Pastor's Page - Archive

Table of Contents

Introduction

Overcoming

Two Goats

Two Thoughts About Overcoming

Three Temptations

The Elect and the World

Credited and Demonstrable Righteousness and Holiness

Preparing for Our Resurrection

The Church Is The Revelation Of God

Prelude To The Resurrection

We Shall Be Like Him

The War Between Good and Evil

The Flesh Of Man Made The Word Of God

The Problem With Fretting

What We Are To Prepare For

Opening The Ancient Doors

The Two Years

We Shall See Him As He Is

Antichrist Revealed After The Two Witnesses

Three Aspects Of Overcoming The Accuser

Three Areas of Temptation

Spiritual Warfare

Sin, and the Kingdom of God

What It Means To Be Born Again

The Resurrection

I Will Be His God

The Judgment of Satan

Changed Into His Image

The Next Step After Pentecost

Coming to Know the Father

Is Heaven Coming to the Earth?

One In Christ In God

Knowing God and Christ

The Nature of the Kingdom of God

Reflections

The Coming of the Kingdom of God

The Ten Commandments and the Rest of God

What Time Is It Now?

First, the Resurrection; Then the Catching Up

Forgiveness and Deliverance

Grace

The End of the Wicked

We Have To Press Into The Kingdom Of God

How We Should Pray

The Body of Christ

Dealing With Chaos

Though You Were Angry

The Fruit of the Land

Jesus Is the House of God

Camped at Gilgal

Putting an End to Sin

Religion, or the Rest of God?

Finding Out Who We Are

I Am the Resurrection and the Life


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.


Overcoming

2012-01-01

I have written quite a bit about the overcoming life, that which is mentioned in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation. The rewards to the overcomer are those we associate with the normal Christian life, such as the crown of life, ruling the nations with Christ, walking in the white robes of the Royal Priesthood.

Now here is the problem. This means that the believers who do not live the victorious life in Christ will not receive the crown of life; will not rule the nations with Christ; will not walk in the white robes of the Royal Priesthood.

If such be the case, all the casual Christians, who I believe constitute the majority of the believers in Christ, are under a false impression as to their future. If this is true, the alarm should be sounded.

I understand someone is teaching that we are an overcomer if we "accept Christ." They probably are deducing this from a verse in First John.

Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (I John 5:5)

If we read the entire book of First John we realize that the Apostle is not claiming that everyone who professes to be a believer in Christ is automatically an overcomer. If such were the case, what sense would the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation make? The Apostle John wrote these two chapters also!

What the Apostle means is that only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God are able to overcome the world. John is not stating that everyone who believes that Jesus is the Son of God is by virtue of that belief an overcomer.

It is true that the believer can overcome the world by means of his belief in Christ. But numerous people who believe that Jesus is the Son of God, or else claim to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, obviously are not living a victorious Christian life.

John may have been reacting against the religion of Gnosticism, which was a problem in his days, by saying that unless you believe in Christ you cannot overcome the world.

And notice also, in the Book of First John:

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. (I John 3:2,3)

"Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure." If we were an overcomer merely by believing that Jesus is the Son of God, then our obligation would cease once we believed. But the Apostle says we must purify ourselves. In fact, the Book of First John contains one of the strongest exhortations against sin in the Christian life to be found in the New Testament.

To "overcome" means to gain victory over sin. How many professed believers do you know who are living the life of victory over sin? I think most of them will say something like, "As long as we are in the world we have to sin"; or, "no one is perfect"; or "we are saved by grace and not by works of righteousness we have done"; and so on and on ad nauseam.

The truth of the matter is, the Christian churches are filled with the works of the sinful nature. The people for the most part are not living the victorious Christian life. I think it is true that in many instances they are not being taught that it is necessary to overcome sin.

I don't believe the Apostle John would tell them that if they just believe Jesus is the Son of God they automatically are overcomers and will be given the crown of life; rulership with Christ over the nations of the earth; and will walk with the Lord Jesus in the white robes of the Royal Priesthood.

It seems to me we need to learn what it means to overcome sin, how to overcome sin, and to begin to practice what we have learned.

The true Christian life is one in which we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Christ at all times, day and night. We are to present our bodies as living sacrifices to God in order that we might prove His will in the operation of our gifts and ministries.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. (Romans 12:6)

The spiritual gifts we have received when we were baptized with the Spirit of God are of first importance in our lives. No matter what we do to make a living, to put bread on the table, our first priority is our service to God. This is the only correct orientation to the program of victorious Christian living.

I may be true in saying that most believers in Christ do not know what their gifts are; and those who do, do not give their gift or gifts the importance God means them to have.

Sometimes people are called to full-time ministry. I know I was, many years ago. Most Christian people do not have a dramatic "call to the ministry." But the New Testament commands each believer to "eagerly desire" a gift or gifts and to use it diligently. Woe to the individual who buries his or her gift, not using it to build the Kingdom of God, as the Lord leads.

Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts. (I Corinthians 12:29-31)

If we ask the Lord Jesus for some kind of ministry we will receive it, for it is according to His Word. It is impossible for the members of the Body of Christ to come to the stature of the fullness of Christ until the gifts and ministries are operating in the Body of Christ.

So the first step in leading the victorious life is to be active in Christian service.

In order to receive and use spiritual gifts we have to be following the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God will reveal to us the behaviors we have to overcome if we are to live the Life of Christ.

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)

As we take up our cross and follow Christ, the Holy Spirit leads the way. One of the main tasks of the Spirit is to show us which of our behaviors are sinful. When He does, we are to diligently confess our sinful behavior to Christ and then violently denounce and renounce the specific behavior, declaring that we never again will do such a thing.

If we do this, when we are tempted in the future with this particular sin we will find that we now have the strength to resist it.

The practice of confessing and resisting our sinful behavior must be continued throughout our lifetime. It is little by little, command upon command, until we find that when Satan comes he has no part in us.

Such total deliverance from sin does not occur immediately but must be worked at as the Spirit lead us.

There are other areas of sin that must be conquered: our love of the world and of money, for example. We must follow the Spirit closely as He helps us untangle ourselves from our culture until we are involved in the world no more than necessary.

Jesus does not want us bound with love for and trust in money. We must work to have money to eat, be clothed, and have a roof over our head. However, it is not uncommon for people, even Christians, to seek to amass more money than they need so they always will be able to do as they please without worrying about misfortune.

In America people embrace money as being the solution to their problems. The only Solution to our problems is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Perhaps our greatest bondage is our self-will, our desire to plan our own life. Right at this point the battle is decided. If we are to live a victorious life, we absolutely must learn to live by the Life of Christ.

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)

The above verse is how we live the life of victory in Christ. It is the rest of God, set forth in the fourth chapter of the Book of Hebrews.

To live by the Life of Christ is to think what He is thinking. It is to bring every thought into subjection to Christ at every moment of every day.

To live by the Life of Christ is to speak what He is speaking. How can we do this? To actually speak with the voice of Christ is an art that must be worked at. It requires constant prayer at all times, as we keep listening for His voice.

To live by the Life of Christ is to act as He is acting. Jesus always acted as He saw the Father acting. We are to act as we see Jesus acting. Again, this is an art that requires prayer at all times. We do not always see Jesus acting; but as we learn to live in the Spirit, we become conscious of what He is doing.

One time the Lord told Aimee Semple McPherson that when she laid hands on people it would be Himself laying hands on them. This gift certainly is not giving to everyone by any means. (I wish I had it.) But each one of us can look to the Lord carefully and ask His opinion of everything we are doing. Pretty soon we will be in the habit of looking to Christ continually just as Christ looked to the Father continually.

In order to live as I have outlined in the paragraph above, we have to set aside our own thinking, our own speaking, and our own acting. We have to die to self that we might live unto Christ. It absolutely is impossible to live the victorious life until we count ourselves dead that we might live as part of the resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus.

Living the life of victory means we have to be totally obedient to God in all matters, great and small. When I was in Bible school I was taught that no one can do God's will perfectly. That viewpoint is not scriptural. The truth is, God requires our complete obedience.

When we at any time are not obedient, we are in rebellion. Whoever is not gathering with Christ is scattering away from Christ. There simply is no middle ground in which we are neither obedient nor disobedient.

Obeying God becomes a delight when we practice it long enough. "I delight to do Your will, O God. Yes, Your law is in my heart." It is perfectly possible, and expected, that we do God's will on all occasions at all times.

God's commandments are not grievous. When we find that doing God's will is grievous, we need to ask ourselves, "Why is this so? When we do, we will find that we are clinging to an idol in fear that it will be taken from us. Our idol can be a child, a house, a job, a relationship, money, or friends.

When we follow the Lord long enough, we discover that doing His will always brings us to the desires of our heart. If at any time we disobey God, the result is pain, remorse, regret, sorrow of heart. God knows what will bring us to our true desires, and this is the direction in which He attempts to take us.

Whenever you feel "checked" in your spirit, do not push your way through. If you do, you will live to regret it. God is seeking your good.

The novice will say, "But how can I know God's will?" The Bible says if we will commit our way to the Lord, acknowledging Him in all our ways, He will guide us.

Learning how to know God's will is not always easy. It requires that we set aside a time or times each day for prayer and waiting on the Lord. When we do not have enough time to pray we must ask God to provide time for us. He will. He wants us to pray more than we want to pray.

Also, we need to spend some time each day in the devotional reading of our Bible. The Bible itself commands us to meditate in God's Word night and day.

The Bible is a guide to us so we have a general idea of God's will.

But for specific guidance we must learn to know what Christ is saying to us right now, and in every decision. Christian people hear Christ in various ways. Some hear the Lord's voice in their mind. Others feel peace when they are on the right path. Sometimes the words of a pastor or friend will stand out, or a passage in the Bible, so we know it is Christ speaking.

One thing is certain: if you are sincere in knowing God's will in a matter, if you will pray and keep on praying for wisdom, you will be led in the right way. But don't jump to soon. Wait until you are sure of the whole counsel of God.

Sometimes we have to make a decision. Then we are to keep praying and take one small step in the direction that seems to be pleasing to God. But we must watch carefully to see the fruit of what we are doing. If we have peace we may take another small step, watching carefully for evidence that God is pleased.

We must not be afraid to step forth in this careful manner. We have to learn to be decisive in what we do. A double-minded person is unstable. A believer who simply cannot stick with a decision may be in deception. In this case, make a decision, watch the fruit, and keep going. God can make changes as we go along, if we continue to pray. He can't steer a person who is not in motion.

So obeying God's will in every matter is at the heart of the life of victory in Christ. The Kingdom of God is the doing of God's will in the earth as it is in Heaven. Even the Lord Jesus had to learn obedience to the Father by the things He suffered.

The longer I live and serve the Lord, the more I become convinced that stern obedience to God is the most important behavior we can practice. "Fear God and keep His commands. This is the whole duty of man."

I notice in the last chapter of the Book of Revelation that the saints will govern the coming new world of righteousness. This tells me that people (and maybe angels also) can always choose to do their own will rather than God's. It may be for this reason that we are being taught the importance of obedience.

Perhaps the purpose of the life of human beings on the earth is so that God can pick out from the multitude of people, saints who will serve God in total obedience, no matter how they are brought through difficulty after difficulty; trial after trial; problem after problem; frustration after frustration.

Each believer who will continue to obey God throughout a number of difficult trials will be set aside, as it were, until God has found the required number of victorious saints, of rulers of the Kingdom.

The Lord Jesus Christ will appear from Heaven and call up to Himself these victorious Christians, these lords and rulers of the future. Then Christ will descend to the earth with His rulers and install the Kingdom of God, the will of God, on the earth.

See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land. (Isaiah 32:1,2)

Christ and each one of His brothers has been tested, tested, tested in obedience to the Father. It has been the plan of God from long before the foundation of the world to create a kingdom that will prevent there ever being another rebellion against His will.

You and I of today have the opportunity to overcome through Christ the worldliness, the sinful nature, and the self-will that have us bound. The rewards for doing so go far beyond any glory we can imagine at this time.

These "rewards," if we wish to call them that, actually are increments of authority, power, and ability that will be revealed in us at the first resurrection from the dead. It may be true that some of them are being formed in us at the present time.

As I said at the beginning, the increments of authority, power, and ability mentioned in the first two chapters of the Book of Revelation are those promises we think of as belonging to all believers in Christ. If such were the case, the passages would not keep referring to "him who overcomes."

It seems to me that the inference is clear that the victorious saints are people who are among the remainder of the congregation but distinguished by their willingness to fight until they overcome the numerous forces that seek to prevent their walking with Christ as they should.

The cause for concern is that Christian people, many of them who are lukewarm, being casual in their approach to discipleship, are under the impression that they are going to "rule and reign with Christ," as they say.

It is not true. The need of the hour is for God's Christian leaders to warn their followers that they cannot ignore the words of Christ. Each of us must deny himself, take up his cross of deferred gratification, and follow the Master at all times.

If we do not do this, we will not share in His joy. We can forget about ruling with Him. We can forget about eating from the Tree of Life. We can forget about wearing the crown of life. We can forget about being a member of the Royal Priesthood. We can forget about ruling with Christ. We can forget about sitting with Him on the highest of all thrones.

We can forget about being raised from the dead and ascending to meet Him in the air. We can forget about descending with Him upon the white war stallions to install the Kingdom of God upon the earth.

We can forget about having close fellowship with Jesus as one of His brothers who will work alongside of Him as we inherit the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth.

It seems to me that in light of the magnitude of the loss that will occur to those who fail to pursue the life of victory in Christ, God's people should be warned of their eternal loss while they still have time to do something about it.

How do you feel about this?

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

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Two Goats

2012-01-08

I have mentioned previously that the Day of Atonement, or Day of Reconciliation, is the sixth of seven Jewish celebrations. Since the other six observances portray specific platforms in the plan of redemption, it is likely that this is true also of the Day of Atonement.

It is my point of view that the Day of Atonement has begun, and it will last until the end of the Kingdom Age, that is, until the time of the final resurrection of the dead.

When you read the sixteenth chapter of Leviticus about the Day of Atonement you will notice that atonement was made by two goats. The reason is that we are not reconciled only by the blood of the one goat. For reconciliation to be complete, two goats must be involved.

The one goat made an atonement by the shedding of its blood. The other goat, that we sometimes refer to as the scapegoat, was led away into the wilderness after Aaron confessed the sins of the people.

You can see at a glance the significance of this. We are reconciled to God by the shedding of the blood of the first goat. This is a legal reconciliation. But in order for us to be reconciled to God in actuality, our sins must be confessed and removed from us. This is the second goat.

Throughout the Church Age our redemption is considered to be an act that enables God to forgive our sins. This gives us access to God's righteousness. By believing in the blood atonement made by the Lord Jesus, we are considered righteous before God apart from obeying the Law of Moses. Divine grace has largely to do with release from the authority of the Law of Moses, as Paul preached it.

But the body of sin remains in us. We realize this and so we have fabricated the concept that God sees us through Christ. Some go so far as to say that throughout eternity God will not actually see our behavior but will view us "through Christ."

In other words, we will have a sinful nature forever. Kind of disheartening isn't to think that we will be putting up with the hatred and jealousy of our neighbors in Heaven just as we do on the earth, as well as with our own sinful, rebellious nature.

Well, we have not understood the two aspects of redemption: forgiveness and deliverance. I do not understand why this should be. I guess it just was not God's time for us to understand the complete fulfillment of the Day of Atonement.

When I was in Bible school in 1948 the Lord Jesus spoke to me and said that the Christian churches were about to be judged, in fulfillment of the Day of Atonement. Being a new Christian, I did not understand the meaning of this. I told our teacher, Oliver Ellenwood, what I believed God had spoken to me. As I remember he just listened, not saying yes or no.

This week, in January of 2012, Pat Robertson said God, after a week of prayer, told him that a time of stress is coming upon the United States, and that we had brought it upon ourselves. He said whoever is elected President at the next election will not be able to prevent the downhill plunge of our country. God said we are to pray, pray, and pray as hard as we can.

I have been preaching much the same thing for two or three years. However, I am not certain we are going to be able to prevent the coming economic collapse, but we certainly should pray. I think by doing so we will cause ourselves and our loved ones and friends to be able to stand during the coming chaos. The Prophet Jeremiah was able to stand when all around him the Babylonians were destroying Jerusalem.

The Jew, Ze'ev Jabotinsky, traveled through Europe urging the Jews to flee to Israel. This was just before the Holocaust. From what I read, most of the Jews, who had been in Europe for generations, ignored his warning. You know the rest.

I think it is just like that in America today. God's prophets are warning the believers to prepare themselves for chaotic times, a period different from any we have known. But they slumber on, filling the beaches during warm days, trusting in an unscriptural rapture to save them from any inconveniences.

Because they are not praying, and in many if not most cases living in their sinful nature because of the false preaching of grace-Heaven-rapture, they will not stand when their children are starving to death because of famine.

I think most of us Christians are not aware of how morally filthy some of the entertainment has become. The most hideous displays of abandoned flesh are presented along with the jungle-beat music. It truly is sickening. Yet, because of freedom of speech, these abominations are not shut down.

How many women slay their own offspring to prove that they have the right to do so. I don't think they consider the rights of the child they put to death.

I doubt there is any greater sin in the sight of God than that of unnecessary abortions. Yet, it appears that the President of our country condones this practice. It reminds us of the practice of offering children in the fire of the idol, Moloch. The United States is going to pay bitterly for slaughtering its own children–children who were potential servants of God and fruit for the table of Christ.

There is also the acceptance of all sorts of gender manipulations, most driven by lust, it appears. Both the Old and New Testaments condemn the practice of homosexual behavior. Yet it is growing in the United States because the Christian people are not morally strong enough to prevent it.

So God looks down and witnesses the abortions, the lewd sexual practices, the adultery and fornication, the rapes and murders, the worship of money, the abundance of lying and other corrupt actions in our government. God is very patient, but history reveals that He finally acts against nations that turn their back on God.

The handwriting is on the wall for America, and the wise Christians will begin to put away their sins, in spite of the contemporary preaching, and spend as much time as possible seeking the Lord and meditating in the Scriptures.

We now are in the day of the second goat. It is time to follow the Spirit of God, confessing and renouncing our sins. If we are not certain what sins I am referring to, a careful reading of the epistles of Paul will tell us about the sins of the sinful nature of us humans.

But if we wish to stand and help others to stand during the coming period of financial and moral desolation in America, we must proceed past the deliverance from the actions of the sinful nature. We now are up to our ankles or knees in the River of God, and there are two more depths of the Spirit.

There remains the water to the waist, and then waters to swim in. These also are part of the Day of Reconciliation. Our goal is to keep looking to Jesus until we are being swept along in the River of Eternal Life, without concern or anxiety, until we are filled with all the fullness of God.

This is God's goal for each of us. Until we are living in the fullness of resurrection life, we are neither qualified nor competent to be resurrected from the dead and ascend to meet the Lord Jesus in the air when He next appears.

I really am sounding a warning to Christian people. We have been lulled to sleep by false teaching. We are hoping to be carried up to Heaven in our immature state in order to avoid Antichrist and the Great Tribulation.

Can you hear me? This is a false, unscriptural hope. For the present generation of American church-goers to be carried up to Heaven in their casual state would be the worst thing that could happen to Heaven and the worst thing that could happen to us. We may not know as yet how to walk in the consuming Fire.

How terrible it is that economic chaos is coming in the future, and we are not prepared to stand in Christ because we have been taught error.

The Day of Atonement is the Day of Reconciliation to God. We have been reconciled to God legally by the blood of the cross. But we still are practicing the sins of the flesh.

I will ask you three questions: first, does God have enough power to break the chains of the sins that bind us, and does He wish to do so?

Second, is it really necessary that we be delivered from sin in order for us to inherit the Kingdom of God? I say "inherit the Kingdom of God" rather than "go to Heaven when we die," because our goal is the Kingdom of God, not residence in Heaven.

Third, when and how are we to be delivered from the power of sin?

Does God have enough power to break the chains of the sins that bind us, and does He wish to do so? How do you feel about this? Have you ever seen any of the recent pictures of what the telescopes are showing us about the galaxies of stars and planets?

These heavenly bodies tells us about the Glory of God. Their sizes, their number, and the distances between them cannot be comprehended. Could you consider this display of power, and then say that God simply does not have enough power to deliver us from the bondages of sin?

You know, one of the factors that prevent us from thinking clearly about deliverance from sin is that the prevailing usage of "deliverance from sin" means deliverance from the guilt of sin. This usage is a source of enormous confusion.

Deliverance from the guilt of sin is forgiveness. Deliverance from the power of sin is deliverance from the compulsion that causes us from sin. Through Christ God forgives us from sin; and through Christ, God will deliver us from sin so that we are in His image.

Do you see any difference between deliverance from guilt and deliverance from power? The Christian churches of our day have been delivered from the guilt of sin but not from the power of sin. And because they are not following Christ as they should, they are not delivered even from the guilt of sin!

When I was in Bible school I was taught that we cannot be delivered from sin. The idea was that we should not sin; but while we are in the world we will continue to sin. No one is perfect. When we get to Heaven we will not sin any longer. One would be hard put to defend this idea from the Scriptures.

Yes, God does have enough power to deliver you and me from sin. And yes, He desires to do so.

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)

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)

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:15,16)

Do the three passages above sound to you like God is resigned to our continuing to sin?

Second, is it really necessary that we be delivered from sin in order for us to inherit the Kingdom of God?

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. (Galatians 5:19-21)

Paul did not say we would not go to Heaven if we sinned, because Paul preached the Kingdom of God and not about going to Heaven. The emphasis on going to Heaven is "another gospel." It is not the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Third, when and how are we to be delivered from the power of sin?

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)

Since God's family that bears His name is one in Heaven and upon the earth, I would suggest that the above passage will take place in Heaven and upon the earth at the same time. That "time" is the end of the age. The deliverance begins at the end of the Church Age, where we are now, I believe.

The term "angels" (above) merely means "messengers." It could refer to spirits or to human beings. In any case, at the end of the age Christ will send out His angels.

The purpose of the messengers is to "weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil." Here is the second goat of the Day of Atonement. As I stated before, I believe this weeding out has begun and will continue until the end of the Kingdom Age.

It begins at the end of the Church Age and concludes at the end of the Kingdom Age. Thus there is a thousand-year interval between the next appearing of Christ and the final resurrection of the dead. I believe the purpose for the thousand-year period we refer to as the "Millennium" is to complete the work of reconciliation. It is the great Day of Atonement.

"Everything that causes sin." This is not speaking of the guilt of sin but the compulsion of sin. The power of sin is to be removed from the Kingdom of God.

"All who do evil" will be removed from the Kingdom. As I see it, those who take advantage of the power of the grace of God to deliver us will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of God.

Those who refuse to be delivered will be thrown into the fiery furnace. There will be no sin whatever in the Kingdom of God. It is the rule of God, and it does not admit to the practice of sin.

I said previously that this deliverance and cleansing will take place in Heaven and upon the earth at the same time. It has to. How could it be restricted to one place or the other? It will take place wherever the members of the Kingdom are located.

But can someone be in Heaven and still be bound with sin? Why not? Sin began in Heaven. It was brought down to the earth but its origin is in Heaven.

We may not realize it but the redemption of human beings has many purposes. One of the purposes is to teach the "rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms" God's wisdom. What is taking place among us is God's response to the rebellion of the angels.

His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ephesians 3:10.11)

The righteous cannot "shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father" until the work of the second goat has been accomplished. The Christian people cannot serve as the light of the world until they have been delivered from both the guilt and the power of sin.

It is important also that those people who refuse to be delivered be removed from the Kingdom. God does not like mixtures.

The churches of today are filled with people who profess to believe in Christ, but are not serving Him as they should. In many instances this is due to the fact that their pastors and evangelists are seeking to please them. They are not advising their listeners of the strictness and sternness of true discipleship.

Small is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to eternal life, and few people find it. It appears many American church-goers are traveling on the broad road that leads to destruction.

Atonement is made through the blood of the cross. Atonement is made also as the power of sin is removed from the camp.

But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat. (Leviticus 16:10)

The term "atonement" has many meanings. I think these several meanings are summed up in the word, "reconciliation."

We are reconciled to God and God to us through the blood of the cross.

We are reconciled to God and God to us by the purifying from us of all sin.

We cannot have fellowship with God while we are practicing sin.

"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." (II Corinthians 6:17,18)

Two goats. The goat of forgiveness. The goat of removal. Since the historical teaching of the Christian churches has emphasized that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and that by taking away the sin of the world means taking away the guilt of the sin of the world, it may be quite a while before Christian people understand that the Lamb of God takes away not only the guilt of the sin of the world but also the chains of sinful behavior that bind people.

Just think about it from God's standpoint. What good does it do God to limit Himself to forgiving our sin? The prodigal comes home, and proceeds to ruin the family household by his riotous living. Would the father not send him away in order to regain peace?

The difficulty we have in thinking clearly may be due to the notion that sin cannot take place in the spirit world. It is true that sin cannot take place in Heaven, because no one who sins is admitted through the gates into the holy city.

But the spirit world is a vast area of which Heaven is but one small part. Do we imagine that there is no sin in the spirit world, or that entering the spirit world will somehow deliver us from sinful bondages?

We know that the temptations and pressures to sin come from Satan and his demons. These all are spiritual creatures. They seek weak areas of our personality that will yield to unclean spirits.

In dying we leave our body behind. I doubt seriously that the sin that dwells in our flesh will remain in our flesh when we die. I do not think the unclean spirits would enjoy remaining in putrefying flesh. Do you?

Where then do they go? No doubt they are released to harass other people on the earth. Probably this is why the demon population seems to be increasing in America.

But speaking of Heaven, the new Jerusalem in the spirit world, what does the Scripture say about our chance of entering there?

Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14)

To wash our robes is to confess our sins to Christ so that He may forgive us, and then to turn away from them, with His help. You know and I know that no person who yields to his or her desire to sin is going to be allowed to enter the Holy City and bring confusion there.

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 7:1)

So I guess the basic question is, "Will God permit us to enter Heaven, the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, because the blood of Christ has been sprinkled on us, even though we never have overcome our sinning; or will only those who have gained victory be permitted to enter through the gates?

Many of today's teachers will tell us that as long as we "accept Christ" we have our ticket to enter the new Jerusalem and dwell among those spirits who have been made perfect. But this attitude does not agree with the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation.

There are a minority of teachers, of whom I am one, who say that that position clearly is unscriptural and is holding out a false hope. When this false hope is preached, people will not prepare themselves for the horrors that are coming to America. Remember Ze'ev Jabotinsky!

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:22-24)

Do we believe that the spirits of righteous men were made perfect by imputed righteousness, or were they transformed in personality until they were made a new creation of righteous behavior? What do you think?

The spirit world is a vast area, of which Heaven is a small part. If we are not living so as to be in Heaven, Mount Zion, the new Jerusalem, we will enter the spirit world when we die. If we are a decent person we will be ministered to until we meet God's standard of righteousness and holiness.

If we are not a decent person, as judged by the conscience of the average person whose thinking has not been corrupted by a religion of some sort, we will go to the Land of Darkness to await sentencing during the final resurrection.

Let each one of us, therefore, serve Christ with all our heart. If we do, we will be able to stand and help others to stand during the moral horrors that are ahead for America. Also, when we die, we will be able to stand before Christ and give a good account of ourselves. (taken from "The Day of Atonement," an excerpt from, What I Have Learned From the Lord. Copyright © 2012, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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Two Thoughts About Overcoming

2012-01-15


The Salvation of Our Spirit

God's Battle Against Rebellion and Sin

The Salvation of Our Spirit

I never have understood the difference between the soul and the spirit of man, as the terms are used in the Bible. I know God has a Soul, a Spirit, and, in Jesus, a Body. This is not to say that Jesus and God are the same Person. They are not. In fact, using Jesus as a model, God is making many more bodies, we might say. We Christians are living stones in the eternal Tabernacle of God.

We know what our present, temporary body is, and that we will get an improved version in the Day of Resurrection. This will be true if we have attained to the required inward transformation, through Christ having been formed in us.

I think our soul is where our judgment, conscience, and will are located. Our soul will be saved if we obey God in all matters.

It may be true that when we are thinking about overcoming, or being defeated, our spirit plays an important role.

Consider carefully the following verses, and notice the word "spirit":

I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (I Corinthians 5:5—NASB)

To the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:23)

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 7:1)

I do not wish to get too detailed about the salvation of the spirit, but I think there are some general points that might be helpful to our thinking.

Notice that the Apostle Paul was concerned about the salvation of the spirit of the man in Corinth who had been sinning. This passage has bothered me through the years, since I think it should say, "that his soul may be saved."

I have found that when there is something unusual about a scriptural expression there usually is a good reason. And I do not like the way the NIV smooths out these wrinkles, although I do use the NIV most of the time. It is not a good idea to change the Greek text even though we think it might be more palatable or understandable to the reader.

What got me started on the subject of the salvation of our spirit was the question in my mind concerning the destiny of the believer who does not choose to overcome through Christ his or her sinful nature. Do they all go to Hell and later to the Lake of Fire, after they die? If this were the case, most of the American believers of today are going to end up in the fire.

And how about all the people who never have heard of Christ and who die while never having conquered their sinful nature? Are all they destined for the fire?

I know the current teaching is that if someone has not "accepted Christ," even if he or she has never heard of Christ, his or her destiny is the fire. As far as I am concerned, this teaching is neither scriptural, nor righteous, nor even sensible.

There are many people who have "accepted Christ" who are heading toward the fire because they basically are wicked!

So where are we? We know the destiny of the victorious Christian, but how about the remainder of mankind, including the Christian who has led a defeated life as far as sinful behavior is concerned? And we can't hide behind the current "grace" teaching. Grace is not a scriptural alternative to the victorious life.

Let's consider for just a moment the eight categories of sinful people. Remember, each of these is a category and includes many symptoms and branches:

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)

Notice that it is the cowardly person, not just an individual who displayed cowardice on some occasion. The same is true for the other seven categories. These are believers (Revelation is written to believers) who did not overcome the spirit of cowardice living in their flesh. They yielded to the spirit of cowardice until their own spirit became cowardly.

Then, when they died, and the spirit of cowardice fled from their putrefying body, they themselves were now a cowardly person.

Their human body was part of their land of promise. The enemy "cowardice" was dwelling in their flesh. They neglected to conquer it, and so they themselves became cowardly.

The Father has given the Lake of Fire authority over all cowardly people, and "accepting Christ" does not change this unless accepting Christ causes us to gain victory over cowardice. Just as simple and straightforward as that.

There are believers who, through the power of the Kingdom of God, have overcome cowardice. But no cowardly individual remains in the Kingdom!

Let us say a believer has become a mean spirit, a mean person. Many believers act at times in a mean manner, whether there is a mean spirit dwelling in their flesh, or they have given way to it until they themselves are a mean spirit, a mean person.

A mean person comes under the category of "murderers." How many church people murder with their tongue and their actions? Pastors live in dread of their producing roots of bitterness that inflame many of their fellow believers.

What happens when the mean believer dies? He or she passes into the spirit world, not into Heaven. Heaven is Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem. Heaven is filled with righteous people whose spirits have been made perfect. There are no mean people in Heaven.

To the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:23)

But can we enter the spirit world (not Heaven, of course) if we are mean but believe in Christ. Will we still be mean? Would being in the spirit world change us?

Think about Adam and Eve in Paradise on the earth. God was with them in the garden. There was no sin dwelling in their flesh. There were no demons in the atmosphere. This is how we think of Heaven, isn't it? Adam and Eve were free to choose sin or to choose righteousness while they were in Paradise.

Then Satan entered. Why did they sin, not having a sinful nature? They sinned because they were a blank slate, so to speak. They did not have a righteous nature. They had an innocent nature, but not a righteous, obedient nature.

When a mean Christian dies, the sins that dwell in his flesh will be left behind to find some other person on the earth to inhabit. But the newly deceased has a mean spirit. What then?

He assuredly will not enter Heaven, the heavenly Jerusalem. Rather he will be placed with mean spirits like himself. This much I know, because God does not like mixtures. "Let the filthy be filthy still."

What then? Perhaps he and his mean neighbors may be taught by saints or angels how to overcome meanness. I cannot say for certain; but if this is not true there are going to be a multitude of church-goers in Hell.

The Bible does not have much to say about what happens when we die. We have made up a mythologic land of mansions. But this is not scriptural. I think our experience after we die will be much like I am saying here.

It makes sense to me that a group of mean people could be given a chance to learn not to be mean, a better chance, perhaps than they were given on the earth. If one of them repents and learns to be kind, perhaps he of she will be given a chance to be with a group of kind people somewhere in the spirit world. I do not say he will be able at this point to enter the new Jerusalem.

I would imagine if the sinner is willing to be taught, then, in the Day of Resurrection, his name might be in the Book of Life. If it is, he will be granted citizenship in the new world of righteousness.

However, by no means will he ever be a part of the Royal Priesthood. All the promises of the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation, plus Revelation 21:7, are for the victorious saints only. This is why our present life is so important. This is our one opportunity to be part of the governing priesthood, or of that special part of the priesthood, the Firstfruits.

There may be some who read my words who interpret me to be saying we have a second chance. This is not true. We have to respond to Christ when He is presented to us, whether in the present world or in the spirit world after we die.

That redemption and spiritual growth continue in the spirit world after we die is evident, in that Paul said the ministries will continue until we all have come to the fullness of the stature of Christ. Also, how could there ever be a Church without spot or wrinkle if we do not grow in godliness after we die?

The point is, we have to respond to Christ when He is presented to us. If He comes to the mean person, while that person still is living on the earth, and that person absolutely refuses to change, then it is settled. His home is the Lake of Fire with the other murderers.

As far as the person who never has heard of Christ during his or her lifetime, which includes most people who have been born on the earth, Christ will deal with that individual in due time. We cannot reject Christ until He has been made plain to us. This is obvious.

At the last resurrection, people will be judged according to their works. Those who have obeyed their conscience and have lived a decent life, will be brought over to citizenship in the new world. The truly wicked will be thrown into the Lake of Fire, whether or not they claim to believe in Christ. Remember, the demons know all about the Holy One, and they never can be saved from the eternal flames.

All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares. (Romans 2:12-16)

We understand from the passage above that God does not accept people because they know the Law of Moses or, by the same token, know and make a profession of belief in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is a wonder how religion manages to bless people who conform to the ideas of the priests and leaders of the religion, and curse everyone else. We ought to know better than this. But religious leaders so often know nothing of the God of Heaven. They ascribe the most unjust actions to God, and then wonder why so many people are disgusted with their teachings and claims.

God is righteous. God is honorable. The Christian religion and the religion of Islam, as well as the other religions of the earth, speak of how righteous and holy God is, how compassionate. But their actions so often portray Satan himself.

From the passage above we see the true God, not the God of religion.

All who sin apart from the Law of Moses, or the Gospel of Christ, will perish apart from the Law or apart from the Gospel.

All who sin under the Law or the Gospel will be judged by the Law or the Gospel.

It is not those who hear the Law or the Gospel who are righteous in God's sight, but those who obey the Law or the Gospel who will be declared righteous.

When Gentiles who do not know the Law of the Gospel do by nature the things required by the Law or the Gospel, they are their own law. What the Law and the Gospels state is written in their conscience. Thus their thoughts accuse or defend them.

All the secrets of people will be judged by the Lord before the coming down of the new Jerusalem to rest upon the new earth.

Here is the true God, whom the religious leaders often ignore. But everyone who listens to the living Lord Jesus will understand God's Heart, and His will and ways are known to them.

God's Battle Against Rebellion and Sin

When we think about it, there seems to be no reason why God would give us so many things to overcome. God could as quick as a wink remove from before us every hindrance to doing His complete will. Why are we each day confronted with resistance to following Christ?

We know that God wastes nothing. Why, then, did He place us on the earth, fill the earth with problems, and then command us to overcome them?

I think the answer goes back to the original rebellion of Satan and his angels. Satan brought rebellion and sin into God's Presence. Since God is displeased with rebellion and sin, He is taking steps to remove every form of spiritual darkness from His Presence for eternity. This is why there is a great wall surrounding the new Jerusalem.

God can cast all rebellious, sinful creatures from His Presence and confine them in spiritual prisons. Such removal can be accomplished easily and quickly. The problem is, what if such darkness is caused again by God's creatures?

I believe an eternal solution to the problem of rebellion and sin is part of the reason God created man. It is clear from the Scriptures that people, and not angels or other spiritual creatures, are to be in charge of the creation.

If human beings are to be the means of removing rebellion and sin from God's Presence, how must these people be prepared if they are to accomplish God's goal?

First, they, and the angels as well, must be taught of the consequences of rebellion and sin. So God devised the history of the earth as a portrayal of the consequences of rebellion and sin, and also obedience and righteousness. This portrayal has been seen by God's creatures.

Adam and Eve did not have the benefit of seeing this portrayal. They only had God's Word concerning the consequences of rebellion, and knew nothing about sin.

So now we all are acquainted with the consequences of rebellion and sin. What is next?

A law had to be given which would present in writing God's demands. The Ten Commandments were engraved in tablets of stone. Angels and people could now understand what was demanded of them.

We were provided with demands which people were unable to keep, because they had sinful impulses dwelling in them. I suppose angels are able to obey or disobey God's commands without the obstacles that we have to surmount.

Then God provided a sacrifice on Calvary so people could be forgiven and begin a program of redemption that would make it possible for them to serve God for eternity as a governing priesthood, judging people and angels as well.

Two aspects must be considered when the future rulers are to be qualified and competent to govern and judge. They themselves must be delivered completely from all rebellion and sin. Also, they must have within them a rod of iron that compels total obedience to God on all occasions, under every circumstance. They must love righteousness and hate unrighteousness with a fierce, unquenchable passion.

What provisions has God made that we may be delivered completely from all rebellion and sin, and experience a transformation of personality such that we love righteousness and hate unrighteousness with such fervency?

As far as deliverance from rebellion is concerned, God places us in various prisons in which our fervent desires are deferred—sometimes for many years. Or we may be compelled to live in undesirable circumstances for long periods of time.

We cannot escape our prisons without breaking God's laws. We must, if we would assist in the removal of evil from the creation, remain faithfully in our prisons until God brings us forth. This is how God teaches us obedience, just as He taught His Firstborn Son obedience.

As far as deliverance from sin is concerned. as we follow the Holy Spirit, He brings us into situations which cause the sin that dwells in us to be revealed. When a sin is pointed out to us by the Spirit, we are to confess clearly to the Lord the specific behavior. Then we are to denounce it as evil, and cast it away from us with the help of Christ.

We are to continue this process of confessing and renouncing throughout our lifetime, for our personality is filled with much spiritual darkness.

As we pray and use our will to resist sin, it loses its ability to control us. This is how Christ enables us to conquer the compulsions of sin.

Now, how do we gain the inner strength that embraces righteous behavior and repulses unrighteous behavior?

We have to be born again of God. Christ, the righteous and obedient One, must be conceived in us. Then, we must pray every day and meditate in the Scriptures every day. If we do not have time or opportunity to pray, or do not have a copy of the Scriptures, then we must pray until we have both time, and the Scriptures to study.

Our prayer must be that God will lead us not into temptation but deliver us from Satan. Also, that day by day we will choose to life by the Life of Christ, as He reveals it to us, setting aside our own life. As we continue, year after year, to seek Christ with our whole being, God will create in us a fierce love for His will and for the practice of righteousness. God will be faithful to do this if we will deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Christ at all time.

To deny ourselves means that when we are confronted with a decision in which we can choose the way of pleasure or choose what is pleasing to the Lord, that we consistently choose what pleases the Lord without compromise of any sort.

We must endure hardness as soldiers of Christ if we are to live the victorious Christian life.

The life of victory in the Lord Jesus Christ is perfectly possible to all Christian believers. The wonderful promises of the Bible are to those who abide in Christ and do His will.

There is, however, a problem with the destiny of those who are not fervent disciples of the Lord Jesus. The Bible is not clear concerning their destiny, except to speak of lashes, loss of their talent, and assignment to the outer darkness.

The preaching and teaching in America is far too soft. The Bible and its plan of salvation is strict, demanding all the obedience, diligence, and attention that we can give to it. The average Gospel preaching in America at this time does not always set forth the rigors of discipleship; the suffering and denial, and sometimes martyrdom that are involved; the need to place every one and everything we love on the altar of God, assigning our treasures to Heaven. We may never see them again until we die.

So, as Paul said, for us to live and to die is gain. Unless we are willing to have the sentence of death in ourselves, as did the Apostle Paul, it is not possible that we can serve God in the removal of evil from the creation.

When believers are faced with the prospect of having to live a victorious life if they are to receive the Divine enablements that are the consequences of such consecration, they do not always realize God's stake in this. They may be considering only their own welfare, not understanding the cosmic magnitude of the struggle between good and evil.

They may not understand they are part of God's plan to rid the universe of evil; but they are! Our willingness to resist sin, and to set aside our own life that we may live according to Christ's thinking, speaking, and acting, is serving to destroy evil and bring in everlasting righteousness.

Every effort we make to overcome rebellion and sin is tremendously consequential in the eternal scheme. No matter how difficult it is for us, no matter what delayed gratification we experience, the effects of our willingness to share Christ's suffering reach far, far beyond our understanding.

We understand, then, why God has placed us in a situation in which there are numerous obstacles to our being obedient and righteous. Our life on earth is an obstacle course, a proving ground, on which God can select and train those who will drive spiritual darkness from God's creation.

I believe with this in mind, we may renew our efforts to please God and His Christ.

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. (Daniel 9:24)

(Taken from "The Salvation of Our Spirit"; and "God's Battle Against Rebellion and Sin," excerpts from, What I Have Learned From the Lord. Copyright © 2012, by Robert B. Thompson.)

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Three Temptations

2012-01-22

There are several passages in the Bible informing us that in the last days the power of the witness of God's people will be overcome by Antichrist.

He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. (Daniel 7:25)

It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. (Daniel 8:10)

The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, "It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed." (Daniel 13:7)

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

He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. (Revelation 13:7)

"The saints will be handed over to him."

"It threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them."

"When the power of the holy people has been finally broken."

"Will attack them, and overpower and kill them."

"To make war against the saints and to conquer them."

Now notice:

For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. (2 Thessalonians 2:7)

When God permits the power of the testimony of Christ to be removed, then the Antichrist, the secret power of lawlessness, will be clearly revealed so all the world can understand what is of Satan and what is of God. The demons will be unveiled so people can perceive who is behind what is taking place in the world.

The difference between good and evil is not clear today, especially in America. The entertainers perform in a lewd manner and the American people cannot recognize that they are looking at the antics of demons.

The above are a needed warning to us at this time, because it is now that God's people are being overcome and the testimony of Christ destroyed. We can see this happening in our country, can't we.

There are three ways in which the Christian witness is overcome. They are the tree temptations of every son of God, including the Lord Himself.

The first temptation is that of bread. I believe this can be expanded to finding our survival and security in the world. I think we need to understand that the spirit of the world is of Antichrist, that is, against Christ. We are seeing this hostility to God increasing in our country every day.

England and America used to be friendly toward and respectful of Christians and their values. That era seems to be over.

One aspect of the world culture is that of electronic communication devices. While these can be used for good, they are bringing the values of the world, of Antichrist, into the living room of the American people.

The games and social networks that the children and young people are addicted to emphasize the values of Antichrist, particularly violence and witchcraft as well as immorality. Every day, it seems, the electronic devices are becoming more sophisticated.

The children in the public elementary schools are being indoctrinated in the beliefs of those who seem to be confused about gender. Since it requires both man and women together to compose the image of God, I believe Satan is using the gender confusion to attempt to destroy the image of God.

As far as abortion on demand is concerned, here is a worldly, Antichrist value that seeks to destroy people before they have an opportunity to live in the world. This is murder; and doubly unfortunate because God said many that are last in time shall be first in the Kingdom.

There are two primary gods in America at this time. One is sexual lust, pleasure, and entertainment. The other is money. Money is the only god that Jesus stated is served instead of the true God.

The people of the world find security, survival, and pleasure by striving to acquire more money than they need. Money is a substitute for trust in God. Yet "In God We Trust" is stamped on American money. Kind of ironic, isn't it?

I think the Christian churches need to be reminded that they are not of the world. The Tent of Meeting, of the Book of Exodus, represents the Christian churches. They are the Lampstands of God. Even the Levites, who were especially holy, were not permitted to see the inside of the Tent or any of the holy furnishings. This area and its articles were for the descendants of Aaron to utilize and were holy.

So it is true that the Christian churches are the prophets of God. They are to be anointed with the Holy Spirit, just as the Lampstand of the Tent of Meeting employed burning olive oil to provide light in the Holy Place.

The churches, and the Royal Priesthood who form the churches, are holy. They are not part of the world. They are not to look to the world for assistance. The Lord Jesus Christ is among the Lampstands. They are to be separate from the world and clean from all the filthiness of the flesh.

When Jesus was tempted with bread, He said, "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word of God." I have been busy the last few years endeavoring to learn how to live by every Word of God.

God always is speaking to each person. We are to keep looking to God to find out what He is saying to us as an individual right this minute. We are to commit all our ways to the Lord and keep looking to Him for wisdom and strength in all that we do. This is becoming increasingly easy for me to do as I grow older, because I do not have in myself the wisdom and strength I need for the daily tasks that confront me.

This reminds me of retirement. Retirement is a worldly value. It is true that God limited the years in which a Levite or Priest was to serve. This is because they represented God and were not to be young and foolish or old and lacking in mental prowess.

But in the Western nations the idea is to work hard and save money so when we are in our sixties we can relax in front of the TV or lying on the beach. We have a person in our church who has retired from her position and now is serving as our pageantry leader and performing other services, instead of traveling around the country in a vacation trailer doing nothing of value. I myself am in my eighties and am still pastoring and writing, as you can see.

The idea of working so that one day we can no nothing but pamper our flesh is not of the Lord Jesus Christ. Older people have a lot to give to those coming up. They are not to be off to some pleasure resort where they can play Bingo and gamble. This is the Antichrist spirit of the world and it is an abomination to God.

It is true that if Christian people do not keep pressing forward in Christ, when they grow old their faculties wither and they have nothing to give to the young Christians who need the benefit of their experience in Christ.

We are to live by every Word of God to us, as well as by eating food. God has something for us to learn and do every day of our life. There almost always is someone we can help, even members of our family if we are compelled by circumstances to live with them. But to lay around doing nothing of significance is to invite the decay of our faculties, mental and physical.

Still, this is the American Antichrist ideal–to lay around all day watching the television. Christ will hold us to account for wasting our talents, the Kingdom resources we have been given.

Fellowship with the world is one of the three ways in which Antichrist conquers the saints, just as they have been conquered in America and Europe today. The fervent adherents of the Muslim religion are entering the Western nations with the intention of supplanting our values with their own.

Because we Christians of America and Europe, largely because of false teaching, are not serving Christ as we should, not obeying Him day and night, the Muslims are able to enter the land that God has given us and spread their laws and customs.

We already have lost the power of our testimony. The Lampstand of our testimony has been removed. We are objects of scorn to the demons as they gratify their lusts through our bodies. Antichrist and his minions are being revealed.

When I see the antics of today's entertainers and witness their blasphemies, I can recognize that they are inspired by demons. So can you if you pray and listen to the Words of God to you right now.

A little slumber, a little folding of the hands, and America and England will be Muslim nations. Then we will discover too late the difference between Mohammed and Jesus of Nazareth. American women are not going to be happy being treated as a possession like a horse, or beaten with a stick. Young girls can be murdered by their relatives for being seen with a boy.

The second temptation is that of gaining power and influence in the world, so we can obtain whatever we desire. The Lord Jesus was offered the kingdoms of the world if He would worship Satan.

I believe in our day that some people actually worship Satan so they might prosper in their activities and gain prominence. Then they can enjoy their prostitutes and other opportunities that wealth and fame can gain for them.

Today we are the beginning of the political activities that will culminate in the election of someone to be President for the next four years. The money that is spent, the vitriol as the candidates accuse each other, the "dirty tricks," as one candidate named what goes on behind the warfare, reveals that people, men and women alike, have a tremendous hunger for power and the benefits that go with the office of the President.

People have a desire to govern other people and to use them for their own ends. The candidates for President speak great swelling words of how they will benefit the country. It may be true that one or two of them are sincere. The remainder will do whatever is necessary to gain power and remain in power, regardless of the impact on our nation.

The striving for power is as true in the realm of church activities as it is in the secular world. It may be noted that most, perhaps all, of the Christian denominations, began with apostles who were hearing from God.

The beginnings are fruitful, but soon the desire of man to organize what God is doing ("let us build three tents"!) provides the opportunity for people who want ecclesiastical power to promote themselves in the organization.

What once was a fiery, holy movement of the Spirit of God eventually becomes an organization in which there are advantages to be gained as one moves up the ladder of power and prestige. An examination of any of the major denominations of today will show how far the organization has drifted from the simple prayer and obedience of the founders.

I don't believe there is a single exception to this drift away from the immediacy of the Holy Spirit. The desire for power and prestige overcomes the good intentions of God's people.

And thus the Christian witness is overcome. Of course, the organizations speak of how we all are to go forth and "save a lost and dying world; how we all should have a passion for souls." But the organizational yearly reports record the number of members gained and the money that was raised.

Have you ever read an organizational report that recorded how many people forgave their enemies; how many have denied themselves, taken up their cross and followed Christ; how many were delivered from lying, or drunkenness, or adultery, or haughtiness? Neither have I.

Many aspects of Christian growth (except in numbers and giving money) would be difficult to record. But this is the true index of success, not how many members the organization gained or how much money was raised.

We cannot have fellowship with the Statement of Faith of an organization, only with God, the Holy Spirit, and the living Jesus.

Sometimes Christian organizations have served Satan. Certainly when the Catholic leaders conducted the Inquisitions they were doing the work of Satan, not of Jesus Christ.

But we can find the same spirit of Satan and of murder in a humble building in a village, where elders strive for preeminence by harming each other. Or where the Muslims, in the name of God, murder Christian worshipers.

Wherever Christian people strive for advantage over other people, the Christian testimony is destroyed and Antichrist is revealed.

The third temptation of Christ occurred when Satan brought Him to the roof of the Temple and suggested that He prove His Sonship by jumping off–into the Kidron Valley of garbage, I guess. Satan quoted the Ninety-first Psalm about the angels keeping us from stumbling.

Every son of God is tempted in this manner. It is the invitation to presumption.

Jesus responded by reminding Satan that we are not to put God to the test.

How much of the two thousand years of Christian activity has been carried on by fleshly ambition rather than by obedience to Christ? Actually, I believe very little of what has been done, including the building of cathedrals, the killing of South American Indians so mission stations could be established, the intervention in politics in Europe, has anything to do with the Lord Jesus Christ.

How much Christian work is carried on by the ambition of religious people? The idea is that if we decide to build the Kingdom of God, God will assist us. Even though we have no idea what Jesus desires, we pray that God will assist us. This is presumption. Don't wait for God. Jump off the roof and God will save you.

I am of the belief that every Christian organization should shut down and pray until the people hear from God. I realize how impractical this would be in America, since I am the pastor of a denominational church. My point is not how practical or impractical would be, what I am saying is we may not know what we are doing–whether or not it is what God wants.

My personal consecration is to do nothing until I have heard from the Lord. As you can imagine, it requires years of mistakes before we are hearing correctly and not lapsing into passivity or ambition. I started out with this attitude toward major decisions, such as should we accept the pastorate of our present church. Now I am down to asking the Lord what I should eat each day.

You see, I am trying to live by every Word of God.

When I hear what the organizations are saying, when I see the plans to spread the Gospel, I am not gaining the impression that anyone actually is hearing from Jesus. I believe they are making assumptions.

One reason is this: Each organization is pressing for members, for proselytes. The emphasis is to obey the Great Commission and go forth and save souls.

The first problem is, the Great Commission is not about saving souls but about making disciples, teaching them to obey Christ's commands. But what happens is that the organization is intent on building churches and adding numbers of people. In addition, more often than not they are teaching people they do not have to obey Christ's commands because they are "saved by grace."

It seems to me that Christian organizations often do not adhere to the Scriptures. This obviously is true when the ministers preach grace-Heaven-rapture instead of deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Christ at all times.

Secondly, when we listen to the Holy Spirit today, He is not speaking about going forth and saving souls. He is exhorting Christian people to confess and turn away from their sins. Perhaps if we did this, as happened in the Book of Acts, the Lord would add daily to the churches such as should be saved.

I do not expect to live to see the day that any significant number of Christian churches turn their attention to building up the members to the full stature of Christ instead of pleading continually for more members. All of us understand that one believer who is sold out to God will accomplish more in the Kingdom than ten thousand church-goers milling around and complaining about one thing or another.

We all understand this is true but do not act like it.

A study of the Bible will reveal that the people usually were backslidden, whether under Moses or under the new covenant. But God chooses one here and one there, a Noah, a Moses, an Elijah, a Jeremiah, a Paul, a Watchman Nee, an Oswald Chambers, a Tozer, and does more through that individual than all the rest of the believers put together. Yet we keep on talking about more people and more people. It is presumption, moving ahead when God has not spoken.

How does this stress on numbers to the detriment of quality affect the testimony? It destroys the Christian testimony, preparing the way for the triumph of the Antichrist world spirit.

One may notice today that while the organizations still herald the need to gain more proselytes, the churches are declining in the number of congregants. If a believer were to be on the witness stand and say, "I am not lying, I am a Christian," you would hear sniggers throughout the courtroom. This has not always been true in America and England but it certainly is true in America today. The testimony has been destroyed.

People hear the television evangelist who is pleading for money so he can build his own kingdom. Their response is scorn. They sense he is not speaking from Jesus Christ. He is presumptuous. He is taking the Lord's name in vain.

I have no doubt many Christian churches of our day will support our present President (January, 2012). Yet our President condones abortion and homosexual behavior. Have we any idea what we are supporting? Do we not care anymore? Has the Antichrist world spirit overcome the testimony in America? It sure looks like it.

We understand, therefore, that we are living in a day in which Antichrist very skillfully is beginning to destroy the Christian witness.

It is my understanding that the great Spring Revival, symbolized by the two witnesses of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation, will be given great power by the Lord and authorized to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom as a witness to every nation on earth.

When this refreshing takes place, and it certainly cannot be far off given the events of our time, it is my point of view that most of the people living on the earth will receive Christ as their Savior, if not their Lord.

But after that, the love of the majority will grow cold because of the abundance of lawlessness. Then the Christian witness will be destroyed and Antichrist will be revealed.

I read in some translation of the Book of Daniel that Antichrist will build a statue of himself standing on the gable of the Temple in Jerusalem where Christ was tempted, demonstrating that man is his own god. Also, I think Antichrist will sit on the Mercy Seat of a restored Temple in Jerusalem.

Antichrist will be a man (or woman) whose god is power. Although he will cause many to blaspheme, his end is certain. He will be thrown into the Lake of Fire by one angel of God when Christ next appears.

Let each one of us who truly loves the Lord Jesus Christ be wary of being too involved in the Antichrist world spirit. Let us avoid the lewd entertainment that is prevalent, keeping in mind that sexual lust is a powerful temptation.

Let us be careful with the use of electronic communication devices, that we use them to build the Kingdom and do not waste time with them. Paul exhorted us to redeem the time, to make every minute count for Christ.

Let us resolve, as much as possible, to look to the living Lord Jesus for all that we do throughout every day and night. There are great needs of all kinds in the world today. We cannot feed every starving child; we cannot heal every sick person. But we can make sure that we are doing every day with all our heart that which Christ is expecting of us.

If we do our best in Jesus each day, then the blood of earth's perishing will not be on our hands, and we will not be rebuked by the Lord Jesus for having wasted the resources He has given to us.

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The Elect and the World

2012-01-29

One of the main topics of the Scriptures has to do with Israel, and the purpose of Israel in God's Kingdom. By Israel I am not referring to the physical land and people of Israel, but to those who have been called to be part of the Olive Tree, whether they are Jews or Gentiles by physical birth.

I might add that God, I believe, has a special destiny in mind for the physical land and people of Israel. The callings of God are without repentance. Nevertheless the Messianic prophecies in the Scriptures are not to Israel after the flesh but to those who are of the promised Seed of Abraham. As Paul stated, "Not all Israel are of Israel; only the children of the prophetic promise."

It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned." In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring. (Romans 9:6-8)

The question is, what is the relationship of the true Israel, the Seed of Abraham, to the people of the nations of the world" It is this question that needs to be answered clearly if God's people are ever to understand the Kingdom of God.

The common perception is that everyone who "accepts Christ" goes to Heaven to live forever. There are various doctrines about the destiny of the "Jews," meaning all who are Jewish by race. I have not heard of too many teachers who divide the Jews into the prophetic Israel, that Paul described, and the physical land and people of Israel.

I guess the idea is that once a Jewish person receives Christ, he or she becomes a Gentile. Really, I am confused about what is taught. One prominent evangelical leader said that in the beginning a Gentile had to become a Jew to be saved, but now a Jew has to become a Gentile to be saved. I wonder what passage of Scripture he would use to support that notion!

The original Christian Church consisted of Jews, and they followed Jewish customs. Most, I guess, adhered to the Law of Moses. Perhaps it was the Apostle Paul who recognized that all who are of Christ are the true Seed of Abraham and the true Olive Tree.

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26-29)

True Israel are those who are of the Lord Jesus Christ, whether Jewish or Gentile by physical birth. When I use the term "Israel," I am not referring to the physical people and land of Israel, I am speaking of the one Seed of Abraham—those who are of Christ.

Let me pose the question once more, for the answer is vital to our understanding of the Kingdom of God: What is the relationship of Israel, the Royal Priesthood, to the nations of the world?

Think of the world as being divided into just two sets of people—prophetic Israel, and the nations of the earth. What are the destinies of these two sets of people?

The purpose of Israel, the Royal Priesthood, is to govern and bring the Presence of God to those of the nations who are saved. The members of the nations are saved by believing in Christ and being baptized in water.

Please keep in mind by "saved" I am not referring to going to Heaven when one dies. "Heaven," as I have mentioned previously, is Mount Zion, a small part of the spirit world. The saved people from the nations do not go to Mount Zion. Only God's elect go to Mount Zion. There they are being prepared to descend to the new earth as the Royal Priesthood.

The "lost" are those who have absolutely refused to set Jesus Christ as the Lord of their life. Their destiny is to become the incarnation of evil, part of Satan. Thus they no longer are eligible to receive the gift of repentance from God.

The individuals from the nations pass into the spirit world when they die and are gathered to people like themselves; possibly family members, or acquaintances, or wherever they fit. There they are trained in the ways of Heaven, unless, being wicked, they are assigned to the Land of Darkness.

Being "saved" means they are saved from the Divine wrath. If their name is in the Book of Life at the time of the last resurrection and judgment, they will be carried over to life on the new earth. There they will have access to the new Jerusalem, which is Mount Zion, so they may partake of the water of eternal Life and of the Tree of Life.

But then they have to return to their community on the new earth. The new Jerusalem is the Tabernacle of God, the Wife of the Lamb, and it is composed of the Royal Priesthood, that is, God's elect, His Israel.

The saved people from the nations, as I said, will have access to the water of Life and the Tree of Life, for their renewal. But they never can become part of the elect. As our Lord said, "I pray not for the world for but for those whom You have given me."

The world is the world and the Church is the Church. The massive wall of the new Jerusalem is a symbol of the separation between the people of the world, whom God loves, and the Seed of Abraham. In fact, the saved people from the nations are the inheritance of the Royal Priesthood, and the priests of God shall govern them and bring the Presence of God to them.

To the saved from the nations, the Spirit of God and the Bride, the Royal Priesthood, say "Come. Drink of the water of Life without charge."

It really is a simple design: there is the Church, and then the nations of the earth. The government of the Kingdom of God is the Royal Priesthood. The saved people from the nations also are part of the Kingdom, but not part of the government. Just as in America, all citizens are part of America but all citizens are not part of the government.

So there is no reason for anyone to be confused about the role of Israel, God's elect, and their relationship to the remainder of the world.

As for the physical land and people of Israel, God deals with them in a special way because of the fathers of the race. But they are not part of the Royal Priesthood, the government of the new world of righteousness.

It may be noted in the New Testament that the demands placed on the Royal Priesthood are different from the demands placed on those from the nations who are to be saved.

All that is required of a member of the nations is that he or she believe in Christ and be baptized. Whereas the members of the priesthood, the elect of God, are dealt with day and night that they might be conformed to the image of Christ, and might enter untroubled rest in the center of God's Person and will.

However, every person who will live for eternity in the new world of righteousness must be obedient to Christ in every aspect of his or her personality. This is equally true of the elect who compose the new Jerusalem, and the saved people from the nations who walk in the light of the new Jerusalem.

Absolute obedience to Christ is required of all saved people. We can see why the thousand years of instruction are necessary, in that today neither the people of the world, nor most Christian people it appears, are willing to declare themselves ready to obey the Lord Jesus Christ completely and perfectly.

The essential aspect of the Royal Priesthood is the conception and forming of Christ in us. This is why we must be born again to see or enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ Himself is the Government of the Kingdom, the absolute rule of God.

It is my understanding at this time that all persons who are to participate in the Kingdom of God, whether rulers or citizens, must have a portion of Christ in them. We realize, from the parable of the sower, that some reap Christ a hundredfold; some sixtyfold; and some thirtyfold.

It is true of everyone in the new world of righteousness, whether of the Royal Priesthood or of the citizens of the new earth, that it is the presence of Christ in them that causes them to delight to do God's will. The rule of the Kingdom is at first, external; and then becomes internal.

My guess, from the design of the Tent of Meeting, that those who reap Christ in their inward nature a hundredfold are God's Firstfruits. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes—and my supposition is that this will be true throughout eternity. They are portrayed by the Most Holy Place of the Tent of Meeting.

Those who reap Christ to a sixtyfold extent, compose the remainder of the elect. The hundredfold and the sixtyfold together compose the holy city, the new Jerusalem, that shall govern the nations on the new earth.

The thirtyfold, then, would be the citizens of the new earth, the new world of righteousness.

It often is risky to make such neat, pat interpretations of the Scriptures. However, the above appears to make sense, and it does not violate the Scriptures in any manner that I know of.

Although I often present concepts that are not universally understood, my goal always is to exhort God's people to press into the Lord Jesus. By speaking of a Firstfruits, then a less holy group, and then the nations of saved people, I am teaching the believers that there are rewards to those who follow Christ diligently. Thus my goal of bringing people closer to the Lord Jesus is achieved. I have no time to spend on novelties that excite the mind and do not lead God's people closer to Himself.

There are several passages in the Book of Isaiah that point out how Israel will be seen in the future as priests of the Lord who restore that which was destroyed at the end of the Church Age. This role of the elect is seen also in the following passage:

The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life. (Revelation 21:24-27)

Here we see the people who have been saved from the nations bringing their wealth to the Royal Priesthood, as is mentioned also in the sixtieth chapter of the Book of Isaiah.

The verse above says "Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life" The reference is to the nations of people on the new earth who come to the Royal Priesthood to receive the refreshing of the water of the Spirit, and the Substance and healing Virtue of the Lord Jesus Christ, which are given through the members of the priesthood.

And as for the daily lives of the citizens of the new earth:

They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. (Isaiah 65:21)

Do you see from the above that life continues much as in our present day? We have a mythological concept of life after our death. Now Jesus is showing us that God intends to make all things new, not all new things. All of that which we are accustomed to, all that will bring love, joy, and peace, shall be made new in Christ. After all, that is what we really desire, isn't it?

To sum up: God in His infinite wisdom and power shall remove all sin from where people live. Sin shall be confined for eternity in the Lake of Fire.

God is preparing a priesthood, an elect, who will restore Paradise to the earth, and then maintain it. This is why we Christians, the Royal Priesthood, are dealt with so sternly. We have to be established in God's will so thoroughly that never again will there be a rebellion of angels or people.

The people of the nations of the earth, who are not called to be members of the Royal Priesthood, have only to believe in Christ and be baptized in water, signifying that they have set aside their old life and now are ready to serve the Lord Jesus.

This is a simple design, isn't it? It is the answer to our heart's desire for everlasting love, joy, and peace.

It is what God has planned from before the beginning of time, and there is no power on earth or in the heavens above that can in any manner prevent God's will from being performed.

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Credited and Demonstrable Righteousness and Holiness

2012-02-05

There is a difference between credited, and demonstrable righteousness and holiness. By credited righteousness and holiness I mean God has counted the individual as being righteous and holy. So in one way of looking at the behavior and attitude of the person, he or she actually is righteous and holy because God deems him or her righteous and holy. God does have the authority to do that.

 If God says we are righteous and holy, then we actually are righteous and holy, whether or not an onlooker says we are unrighteous and unclean.

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. (I Corinthians 7:14)

In the fourth chapter of the Book of Romans, the Apostle Paul stresses that when we have faith in Christ, God credits us with righteousness. Paul based his teaching on an analogy to Abraham.

What does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." (Romans 4:3)

Paul said also in another place that when we have faith in Christ, God credits us with holiness.

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. (I Corinthians 1:30)

If God says we are righteous, we are righteous even though it is not evident that we behave righteously.

If God says we are holy, we are holy even though it is not evident that we are holy in thought, speech, or actions.

Perhaps if I said "actual" righteousness and holiness rather than "demonstrable" righteousness and holiness, it would be easier for some of my readers to grasp what I am teaching. The problem with using "actual" is, when God credits righteousness and holiness to us we actually are righteous and holy, even though it would not appear so to the onlookers. So I am stuck with "demonstrable."

I wish to interject a thought here that may prove to be a bit confusing. No individual is righteous and holy in God's sight unless God views that individual as righteous and holy. Whether or not the individual is demonstrably righteous and holy, it always must be true that God views the individual as being righteous and holy.

Let me give an example. A person might assist someone in need. This is a righteous act. But whether or not God views it as righteous may depend on other factors. The individual may have rejected Christ and is seeking to win God's favor by acts of mercy. In this instance, his act is righteous from our point of view, but God does not view his act of mercy as righteous because his motive is wrong.

A person might give money to the church. But God may perceive that his purpose is to exalt himself in some manner, as was true of the Pharisees.

We conclude, then, that in the final sense it is God, who knows the heart, who alone can credit righteousness and holiness, whether or not the individual behaves righteously and holily by our standards.

But if God is to credit righteousness and holiness to us, we must obey Him. When God told Abraham that he was to have a vast offspring, and Abraham believed God, his belief was credited as righteousness.

Later in his life, God requires of Abraham that he offer up Isaac as a burnt offering on Mount Moriah. Now if Abraham had refused to obey God and offer his only son, would he still be righteous?

Now he would not, and this is the error of today. We are teaching that once we believe in Jesus Christ we are forever righteous, even though as we go along in our Christian walk we disobey God. That initial righteousness based on our belief does not carry over so when we disobey God, we still are righteous. We ought to know better than that, but apparently we don't!

Paul's point was that it is possible to have righteousness credited to us on the basis of belief in God's promise, apart from the Law of Moses. Indeed, Noah was counted righteous prior to the giving of the Law of Moses. This is all Paul is claiming.

Actually, the basis of all righteousness and holiness is obedience to God. There is nothing magic about belief. Belief brings righteousness only when our belief results in obeying God. It is not the belief that brings righteousness, it is the obedience that credits us with righteousness and holiness.

We see the close relationship between obedience and belief, in the following passage:

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)

Now, was it disobedience or was it unbelief that displeased God? It is my point of view that it was disobedience that displeased God. Why were they disobedient? Because they did not believe God. So if we truly believe God, we will obey God. It is obedience that ultimately pleases God. We can say we believe that God can bring us into our inheritance. But if we do not obey God, our belief is worthless.

We have made "belief" a sort of magic. If I believe in Christ I will be saved "by grace," even though I do not obey Christ by obeying the commands of Him and His Apostles. "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?" This belief and grace business is a destructive misunderstanding!

I think today's theologians in some instances may be confused about what Paul was teaching. They have seized upon the fourth chapter of the Book of Romans and are declaring that God has decided to bring us to Heaven by "grace," meaning that God now and forever deems us righteous and holy even though it does not appear to the onlooker that we indeed are righteous and holy.

It is a kind of de jure righteousness and holiness, in that God is regarding us legally as being righteous and holy although we are not demonstrably so.

One reason behind the above assumption by scholars is that they are interpreting Paul's reasoning with the Jews as contrasting faith and the works of righteous behavior. A closer look at the fourth chapter of the Book of Romans may reveal that Paul was contrasting faith and the Law of Moses, not faith and upright behavior.

Paul was comparing faith in Christ with obedience to the Law of Moses, in the fourth chapter of Romans. In many other places Paul insisted that if we Christians continue to yield to our sinful nature we will reap corruption rather than inherit the Kingdom of God.

Superficially, emphasizing faith in one place and righteous behavior in another appears to be inconsistent. It is not at all inconsistent when we have the whole picture. But today's Bible teachers have grasped only the faith, or belief, emphasis while ignoring the numerous passages dealing with righteous behavior.

If I am not mistaken, Paul was emphasizing that if we would please God we must look to Him and obey Him rather than ignore God and attempt to obey the commands of the Law of Moses. In fact, the very heart of religion, and the reason it is such a murderer of Christ, is that religionists seek to please God by disciplining themselves to follow written regulations rather than to look up to God and determine what He is saying to them.

I think the battle here is due to man's desire to be in control. By following the words of a text, man can remain in control. And this is where Satan enters religion. By looking to Christ constantly for how one should proceed, man puts God in control. The struggle between those who want to remain in control, and those who wish to put Christ in control, has continued for the two thousand years of the Church Era.

Certainly if the priests and elders of Israel had looked to God instead of to the Torah they would not have murdered Christ. If those who are of the faith of Islam would seek the face of God they would not murder Christians. If the officials of the Catholic Church had looked to God instead of to their religion there would have been no Inquisitions.

So Paul, who wrote much about the need for righteous behavior and holiness of personality, was not, in the early chapters of Romans, saying there is no need for us to do good works that people can see because God regards us as righteous if we confess Christ.

Here is a question. Is the Kingdom of God, the rule of God, basically one of credited righteousness and holiness, or is it one of demonstrable righteousness and holiness—that is, a righteousness and holiness that people can see? What do you think?

According to the Apostle Paul, the Bride of the Lamb is to be perfect, without spot or wrinkle. Do you think this perfection would be credited to her, or would her perfection be something we can see?

Is the Kingdom of God one of credited righteousness, or a righteousness that can be observed? Is the Kingdom one in which people are righteous and holy only in the mind of God, or are they righteous and holy in behavior and a personality that people can observe? This is an important question in our day because of the stress on grace and unmerited favor.

The following is one of many in which Paul emphasizes demonstrable righteousness:

God "will give to each person according to what he has done." to those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism. (Romans 2:6-11)

Let's look at the passage above. Is Paul speaking here of credited righteousness based on faith in Christ, or is Paul speaking of demonstrable righteousness, the righteousness of righteous works? What is your opinion?

God "will give to each person according to what he has done." to those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. Will God give eternal life on the basis of persistence in doing good? What do you think? Or did Paul's argument in the next few chapters do away with what he wrote in the second chapter?

What does Paul say in Chapter Six of Romans?

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. (Romans 6:12,13)

Is Paul saying in the above passage that God will credit righteousness to us even if we permit sin to reign in our body?

What does Paul say in Chapter Eight of Romans?

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)

Is Paul teaching us that the Spirit of God is leading us to put to death the misdeeds of our sinful nature so we will not die spiritually? What is your opinion?

If Paul is warning us Christians about sinning, why then would he go to such lengths in Romans, Chapter Four, to stress that God saves people apart from righteous behavior? This truly is the question that needs to be answered.

Let us put ourselves in Paul's position. He was attempting to prove to Jewish leaders that they can be righteous apart from the Law of Moses. If they turn to Christ and look to Him for salvation, God will count them as being righteous. Am I correct by saying this?

Now, if the Jews can be righteous by leaving the commands of the Law, and those commands were many and covered all aspects of life, and can receive righteousness by believing in Christ apart from the commands of Moses, does it follow that the Jews then are free to lie, steal, bear false witness, and so forth?

No, they are not free to live an immoral life. Why not? They have turned away from the Ten Commandments, circumcision, and the other bedrock principles of the Law of Moses. Why then are they not free to follow their sinful nature seeing that they have abandoned the Law?

The reason the Jew, upon leaving the Torah is not free to abandon himself to his sinful nature is that there is a law higher than the Torah. The higher law is what Paul terms "the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus."

So the Jew has turned away from the Law of Moses that he may embrace a higher law. It is the Law of the Spirit of God. It is of interest that the Spirit of God will lead the Jew to obey all the aspects of the moral law of the Torah, and enable him to keep these aspects on a much more complete level.

Let me give you two examples.

First: under the Law of Moses, the Jew who sinned, if he wished to be forgiven and regain fellowship with God, had to sacrifice an animal. Under the new covenant, the Jew has to offer his own body as a sacrifice to God in order to prove God's will in every detail of his life.

