Pastor's Page - Archive

Table of Contents

Introduction

God's Witnesses

From a Living Soul to a Life-Giving Spirit from The Coming Day of Redemption

The Law and The Day Star from The Coming Day of Redemption

The Seed, from The Coming Day of Redemption

The Eternal Sabbath, From The Coming Day of Redemption

A Time of Rejoicing, from The Coming Day of Redemption

The Spirit of the Pharisee, from The Coming Day of Redemption

The Next Major Move of Redemption, from The Coming Day of Redemption

The Substance of Christ, from The Coming Day of Redemption

Don't Touch the Ark!, from The Coming Day of Redemption

The Ark of the Covenant, from The Coming Day of Redemption

The Latter Rain, from The Coming Day of Redemption

Keeping God's Commandments

Being Born Again for War

From Conscience to the Law to Grace to Redemption

Living in the Spirit of God

Appearing With Christ

The Rule of Self and the Rule of God

A Voice Is Calling Today!

Coheirs With Christ

The Ruling Priesthood

Two Persons

Living in His Presence, Part I

Living in His Presence, Part II

Why the "Rapture" Is an Incorrect Vision of the Future

What Is Sin Under the New Covenant?

Eve

Democracy, or the Kingdom of God

Transformation and Occupation

Righteousness; Faith; Obedience

The Wells of Salvation

Does God Speak to People Today?

Deception

Confessing Our Sin

It's Not That Hard!

The Three Ages

The Baptism With Fire

The Special Forces

Four Persons

Old Testament Symbolism

The Law From Zion

A Few Good Men and Women

The Priests of the Lord

War In Heaven

Filled With All the Fullness of God

The Knowledge of the Father

The Shelter of the Most High

Once Saved Always Saved

Our Will or God’s Will?

Why We Must Learn To Live By the Life of Jesus

Being Born Again and the Resurrection

Is the Marriage Taking Place Now?


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.


God's Witnesses

2014-01-05

Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. (Isaiah 43:10)

It is clear that our nation, in many instances, is heading in the wrong direction; at least wrong from a Christian viewpoint. The question is, what are we Christians to do about this?

In a previous essay, I have listed five areas of disobedience to God. How are we to respond to these, which clearly are of Satan?

Abortion-on-demand.

Unscriptural sexual practices.

The worship of money.

The rejection of God and His Christ from public life.

The defiling of the minds of children in the public schools.

One problem facing us in America is that we are in a democracy. If we were in a totalitarian state, we could not express ourselves against the government. But because we can protest, we feel obligated to fight each of the governmental and foolish perversities by political action of one kind or another.

And certainly, in the case of the defilement of children in the public schools, with sex education added to the curricula in the primary grades, and unisex bathrooms, a Christian parent should consider homeschooling.

Should we go beyond this with militant political action, striving to do away with abortion-on demand; the various forms of homosexuality and gender confusion; the placing of money as the essence of human life; striving to bring God and Christ back into public recognition; and repealing the laws that force children to admire sexual deviants and their practices?

If I understand correctly, the country had two primary philosophies active in its foundation. The first was Christianity. The second was "reason," as exemplified by Thomas Paine. I am viewing democracy, "freethinking," Humanism, and all sorts of "progressive"-liberal ideas, as being forms of "reason."

It may be true that many Americans consider democracy and capitalism as somehow being "Christian." In fact, democracy, with its "supposed" rule from the bottom up, is the very opposite of the Kingdom of God, which is rule from the top down. I think a democratic form of government can easily slide into a de facto dictatorship, as a cunning president manipulates the polls and the media.

Over two hundred years have passed since 1776. The two philosophies, Christian faith and morality, and "reason," have coexisted somewhat peacefully. However, as the Christian churches in many instances have slipped away from an accent on righteous, holy behavior in favor of "lawless grace," we find "reason" rearing its satanic head.

We may notice the conflict, as morally unacceptable (to Christian thought) programming appears on television under the umbrella of "freedom of speech," which certainly is derived from "reason." Such programming is an abomination to fervent Christians, as is true also of abortion-on-demand and gender confusion.

You may notice that the five areas of disobedience to God, I have listed above, are the product of "progressive" reasoning. They are against the Scriptures. They are of Satan.

We Americans pride ourselves on our prosperity. We may be forgetting that it was God's blessing on our country that has made us wealthy and powerful. Now God is leaving us because we are leaning on our own understanding instead of on the Lord.

One of the first signs of God's departure is economic problems. You may notice that we have to keep raising the national debt limit. The end of this road is bankruptcy.

Perhaps we have taken the blessing of Christ for granted. If I am not mistaken, our current decision to bar Christ from the "market place," so to speak, will result in a radical weakening of our country economically, educationally, militarily, politically, and in other areas of public life.

Then we may understand that it was God who had made America strong and wealthy.

Our president, who seldom mentions God and gives no evidence of even believing in God, at least not in the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, does not appear to be fiscally prudent. At the time of this writing he is promoting a health system that may prove to be a financial disaster.

We are in the midst of a conflict between the Christian faith and democracy; between the Bible and Humanism. It appears Christ is permitting Humanism, the will and pleasure of people, to overcome the traditional moral restraints of America—restraints that are based on the Scriptures. Christ always has a reason for what He is doing, and sometimes we do not see the His wisdom until later.

Some fine American people are attempting to restore our traditional moral values. But they do not seem to be making progress. I would say that at the present time, moral chaos is becoming worse than ever.

As an example, the State of California is in the process of passing a bill that permits children to use the same bathroom, regardless of whether they are a boy or a girl. The legislation is referred to as the "Bathroom Bill."

I suppose that to some of the followers of Humanism and "progressive" reasoning this makes some kind of sense. But to devout Christians the bill is monstrous, impractical, mischievous, perverse beyond belief.

The same could be said of same-sex marriages.

As time goes by, however, such departures from the moral norm become accepted by a significant number of people.

Needless to say, the stark difference between the thinking of devout Christian people, and what is taking place in our national and local governments, is creating rage in people of differing views. What would normally be healthy discourse as people seek compromise has become bitterness and hostility. This yet may lead to civil war!

This actually is not a political problem and it will not be solved by political devices. It is a spiritual problem. It is a warfare between good and evil; between that which is of God and that which is of Satan. This is why people on both sides become so incensed and call each other names.

Let us consider once again five areas of concern; and these certainly are not the only problems in our culture in the present hour.

Abortion-on-demand.

Unscriptural sexual practices. In California a law has been passed, as I understand it, that counselors cannot work with a homosexual who desires to turn away from this unscriptural practice. The homosexuals seem to be violently opposed to this sort of counseling, proclaiming that some people are born homosexuals and cannot change.

First of all, homosexual behavior is condemned in both Testaments.

Second, there are numerous people who have turned from homosexual practices, and have done so successfully, according to their own testimony.

If indeed such a law has been passed in California, it appears to me to be unreasonable. Why would a state legally enjoin professional counselors from treating a particular behavior? This seems peculiar and suggests an agenda; that it is not a dispassionate legislation directed toward the public good.

If there are abuses in such therapy, then the abuses should be corrected, not the entire practice of counseling concerning such behavior.

The worship of money.

The rejection of God and His Christ from public life.

The defiling of the minds of children in the public schools.

Any committed Christian can recognize that these behaviors are not acceptable alternate lifestyles. From a Christian point of view they are evil.

So from a Christian point of view, our American culture is deteriorating.

Christian faith, and Humanism, are now seen to be at enmity one with the other. It has taken more than 200 years for the enmity to be so apparent.

There is nothing new about the conflict between the Christian faith, and other belief systems, becoming manifest. Many Christians have been persecuted and killed for no reason other than their desire to serve God rather than conform to the surrounding society!

Sometimes the battle has been between one religion and another. Sometimes the conflict is between members of the same religion.

Today, in America, the struggle is largely between those who want to abandon biblical morality, and those who are shocked by gender confusion and the other symptoms of a reliance on human pleasure as opposed to the moral principles of the Scriptures.

Christians, by and large, are decent people. They are a credit to any country. They believe in hard work, honesty, concern for the needy, and moral cleanliness. They are opposed to abortion, unscriptural sexual practices, public nakedness, and the imposing of radical sexual ideas on grade-school children. They rejoice when God is mentioned by political leaders, such as asking God's help when there are catastrophes.

Those on the other side of the coin see nothing wrong with abortion. The mother must have her right to murder her children. This is Humanism brought to a horrible conclusion. It is nothing less than an abomination to the Lord Jesus, who loves children.

Unscriptural sexual practices may satisfy human lust, but they carry with them their own penalties. They are a far cry from the original Divine fiat to marry and bring up children in the knowledge of the Lord.

"Money" is the only god Jesus mentioned as being evil, declaring that we cannot serve God and Mammon. There is no question that money is a principal god in America. The acquisition of money has first priority in the behavior of people---until they come to the end of their life and realize that only relationships with God and other people are of true importance.

There are in fact pastors who teach us from the Bible how to get rich. But the Apostle Paul warned us that the love of money is the root of all evil. I will leave it at that!

I am not concerned about the separation between church and state. But I am concerned about the separation between God and state. Today the political leaders of the world act as though there is no God in Heaven. As a result the world is in turmoil.

Democracy is not the best form of government. Scholars have pointed out that democracy has in itself the seeds of its own destruction. I think we see that in the United States at this time.

The only truly beneficial form of government is a monarchy governed by a righteous king who fears God. This is the nature of the Kingdom of God. Jesus is the King whom God has appointed. Jesus is righteous and fears God. Consequently, wherever Jesus is honored as our King there is righteousness, love, joy, and peace.

The leaders of today are not leading their countries to righteousness, love, joy, and peace. They cannot, because they are not righteous themselves and do not fear God. They do not look to God for wisdom in governing the people. Therefore they make mistake after mistake, always fighting among themselves.

Since America is a democracy, we may feel it is our duty to engage in political warfare. But unless God is leading us to be politically active, we need to be cautious.

I remember years ago when a political activist came down from Sacramento and addressed us as pastors. I remember to this day that he said if the California legislators did such and such a thing, he was going to "kick butt." He was going to oppose their actions as forcefully as he could.

Now, beyond all doubt, the Lord Jesus is the most effective witness of God who has ever lived on the earth. If you are a true Christian I know you will agree with that statement.

Can you imagine Jesus saying He was going to go to Rome and "kick butt"? The very idea is ridiculous! Can you imagine the Lord Jesus saying He was going to go to Sacramento and kick butt?

You might say, "Rome was an empire, not a democracy. Jesus could not go to Rome and question the emperor's policies because He would have been killed quickly."

That is so. But the Lord Jesus was God's witness, wasn't He? How did He bear witness if He did not gather His disciples into an army and attempt to overthrow the Roman Empire with all its corruption?

The Lord Jesus bore witness of God by the moral purity of His Character; by the miracles He performed; and by the Words He spoke. The Words He spoke were not about building a church but about how we should live.

The same kind of witness was given by the Apostles of Christ; the moral purity of their character; the miracles they wrought; and the words they spoke.

Now, what has God said about you and me?

Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. (Isaiah 43:10)

Neither Jesus nor His Apostles engaged in politics, as far as I know. Yet they were effective witnesses of the Person and will of God. Of course, they were living in an empire and could not engage in political activism.

I am not against Christians engaging in political activism, if Christ is leading them in that direction.

The key to this whole problem of being witnesses in America at the present time, is that of hearing from the Lord. We are going to have to learn to hear from Jesus and obey Him carefully in every detail of our life.

Does Jesus want us to fret about the wickedness? I know He does not, because fretting is against the Scriptures. Paul told us to think about that which is lovely.

Does Jesus want us to join with others in order to combat the wickedness we see? This is where we need the Lord's guidance. We cannot go forth and express our irritation at those "gays," or those "transvestites," or anyone else. They will not be led to Christ by our anger or disgust!

Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen.

God has chosen us to be His servant. We are to bear witness of God, His Person, His will, His way, and His eternal purpose in Christ. This does not always mean to preach the Gospel. Sometimes what we are is louder than words.

We are not called to try to force our own standards on someone else. We are to represent God, not our Christian fervor. God is meek, gentle, helpful, always encouraging us to draw closer to Him. Is God that way with you, or is He disgusted because you do not meet His standards?

If God is that way with us, and we want to bear witness of God, then guess what? We are to be meek, gentle, helpful, always encouraging other people to draw closer to God, not showing our disgust because of their immoralities.

Do you agree with that? Of course you do. The problem is, our old adamic nature wants to correct people according to our own ideas.

I heard at one time a beautiful Christian song that was composed by an ex-gay (You Are My All in All). How many beautiful Christian songs have you or I composed?

Would you have been a friend of Saul of Tarsus before he was converted?

"That ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he."

We ourselves are the witness. It is what God has made us and performs through us that bears a true witness of God.

This has little to do with our theologic knowledge. We Christians put far too much emphasis on theologic correctness. God is interested in what kind of person He can make of us. Correct doctrine is important only as it leads us to be in the image of God and to have fellowship with God.

But correct theology can be a hindrance if we think that our understanding of theology makes us a superior person; or if we believe that correct doctrine is more important than what kind of character we have.

Think about the Lord Jesus. Wouldn't you like to have known Him as He walked the shores of Galilee? I sure would have! But why would we want to be with Jesus? Not because of what He could do but because of what He was.

I can picture Him with the little children gathered around Him. What a sight! This is the true image of God. I want to be like this, don't you?

That we may know God! Most of the people in the world would like to know God. We may believe that the people of the world hate God, but they don't. What people dislike are religious programs and the believers themselves.

If God Himself came to your town, people would come from all over the world to see God and be with God, wouldn't they?

But they would not come to our church or our religion, necessarily. If we ever come to know God and be like Him, people will come to us. They want God. So do you. So do I.

That we may know and believe God. That is what makes a witness. Not what we may know about God but knowing God Himself!

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life. (I John 1:1)

To come to know God requires many years of experience, it seems to me. I myself do not profess to know God very well after over sixty years as a Christian. But I certainly know God better than when I started out. I can look back over the years and see the guiding hand of God on my life and His utter faithfulness.

Because of my pilgrimage, I can tell you as a fact that there is a God and there is His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I was not raised in a Christian home. I came to the Lord when I was eighteen years of age. A year later the Lord called me to preach, in a supernatural experience.

So many years! So much foolishness; so many mistakes! So many dangers! Yet here I am, at the age of 88, telling you that God is faithful and true.

I remember that when I first heard the Gospel, I had to pray to have faith to believe. I said to God (if there is a God), I will try to obey what I am being taught about God, Christ, and the Bible. If it becomes obvious, that this is some man-made scheme, then I will proclaim that. If it proves to be truly of God, then I will proclaim that.

Another thing I remember. I think I always had believed there is a God, and I would pray sometimes when I felt a need. But transferring this faith to another person, to Jesus, required an effort.

But when I realized that God wanted me to believe in Jesus the same as I believed in God, I acquiesced.

Two or three weeks after my initial conversion, I went into a Quonset hut that was serving as a chapel. There was a Bible on the lectern. I was beginning to doubt this whole business.

So I prayed: "God, please speak to me."

I closed my eyes. Opened the Bible at random. Then I put my finger down on the page.

Under my finger were the words: "My son, keep My commandments." This passage is in the Book of Proverbs.

You know, that was an unusual happening! During the years I have railed against the lawless-grace doctrine, insisting that we have to obey Christ, not just "believe" in Him. So "keep My commandments" was prophetic, wasn't it?

God needs witnesses today in the United States. He needs men and women, boys and girls, who announce by their lives as well as their words that God is righteous and holy.

We must be living epistles, known and read by everyone. People must see and hear Christ in us. This will be possible only as we are living by the Life of Jesus, thinking His thoughts; speaking His Words; doing what He is doing.

This is how the greatest of all witnesses, the Lord Jesus Christ, lives by the Life of the Father.

I fret and get irritated by what I am seeing in the federal and state governments. But my irritation helps no one. The Lord Jesus was not irritated by the Roman Empire, as far as I can tell.

Our job is to look to the Lord Jesus at all times, day and night, and obey Him implicitly. If he leads us to do something about the current moral darkness, then we must obey Him. When we are being led by Christ we have more power behind us than the President, the Congress, and the Supreme Court all put together. Jesus has all authority in Heaven and upon the earth.

So we can keep our peace and our poise. We can sing, dance, and rejoice in the heights of Zion as we have opportunity. There is no need for us to be bowed down because of the sin in the world. Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound.

If we will behave this way, God will take care of us. In addition, He will do something about the immorality and perversity to which we are being subjected. We do not have to fret. We do not have to curse the darkness or strive against wicked people. If we will worship God, Christ will exercise His awesome power, the same power that created the galaxies, and make a way for us through the darkness.

I believe in the future many of us will be persecuted, and some will be put to death. Sin will become easily accessible and much more prevalent than it is today. Numerous Christians will lose their love for the Lord because of the abundance of temptations.

We must not become one of those. We must keep standing before the Lord Jesus and doing His will. There is great reward for doing so.

Many people will see God in us if we will stand steadfastly before Christ. It will be the Light of God to them, and they will be benefitted.

Hundreds of thousands of saints have gone on before us and are ready to welcome us to their rejoicing throng. We will be with them before too long.

We find in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation the final witness of the Church Age. These two "men," representing Christ working with His victorious saints, shall go forth throughout the world, proclaiming the soon coming of the Kingdom of God. They shall show in themselves the works of power that will be common during the future Kingdom Age.

It is my opinion that there will be a great revival of God's Spirit in the present hour, a revival that will increase until it becomes that described as "two witnesses."

Let's keep our eyes on Jesus. He will bring us safely home. Meanwhile, the world will stumble on in its blindness until the great Trumpet of the Jubilee sounds and the King of Kings and Lord of Lords descends to govern the nations of the earth.

For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth; To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem; When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord. (Psalms 102:19-22)

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From a Living Soul to a Life-Giving Spirit from The Coming Day of Redemption

2014-01-12

The Lord Jesus must live in a continual baptism with the Holy Spirit, in that He is filled with all the Fullness of God. It may be true that we eventually will live in the same manner. Can you imagine that!

It appears to me that the Father, the Son, and each member of the Body of Christ will live together for eternity in one grand shining coalescence of the Spirit of God. We will continue to be baptized with the Spirit for eternity.

Our salvation has been completed when we are converted into a life-giving spirit. Salvation includes total deliverance from the person and works of Satan. Salvation has nothing to do with going to Heaven; although there is a Heaven where God and Christ are.

Our spirit, soul, and body are to be made one with the Spirit of God and created from the Spirit of God.

But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. (I Corinthians 6:17)

*****

It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening [life-giving] spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. 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 15:44-49)

I wonder why I have not preached more often that we are to be changed into a life-giving spirit. I have mentioned the change several times in my writings, but this afternoon it suddenly was emphasized in my mind.

After all, this is a radical change in us. It is a thumbnail description of the Divine redemption.

Over the past few days the Spirit of God cleared up in my mind something that has puzzled me for years---that is, the difference between our soul and our spirit. As I studied the Scriptures it seemed to me that in some instances the terms were used interchangeably. Yet I know they can't be the same because we all understand that we children of Adam are in three parts—spirit, soul, and body.

We have been created in the image of God. God has a Soul, a Spirit, and, in Christ, a Body. "In Christ" includes the Head and Body of Christ.

I gathered from what I seemed to be hearing from the Spirit that our soul is our character, from which spring our desires, our will, the choices we make. Our spirit is a reflection of our soul. The soul appears to be stationary, in contrast with the spirit, that can travel.

For example, our soul is here on the earth. But when we are born again, our spirit rises to be with Christ at the right hand of the Father. Yet our soul remains here. And I think our spirit is here also. So our spirit is capable of multiple presence.

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)

We all know what our body is, so I won't go into that, except to say that the life-giving spirit includes a body fashioned from the Spirit of God.

Let's consider: the Apostle Paul says, "You died." Now we know Paul is not saying our body died. Our spirit, our life, did not die. It is hidden with Christ in God.

So it must be our soul that died.

We know that the New Testament speaks of the crucifixion of the old adamic nature, most likely of the soul.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. (Romans 6:8)

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

We died with Christ.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live.

It is quite clear, isn't it. Our body did not die. Our spirit did not die, yet "we" died. So it must be our soul that died.

But this death of our soul does not happen instantly, as we all can testify. Our task is to count it as dead, and to live our discipleship in that manner.

Our personal cross does its work in our personality. We are denied our most fervent desires for years—sometimes for our whole life; so we have to place our treasures in Heaven.

Or, we may be forced to endure a miserable situation for years on end. We are to pray that our circumstances will change. But we must not break out of our "prison" until the Lord says "enough."

As I said, our soul is our character from which proceed our will, our desires. It is the source of our choices. Our spirit is a reflection of our soul. Our soul is who we are, we might say, our unique personality. A person's will is a clear portrayal of his or her uniqueness. Our spirit is a reflection of our will, as I see it.

Our personal cross works throughout our lifetime putting our soul to death. But that is not the end of the story. As our adamic nature dies, the resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus takes its place.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6:5)

Our soul is the source of our choices. So as we pursue Christ our soul is choosing to die with Christ and live with Christ. It is contributing to its own demise.

What then should be taking place in the Christian as he or she grows to maturity?

Christ should be taking control of our thinking, our speaking, and our acting. We should be learning to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus.

The only time I know of that Christ spoke about His soul was in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. (Matthew 26:38)

Let's think about this for a minute.

The verse above is stating that Christ had a soul, or was a soul.

The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening [life-giving] spirit.

Now I may be incorrect here, but it seems to me that Christ was perfectly human to begin with. He was composed of spirit, soul, and body. The Bible states He was tempted in all points like as we. But He was without sin. He did not have a sinful nature, because His Father is God.

But at what point did Christ change from a living soul to a life-giving Spirit?

I would say, when He was resurrected. I think Romans bears this out.

For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. (Romans 6:5)

The verse above implies to me that Christ actually died in Gethsemane and on the cross. His soul died as well as His body. We die in the same way. But first it is our soul over a period of time; and then later our physical body dies.

What sort of death is this that Christ died? I believe it was temporary separation from the Father's Presence.

What sort of death does our soul die? First of all, it is death to sin, the renouncing of sin and separation from it. We put sin to death through the Spirit.

Second, it is death to our will. Christ may have experienced this death, as He cried out, "Not My will but Yours be done." The death of our will is the most important death we die.

Christ learned obedience by the things He suffered, Hebrews tells us. So do we. Little by little we learn to obey Christ in every detail of our life. Mastering such obedience means we "die" to our own desires.

If we are to attain to a life-giving spirit, we must die to sin, and die to self-will. In this manner a significant part of our soul is removed. Can you see that?

Our character is changed as our arrogance and unbelief, for example, are removed. Our spirit reflects this change. So does our body, being prepared in Heaven, reflect the changes that are taking place in us.

This is the negative aspect of our transformation into a life-giving spirit. The positive aspect occurs as the Nature of Christ replaces what has been removed.

Each of us has many good aspects of our character and many bad aspects. The Bible says that in some, the Seed of God is planted in an honest and good heart. Some people have an honest and good heart. But such honesty and goodness are adamic, and thus temporary. The Divine Seed must transform the adamic honesty and goodness until they are the honesty and goodness of the Seed, Christ.

But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. (Luke 8:15)

Also there may be cowardice, hatred, bitterness, misery in our character. Christ removes these and replaces them with courage, love, forgiveness and peace.

This change of our character is the fruit of the Spirit of God, as we become one spirit with Christ.

This is why Paul exhorted us to live in the Spirit.

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

Every time we choose to turn away from temptation and do what we feel God would want, we are fed in the spirit world with the body and blood of Christ. Christ's body and blood are our resurrection life.

Each time we are given Christ's body and blood we have more strength to turn away from temptation on the next occasion. This Divine nourishment continues until Christ is fully formed in us.

You know what this reminds me of? The Ark of the Covenant was constructed from acacia wood. Wood symbolizes humanity. To begin with, the Ark was a wooden chest.

But then it was covered outside and inside with gold. Gold symbolizes Divinity. The wood was still there but it could not be seen. Only that which testifies of God was seen in the Ark.

The same is true of us, as we travel the road from a living soul to a life-giving spirit. We always will be who we are, a unique person. But people will see only Christ, as was true in the life of the Apostle Paul.

Thus we have been planted together in the likeness of His death. Christ died to His desire to live in fellowship with His Father. All Christ really cared about was temporarily removed from Him. No doubt Satan threatened Christ that if He was willing to die on the cross, He forever would be separated from God.

We understand that Christ is stronger than any of us. So it must have been an agonizing decision—far worse than that of Abraham contemplating offering Isaac as a burnt offering—if God had to send an angel to support the mighty Christ!

So it is with us. In order to be transformed into a life-giving spirit we must temporarily lose things we care about deeply. We will be taunted with the idea that we never will have our treasures again. Thus to make the change into a life-giving spirit we have to put our treasures in Heaven.

Christ had only the Word of the Father that He would be delivered from Hell. We have only the promise of Christ that our treasures are intact in Heaven.

So we have been planted together in the likeness of His death.

But it does not stop there . . .

We shall be in the likeness of His resurrection!

All that Christ was afraid of losing was restored to Him—and infinitely more!

All that we have given to Christ, that is of eternal value, shall be restored to us—and infinitely more!

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Psalms 16:11)

The promise is that we shall not remain in death, neither in that part of us that makes choices, nor in our body.

It may be true that Christ went to the cross as a living Soul. Christ came forth from the grave as a life-giving Spirit. As we bear our personal cross, our soul is crucified. When the Lord next appears, He shall raise us as a life-giving spirit and clothe us with a body like His.

Now, right here is the point of this article. Unless we faithfully have carried our cross after the Master, our adamic nature, with its sins and self-will, remains alive. Therefore we neither are qualified nor competent to experience the resurrection as a life-giving spirit.

In simple terms, when the trumpet sounds we will not be caught up!

It seems that not many Christian people are actually bearing their personal cross after Jesus. They have been told that if they will "accept Christ," that is all they are required to do. Jesus has done everything else for them.

So when Jesus returns. He may be ready to change their body into incorruptible life.

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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (I Corinthians 15:52,53)

But their inward nature has not been crucified. It still is the same old sinful, self-seeking nature. It has not been changed into a life-giving spirit to any extent. The Lord Jesus cannot put an incorruptible body on this untransformed soul!

What Paul wrote in the fourth chapter of the Book of First Thessalonians sounds like most or all Christians will be made alive at the coming of Christ and then be caught up to meet the Lord in the air.

But Paul wrote also, in the third chapter of the Book of Philippians that he had laid everything of this world aside, counting it all garbage, that he might attain to the resurrection from the dead. Paul exhorted each of us to have the same attitude.

Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. (Philippians 3:15)

Our current Christian teaching comes in many instances from people who have not read the whole counsel of God. They have seized on a few traditions and are preaching those as the way of salvation.

How many times have you heard about salvation being a change from a living soul to a life-giving spirit? You probably have heard only that if you "accept Christ" (not a scriptural expression) you will go to Heaven when you die. You do not have to do anything further because Jesus has done it all for you.

Unless God does a remarkable work in America and the rest of the world in the next few years, there are not many people who will be ready to become a life-giving spirit when the Lord Jesus next appears.

Not one word of the Scripture shall be changed in any manner. We shall reap what we are sowing. We shall be rewarded according to the choices we have made, and mercy and grace do not change this in any manner!

You might wonder why God is intent on creating life-giving spirits. The answer is found in the Book of Ezekiel.

And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ankles. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. And he said unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen this? Then he brought me, and caused me to return to the brink of the river. Now when I had returned, behold, at 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 out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. (Ezekiel 47:3-9)

The passage above describes our journey from the living soul to the life-giving spirit. The four stages refer to our increasing possession of the Spirit of God.

I will take a little liberty at this point.

We might think of water to the ankles as representing our born-again experience, when our spirit rises to be with Christ in God. By the way, this makes us a member of the heavenly Zion.

We might think of water to the knees as representing our "Pentecostal" experience, as we learn to live in the Spirit and minister by the Spirit.

Notice that we are judged every time we move forward (we keep being "measured").

We might think of water to our waist as representing our death and resurrection with Christ. Prior to this point we pretty much had control of our life, our thinking, our speaking, our acting. But as we keep moving further in the Spirit of God the Spirit has increasing control over us.

The waters to swim in speak of our total abandonment to the will and Spirit of God. Such complete consecration qualifies us as a tree of life.

We will have been fed with the body and blood of Christ until those who come to us can receive eternal life. "The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.'"

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:2,3)

This shall be our role for eternity.

God has determined that His Glory shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. The method God will use to accomplish His goal is to perfect a royal priesthood, creating His Throne in each priest. Then the Spirit of God will flow out from the members of the Royal Priesthood to the people living on the earth.

Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. (Ezekiel 47:1)

The "house" is Christ. It is the same "house" spoken of in the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John. There are many rooms in God's House in which the saints live. The "house" faces "eastward," because it is at the return of Christ that the Day of the Lord will commence and the whole earth shall be filled with God's Glory.

The lesson we can learn from this briefest of essays is that there is infinitely more for us in Christ than currently is preached.

Down the middle of the broad street of the city. The tree of life was on both sides of the river, bearing 12 kinds of fruit, producing its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree are for healing the nations. (Revelation 22:2—Holman)

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The Law and The Day Star from The Coming Day of Redemption

2014-01-19

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua 1:8)

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts. (II Peter 1:19)

By "the Law" I mean the first five books of the Bible.

By "the Day Star" I mean the Lord Jesus Christ.

I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. (Revelation 22:16)

*****

Second Peter 1:19 (above) is saying the same thing as John 14:23.

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

The purpose of the exhortations of the New Testament is to bring us to close fellowship with God and the Lord Jesus.

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (I John 1:3)

The purpose of the written commands of the Bible is to guide us until we are able to hear the commands of the Spirit of Christ and obey them.

I know of no ceremonial laws in the New Testament, except water baptism. Even eating the flesh of Christ and drinking His blood is not supposed to be a ceremony but a manner in which the victorious saint lives.

We are given, in the spirit world, to eat of the flesh of Christ and to drink of His blood every time we choose to do God's will rather than our own. It is the Tree of Life; the hidden manna, to which the true saints have access.

The Communion service is a dramatic portrayal of how we are to live in Christ.

Although there is only the ceremony of water baptism, there are numerous exhortations to godly living in the New Testament.

We are to be governed by the Spirit of Christ, to whom we are to look at all times.

Please keep in mind that the Divine redemption is not primarily for our benefit but for God's. Its purpose is to reconcile God's children to Himself.

The Law of Moses governs those who are alive in their natural man. The Spirit of Christ governs those who have died with Christ and have risen with Him.

I have written many essays, some booklets, and a couple of books. Sometimes people ask me what text should they begin with in order to comprehend what I am declaring.

In this present essay I will make as clear as I can what I am teaching.

The goal of our redemption is conformation to the inner and outer image of Jesus Christ, and untroubled rest in the center of God's Person and will.

From God's point of view, the goal of our redemption is to create us in God's image so God may settle down to rest in us.

In order to attain to this goal we have to observe the rules and regulations of the Christian life until we successfully have learned to hear and obey the Spirit of Christ.

The Old Testament contains numerous rules and regulations. Peter (above) refers to these as "a more sure word of prophecy." He is not including the animal sacrifices, because they cannot be performed when there is no Temple; nor to the non-moral ordinances, such as the kosher laws, because the ordinances concerning eating, clothes, leprosy, and so forth do not lead to the forming of Christ in us.

All such rules and regulations belong to the first covenant and cannot apply to the new covenant. But the moral injunctions, such as honoring our father and mother, are true to both covenants.

The New Testament also contains numerous rules and regulations. These differ from the Old Testament in that they are not ceremonial rules and regulations, of which there are a multitude in the Old Testament. The rules and regulations of the New Testament are exhortations to godly living.

If we do not obey the New-Testament exhortations to godly living we never shall arrive at the place where we can hear the directions of the Spirit of Christ, the Day or Morning Star, and obey them.

Although it is not widely understood, no ceremonial rule and regulation of the Old Testament, including the Sabbath Day and circumcision, is included in the new covenant. The ceremony of circumcision is fulfilled in the cutting away of our sinful nature.

No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person's praise is not from other people, but from God. (Romans 2:29)

The Sabbath Day is fulfilled in the rest of God. God finished all His work through to the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. Then He rested. We are to cease from our own works and enter God's rest, so that what He envisioned for us in the beginning will be fulfilled in our life.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. (Ephesians 1:3,4)

At the onset of the physical creation, God had a vision of each human being and his or her destiny. Then God rested, knowing His Word would bring to pass the vision.

If we are willing to cease from our own thinking and planning, and look to the Spirit of Christ at every moment, the image of us God had in the beginning, along with our destiny in the Kingdom of God, shall be fulfilled perfectly.

Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'" And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. (Hebrews 4:3—NIV)

For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10—Holman)

Such is the new-covenant fulfillment of the Sabbath Day.

Instead of ceasing from our own work and looking to God especially on Saturday, as in the Jewish Sabbath, we cease from our own plans and ambitions and look to God every moment of every day and night, seven days a week so that what He has ordained for us may be fulfilled perfectly and completely.

Since we are ignorant of God's plan for us in image and destiny, when we attempt to conduct our own life we frustrate what the Spirit is seeking to accomplish in us. Our life should be a dance with Jesus, and we need to be careful not to step on His toes!

I understand that numerous believers, particularly of the Jewish race, seek to mix some parts of the ceremonial ordinances of the Old Testament with their Christian faith. I do not condemn such. But they needlessly are complicating their fellowship with Christ. One moment they look to Christ. The next moment they look to Moses. Needless confusion!

They do not understand that we cannot keep just a part of the Law of Moses. If we choose one part of the Law, such as circumcision, not eating pork, or observing the Sabbath, and consider our practice as obedience to the Law, and then do not keep the rest of the Law, we are guilty of breaking the entire Law.

To put it succinctly, we either are under the Law of Moses or under the Law of the Spirit of Christ.

Let me add that obeying the ordinances of Moses may result in self-righteousness. Obeying the Spirit of Christ results in fellowship with the Father and the Son.

At one point, Peter, and some others who came from James, were wavering between the Kingdom of God and Jewish traditions.

But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? (Galatians 2:14)

The passage leaves the impression that the Jews were regarding Paul as a sinner, and Paul was defending himself by rebuking Peter.

Paul's response is very revealing:

For through the law I have 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 now 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—Holman)

We might wonder, "How does this statement explain how Paul could ignore the Jewish traditions and still remain righteous?"

It is because the Law of Moses has jurisdiction over a human being only as long as he or she is alive. But when the individual dies, the Law of Moses no longer has jurisdiction over him.

Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. (Romans 7:1-4)

Paul is declaring that since he is crucified with Christ he is dead, in that sense. Therefore he no longer is bound by the Law of Moses, nor by the traditions of the elders.

For through the law I have died to the law. I think Paul was referring to the fact that when the Law came to him, sin revived and Paul died.

For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. (Romans 7:11)

The Law of Moses put Paul to death. Sin revived and Paul died. Since the Law has no jurisdiction over dead people, Paul now was free to look to the Lord Jesus Christ for righteousness.

So that I might live for God. This is the important aspect. Being completely free from the Law of Moses, Paul could turn his attention to God and Christ and live for Them.

When we believe we still are under part of the Law, even though we have died with Christ in water baptism and have risen with Him in His resurrection, we are going to look to Moses part of the time and to Christ part of the time.

Let us say we believe we are not to eat pork. We are to obey the kosher laws. We are invited to a friend's house for dinner. Porkchops are served. What do we do?

If we are mixing Moses with Christ, we may say, "I am sorry but I cannot eat pork. It is against my religion."

But if we are living by the Spirit of Christ, either Christ would have warned us in advance because He did not want us to eat pork; or He would have told us that He had no problem with our eating pork. In other words, we are to look to the living Jesus to guide us in all we do.

Can you see the difference between mixing Moses with Christ? If we are following Moses we would consider eating a porkchop to be sin, and we would not ask the Lord Jesus what we should do.

But under the Law of the Spirit of Christ, we do not regard eating a porkchop or anything else, as sin, unless Christ forbids our eating the food—which he sometimes has done with me for health reasons.

Thus there is an uncrossable gap between the Law of Moses and the Law of the Spirit of Christ. Either we are looking to the letter of the Law of Moses to guide our decisions, or we are looking up to Christ to guide our decisions. There absolutely is no way of mixing the two.

As Paul wrote in the seventh chapter of the Book of Romans, to mix Moses and Christ is adultery. Either we are married to Moses, or we are married to Christ and are bringing forth fruit to Christ. We cannot be married to both!

Being a pastor, and attempting to follow Christ, it sometimes is Tuesday before I feel I should rest. But not always. It just depends on how the Lord leads. Saturday always is preparation for the sermon on Sunday and not a day of rest for me.

And I think circumcision of a baby may be a good practice in terms of health, but not in terms of the Gospel of the Kingdom!

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

When we keep our eyes on the Lord Jesus, and obey what He says to us, the result is a new creation of righteous behavior.

I have been crucified with Christ. Paul took his place on the cross with Christ. For this reason he is dead to the Law of Moses. Now Christ is living in the fullness of eternal resurrection life and Paul is living with Him. The only law is the will of Christ, which actually comes from the Father.

And I no longer live. It is the present writer's prayer each day that I will not be living, but Christ will be living in my flesh. I have no use for my old personality. It has been nothing but trouble and foolishness. How about you?

When I am not needed here any longer, I want to go home to be with the Lord. But as long as I am needed here, I desire that Christ be thinking, speaking, and acting in me.

But Christ lives in me. The Apostle Peter tells us that we are to take heed to what is written until the Day Star arises in our heart. Guess who the Day Star is? You are correct. The Day Star is the Lord Jesus Christ. As I stated previously, unless we first take heed to what is written in the New Testament, it will not be true that the Day Star will arise in our heart such that we can be guided by Him.

The life I now live in the body. In the transition from Moses to Christ, we never lose our unique identity as a person. It is that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit now are sitting on the throne of our personality. Once we have been proven faithful and true, we will be permitted to sit there alongside of Them.

I live by faith in the Son of God. The righteous live by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He Himself is our righteousness. He is God's Grace given to us. We have no need of a partial observance of the Law of Moses in order to be righteous in the sight of God.

By stating we are to live by faith, I am not speaking of belief about the theological facts concerning Christ and His work of redemption. Rather, I am referring to having a grasp on the Character of God so that we go through every situation of life in His will.

The individual who is obeying only part of the Law of Moses is guilty of not keeping the entire Law, as James stated.

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10)

Who loved me and gave Himself for me. It is one matter to love the Law of Moses, or any other religion. It is another matter to return to Christ the love He has for us. As I said, the person who keeps the Law of Moses may become self-righteous. But the believer who is obeying the Law of the Spirit of Christ gains loving fellowship with the Father and the Son.

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (I John 1:3)

The Law of Moses divides the one Body of Christ into a Jewish Church and a Gentile Church. This ought not to be!

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby. (Ephesians 2:14-16)

I suppose there may be some who will insist that "the law of commandments contained in ordinances" does not include the Sabbath Day, but it does.

I am not certain why, but people love religious symbols and practices. Christian girls wear crosses around their neck who never would accept the denying of their intense desires, included in the personal cross of the believer.

We have special buildings, special vestments, the ringing of bells, the burning of incense, ceremonies, none of which are included in the new covenant. The new covenant emphasizes only one thing—the coming to maturity of Christ in us.

We read of distinguished prelates in the Middle East, those of differing orthodoxies, who quarrel over their rights to "sacred" buildings. It is their sinful nature that is quarreling, not the Spirit of Christ.

All religious ordinances and statements of faith divide not only Jews and Gentiles, but Christian denominations. None of this is of Christ.

The truth is so much simpler. It is "Christ in us, the hope of glory." Nothing else matters, as far as our faith is concerned.

It is not that difficult to walk in fellowship with Christ. Such closeness to Christ is readily available to anyone who is willing to abandon his or her own thoughts, plans, words, and actions, and give them all to Jesus. This is what it means to live by faith in Christ. He will live in every aspect of our life if we will permit Him to do so.

Christ, the Day Star, is more willing to be our Life than many of us are willing that this should be so.

Notice that if we are to govern the nations with Christ we must have the Day Star created in our personality. God will permit only Christ to govern people; so if we are to rule with Christ, it must be Christ, the Day Star, acting in us who is doing the governing.

And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. (Revelation 2:26-28)

One of the problems in teaching that we are not under the Law of Moses is that people believe that since this is true, there is no law they are required to obey. They then will suppose that "grace" is the removing of all law so they can live as they please and still, if they "accept Christ," be ushered into a mansion in Heaven as soon as they die.

They will croon "there is no law except love"; "God sees me through Christ"; "God's love is unconditional"; and other such unscriptural excuses for not taking up their cross and following the Lord.

They have been told that Christ shares His righteousness with us. But they do not read or do they understand what the Bible says about Christ sharing His righteousness with us.

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:3,4)

In many instances, the believers are taught that the righteousness of Him who kept the Law of Moses is fulfilled in us if we just "accept Christ."

There could be no deadlier doctrine!

We are given the righteousness of the Law provided WE WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH, BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT!

When this clause is not included, the result is moral catastrophe. It is the reason for the spiritual infancy of so many Christian people.

Well then, what does it mean to "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit of God"?

It means that we are to pray without ceasing that we may overcome the lusts of our flesh and remain obedient to the Spirit of Christ at all times.

There is an awesome difference between telling people that by accepting Christ they will be as righteous as if they had obeyed the Law of Moses perfectly; and announcing to people that they will be as righteous as if they had obeyed the Law of Moses perfectly, provided they walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.

I am of the opinion that if this provision were announced and explained to the church attenders in America, half or more of the "Christians" in America would leave their churches.

What could one deduce from what I have written thus far?

First, we are to obey the admonitions to righteous living of both the Old and New Testaments until Christ, the Day Star, arises in our heart and we can be directed by Him in all we do. This is the "rest of God."

Second, we are not to attempt to mix any part of the ceremonial aspects of the Law of Moses with our faith in Christ, including the circumcising of the flesh and not working on the Sabbath Day.

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. (Galatians 3:10)

Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. (Romans 7:4)

So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. (Galatians 3:24,25—NIV)

Let me add that in the Jewish calendar, the seven feasts of the Lord attain to their climax in the celebration of Tabernacles. The convocation of Tabernacles reminds us that God is seeking a dwelling place, a house, a habitation in which He can find rest from His enemies. Thus we understand that our religious symbolism and practices, liturgies and devices, are nothing more than a human response to that which is supernatural and invisible.

In actuality, nothing is of eternal significance except the Day Star. When we die and find ourselves in Heaven, we will notice that there are no churches, no sacraments, no liturgies, no burning of candles or incense, no pilgrimages or statuary, no special vestments of priests, or ministers, or rabbis.

Will there be Bibles? Certainly. The written Word of God is eternal.

Will there be Bible teachers? Of course. The majority of people who pass into the spirit world will have had no instruction in the Bible; and those who have been taught error will have to be corrected. None of this teaching will include the ceremonial aspects of the Law of Moses, such as the kosher ordinances or animal sacrifices.

However, it is important for us to understand that God is not interested in church buildings, liturgies, or doctrine. God is concerned about people---that they have honest and good hearts; that Christ is being formed in them.

God is constructing a great Tabernacle, an eternal temple in which He will dwell among His creatures. Christ is God's eternal House, and in Christ there are very many rooms that the saints occupy. The whole Christ, Head and Body, is the revelation of God to the creation.

We understand, therefore, that the important issue is the coming to maturity of the Day Star in us; and we must not hinder His development and fellowship with us by introducing the ordinances of the Old Testament, except as they bring us to godly behavior and a personal relationship with the living Christ.

Close fellowship with God may not come through religious practices but by looking constantly to the Lord in every aspect of our day to day life.

My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? (John 14:2—NIV)

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God." (Revelation 21:3—NIV)

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The Seed, from The Coming Day of Redemption

2014-01-26

And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:15-18)

Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. (Galatians 3:16)

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

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:13)

*****

The Kingdom of God is not an organization but a Seed. The builders of church structures and organizations appear to find this almost impossible to comprehend and work with.

The Seed is the Olive Tree. The Seed is the Kingdom of God. The Seed is the Word of God, now made flesh. That one Seed is Christ and all who belong to Christ.

There is no such thing as a Jewish Church and a Christian Church. There is only the one Seed.

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace. (Ephesians 2:15)

The Jew who is descended in the bloodline of Abraham does not become the Seed of Abraham until he or she becomes part of Christ.

The Gentile does not become the Seed of Abraham until he or she becomes part of Christ. This does not mean the individual blithely declares, "I have accepted Christ," and then goes on his way living in his customary manner.

Rather, being the Seed of Abraham signifies the Gentile has embraced Christ. He has received Christ into himself. He has been baptized in water if at all possible, declaring that he has died with Christ and now is living in the resurrection of Christ, behaving in newness of life.

No part of the Law of Moses has jurisdiction over him. The Law of the Spirit of Christ has total jurisdiction over everything he thinks, says, and does. He is without condemnation because he is being led by the Spirit of God to confess and turn away from the works of his sinful nature.

He is "living by faith," meaning he looks to Christ for every aspect of his life, doing nothing of significance without consulting his Lord, Jesus Christ.

This man or woman, boy or girl, is the one Seed of Abraham, the Body of Christ, the revelation of the invisible God.

How many times did the Lord Jesus tell us the Kingdom of God is a Seed! Yet, we attempt continually to give it some sort of structure so we can control and predict it. Such is the age-old problem of denominationalism—that which divides God's people into competing factions and obscures the Divine Life, Light, and testimony.

All that eternally matters in our existence is the Seed, the Divine Life. It is for the Seed that the creation exists. The Jew or Gentile who is not part of Christ is little more than an animal, yet having an ability no animal has—the power to reach out to God in worship and to call upon His Name.

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field. (Matthew 13:24)

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. (Matthew 13:31,32)

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (I Peter 1:23)

He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man. (Matthew 13:37)

If the Kingdom of God is a Seed, why do we attempt to organize it? Is this spirit of "booth-building" coming from our sinful nature? Are we attempting to control that which God desires to be the planting and growing of the Divine Seed?

Every experienced minister knows of someone who came to church once or twice, and then was not seen for years. "The individual just didn't accept Christ," as far as we can see, so he is not entered into the list of the newly converted. Come to find out, he or she in later years became a burning, flaming evangelist.

So the keeping of records as to how many "got saved" exists only for the people who care about such things. What other purpose does it have? It is not Kingdom business, as far as I can tell!

I have a cousin, Joan Marie. When she was a little girl she belonged to the "Brownies," I think it was called.

The Brownies did a unit on planting and gave the girls some seeds. When Joanie came home she busied herself digging holes in the backyard and planting her seeds.

You know what she did the next morning, don't you. She went out to the backyard and dug up the seeds to see if they had "growed up."

So it is when we record how many people "got saved." Entirely inappropriate!

We might give an altar call and have seven people come forward for "salvation." We may list this dutifully in our records. What we do not know is, in whom in the congregation was the Seed planted? I practice giving altar calls. But I do not record the results. After all, who knows in whom the Divine Seed has been planted?

I believe the Lord considered the parable of the sower to be one of the more important parables that He spoke.

Then Jesus said to them, "Don't you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?" (Mark 4:13—NIV)

The parable of the sower is so important it is found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

The individual who is presenting the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is sowing the Divine Seed, Christ.

It may be observed that of four kinds of ground, only one bore any lasting fruit. This alone reveals the folly of counting how many people were "saved."

The first kind of ground had been walked on so many times it was too hard to receive the Seed. Satan snatched up the Seed before the individual could believe and bear fruit. I suppose this refers to people who had dabbled in many philosophies and religions.

The second kind of "ground" was a rock. The individual received the Seed with joy, and made a big show of being "saved." Every pastor has seen this sort of thing. But the believer had no roots to sustain him or her in the time of trouble. No permanent fruit was borne.

By the way, the "fruit" is twofold. First it is the image of Christ, both internally and externally. Second, it is perfect rest in the center of God's Person and will. It is the fullness of the stature of Christ.

The third kind of ground into which the Divine Seed falls is occupied with the numerous cares, riches, and pleasures of life. These choke out the Seed so that no fruit is brought to perfection.

"Narrow is the gate and difficult the way that leads to life; and few find it!"

It is amazing and thought-provoking that the fruit God is looking for is not always produced to a lasting extent when the Word is preached.

Finally there is the fourth kind of ground.

Notice that the fourth kind of ground is "an honest and good heart."

But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. (Luke 8:15)

In their abundance of zeal, evangelists often employ the verse:

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. (Romans 3:10)

This verse is taken from the following, and does not refer to everyone in the world. However, it is true that the eternal righteousness God requires is not found in any child of Adam but only in the Seed, Christ.

They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the Lord. There were they in great fear: for God is in the generation of the righteous. (Psalms 14:3-5)

Notice that "there is none that doeth good, no, not one." Yet, "God is in the generation of the righteous."

This is a contradiction, isn't it? So we conjecture that the psalmist who said, "there is none that doeth good, no, not one" reminds us of the Pharisees who said concerning the Lord Jesus, "Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing! Behold, the world is gone after him." Yet it is not true that the world went after the Lord at that time.

It is just the way people speak in exaggerations in the heat of the moment; so it may be true of "there is none that doeth good" when there actually is a "generation of the righteous" and God is in those people. Or, it may have been possible that when the psalmist said these words, that at that time there actually was "none that doeth good" in the entire world. But I kind of doubt this!

The point the evangelist is making is that human goodness will not bring us to Heaven. This is why it absolutely is essential that Christ be sown and grow in us.

Noah, for example, was a righteous man, according to the Bible.

It is people with honest and good hearts (and there are such people, in spite of the evangelists) who patiently guard the Seed that has been planted in them, and bring forth the image of Christ. Then Christ will have brothers who, when He appears, can work with Him in establishing the will of God on the earth.

Sometimes an individual who behaves wickedly actually has an honest and good heart; but because of circumstances does not reveal this in his behavior. Christ may be brought forth in him or her after the Seed has been planted.

But if a person has an evil and treacherous heart, he will be burned in the fire at the end of the age, whether or not he or she has "accepted Christ."

Christ is not a fire escape!

The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; and shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:41,42)

Shall gather out of His Kingdom! "Out of His Kingdom"!

God blessed Abraham because of his obedience in surrendering Isaac to God. Christ, the Seed of Abraham, was tested in the area of obedience. We, who through Christ are the Seed of Abraham, also shall be tested severely in the area of obedience.

We also shall inherit the blessing.

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

How can the one Seed be multiplied as the stars and the grains of sand on the seashore? The answer is, the Seed is multiplied in us, the members of His Kingdom; and His Kingdom shall be multiplied forever.

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:7)

All of this because of the obedience of Abraham. There is no way of estimating the amount of good that proceeds from one person who obeys God totally.

It is impossible for human beings to imitate Christ successfully, although we do the best we can. The problem is, we are descendants of Adam and have inherited Adam's nature. But Christ is ready to share with us, who are part of the one Seed, His Divine Nature. The Divine Nature can imitate Christ perfectly, because it is His Nature.

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (II Peter 1:4)

Each member of the Seed has been called to be in the image of Christ, both in his inner nature, and also in his outer appearance. God has provided through Christ all the virtue necessary for our complete transformation into the inner nature of the Seed; and also, in the Day of Resurrection, into the outer appearance of the Seed.

We must have faith that God can perform this work in every true believer.

The inner image of the Seed, that has been planted in us, is the moral Character of God Himself. We may aspire to be like God. But the only manner in which the Character of God in us may come to maturity is through the growth of the Seed that came from God in the first place.

It is my opinion that we make only a rough start toward such character during our brief sojourn on the earth. It is likely that ten thousand years from now, as measured by earth's time, we still will be being conformed to the image of God.

As for the outer appearance of God, I believe it shall be as it is taking place today. As we keep dying and living in Christ, our house in Heaven is being transformed accordingly. Our outer appearance always shall reflect our inner nature. We see the outer appearance of Christ in the first chapter of the Book of Revelation; also in the first chapter of the Book of Daniel.

When the Lord appears, we shall be clothed with our transformed house from Heaven.

If we will continue to press forward in faith we shall attain to these two transformations. Let us have faith!

I think the new covenant should be preached more often than it is. One would think from the current preaching that the new covenant is that if we "accept Christ" we will go to Heaven and not go to Hell. Added to this is a mansion in Heaven that has been prepared for us.

Such may be a new covenant that man has concocted, but it is not the new covenant of the Scriptures.

The new covenant of the Scriptures is the writing of God's eternal moral Law in our mind and heart. Each time we through Christ gain victory over sin, that writing is increased both in our mind and in our heart; both in our understanding and in our willingness to embrace God's will.

But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. (Hebrews 8:6)

The new covenant is a "better covenant" from God's point of view because it will enable the Seed to keep God's commands.

Can you imagine! We are teaching today that the new covenant is better than the old because now, through grace, we do not have to keep God's commands!

I used to yell when I preached, because it seemed to me that Christian leaders and people were deliberately and perversely going against the New Testament. I don't yell so much anymore because I realize that the people are blind spiritually and just have need of teaching.

Some years ago Jesus told me not to call anyone a heretic. "They just need teaching," He said.

Am I smarter that everyone else? Hardly! But I think God has given me a certain amount of clarity when reading the Bible.

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. (Hebrews 8:7)

The reason the first covenant, the Law of Moses, was faulty was because we have a sin nature that wars against God's Law. God's Law is perfect, but we aren't. The purpose of the new covenant is to provide a faultless covenant that will enable us to obey God's Law.

Does that make sense to you?

For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. (Hebrews 8:8)

God found fault with the Israelites because they did not keep His commands, in many instances. The house of Israel and the house of Judah may be read, "the Seed of Abraham." God does not make covenants with anyone except the one Seed---Jews and Gentiles who are part of Christ.

Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. (Hebrews 8:9)

The new covenant is different from the old in that the new covenant does not operate as we read the words of the covenant and attempt to obey them. This is where Christians get into error when they try to keep all or part of the Law of Moses. The old covenant and the new cannot be mixed in this manner.

The new covenant is "not according to the covenant" that God made with the fathers of Israel. If we truly have died with Christ in water baptism, then the old covenant, including the Ten Commandments, has no jurisdiction over us. The new covenant, which is the Law of the Spirit of Christ, has total jurisdiction over us.

If we endeavor to mix the two covenants, we are performing spiritual adultery.

Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.

So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. (Romans 7:1-4)

When we are married to Christ we are not to return to the Law of Moses. Through means of our union with the resurrected Christ we can gain absolute victory over our sinful nature and over our self-will. To go back to any part of the Law of Moses would result in the reviving of our fallen nature.

Our marriage to Christ, as we by faith pursue Him each day, results in our transformation into the inner moral Nature of Christ. In the Day of Resurrection it will result in an outer form, like that of Christ.

To return to any part of the Law of Moses, including the physical celebrations of the seven major convocations, or circumcision, or the Sabbath Day, is spiritual adultery. It is ignorance and folly, when we consider how superior the new covenant is.

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

Instead of writing His eternal moral laws on tables of granite, God writes them in our mind and heart. Thus we understand God's intention and have the desire to perform it.

To then return to any part of that which was written on stone tablets is to leave the superior and return to the inferior.

Moses' law is perfect, enlightening the eyes. But we people are imperfect. So that which was intended to perfect our behavior resulted in bringing our sin to our attention, but did not provide the spiritual power to enable us to obey God's righteous laws.

The new covenant does provide the spiritual power (grace) to enable us to obey the eternal law of God, the Law of the Spirit of Christ. Would we not then be foolish, as well as disobedient to God, to return to a covenant that urges us to live righteously while not providing the Divine Virtue that would enable us to obey God?

And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. (Hebrews 8:11)

When the new covenant has been brought to the full in each one of us we will have no need of apostles, teachers or rabbis. Each one of us will know the Lord, because He has brought Christ, the Seed, to maturity in us. Christ, being the Word of God made flesh, has come to maturity in our mind and heart. Now we have become the Word!

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:13)

Throughout the two thousand years of the Christian Era, the program of redemption has been confined largely to the forgiveness of our sin. In our time the Day of Redemption has begun, in which sin and self-will shall be removed from us. This is a major step forward in the Divine plan of redemption.

The new covenant does include the forgiveness of our sin, but only as we continually seek to obey the Law of the Spirit of Christ.

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. (Hebrews 8:12)

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)

This is not a gift without requirements attached. If we are to receive the righteousness of the Law, we must obey the Spirit of God at all times, in every circumstance.

I believe we all can see clearly that when we become part of Christ we are Abraham's Seed. All of the inheritance promised to the Seed is assigned to us.

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

Thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. We finally shall gain the upper hand over Satan, and over all the works of evil.

You and I, being of the one Seed, are part of a vast number of people who will increase in number until we shall be as the stars of the heavens. This is inconceivable; but whatever the Bible states cannot be changed in any manner.

Satan always is at work. But the warfare against evil has begun and shall conclude with absolute victory for the Seed. We cannot see this victory as yet, as the world grows more evil each day. We hardly can believe that the time will come when there is no more evil in God's creation.

But the Scripture says we shall overcome our enemies, and indeed we shall through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice the next verse:

And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:18)

From what I have read, I believe many ministers and their followers are under the impression that all who "accept Christ" are destined to escape Hell and go to Heaven to live comfortably in a mansion, doing nothing of significance for eternity.

Such is the Christian mythology.

The truth is, the purpose of the Church Age is to call out from mankind a holy people, peculiarly God's own, and work with them until they attain to the stature of Christ. They compose the Church, the called-out Royal Priesthood. This company, with Christ as the Head, is the one true Seed of Abraham.

When a firstfruits of this holy priesthood is ready, Christ will return, raise them into resurrection life, call them up to Himself, mount them on the white war stallions, and then descend with them to install the Kingdom of God on the earth. Then the will of God shall be done on earth as it is in Heaven. This is what we pray for, isn't it?

Here is the fulfillment of the Word: "In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."

All of the above shall come to pass. The zeal of the Lord of Host shall accomplish this.

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:7)

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The Eternal Sabbath, From The Coming Day of Redemption

2014-02-02

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)

For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. (Romans 7:9)

Theologians have reasoned that since we are unable to keep God's laws we must be saved by "grace," that is, by forgiveness. However, that would make the new covenant inferior to the Law of Moses in that God's commandments never would be kept!

We have to die to the Law of Moses, and it to us, if we are to be free to pray, read our Bible, and hear from the Lord every day. We are to keep looking to Christ to see what His will is for the moment. If we do this, eventually the Day Star will arise in our heart and we will keep God's eternal law by nature.

Such is the way of the new covenant. We must die to the Law of Moses so we may be married to Christ. We have to die in Christ before we can live in the Presence of God.

*****

On Saturday, October 19, 2013, sometime in the late afternoon, I had an aha! moment. Do you know what an aha! moment is? It occurs when something you have been puzzling about suddenly comes together in your mind.

I have been preaching the seven feasts of Israel for many years, particularly the last three observances—the Blowing of Trumpets; the Day of Atonement; and the Feast of Tabernacles.

I also have been teaching that Jesus wants us to live by His Life, just as He lives by the Father's Life. We are to think, speak, and act just as the Lord Jesus is thinking, speaking, and acting. This is how Jesus lives by the Father's Life. The Lord Jesus thinks, speaks, and acts as the Father is thinking, speaking, and acting.

Please consider this high standard of consecration to not be a grievous duty but an invitation and opportunity to know Jesus better.

Well, yesterday, Saturday, I was thinking about the "rest of God," set forth in the third and fourth chapters of the Book of Hebrews. I realized the passage is not speaking of the Jewish Sabbath Day. Actually, it is viewing the Land of Canaan as the rest of God, the goal of the Christian redemption.

Wham! It hit me! The last three feasts of the Lord are the entrance into the rest of God. The spiritual fulfillments of the first four feasts are preparatory, preparing us for the final three feasts. Also, when the seventh observance is fulfilled spiritually, people will be in the image of God, which is what God announced in the beginning.

Sounds like the promised Day of Redemption, doesn't it?

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

Let's see if this makes sense.

The first feast, the Passover, has to do with the blood of God's Lamb, the Lord Jesus. The blood of the Lamb protects us when God judges the world.

The second feast, Unleavened Bread, portrays our putting away the leaven of the world, as we are baptized in water.

The third feast, Firstfruits, tells us we must be born again. Our spirit is to be raised with Christ to the right hand of the Father.

The fourth feast, Pentecost, speaks of the power of God's Spirit that enables us to overcome sin; and also to minister by the Spirit.

The spiritual fulfillments of the first four feasts keep working and supporting the interventions of God that follow. To the present hour, most of God's people are not in God's image. To be in God's image is to be so filled with the Divine Virtue that we act like God, as the Lord Jesus Christ does.

God declared in the beginning that man is to be in His image. Obviously there must be more steps in the plan of redemption so that God's Word may be fulfilled.

Observance number five, is the Blowing of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah. It is the New Years Day of the Jews. It is the first day of the business year. To us Christians it symbolizes the beginning of the Kingdom of God, the establishing of God's will in the earth, and our being in God's image.

Christ, the King, comes with the sound of the trumpet to declare war against His enemies, to make them His footstool in fulfillment of the promise of the Father to Him. Christ has been seated at the right hand of the Father in anticipation of this day.

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. (John 14:18-20)

"Because I live, ye shall live also"!

I am speaking now of the coming of Christ in the spirit world to His fervent disciples to carry out the last three acts of redemption. This appearing will take place prior to the Lord's worldwide second coming in which every eye shall see Him. The trumpet sounding in the spirit realm will announce the soon coming of the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement.

"I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the Lord Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire(I) or a launderer's soap. (Malachi 3:1,2–NIV)

"I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire." (Matthew 3:11,12–NIV)

The purpose of this prior coming is to prepare the saints for Christ's glorious appearing to the world, in which every eye shall see Him.

The preparation will include a judgment that will begin with the household of God, with the Christian people. The sins of our flesh and spirit, and our self-will, are to be destroyed out of us so the Father may find rest in us.

If the Spirit of God is pointing out to you one or more of your sins, or your self-will, be quick to repent. God cannot find His rest in you while sin is crying out for expression, or if you are doing your own planning and thinking apart from the Lord Jesus.

If you confess and turn away from the sin that has been pointed out to you, Christ will forgive you and help you put it behind you.

If your problem is self-will, He will put you in difficult situations until you have been humbled and you are ready to live by the will of Christ.

How do you enter God's rest, in which you are living by thinking, planning, speaking, and acting along with the Lord Jesus? You enter it one step at a time.

For example, your job, or one part of your job. Pray before you start working. Pray during the job. Pray when you are finished with the job. Keep committing every aspect of the particular area to Jesus. Do this continually. After this portion of your job has been thoroughly committed to Christ, add another area, meanwhile keeping the first area committed to Christ.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5,6)

Then turn your attention to your dinner. Pray before you eat; while you are eating; and when you finish eating. Invite Jesus into every area of your dinner, every time you eat dinner. Do not quit. Keep holding every smallest aspect of your dinner to Jesus. Do this for the rest of your life.

Now you have entered God's rest in every aspect of your job, and also in your dinner.

Let us say you are going to school and you dread your algebra class. Pray before the class, during the class, and when the class is over. Do this every day. Keep committing every aspect of the class to the Lord Jesus.

Now you are in the rest of God in every aspect of your job; in your dinner; and in your algebra class.

Do you mean my goal is to learn to pray without ceasing? Yes!

It may require a year or two; but if you keep bringing more and more of your life under the control of the Lord Jesus, the time shall arrive when you are living completely in the eternal sabbath.

Keep looking to Jesus as you are seeking to enter His rest. Your efforts need not be stressful or anxious. The Lord's ways are always peaceful and bring rest and joy. When He sees you are attempting to do what He has commanded, He will help you to remain joyful.

What I am suggesting in the words above is not a novelty, or the life a few exceptional Christians must lead. Every single member of the Church, the new Jerusalem, the Body of Christ, must attain to the rest of God. It is the manner in which all the members of the Royal Priesthood are to live.

Only such believers will be caught up when the Trumpet sounds!

Why are the victorious saints resurrected or changed, and caught up to meet Christ in the air, if it is not to descend with Him and govern the nations of the earth?

What would be the purpose of carrying up the whole Church to Heaven, many of whom are somewhat lacking in their determination to serve the Lord Jesus? Would this be the establishing of the Kingdom on the earth and bring justice to the nations?

I believe the general assumption of Christian people is that the "catching up" is the salvation of the entire Church. It is not. It is the calling up to Christ of the firstfruits of the Royal Priesthood—those who are to reign with Christ over the saved nations of the earth.

The Lamb is not standing on Mount Zion with the entire body of believers, but with those who have the Father's name in their forehead. This means they have set aside their own will and are living by the Father's will.

The Lord Jesus will come to you and declare war against all that is in you that is not of the image of God; all in which the Father cannot find rest.

This is the spiritual fulfillment of the fifth of the seven Levitical observances, the Blowing of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah.

The Blowing of Trumpets announces the sixth convocation, the Day of Atonement, the time of reconciliation to God. The step by step procedure I outlined above is the spiritual fulfillment of this sixth observance.

It is my point of view that the Day of Atonement will continue throughout eternity, because additional people will be being born and will need instruction in how to be reconciled to God and God to them.

Remember, God declared that He would make man in His image. This has not happened yet. The only person who has walked on the earth in the image of God is the Lord Jesus Christ. The declaration that man is to be in God's image was made on the sixth day of creation, in accordance with the sixth convocation, the Day of Atonement.

But after stating that man would be created in His image, God rested. His Spirit and Word will work until man is in the image of God, in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ in thinking, in speaking, and in acting. God always finishes what He begins!

God said that man would be male and female and would multiply. This is why homosexual people, while they continue their practice, cannot abide in the rest of God. God did not announce that man would take another man as his helper. Such a relationship never shall be permitted in the Kingdom of God. It is contrary to the fiat of the sixth day of creation.

Each homosexual will have his opportunity, when he is brought before his Creator, to explain why he does not agree with the original Divine fiat.

Finally, the rest of God. The final observance and goal of the seven celebrations is the seventh festivity, the feast of Tabernacles. In the feast of Tabernacles, the Father and the Son settle down to rest in the believer who has been keeping Christ's commandments.

He or she now is a living stone in the House of God, in the new Jerusalem. As part of the Head, he or she is the revelation of the Father to the creation. Under Jesus Christ, he or she shall govern the creation for eternity.

Remember, it is not primarily our rest, it is God's rest. God is seeking a house in which He can dwell and have fellowship with His creatures. We are being redeemed to this end—that God might find rest.

At some point in ages past, numerous angels rebelled against the will of the Father. This rebellion was very displeasing to God. Many of God's works since the rebellion of Satan and his angels have been a reaction to the original rebellion.

There came a point in the development of God's solution to the rebellion when God determined to appoint a king to govern the Kingdom He was planning. That King is, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ. Remember, the major issue of God's working is obedience, because the original problem was rebellion against God's will.

The chosen King, the Lord Jesus, was tested in the area of obedience. It was a terrific trial. Abraham, the father of the believers, also had to endure a terrific trial.

Each member of the Royal Priesthood, will be submitted to the same temptations as Christ: that of survival; that of pleasure; that of self-will.

God desires to move His Throne from the invisible spirit world to the earth. His Throne will be on the new earth as the Holy City, the eternal Temple of God. From the Throne will flow the water of eternal Life for all people on the new earth.

In order to be a member of the Royal Priesthood, of the Throne of God, we must be living in the rest of God, in the eternal Sabbath. We must think and plan along with the Lord Jesus. We must speak along with the Lord Jesus. We must act along with the Lord Jesus. This is how Jesus Himself lives with the Father.

Can you see that the issue is obedience? Christ is entirely obedient to the Father at the deepest level of His Being. We must be entirely obedient to Christ at the deepest level of our being.

So we are tested, tested, tested to see if we truly are willing to be in perfect union with Christ, in all that He is and does, just as Christ is in perfect union with the Father in all the Father is and does.

Such is the enlarging and making visible and present on the earth of the Throne of God. In His new, eternal Temple, God will find rest, and we will find our rest. This is the end of all rebellion against the Father!

Do you want to be part of the eternal rest, the eternal Sabbath? Then right this minute tell God that you have chosen to be part of Christ. You are abandoning your right to think your own thoughts; speak your own words; follow your own path.

Some people will make this choice. You can choose to be one of them.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal dwelling place of the Father. You and I are rooms in that house, provided we continue through the entire program of redemption.

Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. (Hebrews 4:11)

Notice that the verse says "to enter into that rest." This is not a call to just rest. It is to enter a specific rest, and that rest is that which God entered on the seventh day, when all of His work was finished.

The "rest of God" is that state of being in which we at all times look to Christ to see what He wants us to think, to speak, and to do.

The third and fourth chapters of the Book of Hebrews speak of the rest of God. At first glance the passage may seem to be speaking about the Sabbath Day of the Law of Moses. However a closer examination of the text reveals that such is not the case.

And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? (Hebrews 3:18)

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. (Hebrews 4:8)

Since the verses above are referring to Canaan, the land of promise, we understand that the "rest of God" refers to our inheritance in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Sabbath Day of the Law of Moses no longer has jurisdiction over the members of the Body of Christ. The Law is a servant who brings us to Christ. When we become part of Christ, the Law has done its job and is removed.

If the rest of God, which the author of Hebrews sets as our goal, were our observing of the Sabbath Day, more would be said about it in the Book of Hebrews. Instead, the Book of Hebrews stresses our bearing the good fruit of righteous behavior, and living by obedience and faith.

So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. (Galatians 3:24,25—NIV)

We are no longer under a guardian, under any part of the Law of Moses!

If I am not mistaken, the Spirit of God is pressing us today to move past the Pentecostal experience and learn to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus Christ, just as He lives by the Life of the Father. This is the rest of God that we are to enter.

The Lord Jesus Christ from eternity to eternity dwells in the eternal Sabbath, that is, totally in the Life of the Father.

By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. (John 5:30—NIV)

Don't you believe 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. (John 14:10—NIV)

As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:57)

The goal of the program of redemption is to provide a house, a dwelling place for God in which He can find rest.

Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? (Isaiah 66:1)

Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? (Acts 7:49)

The answer is as follows:

In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22)

Now we can understand why the writer of Hebrews presents the rest of God in such strong terms. The goal of the plan of redemption is to construct a house in which God can find rest. We are not to come short of this!

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

If the house, the place of rest, were just for us, it would be of importance. But because the house, the place of rest, is for God, it is of the greatest importance.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the House of God. In God's House there are many rooms. We are invited to become a room, a place of rest, in God's eternal house.

Because God is seeking to dwell in us for eternity, we must be delivered totally from all the sins of our flesh and spirit, and all self-will. God cannot find rest in a house that breaks His moral laws, or is exerting it's own will. The only legitimate will in the universe is the will of the Father.

The process of redemption must work in us until there is no sin or self-will operating in us. If there were any left in us, neither God nor we would find rest.

God is not content to remain invisible in the spirit realm while His creatures, whom He loves dearly, can neither see Him nor have fellowship with Him. Abraham and Moses are God's friends. God would like to have more than two friends. Would you like to be a friend of God? Then seek His face at all times and be strictly obedient to the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the new heaven and earth rule of Christ there will be a great Tabernacle, the new Jerusalem. This Tabernacle is the House of God, the glorified Christian Church. It will not be in an invisible form in the spirit world but very prominent on the new earth. From this vantage point, God can be close to His creatures, blessing, governing, and assisting them for eternity. Can you imagine anything more wonderful than that? I can't either!

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God." (Revelation 21:3—NIV)

"God's dwelling place" is the Christian Church, that is, you and I.

Such is the destiny of the Christian Church, the Body of Christ, and of each of us who lives a victorious life in Christ.

We have to make an effort to enter this wonderful rest of God. There are many items of interest in the world that call for our attention, as well as fears, dreads, ambitions of very kind, and so forth. We must pray continually that we may be able to keep our eyes focused on Christ in every situation.

Today, in America, there are so many problems, and so many pressures to abandon Bible morality, that it is easy to get our eyes off the Lord and onto the antics of people who are moved by Satan. We can become angry and frustrated. God is not at rest in us when we are angry and frustrated!

America is sinning grievously, with its worship of sexual activity and money, as well as the practice of abortion. For this reason God is going to diminish America until it no longer has a powerful voice in world affairs.

I do not know whether we are going to be destroyed by forces inside America, or by an invasion from the outside. But I do know the Lord has told me that the leadership of the world is going to move to the East.

Even though we may understand that the Lord Jesus Christ is very aware of the mistakes our government is making, and has everything under control, it still is easy to become incensed against the political leaders and other people of prominence, who have no fear of the Lord and are acting in terms of their own interests.

But if we really believe Christ is in control, and knows what He is doing, then we must make the effort to enter the rest of God and praise the Lord continually. In fact, we can sing and dance on the heights of Zion no matter what comes to pass on the earth, if we will stay close to Jesus,.

The nations of the earth are but a drop of water in the ocean to Him. He does as He will with people, and no one can hinder Him in any manner. We are to do the best we can, and then rest with Christ who, in turn, is resting with the Father.

There is a statement in the fourth chapter of the Book of Hebrews that you may not have noticed:

Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'" And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. (Hebrews 4:3—NIV)

And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world.

God created everything in six days. This means that every event, every circumstance, the role of every person in the Kingdom of God, his or her image and destiny, was created in that time–-all the way through to the new heaven and earth reign of Christ and His saints.

"His works have been finished since the creation of the world"!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. (Ephesians 1:3,4)

God is resting. His Word is bringing to pass everything God created in six days.

We are exhorted to make every effort to enter that rest—not our rest, but the rest that God entered at the time of the conclusion of the creation.

This means that your life and my life were designed and established at the time of the creation.

Why do we have to strive to enter that rest? Because we have a variety of things, forces, and circumstances that seek to turn our eyes away from the Lord Jesus, causing us to think, plan, speak, and act in ways that are not of Christ. It is as simple as that. They are not what God envisioned in the beginning.

We must be willing to learn to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus.

For through the law I have 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 now 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—Holman)

We must die to our own ways that Christ may live in us. This is how we enter the rest of God. There simply is no other way!

Peter speaks of the Day Star, who is Christ.

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts. (I Peter 1:19)

Jesus said the same thing.

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

If we are willing to take heed to the Scriptures, faithfully keeping the Word of Christ, something will take place in our personality.

And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezekiel 36:27)

As we patiently study the Scriptures, asking Christ to help us understand and correctly apply what we are reading, Christ will be formed in us. The poison in our personality will die and Christ will take its place. Christ shall be formed in us, as Paul mentioned.

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you. (Galatians 4:19)

When the resting place for God has been prepared sufficiently in us, the Father and the Son will come and make us Their eternal dwelling place.

Thus we see that religion is not the end; the Bible is not the end; Heaven is not the end. Rather, fellowship with the Father and Christ is the goal.

Our religious practices and doctrines are not our goal; fellowship with the Father and the Son is our goal.

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (I John 1:3)

It is so very easy to get our mind on other things, even the things of our religion, that we may find ourselves worshiping our religion, and then trying to get what we want from God.

As I stated previously, God would like to have some more friends. He has Abraham and Moses. How about you and me?

Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever? (II Chronicles 20:7)

And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle. (Exodus 33:11)

Chaos, moral and physical, is ahead for the United States. It is not enough for us to just go to church on Sunday. We absolutely must learn to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We must think and plan as He is thinking and planning. We must speak as He is speaking. We must act as He is acting. This is how Christ lives by the Father, and the way we must learn to live.

To the young Christian such a life must seem an impossibility. It assuredly is not. It is the way the Apostle Paul lives, and he encourages you and me to press toward the fullness of Christ just as he is doing.

As I mentioned previously, start off with some small area of your life that you give to Christ. When you are able to seek Christ in that area, add one more. Then one more. Don't quit. If you fall back, confess your weakness to the Lord and press forward in the Lord.

Before you know it, you will be able to say with Paul, "I am crucified with Christ. It is not I who am living but Christ who is living in me."

This is the rest of God. Do not permit yourself to come short of it. This is the place the Spirit of God wants to bring you.

If you are obedient and follow the Spirit, you will stand and help others to stand in the dark days on the horizon.

Christ is in control of everybody and everything. He will help you, if you ask. You will save yourself and your loved ones by doing this.

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Ephesians 3:19-21)

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A Time of Rejoicing, from The Coming Day of Redemption

2014-02-09

This truly is a Year of Jubilee for us in our church. The Scriptures are opening as never before. The congregation has been participating in some Jewish dancing---and there is nothing else as joyous as Jewish dancing!

It reminds us of the Tabernacle of David, doesn't it?

And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. (II Samuel 6:14,15)

And they brought in the ark of the Lord, and set it in his place, in the midst of the tabernacle that David had pitched for it: and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. (II Samuel 6:17)

*****

The following verse refers to the decline of the Tabernacle of David, prophesying of the two thousand years of the Church Age, during which the glory of the Christian churches has declined, and Satan has governed the earth. But Christ is coming again, and there will be an end of Satan's rule.

After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up. (Acts 15:16)

After the first century of the Christian Era, the spirit of revelation that was on the original Apostles seems to have been lifted. While some Christian work continued, it appears that the original ministry of the Christian churches was not revitalized until the Protestant Reformers of the Restoration began their ministry. We are thinking now of the revival during the 16th century.

Since that time, some features of the original doctrines and experiences have been restored. The best known of these may be the doctrine of "righteousness by faith," as compared to punishing one's self, and helping people in need, such as lepers, in order to gain the righteousness that will admit a person to Heaven.

Water baptism by immersion; the priesthood of the believer; the born-again experience, have been added. At the beginning of the twentieth century, speaking in tongues began to be practiced. I would regard these restorations of spiritual life as the rebuilding of the Tabernacle of David.

By the "Tabernacle of David" I mean the anointing of the Spirit of God upon a remnant, in contrast to the anointing of the Spirit of God upon all whom God intends to save into the coming world of righteousness.

The concept of a "firstfruits," an anointed "remnant," is an important part of God's plan of redemption.

One can see in our day the division between an anointed remnant and the majority of those who profess Christ.

I do believe that if all the pastors of the Christian churches in the United States were to announce from their pulpits that unless an individual denied himself, took up his or her cross of delayed gratification, and followed the Lord Jesus until the person was living by the Life of Jesus, he or she was not a genuine Christian, that the larger part of the church-attenders would leave their churches—at least the churches that taught what it really means to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus.

I think a careful study of the history of the Christian churches will reveal that there often has been a large organization, such as the Catholic Church, and then a relative handful of believers who earnestly were seeking the Lord. Unfortunately, these handfuls sometimes were persecuted viciously by the large organization.

In fact, there have been sincere disciples of Jesus in the Catholic churches who sometimes are venerated as "saints." This designation comes from the recognition that they were different from the ordinary Catholic communicant.

Notice, in the following, that the restoring of the Tabernacle of David will result in the power of Christ extending to the nations.

In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this. (Amos 9:11:12)

That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. (Acts 15:17)

The significance of this is as follows. The reign of David preceded the reign of Solomon. During the reign of David the Tabernacle of the Congregation, representing the majority of God's people, was in Gibeon, north of Jerusalem. But the Ark remained in Jerusalem in a tent, that is referred to as "The Tabernacle of David."

The thousand-year period, often referred to as the "Millennium," and I term, the "Kingdom Age," was foreshadowed by the reign of King David.

The new heaven and earth era was foreshadowed by the reign of King Solomon. This is the way I see it. At the time of the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus, the anointed remnant will be merged with the majority of the Church; the Lord's "mighty men" will take their place as part of Israel.

Thus the perfecting of the Church will occur in two stages, typified by the reigns of David and Solomon.

In our day the Ark of God is returning to God's people.

The "Ark" has been in captivity for the two thousand years of the Church Era, so to speak. But now we know by the Spirit that we are approaching the Day of Redemption, the return of King Jesus, and the thousand years of the Kingdom Age (Millennium).

When referring to the Ark returning to God's people, I am speaking figuratively of the Glory of Christ approaching His churches. The actual, physical Ark of the Covenant will be seen no more, as I understand it. The Ark will be replaced by the saints, in whose hearts the Throne of God will be established. The saints compose the holy city, the new Jerusalem.

And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.

At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. (Jeremiah 3:16,17)

The thousand-year Kingdom Age is a partial reign.

The fullness of the Kingdom will come after the final judgment and resurrection of the dead of all ages, when the thousand years have been concluded.

It may be noticed that the Ark, hidden since the days of Nebuchadnezzar, will be seen spiritually once again when Christ becomes King of the kingdoms of the world. This appearance of the Ark symbolizes the Tabernacle of David, in which King David placed the Ark of the Covenant.

And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail. (Revelation 11:19)

The Ark represents Christ—Head and Body. The Body of Christ that will be seen at the next appearing of Christ actually is a firstfruits of the Body. The full Body of Christ, the glorified Christian Church, will not be seen in its fullness until the new Jerusalem descends from Heaven to be established for eternity upon the new earth.

Before the new Jerusalem descends from Heaven, Christ, and a firstfruits of His Body, will govern the earth throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age. This is the restoration of the Tabernacle of David.

What a glorious day we are in! Indeed, it is the beginning of the Year of Jubilee. All that has been lost, due to the reign of Satan, shall be restored.

There shall be singing and dancing in the heights of Zion, as the "Ark" is returning. I saw a month or so ago, in the briefest of visions, the Lord Jesus dancing. He is our King David and He is rejoicing at what His Father is bringing to pass. I did not understand the vision until just now.

So let us never once touch what God is doing, but watch the Spirit of God carefully and go as He is directing. Any attempt to make an organization or a movement out of the present move of the Spirit will only delay the coming of the Kingdom to the earth.

The Pentecostal movement lost its fire when it was organized. By "lost its fire" I mean it lost the "Ark of the Covenant," so to speak. When the Ark is lost, the Day of Atonement cannot be celebrated. David's Tabernacle is reduced to powerlessness. What we have left is the "Tabernacle at the High Place in Gibeon," to speak in a figure.

The Tabernacle at the High Place, minus the Ark of the Covenant, speaks of the Christian churches practicing their customary services without the authority and power to set people free from the bondages of sin.

The same thing happened to the "Latter Rain" revival that occurred at the middle of the twentieth century. If I am correct, both the Pentecostal and Latter Rain revivals died because ambitious people "put their hands on the Ark" by trying to organize the intervention of the Lord. The "booth builders" drove away the Presence of Christ.

To "lay our hand on the Ark" is to die spiritually!

The "death" of the two movements means that the fullness of making man in God's image by the removal of sin and self-will cannot proceed, because such removal depends on the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement; which in turn depends on the placing of the Ark in David's Tabernacle.

The Ark can be carried successfully only as the Holy Spirit moves upon the members of the Royal Priesthood. It will not submit to being carried by ambitious Christian leaders and ministers.

The power of the seven thunders will be held back until God has saints who will set aside their own ambitions that God's will may be done. Then the ministry of the two witnesses may proceed, and the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, the making of man in God's image, will take place in God's remnant of saints who are determined to do God's will.

You can choose to be one of these, if that is your desire.

You may have observed that the Day of Atonement (of Reconciliation) is the sixth of the seven major Jewish convocations. Man was stipulated to be in God's image on the sixth day of creation.

We are at a rare moment in history. The world is sinking into the depths of sin and confusion. But where sin is abounding, the grace and Glory of God are abounding to an inconceivably greater extent.

Let me digress for a moment and talk about a separate but related issue.

I noticed, when studying about the "faith alone" (Evangelical) and "faith plus works" (Catholic) doctrines that neither side is completely correct.

The faith alone group may insist that there absolutely is nothing we are to do except believe. Salvation, which they equate with admission to Heaven, is gained as we make a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus. Our "faith" is all that is needed to guarantee righteousness in the sight of God and entrance into Paradise when we die.

(I wonder sometimes if such "faith" often is little more than mental acknowledgment. It may not be the grasp upon God's Character that genuine faith is!)

It absolutely is not true that there is nothing we are to do after receiving Christ. The New Testament is filled with exhortations to righteous living and to practical steps to keep us growing in Christ.

Let me quote from a recent essay titled, "Did Jesus Do It All?"

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

Now, think about the passage above. Are we to respond by saying "Jesus did it all," or is there something we are to do? What do you say about this?

"Present your bodies a living sacrifice." How do we do this? By refusing to follow the appetites of our flesh, denying its desires, making it serve the Lord.

We take control of our appetites. We make our body get up and go to church when it doesn't want to get out of bed. We do not give in to its laziness.

In the case of most of us, our body is a whimpering mass of sin and self-will. It does not want to make the changes that Christ requires of us. It does not want to be crucified so the Spirit of God can destroy the sinful nature that dwells in our flesh.

If we follow the desires of our body, while reciting that "Jesus did it all," we will never come to maturity in Christ. In fact, we may lose the little bit of eternal life we do have. That which bears thorns and briars is to be burned, the Book of Hebrews tells us.

If you think I am being too hard, consider those who are placed before us as people who lived by faith. In fact, the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews is an explanation of "the just shall live by faith."

Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:38,39)

They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise. (Hebrews 11:37-39)

If this is what it means for the righteous to live by faith, how can we possibly believe that Jesus did it all and there is nothing left for us to do but to lean back on a divan and read the newspaper?

It is interesting to note that God uses people from the Old Testament to instruct us about what it means to "live by faith," isn't it? Perhaps the New Testament is, in a major sense, a continuation of the Old Testament, rather than a new dispensation, as some teach.

You know, it is time for a reformation of Christian thinking and preaching!

After we leave the first and second verses of the twelfth chapter of the Book of Romans, we find a large assortment of efforts we are to make:

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation.

He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord. (Romans 12:6-11)

Let us prophesy.

Let us wait.

Let us teach.

Let us exhort.

Let us give.

Let us rule.

Let us show mercy.

Let us love without dissimulation.

Let us abhor that which is evil.

Let us cleave to that which is good.

Let us be kindly affectioned one to another.

Let us prefer one another in honor.

Let us not be slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.

And so on and on and on.

Someone may claim that this is all fine and good, but we are saved by faith and not by any of the above. This argument falls apart completely when we change our meaning of "saved," from eternal residence in Heaven, to being conformed to the image of Christ and untroubled rest in the center of God's Person and will!

My response is, "Such reasoning is specious. It is deception at its worst. By this teaching we make the words of the Apostles of no effect. The truth is, in our unwillingness to face our personal cross and the total demands of the true Christian discipleship, we have seized upon a few verses and have deduced our theology from these. We have ignored the bulk of the New Testament teachings."

How could any devout Christian deny we are to obey every word of the Lord Jesus and His Apostles if we expect to grow in Christ! If we are willing to cleave to Jesus totally until His Life becomes our life, the day will come when the Day Star will rise within us and we will keep God's commandments by nature.

But nothing like this will take place in us until we pray continually and look to Christ to help us obey what is written in the New Testament.

The teaching of "faith alone," as it is interpreted today, is a destructive idea that has produced generations of Christian church-attenders who have no idea what it means to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are spiritual infants, grace-babies, of no threat to Satan, and of no use to God as He is building His Kingdom.

I believe the "faith alone" position, at the time of the Protestant Reformers, meant "we are saved by faith apart from the Catholic emphasis on self-punishment and attendance to social needs." Today it means "do not try to do anything about your salvation. Jesus did it all. Any effort you make is legalism and self-righteousness."

The present understanding is quite different from the Catholic idea of making an atonement by self-punishment and good social deeds!

The Catholic position, that by good works we are saved and made eligible to enter Heaven when we die, is also unscriptural, although perhaps not as destructive as the "faith alone" error.

We cannot save ourselves by any sort of self-punishment, such as saying so many "Our Fathers," or by crawling on our knees to venerated statuary. Atonement was made once for all on the cross of Calvary.

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:1,2)

The idea of Purgatory, which as I understand it is a place in which we suffer until we have atoned for our sins and now are worthy to enter Paradise, seeks to add to the atonement made by Christ.

Christ's sufferings made atonement for all mankind. It is true that Christians must endure tribulation and suffering. But the purpose of our suffering is to drive sin from us, not to make an atonement so we are worthy to enter Heaven. That idea has no support in the Scriptures. It is human reasoning.

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. (I Peter 4:1,2)

I believe it is true that numerous people whom God judges to be worthy of eternal life, but who have not lived a victorious life in Christ, will, after they die, have to undergo a season of instruction until they are fit to fulfill their role in the Kingdom.

But such instruction and training, whether or not it involves suffering, is altogether different from suffering to atone for their sins and self-will. The one atonement made by Jesus Christ on the cross has appeased the wrath of God concerning every person He has selected to inhabit the new world of righteousness that is on the horizon. It is finished!

So what then is the true way of salvation? It is to receive by faith the atonement made on the cross. Then we are to count ourselves as dead to the world and alive in the Lord Jesus. From that point forward we are to seek to live in newness of resurrection life.

We have learned recently that the concept of residence in Heaven being the goal of the Christian redemption is not scriptural. The true goal of the Divine redemption is conformation to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ, and perfect, untroubled rest in the center of the Father's Person and will.

Thus we see that salvation is not a change in where we are but of what we are.

Living in newness of life requires continual prayer, meditation in the Bible, and bringing the Lord Jesus into every area of our life until we are a new creation of righteous behavior. Brother Lawrence, the Catholic, helped to show us the way the true Christian lives, in his "practice of the Presence of God."

Brother Lawrence's saintly conduct of life has been an inspiration to untold multitudes of people. This is the true Christian life, the life pursued by the anointed remnant of all periods of Christian history, whether the believer be a Catholic or Protestant. The Christian organizations plow ahead according to their understanding and convictions. But the true remnant continue to walk with Jesus.

To sit in a chair and read the newspaper and say, "I am saved by faith alone. Jesus did it all. I am on my way to Heaven where I will continue to do nothing but believe," would be funny if it were not so deadly in its effect.

Do we work for our salvation? Absolutely not! Our salvation was paid for on the cross and it is God's gift to us.

Do we do anything in addition to saying, "Thank You?"

Decidedly yes, beginning with presenting our body a living sacrifice to God so that Christ may live in us and do the works of God.

How many "Christians" do you know who are presenting their body a living sacrifice that they may prove God's will for themselves? How many are denying themselves, taking up their cross, and following the Lord Jesus at all times?

How many are seeking to think and plan along with the Lord Jesus? Speak along with the Lord Jesus? Act along with the Lord Jesus? This is the way Christ lives by the Life of the Father. This is the way we are to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus.

How many in your church? Five? Two? One? None?

Nothing short of this is acceptable, if we expect to go to meet Jesus when the Trumpet sounds. Jesus has no intention of calling up to Himself undisciplined church-attenders who never have gained victory over their sin and self-will.

You may tell from what I am writing that we have come to a movement of the Ark. There is great jubilation, singing, dancing, praising God. No one is to lay a hand on the Ark to steady it; to attempt to direct and organize what the Spirit of God is doing today. This is what religious organizers may attempt to do, but it is not acceptable. We cannot build three booths to contain it.

The power and revelation that are approaching will increase, no matter what satanically-inspired actions take place in the governments of the world. The revival finally will, I believe, evolve into the mighty works of the two witnesses of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation. The two witnesses are Christ, the one Witness; working with the victorious saints, the second witness. Such is my understanding at this time.

Perhaps if we are willing to abandon our own interests and obey Christ in all aspects of our life, we may be able through prayer to reverse some of the abominations we read about in the paper or see on television, such as the individual who has been harmed or treated unjustly, or some of the deliberations of the world governments.

All of this glory, power, and fruitfulness can be part of your life as you press into the Lord Jesus.

Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. (Hosea 6:1-3)

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The Spirit of the Pharisee, from The Coming Day of Redemption

2014-02-16

I have come across Christians, devout Bible-reading believers, who do not believe in hearing from the Lord. They regard speaking in tongues as so much foolishness. Any emphasis on the Holy Spirit is viewed with disdain.

I myself teach that we never are to pray to the Spirit of God, sing to the Spirit, and certainly not attempt to direct the Spirit. Yet there are Christian ministers who feel called upon to tell the Spirit of God where He should go and what He should do; and others who choose to refer to the Holy Spirit as seldom as possible.

The Lord Jesus has the authority to pour out the Spirit of God, but we certainly do not.

The Holy Spirit has been given by the Father the wisdom and power to bring forth an unblemished Bride for the Lamb. Because of this, the Holy Spirit is extremely active in every aspect of the true Christian redemption.

*****

Unless I am mistaken, those who do not believe we are to hear from the Lord today (overlooking the testimony of millions of Christians—Evangelicals and Charismatics alike), are persuaded that after the ministry of the original Apostles, God does not speak to us or work miracles among us.

Such teachers must worship the Bible. However, they are incorrect if that is their viewpoint. Religion and the Bible are never ends in themselves. Our true goal as Christians is to be conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus, and to dwell in untroubled rest in the center of God's Person and will.

Most importantly of all, we can have daily fellowship with the Father and with His Son, Jesus.

I try to avoid being negative in my writing, although I do warn against the sins of the flesh, and self-will. And I never attack a fellow believer or try to pull his stone out of the wall.

However, since the attitude that God does not speak to us today is so vigorously opposed to the central issue of what I believe about the Divine redemption, it may be a good idea for me to express myself.

Why do I term the insistence that God does not speak to us today or work miracles in the lives of Christian people, the spirit of the Pharisee?

And you know, it is a Christ-murdering spirit!

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. (John 5:39,40)

The elders of the Jews who knew the Scriptures from childhood, called for the murder of the Author of the Scriptures when they saw Him in person. How could this be?

Did God speak to people at that time?

And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. (Luke 2:25,26)

And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. (Acts 2:38)

Now, why could Anna and Simeon hear from God and recognize God's Christ, and the elders of the Jews, far more proficient in the Scriptures than Anna and Simeon, be blind to the Man when they saw and heard Him?

For ease of reference I will call this blindness, "the spirit of the Pharisee." It appears to afflict people who want to be religious and who study the Bible earnestly, looking for principles of Christian living. But for some reason there is a factor in their personality that resists the Person of God.

They do not recognize this factor; and when pressed they will react with anger—even to the point of murder, as in the case of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We need to be clear as to the presence of this blindness. If I am correct, in the future the Christian organizations will combine into what the Book of Revelation refers to as "Babylon, the Great." This tremendous denomination will govern the nations of the earth along with Antichrist.

The important leaders of Babylon the Great will not be in touch with the living Jesus, just as is true of some of the ecclesiastical leaders of our day.

The joint rule of the Catholic Church and the secular kings actually occurred hundreds of years ago. But it couldn't last, just as the future two-headed rule will not last. There cannot be two dragons in the same area, as Lewis mentioned!

And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. (Revelation 17:16)

People bound with the spirit of the Pharisee, unless God has mercy on them, will continue to defend their understanding of the Bible vehemently. God will move forward in the plan of redemption, and they will be blind to it, just as was true of the Jewish elders in the first century, and continues with many of the Jews to the present hour.

Whether such will accept membership in Babylon the Great, I do not know.

I am writing this brief essay because the only way we are going to be able to stand during the moral and physical chaos to come in America is by having a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. This means we speak to Him all the time, and He, from time to time, responds to us in one manner or another.

A second reason for my concern is that we are entering the greatest move in the program of Divine redemption since the atonement made on the cross and the outpouring of the Spirit of God on the original Day of Pentecost.

The fourth of the seven Jewish convocations, Pentecost, was fulfilled as the Spirit of God was poured out on the people in the first century. Also the very helpful practice of speaking in other tongues was instituted at that time.

The previous century, the twentieth century, might be termed the "Pentecostal Century." The Pentecostal message of speaking in tongues and the gifts of the Spirit spread to many parts of the world.

Now we are in the twenty-first century. It is time for the final three observances to be fulfilled: the Blowing of Trumpets; the Day of Atonement; and finally the seventh and last celebration, the feast of Tabernacles.

The spiritual fulfillments of the final three feasts constitute the promised Day of Redemption, and will attain to a climax in the resurrection, in the making spiritually alive the mortal bodies of those who have participated in these final celebrations.

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

The Blowing of Trumpets is fulfilled as the Lord Jesus comes to His disciples and prepares them for His coming and His Kingdom.

I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.

At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:19-23)

John 14:19-23 (above) is speaking of a coming of Christ that will occur before His return to catch up the firstfruits of the Royal Priesthood. It is to prepare us for the tremendous spiritual occurrences of the closing days of the Church Age.

This prior coming is the spiritual fulfillment of the fifth of the seven feasts of the Lord, the Blowing of Trumpets. Can you see from this how essential it is for us to have a one-on-one continual interaction with the Lord Jesus? We need to be aware of His Presence and will for us every moment of every day and night.

This is the coming of the King to declare war on His enemies, beginning with the enemies dwelling in the most fervent of His disciples. Judgment begins in the household of God. It is a measuring (judging) of those worshiping at the Altar of Incense, that is, the believers who cry out to God day and night: "Not my will but Yours be done!"

And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. (Revelation 11:1)

The "altar," mentioned in the verse above, is the Altar of Incense. It is at the Altar of Incense that we learn to say, "Not my will but Yours be done." The Altar of Incense originally was positioned such that to go past this altar was to enter the Most Holy Place.

The Book of Hebrews states that the Altar of Incense along with the Ark of the Covenant was in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle. This was not its original position. Some scholars believe that when the Ark was removed, the Altar of Incense was placed in the Most Holy Place so this section of the Tabernacle would not be empty.

Behind the second curtain, the tabernacle was called the most holy place. It contained the gold altar of incense and the ark of the covenant, covered with gold on all sides, in which there was a gold jar containing the manna, Aaron's staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. (Hebrews 9:3,4)

Following their own self-will, the priests had moved the Altar of Incense from where Moses placed it. So this golden Altar no longer speaks of the death to our own will that God's will might be done.

If this is what happened, it certainly is a picture of the Christian churches. They practice worship (the Altar of Incense). However, the Ark, the power to give victory over sin, is not present.

This measuring is necessary, because the greatest hindrance to the powerful witness of the coming of God's Kingdom is our self-will.

The end-time witness, which is Christ working with His victorious saints, will be clothed with the power of the seven thunders. In order for this to be true, every trace of self-will must be removed from the saints.

The Ark of the Testimony is coming down the road, to speak in a figure; and no hand is to be laid on it though it may appear to be faltering in some manner.

Such is the spiritual fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets.

The next of the seven observances, the Day of Atonement, may be, in some respects, the most important of the seven Jewish convocations. The spiritual fulfillment occurs as the Spirit of God leads us to confess our sins and self-will, renouncing them with all vigor.

When we do, the Spirit puts to death the sins of our flesh.

The Spirit also leads us through numerous tests until our self-will dies and we learn to lean on Christ for every breath we breathe. It takes a period of time and many difficulties before we learn to lean on the Lord Jesus to this extent.

Living in this manner is not grievous. It is an invitation and opportunity to know our Lord as our best Friend as well as our Lord and Savior.

We are to press forward to the state of being in which we think and plan along with Jesus; we speak along with Jesus; and we act and behave along with Jesus. This is the relationship Jesus has with the Father, and we are to have with Jesus.

As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:57)

"He that eateth me." Every time we choose to do the Lord's will rather than our own, we are fed in the spirit realm with the body and blood of God's Lamb, the "hidden manna."

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. (Revelation 2:17)

The Lamb's body and blood are our resurrection Life. We must be filled with resurrection Life, that which Paul was seeking, if we are to be resurrected when Jesus appears. It is His body and blood that will draw us to the slain Lamb when He comes.

Apart from partaking daily of His body and blood we are little more than an intelligent animal.

Notice the following. It is very significant to us today.

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)

Can you see the significance of the verse above? The Lamb has been sitting at the right hand of the Father, waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool. Now He is standing on Mount Zion, which is the Church of the Firstborn, the Christian Church.

With the Lamb are standing 144,000 of the firstfruits of the Royal Priesthood. The Father's name has been written in their foreheads, because they are dedicated with iron determination to always, in every circumstance, do the will of the Father as it is expressed through the Lamb.

The verses that follow in the fourteenth chapter of Revelation reveal the extraordinary consecration of these saints. I have come to the opinion that they may be the only believers who will be resurrected and caught up to meet the Lamb in the air.

How can I say that? Well, think to yourself. Why are they being resurrected and caught up, along with the saints who have come with the Lord, to meet the Lamb in the air? It is because they are going to descend with Him and establish the Kingdom of God, the doing of God's will, on the earth.

Three great challenges are ahead of these saints:

First, they will have to demolish the armies of Antichrist, and the angels and demons who are part of these armies.

Second, they will have to go through the earth, as outlined in the Book of Joel, and cleanse the earth of the effects of the reign of Antichrist.

Third, they will have to govern the nations, who by this time will be filled with their own self-love and self-will. Some of the people of these nations, whom the saints have lovingly guided in the ways of the Lord, although ruled with the iron scepter formed in the personalities of the saints, will turn and follow Satan as soon as he is released from the Bottomless Pit.

Am I clear on these three challenges?

Now if you think about today's church-attenders in America that you know, and picture them participating in these three Kingdom efforts, you will see why I am saying it may be true that Revelation, Chapter Fourteen, is describing those who will be qualified and competent to be resurrected and caught up when the Lord appears and the trumpet of war is blown. The majority of Evangelicals may be too immature for such spiritual battles.

Even the Apostle Paul was striving toward attaining to this resurrection!

Now, back to the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement.

Do you remember the original Divine fiat? It is that man be made in the image of God. This creative Word was spoken on the sixth day. The Day of Atonement is the sixth convocation!

All that has gone before us in Church history is preparatory for what we are to press into today. It is time now for us to be made in God's image. We are made in God's image as we gain victory over the sins of our flesh and spirit, and our self-will.

It is time to rebuild David's Tabernacle, so to speak. That means the Ark of the Testimony will be restored to its place. Then the Day of Atonement can be celebrated, as we are conformed to the moral image of the Lord Jesus and die to our self-will. It is a time to be reconciled to God!

Those who have the spirit of the Pharisee will not be able to move ahead in the plan of redemption, into the rest of God. Why not? Because they sneer at God's gift of speaking in tongues, referring to it as "baby talk."

They cannot enter the rest of God because tongues are the way into the rest. By speaking in tongues we cease from our own works and enter the image and destiny God has foreordained for us from the beginning of the world.

For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. (Isaiah 28:11,12)

Also, they stand in danger of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. If they continue to disparage the working of the Spirit of God, and do not repent, they may proceed to the point that they cannot be forgiven in the present world or in the new world of righteousness that is coming.

A brother told me yesterday that God said to him that what was done in the beginning shall occur again in our day. God said, "the Word shall be made flesh."

I am in agreement with this. I know we are entering the Year of Jubilee, and all that truly is of God shall be restored. We shall return to our original inheritance; and our inheritance is to be made in God's image and become the eternal resting place of God. Also, to have fellowship with God.

The new covenant is that of God writing His eternal moral laws in our mind and heart. If we obey our part of the covenant by seeking the will of Christ every day and every night, why shouldn't we then become the Word made flesh, and resemble our older Brother? Why shouldn't God make us faithful and true as Christ is Faithful and True?

Every time we obey Christ, that specific act of obedience is written in our mind and heart. This is the new covenant.

I believe God will make us His Word, and faithful and true, if we ask Him and obey what He tells us to do! I desire greatly to be faithful and true. Do you? Let us petition the Lord for this kind of character.

Those who have the spirit of the Pharisee boast of their allegiance to the Bible. "When the Bible speaks, we speak. When the Bible does not speak, we do not speak," they proclaim. Something to that effect.

This is ridiculous! The Bible itself states that those who are led by the Spirit are the sons of God, not those who are led by the Bible. The Bible speaks in general terms, doesn't it? But it does not tell us exactly what to do each day, except pray.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14)

It is the Spirit of God, rather than the Bible, who guides us in our daily decisions, which are numerous.

How are we to be led by the Spirit? By constantly looking to the Lord Jesus as we perform our daily tasks. There is no task we perform which the Lord cannot do better than we can. He wants us to ask Him about each detail.

Did you hear what I just said? The Lord Jesus wants us to ask Him about each detail of what we are doing, speaking, planning, and thinking!

"Oh, Jesus doesn't want me to ask Him to help me put out food for the cat."

Oh no? He certainly does. And if you ask Him to help you, you won't spill the cat food all over the rug.

Learn to ask Jesus about each little act; also the major tasks. Any aspect of your life that you do not submit to our Lord is loss for Him, loss for you, and loss for the world. Believe me in this!

The sons of God are those who are led by the Spirit of God. The believers with the spirit of the Pharisee, will laugh us to scorn. Let them. As for us, we want to get as close to Jesus as we can. Don't we?

Believers with the spirit of the Pharisee despise the Charismatics. I understand well that the Charismatics do silly things. Sometimes they cannot tell the difference between the Spirit of God and their own emotions and fantasies.

But I will tell you this: The Charismatics get off on these wild goose chases because they are dying of hunger. They are malnourished because of the "grace, grace, grace, rapture, rapture, rapture" they are being fed in the majority of Evangelical churches. Therefore they abandon themselves to anything that seems to have a bit of life.

Then they told Saul, saying, Behold, the people sin against the Lord, in that they eat with the blood. And he said, Ye have transgressed: roll a great stone unto me this day. (I Samuel 14:33)

Why were the Israelites sinning against the Lord? Because Saul, in his self-will, had starved them. So it is today in so many churches. The answer is not to mock the silly things the Charismatics may do. It is to feed them the good Word of the Lord, not the unscriptural lawless-grace and any-moment rapture! Then they will be better able to follow the Spirit without fruitless emotionalism.

Learning to be led by the Spirit of God requires a lifetime of patient seeking and obeying. When we see we have gotten off the track, we go back to the last place God met us, learn from our mistakes, and try again. God loves the believer who will get back on his feet and try again!

If we never stumbled and made a fool of ourselves, we would have no need of a redeemer, would we?

The seventh feast of Israel is that of Tabernacles. This tells us that God's goal is that each of us become a room in Christ, who is God's eternal dwelling place. All the teaching and gifts of the Spirit to which we are exposed bring us to this end—the stature of the fullness of Christ.

The Apostle Peter expresses it this way:

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts. (II Peter 1:19)

We are to take heed to the Scriptures until we can be governed by Christ, who is being formed in us. This does not mean we throw away the Bible. The Bible contains the eternal Word and is to be meditated in daily.

The rising of the Day Star, Christ, in our heart, is expressed in another place:

My children, I am again suffering labor pains for you until Christ is formed in you. (Galatians 4:19—Holman)

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)

The goal of our salvation is to become the eternal dwelling place of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit Himself who, under the direction of the Father, brings us to this supreme resting place.

Now we can see why the spirit of the Pharisee is so destructive. At what point will the Pharisee look up from the Scriptures and behold the living Word? Will he or she ever be able to do this?

It has been my experience that those who have the spirit of the Pharisee hold resolutely to their position that God does not speak to us or work miracles in our time. This ceased with the death of the first Apostles, they claim. They become angry if anyone professes to have heard from the Lord Jesus or has experienced a miracle.

I cannot tell you the actual name of this spirit, or where it comes from. Perhaps it is Satan's last effort, after the individual has received Christ, to prevent him or her from growing to the place where Satan's kingdom is threatened.

Those Christians with the spirit of the Pharisee may be good, honest, hard-working people. But their spiritual growth is stunted. They miss the greatest joy of the Christian discipleship, which is to walk and talk in intense fellowship with our Lord Jesus.

Now you can see why I am writing this essay. If God does not speak to people in our day, how will we know how to proceed in this great program of redemption, as we move from being a living soul to being a life-giving spirit? We have to be in continual interaction with the living Lord Jesus!

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (I John 1:3)

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The Next Major Move of Redemption, from The Coming Day of Redemption

2014-02-23

The operation of the Day of Redemption, mentioned in Ephesians 4:30, is described in Matthew 13:41-43. It has begun in our time.

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 13:41-43)

*****

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

There are seven major feasts, or observances, given by the Lord to Israel.

They are as follows:

Passover; Unleavened Bread; Firstfruits; Pentecost; The Blowing of Trumpets; The Day of Atonement; Tabernacles.

These ceremonies are of the greatest importance to Christian people.

During the Jewish observance of Passover, Jesus Christ, God's Lamb, was crucified.

During the Jewish observance of Unleavened Bread, Christ was somewhere in the heart of the earth, following the type of Jonah.

During the Jewish observance of Firstfruits, Christ rose from the dead.

During the Jewish observance of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples, instituting the Christian Church.

Passover and Unleavened Bread

"'These are the Lord's appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: The Lord's Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month the Lord's Festival of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. For seven days present a food offering to the Lord. And on the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.'" (Leviticus 23:4-8)

Firstfruits

"Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest. He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath.'" (Leviticus 23:10.11)

Pentecost

"'From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the Lord.'" (Leviticus 23:15,16)

It is clear that these four Jewish ceremonies have direct application to the Christian Church.

So much for the first four observances. Now we will proceed to the final three.

The question is, what about the remaining three festivals? When and how will they be fulfilled spiritually? They are: the Blowing of Trumpets; the Day of Atonement; and the feast of Tabernacles.

The Blowing of Trumpets

"Say to the Israelites: 'On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. Do no regular work, but present a food offering to the Lord.'" (Leviticus 23:24,25)

The Day of Atonement

"The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present a food offering to the Lord." (Leviticus 23:27)

The Feast of Tabernacles

"Say to the Israelites: 'On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the Lord's Festival of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days.'" (Leviticus 23:34)

I submit that the spiritual fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpet has begun in our day.

The Blowing of Trumpets

It may help us to point out God's goals in His plan of redemption. God's goals are twofold. First, to make man in God's image. This was the original Divine fiat. Next, and of supreme importance, to provide a house, a resting place for God.

Before a human being can be a resting place for God, he or she must be created in God's image.

Christian thinking has been corrupted. We view the plan of redemption as being primarily for our benefit. It is not. It is for God's benefit. Some of the heavenly creatures rebelled against God in ages past. This has caused God to be in a state of unrest, as He views the works of Satan in the creation. Therefore He is seeking a house in which He can find rest.

Heretofore God's Throne has been in the spirit world. Now God plans on bringing His Throne into the hearts of people who are in His image. It is as simple as that.

"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? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the Lord. "These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word." (Isaiah 66:1,2)

From the passage above we might conclude that God's house and resting place is composed of people who are humble and contrite in spirit.

They also must be victorious saints.

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

The Throne of the Father and the Son are to be placed in the human heart. When the sin and self-will have been removed from us, we will be given the right to sit with the Father and the Son on the throne of our own heart.

Our heart now has become the very Throne of God!

We have become in God's image, by means of the removing of sin and self-will from us, and thus are eligible to be an integral part of the new Jerusalem, the dwelling place of God, which will be placed on the new earth.

We are speaking now of the spiritual fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets. It is interesting, isn't it, that the Blowing of Trumpets is the "Head of the Year." In the Jewish culture. It is New Year's Day.

So it is with us. It is the beginning of the Kingdom of God, the doing of God's will in the earth.

Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7)

Notice the expression: "Every eye shall see Him."

Such is the visible coming of Christ to the world.

But there is a "coming" in advance of the visible coming.

He first will come to His saints to prepare them for His visible coming. This coming is taking place now for those who are ready and willing for it to take place.

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

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

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

Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." (John 14:19-23)

Also:

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)

"Unto them that look for him" certainly is different from "every eye shall see him" (Revelation 1:7)!

Those who will see Him in advance of the coming of Revelation 1:7 are the believers who are learning to live by His Life and are looking for Him, just as He lives by the Father's Life.

"Because I live, you also will live."

When we are living by the Life of Jesus, we become aware that Christ and the Father are two separate People, although in perfect union, and that They are desiring to make Their eternal home and resting place in us.

I have stated that Christ is coming to us in the spirit world to prepare us for His visible return, and that this is the spiritual fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets. I do not believe very many Christians are prepared for the visible return of Revelation 1:7.

Why is this? It is because we are filled with the sins of the flesh, and self-will. We are not in the image of God at this time. The next major move of God, which consists of the last three feasts will prepare us for the visible return of the Lord.

The King, the Lord Jesus, has come in the spirit realm, invisible to the people of the world, to declare war on the sin and self-will that dwell in the believers. Such is the spiritual fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets—the beginning of the doing of God's will in the earth. For this we pray, don't we.

The Day of Atonement

Our salvation begins with the Passover. The Passover is not a time of dealing with our sins and self-will. The purpose of the Passover is to sprinkle the blood of God's Lamb on us so we will not come under judgment when God judges the world. The Passover blood separates us from the people of the world, signifying we are God's Church that He has called out from the world.

Once we receive the Passover blood by faith, we are no more of the world than the Lord Jesus was part of the Roman Empire.

However, the actual judgment of sin and deliverance from all that is in us that is not in God's image, is announced by the Blowing of Trumpets and then carried out as the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement.

During the process of the Day of Atonement we are reconciled to God by the removal of spiritual rebellion from us.

This is how it works. As we serve the Lord, the Spirit of God points out to us the sin and self-will that are in us. As He does, we are to name our sins and self-will and renounce them as having no part in the Kingdom of God.

We confess them to the Lord with the resolve that never again shall such behavior be true of us. Upon hearing our confession, Christ will forgive us, cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and assist us as we endeavor to remain free from all spiritual darkness.

During the first four Levitical observances, we stress the forgiveness of our sin. The forgiveness of our sins actually is a seal until the Day of Redemption. The Day of Redemption is the spiritual fulfillment of the last three observances.

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. (Ephesians 1:7)

When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:13,14—Holman)

We understand, then, that the forgiveness we have now is a down payment, looking forward to the day when our sins and self-seeking actually are removed from us.

The question may arise: "What if someone who has been forgiven today does not proceed to the deliverance provided by the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement. Does his or her forgiveness remain valid?"

The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 13:41-43)

"Out of His Kingdom"!

"All things that offend, and them which do iniquity."

From the passage above, I would venture that sooner or later all the causes of sin are to be removed from the Kingdom. If a believer was stubborn and rebellious, and refused to cooperate with the Holy Spirit when the Day of Redemption arrives, then he or she no longer would remain in a state of forgiveness, as I see it.

FORGIVENESS APART FROM DELIVERANCE IS A TEMPORARY MEASURE IN THE PLAN OF REDEMPTION, SINCE IT NEITHER MAKES US IN GOD'S IMAGE NOR DOES IT PROVIDE A RESTING PLACE IN WHICH GOD CAN DWELL.

While I am on the subject of sin in the Christian, I would like to add a comment or two.

Throughout my adult life, particular the last thirty-five years, I have been warning God's people that they are being misled. Much Christian teaching reminds me of the parable of the unjust steward. The pastors and evangelists often inform the believers that they have only to "accept Christ" and then they are assured of a mansion in Heaven.

An Internet search will reveal that some outstanding ministries are teaching that we are to do nothing. "Jesus did it all," they maintain.

There are a couple of verses in the Book of Hebrews that seem to verify that idea. But we all know you can't construct an accurate doctrine on one or two verses.

Here are two of the verses on which one can build a theology of "Jesus did it all."

For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (Hebrews 14:10)

(Perhaps the expression "being made holy" is overlooked at times.)

For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. (Hebrews 9:15)

In actuality, Christ died to set us free, not only from the guilt of sin but also from the sin itself.

When we examine the whole Book of Hebrews, plus the remainder of the New Testament, we find it is not at all true that we are to make a simple statement of belief in Christ and then are assured that no matter what we do after that, we cannot lose our mansion in Heaven.

First, let's take a look at the readers to whom the Book of Hebrews is addressed.

Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. (Hebrews 3:1)

All of the Book of Hebrews is addressed to the "holy brothers and sisters."

However, since the Book of Hebrews contains many warnings about sinful conduct, it is a temptation to assign some of the verses to the unsaved. An example of this is the common application of the following to the unsaved:

We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. (Hebrews 2:1-3)

On how many Gospel tracts are the unsaved confronted with the warning: "How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?"

Yet these words were directed to holy brothers and sisters who were neglecting the assembling of themselves together; who were in danger of drifting away from the faith!

And there are other passages that suggest a one-time "accepting of Christ" is not a guaranteed pass into Heaven, unless we obey the numerous injunctions found in the New Testament.

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)

But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. (Hebrews 6:8)

We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. (Hebrews 3:14)

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

For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. (II Peter 2:21,22)

You will be hated by everyone because of My name. But the one who endures to the end will be delivered. (Matthew 10:22—Holman)

I take no pleasure whatever in criticizing the current Christian ministry. But you and I know of what the Bible says about the watchman who does not warn of approaching danger!

We in America are in sad need of a reformation of Christian thinking.

During the remaining three observances we stress the removal of the power of our sin. The removal of our sin and self-will creates us in God's image, making us a suitable dwelling place for God, in which He can find rest from rebellious spirits.

We enter the rest of God by doing and becoming all that was spoken of us as an individual from the beginning of the world. We accomplish this by following Christ diligently at all times, ceasing from our own plans and ambitions. We find rest in so doing, and God finds rest in us. It is God's rest that is so utterly important!

The ordinances of the Day of Atonement are found in the sixteenth chapter of the Book of Leviticus. The two ceremonies I wish to emphasize involve two goats. One goat was slain and its blood was sprinkled upon and before the Mercy Seat, in the Holy of Holies. The purpose was to make an atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the people, for the tent of meeting, and for the Altar of Burnt Offering, located in the Courtyard.

In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the tent of meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness. (Leviticus 16:16)

The sprinkling of the blood of the first goat brought forgiveness of sin.

It is the second goat that is of special interest to us. It also was a goat of atonement. But it was not slain. Rather it was brought into the Courtyard. Then the High Priest laid both his hands on the head of the goat and confessed the sins being committed by the Israelites.

After the confessing of the sins of Israel, the second goat, the Scapegoat, was led out of the camp into the wilderness. This is a portrayal, not of the removing of our guilt but the removing of the power and presence of sin itself.

While the guilt was atoned for by the blood of the first goat, and the Scripture declares that the shedding of animal blood brought forgiveness, the permanent forgiveness of necessity awaited the removal of the power of sin. Otherwise we keep on sinning.

The Lord told us if we do not bear the fruit the Father is looking for we will be cut out of the Vine, that is, out of Christ.

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2)

If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. (John 15:6)

To continue to abide in Christ after we have first received Him requires the utmost diligence on our part. There are numerous deceptions and pressures that seek continually to remove us from our position in Christ.

To be eternally effective, forgiveness must be accompanied by a cleansing from all unrighteousness.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

The first goat brought forgiveness. The second goat brought deliverance, looking to the first goat for its authority.

Nothing could be of greater significance to the Christian Church at this time than the fact that now our redemption is not confined to forgiveness. It includes deliverance from every behavior that is not in God's image.

It is the spiritual fulfillment of the Year of Jubilee---a return to fellowship with God, and freedom from a sinful nature, as was true of Adam and Eve.

I suppose we never thought we actually would be in God's image. Well, that is what God announced in the beginning. To be in God's image is to think, speak, and act as God thinks, speaks, and acts, in concert with Him. It is the fruit of the indwelling Spirit of Christ.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22,23)

In addition to deliverance from sin and self-will, Christ is being formed in us. When our inner nature has been formed in the Nature of Christ, then the Father and the Son will come and make us Their home and resting place.

We are delivered from the compulsions of sin by the power of the Holy Spirit, as we confess and renounce our sins. We are delivered from self-will by our personal cross. Our most fervent desires are withheld from us, and we are placed in situations we do not enjoy, until the self-will is burned out of us.

When we have been delivered from the compulsions of sin, and self-will, and Christ has been formed in us, and the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are dwelling in us in Their fullness, then we truly will be in the image of God and a house in which God can find rest.

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)

The Lord Jesus told us that in the Father's house there are many dwelling places. Jesus Christ Himself is the eternal House of God. In Him dwells all the Fullness of God in bodily form.

Now we are being made rooms in that House, rooms in which God and people, as well as we ourselves, may find rest.

It is my personal point of view that the celebration of the Day of Atonement will take place from today throughout eternity. This is because Christ's Kingdom is going to be enlarged for eternity. This means people continually will be being born into the Kingdom.

It will be the task of the Royal Priesthood to reconcile these people to God, teaching them how to avoid sin and self-will.

The Day of Atonement is the Day of Reconciliation, a highway that leads to God. The Lord Jesus is the Way to the Father.

Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. (II Corinthians 5:20)

The Feast of Tabernacles

You can see how these final three observances are interrelated. In fact, they all were celebrated in the month that begins with the Blowing of Trumpet. Thus my title, "The Next Major Move of Redemption."

Can you see that the historical fulfillments of the first four celebrations ended with the outpouring of the Spirit of God on the original Day of Pentecost?

Now we are in the beginning of the historical fulfillments of the final three observances. To this point we have enjoyed the spiritual fulfillments of the first four festivals. Perhaps this is why we have come to envision the spirit Paradise as the goal of our redemption. We may have assumed that our redemption was fulfilled with our being forgiven, and the next stop is Heaven.

But once the Blowing of Trumpets begins, redemption comes to the earth. Now we see that we always will be on the earth with Jesus: at the present time; during the Millennium when Jesus rules from the earthly Jerusalem; and then when we are with Him on the new earth.

God's purposes are directed toward the earth, not Heaven.

Man was not created to live in the spirit Paradise, except when the spirit Paradise comes to the earth in the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus. We were created to be in the image of God, a place of rest for Him, not to live in Heaven with the angels.

Our redemption is not a change of residence, except temporarily while God is organizing the personnel of His Kingdom, but a change in us. Salvation is a change in us. If this were not the case, our prayer that God's Kingdom come, His will be done in the earth, could never come to pass.

The final feast of the Lord is that of Tabernacles. As its name suggests, it is the settling down to rest of God in Christ in us.

Another line of thought:

The fourteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation has something of interest for us, I believe.

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 remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.

No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless. (Revelation 14:1-5)

Just who are these people? Are they Christians? They really have attained to the rest of God, whoever they are!

I am coming to the conclusion that these are the people who will be ready for the Lord when He comes. They are the firstfruits!

In today's Christian preaching, much of which is unscriptural, the impression is given that everyone who "accepts Christ" will be "raptured" into Heaven when Jesus appears. But the Scripture says we will meet Christ in the air.

There is nothing in the Scriptures about our returning with the Lord Jesus to Heaven. Such a U-turn would be disappointing to the saints who will return with Him, many of whom will have been in Heaven for thousands of years!

I do not believe multitudes of those who have "accepted" Christ, who now are on the earth or in Heaven, are anywhere near qualified or competent to be caught up to Christ in the air, return with Him to the earth, and then confront the three great tasks that must be performed during the Millennium:

First, to conquer the army of Antichrist and the legions of demons and fallen angels that will be accompanying that army.

Second, to ride with Christ in the army described in the second chapter of the Book of Joel, and drive from the earth all vestiges of the reign of Antichrist.

Third, to rule with Christ over the surviving nations. To govern the nations with the iron scepter of righteousness requires that first of all, the iron scepter must be created in us by resisting sin. How many of today's "believers" in America have had the iron scepter of righteousness created in them by resisting sin?

Actually, what they have had created in them is the marshmallow scepter of grace. The surviving nations of people will be filled with self-will. A marshmallow scepter of grace is not going to guide them into the ways of righteousness. In fact, at the end of the thousand years, the nations who have been governed by the saints will join with Satan and attack their rulers.

And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. (Revelation 20:7-9)

So much for everybody going up to Heaven in an unscriptural "rapture," there to spend their days conversing pleasantly with their self-ruled friends.

Here is what the believers will be like who are qualified and competent to be resurrected when Jesus appears, and to be caught up to meet Him in the air:

They will be standing with the Lamb on Mount Zion, the Church, because they live by His body and blood, and are ready to ascend to Him and then descend with Him and drive every trace of Antichrist from the earth.

Imagine our "grace-babies" confronting Satan, Antichrist, the False Prophet, the fallen angels, and armies of demons, when they were hoping to find themselves reclining comfortably on a sofa in their heavenly mansion!

It is those who live by the body and blood of the Lamb who will be caught up to meet Him when He comes. They will be drawn up to the slain Lamb when He appears in the sky.

God's "eagles" will be looking for the slain Lamb.

Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she. (Job 39:30)

Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together. (Luke 17:37,37)

The Father's name is written on their foreheads, because they always, in every situation, do His perfect will. It is interesting to note that the followers of Antichrist also have a mark written in their forehead, revealing that they do the will of Antichrist.

The grace-babies have been taught that they do not have to do the Father's will because they have been saved by "grace." Imagine! They certainly are not competent to set up a Kingdom on the earth in which the will of God is performed at all times, in every circumstance!

The sound from Heaven is that of the seven thunders mentioned in the tenth chapter of the Book of Revelation. It is the fullness of Divine power that will be given to the witnesses of Chapter Eleven—the Lamb and His victorious saints.

The power of the seven thunders will be withheld from the saints until they have learned to die to their own will and do the will of the Father. No person can govern the nations until Christ, the Day Star, is living in him or her. The Father will have no one but Christ, and those who are living by the Life of Christ, governing His creatures.

The roar of rushing waters and the loud peal of thunder will be like the sound of harps. It is difficult for me to imagine how the roar of rushing water and the loud peal of thunder could sound like a harp. But it is in the Bible, so I know it is true. There must be a relationship between music and power. Perhaps the power of God is assembled by music and somehow is harmonious.

These perfected believers are given a new song to sing in the Holy of Holies. It is the song of those who are married to the Lamb and live on His body and blood. His Life and their life have become totally one. Believers of whom such union is not true cannot learn the song.

They have been redeemed from the earth. I think this means they are saints who have endured many years of tribulation. No doubt there are people in Heaven who have been saved a very short time. Perhaps it is true that those whom God has foreordained to be among the firstfruits of the governing priesthood have had the character formed in them that results from the battering that occurs during the course of a lifetime on the earth.

I believe that the virginity mentioned here is not referring to a physical state. Marriage is honorable, the Bible proclaims.

Rather I think the reference is to an unclean addiction to some aspect of our life, an affection that is greater than our love for the Lord. An idol, in other words. It can be a person, or thing, or circumstance. We can tell if we have an idol by asking ourselves if we could cheerfully give up the person, or thing, or circumstance if Christ asked for it.

If not, our possession is unclean. It is an idol.

Our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ must be one-on-one. We cannot permit any person, thing, or circumstance to be placed before the Lord Jesus. He will have all that we are!

Even today the true candidates for the "catching up" follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They do not expect Him to follow them wherever they go. Much of Christian work is performed by people who are not hearing from the Lord. They expect the Lamb to follow them wherever they go. They pray that Christ will bless their work. Such are not qualified to be resurrected and caught up to the Lord when He appears.

The truth is, those who will govern with Christ are with Christ in God now, prepared to govern the nations. This is revealed in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation.

The Church is in travail in the present hour, as the rulers are being formed in the victorious saints. As soon as a new ruler is formed in us he is caught up spiritually, not bodily, to sit on the Throne, in preparation for his or her descent to the earth with the Lord Jesus Christ.

But she gave birth to a Son—a male who is going to shepherd all nations with an iron scepter—and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. (Revelation 12:5—Holman)

My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you. (Galatians 4:19—NIV)

They were purchased from among the ranks of mankind. Now they are a firstfruits to God and the Lamb. The observance of Firstfruits is the third of the seven feasts of the Lord. A sheaf of barley is waved before the priest, which sanctifies the entire harvest.

The firstfruits of any harvest is the best of the produce, as anyone knows who has eaten the first reaping of string beans.

There is no lie in them. To have no lie in us is to be blameless and in the image of God. There is no spiritual darkness in them. They have been weighed on the balance and found to be priceless in the sight of God. They along with the Lord Jesus are forever on the Bosom of God—as close to the Father as it is possible to get.

Such is the firstfruits of the Royal Priesthood, the Christians who will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air when He appears.

The remainder of the Church, of the Royal Priesthood, will be sanctified in God's sight by the firstfruits. The remainder of the Church must wait and be perfected in Heaven before they can return to the new earth as the dwelling place of God and the Lamb, which will take place after the final resurrection and judgment.

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands.

They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection.

Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6)

So the Year of Jubilee has begun. It had to begin sometime, didn't it? It is a season for dancing and singing as David's Tabernacle is being restored.

The Ark will be placed in the tent in Jerusalem, to speak in a figure. Therefore the Day of Atonement can be celebrated in our time. In fact, the trumpet of the Jubilee is sounded on the Day of Atonement.

Every member of the Church is to return to his or her original inheritance, which is to be in the image of God and to have fellowship with God.

We are created in the image of God as, in line with the working of the Day of Atonement, our sins are forgiven and then completely removed from us. This, in turn, will prepare the way for the spiritual fulfillment of the seventh celebration, the feast of Tabernacles.

In the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, Christ will be formed in us. Then the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit will dwell in Their Fullness in that which has been formed in us.

Having had sin and self-will removed from us, and the Fullness of God dwelling in us, we now will be in the image of God, and God can find rest in us.

Come, celebrate the Jubilee with us. The entire plan of redemption will have been completed when we press forward to the full apprehension of the next major move of redemption.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,

And to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. (Revelation 22:13)

What the Lord Jesus has begun in you He shall finish in glory. But you must turn away from your trust in the world and seek to be obedient to the Lord at all times; in every circumstance!

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The Substance of Christ, from The Coming Day of Redemption

2014-03-02

I have preached and written a good deal about the role of the body and blood of Christ in God's plan of redemption. Using the term "substance" rather than body and blood somehow makes the matter clearer to me.

As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:57)

*****

The verse above, John 6:57, has become one of the most important verses in my thinking. It tells us how we are to live.

The believer who keeps on eating of Christ is the one who lives by Christ.

Currently, in Christian thinking, the idea is that the person who keeps on believing in Christ is the one who has eternal life.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. (John 6:47)

I think in many instances our idea of what it means to believe in Christ means to believe the things about Christ: His virgin birth; His atoning death on the cross; His bodily resurrection; and His coming again in the clouds of glory.

Such is our "Statement of Faith."

But to accept these facts as true is not faith; and believing them is not what Jesus means by believing in Him. The demons know all this is true, and they certainly do not have eternal life!

Then, in the same chapter of John, the Lord announced the following:

This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. (John 6:50)

I think that for most of us, believing is one matter, and eating is another.

I would say that a correct belief in Jesus Christ leads us to eat of Jesus Christ. If it does not, our belief is not what the Lord means. It is dead, having no life in it.

Am I saying that we can believe all the facts of Fundamentalist theology and still not have eternal life?

That is exactly what I am saying.

How are we to eat and drink the Substance, the Body and Blood, of Christ?

We eat of the Substance of Christ by bringing Him into our daily life.

When we awake in the morning we can get dressed and eat breakfast as usual. Or we can ask Christ about what we should wear and what we should eat. As we maintain such an awareness of Christ, seeking His Presence and help in all we are doing, He feeds us with His Substance.

We are wise when we pray unceasingly to the Lord that He feed us with His Substance.

Let us say that a fellow Christian has wounded us grievously. Now our mind is filled with hatred, or fear, a desire to have revenge, or sorrow. If we do nothing about this for a few days, our injury can fill our mind with poison. We are not thinking about things that are "lovely," as the Apostle Paul commanded us.

A root of bitterness grows in us.

The thing to do is to tell Jesus about it and ask for a portion of His Substance to enable us to throw off this poison; to help us forgive totally. There is wisdom and power in the blood of the Lamb that can remove completely the evil produced by the injury and fill us with pleasant prospects.

This is how we live by His Substance.

We have so many needs each day, so many decisions to make. If we would live with Jesus we must keep asking for His Substance to enable us to overcome all evil and maintain righteousness, love, joy, and peace.

Christ Himself is the Resurrection. His Substance is resurrection life of such wisdom and power that all of our problems and temptations can be overcome. Overcoming our challenges can require a battle, but through the Substance of the Lord Jesus, complete victory is assured.

The Substance of Christ is that which will enable us to rise to meet Christ when He appears.

Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together. (Luke 17:37,37)

Her young ones also suck up .: and where the slain are, there is she. (Job 39:30)

The blood of Christ answers to the blood of the slain Lamb who appears. Blood calls to blood. Only those who are living by the blood of the Lamb will rise to meet Christ.

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 5:54)

If I am not mistaken, we are in a new day. I believe it is the beginning of the Day of Redemption. The Lord Jesus desires to come much, much closer to us than has been true in time past, except perhaps for a few outstanding personages, such as Moses and the Apostle Paul.

At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. (John 14:20,21)

It may be true that the two thousand years of Church history have been for the purpose of bringing us to the present works of redemption. We might think of ourselves as being ready to cross the Jordan, so to speak.

Going further in the program of redemption will mean death to our self-will, as well as to sinful behavior. Before us lies Canaan, the Land of Promise. What will it mean to us, if we can battle our way into complete victory?

Possessing Canaan will mean being in the inner image of Christ, and in His outer image in the Day of Resurrection.

It will mean reclining with Christ on the Bosom of the Father for eternity. This is where Christ is, and Christ has invited us to be with Him where He is.

It will mean possessing the saved people of the nations as our inheritance.

The promise is that if we will delight ourselves in the Lord, He shall give us the desires of our heart. In His Presence is fullness of joy. At His right hand are pleasures forever.

God did the fighting when we came out of Egypt, to speak in a figure. But in order to enter our inheritance in Christ, we, with God's help, are going to have to fight. It will be a bitter, fierce conflict if we are to dislodge Satan from our inheritance. We simply cannot gain victory in our own wisdom and strength. We have to have the Substance of Christ living in us if we are to possess what God has promised to us.

As I stated previously, Christ is willing to be much, much closer to us than we have experienced. Such closeness with the Lord Jesus must be gained by our continual bringing every aspect of our being and behavior to Jesus that He may infuse us with His Substance.

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. (John 6:51)

Eating the flesh of Christ and drinking His blood is not supposed to be a ceremony we observe in church. It is how we are to live each day and night.

We do not eat of the Substance of Christ just once, but continually, day and night, seven days a week. His Substance is our resurrection life. We are attaining to the resurrection each day, if we are diligent. Our progress, or lack of it, will be revealed in the great Day of Resurrection when the Lord appears.

I believe there is considerable misunderstanding in our day concerning the return of Christ. There has entered Christian thinking the concept of a "rapture" that will carry all Christians up to Heaven when Christ appears.

If such a "rapture" did occur, it would be a catastrophe. I would judge that most of today's believers, at least in America, are nowhere near being prepared for the coming of Christ and the setting up of His Kingdom.

I think it is true that we now are in the beginning of the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Blowing of Trumpets. The Lord Jesus, as He promised, has come to those who are looking for Him. The purpose of this coming, which will precede His visible coming in which every eye shall see Him, is to prepare us for the challenges that will accompany His worldwide appearing.

We must keep in mind that if we would be ready for the Lord to resurrect us and catch us up to meet Him in the air, we must have attained to the inner resurrection that occurs as we keep eating of Christ's Substance.

Notice the lengths that the Apostle Paul was going to that he might attain to the inner resurrection. Attaining to the inner resurrection is a requirement if we are to experience the outer resurrection that precedes our being caught up to meet Christ in the air:

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. (Philippians 3:8-11)

"Attain unto the resurrection of the dead"!

It seem that those who are teaching the unscriptural "rapture" are not mentioning also the requirements set forth by the Apostle Paul. It is as though at any moment now, all in America who profess to believe in Christ will be caught up to Heaven to live in a mansion, the purpose being to avoid Antichrist and the Great Tribulation.

Our common sense, plus a rudimentary knowledge of the New Testament, ought to tell us better than this.

Let me repeat what the Lord Jesus taught:

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 5:54)

"I will raise him up at the last day."

How many American Christians of your acquaintance are inviting Christ into their daily life to such an extent that it could be maintained that they are living by the Substance of Christ?

As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:57)

"He that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me."

If I am not mistaken, we American Christians are dreadfully below the standard set by the Lord. Most of us, I believe, do not live by partaking of the Substance of Christ. We are just ordinary people who have professed belief in the facts relating to the Lord Jesus Christ.

We believe in His virgin birth. Christmas, celebrating His birth and early life in a feeding trough, as the most important holiday of the year. We sing our traditional carols.

But our daily life does not indicate we are sharing His Presence continually. In fact, He might be dead for all we know.

We celebrate Easter, Christ's resurrection from the dead, the second most important American holiday. But I question, with all the ceremony of Easter, if we really are aware that Christ is living today and wishes to have fellowship with us.

God has made sure we will keep His Son in mind at all times by making us utterly dependent on His Substance. If we do not feed constantly on the Substance of Christ, we are spiritually dead.

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. (John 6:53)

In my estimation, there is not one Christian in a hundred that is inviting Christ to enter his life, his planning, his decisions, at every moment; who truly is living by the Substance of Christ.

The Muslims are entering our country in great numbers. They understand we have a religion that is different from theirs. But are they seeing the living Christ in us or just our religious practices?

The truth is, we have formalized the Christian salvation into a religious formality when it is supposed to be a daily walk with Jesus.

Can we say to a Muslim, "I have been crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I am living. Yet it is not I who am living but Christ who is living in me?"

No, what we present to devout Muslims is our stale religious practices. Christian America reveals its heart in all sorts of idolatry and pagan entertainment, much of which comes from Hollywood. I don't think Muslims see the living Jesus in us, and so they are not impressed.

I could be mistaken, but I believe we are in a new day as far as the program of redemption is concerned. We can see that sin is increasing worldwide. Yet the Book says that where sin abounds, Divine grace also abounds.

I am convinced that if any person looks to Jesus and says, "Dear Lord, from this moment forward I want to live by eating Your Substance; I want You to be present with me at all times and guide my thinking, planning, speaking, and doing; I desire Your Presence more than anything else in my life"; that any individual, boy or girl, middle-aged or old person who will pray that prayer will soon experience the Presence of Jesus to a greater extent than he or she has known.

The Lord Jesus is looking through the church world for those who will commit themselves in this manner, turning away from the cheap "accept Christ and you will go to Heaven" approach.

The United States Marine Corps says it is looking for a few good men and women. So is Jesus. It would not take many believers who present themselves to Christ in the above fashion to make a significant impact on our confused country, and possibly the remainder of the world.

You can be one such person. If you look to Jesus Christ to feed you each moment with His Substance, you will save yourself and those who will listen to you throughout the coming moral and physical chaos.

This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. (John 6:58)

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Don't Touch the Ark!, from The Coming Day of Redemption

2014-03-09

I would imagine most Christians have read in the Bible how the Ark was captured by the Philistines, and finally was brought back to the house of Abinadab. When David became king, he wanted the Ark to be brought to Zion, his city.

The Ark, which was supposed to be carried by the priests, was placed on a new cart. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were appointed to guide the Ark.

Whenever the Ark was moved from one place to another, the Veil was wrapped around it to prevent people from gazing at it.

When the camp is to move, Aaron and his sons are to go in and take down the shielding curtain and cover the ark of the Testimony with it. (Numbers 4:5)

Abinidab placed the Ark on a new cart. But I see no mention of any kind of covering. This is the kind of confusion that always results when people attempt to help God.

They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals.

When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord's anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God. (II Samuel 6:3-7)

This is a curious business. When they came to the threshing floor, the oxen stumbled. Perhaps the ground was uneven. In any case, there was a danger that the most prized possession of Israel would fall into the mud.

The "threshing floor" is a symbol of judgment.

Uzzah reached out his hand to prevent the Ark from falling to the ground. For this reason, God struck him dead.

There is a lesson here that we must learn today.

I hope I am incorrect, but I believe we American Christians are altogether too familiar with God. It is like God is some pal that we are trying to help out. "Hey God, how are you doing! We are going to work for you, but on our own terms. Your job is to keep blessing us while we do our religious thing."

The fear of God to a great extent has left the Christian churches in America. We have made a god in our own image, a kindly grandfather in the sky who would not hurt a fly.

I expect this attitude derives in part from the philosophy of Humanism, which places man above God in importance. I think the philosophy of democratic government may play a part in bringing God down to our level. Actually, a righteous king with unlimited power would be better for us than what is going on today.

The highest levels of government are mocked by the cartoonists. It may be true that the leaders of our government deserve such scorn, because it sometimes appears. that they do not act from principle but from a desire to stay in office regardless of the good of the country.

