Pastor's Page - Archive
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.
Devouring the Male Son
There is no question in my mind but that the bringing forth of the Male Son, of Revelation, Chapter Twelve, is one of the central ideas at this time concerning the Kingdom of God. The Male Son is Christ formed in the saints. The Son is not Jesus Himself. The Son is not the saint. The Son is a new creation resulting from the interaction of Christ and the soul of the believer. I am capitalizing "Son" because of the predominance of Christ. The new creation, although a transcendent human, is born of God.
The order of the Kingdom of God is as follows: First, is God the Father; Second, is the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, whom the Father has made God and to whom God has given all authority in Heaven and upon the earth.
Third, is the Male Son. These are a firstfruits to God and the Lamb, and they shall govern the nations with the rod of iron.
After the members of the Male Son are the remainder of the members of the royal priesthood. These did not attain to participation in the Male Son, but are of God’s elect and part of the new Jerusalem. They shall serve God and the nations as royal priests.
Finally, the great bulk of mankind. These are the inheritance of Christ and His coheirs. The fundamental meaning of "being saved" is to be part of the inheritance of Christ and His coheirs. To be "lost" is to not be permitted to enter the new world of righteousness.
The Kingdom of God is a genuine Kingdom that shall govern all the works of God’s hands. The structure of rulership is as I have just described, according to my understanding at this time.
Our emphasis this Sunday morning is on the term "devour." Please notice in Revelation 12:4 that Satan "stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born."
The Greek term for "devour" means "to eat." Satan is not seeking to kill the Male Son but to "eat" Him.
Satan is not as concerned about the "woman," the Church, as he is about what the Church has the potential to bring forth.
In our day both the wheat and the tares are coming to maturity. This means that Christ is to come to maturity in the sons of the Kingdom, and Satan is to come to maturity in the sons of the evil one.
It appears, that in America at least, we are going to witness abominations of an increasingly evil nature. Things are said and done that even a few years ago would have scandalized the American people. But today they are commented on and fretted about, but it seems not a great deal can be done about them. The moral slide is steep and growing steeper every day. One wonders what it will be like twenty-five years from now, given the increasing moral filth of the previous twenty-five years.
But we Christians are not to react and pay attention to Satan. We are to look steadfastly at the Lord Jesus. He has new and surprising things for us today. He is bringing us through many fires and waters so the Male Son may come to birth in us. We are in a fight to bring forth the new creation, no doubt whatever about that!
Satan is seeking to "devour" that which the Holy Spirit is forming in us. Satan nibbles, nibbles, nibbles, at our new Divine nature. What are the nibblers? The pursuit of more money than we need. Improved electronics. Drugs. Alcohol. Pornography. Sexual lusts of all sorts. Unforgiveness. Envy. Bitterness. Rage. Covetousness. Personal ambition. The seeking of preeminence. All of these nibble, nibble, nibble, at what is being formed in us.
As the Holy Spirit points out these nibblers to us we are to pray fervently that they may be driven from us. We pray, pray, pray, until the new creation in us is caught up to God and to God’s Throne.
One of the believers had a visitation in which she was informed that the great cloud of witnesses, of the Book of Hebrews, are being strengthened as we continue to press the battle. I never heard of this before, but the Bible does say that they without us cannot be made perfect.
There is no doubt that those who manage to overcome all opposition until their new nature is solidly established in God and in His Throne are a firstfruits to God of the earth. "These are those who did not defile themselves with women (idols of all sorts), for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb."
We may notice in the third chapter of the Book of Philippians the extreme statements of the Apostle Paul as he strove to attain to the resurrection that is out from among the dead. Not all are of the same rank in the Kingdom of God. There are the greatest, and there are the least.
Our day is one of the most marvelous opportunity to attain to God’s best, and the most dreadful danger that someone may steal our crown of authority. Let’s you and me turn away from the multitude of worthless, and sometimes destructive, distractions found in the American culture, and make the seeking of Christ the first priority of our life.
The Heart of the Bride of the Lamb
There are any number of current doctrines that divide the Church into two or more groups. Some hold that the sons of God are different from the Church; or the brothers of Christ are different from the sons of God; or Christ has a Jewish bride and a Gentile bride; or the sons of God are different from the bride because the sons are male and the bride is female.
The truth is, there is only one Church, one Bride of the Lamb, one Olive Tree, one elect of God, one Kingdom of God, one Seed of Abraham, one new Man. Any other point of view brings confusion.
First I want to establish that while there are members of the Church who have a higher rank than others in the Kingdom, there is only one Church. In its glorified form it is the new Jerusalem, the holy city. All of God’s elect, whether Jewish or Gentile by physical birth, are part of the new Jerusalem, of the governing priesthood.
Having settled this as an eternal fact, we can speak about the heart of the Bride of the Lamb.
In Ephesians 5:27 we see that the Church is to be without blemish. Yet, each of the seven churches of the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation is blemished.
In Revelation 19:7,8 we read about the Bride of the Lamb who has made herself ready. After a thousand years passes, we read, in Revelation, Chapters Twenty-one and Twenty-two of the Bride of the Lamb who has not made herself ready but has been made ready by others.
It would seem at first that there are two different brides. But there are not. The Bride of Revelation 19:7,8 is a firstfruits of the entire Bride, not another Bride.
So we see that there is a Church within the Church, but only one Church in the end. the new Jerusalem.
And let me say right now that when Christ appears, the entire Church, all the believers in Christ will not be resurrected and then ascend to meet the Lord in the air. Most Christians are not nearly ready to descend with Christ and establish the Kingdom of God on the earth by violence. Only a small part of the entire Church will be ready for resurrection when Christ next comes. The majority will be raised later, after the thousand years Kingdom Age has been completed, according to my understanding at this time.
For six thousand years God has permitted mankind to follow its own will. As we can see, the result has been unbelievable chaos, insanity, injustice, torment, frustration, remorse, untimely death, which continue to the present hour.
All this will change with the return of Jesus. He along with the members of His army will enforce God’s will in the earth with the rod of iron that has been formed in their personalities. No person from then on, for eternity, will be able to decide the course of his or her life, to exercise his or her self-will. God’s will shall be enforced throughout the earth.
The will of people to resist God will be crushed, broken to pieces, as the Scripture declares. God’s will shall be done in the earth in everyone’s life, whether or not he agrees with it.
The result of the enforcement of God’s will shall be that people love God with all their heart and their neighbor as themselves. Love, joy, and peace, instead of hatred, murder, misery, and torment will prevail everywhere when God’s will is done.
The Old Testament, particularly the Psalms, tells of the time when God comes to judge the earth. Satan has caused the Christian people to believe that God’s solution to the sin of man is to carry people to Heaven. This is not what the Scriptures teach. The Scriptures teach that God is going to come and establish His Kingdom, His way, on the earth.
And this precisely is why the entire group of believers is not going to be resurrected, ascend to meet Christ, and then descend on the white war stallions. The church people, the Christian believers, are not competent to govern the nations. They are self-willed, rebellious, disobedient, casual, lukewarm individuals, for the most part. Any observant pastor can tell you that.
How then can such an undisciplined mob of church members rule over the nations of the earth. This concept is ridiculous!
Let us speak of reality. Christ always has a remnant of believers in the earth, found in the many churches, who really have denied themselves; who really have taken up their cross; who really are following Christ at all times. For them to live is Christ. To die is gain, because they have put their treasures in Heaven.
They, and only they, are the ones who will be raised from the dead, ascend, and then descend with the Lord to establish God’s way on the earth. This is sensible and scriptural. This actually is going to take place.
I cannot tell you how soon the Lord will return. It may be a hundred or more years from now. In the meanwhile Christ is looking for soldiers for His army. They must be obedient to death. They must suffer hardship without complaining. They absolutely must count all as loss in order to increase their knowledge of Christ.
This is the New Testament standard. God does not lie. It is he or she who overcomes the obstacles and enemies of this world who will inherit the "all things" of God.
I know Satan is telling God’s people this is not so. You will not surely be denied the blessings of the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation even though you do not lead a cross-carrying life."
But I tell you, and warn you, in the name of the Lord Jesus, that every word of the New Testament shall come to pass as written. Only those who have been fervent disciples of Christ will be raised when Christ appears, then ascend, and then descend to work with Him in establishing God’s Kingdom on the earth.
You indeed can meet the standard Paul outlined in the third chapter of the Book of Philippians. But you will have to be far more fervent, far more diligent, than is true of most American believers of today.
It is only such believers who are the heart of the Bride of the Lamb. And they shall dance with Him in the heights of Zion when the world is in flames.
God loves the remainder of His elect, and they shall experience love, joy, and peace for eternity. But it is the heart of the Bride, the warriors of the cross, who will bring into being and maintain that new world of love, joy, and peace, just as King David and his warriors made possible the prosperity of the reign of Solomon.
At night the subject was the importance of living the victorious life in Christ, and what it means "to overcome."
The Birth of the Male Son
Yesterday was a powerful day in the Lord. Heidi Baker, of Mozambique, Africa, prophesied that the Western Bride is ready to bring forth Christ in the saints, that is, the Male Son, of the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation. The Male Son, the future ruler of the nations of the earth, consists of the saints who have been made new creations in Christ. They live by His Life.
The Male Son has been an interest of mine for many years, and I wrote a book by that title. It can be found in the Library, on the WOR site.
I have taught previously that the Male Son is our Lord Jesus Christ. And so He is, in one sense, but not in another, more scriptural, sense.
First, we understand that the woman clothed with the sun is not the virgin Mary. Mary, with all due respect, is not clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet.
But there is one who does fit this description, and it is the Christian Church. She is the heir of all of the works of God’s hands.
Since the woman, of the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation, is the Church, what is she going to bring forth.
First, she is not going to bring forth the Lord Jesus. From time immemorial Jesus has been with God and today is at God’s right hand.
If it is not Jesus who is to be brought forth, then who is it?
The Male Son is Christ formed in the saints.
Now, give this your careful thought. If the Male Son is Christ formed in the saints, then it is a new creation, a creation that never has been in existence before.
Paul told us that if any person is in Christ there is a new creation. The old has passed away. The new has come.
Fine. But precisely who is this new creation?
It certainly is not one of us, because we have been in existence prior to this time.
It certainly is not Jesus, because He has been in existence prior to this time.
Then who is it?
Paul told us he was not living, but Christ was living in him.
Now think. Is that individual still Paul? Assuredly, yes.
Is that individual Christ? Assuredly, yes.
Is that individual the Lord Jesus Christ? Assuredly, no.
He is a new creation. He has never been before. He is Paul. He is Christ.
What is his name? Not Paul, not Christ, not Paul-Christ, but a new name that God shall give him.
What shall we call these new creations? Saints? Believers? Transformed individuals?
Each one is a male son who is part of The Male Son, the ruler of the nations with a rod of iron.
Let’s bring this marvelous vision down to right now. What does this mean to you and me right this minute. It means that the most important aspect of our life is the bringing forth of Christ. This means the old adamic nature dies. In its place is a transcendent, much improved, humanity. The new man is an eternal creature. He originally was human, and now is becoming a Divine human, we might say.
We really are becoming the brothers of the Lord Jesus, in every aspect of the term, being begotten of the same Father.
The United States of America, as is true also of the other Western democracies, is being filled with moral corruption. It seems hardly a week goes by that some new abomination is not presented to us. Satan is coming to maturity in the sons of the evil one.
Christ is not bothered by this. He wants His way made straight. It is His intention that He come to maturity in the sons of the Kingdom.
All we have experienced previously in our Christian life in the churches has been preparatory for God’s climactic work, the accomplishing of the mystery of the Gospel, which is Christ in us. God shall confront Satan through His Church. Christ shall confront Antichrist through His Church. The Holy Spirit shall confront the False Prophet through the Church of God.
We humans are but dust. Satan is not afraid of any church activity no matter how expensive. Satan fears the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The conclusion we draw from the above fact is that our emphasis is to be on following Christ so closely that He is being formed in us at all times.
For so long the emphasis of Christian teaching has been on how God is saving us. This no longer is to be the case. The emphasis now must be placed on how Christ is coming forth in us. The installation of the Kingdom of God in Heaven and upon the earth can be performed only as the Father works through the Son through us.
Our part is to wait on the Lord and to diligently obey Him, because He has new and surprising things prepared for those who will listen to Him and obey Him.
Let us not limit the Holy One of Israel. The nations of the earth and all their clamor are but a drop in the bucket to Him. He is seeking those who will look up to Him in total confidence, knowing that He remains in control of this world. Christ sits as King of the flood.
Ours is a marvelous day. It is time for Zion to travail and bring forth her children. Those of us who have received Christ and have experienced the Life of the Spirit of God are qualified to participate in this, the greatest of all of God’s works.
Am I ready to forget about all that is behind and to press forward to the fullness of resurrection life?
Walking With God
The difference between religion and eternal life is that religion usually does not look to the Lord for direction and fellowship. Religion is presented in the Book of Revelation as "Babylon the Great." Eternal life, on the other hand, lives and behaves in close interaction with the living Lord Jesus. It walks with Him and talks with Him, like Enoch. Religion stresses its "Statement of Faith" and its practices. Eternal life emphasizes walking with Jesus.
The utter simplicity of what God expects of us has dawned on me. Our Creator, our Father, asks only that we behave righteously, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him.
The simplicity of this astounds me. I have been a fervent Christians for 61 years. Like all of us, I have been confronted with numerous problems, temptations, complexities. There is this and there is that! So many voices in the world.
But I have kept plugging along, repenting and making restitution when I have been deceived. At the present time I am in a broad place with the Lord, enjoying His Presence.
I have noticed several times how religions of various sorts, including the Christian religion, talk about God but do not listen to Him. We have our sermons, our responsive readings, our hymns, our choir selections, our special music, our giving, our building. But we tend to ask God to bless our efforts rather than to ask Him what He wants. Perhaps we don't believe He will talk to us or make His desires known.
As far as I can tell, the Christian religion began when Peter exclaimed, "Let us build three tabernacles." The Bible says he did not know what he was saying. So it is true that religion in numerous instances does not know what it is doing or saying.
In ancient times people said, "Let us build a tower to heaven." "Let us build three tabernacles." How much better it would be to say, "Should we build a tower to heaven?"; "Should we build three tabernacles?"
Notice in the account of the transfiguration that Christ did not answer Peter. This is because the Lord does not intrude on our plans. He waits patiently until we come to an end of our own works—if we ever do!
It is so simple! It is so utterly simple to walk with God!
Religion cries out: "Work, work, build, build, build, give, give, give. The King's business requires haste. Souls are sliding into Hell. We must rush to the aid of a lost and dying world!"
Jesus says, "Follow Me, and I will make you a fisher of men." Not "Go fish!" "Follow Me. My yoke is easy. My burden is light."
A teacher in Bible school told us this means Christ's burden is light, as opposed to darkness. It means light as opposed to heavy.
How many passages of the Scriptures does religion twist to its own ambitions. "The wages of sin is death," we preach, meaning that the unsaved will die unless they "accept Christ." The context of the statement means that if believers who are baptized in water continue to be the slaves of sin they will die spiritually. "God gave us His Son so we will go to Heaven and not Hell," we announce. But the Bible proclaims that God gave us His Son so we will not perish but have eternal life. Not the same thing at all!
There are numerous religions in the world today. The two that seem to be in the most direct confrontation are the Muslim and the Christian. Both look to their written sources for direction. Neither one to any observable extent claims to hear from the Lord.
Jesus Christ wants us to practice His Presence at all times. "He walks with me and He talks with me," the old hymn says. This is what Christ wants.
Do you have a particular problem right now? Are you worrying about it? Are you endeavoring to solve it by you own wisdom and strength?
Why don't you, instead, go to prayer and pray until you know the Lord has heard you. I think it is First John that says if we know He hears us we know we have the petition.
Do you know how to wait in prayer until you have the assurance that Christ has heard you? If not, you have a great adventure and joy ahead of you. You can pray until you strike fire. Then you can't pray anymore. All you can do is praise God.
I know we say we go by faith and not feeling. This is an ignorant statement. The opposite of faith is unbelief, not feeling. If you have no feeling that accompanies your walk with the Lord, it is time to get busy and pray for a personal encounter with Christ.
David prayed that God would not take the joy of his salvation from him, and David was not born again. God will give you love, joy, and peace if you will keep following Christ.
You can know that Christ is with you. If you will acknowledge Christ in all your ways, I said, in all your ways, He will direct your paths and make them straight.
But many of us are too busy to pray. Everyone knows at the holiday season there is no time to get alone and pray until we know God has heard us.
The reason Christian people become deceived is because they don't bear their personal cross faithfully and they do not pray and read their Bible faithfully.
