Therefore, and according to the biblical sources Mt , the conjunction of the Last Judgement and the works of mercy is very frequent in the pictorial tradition of Christian art. But, in accordance with his promise , we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home 2 Peter The basic difference with the promises of the Old Testament is that in Revelation they also have an ontological value Rev ;4 : "Then I saw 'a new heaven and a new earth,' for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea The focus turns to one city in particular, the New Jerusalem.
Once again, we see the imagery of the marriage: "I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Nor is there a need for the sun to give its light, "for the glory of God illuminated it, and the Lamb is its light". There will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there will be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. The city itself has a large wall with twelve gates in it which are never shut, and which have the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on them.
Each of the gates is made of a single pearl, and there is an angel standing in each one. The wall also has twelve foundations which are adorned with precious stones, and upon the foundations are written the names of the twelve apostles. The gates and foundations are often interpreted [ who? The city and its streets are pure gold, but not like the gold we know, for this gold is described as being like clear glass.
The city is square in shape, and is twelve thousand furlongs long and wide fifteen hundred miles. If these are comparable to earthly measurements, the city will cover an area about half the size of the contiguous United States. The height is the same as the length and breadth, and although this has led most people to conclude that it is shaped like a cube, it could also be a pyramid. The city has a river which proceeds "out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. The last time we saw the tree of life was in the Garden of Eden. Genesis says that the earth was cursed because of Adam's sin, [Gen ] but the author of John writes that in the New Jerusalem, "there will be no more curse.
The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology Baker, says:. The rich symbolism reaches beyond our finest imaginings, not only to the beatific vision but to a renewed, joyous, industrious, orderly, holy, loving, eternal, and abundant existence.
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Perhaps the most moving element in the description is what is missing: there is no temple in the New Jerusalem, 'because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Christian eschatology Eschatological views Contrasting beliefs. The Millennium. Biblical texts. Key terms. Maitreya Three Ages. Olivet Discourse Sheep and Goats. Four Horsemen Antichrist. Historicism Futurism. Second Coming Islamic eschatology.
Kalki Kali Yuga Shiva. Death Resurrection Last Judgement. Messianism Book of Daniel Kabbalah. Li Hong. Frashokereti Saoshyant. End times Apocalypticism. Millenarianism Last Judgment. Gog and Magog Messianic Age. See also: Christian eschatological views.
Main article: Premillennialism. Main article: Pretribulationism. Main article: Midtribulationism. Main article: Post-Tribulation Rapture. Main article: Postmillennialism. Main article: Amillennialism. See also: Second Temple Judaism. Main article: Intermediate state. Main article: Purgatory. Main article: Great Tribulation. Main article: Abomination of desolation. Main article: Prophecy of Seventy Weeks. Main article: Rapture. Main article: Second Coming. See also: Maranatha.
See also: Lamb of God. This section possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. April Learn how and when to remove this template message. Main article: Armageddon. Main article: Millennialism. Main article: Last Judgment. Main article: New Jerusalem. Main article: Tree of life biblical. Christianity portal. Translated by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. Cleveland Coxe.
Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. Ante-Nicene Fathers. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson, The writings of Ignatius and Justin Martyr can be found in Vol.
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Eerdmans; Brill, — , London: Banner of Truth Trust. Blaising; Darrell L. Bock, eds. Progressive Dispensationalism. Baker Books. November Studies in World Christianity. In Gunton, Colin E. The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Luis de Alcazar of Seville, Spain, devised what became known as the 'preterist' system of prophetic interpretation. This theory proposed that the Revelation deals with events in the Pagan Roman Empire, that antichrist refers to Nero and that the prophecies were therefore fulfilled long before the time of the medieval church.
Alcazar's preterist system has never made any impact on the conservative, or evangelical wing of the Protestant movement, although in the last one hundred years it has become popular among Protestant rationalists and liberals. A far more successful attack was taken by Francisco Ribera - of Salamanca, Spain.
He was the founder of the 'futurist' system of prophetic interpretation. Instead of placing antichrist way in the past as did Alcazar, Ribera argues that antichrist would appear way in the future.
