeking to do his will, just as he reached out and assisted Peter.

It is kind of like flying by instrument, isn’t it!

It is acceptable to ask Jesus if we are permitted to step out of the boat. But we then do not proceed to do so. We wait until he says, “Come.”

Not hearing from the Lord continually can lead us into attempting to duplicate a Divine visitation of the past. There is something of this tendency in the practice of the Israelites who were burning incense to the bronze snake that God on a previous occasion had given for the healing of those who had been bitten by snakes.

Most of us know how God spoke to Abraham throughout his life. Abraham ran ahead of God in the case of the birth of Ishmael. The Seed God had in mind came through Isaac. We always produce a wild man when we act apart from God’s leading.

I think the manner in which the living creatures, of the first chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, moved straight ahead without turning, tell us something about the life lived in the Spirit of God. We are not to be subject to momentum. Christian institutions appear to be filled with momentum. Once they get started along a certain line they continue on that same line unto the ages of ages—long after God has left.

A denomination has a large monetary and ego involvement in the revelation that was given it in the beginning. It is quite difficult for it to move when God moves. Thus the denominations are landmarks in the wilderness that show where God was at one time.

It happened in a church service that a man yelled “Hallelujah”! As soon as he did, the Spirit of God fell on the assembly and they had a great meeting.

Guess what he did the following Sunday? And guess what happened? You are correct: nothing!

I think sometimes church fill in with music the vacancy left by the absent Spirit of God. It reminds me of the Jews placing the Altar of Incense in the Holy of Holies because the Babylonians had removed the Ark of the Covenant. I like music, but music ordinarily does not form Christ in the believers.

Because we do not always have the immediate Presence, direction, wisdom, and guidance of Christ we may turn and begin to worship what God has done in the past. We may go to a place like Wales, or Azusa Street in Los Angeles, in the hope that God will repeat what he did previously.

A prominent evangelist was known to have gone to the grave of a person greatly used by the Spirit in the hope that her mantle would fall on him.

Sometimes relics are venerated.

We may study the Divine interventions in the lives and ministries of outstanding Christians of the past in the hope of finding what “works,” that is, what draws in crowds of people. We do not appear to be equally interested that the Spirit of God builds up the believers in Christ. Thus our motives are suspect, aren’t they?

We just can’t seem to grasp that Christ chooses whom he will, when he will, how he will, where he will, and uses that person in the manner Christ knows will build his Church. We are not always willing to follow the Cloud and the Fire and send Hobab home.

I think sometimes if the present nation of Israel would look to God instead of to world opinion it would emerge in victory from the present distress. Israel needs a prophet who hears from God more than it does a statesman who hears from the United Nations.

It is such a delight to hear directly from the Lord Jesus, why do people insist on governing their lives apart from him?

I was taught in Bible school that the Apostles looked about for population centers, for the most advantageous location from which the Gospel could be spread. I never have found such a thing in the Book of Acts.

There is a human desire to solidify, to establish, to instutionalize an intervention of God. “Let us build three tabernacles.” Why are we unwilling to look for the fresh intervention of God instead of seeking the past Glory?

There was the manna each day in the desert. There was the memorial jar of manna stored in the Ark of the Covenant. Do these teach us that God is willing to give us grace for the day; that as our days are, so shall our strength be?

There can be a reasonable amount of planning in the life of a disciple, but he always must be looking to the Lord for every action, not taking anything for granted.

Yesterday’s manna has a bad smell.

I may be accused of being impractical. I am eighty-four years old and have been a disciple for over sixty years, so I think by this time I am a fair judge of what is practical and what is a fantasy. Actually, much Christian activity is impractical from a Kingdom standpoint, although humans may regard it as practical and understandable.

I must say, when the churches maintain when we die we go to live in a mansion with a backyard filled with diamonds, walk in our golden slippers on a street of gold and play a golden harp, and have no other responsibilities for eternity, they are in no position to accuse me of being impractical, illogical, or unscriptural.

I am ready to agree that it certainly is easier to pursue the activities of our religion than to wait on the Lord moment by moment. I think many of us would rather water the plants in the sanctuary than spend an hour in prayer before the Lord. How do you feel about this?

It requires considerable experience before we can avoid many of the pitfalls in the path of the believer who is seeking to be led by the Spirit. This is why there are elders in the assemblies. Experience is the coin with which we buy wisdom. By the way, God never will rebuke you for questioning spirits. You can test spirits all day long and God will not be insulted.

A statement by Jeremiah has remained with me through the years:

Then Hanamel my uncle’s son came to me in the court of the guard according to the word of the LORD and said to me, “Buy my field, please, that is at Anathoth, which is in the land of Benjamin; for you have the right of possession and the redemption is yours; buy it for yourself.” Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD. (Jeremiah 32:8)

“Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord.”

Can you see in this statement how even Jeremiah tested his revelations against what actually took place?

When thinking about following the Cloud and the Fire, it is necessary to realize the importance of learning to deal with deception. Because the power of Satan over people was broken on the cross of Calvary, Satan uses deception to gain control over people.

Satan is a master of deception. Sometimes Christians in their ignorance believe they cannot be deceived if they pray and read their Bible. I am here to tell you, based on personal experience, that you can pray fervently, read your Bible every day, and go to church on a regular basis, and still be deceived.

When we come to Christ we may have open doors in our personality through which Satan can work his works of deception. We may have a romantic nature, or a greedy, covetous personality. We may always be striving for preeminence or leadership, to be in control. We may have a murderous or hateful nature. The door to our personality may be along the line of intellectual pride.

Satan studies our personality profile. He estimates the best tactic to use to get us into his power. If we are a romantic person he will not use a crudity of some sort. If we have a hateful nature he probably will not seek to tempt us with money

We may have many dimensions of our sinful nature that can be dispatched readily if we are willing to follow the Holy Spirit as he points them out. We are to confess and renounce them with all our might, asking Christ to help us.

But then there are these kings!

The kings are kept shut up in the Cave at Makkedah, so to speak. When the Lord sees we are strong enough to withstand his dealing with our kings, he brings them forth.

Sometimes Christ lets us wrestle with a king of our personality throughout our discipleship. This is how we gain a conquering personality. We never yield to the king, but he just doesn’t leave as readily as some of the lesser traits.

On occasion the Lord permits us to be deceived. Satan reasons with us until we accept the king as being of God, even though the Scripture lists him as unclean. If we remain prayerful in the midst of our deception, Christ finally will bring us out. We have learned a hard, hard lesson that we will not soon forget. This is the manner in which Christ may deal with a major aspect of our sinful nature.

Deception comes through our mind, our reasoning. We may be well versed in the Bible, and this usually is helpful. We may be determined to serve the Lord. But it is our personal cross that is the wall against deception.

We become deceived when we attempt to make our life pleasurable. “God is so good! Surely he wants me to have her, or him, or this thing, or that circumstance.” Be exceedingly careful with anything you crave—that you simply have to have in order to be happy. This is the arena of deception.

God has promised to give the desires of their heart to those who delight themselves in him and his righteous, holy ways. And indeed he shall! He is bound by his unchanging Word to do this. But every such burning desire must be slain, and then raised in Christ, before we can receive it without being bound by it.

Before, it was an idol. Now it is an enlargement, a blessing, and no sorrow shall be added to it.

Deception is very prevalent among Christian people. Regular church attendance helps. Often a person who is deceived will receive spiritual assistance just by being in the company of other praying people.

However, it is in faithfully carrying one’s cross of self-denial that by far is the best protection against deception. This world is not Heaven, and any attempt to make it Heaven will almost certainly lead the believer into deception.

If you suddenly realize you, a devout Christian, have been deceived, maybe for years, do not panic. Go to Christ, ask him to forgive and deliver you. He may require some sort of restitution. If he does, pray and ask his help as to what he wants you to do.

Sometimes it is nothing more than to withdraw from what you have been doing and go on your way in victory. On other occasions the Lord will direct you and help you to make things right if you have stolen something or offended someone.

If you have sinned against your wife or husband, it is best that you do not confess what you have done to the injured partner just to get rid of the feeling of guilt. You may really hurt him or her unnecessarily.

Or if you have hated someone. You do not have to confess that to a person. Keep your confessions to a minimum and just work it out with the Lord. Satan will try to take advantage of you and urge you to do something that will hurt someone, or otherwise cause unnecessary trouble.

The thing is, you have learned a hard lesson. Get right with the Lord and go on your way, a sadder, wiser Christian. Christ will help you to do just that.

I also might mention “passivity,” another trap into which the person may fall while attempting to follow the Cloud and the Fire. This error is made by the fervent believer. He desires to be an empty vessel, filled with God and moved by the Lord just as a puppet would by one holding the strings.

One of the signs that the believer has fallen into the trap of passivity is that he cannot stay with a decision. He makes a decision, and then he changes his mind. This going back and forth continues until he is disabled.

When a believer is climbing out of this pitfall the solution is to pray, make a decision, and then stay with it even though he “feels” he is not doing what the Lord wants or what is best in the circumstances. He is to keep staying with his decisions until his will is razor-sharp. In order for this procedure to work correctly the believer must continually be looking to Jesus and committing everything he does to the Lord.

The Lord does not want empty vessels. Just be yourself. Keep on pressing forward and accept your chastenings. You will be cast down and frustrated on numerous occasions. Keep praying and pressing forward in Christ.

A sailboat cannot steered until it is in motion. Commit your way to the Lord constantly and do what is before you if it is reasonable. If you wait for the Lord to speak you probably will wait for the rest of your life. God does not like being forced to speak.

Pray much. Take one small step. Look at the fruit. If it is good, take another small step. Look at the fruit. Keep praying. If you are going in the wrong direction, Jesus will correct you.

But if you go in your closet and pray all night, it is possible nothing will happen. If it does, it probably will not be the Lord.

This especially is the case with young people. Go to college. Get a job, Follow your desires after you have prayed. If you pray and fast, asking the Lord to speak to you, you probably will be deceived.

Get out in the educational or work realms of your culture. When the ungodly correct you, listen to what they say. They probably are giving you good advice. If you can see it is good, wholesome advice, don’t reject it because they are ungodly.

We Christians tend to be smug and conceited. We think we know more than the people of the world or people of other races or religions. We often are incorrect in this. We need to listen to their comments and weigh them carefully. They may be correct in their judgment of us, and we need to humble ourselves so we can profit from their observations.

Keep praying, take your knocks and learn from them, get up and press forward in Christ. He loves this kind of courageous, consistent, determined attitude.

I have been in the Pentecostal movement for many years. I have heard much prophesying. Some of it was from the Lord. Some was not. I do not say this to discourage any believer who wants to launch out in prophesying. But I will say when something you state does not bear witness with other Christians, or does not come to pass, admit that you need to be a bit more careful. It was prophesied over me that I was going to die. This was many years ago. Just remember, when it is God who speaks, the rooster crows.

Our Lord Jesus is our example of how to live in the Presence of God. Christ did nothing, thought nothing, said nothing, apart from the Father. This is the rest of God toward which we are to press.

We can get a flavor of this perfect obedience to the Father in the following expression:

Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. (John 11:6)

The Lord Jesus knew that Lazarus was sick and would die, but he did not go to Bethany immediately. He waited for the Father to tell him when to go. This is how we should make our decisions—always waiting to hear from Christ.

Notice in the following passage how Christ was following the will of the Father closely. Every one of Jesus’ steps was ordered with great care. So will ours be, if we ask God to carefully control our actions.

We see in the passage that this was not true of the disciples:

Therefore Jesus told them, “The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. (John 7:6)

When learning to follow the Cloud and the Fire, it is helpful to learn to live in the “now,” not in the future or the past. Just make it a habit throughout the day to ask the Lord for the next step, even though you are in the midst of your work routine. It might save your life someday!

We are not to go to the mulberry trees at the next battle just because we are too lazy to seek the Lord afresh!

Joshua was tricked by the Gibeonites. He didn’t ask the Lord about them. This is why we are to pray about everything and not take anything for granted.

“Do whatever he tells you,” Mary said. This is the whole idea, isn’t it?

Don’t forget, your life on earth is a pilgrimage, just as was true of the camps of Israel in the desert. You may stay at one place a short time, or a long time. If God has moved you to one place it does not mean you are to stay there forever. Follow the Cloud and the Fire.

The Lord Jesus wants us to have a happy heart, confident that he will take care of the future. This may be difficult to do, especially in times of trouble or sickness. But if we ask God to create this happy, confident, cheerful spirit in us, he shall do it. Such optimism is not carelessness, it is based on God’s faithfulness.

The book, Godwill Castle, was given to me as I followed the Cloud and the Fire. The piano composition, “God Is My Salvation,” was given to me as I followed the Cloud and the Fire. As for the publishing of these, that will be up to Christ. He will take the initiative in this task in his time, should he desire they be published.

Only one life ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done by the Lord will last.”

In our day the Ark of God is coming down the road, so to speak. If we lay our hand on it, attempting to assist or modify it, we will die spiritually. If we just let God have his wonderful way we will live and experience great blessing.

In the new world of righteousness God will bring into existence, every citizen will be living in the Spirit of God and not according to his or her thinking or ambition. We can begin our preparation for the new world by looking to our King, the Lord Jesus Christ, for every aspect of our life.

All who choose to accept the Kingship of Christ and are willing to be directed by him shall be saved.

All who choose not to accept the Kingship of Christ and who refuse to live by Christ’s will rather than their own will, are now, and forever shall be, lost to the Presence and blessing of God.

You, dear reader, can inherit all the glory of Christ’s Kingdom. But you absolutely have to set aside your own life that Christ may live in you.

If you choose to do this, the Lord will help you. You will be so glad that you have made this most important decision of all. If you do not choose to be part of Christ in this manner, you will be shaken out of the Kingdom in the coming days. Only what is part of Christ will survive the shaking.

With Christ’s assistance you can follow the Cloud and the Fire until you reach your land of promise, your unique destiny, your own castle.

And now I want to sound the trumpet to all believers in America. If you wish to survive during the coming days of Divine judgment upon America you are going to have to know how to follow the Lord one step at a time. If you attempt to use your own judgment, wisdom, training, or any other source of direction, or take anything for granted, you very well may run into danger thinking you were escaping or going to a place of safety.

I say also to other people, including Muslims, Hindus, agnostics, atheists, and all other leaders and followers—I say to you that in the days of trouble that are coming, if you seek Christ and ask for his guidance and help, he will help and guide you. You do not need to join another religion or throw away your Scriptures.

I am not speaking about a religion. Christ is alive. I will not bear a false witness. I have followed this Man for over sixty years. He is alive and I am living what I am teaching here. He has great power and wisdom. He will help you if you call on him. He has helped and still is helping me. Try it and see for yourself that whoever calls on the name of Christ shall be saved.

Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me and said, “Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.” So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.” (Acts 27:23-26)

(Taken from “Following the Cloud and the Fire,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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Faith. God has not given us faith so we can change God’s mind. God has given us faith so we can hear God’s voice clearly and obey Him diligently.

The righteous are to live by faith, according to Habakkuk and the Apostle Paul. This is how we are to live. Living by faith is not speaking about theological belief. The contrast, in Habakkuk, is between those who are “puffed up” and have unrighteous desires, and those who are not puffed up and who have righteous desires.

The person who is living by faith is walking humbly with God, not thinking and acting according to his or her own desires and goals.

(3/21/2010) The eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews is one long definition of “the righteous shall live by faith.” It tells us what the Bible means by “faith.”

We are informed that “faith is being sure of what we hope for.” The term “hope” is significant. Many of the errors of today emphasize getting what we want “now” from God. Actually, the Christian redemption is a vision of the future. This is why patience is such an important part of our salvation.

“Sin” is a shortcut to what we want. We become deceived when we seek to live in pleasure with our desires satisfied immediately.

God commended the heroes of faith of history because they lived their lives according to the vision of God they held, not in terms of their present circumstances.

When we look about us at the marvelous works of the universe, we become aware of the might and glory of God. We glorify God by faith because of His handiwork in nature, although He remains invisible to us.

Abel’s sacrifice was acceptable to God because in his heart, Abel was worshiping God in faith. Cain gave his offering out of duty. His heart was elsewhere, as sometimes is true of the church people of our day when they are singing hymns.

Abel’s faith instructs us that God is more aware of our heart than He is of our offerings or our religion. If our heart is not in our religious service, then God is not pleased with us.

Enoch was obsessed with God. Because of Enoch’s faith, his thoughts continually were focused on the Lord rather than on his earthly circumstances. God was pleased with Enoch’s attitude; and God is pleased with our attitude when we keep Christ in our consciousness at all times.

Noah’s obedience to God is an excellent portrayal of faith. Notice that Noah did not “dare to believe God,” as we say today. Rather Noah “dared to obey God.” “Faith” and “obedience” are synonymous.

I wish to emphasize this concept. Faith is not our attempt to change God’s mind or get God to do something. Faith has to do with our seeking God until we know what He wants of us, and then obeying Him promptly and diligently.

The errors in today’s Christian teaching seek to put man in control. Man is to discover and practice spiritual principles that will move God’s hand. Man in control of the power of Christ is nothing less than the “False Prophet,” the deceiver who will assist Antichrist in his effort to gain control over the nations.

Historically, neither the religious nor the secular realms have emphasized the daily, diligent doing of God’s revealed will. This is the central problem of life on the earth, and it will not change until Christ returns in His Kingdom and His will is done in the earth as it is in Heaven.

Faith is used today as a synonym of “presumption.” This is what we would expect of a society that is in love with itself, that seeks pleasure rather than God. There are so many books and tapes that tell us how to have power with God; how to move God’s hand. There does not appear a hint of such an attitude, in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews.

Rather, the focus in the “faith” chapter of Hebrews is on seeking and obeying God. None of the people described here were trying to “do great things for God” by “stepping out in faith.” Rather they were occupied with obeying God, and in some cases with their survival.

What do we hear today? We by “faith” are to take spiritual dominion over our city. Try to find that sort of thing in Hebrews, Eleven!

The temptation of Christ in which Satan counseled him to jump off the roof of the Temple in Jerusalem is the sort of action that is presented today as faith. “Find a passage in the Bible and dare God to fulfill it at your command.” This is what Satan was saying, along with many Bible teachers of our day.

“Take hold of God and make Him do what you want.” Can you imagine such an attitude? Yet, how is this different from “take the gifts of the Spirit and go out and save a lost and dying world”?

“Dare to be a Daniel.” Personally, I do not believe even Daniel would have dared to be a Daniel. Rather, all Daniel wanted to do was to be left alone while he prayed to God.

We have a choice today, don’t we? We can go to the Lord Jesus, and at every moment of our waking hours ask Him what He wants us to do. This is how we live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. This is how we live by faith. (What a wonderful adventure such a life is!)

Or we can do, as I was taught in Bible school, “Go forth to the nations and burn out for Christ.” Of course, none of our teachers had any intention of doing this; but it was what everyone seemed to be saying.

I wish we all would cease from our own works and find out what Christ wants each one of us to do. Our nation, America, is sinking into sexual lust rapidly and no human agency can arrest this trend.

But how about prayer? When I pray, the Lord seems to tell me that we American people are getting what we deserve, the kind of government we deserve. We have asked for Tash, and Tash has come (to quote Lewis).

The word of the Lord to me is, encourage everyone to get close enough to Jesus to hear what God’s word is to them as an individual. Then they will save themselves and their loved ones when God begins to judge America because of its love of money and excessive and perverted sexual activity; and also because of the practice of abortion-on-demand.

(Taken from “True Bible Faith: II,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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Faith Continued. The righteous are to live by faith, according to Habakkuk and the Apostle Paul. This is how we are to live. “Living by faith” is not speaking of theological belief. The contrast, in Habakkuk, is between those who are “puffed up” and have unrighteous desires, and those who are not puffed up and who have righteous desires.

In our day, faith often is viewed as a sort of magic by which we can manipulate the spirit and physical worlds and get what we want. However, that does not fit the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews, does it? I think the “faith chapter” would suggest that faith is the act of persevering in the face of difficulties because of our confidence in the word and faithfulness of God.

(3/28/2010) There are at least three misconceptions believers have concerning “faith.”

The first misconception is that by faith we can manipulate the physical and spirit realms. Faith is a kind of magic. This thought obviously appeals to people.

The second misconception is that the adamic personality can generate faith. If we try hard enough we can believe something into existence.

The third misconception is that we can use “faith” as we see fit. The truth is, all genuine faith in God resides in God Himself. Sometimes God gives faith to us as a gift, but only to accomplish His own purposes.

Joshua commanding the sun to stand still, and Jesus multiplying food and cursing the fig tree, give the impression that if we could just believe strongly enough we could work miracles. In actuality, there do come times when God invites us to command one thing or another. But these incidents originate in God, not in our desire to work miracles.

Miracle-working faith is one of the gifts of the Spirit. But to utilize properly the gift of miracles, the believer must be walking in the light of God’s will, closely following the Lord Jesus at all times. In the last days, Christian people will seek spiritual power in order to glorify themselves. These Christians compose the False Prophet.

When it comes to healing the sick, or raising the dead, or turning water into wine, we are not to thrash around, trying to believe for the miracle. Rather we are to follow the Lord Jesus as closely as we can, continually looking to him to see what he is going to do and what part we are to play.

Jesus’ mother said, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” This precisely is the way we are to work miracles. If it is to fill the pots, or take the hand of the dead man and raise him up, or put clay on someone’s blind eyes, we are to do it. We are to obey Christ in every detail. We are not the healer, the miracle worker. The Lord Jesus is. We exercise true Divine faith when we look to Jesus and obey His command.

The faith by which the righteous live is not that of working miracles. Rather it is found in gaining victory over the spirit of the world, over the lusts of the sinful nature, and over walking according to our own plans rather than seeking to obey Christ. True faith always obeys Christ. It is not an attempt to believe for something we think is a good idea.

The faith by which the righteous live is that of “persevering in the face of difficulties.” Every true Christian learns that much of our life includes persevering in the face of difficulties; working out our salvation with faith and patience. We have to learn to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.

One example of faith might be that of parents whose daughter has joined the army. They receive notice that their daughter has been captured by the Taliban. Jesus whispers to them that Sally is fine. They continually battle the mental pictures of Sally being raped and tortured by the Taliban soldiers, choosing by faith to believe what they have heard from the Lord.

There may be a person seeking employment. Without a job he will not have enough money for food or to pay the rent. He has a wife and children to support. By faith he keeps believing God will help him in his trouble, meanwhile doing all he can to earn enough money to keep going.

We American Christians have not experienced a great deal of persecution. The day may come when we by faith have to stand true to the name of Jesus. This may mean jail and forced association with wicked people. We remember that if we deny Christ, He will deny us before the Father.

A young person might have to endure mocking and rejection if his faith requires that he not go along with his friends as they drink and take drugs. The young Christian must exercise consistent faith by refusing to go along with the crowd, when his friends are inviting him to do sinful things. The Christian girl must by faith keep herself pure.

It will require strong faith in America in the future to resist the temptations to sexual misconduct. Sexual lust is becoming so intense in America that it is difficult to resist. Only the Christians of strong faith will be able to overcome the temptation to engage in immoral, even unlawful, immoral conduct. By faith we turn away from that which is unclean, and the Spirit of God helps us when we hold up the shield of faith against moral temptations.

It is so easy to grumble and complain when things go wrong in our life. By faith we keep on rejoicing in Christ, even when we feel we are in the lowest level of a pit.

The Bible commands us to rejoice in the Lord always and not to fret. As we see the evil practiced by the leaders of our government, as the wicked boast themselves, we have to exercise faith if we are to obey the Bible command to not fret because of evildoers. To refrain from fretting will be especially difficult as we see America, against the will of the majority of the people, being changed from a democratic to a socialistic country.

Sometimes we feel the Lord is requiring us to do something that we see no reason for. Perhaps Noah wondered if it really was necessary to build a huge ark. When we are certain it is the Lord who is speaking to us and we are not being deceived, we must exercise faith and obey Christ. We must trust Christ even when we do not understand Him.

To be a disciple we must deny ourselves and turn away from the world. Faith is required if we are to do this.

It requires faith if we are to be content where God places us. Discontent with one’s assigned position is the original sin.

We by faith must continue to believe there is a reward for serving the Lord. We must place our treasures in Heaven, realizing we may never possess them until we die and enter the spirit world.

An outstanding high school senior in our city, Poway, California, recently was raped and murdered. Her parents scarcely are able to cope with their loss. But cope they must; and coping will be possible if they have faith that their Chelsea is in a delightful land, far, far more pleasant than what is true today on the earth, and that when they die they will see their daughter at her loveliest.

On occasion God promises us something. The fulfillment of the promise may be many years away. Meanwhile circumstances may arise that seem to prevent our ever gaining what has been promised to us. By faith we keep on trusting God to keep His word. It is in the interval of time between the vision and its fulfillment that holy character is formed. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for.”

By faith we do not grasp this present world. We understand it is preparation for life in a better, eternal world. The purpose of the present world is to teach us about God and to select and train the future rulers of the Kingdom of God.

By faith we understand that our present physical world was made from the spirit world, and the two worlds therefore are similar. It is the spirit world that is full of peace and love, and is eternal. The present world is temporary. It is the valley of the shadow of death. By faith we know this to be true and are looking forward to our death as release from a nightmare.

By faith we know that God loves us and is leading us to joy, even though our present circumstances are miserable. By faith we understand that God is good; and if we obey Him we will attain to the love, joy, and peace that are eternal.

Every true Christian is given a cross to bear. This may mean he is denied something he wants fervently, or is forced to endure a situation he detests. By faith he does not force his way out of this prison, thus breaking God’s laws. He endures patiently, knowing that by doing so he will acquire a better resurrection.

The above statements describe how the righteous live. When we try to escape the demands of discipleship in order to have a more pleasant life, we open ourselves to deception.

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5)

(Taken from “True Bible Faith: III,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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He Who Overcomes. The second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation speak of the rewards to “him who overcomes.” Personally, I do not believe enough attention is paid to these two chapters. It is like they are not in the Bible; or else they apply to all believers whether they are living in defeat or in victory.

An even more startling statement is made in the twenty-first chapter of the Book of Revelation, where God has said that the believer who “overcomes” will inherit all the promises made in the first six verses of this chapter, and God will be his God and he will be God’s son. What does this say about the defeated believers?

(4/11/2010) There is one thing about the Bible. Either we believe every word or we don’t. I choose to believe that every word of the accepted manuscripts is the Word of the one true God.

This adherence to the Scriptures has led me into positions that are not in keeping with much of today’s presentations. I certainly adhere to the fundamental view concerning the blood atonement and the literal return of the Lord. But so much tradition has been added to this fundamental view that I find myself at odds with the current preaching and teaching.

If we are to take the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation, and the seventh verse of the twenty-first chapter, we must conclude that the believers in Christ are divided into two groups. There are those believers who overcome the obstacles presented in the two chapters; and then there are those who do not overcome these obstacles.

Even more challenging is Revelation 21:7. Are we to conclude that only those who live victoriously in Christ are God’s sons?

He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:7)

And the Greek term here is “son,” not “child” as in John 1:12. Also, as many as are led by the Spirit, they are God’s sons, we find in Romans.

Now, are we to say that there is a difference between God’s children and God’s sons? I do not like special, mystical interpretations of the Bible. I want an interpretation that comes on boldly in both Testaments, like a huge truck on which you can kick the tires. You know what I mean?

I don’t like to dabble with novel interpretations. If it doesn’t lie clearly in the Book, then I don’t have time for it.

But you know, there is something here of value. The second and third chapters of Revelation tell us of many rewards, or increments of growth, or positions of responsibility, however you wish to view them, that are the inheritance of those who live victoriously.

Now, this is the problem. These increments of growth, or spiritual capabilities, are those we assign ordinarily to all saved people!

Some have taken the position that all believers are overcomers by virtue of their having “accepted Christ.” But I do not think this position can be defended. The two chapters are written to the churches, so I think it is reasonable to assume that everyone addressed has “accepted Christ.”

If every believer in the “seven churches in the province of Asia” is an overcomer by being a member of one of the seven churches, then the two chapters do not make much sense. After all, each of the seven churches is rebuked by the Lord because of its works.

If we are going to adhere to a straightforward interpretation of the Book of Revelation, then we must conclude that Jesus is saying: “To each one of you who chooses to overcome the problems present in your church I am giving increments of spiritual growth which qualify you for the first resurrection, and will climax with your being seated with Me on God’s Throne.

And, I might add, being referred to as God’s son.

While the two chapters do not mention the first resurrection, it is implicit in the fact that the victorious saints will be governing the nations with Christ during the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

So we have here a line of thought that definitely is contrary to the gospel to which we have been accustomed. We are saying that there are members of Christian churches, and then there are individuals who through Christ are able to gain victory over the problems that beset their churches. It is these individuals who will inherit the increments of spiritual growth promised to the victorious saints, and who possibly forever after will be designated as God’s sons.

I hope you can see how radical this position is. But the important thing is not that it is radical, the important aspect is that it obviously is what the infallible Word declares.

If we conclude that the position we have outlined indeed is true to the Scriptures, then there should be some evidence in the Old Testament that God intends to have a Church that is divided into two parts: those who were able during their lifetime on the earth to overcome the numerous forces coming against them; and those who believed in Jesus but for whatever reason did not live in victory.

There are several examples in the Old Testament, as well as statements in the New, that portray this division of the Christian Church. One of the prominent examples is that of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The Tabernacle Tent was divided into two parts. There was the Holy Place, and then the Most Holy Place, separated by the ornate Veil. Please keep in mind that that Tent is a portrayal of the Church, the Body of Christ.

Also, we think of David’s reign over part of Israel, and finally over the entire country. And then there was the division between Judah and Israel.

In the Book of Revelation we find the two marriages of the Lamb. The first at the beginning of the thousand-year reign. The second at the coming down from Heaven of the new Jerusalem.

And notice the “firstfruits” of the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation. They are treated differently from the remainder of the elect.

The eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation tells of the two Lampstands. One Lampstand is the Lord Jesus. The other Lampstand is the Lord’s firstfruits.

In any case, the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation portray clearly that there are the churches, and then there are the victorious saints.

Why would there be a division of the one Church? It is because there are many members of God’s elect–in fact the majority of members–who simply are not willing or able to overcome the deceptions of the enemy that abound in the “valley of the shadow of death” (life on the present earth). Those who do overcome these deceptions are a minority.

If you find this hard to believe, look at the members of any Christian church and notice how many are denying themselves and patiently following Jesus each day. If you find one out of a hundred of the members who really are cross-carrying saints, you are in a church that is above average in spiritual growth.

If the important issue were that of dying and going to Heaven, living in victory in the earth would not be so crucial to God’s purposes. But God is looking for individuals who prove, by their willingness to stand true regardless of the opposition, that they have a personality strong enough in righteousness to govern the works of God’s hands. God then will appoint them in places of rulership when He sets up His Kingdom.

Jesus Christ overcame that which came against Him, and He is King over all. They who through Him manage to overcome, are the nobility of the Kingdom. It is just as simple as that.

It seems to me that this separation between the victorious saints and the defeated saints will endure throughout the Kingdom Age (which we term the Millennium). But how long after that I am not certain. Perhaps we can notice that David’s “mighty men” always were an integral part of Israel. Yet they continued to be famous because of their exploits in war.

So maybe David’s mighty men suggest to us that these who overcome always will be referred to as “God’s sons,” while the rest are children of God. I do not wish to make a big point of this and start a new denomination called “God’s sons.” But I am aware that the Book of Revelation is sealed with a special blessing and a special curse; and that if two of the twenty-two chapters are devoted to the subject of overcoming, we certainly should be hearing more about this subject than is true today in America.

Suffice it to say, there is a reward for serving the Lord. If any person, male or female, young or old, chooses to not only believe in Christ but also to follow Him in genuine discipleship, forsaking all else in order that he or she may cleave to Christ at all times throughout his or her lifetime, I believe he or she will find himself or herself one day transformed into a great pillar of light and glory who will serve as a patriarch over a vast multitude of people throughout the endless ages of eternity.

He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:7)

(Taken from “He Who Overcomes,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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Attaining to the First Resurrection. The concept of the first resurrection of the dead, although it is set forth clearly in the Scriptures, does not seem to be familiar to many Christians.

(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:5,6)

(4/18/2010) I think the current belief is that the first resurrection is for all who have made a profession of belief in Christ. But this does not fit the words of the passage. Rather, the first resurrection is the regaining of the bodies of those who have, through Christ, overcome the world, the lusts and passions of their flesh and spirit, and their self-determination.

It ought to be clear to any sincere reader of the Book of Revelation that the promises we ordinarily associate with being a Christian are reserved for the “overcomers.” But the idea of only the overcomers inheriting the promises of the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation is not always preached and taught with emphasis, as it should be.

The second resurrection, which comes at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, is for every individual who did not attain to the first resurrection. At the second resurrection, the majority are carried over to citizenship on the new earth. The minority are imprisoned in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.

We notice in the third chapter of the Book of Philippians that the Apostle Paul was striving to attain to the resurrection that is out from among the dead. It would be ridiculous to believe this meant Paul was striving to be saved, to go to Heaven instead of Hell when he died.

If Paul was not attempting to attain to salvation, what then had he set before him as a mark? Whatever it was, or is, we certainly do not hear much about it today.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, 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)

Paul was laying aside everything, counting it all as garbage, that he might attain to the resurrection that is out from among the dead, that is, the first resurrection.

What is so special about the first resurrection? The first resurrection is that of the kings who will govern the nations of people who survived the return of Christ with his saints to set up the Kingdom of God on the earth. At that time, those people of the nations who helped the members of God’s elect will receive eternal life, inherit the earth, and be governed by the saints. Those who did not assist the members of the elect during their time of testing on the earth will enter eternal punishment.

The rest of the dead will not regain their bodies until the end of the Kingdom Age, whether they are of God’s elect or of the remainder of mankind. At that time, those in the Book of Life will be separated from the wicked and saved to the new world of righteousness.

I believe the Scripture is clear enough concerning the firstfruits of the royal priesthood who will govern the “sheep” nations throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

Also, I may be correct in saying that those who attain to the resurrection out from among the dead will not only govern the saved nations but will minister to the majority of the royal priesthood who still are being prepared for their descent to the new earth to govern the citizens of the new earth. This is my understanding, according to the eighth chapter of the Song of Solomon.

Thus the ruling kings will be able to govern on the earth for the thousand years, and also minister to the rest of the Body of Christ who still are in the spirit world. The victorious saints will be able to be in two or more places at once, just as is true of the Lord Jesus.

Having stated my view of the advantage of being in the first resurrection, that which will take place when the Lord Jesus next appears to the earth, let me proceed to discuss how one attains to the first resurrection.

We note first, as I said previously, how the Apostle Paul laid aside all else and pressed forward with singleness of purpose in order to attain to the first resurrection. Such fervency is required if one is to be with Paul and the other Apostles when the Lord returns.

However, I would like to describe how one attains to the resurrection of our inward nature, which is absolutely necessary if we are to participate in the resurrection of our outward nature, that is, our physical body.

From my point of view, the resurrection of the inward nature is described best in the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John. A careful review of the sixth chapter will reveal the relationship between partaking of the body and blood of Christ, and the inner resurrection.

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54)

Is Jesus referring to the outward resurrection in the passage above? Let us think of it this way: The inner resurrection is to be taking place each day of our discipleship. The death resident in our old nature must be being replaced by the life that is in the body and blood of God’s Lamb, Jesus Christ.

The outward resurrection, then, will take place as a final step of attainment, having been preceded by the daily steps of exchanged life throughout the life of the disciple. The outward resurrection will take place when Jesus returns.

Now, how do we eat the flesh of Christ and drink his blood?

Each day we have at least one opportunity to choose whether or not to do what we feel Christ would have us do. Sometimes we have several opportunities.

When we pray for wisdom and strength, and do the right thing, we are fed in the spirit realm with the body and blood of God’s Lamb. When we continue to walk in our own desires we are not fed with the body and blood of God’s Lamb. We remain in our dead spiritual state.

When we are fed with the body and blood of the Lamb we receive eternal resurrection life in our inward nature. When we continue in our fleshly, adamic nature we do not receive eternal resurrection life in our inward nature. We remain unchanged.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. (Revelation 2:17)

The “hidden manna” is the body and blood of the Lamb. The white stone is a voting pebble, meaning that the recipient is being voted into the ranks of the chosen.

The thoughtful reader can see instantly that as we make godly decisions each day we are attaining to the resurrection of our inward nature. At the coming of Christ, that which we have attained to by following the Lamb and obeying him will extend to our outer form.

When the Lamb appears in the sky, those “eagles” who live by his body and blood will be caught up to him because they are an integral, eternally inseparable part of him.

One of my favorite verses is found in the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John. It is as follows:

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:56,57)

Here is my personal affirmation of faith: I am learning to say, one step at a time, “What’s next, Lord?” I want to live this way forever, living by the Presence and Life of the Lord Jesus.

You may remember the morning and evening lamb of the Old Testament. Twice a day two young lambs were offered as a burnt offering. While they were being offered, wine was being poured out next to the Table of Showbread in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle.

This ceremony tells us that each day we are to be partaking of the body and blood of God’s Lamb, as we present our body a living sacrifice to the Lord.

Say to them: ‘This is the offering made by fire that you are to present to the LORD: two lambs a year old without defect, as a regular burnt offering each day.
Prepare one lamb in the morning and the other at twilight,
The accompanying drink offering is to be a quarter of a hin of fermented drink with each lamb. Pour out the drink offering to the LORD at the sanctuary. (Numbers 28:3,4,7)

Aren’t the above passages a wonderful portrayal of the daily walk of a consecrated Christian? Each day we eat of the slain Lamb and each day we drink his blood, thus attaining to the first resurrection, the resurrection that is out from among the dead.

Dear reader, you can do it. You can, through the Lord Jesus, overcome the Antichrist spirit of the world, your own sinful nature, and your insistence on living your life apart from the Lord Jesus.

For myself, I am finding righteousness, love, joy, and peace by living by the wisdom and strength of Christ in every aspect of thinking, speaking, and acting. I do not claim to have attained, to be perfect, but I am pressing on the upward way.

In the third chapter of Philippians Paul says he had not attained. But by the time he wrote Second Timothy, the crown of righteousness and life was his.