Take every decision of your life to Jesus. Ask for guidance. Begin the moment your eyes open in the morning. You probably will make a thousand decisions during the day, one or two great decisions, the rest minor. Ask Christ about every step you take. Practice His Presence. Seek continual fellowship with Him.
As you make a practice of going to the Lord about everything, you will become more aware of Him. There may be seasons of perplexity, pain, misunderstandings. Do not let any of this deter you from your quest for Christ. It is important that various aspects of your personality be dealt with. Sometimes God's dealings are not pleasant.
But they all are designed to bring us to the place where, like Enoch, we can walk with God until we are ripe for fellowship with God in Heaven.
The Surrendered Life
The surrendered life is God's ultimate goal for all people. It is that we are to relinquish control of our life to the Lord Jesus Christ. We call Him Lord, but in numerous instances He is not the Lord of us personally. We still make our own decisions in almost everything we do.
There is no better life than living in the rest of God, that is, in the place of abiding in Christ such that we continually are looking to Christ for all we think, say, and do. In fact, in which we constantly are praying that Christ would remove all desire from us that is not from Himself.
I hardly can write on this topic, it is so utterly important to all that takes place in God's creation.
Each one of us was created a little god with a will of our own. We have a throne room in us, and most humans, including Christians, are sitting on that throne. But that room in us has been prepared for the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and on then for us after God has been established firmly and eternally in us.
Where can I start? Perhaps with the Lord's admonition that we abide in Him and He in us. In order for Christ to abide in us and we in Him, we must be totally obedient to Him in every detail of our life. We find His will throughout the Bible, and then in His personal directions to us. If we are to find His complete will for us we must present our body a living sacrifice. This is to say, we must pray continually, giving thanks and letting our requests be made known to God at all times.
Christ Himself is the Resurrection from the dead. As we are dying to our own self-will, and learning to live in His will, we are living in resurrection life. Then, when the Lord appears from Heaven, our body will receive this same life that has been developed in our inner nature.
All sin comes from a desire to act outside of Christ. We may think of sin only as transgressions of God's moral law. But to act outside of Christ invariably leads to a transgression of the eternal moral law, and thus to sin.
Satan wanted to be like God, not in Character but in power to act independently of God. Satan brought his desire down to earth and infected Adam and Eve with the desire for power to act independently of God. The result was, as it always is, chaos.
Several recent doctrines added to Charismatic thinking, such as the faith, prosperity, and positive thinking ideas, on occasion have helped people. But they are attempts to put God-like power in the hands of the believers so they can act independently of God. To these formulas has been added the idea of seeking the spiritual bases of physical afflictions so we can heal ourselves.
The most important element of our life is union with Christ. From union with Christ proceeds God's image in us, fruitfulness, and dominion. Apart from union with Christ we are a dead branch, bearing no worthwhile fruit.
However, we cannot abide in Christ, cannot be in untroubled union with Him, except as we continually are looking to Him for His will in all of our thinking, speaking, and doing. I simply cannot overemphasize the importance of acknowledging God in all we do. This is the key to our very existence, as well as the opposite of our human tendencies.
Man was created to be the throne of God, that is, Heaven. Heaven is God's throne. Heaven is the place from which the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit govern. When God's will has been established firmly and eternally in us, we are able to bring the best of Heaven to needy people.
Our prayer is that God's will be done in the earth as it is in Heaven. This is the Kingdom of God. As soon as God is on the throne of our life, we will be given the authority and power to compel God's will on the earth. This government shall be brought to earth with the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
How we wish today that we could change things in the world! We indeed shall be able to make such changes when the Lord comes from Heaven, but only if we are willing to surrender our own will to that of Christ.
Yielding to the will of Christ is not passivity. We have to struggle night and day to enter the rest of God, that is, into that place where we are ceasing from our own works and looking to the Lord Jesus for guidance. The key is faith. If we are to give to God the right to guide us, then we must believe in God's desire to bring us to the fullness of love, joy, and peace. We must have faith in God's Character—especially His unswerving faithfulness.
The problem from the beginning has been that of man attempting to have God-like power (wisdom)—to be "like God" without being part of God. This is Satan's desire and comes from Satan.
The world of today portrays to us the end of man trying to govern himself, to be "in control." Paradise cannot be restored until God's will and the Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ fill everything.
Such will and such Presence indeed shall fill the creation, including the earth. The Kingdom is being formed today as each of us cooperates with the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit directs us to put aside the actions of our sinful, self-willed nature and acknowledge the Lord Jesus in all we think, say, and do.
Not Neglecting Our Salvation
Salvation is a continuing process. We American Christians need to be exceedingly careful that we pay full attention to what the Holy Spirit is saying to us in the present hour.
This morning I preached from the second chapter of the Book of Hebrews. I spoke of the fact that the new covenant is stricter than the old, and we will suffer under the hand of God if we drift away from our intense serving of the Lord; if we neglect our salvation.
Notice, in Hebrews 2:2,3, how much stricter the new covenant is when compared with the Law of Moses.
The Jewish Christians to whom the Book of Hebrews is addressed were saved and filled with the Spirit, as we use those terms. In fact, they were ahead of us in doctrine, for they regarded the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead and the doctrine of eternal judgment as elementary teaching.
We of today are preaching an unscriptural "rapture" in place of the resurrection of the dead, and we know little or nothing of eternal judgment because we have made Divine grace an alternative to godly living.
The thesis of Hebrews is entrance into the rest of God. The rest of God, the eternal Sabbath in which the Lord Jesus always lives, is the goal of our redemption. All the other acts of redemption lead us into the rest of God.
The rest of God is that state of being in which we are at perfect rest in the center of God's Person and will. This is where Jesus always is and He wants us to be with Him where He is.
I spoke also of the need for holiness. We American Christians to a great extent are oblivious to the necessity for holy living. We go to see worldly movies, such as the Titanic. We join in the worship of the Statue of Liberty. We gaze at the Olympics as though we were watching the glorifying of the Lord Jesus. Someone said we are not to be conformed to this world but to be transformed through the renewing of our mind.
We are not to be weird, peculiar, or odd. But we do belong to the Lord Jesus in a special manner, a manner not true of the majority of people in America or in the world. We are to be attending to our worship of the Lord and our service to Him, not to the pleasures and pursuits of the world.
I believe difficult times are coming to our country. I think the only hope of avoiding wholesale destruction is for the Christian people to turn away from the pleasures and ease of life in the United States and begin to press forward into the fullness of God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Three Aspects Of Overcoming The Accuser
Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death." (Revelation 12:10,11)
The brothers overcame the one who was accusing them.
By the blood of the Lamb.
By the word of their testimony.
They did not love their lives to the point of death.
The question is: Of what was the enormous red dragon accusing them?
He was accusing them of sinning against God.
Why was he accusing them? He was charging God with being unrighteous. Satan knew that his time of corrupting mankind was nearly over. He was telling God that the brothers were as bad as he, and so it was unjust of God to punish Satan when the brothers, the sons of God, were also guilty of rebellion.
Remember, Satan's original sin was that of desiring to be God in place of the Father. Satan would be saying to the Father that the brothers also wanted to be their own god.
However, the brothers had overcome the enormous red dragon. Therefore Michael and his angels received from God the strength to throw Satan and Satan's angels from the heavens into the earth.
It is evident that the angels who obey God are strengthened when the saints choose to serve God.
Just prior to this removal of Satan and his angels from their position in the heavens, Satan's "tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth." The "stars" are Christians who had been located in the spirit world—perhaps some of them for thousands of years.
God told us that He intends to shake the heavens:
At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens." The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. (Hebrews 12:26,27)
All that can be shaken will be shaken. Only that which is created by Christ can stand the shaking. "Created things," that is the works of man, shall be removed from God's Presence.
We have seen in the last few years some famous Christian ministers brought down from their high place in Christ. Their seemingly exalted position in Christ was largely their own religious works and ambitions. These works and ambitions will not survive as God begins His war against evil.
Some who were the center of Christian institutions are now seen as mere mortals. Since so much of their religious power was the result of their own striving, and not proceeding from Jesus, when God tested their works with fire they could not stand.
Daniel tells us about Antichrist ascending into the heavens and tearing down those who were dwelling there.
It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low. Because of rebellion, the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground. (Daniel 8:10-12)
Because of rebellion, the host of the saints was given over to Antichrist.
One would think that the host of the saints, the "starry host," could not be guilty of rebellion. But they obviously were. Remember, Satan himself was an exalted cherub living in incredible glory at one time. He was one of the two guardian cherubim who overshadowed the very Throne of God with their wings. He was not always a rebel.
Notice the following statement:
You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. (Ezekiel 28:15)
At one point Satan was blameless. Then wickedness was found in him. Where did this wickedness come from?
Satan was marvelously embellished with precious stones.
Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. (Ezekiel 28:17)
Now think: Satan was in Heaven near the Throne of God. He was in the Heaven we hope to go to when we die. Yet because of his splendor he became proud, imagining himself to be equal or superior to God. He convinced many angels that he could take the place of God. He reminds me of Absalom, who thought he was superior to David.
What then is to prevent some of the Christians who are in Heaven at the present time from falling into pride? What has changed such that this no longer is possible? The fact is, it still is possible.
So we see in Daniel that Antichrist was able to throw to the ground some of the starry host because of rebellion. Although they were in Heaven, pride entered into them and they were not obeying Christ.
I can picture that easily when I hear of the things that take place among the Christian ministry. They talk about Christ but it is obvious that in their religious programs they are not obeying Him. They plan their own revivals without consulting Jesus. The Presence of Christ is noticeably absent from their pretensions.
We Christians have some unscriptural concepts of Heaven. Heaven is one city, Zion, in the immense spirit realm. The spirit world is not far off in space, it is all around us. If our eyes were open we would see countless multitudes of people and angels all going about their business.
If Satan in all his original glory and blamelessness was tempted to rebel against Christ, what is there to prevent Christian people from doing the same?
As I said, over the last few years famous Christian ministers have fallen from their position as men of God. Sometimes sexual lust brings them down. Sometimes the love of money. In actual fact they were deceived by the master deceiver, who has had thousands of years to perfect his techniques.
We are living in extraordinary days. It seems as though we are being baptized with fire. Many Christian churches and other institutions are being seen as irrelevant, and young people are leaving in droves as a result.
The message of lawless-grace and the pre-tribulation "rapture" are so obviously unscriptural that any intelligent high-school student who knew the Bible could debate successfully with some of the highly placed Christian pastors and evangelists.
Perhaps because of the lawless-grace doctrine, some of the pastors of large churches are closet alcoholics. There are evangelists who fornicate with the local believers. Some pastors plant people in the congregation who are trained to say when the collection is being taken, "I will give the first thousand dollars."
There are churches where air is piped through the air conditioning system so the pastor can claim the Holy Spirit is present. There are evangelists whose wife goes among the congregations and talks to people. She has a microphone. She tells the evangelist, who hears her via an earphone, personal facts that are divulged to her. Then the evangelist pretends to have a word of knowledge.
Child molestation is prevalent in some areas. Religious pride comports itself in the elevated clergy. Orthodox priests fight each other in church-owned properties in Israel. The situation today reminds one of the words proclaimed by the Prophets of the Old Testament.
God has promised to shake the heavens as well as the earth so all of this man-made religious activity will be removed. One of the areas in which the witnesses are slain is symbolically labeled Jerusalem, where our Lord was slain. The priests and elders of Jerusalem who should have fallen at the feet of Jesus and worshiped Him, called upon Pilate to crucify Him.
The time is now when God, the Consuming Fire, is shaking and removing all that can be shaken. Who will walk with the Consuming Fire? He who has clean hands and has not lifted up his soul to vanity. He shall survive the coming chaos in America by keeping his eyes fixed on the land that is very far off. But the self-driven Christians shall be removed from their places of preeminence.
We are being baptized with fire. All religious works shall be tested by fire. All that is not founded in Christ shall be burned up.
This is why I keep saying that if we are to survive the shaking that is coming to America, and the rest of the world as well, we must learn to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus. We must be thinking His thoughts as He is thinking them. We must be speaking His words as He is speaking them. We must perform His works as He is performing them.
Such will be true of the witnesses of the last days. They shall be bearing witness of the coming of the Kingdom of God by their thoughts, their words, and their actions. Their thoughts are important, because the demons will notice them and exploit them if they are not founded in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The brothers overcame the one who was accusing them.
By the blood of the Lamb.
By the word of their testimony.
They did not love their lives to the point of death.
From what I have just written, you can see how many things and incidents the enormous red dragon has to bring before the Father. This is why we pray for revival but God does not hear. God is totally righteous, and Satan understands this well.
When Christians are living their own life, performing their own religious works, Satan has wherewith to accuse them. The Father hears the accusations, considers if they are founded in fact, and then will not give Michael and his angels the power needed to cast Satan and his angels down from their position in the air, from which they control the earth.
What must be true before Michael and his angels can receive Divine power? There must be a company of brothers, saints, who overcome every temptation to worldliness, the lusts of the body and spirit, and, most importantly, self-will. They must have gained such victory over these three areas that when Satan brings them up before God there is no ground for the accusations.
By the blood of the Lamb.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (I John 1:7)
If we walk in the light of God's will, as God is in the light, we have fellowship with God, and the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin.
You may hear a Christian say, "I plead the blood." This is not a scriptural expression.
To be purified by the blood of the Lamb we must be walking in the light of God's will. This means as the Spirit of God points out our sin, we confess that sin and, with Christ's help, turn away from it. To remain in the light of God's will we must continually be gaining victory over sin.
What is so important about the blood of the Lamb? First of all, the Father has accepted the blood atonement made on the cross as sufficient to remove the guilt of the sin of every person in the world who will receive the forgiveness and be reconciled to God.
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2)
We cannot even imagine the effect upon God when the blood of His innocent Son was offered for the sins of mankind. We just have to accept what God has said and rejoice that we have been forgiven.
One fact that sometimes is overlooked is that the body and blood of Jesus are our resurrection Life, our eternal Life. Every time we turn away from a temptation to sin and choose to please God, we are given to eat and drink of the body and blood of God's Lamb. This continual action on our part enables us to live by the Life of Jesus. When this is true of us we cannot be shaken from our position in Heaven.
When the slain Lamb appears in the sky, those who live by His body and blood will be caught up to be with Him. It is not our doctrine that will catch us up to Christ, it is His own body and blood that are calling to Him.
Remember, "pleading the blood" is a vain religious practice. When we are living in the light of God's perfect will, the blood of God's Lamb is forgiving our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. This forgiveness and cleansing depends upon our confessing and turning away from our sins when they are pointed out to us.
If we are not walking in the Light of God's will, no amount of "pleading the blood" will help us. God wants His will done, not religious activity.
When we are walking in the light, confessing and turning away from our sins, the blood of the Lamb continually is cleansing us from the guilt of sin. Thus when Satan accuses us before God, no guilt is present.
When we are living by the body and blood of the Lamb, our thoughts, words, and acts are increasingly without reproach, without a basis for the accusations of the enormous red dragon.
But apart from the cleansing from guilt of the blood atonement, and the Life of the body and blood of Jesus, Satan can find grounds to accuse us and thus deliver himself from the Divine wrath.
By the word of their testimony.
A true testimony of God includes the truth about His Person; the truth about His will; the truth about His ways; and the truth about His eternal plan in the Lord Jesus Christ. These four truths must be presented clearly to the world if the accusations of the red dragon are to be overcome in the Presence of the Father.
How do the brothers testify truthfully about the Person of God? By obeying Him diligently; by demonstrating His righteous, holy nature in our thoughts, words, and actions; by telling the truth about His love and His wrath.
In America, God often is presented as Santa Claus. He is sitting up in Heaven, just wishing that everyone would be "nice." He has given us "grace" so that even if we sin we need not be concerned. He already has forgiven us if we have "accepted Christ."
This testimony will not overcome Satan. It will leave the believer open to the lusts of demons. God is not "nice." He is a consuming fire. He judges sin, whether committed by a Christian or an infidel. He indeed is merciful and compassionate; but He also is strict when it comes to obeying him.
He is not soft and loving, as is portrayed today. The Lake of Fire is as horrible as the coming world of righteousness is wonderful and glorious.
God's will is that we turn from sin and self-seeking and serve Him diligently. We are not to attempt to win people to Christ by telling them that all they have to do is to say they "accept Christ," and then every blessing will come to them.
We overcome the accuser when we obey God no matter what circumstances we are placed in. When everything goes "wrong" in our life, we praise God as cheerfully as we can. Satan is looking for us to become angry with God. When instead we place our trust in God to deliver us from trouble and pain, we overcome the accuser.
God's ways often are inscrutable, mysterious, not understandable. We have to trust. It is a temptation to seek to make God in our own image. But this is not possible or realistic.