Second: regarding the Sabbath commandment. The thesis of the Book of Hebrews is the rest of God. The rest of God is that state of being in which we set aside our own life that we might live by the Life of Jesus. We are to think as the living Jesus is thinking. We are to speak as the living Jesus is speaking. We are to act as the living Jesus is acting. We are to learn to live by the Life of the Holy One of God just as He lives by the Life of the Father.

We see, then, how the Sabbath Commandment is brought to a much higher level, and how the Spirit of God enables us to fulfill it. The rest of God, commanded in the Book of Hebrews, is the eternal Sabbath, the Sabbath of the seventh day of creation, in which God rests. The seventh day has no evening or morning. It is eternal.

We have been warned to be careful not to come short of the eternal rest of God. It is God's purpose in redemption that we live by the Life of the Lord Jesus Christ for eternity.

The Apostle Paul knew of this rest and was living in it. Christ was living in Paul. Paul could not explain all this at once, so he began by telling the Jews that they can turn from the Law of Moses and receive the righteousness that Abraham received when he obeyed God.

It may be noted that later in the Book of Genesis, God commanded Abraham to walk before Him and be blameless. This obviously meant blameless in obedience to God—a faith that results in obedience.

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless." (Genesis 17:1)

If Abraham had said to God, "I do not have to walk blamelessly before You because I already have been declared eternally righteous due to the fact that I believed You concerning my forthcoming seed," how do you think God would have responded? Yet that is the position today of numerous believers in Christ.

Then the word of the LORD came to him: "This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir." He took him outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars—if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:4-6)

Abraham was blameless apart from the Law of Moses. The Jew can be blameless apart from the Law of Moses, if he places his faith in Jesus Christ and is obedient to Him.

When there is a new covenant, as there has been since our Lord rose from the dead, we show our faith by obeying the new covenant. The new covenant is the placing of God's eternal moral laws in our mind and heart such that we become a new creation of righteous behavior and a personality that delights in the holy ways of Christ.

With all that I have stated kept in mind, we can see that the current interpretation of the Apostle Paul, that the new covenant provides a credited righteousness and holiness apart from any actual transformation of the believer, is as grievous and destructive an error as possibly could be contrived.

It is my opinion that most Christian people believe we cannot have fellowship with God, or live in the Kingdom of God, if we are filled with lying, stealing, immorality, unforgiveness, hatred, anger, and so forth. Since numerous Christian people exhibit these traits, the solution offered is that God sees these aspects of our personality through Christ, with the result that we are blameless in His sight. Our demonstrably sinful behavior will in no manner hinder our entering Heaven when we die.

Because of our profession of belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, we permanently are credited with righteousness and holiness independently of our behavior. As questionable as such a position may appear, it seems to be the prevailing position of church-goers in our day.

When faced with the prospect of our fellowship with God and our residence in a mansion in Heaven, while we are exhibiting sinful behavior and an unholy attitude, the believers realize something is amiss.

So two resolutions of the problem have been offered. One, that when the Lord returns, we will be delivered immediately from all worldliness, our sinful nature, and our self-will and unbelief.

Two, that when we die and enter the spirit world we will be delivered immediately from all worldliness, our sinful nature, and our self will and unbelief.

These solutions sometimes are presented. Yet, there is no scriptural basis for either of these two suppositions.

The thirteenth chapter of the Book of Matthew tells of the removal of all sin and sinners from the Kingdom of God.

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)

The passage above tells us that there is coming a time when Christ sends out His messengers and removes all sin and sinful people from the Kingdom of God. We understand from this that credited righteousness and holiness will be superseded, as they must be, so that demonstrable righteousness and holiness prevail among saved people.

It is my point of view that such removal of sin has begun and will continue until the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, terminating with the final resurrection of the dead.

Any doctrine that portrays an instantaneous transformation of worldly, sinful people into perfected saints is in error. We cannot be changed immediately. We can by faith receive credited righteousness and holiness immediately, but we simply cannot reveal demonstrable righteousness and holiness in our actions and personality by means of a sudden Divine intervention.

Perfection of character cannot be accomplished in a moment. The Bride of the Lamb cannot be made spotless by a sudden Divine action. Credited righteousness and holiness can be accomplished in a moment. But demonstrable righteousness and holiness cannot possibly be accomplished in a moment by the Lord's return, or by dying and entering the spirit world.

I have said that Matthew 13:40-43 has commenced and shall continue throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

God deals with our worldliness over a period of time, on occasion by bringing us through painful experiences in the world, such as betrayal, lawsuits, or domestic problems. These devices will weaken the hold of the world on us provided we keep making the attempt to limit our involvement in the Antichrist world system.

God deals with the sins that dwells in us by pointing them out to us one at a time. Then we are obliged to turn away from them, renouncing them vigorously. Since there are many sins residing in our sinful nature, the cleansing of our personality requires a long period of time. If God removed them all at once we would collapse; for prior to Christ being formed in us, the passions of our flesh and spirit, as well as our worldliness and self-will, are the driving motivations of our life.

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 7:1)

God deals with our self-will by placing us in a prison of frustration. We may be required to suffer for many years the deferring of our most ardent desires, or to remain in a situation we detest. We always should pray that God will give us the desires of our heart; but if we are to receive the crown of life we must not force our way out of our prison.

We understand, therefore, that the removal of worldliness, sinful compulsions, and self-will from our personality, and the forming and final dwelling of Christ in us, cannot possibly be accomplished by a sudden Divine action. Time is required for the transformation, because God always works in conjunction with our will and desires.

Sometimes the question is raised: are our salvation and sanctification sudden events, or are they wrought over a period of time?

The answer is, perfect, complete righteousness and holiness are credited to us the moment we place our faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

Demonstrable righteousness and holiness are wrought in us over a period of time as we turn away from our sinful nature, renouncing every aspect of it vehemently, and vigorously press forward in faith in Jesus Christ each day and night of our sojourn on the earth.

The perfect, complete righteousness and holiness that are credited to us serve as a protection while we are undergoing the program of redemption that is bringing us to demonstrable righteousness and holiness.

If we turn away from the program of redemption that is changing us into God's righteous, holy, image, then the protection of the credited righteousness and holiness is withdrawn and we come under Divine judgment.

It is this last statement of mine that may be vigorously contested by all sorts of reasoning and parallels. Satan to this day is shouting, "You shall not surely die!" Let the reader judge what I have written, remembering it is his or her eternal destiny that is at stake.

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Preparing for Our Resurrection

2012-02-12

he Christian Gospel, as far as I know, is different from all other religions in that its goal is renewal of physical life upon the earth. There are other religions that teach reincarnation. But reincarnation is not resurrection. Rather it is the reappearance of the dead individual in a different body.

In the case of the Christian resurrection, we appear again in the same body, only our body has been clothed over with a body of eternal life that has been reserved in Heaven, although modified by our behavior on the earth.

I am not certain how this has happened, but the emphasis on our bodily resurrection found in the New Testament is not set forth as often as one could wish. Why is this? The redemption of his body was the Apostle Paul's goal.

We have invented a "rapture." But a rapture is not a resurrection. A resurrection occurs when our body is raised from its place of burial and then transformed; or, if the Lord comes while we still are living on the earth. the resurrection occurs as our flesh and blood life ceases and is replaced by the Life of the Spirit of God.

What is the relationship of our inward nature to the making alive of our mortal body? Resurrection begins in our inward nature as we learn to live by the Life of Christ. We think as Christ is thinking. We speak as Christ is speaking. We act as Christ is acting. We no longer are living but Christ is living in us.

Such is the necessary preparation for our body being raised from the dead and being clothed with a body from Heaven fashioned from eternal life and modified by our behavior while living on the earth. Thus we see that the resurrection begins in our inward nature and then, when Christ appears, is extended to our physical body.

I say "physical" body because our flesh and bones are present. But being clothed upon with the body from Heaven makes our body a physical-spiritual body. I emphasize the "physical" aspect because our Christian teaching has been so heavily influenced by the religion of Gnosticism that we are apt to emphasize our inward nature and neglect or dismiss altogether the importance of the physical body.

It is the emphasis on the resurrection of the "physical" body that distinguishes the Christian Gospel from all other religions, to the best of my knowledge, as I said previously.

The Apostle Paul was striving to attain to the first resurrection, the resurrection 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)

And so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:11)

Resurrection begins in the inward nature and then, when the Lord appears, is extended to our outward form.

Notice how Paul was preparing himself to participate in the first resurrection:

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:11)

I realize that Paul's preparation (above) for participation in the first resurrection appears to be extraordinary. Actually it is not.

I have thought quite a bit about the standard Paul raised, and then about what we see today as being the standard for "being saved." It seems that so few Christians come close to Paul standard. And yet, Paul urged this upon all of us.

All of us 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)

I think Paul would make allowances for those who yet are immature. But he would insist that we held such preparation to be our goal. Yet I don't believe I ever have heard a preacher or evangelist point toward Paul's preparation as being that which we are pressing toward.

One of two things must be true. Either very few believers are going to participate in the first resurrection, that is, the resurrection that will take place when Christ appears. Or else the believers must grow spiritually after they die. I think this must be the answer.

In fact, the Apostle Paul stated that the gifts and ministries given to the Body of Christ would operate until we all came to the full stature of Christ. For Paul's word to be fulfilled, there must be growth in Christian maturity after we die.

A disclaimer is needed at this point. I am not saying that we have a "second chance"—that we can be careless in our discipleship; and then, after we die we can get down to business with God.

Christ deals with individuals one at a time, at the time He chooses. Some while on earth are inspired to seek Christ fervently. These are God's Firstfruits. If such a chosen one neglects to follow his inner compulsion, his crown will be removed. His talent, a tremendous urge to do God's will, is removed and given to another who has been more diligent. He himself will be sent to the Land of Darkness.

God knows each sparrow. God knows each person and deals with him in s unique manner. Each person is judged only on the basis of that which has been entrusted to him.

There are those who have not been given, while living on the earth, the compulsion to serve God that is true of the Firstfruits. They will be judged only in terms of the resources allotted to them.

Later in the spirit world, God will deal with them according to their foreknown destiny. They must be sternly obedient at that time or suffer the consequences. If they are a member of the elect, they will be taught and otherwise ministered to until they are ready to descend to the new earth as a member of the Royal Priesthood.

So no, we are not teaching a "second chance." Each individual is known to God and must respond in total obedience when presented with Christ. If he is obedient, his end will be full of joy and glory. If he does not respond at the time of his visitation, he will be punished and assigned a place with the rebels against God.

We see the same idea, of preparation for the appearing of Christ, in the following passage:

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. (Colossians 3:4-6)

And again:

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. (I John 3:2,3)

"Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature:"

"Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure."

There is a symbolic picture of the preparation for the resurrection in the incident concerning Lazarus.

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go." (John 11:43,44)

We who have been baptized in water have been crucified with Christ and also have been raised with Him to the right hand of the Father in Heaven, that is, in our inward nature.

But then there are these graveclothes–worldliness, the passions of the flesh and spirit, and personal ambition. Our resurrection has taken place in the timeless vision of God. But the full power of God extended to our physical body has not taken place as yet.

Today is the Day of Salvation. In our time the Holy Spirit is unwrapping the graveclothes in preparation for the return of the Lord Jesus. But how many have ears to hear?

In order to have ears to hear the Spirit, we have to be living in what I term the prophetic milieu. We live in the prophetic milieu by keeping in the Presence of Jesus at all times throughout the day and night.

We constantly are looking to the Lord for everything we think, say, and do. We pray about everything. Each time God answers our prayer we make it a point to give thanks. We pray continually. We look to Jesus continually. This is how we live in the prophetic milieu. This is the environment in which the ministries and gifts of the Spirit operate.

The sons of God are those who are led by the Spirit of God. They live by every Word of God. The Spirit continually is pointing out to us our graveclothes. When the Spirit emphasizes a sin, such as lying, we confess that particular sin; we denounce it as not fit for the Kingdom of God; we renounce it with all our strength, looking to Jesus for help.

When we follow this procedure we are forgiven and cleansed. The peace of Christ returns to us. We must continue confessing our sins and turning away from them, with Jesus' help, as long as we live. This is what is required if we are to remain in the prophetic milieu in which we hear the voice of the Spirit of God.

We do not work for our salvation. Rather, we keep following Christ, bearing our cross of deferred desires. He sets His joy before us from time to time so we do not become weary in well doing. This is the rest of God which we must enter if we are to be eligible to receive a resurrected body when the Lord comes.

Being resurrected has nothing to do with "going to Heaven." I have found this to be a source of confusion in the minds of the people I teach. The purpose of resurrection is that we may renew our life on the earth, not to bring us to Heaven. After we have been resurrected we may enter the spirit world as often as we like.

It is important to note that we shall receive, in our body, the good we have done and the evil we have done. It is a case of sowing and reaping. We can, however, if we confess our sins and turn away from them, have the evil removed so it does not appear in the Day of Resurrection.

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)

If there is any point of doctrine more needful of emphasis today, it is that we are preparing the nature of our own resurrection today by obediently following the Lord Jesus. Each action we take is affecting what we shall experience when the time comes for us to be resurrected.

I do not know what everyone else is teaching and preaching. From what I have heard, the emphases of the ministry do not always appear to be scriptural.

There are three teachings that seem to be stressed: first, lawless grace; second, the "rapture"; third, going to Heaven when we die or are raptured. Grace-rapture-Heaven. These may be the current doctrines in the Christian churches–and not only in America! Perhaps I am incorrect in saying these are the predominant Christian doctrines of our day.

Without any doubt, the teaching of lawless grace is the single most destructive of all the heresies to enter Christian thinking.

Paul, writing to the Jews, pointed out that God has in time past and always can credit righteousness to anyone He chooses, apart from the observance of the Law of Moses. We are not saved by obeying the Law of Moses but by placing our faith in the Lord Jesus–and that means obeying the Lord Jesus, not just assenting to the fact that He is our Savior.

We Gentiles have created a new dispensation under which an individual by saying "I accept Christ," and while not denying himself and bearing his cross of deferred desire patiently after the Master, now abides under a screen through which God cannot see his sinning.

What an abomination? What a guaranteed method of destroying the moral character of Christian people? What a product of humanistic thinking in which people always must be comfortable?

If someone wants to be certain he or she is not prepared for the resurrection, the lawless-grace teaching is the best route to take.

How such an unscriptural travesty of God's plan for the redemption of human beings ever was introduced into Christian thinking, I cannot imagine. No doubt it finds its origin in the democratic-humanistic-rights of people philosophy that pervades the Western nations.

In First Corinthians Paul states, referring to the resurrection, that the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death (meaning, from the context, physical death). By the lawless-grace teaching, Satan is insuring that the last enemy never shall be destroyed; this is to say, the believers never shall be prepared or the resurrection of their body.

Can you see, in the three deadly doctrines, that our bodily "resurrection," the goal of the Apostle Paul, is not mentioned? We might protest that the "rapture" is the resurrection. This is not true. The rapture is the immediate ascension of the inward nature to Heaven to escape Antichrist and the Great Tribulation. I know of no preparation that is needed for the rapture except to "accept Christ."

Can you imagine the Apostle Paul saying that he was setting aside his own life that he might attain to the rapture? If Paul's preparation was to attain to the rapture, then numerous Christians of today are going to be disappointed, for they have not by any means met the criteria presented by Paul.

The is no sound of war in the "rapture" teaching. The first resurrection, that which will occur when Jesus next is revealed, is a calling up of the purified saints so they can descend with Christ and install the Kingdom of God upon the earth. Hence the shout (of war), the voice of the Archangel (Michael, the commander of the army of angels), and the trumpet of God (announcing the beginning of the Battle of Armageddon).

This is no flight of carnal believers to escape Antichrist and the Great Tribulation! How ridiculous! Yet there are sincere, devout Christian people who have accepted this delusion.

The third doctrine, that of going to "Heaven" by means of death or by a "rapture," is based on an error that has pervaded Christian thinking (and, in some instances, Jewish thinking) throughout the Christian Era) When it entered Jewish thinking I do not understand, since going to Heaven as a result of good behavior is not found in the Tenach, to the best of my knowledge.

The concept of going to a paradise after we die, if we have behaved well, is common among religions, I understand. But such is not true of the Christian Gospel. The reward for doing well, according to the New Testament, is to gain a better resurrection.

What a monumental and distracting error this is! The Christian believers, for the most part, are waiting to die and go to Heaven so they can recline in a mansion on a golden street, doing nothing of significance for eternity.

The truth is, we are to be preparing for our resurrection today, with a view to returning with the Lord Jesus in His Kingdom to establish justice on the earth.

By making eternal residence in a Heaven of our imagination the goal of our salvation, and lawless grace and a rapture our means of getting there, we have departed altogether from the Bible.

First of all, the spirit world is a very, very large area, and includes areas that range all the way from Mount Zion down to Hell.

Mount Zion is what we mean by "Heaven." It is the home of the elect, God's Royal Priesthood. If we are abiding in the Lord Jesus, we already have come, in our inward nature, to Mount Zion, that is, to Heaven.

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:22-24)

When we say we want to go to Heaven, we are speaking of Mount Zion. To the best of my knowledge there is no "Heaven" other than Mount Zion. Mount Zion is the place where God desires to dwell, and that certainly must be the "Heaven to which we wish to go.

Why gaze in envy, O rugged mountains, at the mountain where God chooses to reign, where the LORD himself will dwell forever? (Psalms 68:16)

Mount Zion is the "heavenly Jerusalem" which one day will come down from Heaven to be installed forever upon the new earth. And we already have come there in our inward nature. Now it is time to make our body eligible to enter through the gates into the holy city.

The remainder of the spirit world, where most people are, is not "Heaven." It is where people go after they die. Decent, God-fearing people go to communities of decent people like themselves. Truly wicked people go to one of the areas that also contain people like themselves.

But Heaven, Mount Zion, is the city of the Living God. It is the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. It is the Church of Christ, the place of the holy angels, of Jesus, of the spirits of righteous people made perfect, of the atoning blood.

We already are there, if we are abiding in Christ. Mount Zion is the new Jerusalem that will come down out of Heaven through the new sky to be installed forever on the new earth. This will take place after the last resurrection.

The new Jerusalem is the government of the Kingdom of God. It will govern the people from the nations who are saved.

Since our goal is to attain to the first resurrection, we might say that in that sense, salvation is resurrection.

Let me qualify this just a bit. All members of God's elect, those whom God has called to be a member of the Body of Christ, the royal priesthood, together compose Mount Zion, the government of the Kingdom of God. These are God's Israel, whether Jewish or Gentile by physical birth.

God's Firstfruits, those who will be resurrected and ascend to meet the Commander in Chief in the air in the first resurrection, are a special, warlike group of the entire Christian Church, the Body of Christ, Mount Zion. After the second resurrection, the Firstfruits will be joined together with the remainder of the Royal Priesthood.

Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)

There are many symbols in the Old Testament of a part of God's people being separated for a season until the entire Body of Christ has been reconciled to God. The reconciliation of the Bride of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, is the purpose for the thousand-year interval between the next coming of the Lord and the final resurrection and creation of the new sky and earth.

One symbol is the rule of David over Judah and later over all Israel. Another is the division of the Tent of Meeting into a Holy Place and Most Holy Place. A third symbol is that of David's Mighty Men and the remainder of Israel.

The purpose of this essay is to point out that salvation is resurrection and resurrection is salvation. Salvation has nothing to do with "going to Heaven when we die." Salvation is the rest of God. It is the goal of the Apostle Paul, the redemption of his body that Paul was seeking so that he might be free from the body of sin and death.

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. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Romans 8:23-25)

Can you see in the above passage that it is in the hope of the redemption of our body that we are saved? Can you see also that changing our hope from the redemption of our body to eternal residence in Heaven is destructive of our discipleship?

When the believers are waiting to die and go to Heaven, and believe they will go there by "grace," they are not going to press forward into the resurrection, into the Kingdom of God. The numerous opportunities the Spirit gives them each day to overcome their love for the world, the lusts and passions of their flesh and spirit, and their personal ambition, are overlooked. Yet these opportunities are given that they might prepare themselves for their resurrection from the dead.

How people who have died and did not participate in the first resurrection, and are in Mount Zion waiting for their descent as the Royal Priesthood, can prepare themselves for their resurrection, I do not know.

However, there is a passage in the Song of Solomon that suggests to me these immature members of God's elect will be taught and ministered to by those who did attain to the first resurrection. Following is that passage.

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)

The "We," then, would be the Firstfruits, those who did attain to the First Resurrection.

The two immature persons are sisters of the Firstfruits of the Bride, as I understand the passage. It then falls to the Firstfruits not only to govern the nations of the earth along with the Lord Jesus, but also to pass into the spirit world and minister to the immature members of the Royal Priesthood.

In any case, the concept of lawless-grace, "rapture," and eternal residence in a mansion in Heaven doing nothing of significance for eternity should be dismissed from the mind of every serious Christian.

The Lord has impressed me of late that physical death is nothing to be feared. We pass into the spirit world and are placed where we belong.

If we have received Christ when He was presented to us, and have denied ourselves, have placed our treasures in Heaven, have faithfully borne our cross of delayed gratification, have looked to Him night and day for each of our decisions, giving thanks continually to God for His love and goodness, then there absolutely is nothing to fear when it comes our time to die.

Actually, for the faithful Christian, death is like awakening from a nightmare.

As far as I know, the casual Christian will be placed with people like himself or herself. God does not like mixtures.

For the individual to whom Christ never has been presented, he or she will be judged fairly after death. Peter told Cornelius that all who fear God and do what is right are accepted by the Lord. This person, man or woman, boy or girl, will go to a suitable place in the spirit world to be with people–perhaps relatives–like him or her.

So there is no reason for any of us to fear death, unless we have refused Christ when He was presented to us, or have been a wicked person. In this case we indeed do have reason to fear!

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 good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. (John 5:28,29)

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The Church Is The Revelation Of God

2012-02-19

God is invisible to us. I rather suspect He is invisible also to people in the Spirit world—perhaps also to those who reside in Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem.

It appears likely that the four living creatures, the cherubim, portray in external form the Nature of God, with their four faces–the lion, the ox, the eagle, and the man.

The following passage gives us some insight, I believe:

Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory. (I Timothy 3:16)

The "body" is that of the Lord Jesus Christ. I suppose that many would derive from this passage that God is one Person in three manifestations–as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. While a certain part of this understanding is true, in that God is in all Three, yet it is clear enough from the New Testament that there are three distinct Persons, three wills, in the Godhead. "Not My will but Yours be done."

If we do not perceive that there are three Persons in the Godhead we will not understand God's plan to increase the revelation of Himself in the saints.

In the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John, Christ discusses the fact that the Church is separate from the rest of mankind. It appears this separation began when God called out Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees.

The separation in its final form is set forth in the great wall that separates the new Jerusalem from the rest of the world.

It is not unlikely that it is difficult for members of the Christian churches to really understand they no longer are part of the world. Once Christ has come to us and given us eternal life, we no longer are part of the world. This may appear undemocratic. But if it were not so, the churches would be nothing more than local social institutions.

The Christian Church is the Bride of the Lamb, the Body of Christ. It is anointed with the Holy Spirit of God because the Church is holy. The Church is sanctified by the Spirit, and is able to bring deliverance to those of mankind who are oppressed because it is anointed by the Spirit for that purpose. In fact, the physical body of the saint is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Because numerous churches in the Western nations are organized much like a business, the fact that the churches are Lampstands—the prophets of God in the local neighborhoods. The fact that the members of the congregations are members of the Body of Christ, while the Christian people would not deny that title, is not a present truth that materially affects the thinking and attitudes of many who attend the services.

Perhaps in the day in which we live, we pastors should impress upon the people that we are more that clubs of well intentioned people. We are an integral part of the revelation of the invisible God in that we are members of Christ's Body.

How we view ourselves has an impact on how we treat our discipleship. If we consider ourselves to be nothing more than members of a social group, then exhortations to holiness of person and behavior are little more than a nuisance to us. But if we picture ourselves as revelations of the invisible God, we realize that holiness of person and behavior are of first importance.

In the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus prayed that we Christians would be one—and not only one, but one in Christ in God. For this to be true, our attitude toward denominational divisions and loyalties must undergo some change. The world will never believe that it is God who has sent Christ into the world until we are more one in Christ than is true today.

I think there is a general awareness that we, in AD 2012, are entering an era of change. There certainly is political unrest. Also, the sins of the flesh seem to be abounding, particularly in the United States. There is a cynicism in the writings of the newspaper columnists that certainly is not sympathetic to anyone who desired to bring God into a discussion of the problems of the world.

I wonder if this attitude prevailed in Sodom prior to its destruction.

Having been a Christian for more than 65 years, God and Christ are very real to me. Yet, when I read and listen to the current media, it seems as though I am living on a planet remote from the remainder of mankind.

But I have lived long enough to know that the Bible is true; and what God says shall happen, shall happen, no matter how the scoffers scoff!

Based on the prayer of the Lord Jesus in John 17, I would not be surprised if before too long the true disciples of Jesus become one, and one revelation of God. I believe this is God's intention. God certainly is not revealed in a multitude of competing denominations who, it appears to me, often do not trust one another.

I am not pointing toward a giant Christian organization. There will be such an organization, but the Spirit of God will not be in it. To the contrary, the true saints will remain as they always have been—a persecuted minority of humble individuals who are not organized, except possibly for arrangements made by apostles and prophets. Such a change of Christian structure must occur if the prophecy of the Lord Jesus is to be fulfilled.

Notice in the following passages the wall that separates the Church from the world:

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)

I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. (John 17:14)

To what extent is the Lord Jesus Christ not of the world? Christ is of God. He is an integral part of God. He is the Servant of the Lord whom God has chosen. Christ was in the beginning with God, and through Him God made everything that exists.

While we are not as elevated as Christ is, yet we are not of the world any more than He is of the world. This is what Jesus said, although we may find it difficult to believe.

We are wary of exalting ourselves, and that is normal and praiseworthy. However, we are not worthy of praise when we do not believe everything the Lord Jesus has stated. Of course, we wish to be humble. But if God has chosen us to be part of the revelation of Himself, then we are not to decide we are not worthy and hold off in unbelief.

The truth is, we have been elected by the Lord to be members of the very Body of Christ, the Body of the One who has been anointed by the God of Heaven to bring into being the Kingdom of God. We are called "saints," (holy ones) because God has set us aside for His special purposes.

It is our tendency, as I said, to view the local church as a business, and as a social gathering. While this may be true, that is not the essence of what the local church is. It is the Presence of God in the world. It is the witness of God. It is Divine by its calling; and, as the members keep partaking of the body and blood of Christ, it is Divine in Substance.

The local church is the revelation of God among men. While people cannot see the invisible God, it is God's plan that they can see God in His churches.

In our humanistic, democratic viewpoint, we speak of many roads leading to God. This is not true. Only the Lord Jesus Christ and those who are an integral part of Him are the revelation of the One true God. Such a concept may be despised by many people in our day; but it certainly is the truth!

The following passage may well be the most sublime prayer in the entire Bible:

"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 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. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them." (John 17:20-25)

"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you." How is it, and to what extent, is God in Jesus and Jesus in God? This carefully about this. We saints have been called to this total oneness.

This oneness is not "unity," as we often use the word. The oneness spoken of here is total, complete union—the union that is true of God and Jesus. You can see immediately that denominational and ecumenical unity are different in kind from the union that is true of the Father, the Son, and the Saints. Human unity depends on mental agreement. Divine union is a coalescing, a fusion, a growing together of personalities until Oneness is obtained.

It is this fusion, of which human marriage is but the dimmest reflection.

Now, here is the point. It is our Lord Jesus Christ who has prayed for this total union, the same union that exists with the Father and Himself. When the union has been perfected, then Christ and we will be both human and Divine. Naturally we resist the idea of our being a partaker of Divinity; and the thought would be sacrilegious were it not of the Scripture.

It is useless for us to hem and haw about whether human beings can become part of the Divine Godhead. It is what the Scripture says; and it accomplishes nothing if we stagger about in unbelief.

It is not a case of our vaunting ourselves, it is a matter of obeying what God has determined. Christ Himself did not grasp His heavenly calling but took upon Himself the form of a servant. In like manner, the thought of being part of the revelation of God should result in humility, not in arrogance, on our part.

Becoming part of Christ indeed will result in humility, if we take such union correctly. We want to be part of Christ rather than just a partner of Christ. And God has His ways of humbling us, doesn't He?

So we will not trouble ourselves because God has called us to be in His image. If this is what God has spoken and desires, then our part is to say "Amen." I know you will hold with me on that.

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

All of us want the world to believe that it is God who has sent the Lord Jesus Christ to us. Isn't that so? If such is true, then denominational loyalties can prove to be a hindrance to the world's perception of Christ.

Each true saint has been called to be one with each other and with Jesus and God. It may be true that the various forms of chaos that the Spirit seems to be indicating are facing us in the future, may be one force that will bring true union to the people of God.

We can spend millions of dollars and untold hours of effort to convince the people of the world of the Divine origin of Jesus Christ. Then we send blindness upon them by exalting our denomination. This should stop, don't you agree?

"I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one." The troubles in the world will be one force that will bring true union to the members of the one Body of Christ. Another force will be the Glory that God has given Christ. I do not know what form that Glory will take, but I imagine it will be a greatly increased amount of the Presence of Jesus among us, accompanied by mighty signs and wonders.

"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." The true union I have spoken of is not a oneness of doctrinal understanding. It goes far deeper than that! It is a union that results from Christ being in me and Christ being in you.

Paul spoke of that oneness:

Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:13)

When such maturity has been attained to, then the saints will flow together. As was the case in the building of the Temple of Solomon, the stones have been carved in advance so there was no sound of a hammer or saw at the building site.

People will not have to compromise and adjust their beliefs, as in the case of ecumenical unifying. Christ in one saint will embrace Christ in another saint, and so on and on until the true Church is one. It is my understanding that such union will occur before Jesus returns. It will take place in the saints whom Christ brings with Him, and to those who are alive at the time of His return.

When Christ is in us, then God also is in us. It is one Church, one Body of Christ, one revelation of God in Heaven and upon the earth. While God Himself remain invisible, He can be seen in Christ—Head and Body.

"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world." Jesus prayed that we would be with Him where He is, that is, in the center of God's Person and will. Jesus said this in the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John. "That they may be with Me where I am."

It appears to me that people fasten on the "mansions," in John, Fourteen. They do not hear what Jesus is saying, when He exclaims, "that they may be with Me where I am. They don't seem to care about Jesus, just about the thought of living forever in a mansion in Heaven. Am I mistaken here?

"Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me." We know that it is God who has sent Jesus. But the world will not know that it indeed is God who has sent the Lord Jesus until we are one in Christ and God and They in us.

I don't know about you, but I sometimes get the feeling that the believers do not realize that Jesus came to bring us to the Father. In fact, the Father does not appear to be real to them.

The Lord Jesus did not come to point people to Himself, except as they come to Him in order to come to the Father. The Lord Jesus is not the stopping point. He is the Way to the Father, not to Himself.

He said in another place that He is the only One who knows the Father, as well as those to whom He reveals the Father. I am beginning to wonder if one of the changes that will occur during the present century is that the Christian churches will become more aware of the Father.

In that Day, the Lord said, we would know more about the Father than we do now. That "Day" is the day in which the Lord alone is exalted. We are approaching that "Day," but we still are exalting ministers and denominations. This has to cease if we are to come to know the Father.

On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. (John 14:20)

We of the elect, of the Christian Church, are called to be the brothers of Christ. When you stop to think of it, this is a marvelous promise. How can we be the brothers of Christ? It is because we have been born of the same Father.

Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says, "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises." (Hebrews 2:11,12)

We may be somewhat amazed at being called the brothers of the Lord. But Jesus is not amazed. He is very happy at the prospect. He has been an only child from before the creation of the world. Now He has brothers, born of the same Father. Isn't that wonderful!

Of course, we are not as great as He. The Father has given all things into His hands. He has all authority in Heaven and upon the earth.

Christ is ready to share His inheritance with us. But He cannot do this until we come to maturity; or, I should say, until He comes to maturity in us. Then what a time of rejoicing there will be as all the brothers, including the Lord, sing praises to their Father.

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

"Go to My brothers." Isn't that marvelous? Can't you just hear the joy in the Lord's heart? He has gone through a suffering far, far more intense than any suffering we ever will experience. It was not just the scourging and crucifixion, it was the threat that He never again would be with the Father. It was this threat, I am certain, with which He was taunted by the demons.

But now the suffering and danger is past. He has paid the price. He has overcome Satan. The royal Prince has been victorious. Now He is returning to the embrace of His Father, and to the paeans of praise in Heaven.

But more than this, He has paid for a company of brothers; not only the eleven disciples whom He knew so well, but a vast host who were to come after them, bearing their cross, beginning perhaps with the Apostle Paul.

No athlete who has won a trophy; no musician who has completed successfully a royal performance; no explorer who has erected his country's flag on new territory; could ever approach in exultation the Lord Jesus as He prepared to ascend to His Father.

However, I believe His greatest joy was in realizing He now had a company of brothers with whom He could share the spoils, the inheritance to be bestowed on Him by His Father.

"I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them." Now, here is a wonderful thought. Jesus has made the Father known to us and will continue to make the Father known to us so that the love God has for Christ may be in us—and that Christ Himself may be in us.

It seems to me that for two thousand years the Christian churches have spoken of Christ being with us. This is true in the celebration of Christmas. It is true also in the celebration of Easter. Christ has come. He has been with us. He has returned to Heaven. He is coming again to be with us.

This is not the mystery of the Gospel. This is not the Gospel of the Kingdom. The central truth of the Gospel is that Christ is to be born in us; to be formed in us; to come to maturity in us. When Christ has been fully formed in us, then Christ and the Father will come and make their eternal home in us. Since the Holy Spirit already is in us, we then will be filled with all the fullness of God.

This is the mystery of the Gospel. This is the Kingdom of God. It is to this that we have been appointed, and is the reason for the struggles we have as we seek to set aside our own life and live by the Life of Jesus.

If Christ merely were to be with us, that would be a wonder exceeding all other wonders. But that fact that Christ is to be formed in us, and then the Father and He are to descend and inhabit that which has been formed in us, is another whole realm of experience.

We of God's elect, who are called to be part of the Body of Christ, have begun as flesh and blood human beings—not too different from other mammals, except that we are more intelligent, and also have a spiritual nature that responds to God and other spirits. This is not true of any other animal.

We are intelligent, flesh and blood, animals. Any doctor will tell you that.

But we are dead spiritually. Then along comes the Prince of Life. He, under the direction of the Father, gives us eternal life, the Life of the Spirit of God, in our inward nature. It is our acceptance of the atonement made on the cross of Calvary that authorizes Him to do this.

Not only is the eternal life of the Spirit of God in us, but a part of Christ Himself has been planted in us. Also, we are raised with Christ to the right hand of the Father.

As we keep wending our way through problems, overcoming through Christ all forces that would tear us down from our high place in God, we are fed in the Spirit the body and blood of Christ. These are resurrection life, which we are fed in anticipation of the day when Christ returns and issues eternal life to our physical body.

What is taking place in the intelligent animal? God is being formed in him or her. The Divine Nature is being formed. He no longer is merely an animal. He is growing into a son of God in all that this signifies.

Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (II Peter 1:4)

You can understand that this is a profound change in what we are. We still are human beings, but transcendently so. We now are true brothers of Christ, being born of man and born of God.

No man has seen God at any time. But through the Church, the nations will be able to see and be ministered to by God who is dwelling in Christ who is dwelling in us.

Let us not, therefore, be weary and faint as we struggle against sin. The rewards set before us far, far surpass any comprehension of such that we have at this time. But it is God who has promised, and He is utterly faithful to those who are faithful to obey Him in all matters.

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Prelude To The Resurrection

2012-02-26

Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." (John 6:35)

The above indeed is a remarkable statement. It reveals to us that the Lord Jesus is infinitely more than a teacher. He is Bread! He does more than teach us about eternal life. He Himself is the eternal Life and the resurrection of the dead.

With this in mind we see that the hunger and thirst He is referring to are not for bread and fish, but the hunger and thirst we have for God. He Himself is the life, and so we have to eat of Him and drink of Him.

The Christian salvation is not a religion. It is not a set of religious principles or Statements of Faith. It is true that what we read in the Bible was written by men of God who possessed eternal life. But even their words are not life, except as they bring us to Him.

I don't believe there is a greater misunderstanding in the history of the world than that of perceiving the Christian salvation as a religion that one joins. The Christian salvation is a change in what we are in substance, not merely information given to the mind; not merely belief in a set of words.

Eternal life is the Life of God. It is not human. It is not of flesh and blood. It is not a legal statement issued by the Lord that we are going to have eternal existence. Eternal life is a kind of life, like biologic life. It is supernatural. Ultimately it will extend to the mortal body causing it to be immortal.

It may be true that the difference between religion and genuine salvation is that religion points to the Scripture as being eternal life, whereas genuine salvation is not found in the Scriptures but in the Lord Jesus. The Scriptures speak of Him; but to receive eternal life we do not come to the Scriptures but to Christ.

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (John 5:39,40)

Really, the problem resolves around what it means to believe in Christ. I think the common meaning among us Christians is that believing in Christ refers to our holding in our mind that Christ is the Son of God, that He has died for our sins, and that He is coming again. If we believe this we have eternal life.

But this cannot be what it means to believe in Christ, because Satan knows these facts are true and He has no eternal life. The demons realize that Christ is "the holy One of God," but they have no eternal life. So to believe in Christ must mean something more than believing He is God's Son, that He died for our sins, and that He is coming again. This is believing about Christ, not believing in Christ.

If we had a serious disease, and the doctor told us to take a certain course of action, we might believe that our doctor graduated from medical school, that he was a specialist, and that he had prescribed the correct course of action. We believed all these things. But if we did not do them, we did not really believe in him, unless we want to remain ill.

Jesus told us we must forgive our enemies, and that if we did not forgive our enemies, God would not forgive us. We might believe that Jesus actually said this, and that He was speaking the truth of the Father. But if we do not forgive our enemies, we do not really believe in Jesus with a saving faith, unless we desire to live in condemnation.

Jesus told us that if we would be a disciple, that is, a Christian, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross of deferred desire, and follow Him. We might believe the Lord actually said this. But if we do not deny ourselves, take up our cross of deferred desire each day, and follow Him, we are not a disciple, not a Christian. We do not truly believe in Him.

I would think any sincere believer would agree with what I am writing. But since we do not find many cross-carrying disciples in the Christian churches in America, we conclude that when they claim to be saved by believing in Christ they are deluded.

Now, where and how did this delusion originate? It originated with a misunderstanding of what Jesus meant when He said the work of God is to believe in Him.

Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." (John 6:29)

Religious leaders saw this as a formula that could be controlled. If people would adhere to their Statement of Faith they would be true Christians; they would be saved and have eternal life; they would go to Heaven when they die.

But in so many instances they did not bring the people to Jesus, only to a religious formula. Consequently the people are deluded and their behavior reveals this.

Most of the New Testament is about righteous behavior. But the religious leaders and teachers assert that by "believing in Christ" it is not necessary to behave righteously. We are saved and have eternal life by adopting the correct formula. So we now have the situation in which people claim to be saved and have eternal life, and yet there is little evidence of this in their behavior.

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. (James 2:17-19)

The truth is, Jesus is not their Lord because they do not do what He commands. Neither do they possess eternal life; which they view as a legal position concerning endless existence but not an actual kind of life separate from their flesh and blood life.

For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:40)

Now we see, in the verse above, that Jesus is speaking of immortality, not just endless existence in Heaven. Notice that the emphasis is on looking to the Son, not just adhering to a formula of belief.

You know, "believing in Christ" has taken on a mystical character. It is as though the belief itself waives any need for behavioral change. This really is Gnosticism, the religion that teaches a specialized knowledge brings us to a higher spiritual plane. The notion that belief alone, which is nothing more than our knowledge of certain facts and our assent to them, has, shall I say, a magical power to bring us to Heaven. It is not a robust faith in a Man, such as the faith the Apostles had in the Lord Jesus.

The same is true of the "grace" that Paul mentioned. Instead of being the solid Presence and blessing of God that forgives our sins, sets us free from the Law of Moses, and enables us to follow the Spirit of God as He leads us into righteous behavior, it is a Houdini-type illusion that causes us to view an unrighteous person as though he is righteous and holy. It is the delusion of all time!

So we have a faith that is not a faith in the Man such that we obey Him and His Apostles. We have a grace that brings a righteousness that no one can see because it does not work out in righteous behavior. And these two whitewashed walls are supposed to withstand the onslaught of the forces of Hell!

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:45)

Notice again that Jesus is speaking of the giving of eternal life to the body, to bodily immortality. The Christian religion has become so leavened with other religions, such as Gnosticism, that we think only of eternal life in our spirit.

Notice also that Jesus said "no one can come to me." He did not say, no one can come to the Christian religion, or to the Scriptures. To be saved we have to come to the Man Himself. We won't do that unless the Father draws us.

It occurs to me that multitudes in the Christian churches were never drawn to Christ by the Father. Perhaps they felt it was a good idea to try religion. Many of them do not seem to know the Man, only the beliefs and practices of their particular denomination.

I am the bread of life. (John 6:48)

The Lord Jesus is infinitely more than a teacher. He Himself is the eternal life that we seek. We have to eat Him, not just read about Him. But how do we eat Christ and gain salvation and eternal life?

It is "hidden manna." When we are faced with a temptation to sin, and we yield to it, we are not fed with salvation, with eternal life, with the hidden manna. When we are faced with a temptation to sin, and pray for the strength to turn away from it, we are fed with eternal life, with salvation, with the hidden manna.

The decision to overcome the deeds of our sinful nature must continue every day, every moment of our life. We are fed constantly with the body and blood of Christ in the Spirit realm. Thus we keep increasing in eternal life. We are learning to live by the Life of Christ, just as Paul did. We are putting our old nature to death. In this manner we attain to the resurrection of our body that will occur when the Lord next appears.

Can you see how this continual feeding on and living by the body and blood of Christ is infinitely different from adhering to and professing belief in a religious formula? Different from an empty "grace"?

The emptiness of the current Christian preaching is revealing itself in the moral stature of the American people. We really are disgusting to many other nations, not only the Muslims, with our Hollywood presentations. How long is God going to put up with the institutions that are seducing young people into sexual liaisons that result in abortions? How have the mighty fallen! We may think God sees us through Christ; but the world around us sees us as we are. They are not led by our behavior to glorify God.

But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. (John 6:50,51)

There is no other religious teacher who has made such a claim or could make such a claim. No other teacher is himself eternal life that we could eat of him and gain life. No other teacher is himself the resurrection, such that we could eat of him and gain bodily immortality.

"He will live forever." The Lord is speaking here of immortality. What was lost in Eden was bodily immortality.

All mankind experiences physical death. We sing our little song. Do our little dance. Laugh a little. Cry a lot. And then we wither and die. Such never was God's intention. God intends that we live forever, and not just as a spirit but as a flesh and bone human being. This immortality is in Christ. When we eat Him each day, we are moving toward the time when He returns and raises our flesh and bones into immortality.

Christ, the Word made flesh, could not bring immortality to mankind by teaching people. He had to give us His flesh to eat and His blood to drink if we are to overcome physical death. It is my personal belief that Christ's body and blood will be in the trees of life that will be planted along the River of Life in the new Jerusalem. It is the Life of God through which people gain immortality.

I know of no source that will bring immortality other than the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is not a religion. It is salvation. It is the immortality for which God gave His Son, so that whoever will believe and receive may live forever, just as God always has intended for His children.

Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. (John 6:49)

Can you see from the verse above that the Lord is speaking in terms of immortality in the body? They died physically in the desert. That manna did not result in immortality.

Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you." (John 6:53)

These are not the words of a human teacher. Rather, this is the very Life of God in human form. People have biologic life in them without eating the flesh of the Son of Man and drinking His blood. But they do not have true life. True life, that which endures forever, is found only in the flesh and blood of the Word made flesh.

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. (John 6:54,55)

Again we see that the eternal life of which the Lord Jesus speaks is pointed toward the raising of the body in the Day of Resurrection. He is saying here that meat and potatoes are not real food, because they do not make the body immortal.

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. (John 6:56)

If we are to bear the fruit of the image of Christ in our behavior we must abide in Him and He in us. We do this by continually overcoming sin and by being given Christ's flesh and blood in the Spirit realm. This is a day by day experience, enabling us through Christ's Divine Nature that is in us to overcome the lusts of the Antichrist world spirit.

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 use the verse above a good deal, in my writing and preaching. It sums up the true life of the Christian disciple. The Lord Jesus lives because of, or from, or by, the Father. It is the will of God that we live by Jesus Christ in precisely the same manner.

The Father and Christ are in perfect union. Christ speaks as the living God is speaking. Christ thinks as the living Father is thinking. Christ acts as the living Father is acting.

This precisely is how we are to live. We are to think as the living Christ is thinking. We are to speak as the living Christ is speaking. We are to act as the living Christ is acting.

Such a life is possible only as we are feeding on Christ continually. We do not just eat Christ, we feed on Christ, just as horses and cattle feed on hay. We are to eat Christ, graze on Christ, all the day long.

The idea of living by the Life of Jesus Christ may be new to some of us. It may be a higher level of consecration than we have known. But the chaotic conditions of the future in America, because of our sin, is going to require this sort of relationship to the Lord if we are to survive spiritually and help others to survive.

Nothing can truly harm the individual who is living by the Life of Jesus. For such a person, to live is Christ and to die is gain. We need to teach this to our children, because they are the ones who are going to have to cope with the American chaos.

It is perfectly possible for anyone to learn to live by the Life of Jesus, but we have to give our whole attention to it. Throughout the day, and the time at night when we are awake, we are to keep looking to Jesus, speaking to Him, thinking about Him, asking His help with all we are doing, thanking Him when everything is going well.

Such attention to the Lord Jesus takes a while to learn, but it is what He wants; therefore He will help us, when we make up our mind this is how we wish to live.

The Lord is drawing closer to us today. I can feel His Presence. Can you? Be sure that each day you spend some time meditating in your Bible, if you have one. Keep looking up to Him at all moments. Never permit yourself to be so distracted you cannot hear His voice, such as in a party, or out shopping, or among friends. Learning to look to Him at all times may save your life, or the life of a loved one, in the days to come.

We live fairly close to a nuclear plant. Suppose it is blown up by a terrorist. People will be running about wildly. The highways will be jammed with cars seeking to flee to another state.

You have small children. What are you going to do? If you panic along with everyone else you may be harmed. You are to fight down the panic and just listen to Jesus. He will direct you. He is a present help in the time of trouble. He never will leave you or forsake you.

One time a missionary family in China, a father, mother, and children, were waiting to be executed. The father said, "Don't worry. Very soon we all will be with Jesus."

This is true. When we are obeying Christ, death has no fear for us. For the person who is obeying Christ, dying and passing into the spirit world is like leaving a nightmare. It is to be looked forward to with the greatest joy.

I am eighty-six years of age. I am looking forward to dying and passing into that world, which is so superior to our present world there is no comparison. Just think! No demonic oppression. No worries about anything or anybody. An exceedingly beautiful environment of which a sunset on the earth is but the merest imitiation.

And there is Jesus to love and talk to. Old friends who have heard of our coming will crowd around to renew acquaintances. A time to rest before we return with the Lord on the white war stallions to set up His Kingdom on the earth.

The Bible says: "In thy presence is fullness of joy. At thy right hand are pleasures forevermore." I don't know about you, but my life on earth has not been one of fullness of joy. I am getting email letters from devout Christians who are asking for prayer because of their severe trials. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him from them all." Such is the promise of God.

Well, we must wait patiently until the Lord tells us our work is finished; we have finished the course; we have done what we were supposed to do. Then we will be taken to a place too wonderful to describe.

At the time of my heart attack, as I was laying on a gurney in an ambulance on my way to a cardiac operation, it was so restful to realize that I had obeyed the Lord, and so there was no need to worry about my family. That was quite a few years ago; and it has pleased the Lord that since then I should write what I have learned from the Lord in order to help the people coming along behind.

So what I have written about the necessary prelude to our gaining bodily immortality is for the benefit of the new generation, so they will not continue in the dead religious ways that have resulted in the downfall of America.

Jesus wants you and me to live by receiving His body and blood many times a day, as we keep praying for strength and wisdom to turn away from the Antichrist world spirit; from the lusts and passions of our flesh and spirit; and from our determination to lead our own life apart from Christ.

If we will do this, we will come to a most marvelous destiny. Also, we will leave people behind us who have gained strength and wisdom from the way we have lived and the things we have taught. Those people are the legacy we have left behind.

Then, when we look down from our vantage point in the spirit world, we will see the results of our obedience to Christ. We then will be filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

You can have just such a destiny. Leave all your sins and foolishness behind you. Press forward in Christ each day. As Paul said, forgetting the things that are behind, look forward to that glorious Day of Resurrection when you are caught up in the clouds to meet Christ in the air. Then you will descend with Jesus and help with the task of installing the Kingdom of God on the earth.

You will have people to love and teach. These are your inheritance because you faithfully have served the Lord Jesus. Don't let anything or anyone discourage you. Press on. Press on. Press on. A few more steps, and you will hear, "Well done, true and faithful servant. Come and share the joy of your Lord."

To hear those words one day will be worth all the trials and tribulations of our journey.

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We Shall Be Like Him

2012-03-04

The third chapter of the Book of First John is quite plain concerning righteousness and wickedness. I do not understand why more has not been made of this chapter, since it shows clearly that the current preaching of lawless "grace" is a destructive error.

The reason why we now are able to see clearly what this chapter is saying may be that we are approaching the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. The Kingdom of God results in the doing of God's will in the earth as it is in Heaven. The Kingdom is not one of imputed, ascribed righteousness, but of actual righteousness of behavior. Perhaps that is why the third chapter of the Book of First John is being emphasized at this time.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (I John 3:1)

There is an uncrossable gulf between the Church and the world. The separation between the two commenced when God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees. It was after that, that Isaac and Jacob were born. "Israel" (Jacob) was set aside from the nations of the world as God's priesthood, a special possession and treasure of God.

We who have received the Lord Jesus as our Lord and Savior no longer are of the world, though I am not certain this always is clear to us. But I believe we will find the separation to become increasingly clear as our nation and the remainder of the world sinks ever further into moral abominations.

We are children of God and are no more of the world than is our Lord Jesus. We have been called out of the world to be a royal priesthood, a special possession and treasure of God. As such, we have been commanded to purify ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (I John 3:2)

The verse above has sometimes been employed to prove that when Christ appears we suddenly shall be made righteous. The Scriptures do not admit to this belief. Those who will be like Christ when He appears are already in the present world becoming like Him inwardly. It is only those who, when He appears, will be changed into His image outwardly.

This hope, that people can by "grace" live according to their sinful nature in the present world and then be made like Christ when appears, is widespread. It is a destructive error, in that Christian people are not making the effort to obey Christ or His Apostles. They are under the delusion that they shall be transformed from sinners into saints by some miraculous intervention of God.

One reason for this delusion is the confusion between guilt and spiritual bondage. It often is preached that Christ will take away our sins the moment we make a profession of belief in Him. It is true that Christ removes the guilt of our sins the moment we place our faith in Him. But that is only half of the work of salvation.

We receive forgiveness from the guilt of our sins with a view toward the removal of our practice of sin. If we never cooperate with the Spirit of God in the removal of our practice of sin, then the purpose for the forgiveness of sins has been aborted.

What good does it do if God forgives our sins and then we do not learn to walk in righteousness and obedience to Him? Remember, the very creation of man was a reaction against the rebellion of the angels led by Satan. Man is God's answer to that rebellion, but only as long as man is sternly is obedient to God. Otherwise, man joins the heavenly rebels.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This does not mean He takes away only the guilt of the sin while the world continues to practice wickedness. It signifies that the Lamb takes away the power of the sin that controls our lives.

The forgiveness of our sins accomplishes nothing unless it guides us into victory over the practice of our sins. Is the new Jerusalem going to be filled with sinning saints? Is the Lamb going to have a Bride who is holy and righteous by imputed righteousness?

We know neither of these statements is true. Yet imputed righteousness is preached over and over again without pointing toward the willingness of the Spirit of God to give us victory over each sin that we practice.

As I mentioned, the current blindness toward the third chapter of the Book of First John may be in the process of being healed as we move toward the coming of the righteous Kingdom of God to the earth.

We originally responded to Jesus when He offered to forgive the guilt of our sins. Now He is asking us to respond to Him as He offers to unwrap the graveclothes of our sinful bondages from us. We are unable to see or to move properly while bound in graveclothes, just as was true of Lazarus. We have been raised spiritually from death. Now it is time for the unwrapping.

The next few verses of the third chapter are quite interesting:

Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. (I John 3:3)

Of the people who espouse I John 1:2 as proving that we can live any way we want because we will be made like Jesus when He appears, I have never heard one person include verse three when they quoted one and two. Have you?

The same is true of people who quote Ephesians 2:8,9. I never once have heard anyone add Ephesians 2:10, not one time. Yet it is verse ten that tells us of the importance of righteous works.

Now, not adding verse three to First John 3:1,2, and not adding verse ten to Ephesians 2:8,9, suggests that these are not random omissions. I would say the omissions are demonic in their source, supporting people who maintain that we are saved by faith alone and our behavior is inconsequential.

One fact is certain: God will not have fellowship with people who are behaving unrighteously:

"Therefore come out from them and be separate," says the Lord. "Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." (II Corinthians 6:17)

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. (James 2:17-19)

It is clear to me that Christian teaching, in many instances, is unscriptural when it comes to righteous behavior being a necessary fruit of salvation. I would say that Satan profits more from this error than does the Lord God of Heaven.

Is it not clear from the passage above that every person who has the hope of being like Jesus when He appears, purifies himself or herself just as Christ is pure? Have you ever heard that preached? Neither have I.

How do we purify ourselves?

Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a report card.

When He shows you a problem area, tell the Lord about it.

Then call the behavior sin. Name it to the Lord specifically.

Denounce it as evil.

Resist and renounce it with all your might, asking Christ to help you.

Draw near to the Lord for renewed fellowship.

Be prepared to go through this procedure again, and again, and again . . .

Every time you gain victory over a temptation to sin you will be fed in the Spirit world with the body and blood of the Lord. As you keep going through this procedure, Christ, the Resurrection, will increase in you.

Then, when Christ appears from Heaven, you will be prepared for the transformation of your body.

There is no other path to being like Him when He appears. Lawless grace will not help you in the task of preparing yourself for the resurrection.

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. (I John 3:4)

John, a Jew, is referring to the Law of Moses, in particular, the Ten Commandments. The Law is a slave who brings us to the School of Christ. We are free from the condemnation of the Law only as long as we are following the Spirit of God each day.

But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. (I John 3:5)

In that the word "appeared" is in the past tense, we know John is speaking of the first coming of Christ. Jesus did not appear just to forgive our sins, but especially to take away our sins. This reminds us of the scapegoat of the Day of Atonement who took away the sins of Israel. This is removal, not forgiveness of guilt.

There is no sin in the Lord Jesus Christ. If we say we are abiding in Him, then we must follow the Holy Spirit as He enables us to put to death the deeds of our sinful nature.

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)

This verse should have become as familiar to Christian people as John 3:16. It if was, we would have sturdy disciples instead of the millions of worldly believers who imagine God does not see their sins.

How terribly, terribly incorrect the current teaching of lawless grace is. How terribly, terribly destructive has been its effect on millions of Christian churchgoers.

"No one who lives in Christ keeps on sinning."

Yes, but grace keeps us free from all guilt. This is the preaching of Satan.

"No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him." Yes, but grace covers our sin so God does not see us. God sees us through Christ.

Can you see how misleading the current Christian teaching is? In my opinion this unscriptural teaching of lawless grace is the reason God's judgment is about to fall on America. We have a nation of Christians who continue to sin, believing they are protected by grace.

Obviously, this is not what the Apostle Paul meant by grace, in that in several passages in the New Testament, he and the other Apostles warned us that if we sow to our sinful nature we are going to reap destruction.

If what I am writing is the truth, why is it that distinguished theologians, highly esteemed Bible scholars, are teaching the opposite? I do not know. If you find out the answer, please show me where I have misunderstood John.

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. (I John 3:7)

By saying, "does what is right," the Apostle John absolutely prevents anyone from saying he really is speaking of imputed righteousness. Imputed righteousness means that God ascribes righteousness to us although we are practicing sin.

"Do not let anyone lead you astray"! What a monstrous joke! Practically our whole country of Christian preachers has led us astray! And because they have removed the foundation laid by John and the other Apostles, today's preachers have departed into strange doctrines, such as the prosperity messages and speaking the creative word.

It is my opinion that if the Christian preachers had spent their time and energy explaining the righteous commandments of the New Testament, they would not have fallen into the "faith" and "prosperity" errors. When the Christian people are spending their time and energy on accumulating more money by using "faith," and having all their other desires fulfilled, the people of the world do not have the light of good works to guide them. For this reason we are heading toward chaos.

These new errors speak of "faith." But assuredly it is not the true faith that comes from God into the spirit of the believers, but is a faith worked up by the efforts of the soulish nature. The "name it and claim it" and associated doctrines are metaphysical practices. They are witchcraft.

"He who does what is right is righteous, just as Christ is righteous"; and Christ is not righteous by imputed righteousness!

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

All sin is rebellion against God's moral Nature, and all sin is of the devil.

Does that mean that if I sin I am possessed by the devil? No. We all sin and at present we are purifying ourselves. As long as we are moving forward in the program of deliverance from sin, even though the sin is prompted by Satan, we are without condemnation.

But if we are not moving forward in the program of deliverance, we are continuing in the service of Satan. You can see from this the horrible result of telling people that although they sin, they are covered by the blood or covered by grace.

If they are continuing in the path of sin, rather than in the path of continual deliverance, they are not covered by the blood. It is those who are living in the light of God's Presence and will who are kept clean through the blood of the Lamb; not those who are living a casual Christian life, waiting to go to Heaven.

The Lord Jesus Christ did not come to earth to forgive the works of the devil. He came rather to destroy the works of the devil. Right here is the greatest misunderstanding of the Christian Era.

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. (I John 3:9)

When we first receive Christ, He has been conceived in us. The Seed of God has been planted and begins to germinate. It is a while before a substantial part of our personality has been born of God. That part which has been born of God will never continue to sin. As the body and blood of Christ are formed in us, deliverance from sin is formed in us. Is that wonderful or is that wonderful!

This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. (I John 3:10)

The above verse is sublimely simple. How do we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are? Simple! By their behavior.

Where does the current teaching of lawless grace fit in this picture. Again, the answer is simple. It just does not fit. There is no way to make it fit.

You know, the Bible used to be called "the Good Book." Why? because it was thought to make people good.

But somehow, over the last two hundred years, or perhaps going back to the Protestant Reformation, theologians, using the process of human reasoning, which is not a good idea since the Scriptures were not given by the mind of man but by the Mind of the Spirit of God, constructed a theory that we are under a new dispensation.

The new dispensation includes the idea that God saves us (brings us to Heaven) by a sovereign act on His part, regardless of our behavior. This is how Paul's teaching of "grace" is interpreted.

All the previous covenants of God insisted on righteous behavior. The new dispensation teaching ignores righteous behavior in favor of a "belief in Christ." This really is Gnosticism, not Christianity.

We should have known Dispensational theory was not of God. The old covenant was abandoned because the people did not please God by their behavior. Does it make sense, then, that God gave us a new covenant under which it does not matter how we behave?

All that people intuitively understand about God repels such a covenant. There is no light of the world. There is no salt of the earth. The Christian churches are social gatherings in which people do not become new creations of righteous behavior.

How long will it be before we realize that the current lawless grace teaching, and its attendant errors, are not of God? We have been deceived. We do not have a scriptural leg to stand on, as we see in the third chapter of the Book of First John.

It is time for a reformation of Christian thinking, a reformation as desperately needed as was true in the days of the Protestant Reformers. There is no such thing as salvation by "faith alone," as the Apostle James informed us.

The early Reformers were resisting the works of the Catholic Church, such as penances. The idea of faith without the Catholic works has evolved into faith without righteous behavior. Such an evolution of thought is understandable.

But now that the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth is at hand, and the return of our Lord, we absolutely must return to the Scriptural teaching of faith that results in righteous behavior and stern obedience to Christ and His Apostles.

America is approaching a period of fiery judgment because of the abortions, the sexual excesses, and the love of pleasure. You and I, and our children, will not be able to stand during the chaos that is approaching America unless we turn to the Lord Jesus with all our heart and learn to live by His Life. Living by the Life of the Lord Jesus always results in righteous behavior and obedience to God.

If we ask Christ sincerely, He will assist us in learning to live by His Life.

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The War Between Good and Evil

2012-03-11

A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. (Revelation 1:1)

The "woman" is the Church, the Lamb's Wife. She is clothed with the Sun, which is Christ. She has the moon under her feet, signifying that eventually the Church will govern the physical creation, the authority given to "man" in the beginning. The crown of twelve stars represents the outstanding men and women of Church history.

But she is "pregnant." What does this mean? Pregnant with whom?

She is pregnant with those she is bringing forth who shall, through the authority and power of the Lord Jesus Christ, put an end to evil.

"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." (Daniel 9:24)

"To put an end to sin." Perhaps most of us Christians have a difficult time picturing that an end to sin ever shall come. But it shall, because God has declared it so.

The two thousand years of the Christian Era have been occupied with calling out and building up the Church, the Woman clothed with Christ. Now it is time for putting an end to sin, to all evil. How will God do this? God will put an end to sin at the hand of Christ, Head and Body.

The Church is in travail today to bring forth the Body of Christ.

The Christian Church has throughout the centuries been divided into various organizations. This is because religion operates according to the will of the flesh of man. But in each truly Christian religious organization, including the Catholic Church and all her Protestant daughters, have been members of the Bride of the Lamb, as is true to the present hour.

It is these, the members of the Bride of the Lamb, the true Church, who are entering a travail to bring forth those who are members of the Body of Christ.

Isaiah prophesied that these births would take place.

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)

The "uproar" is coming from Jerusalem and from the Temple. This is referring to a commotion in Mount Zion, in the Church of the Firstborn. It is the sound of the Lord "repaying" His enemies all they deserve. Thank God for that! We have suffered. Now it is time for Satan and his crowd to suffer. They deserve to suffer because of the harm they have done to God's creation.

Before the Church travailed, Jesus Christ was born. Christ is the beginning of God's attack against the forces of evil. Jesus Christ is God's Warrior. He is the Lord—strong and mighty in battle. "The Lord of Armies" is His name.

We of the Christian churches have a peculiar idea about the Christian plan of redemption. We speak about the saints dying and going to Heaven to lay about in their mansions. This is absolute nonsense. It is true rather that the saints have been created in order to work with the Commander in Chief at the task of putting to an end the rebellion against God.

We may sing about "Christian soldiers," but I am not certain the words of the hymn mean very much to us.

Today an nation is being born. It consists of believers hidden away in the babylonish organizations who are in travail to bring forth Christ, God's Conqueror. There is a commotion, an uproar in the spirit world. This is the hour that Satan and His demons have feared since ages past. It is time for the Son of God to torture them.

"What do you want with us, Son of God?" they shouted. "Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?" (Matthew 8:29)

It is the time for the Lord to repay His enemies all they deserve.

It was not time when the Son of God walked the shores of Galilee. But it is time now! The Servant of the Lord, who is to bring justice to the nations, includes not only the Lord Jesus but also His brothers, the member of His Body.

There have been, over the previous centuries, "mighty men of valor"—Christian men and women who have accomplished much in the Kingdom of God. But the confrontations between good and evil; God and Satan; Christ and Antichrist; the Holy Spirit and the False Prophet have not occurred as yet. This is because the Church has not been seasoned enough to bring forth the warriors of the last days.

I am afraid some will interpret my words to be referring to the great end-time revival in which people of faith will do exploits. I am not speaking about revival. The revival of the last days is a double portion of the Spirit of God coming upon God's faithful believers who will bear witness of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. This double-portion revival is set forth in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation as "two witnesses."

I am not speaking here about a revival of witnessing power. I am proclaiming the total overcoming of all sources of evil, of putting an end to all sin. I am referring to total war against all unclean spirits, of driving them from the heavens and the physical creation into the eternal prisons.

This is the time of torture announced by the devils.

The eternal warfare has commenced. Those who are listening to the Spirit of God are beginning to participate in the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement. They are naming their sins one by one, as the Spirit of God directs, confessing them to God, and by the help of Christ denouncing their sins, renouncing them, turning away from them with all their might. With His help they never shall practice them again. They shall put them to death once and for all.

This is the beginning of the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement. Once the true members of the Body of Christ have pressed through to total victory over sin, not over the temptation to sin but over the committing of the sin, Jesus will return. He will give them new bodies and catch them up to Himself in the air.

Then Christ, Head and Body, will descend and drive Satan and his armies from the earth. Christ and His saints will govern the nations with a rod of iron, judging sin wherever it should appear. Before the new Jerusalem descends from Heaven through the new sky to be installed for eternity upon the new earth, the Day of Atonement, of Reconciliation to God, shall have been completed.

During the reign of Christ and His saints on the new earth, sin will be possible but never permitted. All those who refuse correction will be sent to their new home in the Lake of Fire, to become a part of Satan. Those who obey God while living on the new earth will gradually become a part of Christ.

Some who are reading my words may worry, "Will I be able to participate in this grand victory?" Be comforted by the following promise. It is for you:

"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.

What, then, do you do? The fact that you want to be a part of the final war between good and evil tells me that the Spirit of God is moving in you.

You must ask Jesus to give you total victory over looking to the present world spirit for survival, security, and pleasure. The world spirit is not your friend. Do not be deceived. It is of Antichrist. Fulfill your proper duties in the world; but do not be involved in it any more than is necessary. However, do not neglect the needs of your family. It will not please God if you do so.

Remember, you are not of the world. Christ has called you out of the world to be an integral part of Himself.

Do not yield to the promptings of your sinful nature. You have all sorts of unclean compulsions dwelling in the members of your body as well as in your spirit. The Holy Spirit will point them all out to you, one at a time, and help you put them to death. There is to be no compromise with evil spirits.

Denounce them as the vile creatures that they are, and do not give in to their reasonings. They shall deceive you if you are not careful. They have enjoyed your "friendship," and are not going to be pleased when you turn against them.

Do not waste time "rebuking the devil." He loves the attention. Rather, resist the devil and he shall flee from you.

Our worst enemy is our self-will and self-love, the desire to live our own life as we see fit. Part of our responsibility during the operation of the Day of Atonement is to submit to the various crosses and prisons that God deems necessary to crucify our self-motivations.

Our goal at this point is to learn to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus: to think as He is thinking; to speak as He is speaking; to act as He is acting. We must live by the Life of Jesus just as He lives by the Life of the Father. Nothing less than this is acceptable if we desire to be a member of the Body of Christ.

Paul stated that it was no longer He who is living but Christ who is living in him. That was true of Paul two thousand years ago and is true for him today. It must be precisely so with us. We must resolve for eternity to live by the Life of the Lord Seven of our immediate objectives are as follows. They cannot be accomplished by our striving; only by the power of God, as we ask Him to bring them to pass in us:

To be completely free in body, soul, and spirit from all the works of Satan.

To be changed into the image of Jesus Christ, which is the image of God.

To receive a redeemed body when Jesus appears.

To be filled with all the fullness of God.

To be an integral part of God through Christ.

To see Him as He is when He returns.

To enter into the "rest of God," that is, to live by His Life.

If we will do our part, God will make us an instrument that will cause good to triumph over the evil in God's Creation. We will be part of God's Firstfruits who stands with the Lamb on Mount Zion:

Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. (Revelation 14:4)

Those who descend with Christ, when He appears for the purpose of bringing the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement into all the earth, are the firstfruits of mankind offered to God and the Lamb. The remainder of the Church, of the Royal Priesthood, will either be on the earth or in the Heavenly new Jerusalem until the conclusion of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

Then the glorified Church, God's eternal Israel, the heavenly Jerusalem, will descend to the earth. The saints, some of whom will be an army of judges, plus the jasper wall that surrounds the new Jerusalem, shall insure that sin never again will enter the Presence of God.

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The Flesh Of Man Made The Word Of God

2012-03-18

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh. Now we, who are being made His brothers and conformed to His image, are the flesh being made the Word of God. Such is the new covenant.

"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, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness." (Isaiah 42:6,7)

The passage above refers to the Servant of the Lord. The Servant of the Lord is Christ—Head and Body.

This reminds us of something Paul wrote:

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (II Corinthians 3:3)

A covenant is an agreement between two people. In the case of Israel, the Ten Commandments were the covenant between God and the Israelites. Their part was to obey the Commandments. God's part was to bless them with material prosperity and long life.

The Lord Jesus Christ is God's new covenant with man. If we will receive Christ as God's Son and our Savior, God has promised us eternal life. The eternal life includes the knowledge and blessing of the Father, and bodily immortality.

Now we, being the Body of Christ, are part of the new covenant. If people will receive our preaching of Christ and forgiveness of sins and righteous behavior through Him, then they too will be able to approach the Father, receive forgiveness of sins and God's blessing, and gain bodily immortality in the Day of Resurrection.

There are two items of prime importance to God regarding our part of the covenant. The first item is that we receive His Son, Jesus Christ, as our Lord and Savior. The second item is that we live a righteous, holy life. If either of these two items is absent, our covenant with God is broken. We, not God, have broken the contract.

Those people who profess to be Christians, but who do not obey Christ as their personal Lord, and who do not lead a righteous, holy life, are not eligible for forgiveness, to come to know God and receive His blessing, or to receive bodily immortality in the Day of Resurrection. It is that simple and straightforward.

If what I have written above is true and Scriptural, then the current teaching of lawless grace is not Scriptural. It is not of God and has led to Christian churches whose preaching is far removed from the truth.

We have concocted a covenant of our own, termed "The Four Steps of Salvation." The "four steps of salvation" are as follows:

"All people have sinned." In its deepest sense, this is true and factual. However it has led to the belief that the desire of people to do what is right is as "filthy rags." Although this is true it is limited to its context.

Peter tells us in the Book of Acts that all people who fear God and do what is right are accepted by the Lord. For example, Noah was held to be righteous. There are many Bible references, particularly in the Book of Psalms, to righteous people.

"We all are deserving of death and cannot save ourselves." This is the second of the "four steps of salvation." This is true.

"Christ died on the cross to forgive our sins." This is true and factual.

"If we will accept Christ we will be saved and go to Heaven when we die." This fourth step is misleading. The impression is left that if we make a one-time profession of faith in Christ we have a ticket to Heaven. But Jesus said, "He who endures to the end shall be saved."

Also, nowhere in the Bible is eternal residence in Heaven presented as our goal. Our goal is to be made in the image of Jesus and to dwell in untroubled rest in the very Center of God's Person and will.

A place, such as Heaven, can never be our goal. The Divine redemption is a plan to put an end to sin in God's creation. It is the war of good against evil. This is not accomplished by bringing people to another place!

Let us compare the man-made covenant, "The Four Steps of Salvation" that we have just outlined, with God's new covenant:

This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. (Hebrews 8:10)

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. (Hebrews 8:12)

"The four steps of salvation" and the true Christian new covenant have in common that both include forgiveness of sin. But after that there is a major difference. The four steps of salvation are limited to forgiveness, The true Christian covenant of salvation emphasizes a change in the individual. This truly is an awesome difference!

Also, the four steps of salvation are actions we take to please God. The true Christian covenant is imposed by the Lord. "I will make" "I will put." "I will be their God." The four steps of salvation are man-made, and part of the Christian religion. The actual Divine covenant is God-made and is God's plan of salvation, just as was true of the Ten Commandments, which was the old covenant.

You may have noticed, in the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation, when describing the Battle of Armageddon, that there is a sword coming from the mouth of Christ. That sword is the Word of God, the most powerful, the sharpest, sword in the universe.

When the Lord comes there will be two armies, the army of saints and the army of angels. The army of angels do the actual fighting, the putting of people to death. Christ and His saints act as judges. The speak the word of judgment. The angels carry out of the sentence of judgment.

If we are to return with the Lord, we must be conformed to His image. We must be the flesh of man made the Word of God.

We must make this transition today. Today is the time for preparing the army of saints who will descend with the Lord.

How do we prepare for the Battle of Armageddon---to be with the Lord after the victory at Armageddon, when He goes forth with His saints to cleanse the earth from the institutions of Antichrist?

We have to become the Word of God. We will not fight with swords or spears. We will fight with the Word of God coming from our mouth. The warrior angels will do the actual physical encounters.

How do we become the Word of God? A little bit at a time.

But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. (Isaiah 28:13)

This is how it works. We go about our business during the day. Then we come to a decision about something or other. There are two ways we can go. We can plow ahead in our own will and desires. Or we can pray and ask God what we should do.

If we push ahead according to our own will, nothing in our personality will change, perhaps. But if we pray and ask God what we should do, and it happens to be something we would prefer not to do, and we obey God, then a part of our personality dies and the Word of God takes its place.