It can be this way for you and me. If we keep on pressing forward in Christ we can attain to the first resurrection, the resurrection of the firstfruits of the royal priesthood, who will be given back their physical bodies when Jesus comes.

(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:5,6)
And so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection (Greek: out-resurrection) from the dead. (Philippians 3:11) (
from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson)

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Eternal Life. God Himself is Eternal Life. The Holy Spirit is Eternal Life because He is of the Person of God. The body and blood of the Lord Jesus are Eternal Life because they are of the Person of God. The more we have of God, the more Eternal Life we possess.

(4/25/2010) I think we sometimes regard eternal life as a reward we receive for “accepting Christ.” It is our ticket to Heaven and immortality. I don’t suppose most of us think much past the idea of going to Heaven and living there forever. Sometimes added to this is the idea that once we get the ticket we never can lose it.

I do not believe these are scriptural concepts. Eternal life is the Life of God that comes to us through the Spirit of God. It is substance. It is the body and blood of Christ. He Himself is the Tree of Life.

Unlike the ticket concept, we can have eternal life in degrees. Each day we are to lay hold on eternal life by exercising godly behavior. Eternal life is the fruit of our pursuit of righteousness and holiness.

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Romans 6:23)

It is clear from the above passage that deliverance from sinful behavior and slavery to God leads to holiness. The result of such behavior results in eternal life.

It is interesting to note that eternal life is a transformation of what we are in personality. At one time we lived by the sinful life of adamic flesh and blood. Now the Lord Jesus has given us of Himself so that we live a holy life, the very Life of God. This new life by which we now are living has little to do with where we are, whether in Heaven or upon the earth.

Just because we are in Heaven does not mean we have eternal life. We receive eternal life through interacting with the Lord Jesus. We do not receive eternal life by going to Heaven. If there is a passage of Scripture that states that all the creatures in Heaven have eternal life, I am not aware of it. If there is a truth more needed in Christian thinking today, I do not know what it is.

The following is a passage that is very important to me:

Just as the living Father has sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me shall live because of me. (John 6:57)

The point here is the idea of “feeding.” The prevailing viewpoint seems to be that if we once make a profession of Christ, we have our “ticket.” We have eternal life. We will go to Heaven when we die and live there in a mansion forever.

However, eternal life does not come to us as a ticket but as “food” which we must feed on continually. The “food” is the body and blood of Christ. Christ is the Tree of Life. We must eat of Him every day.

If we are to partake of Christ each day, and thus lay hold on more and more of eternal life, we must practice Christian behavior.

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (I Timothy 6:11,12)

God gave His Son that we might not perish but have eternal life. Until we receive the Life that is in the Son of God we are dead spiritually, little more than an intelligent animal.

God’s goal for us is that we might live for eternity in our body. Our opportunity to receive this gift was lost when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. Now through the Lord Jesus Christ, the Tree of Life, we can gain eternal life in our body.

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. (Romans 8:11)

The redemption of his body was the goal of the Apostle Paul, the resurrection from the dead.

We attain to the redemption of our mortal body in two steps. The first step is the resurrection of our inward nature. We lay hold on inward eternal life each day of our discipleship, by pursuing righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. We save ourselves by doing these works.

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (I Timothy 4:16)

If we are faithful in the work of laying hold on inward eternal life, when Jesus next appears our flesh and bones will be raised from their place of interment and clothed with our body of eternal life that has been formed in Heaven. Our body of eternal life is formed in Heaven as we lay hold on inward eternal life today.

This program of redemption does away with the last enemy, which is physical death.

There are several errors in today’s preaching. Perhaps one of the most damaging is the concept that God is going to save our present personality by bringing it to Heaven to live in a mansion. This would be humorous if it were not so harmful to Christian growth.

True salvation proceeds as we surrender our first personality to Christ, day by day, line upon line, that we may replace it with a new life. Another way of saying this is that as we live a victorious life we are given to eat of the Tree of Life.

It is the new life that inherits the Kingdom of God and is the Kingdom of God. It is the new life that will be clothed with the spiritual house from Heaven. As far as location, whether our redeemed body is on earth, in the air above the earth, or in the spirit world, is not significant. Redemption is not a change of where we are but what we are.

Christ entered the world and walked among us. He is the Tree of Life. We are dead flesh until we begin to partake of Him. He is God’s gift to us, but we have to prove ourselves worthy of this unparalleled gift by setting aside our own life as we follow the Spirit of God at all times, every day and every night.

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Laying Hold On Eternal Life. The expression “eternal life” is not referring primarily to living a long time. Rather, eternal life is the knowledge of God and Christ; and is found also in the body and blood of the Lord Jesus. “Eternal life” does not refer to duration of existence. Rather, it is a kind of life.

I suppose the main difference between the “ticket” doctrine of eternal life, and the true, covenantal doctrine of eternal life is that in the covenantal doctrine, eternal life is not viewed as a one-time pass into Heaven but is seen as a daily working out of the Divine redemption. Also, unlike the “ticket” doctrine, it is seen that we possess eternal life in degrees, according to the effort we have made to walk with God.

(5/2/2010) It is absolutely true that eternal life is a gift. However, it is the gift of an opportunity to attain to eternal life, not a ticket that is handed out to us on the basis of our “accepting Christ.” I enclose “accepting Christ” in quotes because what often happens is a religious confession of sorts, not a genuine receiving of the Man, Christ Jesus.

That eternal life is “the gift of an opportunity to attain to life” can be seen in the following passages:

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (I Timothy 6:11,12)
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (I Timothy 4:16)

Today too much emphasis is placed on what Christ does in the work of redemption. It absolutely is true that all redemption proceeds from Christ. But the New Testament teaches plainly that many responses are expected from us, such as presenting our body a living sacrifice; taking up our personal cross and following the Lord Jesus. If we do not do our part, the work of redemption ceases.

Can you imagine how greatly this understanding is needed today in the Christian churches?

It is obvious from the Book of Romans that eternal life is not a package tied with a bow that is just handed to us. Rather, unlike what was true of the Law of Moses, eternal life is now made available to us. But we have to “take hold” of it by pursuing godly behavior.

The Apostle Paul toward the end of his life was still endeavoring to “take hold” of the inward resurrection which is the prerequisite for receiving the first resurrection, that is, the redemption of the physical body that will occur when the Lord next returns to the physical world.

It appears we have made eternal residence in Heaven the goal of the Christian redemption. It assuredly is not. The goal of redemption, according to the Apostle Paul, is the making alive of our inward nature, and then, when the Lord returns, the making alive of our physical body.

I think sometimes that Christians believe being resurrected means going to Heaven. Resurrection has nothing whatever to do with going to Heaven. Resurrection means making alive what has been dead, whether the personality is in Heaven or upon the earth.

“Death” means the Spirit of God is absent.

The Apostle Paul had as his goal the complete resurrection of his inward nature. This would mean that he was living by the Life of Jesus rather than by his own life. Such resurrection of the inward nature is the necessary prerequisite for the making alive of the mortal body. God never shall make alive the physical body of any person until first the inward nature has met God’s requirements for that individual.

Faithful Enoch, and also Elijah, were carried into Heaven, apparently. But that is not resurrection.

In the parable of the sower, the Lord spoke of three degrees of fruitbearing in those who have a noble and good heart, retain the word, and who persevere.

The fruit that is to be borne always is from the Spirit of God. The more of the Spirit,we have, the more fruit we bear. The fruit is the moral image of Christ, and untroubled rest in the center of God’s Person and will.

The forty-seventh chapter of the Book of Ezekiel also tells us of levels of the Spirit. There are the three levels that follow the Divine judgment on us, and then there is the fourth level, the waters to swim in.

The three levels of Ezekiel speak of the increasing work of redemption. The fourth level is the Fullness of God. At this point we are planted by the River of Life and have become a tree of life, like our Lord, because we are filled with our Lord.

The water of eternal life will go out from us into the dead sea of mankind, bringing eternal life to all who will receive it. Thus there is a vast inheritance to those who will never cease pressing forward in the Lord Jesus. This was how Paul lived.

Both the Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” All who are thirsty may come and drink freely of the water of eternal life.

It is my point of view that every member of the new world of righteousness will have a portion of God’s Spirit in him or her. There will be no more “sea” of people who are living according to their fallen nature and who can be swayed by demagogues.

How much of the Spirit we possess depends on the diligence with which we obey God each day. God gives His Spirit to those who obey Him.

If we will bear our personal cross and follow Jesus diligently all our life, we will be of enormous benefit to God and mankind, and also to ourselves and our loved ones.

Let’s do it!

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The Fullness of God. Read Ephesians 3:1-21.

There are at least three major platforms in the work of redemption. There is the basic platform of forgiveness through the blood atonement. There is the development of the Life of the Spirit in us. Finally there is what the Apostle Paul sets forth as the “Fullness.” These three platforms are pictured by the three levels of water, in Ezekiel, Chapter 47.

The fourth level, of Ezekiel, is that of service as a tree of life growing on the bank of the River of Life. Isaiah, Twelve, that describes the personal testimony of those who are filled with the Fullness of God, speaks of how they with joy bring forth the water of Life to the dead people of mankind. The Lord Jesus also, during the feast of Tabernacles, spoke of the living water coming from those who believe in Him.

(5/9/2010) 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)

Paul’s prayer for the saved, Spirit-filled saints in Ephesus was that they might be strengthened in their inner nature until they were filled with all the Fullness of God.

As we press forward in the operation of redemption we experience three deaths and three resurrections before we can bring forth eternal life to others to the extent God desires.

The first death is our death to the world. We die this death when we are baptized in water, signifying that we have died to the world and have risen to live with the Lord Jesus in newness of life.

We experience the second death and resurrection as we resolutely put to death through the Spirit the evil deeds of our old personality and come to life in the Spirit of God.

We enter the third death and resurrection as we keep saying, “Not my will, but Yours be done.” We maintain this attitude while we patiently are enduring the prisons we are placed in. Our motivations must be given over to the will of God so that His will is done in the earth. This is the Kingdom of God, the rule of God over our personality.

Throughout our lifetime on earth (and perhaps for eternity, I do not know) we are to keep on knowing more of Christ, experiencing more of Christ.

Have you noticed in the Scriptures some of the startling passages concerning our life in Christ? The following is one of my favorites.

Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:57).

I can’t speak for you, but it is the desire of my heart to feed on Jesus until His Life is my life. This promise is in the Scriptures, so it is available to whoever will.

Another passage that has been very meaningful to me is as follows:

That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:21-23)

Now take a deep breath and notice carefully what is being said here. This is one of the most remarkable prayers in the Bible.

That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.

The Father and the Son are totally One, because the Father is in the Son in His Fullness and the Son is in the Father in His Fullness. The members of the Wife of the Lamb are to be one in the Oneness that is God.

May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

The purpose of our being created one in God is that the world may believe that the Father is the One who has sent the Son. This is the true goal of our election. It is not that we might spend eternity in Heaven. It is that the people of the nations may come to realize that Jesus Christ is from the Father. God wants the world to hear His beloved Son and obey Him.

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.

The Lord Jesus has received the Fullness of the Glory of God because He is an inseparable part of God. We cannot receive from Christ the Divine Glory until we are an inseparable part of Christ. God will never give His Glory to another!

May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Here is an extremely interesting statement. God’s purpose is to bring the members of His Church into the oneness with Him that is true of Jesus Christ so that the world will understand that God loves His elect just as He loves His only begotten Son.

It is time for us Christians to grow up into the Fullness of Christ. We have been redeemed through the blood atonement, it is true. But the world does not see God in us.

We have been baptized with the Spirit of God, it is true. But the world does not as yet see Christ in us. In fact, in many instances the people of the world are disgusted with the antics of the church people.

But God gave His Son so that the spiritually dead of mankind might not perish in their corruption but come to Divine Life. This resurrection cannot take place until the elect are willing to do God’s will rather than their own, are filled with the Fullness of God, and are in their places as trees of life growing on the banks of the River of Life.

Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. (Ezekiel 47:6,7)

If you wish to be a tree of life bringing eternal life to the dead sea of mankind, then tell God about it and press forward in Christ. If you do, Isaiah, Twelve will become your personal testimony:

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

These promises are for you and me; but we are going to have to pursue Jesus with total diligence if we are to attain to all the Fullness of God!

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Election. Arminianism and Calvinism are two somewhat divergent philosophies regarding being saved. Arminianism appears to emphasize that being saved is the free choice of each person. Calvinism, on the other hand, appears to emphasize Divine foreknowledge and election regarding being saved.

(5/16/2010) The seeming discrepancy between free will and election proceeds from seeking to interpret the Bible deductively–fastening on a few passages and ignoring the others. The Bible has to be interpreted inductively. The believer must accept every passage of Scripture as God’s Word. Any seeming contradictions must be understood as proceeding from our limited understanding of the whole counsel of God.

The Scripture teaches clearly that whoever believes the Gospel and is baptized in water shall be saved.

The Scripture teaches clearly that God draws to Jesus whom He chooses.

Are these two truths contradictory? Not at all! As we follow Christ diligently we understand that both are true.

One aspect of the problem is that scholars often do not seem to recognize that there are two classes of saved people. One class consists of God’s royal priesthood. The other class is the members of the nations who believe and are baptized.

Whoever, of the nations of the earth, believes the Gospel and is baptized shall be saved. This is God’s unchanging promise. They shall be held over to citizenship in the new world of righteousness.

Then there are those, like the Apostle Paul, who are struggling to the end of their days to grasp that for which they have been grasped. This struggle is true of every member of God’s elect priesthood. They are “Israel.” They struggle with God.

The saved members of the nations must seek to live according to the Bible; for it is possible to turn back into the world after having been baptized in water. Then they are as a dog that returns to its vomit.

The members of the Church, the elect, must make their calling and election sure by embracing the virtues of godly behavior.

In no case, whether of the elect or the saved members of the nations, does Christ “do it all.” We could wish that He would! But He doesn’t. The New Testament is filled with exhortations to righteous behavior. I know that some teach that salvation is ordained of God and no matter what we do we will, when we die, go immediately to Heaven to live in a mansion.

They are mistaken as to means and ends.

The position that any person can choose to attain whatever position in the Kingdom he or she desires is acceptable to the American ideal of equality of opportunity. However, this is not true of the Kingdom of God. Our position in the Kingdom is God’s choice.

If we are to grasp that for which we have been grasped by the Lord, we have to obey Jesus Christ strictly and consistently. It is entirely possible for someone to steal our crown of righteousness, life, and authority if we are not diligent.

The people of Israel are an excellent example of election, and also of the danger of not obeying God after we have been called out from the nations of the earth.

God has dealt with no other nation on earth as he has with the Jews. This election continues on through to the new Jerusalem, the gates of which are inscribed with the names of the families of Israel. The gifts and callings of God are without repentance.

The ninth chapter of the Book of Romans includes clear teaching on the matter of Divine election. If we are to accept this chapter as being the Word of God, we cannot in conscience deny the reality of election. “God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and He hardens whom He wants to harden.

Again, Paul states that before the twins were born, God loved Jacob and hated Esau.

If we cannot accept Paul’s statements about election, why should we accept anything Paul wrote? Of course, this seems unfair. I think we Americans are just going to have to get used to the fact that God is the Potter and human beings are the clay. The Potter can form the clay into whatever He wishes.

Can any person choose to follow Christ? Of course. Jesus will never turn away anyone who comes to Him, unless that individual knowingly and willfully has chosen to disobey Christ.

Where all of this comes together is that no person can even want to come to Jesus unless the Father draws that person. Even the desire to come to Jesus proceeds from God.

Sometimes people are afraid they have blasphemed the Spirit of God and are afraid they are doomed. I tell them that if they even have a desire to be accepted by the Lord they have not gone past the point of no return.

So much depends on our desires! If we are wise we will ask God to give us His desires for us. I pray this prayer frequently. We do not know what will bring us love, joy, and peace; so we are wise if we ask God to give us His desires for us. Then He can give us the desires of our heart.

There is a practical effect of clearly understanding the role of elect. It helps us realize we are not of the world. Christ has called us out of the world to be part of the royal priesthood. We are not of the world as He is not of the world. The word “Church” means “called out.” Did you know that?

We are not to compare ourselves with the unsaved. The local assembly is infinitely more than a social gathering. It is supposed to be the Light of God among men. It is a prophet, a lampstand, a witness of Almighty God. The local church should have a healthy social component, but its first purpose is to reveal God to the world.

The follower of Jesus Christ is a “saint,” a “holy one.” As such he is to come out from the world, as the Spirit enables, and touch not the unclean thing. He is to purify himself in the fear of God, putting out of his personality all that is not clean in the Lord’s sight.

I mentioned before the conflict between the “free will” and the “elect” philosophies of salvation. At one time the “elect” emphasis prevailed. Today the “free will” emphasis is prevailing. Hopefully the pendulum will swing back to the middle so that election and free will are assigned their rightful places in Christian thinking.

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The Servant of the Lord. The Book of Isaiah tells us about the Servant of the Lord. The Servant of the Lord is Christ, Head and Body. Each of us who is a member of the Body of Christ finds what our role is by studying Isaiah, Chapter Forty-two, and related passages.

Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. (Isaiah 42:1)

The passage above is speaking directly to each member of the Body of Christ. It is telling us that he or she is God’s servant. The Christian preaching of today seems to be stressing that God is our servant. He is not. God’s will is the only legitimate will in the universe.

There is no part of the Bible that tells us of the good that will come to us if we do not do God’s will instead of our own. But for those who set themselves to do God’s will, and only God’s will, the Bible offers us an inheritance more glorious than our wildest hopes and imaginations.

Each member of the Servant of the Lord, the Body of Christ, is upheld by the Father Himself. This means that during the chaos that is approaching America, those who believe will find that the everlasting Arms are under him or her.

Each member of the Body of Christ is a chosen one. Many people are called to partake of the Kingdom of God. But to qualify for the responsibilities and inheritance of the servants of the Lord, we must pass from the ranks of the called to the ranks of the chosen. We do this by faithfully following Christ, bearing our personal cross.

God puts His Spirit upon us because we are obedient to Him.

“He will bring justice to the nations.” This thought may be new to us. The traditional view is that once we “accept Christ” we will go to Heaven when we die. What we will do there is not clear, except that we will recline at our ease forever in our mansion while an angel pops grapes into our mouth.

It becomes apparent at once that the traditional view of the Christian salvation is far removed from what the Scriptures tell us. We have not been saved, filled with God’s Spirit and built up by the gifts of the Spirit so we can spend eternity doing nothing of value. God has called us, chosen us, and built us up through the ministries of the Body of Christ so we can bring justice to the nations.

As we look about us today we can see the efforts being made to bring about a world government with the power to enforce its rules on the citizens of every country. This might be beneficial, if it were not for the fact that the rules of the world government will conflict with the values of Christian people.

There finally will be “peace and safety,” but it will be a peace and safety in line with Satan’s personality and desires. We Americans had better awaken from our comfortable beds, because our nation rapidly is being prepared to be a part of this world government that does not know, fear, or honor God.

The Servant of the Lord has been chosen by the Father to bring justice to the nations. The stated purpose of the world government will be to bring justice to the nations. But the world government always will fumble and end up denying justice to many people. This is because the evil nature of unregenerate people will be self-serving, personally ambitious. The result inevitably will be iniquities, lies, and treacheries of every kind. Governments always are like this, it seems.

However, it is not God’s desire that the nations of the earth live in injustice. God has permitted the past 6,000 years of agony and insanity so angels and people could see what happens when angels or people follow their own will.

I think the time is up. The audio-visual instruction has been completed. A few more agonizing, insane years of the rule of self-seeking man and self-seeking angels, and Christ shall appear with His righteous angels, and called, chosen, and faithful saints. The resistance of the nations will be smashed with the rod of iron created in the victorious saints. Righteousness, love, peace, and joy will fill the people of the nations of the earth as the saints, having been filled with Christ and taught by Christ, assume the thrones that govern the earth.

“He will bring justice to the nations.” This is the Word of God, less shakable than Gibraltar. It shall take place! We who have been chosen to be members of the Servant of the Lord must endure many frustrations and pains while the rod of iron is created in us. But our inheritance is God and the people of the nations whom God chooses to save.

It will be worth it all when we see Jesus and are invited to share with Him the greatest treasures of all—people.

I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, (Isaiah 42:6)

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. Perhaps we would change this to say, “God so loves the Church.” But this is not what is written. God loves the world!

God does not love the present world spirit, for that spirit is Antichrist. But God loves the people of the world, and He desires that as many as possible have eternal life instead of a dead spiritual nature that does not know God or have fellowship with Him.

Because of His desire, God has called out of the world His Church, His servant. For two thousand years God has been calling out His servant, the members of the Body of Christ and bringing them through every conceivable testing and experience. God is not doing this so His servants will be happy doing nothing in Heaven but so they will be able to bring eternal life to whoever will come and drink, and thus come to know God and to have fellowship with Him.

God makes us to be a covenant for the people of the nations. If they will do what we say, we on our part will open their eyes to God; we will bring them out of the prison of spiritual death and separation from God; we will open the door of their dungeon so they may come out into the Light of God’s Presence.

Perhaps God makes it possible for us to do some of this work today. But the redemption of mankind will come with the return of Christ and His saints and holy angels. The creation is travailing in pain today, because the Kingdom of God is about to be brought forth.

The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. (Romans 8:19-21)

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The Ruler. The Father has made the Lord Jesus Christ the Ruler of all God has created. The Father has ordained that the Lord have a number of brothers who are to govern along with Him. In order for this to occur, Christ must be formed in His brothers. According to the Scriptures, the brothers of Christ will be brought forth in the closing days of the Church Age.

(5/30/2010). Notice the following prophecy, the Word that I think gave to the three travelers from the East the knowledge that Christ was to be born in Bethlehem:

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites. (Micah 5:2,3)

“Therefore Israel will be abandoned until the time when she who is in labor gives birth and the rest of his brothers return to join the Israelites.” This is speaking of the “ruler in Israel,” who obviously is the Lord Jesus.

The Lord Jesus has not asserted His rulership over the nation of Israel, because the time had not come of the Church to bring forth Christ in the members of His Body. Jesus has determined that His brothers shall rule with Him and share in the inheritance.

I am inclined to believe the time has come for Jesus and His brothers, the members of the Body of Christ, to return and deliver the Jews from their oppressors; and this is why the Scriptures are opening to us the way they are.

The following passage may suggest that the forming of Christ in the members of His Body may be a somewhat sudden event:

Hear that uproar from the city, hear that noise from the temple! It is the sound of the LORD repaying his enemies all they deserve. Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children. Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the LORD. “Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?” says your God. (Isaiah 66:6-9)

Before the Church went into labor, the Son, Jesus Christ was born. But then, just as soon as Zion travailed in birth, she brought forth the brothers of the Lord. This warns us that events in the spirit realm will develop quickly from this point forward. The spiritual darkness will increase, but so will the Light of God.

First the Son, born without travail. Then the travail and the brothers are born.

Notice the travail of the Church:

“She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.”

Do we find evidence in the New Testament of the birth of the brothers of Christ?

The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. (Revelation 12:4,5)

The child who is born at this moment is not the Lord Jesus. It is His brothers. The “woman” here is not Mary, it is the Church.

The members of Christ’s Body are caught up to God and to His throne. This is an event we experience. As we keep praying until we “pray through,” we feel in ourselves that we have overcome the darkness of the world. We sense that we have been caught up to the Throne of God and are seated with Christ in the heavenlies.

Are the saints actually going to govern along with Christ?

Notice the following:

In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13,14)

Of course, the Person “like a son of man” is our Lord Jesus.

But notice carefully the following:

I, Daniel, was troubled in spirit, and the visions that passed through my mind disturbed me. I approached one of those standing there and asked him the true meaning of all this. So he told me and gave me the interpretation of these things: “The four great beasts are four kingdoms that will rise from the earth. But the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.” (Daniel 7:16-18)

The interpretation of the vision is that “the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever.”

The “one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven,” is the Lord Jesus. But the interpretation of the vision is that “the saints of the Most High will receive the kingdoms and will possess it forever.”

I take from this that either “the clouds of heaven” are the saints with whom the Lord comes, or their coming is the same as His coming in that He is in them and they are living by His Life. Even if they are the clouds of heaven mentioned here, it still is true that it is Christ in them; for it is certain we cannot rule apart from the Life of Christ in us.

When Christ walked the earth it was the Father who was doing the works and announcing His own Words. This is what Jesus told us. But the Father Himself was not visible to us.

I do not think it is too much of a stretch to think of the appearing of the governing saints to be actually the governing of Christ who is in them; but yet when the Lord returns, in some instances it will be only the saints who are visible.

It is true and scriptural that we are to be made one with Christ as He is One with the Father. This is the prayer of the Lord. Also, Paul, in Romans, tells us that we have been predestined to be conformed to the image of Him who is the Firstborn among many brothers.

So, in accordance with the Scriptures, Mount Zion, the Church of the Firstborn, is in travail today. You and I are experiencing these birth pangs. They demand our compliance in the deepest roots of our being.

We have been destined to sit with the Lord Jesus on the highest throne of all. The price attached to such an exalted position is the highest possible. All that we think, say, and do must be given to Jesus until we are living by His very Life. Only then will we be a part of the One to whom the Father has given authority, glory, and sovereign power over all peoples, nations, and men of every language. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

God is not building up the members of the Body of Christ so they can go to Heaven but so they can return with Christ and bring justice to the peoples of the earth.

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The Two Witnesses. God always has a witness of Himself in the earth, and shall up to the time that the Lord Jesus appears. God’s witness tells of His Person, His will, His way, and His eternal purpose in Christ. There is a great deal of preaching today, but I think a true witness may be in short supply.

(6/6/2010). According to the Bible, there will be one last witness before the Church Age comes to a close. The witness is set forth as “two witnesses,” because it will be composed of Christ bearing witness within His victorious saints.

The tenth and eleventh chapters of the Book of Revelation really should be one chapter. The vision begins with the coming down from Heaven of a huge, powerful angel, with one foot on the sea and other on the land. He is fiery, representing Divine judgment; and he had a rainbow over his head, revealing that his authority comes from the very Throne of Almighty God.

Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven. He was robed in a cloud, with a rainbow above his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars. (Revelation 10:1)

I think this mighty angel has come already. The seventh (last) trumpet is about to sound, at which time we will be changed into immortality.

The mighty angel shouts causing the seven thunders to speak. The seven thunders are the fullness of Divine power. But they cannot be released as yet because the Christian ministry at this time is characterized by self-will, self-direction.

And he gave a loud shout like the roar of a lion. When he shouted, the voices of the seven thunders spoke. (Revelation 10:3)

Although the seven thunders are being restrained, the hour has come for the mystery of God to be accomplished. The mystery of God is Christ in us. The Scriptures, both Old Testament and New, show us that in the final hours of the Church Age, Christ will come to maturity in those who are living by His body and blood rather than by their own natural life.

But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet, the mystery of God will be accomplished, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.” (Revelation 10:7)

The final witness that is to be borne will be given by those who “eat” the Word of God rather than merely read it. It will be as honey in the mouth, but it will crucify the inner nature until Christ is formed in the saint.

I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.” (Revelation 10:10,11)

The words on the scroll are the prophecy that is to be given at the closing of the Church Age.

The saints, who eat the book, are destined to “prophesy again” about peoples, nations, languages, and kings. The Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached as a witness to all nations, and then the end of the Church Age will be here and the Kingdom will come to the earth through Christ—Head and Body.

Notice the “prophesy again.” The first prophecy was on the Day of Pentecost. These are not prophecies to build up the members of the Body of Christ but prophecies to the world of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

But first the saints must be judged (measured), especially those who are crying “Not my will, but Yours be done.” While this judgment is taking place, the weaker Christians will be trampled on by the ungodly. I believe we can see the beginning of this prophecy today, as there is a separation between those who are living by the Life of Jesus and those who are casual concerning Christ and His Kingdom.

I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, and count the worshipers there. But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles.” (Revelation 11:1,2)

As soon as the saints have been judged, the power of the seven thunders will be given to them. They no longer are self-directed. Christ, the one Witness is directing them. The saints constitute the other witness.

The two olive trees speak of the double portion of power, symbolized by the power given to Elisha. This is the “again prophecy,” the first prophecy occurring when the Spirit of God was poured out at the beginning of the Church Age. First the power of Elijah. Then the power of Elisha.

These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. (Revelation 11:4)

The end-time saints will not be primarily teachers of the Bible. Rather, their role will be to announce and bear witness of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. Notice that Elijah and Elisha were not characterized by what they taught. Rather they were witnesses, reminding the Jews of their God.

This tremendous witness will be given over a specific period of time. Then the power of the witness will be withdrawn, and the results of the witness will be sifted. Many who bore the witness will succumb to lust, worldliness, and personal ambition (Sodom, Egypt, and Jerusalem). Those who are able to stand will be hidden away by the Lord.

When an unusual anointing is bestowed, marvelous acts are performed. When the anointing is lifted, character is revealed.

In the last days there will be spectacular signs and wonders. The two witnesses, Christ and (in) his victorious saints, will work colossal miracles, as described in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation.

But there is another set of people who also will work miracles. These are described in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation.

Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. He exercised all the authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. (Revelation 13:11-13)

The above miracle worker is often referred to as the False Prophet.

So now we have two sets of people who work miracles in the days of Antichrist. The False Prophet is composed of people who work miracles but are not cross-carrying disciples. They speak with the voice of the dragon (I will! I will!) while they demonstrate the double portion of power (the two horns of the Lamb).

The two witnesses, on the other hand, are judged before they are entrusted with the power of the seven thunders. They have died to their own self-will.

These two kinds of people are in the earth today. The first group is seeking power rather than to walk in humility with the Lord Jesus. The second group, the true, victorious saints, are learning each day to look to the Lord Jesus for His will in every detail of their life.

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

Now we have come to the time when Antichrist will be allowed to exercise great power. His spirit and way will prevail in the earth. However, even in the deepest moral darkness, when ignorant people are crying “Peace and Safety,” there will be deliverance available in the remnant whom God has hidden away.

At the time of the greatest spiritual darkness ever to be experienced on the earth, Christ will appear. The power of the witness will be restored. The true saints will be caught up to Christ in a cloud.

But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on. (Revelation 11:11,12)

Do you remember how the dead man touched Elisha’s bones and came to life?

Now the seventh angel will sound his trumpet, and the saints will receive immortal bodies. They will descend with the Lord, and the kingdom of the world will become the Kingdom of God and of His Christ—Head and Body.

God is preparing His witnesses in the present hour. They are measured, and measured, and measured again. Every particle of their personality is being examined. They must become dead-living people before they can be entrusted with the total power of the seven thunders.

It is not impossible to cooperate with the demands of the Holy Spirit as He prepares us for the final witness. But we must be prepared to give everything to Christ.

This final, terrifying witness is God’s love for mankind. God wants as many as possible to repent so they will be saved when the Kingdom of God comes with power and by force is established among the nations of the earth.

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15)

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The Baptism With Fire. There is a baptism with the Holy Spirit. This is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish observance of Pentecost. There is a baptism with fire. This is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish observance of the Day of Atonement. During the previous century, numerous believers were baptized with the Holy Spirit. During the present century, numerous believers will be baptized with fire. Our God is a consuming Fire!

(6/13/2010). “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Matthew 3:11)
As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:40-43)

Notice the timing: “At the end of the age.” We are here now.

Please notice also that at the end of the age, everything that causes sin will be weeded out of the Kingdom of God. Also, all who do evil will be weeded out of the Kingdom of God. All this at “the end of the age.”

It appears that for the two thousand years of the Church Age, the Christian salvation has been regarded as one of forgiveness, grace, mercy, etc. Now a radical change is here. The Christian salvation still is one of forgiveness, but the emphasis is on the removing of sin and sinners from the Kingdom of God. The Savior has become the Man of War. Moses has become Joshua. The twenty-third Psalm has merged into the twenty-fourth Psalm.

It had to happen sometime, didn’t it? We know intuitively that the Kingdom of God is not a kingdom of people who are continuing to sin. The new Jerusalem is not a city of those who do not do God’s will. But when will the sin be removed—not the guilt of sin, but the sinning itself?

“At the end of the age.” The time is now. The place is wherever we are. The program involves God and our cooperation with God.

Christ will not do it alone. We cannot do it alone. It is the sword of the Lord and of Gideon, so to speak.

The Fire of God will burn the sin out of our personality. If we refuse to cooperate with the Lord, we ourselves will be removed from the Kingdom of God—Christian or not. It is a purging of the Kingdom, not a purging of the world!

Each one of us carries a suitcase loaded with snakes. Our snakes are in three categories: our love for and trust in the world system; the lusts of our flesh; and our self-will, self-determination. The Holy Spirit deals with each of these areas of sin in a different manner.

Concerning our love for the world spirit: we take the first step by being baptized in water, reckoning ourselves crucified with Christ. Then each day we make an effort to keep our involvement in the world, in the Antichrist spirit, to a minimum. We are not of the world and we need to act like it.

As we make this determination, God helps by bringing tribulation on us so that we have to keep praying fervently in order to come successfully through our problems. When we do our part by being in the world but not of the world, the Fire of God gives us the wisdom and strength we must have if we are to live a victorious life in the Lord Jesus.

Concerning the lusts of our flesh: the Spirit of God keeps pointing out to us the specific uncleannesses in our thinking, speech, and actions. Sexual lust, for example, is a major problem in the world today. Numerous leaders in the government and the churches are falling into sexual sin.

When we become aware of a specific fleshly sin, we are to confess it, denounce it as fit for the Lake of Fire, renounce it, turning away from it with all the strength we have, and then come to the Lord Jesus for wisdom and help so we do not fall into the same pit again. Many believers of today are going to be torn down from their high position in Christ because they are yielding to the fiery temptations that afflict our flesh.

Satan works with deception, particularly but not exclusively in the area of sexual lust. The only manner in which we can avoid being deceived is to take up our personal cross and carry it behind Jesus each day. This world is not Heaven, and when we try to make it heavenly we fall into deception.

Also, we are to pray constantly, “Do not lead me into temptation but deliver me from the evil one.” God hears this prayer if we are sincere and fervent.

Concerning our self-determination: of the three areas of sin, self-determination is the most difficult to deal with, and the most prevalent in Christianity.

I believe God has impressed on me that the only way to survive the coming age of moral horrors in America is to be very close to the Lord Jesus. I make it a practice at all times to talk to Jesus about everything I am doing, sometimes praying for help. In this manner I keep in the Lord’s Presence.

But as I look at how the denominations and the churches approach their work, it is as though they are doing what they think is best for Jesus and His Kingdom, but they are not actually hearing from Him. They are taking for granted that He wants everyone on earth to make a profession of faith in Jesus. But is this actually what Christ wants? They are guessing, I believe.

There has been much talk about the timing of the so-called “Rapture.” But has anyone heard from the Lord or are they offering their opinion?

Concerning the welfare of America: there are calls for repentance so our nation will be saved. But is this what Christ wants? Or has the practice of abortion-on-demand pushed America over the edge where Christ is not willing to hear our prayer for our nation? Do we know for sure, or don’t we? It is not enough to just assume this is what God wants.

The principal problem of mankind is that of making decisions apart from Christ. This problem began in the Garden of Eden. It has continued to the present day. It exists in secular society and it exists in the Christian churches.

How many believers of our day are listening to Jesus and obeying Him diligently? I think there may be numerous believers who do walk with Christ through the day. But I do not know of a Christian organization or group that waits on the Lord. They all seem to have an idea of what Christ wants; but their decision so often is mental, not prophetic.

What would happen if every Christian organization stopped what it is doing and assigned some people to pray until God revealed His will?

According to what I was told by Einar Gislason, an Icelandic pastor, it was by assigning an individual to remain in an oxhide tent until he heard from God that Christianity was chosen as the religion of Iceland. It is a thrilling story!

To put it simply, we Christians must cease taking things for granted, assuming what Jesus wants today. Rather, we are to keep petitioning Him to make His wishes known. I do this. He has instructed me to seek Him fervently in every decision of life, down to the smallest detail, and to encourage others to do the same. No decision we make during the day or night is too insignificant to merit the Lord’s attention.

I think Jesus is saying that we now are entering the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement. It is a time of being reconciled to God as He points out the various sins of our personality. We confess our specific sins as being unworthy of the Kingdom of God. We judge them as evil. We denounce and renounce them with all of our strength, plus Jesus’ help.

Some denominations may have a true call to go forth and bring the Gospel to the spiritually dead people of the world. But I believe Jesus is telling me that what He desires is that His people turn from their sins and listen to Him at all times for directions for their life.

Those who make the change from self-determination to the rule of Jesus over their life will save themselves and those who hear them, throughout the coming age of moral horrors in America.

It is time for the baptism with fire that we might be reconciled to the Consuming Fire.

But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, (Malachi 3:2,3)

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Holiness. God is holy. He has commanded us to be holy as He is holy. Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord. Holiness is that important. But what exactly is holiness? Holiness is God Himself.

(6/20/2010). God Himself is Holiness. All that is of God is holy. All that is not of God is not holy. Thus we see that Divine calling, and obedience to God, are part of true holiness.

There are holiness of dress and speech. But these are not holy unless God has ordained them. They are nothing more than religious practices, although the believers may be people of integrity and sincere in their actions.

We must be careful at this point, however. In early Pentecost there were strict opinions about dress, makeup, hairdos, usually aimed at women as we see. Then there was a reaction to these outward holiness guidelines. The pendulum swung too far the other way. Now Christian people could go to X-rated movies, swear, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, and do as they please. “To the pure all things are pure,” they cry.

However, not all things are pure to the Lord Jesus. They simply do not know the Lord and how important holiness is to God. I guess they forgot Paul said, “Come out from among them and touch not the unclean thing.

The truth is, a Christian should look like a Christian; talk like a Christian; dress like a Christian; act like a Christian. Common sense tells us this; but sometimes common sense is in short supply, isn’t it?

If a believer does not know how to act like a Christian or look like a Christian, all he or she needs to do is to ask Jesus, or an unsaved person. Either one will set the record straight.

The filthiest aspect of the human personality is self-will. The Pharisees murdered the Lord because of their self-will, reflected in their love to be preeminent.