And they assuredly are not giving glory to God!

The television evangelists often leave the impression that their main concern is money. They do not preach that the believers must lay down their lives, take up their cross, and follow Jesus patiently and faithfully. It may be true that the offerings would drop off dramatically if the original Gospel of the Kingdom were preached.

So the political leaders curry favor with the voters. The Christian pastors and evangelists often curry favor with their audiences. The newspaper cartoonists make fun of everyone, it seems. The "entertainers" mock the highest officials. God is presented as someone who is anxious to pour out marvelous blessings on anyone who asks, whether or not the individual is an upright moral person of personal integrity.

This is America today. It is not getting better morally, it is getting worse. The female entertainers stand in line to see who can reveal the most flesh. The comedians mock those with Christian principles and the audiences laugh uproariously.

If an incident had occurred, such as that of God striking an individual dead who had profaned something God regarded as holy, there would be a public outcry. The personal injury lawyers would rush to the scene like vultures who spotted a dying calf.

If someone sought to justify God's actions, he or she would be regarded as some sort of monster who did not realize that an individual's "rights" had been violated. The idea that God would do that to a person who only was trying to help God out would bring such outrage that there would be mobs in the streets, breaking windows, setting cars on fire, and injuring innocent people.

Such is America in the present hour.

However, let's try to see the incident involving Uzzah from God's standpoint. The Ark of the Covenant was so holy that even the Levites could not see it. It represented the Throne of Almighty God in Heaven. There were the two covering cherubim beaten from the pure gold of the Mercy Seat.

It had been captured by the Philistines because of the wickedness of the two sons of Eli, the High Priest. The Philistines suffered from hemorrhoids while they possessed it. That fact alone would have caused the people of today to shake their fists as God.

The Philistines wanted to get rid of the Ark. They put it on a cart pulled by two cows. The cows went straight to Beth Shemesh, lowing as they went. The cows were wiser than people in that they were praising God while transporting the Ark.

The people of Beth Shemesh placed the Ark on a large rock. Then seventy of the men of Beth Shemesh looked into the Ark, and God struck them down.

The men of Beth Shemesh sent messengers to Kiriath Jearim. Men from Kiriath Jearim came and took the Ark back to the house of Abinidab. It was there twenty years. No doubt Uzzah and Ahio, who were appointed to guide the Ark to Zion, when David called for it, had become familiar with the Ark in their house and no longer feared it.

It may have become like a piece of furniture in their guest room.

So it is in America and England, perhaps. This may be the reason why the translators substitute "reverence" for the term "fear." We are too arrogant to fear God. We know Him well and He never would harm us. So why fear Him? If He does anything we do not like, we will sue Him for violating our "rights."

What a mess!

So Uzzah was overfamiliar with the Ark. He put his hand on it. God struck Uzzah dead for steadying the Ark. What does this tell us about God?

We are too familiar with the Lord Jesus. "Hey Jesus, are you going to help me, old buddy?" Yet when the Apostle John saw Jesus, he fainted. We are deluded, and we are going to see fierce Divine judgment on our country because we need to be taught to fear God and His Divine Son.

God the Father is not a kindly old man in the sky. God is a Spirit. As such He requires blood to appease His sense of injustice. God is love, the Bible says, and so He is. His love offered His Son as a sacrifice on the cross of Calvary so we might approach God without being destroyed.

God also is capable of enormous wrath, as we see in the flood of Noah; as we witness in the destruction of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the other cities of the plain.

For no sin other than looking back when God told her not to, Lot's wife became a pillar of salt. The Lord Jesus told us not to look back when He appears, but to remember Lot's wife.

Please keep in mind that God is a Spirit, not a human being. God killed the two sons of Aaron because they improperly burned incense. We read of these events, but do not think about the personal tragedy for Aaron and his wife; or the millions of people in the days of Noah; nor for the effect on Lot when he saw his wife turn from a beautiful woman into a pillar of salt; or for the shock to the celebrating Israelites when they saw Uzzah die as he attempted to keep the Ark from falling.

Think about Ananias and Sapphira, part of the original Christian community. Their untimely death caused great fear to seize the whole Church and others who heard about it.

It is only Calvary that keeps God from destroying all life on the earth.

If something like that which happened to Ananias and Sapphira took place today in America I believe it would help us regain a proper attitude toward God, instead of a "Jabez" attitude as we seek to get more blessings from God.

"I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth," declares the Lord. "I will sweep away both men and animals; I will sweep away the birds of the air and the fish of the sea. The wicked will have only heaps of rubble when I cut off man from the face of the earth," declares the Lord. (Zephaniah 1:2,3)

The above are true words of God. Calvary alone stands between us and the wrath of the Father. Jesus told us that except for the elect, no one would survive the Great Tribulation.

The words I am writing at this time are not fashionable in America. We have backslidden so far away from God that we have forgotten the Bible stories. We have forgotten about Hell, about the Lake of Fire. We are not preaching and teaching a true vision of God and His salvation.

We need to think seriously about these actions of God, if we are to get a balanced picture of God and His salvation. He gave His Son. There can be no greater proof of His love for us. But in America we are repaying God's kindness and love with casual church attendance instead of the cross-carrying obedience God requires.

I think sometimes about how God exhorted the Israelites to immerse their children in God's laws so that from an early age they were acquainted with their Lord . Today American Christians take their children to the violent, morally filthy motion pictures that Hollywood provides. Then they are astonished when their children murder someone or embrace sexual perversions, or Christ takes a little darling to Himself.

We are going to lose the nation we have cherished because we have turned our backs on God.

When we think of the wild celebration of the Jews as the Ark was being brought back from Kiriath Jearim, and how God, although doing so was a breach of the social atmosphere, slew Uzzah for no worse crime than trying to steady the Ark, we might gain some idea of how far we have drifted from God.

We do not perceive matters as God does. To God, the Ark represented His very Presence. It was the most holy furnishing of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. It was not to be touched or even seen by the common Israelites. It always was covered when the Jews were traveling.

But wouldn't a "good God" overlook this well intentioned act? He didn't, did He? Maybe from this incident we can improve our perception of what our Father in Heaven actually is like.

The problem was one of disobedience, wasn't it? God had warned that no one was to even see the Ark, let alone touch it, except the High Priest—and he only once a year during the Day of Atonement. God never has and never will tolerate disobedience. Being "saved by grace" still does not exempt disobedience. This principle is sorely in need of being emphasized in our day of casual Christianity.

Belief and obedience are synonyms. Apart from obedience to the Lord Jesus there is no genuine belief in Jesus.

Throughout the history of the Christian Church man has had his hand on the Ark, as nearly as I can tell. We do not often hear of denominations, or churches, or church workers, say they are following the express commands of the Lord Jesus.

Did the Lord say, or did He not, that He would build His Church?

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (Matthew 16:18)

We must ask ourselves, "Is Christ able to build His Church? Does He have enough wisdom to build His Church? Does He have enough resources to build His own Church?"

Perhaps most of us would say yes, considering the fact that He created the spirit and physical worlds and all their inhabitants.

But, and here is where we draw the line: "He uses people. He can't do it by Himself. Our work is God's work," and so forth.

Let us say a little boy decided to help Daddy paint the front room. While Daddy went into the kitchen to make coffee, the little boy ran over to the open can of white paint. In his haste he stepped in the gallon paint can, spilling the paint on the floor, stumbled, and fell in the middle of the paint.

Did the boy have good intentions? Without doubt. In fact, Daddy had some small chores that the little boy could do to help Daddy. But helping Daddy paint the front room was not within little Bobby's ability to do, not at eight years of age.

This is a picture of Christian efforts throughout the Christian Era and up to the present hour. Our intentions are admirable. But in our efforts to build the Kingdom of God we have created a thousand competing denominations. We are not hearing from the Lord. We are trying to steady the Ark.

Every now and then the Christians denominations will inaugurate a new plan to "save a lost and dying world." Maybe some of them are hearing from the Lord Jesus. Perhaps not. But if they are not hearing from Christ, are they making more of a mess than currently exists?

In the seven feasts of the Lord, God provided for us a means of understanding His plan of redemption. The last century witnessed the spiritual fulfillment of the fourth feast, the feast of Pentecost.

Now is the time for the spiritual fulfillment of the final three feasts:

Feast number five–the Blowing of Trumpets.

Feast number six–the Day of Atonement.

Feast number seven–the feast of Tabernacles.

Every year thousands of Christians from many nations flock to Jerusalem to observe the feast of Tabernacles. They have no idea what the feast signifies, other than a good time is had by all..

The Jews do not understand the spiritual meaning of the feast of Tabernacles, except that they are to go into the local parks and tear branches off the trees and build little booths in which they read the Torah.

The Christians know the feast of Tabernacles must mean something, and so they go to enjoy the music and the pageantry.

Do you suppose any Jew or any Christian goes to the Lord Jesus and asks Him what the Blowing of Trumpets means? What the Day of Atonement means? What the feast of Tabernacles means?---for these three observances were celebrated in one month.

In actuality, the Blowing of Trumpets announces the Day of Atonement. The spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement prepares the individual to be the tabernacle of God.

I personally was invited on four occasions to address the assembled thousands in the civic auditorium in Jerusalem. Perhaps someone understood what I was talking about. I would guess, from the current messages concerning the feasts, that I did not accomplish a great deal. Maybe some day . . .

As long as we have the Ark in a "new cart" the oxen are going to stumble at the threshing floor, the place of judgment.

The sixth feast, the Day of Atonement, was the one day of the year when the High Priest was permitted by the Lord to go past the Veil of the Tabernacle and sprinkle blood upon and before the Mercy Seat.

The Day of Atonement is the Day of Reconciliation to God. It has commenced in our day. It follows the feast of Pentecost.

The Spirit of God is passing through the Christian churches, inviting the believers to confess and renounce their behaviors that are sinful. One by one, as the Spirit leads, each sinful action must be confessed to the Lord and utterly denounced and renounced. Then we are to pray to the Lord to help us never to practice such behavior again.

It actually is the beginning of the Judgment Seat of Christ. Once we are dealt with in this manner, our sins never will be mentioned to us again. It is an eternal judgment.

This Divine operation, which is heralded by the King coming to each of us and declaring war against His enemies, has commenced, as I said. It is beginning with the most fervent of the disciples, with those who are crying out, "Not my will but Yours be done." The less mature Christians are not hearing this call of the Spirit as yet, but they shall.

The spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement will continue from now until the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, according to my understanding—perhaps throughout the ages after that. This work of deliverance from sin derives its authority from the cross of Calvary, just as in the original Day of Atonement of the Jews, the scapegoat that carried off the sins into the wilderness derived its authority from the blood that had just been offered in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle.

From the beginning of the Church Era, man has been seeking to build the Kingdom of God. No doubt there have been notable exceptions in which people have heard from Christ and have been obedient. But such were persecuted viciously by the established denomination; just as the leaders of the Jews persecuted viciously Jesus, the Son of God, who was obeying His Father.

The elders sometimes kill the prophets! The true prophets hear from God, but elders may not.

It would not surprise me too much if in our own day believers who are following the Lord Jesus closely are persecuted by the government and the major Christian denominations. I have read where some are saying that the persecution of Christians in America is close at hand.

As long as we are building the Kingdom according to our own notions, there will be no significant persecution. But if we begin to hear from Christ, and depart from the man-directed ways of the churches, Satan may rouse himself and seek to prevent any manifestation of Christ.

If we do finally get our directions from Christ, and begin to obey what He is requesting, we will need to be extremely diligent to follow His directions carefully. Some may arise among us who will want to improvise in order to gain more followers, or encourage more donations, or make our actions understandable to people or to government officials.

There may be those who will try to bring us into their organization, or whatever. Do you remember how God told the prophet to return straight home, and how the older prophet invited the prophet to his own house? God killed the younger man for that act of disobedience.

We never are to turn from the explicit directions of Christ, no matter how people try to reason us out of strict obedience.

I read an account by R. Edward Miller who told of an incident in which the Lord spoke to a person who had gathered together with others, and told him to get up and pound on the table.

As you can imagine, the person wrestled with this. Finally he got up and went over to the table and pounded on it.

That was the beginning of revival in Argentina.

Some years ago in a pastors' meeting the Lord gave me a prophecy to give to the group. I felt uncomfortable about calling attention to myself. The burden was so strong I went up to an official in charge of the meeting and told him I had a prophecy for the group.

Then I returned to my chair.

I was not invited to give that prophecy. But it has remained with me, and I have used it on several occasions. The word was for those in the room who had just been ordained as pastors in the denomination:

"Do not look to the old ways of doing things. I am going to do new and surprising things. Be strictly obedient to all I show you."

It wasn't a long prophecy, but it has been memorable.

I was not at all upset about not being able to give it to those young ministers. I figured God knows His business. But the second night after we got home from the pastors' conference the Lord let me know in the middle of the night that He was disappointed I had not been able to give His instructions.

I want to say a word about hearing directions from the Lord. It happens sometimes that a person, not necessarily a Christian, will come under the impression that God wants him or her to do something they have misgivings about. It may be an outlandish action, like jumping in the ocean with all their clothes on. Or it may be to yield to a strong temptation that is contrary to the Scriptures.

Such deception is not uncommon.

Those who are prompted to do weird things, such as set fire to their house, or kill a child they believe is possessed by a demon, may not be church-going Christians. I would not know what to suggest about that sort of delusion, except to advise such people to ask Christ if the impression really is from God.

But as for Christians, if they will accept the fact that this world is not Heaven and not try to make it so by doing something sinful, they may avoid deception. Satan works in the area of deception and he is extraordinarily skillful in deceiving Christians. The only antidote is the personal cross of the believer. If the believer bears his cross patiently after Christ, being strictly obedient to what Jesus tells him, he has a good chance of avoiding being deceived.

Learning to follow the voice of the Lord is an art. The student must not become too upset if he makes a mistake. Confess that you have been tricked. Make restitution if Jesus leads you to do so. Then put it behind you and press forward in Christ. You have learned a valuable lesson.

We are not perfect, and that is why we need a Redeemer. God takes into account that we are nothing more than intelligent dust. God has no problem with our making mistakes, unless we harden our heart and refuse correction. Then we are in spiritual trouble.

In our day the Spirit of God is urging us forward toward our Canaan, our land of promise. The New Testament does not speak so much of our being saved in the past, but of our enduring to the end so we may inherit the salvation that is to come in the future.

Part of the future salvation is Jesus' personal coming to His fervent disciples to prepare them for His worldwide appearing.

Here are some of the verses that refer to the salvation that has begun in our day and is leading toward the worldwide appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:

Who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5)

So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:28)

And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. (Romans 13:11)

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (Hebrews 6:11,12)

All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 10:22)

I have listed all these passages to show that our goal as Christians is not to go to Heaven to live forever but to hold fast in Christ until He is ready to redeem us fully and completely. This is true whether we are on the earth or in the spirit world, waiting for the completion of our salvation.

We will be completely redeemed when there is no sin or self-will in us; when Christ has come to maturity in us; when the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are dwelling in us in perfect rest; when our body has been conformed to the image of Christ; when we are on the Throne of Glory with Christ; when we have been assigned our role as a member of the Royal Priesthood.

We can see from the above that the current "Say you accept Christ and you never can be lost; you will go to Heaven to live forever in a mansion" does not even resemble the teaching of the New Testament. It is preposterous, when compared with the actual Gospel of the Kingdom.

I would venture that we are about half way through the struggle of good against evil. I believe the final battle has begun.

This means that titanic spiritual battles are in the offing. Antichrist shall face Jesus Christ; the Spirit of God shall face the False Prophet; God shall confront Satan. These wars will continue in the spirit world until evil has been driven completely from the heavens.

Only when the great war has been won will there be righteousness, love, peace, and joy on the earth; for God's will must be done in the heavens before it can be done on the earth.

As I have written so many times, if we are to survive these colossal events and stand in triumph before the Son of Man, we will have to learn to live by the Life of Jesus. Our thinking, speaking, and acting will have to be in line with the thinking, speaking, and acting of the Lord Jesus.

Every work that has not been wrought in Christ shall be shaken and removed from God's Presence.

And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. (Ephesians 1:9,10)

Since we have insisted on trying to be Daddy's helper, the Christian work is in confusion today. One of the more destructive aspects of the confusion is the notion that once a person "accepts Christ" there is no further step in the program of redemption.

Today the statement is made that Christ has "done it all" on the cross; that our judgment was completed on the cross. Yet Peter tells us that judgment begins with the household of God.

It appears as though there is a wilful ignorance of the Bible. But I know this is not the case. Devout scholars spend their lives interpreting and teaching the Bible. Honorable people, men and women alike, repeat the unscriptural traditions in good faith.

The only sense I can get out of the prevailing confusion is that God has intervened in our day and is pointing out to us that what is being taught in the name of Christ is not according to the Apostles of the New Testament.

God has intervened, in time past, hasn't He, as the various apostolic doctrines have been restored: righteousness by faith in Christ rather than by punishing ourselves; water baptism by immersion; the priesthood of the believer; the reality of the born-again experience; personal holiness; the baptism with the Holy Spirit including the manifestations of the Holy Spirit.

Well, God obviously is intervening once again, because we can see clearly that the lawless-grace message is completely contrary to God's desire that we practice righteousness; love mercy; and walk humbly with God.

A tradition that is hoary with age has persisted from the earliest times. It is that God is saving us to go to Heaven to live forever. In spite of the fact that John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus, and the Apostles, preached the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, we continue to the present hour pointing men and women, boys and girls, toward Heaven rather than toward the Kingdom of God.

In my opinion, the Presence of God symbolized by the Ark of the Covenant has not been present in most of the Christian churches throughout the Christian Era. Thus we continue with our worship and praise, but something is missing.

There was a time in Israel when the Ark was in a tent in a suburb of Jerusalem, while all the rest of the Tabernacle of the Congregation was located at the High Place of Gibeon, an area that previously had been the scene of worship that was not of the Lord.

The Ark was missing from the remainder of the Tabernacle, that was at Gibeon. This meant the Day of Atonement could not be celebrated. The Day of Atonement speaks of the forgiveness of our sins accompanied by the removal of the presence and power of sin from us.

I think this is why for two thousand years the Christian salvation has been limited to the forgiveness of guilt. When we read that the Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world, in our mind we insert the words "takes away the guilt of the sin of the world."

We have been accustomed to regard the Christian salvation as being only the forgiveness of sin, not the removal of sin. It is no wonder we then created permanent residence in Heaven as being the goal of salvation. "God gave His Son that whoever believes in Him shall escape Hell and go to Heaven."

To put it simply, we do not believe the Lamb of God can remove our sin, only the guilt of our sin.

But forgiveness apart from the removal of the presence and power of sin is worthless in the Kingdom of God. Man is not made in the image of God by being forgiven. God cannot find a place of rest in an individual in whom the presence and power of sin is active.

To speak in a figure, the Ark is coming down the road. This is an occasion for singing and dancing joyously. Now we can have the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, meaning we not only are forgiven but the very presence and power of sin can be removed from us. Such is the Day of Redemption.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

We are moving now from the fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Pentecost to the Day of Redemption, the time of the removal of sin. We must be exceedingly careful to follow the Holy Spirit diligently and not attempt to organize and name what God is doing. The result of organizing and naming has resulted in the death of the denominations that are active in our day.

"The Glory has departed" because hands were laid on the Ark, so to speak!

The New Testament is opening up to us today. What a century ago was a great mystery is now as plain and simple as can be. God is preparing a wonderful Kingdom that soon is to come to the earth. His will shall be done here as soon as the heavens get straightened out.

The coming of the Kingdom, for which Christians have been praying from time immemorial, is a far, far better vision than that of going to Heaven to live forever. Man was made in the earth. When people picture Heaven, they picture a glorified earth—something like the garden in Eden.

Hallelujah! As always, Christ has kept the good wine until now.

But make no mistake—we are in days of greatest opportunity and also of greatest danger. Satan is coming to the earth with his angels, and it is going to require walking very close to the Lord Jesus if we are not to be deceived.

As Christ reveals Himself increasingly, to prepare us for His worldwide appearing, we may be tempted to try to steady the Ark. It is coming down the road, you know. When it gets to the threshing floor, the place of judgment, it may appear that God needs help. Don't try to help! Let God build His Church the way He wants it. No human creativity is permitted. It will only bring spiritual death, as it has in the past.

Don't touch the Ark. Pray and obey. Pray and obey. Pray and obey. Then you will be fruitful and happy in Jesus. There is no other way.

"Your kingdom come. Your will be done on the earth as it is in Heaven."

Amen!

"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 blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear." (Matthew 13:40-43)

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The Ark of the Covenant, from The Coming Day of Redemption

2014-03-16

The Ark of the Covenant typifies Christ—Head and Body. In order to be a mature member of the Body of Christ we have to be born of God; purified from all sin and self-will; have Christ formed in us; and then have God in His Fullness dwell eternally in that which has been formed in us.

We are to live by the body and blood of Christ, just as He lives by the Father. Thus we always are doing God's will.

Such are the members of the Royal Priesthood.

Every time we obey Christ, that particular obedience is carved in our mind and heart as an eternal law. What a reward for being obedient—to be transformed into the Word of God!

In our heart is being created the iron righteousness of God, the hidden manna (the body and blood of Christ), and arising from our death our eternal role as a member of the Royal Priesthood.

When we become the Ark of the Covenant, we are covered without and within by the Divine Nature, and overshadowed by the Cherubim of Glory.

Because we are being created the Ark of the Covenant, we always are in motion, We always are being formed in the image of God, because His Seed has been planted in us.

The Ark of the Covenant is to be planted in the earth; and no demon can remain in its Presence.

Like Aaron's rod, the sons of God are "dead." When they abide in the Most Holy Place, abide in Christ, the Nature of God is as fruit coming forth from their character.

The Ark of the Covenant is seen momentarily at the time the kingdom of the world becomes the Kingdom of God and of His Christ. Then the Royal Priesthood shall possess the saved nations.

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The Ark of the Covenant at one time was the Throne of God in the earth, being a replica of the Throne of God in Heaven. But it is God's will that man be His Throne. This is a reaction against the rebellion of the angels.

The Ark of the Covenant no longer is the Throne of God. The Throne of God now is Christ and the members of His Body.

And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.

At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. (Jeremiah 3:16,17)

"At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord."

Now notice:

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

The Throne of God is in the new Jerusalem. The new Jerusalem is the glorified Christian Church. The new Jerusalem is the heavenly Zion, the Church of the Firstborn that is to come to remain on the earth as the eternal Tabernacle of God. It is the government of the Kingdom of God.

Today the spirits of righteous people who abide in Christ, whether they are in Heaven or living on the earth, may be found in the heavenly Zion.

All nations on the new earth shall come to it, bringing their wealth. God then will be dwelling in His Fullness in the Royal Priesthood. Through them God shall bless, govern, guide, and heal the saved people of the nations.

These saved people are our inheritance.

The new Jerusalem is the restored Tabernacle of David. The Ark of God then will be available to mankind in the form of Christ, Head and Body.

In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this. (Amos 9:11:12)

That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. (Acts 15:17)

There were three items in the Ark of the Covenant: the Ten Commandments, from which the Ark was named; the memorial jar of manna; and Aaron's rod that budded.

If we are to be part of the Ark of the Covenant, these three items must have been formed in us: the iron righteousness of God, the hidden manna (the body and blood of Christ), and arising from our death our eternal role as a member of the Royal Priesthood.

The Ark is the Ark of the Covenant. The Covenant is the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments represent the eternal moral Law of God.

Under the Law of Moses, the Ten Commandments, which are an abridged form of the eternal moral law, were written on granite by the Finger of God.

The new covenant is infinitely superior to the Law of Moses, and infinitely more demanding. This is how it works.

As we are obedient to the Spirit of God we are brought to decision after decision. Every time we decide to do the will of Christ, that particular righteous decision is written in our mind and heart as a law.

Let's say we are tempted to lie. We call upon the body and blood of Christ to strengthen us so we do not lie. As soon as that decision is made, the law against lying is written in our mind and heart by that same Finger of God.

In actuality we have been confronted with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, which is Christ. We have embraced the good and rejected the evil. This law is inserted in our mind and heart.

But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:14)

As our life continues, and we keep choosing Christ instead of evil, we ourselves become changed into the Word of God. We are the flesh being made the Word. This is an absolutely necessary transformation of us if we are to be part of the Body of Christ, part of the Royal Priesthood, the eternal Throne of God.

The eternal moral law of God is the most important aspect of whoever would be a member of the new Jerusalem.

Also in the Ark was the memorial jar of manna.

Christ repeated the commandment that man is to live by the Words of God continually being addressed to him. As we choose to live by the body and blood of Christ, and not by our own thoughts, plans, desires, words, and actions, we become conscious of that which is being spoken to us.

God's continuing will expressed to us is our "food." We are not to live by material food alone but by every Word of God spoken to us.

Again, this is a necessary characteristic of him or her who would be a part of the Throne of God, of the Royal Priesthood.

Aaron's Rod also was placed in the Ark.

Korah, Dathan, and Abiram decided that God loved them just as much as He did Moses and Aaron. Korah was a Kohathite Levite, a member of the priestly order. All three were leaders of the congregation. Along with them were 250 men of renown.

But they were not chosen to lead Israel, as was Moses; or to be the High Priest, as was true of Aaron.

We know the story how the heads of the twelve tribes placed their rod near the Ark. Aaron's rod represented the tribe of Levi.

The next day Aaron's rod produced buds, blossoms, and almonds.

And the Lord said unto Moses, Bring Aaron's rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they die not. (Leviticus 17:10)

Now, what does this tell us?

The roles in the Kingdom of God are not determined by human choice. It is God who appoints one to a certain role, and another to a different role.

Korah and his accomplices, all of whom died, were envious. Just plain envious. Perhaps they were fine gentlemen in other respects.

(It is true also that Pilate understood that the elders called for Christ's blood because of their envy.)

But Korah and his friends were usurpers. They wished to take to themselves the prestige that God had given to Moses and Aaron.

The spirit of envy and usurpation cost them their lives!

Usurpation is the original sin. Satan wanted to usurp the role of God. Absalom wanted to usurp the role that God had given David. Adonijah attempted to usurp the role that God had given to Solomon. The elders of Israel sought to usurp the Divine Glory given to Christ.

We must be careful lest we be envious of what God has given to another. Our envy may lead us to attempt to take that individual's God-given place.

So if we would be part of the Ark of the Covenant we must behave righteously at all times. We must live by the Words of God coming to us and not just by material food. We must remain in the role God has assigned to us, whether exalted or humble.

God is impressed with our obedience. He is not impressed with our achievements.

I have said that when we become the Ark of the Covenant, we are covered without and within by the Divine Nature, and overshadowed by the Cherubim of Glory. This may sound extreme to the reader, but let's bring it down to practical terms.

The Ark was constructed from acacia wood. The wood was overlaid within and without with pure gold. Wood represents humanity. Gold represents Divinity. Isn't it true that the Apostle Peter spoke of our being partakers of the Divine Nature?

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (II Peter 1:4)

The Divine Nature is being formed within us as Christ is formed in us.

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you. (Galatians 4:19)

Now, isn't it true that if Christ is formed in us the Divine Nature is formed in us? Thus the "wood" is covered on the inside.

As far as the wood of the Ark being covered on the outside:

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (I Corinthians 15:53)

I think we can say if our mortal body is clothed with immortality, then the Divine Nature has covered our body on the outside.

I have said that when we become the Ark of the Covenant, we are covered without and within by the Divine Nature, and overshadowed by the Cherubim of Glory.

Why would we be overshadowed by the Cherubim of Glory? Because we are seated in the Throne of Christ, who in turn is seated in the Throne of His Father. This is true provided we are living a victorious Christian life.

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

Isn't it true, then, if we are sitting with Christ in His Throne that we are seated on the Throne of God? It seems to me this is what the Scripture is stating. Then of necessity we would be under the wings of the Cherubim of Glory.

Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 1:20)

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

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalms 91:1)

I have stated that because we are being created the Ark of the Covenant, we always are in motion, We always are being formed in the image of God, because His Seed has been planted in us.

Just think! We have been born of God. We know from nature that a seed brings forth precisely what is true of the organism from which it came.

This is true of the sons of God. We use the term "born again." Perhaps in many cases it is a conception rather than a birth. After birth comes growth to maturity. How long will it be before we bring forth the characteristics of our Father in Heaven? A million years of earth time, and then only beginning to be formed?

Perhaps this is why the staves by which the Ark was carried were never removed from the Ark. This was not true of the other furnishings of the Tabernacle.

The true Christian life is one of constant growth in the Lord. If we are basically the same person from year to year, then we are not living by His body and blood. We are a dead religious person, placing our belief in theologic facts rather than living by faith by a grasp upon God's faithfulness. This is easy enough to do, and I think it may be true of many of those who profess faith in Christ.

I have said that the Ark of the Covenant is to be planted in the earth and no demon can remain in its Presence.

I often have wondered at what point the Gospel of the Kingdom became the gospel of Heaven. The Lord Jesus and John the Baptist placed no emphasis upon our going to Heaven. They preached and taught the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, presented some of the laws of the Kingdom. The parables of Jesus were about the Kingdom of God, not about eternal residence in Heaven.

I think that lately I have come to understand how Heaven became the goal of our redemption.

You see, the Gospel has been preached as the forgiveness of sin. For two thousand years the Gospel has been that Christ came to take away the guilt of our sin.

However, forgiving our sin does not make us in the image of God; nor does it provide a home and place of rest for God. God's needs and purpose are not satisfied when our sins are forgiven.

The story of the Prodigal Son is not about the Father forgiving his son but about the son returning to his father. Isn't that so?

Therefore in the Divine redemption we can expect not only forgiveness of sin but also the removal of the presence and power of sin. Does that seem reasonable to you?

Well, the New Testament informs us that at the end of the age, God will remove sin from His Kingdom.

As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 13:40-43)

Perhaps it is true that the belief that our redemption ceases with forgiveness is responsible for our looking to eternal residence in Heaven, a place where there is no sin nor self-will, as being the goal of our salvation.

But when we realize that sin and self-will are not to be removed from us by going to Heaven but by an act of God at the end of the age, we turn our focus from going to live eternally in Heaven to the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. Does that make sense to you?

For how long have we prayed, "Your Kingdom Come. Your will be done on the earth as it is in Heaven"?

But how does God plan to bring about the doing of His will on the earth as it is in Heaven.

The plan is as follows:

In the present hour God is bringing forth in mankind the firstfruits of the Royal Priesthood. They are described in the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation. "These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb."

Since the Christian Church is the firstfruits of mankind to God, then those who stand on Mount Zion with the Lamb constitute a firstfruits of the firstfruits.

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)

They have the Father's name written in their foreheads because they do God's will sternly and accurately at all times and in every circumstance.

They are standing on Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, because they are ready for war. Most of them at any given time are in the spirit world, waiting to return with Jesus and take up their new bodies.

A few members of the firstfruits still on the earth at the coming of Christ will be waiting for the Lord to come and give them new bodies.

Then the entire 144,000 will be raised in their incorruptible bodies to meet Christ in the air. They will be mounted on the white war stallions. Then they shall descend with the army of angels, both armies led by Christ, and destroy the armies of Antichrist.

After that they shall go through the earth, destroying every vestige of the rule of Antichrist.

The victorious saints will gather with Christ to Jerusalem and be appointed to the area of the earth they are to govern. They shall rule for a thousand years.

This is the beginning of the doing of God's will on the earth as it is in Heaven.

During the thousand years, in addition to governing the saved people of the nations, the saints will be helping the remainder of the Royal Priesthood, the Christian Church, who are in the heavenly Mount Zion, come to the maturity required if they are to bring the Presence of God to the nations living on the new earth.

After the final rebellion of the nations on the earth, at the end of the thousand years, after the final resurrection and judgment, God will create a new earth that will contain in itself the best features of the old earth. The old earth will be destroyed by fire. The new earth will be much, much larger than the old earth.

The new Jerusalem, including all the members of the Royal Priesthood, will descend to be located for eternity on the new earth. Through them God's Presence will be available to the inhabitants of the new earth, and also to the people who have migrated to the stars when the huge new earth no longer can contain them.

The new stars will be habitable, not giving light by nuclear fusion but by the Glory of Christ, as was true in the first three days of the original creation.

This is the program for removing every trace of Satan, the False Prophet, Antichrist, the fallen angels, and the demons from the presence of God and His children. No sin will be taking place on the earth.

For two thousand years the Christian Churches have not had the presence of the Ark of the Covenant, so to speak. It is the Ark that makes possible the celebrating of the Day of Atonement. It is the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement that results in the removal of sin and self-will from us.

Today is the beginning of the Day of Redemption. Let whosoever will take advantage of it, asking Christ's help in removing sin and self-will from his or her personality.

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (Daniel 9:24)

He will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope. (Isaiah 42:4)

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The Latter Rain, from The Coming Day of Redemption

2014-03-23

Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. (Hosea 6:1-3)

Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the Latter Rain in the first month. (Joel 2:23)

Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the Latter Rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field. (Zechariah 10:1)

Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and Latter Rain. (James 5:7)

The summer months in Israel are hot. Beginning in September, the fall (former rains) soften the ground so seed can be planted.

There are sporadic winter rains.

Then toward the end of January, the spring (latter) rains bring the grain to maturity.

After the spring rain there is a dry spell so the heads of wheat can harden.

It is the point of view of myself and others that the rain in the land of Israel is symbolic of the rain of the Spirit of God upon His Church.

Christ comes to us as the "Rain" ("He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth").

Thus we have had a "planting rain" symbolizing the downpour of the Spirit that occurred at the birth of the Christian Church.

Since then we have had the winter sporadic rains, the many movements of God's Spirit since the days of the Protestant Reformers. These have been increasing in intensity, as we consider the miracles of Maria Woodworth-Etter, William Branham, Aimee Semple McPherson, and others. However, these acts of the Spirit of God actually may be the beginning of the Latter, Spring Rain.

The miracles at Azusa Street in California, at the turn of the twentieth century, were an outstanding intervention of God.

However, Brother Seymour of Azusa Street is reported to have said that in a hundred years there would be an outpouring of God's Spirit and His Shekinah Glory that would be greater and more far reaching than what was experienced at Azusa?

Can you even imagine that? Greater and more far reaching than the Glory that fell at Azusa Street?

Maria Woodworth-Etter, in 1913, after six months of a marvelous outpouring in Chicago, proclaimed as follows: "We are not yet up to the fullness of the Former Rain, and when the Latter Rain comes, it will far exceed anything we have seen!"

This is quite a statement in view of the fact that people came as far away as a thousand miles to the Stone Church in Chicago to a meeting Sister Woodworth-Etter was holding.

"Far exceed anything we have seen"!

Sister Woodworth-Etter said this intervention would take place a hundred years from that time, bringing us to the current year, 2013.

At the end of the Latter Rain outpouring will come a period of tribulation, in which Antichrist, as well as the Great Tribulation, will prevail. In this manner the results of the outpouring will be sifted.

When the rain comes down, there is growth that comes up in addition to the flowers! Every gardener knows this very well!

*****

Today is Sunday, the 24th of November, 2013. Yesterday, Saturday, I had a dream just before I woke up. I was driving a car, with Audrey in the passengers seat. As I passed a building, I heard singing.

"This is the promise of the coming Latter Rain;

Lift up your eyes, behold the ripening grain.

Mighty signs and wonders, in His precious name;

Drink, O drink, My people, for this is Latter Rain."

I exclaimed: "I haven't heard that chorus for over sixty years!"

I pulled over to the curb and jumped out of the car. I ran over to the building and opened the door. But there was no one there.

Then I woke up.

What memories that chorus awakened!

In 1948, I believe it was, Audrey and I were students at the Berean Bible Institute, sponsored by the Assemblies of God. It was located at 641 South Boundary Street, in San Diego, California.

One weekend we traveled to Long Beach. Audrey had friends there.

Saturday night we read the church advertisements. We noticed that pastor A. Earl Lee was advertising the Hawtin party from North Battleford, Canada. He announced the meeting as the "Latter Rain." This was in Los Angeles.

This was a new expression to Audrey and me, so we decided to check it out.

I understand that today, the term "Latter Rain" has a bad reputation among people who were not there and knew only about the events at a later time.

I wish to set the record straight. The Presence of God was strong that Sunday morning. There have been "revivals" since at various places in Canada and the United States. Without wishing to disparage anyone, none of these meetings compare with the original Latter Rain movement.

Stanley Howard Frodsham, a friend, was dismissed from the Assemblies of God because he said the Latter Rain was like early Pentecost. The issue was the laying on of hands and personal prophecy, a signature practice of the Latter Rain.

How foolish to dismiss the writer of With Signs Following, and an editor of "The Pentecostal Evangel," over the practice of laying on of hands and personal prophecy! If I am not mistaken, many churches of our day practice laying on of hands and personal prophecy.

But as Brother Frodsham told us, denominations are like carousels, going around in circles. Anything they are not accustomed to must be of the devil.

It appears that many notables of those exciting days veered from the path of public approval, in one manner or another. William Branham for one. Alexander Dowie also. These were mighty men of miracles. Audrey and I were at two of Branham's meetings.

It is my point of view that William Branham had the greatest gift of healing and miracles of the twentieth century. Pastor Leroy Cloud, a distinguished minister of the Assemblies of God, told us that while he was driving Brother Branham to church, the Glory of God was so strong one hardly could sit in the car.

Some people involved in the Latter Rain revival also veered from the path, it appears. But don't tell me it originally was of the devil. The glory and power Audrey and I experienced certainly was more of God than anything we have encountered since.

It seems to me there are enough critics who produce nothing themselves but regard their contribution as being that of tearing down the reputation of men and women who knew more about God in a minute than their critics ever will!

Both William Seymour of Azusa Street fame, and Maria Woodworth-Etter, said in effect that Christ has kept the good wine until now; that the Latter Rain is yet to come. Personally I think they may have been an early form of the Latter Rain.

My point of view is that the former rain was that of the original Pentecostal outpouring. Then came the dark ages, with sporadic interventions. Finally the early drops of the Latter Rain began with the Protestant Reformers and have increased in intensity ever since.

I believe also, along with William Seymour and Maria Woodworth-Etter, that the fullness of the Latter Rain is yet to come. Christ has kept the best wine until now.

You know, the Lord told us that greater works than He performed would be done by those who believed in Him. I believe this absolutely is the case, although we have not seen them as yet.

I am looking for a fullness of Divine intervention without precedent in history, including healing, miracles and an increased understanding of the Scriptures. Also, works of destruction may be included to make people aware of the power and nature of the Kingdom of God that is near at hand.

But we must be careful not to confuse signs with the destination. God's goal is to make man in His image, and to create a home, a resting place for Himself. These goals are not accomplished by healing, or miracles, or even by forgiveness. They are accomplished only as all sin and self-will are removed from us; Christ is fully formed in us; and the Father and the Son take up Their eternal abode in us.

It is true that many outstanding ministers and movements have veered from the path of acceptability, and I believe this is the reason for the years in which we have seen no real intervention of God. God has some things to teach us before He entrusts us with the fullness of power and revelation.

I personally have confidence that Kathryn Kuhlman had a genuine gift of healing; but I am not impressed with anyone since. However, there may be workers of miracles in other countries with whom I am not acquainted.

But I do believe the fullness of the Latter Rain is imminent!

As I suggested previously, perhaps the reason for the dry years we have experienced is that there are lessons we can learn from those who have veered from the path.

The first lesson may be that of not "touching the Ark." The Kingdom of God is not an organization, it is a seed that grows within us. Men have a determination to "build three tabernacles." They want to define, to organize, to fence off, to give a name to, any intervention of God. Then they form a bureaucracy with levels of power and authority.

God will not have this. When God moves again we absolutely must resist all attempts to formalize into some sort of organization the coming outpouring. Let us leave the Ark alone! Let us allow the Holy Spirit to move without attempting to create another organization!

We will kill the fullness that is on the way. The Latter Rain movement was killed by people seeking to be preeminent. We must not attempt to put God in a box so we can control Him.

I suppose all of the major denominations began with a move of God. But many are spiritually dead. Certainly they perform much Christian work. But ordinarily you will not feel the Presence of the Living Christ in their buildings. Most of them do not follow the Lamb. They expect the Lamb to follow them, it appears.

There must be no preeminent leaders. People love to worship their leaders. Of course, there must be order in the Divine service. There must be those who lead. Quaker-type meetings can become opportunities for certain people to "take over" the meeting because they are that sort of person.

The Holy Spirit will guide us concerning leaders if we will listen to Him.

Appointing a young Bible-school graduate, untested and ambitious, to lead older saints, is ridiculous. But the older saints will permit this if we allow them to do so!

The church service to which we are accustomed today must be reorganized by the Spirit of God!

Those whom the Lord appoints to visible ministry must bear their personal cross and prisons. Otherwise they will be deceived by Satan and fall because of sexual activity or a greed for wealth.

The minister of God must be totally ethical. If he cannot be totally pure and ethical, he should remove himself or herself from the ministry. They must be holy who "bear the vessels of the Lord."

Christ does not honor achievement but obedience. Ambitious, self-willed people have no business acting as Christian ministers.

When the fullness of the Latter Rain is poured out, we must keep our eyes on God's goal. Multitudes of people are not the goal. Miracles are not the goal. Healing is not the goal. The goal is to create people in God's image and to prepare a home and resting place for Him. The Christian ministry is not for our benefit but for God's!

Since both Brother Seymour and Sister Woodworth-Etter declared that when the fullness of the Latter Rain is poured out the miracles of power would be greater than any of their day, we really have to stretch our mind to imagine what they will be.

As I have gone through in my mind the Book of Revelation, I have come to three conclusions.

First, the people who will be caught up to the Lamb when He appears are the 144,000 described in Chapter Fourteen of the Book of Revelation. They shall descend with the Lamb; destroy the armies of Antichrist; go through the earth and destroy the vestiges of the Antichrist civilization; and then govern the nations of the earth for one thousand years.

. . . They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. (Revelation 14:4)

I do not see in every church member of our day the character that could work with the Lord in these three major tasks. Many of the believers are "grace-babies" who do not have the iron scepter of righteousness formed in them.

Second, the "two witnesses" of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation, are Christ, the one witness; working with His saints, the second witness.

Third, the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation is describing the forming of Christ in the personalities of the saints. This means sin and self-will have been purged from them. They shall govern the nations with Christ. Every time this new man has been created in a believer, the new man is caught up to God and to His Throne.

It is my point of view that there is a Divine emphasis today on the forming of Christ in us.

All three of these circumstances have to do with the "rest" of God, the promised Day of Redemption, and the fullness of the Latter Rain.

I might say also that the Day of Redemption, mentioned in the first and fourth chapters of the Book of Ephesians, and described in Matthew 13:41, is part of the fullness of the Latter Rain. The Day of Redemption includes the spiritual fulfillments of the last three feasts of the Lord: the Blowing of Trumpets; the Day of Atonement; and the feast of Tabernacles.

Now, let us consider the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter Eleven, because the works they perform, as they testify of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, may be the "greater works" that the Lord Jesus spoke of. They also may be the fullness of Glory referenced by William Seymour and Maria Woodworth-Etter.

And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire. (Revelation 10:1)

It is my opinion that this is the angel that will empower and guide the fullness of the Latter Rain. The "rainbow" speaks of the power and authority of the Throne of God. There is enough Glory here to fulfill the prophecies of William Seymour and Maria Woodworth-Etter.

And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. (Revelation 10:4)

The seven thunders are the fullness of God's power. This power cannot be given to God's witnesses until they have cast aside their own will in favor of doing God's will.

How often the ministry of today is characterized by "important" men who act as though they are apostles, although they are not. They vaunt themselves as lords over the believers, continually begging for money so they can continue their lavish lifestyles.

Some such "apostles" will not come for a meeting unless they are guaranteed much money and all sorts of accommodations. Yet there are churches who will meet their demands. Jesus would advise these churches instead of supporting these carnal endeavors to test the "apostles."

It is alleged that one prominent evangelist jumped and landed on a believer, knocking out his tooth. He later left his wife and children, according to the report.

A distinguished Charismatic leader had declared that this evangelist is an apostle. If he indeed is an apostle he is somewhat different from Paul.

Compare such goings on with William Seymour and Maria Woodworth-Etter, and you can see how far we have drifted from the God of Israel.

We do not know the "joyful sound" any longer. It is time for God to intervene in America and other parts of the world.

Our present-day leaders will never know the power of the seven thunders, or the Latter Rain, until they humble themselves!

But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. (Revelation 10:7)

The "mystery of God" is Christ in us, the hope of Glory. To the present day we think of Christ with us, in Christmas, Easter, and in other circumstances. During the Latter Rain we will have a greater understanding of Christ in us.

Those who desire to walk with God are wise if they will ask God to fill them with the Fullness of Christ, with Christ's body and blood. God will answer this prayer if the person will be totally obedient to Christ in every aspect of his or her life.

And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey. (Revelation 10:9)

We have to ask for it, if we want the "little book" that tells of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

Thinking about the Divine power to come causes us to be joyful. But because it involves Christ, His body and blood living in us, we must learn to die to our own will and plans. Dying to our own will and plans can be bitter!

Unless I am mistaken, the Pentecostal people of the present hour are faced with a decision. Either they will continue in their familiar patterns of worship and living the "Christian life," or they will humble themselves and seek the Lord to see what He has for them.

We must deny ourselves and follow Christ diligently. We must be willing to go for years without receiving the intense desires of our mind and heart. We must be willing to choose the way of the personal cross and imprisonment; we may be required to live in distressing circumstances until Christ says "enough."

One "Christian" lady was heard to say, "If I thought God would allow me to suffer I would not serve Him." This was in the days when it was being taught that if we had enough faith we never would suffer.

This is how far we have fallen!

If we are not willing to walk on the narrow path, we never will experience the fullness of God's Spirit that has been designated for the closing days of the Church Age.

And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. (Revelation 10:11)

This is not a prophecy within the assembling to build up the members of the Body of Christ. Rather, this is the testimony to the whole world of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God, the will of God, to the earth.

We can see from this the amount of preparation we must undergo in order to be a part of this witness! But such is the Latter Rain revival.

Notice what the Lord Jesus said, when speaking of the Latter Rain revival:

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)

Notice that the Latter Rain witness is not today's "gospel" of going to Heaven when we die, but the original Good News of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. (Revelation 11:1)

Before we can serve to testify to the whole world of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, we must be judged (measured).

Of particular notice is the "altar." This is the Altar of Incense. It is at the Altar of Incense, after we have passed the Lampstand of Pentecost, that we cry out from the depths of our personality, "Not my will but Yours be done."

This cry is necessary if we are to go past the Veil and become part of the Ark of the Covenant.

This cry is necessary if we are to experience the power of the seven thunders.

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

A thousand two hundred and threescore days is the first half of Daniel's "seventieth week." This is the period of the fullness of the Latter Rain power and wisdom.

The unprecedented Divine Glory is "clothed in sackcloth." The willingness of some of today's outstanding ministers to vaunt themselves is an abomination. They never shall receive the power of the seven thunders.

The Apostles of Christ were not popular preachers, arriving in chariots driven by thoroughbred horses, wearing the latest fashions, demanding money from the Christians who were meeting in houses.

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received 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)

Have you ever heard a popular evangelist speak like that? Neither have I.

The ministers of the Latter Rain revival will emerge from lowly places, prophesy, and then return to their lowly places. There will be no more "big names" in the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ!

This reminds me of Ananias ministering to Saul of Tarsus.

They are "the two olive trees" and the two lampstands, and "they stand before the Lord of the earth." (Revelation 11:4--NIV)

Lampstands in the Bible represent Christ, and also the Christian churches.

Notice, in the following passage, that previously there was one Lampstand, and two Olive Trees perpetually pouring oil into the one Lampstand.

And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. (Zechariah 4:2,3)

Now there are two Lampstands. Christ is one Lampstand. The victorious saints of the seven churches of Asia are the second Lampstand.

The two Olive Trees represent the Elisha anointing, the double portion of the Spirit of God, that shall keep the two Lampstands burning day and night.

We can understand from the unprecedented power of this anointing how Seymour and Mrs. Woodworth-Etter could make the predictions that they did.

Those who imagine the two witnesses to be bearded patriarchs from the pre-Christian era may be assuming that present-day Christians are not spiritual enough to perform the acts described in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation.

The Apostle John is representing the witnesses of the Christian Church. Notice that the angel said:

Then I was told, "You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings." (Revelation 10:11)

"You must prophesy again"; not "I am going to bring two patriarchs from the past to prophesy about people and nations."

The Lord Jesus stated that he or she who is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than John the Baptist; and John was the equal of any of the Prophets.

Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6)

If there is one thing we can learn from the dry years we have been experiencing, it is that the Kingdom of God is constructed "not by might, nor by power," but by the Spirit of God. Can you agree with me here?

And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. (Revelation 11:5,6)

We see a preview of this destructive power of the Kingdom in the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira, don't we?

The miracles mentioned above may be what the Lord Jesus meant by "greater works," and what William Seymour and Maria Woodworth-Etter meant by Glory surpassing what they had experienced.

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)

When they have finished bearing witness of the Kingdom of God, Antichrist shall "kill" them, that is, destroy the Christian witness.

How will he do that? Just as he has done with the people of America: by "Sodom" (the lusts of the flesh); by "Egypt" (the love of the things of the world); and by "Jerusalem" (spiritual pride and self-will).

"Those who are wise will instruct many, though for a time they will fall by the sword or be burned or captured or plundered. When they fall, they will receive a little help, and many who are not sincere will join them. Some of the wise will stumble, so that they may be refined, purified and made spotless until the time of the end, for it will still come at the appointed time." (Daniel 11:33-35—NIV)

Some of the saints who bear the testimony "will stumble," meaning perhaps that they have been deceived by Satan and are overcome by the sin that will be so prevalent at that time. But they will stumble so they may be made spotless.

The Latter Rain testimony given during the first half of the "week" will bring many to salvation. But remember—rain brings up more than flowers!

The second half of the week will not be as blessed.

During the second half of the week, many who are not true disciples of Jesus ("many who are not sincere will join them") will make a profession of salvation, as is true today.

The majority of people in the world, including some of the professed Christians will rebel against God and give themselves over to sin.

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. (Matthew 214:12)

Many of the saints may be martyred during this period. But after God has decided that Antichrist has been fully revealed, God shall resurrect the saints and the witness.

And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. (Revelation 11:9)

I believe this refers to Christian institutions which then will have no spiritual life in them.

And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. (Revelation 11:10)

I do not believe we are doing our job when worldly people are comfortable around us. The Christian churches are not to reflect the values of Humanism!

When our goal is to build a big church of many members, the temptation is to compromise the stern demands of Christ concerning what it means to be His disciple. How would the mega churches of our day fare if their pastors told the congregations that in order to be a Christian, a disciple of Jesus, they would have to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow the Lord at all times?

God is a Consuming Fire. He is not the kindly grandfather being presented in our day. Therefore God's endtime witnesses will perform acts of destruction as part of the testimony that is coming to the earth in the near future.

The return of the Lord will bring justice to the nations. This is good news for the oppressed of the earth. But it is a terrifying vision confronting those of the world who have made their life comfortable and merry at the expense of impoverished people.

A concept that I believe ought to be adhered to by every righteous person is that we never are to gain our pleasure at the expense of other people. Can you imagine how many people of the world, particularly the wealthy and prominent, violate this principle?

When the Kingdom comes, the meek, not the wealthy and prominent, shall inherit the earth!

And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. (Revelation 11:11)

The "three days and a half" compose the last half of Daniel's seventieth week. The Christian witness shall be "killed" for a season that Antichrist may be revealed in his fullness. But then God shall revive the saints and their witness.

According to my understanding, the last half of the "week" are the days of the Great Tribulation caused by the reign of Antichrist. The hindrance to the appearing of Antichrist has been removed as the majority of people have given themselves over to sin, thus "killing the testimony" and some of the witnesses along with it.

(This reminds us of America of today that has forgotten the Christian principles of the founders of our nation.)

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. (II Thessalonians 2:3)

The worldwide rebellion against God will remove that which hinders the full revelation of Antichrist. This must take place before the day of Christ's appearing.

Here is the "hot sun" of persecution that will "harden the heads of grain." The "rain" of the Spirit will not be poured out during this period, just as in the weeks following the spring rains of Israel.

And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. (Revelation 11:12)

It is my point of view that this is the same event described in the fourth chapter of the Book of First Thessalonians, commonly termed the "rapture."

The truth is, there shall be no "rapture," as is commonly understood. Those who will be caught up are the saints who had borne the Latter Rain testimony, not everyone who has "accepted Christ." I believe these are the same people described as the firstfruits to God and to the Lamb, of Revelation, Chapter Fourteen.

The "firstfruits" follow the Lamb wherever He goes. They are not the rank and file of those who attend Christian churches.

"Heaven" may refer to the sky. This is reinforced by the fact that "their enemies" could see them. The Hebrew and Greek languages employed in the Bible do not distinguish between the spirit Heaven and the sky.

Also, in the twenty-first chapter of the Book of Revelation, the new heaven and the new earth, probably mean a new sky and a new earth. There will be no need for a new spirit Heaven.

Compare:

Then I saw a new sky (heaven) and a new earth, for the former sky and the former earth had passed away (vanished), and there no longer existed any sea. (Revelation 21:1–Amplified Bible)

The witnesses will be caught up to the Lamb. They are prepared to descend with Him to the earth, just as they had prophesied in their testimony of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. The witnesses shall fulfill their own prophecy, as it were.

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)

Such is the event to which the Latter Rain will bring us. The Lord Jesus Christ shall come into His Glory and we shall be co-heirs with Him.

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (Colossians 1:16,17)

Amen and Amen.

(Let us keep in mind, from what we have just read, that these mighty events of the Latter Rain, of the Day of Redemption, employ believers who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. This may not be true of everyone who professes to be a Christian.)

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Keeping God's Commandments

2014-03-30

The trend today is to say "commands," rather than "commandments." But for my purpose in this present essay, I think "commandments" probably will be understood more readily by most readers.

Today I received a letter from a young lady.

"Hi Pastor,

"So I've read in some of your books and recently in your daily word that we are to keep God's commandments, but I'm not sure where to find them. I'm assuming that it's everything that Paul wrote in his letters to the churches. Is this correct? Do you happen to have a book on all of His commandments by any chance?"

Here is my response.

"Yes. What Paul wrote are God's commandments.

"A good place to start is the twelfth chapter of the Book of Romans. That has lots of commandments, beginning with presenting our body a living sacrifice.

"It is very important that we obey the New Testament. Jesus will help us do this and give us wisdom if we ask Him."

*****

Where does a Christian find God's commandments? I think in the present hour there is a great deal of confusion about this question.

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. (I John 2:3)

What commandments. The Ten Commandments? There are many Messianic Jews who would say yes, I am given to understand, especially the Sabbath commandment.

But given the nature of the new covenant, the only Christian covenant at this time, keeping any part of the Law of Moses, including the Sabbath commandment, conflicts with the new covenant..

Please let me hasten to explain.

The new covenant has replaced the first covenant. The first covenant in particular was the Ten Commandments. The Ark of the Covenant bore this title because the granite slabs of the Ten Commandments were kept inside the Ark.

The Law of Moses contained many regulations other than the Ten Commandments. However, the Ten Commandments were the "Covenant"!

Now notice carefully:

By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear. (Hebrews 8:13–NIV)

By saying "will soon disappear" instead of "has disappeared" God is revealing His willingness to phase out the first covenant instead of cutting it off abruptly. The Lord understands how difficult it is for a Jew to just throw out all he has been taught.

To the present hour, many Jews who recognize Jesus as Messiah keep the Sabbath, some of the dietary regulations, circumcision, and the literal observance of the seven Levitical celebrations. God has no problem with them doing this, and does not regard their observances as sin, even though those commandments now are obsolete. They are entwined in the faith of the believers.

Christ would have you and me act with understanding toward Christian Jews who keep part of the Law of Moses, and not abuse them with our own attitude toward the instructions of Moses.

But let me now explain why, given the nature of the new covenant, keeping any part of the Law of Moses, including the Sabbath commandment, is not necessary. The explanation has to do with the manner in which the new covenant operates.

Following is the new covenant that has superseded the first covenant:

This is the covenant I will establish with the people 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)

We Gentiles who are part of Christ are "people of Israel," being an integral part of the one Olive Tree.

Now, exactly how does the new covenant work.

I will begin with the victorious believer who overcomes sin.

Let us say a believer is tempted to steal an item.

The Apostle commands us not to steal.

Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. (Ephesians 4:28)

When an Apostle issues a directive such as this, it is the same as the Lord Jesus commanding us not to steal. It is not a mere suggestion, even though Paul did not say "You shall not steal!"

When we refuse to yield to the temptation to steal, the Lord Jesus feeds us from the spirit world with His body and blood.

Following are two passages that inform us that when we overcome we are authorized to partake of the body and blood of Jesus Christ:

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, . . . .(Revelation 2:17)

Victory over the temptation to steal, which is contained in the body and blood of Christ, the living Word, is now written in our mind and heart. The body and blood of Christ become the Resurrection and the Life that is engraved in us for eternity.

Now when Satan attempts to involve us in stealing, the Word of God that has been written in us gives us special strength to say no.

We might note that we overcame the temptation to steal before we had received the special strength. That is where our will comes into play. We choose to do what is righteous. As we do, Christ, who is the Law of God made flesh, imparts His conquering strength to us.

Adamic strength goes just so far, but it is not of the eternal quality that Christ gives us.

If the Seed, Christ, is to bear eternal fruit, it must be planted in an honest and good heart.

But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. (Luke 8:15)

It may be true that the "lawless grace" teaching of our day has left the impression that it is useless for us to battle against the temptation to sin.

It absolutely is true that we are not to wear ourselves out struggling against sin. On the other hand, if we pray and read our Bible every day, we will discover that if we call upon the Lord Jesus for help, we will receive help and Satan shall flee!

The Lord Jesus did not "do it all," as it taught commonly. Rather it is the sword of the Lord and of Gideon. We must do our part if Christ is to do His part.

Man chose to do the will of Satan, and so Satan gained mastery over man. God did not send Christ into the world to do all the overcoming of sin for us but to make it possible for those who will make the effort to overcome as He overcame.

It is in the choosing to do the will of Christ and renounce that which is against the will of Christ that ruling character is formed in us.

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

The verse above indicates that if we expect to rule with Christ we must lead a victorious Christian life.

The strength we receive from Christ becomes, as I have pointed out, a permanent part of our personality.

Christ Himself is the Word, the eternal moral Law of God. If we will keep making the effort to lead a godly Christian life, "yielding not to temptation" as the old hymn exhorts, Christ will change us from the adamic flesh to the Word, the eternal moral law of God.

It is the will of God that we become conformed to the image of Christ. Isn't that true?

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

Such is the new covenant. Can you understand from what I have written how infinitely superior the new covenant is to the first covenant?

By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear. (Hebrews 8:13–NIV)

The first covenant as well as the rest of the Law of Moses, including the seven Levitical feasts, the Sabbath commandment, and the kosher regulations, are outdated and soon will disappear. However, what the observances portray spiritually are in force under the new covenant.

When I was in the United States Marine Corps, we drilled every Saturday.

A Seventh Day Adventist minister heard somehow that I recently had become a Christian.

He came from downtown Honolulu and reasoned with me from the Scriptures, "proving" that I was to observe the Sabbath (Saturday.)

This caused my more mature Christian friends and me great consternation because we did not believe we were supposed to regard Saturday as especially holy.

I will not go into the details, but I finally was free from this well-intentioned falsehood and resumed drilling on Saturday.

But from that experience I learned a lesson that has stayed with me throughout my Christian life. In order to keep the Sabbath commandment, and regard Saturday as an unusually holy day, I no longer looked to Jesus as to what I should do. I was to do no form of labor on Saturday. It was not necessary to look to Christ. It is what Moses has commanded.

Should I look back to the old covenant to see how I am to behave on Saturday?

To think, say, or do anything without going to Jesus to learn His will is to leave the new covenant. This is true seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. We are crucified with Jesus. It is not we who are living but Christ who is living in us.

I look to the Lord for every aspect of my life. In over sixty years as a Christian, the Lord never once—never once!—has spoken to me that Saturday was different from any other day of the week.

If Christ said to me, "Keep the Sabbath," I would do so. "He walks with me and He talks with me," and He never once has told me to make Saturday a holy day.

By the way, James tells us if we keep part of the Law and do not keep the whole Law we are guilty of breaking the entire Law. Did you know that?

For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (James 2:10)

It is against the Law of Moses to keep one part of it and not the entire Law!

James spoke of the Law of Liberty. The Law of Liberty signifies that we are free from the Law of Moses and now are at liberty to look to Christ at all times, being perfectly righteous although ignoring the Law of Moses.

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (James 1:25)

The "perfect law of liberty" was foretold as follows:

And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (Ezekiel 36:27)

Such is God's new covenant. That the Spirit of God will cause us to walk in God's statutes and keep His judgments and do them is about as wonderful a promise as one could hope for!

We Gentiles may not realize it, but the Law of Moses was a burden to the devout Jews.

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)

So we who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, that He is our Righteousness, are under no part of the first covenant. The first covenant required that we follow the letter of the Law of Moses. The new covenant requires that we look to the Lord Jesus every day and night for what we think, say and do. The two cannot be mixed.

Yet, as I mentioned earlier, we are to be considerate of those who still are following part of the Law of Moses and not harass them with our liberty. We will worship with them after their fashion, unless Christ forbids this.

I said I would outline the procedure for those who successfully resist temptation. This I have done. Now we will turn to the Christian who sins.

By the way, there is no more sacrifice for sin for the believer who sins wilfully.

For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. (Hebrews 10:26)

Let us say we see an item we covet intensely, but do not have enough money to pay for it. So we steal it. What must we do?

We are to go to Christ immediately and tell Him what we have done.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

What does Christ do then? He forgives our sin and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. It is an eternal judgment against Satan.

From then on, it is much the same as if we had overcome the temptation in the first place. Christ feeds us with His body and blood and we develop resistance to that particular temptation, much as one develops resistance to a disease. We remain a victorious believer.

But let me present a disclaimer at this point.

Someone may reason: "If the result is much the same whether I refuse to yield to the temptation, or do yield and then confess my sin, why can't I just continue to sin and keep confessing it?"

Perhaps the Catholic confessional contains some of this idea accompanied by the totally unscriptural idea that we can atone for our sin by a religious exercise.

No, we cannot atone for our sin by a religious exercise.

The crucial issue is our determination to overcome the sin.

If we confess the sin but do not at the same time vehemently renounce it, telling Christ we never will do this again for eternity, we are playing games with God. Believe me, the person who plays games with God always loses!

With the pure You prove Yourself pure, but with the crooked You prove Yourself shrewd. (Psalms 18:26–Holman)

If our confession is not wholehearted, then we will not be forgiven nor will we be given additional strength to overcome in the future.

The virtue is not in the act of confessing. No deliverance occurs when we merely list our sins. It is in the sincere regret and desperate desire to turn away from such behavior and to please God in the future. Otherwise we do not receive help from the Lord.

Even if the priest were able to forgive the sins we confess, he still could not deliver us from the compulsion to sin. Deliverance from the power and compulsion of sin is part of the new covenant. Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

In addition, Christ may impress us to make restitution in some manner, by returning the property if possible, paying for it, or in some other manner. It is important that we look to Christ for guidance in the act of restitution.

Also, in the case of a moral lapse, it may be advisable that we do not notify our wife or husband in order to appease our sense of guilt. Christ will lead in this also. We may do more harm than good if we go around confessing to people, trying to appease our conscience.

However, sometimes praying together with a mature believer of the same gender as ourselves will bring relief as we confess what we have done and we pray together for deliverance.

God always knows what is in our heart. If He sees we are determined to serve Him, like King David when he sinned, God will make a way for us to continue in the path of victory.

But in no case is there an easy path once we yield to sin. Sometimes years of trouble follow, as they did in the case of King David.

So the current blithe attitude concerning Christian sinning, the idea that once we "accept Christ" we have a perpetual forgiveness, is totally erroneous and has destroyed the moral strength of the Christians in America. Our whole nation is going to suffer because of the lack of moral guidance from the Christian people.

Generally speaking, the attitude today is that we do not have to obey God's commandments, except maybe we should go to church on Sunday if it is convenient, thinking by so doing we are observing the Sabbath commandment. Confusion heaped upon confusion!

The truth is, while the new covenant is the Law of Liberty, it is liberty from the first covenant, not from sin. The demands of the new covenant are summed up in the words of the Apostle Paul: "I beseech you that you present your body a living sacrifice."

Because Paul said, "I beseech you," does not mean that this is a suggestion. It is as though Jesus Himself said: "This is My commandment, that you present your body a living sacrifice." And thus with the other commandments in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Romans, in the Book of Galatians, the Book of Ephesians, the Book of Colossians, and the Book of First John.

The New Testament is filled with commandments. If we are careful to pray continually that the Lord Jesus will help us obey them, the time will arrive when the Day Star, the Lord Jesus Himself, rises in our heart. When that takes place we will keep God's eternal Law by nature. We will be the flesh having been made the Word.

Throughout our discipleship the Lord Jesus is standing at the door and knocking. In this sense we enter salvation every moment of every day.

By opening to Christ continually, we attain to the inner resurrection so that in the Day of Resurrection our outer form will be clothed with a robe of eternal life.

And that is the end product of the new covenant!

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

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Being Born Again for War

2014-04-06

The War Against Evil

The Trumpet Is Sounding

We Always Are Being Born Again

The Many Sons Are Born For War

The Birth Of The Male Son

When The Seventh Angel Is About to Sound

The Bread From Heaven

Triumphalism And The False Prophet

The War Against Evil

Because of the rebellion of Satan and the angels, evil has entered the creation. God is not pleased with this. He sees what is taking place in the world and this is upsetting to Him. He is creating in mankind a house and place of rest for Himself.

It is man whom God has chosen to provide the answer to the problem of evil in the universe. But the adamic man is helpless in the war against evil. It is only as Christ is born and formed in us that there is the wisdom and power necessary to overcome satanic evil.

God has decided to build a Kingdom over which He will reign. God began with His appointed King of the Kingdom, the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ proved His obedience to God in the Garden of Gethsamane. The issue always is that of obedience, whether by Christ or by us.

Christ lived for untold eons in the spirit world but learned obedience in the earth. Redemption must proceed in the spirit world; but we develop character during our life on the earth.

We must die to our own will and learn stern obedience to the Father if we are to press toward the conquest of evil. When we bow to the will of God, and surrender our own will, we discover that our will becomes sharper than ever.

The helpless adamic man can do little in the war against evil, except obey Christ. Then the Lord Jesus will lead him through the several steps of redemption, commencing with forgiveness through the blood of the cross.

After we have turned away from the world and have embraced Christ, we are born again. Christ is born in us and begins to be formed in us. Christ's whole purpose in life is to obey the Father, as the Father begins to clear disobedience, the disobedience of Satan and his friends, out of the universe.

Evil finally shall totally, entirely, uncompromisingly, be removed from the Presence of God by the Father working through Christ and His Body.

The plan of salvation, of redemption, cannot be comprehended until an individual understands that he was born again in order that Christ might use him or her in the war against evil.

Canaan, the land of promise, represents the Kingdom of God, the rule of God, the rest of God---that into which we are to press as the Lord Jesus leads us. As of now, our Canaan is inhabited by Satan and his crowd. So we are being prepared for war.

The kingdom of God, the will of God, is to fill the entire creation, including the earth.

Bitter, relentless, fierce, take-no-prisoners war. Our task is to follow Christ, becoming part of Him, thinking as He thinks; speaking as He speaks; acting as He acts.

Some are talking today about what great things the churches are going to do if they will follow this or that plan. The truth is, the Christian churches can do little or nothing in the eternal battle against evil. Christ. only Christ, can drive out evil and establish the will of God, the Kingdom of God, in the earth.

For two thousand years the Gospel of the Kingdom meant we could be forgiven of our sins. We then added that the purpose of forgiveness is so we can go to Heaven when we die and live there permanently.

Now that God is ready to lead us into battle against evil, we see that the goal is not eternal residence in Heaven but the cleansing from the entire creation of all disobedience to God.

As you might imagine, such cleansing must begin with you and me, if we are going to wage war against evil. We must confess and turn away from our sins as the Spirit leads us, and permit the Spirit to crucify our self-will. This is what is going on today.

This is not the time to march against the external enemy. We ourselves must first be conquered.

The Trumpet Is Sounding

The trumpet is sounding in the spirit world. Christ is coming to whoever will receive Him in order to address the areas of sin and disobedience that are in us. It is time now for Christ to come to sufficient maturity in us that we can participate with Him in the war against evil.

"Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them." Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?" Jesus replied, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. (John 14:23)

The emphasis today is on Christ in us; the Father and the Son coming to dwell in us. We cannot do much about evil until the Godhead is dwelling and working in us.

Whatever good the teaching of "lawless grace" may have done, it has caused a tremendous loss of spiritual maturity on the part of the believers. God is moving today in an unprecedented manner. The only way by which we can move with God is by keeping the commandments given by the Lord Jesus so that God and Christ can live in us.

The way "grace" ordinarily is preached, the believers will continue under the impression that it is "nice" if we keep some of the commandments of Christ and His Apostles; but such obedience has nothing to do with our salvation.

Could there be a more destructive doctrine!

The actual truth is, we show our love for Christ by keeping His Word and the Words of His Apostles. If we do not, we are not a candidate for participation in the present climactic works of God.

We Always Are Being Born Again

The Lord Jesus always is standing at the door of our personality. He always is knocking. We always should be opening to Him. We always should be dining with Him—He on our obedience and worship; we on His body and blood, which are our resurrection and life.

We always are being saved. We always are being born again.

Think of a fertilized human egg. At initial conception it divides so there are two cells, and then four, and so forth. The baby is being born as a zygote, an embryo. The embryo becomes a fetus. The baby is being born as a fetus. The fetus becomes a viable personality. The baby is born as a person. The baby emerges into the world. The baby is born and takes his or her place in the family.

All of this is the forming of the child.

My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you. (Galatians 4:19)

"Is formed in you."

The same process that takes place in a human being takes place also in the Kingdom of God.