This is where speaking in tongues comes in. As we pray in tongues, we are brought to the place where we end up doing God's will, and thus enter the rest of God.

"That they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken." We are not to take a passive stance and say, "I will do nothing. I will wait for the Lord to move in me." Do not do this. It will cause passivity and indecisiveness. This is the way into deception.

Rather, we forge ahead, after prayer, doing what we believe is the Lord's will. Meanwhile, we keep praying and watching the fruit of our actions. If we are on the wrong path, we will "fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken." It is the continual frustration of the natural man that leads us into the rest of God.

Every person who will follow the Lamb into battle must himself or herself be living in the rest of God, that is, living by the Life of the Lord Jesus.

In order to understand what is going on today, we must realize that God's strategy is to divide His Church into two parts. This division is shown in several Old Testament types, "types" meaning symbols by which we understand God's dealings with us.

There is a firstfruits of the Church; and then there is the main body of the elect. To not understand this is to forever wonder how the Lord is going to gather an army who all are obeying God sternly, living in God's rest.

If we look around us in the churches, noticing how few really fervent disciples there are, who have denied themselves, taken up their cross, and are following Jesus, we conclude that numerous church-goers by no means are ready to march in an army of judges.

In a church of 1,000 people we might find as many as two totally consecrated believers.

There are not many who are ready to descend with Christ and work with Him in overcoming Satan and installing the Kingdom of God, the will of God, on the earth.

Here is one example of the division into a firstfruits, and then the remainder of the elect:

Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)

These are the firstfruits from among men. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They stand on Mount Zion, which is another name for Heaven. When Joel's army of judges is ready to march, the alarm is sounded in Zion, that is, in Heaven.

Then there are the blessed and holy priests who participate in 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 20:6)

There are two marriages to the Lamb. There is a marriage of the firstfruits to the Lamb. These saints make themselves ready, unlike the marriage of the remainder of the elect. Then we notice the marriage to the Lamb of the majority of the elect, as described in Revelation 21. These are made ready by others:

Notice in the case of the marriage of the firstfruits to the Lord that they make themselves ready:

"Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) (Revelation 19:7,8)

In the case of the majority of the elect, they are made ready by others:

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)

There are the kings who shall rule on the earth. These obviously are not the whole Church, but the victorious saints, purchased with the blood of the Lamb from every nation.

You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:10)

The armies of Antichrist will fight against the Lamb. Now notice those who are with the Lamb at that time: the "called, chosen and faithful followers."

Unfortunately all of the Lord's people are not called, chosen, and faithful in the present hour. But some are, and they can hear the Spirit calling them to war against everything that is of Satan.

They were called by the Lord, elected to be in the Church, the Wife of the Lamb. Then, by their steadfast consecration, they passed into the smaller ranks of the chosen. After that they were tested, tested, and tested again to see if they would be faithful to the Lamb. Otherwise they cannot be relied on in the time of danger to march in their place.

They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers. (Revelation 17:14)

In the Old Testament, the Tent of Meeting, which represents the Church, the Body of Christ, was divided into two parts. The first part of the Tent was the Holy Place. Then there was a great Veil. Behind the Veil was the Most Holy Place, which in volume was one-half that of the Holy Place.

The volume of the Holy Place was two thousand cubic cubits. The volume of the Most Holy Place was one thousand cubic cubits. This might suggest to us that after the two thousand years of the Church Era, God will assemble His firstfruits and they will govern the nations of the earth for one thousand years.

There were, of course, David's "mighty men" who were part of Israel (as is true of all of the firstfruits) but distinguished by their prowess in battle:

These are the names of David's mighty men: Josheb-Basshebeth, a Tahkemonite, was chief of the Three; he raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter. (II Samuel 23:8)

One of the most important foreshadowings of the temporary division of the Christian Church is found in the reign of David. David reigned for seven years at Hebron, and the remainder of his forty years at Jerusalem.

He had reigned forty years over Israel—seven years in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. (I Kings 2:11)

It appears to be scriptural to say that the Christian Church will be divided temporarily into a warlike remnant, and then the remainder of the elect. However, when the new Jerusalem descends from Heaven through the new sky, there no longer will be a division.

It seems possible to me that the firstfruits always will have a special place with the Lamb; but I have no scriptural support for that assumption. I wonder if David's mighty men always were specially close to him. I know Benaiah was, although he was not one of the thirty.

What all this means to us is that we must keep alert to what God is doing in our day. I seem to hear the Spirit saying that "Moses is dead," so to speak, and we are to prepare ourselves for the battles that are ahead of us.

I have said many times that to have received Christ, been baptized in water and in the Spirit of God, is not sufficient if we are to be part of the great battle of Revelation, Nineteen; and then the cleansing of the earth, as set forth in the second chapter of the Book of Joel. We must become the flesh made the Word of God so we can march behind the Lord Jesus, who Himself is the flesh made the Word.

We must be conformed to the image of Christ. We must become His brothers, if we are to fight alongside Him in the battle of good against evil.

The traditional view of salvation, that we have been saved to go to Heaven and live in a mansion is neither scriptural, nor consistent with the realities involved in the entrance of the Kingdom of God into the earth.

I am not saying that everyone is called at this time to be prepared to be caught up to Christ and then to descend with Him in the great calvary charge of Armageddon. I do not believe that every believer in Christ has this calling, just as today in America, not everyone is fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

No doubt the majority of God's elect will go, when they die, to the heavenly Jerusalem. There they shall be prepared to descend to the earth at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, and be the light of those people from the nations who have been saved to citizenship on the new earth.

I think one of the tasks of the firstfruits, who will be charged with installing and maintaining the Presence of the Spirit of God on the earth during the thousand-year Kingdom Age, will be to enter the heavenly Jerusalem and teach the elect in the spirit world who were not ready to march with Christ in the battles of Revelation Nineteen, and Joel, Two.

We see this in the Song of Solomon, don't we:

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)

So many of the elect are immature. They are God's called to be part of His Israel, His Royal Priesthood, and He will work with them, perhaps using more mature saints, if the immature are willing to learn.

Salvation is of the Lord. There is only so much we can do. Unlike the Law of Moses, the new covenant is imposed on us. It is God who gives the desire to be among the firstfruits, the army of judges.

Does the thought that it is God who moves in our heart to cause us to want to desire to be among His firstfruits advise us that we should be at our ease, always waiting for God to carry us out of ourselves? Indeed not! We have to labor to enter God's rest. We have to make our calling and election certain.

If we try to be a victorious saint in our own strength and wisdom, we will fail. If we wait for Christ to make us a victorious saint, it will not happen. It has to be both the sword of the Lord and of Gideon, so to speak, if we are to make a success of the life of victory in Christ.

We are to think soberly according to the measure of faith that God has given us, and then use the gifts that have been given to us.

Using our gifts, our Kingdom resources, needs to be emphasized. I see Christian people who are not using what God has given to them. I wonder if they realize how serious an offense this is?

Maybe it is time in our day to emphasize the parable of the talents. Those who used their talents met with the Lord's approval. But the man who buried his talent, because of fear or whatever, was denounced soundly by the Lord. His one talent was taken from him, given to someone more diligent, and he was sent into the outer darkness.

In our day in America, I don't imagine this parable is being preached with any conviction, or preached at all! Why not? Because it does not fit the "lawless-grace" teaching that is so common. We would say that it is sad the man did not use what was given to him, but there is no need to worry. He is going to be brought to Heaven because he is saved by God's sovereign calling and grace.

To such a grievous extent have we mocked the Word of the Holy One of Israel.

Sin is running rampant in America at this time. Meanwhile the Spirit of God is speaking to us to confess and turn away from our sin. Those who do will have prepared themselves to experience resurrection when Christ comes and to be caught up to meet the Commander-in-Christ in the air.

Then they will descend with Him to participate in the war of good against evil.

But the foolish "virgins" whose lamp went out a long time ago, and who are talking nonsense about a "rapture" that will bring them to Heaven where they can take their ease in their "mansion," are going to miss the day of their visitation.

They shall not be resurrected when Jesus appears because they neither are qualified nor competent to work with Christ at the task of assigning Satan to the Bottomless Pit, destroying the army of Antichrist, or of throwing the Antichrist and the False Prophet into the Lake of Fire.

For them to be caught up to Heaven, bringing their sins and self-will with them, would not be pleasing to the inhabitants of the heavens, who are hoping for relief from the nagging voice of the Accuser.

It appears that the majority of church-attenders in America are deluded. They are hoping for a "rapture" that will remove them from all their troubles and guarantee them a place in Paradise for eternity.

They are sorely deluded; and their pastors that are holding out this hope to them are keeping them spiritual infants, of little use in the war against evil and unable to lend a hand at the work of bringing the Kingdom of God, the will of God, to the earth.

Ours is a day of apostasy, the promised apostasy that will permit the rise of Antichrist. We already can see in America the rejection of the fear of God and the widespread practice of immoral behavior. The worst of these behaviors is the aborting of the life of babies. This practice alone guarantees America a third or fourth place among the nations of the earth.

And we are going to experience much bloodshed in the meantime.

Woe unto us. We have discarded the heritage given to us by God-fearing pioneers. We are adopting the sins of Europe. Our early leaders warned us against this, but we have jumped into the pit anyway.

The Lord Jesus spoke to me fifty years ago and said that Europe was like children with jam on their face but America was like a boy with his hand in the cookie jar.

Well, thanks to people who do not understand the origin and original philosophy of America, we now have jam smeared on our faces.

That is the world's problem. It need not be ours if we as an individual will turn to Christ and seek to think, speak, and act as He today is thinking, speaking, and acting. If we thus will learn to live by His life, and not depart from it, we will be able to stand throughout the coming Gentile holocaust and help others to stand.

Finally Jesus will return with His judges and warrior angels. Then the peace that the world leaders can never achieve, because they do not give God the glory due His name, will fill the earth. In those days the knowledge of God will fill the earth and there shall be righteousness, love, joy, and peace for us and our children.

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The Problem With Fretting

2012-03-25

I am astounded at the moral turmoil in our country, America. Everywhere we turn, it seems, in public education, in the military, in the government, in business practices, the moral decisions are not what they used to be.

It is as though there is a new spirit. The America I have been used to for the past 86 years seems to be vanishing. Perhaps it is because I live in California, which tends to be "progressive," although there are many conservative people in California who are attempting to retain the old values.

One question is that of homosexual marriage. Another is the forcing of curricula in the lower grades that deal with sexual preferences. Although such curricula is wildly inappropriate, it is heralded by people at the state government level as though it somehow makes sense.

Public institutions appear to be terrified in the presence of anything Christian. There does not appear to be the same reaction to other religions.

One bizarre reaction, from my point of view, is the removing of crosses from all government lands. Those crosses, particularly in cemeteries, mean much to people who have lost loved ones in combat. Who are they harming? If I were to see a Star of David on the cemetery of a Jewish veteran, it would not bother me; or an Islamic, or Buddhist, or Hindu symbol.

Why this desperation concerning the Christian religion? Recently an elementary school forbade some children from studying the Bible during recess. Twenty-five years ago the children would have been commended. They still should be commended, not rebuked.

And the furor over Christmas. Can you believe this?

I read in the paper where the President told some foreign country that America is not a Christian country. When did it change?

I realize that God is withdrawing from our country because of abortion-on demand-and sexual perversions, and no one is going to be able to prevent the slide into the moral cesspools without God's help. But how can God help us when the Christian ministers are preaching lawless grace and a pre-tribulation rapture, instead of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God?

I guess we are not going to be able to save our nation from Divine judgment because of the erroneous doctrine being preached in so many churches. But we can, as individuals, press into Christ until we are living by His Life. In this manner we can save ourselves and our loved ones from the increasing moral confusion and corruption.

Since we are not as yet being put in jail or herded into detention centers because we refuse to teach our children that homosexual behavior is a good idea, it may be true that our greatest problem today is fretting.

I have never heard a minister preach about fretting; but we who proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom need to emphasize the danger of fretting, and that God's Word commands us not to do this.

It is quite difficult not to fret, when we read what is going on in our government; but I have wrestled with this problem successfully by refusing to think about it and in its place repeat in my mind that which is joyous and loving. Believe me, this is a daily battle.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)

Here is what we are to do. When we realize that the wickedness of the people in the world is floating into our mind, we are to—with all our might and the Lord's help—quote Philippians 4:8 to ourselves and keep quoting it until we have cleansed our mind of that which tears us down from our high place in Christ. Or, any good and loving idea will do.

Unless there is something that God shows us to do about the moral corruption in America, we are not to fret. Fretting will tear us down from our high place in God, and then we are of no use to anyone.

Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; (Psalms 37:1)

There always have been evil men in our country, but with the television and Internet we are made more aware of their wicked behavior.

The Bible commands us to not fret about those who do wrong or to be envious of them. What then do we do about them? Nothing, until we know from the Lord what we are supposed to do.

I know there are many good people who are actively attempting to prevent some of the corruption. The problem is, unless we are hearing from God, He is not helping us. We see the problem of evil in front of us. Meanwhile, God is looking down at the developing fetus who is being killed.

The mother wants reproductive rights. In many cases she has them. She has the right to abstain from sexual intercourse if she does not want a baby. I understand that among poorer people, sexual intercourse may be forced on the mother against her will. I know of no solution to this except prolonged prayer until there is deliverance of some kind.

The fetus also has the right to live. When that future child is killed, God is angry; and when enough people kill their children, God removes His protection from the country and will not assist those who are attempting to remedy some other evil that is taking place.

God considers the issue of abortion more important than whether the economic system of the country is that of capitalism or socialism.

It is not easy, is it, to keep our mind stayed on that which is pure, lovely, and admirable. But it is necessary if we are going to stay in the place with Christ where He wants us to be. It is not necessary for us to keep ourselves occupied with Satan's antics.

Let us remember that God at any time can prevent the evil that is taking place. Therefore our responsibility is to live so close to Jesus that we know what He wants us to do and when to do it. To charge around in our own strength doing what we think is correct can do more damage than good.

If we are to live in the rest of God we must cease from our own works. We must focus on doing what God has commanded us to do. If we become occupied with the antics of Satan in the earth, and do not go to God to find out what God desires, we may end up fighting against God.

An illustration of a person fighting what he perceives to be evil, but who actually is fighting against God, is described as follows:

After all this, when Josiah had set the temple in order, Neco king of Egypt went up to fight at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah marched out to meet him in battle. But Neco sent messengers to him, saying, "What quarrel is there between you and me, O king of Judah? It is not you I am attacking at this time, but the house with which I am at war. God has told me to hurry; so stop opposing God, who is with me, or he will destroy you."

Josiah, however, would not turn away from him, but disguised himself to engage him in battle. He would not listen to what Neco had said at God's command but went to fight him on the plain of Megiddo.

Archers shot King Josiah, and he told his officers, "Take me away; I am badly wounded." So they took him out of his chariot, put him in the other chariot he had and brought him to Jerusalem, where he died. He was buried in the tombs of his fathers, and all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for him. (II Chronicles 35:20-24)

King Josiah was famous in Israel for being zealous to please God. From the time he was sixteen he began to seek God. By the time he was twenty years of age he was tearing down and smashing the idols. He restored the Temple and caused a great Passover to be celebrated.

God told Pharaoh Neco of Egypt to go up to the Euphrates River to help the king of Assyria. King Josiah in his zeal to serve the Lord, and without going to the Lord to find out what he was supposed to do, marched out to attack Pharaoh Neco.

Pharaoh Neco sent messengers to King Josiah, and this is what he said:

"O king of Judah? It is not you I am attacking at this time, but the house with which I am at war. God has told me to hurry; so stop opposing God, who is with me, or he will destroy you."

Isn't that interesting? This is what a heathen ruler said to the king of God's chosen people. "God has told me to hurry; so stop opposing God, who is with me, or he will destroy you." God spoke to King Josiah through the mouth of Pharaoh Neco, but Josiah would not listen.

The actions of King Josiah of Judah illustrate a very important point. He assumed that God wanted Pharaoh Neco stopped. But this assumption was not true. How many Americans of today are assuming they know what God wants. Are they going to Him and asking Him what He wants done, or like Josiah, are they assuming what God's will is?

Josiah would not listen to what Neco had said at God's command but went to fight him on the plain of Megiddo. The mountain of Megiddo is a famous battleground. The Battle of Armageddon will be fought in this area.

"What Pharaoh Neco had said at God's command." Did you notice that in the verse above?

King Josiah was way out of line. He did not inquire of the Lord, reminding us of Joshua and the Gibeonites. Pharaoh Neco was obeying God, who had told him to hurry.

The archers of Pharaoh Neco shot and killed Josiah.

Today there are numerous distinguished Christian leaders who are seeking to tear down President Obama because his policies are not in line with the values of many of the American People. My question is, are these leaders hearing from the Lord, or are they doing as King Josiah did?

I am as upset about many of the government policies as are other Christian leaders. But we need to remember that, in spite of our democratic customs, it is God who exalts one and puts down another. This is what the Bible says. However, I am not suggesting we not vote our conscience!

What we in fact are to do, until God informs us differently, is to pray concerning each decision that is made by the government, and then praise God for the answer. We are going to get a lot farther praying then we are fretting about the evil we see in our country.

So I think we need to go to God before we attack the President. We might be, as Pharaoh Neco said, opposing God. Are we certain we know that God is planning, or are we just reacting in the flesh in terms of our own background?

While carefully reviewing the 37th Psalm, I notice that God emphasized we are to delight ourselves in the Lord and He will cut off the wicked in His time.

If God makes clear to us that we should do something about the current evil, then we must do that. Otherwise, we are to think happy, loving thoughts and pray earnestly for changes we would like to see made. We are not to permit Satan to tear us down to his level where we rage and curse about the darkness.

For like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. (Psalms 37:2)

I can remember when Adolf Hitler's name, and that of Mussolini, were in the paper every day. Where are they now? So it is with the wicked. They flourish like weeds for a season; and then they wither and die.

Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. (Psalms 37:3)

The verse above is all that God is requiring of most of us. We are not obligated to spend our time cursing the darkness. There always is some present good that we can do. If we will obey God in this, He will see that we are kept safe even though the dark clouds swirl about us.

Here is an example of doing good: a boy in our church is being especially kind to another boy in his school The other boy has muscular dystrophy and is not very popular among the students. He is ungainly in appearance and actions, not being able to walk.

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalms 37:4)

The above is one of my favorite verses. We can delight ourselves in the Lord in most circumstances. The promise is if we delight ourselves in God He will give us the desires of our heart. Not the desires we express in words, necessarily, but the desires of our heart.

Sometimes we do not know what the desires of our heart actually are; but God does, and He is faithful to give us what we truly want, not always what we ask for. And thank God for that!

We cannot delight ourselves in the Lord while we are cursing the darkness. In fact, sometimes we are fighting against God because we do not understand what He is doing. This is where faith comes in. We have to pray until we know God has heard us, and then leave the answer with Him.

I imagine the Lord's disciples cursed the Roman soldiers numerous times, not realizing that they were causing the atonement that would take away the sins of the world. In spite of what we are seeing about us, all things are working together for the good of those who love God.

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: (Psalms 37:5)

It is a good thing every morning to commit our way to the Lord, praying that God will control our thoughts, words, and actions. We trust as we do this that He will give us the desires of our heart.

Sometimes we are "shut up and cannot come forth," as Heman declared. The periods of imprisonment may endure for increasing lengths of time as we become more mature in the Lord. But if we will maintain our trust in the Lord, the time of our imprisonment may result in fruit that will nourish many people.

Not everyone is content to just wait on the Lord when nothing exciting is taking place. But those who do mature into that ability can be a source of refreshing to others who are attempting to survive in their own Valley of Baca.

He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. (Psalms 37:6)

How anxious we are at times to show that we are doing the right thing! We must learn wait continually on the Lord, committing our way to Him. Our goal is the rest of God, that is, the place where we are living by the Life of Jesus.

People may not understand why we do not rush hither and thither to accomplish this or fix that. But we do the most good when we wait and listen to the Lord to see what He has to say. If we will do this, He will justify us in the sight of people. This is so important when people are speaking evil of us. God Himself justifies us when we really are doing His will, even though people may not understand or approve of what we are doing.

The expectations of people are one thing. But the desire of the Lord may at times lead us in a different direction. A preacher, such as myself, must always remember that he is to speak so as to please God, not to try to please people.

It is natural for us to want the approval of people. But remember Jesus said, "That which is highly esteemed of men may not be pleasing to God." To please God we must follow Him as closely as we can. He then will justify us when justification is needed. It will be clear to everyone that our deeds were wrought in God.

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. (Psalms 37:7)

Do not fret! If we would allow ourselves to do so, we could rage and fume at the things taking place in our nation. But we are not to do this. Rather we are to tell the Lord about how we feel and what we would like to see take place, and then wait quietly for Him to do what is righteous.

There always will be wicked men carrying out their schemes, it appears. They apparently may succeed in attaining their wicked objectives. But remember! God is in control of the earth. There is nothing anyone can do without God's permission.

We may find ourselves fighting against God if we rush out and attempt to force what we believe to be righteousness. Remember also that every person will die one day, and then he or she will answer to God for his behavior. And God has perfect a perfect memory!

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. (Psalms 27:8)

When I read of the decisions that are made at the various governmental levels it makes me angry. But this is not pleasing to God. Since God is not directing me to do something about the problem at this time, it is my place to keep my mind focused on that which is lovely and joyous.

"Turn from wrath," we are commanded. "Do not fret because it leads to evil." None of us wants to practice evil. Therefore we are not to fret. We are not to permit the evil that surrounds us to cause us to do evil in the sight of God. But this is not easy, and we have to pray without ceasing if we are to prevent our mind from drifting to the abominations that are taking place.

For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. (Psalms 27:9)

Now here is a promise for us. We do not have to cut off Malchus' ear, as Peter did. We are to let God do the cutting off. When we become angry and cut off someone's ear, so to speak, we might be preventing that person from hearing God.

The promise to us if we will just keep hoping in the Lord is that we will inherit whatever "land" our heart desires.

When the Bible commands us to not avenge ourselves, it does not mean that harm will not be avenged. It means that vengeance belongs to God and He will avenge the unrighteousness. When we avenge ourselves, we are taking what belongs to God.

When we become bitter and hateful against someone, then they have hurt us twice!

A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. (Psalms 27:10)

Whenever I read this verse I think of Adolf Hitler. When I was a young man it seemed like he was going to conquer the world. I do not know if they ever found his body, I read years ago they were looking for it. "Though you look for them, they will not be found."

God does not want us fretting about wicked people. He uses them for His purposes, and then removes them.

But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace. (Psalms 37:11)

After all the boasting of great men, after the nations spend billions of dollars seeking to accomplish their will, the meek will inherit the earth. That is God's way.

It seems to be that Christians are not always meek. Sometimes they are arrogant and act like they are God's gift to the creation. They can "accept Christ" all they please; but unless they are not meek of spirit they never will inherit the earth.

To be meek is to be humble and teachable. God is meek. The Lord Jesus is meek. God much prefers the Lamb to the Lion, and that is why the last two chapter of the Bible refer to the Lamb and not to the Lion.

God has a gentle, childlike nature and loves little boys and girls. We do not get very far into His Kingdom until we become a child at heart.

God could tear up the Milky Way galaxy if He chose. But he would prefer to speak gently with a small child. Their angels see God's face.

The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; (Psalms 37:12)

The Lord Jesus said the world would hate us because we are not of the world. This is true, providing we behave righteously. There are Christian believers who lie, hate, and steal. They are wicked even if they have "accepted Christ." Such "Christians" will plot against those who are behaving righteously, being assured that they themselves are righteous by imputation.

What a mess today's preaching of lawless grace has produced.

But the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming. (Psalms 37:13)

When we see the wicked making their immoral statements, performing their wicked acts, we easily can become furious. But stop and think! If God is laughing at the wicked, why should we be raging? Why should we be fretting ourselves and losing our love, joy, and peace?

Obviously, we are not to permit the wicked to upset us. It is not easy and requires a lot of prayer to keep from hating those who are destroying our country. But in order to please Jesus, we must look to Him instead of becoming angry. If He does not tell us to do something about it, some action to take, then we are to refresh our trust in God and have confidence in Him, that He knows what He is permitting on His earth.

Harmful decisions are being made in America by those in charge. But if we are living by the Life of the Lord Jesus, we cannot be harmed by those decisions. Those who have made the decisions will reap what they are sowing; but we will not be harmed if we keep looking to Jesus. We all know this. We just have to be reminded once in a while.

The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. (Psalms 27:14)

We may believe everyone loves us. They don't. The more we mature in Christ, the more we are a threat to Hell. The evil spirits, if they are able, will deceive us, or move people to hurt us in some manner. For this reason, we must remain prayerful at all times.

Every Christian must "post a guard" continually. There is no moment, night or day, when we are safe from the attempts of the enemy to destroy us. Wherever we are, whether at home, in church, at a party, at a store purchasing something, we must keep looking to the Lord. Otherwise we soon get caught off guard and say or do something harmful.

A few moments of foolishness can result in years of problems and pain!

But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. (Psalms 27:15)

If we will keep committing our way to the Lord, we do not have to worry about what evil spirits or people can do to us. God will see to it that their curses and their attempts to destroy us will turn back against them and they shall be the ones to suffer.

We are not to avenge ourselves. We are not to permit ourselves to become angry at people or to seek to harm them. We can maintain our peace if we will keep looking to Jesus and asking Him to remove our anxiety or desire for revenge.

The Holy One of Israel is with us. Whom are we to fear? God never sleeps. He sends His angel to camp around us. If we are serving God diligently, there are warrior angels who keep us from stumbling. God never forsakes us our turns us over to our foes. We are safe in His keeping.

Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; (Psalms 37:16)

I have been thinking about the fact that when we pass into the spirit world we will not use money for the exchange of goods and services. My eyes are opening to the statement of the Apostle Paul that money is the root of all evil. If one were to remove the topics that have to do with money from our local newspaper, there would be only two or three pages left.

It may not be true in other countries, but in America the principal issue of life appears to be possessing money. If God removed money from civilization it may be true there would be much less crime and no wars. How different, how much better the world would be, if money did not exist.

"The wealth of many wicked," the Bible says. Does money bring love, peace, and joy? We know the answer to that. Yet not having enough money to meet our daily needs results in a miserable life.

The principle that governed the manna was, "He that gathered much had nothing over. He that gathered little had no lack." I believe that holds true for those who diligently are serving Jesus.

The Lord told us that we do not have to worry about having enough to eat, clothes to wear, or other necessities of life. He said that God knows what we have need of, and we should spend our energy and time seeking the Kingdom of God.

Since Jesus said this, we know it is true. We also understand how difficult it is to place ourselves in God's hands and not worry about money. But we must keep on making the effort to put finding the Kingdom of God in first place in our life.

Sometimes devout Christians choose their job or where they live according to their material desires, without regard as to whether there is a good church in the area; or if they will have time and opportunity to worship God. There are practical decisions we can make that facilitate our finding and entering the Kingdom of God.

It may be true in America that the number one consideration is our material happiness, not our grasp of the Kingdom of God. I realize many people come from other countries so they can enjoy the material prosperity of America. When they get here they will discover that some of the basic aspects of a peaceful life are not present, as people strive to earn the money they need to survive.

A materialistic society is not necessarily a happy society. Better to be in poorer circumstances and enjoy God's peace than to live in nervous confusion in wealthier surroundings. There are many circumstances, such as a loving family, that are far more to be desired than having thousands of dollars in the bank.

For the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous. (Psalms 37:17)

Notice the repeated emphasis about how God destroys the wicked and preserves the righteous. Therefore we do not have to fret ourselves about the evil that is prevailing in the places of power in America.

One of the great evils of the theology of Dispensationalism is the notion that the Christian Era is a sort of parenthesis among God's covenants. What it means to be righteous was quite clear to believers under previous covenants, just as it is clear today to other religions and even the people of the world.

But what it means to be righteous is not clear at all to Christian people. If you don't believe me, ask a Christian friend how important it is that Christians live a righteous life. You may hear a confusing answer.

Righteous behavior is one of the central topics of the Bible, as we find in the verse we are examining. "The Lord upholds the righteous."

Today a Bible teacher might inform us that it used to be true that people had to practice righteous behavior if the Lord was to uphold them, but no more. Now we are righteous by believing in Christ, and so the promise in the verse above no longer has to do with actual righteous behavior but applies only to those who believe in Christ.

A little reflection will demonstrate that our present notion is incorrect. Does God uphold us when we are filled with unforgiveness and bitterness?

Does God uphold us when we steal; when we fornicate; when we behave in an arrogant manner?

Does God uphold us when we lie; when we curse others; when we gossip; when we rage and fight with people?

Do you believe that grace covers the sinful behavior of Christian people so that God upholds them while they are sinning? I don't believe you do.

I wish today's theologians, teachers, pastors, and evangelists would ask themselves these questions. If they did, they would discover they do not believe what they are preaching. They would discover also that they are the blind leading the blind.

I have spent my adult life attempting to convince God's people that Dispensational theology with its teaching of lawless grace is unscriptural and destructive. I don't believe I have convinced many people, maybe a few. But I can't see where I am in error! I know intuitively, by experience, and by the Bible that God will not have fellowship with unrighteousness.

One time the Lord spoke to me and said, "Liars will never eat at my table." He did not add, "unless they were covered by grace." Am I hearing from the Lord? If I am, numerous Christian preachers of our day are preaching spiritual death.

We have God's assurance that the "power of the wicked shall be broken." Therefore we have no need to fret or even to take some action, unless we are certain (not just assuming) we are doing what God desires.

So we have in the verse above the contrast between the righteous and wicked. Does that mean between people who practice righteous behavior and those who practice wicked behavior? Or does it mean between those who "accept Christ" and those who practice wicked behavior. Really, this question ought to be answered by those who claim we are in a new dispensation of lawless grace.

The days of the blameless are known to the LORD, and their inheritance will endure forever. (Psalms 37:18)

You know, if we go back to the Old Testament we find that the promises of God are to those of blameless behavior. Is it true that today, belief in Christ replaces blameless behavior? One might protest that belief in Christ is blameless behavior.

How about the Christian who is bitter and unforgiving, or is a gossip, and yet believes in Christ; or the Christian who divides his or her congregation and yet believes in Christ.? Are the days of such people known to the Lord? What do you think?

I hope I am not belaboring the obvious. This is a very important question in American Christianity and has an awesome impact on the testimony given by the lives of the believers.

If an individual does drugs, swears profusely, is addicted to excessive and perverse sexual activity, and yet makes a profession of believing in Christ, will the inheritance of that person endure forever? The worldly person would say, "That person is not a man or woman of God." They would be correct in saying this.

Jesus told us to let people see our good works that they may glorify God.

Am I incorrect here? Does anyone care that most of the Christians in the United States are believing and living a lie.

If we were to ask an unsaved person what it meant to be blameless, how would he respond? If a known adulterer told an unsaved person that he (the adulterer) was blameless because he believed in Christ, how would the unsaved person respond? Would we then be serving as the light of the world, the salt which makes the world palatable to God?

In times of disaster they will not wither; in days of famine they will enjoy plenty. (Psalms 37:19)

The promise of not withering in the times of disaster, or enjoying plenty in days of famine, refers back to the "blameless." Dare we trust that our belief in Christ is an acceptable substitute for blameless behavior? There could be undesirable consequences for us if we are incorrect about this!

Can you see from the above what a deadly issue is raised by Dispensational theology with its lawless-grace assumptions?

But the wicked will perish: The LORD's enemies will be like the beauty of the fields, they will vanish—vanish like smoke. (Psalms 37:20)

There is no need for us to fret about the seeming success of wicked people The wicked are like the flowers that fill the fields after the showers in April. They are so beautiful when they first spring up. But after a season they die and their beauty with them.

So it will be with those who are vaunting themselves in America. They despise our traditional moral values. They have no problem slaughtering the unborn. They indulge in perverse sexual activities and dare anyone to comment on their behavior.

They are so fine, so well accepted, so well protected by our legal system and our government. We who are older remember the former days in America. To be sure, there were terrible crimes committed in those days. But in general in America, as well as in England, there was a higher standard of morality than we see today.

Each day we read of some new abomination---sometimes in the state or national government. We wonder if our leaders are truly wicked or have just lost their senses. Money, sexual lust, pleasure, and entertainment are worshiped in our country. The entertainers sometimes throw off all restraints. There are public parades that remind us of Sodom.

"But the wicked will perish." God has said "the wicked shall perish." We cling to that promise. We ourselves are to confess and turn away from our sins as the Spirit of God directs and helps us. There is coming a day when righteousness shall prevail as a great rainbow throughout our country. A bit more patient waiting, and then we shall see the hand of God in America.

The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously; (Psalms 37:21)

Who are the wicked? Those who cheat in business. Who are the righteous? Those who are generous of heart.

We would say today that the wicked are those who cheat in business. But the righteous are those who "accept Christ." Have we not been greatly deceived? Is not the theology of DIspensationalism the greatest lie, the most destructive error, ever to enter Christian thinking?

The Church is supposed to be the light of the world because it reveals in itself (not talks about, but reveals in itself) the righteous character and behavior of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Behold the craftiness of Satan. He has extinguished the only true Light of the world; the only light that shows people where and how to walk.

Those the LORD blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be cut off. (Psalms 37:22)

There is no need for us to rage and fume about those who bring wicked devices to pass. If we behave righteously, God will bless us and we will inherit the earth, its peoples and all its resources. As for the wicked, the Lord will cut them off and we need not concern ourselves. When we have the opportunity, we are to do good and live in righteousness, love, peace, and joy.

If the LORD delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. (Psalms 37:23,24)

God takes pleasure in our way, not our belief. The Lord Jesus is the Way to the Father. We teach that He is the ticket to Heaven. Jesus—the ticket or the Way?

When we walk humbly with the Lord, making righteous decisions and showing mercy, God makes our steps firm. The Lord upholds us. This is not true if we have a religious belief but do not walk humbly with God; do not make righteous decisions; are unmerciful.

We can "accept Christ" all we want to. But if we do not walk humbly with God, we are a deluded religionist—not a true Christian at all.

The patriarch Abraham practiced righteous behavior. The Apostle Paul used Abraham's belief in God's promise to show that an individual could be righteous apart from the Law of Moses, the Law not having been written at the time of Abraham.

But Abraham always believed God and did what God commanded. When it was time just to believe, Abraham believed in obedience to God. When it was time to act, he acted in obedience.

The problem with today's teaching is the doctrine that we need not be obedient to Christ and His Apostles, just believe that Christ died for our sins. To say the least, this is a destructive warping of Paul's teaching about Abraham believing God. Paul never would countenance such an interpretation!

I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. (Psalms 37:25)

When I came to the Lord I was nineteen years of age. Now I am 86. I was not raised in a Christian home. I promised God at that time that I would attempt to do what the Bible said. If the Bible proved to be reliable, I would testify to that. If the Bible proved to be humbug, I would testify to that.

That was 67 years ago. I am here to say that the Bible is God's inerrant Word. It has never let me down. As far as I can see, it is the only truth in this crazy world in which we are endeavoring to live.

Who are the righteous who are not forsaken? Those who believe in Christ? Not necessarily. Many who profess faith in Christ are not trustworthy. The righteous are those who do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever. For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off; the righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever. (Psalms 37:27-29)

What should people do if they desire to please God? They should receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Then they should turn from evil and do good.

What if they do not turn from evil and do good? Then the promises of the 37th Psalm do not apply to them. How could they? Does God take care of people who profess faith in Christ but do not turn from evil? If we believe that He does, we have been deceived by contemporary preaching.

What is the promise to those who turn from evil and do good? It is that they will dwell in the land forever.

Our traditions have made our goal to be eternal residence in Heaven. Our true goal is the earth and its peoples. If we have turned from evil and have done good, then in the Day of Resurrection we will return with Christ to the earth and find our Paradise here; for the Lord Jesus Christ shall fill the earth with righteousness, love, joy, and peace. The nations and the farthest reaches of the earth are His and our inheritance.

The Lord loves the righteous ones and never shall forsake those who are faithful to Him. How long will it be before the Christian ministry reject the teaching of lawless grace and begin to preach about faithful service to Christ? After all, to be a Christian, a disciple of Christ, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross of deferred desire, and trudge along each day after the Master.

"They will be protected forever." If I am hearing the Spirit correctly, we in the United States are facing days of bloodshed. We slowly but surely are ruling God out of our country.

If we desire to be protected along with our loved ones, then we must turn from evil and do good. It is not enough to go to Church and sing hymns or choruses, no matter how fervently . We absolutely must turn from evil and do good.

We have no need to be concerned about the wicked or their offspring. It is those who turn from evil and do good who will inherit the earth and dwell in it forever.

The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just. The law of his God is in his heart; his feet do not slip. (Psalms 30,31)

Is this true today? Is it the man who practices righteous behavior whose mouth utters wisdom and whose tongues speaks what is just? Or is it the man who professes belief in Christ whose mouth utters wisdom and whose tongues speaks what is just? What does your experience tell you is the correct answer?

If we would avoid slipping and falling into the snares of Satan, the law of God must be in our heart. The new covenant is the writing of the law of God in our mind and heart. That law is God's own moral Nature, of which the Ten Commandments are an abridged version.

Paul said we are to be an epistle that is read by people. This means our thinking, speaking, and acting must be in harmony with that which Paul and the other Apostles had written.

People cannot see imputed righteousness, only actual righteousness of behavior. When the only righteousness we have is that which is imputed to us on the basis of our belief in Jesus Christ, then there is no epistle for the world to read.

The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, seeking their very lives; but the LORD will not leave them in their power or let them be condemned when brought to trial. (Psalms 37:32,33)

Hell today is furious. The time for the torture of the wicked spirits is near. America has stood for the Christian Gospel. Therefore it is subject to attack. You may notice how every symbol of Christianity in America is being attacked. It is Satan's desire to erase all references to Christ and His cross. As a result, much of our culture is being removed so as not to annoy those of a different religious persuasion.

I cannot tell you how it all will work out in the future. The Lord is warning me of moral chaos and persecution on the horizon. This can be expected, because God is not pleased with being ignored in America, a country He has blessed so richly.

The Spartans are at the door, so to speak, and America is continuing in its merry way, attempting to please the vicious followers of another god—a god who would love to kill us all. But we keep on with our television and backyard barbecues. It is not that we Americans are intent on doing evil; rather, it is a case of being at ease, not realizing that we have deadly enemies who are seeking our destruction.

I do not wish to be dramatic here, but it is the truth that their god hates our God and desires to take His place in the land our God has blessed to such an extent. Your part and my part is to seek the Lord Jesus as we never have before. If we do, then He will not leave us in the power of those who despise us.

We very well may be brought to trial in the future because we refuse to participate or permit our children to participate in sexual practices that we understand are an abomination to God. If we are brought to trial, God will not let us be condemned. That is God's promise to people who practice righteous behavior.

But those who today are at ease in Zion will suffer terribly in the future in America!

Wait for the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you will see it. (Psalms 37:34)

We have to wait for the Lord, meanwhile patiently keeping His way of righteousness. Sometimes we have to wait a long time before God shows us what it taking place in our life. But if we do wait patiently, we will be exalted and inherit that which we desire so intensely.

The wicked, who seem today to be prevailing on every side, will suddenly be cut off. I cannot tell you how it will happen, but I have seen during my lifetime that what God says always comes to pass—usually in such a normal, natural way that we don't give thanks, thinking it would have happened anyway.

Be careful of this! Always remember to give thanks when you see your prayers being answered in such a simple, "of-course" manner.

Whether we are on the earth or with the other "witnesses" in the spirit world, we will see the cutting off of the wicked. That is the Lord's promise to us if we walk in His righteous paths.

I have seen a wicked and ruthless man flourishing like a green tree in its native soil, but he soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him, he could not be found. (Psalms 37:35,36)

I have seen such wickedness of later that I have told the Lord I do not want to live on the earth any longer. The world of today is certainly no place in which to raise children. Perhaps the Lord will be taking many children to Himself at this time. If He does, then we rejoice because we know they are playing in a land that is free from evil, ruthless people.

Today the wicked and the ruthless are flourishing. They trample on the poor as they increase their monetary wealth, supposing they never will have to answer to God for their selfishness.

But they shall have to answer to God. That is our hope. They soon shall pass away. When they enter the spirit world, instead of people applauding them for their ability to exalt themselves, they will be met with the demons who will rejoice at the opportunity to torment them. Their money and fame will mean nothing in that day, as they stand in their filthy garments before a God whose eyes are fire.

The wicked shall be gone from the earth some day, and there will be no memory of them or of their works. The earth shall be cleansed from the works of Satan and Antichrist when Joel's army is given the signal to march.

Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace. But all sinners will be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be cut off. (Psalms 37:37,38)

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God." Blameless and upright people have a glorious future to anticipate. But those who practice sin, Christian or not, will have no future. It shall be cut off.

At the beginning of the 37th Psalm we are commanded not to fret. And this is why. Those who are blameless and upright can look forward to a wonderful future. The wicked, who parade around so confidently today, will have no future except severe punishment at the hand of God.

So let us be blameless and upright. Then we have no occasion to curse or be disturbed by the wicked. Their end is certain, and we are not to tear ourselves down from our high place in God by fretting about the antics of Satan-inspired people in the earth.

The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him. (Psalms 37:39,40)

Our salvation come from the Lord more than we understand. Our very desire to receive Christ and live a righteous, holy life comes from God. It is not because we deserve such salvation, but because God according to His own wisdom and desires has chosen to make us a vessel of honor.

If we will respond by seeking Christ each day so we can live so as to please Him, we justify God's decision in making us a vessel of honor. He will be our Stronghold when His judgment falls on America. He will help us and deliver us from evil people. He will save us because we have made Him our refuge, our hiding place.

But as for the wicked, they soon shall be cut off. There is no place for wicked people in God's new world of righteousness, in which children can play with every animal without being harmed. The best is yet ahead, so let's wait patiently for the Lord Jesus and walk in all His ways.

They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)

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What We Are To Prepare For

2012-04-01

I have written quite a bit about preparing for the coming catastrophic events in the United States. The only manner in which we can prepare spiritually for the days of moral and physical chaos is by learning to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus, looking to Him continually for every decision we make; for all aspects of our life, day and night. If we do this we will save ourselves and our loved ones no matter what comes to pass in America.

There is something else we are to prepare for. That is the Day of the Lord. Our Christian traditions hold that when Jesus comes we will be caught up to Heaven. There we will recline in peace and joy in our mansion. No preparation is needed for this catching up, we have been told.

This is not what the Bible teaches about the Day of the Lord.

The truth is, the war between good and evil has not been won as yet. The basis for victory in this war was accomplished on the cross of Calvary. The atonement made on the cross destroyed the authority of Satan to keep the world in his power. However, the removal of Satan and all of his influence in the creation has not as yet been accomplished, as we see what is taking place in the world, and in our own life as well.

Not only the people of the world, but the people of the Christian churches also, are bound with the love of the world, the lusts of the flesh, and the determination to live our own life without reference to the will of Christ. In actuality, the only lawful will in the universe is the will of God. But people from the beginning have sought to pursue their own life according to their own plans and desires.

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. (Daniel 9:24)

Let's consider for a moment the verse above, because it is the opinion of numerous Christian people that we never will be rid of sin.

"To finish transgression." "To put an end to sin." "To atone for wickedness." "To bring in everlasting righteousness."

If you stop to think about it, of course this will come to pass. Is God, who made the universe, unable to bring in everlasting righteousness? I think it is Satan who has given us the impression that sin is inevitable and always will be true of us.

But that God will never be able to remove sin from people is not reasonable. God is able to remove the compulsion of sin from anyone at any time He chooses. Does God not have power over the demons? Can He not change the nature of any person and make him or her a new moral creation? Can the Potter make one vessel unto honor and another vessel unto dishonor? If this is not true, it indeed would be good we never had been born.

Why, then, does He not do this? He made an atonement for the sins of the whole world on the cross of Calvary!

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2)

Why can't God do the same for the power of the sin that controls us?

He can. But God does not want a repetition of the disaster in the Garden of Eden. Remember, Adam and Eve were not created with a sinful nature.

What was needed in Eden to prevent the rebellious act? Two things. First, people trained in righteousness. Second, a government that would prevent sin from occurring.

So what is God doing now? He is ready to train people in righteousness, and to create a government, the Kingdom of God, that will permit only God's will to be done on the earth.

Now you can see why God does not reach down and remove the works of Satan from the earth with a single stroke. He is in the process of removing the works of Satan from the earth permanently by training people in righteous behavior and by creating the Kingdom of God.

Let's think now about how God is training people in righteous behavior, and by creating the Kingdom of God. Then we will understand how God can bring in everlasting righteousness.

At the present time, God's Spirit is moving among us who have ears to hear the Spirit. The Spirit is revealing to us our worldliness, the lusts and passions of our flesh and spirit, and our self-will. As He does, we are to confess the attitude or practice that has been pointed out. We are to confess to Christ the specific behavior clearly.

Then we are to name that area of our personality as sin, unworthy of the Kingdom of God.

Then we are to renounce that practice or attitude, declaring emphatically that we never, never again, by the help of the Lord, shall yield to that spiritual evil—not for eternity. This is an eternal judgment on Satan.

Our personality is not delivered from evil in a moment. The practice of confessing, denouncing, renouncing, and resisting sin must continue until it all has been removed. It is line upon line; command upon command; here a little and there a little. Piece by piece the graveclothes are removed from us. There is no hurry. We are undoing the damage wrought over thousand of years in the children of Adam and Eve.

Will this work of deliverance continue in the next world and be true of people in the spirit world? I feel certain that it shall. How else could the entire Bride of the Lamb come to unblemished perfection?

For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. (I Peter 4:6)

It is certain that Abraham and the other patriarchs and prophets are now born again. Since no person could be born again until Christ rose from the dead, the patriarchs must have received this experience while they were living in the spirit world.

We have to keep in mind that the Bride of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, is one organism, with most members in the spirit world at any given time. All are having the same redemptive experiences and pressing forward in Christ whether on earth or in the spirit world. How could it be otherwise? They without us cannot be made perfect!

According to my understanding it will require from now until the final resurrection for every person, the members of the Church and everyone else, to have an opportunity to renounce sin.

When the Spirit of God has finished this work of destroying sin and self-will, everlasting righteousness will be here.

Now for the second part—the presence of a government that will not tolerate sin and self will.

This is the Kingdom of God, of which Jesus spoke. We enter the Kingdom of God when we are born again, because Jesus Himself is the Kingdom of God. If we protect and nourish that which has been born in us, the day will come when the Father and the Son through the Spirit enter that which has been created in our personality. Now we will not sin or exhibit self-will because our nature has been changed. We are a new creation.

It then will be a delight to us to do God's will because His law is now in our mind and heart. We, the flesh, have become the Word of God. This is the new covenant.

So the two elements that would have prevented Adam and Eve from destroying Paradise have now been accomplished in us. We have been trained in righteousness by confessing and turning away from our sins. In addition, the Kingdom of God has been formed in us; first by the new birth, then by the maturing of Christ in us, finally by the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in us forever.

The above is the essential part of our preparing for the future. We simply must learn to live by the Life of Jesus, as the Apostle Paul did. It is only as we live by His Life that we will save ourselves and our loved ones during the chaos that is ahead.

The Scriptures speak clearly of the conflicts that are ahead of us as the climactic battles between good and evil occur.

First, there will be the testimony of the two witnesses. The two witnesses are Christ, and His victorious saints. Before the end of the Church Age is here, Christ in His saints will bear witness of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. This witness will be given to all nations.

Another important event is that of the casting down of Satan and his angels to the earth. Michael and his angels are responsible for the removal of Satan from the heavens; but they can do this only as there are saints in the earth who overcome the Accuser by the blood of the Lamb; by the word of their testimony; and by loving not their life to the death.

I believe there is a relationship between our willingness to pursue the life of victory in Christ, and the strengthening of the hands of the angels of God.

A third important event is the birth of the sons of God, as described in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation. It is time now for the Christian Church to enter the travail necessary to bring forth Christ in the saints. The sons who are brought forth will, with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, govern the nations of the earth.

Those who overcome the Accuser and who govern the nations with Christ are a Firstfruits of the Christian Church. They have through Christ gained victory over all evil that has come against them. These are a beginning of those whom Christ has trained in righteousness.

Now we are ready for the Battle of Armageddon. Christ and His Firstfruits, those who have been trained in Heaven and those who yet are alive on the earth, will be raised from the dead, when He next appears, and clothed in immortal bodies. Then they will be caught up to where Christ and the white war stallions are waiting in the air above the earth.

The angels will blow the trumpets of God and the two armies, the saints and the warrior angels, will hurtle down to their staging area on the dried up bed of the Euphrates. These are the kings from the east.

The armies of Antichrist will be destroyed and the birds will eat their flesh. Antichrist and the False Prophet will be cast into the Lake of Fire. One angel will bind Satan and hurl him into the Bottomless Pit.

The evil powers who have ruled the earth have now been rendered powerless. But there remains on the earth the Antichrist institutions of world "civilization" as well as people with sinful natures.

Now it is time for Joel's army to invade every city that has been influenced by Antichrist. On and on they come. The land is as Eden before them and behind them a burning wilderness. They do not break ranks. The Lord is at the head of His army.

After the whole earth has been subdued, the Firstfruits will return to Jerusalem to await their orders from Christ. Christ will send out His kings to every part of the earth. The larger nations will be split up into smaller kingdoms, each of which will have its own king. Righteous behavior will be enforced with the scepter of iron righteousness, a scepter that has been formed in the victorious saints as they have overcome through Christ the evil that has come against them during their lifetime on the earth.

Next there will be a thousand years of a peace enforced by the saints and their angelic helpers. The knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. The world will be safe for little children and the fiercest of wild animals will be their tame pets.

But the conflict between good and evil has not as yet been finished. At the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, Satan will be released. He will lead the nations who have been patiently trained in righteousness during the Kingdom Age, against the camp of the saints. There will be no battle. God will wipe out the wicked forces, just as He always has been able to do.

Satan, the source of the tragedies on the earth, will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.

Those who teach that the wicked eventually will be saved should remember that when Satan was released after a thousand years of confinement, he immediately set about to destroy the work of Christ. So it would be true if God relented and permitted even one truly wicked person to enter the new world of righteousness.

Now that the rebellious have been burned up, and Satan has found his eternal home in the Lake of Fire, everyone, except the Firstfruits who were raised in the first resurrection, will stand before the Throne of Jesus Christ. Every individual will be judged fairly according to his or her works.

Those whose names were found in the Book of Life will be brought over to citizenship on the new earth. Those whose names were not found in the Book of Life will be thrown into the Lake of Fire to make their home with Satan.

Such is the end of the war between good and evil.

Since people and angels have wills of their own they always will be able to disobey Christ. There will be kings and judges in the new world of righteousness who will be alerted immediately if some person or angel is entertaining a thought of resistance to the will of the Lord Jesus Christ.

That individual will be approached by a saint, accompanied by warrior angels. The individual may be taken on a "field trip" to see the bodies of those who have rebelled against Christ.

"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)

If he or she is willing to repent sincerely, the person may be given another chance. But if pride and rebellion enter in, then the individual will be placed with Satan and all other rebels.

This concludes the war between good and evil. Thus the word shall come to pass:

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. (Daniel 9:24)

*****

What We Are to Prepare For

Moral and Physical Chaos in the United States and the World–Psalms 9:17

The Birth of the Sons of God–Revelation 12:5

Confessing and Turning from Our Sins and Self-will–I John 1:9

The Hurling of Satan and His Angels to the Earth–Revelation 12:9

The Judging of Those Who Are to Bear Witness–Revelation 11:1

The Power to Bear Witness of the Soon Coming of the Kingdom of God to the Earth–Revelation 11:3

The Withdrawing of the Anointing and the Overcoming of the Testimony–Revelation 11:7

Sodom; Egypt; Jerusalem–Revelation 11:8

The Revelation of Antichrist and the Great Tribulation–Daniel 9:27

Satan Makes War Against the Church–Revelation 12:17

Christ Appears and Gathers His Elect; the First Resurrection–Matthew 24:30; Revelation 20:4

The Battle of Armageddon–Revelation 19:11

Joel's Army Cleanses the Earth–Joel 2:3

The Thousand-year Kingdom Age–Isaiah 11:9

Satan Is Released from the Bottomless Pit–Revelation 20:7

The Final Judgment–Revelation 20:11

The New Heaven and Earth–Revelation 21:1

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Opening The Ancient Doors

2012-04-08

Going from the twenty-third Psalm to the twenty-fourth Psalm is like moving from Jesus to Joshua. In the twenty-third Psalm, Christ is wearing His shepherd's hat. In the twenty-fourth Psalm, Christ is wearing His warrior's helmet.

My opinion is that the "ancient doors" are the hearts of human beings. Why are they ancient? Because they have not changed from the beginning of man on the earth. An additional thought is this: It is in the present hour that God is revealing His plan to live in us, to place His Throne in us. Since this opportunity is available to every one of God's elect both on earth and in the spirit world, some of the recipients have lived for thousands of years.

From the beginning of the creation, people have attempted to conduct their own lives, using their own wisdom, experience and strength. It is only now, it seems, that we are understanding that man is not to live by bread alone but by every Word of God directed to him or her.

We all have a "throne room" in our personality. It was not built for us. When we sit on that throne without the Lord, our life cannot attain to the fullness of righteousness, love, joy, and peace no matter what we accomplish during our time on the earth.

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. (Revelation 3:21)

The throne is the human heart. That is the proper throne of God and Christ. We are permitted to sit there with Them when we are willing to live by Their Life.

It only is as Christ, and God in Him, occupy the throne of our personality that what we are meant to be unfolds from now throughout eternity.

Recently I read the life of Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables. Such a marvelous work that has been a great blessing to millions of people. Yet, there was much sadness in Mrs. Montgomery's life, as has been true of other gifted people who have given us such pleasure. She was beset with depression.

Perhaps it is in the present hour that it is becoming clear to us we are not to conduct our own life as we see fit. We are to look to Christ, night and day, for our thoughts, our words, and our actions. To live like this is not as impossible as it may seem to those who never have tried it. All that is required to live by the Life of Jesus, as the Apostle Paul did, is to ask God with utmost sincerity to cause us to live like this.

For how long have human beings sought to live their own life, although perhaps obeying one religion or another. It is perfectly possible, and the norm, for religious people to adhere to the rules and practices of their religion without opening their life to God.

Now we are perceiving that the only lasting good that religion can do is to bring us to the place where we give our life wholly to Christ; for He is the only Way to the Father. Until we are willing to live by the Life of Christ we never will experience the deepest longing of our heart.

The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; (Psalms 24:1)

"The earth"! To this point in time our salvation has been directed toward Heaven, we might say. It reminds me of the Jewish Calendar. The religious new year of the Jews begins with Passover. After six months, there is what we might refer to as a secular new year. It is the first day of this secular new year that is celebrated as New Year's Day, with the Blowing of Trumpets.

Notice that there is a religious year, and then there is "the year of kings and contracts."

So it is true that we have come to the time when our viewpoint is moving from Heaven to the earth. Previously we have thought that the goal of our salvation is that we might live in Heaven for eternity. We have built up a mythology about our life in Heaven, complete with mansions to live in.

Now we understand Heaven is not our goal. The Kingdom of God is our goal. Our Lord told us to pay our first attention to seeking the Kingdom of God, not Heaven.

Well then, what is the difference between Heaven and the Kingdom of God? Heaven is a place in the spirit world where the Heavenly Jerusalem is located, a city that one day will be installed on a high mountain of the new earth.

The Kingdom of God is not a place. It is the rule of God through Christ, and then through those in whom Christ is living and is being obeyed totally and completely. Could a person be in Heaven and not be in the Kingdom of God? Absolutely. Could a person be on the earth and yet be in the Kingdom of God? Yes, if Christ is his or her Life.

To enter the Kingdom of God we must be born again and then nourish our new inner man by keeping our attention on things above; by presenting our body a living sacrifice; by putting to death through the Spirit of God the acts of our sinful nature; by praying continually and spending some time each day meditating in the Bible.

To enter the Kingdom of God fully we must give ourselves totally to Christ.

As we press into Christ at the present time we discover that He is speaking to us about the earth. While it is true that we presently are at the right hand of God in Christ, our destination is the earth. When Christ appears we shall appear with Him.

The nations and the farthest reaches of the earth are the inheritance of Christ. They also are our inheritance. From now until the present earth and sky are destroyed and a new earth and sky take their place, there will be a battle between good and evil. The power of redemption will operate until all sin is removed from the creation of God and iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to God take the place of sin and self-will.

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. (Daniel 9:24)

"To put an end to sin." "To bring in everlasting righteousness."

We now are at the beginning of the operation of redemption. Forgiveness was purchased on the cross of calvary. Now it is time for the total removal of the practice of sin.

The Bible says that the earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it..

We must admit that we have been taught that God's goal is to bring as many people to Heaven as possible and, I suppose, Satan then would inherit the earth. This is an incorrect viewpoint. God's goal is to fill as many people as possible with His Presence and will. The result of this will be that Satan, and all that is of Satan, will be removed from the physical creation and confined in the spirit prisons.

This is the coming of the Kingdom of God, the will of God, to the earth. This is what Jesus told us to seek.

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

God founded the earth, and everything in it, including the people, upon the seas. Thus the foundation is unstable. Abraham was looking for a city that has foundations. The foundations of the wall of the new Jerusalem are heavily ornamented with precious stones.

The city that is coming is founded on Christ. Christ, and Christ alone, is the Rock, the only trustworthy, permanent foundation upon which we can build our life. It may take us a while to learn this, and some may never understand. But it is certain that anything not built on Christ will not last!

Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? (Psalms 24:3)

There only is one holy hill. It is Mount Zion. Mount Zion is Christ and all who belong to Christ. All other hills, all other religions, are imitations.

Why gaze in envy, O rugged mountains, at the mountain where God chooses to reign, where the LORD himself will dwell forever? (Psalms 68:16)

It is fashionable today to say there are many ways that lead to God. This is a kind attitude to take, but it is false. It is impossible to come to God except through Jesus Christ. This is not the truth of a religion, it is a spiritual fact.

I invite anyone who is willing to do so to pray that if Jesus is alive, and is the one Way to the Father, to make Himself, that is, Jesus, known. I did this 67 years ago. I know now that Jesus Christ is alive and is who He says He is.

Some time ago a college student asked me how he could know if there is a God? I said, "Ask Him. He is able to answer you, and will answer you if you are sincere." If you want to know if someone is in the next room, knock on the door.

There are many interesting religions in the world, and each has devout practitioners. But when people are worshiping and obeying Jesus (and this certainly is not true of all who assemble in Christian churches), there is a sense of God's Presence that is not true of any other religion.

Try it out for yourself. I am not suggesting you leave your religion. I am inviting you to ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you. If you are honest, He will do just that, just as He did for me so many years ago.

Now we have a question: "Who may ascend the hill of the Lord and stand in His holy place?"

He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. (Psalms 24:4)

"Clean hands" refers to righteous, holy behavior. A "pure heart" means that the person's motivations and intentions are sincere and trustworthy, integrity of motive. "Does not lift up his soul to an idol" signifies that there is no person, thing, or situation that the individual adores more than God.

"Swear by what is false" speaks of building our life on what is not true. It is a fact that the world (Antichrist) spirit is one massive lie. The American culture is built on money, and much that takes place is a lie.

Right here we have to make a decision. The current theology in America tells us that believing in Christ brings a "grace" to us that no longer requires that we are upright and truthful. All we do is believe. A righteous, truthful personality is not necessary if we wish to stand in God's holy place, it is claimed.

Or, we can take the position that God has not changed His requirements: We must be a truthful person of integrity of character if we are to stand in God's holy place and ascend Mount Zion.

Which of these two theological positions is true and which is false?

I know that one time the Lord said to me that liars will not eat at His table. Was that really Jesus who said that to me? I am convinced it indeed was, and it makes sense to me.

So we are at a crossroads in America. Either the lawless-grace message is of God, or Christ has not changed and still requires clean hands and a pure heart if we are to ascend the hill of the Lord.

I believe we are in sore need of a reformation of Christian thinking in America. How could we ever have believed that an unholy, unrighteous individual ever could stand in God's holy place by claiming to believe in Jesus!

Believe what about Jesus? That He is God's Son and died for our sins?

The demons know that and tremble.

That He is coming again to exercise Divine judgment upon all who disobey God?

The demons know that and tremble.

So what belief is it that enables us to continue yielding to our sinful nature and remain standing in the holy place?

We are in deception in America, and I don't know if we ever will be able to come to the truth of the Bible. Will God in His mercy open our eyes? Or are we going to have to suffer greatly before we will repent of our love of money, perverse sexual behavior, love of ease and pleasure, and addiction to entertainment?

Each one of us can press into Christ right now and by so doing save ourselves and our loved ones from the sins of our culture.

He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior. (Psalms 24:5)

Do we truly believe that we can keep yielding to our sinful nature and be blessed of the Lord by claiming we believe in Christ? Will God vindicate us if we keep on sinning? Is this what the lawless-grace message is teaching us?

In the Book of Colossians, Paul mentioned that we are going to appear with Christ when He comes.

And then Paul added:

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. (Colossians 3:5,6)

Have we not been greatly deceived, we who are trusting in lawless-grace to keep us in good standing with the Lord? Either contemporary preaching is correct, or Paul is correct. Which preachers do you think have heard from God?

Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah. (Psalms 24:6)

It seems to me that current "ticket" doctrine produces a static Christian experience. When we "accept Christ" we have our ticket to Heaven. There does not seem to be an emphasis on seeking God. However, the true Christian discipleship includes seeking the face of Christ night and day. We continually are to be seeking the face of Him who "hides Himself."

Since we always are making mistakes, getting off the track, blundering along, we absolutely must seek God with all our heart at all times. Not to do so is to end up in a spiritual wasteland, although we have "accepted Christ."

Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. (Psalm 24:7)

The above reminds us of "Behold, I stand at the door and knock," doesn't it?

We indeed have come to a great moment in the plan of redemption. This forward step is prefigured in the seven celebrations of Israel. We have been at the fourth step, Pentecost, for a century. Now it is time to advance to the spiritual fulfillment of the final three feasts. They are the Blowing of Trumpets; the Day of Atonement; and Tabernacles.

The Blowing of Trumpets, announcing the new secular year is fulfilled in us when the Holy Spirit announces the coming of the King to us to begin the construction of the Kingdom of God.

The Day of Atonement is the reconciling of us to God and He to us. Line upon line, command upon command, the Holy Spirit shows us the sins and self-will in our adamic nature. We must confess and turn away from the darkness that has been pointed out to us, as the Lord assists us.

We are not reconciled to God in a moment. The program of atonement lasts throughout our lifetime and, I have no doubt, after we pass into the spirit world. It is an eternal judgment on the sin and self-will that are in us.

I myself began this program in around 1950. Here it is 2012, and occasionally some area of darkness is uncovered. I have learned through long experience to immediately deal with the darkness, confessing it to the Lord, denouncing it as evil, and renouncing it, determining right then that, with Jesus' help, such behavior or attitude will never again be true of me—no, not for eternity!

We are not possessed with endless sin and self-will. The work of atonement may take a while, but eventually it will be finished. We will be free from all the compulsions of our sinful nature. Whew!

You can think of this process as our entering our land of promise. City by city falls before us as the Lord leads. We do not do, as did faithless Israel, make some progress, and then quit the battle because it is rigorous. We persevere until every enemy, from the kings to the smallest demon, has been driven out and we can find rest in our inheritance.

It may be noted that not only do we find rest in God, God also finds rest in us. In fact, the whole purpose of the plan of redemption is that God might have a resting place. God does not find rest in us when there is sin and self-seeking in our personality.

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)

The "house" that we build for God is our own personality, in which our redeemed body plays an important role. In fact, the purpose of the gifts and ministries given to the Body of Christ is to build the eternal Tabernacle of God, which comes down to earth as the new Jerusalem. This is Mount Zion.

The 68th Psalm talks about Mount Zion and the gifts and ministries given to the members of the Body of Christ. Then about the purpose the Holy Spirit has in mind in giving these gifts:

Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led in procession a body of captives, Thou hast received gifts consisting of men, yea even the rebellious, that Yah Elohim might settle down to rest. (Psalms 68:18—Rotherham)

Can you see why the Day of Atonement must come before the spiritual fulfillment of the celebration of Tabernacles? "Tabernacles" is the coming of the Father and the Son to make Their eternal home, Their rest in us. The spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement obviously must come first. The "rest" in us that God is seeking can be made ready only as our sin and self-will have been confessed and renounced.

We can understand from all this that the day in which we are living indeed is momentous. All that has gone before in the history of the world has been for the purpose of creating a dwelling place for God, beginning with the Firstfruits of His Church, then spreading to the remainder of the Church, and finally to every saved person who is qualified to be a citizen of the new world of righteousness.

Who is it that is asking that we lift up the gates of our personality that He may enter us? It is the King of Glory. But exactly who is the King of Glory? He is the Lord Jesus Christ, and God in Him.

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

Right here is the issue. For two thousand years the Lord Jesus has been our Shepherd. He is the One who seeks out the lamb who is in danger. He is gentle and meek, and loves little children.

Now He is changing from a shepherd to a warrior. May I add that when Christ is our shepherd He is all shepherd. But when He is God's warrior He is all warrior. He is not half-shepherd and half-warrior.

The demons understand this only too well and tremble at the thought!

We are at the beginning of the war between good and evil. The evil has been entrenched in the creation from the days of Adam and Eve. The Good has been biding His time.

This war is fierce beyond all comprehension. It is "no holds barred." Satan will employ every device in his arsenal to tear down every believer that he thinks is a danger to him. This is no place for foolish, half-hearted, casual Christians, of which we have an abundance in the United States.

There is a remnant today. They are overcoming the Accuser by the blood of the Lamb; by the word of their testimony; and by loving not their life to the death. They are totally committed to Christ. They are learning to live by His Life. They follow Him wherever He goes. They obey Him at all times in the smallest details of their existence.

There are such Christians today. I do not say there are many. But there are some; and you can be one if that is your desire. Count the cost. It will cost you everything. Then count the cost of not being one of the Lord's Firstfruits who attains to the first resurrection.

Audrey and I watched a television episode the other day. A lady was in the process of giving birth. She was screaming. The baby was partly out. The nurse was saying, "Push. Push. Push."

Then the lady stopped screaming and said, "I've changed my mind."

When you are in the midst of being redeemed from sin and self-will, and you find the process demanding, do not change your mind. Remember Jesus said that a woman travailing in birth has pain. But when the baby is delivered she remembers the pain no longer but has joy that a man has been born into the world.

Don't quit in the middle of the process. The "baby" finally will be born and you will not remember the pain any longer. "Christ" will have been born into the world.

Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. (Psalms 24:9)

Jesus is standing today at the door of your heart. He is knocking. He never will open the door. You and I have to open the door.

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. (Revelation 3:20,21)

The redactors of the text have separated these two verses, not realizing they compose one thought.

Notice that the above promise is to the Laodicean Church, the church that appears at the close of the Church Age. It is the church of the rights of people. It is the church of those who are lukewarm, who think they have need of nothing. This is what we see in America today, isn't it?

"If anyone hears my voice." Notice the promise is to the individual. This is true also of "him who overcomes." Christ does not speak to the whole Church but to individuals.

"I will come in and eat with him and he with me." Christ eats from our obedience and worship. We eat from His body and blood. It is by eating His body and blood that we learn to live by His Life.

The sixth chapter of the Gospel of John tells us of the importance of the body and blood of Christ. They are our resurrection Life. It is the body and blood of the Lamb of God that will draw us up to Him when He appears in the sky.

Whoever lives by the body and blood of Christ lives by Him as He lives by the Father.

Whenever we come to a choice between two alternatives, one we are pretty sure is of God, and the other is a burning desire of our fallen nature, and we choose the alternative that we believe is of God, we are fed in the spirit world with the body and blood of Christ.

Every time we choose to do God's will rather than obey our sinful nature, we are fed in the spirit world with the body and blood of Christ. This is how we learn to live by His Life instead of our own.

It is he who overcomes sin and self-will who is given to eat from the Tree of Life, the Tree of Life being the Lord Jesus Christ. Eventually we ourselves become trees of life planted by the River of Life. Through us eternal life will come to the dead sea of mankind.

All that we truly desire is found in the body and blood of the Lamb of God.

As we keep overcoming and keep eating the flesh of Christ and drinking His blood, we become qualified to sit with Christ on the throne of our own life, just as Christ, having overcome, is seated with His Father on the Father's Throne.

The Father's Throne is the heart of the victorious saint. Christ sits with the Father on that Throne. When we live in victory we sit with the Father and the Son on the throne of our own personality. Can you think of anything better than that?

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)

The above is the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. It is the "rest of God," spoken of in the fourth chapter of the Book of Hebrews.

Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty—he is the King of glory. Selah (Psalms 24:10)

The purpose of our salvation is to provide an eternal throne, a home, a resting place for the Lord Almighty. He is the King. Our task is to work with Him as He brings all the creation, including ourselves, under the rule of His iron scepter of righteousness.

The world fights onward, hoping one day to find peace and contentment. It never shall find peace and contentment apart from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Religion fights onward, hoping to please God by building His Kingdom without waiting to hear from Jesus what He wants done.

The true saint fights onward, seeking through Christ to overcome all that would hinder the accomplishing of the will of God in his own life.

All of life, it seems, is a battle. The fighting never seems to end. But it shall end some day. God knows exactly what He is doing. Christ listens to His Father and obeys Him implicitly.

All each one of us is required to do is to wait patiently on Christ and obey Him at all times, in all situations. If we do that, then, when God has put all of Christ's enemies under His feet, we shall share with Him all that God has given to Him.

Have peace. No one can harm you if you do what is good. You will save yourself and your loved ones if you walk humbly with your hand in the hand of God. No matter how tumultuous the future becomes in America, just remember that God still is in control.

If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the LORD, who is my refuge—then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. (Psalms 91:9,10)

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The Two Years

2012-04-15

There are two years on the Jewish calendar. This is true also on the American calendar. We have the calendar year that begins on January 1st. Then we have a business year that begins on July 1st. We celebrate January 1st as New Year's Day.

The Jewish religious year begins on Abib (Nisan)1st, This is in April of the American Calendar. The Jewish business year begins on Tishri 1st, about our September. The Jews celebrate Tishri 1st as New Year's Day (Rosh Hashanah).

There are seven major celebrations on the Jewish calendar. The first, second, and third take place in one week, during Abib: Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits.

The fifth, sixth, and seventh also take place in one week, during Tishri: the Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, the feast of Tabernacles.

Pentecost, the fourth of the seven feasts of the Lord, is celebrated fifty days from the feast of Firstfruits. The celebration of Pentecost occurs during our month of May.

Let us think now about Tishri, the seventh month in the religious year but the first month in the business year.

The fifth feast of the Lord, the Blowing of Trumpets, is celebrated on the first day of Tishri, New Year's Day.

The sixth feast of the Lord, the Day of Atonement, is celebrated on the tenth day of Tishri.

The seventh feast of the Lord, the feast of Tabernacles, is celebrated on the fifteenth through the twenty-first day of Tishri.

During the month of Tishri, we celebrate the Blowing of Trumpets on the first; the Day of Atonement on the tenth; and the feast of Tabernacles on the fifteenth through the twenty-first.

Now, what does all this mean to Christians?

We have been enjoying the spiritual fulfillment of the first three feasts, Passover, Unleavened, Bread, and then the fourth feast, Pentecost, throughout the two thousand years of the Church Era.

Now we have come to the spiritual fulfillments of the last three feasts: the Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles. These are new to most of us. They mark as radical a change in the program of redemption as was true of the change from Moses to Joshua.

The twentieth century witnessed the spiritual fulfillment of the fourth of the feasts of the Lord, the feast of Pentecost. There are numerous Pentecostal and Charismatic churches that practice speaking in tongues and other manifestations of the Spirit of God.

Now God is ready to bring to us the spiritual fulfillments of the Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles.

The Blowing of Trumpets, the fifth of the seven feasts. signals the beginning of the Kingdom of God. The King, the Lord Jesus Christ, will enter each willing heart, and seek to establish His throne there.

Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. (Psalms 24:9)

Now notice below:

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. (Revelation 3:20,21)

The "throne" on which the Lord sits with His Father is our heart. When we learn to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus, we are permitted to sit on the throne of our own heart with Jesus and the Father.

The Blowing of Trumpets heralds the entrance of Jesus, the King of Glory, into our personality. If we permit Him to enter, He feeds on our obedience and worship; we feed on His body and blood.

This act of redemption is taking place today for everyone who has ears to hear and will be obedient by opening the door. It is the beginning of the Kingdom in us. I believe this what our Lord meant by being born again.

The Day of Atonement, the sixth of the seven feasts of the Lord, indeed is awesome. I like to substitute the word "reconciliation" in place of the term "atonement." It is the spiritual operation that reconciles us to God and God to us.