There is no foolishness, silliness, giddiness, joking, mischief, abandonment to revelry, spite, insincerity, lying, or duplicity in God. These are unclean spirits. They are not holy.

When we are brought before God our speech must be sound, sincere, void of craft or guile of any sort. This is why little children can stand in His Presence.

There is an ultimate sincerity and lack of foolishness in Gethsemane and Calvary. This is why the thought of them is such a comfort to us when we are suffering and at the end of our strength.

There is a romantic spirit that comes from God and is holy. God created such things as music, poetry, sunsets, and sunrises. This spirit leads us to the new Jerusalem.

There is a romantic spirit that comes from Satan and is unclean. This spirit results in treachery, despair, and sexual perversions. It leads to torment and finally to Hell.

A matter is holy if it includes the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. A matter is not holy if it does not include the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.

How are righteousness and holiness related? Righteousness has to do with our behavior toward people. Holiness has to do with the relationship of our thinking, speaking, and acting toward God.

Ordinarily, truly holy people will behave righteously and are people of integrity. However, God may choose someone to be holy; but while he is coming to maturity he may from time to time behave unrighteously. We see this in the case of Jacob lying to his father.

One way of looking at holiness is that there is an absence of unclean spirits. God is totally spiritually clean and wants us to purge ourselves from all spiritual filthiness of the flesh and spirit. The Holy Spirit will accomplish such purging if we will cooperate with Him.

When we are totally in God’s moral image, totally free from unclean spirits, and totally at rest in the very center of His Person and will, then we will be totally holy. May God grant this for each one of us.

I think the essence of holiness is obedience to God. It is true that God may regard us as holy if we are seeking to please and obey Him, and not be behaving as yet in total obedience to Him. But in the final analysis, the person who truly is holy is the individual who is committing all of his or her ways to the Lord.

Our God is a Consuming Fire. All that does not proceed from Him cannot possibly survive His Presence. The time soon will be here when God shakes the heavens. Then all that has not been wrought in Christ, especially religious people and their works, shall be removed.

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.“The words ‘once more’ indicate the removing of what can be shaken, that is, created things so that what cannot be shaken may remain. (Hebrews 12:26,27)

When the above passage mentions “created things” it is referring to the works of human thinking and ambition. None of them will survive the Divine shaking. Only that which God brought forth in Christ is holy and unshakable and shall remain in God’s Presence.

As I grow older I increasingly am aware of how much Christian work and activity is coming from the good intentions of Christian organizations and people. How often do denominations cry, “Let us go forth and save the world.” They are assuming that this is what God wants, because of the Great Commission.

But they do not seem to realize that the New Testament describes a covenant of the Spirit of God, and must be interpreted and obeyed only as we wait until we hear from the Lord Jesus.

Thus our well-intentioned Christian work may not be holy and may be subject to shaking and removal. God may not be authorizing it.

For years I have been making it a practice to listen carefully to what Jesus is saying. His word to me has been consistent. “It is time for God’s people to listen to His Spirit as He points out to them those areas of their personality that are not holy. They are to diligently confess, denounce, and renounce these unclean areas. The Holy Spirit will help all along the way.”

God is not speaking to me about going forth and trying to save the world. Is He to you? Rather He is telling me to advise His people to listen to Him and to obey Him. God has new and surprising things to show us that will survive the shaking and will enable us to stand in Christ throughout the age of moral horrors that America is entering, and to help others to stand.

Is Christ saying this to you, or is He urging you to go out and save the world?

The behavior of the leaders of our government and their supporters in the mainstream media, is difficult for some of us to understand. It appears obvious to me that our nation is being destroyed from within. So many people seem to be devoid of common sense.

I realize this is God’s punishment because of our tolerance of abortion-on-demand and other abominations. We have been given minds void of judgment. So our country increasingly is being weakened. If I am not mistaken, other nations of the world are seeing this destruction and are rejoicing that the once mighty America is falling to its knees, like so many great empires of the past.

Numerous sincere Christians are humbling themselves and praying that God will restore America. May God hear them and grant their prayer, provided we do not return to the present abominable practices.

There came a time in the history of Israel when God declared that He would not spare the nation from destruction. On one occasion God told Jeremiah that the people who surrendered to the Babylonians would be spared.

My point is, we need to hear from God before we tell Him what we want Him to do. Do you agree with that, or are you willing to pray against what God has determined? If we keep praying, and keep listening, then we will be able to pray in line with God’s Spirit.

“Be holy, because I am holy,” says the Lord.” If we would see the Lord and live in His Presence we must be holy.

What does this mean? It means each day we are to bring more of our thinking, speaking, and acting into conformity to Christ’s will for us. It increasingly must be true that our personality and behavior are reflecting the current Word of God to us.

“Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (II Corinthians 6:17,18; 7:1)
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do. (I Peter 1:15)

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Becoming the Throne of God. God intends for Christ, Head and Body, to be His Throne. The holy city, the new Jerusalem, is Christ–Head and Body. The new Jerusalem shall govern the creation for eternity.

(6/27/2010). The work of placing His Person, His Throne in us, has begun today. We may notice in the Book of Revelation that to the last of the churches our Lord says, “I stand at the door and knock.” Then He says that to him who overcomes will be given to sit with Christ on His Throne just as He overcame and sits with His Father on the Father’s Throne.

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 3:20-22)

From my point of view, the passage above is telling us that Christ wants to enter and have fellowship with us. As He does, we become the Throne of God. Christ Himself is the Throne of God, and when He is dwelling in us, we become the Throne of God.

I am glad He said He would eat with us and we with Him. He dines on our obedience and worship. We dine on His body and blood. He did not claim that because He enters us we would become a powerful person who will control or save the world.

It appears to be inherent in human beings that we want to govern other people. In some individuals the desire to govern others is so strong they become politicians. Then their intense desire to gain and maintain a political office often leads them to make decisions that do not truly benefit those over whom they rule, just as long as they remain in office.

Obviously, to such people the concept that God is setting His throne in us can be seen as a means to power and glory. This is the reverse of what God has in mind.

Even the disciples of Jesus argued among themselves as to who would be the greatest. Jesus responded that whoever is to be greatest must be the servant of all. The politicians of today, regardless of their philosophy of government, speak of how they are going to benefit the people. Very seldom is this the truth. The truth is they want to rule other people.

To say to such a person that he or she is supposed to serve, not seek preeminence, would be a mortal wound. He would have to experience a change of heart before he would be glad to serve others without thought of how it would benefit himself.

As far as I can tell, and I certainly hope I am mistaken, I do not believe there is a government on the earth today that is not filled with lying, bribery, treachery, self-seeking, love of preeminence, supplanting, gossip, backbiting, dishonesty, and every other satanic trait.

When God is on the throne of our heart we are free from such guile and treachery. We have a love for those whom we are serving. Our heart is pure toward God and toward people.

So no, the fact that God is installing His Throne in us does not mean that now we can order people and circumstances to conform to our will. Rather we are learning to wait patiently on Christ as He shows us His will and then guides and empowers us so we may perform His will.

You may remember that Satan offered Christ the kingdoms of the world. Jesus replied that He never would worship Satan, only God. Those today in positions of political leadership are often doing the will of Satan although they may not realize it.

I have been saying for years that in our day the Christians are going to be divided into two groups. The majority will seek power so they can go forth and minister to a “lost and dying world,” doing great things for God, as they imagine. There will be a minority who will continually seek increased fellowship with the Lord Jesus so they may do His will and only His will.

You can see the difference. The majority will attempt to use God to accomplish what they believe to be pleasing to Christ. The minority will worship and obey Christ; and out from their close fellowship with Him will be borne the powerful testimony of the closing days of the Church Age.

A prophecy was given recently to a Christian denomination. The Spirit said to this large group of believers that there were problems in their midst and they needed to repent and make things right. What the leadership interpreted from this prophecy was that the denomination is to go forth and save the world.

Now we can understand why the Word says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

How do we get ears to “hear” the Spirit, and eyes to “see” God? I know that if we are to see God we have to be holy. We have to have a pure heart.

I do not know how we get “ears” to hear. Maybe it is by waiting on the Lord and not running ahead of Him. Or maybe it is by Divine appointment. I am not certain. But to derive from this recent prophecy that we are to go out and save the world reveals that not everyone has “ears” to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.

The fifteenth chapter of the Gospel of John exhorts us to “abide” in Christ. Now, what does it mean to abide in Christ and He in us? It means that we are to be continually inviting the Lord Jesus into every word we speak, every thought we think, and every action we take. Our whole personality and life is to be filled with Jesus. We are members of His Body; and it is His greatest wish that we would open the door to Him at all times so He can live His Life in us.

If Jesus is living His Life in us, is it not true that we now are the Throne of God, in that Jesus is the Throne of God?

The fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John speaks of many “rooms” in the Father’s House. The Father’s House is Christ, plus the members of His Body. The proper inhabitants of each room are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

When we are ready, and at rest in God’s Person and will, we then can express our personality in our “room.” Now there are four persons in our room: the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and ourselves.

Next, after we are in proper relationship to God, God gives us people to love and care for. Some members of Christ’s Body can receive a few people as an inheritance. Others are destined to be patriarchs in the new world of righteousness. They will share with Christ millions of people whom God accounts worthy of salvation.

It is paradoxical but true that by being more concerned with God than with people we do the most good for people. It flies in the face of today’s emphasis on how good people are; how we always ought to be concerned with their rights and comforts regardless of God’s will for them; how God is so in love with people He never would permit them to suffer. The paradox is that the more we love God the more able we will be to bless and help people.

The majority of believers, whom we mentioned earlier, will think of our being made the Throne of God as an opportunity for self-aggrandizement. They will seek miraculous powers, as so many Christians are doing today.

Christian people, who are not content to follow after Jesus bearing their cross, and are seeking powerful gifts of the Spirit, are becoming the False Prophet. They will assist Antichrist during the closing days of the Church Age.

The minority will think of our being made the Throne of God as that which their heart cries out for–a close fellowship with God. They will enter the eternal dance with their Lord. Although they place pleasing God as the most important aspect of their life, and serving people second in importance, as always is true of the Lord Jesus, they will, as does Jesus, succeed in being the greatest possible blessing to the world.

The concept that everyone eventually will be saved, because God is too good to let people suffer very much, is a satanic lie. It comes from Satan who is hoping that people will persuade God to save him from the Lake of Fire. The truth is, he, and all those who love him, will spend eternity in the fire.

As far as rebellious people are concerned, those who will not obey Christ, the Prophet Isaiah tells of their eternal destiny:

“As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me,” declares the LORD, “so will your name and descendants endure. From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the LORD. “And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.” (Isaiah 66:22-24)

The above is the Word of God to us. Let God be true and every man a liar!

In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land,” declares the LORD, “men will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the LORD. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. (Jeremiah 3:16,17)

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Becoming the Throne of God, continued. A throne is the center of decision-making. The person who sits on a throne exerts his or her will in selecting among alternative actions. Thus a throne is the position of exercising will.

(7/4/2010). The very essence of the Kingdom of God is the doing of God’s will. “Your Kingdom come. Your will be done.” The Kingdom of God came into existence when the Lord Jesus Christ cried out to His Father, “Not My will but Yours be done.”

Christ was being tested to see if He would do God’s will even though it meant the loss of God’s Presence–perhaps for eternity! Realizing who Christ is and His background, this test passes our ability to comprehend.

Christ passed the test, an angel being sent from Heaven to strengthen Him. As a result, Christ now has all authority and power in the heavens and upon the earth. He is Lord over all other lords; King over all other kings.

We read in the second chapter of the Book of Hebrews that to “man” is given authority over all the works of God’s hands. We do not as yet see this authority given to man, but we see Jesus. Jesus is representative “man,” the first of many brothers. Yet He is exalted above all His brothers and the Firstborn from the dead.

God has led His people through many dangers, toils, and snares, as the old hymn says. There has been a purpose for each crisis, each intervention. They are not aimless. The Divine plan of redemption is pointed toward a specific goal. The goal is men and women who are to sit with the Lord Jesus on His Throne.

It is in our day that the climax of redemption is approaching. Thus the most important issue in our life today is that of learning to do God’s will on every occasion.

In the Book of Revelation Jesus told us that He is knocking at the door, that is, at the door to our personality; in particular, the door to our will. Then a verse or two later, He tells us that the person who overcomes, as He overcame, will sit with Him on His Throne, which is the Throne of God.

This is what is taking place today. Jesus is asking us to let Him enter. When He enters us He has fellowship with us. He dines on our obedience and worship. We dine on His body and blood. He now is present with us and also in us. We are abiding in Christ and Christ is abiding in us. Now we will bear the fruit of His moral image, and also the fruit of being in perfect rest in the center of God’s Person and will.

In order to be at perfect rest in the center of God’s Person and will we must obey Christ in every situation. This means, at every point of decision in our life, from the smallest to the greatest, we must look to Jesus for the right choice, the correct action, the action that is in line with the will of God.

We do not open to Christ on one occasion and from then on He is dwelling in us. He is knocking at the door every time we make a decison. He constantly is knocking at the door. We constantly are opening to Him that His will may be known to us. This is the Kingdom of God–the doing of God’s will in the earth.

Every time we look to Christ when we are faced with a decision, and choose to do what seems to be what He desires, the next decision becomes easier. We keep on looking to Jesus and obeying Him. This is what it means to overcome. We overcome, as Jesus helps us, every factor that would cause us to be disobedient.

The New Testament speaks of “overcoming.” What we are to overcome is our willingness to act independently of God.

Man has been created to be the throne, the resting place of God. We cannot possibly find perfect fulfillment until God is reigning within us. It is only as God is living and ruling in him that man is more than an intelligent animal.

Babylon is man acting independently of God in the ecclesiastical world. Laodicea is man acting independently of God in the realm of God’s elect. Antichrist is man acting independently of God in the secular world. The False Prophet is man acting independently of God in the world of spirits.

Becoming the Throne of God is a definite experience. It takes place as we keep inviting the Lord Jesus into our life, looking carefully to Him in all matters, day and night. This means we are praying without ceasing, as the Apostle Paul exhorted us.

Such is the new covenant–the putting of God’s will in our heart so we want to do it, and the writing of God’s law in our mind so we understand what it is that God wants.

God does not make His will known to each of us in the same manner. Some believers hear God’s voice in their inner consciousness. Others may just sense what God wants. Still other believers may seek to obey the Scriptures, praying constantly for guidance.

Perhaps the fifth and sixth verses of the third chapter of the Book of Proverbs are of great significance in our day. We are told to trust in the Lord with all our heart and not lean to our own understanding. We are promised that if we will acknowledge the Lord in all our ways, He will direct our paths, making the right way straight before us.

The antichrist world spirit derives its wisdom and knowledge from education and the media. Since the media are proliferating in our day, the minds of most people are conformed to the tremendous lie that the world spirit is.

Paul advises us not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. In order to be transformed by the renewing of our mind we have to constantly invite Jesus into our decisions, great and small.

The ability to keep looking to Jesus and listening to Him is going to be of supreme importance in the coming days. Little by little a one-world government is approaching. The idea is to put an end to wars between nations.

However, as we notice, every government on earth is corrupt, filled with lying, treachery, slander, self-seeking, and every other destructive attitude and practice. This will be true of the coming one-world government. It will be governed by evil people–people who profess to be seeking the good of others but who do not have God’s wisdom because they do not glorify God, only themselves.

This especially may be true in the United States of America. In time past the leaders of our government, although they were not without sin and self-seeking, did give glory to God and exhorted our citizens to pray.

It is not so today. God is being ignored. The idea, as someone expressed it, is that thinking is more profitable than praying. There are few other lies as great as this.

From the time of Adam and Eve, mankind has been under the impression that we are supposed to carve out our own destiny. This is the opposite of God’s desire. God wants people to seek Him and His will in every circumstance of our life. Only then do we obtain righteousness, love, peace, and joy.

But our country and its leaders are not doing this, choosing to better the world by their human efforts. They do not glorify God nor do they seek His help in solving our numerous problems.

Thus the United States is on its way to having a much lower place among the nations. Finally its values and traditions will be swallowed up by a one-world government, which will be presided over by self-seeking men and women who do not know the Lord Jesus.

We Americans are not to fret over this. Rather, each one of us is to live as closely to the Lord Jesus as he can. In so doing the individual will become the Throne of God. Also, he will save himself and his loved ones throughout the chaotic days ahead of us.

The new Jerusalem is the glorified Christian Church that will be established on the new earth after the thousand-year Kingdom Age. Notice that the Throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, located in the saints on the earth for eternity.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. (Revelation 22:1-3)

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Living in the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God guides us in the two great works of redemption: release from all that is of Satan; and change into Christ’s image and rest in the center of God’s Person and will. We must live in the Spirit; think in the Spirit; behave in the Spirit; speak in the Spirit. Little by little we are to bring our entire personality under the control of the Spirit of God.

(7/11/2010) Those of us who speak in tongues refer to ourselves as “Pentecostal.” This name is derived from the fourth of the seven Jewish celebrations. The Holy Spirit fell on the assembled disciples when the Jewish celebration of Pentecost had come. This is why so many Jews were assembled in Jerusalem to witness this event.

My wife and I have been “in Pentecost” for over sixty years, so we have had considerable experience with Pentecostal people. I will say that the Spirit of worship in a church in which speaking in tongues is exercised is more fluent than in other Christian churches, regardless of the level of righteousness and holiness of the other churches. This can be verified by experience.

God knows what He is doing. When He established speaking in tongues as the way of entering the rest of God, then that is the way we enter the rest of God. It is my firm belief, however, that many fine Christians have the Spirit of God although they never have pressed through to speaking in tongues.

I am of the opinion that most of us do not understand the role of the Spirit of God in our life. It may be noted that Jewish people, who often have a sense of God’s workings, associate the celebration of Pentecost with the giving of the Law on Sinai. It is believed by some scholars that the law was given at the time of the feast of Pentecost, that is, fifty days after the first Passover.

So the Holy Spirit is more than the Comforter who guides us into all truth. He is our Law, the law of the new covenant. He is to be obeyed as He leads into deliverance from sin and also into the development of Christ in us.

The expression, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14), follows and explains the preceding verse, which warns us about living according to our sinful nature. The Spirit of God, if we are listening to Him, is always leading us to put to death the actions of our sinful nature and to press into the eternal life that results finally in the immortality of the body.

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:13,14)

The Law of Moses is the servant who brings us to Christ. This relationship between the Law of Moses and the new covenant is not always explained clearly.

Are we under any part of the Law of Moses? No, if we have “died with Christ” and are living by His Life, the Life of the Spirit of God.

When we are following the Spirit of God each day, we are without condemnation. The righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us.

In order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. (Galatians 5:18)

What does the Apostle Paul mean when he states that the new covenant is not of the letter but of the Spirit?

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (II Corinthians 3:6)

Now, precisely what does Paul mean by “the letter kills but the Spirit gives life”?

Paul means that attempting to obey the text of the New Testament, which consists of the words of Christ and His Apostles, without looking to the Lord, results in confusion and a religious spirit.

The reason there are so many divisions among the Christian denominations is that the ministers as well as the people are endeavoring to follow the text of the New Testament as though it were the same as the Law of Moses. Since one person interprets a passage one way, and another person interprets it in a different way, we have division.

The Scriptures did not come through the human mind. The Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, came through holy men who were moved by the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures can be rightly understood only as holy people are moved by the Holy Spirit.

Take the Book of Revelation, for example. How many devout teachers of the Bible have constructed timelines in connection with their explanation of the meaning of the Book of Revelation. It appears that every such teacher disagrees with the other teachers.

The only manner in which the words of Christ and His Apostles can be interpreted is by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. They cannot possibly be understood or applied correctly by scholars using their intellectual processes.

In order to understand and apply the words of the New Testament we have to have apostles. Teachers learn from other teachers, and soon we have a hodgepodge of error. This is true today. Every once in a while God sends apostles to the Body of Christ. They are people whom Christ draws to Himself and explains what He has said, is saying, and yet will say to the Body of Christ.

If ever a generation needed an apostle it is the present generation. There are ministers today who claim to be apostles; but it is not evident that they are. And so error is heaped on error.

There are numerous errors in current Evangelical theology. Perhaps the most damaging of all is the current presentation of Divine grace as an alternative to growth in righteous behavior. The emphasis on an “any-moment rapture” of the believers also is damaging, because it is leaving the Christian people unprepared for the moral chaos we are entering.

The pattern of redemption that God has followed in the Protestant Reformation is revealed in the seven feasts of Israel. We have been at feast number four, Pentecost. Now the Spirit of God is moving us into the fulfillments of the last three celebrations: the blowing of Trumpets; the Day of Atonement; and the feast of Tabernacles.

The true apostles of Christ will be explaining to us the fulfillments of the final three observances, because this is what the Spirit of God is telling us about today. This does not mean they will necessarily refer to the seven feasts of Israel. But they will emphasize the fulfillments: the Lord coming to cleanse His people; the reconciliation of our whole personality to God; God making His Throne and settling down to rest in prepared saints.

Those who are following the Spirit of God are finding themselves moving into these fulfillments, although they do not always understand what is happening to them.

In conclusion let us say that the new covenant is a covenant of the Spirit, not of the letter of the New Testament. The Spirit will never lead us contrary to what Christ and His Apostles have spoken and written. But the Spirit will, using both the Old Testament and the New Testament, tell us what Christ is saying today.

The Spirit will enable us to correctly understand and apply the Scriptures, both Old and New Testament, until the Morning Star arises in our heart and we think, speak, and act in the Spirit of God, just as our Lord Jesus always does.

And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (II Peter 3:19)

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Entering God’s Rest. God worked for six days. Then He rested. During those six days He created not only the physical creation but also the Kingdom of God, all the way through to the coming down of the new Jerusalem to rest upon the new earth—and beyond. At that time the names of His elect were written in His book. Since this is true, our task in life is to press into that to which we have been predestined. As Paul said, we are to grasp that for which we have been grasped.

(7/18/2010) My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalms 139:15,16)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30)

It seems to me that the passage above implies that mankind is divided into those who have a special calling, an election assigned to them, and those who do not.

There have been many arguments in time past about the possibility of an elect who are predestined to be saved. These arguments are vain, for the following reasons:

First, the elect are not called to be saved but to be brothers of Christ, being conformed to His image.

Second, the Scriptures teach with utmost clarity that there is the Church, the new Jerusalem, the elect, and then nations of saved people who walk in the light of the new Jerusalem.

Third, being predestined to and called does not mean that we are going to attain to our high calling no matter how we live. It is entirely possible for us to lose our crown of life and righteousness. The Scriptures teach this fact also with utmost clarity.

Since any believer can validate the above three facts by searching the Scriptures, I would like to pass on to the present burden: entering the rest of God.

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 the rest of God is the thesis of the Book of Hebrews, although the range of topics in Hebrews does not always appear to be related to this primary thesis. It is evident, however, that Hebrews has largely to do with pressing on past the initial works of redemption.

As far as the elect are concerned, the goal of their life is to enter the rest of God. This means we must believe that God has called us to be a member of the royal priesthood. Therefore we are not to scheme how we may arrive at some other goal of our own choosing. Our task in life is to seek Christ constantly, to lay aside all else, as did the Apostle Paul, and grasp that for which we have been grasped.

To enter our assigned role in the Kingdom of God necessitates our patiently enduring numerous tribulations. Our most intense desires remain unfulfilled while we wait as cheerfully as we can in God’s prison. As the Prophet mentioned, “We are shut up and cannot come forth.”

Every one of those who are called to be the brothers of Christ must experience the sufferings of Christ, the sufferings of the cross. Our personal cross is not a delight. It is painful at times. If we fasten on it, it will grind us to powder. We must continue to think of our blessings, what we do have and can do, and not what we do not have and cannot do.

There are those who have been called to the royal priesthood, the governing body of the Kingdom of God, who come quite a ways toward their goal. Then the stress becomes too much for them and they lash out in the flesh. How disappointing this is to the Lord who had such high hopes for them.

We can come out from the bondage of the world spirit, and put to death the sins of our flesh as the Spirit points them out to us. But it is that third area at which some believers draw the line. They are not willing to give up their personal desires and obey Christ as He leads them toward the goal God has set before them.

What often happens is that the believer is placed in a situation in which people do not meet his or her standards. The believer becomes so enraged at the seeming injustice he is suffering that he no longer can hear the quiet voice of the Spirit.

When we find ourselves becoming angry with people, that often is a sign God is using them to perfect us. Why should we be angry with the tools God uses? That does not make sense. Let us rather look to Jesus to see what He wants us to do.

We must accept the fact that we are not going to be treated fairly in this present world. The Lord Jesus was not treated fairly. Pilate handed Christ over to be crucified when Pilate could find no reason for doing this. Christ was entirely innocent, and Pilate knew it.

This sort of injustice will be our lot until we, like Christ, give ourselves over to the will of God. Only then will we be able to hear that still, small voice of the Spirit and know what the next step on our journey is to be.

We always are to pray, and keep on praying, that God will give us the desires of our heart. And He will, in His time. But we must not give in to our fleshly impulses and take matters into our own hands, as Satan counseled Eve to do. The minute we do this we no longer can hear what Christ is saying to us through the Spirit.

I do not doubt there have been many ministers of the Gospel who have explained clearly the rest of God and how we are to press into it. However, I have not heard this subject preached. This suggests to me that it is in our day that the Lord Jesus is explaining to His disciples this all-important subject.

Well then, what exactly is our goal, our rest and God’s rest in us.

Perhaps the strongest of the Old Testament types, concerning the goal of the Christian discipleship, is Canaan, the land of promise. The Israelites were saved out of Egypt in order to have their own home in Canaan, the land of milk and honey.

But what does Canaan stand for? I would say it stands for the rest of God, that is, the condition in which our life is focused on doing Christ’s will at every moment. It stands for pressing past our natural life and entering the resurrection Life of our Lord. It is God’s intention that we find perfect righteousness, love, joy, and peace in the very center of His Person and will.

So many Israelites died in the wilderness and never attained to their goal! The writer of Hebrews warns us about this and urges us not to stop moving forward until we have entered God’s rest.

Beyond all doubt, one of the greatest hindrances to a clear understanding of the Kingdom of God is the traditional belief that the spirit Heaven is the land of promise, the fulfillment of the symbolism of Canaan. It assuredly is not! While there certainly is a spirit Heaven, where Christ, His saints, and the holy angels may be found, residence in Heaven is not the rest of God, the goal of the Christian redemption.

First of all, there is no passage of Scripture that points toward residence in the spirit world as the goal of redemption. Second, we would have to wait until we die in order to enter God’s rest.

When we die, we are not faced with walls of Jericho, so to speak. The land is not divided up among us. We do not have to drive out the enemy. The entrance of Israel into Canaan is nowhere near being a type of the rest spoken of in the fourth chapter of the Book of Hebrews.

To go to Heaven is a change of place. To enter God’s rest is a change of personality, a change of what we are. Contrary to popular belief, dying and going to Heaven does not change what we are. The only way we can be changed is by interacting with Jesus on a daily basis.

I don’t believe the term “Heaven” is found in the writings of Paul. Paul expressed a goal. Paul’s goal is to attain to the resurrection that is out from among the dead, the first resurrection. This is the resurrection of the members of the royal priesthood. They will be raised when the Lord next appears.

This first resurrection must be attained to, as Paul pointed out so clearly in the third chapter of the Book of Philippians. To maintain that Paul was laying aside all else so he would be qualified to go to Heaven when he died is so unrealistic as to be not worthy of discussion.

Truly, the venerable tradition that our goal is to go to Heaven prevents any logical thinking concerning the salvation we are to work out with fear and trembling.

There is a multitude of Christian people who look to the Lord Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins. There is a smaller number who have learned to walk in the Spirit of God to a lesser or greater extent.

Now Jesus is looking to see how many will press forward until they find rest in God’s Person and will. Doing so requires that we abandon our own plans for our life in favor of resting in that plan written in God’s book during the original creation. The plan is to make man in God’s image. The number of those who have enough faith to trust God to this extent may be quite small.

But to him who overcomes the desire to preserve his own life in order that he may enter God’s Person to this extent, will be given all things of the new creation. God will be his God and he will be God’s son.

Let each of us then pray that for eternity we will be found abiding in the very center of God’s Person and will. There we always shall have righteousness, love, joy, and peace.

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Canaan, and the Rest of God. Traditionally, Heaven has been viewed as that which is symbolized by Canaan, the land of milk and honey. Thus, going to Heaven when we die is considered to be the goal of our salvation. This concept well may be the most destructive of all the man-made interpretations of the Scriptures.

The major doctrinal errors of today, such as the ideas that “grace” is an alternative to righteous behavior, “eternal security,” and the unscriptural “pre-tribulation rapture,” are all based on the idea that the goal of our salvation is to go to Heaven when we die and live there forever in a mansion.

(7/25/2010). I am eighty-five years old and have walked with the Lord Jesus for more than sixty-five years. During the last four or five years, I have become more aware of the spirit world. The spirit world is much like our own world, which is not surprising since our world was made from the spirit world. In fact, if the curse were lifted, and the Spirit of God filled the earth, and God removed Satan and all his works (and that actually is going to happen), I think we would be pleased to stay right here after we died.

Something to think about, isn’t it?

But let us consider for a moment the true goal of salvation, the inheritance of the righteous. It has nothing to do with moving from earth to Heaven. Our primary inheritance is to be changed into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ, both internally, and then at His coming, in outward form.

Equally important is that we be at rest in the center of God’s Person and will. When these two objectives have been fulfilled, then the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit will make us Their eternal dwelling place.

Included in our inheritance are those whom God has given us to care for, and then the farthest reaches of the earth.

You easily can verify these aspects of our goal, our inheritance, by examining the Scriptures.

Is there a Heaven where God, Christ, the saints, and holy angels are? Of course. But it is not our home, except during the period before Christ sets up His Kingdom on the earth. Eventually the spirit and physical worlds shall become one new world of righteous behavior.

I stress “behavior” because for so long we have been accustomed to believe that the only righteousness we ever can know is that which is ascribed to us. We always will be miserable sinners, it is supposed. The truth is, Christ desires to make us a new creation of righteous behavior.

The Kingdom of God does not consist of miserable sinners who are righteous only by ascribed righteousness but victorious saints who are in the image of the Lord.

Now let us think for a moment about the practical outworking of what I am teaching. The practical aspect is that we do not enter our land of promise by dying and entering the spirit world. We enter our land of promise now, today, by following the Lord Jesus as He guides us through His Spirit.

The Book of Hebrews refers to our Canaan, our land of promise, as God’s “rest.”

God’s rest is our state of being when we are abiding in the center of God’s Person and will. Obviously, there is a great difference between waiting to die so we can go to Heaven, and pressing each day into God and His will.

Can you see why I said at the beginning that the concept of our goal being to go to Heaven when we die is not only unscriptural, it is a major hindrance to most believers? It puts them in a waiting mode rather than pressing, as did the Apostle Paul, into that which God has appointed for them.

All I wish to say in this briefest of essays may be found in the third and fourth chapters of the Book of Hebrews.

The Jewish believers being addressed in the Book of Hebrews were seasoned Christians, having been saved through faith in the blood atonement, filled with the Spirit of God, and had survived persecution and also tasted the powers of the coming age. They were more spiritually advanced in the things of Christ than is true of most of today’s Christians, it appears.

We would expect the writer of Hebrews to congratulate them on their religious accomplishments, comfort them with the assurance of salvation, and point them toward their mansions in Heaven as their reward when they died.

Instead the Book of Hebrews is largely a rebuke, an exhortation to them to enter further into God, that is, into God’s Person and will for them.

Notice in the third chapter of Hebrews how the writer compares our salvation with the journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan. I would suppose that most of us recognize that Israel coming out of Egypt is a type of our being saved by repenting of our life in the world, and being baptized to show that we now are dead to the world and alive in the resurrection of Christ.

Perhaps a smaller number of us view the time spent in the wilderness of wandering as symbolic of the rigors of our discipleship. I think some reject this symbolism because it does not fit their understanding of Divine grace. However, it is clear that the writer of Hebrews accepts the wilderness wandering as a portrayal of the many dangers and sufferings of our pilgrimage.

But then the writer warns his audience that they were in danger of not inheriting the land of promise, just as the Israelites, except for two people, did not enter the land of milk and honey. It is obvious the writer believes that it is possible for a Christian to “die in the wilderness” and not attain to the goal set before him.

The “believers” often do not grasp that for which they have been grasped!

Then the writer exhorts us to “make every effort to enter that rest,” that is, into the state of being where we are resting in God’s Person and will.

So the primary issue is, what does Canaan represent? If we think of Canaan as representing going to Heaven when we die, then the idea of making every effort to enter God’s rest does not make sense. Either we, as Paul, are pressing with all diligence that we may grasp that for which we have been grasped, or we are waiting to die until we go to Heaven.

It easily can be seen that we are facing a major problem in Christian thinking. Either we are to be “saved,” filled with the Spirit, and then wait to die to enter our land or promise; or we are to be entering it today as we follow the Spirit of God in all of our thinking, speaking, and doing.

How often the Christian salvation is viewed as being a waiting to go to Heaven where (we think) our problems will be solved! Our dangers and afflictions are thought of as being random attacks of Satan.

Thus when we die we are unprepared for what we will face in the spirit world.

Would we be more able to march in victory, ready to walk with Jesus when we die, if we perceived our daily battles as part of the process in which we move toward our goal, the rest of God?

There are different ways of coping with our tribulations. We can become angry with God, or feel sorry for ourselves, or blame people. God is not pleased with these responses. The correct manner in which to respond to problems is to keep seeking Jesus for understanding and deliverance. In this manner we grow in God’s Person and will, entering our land of promise.

One primary characteristic of Canaan is that it was filled with enemies who had lived there for hundreds of years. God told Abraham he could not possess the land until the sin of the Amorites had matured. So it is today, isn’t it, that sin is coming to maturity? Consequently God is ready to give us the land; but we have to take it by fighting the enemy that dwells in us.

There are three major enemies that prevent our dwelling contentedly in the Person of Christ and His will for us. The first enemy is our looking to the world for our survival and security. The second enemy are the sinful forces that dwell in our flesh. The third enemy is our self-will, our determination to live our life the way we want instead of looking to Jesus for every decision we make.

If we are to enter God’s rest, our Canaan, we have to be ruthless. There is to be no compromise with the spiritual darkness that has lived in us throughout our lifetime.

First, we must refuse to be involved in the world spirit any more than is necessary. This world is not our home. The earth is our home, but the spirit of the world is Antichrist, and we can never find peace in it except as we follow Jesus carefully.

Second, as the Spirit of God points out to us the sins we are committing, we are to confess them specifically; denounce them as evil; renounce them with all our might, and turn to Christ for forgiveness and cleansing.

Third, we must remain in the prison in which Christ permits Satan to place us. We cannot have what we intensely desire. We are forced to remain in situations that are unpleasant. And this crucifixion may persist for many years. Thus we have to place our treasures in Heaven.

It is in God’s prisons that the self-will is burned out of us. We have to suffer just as the Apostle Paul had to suffer; just as Christ Himself had to suffer. We have to be made weak until we are living by the wisdom and strength of Christ rather than by our own wisdom and strength.

Until these three areas of spiritual darkness are overcome, we cannot possibly find eternal rest in God’s Person and will.

So today we have been brought to the Jordan. The Jordan River symbolizes death to our self-determination. We have left Egypt, the world. We have received the Law of the Spirit, symbolized by Mount Sinai. And now we are at Jordan. We must be circumcised in our heart. The daily manna is about to cease and we will be given to eat of the corn grown in the land of Canaan.

Who among us is willing to take up his or her cross and follow the Master into Canaan, into the rest of God? It will cost us everything. But not to do so will result in eternal loss that may be irreparable. We may never again have the chance to follow our heavenly Joshua into the fullness of our assigned inheritance.

Have I not commanded you? “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

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The Feast of Tabernacles. There were seven “feasts of the Lord.” Each of the seven feasts has a kingdom-wide fulfillment and each has a personal fulfillment in the life of the individual believer in Christ. The kingdom-wide fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is the eternal reign of Christ. The personal fulfillment of Tabernacles is the coming of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit to make Their eternal home in the personality of the saint.

(8/1/2010). 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)

The Israelites were commanded to dwell for seven days in “booths” made from the branches of trees. After the seven days had been completed there was an eighth day of great rejoicing.

The feast of Tabernacles was a season of thanksgiving because of the fruits of the preceding harvest season, and also a time of joyful anticipation of the soon coming of the seed rain (former rain) that marks the commencement of the new agricultural year.

The new heaven and earth reign of Christ is the kingdom-wide spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, when all the saved will rejoice with incredibly great joy over the things God has accomplished. The eighth day signifies the first day of the new week of eternity, the week that has no end.

How wonderful it is to realize that the “morning” of life will just be beginning at the time that the new Jerusalem descends from the new heaven and comes to rest on the new earth!

The kingdom-wide fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, which will take place at the end of the thousand-year period known as the Kingdom Age, will be marvelous far beyond any poor picture we have the ability to paint. But the personal fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles in us as individual believers is even more marvelous than the kingdom-wide fulfillment.

As is true of all the feasts of the Lord, the kingdom-wide fulfillment of Tabernacles and the personal fulfillment flow into each other, are dependent on each other, and find their significance in each other.

According to our understanding, the personal fulfillment of Tabernacles in the saints is at hand and will find increasing expression throughout that darkest of hours just before Jesus returns (Isaiah 60:2), culminating in the appearing of Christ and His saints in the clouds of heaven. The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is the provision God has made for His saints so they may be able to stand during the age of moral horrors that is on the horizon.

Even today we are being prepared for the indwelling of the Fullness of God in us, as the Holy Spirit enables us to put to death the deeds of our flesh and also to experience the crucifixion of our self-love and self-will.

The fourteenth through the seventeenth chapters of the Gospel of John discuss some aspects of the personal spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles.

The term “mansion,” which appears in John 14:2, is not referring to fine homes in Paradise. The proper translation, according to the current usage of the English language, would be dwelling place, or place of abode.

The Greek word translated mansions, in John 14:2 of the King James Version, appears in verb form in John 15:4 and is correctly translated abide, in the King James Version.

The “Father’s house” is Christ—Head and Body. It is the “good olive tree,” of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Romans. Each of us has been invited to become a room in the eternal Temple of God.