What ordinarily we term "born again" actually may refer to initial conception, the passing from death to life at the moment of belief and water baptism!

The Many Sons Are Born for War

You may notice in the following passage the birth of one Son, and then of many children.

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 things? Who has ever seen things like this? 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." (Isaiah 66:6-8)

The reason for the birth of Christ, and then Christ being formed in us and dwelling in us, is that God may be able to repay His enemies "all they deserve."

Christ, the Son, was born apart from a travail of the Church.

But when Zion, the Church, travailed, a number of children were born.

Let us turn now to examine a picture of the children being born of the Christian Church.

The Birth of the Male Son

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

The stars swept out of the sky and flung to the earth by the tail of the dragon are Christians who had been in Christ at the right hand of God but who then were deceived by the Dragon. We have seen such Christian victims over the last few years.

It (Antichrist) 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 Woman is Zion, the Church.

The Male Son is Christ who is being formed in us at this time.

There is a play on the singular and plural. There are many children; but in another sense they are one Person—Christ.

I have been teaching for several years that God wants us to learn to live by the Life of Christ until we are thinking as He is thinking; speaking as He is speaking; and acting as He is acting. All of our being and behavior are to be in concert with Christ, just as Christ lives in concert with the Father.

Do you remember Paul said: "I am not living any longer. It is Christ who is living in me"?

God intends to cleanse the earth of evil. The evil is coming from Satan and his angels and demons. Satan and his angels are mighty lords of ancient cunning. We are flesh. We are no match for them. We can do little or nothing about the proliferation of evil until it is Christ, the Male Son, who is thinking, speaking, and acting in us.

As a side note, let me suggest that the demons never were angels, nor did Satan create them. Satan cannot create living beings.

I have concluded that the demons at one time were people who refused to be delivered from sin and self-will. They are grotesque, showing in themselves the nature of their sin.

You can see what these rebellious humans look like in the demon masks and statuary of the Chinese, Buddhists, and Hindus.

The Lord Jesus Christ is willing and able to release anyone from the bondages of the demons and their own self-will. But we must be willing, and cooperate with Christ.

You may notice in the Book of Daniel that some people are resurrected to shame and everlasting contempt. I think this is because they appear in the likeness of demons.

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)

You may have observed that the faces of people who have lived in sin for many years begin to reveal their depraved state. This especially may be true for those who have reveled in sexual lust.

We humans are creatures of dust. We cannot drive evil from the creation. But the Male Son can. When He comes to maturity in us, we then shall be able to attack Canaan, the present home of rebellious spirits, to speak in a figure.

We cannot invade and conquer Canaan. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can do that!

When the Seventh Angel Is about to Sound

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

The days prior to the sounding by the seventh angel. These are the days we are in now. What will be true at this time?

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)

You may not regard Christ in us as being a great mystery, but reflect for a moment.

What do we celebrate at Christmas? Christ with us.

What do we celebrate at Easter? Christ with us.

How many sermons have you heard that emphasize Christ in us?

Yet, the idea of Christ being in us is the most important factor of the Kingdom of God. First, Christ is formed in us. Then the Father and the Son come and abide in that which has been formed in us.

My personal belief is that the spiritual work of Christ being formed in us is to take place just before the seventh angel sounds. When the seventh angel does sound, the kingdom of the world shall become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.

But how about the generations of Christian in the past who presently are in the spirit world? Will Christ be formed in them as He is being formed in us?

I believe so. If the program of redemption were to cease when we die physically, none of the Hebrew Prophets could be born again, and thus could not enter the Kingdom of God.

No person can enter the Kingdom of God other than by being born again. He who is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than any person who is not in the Kingdom. This is because Christ, who Himself is the Kingdom of God, is in those who are in the Kingdom.

And no person was born again until Christ rose from the dead and made His body and blood available to us. It is by receiving His body and blood that we are born again. We are born of His body and blood.

So, yes. Those in the spirit world are progressing in the program of redemption along with us. Otherwise the Bride would not be without spot or wrinkle.

For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. (I Peter 4:6)

Also, they could not participate in the war against evil if Christ is not formed in them. However, the knowledge of what is taking place in the program of redemption always is made known to those in the spirit world, through God's servants in the earth.

"Hear, O Heavens, and give ear, O earth!" Isaiah proclaimed. The message comes first to those in the spirit world, but it always comes through those on the earth. Such is true of all the Word of God. The Ten Commandments are an example of this.

Assemble before me all the elders of your tribes and all your officials, so that I can speak these words in their hearing and call the heavens and the earth to testify against them. (Deuteronomy 31:28)

Listen, you heavens, and I will speak; hear, you earth, the words of my mouth. (Deuteronomy 31:28)

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:39,40)

Actually those in the spirit world are closer to us and more involved with us than we may understand.

Notice that the emphasis on Christ being in us will occur just prior to the seventh angel sounding his trumpet; just prior to the taking over the rulership of the world by the Lord Jesus Christ.

I would suggest that we now are in the days immediately preceding the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet.

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

This means that the return of the Lord, and the making alive of our mortal bodies, is close at hand.

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 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. (I Corinthians 15:51,52)

"At the last trumpet, the seventh trumpet"!

It is interesting to note that the morning star, heralding the Day of the Lord, arises in our heart while we are coming to maturity in Christ. As we continually consider the many prophecies found in the Old Testament, we come across various aspects of the Kingdom of God that are revealed in the Hebrew Prophets, and they are helpful to us.

We also are to obey the many commandments found in the writing of the Apostles, asking Christ for wisdom and for strength in keeping them, Christ then is formed in us until we keep God's moral laws by nature.

This is the working of Christ, the Day Star, and is the goal of the new covenant.

We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (II Peter 1:19)

It all comes together, doesn't it? To think that we are living in the day when the Lord Jesus is ready to bring us into our land of promise! But we must be utterly faithful in obeying Christ as He helps us turn away from our sins; and also humble ourselves as He destroys the self-will from us. Otherwise we will be unable to enter with Him into the fullness of God's will and Presence.

The Bread from Heaven

As we press on in Christ, going from victory to victory, we are given to eat of the flesh of Christ and to drink His blood.

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. . . . (Revelation 2:17)

I cannot possibly overemphasize the importance of continually eating and drinking of Christ until we are living by His Life. The False Prophet already is arising in the world, and we are going to have to be part of Christ, not merely Christian believers, if we are to be able to survive the deceptions that are at hand. More about this in a minute.

Christ wants to enter us and live in us. We always have believed this, but today it is becoming much more urgent.

Christ, and Christ alone, can overcome the world, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet. We cannot possibly do this in our adamic nature. We can read our Bible and pray every day, and still be deceived.

The only protection from deception I am aware of occurs when we resolve to set aside our own life, take up our personal cross of deferred desires, and follow Christ at each moment.

In order to kill our self-will, Jesus sometimes permits Satan to place us in some kind of undesirable circumstance.

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

Notice that the reward for remaining faithful in our prison is "life"—the eternal, incorruptible, resurrection life that is the victor's crown." That life, that crown, will enable us to invade and conquer our land of promise.

Deception will be a powerful factor from now on, so that even the elect may be deceived. We must at once ask the Lord Jesus to help us confess and turn away from our sins. We also must learn to live cheerfully with our fondest hopes deferred for a season—perhaps for all of our life.

In short, we must place our treasures in Heaven. If we remain faithful, our treasures, if they truly will bring us righteousness, love, joy, and peace, will be ready for us when our time comes.

He who lives by continually eating and drinking of Christ shall never die. When he dies physically, he shall continue to serve Christ with his faculties intact. It will be as though he never died, for he will continue in God's Presence just as he did while living on the earth.

Triumphalism and the False Prophet

Previously in this essay I have alluded to the False Prophet. I have not preached much about the False Prophet during my ministry, but I have mentioned this topic in some of my writings. I do not recall ever hearing anyone preach about the False Prophet, although you probably have.

Antichrist, the spirit of the world, comes out of the "sea," that is, out of the ranks of mankind. His greatest activity appears to be buying and selling. We certainly can see his spirit in America! We indeed are a materialistic culture.

And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. (Revelation 10:1)

However, the False Prophet does not come out of the sea of mankind but out of the "earth," out of the souls of individuals. He comes from the love for the world, sexual lust, and the desire for achievement and preeminence that are in those who are self-willed. Thus, the False Prophet is the heart of Antichrist and will assist Antichrist in several manners.

Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. (Revelation 13:11)

Right here we discover the identity of the False Prophet.

"Horns" in the Bible represent power. The False Prophet has "two horns like a lamb." "Like a lamb means like the Lord Jesus. The False Prophet manifests power similar to that demonstrated by the Lord Jesus. The False Prophet will work miracles "like a lamb," that is, like Christ, and probably in the name of Christ.

The False Prophet speaks like a dragon. This is to say, it speaks as Satan does. Those words are: I will; I will; I will.

How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, "I WILL ascend to the heavens; I WILL raise my throne above the stars of God; I WILL sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon [in the remotest parts of the north].

I WILL ascend above the tops of the clouds; I WILL make myself like the Most High." (Isaiah 14:12-14)

It is my point of view that the False Prophet consists of Christian people who are behaving according to their own will rather than the will of Christ. They are not bearing their personal cross and following the Lamb wherever He goes.

I myself am a Pentecostal, or Charismatic we might say. Yet it appears to me that it is the Pentecostal-Charismatic believers who are most likely to become the False Prophet.

Why do I say this? Because unlike some of the other branches of Christendom, we stress the miraculous. We are accustomed to Divine healing, speaking in tongues, prophetic utterance, and other supernatural occurrences.

Miraculous events are encouraged in our churches. But there is one aspect of the Christian discipleship of which we, in many cases, are ignorant.

I am referring to waiting on the Lord until we understand His will.

Christian denominations often give the impression that they do not follow the Lamb, they trust the Lamb will follow them. They pray earnestly for Christ to bless their endeavors as they seek to save and heal a "lost and dying world." They take it for granted that if they move in this direction Christ will be with them and bless them.

The truth is, they often do not really know what Christ wants them to do at any point in time. They are assuming He wants them to "go out and get souls saved." If you caution them that they are making assumptions that may be unfounded, you might not be a popular person. You might receive the left foot of fellowship.

"Our work is God's work." Is it? Have we heard that from Jesus?

I set myself in Bible school, many years ago, to do only what Christ was asking of me. I have made numerous mistakes and have been deceived once or twice (I am an expert on being deceived!).

Deciding to do the will of God without compromise, as I look back after more than sixty years of discipleship, was far and away the best decision I possibly could have made.

I have kept plodding on behind the Lord, and today I am convinced more than ever that the right thing to do is to ask Jesus about everything and to make as few assumptions as possible.

Some Christian leaders are claiming we cannot hear Jesus today. They are mistaken. Perhaps because they cannot hear Jesus they suppose no one can.

So I find myself today alerted to the rise of the False Prophet in America and am setting myself as a watchman on the wall to call out to the believers that we are being deceived.

The immediate error I am noticing is that of the spirit of triumphalism. I first heard this term from Jan Willem Vanderhoeven, who probably is still residing in Israel. I haven't heard from him in many years.

The spirit of triumphalism entered the Latter Rain movement, although I am here to testify that in the beginning the movement was of the Lord.

Two choruses I remember are as follows. I remember only fragments, but they illustrate the spirit of triumphalism.

One was, "Sons of God march forward, in the power of the latter rain."

Another was, "Now is the time to take the Kingdom; rise up ye strong, 'tis Christ's command. For every pow'r and dominion, is given now into your hands."

The truth is, rather, that every power and dominion is given into only one pair of hands—those of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I heard Kathryn Kuhlman say on one occasion, "I do not have the power to heal. Only Jesus Christ can heal." This indeed is a liberating truth!

Without a thought of casting aspersions on whoever composed these exciting choruses, let me point out that they are not biblical.

Let your mind roam through the New Testament. Try to find any passage of the Apostles that encourages the attitude of triumphalism.

Let us think for a moment about the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews. This chapter is a definition of "the just shall live by faith."

There is not a whiff of triumphalism in this chapter. Rather it is a record of people by faith obeying God, often in difficult, painful circumstances.

In fact, the third temptation of Christ, the invitation to step off the pinnacle of the Temple, is the temptation of presumption, of triumphalism. What would have happened if the Son of God had marched forward in the power of the latter rain?

He might have ended up in the Kidron Valley with a banana peel on His head! His Father would not have honored His Son's presumption.

But we hear this all the time, don't we? "Step out in faith." "Give a check when you do not have the money in the bank; God will honor your faith." (This is an excellent way of ending up in prison.)

I remember a girl in Bible school who was having trouble reading. She told me she had gone to a healing revival. The evangelist had an anvil on the platform, and he invited people to come and smash their glasses. She did. Somehow God did not honor this presumption!

Maybe it is true that the preaching of "step out in faith" is providing the foundation for the coming triumphalism; for the False Prophet.

I suppose some of the preachers are sensing that Christ is drawing near to us. The Ark is coming down the road. So they are rushing to take hold of the Ark and try to use it for their own profit.

One teaching, that seems to have several branches, is the idea that the present coming of Christ to His churches is to give them power so they can establish the Kingdom of God before He comes.

Just think of it! We can praise God until the walls fall down. We can take the Kingdom. Every power and dominion will be subject to us.

If you are a red-blooded American, the thought of going forth in the power of the Spirit of God to do great things for God may be enough to get you moving, although you may not know where.

I preached somewhat along this line one Sunday morning.

After the service a brother said to me, "The two witnesses are going to work miracles, so there is nothing wrong with doing great works of power."

I said, "Here is the difference. The two witnesses are clothed in sackcloth, signifying that they are the most humble of all people. Like their Lord, they make themselves of no reputation."

The triumphalists of today parade about as apostles and prophets who are going to bring in the Kingdom of God, which will, of course, bring great glory to them.

They have no concept whatever of the Lordship and power of the Lord Jesus Christ. Should He appear in His Glory they would faint, as did the Apostle John. These apostles and prophets, like myself, are nothing and less than nothing. They can do nothing at all unless Jesus does it through them.

This is one colossal ego trip.

Yet, God's people will be deceived by it.

I remember a few years ago, when the "faith" message was riding high, that a young man claimed if the missionaries had had faith they would not have had to suffer. (Can you believe this!) This is the sort of error that occurs when you tell the believers that if they have "faith" they can do anything.

The problem is, it is not true faith. It is presumption, triumphalism, the third temptation of Christ.

You may have noticed, in the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation, that these firstfruits follow the Lamb wherever He goes. The triumphalists want the Lamb to follow them wherever they go.

I guess Audrey and I go back so far that we have experienced the real Glory of God, you might say. The modern "revivalists," and I won't mention names, are not the real Glory of God. They want the power and the glory of Pentecost, but they are working it up. It is not coming down from Heaven. You may have noticed that.

Why is this? It is because they are not following the Lamb. Perhaps they are speaking with the voice of the dragon: "I will, I will, I will."

The problem of triumphalism is not a small issue.

Glancing at Chapter 13 of the Book of Revelation we may observe that:

The False Prophet exercised the authority of Antichrist on behalf of Antichrist.

It is the self-willed Christians who will make the earth and its inhabitants worship the Antichrist.

It reminds us of several hundred years ago when both the secular governments and the Catholic Church ruled the nations at the same time. I think this joint rulership may be true of "Babylon the Great" plus the secular governments, as mentioned in the Book of Revelation.

If this is so, the secular governments finally will destroy the giant ecclesiastical denomination.

The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. (Revelation 17:16)

It may be true that there is coming a day when the self-willed Christians will demonstrate all the power of Antichrist, thinking Christ is giving them authority.

I do not know the meaning of one of the heads of Antichrist being fatally wounded. I do understand, however, that America is noted as being an unusually materialistic (Antichrist) nation. We pride ourselves on being independent and insisting on our own will being performed. These are the characteristics of Antichrist.

In the present hour, there are forces operating from within America that will remove our nation from God's protection. As a result, America will become greatly diminished as a world leader. Maybe this is what is meant by one of the heads of Antichrist being fatally wounded.

If this is true, after America has been humbled in the sight of God, it will rise again as a leading secular government, no longer exerting the moral force of Christ in the world. The fatally wounded head of Antichrist will be healed.

It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. (Revelation 13:12)

The triumphalist Christians, if in fact they compose the False Prophet, will perform great signs, causing fire to come down from heaven.

And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. (Revelation 13:13)

These signs caused earth's people to believe in the Antichrist. It may be difficult to believe that deceived Christians would order people to set up an image in honor of Antichrist. But I think this is what is going to take place.

It will be some kind of image of buying and selling. It reminds us of the great statue of gold set up by King Nebuchadnezzar.

What I am saying is that deceived Christians will advocate the accumulation of material wealth. Isn't it true that there has been a major move in America, informing the believers that if they have faith they can become rich?

Do you believe that this move is of God? I certainly do not! I believe it is self-willed Christians, triumphalists, who are aiding and abetting the Antichrist spirit which is so common in America today.

We are approaching the Christmas season in America. Already there has been violence among the Christmas shoppers. A major department store sponsored a parade in which transexual people were glorified. This in front of children! So much for our materialistic culture!

Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. (Revelation 13:14)

The Apostle Paul warned us clearly about the love of money.

Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. (I Timothy 6:9)

Yet there are preachers today who are telling us Christians ought to be rich so that the people of the world will have to borrow from us. Can Antichrist and the False Prophet be far off!

It is deceived Christians who will give life to the Antichrist spirit of buying and selling.

Speaking of the great religious (perhaps Christian) organization of the last days:

For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries." (Revelation 18:3)

The second beast, deceived Christians, was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, Antichrist, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed.

The verse above may be saying that the Christian churches will become the "voice," of Antichrist, adding to the Gospel message the "good news" that we all are to be rich in material wealth.

It is deceived Christians with the spirit of triumphalism who will cause all who do not worship the Antichrist spirit of buying and selling to be killed.

We might not think that Christians could be deceived to the point they would kill other Christians who do not believe as they do. But it happened years ago when the Catholic Church put to death Christians who did not join the Catholic Church. So it is not as far fetched as one might think at first glance. Also, in recent times the Catholics and Protestants in Ireland have been murdering each other.

This was an exercise of self-will on the part of the Catholic Church and the Christians in Ireland, wasn't it? I do not believe any Christian in his or right mind would claim that killing a fellow believer was the work of the Holy Spirit. How do you feel about this?

It is the False Prophet, the believers exercising power like the Lamb of God, who will force everyone to have the mark of the world in their right hand or forehead. Everyone must act and think like everyone else in the world, and participate in the constant acquisition of material wealth.

It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. (Revelation 13:16,17)

The number of Antichrist, and all who serve him, is 666. Six is the number of the day on which man was created. The trinity of sixes means that man is making himself God. This is the spirit of triumphalism.

This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666. (Revelation 13:18)

It is interesting to note that each year King Solomon received 666 talents of gold.

The weight of the gold that Solomon received yearly was 666 talents. (I Kings 10:14)

When the anointing for witnessing is lifted from the saints of the last days, the testimony then will be overcome by "Egypt," that is, by worldliness, as well as by sexual lust (Sodom) and self-will (Jerusalem).

The love for Christ of the majority of people on the earth will grow cold after the marvelous demonstration of Divine power of the two witnesses; after the testimony of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

I have written this brief essay so you will not be taken in by those who promise you how great you are going to be when they bring in the Kingdom of God. They are false prophets.

Actually, for those who remain true to Jesus in the coming days in America, the road may be rough. Some may be tortured or slain for the Gospel. They will have a greater appreciation of what it means to be an apostle. It will not be the glory trip they may be picturing!

This is what the Apostle Paul wrote about teachers who were seeking to impress the saints in Corinth:

Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again.

Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move.

I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers.

I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. (II Corinthians 11:23-28)

When I think of the Charismatic people in America who are talking about how it is time now to take the Kingdom, and compare their present life-style with the words of Paul above, it occurs to me that they may be romanticizing what it will be like during the mighty revival that even now is beginning.

Stay humble and lowly. That is the way Jesus is. Follow the Lamb meekly at all times. Whether He gives you minor or spectacular assignments, perform them faithfully and cheerfully. Then fade back into the woodwork, so to speak.

Clothe yourself with the sackcloth of repentance and humility. Make yourself nothing. Christ will exalt you when you need to be exalted.

I see the enemy approaching. His name is triumphalism. He sounds wonderful and glorious. But he will end up in a mud puddle. Don't go there with him. He is nothing at all. The Lord Jesus Christ is everything!

Christ will use you in His war against evil if you will keep pressing into Him and obey His every Word. Follow the Lamb wherever He goes. Paradise will be installed and operated on the earth in iron righteousness by the Lord Jesus working through people in whom He has been formed and is dwelling.

Make your own attitude that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage. Instead He emptied Himself by assuming the form of a slave, taking on the likeness of men. And when He had come as a man in His external form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8--Holman)

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From Conscience to the Law to Grace to Redemption

2014-04-13

Introduction

From Conscience

To the Law

To Grace

To Redemption

Appendix

Introduction

Sin is disobedience to God. There are two aspects of sin that must be considered if we are to understand the Divine redemption.

First, there is the guilt of sin. Guilt is God's attitude toward us when we are disobedient.

For two thousand years the Christian salvation has been viewed as the forgiveness of our disobedience, our sin. It may be a while before Christian people understand that forgiveness will not accomplish God's purposes in mankind.

The real problem, and the purpose of redemption, is directed toward the removal from us of the forces that cause us to be disobedient. Christ came to earth not primarily to forgive our disobedience to God but to remove the disobedience itself.

True redemption includes our deliverance from the self-seeking of our adamic nature and the unclean, disobedient spirits that live in our flesh.

The purpose for the forgiveness of the guilt of our disobedient behavior is to free us from the condemnation that proceeds from our conscience and the Law of Moses. Once freed from condemnation we can approach Christ confidently when He is ready to work with us in the removal of the desires to disobey God that dwell in us.

We are without condemnation on two bases. First, our sins are forgiven by the atonement made on the cross. This satisfies our conscience. Second, the Law of Moses cannot condemn us because we have counted ourselves as dead with Christ. The Law of Moses has authority over us only as long as we are alive.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1–NIV)

Such is the reason for the Divine grace that comes to us through the Lord Jesus Christ—it is to free us from condemnation so we can happily and confidently follow Christ at all times.

The Day of Redemption has arrived, I believe. God is ready to take back to Himself what has been lost. This means we shall be delivered from all disobedience—from all that separates us from God.

Although we are Christians, our body is dead because of the disobedient spirits that live in our flesh. The coming Divine redemption will remove all of this spiritual darkness, and then we shall be eternally alive—spirit, soul, and body.

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is physical death.

As I said, the Day of Redemption has arrived. As is true of all aspects of our salvation, when God's time comes for us to experience some aspect of redemption, we have to respond in faith in order to obtain the blessing.

This is true of anything we desire to receive from God, isn't it?

In the case of the removal of disobedience from our personality, including the casting out of the disobedient spirits from our flesh and the replacing of our adamic soul with the Nature and Person of Christ, we are to respond by confessing our disobedience and self-will as the Spirit points it out to us, and then turning away from it as Christ assists us.

Following are some of the many scriptural references that mention the redemption, the salvation that is to come at the end of the Church Age.

Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:14)

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

The Spirit of God has put a seal on us that will keep us righteous in God's sight until the Day of Redemption arrives. At that time we shall be released from the bondages of sin and self-will. I think that Day has begun, and we are to confess our sins and turn away from them. Also, we are to learn strict obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5)

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. (Romans 13:11)

The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:41,42)

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)

Sin is disobedience to God. Sin requires that God take two actions if He is to redeem us. First, that He forgives the sin. Second, that He removes the sinful desires.

Our disobedience proceeds from two main sources. First, from an uncrucified adamic nature as we seek our own will rather than God's will. Second, from unclean spirits that live in our flesh.

In order to address our sinning adamic nature, God must put us in situations that are grievous to us. Such are a cross to us, and must be borne patiently, although we always should pray that God will deliver the misery from us when we have been prepared fully for whatever destiny He has chosen for us.

In order to address the unclean spirits that live in our flesh, the Spirit of God points them out to us. We, through the Spirit, are to confess these indwelling spirits and renounce them vigorously.

The following are some of God's goals concerning us. They cannot be accomplished by forgiveness alone; only as all disobedience is driven from us, and Christ is formed in us and dwells in us.

The Christian people for so long have regarded the Christian salvation as being primarily the forgiveness of our sins that it may require many years before the understanding comes that redemption includes not only the forgiveness of our sins but also the removal of the sin itself.

If it were not for the removal of our disobedience to God, none of the following objectives could possibly be realized.

A House and Eternal Resting Place for Himself.

People in His Image.

A Kingdom in Which His Will Is Done.

A Family: a Wife for the Lamb; Sons for God.

Kings and Priests Who Can Govern the New World of Righteousness.

A Location for His Throne.

An Army along with the Army of Angels Who Can Drive Disobedience from the Creation.

*****

From Conscience

I wonder if it's possible that man originally had no conscience. Then, when Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, a conscience was installed in their personalities. Do you think this could be true?

All human beings have a conscience until they are disobedient to the point that they receive a mind void of judgment, a seared conscience. Even little children have a conscience, it may be noted.

For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another; (Romans 2:14,15)

Do by nature the things contained in the Law. The conscience of all people reflects the eternal moral law of God. The Ten Commandments are an abridged form of the eternal moral law.

The Ten Commandments, the covenant God made with the people of Israel, inform us of the difference between right and wrong. So does our conscience. The Law of Moses reinforces our conscience.

The problem with the Law of Moses is that it tells us clearly and triumphantly what our conscience may remind us of in gentle tones, but it does not provide the power to remove the forces of disobedience from us. We may run over the quiet reminders of conscience (although sometimes they shout at us or terrorize us). But the iron directives of the "you shalls" permit no compromise.

The Law of Moses is holy and good, but a new covenant is required if we are to please God by our behavior.

"The days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah." (Jeremiah 31:31—NIV)

By calling this covenant "new," he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear. (Hebrews 8:13–NIV)

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezekiel 36:26,27–NIV)

"I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees." Here is the perfect "Law of Liberty" of which James speaks, the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.

The new covenant does have that power. As we follow the Spirit of God, while pursuing the path of righteousness, we learn to embrace righteousness and renounce wickedness. Such is a most significant part of our growth in Christ. It is the mark of spiritual maturity.

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

To The Law

There are three phases of the plan of redemption. The first phase is the Law of Moses. The second phase is Divine grace. The third phase is redemption, or deliverance from the bondages of sin. God's people have experienced the first two phases. The third phase is beginning today.

The purpose of the Law of Moses was to make provision for transgressions. It never was intended to be a permanent solution to the forces that invite disobedience.

Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. (Galatians 3:19)

"Until the Seed should come." The final solution to the problem of the bondages of sin is the conception and forming of the Seed, Christ, within us. The new covenant is the writing of the Word of God, the Law of God, Christ Himself, in our mind and heart.

When the Seed is conceived and formed in us, we obey by nature the eternal moral Law of God. This is the rising of the Day Star in us. The Scriptures, both Old and New Testament, serve in an advisory capacity, guiding us like the Star of Bethlehem until we come to Christ, who Himself by His Divine Nature directs and enables us to serve God acceptably.

The Law of Moses is a guardian who brings us to the Teacher, Christ. Christ then takes charge of us.

This leaves a big hole, doesn't it? We no longer are under the Law of Moses, but the bondages of disobedience retain control over us.

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.

For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.

Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. (Romans 7:14-20–NIV)

Can you see that the above is not speaking about the guilt of sin but about disobedience itself? Disobedience to God is a force in us. Guilt is God's attitude toward our behavior when we obey the force of evil in us.

That the Law of Moses cannot possibly deliver us from our disobedient nature is made clear by the Apostle Paul.

What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, "You shall not covet." But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting.

For apart from the law, sin was dead. Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. (Romans 7:7-11–NIV)

We can understand from the above the reason why Paul referred to the commandments of Moses interacting with a sinful human being as the "law of sin and death."

If the Law were effective in delivering us from our sinful nature, when Paul read in the Law that he was not to covet, Paul then would have striven successfully to overcome coveting.

But because the Law could only proclaim what sin is, and did not have the power to remove intense sinful desires, Paul's reaction to the Law that commanded him not to covet was: "But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead."

We realize from Paul's words here that the Ten Commandments, while a perfect although incomplete summary of the eternal moral law of God, was not an eternal solution to the problem of sin dwelling in the heirs of salvation.

Sometimes we say, "Christ has taken away my sins." What we actually mean is, Christ has taken away the guilt of my sins. Many of us have not experienced Christ taking away the compulsions of disobedience in us.

But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. (Romans 7:6–NIV)

"The new way of the Spirit." Does that remind us of Ezekiel: "I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees"?

It appears to me that we Christians have regarded "grace" as the means of lifting the guilt of our sins from us. But we have not known how to serve God in "the new way of the Spirit." Actually, the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans tells us how to serve God in the new way of the Spirit.

When we tell people how to get "saved," we inform them only how to get rid of the guilt of their sins. But this does not provide a house for God to live in and find rest, which is a major aspect of His purpose in redeeming man.

The second through the fifth chapter of the Book of Romans is an exhortation to Jewish people, advising them that now that the promised Seed has come, they can obtain righteousness through faith in the Seed.

By faith in the Seed I do not mean merely believing about Christ, but embracing Christ to the point that He is able to deliver us from the bondages of sin.

Below is a passage that sums up Paul's exhortation in the second through the fifth chapter of Romans:

However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works. (Romans 4:5,6–NIV)

When Paul uses the term "works," in this section of Romans, Paul means the works of the Law of Moses. I think this has not been understood in Christian theology.

We Gentiles, not particularly understanding that Paul was speaking to Jews in this part of Romans, may think Paul was saying that the one who does not behave righteously is justified by faith. What Paul actually was stating is the person who does not obey the statutes of the Law of Moses can be justified by faith in Christ.

Is there a difference between striving to lead a righteous life according to the Law of Moses, and striving to lead a righteous life by following Christ?

There is a very great difference. Paul pointed out that our attempt to lead a righteous life according to the Law of Moses will not be completely successful because the Law makes no provision for deliverance from our sinful nature.

However, our attempt to lead a righteous life by following Christ can be completely successful because of the power and Virtue contained in the grace given to us in Christ.

Since we do not understand what "the new way of the Spirit is", and believe that God is ready to consider us as righteous even though we do not obey His eternal moral laws that always must govern the behavior of the righteous, we Christians are in destructive moral confusion.

By "works," in this part of the Bible, is meant the works of the Law of Moses, not the behavior of people apart from the Law. The purpose of Divine grace enables us to turn away from the Law of Moses and fasten our attention on Christ. We Gentiles, in many cases, are teaching that the purpose of Divine grace is to permit us to behave in an ungodly manner and still have fellowship with God.

What a truly awesome error in interpretation this is! It has destroyed the moral strength of the Christians in the United States. Divine judgment even now is falling on us with the intention of bringing us to faithful obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Divine grace provides freedom from striving to obey the Law of Moses, not freedom to live in an ungodly manner!

For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)

It is obvious that in John's mind, it is grace and truth that replace the Law of Moses, not immoral behavior.

To Grace

I have pretty much covered what I wish to say about Divine grace. We of today limit the definition of "grace" to "forgiveness" (although its usage in the New Testament includes more than "forgiveness").In any case, we use "grace" to indicate we no longer are required to follow the laws of moral behavior set forth in the Old Testament writings, and that are found in the conscience of all people, Christians and non-Christians alike.

We of today are using "grace" to mean a new way of being accepted by the Lord, different from godly behavior. And no wonder! We do not understand how to live in the new way of the Spirit. No one has told us how, perhaps, and so what else is there beside the Law of Moses and the grace of forgiveness?

I do not criticize the Christian teachers of the past. What I believe is happening is that the promised Latter Rain is falling, beginning with the opening of the Scriptures to us. We have been blind, perhaps, to what the Bible actually teaches.

The theology of Dispensationalism has not helped, by doing away with the essential moral teachings of the Old Testament.

I may be mistaken, but I think some are teaching that once we go to Heaven we still will be accepted by "grace," even though we still sin.

In short, we have been taught that as long as we are living in the world, and perhaps in Heaven also, we still will be bound with the forces of disobedience.

I think the Lord Jesus Christ has a better redemption for us than that! Do you agree with me?

It is easy to conclude, from Paul's arguments in the early chapters of the Book of Romans, that since God is saving us by grace it now is permissible to disobey God, Christ, and the Apostles of Christ. Perhaps this conclusion accounts for the following verse:

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? (Romans 6:1)

Do you get the feeling that the Apostle is indignant at this point? I certainly do!

Paul would say, "What is the matter with you that you should draw such a conclusion, when I have told you over and over that those who practice the sins of the flesh shall not inherit the Kingdom of God!"

The acts of the flesh 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–NIV)

Shall not inherit the Kingdom of God!

It may be noticed that when Paul was warning about sin, he did not employ the Ten Commandments as such. Rather He spoke of those behaviors which the consciences of most people would regard as against God's eternal moral law.

Do you think Paul would rebuke us today with our teaching of "free grace"?

God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (Romans 6:2)

Now what does this mean? What does it have to do with the "new way of the Spirit"?

"Dead to sin." Does this mean physically dead? Obviously not.

Does it mean the forces of sin that control us have no life in them? Paul will deal with this in Chapter Eight.

Does it mean it does not matter if we sin? This would go against many statements made by Paul in His epistles.

Well then, what does it mean?

"That are dead to sin" means that since we have counted ourselves as dead with Christ on the cross, the Law of Moses, that by which sin is determined, does not have authority over us.

Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? (Romans 7:1)

Here we are again. We are counted righteous by faith, so there is no solution to the problem of the lawless motivations that control our behavior.

We are counting ourselves as dead with Christ on the cross so the Law of Moses has no authority over us. So there still is no solution to the problem of the sins that control our behavior.

This is where we are today in our Christian thinking, aren't we?

But notice that Paul is not content with our remaining in this state.

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. (Romans 6:11,12)

"Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body."

"Alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." Does this statement give us any insight into "the new way of the Spirit"?

So we are righteous by faith and not by keeping the Law of Moses. More than that, since we have died with Christ we are not under the authority of the Law of Moses.

Yet, we have been commanded to not let sin reign in our mortal body.

I have heard it said so many times, have you? that as long as we are alive in our mortal body during our lifetime on the earth we always will sin.

While I was in Bible school I was told that the world was waiting for someone who would do God's will perfectly. The idea was that doing God's will is so extraordinarily difficult that the greatest saints of history never have fully performed God's will.

What a lie Satan has persuaded God's people to believe!

It is impossible to overcome sin, it is maintained, even though the Book of Revelation teaches us that the rewards we usually associate with the Christian life are reserved for the overcomers. Even so, "it is impossible for us to overcome sin" is declared loudly and sometimes belligerently.

If this is not confusion, I do not know what is.

Let me drive a lance through the heart of this satanic lie right now.

First of all, we can overcome every sin by following Christ carefully. When the Spirit of God points out to us a sin we are committing, we are to confess it clearly and denounce it with all the determination we can muster. If there is any indecision or compromise at this point, Satan will continue to reside comfortably in us.

There is no sin Christ cannot remove from us. By "sin" I am not referring to the guilt of sin but to the forces of disobedience themselves. Actually, sin is an unclean spirit dwelling in our flesh. If it is not dealt with severely now, being a spirit it may follow us into the spirit world when we die.

As to doing God's perfect will, multitudes of people throughout the history of the world have done God's perfect will for themselves, I believe, although many of them may not have realized it.

What is so difficult about doing God's will? Will you tell me that?

Enough of this foolishness. Right this minute look up to God and pray, "Father, help me to do Your perfect will this moment. In Jesus' name, amen."

Ask God if there is something you should be doing that you are not doing. Also, is there something you are doing you should not be doing.

If He says yes to one or both of these two questions, ask God what it is that is not pleasing Him and would He please help you to behave accordingly.

What a mess! Enough of this lie!

Walking joyously with the Father and Son with a clear conscience is the only acceptable behavior of the Christian life, and is our inheritance. Anything less than this must be corrected if the believer is to be able to look confidently and joyously to the prospect of dying and going to be with the Lord Jesus in Heaven.

To Redemption

The eighth chapter of the Book of Romans tells us how to follow the Lord Jesus in the new way of the Spirit.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1–NIV)

As I stated previously, the two agents of condemnation, our conscience and the Law of Moses, have been taken care of. Our guilt has been forgiven on the cross of Calvary, which satisfies conscience. The accusations of the Law of Moses do not apply to us because we count that we have died with Christ on the cross, thus condemning the lawlessness that dwells in our flesh.

Therefore we are without condemnation in God's sight.

It is not that there is no condemnation for those who are casual in their relationship to Christ. Rather, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ, that is, growing into a closer relationship to Christ each day.

In the preceding chapter, Paul bemoaned the fact that although he no longer was under the authority of the Law of Moses, he still had sin dwelling in his "body of death."

But because his faith was rooted in the Lord Jesus, and he was following the Spirit of God to victory after victory, Paul was righteous in the sight of God concerning those sins not yet brought to his attention, or those sins over which he had not as yet been able to gain perfect, complete victory although he had confessed them and had turned away from them to the best of his ability.

Sometimes believers get trapped into a hopeless wrestling against some sinful compulsion. Here is how you get out of this trap.

Let us say you are very proud and arrogant. You hate this tendency in yourself.

So you confess your attitude to Jesus and ask Him to remove it from you. You do this as resolutely and determinedly as possible.

The Lord by His Word has promised to forgive you and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. This He has done on the basis of your confession and determination to change (I John 1:9)

It is finished, as far as God is concerned. His Word cannot fail or be changed in any manner.

It may be that meanwhile God will show you some underlying factor of which you are unaware that is contributing to your pride and arrogance. You then are to confess that contributing compulsion and ask Jesus to remove it from you.

So you continue your Christian discipleship. All of a sudden you are in a situation where the pride and arrogance reveal themselves. Remind Jesus that you have confessed this attitude previously and have asked Him to deliver you.

Now laugh at yourself, and go on your way rejoicing. If you do this, the day will arrive when you discover that you no longer are proud or arrogant.

Maybe the Lord will humble you by some means, or maybe not. It does not matter. Your deliverance is up to Christ. The ball is in His court, as we say. You have done your part. He will do His part.

Go on your way rejoicing, as I said.

There is no provision in the Old Testament or the New for willful, knowledgeable sin, only for those sins of which we have not as yet become aware, or have been confessed and renounced.

It never is acceptable to God that a Christian continue living in known sin. God has made a way for us through Christ to break the most severe bondages in our personality, although, as I have stated, total deliverance may be some time coming.

But it certainly shall come, if that is what you truly desire. More on this in a minute.

As Gentiles, we might view Romans 8:1 (above) as, "of course". We simply cannot understand what an awesome experience the transfer of Paul's faith from Moses to Christ actually was. We probably have not had to make such a momentous transition.

Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2—NIV)

"The law of the Spirit who gives life"!

The law of sin and death we understand. Paul described it in the preceding chapter. It is the Law of Moses working together with the forces of sin in our flesh.

But exactly what is the law of the Spirit who gives life, and how does it set us free from the law of sin and death? Is it the same as "the new way of the Spirit" we mentioned previously? Probably so.

Does this mean that if we turn from the Law of Moses and follow Christ, the Spirit of God will keep giving us more resurrection life, and therefore the bondages of sin will be broken as we keep serving Christ? Also, we no longer need to be concerned about our inability to obey the Law of Moses?

Yes indeed! We thus are free from the law of sin and death.

I have preached on several occasions that when we choose to turn away from a temptation to sin, the Lord Jesus feeds us with His body and blood. And Christ's body and blood are eternal resurrection life.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)

He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:56,57—NIV)

"Even he shall live by Me." "Live by Me"! We have made eating the flesh of Christ a ceremony we practice in church. It is, rather, the way we are to live!

When we consider the above, it seems to me that if we follow Christ at all times, and ask Him to give us victory over sin, He will provide us with the power of Divine Life that will enable us to overcome the bondages of disobedience to God.

Could this be the new way of the Spirit? New, by comparison with the old way of striving to keep the commands of the Law of Moses? This sounds reasonable to me.

So we cannot gain victory over the sin that dwells in us by keeping the commands of Moses, but we can by calling on Christ for help.

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.

And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:3,4–NIV)

The Law of Moses cannot enable us to keep God's commands because it does not give us the power to overcome the sinful compulsions that dwell in our flesh.

God, seeing that the Law of Moses could not enable us to be a suitable house and resting place for Himself; could not make us in His moral image; could not enable us to observe the eternal moral laws of the Kingdom of God; and could not persuade us to obey Him when He required of us that we follow a certain course; solved this problem by sending His Son as a sin offering, thus condemning the sin that dwells in our flesh.

I believe I would like to pause for a moment and consider the statement: "And so he condemned sin in the flesh."

What does this mean? I believe it means God revealed His attitude toward sin by the unimaginable sufferings of God's Lamb. God never, never overlooks sin. He deals with it until it is resolved in His mind. God is absolutely just and righteous!

Perhaps the reader may view the statement above as unnecessary. All of us Christians understand this, don't we? But do we truly understand that God's attitude toward sin never has changed and never shall change because it proceeds from God's moral nature?

We may realize in the present hour with what seriousness God views sin. But there is an influence coming into the world that may be stronger and more widespread than we realize.

We may picture Antichrist as an evil looking individual with reptilian eyes, holding a bottle of whiskey in one hand and embracing a girl with the other, crying "Be deceived."

Such a person would not deceive many Christians, I believe.

But what if Antichrist appears as a gentle individual who is highly respected and universally admired, who loves everyone and teaches us that God never would condemn an individual. All are welcome at God's table, abortionists, pedophiles, sexual perverts, and the rest. We must be inclusive and not make anyone feel unloved!

"We must cease condemning people and set out to feed the hungry and give shelter to the poor," he or she lovingly suggests.

Would Christians follow such a leader? No doubt the United Nations and the European Union would be in accord with his teachings. Also, some Church leaders.

The world does not enjoy the idea of sin. People wish it would go away. They do not want to be accountable for their actions. This is why the fanciful doctrine of evolution is becoming popular in the United States.

Where would Christian stand in this issue? We do not realize how deeply the philosophy of Humanism has affected the Christian believers. But the god of Humanism is not the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Humanism knows nothing whatever about our Lord Jesus; about the Fire of Israel!

I would imagine that the only "sin" recognized by a Humanist would be an action that interferes with the comforts or "rights" of an individual. God's attitude toward the action is not even to be considered.

If Antichrist does present this sort of attitude to mankind, I think he will be quite successful—much more so than if he appears only as just another politician with grandiose ideas. Satan is a master of cunning and deception.

So God's attitude toward sin is an important factor in the Divine redemption. If God actually is in love with people and is ready to forget about their bondages and behavior, and embrace them as His family, then the Bible is misleading.

The Bible states that God portrayed His attitude toward sin by the incredible torments administered to the Lord Jesus, the flood of Noah, and the fiery destruction of Sodom.

But I state without reservation that God has a plan of redemption that is infinitely more desirable than the fuzzy blandishments of well-intentioned, kindly ministers of the Gospel or the reasoning of secular philosophers.

After all, if the god of Humanism gathered to his bosom the thieves, murderers, sodomites, and pedophiles, who are abundant in the American society, and whispered "sweet nothings" in their ears because of his "love" for them, they still would be an abomination to decent people who were endeavoring to raise boys and girls in a wholesome society.

Let the young men and young women frolic in the same bathroom and in the same shower, and encourage the grandfathers to involve their grandchildren in sexual activities—all of this might delight the professors and political leaders of our day.

But those of us who are seeking to preserve our sanity in the American culture do not want to live in the same kingdom with such warped individuals, unless they seek Christ and are redeemed from their former lifestyle.

Let me add that the assertion that we hate such people is nothing more than a device to keep us from expressing our disapproval of their conduct. As the old saying goes, "Love the sinner but hate his sin." It is nothing but foolishness to believe that God-fearing people are going to join with the world and admire the morally sick among us.

But that does not mean we hate moral deviants. We assuredly will help them in every way to escape from the bondages of Satan when we are able.

What is sinful and what is not sinful is decided by God alone. No matter how society evolves in its thinking, that fact never has changed and never shall change for eternity. It is an unshakeable rock and we safely can depend on it.

I do not know about you, but what I have expressed seems reasonable to me!

God demonstrated His attitude toward sin by the sufferings of the flesh of His beloved Son. In this manner sin was utterly condemned, never to be whitewashed by soulish "love."

Let us continue with Romans 8:4:

Now, when we turn from Moses to Christ, the righteousness that would have been ours if we were able to keep all the requirements of the Law of Moses, is attributed to us. Who is it who will accuse us of unrighteousness when we are obeying Christ? Christ Himself is at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us.

It may be true that the preachers of today understand about the attributing of righteousness to us; but they may neglect a necessary condition: that we do not live by the dictates of our sinful flesh but by the dictates of the Spirit of God.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezekiel 36:26,27–NIV)

I will move you to follow my decrees. How utterly marvelous! How liberating for those who love righteousness and want to please God! It solves the problem of disobedience, doesn't it?

Can this possibly be the new way of the Spirit that is not well understood by us? We turn from following Moses to following Christ, meanwhile taking heed to the written commands of Christ and His Apostles as well as Christ's personal guidances to us, until Christ is formed in us and we obey God by nature—Christ's Nature formed in us? Is this what the Spirit of God is accomplishing in us?

It would be a wonderful blessing to live as Jesus does, with His Life in us. This is my desire. Notice how Jesus showed very little concern about money, and yet God always provided what He needed. This would be a release from slavery to the world (and from Antichrist) wouldn't it?

Let's all pray that this will be true of us.

We now are in the part of our essay that deals with "deliverance from sin."

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. (Romans 8:5–NIV)

Living "in accordance with the Spirit" means we continually are seeking to think along with Jesus; speak along with Jesus; act along with Jesus—behaving in concert with Him as He behaves in concert with the Father.

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

This may seem impossible to a new Christian. But we must pray continually, whenever we think of it, asking Jesus to enter our personality. He then dines on our obedience and worship. We dine on His body and blood. Little by little our life and His Life become one Life. This is necessary if we are to gain full victory over sin.

Let us look more closely at the redemption of the body, that for which Paul was eagerly waiting.

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. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. (I Corinthians 15:42-45—NIV)

If we are abiding in Christ, our resurrection body will be imperishable, glorious, powerful, and spiritual. In fact, those who attain to the resurrection that is unto life will be life-giving spirits, just as our Lord Jesus is.

When we understand how marvelous it will be to have an imperishable body of endless strength, and free from sin, we then will perceive how central the hope of the resurrection is to the Divine redemption.

It is of interest that today the emphasis is on getting us to Heaven. There is a little but not much of this hope in the New Testament.

The emphasis of the New Testament is not eternal residence in Heaven but the resurrection from the dead and the absence of a perishable, sinful body.

If we of today thought at all about our resurrection body it would be that it would be more pleasurable to live in than is true of our present flesh and blood. But Paul saw the resurrection body as redemption, as release from the bondages of disobedience to God.

But I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? (Romans 7:23,24--NIV)

But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. (Romans 8:10–NIV)

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23--NIV)

The release of our physical body from the bondages of sin is central to the Divine redemption. I am not aware that much is said today about this redemption and release from sin. How do you feel about this? Had we better start emphasizing attaining to the redemption of our body? This was the goal of the Apostle Paul.

I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—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. (I Corinthians 15:50-52—NIV)

The above is an interesting thought that is not always presented. Flesh and blood human beings cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. Our perishable body must be changed from a living soul to a life-giving spirit if we are to enter the Kingdom of God.

This transformation will occur at the sounding of the last trumpet for those who have prepared themselves.

The last trumpet will sound at the end of the rule of Antichrist, at the conclusion of Daniel's seventieth week.

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices n heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever." (Revelation 11:15–NIV)

And as for our preparing ourselves:

"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 God's holy people.) (Revelation 19:7,8–NIV)

"His Bride has made herself ready"!

The wedding announced in the passage above is the first of two weddings. The second is the wedding that will take place when the new Jerusalem descend through the new sky to be installed for eternity upon the new earth.

In the second of the two weddings the Bride of the Lamb is prepared by others, probably by those who attained to the resurrection when Christ next appears.

In the first of the two weddings, the Bride of the Lamb prepares herself by performing the "righteous acts of God's holy people." Let us carefully take note that if we hope to be redeemed when Christ next appears, we have to practice the righteous works in which Christ leads us. In short, we will be clothed in the "fine linen" of our own righteous conduct.

But what of the future of those have pursued the fullness of the Divine redemption?

The Lord Jesus shall divide the spoils with the strong.

Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:12)

"He will divide the spoils with the strong."

We are co-heirs with Jesus. What is His and our inheritance?

Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen [nations] for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. (Psalms 2:8)

Have you ever thought about inheriting the nations of people and the farthest reaches of the earth as your inheritance?

Just as Joshua divided the land of promise among the Israelite people, so Jesus will assign to each victorious saint his or her people and land.

We may have thought that the spirit Heaven is our inheritance. It is not. People are our inheritance as well as the earth. A much better inheritance indeed!

You may believe that a mansion in Heaven is a better inheritance than is true of people. This is because God has not revealed to you the value of people as an inheritance. The truth is, one person is a more valuable inheritance than a thousand heavens. I guess the truth of this has to come as a Divine revelation.

However, our greatest inheritance will be to be with the Lord Jesus where He is, in the Bosom of the Father—and this for eternity. There is no other inheritance that can compare with this!

Many years ago I had a dream. In my dream I was on a ship that was foundering. The sailors had taken the lifeboats. The passengers were jumping overboard and drowning.

I could see in the distance the sailors on the shore of an island. They were holding hands and playing ring-around-the-rosy.

I jumped overboard intending to swim to the island. Suddenly I noticed that the water was only waist deep, and so I began to walk back to the other passengers who were drowning in their panic, to tell them to stand up straight.

Please listen to me. The water is only waist deep. Through Christ we can gain total victory over every sinful bondage. Through Christ we can do the will of God completely and joyfully. Satan has flooded the churches with a lie.

THE WATER IS ONLY WAIST DEEP. THROUGH CHRIST YOU CAN OVERCOME SIN AND OBEY GOD PERFECTLY.

Notice further:

Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. (Romans 8:12–NIV)

You do not owe your flesh anything that you must live according to its disobedience. You instead can choose to follow Christ. He will see to it that you have the strength to overcome temptation. But you must live a good Christian life, praying and reading your Bible each day.

When the Spirit of God makes you aware of a sin, confess it to Christ and denounce and turn away from it with all your might. Christ will forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9). This promise is just as sure as John 3:16. Same author!

You are not obligated to sin here or in Heaven. Don't forget, Heaven is where sin began and dying and going to Heaven will not solve the problem of sin in your life. Only Jesus Christ can do that. He is our Savior. Deliverance from sin does not proceed from physical death.

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

If we choose to live by eating the flesh of Christ and drinking His blood we will have the strength of the Spirit of God to kill the sinful actions of our flesh. Then we will increase in eternal resurrection life, the Life of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The expression "ye shall live" refers back two verses:

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)

If we are to be made alive and caught up to meet Jesus in the air when He appears we will have to have His body and blood in us. The eagles will be gathered to the slain Lamb in the air.

His body and blood are our resurrection Life. We will slay our own resurrection if we choose to live according to the desires of our flesh.

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54)

From conscience to the Law of Moses, to Divine grace, to redemption. Such is the program of the Divine salvation. Make certain that you press forward to the fullness the Lord Jesus Christ has for you. I will do the same.

Let all of us now turn from the Law of Moses, and from sinful behavior, and live in the new way of the Spirit.

"Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed."--George Duffield, Jr.

Appendix

I have stated that under the new covenant we can be set free from the bondages of sin and self-will. The deliverance God has provided is set forth in the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans.

Chapters Two through Five tell us we can be righteous apart from the Law of Moses.

Chapter Six informs us that if we Christians continue to sin we will die spiritually, that is, not be resurrected unto life in the Day of Resurrection.

Chapter Seven has two messages for us: first, that because we have counted ourselves dead with Christ on the cross, we no longer are under the authority of the Law of Moses.

Second, there are intense desires to sin dwelling in our flesh. The Law of Moses points them out but makes no provision for removing them from us.

Chapter Eight begins by telling us there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ. There are two bases for our freedom from condemnation. First, our sins are forgiven through the blood atonement made on the cross of Calvary.

Second, because we are dead with Christ, the Law of Moses no longer has authority over us.

However, to this point we have no solution to the intense desires to sin that dwell in our flesh.

The following verses tell us what to do about the desires to sin that dwell in our flesh:

Verse Two of Chapter Eight informs us that through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set us free from the law of sin and death.

The Law of Sin and Death is our sinful nature interacting with the Law of Moses.

Here is the way God delivers us from the desire to sin. The Law of the Spirit of life sets us free from the Law of Sin and Death by dwelling in us and moving us to follow God's decrees and to be careful to keep God's laws.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (Ezekiel 36:26,27–NIV)

Under the new covenant, the Holy Spirit takes the place of the Law of Moses. It governs us from within our personality. The Spirit of God forms Christ in us, who then arises as the Day Star. The desires to sin, as we confess and turn away from them, are replaced by the Divine Nature. The Spirit of God accomplishes this in us. This is how the new covenant operates.

Verse Three goes on to tell us that the law was powerless to enable us to keep the commands of the Law because it was weakened by our flesh. God responded by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh.

God showed us by the sufferings of Christ, God's attitude toward sin. God condemned sin on the cross. This is extremely important for us to understand because in our day there is a willingness on the part of many political and religious leaders to accept sinful behavior as being normal.

For example, sodomy (homosexual behavior). God revealed His attitude toward sodomy by the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, including Lot's wife.

The philosophy of Humanism, which is influencing Christian thinking at this time, will not tolerate anything that appears to conflict with the pleasures, comforts, and "rights" of people. Thus we are seeing an erosion of the fear of God, the fear of the consequences of acting against His will.

God condemned sin by the sufferings of Christ in Gethsemane and on the cross of Calvary. The individual who wishes to please God will regard sin with God's attitude.

Verse Four tells us that Christ was willing to suffer for our sake the consequences of sin, although He Himself had no sin, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

I have put the words above in bold because today's preachers, while they insist that God attributes the righteousness of Christ to us, do not always add the condition that such attribution is effective only as long as we live in obedience to the Spirit of God.

And in Verse Five: Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. (Romans 8:5–NIV)

Verse Six: The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. Continual deliverance from the desires of sin depend on our keeping our mind on Christ.

This is so important as the antics of Satan and the demons are becoming increasingly prevalent. We are tempted continually to curse the darkness. We are not to fret but to remember that God is working all things for our good.

Verse Seven: One reason we have such trouble with the bondages of sin and self-will is that we think, plan, imagine, scheme, instead of looking to the Lord Jesus constantly. We do not invite him into our daily problems as often as we should. We absolutely must learn to live by Him as He lives by the Father if we in America are to continue to stand before Christ and do His will throughout the coming days of chaos.

Verse Eight: We simply cannot grow in the ability to embrace what is good and renounce what is evil as long as we are controlled by our fleshly mind. We must pray sincerely for the mind of Christ!

Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

Notice carefully the following:

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)

All true Christian have the Spirit of God living in them. I am not that certain that all church attenders in America who profess to be Christian are really Christians.

How can I say that? A Christian by definition is a disciple of Jesus Christ. In order to be a Christian we have to carry our cross of deferred desires for many years. We have to obey the Master every moment of every day. Unless we do that we are not a Christian and do not have the Spirit of God dwelling in us.

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. (Romans 8:9–NIV)

But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. (Romans 8:10)

The passage above tells us why we are without condemnation. We are righteous when Christ is being formed in us. The righteousness of Him who kept the Law of Moses perfectly is attributed to us.

However, the presence of the desires to sin welling in our flesh are spiritual death, and God regards them as such. But we are accepted because of the efficacy of the atoning blood of God's Lamb. We have been sealed unto the Day of Redemption, at which time we will receive a body having no tendencies toward sin in it.

Meanwhile God deals with the self-will in our soul by subjecting us to various imprisonments, in which we must remain faithful if we are to be set free from the greatest problem of all—disobedience to God's will concerning us!

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

Please consider carefully the above passage. This is what redemption (salvation) is all about. The release of our mortal body from the power of death is the goal of redemption. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is physical death.

In the following two passages we notice that the Apostle Paul was looking forward to the redemption of his body in the Day of Resurrection as the means of releasing him from the power of the sin in his flesh.

But I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? (Romans 7:23,24–NIV)

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23–NIV)

This redemption will take place when the Lord appears, but only for those who have attained to the resurrection in their inward nature. God will not clothe an infantile, self-centered believer, who never has chosen to follow Christ with a whole heart, with a incorruptible, resurrection body like that of the Lord Jesus.

God will not put new wine in old bottles!

I would imagine all of us can see the sense of this. But today's overemphasis on grace and "faith" (actually belief) has left God's people with the impression that once they "accept Christ" (an unscriptural expression) they can continue to lead a careless, worldly life and when they die they will hear "good and faithful servant."

As wild as this sounds, it is what is believed by millions of American Christians.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. (Romans 8:12–NIV)

The twelfth verse certainly exposes the lie that as long as we are in the world we have to sin. Paul informs us that we owe our flesh nothing. "We have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it." If people would read their Bibles they would see we cannot be compelled to commit sin! Christ has a better plan of redemption for us than that!

And now to the means of following the Spirit as He sets us from the bondages of sin that we might be prepared for the redemption of our mortal body in the Day of Christ:

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

How do we do this? Simple as pie. We look to Christ at all times. The Spirit will reveal to us our bondages. We confess clearly what has been shown to us (not what we imagine!) and renounce it with all our might. Then God will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Just as simple as that.

If we keep that up long enough, the time will come when we have total victory. And why not? Our sinful bondages are not infinite, they are finite in number. Of course, we must live as a true disciple, obeying Christ, praying and reading our Bible every day, gathering with fervent disciples on a regular basis if possible..

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. (Romans 8:14–NIV)

We are led by the Spirit of God in the war against sin. If we follow and obey Him faithfully, we will live in victory.

I actually can see today the rise of the False Prophet. The False Prophet, I believe, consists of self-willed "Christians" who are filled with a spirit of triumphalism and are being taught that any day now they will be filled with great glory and power to perform mighty acts of power—by means of which they will be greatly exalted.

They will give life to Antichrist while thinking they are following Christ. The relationship of the False Prophet can be studied in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation.

God has not called us to do great self-glorifying works of power. Rather, if we are to be part of the two witnesses of the last days, we will have to be clothed with the sackcloth of repentance and humility—free from the ugly monster of self-will!

It never is God's will for a Christian to continue in known sin. As long as he has confessed and renounced his sin, and does what he can to avoid temptation, God, according to His Word, will clothe him or her with a body of incorruptible life in the Day of Resurrection.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9–NIV)

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Living in the Spirit of God

2014-04-20

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)

Did you ever wonder on what basis there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus?

Actually there are two bases. The first basis is that those who are in Christ Jesus have asked for the forgiveness of their sins because of the atonement made on the cross of Calvary.

The second basis is that those who truly are "in Christ Jesus" have counted that they have died on the cross with Christ. They have not merely "accepted Christ." They have been baptized in water to demonstrate that they no longer are alive in the adamic creation but have become one with the Lord Jesus in His resurrection.

Because they count themselves dead with Christ, the Law of Moses no longer can condemn them when they break any part of the Law. The Law has authority over only the living.

Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. (Romans 7:4)

These two factors, the atonement made on the cross, and our death with Christ on the cross, are what "grace" is.

What is the purpose for this twofold Divine grace?

The Divine grace makes it possible for us to forsake the guilt of our sins and the accusations directed at us by the Law of Moses, and to look to Christ continually without being condemned.

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)

It is at this point that current Christian teaching is in error. The current error maintains that "grace" forgives our sins so we can live pretty much as we please. If we succumb to the temptation to commit adultery it is unfortunate. But it will not prevent our going to Heaven when we die because "grace" has covered our sin.

As a result of this incorrect teaching the Christian churches in America are filled with spiritual babies. They have not grown in Christ. Why not? Because they do not know how to live in the Spirit of God.

Romans 8:5-14 tell us how to live in the Spirit of God. Living in the Spirit of God will keep us without condemnation. Also, we will grow in Christ which means growing in the ability to distinguish between good and evil, to embrace the good and renounce the evil.

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

Living in the Spirit of God is the same as living in victory over sin.

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:5)

"Living after the flesh means that we think, plan, imagine, scheme, in our fleshly mind. Instead we should be acknowledging the Lord Jesus in all we are thinking, speaking, and doing. This means praying without ceasing.

We simply cannot live in the Spirit of God unless we are talking to the Lord Jesus throughout every day and night about what we are thinking, speaking, and acting. There is no part whatever of our daily life that is to be conducted apart from Jesus.

The local football team where we live is projected to play in a few days against a historic rival. The newspaper gives the impression that our city is in a ferment concerning this significant game. It is spoken of on the front page of the paper every day.

This is nonsensical. There are tragic events taking place in Africa at this time, as well as in Syria and Egypt. In comparison, a football game is of no importance. I think numerous Christians as well as pastors are occupied with the outcome of this athletic event. This is spiritual death!

We are supposed to be looking continually to Jesus at all times to understand what we are to be doing to please Him. If we are not, we certainly are not living in the Spirit!

For most of us, Jesus is not speaking to us concerning a football game!

You can be certain that while our minds are on the things of the world, Satan is setting traps designed to lead us into sin.

Do you know who is given the Spirit of God by the Lord Jesus? Those who are obeying God!

We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him. (Acts 5:32)

The Holy Spirit is a member of the Godhead, just as is true of the Lord Jesus. He----the Spirit—gives gifts to each member of the Body of Christ, just as Eliezer of Damascus gave gifts to Rebekah's family. The purpose of the gifts was to facilitate the removal of Rebekah from her family so she could be brought to Isaac.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (I Corinthians 12:7)

All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. (I Corinthians 12:11)

I wonder if we of today understand why the Spirit gives gifts to the churches. It is to draw out and perfect those who finally are to be a bride for the Lamb without blemish of any kind.

Notice the authority of the Spirit in the task of preparing the Bride of the Lamb:

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them. (Acts 13:2)

"Set apart for Me"!

It was the Lord Jesus who poured out the Spirit of God on the waiting disciples when the Christian Church was born.

God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. (Acts 2:32,33)

If we keep the commands of the Lord, He will ask the Father to give us the Spirit of Truth.

If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—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 14:15-17)

When the Christian church was given birth, it was born speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues enables us to pray to God when the burden in us is so deep that we cannot give utterance to it in our own language.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. (Romans 8:26)

This is a great help to us during our discipleship, as those who are able to speak in tongues can testify.

Please let me digress for a bit. At the turn of the twentieth century the gift of tongues, along with other manifestations of the Spirit of God, was expressed in a number of Christians who were praying fervently for the restoration of this manifestation to the believers.

Speaking in tongues is a somewhat dramatic intervention of God. As such it has become a point of interest to Christian people. Some receiving this ability and others referring to it in a derogatory manner.

Speaking in tongues is not a fruit of the Spirit, as are love, joy, and peace, but if employed correctly along with a dedicated Christian life, speaking in tongues leads to the fruit of the Spirit.

Speaking in tongues is a God-given intervention to the Christian people, as is evidenced by the New Testament. Since the Spirit of God is a gentle Dove, and easily can be insulted, speaking in a scornful manner of tongues is injurious to Christian growth, as I have witnessed.

If a scornful attitude toward "tongues" does not cease, the believer will find himself or herself as a "Pharisee," stoutly defending the Scriptures but unable to relate to Jesus Christ personally. There is a real danger here and to despise what God has given has destructive results.

The purpose of praying in tongues it to help us live in the Spirit, that is, in the rest of God where we seek at all times to do what God has assigned to us from the beginning of the creation.

For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, "This is the resting place, let the weary rest"; and, "This is the place of repose"—but they would not listen. (Isaiah 28:11,12)

God has planned, from the beginning of time, works of righteousness for each of His elect to perform. We must cease from our own works and obey the Holy Spirit at all times. He will lead us into all Christ has determined for us.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

Notice in the passages below the role our mind plays in learning to live in the Spirit of God:

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

I commented previously about spending our time anticipating the results of a football game. Is doing this a sin? Not in the ordinary sense, as are fornication and adultery. But it is spiritual death to the fervent disciple who is seeking to learn to live in the Spirit of God.

To be engaged in the fleshly things of the present world is spiritual death, even though we are not committing what ordinarily are considered to be sinful deeds. Yet Christ is not building us up in His body and blood while our mind is occupied with the passing things of the world.

Living in the Spirit of God is extremely difficult in the United States because of the abundance of things and activities that may be harmless in themselves but which readily distract us from seeking the will of Christ.

Jesus always is standing at the door of our heart. He wants at all times to enter and feed us with His body and blood, which are our resurrection life. If we thus are not receiving that feeding, we will not be ready to be resurrected and caught up to Him when He appears.

It is our mind that is at issue here.

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (Romans 8:7)

We probably would not think of our mind being the enemy of God, but it is. God desires to be in all our thoughts and plans. But our mind seeks independence.

Do you know, the day will arrive when every saved person will be living in the Spirit of God. Every saved person will be obeying Christ completely. But there will be much turmoil and suffering before this becomes reality. Also, many individuals will find themselves in the Lake of Fire because they simply will not obey the Lord Jesus.

So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:8)

I dare say the majority of Christian believers in the world today are "in the flesh." This is to say, they go about their daily business thinking their own thoughts; speaking their own words; and performing their own actions.

They do not know how to enter the eternal Sabbath in which our thoughts, words, and deeds are always brought before the Lord Jesus for His approval. Thus they are not pleasing the Lord.

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Romans 8:9)

It used to be said in the Pentecostal movement that if a believer did not speak in tongues he or she did not have the Spirit of Christ. Although I speak in tongues a great deal, and have for more than sixty years, I do not believe speaking tongues, as valuable as it is, is the sure indication that the believer has the Spirit of God.

There are people who speak in tongues who lie, cheat, steal, cause division, are immoral, and exhibit every satanic behavior one can imagine.

While these people may speak in tongues, they assuredly have not the Spirit of Christ and are none of His. "By their fruit you shall know them"!

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (Romans 8:10)

If Christ is living in us, feeding us daily with His body and blood, our spiritual nature is alive because of the righteousness of Christ attributed to us. However, our body is spiritually dead because of the sin that is alive and active in it.

The next four verses have to do with the resurrection of our mortal body, the filling of it with the Spirit of God. This is the redemption of our body and is our goal, as it was that of the Apostle Paul. Our goal is not eternal residence in Heaven. That is not scriptural. Our goal is the redemption of our mortal body.

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is physical death. In order for our mortal body to be replaced with eternal resurrection life, we first must gain victory over sin and self-will. The Spirit of God helps us do just that.

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Because we have the promise of an incorruptible body, we owe our present flesh nothing that we should satisfy its corrupt desires.

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. (Romans 8:12)

By continuing to live in the thoughts, words, and actions of our flesh, obeying our sinful mind, we place in jeopardy our resurrection unto eternal life. Those who are trusting in correct doctrine to insure their resurrection unto life are deceived. It is not doctrine but the Life of the Lord Jesus Christ that will make us alive in that Day!

The following verse informs us of a practice that is to be part of our Christian discipleship until we die and pass into the Land of Light:

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

"For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die" is looking back two verses. It means our mortal body will not be made alive in the Day of Resurrection.

Our body will be raised, in that Day. But it will not be filled with the incorruptible resurrection life of the Spirit of God. It will be brought back to life, animated and set on its feet, by Divine power, by the same power that activates the universe and the angels.

The eternal Life of the Lord Jesus is the very Life of God Himself. It not only continues for eternity but it continues in righteousness, love, joy, and peace.

Those who have killed their spiritual nature by yielding to the desires of the flesh will be raised from the dead and clothed with the corruption they have sown. As Daniel prophesied, they shall be raised to shame and everlasting contempt. The Life and Presence of God shall be denied to them.

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:8)

As we continue to live in the Spirit of God, pressing forward in Christ each day, the Spirit points out to us the spiritual death that resides in us--all that is not in the image of God and does not behave like God.

We then, being guided and helped by the Spirit of God, confess our ungodly desires and actions accompanied by a fierce determination to never, with Christ's help, act in that manner again.

Upon hearing our confession, Christ will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. This means He will weaken that area of darkness in us until the life has been removed from it. Also, Christ will put in our mind and heart a resistance to this behavior.

This does not mean necessarily that the evil spirit has been removed from us, only that the fire and life have been removed from it. It shall be removed totally in the Day of Resurrection if we have been faithful.

Should we turn back into sin, that spirit will revive and be stronger than ever. This tells us that we always are cycling upward in eternal life or spiraling downward in eternal death, eternal separation from the Life of God.

The wages of sin is spiritual death!

It is the Spirit of God who brings us to Christ, just as Eliezer, Abraham's servant, brought Rebekah to Isaac.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14)

The Spirit of God always is leading us to increasing holiness, and holiness brings eternal life.

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

There is water to the ankles; water to the knees; and water to the waist. Then there is water to swim in, where we are part of the water and controlled by the water. It is at this level that we have become a tree of life, a source of eternal Divine Life for the dead nations of the world.

Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3)

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Appearing With Christ

2014-04-27

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children [sons] of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:18-21–NIV)

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 1:10–NIV)

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)The eighth chapter of the Book of Romans begins by telling us that if we choose to live in the Spirit of God, we are without condemnation. Then Paul goes on to tell us that the attitude of our mind is important if we desire to live in the Spirit.

Paul tells us also that the Spirit of God will assist us as we seek to put to death the sinful deeds of our fleshly nature.

As we follow Paul's thinking in Chapter Eight, we see that he emphasizes the fact that we are children of God. We therefore are heirs of God, co-heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ, and shall be glorified along with Him when He is revealed to the world.

Then Paul speaks of the glory that shall be revealed in us. It shall be so great that our present sufferings appear relatively unimportant by comparison. The Book of Second Corinthians tells us about the sufferings of Paul. As great as they were, Paul obviously felt that they were not sufficient to keep his flesh under control, so in addition he beat his body.