Sometimes we are bent as an arrow on God's bow for years at a time. We had expected the Christian life to be one of endless joy and success, but instead we are surrounded with trouble of every sort. Slowly we change from a happy, carefree believer to a wary, cautious warrior. We learn to endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ. Presumption and foolishness die along the way.
We overcome the accuser when we accept God's dealings with us. When we become mature we are able to walk with the Consuming Fire, one step at a time. Often we cannot see the future or why God has dealt with us as He has. But we learn to cheerfully accept today's manna and trust God for tomorrow.
This is how we overcome the accuser. Our testimony remains bright and confident. It is true that we do not have much of an understanding of what is happening to us. But it is this very fact that overcomes Satan. We are not trusting in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. Satan crumbles when he senses that we are living no longer but Christ is living in us.
Satan does not fear any Christian or any group of Christians as they pool their efforts. Satan fears the Father, Christ, and the Spirit of God. A believer represents no threat to the kingdom of darkness until he has ceased from his own works and enters the rest of God.
God has an eternal plan in Christ. It appears it often is misrepresented as self-driven Christians paint a future that is not scriptural. The concept that Christ is coming at any moment to catch us up to Heaven so we will not be inconvenienced by the Great Tribulation or Antichrist, is totally false.
Rather, God's eternal plan in Christ is to drive evil from the creation. This means we are facing increasingly troublous times. We are going to have to learn to live by Jesus' Life if we are to stand and help our loved ones to stand.
The Great Rebellion and the rule of Antichrist are approaching us in these days. God is facing Satan. Jesus Christ is facing Antichrist. The Spirit of God is facing the False Prophet.
You and I are but intelligent dust. Our only hope of survival is to be filled with Christ to the extent that He is living in us in place of our own adamic nature.
The two witnesses will inform the world of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. Christ will appear in the sky and call up to Himself His elect. Then He and they will descend on the white war stallions and destroy the power of Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet.
After that, Joel's army will go through every city and town in which Antichrist has exerted his influence, and judge each person and destroy the institutions.
There will be a final judgment of all people, except God's Firstfruits. Then the present earth and sky shall be removed and there shall be a new sky and a new earth, a new world of righteousness.
This is what the Bible teaches. Those who hold to this vision will overcome the accuser. But those who trust in the plans of the leaders of the world, no matter how glorious those plans may seem, will always be the victims of the enormous red dragon.
Such is the manner in which the brothers overcome the accuser with the word of their testimony.
They did not love their lives to the point of death.
The blood of the Lamb is absolutely essential if we are to overcome the accuser.
The word of our testimony is absolutely essential if we are to overcome the accuser.
Loving not our life to the point of death is absolutely essential if we are to overcome the accuser. This may be the most difficult aspect for us to lay hold of. But it is the key to the overthrow of Satan.
Remember how some of the stars of Heaven were cast down because of rebellion? That is because they loved their own life. We absolutely must, as did the Apostle Paul, live as one crucified, in which the life that is lived is the Life of Jesus Christ. Apart from this, Satan cannot be overcome!
It is vain to rebuke demons. Demons must be resisted; and this is possible only as we are living by the Life of Jesus.
The Book of Second Corinthians has many passages which describe how Paul was brought down to death each day, it seems. Paul died daily. Paul was resurrected daily. Death, and life. Death, and life.
I have been a Christian for many years and have been exposed to various Christian ministries. The flavor that comes across to me is that of human effort. The effort many times is well intentioned. But it is human nonetheless. It is not the wisdom and power of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Perhaps I am mistaken, but I don't believe the students in Bible colleges are told that Christ is not looking for them to go forth in their enthusiasm and "do great things for God." This is an invitation to presumption.
Satan cannot be overcome by an inexperienced young person, enamored with the romance of "ministry," charging into areas in which Satan has governed for hundreds of years, possibly. Common sense tells us better than that!
One fact is certain: Satan is not going to be brought down by "living" people but by "dead" people. Satan laughs at our religious antics, even when we surround an afflicted individual or have a Jericho march, singing or yelling in tongues all the while. We can rebuke Satan all afternoon, and the demons will enjoy the attention being given to them.
But when a believer sets aside his own life that he might live by the Life of Jesus, submitting to the crucifixions that God sends and may have Satan carry out, it is then Hell trembles.
We overcome the accuser by the blood of the Lamb.
We are cleansed by the blood.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (I John 1:7)
We live by the blood.
Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink." (John 6:53-55)
We overcome the accuser by the word of our testimony.
"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)
We overcome the accuser by loving not our life to the point of death.
For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. (II Corinthians 4:11,12)
Let's you and I be among the brothers who overcome the enormous red dragon, so that Michael and his angels may receive the strength to remove Satan and his angels from their position in the heavenlies.
The Coming of the Kingdom of God
John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus preached the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. I do not know when it happened, but somehow the Gospel of the Kingdom was changed into the Gospel of Heaven. Instead of the Good News being that the Kingdom was coming to the earth, the Good News now is that we will go to Heaven when we die or when we are "raptured."
Why was the Gospel changed? Probably to be more in line with the other religions of the earth, which teach that if we obey the tenets of the religion we will go to some sort of paradise when we die.
There is an invisible Kingdom of God. It is the rule of God in Christ in whomever Christ is dwelling.
There is a visible Kingdom of God. The visible Kingdom of God is the rule of Christ over all people living on the earth when He returns with His saints.
The Christian Church is the government of the Kingdom of God.
When the visible Christian Church comes down through the new sky to be installed on a high mountain of the new earth, it will govern the nations of people who have been saved to citizenship on the new earth.
It is not always preached that there will be two classes of people living on the new earth: God's Church, which is the new Jerusalem; and the people from the nations who are not of the Church but whose names are written in the Book of Life.
Until it is understood that the Church is a minority of earth's population, and that of the remainder of the people of the nations, some will be saved to eternal life and some will be thrown into the Lake of Fire because they are wicked, it is impossible to understand much of the Book of Isaiah and much of the Book of Revelation.
The salvation of the people from the nations can be understood readily in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Book of Matthew. The saved people from the nations are the sheep, for whom the Kingdom of God has been prepared. Thus they are part of the Kingdom, just as the Church is the government of the Kingdom.
One way of putting it is that we Christians are being trained so we can install and maintain a kingdom on the earth—a kingdom that is the inheritance of the "sheep."
Then the King will say to those on his right, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." (Matthew 25:34)
The Kingdom is prepared for the people (sheep) saved from the nations, as God deals with us Christians. We must consider ourselves as a royal priesthood who will make it possible for the "sheep" to be reconciled to God and He to them. We have to go through a severe training by the Lord before we will be able to make it possible for the sheep and God to be reconciled, one to the other.
This is why today's preaching, in which the congregations are being told how God wants to make the believers prosperous and comfortable, is so terribly disastrous. The true training from the Lord teaches us to be more concerned about God's desires and the needs of people rather than how all of our desires should be met.
I believe, from my experience with the Lord, that we have to find out by revelation how incomparably valuable an inheritance of people truly is. Then we will not be so interested in living comfortably in a mansion in Heaven.
The Kingdom of God is created in the saints (holy ones) as we are born again and then formed in the image of Christ. This is the inner Kingdom of God. It is the forming of Christ in us that is the preparation of the Kingdom the sheep are to inherit.
The outer Kingdom of God will come when Christ and His brothers appear and govern the people living on the earth.
If we should find the demands of the Christian discipleship not to our liking, we cannot then choose to become one of the "sheep" and not have to experience the trials suffered by the members of the royal priesthood. If we are one of God's elect, and turn away from the rigors of discipleship, we will be led into the outer darkness when Christ appears.
Where is the government of the Kingdom now? It is wherever the saints are, in Heaven or on the earth. It is invisible. It will become visible when Jesus and His saints appear and govern with the iron scepter.
Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you." (Luke 17:20)
It is of note here that the Pharisees were interested in the coming of the Kingdom of God. This reveals a mindset different from what we have today. The "coming of the Kingdom" is the reverse of the Heaven mindset.
Also, "the kingdom of God is within you" is better translated "the Kingdom of God is among you." The Kingdom of God was not in the disciples at that time; but it was in the Lord Jesus.
For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. (Luke 17:24)
The "rapture" teaching of the present day suggests that the Lord Jesus is coming in secret to whisk away the believers. There will be no secret rapture. There is no scriptural basis for a catching up of the believers prior to the event mentioned in Luke 17:24. And that event assuredly is no secret!
According to the fourth chapter of First Thessalonians, the Lord shall return with multitudes of saints. They, along with the victorious believers who are alive on the earth at that time, shall receive Spirit-filled bodies and ascend to meet the Lord in the air. According to our current tradition, this shall take place secretly.
The saints who have returned with the Lord Jesus, have been in Heaven for a period of time—some for thousands of years. So why would it be sensible for them to then return to Heaven?
We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. (I Thessalonians 4:14)
According to the "rapture" doctrine, all these who are caught up in the secret rapture will then go to Heaven—presumably at that time to go to their mansion.
For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. (Luke 17:24)
If there was going to be a secret rapture prior to the above verse, why didn't the Lord Jesus tell the Pharisees that if they served Him they would not have to wait for His coming "like the lightning" but would be caught up in secret?
Really, the whole notion of a secret rapture preceding the coming of "the Son of Man in his day" is not a respectable doctrine. The result of the "secret" teaching has been to put the believers into a waiting mode instead of doing each day what is necessary for them to enter the Kingdom of God at the present time; and also to prepare themselves to be part of the army of judges that will accompany Christ.
I think you will agree with me that the following passage is stating that the moment Christ is revealed, people who were unprepared were destroyed.
Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. (Luke 17:26,27)
I do not believe every person who is not among those who were caught up to Christ when He appears will be destroyed. If that were the case, there would be no nations of people for Christ and His saints to govern.
But it is evident many shall be destroyed—perhaps those who had been called by the Lord but did not consecrate themselves to His service.
The "secret rapture" doctrine is maintaining that prior to the Day of the Lord, all people who "accept Christ" will be caught up to Heaven. Meanwhile, the people living on the earth may or may not be aware that Christ has come secretly. They will not be destroyed.
But then, perhaps years later, when Christ appears like the lightning, destruction will come upon the unprepared people on the earth.
In this case, where will the saints be who have been caught up during the period between the secret rapture and the coming of Christ "like the lightning"? Will they or will they not return with Christ when He comes like the lightning?
If we say they, having been caught up to their mansion in Heaven, do not return with Christ, we are going against the Scripture. Paul teaches clearly that we will appear with Christ.
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)
Are we then to conclude that the saints will be caught up to meet Christ and then go to Heaven' Then, after a period of time, return to earth in the Battle of Armageddon and face Antichrist, Satan, the False Prophet, and the armies of the wicked?
When Revelation teaches us that Christ shall return at the head of His army and defeat the armies of Antichrist, are any of the members of Christ's army those who were caught up in a secret rapture?
What, then, is the purpose of the secret rapture? I think it is maintained that the purpose is to escape Antichrist and the Great Tribulation. If then the secret rapture is to permit fearful believers to escape Antichrist and the Great Tribulation, where, then, will they gain the courage to return with Christ and confront Satan and the armies of the wicked?
Some maintain that there will be no secret rapture until the end of the Great Tribulation. Thus the purpose would not be to escape the Tribulation. What then would be the purpose of a secret rapture of the believers to Heaven?
Here is another point of interest. The passage of Scripture that supposedly sets forth the secret rapture, says that the saints are caught up to meet the Lord in the air. There is a considerable difference between being caught up into the air to meet the Lord, and being caught up to Heaven.
I think the idea is that we will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air and then return with Him to Heaven.
If this is true, and there is no scriptural support for it, it is conjecture, the same question exists. What would be the purpose? Why would Jesus, before He is to make His grand return to the earth, secretly catch up to Heaven all who have "accepted Christ," many of whom are spiritual babies?
If the purpose is not to escape Antichrist, the great tribulation, or the moral chaos that America is approaching, what then is the purpose of the so-called pre-tribulation rapture?
The truth is, the return of the Lord Jesus to bring His Kingdom to the earth, as described in Matthew, Luke, and First Thessalonians, Four, is the historic Day of the Lord, the one coming of the Lord.
The teaching of the rapture, whether pre-tribulation, or mid-tribulation, or post-tribulation, is an error. The fruit of the doctrine of the rapture is immature believers who are not pressing forward in Christ. Why should they press forward in Christ? There is nothing to be gained by it, since they will be caught up in a sovereignly imposed rapture.
Sometimes it is said that by threatening the believers with an any-moment rapture they will serve the Lord fervently. It does not seem to work like that, Perhaps it might work for a month or two; but after that the believers turn back into their fleshly ways, trusting in grace to insure their participation in the rapture.
In any case, believers who will behave themselves only if they think the Lord is about to come, do not have a heart for Christ. If they are afraid of being caught in their sins, they do not really know the Lord or love God.
The truth is, when Christ appears "like the lightning," those Christians who are living victorious lives, as well as those who died in victory in Christ, will be given Spirit-filled bodies and will be caught up to meet the Commander-in Christ in the air.
They will mount the white war stallions and descend with their Lord to install the Kingdom of God on the earth. This will not be a secret. There will be the shout of war, the voice of the Archangel Michael, and the trumpet of God announcing the great cavalry charge.
This is the truth and it can be verified by many passages of Scripture. There is no scriptural basis whatever for a secret rapture in which God takes His Church to Heaven before Jesus returns.
I hope that the rapture myth soon will be discarded by devout Christian leaders as they read their Bible and listen to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is speaking today about our confessing and turning away from our sins so we can stand during the moral chaos that is approaching our country.
It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day no one who is on the roof of his house, with his goods inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot's wife! (Luke 17:30-32)
Think carefully about the passage above. According to the rapture doctrine, God will call up to Himself those who are to be saved. Yet in the above passage, which is in the context of the Lord coming "like the lightning," the Lord is imposing conditions that would be impossible to keep except for the most devout Christian believer:
No one should return to his house and goods but go straight to the Lord who has just appeared like the lightning. No one working in the field should go back to check on his family or animals. Are the people who have been left on the earth possibly years after the rapture going to be able to keep such conditions? Not likely. Only the most consecrated Christian, if he were caught down town, would go straight to Jesus without returning to his or her family.
Can you see that if the Church had been caught up previously, Jesus would be speaking to those with no Christian training, telling them that when He appears they are to go straight to Him without looking back for an instant—like Lot's wife? This is ridiculous!
Below is the true and only coming of Christ to gather His saints from one end of the heavens to the other. There shall be no rapture before this coming:
At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (Matthew 24:30,31)
If there were a secret rapture prior to the above event (which certainly is not a secret), and its purpose was to catch up the elect to Heaven, why then does it say in the passage above that this is the time when the angels will gather the elect from one end of the heavens to the other?
Are the angels going to gather those who had been caught up to Heaven previously in a secret rapture? This makes sense?
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. (II Thessalonians 2:1,2)
"Our being gathered to Him." "The day of the Lord."
Doesn't it seem to you that Paul here is speaking of the one coming of Christ in which the saints are gathered to Him? And wouldn't Paul be referring back to what he wrote in First Thessalonians, the fourth Chapter? Is there any evidence that Paul was teaching the Thessalonian believers about two different occasion when the elect are gathered to Christ?
Notice that Paul refers to the gathering to Christ as being "the day of the Lord." Is it likely that there are to be two days of the Lord?
So if anyone tells you, "There he is, out in the desert," do not go out; or, "Here he is, in the inner rooms," do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. (Matthew 24:26-28)
The greatest of all Kings is not going to return in secret. His return will be what we would expect from the King of kings and the Lord of lords. No sneaking away here!
The word "vultures" should be "eagles." It means that when the slain Lamb appears in the sky, those who live by His body and blood, the "eagles," will be caught up to be with Him. This concept is important to us. As we study the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John we see that as we eat the flesh of Christ and drink His blood we are taking into ourselves His Resurrection Life.
Suffice it to say that if we are to be caught up to Christ in the Day of the Lord, we must be among those who have learned to live by His Life just as He lives by the Father's Life.
Here we see the destructive impact of the rapture teaching. The rapture teaching suggests that we are eligible to be caught up to meet Christ in the air on the basis of our belief in correct theology. The truth is, we are caught up to meet Christ if we have learned to live by His Life in this present world.
Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:57)
A young man once told me that he did not believe what I was saying. But then he had a dream in which he saw Christ in the sky and was unable to rise to meet Him.
Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. I tell you, on that night two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding grain together; one will be taken and the other left. (Luke 17:33-35)
It is a Kingdom principle that if we attempt to keep our life we will lose it; and if we lose our life in Christ we will preserve it. The only manner in which we will be able to survive the Gentile holocaust is by setting aside (losing) our own life and learning to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus.