Perhaps the most pertinent verse concerning the personal fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is John 14:23:

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.

The term abode in the verse above is the same Greek noun translated mansions, in John 14:2. John 14:23 is not referring to the personal fulfillment of the fourth Levitical feast, the feast of Pentecost. The feast of Pentecost is fulfilled when we are baptized with the Holy Spirit.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (John 14:16)

John 14:23 is referring, rather, to the personal fulfillment of the seventh Levitical feast, the feast of Tabernacles. The Father and the Son enter us through the Holy Spirit and make us Their eternal Temple. It is the Lord’s will that we be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19).

John 7:37-39 also is speaking of the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.

Jesus was observing the rejoicing of the eighth day of the feast of Tabernacles, that “great day of the feast.” The priest was bringing water in a golden bowl from the Pool of Siloam and pouring it on the Altar of Burnt Offering. The twelfth chapter of Isaiah was being sung.

At that time:

…Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) (John 7:37-39)

This Scripture is fulfilled in a measure when we receive the Holy Spirit. But the maturity of the fulfillment has been reserved for the Day of the Lord.

When the Father and the Son sit on the throne of our heart in the complete fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, the water of life will flow from the Throne of God in us. We will become “rivers.” The Glory of the Lord will pour from us until it covers the “sea” of mankind.

And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. (Ezekiel 47:9)

Ezekiel 47:9 is the fulfillment of John 7:38. The Lord is cleansing us today in preparation for the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in us in a greater measure than we have known. John 14:23 is a definite experience, as definite as being born again or being filled with the Holy Spirit. Unlike the baptism with the Spirit, however, the fulfillment of the Tabernacles experience proceeds over a period of time as we are cleansed of sin and as we learn to live in God’s Person and Presence.

The definite experience, the personal fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, that is coming to us is described in the twelfth chapter of Isaiah—the words that were sung as the Jews celebrated the feast of Tabernacles.

Let us think about the words of Isaiah, Chapter 12. As the individual enters the personal spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles these words become very meaningful. We understand then what the Spirit of Christ was proclaiming in Isaiah.

And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee. (Isaiah 12:1-6)

“And in that day…”

The expression “that day” is used throughout the Book of Isaiah, and also in John 14:20. It refers to the Day of the Lord, the day when Christ comes to rule in our heart in untroubled, unconcealed splendor. “The Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.”

“… thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee:…”

For two thousand years Christian people often have pointed toward themselves and their works. But as we enter the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles the Lord Himself becomes the glorious Center of our attention. We praise Him always!

“… though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me.”

Every Christian must go through periods of chastening, of judgment, of warfare. God is not pleased with what Satan has brought about in our personalities. The tribulations through which we enter the Kingdom of God are part of the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, the reconciling of us to God’s righteous and holy Nature. They are Divine judgment on the works of Satan that are in us.

Many times the suffering is intense and prolonged. It indeed is a fiery trial. How we desire to escape from the Lord’s prison! But in order to escape from God’s prison we must break God’s laws.

After we have suffered awhile, He who has wounded us binds us up. The chastening of the Lord creates patience and the peaceable fruits of righteousness in us. Our sins and self-seeking depart from us. We enter rest in God and God enters rest in us. Our warfare has been accomplished, our iniquity pardoned.

“Behold, God is my salvation;…”

In all our prior dealings with God He has been separate from us. He has saved us, healed us, given us wisdom, helped and strengthened us in every way. God has done these things for us and in us.

But as we enter the “Tabernacles experience” we notice a change taking place in our relationship with the Lord. He Himself is becoming our salvation. No longer are we able even to think anything by our own wisdom or knowledge. He Himself becomes our mind, our prayer, our salvation, our health, our wisdom, our help, our strength.

Sometimes it is difficult for us to “let go.” Without our realizing it there are things we do that constitute our “religion.” Our set of beliefs and practices are “earning” our salvation to a certain extent, although we Christians would reject that concept if it were brought to our attention. Nevertheless we trust in these religious behaviors and perceive them as being our salvation.

Oftentimes, as God begins to move us into the fulfillment of Tabernacles, events in our lives take place that cause our religious activities no longer to be effective. We discover that one by one the things and thoughts in which we trust are being removed from us. We attempt to hold on, to preserve our former relationship, our former kind of contact with the Lord. But if it is the Lord who is making the change we never again will be content with the old way.

It seems there are people whom the Lord never moves past the salvation experience and others who do not proceed beyond the Pentecostal experience. They do not understand our behavior as we enter the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. In fact, we ourselves many times are perplexed over the dealings of God with us.

We do know that something is taking place in our relationship with the Lord Jesus. God is shaking loose our grip on Himself and in its place is substituting His grip on us.

“… I will trust, and not be afraid:…”

The prospect of “letting go and letting God” can bring fear to us. We have trusted for so long in our own grasp on God that the experience of “letting go” and allowing the Lord to work His works in us may cause us to be afraid. We are afraid to trust that the Lord is redeeming us according to His own foreknowledge and will, that it is God’s good pleasure to give us the Kingdom.

If we would move past the “waters to the ankles” into “waters to swim in,” we must be willing to follow the Lord wherever He leads (Ezekiel 47:3-5).

We move along prayerfully, watchfully, observing the results of what is taking place in us. The wisdom from above always is pure, always peaceful, always full of good fruit. Whenever we feel pushed, fearful, driven, that is not the Lord, ordinarily. The Lord’s ways are joyous, full of love and hope. This is not to say there are not seasons when we are tested to the limit.

“… for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song;…”

The darkness is coming during which no man can work. It is at the doors. Christian works and institutions of all kinds will crumble under the spiritual darkness and oppression that will shake the earth in the near future.

God has made special provision for His elect that will enable them not only to stand throughout the great tribulation but also to finally overcome the darkness. This special provision is the personal spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.

God will enter His people and be their strength and their song. Neither Satan nor Antichrist nor the False Prophet can stand before God in His people.

The world and the fleshly churches will be deceived and overcome by the forces of Hell. But the believers in whom the Father and the Son are dwelling will be able to persevere throughout all calamities. God working through them will crush Satan under their feet (Romans 16:20).

It will not be the saints who are persevering and finally overcoming Satan, it will be God who, through Christ, is dwelling in them. The victorious believers will sing and dance on the heights of Zion while the world is drowning in the flood of filth that will issue from Satan.

“… he also is become my salvation.”

It is not merely that God has provided all the elements of our salvation. Rather it is true that God Himself has become our Salvation. In that Day we will know that Christ is in God, and we are in Christ, and Christ is in us. Christ is the Wheel in us and we are the wheel in Christ in God. We have become God’s chariot (Ezekiel 1:16).

“Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.”

We undergo fiery testings while the Spirit of God is cleansing us from all unrighteousness. But then there is joy indescribable and full of glory when we become conscious that the Father and the Son are dwelling in us forever.

The feast of Pentecost and the feast of Tabernacles are both associated with water. Pentecost speaks of the former and the latter rains that will be poured on us, while Tabernacles signifies the establishing of the Throne of God and of Christ in us and the issuing of the River of Life from the Divine Presence that has been formed in us and is abiding in us forever.

Pentecost is associated with rain. Tabernacles is associated with the rivers of living water. Both speak of the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps it was at the point when this verse (Isaiah 12:3) was being sung that Jesus of Nazareth stood and proclaimed the flowing of the River of Life from the belly of the believer (John 7:38).

In the experience of Pentecost the believers have ministered in fragmented gifts and manifestations of the Spirit. When we arrive at the complete fulfillment of Tabernacles, that which is perfect will have come. No longer will we be seeing as in a clouded mirror. In that Day we shall know as we are known. We shall draw enough living water from the throne of Christ in us to release the entire creation from the bondage of corruption (Ezekiel 47:8,9; Romans 8:21).

“And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted.”

As we move into the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles we exalt the Lord as we never have before. Prior to the Tabernacles experience we speak much of what we are gaining from salvation; how we shall persuade God to do this thing or that thing for us; how busy we are as we attempt to build the Kingdom of God in our own wisdom and strength.

But as the Lord settles down to rest in us, and we learn to rest in Him, we exalt Him. It is a natural transition from self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness. The Holy Spirit possesses infinite wisdom. He knows precisely how to move each of us from the bondage of self-love and self-will into the wonderful liberty of love for God and for performing God’s will.

“Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.”

For the first time, perhaps, we understand and appreciate the fact that the Glory of God fills the whole earth. Satan strives to keep the saints concentrating on his wicked antics in the earth, on the increasing wickedness, perversity, and foulness of the deeds of people, so we will not perceive God’s Glory..

When we are able to see with Christ’s vision we will understand that it is God’s intention to redeem, not destroy, the earth and its peoples. The catastrophes falling upon the earth are the pains of birth, the birth of the Kingdom of God. The Father and the Son are taking up Their eternal residence in us. Out from us the rivers of living waters will flow to the meek of the earth.

The waters of life will flow on and out until the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord covers the earth and its peoples as the waters cover the sea. The nations of the saved will respond with great joy when God moves into the whole earth through His elect.

It is as we enter the Tabernacles experience that we become conscious of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. Although the coming of the Kingdom of God is the main topic of the four Gospels, many of us have not had an understanding of the plan of God concerning the earth.

But as the personal spiritual fulfillments of the last three feasts take place in us, as a firstfruits of the day when the great kingdom-wide fulfillments come into being, we see and enter the Kingdom of God.

It is in the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles that all will be brought together in Christ. The Kingdom of God will be established on the earth. Christ will sit on the throne of His “father,” David, in the city of Jerusalem. The “good olive tree,” of which every true Christian is a member, whether he or she is Jewish or Gentile by physical birth, will “blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit” (Isaiah 27:6).

When Christ is dwelling in us we discover we are singing in our heart and it is a love song to the Lord.

“Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.”

The Glory of God dwelling in us causes us to shout for joy. God is great and greatly to be praised! God has come to take up His eternal abode in the Body of Christ, in the Wife of the Lamb.

The Spirit of God spoke through the Prophet Zechariah on the occasion of the restoring of Solomon’s Temple:

Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6)

This is a prophecy concerning the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in His saints. It is the Body of Christ, the holy city, the new Jerusalem. It is the eternal Temple of God.

The eternal Temple of God will be brought to completion and perfection but not by the wisdom, talents, and energies of man. The eternal Temple of God will be perfected by the Spirit of God.

God is moving today in all the earth to fulfill the words of the Hebrew Prophets and of the Apostles of the Lamb.

The living stones of the eternal house of God are being fashioned “at the quarry.” Each stone will be “made ready” before it is brought to the construction site (I Kings 6:7). God perfects us where we are. When it is time for the Body of Christ to come together there will be no sound of a “hammer or axe.”

It always is commendable to desire the unity of the members of the Body of Christ. But when we attempt to bring the members together by our own means we find we must “cut and hammer” so the pieces will fit. But in the Day of Christ the Body will flow together by the Spirit of God, just as the animals were brought by the Lord into the Ark. All that was required of Noah was to build the Ark. The Spirit of God took care of the remaining details.

Our responsibility is to “prophesy upon these bones.” God’s responsibility is to cause the bones to come together, to give them strength, beauty, and life.

The Lord Jesus stands at the door of the heart of each Christian. If the Christian hears Christ’s voice and opens the door of his heart, the King enters him and dines with him, giving to the disciple to eat and drink from His own body and blood. Then the King works many wonderful works of reconciliation and hope in him, casting out sin, driving out the moneychangers, enabling him to make the transition from self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness.

Just before He returns in the clouds of glory the Lord Jesus will summon His holy ones from the four corners of the heavens and the earth. In that Day, two “Christians” will be sleeping in one bed. One, being full of the Life of the Lamb, will be taken. The other, being full of mere human life, will be left.

Then the Father and the Son in Their Fullness will enter the believers who have been living by the Life of Jesus. The clay vessels of the earthly frames of the saints will be shattered in that midnight hour, as portrayed by the breaking of their pitchers by Gideon’s soldiers. The Glory of the God of Heaven will stream from their personalities (Isaiah, Chapter 60). This is the lightning that will blaze from horizon to horizon (Matthew 24:27). Christ and His chosen ones will be glorified together in the sight of the peoples of the earth.

…and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. (Zechariah 14:5)

The members of the Body of Christ, the true and only Christian Church, the Wife of the Lamb, will be gathered together into one complete, perfect, light-filled Temple of God. Then the Wife of the Lamb, now shining as the sun in the purity of righteousness and holiness, will be lifted up triumphantly by the Spirit of God to be with her Lord forever.

Antichrist and the nations, seeing this lovely, glorious spectacle, will set themselves to prevent the taking over of the rulership of the earth by the Lord and His saints.

But Antichrist will be destroyed by the brightness of the return of Christ and His saints.

Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously. (Isaiah 24:23)
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: (II Thessalonians 2:8)

It was fifty years ago, when in Bible school, that the Lord first laid on my heart the truth concerning the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles. It was difficult for me to believe it really was the Lord Jesus who was speaking to me, since I had had no teaching concerning this.

But Christ has seen fit to bring me to the present hour. Now I see that the understanding concerning the feast of Tabernacle really is from the Lord.

The twentieth century has been a time of the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Pentecost. We who are Pentecostal know how real the Holy Spirit is, how the Spirit will help us bear witness of Christ and also strengthen us to gain victory over the deeds of our sinful nature.

However, Pentecost is the fourth of seven feasts. The last and greatest of the Jewish celebrations is that of Tabernacles.

Passing from Pentecost to Tabernacles, from the rain of the Spirit to the establishing of the Throne of God in our heart so the water no longer is only rain but also an inner well, makes total demands on our personality. We must be willing for God to bring down our natural strength and substitute His Virtue for our natural desire to please God.

We may pass through a period of darkness. If we do not draw back but keep our eyes fastened on the Lord Jesus, the day will surely come when the twelfth chapter of the Book of Isaiah becomes our testimony.

Many of us have been saved and filled with God’s holy Spirit. We have experienced the spiritual fulfillments of Passover and Pentecost.

Let us now follow the cloud and the fire until we inherit the fullness of the salvation in Christ, until we enter the personal spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.

(Taken from “The Feast of Tabernacles,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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Being Led by the Spirit. The Bible states the sons of God are those who are led by the Spirit. I have observed that much Christian work, while it is done with a good will, does not always result from a direct leading of the Lord.

Maybe those who work as Christian leaders really do hear from God as to the programs they institute. One can get the impression that they are doing what they think is God’s will, but it is not by a clear command of Christ.

Jesus said He shall build His Church. I think this means that Jesus will hear from God concerning the construction of His Church, just as Moses received the directions concerning the construction of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Then Jesus will inform those leaders He chooses, to work according to the heavenly blueprint.

I really wonder how often this is the case. I am positive that in some instances Christ really does initiate a work, a church, a school, a denomination, a missionary endeavor. But is it true that once a work has been founded, those who are involved carry it forth without hearing from the Lord? This may be the case with many denominations.

How many Christian people look to the Lord continually to guide their daily lives? How many believe that Christ will direct our lives down to the smallest detail if we will look to Him? I know Christian people often say “the Lord told me this or the Lord told me that.” It is my opinion that this really happens.

However, I don’t believe it happens often enough. A lady told me that at the beginning of each year, Jesus would tell her about what would transpire that year. I am in favor of this. But I think this should be happening to each of as at the beginning of each day and throughout the day.

But will Christ really guide us to this extent? I believe He will. However, He guides the believers in many different ways. To some, it is an inner consciousness. To others, He speaks as they read the Word. Yet there may be others who hear a voice, or experience dreams or visions.

Then there are folks who commit their way to the Lord constantly, trusting that He will direct their paths, even though they do not hear from Him very often. He does guide such because of the promise in His Word

My point is that we Christians do not have to go about blindly. Christ will guide us in every decision if we ask Him.

I think I am correct that the adherents of the Muslim religion to a great extent follow the Koran with little or no feeling of the Presence of God. Maybe I am wrong in this. But when we Christians are sternly obedient to Christ and look to Him continually throughout the day and night, we experience His Presence. I doubt seriously that the practitioners of any other religion can experience the Presence of the true and living God as can an obedient, prayerful Christian.

How could they? Are there two Lambs of God that take away the sin of the world? Are there two Trees of Life? Are there two Ways to the Father; two Truths of the Father; two Lives of the Father? I don’t think so.

I have been seeking Christ fervently for sixty-five years. I look to Him in all things. He is very real to me. He will be just as real to anyone who looks to Him on a daily basis.

If I am hearing the Spirit of God correctly, terrible times are coming to the world. I do not have to recount here the horrible things being done to people in our day. In this week’s issue of Time magazine (August 9, 2010) there is a picture on the cover of a beautiful eighteen year old Afghan girl, Aisha, whose husband cut off her ears and nose because she fled from what she termed “abusive inlaws.”

The Bible says, “He who loves his wife loves himself.” We seem to have a difference in philosophy here!

We know about the millions of babies aborted (murdered) in the United States alone.

How long can God refrain from bringing tribulation upon such horrors, as well as upon the abandoned revelries taking place in the so-called Christian nations?

Well, I believe the Spirit is saying that Divine judgment soon is to fall on the world. If we are going to stand in Christ we must be following Him, listening to Him, obeying Him, continually, day and night.

Many Christians think they can be led by the Bible and do not need to hear from the Lord. Such may have a religious spirit. They do not realize that the Bible is the sword of the Spirit, not the sword of the Christian. They are like the Pharisees when Jesus was standing before them. They were looking down at the scroll of the Law when the Author of the Law was there waiting for them to look up to Him.

The new covenant is not of the letter, as was the Law of Moses, but of the Spirit. This means that the words of the New Testament can be guided, applied, and enabled only by the Spirit of God, not by the mind of the Christians.

When the words of the New Testament are guided, applied, and enabled by the good intentions of a Christian leader they kill. They “cut off the ear” of the hearer, just as the disciple of Jesus cut of the ear of one of those who were arresting the Lord Jesus.

I do not know if Jesus has always been as close to us as He is today. I do know that in the case of Laodicea, the last of the seven churches of Revelation, He asked to be admitted into our life. I believe He is knocking at our hearts today. He sees the violent destruction approaching the United States because of our turning away from Christ. He is ready to help each person who will look to Him so he or she is not carried away in the flood of chaos on the horizon.

As I see it, the greatest need we Christians have today is to learn to listen to Jesus. Christ sits as King of the flood and He is more than willing and able to guide and keep each individual in the time of trouble, just as He kept Jeremiah when the Babylonians were destroying Jerusalem.

But is God really willing to speak to us and guide us in a personal manner? Think about the Old Testament. In how many instances did God speak to the Israelites and guide them? Just think about that! And they were not born again. The Spirit of God came upon some of them at times, but the Spirit did not remain in them as He does in us.

How about the New Testament? Did angels speak to people? Were the Christians of those days led by the Spirit of God? We know they were from the many accounts in the New Testament, particularly the Book of Acts.

“But,” some maintain, “now that we have the Bible we do not need to hear from God.” Well if such wish to live a dry, religious, Christian life, that is their privilege I guess. But I think if they would look up from the text (which the Pharisees were unwilling to do) they would find that the Author of the text is waiting for them to look directly to Him and bring their concerns to Him.

I am writing these words under an unusual compulsion. I do not know how soon disaster is going to strike the United States; but the Spirit is warning that each of us must draw closer to Jesus. We must learn to look to Him as we never did before. He wants to keep us in His Presence at all times so we will not panic and lose our faith when we see the terror soon to be unleashed on our land.

No Christian, man or woman, boy or girl, will be able to stand in the coming days of the United States until he or she has a strong inner relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. We must be aware of Him constantly, always being guided and enabled by Him. Otherwise the growing spiritual darkness will overcome us and we will find ourselves thinking, saying, and doing things that are against God’s will for us.

Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:14)

(Taken from “Following the Cloud and the Fire,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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Being a Disciple. From listening to believers I have come to the conclusion that Christian people in America regard being a disciple as something different from being just a Christian person. This concept reveals how low the standard is today as regards to what it means to be a true Christian.

(8/15/2010) A Christian is a disciple of Christ. A disciple of Christ is a Christian. The terms are absolutely synonymous. There is no basis whatever for viewing a disciple as some sort of superior Christian.

And when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. (Acts11:26)

“The disciples were called Christians.” I seriously doubt that at that time there was another group of believers who were called Christians but who were not disciples. How do you feel about this?

If such is the case, then at what point in church history were there believers in Christ who were not disciples?

But let us think for a moment about what a disciple is.

And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” (Luke 9:22-26)

We can insert the term “Christian” and be perfectly consistent with Bible usage.

“If anyone would be a Christian, he must deny himself.”

What does it mean to deny ourselves? It means to make the Lord Jesus the focus of our lives. When what Christ wants is pleasant for us, then we follow His leadershipl When what Christ wants is very unpleasant for us, then we pray for wisdom and strength and obey Christ. Always! There is no exception to this for the individual who wants to be a Christian, a disciple.

“If anyone would be a Christian he must take up his cross daily and follow me.”

What is our cross? It is some aspect of our life that is not pleasing to us. It may be that what we want we cannot have, without disobeying Christ. It may be that we are required to remain in a situation we detest, but we cannot leave without disobeying Christ.

For the true Christian, there is no exception to this. If he does step out of the Lord’s will, then Christ may, out of His love, bring much trouble on His disciple. If the disciple repents and returns to the discipline required of him, then the Lord will forgive him and he is to press forward in Christ.

The true Christian follows Christ daily. His whole life is centered on finding the Lord’s will for him each day, and praying for wisdom and strength so he can do it perfectly. This is the true Christian walk. There do not seem to be a great many church members who take up their cross and follow Christ each day; but these, and these alone, are the Christians. The rest are only church members. They are not “in Christ” and they will not die “in Christ,” and therefore will not be raised to meet Him in the air when He appears.

“If any person wants to save his or her life, he or she will lose it.”

How is it that if a person seeks to save his life he will lose it. Christ has called us to turn away from our own life and to live according to His will for us. If we choose instead to follow our own path, we will lose our inheritance as a child of God and come to an unpleasant end. We sought to grasp what we desired, and in doing so we lost everything.

“If any person loses his or her life for Christ, he or she will save it.”

If instead of following our own desires we live each day in the Lord’s will, then all that will bring righteousness, love, joy, and peace to us will be given to us. By turning away from our own path, we gained everything of value. This Adam and Eve did not do, and reaped misery.

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:24-25)

If you live in your own pleasures, you will live and die alone. If you lose your life in Christ you will have an inheritance of people.

“What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?”

Most of us look to the world for our survival, security, and comfort. We may yield to the lusts and passions of our flesh and soul. We may strive to be preeminent, to gain power and fame, or wealth. We may want to “be somebody.”

But what if in the pursuit of our own goals we lose our very personality, our uniqueness as an individual? This is what it means, you know. We lose our soul, that gift from God that makes it possible for us to be in His image. Then what are we? A soulless spirit adrift in the boundless universe, along with all the other spirits who forfeited their soul.

To lose our uniqueness as a personality is indeed a fearful prospect!

“If anyone is ashamed of Christ and His words, Christ will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

The day shall come when Christ appears to this world. Then those who have served Him faithfully will rejoice exceedingly when they see Christ in the fullness of God’s Glory, accompanied by the mightiest angels of Heaven.

But we do not see Him as yet.

I am 85 years of age. I have lived in America all my life. I never thought I would see the day when it was a shame to speak of Christ. But it is true now.

According to a report in the media, it is alleged that a man who had worked as a counselor for a number of years spoke comfort to a dying patient by saying “Place your trust in God,” or something to this effect. It was reported that he was fired for saying this.

Perhaps we do not know the whole story, but it is well known that people, young and old, who profess Christ publicly may face scorn or even arrest. And this in America! While growing up and serving in the United States Marine Corps, I would not have believed that I would live to see the day that to hold up the name of Christ would be considered a disgraceful act.

That day is here now. What does the Lord tell us? He tells us that if we are ashamed of Him and His Words, He will be ashamed of us when He returns in His glory. I don’t want Christ to be ashamed of me, and I am sure you do not want Him to be ashamed of you in that day.

So we see that the standard of discipleship is the same standard that must be met by any person who desires to be a genuine Christian. Those who today are maintaining that a disciple is some sort of super-Christian are reflecting the abysmal depths to which our standards have fallen in America in the present century.

(Taken from “Being a Disciple,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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Fruitfulness and Rulership Out of Death. Our Lord Jesus said unless a seed falls into the ground and dies it will bear no fruit. This may seem obvious, but the application of this concept to human beings is not as obvious. How much Christian work is carried on by people who never have died in Christ? Such work may have little or no eternal value.

(8/22/2010). Jesus said that the manner in which a seed becomes fruitful applies to human beings.

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (John 12:24-25)

What does it mean to save our life; and what does it mean to lose our life, in terms of being fruitful? To be fruitful in Christ is to multiply His image in other people.

The Apostle Paul is one of the clearest examples of what it means to lose our life in Christ.

Saul was a Roman Citizen. He was from Tarsus, a cultural and intellectual center. It probably is true that he was fairly wealthy, in that Governor Felix was hoping that Paul would give him a bribe.

Jesus appeared to Paul and commissioned him to preach the Gospel. Paul obeyed Christ diligently for the remainder of his life, even though it cost Paul much suffering. He could have been a wealthy Jew living at home in Tarsus. Instead he was treated harshly as he sought to know and obey Christ.

God calls many people to the service of the Kingdom. But not all obey, especially if their service will result in suffering or even martyrdom.

At one point the Lord permitted Satan to damage Paul’s eyes. Paul prayed three times that God would remove this affliction. Instead, Christ told Paul that the affliction was necessary if Paul was to experience Christ’s strength.

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (II Corinthians 12:7-10)

What a remarkable testimony the above passage is!

Saul could have saved his life by going back to Tarsus and conducting an Old Testament Bible study. Of course, he would not be able to tell of his experience on the way to Damascus.

Saul chose instead to lose his life in Christ.

If a seed stays in a warm, dry environment it will survive in its original form. But if it falls into the ground it will die. If Saul had spent his life as a wealthy Jew in Tarsus he might have lived for a long time, as he taught the righteousness of the Torah to his grandchildren.

Instead Saul chose to obey Christ and endured the troubled life that resulted from his missionary endeavors. Saul “fell into the ground and died,” we might say.

Would you like to estimate the number of people that have come to know Christ through Paul’s letters? I wouldn’t hardly know where to begin, would you? This kind of eternal fruitfulness can come only from someone’s death.

Can you imagine how Paul feels as he looks down from the spirit world and sees what his letters to the churches have accomplished? He must be thrilled beyond measure. Even today Paul is preached from thousands of pulpits and believers have grown in Christ, just as has been true for two thousand years. And his fruit will continue as we enter the Divine judgments that will be brought down on us because of the increase of sin.

Does it pay to obey Christ!

“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations.”

When we read of Paul’s troubles in the Book of Second Corinthians we can’t imagine there would be any problem with conceit. But all of us, including Paul the Apostle, have had or do have a deceitful sinful nature. Jesus has to keep knocking us down or soon we display our rebellion and foolishness.

“There was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.”

We may have a sickness or other affliction that comes from Satan. But notice that Paul did not rebuke Satan. Paul went to Jesus. This is what we should do when we have trouble.

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.”

Some are saying today that after we have prayed once, we should not pray again because it means we do not have faith. Such do not know how the Lord works. We always are continually to pray courteously and forcefully, meanwhile giving thanks to the Lord Jesus, until the answer comes or until, as in Paul’s case, He explains why we are being afflicted.

Now we come to the thesis of this brief essay, “fruitfulness and rulership out of death.”

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

All the mature saints of God understand the principle of strength out of weakness. It is the way Christ works with us. He keeps knocking us down so that His resurrection Life may lift us up. And the Life that lifts us brings Life to those to whom we are ministering.

For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. (II Corinthians 4:11,12)

I read where a distinguished Christian leader maintained that missionary work can proceed only according to how much money is available. I would say rather that missionary work can proceed only when someone is willing to lose his or her life in Christ.

Paul boasted concerning his weaknesses because they resulted in the power of Christ filling his life. Paul claimed to delight in insults, hardships, persecutions, difficulties, realizing that when he was weak, then he was strong.

This is the Kingdom way. We may not enjoy it. We have to place all of our treasures in Heaven, take up our cross of denial, and trudge faithfully after the Master. This is how Christ lived. The fruit of Christ’s sufferings, like that of the Apostle Paul as well as the other Apostles of the Lamb, is immeasurable except in the mind of God.

I have said fruitfulness and rulership come out of death. This is because true, lasting rulership proceeds from fruitfulness. As we die, others live. Thus our power is increased. It was given to Adam and Eve in the beginning to multiply and to exercise dominion over the works of God’s hands. This is an eternal fiat, but in its eternal fulfillment it can operate only through our weakness, our death.

Samson killed more Philistines by his death than by his life. Gideon gained victory though he was weak. The fruitfulness of Aaron’s rod was revealed in its death. The victorious saints conquer Satan by loving not their life to the death.

We are brought down to death when our will is overcome. When we no longer can determine our own way but must have Christ to help us, then, and only then, is the eternal work of the Kingdom of God accomplished.

We could wish it were some other way. We could wish we had millions of dollars, unlimited access to electronic communication devices, a huge group of willing workers to assist us. But unless Christ were using such forces, all their efforts would amount to nothing except Babylon—confusion.

Do you remember how God reduced the size of Gideon’s army because He did not want Israel to think they had gained victory over the Midianites by their own strength?

I am not sure how many Christian organizations will agree with the principle of fruitfulness and rulership out of death. But you and I can tell the Lord Jesus that we are ready and willing for Him to bring us down to the death He desires in order that we might bring a true witness of God to our generation.

If we want fruitfulness and power, we must deny ourselves so Christ may be preeminent. To abide in Christ is to do His will rather than one’s own. This is the source of all eternal fruitfulness and power.

(Taken from “Fruitfulness and Rulership Out of Death,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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Faith, continued. I have written twice before, in Sermons 2010, concerning “faith.” I wrote that “faith” and “obedience” to the revealed will of God virtually are synonymous. Because of the prevailing misunderstanding of what it means to “live by faith,” and because of the chaotic era we are entering in America due to Divine judgment, during which we shall survive only by living by faith, I once more am going to emphasize what saving faith actually is.

(8/29/2010) Perhaps the first problem that should be addressed is that of saying “faith” when we actually mean “belief.” It is my understanding that a religion was active in the first century termed “Gnosticism.” If I am correct, the most important aspect of Gnosticism is that the believer adhere carefully to the doctrines of Gnosticism, and that doing so will ensure one’s entrance into Heaven.

“Holding and professing the correct knowledge is vital to salvation,” if I understand this complex religion correctly. The religion of Gnosticism predates Christianity.

The Apostle Paul, as he sought to turn Jews and Gentiles to Christ, placed heavy emphasis on “faith.” We do not obtain righteousness by obeying the Law of Moses but by believing in Christ.

We readily can understand what took place. Many of the believers would fall into the trap of confusing the Gnostic teaching of the importance of correct knowledge, with Paul’s teaching of salvation through faith in Christ. The important thing is what one believes, not a change into righteous behavior.

Whether or not my analysis of what has taken place is correct, it is obvious today that Evangelical teaching actually is a form of Gnosticism. Confess your faith in orthodox theology and you will go to Heaven when you die.

In many instances, this doctrine leads to the idea that we are to place little or no emphasis on righteous behavior, because this is an affront to God’s offer of salvation by grace. Sometimes the idea of God’s sovereignty in salvation by grace is brought to the place that once the believer takes his stand on the “four steps of salvation,” he never can lose his place in Heaven. This concept is so utterly opposed to the tenor of the New Testament writings that one wonders how intelligent people could not recognize the inconsistency here.

The idea of going to Heaven by “faith alone” is widespread among devout, sincere Christian people. Yet eternal residence in Heaven is not the scriptural goal of salvation; and we are not saved by believing the facts about our Lord Jesus Christ. Such emphasis on belief in a statement of faith, rather than on coming to know and obey Christ, is carrying the day at this time. But it is not at all God’s plan of redemption.

The expression “the righteous shall live by faith” is set forth four times in the Bible, once in Habakkuk 2:4, and three times in the New Testament.

In Habakkuk, the contrast is not between works of righteousness and faith in God, it is between wicked people and those who have faith in God

See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright—but the righteous will live by his faith. (Habakkuk 2:4).

We of today are interpreting this passage to mean that the unrighteous are trying to save themselves by righteous works, whereas the truly righteous do nothing but believe. This is a farfetched interpretation.

The New Testament definition of “the righteous shall live by faith” is contained in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews. This chapter is introduced by the following verse:

But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him. (Hebrews 10:38)

Can you see in this expression from the writer of the Book of Hebrews the idea of conflict, of overcoming, rather than that of a belief system?

Let us return for a moment to an earlier chapter of Hebrews:

And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. (Hebrews 3:18,19)

“Who disobeyed—their unbelief.”

My position is that belief always must lead to obedience. If it does not, it is only a mental assent to facts. It is clear to me that the present-day proponents of “faith alone” are maintaining that if we hold certain facts in mind we will go to Heaven when we die, whether or not we obey Christ each day by keeping His commandments in the New Testament and by obeying His Word to us personally.

Religion has a way, doesn’t it, of making conformity to its doctrines more important than gaining a personal knowledge of Christ and obeying Him throughout the day. We can see this error by the fact that the Catholic and Protestant believers in Ireland maim and kill each other because of their belief systems. Is either group serving the living Lord Jesus? I think not!

“Faith without works is dead,” the Apostle James declares. This makes me think James was battling against the influence of Gnosticism.

Any person who is really following the living Jesus knows well that the correct head knowledge of the living Jesus is not of great importance. What is of great importance is walking each day with our hand in the hand of Christ. This, and only this, is what it means when the Scripture refers to “living by faith.”

Now, as I said, the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews is one long definition of the expression “the righteous shall live by faith.” Let’s think for a moment how God’s people demonstrated their faith. Was it by theological correctness? Or was it by a personal knowledge of God and obedience?

  • Enoch believed that God exists, and sought Him earnestly.
  • Noah built an ark to save his family.
  • Abraham obeyed God and journeyed to a land new to him.
  • By faith Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice.
  • Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning their future.
  • By faith, Jacob blessed each of Joseph’s sons.
  • By faith Joseph gave instructions concerning his bones.
  • By faith Moses’ parents hid their baby.
  • By faith Moses chose to be mistreated along with God’s people.
  • By faith Moses kept the first Passover.
  • By faith the tribes of Israel passed through the Red Sea.
  • By faith the walls of Jericho fell.
  • By faith Rahab welcomed the spies.

There are many more examples in this chapter of Hebrews, but these may be enough to reveal to us that “faith” is not what we are calling faith in our day.

We see from the above that faith is not belief in doctrine. We understand that faith is not magic. It is not an attempt to change God’s mind.

Would you agree with me, drawing from the above examples, that true faith is an involvement with God such that we understand what He wants and are obedient, no matter what the cost?

How does true Bible faith differ from mental assent to doctrinal beliefs? True Bible faith differs from mental assent in that faith was revealed in the things that the saints did. It is behavior, action, obedience to the living Christ, rather than a doctrinal position.

All of the above may seem like a trivial discussion. It hardly is that. I estimate that the majority of Christian believers in America are more Gnostic in their thinking than they are faithfully following Jesus.

The result of our misunderstanding is churches who make little or no demands on the behavior of their congregations. Once they get an individual to accept their doctrines they urge him or her to go out and convert others to their doctrinal stance.The end result is believers who are spiritual babies instead of moral giants.

The political leaders of our country, although many may not realize this, are dependent on the Christian churches to strengthen them in their moral decisions. Instead what they find are thousands upon thousands of believers who are not growing spiritually while they are waiting to be “raptured” into Heaven.

In fact, if you can believe this, some churches practice getting ready for the “any-moment rapture” by having their members jump up and down next to their seats.

This practice portrays a total ignorance of the first resurrection and the receiving of spiritual bodies. The members are picturing themselves being caught up through the roof of the church building and ascending above the clouds while they still are in flesh and blood bodies. They are fleeing from Antichrist, you see.

What a mess we are in, we fundamentalists!

There was an old man who had waited twenty-five years for a son. Can you imagine what that boy meant to him when he was born!

The boy, now twelve years of age, walked three days with his father, carrying the wood on which he was to be cremated, according to the command of God. The father had three days to imagine the death of his son, and how Sarah would feel when he returned home alone.

Abraham was a dead-living man. So are all God’s true saints. They have been crucified with Christ. Now they are eternally alive. But the man ascending Mount Moriah is their father, because of his faith.

There is that word “faith.” What does it mean? Is it belief in doctrine? Is it a way of getting God to do what we want? Is it presumption, daring God to act? Is it membership in a group? What is it?

Well, I think faith is a rugged determination to obey the living God, based on the fear of God plus the years of experience in which we became increasingly aware that God’s way is always best; always leading us to righteousness, love, joy, and peace.

The Apostle Paul’s determination was to know Christ more than he did. Compare the attitude of Abraham and Paul with those of today who throw ten-dollar bills on the platform, hoping to get back a thousand dollars. There are “believers” who (according to them) can never suffer or be sick because they believe Christ loves them too much to permit them any kind of pain or inconvenience.

If such are “raptured” it will be downward, I think.

We are in a huge doctrinal mess in America. Divine judgment is on the horizon because of abortion, and because we are permitting alien gods to enter our country under the guise of tolerance. Tolerance is stupidity when it causes us to act against our better judgment.

As for me, I have chosen to seek Christ every day with all the strength I have, with the intention of obeying Him whether I understand Him or not.

Will you please join with me in this? We may not save our country, but we might save ourselves and our family.

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (James 2:26)

(Taken from “True Bible Faith: IV,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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The Royal Priesthood. Perhaps we have not given much thought to the training that must be given to each member of the royal priesthood, if he or she is to serve God successfully in the role of a governing priest. Each of us Christians, if he is to serve as a member of the royal priesthood, will have to experience long, thorough training if he is to fulfill his role properly throughout the coming ages.