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

Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (I Corinthians 9:26,27)

I hear that today there are preachers who are telling people, mostly Charismatic believers I think, that Christ is coming today to grant them great power. Apostles are going to be restored. The Christian people are to bring in the Kingdom of God on the earth before Jesus returns.

Such foolishness! This is a spirit of triumphalism. It is, in fact, the rise of the False Prophet who seeks the power of the Lamb but speaks with the voice of the dragon. That voice is: "I will, I will, I will." Such people will support Antichrist during the closing days of the Church Age.

These believers know little or nothing about cross-carrying obedience. They are filled with their own ambitions. They are not willing to share the sufferings of Christ.

It reminds me of a young man in our church who is undergoing training to be a member of the United States special forces. He will be proud and happy when he can graduate as a Seal. But the training is rigorous indeed!

The present batch of Charismatic believers (of which I am one) are not accustomed to being told we have to deny ourselves. We have to submit to God's prisons for many years, and to do so without complaining.

In actuality, God has to bring is very low indeed until we are clothed with the sackcloth of humility. We have to undergo years of rigorous training until we are ready to be revealed to the world as a son of God!

No, we not going to move about according to our own presumption, covered with the Glory of Christ, invincible, stretching forth our hand and summoning the dead from the cemeteries. We shall be brought low until we learn to thankfully survive one day at a time.

We must be taught obedience by the Spirit of God until our bones respond instantly to the slightest desire of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must bring every thought, word, and action to Him until we can say with Paul, "I have been crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I am living. Yet it is not I who am living but Christ who is living in me."

God will create this state in us if we will ask Him to. When He does, we will cease uttering foolishness about the great things we are going to do for God; or how we are going to bring in the Kingdom of God so we can present it to Christ when He appears.

Jesus warned us that deceivers would come, preachers and teachers who know nothing of the sufferings of Christ but who are seeking their own advantage. Well, they are here today–-in America at least. We had better flee from such if we don't want to lose the Spirit of Christ!

I notice the current crowd of deceivers do not stress righteous behavior or walking with the Lord Jesus humbly and in strict obedience to the Lord.

How attractive it is to think of sitting in our nice warm homes and directing the creation by "faith." Such a vision is not right. Anyone who truly knows the Lord Jesus will reject it.

I realize we are in the time of the Latter Rain. It is a fact that God intends to entrust His victorious saints with the power of the seven thunders. They will work miracles as they give a true testimony of God and of His soon-coming Kingdom.

But they will not do so while they are relaxing comfortably in their middle-class American homes. Pentecostal people will not do the works of the Prophets and Apostles until they are willing to share the sufferings of the Prophets and Apostles.

What is being presented today by these so-called apostles is a host of magicians doing marvelous things. The people who are promoting this "revival" are seeking their own wealth, glory, and advantage.

You will be wise if you keep away from them.

I have noticed that some ministers of our day, and some politicians also, do not have integrity. They make their living by manipulating people. Perhaps there should be a course in the Bible schools on integrity. As it is, the students watch the senior ministry and learn scheming and conniving rather than prayer and obedience to Christ.

How many pastors lie to the IRS about the amount of the offerings. Perhaps they justify their deceit because they realize that the people of the government often lack integrity.

The apostles and prophets of the Bible, men and women alike, were people of absolute integrity. They practiced righteousness and walked humbly with God. Therefore God made them reinforced bronze walls. Their enemies could not overcome their testimony.

Maybe it is time today for us to set aside our grandiose visions of how we are to stun the ungodly with our display of miracles, and first learn integrity and righteous behavior.

If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless, words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them.

"I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you," declares the Lord. "I will save you from the hands of the wicked and deliver you from the grasp of the cruel." (Jeremiah 15:19-21)

God has absolute integrity of Character. He expects each one of His sons to have absolute integrity of character.

The troubles affecting the people of the earth in our day are the birth pains of the Kingdom of God. The expectation (premonition; anxious longing) of the creation waits for the revealing of the sons of God. The creation may not be aware of this anxious longing, but it is a fact.

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19–NAS)

The verse above truly is a remarkable statement. We ordinarily do not think of the created world eagerly waiting for Christ and the other sons of God to appear from Heaven and present the Divine Glory to the people of the world. In fact, we might expect the opposite to be true of the world.

So how could Paul say such a thing?

I think the answer may be that there is a deep-seated hope in mankind for a better world. At Christmas time we in America often like to surround our children with presents and candy canes so they will be happy. There is an optimism in most of us that somehow this valley of the shadow of death is not all God has for us.

We have hoped our deceased loved ones are in a better place. In so many instances our Christian leaders have not told us that God's plan is to bring Heaven to the earth in the form of the Lord Jesus and the saints.

The idea of Heaven being our eternal home is a myth. It began at some point in the history of the Christian churches.

The Bible teaches rather that God is preparing sons in His image who shall appear with Christ and remove from the whole earth the presence and handiwork of Satan.

Let the sea roar and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth; he will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity. (Psalms 98:7-9--NASB)

For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12–NASB)

I remember as a boy, Malley's Department Store, in New Haven, Connecticut. During the Christmas season Malley's had a Toyland that to one little boy was one step below Heaven itself.

You know, this is the way the world is supposed to be. The Land of Light in the spirit world is like this the year around. The Land of Darkness is the opposite. The environment of the Land of Darkness, in the spirit world, is like the areas of the earth today where the wicked govern.

I am deeply grieved about the children in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, the border of Syria, and in the Christian communities in Egypt. Yet all I can do at this time is pray.

This is Satan's work in the earth. When Christ appears with His brothers, justice will be restored.

Such a transformation not only is the hope of the peoples of the nations, it is our Christian hope also. But we have to wait for God to prepare His victorious saints. When the saints have learned obedience to Christ, Christ will lead them from Heaven into the earth. Then all that is of Satan will be removed.

The only darkness remaining will be the self-will of people, their desire to obey themselves rather than Christ. This is why during the Kingdom Age, Christ and His saints will govern with the rod of iron righteousness. Then God once again will be present on the earth.

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope. (Romans 8:20–NIV)

It was not the idea of people that the physical creation should be a valley of the shadow of death. It was and is God's idea.

People foolishly blame God because there is poverty, sickness, famine, or some other frustrating condition. It is a fact that God in His love has subjected all of us, Christians and everyone else, to corruption and frustration.

But if it were not for these painful conditions, the world would be one great sexual cesspool. God hopes by permitting Satan to bring corruption and death into the world that out from this valley of the shadow of death God will be able to create a royal priesthood who will successfully govern the new world of righteousness.

Once the royal priesthood, with God's Lamb at the head, has come to the earth to govern, as we see in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation, righteousness, love, joy, and peace shall be everywhere, except in the areas of darkness reserved for the disobedient.

It must be true that God has kept this hope alive in many of us, so we are not pessimistic but full of joy concerning the future. I myself am along in years, but I do not fear death. I know Christ will take care of my family in a far better manner than would be possible to me.

How do I view death? Like I used to look forward to the summer holidays. School was out, which I always hated. The spring piano recital was over, which I always dreaded. A glorious vacation with nothing to do but swim, run through the woods, play with friends, and otherwise do as I pleased.

This is how I picture my approaching passing from the valley of the shadow into everlasting Christmas.

That the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:21–NIV)

"Decay" is a good term to describe the present world. Since I am getting older and my body no longer obeys me as I would like, I am looking forward to a body that always responds wonderfully to my desires. Never gets tired or sick. Never is weak. Best of all, it no longer wants to serve sin.

I do not know all that will be included in the "freedom and glory of the children of God." But I can understand that it will be like being released from prison. Really, our present life is a period of testing so God will be able to understand how we will behave when we receive the true riches.

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. (Deuteronomy 8:2--NIV)

Don't be so foolish as to fearfully grasp this present life. It is a testing period, and also an opportunity to learn obedience to Christ, not a time during which we are to enjoy ourselves. Obedience to Christ is the main lesson, and my observation is that many believers in Christ have never learned to look to Christ at all times to see what His will is for them.

I knew of a Christian lady who said that at the beginning of each new year she would get a word from the Lord concerning what that year held for her. That is mighty "slim pickings" from my point of view. I want to hear from the Lord Jesus twenty-five times a day at the very least. How about you?

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. (Romans 8:22)

It is so true, isn't it? Did you ever drive by a hospital parking lot? They usually are full of cars. Inside there a numerous tragedies as people find out they are positive for cancer; or their small child has leukemia; or their loved one actually has had a heart attack.

I have been there. Have you? Why then should we grasp the present life when God has something a million times better for us?

If we have a deceased love one, unless he or she has been a wicked, malicious person, we shall see him or her again in a much better world where the children play all the day.

But this is not the end of the story. As soon as God has finished perfecting us, we shall return from Heaven with the Lord Jesus, drive out all the spirits that disobey God, and live in an unending Christmas.

Do you know what Paul's goal was? It was to be delivered from his sinful body.

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)

Perhaps many of us are not that concerned about the sin that is resident in our body. But the Apostle Paul was, and that is why he was looking forward to the redemption of his body.

But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:23,24)

Just consider what Paul was anticipating!

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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (I Corinthians 15:52-54)

We do not often hear Christian people groaning that they might experience the resurrection from the dead in order to be free from the bondages of sin. This is because the "grace" teaching has confused us concerning the consequences of sinful behavior.

Hopefully in our day we are beginning to understand that "grace" is not an alternative to being conformed to the image of God.

Grace is in two parts: first, the forgiveness of our sins through the blood atonement made on the cross of Calvary.

Second, the release from the condemnation of the Law of Moses as we consider ourselves dead with Christ on the cross and alive with Christ in His resurrection.

As soon as grace has set us free from the guilt of sin and from the condemnation of Moses, we then are free to press forward each day into the resurrection of Christ so we can gain victory over the sins that plague us.

But the final outcome is the redemption of our body, as the Lord Jesus returns from Heaven and fills our body with the Spirit of God, removing every tendency of sin that is resident in us.

Eternal residence in Heaven is not our goal, because Christ is coming to rule on the earth; and we don't want to be in Heaven when Christ is on the earth. At least I don't!

Our true goal, like that of the Apostle Paul, is the redemption of our body. This must take place before we can be revealed to the world as a son of God.

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 15:57).

Amen.

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The Rule of Self and the Rule of God

2014-05-04

The Rule of Self

The Rule of God

The Rule of Self

I WILL; I WILL; I WILL; I WILL; I WILL

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. (Isaiah 14:12-15)

It may be true that much of the Christian religion is the head of man on the Body of Christ.

As we consider the history of mankind, one fact stands out. It is not often that any person, religious or not, seeks to abandon his or her own plans and motives and seek the will of God in every aspect of his or her life.

The story of man is that of the creatures of the dust doing their own thinking, planning, imagining, hoping, scheming, speaking, and acting. I believe God has let this self-direction proceed for six thousand years so angels and people can understand the folly, frustration, and destruction that has resulted from our kicking God's upstairs that we might pursue our own course.

Read the newspaper today and tell me I am incorrect. Isn't it true that people try one method and then another to bring righteousness, love, joy, and peace? Have we succeeded? What is our next plan?

Would you believe that God did not give us a mind so we could direct our own life but so we could one day learn to acknowledge God in all our ways?

Our natural mind, our physical mind is the enemy of God. Think of that!

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. (Romans 8:7)

Our brain is not the enemy. It is neutral, a computer in our head, so to speak.

Our mind is the way we perceive the world. The mind that is hostile toward God began, I believe, when Adam and Eve rebelled against the command not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It is the human desire to be independent. After all, God walked around in the garden in Eden. They could have asked God if He had changed His mind concerning the forbidden tree. But they did not.

God is here among us in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are free to ask Him about everything we do. Do we, or do we not, ask God about everything in our life? If not, why not? Does the Bible tell us that God will gladly give us wisdom if we ask?

I do not understand how I discovered that all people (and this will be true in the coming world of righteousness) are not to be directed by their own mind but by the Mind of Christ in every aspect of their life. It probably arose in my understanding because I have a fierce desire to be obedient to God in all matters. This is a gift, I know, and I am thankful for it. It is a gift worth praying for!

In any case, I realize that all we think, all we say, and all we do are to be brought to Christ for His wisdom and power.

This may seem like a difficult way to live. It absolutely is not! It is no more difficult to keep acknowledging Christ than it is to carry our daily load of worry, concerns, problems, and frustrations without Christ.

It does require that we keep looking to Jesus all through the day and night. Perhaps this is what the Apostle Paul meant by praying without ceasing. Do you suppose?

There is sin, and then there is self-will. These two realms of spiritual darkness keep us in chains. They both are evil. But the most destructive is self-will.

Think for a moment about the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Standing just before the Veil that concealed the Most Holy Place was the Altar of Incense.

The Altar of Incense represents worship. But that worship represents a giving over of our will to the will of God. Saying "Not my will but Yours be done" is the highest expression of worship. Did you know that?

In order to proceed from the Holy Place into the Most Holy, and the Persons of Christ and God, we have to ask God to help us give over our will to Him. Until we do this we cannot possibly come to the fullness of the stature of Christ.

The River Jordan portrays symbolically the same death to our will. Until we say, and mean, "Not my will but Yours be done," we cannot cross over into our inheritance, the Land of Promise.

You know, there is quite a bit of praise and worship in the current Christian churches in America. But it seems to me it is not always true that "Not my will but Yours be done" accompanies the "worship." After all, singing praises accompanied by beautiful music is pleasant. It does not always proceed from the cross.

This reminds me of a passage in the Book of Hebrews:

And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant. (Hebrews 9:3,4–NIV)

It appears that the priests presumptuously moved the Altar of Incense from its position in the Holy Place into the Most Holy Place alongside of the Ark of the Covenant.

By moving the Altar of Incense the priests destroyed the symbolism. It gives the impression that worship and praise are all God wants; but such is not the case.

It is the Ark that is all important, not the Altar of Incense. The Ark represents the Day of Atonement, the time in which God is reconciled to the people. The Day of Atonement deals with our sin and self-will. We can be filled with sin and self-will and sing beauteously to the Lord (actually to ourselves). But the sin and self-will in our personality are not dealt with!

We worship, worship, worship, and never turn over our will to God!

When God was looking for someone to preside over His Kingdom, His new world of righteousness, His response to the original rebellion, He chose the Word.

The Word, having been with God the Father from untold aeons past, had never been tested in obedience until God sent Him to the earth. Perhaps dying and passing into the spirit world will not make us obedient. After all, disobedience began in the spirit world around the Throne of God!

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. (Hebrews 5:8)

The lesson continued until the climax in the Garden of Gethsemane.

"Not My will but Yours," cried the Son of Man and Son of God. It was this decision that saved the world and insured the eternal Kingship of Jesus Christ. No other man, even strengthened by an angel, could have passed this test.

The fear was that Christ would never see His Father again!

There was another man, far less perfect than God's Lamb. He made an agonizing ascent up Mount Moriah because God asked him to offer his son as a burnt offering. He had waited a quarter of a century for this boy, a cheerful, bright lad.

"What will I tell Sarah when I return alone?"

As imperfect as he had been in his life, he believed God. His faith resulted in his stern obedience to God, as genuine faith always does.

What a miniature forerunner of Gethsemane! And thus Abraham became the father of all who believe.

If you or I are to have a role of leadership in the new world of righteousness, we too shall have our Gethsemane, but not exceeding what we are able to bear. Will we say at that time, "Not my will but Yours be done"?

The lessons of the Bible inform us that God has to move our will out of the way before He can accomplish His purposes in and through us.

The Apostle Paul had endured so much opposition that he had the sentence of death in himself that he should trust God who raises the dead rather than himself. The Book of Second Corinthians recounts some of Paul's suffering.

In addition, Paul was afflicted in some manner, perhaps with an infection in his eyes, so that God's power might not be hindered by Paul's abilities.

Jacob was brought to the end of himself before he became Israel.

I notice in the church in Smyrna that God permitted Satan to put some of the saints in prison. If they were to gain the crown they had to remain where they were placed until God granted release.

We overcome by loving not our life unto the death. It is death to the rule of self that is at issue. God is not interested in our ambitions or creativity. He desires that His Kingdom come to earth, meaning His will is to be done in every particular.

The installation of God's will in the earth will not be accomplished by the ability of people but by the Spirit of God!

Do you want God to rule your life, or would you prefer to have your own way in many situations? Be wise. "Let go and let God." Enter His rest so you can discover what He has planned for you from the beginning of the world.

Think for a moment about humanism and democracy. When I refer to "humanism" I am not speaking in a Renaissance, cultural sense, but of the system of thought that places human being and their rights and welfare above God.

In today's world, democracy often is thought of as being "Christian." It assuredly is not. It is the operation of the will of the people as they seek to govern themselves. How can the rule of people be the same as the Kingdom of God, in which or God's will takes the place of our will?

Likewise the philosophy of humanism which seeks the rights and welfare of human beings is a masterful ploy of Satan. It places our happiness above the desires of God.

How do you think a humanist would feel about God having His Son suffer as He did? A humanist would have nothing to do with such an assault upon the "rights" of Christ.

In numerous instances, the best things that happen to us take place when we suffer or are denied our "rights." It is through suffering and denial that we grow in Christ.

We cannot be a disciple of the Lord Jesus until we are willing to have our most fervent desires denied to us for so long a period that we place our hopes in Heaven and plod along, one faithful step after another.

God is far more concerned with our obedience than He is with our "happiness."

"I am shut up and cannot come forth," the psalmist groaned. Have you ever been there?

Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth. (Psalms 88:8)

Do you think God has forsaken you while you are seeking to be popular? No, He is refining your inner nature so in the resurrection the personality of Christ will be seen in you.

Humanism and the Bible do not see eye to eye.

As far as democracy is concerned, Christ and His saints will have to govern the nations with the rod of iron righteousness for a thousand years, because of the self-will that has been encouraged by the concepts of humanism.

Antichrist is "against Christ." He is against the rule of Christ and favors the rule of himself. It is as simple as that, revealing that both humanism and democracy are forms of the antichrist spirit.

Even after a thousand years, when the great I WILL is released from the Bottomless Pit, many of the citizens of the Kingdom of God will gladly join with Satan and seek to overthrow the camp of the saints. God shall destroy them all with fire, which certainly is not a nice humanistic thing for God to do!

The world tells us we should be "in control." The psychologists and the teachers tell us we should be "in control." In some instances the religious leaders encourage us to "go forth and do great things for God."

But I tell you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, all of this accent on what we poor creatures of dust are supposed to do in order to gain righteousness, love, joy, and peace will come to nothing of eternal value.

The greatest prayer anyone ever will pray is, "Father, not my will but Yours be done."

I heard one "minister of the Gospel" state that if we pray for someone who is sick to be healed, and then say, referring to God, "Your will be done," that we do not have faith. Can you imagine, telling us that if we say, "Not my will but Yours be done" it is because we do not have faith?

"Not my will but Yours be done" is the greatest declaration of faith any human being ever will make! The statement by the minister revealed that she still believed in the rule of self. ("If we pray for someone to be healed, and we have 'faith,' then they should be healed whether or not it is God's will.") Perhaps without realizing it, this is what she was declaring.

Do you believe our "faith" should insist that our will be done whether or not God agrees? I certainly do not!

When we take the position that we have been crucified with Christ and now it is not we who are living but Christ who is living in us, we then are oriented properly to the new covenant. The Law of Moses, which governs only the living, no longer has authority over us. We are free to flow with the will of Christ as it is revealed to us.

There is a false "rest" in which we become indecisive. It is true rather that we are not to wait for Christ to "move us." We are to blunder ahead in our customary fashion, but always praying for Christ to guide us. We acknowledge Him in all our ways.

He who obeys Christ, obeys God. He who disobeys Christ, disobeys God. He who ignores Christ and seeks to rule himself, ignores God and will end up in misery.

God's commands are not grievous. To follow Christ carefully, always obeying Him in every detail, certainly is a delightful manner in which to live.

I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. (Psalms 40:8)

Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight (Psalms 119:35)

The Rule of God

The "rule of God" is another way of saying the "rest of God." It is a way of living in which every thought, word, and action is part of the will of Christ for us. Such a way of living may seem impossible of attainment. It is not impossible at all!

It is the way Christ lives by the Father and in the Father.

As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:57)

Eating Christ's flesh and drinking His blood is a ceremony we observe in church. Actually, it is supposed to be the way we live. What we do in church is to remind us that this is how we are to conduct our life.

As we keep calling on the name of Christ to enable us to overcome sin, Christ feeds us in the spirit realm with His body and blood. This is to be happening continually. It is not difficult. Such is the normal Christian life.

The rest of God is one of the principal, if not the principal, topic of the Book of Hebrews. The key to understanding the rest of God is the following passage:

Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my rest.'" And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. (Hebrews 4:3–NIV)

The key is this: "His works have been finished since the creation of the world."

God's works have been finished since the beginning.

This statement means that every aspect of your life and my life was completed at the time of the creation. Also, a role in the Kingdom of God was assigned to us.

Thus our discipleship is a most wonderful adventure, discovering each day what God has planned for us!

God has stipulated in advance the affairs of our life. God has set forth in advance our role in the Kingdom of God.

Now, here is the issue.

Our full grasp of the marvelous inheritance God has planned for us depends on the choices we are making every day. Paul spoke of taking hold of that for which Christ took hold of him.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (Philippians 3:12–NIV)

It appears from the above that our life and our role in the Kingdom are not just handed to us. We have to keep pressing forward. In the case of Paul, this is a remarkable statement, given the progress he already had made.

Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:11)

Compare Paul's attitude with that of today where believers are taught that once they "accept Christ" the next stop is Heaven!

So we have to keep pressing forward in Christ at all times. Why is this? It is because of the "rule of self." Our "self" has its own ideas of what we should be thinking, speaking, and acting and keeps seeking to exert itself in place of the rule of God.

We understand, therefore, that our Christian discipleship is a contest between the rule of self and the rule of God.

All of our waking moments this battle continues. The Book of Hebrews compares it with Israel entering Canaan. Our old self can be compared to the Canaanites. Canaan was their home for several generations. They were fighting for their very existence.

So it is with us. Our self-rule is our familiar way of existing. The idea of giving over to God the governing of our life may not appear possible, or practical, or necessary, or enjoyable.

But it is entirely possible, practical, necessary, and enjoyable if we will press into the exchange wholeheartedly and not cling to our idols.

We have to have faith and courage, and a strong desire to please God, if we are to submit to His will to this extent.

But there is no other way. When we do not give over our will to God we are nothing more than rebellious religious dust, even though we have received gifts from the Holy Spirit and have been a minister of the Gospel.

We are religious dust and of no use whatever in the new world of righteousness that is coming.

Why is this? It is because the Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints. It is not anointed man. John the Baptist was an anointed man. But Jesus told us he who is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than John, and John was the equal of the greatest of the prophets.

John and the prophets were anointed flesh and blood. But, as Paul told us, flesh and blood cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

This is why we have to be born all over again.

Perhaps we need to get a fresh glimpse of Jesus Christ. Christ is the beginning and the end of everything. You and I are of no account unless we are part of Christ. It has pleased the Father that everything be wrought in Christ.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through 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–NIV)

If it is true that the Son is the image of the invisible God;

If it is true that Jesus Christ is the firstborn over all creation;

If it is true that in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him;

If it is true that He is before all things, and in him all things hold together;

If it is true that He is the head of the body, the church;

If it is true that He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy;

If it is true that God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Christ, and through Christ to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross;

If it is true that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end of all things, including you and me and our role in the Kingdom of God;

And if it is true that God's works have been finished from the beginning; then it appears to me that our business in life is to find our where we fit in the universal Christ. Can you agree with me on this?

As I have stated on several occasions, it is not difficult to become part of Christ and to flow with Him as He flows with the Father. We can rule ourselves, or we can flow with the thinking, speaking, and acting of the Godhead.

It seems kind of stupid to trust in our little dust pile when we could become part of the galactic Christ and share His Life and His inheritance. How do you feel about this?

A voice says, "Cry out." And I said, "What shall I cry?" "All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass.

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever." (Isaiah 40:6-8--NIV)

That Word is CHRIST!

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A Voice Is Calling Today!

2014-05-11

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)

"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)

In that day you will say: "I will praise you, Lord. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me" (Isaiah 12:1)

When the Lord first receives a person He rejoices over a prodigal who has returned home. But it is not too long after that, that He begins to make the individual one of His own.

I believe the higher the person's role is to be in the Kingdom of God, the more severely he or she is dealt with.

Notice that Jerusalem, the Lamb's bride, the Royal Priesthood, receives from the Lord's hand double for her sins.

That may come as a surprise to us if we have always thought that it is the world that is punished severely. The truth is, the closer God has drawn us to Himself, the stricter He is with us.

God chastens severely each of His sons!

But then there comes a day when our chastening has been completed. We now are partakers of His holiness.

God comforts us. He tells us that our days of affliction have been completed. Our sins have been paid for.

It absolutely is true that Christ has made an atonement for our sins. Our past sins have been paid for in full.

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)

Then we are required to cooperate with the Spirit of God as He leads us into righteous, holy living.

In order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:14)

Judgment begins with the household of God, and we are chastened in terms of the wickedness of our behavior at the present time.

For it is time for judgment to begin with God's household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (I Peter 4:17)

Every experienced saint understands this very well!

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. (I Peter 4:1,2)

When God is satisfied with our transformation in Christ, He receives us and informs us that we have successfully come through His dealings and now He will show everlasting kindness to us.

A voice of one calling: "In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God." (Isaiah 4:3)

Our world is a wilderness. Each human being is a desert. God desires a highway, a highway of holiness from which every stone of stumbling has been removed.

You know, I believe that is our task today. I think God has set out in our time to straighten out the confusion caused by the "grace" teaching. God desires genuine holiness, not imputed holiness. God cannot have fellowship with ascribed holiness. We have to come out from the uncleanness of the world if God is to receive us.

We of today who love the Lord Jesus must begin to remove the "stones" of confusion that have prevented God's people from growing to maturity in Christ. God has promised that there would be a Day of Redemption, and I for one believe it has begun.

Pass through, pass through the gates! Prepare the way for the people. Build up, build up the highway! Remove the stones. Raise a banner for the nations. (Isaiah 62:10)

Today's doctrines of lawless grace and the "rapture" of the Church to Heaven have resulted in baby Christians. These and other traditions must be removed if we are to make spiritual progress throughout the days of chaos that are on the horizon.

It may be true that the best we can say of today's Christian preaching is that it is a wilderness, a desert filled with dry bones.

We must build a highway for our God so that the believers can march forward without stumbling, on their way to the fullness of Christ.

And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it. (Isaiah 35:8)

There are Christian people who are "wicked fools." They shall not walk on the Way of Holiness, even though they may have "accepted Christ."

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)

Some believers are depressed valleys. Some are lifted up, arrogant and proud. Some are dishonest. Others are hard of heart. All of this confusion must be leveled out so the Lord has no difficulty getting His will done in us.

God has said such straightening shall take place!

"And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken." (Isaiah 40:5)

We easily could become discouraged as we look about us at a hundred competing denominations. But God has promised that He will dispel all this confusion and His Glory shall be revealed. And the best part is that all the peoples of the nations of the earth shall see a purified Church.

I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:23)

For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. (Romans 8:19).

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

"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn." (Isaiah 60:1-3).

For Jerusalem's sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your vindication, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow. You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord's hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. (Isaiah 62:1-3)

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 1:10)

For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. (Isaiah 61:11)

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 blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear. (Matthew 13:41-43)

Notice in the above that there is a cleansing of the Kingdom before the light of God shines from the believers. This program of cleansing is taking place now, as God's people cooperate with the Spirit of God. It is the beginning of the promised Day of Redemption.

The nations will fear the name of the Lord, all the kings of the earth will revere your glory. For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory. (Psalms 102:15,16)

Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness. (Psalms 96:13)

He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness. He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor. They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations. (Psalms 72:2-5)

And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen. (Psalms 72:19)

They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)

Why have I included so many verses that say the same thing? It is because we have today a false, destructive vision of the future.

We are preaching that the coming of the Lord will result in the catching up to Heaven of the Church. However, there is not one verse in either the Old or New Testaments that teaches Christ is coming to carry up His Church to Heaven. Into the air, yes, in preparation for Christ's descent with them to fill the earth with the righteousness of God.

This is why I have presented some of the verses that verify what I am teaching.

We understand from the words of the Lord Jesus that this earthwide display of God's Glory shall occur when the Christian people are one in the Father and the Son. At the time of greatest spiritual darkness, the nations shall see the Glory of God come on the Christian people, and that Divine Glory shall make us one in the Lord Jesus Christ.

A voice says, "Cry out." And I said, "What shall I cry?" "All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field." (Isaiah 40:6)

Because the religious organizations of our day often do not hear from the Lord, they cry out, "Bring in more people! More, more, more! Fill the buildings!"

But they are not hearing from the God of Heaven.

God is telling us that people are like grass. They are blooming one day and the next day they are dried up and perishing. Such is their faithfulness!

The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. (Isaiah 40:7)

Many devices are employed today to fill the Christian churches with people, from Bingo to outstanding sports figures. Soon we have a congregation of several hundred—several hundred clumps of grass. It is an attractive family church. Then God blows on it. Persecution comes. It costs dearly to be a Christian. How many stand true?

So much for our exemplary "church"!

"The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever." (Isaiah 40:8)

Whatever is constructed by man is going to fail when enough pressure is applied. Only that which God has constructed shall endure.

What does that say about the multitude of plans for church growth that are advanced? Is Jesus issuing them? If not, they will produce nothing of eternal values. Just more religious grass.

I saw a picture once of some church leaders getting off an airplane that had just landed. One of the men had blueprints in his hand. Evidently they were ready to build a church. I wonder if they succeeded.

Is this what the Gospel of the Kingdom is about—building more and more churches and filling them with grass?

I read once something written by C. T. Studd, the famous missionary. He was referring to his work in Africa, as I remember. Of the thousands that he reported in his statistics, he said that only a small percent actually were Christians. Perhaps the majority were "Rice Christians."

I do not know how the Christian work throughout the centuries is going to play out. But I am convinced that after we die we are going to be surprised that there are no church buildings, only God and the Lamb. God and the Lamb will be interested in what kind of person we are, not in what church we went to.

Those who have integrity will stand before God. I have no idea about the others, except that they are grass. I do not know what God will do with them.

You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news 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)

Precisely what is the Gospel? What is the good news we are to proclaim? It is, "Here is your God."

I have noticed that "accept Christ" is not found in either Testament. "Accepting" Christ is a religious exercise. I do not believe this is the Gospel we are to be preaching.

Rather, it is, "Here is your God!"

What is the difference?

The difference is, one is a religious formula. The other is the actual presenting of Christ. People receive Christ, not accept a religion.

How do we go about presenting Christ? We have to know Him personally; to be conversing with Him all the time. We have to be thinking Christ; speaking Christ; acting Christ. We have to live by Him as He lives by the Father. We have to have the "mind of Christ."

We have to present Christ to people by all that we are and do.

It is not a "winning souls for Christ," or "getting people saved." rather it is showing Christ to people. "Here is your God!" Such is the good news, the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Then people can receive Him, not our religion or denomination.

See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. (Isaiah 40:10)

We are to truly bring Christ to people. He shall come with power and govern the nations of the earth. He shall reward those who are faithful.

Are we speaking of the future? Yes, we are. Today we are promising an unscriptural "rapture" of the believers to Heaven. That is not a true vision. Rather, we must pray and prepare ourselves so when Jesus returns we can return with Him. Then we will be able to present Christ to the grass of the earth.

It is not a case of religion but of Christ! Christ! Christ!

Are you and I being prepared by God's chastening to bring Christ to the peoples of the earth? That is the task of God's Israel, the Royal Priesthood. Jesus Christ Himself is the Word of our God who will abide forever.

Those who obey and serve Him shall be rewarded richly.

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)

Will Christ come with thunderous power and majesty? Will He and His saints govern with the rod of iron righteousness? Yes indeed, they shall.

Jesus Christ is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and He indeed is as fierce and terrible as any lion.

But He also is the Lamb of God. He truly is a Lamb as well as a Lion. We of the Church are the Wife of the Lamb, not of the Lion. If it were not for His gentleness we all would be destroyed.

We notice in the final chapters of the Book of Revelation that the eternal Throne is of God and of the Lamb, not of the Lion, or even of Christ.

So it is not surprising that the voice that is calling informs us that the Lamb of God will gather the lambs in His arms and carry them close to His heart. He is the King of Glory and also the gentle Savior.

There will be those believers who are responsible for the less mature, and Christ will guide them gently.

Now the voice that is calling tells us of the awful power of the Lamb:

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)

The above reminds us of God speaking to Job, doesn't it? The astronomers of today tell us of the magnitude of the masses in outer space and the incomprehensible distances between them. Any time we doubt that God can heal us or take care of us we need to think once again of the galaxies that God created through the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Compared with the heavens and the handiwork of God, we indeed are like the grass of the field. It is only as we become part of the galactic Christ that we are anything more than dust.

Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as his counselor? 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 40:13,14)

Not only it Christ filled with unimaginable power, but His wisdom and power are unlimited. "In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge," Paul wrote. Many of our present nations are occupied with the pursuit of knowledge, not always the pursuit of wisdom. They would do well to ask Jesus to explain the world to them, but they do not always do this.

The greatest problem of mankind is that of attempting to make a better world without consulting God. How foolish!

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)

In our day the nations of the earth parade about as though they have enormous power. They pay no attention to God. They consider Christian people as weak-minded helpless people who take comfort in their religious superstitions.

As we see the present chaos, people revolting against their governments, we wonder how soon World War Three will commence. The nations parade their tanks and artillery and threaten us with nuclear devices.

We need continually to remember that in God's sight they are like one drop of water in a bucket.

It is my opinion that every Christian in the world needs to learn to look to the Lord Jesus for each aspect of life. When the world explodes, those who have been faithful to the Lord will be kept along with their loved ones.

Christ has the power to do this. A thousand may fall at our side and ten thousand at our right hand, but God will cover us. These words in the Psalms were not written in vain. God could see the calamities that are approaching us in the present hour. He will protect us and our families if we abide in Christ, taking shelter under His wings.

Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires, nor its animals enough for burnt offerings. (Isaiah 40:16)

God is so great that if all the wood in the forests of Lebanon and all the animals therein were assembled, there would not be enough fuel and animals to make an adequate burnt offering to the God of Heaven.

Before him all the nations are as nothing; they are regarded by him as worthless and less than nothing. (Isaiah 40:17)

I wonder how the people of America, Russia, China, Japan, India, Germany, England, would feel if they knew God considered them as worthless and less than nothing? Although they probably would not accept such a viewpoint, it is true nevertheless.

In the sight of God who created the heavens, the nations are as a few grains of sand.

We do well to meditate on this. This present life is for the purpose of forming leaders who will govern the new world of righteousness that is coming. The present world is entirely expendable in terms of God's purposes. All the events of world history have as their purpose the creating of brothers for the Lord Jesus.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

These are God's sons, and they shall be revealed to the world in due time.

In the meanwhile we are obliged to suffer the strutting about of the world leaders, who are certain they are greater than God.

With whom, then, will you compare God? To what image will you liken him? As for an idol, a metalworker casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it. A person too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot; they look for a skilled worker to set up an idol that will not topple. (Isaiah 40:18-20)

The large nations of today for the most part do not worship idols made of wood or metal. But we do have our idols.

Americans worship physical lust and money.

The Japanese worship their ancestors.

The Chinese worship the dragon.

The Africans worship their demons as do the people of India.

The English worship themselves.

Yet, in all of these nations there are a few fervent Christians.

When God is finished bringing a remnant of Christians into oneness in Himself and Christ, and we appear with Christ, the world will see that all of these idols are worthless. The people, the "grass," will bow down and worship the only true God and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

When all is said and done, there is only Christ. Apart from Christ we are grass—or so the Bible maintains.

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

The days ahead, at least in America, will be a period of spiritual darkness, of uncertainty, of confusion, of spiritual and physical hardships. What are we and our loved ones to do? We are to turn to the Rock of Ages. In Him is safety and health.

Should we or our children be put to death, so much the better. For the children it will be a time to play in the meadows of Paradise. For us who are older it will be unhindered love, joy, and peace as we have fellowship with Him whom we have served faithfully.

There is nothing in the future to fear, except that we should lose our faith in Jesus.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 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 40:29-31)

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Coheirs With Christ

2014-05-18

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:17)

How do you picture being a coheir with the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you visualize Heaven, with golden streets, numerous angels, spectacular mansions, everyone dressed in white sheets?

Now stop and think. Is this what you really want, or would you prefer life pretty much as it is now without trouble or pain?

Here is an interesting verse. It describes life when there is a new sky and a new earth.

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

It is introduced by a prior verse:

See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. (Isaiah 65:17)

If we are going to build houses and dwell in them, and plant vineyards and eat their fruit, under the new sky and on the new earth, then the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation must be largely symbolic.

In fact, the last two chapters indeed are largely symbolic. The ornate wall, for example, speaks of the resistance to sin constructed in the personalities of the saints. The trees of life are Christ and those who are part of Him, that is, the members of the Royal Priesthood.

We may believe at this time that we would enjoy walking on a golden street. But I would prefer grass myself. Gold would be hard on the feet. How do you feel about this?

We assuredly would enjoy being filled constantly with the Spirit of God, but not as a literal River flowing down a street of gold.

It is scriptural that those who through Christ have overcome disobedience to God will inherit all that is described in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation; but they shall inherit the actual physical counterparts of what is described there.

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

We are near to the appearing of Jesus and His brothers, the Royal Priesthood. Therefore it may be true that the Bible is becoming clearer then it has been in time past.

If we are coheirs with the Lord Jesus Christ, what then is His and our inheritance. Is it indeed golden mansions, or is our inheritance something we really would enjoy?

What does the Scripture say?

Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. (Psalms 2:8)

Notice the two parts of our inheritance: the nations, and the ends of the earth. But we have to ask, don't we?

In addition we inherit all that is mentioned in Revelation, Chapter Two and Three, and Revelation, Chapters Twenty-one and Twenty-two, if we have lived the life of victory in Christ..

Our most important inheritance is that of being for eternity with Christ in the Bosom of the Father. "I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am."

That all being true, I would like to focus on the two parts of Christ's and our inheritance mentioned in the second Psalm: the nations, and the ends of the earth.

There has been a lot of Christian talk about going to Heaven to live there for eternity. I don't believe most of us would care for that. But we might like to live on an earth that no longer was under the Divine curse!

Anyway, eternal residence in Heaven is not what the Bible teaches.

Mankind was created in a garden on the earth, and it probably is true that we would rather spend eternity on the earth among friends doing something worthwhile and interesting, instead of floating around in a white robe with the angels.

I have been occupied lately with the thought of the appearing of Christ with His brothers. Did you know Jesus has brothers?

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:28,29–NASB)

From my point of view, I do not believe nearly enough attention is paid to the following verse:

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

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 1:10)

How often have you heard a minister of the Gospel emphasize that when Christ appears we will appear with Him?

I don't think I ever have. But this is unfortunate because appearing with Christ implies that some preparations have to be made other than saying "I accept Christ."

If we add Romans 8:29 ("For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, the He might be the firstborn among many brethren") to the idea of our appearing with Christ, then we might venture that it will be those who are in the image of Christ and who are His brothers who will appear with Him. Does that make sense to you?

So we see that to appear with Him, He must be our Life, and we must be conformed to His image. He will appear with His brothers.

Now, what does this have to do with our being His coheir? The answer to this question has to do with the reason for our appearing.

In our day, the nations of the earth are in a terrible mess. There are people who are ridiculously rich and there are others who are paupers. There are numerous children in our day who are dying from malnutrition while in other countries there are many children who are obese.

The time when I am writing appears to be an age of revolution. Nations are rising up against their governments. The self-will that Satan advocates seems to be increasing, as people uses the social networks to tell us how their "rights" are being violated.

It appears to me that war is inevitable, there is so much hatred and mistrust among and within nations. I personally see no lasting solution until Jesus appears with His brothers. They will bring righteousness, love, joy, and peace to the peoples of the world. No human political leader will be able to accomplish this.

Does the Bible teach that when the situation is at its darkest, God finally is going to intervene? Indeed it does!

"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn." (Isaiah 60:1-3)

The passage above is a true vision of the future for those whose life Christ is and who have been conformed to the image of Christ. Remember that our Lord said that when we are one in Him and the Father the world would believe that it is God who sent Him.

It is the Glory of God that will make us one in Christ, and the Glory will be visible to the nations as a great light.

"Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the hip." (Isaiah 60:4)

I realize that the statements of Isaiah, Chapter Sixty are expressed in grandiose terms. But they are telling us of something extremely personal.

These people that will assemble and come to us with their sons and daughters are our inheritance. They are worth a thousand heavens!

Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come. (Isaiah 60:5)

The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. (Revelation 21:24)

Christ will give each of us a specific group of people to love and care for. Today they are abused by self-seeking people. But we, with the help of the Spirit of God and the angels, will work with them until they know Jesus and are living in righteousness, love, joy, and peace.

These are the inheritance of the Lord Jesus. He paid for them with His blood on the cross. Now He is sharing them with us.

Each of the brothers (and sisters) of Christ have been predestined to work with a specific population of people. They may be old people. They may be young children. They may be scholars, or peasants, or soldiers, or farmers, or laborers. Each of the saints is dealt with by the Lord Jesus until he or she is the answer to the needs of the specific kind of people.

Doesn't it inspire you to know that there are people who are waiting for you and who need you? This fact accounts for what you are experiencing, so don't quit! Keep on pressing forward in Christ.

God will give us His love for those who are our charge. We will govern them with iron righteousness, for they still are people with their own will. But it will be a delight to see them take their place in the Kingdom of God.

The appearing of Christ and His brothers will mark the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. The Kingdom Age will take place on the present earth. Remember, we are coheirs with Christ of the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth.

Christ will appoint a hierarchy of rulers over each area of the earth. Some will be assigned large areas of land. Under them will be governors of parts of the large area, and then governors of smaller areas yet. Everyone on the earth will have someone who knows him or her personally and will have the resources to supply his or her immediate needs.

Have you ever thought about the rewards for those who used their talents well?

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'" (Matthew 25:23)

"I will put you in charge"!

There will be a multitude of tasks and services other than governing. I for one was an elementary school teacher. I really enjoyed this. Perhaps this will be at least part of my role in the future Kingdom.

It will be a real world, such as we are accustomed to, with schools and hospitals and areas of many kinds of industry, including farming. The main difference will be that money will not be used for the exchange of services. Each person will be given freely of the product of another individual, and will give freely of what he or she has accomplished.

This is, of course, the ideal of communism and socialism. But giving and receiving freely will not work until Jesus returns, because of the self-seeking of people. The angels will see to it that there are no greedy or lazy individuals who prevent the operation of a money-free society.

I think there will we geographic areas much like today, some deserts, some tropical environments, some who live near oceans and harvest the various kinds of fish, some rich farmlands, and so forth.

There will be the different kinds of weather to which we are accustomed. But the environment will be moderated by the Lord until it is pleasant for everyone and productive.

Will people actually eat? Remember at the beginning of this essay the verse that was emphasized?

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

And that was written concerning the new sky and earth. How much more will it be true during the thousand years on the present earth?

We may think that we would desire a strange new world where people, animals, and plants are all different. That is not what is in our heart! The only thing that matters is people, people, people. Some poet stated that all that interests man is man. And that is true.

There may be individuals during the Kingdom Age who prefer to live alone and not be "bothered by anyone." I think Christ will honor that. But remember---the purpose for the coming of the Lord with the saints is to bring righteousness to the nations of the earth. Those who appear with Christ will be motivated to do just that.

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

Because we are coheirs with Christ, His Body, the above is our commission also.

Will all those who are deceased appear when Christ appears? I do not believe the Scriptures support this idea.

Remember, to appear with Christ, He has to be our Life. This means that, like the Apostle Paul, we no longer are living. It is Christ who is living in us.

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

To tell the truth, I am not certain that most of the Christian people today have made Christ their life. I hope I am mistaken in this. But people will believe and act upon what they have been taught. And what they have been taught, lawless grace, an unscriptural "rapture," go out and get everyone "saved," may not result in their dying with Christ and living a new life in His resurrection.

It would be foolish and incompetent of God to send along with Christ the church people of today. Because of unscriptural teaching many of them are quite immature and self-centered. In no way are they equipped to return with the Lord Jesus and bring righteousness to the nations. They have been taught that when they die and enter the spirit world they will go straight to a mansion in Paradise and recline on their couch.

It may be true that they would not want to get up from their couch and return to the earth to work with a group of self-willed people who resisted them at every turn.

I just have been speaking about life on our present earth, during the thousand-year Kingdom age, when Christ and His saints are in the positions of authority. This is prior to the coming down to the new earth of the new Jerusalem.

But what is life like in the spirit world after we die and before the resurrection? (The general resurrection of the dead will take place at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.) I do not know. There is not much said in the Bible about life in the spirit world after we die.

I believe I can state safely that we do not go to a mansion in Paradise to do nothing for eternity. The statement in the fourteenth chapter of John, in the King James version, is not referring to "mansions" as we use the term today. This can be verified by the Greek text or by any modern translation.

I have written a book about the spirit world, titled, Godwill Castle. The book kind of wrote itself in that I was aware of the people and situations I was describing, sensing many circumstances but not actually seeing anything as in a vision.

In my "awareness" I entered the Land of Light. There also was a Land of Darkness, which I described. What I was aware of was communities of people living in ordinary houses—communities of people of the same racial background.

There were children and animals in abundance. People were working at familiar occupations, including farming.

I was aware of the army of the Lord descending to put an end to Satan and his work in the earth, and then going through the earth to destroy all the works of Antichrist.

In the Land of Light there is a special city on a promontory. This city is Mount Zion, the new Jerusalem that will come down upon the new earth to govern the nations of saved people. This is the home of God's elect, the Church.

Those who appear with Christ and govern the nations on the earth for a thousand years are a firstfruits of the elect, of the Church. After the thousand year Kingdom Age has been completed, the firstfruits will join with the remainder of God's elect and descend with them to the new earth as the Royal Priesthood.

The theme of the present essay is that of the coheirs with Christ. They shall inherit the saved people of the nations. The nations shall bring their wealth to them, including their children.

Since we have been taught for so long that our destiny as saved people is to go to Heaven to live in a mansion, we may not realize that such is not our inheritance. Our inheritance is people and the whole earth. The earth is the Lord's, and all the people and resources of it. Not one stick, not one stone, of our earth belongs to Satan.

The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. (Psalms 24:1)

God is using the wickedness so prevalent in the earth at this time in order to select, test, and train those who will govern the new world of righteousness. We are not to fret about the evil in the present world but to keep looking to Christ day and night that we might accomplish perfectly His will for us as an individual.

As the Apostle Paul said, "We must grasp that for which we have been grasped."

If we plod along faithfully, one step at a time, bearing our cross patiently, following and obeying the Master carefully, there shall come a day when we are given a group of people to love and care for, or perhaps some other area of responsibility.

Having people to love and care for is the greatest inheritance of all, and it shall be given to those who have been prepared to receive it.

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

He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. (Isaiah 2:3,4)

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The Ruling Priesthood

2014-05-25

"'Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites." (Exodus 19:6)

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (I Peter 2:9,10)

Have you ever noticed that the Apostle Paul never refers to the believers as "Christians"? Rather, Paul uses the term "saints."

Why are we called "saints"? The Catholic Church refers to specially dedicated Christians as "saints." But the Bible applies the term to all true Christian people.

The term means "holy ones." Why are we holy? We are holy for one reason. God has chosen us out of the world for His own purposes.

We, if we truly are part of the Lord Jesus, one with Him, are no longer of the world, just as He is not of the world.

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

I do not believe this fact is emphasized enough in today's preaching. It is as though Christian people are nothing more than members of a religion.

This is not the case. If we will look closely at our two introductory verses we will notice that we are infinitely more than just members of a religion.

Please notice also that the Christian Church is not separate from Israel. Rather, both groups have been called out of the world for the same purpose—to be a kingdom of priests, the Royal Priesthood.

The first Christian church, as recorded in the Book of Acts, was composed of Jewish believers, all keeping the Law of Moses fervently.

The Christian Church is a continuation of Israel, being grafted into the one Olive Tree. The Christian Church is the Seed of Abraham, the one Olive Tree, Jew or Gentile by physical birth.

True Israel and the Christian Church have the same calling. That calling is to reveal God to the rest of the people of the world. The Law of Moses was given to keep sin under control until the Seed, Jesus Christ, came. Now the members of the ruling priesthood have the Word, Christ, being written by the hand of God in their mind and heart, just as the first covenant was written by the hand of God on tables of stone.

But it is all one Church, one people called out from the remainder of mankind.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. (Ephesians 2:14-16)

"One new humanity"! Satan understands that Israel and the Christian Church are one Church, one called-out ruling priesthood. This is why Satan works tirelessly to keep both groups separate. Divide and conquer!

But just look at the common commission:

Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. The Israelites did not and could not keep God's commandments because of the sin nature of human beings.

Under the new covenant we have the grace necessary, Christ being formed in us plus the Spirit of God, to keep the eternal moral law—and increasingly so as we grow in Christ.

Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. The Israelites were not of the world just as we Christians are not of the world.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession.

I do not know how to emphasize it more. The Jews who have been called to be part of the Body of Christ, and the Gentiles who have been called to be part of the Body of Christ, are one new Man in Christ.

Can you imagine how often today we speak of a Jewish Christian or a Gentile Christian; a Jewish Church or a Christian Church?

How long will it be before these terms are seen to be irrelevant?

THERE ARE NO JEWISH CHRISTIANS, ONLY CHRISTIANS. THERE ARE NO GENTILE CHRISTIANS, ONLY CHRISTIANS.

It appears to me that the Jews of today, as well as the Christian people, do not always realize that they belong to God in a manner not true of the remainder of mankind. They are seeking assistance and understanding from the United Nations and the rest of the world. They will be delivered when they rely on Him who has chosen them out of the world.

That you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. The Lord Jesus told us Christians that if we would live a righteous holy life, doing the good works of God, people would worship God. Both God and man are looking for righteous behavior, but they do not always find it in the Jews or the Christians.

And then speaking to the Gentile believers:

Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

I have the impression that neither the Jews nor we Christians are happy with the idea of being a holy people, separated unto God for His purposes. This is one reason God chastens us so severely. It is so we may become partakers of His Holiness.

First God refers to us as holy because He has chosen us to be members of the Royal Priesthood. Then God, with our cooperation, makes us actually holy in personality and behavior.

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1–NASB)

The Old Testament speaks often of the role the members of the Church will play during the thousand-year Kingdom Age, and then throughout the new sky and earth reign of the God's Lamb, the Lord Jesus.

I have a sense that the tremendous revival of the future, at which time the world can see that the Church is one in Christ in God, and that God loves the Church as He loves Jesus, will remove every last taint of Jewish Christian and Gentile Christian terminology.

At the spiritually darkest hour in the history of the world, the Glory of God will fall upon Israel. Do we suppose it will fall only on Jews, or only on Gentiles? The idea is nonsensical!

Do we believe that the Body of Christ is part Jewish and part Gentile and that the two parts are distinguishable—that somehow the Jewish part is different from the Gentile part?

I have noticed that some Bible teachers claim that the new Jerusalem on the earth is composed of Jews, while a Gentile Church is in Heaven. All I can say is in that absurd doctrinal position, the Jews have the better deal, because the Throne of God and of the Lamb no longer is in Heaven but on the earth in the new Jerusalem. The new Jerusalem is the glorified Christian Church.

Let us keep in mind that not all those born as Jews are part of Israel.

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 children by physical descent who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring. (Romans 8:6-8)

True Israel is not merely the physical lineage of Abraham. True Israel is by the prophetic calling. They are the Seed of Abraham, just as the true Christian is the Seed of Abraham and has the Spirit of God.

It appears that Judas Iscariot was descended physically from Abraham, but Judas was not of true Israel.

True Israel, the Seed of Abraham, consists of each person whom God the Father has brought to the Lord Jesus Christ to receive eternal life.

So there are Jewish religious organizations on the earth, and there are Christian religious organizations on the earth. But neither of these organizations is the Body of Christ. There may be members of the Body of Christ in them, but they themselves are not the Body of Christ.

In the last days, the true Christians, Jews and Gentiles alike, shall come together as one Kingdom of God. The Glory of God shall come upon them. The Lord Jesus Christ shall be King over them. Then the Kingdom of God shall come to the earth and righteousness shall be brought to the nations of the earth.

Isaiah, Chapter Sixty-one tells us about the Royal Priesthood, the one Church of Christ; the one new Jerusalem that shall come down upon the new earth, and its relationship to the saved people from the nations.

Verse One speaks of the anointed Head of the Royal Priesthood, the Lord Jesus Christ:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. (Isaiah 61:1)

The verse above tells us of the ministry of Jesus to the members of His Body, the Royal Priesthood.

But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Matthew 15:24)

Isn't that a remarkable statement? Jesus is saying that He has not come to save the people of the world but to minister to the needs of Israel. Those who are called of Israel are the ruling priesthood. They must be built up before they can serve to minister as priests to the saved people of the world.

Remember, I am using the term Israel to mean the Jews and Gentiles who have been called out of the world by the Spirit of God to be part of the Body of the Messiah.

Notice the description of the present members of the priesthood:

To bind up the brokenhearted.

To proclaim freedom for the captives.

Release from darkness for the prisoners.

The brokenhearted, the captives, and the prisoners.

If the above is not a picture of the believers in the present day, I do not know what is.

They have been taught they have to serve sin as long as they are in the world.

They have been presented with an unscriptural "rapture to Heaven" to save them from the coming spiritual darkness. This is not going to take place, and so they will be left helpless. They have not been taught how to stand in Christ.

They have been taught that if they "accept Christ" they will go to a mansion in Heaven and live there forever, doing nothing of significance. They have no idea that God wants to transform them morally so they can serve as His representatives during the thousand-year Kingdom Age, and then throughout eternity during the new sky and earth reign of the Lord Jesus.

In place of deliverance they have been offered a "grace" that is an alternative to the new creation of righteous behavior.

Many of today's believers are helpless when oppressed by the demons. They do not know how to fight spiritually. The demons of sexual lust that are increasing in number every day are taking them captive, preventing their spiritual growth and destroying their witness of God's Person, way, will, and eternal purpose in Christ.

Before the members of His Body can appear with Christ and govern the saved people of the nations, they must be healed. This is why Jesus has been sent to the chosen of Israel, including the Gentiles who have been grafted into the Olive Tree.

To proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn. (Isaiah 61:2)

There is a coming of the Lord to those who obey Him, described in the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, that will precede His worldwide appearing. The purpose of this prior coming to is prepare the faithful saints to receive a Spirit-filled body, to be caught up to meet Christ in the air, and then to descend with Him to bring righteousness and justice to the meek of the nations.

It is the "year of the Lord's favor," and it has begun now, I believe. This "year" includes "the day of vengeance of our God," as well as the giving of comfort to those who are looking earnestly for the appearing of the Lord Jesus.

Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27,28)

"To those who are waiting for Him." This is not the appearing of Christ to the world, but to dedicated believers who are keeping His commands.

The "day of vengeance of our God" is set forth in the Book of Hebrews as the doctrine of "eternal judgment."

Instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. (Hebrews 6:2)

It is my opinion that the promised Day of Redemption has begun. It would be impossible to overemphasize the importance of what the Spirit of God is doing in the present hour. It is the start of the war against Satan, a war that shall conclude temporarily when an angel binds Satan and throws him into the Bottomless Pit.

Since we may always have supposed that sin will continue forever, the thought that it finally shall be destroyed may be new to us. But it is plain enough in Matthew:

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 blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:41,42)

The Spirit of God is viewing the Christian people in our day to determine who is obeying Christ steadfastly. The Spirit is alerting them to the sin and self-will that are affecting their behavior.

As soon as we become aware that there is spiritual darkness in us, motives that are not of the image of Christ, we are to confess them clearly and renounce them with all the strength we can muster, calling on Christ to assist us. As we do this, Jesus helps us and the angels remove these spirits that are in our flesh and spirit.

Should you doubt what I am telling you, try it and see. Those stubborn "kings" of rebellion will flee as soon as they understand you are absolutely determined to have nothing more to do with them.

As for our self-will, this is destroyed out of us when the Lord permits Satan to put us in some sort of prison. We then are to remain there for as long as God wants, meanwhile, without complaining, praying for deliverance. In this manner our self-will shall be slain.

It is the "day of vengeance of our God." It is the eternal judgment against all that is of Satan. When we follow Christ in the program of confession and renouncing of evil, that which has been killed in us will not be mentioned again. We have appeared before the Judgment Seat of Christ.

We have "died in the Lord," and so judgment has taken place. This is our source of deliverance in the coming Day of Evil.

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them." (Revelation 14:13)

"From now on." From the rising up of the Day of Evil.

You know, I got to thinking this morning. It was in 1948 while in Bible school that Jesus spoke to me that the Old Testament Day of Atonement symbolizes the time when God will judge His Church. Just think! It is coming to pass now, so many years later.

Of course, the judgment is directed toward Satan and his followers. The judgment sets free the members of the Royal Priesthood.

Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. (Isaiah 1:27–KJV)

But there is more yet:

And provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:3)

Notice that the blessings are for those who grieve in Zion. We are not content with the state of the Christian churches. I am hearing on many sides the disgust with the present immaturity of the churches. Are you aware of this discontent?

A crown of beauty instead of ashes,

The oil of joy instead of mourning,

A garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

We cannot serve very well as God's priests if we are dwelling in ashes; mourning; and despair. Numerous Christian people are in such a condition today. We have to be healed ourselves before we can help others.

Our healing will take place now, if we will be faithful in serving Christ; if we will confess the areas of spiritual darkness that are in us, and renounce them with vigor.

It does take faith to lead a victorious life in Christ. God will give us such faith if we will keep on asking Him.

"They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor." This is not true for many of us today. We are not oaks of righteousness. We have been taught that we are "saved by grace" and there is no real need for righteous behavior.

We are righteous in name only. What a mammoth lie this is? How can we serve the peoples of the earth with our imputed righteousness?

The Lord Jesus did not say people would see our imputed righteousness and glorify God as a result. What a deception the churches are living in today!

Today is the time in which we are to become oaks of righteous behavior. This is necessary because we are to shepherd, through Christ, the meek of the people of the nations. We are to govern with the rod of iron righteousness. The people of the nations will not glorify God if we ourselves are spiritually immature.

We Christians pass through many waters, so to speak, problems, afflictions, and chastenings of various kinds. The purpose of the many afflictions of the righteous is to prepare us to rule the nations with the Lord Jesus, bringing justice and deliverance to them. They are the inheritance of the Lord Jesus, and we are coheirs with Him.

I think it is obvious that we cannot display God's splendor when the only righteousness we have is that which has been imputed to us. Imputed righteousness cannot be seen. People need to see our good works before they will glorify God—at least that is what Jesus taught us.

Now we come to the actual work of the members of the ruling priesthood. Remember, this work will take place on the present earth, during the thousand years from the appearing of Christ to the final resurrection of the dead. Then the new Jerusalem will come down through the new sky to be installed for eternity upon the new earth.

The new Jerusalem is the glorified Christian Church. It is the home of the elect, of those called out from mankind to be a Royal Priesthood, the true and eternal Israel of God. They compose the "Tabernacle of God," the Throne of God and of the Lamb.

But as to the present earth and the thousand-year Kingdom Age:

They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. Isaiah 61:4)

("They" are the ruling priests.

It is my point of view is that the rule of Antichrist, although the people have been blinded until they are claiming all is safe and peaceful, will result in ruins and devastation. The government of self-guided people always produces chaos, as we see today in our world.

Our present government in the United States no longer is giving glory to God. The result is a declining status in the world, severe financial problems, and natural disasters. Yet no one seems to be asking God's help. So we are getting what we deserve.

The antichrist spirit is that of the rule of self. The rule of self results in corruption and destruction of every sort. Our natural mind is an enemy of God. We need the mind of Christ!

So when Jesus returns with His saints there will be places long devastated, ruined cities that have been destroyed for generations. The role of the Christians will be to rebuild the ruins; restore the devastation; and renew the ruined cities.

Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. (Isaiah 61:5)

According to the Scriptures, at least some of the members of the priesthood will have flocks of sheep, as well as fields and vineyards. This is quite a different picture from that of reclining on our mansion in Heaven, isn't it?

I do not believe all of the governing priests will be farmers. There will be every sort of profession and enterprise, according to my understanding. The point is, and we see this in other places in the Scriptures, the saved peoples of the nations will help us with the necessary work.

And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. (Isaiah 61:6)

The concept is that the Church, the people God has called out of the world, will be as the least of the groups of mankind, sometimes suffering every sort of deprivation and humiliation. But when God has enough saints who have persevered with the Spirit of God until Christ has been formed in them, Christ will return with His army of obedient holy ones, and the army of angels who obey God, and cleanse the earth of lawlessness.

Then the roles will be reversed. It will be the saints of the Lord who will enjoy the riches of the world. But because Christ has been formed in them, they will not be proud, disdaining the poor. Rather they will bring justice and compassion so that the poorest of people will have their needs met.

The Kingdom of God that is coming to the earth is not an ecclesiastical hierarchy. It is composed of ordinary people in whom Christ is living and acting. Thus the new rulers will govern in justice and compassion.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.

He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6,7)

Aren't you glad that Christ has saved you so you can work with Him in bringing justice and righteousness to the suffering millions of people on the earth? Think of what it will be to them to be taken care of adequately. Isn't this better than reclining on a sofa in a mansion in Paradise?

It suits me better!

Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours. (Isaiah 61:7)

Instead of being a downtrodden despised people, the true Israel of God, by this I mean those whom Christ has called and who keep His commands, will be raised to respect and prosperity. They shall have abundance. They shall be joyful in the Presence of their King, the Lord Jesus Christ.

"For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them." (Isaiah 61:8)

If I am not mistaken, there have been numerous instances of injustice perpetrated by religious leaders. Have cathedrals been built on the backs of the poor? Have some of the Christian prelates insured that they have wealth and position while their congregations live on the brink of poverty?

Just because extortion has been justified because it involves religious work of some kind, does not make it holy. God hates it. God loves the poor and has given them His Kingdom.

God is faithful. The poor who have been true to Him shall be rewarded. Indeed, God is making an everlasting covenant with them. It is the new covenant, that replaces the Law of Moses. It is the forming of Christ in us such that the eternal Word of God is written in our mind and heart.

How good it is to walk with Christ and have Him guide and strengthen us so we do not sin against God.

I notice in Christians who are seeking to go back under the Law of Moses that they have the words but not the music, so to speak.

Return to the Torah if you will. But please do not ask me to leave Christ. I want to walk and talk with the Author, as Enoch did.

It reminds me of Ruth, the Moabitess.

No Ammonite or Moabite or any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, not even in the tenth generation. (Deuteronomy 23:3)

Yet Ruth was the mother of Obed who was the father of Jesse, who was the father of King David. In other words, the Law of God is interpreted and applied as we look to the Author.

Under the Law of Moses we consult the written Word. Under the new covenant we walk with the Author and ask Him to guide and help us. How infinitely much better!

A friend in Israel is telling me that Christian Jews who hold on to the Torah eventually leave Christ. From what I have seen I can understand that happening.

Some of the Jews were angry because Christ healed on the Sabbath. This tells me that while they knew the Torah, they certainly were out of touch with the God of Heaven. They would prefer to have the person die rather than to be healed on the Sabbath Day. Such is the blindness that can afflict an individual who is married to the Torah.

So a new and everlasting covenant was needed, because the Israelites were missing the Heart of God.

"Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed."(Isaiah 61:9)

The descendants of the ruling priests will be recognized as such by the nations to whom they are ministering. It appears that during the Kingdom Age, and possibly throughout the new sky and earth reign of God and the Lamb, people will be born and grow up. Exactly how I do not know—perhaps in the manner to which we are accustomed.

People will be able to recognize that the blessing of the Lord is upon God's priests, and will treat them appropriately.

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)

A bridegroom wears his turban and the bride displays her jewels. But the important garment is that of salvation, that is, the blessing of God.

Notice the expression: "arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness."

This could be interpreted as imputed or ascribed righteousness. But since the idea is that of a garment that someone can see, it certainly is not imputed righteousness.

But neither is it human righteousness. It is God's righteousness with which we shall be clothed.

But if it is not human righteousness, and not ascribed or imputed righteousness, what kind of righteousness is it?

It is the righteousness of the new covenant. We are arrayed with it more each day, as we obey the commands of Christ.

When we overcome a temptation by praying, we are fed in the spirit world with the body and blood of Christ. This nourishment gives us additional power and wisdom to overcome in the future. This is how the Word of God, which is Christ, is written in our mind and heart. The end result is righteous behavior, which is the righteousness of God with which we are covered.

If we should yield to temptation, then we must confess our sin to God and ask His help in turning away from it. We must do this fiercely and emphatically if we want the demons to leave.

Now we are forgiven and the Word of God is written upon our mind and heart. However, even though we have been forgiven completely and purified from all unrighteousness, there may be results of our sin that continue for a long time. God forgave David's incident with Bathsheba, but David had years of trouble after that.

Solomon, David's choice for king after him, was born from Bathsheba. But the iron of righteousness was lacking in Solomon, and he displeased God to the point that after his death, Israel was divided. Was this the result of David's sin with Bathsheba?

A believer may be convicted of smoking cigarettes. He may confess this sin against the Spirit of God, who owns his body, and with Christ's help quite smoking. He will be forgiven completely. But he may die from lung cancer.

God's attitude toward sin is revealed in the agonies suffered by His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

So we are arrayed in God's righteousness. But it is not merely an ascribed righteousness, but a genuine righteousness of behavior that comes from the body and blood of Christ.

For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. (Isaiah 61:11)

If we Christians ever understand that God has called us out from the world, is conforming us to the image of Christ, and is preparing us to bring righteousness and the praise of God to the nations of the earth, it will be the miracle of the age!

God loves the people of the world and has selected us to be of benefit to them.

But what do we do to the Gospel of the Kingdom? We change it into something to benefit us.

We think God has saved us so we can enjoy Paradise for eternity. He is going to rapture us out of the world so we will not be uncomfortable when Antichrist comes into power.

In my opinion, the teaching of the "rapture" of the believers to Heaven is the most selfish, self-centered doctrine imaginable. Let the world sink down into a cesspool of corruption. God loves us so much He has forgiven all our sins and wants us to be everlastingly happy no matter how we behave or what happens to the world.

But that is not what God has in mind. God is working with each of His elect so they can inherit, teach, govern, bless, heal, introduce to Christ, the people of the nations.

Which do you think is the better plan—God's or ours?

God is going to make righteous behavior and praise to Himself spring up in the sight of the nations. What will they then do? They will worship God. They will love and obey Him.

Such is our future, and I think it is many times better than the future we have concocted for ourselves.

How do you feel about this?

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

He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. (Isaiah 2:3,4)

"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn." (Isaiah 60:1-3)

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Two Persons

2014-06-01

Salvation has to do with the crucifixion of one person and the building up of another. The adamic nature cannot be reformed. Salvation is the birth and building up of the new man, who is Christ.

When we are born again there are two people in us. One or the other must die! We do not have to crucify ourselves. Our task is to obey Christ and to follow the Spirit of God in all situations.

To abase ourselves is to seek to exalt ourselves. True humility is walking hand in hand with God.

If we would truly live we must truly die in Christ.

The new man who is being formed in us has not inherited a sinful nature. He has been born of God. He is eternal. He is a totally new Creation.

Salvation is the forming of Christ in us. Then the Father and the Son come and dwell in that which has been formed in us.

Crucifixion is the source of eternal life. If we suffer with Him we shall reign with Him.

The Law of Moses has no authority over the new man.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

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. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. (Colossians 3:9-11)

So we see clearly from the two passages above that being a Christian is not a matter of "accepting Christ" and then going to Heaven when we die. Rather it has to do with putting off our first personality and putting on a new personality.

I don't believe we hear this very often, but it appears to be the viewpoint of the Apostle Paul.

We are supposed to be taking off our old self and putting on our new self. This means two persons are involved.

What is the old self like?

Which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires.

Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices.

Is it true of my original personality and your original personality that it is corrupted by its deceitful desires and a liar? It is true of my first personality. I do not know about you.

What is true of our new personality?

"New in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."

Did you ever think about people molesting a child; or individuals making themselves impotent by drugs or alcohol; or someone in a rage murdering his wife or best friend; or a person telling a lie about another individual to get her or him in trouble?

How about someone committing adultery with his best friend's wife although his own wife has been faithful for twenty years?

We cannot imagine a human being doing such things. Yet, some otherwise normal people do. Why is this? Because their original adamic nature is subject to lusts that deceive them.

When the individual comes to himself in prison he cannot even picture himself being guilty of such a crime. He always had thought of himself as being a good Christian.

"The new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator."

Paul indicates that we are to have the mind of Christ.

For, "Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ. (I Corinthians 2:16)

The Apostle John informs us that the new man cannot sin, having been born of God.

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

I believe the passages I have quoted thus far suggest that we Christians are two people. Our first person is sinful. Our second person is not sinful but is growing into the image of God.

If this is the case, the primary effort of our Christian discipleship should be that of refusing to respond to the desires and actions of our original personality, and nourishing the desires and actions of our new personality. Would you agree with that.

Perhaps this is why we have to be born again to enter the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is the doing of God's will. The first personality cannot do God's will, even by endeavoring to keep the Torah, the Law of Moses. We may be absolutely sincere in our desire to keep the Ten Commandments. But the sin that lives in our adamic personality keeps pushing us to disobey God.

When we are born again, a new person is born in us. The new person has been born of God. The new person therefore has no sin dwelling in it. It delights to do God's will. It desires to do God's will at all times.

If we wish to deceive ourselves, we can say that as long as we are in the world we have to sin but we are "saved by grace." However, the Bible does not agree with this position. The Bible commands us Christians to put off the sinful person that lives in us and to put on the new person who has been born of God.

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. (I Peter 2:1,2)

"Accepting Christ" is not a ticket to Heaven. It might be compared, rather, to the birth of a baby in us. This is what salvation is. We have to do the things that will cause us to grow up in our salvation.