In order to perceive properly what is taking place in these last three feasts, in fact in all seven feasts, we must understand God's goal. God's goal is to have a house, a place of rest.

"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 7:49)

All of God's work, since the rebellion of the angels, and maybe before, is to build a house for Himself. In God's house, as the Lord said, there are many rooms. Jesus is the Beginning of God's house, being the chief Corner Stone. We also are living stones in the eternal house, the Tabernacle of God, which is the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb.

God is not content to sit on His Throne in Heaven. Heaven has been defiled by the rebellion of the angels.

God has created man to be His eternal dwelling place, His house, His Throne from which He will guide His creation.

For this reason, the Day of Atonement is central to God's plan to build a house for Himself. During the Day of Atonement, each living stone in the house of God, each room, must be cleansed from all sin and all self-will. If there is any trace of sin or self-will in us, God cannot find rest in us.

The Day of Reconciliation of man to God and God to man has begun with the Blowing of Trumpets in our heart. The Holy Spirit is beginning to reveal to us the areas of uncleanness in our life. We must confess our sins and self-will as soon as they are shown to us. Then, with the help of Christ, we are to turn away from them with all the strength we have so never again, from now to eternity, will we practice this uncleanness again.

The spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, of Reconciliation, will continue from now until the final resurrection. Every human being, including the members of the Royal Priesthood as well as the saved people from the nations, will have an opportunity to be cleansed entirely from everything that is not in God's image. The Lord Jesus is the Omega as well as the Alpha. He will finish what He began on the cross of Calvary.

The feast of Tabernacles is the goal, the completion of the operation of redemption. All worldliness, sin, and self-will have been driven from us. Christ has been formed in us. Now the Father and the Son are ready to enter what has been formed in us and occupy Their new dwelling place for eternity.

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)

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We Shall See Him As He Is

2012-04-22

I have written quite a bit about the fact that after the resurrection takes place we shall see people as they are. At the present time we can hide what we are thinking, what we really are. But such is not the case in the Day of Resurrection. What we truly are shall be revealed in our outward appearance.

If you stop and consider this, it is perfectly just. Those who have a commendable inner nature will have a commendable appearance. Those who have an ugly inner nature will have an ugly outer appearance. We can observe the relationship between what we genuinely are and our appearance in the idols that are crafted by Hindu and Buddhist craftsmen.

One such craftsman reported that he waits until he has a vision of the demon. Then he paints a picture of what he has seen, or creates a statuette. The demons that are worshiped so fervently are inwardly what they look like outwardly.

Notice this phenomenon in the Day of Resurrection:

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)

Some people who are raised will appear in such a form that they will be objects of shame and contempt.

Those who are wise will shine brightly.

Those who turn people to righteousness will shine like stars.

Notice that grace, as it currently is preached, will not operate as far as our appearance is concerned. It will not conceal what we are. What we are, we are. We will reap what we sow, to beauty or to ugliness.

What got me started thinking along this line, that we shall look like what we really are, are the following verses:

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (II Corinthians 4:17)

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)

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)

Now, follow along with me in my thinking.

The Apostle Paul spoke of his daily deaths and resurrections. He referred to these as his "light and momentary troubles." Paul said that these troubles were achieving for him "an eternal weight of glory."

The question arises, "What precisely is this eternal weight of glory"?

The answer is found in the next chapter. It is the heavenly body that is to clothe Paul's mortal body.

Here is the point of interest. It appears that Paul's "light and momentary troubles" were achieving for him his heavenly body. Were achieving for him!

It follows that our present experiences and decisions while living on the earth are determining what kind of body will clothe our resurrected flesh and bones in the Day of Resurrection.

Think back to: "others to shame and contempt." I think you will agree with me that if some are awakened to "shame and contempt," this is referring to their appearance, most likely to their outward appearance, their body.

Of course, it could be referring to their reputation. But when the reference is to the righteous shining like stars, this expression we know is referring to their outward appearance.

Now we come to the Judgment Seat of Christ—which by the way is the same as the "White Throne Judgment." The supreme Judge is Jesus Christ, and He sits on the throne that is white because it is righteous.

For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead. (Acts 17:31)

At this point I am going to use another translation because I do not believe the New International Version conveys the sense of Second Corinthians 5:10:

For we all must needs be made manifest before the judgment seat of the Christ that each one may get back the things done by means of the body, according to the things which he practiced, whether good or corrupt. (II Corinthians 5:10—Rotherham)

The New International Version ("may receive what is due him") seems to leave the impression that it is a case of rewards or punishments. If you have done well, you are rewarded. If you have done bad things, you are punished.

However, I think Rotherham has the sense of the verse; and it corresponds with the idea of the eternal weight of glory, of Chapter Four. It is that you get back the things you have done, not a reward or punishment for what you have done. You get back what you have done.

For example, if you have been a liar and have not repented, lying will appear in the body that clothes your resurrected flesh and bones. If you have been a fornicator, then fornication will appear in your new body, and so forth.

This is a sowing and reaping. If you sow lying, you will reap the appearance of lying. If you sow fornication, you will reap the appearance of fornication. If you sow righteous behavior, you will reap the appearance of righteous behavior. If you sow mercy, you will look like mercy.

For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:8—NASB)

You see much the same thing here (above). When a person sows to his own flesh, his own sinful nature, he reaps corruption from his own sinful nature, not from some far-off source.

I believe this to be an important distinction. One can see the perfect justice of God. By employing the current "grace" message we deny that perfect justice. A person of the world fornicates. He is guilty of sin and shall be punished accordingly. The Christian fornicates. His or her sin is covered by "grace" and he goes free.

The truth is, however, that the Christian who practices fornication, and does not confess his or her sin and renounce it with all his might, resisting it successfully, will look like the practice of fornication in the Day of Resurrection. He or she will reap corruption regardless of "accepting Christ" or any form of grace. This is because sowing and reaping is part of Kingdom law.

Whatever we sow we are going to reap, unless we repent, confess our sins, denouncing them, renouncing them, resisting them successfully through Christ, and so continue until the end of our life.

You can see from this how the contemporary "grace" message is leading people to destruction.

If we cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, we will see the Lord as He is, when He appears. What does this mean—to see Christ as He is?

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. (I John 3:2,3)

Does this mean we will see Him as John did, as described in the first chapter of the Book of Revelation? Is this actually the way Christ is? Will we look like this?

And among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. (Revelation 1:13-16)

Will we see Him as Ezekiel did, as described in the first chapter of the Book of Ezekiel? Does He look like that? Will we look like that?

Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking. (Ezekiel 1:26-28)

Now, why it says we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is, I have no idea. Why should our being like Him have anything to do with seeing Him as He is?

What other ways are there to see Jesus other than as He is? I have read accounts of after-death-experiences where it is told that when saints who were in high realms of Glory descended to be with those on lower plains they had to shield their glory. Perhaps the fact that Moses was not permitted to see the face of God is related to this idea, and that Moses had to put a veil over his fact when he came out from speaking with God in the Tent of Meeting.

John may be saying here that the sons of God are veiled now. But when Jesus appears they will be unveiled and will be seen to be living in the same Divine Glory that is true of the Son of God. Do you think this could be true?

I believe the inference here is that our outward appearance will be similar to that of the outward appearance of the Lord. Remember how Jesus was transfigured so that His garments shone, on the Mount of Transfiguration. "The appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning." Do you suppose that will be true of the Firstfruits who return with the Lord? Why not? We are supposed to be made in the image of God!

Here is the point. You may notice that the Apostle John said, "Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure." Then follows, in Chapter Three, what I think are the sternest verses in the whole New Testament concerning our need to be free from sin.

I wish people today who are preaching about how grace protects us Christians from God's judgment, and "the only law is the law of love," would read the verses that follow First John 3:3.

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. (I John 3:7-10)

It is clear that if we are to look like Christ when He appears, and see Him as He is, we have to purify ourselves to the same extent as He is pure.

You might exclaim, "This is impossible!"

Listen, I have lived long enough as a disciple to know that whatever is in the Bible is true and possible.

Can the almighty God who created the heavens with a word enable us to purify ourselves as Christ is pure, to be like Him, and to see Him as He is? I tell you He can.

Let us be like Abraham, who did not consider his own body which was as good as dead, but believed the impossible.

It must be that those saints who are alive in the spirit world have an opportunity to purify themselves, so we all can appear together as unveiled sons when the Lord Jesus appears and we with Him.

In any case, the Bible teaches us that we are not sowing the body that shall be, but just grain. What we sow will one day be revealed in glory. Paul says, "an eternal glory that far outweighs out troubles."

We indeed are foolish if we throw away our opportunities today to lay hold of all that God is offering to us. The diligence we exercise in obeying Christ will be revealed when we are raised from the dead and clothed with our own conduct.

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Antichrist Revealed After The Two Witnesses

2012-04-29

It is obvious that our world, including the United States, is decaying morally. Former years were bad enough. There always has been crime. Self-seeking in our government is nothing new. However, it appears to me that matters are becoming worse.

In our own country, the Bible and Jesus Christ used to be honored. But no more. The president of our country has declared that America is not a Christian nation. It appears obvious that his ideals are elsewhere. One can see that our abandonment of God is resulting in unusual crimes and lawlessness.

Loyal Americans are endeavoring to correct this national backsliding by political efforts. They are to be honored as they seek to restore our old values. But from my point of view, they will fail. Not because they have not tried hard enough but because it is Satan who is orchestrating the weakening of the United States. He does not like us because for so many years we have held up the banner of Christ.

The reason for our decline, and that of the other nations of the world, is that we are self-willed. As long as man is on the throne, every form of desolation will result.

Antichrist is the name of an attitude, and eventually of a person. Antichrist, which is the rule of man as opposed to the rule of Jesus Christ, has been with us at least since the first century.

Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. (I John 2:18)

The only valid Ruler of the creation is God the Father. The Father has given of His authority to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore the will of Christ is the only valid will in the creation. When man becomes his own ruler, he is antichrist, that is, against the rule of Christ.

The Apostle Paul has some interesting things to say about Antichrist, who is to be revealed at the close of the Church Age. The antichrist (against Christ) spirit and attitude will be personified in a person, whether a man or a woman. Paul reflected on this personage:

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time.

For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. (II Thessalonians 2:1-9)

Now, what can we learn from the words above!

First of all, the Day of Christ, the time when we are gathered together with all saints, will not come until after the great rebellion. The great rebellion against God and His Bible has begun already, at least in America, but by no means has reached its climax.

We can see the signs of the great rebellion today as people around the world are demanding their "rights." This, I believe, is an outgrowth of Humanism, an Antichrist philosophy. People who speak of an any-moment "rapture" need to read their Bible. There will be no gathering to Christ until after the great rebellion and the revealing of the man who personifies the Antichrist.

The day will come when the Temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem. The man called "Antichrist" will sit on the Mercy Seat in the Most Holy Place, and cause a statue of himself to be erected on the roof of the Temple, where Christ was tempted to exercise His own will instead of the will of His Father.

This is the abomination that causes desolation, and time for the Jews to flee from Jerusalem, because this exaltation of human self-will shall bring into the world the Great Tribulation.

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

It is my point of view that "the middle of the seven" refers to the "week" during which the two witnesses give their testimony. Notice the following:

And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. (Revelation 11:3)

If we regard the events of Revelation, Eleven as taking place during seven years (a week of years), then the two witnesses give their testimony for half of that time, that is, "the middle of the seven."

Notice what takes place after God lifts the anointing that rested on Christ and His victorious saints (the two witnesses):

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

He will confirm a covenant with many for one "seven." If the "he" refers to Antichrist, it sounds to me like the rebellion against all authority will mount in intensity for the forty-two months (three and one-half years) until the final revelation of the man or woman who personifies the antichrist (man being his own god).

All of this rebellion and lawlessness must occur prior to the gathering of the saints to Christ. This is what Paul taught. He was responding to those who were teaching that the Day of the Lord already had come.

We might apply this to ourselves. Many are teaching that a "rapture" will occur any day now. But the Antichrist has not been revealed as yet. His spirit indeed is working, as we see the beginning of the drift toward the elevation of man and the resulting drift toward lawlessness.

Apparently things will get much worse before the Lord Jesus appears and gathers His saints to Himself.

At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (Matthew 24:30,31)

And as for the gathering to Christ taking place prior to the Great Tribulation:

Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. (Matthew 24:29)

"Immediately after." The signs in the heavens heralding the appearing of Christ and the gathering of the elect to Him, shall take place "immediately after the distress of those days", that is, after the Great Tribulation.

So there appears to be no scriptural evidence for a "rapture" to take place before the Great Tribulation or before the appearing of Christ and the gathering to Him of His elect.

It seems to me that the teaching of the any-moment secret "rapture" not only is unscriptural but has left multitudes of Christians unprepared for the days of moral degeneration and the resulting social chaos that are ahead of us.

We have spoken of the Great Rebellion and the appearing of Antichrist, with the resulting Great Tribulation. These obviously must occur prior to the return of the Lord.

However, there is a third consideration, and that is the ministry of the two witnesses.

Remember, there shall be a special prophetic week of years (seven years) before Jesus returns. The rebellion against all authority, that has begun already, will increase until finally Antichrist sits on the Mercy Seat in the Most Holy Place of a restored Temple in Jerusalem, and erects a statue of himself on a wing of the temple.

During the first half of the week of years the philosophy of man being his own god will increase. During the second half of the week, Antichrist will reveal himself and the Great Tribulation will result. Tribulation and desolation always will accompany a human being representing himself as god.

But something else will be occurring during the first half of the week of years. God will pour out an unprecedented amount of His Spirit, a double-portion, Elisha amount we might say, on prepared saints.

Notice the proclamation that God was about to do this:

Then I was told, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings." (Revelation 10:11)

Compare:

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:12)

And now the preparation of the saints who will bear the testimony:

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." (Revelation 11:1)

The measuring of the temple of God and the altar refers, I believe, to the preparing of the saints who will bear the witness. It is my point of view that the "altar" is speaking of the heart of the saint as he is brought to the place where he cries out in every circumstance: "Not my will but yours be done."

When God gives this kind of power to people it is easy for them to begin to act out according to their adamic nature, expressing their self-will, as has happened in past years with some who had been given gifts of healings and miracles.

Those who will give the last witness before the coming of the Kingdom of God must themselves be a testimony of God's holiness and righteousness. Outstanding preachers have no place here. This is a sackcloth group who do not call attention to themselves but to the nearness of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

Elisha may be the Old Testament figure who, with his double-portion, most closely prefigures the saints who bear the end-time testimony.

Who are the two witnesses? Of course, Christ is One. The other is the Lampstand drawn from the seven Lampstands of the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation. They are the church within the churches, the Firstfruits unto God and the Lamb, the conquerors.

Do you remember that Jesus said He was one Witness and His Father was a second Witness, thus the testimony of two Men is valid?

Yet the Jew could see only one witness.

So it will be in the end-time witness. The world will see only the people who are working miracles. But the real Miracle Worker, the Lord Jesus, cannot be seen. He is living in the saints who are giving the witness, just as the Father was living in the Lord Jesus when He worked miracles at His first appearing.

The Lord Jesus today is preparing us to bear this last great testimony to the world of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God. Of special importance is that we learn to live by the Life of our Lord. All sin and self-will must be dealt with. We cannot bear a true testimony of God if we ourselves are sinning; and especially if we are filled with self-will and self-seeking.

There are numerous Christian preachers in the world today seeking to bear witness of Christ. But their personal sinning and self-seeking is not a true testimony of God's Person, His will, His way, and His eternal purpose in Christ. The words may be biblical; but the character of the minister may be in question. He may be invalidating his testimony of Christ by his behavior.

There is so much evil in the world of today it is a battle to keep our mind on that which is lovely, and to avoid fretting. We just have to imagine some sort of joyous situation and keep bringing it into our mind, when we feel ourselves drifting toward hating the evil people in the governments and elsewhere.

If we yield to the desire to hate, then we lose sight of the Lord. We want to fight Satan's fire with some fire of our own. Satan always wins that battle.

It is difficult but quite possible to keep our mind on the Lord and His Glory.

When we keep in mind that the greatest testimony of all time will be given during these days of spiritual darkness and the self-aggrandizement of people, it helps us to grow spiritually instead of being overcome by the darkness.

Each person, young or old, male or female, can prepare himself or herself to participate in the last great testimony. The Lord Jesus will welcome your participation. But remember—we must through Jesus gain victory over our besetting sins, as the Spirit of God points them out to us. We must remain in the prisons where the Lord places us until our self-will and personal ambition are burned out of us and the Lord releases us.

Never before in human history has there been such an opportunity to have fellowship with the Lord, as He prepares Himself for the final battle against evil. Never before in history has Satan been so busy, rushing about with his demons to deceive the elect so they cannot join in the battle against Satan and his helpers.

There is so much to be gained in the Kingdom in the present hour. We indeed are foolish if we spend our time and energy playing with the toys of this world.

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Three Aspects Of Overcoming The Accuser

2012-05-06

hen 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 Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame 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 brothers overcame the one who was accusing them.

By the blood of the Lamb.

By the word of their testimony.

They did not love their lives to the point of death.

The question is: Of what was the enormous red dragon accusing them?

He was accusing them of sinning against God.

Why was he accusing them? He was charging God with being unrighteous. Satan knew that his time of corrupting mankind was nearly over. He was telling God that the brothers were as bad as he, and so it was unjust of God to punish Satan when the brothers, the sons of God, were also guilty of rebellion.

Remember, Satan's original sin was that of desiring to be God in place of the Father. Satan would be saying to the Father that the brothers also wanted to be their own god.

However, the brothers had overcome the enormous red dragon. Therefore Michael and his angels received from God the strength to throw Satan and Satan's angels from the heavens into the earth.

It is evident that the angels who obey God are strengthened when the saints choose to serve God.

Just prior to this removal of Satan and his angels from their position in the heavens, Satan's "tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth." The "stars" are Christians who had been located in the spirit world—perhaps some of them for thousands of years.

God told us that He intends to shake the heavens:

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)

All that can be shaken will be shaken. Only that which is created by Christ can stand the shaking. "Created things," that is the works of man, shall be removed from God's Presence.

We have seen in the last few years some famous Christian ministers brought down from their high place in Christ. Their seemingly exalted position in Christ was largely their own religious works and ambitions. These works and ambitions will not survive as God begins His war against evil.

Some who were the center of Christian institutions are now seen as mere mortals. Since so much of their religious power was the result of their own striving, and not proceeding from Jesus, when God tested their works with fire they could not stand.

Daniel tells us about Antichrist ascending into the heavens and tearing down those who were dwelling there.

It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low. Because of rebellion, the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground. (Daniel 8:10-12)

Because of rebellion, the host of the saints was given over to Antichrist.

One would think that the host of the saints, the "starry host," could not be guilty of rebellion. But they obviously were. Remember, Satan himself was an exalted cherub living in incredible glory at one time. He was one of the two guardian cherubim who overshadowed the very Throne of God with their wings. He was not always a rebel.

Notice the following statement:

You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. (Ezekiel 28:15)

At one point Satan was blameless. Then wickedness was found in him. Where did this wickedness come from?

Satan was marvelously embellished with precious stones.

Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. (Ezekiel 28:17)

Now think: Satan was in Heaven near the Throne of God. He was in the Heaven we hope to go to when we die. Yet because of his splendor he became proud, imagining himself to be equal or superior to God. He convinced many angels that he could take the place of God. He reminds me of Absalom, who thought he was superior to David.

What then is to prevent some of the Christians who are in Heaven at the present time from falling into pride? What has changed such that this no longer is possible? The fact is, it still is possible.

So we see in Daniel that Antichrist was able to throw to the ground some of the starry host because of rebellion. Although they were in Heaven, pride entered into them and they were not obeying Christ.

I can picture that easily when I hear of the things that take place among the Christian ministry. They talk about Christ but it is obvious that in their religious programs they are not obeying Him. They plan their own revivals without consulting Jesus. The Presence of Christ is noticeably absent from their pretensions.

We Christians have some unscriptural concepts of Heaven. Heaven is one city, Zion, in the immense spirit realm. The spirit world is not far off in space, it is all around us. If our eyes were open we would see countless multitudes of people and angels all going about their business.

If Satan in all his original glory and blamelessness was tempted to rebel against Christ, what is there to prevent Christian people from doing the same?

As I said, over the last few years famous Christian ministers have fallen from their position as men of God. Sometimes sexual lust brings them down. Sometimes the love of money. In actual fact they were deceived by the master deceiver, who has had thousands of years to perfect his techniques.

We are living in extraordinary days. It seems as though we are being baptized with fire. Many Christian churches and other institutions are being seen as irrelevant, and young people are leaving in droves as a result.

The message of lawless-grace and the pre-tribulation "rapture" are so obviously unscriptural that any intelligent high-school student who knew the Bible could debate successfully with some of the highly placed Christian pastors and evangelists.

Perhaps because of the lawless-grace doctrine, some of the pastors of large churches are closet alcoholics. There are evangelists who fornicate with the local believers. Some pastors plant people in the congregation who are trained to say when the collection is being taken, "I will give the first thousand dollars."

There are churches where air is piped through the air conditioning system so the pastor can claim the Holy Spirit is present. There are evangelists whose wife goes among the congregations and talks to people. She has a microphone. She tells the evangelist, who hears her via an earphone, personal facts that are divulged to her. Then the evangelist pretends to have a word of knowledge.

Child molestation is prevalent in some areas. Religious pride comports itself in the elevated clergy. Orthodox priests fight each other in church-owned properties in Israel. The situation today reminds one of the words proclaimed by the Prophets of the Old Testament.

God has promised to shake the heavens as well as the earth so all of this man-made religious activity will be removed. One of the areas in which the witnesses are slain is symbolically labeled Jerusalem, where our Lord was slain. The priests and elders of Jerusalem who should have fallen at the feet of Jesus and worshiped Him, called upon Pilate to crucify Him.

The time is now when God, the Consuming Fire, is shaking and removing all that can be shaken. Who will walk with the Consuming Fire? He who has clean hands and has not lifted up his soul to vanity. He shall survive the coming chaos in America by keeping his eyes fixed on the land that is very far off. But the self-driven Christians shall be removed from their places of preeminence.

We are being baptized with fire. All religious works shall be tested by fire. All that is not founded in Christ shall be burned up.

This is why I keep saying that if we are to survive the shaking that is coming to America, and the rest of the world as well, we must learn to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus. We must be thinking His thoughts as He is thinking them. We must be speaking His words as He is speaking them. We must perform His works as He is performing them.

Such will be true of the witnesses of the last days. They shall be bearing witness of the coming of the Kingdom of God by their thoughts, their words, and their actions. Their thoughts are important, because the demons will notice them and exploit them if they are not founded in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The brothers overcame the one who was accusing them.

By the blood of the Lamb.

By the word of their testimony.

They did not love their lives to the point of death.

From what I have just written, you can see how many things and incidents the enormous red dragon has to bring before the Father. This is why we pray for revival but God does not hear. God is totally righteous, and Satan understands this well.

When Christians are living their own life, performing their own religious works, Satan has wherewith to accuse them. The Father hears the accusations, considers if they are founded in fact, and then will not give Michael and his angels the power needed to cast Satan and his angels down from their position in the air, from which they control the earth.

What must be true before Michael and his angels can receive Divine power? There must be a company of brothers, saints, who overcome every temptation to worldliness, the lusts of the body and spirit, and, most importantly, self-will. They must have gained such victory over these three areas that when Satan brings them up before God there is no ground for the accusations.

By the blood of the Lamb.

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

If we walk in the light of God's will, as God is in the light, we have fellowship with God, and the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin.

You may hear a Christian say, "I plead the blood." This is not a scriptural expression.

To be purified by the blood of the Lamb we must be walking in the light of God's will. This means as the Spirit of God points out our sin, we confess that sin and, with Christ's help, turn away from it. To remain in the light of God's will we must continually be gaining victory over sin.

What is so important about the blood of the Lamb? First of all, the Father has accepted the blood atonement made on the cross as sufficient to remove the guilt of the sin of every person in the world who will receive the forgiveness and be reconciled to God.

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2)

We cannot even imagine the effect upon God when the blood of His innocent Son was offered for the sins of mankind. We just have to accept what God has said and rejoice that we have been forgiven.

One fact that sometimes is overlooked is that the body and blood of Jesus are our resurrection Life, our eternal Life. Every time we turn away from a temptation to sin and choose to please God, we are given to eat and drink of the body and blood of God's Lamb. This continual action on our part enables us to live by the Life of Jesus. When this is true of us we cannot be shaken from our position in Heaven.

When the slain Lamb appears in the sky, those who live by His body and blood will be caught up to be with Him. It is not our doctrine that will catch us up to Christ, it is His own body and blood that are calling to Him.

Remember, "pleading the blood" is a vain religious practice. When we are living in the light of God's perfect will, the blood of God's Lamb is forgiving our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. This forgiveness and cleansing depends upon our confessing and turning away from our sins when they are pointed out to us.

If we are not walking in the Light of God's will, no amount of "pleading the blood" will help us. God wants His will done, not religious activity.

When we are walking in the light, confessing and turning away from our sins, the blood of the Lamb continually is cleansing us from the guilt of sin. Thus when Satan accuses us before God, no guilt is present.

When we are living by the body and blood of the Lamb, our thoughts, words, and acts are increasingly without reproach, without a basis for the accusations of the enormous red dragon.

But apart from the cleansing from guilt of the blood atonement, and the Life of the body and blood of Jesus, Satan can find grounds to accuse us and thus deliver himself from the Divine wrath.

By the word of their testimony.

A true testimony of God includes the truth about His Person; the truth about His will; the truth about His ways; and the truth about His eternal plan in the Lord Jesus Christ. These four truths must be presented clearly to the world if the accusations of the red dragon are to be overcome in the Presence of the Father.

How do the brothers testify truthfully about the Person of God? By obeying Him diligently; by demonstrating His righteous, holy nature in our thoughts, words, and actions; by telling the truth about His love and His wrath.

In America, God often is presented as Santa Claus. He is sitting up in Heaven, just wishing that everyone would be "nice." He has given us "grace" so that even if we sin we need not be concerned. He already has forgiven us if we have "accepted Christ."

This testimony will not overcome Satan. It will leave the believer open to the lusts of demons. God is not "nice." He is a consuming fire. He judges sin, whether committed by a Christian or an infidel. He indeed is merciful and compassionate; but He also is strict when it comes to obeying him.

He is not soft and loving, as is portrayed today. The Lake of Fire is as horrible as the coming world of righteousness is wonderful and glorious.

God's will is that we turn from sin and self-seeking and serve Him diligently. We are not to attempt to win people to Christ by telling them that all they have to do is to say they "accept Christ," and then every blessing will come to them.

We overcome the accuser when we obey God no matter what circumstances we are placed in. When everything goes "wrong" in our life, we praise God as cheerfully as we can. Satan is looking for us to become angry with God. When instead we place our trust in God to deliver us from trouble and pain, we overcome the accuser.

God's ways often are inscrutable, mysterious, not understandable. We have to trust. It is a temptation to seek to make God in our own image. But this is not possible or realistic.

Sometimes we are bent as an arrow on God's bow for years at a time. We had expected the Christian life to be one of endless joy and success, but instead we are surrounded with trouble of every sort. Slowly we change from a happy, carefree believer to a wary, cautious warrior. We learn to endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ. Presumption and foolishness die along the way.

We overcome the accuser when we accept God's dealings with us. When we become mature we are able to walk with the Consuming Fire, one step at a time. Often we cannot see the future or why God has dealt with us as He has. But we learn to cheerfully accept today's manna and trust God for tomorrow.

This is how we overcome the accuser. Our testimony remains bright and confident. It is true that we do not have much of an understanding of what is happening to us. But it is this very fact that overcomes Satan. We are not trusting in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. Satan crumbles when he senses that we are living no longer but Christ is living in us.

Satan does not fear any Christian or any group of Christians as they pool their efforts. Satan fears the Father, Christ, and the Spirit of God. A believer represents no threat to the kingdom of darkness until he has ceased from his own works and enters the rest of God.

God has an eternal plan in Christ. It appears it often is misrepresented as self-driven Christians paint a future that is not scriptural. The concept that Christ is coming at any moment to catch us up to Heaven so we will not be inconvenienced by the Great Tribulation or Antichrist, is totally false.

Rather, God's eternal plan in Christ is to drive evil from the creation. This means we are facing increasingly troublous times. We are going to have to learn to live by Jesus' Life if we are to stand and help our loved ones to stand.

The Great Rebellion and the rule of Antichrist are approaching us in these days. God is facing Satan. Jesus Christ is facing Antichrist. The Spirit of God is facing the False Prophet.

You and I are but intelligent dust. Our only hope of survival is to be filled with Christ to the extent that He is living in us in place of our own adamic nature.

The two witnesses will inform the world of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. Christ will appear in the sky and call up to Himself His elect. Then He and they will descend on the white war stallions and destroy the power of Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet.

After that, Joel's army will go through every city and town in which Antichrist has exerted his influence, and judge each person and destroy the institutions.

There will be a final judgment of all people, except God's Firstfruits. Then the present earth and sky shall be removed and there shall be a new sky and a new earth, a new world of righteousness.

This is what the Bible teaches. Those who hold to this vision will overcome the accuser. But those who trust in the plans of the leaders of the world, no matter how glorious those plans may seem, will always be the victims of the enormous red dragon.

Such is the manner in which the brothers overcome the accuser with the word of their testimony.

They did not love their lives to the point of death.

The blood of the Lamb is absolutely essential if we are to overcome the accuser.

The word of our testimony is absolutely essential if we are to overcome the accuser.

Loving not our life to the point of death is absolutely essential if we are to overcome the accuser. This may be the most difficult aspect for us to lay hold of. But it is the key to the overthrow of Satan.

Remember how some of the stars of Heaven were cast down because of rebellion? That is because they loved their own life. We absolutely must, as did the Apostle Paul, live as one crucified, in which the life that is lived is the Life of Jesus Christ. Apart from this, Satan cannot be overcome!

It is vain to rebuke demons. Demons must be resisted; and this is possible only as we are living by the Life of Jesus.

The Book of Second Corinthians has many passages which describe how Paul was brought down to death each day, it seems. Paul died daily. Paul was resurrected daily. Death, and life. Death, and life.

I have been a Christian for many years and have been exposed to various Christian ministries. The flavor that comes across to me is that of human effort. The effort many times is well intentioned. But it is human nonetheless. It is not the wisdom and power of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Perhaps I am mistaken, but I don't believe the students in Bible colleges are told that Christ is not looking for them to go forth in their enthusiasm and "do great things for God." This is an invitation to presumption.

Satan cannot be overcome by an inexperienced young person, enamored with the romance of "ministry," charging into areas in which Satan has governed for hundreds of years, possibly. Common sense tells us better than that!

One fact is certain: Satan is not going to be brought down by "living" people but by "dead" people. Satan laughs at our religious antics, even when we surround an afflicted individual or have a Jericho march, singing or yelling in tongues all the while. We can rebuke Satan all afternoon, and the demons will enjoy the attention being given to them.

But when a believer sets aside his own life that he might live by the Life of Jesus, submitting to the crucifixions that God sends and may have Satan carry out, it is then Hell trembles.

We overcome the accuser by the blood of the Lamb.

We are cleansed by the blood.

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

We live by the blood.

Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, 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 him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink." (John 6:53-55)

We overcome the accuser by the word of our testimony.

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)

We overcome the accuser by loving not our life to the point of death.

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)

Let's you and I be among the brothers who overcome the enormous red dragon, so that Michael and his angels may receive the strength to remove Satan and his angels from their position in the heavenlies.

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Three Areas of Temptation

2012-05-13

There are three areas of temptation that can kill the witness of God. They are "Egypt," "Sodom," and "Jerusalem."

Egypt represents the antichrist spirit of the world.

Sodom represents the lusts of our flesh.

Jerusalem represents self-will in religion.

Let's consider the first area—the antichrist spirit of the world.

The earth and its resources, the world, and they who live therein, are of God. They were created by Him and belong to Him.

However, the spirit of the world is not good. It is evil. It is filled with the antichrist spirit. It is against Christ. Whoever loves the world spirit is the enemy of God.

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (I John 15-17)

This is why Christians in the United States have such a difficult time trying to serve the Lord. The values of the world are impressed on us continually by the television, the Internet, and the newspapers.

I have lived long enough to understand that most of the information that comes to us each day is a lie. As Jesus said, "Things that are highly esteemed among men are an abomination to God."

Probably the biggest lie of all is the preeminence given to the acquiring of money. As in most cultures, in America we need money for the necessities of life. God has promised that we shall have what we need, if we seek first the Kingdom of God. And so we shall.

Money is the only alien god that Jesus mentioned, saying no man can serve Mammon and God at the same time. Paul said that money is a root of all evil. It is true.

We hardly could find one page of a daily newspaper that did not have something to do with money. I do believe money is the image of Antichrist, the god of the world spirit.

People hoard money because they do not want to have to depend on God. Ordinarily, the more money people have the more alternatives they have. A rich man can choose to take his family on a long vacation. A poor man does not have this alternative. A rich man has the power to do many things that are not possible to someone who is poor.

The poor man has to pray about everything he needs and wants. A rich man does not have to do this. He can buy what he needs and wants. Therefore God has given His Kingdom to the poor.

I am not suggesting that God desires that all of His saints be impoverished. When we are serving God with all our heart, God sees to it that we have what we need. I am speaking rather of the accumulation of wealth, and the use of it to avoid having to depend on God.

Power over people is the goal of the politician. This is part of the antichrist spirit. The current year, 2012, is an election year in the United States. Every kind of lie, crime, villainy, is used to gain political office.

Politicians often present themselves as working on behalf of the people. They are in politics to make a better life for people, they claim. But when we watch their actions we see they are more interested in their position of power than they are in seeking the betterment of mankind.

I have noticed that in the governments of the world there is much sin. This probably is due to Satan's lust for power and worship. I suppose that being president, or prime minister, or some other high office, opens doors to those who attain to such an exalted position.

But when we see how hard the exalted leaders have to work, the worries they experience, the burdens they carry, we gather that there is a lust for power operating. I do not know about you, but I would not desire to wake up in the morning and realize that if I made some stupid move it could cause the lives and welfare of millions of people to suffer.

It is an illusion, a lie. Who could have peace in such a situation! And as for the person's reputation and legacy, I think most people are too busy with their own problems to spend much time thinking about any political leader—past or present. in fact, there often is a good deal of hatred toward political leaders, and they have to surround themselves with bodyguards for this reason.

If it is creature comforts and luxury that are at issue, many of the high-ranking politicians in America are millionaires and do not need the money that comes from political office. Perhaps they have a desire to shape the destiny of the people they represent. But what if they are in error and actually are causing harm to people? Then they have been pursuing a lie and their life is meaningless----or worse!

Today there is a ruler of a Middle Eastern country who is struggling to maintain power. He is causing thousands of men, women, and children to be wounded, or tortured, or killed in order that he can remain in his office. Is this not satanic wickedness? And yet, such grasping of power at the expense of others is not as rare as we might wish.

Fame, glory, honor, money, power, are highly esteemed by the world. They are not highly esteemed by the Lord. Our life is in God's hands—now, and when we pass into the spirit world. God can give us righteousness, love, peace, and joy; or He can deprive us of these and leave us to exist in a dry place. Or He can send us to torment. How foolish we are if we live in a manner that will not result in our receiving a warm welcome from Christ when we die and enter the spirit world. It would have been better for us never to have been born.

No one is shielded from God's judgment. He or she may or may not escape punishment while alive on the earth. But there is the spirit world to consider as well as the Day of Resurrection. And God has a perfect memory!

The Bible claims that the whole duty of man is to walk humbly with God. Our Lord Jesus lived this way. He possessed righteousness, love, joy, and peace, which are the greatest good any person can attain to. Yet the spirit of antichrist was infuriated that such a person should live on the earth and had Him put to death. So utterly perverse is the world spirit.

The world spirit is a deceiver. Whoever strives to please the world is foolish. The world reflects the personality of Satan. It rewards people momentarily, only to turn on them later and laugh while they are filled with excruciating remorse because of having betrayed honest people.

The wicked may exalt themselves for a brief moment. But soon they are gone from the scenes of earth and are explaining to God why they betrayed those who trusted in them. Then they are led away to the Land of Darkness to live with the memory of what might have been had they been a decent person.

Such is the love of the world, one of the three areas that destroy an individual's ability to bear a true witness of God.

A second area that destroys the testimony is "Sodom," the lusts of the flesh. Sexual lust is one of the most powerful forces operating in the world. This is true of America. The ruins of Pompeii reveal that such lust is nothing new.

God has placed the reproductive urge in people for the purpose of keeping the earth populated. But today I think the urge is far more intense than it was in the beginning. The reason may be that when people filled with lust die and pass into the spirit world, they become demons. Where else did the demons of lust come from that torment us today? They are not fallen angels!

So as time goes by there are an increasing number of demons of lust that fasten on people young and old. I said years ago that the power of temptation is going to increase until even Christians, unless they are filled with Christ, will succumb against their will.

For this reason we pray continually, "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one."

I suppose there always has been pornography, but nothing like today. The graphics industry has made it possible for everyone to experience sexual lust. Such exposure to lust is without precedence in history.

Homosexuality and other forms of sexual perversion are making every effort to be regarded as normal. The lesson of Sodom appears to be lost on us. There are people and institutions who are endeavoring to deliver people from homosexual lust. They are up against powerful forces in our culture, even in the government. Let us pray continually that those who are endeavoring to bring decency back into the America culture will be successful.

In some instances, public nudity is seeking more acceptance. Such a parade of naked flesh causes us to appear foolish and silly. Our display is not attractive, in that we are in animal bodies. Also, the Bible regards nakedness as sinful.

There are other lusts that are resident in our flesh. They collectively form our "sinful nature." They must be spirits, and therefore can be cast out. They certainly are not carbon compounds. They are not organic in nature. They are spiritual forces and compulsions.

As we walk in obedience to the Spirit of God, He points out to us these various compulsions. We are to put them to death, by confessing them to Christ; denouncing them as evil; renouncing them, proclaiming with all our strength, as Christ helps us, that we never, never again are going to practice such behavior.

Then we are to press into Christ. The next time we are tempted along the line that we have confessed and renounced, we will discover that we now have the strength to resist the devil—strength we did not have previously.

Some of the forces in our flesh in addition to sexual lust are as follows: hatred, anger, lying, stealing, arrogance, haughtiness, jealousy, witchcraft, a love of preeminence, greed, malice, impatience, harshness, filthy talk, profanity, drunkenness, treachery, loss of self-control.

All of the above are spiritual darkness. They are not of the image of God. In order to serve as God's witness in the last days we have to be set free from each of these.

Such deliverance may appear impossible. However, it is not. The Spirit of God will help us. The sinful forces in our flesh are not endless in number. Christ is the Omega as well as the Alpha. He will finish what He has begun. If you do not believe that Christ is able to set you free from each behavior I have mentioned, and other similar practices, you do not understand the power God has given to Christ.

Christ is completely able to both forgive and deliver you. You did not participate in the forgiveness aspect of the atonement. But you will have to do your part in the deliverance aspect, by confessing and renouncing your sins.

Israel did not have to protect themselves during the first Passover. They did have to sprinkle the blood of the lamb on their door posts. But they had to fight, with the Lord's help, in order to enter and possess their inheritance in the land of promise.

So it is true that Christ took care of the beginning of our salvation. But now that we are seeking to enter the rest of God we have to join with Christ in driving Satan from our own bodies, and then from the remainder of God's creation.

The first area of temptation that can prevent our bearing a true witness of God is involvement in the spirit of the world.

The second area of temptation that can prevent our bearing a true witness of God is found in the several lusts and passions that dwell in our flesh.

The third area of temptation that can prevent our bearing a true witness of God is our self-will.

God created man with a brain and a will of his own. He can use his brain to solve all the problems that confront him; to make every decision with which he is faced.

However, when God presents to man the prospect of becoming a life-giving spirit, man finds that in order to be this new man in the image of Christ he must surrender to God the right and ability to solve his own problems; to make his own decisions.

Throughout history as well as in our own time, people have chosen to employ their own abilities to solve their problems, to make their decisions. When God informs us that we must allow Christ to solve our problems, to make our decisions, we may draw back. This is more than "accepting Christ" as a ticket to Heaven. This is to surrender our very life to another individual!

Is this what God wants—for us to ask Christ to live in us; think in us; speak in us; act in us?

Please do not interpret me to mean that we are to become an "empty vessel," as some have thought, so that Christ possesses us.

Rather it is a case of our remaining very much alive and continually choosing to have Christ making these decisions. To put it one way, we might say that Christ is standing at the door of our life and knocking. This is true every time we face a problem or decision. The Son of God is standing there waiting to see if we are going to solve the problem using our own resources, or ask Him to guide us to the solution.

Let us say we are deciding whether to go to the store, or to stay home and read. Of course, there might be some urgent reason why we are obligated to do one or the other. In that case we do not look for Christ to make the decision. It was made for us by circumstances beyond our control. Perhaps we have a sick child and have to go out to buy a prescribed medicine.

So we get in our car. We drive to the drugstore. The clerk tells us we can buy 100 pills for ten dollars or 200 pills for fifteen dollars, a saving of five dollars should we eventually need more pills.

We can do one of two things. We can debate within ourselves the possibility that we will probably need more than 100 pills, since the prescription is for eight pills per day.

Or, and this is what I personally do, we can immediately look to the Lord for wisdom. I do not say He always speaks to me, although sometimes He does. But one way or another, He guides me to make the correct decision.

Most of us have many decisions, sometimes major problems, at the present moment or that we foresee in the future. We can rely on our own experience and wisdom, or we can keep committing our problems to God; keep looking to Jesus. In this manner we learn to live by His Life. Just as simple as that!

Living in this manner may or may not be urgently necessary for you today, although it may save you much pain. We often take matters for granted, not realizing that Satan has set a trap for us. If we had asked the Lord about some "trivial" matter we might find that although everything seems simple and straightforward, there really is a hidden danger here.

But I am writing for the day to come in America. Because of our widespread immorality, turning away from our Christian God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and indulging in every sort of material greed and lusts of the flesh, God is turning away from us. This means terrible trouble in the future.

If we have learned how to live by the will of Christ, instead of our own will, we will be able to thread our way through the minefield of disasters that Satan will put in front of every American, particularly American Christians.

If we waste the present time, trusting in a lawless grace, hoping for an unscriptural "rapture" to deliver us from trouble, we are heading toward great pain and suffering. Please keep in mind that Satan hates America because of our prior Christian testimony.

Today the Spirit of God is showing us how to prepare ourselves for the future. The Bible is the general Word of God. But there is a specific Word of God that comes to each of us each day. We must keep on praying that we can hear that specific Word, because it is our life. We are to live by every Word of God that is addressed to us personally, not just by natural food.

There is to be a revival of unprecedented power before the Lord returns. God' witnesses will proclaim the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. He is preparing His witnesses today.

Each witness must gain complete victory over the temptation to look to the world for survival, safety, pleasure, and success. Egypt.

Each witness must gain complete victory over the temptation to yield to the burning lusts and passions of the flesh. Sodom.

Each witness must gain complete victory over the temptation to live by his or her own will and ambitions. The wing of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. (Revelation 11:8)

I have chosen to live by the Life of Jesus rather than by my own life. How about you?

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Spiritual Warfare

2012-05-20

We may have no idea of the fierceness of Satan's desire to destroy us. Satan understands that the time of his torment is drawing near, and he hopes to somehow remove this danger.

He understands also that in the last days, Christ will draw out of the Church a militant remnant who finally will overcome him.

Having been a Christian for many years, I have learned a few things about spiritual warfare. I will write these down as I think of them.

We need to remember that Satan is a deceiver. His power was broken on the cross of Calvary, so he has to work by deception. Satan is a master of deception.

It may be true that our vulnerability to deception lies in the realm of pleasure. We want to have pleasure. The problem is, our present world is not Paradise; and when we try to make it Paradise, we fall into deception. Our present world is the valley of the shadow of death. Paradise will come later when God has enough mature saints to install Paradise and to maintain it.

In the meantime, while we are in the world we shall have tribulation, according to the Lord Jesus. So the first step in combating deception is to settle in ourselves that we are going to have to learn how to accept suffering. When we try to escape suffering we can be deceived rather easily.

Let me modify what I have just said. We are not to punish ourselves. When we are suffering we should pray that God will deliver us, but not flee from our prison until God sets us free. Sometimes people are afflicted in one manner or another. Then they diagnose themselves and say God is having me suffer to perfect me; when if they had asked the Lord He would have delivered them.

We are never to take anything for granted. When we are sick we should ask Jesus what we should do about it. If He tells us to go to the doctor, then we should go, praying on the way that God will give the doctor wisdom. Then, we should do what the doctor tells us to do. Many Christians go to the doctor, and then do not do what he said. God cannot help us if we do this.

Satan studies each saint carefully. We all are different. Some can be tempted by sexual lust. Others, by money. Some are naturally lazy and will not exert themselves. Some are liars by nature. Some are ambitious and desire to be preeminent. Some are argumentative. Some are fearful. Others are bombastic.

What is a burning, fiery temptation to one person is nothing at all to another. Satan does not bother to tempt a person with sexual lust if the prime motivation of the individual is to acquire money.

We Christians in America need to become more serious. We can be serious without being grumpy. We can be friendly and courteous. But giggling, playing practical jokes, acting foolishly, has no place in the congregation of saints.

Our nation is experiencing moral corruption, and Divine judgment is certain to follow. In fact, it has begun already, as we notice the weird, illegal occurrences that will become more prevalent as God's Presence leaves our land and the demons have increased liberty to express themselves.

One foolish word out of our mouth can set in motion a string of consequences that damage many Christian people.

Moving picture productions used to be acceptable. Most of them no longer are acceptable. The language used by the actors often is filthy, and I do not believe Jesus would sit next to us in the theater and listen to such garbage.

It is not unusual in modern times for children and young people to injure people deliberately. It appears that they have no conscience. It sometimes is reported that they were carrying out scenes that they had seen on the television, or Internet, or in an electronic game.

The inability or unwillingness of our government to stop the exposure to scenes of violence, as well as pornography, is unpardonable. If freedom of speech is the reason children and young adults are exposed to violence and lust, then freedom of speech needs to be surrounded with limits. God does not promote freedom of speech but speech controlled by reasonable limits of righteousness and holiness.

Another enemy that is not often identified or addressed is the foreign gods worshiped by their adherents. Because of the ideal of "freedom of religion" we find that gods other than the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ are being worshiped in America. This will cause Divine judgment to fall on our country.

The idea of "freedom of religion" is a humanistic ideal and will lead to destruction. We used to be a "melting pot" and regarded as a Christian nation. Now we are "multicultural" and no longer a Christian nation, according to the current president.

When we speak of the "rights of people" we assume this is a Christian virtue. Assuredly it is not. Often when one person's rights are enforced the rights of another automatically are removed. The result of the emphasis on the rights of people may turn into the rule of the minority.

When one person complains, the principal of a public school will not permit children to read their Bible during recess, they are not to mention the word "Christmas." What sense does this make, when the majority of parents in the district do not agree with these prohibitions?

It is obvious that Satan is at work in our public schools, when we see the emphasis on instruction in homosexual behavior, and the questioning of the gender of the pupils. How is it that homosexuals, who assuredly are a minority in our nation, are able to impose their beliefs to such an extent on the majority of people? Is the tail wagging the dog?

This brings me to a major point. The homosexual agendas, the practice of abortion-on-demand, and the directions the city, state, and national governments are taking us, are awakening the American people to the fact that their way of life is at stake.

But what to do about it? Many Christian pastors are doing what they can to restore American values by expressing themselves publicly as they have opportunity. These efforts no doubt will increase as the presidential election takes place.

For one thing, those of us who are bewailing the destruction of Christian America must pray and find out what God wants. I have prayed much about this, to try to find the mind of the Lord. All I am getting is that the American people are sinning, with their pursuit of money, sexual excesses and perversion, multitudes of needless abortions, love of pleasure and luxury, as well as drugs, alcohol, and other sinful practices.

Since we have turned our back on God, God is turning His back on us. When people emphasize the conservative and liberal positions, they are missing the root of the problem. The root of the problem is spiritual. It can be fought successfully only as people live righteously and obey Christ.

Satan cannot be fought successfully by political action, only by righteous behavior and stern obedience to Christ.

Since we are, or have been, a Christian nation, why is there such a lack of righteous behavior and obedience to Christ among the Christian people? The reason is, unscriptural doctrine is being preached, and it is giving Satan a foothold in our country.

"Grace" is being preached in place of righteous behavior. "Grace" is being preached instead of obedience to Christ and His Apostles.

Dispensational theology is being preached instead of godly behavior and obedience to Christ. "Belief" is being preached instead of a new creation of righteous behavior and holy personality.

A "rapture" is being preached instead of arming ourselves so we can stand in the evil day that rapidly is approaching America.

"Faith" and "prosperity" are being preached instead of "arm yourselves with a mind to suffer."

The Prophets of Israel are not heard in our churches, although Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah have something to say to us. We are listening to and obeying "another gospel."

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 1:19)

Since the Christian people are the light of the world, and the light is being extinguished by unscriptural teaching, is it any wonder that our nation is abandoning itself to sexual lust, the pursuit of money, worldly entertainment, material riches, a life of luxury, and the rights of the individual rather than the rights of God?

So the problem in America, and perhaps in Europe, is unrighteous behavior and the accompanying fleshly excesses due to unscriptural teaching in the Christian churches.

We read, in the Old Testament, that when the Israelites turned away from God, God sent foreign armies against them, as well as other calamities.

This is what is taking place today. We have let the followers of Islam down by not showing in ourselves the good works that Christ always produces. Therefore, Islam is invading our shores, bringing their god with them. It is our own fault. If the people of Islam had seen the kind of life that Christianity is supposed to teach, they might have a more kindly attitude toward our Lord.

The problems we are seeing are coming from Satan, who is determined to destroy the influence of America. Satan remembers the spiritual good that has gone forth from our country. It must make him furious when he remembers the sacrificial missionary work that has been done. He will stop at nothing to destroy our country.

We cannot stop Satan with political efforts or slogans. While these may help in some instances, the main problem is sin. Sin is widespread in our country. Innocent babies are slain from sea to bloody sea.

As long as abortion-on-demand is practiced in the United States of America, our enemies will prosper and increase. The result yet may be a civil war because of the mounting hatred on both sides, unless God in His goodness gets through to the pastors and evangelists that they are preaching a gospel that is not found in the Bible.

The earth is filled with God and with Satan. We choose which of the two to embrace. To not choose God is to choose Satan. God will accept our choice.

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Sin, and the Kingdom of God

2012-05-27

Precisely what is the relationship between sin, and the Kingdom of God? Is the Kingdom of God a reward that is given to us if we don't sin?

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. (Galatians 5:19-20)

Please remember that I am not speaking of going to Heaven. Heaven is a city, Zion, in the spirit world. The Kingdom of God is independent of Heaven. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God that operates first in God's victorious saints; then in the entire Church; finally in all people who are saved to the new world of righteousness.

Remember, the passage above is speaking to Christians, to members of the churches in Galatia. The Apostle Paul is warning Christians that if they continue to sin they will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Now why is it that if a Christian continues to live in his sinful nature, he or she will not inherit the Kingdom of God?

I know what today's Christian leaders will say: "There is no need to worry. The believer will go to Heaven by grace in any case." This is the level of spiritual acuity we are dealing with in our time, when sin is increasing so rapidly in the United States and the rest of the world.

The reason the believers who keep yielding to the sin in their flesh cannot inherit the Kingdom of God is that there is no sin in the Kingdom. Why is there no sin in the Kingdom? Because the Kingdom is the rule of God in Christ in the saints. Where the rule of God is active, sin is not permitted.

Let us take these sins one at a time:

Sexual immorality. America, England, and the other formerly Christian nations are filled with sexual immorality. Sexual immorality defiles the human body, which is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

Where the rule of God is present there is no sexual immorality. Any believer who does not gain victory over sexual immorality is not living in the Kingdom of God. He may "accept Christ" ten times. He still is not living in the Kingdom of God if he is practicing sexual immorality.

Impurity. Purity has to do especially with holiness. The Kingdom of God is holy. No unclean spirits are allowed in the Kingdom. When we practice that which is impure we are outside of the Kingdom.

Debauchery. Any time we abandon ourselves to excessive eating and drinking, sexual activity, alcohol, drugs, losing our self control and doing that which stimulates the body without regard to the consequences, we are outside of the Kingdom of God. Such activities are not pleasing to God.

Idolatry. When we adore a person, thing, or circumstance, not willing to give our object of interest to Christ, we are worshiping an idol. Idols are not permitted in the Kingdom. We are to love God with all our heart and our neighbor as ourselves. God has given us many people, things, and experiences to enjoy. But we must hold them lightly, not becoming fascinated with them.

Witchcraft. Any attempt to manipulate the physical world by using imagination, positive thinking, fortune telling, astrology, tea leaves, speaking creative words, or anything like these, is witchcraft. There are only two sources of spiritual power. One is God. The other is Satan. When we are not calling on God in Jesus' name to help us and meet our needs and desires, but are using some other spiritual practice, we are indulging in witchcraft.

The spiritual power of God is clean, wholesome, not veiled in darkness, not mysterious. It operates in the sunlight. The supernatural becomes natural. There is no need to peep and mutter like a wizard. True faith is not produced by our effort to "believe," but drops into our spirit from God.

Hatred. The Kingdom of God is one of peace. This is why the Apostle Paul commanded us to think about things that are lovely and of good report.

Satan is a master of hatred and exists in hatred. Whenever we begin to hate someone, we are playing Satan's game. He always wins.

There are numerous people in the American culture today who are doing things that are not in accordance with the Bible. There are people in our government, in the entertainment field, leaders of large enterprises, and sometimes average men and women, boys and girls, who do not seem to be aware of God. They act as though they have no conscience. They are driven by money, sexual lust, personal ambition, or hatred and malice.

When we read in the paper and see the pictures of the wicked who parade around, working their abominations, we begin to fret. Soon the fretting becomes anger and rage. Instead of looking up to Christ confidently, understanding that He is in control of everyone and everything on the earth, we lose the Presence of Christ in our life. We come down from our high place in God, ready to kill someone.

"The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God." We must pray constantly that God will keep our mind with Christ at God's right hand in Heaven. Satan desires that we keep our mind on his antics in the earth until we fret and lose the righteousness, love, joy, and peace that God wants us to have.

Discord. God's ways are ways of love, peace, and joy. When we find ourselves ready to argue with someone, we need to remove ourselves from this situation. We are to be one with our brothers and sisters in Christ. The only way two Christians can be one occurs when both are living by the Life of the Lord Jesus. If we are living by belief in Christian doctrine and not by the Life of Jesus, we may find ourselves arguing with others who believe differently.

Differences in doctrinal belief have caused much conflict in the world. This is so unnecessary! What is true is true, and it will take place whatever we believe. And no religion is practiced in Heaven! So to argue about doctrine, or anything else, does not lead us into God's Kingdom.

Jealousy. According to the Bible, it is God who exalts one person and puts down another. We are going to find, as the Kingdom draws closer to us, that God has fashioned some people to lead and to occupy a high place in His Kingdom. These will not necessarily be people who have gained prominence as Christian leaders, but those whom God has chosen according to His own will.

If we see a brother or sister lifted up to a high place in the Kingdom, we must resist any tendency to envy that individual. You can be sure if God has placed them at Christ's right hand and left hand in the Kingdom, that it is absolutely fitting that they occupy that position. To be jealous or envious is to give way to Satan, who always is envious and jealous of those whom God chooses.

Fits of rage. Those who indulge in fits of rage have a spirit of murder dwelling in their flesh. We must never give in to such a passion. We are to confess it to Christ, name it as evil, renounce it, saying we never want to experience this passion again, resist it in the name of Christ. It is a spirit, and if we are sincere and determined to be rid of it, it shall leave. It has no place in the Kingdom of God.

Selfish ambition. It is my opinion that selfish ambition is somewhat different from the other sins we have mentioned, in that it may not be a spirit dwelling in our flesh that can be cast out. All forms of self-will, self-love, selfish ambition, self-exaltation, seeking preeminence, have no place in the Kingdom of God.

While I am not certain these attitudes of self can be cast out, as can hatred and jealousy for example, it is proper to pray that God will remove them totally from us. Self-love and self-will are the first attitudes that will resist our efforts to live by the Life of Jesus. They are determined that we do not set aside our own life as we endeavor to life by the Life of our Lord.

If we continue to pray resolutely that God will deliver us from self-seeking and self-will, God may see fit to permit Satan to put us in a prison of some sort. There we are to abide patiently and as cheerfully as we can while the Spirit of God destroys the self-love and self-seeking that are in us.

Of all the sins that plague us, the worst may be self-will and self-aggrandizement. It was this attitude of self-love that drove Satan to attempt to supplant God as head of the creation.

Dissensions. "It takes two to argue," it is said. We usually can feel when a spirit of argument begins to rise in a situation. If we have an arguing spirit, we will keep on escalating the argument. Such a spirit is not of the Kingdom. We do well when we perceive that a debate is occurring to give a soft answer, and then turn away.

Ordinarily nothing is gained when people argue with one another. As a wise person said, "A person convinced against his will is of the same opinion still." It is the way of the Kingdom to strive for peace. Those who do so are blessed by the Lord.

There is nothing wrong with dissenting from a majority opinion. But if we become angry, hateful, combative, we have left the Kingdom of God. Our Lord Jesus did not do this. It is not the way of the Kingdom.

Factions. It is not unusual for there to be factions in a congregation of believers. But such attitudes come from the adamic nature, not from the Spirit of God. Factions often have leaders. It is the responsibility of the leaders to get together and work out their differences. If they all love Jesus, and want to do His will, it will not be long before God gives wisdom so that even the most antagonistic agendas are resolved.

A church in which there are factions is spiritually sick. It will not prosper in the Kingdom of God until there is peace and harmony among all the members.

Envy. As I said before, there are ranks in the Kingdom of God. For example, Jesus called to Himself twelve men. How about the other millions of Israelites? Why were twelve selected? On what basis? And then Jesus took three of the twelve to be with Him on the Mount of Transfiguration.

How do you suppose the remaining nine felt when they heard about that? Would they have been tempted with a spirit of envy? They would have had to resist a spirit of envy if they were to live in the Kingdom of God!

It will not be too long before the Lord Jesus returns to earth. Then we are going to be faced with some saints who are exalted above others. How will we feel if we are given a lowly place? We will have to learn to be pleased when a brother or sister is exalted and seemingly favored by the Lord. Envy is not permitted in the Kingdom of God.

Drunkenness. People become drunk for various reasons. Often to escape the pains and problems of life on the earth. There is no need to become drunk to survive our journey through the valley of the shadow of death, which life on the earth is. The Holy Spirit will give us all the love, joy, and peace that we need to survive, if we obey Jesus and ask Him to give us such peace and joy. This is true no matter what our circumstances may be.

Orgies. It is my understanding that parties are for children and fellowship is for adults. It is not surprising when children abandon themselves at a party, laughing, running about, and shrieking at the top of their lungs. But such behavior is not seemly in adult Christians.

Every seasoned saint learns to always post a guard. This means wherever he is, he is on guard spiritually. He never gives himself over to merriment. He may enjoy himself talking with friends; but he never is to forget that Satan is watching, hoping for his destruction. One unguarded word by the believer can be used by Satan to cause much trouble.

I have been to a few Christian parties. It is not inspiring to see adults playing "musical chairs" or "pin the tail on the donkey," or a word-game of some sort.

For children, yes. But the oppression of demons is becoming so intense in the United States at this time that when all the Christian adults are eating and drinking and playing games, the first thing you know some sort of demonic activity may prevail. It may be in the area of sexual lust, or anger, or a word that hurt someone's feelings, or some other unseemly behavior that is not of the Kingdom of God.

"But," American Christians will respond, "aren't we supposed to have fun?"

No! Fun is for boys and girls. Righteousness, love, joy, and peace, yes. But fun in the flesh is not appropriate when Satan is looking for an opportunity to destroy us; and when so many millions of people are dying of starvation.

It is time for us to grow up. The spiritual environment is terrifying. Jesus will protect us if we are looking to Him at all times and obeying Him completely. He will return; but before He does, we are going to be facing trouble that we have not seen before in our country.

Let us begin learning how to live by His Life so we may be able to stand, and help others to stand, during that day of evil that is approaching.

I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

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What It Means To Be Born Again

2012-06-03

The expression "born again" is used many times among Evangelical Christians. It does not appear in the Book of Acts, however. The Apostles did not preach to the multitudes that they must be born again.

Often when people say, "I have been born again," they mean they have been converted to the Christian religion. They have not actually been born again. Rather, in their mind they have accepted Christian theology.

When I first was introduced to the Gospel, I read in a book that when one is born again it is like entering a new world; so I expected some kind of experience.

I was in the Marine Corps at that time. I went to a nightly Bible study in a Quonset Hut. The chaplain read, "If you will be My people, I will be your God."

At that point I felt God's love. I said (whether out loud or not, I can't remember), "Did God say that?" I was thinking to myself, it should be the other way around. We should say, "We will be your people if you will be our God." We should be doing the begging, not God, it seemed to me.

A naval officer, a doctor, I believe his name is Dr. Ralph Byron, stopped as I was leaving the Quonset Hut after the service. He led me through the four steps of salvation. It did not seem necessary to me at the time, but I was obedient.

When I walked outside, everything looked different. The stars looked brighter. I do not say everyone who is born again will have a similar experience; I had been set up for this by the book I read. In any case, it was real enough. I believe I am correct in saying that I was born again when God touched me in the Quonset Hut, when the chaplain was reading from the Bible.

Interestingly enough, some time later, before I had had a chance to write to my mother in Los Angeles, I received a letter from her. She wrote, "When I woke up this morning there was what looked like a man standing at the foot of the bed. Somehow I could see his shoes. They were shining." The man reminded her of me, because U. S. Marines have to keep their shoes shined.

"The man said, 'I have been reborn and renewed.' Then he disappeared."

About two weeks after this I felt discouraged. It was in the afternoon. I went into the Quonset Hut. There was a Bible open on the podium. Being desperate to hear from God (I do not recommend this procedure), I stood over the Bible, closed my eyes, and put my finger down on the page.

Here were the words: "My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity." (Proverbs 3:1,2)

I felt that God had spoken to me and was greatly encouraged.

As I am writing this, an incident came to my mind. It was years after this, when I was in Bible school. I had told the Lord during recess that I would obey Him completely. I would do whatever He said if He would give me the grace to do it.

When we went into class after recess, someone began prophesying. He said, "If you mean what you say it will be a blessing to many people." That was in 1948. I meant what I said at that time, and God always has given me grace to do what He was directing me to do. Some people have told me that my writings have been a blessing to them.

Since those days in Bible school I have read the Bible quite a bit. I have thought about many things, including what it means to be born again. I am under the impression we are using the expression incorrectly. The preaching today is that we must be born again to go to Heaven.

Notice what the Lord said to Nicodemus:

In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." (John 3:3-8)

The passage above is probably the most important Bible statement about being born again. Notice that it is not speaking of a mental conversion to a religion but of a kind of birth. Notice also that it is not referring about going to Heaven. We are born again so we can see and enter the Kingdom of God.

Heaven is not the Kingdom of God. Heaven is a city called Zion, or the new Jerusalem. At the present time, Zion is in the spirit world, although when we are born again we spiritually have come to Zion. One day Zion, the new Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb, will be located on a high mountain of the new earth.

The Kingdom of God is born in us. The Divine Nature of God is born within us when we actually receive Christ, not when we are converted mentally to the Christian religion. A new personality has entered our adamic personality. Flesh gives birth to flesh, and God gives birth to God. It is just as simple as that.

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the Kingdom of God. That is why He said to His disciples, "The Kingdom of God is among you." Christ was among them and so the Kingdom was among them. It was not within them at that time.

The Kingdom of God is the rule of God, the Word of God that is to be obeyed. At first it is conceived in us. Or, we might say, a little bit of the Kingdom is in us. I am sure that is what happened to me in the Quonset Hut. A little bit of God came into me on that occasion.

If the Kingdom of God is to come to maturity in us, then that little bit of God must be nourished, as in the parable of the sower. If it does not have the opportunity to send down roots, or if the Seed is choked out by other plants, then the Kingdom of God, Christ, does not come to maturity in us.

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. (I Peter 1:23)

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. (I Peter 2:1-3)

Notice the expression: "grow up in your salvation." We see from this that growing in Christ refers to the growth of the Kingdom of God, the Seed of God, within us. Likewise we are to "crave spiritual milk", meaning I believe, the beginning principles of the Word of God.

In addition we, through the help of Christ, are to rid ourselves of the sins of the flesh.

There is an indication in the Bible that there will be a maturing of Christ in God's people in the closing days of the Church Age. Let's look at some of these passages:

Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, "There will be no more delay! 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 10:5-7)

"There will be no more delay" reminds us of the following:

"Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?" says the LORD. (Isaiah 66:9)

It is my opinion that we are in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound. He has not sounded as yet. When he does, it will mark the end of the Church Age and Christ will return.

Notice: "there will be no more delay." "The mystery of God will be accomplished." What is the "mystery of God" that is to be accomplished?

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)

Have you noticed that throughout the Church Era the emphasis has been on what Christ did two thousand years ago? It is true also there has not been much of an emphasis, even today, on Christ being with us, working with us. One does not often hear about what Christ is saying, it is about our plans to have a convention or a seminar. It seems as though Christian work proceeds along the lines of what we think He might be saying.

Sometimes the Great Commission is quoted as meaning that all Christians are to go forth in all the world to get people saved and to build churches; or to help financially those who do go forth to get people saved and build churches. It is not always expressed with equal fervency that we should ask the Lord what we should do about the commission given to the Apostles.

It is not enough to get directions from the Bible. The Bible is the general Word of God. In addition, God speaks to us personally as an individual. It is these personal directions by which we are to live.

Actually, the Great Commission is to go into all the world and make disciples; but making disciples is not always stressed. What is emphasized is the teaching the missionary learned at home, that is, the "four steps of salvation."

Ordinarily, little or nothing is said by the missionary about the forming of Christ in us or about the Kingdom of God. The idea is to "accept Christ" so we will go to Heaven when we die. We need not concern ourselves overmuch with godly living, because we go to Heaven by grace.

In fact, to be a disciple we must deny ourselves, take up our cross of death to self, and follow Jesus at all times. The idea of going to Heaven by grace does not always agree with the concept of becoming a disciple.

All that being as it may, the mystery of the Gospel, that is, the Kingdom of God is growing in us as Christ is growing in us, is seldom preached—at least where I have been.

Perhaps the reason for the dearth of the emphasis on Christ being formed in us has been that the Gospel of Christ in us has been reserved for the last days, that is, the period of time when Antichrist is given great authority and power by the Lord.

The twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation tells us about the closing days of the Church Age. There will be a group of brothers who overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb; by the word of their testimony; and by loving not their lives to the death. The result of their victory is that God will give Michael and his angels the strength to hurl Satan and his angels down to the earth from their position in the heavenlies.

Meanwhile the Church enters the travail necessary to give birth to a son, a male, who is to rule all nations with an iron scepter. The son, the male, represents the sons of God who are to judge and govern the creation with the Lord Jesus. The Seed of God has suddenly come to maturity. This is the fullness of the born again experience.

Now we turn to Isaiah:

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)

The "uproar from the city," "the noise from the temple," is speaking of the current day. The Lord Jesus is coming to His people. As a result, we are confessing our sins and turning away from them. This is an eternal judgment on Satan. This is the beginning of the Lord repaying His enemies all they deserve. It is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement, and will last until the final resurrection of the dead.

The passage above states that before she (Zion) goes into labor, she delivers a Son (singular). Then when she does go into labor, she gives birth to "children" (plural.)

I take this to mean that before Zion travailed, two thousand years ago, Christ was born. Today Zion is travailing to bring forth her "children," who actually are an enlargement of the original Son, the Male. They form the Body of Christ.

"Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?" Christ has been being formed in the Church for two thousand years. Now it is time for the Church to be brought to delivery.

Perhaps this bringing to delivery is related to Paul's teaching about the manifestation of the sons of God, in the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans. It always has been my impression that this manifestation is associated with the return of Christ.

First must come the ministry of the two witnesses. Then the rise of Antichrist. After that, Christ will return and the sons of God, which actually is the Son in the sons, will be revealed. This is how I see it.

Another passage that refers to the revelation of the sons of God is found as follows:

"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)

It appears that the birth of the sons of God, those in whom the born-again experience has come to maturity, will be accompanied by a restoration of the Jewish people. The restoration seems to be associated with the sons of God returning to the Jews. This reminds us of Paul's expression: "all Israel shall be saved." This shall take place, Paul said, when the full number of Gentiles has "come in." I would guess this means come into the Olive Tree.

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins." (Romans 11:25-27)

I would say from this that the sons of God, the brothers of Christ, will deliver the Jewish people from godlessness, from the power of sin. This would be one part of the great Day of Atonement, which has begun already with Christians who are listening to and obeying the Spirit of God.

It appears that great Divine interventions are virtually upon us. But everything hinges on the Church bringing forth the fullness of the born-again experience. Of course, this is an individual experience. It may be true that in the present hour only a remnant of God's people are in the place where they are living in obedience to the Spirit of God, and thus will be the ones who are brought forth from the womb of the Church.

There is no reason why you and I cannot be among the godly remnant who will experience the fullness of Christ in these days. But to enter this fullness we must be living by the Life of Jesus today. This means that throughout each day and night we are giving each decision to Jesus, speaking to Him continually, inviting His Presence in all that we do.

This kind of life might seem difficult or impossible to many who read my words. Actually it is quite possible for each one of us. But we must ask God in sincerity to enable us to live by the Life of Christ. If I am not mistaken, God is more than willing and able to accomplish this way of living in you and me.

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The Resurrection

2012-06-10

It is a marvel to me that the central hope of the Scriptures, which is the resurrection from the dead, has been successfully eclipsed by the unscriptural doctrine of the "rapture." The rapture is not a resurrection. It is an ascension into Heaven. It therefore is not a part of redemption in that it occasions no change in the individual.

Even the fourth chapter of the Book of I Thessalonians, which one might consider as a foundational passage of the "rapture" doctrine, speaks of the saints being caught up into the air, not into Heaven. I believe it must be clear to any Bible scholar that the support for the rapture comes from the desires of people to escape the problems of earth, not from any Bible passage—Old Testament or New Testament.

The saints will be caught up in clouds into the air, the Bible says. It reminds us of Jesus being caught up until a cloud received Him out of their sight. It seems to me likely that when the saints are caught up in clouds, into the air they probably will at that time pass into the spirit world, just as Jesus did.

But what we term "Heaven," where the Father's Throne is, is just one city, the heavenly Jerusalem, in the vast spirit world. I believe it is unlikely, though not impossible, that the newly resurrected saints will be caught up to Zion. In fact, according to the Book of Hebrews, we already have come to Zion, the city of the living God.

We must be resurrected and be clothed with our house from Heaven before we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air. The dead in Christ, who return with Jesus, shall rise first, Paul wrote. This means they will be resurrected. Those who are living on the earth when the Lord returns will pass from death to life.

After that–maybe forty days later, as in the case of the interval between the Lord's resurrection and His ascension–they will be caught up in the clouds to be with the Lord.

The fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians tells us several things about the resurrection of the saints. This chapter does not mention the catching up, only the resurrection. I notice that the resurrection seldom is mentioned in today's preaching, unless it is referring to the resurrection of Christ two thousand years ago.

If we are to think clearly about the resurrection, we are going to have to understand that the resurrection and the catching up are two entirely separate events. The resurrection is an act of redemption, the destroying of the last enemy. The catching up is not an act of redemption, merely a demonstration of the power of the age to come.

The fact that the resurrection is seldom mentioned in today's preaching, added to the fact that the "resurrection chapter" (First Corinthians, Fifteen) does not mention the catching up, it appears obvious that the teaching of the "rapture," whether done intentionally or not, is meant to hide the great hope of the Gospel of the Kingdom---which is that through Christ we shall become immortal.

Our being caught up to Heaven poses no threat to the kingdom of Satan. But the resurrection marks the end of his power over people. Therefore we would expect that Satan would fight the doctrine of the resurrection and support and encourage the doctrine of the "rapture."

But hath now been manifested by the appearing of our Saviour Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, (II Timothy 1:10)

The great hope of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is immortality, that which was lost because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve. "Redemption" means to gain back that which was lost. The purpose of the Christian redemption is to regain access to the Tree of Life, that is, to acquire immortality.

Can you see what a difference there is between the hope of leaving the earth and going to Heaven in order to be removed from the tribulations of the world; and becoming immortal?

So we have been deceived by the great deceiver. He knows that people who accept "grace" as a substitute for godly behavior, and who are missing what God is doing in the present hour while they are waiting to die and go to Heaven, will never become new creations of righteous behavior. It is righteous behavior that God loves and Satan fears and hates.