(9/5/2010) The basic design of the Kingdom of God is easy to understand, but it appears it is not preached very often. The Kingdom of God is in two primary parts: the Royal Priesthood, of which the Lord Jesus Christ is the High Priest. Then the multitude of saved people who are the inheritance of the elect and whom God will save into the new world of righteousness.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (I Peter 3:9)

It is impossible to understand the Kingdom of God unless one realizes that the Christian Church, which is the Royal Priesthood, has been called out of the world to govern and bless the multitudes of saved mankind.

There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)

Many passages of the Old Testament refer to the rule of God’s saints over the saved peoples of the earth. The saints are neither Jewish nor Gentile as such. Rather, they are the members of Christ’s Church, whether Jewish or Gentile by natural birth.

For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined. (Isaiah 60:12)

The nation and the kingdom of the above passage are the peoples of the earth whom God has saved but who are not members of the Church, God’s elect. “You” are the members of the Church, the Royal Priesthood.

And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. (Isaiah 61:6)

The “priests of the Lord,” the “ministers of our God,” again are the Church, the members of the Body of Christ. The saved of the nations will contribute their wealth to the saints.

This is a simple, easy to understand model, but it does not seem clear to numerous church people. They envision their future to be that of sitting in a mansion doing nothing of significance. It is no wonder they become confused when God begins to chasten them in order to prepare them for their eternal role as His priests.

In the present hour there are two kinds of saved people: God’s ruling priests, and then people from the nations. The purpose of the present age, the Church Age, is to call out the elect from the people of the world, and to prepare them for their role as ruling priests who will represent God to people and people to God. They are as a ladder reaching from earth to Heaven, one might say.

It is easy to see that God has His hand on certain people, and that the Gospel of the Kingdom is first to them. Notice the following passage, for example:

“For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” (Acts 18:9,10)

God is saying, “Spend time in Corinth because many of My elect are living here.”

Also:

I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. (John 17:9)

But then we have the following:

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15,16)

The above passage is just as much God’s Word as the preceding passages, which emphasize election.

What is going on here? On the one hand we have the Lord pointing out that He is concerned about His elect. On the other hand, He is telling us that He wants His Gospel preached “to all creation.”

The answer is simple. We are in the Church Age, when God’s purpose is to select and train the members of the Royal Priesthood. At the same time, everyone is to hear the Gospel, and whoever believes and is baptized shall be saved, meaning, brought into the new world of righteousness when it appears.

But the emphasis during the Church Age is on the elect. God will select His elect from among all who hear the Gospel, believe, and are baptized. He will give gifts to them that they may come to unity in the fullness of the stature of Christ.

Preparing to serve as a ruling priest requires an almost total overhaul of our personality. Some suffering is involved, as necessary. We must be willing to serve the Lord when we do not know what is happening. God will give us a strong love for those to whom we will be bringing to God. There will be long periods when we are just waiting on Christ and putting one foot in front of the other.

We will be serving God as a priest for eternity. Right now we are in the process of preparation for this awesome responsibility. This means we must draw close to Jesus and listen for His guidance at every moment.

How about those who are not of the elect? God will save them, as He stated. However, it is when the Church becomes one in Christ in God that multitudes of the peoples of the earth will believe that it is God who has sent Jesus to save those who believe in Him.

Am I saying that the great ingathering of those who are saved but not of God’s elect will come at the end of the Church Age? Yes, this is exactly what I am saying.

Now notice:

Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. (Isaiah 60:3)

And again:

That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:21)

What is my purpose in pointing out that multitudes will be brought to God through the Church once the Church is filled with God’s Glory? It is so we will know what we are doing, what we should emphasize.

Today the emphasis of many Christian denominations is to “go forth and save the world.” But the Spirit of God is emphasizing that the Christian people need to come to know the Lord Jesus Christ. They must confess and turn away from their worldliness, the lusts and passions of their flesh and soul, and their determination to pursue their own life in their own way without opening the door to Jesus so He can guide their decisions.

If we are not emphasizing what the Spirit is emphasizing, how can we expect God to bless us? We are as the blind leading the blind, which often is the case with religious people.

I don’t know if you have ever noticed what the Apostle Paul stated when he presented the goal toward which he was striving.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, 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)

Does the above passage sound like “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved”?

No, it does not. Toward what was Paul “straining”? To be saved? To go to Heaven? To avoid Hell?

Paul says, rather, he was striving to attain to the resurrection from the dead. We of today, many of us, do not have any idea what Paul was talking about. Is that true?

What Paul was pressing toward was the first resurrection, the resurrection that will take place when Jesus returns, the giving back of their bodies to the blessed and holy members of the royal priesthood.

Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)

There is a practical course of action here. We need to begin to describe to God’s people what is at stake. Each of us must adopt the determination of the Apostle Paul and press forward in order to lay hold on that for which God has grasped us. If we do not, it is highly likely that we will not be raised from the dead when the Lord returns, much less be carried up to Heaven.

Any experienced Christian can see how far off we have gotten with the modern preaching of sovereign grace, an any-moment “rapture,” and eternal residence in Heaven with no responsibilities.

If the Apostle Paul was pressing forward with all his might to grasp that for which God has grasped him, exactly what are we doing?

Recently a person with a true gift of prophecy addressed a fundamental Christian denomination. He represented the Spirit of God as saying that the denomination had internal problems that needed to be resolved.

The response of the leadership was, “Now we must go out and save souls.”

I think what is needed today is Christian leaders who are able to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. When they do hear, I doubt seriously it will be that we are to go out and save souls. I think it will be that we Christians need to get closer to the Lord Jesus as the Holy Spirit points out the areas in which we need to be reconciled to God.

It is time now to prepare the members of the Royal Priesthood so they will be ready to bring God to the saved people of the nations.

(Taken from “The Royal Priesthood,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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The Royal Priesthood, continued. The Book of Isaiah has a lot to say about the Royal Priesthood. The Royal Priesthood is the Body of Christ. All of the elect are members, all whom God has chosen to be part of the great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The term “Israel” is employed. “Israel” refers to the Seed of Abraham. All who are descended from Abraham are not the “Israel” who compose the Royal Priesthood, as it is written: “Jacob have I loved but Esau have I hated.” Both Jacob and Esau were in the bloodline of Abraham, being descended from Isaac. But true Israel, the Royal Priesthood, the elect of God, the Body of Christ, is only by God’s calling of the individual.

Is God going to turn once more to the physical nation of Israel? Yes, He is. He is going to save many according to the Scripture. “All Israel shall be saved.” But again, not “all Israel” are of “Israel,” the Royal Priesthood. Only those whom God calls to be in Christ. He is the one Seed of Abraham. He is the one true Olive Tree.

So when we are referring to the Kingdom prophecies found in Isaiah, we are not speaking of all who are born Jews. We are speaking of the one new Man, Christ, and those who are of His Body, God’s elect, the one true Church. Some of these are Jewish by natural birth; some, Gentile.

It appears to me that in the last days, when the full number of Gentiles who have been called to be part of the Royal Priesthood are “in Christ,” God will pour out His Spirit on the physical Israel. Then a multitude of Jews will be made part of Christ, just as Joseph, after having married the Gentile, Asenath, revealed himself to his family.

(9/12/2010). For so many centuries the Christian people have viewed eternal residence in Heaven as their destiny, as the goal of salvation. One wonders how long it will be before they discover their destiny in the Book of Isaiah as members of the Royal Priesthood. Perhaps this understanding will come suddenly during the chaotic years of the closing days of the Church Era.

The forty-second chapter of the Book of Isaiah announces the Servant of the Lord. The Servant of the Lord is Christ, Head and Body. The chapters in Isaiah following Chapter 42 point out various aspects of the Kingdom that John and Jesus announced. The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints, in the members of the Royal Priesthood, in true Israel. This kingdom is destined to govern for eternity the new world of righteousness.

One of the destructive results of the unscriptural model of Bible interpretation termed “Dispensationalism” is to cut off the very prophecies that tell us of God’s plan for His Church. By referring to a “Jewish Church” and a “Gentile Church,” total confusion as to our role and destiny is hidden from the believers.

It is time now that we abandon this man-made scheme of interpretation and adopt the “one new Man” of whom Paul spoke. The “one new Man” is Christ, the one Seed of Abraham, and all who are part of Christ, whether they are Jew or Gentile by natural birth.

The term “Christ” (“Messiah”) comes from the following passage:

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, (Isaiah 61:1)

“Christ” (“Messiah”) is the One whom God has anointed to bring the Kingdom of God to the earth. We Christians are members of the Body of the Anointed One, and this is why we have been given the Spirit of God—it is so we can bring the Kingdom of God to the earth. This is our eternal role.

Notice our responsibility: “to preach good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,”

Because we are saints, holy ones, members of the royal priesthood, we are being trained throughout our lifetime on the earth that we might be competent to minister to those people of the nations whom God has chosen to save to the new world of righteousness.

Therefore do not be surprised when the Lord chastens you. He is making you a partaker of His holiness so you may serve Him effectively.

Compare this destiny with sitting in your mansion and doing nothing for eternity. For myself, I think it is a better future. How about you?

Christ may use some of us in the present hour to help people in the manner set forth in Isaiah. But it is obvious that the fulfillment of our ministry will be throughout the ages to come. The important task right now is to follow Christ as He prepares us through the Spirit for our ministry that will begin when He returns to the earth.

Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. (Isaiah 60:3)

Continuing in Isaiah, Chapter 61:

To proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, (Isaiah 61:2)

When the Lord Jesus, in His home synagogue in Nazareth, read Isaiah 61:2 from the scroll, He stopped short of “the day of vengeance of our God.” He did not read this phrase because the day of vengeance had not arrived as yet. It has arrived now!

Now the Spirit of God is bringing judgment on the sin in His Kingdom. It has begun with His disciples, with those living close to Him. Yet it is not a judgment on them as such, but upon the sin that is dwelling in them.

If we will be faithful to confess the sins we are committing, Christ will be faithful to forgive these sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. We must confess them specifically; denounce them as evil; renounce them, turning away from them as Christ helps us. Our actions in doing this constitute an eternal judgment on these spirits. They will not be mentioned to us when we appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ.

God is beginning to put the enemies of Christ under His feet, as He has promised. The judgment has begun with us.

And provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:3)

We notice, in the verse above, that one of the ministries of Christ and His Body is to Zion, that is, to His Church. This is telling us that there will be a firstfruits of the Church who will minister to the remainder of the Church. The strong will assist the weak, which is pleasing to God.

The firstfruits will be given their new bodies when the Lord returns. The remaining members of God’s elect will be given their new bodies at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, as I understand it, so that the entire Church, the new Jerusalem, may descend from Heaven through the new sky and be established forever on the new earth as the ruling Kingdom of God.

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6)

The firstfruits, those who participate in the first resurrection, will rule with Christ over the nations of the earth, during the thousand-year Kingdom Age, and also will have access to the Zion in Heaven so they may contribute to the growth of God’s elect in preparation for their role as the new Jerusalem.

We have a young sister, and her breasts are not yet grown. What shall we do for our sister for 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)

There are many today who “grieve in Zion.” The stronger members of the elect with provide them with a crown of beauty and a garment of praise, until they are “oaks of righteousness.” They were saved by means of imputed righteousness. Now they are in the image of Christ, sturdy in righteous behavior that God may be glorified. They are the result of the ministry of the stronger saints.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. (Isaiah 61:4)

When Christ returns and sets up His Kingdom on the earth, He first will conquer Antichrist and his armies. Then will take place the cleansing of the earth of the institutions of man-directed civilization. It is my point of view that this cleansing is described in the second chapter of the Book of Joel.

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)

Now it will be the task of Christ and His firstfruits, during the thousand-year Kingdom Age, to rebuild the earth in a manner pleasing to God. There will be nations of people on the earth at this time who were not destroyed when the Lord appears and destroyed Antichrist and his armies. These nations will give of their wealth to Christ and His saints.

Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house 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)

For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined. (Isaiah 60:12)

I think I will leave off at this point and perhaps continue next week. What is written above is so different from what often is preached that perhaps folks will need a bit of time to digest it.

If it is not continued next week, it is my hope that what I have written will serve as a key that you can use in order to understand the passages in Isaiah that have to do with the Israel, the Servant of the Lord, the coming Kingdom of God.

When you stop and think about it, preparing ourselves to be a part of Christ’s firstfruits so we may receive our new body and work with Him as He establishes the Kingdom of God on the earth, is much more desirable than sitting in a mansion in Heaven. It may not be desirable to you, but it sure is to me.

Anyway, I think a search of the Scriptures will confirm what I have written here.

These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. (Revelation 14:4)

(Taken from “The Royal Priesthood: II,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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From Moses to Joshua. “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites.” (Joshua 1:2)

“Moses my servant is dead.” What would such a statement mean to the Israelites? To Joshua?

(9/19/2010). About three years ago, Audrey and I were at a pastor’s conference. Part of the audience consisted of young people preparing to enter the ministry. A strong word came to me. I resisted it because I did not want to call attention to myself. Finally I knew it was the Lord. So I went to one of the people in charge and said, “I have a prophecy.” Then I went back to my seat. I was not called on to give it.

Here is the gist of the prophecy, as I remember: “Sin is going to become worse. Do not regard the old ways of doing things. I am going to do a new and surprising thing that will be more than adequate to enable you to be victorious.”

Two nights later, after having forgotten about the incident, the Lord let me know that He was grieved because the young candidates did not hear His message. Since then I have had several opportunities to tell people that Jesus is going to do “new and surprising things and not to cling to the old ways of ministry.”

I do not know what the new and surprising things will be. But I am expecting them. In my mind, there is no question that many American churches are preaching death, that is, “lawless grace, any-moment rapture, and eternal residence in a mansion in Heaven.” This is what people tell me is being taught across the country. They are looking for a church that teaches the Bible.

(9/19/2010). Thinking in terms of the Book of Joshua, what does Canaan, the land of promise, typify? What does the Jordan River typify? These are important questions, because they typify our entrance into the rest of God, the subject of the Book of Hebrews.

Traditionally the Jordan River represents our physical death, and Canaan represents Heaven. I will tell you what I believe they represent, and you can decide which viewpoint you prefer.

The Jordan River represents death to self, to our “I will.” Coming out of Egypt is death to the world, while Mount Sinai represents death to sin. Death to the world, to sin, and to self. These three deaths are the necessary foundation for resurrection into the fullness of eternal life when Christ appears.

Canaan is our objective. It represents the rest of God. All enemies have been subdued. We have been conformed to the image of Christ. We are dwelling in untroubled rest in the center of God’s Person and will. God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are dwelling in untroubled rest in us. Now we are ready to be co-heirs along with the Lord Jesus of the works of God’s hands—especially the nations of people and the farthest reaches of the earth.

This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? (Isaiah 66:1)

After the Jordan was crossed, the manna ceased and the Israelites ate some of the produce of the land. This means the daily grace we are accustomed to stopped and in its place we are eating the solid food of the Throne of God which is being created in us. This takes place after we choose to die to our own will, our self-determination, and obey Jesus Christ in every detail of our life.

Also, the new generation was circumcised. It is time now for a new generation of Christians to return to the holiness of former years. We must, as the Spirit of God leads us, purify ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. When we decide to die to our own will, our judgment begins. Little by little the Holy Spirit points out the sinful impulses in our flesh and spirit. Then we are to turn away from these impulses. Christ will forgive each sin confessed and help us kill it.

The rest of God, the inheritance we are approaching, is filled with the enemies of God. Therefore we are facing a prolonged, vicious fight. Each of us as an individual will be attacked by wicked spirits in the world and unclean spirits dwelling in our flesh. Satan is determined that we shall not enter our inheritance in Christ.

I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. (Joshua 1:3)

We have to “set our foot” on our inheritance, and then God will give it to us. How do we know what our inheritance is? It is first Christ, people, and all the works of God’s hands. After that it becomes a personal inheritance, depending on the individual Christian. We have to pray without ceasing, as it were, asking God to reveal to us our destiny determined from the beginning of the world. As Paul said, we have to grasp that for which we have been grasped by the Lord Jesus.

So it is time to learn spiritual warfare. Christ will teach us how to defend ourselves against the attacks of the enemy; but we must be ever watchful in prayer, and we must be sternly obedience to the Lord Jesus when we know what He wants us to do.

I understand that we would like to go on the offensive and “win the world for Jesus.” Perhaps some people have such a calling. But for most of us it is a patient waiting on the Lord Jesus as He shows us step by step what we are to do, and how to overcome the resistance and pressure exerted by our enemies.

There comes a time when “the enemy is too strong for us,” as King David said. Today this is true in America. Because we did not value the nation that had been handed to us by the pioneers, and chose the ways of the flesh, God is removing His hand from us. Now we are facing evil such as we never thought to see in our country.

Well intentioned political and other physical efforts will not avail. We are being attacked by highly placed leaders in the spirit world. We cannot just charge out and defeat them. Only Jesus–only Jesus–has the authority and power necessary to overcome Satan. Jesus is willing to help us survive in the America of the next decade. but we personally must turn away from our own plans and desires and look to Christ for every step.

Some will survive spiritually in the coming days, but it will be only those who are trusting in Jesus at every moment of the day and night. Our armed forces, as brave as they are, cannot help us when God is not with them. And God will not help them when our nation condones abortion and sexual perversions.

Another problem is the entrance of foreign gods into our land–gods which actually are not gods. Only our Lord Jesus Christ and His Father are the true Gods of Heaven, and we are to worship and serve them only. To tolerate the worship of other gods is not acceptable and will bring ruin on us, as it has on the nations that worship them.

Difficult times ahead in America. No doubt about that. But Christ is greater than all the problems we are facing, and will help everyone who calls on Him for assistance.

No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Joshua 1:5)

(Taken from “From Moses to Joshua: I,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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From Moses to Joshua, continued. “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites.” (Joshua 1:2)

The death of Moses and the appointing of Joshua as the leader of Israel was as great a change as could be imagined. There do come changes in God’s eternal plan. We are in such change today.

(9/26/2010). What is the nature of the change that is occurring now? The change has to do with the phase of redemption we are entering. Up to the present hour the Christians have experienced the blood atonement, repentance and water baptism, the born-again experience, and the various ministrations of the Spirit of God.

Now we are to build on what has gone before. It is the same God, the same Christ, the same Holy Spirit, the same Bible. But it is not the same wandering in a wilderness while looking backward. Now we are to look forward. Our task now as Christians is to follow the Spirit of God into the promised rest, the inheritance, the goal toward which our redemption is bringing us.

Our inheritance is not eternal residence in Heaven. Our inheritance consists of rest in the center of God’s Person and will; change into the inner and outer image of the Lord Jesus Christ; plus whatever individual goal that is part of our destiny. Of special importance is the inheritance of the people whom we are to serve as a member of the royal priesthood; also the farthest reaches of the earth.

This promised rest, this inheritance, is occupied by demons. So we are going to have to fight in order to lay hold on that which God has promised us.

Christ is coming to us now as the Lord, mighty in battle. This is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of the Blowing of Trumpets.

The Spirit of God is prepared to cleanse us from all trust in the world, all the aspects of our sinful nature, and self-will. Every part of our personality that is not perfectly reconciled to God, that is not in perfect harmony with the Father, must be dealt with until all obstacles to our rest in Him, and His rest in us, have been removed. This is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement.

The final result of God’s present dealing with us will be the dwelling of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in us. This is what God desires. Hopefully this is what we desire. If we do not want to be filled with all the fullness of God, we are wise if we immediately make the possession of such a desire our continual prayer. This is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles.

We are entering spiritual warfare. The spiritual warfare is reflected in the physical warfare in which the nations of the earth currently are engaging.

I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Great Sea on the west. (Joshua 1:3.4)

In the passage above we see the two aspects of moving forward with God. First, God will give us every place we set our foot. Second, God very specifically tells us where to place our feet.

It is taught currently that Christ has done everything concerning our salvation. All we have to do is believe that He has done everything. This is not at all true. As Paul said, we are to grasp that for which we have been grasped. The true Christian experience of redemption is that of ceaselessly pressing forward toward the mark.

We are in an unrelenting warfare as we seek to move forward in Christ. There is no vacation from this pressing forward until the day we die; and for all I know, the need to press forward in Christ continues after we die.

The Word speaks of the Body of Christ being brought to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ, and of a Church without spot or wrinkle. We know that the Word always is fulfilled perfectly and totally. Would anyone want to claim that such maturity is gained in the present world?.

There is much in our personality that vigorously resists our finding perfect rest in the Person and will of God; and resists also a change from our adamic image to the image of Christ.

What passage of the Bible supports the idea that when we die physically we automatically are at rest in God’s Person and are changed into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ?

After all, sin began in Heaven when Satan, one of the two cherubim that guarded the Throne of God, decided he wanted to take God’s place. What is to prevent a person or an angel from doing this in the future? I can see men on the earth today who are trying to usurp the place of God!

We have to place our feet. Christ has not done it all for us. Also, we need to know where to place our feet. Knowing where to march must come to us at all times from the Spirit of God. We are not to guess at our inheritance. We are to follow the Spirit as He leads us in putting to death the lusts and actions of our sinful nature.

Each member of the Royal Priesthood has had, from the creation of the world, a specific commission. He or she has been called according to God’s purpose. As long as the individual is pressing forward as led by the Spirit of God, all things of world history are working for the good of him or her.

I cannot emphasize too strongly that we absolutely must keep ourselves in the place where we are denying ourselves and following Christ. He is our Joshua, our Commander in Chief. We cannot possibly enter the rest of God in our own wisdom and strength. We must remain in Christ, in His Presence, at all times.

The wickedness in the world is increasing every day. The enemy is too wise and strong for us. All of our notions of how we are going to remove the abominations are useless. Only the Lord Jesus Christ is wiser and stronger than the enemy who is operating today in our own country as well as other countries. We will be only as successful in conquering our enemy to the extent we are dwelling in Christ.

When we review the events that occurred as Joshua led the Israelites against the Canaanites, we can see that victory was gained only as the Israelite army obeyed the Lord, as He led them from city to city.

Joshua’s only failure occurred in the case of the Gibeonites. Joshua did not ask the Lord, he assumed the Gibeonites were telling the truth. If we are going to be successful in spiritual battle we must learn never to take anything for granted. We are to look to the Lord about everything.

“No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5)

There is no power of Satan that can prevent our gaining the fullness of our inheritance. But this is true only as we are obeying Christ diligently. We are not to do, as some are suggesting, “put on our administrative hat” and go about challenging the powers of Hell. We are to move only as directed by the Spirit of God.

We now are at the end of the Church Age. God is facing Satan. The conflict is between titans, whereas we are only dust. We always must keep in mind that Christ never will leave us or forsake us. No matter how grim and dark our situation may become at times. no matter how we feel, Christ will never leave us in the hands of the enemy. If we are faithful to Him, He will be faithful to us.

I do not say Christ will remain with us if we act carelessly or foolishly. Today is no time to be careless or foolish as we prepare to enter the inheritance promised to us.

“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. (Joshua 1:6)

Notice the emphasis on strength and courage. The fearful will not be able to gain their inheritance. Why is this? It is because fear is an indication that we do not trust God’s ability, or His love, or His good intentions toward us. Remember how the Israelites were turned back into the wilderness.

The preaching of the “rapture” includes the idea that the believers in Christ will escape Antichrist and the Great Tribulation. It is a doctrine that encourages the Christians to be afraid of Satan. There is no thought of standing in the evil day, only of escape from the forces of Hell.

The doctrine of the “rapture,” as taught commonly, is not of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is leaving the Christian people unprepared for the spiritual darkness on the horizon–that even now is entering our country. God would have us confident in Him that He will make us more than conquerors in Christ.

We have been commanded to be strong and courageous. Christ is the epitome of strength and courage and He desires that we be like Him. At what time we feel fear attempting to master us we are to call on Christ. He will share His perfect courage and strength with us.

Remember, we cannot cower in fear believing that God will feel sorry for us. He won’t. He is a king. We are His sons. He expects us to act like sons of the Greatest of all kings. We just have to pray until we gain the strength and courage we need to face the problems of the day. They will be given to us! But if we yield to fearfulness and unbelief we will suffer for it, and perhaps lose part or all of our inheritance.

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.” (Joshua 1:7,8)

The passage above was given to me by some fellow Marines when I first became a Christian. These Marines were followers of Dawson Trotman. They placed great emphasis on learning the Word; memorizing the Word. I have never forgotten this emphasis.

Since I got out of the Marine Corps I have retained that reverence for the written Word. But I have found that many churches are preaching their traditions rather than the written Word. I have spent a good part of my adult life seeking to point out where the current evangelical preaching, such as the doctrine of the “pre-tribulation rapture,” is not scriptural.

Without a doubt, the worst of all errors is that all we are to do is believe that Christ has done everything for us. Consequently numerous Christian people are waiting for an unscriptural “rapture” that will carry them up to Heaven before the Day of Resurrection. There is nothing for them to do but wait for this event. Can you imagine such blindness!

Such an attitude toward the Christian redemption is so totally unscriptural that one can only marvel that any believer has accepted this point of view.

Following is the scriptural attitude, the attitude we should be taking toward our salvation:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (I Corinthians 9:24-27)

Does the above sound like the current preaching of “Christ did it all” and all we are to do is believe that Christ did it all? Do you see any inkling that God sees us through Christ and His grace excuses our indifference and disobedience.

No, the passage does not fit the current emphasis in so many instances.

I believe many preachers of today see that we have departed grievously from the written Word of God, from the teaching of the Apostles. Hopefully they will convince numerous believers to turn away from the “grace-rapture-Heaven” teaching and begin to “run in such a way as to attain to the prize.”

So Joshua ordered the officers of the people: “Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you for your own.’” (Joshua 1:10,11)

(Taken from “From Moses to Joshua: II,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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From Moses to Joshua, continued. I suppose it has been true throughout the history of the world that there have been numerous religions, and then a handful of people who really walk with God and hear from God. So it is today, in America at least, that there are millions of religious people, mostly Christians but also of other religions and sects.

But I think I am correct in saying that only a few people are walking with God and hearing from God. Sometimes these are referred to as a “remnant.”

(October 3, 2010). If I am correct, we are at a very significant time in the program of redemption. The Bible seems to be becoming more clear. We can see several unscriptural traditions being emphasized, such as the doctrine that Divine grace is an alternative to growth in righteous behavior.

In the first chapter of the Book of Joshua, God told the Israelites that they would possess every place they put their feet. This was confined to a specific area of land. So it is today. The current teaching that Christ did it all and our task merely is to believe is utterly false, and works against the continual pressing forward in Christ, which is the normal Christian experience.

An emphasis was placed on the fact that no enemy would be able to stand against the Israelite army. But they suffered two defeats: first, when Achan sinned; and then because Joshua did not pray when the Gibeonites came. Later they were not diligent to destroy all the inhabitants of an area, and, as the Lord told them would happen, they gradually fell into the ways of the Canaanites whom they permitted to live among them.

God would have given them total victory. But they did not have the faith to believe, and so they finally were overcome by the Assyrians and the Babylonians.

What a lesson that is for us today. We keep being told that it is not necessary, nor even possible, to overcome sin while we are in the world. We are trusting that physical death will be our redeemer and we will be set free to go to live in a mansion in Heaven. The result is, the churches in America are not strong enough to overcome the increasing immorality in our country. Even the ministers are falling into sexual sin.

No enemy possibly can stand before us when we are following the Lord Jesus Christ and obeying him perfectly and completely.

Another emphasis in the first chapter of the Book of Joshua is that placed upon reading, meditating in, and obeying the Bible strictly. Victory in Jesus is not possible when we are preaching unscriptural traditions rather than what is written in the Bible.

Following are three of the unscriptural traditions that are rehearsed every Sunday in many (perhaps the majority) of the Christian churches in America:

  • The most destructive of the unscriptural traditions is that we are in a new dispensation of grace. Paul preached that grace is a substitute for the Law of Moses, not a new dispensation. We have made grace a substitute for growth in godly behavior. This misinterpretation does away with the bulk of Paul’s admonition to the churches.
  • Another longstanding tradition is that being saved means we will go to Heaven when we die and live eternally in a mansion. Heaven is viewed as our “Canaan.” The truth is, being saved means we will be saved from wrath and brought over to eternal life on the new earth.
  • In addition, for the members of the royal priesthood, being saved means we will be completely set free from sin and self-will and filled with all the fullness of God. This is the message that is to be preached to members of the Church. The Gospel of saved from wrath and brought over to eternal life on the new earth is not for the Royal Priesthood but for those from the nations whom God saves.

The message to the members of the Church, the Royal Priesthood, is found in the third chapter of the Book of Philippians. It is that we are to turn away from the things of the world and lay hold on that for which God has laid hold on us.

The message to the members of the Church often is not preached, as the Christian leaders in their blindness spend most of their effort trying to get everyone in the world “saved.” Meanwhile, those whom God has called to the Royal Priesthood are not given the nourishing food of the Word.

A third unscriptural tradition, the doctrine of the pre-tribulation “rapture” into Heaven of the believers is preventing God’s people from taking seriously the need to prepare themselves to stand in Christ during the coming evil days. It may be true that this fanciful belief will fall of its own weight in the coming dark days.

Joshua told the people to get ready to cross the Jordan and take possession of the promised land. God had given them a description of the land he had given them for an inheritance.

God has told us of the “land” we are to inherit:

The fullness of the indwelling of God such that we are living in perfect, complete harmony in God’s Person and will.

Change into the inward moral character of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then change into the external image of Christ. I think the external change will begin when the Lord next appears, and then develop throughout the coming ages of ages. Image, and then likeness.

The people whom God saves from the nations of the earth are our inheritance, whom we shall serve as governing priests.

Finally, all the works of God’s hands. That includes all of the present earth. Then the new earth. Then whatever God creates after that.

Such is our true, scriptural inheritance. Because we are not hearing from God, we have changed our inheritance into eternal rest in the spirit world, doing nothing of importance; having no problems or projects to pursue. Luminous spirits in eternal rest in a large mansion situated on a golden street.

God created a garden. We created mansions.

The truth of the matter is, most people would rather be reunited with their loved ones than be a luminous spirit in eternal rest in a mansion on a golden street.

The issue in the present hour is the need to prepare to enter our inheritance.

There always are distractions to prevent people from learning to walk humbly with the Lord Jesus. In America in the present hour we have at least two major distractions. First, are the increasingly fascinating electronic devices, aids to communication. As someone said, “improved means to unimproved ends.”

The second major distraction is the political turmoil. Millions of Christians are concerned with the direction the government is taking the country. For myself, I do not like what I am seeing in America or England. Being eighty-five years of age, I am accustomed to the America I was raised in, with the English cultural influence (but not the English culture of today, however!).

I have the typical conservative dislike of strong central government. But then, Christianity was born in an empire, not a democracy; which tells me that God’s work can be done under any kind of government.

God is speaking to us today to get rid of our sins and begin to follow Jesus Christ into our inheritance. I do not know about you, but Jesus is not speaking to me about the present political situation.

Let’s pretend that at the midterm election (November, 2010) the Republicans gain control of both houses of Congress and begin to dismantle the hated programs sponsored by the Democrats. Let’s pretend further that it is proven that the President was not born in America, and he is thrown out of office and a fervent conservative person takes his place. Hurrah many would shout!

Now what. The Christians will relax, believing that happy days are here again. Then they will return to their late-night blasphemous comedians, X-rated movies, acceptance of homosexual behavior, acceptance of mosques in their neighborhood, abortions, child molestations, gossip, envy, drunkenness, haughtiness, and especially lewd sexual practices.

As long as the Democrats continue their tax-and-spend policies, the conservative people will be up in arms. But once that pressure is off, and we have a return to a more conservative government, then the passions of the flesh in the Christians will take over. Finally God will step in, and much blood will be shed in our country.

I find abominable the moral values of the present government, the lying and deceit that is present. But occupying ourselves with political reform distracts us from what Christ is emphasizing. At least to me, Christ is not emphasizing political reform. Rather He is pressing on me to tell God’s people to draw closer to Himself so they will be able to stand in Him during the coming chaotic days in the United States of America.

Prepare yourselves with prayer and meditation in the Bible. Be sternly obedient to whatever the Lord is saying to you. Christ is ready to lead his Church into their inheritance. He will do this in the midst of the troubles in the world.

We are not to be distracted by anything we hear or see. We are to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus with singleness of heart. Then we will be able to stand and to help others to stand throughout the period of great evil that is to descend on our country.

(Taken from “From Moses to Joshua: III,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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Possessing All of Our Inheritance. Anyone who is acquainted with the Bible knows that the Israelites through fear, or unbelief, or disobedience, did not possess the inheritance that God had promised them. To the present hour, the Jews are living in just a small part of their land of promise. Even this little area is being contested bitterly by those who worship a different god.

(10/10/2010). Have you ever thought about the area that God has promised to the Jewish people”

Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Great Sea on the west. (Joshua 1:4)

The desert is the Negev on the south. Lebanon is on the north. The great river is the Euphrates. At its greatest extent the Hittite Empire covered much of Asia Minor, an area many times larger than Canaan. Perhaps it was not as large in the days of Joshua. The Great Sea on the west is the Mediterranean.

The Jews have not been able to possess this large area even though God, who owns all the earth, gave them title to it. The closest they came to possessing it, as far as I know, was during the governments of David and Solomon. Because they did not serve the Lord as they should have, their inheritance was challenged continually until finally they were removed from their land by the Assyrians and the Babylonians.

Think of how today the Jews are being forced to give up, piece by piece, the tiny bit of land they are living in. Currently the West Bank and Jerusalem are at issue. Can they keep what they now have, including the Golan Heights—originally a City of Refuge? Time will tell.

The Israelites had some national promises, such as the defeat of their enemies. They also had many personal promises, such as those found in the twenty-third, the thirty-fourth, and the ninety-first psalms, and in other places in the Prophets. The personal promises included a long life, material prosperity, and deliverance from harm.

As far as I can remember, we Americans have no national promises. This is because America is not a people and land that God has chosen, such as is true of the Israelis and their land. But we have any number of personal promises.

The following are some of the promises of God to those of us who care enough to pursue them through Christ. Just think of what we have been promised:

  • We have been promised that if we overcome we will sit on the highest Throne with the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • We will be termed “God’s sons.”
  • We will inherit all that God makes new after the present heavens and earth pass away and the new world of righteousness comes into view.
  • We will be filled with all the fullness of God, the same fullness that has been written concerning our Lord.
  • We will rule the nations of the earth with a rod of iron.
  • We will be loved by the Father as He loves His Firstborn Son.
  • We will receive the glory which has been given to the Lord Jesus.
  • We will be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus.
  • We will dwell in Christ as part of the Father.
  • We will be crowned with righteousness and eternal life.
  • We will be more than a conqueror through Christ.
  • We will be filled with the Spirit of wisdom and revelation.
  • We will attain to the standard which is the full measure of Christ.
  • We will bear much fruit—reproducing Christ’s image in ourselves and others.
  • We will inherit the nations of the earth.
  • We will bring justice to the nations of the earth.
  • We will inherit the farthest reaches of the earth.
  • We will be a living stone in the eternal Temple of God.
  • We will receive an eternal, Spirit-filled body in the Day of Resurrection.
  • We will know the Father.
  • We will see God.
  • We will be a member of the Royal Priesthood.
  • We will be a brother of Jesus Christ.
  • We will gain total victory through Jesus Christ over all sin and disobedience.

Do you know what our response has been to these promises? We have created a “rapture” that will carry us up to Heaven so we can escape Antichrist and the Great Tribulation and sit in a mansion, praising God for saving us by His grace while we lead an ungodly life.

The Jews never have been able to possess their inheritance due to fear, unbelief, sin, and disobedience. They have been squeezed into a tiny corner of what could have been a marvelous possession.

The Christians never have been able to possess their inheritance due to fear, unbelief, sin, and disobedience. We have given up on gaining victory over sin and possessing the earth and its peoples. We just want to flee to Heaven where there is no danger—we hope!

God is not pleased with our neglect of entering His rest, our Divinely ordained inheritance in Christ. God compares the unbelief and disobedience of the Jews with our unbelief and disobedience, and warns us of the consequences:

Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. (Hebrews 3:16-19)

The three great platforms of redemption are typified by the three major convocations of Israel:

Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles. No man should appear before the LORD empty-handed: (Deuteronomy 16:16)

The Feast of Unleavened Bread represents our basic salvation experience: coming under the Passover blood; repenting and being baptized in water; and the born-again experience.

We have named the Feast of Weeks, “Pentecost” because it is celebrated fifty days after the Passover. It speaks of our obeying the Spirit of God. The Law of the Spirit of Life replaces the Law of Moses.

Our goal, our land of promise, is typified by the Feast of Tabernacles. Every other aspect of the program of redemption is for the purpose of bringing us to the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. Here is the rest of God. God finds rest in us. We find rest in God.

Immediately preceding the Feast of Tabernacles are the Blowing of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement. The Blowing of Trumpets, and the Day of Atonement are the final two steps toward Tabernacles. The Blowing of Trumpets announces the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, the King, to destroy His enemies. During the Day of Atonement we are reconciled to God as we overcome worldliness, sin, and self-will. These two steps make it possible for God to find rest in us and we in God.

By and large, the Christian churches experienced the first phase of redemption from the beginning of the Reformation to the twentieth century.

The spiritual fulfillment of Pentecost spread throughout the world during the twentieth century. The twentieth century was the “Pentecostal Century.”

Now the Spirit of God is ready to bring us through Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and finally Tabernacles.

I think the Spirit of God is telling me it is urgent that God’s people turn away from their numerous distractions and press forward into the spiritual fulfillment of Tabernacles. The Spirit is warning that the coming days will see the works of Satan abounding throughout the world. We will have to “die in the Lord,” so to speak, and live by the Life of Christ if we are to survive spiritually and help others to survive.

As I pondered what the Spirit means by “urgent,” the work of Ze’ev Jabotinsky came to mind. Just prior to the Holocaust, Jabotinsky went through some of the countries of Europe, warning the Jews that destruction was about to fall upon them. In particular, he urged the Jews in Poland, Hungary, and Romania to leave their countries and emigrate to Palestine.

It seems that very few heeded Jabotinsky’s warning. He died in New York of heart failure at the age of 59, worn out from trying to instill a spirit of resistance in the Jewish people. This was in 1940. We know the rest.