What things? We have to rid ourselves of that which is not in the image of God, and we have to feed continually on the Word of God.

Now, how do we rid ourselves of "all malice," for example. First, we determine that malice belongs in the Lake of Fire, not in the Kingdom of God. Then we have to talk to Jesus about it. "Lord, I have a problem with malice. Help me. Take it out of me. If you assist me and deliver me, I never will think, say, or act maliciously again."

Jesus said we could ask what we will in His Name and it shall be done.

We have asked Jesus to drive the spirit of malice from us.

Do we believe He will answer our prayer? Do we believe He has enough power to free us from malicious behavior. Do we truly desire to be free from malice?

These three attitudes must be true of us in order to be delivered from malice, or any other sin or problem with self-will.

We know He will answer our prayer because He stated that if we ask anything in His name He will do it.

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (John 14:13,14)

Yes or no? True or false?

Does "anything" include malice, do you think?

Do we believe Christ has enough power to remove malice from us?

Have you ever thought much about outer space, about the size of the heavenly bodies; about the distances between them?

According to the Bible, Christ spoke these into existence!

Let me now ask you again: do you believe Christ has enough power to remove the spirit of malice from you?

Now for the critical issue: Do you really want to be free from malice?

If you are wavering, that spirit will not leave. Christ wants to know if you truly want to be free from malice. What do you say?

So to rid ourselves of malice, and all the other sins that dwell in our first personality, we have to truly want to, fiercely want to, be free of this demonic behavior.

Christ has promised to do it. He has enough power to do it. We really want to be delivered from malice. What are we waiting for?

In order to divest ourselves of our original personality and put on the new personality, we must consistently perform the acts that are associated with the Christian discipleship.

We must pray every day. As we grow in Christ we will come to the place where we are praying without ceasing.

We must meditate in the Old Testament and the New Testament. Even though much of what we read may not mean much to us, every once in a while the Spirit of God will add nourishment to our new person.

We must resist the temptation to sin, asking Christ to strengthen us. If we yield to sin, we then must confess it specifically and resolve through the help of Jesus never to do it again. Christ will forgive us, cleanse us from all unrighteousness, and strengthen us in the future.

We must gather with fervent disciples on a consistent basis, if we can find any fervent disciples.

We must give of our means as Christ enables and directs us.

We must seek the gifts of the Spirit so we can assist in the work of the Kingdom.

We must present our body to God at all times that we may understand and do His will.

We must take up our cross of self-denial and follow the Master at all times.

If we do not behave in this manner, we will not grow in Christ, in our salvation. Growing in Christ is that of continually increasing in the ability to distinguish between good and evil, and in the desire and strength to embrace what is good and vigorously renounce and reject that which is evil.

Another dimension of supporting the new personality is found in the parable of the sower. The parable of the sower may be one of the most important parables of the Kingdom of God. Its importance is emphasized by the fact that the parable of the sower is found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

"Listen then to what the parable of the sower means": (Matthew 13:18)

The Seed sown is the living Word of God, that is, Christ.

The first kind of ground is hard, perhaps having been subjected to various religions and philosophies. The Seed does not germinate and is taken away by the demons.

The second kind of ground is rocky, and the ground is shallow. When problems arise, the plant withers, not having a good root system. We pastors sometimes observe people who make a show of "being saved," but then fade away when trouble comes.

There are many circumstances that cause hardness of heart. One is unforgiveness. Another is betrayal by someone you trust. Another is disillusionment when an idolized individual or other person fails the test. Still another is atheistic, worldly teaching and environment.

Enough damage can be done to the human personality that it cannot support the Seed when faced with the demands of true Christian discipleship.

The third kind of ground has other plants in addition to the Seed. These other plants grow up and choke the Seed so no lasting fruit is borne. This is the person who has many interests in addition to Christ, many talents or opportunities he or she is pursuing.

In the fourth kind of ground the Seed germinates, grows up, and bears lasting fruit: some thirtyfold; some sixtyfold; some a hundredfold. These are honest and good hearts, being faithful and true. The fruit is the substance and image of Christ.

One is tempted to apply the three degrees of fruitbearing to the design of the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. There are the victorious saints who bear Christ to the fullness. There are other members of the royal priesthood who are not quite as fruitful.

Then there are the saved people drawn from the nations. They also have a portion of Christ in them.

Notice that three of these kinds of ground bear no lasting fruit.

So it is in the born-again experience. Many individuals claim to be born again. But the new personality that is in the image of God may not be seen in them. They may be religious people and their doctrine may be sound, in terms of Fundamentalist thinking. But they are not in the Kingdom of God as yet because they are not making an effort to overcome sin, and there is no sin in the Kingdom.

The only relationship between Heaven and the Kingdom of God is that Jesus, the King of the Kingdom, came to us from Heaven. He Himself is the Kingdom, we might say. The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints governing the works of God's hands. As I stated, there is no sin in the Kingdom. Sin began in Heaven, but there is no sin in the Kingdom.

Our goal is not to go to Heaven. It is to enter and live in the Kingdom of God.

So our salvation depends on our doing away with our first personality and supporting and nourishing the new personality.

The original law that God established in nature is that a plant brings forth after its kind.

The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:12)

I never heard of a seed, whether of plant or animal, bring forth anything other than the parent from which it came. Did you?

Grass seed brings forth grass. Acorns bring forth oak trees. The seed of people brings forth people.

If the Seed indeed is the Word of God, Christ, then it is going to bring forth Christ. Here is the answer to our desire to be in the image of God. It is not by reforming our first personality, although we are to obey the Scriptures to the best of our ability.

It is as Peter wrote. We are to take heed to the Scriptures until the Morning Star, Christ, rises in us. The "prophetic message" is the Old Testament. There was no New Testament at the time Peter wrote. But I believe it would be common sense to include the New Testament as an integral part of the "prophetic message."

We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (II Peter 1:19)

The old person in us is Adam. The new Person in us is Christ, the Morning Star.

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

If Christ is living in us, we are a partaker of the Divine Nature of God.

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

If we wish to be living by the Divine Nature of Christ, we must make the effort each day to speak to Christ; to keep Him in our thoughts; to ask Him to guide our speech; to consult with Him concerning any plans or actions we are to take. These actions will keep us in the prophetic realm. Then we will have the mind of Christ, and not be deceived by our human mind.

"Pray without ceasing," the Apostle Paul admonished us.

It is my point of view that the body and blood of Christ play an important role in the formation of the new person. I believe that every time we overcome a temptation, or confess a sin and turn away from it, we are fed in the spirit world with the body and blood of Christ. As we lead the life of victory in Christ, His Life increases in us until we are filled with all the fullness of God.

May have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:18,19)

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)

We are to live by eating the flesh of Christ and drinking His blood.

How is that for a goal? Those who attain to it will be immortalized in body when the Lord Jesus next appears, and then caught up to meet Him in the air in preparation for their descent with Him to join in the Battle of Armageddon.

When our second personality has been transformed by the fullness of God formed in us, then the Father and the Son will come and dwell in that which has been formed in us. We have become the eternal Tabernacle of God.

Our goal is to have our soul transformed by Christ; a pure spirit that reflects our transformed soul; and a new body that is free from sin and corruption.

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

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (II Corinthians 5:17)

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Living in His Presence, Part I

2014-06-08

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." (Psalms 91:1,2)

It may be true of most of us that we are pretty much at our ease in America in the present hour. There is food in the markets, Medical assistance is available. We have plenty of entertainment. For many of us there are opportunities to make more money than we actually need.

Our little ones bounce around the house playing with their toys. Our pet animals are well fed. We Christians are not ordinarily persecuted for our belief in the Lord Jesus, although that may be changing.

But I believe the Spirit is telling us in America to prepare ourselves for trouble. This means pressing closer to the Lord Jesus so He is more real to us and present with us than may have been true formerly.

I read somewhere that some of the English people, during Word War Two, carried a metal card in their pocket that had the Ninety-first Psalm engraved on it.

Not a bad idea!

Even better yet is the idea of looking up to the Lord Jesus right now. He is ready to bring us forward in a further step of redemption if we will be obedient.

Heretofore we may have learned about the Lord and worked for the Lord. Things are different now. He wants to draw closer to us. He wants to be in our thoughts, words, and actions to a far greater extent than ever before.

He wants us to say with Paul, "I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live. Yet not I but Christ who lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me."

Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 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 that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:19-21)

The words above were addressed to the angel of the Church of Laodicea.

It may be true that the seven churches of Asia Minor are chronological to a certain extent, with the first church, Ephesus, representing conditions at the time of the early apostles.

This would means that we of today are in the transition from the Church of Philadelphia to the Church of Laodicea.

"Laodicea" means the "word of the people," that is, "democracy."

We Christians may believe we have need of nothing, but in truth we are "wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked." We are "lukewarm," being neither "hot" for Christ nor "hot" for Satan.

What is Jesus saying and doing concerning us in our miserable situation?

"Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent."

In the present hour, if Christ loves you, you are going to be rebuked and chastened. To my regret I realize that many pastors are telling their congregations that God loves them so much He never would rebuke them of discipline them.

This sort of pastor is a false prophet who is seeking favor with the people.

It is a fact that when we tell the believers in America that they must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow the Lamb wherever He goes, some of them will begin looking for another church whose pastor will whisper sweet nothings to them so they will keep coming to church.

Being "earnest" is not in the vocabulary of many American Christians, or in the vocabulary of many of our political leaders. This means being sincere, faithful, and true. Our nation, sad to say, increasingly is becoming cynical. The politicians, the merchants, and sometimes the religious leaders, lie as often as they tell the truth. And most everyone expects this.

The days of George Washington and the cherry tree are over, because the political leaders would blame someone else for things they themselves had done or caused to be done.

What mother of today would want her son to be president, as was true in the days of Washington?

"Repent!" What does that mean? It means to stop what you are doing wrong and seek the strength and Virtue of the Lord Jesus so you can begin to do what is right. Such is the need of the hour!

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock." Jesus is on the outside of the Church of Laodicea. We talk about Jesus quite a bit, but we do not know Him. We do not live in His Presence. We do not ask Him to guide us in all that we do. In short, we do not know Him. He is on the outside of the churches in too many cases.

But He is knocking. If you are one of those He has chosen to be a ruler during the new world of righteousness that is coming, He will knock until you realize something awesome is taking place. If you keep ignoring the knocking you may end up in the hospital, or something worse may take place.

"If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me."

When you realize Christ is knocking, then open your heart to Him. He never will force the door open. You must of your own will open your life to the Lord.

You know, the Christian tradition is that God is building a mansion for us in Heaven. This thought is prevalent in our hymnology and numerous Christian texts.

The concept of "mansions" in Heaven to which the elect go upon their death is due to an unfortunate rendering of John 14:2 (KJV):

"In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."

Notice the same verse in the New International Version:

"My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?"

Mansions and rooms are not the same thing in today's English!

The New International Version is true to the Greek Text.

The "Father's house" is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. In Him dwells all the Fullness of the Godhead. Christ is the eternal Tabernacle of God.

So the meaning of this venerable verse is that in Christ, who is the Father's House, there are many rooms, many abiding places.

Here is the point. Instead of our going to Heaven as to a mansion, God is coming to us as a dwelling place for Himself.

This accurate understanding of John 14:2 opens to us a whole new understanding of what God is doing in our time.

Now John 3:20 makes more sense and is more pertinent to our thinking.

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 that person, and they with me.

The above tells us of the beginning of the entrance of God into us. And just think! It is taking place now—in our day!

Christ dines on our obedience and worship. We dine on His body and blood.

The sixth chapter of the Gospel of John tells us about eating the flesh of Christ and drinking His blood. From my point of view, not nearly enough attention is paid to this chapter in today's Christian teaching.

We must come to the understanding that eating the flesh of the Lamb and drinking His blood is not primarily a ritual we celebrate in our churches. Eating the flesh of Christ and drinking His blood are the way we are to live.

As we walk in victory, overcoming sin and self-will, we are given the flesh of the Lamb to eat and the blood of the Lamb to drink. Because of the Life and Virtue that are in the Substance of the Lamb, we can continue to overcome sin and self-will.

Also, our first "self" is dying. The new "self" is coming to maturity. The new self is the Kingdom of God, a room in the eternal Tabernacle of God.

The Lamb dines on our obedience and worship. We dine on His body and blood, which are our resurrection life.

Now notice the next verse, Revelation 3:21:

"To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne."

"To the one who is victorious." If we are to inherit any of the promises of Revelation, Chapter Two and Three and Revelation 21:7, we have to live the life of victory in Christ.

We are so backslidden in America we are being taught that no one can overcome sin and must be "saved by grace." The purpose of "grace" is to free us from the Law of Moses. It is not an alternative to growth in Christ!

Such is a tremendous lie. Living the life of victory in Christ is the normal Christian life.

"I will give the right to sit with me on my throne."

Now, where is the Throne of Christ.

We know it is the highest throne of the universe.

And his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:19-21)

The Throne of the victorious Christ is at the right hand of almighty God!

And we, the victorious saints, have been given the right to sit in that Throne with Jesus Christ. Think of it!

"Just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne."

We see that the Lord Jesus is at the right hand of God. Also, Jesus has sat down with the Father on the Father's Throne.

Kind of confusing!

It states also that we have been given the right to sit in that Throne with Jesus Christ---at least that is what it sounds like.

We know that God and Christ will make us Their resting place.

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? Has not my hand made all these things? (Acts 7:49,50)

We know also, as the Lord tells us, that eternal Life will flow from the saints.

Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them. (John 7:38)

The Throne of God and of the Lamb is in the new Jerusalem, which is the Christian Church.

No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. (Revelation 22:3)

The Spirit of God is as a River in that city.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. (Revelation 22:1)

No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. (Revelation 22:3)

If we consider all these comments about the Throne of God and of the Lamb, we might conclude that the victorious saints are being made that Throne, and the Father and the Son shall dwell in us for eternity. We will be the eternal Tabernacle of God that serves as the Royal Priesthood, which governs the saved people drawn from the nations of the earth.

No doubt we, as the Throne of God, will bring the Throne wherever we go. Yet the Throne always shall be exalted far above every other throne, just as lis true today. This is the power of multiple presence, as is true of the Lord Jesus today.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God." (Revelation 21:3)

There you have it. Instead of our going to a mansion in Heaven, God is making us His eternal dwelling place so He may dwell on the earth.

Such is a radical shift in our understanding of the Christian salvation.

No demand is made on us if our destiny is to go to a mansion in Heaven. This idea, of course, would appeal to our original adamic self.

But if God and Christ are to make us Their eternal dwelling place, then total demands are made on us.

First, we must be delivered from the spirits of sin that dwell in our flesh.

Second, our original self must be put aside that God may create a new self.

Third, our original self must be willing to be replaced by the Life and Substance of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Fourth, we must vacate the throne of our own personality that the Father and the Son may sit on that throne.

Fifth, if we are willing and obedient to God and Christ we will be permitted back on the throne of our own life, which has become the Throne of God and the Lamb. Now the decisions concerning our thinking, speaking, and acting will be a joint decision, worked out in a dialogue between us and the Lord.

To the sincere disciple of the Lord Jesus, the thought of returning to earth with the Lord and bringing the water of eternal life to the people of the nations of the earth is more appealing than resting on a sofa in Paradise and playing with our friends.

I don't know how you feel about this, but it is apparent from what I have just written that I prefer to inherit people rather than a mansion.

I have a kind of picture in my mind this morning. I will try to present it clearly. It has to do with our Christian experience.

As I think about the Church worldwide, it appears that our religion operates apart from Christ. When church organizations describe their efforts, one does not often hear, "We were waiting on the Lord, and this is what He said." At least, this has been my experience. Why is this the case?

You know what? Our spiritual environment may be experiencing a change. Perhaps Christ is drawing closer to us. Maybe if we ask Him to enter our life to a greater extent, to draw closer to us, to talk to us, He will.

For the past few years I have been doing just that. Every move I make I hold before Jesus. I continually am asking His help and thanking Him when He answers my prayers.

"Should I do this? Should I do that? What clothes should I wear today? What should I eat and drink? Thank You for helping me with this. Thank You for helping me with that. I need wisdom concerning this. I need wisdom concerning that."

On and on the dialogue continues, throughout the day and into the night before going to sleep. I say "dialogue" because Christ often speaks to me in my mind. So do a lot of other voices. But one learns to recognize Christ and the Father when They speak. Such recognition requires experience and practice over the years. It is worth working at!

Each night before I go to sleep I say to the Lord, "Put me to sleep at the time of Your choosing. Cleanse my mind and heart of dreams, thoughts, and desires that are not of God. Wake me up at the time of Your choosing that I may do Your will more diligently than ever." Every night!

I wonder if this is that Christ means by "Abide in me." Do you suppose?

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15:4)

How do we remain in Christ if it is not by speaking to Him and listening to Him continually?

It seems to me that our religious practices tend to be "about" Christ. "We will save souls for Christ. We will study to learn more about Christ. We will work hard to please Christ. We will strive to be morally pure because this is what Christ would want. We hope to see Christ when we go to Heaven."

What if Christ were with us in a tangible way? Would this change how we speak?

"I love You Lord. Thank you for helping me today. What You told me yesterday has certainly come to pass.

"You told me to enroll in college, and so I am seeking admittance. I am sitting in the Registrar's office. Please help me when my turn comes.

"Now I am in my beginning algebra class. I am afraid I will never understand algebra. Please be with me and help me with quadratic equations. It is all a jumble to me.

"I don't believe the other kids like me. Please help me with this.

"I have stomach pains. Help me to know whether I should go to the college nurse or wait for you to heal me."

How many times each day and night do we need the immediate Presence of Christ?

Being an older person, I often have physical symptoms of one sort or another. I always ask the Lord whether I should look to Him to heal me, or go to the doctor. Sometimes it is one, sometimes the other.

It is my desire to become closer to the Lord Jesus and He to me. I continue this pursuit each day, just as I am doing right now. "Jesus, help me to convey clearly what I believe you are showing me."

It is so clear in my mind—the numerous programs of Christian organizations. Are they hearing from Jesus before they launch out into another endeavor? Do they know when to stop the program when Jesus is finished with it? Are they making assumptions about how to conduct each effort, or are they looking to the Lord Jesus continually in order to interpret correctly what He is commanding?

A denomination may say, for example, that it has a biblical commission to save souls. Therefore the leaders begin to plan how to do this. Do they go to Jesus and ask Him about each detail? If not, why not? Is it because they are not living in His Presence to the extent that they can keep speaking to Him and He to them?

The Lord Jesus said He would build His Church on the Rock.

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (Matthew 16:18)

I don't think He meant the impetuous Peter. Perhaps that would be a shaky rock.

Christ himself is the Rock, as the Old Testament informs us.

But his bow remained steady, his strong arms stayed limber, because of the hand of the Mighty One of Jacob, because of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel. (Genesis 49:24)

The Lord Jesus is the Rock of Israel, the Rock of the Church. He said He would build His Church on Himself. Therefore we do err when we set out to build His Church and are not paying close attention to Him; are not being directed by Him in every detail.

What blindness exists? What man-centered babylons are constructed as people seek to build that which only Christ Himself can build!

Here is the problem. We are ambitious to build a church. But the Lord has not spoken. Shall we cry out "Our work is God's work" and charge ahead without hearing from the only true Builder? Or should we wait until Jesus shows us the first step?

I know about the Great Commission. If I am reading correctly, the Great Commission was addressed to eleven Apostles.

One of the errors of our day is to seize upon some verse of Scripture, such as "Go and make disciples of all nations," and attempt to obey it without asking Jesus for His wisdom.

I understand that some believers will say we do not have to ask Jesus if it already is written in the Bible. I leave them to their own confusion.

If you don't believe this is a real test of our faith, you have not as yet experienced this dilemma.

"Get out there and go to work. How can God help you if you don't do something? Millions of heathen are going to Hell while you are sitting around and doing nothing. God helps those who help themselves."

Have you ever been subjected to this friendly advice?

Young people go to Bible college. Graduate. And then build churches of 300 people while you are sitting home and looking to Jesus. Have you ever been in that situation?

I am aware a young person is not to wait in a closet for Christ to speak to him or her. That won't work! The thing to do is to pray for God's will, and then move in some sensible direction. But continue to pray for the Lord's guidance. Don't stop praying and don't take anything for granted.

He will change your course if it is not the one He wants for you.

You can't steer a car when it is sitting in the driveway!

"What if Jesus never speaks to me? What if He is waiting for me to go out and save souls? What if everyone is correct when they say God helps those who help themselves? What if I am a lazy son in the time of harvest."

I went through this questioning while I was in Bible school. God was revealing the meaning of the Bible to me, but my teachers were of the traditional sort.

I said to myself, "If I do not follow what I think God is showing me, I never will be my own man."

It was not long after that, that I was dismissed from the Bible school—all good folks, mind you, doing what they believed to be the Lord's will. Perhaps it was!

"What a mental battle? What if I am deluded?"

The day came many years after Bible school when the same denomination invited me to be ordained. I refused because I would not accept the doctrine of the "rapture."

This took place more than thirty years ago.

Now I understand that the Levitical feast of Tabernacles, which in the early days I described in a booklet titled "The Temple of God," really does mean Christ intends to come to us in His Fullness.

Now I see the beginning of the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, which the Lord told me in Bible-school days, signifies that He will purify His people from sin by a baptism of fire. The judgment of the Lord Jesus is falling today upon the sin in the lives of the Christians.

I know now that I truly was hearing from the Lord in 1948.

Best of all, I am enjoying His Presence. He is not as close to me as I would like, but I am pressing on the upward way.

The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, "Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ. (I Corinthians 2:15,16)

We all need to pray for the mind of Christ. Why is that? Because our original, adamic mind is an enemy of God. If we do not share His mind, how can we live in His Presence?

The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. (Romans 8:7)

And another important consideration:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

From the verse above, one could gain the impression that our mind must be renewed, resulting in our transformation. We are not to be like the world. This is necessary if we are to test and approve what God's will is.

In the day in which we are living there is more information available to the people of the world than ever before. It certainly will produce a worldwide unity of thought that has not been true previously.

The problem with this onslaught of information is that the minds of people, including Christians, will be conformed to the patterns of the present world. The television and the Internet, the social programs such as Facebook, and the mobile devices---all are active in conforming the thinking of people to the ways of the world.

Most of this information affects our adamic mind which, as the Scripture states, is hostile to God. Since such is the case, we have a major problem here concerning our awareness of what God is saying to us concerning living in His Presence.

It is God's will that each Christian have the mind of Christ. The mind of Christ is that which always is aware of what we might term "the prophetic sense." When our mind is aware of the prophetic sense we understand God's will and we rightly perceive what is going on in our life.

To be continued.

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Living in His Presence, Part II

2014-06-15

It is God's will that each Christian have the mind of Christ. The mind of Christ is that which always is aware of what we might term "the prophetic sense." When our mind is aware of the prophetic sense we understand God's will and we rightly perceive what is going on in our life.

An example of this prophetic sense was displayed when the Lord Jesus was invited by His disciples to look at the Temple of Herod.

Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. (Matthew 24:1)

Herod's Temple indeed was a spectacular marvel to behold, the Temple Mount area being very large.

What was Jesus' response to this invitation?

"Do you see all these things?" he asked. "Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." (Matthew 24:2)

Now, how can we account for this difference in perception? The disciples saw a marvelous structure. Jesus saw a ruin!

When we can understand why the disciples saw this huge, ornate temple and all its parts, and Jesus saw a ruin, we will have gained in maturity as a Christian.

The Servant of the Lord, set forth by Isaiah, is Christ–Head and Body. One important characteristic of the Servant of the Lord is that of being blind to all that God is "blind" to, and seeing all that God sees.

Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like the messenger I send? Who is blind like the one in covenant with me, blind like the servant of the Lord? You have seen many things, but you pay no attention. (Isaiah 42:19.20)

This reminds me of something Jesus said:

Jesus said, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind." Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, "What? Are we blind too?" Jesus said, "If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains." (John 9:39-41)

It is a Bible principle that we are judged in terms of what we know and understand. If the Pharisees actually had realized that Jesus is the Messiah they would have been guilty. They could not "see," of course; so Jesus was catching them in their own words.

What are we saying here? We are saying that worldly people see by the light of the world. God's flock are not nearly as accomplished. In many instances they are the humble and impoverished of the earth. They do not see clearly the facts of the world. But God has given the Kingdom to them, and they see Jesus. The exalted of the present world often are blind to the things of God.

They think they understand what is true, but they often are oblivious to what God has done and is doing.

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. (I Corinthians 1:26,27)

We Christians are in the world but not of the world, the Lord said. We in America are bombarded by the media with the wisdom and thinking of the world. If we are not careful, we will not be able to move forward with Christ into the wonderful acts of redemption that the Spirit of God is presenting to us in the present hour.

We need to pray for the mind of Christ, that mind that is filled with the prophetic knowledge and word.

But how do we obtain the mind of Christ?

It really is not difficult, but we have to be diligent in our pursuit of it.

Our first task is to recognize that God does not want us to do our own thinking and planning as we make our way through life. We have been commanded to acknowledge God in all our ways, knowing He will direct our path if we do so.

The fundamental problem of mankind is that of planning and acting in terms of their own understanding, not God's understanding.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5,6)

If there is any command that would be anathema to today's American society, it would be to lean not on our own understanding.

That admonition is key to victory in the battle to abandon our own will in favor of doing God's will. The worldly wise, of which there are millions in America, would laugh at such a proposal. But the Lord's sheep hear His voice. Those who are determined to please God will obey what God has commanded.

I could not in a million years overemphasize the importance of leaning not on our own understanding, and submitting to God everything we think; everything we plan; everything we imagine; everything we say; everything we do.

Does this sound impossible? It is not! We can spend our days worrying about our problems, or we can cast our burdens on the Lord.

We have to learn to live one moment at a time; to take one step at a time. As we attempt to relax and do this we will discover it is just as easy to submit our thoughts, words, and actions to God as it is to worry and fret about out thoughts, words, and actions.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart." "In all your ways submit to him."

All your heart! All your ways!

You either are going to trust in your own abilities and your own wisdom, or you are going to trust in the Lord and submit your ways to Him. Which is it going to be?

The Scripture states that our natural mind is hostile to God. Since this is true and scriptural, are we going to prosper by leaning on our own understanding and strength? Perhaps we have found out by now that when we pray and ask God for help we actually receive help.

So when we look to Christ for everything, not of course abandoning our common sense, we have embarked on a way of blindness. We are looking to Christ for all we think, say, and do, rather than to what the television or the Internet are advising.

As I said, it is not difficult to walk with our hand in the hand of Christ, looking to Him to lead us in the path best for us. But it does require diligence.

You must remember that we in America are being saturated day and night with information and advice from the media. "Buy this. Buy that. You deserve this. You deserve that. If you just had this thing or that experience you and your family would be happy. Invest your money with us and you will have a carefree retirement."

On and on it goes, all of it being driven by money, not by any altruistic effort to actually help us. It is a sophisticated effort to extract as much money from us as possible.

Then there is the world news. It made me sick at heart to learn that fifty billion dollars are being spent on the Olympic games in Russia while the refugees from Syria are starving and freezing to death in their makeshift camps.

How can spending fifty billion dollars on games be justified when children, little boys and girls, cannot sleep at night because they are cold and hungry. Can you justify that in your mind? I cannot.

I have learned in my 88 years that the world is one huge lie, but truth is found in the Bible.

As I become increasingly "blind" to the world I am seeing marvelous things in the Scriptures. Also, I am hearing Jesus more clearly.

Do you believe Jesus is at the Olympics, or is he with the displaced Syrian boys and girls? What do you think? Is your heart with those children or with the athletes in Russia?

I am not seeking to condemn anyone. Rather I am teaching what I think Christ has shown me.

How do we become blind? By asking God for the mind of Christ. By submitting everything to God, all we think, say, and do. We walk in this "blindness." It is the prophetic realm. We will join Moses, Elijah, Elisha, the Apostle Paul, and Christ Himself. They see as God sees. They are not impressed with the blindness of the world as it tears itself apart in its folly.

Something the Apostle commanded is relevant here. "Pray without ceasing." I would imagine this sounds impossible to a new Christian. But as we seek each daily to submit everything of our life to God, we find ourselves praying continually. It really is more pleasant than worrying without ceasing!

We want to perceive as God perceives, don't we? I believe we would rather see the Temple as Christ perceived it, rather than be dazzled by its magnificence as were His disciples. Perhaps it is true that some of the "great events and things" now being presented on television and the Internet are soon to pass away and will prove to be of little value.

Sometimes, when I see in the newspaper the world leaders strut about in their self-importance, I wonder what they will look like when they stand before Christ in that Day. The Bible says that the wicked vaunt themselves, but the hour will come when we will look for them and not be able to find them.

When I read the statement above in the Psalms, it makes me think of Adolf Hitler. I can remember when I was a boy how the world was troubled by Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini. Where are they today? Was God impressed with their deeds so that they could hold their heads high as they were brought before Him? Did God present them with medals?

People, we need to pray for the mind of Christ so we can see as God and Christ see. I truly believe the prophetic attitude and environment are much to be desired. That way we will perceive matters as God does, and not be deceived so readily.

There are people who claim that God does not speak to us today. Where did they get such an idea? I think their reasoning is that now we have the Bible it is not necessary for God to speak to us personally.

There are few teachings as deadly as this!

When did God stop speaking to us? After the death of the first apostles? Has God been silent since then?

Logically speaking, if there have been no more apostles, then there should be no more evangelists, pastors, or teachers, since all are listed together as gifts to the Body of Christ.

On what possible basis would we select one of the several gifts as being the only gift that would not continue? Beyond doubt there are apostles today; but we cannot recognize him or her because we are picturing an individual who has been glorified to a greater extent than the other Christians; someone who orders the other believers around. Such exaltation of a person or gift simply is not of the way of God!

Will we ever cease attempting to make a king other than the Lord Jesus?

If the written Word was sufficient to guide people, why then did God provide the Urim and Thummim so the Israelites could determine God's will in a particular circumstance? They had the Law at that time. Why didn't they get all the direction they needed from the Law?

He is to stand before Eleazar the priest, who will obtain decisions for him by inquiring of the Urim before the Lord. At his command he and the entire community of the Israelites will go out, and at his command they will come in. (Numbers 2:17-21)

And that really is the issue, isn't it? We can study the Bible and learn principles of Christian living. But what do we do when we need to know God's will in a particular circumstance? When we have a need to know when to go out and when to come in, we usually cannot tell from the Bible, can we?

Did God speak to the people of the Old Testament? We think of Noah directed to build the Ark; Abraham and Isaac; Moses; Joshua and the wall of Jericho, David and the Mulberry tree.

There are numerous instances in the Old Testament of God speaking to people. Are we under a lesser covenant?

And then there was the angel speaking to Mary and the mother and father of John the Baptist.

Let's think for a moment about the early ministers of the Gospel.

The Spirit told Philip, "Go to that chariot and stay near it." (Acts 8:29)

Now, would Philip know to stay near the chariot by studying Christian principles? This is foolishness. Doesn't God guide the ministry today?

He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" (Acts 9:4)

Does God not speak to people today? Of course He does!

When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. (Acts 16:7)

Did you ever hear a minister say he tried to go to a certain place to preach the Gospel, but Jesus would not let him do so?

You probably will not hear this. Why not? If Jesus spoke to a minister of today and told him not to preach the Gospel in a certain place, the minister would respond by saying that the Bible told him to preach the Gospel to everyone, and so it must be the Devil who is speaking to him.

I will tell you one thing. I ask Jesus about everything I do during the day and night, right down to the smallest detail. I have close fellowship with my Lord at all times. How anyone can get through this present world without hearing from Jesus all the time is beyond my understanding.

Do you think Jesus will not speak to you? Why don't you start asking Him about everything you are doing. As you are praying, start listening.

We are approaching very difficult times in our country. Our leaders condone abortion and homosexual activity. God will never accept that. The result will be the destruction of our nation.

As we approach chaos, we will need to hear from the Lord. The Bible tells us to call on the Lord and He will help us in our hour of need. This is the absolute truth. However, sometimes that help will require that He speak to us and tell us to do this or that, or go here or there. Does that sound reasonable to you?

It may be true that the greatest joy in the Christian life is close fellowship with Christ. How can a person have close fellowship with Christ if they do not speak to each other every day? He will walk with us and talk with us and tell us we are His own possession. But we have to take the time to listen to Him. We have to remain in what I refer to as the prophetic domain.

The preacher who is teaching us that Christ will not speak to us, and all we have is the Bible to go by, is robbing us of our fellowship with Christ—a fellowship that Christ desires!

Away with preachers who tell us the day of miracles is over. I cannot understand their viewpoint. Is the day of being born again over with? Is the day of being baptized in water over with? Is the day of being led by the Spirit over with? Who gave us the right to pick and choose the parts of the Bible we are supposed to apply today?

There are those who claim the witch of Endor did not actually bring up Samuel. The Bible says she did. I choose to believe the Scriptures. What is behind this desire to remove from God's people a belief in the miraculous power of God?

If we remove the miraculous from the Bible, saying God does not do today what He has done in the Bible, we remove the heart and joy of walking with Jesus. Christ has healed my wife of thyroid problems and me of arthritis in my knee. Are we to say we were not healed because Divine healing is not for us in the present hour?

Maybe it is this sort of teaching that is preventing more miracles in our country, while mighty miracles are occurring in the third-world countries. Do you suppose?

The days of the carefree, self-satisfied, beer-guzzling Americans are coming to a halt. The future will be grim, just as it is grim for the displaced people who have left Syria. Their children are suffering from the cold and hunger.

The same very well may be true of our children if abortion and the enthusiasm for homosexual behavior continue. Remember Sodom! The same God is in Heaven and He does not change. The people of Sodom had children!

We are going to need miracles to survive. We are going to need to hear from Jesus.

I heard a testimony in the First Assembly of God church in Fremont, California some years ago. It was given by the son of one of the Christian people who had the following experience:

When the Communists were coming to power in Russia, some Christian families decided to go to China. They crossed Russia on foot, being guided by speaking in tongues and interpretations.

When they got to the border of China there were guards. They had to stay in a certain building for a brief while. While they were in the building, God formed food in their stomach.

The moment came when God told them to cross into China. The walked across the border. They had gone a short while, when they looked back and saw the guard with his dog. He did not notice them.

They became thirsty. One of the elders started digging in the sand. Water came up through the sand.

As I remember they later went to the Philippines.

If I had a nickel for every incident of this kind that has happened to Christian people, I would be wealthy.

Who is this that is robbing Christian people of their faith in the miraculous? Who is telling them that God does not speak to us today? These teachers are keeping us unprepared for what is on the horizon in America.

We are going to need assistance from our miracle-working God. We are going to need to hear from Him continually if we are to survive with our loved ones and friends. Can you imagine how many people will require help in that hour? We may not be able to supply the needs of all of them, but Christ can feed the multitude.

If you are a Christian, begin to bring Christ into your thinking, speaking, and acting. Talk to Him. Listen to Him. You will find He is close to you and desires to be closer yet.

Believe Him for the impossible. Go out at night and consider that Christ spoke the starry heavens into existence. Then understand that with God, all things are possible.

Flee from those with the spirit of the Pharisee who search the Scripture but cannot see Christ when He is standing in front of them.

I think the greatest need of the Christian organizations of our day is to begin to listen to Jesus, to live in His Presence rather than in administrative strategies. I believe in many instances the leaders are taking for granted that Christ wants them to keep on adding to their programs, when He actually is looking in another direction.

How many of us are willing to cease our own works and enter the rest of God, in which we look to Jesus to find out what it is He wants us to do? Is this laziness? Is it passivity? No, it is not. We have to labor to enter the rest of God, because many voices are telling us to do this or that without waiting to hear from Jesus.

We used to talk about "praying through." You don't hear much of that any longer.

What does it mean to pray through? It means to pray until you know God has heard you.

How do you know when God has heard you? You can't pray any longer. You only can praise God. You know He has heard you, not because the Bible says so, but because of the release you feel in your spirit.

There are people today who are claiming that if you pray more than once you do not have faith. They do not know the Lord. Sometimes, like Jacob, we have to wrestle with the Lord. We don't quit until we know He has heard us. Then we know the answer is in the bank, so to speak.

There are many false voice in the land, some declaring that if we say "Your will be done" it is because we do not have "faith."

Then there are false revivals today that are not revivals at all, just emotional outbursts that do not really edify anyone. Some of these wild exhibitions border on the demonic, in my opinion.

But of all the mess, including the unscriptural "rapture" and lawless grace teachings, perhaps the greatest need of all is for us to stop assuming we know what the Lord Jesus is saying to the churches.

The truth is, as I see it, that the twentieth century was the "Pentecostal Century." Now the Spirit of God is ready to take us past Pentecost to the remaining three feasts of the Lord—the Blowing of Trumpets; the Day of Atonement; and finally Tabernacles.

The immediate need is for us to confess our sins that the Spirit points out to us, and to turn away from them with the assistance of the Lord Jesus. If we are faithful in this we will be prepared for the mighty outpourings of the Spirit that are ahead of us.

"Lord Jesus, please give us the mind of Christ so we can walk and talk with you. We need more of God than only going to church on Sunday."

It may be true that the most pressing need in Christianity today is for people who hear from the Lord Jesus. The denominations plunge forward in the desire to increase their membership. But is this what Christ is directing them to do?

The testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy, the Scripture maintains. Unfortunately Christian people are not always taught to listen to what Jesus is saying right now. Hopefully this condition will be rectified as the pastors encourage their congregations to get a word from the Lord.

At a recent youth camp, our young people spent time waiting on the Lord. They really heard from Jesus! What a blessing it was to hear what the Lord was telling them. They are learning to hear.

I am old enough and experienced enough to know the danger of this approach; but when error starts to creep in, it easily can be corrected if we are vigilant.

When I review in my mind Enoch being translated; Noah and the Ark; Joshua and the wall of Jericho; Elijah being caught up in a whirlwind; and then I hear of people saying God will not work wonders among us today; it is my impression that such individuals are worshiping their own doctrines and not the Lord Jesus Christ.

Doesn't the New Testament state that we are under a better covenant? Is a better covenant one in which God no longer works with us or speaks to us as He did in the former covenant? What sort of nonsense is this?

But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises. (Hebrews 8:6)

I see a world in which Christ is All and in all. There are no churches, because churches tell us about Christ, and this no longer is needed. In the new world of righteousness Christ is everywhere and available to all people. Everyone lives by His Life.

In Him we live, and move, and have our being.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:6,7)

We not have to wait until the coming of the new world of righteousness before we begin practicing the Presence of Christ.

I am working on it now. How about you?

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Why the "Rapture" Is an Incorrect Vision of the Future

2014-06-22

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)

Several passages of the New Testament speak of a coming day of evil, of temptation, of persecution, of unparalleled hardship:

For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. (Matthew 24:21)

Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. (Revelation 3:10)

You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. (Luke 21:16,17)

Paul advises us to put on the full armor of God so we might stand in the day of evil. The problem with the "rapture teaching" is that it informs us there will be no day of evil for anyone who "accepts Christ." Therefore there is no need to prepare ourselves.

Thus the American Christians of our day live careless lives. They may be able to see the unprecedented rebellions against authority of our day, as the nations of the East strive for democratic government. They may notice the diminishing of the United States as a world power. They may understand that the New Testament speaks of the great trouble to come.

But their attitude is: "There is no need for me to worry about the future. I will not be here. I will be caught up to Heaven in a "rapture" while the Jewish Christians preach the Gospel of the Kingdom during the troubled times of the Antichrist government.

Such unscriptural foolishness! But the attitude of "we won't be here," plus the unscriptural "lawless grace" teaching, have resulted in a woeful spiritual weakness of numerous American Christians. Our government reflects this lack of character in its confusion over moral issues.

Let us examine some of the passages of the New Testament to explain that the teaching of the "rapture" is unscriptural.

Perhaps the most powerful antidote to the spiritually destructive teaching of the "rapture" is the twenty-fourth chapter of the Book of Matthew. This chapter is a true vision of the future.

If I am not mistaken, the prevailing opinion of the "rapturists" is that Matthew 24 is speaking of a coming of the Lord that takes place after the secret "rapture." Thus there would be two days of the Lord, two comings, for which there is no scriptural basis.

The fourth chapter of the book of First Thessalonians is considered, I believe, to be a flagship of the "rapture" doctrine, so to speak. Notice in this chapter the expression, "According to the Lord's word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep." (I Thessalonians 4:15)

Now, think about the word "coming." The Greek term is parousian. The parousian of the Lord. Notice that Paul does not speak of two comings. This is the one coming of the Lord, the coming set forth in the twenty-fourth chapter of the Book of Matthew.

Now we go to Matthew:

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" (Matthew 24:3)

What do you think the Greek term is for the word "coming" in the verse above?

It is parousias.

It appears, doesn't it, that Matthew and Paul may be speaking of the same coming, the parousia.

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:12,13)

Right here would be a good place for the Lord to say, "You have no need to fear because you won't be here. Instead He challenges us, as Paul did, to stand firm to the end of the Church Age.

By doing so we become eligible to be saved. By "saved" I believe the Lord means we will not have succumbed to the temptation to sin that surrounds us and will hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant" when we appear before Christ in Heaven.

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

Some may object that this is speaking only to Jewish Christians. Let me once and for all declare that there is no such thing as a Jewish Christian or a Gentile Christian. There only is the one new Man, the one Seed of Abraham. The first Christian church was composed of 5,000 Law-keeping Jews. We are one with them.

Whenever you hear someone referring to Jewish Christians, or Gentile Christians, you know he or she needs to go back to the Bible and look again at what Paul wrote.

We would not refer to German Christians, or English Christians, or American Christians, except during a population study or some special event.

We would not say, for example, that there were Irish Christians in Heaven while Swedish Christians were on the earth. No more should we speak of Gentile Christians in Heaven and Jewish Christians on the earth. We are one in the body and blood of Christ.

What we are in race applies only to our life prior to our entering the death and resurrection of Christ.

There only is the "one new Man," who is Christ and those who are part of Him.

When we see a statue of self-seeking man standing on the pinnacle of the Temple (the abomination that makes desolate), where Christ was tempted to act presumptuously, then we know the desolation that will be created by the self-will of man is at hand and we must look to God for a place of protection.

Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. (Matthew 24:17-21)

The Christians who are living in the land of Israel are to flee from Judea and seek the Lord for a place of safety. We Christians who are not living in Judea are to seek God for our own place of safety, not "going back to get our cloak," so to speak. Remember Lot's wife!

There is on the horizon a day of evil, and we are to begin to prepare ourselves today, because we will not be "raptured" out of it!

The following verse proves beyond doubt that God's elect will not escape by a "rapture" from the day of evil.

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)

It certainly sounds as though God's elect will be on the earth during the rule of Antichrist, doesn't it?

And notice:

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting 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. (II Thessalonians 2:1-3)

"Concerning the coming. What Greek term would you guess is translated "coming"?

Parousias.

Matthew 24 tells about "our being gathered to Christ. There certainly would not be a gathering to Christ prior to Matthew 24!

Notice the one "day of the Lord."

Notice that the one day of the Lord will not come until Antichrist is revealed. How could there possibly be a "rapture" prior to this? The "rapture" teaching of our day is a sophisticated error, the purpose of which is to leave the believers unprepared for the evil day, so they will fall into the clutches of Satan. It is the deception, of which Jesus warned us.

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. Our gathering to Christ will not occur until first there is the great rebellion against God, and Antichrist comes forth.

For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:27)

Notice that there is one coming (parousia) and everyone on earth will see it. I would say that the teaching of a special secret coming prior to this is reckless, going against the clear teaching of the Word of God. What is your opinion?

For wherever the carcase may be, there shall the eagles be gathered together. (Matthew 24:28–YLT)

The "eagles" are the saints who live by the body and blood of the slain Lamb. This reminds us of something not always taught in "rapture" teaching. Unless we are living by the Life of Christ we will not be part of the gathering to Him. Just "accepting Christ" and living our own life will not qualify us for the great gathering.

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)

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)

These are the great signs that will herald our gathering to Christ. Notice that they will appear after the day of trouble.

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 24:31)

Compare:

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)

Does it really make sense to claim that there will be a secret appearing of Christ prior to Matthew's coming, giving the common use of parousia for "coming," and the trumpet call? I believe the people who are trusting in a "rapture" to deliver them from the day of evil are hoping in a tradition rather than in the Scripture.

What is of greatest importance in this present discussion is the idea of preparing for the gathering.

Remember our opening Scripture?

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:14-17)

My point in this essay is to warn God's people that they have an incorrect vision of the future. Because of the teaching of a "rapture" that will do away with their need to prepare for the chaos that is approaching the United States, combined with the teaching that "grace" removes any critical need to grow in Christ, we have multitudes of spiritual babies in our country.

What are the unprepared believers going to do in the days of violent persecution; of the shortage of the necessities of life, including food and money? Are they going to panic and forget Christ?

They are not prepared with the belt of truth, they have believed a lie. They have no breastplate of righteousness, having been persuaded that God loves them so much He is going to bring them to Heaven even though they have not lived a victorious life in Christ.

Their feet are not fitted with the gospel of peace. They gossip and judge their fellow believers freely, causing division in their church.

They do not know how to hold up the shield of faith when trouble comes. The "flaming arrows" of insults and criticism enter their spirit until they are harboring bitterness in their heart.

They do not understand how to pray for help from the Virtue of the blood of the Lamb to quench the fire of unforgiveness.

They are hoping for a rapture that will put an end to their frustrations and install them in a mansion in Paradise. Thus their head, their thoughts, are not protected.

They do not obey Paul by placing their affections in Heaven where Christ sits on the right hand of God.

They are transformed by the information coming from the television and the Internet.

They are not "in Christ." They are in the world, and not eligible for the worldwide gathering of the saints to the Lord Jesus when He appears from Heaven in Glory.

They cannot use the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, to fight off the oppressions and delicious temptations of the demons, because they do not know the Word. They do not meditate in the Bible each day. They are trusting in the pastors and evangelists to teach them the truth, and sometimes they are not being taught the truth.

They have plenty of time for the television but little time for the effort that is needed to pray through to victory.

The doctrine of the "rapture" plus "lawless grace" have accomplished Satan's will concerning the Christian churches in the United States. Our nation, once the envy of the world, is deteriorating rapidly as far as power and influence are concerned.

There are good people who are looking for political solutions. But there are no political solutions, because the problem is spiritual.

Ancient Israel serves as a helpful example to us.

How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave. (Lamentations 1:1)

At one time Israel was the greatest of the nations of the earth. The other nations came with gifts to seek her favor.

She left her Lord. She has not fully recovered to the present hour, still being surrounded by enemies who mock her and her God.

America at one time was highly favored. This was not because of democracy. Democracy is "Laodicea," the voice of the people. Christ says nothing good about Laodicea. America was the envy of the world because of the blessing of God, not because of democracy.

But one of the greatest of the biblical promises of God is addressed to these lukewarm people. It is that of sitting with Christ in the highest throne of all.

So it is true that we are citizens of a nation that has forsaken her Lord. Soon she shall be as Israel, a widow who was once great among the nations. The only force that could reverse this would be a wholesale return to Jesus Christ; and it does not appear that this is likely to take place.

But as was true of the blind Laodiceans. We as an individual can open the door of our heart to Christ; dine with Him on His body and blood as He dines on our obedience and worship; and take our place on that throne that is higher than any other.

Then we are safe in the Presence of Christ regardless of what happens to our country.

The choice is ours, and it must be made quickly!

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:18-21)

Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation. (Psalms 91:14-16–KJV)

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments. (Habakkuk 3:19)

These promises are for you and me regardless what takes place in the world, if we will seek the Lord Jesus with our whole heart!

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What Is Sin Under the New Covenant?

2014-06-29

There is a difference between following the rules of a book, such as the scroll containing the Law of Moses, and obeying the will of the risen Christ. The first is the old covenant. The second is the new covenant; although we have to obey the teachings of the Apostle until we are able to recognize the voice of the Lord Jesus.

The two most destructive forces in the Christian churches, and also in the world, are sin and self-will. These two forces interact. For anyone to be saved into the Presence of Christ, these forces must be overcome!

There may be few things as confusing as is true of Christian thinking concerning sin. Paul emphasized that we are not under the Law of Moses but under "grace," whatever that may be.

Unless we define "grace" as God's Presence in Christ to accomplish God's will, and use it instead as an excuse for our sinning, we will frustrate the purpose of the new covenant.

The new covenant was given to us because the Israelites were not able to satisfy God's desire that people behave righteously.

It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them, declares the Lord. (Hebrews 8:9)

Now, do we honestly believe that God decided human beings would always be unable to act in His image and gave "grace" as an excuse for their behavior? Would this be a better covenant from God's point of view?

Is an incorrect interpretation of "grace" responsible for the behavior of the believers in Corinth?

For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged. (II Corinthians 12:20,21)

It is interesting, isn't it, that God gave us a new covenant because people behaved unrighteously under the old covenant. But the believers in Corinth did not seem to be much improved.

Did the Apostle Paul say there was no problem because they were under a covenant of "grace"? Did Paul say they were not to worry because God was seeing them through Christ, as is taught today?

Judge for yourself. It appears to me that numerous Christian pastors and evangelists do not see eye to eye with the Apostle Paul.

Paul never taught that Divine grace is an excuse for sin, or that God had given up on the goal of making man in His image. Paul did teach that "grace" frees us from the Law of Moses so we now can turn our eyes from Moses to Christ.

You know, the new covenant set forth in the Book of Hebrews is the only Christian covenant. I seldom have heard it preached that the purpose of the Christian covenant is to write the eternal moral law of God on our mind and heart, the result being that now we can behave righteously, unlike the Israelites under the Law of Moses.

Instead, we have created our own new covenant. It is to recognize that all people sin, and we cannot save ourselves. All we need do is say "I accept Christ." Then we can proceed with our life as usual, knowing that when we die we will go straight to our mansion in Heaven, located on a street of gold, and have no problems for eternity.

What happened to the moral law of God written in our mind and heart?

Poor people might be intrigued by our Gentile new covenant.

However, when we settled down in our mansion, and the neighbors acted like the believers in Corinth, we might wonder if we were in Hell instead of Heaven. Took a wrong turn somewhere.

The truth is, the Christian churches have taken a wrong turn from the beginning, by believing that God's love and mercy has concluded mankind cannot be saved from sin and self-will.

The Christian churches in so many instances are a moral shambles, and the lying and general corruption of our society, including our government, reflect this lack of moral guidance.

Our nation holds up democracy as being the solution to the problems of mankind, and is striving to spread this philosophy to other nations. However democracy and righteousness are not the same, and sometimes march in totally different directions.

God is seeking righteousness among people, not necessarily democracy!

There are Jewish Christians in our day who are returning to the Torah and various taboos as they seek some sort of direction for their behavior, understanding instinctively that God is concerned with our conduct.

The truth is, there is a new Divine covenant that is more effective in transforming people into the moral image of God than is true of the Torah, although the Torah was a true guide in its day.

The Spirit of God is the Law (Torah) of the new covenant. Therefore the new covenant is a better covenant, and more able to change us into God's image. Now we are by faith in Christ to obey the Spirit of God at every moment. We are not free to behave sinfully or according to our self-will.

So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. (Galatians 3:24,25)

I suppose most Christians have been taught we are "not under the Law but under grace." But they imagine when they go to church on Sunday that they are observing the Sabbath commandment, which is part of the Law of Moses. So they are not really persuaded they are not under the Law.

They imagine also that being under grace means if they do not live righteously, according to what their understanding of righteousness is, God will bring them to Heaven to live in a mansion forever.

Am I correct? Are there numerous Christian people who have this point of view?

If we are not under the Ten Commandments, or any other part of the Law of Moses, what then is sin under the new covenant?

Maybe there is no behavior that is sin under the new covenant. Do you suppose? Perhaps God is sitting up in Heaven exclaiming, "Boys will be boys!"

Yet, the Apostle Paul said if we continue to sin we will die spiritually.

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

What are the "misdeeds" of the body, if we are not under the Law of Moses. Have you ever thought about that?

Does "grace" take care of any "misdeeds," so we are not to worry about them? Or is it true that if we do not put our misdeeds to death we will die spiritually—meaning, in context, we will not experience the change from spiritual death to spiritual life in our body in the Day of Resurrection.

Can you name a sin? If you practice that sin, will grace cover it so you will go to Heaven anyway when you die? Is this what the Bible means when it says you are not under the Law of Moses but under grace?

Do you suppose there is no such thing as sinful behavior on the part of a Christian, because God cannot see him or her except through Christ? This is taught, but can it really be true? Many believers are basing their salvation on this teaching; so if it is not true there is a real problem here.

Our conclusions affect our salvation, don't they? Is it true that once we say "I accept Jesus as my Savior" I can never be lost? I will go to Heaven no matter how I behave? This is what is taught, isn't it. Yet it is not what the Bible says and it just does not agree with our conscience.

There are instances in which Christians have a sense of guilt for one reason or another. But sometimes their teachers tell them to ignore it. They tell the student, "You cannot possibly feel guilt because God sees you through Christ."

Can you believe this? It actually happens. Perhaps this has been your experience.

Let's take a look at what behavior the New Testament says is sinful and see if we can put together a general definition of "sin." Also, what the consequences are if we do sin. In addition, we need to know if "grace" protects us if we practice sin so we don't have to worry about our behavior.

The acts of the flesh 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)

Perhaps these behaviors are what Paul meant by "misdeeds," in Romans 8:13.

Was Paul writing to Christian people when he made this statement?

Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—and all the brothers and sisters with me, To the churches in Galatia. (Galatians 1:1,2)

Could we agree that Paul is addressing Christian people and not the heathen of Galatia?

Do you think Paul was regarding such behaviors as sin, even though we are not under the authority of the Law of Moses?

How serious are they in God's sight?

Paul maintained, "Those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

Does this mean whoever practices adultery or fornication, for example will not inherit the Kingdom of God?

What is the Kingdom of God? It is God in Christ in us governing God's creation.

Did John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus preach about going to Heaven, or did they preach about the coming of the Kingdom of God?

If they preached the coming of the Kingdom of God, then the Christian Gospel is about God in Christ in the saints in the earth governing the creation of God.

What do you suppose this has to do with your salvation? Maybe everything. Jesus said we are born again in order to enter the Kingdom of God. If this is true, perhaps being saved means inheriting the Kingdom of God.

This suggests that if we practice adultery and fornication, and do not confess them as sin and turn away from them with the help of Christ, then we can have no place in the Kingdom of God. In other words, we will not be saved in the Day of Wrath.

Well, it looks like this is what Paul taught.

But let's think a bit deeper. If we are not under the authority of the Law of Moses, and Paul said we are not, then why are adultery and fornication sin? On what basis would they prevent our being saved from wrath?

It appears obvious from what Paul wrote to the brothers and sisters in Galatia that God does not see the purity of Christ when we are practicing sexuality immorality. Nor does "grace" make our behavior acceptable to God.

But on what basis is such behavior sin? What makes it sin when we are not under the Law of Moses?

Here is another dimension of sin. When Jesus came He demanded an accounting of how the believers used the gifts that had been given to them.

One man did not put his gift to use to build the Kingdom of God. Did Jesus say, "There is no problem here. God always saw this man through Me"?

Did Jesus explain Divine grace excused the man's unwillingness to use his gift to build the Kingdom?

Did Jesus say that? Or did Jesus say, "Depart from Me you wicked, lazy servant. Go into the outer darkness"?

Did the man sin by not using his gift? On what basis is this sin? On what basis are the excesses of the flesh sin?

The Apostle Paul commanded us to present our body a living sacrifice that we might prove what God's will is for us; and also not to be conformed to the ways of the world.

When we do not obey Paul by not presenting our body a living sacrifice, are we sinning?

Paul commanded us to set our heart on the things of Heaven and not on things of the earth. When we do not do this, are we sinning? Or does God see us through Christ? Or does grace cover our negligence in this matter?

I think the answer to the question of what sin is has to do with the new creation. It has to do with our initial Christian commitment.

We become a Christian by accepting by faith forgiveness through the blood atonement. Then we are baptized in water.

Baptism in water means we have died to the world and our original personality by taking our place on the cross with the Lord Jesus Christ. When we come out of the water we are stating that we now are living by the resurrection life of the Lord Jesus. We are on our road to becoming a new creation.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here! (II Corinthians 5:17)

The question now is, what sort of behavior characterizes the new creation? According to the Apostle Paul and the Lord Jesus, laziness and the other actions of the body that Paul mentioned do not characterize the new creation. This means we are not participating in the resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus. We are not revealing the Kingdom of God in ourselves. We are not part of the program of redemption. We are not being saved.

It is just that simple. God is not seeing us through Christ. Grace is not excusing our conduct, unless we are confessing and turning away from the actions of our former life and pressing forward in Christ.

It is not like the Law of Moses in which we read in a book what we can do and what we cannot do. It is the forming of a new creation that lives by the Life of the Lord Jesus.

Let's think for a moment about how Paul addresses the old and new selves.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)

The above just about tells the whole story. The Law of the new covenant is the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God is the counterpart in the new covenant of the Law of Moses in the old covenant. Our law is the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.

As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. What does the Spirit of God lead us to do? He leads us each moment of the day to put off our old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, and to put on the new self, which is created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

The Christian salvation consists of obeying the Spirit of God as He guides and enables us so we continually are turning away from that which He shows us is not of Christ, and are doing what the Spirit desires.

This is how we grow in Christ, continually rejecting and turning away from unrighteousness and embracing what is righteous and holy.

Meanwhile, the grace of God is covering that part of our behavior which the Spirit has not dealt with as yet.

One of the purposes of Divine grace is to shield the new self from the authority of the Law of Moses so we are free to turn our eyes toward Christ at all times instead of to the scroll of the Law.

The believers who do not cooperate with the Spirit of God, and picture themselves as being assured of eternal residence in Heaven on the basis of a sovereign grace, will not be received by the Lord when He comes. They are not eligible for the great gathering to the Lord.

Rather, it is those who learn to live by the body and blood of the slain Lamb who will be caught up to Him in the sky. We live by the body and blood of the Lamb when we keep confessing and turning away from the sin that is tempting us.

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 end result of the process of putting off the old self and donning the new creation is the forming of the Day Star in us. The Day Star, or Morning Star, is the Lord Jesus Christ rising within us. The is the goal of the new covenant.

We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. (II Peter 1:19)

By "prophetic message" Peter means the Old Testament. Peter probably would not be speaking of the Law of Moses, I believe, but of all the admonitions and insights of the Prophets. We of today do well to meditate daily in the writings of the Apostles as a light shining in a dark place, and in the Old Testament as well.

We pray and meditate in the Old and New Testaments, obeying the Spirit of God, until Christ, who is the Word and eternal moral Law of God, arises in our heart. Christ, the Word, is written in our mind so we can understand what the Spirit desires; and in our heart so we have a passion to do the will of God.

Such is the end product of the work of redemption in Christ—a human being who has been delivered from the compulsions of sin; who has a strong desire to always obey God; who has the Substance of Christ formed in him or her; in whom the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are dwelling; and who is housed in a body of incorruptible eternal life in which no spirits of sin are dwelling.

This is the new creation in Christ.

The purpose of the Law of Moses was to keep sin under control until the Seed arrived through whom the promised inheritance could come.

Now we see that the misdeeds of the body no longer are practiced. There is no laziness present such that the gifts of the Spirit are wasted. The old body is presented as a living sacrifice until it is replaced by a new body filled with eternal resurrection life.

There is no need to command the new creation to keep his attention on things above. He is at home on the earth as well as in Heaven. He is seated in Christ on the highest throne of the universe. Yet, by the power of multiple presence, he at the same time is serving God wherever there is a need.

He does not behave sinfully because the Divine nature has been formed in him.

Sin is nothing more and nothing less than disobedience to God. When we know what God wants, and do not do it, we are sinning.

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

What I have described above is not the Christian religion, a creation of man. Rather, It is the Divine redemption, which is a continuing, eternal interaction with the living Lord Jesus Christ.

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Eve

2014-07-06

Have you ever wondered what motivated Eve to disobey God? I have.

Satan always studies our personality to see what might be a door through which he can enter. Satan must have been correct in his assessment of Eve's personality, because he was quite successful.

But what was this door? Is it true of any of us today? If it is, we need to ask Christ to heal us, to remove that door through which Satan can enter.

Now consider: God was available to Eve. He would walk in the garden, the Bible says. Why didn't she ask God if the fruit of the tree was good for her?

Obviously the story is an allegory, because snakes do not speak and tempt people. Allegory or not, the spiritual principles are true enough.

When God created Eve, He said that it is not good for a man to be alone. God said that Eve, and all other wives I suppose, was brought forth to be a suitable helper for her husband. Not just a servant to do what whatever Adam desired, but someone who would assist Adam in accomplishing the goals set before him by the Lord: to be in the image of God, that is, to behave as God behaves; to increase in number; and to govern the creatures of the earth.

The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." (Genesis 2:18)

Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." (Genesis 1:26)

Notice that God made mankind in His image so they may rule. It is true that we cannot rule with God until we behave in the same manner as God, showing love, patience, truthfulness, faithfulness, compassion, forgiveness, and all the other manifestations of the Spirit of God.

God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground." (Genesis 1:28)

God blessed them, that is, both Adam and Eve. God gave to both of them to be in the image of God and to govern the creatures God had created.

God at this time did not place Adam in a position of rulership over Eve. That came later, because of Eve's disobedience. No doubt this curse shall be lifted in the resurrection.

To the woman he said, I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." (Genesis 3:16)

Did Eve understand that her role was to assist her husband as he served God?

I do not know. The Bible does not say God told her that, although Adam may have done so, just as he must have told her about the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

When Satan approached Eve, Adam was there with her.

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

Notice, "She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it."

Why did Adam do that? Did Adam always do what Eve wanted? God had told Adam he was not to eat of that tree.

But you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die." (Genesis 2:17)

We just have to keep in mind that these two people had no Bible and no experience with God or His ways. For all we know, they may have been ten years old at the time. It seems likely to me that Eve was the same age as Adam when she was brought forth from him. What do you think about that?

So we will just have to have compassion toward them. They were required to spend almost a thousand years after that thinking about what they had done. At least Adam lived that long!

Altogether, Adam lived a total of 930 years, and then he died. (Genesis 5:5)

Satan had painted a word picture in Eve's mind. Not only would she not die, as God had warned, but she saw herself as a great pillar of light, like God Himself, dispensing knowledge on every hand.

Like so many today, being like God may to Eve have meant power and glory rather than a meek and child-like heart.

"You will not certainly die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:4,5)

Why didn't Eve turn to Adam and ask him what he thought about this? Would Adam agree that Eve would not die but become a great fountain of knowledge.

Eve may have been afraid of what Adam would say, do you think?

What was driving the woman?

It was ambition! She wanted to be like God, which is Satan's ambition also.

You know, people, we need to be careful, in this day of the increased revealing of Christ and of the greatness of our inheritance in Him, that we do not receive a deluding spirit that tells us we are another god.

"Just think of it! We are going to be like God! We can command the angels and tell them what they are supposed to do! We can command the Holy Spirit! We do not have to pray, just march forward in the name of Christ!"

I tell you, that spirit of delusion is operating in the world today among zealous Christians. It is the False Prophet. The False Prophet consists of Christian people who go forth to do mighty works in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ without hearing from the Lord.

They are being directed by their own self-will, not by the Spirit of God. They will be the helpers of Antichrist during the closing days of the Church Age.

Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. (Revelation 13:11)

The self-propelled Christians will use the power of Christ (two horns like the Lamb) but they will speak with the voice of Satan (I will, I will, I will).

I suppose some men will use my writing about Eve as an excuse to seek to command their wives to be in subjection to them. By doing so they will destroy the God-given abilities of their wife to support their husbands during the problems and frustrations of life on the earth. They will destroy her creativity, her gifts.

Also, it may be true that some women will vigorously defend Eve, claiming that if her husband had done his duty Eve would not have been deceived. Somehow the incident will be blamed on Adam, while the woman will proceed to pursue some exalted goal she has in mind for herself.

We are not perfect, are we?

When a man loves Jesus and his wife and children, and his wife loves him, being acutely aware of his shortcomings, and quietly attempts to assist him in working through his problems, God will bless them and their children abundantly.

But some husbands are brutes, and some wives may be attempting to use their husbands to accomplish their personal goals, sometimes goals in their religious organizations.

These situations do occur; and I guess the only answer is prayer and hope.

Well, Mother Eve created a mess that has endured for six thousand years. Adam was no help to her at that time. Perhaps he was later.

Both were children without experience. I have no doubt that in the resurrection they will have an opportunity to begin again and serve Christ faithfully.

God knew they would fail. He knew their disobedience ultimately would bring about Calvary, and then the creation of the new world of righteousness. Adam and Eve may have a difficult time getting rid of oppression when they realize the consequences of what they did.

It will require the Virtue that is in the blood of the Lamb in order for them to be completely healed, just as it does for us when we are oppressed and grieved about some action of our own.

As God does with all of us, He makes all things work for our good if we do not give up but keep praying and following Christ.

God forgives each of us who confesses his disobedience and who then seeks to obey Christ more diligently in the future.

I hope to see Eve and Adam in the new world of righteousness. I believe they will have much of interest to tell us, as they have grown in the ability to recognize and reject wickedness, and to fervently embrace the righteousness and eternal life which are in the Tree of Life, our Lord Jesus Christ.

But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:14)

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Democracy, or the Kingdom of God

2014-07-13

"Democracy" is defined as: "government by the people." "Demos" means "people."

A "kingdom" refers to people ruled by a king.

Ruled by people. Ruled by a king.

One is rule from the bottom up. The other is rule from the top down.

Obviously these two forms of government are opposites.

The world today is moving toward democratic government. The United States is among those who are leading the way.

Unless I am mistaken, we Christian people view democracy as the same as the Kingdom of God, or at least friendly to the Kingdom of God.

The reason we do not see the difference is that we do not understand that the religion of Christianity throughout its history, to the present hour, is largely a result of self-will. No doubt there have been notable exceptions.

The reason is, the program of redemption has not moved forward to the crucifixion of our will. There have been scouts out ahead, but the wagon train is just now coming in sight of this critical aspect of salvation.

Jessie Penn-Lewis has been, I think, one of the proponents of death to self. This may have been true also of A. B. Simpson. I am sure there have been many others who have experienced and taught inner crucifixion.

I have not heard many in our day emphasize the death to self that is necessary if we are to attain to the resurrection of the body. We seem to be pretty well limited to forgiveness through the blood. There are many however who have sought to press forward into the works of the Spirit of God.

In our time there is a worldwide push toward forcing democratic government on all people. I believe this will be successful, because people want to be free of external constraints. Who wants to be told by their government how to live?

Ironically, in our country, a foremost exponent of democratic government, we may be noticing that we increasingly are being governed from above whether we like it or not! It always is so when man is in control.

Although it may come as a shock to some, antichrist is the rule of man. "Antichrist" means against Christ. When we are planning and operating our own life without reference to the Lord Jesus Christ, we are functioning in the spirit of antichrist.

I have no doubt, from the Book of Daniel, that there will arise a world ruler who embodies the spirit of antichrist. Some translations of the ninth chapter of the Book of Daniel, suggest that he will erect a statue of himself on a wing of the Temple in Jerusalem, on the very spot where the Lord Jesus refused the antichrist spirit.

Jesus on the pinnacle of the Temple was tempted to act presumptuously, wasn't He? This spirit of presumption is encouraged among church people who are challenged to "step out in faith."

If Jesus had stepped out in faith he would have been out of God's will and ended up in a mess, I think. So do we when we follow our own will, even if we are trying to prove we are a son of God.

The Bible tells us to acknowledge God in all our ways, not to plan and carry out our own ideas. God will direct us if we let Him be our King.

I have said that democracy and the Kingdom of God are opposites. I have pointed out that democracy is an invitation to man to turn away from God and live by his own will. What, then, is the Kingdom of God?

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

That is what the Kingdom of God is, no more and no less. It is Christ in us doing our thinking, speaking, and acting. It is the rule of God from within us.

"I no longer live, but Christ lives in me."

I was thinking yesterday, "How is it that two thousand years ago an Orthodox Jew, forelocks, black hat and all, experienced and taught past where most of us are today?" How many pastors and evangelists of our time in America are experiencing and teaching Galatians 2:20?

A whole multitude of them, I hope. I just haven't heard many of them. Some are emphasizing physical prosperity. Others are calling us to repentance. But not too many are teaching us about how to die to our self-will.

In fact, I dare say that most Americans believe that as we attempt to force democracy on other nations that it is the same as the Christian salvation. We may not know the difference!

The seven feasts of the Lord are signposts, we might say, along the way of salvation. We have come as far as Pentecost, the fourth observance. It is during the spiritual fulfillments of the final three feasts, especially the sixth ceremony, the Day of Atonement, that we die to self. We are just now entering this feast that brings us to the fullness of the indwelling of Christ.

I think Daniel points out the problem with democracy, and then the coming of the eternal Kingdom of God that shall put an end to all democratic forms of government.

And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay. In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. (Daniel 2:43,44)

I am not certain the passage above is entirely applicable, but it is interesting.

Notice "the people will be a mixture and will not remain united." This somehow makes me think of democracy.

The Rock becomes a Mountain that puts an end to all human government. The Rock, of course, is our Lord Jesus Christ.

The "fourth kingdom" may refer to the Roman Empire. For all of its former strength, the Roman Empire is no more, while Christ has grown in influence.

It may be true that today we are at a defining moment. America and the forces of the West are battling to bring democracy to an area that is closely associated with Russia. Russia is sort of a democracy, but perhaps not entirely.

As I said, I believe democracy ultimately will prevail because people want freedom to follow their own inclinations. It may be true that many strong leaders will attempt to cling to power, causing much bloodshed. But I think they are doomed to fail in the end.

My concern is not with world politics. Our Lord Jesus warned us that wars and rumors of war would continue and other commotions, and that these are the birth pains of the coming of the Kingdom of God.

Elmer Fullerton, a distinguished pastor of the Assemblies of God, prophesied many years ago that atomic fire would burn on the earth for seven years.

If democratic government is not the desired end, how, then, are we Christians to orient ourselves?