About Ribera published a five hundred page commentary on the Apocalypse, denying the Protestant application of antichrist to the church of Rome. Moser, Jr. Joseph Tanner, Daniel and the Revelation, pp. Horae Apocalypticae. IV 5th ed. London: Seely, Jackson and Halliday.
Bell Alpha Books. Macey , p. Exeter: Imprint Academic. Erickson , p. I 5th ed. Before Jerusalem Fell. Retrieved 8 August An Introduction to the Study of the New Testament. Oxford: University Press. II part 2 The Synoptic Gospels — 2. Wright , Jesus and the Victory of God, Fortress , p. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, Journal of Higher Criticism.
Archived from the original PDF on Retrieved Daniel" PDF. Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. Retrieved 26 December Encyclopaedic dictionary of religion: Q-Z. Delhi: Isha Books. Retrieved 6 April Daniel; Duvall, J. Scott; Pate, C. Marvin Dictionary of Biblical Prophecy and End Times. Mercer Dictionary of the Bible.
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Mercer University Press. Michael D. Guinan, "Raptured or Not? However, for many American fundamentalist Christians, "the Rapture forms part of the scenario of events that will happen at the end of the world Drawing on all my years of Catholic education kindergarten through the seminary and doctoral studies , I replied, 'The what?
Schwertley, "Is the Pretribulation Rapture Biblical? Ian S. Vague notions had been considered by the Puritan preachers Increase and Cotton Mather , and the late 18th-century Baptist minister Morgan Edwards, but it was John Nelson Darby who solidified the belief in the s and placed it into a larger theological framework. Wheaton, IL: Bridgepoint Books. Pages , The Amazing Facts Media Library.
Augustine Chapter 6. Life of St Columba. Listing of the 12 Biblical Old Testament passages containing the word "Megiddo". New Testament excerpt describing various apparent calamities of nature with respect to Armageddon. Jordan , Biblical Horizons, No. The relevance of art history to cultural journalism , in Church, Communication and Culture 2 , pp.
Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics. Ada Township, Michigan : Baker Books. This goodness theme is advanced most definitively through the promise of a renewal of all creation, a hope present in OT prophetic literature Isa. Menken, eds. Isaiah in the New Testament. The New Testament and the Scriptures of Israel. London: Bloomsbury Publishing. By alluding to the new Creation prophecy of Isaiah John emphasizes the qualitatively new state of affairs that will exist at God's new creative act. In addition to the passing of the former heaven and earth, John also asserts that the sea was no more in c.
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Taoist Li Hong. Zoroastrian Frashokereti Saoshyant. Preterists typically argue that most Partial Preterism , or all Full Preterism Bible prophecies were fulfilled during the earthly ministry of Jesus and the generation immediately proceeding it, concluding with the siege and destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD. Historicists typically understand the prophecies to be continuous from the times of the prophets to the present day and beyond. Various interpretations of a literal number of ,, including: , Evangelical Jews at the end of the world, or , Christians at the end of the world.
This symbolises God's Holy Army, redeemed, purified and complete. Locusts released from the Abyss Revelation Large Army from the Euphrates, an army of 'myriads of myriads' Revelation Futurists frequently translate and interpret the Greek phrase 'myriads of myriads' as meaning a 'double myriad', from which they develop the figure of million. Futurists frequently assign this army of million to China, which they believe will attack Israel in the future.
Many Bibles employ a Futurist interpretation of the original Greek when they adopt the figure of million. Preterists hold to the original Greek description of a large army consisting of 'myriads of myriads', as a reference to the large pagan army, which would attack Israel during the Siege of Jerusalem from 66—70 AD.
The source of this pagan army from beyond the Euphrates is a symbolic reference to Israel's history of being attacked and judged by pagan armies from beyond the Euphrates. Some of the Roman units employed during the siege of Jerusalem were assigned from this area. Two people who will preach in Jerusalem at the end of the world. The two witnesses and their miracles symbolize the ministries of Moses and Elijah, who in turn symbolize 'The Law' and 'The Prophets', the Old Testament witnesses to the righteousness of God.
