YOUR REDEMPTION DRAWS NEAR
YOUR REDEMPTION DRAWS NEAR Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
The advance guard of the Christian Church is moving past the Pentecostal experience. The next aspect of redemption to be brought to the attention of God’s people is the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. We are moving toward the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
Whenever Christ is near there always is an abundance of false christs. This is true today. Some are proclaiming the coming of the Kingdom of God, but it is a man-directed kingdom. An effort is being made to place the head of man on the Body of Christ. The question is, will the redemption, the Kingdom all believers hope for, come into being through the efforts of the Christian people, or will the Kingdom of God come from Heaven with the appearing of the Lord?
Christian believers are at a crossroads. Should we attempt to employ our faith and God-given gifts to bring in the Kingdom before the Lord appears? Or should we take up our cross and meekly trust in the Lord Jesus until He shows us what to do? Here is the difference between the False Prophet and the true Day Star.
Table of Contents
What Is the Nature of the Kingdom, the Redemption That Is Drawing Near? The message of John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus The definition of redemption A Redeemed People in a Redeemed World Redemption as the receiving of eternal life, the Presence of God Redemption as forgiveness of sin and deliverance from sin Redemption as the change from bodily corruption to bodily incorruption Redemption as the exaltation of Jerusalem and all Israel Redemption as the bringing of justice and the rule of God to the meek of the earth Redemption as the restoration of Paradise to the earth Why There Will Be a Resurrection of the Body A Man-directed or Christ-directed Kingdom? How Will Redemption Take Place?
YOUR REDEMPTION DRAWS NEAR
And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luke 2:28)
Exactly what did the Lord mean when He said, "your redemption draweth nigh"?
Did He mean we all are going to die and go to Heaven?
If we are to understand the drawing near of our redemption we must adopt the frame of mind of the Lord’s listeners. The redemption that is at hand will not bring us to Heaven. The people to whom the Lord was speaking would not think in terms of making their eternal home in Heaven.
The Lord’s hearers, in Luke 21:28, were Jews. They had been taught the oracles of the Prophets. The Prophets spoke of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. They declared also that Jerusalem and all Israel would be exalted.
Before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth. (Psalms 96:13)
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. (Isaiah 2:2)
And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. (Luke 2:38)
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? (Acts 1:6)
To our knowledge, there is no verse of Scripture in the Old Testament or New Testament that suggests we are saved to go to Heaven or to live in a mansion in Heaven. The concept of being saved in order to go to Heaven was added at some point after the writing of the New Testament.
Exactly when and under what conditions the idea of the believers "making Heaven their eternal home" was added to Christian doctrine would be an interesting dissertation for a candidate for the Doctor of Divinity degree.
When the Lord spoke of the coming of redemption the Jews who were listening would think of deliverance from the rule of the Roman Empire, of the restoration of the glory of the kingdom of David and Solomon, and also of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 3:1,2)
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17)
It is clear neither John nor the Lord preached that the Good News was we would go to Heaven when we die. Rather, they both spoke of a kingdom that was at hand, a kingdom that was to come from Heaven and be installed on the earth.
The parables of the Lord Jesus were about the Kingdom of God, not about Heaven. If we would understand the Divine salvation we must begin to think about the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth rather than the going of the Church to Heaven.
When the Lord commanded them to lift up their heads because their redemption was near, the Jews would picture the exalting of the people and land of Israel and the bringing of justice and Paradise to the earth.
At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. (Jeremiah 3:17)
He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. (Isaiah 42:4)
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12)
To "redeem" something is to restore to the original or rightful owner what has been taken from him by purchase, or trickery, or violence. By definition, redemption involves only what was in one’s possession originally.
Redemption could never refer to our going to Heaven to live in a mansion because we never have lived in Heaven in a mansion.
What then did mankind forfeit? What did the Jews forfeit?
In the beginning human beings were placed in a garden on the earth that surpassed the most glorious environment possible for people to imagine. Have you ever thought much about the garden in Eden, in the area now known as the Middle East?