Perhaps the ninety-first Psalm was written for the hour in which we live.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." (Psalms 91:1,2)

"Dwells in the shelter of the Most High."

The Lord Jesus commanded, "Abide in Me."

We have been washed in the blood of the cross.

We have been baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Now it is time to learn how to dwell in Christ. When we are dwelling in Christ we will be at rest in God.

Perhaps the first step of learning how to dwell in the shelter of the Most High is to review what we were declaring when we were baptized in water.

When we were immersed in the water we were declaring that we now have been crucified with Christ. By "we" I am referring to our soul. We have died to our self, the source of our thinking, speaking, and acting.

When we emerged from the water we were declaring that we now are alive with the resurrected Christ. From this point forward our thinking, speaking, and acting are to be proceeding from His resurrection Life.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:4)

"A new life" is not referring to a new life in the flesh but a new life that comes from the Father. The new life requires that we deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow the Lord Jesus at all times.

We bring Christ into our thinking as much as possible throughout the day and night.

We consider before we say something if it is acceptable to Christ.

We continually look to Christ that He may be the one acting in us. It is a good thing, when we first awake in the morning, to ask God that it might be Christ who is living in us today rather than ourselves.

There are several wonderful promises in the ninety-first Psalm; but they do not apply to us unless we are abiding in Christ and Christ is abiding in us. The promises do not apply to us merely because we refer to ourselves as being Christians.

There is protection from war, and from diseases of every sort.

One remarkable promise is as follows:

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. (Psalms 91:7,8)

To be singled out for safety in the midst of calamities does not seem possible, does it? Yet, it happened to Jeremiah.

But today I am freeing you from the chains on your wrists. Come with me to Babylon, if you like, and I will look after you; but if you do not want to, then don't come. Look, the whole country lies before you; go wherever you please. (Jeremiah 40:4)

These words were spoken to Jeremiah by Nebuzaradan, a general of the army, at the command of Nebuchadnezzar. This was in the midst of the utter destruction of Jerusalem.

One man from among thousands who was spared.

I read somewhere of an incident during the settling of America when God spoke to a tribe of Indians and told them to leave a certain colony alone because there was a praying man in that colony.

So what are we saying? We are approaching the resolution of all things.

When America was being formed, two forces were at work. One was the traditional religious beliefs of those who had fled the oppression of Europe.

There also were the writings of Thomas Paine, a deist, who emphasized reason and the rights of man. His thinking no doubt influenced many to move away from the Christian churches toward an emphasis on the rights of people.

The idea of the "rights of people," although seemingly Christian, evolves readily into a rejection of traditional Christian values, suggesting for example that we should regard homosexual behavior and abortion as normal if not desirable human activities.

I think it is clear that humanistic thought, with its rejection of formal religion, is quite at home in the philosophy of democratic government.

It appears that Thomas Paine has carried the day. However, there is in America a strong religious populace. They often may be disregarded, but they are here and they are not going to change.

Laodicea, the voice of the people, is the "church" of our time. Jesus has nothing good to say about it. Yet, it is to Laodicea that the Lord invites us to open the door of our heart that we may dine on His body and blood and He may dine on our obedience and worship.

Those who choose to live by the body and blood of Christ, forever inviting Him into all they think, say, and do, are destined to sit with Christ on the highest Throne of all. There is no greater promise in the Bible. It is to be with Him where He is.

So it is a day to be either hot or cold. Either we travel along with the multitude, embracing democracy and the rights of man (meanwhile being victimized by those who are smarter than we are, continually feeding us with disinformation), or we turn to the Lord Jesus and take advantage of the three great acts of redemption that the Spirit of God is offering to us.

The first option is to be the willing slave of Antichrist, ordering our lives around buying and selling. But there is a terrible penalty attached to this behavior.

A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb." (Revelation 14:9,10)

The second option is to "die in the Lord," letting go of our adamic life and living in the resurrection Life of Jesus.

In other words, we will become cold or hot in order to please the Lord Jesus.

The circumstances of today are forcing us to go one way or another. Either we will choose to follow our self-will; or we will choose to die in the Lord to our self-will.

Which way are you going to choose?

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

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Transformation and Occupation

2014-07-20

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

The goal of the Divine salvation is to make man in God's image, and also to make him God's eternal dwelling place and throne.

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

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

The preceding two verses may appear to be saying the same thing. Actually they are not. Galatians 2:20 refers to a change in us. John 14:23 refers to the coming of the Father and the Son to abide forever in that change.

The Holy Spirit produces the change, using the body and blood of Christ; and so He also is dwelling in us.

This transformation and occupation is all I have to say in the present essay. The remainder of the text is elaboration. So you can go on to something else if you choose.

Transformation

Galatians 2:20 is the response of the Apostle Paul to Peter and the other Apostles who apparently were accusing Paul of sinning because he did not observe some of the Jewish customs.

Paul is saying, "I am not sinning. The Law has no authority over me. I am dead with Christ and raised with Christ. It is Christ who is living in me. Christ Himself is the Law of the new covenant!"

You know, it is one of the greatest of all marvels that an Orthodox Jew living two thousand years ago was experiencing and teaching a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ which is beyond most Christians of our day.

We may speak about forgiveness through the blood atonement, and even about the Life of the Spirit of God. But it seems to me that we do not talk as often about setting aside our own life that Christ may think, speak, and act in us. Or am I mistaken about this?

There were three major observances of the Jews: Passover; Pentecost; and Tabernacles.

Passover symbolizes the slain Lamb, by whose body and blood we are to live. A multitude of believers have been saved through the atoning blood.

Pentecost is our Law, the Law of the Spirit of Life. A smaller number of believers have sought to live by the Spirit of God.

Tabernacles represents the dwelling of the Fullness of the Godhead in us for eternity. Most of us have not been here as yet. There have been scouts ahead of the wagon train, such as Jesse Penn-Lewis, who have called back to us about death to self and the new life in Christ. But I believe these pioneers have been few in number.

What am I saying? I am saying that the whole plan of redemption, from Adam to Christ, has not been understood by most of us.

Perhaps today the Spirit of God is lifting the veil so we can see what we are to be experiencing after Pentecost.

God's plan is to create man in His image, and then to make man His dwelling place, His rest. We have established eternal residence in Heaven as the goal of salvation. It is not. There is no Bible basis for our traditional belief.

The goal of salvation is to create us in God's image and to become the place of His rest, a throne from which He can govern properly the works of His hands.

It is obvious and logical that God must make us in His image before He can dwell satisfactorily in us. By God's image I am speaking of our behavior---that we behave as God does in all situations.

It is a good thing for us that God behaves like God, isn't it? Where would we be if He were not utterly faithful and true, for example?

The changing of our body into the image of God is a small matter that can be done in an instant. But the transforming of our inner nature is a huge undertaking. Isn't that the case?

So let's talk for a moment about the transformation of who we are, that is, of our inner nature.

God cannot come and dwell in our old adamic nature. Our inner personality must first be transformed. We cannot put new wine in the old bottles, as Jesus taught us.

It is true that under the old covenant, God on occasion did use the old nature of man. The Prophets are an example of this. So is Samson. The Spirit of God came upon Samson and gave him extraordinary strength. But we may note that Samson's moral nature was not changed by this infusion of Divine strength.

And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol. (Judges 13:25)

It is for this reason that the new covenant is superior to the Law of Moses. It is for this reason that he who is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than John; yet John the Baptist was the equal of any of the Prophets.

John and the other Prophets were used by the Spirit of God. But the Divine Nature of God was not formed in them. However, the evidence of God's image in our personality is the primary result of the new covenant.

The Law of Moses required that the adamic nature obey the moral laws of God. One could predict that the result would not meet God's standard for righteous behavior. And indeed it did not. Those learned in the Law murdered Him who is the Law personified.

The new covenant requires an eternal change in our inner nature before God comes and dwells in us. That eternal change begins when we are born again. Christ is born in us. The Divine Nature is born in us.

If we then obey Christ each day, gaining victory over the lusts of our flesh and our self-will, the Divine Nature of the body and blood of Christ increase in us. Some reap Christ a hundredfold; some sixtyfold; and some thirtyfold.

The extent we reap Christ depends on how diligent we are in sowing. Those who would gain a full inheritance must apply all of their talents to the creating of the Kingdom of God, by carefully obeying Christ every waking moment.

There are at least three goals that must be accomplished in us as we pursue the fullness of Christ.

God's moral laws. First, we must be created in absolute conformity to God's eternal moral laws. We must be totally righteous.

This may sound impossible. lt is impossible to our adamic nature. But that nature must be crucified. In its place must be formed the Divine Nature. The Holy Spirit accomplishes this formation by applying the body and blood of Christ. The Spirit writes the eternal moral laws of God in our mind and heart, using the body and blood of Christ.

Every time we gain victory over a specific sin, which we do by calling upon Christ, that victory is written in our mind and heart and helps us conquer the next temptation. So we move onward in Christ, rejecting wicked behavior and embracing righteous behavior.

Such is the Divine Nature working in us.

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

The Kingdom of God is not of human flesh and blood; not even of Christian flesh and blood. The Kingdom of God is the Lord Jesus Christ. When we are born again, Christ, the Kingdom, is born in us. Adam has nothing here except to agree to his own crucifixion.

The new covenant, the Christian covenant, is the writing of God's eternal moral laws in our mind and heart. The Divine Nature is written in us by the Spirit of God, using the body and blood of Christ.

This is the covenant I will establish with the people 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)

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)

When we open the door of our heart and Christ enter us, we dine on His body and blood given to us in the spirit world. This is eternal life. This is how we are to live. God's righteous moral laws always are observed because of His Divine Nature that has been written in us.

We can understand readily that if God is to dwell permanently in us we always must behave in His moral image.

888Such is the first part of our transformation, our preparation for the Divine occupation.

If we are to be changed in this manner we must be cheerfully obedient to all the Spirit does in our life. Do you agree with this?

Dependent on Christ. The second part of our transformation has to do with our utter dependence on Christ, on our willingness to look to God for our daily bread, so to speak.

I have spoken much in the church of which I am the pastor, of the need to look to the Lord Jesus for every thought we think; every word we speak; and every action we take.

This is the way Christ always lives. He told us He can do nothing of Himself. Isn't that remarkable? Christ, the Lord of all, can do nothing of Himself, only what He sees the Father do.

Are you willing to depend on Christ to that extent? I am, and gladly!

It is a matter of practice. All through the day we are to look to Jesus for what we think, speak, and do. We pray without ceasing instead of worrying without ceasing.

In all our ways we acknowledge Him. We do not rush about in our own ambitions, fears, duties, and lusts. We keep our eyes on Jesus at all times. When we do this, there always is grace for the day.

Whether or not we feel His Presence, He always is there waiting for us to interact with Him. We have not when we ask not. Christ is waiting for us to ask Him about everything that our joy may be full.

Christ Himself is our Future, so we do not have to worry about the future. Our task is to take one step at a time, plodding along faithfully behind the Lord, bearing whatever cross He has assigned to us, casting all our burdens on Him.

We are not to worry about tomorrow. It is proper to be prudent in our planning. But there simply is no grace for tomorrow. Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof. If we are faithfully following Jesus, what we need always will be there when the need arises.

Leaning on Jesus as He leans on the Father must characterize us if we hope to become part of the eternal Temple of God, the Body of Christ. There can be no member who in his self-will is planning how to accomplish his goals. God cannot find rest in such a one.

So we have discussed behavior in God's image, and dependence on Christ in our thinking, speaking, and behaving, as being essential to our eligibility to be the eternal place of God's rest.

The third qualification is that of death to self and resurrection life. It may be true that human self-will is the greatest problem in the universe. The only acceptable will is that of God. The death of our self-will indeed is a crucifixion. But it absolutely is necessary if we are to become the dwelling place of God.

Self-will characterizes the political leaders of our day, and they are leading us to every sort of destruction. Man was created to do God's will, not his own will.

If we are to be the dwelling place of God we must die in the Lord. We must give up trying to be someone of importance and let God bring forth in us what He desires. This is the rest of God, mentioned in the Book of Hebrews.

The Scripture states that God knows all about each one of us. He plans our destiny, what He has in mind for us to become, what our role is to be in His Kingdom.

For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]. (Ephesians 2:10–AMP)

This being the case, our purpose each day should be to look to God for the events of the day. Instead of following our own ambitions we are to seek constantly to discover what Christ would have us do; what Christ would have us become.

We cannot slide into God's rest. We have to, in a specific manner, give our life to Christ to do what He has planned for us. We are not to lean on our own understanding but acknowledge Christ in all our ways. This is a real death to our self-will.

There is no other way in which to please God. We cannot please God by any amount of religious work, successful or unsuccessful as we view it. Christ is not interested in what we do for Him but in what He does. He is building His own Church. He will use us to accomplish His pleasure if we will permit Him to do so.

Eve was susceptible to the temptation presented by the serpent because she was ambitious.

As we surrender our right to plan our life and achieve our own ambitions as we see fit, His resurrection Life works in us. There is unbelievable power in the resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus Christ.

While we may have some significant earthly project in mind, Christ may be preparing us to destroy the rebellion in some part of the creation. Such a work may require the galactic power that resides in Christ's resurrection Life.

Our task cannot possibly be accomplished by anything less than Christ's own power. And this is not available to us when we are pursuing our own ambitions.

So Christ is not interested in our puny efforts except as they are performed in obedience to Him. He desires that we sit with Him in His Throne. This is possible only as we relinquish our own plans and purposes and wait on His will, no matter how many years that waiting entails.

We have discussed the three required transformations in us that are necessary for our becoming the Tabernacle of God that will provide God's Presence on the new earth: always behaving in God's moral image; always depending on Christ for every thought, word, and action; always ceasing from our own works and striving to live in the will of God for us that He established when He founded the world.

Occupation

Now we are ready for occupancy—that for which we were created.

Does God need a house to live in? God's House is the Lord Jesus Christ. But in Christ there are numerous rooms that He has prepared for those whom God has called and who are strictly obedient to Christ.

"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)

Can it be that God's main purpose in forming the Christian Church is that He might have a house, a resting place? Could this be the reason, rather than that of saving souls so they may go to Heaven to live in a mansion, doing nothing of significance for eternity?

"Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me?" says the Lord. (Acts 7:49)

In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:21,22)

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

It appears we have three platforms in the Divine salvation. First, forgiveness of our sins through the blood atonement accomplished on the cross of Calvary.

Second, being filled with the Spirit of God, and learning to be led by the Spirit.

Third, that of being transformed and occupied by the God of Heaven.

Each of these three is a specific work of redemption. We do not float casually into them. We must assure ourselves that they are found in the Bible, and then we must look to God in faith that we may participate in them.

The third platform is being emphasized now by the Spirit of God. Perhaps the entrance into transformation and occupancy occurs as the Spirit makes us aware of our sins and self-seeking. We are to confess these as they are shown to us, and then ask Jesus to deliver us so we cease practicing them.

Obedience plays a key role in the third platform. I am not certain that the believers of our day are being taught how important it is that we obey Christ, both the commands in the Bible and also the commands given to us personally.

When the Apostle Paul teaches us that as many as are led by the Spirit, they are the sons of God, Paul does not mean it is nice that God will lead us by His Spirit. Rather, the leadings of the Spirit are our Law, the Law of the new covenant. They are given to us in place of the Law of Moses and they are to be obeyed faithfully.

Jesus said on several occasions that we must keep His commands. If we do not keep His commands we do not love Him, and He and the Father will never make Their dwelling place in us.

It only is as we obey the Spirit that He takes the body and blood of Christ and writes the Word of God, the eternal moral Law of God, in our mind and heart. We never can be shown the fullness of the salvation of God if we are not strictly obedient to God.

With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation. (Psalms 91:16)

The highest calling and honor of any man, woman, or child is to become the eternal dwelling place of the God of Heaven. This is why we were created. However, the transformation, the change from Adam to Christ, is necessary if we are to be the house and resting place of the Godhead.

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Righteousness; Faith; Obedience

2014-07-27

Introduction

Righteousness: the Stone Tablets of the Testimony

Faith: the Gold Jar of Manna

Obedience: Aaron's Staff That Budded

GOD DID NOT CREATE US TO DIE AND GO TO HEAVEN TO LIVE FOREVER BUT TO BE IN HIS IMAGE, AND TO SERVE AS HIS HOUSE, RESTING PLACE, AND THRONE. THE SPIRIT WORLD IS NOT OUR ETERNAL HOME.

Introduction

Arise, Lord, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. (Psalms 132:8)

I am aware that perceiving our salvation as being for God's benefit, something God needs and desires, rather than a program to bring us to Paradise to live forever, is a paradigm shift in our thinking.

It may be true that those believers who have died and are living in the spirit world are facing the same perplexity in their understanding.

One problem all of us believers will have, whether we are hearing about this shift while we are abiding in the spirit world or still on the earth, is that of being willing to lose our own life that God and Christ may have Their unhindered way in us. This is our ultimate goal!

The saints in the spirit world are watching us carefully to see what is taking place, because they without us cannot be made perfect. Those who are living by the Life of Christ, whether in the spirit world or on the earth, will all be given their new bodies at the same time, and be caught up to meet the Lord Jesus in the air.

From their staging area in the air they will descend to the earth and command God's will to be done.

And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:39,40)

Should not be made perfect. The witnesses of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews are residing in Heaven, we assume. How then could it be that they had not as yet received the promise? How could it be that God has provided a better thing for us? Better than residence in Heaven?

Should not be made perfect without us! The heavenly Zion is an area inhabited by people who have been made perfect. They have been made perfect along with us, as we all have marched along in the program of redemption. But there remains the donning of the immortal body.

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

Are we going to get together some day with these witnesses and be caught up to meet Jesus in the air, in the area that had been the throne of the "ruler of the kingdom of the air"?

In which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. (Ephesians 2:2)

They without us should not be made perfect. Perhaps the meaning is that when Jesus appears He will give resurrection bodies to those who return with Him, and also at the same time to those living on the earth who have learned to live by the Life of Christ.

This would mean that those who return with the Lord also have learned to live by the Life of Christ. All of us then are made perfect together and are caught up to meet the Lord in the air, ready to descend with Him and establish the will of God, the Kingdom of God, on the earth.

It seems to me it is not generally understood that the members of Christ's Body who are in the spirit world are participating in the program of redemption along with us who are alive on the earth. But in order for those in the spirit world to come to perfection together with us they certainly must be learning and growing while in the spirit world.

The following verse suggests that such may be the case:

For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. (I Peter 4:6)

I realize that Peter may be referring to previous verses in which He spoke of Jesus bringing the Good News to those in the spirit world who had died at the time of the flood of Noah. It is likely that Christ's purpose in doing so was to give those persons of long ago a chance to repent of their sins.

It would be like God to do that, after having wiped out all of mankind except for eight people, wouldn't it? God brings the Gospel to the disobedient as well as to the obedient. God does care for people!

If it is true that those wicked people were given a chance to believe the Gospel after they died, then such a thing is possible. Assuredly Abraham and the other patriarchs that we know are in the Kingdom of God must have been born again and entered the Kingdom after their death, since it was not possible for anyone to be born again until after the resurrection of the Lord.

(Please keep in mind that I am not teaching we can reject Christ in this world and receive Him in the next. This most assuredly is not the case. I am referring only to those who never have been confronted with Christ.)

To be born again is to have Christ born in us. This was not possible until the Word was made flesh, crucified for our sins, and then raised again.

If the entire Bride of the Lamb is to be without spot and blameless, then it certainly is necessary that most of the members grow into this perfection while in the spirit world. Otherwise there will be only a few believers in the unblemished Bride!

We have to "die" to our own motivations and plans, and that is a conscious choice we are obliged to make if we are to proceed to perfection, to the "Omega" of redemption. No doubt this is true whether we are alive in the spirit world or alive and living on the earth. How could it be otherwise?

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. (John 12:24)

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them." (Revelation 14:1`3)

There will be some who will "hear" what the Spirit is saying today, and will set aside their own ways that Christ and the Father may live in them.

There probably will be others who will prefer not to be disturbed and will continue on in the old ways, waiting to go to Heaven where they may "sing and shout and dance about."

The idea that we have not been saved to live in Heaven forever but to be a house for God, Christ, and the Spirit of God, may be as great a shift in thinking as was true when someone came up with the notion that the earth is a sphere rather than a tableland; or that the earth revolves around the sun rather than itself being the center of the universe.

Think of how widespread is the historical and present view of salvation being that of dying and going to Heaven! It is awesome! Most people around the world have believed and yet believe there is some kind of "happy hunting ground" where we go after we die, unless we have been wicked.

The idea that we are undergoing the processes of redemption right now, today, is not emphasized as widely.

Well, those who love the Lord will press forward into the "rest" of God. Jesus has kept the best wine until now. He loves those who, when they know what God has promised, are ready and eager to grasp what God is holding out to them.

It does require courage to push past the familiar, the rank and file, and strive for God's highest and best. But most situations in life that are of the highest value require that we make an extraordinary effort to attain to them. Can you say, "Amen"?

The reason God created us is that we might be a house for Him, a place of rest for Him, and a throne for Him that He might through us live among His creatures and govern, bless, teach, and heal them, and supply all their needs.

These are needs and desires God has, and only mankind can supply them.

To be saved has nothing to do with making our home in Heaven. It is rather to be qualified to participate in the program of redemption that will enable us to meet God's needs and desires.

In order to meet God's needs and desires the program of redemption must conform us to God's moral image; must teach us to look to God alone for our needs and desires; and must encourage us to obey God promptly, wholeheartedly, and joyously.

The new Jerusalem, the Zion that will come from Heaven to the new earth, is the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, the eternal Tabernacle of God. It will be placed among those of mankind who have been chosen from the nations of the earth to be citizens of the new world of righteousness that will be established on the new earth.

The myth that to be saved is to die and go to the spirit Heaven and live in a mansion in Paradise appears to have endured throughout the Christian Era. It indeed is mythologic but has served God's purposes until the Kingdom of God is at hand.

Remember, the Lord Jesus, John the Baptist, and the Apostles of the Lamb preached the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. If I am correct, they never mentioned the saved believers going to Heaven, only the Kingdom that is coming to us from Heaven. Is that actually true?

Our Lord Jesus spoke several parables about the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom that is coming from Heaven. But the Lord never, to my knowledge, spoke of Heaven as a kingdom to which we go when we die.

Rather, Jesus referred of the Kingdom as a Seed which is planted in us. In actuality, Jesus Himself is the Kingdom. When Jesus is born in us, then that is the Kingdom of God being born in us. How do you feel about that?

We of today are in the closing days of the Church Age. Now we may have a clearer understanding of what the Christian redemption is all about. The new (although it is not new) vision is superior to that of us in our old adamic nature reclining in a mansion in the spirit world and doing nothing of significance for eternity.

It is time today for each of us to press into Jesus so we may participate in the wondrous experiences that are available to us now. Should we die before the Lord Jesus returns to earth, we will join the multitudes in the spirit world who are waiting for the Kingdom to come to the earth.

They without us cannot be made perfect; but with us they indeed shall be made perfect, meaning they will come to maturity in righteous behavior, dependence on Christ for all of their needs and desires, and stern obedience to God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Then they, along with us, shall receive the transformation of their body.

About forty years ago, when I was teaching in the Walter Hays elementary school in Palo Alto, I began my writing with three books: The Temple of God; The Feasts of the Lord; and The Land of Promise. The Land of Promise points out that eternal residence in Heaven is not our goal.

Actually, I wrote the first draft of The Temple of God in 1948, while I was in Bible school.

I do not remember how or when it happened, but I began to realize that our land of promise, our Canaan, is not Heaven. We are not saved so that after we die we can go to Heaven and live there for eternity, doing nothing of significance.

I have been given to understand that the editor of the Thompson Chain-Link Bible also came to the conclusion that Canaan, the land of promise, is not a type of Heaven.

As I found passage after passage in the Scriptures that describe how our destiny is to be in God's image and at rest in Him, and not one verse that suggested we are to spend eternity in Heaven above, I thought I had better write down what I am discovering.

The concept that we are waiting to die so we can go to Heaven affects dramatically the vigor with which we pursue our discipleship.

"Going to Heaven" is part of the idea behind the "lawless grace" doctrine, and also that of the believers being carried to Heaven before the scriptural coming of the Lord. If eternal residence in Heaven is not our goal, then these two unscriptural traditions lose their strength.

If you can imagine, one Christian pastor is teaching that we should keep on sinning, because then God will shorten our life and we will get to Heaven that much sooner. I am afraid some of our churches in America are in trouble!

It is evident that the patriarchs were looking for a city to come, not a city to which we go.

Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. (Hebrews 13:13,14)

When the writer of the Book of Hebrews warns us to enter the rest of God, which is our goal, it is obvious he is not referring to Heaven but to a state of being in which we cease from our own works and live according to God's will.

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

The idea that being saved means we are to be waiting to die and go to Heaven has a chilling effect on the desire of the disciple to grow to maturity in Christ. We are wasting our time while we are waiting to die and go to Heaven, when the work of redemption is taking place now. Now, today, is the Day of Salvation!

It seems clear to me from the Scriptures that our goal is to be in the image of God, and to be a house and throne of God in which He can find rest. This has been God's plan from the beginning. Heaven, the spirit world, is nothing more than a place in which people are retained until the Kingdom of God comes to the present earth; finally to the new earth.

In fact, where God is, is Heaven to me. How about you?

It appears evident that if God is to make us His house, His place of rest, and His throne, we must be brought to maturity in righteous behavior; in faith that God Himself will provide our needs and desires; and in total, uncompromising obedient to God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Then God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26,27)

You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance— the place, Lord, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, Lord, your hands established. (Exodus 15:17)

"The place, Lord, you made for your dwelling." Look how early in the history of man the above statement about seeking a dwelling for Himself was made!

"Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them." (Exodus 25:8)

This is what the Lord says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?" (Isaiah 66:1)The same need was expressed at the birth of the Christian Church.

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)

My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? (John 14:2)

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

The Lord Jesus is the Father's House. You and I are the rooms.

But there is a place where someone has testified: "What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor and put everything under their feet." In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. (Hebrews 2:6-8)

Does that sound like a throne to you?

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

And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22)

And not a word about making Heaven our eternal home!

I have found the three items placed in the Ark of the Covenant to be helpful in understanding the transformation in righteousness, faith, and obedience that are necessary if we are to become the eternal dwelling place of God.

Which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron's staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. (Hebrews 9:4)

The Jar of Manna. Aaron's Staff. The Ten Commandments.

Faith. Obedience. God's moral image.

The Jar of Manna speaks of how the righteous live by the faith of depending utterly on the Lord Jesus.

The fact that Aaron's fire-hardened staff came to life reminds us that as we enter the rest of God, our life becomes the resurrection Life of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The tablets on which were inscribed the Ten Commandments, the Covenant from which the Ark of the Covenant was named, proclaim that we are to be created in the image of God: thinking as God thinks; speaking as God speaks; behaving as God behaves. This is how we testify of the Nature of God.

Only believers who have been formed according to these characteristics are fit to serve as a dwelling place for God; who will enable God to find rest; who are able to govern God's creatures in righteousness.

The reason God created man is that God might have children in His image: children who would look only to Him for all their needs; children who would govern the works of His hands in the wisdom, righteousness, and compassion of Himself.

God desires a house. God desires a place of rest. God desires a place other than Heaven for His Throne.

This is why God created us: that we might be His house; that we might be a place of rest for Him; that we might govern the works of His hands.

The believers are filling the need for a house.

Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 20-22)

The believers are filling the need for a resting place.

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? Has not my hand made all these things?' (Acts 7:49,50)

The believers are filling the need for a throne.

"What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor and put everything under their feet." (Hebrews 2:6-8)

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

No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. (Revelation 22:3)

As I said mentioned previously, the articles in the Ark of the Covenant symbolize the three areas in which we need to come to maturity if we are to meet God's three needs:

The Tables of Stone; the Jar of Manna; and Aaron's Rod that Budded.

Which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron's staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. (Hebrews 9:4)

The stone tablets, the Ten Commandments, represent righteous behavior.

The jar of manna represents living by dependence on Christ, which is genuine faith. The idea today appears to be that we should use faith to try to get God to do what we want. There is another idea---that true faith is doing what God wants.

Aaron's rod that budded represents death to our self-will and resurrection life.

Before we can serve God in the three areas in which God has needs, we must be transformed into His image, that is to say, we must behave as God behaves.

We must have no other gods to whom we look for our survival, pleasure, and achievement. We must have faith that God will provide all our needs, and satisfy our desires---when our desires are righteous because they are coming from Him.

We must be sternly obedient to all Christ commands. This requires that we die to our soul, setting aside our own will that the will of God may be done.

Iron righteousness. Fiery holiness. Stern obedience to the Father.

The new Jerusalem portrays the glorified Christian Church, the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb. It is the eternal Tabernacle of God.

The ornate wall represents the righteousness of God. Nothing unrighteous or unclean can enter the city of God.

"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)

We wash our robes by confessing and turning away from our sins. Then we can enter the city in which are the River of Life, the Trees of Life and Healing, and the Throne of God and of the Lamb.

The wall is beautiful to look at. So it is true that righteousness and holiness are beautiful to the sincere Christian, and much to be desired.

Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart. My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end. (Psalms 119:111,112)

God will not make His home, rest, and throne in us until we are transformed in righteousness, faith, and obedience. The fullness of the transformation is described as follows:

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

In Christ, righteousness, faith, and obedience are present in perfect, complete form. When we are living by the Life of Christ we have them all.

God making His home, resting place, and throne in us is as follows:

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

First there is the preparation for the indwelling (Galatians 2:20). Then, when the necessary change has been wrought in us, the Father and the Son make Their eternal home in that changed person (John 14:23).

When the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews speaks of the deceased saints coming to perfection together with us it means that all of us have become the house, resting place, and throne of the Father and Christ and are clothed with an incorruptible body. "The spirits of righteous men made perfect," Hebrews says.

We then will be life-giving spirits, ready to bring eternal life to those of the remainder of mankind who are willing to receive. Such are the members of the Royal Priesthood.

Righteousness: the Stone Tablets of the Testimony

We overcome the Accuser of the brothers by the word of our testimony. The stone tablets placed in the Ark were referred to as the "Testimony." Of what or whom were the Ten Commandments the Testimony? They were the testimony of the righteous Nature of God.

We cannot overcome the Accuser of the brothers unless our thinking, speaking, and behaving reflect the righteous Nature of God.

They triumphed over him . . .by the word of their testimony; . . . (Revelation 12:11)

Christ must become our Life if we are to be truly holy and possess true righteousness of behavior.

God will not do anything where there is unrighteousness. God Himself is absolutely and wholly righteous. It is God's desire that everyone in whom He dwells is absolutely and wholly righteous.

Perhaps the principal lie of Satan is that it is impossible for the believer in Christ to be absolutely and wholly righteous. Satan claims that any effort we make to be righteous is as filthy rags (taking an Old Testament expression out of context).

Satan has invented a "grace" that makes us righteous because we are identified with Christ. We never can actually be righteous, Satan and his prophets and teachers will claim. We always will be unrighteous in deed, at least partly. We never can be totally in God's image—no, not for eternity.

God always will have to be forgiving our antics. We always will be fighting among ourselves. This is Satan's hope and prayer. Perhaps God in this case will not send Satan to the Lake of Fire, since all of God's children are unrighteous and self-willed.

Would you send your eight-year-old little girl out to adjust the timing chain on your automobile engine. She would not know where to begin!

She would exclaim, "I don't know what you are talking about, Daddy!"

So you would say to her, "Honey, I know you cannot adjust the timing chain in our car. But to disobey me would mean that I have to punish you severely.

"So I am giving you a forgiveness called 'grace.' This means that although you cannot obey what I tell you, I forgive you and you will not be punished."

What effect would this foolishness have on little Betsy? She would never obey what her father told her to do if it did not please her. She would think to herself, "My Dad will give me grace, whatever that is, and not punish me even though I do not do what he says."

Can you see from what I have written how wretched the current doctrine of "lawless grace" actually is? It is illogical, foolish, and certainly unscriptural. It has produced generations of immature, willful, immoral Christians.

God is not a foolish father. He does not command us to do anything that He will not make it possible for us to do. His commands are not grievous. God's will is the heartfelt rejoicing of the obedient believer. "Grace" is a suspension of the Law of Moses while we are being created in the image of God.

Away with the nonsense that God makes impossible demands on us and then forgives us by "grace" when we are not able to perform the impossible. What a foolish mockery of common sense this is!

It may be noted that acts of unrighteousness we perform can be traced to the desires of an unclean spirit. Therefore our behavior is not only unrighteous but unclean as well. God is absolutely holy, meaning He is completely free from unclean spirits.

Therefore, "Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." And, "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters," says the Lord Almighty. Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (II Corinthians 6:17,18-7:1)

Fortunately for God and us, the current preaching and assumptions are not of the truth. God has said man (and woman) shall be in His image. Therefore man and woman shall be in God's image, behaving as God behaves. When the plan of redemption has been brought to the full, God's people shall be free from all sin and rebellion for eternity.

Then all your people will be righteous and they will possess the land forever. they are the shoot I have planted, the work of my hands, for the display of my splendor. (Isaiah 60:21)

Let us say a believer is a thief and a liar, which some of the believers are. The individual claims to be righteous because God sees him through Christ. The unsaved people with whom he comes in contact with observe that he is a thief and a liar.

Will this man serve to display God's splendor? No? Why not? Because most people know God is neither a thief nor a liar.

We understand, therefore, that when Isaiah states that "all your people will be righteous" he does not mean by imputed righteousness. Neither does he mean they in their adamic nature have somehow disciplined themselves until they act like God.

Lasting compassion, kindness, mercy, love, patience, self-control, moral purity, joy, peace, will never grow from the adamic nature. A disciplined believer might demonstrate some of these traits to a limited extent, but never of the quality and strength of God.

"All your people will be righteous" means every individual in the Kingdom of God will be in the image of God in behavior.

It absolutely is true that Divine grace, being an alternative to the Law of Moses, protects us while the Spirit of God is leading us to confess and turn away from our sins. But we of today have made grace a permanent alternative to a change in our behavior.

This is to say that the Divine redemption can do no more than forgive us. It cannot transform us. This, however, is a total misunderstanding of what the Apostle Paul meant by "grace."

Satan has lied so successfully that believers who read my words may not believe it is possible for a human being to behave like God. They are not considering the Word or power of God.

Are they saying that God can speak into existence a million galaxies of stars, but He cannot create a righteous person. Do you truly believe that? I do not.

There is a new covenant. We Gentiles have created our own new covenant. We have named it "The Four Steps of Salvation." The covenant we have created does not make people righteous, although it is for that purpose God created a new covenant.

But God found fault with the people and said: "The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them," declares the Lord. (Hebrews 8:8,9)

Why has God made a new covenant? It is because the people did not remain faithful to the ordinances of the Law of Moses.

If such is the case, would God's new covenant be one in which God overlooked, through grace, the behavior of His people; or would it be one in which people were able to keep God's righteous commands? What do you think about this?

Our manmade covenant of today (The Four Steps of Salvation) maintains that if we believe in Jesus we will go to Heaven by "grace" no matter how unlawful we are.

Pardon my saying so, but that is a miserable excuse for a covenant that is supposed to be better than the Law of Moses because people now are able to obey God!

If "The Four Steps of Salvation" is not God's new covenant, what, then, is?

This is the covenant I will establish with the people 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)

Remember, when we become one with Christ we are of Israel and the true Seed of Abraham.

Is putting God's laws in the minds of the believers and writing them on their hearts the same thing as excusing their behavior through grace?

Now, underline where the new covenant speaks of imputed righteousness.

Underline where it speaks of our going to Heaven.

Underline where it speaks of "grace."

Underline where it says God sees us through Christ.

Underline where it says there are no righteous people in the world.

Underline where it says our attempts to be righteous are as filthy rags.

If the new covenant does not mention any of these things, on which we are hanging our hope of future bliss, perhaps our "Four Steps of Salvation" is a manmade covenant and therefore of little worth.

What new covenant has God made with those who have put their faith in Christ?

"I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts."

Notice the following verse:

For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more. (Hebrews 8:12)

The passage above applies as God is transforming our inner nature by writing His righteousness in our mind and heart. The misunderstanding of our day is that God forgives our wickedness and sins apart from any change in our heart or behavior. This concept may be the most destructive of all the errors that have sought admittance to Christian thinking.

It is true that a wicked individual may come to Christ for forgiveness and then die, without there having been any change in his or her nature.

But if Jesus brought the Gospel to those who were disobedient in the days of Noah and then were in the spirit world, and if the thief on the cross was invited to enter Paradise with Jesus, then it must be true that the required character transformation can be experienced after death.

For it remains eternally true that there is no sin or disobedience in the Kingdom of God.

The acts of the flesh 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)

Every individual must receive Christ and obey Him when God brings Christ to him or her, whether that person is on earth or in the spirit world. For those who refuse to obey Christ, whether here or in the spirit world, there remains only Hell and the Lake of Fire.

Christ must be obeyed at all times, once we know His will. To refuse to obey the Lord Jesus Christ means we must take our place with Satan and those who love and obey him.

May I venture that by "My laws" God is not speaking of the Law of Moses but of God's eternal moral law, of which the Law of Moses is an abridged version. God's law is what God is in Character, the motivation for and guide of God's behavior. Such is God's image. Such is true and eternal righteousness.

We can observe God's eternal moral law in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ Himself is the moral law, the Word of God, made flesh. It is our divinely ordained destiny to be conformed to that very image. Here is actual righteousness of behavior, not imputed righteousness.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:20)

"Conformed to the image of His Son." Isn't this the same as saying they behave as the Son behaves? Or is it stating that if they "believe" in the Son they share in His righteousness? Is it a matter of transformation or of identification?

The first and most important characteristic of those who are qualified to be the house, rest, and throne of God is behavior that is in the image of God.

"I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts."

God wrote the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone. God wrote them with His finger. We can imagine the sparks flying as the moral law, the Covenant, was inscribed in the granite slabs.

Sometimes when God is writing His eternal moral Law in our mind and heart the sparks are flying, aren't they!

But that first covenant did not work the way God intended. The people, for the most part, were not able to obey the holy commandments. Their sinful, rebellious nature, the same as ours, warred against their desire to be obedient to God.

In fact, the Law of Moses served as a place-holder until the Seed, the Lord Jesus Christ, should come. Also it brings us to Christ by making us aware of the sin in our conduct and of the need for deliverance that is found in Christ.

So God decided to make a covenant that would overcome the sinful, rebellious nature, of the believers.

We humans have concocted a covenant in which our sinful, rebellious behavior is overlooked rather than overcome It is sort of a spiritual schizophrenia. Neither we nor God are to be concerned about our behavior. "Grace" screens from God's eyes, and from our own eyes, our actual behavior.

What kind of a covenant is that, especially if we are to be the light of the world?

God's new covenant is not like that. God's new covenant inscribes His eternal moral laws, those laws which are of His own behavior, His image, in our mind and heart: in our mind so we understand them; in our heart so we rejoice in His commands.

I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart. (Psalms 40:8)

Let us say we are tempted to fornicate. We know this is not pleasing to God. We pray to Christ until He gives us victory over this temptation and we turn away from it.

Or perhaps we succumb to it. In this case we have to confess our sin to Christ and determine through the Lord to never, never, never again do such a thing from now through eternity.

Now what happens. Because we have been faithful in confessing this sin and turning away from it, the Spirit of God writes this victory in our mind and heart, using the body and blood of Christ. We press onward as a victorious saint, living 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)

The one who feeds on Me! On My body and blood!

If we fail again, God may have to use stern measures, chastising us until we realize such behavior is forbidden to us.

If we then do not change our behavior, do not sincerely repent, we may be lost to Christ for eternity. This does happen, you know!

If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (John 15:6)

But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. (Hebrews 6:8)

If we trudge on after Christ, getting back up on our feet when we stumble, the Spirit of God writes every victory in our mind and heart, using the body and blood of Christ, for they are our eternal life.

The result of the program of redemption is a believer who has overcome sin and self-will. Christ has enough power to accomplish this work in you and me. Keep your eyes on Jesus and bear your cross after Him. He will bring you to perfect righteousness. He will conform you to His image, which is God's image.

Christ will bring you to perfect righteousness of behavior if you do not quit. Do not focus on yourself, focus on Christ. Keep your eyes on Him when you think you are going to sink, like the Apostle Peter.

Satan and all his prophets and teachers will tell you that you have to sin while you are in the world. But the Bible does not say that, rather it states the opposite. The Bible says we are not a debtor to our sinful nature, that we have to live according to it.

Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. (Romans 8:12)

Keep your eyes on the Lord Jesus, and He will lift you out of the swamp of sin. It will not happen all at once, but it surely shall happen!

God has decreed that you shall be in His image. He will not fail you. He shall make your behavior like His. He stretched out the heavens. He most certainly can make changes in the dust that you and I are.

We Christians understand that Jesus Christ is totally, completely righteous. Christ always does God's will. Christ is all that is meant by righteousness and holiness.

Therefore, the way in which we are made perfect in righteousness and holiness is by setting aside our own life and living by the Life of the Righteous One. The more we bring Christ into our life, the more actually righteous and holy we become.

Christ in us is the Light that shines more and more to the perfect day!

The only true righteousness and holiness occur when we have set aside our own life and Christ is living in us. This is the rest of God, the new covenant.

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

Faith: the Gold Jar of Manna

We cannot overcome the Accuser of the brothers unless we are living by the body and blood of Christ. The body and blood of Christ are our resurrection life. Only those who live by the life of Christ will be caught up to meet the slain Lamb at His appearing.

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)

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb. . . (Revelation 12:11)

We must look to God alone to fulfill all our needs and desires.

The believers must come to maturity in dependence on Christ, on His body and blood rather than rather than other sources of life, if they are to be the house, resting place, and throne of God.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (II Corinthians 12:9,10)

Utter dependence on the Lord Jesus Christ for our survival, our safety, our pleasure, and our achievement in life is the true definition of faith.

Today we tend to view faith as our ability to convince God to move in some manner. This is the spirit of Antichrist. It is true rather that faith is our response to God—not God's response to us but our response to God!

How often do we hear today, "Step out in faith." Find that in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews if you can.

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. (Hebrews 12:1,2)

Perhaps God did speak to our ancestors at many times and in various ways, but He does not speak today, some are claiming. Therefore we are to think, speak, and behave in the manner which we assume is best for the Kingdom of God.

We do not need prophets, we need theologians, we think. This is why we have a hundred competing denominations. We do not really know what God wants, I believe.

This is why God asks, "What house will you build me?"

Peter's response is, "We will build three tabernacles."

Peter did not know what he was saying. Today it may be true that we do not know what we are doing or saying.

What is the spirit of Antichrist or of Babylon if it is not man conceiving of faith as a means of convincing God to do what we think is best?

A memorial jar of manna was in the Ark. What was true of manna? It was food that could be depended upon while the Israelites were in the wilderness. Its appearing in the morning was a miracle. It was angels' food, a sustaining, nourishing power when there was no other.

Manna could not be kept. It bred worms and smelled bad. This is why religion breeds worms and smells bad. Religion is a system for preserving that which formerly had been given by a dispensation of God. The worms it breeds are people who are trying to serve God by their own self-will, that is, trying to imitate what God has done in the past.

People with the spirit of the Pharisee often are foolish and mean, as you may have discovered by now.

The Apostle Paul suffered many afflictions, climaxing with some sort of problem with his eyes. Paul simply had to trust Christ for his safety, his survival, his pleasure, and his achievement. So today we eat from Paul's table.

There is no other way, although I do not believe there have been many instances in the history of Christianity where Christian leaders have shown us the way of the cross. There certainly have been a few. Today the Christian leaders often are men and women who know how to build an organization.

No individual can meet God's needs for a house, a resting place, and a throne, until he or she has ceased from his or her own works and is depending on Jesus Christ for every aspect of life.

It may be true that the more helpless we are, the more the Lord can get done through us. Do your suppose this is true?

"Faith" is our assurance that God will satisfy all of our needs and desires, the desires that He has put in us, and will bring us to eternal righteousness, love, joy, and peace when God gives our needs and desires to us.

Don't forget, the Bible says God adds no sorrow when He blesses us.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalms 37:4)

I am not saying that we should not pray earnestly and consistently for our desires to be fulfilled. Christ commanded us to ask that our joy may be full. We are told to let our desires be known to the Lord, along with thanksgiving.

We always must pray for the needs we or others may have. God will guide us in such prayers while we are pressing into the rest of God. Therefore "Your will be done" must remain an integral part of each petition we make for ourselves or on behalf of others.

All of us have a need and desire for survival, for pleasure, and for achievement. We are to have faith that God is able to fully satisfy these needs and desires. We do not have to go elsewhere to obtain them.

In the world of today, people spend their lives endeavoring to obtain money—often more money than they need for survival, pleasure, and achievement. Money is one of the chief gods of the American people. Most of them believe that if they were given enough money they would be safe, happy, and respected, that all their needs would be satisfied.

But Jesus said that a person cannot serve both God and money. One of the two will prevail.

We do not read in the Bible of any righteous person being forsaken. Although the believers may be called upon to suffer difficult trials, yet God never, never forsakes them. God makes certain that they have what they truly need for survival, pleasure, and achievement.

The testimonies of the lives of the saints of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews bear witness to the faithfulness of God. They tell us that true faith is confidence in the faithfulness of God.

I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. (Psalms 37:25)

It appears as though the world is going to be at war again soon. Christians will have to make a choice either to look to the Lord Jesus for survival for themselves and their children, or else seek some other means of safety.

Since by attempting to save ourselves we might place ourselves in an unforeseen danger, we would do well to keep looking to the Lord Jesus for our survival.

The Jar of Manna reminds us of the time Israel spent in the wilderness. Every day the manna was provided, until the corn of Canaan was available to the Israelites. Can you imagine what it must have been like to trust God for our daily bread for forty years?

"But man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God," our Lord taught us.

So it is with the provisions of grace. Each day we receive the grace that is needed for that day. We never get tomorrow's grace today. We should plan as well as we can; but the only certainty about tomorrow for a faithful believer is that there will be grace for that day.

How many times I have dreaded a coming day or week, only to discover that there was strength, joy, and peace during the dreaded time.

If we are to be the house, rest, and throne of the Lord God of Heaven, we are not to turn to other sources for what we need and desire. Those other sources would be our gods, and we are not to have other gods. Our God will provide for us every day of our life all that we need.

The manna will come in the morning. Let us live by faith in God.

Obedience: Aaron's Staff That Budded

We must be obedient to the point of death if we are to overcome the Accuser of the brothers; if resurrection life is to come forth in us.

. . . They did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. (Revelation 12:11)

Christ is our example of obedience unto death.

And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:8)

I have used Aaron's rod that budded as a symbol of obedience. Why is this? It is because resurrection life comes forth only when we are willing to die to our own desires and wait for Christ to bring forth the fruit He wants us to bear.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1,2)

When we are pursuing the rest of God, mentioned in the fourth chapter of the Book of Hebrews, God's will becomes the most important feature of our consciousness. We desire above all else to do God's will.

If this is to be possible, we must keep in mind that Christ told us we are not of this world just as He is not of this world. While we are to behave prudently and responsibly in the things of the world that have been entrusted to us, our heart and mind are in another world. Our affections are on things above, not on the things of the present world.

It may be true that many believers are so earthly minded they are not as valuable to Heaven as they would be if they obeyed the Apostle Paul and offered their body as a living sacrifice to God.

God's will must be tested and approved. It is not always easy to discover God's will. We have to spend some time each day in prayer and meditating in the Bible. We must meet consistently with fervent saints, if we can find any.

We must, as the twelfth chapter of the Book of Romans proceeds to tell us, employ diligently the talents that the Spirit of God has given to us. There can be severe consequences for not doing so.

Death, and life. Death, and life. Death, and life. That is the true Christian sojourn in this present world. Perhaps in the next also. We have to let our desires pass away for now and look to God for the desires He wants us to have. God will fulfill our God-given desires when we delight ourselves in Him.

Aaron's rod was laid up in the before the Ark of the Covenant. It was a fire-hardened staff. Overnight it came to life and bore almonds.

Perhaps you have been waiting a long time for God to bring forth fruit in your life. Do not kindle a fire and walk in the light of your own sparks. Wait for God. If you go forth in your own religious fervor you will bring forth a "wild man."

The next day Moses entered the tent and saw that Aaron's staff, which represented the tribe of Levi, had not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds. (Numbers 17:8)

We all know the story, how Korah, Dathan, and Abiram had challenged Moses and Aaron concerning the leadership of the Israelites.

God instructed that a staff from the leader of each of the twelve tribes should be placed in the Tabernacle before the Lord. Remember, these were sticks long dead.

The next day, the twelve staffs were brought forth so everyone could observe them. By a Divine miracle, Aaron's staff was filled with life.

What does this teach us about those who will become the house, resting place, and throne of God? It informs us that they must set aside their own desires, as the Lord leads; they must wait before the Lord until His will is done perfectly. Their lives then shall become the resurrection life of the Lord Jesus.

Their soul must die so God's Life can come forth in them. Remember how Jesus said, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful to the point of death"?

The required death is nothing more nor less than that of the self-denial that results as we are carrying our cross behind the Lord.

God points out things that are very dear to us, just as God pointed to Isaac. God tells us we must give that treasure over to Him. To do this results in the death that God desires we endure.

You would never imagine from today's preaching that God would ever demand something that is so very, very difficult to give to God. But He does.

Those who are sternly obedient to God, as was Abraham, will give God all He asks for. It is certain that if we give God all that we are, God will give us all that He is as we have need.

If God is to make His home, resting place, and throne in us, we must be thoroughly righteous in our behavior. We must learn to trust God for all of our needs and desires. We must follow Christ to the death of our soul so that out from these ashes springs the Life of Christ.

Nothing less than this. Nothing more than this.

Pilgrim, do not miss this one chance to become the dwelling place of God Just keep in mind that all of this change in us is to meet the needs and desires God has for a house, rest, and throne. It is not for the purpose of bringing us to Paradise.

Although we will profit immeasurably if we follow through with these three requirements, the important result is that our God, who gave His Son for us, receives what He needs and desires.

What if We become the House, Resting Place, and Throne of God?

The emphasis of the present essay is that we have been created to fulfill God's needs and desires. But it doesn't stop there.

"Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. (John 7:38,39)

The Spirit of God flows from but one Source—the Throne of God.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. (Revelation 22:1)

As soon as the Throne of God has been established in us we become a fountain of eternal life from which other people can drink. This is why it is written that both the Spirit and the Bride say, "Come."

Those people who receive eternal life from us become our inheritance. They live within the "room" in Christ which we have become.

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

It will be our great pleasure to bring forth the Life of God to other people.

But first we have to pass through the waters of the Spirit and be judged.

He asked me, "Son of man, do you see this?" Then he led me back to the bank of the river. (Ezekiel 47:6)

After we pass through the Divine measurings we are brought back to the "bank of the river" to join the other trees of life. There we will grow and wait for the time to bring eternal life to the dead sea of mankind.

The following are some of the roles and tasks of the members of the Kingdom of God that are possible as we choose to put aside our own life and live by the Life of the Lord Jesus. God will be pleased and helped if we are willing to participate in one or more of these roles and tasks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be salt (Matthew 5:13)

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

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

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

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

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

So we understand that the goal of our salvation is not eternal residence in Heaven. There is a Heaven, where God, Christ, the saints, and holy angels are. But to live there for eternity is not our goal.

God is building a Kingdom that will prevent there ever being another rebellion against His authority, as took place before the earth and mankind were created. God desires a house in which He can find rest, and from which He can govern and bless His creatures. These are God's needs and desires, along with the fifteen roles and tasks we have just listed.

Forgiving our sin does not fulfill God's needs and desires.

Bringing us to Heaven to be with Him would not fulfill God's needs and desires. Going to Heaven to be with God, Christ, the saints, and the holy angels might, or might not, fulfill our needs and desires. We never have lived in Heaven and we do not know what it would be like.

But one thing is certain: bringing church people to Heaven before they are transformed most certainly would not fulfill God's needs and desires!

Only a person, male or female, who comes to maturity in righteous behavior, in depending on God to meet all his or her needs and desires, and who obeys the Lord Jesus Christ completely and promptly, fulfills God's need and desires.

Is it your desire to be such a person?

It is mine.

I will allow no sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, till I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob. (Psalms 132:4,5)

"My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:2,3)

The Father's eternal house is the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus today is ready to bring us to maturity in righteousness, faith, and obedience so we may become a room in that house, and always be with the Lord Jesus where He is.

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The Wells of Salvation

2014-08-03

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3)

In my last essay, Righteousness; Faith; Obedience, I spoke of God's need for a house, a resting place, and a throne.

I mentioned that we are experiencing a paradigm shift in our Christian thinking. Our goal no longer is to go to Heaven to sing and shout all the day long. Rather, it is to meet God's need.

In order to meet God's need we will have to come to maturity in righteous behavior, in true faith (faith that looks to God for our needs and desires), and in total obedience to Christ. This is the spiritual perfection that characterizes the firstfruits of the heavenly Zion.

I suggested also that the members of the "great cloud of witnesses" and we the living are growing together toward spiritual perfection and will finally be made perfect together at the coming of the Lord. At that time, those whom Christ brings with Him and we the living, having been brought to spiritual maturity together, will receive our incorruptible, resurrection body.

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. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (I Thessalonians 4:16,17)

I believe "the dead in Christ will rise" is referring to the cloud of witnesses who return with Jesus, reclaiming their sleeping bodies and clothing them with eternal, incorruptible resurrection life.

Since the passage goes on to say we will be "caught up together with them," the implication is that we the living also will have donned our incorruptible bodies. Thus we all will have been made perfect together.

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. (I Corinthians 15:52)

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:39,40)

God's needs have been met. All of us, the members of the RoyalPriesthood, have become the eternal Tabernacle of God, His place of untroubled rest, and His Throne. God is moving His Throne from Heaven to the hearts of the members of the Royal Priesthood.

God now is satisfied. But what about the spiritually dead of mankind? Will they benefit from the maturing of the Royal Priesthood?

What is the only Life that can revive the spiritually dead of mankind? You are correct. It is the Spirit of God.

What is the source of the Spirit of God? You are correct again. The only source of the Spirit of God is the Throne of God.

No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. (Revelation 22:3)

The "city" is the new Jerusalem, the glorified Christian Church, the Royal Priesthood.

Are you beginning to see the picture? It is the members of the Royal Priesthood who will revive the spiritually dead of mankind. God has placed His Throne in them for this purpose.

Then the angel showed me the river of water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. (Revelation 22:1)

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

God has baptized us with His Spirit. But He desires much more than this. God wants us filled with His Fullness. But to be candidates for the Fullness of God we must come to maturity in righteous behavior, true faith, and perfect obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ.

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)

The only manner in which we can come to such maturity is by setting aside our own life and learning to think, speak, and behave by the Life of Jesus. This we do by referring to Him continually through the day and night.

When we are living by the Life of the Lord Jesus we have perfect righteousness, perfect faith, and perfect obedience to God.

During the feast of Tabernacles, the Jews were gathered in Jerusalem. The Lord Jesus was there. This is what Jesus said:

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." (John 7:37,38)

The "rivers of living water" that are to flow from those who believe in Jesus has as its purpose the awakening of dead mankind. This is what will take place when the members of the Royal Priesthood enter the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles.

The reference is to the twelfth chapter of the Book of Isaiah, which was chanted during the feast of Tabernacles. This passage is one of the most significant of the entire Bible. It speaks of the believer becoming one with God.

In that day you will say: "I will praise you, 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 himself, is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation." With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In that day you will say: "Give praise to the Lord, proclaim 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 12:1-6)

In that day is the moment you decide that the Lord Jesus alone shall be exalted in your life.

Your anger has turned away and you have comforted me is referring to the fact that every child of God is chastened for a season, and then comforted.

God is my salvation. Not God has saved me, but rather God Himself—He Himself—has become our salvation. Christ is living in place of us, as Paul said.

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

I will trust and not be afraid. Those who have been through difficult places with the Lord know exactly what is meant here. The pressure is so great we no longer can hold God's hand. He must hold our hand. Trust holds on when faith begins to fail.

The Lord himself, is my strength and my defense. God saves and preserves me by Himself being my salvation and preservation. This indicates we are pressing on toward maturity in Christ.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. What is the "wells of salvation"? It is Christ Himself whose Throne has been formed in us. We experience the greatest joy as we are able to minister eternal Life to the dead of mankind.

We invite everyone to come and drink freely of the Life of Christ that is in us.

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let the one who hears say, "Come!" Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. (Revelation 22:17)

In that day, the day we have turned over our life to Christ. No longer are we just a member of the Christian religion. We now have become an eternally inseparable part of God through Christ. God Himself through Christ has become our Life.

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. How often is a denomination or a church exalted! Do you know why that is? It is because we are serving Christ in our own strength. We are not acting as part of Christ but as a human being who is trying to do what he thinks God wants.

He is a religious, well-meaning individual. We now in America are approaching spiritual conflict in which the Christian who merely is a human being attempting to be true to his religion no longer will be able to continue standing.

All of us must ask Christ to help us set aside our own life that He may take over our thinking, speaking, and behaving. Otherwise we are not going to be able to serve Christ ourselves or help those who are looking to us for spiritual strength.

Only those whose life has become that of Christ will be able to proclaim the name of Christ among the nations and tell what He has done. The coming spiritual darkness will be stronger than the churches realize at this time, I believe.

Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you. No matter how oppressive the spiritual atmosphere becomes, if we are living by the Life of Christ we will be able to rejoice. When Satan's prisoners hear us praising the Lord during the darkest of hours, their chains will be broken.

The Apostle Paul taught us that we are to be trees of life.

So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. (I Corinthians 15:45)

Christ, the last Adam, is a life-giving Spirit.

How about the brothers of the last Adam? Are they also to be life-giving spirits, do you think?

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:29)

Do you think if the brothers of the Lord are conformed to His image they also may become life-giving spirits? I believe it is highly probable.

Let's turn now to the Book of Ezekiel to see the result of the brothers of Christ being conformed to His image, and the impact on the nations of the earth made by those who have met God's needs.

First of all, we observe the judgments and the waters of the Spirit of God that those whose destiny is to be a life-giving spirit must experience.

As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. (Ezekiel 47:3)

This passage in Ezekiel is such a perfect description of the Christian who is pressing forward in Christ. He begins with the Spirit to his "ankles," so to speak. Also, he or she is being judged.

If the believer continues pressing forward in Christ the water of the Spirit will increase in him until it is "water to swim in." He is filled with the Fulness of God. Also, every aspect of his or her personality has passed through the Judgment Seat of Christ.

I wish to emphasize that the Pentecostal experience of being baptized with the Holy Spirit is "water to the knees." Today God is inviting us to press forward until we are filled with all the Fulness of God.

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

It is well that we are filled with the fullness of God's Spirit. It is necessary also that we are filled with God's Word. The Word apart from the Spirit brings death. If we are to derive Life from the Word of God, the Spirit of God must make the Word alive to us. The Spirit of God always acts in harmony with the Word. Any attempt to enter the Spirit of God apart from the Word of God will result in confusion.

This is why the man who is moving eastward, toward the coming of the Lord, has a "measuring line" in his hand. He is judging us by the Word of the Lord.

Now we are filled with the Fullness of the Spirit and have been measured by the Word of God. What is next?

He asked me, "Son of man, do you see this?" Then he led me back to the bank of the river. (Ezekiel 47:6)

Now we are going to find out why God has made us a tree of life growing out from the Tree of Life, the Lord Jesus.

When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, "This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh." (Ezekiel 47:7,8)

Compare:

Down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:2)

The scene is this: The new Jerusalem is the Royal Priesthood. God is dwelling in them. The Throne of God is in them. The Spirit of God flows from the Throne as a River of eternal Life.

Along the banks of the River of Life are positioned Christ and those who are an inseparable part of Him.

On the new earth are living the nations of people who have been saved to life on the new earth. If they have confessed and turned away from their sins they can enter the holy city, the glorified Christian Church, and partake of the fruit and leaves of the Tree of Life. They will receive eternal life in their personality and be healed of any affliction.

The new Jerusalem is the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom that will grow forever. The members of the Royal Priesthood will serve to bring the Presence, will, and blessing of God to all saved people. Such is the meaning of the twelfth chapter of the Book of Isaiah.

The Jews wanted to know when the Lord Jesus was going to restore the Kingdom of David to Israel.

Then they gathered around him and asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6)

Those few people had no idea of the enormity of Christ's answer. We of today also have no idea of the enormity of the significance of what is taking place in our midst right now.

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

There is much turbulence in our world of today. All the massive problems facing the political leaders seem to have great importance, but they do not. All that truly is of importance is that Christ is preparing to return and govern the nations with His saints.

The present hour is to be devoted to our personal growth in righteous behavior, faith, and obedience. Then we will be prepared when the trumpet blows to join the cloud of witnesses and be made perfect in Christ together with them.

The nations are waiting for the sons of God to be revealed. They really have no other hope. All that is facing them is more war, more famine, more sickness. The promises of the leaders will come to nothing. Only the blessings of Christ can help any of us, and His blessings come only as we turn away from sin.

The Lord Jesus has kept the best wine until now. Let us press into the present aspect of redemption so that we may know Him in a greater way.

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

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Does God Speak to People Today?

2014-08-10

Some are teaching that God does not speak to us today as He did when the Church began. Why would God do that? Do you suppose He is disgusted with us?

The entire Bible is a record of God speaking to people. Does it make sense that God will not speak to us any longer because now we have a Bible? This is preposterous! Yet this idea sometimes is taught.

Is the Bible going to tell us what job to take; if and where we should go to college; whom we should marry; where we should move?

The Bible speaks in general Christian principles. It does not answer the detailed questions we may have. Our need for answers becomes greater with the passing days. We need to hear from the Lord.

The idea that God does not speak to people today is one of the more destructive of the current errors, such as that Divine grace is an alternative to growth in godly behavior.

Ordinarily God does not speak to our physical ears but to our mind. There are some people to whom God does not speak often even to their mind. But such individuals may have a set of cues that they use to determine God's immediate will. It may be a sense of peace, for example, when they make a decision.

If I am correct, most people will hear God in their mind if they spend time waiting on Him and are obedient.

This does not mean we accept every voice we hear as being from God. We must learn through practice to examine what we are hearing, asking the Lord Jesus if it is from Him. If what we are hearing requires a radical action on our part, such as walking down the street with a sandwich board proclaiming the immediate return of Christ, we may do well to confide in an elder whom we trust as to the source of the voice.

Usually when God speaks to us it is some practical advice that brings peace and joy to us. Whenever we think God has spoken to us, and the memory is disquieting and brings fear or concern, that very seldom is God.

God does not speak to us in a harsh or impatient voice. Also God never will reprove anyone for testing a spirit. We can test a spirit a hundred times, and God will not be displeased. The Bible commands us to test the spirits.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (I John 4:1)

We can test spirits by asking the Lord Jesus if they represent Him. Also, God will not tell us to do something that goes against the instructions of the Apostles of Christ.

Make no mistake. It requires years of experience before we are one hundred percent accurate in determining what is of God and what is not. But the attempt to walk and talk with the Lord is well worth the effort, and the embarrassing mistakes.

According to the Bible there are gifts of prophecy given to some believers. But every believer should make the attempt to communicate often with Jesus throughout the day. While the Lord might not speak to him or her frequently, yet our continual speaking to the Lord often results in a closeness of the Presence of the Lord.

It is amazing that God spoke so frequently to people under the old covenant, but we are told now that He does not speak to us under the new covenant, supposedly a better covenant. I find this to be nonsensical, disappointing, and not at all in accordance with my many years of experience as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. (Hebrews 1:1,2)

In the past God spoke.

According to the Bible, from the time that God spoke to Adam and Eve until He addressed the Apostle John on the Island of Patmos, God directed His program in the manner He desired. He spoke many times to people.

I think a significant event happened during the time of the ProphetSamuel.

And the Lord told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king." (I Samuel 8:7)

Up to this time Samuel had been leading Israel. But Samuel was old, and his sons were not qualified to take his place as leaders of Israel. The elders asked Samuel to appoint a king as the other nations had.

The elders did not ask God to raise up another prophet. They rejected the leadership of the Lord. They wanted a king they could see.

Well, they got one. Saul. Saul was rather self-centered, wasn't he? Notice that God directed Samuel in choosing Saul. I think sometimes when the Christian leaders are helped in their endeavors they suppose God is pleased.

But perhaps He isn't. Perhaps God is just using what is available, and shaking His Head, wondering why the leaders do not ask Him what He wants instead of asking Him to support what they desire.

You would think from the headlines today that God was interested in promoting democracy throughout the nations of the earth. Democracy is a political system that looks to the desires and will of people for its guidance. This hardly is of God!

There is a situation in Ukraine today that needs the application of God's wisdom if any situation ever did.

Gavin Hewitt, the Europe Editor for BBC News, writes that Europe is moving "softly, softly" concerning the situation in Ukraine. Europe would be foolish not to. The potential for World War III is right at this point.

Mr. Putin is protecting Russia's power. He is not going to give in, I believe. So the Western nations will have to use force if they are to accomplish their desire of establishing all of Ukraine as a democracy free from Russia.

It is this sort of potential disaster that calls for the wisdom of God. But the world leaders of today do not (at least publicly) call on God or attribute glory to Him in the Ukraine or in other dilemmas.

Have you thought much about the rule of the rod of iron that will be exercised when our Lord Jesus returns with His saints?

The idea of the "rod of iron" signifies that God's will shall be done without compromise. No doubt the application of force will proceed from powerful angels. But the irresistible actions of the angels will be guided by Christ and His saints, with the Father directing them.

This form of government is termed a "theocracy." The concept would be laughed to scorn today. But a theocracy, with Jesus Christ as the King, actually is the only form of government that will bring righteousness, love, joy, and peace to mankind.

You can imagine the reaction of the American people to the Kingdom that is drawing nearer each day. "No one is going to tell me what to do. I am a free moral agent. I will hire a lawyer."

Such protests will result only in the protester being punished. And there will be no recourse.

From the days of Adam and Eve, people have chosen to plan and direct their own lives rather than look to God for wisdom and help. We can read about the result in the newspapers of today.

For a short time Israel was led by prophets. But the people rejected this form of government, as we witness in the case of the elderly Samuel.

I do not see any evidence that the Israelites of today have a desire to be governed by prophets. They look to the Western Nations and the United States for direction and approval.

Unless God steps in and supports the Jewish people, they may be in serious trouble. But what would it take for the Jews to turn their eyes away from America (that has its own problems) and cry out to God day and night until the Lord furnished them with prophetic leadership?

America today is a secular nation. Our president has declared openly, I have heard, that America no longer is a Christian nation. While there were strong religious influences during the founding of our nation, the thinking of Tom Paine, the worshiper of reason, has prevailed.

We see the result of the removing of God from America as we become increasingly weaker in many aspects of our culture. And it is my belief, from what I think I have heard from the Lord, that America is to become a third-rate nation with a feeble voice in world affairs. This is because of our willingness to leave God and His Christ.

I do not anticipate that my statements will interest anyone, except perhaps three or four widely scattered persons, as far as world government is concerned.

But I think there is real hope that a great multitude of Christian people will begin to look to Jesus for wisdom and strength in their daily lives today, and for the strength for survival and bearing witness of Jesus throughout the chaos to come in America.

But they must be convinced that Jesus will walk and talk with them if they look to Him continually throughout the day and night, when they are awake, of course.

We may be entering the Age of Laodicea at this time. One of the words to the Church of Laodicea is that if we would open the door of our personality to the Lord Jesus He would enter us and dine with us.

Jesus did not say He would enter us and talk with us, but dine with us. I think this is significant. It tells us Jesus is relaxed and in control no matter how the storm outside is raging. He sets a table before us in the presence of our enemies.

We of Laodicea (the voice of the people—democracy) may think we are wealthy and know everything. In actuality we are impoverished and blind and know nothing at all.

Christ knows everything and has control of the riches of the universe. He wants to help us prepare for the disasters on the horizon. But we must slow down and start listening instead of scheming.

I wonder if anyone out there can hear me!

A few years ago I fell down stairs and broke my right femur. While I was recovering the Lord Jesus advised me to rest, listen, and reflect. I have been doing that ever since. Wonderful! Rest, listen, and reflect.

My life in the present hour consists of asking Jesus about everything. He doesn't always speak the answer to problems to my mind, but He certainly keeps solving my problems.

Do you pray until you know Christ has heard you? Why don't you start doing that. Pray until you have peace. When you have peace, the answer is "in the bank," as they say.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart." "In all your ways acknowledge Him," Proverbs says. When you do this, the way will be made plain.

If either Mr. Putin or the leaders of Europe would look to Christ for the situation in Ukraine, the situation would resolve itself so simply and completely that everyone would be astonished. The same is true of Syria and other countries that are in various stages of revolution at this time.

If there was a sudden resolution in Ukraine, would the statesmen give the glory to Christ, or would the leaders jockey for position claiming the credit?

I think of the boys and girls starving to death in Africa and Lebanon. We understand from their plight the consequences of people not looking to Jesus for the solution to problems.

What got me started on this topic is Christian leaders who are claiming that God does not speak to people today. "We must go by the Bible by faith alone." That position sounds so religious and godly. It is just about the worst advice we could get during the present perilous days when we need to hear from the Lord.

If Jesus wanted us to ignore Him in our daily life, why did He invite us to open our heart to Him so He might dine with us? The Bible is not going to enter us and dine with us. It is the living Jesus who desires to enter us and dine with us.

The Lord Jesus is carefully observing all of us today, whether we are Christians, or Muslims, or Hindus, or Buddhists, or of no religion at all. If we will look up to Him, He will show us how to live and what to do, one step at a time.

Later we may find it helpful to join some religious group. But what we need today is not found in a denomination or religion, only in Jesus Himself. We need God in our hour of desperation, not more religion. Sometimes these are not the same!

Talk to Jesus. Tell Him what your needs are. I am here to tell you that Jesus is the greatest burden bearer there ever was. He is strong and wise enough to handle your problems. Learn from Him and He will give you peace. After all, He, under the direction of the Father, created the heavens and all else that we can see.