A trick has been played on us. We have been promised that we will go to a mansion in Heaven where there are no more tribulations (we trust), whereas Christ came and died so that we might become new creations of righteous behavior clothed with an immortal body.

Would you rather reside in a mansion in the spirit world, having a spirit form and an unchanged personality; or would you prefer to be changed into a life-giving spirit, be clothed with a Spirit-fashioned body, and judge, bless, and govern God's creation alongside the Lord Jesus? Remember, God will honor your decision. He will give you the desires of your heart.

The Apostle Paul preached the resurrection from the dead. He never once preached a "rapture" of the believers, nor was he setting aside everything that he might attain to such a withdrawal of Christian believers from the earth so they might escape Antichrist and the Great Tribulation.

If by any means I may attain unto the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:11)

Now I make known unto you brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand, (I Corinthians 15:1)

The remainder of Chapter Fifteen is about the resurrection of the saints and the related resurrection of Christ. This was Paul's Gospel, not a "rapture." The Corinthians saints were standing in the hope of the resurrection.

By which also ye are saved, if ye hold fast the word which I preached unto you, except ye believed in vain. (I Corinthians 15:2)

We will find as we go along that Paul was arguing against those who maintained that Christians would not be raised from the dead. Paul insisted that Christ did rise from the dead and that we also shall be raised in like manner.

Some of those who were disputing the resurrection may have been the Gnostics, who would not accept that a physical Messiah came to earth and then returned to life after having been crucified.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (I Corinthians 15:3)

The death of the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary is the foundation of the Kingdom of God. Without the authority gained by the blood atonement, nothing else in the Kingdom of God would have been possible. Without the blood of the Lamb, we could not overcome the accuser.

God is ready to establish a new world of righteousness, a kingdom of righteousness, love, peace, and joy. But such a kingdom would not be possible apart from the blood atonement.

And that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures; (I Corinthians 15:4)

Perhaps Paul was referring to the type of Jonah who was in the belly of the whale three days and three nights. Also there is the fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Firstfruits, which took place on the third day of Passover Week, according to my understanding.

And that he appeared to Cephas; then to the twelve; Then he appeared to above five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain until now, but some are fallen asleep; Then he appeared to James; then to all the apostles; (I Corinthians 15:5--7)

I like to think about this period of time, between Christ's resurrection and His ascension. I am hoping we too will have such an opportunity for fellowship and for whatever else we want to do, after we have been made immortal and before we are caught up into the air.

The Word of God was now in immortal flesh, when He appeared to Peter and the Twelve, and then to five hundred of the brothers. Remember the two on the way to Emmaus? There may have been many others. The Bible says that after Christ's, resurrection many of the dead saints arose and visited people. I am looking forward to a similar experience.

For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. (I Corinthians 15:9)

God had in mind to designate Saul of Tarsus as the one who would explain the transition from Moses to Christ. Therefore He permitted Paul to persecute the early Christians. It appears Paul never forgot that, and so did not succumb to the temptation to view himself as some great person. His numerous tribulations and afflictions helped the Apostle to remain humble.

But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not found vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (I Corinthians 15:10)

Notice the use of the term "grace." Today the term is used to mean an alternative to righteous behavior and obedience to Christ and His Apostles. However, the word is used in the New Testament to mean the Divine enablement that helps us do God's will. God never, never would issue a covenant that waived His moral standards. We are greatly deceived in this!

Whether then it be I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed. (I Corinthians 15:11)

This is a wholesome attitude for Paul to take. In actual fact, none of the other Apostles or teachers were given the understanding of redemption that God gave to Paul. Paul understood this but avoided exalting himself.

God is preparing to entrust His saints with the power of the seven thunders, mentioned in the tenth chapter of the Book of Revelation, so they may give one last testimony to the nations of the earth of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God.

Perhaps this is why God's witnesses are clothed with the sackcloth of humility.

If we are not to destroy ourselves with such spiritual authority we are going to have to adopt the attitude of Paul. We are only intelligent dust. It is Christ alone who is to be exalted; and Christ will turn all the glory back to the Father from whom all power comes.

Now if Christ is preached that he hath been raised from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? (I Corinthians 15:12)

I am not acquainted enough with Church history to know what group it was who were contesting the resurrection of the believers. From what is said here it sounds as though they had accepted that Christ was raised from the dead but were denying that Christians would be raised from the dead.

The error today seems to be that there is no need for Christians to be resurrected because they are going to be caught up to Heaven just as they are.

But if there is no resurrection of the dead, neither hath Christ been raised: (I Corinthians 15:13)

Paul is implying here that if Christ has been raised from the dead, then we too will be raised from the dead. We will gain immortality.

And if Christ hath not been raised, then is our preaching vain, your faith also is vain. (I Corinthians 15:14)

The above is a remarkable statement. Apart from the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, our faith is vain. Paul here is still arguing against those who were claiming that Christians will not be resurrected. He is saying that if Christ has not been raised we have no hope in the Gospel. And if Christ has been raised, then we too shall be raised.

Yea, we are found false witnesses of God; because we witnessed of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead are not raised. (I Corinthians 15:15)

As I write these words I am thinking of how God's people of today are deceived. They do believe that God raised Christ from the dead, and while I am writing today they are celebrating Easter.

Where we are departing from the Bible in our day is by ignoring the resurrection, which is our central hope, and substituting a catching up to Heaven. We are not preaching our hope of immortality but going to Heaven to live in a mansion for eternity.

This is not merely theological confusion. It is having a detrimental effect on the way we conduct our Christian life. Instead of pressing forward in Christ each day, striving to attain to the resurrection that will occur when the Lord Jesus appears, we are waiting to go to Heaven in a rapture. This clearly is not scriptural and is making Paul's testimony of pressing toward the resurrection irrelevant. Yet Paul said we should have the same mind as he.

For if the dead are not raised, neither hath Christ been raised: (I Corinthians 15:16)

The proof that we will be raised from the dead is that Christ has been raised from the dead. If we are not to be raised, then Christ has not been raised from the dead.

And if Christ hath not been raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. (I Corinthians 15:17)

Notice how important Christ's resurrection is. It is the fact of His resurrection that guarantees God has forgiven our sins.

Who was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification. (Romans 4:25)

If God had not accepted the blood atonement made on the cross, He would not have raised Christ from the dead. The hope of the demons would have been realized—that Christ would still be in Hell and we still would be guilty of our sins.

Then they also that are fallen asleep in Christ have perished. (I Corinthians 15:18)

This is an interesting thought, isn't it? If Christ has not been raised from the dead, those who have died in Christ are no longer alive in the spirit world. The people in Paul's day did not think as we do, that our loved ones are in Heaven waiting for us. They had been taught the Kingdom of God, not eternal existence in a mansion in Heaven.

So Paul is not referring to their being in a mansion in Heaven but about their still being consciously alive in the spirit world, waiting for the Kingdom of God so they can achieve immortality and live once again on the earth.

The idea here is, if Christ has not been raised from the dead, the deceased Christians are nonexistent. We do not think in these terms, but this is what Paul stated—"have perished."

If we have only hoped in Christ in this life, we are of all men most pitiable. (I Corinthians 15:19)

We might say that since we hope in Christ we can look forward to a happier existence in Heaven. But this is not what Paul is saying. He is pointing out that if we have believed that our hope in Christ was confined to our present life, we are to be pitied.

You see, Paul did not think of eternal residence in Heaven in a mansion as being the hope of the Gospel. Paul's desire was for the redemption of his body so he would be free from sin and be able to live righteously.

So he was not thinking about life in Heaven. He was thinking about immortality. The idea is that we have hope in Christ in the present life. But more than this, we can look forward to the time when Christ returns and we will be able to continue our life in an immortal state.

Included in this hope is that we will live once again in an immortal state in Paradise on the earth—that which God ordained in the beginning. The Bible does not speak of a kingdom of God in Heaven but of a Kingdom of God on the present earth, and then on a new earth, when the Royal Priesthood and all the citizens who will live on the earth have been prepared.

But now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of them that are asleep. (I Corinthians 15:20)

Here we see how Christ's resurrection and our resurrection are tied together. Christ is the Firstfruits of the harvest of saints who will be raised from the dead when He appears.

For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. (I Corinthians 15:21)

Physical death came upon mankind because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Resurrection from the dead, that is, immortality, eternal physical life, will be restored to man because of the obedience of Jesus.

It is difficult for us to think clearly about death and life, because (perhaps through the influence of the religion of Gnosticism) we consider our redemption to be one of bringing our spiritual nature to the spirit world, to some kind of spirit paradise.

However, the Christian Gospel is not directed primarily toward bringing our spiritual nature to Heaven. We were not created in Heaven, We were created in the physical world and that is where we belong. The purpose of the Divine redemption is to restore immortality to us so we can enjoy the physical creation.

This is the Good News—not that we will be redeemed spiritually, but physically. The salvation of our inward, spiritual nature is one of teaching our inward nature righteousness, holiness, and stern obedience to God so we can be trusted with an immortal body. The great redemption that is ahead for us is immortality in our body.

The prize is an immortal body. But an immortal body cannot be attained to until our inward nature is filled with Christ and totally obedient to Christ, which is the same as obedience to God. So we are looking forward to life once again on a physical, although purified, earth from which the curse has been lifted.

We will enjoy our new life for eternity, because we will be a life-giving spirit in an immortal body in a paradisiacal environment. This is our future and our hope.

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. (I Corinthians 15:22)

Remember, we are speaking of physical death and physical life. We have been so accustomed to a gospel that has been pointed toward eternal life in Heaven in a spirit form that the idea this chapter is speaking of the body is difficult to keep in mind.

As in Adam all die physically, so in Christ all will be made alive physically.

But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; then they that are Christ's, at his coming. (I Corinthians 15:23)

Since we understand that we are speaking of Christ returning to life physically, then the above verse must be speaking of our coming to life physically. This shall take place when the Lord returns.

Then cometh the end, when he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have abolished all rule and all authority and power. (I Corinthians 15:24)

The doing away with all government that is not of Jesus Christ will finally be completely accomplished. This is the establishment of the Kingdom of God, the rule of God in Christ. It also is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement, which has begun and will continue until the final resurrection and the coming down from Heaven of the new earth.

Since the time when the angels rebelled against God, the issue has been that of lawful power against unlawful power; good against evil. It is a spiritual battle between spiritual titans. But God shall prevail, and immortality shall be the reward of those who through Christ overcome all unlawful power.

Notice that Christ, when He has put down all unlawful rule, shall deliver up the Kingdom to God the Father. The Christian churches have known about Christ, to a certain extent, and perhaps even less about the Spirit of God. But the day is coming and even now is upon us when we will become acquainted with the Father.

For he must reign, till he hath put all his enemies under his feet. (I Corinthians 15:25)

God has given all authority and power to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ has been commissioned by the Father to subdue all of Christ's enemies. This is good to know, isn't it? In our day it appears that Satan is having his way in the earth. This is not true. Christ is in absolute control by the unchanging will of God. We will see this revealed more clearly some day!

The last enemy that shall be abolished is death. (I Corinthians 15:26)

We can see then that our battle is against physical death. First our inward spiritual nature must be aligned with God's Word. God is accomplishing this by writing His eternal moral law in our mind and heart. This is another way of saying that Christ, the eternal Word of God, is being formed in us.

When this has been accomplished, we will be entrusted with an immortal body that seeks righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God. This is the redemption of the body of which Paul spoke.

One of the follies of the "rapture" teaching is that is does not insist that Christ be formed in us before we are lifted up to Heaven. It does not even recognize that we are fighting against an enemy that must be conquered before we are resurrected. And it seems evident that we must experience resurrection before we are caught up to Heaven along with those who have returned with Jesus!

"Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God"! It is no wonder people become so angry when we say the rapture doctrine is not scriptural. It is Satan in them who would like for all Christians to go to Heaven and leave mankind for him and his demons to play with.

He does not want them gaining immortality and returning with Jesus to install the Kingdom of God on the earth. Satan hates righteousness, and he will fight desperately if he perceives there is a chance that the believers will see through the "grace" message and begin to confess and turn away from their sins.

For, He put all things in subjection under his feet. But when he saith, All things are put in subjection, it is evident that he is excepted who did subject all things unto him. (I Corinthians 15:27)

I wish that all Bible teachers, who maintain that the Father and Christ are the same Person, would read the above verse. God the Father has put all things in subjection under the feet of Christ. But the Father is excepted. He is not put under the feet of Christ. How then can people say that the Father and Christ are the same person? This makes sense?

And when all things have been subjected unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subjected to him that did subject all things unto him, that God may be all in all. (I Corinthians 15:28)

Christ shall be subject to the Father, who put all in subjection to Christ. The end result is, the Father is All in all. Clear enough.

Else what shall they do that are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them? (I Corinthians 15:29)

Again Paul is verifying that the dead shall be raised. As far as the believers being baptized on behalf of the dead, there is no scriptural basis whatever for this practice. Paul had a way of using the beliefs of people to prove his own argument. "The Cretans are always liars," and this sort of thing.

I don't believe he is saying we should be baptized on behalf of dead people. Rather, he is asking those who are being baptized on behalf of dead people, that if they are being baptized on behalf of dead people, why are they doing this if the dead will not be raised?

As to being baptized on behalf of the dead, this will not work. The meaning of water baptism is that we have turned away from our life in the world; we have been crucified with Christ; we have entered the Life of Christ as being part of His new Life. How could you do this on behalf of someone who is dead? This is not reasonable.

Why do we also stand in jeopardy every hour? I protest by that glorifying in you, brethren, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I fought with beasts at Ephesus, what doth it profit me? If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die. Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals. (I Corinthians 15:30-33)

Remember that Paul still is arguing that Christ actually has been resurrected and we also shall be resurrected. He is saying that he was leading a dangerous life in the hope that no matter what happened to him he could look forward to the resurrection.

If there is to be no resurrection he would not have fought with beasts at Ephesus. He might just as well abandon himself to eating and drinking if he is not going to be raised and have to answer for his behavior.

When he speaks about not being deceived, and evil companionships corrupt good morals, I expect there were people who were maintaining there will be no resurrection and for this reason there was no need to live a righteous, disciplined life.

I remember once we were traveling across country in an automobile. There were four adults in the car and one child. We were dirty, tired, and bedraggled. We also were hungry. It was in the late afternoon. We still had several hours drive to reach our destination.

We stopped at a restaurant. We felt embarrassed in leaving the car and going out in public. So we said, "Let's go in no matter how we look. They will never see us again."

It is that way with the resurrection. We might have done some things that we would not like people to know about. We might think, "So what! They will never see us again." Oh no? We all are going to be raised from the dead in the Day of Resurrection. At that time our behavior may become public knowledge, whether for good or for bad.

Daniel speaks of being raised to "shame and everlasting contempt"! We can't hide. They will see us again!

Awake to soberness righteously, and sin not; for some have no knowledge of God: I speak this to move you to shame. (I Corinthians 15:34)

I would think that the verse above would be sufficient to convince any sincere believer that current "grace" teaching is a deception. The way we live may have the effect of bringing people to God or turning them away from God.

But some one will say, How are the dead raised? and with what manner of body do they come? Thou foolish one, that which thou thyself sowest is not quickened except it die: (I Corinthians 15:35,36)

This is an interesting thought. Paul is reminding the questioner that a seed that is sown will not come to life unless it dies. I don't believe we usually think that we right now are sowing our present body to death in Christ so that one day it may be raised.

And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not the body that shall be, but a bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other kind; (I Corinthians 15:37)

The idea here is that when a farmer sows seed, he does not sow the mature stalk but just a seed. Again, Paul is stating that our present body is as a seed that is being sown as we die in Christ.

But God giveth it a body even as it pleased him, and to each seed a body of its own. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fishes. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: (I Corinthians 15:38-42)

There are all sorts of seeds that grow into all sorts of bodies. This is true of our present body. It is being sown as we pursue our discipleship. What we are sowing will come forth in the Day of Resurrection.

What is not commonly understood, I believe, is that the kind of body that will appear in the Day of Resurrection will depend on what we have sown. This is clear in the New Testament. If we have sown to our sinful nature we will reap corruption. If we have sown to the Spirit of God we will reap a body of Divine Life.

At the Judgment Seat of Christ we will receive back what we have done during our life, unless it has been sinful and we have confessed it to Christ as sin and have, with His assistance, resolutely turned away from it. Otherwise it will be present in the body that clothes our resurrected flesh and bones in that great Day.

If we have been a liar, and have not confessed and turned away from this practice, the body we receive in the Day of Resurrection will reveal that lie in our personality. If we have been a lust-filled immoral person, that is what will be seen in our body. If we have been filled with murderous rage, that is what we will look like.

As we sow we shall reap. This is a Kingdom law and grace will not affect it. We have an opportunity in the present hour to denounce and renounce in Christ that which we do not want to come up in the Day of Resurrection. If we do not take advantage of the provision God has made for us to turn away from our sins, we will meet them in the Day of Resurrection.

We Christians in America need to be warned of this relationship between what we are doing today and what we will look like in the resurrection. The god we preach in America is too soft. He is not the Consuming Fire of Israel, the true God. We have created a god in our own image!

It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. (I Corinthians 15:43,44)

Can you observe from the passage above how weak and unscriptural the "rapture" teaching is? The rapture teaching does not suggest any difference in us, only a change in location. The resurrection presents massive changes in us—from dishonor to glory; from weakness to power. from a natural body ro a spiritual body.

Paul is stating that our natural body has a spiritual counterpart that will appear in the Day of Resurrection.

So also it is written, The first man Adam became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. (I Corinthians 15:45)

The verse above is one of the most important in the entire Bible.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Tree of Life. He was the Tree of Life in the garden in Eden. Now as He is formed in us, we are becoming trees of life. In God's time God will use us to bring the Life of Christ to the "dead sea" of mankind.

Now when I had returned, behold, upon the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. Then said he unto me, These waters issue forth toward the eastern region, and shall go down into the Arabah; and they shall go toward the sea; into the sea shall the waters go which were made to issue forth; and the waters shall be healed. (Ezekiel 47:7,8)

We will be planted next to the River of Life in the new Jerusalem. There the citizens of the new earth can come and be renewed in God's Life; and also be healed of their sicknesses by our "leaves."

We will bring forth with joy water from the wells of salvation. The wells of salvation will be present in us because the Throne of God will be in us. To change from a living soul to a life-giving spirit means we will given a body that has been fashioned by the Spirit of God from the deaths and resurrections we faithfully have pursued during our discipleship.

Thus the kind of resurrection we will have is being determined by our behavior and decisions today. This should be our goal, as it was the goal of the Apostle Paul; and we should be laying aside everything else and pressing toward it with all our determination.

Howbeit that is not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; then that which is spiritual. (I Corinthians 15:46)

If we are to enter such a marvelous spiritual inheritance we first must behave in such a manner that we are qualified and competent to receive the inheritance. The Apostle Paul told us that if we continue to yield to our sinful nature we shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. First the natural. Then the spiritual.

The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is of heaven. (I Corinthians 15:47)

God understood from the beginning that He created man to be His Throne, and to fulfill the numerous roles and tasks of the kingdom God has in mind. The building of the Kingdom is God's reponse to the rebellion of Satan and his angels.

God knew when He created Satan that Satan would fall through pride and self-will. God did not cause Satan to fall, but God knew he would. Satan's fall was just one step toward the creation of an everlasting kingdom with the Word as its head.

It may be true that God created the different kinds of dinosaurs and other extinct creatures so that when He created man, the rebellious angels would not immediately understand what God had in mind. Or perhaps He wanted to study animal physiology as in a sort of laboratory.

In any case, man is at the center of what God is doing. Even the Lord Jesus Christ refers to Himself as Son of Man. Man, through Christ, is destined to rule the creation of God. Also, to be the Throne of God so God can live among His sons and daughters.

Noting that the elaborately ornamented Satan fell through pride and self-will, God put His new race in animal bodies—the naked apes, as someone said. Rotherham terms our outer form "the body of our humbling." And that is its purpose—to humble us. To teach us humility, and that we have to become part of Christ if we are to accomplish God's will in our life.

We are destined to be in the image of Christ, first internally and then externally. If you want to observe the external likeness of Christ, read the first chapter of the Book of Ezekiel. That is what a son of God Almighty is supposed to look like, not a naked ape.

God put us in a frail animal body so He could teach us the way a son of God should behave. It is no picnic, I tell you, to go through all our appointed sufferings in an animal body. We are so utterly helpless compared with what a son of God should be. But if we remain faithful to God, our end will be glorious.

As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. (I Corinthians 15:48,49)

If we remain faithful to God, not breaking out of the prisons in which He places us, bearing our cross after the Master as cheerfully as we can, then in the Day of Resurrection we will bear the image of the heavenly. We can get some idea of the image of the heavenly in the appearance of Jesus in the first chapter of the Book of Revelation.

And in the midst of the candlesticks one like unto a son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about at the breasts with a golden girdle. And his head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace; and his voice as the voice of many waters. (Revelation 1:13-15)

"Well," you might protest, "I never could look like that!"

Let's take a look at what Paul said: "And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly."

What is it going to be? Are you going to believe the Bible, or not? Make your choice. I have made mine. If God said it, I believe it; and that settles it!

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (I Corinthians 15:50)

Here is an obvious error in the "rapture" teaching. Some pastors have their members jump up and down next to their pews, preparing for the rapture.

Are the people going to be caught up in their Sunday clothes and go through the roof of the church? It is not unlikely that there are factions in the assembly. Are they going to maintain their factions while they are in the air on their way to Heaven?

If there are people in the church who have not forgiven a fellow believer for some disparaging remark that has been made, are they going to go to Heaven and bring their malice and unforgiveness with them?

How about the gossipers, are they going also? How about those who are practicing fornication or adultery? Are they on their way to the Sunday school picnic in Heaven?

I do not believe pastors are thinking when they tell their congregations that any day now, without any significant change in their behavior, they are going to be caught up to a spirit world about which they know little or nothing.

In any case, Paul said "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God." Corruption cannot inherit incorruption.

So here we are, in our animal body, flying up beyond the clouds to live in the unknown spirit world. We do not care particularly what it is like, just as long as we do not have to continue in the tribulations of the world. We have never experienced resurrection. We are still bound with the sins of the flesh. This is not reasonable, to say the least.

Personally, I do not believe we would get past the ceiling of the church. Heaven would welcome victorious saints, but not casual church attenders. So I guess one percent of the congregation would become invisible and the rest of the congregation would wonder what happened to them.

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We all shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (I Corinthians 15:51,52)

I think this passage is used to prove that we do not have to make an effort to change our behavior now, because we will be transformed when the Lord returns. This chapter is speaking of the resurrection of the body, not of the inward nature. The following verses will demonstrate this fact.

The dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed. This shall take place in a moment. This will happen at the last trumpet, the time of the return of the Lord with the shout of battle.

God is well able to remove in a moment our sinful nature from us. But it is by resisting and putting to death the deeds of our sinful nature that the conquering personality is formed.

The Apostle Paul spoke, in the third chapter of the Book of Philippians, of the effort he was making to attain inwardly to the resurrection. It is obvious that we cannot be clothed with immortality until our inward nature also has been resurrected in Christ.

Think of the battle we have with worldliness. Think of the battle we have with the lusts and passions that dwell in our flesh. Think of the battle we have with our self-will and rebellion against Christ.

Why cannot these three areas of sin, that exist in most believers in Christ, be change in a moment? Why cannot worldliness, lust, and self-will be removed from us in the twinkling of an eye?

The reason is, we were born with these sinful tendencies so we might have pressures to overcome. It is in the overcoming of the forces that seek to prevent our doing God's will that a militant righteousness is formed in us.

God is developing leaders who will be able to install and maintain Paradise once again on the earth. This is why He places us in an animal body, and why we have all these evil forces to overcome. If God were to remove them all at once, without any effort on our part, we would not have the iron scepter of righteousness created in us. We would be as Adam and Eve were—innocent, without the wisdom and strength necessary to overcome sin and self-will.

You might imagine there will be no sin in the world to come. As long as angels and people have a will, sin is possible. This will be true throughout eternity. The only solution to the possibility of sin in the future is the creation of a governing priesthood, an army of judges as it were, that will prevent angels and people from falling into sin.

For this reason, God will not remove the sinful nature of most people, including the physical land and people of Israel, until He has His army of judges formed. Nor will God give a member of the army of judges, of the Royal Priesthood, a body in the likeness of Jesus Christ until He is certain that individual will not set out to destroy the creation in his or her self-will and personal ambition.

Satan was blameless until sin was found in him. He produced his own pride and rebellion. Satan's rebellion did not come from outside but from within him. So it is true that any angel or any one of God's children can succumb to pride and rebellion, and must be governed by saints in whom the iron rod of righteousness has been formed, and in whom obedience to Christ has been perfected.

Only the overcomers will inherit the gifts and roles found in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation. Those who overcome, through Christ, the enemies that come against them, will inherit all things. They shall be God's sons and He shall be their God.

This does not mean everyone else will be cast into the Lake of Fire. Rather the two chapters are referring to God's firstfruits, His Royal Priesthood, His rulers, for whom God is making all things of the creation work together for good.

A dog can be trained by putting meat in front of him when he is hungry and teaching him not to touch it until a signal is given. God is using much the same technique by putting us in an animal body that has a sinful nature, a nature passed down from our rebellious ancestors.

In God's Presence there is fullness of joy. He wants to be sure we will not disobey Him by grasping joy when it is not appropriate..

There can be no solution to sin and rebellion until God has a kingdom of rulers who will prevent rebellion from ever occurring again in the creation. I believe we all can see the wisdom of this and the reason for it.

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (I Corinthians 15:53)

What a wonderful thought that some day we will not be housed in a sinful body. We will be free from selfish ambition, living in immortality in Paradise.

But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (I Corinthians 15:54)

Can you see how the passage above is totally different from the "rapture" deception? This is a desirable change in us, not just a change of location.

Our resurrected flesh and bones will be swallowed up by a body from Heaven, a body that reveals in itself the kind of person we have become.

O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law: (I Corinthians 15:55,56)

Death is an enemy that must be overcome; first in our inward nature, and then, when Jesus appears, in our outward nature, our body. This is our goal, the marvelous hope and future of the Gospel of the Kingdom. Death has no sting for us. He who is redeeming us is more powerful than the spirit of death.

When Christ has forgiven the guilt of our sins and their power to compel us to act in disobedience to God, death cannot harm us; the Lake of Fire no longer has authority over us.

The power of sin is the eternal moral law of God—that which is being inscribed in our mind and heart. Sometimes we are taught that there is no law that governs the Christian except the law of love. This is not true. The Words of Christ and of His Apostles are our laws, as the Holy Spirit of God interprets them to us and guides us in obedience to them.

Sin derives its strength from these many laws. When they are disobeyed continually, we are heading toward corruption and destruction in the Day of Resurrection.

But thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 15:57)

As the Apostle Paul taught us, "We are more than conquerors through Christ." There is no power as great as that of God, and He has entrusted His authority and power to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. When we obey the Son, listening to Him carefully at all times, obeying Him diligently, we have no need to fear Satan or his demons.

Every one of us can be an overcomer, a victorious saint, and receive all the gifts and roles promised to the overcomer. But we have to desire this position with all our heart. There can be no compromise, no lack of diligence. To be a member of God's firstfruits requires that we put all that we are into the effort. To be one of God's rulers is open to all, but it appears there are few who are intent on pleasing Christ to that extent.

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not vain in the Lord. (I Corinthians 15:58)

With the hope of the resurrection in mind, we are to keep on serving the Lord as we have been, meanwhile attending to the needs of our family. Anyone who neglects his famly while he is reading His Bible, or praying, or serving in the church, is not pleasing to God.

Each one of us can be a victorious saint and at the same time take care of our loved ones as we should. If we will set hour hand to this we will have a better resurrection.

Women received their dead by a resurrection: and others were tortured, not accepting their deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: (Hebrews 11:35)

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I Will Be His God

2012-06-17

I do not like to talk about novelties, or to get spooky, mystical, or impractical. I absolutely refuse to get into matters that do not lead to righteous living. But there is a verse that disturbs me. I have been a disciple of the Lord for many years, and I know that God's written Word always is fulfilled perfectly and completely. I wonder how the verse in question affects you?

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

I believe that every word of God is heavier than the combined weight of the sand on the seashores of the world. But the implications of the verse above indeed are far reaching.

The expression "all this" refers, I assume, to everything God is making new in Christ. God is not making new things. He is pleased with what He made in the beginning. Rather, He is making all that He has created to be new in Christ.

Speaking of Christ:

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16,17)

Christ has created all things. Now He is ready to possess all things. Christ will fill all things. The Firstfruits of the Church is the beginning of the process of Christ filling all things..

"He who overcomes." What does it mean to overcome? It means that as the Spirit leads and enables us we are to bring Christ into everything in our Life is which He is not predominant. To not overcome is to persist in clinging to our adamic personality. All Christians are invited to become victorious saints; but I tell you, to be an overcoming saint requires more than a casual church membership!

All I have said so far is understandable. Now we come to the part that troubles me.

"I will be his God and he will be my son." If we overcome all that would resist the filling of us with Christ, we will inherit all that God is making new in Christ, and the Father will be our God and we will be the Father's son.

Are we to say, those who not embrace Christ fully will not inherit all that God is making new in Christ, the Father will not be our Father, and we will not be the Father's son?

This is what is implied here, and that, of course, troubles me. I do not like rips in the seamless robe of Christ. I do not like elitism. I know there are those who espouse theories about the sons of God marrying the rest of the Church, in that the sons of God must be male and the Church is female, being the Bride of the Lamb.

I do not accept this sort of thing. Not only do I not see it in the Scripture, but I don't believe it leads to righteous behavior, only conceit.

But then there is that Revelation 21:7. It just won't go away. It has to mean exactly what it says. It says that it is those who overcome who shall inherit all that God is making new in Christ, and of whom God is their Father, and who are God's sons.

I suppose this can be gotten around somehow; but this is what it says, and I am founding my life on the Bible when I understand it and when I don't understand it.

I liken it to a jigsaw puzzle. When you find the right piece, you do not have to force it in place. It just fits perfectly. Did you every notice that?

Have you ever thought much about the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation? I don't think I ever have heard them preached, but they are in the book that is bound with a curse and blesses those who read it.

The increments of Divine Virtue and the roles of authority that these chapters set forth are designated for the "overcomer." You may notice that they are the blessings and roles we assign ordinarily to everyone who "accepts Christ." But the Word of God, that cannot be altered in any manner, stipulates that they are for those who overcome.

I feel confident that most Christians will say that the two chapters do not, or could not, mean what they state. How could they? We are saved by grace, aren't we? How could some believers be more holy than others or have a higher place in the Kingdom, ore be closer to God?

That does not fit our American concept of democracy---that all men are created equal.

As I stated previously, I do not like engaging in novelties or special interpretations of the Scriptures. However, there is something here that needs to be made plain, I believe.

I teach that there is the Church, the Body of Christ, the Royal Priesthood. These all are God's elect. They will appear on the new earth as the new Jerusalem.

All of the creation moves by the power of God. All people will be raised from the dead by the power of God. All of the angelic creatures live by the power of God.

Then there is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, who is a member of the Godhead, is given to the priesthood. Thus they are holier than those sheep who are saved from the nations of the earth. Because of the Holy Spirit, the members of the priesthood are able to bring the Presence, blessing, and judgment of God to the nations of the saved people, who are not of God's elect.

This is what I teach. It does not seem to be common knowledge among Christian people; but it is a scriptural fact that there are the elect, and then there are the nations of people who are the inheritance of the elect.

The idea has crossed my mind that God, all through the history of man, has been stockpiling people in the spirit world. When He is satisfied with the people He has laid up (although I believe more will be born as the Kingdom expands), He will put each person in His Kingdom where he or she fits; although some have been wicked and will have to be incarcerated.

Now, when it comes to splitting up the elect into those who are God's sons and will inherit all things, and those who do not gain victory, I am not that confident. Of course, we understand that Christ comes forth in the human personality: to a thirtyfold extent; to a sixtyfold extent; or to a hundredfold extent.

I think the following is clear to me: God allows us to be born with a sinful nature. We have a propensity toward the love of the world; toward the lust and passions of our flesh and spirit; and toward self-will–a resistance to learning to live by the Life of Christ instead of by our adamic nature.

Now, why does God leave this enemies in us. Why doesn't He just remove them from us.

Can God remove these lusts and attitudes from us? Yes, according to the Scripture, He can.

Think carefully about the following:

And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins." (Romans 11:26,27)

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 11:19)

I do not believe God is speaking here about forgiveness, that He is going to forgive the sins of Israel. I believe "take away their sins" means just that. Also, "turn ungodliness away from Jacob."

It may be true that most of our sinful nature consist of unclean spirits that are dwelling in us. There certainly is no sin resident in the systems of our body. And as far as the attitudes of worldliness self-will, that problem will be taken care of if God gives us a new heart and a new spirit.

Notice further:

"This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the LORD. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest," declares the LORD. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." (Jeremiah 31:33,34)

Consider the sovereign action of the Lord. "I will." "I will."

It sure sounds like God is going to take a hand here. I do not say that people will not be involved, or that what has been promised will not be put in the hearts of people to perform. However, the fact remains that God is going to create a people for Himself who live righteously and know the Lord.

And once more, speaking of the sovereignty of God in putting an end to sin:

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)

If God is able to remove our sinful nature with a stroke, why doesn't He do it?

The answer may be found in the following:

"I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the LORD and walk in it as their forefathers did." The LORD had allowed those nations to remain; he did not drive them out at once by giving them into the hands of Joshua. (Judges 2:21-23)

Can you see that God had the power to drive all the enemies from Canaan? He chose to let the Israelites fight their way into the land. By so doing God tested the faithfulness of their hearts.

This is why God does not just reach down and deliver us from worldliness, the lusts and passions of the flesh and spirit, and self-will. God is developing a royal priesthood who will be able to install the Kingdom of God, the doing of God's will on the earth, and then maintain it for eternity.

Now we see why the rewards of life and rulership go to the overcomers. They are the ones who battle against Satan until the iron rod of righteousness is created in them.

The pattern seems to be that when God has finished working with those who have to fight against the sins in their own personality, and who have gained victory, God is going to sovereignly remove sin from all other people, if they will obey Him. As I said previously, there will be a lot of human interaction here, but this appears to be the broad plan.

But what about those members of God's elect who do not gain full victory over the enemies in their personality?

Perhaps the next verses give us some insight. They are well worth meditating on:

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. I am a wall, and my breasts are like towers. Thus I have become in his eyes like one bringing contentment. (Song of Solomon 8:8-10)

The "young sister" is a relative of her who is fully mature. So she is a member of God's elect, His Church. "If she is a wall, we will build towers of silver on her." "We will build." Who does the building? My impression is that the mature sister will do the building.

If she is a wall, that is, if she has some defense against Satan and his demons, the mature sister will build towers of silver (typical of redemption) on her. Then she will be able to help others. This is a case of the stronger Christians building up the less mature.

"If she is a door." So many Christians are doors! It seems Satan overcomes them at his will. But the fully mature sister says, "We will enclose her with panels of cedar." Cedar is a wood that is used for beauty. The interior of Solomon's Temple was finished in cedar.

There are those who are "doors." God, seeing this, by His unlimited power removes the worldliness, lusts and passions of the flesh and spirit, and self-will from them. They then are like Adam and Eve. They have no sin nature. They will be protected throughout eternity by the overcomers.

Perhaps their role in the sight of God is just to be beautiful. It is God's way to create beauty that is largely useless in terms of producing or accomplishing something—like flowers, or a sunset, for example. Neither of these work, but the world is better for them. Don't you agree?

"I am a wall, and my breasts are like towers. Thus I have become in his eyes like one bringing contentment." Here is the one who helps the less mature. She is a wall against sin. Her breasts are like towers, meaning that she is a stronghold against the enemy. "Towers," in those days, were places of war and defense. She is fully capable of nourishing children who will conquer the enemy.

This is why the overcomers inherit all that God makes new in Christ. This is why the overcomers are referred to as "God's sons." He is their Father and they are His sons. They stand in victory before Christ and help others to stand.

How about those who do not overcome? They are God's children, but not His sons, according to our frame of reference here. Once God sovereignly takes away an individual's sinful nature, leaving him or her innocent, there is no manner in which he or she can become an overcomer; a victorious saint. Therefore the roles and tasks designated for the victorious saint are not available to that person, since he has no opportunity to gain victory over sin.

I do not enjoy making a distinction between the "son's" of God and the "children" of God, but there it is. There is a distinction in the Greek language. The term for children is tekna. The term for sons is uioi.

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children (tekna) of God—(John 1:12)

Because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons (uioi) of God. (Romans 8:14)

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

I do not wish to make a case that some Christians are sons of God and some are children of God, and thereby cause conceit and division. If we receive Christ we are a child of God. If we are walking in the Spirit of God we are sons of God. It is apparent that some Christians have never gone beyond believing in Christ. Others are enjoying the Spirit-filled life. If we live the life of victory in Christ, we will inherit all that God is making new in Christ, God will be our Father, and we will be God's sons. These things I know.

Then there is a company of Christians who are a firstfruits to God and the Lamb. They stand on Mount Zion with the Lamb. The names of the Father and of the Lamb are written in their forehead.

Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)

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)

I have never in my life heard anyone preach from these two verses. Why is that? These are marvelous promises. They ought to be preached several times a year. They give people a goal to press toward.

Are the ministers of the Gospel afraid to preach the promises of the Bible? After one service in a church in Iceland, the pastor said to me, "There people are all babies. This is a nursery. You have to give them milk."

I had not preached anything "deep" to them. I just had not repeated "how to get saved." What are pastors afraid of that they do not present something beyond how to get saved?

One time someone said, "We have to preach the salvation message at every service because an unsaved person may be present." Maybe there are a hundred and fifty people present. One hundred forty-nine of them have been saved for over twenty years. They are God's sheep and hungry for food on which they can grow.

It simply does not make sense and, in fact, it is criminal to leave the faithful members without food by which they can grow. Something should be done about this practice, because I believe it is far more common than we could wish.

Perhaps if we listened to the Lord He would give us something for the experienced Christians, and at the same time bring Christ to those whom He has chosen for salvation.

One time I was listening to a chaplain read from Ezekiel. What he was reading had nothing to do with being saved, but God touched me where I sat and I was born again right then. So I am under the impression that if we would concentrate on building up the saints, instead of trying to make more babies at every service, God might do something surprising.

We have made a systematic religion out of what could be a natural moving of God among people. There are ministries of evangelism, to be sure. But I think sometime we lay our hand on the Ark instead of letting God do things the way He wants to. In other words, we should spend time listening to Christ instead of filling each moment with religious activities.

The fact that there is such a thing as a "firstfruits" company should be emphasized in our day; because it is now that God is filling some of the highest thrones in the Kingdom. Many who are last in time shall be first in the Kingdom.

Out of the multitudes of Israel, Christ chose twelve people. God had identified these people while Christ was praying all night in prayer.

Then, when He was to be transfigured, Christ chose three of the disciples to be with Him on the mountain. I imagine that God was the one who selected the three.

James and John asked Christ if they could sit on His right hand and left hand in His Glory. Christ did not respond to them by saying they should not be ambitious. Instead, Christ said that such high positions were not His to assign, but they would be assigned by the Father to those for whom such elevated positions had been prepared.

"But to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared." (Mark 10:40)

The statement of Christ (above) is remarkable! There is a place at Christ's right and a place at Christ's left prepared for two people, or perhaps for many people. The point is, there are ranks, roles, and tasks in the Kingdom of God.

While it is true that Christ did not directly rebuke James and John, He did remind His disciples at a later time that those who would be great in the Kingdom must be content to be a servant of his brothers and a slave of all.

God's people should be aware that there are rewards to be gained by living the victorious life; that they must have the mind of a servant and not of a political ruler, and that there is a cup to drink and a baptism to be baptized with.

The Christian people should be made aware of these three things. It will give them goals to press toward. Otherwise they spend their years as a believer waiting to die and go to Heaven by lawless-grace. What a mess we are in today because God's leaders preach their traditions instead of the whole counsel of God in the Bible!

I am interested in the following verse, which I mentioned previously:

And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins." (Romans 11:26,27)

The preceding verse says:

I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. (Romans 11:25)

Has come in to what? From the context, I would say into the Olive Tree. But perhaps more than that! Perhaps into the ranks of the Firstfruits. I think the Firstfruits are going to play a larger role in the future than we have any idea at this time. It might be a good idea to see what is required to be a member of God's Firstrfuits, and seek to become part of this elect group (Revelation, Chapter Fourteen).

Isaiah has something to add:

"The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins," declares the LORD. (Isaiah 59:20)

Perhaps these passages are telling us that there will be a Gentile Firstfruits of the elect who have emerged victorious over all that has come against them. Meanwhile there will be Jews in the land of Israel who, while they have not been able to overcome their sinful nature, have been repenting of their sins before God.

These repenting Jews belong to God. They are physical Zion. Then there is an army who indeed have gained the victory. They are in spiritual Zion, which is the Church, the heavenly Jerusalem. Those in the spiritual Zion will come to the earthly Zion and, by the power of Christ, take away the bondages of sin from the chosen Jews, the Jews who have repented, so that they can walk in the righteous ways that their heart cries out for.

It reminds us of Joseph and his Gentile bride saving his family from starvation.

This is something wonderful to look forward to, isn't it? If I understand the Book of Daniel correctly, the Jews are going to suffer much under Antichrist. But when a Firstfruits to God and the Lamb have been drawn from the Gentile Christians, then these Christians will go to the faithful Jews and bring the knowledge of their Christ and spiritual deliverance to them.

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 5:3)

She who is in labor to bring forth the brothers of Christ is the Christian Church, as described in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation.

Many fervent Christians in our day are feeling a kinship with the physical land and people of Israel. Audrey and I have visited Israel several times. When I am there I feel like I am home, and have been mistaken for a Jew by the residents on several occasions.

One time I walked all the way around the old city of Jerusalem. While I was doing this, the Lord spoke to me. He said, "I have not forgotten my people."

If the Arab nations knew who was watching out for the Jews I think they would be more careful what they say and do!

So the thought of Christian Gentiles paying back what they owe the Jews by removing the bondages of sin from the repenting Jews, gives me the greatest pleasure imaginable.

Neither Adam nor Eve had a sinful nature. They were a blank slate, so to speak, knowing neither sin nor righteousness. This is what it will be like for people when God has His full company of victorious saints. God will remove the sinful nature from all the saved people—perhaps at the hand of the victorious saints; perhaps also in some instances by less mature Christians on whom has been built a tower of silver.

Great things are ahead! The spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement has begun and will extend until the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, by which time God shall have completed His work of redemption and reconciliation.

The spiritual fulfillment of the first goat of the Day of Atonement was completed on the cross of Calvary. There an atonement was made for the sins of the world. This is forgiveness.

The spiritual fulfillment of the second goat of the Day of Atonement has begun now, as I stated. This is the "goat" that removes the power of sin from us; not the guilt, but the power. There is an awesome difference between forgiveness and deliverance. We are entering the time of deliverance now.

Dear friend, disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, make certain that you are not wasting your time, waiting to go to Heaven by lawless grace that you may live in a mansion for eternity doing nothing of significance.

If you are just waiting to die and go to Heaven, you are missing the day of your visitation.

It is now that Christ wants you to come to Him as you never have before.

It is now that Christ wants you to confess your sins as they are shown to you by the Holy Spirit; and to renounce them vigorously and turn away from them. Christ will help you do this if you are sincere.

It is now that Christ wants you to learn to live by His Life, bringing each decision and aspect of your day and night to Him; always cultivating His Presence; speaking to him continually about all you are thinking, saying, and doing.

It is now that you are to seek the Lord until you learn to live by His Life, in His will, and find out what He wants of you at all times.

Anything less than what I have just written will insure that you come short of the wonderful glory that God has for you.

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The Judgment of Satan

2012-06-24

The rebellion of Satan and his angels occurred eons ago. But you may have noticed that they still are active and are seeking to prevent us from serving Christ as we would. How can this be? Does not the almighty God have the power to stop them? This indeed is a great mystery.

Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. (Hebrews 6:1,2)

Notice that the doctrine of "eternal judgment" is considered an "elementary" teaching. Certainly we are familiar with the judgment of Satan on the cross of Calvary. That is an "eternal judgment."

Calvary accomplished the "forgiveness" of our sins. But forgiveness of our sins is not sufficient to usher in the Kingdom of God. What good does it do to forgive our sins if we and everybody else keep sinning?

Obviously, if Satan, his angels, and the demons, still are free to corrupt God's creation, there must be a further step of judgment. Can you see that?

God has promised to put an end to sin. I am certain He does not mean by this that He is going to put an end only to the "guilt" of sin. In other words, we still can keep sinning but we no longer are guilty. This reminds us of the lawless-grace doctrine, doesn't it!

"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." (Daniel 9:24)

When God says He is going to put an end to sin and to bring in everlasting righteousness, I believe He means just that.

We have been taught for so long that as long as we are in the world we have to sin, that we may have come to the conclusion that sin always will be with us. In fact, I read one Christian writer who said that after we are in Heaven we still will sin; but God will cover our sinful behavior with grace.

That would be a mighty poor Heaven, if you ask me.

And how does that fit with the following verse?

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. (Romans 8:12)

Is God going to put an end to sin and unrighteousness, or isn't He?

I don't know about you, but to believe God will only forgive sin, and then do nothing else, is not at all satisfying to me. It just does not sound like God!

Is there going to be an eternal judgment, not only of the guilt of sin, but of the power that sin exercises over us?

Are Satan and his forces always going to be able to harass us?

Is lawless-grace the limit of the provision of the Divine redemption?

Is Satan so powerful that God cannot overthrow him?

It is true that Satan rebelled eons ago. It is true also that to this very day he goes back and forth in the earth, doing his best to deceive the Christian people and to destroy the work of Christ. Is this going to continue forever? What do you think? What does the Bible say about this?

I will tell you what I believe God's plan is. I think God has created man to bring God's eternal judgment on Satan. God could have spoken one word and Satan would have been bound forever in the Lake of Fire. He could not have been able to speak to Eve.

However, man has not been able to bring God's judgment on Satan. It has taken all these thousands of years to bring man, and by "man" I mean a godly remnant of the Church, to the level of maturity where they would be able to overcome the accuser. God would not issue sufficient strength to Michael and his angels to throw Satan out of Heaven until there was a company of "brothers" who would gain victory over the deceits of Satan.

As far as God having more power than that of Satan, you may recall that when our Lord returns from Heaven, only one angel is needed to bind the accuser and hurl him into the Bottomless Pit.

At the end of the thousand-year Kingdom-Age, God will send down fire from Heaven and destroy the wicked. Antichrist and the False Prophet already were in the Lake of Fire. Now Satan himself will be in the Lake of Fire. So much for the eternal judgment of Satan and all his works.

I have written previously that God has permitted us to be born with a rebellious nature and a body that houses the compulsions to sin. God has permitted this so He could bring forth overcomers—they who have chosen to struggle against sin throughout their entire lives.

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Hebrews 12:4)

When the full number of these victorious saints, drawn from all periods of history and brought up to date, are all brought to perfection together, then God has His army of judges, His Firstfruits of mankind.

As soon as the army of judges has been brought to the maturity that God requires, God will be free to incarcerate Antichrist, the False Prophet, and finally Satan so they no longer have access to human beings.

God now will work with all people who are willing to renounce sin. By Divine power the bondages of worldliness, the lusts and passions of the flesh and spirit, and self-will will no longer be present with them.

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)

The passage above assures us that God will send out His messengers and they will remove from His Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. This is the eternal judgment on Satan, evildoers, and the sinful nature of man. "Everything that causes sin."

It does not mention the human interaction that will be involved. I know that today we have to confess our sins as they are pointed out to us, denounce them, renounce them, turning away from them fully with the assistance of the Lord Jesus.

Perhaps this lifelong struggle applies only to the army of judges. I am not certain. Perhaps the removal of sin will be accomplished more easily with the remainder of God's elect and the sheep drawn from the nations. I believe this is so; because at the present time, most Christian people appear to be unwilling to listen to Jesus and work with Him in the program of eternal judgment. "It is too hard," they may say.

The second goat of the Jewish Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16) portrays the removing of sin from Israel; not the forgiveness of guilt, which was accomplished by the first goat.

Then there is the following, which warrants our careful attention:

But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. 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.

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 8:10-14)

The five verses above need to be considered as a whole, because they reveal the relationship between overcoming sin and the redemption of our body in the Day of Resurrection.

If Christ is in us our body is dead because of the sin that dwells in it. At the same time, our spirit is alive because of the righteousness of Christ assigned to it as we have followed the Holy Spirit. Life always follows righteousness, ascribed or practiced. So at present we have a spiritually dead body and a spiritually alive spirit.

"If the Spirit of God who raised Christ from the dead is living in us." If this is true, God will give life to our body through His Spirit who is living in us. This is, of course, referring to the Day of Resurrection.

We therefore have an obligation. It certainly is not to our sinful nature, since God is going to fill our body with His Holy Spirit. We do not owe our sinful nature anything at all, in that its days are limited. But our body will become immortal once it is free from the sinful nature and God has filled it with resurrection Life.

If we choose to live according to our sinful nature, we will die. In this context it means our body will not be filled with the Holy Spirit. We will not gain the promised immortality. We will not regain that which was lost in the garden in Eden.

If we choose instead to put to death the sinful actions of our body, we will live. This means we will attain to the redemption of our body, to immortality.

Now, how do we put to death the sinful actions of our body? Remember, it is the Holy Spirit who is guiding and empowering us in this act of judgment and redemption.

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)

How do we live according to the Spirit? In addition to doing all the things normally associated with Christian discipleship, denying ourselves by choosing to do Christ's will instead of our own desires; reading our Bible every day; gathering with fervent disciples as we have opportunity; in addition to all these we look continually to Jesus about everything we think, say, and do. We just get in the habit of living by the Life of Jesus.

This is what it means to live according to the Spirit.

We always are practicing the Presence of Jesus. As we do, the Holy Spirit points out to us the worldliness, compulsions to sin, and self-seeking in our personality.

When the Holy Spirit indicates a particular area of spiritual uncleanness, we confess it to Christ clearly just as soon as we have an opportunity; we denounce it as being unclean; we renounce it, refusing to practice it any more, and then press forward in Jesus. When the same temptation surfaces again, we will have the strength to resist it, if we have confessed, denounced, renounced it, and have pressed forward in Jesus.

This is how we put a sin to death. The Holy Spirit will guide and help us if we keep obeying Jesus.

The next verse tells us that the sons of God are led by the Spirit. The Spirit leads us to put to death the actions of our sinful nature.

Now if we have done as I have just described, this is an eternal judgment on Satan. It has begun with those who are following Christ intensely. These are God's Firstfruits, an army of judges. There is no lie in them, and they do not adore any person, thing, or circumstance other than Jesus.

This does not mean they do not have a wife or family. It means they do not idolize their wife or family. They enjoy natural family love, for this is entirely holy and scriptural.

The eternal judgment of Satan and all of his followers, angels and demons, begins with us. When God has the full number of members in His army of judges, He will move forward to the rest of the Church, the Royal Priesthood. From there the judgment of Satan will spread out to include all the sheep of the nations, that is, all people from the nations whom God has assigned to eternal life in the new world of righteousness.

The last enemy that shall be judged and removed is physical death, beginning with the Firstfruits and then extending to the remainder of the Church and finally to the sheep from the nations (Matthew 25).

The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (I Corinthians 15:26)

No angel, cherub, or seraph or any other of the angelic order is authorized to judge Satan, his angels, or a human sinner. Only human beings are authorized by God to make moral judgments. Angels may be directed by the Lord to exercise the sentence of judgment, but they cannot make the decision of judgment.

This is why Michael has to wait for human saints to overcome Satan before Michael and his angels can exercise the sentence of judgment.

Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! (I Corinthians 6:3)

Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven." (John 20:21-23)

Judging angels, forgiving sins, and retaining sins, are powerful exhibitions of authority. They have eternal import. In God's wisdom He has permitted world history to continue until a firstfruits of mankind would be ready to do what God has wanted all along—to judge Satan and all wickedness so that God's righteous angels who do His will would then be authorized to remove all sin and unrighteousness from the creation.

What an awesome day we live in! We can be one of those who emerge as a firstfruits from mankind, and have the unspeakable honor of following the Lamb wherever He goes.

There are some people, from all of the periods of history, who will attain to this position in Christ. You can be one, if this is what you desire more than anything else in the world.

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Changed Into His Image

2012-07-01

This essay is about the brothers of Christ. I trust the reader will understand that I am not in any manner detracting from the supreme Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom God created all things, and to whom God has given all authority in Heaven and upon the earth.

Having established the supremacy of Jesus Christ, perhaps you will enjoy, as I have, noting the several references in the Scripture to the "brothers" of Christ. This does not mean the brothers are exalted to the same level as the Lord Jesus, but it does indicate that Jesus desires to have brothers with whom to share His inheritance. Also, I would not be surprised if God the Father desires to increase his family.

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. (Romans 8:29)

The above is a most remarkable verse. We note the foreknowledge of God, and it is directed toward specific people ("those").

We are faced with the troublesome idea of "predestination." God does predestinate. It is His right to do so. God is not bound with democratic principles or what we may believe is "fair." He is the Potter and He shapes the clay as He will.

However, the entire Bible tells us that after God chooses us, it is only as we in turn choose God that God's plan for us becomes effective.

"Conformed to the likeness of His Son" opens up some interesting areas of thought. Conformed to what extent? Totally? No doubt, yes, in that we are speaking of the handiwork of God Almighty.

Conformed to the inward nature, the Character of Christ? Beyond all doubt. The Bride of the Lamb is to be perfect.

Conformed to the outward likeness? Some may stumble at this, considering the majesty of Christ. But I don't. Abraham did not consider his own body when faced with the promise of God. For myself, I choose to look at who is doing the predestining and the conforming. If God said it; I believe it; and that settles it. How about you?

Consider the majesty of Christ, and then make the effort to believe God can make the brothers like this:

Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him.

Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. (Ezekiel 1:26-28)

Are you staggering? Now think about the Glory of almighty God in outer space. Have you ever considered the galaxies and the distances between them? The above is the likeness of Christ. Can God conform us to the likeness of Christ?

If you can accept that, you will have no trouble with this:

And among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.

In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. (Revelation 1:13-16)

I don't believe we will look like this tomorrow. But how about a billion years from now? Do you think God could make you look like that after a billion years? Why not?

I am not writing this essay to get us puffed up above all semblance of humanity, but to reinforce the concept of "brother." We still will be human, just as Christ always will be human. But it will be a transcendent humanity. We will be life-giving spirits, being able to bring eternal life and healing to the multitudes of people who will be coming forth as the Kingdom of Christ keeps expanding forever (I Corinthians 15).

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. (Romans 8:29)

"The firstborn among many brothers." First there was the Word, who created all things. Then God decided to make the Word the first Son of God and the Firstborn from the dead. After the Firstborn would come a company of brothers who also would be born of flesh and blood and who also would be raised from the dead as the same manner as was true of the Firstborn.

We have to be born again spiritually, and then born again physically if we are to be a brother of Christ. We are to be made like Him in all things, except that He is to be Head over all.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:15-20)

What is my point in emphasizing that we are not called of God just to be saved and go to Heaven to live in a mansion. God has predestined us to be like Jesus Christ in every respect except that He has been placed above us in authority and Glory. This means that if we have "accepted Christ" and are waiting to die and go to Heaven to do nothing for eternity, we are neglecting our salvation!

We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. (Hebrews 2:1)

It appears from the Book of Hebrews that these Jewish believers had been saved and filled with God's Spirit. But they were neglecting to press into the rest of God, that is, into the place in Christ where we have ceased from our own works and have pressed into Jesus to the point that we are living by His Life. We are thinking, speaking, and acting as He is thinking, speaking, and acting. We are living by every Word of God that is directed to us specifically.

For if the message spoken by angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? (Hebrews 2:2,3)

Every aspect of the Law of Moses, that was given to Moses at the hand of angels, was binding. Every violation was accompanied by punishment. How shall we escape if we neglect to press into the fullness of the Life in Christ?

I hope you can see from this how utterly unscriptural the present lawless-grace teaching is. The current teaching of grace, that saying we believe in Christ excuses us from all attempts to obey Christ and His Apostles, and we now are on our way to Heaven, is destructive of God's intention to create brothers of His Firstborn Son.

"Such a great salvation"! We assuredly are ignoring it today, believing it is limited to our making a profession of belief in Christ.

It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. (Hebrews 2:6)

Where is the writer of Hebrews going with the above statement? What is he trying to prove? He is pointing out that we have been called, not only to be "saved," but to govern the new world of righteousness. When we are content to be "saved," we are not pressing forward into the plan of God to make us in the likeness of Christ so we can be rulers in the coming Kingdom of God.

Have you heard any preaching recently about our governing the new world of righteousness that is approaching? Neither have I, so we must be ignoring God's great salvation.

But there is a place where someone has testified: "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet." (Hebrews 2:6,7)

Man has been crowned with glory and honor. Some translations say, "You made him lower than the angels for a little while." This probably is the intent of the writer. We know that angels are appointed by God to help His sons. All things have been put under the feet of man, even though we do not see that authority exercised as yet.

In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. (Hebrews 2:8)

Before God can give us the authority designated for the sons of God, He must teach us many things. The first lesson is that of stern, uncompromising obedience to the Father and Christ. We cannot live according to our own plans and desires and at the same time govern the works of God's hands. We must live in absolute dependence upon Christ just as Christ lives in absolute dependence upon the Father.

All of the creation is to be governed by Christ and His brothers. This is our appointed destiny. For this reason we are not to enter a waiting mode, living our life as usual while waiting to die and go to Heaven; or worse yet, waiting for an unscriptural "rapture" to take us to Heaven.

Every day there is a lesson to learn. Every day we must be prepared to confess the darkness that is in us and to turn away from it. Every day there is an opportunity to choose to do God's will or to do something displeasing to Him. Every day we are to listen carefully to the Lord Jesus that we might be thinking, saying, and doing, what He wants us to think, say, and do.

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. (Hebrews 2:9)

Although to man has been given rulership over all the works of God's hands, we do not see this occurring at the present time. But we do see the Lord Jesus, as representative Man, crowned with glory and honor.

He pleased the Father by suffering death on behalf of His brothers, and the rest of mankind.

In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. (Hebrews 2:10)

"In bringing many sons to glory." Is this what God is doing? Is He actually bringing many sons to glory, not just His Firstborn?

God made His Firstborn perfect in obedience and understanding by subjecting Him to much suffering. Thus the author of our salvation is well able to be our King and Priest.

Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. (Hebrews 2:11)

The Lord Jesus is fully human and fully Divine. He is working with the Holy Spirit to make us fully human and fully Divine. He has given to us of His Divine Nature. He will not be satisfied until we are like Him in every respect and one with each other and with God through Him.

We may shy away from the thought of being this much like our Lord. Our reticence certainly is understandable. But Christ is more pleased when we believe fully what God has said concerning us, and when we give ourselves to spiritual growth just as did the Apostle Paul, who always was pressing forward that he might know Christ to a greater extend.

He says, "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises." (Hebrews 2:12)

I believe I saw the Lord on one occasion. Audrey and I were in the audience at Fremont First Assembly, in Fremont California. Judson Cornwall had finished preaching, and we all were praising God with uplifted hands.

Suddenly I saw the Lord Jesus. He was standing. I was looking at His left side. He turned toward us and lifted His hands. He kept turning with His hands upraised. Then I knew He was turning toward the Father. The Scripture came to me: "In the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises."

And again, "I will put my trust in him." And again he says, "Here am I, and the children God has given me." (Hebrews 2:13)

I don't know about you, but from the Scripture I seem to sense a gladness in the Lord Jesus that He is going to have brothers. Do you get that feeling?

The same seems to be true in the verse below:

Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." (John 20:17)

I think sometimes we may be excited about being a brother of Christ, but what about how He feels? From reading some of these verses I have come to believe that He is more excited than we are. Could this be true do you think?

Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. (Hebrews 2:14,15)

Think of it! Christ became a human so He might be subject to physical death; and by this means destroy the devil. Now we do not have to fear death. If we have confessed our sins and turned from them, death has no sting for us. We are alive with Christ at the right hand of the Father—now and for eternity.

For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:17,18)

It is interesting, isn't it, that for us to be made like Christ, He first had to be made like us. He was made like us in every way so that we might be made like Him in every way. When we experience fiery temptations it is helpful to know that Christ understands what we are going through. He also was tempted, just as we are.

It truly is a colossal thought that as immature as we are, we are on our way to becoming like our elder brother and an integral part of our elder brother.

It is my impression that God's people are being shortchanged today. Most of them seem to be hearing only that Christ died for our sins so we might be forgiven. A smaller number might hear about the life in the Spirit of God, or how our tribulations benefit us.

But how many are hearing Sunday after Sunday that we have been predestined to be conformed to the inner and outer image of Christ that we might be His brothers? That the trials and tribulations we are experiencing are to prepare us to govern the works of God's hands?

If we are diligently following the Lord Jesus, line upon line we are being transformed. Command upon command we are learning the ways and will of God. We are being taught each day to listen carefully to the Lord Jesus. When something in us that is not in the image of God is pointed out to us, we immediately are to confess that sinful practice and turn away from it. We are to live in an attitude of repentance and confession accompanied by exceedingly great joy.

Let us not stumble at the greatness of the promises of God, being fully persuaded that what God has said He will do to a far, far greater extent than we can imagine in the present hour.

Great things in the Kingdom are afoot in the present hour. If you and I keep pressing forward in Christ we yet shall come to the day when the accuser and his angels are hurled down from the heaven. It won't be long after that until our elder Brother returns and we are caught up to be with Him forever.

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 Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down." (Revelation 12:10).

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The Next Step After Pentecost

2012-07-08

We might refer to the twentieth century as the "Pentecostal" century. Toward the end of the nineteenth century people began praying for the baptism with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit seemed to be giving assurance that the answer was on the way.

The answer came at Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California. Brother Seymour was the principal figure at that time. He had prayed for hours a day for God to pour out His Spirit as in the Book of Acts.

Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:2-4)

Speaking in tongues and other gifts of the Spirit of God were in evidence at the Azusa Street mission. It was not long before the baptism with the Spirit and speaking in tongues spread around the world. While I was ministering in Iceland, the pastor, Einar Gislason, told me that Pentecost came to Iceland about 1930.

At about 1950, David DuPlessis brought the Pentecostal message to many mainline Christian churches. At some point the term "Pentecostal" changed to "Charismatic." There now are numerous churches throughout the world that term themselves "Charismatic."

The baptism with the Holy Spirit accompanied by speaking in tongues was part of the restoration of the original apostolic doctrine and experiences. This restoration began with the Protestant Reformation and has continued since then. Step by step the Bible doctrines have been restored to the Christian churches.

The baptism with the Spirit with speaking in tongues has been firmly established, along with justification by faith rather than by penances; water baptism by immersion; the reality of the born-again experience; and personal holiness. Sanctification as an instantaneous work has been advanced by some, especially by the Nazarene movement.

However the Nazarene experience, which may be the baptism not accompanied by speaking in tongues, may not always result in sanctification "root and branch." The desire for victory over the sinful nature may be more fully realized in the spiritual fulfillment of the sixth of the Levitical celebrations, rather than in the fourth—Pentecost.

Which brings us to a parallel concept, that of the seven feasts of the Lord. Of these seven (Leviticus 23), Pentecost is number four. Since there has been a consistent relationship between the first four of the feasts and Divine interventions experienced by Christian people (Christ was crucified on the Passover and rose from the dead on the feast of Firstfruits, for example), it would be reasonable to assume that there are to be three more significant Divine interventions before the worldwide return of Jesus to set up His Kingdom on the earth.

The final three celebrations are: the Blowing of Trumpets; the Day of Atonement; and the feast of Tabernacles.

The Blowing of Trumpets is fulfilled spiritually when Christ comes in the Spirit to the individual Christians and announces that the time has come when the Father is ready to put all His enemies under His feet. I do not say that Christ speaks these words to the Christian; instead, the experience takes place in various ways to devout Christian people.

The Day of Atonement is fulfilled spiritually as the Holy Spirit points out to us the various elements of worldliness, compulsions to sin, and self-will instead of God's will as the basis for our decisions. We then are to confess specifically these elements, denounce them as evil, renounce them by turning away from them, and then press further into Christ.

The spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement has begun. It lasts throughout our lifetime until we are totally free from the sinful nature. It is an eternal judgment on Satan. It shall continue from now until the conclusion of the final resurrection of the dead.

The Day of Atonement makes possible the reconciliation of God to man and man to God, not just by forgiveness but by deliverance. When it has been completed, all of the people who have been born since the creation of mankind, and who since then have been living in the spirit world, will be assigned their proper place in the Kingdom of God, some to blessedness and some to punishment.

Then a new earth will take the place of the former earth, which had been destroyed. Down through the new sky will descend Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem. This is the city of the Royal Priesthood that will govern the "sheep" who have been saved from the nations. God's priests will bring the Presence of God to saved mankind forever.

The final Jewish celebration, the feast of Tabernacles speaks of the coming of the Father and the Son to take their place, along with the Holy Spirit, in the personality of those who faithfully have obeyed the Words of the Lord Jesus. The residence of the fullness of the Godhead in the believers marks the conclusion of the program of redemption.

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)

I hope I have presented a satisfactory background as we proceed now to discuss the next step after the Pentecostal experience of the baptism with the Spirit accompanied by speaking in tongues.

If you are a fervent Christian and never have spoken in tongues, I suggest you ask the Father in Jesus' name for this gifts. I have found it to be a marvelous help in my prayer life; and I believe you will also.

If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— (John 14:15,16)

Notice "if you love me, you will obey what I command." The current teaching of lawless grace, which assures us that if we will make a profession of belief in Christ it does not really matter how we behave, has prevented numerous Christians from experiencing the Presence of the Spirit of God.

They are not obeying the commands of Christ and His Apostles about how we are to behave ourselves. Therefore they are not eligible to receive the Counselor, the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:17)

The Holy Spirit is the anointing for priestly service. The world does not and cannot have the indwelling of the Counselor. Being baptized with the Holy Spirit makes us members of the Body of Christ—the Body of the Anointed One who has come from God to deliver us.

God gives His Spirit to those who obey Him, the Apostle Paul said.

I am coming to believe, and I think others have commented on this lately, that most Americans who attend Christian churches are not genuine Christians. They may be correct in their doctrinal statements, but the Holy Spirit is not in them. They have not actually been born again. They are not members of the Body of the Anointed One.

You may wonder how anyone can tell who is anointed and who isn't. Well, I can tell! After have been a fervent Christian for 65 years, I can tell if someone is a genuine Christian (anointed person) or not. If the Holy Spirit is living in a person, you can kind of see it and feel it. The current President of the United States says he is a Christian. For myself, I so not see or feel the Holy Spirit in the man. Perhaps he hasn't as yet started to diligently follow the Lord.

I do not like saying this one has the Spirit and that one does not. But after you have been serving the Lord for a long while, it is pretty easy to tell who has the Spirit of God and who doesn't. In fact, when I hear someone say "Hallelujah" I can pretty near tell if he or she has been born again of the Spirit. If the individual does not have God's Spirit, and they say "Hallelujah," it sounds flatter than an old pancake.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:18)

Right here there can be a problem. A reader hastily going through John 14 might conclude that Jesus was repeating what He had just said about the Holy Spirit, that when the Spirit comes, that is Jesus coming.

I do not believe this to be the case. The Holy Spirit is not Jesus and Jesus is not the Holy Spirit. While they are One, as all of the Godhead is One, the Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus simply are not the same person.

One day, if we keep on serving the Lord, we too will be one in that great Oneness that is the Godhead. But that does not mean we will be the same person as the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. It is true that we will be one in them and with them. But we still will have our unique identity as a separate person in the creation.

This is the coming of Jesus, the King, in fulfillment of the Jewish feast of the Blowing of Trumpets. It also is mentioned in the Psalms 24, where we are exhorted to open the ancient doors of our personality and permit the King of Glory to enter. Also in Revelation, where the Lord says to the Christians in Laodicea, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock."

In the day in which we are living it is imperative that we spend enough time listening to Jesus that we can receive Him when He knocks. It is easy in the United States to become so involved with material problems that we miss the day of our visitation.

We have to take some time each day to rest, listen, and reflect on what we believe Christ is saying to us. If for some reason at the present time we do not have a moment to rest and listen to Jesus, may I suggest that we ask God in Jesus' name for such a moment. It is critically important that we learn to listen to the Lord each day.

We now are entering the last three of the major Jewish celebrations. Right now is a singularly momentous time in the Kingdom of God. Make sure that you do not miss your part.

Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. (John 14:19)

This is not the worldwide coming of Jesus, because in that day every eye shall see Him. Rather this is a personal coming of the Lord to His fervent disciples.

Part of our seeing Him has to do with our living by His Life. We are to think as He is thinking. We are to speak as He is speaking. We are to act as He is acting. We are to live by Him as He lives by the Father. The more we practice His Presence, the more clearly we can see Him.

We are to live by every Word of God directed to us as an individual.

On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. (John 14:20)

"That day" is the day of the Lord. In that day, the Lord alone shall be exalted.

Chapter 12 of the Book of Isaiah was chanted during the celebration of the seventh feast, the feast of Tabernacles.

In that day you will say: "I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me." (Isaiah 12:1)

"I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." This is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish celebration of the feast of Tabernacles. When we enter this experience in Christ, we realize that God has entered us. We are in God and God is in us. Since the Holy Spirit already is in us, we now are filled with all the fullness of God.

"Filled with God, yes, filled with God. Pardoned and cleansed, and filled with God.

Filled with God, yes, filled with God. Pardoned and cleansed, and filled with God."

That is a little chorus that someone wrote. You can make up your own tune to it. I enjoy singing it.

"Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." (John 14:21)

Again we find that the key to experiencing the final three feasts is to obey the commands of Christ. To think that our nation is filled with Dispensational theology that informs us we just have to believe the things about Christ. Whether or not we obey Christ and His Apostles is incidental to our salvation. In fact, a footnote in my Bible says to the effect: "Salvation is a sovereign work. We do not have to endure to the end to be saved."

Can you imagine that? Contradicting the very Words of the Son of God! So great is the arrogance in America at this time. We certainly can look forward to a season of Divine judgment on our nation.

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?" (John 14:22)

Judas gathered from what He was saying that Jesus was not speaking of His worldwide coming but a showing of Himself to His disciples.

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)

The above describes the spiritual fulfillment of the "Tabernacles" experience. This is not the "Pentecostal" experience. It is the next step after Pentecost.

Notice that once more we have the condition, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching." Can you see from this the great damage that has been done by the lawless-grace teaching? It hinders people from moving forward with God.

He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. (John 14:24)

Again, "He who does not love me will not obey my teaching." Can we conclude that all those who teach and all who obey the lawless-grace teaching do not love Christ? It sure sounds like it, doesn't it?

Christ was living in the rest of God, the eternal Sabbath, so His Words are not His own but belong to the Father.

This is the way we are to live. We are to press forward past the "Pentecostal" experience of the baptism with the Spirit and speaking in tongues, and open up our heart so that the King of Glory may enter. Then the Spirit of God will lead us through the program of confessing and turning away from our sins, until finally we are filled with all the fullness of God.

You will know you have entered the "Tabernacles" experience when the following is your testimony:

In that day you will say: "I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me."

"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."

In that day you will say: "Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted."

"Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world."

"Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you." (Isaiah 6:1-6)

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Coming to Know the Father

2012-07-15

We learn about the Son when we first become a Christian. We learn about the Holy Spirit when we receive the baptism with the Spirit. I believe it is now, at the present time, that we are being alerted to the fact that the Lord Jesus did not come only to bring us to Himself but to bring us to the Father. Jesus is the Way to the Father. It is time now for us to learn about the Father.

We gain the forgiveness of our sins through Christ. We gain victory over our sins through the Holy Spirit. We gain the crucifixion of our self-will as we learn to obey the Father sternly and completely. For this reason, we go through a period of suffering, like Job, so we may learn that we are the merest dust and only through Christ can we come to know the Father.

Compare the following two passages. Do you see how his tribulations changed Job and brought him to a fuller knowledge of the Father?

Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face. (Job 13:15)

My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42:5,6)

Job began as a righteous man. But the self-will in his was still very much alive. We can be a Christian and serving the Lord, and still be filled with self-will while we are doing our religious activities. But we cannot come before the Father in our self-will.

Before we can enter the rest of God, that state of being in which we are living by the Life of Jesus, we must through Christ gain victory over worldliness, the lusts and passions of the flesh and spirit, and self-will.

We can make an effort to withdraw from the security and pleasures of the antichrist world-system, and be involved in the world only as much as is necessary to provide for ourselves and our family. The Holy Spirit will guide us in our effort to be cleansed from the love of the world.

When the Spirit of God points out to us an area of spiritual uncleanness in our personality, we can confess that darkness specifically and turn away from it with the help of Christ.