I believe the Spirit of God is telling me that terrible days are ahead of us. If we are willing to “die in the Lord,” and live by the Life of Jesus, we will, in the darkest hour, show forth the works of Christ. But no mere human will be able to testify of God in those days.

I do not know about other countries, but America is filled with every imaginable distraction. Just as was true of the European Jews, we are “at ease in Zion,” so to speak, believing that nothing can possibly invade our security as we move toward retirement. The Jews in Europe had been there for centuries. Their roots were there. They just could not bring themselves to leave their homes and possessions and emigrate to an uncertain future in Palestine.

Then came the Nazis. Most of us know of the nearly unbelievable horrors that some eight million or so Jews suffered. If they had listened to Jabotinsky they would have found a home in Israel, at that time Palestine.

I do not know what is ahead of us. I do realize that sin is multiplying to an astonishing extent in what used to be a nominally Christian America.

The Spirit has been warning me for several years that much blood is going to be shed in our country. Christ, I believe it is, has directed me to write three books whose purpose is to remove the fear of death from people. One of the three, Heaven—God’s Wonderful World, has been published.

In connection with the writing of these three books I am experiencing an increased awareness of the spirit world, which to my surprise is just an ordinary world in which ordinary people are working at ordinary tasks. Apparently the fantastic symbolism found in the Book of Revelation actually is speaking of ordinary events as seen from God’s standpoint.

In any case, I am being warned clearly that the time is short. Each of us Christians is to make every possible effort to live as close to Jesus as he can, looking to Him for guidance and enablement in every activity of our life throughout the day and night.

(Taken from “Possessing All of Our Inheritance” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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Circumcised Again. The Christian Church was birthed on the original Day of Pentecost, when the worshipers spoke in tongues for the first time. Since then the Church has been going through a wilderness of tribulations and frustrations. Nevertheless, much Kingdom work has been accomplished.

Now we are in the Plains of Moab, to speak figuratively, preparing to cross Jordan and enter the land God has promised to us. We have not been here before. The daily manna (grace) is about to cease and we will be “eating” of the Presence of God being formed and dwelling within us. It is a new day. I guess we never thought we would get here.

Since circumcision had not been practiced during the wilderness wandering, the new generation had to be circumcised. This is as true today as it was then.

So he raised up their sons in their place, and these were the ones Joshua circumcised. They were still uncircumcised because they had not been circumcised on the way. (Joshua 5:7)

The new covenant fulfillment of the old covenant practice of circumcision is the putting off of the deeds of our sinful nature.

(10/17/2010) When I first became a Christian I was taught that God has applied “grace” to us such that our sins, past, present, and future are automatically forgiven. We ought to try to do good as well as we can, but God is bringing us to Heaven in any case. The idea is that we can’t overcome sin, so God has forgiven us through Christ if we will but believe it.

The concept of grace being an alternative to growth in godly behavior is believed more widely than one would suppose, in that the Scripture does not teach this. Intelligent men and women who subscribe to the inerrancy of the Scriptures believe and teach that God does not see our sinful behavior as long as we profess faith in Christ.

Some years after I had been following Christ I decided to examine the New Testament to see if it actually is true that the Apostles taught we are saved “by grace” even though we lapse into known sin occasionally. How important is it that we overcome sins? Are there penalties if we do not pray for strength to gain victory over sin?

Let me put it succinctly: When we are tempted to sin, are we to claim that grace is excusing us; or are we to pray to the Lord until we are able to overcome the temptation?

Obviously, this is the most important question one could ask concerning the operation of the new covenant.

So I searched the Epistles of Paul. I found that the current teaching of “grace” is not found in Paul’s writings. Furthermore, in several places Paul told us if we yield to our sinful nature we will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Any intelligent person can read the writings of Paul and verify my findings.

I have concluded that the fundamental Christian churches, for the most part, are teaching error. Because of this error sin abounds in our land, since the standard of righteous, holy behavior is not being raised in so many instances. The result is that our government is filled with lying and treachery; children are being aborted daily; and foreign gods are coming to our shores demanding recognition.

Our incorrect doctrine added to our subscription to freedom of speech and religion is leading us into behavior that common sense is advising us is wrong and destructive.

Here is one example of Paul’s attitude toward how we should deal with sin:

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

The verse above (and there are many others!) does away completely with the current teaching of “grace.”

This is clear to me. Since I am not an intellectual giant, how is it that other Bible teachers and preachers cannot see that we must put to death the deeds of our sinful nature if we are to live? To “live,” in context, is to attain to the making alive of our mortal body in the Day of Resurrection.

What could be plainer? If we yield to our sinful nature we will die spiritually. In the Day of Resurrection we will not be raised to eternal life. Remember, the eighth chapter of Romans obviously is addressed to Christians.

If we are to pass over Jordan and enter our land of promise, which is to be filled with all the fullness of God, we have to be circumcised. This means we have to put to death the sinful actions of our body.

Let’s take a look at some of the deeds of the sinful nature that Paul said were sufficient to prevent our inheriting the Kingdom of God:

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;(excessive or immoral activities involving sex, alcohol, food, or drugs) idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, arguing, cliques and envy; drunkenness, wild parties, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

Well, does the above apply to Christians or not? Obviously it does. “Those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Right or wrong?

Notice that the first area of sin to be mentioned is sexual immorality. Sexual immorality evidently was a significant problem in Paul’s day, according to the number of times he mentioned it in his Epistles.

It may be true that the two greatest sins in America today are the pursuit of money, and sexual immorality. It seems the temptation to commit moral sins, such as adultery, fornication, and sexual perversions, is powerful and becoming more powerful each day. This is because our nation to a great extent is discarding Christ and the Bible. The rejection of Christ and the Bible is permitting demons to enter our nation and inflame the citizens with passions they cannot control.

Almost every day in our local newspaper there is an account of a teacher or principal or political leader or some other prominent person being accused of sexual misconduct. Child molestation abounds. Great efforts are being made to present homosexual practices as natural and acceptable. The foundation of personal liberty on which our nation is founded skews our normal judgment when aberrant sexual practices and false religions strive for recognition.

It is not kindness on our part to persecute those who practice alternative lifestyles. But I think if people, particularly young people, recognize that their body is either male or female, and refuse to be persuaded that they are something other than what their physical form indicates, the temptation to adopt a male or female persona will finally leave. One has to take a stand for what is right and normal. The Bible speaks out against confusion of gender.

Sometimes a person inherits a spirit of rage, or drunkenness, or fear. A conscientious individual will not say, “I am filled with rage and have a violent temper, and you are obligated to regard this as normal because it is what I am.” The same holds true for drunkenness and fear. The Lord Jesus Christ can deliver us from odd, unfruitful, or unlawful behavior if we will ask Him, even though we may have thought that such behavior was an essential part of our personality.

In the above passage the Apostle Paul lists several behaviors which are often true of people. How do we put these to death so the fire and life leave them and we are able to resist them successfully?

The first step is to name the sin clearly to the Lord Jesus. Say to Christ what you actually are doing, not what you think you might do. “I am stealing.” “I am lying.” “I am fornicating (living intimately with someone who is not my wife or husband).” Do not be afraid of shocking God with your fantasy life. He already knows all about it.

The second step is to name your behavior as sin, as wickedness. You have to judge it as evil. If you do not, the spirit will retain its life and power.

The third step is to renounce your behavior, telling the Lord that by His help you never, never, never will do this again.

In order for your deliverance to be effective you will have to live as a disciple. This means denying yourself, taking up your personal cross, and following Jesus at all times, day and night. Listening to Him and obeying Him diligently. Spending some time in prayer each day. Reading your Bible each day. Attending a fervent, Bible-teaching church regularly (if you can find one). Sharing your material goods if the Lord directs you to do so. Looking to the Lord for an area of service. Coveting a gift of the Spirit.

If the same temptation returns, go to Christ immediately and ask Him to help you resist it. Never give in to sin. Never give up. You must be found worthy of the Kingdom of God.

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)
All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. (II Thessalonians 1:5)
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (I Corinthians 10:13)

If it is your desire to be raised from the dead, given a new body, and work with our Lord Jesus when He returns to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth, you must enter the ordinance of circumcision, putting away the actions of your sinful nature. The fullness of God is there for you to attain to, but you will have to pursue it with all your strength.

However, if you do not make the effort to cooperate with the Spirit of God in putting away your sinful deeds, you will not enter the fullness of God. You will not be raised from the dead and work with Jesus in the work of establishing the Kingdom of God on the earth.

You still are part of the problem, not of the solution!

In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, (Colossians 2:11)

(Taken from “Circumcised Again,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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The Battle for the Body. It may be true that we do not understand the importance of our body in the plan of redemption. You know, Satan has no body, nor do the fallen angels or demons. This is why these evil forces seek to inhabit and control human beings. The righteous angels do not seek to inhabit or control human beings. Although they do not possess a body, they are content with their state.

(10/24/2010) Our physical body does not really belong to us. Our body is the temple of the Spirit of God. This is a profound mystery. If I am not mistaken, the new Jerusalem is the assemblage of the glorified bodies of the saints.

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. (I Corinthians 3:16,17)

Food for the stomach and the stomach for food”—but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. (I Corinthians 6:13)

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! (II Corinthians 6:15)

In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:21,22)

This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? (Isaiah 66:1)

However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me? says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be?” (Acts 7:48,49)

I may be incorrect in saying this, but I think the idea of God making us a dwelling place for Himself is not emphasized sufficiently in today’s teaching and preaching. Our focus today is getting people to Heaven. But is that God’s focus? Or is God more interested in getting Heaven into us?

The mystery of the Gospel is not Christ with us, as important as that is. It is Christ in us, the hope of Glory.

I think it is time now, in the twenty-first century, to begin to think about what is involved in the fact that Christ desires both to be formed in us and also to dwell with the Father in that which is being formed in us. Obviously this is a much different issue than that of going to Heaven, of Christ merely being with us.

Christ must be formed in us before He and the Father can dwell in us. God will not dwell permanently in the adamic nature. If we truly desire to be the dwelling place of God we must be born again, that is, a new creation must be formed in us as our first personality is brought down to the death of the cross.

This was Paul’s prayer for the saints in Ephesus, wasn’t it, that they would be strengthened in their inner nature so they might be filled with the fullness of God.

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)

But is there anything we are to do if we desire to be the dwelling place of God? Yes, there is. We must keep the commands of Christ. The popular gospel of today is that if we believe in Christ, “grace” ensures us that we do not actually have to obey the commands of Christ and of His Apostles. But this is a false doctrine.

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23)

But what if we do not obey Christ’s teaching or that of His Apostles? The Father will not love us, and the Father and the Son will not make Their home with us. The tragedy of the “grace” teaching is that we need only believe in Christ, whether or not we obey His commands. As I said, it is a false doctrine. Eventually the current “grace” teaching will be seen as a major error in Christian thinking.

It is God’s desire to dwell in our inward nature today, even though our body is dead spiritually because of the sinful nature that resides in our flesh. The Apostle Paul spoke of the sinful nature dwelling in the members of his body. Paul was looking forward to the redemption of his body when Jesus appears, that is, the entire removal of the sinful nature and the clothing of his mortal body with his body from Heaven. Paul’s body from Heaven, as is true of ours also, was fashioned as the Spirit of God enabled him to overcome his numerous afflictions.

Here is the point at which the current “grace” teaching robs us. Because we are placing belief ahead of obedience, no Spirit-filled house from Heaven is being formed for us. When Christ appears, instead of being clothed with a supremely glorious robe fashioned by the Spirit of God, we will be clothed with the corruption we have created as we have yielded to our sinful nature.

The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:8)
How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. (I Corinthians 15:36,37)

This is what Daniel meant when he said some would be raised to shame and everlasting contempt.

The goal of the Apostle Paul was to attain to the resurrection to immortality and eternal life, the making alive of his corrupt body. Paul counted all else as garbage that he might lay hold on the prize, the redemption of his body. Paul said that we ought to have the same viewpoint.

I do not like to be redundant, but can you see how Paul’s attitude toward the Christian experience is so profoundly different from what is being preached today?

God wants to have a physical body so He can dwell on the earth among His beloved creatures. It is not possible to dwell on the earth unless one has a body. This is why the evil creatures of the heavens seek to inhabit the bodies of human beings.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone and Headstone of the eternal habitation of God. You and I are living stones in this great temple. We endure many frustrations and pains as we submit to the rebirth and renewal of our personality. But it will be worth it all, as the old hymn, when we see Jesus.

So our goal is not to got to a mansion in Heaven, it is to let God have His wonderful way with us until we are filled with all the fullness of God. Then we always will be at home, whether on earth or in Heaven.

The battle is for the body, isn’t it? We are tested, tested, and tested while we are in a flesh and blood body to see if we are worthy of the Kingdom of God, which is Christ formed in us and dwelling in us. How our first personality battles against the working of the Lord!

But we must, we absolutely must, work out our salvation with fear and trembling. When we fall, we are to confess our failure to Christ, and then, with His assistance, receive our forgiveness, get back up on our feet, and press forward toward the goal of being clothed with a body like His glorious body.

We can do it, you know, every one of us, if we will keep looking to the Lord Jesus and battling forward in Him. If we have an honest and good heart, the Divine Seed in us will grow until it is an oak of righteousness.

We have all of eternity to rejoice over our victory in Christ, to be rested up from the pain of our cross and to dance with Christ on the mountains of spices.

However, if we neglect to make the effort to conquer with Christ, we have all of eternity to endure the torment of the memory of opportunities thrown away; of people who would have reached maturity in Christ had we been faithful; of having betrayed loved ones who looked to us for guidance and help.

There are rooms in the spirit world that contain people with tormented consciences. Let’s you and I keep those rooms in mind and make certain that we are going to hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23)

(Taken from “The Battle for the Body,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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The Battle for the Body, continued. It may be difficult for us to realize that God needs a body, a physical form in which He can dwell and be seen by the people whom He has created. But He does. This is what the Lord Jesus Christ is—the visible form of the invisible God.

(10/31/2010) Christ is the visible form of God. The Lord Jesus Christ is God’s Body we might say. But, as the Lord said, in God’s Body, or House, there are many rooms. This is what each of us is–a room in the Temple, or House, or Body, of God. Christ Himself is the Cornerstone and the Capstone. We are the fullness of the Body, the Incarnation of God.

You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (I Peter 2:5)

Since each of us is a living stone in the eternal Temple of God, our behavior in our body is important. We are custodians of our bodies. They belong to the Lord.

We are told that our daily troubles are forming a body in Heaven that will clothe our flesh and bones in the Day of Resurrection.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (II Corinthians 4:17)

We will appear in that Day as we actually are. If we are unrighteous, it will appear in the body that clothes us. We willl be seen as shameful and contemptible. If we lead many to righteousness. we will shine as the stars, as Daniel informs us.

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12:2,3)

Second Corinthians 4:17 speaks of an “eternal glory” that far outweighs our troubles. The eternal glory is referring to our “eternal house in heaven,” mentioned in the following verse:

Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. (II Corinthians 5:1)

The idea is that as our afflictions and persecutions keep bringing us down to death, the Spirit of God keeps raising us up. Every time we experience this death and resurrection our house in Heaven is made more glorious.

Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. (II Corin\thians 5:2,3)

Christian mythology has us longing to go to our house in Heaven. The truth is, our eternal house in Heaven will clothe our flesh and bones in the Day of Resurrection. More to the point, that eternal house will reveal in itself the kind of Christian discipleship we have lived. We are going to be clothed upon with our own behavior.

If we keep obeying the Holy Spirit throughout our Christian life, from that Spirit we will reap a marvelous body like that of the Lord Jesus. If we keep yielding to our sinful nature, then out from that sinful nature will flow the corruption that will be seen in the body that clothes us in the Day of Resurrection. This may mean that we will be a creature that for a long time—possibly forever—occasions shame and contempt

This is why the Apostle Paul was concerned about the resurrection, always pressing forward in order to attain to the first resurrection, that is, the resurrection to life and glory, so he will not be found naked in that Day.

For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (II Corinthians 5:4)

Paul is saying here that it is not his desire just to die, to lose his physical body, but that his physical body will be “swallowed up by life.” I do not believe I have ever, heard, in my many years as a Christian, a church member say he wants to have his physical body swallowed up by eternal life. Have you?

It may be true that when people use the term “resurrection” they are thinking of our being carried up to Heaven. But the word “resurrection” has nothing to do with being carried up. It means only passing from death to life. Where we go after that is another matter entirely. We can be resurrected while standing on our feet or sitting in a chair.

The truth of the resurrection, the triumph of the Christian plan of redemption, has been hidden by a false doctrine—the doctrine of the “rapture.” Even the term “rapture” is misleading, because the Greek term means “catching up.” In the English language we do not ordinarily use the noun “rapture” to mean a catching up from some power that is seeking to hold us down.

The doctrine of the “rapture,” in combination with the unscriptural view of Divine grace as an alternative to growth in Christ, leaves the believers with the mistaken idea that at any moment they, even though their consecration has been shallow or virtually nonexistent, are going to be caught up in their untransformed condition to a mansion in Heaven. To say the least, this is a wild and totally unscriptural belief!

The true doctrine, that we are going to be clothed with a house formed from our behavior, urges the believer to live a wholly consecrated life as he or she hopes to be robed in eternal splendor in the Day of Resurrection, the Day of Christ.

Can you see, in II Corinthians 5:4, that the Apostle Paul was not groaning to be caught up to a mansion in Heaven. It is a good thing that this was not his fervent desire, because no “rapture” has taken place as yet (nor will it ever take place)!

But there is a Day of Resurrection that indeed will take place, for it is the destruction of the last enemy–physical death.

Now it is God who has made [prepared] us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (II Corinthians 5:5)

God has prepared us so that “what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.” God has worked with us all our Christian life that our mortal body may attain to immortality. God wants us to have an immortal body so He can be seen in us, just as He is seen in Jesus Christ.

Compare this vision with the current vision, which is that we will caught up to Heaven to live in a mansion. The current vision would be laughable if it were not so destructive of Christian growth.

God is building a house for Himself to dwell in. That house is the assembling of immortal bodies known as the holy city, the new Jerusalem. Our deepest desire should be that we might be an integral part of the new Jerusalem. To be a part of the holy city we have to be clothed upon with a robe of eternal life so that God can be seen in us.

The Holy Spirit who dwells in us now is a deposit, a guarantee, that if we remain faithful, the time will arrive then we are clothed with immortality.

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

I prefer the American Standard Version (below):

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

I believe the American Standard Version is closer to the truth. It is not that we receive the things due us for the things done while in the body, it is that we receive the things themselves that are done in the body. We do not just receive what we deserve, we actually receive the things themselves.

Notice how this agrees with Galatians 6:8:

The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 8:8)

We reap destruction out from our own sinful nature, not just as a reward for yielding to our sinful nature. Also, we reap eternal life from the Spirit whom we have been obeying, not just a reward for following the Spirit.

I think the idea that we will be given the actual things rather than a reward for righteous or unrighteous behavior is closer to the concept of sowing and reaping, and does away with uncertainty and confusion about our experience in the Day of Resurrection.

We do not just appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ. Rather, we are “made manifest” before the Judgment Seat of Christ. Quite a difference! That manifestation consists of receiving the things done in our body. If we have done good things, these will be portrayed in our house from Heaven that clothes us in the Day of Resurrection.

If we have done bad things, these bad things will be portrayed in our house from Heaven that clothes us in the Day of Resurrection. This is true for those who have “accepted Christ,” unless we have confessed and renounced the “bad things” that the Spirit points out to us.

God needs a body, a temple, a house in which He can dwell and be seen by His creatures. God does not dwell in angels nor they in God.

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. (I Corinthians 3:16,17)

In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:21,22)

Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23)

(Taken from “The Battle for the Body: II,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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The Battle for the Body, continued. Second Corinthians 4:7 through Second Corinthians 5:10 should be one chapter, titled, “The Battle for the Body.”

(November 3, 2010). “The Battle for the Body.” What do we mean by this?

When we die we can see deceased loved ones that we recognize. How can we recognize their faces when they have no skin? We recognize them for we are seeing them as they really are. Their speech and mannerisms identify them. This is true even if their face should look different.

It sometimes is true that a wicked, conniving, grasping individual has a kindly face. Conversely, someone with plain features may have a lovely personality. We do not see the individual as he or she actually is. But this is not true in the spirit world. We see the real person, no longer hidden behind facial skin.

A common saying is, “Beauty is only skin deep.” The Apostle Peter spoke of the “unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

And so it will be after the resurrection. The skin of the restored face no longer will hide what the person is. We will see the real person. The wicked, conniving, grasping individual will look like a wicked, conniving, grasping person, unless God has granted a change of personality. The loving, generous person will be seen as just that. The truly righteous will shine with the Glory of Christ.

Regarding Second Corinthians 4:7 through Second Corinthians 5:10, the subject is the battle for the body, that is the pursuit of an immortality that is filled with the Glory of God.

There is, and always has been, the Tree of Life in the midst of Paradise. That Tree is the Lord Jesus Christ. Whoever overcomes his own sins and self-will has access to the Tree of Life. He is qualified to feed continually on Christ. In this way he gains the Resurrection, who is Christ. He passes from death to life.

Now, what does it mean to pass from death to life? Does it mean that he or she now will have eternal spiritual existence? This cannot be the meaning, because Adam and Eve died, in accordance with God’s Word. But Adam and Eve no doubt still exist in the spirit world.

Yet they “died.” God told them that when they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they would die. And they did—physically.

When the Scriptures tell us that whoever believes in Christ will not perish but have eternal life, it is referring to bodily immortality. Bodily immortality is victory over the final enemy, physical death. Paul’s goal was to attain to the redemption of his body, his adoption as a son of God.

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23)

The verses we are considering are telling us about the path to immortality. Immortality means our body will never be separated from the Life of Christ—unless, of course, after having attained to the resurrection to eternal life we choose to disobey God, as did Satan.

Following is the pattern:

II Corinthians 4:7-12 announce the fact that our tribulations are accomplishing two Divine operations. First, our troubles crucify our adamic personality. The resurrection Life of Christ that lifts us up from our crucifixion brings that same Life to those to whom we minister.

Second, the crucifixion of our adamic personality destroys our sinful nature. As our sinful nature is destroyed, in particular our self-will, our robe, our house, from Heaven experiences a corresponding enlargement. The enlarging of our house from heaven is set forth in II Corinthians 4:17 as “an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (all of our tribulations).

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (II Corinthians 4:17)

The house from Heaven is discussed in Second Corinthians 5:1-5.

The conclusion of the entire discussion is summed up in the following verse:

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

I prefer the American Standard Version (below):

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

Let us consider what we have expressed thus far.

We are in a battle for our body. Physical death is an enemy, according to Paul. God did not create mankind with physical bodies (which is not true of the other creatures of God) so that the body would last for a few years and then return to the dust. This is not the way of the Kingdom of God.

Through the Lord Jesus Christ, God has made a way for us to undo the calamity that occurred in the Garden of Eden. We are in a battle for our body. This is what the Gospel is all about, not people dying physically and going to Heaven, but people gaining immortality in their body.

To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. (Romans 2:7)

The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (I Corinthians 15:26)

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

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (I Corinthians 15:54)

But it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. ((II Timothy 1:10)

Now we can see the relevance of the following:

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

If we have reckoned ourselves dead with Christ, the above verse is taking place in us now; because death is followed by judgment. If we really are a disciple of the Lord Jesus, our personality is being revealed before Christ.

Our love for the world, the lusts of our flesh and spirit, and our rebellious nature are coming up before Christ for judgment. As the several aspects of these major areas are shown to us, we are to confess each one clearly and specifically. Then we are to call on Jesus to help us renounce each one with all the determination we can summon.

As our various sufferings bring us down to the death of the cross, the spiritual darkness of our personality rises to the surface and is to be skimmed off.

If we thus confess and renounce our sins, Christ is faithful and righteous to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This process is forming our house from Heaven in righteousness, holiness, and stern obedience to God.

This is the meaning of “each one may receive the things done in the body.” When Christ appears, if we have ignored and not confessed and renounced our sinful actions, they will be displayed in the body that clothes our resurrected flesh and bones. In this manner we reap precisely what we have sown.

This is exceedingly good news for the faithful disciple who has borne patiently with God as he continually is struck down and raised; struck down and raised; struck down and raised again. He is building an exceedingly surpassing weight of glory in the form of a body from Heaven.

But for the careless or rebellious person, it is the most terrifying, most horrible, most dreadful of all prospects.

In the Day of Resurrection the person who has yielded to sexual lust will appear as the personification of sexual lust. You can imagine what he will look like. He will be demonic in appearance. (Maybe this is where the demons come from, the leprechauns, the elves, and other creatures that we have assumed are mythological. These creatures certainly never were angels; and Satan cannot create life. So where did they come from? Just a thought.)

How about the hate-filled, unmerciful, unforgiving individual. How will he or she look when he or she receives what has been done in the body? Will this person be the picture of hate and meanness? The Lord spoke to me one time about an unmerciful person. The Lord said, “He has not shown mercy and no mercy shall be shown to him!”

Can you imagine what a spiteful, envious, stubborn person will look like?

How about the person who has practiced witchcraft; the believer who continually has brought division and dissension; the stingy person; the liar; the one who keeps on disobeying God? Each one shall be raised to shame and everlasting contempt.

I did not make up all this. What I have said is stated in the inerrant Word of God. Just because the American churches are filled with a humanistic spirit does not change one word of the Bible. I think the pastors often compromise the Gospel as they endeavor to please carnal Christians in order to draw them to the assembly.

So we are in a battle for our physical body, our outward appearance. The Book of Second Corinthians informs us that we will experience the sufferings of Christ. As we do, two operations occur. First, we are able to minister eternal life to those whom we seek to help. Second, we are putting “weight” on the house, or robe, that will clothe our resurrected flesh and bones.

Paul states that God has prepared us with a view to receiving a body of glory. No doubt God is thinking of preparing our body for Himself as an eternal dwelling place.

Perhaps when the Lord Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you,” He was speaking not only of cleansing the defiled sanctuary in Heaven with His own blood, but also of working with us so we can be a living stone in God’s eternal Tabernacle. Thus He is at once preparing a place for us in Himself and a place for Himself in us. The Holy Spirit is our guarantee that this is what is happening to us.

Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (II Corinthians 5:5)

(Taken from “The Battle for the Body: III,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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Deliverance From Sinful Behavior. I believe the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans may be either the most greatly misunderstood or the most largely ignored of all the passages of the Bible. If our Christian leaders had preached this passage as it stands, we would not be in the current disaster, in which Divine grace is portrayed as an alternative to godly personality and behavior on the part of the believers.

(11/7/2010). The very first verse of the sixth chapter shows that the current teaching of sovereign “grace” is a destructive error.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? (Romans 6:1)

The Apostle Paul understood that his emphasis on righteousness apart from the works of the Law of Moses would be interpreted to mean righteousness apart from godly behavior. Actually, sin is the breaking of the eternal law of God, of which the Law of Moses is an abridged form. The power of sin is the Law!

Therefore, the Apostle issued a disclaimer: “I am not saying that as we turn from the Law of Moses and place our faith in Jesus Christ we now are free to sin. It is only as we put to death the deeds of our body through the wisdom and power of the Spirit of God that we lay hold on eternal life.

“You do not understand God at all if you think for one moment that He has issued a new covenant that permits sin. Rather, the new covenant is the writing of God’s eternal moral law in our minds and hearts, not the abandoning of God’s law. God’s law is what He is, and He cannot have fellowship with those who reject His Person, way, and will.”

By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? (Romans 6:2)

The key to understanding this chapter is the expression: “who have died to sin.” Exactly what does this mean? Are we saying we can’t sin? Of course not. If we claim that we do not sin, the Apostle John would refer to us as a liar. “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?,” Paul asks.

Are we saying it does not matter if we sin? This position would go against many passages of the New Testament.

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)

Does the expression mean, as so many are saying today, that when we sin God sees us through Christ so it is just as though we did not sin?

Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God—I say this to your shame. (I Corinthians 15:34)

If God does not see our sinning because of Christ, then what sense does the above verse make?

Well then, what does the expression “who have died to sin” mean? How have we died to sin? We have counted that we have been crucified with Christ. Because of this we are free from the Law of Moses. But we never are free from the way of righteousness. We are to take the position by faith that we have been crucified with Christ. Now we have died to sin. Now we are free to turn from Moses and place our faith in Christ.

Christ has given us the Spirit of God, whose task it is to lead us in putting to death the actions of our sinful nature. When we are cooperating with the Holy Spirit, it is as though we had kept the Law of Moses perfectly, even if we had never read the Law of Moses. The righteousness of the One who kept the Law perfectly and completely is imputed to us.

In order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)

If we are to receive the ascribed righteousness promised to those who turn from Moses to Christ, we must be cooperating with the Spirit of God as He leads us in putting to death the actions of our sinful nature.

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (Romans 6:3)

The above verse is the attitude we must take throughout our entire Christian discipleship. When we are baptized in water it is a dramatization of the fact that we are being baptized into Jesus’ death on the cross.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:4)

After we have been baptized in water we are to hold firmly throughout our lifetime the fact that we have been baptized into the death of Christ so that we may live a new life, which actually is His life. We keep on being brought down to weakness and futility and keep on being raised by eternal resurrection life.

Since we are living in resurrection life along with Christ, it is expected that we do not keep sinning; and when we do sin, and confess that sin, there is authority to forgive the sin and power to give us victory over that compulsion in the future. Meanwhile, we continually count that we are dead and alive in Christ.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6:5)

Our hope (and I cannot emphasize this too strongly!) of being raised from the dead when Christ next appears depends on our living today in union with His death and resurrection. We are working out our resurrection today, although the manifestation of what we are maintaining by faith will not occur until the Lord appears.

(As I reflect on what I am writing at this point I realize it may be over the heads of the majority of the Christian people in America; not because they are stupid but because they have not been taught.. But perhaps there may be one or two in each assembly of Christians, a remnant, who will hear and obey what is declared in the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans.)

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to (sin—Romans 6:6)

Our “old self” refers to our original adamic personality. The “body ruled by sin” is speaking of our sinful nature. In order that sin may be removed from us, so that we no longer are slaves to it. our entire first personality, the adamic personality, the good and the bad of it, must be crucified. It is only as we are willing to participate in the sufferings of Christ that the Spirit of God can get at the sinful nature that dwells in our flesh, and destroy it.

This is how we are delivered from the sin that dwells in our body.

Because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. (Romans 6:7)

When we count that we have been crucified with Christ, we are asserting that we have died. God regards this as a genuine death, and that is why judgment follows our profession of faith. When we die in Christ in this manner, we legally are free to leave Moses and be married to Christ.

Our past sins, then, are no longer remembered against us. So our remaining problem is to follow the Holy Spirit as He sets us free from the compulsions of sin. This He does, one at a time, as we follow Him diligently.

This is the program of redemption. It proceeds until finally, at the Lord’s return, physical death itself is overcome and we are removed from its authority and power. Such is a primary goal of the Christian warfare–immortality in the body.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (Romans 6:8)

Remember, Paul in this chapter is telling us that by saying we attain to righteousness apart from the works of the Law of Moses, he does not mean we are free to sin. What Paul is teaching in Chapter Six of Romans is how we can be set free from sin. Not from the guilt of sin, because that was accomplished on the cross. But from the power of sin to keep us in slavery to it.

The solution to the problem of slavery to sin is to live with Christ. This means we continually, night and day, invite Christ into every aspect of our thinking, speaking, and acting. For us to live is to be Christ. We have died with Him that we might live with Him. This is what it means to abide in Christ. The fruit of our abiding is freedom from the power of sin, and transformation into Christ’s moral image.

For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. (Romans 6:9)

Physical death has no power over Christ. The program of redemption works in us until it will be true of us that physical death no longer has mastery over us. “The sting of death is sin.” As through Christ we gain victory over indwelling sin, we are gaining victory over the authority and power of physical death.

Mankind lost access to immortality, in the Garden of Eden, by being denied access to the Tree of Life. As we, through Christ, are able to gain victory over the compulsions of sin. we are permitted to eat from the Tree of Life, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is how we attain to the resurrection unto eternal life and glory, the resurrection that was the goal of the Apostle Paul.

Through our Lord Jesus we thus are able to regain our lost inheritance—that of immortality. Such is the promise of (John 3:16)

The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. (Romans 6:10)

Our present sufferings will one day come to an end. Let us therefore live our life unto God, as did the patriarch, Enoch. We are not of this present world. We have been called out of the world that we may become a member of the Royal Priesthood. We must always keep this in mind, so it will be revealed in our personality and behavior.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:11)

Let us consider that we have died to sin once. We have been freed for eternity from the guilt of sin, provided we follow the Holy Spirit until He completely destroys our sin nature. The Bible teaches that God intends to “put and end to sin” once and for all, and to “bring in everlasting righteousness”:

Seventy “sevens” are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place. (Daniel 9:24)
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. (Romans 6:12)

For so long the Christian churches have taught that we cannot gain victory over sin. We must rely on “grace” as a substitute for growth in Christ. But this is a lie, and an exceedingly destructive one at that. The Spirit of God in the Apostle Paul commands us to not let sin govern our actions; to “not obey its evil desires.”

When we teach that it is no use trying to keep from sinning we are doing the devil’s business. (Such darkness reigns in the Christian churches!) Of course, we cannot overcome sin by our own strength and wisdom. But through our Lord Jesus Christ we indeed can overcome any and all sinful actions, provided we carefully follow and obey the mighty Spirit of God.

Jesus Christ is stronger than Satan! Let all the saints of God say, “Amen!”

Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. (Romans 6:13)

Here is a choice each one of us can make. We can offer ourselves to sin, or we can offer ourselves to God. If we are to gain victory over sin, we must live a consecrated Christian life. This means setting aside time to pray each day; to read our Bible; to attend the assembling of fervent believers; to give of our means as the Lord directs; to seek the gifts of the Spirit so we can serve the Body of Christ; to look to Christ continually throughout the day and night.

We absolutely must present our body a living sacrifice so we may prove the will of God for our life. We must keep away from the activities of the world as much as possible, praying carefully about all we are doing. The Bible commands us to “redeem the time.” This means we have no time to spend on that which is worthless, such as on the ever growing array of electronic gadgets.

In all that we do, we must look to Jesus to see if we are spending our time wisely, using our talents and resources to help with the building of the Kingdom of God. Nothing less than what I have just written is an acceptable Christian life.

If we do not do these things, we will not lay hold on eternal life. We will not grow in the ability to resist sin. We will not be able to stand, or to help our loved ones to stand, during the moral chaos that America is entering, as God removes His Presence from us because of our sinning. Every part of our personality is to be an instrument of righteousness.

For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14)

When we are seeking to live righteously by obeying the Law of Moses, sin masters us. The Law tells us what is sinful, but it does not provide us with the grace of God. The grace of God is the Lord Jesus Christ. He gives us victory over sin if we walk with Him at all times.

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! (Romans 6:15)

Apparently there were people in Paul’s day, just as there are in our day, who taught that because we no longer are under the Law of Mose but under Divine grace, we now are free to sin. Thus we have wrested Paul’s teaching to our own destruction, just as they did so many centuries ago.

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16)

If we want to we can choose to be the slave of sin. This will lead us to spiritual death, even though at one time we received Christ and were baptized in water.

Or we can choose to be the slave of Christ and obey Him. This choice will lead us to righteousness in God’s sight, and eternal life.

But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. (Romans 6:17)

“You used to be slaves to sin.” Does that sound to you like we are compelled to keep on sinning while we are in this world? If we are willing to obey from our heart Christ and His Apostles, we will free ourselves from slavery to sin. We will save ourselves. We will lay hold on eternal life.

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (I Timothy 4:16)
You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (Romans 6:16)

One of the great areas of misunderstanding of our day has to do with the difference between the guilt of sin and the power of sin. When the above verse speaks of being set free from sin. the preceding verses show us beyond all doubt that Paul is not speaking here of the guilt of sin but of the power of sin to control our behavior.

I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. (Romans 6:19)

I do not see what could be more clear. Think of the preaching about “grace” today, and then see how different it is from the idea that we must offer ourselves as “slaves to righteousness leading to holiness.

When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. (Romans 6:20)

This is an interesting thought, isn’t it? It appears we Christians are controlled either by sin or by righteousness. This does not leave anyone in the middle, I guess.

What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! (Romans 6:21)

Remember, this chapter is addressed to Christians who have been baptized in water. If we choose to be the slave of sin, we will die spiritually. This means when the Lord appears, we will not be raised from the dead and ascend to meet Him in the air.

I have never heard a minister preach this. It appears that the majority of Christian pastor and evangelists tell us we ought to try to do good, but if we fail it does not matter because we are going to go to Heaven by “grace.”

The prevailing error in Christian thinking is that Christ came to bring us to Heaven. There is no basis in the New Testament for this idea. The issue is life, especially immortality in the body. Christ is our Redeemer. He came to enable us to regain what we lost through Satan’s trickery.

What we lost was not residence in Heaven, it was access to the Tree of Life so we would not die physically. Isn’t that what John 3:16 says? The term “perish” is used in the Gospels to mean the loss of physical life.

The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (I Corinthians 15:26)
For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. ((I Corinthians 15:53)

Sometimes I wonder how all of this is going to work out. It seems as though most Christian people of today are not presenting their body a living sacrifice. Rather they are waiting to go to a mansion in Heaven, being carried there in a “rapture.” This is so unscriptural it is ludicrous.

I do not believe they all are going to Hell or the Lake of Fire, unless they are wicked. I think if the sixth chapter of Romans were carefully explained to them, numerous believers would come to Christ that they might gain victory over sin.

There is no way that anyone is going to be raised from the dead and ascend to Christ until first that individual has appeared before the Judgment Seat of Christ and has confessed and renounced his or her sins and stubborn disobedience.

There is doctrinal chaos today, no two ways about it.

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Romans 6:22)

Please remember that “set free from sin” is not speaking of being set free from the guilt of sin but set free from the power of sin to control us.

The Divine gift of eternal life, including immortality in the body, results from holiness of personality and behavior. Holiness of personality and behavior results from our choosing to be slaves of God and of righteousness, rather than slaves of sin.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

Perhaps you will think I am exaggerating, but Romans 6:23 actually is preached to the unsaved rather than to Christians, to whom it is written. The current idea was presented on a sign outside a church. The sign said, “Come inside and find out about a free trip to Heaven.“A free trip to Heaven!” How unscriptural can you get?