What did mankind forfeit?
By obeying Satan rather than God, Adam and Eve lost the Presence of God. Adam and Eve lost Paradise. They also lost immortality in the body. The fruit of the tree of life apparently changed the chemistry of the physical body, making the body incorruptible.
What did the Jews forfeit?
Because of their continued sin and disobedience the Jews lost the blessing of God. The Jews lost the territories won by David and governed by Solomon. The Jews lost the Temple and the priestly ceremonies that took place there. They lost Jerusalem, and finally the entire land of promise.
Mankind and the Jews forfeited all that God had given them. Satan enticed them and tricked them. Mankind and the Jews need a redeemer.
The Redeemer has come. His name is Jesus. God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ.
When the Lord Jesus said, "Lift up your heads because your redemption draws near" He was speaking of a new world filled with righteous people. He was announcing the coming of a redeemed world to be inhabited by redeemed people. All that Satan has stolen is to be restored to its original and rightful owners.
The new world does not belong to angels but to mankind.
For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? (Hebrews 2:6)
There is a literal Heaven. There is a literal Hell. We must remember, however, that in the beginning God did not threaten Adam and Eve with Hell but with the loss of life. "In the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die," not you shall go to Hell.
The popular concept of salvation, that it is an escape from Hell and a ticket to Heaven, is certainly not the emphasis of the New Testament writings.
Paul and John do not use the term "Hell" in their epistles, which would not be the case if escape from Hell were a principal subject of the new covenant. The expression "go to Heaven" is not found in the entire King James translation of the Scriptures!.
What is stressed in the Gospels and the Epistles? Eternal life is stressed. The Lord Jesus emphasized that He came to bring us eternal life. It is eternal life that was lost originally. It is eternal life that must be redeemed from the hand of the enemy.
Eternal life is the Presence of God in us and with us.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3)
Adam and Eve had the unimaginable privilege of having the Lord God walk near them in the garden in Eden. You and I would be very glad to have the same privilege—to walk in Paradise with God!
But God will not dwell where there is disobedience, whether on the part of an unbeliever or a believer. The grace of the Lord Jesus does not make it possible for God to walk with the sinful and rebellious. Rather, the grace of God enables the sinful and rebellious to turn from their wicked ways and to serve God with a glad heart, to behave righteously and do God’s will.
The Lord Jesus came to give righteousness and eternal life to those whom the Father gave Him, to those who believe in Him and receive Him.
Eternal life is in the body and blood of Christ. As we eat of His flesh and drink of His blood we have eternal life. We have the Presence of God in us, and the Lord Jesus will raise us into His Presence at the end of the present age.
And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:40)
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:53,54)
The Lord Jesus is our Redeemer. We were born in sin and rebellion, that is, we were born in spiritual death. The Spirit of eternal life was not in us. The Lord Jesus came that we might have eternal life and have it more abundantly.
We have eternal life now. At the coming of the Lord we shall have eternal life in abundance.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (I Corinthians 15:22,23)
Those who are abiding in the Lord Jesus shall be made alive in Him at His coming.
And so we lift up our head because our redemption draws near.
Man lost the Presence of God by listening to the enticement of Satan. The Lord Jesus, our Redeemer, has come to forgive our sins and to enable us to live righteously so we may receive eternal life and grow in eternal life.
Adam and Eve were created without the guilt of sin and without a sin nature. Satan, the adversary led them into Divine condemnation, the same condemnation he himself is under. Also, Adam and Eve received at that time a sinful nature, a rebellious personality.
Whoever would redeem mankind must make provision both for the guilt of sin and also for the sinful, rebellious nature that dwells in our flesh and soul.
The Lord Jesus has done both. Through the blood atonement made on the cross of Calvary He has gained forgiveness, freedom from condemnation, for all who truly repent of their sin and worldliness and put their trust in Him.