We will have needs in the coming days, for food, for safety for ourselves and our families, for wisdom and guidance. The government may not be able to help us. But Jesus can and shall meet our every desire and need if we will look to Him instead of to the world or to our own reasoning.

He is so close to us! He is right here for you. He will not turn you away. Jesus never turns anyone away unless that person is disobedient to Him.

There are some who are pointing here or there at what they conceive to be signs of the Lord's return. If they will look up to Jesus they will discover He already has come in the Spirit to prepare us for His next coming in the clouds of glory.

The denominations go on and on preaching the Gospel. Are they in fact bringing the water of eternal life to the thirsty, or are they making proselytes to their religion? I do not know, but I seldom hear them speak of how God has led them.

Perhaps the preachers are under the impression the unsaved need theological training. They do not. They need the Spirit of God, the water of eternal life. At the present time they are spiritually dead.

God directed the Apostle Paul and spoke to him. "Go here, Paul, and do not go there." Specific directions at specific times.

We were given a book to read in Bible school. It pointed to the geographic significance of the areas to which Paul was directed. The idea was to learn from this how to do effective missionary work.

This is not the way to do missions. It is yesterday's manna. God has new and surprising things for us today, and we are not to trust in the old ways. God spoke this to me in a pastors' meeting a few years ago. I was not at that time able to give it out to the young candidates; but ever since it has rung in my spirit. I wonder what those "new and surprising things" will be.

A man with a prophetic ministry spoke to the leadership of a denomination. He stated to the effect that matters had to be cleared up within the denomination before God could use it for His purposes. The prophet said something like this; I am not certain of the exact words.

The leadership said the prophet meant that they are to go out and save more souls.

I have heard this emphasis on going forth and saving souls during my many years as a Christian. I heard it first in Bible school. I have been hearing it ever since.

During the past few years, as I have been devoting ever increasing attention to listening to Jesus, I have not heard once any emphasis on going out and getting souls saved. Maybe that is because this is not my gift or calling.

Such may be the case. But honestly—the result appears to be more and more baby Christians who are no threat to Satan's kingdom.

The Spirit of God in the present hour is opening the Scriptures to us. We understand now that God has saved us so we might meet His need for a house, a resting place, and a throne.

All three of these Divine needs have their area of special, critical importance. But let us think for a moment about God's need for a throne. God wishes to move His throne from Heaven to the hearts of the members of the Royal Priesthood. God's Throne shall be found on the new earth in the hearts of the Royal Priesthood.

No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. (Revelation 22:3)

Why is God moving His Throne? It is because it is from the Throne of God that the Spirit of God flows. By placing His Throne in the believers, they can go out to a dead mankind and minister eternal life.

The problem here is we have to come to maturity in righteous behavior, in true faith, and in strict obedience to Christ before we are suitable as a house, a place of rest, and a throne for the Lord.

You can see at once if we keep attempting to produce more baby Christians the present crop of Christians are not going to come to maturity in righteous behavior, true faith, and strict obedience to Christ.

The moment you mention righteous behavior the babies are going to cry out that it does not matter how they behave, God sees them through Christ.

The moment you mention true faith the babies will tell you they are "stepping out in faith," which is not true faith but presumption.

The moment you mention strict obedience to Christ the babies will question your theology. They will ask you why you do not realize that we are not called to obey Christ, only believe in Him.

So the wheels of money and effort continue to attempt to gain more converts. Gaining converts is the mark of success. As far as I can determine, it is the only recognized mark of success.

Whether these proselytes to our particular brand of Christianity ever become disciples is not known.

One prominent director of missions advised us to not stop and try to make disciples but keep on moving forward from place to place making more and more converts.

What is your opinion of that advice?

It must be distressing to the Lord Jesus. But it may be true that the Christian leaders are listening to themselves and not to the Lord Jesus. I wonder sometimes if some of them know the Lord at all.

How does Jesus regard the churches? Are they His bride? If they are, they are telling Him what to do. They are a bossy wife. They do not hear from Him. They make up their own mind how His Church should be built. Then they pray He will help them gain converts according to their own wisdom and desires.

The leaders often have not heard from Jesus. The Bible says we are to preach the Gospel to every creature. The leaders are obeying this injunction. But they may forget that the letter of God's Word without the Spirit of God speaking it is dead and results in death.

It is true that Jesus told us to preach the Gospel to every creature. He told that to specific men. Before we should imitate them we ought to go to Jesus and ask Him if that is what He wants us as individuals to do, and what is the first step we should take. At least it seems to me we should do this.

One time while I was in Bible school we were ordered to attend a missionary rally at a local church. At the conclusion of the service we were invited to the altar to dedicate our lives to missionary endeavors.

I went forward and knelt down. I was not married and had no close family for whom I was responsible. I remember the pianist was playing parallel octaves with remarkable facility.

I said, "Lord, I am ready to go to Tibet right now wearing just this sweater."

Suddenly I knew Christ was going to speak to me.

I turned so I was sitting and leaning against the altar rail at my back.

The Lord said, "I love you."

Isn't this what one would call an anticlimax? I had worked myself up to the point where I was going to preach in the snow in Tibet wearing a sweater, or stumble through the rice paddies in Asia until I fell over from exhaustion and drowned. And what does the Lord say? "I love you."

On another occasion, years later, I had worked myself up into a religious fit during a service, praying loudly and praising the Lord. I put quite a lot of effort into this exhibition.

Again the Lord spoke. What do you think He said? "Be still, and know that I am God."

Oh well, we all do the best we can.

So I have never gone to Tibet or to the rice paddies in Southeast Asia. Instead I think the Lord Jesus is directing me to write down some of my thoughts. Perhaps they will be of help to another enthusiastic believer.

But let me stress once again. Yes, God does speak to people today, just as He always has. Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Why would our Lord, at the time of what may be the most critical hour of history, stop speaking to His people?

"But they have their Bible, don't they." Yes, they do. But the elders of the Jews had the scroll of the Law, didn't they? But when they needed a specific answer to an immediate problem, they asked the priest to consult the Urim and Thummim.

He is to stand before Eleazar the priest, who will obtain decisions for him by inquiring of the Urim before the Lord. At his command he and the entire community of the Israelites will go out, and at his command they will come in. (Numbers 27:21)

Do you have any problems you would like answers to? Most people do. Then I invite you right now to look up to our Lord Jesus. Bring your need to Him. Invite Him into all of your thinking, your speaking, and behavior. Invite Jesus into every aspect of your life. Do this until you are praying without ceasing.

Jesus wants to be near to you, to walk and talk with you. He has infinite resources, and all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Your Lord Jesus is greater than you understand and loves you more than you understand.

He wants to enter your heart and dine with you. He is inviting you to sit with Him on His throne so that out from you will flow the water of life to a dead mankind.

Don't turn Him away. You are going to need His Presence and help during the coming days of chaos in our country.

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 that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:20,21)

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Deception

2014-08-17

The New Testament speaks of the prevalence of deception at the end of the Church Age. Satan is a deceiver. His power was destroyed on the cross of Calvary so he cannot force us to do his will. In order for Satan to persuade a Christian to do Satan's will, Satan must deceive that person. Satan is a master at deceiving believers until they fall into error and sin.

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The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, And in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so they will believe the lie And so all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. (II Thessalonians 2:9-12)

To deceive is to mislead someone, whether deliberately or not deliberately. Deception may cause an individual to not believe what is true or to believe what is not true. Deception leads the victim into incorrect, harmful, or sinful choices or behavior.

I guess it is true that all sin and rebellion against God is a form of deception.

Placing our hope for security and survival in the forces in the world is deception, because the world cannot provide security and survival. We could have all the money in the world and still be killed in an accident or die from cancer.

Yielding to the lusts and passions of our flesh and soul is a form of deception because we think doing so will bring us joy. Instead we receive remorse, corruption, and disgrace.

Following our own ambitions instead of seeking God's will is a form of deception because God knows all about us, God knows what will bring us joy, and He has the power and the desire to bring us to joy. We, on the other hand, imagine what will bring us joy, sometimes are not able to grasp what we think will bring us joy, and when we are able to accomplish our goals discover we have not found joy after all.

One of the primary routes to deception is to seek pleasure and happiness during our discipleship. This world is not Heaven; and when we attempt to make it so we may enter deception. We may attempt to persuade ourselves that we can evade the plain Scripture and still be acceptable to the Lord.

The eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews gives us some illustrations of what it may mean to live by faith:

They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. (Hebrews 11:37,38)

When we seek to evade cross-carrying obedience to the Lord Jesus, we become susceptible to deception. Our cross is our desires that are deferred for a season.

As I stated, all sin and disobedience to God is a form of deception.

Deception is far more prevalent among Christian people than ordinarily is recognized. By definition, we do not understand when we are in a state of deception. I think Christians often assume if they trust in the Lord and seek to live a godly life they cannot be deceived. King David trusted in the Lord and sought to live a godly life, but he was deceived.

Jesus counseled us to pray that God would not lead us into temptation but would deliver us from the evil one. But we do not always pray this way, do we? The first thing you know we are caught in one of Satan's snares. I believe most of us are not aware of Satan's ability to deceive even the most devout Christian.

We ought always to pray that God would not lead us into temptation and would not permit us to be deceived.

When you are serving the Lord, and begin to feel uncomfortable about a situation, go to the Lord immediately and ask Him if you have been deceived along some line. If it is appropriate, ask your husband or wife, or an elder of the church who will not gossip, for his opinion. Deception operates best in a subjective realm; and when you bring another person into your confidence the power of the subjectivity is diminished or destroyed altogether.

Satan loves to work in the dark places of our mind and emotions, and makes an effort to keep us from bringing our secret thoughts to the light. This is why it is so important to gather together with fervent believers on a regular basis. If you are in deception, the Spirit of God may burden a brother or sister to pray, even if they do not know what they are praying about. The result will be that you are able to gain a glimmer of light which, if pursued, will lead you out of deception.

It may be difficult for the mature Christian to admit to being deceived. Without realizing it he has become proud of his spirituality and is not willing to recognize he has been misled.

Jesus spoke of the believers being deceived concerning His return to the earth.

Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,and will deceive many." (Matthew 24:4,5)

And many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. (Matthew 24:11)

The doctrine of the pre-tribulation "rapture" of the Christians is one of the major deceptions of our day. The teaching of the "rapture" has to do with the return of Christ to the earth. There are fervent believers who are persuaded there will be an any-moment "rapture" into Heaven of those who have professed faith in Jesus.

However, they are not receiving this "revelation" in prayer but are following a teaching that offers hope and security in the present dangerous hour. If those who believe this way would look up to Jesus and ask Him what provision He has made for the dangers of the last day, I think they would hear Him telling them to turn away from the allurements of the world and learn to abide in Him at all times.

During my many years as a Pentecostal Christian I have never heard one clear prophetic utterance proclaiming the nearness of a "rapture." I have heard numerous prophetic exhortations to us to repent and press into Jesus before judgment falls.

Even in the case of the pre-tribulation "rapture" error, the problem is not that people are mistaken concerning the time of the return of Christ, for we will understand this event perfectly when it takes place. No harm has arisen purely on the basis of a mistake over the events of the last days.

Rather, the problem is that the doctrine of the "rapture" tends to prevent the believers from fervently preparing themselves to stand in the approaching age of physical and moral horrors.

They will not survive spiritually; they will not be able to stand in spiritual victory before Christ in the time of spiritual darkness; they will not be able to point other people to the safety that is in Christ; for the believers themselves will be terrified at the sight of what is taking place—at least in America.

The unprepared believers will succumb to fear and despair because their dissipation, drunkenness, and anxieties regarding the things of the world had prevented them from entering into Christ and abiding under the protection of the Lord. They were told there is no need to prepare for trouble, and they have practiced what has been preached Sunday after Sunday in their churches.

We understand, therefore, that deception can operate in the realm of doctrine and theology.

Another destructive doctrine is the "lawless grace error," in which it is postulated that God sees us through Christ and therefore we never are guilty of sin. The lawless-grace error is so obviously unscriptural it is a marvel that it is so widely accepted. It has produced immature believers. It is a deception.

A third destructive doctrine is that God has stopped speaking to people after the death of the original Apostles. A corollary of this deception is that speaking in tongues, Divine healing, and the working of miracles no longer are available to the Christian people.

If you stand back and look at the "God no longer speaks" deception you can see how unscriptural it is. A primary Divine testimony is being withheld from us.

The reason given for the withdrawal of God's Presence is "that which is perfect has come," so we no longer need to walk and talk with the Lord Jesus. That which is perfect is said to be the Bible. Can you imagine? The Bible is "that which is perfect," and so we no longer need the Presence of God that is described in so many passages of the Bible.

Any intelligent individual can see readily that the availability of the Bible does not take the place of God's immediate Presence and the working of miracles. If there ever was a time in which we need to hear from the Lord and witness the working of miracles it is today.

If one Christian were to be sent forth in the power of the early Apostles, multitudes of Muslim people would be converted to Christ. Such miraculous conversions will not take place just because we possess the Bible!

When they see miracles, the people of the East will believe. Then they will learn to walk and talk with our Lord Jesus.

Three powerful deceptions that have prevented Christian maturity: the lawless-grace deception; the "rapture" of the believers to Heaven deception; and the withdrawal of God's Presence after the first century deception.

But the Lord Jesus Christ is the same—"yesterday, today, and forever."

I believe, however, that deception in the area of personal moral behavior is far more dangerous than deception in the realm of theology or eschatology. Today, Christians and non-Christians alike are being destroyed by deception in the area of sexual lawlessness.

The idea of "romance" is at the root of many sexual deceptions. We must understand that romance is not of God. It is of the fallen adamic nature.

A romantic attachment to another person, male or female, is idolatry. We see that person in a glorified state, when actually he or she is an alimentary canal with hair on one hand and a commotion on the other. The canal contains half-digested food, and a residue that has the capacity to nourish the awakening life in a field.

Without our realizing it, perhaps, our romantic passion is no more than a camouflaged sexual lust. Also, it is temporary. Although we might deny it, when the object of our worship becomes old and infirm, wrinkled, in need of a cane to get around, unable to control his or her urine, our romantic passion may abate.

True love is revealed at the time of one's death. Then we become aware that we love our family and friends with a true love that is not based in our reproductive urges.

During the recent ferry-boat disaster, one young person confined in the sinking ship texted his mother electronically: "Mum, this might be my last chance to tell you I love you."

Can you see the difference between this love and romantic love?

The number of instances in which a woman or man left her or his married partner because of romantic love is enormous. Indeed, romantic attraction is a formidable deception.

The only person we are to love with a passion is the Lord Jesus Christ. When we fix our adoration on a person we are idolizing that individual. Such idolatry is not spiritually wholesome and is to be avoided. Sincere prayer to Christ will lift that delusion from us.

In my opinion, the most terrible example of deception in the history of the world is that of the betrayal of the Lord Jesus by Judas Iscariot.

Was Judas a thoroughly wicked man? I don't believe he was, because of the fervency of his repentance after Satan left him.

When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. "I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood." "What is that to us?" they replied. "That's your responsibility." So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. (Matthew 27:3-5)

The above is not the actions of a thoroughly wicked person. We have instances today in the courtrooms of America where convicted criminals show no remorse but are defiant after being sentenced.

The fact that Judas was so convicted as to throw away the money and then hang himself is all the more terrifying. This could have been you or me, because this is what we would have done when we realized we had betrayed an innocent person.

Notice Judas was not remorseful because of having betrayed his Messiah, but for having sent an innocent man to his death. Yet Jesus referred to Judas as a "devil." There is a secret power associated with lawlessness that is difficult for us to comprehend.

Then Jesus replied, "Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!" (John 6:70)

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. (II Thessalonians 2:7)

What door in his personality permitted Satan to deceive Judas to this extent? Was it the thirty pieces of silver? We know from the text that he stole money from the common purse.

Was it, as some have suggested, that Judas was an ambitious man who hoped to gain preeminence by being associated with Jesus, only to have Jesus show no desire to gain worldly power?

The truly remarkable fact is this: Judas was not a thoroughly wicked man, just an individual with some treacherous motivations in his personality. But Judas was in close contact with God come in the flesh! Like Satan, who was a guardian cherub next to the throne of God in Heaven, Judas was living next to God!

Have you ever thought about this? Judas was walking with God and, at the same time, stealing money from the common purse. After this much exposure to God, Judas was willing to turn Him over to the authorities for money!

This was and remains incredible. What would you and I give to be together with Jesus for three years! The fact that Judas could be so close to God and yet do the things he did reveals to us the awesome power of deception.

Deception is not a condition that exists somewhere out there among people who somehow are different from us. Deception is a possibility as long as there are doors in our personality, such as hatred, unforgiveness, lust, covetousness, jealousy, lying, stealing, that have not been brought into the light of Christ and removed from us.

Just remember this: any Christian at any time, no matter how devout, can be deceived; especially if there are passionate desires in his or her personality. Therefore we ought to pray every day that God will remove from us all that is not of Him, and that we might hear only that which is coming from His Throne.

I mentioned King David. We know from the Psalms that David's heart was right in the sight of God. Yet, by not going out to war with his soldiers, David set himself up for disaster. If David had been with his men he would not have been walking on the roof of his palace gazing at Bathsheba.

We can escape much temptation by not permitting ourselves to enter situations that are spiritually perilous.

David knew the Law of Moses. He knew adultery was punishable by death. Yet his passions overruled his obedience to the Law and his conscience.

David added murder to adultery by sending Uriah to the front lines. Once deception begins to bear fruit in our life it is not long before the fruit of evil multiplies.

The moment Nathan said "You are the man," the deception was stripped away.

Perhaps Satan was hoping David would Nathan put to death, as Herod put to death John the Baptist who warned Herod about the sin of adultery. But Herod was wicked, and David was righteous.

God immediately forgave David, but there were severe consequences after this, including the death of the child.

So it is that God will forgive our sin when we confess and turn from it, but there may be lifelong consequences.

The first two people on the earth were deceived. Satan deceived them, promising them wisdom without reminding them of the death that would follow. Adam and Eve were innocent. They did not realize there was such a thing as deception. God could have warned them this would happen. God could have entered and drove Satan from the garden. But this is not how God operates.

It is God's way to permit us to see the consequences of our actions so we will become skilled in judgment and spiritual warfare. Many times, if we are walking carefully before the Lord, He prevents our being deceived. On other occasions He permits us to be deceived, and then, if we are seeking Him faithfully, He reveals to us that we have been deceived.

Let me tell you from experience that this is a painful happening. We have to admit we were mistaken, make whatever amends are indicated, and then press forward in the Lord as a more experienced warrior. This is a hard way to learn, but under certain circumstances it is the only way God can get at some of the kings of our personality.

I myself have been deceived so many times I qualify for the degree, D. D. (Doctor of Deception).

On one occasion when I was entertaining a lie (without realizing it), the Lord Jesus spoke to me. He said, "Liars will not eat at My table."

That was enough for me!

It seems to me there are at least two different kinds of deception. There is the deception of the basically righteous person, as in the instance of King David in the matter of Bathsheba; and then the deception of the basically wicked person, as in the case of Absalom and his attempt to usurp his father's throne.

Absalom had spent years developing the plot that built up to his attempt to usurp his father's throne. I do not know if Absalom had misgivings along the way; if his conscience troubled him. Unlike David, Absalom did not yield to a sudden impulse. He knew what he was doing.

Absalom was not a man after God's heart, as was David. Absalom did not get a chance to repent. He was slain while in the middle of his treachery.

Absalom knew what he was doing, and yet he didn't know. By this I mean, Absalom desired the preeminence of sitting on the throne of Israel, like his father. Absalom desired the power and prestige. He wanted to be seen and admired, unlike David who was seeking the Lord all the while.

(Those of us who have any of Absalom's spirit in us, the spirit of usurpation, jealousy and desiring the position of another, need to tell the Lord and get rid of it. It will lead us to destruction.)

Absalom was deceived. He pictured himself sitting on the throne and being obeyed by the people as well as by the lords of Israel. What Absalom did not thoroughly realize was that God had chosen David. God was with David in all of David's battles. It was God who was leading David and speaking great things to him concerning his descendants.

None of this was true of Absalom. Even if Absalom had defeated David in battle and had ascended the throne; even if all the nobles of Israel had gathered around and paid homage to him; even if the people in the streets cheered and called out his name; Absalom would have been dwelling in the darkest pit of his life. For God would not honor Absalom's position, and he would have been brought down to terror and destruction by one means or another.

Absalom was terribly, totally deceived!

God alone exalts one person and puts down another. Promotion and demotion come from the Lord. Whenever we gain prominence or wealth other than with the help of the Lord, we are in a fool's paradise—and this shall be revealed sooner or later.

Another case of deception similar to that of Absalom concerned Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. These leaders of the Israelites were jealous of Moses and despised him and Aaron.

They were wicked men. God did not lead them to repentance but buried them alive along with their families.

These three men were terribly deceived. Moses was seeing God face to face. The Israelites had come out of Egypt under the leadership of Moses. Moses had come down from the holy mountain with the Law. Were Korah, Dathan, and Abiram so completely lacking in common sense as to suppose God would accept their leadership in place of the leadership of Moses and Aaron?

Perhaps blindness, lack of common sense, and lack of faith in God are frequently found in instances of deception. It seems Korah and his friends must have been unaware of the reality of God.

I think this often is the case when Christians aspire to a rank in the church held by someone else. I don't think they are seeing the Presence of God in His Church as clearly as desired. They are aware only of the honor being given to someone else—honor they would like to have even though God has not given it to them but to another.

So we see there is deception in doctrine and then deception in behavior. I think we place far too much emphasis on error in doctrine and not enough on error in behavior. God is not impressed with the amount or accuracy of our knowledge. The day will come when we know all things. What concerns the Lord is how we behave, particularly with the way we treat other people.

There was a strong Christian man who wanted to argue with me about the "rapture." I replied, "It is against my religion to argue eschatology." He was grinning when he left me. That answer appealed to him. He is deceased now, so maybe he knows the truth. However, it also may be true that people who hold incorrect doctrinal positions are not corrected when they die.

You know, nothing good ever comes from arguing with someone about his or her beliefs. That kind of quibbling and fussing comes from a bad spirit and nothing edifying or profitable results from it. It actually is a spirit of debate and is condemned by the Scripture.

Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, (Romans 1:29–KJV)

The "statement of faith" the Lord is looking for is not our adherence to a set of theological facts, it is our declaration to Jesus every moment of every day that we need His guidance and help in all we are doing. When two believers are abiding in Christ to this extent they have come to the unity of the faith.

God looks at our heart, to see if we love the truth. If we do not, God sends a "powerful delusion" to us.

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, And in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so they will believe the lie And so all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. (II Thessalonians 2:9-12)

Perhaps this is why the Lord Jesus warned us to pray that we not be led into temptation.

The key is found in the above statement: "but have delighted in wickedness."

Our desires and delights come from our heart.

Our choices come from our desires.

Our eternal destiny is determined by our choices.

Over this cycle stands our will, which serves as a referee that makes decisions concerning our heart, our desires, and our choices.

We must use our will to ask God to cleanse our heart from all that is not of Him, so godly desires will come from our heart and guide our choices.

We need to command our heart to love the truth, whether our heart wants to do this or not. If we pray, God will help us with the condition of our heart. The Bible states that God will send us a powerful delusion so we will believe the lie if we take delight in wickedness.

This reminds us of an incident in the Old Testament.

Micaiah continued, "Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the host of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. "And the LORD said, 'Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?' One suggested this, and another that. "Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, 'I will entice him.' "'By what means?' the LORD asked. 'I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,' he said. 'You will succeed in enticing him,' said the LORD. 'Go and do it.' "So now the LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all these prophets of yours. The LORD has decreed disaster for you." (I Kings 22:19-23)

"Search me, and see if there is any wicked way in me"! We need to do this every day of our pilgrimage, not just once in a moment of conviction.

When we do not love the truth, God sends a powerful delusion to us and we believe a lie. Once this takes place, we cannot see where we are heading. We are blind.

When you encounter a deluded believer you will find he or she is not open to the truth. All you can do is pray and be gentle with that individual as much as possible.

If the pastor prays before he preaches, asking the Lord to speak to the hearts of the members of the congregation, it may happen that light shines in the heart of someone who has been deluded but who desires the truth.

If this happens to you, you may begin to question an experience or belief you have held for many years. You may have been certain it was the Lord. Yet, it wasn't. You would be surprised how completely Satan can imitate the work of the Lord.

Honor that doubt, that question. Go to the Lord with as much sincerity as you can muster and ask Him to put the fire of Divine judgment on the idea or the experience. Do not be afraid, God will not harm you.

Sometimes we are quite embarrassed or frightened that we could have been wrong all these years. Never mind! You are not the center of the universe that you may think you are. Just keep after the Lord. He will deliver you from the master deceiver if you want truth.

Be comforted by the fact that numerous believers are, or have been, in deception along with you. Deception is common among God's people.

I realize someone will say, "I read my Bible and I can never be deceived!" Do you know what? You already are deceived by thinking you cannot be deceived.

The Bible commands us to test the spirits, because of the number of false prophets in the world.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (I John 4:1)

Let me assure you of one thing: God will never rebuke you for testing the spirits. It always is in order to check everything. You can ask God a hundred times if something is truly from Him, and God will not be insulted because you have questioned.

I do not mean to be overcautious and never accept what God is doing. There is a time to walk with the Lord on the water.

The Lord complimented the believers in Ephesus because they had tested those who claimed to be apostles.

I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. (Revelation 2:2)

If God's people were more prayerful, less apt to worship their preachers, we never would have received the pre-tribulation rapture error, the so-called "faith" and "prosperity" doctrines, the "imaging," the "God does not speak to us today," and the other strange fires of recent times.

But God's people do not want to pray! They want to have some exalted preacher get them all excited. They pay their ticket and the show goes on.

How many go home and get down before Jesus, and ask Him if He is the author of all this excitement?

I think the believers are afraid of quenching the Spirit of God, or of laying their hand on God's anointed. Perhaps this is why they do not question what is taking place. The followers of Korah would have done well to "lay their hands on God's anointed." They would have preserved their life!

The elders are responsible for the conduct of the assembling. God will honor their decisions if they make them prayerfully. Remember, God's sheep know His voice but the lambs need to be guided.

Every pastor, every elder, should understand that when he is uncomfortable with something going on in the church, he should go to the Lord immediately. If pressed for a decision, he should say: "I need more time to pray about this."

Do not be afraid of quenching the Spirit. If you are in a position of leadership, and are praying and seeking God, you can gently stop some proceeding in the assembling until you are certain it is the Lord.

The Spirit of God will not be insulted if you quietly and prayerfully govern the assembling. If you do not govern the assembling, then all sorts of spirits will take control and you will have disorder and confusion, which never are appropriate in the assembling of the saints.

Some time back an elder called from another state and told me that people were rolling on the floor while the pastor was preaching. He asked me what I thought about this, since it was becoming the thing to do in many assemblings.

My advice was to lovingly ask the people to refrain from causing a distraction while the Word of God was going forth. Then, on another occasion, the pastor might invite those who wanted to, to come up to the front, lay on the carpet, and call out to God. There is nothing wrong with calling out to God "between the porch and the altar," to use a scriptural expression.

The idea is to do all things, but to do them decently and in order.

Brother Stanley Howard Frodsham gave a prophecy years ago, in which he said the problem of the last days would be revelations that were mostly true but with a little bit of error in them. I think we have seen this come to pass in the last few years.

Anything that comes to us from Christ in Heaven is not almost true but totally true and fruitful. What better way could Satan advance his lies than by couching them in words and experiences that are scriptural and familiar to us? But there is death in the pot.

How can we tell if something is from the Lord? If it is of the Spirit of God it moves us away from sin and brings forth the fruit of the Spirit in us. Any doctrine, any movement, that does not promote righteousness is not of God no matter how exciting it may be.

Brother Dowell used to say, "I don't care how high you jump just as long as you walk straight when you come down." Good advice!

We are approaching an age of physical and moral horrors. We need to learn to look to the Lord Jesus every moment of every day.

If we will do this, reading our Bible each day, gathering together with fervent believers on a regular basis, refusing to be conformed to the image of the world presented by the barrage of information and advice coming from the media, we stand a good chance of being able to stand in victory before the Lord in the midst of the spiritual darkness.

We must guard our heart with all diligence, for out of it proceed the springs of life, as Proverbs tells us.

With all of this we still can be led astray. But if we keep on letting the Lord know we love Him, and keep an open, gentle spirit, the Lord will get us back on track with Him, just as He did King David.

David committed adultery and murder. He suffered for his sins the remainder of his life. But he died in honor and is remembered in honor, and his Psalms have blessed mankind for three thousand years.

So it is with you and me. God does not expect us to be perfect. But He does require that when it comes to our attention we have been in the wrong, we humble ourselves, get back up on our feet, and press forward in Christ.

On one such occasion I was ashamed of my conduct. I had been deceived.

Then I had a kind of vision. I saw the Lord's legions on parade in Heaven. The white war stallions passed in front of me. I was cheering them on, realizing I was not worthy to participate, but encouraging them to go forward and win the battles of the Lord.

All of a sudden a white war stallion stopped in front of me. There was no rider on him.

I knew that stallion was for me.

But my self-pity would not permit me to get up on that horse.

I stood there in my self-pity and shouted, "Go on! Go on! Crush the enemy! I am not worthy, but you go on!"

But I knew all this was vain. The Lord wanted me on that horse, to take my place in His army, not to be repeating how unworthy I am. The Lord has a great sense of humor, doesn't He?

I knew also that I had better get up on that horse or he would be ridden by someone else.

It was hard to overcome my self-pity.

I finally made myself get up on the horse, and that was the end of the vision.

David did not reject Bathsheba, adding another wrong to his account. David made Bathsheba his wife, and from that union came King Solomon.

Thus our blunders will result in majesty if we humble ourselves and remain faithful to Christ.

Again let me state, Satan's power was destroyed on the cross of Calvary. He cannot force anyone to do his will, to sin. Sometimes people say, "The devil made me do it." This is a lie. The individual made his choices according to his own desires, as we all do.

The devil works through deception. He studies our personality and then sets up a situation designed to appeal to our desires. Believe me, we have to walk very, very carefully if we are to escape being deceived.

The angel of the Lord camps round about those who fear God, and delivers them.

The Lord Jesus invites us to deny ourselves, take up our personal cross, and follow Him. Our personal cross is the best of all shields against the deceptions of the enemy.

Believers become deceived when they seek a way around their personal cross, attempting to escape from the prison in which they have been placed by the Lord.

Remember, the present world is under the Divine curse because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Paradise has been withdrawn into the spirit realm. When we endeavor to make the present world a paradise, we open ourselves to deception.

It is true God wants us to be happy and is bringing us to eternal joy. But first we must endure the cross of denial. The cross of denial is designed to destroy our self-love and self-will. Self-will is the source of all sin, when you stop and think about it.

Hopefully each one of us will set aside our own life, place all of our treasures in Heaven, and diligently follow the Lord Jesus each day. In the meanwhile we are to pray, "Father, lead me not into temptation."

If we will carry our cross behind the Master, pray and read our Bible on a daily basis if possible, test the spirits, and maintain a humble, open spirit so in case we do stumble we are ready and willing to be corrected and turn away from our error, then there is no reason why we cannot make a success of the victorious Christian life now and throughout the age of physical and moral horrors that is on the horizon.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

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Confessing Our Sin

2014-08-24

Many years ago Audrey and I were attending church in a tent in San Diego. J. O. Dowell was the pastor.

A revival was taking place at this time. The location was at a church named The Armory, to the best of my recollection. The pastor was a lady referred to as Sister Beall. I do not know her first name. This was occurring in Detroit, Michigan.

The revival was somewhat different from a typical revival. People were confessing their sins one to another.

An evangelist was present at this meeting with her husband: Thelma Dotta Chambers and her husband, Magness Chambers.

Pastor Dowell heard about the revival and invited Thelma Chambers and her husband to San Diego to tell us about this unusual awakening.

Audrey, my wife, and I had attended the Berean Bible School, an Assembly of God institution, of which Pastor Dowell was president. After graduating we remained with him and taught in his school, San Diego Christian Schools.

I did quite a lot of teaching for Pastor Dowell. One of my main subjects was taken from the Book of Romans, the sixth chapter: "Reckon yourself dead to sin." I was quite enthusiastic about this topic. The idea was that a person obtained sanctification, victory over sin, by counting himself or herself dead—crucified with Christ.

Later I understood that the Apostle Paul was not presenting reckon yourself dead to sin as a means of deliverance from sin but as the way a Christian should regard his position concerning sinful behavior and righteous behavior. In other words, we should not yield to sin, because we have died with Christ on the cross.

Reckon yourself dead is not a device for deliverance but an attitude to take toward sin. In Chapter, Eight Paul tells us to put our sinful actions to death by the power of the Spirit of God, for if we do not we will die spiritually.

By "death" Paul was referring back to verse eleven, in Chapter Eight of Romans, to the making alive of the physical body. Paul was saying that if we are not faithful in putting to death the deeds of our body, our body will not be made spiritually alive in the Day of Resurrection.

So when Sister Chambers and her husband came to San Diego, I, the great Bible teacher, perceived that confessing one's sins was not quite the same as reckoning ourselves dead to sin.

I resisted for a couple of days while the evangelist held forth, telling us of incidents that had taken place while the residents of Detroit were confessing their sins to one another.

One night, during this time, when Audrey and I had returned to our trailer in Chula Vista, I looked in the mirror. I asked the Lord, "Do I have sin dwelling in me that must be confessed?"

The answer to my question was, I burned like fire. Talk about a baptism of fire!

I said to Audrey, "We have got to go and talk to Sister Chambers."

We knew where they lived because it was our job to drive them back and forth to church. So we drove across town to the room they were renting.

When we arrived, I went straight to Sister Chambers and told her I was ready to confess my sins—which I proceeded to do.

That was about sixty years ago. I have been confessing during this period of time whatever Jesus has shown me.

At first I confessed to other people. But I learned I could confess to Jesus alone. This was helpful, because you never know if someone is going to gossip about what you told them.

Confessing my sins was embarrassing at first. But during this time I have become so used to it that I am just glad to get rid of the sin.

The Catholic people always have confessed their sins. But then they try to make atonement for them, like saying so many "Our Fathers." Christ already has made an atonement for us. After we confess we are to turn our prayers and strength to maintaining victory over the sins in question. This procedure is different from trying to atone for them.

I had many things to confess in the beginning. But now not so many. Now it is more of an awareness that we are not to continue practicing some bondage but to confess it and then prayer for strength to never do it again.

Confessing and turning away from specific sinful bondages really works. Try it for yourself and you will be pleased with the results.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

James, in his book, tell us that when we are sick we should confess our sins to one another, and pray for each other that we might be healed.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)

However, during the years that have elapsed since the days of Sister Chambers, confessing our sins has taken on an additional significance.

The Israelites were given seven major convocations to observe. Each of the seven feasts, as they are termed, portrays a step in the Divine redemption.

For example, the first observance is the "Passover."

We may be more familiar with the fourth feast, that of "Pentecost," which represents the baptism with the Spirit of God.

In the Divine plan of salvation we have come as far as Pentecost. The nature of the spiritual fulfillments of the final three feasts may not be familiar to us. However, they are beginning now, in our day.

The fifth observance is The Blowing of Trumpets. This is occurring as Christ is appearing to those who are keeping His commandments. He does not appear physically, but He lets us know that He is with us and He wants to prepare us for the chaotic times that are ahead of us.

There will be no "rapture" to keep us from the perils of the closing days of the Church Age. Rather, the provision Christ has made for us is to become part of us. We are to invite Christ into our life until He is doing our thinking, our speaking, and our behaving. Then we have perfect righteousness, don't we?

Where is all this in the Bible?

If you will read the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John you will discover that Christ has promised to come to those who are keeping His Word, and this in advance of His coming to the world, bringing the deceased saints with Him.

And as to Christ becoming part of us, how about the following?

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

Is Paul still living? Of course. He is writing this passage.

Is Christ living in Paul's body along with Paul? It sounds like that.

Are Paul and Christ both living? It sure sounds like that.

Well, am I far off when I maintain that Christ wants to become part of us so we can survive the terrible events on the horizon, as Antichrist seeks to consolidate his hold on human beings?

Is Galatians 2:20 true of you? No? What are you waiting for, government agents to appear at your door and tell you that you must send your first grader to a public school so he can find out what gender he is? Is this what it will take for you to get real with Christ?

Today in America there is increased pressure being placed on the charter schools so they will be more a part of the government. And you want to continue with your business-as-usual church life?

I have told you about the spiritual fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets. Christ is coming in the spirit realm to declare war on His enemies. We are approaching the climax of the war between good and evil, and Christ wants you and your loved ones to be prepared to stand in Christ and help others to stand.

So much for observance number five.

Next is the most solemn day of the Jewish year, the Day of Atonement.

Guess what is the most outstanding feature of the Day of Atonement? You guessed it. It is the confessing of sins.

Once each year, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest of Israel was ordered to go past the Veil into the Most Holy Place. There he sprinkled blood upon and in front of the Ark of the Covenant.

He is to take some of the bull's blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover. (Leviticus 16:14)

In doing so the High Priest made an atonement for himself and his household.

Two goats were employed in making an atonement for the people of Israel. One goat was slain, and its blood was sprinkled upon and before the Ark of the Covenant, in the same manner that was true of the bull that was offered for the High Priest and his household.

The second goat also was a goat of atonement. It was not slain. Rather the High Priest laid his hands on the head of the live goat and confessed the sins of the Israelites.

He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat's head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:21,22)

Can you see the enormous significance of the passage above?

This shows us that Christ not only forgives our sins (the slain goat) but also removes them "to a remote place" (the living goat).

Right here we can see the enormous destruction cause by today's preaching. The idea that God "sees us through Christ," or has appointed grace to be a substitute for growth in godly behavior, is as far removed as possible from the actual program of redemption.

The new covenant is a better covenant because it includes not only the forgiveness of our sins but also the removal of our sins.

It may prove difficult to convince people that in this present move of God they are required to confess and put to death their sinful deeds, under the direction of the Spirit of God. They are under the impression that God does not see them as having sin. How then are they to confess and turn away from that which they do not have?

It is interesting that a call is going forth in America that we Christians should repent of our sins, while we are being taught that God does not see us as having sin. Of what are we to repent? Have we not been deceived?

God's answer to our sinful bondages is not to overlook them through Christ but to remove them through Christ.

So we see that the move in the Armory in Detroit was the beginning of the spiritual fulfillment of the Levitical Day of Atonement.

While I was in Bible School, and still quite young in the Lord, God spoke to me. He said that the Day of Atonement would be judgment on God's people. I had just heard a teaching on the seven feasts of the Lord.

I did not really understand what God meant. Since sixty years have passed, I understand now that God was saying He is going to judge the actions of His people, not to condemn them but to set them free from their spirit enemies that dwell in their flesh.

It is the beginning of total victory over the forces of darkness.

The three great end-time steps in the plan of redemption are first, the Blowing of Trumpets; second, the Day of Atonement. Third, the feast of Tabernacles.

The feast of Tabernacles always has been God's goal. The fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles will provide a house, a resting place, and a throne for God—a throne in the heart of each member of the Royal Priesthood.

Eternal life will flow from the people in whom the Throne of God has been established. Whoever will do so may come and drink freely of the Spirit of God. Such is the destiny of each member of the Church, the Body of Christ.

The spiritual fulfillments of these final three feasts have begun. In order to provide a suitable house for God, each of us must come to maturity in righteous behavior; in true faith; and in obedience to God through Jesus Christ.

Righteous behavior comes as we keep making Christ a greater and greater part of our life.

True faith matures in us as the evil that is in our flesh and spirit is removed and the Spirit of God takes its place. True faith looks to God in perfect trust for all of our needs and desires.

Perfect obedience to Christ results as we carry our cross of deferred desire, setting aside our own life that Christ might do our thinking, our speaking, and our behaving.

To the new Christian, the exalted positions that I have mentioned in this essay may seem impossible of attainment. If the program were put in place and operated by us it would be impossible of attainment.

But the program of redemption and the fullness of the inheritance, both for God and for us, was conceived and is being carried out by the one who spoke the firmament and its galaxies into existence. The power exhibited there is far, far beyond our comprehension.

If it indeed is He who has conceived and is operating all aspects of the coming Kingdom of God, can He not take us, who were formed from the dust of the ground, and create us in His image? Can He not make us righteous in behavior; trusting in nature; and obedient to His Son?

But we have to be continually obedient to Christ if God is to bring us from the bondages of Satan to perfect, complete rest in His Person and will.

We understand that He indeed can perform such transformation of a human being. What then is lacking? Only our faith and obedience. Do we believe that God loves us and will bring us to such glory? Will we be obedient even if some aspects of the program are not understandable to us or in line with our pitiful plans and ambitions?

I cannot speak for you, but as for me I am not content with my own plans and goals. I want God! I want all that God has for me and the best that God has for me.

If all God is asking in the present hour is that I confess the sinful bondages that trouble me so He can remove them, I think I would be rather shortsighted to cling to that which brings nothing but shame, weakness, and remorse.

The bottom line is, let us look to the Spirit of God continually so we can cooperate with Him as He creates us a house, resting place, and throne for God and the Lamb.

What do you say!

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

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It's Not That Hard!

2014-08-31

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

I wrote this essay being moved by the death of the young people in South Korea when the ferry overturned (April, 2014).

Also, in our church a young man was taken from us recently.

I pictured the more than 200 high-school students in the closing moments of their life, as they were gathered in one of the rooms of the ferry boat. They could not escape because of the severe list of the ship.

Gradually the majesty of Christ began to drive out the spirit of doom from Satan. One by one students fell over from lack of oxygen, only to awaken in the Presence of Christ.

When the entire group was assembled in His Presence, Christ would say something like, "Greetings to my world. I know each one of you and have a place for you in my Kingdom."

If we love high-school age young people with their vibrant voices and activities, being confident of their superior wisdom, going forth to learn the true wisdom that comes only by experiences, how do you think the Lord Jesus would feel toward them?

So if my knowledge of Christ and His attitude toward teenagers is correct, we have no cause to be concerned about those who perished with the ferry. The anguish and tragedy falls on those left behind. Yet they too will be joined with their "kids" one day if they behave themselves.

Things are so much simpler than the religions tell us.

I suppose for most of us, death is the worst thing that can happen to anybody. The patient may be on life-support for weeks Not too much of a problem. But when he dies! Ah, that is the ultimate disaster!

The truth is, death may be a welcome release from the life-support.

Such ignorance! Death is a problem for the truly wicked and for those who willfully and knowingly reject Christ when God presents Christ clearly to us. We cannot push away Him whom God has chosen to inherit all things!

People do that, you know, and the alternative to receiving and obeying Christ is Hell and the Lake of Fire. But I believe this to be the exception. I wish such people could shake hands with Satan himself, and then decide whether they wish to submit to Christ or live forever with the prince of wickedness and moral filth.

Being an older person, I am looking forward to dying, with the greatest joy, anticipation, and impatience. To think of leaving this cursed, evil world! I have been walking and talking with my Lord for many years now, and He and I live together just fine. This is because I do what He tells me to do, and His commandments always lead to righteousness, love, joy, and peace.

Do you have a better plan than that?

So the truly wicked and rebellious should be afraid of death. But the mass of mankind, including those you may be worrying about, will be happier after death than they were here in this valley of the shadow. Believe it. Christ has removed the sting from death.

And the dead are not far away. I think the Lord Jesus and His Kingdom are drawing nearer to the earth. He sure seems close to me, and some angels are also.

Don't picture your deceased loved ones as far away. They are all around you and waiting expectantly for you to come to where they are. The spirit world really is a wonderful place; not as good, however, as the world will be when the Lord comes with His saints.

Today is resurrection Sunday—Easter. As I pondered the agony of the parents in South Korea, as well as that of the family in our church who lost a son, I suddenly realized something while watching our Easter play portraying the resurrection of our Lord.

Easter should mean more to us than the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead after His crucifixion. It is telling us that physical death is not the end but the beginning of life—at least for those whose faith is anchored in the Lord Jesus.

And perhaps for others also who never heard of our Lord during their lifetime.

This idea that we will live again is without doubt the central idea of the Christian salvation. Not that we will live in Heaven, but that we will live again on the earth as a solid personality, having a body that can eat fish and whatever else tastes good.

I don't believe people who have lost a loved one through death care much about whether they see "him" or "her" again in the celestial realms. The point is to see again, and hear again, and embrace again, the one who is of such great concern to us.

We want to see that curly head, or that mischievous look, or that manly smile, or that boyish grin. We just want to see that person once more as he or she was. Forget the religious guesswork. Can you hear me?

Perhaps I am incorrect, but I do not believe any other religion has the hope of life after death that is as solid as that of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. What other religious leader conquered death?

I am not criticizing anyone's belief. I merely am pointing out that by going ahead of us, the young Jew opened the way for us to live again and, more importantly perhaps, for our loved ones to live again.

There is no other hope as important as that we will see him or her again, a baby perhaps, a school child, a husband, a wife, a grandparent. Will we see that individual again with all his or her personality traits? That is what we want to know. It is the most important question of all, unless we are taken up with some other less important interest, such as money or a talent of some kind.

The testimony of those who have had near-death experiences is that there are no old people in the spirit world. The old are young again. And why not? Growing older in outward appearance has to do with the physical body.

When we draw near to death, as I am, being almost 89 years of age, I am well aware of the importance of other people in my life. I do not really care about anything else, just the family and friends that have accompanied me on this wild ride we call "life."

I do not want those relationships to be severed, except for the few years that are necessary for us to fulfill God's will. I realize fully that relationships with God and people are all that matters. The rest are things and environment, and God can arrange those in a second or two.

Just what does John 3:16 mean anyway? "Shall not perish but have eternal life." I don't believe it means go to Heaven and not to Hell. It does not mention Heaven or Hell. It is speaking of eternal life, that is, a state of being regardless of the situation.

The term "perish" is significant, I believe. It is used in the Bible with reference to the body. I do not know if it is ever used concerning our spirit or soul. The Bible does say we can lose our soul by sinning. It says also we must purge the filthiness from our spirit.

But I think "perish" applies primarily to the body. It is the body that is resurrected into immortality, or ends up in a most undesirable and permanent state.

And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind. (Isaiah 66:24)

Perhaps this is what it means when it promises "shall not perish but have eternal life."

And as for "eternal life":

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

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 15:53,54)

So maybe John 3:16 is not speaking about Heaven at all but about the resurrection unto incorruptible bodily life of those who put to death the misdeeds of their body.

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

Wouldn't it be a surprise if we discovered our salvation has to do primarily with our body! We are so accustomed to thinking about salvation in "spirit" terms. We have made eternal residence in the spirit Heaven the goal of redemption. We do not seem to care too much about what happens to our body.

The truth probably is that we actually are more concerned with our body than we are with our spirit, in spite of all our religious talk.

It may be true that our religious beliefs are somewhat warped in this area.

You notice that Satan and his demons are attracted to the earth and the human body. They may be more aware of the value of the human body than we are, and are jealous because they do not have one.

Did you know your body is the temple of the Spirit of God?

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! (I Corinthians 6:15)

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. (I Corinthians 6:19,20)

We talk about our spirit going to Heaven. Sometimes the "rapturists" say we will just drop the body and rise (our spirit) to Heaven. The truth is, what we really care about is our body.

Think about it. Our physical body is a member of Christ. Our body is a temple of the Spirit of God. The Kingdom of God has to do with the things of Heaven entering that which is physical. When God saw what He had created He said it was very good. He has not changed His mind. He is going to resurrect what He made originally, but only in Christ.

For that matter, if we really are serving Christ, our spirit already is at the right hand of the Father in Christ.

But I am departing from my topic in this essay. I am trying to give hope to those who have been separated from their loved ones by death. Now I am getting into demands which our deceased loved one likely has never met, unless he or she is called to be one of God's elect, a member of the Royal Priesthood. I will explain what I mean in a minute.

This is a dilemma, isn't it? I have spent the last sixty years pondering this very issue. Why did the Apostle Paul set such a high standard for us ("I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live.") If this is what it takes to go to Heaven, there will be many unused spaces there because so few people among Christians meet Paul's standards, let alone those who never heard the Gospel.

And a Bride without spot, wrinkle, or blemish of any kind! Whoa!

Paul was seeking to attain to the resurrection from the dead, and urging us to do likewise. Yet he (Paul, can you imagine) said he had not attained his goal. So where does that leave us? Where does that leave the Sally or Armand that we are so concerned about, who were not intense Christians?

The conclusion I have come to, and believe me I have Scriptural support or I would not mention it, is that saved people, by "saved" I mean eligible to be permitted to be a citizen of the new world of righteousness, are in two distinct categories.

First, there is the Royal Priesthood, or true Israel, the Seed of Abraham.

Second, there is the multitude of people drawn from the nations who are the inheritance of Christ and the Priesthood.

Paul devoted much of his writing to the elect, that is, to those whom God has called to be members of the Royal Priesthood.

But the great multitude of people who also are saved to eternal life in their body are not required to meet the demands made of the Israel of God. All that is required of them is that when God confronts them with the Lord Jesus they receive and obey Him.

Let me compare two passages so you will see what I mean when I maintain that the New Testament, when it speaks of salvation, is addressing two classes of people.

First, those who are not of the Royal Priesthood but who will populate the new world of righteousness:

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16)

That's all. Just believe and be baptized. And I think this will apply to those who have lived and died and through no fault of their own have never heard the Gospel. While deceased and in the spirit world, if they are confronted with Christ, and believe in Him and obey Him, they will be saved.

Everyone who is saved to eternal life has to do what Christ says, whether they are a member of the elect or just citizens of the new world of righteousness. Absolute obedience to Christ is required of every saved person.

I understand only too well that many Bible teachers will disagree with my position, stating that if an individual does not "accept Christ" while living on the earth he or she cannot be saved.

Imagine a little girl who has died from malnutrition in some foreign land who never has heard the Gospel. She stands before Jesus. Jesus says, "Little girl, you never have accepted me. Therefore you must go to Hell."

Little Maria says, "Jesus, I never heard of you, how could I accept you?"

The Lord Jesus says, "Maria has never accepted me. Away with her into the fire."

The holy angels thunder, "Just and true are your judgments, O mighty God."

Little Maria screams in terror, seeing the demons waiting to receive her.

Her sin was, she never had heard the Gospel.

This is what I was taught in Bible school as the reason for launching out into missionary work.

This is so unjust I really doubt the clarity of mind of those who take such a position.

Not too long ago a teacher in a Christian school advised one of the students that a stillborn sibling of his was not saved because the baby had not accepted Christ.

You can see from the above why I do not have a great deal of faith in current teaching.

The second class of saved people are those who are called to the Royal Priesthood.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1,2)

The New Testament contains numerous exhortations directed toward the people who have been called to be members of the Royal Priesthood. They are not just required to believe in Jesus Christ; rather they are to offer their bodies as living sacrifices that they might prove the will of God for themselves.

They absolutely must decide to set aside their own lives that Jesus Christ might live in them, in their thinking, speaking, and behaving. Anything less than this is not acceptable for a member of the Royal Priesthood. These are God's kings who will govern the works of His hands for a thousand years.

Can you see how the requirement for being a member of the Royal Priesthood is different from the demands imposed on the multitude of people of the saved nations who are required only to believe in Christ and be baptized in water?

Recently a young man of our congregation sought to enter the Special Forces of the United States Navy. He was one of the 39 applicants who passed the tests. The remainder of the 200 who applied were kept in the Navy but were not allowed to continue in the training that the members of the Special Forces were required to undergo.

Perhaps it is this way with God's Israel. If you do not pass the rigorous tests administered to those who are called to the Royal Priesthood, you will be returned to the ranks of the saved. I venture this with caution, because to those to whom much has been entrusted, much shall be required.

There is a problem with this solution. The aspiring member of the Special Forces was not chosen for that position. He or she was only a candidate who had to pass certain tests.

In the case of the Royal Priesthood, the believer is not a candidate. His or her calling is to be a member of the Body of Christ, a governing priest whose ordained destiny is to bring the Presence of God to people.

He is not a candidate for this role. He has been chosen from the beginning of the world by the Lord for the role of ruling priest.

If he chooses instead to lead a secular life, or to remain a nominal Christian, he or she may not be permitted to then return to the ranks of the saved people of the nations. The individual may be barred from the Kingdom of God.

I am thinking now of the person who did not use the talent he was given. He had been chosen to be a ruler, if you will notice. Christ did not say, "You have lost your inheritance as a ruler but you will be received into the new world of righteousness."

Rather, Jesus referred to him as a wicked, lazy servant and sent him into the outer darkness.

In the light of this parable, I am not able to say with confidence that if a member of God's elect chooses not to live as a holy one, a saint, he or she may be released to join the ranks of the saved people of the nations.

Also, think about the destiny of the five foolish virgins. They were not careful to maintain the Presence of the Spirit of God in their life.

As I stated previously, to whom much has been given, of that individual much shall be required.

Now, why all this discussion about the two classes of the saved, the members of the Royal Priesthood (whom we might compare with King David's "mighty men,") and the multitude of the saved, who are the inheritance of Christ and His "mighty men."

Our purpose in this essay is to give hope to those who fear death or who have lost a loved one, not to discuss the two classes of the saved. But someone reading Paul's exhortations to the saints might conclude there is no way their loved one can be saved because he did not meet these conditions. But it simply is not that hard for someone who is not a member of God's Israel, that is, of those chosen to represent God.

There will be a great multitude of decent folks who will be brought into the new world of righteousness as the inheritance of the elect. Christ has promised to "divide the spoil with the strong."

The "spoil" are the people who were not wicked or malicious. Neither were they called to be members of the priesthood. The "strong" are those believers who, through Christ, have continued to do His will no matter what came against them. These victorious saints will inherit the "spoil."

I have learned from experience that the only inheritance of true and lasting value is people. Perhaps that has not been shown to you as yet.

Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:12)

Your loved ones might be in this group, who are the inheritance of Christ and His co-heirs. In this instance they will be helped to gain righteousness, love, peace, and joy by those who have inherited them.

It is the aggregate of the Spirit-filled bodies of the Royal Priesthood that is the new Jerusalem. The description of the new world of righteousness, found in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation, is portraying a genuine city, I believe.

But there is no doubt that much of the description is symbolic, telling us of the Presence of God that the members of the Royal Priesthood will bring to saved mankind.

The members of the Royal Priesthood are the Tabernacle of God that will reveal God to the saved people of the nations.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God." (Revelation 21:3)

Please stop for a minute and consider the verse above.

What is "God's dwelling place"?

The reference is to the new Jerusalem.

Consider:

In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:21,22)

Christians who are living a victorious life in Christ are the "dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit." They are the new Jerusalem that will come down from Heaven through the new sky to be installed for eternity on the new earth.

The victorious saints are now "among the people." What people? The people of the nations who have believed in Christ and have obeyed Him.

You also can see the two classes of saved people in the following passages:

Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on the hip. (Isaiah 60:4)

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

When the Glory of God falls on those who are one with God through Christ, the world will believe, as Jesus said. And so people worldwide will be drawn to God's manifest Presence. All of these people are saved to the new world of righteousness, in that they have chosen to come to Christ as He has been revealed in His saints.

There are other passages in the Bible emphasizing that Israel has been separated from the other nations of the earth in order to be a holy priesthood. The commission is fulfilled in Jesus Christ and those who are an integral part of Him.

You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites. (Exodus 19:6)

And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. (Isaiah 61:6)

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (I Peter 2:9)

Think about the next verse:

The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. (Matthew 25:40)

When Christ returns, He will sit on His Throne and the nations of the earth will be gathered before Him.

Then He will judge the people of the nations on the basis of how they treated His brothers and sisters. Those who helped the brothers and sisters of Christ, His disciples, will inherit the Kingdom of God and eternal life.

I think it is clear that the "sheep" who inherited the Kingdom of God and eternal life were not the brothers and sisters of Christ; they were not members of the Israel of God; but they were saved and inherited eternal life and the Kingdom of God.

Those who did not help the brothers and sisters of Christ were sent into the Lake of Fire to be with Satan and his angels.

As far as I can tell, there are three great ages to consider.

The first age is the Age of the Church, which began with Abraham and Sarah and continues to the present day. The purpose of the Age of the Church is to call out from the people of the nations those whom God has chosen to be members of the Royal Priesthood, the Israel of God.

Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God. (Galatians 6:16)

The second age will be the Age of the Kingdom. The Age of the Kingdom will begin when the Lord Jesus returns and will continue until the final resurrection of the dead. The purpose of the Age of the Kingdom is to prepare the members of the Royal Priesthood for their eternal reign, and the saved of the nations of the earth for the rule of God and His Christ.

The third age will be the Age of Paradise. It is the time of righteousness, love, peace, and joy for God and His creatures. This world of love and joy will increase forever. It began in the garden in Eden, and then was cut off because of rebellion, as God knew it would be. It will resume as soon as God has His Kingdom fully established and Jesus Christ is Lord of all.

Please consider this fact for a moment. We now are in the Church Age. This means that the people to whom the Spirit of God has made Jesus real must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Jesus.

As it is now, probably most American Christians picture their destiny as going to Heaven when they die and lounging in their mansion. Therefore the concept of setting aside their own life that Christ might live in them is not going to receive serious attention. They have been "saved by grace." Therefore, whether they deny themselves and bear their cross after Jesus, is not really an issue.

This concept, that they are on their way to Heaven by "grace," accounts for the spiritual immaturity of most American Christians. Since Christians are supposed to be the moral light of the world, our nation is on the slippery slope of sexual immorality and dishonesty. Also, God and His Christ are being rejected. The result will be a greatly weakened country.

But there is an even greater problem than this.

The inheritance of the Christian saint is the saved people of the nations. As Christ dwells in God, and we dwell in Christ, so it is true that an inheritance of people will be given to us who will become an essential and eternal part of us. These people are the most valuable of all possible inheritances, barring our inheriting of Christ and God.

Now consider: if our destiny were to be that of reclining on a sofa in a mansion, we would have no inheritance.

As a pastor, I sometimes have asked the Lord about people who are not serious enough about their involvement in our church. Their attendance is sporadic. On several occasions the Lord has said to me, "They are going to lose their inheritance."

The extent of our inheritance depends on our diligence in following Christ. It is not so much by "grace" or by faith but by obedience to Jesus—how diligently and consistently we keep pressing into Him. I cannot emphasize this too strongly.

There is a reward for serving the Lord!

Some reap Christ one hundredfold. Some sixtyfold. Some thirtyfold. How much of Christ we reap depends on how faithful we are in following the Lord—in pursuing the life of victory.

Honestly, it appears to me that hundredfold Christians are few and far between. Most are waiting to die and go to their mansion. The truth is, God has no intention of appointing some to an eternal destiny of resting in their mansion. God insists on a return on His investment, and that return is righteousness, love, joy, and peace in the Spirit of God—the image of Christ, in other words.

God is not satisfied with the fruit being borne today, and so we are facing grievous calamities that are designed to turn us to Christ.

It is God's will that every person who is to be saved to the new world of righteousness reveal in himself or herself the image of the Lord Jesus. The role of the Royal Priesthood is to take charge of the people given to them and help those people attain to the image and role God has appointed to them.

So, as in the case of the Special Forces, the requirements God makes of those who are to inherit people is severe and prolonged. The requirements draw us to the edge of our ability to keep on with the Lord. Yet we must remain trusting and absolutely obedient to Christ. Christ will help us do this.

I am not certain of the destiny of those who almost succeed and then draw back, except that God takes no pleasure in them.

"But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back." But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. (Hebrews 10:38.39)

Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud." (II Peter 2:22)

Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. (Hebrews 6:7,8)

If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (John 15:6)

I guess we must conclude that the elect, whom God is calling out from the people of the nations, are faced with a great challenge. The overcomers shall inherit all things. But those whom God has called to the Royal Priesthood must set their own lives aside and follow the Lord Jesus with all their might. To not do so is to suffer incalculable loss!

As for those who draw back from their election, not only will they lose their inheritance of people, but they may be sent into the outer darkness.

We know that God is loving and patient beyond comprehension. But He has created many people. He will not permit self-willed people to spoil the Paradise He is creating for His obedient children.

Because people do not die, the population of the new earth will continue to increase. People will begin to migrate to the stars. It will require just a short period of time to travel from the new earth to a star. The stars will be lighted by the Glory of Christ, as in the first three days of the creation of the present earth.

The stars will be different colors, chosen by the first people to migrate to that star. Thus the Kingdom of God will continue to increase for eternity.

The role of those who have been called and trained to be the rulers of the Kingdom is to insure that Paradise never again is lost to Mankind.

The first law of the Kingdom of God is strict obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. Anyone who will not obey Christ after God's endless dealings with him or her, will reside for eternity in the Lake of Fire.

This is why God warned in the following terms:

And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind. (Isaiah 66:24)

The key thought is, "those who rebelled against me." Most people who have been born into the world have never heard of Christ or the Bible. So their concern will be receiving and obeying Christ after they die, just as was true of those who died in the days of Noah.

I understand the teaching of some ministers today is that if a person has never heard of Christ, he or she will be sent to Hell for not accepting Christ. You know, I do not have the time to argue against such illogic and unrighteous reasoning. I think it is stupid, to tell you the truth.

If our Harry or Elizabeth, that we miss so terribly, terribly much, has been a decent person, has not knowingly or willfully told Christ to "get out of my life" and continued to serve Satan, if he or she has not rejected Christ in this willful manner there is no real danger here.

In order to be preserved among the multitudes in Heaven we just have to have been a reasonably decent person and receive and obey Christ when He is presented to us. It is not that hard to live peacefully in Heaven under the supervision of God's priesthood.

I am sure if the person you are concerned about was a reasonably decent person and did not refuse Christ when Christ was presented to him or her by the Father, there is no cause for worry. And I know from experience that even if an individual does follow his or her fleshly appetites, God has ways of softening the heart and turning the person to Himself.

I am not an easy preacher. By today's standards I am way too hard. But I am here to tell you that God does not enjoy cutting off a person from Himself for eternity.

That can happen, but I do not believe it is very common. Ordinarily when an individual wants nothing to do with Jesus it is because some incident in his or her life has caused a heart-sickness that is not easily healed. But if God sees that what we have here is basically a good person, God will work endlessly to bring that person around to serving the Lord Jesus.

I do not teach "second chance," in which a person flatly turns away from Jesus and then dies and receives Christ. What I am saying is God does what He can to save people, although He is not always successful.

I would suspect that the loved one of yours who has died is not one of those who never will obey Christ no matter what God does. So unless you know the individual is so hard of heart, so bent on sin and self-will, that any kind of turning to Christ is not conceivable, unless that is true I think you are pretty safe in picturing him or her among the multitudes of Heaven who are awaiting the coming of the Kingdom of God to the present earth, or to the new earth.

The reason I have made a distinction between God's heroes of faith and the multitudes who have not been called to such extreme efforts is that the majority of people born on the earth shall, after much training, be permitted to live in peace on the new earth.

It just is not that hard to please God, unless, as I said, you have been called to be part of the elect who are called, chosen, and faithful. Then the requirements are like those of the Navy Special Forces, so to speak.

Your deceased love one is in Paradise right now, waiting to be reunited with you—or may still be in a training institution in the spirit world, being taught the ways of Heaven.

I am not saying or implying that everyone eventually will be reconciled to God. There are people, as Peter wrote, who are as unreasoning animals and will perish.

But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish. (II Peter 2:12)

The Bible is clear enough that not everyone will be saved. But neither is it true that most people will end up in Hell or the Lake of Fire because they did not fit the mold of some religious order.

God did not create the multitudes of mankind for the purpose of sending them to the Lake of Fire to be with Satan, but to love and cherish them as His children. "God so loved the world"!

Yes, you most certainly will be reunited with those loved ones who have gone on ahead of you. They are there waiting for your arrival. And what a day of rejoicing that will be!

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. (Revelation 21:23,24)

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The Three Ages

2014-09-07

The Age of the Church

The Firstfruits of the Church Age

The Age of the Kingdom

The Age of Paradise

The Age of the Church

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)

The purpose of the Church Age is to select and train the elect, the members of the Royal Priesthood, the saints (holy ones).

The term "church" means "called out from." The Church began when Abraham and Sarah were called out from Ur of the Chaldees.

The Church continued with Jacob, named "Israel" because he struggled with God.

Then the Lord Jesus appeared, the true Seed of Abraham. Jesus is the King of the Kingdom of God. He died on the cross as an atonement for our sins. God has multiplied Christ's body and blood so that the saints (holy ones) whom God has called out from the world might be born of the Substance of Christ.

These are the members of the Royal Priesthood, the saints, the holy ones who shall govern the works of God's hands for eternity.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (I Peter 2:9)

Those who have been called to be saints must arm themselves with a mind to suffer.

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. (I Peter 4:1,2)

In the Book of Second Corinthians, the Apostle Paul gives us some idea of his sufferings. If we are to make a success of becoming a member of the Church, we must enter the fellowship of Christ's sufferings.

These sufferings have as their purpose the subduing of our old, adamic nature that Christ might occupy the principal part of our life. We must assign all of our thinking, our speaking, and acting to Christ. As Paul said, it must be Christ who is living in us.

Since the program of making us a member of the Body of the Anointed One is so severe, we may be tempted to draw back. Remember, it will never be so severe that God cannot help us through our trials. We just have to set ourselves to endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ.

"But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back." But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. (Hebrews 10:38,39)

Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud." (II Peter 2:22)

Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. (Hebrews 6:7,8)

If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (John 15:6)

God chastens every son He receives.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 12:11)

I believe God has appointed some to be filled with Christ to the hundredfold level. These are the saints who will rule with Christ throughout the Kingdom Age. Their chastenings will be proportional to the high level of their role in the Kingdom of God.

These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless. (Revelation 14:4,5)

Did you notice that these Christians are a "firstfruits to God and the Lamb"? This reveals to us the extent to which Jesus and God are involved in the Christian salvation. The passage above shows us clearly that there is more to the Christian salvation than just being forgiven!

To be defiled with women is not speaking of marriage, which is holy. Rather, the reference is to "romance," that is, to idolizing one or more members of the opposite sex. The defilement includes being "married" to a talent, an occupation, money, or some other thing or situation. Only Christ is to be adored by God's Firstfruits.

Some members of the Royal Priesthood will be filled with Christ to the sixtyfold level. Their trials will not be as intense as those of the hundredfold calling. They will remain in the heavenly Jerusalem during the Kingdom Age. They will have to be taught and dealt with until they are sufficiently mature to be joined with the hundredfold, and then descend with the hundredfold to be installed on the new earth as the new Jerusalem.

It is possible that the thirtyfold are the people saved from the nations. Notice that they inherit eternal life and the Kingdom of God, should Jesus, when He appears, find that they have ministered to His brothers and sisters, that is, to the members of the Church.

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)

Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. (Matthew 25:46)

The "sheep" of the nations, the "thirtyfold," are not of the Church. Rather they are the inheritance of the Church. They are the "spoil" gained by the Victor, the Lord Jesus Christ. We are co-heirs with Him.

Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:12)

"He will divide the spoils with the strong."

Ever since Christ died on the cross, people have gained forgiveness through their faith in the blood atonement. I think forgiveness through the blood has been accurately, faithfully, and widely preached throughout the Church Age.

It is apparent, however, that the fullness of redemption, the bringing forth of victorious saints who are given over wholly to the Lord Jesus, has not been preached as widely. An observation of any Christian church probably will show that there are only a few who have set aside their own life that Christ may live in them. Yet, this is the calling of the members of the Body of Christ, of the Royal Priesthood.

It reminds us of the Scripture, "Many are called but few chosen."

At one time the Lord preached to a multitude of Jewish people. When He spoke about the role of His body and blood in the program of redemption, they all left except twelve disciples.

Then Jesus declared that He had chosen the twelve, and one of them was a devil.

Now, on what basis did Christ make these statements? He heard them from the Father while He was praying at night. God directs everything that takes place in His Kingdom. That fact does not seem to be as widely known as one could wish.

"Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world." We must fully grasp this fact if we are to enter the rest of God.

It is one matter to be forgiven through the blood atonement, and whosoever will choose to do so may have his or her sins forgiven. Christ will not turn anyone away unless that individual persistently and willfully disobeys Christ.

But those whom God calls to receive the forgiveness of their sins must press into Christ after that and gain victory over their sin and self-will, if they hope to pass into the ranks of the chosen. Then they must be proven faithful unto death if they would ride with Christ in the war against evil.

They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over 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)

So we understand that the traditional understanding that God and Christ are not in control of salvation, and it has been left up to us to build the Kingdom of God, is not scriptural. It is not a case of the Gospel being preached, and then whoever chooses to believe will go to our idea of Heaven and live in a mansion for eternity, doing nothing of significance.

Those who never have "accepted Christ," even if they never have heard of Christ, will be assigned to Hell and then to the Lake of Fire. Such is the contemporary thinking.

The truth is, God and Christ are in complete control of the world, of mankind, and of the animals down to the smallest sparrow.

Did you know that Christ said, "I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given me"? What does that tell us?

During the first of the three ages, The Age of the Church, specific people are presented to Jesus Christ by the Father.

All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. (John 6:37)

For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. (John 17:2)

The Christian Church is the "Royal Priesthood," the Body of Christ, the saints, the disciples of the Lord Jesus, the new Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb, the brothers and sisters of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Israel of God. The Church has been designed and crafted with utmost Divine wisdom. The members have been designated from the beginning of the world.

That the Christian Church is the Israel of God does not mean it is replacing physical Israel. Physical Israel was the original Christian Church. The Israel of God includes those of physical Israel who are called, and those Gentiles who are called.

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

While I was in Bible school I began to wonder if God knew what He was doing. I was gaining the idea that it was up to me to go out and save souls. I felt guilty eating my lunch, because during that time people were being cast into Hell because I did not tell them about Jesus.

Well, either the Apostle Paul and Christ are correct that God calls certain people to Jesus, or else the Bible school was correct.

I know it says that whoever wishes to can come to Christ. That is true. I tell people not to worry about being predestined. If you want to come to Christ, then come with all confidence. He will not drive you away. Who knows what God will do for someone who seeks Christ ardently!

Well, the plan is to call out and bring to maturity a Royal Priesthood. Then there will be a thousand years during which the members of t