When the armies of Rome laid siege to and destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD, it appeared that the Two Witnesses had been killed. A literal days 3. The 'Two Witnesses' appeared to be dead for 3. A future conflict between the State of Israel and Satan. Satan the Dragon was determined to destroy the Christ child.
The Woman the early church , fled Jerusalem before its destruction in 70 AD. The Dragon represents Satan and any earthly power he uses. The woman represents God's true church before and after Christ's birth, death, and resurrection. The Woman flees to the desert away from the dominant power of the years. The future empire of the Anti-Christ, persecuting Christians. The Roman Empire, persecuting the early church during the rule of Nero. The sea symbolizing the Mediterranean and the nations of the Roman Empire.
The Beast is the earthly power supported by the Dragon Satan. It is the Papal power during the same 42 months mentioned above. The apostate rulers of the Jewish people, who joined in union with the Roman Empire to persecute the early church. The first is the U. The second is a future religio-political power in which everyone is forced by the first power to receive the mark of the beast.
The number identifying the future empire of the Anti-Christ, persecuting Christians. The number more broadly symbolises the Roman Empire and its persecution of the early church. The number also symbolises an apostate ruler as King Solomon was, who collected talents of gold annually. Armageddon Revelation A future literal battle at Megiddo in the Jezreel Valley, Israel. Megiddo is utilised as a symbol of God's complete victory over His enemies. The battle of Armageddon occurred years ago when God used the pagan armies of Rome to comprehensively destroy the apostate worship at the temple in Jerusalem.
Revelation Judges 2Kings The corrupted city of Jerusalem, who united with pagan nations of the world in their idolatrous practices and participated in persecuting the faithful Old Covenant priests and prophets, and the early church of the New Covenant. Matthew A virtuous woman represents God's true church.
A whore represents an apostate church. James, writing by the same Holy Spirit, says we are justified by works. Does the Bible contradict itself? Did Jesus do it all or is there a required response on our part?
Is there really an abstract faith that has a life of its own or is it true that faith lives only in works of righteousness? How do you feel about this? Paul pointed out that Divine grace is an alternative to the Law of Moses. Paul also indicated that the grace of God received correctly brings forth a new righteous creation.
If the Apostle Paul had presented Divine grace as an alternative to righteous behavior his writings would be inconsistent. Can you imagine the Israelite sitting in Egypt, eating from the pot of fish and vegetables, and exclaiming that God was bringing him into the land of milk and honey? The most marvelous goal has been set before us—that of being changed into the moral image and finally bodily image of the Lord Jesus Christ. God would have us set this goal before us as a mark, as a treasure that is the objective of our quest.
There are many adversaries as the experienced Christian understands very well. Yet if we press forward with joyful confidence in the Lord we can and we shall reach the finish line. You may have been a Christian for many years and are tired and discouraged. It is time now to get up and fight the good fight of faith. The water of the Spirit is beginning to trickle out from under the threshold of the temple of God.
Paul says we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. Paul also told Timothy that he would save himself and his hearers by being diligent in the things of Christ. If one statement is of God, then so is the other. There is a time when the grace of God needs to be emphasized. Divine grace stands ready to forgive, to cleanse, to heal, to completely restore. Then there is a time when growth in Christ needs to be emphasized. We think we are living in such an hour. To grow spiritually is to be able to recognize the difference between good and evil and to have the desire and strength to choose the good and refuse the evil.
There is a clear, decisive beginning of salvation when we recognize our need of the Savior and come to Him for forgiveness of sin. There is a clear, Divinely guided working out of our salvation. The working out of our salvation includes deliverance from worldliness, the lusts of our flesh, and the bondage of self-will and self-seeking. It is an unwrapping of the graveclothes from Lazarus. There is a salvation to come in the last days. The future salvation will include the clothing of our personality with a new body, a robe of righteousness being formed in Heaven as we patiently keep our present garment of flesh clean by confessing of our sins and turning away from them.
It has been said that the purpose of the commandments given in the Bible is to bring us to Christ. This is true if interpreted correctly. There is more to the Divine plan, however. After we are forgiven through the blood of the righteous Jesus there is a life to be lived.