However, deliverance from self-will is another matter. We cannot conquer our self-will by using will power. Using will power only another act of self-will.

After we have been saved through Christ and have learned to walk in the Spirit of God rather than in our sinful nature, the next step is for God to deal with our self-will. He does this by placing us in various prisons, giving us a cross to bear. From personal experience I would say we bear our cross throughout our lifetime; although I must say after all these years my personal cross has grown quite a bit lighter than it was.

The cross, or prison we are in, has two main features. We are denied what we desire fervently; or, we may be compelled to endure a situation which we dislike intensely.

In addition to the two main features, we may not be told why we are suffering or when it is going to end.

I think what I have just written applies to every Christian who is determined to press through to the fullness of Christ.

After a few years we learn to bear our cross patiently. We place all relationships with people, all things, and all circumstances in the Lord's hands. We put all of our treasures in Heaven, knowing that Christ will keep them in a position of safety we could not possibly equal on the earth.

One lesson I have learned personally is that if we are to survive we must not focus on our cross, on what we can't have. Rather we place our attention on something we enjoy. It is seldom we are in a situation where there absolutely is nothing to enjoy; nothing to be thankful for; no little flower in our valley.

One other lesson: always pray for deliverance from your trouble. Do not take anything for granted, such as, "God is having me suffer to perfect me or humble me." It may be true that such is not the case at all. Perhaps all that is needed is for you to pray for deliverance or healing.So do not break out of God's prison, but keep on praying, night and day, for deliverance, although your prayer is not answered for many years.

We can be forced to endure for a season extreme physical, mental, or emotional pain. It is seldom such a rare crisis endures for longer than a year for most of us I think; but our cross or prison may endure for many years—in some form or another for our entire life on earth.

The Book of Second Corinthians contains several passages that tell of the sufferings of the Apostle Paul. Jesus told Paul that it was in Paul's weaknesses that the strength of Christ was made perfect. I can think back through history, and of the present, and marvel at the fruitfulness of the Apostle Paul. But we must keep in mind that such resurrection life came forth from a lifetime of cross-carrying obedience.

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so 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)

Perhaps most of us have read of the tribulations of Brother Job, and how he came to know God as a result.

The Prophet Jeremiah had no easy time of it. His prophecies have strengthened numerous believers, but they proceeded from much trouble.

It requires hot fires and considerable suffering before we truly are ready to say to our Father, "Not my will, but Yours be done."

The three Hebrew young men found Christ in the fire. So it is that we find God in the fire.

He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods." (Daniel 3:25)

The Lord Jesus told His disciples that they would be grieved because He was going to the Father and they would not see Him for a while.

I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. (John 16:20-22)

Notice what the Lord said after this:

"Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father." (John 16:25-28)

Jesus was informing His disciples that He would leave, and then return to them. He was not speaking of His worldwide appearing, but of His coming to His disciples to tell them about the Father. So we see we must endure grief before we learn about the Father.

Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. (John 14:19,20)

All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (Matthew 11:27)

Speaking of prisons and crosses:

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)

After we have received double judgment for our sins, God comforts us.

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins. (Isaiah 40:1,2)

It is true that all our sins were forgiven on the cross of Calvary. We have been forgiven completely. Yet we find that what we have sown during our life, even after becoming a Christian, we reap.

The spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement has commenced and will continue until the end of the last resurrection. This is the period during which God is reconciled to man and man to God. Though our sins have been forgiven, we find that we go through "hard service"—prisons and crosses as I have said previously.

We are to suffer hardships as good soldiers of Christ, continuing to trust God, remaining as cheerful as we can as the Father draws near to us that we may be fully reconciled to Him.

"For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you," says the LORD your Redeemer (Isaiah 54:7,8)

Today God's Firstfruits are approaching maturity. When the full company that Christ has decided upon has met His standard, then He will appear and gather them to Himself, some from the earth but most from the spirit world.

Those in the spirit world have been marching along with the members on the earth, as God is moving us forward in His plan of redemption. The emphasis today is on confessing and renouncing the actions of our sinful nature, and especially on stern obedience to our Father.

Notice, in the following description of God's firstfruits, how both the Father and the Son are involved:

Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)

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)

The fact that each member of the Firstfruits has the name of the Lamb and the name of the Father written on his forehead signifies that he belongs in a unique way to the Lamb and His Father and always does their will.

And then we see that these Christians were purchased from among mankind and offered as a firstfruits to God and the Lamb, indicating that they have been received in advance of the remainder of Christian people who compose the balance of the harvest.

Many of us today are experiencing prisons and crosses, the deferral of our intense desires. These fires are absolutely necessary if we are be a part of this Firstfruits company, this army of judges, who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. It is these pains and afflictions that bring us to the knowledge of the Father.

God's Firstfruits will release the physical people of Israel from the bondages of sin; build up their less mature brothers and sisters into increased maturity in Christ; and also govern the nations of the earth during the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

How utterly marvelous to come to know the Father in these areas of service. How utterly marvelous to follow the Lamb wherever He goes.

How utterly marvelous to work alongside Christ as He installs the Kingdom of God, the will of God on the earth.

You are invited to be a part of the Father's army of judges. Don't waste one minute of the time given to you. Press into Christ every day until you are living by His life.

There may be some suffering along the way. But remember that the woman in travail has pain. But when she is delivered, she forgets the pain for joy that a child has been born into the world.

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Is Heaven Coming to the Earth?

2012-07-22

Many Christians are looking hopefully for a rapture to come soon and lift them out of trouble and up into the Presence of God. Who could blame them, given the fact that in America and other countries, the popular values seem increasingly against our Christian values.

One sign of the anti-Christian values are the attempts to force secular curricula on home-schooling families, such as the attempt to promote homosexual behavior as normal if not preferable. This alone would encourage me to want to leave the world and to Heaven.

Also, the attempts of the media to stereotype people. I would not be too surprised if the efforts of the media to sensationalize (in order to sell papers and promote their own ideals) any confrontation between African-Americans and white people, actually causes a civil war in America!

The media clearly are biased again the Christian religion. From my point of view, the scorn directed at the "birthers" is a clear example of the bias of the newspapers. Those who are investigating the legal status of the President are doing more than raving and ranting. They have some proofs that would be investigated by the courts if the newspapers would give these proofs the weight they deserve.

But I notice these days that when people run out of ammunition they pick up the weapon of scorn—as though scorn proved anything. It seems to me that even some leaders of our government resort to scorn. They apparently have no other defense. There are issues that need to be dealt with at the governmental level; but it appears there is so much weight in favor of the lawbreakers that even the courts appear timid and indecisive.

Well, the values of the former America are disappearing quickly, so bring on the rapture.

There are two problems with looking to the rapture to better our condition. First, there is no scriptural basis for the rapture. It is an emotional, not a scholarly, issue. Second, I don't believe we are ready to go to meet the Lord, or for the Lord to come to the world.

I, for one, do not spend my time fretting about the evil in the world. When I look to Jesus, He tells me He will take care of my family and me, and that He has absolute control over the world. I am positive that Christ has all power and He knows exactly what He is doing with the nations.

Christ encourages me to keep listening to Him. As I do, He impresses on me the third great work of redemption. Perhaps you may have thought there only is basic salvation and the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Actually there are three great works of redemption, as portrayed by the following verse.

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 celebration of Unleavened Bread represents our basic salvation.

The feast of Weeks speaks of the baptism with the Holy Spirit.

The festival of Tabernacles speaks of the filling of us with the Fullness of God.

Speaking of Tabernacles, we are not going up to God. God is coming down to dwell in us.

Just prior to the feast of Tabernacles is the Jewish Day of Atonement. The spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement occurs as we confess our worldliness, the lusts of our flesh and spirit, and our self-will. As the Spirit of God directs us we confess and turn away from our inner darkness as it is revealed to us. We utterly denounce and renounce everything the Spirit shows us.

Through the Spirit we put to death the actions of our sinful nature. This is the burden of the Spirit today, just as the baptism with the Spirit was the burden of the previous century.

It may be of interest to learn that "atonement" may be translated "reconciliation." It is the Day of Reconciliation. We are reconciled to God and God is reconciled to us when we are released from the bondages of sin that often control our decisions and actions.

God and we are reconciled through the blood of the cross. We are reconciled legally, one might say. But as long as we are obeying our sinful nature, there are parts of us that have not as yet experienced total reconciliation.

"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." (II Corinthians 6:17,18)

Someone might respond that true Christians never are guilty of worldliness, the sins of the flesh, or self-will. Anyway, God sees them through Christ.

That is not what the passage above says, is it?

And how about the next verse:

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 7:1)

Now we can claim if we wish that genuine Christians do not sin. But when we look about us in the Christian churches, what do we see: The love of money, sexual sins, pride, haughtiness, envy, selfishness, rage, bitterness, unforgiveness, hatred, gossip, factions, greed, trust in the world, seeking preeminence, and other actions and attitudes that are not in the image of God.

If genuine Christians do not sin, then there are mighty few Christians in the world!

The Apostle Paul told us that those believers who are guilty of such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Paul did not say that God sees them through Christ so it really does not matter how they behave.

In addition, our ungodly behavior affects the unsaved.

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)

I guess Paul was not aware of our modern teaching that grace covers our sins from God's sight.

You know, I suppose the idea that we are going to be caught up into the Presence of God and Christ before we get rid of our sins might not be such a good idea at this time. Perhaps by escaping the troubles of the world we might end up in worse trouble. Our God is a Consuming Fire, the Bible says.

Well, the title of this brief essay is, "Prepare the Way for the Lord." I'll tell you what. If I am hearing the Spirit, He is saying that Jesus is coming to us now to help us overcome our sins. Then we will prepared when He appears in Glory to raise us from the dead. He sure is not going to give us an immortal body before we have made the preparations He has ready for us to make right now!

Just think of it! Our religion tells us we are going to heaven to live for eternity; but the Bible tells us that God and His Kingdom are coming to the earth. Which is preferable, do you think?

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins. (Isaiah 40:1,2)

You know, when we ask Him to, God forgives our sins freely through Christ. But we still reap the consequences of what we have sown. As God approaches us, we endure a hard service indeed! But there comes a time when God is reconciled to us, and then God comforts us. Those who have been pressing into Christ for a period of time know how true this is.

A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God." (Isaiah 40:3)

I do not know about the rest of the world, but the Christian churches in America are in a wilderness of doctrinal confusion. There are numerous departures from the Scriptures, in addition to the "rapture" teaching. But by far the most spiritually destructive doctrine is the concept that if we profess belief in the Lord Jesus Christ we need not be too concerned about our behavior.

The idea of a "grace" that is a substitute for growth in the image of Christ, and the concept of God seeing our behavior through Christ, are deadly enemies of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The other aberrations, such as the "faith" and "prosperity" teachings, as well as the "rapture," are based on the idea that we are in a new dispensation in which the Old Testament exhortations to godly behavior no longer are applicable.

The lawless-grace teaching is totally unscriptural, yet it is widely believed in the United States. If the Lord were to come today, He would be facing a spiritual wilderness, not a Church without spot or wrinkle.

Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. (Isaiah 40:4)

Every depressed believer shall be built up as the ministers begin to preach from the Bible rather than from their traditions.

The exalted ministers that parade themselves as "God's men of faith and power" will be brought low. The massive outpouring of God's Spirit in the last day will be a "sackcloth" revival. There will be no place for "big ministries" in which the leaders hold exalted positions. The lowliest of people will be the ones who are empowered with God's Spirit.

"And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken." (Isaiah 40:5)

The Lord alone shall be exalted in that Day. We will admire outstanding ministers no longer. Christ will be revealed. I believe this exhibition of God's Glory will be seen in the "sackcloth" revival of the "two witnesses," and then in its fullness when Jesus returns, as set forth in Isaiah, Chapter 60.

A voice says, "Cry out." And I said, "What shall I cry?" "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field." (Isaiah 40:6)

Religion often exalts itself with ornate buildings. But God is telling us today that it is time to return to the simple knowledge of the Lord Jesus.

It appears to me that we bring people to our religion instead of to the living Jesus. The goal of the denominations is to acquire great numbers of people, and this is how they measure success. God does not measure success by numbers of people but by obedience.

The world always emphasizes the wrong thing. God is not impressed with crowds of people. God looks for that one person who will obey God in every detail. Such people are scarce, even in Christian circles. But all the rest of religious trappings are as so much grass. It is a fine show today, but soon is withered and comes to nothing.

The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. (Isaiah 40:7)

The electronic media of today amplify the movements among the nations of the earth. But they all mean nothing and less than nothing. What is actually important in our time is the current forward movement in the Divine plan of redemption.

The grass withers and the flowers fall, But the word of our God stands forever. (Isaiah 40:8)

I have been a Christian for a number of years. I have learned that each word in the Bible has been or will be fulfilled with the greatest precision. It is the Word of God Almighty. It still will be standing when the present heavens and earth pass away.

You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, "Here is your God!" (Isaiah 40:9)

All who have received Jesus Christ as God's Son and our Savior have already come to Zion and are part of the heavenly Jerusalem.

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:22-24)

There is a great deal of commotion among the nations of our day. Men are planning this and that, and striving to become preeminent. They hope to bring glory and honor to themselves, and peace to the world.

We who are of Zion have no faith in their efforts. We know that when He is satisfied with a mature group of victorious saints, our Lord Jesus Christ will return in glory. Then He and they will go to the physical land and people of Israel and set the Jews free from the bondages of sin and unrighteousness.

The Jews who have repented during the reign of Antichrist will see the second Joseph coming with His Gentile Bride to save His people that they may live in peace and righteousness.

The oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. (Luke 1:73-75)

See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. (Isaiah 40:10)

Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. (Luke 22:69)

Christ shall return in the fullness of power. God has given Him all power in Heaven and upon the earth. He will reward those who have been faithful and will punish the evildoers.

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. (II Thessalonians 1:8-10)

Today we have to shut out of our minds the evil works that are taking place, as the political leaders use every villainous method to secure their power over people. It will not be like this when the true King appears.

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young. (Isaiah 40:11)

Next we are reminded of the unlimited power of God. This is what God did to Job, to get Job over his tendency to defend himself to God. God spoke to Job about His awesome power.

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? (Isaiah 40:12)

Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed him as his counselor? (Isaiah 40:13)

Were you ever in a place where you did not understand what God was doing in your life? It happens often to the maturing saints. Maybe we think we have a better idea than God does. But be sure that God knows best and is leading you to righteousness, love, joy, and peace.

Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him, and who taught him the right way? Who was it that taught him knowledge or showed him the path of understanding? (Isaiah 40:14)

It has been characteristic of man from the beginning to plan his own way without reference of God. This is true today, both in the world and in the churches. Yet, the Bible commands us to not lean to our own understanding.

What is this perversity in us that we think we know better than God?

It is so wonderful to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus; to look to Him for all we do throughout the day, just as He looks to the Father. Christ always is ready to bear our burdens for us and to give us wisdom. He is a good Friend to us.

Yet we get up in the morning full of our own ideas. The wise person starts off his or her day by asking Jesus to choreograph the day so that every event, every crisis, every opportunity, every need is brought to Him. Jesus is more than willing to help us with each detail. We should be talking to Him all through the day and night.

This is what I do, and I cannot imagine how anyone can get through this life without Jesus! He who keeps Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps. He always is there to assist us with every problem. And we must remember to give thanks when He helps us.

Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales; he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust. (Isaiah 40:15)

When I read about the nations, how the leaders are going to do this great thing or that great thing, I remember that they are as a drop in a bucket. Their boastings are as an ant on the ground that waves a piece of garbage at us with his feelers.

Compared with the Lord God whom we worship, the nations of the earth are nothing of consequence. The leaders act as though they are going to govern without God; and then they choke to death on a piece of meat.

Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings. Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing. (Isaiah 40:16,17)

If all the tree of Lebanon were stacked together they would not provide enough fire to present an offering to God.

If all the animals of Lebanon were placed on the fire they would not provide a sufficient offering for God.

God gave the Jews the practice of offering animals to please God. The truth is, God made this provision for their sake, not that He needed the sacrifice. The various sacrifice were offered to remind the Jews of their God.

God regards the nations of the earth as being nothing of consequence. He sees them as worthless and less than nothing. We need to keep this in mind as the various governments seek to establish their power.

Finally there will be a world government. It also will be worthless and less than nothing in importance. Although their various rules will be abominable in the view of Christian people, God will help each one of us to survive if we keep looking to Him at all times. The world government will have no power over God! Please keep that in mind.

To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to? As for an idol, a craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it. A man too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot. He looks for a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not topple. (Isaiah 40:18-20)

We in America, perhaps with a few exceptions, do not have actual manufactured idols, as described above. But we certainly do have numerous idols.

An idol is something we look to for pleasure, or protection, or to meet some other need. Without realizing it we worship people, money, sexual activity, our children, entertainment, material goods, education, athletics, hobbies, the perfecting of talents, and other things and circumstances.

We devote our time and energy to these idols. If the Lord desires that we give up one of these we have a difficult time, don't we?

In view of the Divine judgment hovering over our country, the wise believer will place every one of these idols on the altar of God, understanding that if it is removed from him it is part of God's plan for bringing him or her to the fullness of righteousness, love, joy, and peace.

I admit it requires faith for us to place all of our treasures in Heaven. But not to do so leaves us vulnerable to the attacks of Satan. Just keep in mind that Jesus said "the flesh profits nothing." When all is said and done we will appreciate that statement of Jesus.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? (Isaiah 40:21)

I am afraid we have not heard of the majesty of God. It has not been told to us from the beginning. We have not understood God. And why not? Because those who speak for God, the ministers of religion, tell us endlessly how man is to benefit from religion, not how great is the Glory of God. We seem to be focused on man and his welfare rather than on the awesomeness of God Almighty. Is that true?

Sometimes we wonder if God can help us. We have this problem or that dilemma. Some Christian leaders have developed formulas by which we can help ourselves. Are we having financial problems? Pay double tithes. Are we having headaches? Praise the Lord one hour each day. Are we sick? This because we don't have faith. Believe! Believe! Believe! Or travel to Texas to be prayed for by a "healing evangelist."

There is a formula to meet every need.

Much or all of this is so much trash. When we have a need for help we are to call on the Lord. Then if we are supposed to do something, such as go to the doctor, or get more rest, or forgive someone, Christ will tell us. Or He may stretch forth His hand and heal us instantly. Or He may tell us to be patient, that He is working out something in our life.

I do not understand why it is, but religion does not bring us to God so that we know Him. Religion seems to bring us to religion. Perhaps it is because God is invisible. I guess this is where faith enters. Do you know what it is to be a witness of God? Consider the following words:

"You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me." (Isaiah 43:19)

Telling others about Christ may be helpful at times. But that is not witnessing, it is evangelism. To bear witness of Christ means that in our thinking, speaking, and acting we reveal the greatness and faithfulness of Christ. We always can tell about something Christ has done for us. But it requires many years to be created a witness of Christ's Person, His will, and His ways.

He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. (Isaiah 40:22)

In our day of everlasting media, we gain the impression that man is running the world. Actually, in God's sight we are as so many grasshoppers. God stretches out the heavens like a canopy. Astronomers keep on increasing the number of galaxies that they can observe. These sizes and distances are incomprehensible. But God through Christ called these into being with a word.

When we think about this, we are not overly impressed with what man is able to do.

He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. (Isaiah 40:23,24)

I can remember as a boy when the names of Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin caused fear. Where are they now? Their bodies are decomposing in the ground; and I would not want to be where there spirits are. Would you? Yet in their day they were regarded as though they were powers to be reckoned with.

Indeed, they have been swept away like chaff, leaving behind them multitudes of people whom they harmed or killed in their mad ambitions. How will they answer to Christ when they stand before Him?

Soon we will have elections at several areas of government. You know, I have not heard one of these candidates give glory to God. Most of them behave as if there is no God. It is they, these men and women, who are going to bring peace and prosperity—they imagine!

What utter nonsense! They possibly may prevent more harm to our nation, though it is not likely—even with the best of their intentions. God is angry with our country because of abortion-on-demand, sexual perversions, and the villainy that occurs in governmental circles and elsewhere. None of these ambitious politicians have the wisdom or strength to prevent the judgment that soon is to fall on America.

"To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One. (Isaiah 40:25)

To compare our human leaders with Christ is ridiculous. Following is a picture of Christ in His Glory:

Then there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking. (Ezekiel 1:25-28)

Which of our current arrogant leaders compares with the Son of God?

Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. (Isaiah 40:26)

The heavens declare the Glory of God. Sometimes it is a good idea to go out at night and look at the heavens. We tell ourselves that God created all of this incomprehensible mass and energy. The power represented here is far, far beyond our mind to grasp.

Scientists cannot speak into existence one grain of sand; not one particle of dust. Astronomers can explain many things about the universe, its origin, and its destiny. But where did all this mass and energy originate? Saying it just happened is not a satisfactory answer.

God calls each star by it name. How many stars are there? A trillion trillion? Astronomers are still counting. For myself, I find it easier to believe in God the Creator than to believe the universe just happened!

Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God"? (Isaiah 40:27)

Now we leave the starry heavens and come down to consider Jacob and his problems. This is just like the Lord, isn't it? He roams freely among the galaxies of stars He has created, and then descends to consider the sparrow that has just fallen from a tree branch. I think God knows not only the name of each star but the name of that sparrow.

God understand the limits of the universe and the nuclei of each atom. He designed and created the largest and the smallest of all matter.

And yes, He knows all about Jacob. God knows the way and the cause of each of His children. When they have a burden, Christ will bear that burden if He is asked. But like all the rest of us, Jacob is occupied more with himself than He is with his faithful God.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. (Isaiah 40:28)

Jacob, you have problems as do we all. Pause, for a moment, and look up to the Holy One of Israel. You are tired and weary, but He is not. You are bowed down with your troubles, but He is not. You are confused because of the bewildering problems with which you are faced, but He is not. You have money problems, but He does not.

Jacob, fasten your eyes on God He will help you. He will save you. He is ready and able to do just that, right now.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. (Isaiah 40:29)

How often it is true, especially when we are older, that we feel we are so tired we barely can get around. But this is not true of God. Each star, including our sun, is a storehouse of unimaginable energy. All of this unbelievable energy came from God.

In the future God will destroy the present earth and heavens. Then He will turn around and create a much, much larger earth and much, much more glorious heavens. And He will do all this with a word!

We can't so much as imagine this kind of energy. So yes, He does have enough energy to keep you and me going and doing His will until He says it is time to leave the earth and come home.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; (Isaiah 40:30)

There does come an end to human strength. There does come an end of human wisdom. There does come an end to a person's ability to do anything at all–even to help himself or herself. But Christ always is ready to assist us. For myself, I do not see how anyone can go through this life without the help of Christ. Many people attempt to do this, but in the end they give their pitiful little gasp, and then their efforts come to an end. So absolutely futile are the boastful efforts of people!

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

The word "hope" is significant. The Apostle Paul wrote that we are saved by hope. Hope is not faith. Faith is the victory. But hope is the way most of us live, I think. We cannot see the rewards to be given to those who continue to obey Christ. I cannot say we really have faith, just a kind of holding-on kind of hope that all finally will be well if we stay with Christ.

When all seems lost, and we are pressed beyond measure, we cry out to the Lord. Then strength, wisdom, and hope are renewed. Up from the mud we come to dance with Christ among the stars. We can do things we never thought possible. We just keep taking one step at a time and do not faint.

There are many prayers and formulas that people rely on. But I have found that if we call on the Lord He comes and helps us. Christ is alive, you know, and you can talk to Him just like you would to any other person. Sometimes all you have to say is, "Help"! You will find He already knew about your problem.

So I think today we are reversing our direction. We have been hoping to go to Heaven. How about hoping for the Lord to come from Heaven and to set up His Throne of the earth?

Isaiah said nothing that I know of about our going to Heaven, or that our hope is to go to Heaven. Neither does the New Testament exhort us to get ready to go to Heaven. We have made up this error about going to Heaven and how wonderful it will be to live in a mansion and do nothing for eternity.

I suppose we borrowed the concept of going to Heaven from the other religions of the world; because this is their hope.

Our hope is not like that. We are to prepare the way for the Lord Jesus to come to the us. Our great hope is that Christ will return, not that we will leave the earth and go to Heaven.

But, some will say, "He is coming to catch us away to Heaven." Where is that in the Scriptures? Rather, the Church has been prepared to serve as a royal priesthood who will bring the Presence of God to mankind; to be a witness of God; to bring justice to the nations.

How is this accomplished if the Church is caught away to Heaven?

No, we have been deceived. Our task is to make straight the way of the Lord so He can come to the earth. We do this by confessing and turning away from our sins.

But doesn't the Bible say we will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air? Yes, it does. The victorious saints (not all the worldly church members) will be raised from the dead when the Lord comes. At that time our resurrected flesh and bones will be clothed upon with a body fashioned from eternal Life. Then the power of Christ will lift us from the earth that we may be gathered together with all the victorious saints from the beginning of history.

When we all are assembled and mounted on the white war stallions, the trumpet of God and the voice of Michael, the commander of the army of warrior angels, will sound. Down through the air will descend both armies (Mahanaim).

The armies of Antichrist shall be destroyed. Antichrist and the False Prophet will be cast into the Lake of Fire. One angel will bind Satan and throw him into the Bottomless Pit.

This is the Bible scenario. It is a little different from our flying away to Heaven to lounge about in our mansion, doing nothing of importance for eternity.

We have been deceived with Dispensational theology; the lawless-grace teaching; and the "rapture." It is time now for these deadly errors to be removed from Christian thinking, as the pastors and evangelists return to their Bibles and see if what I have written is the truth of God.

When the Pentecostal baptism came into being in the previous century, there was a lot of scorn, unbelief, and hostility. But the Pentecostal movement has proved to be of God.

What I and others have written about the coming of Christ and His saints in His Kingdom may not be warmly received at first. But, like the Pentecostal message, it will stand the test of time; for it is what the Bible says.

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One In Christ In God

2012-07-30

When I awakened this morning I had a fresh understanding of God and the Royal Priesthood. The concept is elusive, and I am looking to the Lord to help me make it clear.

(7/30/2012). I believe the concept is in John 17:21-23, if I can grasp it correctly.

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)

It isn't as though I never have discussed the above passage before. I have—many times. But somehow something clicked in my mind and I received additional clarity.

The doctrine of the Trinity always has bothered me. Is there one God in three manifestations, or are there three Person who compose one Godhead. In either case, Christ is elevated to the level of God, and that is a good thing.

The problem is, the Bible tells us that we have been predestined to be the brothers of Christ and to be one with Him. How can this be if He actually is another form of God the Father? How can we be a brother of the Father? We feel within ourselves this cannot be. We always will be different in kind from God. Thus what Christ desires more than anything else, that we be one with Him, is defeated at the start. We are human beings, and Christ is the Creator of all things, and that is the end of that!

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:15-20)

Then there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him.

Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking. (Ezekiel 1:25-28)

Such is the almighty Christ, the Creator of all things.

How does one become a brother to Someone like this?

To come to know the Father and Christ, not just know about Them, but actually know Them, like you would know a father and a brother, is eternal life. To know God and Christ is the most glorious goal anyone could think of.

But the Scripture goes much farther than this. It speaks of our being one with Christ, not in the sense of being alongside Him, but of being an integral part of Him. We are to eat His flesh and drink His blood. In so doing we become an integral part of Him. We partake of the Divine Nature.

You mean we become part of God? I mean exactly that. This is not blasphemy because it is what the Bible teaches.

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 realize this verse appears in many of my writings, but it is saying what I am feeling this morning.

I am not comfortable with the word "because." In my unbearable arrogance I would rewrite the verse as follows, to get closer to my new sense of God and His Royal Priesthood:

Just as the living Father sent me and I live by, from, as an integral part of, because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live by, from, as an integral part, because of Me.

The flesh and blood of the Anointed One that we eat and drink are not the parts of a dead man. They are resurrection Life! They are our Resurrection Life and will draw us up to Him when He appears in the sky.

Let me put it this way: There is God the Father. There is the Word, through whom the Father brought the universe into being. There is the Spirit of God who is of the Essence of the Father and does His will.

Now, the Word has been born of the Father as His Son. The Son has been given a physical form from a human mother. The Son has been crucified to make an atonement for the sins of mankind. The Son has been raised from the dead. The Father intends to put all of the creation under the Son's feet. Then the Son will give all He has gained back to His Father and be subject to the Father, that the Father may be All in all.

For he "has put everything under his feet." Now when it says that "everything" has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all. (I Corinthians 15:27,28)

While all is being put under Christ that God may fill all things, something in addition is taking place. First of all we must understand that there are three Persons who may be considered Divine. There is the Father, who is God Almighty. When we say "God," we mean the Father. I suppose most people living on the earth understand there is a God who created all things.

There are many false religions today that pray to some spirit that is not the true God—perhaps a fallen cherub or angel. Here is an important point. The only true God is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. All else are impostors, living in the spirit world, who enjoy the adoration and offerings of people.

I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:14,15)

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

The popular saying that all roads lead to God is a deception. There is only one way to the true God and that is through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. No one knows the true God except Christ and he to whom Christ reveals the Father.

All other god of all other religions are liars and deceivers and lead their followers to destruction.

We of America like to be "broad-minded" and include all gods of all religions. While it is nice to be kind and gentle toward people, the issue is far, far too deadly. The Father of Christ is living and He demands worship. He does not take kindly to our suggesting to people of other religions that "all roads lead to God."

I do not force my salvation on anyone. The Holy Spirit is the only One who can make Christ real to people. On the other hand, if we see someone drinking poison, and try to be kindly and gentle to them by not warning them that they are going to kill themselves, our kindliness and gentleness are misguided. Would you agree with that?

There is the Father. There is the Son. There is the Holy Spirit. These three are One in that they are of the Divine Nature.

What does God desire concerning those people whom He has called to be His Church, His family, His Royal Priesthood whose purpose is to bring God's Presence and blessing to the nations of the earth?

He desires that they be of the same Divine Nature as Himself. To be born of God and filled with God. Through them He can be All in all in the creation.

Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (II Peter 1:4)

There is human, flesh-and-blood nature. It cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. Then there is the Divine Nature. The same Divine Nature is in the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the members of the Royal Priesthood.

This does not place the members of the Church, the Royal Priesthood, on the same level of authority and power that is true of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but it does make them (and here is the decisive point) the same kind of person.

If we are not the same kind of person as the Lord, then we cannot be a true son of God and we cannot be a true brother of the Lord Jesus. We can go through all kinds of religious explanations and reasonings, but we cannot be a true son or a true brother unless we are of the same nature.

An animal has one kind of nature. A human being has a nature different in kind from an animal that is more than just a superior brain (in spite of the evolutionists). An animal cannot be a true son, daughter, or brother of a human, although the American Indians might say otherwise.

God has a third kind of nature. If we are to be regarded as a child of God or a brother of Jesus we must be filled with the Nature of God.

Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. (Hebrews 2:11)

Receiving Christ often is a mental decision to join a religion. But there is more than that involved, if we really come to the Man:

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. (John 1:12,13)

Let's think about the passage above. "Born of God." Does that expression really mean what it says? Are we truly born of God, or is this just a religious expression?

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Why is this? Because He, having been the Word, now has become a Person proceeding from the Father. Is that correct? I am not referring to His flesh and blood body but to His inner Person.

Now we also have a flesh and blood body. But what about our inner nature? Where did it come from? As far as we know, our inner nature as well as our body came from our parents. Thus we are a human being.

Well, when we are born again, our inner human nature is not our only nature. We have a new nature that was born of the Seed of God and therefore Divine.

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. (I Peter 1:23)

Because we now have two natures we have a conflict within us. Our original adamic nature is attempting to survive, and our new Divine Nature desire the milk of the Word that it may grow thereby.

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, (I Peter 2:2)

If the Lord Jesus has a body born of a human being (although now glorified), and an inward nature born of God; and we have a body born of a human being (which one day will be glorified in the resurrection), and an inward nature born of God; then we rightly can be referred to as a son of God and a brother of the Lord Jesus. This seems clear to me; how about you?

Let's return now to a foundational passage, concerning our being through Jesus Christ an integral part of God the Father:

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)

I do not like the word "unity." The oneness of the Royal Priesthood in Christ in the Father is vastly more than "unity," as we commonly use the term. It is the Oneness that exists in the Father and the Son.

I think Young has a better translation here:

That they all may be one, as Thou Father in me, and I in Thee; that they also in us may be one, that the world may believe that Thou didst send me. And I, the glory that thou hast given to me, have given to them, that they may be one as we are one; I in them, and Thou in me, that they may be perfected into one, and that the world may know that Thou didst send me, and didst love them as Thou didst love me. (John 17:21-23—YLT)

Now think carefully about these fragments below:

That they all may be one, as Thou Father in me, and I in Thee. When we think of the various Christian denominations of our day, it appears impossible that all believers could ever be one in that total Oneness that is true of the members of the Godhead.

Yet, for this absolute oneness Jesus prayed.

It is my point of view that God is beginning this enlargement of the Divine Nature by drawing out from the entire Church a Firstfruits. I sometimes refer to this remnant of believers as an army of judges who will be raised from the dead (or transformed into immortality) when the Lord Jesus appears in the sky and gather them to Himself.

Since in other writings I have explained the reason for my separating the Christian Church into a smaller remnant, and then a larger remainder of the Church, I will not go into that right now. But it must be clear to anyone who observes the Christian churches that there are few genuine disciples of the Lord—perhaps one percent of the Christian believers.

I do believe that when the Lord appears there will be a Firstfruits of the Christian people who in reality will be one with one another in that deep, total, shall I say "organic," oneness that is true of the Godhead. Jesus prayed for this oneness, and I know God heard Him and is going to answer.

This tells us, doesn't it, that the work of redemption in the true disciples, the Firstfruits if you will, must continue for several years yet. The Lord is not coming tomorrow. A further work must be done in the disciples, as I see it.

That they also in us may be one. Now, if the people became one to that extent, but not one in the Father and Christ, we would have antichrist. You may notice, perhaps especially in large assemblies, that the people get together in various social events. Then the people all fall in love with themselves, and Christ is left on the outside. This, unfortunately is not a rare situation.

The important thing is not that we are one, but one in Christ and the Father. There are many calls for unity today. But this is so some group can gain power and exert its will. Each of the godly remnant of Christians is moved by the will of Christ, who in turn is moved by the will of the Father. This is the beginning of the Father becoming All in all in His creation.

That the world may believe that Thou didst send me. Here is the purpose for the saints becoming one in the Father and Christ. The current emphasis on a "rapture" that will catch up the Christian people to join Christ in Heaven reveals the ignorance of the church concerning the will of God.

God is preparing His Royal Priesthood so the people of the world will see the Glory of God in them and realize that Christ has come from God and is not just another spiritual leader. Jesus is the Christ of God. He is not another human prophet. He is the Son of God, the only Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

There are religious leaders today who vaunt themselves. They may be fine men and women, for all I know. But none of them is the Son of God who bring us to the only true God. The world will understand this, as soon as the Church becomes one in Christ and God.

What purpose, then, would be served by a "rapture" of the saints to Heaven? This concept that Christ is going to "catch away His waiting Bride" is a delusion. It is decidedly contrary to the Scriptures.

Jesus is the Lord. Every knee shall bow to Him, of creatures in the heavens, on the earth, and in the dark regions in the interior of the earth. He created all things, including the angels, the cherubim, the seraphim, and whatever other personages there may be. Jesus is King and Lord of all. No other name is to be exalted!

And I, the glory that thou hast given to me, have given to them, that they may be one as we are one. It is the Divine Glory that will make us one in Christ in God. Ecumenical efforts cannot accomplish the desired oneness. At the appropriate time, Christ will give us His Glory, and we will flow together in perfect Oneness–the Oneness that today is restricted to the Godhead.

I in them, and Thou in me, that they may be perfected into one. Can you see from this sentence why I dislike the term "unity"? We will not be brought to "unity." We will be "perfected into one." Can you see how powerful that statement actually is? Perfected into one in the Father and the Son; into the Oneness that They are.

The Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and the Royal Priesthood will be one Being. I guess this is what I am endeavoring to convey. Although as I said before, there is a difference in authority and power, we are speaking of one Being living its indestructible Life among the people of the nations of the earth.

I am sure the angels and other heavenly creatures will be amazed when they see the Divine Glory shining through the Church. They will realize this is God Himself in a new, enlarged Form.

And that the world may know that Thou didst send me, and didst love them as Thou didst love me. This statement is well nigh incomprehensible—that the Father should love us as He loves His Son, Jesus Christ.

You know, as God is opening the Scriptures to us in these days, we are going to have to permit our faith to be stretched. To exclaim in a burst of false humility that we never actually could be an integral part of God is not acceptable. The heroes of faith of the past did not stagger at the promises of God but believed them and pressed forward into their fulfillment.

I can't tell you what new and utterly marvelous things God has in store for us. So let us not shrink back in unbelief, or consider that we merely are intelligent dust (which is a fact!) but be like the heroes of old who bore a true witness of God.

God is with us. Christ is for us. Who can be against us?

(Thank you Jesus for helping me wade through this elusive concept that awakened me this morning!)

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Knowing God and Christ

2012-08-05

The Apostle Paul spoke of his determination to know Christ. The Lord Jesus said that the knowledge of God and Christ is eternal life. We understand that this does not mean to know about them, but to know them----just as we would know a close friend or relative.

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (Philippians 3:8)

All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (Matthew 11:27)

What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. (Philippians 3:8)

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, (Philippians 3:10)

Many sermons are preached urging people to "accept Christ." I believe numerous people have come to a saving knowledge of Christ by "accepting Christ." Actually I prefer the expression "receive Christ," since that expression is in the Bible. "Receiving" Christ has more of the idea of coming to the Man. "Accepting" Christ sounds to me more like a religious conversion; but that may be a problem with my own thinking.

In any case, I have never heard a sermon on "knowing" Christ. This is interesting, since knowing God and Christ are eternal life. Also, knowing Christ was the goal of the Apostle Paul (after many years of ministry).

Probably the preceding sentence give us a clue to knowing God and Christ. A lifetime of walking with the Lord is necessary if we are to know Them.

Also, we become a witness of God by learning to know God.

"You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he." (Isaiah 43:10)

It is my impression that numerous American Christians do not know the Lord. The reason I say this is that they are willing to accept other religions since our American ideal is to be friendly to all people . We pride ourselves on regarding all religions as equal; and we welcome their adherents with open arms.

I am not saying we should be hostile or cruel toward anyone because of his or her religion. But if we really knew the Lord we would not take the attitude that "many roads lead to God." They do not. Only the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is the true God—and He becomes jealous when we flirt with other gods. He has a way of revealing His jealousy, which we will see in America in the near future, if I am not mistaken.

What do we learn when He come to know God? That He is faithful, merciful, strict, wise, patient, kind. By faith we realize that He is working all things for our good. When we trust and obey Him, He always is leading us toward eternal righteousness, love, joy, and peace.

In presenting our body a living sacrifice we learn His personal will for us as an individual. We learn to live by His specific words toward us. The Bible is our general guide, but as we come to know Him we find that we are to listen carefully for His directions at all times.

There only is one valid will in the universe, and that is the will of the Father. Jesus obeys this will at every moment. This also is to be true of us. Since the creation of man, human beings have endeavored to plan their own way in life. This is true of the world and of the Christian churches. We do not often find an individual believer who listens carefully to Jesus throughout every circumstance of his or her life.

But to not live like this is to be a rebel against God. No person possibly can find righteousness, love, joy, and peace by walking according to his own understanding. Only the Lord God of Heaven knows the way we should go, and will guide us if we will listen to Him.

If we will ask Him to, God shall work in us to will, and also to do, His good pleasure. God not only expresses His will in us as we listen and obey. He also does the "doing" of His will as we learn to obey His Spirit.

God has His specific will concerning us as an individual, but also a way of carrying out that will. When we are doing our best to listen and obey, we find that God is gentle, kind, cheerful, and has a ready sense of humor. He does not drive us, as Satan drives his followers.

God is reasonable and uses "good sense," shall we say. He is patient, but He is not foolish and does not tolerate foolishness. If we are to please God we must be diligent to always do our best. There is no time to waste. God does not approve of wasted time.

Yet, as I said, He never drives us. When we ask Him to give us rest, He does that. He is easy to be entreated. Yet laziness is a sin. In the parable of the talents, the Lord referred to the servant who did not put his Kingdom gifts to good use, as a wicked, lazy servant. The servant's gifts were given to another and he was sent into the Land of Darkness.

God cares for animals, as Jesus pointed out concerning the sparrow that fell to the ground. No person who is cruel to an animal knows God or is a friend of God.

I myself am learning to live by the Life of Jesus. This means that during every conscious hour of every day I am talking to the Lord; giving thanks for answered prayer; asking for freedom from dread and worry; asking for wisdom and help, asking for physical health and strength; seeking His guidance in the smallest detail of life.

This constant communicating with the Lord is bringing to me a continual sense of the Lord's Presence through the day and part of the night. Also, part of the time it is the Father who is speaking to me. The Father and the Son are alike in Their personalities, but gradually we can tell the difference.

I know that the Lord Jesus is my Brother. I honor Him with due reverence, but we talk over matters like friends. I think Jesus is more anxious to be a close friend to us than we are to have Him in this relationship.

Part of the problem here is the doctrine of the Trinity. The doctrine of the Trinity, although it properly upholds the Divinity of Jesus, leads to cloudy thinking concerning God. We cannot tell whether Jesus is the Father, or an expression of the Father, or something else. This inability to perceive Jesus as a Man and a Person does not lead to fellowship as a brother.

One minister of the Gospel, who is more Oneness than Trinitarian, asked me what I thought about the relationship of Christ to the Father.

I answered, "Jesus Christ is God's Son." The minister kind of chuckled at the simplicity of my answer.

But this really is the truth. The Lord Jesus is the Father's Son. But then, so are we. Christ was born of God. So were we. Christ is the exalted Head of the Creation of God and has been given all authority by the Father. This is not true of us. Christ has inherited the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth. We are co-heirs with Him.

We have been invited to be part of the Oneness that is God: we in Christ in God as one Being, one Royal Priesthood. This may be a new thought to us, but it absolutely is scriptural—far more scriptural than the doctrine of the Trinity.

We through Christ are partaking of the Divine Nature. It only is because of the Divine Nature that we rightly may be viewed as God's children and brothers of the Lord Jesus.

There is one Divine family in Heaven and upon the earth, and it takes its name from the Father. Each member has been chosen by the Lord. Although we have to respond to our calling diligently and obediently, our salvation is not from our own efforts but from the God of Heaven.

The Lord Jesus is the great high Priest of God. We are members of the Royal Priesthood, and living stones in the eternal House of God of which Christ is the Chief Cornerstone.

Since we all are members of the one Divine Family, when addressing the heavenly Father we rightly can say, "Abba, Father." This is a term of affection. The truth is, God and Christ are far more anxious to be friendly with us than we are to be friendly with them.

Part of this lack of communication is due to the wholesome awe and reverent attitude which we maintain toward the Father and the Son. The other reason for the lack of friendship and communication is our sinful personality.

In the distant future we will be more comfortable with our role as members of the family of God. God will be our Father whom we love, and Christ will be our elder brother who helps us to properly enjoy our Father.

But in the meanwhile there are the worldliness, the lusts and passions, and the self-will and self-centeredness of our personality. It is because of these three elements that we cannot see the face of God, as can the angel of the little child.

What is needed is a massive, comprehensive program of reconciliation so that we can get along comfortably with the Father and Christ. Christ came into the world to bring us to the Father!

The program of reconciliation, or redemption, began on the cross of Calvary. There the blood that provides legal authorization for our reconciliation to the Father was shed by God's Lamb. When by faith we place our trust in the blood atonement, our sins of the past are placed behind God's back. This is the beginning of the eternal reconciliation of man to God and God to man.

Now we are guiltless of our past sins. This much reconciliation has been accomplished.

What is it that prevents full reconciliation? Our sinful nature.

When is the full reconciliation to take place? The program of full reconciliation has begun now and will extend until the end of the final resurrection and judgment. It is the spiritual fulfillment of the sending out of the camp the living goat of the Jewish Day of Atonement.

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)

The passage above informs us that the time is coming when "everything that causes sin and all who do evil" will be weeded out of God's Kingdom.

When that passage is fulfilled, there will be complete reconciliation among God and His people.

I have said that the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement has begun. How does this affect us as an individual?

If we are living in the Spirit of God, listening to Jesus at all times, the Holy Spirit will point out to us some aspect of worldliness, a sinful passion, or self-will and stubborn determination to pursue our own course in life.

This aspect of spiritual darkness must be dealt with specifically. It is less than useless to say, "I am filled with wickedness. God, deliver me from all my sins." To get deliverance we have to be specific.

"Lord, I am too involved in the world." "God, I am bound with fornication." "Lord Jesus, I know what you want me to do but I do not want to do it."

We won't get anywhere unless we confess some behavior we actually are guilty of; not something in the past; not some accusation that Satan whispers in our ear but which we have not done and have no intention of doing.

After confessing the specific sin to God, denounce it clearly, calling it "Evil"! This is half the battle. Confession will not accomplish anything unless we clearly, without compromising, address this spirit as sinful, having no place in the Kingdom of God.

To this point we have confessed and denounced.

Now, pray for the strength to renounce the specific behavior. Tell this spirit that you will have nothing more to do with it for eternity. You are through with it. You never will behave this way again. Tell it to leave your personality.

When I say "spirit," instead of "behavior," it is to remind us that many of these compulsions in our personality actually are spirits that dwell in our flesh and cause us to misbehave.

Some believers have maintained that it is impossible for a true Christian to have an unclean spirit in him or her. If this is the case, why do they act as though they do? A good question, isn't it? The truth is that sincere Christian people often are bound with gossip, lust, hatred, rage, jealousy, envy, unforgiveness, debate, a homosexual spirit, and every other unclean spirit imaginable.

Confess; denounce; renounce. This last, renounce, may distinguish deliverance from "penance." If my understanding is correct, "penance" includes confession and then some kind of punishment, such as saying the "our father" twenty-five times. In this way we are showing that we are sorry for our misbehavior.

True "renouncing" is repentance. To repent is to change course; to never again sin in this specific manner. You can see from this the vast difference between penance and repentance. Penance is an expression of remorse. Repentance is a determination to never again practice this specific behavior.

If we really are determined to renounce the specific behavior, Christ will assist us if we ask Him. When we are dealing with a longstanding sinful behavior, a "king" we might say, we have to renounce the behavior with all the determination we can muster. The spirit will not let go until it sees that we are utterly determined to be free from it.

I have noticed that sometimes when people come forward to be delivered from alcohol, they make the right confession and do the right thing. But in the deepest part of their mind they realize they are going to get drunk again. It feels so good.

So right here we have the difference between the victorious saint, and the believer who is not determined enough to be freed from the behavior.

There are tremendous rewards of rank and service in the Kingdom of God for the believer who does put forth the supreme effort to be delivered. Christ will help such a one. But the believer who wavers, not being able to bring forth that utter renunciation of the behavior, will not receive the rewards offered to the victorious saint.

Perhaps the non-victorious believer will be saved as by fire, meaning that his inheritance is burned away and he enters the new world of righteousness as a small child who is under the rulership of a more determined believer. Or, God may perceive that the person never will make a success of the new world of righteousness, but after lengthy instruction will still fall back into familiar patterns of behavior.

God will not be reconciled to him, because he is not sufficiently determined to turn aside from acts that are not of the image of God.

The conflict is real, and deadly. The rewards and inheritances are real. The punishments are real. We make a great mistake when we imagine the statements of the Bible will be modified in terms of the current philosophy of Humanism.

I think that the exercise of religion often is a substitute for knowing God and Christ. It appears to me that people can spend many years serving in a religious setting and never come to know God and Christ.

How can this be? It is because religion is a man-made system of beliefs and activities by which human beings hope to gain the approval of God.

God and Christ are Persons that we can come to know and trust. They are not man-made. They have likes and dislikes. They make moral judgments, while the angels carry out the sentences of the judgments. Angels are never permitted to make moral judgments.

However, man, being in the image of God, under the right circumstances is authorized to make moral judgments. When we denounce one of our behaviors as evil, we are making a moral judgment. This is the doctrine of "eternal judgment," mentioned in the sixth chapter of the Book of Hebrews.

One of the great errors of today's Christian preaching is the overemphasis on God's love. Surely God giving His Son on the cross to reconcile God to man gives proof of the enormity of God's love for His creatures.

But the flood of Noah, and the turning of Lot's wife into a pillar of salt, are evidences of the enormity of God's wrath. Because of this overemphasis on one part of God's Personality, and the neglect of the other aspect of God's personality, many of the American Christians are babies.

They cannot endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ. In fact, they do not believe it is necessary for them to endure any hardness. In response to this misunderstanding of God's Nature they have invented a "rapture" that will keep them from being inconvenienced in the day of trouble.

One common saying is, "Christ suffered so I will not have to suffer." One lady was hear to say, "If I thought God would allow me to suffer I would not serve Him."

Such an individual has little knowledge of God or of life. She does not understand that God created the fiercest of wild animals. She has not been a witness of the cruelty of people to other people, that God could have prevented but didn't. I guess she never has read of the Christian martyrs.

It is God who created the world in which we live. It is Satan who causes the misery and torment. God does not prevent Satan from doing his destructive work because God is using wicked spirits and wicked people to perfect those people whom he has predestined to be rulers of the new world of righteousness.

God does not spare us from suffering, because by suffering we are freed from sin.

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. (I Peter 4:1,2)

Jesus told us that if we would be His disciple we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him. We deny ourselves when we choose to do what God wants rather than what we want.

Our cross may be the deferral of our most intense desires; or it may be a prison in which we are compelled to live in circumstances that we do not enjoy. This prison may endure for many years.

The victorious saint will bear his cross, live in his prison, until Jesus brings him forth. If he finds a way to escape he disobeys God. He always must pray that God will give him the desires of his heart. But he must not reach out and grasp what he desires. If he does, he loses this chance to be reconciled to God.

There are so few believers, it seems, who are dedicated to knowing God and Christ, but there are some. These are God's Firstfruits. I refer to them as an army of judges, because they will be resurrected when the Lord comes and then descend with Him to install the Kingdom of God on the earth.

They are described in the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation. You can tell from the description that they know God and Christ to a greater extent than is true of many Christian believers:

Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)

The fact that these believers have the Lamb's name and the Father's name written on their foreheads reveals that they are especially close to God and the Lamb; they belong to God and Lamb; and they always do the will of God and the Lamb. Wouldn't you like to be that close to God and Jesus? I would.

It is the "Lamb" and not "Christ" who is emphasized because we are married to the Lamb by eating His flesh and drinking His blood.

They are standing on Mount Zion. Mount Zion is the heavenly Jerusalem.

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

And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. (Revelation 14:2)

Such a celebration! And why is this? It is because the Lamb and the Father are rejoicing over these who have chosen to give themselves wholly to God and the Lamb. All Christian people are invited to be part of this blessed assembly. But so few, it seems, are determined to set aside their own life that they might live by the Life of the Lamb.

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)

It may be true that many believers are afraid to give what they are and have to the Lord Jesus, believing they will lose everything of value. The truth is, every treasure of true worth, that we have set aside for the Lamb's sake, is waiting for us in Heaven. Sometimes we receive them back in the present world.

Heaven is not the vague country in which people float around in sheets. I know this is what people think, but it is not so. Heaven is a city in the spirit world. This is where the elect are located, learning more about God and Christ and waiting for the day they descend to the new earth as the new Jerusalem. This is the Royal Priesthood, and there is no more marvelous destiny than this!

The rewards we hope to gain by following our own course in the world are pitiful and threadbare compared with the rewards God's King will give to those who turn from their own life to do His will.

And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. (Revelation 14:3)

You can tell from the verse above how special these believers are to the Lamb and the Father. Why could no one else learn their song? It is because that song comes from within the individual. It is composed, line upon line, as the person listens carefully to Jesus and obeys His will at all times. The music and the words are not written in the casual Christian!

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)

Marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled, the Bible says. So we know the verse above is not referring to human marriage. Rather, the "women" who defile are the idols that we embrace, whether people, or money, or a talent, or a job, or some other circumstance that we worship instead of God.

If you want to know whether or not you are defiling yourself with some person, or thing, or circumstance, ask yourself if there is something that you would find almost impossible to give up if the Lord should request it. If there is something like that, even your own child, place him or her by prayer on the Lord's altar.

God will have no other gods embraced or worshiped other than Himself. He is very strict about this, because He knows such worship will deprive us of everlasting righteousness, love, joy, and peace. These are His goals for us, so trust Him in this matter.

They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. The Lamb has given up His privacy that wherever He goes. there they are. We can do this today. We can look to Jesus continually, so that we are living by His Life. As He is thinking we are thinking. As He is speaking we are speaking. As He is acting we are acting. This is how Jesus lives as part of the Father. It is the eternal Sabbath, the "rest of God" of which the Book of Hebrews speaks.

At the present time, whoever has the Father also has Jesus. Jesus wants it to be true that whoever has Jesus has you also. Would you like that? Then go for it.

They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. It is contrary to our American, democratic ideals to have some people favored over others. But this is not a Kingdom ideal. The 144,000 (whether literal or symbolic) are "firstfruits" to God and the Lamb.

No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless. I am 86 years of age. I have a good education---a doctorate in education from the University of Rochester in New York. I have at least average intelligence, and have worked with children and adults most of my life as a public-school teacher and principal and now as a pastor.

I have concluded that civilization is one huge lie. The world spirit is of Antichrist. The media present lies most of the time. The political leaders are known for their lying.

It is true of you and me. Most of us do not tell the truth all the time. If we think it will help our cause, we may lie. Isn't it so? It seems we all are born liars.

But God Himself is Truth. So is Jesus Christ. If we are to be reconciled to Them we must be purged of all forms of lying. It takes us a while. But with the assistance of the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit we can renounce all the lying that we do as it is pointed out to us. This makes it possible for us to come to know God and Christ.

Jesus is the Truth and He wants each one of His brothers to be the truth, thus bearing a true witness of Him.

Why were the 144,000 purchased from among men and offered as Firstfruits to God and the Lamb---the first and best of the entire harvest of mankind? Because they chose to make Jesus Christ the focus of their life.

We can do the same. It is up to us to decide if it is worth the cost to come to know the Father and Christ. We can remain heavily involved in the antichrist world spirit, worshiping money and pleasure, yielding on occasion to the unclean lusts and passions of our flesh and spirit, stubbornly insisting on living our own life according to our own plans and ambitions; or we can give it all to the Lord Jesus, trusting Him to bring us finally to our heart's desire.

What is it worth to you to have a personal relationship with the Father and Christ? Is it worth everything? He left Paradise and came to earth, experiencing all of our temptations, and finally dying as a criminal. In the process He, for a moment, lost the Presence of His Father, if you can imagine.

Christ bore that unimaginable load of sin and death that you might be reconciled to your Father in Heaven.

What are you going to do about it?

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The Nature of the Kingdom of God

2012-08-12

The original Gospel is the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. That we should repent because The Kingdom is coming to the earth, was announced by John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus, and Christ's Apostles. At some point, early in the Christian Era, the original Gospel was changed to the gospel of going to Heaven to live in a mansion. In our day the original Gospel of repentance and the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth is being restored.

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." (Matthew 3:1,2)

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of the God. "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" (Mark 1:14,15)

After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3)

Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. (Acts 19:8)

Matthew uses the term "Kingdom of Heaven." The other three Gospels employ the term "Kingdom of God." I know of no basis for regarding the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God as two different kingdoms. In terms of the New Testament, they obviously are the same kingdom. The Apostles of Christ did not preach about Heaven, only about the Kingdom of God.

In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." (John 3:3)

Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit." (John 3:5)

Jesus' reply to Nicodemus reveals the nature of the Kingdom of God. It begins as an inner kingdom, an inner rule of God. Later, when the Lord returns, the inner rule in the saints will be visible as an outer Kingdom. But for now, we are dealing with an inner kingdom.

Why must we be born again in order to see and enter the Kingdom of God? It is because the Kingdom is Christ. It is not of flesh and blood. It is Christ who is born in us. He Himself is God's Kingdom, God's Word, God's rule.

The Lord Jesus is the Word of God, through whom God created all things, made flesh. As we partake of Christ's body and blood, the Word of God is written in our mind and heart. This is the Kingdom of God. This is our resurrection. This is our flesh being made the Word that we might be part of our Lord.

The term "born again" is widely used in the Christian religion. But we are using it incorrectly. We are speaking of a largely mental conversion to the Christian religion. In actuality, to be born again is to have the Word of God planted in our personality. If we take care of it by prayer, obedience, and meditating in the Bible, the seed finally will grow into a Son of God.

All of the parables of the Lord Jesus are about the Kingdom of God. There is no parable having to do with going to Heaven, as far as I know. The Lord Jesus always taught about the Kingdom of God.

The parable of the sower, probably the most important parable of the Kingdom, tells of four types of the human personality. One type has considered several religions or idols, and the seed lays on top of the ground. In a second type of personality the seed germinates. But the ground is hard and rocky and the seed of the Kingdom dies because it does not have an adequate root system.

A third type of personality is cumbered about with numerous cares and problems. These are weeds that choke out the germinating seed.

It is only the fourth personality, the honest and good heart, that faithfully nourishes the germinating plant. Of the fourth personality, some bear fruit, bear the Kingdom of God, to a thirtyfold extent; some to a sixtyfold extent; some to a hundredfold extent.

This is the true nature of the Kingdom of God. It is a seed that has come from God. It is planted in us. It grows. In two of four kinds of people it bears no lasting fruit.

What shall we say about these two kinds of people. They heard the Word of God. They "accepted Christ." The seed germinated in their heart. They attended church. They busied themselves in Gospel work. But for one reason or another, the plant died. It bore no lasting fruit.

The fruit, by the way, is the image of Christ. It is the Kingdom of God.

You mean there are numerous "believers" in the Christian churches in whom the Kingdom has died? I mean exactly that. If it were not so, would Jesus have spoken this parable to us?

If such indeed be the case, there certainly is a huge difference between the Kingdom of God and the Christian religion. This is true. All religion, including the Christian religion, is constructed from people putting together traditional practices and words that they believe are pleasing to God and will insure their entrance into some kind of paradise after they die.

Like the Christian religion, many religions began in some sort of supernatural event. This certainly was true in case of Judaism and Christianity. But as time goes by, the Presence and will of God are lost. What is left is man's idea of what we ought to do.

In the case of Christianity, what was supposed to be an inner growth of Christ has become an external ritual of practices and beliefs that are intended to insure our entrance into Heaven so we may recline in our mansion and do nothing of significance for eternity.

It appears to me that there is a remnant of people in the Christian churches who know God. They are hearing the Spirit today. The Spirit is telling these people that it is time for us to confess our sins, as He points them out to us, to declare them to be evil, and with the help of the Lord Jesus, turn away from them with all our might.

If I am not mistaken this is the voice of the Spirit today. If I am correct, then it is true that if the seed of Christ is to come to maturity in us we must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit as He enables us to put to death the acts of our sinful nature.

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)

Notice that if we are living in the Spirit of God, the Spirit leads us to put to death the actions of our sinful nature. If we do not, the Kingdom of God dies in us. It does not bear lasting fruit. If we are faithful in cooperating with the Spirit in putting to death the deeds of our sinful nature, we will mature into a son of God.

But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Matthew 12:28)

Notice how the Lord Jesus referred to Himself and His ministry as the Kingdom of God. The Apostle Paul told us that if we yield to our sinful nature we will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Why is this? Because the Kingdom of God does not accept sin.

This is why it is so important today to distinguish between the gospel of Heaven and the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. If we permit the Holy Spirit to bring us into the Kingdom of God, the Spirit will enable us to drive the sinful compulsions from our personality. If our goal is to be in the Kingdom, then this is what we will do.

But if our goal is to go to Heaven to live in a mansion, why should we bother to follow the Spirit of God into deliverance from sin? We go to Heaven by grace not by being holy, it is taught, so why take the trouble to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, as Paul exhorted us? The gospel of Heaven is "another gospel," about which the Apostle Paul warned us.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:23,24)

The above passage is contrary to much popular Christian preaching. We are told today that God wants us to be prosperous, even rich! If we have faith and think positively, money will be given to us.

You know, this does not make much sense. The Lord said that it is difficult for people with money to enter the Kingdom of God. Why then would we want to be rich if it is going to hinder our entrance into the Kingdom of God? The Lord did not say it would hinder our entrance into Heaven. Did you notice that?

The Kingdom of Heaven, a term only Matthew uses, is the Kingdom of God that comes from Heaven. This is obvious because in the one passage (above), Jesus calls the Kingdom the Kingdom of Heaven, and then, the Kingdom of God.

The Old Testament speaks of the God of Heaven but never of the Kingdom of Heaven. None of the Apostles used the term, "the kingdom of Heaven."

The reason I am making such a point of this is that the current emphasis on dying and going to Heaven, or being "raptured" into Heaven, is not only unscriptural, but it is leaving the believers in a state of babyhood. Instead of striving each day to enter the Kingdom of God by following the Holy Spirit, they are waiting for a "rapture" to bring them to Heaven or to die and go to Heaven.

They speak of "gloryland"; of "my mansion in the sky"; "when I get there"; "when I sing and dance beside the river." All of this is debilitating. What Christ is interested in is change into His image. This is the fruit He is looking for. What good does it do for God and Christ if we "sing and dance beside the river" if we still are in the image of Adam?

Christ simply cannot be a brother of Adam, and Adam, according to Paul, cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

According to the Prophet Isaiah, the destiny of Christ, Head and Body, is to bring justice and peace to the nations. How can the redemption of the world be brought about if the "saints" are comfortably asleep in their mansions?

False doctrine is being preached today. I notice that little by little the term "kingdom" is appearing in Christian music. But this is a recent innovation. Before now the hymns and the preaching were about leaving our body and going to Heaven.

It is time now for us to whom God is speaking about the Kingdom of God, to begin to speak and write about the nature of the Kingdom of God. The people are following a false doctrine. The unscriptural doctrine of the "rapture" flows from the concept that making our eternal home in Heaven is the goal of our salvation.

Maybe if you buck the trend and begin to preach and write about the Kingdom of God, people may not understand you at first. But there are some fervent disciples who will understand you. Eventually the understanding of numerous Christians will include the Gospel of the Kingdom. This is what happened with the Pentecostal message!

"Which of the two did what his father wanted?" "The first," they answered. Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you." (Matthew 21:31)

We of today would say, and I no doubt many preachers have, "the tax collectors and the prostitutes will enter Heaven before you." How are we going to prosper if we depart from the Scriptures?

Speaking of adding to God's words, the famous John 3:16 often is quoted in the following manner: "God gave His Son that whoever believes in Him will go to Heaven and not to Hell when he or she dies."

Is that what is preached? Is that what the Bible says? Again I ask, what does the Bible actually say? "Should not perish but have everlasting life." This, by the way is referring to bodily immortality. The inward, spiritual nature does not perish! The body will be raised from the dead in the Day of Resurrection and live for eternity.

I believe at this point I should clarify some differences:

Eternal life has nothing to do with Heaven. Eternal life actually is the Presence of God and Christ that enters our personality as we keep our faith in Christ and obey Him at all times.

The Kingdom of God has nothing to do with Heaven. It is the Presence of God and Christ in us, teaching and enabling us to do the will of God.

Heaven is a city, Mount Zion, in the spirit world. This is where the elect are ministered to until they are ready to descend to the new earth as the new Jerusalem.

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

Eternal life is life lived in the Presence of God and Christ. It is the Resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus. Every time we resist a sinful desire and choose to do what God desires, we are fed in the Spirit with the Body and blood of the Lord Jesus. This is what it means to deny ourselves and follow Jesus. The goal is bodily immortality in the Day of Christ.

The Kingdom of God is an inner rule that governs our behavior so we are pleasing to God and righteous in His sight.

Heaven is a place in the spirit world where God, Christ, the Father, the saints, and holy angels have their residence.

Heaven is a place. We can have eternal life and not be in Heaven. We can be in the Kingdom of God and not be in Heaven.

We see and enter the Kingdom of God today as we are born of God and then carefully nourish the Divine Seed until it bears the fruit of the image of Christ.

Our goal is not Heaven, Mount Zion, because, according to the Scripture, we already have come there.

By teaching that the purpose of salvation is to bring us to our eternal home in Heaven, and that we go there by grace and not by a change in what we are, we have destroyed the moral vitality and strength of the Christian believers in America, and perhaps in other parts of the world.

Eternal residence in Heaven is a gift freely given to us without any change on our part, it is taught. Who would be so foolish as to refuse the gift of eternal residence in Paradise?

Well, we have a sinful nation to show for the departure of the Christian churches from the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. I think it will not be too long before God reveals His displeasure by bringing down our nation to a third-class, or lower, status in the world. Accompanying this degradation will be much bloodshed.

Whether this disastrous chaos is going to result from a civil war, as the opposing ideologies in our nation finally decide to vent their rage by killing each other; or whether the Muslim activists will set off an EMP bomb in the air or a nuclear device in several cities; I cannot say.

I think the Spirit of God has told me that the leadership of the world will pass to an Eastern country—probably China, would be my guess---because the government there, unlike our own in many instances, is striving to preserve morality.

It is the duty of every government on earth to strive to preserve morality. Morality is defined in much the same manner by decent people everywhere. The laws of morality in the Bible are the same as in our conscience, our conscience coming from the same God who wrote the Bible. Those governments that do not enforce moral behavior will be removed from power. I believe this is what is going to happen to our nation.

When the Lord Jesus appears, the kingdom of this world will become the Kingdom of God and of His Christ. Then what is now in our inward nature will fill the nations of the earth, and God shall be All in all.

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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Reflections

2012-08-19

Since it appears, from what is taking place in our country, there is going to be much bloodshed in the future, I would like to urge every Christian believer to press into Christ until he or she is living by the Life of the Lord Jesus. If we do that we will be able to survive the horrors that are ahead of us.

I read this morning about a tragedy that occurred in France. An unknown gunman chased a little girl, seized her by the hair and shot her in the head with a large-caliber pistol. In my book, there hardly is another crime as heinous as that.

The real tragedy is that her father, according to some accounts, had seen this murder take place. This was a life-changer for him. He never again will be the same. His heart, his little girl is now in Heaven with Jesus. His daughter, Myriam Monsonego, was seven years old.

How do I know his darling is in Heaven? It is my firm conviction that all little boys and girls go to Heaven when they die. Where else could they go in their innocence? When the children came to Jesus He did not ask them questions to see if their doctrine was sound. He gathered them to Himself just as His Father does.

I personally am appalled at this unspeakable act. It is one more reason I would like to leave this abominable world and go to be where Myriam is. She is happy playing with the other boys and girls. Her dad, the head teacher at Ozar Hatorah, will see her again if he is a good, decent man. I feel certain he is.

As I said, I would like to leave this present world. But as long as I am here, I would like to share some thoughts I have had over the past 67 years as a disciple of the Lord Jesus.

For some reason, Christ has made the spirit world real to me. Maybe it is because I soon am to be there. (Hallelujah!). I know from the Lord my loved ones will be well taken care of, so I have no worries in that direction.

During my life as a Christian I have been conscious of angels, especially at dramatic times, such as a serious illness, or when it was time to make a change in location or a similar important move. The angels always are men and taller than I am. I never saw one smile.

During the past five or so years, I have become more aware than ever of the spirit world. I do not see people and things such as we see them with our physical eyes, nor do I see them in a vision or dream. The best term I know to describe my experience is "awareness." I am aware of angels all the time. This used to be true just of my guardian angel. Now there seem to be four or five who always are with me.

I wonder if it is because I am seeking to put the axe to Dispensational theology, with its lawless-grace. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the most grievous, most destructive, error ever to enter Christian thinking.

Although it obviously is contrary to the Scriptures, which always teach that righteous behavior is necessary if we are to please God, Dispensational theology appears to have numerous adherents. The damage it has done to the moral strength of the Christian people in America is incalculable.

God does not move in dispensations but in covenants. Right now we are serving God under a new covenant, not a new dispensation. The new covenant is that of God writing His laws in our mind and heart. It certainly is not a new dispensation in which we can keep sinning as long as we believe in Christ.

If I were Satan, I would go after a man who was seeking to turn people to righteous, holy behavior. Perhaps this is why my angels have suddenly increased in number. Now I am becoming paranoid as well as conceited, and this will never do.

The Apostle Paul told us to set our heart on things that are above, not on things on the earth. The Lord Jesus commanded us to put our treasures in Heaven. So this is what we are supposed to do.

But it is difficult. Why is it difficult to keep our affections on things in the spirit world? It is because the spirit world is invisible to us. Then when a child is murdered, we think only of the circumstances that occurred on the earth. We do not perceive that the child is in a far better place. The spirit world is not real to us. Heaven is not real to us, so it is difficult to keep our attention focused there.

A few years ago one of my grandchildren flew off his motorcycle and was killed. His mother was in hysterics when she heard. Troy spoke to her from the spirit world and said, "Mom, I'm okay." Immediately she became peaceful.

How many instances have there been in which people from the spirit world assured their loved ones that they were fine. The number must be several thousand or more instances. Yet, at funerals we act as though the dead individual has been cast into a black hole somewhere, never to be seen again.

I remember once while I was lying on my back in bed, a woman I recognized passed over me, I could tell she was anxious about something. Come to find out she had just died, and before she died had expressed concern about her children.

I think we imagine that when people pass into the spirit world they suddenly know everything about God. I don't think so. Millions of people die believing in an unscriptural "rapture." Will they still believe that after they die, even though it is a false teaching? I think they will, unless someone teaches them differently.

In fact, I would conjecture that when an atheist dies and can see angels, and perhaps even Jesus, he still doesn't believe there is a God or a spirit world. I think faith is not a matter so much of what we actually see as it is what we want to see or don't want to see.

While I am on this subject, I believe that all revelation of God to the angels and people in the spirit world comes from saints on the earth. As soon as the saints receive understanding, and they preach or write what they have been shown, it comes to the attention of the believers in the spirit world. They without us cannot be made perfect.

For example, at this time we are entering the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement, Day of Reconciliation. This period of Divine working will continue until the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

During the Day of Atonement we are to confess and turn away from our sins and self-will. It is a time of our being reconciled to God and God being reconciled to us. If you will listen to the Spirit of God, He will guide you in this experience.

It is apparent that most of the members of the Bride of the Lamb are presently in the spirit world. They have died and now are among the great cloud of witnesses. If the Bride is to be without blemish, then they also will have to confess and turn away from their desire to sin and their self-will.

Yes, I believe so. After all, sin and self-will began around the Throne of God when Satan decided to usurp the role of the Father. If sin and self-will are possible in Heaven, then the work of the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) must be carried out there also.

All the members of the Body of Christ who have died and are in Heaven will have to pass through Divine judgment, the same as those of us on the earth. This is the doctrine of "eternal judgment" mentioned in the Book of Hebrews.

What I have "seen" in the spirit world over the last five years has made me realize how similar the two worlds are. We would expect this to be the case, since our world was created from the spirit world.

My wife, Audrey, and I live in Southern California. The scenery is gorgeous. The weather is idyllic. If one were to remove all sin and sinners from our area, one might not desire to live anywhere else—not even in Heaven!

Well, the Kingdom of God is at hand. When the Lord Jesus and His saints descend to earth on their white war stallions, they will remove all of the lords of wickedness and their demon accomplices from the earth, sending them into the spirit prisons. The only problem remaining will be the sin and self-will in the people of the nations.

The people of the nations will be governed very strictly by Christ and His saints. The work of the Day of Atonement will be continuing, so those who are willing to do so may renounce their sins and self-seeking. Then the world will be filled with the Spirit of God, and little children will be able to play safely with all the animals.

Imagine when your little boy has a lion for a pet; your little girl has a cobra for a pet! "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain," says the Lord.

Wonderful days, seasons of love, peace, and joy beyond belief are at hand. Little by little God's will shall be done in the earth as it is done in Heaven. The very best that is of the spirit world will clothe itself with the very best of the physical world.

Little Myriam, perhaps a young lady by then, will be able to play once again with her Dad and Mom in a Paradise so marvelous that even the Garden in Eden would pale in comparison.

What hinders the clothing of the physical world with the spirit world? We do. Human beings do. As long as we are sinful and self-willed, Paradise on the earth is impossible. The new sky and new earth are impossible. It is God, Christ, and people who make Paradise corrupt or splendid.

A great error persists in the minds of God's people. It is that going to Heaven will change them. Not so. If they bring with them self-will and rebellion against Christ, then they will remain in this condition. There is nothing in the atmosphere of Heaven that will change them. As I said, sin began in Heaven with Satan and those angels who listened to him.

If this actually is true, and indeed it is, then people must be delivered from everything that has to do with Satan if we are to see our deceased loved ones again in a new world of righteousness. The war between good and evil has not as yet been waged successfully. There are battles yet to be fought.