Deliverance from our sinful, rebellious nature takes place as we confess our sins, repent of them, and gain total victory over them by the power of the Holy Spirit acting on the authority of the blood of the cross.
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)
By the wisdom and power of the Spirit of God we are to kill the sinful lusts of our flesh. As we walk in the Spirit of God we are to keep the upper hand over the sinful, self-willed tendencies of our flesh and soul.
As we obey the Lord, read the Scriptures, pray, gather together with fervent saints, give, serve, forgive those who harm us, are ministered to and minister the gifts we have, the Lord removes the graveclothes from us. The graveclothes of sin and self-will are not removed all at once but piece by piece. We enter the promised land of freedom from sin one city at a time, so to speak.
Our forgiveness is total provided we continue to walk in the light of God’s will. Our deliverance shall be total if we press forward each day. At the coming of the Lord, all that was sinful in us will have been judged previously and its power broken as we have lived in open confession and repentance. The Lord Jesus then will remove the remaining presence of sin from us. We shall be clothed with an incorruptible, aggressively righteous body that will cover our resurrected flesh and bones. This is the promised redemption.
We are to lift up our head. The Presence of God in its fullness will be given to us at the appearing of the Lord. Complete freedom from sin and rebellion will be our inheritance.
Our redemption draws near!
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (I Corinthians 15:53)
We have come to accept physical death as a natural event—part of human life on the earth. But physical death is not part of the creation of God. Physical death is an enemy of mankind.
For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (I Corinthians 15:26)
The last enemy to be conquered, in the plan of redemption, is physical death.
As we stated previously, it appears there were ingredients in the tree of life that prevented corruption in the physical body. No doubt Adam and Eve would be alive in their physical bodies to the present hour if they had eaten and then continued to eat of the tree of life.
Physical death is an enemy, the last enemy. It is the last enemy because there are numerous enemies in the human personality that must be conquered before the individual is ready for immortality in the body.
No person will be permitted to eat of the tree of life until he or she overcomes sin.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)
"To him that overcometh."
The tree of life is still in the middle of Paradise. It is still guarded. No one is allowed to partake of the tree except as he or she gains victory over sin.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Tree of Life. As we eat of His flesh and drink of His blood we receive eternal life into our personality. If we continue to live by His Life, as He lives by the Father, He will call us up to Himself when He appears. Then the eternal life we have gained will enter our flesh and bones.
Where the slain Lamb is, there those who live by His Life will be gathered together.
The Apostle Paul groaned for the redemption of His physical body.
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)
For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. (II Corinthians 5:4)
We do not understand Paul’s groaning today because we view the Lord Jesus as a ticket to Heaven. The Apostle Paul did not view the Lord Jesus as a ticket to Heaven but as the One who would crown him with righteousness and eternal life.
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also love his appearing. (II Timothy 4:8)
How many believers of our day are hoping for a crown of righteousness? Of righteousness! The believers of today are hoping for an escape from tribulation, not, ordinarily, for the power to observe God’s eternal moral laws, the laws of the Kingdom of God. Their misguided hope is the result of the spirit of error that is in Christian teaching.
Paul was an Orthodox Jew. His one desire in life was to be righteous. He found he was not able to keep the Torah, the Law of Moses. Paul realized that through Christ would come the righteousness of heart that he sought.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Romans 7:24)
Paul groaned for the breaking of the chains of mortality so he no longer would be driven to sin. Paul was pursuing righteousness.
We are to lift up our heads because our redemption is drawing near: redemption that will bring to us the Presence of God; redemption that will produce a personality and behavior that are free from sin; redemption that will change our corruptible body to an incorruptible body. All this will come to us with the appearing of the Lord if we are abiding in Him.
In some respects the Kingdom of Solomon may have been the most exalted, the wealthiest, of all the kingdoms of history. Because of the righteousness of David in God’s sight, the Israelis gained dominion over all their enemies. Solomon, David’s son, inherited a magnificent, powerful throne.
