The First Four Feasts, #9
Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. (Hebrews 3:8,9)
Preparation for the new age. The history of the tribes of Israel making their pilgrimage through the wilderness to the land of promise helps us understand the purpose for our wearying—oftentimes painful—discipleship during our present life on the earth.
God understands well that it is necessary to teach us many lessons in the arena of earth's problems before we can be entrusted with the glory and responsibilities of the sons of God during the ages to come. Seen from this light, the faithfulness and perseverance we exercise in learning the lessons presented to us by the Holy Spirit have eternal rewards. The eons of the future attach eternal significance to every one of today's decisions, actions, words, thoughts, imaginations, and motives.
And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. (Deuteronomy 8:2)
Our present life on the earth is a humbling process. It also is a school in which we learn to look to God rather than to our own abilities and self-will. Think about the meaning of the following passage:
And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:3)
Is God utilizing the resources of Heaven and earth so we may lead a happy and successful life on the earth during the present wicked age? Not so. God is preparing kings and priests who will rule and serve with Christ in the fullness of the glory and power of an endless and indestructible life. Therefore their happiness and success is measured in the terms of Heaven, not of men on the earth.
Every challenge, every trial, every lesson, every humiliation, every pain we are enduring has as its purpose our preparation for eternal service in the Presence of Almighty God.
When we pass from the earth into Heaven, and then into the Kingdom Age on the earth, we shall bring with us all we have learned from the Spirit of the Lord. What we have become through the Word of God, through the body and blood of Christ, and through the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit will determine the nature of our reception upon our physical death, the quality of our fellowship with God and the saints, and our opportunities for service (II Timothy 4:8).
The New Testament teaches that we will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ and be rewarded or punished according to our actions on the earth (II Corinthians 5:10).
The saints who have had visions of Heaven report consistently that the surprise on entering the spirit realm is that we are unchanged and that we are gathered to the spiritual area for which we have allowed the Holy Spirit to prepare us.
To be continued.