How this applies to the gathering of the elect to Christ I am not certain. Perhaps it is true that if we are accustomed to living our own life, not laboring to enter into the rest of God in which we live by His Life, we will not be able to respond to or even hear the summons. Notice that the call comes at night, making it even more imperative that at all times we are ready to leave all and go to meet Jesus in the sky.
It is of note that people who have been accustomed to living together and working together will be divided, one being gathered together with the Lord and His saints, and the other being left behind.
I think the Lord is telling us that those who are taken are saints who have been living in victory. They may work together with others or live together with others, but in the sight of God they are different. It always is to him who overcomes; never to them who overcome.
The people who will be ready to receive a Spirit-filled body and ascend to meet the Lord are the participants in the first resurrection. They are a holy priesthood and will rule along with Him for a thousand years. They are an elite group, like David's mighty men. They are not as numerous as we could wish.
I don't imagine most of the church people would take kindly to the idea that there are some among them who will be singled out to rule with Christ, while the remainder have to wait until the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age before they are given a new body and are part of the Lord's army. Nevertheless, like it or not, it is true. One shall be taken and the other left.
In the day in which we are living, the Lord Jesus is calling out His firstfruits. Whoever chooses to do so may respond and join these "mighty men." But it is a totally demanding program, and some may choose to retain their own Christian ways and no go out of the camp with Christ, so to speak.
It is our choice to make; and if we continue in our customary way we are going to be appalled when we discover that people we have been very close to are caught up to be with Christ and we are left behind.
When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away. (Luke 21:9)
Sometimes people will point to wars and revolutions and say, "The coming of the Lord must be at hand." But Jesus said, "The end will not come right away."
Throughout Church history there have been occasions when someone would announce that the Lord is coming on such and such a date. But they always have been wrong. Time does not exist in the spirit world, and so when God says something, we think it is imminent.
It is my personal opinion that the return of Christ is many years in the future. I think I am correct in saying that the Lord's firstfruits are still scattered about in the various denominations. I don't see how Christ can come for His army of judges until a substantial period of time has occurred. The churches of today are filled with baby Christians!
There is so much incorrect doctrine today! The lawless grace doctrine, for one. The pre-tribulation "rapture" is another. The "faith" and "prosperity" errors are a third. And there may yet be more, because God's people are in love with themselves, helped along by the philosophy of Humanism.
The theology of Dispensationalism is not scriptural. It has components that are mischievous and destructive, such as lawless grace, and a Gentile Church and Jewish Kingdom.
It seems to me, and I may be quite incorrect in this, that a great many Christians, being spiritual babies because of the present teaching, are not nearly ready to receive a Spirit-filled body; be caught up to meet Christ in the air; and then descend to the earth in order to break the back of the evil forces.
I understand that one shall be gathered to the Lord and another left. I think this is speaking of the elect, those called by the Lord to be members of His royal priesthood. If Christ were to come today, how many of God's elect would be competent to leave everything and rise in the air to meet Christ without looking back, let alone return with Him to cleanse the earth of evil?
If I am hearing the Spirit of God correctly He is not speaking about an imminent return of Christ. The Spirit's emphasis is on the need for Christian people to confess and turn away from their sins. Christ will help us do just that if we ask Him.
But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. (Luke 21:12)
I don't believe we American Christians are prepared for severe persecution. Why not? Because we have been taught that we will be "raptured" before we experience severe persecution.
If Christian people are to be raptured so they are not exposed to persecution, why, then, did Jesus instruct us how to behave when we are brought before kings and governors (as the Apostle Paul was!)?
Unless I am mistaken, and I hope I am, we Christians in America are going to suffer severe persecution. Already we see evidences that the holidays of other religions can be celebrated by public institutions, but not Christian holidays. School districts are forbidding the children to read the Bible during recess, in some instances. Being 86 years of age, I never thought I would see such hostility against what used to be the prevailing religion of America.
Also, there is some evidence that the President of our country is somewhat apt to favor the Muslim religion, although he claims to be a Christian.
It is clear that America is going in a direction that our citizens of a hundred years ago would never have thought possible. One prominent American statesman declared recently that the laws of the United Nations have authority over our own national laws. And we know that the laws proceeding from the United Nations concerning children are not in harmony with our American laws regarding boys and girls.
Unless God intervenes in a miraculous manner, I believe within twenty years we will witness Christian people in jail because they refuse to obey the laws that insist our children must be taught immoral practices.
I think it is apparent that the "rapture" teaching has left the American Christians unprepared for the grim realities on the horizon. They are not preparing themselves to stand in the "evil day" because they have been taught they never will be required to live during an evil day.
You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life. (Luke 21:16-19)
I think such hatred is on the way, from what I have read in the newspaper. We are not used to this, especially from our family and friends. We will have to pray much if we are to keep unforgiveness and bitterness out of our heart.
Notice that the Lord said "They will put some of you to death." Then He said further, "Not a hair of your head will perish." Sounds kind of contradictory, doesn't it?
Apparently the Lord does not consider, when we have been put to death, that a hair of our head has perished. And why not? Because by standing firm in faith in Christ our hair is preserved along with the rest of us. If we do not see our hair when we enter the spirit world, we certainly shall in the Day of Resurrection.
You know, because of our Gospel of Heaven we have relegated the idea of our resurrection to a minor place in our thinking. Perhaps in our day the true "Blessed Hope" will be restored. The true Blessed Hope is that of immortality in the body, not eternal residence in a mansion in Heaven.
And our immortal body will possess all of its original hair—"not a hair of your heard will perish"!
"There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luke 21:25-28)
There will be no pre-tribulation rapture of the believers into Heaven. Look carefully at the preceding passage. What does it tell us?
Before the Son of Man comes in a cloud with power and great glory:
There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars.
Nations will be in anguish.
The oceans will be "roaring and tossing."
People will faint with terror because of what they see happening around them.
The heavenly bodies will be shaken.
Only at that time will people see Christ coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
What are we to do when this uproar begins to take place? "Stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
Why is Jesus teaching us what to do if we are not going to be on the earth at that time?
What is the manner of our redemption that is to draw near? It is the transforming us from a flesh and blood human being to a flesh and Spirit human being. "We shall be changed in a moment," Paul declared.
There may be some who maintain that this passage is referring to Jewish people. If such is the case, why isn't all that is said in the four Gospels directed only to Jewish people? Why isn't it just the Jews who must be born again to see the Kingdom; who must abide in Christ to bear fruit?
No, there are traditions today about a Gentile Church being in Heaven at this time and looking down at the Jews who are preaching the Gospel without the Holy Spirit, the Spirit having gone up to Heaven when the Gentiles were raptured.
The current doctrine about a Gentile Church and a Jewish Kingdom is absolutely fallacious. There is only one Seed of Abraham, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ and those who are part of Him, whether Jewish or Gentile by birth. There is only one Olive Tree. There is only one new Man.
Those who set forth such an unscriptural concept as a Gentile Church have no scriptural support.
How can so many outstanding Bible teachers be wrong? I do not know. I do know that they have left the Bible when they refer to a "Gentile Church." The New Testament absolutely will not admit to this. Any high school student who knew the Bible could prove that easily.
I guess it is a spirit of blindness, similar to the blindness God put upon Israel concerning Jesus Christ in spite of the fifty-third chapter of the Book of Isaiah.
Changing the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to the Gospel of Going to Heaven is another example of spiritual blindness. I think it is time now to return to the Scriptures.
Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. (Luke 21:31)
It has been said that Israel becoming a nation is a sign that the Kingdom of God is near. But Jesus said, "When you see these things happening." So Israel becoming a nation is not the sign that the Kingdom of God is near, rather it is the signs in the heavens and the upheavals of nature, people fainting from fear, that signify the nearness of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. (Luke 21:32)
The verse above could mean that the Jewish race will not pass away until all that Jesus has stated has come to pass; or it could mean that the generation that experiences the tumult in the heavens and in nature will live to see the Lord return in power.
Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. (Luke 21:34)
This admonition applies especially to American Christians because of our material wealth. Some have said that Jesus' statement cannot apply to the rapture, because the rapture will come suddenly without preliminary signs that would give us time to prepare.
The truth is, once these signs begin, people will not be able to repent. Repentance always is a gift from God, and it will not be granted once the tumult commences. The righteous will remain righteous and the filthy will remain filthy.
Remember, in the parable of the virgins, how those who attempted to buy oil when the Bridegroom came were unable to do so.
But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. "Sir! Sir!" they said. "Open the door for us!" But he replied, "I tell you the truth, I don't know you." (Matthew 25:10-12)
It is imperative that we remain watchful. The Spirit is urging us today to purify ourselves so that we will be able to see Him as He is when He appears from Heaven.
Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36)
When Jesus said "pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man," I am sure that some understand this to mean we will be raptured to Heaven and stand safely in the Presence of Christ.
But if we have been weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and were raptured out of trouble, we could not stand before the Son of Man because of our sin. So this interpretation does not hold up.
There is this much about it. If our hearts are wrong and we are looking for a way to outwit God's insistence on righteous behavior, then we will accept the current lawless-grace doctrine, not realizing we have been deceived.
But if our heart is right, and we know and accept the fact that we have to live a consecrated life if we are to please God and be accepted of Him, then the Spirit of God will enable us to see through the current flesh-pleasing preaching, realizing it is unscriptural and contrary to all that God has revealed from the beginning of the creation.
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, (Matthew 24:12)
I don't know if we are in the period Jesus is referring to, but there is no doubt that in America there is an increase of wickedness. According to the Lord, when wickedness increases, the love of the majority of Christians will grow cold.
But he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:13)
The Gospel of Christ, as it is presented today, is like a ticket. "Accept Christ," and you forever are saved from Hell and guaranteed a mansion in Heaven. One sign I saw in front of a Salvation Army shop, said, "Come in and get a free trip to Heaven." This is how the Gospel is preached.
There is no doubt, however, that the new Testament does not teach a one-time experience that serves as a ticket. How many verses point out that the Christian salvation is a discipleship that begins when we first receive Christ and ends when we die and pass into the spirit world!
It appears certain that the current teaching of "accept Christ" as a ticket to Heaven has contributed to the present babyhood of the believers. There are many church-goers who have no awareness of what it means to present our body a living sacrifice that we may be able to prove the will of God for our own life.
They know nothing of the many years of patiently carrying our cross, following Jesus into pleasant paths and also into very difficult situations. They never have heard of the problems we encounter as we become a new creation of righteous behavior.
They have been taught that if they "accept Christ" they will "go to Heaven" when they die. They are not aware that these two expressions are not found in the Bible.
Well, a person might say, while the exact phrases may not be in the Bible, what they represent is found in the Bible. It is true that if what we mean by a phrase is Biblical, the phrasing is not critical. However, the unscriptural phrasing may be revealing an unscriptural meaning. And such is the case when we say "accept Christ" and you will go to Heaven.
When we say, "accept Christ," we mean, profess belief in our theology. We ordinarily do not mean "come to know the Man, Jesus, in a personal way and become His disciple." We are saying, "Here is the free ticket to Heaven. Just accept it."
When we say "you will go to Heaven," we are stressing an incorrect goal. We do not "accept Christ" so we can go to Heaven. There is no scriptural basis for this. We receive Christ so we can come out from the present world, die with Him on the cross, and enter newness of life in His resurrection Life.
In the footnotes of my Bible the statement is made: "We do not have to endure to the end to be saved. Salvation is a sovereign work of God." This is how far down we have fallen. We are willing to challenge the statement of God's Son.
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)
The above is telling us of the latter-rain, or spring-rain, revival that is to take place before the Lord returns. It is described in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation as two witnesses. Christ is one Witness. Those in whom Christ is living is the second witness.
Thus there are three massive interventions of God that will bring in the Kingdom Age, the thousand years often referred to as the "Millennium."
The first intervention is the spring-rain revival of the two witnesses.
The second intervention is the return of Christ with His saints and warrior angels. Their judgment will result with one angel hurling Satan into the Bottomless Pit; and Antichrist and the False Prophet being thrown into the Lake of Fire.
The third intervention is the cleansing of the earth at the hand of Christ and His army of judges. The victory at Armageddon, as the power of Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet are overthrown, will make it possible for Christ and His saints to go through the earth and destroy all that remains of the evil works of Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet.
The cleansing of the earth is described in the second chapter of the Book of Joel.
The first intervention, that of the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom to every nation as a witness, is soon to come. We are being prepared for this baptism with the double portion of God's Spirit by being given the understanding that we are not to attempt to glorify ourselves when the power of the seven thunders is released in our custody. God often loses His servants when He gives them power, and we must avoid that.
Notice that it is the Gospel of the Kingdom that is to be announced. This is because it is a testimony of the coming of God's Kingdom to the earth. It would be foolish for God's witnesses to preach about the saints going to Heaven, when that is not what is going to take place.
In actual truth, those who are telling people today that they are saved to go to Heaven to live in a mansion are bearing a false witness!
So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—(Matthew 24:15)
He will confirm a covenant with many for one "seven." In the middle of the "seven" he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. (Daniel 9:27)
If my understanding is correct, Antichrist will place a statue of himself on the wing of the Temple in Jerusalem, at the very place that Satan placed Christ. This is the abomination that causes desolation.
Now, what does this mean?
Christ was tested to see if He would tempt God by acting according to His self-will. The Bible says the angels would bear Him up if He was dwelling in the shadow of the Most High. Now the suggestion was made that Christ jump off the roof of the Temples to see if God would indeed keep Him safe.
A Christian must survive three temptations: to avoid looking to the world for survival, security, and pleasure; to refuse to yield to the lusts and passions of his body and spirit; and to not follow his own will but only God's will.
It appears to me that from the beginning of time, people for the most part, including Christian people, prefer to lead their own life instead of learning to seek God's will in all they think, speak, and do. This is why the world and the churches are in such confusion all the time.
To the present moment, Christian people have not always been taught to set aside their own life that they may live by the Life of Christ.
The people of the world simply ignore God and go about their own business.
The time when people live according to their own understanding is drawing to a close. When Jesus returns, we will learn to live according to God's will only.
Christ on the wing of the Temple refused to "step out in faith," as we are encouraged to do today. He would have been standing there yet if God had not permitted Him to climb down. Or maybe God carried Him down.
I think sometimes from what I hear that most Church organizations do not know what it means to listen to Jesus. They promote this seminar, that event, the next retreat. But I do not get the feeling they are hearing from Jesus. I believe they are doing what they feel is right and expected of them. But they "step out in faith," trusting that God will help them.
Maybe they don't know that Jesus will tell us what to do if we will stop and listen. Maybe they are afraid they will look foolish if they do not get busy at some good work. Or perhaps they are afraid that if they stop "doing something" that Christ will not speak.
In any case, the abomination that causes desolation is that of man being his own God. That is the Antichrist spirit. God has given us a brain and we are to use it for His Glory, it is ventured.
But this is not why God gave us a brain. He gave us a brain so we would understand that we are to commit all of our ways to the Lord and not lean to our own understanding.
I believe as time goes on and we perceive how wicked the world will become, even our own nation, we will realize the situation is hopeless. Then each of us, if we are to save ourselves and our loved ones, are going to have to get used to listening to Jesus for every thought we think; every word we speak; and everything we do. Only then will we survive and be able to stand before Christ with those who have listened to us.
If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. (Matthew 24:22)
I believe "those days" is speaking of Antichrist and the Great Tribulation. It appears God's elect are on the earth at this time; and for their sake, the period of tribulation will be shortened. Had the elect not been on the earth at this time, everyone would have died.
Immediately after the distress of those days "the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken." At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (Matthew 24:29-31)
The above passage gives us the sequence. First will come the Great Tribulation. Immediately after the Great Tribulation the awesome events will occur in the sun, moon, and stars. Next the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky. Then the Son of Man will appear on the clouds with power and great glory.
I think the above is quite clear and it is the words of Christ Himself. So any teaching that speaks of a "rapture" by which people can escape the Great Tribulation appears to be in error. Perhaps the rapture doctrine is wishful thinking rather than one based in the Scripture.
It is at this time that the elect are gathered to Christ, not at some previous time.
And it certainly is not a Jewish elect. How could one distinguish between a Gentile elect gathered to Christ at a previous time and now a Jewish elect gathered to Christ. If they both are Christian sharing the same body and blood of Christ, rising to meet the slain Lamb in the sky, how could there be two separate occasions? Wishful thinking on the part of Gentiles—many of whom may have Jewish blood in them and not realize it.
The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:50,51)
The context of the passage above is the contrast between the rewards given to the faithful servant and the rewards given to the wicked servant.
When the Lord returns He will place the faithful servant in a position of rulership, but the wicked servant will be cut to pieces.
Now both of these men were the Lord's servants. The one came to a desirable end and the other to a terrible end.
Can you see here the problem with the teaching of "once saved always saved"?