The most important aspect of Jerusalem (after the Presence of the Lord) was the Temple of God. The moral law of God as expressed in the Law of Moses was the standard for moral behavior for all the peoples of the earth. No other nation possessed the Words of God. Their religions were given by demons.
The Jews continued to sin and rebel against the holy Law. The punishment of God came upon them, as Moses had warned. They had known the goodness of God. Now they came to know the severity of the Father of spirits (Leviticus 26:16).
For 2,500 years the Jews have been slandered and persecuted. The Holocaust was a climax of such torment but the attacks continue to the present hour.
The Jews look for their national redemption to come with the appearing of Christ. They do not look in vain. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament promise that God shall bring Jacob home and that the Redeemer shall come from Zion and save the physical land and nation of Israel from sin and the consequences of sin.
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (Luke 21:24)
Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, give up; and to the south, keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; (Isaiah 43:5,6)
But fear not thou, O my servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel: for, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid. (Jeremiah 46:27)
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:32,33)
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: (Romans 11:26)
It is being taught today that the Christian Church has replaced the Jews in God's affection and that God has turned away from the physical people and land of Israel. This is not true.
It is a fact that the Christian disciple, Jew or Gentile, is an integral part of the Seed of Abraham (which is Christ). True Israel is the Lord Jesus Christ and those who are part of Him, whether Jewish or Gentile by physical birth.
However, the Scriptures teach with utmost clarity that the gifts and callings of God are without repentance and God will restore the physical people and land of Israel at the end of the Church Age and the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.
The Jews are to lift up their heads when they see the great signs in the heavens because their redemption draws near. The Divine redemption from Heaven will bring the Presence of God and eternal life, the forgiveness of sin for all who receive their Christ, deliverance from the presence of sin, the change from bodily corruption to bodily incorruption for those whose life the Lord Jesus is, and the exaltation of Jerusalem and all Israel to supremacy among the governments of the world.
The Book of Isaiah contains several promises concerning the Servant of the Lord. The Servant of the Lord is Christ—Head and Body. When Christ comes the humble will obtain justice. The meek will inherit the earth.
But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. (Isaiah 11:4)
Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment [justice] to the Gentiles [nations]. (Isaiah 42:1)
We do not always picture the coming of the Lord as resulting in the bringing of justice to mankind. But the removing of self-seeking government and the installing of righteous kings over the saved nations is an important aspect of the redemption included in the thousand-year Kingdom Age.
In every nation of our day there is injustice because of the wickedness of the rulers. Some peoples are starving and their rulers will not permit food to be given to them. Children are being sold into prostitution. Robbery, rape, and murder are widespread. Bribery, corruption, lying, stealing, self-exaltation characterize every major government. Relief efforts continue to fail because those in charge use such efforts as an opportunity to become wealthy by diverting the food and money to themselves. Governments that at one time had been Christian—at least in name—are now refusing even to acknowledge God.
Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. (Isaiah 32:1)
Much of the training given by the Lord to His saints is to make them wise, compassionate rulers. Suffering is an important part of the curriculum. The suffering the saints experience teaches them stern obedience to the Father—the first requirement of a ruler.
Suffering also teaches us patience. Those who govern people must be patient. They must not judge according to their physical eyes or ears but from what they hear from God.
The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. (II Samuel 23:3,4)
The oppressed of the earth are to lift up their head. Redemption is coming! The righteous King and His righteous princes are at the door! When they come from Heaven the evil governments shall be overthrown—smashed with the rod of iron of the Spirit of God.
Then the poor of the earth will rejoice. The godly will dance for joy and sing in the heights of Zion.
It is hard to believe such a paradise as the garden in Eden ever actually existed on this earth. But the memory of the garden seems to be present in the subconscious mind of the human race. When we speak of Heaven we often describe it as a garden with the greenest grass, perfect flowers, fruit trees of various kinds, a place of wondrous beauty and undisturbed love, joy, and peace.