Our Lord Jesus Christ won the initial battle, the battle that determined the destiny of the human race, when He said to God in the garden, "Not My will but Yours be done," and then died on the cross to make an atonement for our sins.

The beginning battle was won by the forces of Good, as exemplified by the Lord Jesus Christ. But the war will not be over until the destiny of every human and every angel has been decided. The good will enter the new world of righteousness that God is preparing. The evil will be contained in the spirit prisons, where they cannot corrupt the beautiful new world with their self-seeking and disobedience to Christ.

Now it comes down to you and me. Are we willing to permit God to make us the type of person that can install and maintain Paradise, or are we going to hold on to our own life?

Let us say we want to be on the side of good. What must we do right now?

First, we must recognize that the Lord Jesus Christ died to make an atonement for our sin, and accept that forgiveness.

Second, we must accept the Lordship of Christ. We must bring everything we think; everything we say; and everything we do; to Him for His approval.

I realize that this is a level of consecration that most of us are unfamiliar with. But when we are not living like this, we may be thinking, saying, and doing things that are destructive of the Kingdom of God. Is that possible do you think?

If we pray earnestly, sincerely, and continually to God in Jesus' name, God will bring to pass this level of total consecration in us.

We are to present our body to God as a living sacrifice that we may be able to prove His will in every matter.

We must confess our sins as they are pointed out to us by the Spirit of God; and then we are to turn away from them with all our might, seeking the help of Christ.

We must hold the world as lightly as possible.

We must remain as cheerful as we can in the various "prisons" in which God places us, until He sets us free. The purpose of these "crosses" is to slay our self-will.

In all of this we must continue to do our duty toward our family. We cannot ignore the needs of our family in the interests of serving God. God will not accept this offering. We must tend to the need of our family! They may not have the same calling that we do, and such obedience to Christ cannot be forced.

The most important aspect of the Kingdom of God is obedience to Christ. God will not accept anyone in His Kingdom who does not obey Christ. Just because we die and enter the spirit world does not mean we automatically will obey Christ. We have to make a determined effort at all times to be absolutely obedient to Christ, to do His will as it has been made known to us.

As for people to whom Christ has not been revealed, they will be judged according to their behavior---whether they have been good, decent people as judged by the conscience of the average person.

But those who are called to be members of the Royal Priesthood must press into Christ continually until they are living by His Life.

Eve was created from Adam. When Adam looked at Eve He was looking at himself. "She shall be called 'woman' because she was taken from man," Adam exclaimed. It doesn't seem to me that Adam was as impressed with Eve as he was with the idea that she had been taken from him and was part of him. "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh."

If we are learning to live by the body and blood of Christ, as we resist sin and embrace righteous behavior, then we are being created from Christ. That which originally was born from our father and mother is being replaced by Christ. What a marvelous thing this is!

When Adam looked at Eve he was looking at himself. When we come to maturity, when Christ looks at us He is looking at Himself. This is the plan, the goal.

Eve could not have married anyone else because it would have been Adam marrying that person. It is exceedingly important that we be delivered from all our idols, all that we are married to. Otherwise it would be as though Christ were marrying that person, thing, or situation.

The royal priesthood, the Body of Christ, is a called "Personage." God has elected and chosen her. She is the government of the Kingdom of God. Through her, Christ will govern the people from the nations whose names are found in the Book of Life.

I have spoken recently about the damage fretting can do to us. We must not fret, the Bible says. Fretting will tear us down from our high place in God and we will not be giving a good testimony to other people.

There always has been and always will be evil people in the world, until Jesus returns. Therefore we are not to marvel at their abominable doings but keep our minds on righteousness, love, joy, and peace. Then we can dwell joyously in Christ at the right hand of God while Satan does his dance in the earth.

God is laughing at the rebels, and we would do well to laugh along with God and rejoice in Christ Jesus.

We have a difficult time keeping our minds on things above because the Bible says so little about the next life. One author stated in her book about people who had died and were revived, that Heaven is found throughout the Bible---that there is this and that about Heaven.

As much as I enjoyed her book and profited from it, she is mistaken about Heaven being a main topic of the Scriptures. In actuality, very little is said about Heaven or about what we will experience when we get there. We imagine the Bible talks a lot about Heaven, but it doesn't.

We have a mythology about Heaven. Part of our mythology has to do with statements from the Book of Revelation. However, Revelation is largely symbolic. For example, we understand that stars are not going to fall from the sky. Many stars are much larger than the earth, so where are they going to fall to?

If the new Jerusalem has only one street and that made of gold, and there is no sea, it is not going to be a place where I would want to live!

All of the gold and precious stones of the new Jerusalem are useless in terms of value. Money is not used as an exchange for goods and services. None of these things appeal to me, and probably don't to you as you think about them. The only item of true importance is relationships.

The head teacher in the school where his seven-year-old daughter was shot to death could not care less about a street of gold. He would rather have his daughter back than ten thousand streets of gold. Am I correct?

So we haven't thought too clearly about where we are going after we die. The Bible doesn't tell us much about where we are going when we die, except that seven times in the Old Testament we find the expression: "he was gathered to his people."

The expression "go to Heaven" is not found in the Bible, to the best of my knowledge. The Apostles of Christ never taught about going to Heaven. Assuredly, going to Heaven is not what salvation is. Salvation has to do with people, not with a place where we go when we die.

What then is the Bible about? In addition to being a history of Israel, the Bible is about God, Christ, righteous behavior, holy character, and obedience to Christ---which is obedience to God since Christ always does God's will. Another major topic is immortality—eternal life.

If you have nothing else to do for several days, go through the New Testament and highlight the passages that have to do with our behavior.

And the exhortations to righteousness, holiness and obedience are never once presented as being the way to go to Heaven. Rather they have to do with fellowship with God and the kind of resurrection we will have.

The Apostle Paul was setting aside his own life that he might attain to the resurrection which is out from the dead, that is, the first resurrection. I have never heard a sermon that encouraged us to seek to attain to the first resurrection. Yet, the Apostle Paul said we are the have the same mind as he.

Since the Bible does not tell us much about what happens to us when we die, about where we go, about whether or not we will recognize people, how we will be dressed, what we will be doing for eternity, we must rely on what God shows us or else the testimonies of people who have died and then been revived.

There are several such testimonies in book form, and they can be found in Christian bookstores or by searching the Internet. However, many of these are not in accord with the Scriptures. Therefore they cannot be trusted.

As I said earlier, I have an awareness of the spirit world. People and situations are more like what we are familiar with than they are different. They are not "spooky." Remember, God said He is making all things new, not all new things. The supernatural is natural when we address it correctly.

I don't "see" people in white sheets unless they are on some kind of mission. They live in communities and work at jobs with which we are familiar. They eat and sleep just as we do in our present life.

God's royal priesthood, who live in the new Jerusalem, are dressed in white robes. Perhaps white robes are a sign of the priesthood. When Christ and His army descend from Heaven they will be wearing white robes.

Children go to school. Don't forget we will be living on the earth once again when the new earth comes down from Heaven, and so the type of education we are accustomed to will be necessary.

Most people, when they die, have to go to a school and be trained in the ways of Heaven. They must obey Christ strictly. They must learn to love God with all their heart and their neighbor as themselves.

People in Heaven are not permitted to sin. The angels make certain of that. The people in the new Jerusalem, that is, the members of God's Church, His witnesses, have to go through the operation of the Day of Atonement until they are reconciled totally to God. If my understanding is correct, those who attain to the first resurrection, when Jesus returns, will, as part of their responsibilities, visit the saints in the heavenly Jerusalem and teach the believers there who did not attain to the first resurrection.

The saved people from the nations, who are not of the Royal Priesthood, will have to go to school when they die, as I said. They will be governed by saints chosen for the task, who will have the help of God's angels. No person in Heaven is permitted to sin or to act independently of Christ.

As for those from the nations whose names are in the Book of Life and thus are permitted to enter life on the new earth, they will be governed by the saints.

So we are looking forward to a new world of righteousness in which there is no sin. Remember, Satan will be thrown into the Bottomless Pit when Jesus returns. Also, Antichrist and the False Prophet will be placed in the Lake of Fire.

Another important factor that will tend to minimize sin is that money will not be used to exchange goods and services. Could you imagine what a change there would be in the world today if money no longer had value?

Suppose each person received what he or she needed without charge, and each person contributed according to his or her ability without charging for his services or goods.

I understand that this was the goal of the Communist Revolution. But it did not work because of the sinfulness of people. It will work during the thousand-year Kingdom Age and during the new earth reign of Christ, because the angels will make it work. The pursuit and love of money is a tremendous hindrance to a peaceful, loving society.

Therefore there will be no crime, no wars, no need for jails or prisons. Whoever will not refrain from harming other people will be sent to live with Satan and his followers.

What I am writing may seem hopelessly idealistic. It is not. God has determined to make an end of sin; and what God has determined to do will be done. He has that kind of power.

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. (Daniel 9:24)

"An end to sin, and everlasting righteousness." May it happen quickly!

It will take a little while for sin to be eradicated from the earth, but it shall happen because God has declared it shall happen. If we can hear the voice of the Spirit of God, He already—even in this sin-cursed earth—is teaching and empowering us with the Virtue of Christ so we can put sin and disobedience behind us. We can join the army of judges who shall return with Christ and install the Kingdom of God upon the earth.

Satan would have us believe that God has to be contented with forgiving us; that there is no hope we can ever live on the earth without sin. But he is mistaken. God never intended that angels and people should disobey Him, but He knew they would. So He has put into motion a plan that will insure that never again will there be sin in God's creation.

God envisions a new world of righteousness is which the government of Christ and peace will endure forever. This shall take place. Since there will be no death, the population of people will increase forever. Soon it will be necessary to modify the stars so they are inhabitable. There will be no end of the growth of Christ's Kingdom.

But it had to begin on the cross of Calvary.

It seems that today there is a tremendous amount of injustice. Some people have more money than they can spend, while others do not have enough food to eat. Some have the very best of medical treatment, while others may have no access at all to medical treatment. Some live in fabulous mansions, while others are homeless.

Isaiah tells us that when Jesus returns with His saints, one of their first tasks will be that of establishing justice on the earth. I do not understand why this is not preached more than it is. To listen to today's preaching you would think that we come to Jesus so we might live forever in a mansion in Heaven and do nothing of significance for eternity.

If we are not going to return with Christ and bring the Presence of God to the peoples of the earth, why would God train and test us continually?

This brings to my mind the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is coming from Heaven to the earth. This is the original Good News preached by Christ and His Apostles. If the Kingdom of God is coming to the earth, I don't believe most of us would want to remain in Heaven among the angels while God's Glory is filling the earth. It really is a better Gospel!

What will the earth be like when the Kingdom comes? First of all, God's will shall be done here. There shall be no more democratic or other kind of government that we are accustomed to. God through Christ and His saints shall govern the peoples of the earth.

Every aspect of life that is worthy shall be subject to Christ. All that is not worthy shall be removed.

The establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth will be divided into two parts: The first part will occur when Christ and His saints return from Heaven. The second part will occur when God creates a new earth. Of course, the new earth will be filled with Divine Glory far surpassing what will be true on the present earth when Jesus and the saints come.

Why is this? Because the new Jerusalem will have come down from Heaven and will be located on a high mountain of the new earth. The Throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the new Jerusalem. The Tree of Life and the River of Life will be available to those who are qualified to go up to Mount Zion and partake of the Life of God, which is in the Lord Jesus Christ.

But our present earth, when Jesus returns with His saints, will be an infinitely better place in which to live. The eleventh chapter of the Book of Isaiah give us some idea of what life will be like on our present earth.

During this period of time, which I refer to as the "Kingdom Age," sometimes known as the "Millennium," Christ and His saints will govern the nations with the scepter of iron righteousness.

The Kingdom Age will be a wonderful time for children. They will have animals for pets that today are wild, such as lions, tigers, wolves, poisonous snakes, and so forth. The Glory of God will cover the "sea," that is, the people of the nations. They will have the opportunity to drink of the water of eternal life.

Please keep in mind the sequence of events. First, the thousand-year Kingdom Age. Next, the final resurrection and judgment. Finally, the emergence of the new sky and new earth. Right now we are discussing the thousand-year Kingdom Age, that will commence on the present earth when the Lord returns..

At the present time, we are approaching the end of the Church Age. There is coming a worldwide revival in which the Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached to all nations as a witness of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

Then God will withdraw the power of the testimony and Antichrist will be revealed. This will usher in a period of terrible spiritual darkness. The love of the world (Egypt), the lusts of the flesh (Sodom), and spiritual presumption and self-will in religious matters (Jerusalem) will overcome the Christian testimony. The majority of those who were converted during the witness of Christ and His saints (the two witnesses) will lose their love for the Lord. Some will be tortured and killed for their faith. A remnant of victorious saints will go into hiding.

At the time of greatest spiritual darkness, the Glory of God will come upon the remnant of saints who had borne the witness. Christ shall appear from Heaven with His warrior angels. The power of Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet will be destroyed. People from all over the earth will be drawn to the Divine Light that rests upon the victorious saints.

After the breaking of the power of the lords of darkness, the victorious saints will march through the cities of the earth with Christ at their head. All the works of Satan will be destroyed. The wicked will be driven into the spirit world. This is Joel's army.

Now the Lord Jesus Christ, having established His headquarters in Jerusalem, will send out His saints to all parts of the earth. The saints will govern the nations with iron righteousness. Many of the larger countries, such as the United States, will be broken up into several smaller kingdoms, each kingdom having its own ruler.

Money no longer will be used as a medium of exchange for goods and services. Justice shall prevail throughout the earth. There will be no more wealthy, and no more impoverished, people. Everyone will provide their goods and services without charging for them. No one will be permitted to share in the economy unless he provides the resources for which God has created him or her.

There will be no crime, no wars, no fighting. The communities will be led by people of obvious merit as directed by the Lord, so local politicians will be a thing of the past, as will police stations and firehouses.

Whoever refuse to live productively and amicably with other people will be dealt with by the saints, who will be supported by warrior angels. All of the arts and sciences will flourish. Every talent possessed by human beings will have the opportunity to be exercised.

People will be playing instead of working. Since earning money no longer is an object, people will be doing what they enjoy. When I was an elementary-school teacher I enjoyed the children so much that I would not have desired to be paid money for what I was doing, except that I had to have money to support myself and my family.

Anyone who really enjoys the work they do knows what I mean by saying people will be playing instead of working.

The Kingdom of God is a realm of undeniable authority. Those who insist on doing what they desire without regard for the welfare of other people will be forced to do what is right. If they absolutely refuse, and are stubbornly unwilling to learn to love God, obey Christ, and love their neighbor, will be sent to live with Satan and his angels. After they are there for a while they will become part of Satan, just as righteous people will become part of Jesus eventually.

The reconciling work of the Day of Atonement will still be continuing. The Holy Spirit will guide each person in getting rid of sinful compulsions and self-will. The work of reconciling man to God and God to man will continue until the final resurrection.

After that, during the endless life on the new earth. those who chose to return to sin and self-will shall be dealt with by members of the army of judges. If they repent, they can be healed. If they do not repent they no longer will have access to the Tree of Life and the River of Life. Being denied the Life of Christ they will sicken and wither until it is obvious they no longer belong in the new world of righteousness.

They then will find their new home with the wicked in the Lake of Fire.

In the beginning God planted a garden in the land of Eden. This probably was in the Middle East. The man, Adam, was created, and Eve, his wife, was created from him. The whole earth was available for them and the animals to play in.

It was not possible for the two humans to maintain Paradise. Why not? Because they were not trained in righteousness, and there was no government to insure that they would not rebel against God.

Therefore, God lifted Paradise and the Tree of Life to Heaven, where it will remain until the new Jerusalem comes down to the new earth.

Adam and Eve were not trained in righteousness, and there was no government to keep them from rebelling against God.

So what is God doing now? God designed man to live in Paradise and have access to the Tree of Life and the River of Life, not in the Valley of the Shadow of Death where we attempt to survive and serve God today?

What God is doing now is training people in righteousness and forming a government, so human beings can successfully maintain Paradise on the earth. It is as simple as that!

You can understand from this how misplaced is a theology that does not insist on training in righteousness, as is true of Dispensational theology; and the setting of going to Heaven to live forever as the goal of salvation.

How is God going about training people in righteousness, and forming a government that eventually will remove all sin and self-seeking from God's Presence.

God first move is to call out a Church, a Royal Priesthood, from among the nations of the earth. The calling out began with the physical land and people of Israel; has continued with the adding of Gentiles to Israel; and will finish with a spiritual Israel, the Church, and a physical Israel who, while they are not part of the Church, are beloved by the patriarchs.

God's next move is to divide the Church, spiritual Israel, the Royal Priesthood, into a Firstfruits, and then the majority of Israel—all who are not part of the Firstfruits.

Christ is dealing severely with the Firstfruits. Every trace of worldliness, of the lust and passions of the flesh and spirit, of self-will, and all idolatry of any kind whatever must be eternally removed from them.

When Christ has obtained the full number of His Firstfruits, He will return with them and destroy Antichrist and the False Prophet. Satan shall be confined in the Bottomless Pit.

Then Christ and His Firstfruits will go through the cities of the earth and cleanse them from every vestige of the Antichrist civilization.

After this, Christ and His Firstfruits will govern the peoples of the earth. During this time the Firstfruits, in addition to governing the nations, will teach and nourish the remainder of spiritual Israel until they are ready to descend with Christ and the Firstfruits to the new earth, as the Tabernacle of God.

Now we have people trained in righteousness, and also a kingdom that will enforce righteousness for eternity. God has determined to make an end of sin, and He is in the process of doing just that! No matter what turmoil in the earth we may see in the future, know with certainty that all things are working together for the good of those who love God and have been called according to His eternal purpose in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)

I believe it is going to be of special importance during the days to come in America that we make an effort to set our hearts on things above. We are going to have to take time out of our day to do this.

We can't set our mind on things above when we are watching the television or reading. We can however while we are going about our daily tasks, unless they require concentration. There are so many important things happening in the world today that it is difficult to step back, as it were, and think about our place in Christ at the right hand of God.

Satan will do everything he can to bring our minds down to his antics in the earth. This is particularly true at the present time as we are heading toward a presidential election. Since many of the leading politicians possess values different from ours, and we do not approve of their moral choices, it is easy to become enraged.

But this is not of Christ. We need to get our mind back on Him, realizing that He has enough authority and power to make the changes we desire. Our part, then, is to pray, not to become angry.

We now are dead, Paul says, having been crucified with Christ. Let us therefore strive to live by His Life. Christ is not dismayed and fearful because of the ambitions and actions of the politicians.

"When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." I wonder how much thought we have given to the fact that we are destined to appear with Christ when He comes. There is a great deal of talk and emphasis on the unscriptural "rapture." But the emphasis of the Scripture is on our appearing with Christ.

What will we do when we appear with Him? We will work with Christ at the task of removing all the power of sin from the earth.

What do you think of the following passage? Can you place yourself in this picture? It is far more scriptural than any "rapture"!

The remnant of Jacob will be in the midst of many peoples like dew from the LORD, like showers on the grass, which do not wait for man or linger for mankind. The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, which mauls and mangles as it goes, and no one can rescue. Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies, and all your foes will be destroyed. (Micah 5:7-9)

Would you rather be lying on a couch in your mansion while this is going on? If so, then you are not in harmony with God's will for His saints.

Here is another picture for you of what it will be like to appear with Christ:

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. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. (II Thessalonians 1:5-10)

Are you ready now to appear with Christ, or would you rather fly away in a "rapture"?

The big event of the present hour is the travail of the saints to bring forth Christ in their personalities. The Scriptures indicate that this will take place in the closing days of the Church Age. Those who bring forth Christ in themselves in these days are God's Firstfruits, God's judges, who will work with Christ in the installing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.

"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)

The short passage above has a lot to say to us today. After speaking about the Lord Jesus Christ, Micah says that Israel will be abandoned until she who is in labor gives birth.

Well, it appears today that Israel has been abandoned. The nation is relying on the United States instead of God, it appears.

"She who is in labor" is the Christian Church, as described in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation. Today a remnant of the Church is travailing in birth to bring forth the brothers of Christ.

When the brothers have been brought forth, they will return to the physical land and people of Israel. The power of Christ working through them will remove the power of sin from the Jewish people. The Deliverer will come from Zion and all Israel will be saved.

I think Satan understands this, and for this reason moves on Bible teachers to create a division between a so-called Jewish Church and a so-called Gentile Church. The Bible teachers do not seem to understand that there only is one Olive Tree, who is Jesus Christ, and we Gentiles, who are part of Christ, are grafted into the Olive Tree.

The witnesses in the spirit world cannot be made perfect apart from us. There shall be one Church, one new Jerusalem, one Christ, one Israel, one elect of God, one Body of Christ, one Wife of the Lamb, one Kingdom of God.

Satan may work feverishly to keep this understanding from the saints, but he shall not succeed!

The Deliverer will come from Zion and all Israel will be saved. All of us who are members of the Body of Christ are part of Messiah, part of the Deliverer.

And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD's. (Obadiah 1:21)

And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob." (Romans 11:26)

Is "Zion" the Christian Church?

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:22-24)

There will be signs that warn us of the nearness of the coming of Christ and His saints:

I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. (Joel 2:30,31)

And notice the role the remnant, those who survive the chaos of the last days, shall play----even throughout the darkest of hours:

And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls. (Joel 2:32)

Notice what the writer of the Book of Hebrews regards as "elementary teachings":

Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. (Hebrews 6:1,2)

I have mentioned previously the Day of Atonement—the judgment of sin and self-seeking that will operate from now until the end of the Kingdom Age. It is necessary that all sin and self-seeking be removed from the Royal Priesthood and from those whom God saves from among the nations, if such people are to be reconciled to God and God to them.

This is the doctrine of "eternal judgment." One does not hear too much about this doctrine, but the writer of Hebrews (above) refers to it as "elementary." We are to press past our experience of eternal judgment into the rest of God, into the place where we are living by the Life of Christ.

I have mentioned also God's "Firstfruits." They are a remnant, we might say, of the whole Christian Church. They will be raised from the dead, ascend to where Christ is in the air, mount the white war stallions, and then descend with Christ to establish justice on the earth.

All Christians are welcome to be part of the Lord's Firstfruits; but it requires on our part total consecration to Christ. In the present day God is calling out His Firstfruits in Heaven and upon the earth. We must respond by committing ourselves wholly to the Lord Jesus.

Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 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. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless. (Revelation 14:1-5)

You can see from the above passage that there is such a group as the "Firstfruits," and that they are totally committed to the Lord Jesus. That they are not defiled with women means they are free from idolatry, from idolizing people, things, or circumstances. It is not referring to ordinary physical marriage, which the Bible tells us is honorable and undefiled.

Notice that the members of the Firstfruits follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They do not lie. They are blameless!

You can be a member of the Firstfruits if you will go to God and tell Him you would like this to be true of you. Christ is more anxious that you be part of His Firstfruits than you are, most likely. The opportunity is available now!

I have referred previously to the "first resurrection." Although the first resurrection is set forth clearly in the New Testament, it is not discussed by Christian people as often as we could wish. God's Firstfruits will participate in the first resurrection from among the dead.

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)

Paul had set as his goal attaining to the first resurrection, the resurrection of the Firstfruits. He did not claim to have attained to it, although he had set aside all else in his pursuit. To attain to the first resurrection means merely that we have cooperated with the Holy Spirit as He has pointed out to us the several aspects of our sinful, self-willed nature. We then through the Spirit proceed to put each of these aspects to death.

As we resist sin and self-will, we are fed with the "hidden manna," the body and blood of the Lord. The result is, the Character of Christ develops in us. We put sin and self-seeking to death, and nourish the new Life of Christ in us by obedience, prayer, and meditating in the Scriptures. We have fellowship on a regular basis with fellow saints, as possible. We serve the members of the Body of Christ as we have opportunity.

This is how we enter the resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus.

When Christ appears, we therefore will be qualified and competent to surrender (if we still are alive on the earth) our flesh and blood body that it might be clothed with a body from Heaven, thus making alive our carnal body. If we already had died and are in the spirit world, we have gone through the same process of judgment as those of us on the earth. We will return with the Lord Jesus; receive back our flesh and bone body from its grave; and be clothed upon with our body from Heaven.

The body that will clothe over our flesh and bone body will reveal in itself our inward personality—that which has been formed as we have gone through the process that has resulted in our living by the Life of Jesus.

On the earth we are able to conceal what we are. In the spirit world, especially after the resurrection, what we are will be seen clearly in our outer form. When you think about it, this is perfectly righteous, although not pleasing to those who wish to conceal their wickedness.

Referring back to the passage above:

"I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge." Those who are raised in the first resurrection are an army of judges who will, with Christ, judge God's creation---people and angels as well.

"And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God." This may be referring to actual decapitation. Another thought is that it may be referring to the process we go through as we set aside our own thoughts that we might have the mind of Christ. We cannot possibly enter the rest of God until we learn to ask Jesus about everything we think, say, and do.

Perhaps our fiercest battle as disciples is learning to surrender our will to the will of Christ. Our mind is an enemy of God. It may be that the "beheading" that takes places refers to our learning to live by the Life of Jesus.

"Because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God." The Bible says we overcome the accuser by the word of our testimony. To give a true testimony of Jesus means infinitely more than what we say about Christ, although what we say assuredly is important.

But religious preaching and teaching can be harsh, doctrinaire, not having the Presence of Christ in it. It is the Presence of Christ that is the testimony, not just our words.

What we are proclaiming in our testimony must conform to the Spirit of the Bible. There is a "grace" teaching today that claims to be the doctrine of the Apostle Paul. It certainly is not. The true testimony of Jesus, the true Word of God, does not tell us we can continue to sin and God will have fellowship with us because we say we have "accepted Christ."

"They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands." The mark of the Beast, of Antichrist, is man being his own god, rejecting the rule of Christ. When we worship self-will, as is true today in America, or money, which is the image of self-will, we are worshiping the Beast.

His mark on our forehead means we make our own decisions without regard to the Lord. His mark in our hands means we act according to our own will instead of doing God's will. This is the opposite of living by the Life of Jesus.

"They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years." Although they had been alive spiritually before this, they now had Spirit-filled bodies. The Bible does not count us as being fully alive until our body has been redeemed and is filled with the Life of the Spirit of God.

The thousand years, whether literal or symbolic, is the period of time between the next coming of Christ and the final resurrection. I refer to this period as the Kingdom Age, because during this age the Kingdom of God will govern the people living on the present earth.

After the Kingdom Age, God will create a new sky and a new earth. At that time the "Tabernacle of God," which is the perfected Christian Church, will be located on a high mountain of the new earth. This is the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb.

"(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.)" We can understand why the Apostle Paul had set aside everything that he might attain to this resurrection Attaining to the first resurrection means that the believer already has passed through the eternal judgment and has no occasion to worry about the final judgment.

No books are opened at the first resurrection. The sentence placed upon those who attain to the first resurrection is to govern with the Lord Jesus for eternity. This resurrection is well worth pressing toward, as did the Apostle Paul.

"This is the first resurrection." Everyone else who has been born will be raised from the dead at the second resurrection. Each individual shall be judged according to what is written in the book that records his or her life, that is, according to what he or she has done.

Those whose name is in the Book of Life will be brought over to citizenship on the new earth. Those whose name is not in the Book of Life will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.

To be thrown into the Lake of Fire is to be lost. The individual no longer can be redeemed. Eventually the individual will become part of Satan, just as we who are in the Kingdom of God eventually will become part of Christ.

Sometimes people exclaim that God is too loving to condemn anyone to such a fate. But God deals endlessly with people before they are eternally condemned.

There are people who will not surrender their self-will no matter how lovingly God reproves them. If one such person were to be allowed into the Paradise of God, he or she soon would destroy the entire environment and bring the curse of God upon everyone, just as Adam and Eve have brought the Divine curse upon our environment, and upon all of us before the blood of Jesus redeems us.

"Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection." I do not think there is any doubt that the language here implies that those who participate in the first resurrection are more blessed and holy than other Christians. They are a firstfruits to God and the Lamb.

I realize that many will resent the idea that some believers are more blessed and holy that is true of other believers. The "grace" teaching denies that such distinctions are possible among Christians. Those who object will just have to get used to it, because it is what the Bible declares.

There are all sorts of ranks in the Kingdom of God, ranging all the way from elders who sit on thrones in the Presence of God all the way down to believers who have lost their inheritance through carelessness but have been permitted to enter the Kingdom as little children. They have been saved as by fire.

The Kingdom of God is not a democracy. God exalts one person according to God's will and puts down another, according to God's will. It is not our place to complain or be jealous. God knows exactly what He is doing. He is the Potter and we are the clay. If we are not content with being put in a lowly place, then the trouble is within us. We are ambitious, and that spirit is not of God, not in the image of God.

"The second death has no power over them." The Lake of Fire has authority over eight forms of behavior. Until through the Lord Jesus we overcome each of these eight, the Lake of Fire has authority over us. The Father has given such authority to the Lake of Fire.

"But they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years." These are the Firstfruits to God and the Lamb.

Therefore, having the stern warnings and wonderful promises of the Scriptures, what then are we to do?

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. (Colossians 3:5-10)

The Lord bless your richly as you press further into Christ. By so doing you will save yourself and your loved ones in the coming days of chaos.

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The Coming of the Kingdom of God

2012-08-26

John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus preached the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. I do not know when it happened, but somehow the Gospel of the Kingdom was changed into the Gospel of Heaven. Instead of the Good News being that the Kingdom was coming to the earth, the Good News now is that we will go to Heaven when we die or when we are "raptured."

Why was the Gospel changed? Probably to be more in line with the other religions of the earth, which teach that if we obey the tenets of the religion we will go to some sort of paradise when we die.

There is an invisible Kingdom of God. It is the rule of God in Christ in whomever Christ is dwelling.

There is a visible Kingdom of God. The visible Kingdom of God is the rule of Christ over all people living on the earth when He returns with His saints.

The Christian Church is the government of the Kingdom of God.

When the visible Christian Church comes down through the new sky to be installed on a high mountain of the new earth, it will govern the nations of people who have been saved to citizenship on the new earth.

It is not always preached that there will be two classes of people living on the new earth: God's Church, which is the new Jerusalem; and the people from the nations who are not of the Church but whose names are written in the Book of Life.

Until it is understood that the Church is a minority of earth's population, and that of the remainder of the people of the nations, some will be saved to eternal life and some will be thrown into the Lake of Fire because they are wicked, it is impossible to understand much of the Book of Isaiah and much of the Book of Revelation.

The salvation of the people from the nations can be understood readily in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Book of Matthew. The saved people from the nations are the sheep, for whom the Kingdom of God has been prepared. Thus they are part of the Kingdom, just as the Church is the government of the Kingdom.

One way of putting it is that we Christians are being trained so we can install and maintain a kingdom on the earth—a kingdom that is the inheritance of the "sheep."

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

The Kingdom is prepared for the people (sheep) saved from the nations, as God deals with us Christians. We must consider ourselves as a royal priesthood who will make it possible for the "sheep" to be reconciled to God and He to them. We have to go through a severe training by the Lord before we will be able to make it possible for the sheep and God to be reconciled, one to the other.

This is why today's preaching, in which the congregations are being told how God wants to make the believers prosperous and comfortable, is so terribly disastrous. The true training from the Lord teaches us to be more concerned about God's desires and the needs of people rather than how all of our desires should be met.

I believe, from my experience with the Lord, that we have to find out by revelation how incomparably valuable an inheritance of people truly is. Then we will not be so interested in living comfortably in a mansion in Heaven.

The Kingdom of God is created in the saints (holy ones) as we are born again and then formed in the image of Christ. This is the inner Kingdom of God. It is the forming of Christ in us that is the preparation of the Kingdom the sheep are to inherit.

The outer Kingdom of God will come when Christ and His brothers appear and govern the people living on the earth.

If we should find the demands of the Christian discipleship not to our liking, we cannot then choose to become one of the "sheep" and not have to experience the trials suffered by the members of the royal priesthood. If we are one of God's elect, and turn away from the rigors of discipleship, we will be led into the outer darkness when Christ appears.

Where is the government of the Kingdom now? It is wherever the saints are, in Heaven or on the earth. It is invisible. It will become visible when Jesus and His saints appear and govern with the iron scepter.

Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20)

It is of note here that the Pharisees were interested in the coming of the Kingdom of God. This reveals a mindset different from what we have today. The "coming of the Kingdom" is the reverse of the Heaven mindset.

Also, "the kingdom of God is within you" is better translated "the Kingdom of God is among you." The Kingdom of God was not in the disciples at that time; but it was in the Lord Jesus.

For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. (Luke 17:24)

The "rapture" teaching of the present day suggests that the Lord Jesus is coming in secret to whisk away the believers. There will be no secret rapture. There is no scriptural basis for a catching up of the believers prior to the event mentioned in Luke 17:24. And that event assuredly is no secret!

According to the fourth chapter of First Thessalonians, the Lord shall return with multitudes of saints. They, along with the victorious believers who are alive on the earth at that time, shall receive Spirit-filled bodies and ascend to meet the Lord in the air. According to our current tradition, this shall take place secretly.

The saints who have returned with the Lord Jesus, have been in Heaven for a period of time—some for thousands of years. So why would it be sensible for them to then return to Heaven?

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

According to the "rapture" doctrine, all these who are caught up in the secret rapture will then go to Heaven—presumably at that time to go to their mansion.

Now compare:

For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. (Luke 17:24)

If there was going to be a secret rapture prior to the above verse, why didn't the Lord Jesus tell the Pharisees that if they served Him they would not have to wait for His coming "like the lightning" but would be caught up in secret?

Really, the whole notion of a secret rapture preceding the coming of "the Son of Man in his day" is not a respectable doctrine. The result of the "secret" teaching has been to put the believers into a waiting mode instead of doing each day what is necessary for them to enter the Kingdom of God at the present time; and also to prepare themselves to be part of the army of judges that will accompany Christ.

I think you will agree with me that the following passage is stating that the moment Christ is revealed, people who were unprepared were destroyed.

Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. (Luke 17:26,27)

I do not believe every person who is not among those who were caught up to Christ when He appears will be destroyed. If that were the case, there would be no nations of people for Christ and His saints to govern.

But it is evident many shall be destroyed—perhaps those who had been called by the Lord but did not consecrate themselves to His service.

The "secret rapture" doctrine is maintaining that prior to the Day of the Lord, all people who "accept Christ" will be caught up to Heaven. Meanwhile, the people living on the earth may or may not be aware that Christ has come secretly. They will not be destroyed.

But then, perhaps years later, when Christ appears like the lightning, destruction will come upon the unprepared people on the earth.

In this case, where will the saints be who have been caught up during the period between the secret rapture and the coming of Christ "like the lightning"? Will they or will they not return with Christ when He comes like the lightning?

If we say they, having been caught up to their mansion in Heaven, do not return with Christ, we are going against the Scripture. Paul teaches clearly that we will appear with Christ.

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

Are we then to conclude that the saints will be caught up to meet Christ and then go to Heaven' Then, after a period of time, return to earth in the Battle of Armageddon and face Antichrist, Satan, the False Prophet, and the armies of the wicked?

When Revelation teaches us that Christ shall return at the head of His army and defeat the armies of Antichrist, are any of the members of Christ's army those who were caught up in a secret rapture?

What, then, is the purpose of the secret rapture? I think it is maintained that the purpose is to escape Antichrist and the Great Tribulation. If then the secret rapture is to permit fearful believers to escape Antichrist and the Great Tribulation, where, then, will they gain the courage to return with Christ and confront Satan and the armies of the wicked?

Some maintain that there will be no secret rapture until the end of the Great Tribulation. Thus the purpose would not be to escape the Tribulation. What then would be the purpose of a secret rapture of the believers to Heaven?

Here is another point of interest. The passage of Scripture that supposedly sets forth the secret rapture, says that the saints are caught up to meet the Lord in the air. There is a considerable difference between being caught up into the air to meet the Lord, and being caught up to Heaven.

I think the idea is that we will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and then return with Him to Heaven.

If this is true, and there is no scriptural support for it, it is conjecture, the same question exists. What would be the purpose? Why would Jesus, before He is to make His grand return to the earth, secretly catch up to Heaven all who have "accepted Christ," many of whom are spiritual babies?

If the purpose is not to escape Antichrist, the great tribulation, or the moral chaos that America is approaching, what then is the purpose of the so-called pre-tribulation rapture?

The truth is, the return of the Lord Jesus to bring His Kingdom to the earth, as described in Matthew, Luke, and First Thessalonians, Four, is the historic Day of the Lord, the one coming of the Lord.

The teaching of the rapture, whether pre-tribulation, or mid-tribulation, or post-tribulation, is an error. The fruit of the doctrine of the rapture is immature believers who are not pressing forward in Christ. Why should they press forward in Christ? There is nothing to be gained by it, since they will be caught up in a sovereignly imposed rapture.

Sometimes it is said that by threatening the believers with an any-moment rapture they will serve the Lord fervently. It does not seem to work like that, Perhaps it might work for a month or two; but after that the believers turn back into their fleshly ways, trusting in grace to insure their participation in the rapture.

In any case, believers who will behave themselves only if they think the Lord is about to come, do not have a heart for Christ. If they are afraid of being caught in their sins, they do not really know the Lord or love God.

The truth is, when Christ appears "like the lightning," those Christians who are living victorious lives, as well as those who died in victory in Christ, will be given Spirit-filled bodies and will be caught up to meet the Commander-in Christ in the air.

They will mount the white war stallions and descend with their Lord to install the Kingdom of God on the earth. This will not be a secret. There will be the shout of war, the voice of the Archangel Michael, and the trumpet of God announcing the great cavalry charge.

This is the truth and it can be verified by many passages of Scripture. There is no scriptural basis whatever for a secret rapture in which God takes His Church to Heaven before Jesus returns.

I hope that the rapture myth soon will be discarded by devout Christian leaders as they read their Bible and listen to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is speaking today about our confessing and turning away from our sins so we can stand during the moral chaos that is approaching our country.

It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot's wife! (Luke 17:30-32)

Think carefully about the passage above. According to the rapture doctrine, God will call up to Himself those who are to be saved. Yet in the above passage, which is in the context of the Lord coming "like the lightning," the Lord is imposing conditions that would be impossible to keep except for the most devout Christian believer:

No one should return to his house and goods but go straight to the Lord who has just appeared like the lightning. No one working in the field should go back to check on his family or animals. Are the people who have been left on the earth possibly years after the rapture going to be able to keep such conditions? Not likely. Only the most consecrated Christian, if he were caught down town, would go straight to Jesus without returning to his or her family.

Can you see that if the Church had been caught up previously, Jesus would be speaking to those with no Christian training, telling them that when He appears they are to go straight to Him without looking back for an instant—like Lot's wife? This is ridiculous!

Below is the true and only coming of Christ to gather His saints from one end of the heavens to the other. There shall be no rapture before this coming:

At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (Matthew 24:30,31)

If there were a secret rapture prior to the above event (which certainly is not a secret), and its purpose was to catch up the elect to Heaven, why then does it say in the passage above that this is the time when the angels will gather the elect from one end of the heavens to the other?

Are the angels going to gather those who had been caught up to Heaven previously in a secret rapture? This makes sense?

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. (II Thessalonians 2:1,2)

"Our being gathered to Him." "The day of the Lord."

Doesn't it seem to you that Paul here is speaking of the one coming of Christ in which the saints are gathered to Him? And wouldn't Paul be referring back to what he wrote in First Thessalonians, the fourth Chapter? Is there any evidence that Paul was teaching the Thessalonian believers about two different occasion when the elect are gathered to Christ?

Notice that Paul refers to the gathering to Christ as being "the day of the Lord." Is it likely that there are to be two days of the Lord?

So if anyone tells you, "There he is, out in the desert," do not go out; or, "Here he is, in the inner rooms," do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. (Matthew 24:26-28)

The greatest of all Kings is not going to return in secret. His return will be what we would expect from the King of kings and the Lord of lords. No sneaking away here!

The word "vultures" should be "eagles." It means that when the slain Lamb appears in the sky, those who live by His body and blood, the "eagles," will be caught up to be with Him. This concept is important to us. As we study the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John we see that as we eat the flesh of Christ and drink His blood we are taking into ourselves His Resurrection Life.

Suffice it to say that if we are to be caught up to Christ in the Day of the Lord, we must be among those who have learned to live by His Life just as He lives by the Father's Life.

Here we see the destructive impact of the rapture teaching. The rapture teaching suggests that we are eligible to be caught up to meet Christ in the air on the basis of our belief in correct theology. The truth is, we are caught up to meet Christ if we have learned to live by His Life in this present world.

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)

A young man once told me that he did not believe what I was saying. But then he had a dream in which he saw Christ in the sky and was unable to rise to meet Him.

Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left. (Luke 17:33-35)

It is a Kingdom principle that if we attempt to keep our life we will lose it; and if we lose our life in Christ we will preserve it. The only manner in which we will be able to survive the Gentile holocaust is by setting aside (losing) our own life and learning to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus.

How this applies to the gathering of the elect to Christ I am not certain. Perhaps it is true that if we are accustomed to living our own life, not laboring to enter into the rest of God in which we live by His Life, we will not be able to respond to or even hear the summons. Notice that the call comes at night, making it even more imperative that at all times we are ready to leave all and go to meet Jesus in the sky.

It is of note that people who have been accustomed to living together and working together will be divided, one being gathered together with the Lord and His saints, and the other being left behind.

I think the Lord is telling us that those who are taken are saints who have been living in victory. They may work together with others or live together with others, but in the sight of God they are different. It always is to him who overcomes; never to them who overcome.

The people who will be ready to receive a Spirit-filled body and ascend to meet the Lord are the participants in the first resurrection. They are a holy priesthood and will rule along with Him for a thousand years. They are an elite group, like David's mighty men. They are not as numerous as we could wish.

I don't imagine most of the church people would take kindly to the idea that there are some among them who will be singled out to rule with Christ, while the remainder have to wait until the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age before they are given a new body and are part of the Lord's army. Nevertheless, like it or not, it is true. One shall be taken and the other left.

In the day in which we are living, the Lord Jesus is calling out His firstfruits. Whoever chooses to do so may respond and join these "mighty men." But it is a totally demanding program, and some may choose to retain their own Christian ways and no go out of the camp with Christ, so to speak.

It is our choice to make; and if we continue in our customary way we are going to be appalled when we discover that people we have been very close to are caught up to be with Christ and we are left behind.

When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away. (Luke 21:9)

Sometimes people will point to wars and revolutions and say, "The coming of the Lord must be at hand." But Jesus said, "The end will not come right away."

Throughout Church history there have been occasions when someone would announce that the Lord is coming on such and such a date. But they always have been wrong. Time does not exist in the spirit world, and so when God says something, we think it is imminent.

It is my personal opinion that the return of Christ is many years in the future. I think I am correct in saying that the Lord's firstfruits are still scattered about in the various denominations. I don't see how Christ can come for His army of judges until a substantial period of time has occurred. The churches of today are filled with baby Christians!

There is so much incorrect doctrine today! The lawless grace doctrine, for one. The pre-tribulation "rapture" is another. The "faith" and "prosperity" errors are a third. And there may yet be more, because God's people are in love with themselves, helped along by the philosophy of Humanism.

The theology of Dispensationalism is not scriptural. It has components that are mischievous and destructive, such as lawless grace, and a Gentile Church and Jewish Kingdom.

It seems to me, and I may be quite incorrect in this, that a great many Christians, being spiritual babies because of the present teaching, are not nearly ready to receive a Spirit-filled body; be caught up to meet Christ in the air; and then descend to the earth in order to break the back of the evil forces.

I understand that one shall be gathered to the Lord and another left. I think this is speaking of the elect, those called by the Lord to be members of His royal priesthood. If Christ were to come today, how many of God's elect would be competent to leave everything and rise in the air to meet Christ without looking back, let alone return with Him to cleanse the earth of evil?

If I am hearing the Spirit of God correctly He is not speaking about an imminent return of Christ. The Spirit's emphasis is on the need for Christian people to confess and turn away from their sins. Christ will help us do just that if we ask Him.

But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. (Luke 21:12)

I don't believe we American Christians are prepared for severe persecution. Why not? Because we have been taught that we will be "raptured" before we experience severe persecution.

If Christian people are to be raptured so they are not exposed to persecution, why, then, did Jesus instruct us how to behave when we are brought before kings and governors (as the Apostle Paul was!)?

Unless I am mistaken, and I hope I am, we Christians in America are going to suffer severe persecution. Already we see evidences that the holidays of other religions can be celebrated by public institutions, but not Christian holidays. School districts are forbidding the children to read the Bible during recess, in some instances. Being 86 years of age, I never thought I would see such hostility against what used to be the prevailing religion of America.

Also, there is some evidence that the President of our country is somewhat apt to favor the Muslim religion, although he claims to be a Christian.

It is clear that America is going in a direction that our citizens of a hundred years ago would never have thought possible. One prominent American statesman declared recently that the laws of the United Nations have authority over our own national laws. And we know that the laws proceeding from the United Nations concerning children are not in harmony with our American laws regarding boys and girls.

Unless God intervenes in a miraculous manner, I believe within twenty years we will witness Christian people in jail because they refuse to obey the laws that insist our children must be taught immoral practices.

I think it is apparent that the "rapture" teaching has left the American Christians unprepared for the grim realities on the horizon. They are not preparing themselves to stand in the "evil day" because they have been taught they never will be required to live during an evil day.

You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life. (Luke 21:16-19)

I think such hatred is on the way, from what I have read in the newspaper. We are not used to this, especially from our family and friends. We will have to pray much if we are to keep unforgiveness and bitterness out of our heart.

Notice that the Lord said "They will put some of you to death." Then He said further, "Not a hair of your head will perish." Sounds kind of contradictory, doesn't it?

Apparently the Lord does not consider, when we have been put to death, that a hair of our head has perished. And why not? Because by standing firm in faith in Christ our hair is preserved along with the rest of us. If we do not see our hair when we enter the spirit world, we certainly shall in the Day of Resurrection.

You know, because of our Gospel of Heaven we have relegated the idea of our resurrection to a minor place in our thinking. Perhaps in our day the true "Blessed Hope" will be restored. The true Blessed Hope is that of immortality in the body, not eternal residence in a mansion in Heaven.

And our immortal body will possess all of its original hair—"not a hair of your heard will perish"!

"There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luke 21:25-28)

There will be no pre-tribulation rapture of the believers into Heaven. Look carefully at the preceding passage. What does it tell us?

Before the Son of Man comes in a cloud with power and great glory:

There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars.

Nations will be in anguish.

The oceans will be "roaring and tossing."

People will faint with terror because of what they see happening around them.

The heavenly bodies will be shaken.

Only at that time will people see Christ coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

What are we to do when this uproar begins to take place? "Stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."

Why is Jesus teaching us what to do if we are not going to be on the earth at that time?

What is the manner of our redemption that is to draw near? It is the transforming us from a flesh and blood human being to a flesh and Spirit human being. "We shall be changed in a moment," Paul declared.

There may be some who maintain that this passage is referring to Jewish people. If such is the case, why isn't all that is said in the four Gospels directed only to Jewish people? Why isn't it just the Jews who must be born again to see the Kingdom; who must abide in Christ to bear fruit?

No, there are traditions today about a Gentile Church being in Heaven at this time and looking down at the Jews who are preaching the Gospel without the Holy Spirit, the Spirit having gone up to Heaven when the Gentiles were raptured.

The current doctrine about a Gentile Church and a Jewish Kingdom is absolutely fallacious. There is only one Seed of Abraham, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ and those who are part of Him, whether Jewish or Gentile by birth. There is only one Olive Tree. There is only one new Man.

Those who set forth such an unscriptural concept as a Gentile Church have no scriptural support.

How can so many outstanding Bible teachers be wrong? I do not know. I do know that they have left the Bible when they refer to a "Gentile Church." The New Testament absolutely will not admit to this. Any high school student who knew the Bible could prove that easily.

I guess it is a spirit of blindness, similar to the blindness God put upon Israel concerning Jesus Christ in spite of the fifty-third chapter of the Book of Isaiah.

Changing the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to the Gospel of Going to Heaven is another example of spiritual blindness. I think it is time now to return to the Scriptures.

Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. (Luke 21:31)

It has been said that Israel becoming a nation is a sign that the Kingdom of God is near. But Jesus said, "When you see these things happening." So Israel becoming a nation is not the sign that the Kingdom of God is near, rather it is the signs in the heavens and the upheavals of nature, people fainting from fear, that signify the nearness of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. (Luke 21:32)

The verse above could mean that the Jewish race will not pass away until all that Jesus has stated has come to pass; or it could mean that the generation that experiences the tumult in the heavens and in nature will live to see the Lord return in power.

Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. (Luke 21:34)

This admonition applies especially to American Christians because of our material wealth. Some have said that Jesus' statement cannot apply to the rapture, because the rapture will come suddenly without preliminary signs that would give us time to prepare.

The truth is, once these signs begin, people will not be able to repent. Repentance always is a gift from God, and it will not be granted once the tumult commences. The righteous will remain righteous and the filthy will remain filthy.

Remember, in the parable of the virgins, how those who attempted to buy oil when the Bridegroom came were unable to do so.

But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. "Sir! Sir!" they said. "Open the door for us!" But he replied, "I tell you the truth, I don't know you." (Matthew 25:10-12)

It is imperative that we remain watchful. The Spirit is urging us today to purify ourselves so that we will be able to see Him as He is when He appears from Heaven.

Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36)

When Jesus said "pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man," I am sure that some understand this to mean we will be raptured to Heaven and stand safely in the Presence of Christ.

But if we have been weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and were raptured out of trouble, we could not stand before the Son of Man because of our sin. So this interpretation does not hold up.

There is this much about it. If our hearts are wrong and we are looking for a way to outwit God's insistence on righteous behavior, then we will accept the current lawless-grace doctrine, not realizing we have been deceived.

But if our heart is right, and we know and accept the fact that we have to live a consecrated life if we are to please God and be accepted of Him, then the Spirit of God will enable us to see through the current flesh-pleasing preaching, realizing it is unscriptural and contrary to all that God has revealed from the beginning of the creation.

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, (Matthew 24:12)

I don't know if we are in the period Jesus is referring to, but there is no doubt that in America there is an increase of wickedness. According to the Lord, when wickedness increases, the love of the majority of Christians will grow cold.

But he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:13)

The Gospel of Christ, as it is presented today, is like a ticket. "Accept Christ," and you forever are saved from Hell and guaranteed a mansion in Heaven. One sign I saw in front of a Salvation Army shop, said, "Come in and get a free trip to Heaven." This is how the Gospel is preached.

There is no doubt, however, that the new Testament does not teach a one-time experience that serves as a ticket. How many verses point out that the Christian salvation is a discipleship that begins when we first receive Christ and ends when we die and pass into the spirit world!

It appears certain that the current teaching of "accept Christ" as a ticket to Heaven has contributed to the present babyhood of the believers. There are many church-goers who have no awareness of what it means to present our body a living sacrifice that we may be able to prove the will of God for our own life.

They know nothing of the many years of patiently carrying our cross, following Jesus into pleasant paths and also into very difficult situations. They never have heard of the problems we encounter as we become a new creation of righteous behavior.

They have been taught that if they "accept Christ" they will "go to Heaven" when they die. They are not aware that these two expressions are not found in the Bible.

Well, a person might say, while the exact phrases may not be in the Bible, what they represent is found in the Bible. It is true that if what we mean by a phrase is Biblical, the phrasing is not critical. However, the unscriptural phrasing may be revealing an unscriptural meaning. And such is the case when we say "accept Christ" and you will go to Heaven.

When we say, "accept Christ," we mean, profess belief in our theology. We ordinarily do not mean "come to know the Man, Jesus, in a personal way and become His disciple." We are saying, "Here is the free ticket to Heaven. Just accept it."

When we say "you will go to Heaven," we are stressing an incorrect goal. We do not "accept Christ" so we can go to Heaven. There is no scriptural basis for this. We receive Christ so we can come out from the present world, die with Him on the cross, and enter newness of life in His resurrection Life.

In the footnotes of my Bible the statement is made: "We do not have to endure to the end to be saved. Salvation is a sovereign work of God." This is how far down we have fallen. We are willing to challenge the statement of God's Son.

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

The above is telling us of the latter-rain, or spring-rain, revival that is to take place before the Lord returns. It is described in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation as two witnesses. Christ is one Witness. Those in whom Christ is living is the second witness.

Thus there are three massive interventions of God that will bring in the Kingdom Age, the thousand years often referred to as the "Millennium."

The first intervention is the spring-rain revival of the two witnesses.

The second intervention is the return of Christ with His saints and warrior angels. Their judgment will result with one angel hurling Satan into the Bottomless Pit; and Antichrist and the False Prophet being thrown into the Lake of Fire.

The third intervention is the cleansing of the earth at the hand of Christ and His army of judges. The victory at Armageddon, as the power of Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet are overthrown, will make it possible for Christ and His saints to go through the earth and destroy all that remains of the evil works of Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet.

The cleansing of the earth is described in the second chapter of the Book of Joel.

The first intervention, that of the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom to every nation as a witness, is soon to come. We are being prepared for this baptism with the double portion of God's Spirit by being given the understanding that we are not to attempt to glorify ourselves when the power of the seven thunders is released in our custody. God often loses His servants when He gives them power, and we must avoid that.

Notice that it is the Gospel of the Kingdom that is to be announced. This is because it is a testimony of the coming of God's Kingdom to the earth. It would be foolish for God's witnesses to preach about the saints going to Heaven, when that is not what is going to take place.

In actual truth, those who are telling people today that they are saved to go to Heaven to live in a mansion are bearing a false witness!

So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—(Matthew 24:15)

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

If my understanding is correct, Antichrist will place a statue of himself on the wing of the Temple in Jerusalem, at the very place that Satan placed Christ. This is the abomination that causes desolation.

Now, what does this mean?

Christ was tested to see if He would tempt God by acting according to His self-will. The Bible says the angels would bear Him up if He was dwelling in the shadow of the Most High. Now the suggestion was made that Christ jump off the roof of the Temples to see if God would indeed keep Him safe.

A Christian must survive three temptations: to avoid looking to the world for survival, security, and pleasure; to refuse to yield to the lusts and passions of his body and spirit; and to not follow his own will but only God's will.

It appears to me that from the beginning of time, people for the most part, including Christian people, prefer to lead their own life instead of learning to seek God's will in all they think, speak, and do. This is why the world and the churches are in such confusion all the time.

To the present moment, Christian people have not always been taught to set aside their own life that they may live by the Life of Christ.

The people of the world simply ignore God and go about their own business.

The time when people live according to their own understanding is drawing to a close. When Jesus returns, we will learn to live according to God's will only.

Christ on the wing of the Temple refused to "step out in faith," as we are encouraged to do today. He would have been standing there yet if God had not permitted Him to climb down. Or maybe God carried Him down.

I think sometimes from what I hear that most Church organizations do not know what it means to listen to Jesus. They promote this seminar, that event, the next retreat. But I do not get the feeling they are hearing from Jesus. I believe they are doing what they feel is right and expected of them. But they "step out in faith," trusting that God will help them.

Maybe they don't know that Jesus will tell us what to do if we will stop and listen. Maybe they are afraid they will look foolish if they do not get busy at some good work. Or perhaps they are afraid that if they stop "doing something" that Christ will not speak.

In any case, the abomination that causes desolation is that of man being his own God. That is the Antichrist spirit. God has given us a brain and we are to use it for His Glory, it is ventured.

But this is not why God gave us a brain. He gave us a brain so we would understand that we are to commit all of our ways to the Lord and not lean to our own understanding.

I believe as time goes on and we perceive how wicked the world will become, even our own nation, we will realize the situation is hopeless. Then each of us, if we are to save ourselves and our loved ones, are going to have to get used to listening to Jesus for every thought we think; every word we speak; and everything we do. Only then will we survive and be able to stand before Christ with those who have listened to us.

If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. (Matthew 24:22)

I believe "those days" is speaking of Antichrist and the Great Tribulation. It appears God's elect are on the earth at this time; and for their sake, the period of tribulation will be shortened. Had the elect not been on the earth at this time, everyone would have died.

Immediately after the distress of those days "the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken." At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31)

The above passage gives us the sequence. First will come the Great Tribulation. Immediately after the Great Tribulation the awesome events will occur in the sun, moon, and stars. Next the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky. Then the Son of Man will appear on the clouds with power and great glory.

I think the above is quite clear and it is the words of Christ Himself. So any teaching that speaks of a "rapture" by which people can escape the Great Tribulation appears to be in error. Perhaps the rapture doctrine is wishful thinking rather than one based in the Scripture.

It is at this time that the elect are gathered to Christ, not at some previous time.

And it certainly is not a Jewish elect. How could one distinguish between a Gentile elect gathered to Christ at a previous time and now a Jewish elect gathered to Christ. If they both are Christian sharing the same body and blood of Christ, rising to meet the slain Lamb in the sky, how could there be two separate occasions? Wishful thinking on the part of Gentiles—many of whom may have Jewish blood in them and not realize it.

The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:50,51)

The context of the passage above is the contrast between the rewards given to the faithful servant and the rewards given to the wicked servant.

When the Lord returns He will place the faithful servant in a position of rulership, but the wicked servant will be cut to pieces.

Now both of these men were the Lord's servants. The one came to a desirable end and the other to a terrible end.

Can you see here the problem with the teaching of "once saved always saved"?

Because of the teaching of lawless-grace and that of "once saved always saved," the Christians of our country, while zealous to do commendable social works, such as feeding the poor, are moral skeletons. The preachers no longer thunder about righteous, holy living. The people are told that since they have "accepted Christ," they can live their life pretty much as they please.

The following comment is by David French, taken from a blog post in the National Review, March 14th, 2012: "We go on sinning so that grace may abound. The secular stereotype of the modern evangelical—as a judgmental moralizer—is so wrong as to be laughable."

It is true that the moral strength of the Christian people has been severely weakened, and many people deplore this. But the cause is crystal clear. The preachers are preaching lawless-grace and the eternal security of the believer.

If one were to go to a social psychologist and ask him what would be the effect on people if they were taught lawless-grace and eternal security, he or she would predict that such people would be weak morally.

It is no mystery that Christian people no longer are revealing in themselves the character of Christ. The light of the world in America has been extinguished. The salt has lost its savor. The fear of God has left the land.

We are seeing the results of such moral decline today, in the entertainment field, in the government, in the public schools, and in business practices. It may be true that twenty years from now, America will hardly be recognizable. God sooner or later will reveal His displeasure, and the consequences will be fearful indeed.

Let us prepare ourselves and our loved ones by pressing into the Lord Jesus as closely as we can, and obeying Him strictly at all times. He will save us and help us to stand. But the casual Christians are going to experience much suffering.

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The Ten Commandments and the Rest of God

2012-09-02

I may be mistaken, but I believe Christian people are not clear about the relationship of the Law of Moses to the new covenant, the Christian covenant. Most of us may have gathered from the writings of the Apostle Paul, that we no longer are under the Law of Moses but under "grace," whatever that means.

"Grace" has been abused horribly. It has come to be an alternative to moral transformation. "No matter how I behave, it really doesn't matter because I am 'saved by grace'"—this sort of thing.

"Grace" in actuality is a period during which we are free from the Law of Moses while we are learning to overcome sin through the Spirit of God. It is anything but an alternative to righteous behavior.

If you will look carefully at the following two passages you will see that we may not be as free from the Law of Moses as we think:

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. (I John 3:4-6)

Whenever a Jew, such as the Apostle John, uses the term, the "Law," he is referring to the Law of Moses.

Sin is the breaking of the Law of Moses. No one who continues to break the Law of Moses has either seen Christ or known Christ.

Please note that Christ came to take away our sins, not just forgive our sins. But the stipulation is that we live in Him.

Then there is another passage that informs us the Law of Moses always is looking over our shoulder:

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. (James 2:8-11)

We understand from the Book of Galatians that men are not obligated to be circumcised. Even with the clarity of Paul in Galatians, there are Gentile Christians who circumcise their male children "just in case"!

If I am not mistaken, doctors recommend circumcision for the health benefits.

Most of the confusion between the Law of Moses and the Christian salvation is centered on the Sabbath commandment.

For generations, Christian people have regarded Sunday, the first day of the week, the day on which Christ was resurrected, as the Sabbath. For this reason they view Sunday as a holiday and assemble on that day, believing that they are keeping the Sabbath commandment.

There are some branches of the Christian religion that recognize Saturday as the seventh day of the week, which it is, and regard Saturday as the Sabbath day. Therefore Saturday is their weekly holiday and they assemble on that day. They believe that the Ten Commandments are binding on us, and so they observe the Old Testament Sabbath.

The seventh-day worshipers, although a minority, are just as Christian as the first-day worshipers, in my opinion, and should continue to worship God according to their faith.

The only problem with regarding any day of the week as the Sabbath, brings the believer back under the covenant of Moses. I will explain now where the problem is with going back to Moses.

The new covenant operates entirely differently from the Law of Moses. Under the Law of Moses, the commands and statutes given by the Lord are written in a book, the Torah. If one would be righteous and live before God, he or she must observe the Book of the Law carefully. If the worshiper broke the Law, he must offer the appropriate sacrifice.

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. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Joshua 1:8)

We Christians also have a book, termed "The New Testament." This really is an unsuitable title, as I see it. I believe a better title would be, "Jesus Christ and His Apostles."

New Testament actually is an account of people who knew Jesus; of the missionary trips of the Apostles; of the writings of men who themselves were experiencing the new covenant; and then the Book of Revelation—the prophecy of the future.

The two books, the Tenach (the Jewish Bible) and the New Testament are quite different. I cannot think of a book of the Tenach that is comparable to the writings of the Apostles of Christ. The Tenach contains mostly the writings of the Prophets. The New Testament contains mostly the exhortations of the Apostles to the new churches.

The Torah, the five books of Moses, consists of commands and statutes that are to be observed diligently. Remember, the Jews were not born again and did not have the indwelling of the Spirit to guide them in their daily lives. They had the Law of Moses, and they were to observe these commandments, including the injunction not to work on the seventh day.

The New Testament does not operate in the same manner, and that is why bringing over the Sabbath observance is to put old wine in new bottles. The Sabbath commandment just does not fit, and, in fact, detracts from the rest of God into which the New Testament guides us.

The New Testament acquaints us with God's Son and Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. It tells us about the ministry of Christ on the earth, and includes many of His teachings.

The main part of the New Testament is the exhortations of the Apostles of Christ directed toward the new churches of the Roman Empire. And, I may add, have the same authority to guide us today.

But the guidance given by the New Testament is different from the Law of Moses. Whereas the Law of Moses governed the numerous aspects of Jewish life, the New Testament works alongside the Spirit of God to bring us to Christ, that we may learn to live by His Life. What an awesome difference there is between the two covenants!

Before I go any further, let me state firmly and plainly that this does not mean the New Testament is a "living" document, as our current generation, molded by the philosophy of Humanism, loves to believe. Today's preachers mean by a "living document" that if we do not agree with the New Testament writings, we redefine them in a manner that pleases us.

So we say "There is no love but the law of love." How ridiculous! In America the demon population in the spirit world above us is filled with spirits of sexual lust that burn and inflame until the sturdiest Christian has to call out to Christ for help. The "law of love" will not help you resist the temptation to commit adultery or to fornicate. As one lady said, "Bless us Lord," as she began to indulge her adulterous desires.

I will tell you, it takes iron consecration to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. So please do not count me among those who treat the words of the New Testament casually. I believe every word comes from God and is not to be altered in any manner whatever!

Let me go on now to explain how the two covenants differ.

As I stated, whereas the Law of Moses governed the numerous aspects of Jewish life, the New Testament works alongside the Spirit of God to bring us to Christ, that we may learn to live by His Life.

How do we learn to live by His Life? By continually inviting the Lord Jesus into every moment of every day. We keep looking to Him; talking to Him; asking His help; giving thanks when He helps us.

As we continue this dialogue throughout the day and night, Jesus' Presence keeps coming closer to us. In my own case, I am becoming increasingly aware of the spirit world; but I do not suggest that everyone will respond in the same manner.

Where, then, does the New Testament fit in? The writings of the Apostles keep us from drifting into error. One cannot just start out in the Christian life by listening to Jesus. It takes quite a while, maybe several years, before one can distinguish between Satan and the Spirit of God. At least this has been true for me. Meanwhile we meditate in the Scriptures continually and pray often. Gathering with fervent Christians helps us stay on track.

We never are to regard ourselves as an "empty vessel," as some have expressed it. We are to live a vital life of discipleship, keeping our will razor sharp. We do not throw ourselves open, inviting spirits to control us.

As we serve Christ faithfully as a disciple, He grows in us. As He does, we find ourselves doing the right thing; making right decisions. It is Christ in us, who Himself is the Law of the new covenant.

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 1:19)

The New Testament was not available in Peter's day, so he directs us toward the Prophets of the Old Testament. However, his exhortation applies equally well to both the Old and New Testaments. As we pay attention to the writings of the Bible, Christ, the Morning Star, rises in our heart.

I know of no better description of the way the new covenant operates than is presented in the verse above. We can see at once the difference between the two covenants. The Law of Moses simply does not lead us to the rising of the Morning Star in our heart.

When the Apostle Paul was challenged by the leaders of the Jews concerning observing the Law of Moses, Paul showed at once the difference between the covenants:

For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 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 2:19,20)

The Law of Moses brought Paul to the death of the cross. Therefore, Paul was free from the Law because "the Law has authority over a man only as long as he lives."

What did Paul have now in place of the Law of Moses? Paul had Christ living in Him. Christ is the fulfillment of the Law for everyone who believes in Him and lives by Him. Christ Himself is the New Covenant.

When we have died with Him and no longer are living, but Christ is living in us, we ourselves become the new covenant between God and man. This is because our life now reveals the godly Presence and behavior of God.

Can you see how different the new covenant is from the Law of Moses?

But John and James (above) imply that somehow the Law is looking over our shoulder. It is! Sin is the breaking of the Law of Moses. When we break one of the commandments of Moses, we are guilty of sin.

However, when we dutifully are following and obeying the Spirit of God, the Law of Moses is suspended. We are in a "grace period."

But—and this needs to be preached in America today—when we are not dutifully following and obeying the Spirit of God; are not living as a disciple; are not denying ourselves and carrying our cross behind the Lord, then, if we break the Ten Commandments we are guilty of sin.

We cannot "accept Christ" on one occasion and forever after be free from the Law of Moses. I know this is preached, but it is an error. We have to accept Christ as all times, every day of every week. We have to keep confessing and turning away from our sins. If we do not, we are guilty of sin when we break the Law of Moses.

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. (I John 3:4-6)

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker. (James 2:8-11)

The above are the words of Jesus Christ through two of His Apostles.

As I stated previously, the New Testament leads us into the rest of God. Not too much is being said about the rest of God these days, but it is our goal. Our goal is to learn to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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)

Now, here is the relationship between the Ten Commandments and the rest of God. As Christ, who Himself is the Rest of God, is formed in us, we gradually have the wisdom and strength to overcome sin, the breaking of the Ten Commandments. Little by little the Spirit of God moves us toward total victory over our sinful nature.

This process increases each day of our consecration to Christ. You can see from this that pausing from our pursuit of Christ each Saturday to obey part of the Law of Moses is not appropriate.

If it happened that each Saturday the Lord instructed us to cease working and go to church, then this would be an integral part of the rest of God. But I have been a disciple for more than 65 years, and the Lord never once has pointed out that I should turn my eyes from Him and cease working and go to church on Saturday.

I go to church on Sunday because I am a denominational pastor and the churches of the denomination gather on Sunday. But I do not cease working on Sunday. I put out more than usual effort as I preach.

If the denomination met on Saturday, then I would preach on Saturday.

I follow the Lord closely on Saturday and Sunday. Often I rest on at least part of Saturday afternoon to get ready for Sunday. I feel the Lord's Presence when I am preparing and when I am resting. I do not take my eyes from Jesus on Saturday, Sunday, or any other day of the week.

The Lord Jesus lives in the eternal Sabbath. This means in all He thinks, says, and does, He behaves in concert with His Father.

So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him." Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him. (John 8:28-30)

In the verse above, Jesus is our example. We are to live by Him as He lives by the Father. Here is the perfect fulfillment of the Sabbath commandment.

So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working." For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these." (John 5:16-20)

I will tell you one thing, it is fortunate for us that the Father is always at His work. If God stopped working on Saturday, that certainly would be a bad day for us!

Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. (John 14:10,11)

Our goal, our land of promise, our Canaan, is to progress in Christ until we can say in truth, "It is not I, but Christ who is living in me." When this is true of us, we have fulfilled the intent of the Ten Commandments, including the Sabbath commandment.

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What Time Is It Now?

2012-09-09

We've been through the Protestant Reformation. We've been through the Pentecostal outpouring of the twentieth century. Just where are we in the Book of Revelation?

I would submit we are in the tenth chapter, although the events described in Revelation are not necessarily in a specific chronological order.

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)

Strength is portrayed here: "a mighty angel"; "legs were like fiery pillars." The fire stands for judgment.

He comes down from Heaven "with a rainbow above his head." The "rainbow" represents the Throne of God Almighty. The "cloud signifies the coming of the Lord." His face like the "sun" symbolizes "righteousness."

Such is the angel, the messenger to us in the closing days of time, prior to the mightiest revival of all--that of the two witnesses (Christ and the members of His godly remnant empowered with a double portion of God's Spirit).

Strength; Divine judgment; God's Throne; the coming of the Lord; righteousness. These are today's issues. They are of the utmost importance.

Divine judgment: We now have entered the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement, of Reconciliation. We Christians must confess and turn away from our sins as the Spirit of God leads us.

God's Throne: We have known (to a limited extent) the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We are acquainted with the Holy Spirit as He helps us get rid of our sins, and also empowers us to bear a true witness of God and Christ. Now it is time to learn about our Father. The prime consideration is stern obedience in all matters to Him who sits on the Rainbow Throne.

The coming of the Lord Jesus to gather His holy ones and with them to install the Kingdom of God on the earth. The issue at this point is doing God's will in the earth as it is in Heaven.

Righteousness: The most woeful corruption of God's Word has to do with righteousness. Because of false teaching the majority of God's people, it appears, have come to believe that the only righteousness Christians are to have is that which is ascribed to us upon a profession of belief in Christ as God's Son and eternal atonement for our sin.

What a gross, unbelievable, monstrous corruption such a viewpoint is! It has wrecked the moral witness of the Christian churches. As a result our government, which looks to the Christian churches for moral guidance, is becoming increasingly corrupt. The result will be a visitation of Divine judgment upon us.

When the Bible, Old and New Testaments, speaks of righteousness, it is referring to honesty, truthfulness, faithfulness, moral cleanliness, kindness, fairness, patience, and so forth. Ascribed righteousness is given to us at the beginning of our salvation so we may leave the Law of Moses and follow the Spirit of God into righteousness of behavior.

The messenger's face is like the "sun," denoting righteousness. How do you think God feels when He sees His Christian children yielding to their sinful nature while exclaiming, "I am perfectly righteous because God sees me through Christ."

Let me say, in the name of Jesus our Lord, that each of us Christians is going to reap what he or she sows. Each of us Christians is going to receive back, at the Judgment Seat of Christ, what we have done on the earth, whether good or evil.

After the ministry of the two witnesses has been concluded, Antichrist will vaunt himself for a season. Then, when the world is crying "peace and safety," our Lord Jesus will appear; call up His godly remnant to Himself; and then descend with them to establish justice and the doing of God's will on the earth.

At that time, where will those "Christians" be who follow their sinful nature while crying "Grace"? I will tell you one thing: they will not be among the godly remnant, God's army of judges, who are raised from the dead and called up to meet Christ in the air!

Such lies are being preached today! And the conduct of the Christian people, and the secular Americans, is the result. There is no fear of God in the land!

He was holding a little scroll, which lay open in his hand. He planted his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, (Revelation 10:2)

A little scroll. We Americans lay emphasis on "big" things, big churches, big meetings, thousands of people, and so forth. We are apt to miss the God who was born in a barn. We are apt to be deaf to the still, small voice of the Spirit. We go where the crowds are, as though numbers of people were a sign of God's blessing.

What is written in the little scroll? The testimony of God that the "two witnesses" will preach to the world: "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand. Believe the good news. Turn the hearts of the children to their parents and the parents to their children. Exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth."

The messenger's right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land speaks of his enormous size; and also of the fact that God is preparing to bear witness of Himself to the entire earth.

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)

Did you ever hear a lion roar? It is somewhat intimidating. We are so accustomed to our churches being "nice," and usually quiet, that the idea of a lion roaring doesn't seem appropriate. But our day is one in which the Divine intervention is coming as a "loud shout."

A lion roars in order to terrify his enemies. In our day the nations of the earth appear to be acting arrogantly, seldom mentioning God, seldom asking His assistance, seldom giving Him credit for anything. It is time for God to explain who is controlling all these "ants" on the ground who tell us if we all pull together peace and prosperity will be the outcome.

It is time for the lion to roar!