Because of the teaching of lawless-grace and that of "once saved always saved," the Christians of our country, while zealous to do commendable social works, such as feeding the poor, are moral skeletons. The preachers no longer thunder about righteous, holy living. The people are told that since they have "accepted Christ," they can live their life pretty much as they please.
The following comment is by David French, taken from a blog post in the National Review, March 14th, 2012: "We go on sinning so that grace may abound. The secular stereotype of the modern evangelical—as a judgmental moralizer—is so wrong as to be laughable."
It is true that the moral strength of the Christian people has been severely weakened, and many people deplore this. But the cause is crystal clear. The preachers are preaching lawless-grace and the eternal security of the believer.
If one were to go to a social psychologist and ask him what would be the effect on people if they were taught lawless-grace and eternal security, he or she would predict that such people would be weak morally.
It is no mystery that Christian people no longer are revealing in themselves the character of Christ. The light of the world in America has been extinguished. The salt has lost its savor. The fear of God has left the land.
We are seeing the results of such moral decline today, in the entertainment field, in the government, in the public schools, and in business practices. It may be true that twenty years from now, America will hardly be recognizable. God sooner or later will reveal His displeasure, and the consequences will be fearful indeed.
Let us prepare ourselves and our loved ones by pressing into the Lord Jesus as closely as we can, and obeying Him strictly at all times. He will save us and help us to stand. But the casual Christians are going to experience much suffering.
The Servant of the Lord: II
The Servant of the Lord, announced in the forty-second chapter of the Book of Isaiah, is Christ—Head and Body. It appears to me that not every person who professes belief in the Lord Jesus Christ is part of the Body of Christ at this time. There is a firstfruits of the Church, of God's elect, in the present hour. It is they who will be raised from the dead and raised to meet Christ in the air at His coming. They will perform the work of Christ described in the Book of Isaiah.
The rest of the Church will come to maturity in time to be part of the new Jerusalem as it comes down through the new sky and is established as the Kingdom of God upon the earth. I have written in other essays about the temporary division of the Church, the Body of Christ, and so I will not go into detail at this time. It reminds one of David and his mighty men. They were part of Israel but distinguished by their proficiency in war.
I do not advance lightly the radical thought of a temporary division of the Christian Church into a firstfruits and then the balance of the Church. However, the Book of Revelation mentions a firstfruits (Revelation, Chapter Fourteen).
Also, when one thinks about the Lord saying that no person can be His disciple without denying himself and bearing his cross after Christ, and then notices in the Book of Acts that the original Christians all were disciples, it is seen that only a small percentage of today's churchgoers actually are Christians. The standard set by Christ and His Apostles simply is not attained to by most believers.
Perhaps this is why the Gospel has been watered down in our day, such that anyone who "accepts Christ" (a term not found in the Bible) is eternally assured of residence in Heaven regardless of his or her growth into a new creation of righteous behavior.
Any individual who examines objectively the Christian churches of our day can observe that not very many "believers" are presenting their body a living sacrifice and have no intention of doing so.
So when we declare the Servant of the Lord is Christ and His Body, and that only a firstfruits of the Church of the present hour qualify as a member of the Servant of the Lord, we have objective evidence that such is the case.
The forty-third chapter of the Book of Isaiah continues with Divine statements concerning the Servant of the Lord, whom we believe consists at this time of the most consecrated believers. They will appear with Christ and establish the rule of the Kingdom of God on the earth. The remainder of the Christian people must wait until the final resurrection before taking part in their predestined role as members of the Royal Priesthood, as an integral part of the new Jerusalem.
But now, this is what the LORD says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: do not fear, for I have redeemed you; have summoned you by name; you are mine. (Isaiah 43:1)
Whenever Isaiah speaks of the Servant of the Lord, referring to him as Jacob, he is not speaking of the Jews by physical birth but of those who are called to be members of the Royal Priesthood, whether Jew or Gentile by physical birth. They are the one Seed of Abraham, in whom the nations of the earth shall be blessed.
Each such member is a special creation, called from the beginning of the world to be part of Christ. God forms such individuals into new creations of righteous behavior. God already has redeemed us. God has called us by name. We belong to Him in a special way, just as was true of the members of the Aaronic priesthood.
And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:30)
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. (Isaiah 43:2)
Every true Christian disciple experiences this promise. We go through very deep waters indeed, but they do not go over our head; we do not drown. We go through hot fires, but somehow, like the three young Hebrew men, we are not burned.
God delights in those whom He has called to be members of the Body of Christ, of the Servant of the Lord. He watches over and cherishes them. Although there are times when they feel forsaken, He always is there making certain they are not tested beyond what they are able to bear.
Don't ever give up. Keep on pressing forward. God always is there watching. If your testing is severe, it is because God has prepared a throne for you from which you will govern and bless your inheritance of people.
It may seem at times like you will drown or be set ablaze, but you won't. Just keep trusting, if your tests last for many years. And they may!
Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. (Isaiah 43:4)
There is no need for us to fear the tumult in the world. All of these chaotic conditions have as their purpose to bring forth the brothers of Christ. This may not seem fair or democratic, but it is the truth.
I think many of God's people do not realize what it means to be called as a "saint," a holy one of God. It doesn't seem fair that God would call out from the ranks of mankind a special people for his own use. But this was true of the nation of Israel, wasn't it? The Israelites were called out from the rest of the nations, although there was no merit in them that would cause God to do this.
This calling remains on the nation of Israel to the present day. There are some who would destroy Israel. But they labor in vain. Israel is the only nation that God has chosen to know Him in a special way, and He will defend Israel when necessary.
Those of us who are Gentiles by physical birth have been chosen to be part of the one Seed of Abraham, along with those Jews who have been chosen in like manner. We ought therefore to seek God with all our might that we might be found worthy of this high calling. We are not of the world, because the God of Heaven has called us out of the world that we might be a special treasure for Himself.
This may not seem fair to us. But it is the truth. If we are wise we will serve the Lord with a perfect heart. Otherwise our crown may be removed from us and given to another.
I will say to the north, "Give them up!" and to the south, "Do not hold them back." Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made. (Isaiah 43:6,7)
Our Lord Jesus told us that when we Christians are one, the world will believe that it is the God of Heaven who has sent Jesus into the world. That day is coming. The time of denominationalism is nearly over. There will be pressures in the future that will compel the true believers to come out of the man-made structures and become one in Christ.
This will be true of everyone whom God created for His glory, whom He formed and made. As I said, there are a relatively few Christian churchgoers who reveal in themselves the new creation of righteous behavior. The remainder are good people, (although some are malicious and do not have the Spirit of Christ.) But they are not abiding in Christ. They are not living in the Spirit of God but in the lusts and passions of the flesh.
The day will come when the firstfruits of the Bride of the Lamb will be filled with the Glory of Christ. All who see them will acknowledge that they are the Seed whom the Lord has blessed. They will be referred to as the ministers of God, The Lord Jesus said that this revelation of Himself will be seen by all mankind, causing numerous people to believe and turn to the Lord.
Lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf. (Isaiah 43:8)
The people of the world see, but they do not see. The members of the Servant of the Lord do not see, but they see. Each of us needs to pray that we do not see the world as the world sees itself, but we see the world as God sees the world. That which is highly esteemed among men often is an abomination to God.
All the nations gather together and the peoples assemble. Which of their gods foretold this and proclaimed to us the former things? Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right, so that others may hear and say, "It is true." (Isaiah 43:9)
It is the way of the world to boast of its prowess and to proclaim what the future will be. This especially is true in our day because of the increase of electronic media. Such prideful boasting! But the world spirit is one massive Antichrist lie. Only that which has been proclaimed by the Lord Jesus will prove in the end to be the truth.
"You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior." (Isaiah 43:10,11)
There is a great deal said in the Christian churches about "witnessing." Actually, what is meant is preaching to others, telling them about the salvation that is in Jesus Christ.
However, true witnessing occurs when we know and believe Christ. God alone makes witnesses of Himself. I think it requires quite a long period of time before we can bear witness as God intends.
When we go through the waters and not drown, then we can testify of that. When we pass through the flames and are not destroyed, then we can testify of that. Many experiences through the years teach us about God's faithfulness. We then can bear witness of His faithfulness. Isn't it so?
So preaching and personal evangelism are one thing. Witnessing is something else. There is a great deal of preaching in America in our day; but the witness being given is not always a true representation of God, His Person, His ways, His will, and His eternal purpose in Christ. Would you agree to that?
Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it? (Isaiah 43:13)
There is so much unrest among nations in our day. But we have no need to fear. No one can deliver from God's hand those appointed to judgment. If we are serving the Lord Jesus, God will keep us safe from those who would harm us.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. (Isaiah 43:18)
A few years ago, the Lord said to me in effect: "There is going to be much sin and commotion in the days to come. Put your eyes on Me. I am going to do new and surprising things that will be more than sufficient to cope with the problems in the world. Look to me and be strictly obedient. Forget the past ways of doing things."
So we see that the nations will scheme and rage. But all of this uproar is the pains of birth as the Kingdom of God and the new world of righteousness are ready to be brought forth. We have no need to fear the boastings and threats of evil men. They soon shall be brought down to nothing.
However, if we are to be safe during these terrible days, and to be able to help our loved ones and friends, we must—we absolutely must!—learn to live by the Life of Jesus. Again I say, we must live by the life of Jesus. It must be said of us that we are living no longer but it is Christ who is living in us.
We can learn to live by the Life of Jesus, but we must continually ask the Lord to help us do this.
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)
(Taken from "The Servant of the Lord: II," an excerpt from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson. Copyright © 2011, by Robert B. Thompson.)
Prepare the Way of the Lord!
I think all of us Christians believe the return of Christ to the earth is near. What we may not realize is that the way of the Lord must be prepared. The world will not be prepared for His sudden appearing. But we who believe in Christ must be made ready for Him. This preparation is taking place today.
It seems to be the prevailing concept, at least that which is held by evangelical, fundamental Christians, that Christ is coming at any moment to whisk His Church into Heaven in order to avoid the troubles on the horizon.
This belief is neither scriptural nor reasonable nor logical.
It is not scriptural. There is no passage in the Bible that says Christ will return to remove His Church from the earth and bring her to Heaven so she may not have to endure trouble. In fact, Jesus Himself said He was not praying that God would take us out of the world but that God would deliver us from the evil one.
It is not reasonable. It is certain that believer cannot be lifted up to meet the Lord in the air until they first have been raised from the dead, that is, changed from mortality into immortality. Once they thus have been changed, neither Antichrist nor any other evil force can in any manner harm them. So why would Christ have to live immortal saints into the air to escape harm?
It is not logical. The believers of today, especially in America, live in the pursuits of their fallen nature. How many Christian people do you know who have denied themselves, taken up their cross, and are diligently following the Lord each day—that is, when they can tear themselves away from the television? Not very many, I am afraid. Therefore they are not disciples. Therefore they are not Christians, because "Christian" is another name for a "disciple."
If we are under the impression that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming with the victorious saints of all ages in order to receive to Himself millions of half-hearted, double-minded, lukewarm American church members, we are living in a delusion.
The American holocaust is on the horizon, sponsored by the babies that have been aborted without good and sufficient reason. During this season of Divine judgment we will discover that Christ’s way is not to remove us from trouble but to deliver us in the midst of trouble, as He did Daniel, as well as the three young Hebrew men.
What, then, can a believer do to prepare the way of the coming of the Lord to him or her?
First, he must realize that every son God receives He chastens. This means fiery trials to burn away our sin and self-will. God goes to war against every person He receives. He does not comfort us until our warfare has been accomplished.
@SCRIPTURE = 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 40:2)
Peter speaks of fiery trials. Isaiah tell us about the barren from whom God has turned away for a brief season, about being angry with us. We must receive a double portion of chastening before God will receive and comfort us.
If you have experienced this season of imprisonment you know exactly what I mean. If you have not, then pray that you will stand in the hour of testing.
The crooked places in your personality must be straightened out. Like most of us, you probably are deceitful. You are Jacob with the wounded heel, always trying to prove that your underhanded ways are actually righteous. You are a supplanter until your warfare, your hard service, has been completed.
The high places in your personality must be brought down. You may be arrogant, in love with yourself, presumptuous, expecting Christ to be your servant and give you all you want "right now, thank you." The Lord’s prison has a way of humbling the most proud, arrogant believer until he or she walks humbly with God.
The rough places must be smoothed out. A little lying; a little adultery; a little profanity; a little gossip; a little dabbling in the occult. Who among us can walk with the consuming Fire of Israel? He who has clean hands and a pure heart. How wonderful to live in the center of the Divine Fire! There absolutely is no other place to live in as wonderful as this? But everything that can be burned shall be burned. Covet this purifying!
The low places must be brought up God cannot work with timid, shy, fearful people. The titanic battle between good and evil is upon us. We must seek Christ until we are strong and of a good courage. How many times did God tell Joshua to be strong and of a good courage!
We might have gotten by this far in our church by pleading shyness, or self-consciousness, or whatever. Look at Revelation 21:8 and see who is the first candidate for the Lake of Fire!
Christ indeed will nourish the weak and care for them. But He intends to bring forth victory in them, and that means a personality who boldly trusts in Christ and goes forth in strength and confidence in the Lord Jesus.
Prepare the way of the Lord in your heart! The high comes down. The low comes up. The crooked is straightened out. The rough is smoothed out.
All flesh is as grass. Our natural life is temporary. Jesus told us the flesh profits nothing. Let us call on Jesus and ask Him to make us ready for His coming. He is life eternal. He is That who endures and cannot be shaken. Our mortal life soon shall wither and die, passing away like the grass of the field. Bright and green one moment. Dead and lifeless the next.
Who among us will seek true value, that which is eternal, that which brings everlasting love, joy, and peace?
Prepare the way of the Lord!
Surviving the Decline of America
I am 83 years old. I have seen a good deal of American history throughout my lifetime. I remember Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal very clearly. Happy days were here again and my father got a job.
You know, it is a sad thing to see our great nation forsake its heritage. The once mighty United States of America is on the decline. This has happened to great nations of the past, hasn’t it. And always for the same reason—sin!
The issue is not the liberals or the conservatives, the Democrats or the Republicans, the black people or the white people. There are good people in all of these categories, and also wicked people. Rather, the issue is sin.
I believe, after prayer, that God’s main concern regarding America is abortion-on-demand. I realize there are occasions, such as a life-threatening medical condition, or rape, when God could condone an abortion. And as far as limiting the population of a third-world population for economic reasons, it would seem that preventing conception in the first place would be preferable to abortion.
But in America when so often the problem is one of convenience, or of establishing the "reproductive rights" of the female, murdering the developing fetus is simply not acceptable.
I asked the Lord how he felt about the millions of babies being murdered in America. This is what I believe He said: "I am going to avenge Myself, and the murdered babies as well. I am holding every man, woman, boy, and girl in America responsible for these murders."
You may argue, "You certainly were not hearing from God."
My suggestion is, "Ask God for yourself. The Bible says, let the prophets speak and let the others judge. So go to God and ask Him if what I heard was actually from Him. Don’t guess, ask God.
So I said, "What then shall we do?"
He said, "Get as close to Jesus as you can and obey all He tells you to do. Everyone who does this, whether man, woman, boy, or girl, will be spared the fury of My wrath."
We are not talking about tribulation here but about wrath. Tribulation enables us to enter the Kingdom of God. But wrath is destructive.
Do you think for one moment I would lightly quote God in such a manner? God would punish me for being a false witness. So please do as I suggest. Go to God and ask for yourself. See what His attitude is toward the practice of abortion-on-demand.
I do not care how wise are the forthcoming governmental decisions. America will grow increasingly weak, financially, militarily, educationally, physically, mentally, unless the government condemns and halts the practice of unneeded abortions.
If I am not hearing from Christ, then the country can relax. But if I am hearing from Christ, then our country is in about as bad a situation as is possible.
Regarding boys and girls at the age of accountability. They need to throw out the electronic games. Many of these games deal with demons, supernatural creatures or events, horrible-looking creatures, ghouls, snakes, dragons, and violence. All of these open the door for spiritual darkness to enter the home. Many youngsters will commit horrible crimes as a result of exposing themselves to these wicked games.
It is our fault as parents and adults. We have permitted the young people to become so involved with this witchcraft, and this indeed is what it is, that they cannot conceive of living without their electronic games. Only the most determined of the boys and girls will be able to give up these games.
I found it quite strange that God said He was holding all of the American people, including the boys and girls, responsible for the abortions that have occurred and are occurring. Since I am a responsible pastor and not some kind of nutcase, I am well aware of the consternation my declaration could occasion.
My alternative is to permit humanistic considerations to modify what I think God told me so it is more acceptable and "reasonable." However I am not even tempted to do that, because I have found in a Christian experience of over sixty years that it is best to do and say exactly what God says to do and say, and later we see the wisdom of it. Have you found this to be true.