I have heard it said that If someone handed you a fifty-dollar bill you would take it. Why won’t you accept the gift of eternal life?

I suspect that many true Christians have come to Christ and eternal life in this manner. But if they did, they had to turn away from slavery to sin and embrace slavery to God and righteousness.

The gift is that of the opportunity to gain bodily immortality, that which was lost in the beginning. Our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, enables us to escape the clutches of Satan and embrace God and His righteousness. Christ has redeemed us, that is, He has paid for us with His blood on the cross.

As we day by day turn away from sin and seek to live righteously, we grow in holiness. The result of growing in holiness is growth in resurrection life, in bodily immortality. Immortality will be given to us when the final trumpet blows and Christ appears.

I think it is time for God’s people to take a careful look at the sixth chapter of Romans. It appears that at some point we have gotten off the Gospel track.

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? (Romans 6:1)

(Taken from “Deliverance From Sinful Behavior,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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The Resurrection of the Body. I think an incorrect goal has been presented to Christian people. The traditional goal of salvation has been, and is today, to go to Heaven, probably to live forever in a mansion in the spirit world. The true scriptural goal is the resurrection of the body to eternal life in God’s Kingdom, not in Heaven necessarily.

(11/14/2010). It seems a primary purpose of salvation is to give us a better appearance, that is, a better resurrection, when the Lord returns.

People always are rewarded or punished in their body, whether they have done good or have done evil.

Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned. (John 5:28,29)
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)

If we are wise we will serve Christ diligently. In this manner we gain a better resurrection in the Day of the Lord.

Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. (Hebrews 11:35)

The central issue of the Divine plan of redemption is not forgiveness, or going to Heaven when we die. Neither of these would solve God’s problem of rebellion. The central issue is the developing of stern obedience to God in us.

When we have been changed from our will to God’s will, this inward change will be followed by the resurrection of our body; and not just the resurrection of the body, but the resurrection of the body to eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

The Lord Jesus Christ is our Redeemer. To redeem a thing or an individual is to give back to its original owner that which was lost. Mankind did not lose residence in Heaven, because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, but immortality in the body. God drove the two first people from the garden so they would not be able to eat of the Tree of Life and thus attain to bodily immortality while they were alienated from God.

The price of our redemption was paid by the blood of the Lord Jesus.

The reason the Christian churches have emphasized eternal residence in Heaven as the goal of redemption is that they view salvation as being the salvation of our spirit. If salvation were only the salvation of our spirit, then it would make sense to view residence in Heaven as our goal. One does not need a body to reside in Heaven.

Because the Kingdom of God is destined to come to the earth and be installed here (“Your Kingdom come”), the body must be resurrected (changed from death to life). We must have a body if we are to live on the earth.

The idea that the Christian salvation is for the purpose of bringing our inward spiritual nature to a spiritual Paradise when we die is derived from the teaching of Gnosticism, and is similar to the hope of other religions. The Christian salvation is the opposite of this. It is the hope of immortality and renewed life on the earth.

When God saw the first two people in their physical form, and all else of the material world, God declared His work was “very good.” The Gnostic concept, as I understand it, is that God’s work was very bad, and mankind must flee to the spirit world to find fulfillment.

I have noticed a tendency of people to view flesh as evil and spirit as good. There are religions that emphasize this, but it is not true of Christianity. In fact, the evil of our flesh is caused by wicked spirits that come from the spirit world. The flesh is delivered from evil when the wicked spirits have been conquered and driven from us.

Most religions, it seems, view the physical world as evil—suspect at best. They present the hope that man must die and enter the spirit world to find fulfillment. Perhaps this is why the Catholic church forbids its ministers to marry. It is as though there is something less than holy in physical marriage. The result of this unscriptural, unnatural directive is sinful behavior, as the repressed personality seeks to escape its boundaries.

We are coming now to the true, scriptural concept, that the material world is “very good.” Though it fell into the hands of Satan through man’s disobedience, our Redeemer has paid the price of our redemption and we now are free to pursue and regain immortality. Then Paradise will be restored to the earth, as Isaiah informs us.

The Kingdom of God is the Divine Life of God incarnate in a material world, and shall be installed on the earth when Jesus returns.

When the New Testament speaks of eternal life, it often is speaking of immortality, not of eternal spiritual life in the spirit world.

The famous John 3:16 state that we will not perish if we place our faith in Christ. However, spirits do not perish. It is the body that perishes.

Compare the use of the term “perish”:

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; (I Corinthians 15:42)
For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. (I Corinthians 15:53)

If you stop to think about it, what people want is bodily immortality, not endless existence in the spirit world. The good news of salvation is that our body is going to be resurrected so it can live once again as part of a normal human being. A normal human being is spirit, soul, and body. This is how God made us in the first place. Physical death is an unnatural state.

It is interesting to note that when people speak of resurrection they are picturing going to Heaven. Resurrection has nothing whatever to do with going to Heaven. Resurrection is the making alive of the physical body, that is, filling it with the Spirit of God.

This simple fact is not understood at all by most Christian people, it appears. But it is what we want. Bodily immortality was and still is the goal of the Apostle Paul.

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10,11)
To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. (Romans 2:7)
The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (I Corinthians 15:26)
For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. (I Corinthians 15:53)
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (I Corinthians 15:54)
But it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (II Timothy 1:10)

Notice the following:

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:11)
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23)

It appears that we have come to a change in our thinking. Our concept has been that we are forgiven so we can go to Heaven. This is surprising, in that nowhere does the Bible speak of going to Heaven. In fact, I don’t believe that any of the Apostles of the Lamb spoke of residence in Heaven as being our goal.

Why is it that now, in these days, we are becoming aware that our goal is to attain to bodily immortality in the Kingdom of God, and that we are destined to live once again on the earth? Probably because the coming of Christ and His Kingdom are at hand.

The unscriptural doctrine of the so-called “rapture” of the believers has largely done away with the pursuit of the resurrection, the redemption of our body. Ask any believer you know about the resurrection of our body. If they have been taught about the rapture, they likely will not be clear at all about the resurrection.

They probably will say that the rapture is the resurrection. This point of view hardly is scriptural. Can you imagine the Apostle Paul saying, “If by any means I might attain to the rapture?”

The truth is, there is a great difference between resurrection and ascension (rapture). The Lord Jesus was raised from the dead, was on the earth forty days, and then ascended to Heaven.

A central goal of the Christian redemption is the resurrection of our body, filling it with the Life of God. This is the destruction of the last enemy. This is the climax of redemption. The ascension is not part of redemption. It is an act of Kingdom power to get us ready to descend with Christ so we may participate in the installing of the Kingdom of God upon the earth.

When the fourth chapter of the Book of First Thessalonians speaks of the dead in Christ rising, that means the giving of Divine Life to their bodies. This is the resurrection. It does not mean rising into the air. The catching up comes later.

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)

When we think of the resurrection of our body we need to clear our mind of the idea that this refers to our body going to Heaven. It means our physical body has been made alive in Christ. Paul refers to the resurrection as “our adoption to sonship.” Can you see that this is speaking of a change in our state, not a change in our location?

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23)

I understand that viewing the resurrection of our body unto immortality as our goal may be a new thought to some of us. But it was Paul’s stated goal, and he urges us to take the same view.

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10,11)
All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. (Philippians 3:15)

The practical difference in viewing the resurrection of our body as our goal is that there is something we are to do about it today. We are in a battle for our body. Satan wants it for his possession. So does the Spirit of God. It is up to us each day to decide who owns our body. We are only the caretaker of our body.

But if we view dying and going to Heaven by “grace,” perhaps in a “rapture,” we will not work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Do you know, we do not work for our salvation. But we certainly have to work at it. If we do not, we may lose it.

What we will experience in the Day of Resurrection depends on how we are pursuing our discipleship today. If we are like the Apostle Paul we will be seeking to know Christ, counting the spirit of the world as so much garbage. We will be denying ourselves so we may know Christ, the fellowship of His sufferings, and the power of His resurrection.

If instead we are yielding to our sinful nature, living in the impulses of the soul and spirit, we can look forward to corruption in the Day of Resurrection. Our flesh and bones will be raised and then clothed upon with the corruption we have practiced. Thus we will be an object of shame and contempt.

Let us rather press forward into the Lord Jesus each day so we may experience a better resurrection, a resurrection to a Glory-filled immortality.

The sufferings we are experiencing now are, in effect, a sowing of our body unto death. We can think of our present body as seed that is sown. In the Day of Resurrection, what we have sown, whether to life or to corruption, will spring forth as a body of glory beyond our imagination to picture at this time.

How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. (I Corinthians 15:36,37)

When a plant grows from a seed, the seed is in the full grown plan. So it is true that our new body will still have the old body in it. The old body will not be left somewhere to decompose.

Following are some passages that emphasize when the New Testament is referring to “life,” it often means immortality in the body.

“Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:43-51)

I believe the Lord is teaching here that as we come to Him and partake of Him each day we gain inward resurrection life. Such inward life is the necessary prerequisite for receiving immortality in the body when the Lord returns.

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. (John 6:53-59)

The ancestors ate manna and died physically. Whoever feeds on Christ will live forever physically. The passage reveals the relationship between the inward resurrection and the outward resurrection.

I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. (Revelation 1:18)

Christ was dead physically and now is alive physically.

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, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. (Hebrews 12:22,23)

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Firstborn from the dead, and so His Church is referred to as “the church of the firstborn,” that is, the church of those who like Him are to be raised from the dead.

“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.” (Revelation 2:8)
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)

The believers who had not worshiped the beast or its image certainly had been alive spiritually prior to this event. So when the Scripture states, “They came to life,” it must mean their body at that time was imbued with the Spirit of God. I believe this is a clear indication that when the New Testament speaks of Christ giving us “life,” the meaning is immortality in our body.

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—(Hebrews 2:14)
I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. (Revelation 1:18)
From Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. (Revelation 1:5)
Whoever has ears, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25,26)

Jesus spoke these words just prior to raising Lazarus from the dead.

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. (I Corinthians 15:20-23)

It may be noted in the verses above that, “in Christ all will be made alive.” The sentence following that expression speaks of those who belong to Him being made alive when He comes. So even though they were alive spiritually before He came, just as is true of us today, they were not fully alive until He came and raised their bodies from the dead.

A careful study of the above passages will show, I believe, that it is time now for a change in our Christian thinking. Our salvation does not have to do so much with the redemption of our spirit, as important as that is. Rather, the emphasis is on the resurrection (redemption) of our body.

As I stated previously, I believe the concept that the Christian salvation is largely spiritual and has to do with our spiritual residence in Paradise when we die, probably reflects the influence of Gnosticism on the early churches.

Eternal life is the knowledge of God and of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The fullness of that knowledge is first developed in our inward nature. Then, for redemption to be complete, the new creation of the inward nature must incorporate the body before we fully have been redeemed, fully have become a son of God. Such is the manner of our adoption as a son of God.

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23)

(Taken from “The Resurrection of the Body,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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The Father’s House. (11/21/2010) “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” I suppose most Christian people believe that when they die they will go to a splendid mansion in Heaven, situated on a golden street. I think this hope would be more meaningful to poor people than to the wealthy, who already may be living in a splendid mansion. Perhaps we have not thought carefully about this. Our idea of Heaven may be nothing more than a vague hope that somehow the future will be better than what we are experiencing right now.

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:2,3—NIV)
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:2,3—KJV)

Notice that the NIV uses the term “rooms,” while the King James says “mansions.” Notice also that the NIV inserts the word “there” (“I am going there”), while the King James says “I go.”

I believe both of these differences are significant. First, the Greek term translated “mansions,” in the Kingd James Version, is best translated “abode,” or “home.” “Mansions” may have served in A.D.1610, but today it is misleading. The Greek word means “a place where people live,” not an elaborate building.

Second, the insertion of “there” (I am going there”), in the NIV. This implies that Jesus is going to a distant place, to a far-off Heaven. But the simple “I go to prepare a place for you,” of the King James, is to be preferred, I believe.

I think it is accepted generally that passages of the Scripture should be interpreted according to their immediate context, and according to the Scriptures as a whole.

Nowhere in the entire Bible can we find that mansions are being built for us in Heaven. The Bible does state that our conduct today is fashioning for us a house from Heaven. But this is referring to the spiritual body that will clothe our resurrected flesh and bones in the Day of Resurrection. Also, nowhere in the Bible is Heaven declared to be God’s House.

The context of John 14: 2 includes verse 14:23. There we find that the Greek term translated “mansions in 14:2, is set forth as “abode,” in 14:23.

John 14:2-23 show us that the Father’s House is not Heaven but Christ Himself. Christ was not returning to Heaven, as to a place in the spirit world, but to the Father who is in Heaven. Christ is inviting us to be with Himself in the Father, not just to a place in the spirit world. This distinction is of great importance.

The hope presented continually in the Christian churches is that when a Christian dies he will go to Heaven; that Christ, being a carpenter, has built mansions for us there. How glad we will be to leave this present valley of the shadow of death in which we are attempting to survive, and go to a beautiful dwelling in the world of peace.

Can you see what I am saying? We do not care about going to Christ to be with Him (“that you also may be with me where I am”). That relationship is of supreme importance to Christ, who loves us dearly. No—what we want is a lovely home that we can show off to the neighbors, and not have any more worries about money or anything else. Tell me I am wrong.

Now let’s think about what John 14:2-23 is declaring to us.

The Father’s House is the Lord Jesus Christ. But He is not to be the only room in the Father’s House. There are to be many rooms, many places in which the Father can dwell and find rest. Christ Himself is the Chief Cornerstone and the Capstone, the Alpha and Omega, of God’s House. The individual believers are the rooms in the eternal House of God. The eternal House of God is Christ—Head and Body.

If my understanding is correct, the individual rooms, which are the personalities, including their bodies, of the believers, God’s holy ones, will vary greatly according to the inheritance of the individual. Some of the rooms will be relatively small, containing the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, the believer himself, and a few people.

There will be larger rooms. Finally there will be great palaces also filled with God, the believer, and then millions of people. These believers will be the patriarchs of the future. As eternity unfolds, they will grow increasingly large until they are huge shining pillars from which the light of righteousness and holiness shine. As Daniel says, they will be as stars that shine forever and ever.

If I am not mistaken, the Lord Jesus Christ, who Himself is the greatest of all rooms in the Father’s House, incorporates within Himself all the people and works of God’s hands.

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. (Daniel 12:3)

Christ went to prepare a place for us so we may be rooms in the Father’s House. Where did Christ go? First, He went to the cross on our behalf. Then He went to the right hand of God in order to purify the “heavenly things.”

Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being. (Hebrews 8:23)
It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. (Hebrews 9:23)

Finally He comes to us as individuals so we may be qualified and competent to receive, in the Day of Resurrection, a body like His so we may be in His likeness. Then we are a living stone in God’s House.

Can you see now how the insertion of the word “there” in the NIV is so misleading? It reinforces the traditional understanding that the Father’s house is Heaven, and Christ is going up there somewhere to prepare mansions for us to live in. By and large the NIV is a good translation; but you have to watch out for these additions, as the translators try to help us out and do our thinking for us.

The Lord Jesus Christ is not the Way to Heaven, as such; He is the Way to the Father, exactly as He stated. John, Chapters 13-16, the immediate context of John 14:2, do not mention the word “Heaven.”

The balance of Chapter Fourteen tells how the Father lives in Christ and did the works and spoke the Words that have changed the world over the last two thousand years.

Then Christ tells us He is giving to us the same Holy Spirit that is in Him to be with us forever. Christ is the Way to the Father, and His Spirit helps us on our journey along the way to the Father. The Father was with us in the Garden of Eden. Now we, through Christ are to make our way back to our Father.

We can’t go to Heaven until we die. We can go to the Father today.

As we take up our cross and patiently follow Christ each day of our discipleship, we gradually learn to live by the Life of Christ. Living by His Life causes us to realize that Christ is in His Father, we are in Christ, and Christ is in us. This is our true goal.

Our Canaan, our land of promise, is not Heaven. Sin came into the earth from Heaven, and our going to Heaven will solve none of our problems and none of God’s problems—the problems arising from man’s insistence on living his life apart from the Presence of Christ and God.

Only Christ knows the Father, and those to whom Christ reveals Him. If we are to know the Father we must learn stern obedience to Him. God will not have fellowship with people who do not obey Him totally and completely.

Christ, the obedient One, died on our behalf so He might be able to restore us to the Father; not to Heaven, but to the Father. Now it is time, in the twenty-first century, to come to know the Father and to obey Him utterly. It is to accomplish this that Christ, in obedience to God, went to the cross.

In spite of the teaching about how Christ went to the cross because He loves us, the truth is He went to the cross in obedience to the Father! He would have thrown the cup away instead of drinking it, if it were not for His willingness to obey God.

John 14:23 tells us what all this means, where it is going.

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)

The verse above is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles.

If we want to make our way to the Father, we have to obey the teaching of His Son. This is why the current definition of grace, that it is an alternative to obeying God, has caused such moral destruction. The problem with the creation is disobedience to the Father, and when we disobey Christ we are disobeying the Father. God did not issue grace under the new covenant that we might live as we choose.

We do not show our love for Christ by talking about it or by worshiping with upraised hands in the sanctuary. We show our love by obeying the teaching of Him and His Apostles.

When we obey Christ, the Father loves us. The modern teaching that Christ and the Father are two expressions of the same Person is in error. Christ is a Person, and the Father is a person. Otherwise, much of the New Testament does not make sense.

The Father and Christ come to the obedient believer and make Their eternal home with him. Now three Persons are dwelling in us: the Spirit, the Father, and the Son. Now God has His eternal Throne, His eternal House, His eternal resting place. Only Christ is able to prepare us to be the eternal Tabernacle of God. And He will accomplish this preparation in us if we are willing and obedient.

Such is the mystery of the Gospel: Christ is in us, giving us the hope of being filled with all the Fullness of the Glory of God.

This is what the LORD says: Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? (Isaiah 66:1)

(Taken from “The Father’s House,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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The Lord’s Prisons. One of the first sermons I preached when beginning to serve as a pastor of Mount Zion Fellowship had to do with following Christ patiently. I felt in my spirit that the Charismatic movement would be divided over the issue of waiting on the Lord; of choosing patient suffering rather than being used mightily or otherwise exalted.

The majority of the Charismatic movement would seek the power of Christ, attempting to do “great things.” The minority would cease from their own works and wait in the Lord’s prison, patiently bearing their cross after Christ until Jesus saw fit to act. What I have seen over the last thirty years has confirmed my impression.

You have taken from me my closest friends and have made me repulsive to them. I am confined and cannot escape; (Psalms 88:8)

(11/28/2010). It may be true that the fundamental principle of the Kingdom of God is that life comes from death, not from life. We think of Christ’s resurrection, of Aaron’s rod that budded, of the Apostle Paul’s seemingly endless suffering.

Isn’t it true that Samson killed more in his death than he did in his life?

But life coming only from death is repugnant to the adamic nature. We see throughout Christian history that believers have sought to bear witness of Christ by building ornate cathedrals or developing their own plans to bring the Gospel to the ends of the earth. But this is not God’s way.

The Apostle Paul said he had the sentence of death in himself that he would not trust in himself but in God who raises the dead. This is the only correct approach to Christian life and ministry.

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: indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. (II Corinthians 1:8,9)

As if that were not enough, God permitted Satan to send a physical handicap upon Paul to make doubly certain that Paul’s ministry would not proceed from Paul’s own abilities. Consequently Paul’s writings continue to bring life and understanding to us to the present hour.

We can see, then, that the current American Christian emphasis on Christ helping us live the “good life” is the exact opposite of the Gospel of the Kingdom. The American “good life” is that of health and wealth, fun at the beach playing volley ball, romantic adventures in Hawaii, and plenty of time for the pursuit of pleasure and entertainment.

The Gospel of the Kingdom is one of patient suffering of denial, meekness, hope, laying up our treasures in Heaven, willingness to endure every form of hardship without complaining. When the Apostle Paul commanded us to “rejoice always,” he was in prison.

If I am not mistaken, severe Divine judgment is approaching America. Our worst sin is the murder of the unborn. God and his angels might laugh at the foolish antics of the sexually perverted before the deceived people destroy their personalities with indulgence in lust. But God will never laugh when a developing person is murdered to suit the whims of a woman or of the mother of a pregnant daughter.

Whatever plans our government has for the betterment of America will fail eventually while the practice of abortion-on-demand continues.

The coming trouble will be an excellent opportunity for Christian people to learn to have the sentence of death in themselves; to trust in God who raises the dead. No doubt numerous believers will take advantage of this opportunity, and the result will be a revival of unprecedented authority and power.

God will move when we come to the end of our strength and wisdom. Samson (the Body of Christ) will bow in death and the kingdom of Satan will come crashing down and never be seen again.

During modern times (I don’t know when or where it started) a spirit has entered the Christian ministry. I am not sure what to call it, except that it is a false prophet. It seeks to use the power of Christ apart from the traditional cross-carrying obedience and patient waiting on the Lord that we usually associate with discipleship.

There is talk of binding the principalities over cities; putting on our administrative hat; stepping out in faith. I suppose the faith and prosperity errors are part of it. We have had the “laughing revival.” There have been “revivals” in Canada and Florida that seem to be based more on enthusiasm than on the Spirit of God.

From my point of view, the concept that the Kingdom of God is here already and we now have the authority and power to demonstrate the powers of the age to come, is a delusion. This attitude does not agree with the idea of waiting patiently at Jesus’ feet and obeying him as he builds his Church.

Then we have “speaking the creative word.” It is a fact that a member of the Body of Christ may be guided to speak a creative word, but only as Jesus directs, not because the believer thinks it is a good idea.

What we may not understand, we Christians, is that Jesus is the only lawful Administrator of the power of the Spirit. We are not to attempt to use the gifts of the Spirit without looking to the Lord for guidance. We are to keep looking to Christ so we will know what we are to exercise and when we are to exercise it.

If this simple fact were brought to the attention of God’s people we might have real revival on our hands, not the kind of worked-up business we have been experiencing.

I believe it is time to think about this.

For myself, I don’t know how much of the present commotion is of the Lord Jesus. Are some people genuinely converted to Christ? Is lasting fruit being borne? I think it is, in some cases.

The thirteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation tells us of the False Prophet who will assist Antichrist. Notice that the False Prophet has the two horns (power) of the lamb but speaks with the voice of the dragon. The voice of the dragon is that of self-will. “I will; I will; I will.” It is easy to apply this description of what is taking place in some of the Charismatic ministries.

Will it be self-centered Christians who support the self-centered Antichrist world system? I think so.

The following passage is found in the second chapter of the Book of Revelation:

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 the crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)

God permits (or directs) Satan to put us in prison. But God always is in control. The length of time is determined in advance. The reward is the authority and power of endless, incorruptible Divine Life.

The imprisonment is that of our personal cross. Our personal cross takes two forms: we are not given what we so fervently desire at the time we desire it; or we have to live in a situation that we deplore, for an unknown period of imprisonment.

When Audrey and I first came to Mount Zion, we resolved to do only what the immediate situation called for, the practical actions any normal person would take. We resolved to avoid planning major programs until we knew what Christ was saying.

If you think waiting on the Lord like this is easy you possibly have never tried it. There are several forms of pressure that urge us to get out and do something: “Win souls for Christ.” “Build a big church.” “Compel them to come in.” “Win your city for Christ.” “Take dominion over the spiritual rulers of your community.” In other words, “Come down from the cross!”

So we have waited to see what Christ wanted. No word came. Younger ministers passed us up on their way to the “top.” I already was fifty years old with an earned doctorate in education from the University of Rochester in New York. I am supposed to bring glory to my alma mater.

So here I am, waiting for Christ to do something, an old man on my way to the bottom, in a little church in Poway, California. Someone told me that “Poway” is an Indian term meaning “the end of the road.” That does not help!

But you know what! I have determined to see this business through. If there is a God in Heaven, a Christ who said he would build his Church, let’s find out.” Kind of daring, I guess. Meanwhile some are saying we must go door to door and save souls. Oh well…!

I have stuck to my guns. It is thirty years later. The church is still less than a hundred in attendance. We have not made any effort to build the church. The Spirit of God always seems to bring in the people we need for what we are doing.

Meanwhile, our outreach is impressive, I believe, in books going out, television, our Internet sites, our daily essay on E-mail (over a thousand subscribers who read my rantings seven days a week). We still are not making any plans or trying to do anything.

In fact, you are reading these words right now and I don’t even know who you are or where you live, maybe in Vietnam. We actually see Vietnam on our statistics page for the WOR site, as well as France, England, Italy, the United Arab Republics, and other places you might not think of.

I prayed years ago that God would grant to me to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom wherever people breathe the air. I think he is thar answering prayer.

Meanwhile I am in the Lord’s prison. You know, resurrection power comes only from the cross, not from our religious efforts no matter how sincere or violent. We can try to twist God’s arm, but all we get are manifestations that seem to be the Holy Spirit but leave a bad taste in our mouth

When we think of Abraham offering Isaac, the numerous kinds of suffering the Apostle Paul endured, the privations of those heavenly witnesses mentioned in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews, we realize that God’s way is to reduce us to nothing, to remove all our ability to do anything, so his wisdom and power might prevail.

God sent away most of Gideon’s army before the battle, so the Israelites would not boast in their own strength.

Are you being denied what you want? Are you in a miserable situation? Pray earnestly that you will receive what you want. But do not force your way out of your prison! In order to escape you will have to break God’s laws. The route to deception is to try to make our life on earth a pleasant experience. Accept the trials God sends, and the blessings also. They are equally important.

When the Lord Jesus told us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him, he knew what he was saying. The greatest enemy we have, even worse than our sinful nature, is our self-will; our personal ambition. Our personal ambition is slain in our prison, slain by our cross. This is the purpose for the imprisonment. It is to kill our self-will.

When a self-willed person enters the ministry, what we have is self-will in the ministry. This is what we often see today: an ambitious person attempting to make a name for himself or herself.

I guess being a minister of the Gospel must appeal to people. Maybe it is better than working. For myself, this is not my choice. There are many things I enjoy doing. I would not have picked out the ministry for a vocation. I am in the ministry because Christ called me in a supernatural experience while I was in the Marine Corps during World War Two. Yes, some of us veterans are still living. I am pastoring as a favor for my best Friend, the Lord Jesus. Otherwise I would be doing something more pleasurable.

But, like Moses I think it was, I am looking forward to the reward from a grateful King. So I will keep on pastoring until he says “enough.”

I know, from reading the Bible, that the—shall I say monkey business—that goes on today with all its hype and begging for money probably is not Divine Life coming from the cross.

We have had several “revivals” in the last several years. But you know what? I am waiting for God to move. I have been in Pentecost for sixty years. I think I will know when I see the real thing. I haven’t seen it yet, but I believe genuine revival, the harvest rain prophesied for the last days, is at hand.

When it comes, you will know it and I will know it. There will be no more “big” preachers. It will be a “sackcloth” revival. Little people doing what the Lord has told them to do, and then fading back into the woodwork. Such people refuse to take the Glory. They want Christ alone to be magnified in their bodies.

So I invite you to wait with me in your own prison. Don’t try to be anyone special. Walk with the lowly of heart. Let’s see what our Lord Jesus Christ will do if we keep our hands off the Ark, because the Ark certainly is coming down the road.

John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. (Revelation 1:9)

(Taken from “The Lord’s Prisons,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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Dying in the Lord. There is coming a time of moral corruption and darkness. This situation can be seen already in the United States. The Apostle Paul warned of the coming darkness, saying, “People will be lovers of themselves.” The Lord Jesus spoke concerning the darkness, warning that no man could work during this period. We need to prepare ourselves to stand and help others to stand during the days to come.

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. (II Timothy 3:1,2)

(12/1/2010) The Book of Revelation has much to say about Antichrist, the False Prophet, Babylon, and Laodicea. We are entering such an hour at the present time.

Notice carefully these dark days:

A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus. (Revelation 14:9-12)

Now, notice the admonition directed toward the saints who are living at that time:

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.” (Revelation 14:13)

Dying in the Lord has nothing to do with physical death. Physical death is the sleeping of the body. The inward nature still is dead or still is alive, depending on its state prior to physical sleep (death).

“From now on.” From the time that wickedness comes to maturity in the earth, it is as the Lord said: “Night is coming when no one can work.” But the Lord Himself can work in that day. Therefore, if we are to continue to do good deeds during the hour of darkness we must “die in the Lord.”

What does it mean to “die” in the Lord. It means to give over our will to the Lord. This does not mean we become passive, or an “empty vessel,” as some have said. Rather it means that at every point of decision during the day we keep looking to Jesus for His wisdom and enablement.

How is this a “death”? Try doing this, and you will find out. It means that instead of charging about according to our own desires and reasoning we look to Jesus instead. And we do this at all times and in every circumstance.

Another way of expressing this is we place all our treasures in Heaven. We may or may not see them before we pass into the spirit world.

This is the exhortation to God’s people in the present hour. In light of what we are approaching we must cease living according to our own will. We must become subject in every aspect of our being and doing to the will of Christ. This is the kind of relationship Christ had and yet has with the Father in Heaven.

I admit, it takes a while before we become accustomed to looking to the Lord Jesus for all that we are and do. But it is the only condition that can survive the shaking that is coming. The heavens themselves shall be shaken, and all who are not living by the life of Christ shall be removed from their position.

All of our religious activities that have not been wrought in Christ will be brought down to the dust so that we may start over in Christ.

The twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation tells of the great rejoicing in Heaven when Satan and his angels are thrown down into the earth.

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)

The inhabitants of Heaven are rejoicing because Satan had access to God and was accusing the saints day and night.

This situation is true today. It is time now for Satan to be hurled down from his access to God in Heaven. In order for Satan to be so weakened that he can be forced down, he must be overcome by God’s saints.

You and I today must meet the qualifications required if we are to triumph over Satan, thus enabling Michael and his angels to prevail.

The qualifications are threefold: First, our faith must be anchored in the blood atonement made by the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary.

Second, our testimony of God, His Person, His will, His way, and His eternal purpose in Christ, must be true. Today we use the term “testify” to mean telling others what we know about Christ and His salvation. This can be fruitful, but it is not the fullness of the testimony that will triumph over Satan.

Remember, God is Truth. Satan is a lie. Only the truth of God is able to overthrow Satan.

In order to bear a true testimony of God, His Person, His will, His way, and His eternal purpose in Jesus Christ, we must spend our life coming to know God as He leads us through the fire and the water. All of our experiences bring us to a further knowledge of God if we continue in obedience, prayer, and Bible study.

There is a great deal of preaching in the United States. How much of it is bearing a true testimony of God? Certainly the current emphasis on Heaven, grace, and an unscriptural “pre-tribulation rapture” of every individual who professes to believe in Christ, is not the word of our testimony that is adequate to overcome Satan; to weaken him to the point that Michael and his angels are able to drive him from his position in Heaven.

What do people conclude about me and you after they come to know us? Are they seeing God, His Person, His will, His way, and His eternal purpose in Christ?

If we are to strengthen Michael and his angels to the point they can overcome Satan and his angels, we must have our faith anchored in the blood atonement, and we must be bearing a true witness of God.

If I am not mistaken, the emphasis today is on the third prerequisite: loving not our life to the point of death. Again, this is not the death of the body but the death of our willingness to pursue our own ideas and pleasures.

I believe there have been outstanding saints in time past who have pressed forth into this third realm with God. Certainly the faithful Abraham is an inspiration to all of us. Can you imagine how Abraham felt during that hike up to Mount Moriah with Isaac by his side, picturing in his mind what he could say to Sarah when he told her he had offered Isaac as a burnt offering to God? This is what it means to “die in the Lord.” A physical death would be much easier, wouldn’t it?

It is obedience that is the watchword in our day, an obedience that will enable Michael and his angels to prevail. Christ learned obedience through the things He suffered, and thus was made perfect. If the sufferings of Christ were required to bring Him to total obedience, when His nature, having been born of God, was not filled with rebellion as ours is, what will it take to perfect obedience in us?

Of course, Christ’s agony in Gethsemane goes far beyond what Abraham suffered and what we shall suffer. Nevertheless, the principle remains the same.

So the Spirit of God is going through the Christian churches today to find out who is willing to take this final step with God–final after we have placed our faith in the atonement; have been born again; and have learned somewhat of the Life of the Spirit of God. Will we do it? Will we tell God with our mouth that He may use us as He will; when He will; how He will; where He will?

Every Christian who will make this consecration, and there may not be many who will, shall serve Christ in a maximum way. This opportunity for service most likely will never come again. Can you and I rise to this supreme challenge?

Let’s do it. Then we will have all of eternity to realize that in the hour of supreme testing we chose to honor Christ and God with our life instead of serving our own needs and pleasures.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Matthew 6:19,20)

(Taken from “Dying in the Lord,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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Holding Firmly to the End. (12/5/2010) I may be incorrect in this, but I don’t believe that in today’s preaching there is enough insistence on working out our salvation with fear and trembling. Ever since I became a Christian I have heard the same emphasis: “We need to get people ‘saved,’” meaning, make an initial profession of faith in Christ. The idea that we have to persevere through every sort of testing and temptation if we are finally to be “saved,” is not mentioned very often.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12,13)

It is as though making an initial profession of Christ is a pass out of Hell and an admission to a mansion in Heaven. The idea that the gate and the way to life are constricted and difficult to enter and pursue, and that few find it, is not emphasized very often—at least not in my experience.

In fact, in over sixty years as a Christian I have never heard anyone preach on Matthew 7:14 (“only a few find the narrow road that leads to life”). I can understand why. It is because it does not fit our idea of someone gaining eternal life by making an initial profession of Christ. Actually the way to eternal life is a rugged road indeed!

At the present time we who are citizens of the United States are entering an era known as the “Hour of Testing.” The Greek term employed in Revelation 3:10 means a period of intense pressure to sin; an extreme arousal of evil desires.

We see this as so many people, prominent in both the secular and religious realms, succumb to criminal sexual practices. How many Christian children have been molested by their parents or relatives?

Because of the increasing pressure to sin that surrounds us, we must become aware that our salvation has to be worked out at every moment. We must keep choosing life while death is pressing on us.

The journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan lasted forty years. It was a very difficult period for the Jews. Were they “saved” when they left Egypt (a type of salvation often employed)? Yes, and no. They were saved out of Egypt but they were not at that time saved into Canaan, into the promised rest.

Do the writers of the New Testament tell us we are to consider the experience of the Israelites in the wilderness of Sinai an example of the Christian redemption? Indeed they do, and very clearly.

Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. (Jude 1:5)

The reason we are slow to grasp the fact that the Christian redemption is a process and not a ticket, is that we have been taught that eternal residence in the spirit Paradise, in Heaven, in an ornate mansion, is the goal of salvation.

If we make a profession of belief in Christ, there is nothing left to do but to wait to die and go to Heaven. This hardly fits the New Testament emphasis on enduring the rigors of the Christian discipleship.

We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first (Hebrews 3:14)

We might conclude the above verse means we remain confident we are saved by grace and there is nothing left to do. However, the context of the verse is referring to maintaining faith in God while enduring the numerous difficulties and privations of the pilgrimage through the Sinai desert.

Indeed, if we would be a disciple of the Lord Jesus we have to deny ourselves, take up our cross of deferred desire, and follow Christ at all times.

Sometimes we go through very deep waters and very hot fires. But we hold firmly the confidence we had at first.

We endure many years of boredom, during which nothing seems to be happening. But we hold firmly the confidence we had at first.

On occasion the Lord asks us to give up the idol nearest to our heart. But we hold firmly the confidence we had at first.

In the future in America, the way things are going, the day may come when we are persecuted viciously. Our children may be removed from us if we do not let them attend classes on how to be a homosexual. But we hold firmly the confidence we had at first.

It may cost us dearly to maintain our testimony as a Christian believer. But we hold firmly the confidence we had at first.

We may encounter difficulties among our family members. But we continue to hold firmly the confidence we had at first.

Of what are we confident? We are confident that Christ is with us and is leading us to change into his image; to untroubled rest in the center of the Father’s Person and will; to eternal righteousness, love, peace, and joy; and to the unique inheritance planned for us as an individual from the beginning of the world.

Most of us American churchgoers are spiritually soft because of the teaching of the any-moment rapture, and unconditional grace. Many pastors make certain their members are comfortable and will keep coming and giving of their money. Such pastors are going to have to answer to Jesus Christ why they did not preach cross-carrying obedience to their listeners.

One major problem is the incorrect goal that is presented. Our goal is not to go to Heaven. It is to be conformed to the image of Christ, and to be dwelling in untroubled rest in the Center of God’s Person and will.

The salvation which God has given us through our Lord Jesus Christ has as its purpose the making of man in God’s image, and the directing of him to be sternly obedient to Christ in every situation. Obviously, the goal is not often preached today, at least not in America.

Because we have the wrong goal, we cannot understand why redemption should be a process. When we die we go to Heaven by grace, no matter whether we serve Christ or not, so what is the problem?

The paragraph above reflects the thinking of countless American Christians. Since this is the case, our political leaders appear to be leaving ethics behind in their desire for power. Therefore, God is removing his covering from our country.

The chaos approaching America is due to the lack of a clear testimony of Christian people because of the false teaching they have received.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12,13)

God is ready to change every Christian into the image of Christ, and to bring him or her into complete rest in the center of his Person and will. But this is a process. Sometimes there are difficulties, and rigorous demands are made on us. This is why we have to continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

Why do we work it out with fear and trembling? Because it is a dangerous path. There are many minefields, many traps. Every believer who thinks he is standing firmly in Christ needs always to be careful that he is not led astray.

In the days to come we are going to need strong elders, men and women who have considerable experience in Christ, to keep us from being led away into some sort of sin or deception. We do well to pray continually. When we rejoice it should be accompanied with a sober appraisal of our circumstances.

So the happy, jolly American way of life is coming to an end. I dare say in the not too distant future, America will join England as an erstwhile major power, while the leadership of the world passes to a nation that forces ethical behavior on its citizens.

If we are wise we will walk before Christ day and night, obeying him in every circumstance, giving a clear testimony of righteousness so those who are watching us can learn and follow Christ also. By so doing we can save ourselves and those who hear us.