Perhaps at one time the spirit realm and the material realm were blended as one environment. Because of the rebellion of the first people, the spirit realm, including the garden that had been in Eden, was withdrawn beyond the clouds. Such a withdrawal would account for the spiritually dead, decaying nature that surrounds us today.
The Scripture states that God, in the hope He would be able to liberate the spiritually dead creation and bring it into the freedom of the glory of the children of God, temporarily subjected the physical world to corruption and worthlessness. When the sons of God are revealed, at the appearing of the Lord, they will go throughout the earth releasing the material world from the bondage of decay and corruption.
For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:19-21)
The spirit Paradise still exists. The Tree of Life is still in the middle of the garden. But now we cannot see Paradise or the Tree of Life or approach them because they are in an invisible area termed "Heaven."
The redemption that is coming will restore Paradise to the earth.
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6-9)
Many saints have had an experience in which their body either approached death or else was actually dead for a brief space of time. During the period of near death, or death, they experienced some of the beauty and joy of the spirit realm. Also, Sundar Singh of India and other Christians have had visions of Heaven in which they saw the beauty of Paradise, the Lord Jesus, the angels, and deceased loved ones and friends.
Most of such visions of Heaven are similar and give the reader a sense of peace and joy and a longing to pass from this world into the next, there to enjoy freedom from dread and pain.
To go to Heaven, to the Paradise of God, has been the hope of Christians throughout the centuries. The thought of being lifted into the perfect world has served as a hope that has spurred the disciples to greater diligence and has comforted the dying and their relatives.
Who wouldn’t want to go to Heaven?
When we contemplate how marvelous the spirit Paradise is, how desirable, we begin to wonder why the Lord Jesus has promised to raise our body from the grave.
We understand that we go to Paradise when we die, and it is not at all necessary for the Lord to raise our body in order for us to go to Paradise.
If Paradise is all our heart could desire, and if we do not need to be brought back to life in order to get there, what, then, is the purpose of the resurrection of our physical body from the grave?
We know from the writings of Paul that the resurrection of the physical body is the central hope of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (I Corinthians 15:19,20)
It is clear from the fifteenth chapter of I Corinthians that Paul viewed the resurrection of our body from the grave as the central hope of the Gospel, the hope upon which all else depends.
Paul’s emphasis on the resurrection of our body from the grave reveals that the purpose of salvation is to restore our body to life.
Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. (I Corinthians 15:18)
Today we would say of believers that if they have fallen asleep (died) in Christ they are with the Lord in Heaven.
Paul said of believers that if they have fallen asleep they have perished, unless they are to be raised again in the body.
We see from this that the current emphasis on Heaven as our goal rather than the resurrection of our body is not scriptural.
But again we ask the question: If the spirit Paradise is marvelous beyond our most extravagant dreams, and indeed it is, what, then, is the purpose of raising us from the dead?
Obviously we are raised from the dead so we can live once more on the earth. But why take the trouble to redeem the earth? Why not permit us to enter the spirit Paradise where we can dwell in bliss forever?
There is only one possible answer. The redeemed earth will be a more joyous, more loving, more satisfying, more wonderful environment than ever could be true of the spirit Paradise. Even Satan must have felt this way and left the spirit realm in order to walk about in the earth.
And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. (Job 1:7)
When God emerged from the spirit realm and brought forth the material realm He pronounced it very good. The material realm is very good, as far as mankind is concerned. The spirit realm is very good for the angels. The material realm is very good for mankind.
Rebellious spirits entered the material realm and brought corruption and death into it. The world of today is an abominable environment, not because the physical realm is bad of itself but because of the evil spirits that inhabit it.
Our Redeemer has come to drive the evil spirits from the material realm so the earth once again may be a wonderful garden.
We must possess a physical body if we are to aid the Lord Jesus in driving out the evil from the earth and rebuilding that which has been destroyed. Also, physical bodies are necessary for all saved peoples if they are to enjoy their future life on the earth.
The Kingdom of God is Heaven wrapped in flesh and bones.