Our Lord Jesus seems to be more real to me now than at any previous period of my discipleship. I believe He is telling me that because of the rise of the Antichrist spirit in our nation we are going to need to talk to Him constantly throughout the day and night if we are to survive.
The spiritual powers that are appearing in our nation and on the world scene are far stronger and wiser that any we have known. We simply are no match for them in political power are any other power or wisdom. Only Jesus sits as King of the flood. Only Jesus has more wisdom, authority, and power than the greatest of the titans of darkness that God has permitted to invade the earth in the closing days of time.
God knows exactly what He is doing and is in perfect control. He is shaking the earth and the heavens so only that which has been founded on Christ can maintain its position. The Christian activities and professions we have believed to be our guaranty that we cannot be harmed spiritually will vanish before the spiritual onslaught that is approaching.
We can survive and we can help our loved ones and friends to survive during the decline of the American way of life. But we will have to press into Jesus continually. We will have to think about that which is pure, lovely, wholesome, and not participate with those who are seeking that which is ugly, horrible, gruesome.
One of our greatest temptation will be to fret over the actions and words of wicked people, with which America seems to be filled. We simply must not fret! We must set our minds and emotions on that which is above. We must place our treasures in Heaven, understanding that our pilgrimage on the earth is only for a brief season.
If we seek to save our life, we are going to lose it. If we lose our life for Jesus’ sake, we will preserve it.
Make no mistake. Dreadful, terrible days are approaching our nation. I understand the unscriptural doctrine of the any-moment rapture of the believer will cause many to ignore the preparations I have mentioned. Therefore in the hour of calamity they will be of no help to themselves, their loved ones, or their friends. They have not prepared themselves to stand in the evil day, as the Apostle commanded.
I think America finally will survive as a nation, but we no longer will exert leadership in the world. We are throwing away the blessing of God that was gained by the hard work and faith in God of our forefathers. We are throwing it away as we watch the wicked people on the late-night television shows mock and blaspheme God and all that is holy and righteous.
You can let the troubles that are coming press you into Jesus. That would please Him, and he will enable you to save yourself and those who follow you.
Get Off the Throne!
Within each human being there is a throne room. The throne room is the area of decision making. God has created that room in us so He and Christ can dwell in us. Most human beings, included those who make a profession of belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, sit on the throne of their own personality. We can enter the Kingdom of God only as we get off the throne and put God and Christ on that throne.
It is obvious that the Christian churches are not bearing the image of God in themselves. This is because we have experienced only the first two of the three great works of redemption. We have been forgiven through the blood atonement. We have been filled with God's Spirit, and are familiar with the gifts and ministries of the Spirit.
However, most of us have not entered the third platform of redemption. We are not certain there is such a third work; and if there is, we would like to know more about it.
In the Father's house there are many abiding places. The Father's house is the Lord Jesus Christ. We are being made the many rooms in that eternal house. We are living stones in the structure. We were born to be the dwelling place of God.
In order for God to dwell in us we must be willing to get off the throne of our life. This is a personal decision each individual must make, if he or she is to move past Pentecost into the spiritual experience of the feast of Tabernacles.
We were born with the ability to make up our own mind; to make our own decisions; to plan our own way. But to be in the Kingdom of God we learn to look to the Lord for our decisions; to know what path to take.
This is a difficult decision for most of us. Nevertheless, there is no other way. Either we invite the Lord into the throne room of our life, or else we continue as a wanderer in the universe.
The Lord Jesus is knocking at the door of the Laodiceans. He is requesting entrance that He may dine with us: we on His body and blood; He on our obedience and worship.
An era of physical and moral horrors is approaching the United States of America. If we are to stand we must "die in the Lord." It will be an hour when no man can work. But God will work in those who have chosen to get off the throne and accept Christ as their personal Lord.
If we are to survive in the coming spiritual darkness, and be of help to our loved ones and friends, we absolutely must make that personal decision to die in the Lord; to declare that our life is over and from now on we are living in the Life of Christ. "I am crucified with Christ. Yet I live. But it is Christ living in me."
If we are willing to joyously submit to God and let Him have His wonderful way, we may experience years of delayed gratification. We may have to continue in hope and trust; because everyone God receives He chastens. Those whom Christ loves He rebukes and chastens until the peaceable fruit of righteousness comes forth.
If we remain faithful to the point of death, there will come a time when we are permitted back on the throne of our own personality. Now the Father, the Son, and we are dwelling together in love, joy, and peace in one body.
Whoever overcomes the obstacles placed before him, just as our Lord overcame the obstacles placed before Him, will sit with Him on His throne.
Heaven is not God's house, it is God's throne. It is the place from which God governs. As of now, Heaven is located in the spirit realm and is invisible to us. But it is God's will that His throne move into the hearts of His saints. When God does this, the saints become "heaven."
Think about this. If you were to die and go to Heaven, and God and Christ were not there, would it be "heaven"? No, it would not; because Heaven is God and Christ. The rest is environment.
Well, if Christ has been formed in you, and the Father and the Son are abiding eternally in the throne room of your personality, and are governing from there, isn't it true that you are experiencing what Heaven is?
For so long we have pictured heaven as an area where we go some day. There is a place termed "Heaven." "Our Father who is in Heaven." Christ is in Heaven at the right hand of God.
But Heaven is not an area that we could travel to in a space ship. Heaven is in another dimension. In fact, it is all around us. We are surrounded with a cloud of witnesses. We already have come to Mount Zion.
So when we say the Throne of almighty God is entering us, we do not mean it is coming down from a long distance away. We mean that which is invisible to us is being revealed in us so all of God's creatures may be blessed and guided by Him.
The Christian Church shall be brought to perfection by the third work of redemption, as we are willing to surrender our own life that Christ may live in us. As the Church approaches perfection, the nations of the earth will be able to behold His Glory in us. He shall not have given His Glory to another, because it is He Himself who has been formed in us and now is dwelling in us.
It is true that we are approaching an age of moral and physical horrors. God has designed a most marvelous solution for us. It is not that we will be caught up to Heaven in our immaturity and foolishness. What good would that do? It would be out of the frying pan into the fire for us.
Rather God's solution for the dark days ahead of us is to make His home in us. We are to become the place of God's eternal rest. When the Father and the Son are living in us, there is no horror, no terror that can harm us in any manner. During that night no man will be able to work. But it will be a period of the greatest glory and fruitfulness for those who have "died in the Lord."
We studied the third chapter of the Book of Hebrews this morning. It is clear from this chapter that after we have been saved and have spoken in tongues, which was true of these Hebrews Christians, we still have not attained to the goal that has been set before us. In fact, we will not be a partaker of Christ until we persevere to the end of our discipleship.
The writer is telling us that God has set before us a "rest," as typified by Canaan. The Israelites, because of unbelief and disobedience, did not enter the rest of God. They did not become a "partaker of Christ," to speak in a figure.
The difficulties and hindrances experienced by the Israelites were thirst, a hostile environment in the wilderness through which they traveled on foot, wild animals, enemies, and other problems of every sort. These caused them to complain and rebel against the Lord.
Our difficulties, hindrances, and distractions are of a different kind. They are dissipation, drunkenness, and the anxieties of life, to use the Lord's words.
We have been exhorted, in the New Testament, to put our treasures in Heaven; to set our affection on things above. This means to become conscious of the spirit world and to take time to pray and read our Bible every day. But the American culture crushes the spiritual life out of us. It leaves little time for waiting on the Lord each day. Consequently we easily are deceived.
Unless we set aside at least an hour a day to wait on the Lord and meditate in the Scriptures, we are not going to stand spiritually during the coming days in America. If we do not have time because of our busy schedule, then we must ask Christ to make time for us, and to give us the desire and strength to pray. This absolutely is necessary, or we are going to fall spiritually before long.
God has set a "rest," a Canaan, before us. There are three major aspects of our Canaan, our inheritance. They are an eternal position in the heart of God such that we are living in untroubled rest in the center of His will; change into a personality identical to that of the Lord Jesus; and the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth for our possession. We have to labor to enter into this rest because so many distractions keep us from following Christ as closely as we must if we are to enter our land of promise.
America is a very difficult environment in which to press into the rest of God. We are barraged with every sort of material wealth and luxury, and these keep us from the wonderful experience of living in Christ.
At night I stressed what must become the viewpoint of every disciple of the Lord. It is that all we are experiencing in this present world is a teaching-testing curriculum to see how we will behave when we die and become eligible for the true riches that the Lord has prepared for those who love Him.
Adam and Eve were given Paradise on earth. Because of their lack of training, they were unable to keep their heavenly gift. It was withdrawn, and Adam and Eve were forced into the backbreaking work of farming. What a miserable existence, after having been living in Heaven on earth! But such always will result from disobedience.
God has sent His Son to make an atonement for the sins of people, enabling them to be reconciled to God. God tested His Son in the fires of life on earth until His obedience was proven beyond all doubt. Then God gave all authority and power in Heaven and on the earth to His Son. This marks the beginning of the Kingdom of God.
The next phase in the setting up of the Kingdom of God is the development of lesser kings and lords. Jesus Christ is King of these kings and Lord of these lords.
Each of these lesser rulers must be tested in the fires of earth, as was the highest of all Kings. This is what is taking place today. God is going through the earth, examining those who have been saved and filled with His Spirit, to see who is willing to press forward to the fullness of their inheritance.
It is impossible for worldwide peace to be established until the King, and the kings who rule under Him, return from Heaven and go throughout the earth, forcing out all that is of Satan. Satan himself will be bound by one angel and thrown into the bottomless pit.
Now the nations of the earth will come up to Jerusalem to be taught and governed by the lesser kings. They will be taught the Sermon on the Mount, and will cease altogether from killing each other. The earth will never see such peace until Christ returns.
This marvelous hope of the future can be made possible only as some of us are willing to follow Christ in total obedience to God. We will not be tested as severely as Christ was, because we are not strong enough for this. But we will be tested to the full extent of our ability to respond in obedience.
Fiery trials are ahead for those whom God has called to the thrones of the universe. We can overcome through all these testings, but we must place our treasures in Heaven. We must live with one foot in the present world and one foot in the spirit world. We must be citizens of both worlds if we are to survive.
Please keep in mind that Christ is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted above the grace God has given you. He will make a way to escape in every case. It may seem that all is lost. Your future is grim, chaotic, and incapable of being understood.
Whatever you do, never, never, never quit. Press on through every pain and problem. God is there. He is preparing you to judge, rule, and bless multitudes of people in the future.
So we see that we should not attempt to insure our joy in the present world. If we do try to make our present life "heaven on earth," we will be deceived. Our purpose in being here is to be prepared for a better world. If we fasten on making ourselves comfortable and happy now, we will be pierced with unbearable remorse when we die and enter the spirit world. We will be able to see that our inheritance has been given to another. We will turn away and of our own will enter the darkness, because we will not be able to stand the sight of the victorious saints rejoicing in the Presence of the Lamb.
The Gospel of the Kingdom always has been a hope for the future. Today we in American are seeking to make it a means of obtaining what we desire now. Thus we have been burned and do not realize it. We are losing our eternal inheritance while we are clutching the weak, perishing pleasures of the present world.
Let each one of us begin to view our present life as preparation for a future that will be glorious beyond our most fantastic imaginations. Let us make sure that every treasure has been placed in Heaven. If we do, that is where our heart will be. Only then will we be free to dance among the stars with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Three Areas of Temptation
There are three areas of temptation that can kill the witness of God. They are "Egypt," "Sodom," and "Jerusalem."
Egypt represents the antichrist spirit of the world.
Sodom represents the lusts of our flesh.
Jerusalem represents self-will in religion.
Let's consider the first area—the antichrist spirit of the world.
The earth and its resources, the world, and they who live therein, are of God. They were created by Him and belong to Him.
However, the spirit of the world is not good. It is evil. It is filled with the antichrist spirit. It is against Christ. Whoever loves the world spirit is the enemy of God.
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (I John 15-17)
This is why Christians in the United States have such a difficult time trying to serve the Lord. The values of the world are impressed on us continually by the television, the Internet, and the newspapers.
I have lived long enough to understand that most of the information that comes to us each day is a lie. As Jesus said, "Things that are highly esteemed among men are an abomination to God."
Probably the biggest lie of all is the preeminence given to the acquiring of money. As in most cultures, in America we need money for the necessities of life. God has promised that we shall have what we need, if we seek first the Kingdom of God. And so we shall.
Money is the only alien god that Jesus mentioned, saying no man can serve Mammon and God at the same time. Paul said that money is a root of all evil. It is true.
We hardly could find one page of a daily newspaper that did not have something to do with money. I do believe money is the image of Antichrist, the god of the world spirit.
People hoard money because they do not want to have to depend on God. Ordinarily, the more money people have the more alternatives they have. A rich man can choose to take his family on a long vacation. A poor man does not have this alternative. A rich man has the power to do many things that are not possible to someone who is poor.
The poor man has to pray about everything he needs and wants. A rich man does not have to do this. He can buy what he needs and wants. Therefore God has given His Kingdom to the poor.
I am not suggesting that God desires that all of His saints be impoverished. When we are serving God with all our heart, God sees to it that we have what we need. I am speaking rather of the accumulation of wealth, and the use of it to avoid having to depend on God.
Power over people is the goal of the politician. This is part of the antichrist spirit. The current year, 2012, is an election year in the United States. Every kind of lie, crime, villainy, is used to gain political office.
Politicians often present themselves as working on behalf of the people. They are in politics to make a better life for people, they claim. But when we watch their actions we see they are more interested in their position of power than they are in seeking the betterment of mankind.
I have noticed that in the governments of the world there is much sin. This probably is due to Satan's lust for power and worship. I suppose that being president, or prime minister, or some other high office, opens doors to those who attain to such an exalted position.
But when we see how hard the exalted leaders have to work, the worries they experience, the burdens they carry, we gather that there is a lust for power operating. I do not know about you, but I would not desire to wake up in the morning and realize that if I made some stupid move it could cause the lives and welfare of millions of people to suffer.
It is an illusion, a lie. Who could have peace in such a situation! And as for the person's reputation and legacy, I think most people are too busy with their own problems to spend much time thinking about any political leader—past or present. in fact, there often is a good deal of hatred toward political leaders, and they have to surround themselves with bodyguards for this reason.
If it is creature comforts and luxury that are at issue, many of the high-ranking politicians in America are millionaires and do not need the money that comes from political office. Perhaps they have a desire to shape the destiny of the people they represent. But what if they are in error and actually are causing harm to people? Then they have been pursuing a lie and their life is meaningless----or worse!
Today there is a ruler of a Middle Eastern country who is struggling to maintain power. He is causing thousands of men, women, and children to be wounded, or tortured, or killed in order that he can remain in his office. Is this not satanic wickedness? And yet, such grasping of power at the expense of others is not as rare as we might wish.
Fame, glory, honor, money, power, are highly esteemed by the world. They are not highly esteemed by the Lord. Our life is in God's hands—now, and when we pass into the spirit world. God can give us righteousness, love, peace, and joy; or He can deprive us of these and leave us to exist in a dry place. Or He can send us to torment. How foolish we are if we live in a manner that will not result in our receiving a warm welcome from Christ when we die and enter the spirit world. It would have been better for us never to have been born.
No one is shielded from God's judgment. He or she may or may not escape punishment while alive on the earth. But there is the spirit world to consider as well as the Day of Resurrection. And God has a perfect memory!
The Bible claims that the whole duty of man is to walk humbly with God. Our Lord Jesus lived this way. He possessed righteousness, love, joy, and peace, which are the greatest good any person can attain to. Yet the spirit of antichrist was infuriated that such a person should live on the earth and had Him put to death. So utterly perverse is the world spirit.
The world spirit is a deceiver. Whoever strives to please the world is foolish. The world reflects the personality of Satan. It rewards people momentarily, only to turn on them later and laugh while they are filled with excruciating remorse because of having betrayed honest people.
The wicked may exalt themselves for a brief moment. But soon they are gone from the scenes of earth and are explaining to God why they betrayed those who trusted in them. Then they are led away to the Land of Darkness to live with the memory of what might have been had they been a decent person.
Such is the love of the world, one of the three areas that destroy an individual's ability to bear a true witness of God.
A second area that destroys the testimony is "Sodom," the lusts of the flesh. Sexual lust is one of the most powerful forces operating in the world. This is true of America. The ruins of Pompeii reveal that such lust is nothing new.
God has placed the reproductive urge in people for the purpose of keeping the earth populated. But today I think the urge is far more intense than it was in the beginning. The reason may be that when people filled with lust die and pass into the spirit world, they become demons. Where else did the demons of lust come from that torment us today? They are not fallen angels!
So as time goes by there are an increasing number of demons of lust that fasten on people young and old. I said years ago that the power of temptation is going to increase until even Christians, unless they are filled with Christ, will succumb against their will.