The voices of the seven thunders are the proclamations of the fullness of the power of God Almighty. As far as I know, the fullness of God's power has never been revealed in the earth. I believe it will be before Jesus returns, to show that the earth and they who dwell therein belong to God and not to ambitious earthly rulers.

And when the seven thunders spoke, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven say, "Seal up what the seven thunders have said and do not write it down." (Revelation 10:4)

The seven thunders are the fullness of God's power. They have been withheld from us. Why is this? It is because, although we love the Lord, we still are controlled by our self-will. In order to have the seven thunders bear witness along with us we have to obey God as He sets about to destroy our self-will.

We have to deny ourselves, take up our cross of deferred gratification, and remain as cheerfully as we can in the "prison" where God permits Satan to place us.

Our prison may consist of the deferral of our most intense desires. It may consist of miserable situations in which we are to labor year after year. It may consist of our good being evil spoken of, and yet we do not justify ourselves. All of these devices and more are employed by the Lord to bring us to the place where we can say truly: "I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live, but it is not I but Christ who is living in me."

When every one of the godly remnant whom Christ chooses to work with Him in the last great witness has died to self-will, then the power of the seven thunders can be unleashed, as we read in Chapter Eleven of Revelation.

Then the angel I had seen standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven. And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, "There will be no more delay! 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 10:5-7)

"But in the days when the seventh angel is about to sound his trumpet." It is my opinion that we are living in the days when the last angel is about to sound his trumpet. The seventh, or last, trumpet will announce the conclusion of the Church Age. The Lord will appear. The godly remnant living on the earth at the time, plus those whom Christ brings with Him, will be resurrected and caught up to meet Christ in the air. The kingdom of the world will become the Kingdom of God and of His Christ.

What the messenger shall say is so utterly important it must be confirmed with an oath. He swears there shall be no more delay, but "the mystery of God will be accomplished."

What is the "mystery of God"?

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)

One might exclaim, "What is the mystery? We have known all our lives about Christ being in us."

Have we? Did you ever hear anyone preach about Christ being in us? This fact has not been emphasized in the two thousand years of the Christian Era, to my knowledge.

It is my opinion that there has been a delay in the forming of Christ in us, or at least in our understanding of it. We read in the twelfth chapter of Revelation about the travail of the Church as she is bringing forth Christ in the saints. This is taking place today.

Today is the hour for us to become conscious that a new Life has been born in us. The ministries of the Christian church are laboring to bring forth Christ in us.

My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)

This is the "mystery of the Gospel"—that Christ may be formed in us. To produce such formation is the reason for the ministries given to the Body of Christ by the Spirit of God.

All we hear about, it seems, is "Get souls saved. Get souls saved. Get souls saved." There is a time for getting souls saved. But the end of Satan's rule in the earth will come only when Christ is formed in us.

The Father and the Son will not take up Their residence in us until Christ is formed in us. The Godhead will never dwell in Adam, only in the new Nature that has been created in us.

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)

God and Christ will make Their home only in the born-again Divine Nature that has been formed in us through the ministries given to the members of the Body of Christ.

Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:13)

Each one of us it to learn to live by the Life of Jesus. We do this by inviting Him into every area of our life; asking Him about everything we do; and remembering to give thanks for every answered prayer.

The world, including our nation, is facing moral chaos and the resulting corruption in all other areas of our life. The only manner in which we are going to survive, and help others to survive, is by living by Christ's Life.

The Christian churches that are hearing from the Lord are entering the travail now that will bring forth people in whom Christ is formed. No person living by mere human life will be able to do much in the coming days, because the war is between Christ and Antichrist; God and Satan; the Spirit of God and the False Prophet. We humans are so much dust compared with the titans who represent good and evil.

There shall be delay no longer. It is time now for Christ to come to maturity in His people.

Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me once more: "Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land." (Revelation 10:8)

Notice how specific the directions were to John. Notice also that the scroll was not handed to John. John had to go and take the scroll.

So it is today. The true witness of God "lies open" in the hand of the angel. But we have to listen to Jesus until He says, "Go take the scroll."

So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, "Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey." 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. (Revelation 10:9,10)

So it is with the testimony of the closing days of the Church Age. The good news that Christ is being formed in us and we are entering the Kingdom of God is sweet as honey to the taste.

But as we press further into Christ, into the Kingdom, we find that there are hard, difficult issues with which we are faced. The "nice" Christian religion, the joyous songs sung with others of the faith, seem to be retreating into the background.

Suddenly there are family problems, or money problems, or problems with our health. There may be social conflicts within the assembly. We may discover that we have been in some sort of spiritual deception for many years.

People may lie about us or treat us unjustly. Then the Lord commands us to not seek to justify ourselves. This can be difficult; but slander and perversity are the sufferings of Christ.

Now we know the meaning of "endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."

In the coming days we may experience vicious persecution from our own government, or even martyrdom in extreme cases.

What will all these sufferings do for us? They will bring us closer to Christ and God. They will turn us away from sin and self-will. We will become more appreciative of the sufferings of the heroes of faith listed in the Bible.

We will escape the silliness and foolishness of the church people. We will find no satisfaction in the parties and "fun" of the baby Christians. What we thought was the joy of the Lord we now can see as nothing more than fleshly comfort and enjoyment. It doesn't satisfy us any longer. Now we are discovering that the true joy of the Lord is ours even in very difficult circumstances.

The Lord Jesus watches carefully to make certain we are not tested more than we can bear. He wants us to be strong in the Lord, but not destroyed. If we do not flee when the way is not pleasant, we will become a witness of God and Christ.

As the Father and the Son take up Their residence in us, we will find true joy. It will be the joy of bringing forth the water of eternal Life for other people. This is possible only as the Throne of God is formed in us.

Then I was told, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings." (Revelation 10:11)

This is the "again prophecy." The original prophecy was the outpouring of God's Spirit described in the Book of Acts.

The soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth must be preached as a witness to all nations.

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

Such is the message of the two witnesses, for which the mighty angel, with one foot on the sea and one foot on the land is preparing us today.

Christ and His godly remnant will be bearing witness to all people, nations, languages, and kings. They will be announcing the Person, will, way, and eternal purpose of God in Christ. This will be a true witness, not what we sometimes hear today.

At the time of the first prophecy, the Lord worked with them, confirming the Word with signs following. During the "again prophecy," the Lord will be in the saints as well as with them.

In the case of Christ and His Father bearing witness in the first century, the Jews could see only one person—the Lord Jesus. But the Father was in Him and with Him, so there actually were two witnesses, making the testimony valid under Jewish Law.

In the case of the "again prophecy," Christ will be in His victorious saints, the second Lampstand, and also with them. But only the human beings will be seen. This last witness of the Church Age will have a double portion, an "Elisha" portion, of the Spirit of God. Greater works will be performed than were performed by the Lord Jesus at the time of the first prophecy.

The wise believer will recognize we are in unusually significant days. God is moving forward in the spiritual fulfillment of the last three of the Jewish celebrations. The scroll is open, but we have to take it out of the angel's hand.

It is not going to be easy to press forward in Christ in these closing days of the Christian Era. But, as our Lord said, "Many that are last shall be first."

The members of the Body of Christ who have died and are in the spirit world are marching with us. They too are confessing and turning away from their sins, although how that takes place we do not know.

But the Bible says we all are going to be made perfect together—a great army of judges, with Christ at the head. There never has been the like before.

The task before us is very great—the complete overthrow of evil in the creation of God. However, God is much, much greater. Our responsibility is to be sternly obedient to God even when we are not "enjoying" ourselves. There is a work of eternal judgment to be performed; and you and I are privileged to be alive when God is making known the mystery of the Gospel.

We—in America, at least—need to be very careful that we do not permit ourselves to be distracted in any manner, but keep listening carefully to the Spirit of God so we always are moving ahead with the Lord.

We have all of eternity to think about how we behaved during the hour of our visitation.

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First, the Resurrection; Then the Catching Up

2012-09-16
From my point of view, the teaching of the "rapture," whether pre-tribulation or post-tribulation, is an error. It is pointing people in the wrong direction, fixing their hopes on flying away to Paradise to escape the problems of earth, rather than using those problems to press them further into Christ.

I don't believe the doctrine of the "rapture" will cause the believers to come to maturity in Christ, but instead will hinder their growth, leaving them silly and careless while Divine judgment is approaching our nation..

Let's look carefully at the following verse:

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (I Thessalonians 4:16)

The dead in Christ will rise first. The dead in Christ will "rise." The dead in Christ have just come from the spirit world, so it is not referring to their rising from the earth to Heaven. That just doesn't make sense.

Anyway, the Greek term for "will rise" (anasteesontai) means "shall be up-standing." It has nothing to do with the "catching up," which is a different Greek term (harpageesometha–"shall be being snatched")

The members of the Body of Christ from all ages will descend with Christ to the level of the air. Then they shall continue to the earth to pick up their flesh and bones. Then in their flesh and bones they will standing up upon their feet.

It may be at this point their flesh and bones will be clothed with their house from Heaven.

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)

You know, there is a false teaching that contributes to the "rapture" theology. It is that we will leave our flesh and bone body in the grave, ascend spiritually to Heaven, and then be clothed with a new heavenly body.

This absolutely is unscriptural.

Did you notice above that our mortality is "swallowed up"?

Also,

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)

Give life to your mortal bodies. Does that sound to you like our body is left in the ground?

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)

The redemption of our bodies. Does that sound to you like our body is left in the ground?

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. (I Corinthians 15:42-44)

The body is raised imperishable. Does that sound to you like our body is left in the ground?

"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 good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned." (John 5:28,29)

It is of note that the terms "rise" above are the same Greek term for "up-standing" (anastasin) that we encountered in First Thessalonians 4:16.

According to the Scripture, there is no doubt whatever that "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" means that those who return with our Lord will be resurrected to stand on their feet before they are "snatched" up into the air to meet the Lord.

The resurrection occurs before the catching up. No question at all about that.

It probably is true that their resurrected flesh and bones will be clothed upon with their house from Heaven as soon as they stand upon the earth.

You know, if our body was to be left on the earth and our spiritual nature was to rise to Heaven and there receive a heavenly body, as sometimes is taught, there would be no resurrection of the dead. Then, as Paul taught, Christ has not risen. And if the physical body of Christ was left in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, we still are in our sins.

Our current doctrine is grievously in error, wouldn't you say?

But what about those who are living on the earth when the Lord appears? What can we say about them.

The fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians tells us about the living when the Lord appears. We know those who come with Christ will be resurrected, and probably glorified, before they are snatched away to meet the Lord in the air. But what about those of us who still are plodding along on the earth?

In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 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 15:52-54)

Notice that the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians says nothing at all about the catching up. That is because it is the resurrection, the redemption of the body, that is significant, not the snatching away from the earth. The catching up is the crowning act of redemption. The catching up is nothing more than an act of Kingdom power.

Those who are students of the seven Jewish feasts will notice that while there are feasts that foretell the Savior's death and resurrection, there is no feast that foretells the catching up. The catching up relatively is unimportant in the Divine redemption—only a brief interlude while the army of the Lord is being prepared to descend and install the Kingdom of God on the earth.

In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. First, those who come with the Lord will be resurrected, stand on their feet, and be glorified. Then we, the living, will be "changed."

We did not pick up our bodies from the ground because we had not died as yet. But our perishable body will be clothed with the imperishable, and our mortal with immortality. Apparently this will take place while we are standing on our feet. Here is the Scripture fulfilled that "they without us cannot be made perfect" referring to the saints who came with Jesus and those who still are alive on the earth.

We too at this point will have been resurrected. The deepest meaning of "resurrect" is to make alive that which is dead. Standing on the feet, and being clothed with incorruption, are symptoms of being made alive.

You may remember how the Apostle Paul was endeavoring to attain to the out-resurrection, that is, the first resurrection—that which will occur when the Lord returns.

Paul was setting aside all of his desires that he might attain to the resurrection, that is, to arrive at the place when all of his thinking, speaking, and doing were proceeding from the Life of Christ that was filling his inner nature. It is obvious that we cannot expect to pass from death to life in our outer man until we first have passed from death to life in our inner man. Resurrected in the inner man before being resurrected in the outer man.

Now let's think about the picture thus far. Those who have returned with the Lord are standing on the earth in glorified bodies (their resurrected flesh and bones having been clothed upon with their house from Heaven).

We who have not passed through death but have had our flesh and bone body clothed with our body from Heaven, also are standing on the earth (I would imagine our blood has been replaced with the Spirit of God).

The catching up has not occurred as yet. How soon will it occur? What will be the situation of the glorified saints who are standing on the earth prior to the catching up.

Perhaps our resurrection will follow the same pattern as that of the Lord Jesus.

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 his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. (I Corinthians 15:20-23)

The verse above suggests that our experience may be similar to that of the Lord.

Christ was crucified. Rose on the third day. Ascended to Heaven after forty days.

Here is the big question: Will there be forty days after we have been resurrected before we are caught up to meet Christ in the air? If so, what will it be like during that period of time?

I rather think there will be such a period of time. Just imagine how we will feel. We do not have to worry about the final judgment. To be raised in this first resurrection is our sentence. We have been judged during our lifetime, as we have confessed and turned away from our sin and self-will. Now we have been sentenced to participate in the first resurrection.

Think of the opportunity for fellowship. I have read that in the Kingdom, to think of a person or place is to be there instantly. Can you imagine the rejoicing as we fellowship once again with saints we haven't seen for some time?

Will there be sorrow because some of our friends are not there!

There will be no need to fear Antichrist or tribulation of any kind. These resurrected ones cannot not be harmed any more than their resurrected Lord can be harmed.

I myself would like to go exploring to various parts of the earth without feeling heat, or cold, or tiredness. Would you enjoy that? I often have thought about what it would be like to visit under the ice of the South Pole! I believe there would be animals and plants worth seeing.

Will there be an opportunity to minister to some who are a bit afraid of the change in their location or state of being?

I wonder what the Lord did during that time, in addition to the visits to His disciples that are recorded.

The period between the resurrection and the catching up will be the greatest time of fellowship and rejoicing ever to have occurred on the earth. It is the Lord's way of saying "Thanks" for our faithfulness and patience.

After the "forty-day celebration" we will be called up to where the Lord is waiting in the air with the white war stallions. Whether at that time we all will pass into the spirit world to celebrate the marriage of the Lamb, I do not know.

But the issue at hand is the destruction of Satan and all his works. Those who have been raised are an army of judges. They will return to the air and form up on their white war stallions. Michael and his army will be waiting.

Angels appointed to the task will sound their trumpets. The angel drum corps will beat to the attack. Down from the air will thunder the two powerful armies of saints and angels, with the Commander in Chief, the King of all kings, at the head.

The armies of Antichrist will be destroyed. The demons that accompanied them will be driven into places of confinement in the spirit world. Antichrist himself will be thrown into the Lake of Fire along with the False Prophet.

Satan will be bound in chains by one angel and hurled into the Bottomless Pit.

Now it will be time for the army of judges and the army of angels to go through the earth and cleanse it of all of the Antichrist institutions and wicked people.

Christ will take His place upon the Throne of David in Jerusalem and send out His kings to govern the nations of the earth.

The war of good against evil will be completed at the termination of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, when the Father sends down fire from Heaven and destroys the rebellious people. Satan will be thrown into the Lake of Fire at that time.

Then all who were not resurrected at the first resurrection will stand before Jesus Christ and His fellow judges, and the final judgment of mankind will take place.

When every individual has been assigned to his or her suitable place in the creation, down from Heaven through the new glorious sky will appear the Holy City, Zion, the new Jerusalem, the home of the Royal Priesthood who shall govern the nations of saved people throughout the eternal ages.

The Kingdom of our God and of His Christ shall expand forever, and of righteousness and peace there shall be no end.

Amen.

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Forgiveness and Deliverance

2012-09-23
It appears that throughout the history of the Christian religion, the forgiveness of sins has been emphasized. The Lord Jesus Christ takes away our sins means Christ forgives our sin. However, the Lord did not appear primarily to forgive our sins but to destroy the works of the devil.

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

Forgiveness apart from deliverance from sin is useless. In fact, it may be detrimental in that the believer feels he is perfect in the sight of God through Christ. Then, if the Holy Spirit points out to him a sin he is committing, he ignores it, saying, "God sees me through Christ so while I really should not be doing this, I am on my way to Heaven."

By taking this attitude, he is ignoring several verses of the New Testament:

For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. (Ephesians 5:5-7)

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. (Galatians 5:19-21)

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)

And so on and on throughout the New Testament. Remember, these words were written to the Christian churches in Ephesus, Galatia, and Colossi.

Now, what do you think about these? Do you realize that if these are God's Words to Christian people, a great deal of Christian teaching is in error?

Paul does not say if you believe in Christ, none of these things matter. Paul does not say God is seeing you through Christ, so you can ignore these warnings.

Paul is not saying you are saved by grace, so it does not matter how you behave.

Rather, Paul is saying if we yield to our sinful nature and do not repent and turn away from our sinful ways, we will not enter the Kingdom of God. Why is this? It is because there is no sinful behavior in the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God; and the rule of God does not tolerate sinful behavior.

"But Christ is merciful!" True. But it also is true that we going to reap what we are sowing. This is Kingdom law.

"But God is too good to let me go to Hell." The truth is, God is too good to permit your fellow Christians in Heaven to have to put up with your sinful, self-seeking behavior.

"But when the Lord comes He will remove my sinful nature." False. When Jesus comes He will hold you accountable for the Kingdom truth He has given you. You will have your inheritance removed and you will be sent into the Land of Darkness.

"But when I go to Heaven I won't sin any longer." False. Sin began in Heaven.

We understand from this that a great part of the Christian people, at least in America, are in deception. Each one of us needs to go to the Lord and ask Him if there is something we are doing that He is displeased with. If He points out some area of spiritual darkness in us, something that is not in God's image, then we need to confess it and ask Christ to help us stop doing it.

"But even if I do not turn away from my sin, I will go to Heaven in any case because God loves me." False. The truth is, the Father has given the Lake of Fire authority over eight areas of behavior. The Lake of Fire always retains authority over those behaviors as long as they are practiced. Believing in Christ does not remove this authority.

"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." (Revelation 21:8)

Did you think there are people in the Kingdom of God, or in Heaven, who behave in such manners?

Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (Revelation 22:14,15)

What does "who wash their robes" mean? Does it mean they say "I believe in Jesus Christ" and then enter the holy city, the eternal home of the Royal Priesthood, and continue with their magic arts, sexual immorality, murder, and idolatry?

The "dogs" refer to vile behavior of all sorts. I read recently of a man who beat his young wife until she lost sight in both eyes. This is vile behavior. This is a "dog."

Do we daintily announce that we believe in Jesus and enter the holy city, and then proceed to mutilate someone?

We know better than that. To "wash our robes" is to confess our sins and turn away from them resolutely with the help of Christ. We have to keep up this practice of confession and renunciation throughout our lifetime. No sinful behavior ever will enter the new Jerusalem. No sinful behavior is permitted in the Kingdom of God. Whatever!

"But as long as I am in the world I have to sin." This is the pitiful lament of most of the Christian population. It is not true. We owe our flesh nothing. If we continue to sin we shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.

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. (Romans 8:12,13)

"But no one ever told me that." You can't claim that excuse any longer, because the Word of God just told you.

Will Christ deliver me from sinning? Yes. But you have to ask Him about each sinful behavior. He then will deliver you from that compulsion. But you have to put it to death, as the Spirit of God directs you, confess that it is evil, and then resolve to stop doing it. You have to perform these actions with all the determination you posses.

This is how you pass from forgiveness to deliverance. This is how you enter the Kingdom of God.

"Why didn't someone tell me this before?" I am not certain. But I think as the return of Christ draws near, the Kingdom is becoming more real to us. It is of the utmost important that we respond to the Lord by confessing and turning away from our sinful behavior. This may be the day of our visitation. Many who are last shall be first. We don't want the interesting aspects of our American culture to rob us of the riches of the Kingdom of God!

Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. This does not mean just to forgive the sin of the world. It means to take away the sin; to remove it; to destroy it in its every conceivable form.

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)

Do you suppose we have come to this time of Divine intervention? This is becoming one of may favorite passages in the Bible. Think what it is saying! All sin and all who do evil will be removed from the Kingdom of God.

And "all who do evil" does not mean except those who believe in Christ. It means all who do evil.

We are not released from the judgments of the Bible by a theological profession of belief in Christ. If we really believe in Christ we will confess our sinning and ask for Christ's help to stop sinning.

There is an awesome difference between being forgiven our sins and being delivered from our sins. The first is God's attitude toward us. The second is our entrance into the Kingdom of God.

We are born again in order to see and enter the Kingdom. Then, as we press forward in Christ, that part of the Kingdom which has been born in us begins to grow. As it does, the sinful actions of our personality become increasingly clear to us. The moment this happen, we are to confess and renounce such behavior.

If we do not, we are walking in known sin.

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (Hebrews 10:26,27)

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

I want all of the devil's work destroyed out of me.

How about you?

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Grace

2012-09-30
The concept of grace that prevails today in the United States of America is one massive lie. It's purpose is to prevent people from entering the Kingdom of God.

Since we enter the Kingdom of God by gaining victory over sin and self-will, the teaching that God excuses our conduct through the Lord Jesus Christ will prevent the diligence necessary if we are to press into the Kingdom. It is just as simple as that!

If there is a term used more often in Christian circles than "grace," I do not know what it is. "Grace" has come to mean Divine favor shown to us regardless of our behavior. It makes one think of an indulgent grandfather who keeps exclaiming, "Boys will be boys!"

If I am not mistaken, this impression of God Almighty prevails among American Christians. It appears to be common among Muslim believers who, when they drink alcohol and attention is called to their sinning, they respond, "Allah is merciful." In other words, He overlooks our transgression.

When you stop to think about it, the Muslims have no blood atonement to forgive the guilt of their sins.

It is not this way with the God of Heaven. He forgives our transgressions only because of the blood atonement. When we come to Jesus for forgiveness, the blood atonement made on the cross of Calvary removes the guilt of our sins—not the sin itself, but the guilt of the sins. The practice and removal of the sin itself is dealt with later.

Today the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement has commenced, in which the practice of sin is dealt with, and will continue until the end of the final judgment of people.

That God is not indulgent toward our sinning, like a kindly grandfather, can be seen in the agony of Christ on the cross. It required unimaginable agony on the part of Christ and on the part of His Father, before the Father could forgive our sins. The crucifixion was no light matter.

We American Christians to a great extent have lost the fear of God. We have been taught that He has issued grace such that if we say we believe in Jesus, our sinful behavior is overlooked. The idea that God overlooks our behavior through grace may be the greatest lie told in the history of the world. It began when the serpent said, "You shall not surely die."

Today this same lie is being preached in thousands of pulpits as ministers seek to curry favor with their congregations. That is a mean thing to say, but I cannot think of another reason why pastors would tell their congregations that God is overlooking their sin, or sees them through Christ.

We have been woefully deceived in America concerning the grace of God. It is not a perpetual forgiveness, except when we are bearing our cross after the Lord Jesus each day, confessing and renouncing our sins as they are pointed out to us.

If Divine grace is not an indulgent overlooking of our sins, exactly what is it? Let's take a look at how "grace" is used in the New Testament.

And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him. (Luke 2:40)

Perhaps a good synonym of "grace" as it is used above, is "blessing." The blessing of God was upon Him.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

Again, Divine blessing and Presence.

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. (John 1:16)

I would say this means the Presence of God that dwells in Christ.

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)

The above verse tells us something important about Divine grace. It is the sequel to the Law of Moses. And I think this was the most important meaning of grace, as preached by the Apostle Paul. Grace assigns the righteousness of Christ to everyone who places his trust in Him rather than in the Law of Moses. It is as though we have kept the Law of Moses perfectly.

The righteousness of Christ is applied to us on the condition that we are following the Spirit of God at all times. As many as are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God; and the Spirit always is teaching us to put to death the actions of our sinful nature. This truth is not always heard, which warps what Paul wrote about faith and the works of the Law of Moses.

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)

We are free from the condemnation imposed by the Law of Moses provided we do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

We are to obey the law of the Spirit of Life. When we do not, the righteousness of Him who kept the Law of Moses perfectly is not ascribed to us.

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. (Galatians 5:16-18)

The awesome misunderstanding of today is that when we place our trust in Christ we are free from the demands of the Law of Moses, and of every other law, except the "law of love." The so-called "law of love" is pitifully incompetent to enable us to resist the fiery demands of demons as they seek comfort and expression in our sinful nature.

With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. (Acts 4:33)

Grace, as used in the verse above, probably means the obvious blessing of God. Would you agree with that?

Now Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people. (Acts 6:8)

Have you noticed that thus far we have not encountered the popular conception of grace, that it is God's overlooking our sinful behavior because we make a profession of belief in Christ?

When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. (Acts 11:23)

I would think the synonym of "grace," as it is used in the verse above, might be the "blessing and Presence" of God. The blessing and Presence of God on someone can be seen by people who love the Lord Jesus.

When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God. (Acts 13:43)

The synonym might be the "blessing and Presence" of God. There also might be a shade of their having left the Law of Moses.

So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders. (Acts 14:3)

"The message of His grace." Probably alluding to the fact that they were free from the Law of Moses so they could serve the living Christ.

From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. (Acts 14:26)

Committed to the Presence and blessing of God.

"No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." (Acts 15:11)

"Through the grace of our Lord Jesus" in this context means apart from the Law of Moses.

But Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. (Acts 15:40)

Please note to this point we have not seen Divine "grace" presented as an alternative to righteous behavior. To the Law of Moses, yes. But not as an alternative to growth in godly behavior.

When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him. On arriving, he was a great help to those who by grace had believed. (Acts 18:27)

Probably meaning they had left Moses and come to Christ. Or else that God had blessed them by enabling them to believe.

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace. (Acts 20:24)

My thought would be that Paul's gospel of grace had to do with the fact that people are invited to enter the Kingdom of God and His righteousness apart from the Law of Moses; never, as in our day, that people are invited to enter the Kingdom of God and His righteousness apart from repenting of their sins with the prospect of following the Lord into godly behavior.

For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. (Ephesians 5:5-7)

Paul always preached godly behavior. His exhortations about grace, faith, imputed righteousness, always were addressed to people, particularly Jews, whom Paul was exhorting to receive Christ. It never entered Paul's mind that people of the future would one day use his invitation to receive Christ apart from Moses to mean we go to Heaven by saying we believe in Christ even though we never have abandoned our sinful way of living.

What a monstrous, monumental, destructive, ungodly error today's preaching of Divine grace is! We should know better. Actually, in light of God's holy Nature, it borders on blasphemy!

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace. (Acts 20:24)

Paul's primary burden appears to be that all people, Jews and Gentiles alike, can leave the Law of Moses and receive forgiveness and righteousness by placing their trust in Jesus Christ.

"Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified." (Acts 20:32)

"The Word of God's grace" would be the message that we can be saved by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. We do not have to go back to the Law of Moses and keep all the statutes and ordinances. We Gentiles of today do not understand what an enormous burden the Law of Moses was.

Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? (Acts 15:10)

In the following verses we can review, from the Book of Romans, what the Apostle Paul meant by "grace."

Through him and for his name's sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith. (Romans 1:5)

We received the enabling Presence and blessing of God.

The expression "the obedience that comes from faith" actually is the key to the whole concept. Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness. All that God required of Abraham at that time was that Abraham resolutely believe a fantastic promise.

You see, it was not the belief itself that brought righteousness, it was the fact that Abraham obeyed God by believing. This may be a subtle point, but it essential to our understanding of why the present preaching of "faith alone" is in error.

When our faith does not lead to obedience, then it is no more than mental assent. There is no righteousness, eternal life, or salvation in it.

Later in his life God asked Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering. Abraham's faith was not only a belief that God had said this, it was Abraham's obedience that resulted in his being termed "the father of those who believe."

At that point, if Abraham had been so foolish as to say because I believed God about my offspring I now am eternally righteousness, and had withheld Isaac from God, would his original righteousness have excused him when he disobeyed God? Would he have been the father of those who believe? Most assuredly not!

When God told us we would be righteous if we obeyed the Law of Moses and offered the required sacrifice, we were righteous if we obeyed. It was the obedience to the Law of Moses that resulted in righteousness.

When God says to us I have a righteousness for you that is not earned by obeying the ordinances of Moses but by placing your trust in Christ, it is that same obedience that results in righteousness. In this instance, righteousness no longer can be gained by following the statutes of Moses.

So when we say "faith alone," and do not accompany our so-called faith with obedience to Christ and His Apostles, our faith is not true faith and will not save us. Our faith at that point is nothing more than mental assent to the facts of the atonement. Only the obedience that results from faith is effective in the program of the redemption.

To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:7)

Blessings and peace.

I am making a change at this point. The following verses, Romans 3:20-28 contain several expressions of what the Apostle Paul meant by "grace." What we are looking for here is to see if there is any suggestion that grace is an alternative to growth in righteous behavior, a new kind of covenant that, unlike all the previous covenants of God, does not require godly behavior.

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20)

All fine so far. Paul is saying that people are not justified by keeping the Law. The purpose of the Law is to make us know what sin is. This is surprising, coming from a former Pharisee!

Obedience to the Law of Moses at that time resulted in forgiveness.

The priest shall then offer the other as a burnt offering in the prescribed way and make atonement for him for the sin he has committed, and he will be forgiven. (Leviticus 5:10)

This was not because the burnt offering brought the forgiveness, but because of obedience.

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

Now we can be righteous without keeping the Law. A point of view hotly contested by some of the Jews.

Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: (Romans 3:22)

Fine so far. God desires that we place our faith in Christ, and will count all who do so as being righteous.

However, right here there is a problem of understanding. Is Paul saying that there is no further need of righteous behavior on our part? His writing in His letters to the churches show that this certainly is not what Paul is implying.

If Christian people desire to continue in sin, they can "prove" they are righteous from verse 22 (above). But much of the New Testament speaks strongly against this point of view. So does our conscience.

I have read the Bible for many years. I believe God has left some passages in His Word for the purpose of allowing those who desire to believe a lie, scriptural grounds for their assertions. Romans 3:22 would be one such verse. The people who claim that grace covers willful sinning appear to deliberately ignore the multitude of verses that show that their point of view is against the Word of God.

If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (Hebrews 10:26,27)

When we wilfully continue to sin, knowing we are sinning, we are a servant of Satan, not a servant of God.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)

This certainly is a universal truth. However, Christian preaching carries this too far when the claim is made that there has been no righteous person on the earth. Many people in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament, are described as righteous.

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (Romans 3:24)

Again this verse can be twisted to mean that God refers to the sinning Christian as righteous, even though he or she is living in known sin. We should know better than this.

However, Paul is not saying that. He is arguing that a Jew can leave Moses, place his faith in Christ, and be fully justified. This is infinitely different from claiming that a Christian living in known sin is freely justified because he claims to believe in Jesus.

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; (Romans 3:25)

When we place our faith in the blood atonement made by the Lord Jesus, all of our sins of the past are forgiven. Thus we can come to God with a clear conscience.

To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. (Romans 3:26)

God's own righteousness as compared with ours. God is just; and if He wants to justify the person who believes in Jesus, that is His business alone.

It may be true that the Jewish people were so enamored with the Law that they forgot that God can declare anyone righteous, with or without the Law of Moses. This would be an important concept in terms of Paul's argument.

Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. (Romans 3:27)

Since it is God alone who determines whether or not someone is righteous, no believer has a basis for boasting. It can be seen that faith in God is true righteousness; and so all the boasting of people is misdirected. Please remember that if our faith in God does not result in our obeying the commandments of Christ and His Apostles, our faith is not true faith.

When we obey the commandments of Christ and His Apostles we are not trying to earn righteousness by our works. Rather, we are being obedient to Christ. Christ Himself stated more than once that if we love Him we will keep His commands.

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

Can you see from the above that when Paul was contrasting faith and works he was not contrasting faith and godly behavior (the mammoth mistake of our time) but faith and the works of the Law of Moses?

Because of the fact that God alone determines who is righteous, our conclusion is that an individual can be righteous apart from the works of the Law, if righteousness apart from the Law is what God is emphasizing at the time.

Remember, in our discussion of grace we are seeking to determine if the Bible supports the view that because of grace, belief in Jesus Christ is an alternative to godly behavior. So far this has not been shown to be the case. Rather Paul is saying that it is possible to be righteous apart from the works of the Law, if that is what God wants.

Since all true righteousness resides in our righteous God, He can refer to anyone He chooses as righteous, with the Law of Moses; without the Law of Moses; or on any other basis He desires to employ.

Please keep in mind that righteousness is not a fixed standard of behavior. Righteousness means approved of God—nothing more than this and nothing less than this. Thus when the Lord said to the thief, "This day you will be in Paradise," no one is in a position to say to the Lord you cannot do this because he did not keep the Sabbath, or anything else of the kind.

Where Christian people fall into error is by proving from this incident that it does not matter how we behave. We will go to Paradise anyhow. The reason they fall into the error is that they want this to be true. But it decidedly is contrary to the Scriptures!

Also, these misguided people know nothing at all about the history of the thief in question. He may have been a righteous individual who stole a loaf of bread to feed his starving child. Christ may have overlooked this one sin because all his life the man had obeyed the commandments of Moses.

But whether the man had been thoroughly wicked or not, his statement to the Lord Jesus revealed the kind of repentance that God requires.

I think some people believe that they can lead and sinful life, and at the last moment repent, like the thief of the cross. (They are playing games with God, and God always wins!)

If our heart is wrong, we are going to misunderstand the Bible. That is all there is to that!

Let me tell you why a last minute repentance usually will not work. Repentance is a gift. We might think we can repent whenever we wish, but that is not true. There are some terrifying testimonies of people who waited until the last minute to repent. When their friends urged them to make their peace with Christ, their reply was, "I can't."

One man in another country went into a house of prostitution. He told Jesus to wait for him outside. When he came back out, Jesus was gone.

There was a young girl who kept disobeying Jesus. Finally she realized she had sinned away her day of grace. Jesus was tired of her disobedience, her unwillingness to accept what He was offering in love.

And too, remember Esau, who despised his birthright because he wanted some lentil soup.

See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears. (Hebrews 12:16,17)

I have to be careful when writing about sinning away our day of grace. Satan will accuse some weak Christian, frightening him by telling him he has sinned away his day of grace. This usually is not the case. I tell such people to go to church every chance they get whether they feel anything or not, and see what God will do for them. It may take a while.

I'll tell you it is a sobering experience to see someone at the altar who is crying out to God to restore to him the joy of his salvation.

Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. (Romans 4:16)

The promise of righteousness comes by faith in the Lord Jesus. This promise proceeding from the grace (goodness) of God guarantees that all people, not just those under the Law of Moses, may benefit and know God as their Father. The reference to Abraham is to the faith of obedience to that which God speaks to us, without regard to the works of the Law of Moses.

Through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:2)

It is difficult for us Gentiles to appreciate what a load was lifted from Paul when he understood that he could be completely righteous without obeying the statutes and ordinances of the Law of Moses.

In spite of the clarity of Paul's position, there are Christians today who still are wavering over the Sabbath commandment, not realizing that the Sabbath is fulfilled when we are serving Christ and living by His Life every hour of every day. So it is true that all of the Law of Moses is fulfilled in us when we follow Jesus. The Law is a servant who brings us to the school of Christ.

But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! (Romans 5:15)

"Grace" here meaning God's willingness to count us righteous apart from the works of the Law of Moses, whether we are Jews or Gentiles.

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:17)

Grace—the gift of righteousness apart from the works of the Law of Moses.

The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, (Romans 5:20)

The giving of the Law of Moses gave us an increased awareness of the sin in our behavior. As the sin increased, so must God's willingness to count us righteous apart from the Law increase.

Those whose hearts were not right toward God deduced from this verse that we should sin so grace would increase. So blind and evil are our hearts!

So that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:21)

Eternal life always follows righteousness. God's grace assigns righteousness to those who turn from the Law of Moses and place their trust for salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. By assigning righteousness to us, God assigned eternal life to us. We see this illustrated in the following verse:

But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. (Romans 8:10)

Our inward nature possesses eternal life because of the righteousness freely given to us. Our body is dead because of the sin dwelling in it and practiced by it.

Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? (Romans 6:1)

Paul realized that people would conclude this from his argument about faith in Christ supplanting the Law of Moses.

For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14)

While we are under the Law of Moses. we are informed that we are sinning; but no help is offered other than to sacrifice an animal. In this manner sin has mastery over us, condemning us all the time. "Who shall deliver us from this body of death?"

But under grace there is a continual forgiveness such that we not have to go back and crucify Christ again. But—and right here is the deadly misunderstanding of our day—this continual forgiveness operates only as we keep following and obeying the Spirit of God!

The Spirit of God continually is directing us to confess our sins and stop committing them. The Spirit helps us do this. The sons of God are lead by the Spirit to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.

If Divine grace were a gift of eternal righteousness, so that our behavior did not matter, then much of the New Testament is in error.

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. (Galatians 5:19-21)

Does the above sound to you like a gift of eternal righteousness independent of our behavior? We of today have been grossly deceived!

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! (Romans 6:15)

"Grace" meaning the gift of righteousness apart from obedience to the works of the Law of Moses.

So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. (Romans 11:5)

"Grace" referring to God's elect, His saints, who were not chosen because they were more righteous than other people.

Who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. (II Timothy 1:9)

I believe we have here a full meaning of "grace." It is not a special "dispensation" given to the Christian Church but an outflowing of God's inscrutable purposes in Christ.

There is a definition of "grace" that is fairly common: "Unmerited favor." This may have a limited application. The truth is, everything we have been given is unmerited. "His own purpose and grace." These are unmerited. The point is, once we have receive them we have to justify God's wisdom in trusting us with our unmerited opportunities in His Kingdom.

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)

After we have been called out from the world by God's grace, we have to live in such a manner that we are worthy of the Kingdom of God. Did you ever hear that preached? It is a blind spot in today's Christian teaching.

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, (II Peter 1:10)

We do not earn our salvation. But if it is to profit us we must respond to it. We have to work out our salvation.

And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. (Romans 11:6)

We do not earn salvation by any kind of works, religious or otherwise. But once righteousness is assigned to us by grace, and eternal life along with it, we have to respond to it.

Remember, in the parable of the sower there were two kinds of ground in which the Divine Seed germinated and then died without bearing fruit. Only one of four kinds of ground on which the Seed fell bore the lasting fruit of the Kingdom, and that in three levels.

Which reminds me: The Bible teaches clearly that there are ranks in the Kingdom of God. The same grace that saves us also appoints ranks in the Kingdom. If we are appointed to a high rank, more is required of us in faith, obedience, and diligence than is true of those chosen for a lesser rank. "To whom much is given shall much be required."

But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:48)

We can see readily from the above that new-covenant grace is much more than a gift of righteousness given to us so we can go to Heaven and recline on our couch in our mansion. This impression is fairly common. It comes from making Heaven our goal rather than the Kingdom of God.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (Romans 12:3)

"Grace" here may refer to the commission, and the ability to carry out that commission, given to the Apostle Paul by the Lord Jesus.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. (Romans 12:6)

The ministries and gifts of the Spirit of God are examples of Divine grace.

I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me (Romans 15:15)

"Grace" meaning the commission, and the ability to carry out that commission, given to Paul by the Lord.

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. (Romans 16:20)

Probably the Presence and blessing of Jesus.

To this point I may have included enough references to "grace" that the reader can get an understanding of its use in the New Testament. I have limited the references principally to the writings of Paul in the Book of Romans, since to Paul was given the explanation of the transition from Moses to Christ.

I would like to add four more items of interest. The following passage often is used to reinforce the concept of "grace" as an permanent pardon of everyone who professes to believe in Jesus Christ:

That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Romans 10:9,10)

If we have read nothing else that Paul wrote, we might agree that this is all there is to the Christian salvation. All we do now is to wait to die and go to Heaven.

This passage is part of Paul's exhortation to the Jews to turn from the Law and place their faith in Christ. It is not intended to be a formula in which all of the aspects of our salvation are included.

Another item of interest. Some theologian of the past century, I suppose, came up with a theology termed "A Dispensation of Grace." The name may be derived from the following verse:

If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: (Ephesians 3:2—KJV)

Paul is referring to the commission and enablement of the teaching of Divine grace that was given to him, not to a "Dispensation of Grace."

There is no such thing as a "dispensation of grace." If I am not mistaken, it is one of the deadliest corruptions ever to enter Christian thinking.

From the impressions I have received, this theology espouses the following notions. If I am mistaken, then I stand to be corrected:

We are in a new dispensation, a sort of parenthesis, different from previous covenants issued by God.

"Grace" is a dispensation of eternal forgiveness on the basis of a profession of belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, in which our behavior is inconsequential. We are saved by the grace of forgiveness alone.

There will be a Gentile Church in Heaven and a Jewish kingdom on the earth.

There will be a "rapture" of Gentile believers to Heaven prior to the return of Christ to the earth.

I am not a student of dispensational theology, so I hope I have not attributed to it something which it does not teach.

If the four notions I have just written are in fact included in dispensational theology, then this is a deadly error. I do not wish to be too dramatic; but it seems to me that if Satan wanted to destroy the Kingdom of God, these ideas would enable him to do just that.

A third point of discussion has to do with the venerable Ephesians 2:8,9:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

I have heard Ephesians 2:8,9 preached since I first became a Christian. It was not until many years later as I began to notice the numerous passages of the New Testament that exhorted us to righteous behavior that I began to study the context. Ephesians 2:8,9, as it was taught, did not seem to fit the remainder of the New Testament.

Lo and behold! Guess what I found! The next verse:

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

WE HAVE BEEN CREATED IN CHRIST JESUS TO DO GOOD WORKS.

A different idea from that of reclining a couch in our mansion in Heaven doing nothing of significance for eternity.

As I stated previously, I do not wish to be melodramatic. Bur why have I never heard anyone quote verse ten?

Am I getting paranoid? Am I seeing demons behind every bush?

I honestly think there is an agenda here. There seems to be a concerted effort to ignore the passages in the New Testament that command righteous behavior.

A fourth point is one I do not particularly wish to bring up, but it might help someone in the future.

There are good Christian people who are zealous to keep God's commandments, who point out to us that we are breaking God's commandment by going to church on Sunday rather than on Saturday. Saturday is the seventh day of the week and the Jewish Sabbath.

I am aware that the Sabbath commandment was instituted at the time of the creation. It is included in the Ten Commandments, but it did not originate there.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. (Genesis 2:2,3)

There were no evening and morning associated with the seventh day. Also, there was no eighth day. This tells us that the seventh day is an eternal day, a "day" that continues forever—eons after the earth and heavenly bodies of today have passed away, and the Bride of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem, has descended through the glorious new sky to be installed forever on the colossal new earth.

We understand there will be no churches, no religion, in the new world of righteousness. The former things have passed away. God and Christ Themselves have become our religion. So there will be no day on which we "go to church."

I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. (Revelation 21:22)

Also, there will be no "seventh day" as such in the new world of righteousness, since there is no sun.

Let us now reason together. If the seventh day is an eternal day, persevering for eternities after the end of the present creation; and if there will be no churches in which to assemble in the new world of righteousness, then the seventh day, the day of eternal rest, symbolizes something more than going to church on Saturday.

Indeed it does. It symbolizes the eternal "rest" of God, which is the thesis of the Book of Hebrews.

The "rest" of God is the eternal Sabbath in which the Lord Jesus always has and always shall live. Jesus kept the earthly Sabbath in order to fulfill all righteousness, His righteousness that is ascribed to us when we faithfully follow and obey the Spirit of God.

When Hebrews exhorts us to labor to enter the rest, it is referring to that place in Christ that supersedes all earthly religious ordinances. We are crucified each day, as we turn away from our earthly desires and plans. We are raised into eternal life each day as the body and blood of the Lord Jesus, which are our resurrection Life, are issued to us because we have, with His help, chosen to serve Him rather than our sinful nature.

To be crucified and yet live is the eternal Sabbath. It begins now and continues forever. We always and forever will live by the Life of the Lord Jesus, just as Christ lives by the Life of the Father. We have to "labor" to enter the eternal Sabbath because there are so many "works," even religious works, that our adamic nature is always prompting us to perform.

We labor to enter the Divine rest by looking to Jesus for all we are doing at all times and in all circumstances, so we are not living just by our human inclinations. We will be living like this when churches and religions, have long ago passed away.

We are coming a new creation, in which the old is passing away and all is becoming new in Christ. The new creation supersedes all previous covenants, and directs and enables us to perform the righteousness that is the intent of all previous covenants. The new creation is the new covenant between God and man.

Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. (Galatians 6:15)

By no means is Sunday the Sabbath day, although it is a strong tradition in Christian nations. Based perhaps on the fact that the Lord Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week, that is, on Sunday.

I commend these dear folks on their desire to keep God's commandments. The Sabbath commandment is similar to the equally important commandment of the circumcision of a child.

Both of these commandments are, in my opinion, equal in importance. Circumcision is not mentioned in the Ten Commandments and was instituted prior to the Ten Commandments, at the time of Abraham.

All of the Jewish statutes and ordinances are a shadow of Christ, and all are fulfilled under the new covenant. Christ observed them all, and so when we are obeying the Spirit of God, Christ's righteousness is ascribed to us (Romans 8:4).

Paul told us clearly in the Book of Galatians that circumcision in the flesh has nothing to do with our salvation.

Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God. (Galatians 6:15,16)

The expression "the Israel of God" refers to all who are part of Christ, to the one "new Man."

Likewise Paul told us of the true Sabbath of God:

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)

The above is what the Book of Hebrews means by the "rest" of God. I refer to it as living by the Life of Jesus. It is the eternal Sabbath in which the Lord Jesus always lives.

Whether we attend church on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday has nothing to do with the Sabbath ordinance of the Ten Commandments. The purpose of the Jewish Sabbath was to give people one day of the week in which to focus their attention on Go and to honor Him.

Jews were forbidden to work on Saturday but to give their attention to God. It was not ordained, as far as I know, that the Jews had to go to the synagogue on the Sabbath, although their custom was to do so.

We, however, are to give our attention fully to the Lord Jesus Christ every moment of every day of the week. There is no day in which we are to focus our attention on Christ more than any other day.

When we are crucified with Christ we are dead to the Law of Moses. The Law has no authority over the dead.

By the same token, if Christ is living in us, and we are living by His Life, He will guide us when we are to assemble. In the days of persecution that are coming to America, we may be forced to meet in hiding on some day other than Saturday or Sunday.

I have been a disciple of my Lord Jesus Christ for over 65 years. During the past five I have been more conscious than ever of living by His Life. Christ never once impressed on me throughout 65 year of commitment to His will that there was anything special about Saturday.

God's will to me is everything. I seek the face of Christ continually that I might do His will. I do not seek His will more on Saturday than on any other day. Hopefully, every day that follows, as I learn to live one day at a time, is holier than the preceding. I would not have it any other way.

I do not want the six days that preceded the seventh day to be less holy than the seventh day. I cannot accept that idea!

I am crucified every day. Every day I am raised to do the will of God.

Being a pastor, Sunday is not a Sabbath of rest for me, nor do I ever refer to it as such. Rather, I work harder on Sunday than on any other day. Saturday afternoon is a time of rest for me as I prepare for the Sunday sermon.

But I do not regard Saturday afternoon as being more holy than any other time. I could not seek Christ more fervently on Saturday afternoon because I seek Christ fervently at all times—and more so as the days go by and He teaches me to live by His Life.

I certainly have no quarrel with anyone who desires to go to Church on Saturday. By doing so he is showing his love for God and is worshiping Him with other saints.

My only concern is that God's people have such a difficult time letting go of Moses! The truth is, Moses is dead. Christ now is Joshua. We do not know where Moses is buried, so we cannot raise him up and find righteousness by doing what God commanded through him.

I personally would inveigh against setting aside one day a week as being more holy than the other six, in that we might let down our consecration on those lesser-holy six days.

Everyone should worship God in a way that is meaningful to him or her, and I refuse to judge someone because he or she gathers with the saints on Saturday, or on Sunday for that matter.

But I think we can live more fully by the Life of Christ when we give our attention wholly to Him at all times, rather than ignoring Him on Saturday by not looking directly to Him to see what He wants us to do right then—just taking it for granted that He wants us to assemble on that day.

As Paul said about the ordinances of the Law, when we look to something other than the cross of Christ for our righteousness, it is loss for Christ.

We have a new commandment, referred to as the Law of the Spirit of Life. This means we are commanded to follow the Holy Spirit and obey Him diligently every hour of every day of our life.

I have noticed in the Bible translations the expression "free gift." (What other kind of gift is there?). This is a redundancy intended to emphasize that there is nothing for us to do other than to believe the facts about Christ. Is this nothing more than undisciplined writing or is there something in the Greek language that adds the term "free" to "gift"?

I have concluded that the philosophy of Humanism has altered Christian preaching. We want everyone to be pleased. They won't accept Christ if they are not pleased, will they?

I remember the account of two young people in Southeast Asia who wanted to join a church. The elders asked them if they were ready to be tortured and slain for Christ. Their response was, "Yes."

We ought to try that in America.

How long has it been since you have heard that to be a Christian we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Christ.?

Well, I may have made a case in this essay for the truth that Divine grace is more than a "free gift" to people so they have to do nothing but profess to believe in Jesus, and then wait to die and go to Heaven where they can recline forever on their sofa in their mansion and do nothing of significance for eternity.

Even though they have not done well they will hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter the joy of your Lord." You see, even Jesus has been affected by Humanism.

So we cannot do as a Muslim might and say, "God is merciful," after we have broken His commandment. Our God has told us every idle work we speak will be brought before us in the Day of Judgment. Our God has warned us that as we sow we are going to reap.

We can come before our God, confess our sin, and ask Him to forgive us. God can do that on the basis of the atoning blood shed by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.

But confession alone will not bring deliverance. We have to turn away from our sin and walk in the light of God's will. Then the blood of Christ will cleanse us from all sin.

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

I sincerely wish that every Muslim person could come to the Lord Jesus and receive the forgiveness and righteousness that He lovingly paid for on the cross. Christ then would be so pleased to see these new friends that now were receiving the benefit of the terrible suffering He bore for them.

I certainly am not referring to joining the Christian religion. I am speaking rather of knowing Jesus personally as a friend and talking to Him all the time.

I think I see the problem clearly. Perhaps sometimes after my death, and America has been ravaged by destruction until it has become a third-class nation, there will arise prophets who will proclaim to the Christian people that they must confess and turn from their sins if they are to enter the Kingdom of God.

May our dear Lord in His mercy and kindness return the fear of God to the United States of America.

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The End of the Wicked

2012-10-07
Perhaps it is true that every generation of Christians has been under the impression that the whole world is in sin and getting worse by the day. That is the way it seems in our time. Every day there is some new abomination being presented by the governments of the world. The attention being given to protecting the rights of homosexual people is amazing, considering the small percent of the population they represent.

If I am not mistaken, numerous American people do not have faith in their government. It is no wonder, given the amount of corruption that appears to be present. The moral standards presented by our President, particularly concerning abortion-on-demand and homosexual behavior, are not in harmony with the thinking of many—perhaps the majority—of the American people.

To fervent Christians, these standards are outrageous. And it is to this point that I wish to speak. We can become violent. Or we can become active politically. Or we can pray.

Violence is not an acceptable alternative, although if the situation becomes more polarized, civil war possibly could occur.

Americans always are encouraged to be politically active. The one problem here is that we are encouraged by the Apostle Paul to set our minds on things above, not on things of the earth. This may sound almost unpatriotic, but it is the commandment of God's Word.

I believe that a sincere Christian will know whether or not he or she is to be involved in politics, and to what extent; and still be able to keep his or her mind in the heavenlies.

There used to be a saying that some Christians were so heavenly minded they were no earthly good. It has been my experience that most Christians are so earthly minded they are not as heavenly good as they might be.

I am writing in May of 2012. The presidential election is soon to take place. Feelings are running high between people who are happy with the present "progressive" agendas, and what I might term "old fashioned American values."

The Seventy-third Psalm has to do with the reaction of the godly person to what he or she perceives to be wickedness. To what extent we who are more, shall we say, "old fashioned" in our thinking, perceive the present drift of the world, including America, as being toward wickedness, may depend on the individual. Nevertheless, the one reaction we must avoid is fretting.

Regardless of who is elected, we are to focus the eyes of our faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. We are living on the earth He created. If He wants the world condition changed, He can do it effortlessly and immediately. We are to pray continually for changes we would like to see, but think, speak, and act in concert with Him, not out of our personal irritation and frustration.

Becoming angry will do little other than to give Satan an advantage. God wants us to live in righteousness, love, peace, and joy, no matter who is elected. Can you say "Amen"?

Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. (Psalms 73:1)

No matter what the future holds, no matter how the wicked parade around arrogantly, God is good to those who maintain a pure heart, free from anger and fear.

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. (Psalms 37:2)

Have you ever felt like that? Have the dark pressures increased until you wondered if you were going to stay true to God? Have you felt like God has forsaken you? I myself have been brought low a time or two, but God helped me back on my feet. How about you?

For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. (Psalms 37:3)

Notice how arrogance, prosperity, and wickedness go together. We ought to know better, yet we look up from our low place and are tempted to envy those who ignore God and yet are successful in their projects.

They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. (Psalms 37:4)

Here I am, barely able to get around, and the sinners are prancing around like they were eighteen years of age.

They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. (Psalms 37:5)

How is it that they can leave God out of their lives and still prosper? Even Christ had to suffer. But these doers of evil suffer no tribulations that we can see!

Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. (Psalms 37:6)

The wicked in their pride do not understand and have little sympathy with those who are poor and afflicted. They push other people out of their way. Perhaps they imagine that God created them to be lords over everyone else, and so they are not concerned with sick, poor, and helpless people.

From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. (Psalms 37:7)

Sometimes the newspaper shows pictures of fashionable people, dressed in their finery, attending a symphony or ball. Yet, in that same newspaper may be pictures of starving people in some areas of Africa.

I understand there are rich people who share their wealth with the less fortunate. Even with that, there should be no one who has more money than he or she can spend, nor others who are worried about their children starving.

God has given to some people the ability to make much money. Others are not so blessed. I believe God is pleased when we assist those who are in need.

But the wealthy often are callous of heart. They are narcissistic, believing in their minds that they somehow are better than others. They may forget that the Scripture states that God has prepared His Kingdom for the poor.

They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. (Psalms 37:8)

Instead of helping the needy they scoff at them. Their words are malicious and threatening. The poor man has no way of defending himself. He is at their mercy.

Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. (Psalms 37:9)

The rich and powerful often are boastful. They do not realize that it is God who has enabled them to be elevated over less fortunate people. And so they ignore God and do not give glory to Him.

I, being an American, am deeply troubled that our President does not appear to give glory to God. I believe this is a great failing, and does not bode well for our country. It is as though people by themselves can solve the prevailing social problems of war and finance. But they cannot. Only God can bring peace and prosperity.

But the leaders of the larger nations proceed as though mankind is its own god and by its own courage and wisdom will gain peace and prosperity.

Such is the greatest delusion possible to man!

Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. (Psalms 37:10)

The demagogues make great claims for themselves. The "sea" of mankind admire the rich and powerful and believe what they are told by the politicians. These evil rulers cause the people to forget about God.

There is no "sea" of people in the new world of righteousness who are led about by the wicked. Every individual is known of God and kept by Him from the proud boasts of the political leaders.

They say, "How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?" (Psalms 37:11)

Our President, it seems, seldom or never points people toward God. He speaks often of world affairs, as though the various political leaders are going to lead us toward peace and prosperity by their efforts.

But I never have heard him teach us to depend on God to bring us peace and prosperity. If this is "new" and "progressive," I do not care for it. I have learned in sixty-five years as a Christian that it is better to put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ than in political leaders.

This is what the wicked are like—always carefree, they increase in wealth. (Psalms 37:12)

It does seem that way, doesn't it? From the pictures in the paper and on television, it appears that the wicked are having a wonderful time. The average person often is bowed with care. There is sickness in his or her family, or barely enough money to make ends meet.

It is these kinds of people who attend church, looking to God to help them in their daily life. God sees each such person and provides housing, clothes, food, and oftentimes physical and mental healing.

Meanwhile the governments of the world, who it seems often include wicked people, go on their way promising the peace and prosperity that is not in their power to provide. Their attitude is somewhat disgusting, at least to me. My confidence is in the Lord, not in any human being.

Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. (Psalms 37:13)

There comes a time in the life of the faithful saint when he begins to wonder if all his efforts to keep a pure heart and live a holy life has been in vain. It seems like the wicked are under no such discipline, and yet they have good health and fine families. They appear to lack nothing.

All day long I have been plagued; have been punished every morning. (Psalms 37:14)

I can think of two Christian families right now who have really been trying to serve the Lord. In both cases the father has proved to be unreliable. The wife has been left with the task of raising the children. Both wives have lost their homes due to loss of income.

But this has not been the end of their problems. One thing after another has fallen upon them. Both have stated that they would not trade their experiences because their hardships have driven them deeper into Christ.

But it has been rough for them; and after many years they still are faced with problems.

The Bible teaches clearly, in several passages, that whom the Lord loves He chastens. I think it is in the Book of Hosea that the prophet speaks of being "torn to pieces." But then the Lord "binds us up," just as in the case of Job. Such tribulation actually is the only manner in which we can go deeper with the Lord.

If I had said, "I will speak thus," I would have betrayed your children. (Psalms 37:15)

I believe Asaph, a prominent Israelite leader of worship, is saying that if he spoke about his troubles he would have caused God's children to lose faith. It is so true that no matter what our personal problems may be, we need to keep speaking faith to those around us.

We overcome the accuser of the brothers by the word of our testimony that God is faithful and true—always, in every situation. To keep proclaiming the truth and faithfulness of God, no matter what we may be experiencing, is an important part of the life of victory in Christ; of entering the rest of God.

When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me (Psalms 37:16)

If we try to understand why the wicked are prosperous and the faithful believers endure hardships, we end up confused and oppressed. It just doesn't make sense to us. Sometimes people say, "I can't believe in God and receive Christ because there are little children in the world who are starving to death."

They do not stop to realize that it is the wicked selfishness of people that results in the starvation of children. It is not the fault of the God of Heaven.

Till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. (Psalms 37:17)

May I suggest to people who are troubled about our government, or about the presidential election, who are not able to do much about it except fret, that they go into their prayer closet with God. There the Lord will give them peace, explaining to them that He is in control and to pray that His will be done.

When you think about it, most of us really do not know that is good for our country. We may think we do, but do we actually? That being the case, wouldn't it be wise to tell Jesus what we would like, and then finish our prayer with, "Your will be done"?

Then you will have perfect peace no matter who wins the election.

Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. (Psalms 37:18)

We do not see it immediately, but the wicked are on slippery ground on their way down to ruin. We probably will not be there when they stand before the Lord. But it will not be a pretty sight as they scream in their terror when the gates of Hell open to let them in.

How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! (Psalms 37:19)

There is such a contrast! The wicked had been exalted, surrounded with luxuries and servants. Now they enter among the evil people who went before them. The demons can abuse and mock them as they will. "You thought you were so great. How do you feel now?" the demons ask as they cackle in their glee.

It probably takes a while before one becomes accustomed to the heat.

As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies. (Psalms 37:20)

Now here is something. God regards the evildoers as fantasies. While they were in their prime while living on the earth, they seemed solid and indestructible. But to God they are as an imagination. There is no reality here.

How did James refer to human beings? "A vapor"? A "mist"? All flesh is as grass that is burned in the fire.

When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, (Psalms 37:21)

It appears that Asaph was angry with himself that he had fretted about the prosperity of wicked, arrogant people.

I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. (Psalms 37:22)

Let this be a warning to us. If we fret about the wicked, boastful political leaders who are in various offices of government, when we see how it all works out we are going to ashamed of ourselves that we did not have more confidence in the faithfulness and righteousness of God and Christ.

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. (Psalms 37:23)

When I pray about the situation in America at this time, the Lord has never said to me that He is going to restore our nation to its present world leadership. Rather, He is telling me to keep pressing closer to Christ and to tell others to do the same.

It may be that the abortion-on-demand and the homosexual behavior, which is denounced in both the Old and New Testaments, have driven America past the place of restoration to God.

But no matter what happens in our country, if we will keep pressing into Christ each day, Christ always shall be with us and will hold us by our right hand. Don't forget that! It is extremely important to your survival and those of your loved ones.

You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. (Psalms 37:24)

Christ will give us wisdom throughout the darkest of nights, if we keep our eyes on Him rather than on the works of Satan in the earth.

The expression "take me into glory" is interesting. We assume Asaph is saying that when he dies he will go to Heaven to be in a glorious place with God.

Although people may not be aware of this, Neither the Old Testament nor the New has much to say about going to Heaven. The New Testament stresses eternal life, and the Kingdom of God. But Asaph at this point seems to be expressing his faith that God will receive Him into Paradise. Therefore, to fret about evildoers in the earth is not appropriate.

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. (Psalms 37:25)

If every Christian believer had the attitude expressed in the preceding verse, our churches would be filled with the Glory of God. Mansions in Heaven mean less than nothing to the true disciple of Jesus. Jesus and His Father are all that matters. The rest of Heaven is only environment.

And the things of earth have nothing of significance for us. except our relationships with people. If those relationships are worthy, they will be restored when we pass at death into the spirit world.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalms 37:26)

Difficult, spiritually dark, oppressive days are coming to the United States in the not too distant future. Men's hearts will be failing them for fear. But the Christian who walks with God, as did Enoch of old, will be stronger than all the pressures that come against him or her.

God is our portion in the present world, and God will be our portion in the next world when we die. God shall give us the desires of our heart—especially if it is God Himself who is the desire of our heart.

Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. (Psalms 37:27)

Let me speak a moment to Christian people. There is an erroneous teaching prevalent in the United States. It is that once we "accept Christ" we never can lose our salvation.

This is to misunderstand God's grace. It is not at all true that we are in a "new dispensation" and the words of the Old Testament no longer apply. While it is true that the Law of Moses has been superseded by the Law of the Spirit of Life, the moral teachings of the Prophets still express God's will.

When the Apostles of Christ exhort us to take heed to the Scripture, they are speaking of the Old Testament.

When the Psalm says God will destroy all who are unfaithful to Him, as in the passage above, that is true. The present-day teaching of "once saved always saved" is not found in the New Testament.

It still is absolutely true that those who are far from God shall perish. It still is absolutely true that God will destroy those who are unfaithful to Him.

Our ministers today, in instances too numerous to count, are, without intending to do so, lying to us. I do not know how many Christian church-attenders will, when they die, discover that they have been placed with people like themselves; and by that I do not mean in a mansion!

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. (Psalms 37:28)

I enjoy being near Jesus, do you? I like to talk to Him throughout the day and night, asking His opinion about things; praying for the solution of problems; giving thanks for the day. I always ask God to remove Satan from my family, from myself, and from my property. Do you do that each day.

As I keep up this continual dialogue with Jesus, I can sense His presence. The spirit world increasingly is real to me. There are so many problems each of us faces, but Christ is our Refuge, a very present Help in the hour of trouble. I honestly do not know how people can get through this present life without talking to Jesus all the time.

I hope the words I have written above will help you throughout the period of Divine judgment that is ahead for our nation.

No matter what the future holds, no matter how the wicked parade around arrogantly, God will still be good to those who maintain a pure heart, free from anger and fear.

Let's you and I keep our heart pure.

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We Have To Press Into The Kingdom Of God

2012-10-14
Our goal is to enter the Kingdom of God. How do we do that. Frequently, we are faced with a decision. Should we do what feels good and appears to bring pleasure; or should we do what we believe the Lord Jesus would have us do? Sometimes these are the same. Sometimes they are not.

First of all we must be fully assured that our goal is to enter the Kingdom of God, not to go to Heaven to live in a mansion doing nothing of significance.

How do we enter the Kingdom of God? By turning away from the sinful desires of our flesh and spirit and obeying the commandments of Christ and His Apostles. Finally, by setting aside our own life altogether and learning to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus.

Exactly what is the Kingdom of God?

God Almighty, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is the Power behind everything. His power and wisdom are so inconceivably vast there is no manner in which we can begin to grasp them.

God is God. God is not His name but His position, His role. Probably the most fitting name is Yahweh, which I read somewhere is a form of the verb "to be."

As I remember, Rotherham translates Yahweh as, "I can, will, may become whatever I can, will, may become." God is the "becoming one." God is everywhere and in everything, as far as I know. He simply is too great to be grasped. Our mind does have some limitations, when it comes to infinity and eternity. We have not been constructed so as to embrace them, to define and limit them in some manner.

God has a Soul, as we do. God has a Spirit, as we do. God does not have a body, but He is in the process of forming one. Christ is the Head of the Body that God forming to live in. Now individual people are becoming part of the Body of Christ, which is the eternal House of God. We might think of it as the Body of God, I suppose.

God has a moral sense, a concept of what is right and wrong; what is righteous and unrighteous; what is appropriate, fruitful and constructive. What will bring love, joy, and peace. This means He has the ability to make moral judgments based on what is acceptable to Himself and in the best interests of His creatures.

One aspect of God we simply cannot grasp is that He never began. He always was. He is and He always shall be. We have to accept that; we cannot grasp it. God exists in an infinite realm, a realm that has no limits. We cannot grasp that either.

Thus there is no "beginning" with God. When the Scripture states that "In the beginning was God," it does not mean in the beginning of God—for there is no beginning with God. It means that at some point (we cannot say in time, for at that point there were no sun, moon, or stars—no way to measure time), there was the Word, the Expression of God.

We do not understand why God decided to create the spirit and physical worlds. We can see that God loves novelty and "fun," as we observe some of the creatures He has brought into being. So we might consider that God created the spirit and physical worlds for His own pleasure. That probably is as good a guess as any. Or perhaps is was to give pleasure to the Word, who came forth from Himself.

As I think about it, I believe God wants a family to love, including brothers for the Word, for Christ.

"In the beginning was the Word." Through the Word, God created the spirit world, angels, cherubim, seraphim, and probably numerous other creatures of which we know nothing. There are intimations in the writings of some who have momentarily entered the spirit world that God created worlds of physical (at least not spiritual) people having their own homes, like humans on the earth, of whom we know nothing at all.

Speaking of Jesus Christ, at that time the Word:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. (Colossians 1:15,16)

There was a great multitude of angels created in the beginning, whom the Father created for the Word. There also were the cherubim. Satan, a cherub, was one of the two cherubim who covered the Throne of God with their wings.

Satan evidently was a striking looking, heavily ornamented creature with musical instruments built into his personality. The Scripture states that Satan was perfect in his ways until wickedness was found in him.

God, who knows everything, knew in advance that Satan would fall through pride. God knew this before it happened.

Satan's "wickedness" was a consuming pride and self centeredness that drove him to want to usurp the place of the Father. He influenced numerous angels to join with him in the rebellion against the will of God.

You see, the heavenly creatures did not understand the meaning of righteousness. Morality dwelled in the soul of God, not in the cherubim or angels. The angels did not know right from wrong and to the present day, although they fight against evil, have to count on God to judge behavior as to its being right or wrong; righteous or unrighteous.

Before God made anything through the Word He knew fully well that Satan would fall. God did not cause him to fall, but He knew he would.

Before the worlds and their inhabitants were created, God had in mind to form a kingdom, with Jesus Christ as the King—a Kingdom in which God's morality would be enforced. God's idea was to permit Satan to fall, so God could put into process a plan of redemption, the end result of which would be a kingdom of righteousness, love, joy, and peace.

At that time God foresaw the issuing of the Ten Commandments, the blood atonement, and you and me. The rebellion of the angels was an integral part of the plan to create a kingdom of everlasting righteousness, love, peace, and joy.

The creation of the physical world, and of man, marked the beginning of the process that would put an end to sin and 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." (Daniel 9:24)

To finish transgression.

To put an end to sin.

To atone for wickedness.

To bring in everlasting righteousness.

The four objectives listed above are God's goal. "Forgiveness of sin" is an interim step, not part of the goal. The objective is to put an end to sin, not to forgive it.

The creation of man is God response to the rebellion of the angels. To man were given the Ten Commandments on stone tablets.

Eventually, the moral law of God, of which the Ten Commandments are an abridged version, is to be made alive in the minds and hearts of people. The moral Nature of God, which is part of the Word of God, is to be presented to the creation in human form.

Now the heavenly and physical creatures can understand the nature of righteous conduct and the spiritual cleanliness of God and of those whom God chooses to approach Himself as members of the Royal Priesthood.

The revelation of His holy Nature is not enough. There must be a way of spreading and enforcing the manner of God's behavior, His moral image. God's way is to develop a kingdom, with the Lord Jesus Christ as the supreme King of all kings and Lord of all lords. God has given His full authority to the Lord Jesus, who, in the garden of Gethsemane, submitted to the test of obedience to God the Father.

The Prophet Daniel spoke of the coming Kingdom:

And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. (Daniel 2:44)

John the Baptist, and the Lord Jesus announced the coming of the Kingdom to the earth. All of Jesus' parables were about the Kingdom of God. The Apostles of Christ taught about the Kingdom.

Strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said. (Acts 14:22)

For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:5)

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. (Galatians 5:21)

For some reason or another, the Gospel of the Kingdom has been changed into the gospel of going to Heaven. The gospel of going to Heaven is "another gospel," of which Paul warned us.

When we think of the coming of a kingdom we are apt to think of the pomp and splendor of one of the kingdoms of history, such as England or Spain. But an external kingdom of this kind would not accomplish God''s goal of the filling of the earth with His moral image.

Interestingly enough, the main sources of wickedness have been in the governments of the world. This probably is due to the prevalence of demons, and perhaps fallen angels, who are seeking power.

The Kingdom of God is first, an inner kingdom. When the Lord was on the earth, casting out demons, He said, "The Kingdom of God is among you."

He did not mean the Kingdom at that time was in His disciples. It assuredly was not. It is Jesus who is the Kingdom, we might say, and the eternal King of the Kingdom. The Kingdom was among the people, casting out demons.

Now, how do we enter the Kingdom of God, the rule of God, that God is forming for the purpose of filling the creation with His moral Nature?

We enter the Kingdom by being born again. This is because the Kingdom is to be developed within us. There will be an external kingdom in the future; but the external kingdom will be an outward expression that which has been created in the heart of the saints.

Perhaps the main truth we must understand, if we are planning on pressing into the Kingdom of God, is that there is no sin whatever of any kind in the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is not one of forgiveness of sin but the replacing of sin with the Divine Nature, the eternal moral Nature of God.

We do not enter the Kingdom by being forgiven. We enter the Kingdom by being born again. It is the Divine Nature of Christ that is born in us and formed in us that itself in the Kingdom of God. The role of forgiveness is to make it possible for us to remain in God's favor during the period of time that we are waging war against our own sinful nature---against all sin, all worldliness, our sinful nature, and all self-will in our personality.

The Kingdom of God is Christ in us, the hope of the glorious external kingdom that one day will come down from Heaven to the earth.

After we have been born again of the Divine Nature, we must follow the Spirit of God at all times, praying, reading our Bible, gathering with fervent saints as possible, seeking the ministries and gifts of the Spirit that we may build up ourselves and fellow members of the Body of Christ.

Perhaps the two main efforts we must make if we are to enter the Kingdom of God are, first of all, to gain victory over the lusts of our sinful nature. There include worldliness, the lusts and passions of our flesh and spirit, and our stubborn self-will.

When any of these are pointed out to us we must promptly confess the specific behavior to the Lord; refer to it as sin; renounce it vigorously, declaring that with the help of the Lord we never again will behave in this manner for eternity. This is an eternal judgment on the spirit that is binding us.

In addition to gaining victory over that which does not belong in the Kingdom of God, we must determine to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus. Every aspect of every day, every decision, must be brought to Christ in order to gain His help and wisdom. This may seem impossible. But it is just as easy to think, speak, and act in the presence of Christ as it is to think, speak, and act without Christ. We absolutely must get in the practice of living by the Life of Jesus.

As we make an effort to do this, His Presence increases in us and with us. Jesus wants to know us, not only as our Lord and Savior but as our best friend and continual Source of wisdom and strength.

If we are to stand in the days of chaos approaching the United States we must learn to live by the Life of Jesus. In this manner we will save ourselves and those who look to us.

Every day we are to be pressing into the Kingdom of God, overcoming our sinful nature; living by the body and blood of the Lord Jesus; praying and asking God's help in every part of our life.

To not press into the Kingdom of God is to not become a new creation, an expression of God's moral law. When we die we will be treated as any other unsaved person. We will be placed in the spirit world with others like ourselves (God does not like mixtures!).

Then, at the final judgment, if our name is found in the Book of Life we will be carried over to citizenship on the new earth in the new world of righteousness.

If our name is not found in the Book of Life, we will be thrown into the Lake of Fire to be with Satan and his angels. This is a terrifying destiny, and we always should keep this in mind when we are deciding if it is worth our while to press into the Kingdom of God.

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How We Should Pray

2012-10-21
The Book of Hebrews exhorts us to labor to enter