This is why there will be a resurrection from the dead. We shall be raised in order that we may dwell on the redeemed earth—an infinitely superior environment when compared with the spirit Paradise, as marvelous as the spirit Paradise is.
We are to lift up our heads. The Kingdom of God is coming to the earth. God’s will shall be done in the earth as it is in Heaven.
Now we have come to the most important issue found in this booklet. The question is, are Christians to take their faith and their gifts and go forth to attempt to deliver the world, to set up the Kingdom of God? Or should the believers wait patiently on the Lord until He shows us what to do, and guides and empowers us in doing the necessary work of the Kingdom? Will the Lord Himself build His own Church on the Rock, or does He expect us to build the Church? Will all these wonderful aspects of redemption drop down from Heaven some day as a persecuted remnant waits patiently before the Lord, or are the Christians to use their faith and energy to produce a triumphant Church that will take its place as the head of the nations?
For two thousand years the Christian churches have attempted to use the things of God, in addition to numerous physical devices including human talents, energy, wisdom, and especially money, and by them set up the Kingdom of God on the earth. Such efforts have not endured and shall never endure.
For several centuries the Catholic Church used every ability of the flesh, including political intrigue, treachery, and the torture and murder of its adversaries, in its attempt to establish what it believes to be the Kingdom of God, the will of God, on the earth. It has stopped at nothing and will yet stop at nothing in order to accomplish its own ends.
Today there is a movement among Christians termed Reconstructionism. Reconstructionism is an attempt by Christian people to employ faith, the gifts of the spirit, politics, money, and whatever else can be brought to bear in order to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth. This effort is well-intentioned but, like the efforts of the Catholic Church, it is not in accordance with God’s Word.
The moral depravity, the abortions, the sexual perversity, and all the other abominations that are filling the nations of the earth have irritated and disgusted Christian people until they are ready to take action. "Let us arise and put a stop to this corruption. Church of God, on your feet. Up from the pews. March forward in the name of the Lord Jesus."
Recently a major Pentecostal organization called for morality in the government of the United States of America. Perhaps it would be a better idea for the organization to stress moral behavior among its own people. The problems of the world will not be solved as secular governments repent and obey the laws of the Kingdom but as the Lord’s people repent and obey the laws of the Kingdom (II Chronicles 7:14).
The church people are sinning because of the overemphasis on grace and the teaching of the any-moment pre-tribulation "rapture." The Christian churches are filled with immorality, rebellion, striving for preeminence, bitterness, covetousness, feminism, hatred, sorcery, and every other evil imagination, motive, word, and deed. And they are calling on the worldly governments to repent?
The attempt to force Christian moral values on local and national governments sounds like a Christian effort. In fact, the believer who does not get behind the Reconstruction movement is scorned as a pew-warmer, a do-nothing, a coward, as someone not fit to be a part of Christianity.
Christian reconstructionism will finally come to nothing. All it will accomplish is to bring persecution upon the churches as secular society rises up to defend its immoral, ungodly behavior.
So few people, it seems, so very few people understand the way of the Lord!—the way of the cross!—the way of the Lamb!
The way of the Lord is not for large bodies of believers to go on the march no matter how worthy their intentions. The way of the Lord is for the individual to wait on the Lord, patiently seeking His face year after year, being content with the mercies and signs of His love that are given to those who fear Him.
The believer is not to go to war, he is to go to the cross. We do not overcome the adversary by our proclamations of faith or our boastful attitude. We do not, as someone said, "put on our administrative hat" and command the works of God’s hands. We can overcome the accuser only by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of our Spirit-enabled testimony, and by loving not our life to the death.
The natural man is pleased to move forward in a belligerent manner, calling on Jesus to help him as he seeks, in his own fleshly understanding and energy, to enforce the behaviors that he—the human being—judges to be important and valuable. All of this is of babylon—confusion—and comes to nothing.
It is the personal cross of the believer that slays the self-will, the self-centeredness, the enthusiasm, the personal ambition, and all the other motives that drive the religious crusader.