For this reason we pray continually, "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one."
I suppose there always has been pornography, but nothing like today. The graphics industry has made it possible for everyone to experience sexual lust. Such exposure to lust is without precedence in history.
Homosexuality and other forms of sexual perversion are making every effort to be regarded as normal. The lesson of Sodom appears to be lost on us. There are people and institutions who are endeavoring to deliver people from homosexual lust. They are up against powerful forces in our culture, even in the government. Let us pray continually that those who are endeavoring to bring decency back into the America culture will be successful.
In some instances, public nudity is seeking more acceptance. Such a parade of naked flesh causes us to appear foolish and silly. Our display is not attractive, in that we are in animal bodies. Also, the Bible regards nakedness as sinful.
There are other lusts that are resident in our flesh. They collectively form our "sinful nature." They must be spirits, and therefore can be cast out. They certainly are not carbon compounds. They are not organic in nature. They are spiritual forces and compulsions.
As we walk in obedience to the Spirit of God, He points out to us these various compulsions. We are to put them to death, by confessing them to Christ; denouncing them as evil; renouncing them, proclaiming with all our strength, as Christ helps us, that we never, never again are going to practice such behavior.
Then we are to press into Christ. The next time we are tempted along the line that we have confessed and renounced, we will discover that we now have the strength to resist the devil—strength we did not have previously.
Some of the forces in our flesh in addition to sexual lust are as follows: hatred, anger, lying, stealing, arrogance, haughtiness, jealousy, witchcraft, a love of preeminence, greed, malice, impatience, harshness, filthy talk, profanity, drunkenness, treachery, loss of self-control.
All of the above are spiritual darkness. They are not of the image of God. In order to serve as God's witness in the last days we have to be set free from each of these.
Such deliverance may appear impossible. However, it is not. The Spirit of God will help us. The sinful forces in our flesh are not endless in number. Christ is the Omega as well as the Alpha. He will finish what He has begun. If you do not believe that Christ is able to set you free from each behavior I have mentioned, and other similar practices, you do not understand the power God has given to Christ.
Christ is completely able to both forgive and deliver you. You did not participate in the forgiveness aspect of the atonement. But you will have to do your part in the deliverance aspect, by confessing and renouncing your sins.
Israel did not have to protect themselves during the first Passover. They did have to sprinkle the blood of the lamb on their door posts. But they had to fight, with the Lord's help, in order to enter and possess their inheritance in the land of promise.
So it is true that Christ took care of the beginning of our salvation. But now that we are seeking to enter the rest of God we have to join with Christ in driving Satan from our own bodies, and then from the remainder of God's creation.
The first area of temptation that can prevent our bearing a true witness of God is involvement in the spirit of the world.
The second area of temptation that can prevent our bearing a true witness of God is found in the several lusts and passions that dwell in our flesh.
The third area of temptation that can prevent our bearing a true witness of God is our self-will.
God created man with a brain and a will of his own. He can use his brain to solve all the problems that confront him; to make every decision with which he is faced.
However, when God presents to man the prospect of becoming a life-giving spirit, man finds that in order to be this new man in the image of Christ he must surrender to God the right and ability to solve his own problems; to make his own decisions.
Throughout history as well as in our own time, people have chosen to employ their own abilities to solve their problems, to make their decisions. When God informs us that we must allow Christ to solve our problems, to make our decisions, we may draw back. This is more than "accepting Christ" as a ticket to Heaven. This is to surrender our very life to another individual!
Is this what God wants—for us to ask Christ to live in us; think in us; speak in us; act in us?
Please do not interpret me to mean that we are to become an "empty vessel," as some have thought, so that Christ possesses us.
Rather it is a case of our remaining very much alive and continually choosing to have Christ making these decisions. To put it one way, we might say that Christ is standing at the door of our life and knocking. This is true every time we face a problem or decision. The Son of God is standing there waiting to see if we are going to solve the problem using our own resources, or ask Him to guide us to the solution.
Let us say we are deciding whether to go to the store, or to stay home and read. Of course, there might be some urgent reason why we are obligated to do one or the other. In that case we do not look for Christ to make the decision. It was made for us by circumstances beyond our control. Perhaps we have a sick child and have to go out to buy a prescribed medicine.
So we get in our car. We drive to the drugstore. The clerk tells us we can buy 100 pills for ten dollars or 200 pills for fifteen dollars, a saving of five dollars should we eventually need more pills.
We can do one of two things. We can debate within ourselves the possibility that we will probably need more than 100 pills, since the prescription is for eight pills per day.
Or, and this is what I personally do, we can immediately look to the Lord for wisdom. I do not say He always speaks to me, although sometimes He does. But one way or another, He guides me to make the correct decision.
Most of us have many decisions, sometimes major problems, at the present moment or that we foresee in the future. We can rely on our own experience and wisdom, or we can keep committing our problems to God; keep looking to Jesus. In this manner we learn to live by His Life. Just as simple as that!
Living in this manner may or may not be urgently necessary for you today, although it may save you much pain. We often take matters for granted, not realizing that Satan has set a trap for us. If we had asked the Lord about some "trivial" matter we might find that although everything seems simple and straightforward, there really is a hidden danger here.
But I am writing for the day to come in America. Because of our widespread immorality, turning away from our Christian God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and indulging in every sort of material greed and lusts of the flesh, God is turning away from us. This means terrible trouble in the future.
If we have learned how to live by the will of Christ, instead of our own will, we will be able to thread our way through the minefield of disasters that Satan will put in front of every American, particularly American Christians.
If we waste the present time, trusting in a lawless grace, hoping for an unscriptural "rapture" to deliver us from trouble, we are heading toward great pain and suffering. Please keep in mind that Satan hates America because of our prior Christian testimony.
Today the Spirit of God is showing us how to prepare ourselves for the future. The Bible is the general Word of God. But there is a specific Word of God that comes to each of us each day. We must keep on praying that we can hear that specific Word, because it is our life. We are to live by every Word of God that is addressed to us personally, not just by natural food.
There is to be a revival of unprecedented power before the Lord returns. God' witnesses will proclaim the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. He is preparing His witnesses today.
Each witness must gain complete victory over the temptation to look to the world for survival, safety, pleasure, and success. Egypt.
Each witness must gain complete victory over the temptation to yield to the burning lusts and passions of the flesh. Sodom.
Each witness must gain complete victory over the temptation to live by his or her own will and ambitions. The wing of the Temple in Jerusalem.
Their bodies will lie in the street of the great city, which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. (Revelation 11:8)
I have chosen to live by the Life of Jesus rather than by my own life. How about you?
Self-will and Presumption
It may be true that in all of past Christian history, there never has been, except for a few outstanding exceptions, anywhere near the amount of knowledge that is true today. Some of the current topics, such as the Body of Christ, the gifts and ministries of the Spirit, the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, were not, it seems to me, in the possession of the average believer.
However, while the opportunity to reach the fullness possible in Christ is present in our time, there is a corresponding danger. The danger is that of self-will and presumption in the things of Christ.
I have been teaching for years that the Charismatic churches will be split on this issue: are we to go forth with our knowledge and gifts and attempt to build the Church and save the world now?; or are we to return to Christ and wait until He reveals His plan to us each day and obey what He shows us?
Anyone who thinks it is easy to do nothing until one hears from the Lord, when the majority of leaders and people are crying "sons of God, march forward," has never tried it. We end up appearing as an impractical "loser" who ought to rise up and "do something for Christ." I settled the question for myself many years ago. If Christ does not make a move, I am dead in the water, as they say.
Well, are the sons of God to march forward, or are they to return and wait for Christ to show us what to do and enable us to do what He is commanding?
I am not speaking of passivity but of a dynamic looking to Christ every day and every night until we know what we are doing. The Old Testament gives us Abraham as an example of the chaos wrought by not seeking to fulfill the promise until God’s time.
What would Church history have been like if none of the Christians took a major step until he or she heard from the Lord? Would anything have been accomplished in the Kingdom?
Then the word of the LORD came to me: "The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this temple; his hands will also complete it. Then you will know the LORD Almighty has sent me to you." (Zechariah 4:8,9). At this point, Zerubbabel represents the Lord Jesus Christ.
What about it? Will Christ complete the eternal Temple of God or won’t He? Is it our responsibility to go out and build, using our common sense, or are we to wait on Christ so He is able to use us to build His Church by His own wisdom and power? Did Christ say or did He not that He shall build His Church? An extremely important question in our day, given the spiritual knowledge available to us.
I have been speaking about the two witnesses, the sixth such set of two witnesses from the time of Adam and Eve. Each of God’s set of two witnesses heralds a new day in God’s working with mankind; the new day will come forth from the witnesses, just as the day of physical form came from Adam and Eve; and the new day will last for eternity. People always will look like people, no matter how glorified; for man is destined to be in the likeness of God.
Then I compared the words of one of the old hymns with what we hear today. What do we hear today?
We are to command the Holy Spirit.
We are to take spiritual dominion over geographic areas.
We are to command the angels.
We are to march forward and "take the world for Christ."
We are to control our circumstances by faith.
We are to speak the creative word.
We are to use our gifts to "save and lost and dying world."
We are to step forth and walk on the water before the Lord bids us come.
We are to look to the Christ in us rather than the Christ at the right of the Father.
The old hymn I chose is "Living for Jesus." Think about the chorus, and compare it with the self-will and presumption in the attitude of today:
"O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee, for Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me;
"I own no other Master, my Heart shall be Thy throne. My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone."
Do you see any difference in the sentiment expressed in "Living for Jesus," as compared with today’s self-willed, presumptuous attitude.
I do! I see a great difference. I see the difference between the "old paths," wherein we are to find rest, and the False Prophet.
What do I mean by the False Prophet? I means Christians who will support Antichrist in the last days. Why will they support Antichrist? Because the False Prophet will have the power of the Lamb (the two horns of the Lamb), but will speak with the voice of the dragon.
What is the voice of the dragon? It is! I will! I will! I will! I will be like the Most High! I will set my throne above the stars of God!
Who is the False Prophet unless it is the believer who is seeking the power of the Lamb but is not walking behind the Lamb in cross-carrying obedience?
After speaking about the seven sets of two witnesses, and the current self-will and presumption (jump off the roof; the angels will bear you up in their hands), I held forth with might and main about the need for each of us to make the following declaration to the Lord Jesus Christ: "As You give me the grace, I will do Your perfect, complete will each moment of each day and night." This declaration must be made verbally and determinedly.
For centuries Satan has told God’s people that no one can do His will perfectly and completely. This monstrous lie has held the believers in guilt and confusion. It is Satan who is never satisfied with our behavior. God’s commandments are not grievous. They are entirely doable when we keep coming to the Mercy Seat for assistance.
Any attitude on the part of the Christian other than that of doing God’s will perfectly and completely is unacceptable. It is rebellion against the only valid will in the universe.
You and I, with all our imperfections, passions, and fears, indeed can do God’s will perfectly; and we are expected to do so.
If you care to do so, declare your determination to God. You will find out that all God requires of you is made possible by Divine wisdom and power so you can walk joyfully before the Lord.
Certainly there are times of severe testing. The people of the world also pass through severe crises. But for those of us who look to Christ, the testing proves to be another step in conforming us to His image and bringing us into untroubled rest in the Person and will of God.
Although I cannot go into it right now (you can read an explanation at here), the present period of time in which we are living may be the preparation for the sixth of the great days of God’s plan for mankind. As such, we can expect from now on the emphasis to be that of making us in God’s image in character, and, at the return of the Lord, in God’s likeness.
Being Born Again and the Kingdom
I do not believe there is a greater promise in God's Word than that of being born again. It is not used much in the New Testament, and never used by the Apostles in the Book of Acts. It is used today to indicate conversion to Christianity. It is infinitely more than that!
In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit." (John 3:3-5)
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. (I Peter 1:23)
And what does it have to do with the Kingdom of God?
Being born again is everything, as far as the Royal Priesthood is concerned. It may be true that only the members of the Royal Priesthood are born again; and the people of the nations who are saved to the new world of righteousness, the "sheep," of Matthew 25, are saved by being washed in the blood of the Lamb but are not born again.
I do not like novelties and I don't preach them. This means I think there is something practical and leads toward righteous behavior on the part of God's people, or I would not suggest the being born again is restricted to the Royal Priesthood and distinguishes them from the remainder of the saved people (who are the majority, by the way).
Think about the new world of righteousness, for example. We have the Throne of God and of the Lamb in the new Jerusalem. Then we have the nations of saved people being governed by, and walking in the light of, the new Jerusalem.
Clear enough? If it is not, please reread Revelation, Chapters 21 and 22.
The is a great wall separating the new Jerusalem from the nations who are governed by it and who walk in its light. It is obvious that the new Jerusalem is the glorified Christian Church, and the nations who walk in its light are the inheritance of the royal priests, who compose the new Jerusalem.
Then, let us put two and two together. The new Jerusalem is the Wife of the Lamb, according to the Scripture, and the wall of the new Jerusalem separates the Wife of the Lamb from the remainder of saved mankind.
Okay so far?
Now what is true of the Wife of the Lamb? She is One with Jesus Christ. She is His body. She is an integral part of Him, according to John 17.
So the wall of the new Jerusalem is separating that which is an integral part of the Lord Jesus Christ from saved mankind, saved mankind being the inheritance of the Lord Jesus and His co-heirs.
I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: He said to me, "You are my Son today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery." (Psalms 2:7-9)
The Scripture declares that we of the Church, the Wife of the Lamb, are co-heirs with Christ. This means that we inherit, along with Him, the nations.
I have said that I do not deal in novelties. Everything I teach must lead God's people toward a closer walk with Jesus, toward righteous behavior. Since most of God's people do not realize what it means for them to be priests of God and heirs along with Jesus, I think this knowledge will lead them toward righteous behavior and a greater Presence of Christ in their lives.
Notice that the Apostle Paul never addressed His epistles to Christians. He wrote to the "saints," that is, the "holy ones."
Now, think about it. What does it mean to be born again? It means that Christ has been born in us. This is the distinguishing mark of the priesthood. Why is this? It is because the Lord Jesus Christ is the great High Priest of God. When He is born in us, the great High Priest of God is born in us.
"Christ" means "anointed with the Holy Spirit to do the work of the Servant of the Lord." If we have Christ in us we have been anointed with the Spirit of God to do the work of the Servant of the Lord (Isaiah 42). The work of the Servant of the Lord is to bring justice to the nations; not to the nations of the lost, but the nations of the saved.
I realize I am presenting several concepts at once that may be new to you—not ordinarily a good idea but needed for the present essay: "Being Born Again and the Kingdom of God."
I honestly believe that most Christian people do not realize what an awesome experience is implied in the phrase, "born again." This is not referring to a conversion to the Christian religion but to an astounding transformation of the individual.
By being born again we become a brother of Christ; a son of God; a member of the Bride of the Lamb; a part of the Royal Priesthood. You can see at once this is far more than being saved from wrath through the blood atonement.
Nicodemus understood this. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" When the phrase "being born again" is used in Christian circles, it ordinarily means the individual has "accepted Christ." We would not react, like Nicodemus, to the idea of actually being born again.
When we begin to think of what it means to be born again we see that it means our entire past life is over. We no longer merely were born of our mother and father. We were born of the Seed of God.
If after we are called by the Spirit of God we prove ourselves worthy by living as a disciple of Jesus should, and continue with the Lord Jesus until we are judged to be faithful, then that which has been conceived in us has become a significant part of our personality, If we keep on following Jesus, the day will come when the following statement is true:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: (II Corinthians 5:17,18)
The above total transformation does not take place in us the moment we accept Christ as our Savior. It requires quite a period of time, and numerous tribulations, before we can say: "The old has gone. The new has come. All this is from God."
Can you say this yet? I can somewhat but still have a ways to go. How about you?
The "old has gone." The old is our first personality.
The "new has come." The "new" is not the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. The actual Person of Christ from Heaven does not enter us until the "new person," the new creation, is formed in us. The new creation is neither us nor Christ but actually a "new person," an individual who comes into being as Christ is formed in us. It is the new person in whom Jesus Christ comes to dwell, not our original personality. The indwelling of the Person of Christ through the Spirit is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles.
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:23)
It is the new creation, once it is indwelt by the Father and the Son, that is the Kingdom of God. It is the Royal Priesthood. This is why it is written: "and gave us the ministry of reconciliation." The role of the Royal Priesthood is to reconcile people to God.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (I Peter 1:9)
The passage above is written to the Church. It is the Christian Church that is the royal priesthood, the holy nation, a people belonging to God. Our role is to declare the praises of God.
Notice how the new Jerusalem, the Royal Priesthood, blesses the people of the nations of the saved:
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 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. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life. (Revelation 21:22-27)
The passage above portrays clearly the relationship of the Church, of those who are "born again," to the nations of saved people who will be brought over to live on the new earth.