Our government has not outlawed abortion: and for this reason, if for none other, the handwriting is on the wall. Our leadership shall be given to another nation that fears and serves God.

Babylon was a mighty nation, one that God helped against its enemies. This also has been true of America. But the king of Babylon was not careful to worship God.

Do you remember this instance in the life of Daniel? The handwriting on the wall was addressed to the trembling Belshazzar.

This is the inscription that was written:
Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin.
This is what these words mean:
Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.
Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.
Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians. (Daniel 5:25-28)

Has America been weighed in the balances? Is moral filth flowing out from California to televisions all over the world? Are babies being murdered every day? Are the late-night “comedians” mocking the Lord Jesus Christ?

We Christians had better look to our business!

Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. (Proverbs 14:34)

Taken from “Holding Firmly to the End,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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The Shelter of the Most High. It seems to me the Spirit of God is warning us that chaos is approaching the United States of America. If I am hearing the Lord correctly, much blood is going to be shed. Then the United States will slip down to a lower status in world affairs and the power of the world will move to the East.

(12/12/2010). I am not certain that a great deal of prayer is going to alter the destiny of our country. I think the Lord is saying that it is up to each believer to save himself and his loved ones and whoever else listens to him or her.

There are millions of professing Christians in the United States but not that many genuine disciples. A true disciple of the Lord Jesus is someone who denies himself (turns away from his own will and does the Lord’s will); take us his cross (accepts the “prison” in which he has been placed); and follows the Lord Jesus at all times, looking to him for every decision that is made throughout the day.

Notice the following verse:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalms 91:1)

“Dwells in the shelter of the Most High.” This is speaking of abiding in Christ; living in Christ at all times. I have found the best way to do this is to keep up a running conversation with Jesus throughout the day and night

So many decisions have to be made each day. We can reason our way through all these, or we can keep on referring each decision—in fact, all that we are doing—to the Lord Jesus. “Help me Lord with this.” “Thank You for helping me with that,” and so forth. Do you do this? It is an excellent way of maintaining the Presence of Christ throughout the day and night.

There is no way in which I could overemphasize the importance of looking to Jesus at all times, in every situation. We are to keep opening the door to Him and dining with Him, not just on one occasion but all the time.

We are to keep up this dialogue with the Lord Jesus until we are living by His life. There is no life worth living except that which is shared with the Lord Jesus. He and He alone is our wisdom, power, righteousness, and holiness.

The night of moral chaos is approaching rapidly when no human being will be able to work the works of God. But the Lord Jesus can and shall through us if we are willing to “die in the Lord.”

Do you remember that the Lord said whoever believes in Him shall never die? Whoever is serving Jesus now, when he or she dies will continue in full memory and consciousness to serve the Lord. The remainder of mankind will be assigned to their appropriate places, some pleasant and some unpleasant, until they come back to life in the Day of Resurrection. Therefore no true Christian need be terrified when the Divine judgment on America commences.

The believer who is living in the Presence of the Lord Jesus, under His shelter, will find perfect peace and rest in God’s shadow. Whatever goes on on the outside cannot possibly reach through and harm the person who is living under the shadow of the Lord. The angel of the Lord surrounds those who fear Him and delivers them whenever danger is present.

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. (Psalms 34:7)

I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalms 91:2)

We Americans, most of us, may not in time past have seen the need to have a refuge or a fortress. But I believe we will in the coming days. It can be difficult to keep trusting God for our preservation when all around us destruction is occurring. We have to keep exercising our faith and trust rather than to give way to fear and dread. Faith and fear cannot dwell in our heart at the same time.

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. (Psalms 91:3)

Jesus advised us to pray, “Lead me not into temptation but deliver me from the evil one.” The “fowler” continually is laying traps for us. If we are wise we always will post a guard. There are many occasions when Christians let down their guard, when at a party, out shopping, or just at home with their family. If we do not pray without ceasing, we will fall into some sort of trap. It may be a while before we recover.

Personally, I don’t think Christian people realize we are in a war. The enemy always is seeking to trip us up. We may be comfortable in our religion, not understanding that the climax of the ages is upon us. Christ alone is Truth. The world spirit is a lie, and that lie continually is being communicated to us in America. It requires a strong Christian consecration if we are to keep our mind from being polluted by the lie that the world is.

One of the “deadly pestilences” of our day is cancer of all kinds. There also are other afflictions, such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, cholera and kidney diseases. There are many childhood diseases such as cerebral palsy and Down’s syndrome. The promise is that God will save us from these if we are abiding faithfully in Christ.

Sometimes fervent Christians are afflicted with cancer or another affliction. If we have been following the Lord diligently, then these are to perfect us. Nevertheless, we always are to look to Christ for healing in His time.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. (Psalms 91:4)

Again we are reminded that God hovers over those who choose to live in Christ’s Presence at all times. We are far more precious to God than a baby chick is to the mother hen, or a cygnet is to a mother swan.

God’s faithfulness! How often does the experienced Christian depend upon God’s faithfulness. None of us would last very long if it were not for God’s faithfulness. When we are brought into a place of danger we have to rely on God’s faithfulness.

Faithfulness is part of the image of God, and He will help us grow in this virtue.

I never have found God to lie. Have you? It is a point of honor with Him.

A rampart is a defensive wall. The faithfulness of God is our shield against the enemy, a wall that keeps out those who would harm us, particularly unclean spirits. We keep our rampart and shield in place as we look to Jesus continually.

As I stated previously, we Americans have lived in a relatively safe environment. The Spirit seems to be speaking that we need to prepare ourselves for the dangers that are ahead. We must live close to Jesus if we are to be able to stand and help others to stand as the period of judgment draws near

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, (Psalms 91:5)

Have you noticed that you are weak at night? I make it a practice that the moment I awaken and feel dread or fear, I ask in Jesus’ name that fear be cast out of every room of our house and the grounds outside, God is quick to honor this prayer, and soon there is a sense of peace and safety.

The “arrow that flies by day” speaks of military conflict. It is not unlikely that our country will be attacked one day. There are tensions among the various nations, and America is a target of envy and jealousy. The promise is that we will not “fear.”

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD. (Psalms 112:7)

I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. (Psalms 34:4)

In our time, two of the greatest dangers are that of a nuclear bomb or a electromagnetic pulse bomb. We will be tempted to jump in our car, join the traffic jam, and attempt to go somewhere we think will be safer. This could very well be “out of the frying pan and into the fire.” We must practice today to look to Jesus for wisdom when we see danger approaching. This is so very important!

nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. (Psalms 91:6)

There have been pestilences and plagues at various times in history that have killed millions of people. One of the best known is the “black death,” bubonic plague that killed over a fourth of the population of Europe. The influenza pandemic of 1918 killed more people than died in the First World War.

There is no certainty that a similar plague will not come upon the world one of these days, such as cholera. There is so much wickedness being practiced that Divine judgment surely is not far off. But we are not to fear any plague, because we are protected by God’s faithfulness. This is true provided that we are dwelling in the shelter of the Most High.

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. (Psalms 91:7)

The teaching of the “pre-tribulation rapture” is a major error of our day. It is designed to allay the fears of the believers by promising them a free trip to Paradise before they could possibly be faced with the dangers outlined in the ninety-first Psalm.

That the rapture teaching is erroneous can be seen in the verse above. “A thousand may fall at your side.” That sounds to me like we will be present during these violent dangers, but preserved by God’s faithfulness. Does it sound like that to you? If we are removed to Heaven, how is it possible that a thousand people will fall at our side and ten thousand at our right hand?

Christians who place their faith in the so-called “rapture” will not prepare themselves to stand in the evil day. If this is what is happening today in America, then we know the source of the “rapture” concept.

God did not “rapture” Daniel to Heaven when he was thrown into the lions’ den. God protected Daniel while in this dangerous situation. This is God’s way of deliverance, not removal from the danger. Think about the three Hebrew young men in Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace!

You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. (Psalms 91:8)

Again, we are not going to be carried up to Paradise when plagues come. We are going to be protected while in the midst of them. We actually will be here to see what happens to wicked people.

If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. (Psalms 91:9,10)

Notice the “If.” “If we say ‘the Lord is my refuge.’” If we choose to honor the Lord by saying “He is my refuge,” and make Him our dwelling place, then no harm will overtake us nor will disaster come near us.

This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. (Psalms 34:6)

There is an expression circulating today among Christian people. It is “God’s unconditional love.” Anyone who is familiar with the Bible realizes that God’s blessing is always based on the behavior of the recipient.

It absolutely is true that God can forgive the worst of sinners. The atonement is not prevented by any past works of wickedness. The forgiveness is full, free, and does not need additional works of penance.

The Bible tells us that God repays the faithful with faithfulness and the wicked with destruction. The current idea that a believer can live in sin and disobedience to God, and still be protected by grace, is as big a lie as has ever entered the universe.

God sees all that we do, whether or not we are a Christian. If we serve Christ faithfully, we will abide under God’s blessing. If we live according to our sinful nature, we will reap corruption. As we sow we shall reap.

This truth is not always heard in today’s preaching in America, but it most certainly is what both the Old Testament and the New Testament declare clearly and forcefully.

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. (Psalms 91:11,12)

As I was writing my new book, Godwill Castle, I began to realize the great number of angels who work in God’s universe and the variety of their services. There are angels protecting every one of the true followers of the Lord Jesus. They guard us in all of our ways, not just some of our ways.

We have been created to love God and to be in union with God through the Lord Jesus. This is not true of any angel. The angels do the work of the Kingdom, including fighting against the evil spirits, and serve the elect in numerous other ways as well

I rather suspect that Jesus was able to walk on the water because angels were lifting Him up in their hands. God sent an angel to Gethsemane to strengthen Christ at the time of His greatest agony. Angels keep us from innumerable dangers and traps.

But we must remember that God’s angels belong to God and do His will. God’s angels always will honor and assist those who are obeying Christ. We never are to presume to direct an angel. Our role is to pray to Jesus. When we do, God sends His angels to deliver and help us.

Do you remember how the Commander of the army of the Lord told Joshua that he was not for Israel or for Israel’s enemies? Rather he is the servant of God! We need to keep this in mind, because there is presumptuous talk in our time about what great spiritual power and authority we think we have.

You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. (Psalms 91:13)

One of the ideas that accompany the unscriptural teaching of the “rapture” of the believers is that such an evacuation is necessary so we will not be injured by Antichrist or the Great Tribulation. This teaching does not take into account the power of Christ or the authority He has given to those who live in His Presence.

We not only are protected against Satan and all his helpers, we will stamp on them. As Paul wrote, “God will crush Satan under your feet shortly.”

This does not mean we are to go charging about, rebuking unclean spirits. We must wait until the Lord Jesus directs us to go on the attack.

“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.” (Psalms 91:14)

Again, we have a condition: “Because he loves me.” How do we know we love Jesus? We know we love Him when we keep His commands. We know we love Him when we talk to Him all day and through part of the night. We know we love Him when we are willing to lose our life in Him that He may control our mind, emotions, words, and deeds. We know we love Him when we have no other gods that we worship.

Then He rescues us. Then He protects us. Then He sets us on high with Him, far above the turmoil and dangers of the present world. Rather than trust in our own understanding, we acknowledge the name of Jesus in all that we do; in every decision we make; in all our hopes and desires.

He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. (Psalms 91:15)

“He will call on me, and I will answer him.” There is a tendency today in Christian circles to try to find some formula that will bring an answer to prayer. There is a multitude of books and tapes that counsel us to do this or do that. Then we will be healed, or receive a large amount of money, or otherwise get what we want.

In the eighteenth Psalm, King David, when he was in trouble, called on the Lord. Read this Psalm and notice the tremendous response. This is what we are to do. We are not to look for a formula or something that someone says will “work.” Do not try to be your own deliverer. Call on the Lord!

Be courteous and thankful for all your blessings. Don’t rely on some method to obtain what you desire. Call on the Lord!

Call on the Lord! Call on the Lord! Always be courteous and thankful, not rude or belligerent. But call on the Lord! He likes to hear your voice. Blow the trumpet of prayer so God knows you are in a battle and need deliverance. Call on the Lord until you receive your answer. This is what David did.

“With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (Psalms 91:16)

Such is the reward for serving the Lord. As I said previously, if we spend our life calling on the Lord, then, when we die, we will keep on serving the Lord. He who follows Christ like this will never actually die but will walk into the spirit world; continuing to look to Jesus for all things; continuing to come to know Him; continuing to endeavor to find His will and perform it diligently. This procedure will keep on like this for eternity.

To partake of God’s salvation means to be conformed to the inner and outer likeness of the Lord Jesus, our elder Brother, and to abide in complete rest in the very center of God’s Person and will. It means to have unbroken fellowship with God and His Son, Jesus Christ. It means to inherit people whom we can love and bring into God’s Person and ways.

All this if we choose to dwell in the shelter of the Most High and rest in His shadow.

(Taken from “The Shelter of the Most High,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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Integrity. I believe every Bible school or seminary should have at least one class devoted to integrity of character and behavior. When one begins to associate with Christian pastors it soon becomes apparent that integrity is in short supply in the Christian world. I am employing the term “integrity” to mean honesty, faithfulness, and truthfulness of character and behavior.

(12/19/2010)The idea of integrity, of decency and trustworthiness, seems to have been diminished greatly in our country, and perhaps in other countries as well, in addition to its lack in our churches.

Perhaps “integrity” is another name for “righteousness”! However, there may be a slight difference in the way the terms are used.

To be righteous in the sight of God is to be pleasing to him at any given moment.

Integrity refers to sincerity, truthfulness, and honesty of character and behavior, regardless of our knowledge of the Lord.

The question that needs to be raised in today’s Christian preaching is, “Can a person be righteous in the sight of God but lacking in integrity in the sight of people?”

“Absolutely,” roar the “faith alone” proponents.

“It depends,” responds the thoughtful Christian. If a believer obeys the Spirit of God at all times, that individual is righteous in the sight of God. If he is lying or stealing or committing adultery, the Spirit will point out his sins and enable him to overcome them. So while he is growing spiritually, he still may be lacking in integrity but righteous in God’s sight.

The problem with today’s preaching is it offers a perpetual righteousness to whoever makes a profession of belief in Christ, even though the individual is not obeying the Spirit, and not growing in integrity.

It is as though we are permanently righteous in God’s sight even though we continue to obey our sinful nature.

We do not need to be a Bible scholar to see immediately that the New Testament does not teach we can continue behaving according to our sinful nature and then inherit eternal life. The New Testament certainly does not support this point of view. It has been deduced by selecting a few verses, taking them out of their contexts, and them using them as axioms.

I remember as a boy the anecdote about George Washington telling the truth about what happened to the cherry tree. Also, there was a story, that I remember as having originated in England, about the man who walked several miles barefoot to borrow a pair of shoes he needed to participate in a wedding. He returned home barefoot, carrying the shoes.

After the wedding, he carried the shoes back to the owner, walking barefoot so as to keep the shoes in the best possible condition. Many of today’s Americans would laugh at and scorn such ideals. The late-night comedians would find this uproariously funny and many “Christians” would laugh along with them.

And then we wonder why our country is in so much trouble!

Mothers wanted their sons to grow up to be President of the United States, implying that only the very highest and purest of mortals could ascend to that lofty position of honor and purity of character.

And then we have President Clinton and his aide and their behavior. The difference between their behavior, and that held as exemplary as recently as a hundred years ago, is just about unimaginable. And he still is perceived by many Americans as a distinguished politician! Also, I think he is viewed, by himself at least, as a Christian.

Men prided themselves on returning a borrowed tool in better condition than when they were given it: the axe was sharper; the crescent wrench was oiled and polished. A man’s word was his bond, they used to say. A person’s promise was as dependable as a written contract.

When one is selling or buying a property, there are twenty or thirty forms that must be signed or initialized. All this paperwork is designed to protect against dishonesty. But there was a day in time past when it was only necessary to agree and shake hands on it.

Well, it is not true today. We have become more “civilized,” I suppose.

Perhaps how people behave is none of my business.

But being a pastor, a Christian leader in that sense, I think that how Christians behave is indeed my business. Perhaps we assume that “accepting Christ” results in an individual of greater integrity than that of non-Christians. Then we remember that the Protestants and Catholics of Ireland are given to murdering each other. They all worship the same Christ, and yet they rejoice as they cripple and murder each other.

How can this be? Is there no power in the blood and Spirit of Jesus Christ to make better people? Is being “born again” nothing more than a religious slogan? When we review the history of Christian people we see that the majority are little different in character from the non-Christians. Can this be true? Did the Christians in England force opium on the Chinese? Did wealthy Christians in America engage in the slave trade, and steal land from the Indians? It is little wonder so many of the world’s people are not overly impressed with the Christian religion.

Yet God has promised that righteousness and praise shall spring forth before the nations of the earth.

It appears the power of the Divine redemption has not had its full effect as yet. The goat of the blood atonement has been operating, but the goat of removal is not in effect as yet, referring to the Jewish Day of Atonement.

I have noted on several occasions a lack of integrity on the part of Christian pastors and evangelists. I have been surprised at this lack. I was not raised in a Christian home or under any other kind of Christian influence. However, while I was growing up I looked on churches and ministers with respect and confidence, although I did not want to attend services.

But now, after many years as a Christian, both as a member of congregations and also as a pastor, I see that various forms of immoral behavior characterize many Christian leaders, ranging from mere lack of disciplined character to outright moral filth and dishonesty.

I have speculated on the reason for this undisciplined character and lawless behavior. As I see it, there are several causes.

It may be true that one primary cause for the paucity of integrity is that through the centuries the Christian salvation has consisted largely of words, of philosophy one might say, rather than of power that transforms character and behavior.

I do not claim to be well versed enough in Church history to make definitive statements about the Christians of the past, but I can venture my impressions. As I outline what seems to be the bulk of the record of the Christian religion, it must be kept in mind that throughout the Christian Era there have been outstanding saints.

Also, it is clear that the Christian religion has influenced the nations positively in which Protestant Christianity is the dominant religion. There are efforts in the “Christian nations” to treat people humanely that we do not always see in non-Christian nations.

Having issued this important disclaimer, let us proceed.

Prior to the Protestant Reformation, the dominant religion in Europe was Catholicism. I would say that the emphasis of Catholicism at that time was on obedience to the various aspects of the religion rather than on transformed character.

I believe I am correct in stating that the same is true today. While the Pope stands resolutely against abortion, as I do also, the concept of the Divine transformation of the individual seems to be set aside in favor of various penances. Perhaps I am incorrect here.

The Protestant Reformation may have reacted against the religious works of Catholicism, such as self-abuse, by overemphasizing the role of belief. “Faith alone!” But as I have listened to this watchword for many years, I have come to the conclusion that it is interpreted as “belief alone.”

Why do I say this? Because “belief” suggests a mental acceptance of the theologic facts about Christ. “Faith,” however, includes obedience to the commands of Christ and his Apostles. The strident call to “faith alone,” at least in our day, means “belief alone.”

I have been criticized many times for teaching “works.” What I actually am teaching is the behavior that results from the work of the Holy Spirit in us. However, the “faith alone” crowd will have nothing to do with any suggestion that true salvation always results in a new moral creation, not the same old creation which by some magical “grace” is seen by God to actually be righteous.

Obviously, if one views “faith” as belief in the principles of theology subscribed to by a denomination and portrayed in its “Statement of Faith,” then even the most feeble attempt to emphasize integrity will be viewed with suspicion if not outright hostility.

What a mess we are in today! It is no wonder our government has lost its moral compass!

It appears the basic cause of our lack of integrity (righteousness) is the confusion about Christ’s work of redemption. It seems to have been true over the past period of time, perhaps throughout the entire Christian Era, that our salvation is principally “forgiveness” so we can go to Heaven and not Hell when we die.

The fact is, the genuine Christian salvation primarily is not forgiveness but deliverance from the chains of sin plus the desire and willingness to behave righteously, that is, to demonstrate integrity of character. God’s salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ brings forth a new moral creation, a person in God’s image.

Until the confusion about the purpose and nature of salvation is taught clearly, I do not believe that integrity will become a part of the Christian experience. Yet God will not dwell where there is a lack of integrity.

So the current lack of integrity on the part of Christian people and their leaders may not be due to a willingness to behave dishonestly but to confusion concerning what Christ can do for us. And because the Christian people do not reveal in themselves the good works that are the light of the world, the rest of mankind plows forward in the mud, so to speak, not realizing that the problems and frustrations they suffer continually, are the result of their behavior.

Another reason for the lack of integrity is the sense of sins forgiven. When an individual comes to Christ for forgiveness he experiences a lightness of spirit. A sinner has come home. This is why many Christian adults behave foolishly, not exhibiting the discipline and restraint of unsaved people.

Yet another factor leading to lack of integrity is the example set by older Christians and their leaders. When we are young, or a new Christian, we are apt to regard the older saints with awe. We suppose they are pillars of holiness and obedience to God.

After a period of time, as we see repeated instances of a lack of sincerity or even of truthfulness and basic honesty, we become disillusioned. We had supposed that the older Christians behaved during the week as they did during Church on Sunday. We were not aware of the Christian “game,” of the practice of repeating the expected phrases of carrying our cross and serving Christ on Sunday, and then living as a worldly person during the week.

  • When Audrey and I went to pastor a church for the first time, an influential lady in the congregation asked us, “When are you going to get real?” She meant when were we going to “let our hair down” and have a party or two. She did not believe people actually lived like my wife and I were teaching.
  • The pastor you looked up to when you were a youth leader in his church, who left his wife and moved to a distant city in order to live with another woman.
  • The evangelist who appointed someone in the audience to stand up and say he would give the first thousand dollars.
  • The pastor who arranged for air to blow through the air conditioning ducts so people would think it was the Holy Spirit.
  • The evangelist who had all the young people starry-eyed, who actually was fornicating with women of the church.
  • The evangelist who sent out workers to the homes of widows to get them to change their wills so their inheritance would go to the evangelist rather than to their children.
  • The televangelist who bundled up the prayer requests and put them in the garbage.
  • The evangelist who tells his audience that if they will give him a thousand dollars they will never get cancer.
  • The lying evangelist who makes up stories about incidents that never took place.
  • The patriarchs of orthodox churches who fight with one another over property.
  • The thousands of priests who have molested children.
  • The “Christian” woman who leaves her husband and goes off with another man who also left his spouse. Then the two of them go from church to church singing musical “specials.” They also record CDs.
  • The pastor is too busy figuring out how much of the morning offering to hide from the IRS, to spend time inquiring about the integrity of his musical evangelists. Yet the Bible warns us about deceivers, about wolves in sheep’s clothing.

I could easily enlarge this list.

Why is this? Why does the religion that bears the name of the Lord Jesus Christ not change people?

I will tell you why. It is because no religion actually changes the hearts of people. It is only a personal walk with Christ that really changes people. Whenever a Christian church places more emphasis on the faithful practice of its sacraments and rites than it does on growth in integrity of the individual communicant, that church is more of Satan than it is of Jesus Christ.

I know from personal experience that there are fine Catholic people. But when the Catholic churches emphasize penances rather than genuine, heartfelt repentance, a turning away from sin, they are not doing the work of God.

Do you remember the story of the “old prophet” who caused the death of the younger man of God? So it is that a minister as he grows older may neglect to follow Christ. He may go into selling insurance or real estate. He may remember the days when the Spirit of God rested on him. But he has fallen short of what God had for him.

When we say someone has been converted we often mean he has accepted Christian theology as being truth. He did not actually enter the death and resurrection of Christ when he was baptized in water. He went down dry and came up wet. No one ever told him he now is dead to the world that he may live in the Presence of Christ and keep his commands.

I think denominations often regard the local church as a business. The pastor is the chief executive officer of a business. The mark of the successful pastor is an increase in the offerings and in the number of people who attend. “Nickels and noses,” as someone said.

This being the case, the pastor may be wise not to tell the people that in order to be a disciple, a Christian, we have to deny ourselves, take up our cross (our personal imprisonment), and follow the Lord Jesus every day and night. The pastor will choose either to preach what God wants, or else to curry favor with the people so the church grows in numbers. It reminds us of the parable of the unrighteous steward.

There simply is no middle ground. Either we faithfully present the burden of the Word of the Lord, or we keep in mind how what we are preaching is going to affect the offerings and the attendance.

Sad to say, in addition to the above examples of weak, worldly ministers of the Gospel, there are a few who are blatantly wicked. They have learned how to move congregations with their “great swelling words,” as the Apostle Paul said, and obtain a great deal of money in this manner. But they are of their father, the Devil, so there is no use even discussing them.

After reviewing in my mind the sorts of things that take place in the Christian religion, I have concluded that “Depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness” will be the reception numerous Christians are going to receive when they die and stand before Christ.

Integrity! God will not work where there is lying and treachery. It does not matter if ten million souls “accept Christ.” The end never justifies the means with God. Man-directed Christianity, with all of its self-seeking and moral filthiness, will never be accepted by the Lord Jesus.

Those who continue in their sinful nature might just as well leave the Gospel and pursue some other philosophy or religion; for God and his Christ do not know them and have not accepted their works. They are doing harm rather than good!

So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, “How much do you owe my master?” “Eight hundred gallons of olive oil,” he replied. The manager told him, “Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred.” (Luke 16:5,6)

(Taken from “Integrity,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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Not on Food Alone. There are two kinds of people in the world. The life of the one kind is restricted to that which comes from food. The life of the other kind derives its physical sustenance from food, but its guidance and strength come from the words that proceed continually from the mouth of God. The first kind are intelligent animals. The second kind are the sons and daughters of the Kingdom.

(12/26/2010). Animals live on food alone. Their guidance and strength are supported by food. They eat, sleep, play, work, and reproduce. This is their life.

Such is and always has been true of the majority of the people of the world. Their guidance and strength are supported by food. They eat, sleep, play, work, and reproduce. They are more intelligent than the other animals, but, like them, they are dead spiritually. The life of God is not in them.

The flesh makes a fine show for a season. Then it grows old, withers, and perishes. It is beautiful and handsome one day. The next day it is wrinkled, weak of body and mind. This is true of the strongest of people.

The Lord Jesus has entered this charnel house, bringing the Life that He Himself is. Whoever lives by continually interacting with Him will perish physically one day, but will keep on living in the spirit world. By this I mean, he or she will keep on serving Christ in the spirit world. Then, in the Day of Resurrection, these faithful servants will be clothed with a body that is spiritually alive. Such is the end product of the Christian redemption.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25,26)

Did you notice the expression, “whoever lives by believing in me will never die”? It is not a case, as so often is presented, of making an initial acceptance of Christ. Rather, it is a case of living by believing in Him.

I believe today’s preaching has altered John 3:16 to mean that by making the correct religious profession concerning Christ we have a pass out of Hell and a ticket to Heaven.

John 3:16 actually means that those who want to escape the life of living only on food, and thus perishing, now have the means of gaining eternal life. Instead of perishing they, through the Lord Jesus Christ, can continue to live and serve Christ after they die; and when He returns can receive an imperishable body that will clothe their resurrected flesh and bones.

We have made going to Heaven to live in a mansion the centerpiece of the Christian redemption. It assuredly is not. The centerpiece of the Christian redemption is the attainment to life in the Presence of God in our inward nature, and immortality in our body. We then are not confined to the spirit world.

Paul placed attaining to the resurrection of his body as his goal. He counseled us to do the same. We have not done as Paul commanded. We have placed going to Heaven to live in a mansion as our goal. For this reason numerous believers are pitifully weak in spiritual strength.

I often have wondered why Christian people do not influence their nations more than they do. America and Europe, with their rich Christian tradition, are given over to the flesh. This has been true historically, and more so today.

I believe it is because the Christian salvation has been presented as a ticket to Heaven rather than a life that lives by eating the flesh and blood of Christ at all times; by receiving continually the guidance and strength that come from living in the Presence of Jesus Christ.

It was in Lutheran Germany that the Holocaust took place. It is from Christian America that moral filth fills the airwaves. It is in Ireland that the Catholics and Protestants kill and maim each other. All because of the “ticket” doctrine, the reliance on the beliefs and practices of religion instead of an emphasis on abiding in Christ at all times.

The potential for a new world of righteousness always has been present in the Gospel of the Kingdom, but it has not been realized as yet. It shall be realized some day, for God cannot be frustrated or defeated.

How do we attain to the inner resurrection that must precede the immortality of the body? We do so by interacting with the Lord Jesus throughout each day, and the part of the night that we are awake. This is what the Apostle Paul meant by praying without ceasing. We keep up a dialogue with the Lord Jesus at all times.

To abide in Christ in this manner we always must be presenting our body as a living sacrifice. Our sinful nature constantly is pressing us to confine our life to food alone. The idea of denying our desires, accepting our imprisonments, and following Christ instead of our own reasoning, is not acceptable to our animal personality.

It seems that just about every day there is a pressure from our sinful nature, our culture, our friends, the electronic media, to live according to our own understanding and desires. It is easy to just follow along with everyone else, meanwhile struggling to survive and perhaps excel in our culture.

For most of us there are frequent perplexities, frustrations, sorrows, pains, fears, and other afflictions that threaten our peace of mind. Anyone who does not realize this world is the valley of the shadow of death has not lived here for very long.

And you know, God did not put us in this world to be happy. He placed us here that we might learn about Himself, and also that He would have a population from which to choose rulers of the coming world of righteousness. Jesus told us that in the world we would have tribulation, and we do.

But it is these various pressures that are the key to our learning to live on every word that comes from God, instead of just on food. If we choose to take the way the Spirit is pointing out to us, not blaming people or cursing the darkness, we will find opportunities each day to call on Christ for guidance and strength. Thus the words coming from God’s mouth, that are directed to us as an individual, result in our gaining eternal life from the pains and problems of our daily battles.

So life and death are set before us, as they always have been for God’s people. We can choose to live by following Christ each day and partaking of His resurrection Life; or we can endeavor to always live a pleasant life, which means that the people around us, instead of being strengthened by our faith, will be hindered in their own walk.

We can be a giver or a taker.

How wonderful it is that God has given us this opportunity to be shaped in His image and thus attain to eternal life. It is not easy. It is not always pleasant. There are a few occasions when we are brought to the end of our ability to cope. But Jesus always is walking with us in the fire. If we will look constantly to Him, asking His help in all circumstances, great and small. we finally shall hear His “Well done.”

And that, my brother and sister, is worth everything!

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’” (Luke 4:4)

(Taken from “Not on Food Alone,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2010, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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From Doctrine to Christ. The leaders of the Jewish people have a high regard for the Scriptures. So high a regard that when the Author of the Scripture taught in their cities they hated Him, preferring to “search the Scriptures.” How can this be? Do the Scriptures, which came God through Christ, tell us to ignore Christ when He comes? How can this be? Does it happen today?

(1/2/2011). When I first became a Christian I came under the influence of fellow Marine Christians. They were adamant about the importance of the written Word. Some of them were followers of Dawson Trotman and stressed memorization of many passages of the Bible.

Being a new Christian I was impressionable. From that point forward I memorized many verses. Also, I embraced the attitude that the entire Bible is the infallible Word of God. I hold to that attitude to the present hour. I believe God has put His blessing on the accepted Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic translations of the Received Text.

Since I left the Marine Corps, at the end of World War Two, I have found several errors in the beliefs of fundamental Christian believers. While most fundamental believers subscribe to the full verbal inspiration of the Received Texts, they have adopted a number of traditional beliefs, such as the goal of salvation is escape from Hell and eternal residence in the heavenly Paradise. Any individual can read the New Testament and notice that nowhere is the heavenly Paradise presented as the goal of the Christian redemption.

Perhaps the most destructive of the adopted traditions is the misunderstanding of the Apostle Paul’s doctrine of “grace.” “Grace” appears to be regarded in our day as an alternative to righteous behavior. Much of the writings of the Apostles make this definition of “grace” violently unacceptable. What Paul meant by “grace” is that we are to serve Christ through the Spirit of God rather than by obeying the Law of Moses.

Such a simple misunderstanding, but so terribly awesome in its effect on the spiritual maturity of the Christian believers throughout the world.

I have discussed this issue in many of my writings. I wish to veer now to a different, although related, issue. But first I had to assure my readers that I subscribe wholeheartedly to the full, verbal inspiration of the Received Text. I consider every word of the Bible to be heavier than the combined weight of the sand on the shores of every ocean, sea, and lake in the world.

The Bible is, in fact, the very Word of the living God. The Old Testament and the New Testament were spoken by the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ, although human vehicles were employed in their transcription. These are not the words of men but of God!

The different issue about which I am writing is the way the New Testament is to be interpreted and obeyed.

The New Testament, unlike the Old Testament, is not to be interpreted and obeyed in the same manner that was true of the Old Testament. The Old Testament was to be read and obeyed. Righteousness and prosperity were given to those who learned the Law of Moses, and the words of the Prophets, and obeyed them.

To a certain extent this is true of the New Testament. It may be noted that adherence to the text of the New Testament is the basis for the numerous divisions among Christian churches. Some scholars interpret and stress passages of the Bible in one manner, and some in another. We see this in the disagreement concerning the Sabbath day, some pointing toward Saturday, and some, Sunday.

How can this be, given the scholars on both sides are godly, competent people? It was true even before Christ, wasn’t it, as we see the Pharisees and the Sadducees arguing about the resurrection. Everlasting disagreements, and yet but one God and one Christ.

Why is this? It is because the Bible so often is interpreted and obeyed by the human mind. And humans in all kinds of endeavors, whether scientists or artists, disagree one with another.

The Apostle Paul told us that the Lord’s desire is that we become one in Christ. We never can be one in Christ on the basis of theology or doctrine. It is not going to happen. Unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God is arrived at only when people are filled with Christ, regardless of their doctrinal understandings.

It may be true that we have gotten into the incorrect doctrines that we have as a result of our cutting and pasting verses from the New Testament to produce a simplified “plan of salvation,” which we then have the unsaved recite (the famous “four steps of salvation).

But we have ignored the description of the new covenant presented in the Book of Hebrews. There we are told that the new covenant is the writing of God’s eternal moral law on our heart and mind. This means that the new covenant is one of personality transformation rather than one primarily of forgiveness; and certainly is not a pass out of Hell into everlasting residence in Heaven.

When we speak of the writing of God’s eternal moral law (not the Law of Moses!) on our heart and mind, we are referring to the creation of Christ in us. He alone is the Word of God. And this is exactly what the new covenant is. It is the forming of Christ in us, for which the Apostle Paul travailed in birth.

To a very great extent our teachers today are stressing doctrine rather than interaction with the living Jesus. We search the Scriptures, hoping to find eternal life therein. But perhaps we do not come to Jesus Christ Himself. There is no eternal life in the Scriptures. The eternal life is only in Christ, who Himself is the Resurrection and the Life.

When we emphasize doctrine rather than Christ we create division and death. When we emphasize the living Jesus we emphasize unity and life.

I have been impressed during the last several months to stress that we Christians need to invite Jesus into our life–not just once, but continually in all that we are doing during each day and night. If we are to stand during the Divine judgment on America, we cannot be relying alone on our faith in doctrine.

We must be living by the Life of the Man, speaking to Him constantly; asking for His wisdom and strength in all that we are and do. When two people are doing this, they may discover that they are dwelling in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. Doctrinal agreement never will accomplish such unity and knowledge.

It is difficult for us to understand that the new covenant is one of the Spirit and not of the letter.

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. (II Corinthians 3:6)

Now, exactly what is a covenant of the Spirit?

Paul gives us the answer is the Book of Romans:

In order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)

The righteousness of the Law of Moses is ascribed to us if we live according to the Spirit of God. This is the covenant of the Spirit. We do not make our daily decisions on the basis of the letter of the Testaments but on the basis of what we are hearing from the Lord Jesus. We walk in close fellowship with Him.

What, then, is the role of the written Scripture? The role of the Scripture is that of a slave who brings us to Christ. The New Testament commands us to study the writings of the Apostles, and the Old Testament Prophets as well. It takes a considerable period of time before we can follow the Spirit without being deceived. This is why continued, daily meditation in the Bible is absolutely essential if we are not to fall into the traps of Satan.

I believe it is the role of the elders in the churches to watch over the younger believers as they seek to follow Jesus. Each of us can learn to follow and have fellowship with the Lord; but such ability requires a lifetime of patiently pressing ahead, meanwhile confessing our mistakes when we make them and then fighting forward.

Christianity is not a philosophy. It is not even a religion, although people have made it a religion. In actuality, our salvation, our redemption from the hand of Satan, is found in our ever increasing knowledge of Christ. “I want to know Christ,” Paul exclaimed. And this when he was a mature, experienced Christian.

We are in a new day, the third day of Hosea, Christ is raising us up. For those of us who are pressing forward, the vestiges of churches and religion and doctrine are slowly passing away.They have accomplished their mission. In their place is Jesus Himself to worship and obey.

Religion has gone. The Lord is here. All who truly are growing in Christ are entering the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God. This is the message, the burden of the hour.

When we die and pass into the spirit world, or when Jesus comes, the trappings of religion will exist no longer—church buildings; liturgies; ceremonies peculiar to our particular denomination or sect. For example, the Communion service will endure only until he returns, according to what he told us. We are to proclaim the Lord’s death “until he comes.”

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (Corinthians 13:12)

However, instruction in the Bible will continue—persisting, perhaps, into the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. It appears there always will be a need for moral instruction; also for the knowledge of how God has worked in time past.

The following passage tells the story quite clearly:

We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (II Peter 1:19)

I believe Peter is telling us here that we must pay close attention to the written Word. As we do, a day dawns within us. The “morning star,” Christ, rises in our heart. It is the purpose of the written teaching to bring us to Christ. The Bible is not a substitute for an intensely personal relationship with the Lord Jesus.

It is necessary that we read the Bible and pray every day. When chaos comes to our country, as it surely shall, we need to know the living Jesus. He will guide and protects us if we follow Him obediently and diligently.

We had a prophecy in our church last Sunday morning. It was to the effect that the Lord Jesus said He is lonely. It reminded me of the old saints who spoke of the “Lonely God.”

Why is Christ lonely? Because He is standing and waiting while our attention is on our church and our doctrine. He will enter and dine with each of us every moment of every day and night if we will keep opening our heart to Him.

You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (John 5:39,40)

(Taken from “From Doctrine to Christ,” an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2011, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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