God has the greatest of all revivals prepared for the closing days of the present age. The Holy Spirit will be poured out as never before. This is the promised "latter rain." The Lord Jesus is looking for those few disciples who, in the midst of the spiritual uproar, will patiently, patiently, patiently wait upon Him until He gives clear directions. There will be a great and powerful wind that will tear the mountains apart and break the rocks in pieces, an earthquake, and then fire. But the Lord will speak to His elect in a gentle, quiet whisper.
Will you do this? Will you turn away from your religious planning and programs and wait until you hear the quiet whisper of the Lord Jesus? If you choose to meekly wait on the Lord you will be scorned by many. "Come down from the cross and do something. Climb down from the wall, Nehemiah, and listen to us. Do this! Do that! If you are a son of God, march forward in the power of the latter rain."
Indeed, the latter rain shall fall. But the saints who truly give the eternal witness will be those who patiently bear their cross after Jesus, thinking, speaking, moving only as they hear from the Lord.
These crucified ones are a small minority. But it is from them that the resurrection life shall flow, the eternal changes shall be made. Babylon (human-activated Christianity) will make a great noise, but the noise is confusion and will not affect the Kingdom of God.
It is time to take the head of man off the Body of Christ and to put the true Head on the Body. This is possible only as there are those who leave the babylonish planning of the church movements and turn to the Lord Jesus in quietness and self-denying patience.
Redemption always comes from above, from the Lord Jesus. Even today all that we need and desire comes from above. We are to lift up our heads. Those who look to man to bring to us the good things of the Kingdom of God are looking in the wrong direction. Man, whether or not he names the name of Jesus and does what he does in the Lord’s name, is unclean, unholy, self-seeking—totally unable to give us the desires of our heart. The experienced saint learns that only in Jesus are our needs met. Only Jesus knows the true and profitable desires of our heart, and only Jesus can give them to us.
Let us lift up our heads. Our redemption always is drawing near, always is coming from above. Our strength, wisdom, guidance, health, and all other resources always are coming from Heaven; always are coming down from the Lord Jesus.
Immediately after the great tribulation the sun will be darkened. But this will not bring about the desired redemption.
Before the Lord returns the moon will not give its light. But this will not bring about the desired redemption.
The stars will fall from heaven and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. But none of this will bring about the promised redemption.
How, then, will the wonderful works of redemption take place?
By the following!
The restoration of the Presence of God to the earth.
Deliverance from the presence of sin.
The change from bodily corruption to bodily incorruption.
The exaltation of Jerusalem and all Israel.
The bringing of justice and the rule of God to the meek of the earth.
The restoration of Paradise to the earth.
The six aspects of redemption we have mentioned will not pour from the skies, they will be given at the hands of people, at the hands of the Servant of the Lord. The Servant of the Lord is Christ—Head and Body.
Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. (Isaiah 44:2)
The purpose for the two thousand years of the Church Age has been to prepare the Body of Christ, the Body of Israel, of the Servant of the Lord, for its work of restoring to mankind that which was forfeited through the trickery of the adversary, Satan. The Body must be made perfect before it can successfully bring the Presence of God and eternal life to the saved peoples of the earth.
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13)
Notice how mankind flocks to God’s Israel, God’s Servant, when the Servant is one with God and filled with God’s Glory.
And the Gentiles [nations] shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. (Isaiah 60:3)
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)
"That the world may believe"!
When the Day of the Lord is mentioned there sometimes is a reference to an army of saints who will appear along with Christ. These are the sons of God. The sons of God who are to be revealed at the coming of the Lord are, as we understand it, a firstfruits of the entire Church, a Gideon’s army, a holy, warlike remnant of saints who will be used by the Lord to destroy all the works of Satan from the earth.
Those who ride with the Lord in that Day will not be new believers who barely are saved but mature saints who have been tested again and again in the fires of tribulation and temptation.