The terms "saved," and "lost," refer to the Lake of Fire. To be "saved" is to be brought over to life on the new earth which, together with the new Jerusalem, composes the new world of righteousness.
To be "lost" is to not be permitted to be a citizen of the new earth. This means God has exhausted every effort to persuade the individual to accept the rulership of the Lord Jesus Christ. God has decided against ever granting to that person the gift of repentance.
Perhaps many Christian people who do not understand the extraordinary consequences of following the "born again" experience from conception all the way through to its fullness, which is the removal of our former personality such that we are crucified with Christ and now it is Christ who is living in us.
No wonder the Apostle Paul exhorts us to forget the past and press forward until we attain to the resurrection of our inner man, and finally the resurrection of our outer man!
Not nearly enough attention is paid today to attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Flesh and blood cannot attain to the resurrection. It is the new creation who will be made alive in a transformed body when Jesus comes. Having learned to live by the body and blood of Christ, the believer is ready for the final act of redemption, which is the transformation of the body from corruption to incorruption; from perishability to imperishability; from death to life.
The key to seeing and entering the Kingdom of God is the born-again experience. The flesh profits nothing, Jesus told us. It is His Word that brings eternal life. As His Word is formed in us, under the new covenant, we gain the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom begins as a seed in us. Of four kinds of ground in which the Divine Seed, the Word of God, is sown, only one kind—the honest and good heart—bears any lasting fruit. That fruit is Christ. It is the Kingdom of God.
Some reap the Kingdom to a thirtyfold extent. Some sixtyfold. Some an hundredfold.
Why the difference? I believe it has to do with the diligence with which the believer applies himself or herself to being crucified and made alive in Christ.
I believe also that the thirtyfold and sixtyfold members of the priesthood will be brought to full maturity during the thousand-year Kingdom Age. Then the entire Royal Priesthood, having no blemish whatever, can descend to the new earth as the glorious new Jerusalem.
Perhaps it is the hundredfold who will help the less mature grow to full maturity in Christ.
Again, let me point out that the born-again experience has the potential to bring forth fully mature priests in the very image of Christ, who will serve to bring the Presence of God to every one of His creatures.
The purpose of the teaching in this present essay to encourage each person who names the name of Christ to apply himself or herself to diligently seeking to be worthy of the Kingdom of God, thus passing to the ranks of those who always will be with the great High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ.
And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, (Colossians 1:10)
They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers. (Revelation 17:14)
There are several passages in the Bible informing us that in the last days the power of the witness of God's people will be overcome by Antichrist.
He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. (Daniel 7:25)
It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. (Daniel 8:10)
The man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, lifted his right hand and his left hand toward heaven, and I heard him swear by him who lives forever, saying, "It will be for a time, times and half a time. When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed." (Daniel 13:7)
Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. (Revelation 11:7)
He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. (Revelation 13:7)
"The saints will be handed over to him."
"It threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them."
"When the power of the holy people has been finally broken."
"Will attack them, and overpower and kill them."
"To make war against the saints and to conquer them."
For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. (2 Thessalonians 2:7)
When God permits the power of the testimony of Christ to be removed, then the Antichrist, the secret power of lawlessness, will be clearly revealed so all the world can understand what is of Satan and what is of God. The demons will be unveiled so people can perceive who is behind what is taking place in the world.
The difference between good and evil is not clear today, especially in America. The entertainers perform in a lewd manner and the American people cannot recognize that they are looking at the antics of demons.
The above are a needed warning to us at this time, because it is now that God's people are being overcome and the testimony of Christ destroyed. We can see this happening in our country, can't we.
There are three ways in which the Christian witness is overcome. They are the tree temptations of every son of God, including the Lord Himself.
The first temptation is that of bread. I believe this can be expanded to finding our survival and security in the world. I think we need to understand that the spirit of the world is of Antichrist, that is, against Christ. We are seeing this hostility to God increasing in our country every day.
England and America used to be friendly toward and respectful of Christians and their values. That era seems to be over.
One aspect of the world culture is that of electronic communication devices. While these can be used for good, they are bringing the values of the world, of Antichrist, into the living room of the American people.
The games and social networks that the children and young people are addicted to emphasize the values of Antichrist, particularly violence and witchcraft as well as immorality. Every day, it seems, the electronic devices are becoming more sophisticated.
The children in the public elementary schools are being indoctrinated in the beliefs of those who seem to be confused about gender. Since it requires both man and women together to compose the image of God, I believe Satan is using the gender confusion to attempt to destroy the image of God.
As far as abortion on demand is concerned, here is a worldly, Antichrist value that seeks to destroy people before they have an opportunity to live in the world. This is murder; and doubly unfortunate because God said many that are last in time shall be first in the Kingdom.
There are two primary gods in America at this time. One is sexual lust, pleasure, and entertainment. The other is money. Money is the only god that Jesus stated is served instead of the true God.
The people of the world find security, survival, and pleasure by striving to acquire more money than they need. Money is a substitute for trust in God. Yet "In God We Trust" is stamped on American money. Kind of ironic, isn't it?
I think the Christian churches need to be reminded that they are not of the world. The Tent of Meeting, of the Book of Exodus, represents the Christian churches. They are the Lampstands of God. Even the Levites, who were especially holy, were not permitted to see the inside of the Tent or any of the holy furnishings. This area and its articles were for the descendants of Aaron to utilize and were holy.
So it is true that the Christian churches are the prophets of God. They are to be anointed with the Holy Spirit, just as the Lampstand of the Tent of Meeting employed burning olive oil to provide light in the Holy Place.
The churches, and the Royal Priesthood who form the churches, are holy. They are not part of the world. They are not to look to the world for assistance. The Lord Jesus Christ is among the Lampstands. They are to be separate from the world and clean from all the filthiness of the flesh.
When Jesus was tempted with bread, He said, "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word of God." I have been busy the last few years endeavoring to learn how to live by every Word of God.
God always is speaking to each person. We are to keep looking to God to find out what He is saying to us as an individual right this minute. We are to commit all our ways to the Lord and keep looking to Him for wisdom and strength in all that we do. This is becoming increasingly easy for me to do as I grow older, because I do not have in myself the wisdom and strength I need for the daily tasks that confront me.
This reminds me of retirement. Retirement is a worldly value. It is true that God limited the years in which a Levite or Priest was to serve. This is because they represented God and were not to be young and foolish or old and lacking in mental prowess.
But in the Western nations the idea is to work hard and save money so when we are in our sixties we can relax in front of the TV or lying on the beach. We have a person in our church who has retired from her position and now is serving as our pageantry leader and performing other services, instead of traveling around the country in a vacation trailer doing nothing of value. I myself am in my eighties and am still pastoring and writing, as you can see.
The idea of working so that one day we can no nothing but pamper our flesh is not of the Lord Jesus Christ. Older people have a lot to give to those coming up. They are not to be off to some pleasure resort where they can play Bingo and gamble. This is the Antichrist spirit of the world and it is an abomination to God.
It is true that if Christian people do not keep pressing forward in Christ, when they grow old their faculties wither and they have nothing to give to the young Christians who need the benefit of their experience in Christ.
We are to live by every Word of God to us, as well as by eating food. God has something for us to learn and do every day of our life. There almost always is someone we can help, even members of our family if we are compelled by circumstances to live with them. But to lay around doing nothing of significance is to invite the decay of our faculties, mental and physical.
Still, this is the American Antichrist ideal–to lay around all day watching the television. Christ will hold us to account for wasting our talents, the Kingdom resources we have been given.
Fellowship with the world is one of the three ways in which Antichrist conquers the saints, just as they have been conquered in America and Europe today. The fervent adherents of the Muslim religion are entering the Western nations with the intention of supplanting our values with their own.
Because we Christians of America and Europe, largely because of false teaching, are not serving Christ as we should, not obeying Him day and night, the Muslims are able to enter the land that God has given us and spread their laws and customs.
We already have lost the power of our testimony. The Lampstand of our testimony has been removed. We are objects of scorn to the demons as they gratify their lusts through our bodies. Antichrist and his minions are being revealed.
When I see the antics of today's entertainers and witness their blasphemies, I can recognize that they are inspired by demons. So can you if you pray and listen to the Words of God to you right now.
A little slumber, a little folding of the hands, and America and England will be Muslim nations. Then we will discover too late the difference between Mohammed and Jesus of Nazareth. American women are not going to be happy being treated as a possession like a horse, or beaten with a stick. Young girls can be murdered by their relatives for being seen with a boy.
The second temptation is that of gaining power and influence in the world, so we can obtain whatever we desire. The Lord Jesus was offered the kingdoms of the world if He would worship Satan.
I believe in our day that some people actually worship Satan so they might prosper in their activities and gain prominence. Then they can enjoy their prostitutes and other opportunities that wealth and fame can gain for them.
Today we are the beginning of the political activities that will culminate in the election of someone to be President for the next four years. The money that is spent, the vitriol as the candidates accuse each other, the "dirty tricks," as one candidate named what goes on behind the warfare, reveals that people, men and women alike, have a tremendous hunger for power and the benefits that go with the office of the President.
People have a desire to govern other people and to use them for their own ends. The candidates for President speak great swelling words of how they will benefit the country. It may be true that one or two of them are sincere. The remainder will do whatever is necessary to gain power and remain in power, regardless of the impact on our nation.
The striving for power is as true in the realm of church activities as it is in the secular world. It may be noted that most, perhaps all, of the Christian denominations, began with apostles who were hearing from God.
The beginnings are fruitful, but soon the desire of man to organize what God is doing ("let us build three tents"!) provides the opportunity for people who want ecclesiastical power to promote themselves in the organization.
What once was a fiery, holy movement of the Spirit of God eventually becomes an organization in which there are advantages to be gained as one moves up the ladder of power and prestige. An examination of any of the major denominations of today will show how far the organization has drifted from the simple prayer and obedience of the founders.
I don't believe there is a single exception to this drift away from the immediacy of the Holy Spirit. The desire for power and prestige overcomes the good intentions of God's people.
And thus the Christian witness is overcome. Of course, the organizations speak of how we all are to go forth and "save a lost and dying world; how we all should have a passion for souls." But the organizational yearly reports record the number of members gained and the money that was raised.
Have you ever read an organizational report that recorded how many people forgave their enemies; how many have denied themselves, taken up their cross and followed Christ; how many were delivered from lying, or drunkenness, or adultery, or haughtiness? Neither have I.
Many aspects of Christian growth (except in numbers and giving money) would be difficult to record. But this is the true index of success, not how many members the organization gained or how much money was raised.
We cannot have fellowship with the Statement of Faith of an organization, only with God, the Holy Spirit, and the living Jesus.
Sometimes Christian organizations have served Satan. Certainly when the Catholic leaders conducted the Inquisitions they were doing the work of Satan, not of Jesus Christ.
But we can find the same spirit of Satan and of murder in a humble building in a village, where elders strive for preeminence by harming each other. Or where the Muslims, in the name of God, murder Christian worshipers.
Wherever Christian people strive for advantage over other people, the Christian testimony is destroyed and Antichrist is revealed.
The third temptation of Christ occurred when Satan brought Him to the roof of the Temple and suggested that He prove His Sonship by jumping off–into the Kidron Valley of garbage, I guess. Satan quoted the Ninety-first Psalm about the angels keeping us from stumbling.
Every son of God is tempted in this manner. It is the invitation to presumption.
Jesus responded by reminding Satan that we are not to put God to the test.
How much of the two thousand years of Christian activity has been carried on by fleshly ambition rather than by obedience to Christ? Actually, I believe very little of what has been done, including the building of cathedrals, the killing of South American Indians so mission stations could be established, the intervention in politics in Europe, has anything to do with the Lord Jesus Christ.
How much Christian work is carried on by the ambition of religious people? The idea is that if we decide to build the Kingdom of God, God will assist us. Even though we have no idea what Jesus desires, we pray that God will assist us. This is presumption. Don't wait for God. Jump off the roof and God will save you.
I am of the belief that every Christian organization should shut down and pray until the people hear from God. I realize how impractical this would be in America, since I am the pastor of a denominational church. My point is not how practical or impractical would be, what I am saying is we may not know what we are doing–whether or not it is what God wants.
My personal consecration is to do nothing until I have heard from the Lord. As you can imagine, it requires years of mistakes before we are hearing correctly and not lapsing into passivity or ambition. I started out with this attitude toward major decisions, such as should we accept the pastorate of our present church. Now I am down to asking the Lord what I should eat each day.
You see, I am trying to live by every Word of God.
When I hear what the organizations are saying, when I see the plans to spread the Gospel, I am not gaining the impression that anyone actually is hearing from Jesus. I believe they are making assumptions.
One reason is this: Each organization is pressing for members, for proselytes. The emphasis is to obey the Great Commission and go forth and save souls.
The first problem is, the Great Commission is not about saving souls but about making disciples, teaching them to obey Christ's commands. But what happens is that the organization is intent on building churches and adding numbers of people. In addition, more often than not they are teaching people they do not have to obey Christ's commands because they are "saved by grace."
It seems to me that Christian organizations often do not adhere to the Scriptures. This obviously is true when the ministers preach grace-Heaven-rapture instead of deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Christ at all times.
Secondly, when we listen to the Holy Spirit today, He is not speaking about going forth and saving souls. He is exhorting Christian people to confess and turn away from their sins. Perhaps if we did this, as happened in the Book of Acts, the Lord would add daily to the churches such as should be saved.
I do not expect to live to see the day that any significant number of Christian churches turn their attention to building up the members to the full stature of Christ instead of pleading continually for more members. All of us understand that one believer who is sold out to God will accomplish more in the Kingdom than ten thousand church-goers milling around and complaining about one thing or another.
We all understand this is true but do not act like it.
A study of the Bible will reveal that the people usually were backslidden, whether under Moses or under the new covenant. But God chooses one here and one there, a Noah, a Moses, an Elijah, a Jeremiah, a Paul, a Watchman Nee, an Oswald Chambers, a Tozer, and does more through that individual than all the rest of the believers put together. Yet we keep on talking about more people and more people. It is presumption, moving ahead when God has not spoken.
How does this stress on numbers to the detriment of quality affect the testimony? It destroys the Christian testimony, preparing the way for the triumph of the Antichrist world spirit.
One may notice today that while the organizations still herald the need to gain more proselytes, the churches are declining in the number of congregants. If a believer were to be on the witness stand and say, "I am not lying, I am a Christian," you would hear sniggers throughout the courtroom. This has not always been true in America and England but it certainly is true in America today. The testimony has been destroyed.
People hear the television evangelist who is pleading for money so he can build his own kingdom. Their response is scorn. They sense he is not speaking from Jesus Christ. He is presumptuous. He is taking the Lord's name in vain.
I have no doubt many Christian churches of our day will support our present President (January, 2012). Yet our President condones abortion and homosexual behavior. Have we any idea what we are supporting? Do we not care anymore? Has the Antichrist world spirit overcome the testimony in America? It sure looks like it.
We understand, therefore, that we are living in a day in which Antichrist very skillfully is beginning to destroy the Christian witness.
It is my understanding that the great Spring Revival, symbolized by the two witnesses of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation, will be given great power by the Lord and authorized to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom as a witness to every nation on earth.
When this refreshing takes place, and it certainly cannot be far off given the events of our time, it is my point of view that most of the people living on the earth will receive Christ as their Savior, if not their Lord.
But after that, the love of the majority will grow cold because of the abundance of lawlessness. Then the Christian witness will be destroyed and Antichrist will be revealed.
I read in some translation of the Book of Daniel that Antichrist will build a statue of himself standing on the gable of the Temple in Jerusalem where Christ was tempted, demonstrating that man is his own god. Also, I think Antichrist will sit on the Mercy Seat of a restored Temple in Jerusalem.
Antichrist will be a man (or woman) whose god is power. Although he will cause many to blaspheme, his end is certain. He will be thrown into the Lake of Fire by one angel of God when Christ next appears.
Let each one of us who truly loves the Lord Jesus Christ be wary of being too involved in the Antichrist world spirit. Let us avoid the lewd entertainment that is prevalent, keeping in mind that sexual lust is a powerful temptation.
Let us be careful with the use of electronic communication devices, that we use them to build the Kingdom and do not waste time with them. Paul exhorted us to redeem the time, to make every minute count for Christ.
Let us resolve, as much as possible, to look to the living Lord Jesus for all that we do throughout every day and night. There are great needs of all kinds in the world today. We cannot feed every starving child; we cannot heal every sick person. But we can make sure that we are doing every day with all our heart that which Christ is expecting of us.
If we do our best in Jesus each day, then the blood of earth's perishing will not be on our hands, and we will not be rebuked by the Lord Jesus for having wasted the resources He has given to us.