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. (Revelation 17:14)
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)
It is those whose life the Lord is that will appear with Him.
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)
Numerous believers of our day are living as children of Adam—in the wisdom and energy of the natural man. They have never been crucified to the point that their life has become the Life of the risen Christ. To teach such fleshly church-attenders that they will be revealed with the Lord at His appearing, or that they will be caught up to meet the Fire of Israel at His coming (woe unto them if they were forced into the Presence of the Lord Jesus in their present condition!), is a cruel hoax.
The holy remnant who will appear with the Lord are already being judged by the Word of God. They are being trained to follow the Lamb closely because the war of God against His enemy, the enemy who at this time is occupying our inheritance, must always be guided and empowered by the Lord. Man is unable to fight successfully against the fallen lords of Heaven.
Throughout the Christian Era a large and powerful army has been and yet is being formed.
A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. (Joel 2:2)
This great and mighty people will be filled with both the goodness and severity of God. The vision of their coming frightened the prophet.
When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. (Habakkuk 3:16)
A people have been trained throughout the Church Age who will invade the earth. They will return with the Lord Jesus to deliver Israel and the saved nations of the earth. But woe to the hypocrites in the churches and to the wicked in that day!
. . . and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. (Zechariah 14:5)
A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. (Joel 2:3)
And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 4:3)
The sinners in the churches shall face the fire of God’s judgment.
The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? (Isaiah 33:14)
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these [the sinners at the love feasts of the saints], saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (Jude 1:14,15)
The wicked of the earth will face the wrath of God in His saints in that Day.
They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land. (Isaiah 13:5)
His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)
Because unclean spirits are preventing the redeeming of the earth and its peoples, even after the blood of Jesus has paid the price of redemption, these arrogant destroyers of the earth shall be driven out by force; not the force of zealous religious crusaders but the force of God the Father in the Son acting through the Holy Spirit in the saints. The sons of God shall release the creation from bondage at the time of the coming of the Lord from Heaven—but not before His coming.
After every trace of rebellion has been crushed, after every knee has bowed to the Lord Jesus and has confessed that Jesus is Lord to the Glory of God the Father, the saints will begin their work of redeeming the earth.
Eternal life, the Presence of God, deliverance from sin, the removal of futility and corruption, the exaltation of Jerusalem and all Israel, the bringing of justice to the meek of the earth, and the restoring of Paradise to the physical environment, will all be brought to mankind through the saints.
But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. (Isaiah 61:6)
Those who love the Lord today, the true disciples of the Lord, are passing from Pentecost to Tabernacles—from the spiritual experience typified by the Old Testament feast of Pentecost to the experience typified by the feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus, Chapter 23).
The feast of Pentecost speaks to us of the former and latter rain, the blessing of the Holy Spirit poured on us from Heaven by the hand of the Lord Jesus. Pentecost is the rain from Heaven.
The feast of Tabernacles also has to do with the water of the Holy Spirit; but in the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles the water flows from the throne of God that has been created in the believer. Tabernacles is the well springing from within the saint.
Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:3)
Speaking during the celebration of the feast of Tabernacles, the Lord Jesus proclaimed:
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38)
As we, the Lord’s trees of life, with joy draw water from the wells of salvation within us, the "fish" in the dead sea of mankind will live.
And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. (Ezekiel 47:9)
In this manner the fullness of redemption will come to every saved person on earth. Redemption will come at first through a warlike remnant, a firstfruits to God and the Lamb, and then will be maintained by the entire Church, the Israel of God, the new Jerusalem, throughout the eternal ages to come.
The role of God’s Israel, of everyone who belongs to Christ, is to install and maintain on the earth all that mankind forfeited through the cunning of Satan:
Eternal life and the Presence of God.
Freedom from sin.
Jerusalem as the center of government of the earth.
Justice for the meek of the earth.
The restoration of Paradise.
When we see the heavens shaken, the powers of nature seemingly out of control, then we are to lift up our head.
Our redemption is drawing near!