In order to live that life as God would have us live it we must abide in Christ. We must continually look to Him so His Presence and virtue are overshadowing all we are and do. When we abide in Christ the fruit of righteousness comes forth in our personality. We do not have to strain to bear fruit any more than a tree has to strain to bear apples.
But we do have to abide in Christ. The fruit of righteousness is not the fruit of the Christian but the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of godliness comes forth naturally when we are abiding in Christ. We can do this joyously and completely because the Divine Fullness is in Him and He is in us. The Christian salvation includes forgiveness and deliverance from sin. When deliverance does not follow forgiveness, the purpose of forgiveness is aborted. The Lord Jesus will return to earth in the near future we hope! The pains of the groaning creation are the pains of birth.
The Kingdom of God is soon to be born. When the Lord returns, the dead in Christ will rise. Then we who are living at that time will be changed into immortality and caught up in the clouds along with the saints whom the Lord will bring with Him. Let us think for a moment about two facts. It means we are living in Him, thinking in Him, speaking in Him. He is dwelling in us and we in Him. Then, after having sought His will for the day, we are to order our steps in a manner pleasing to God, including setting aside time for prayer and seeking the Lord and also for meditating in the Bible.
It is one matter to make an initial profession of Christ. It is another matter to work out our own salvation with meekness and fear. There is an initial salvation. There is a continuing salvation. Then there is a salvation that will come to us with the appearing of the Lord Jesus. It means to be resurrected. The resurrection of the physical body, its change into immortality, is referred to as the redemption of the body.
As we press along in our daily walk with the Lord we are fighting against the forces of sin and death. The only way we can overcome the evil that comes against us is to abide in Christ. The evil in the world is becoming worse each day. When we keep living in Jesus we gain the wisdom and strength to live victoriously. Only the Divine virtue found in the body and blood of the Lord contains enough good to enable us to overcome the perversity of the ever increasing malice and wickedness.
Let us be counted among the wise virgins who will be ready to go to the wedding when the Lord comes. Where the carcass of the slain Lamb is, there will those be gathered who live by eating His flesh and drinking His blood. The Christian salvation does not always change where we are but of necessity always changes what we are. We are saved by grace rather than by observing the Law of Moses. We know that when we come to Jesus we are forgiven because of the blood atonement made by Him on the cross of Calvary. It has been said that grace is unmerited favor. This is true. Great grace is upon us when we abide in the Lord Jesus.
Divine grace includes strength, wisdom, joy, peace, love—in fact, all that is desirable in life. There is a grace for living and then a grace for dying. There is a grace by which we give of our material possessions. Grace is given to us so we may be able to serve the Lord and to bear witness of His atoning death and triumphant resurrection. The grace of God brings salvation. Divine grace teaches and enables us to live soberly, righteously, and in a godly manner in the present world. Can you think of one sentence that sums up the meaning of Divine grace? What do you think of the following?
Grace is the Presence of God in Christ Jesus through which we by faith are able to reach the mark God has set before us, and to do so joyously. It appears our understanding of Divine grace is confused—probably because we are Gentiles. Whenever the Apostle Paul stressed grace as opposed to works, as he did in the books of Romans and Galatians, for example, Paul was reacting to the Law of Moses.
The first Christian church comprised five thousand Law-keeping Jews who understood little or nothing of the grace of God. Paul, himself a Jew, was entrusted by the Lord Jesus with the responsibility of explaining the relationship of the Law of Moses to the grace of God in Messiah Jesus—a theological controversy existing to the present hour.
To us Gentiles, not coming from the background of a Law-keeping Jew seeking righteousness, as was true of the Apostle Paul, it appears that Paul is saying Divine grace is an alternative to righteous behavior instead of an alternative to the Law of Moses.
We think now that grace has appeared there is no need to attempt to live righteously. If there exists a greater error in theology or philosophy we do not know of it. The misunderstanding of the purpose of Divine grace has wrecked the intention of God under the new covenant! Divine grace is not a substitute for righteous conduct. Rather, Divine grace is God in Christ enabling us to become a new righteous creation. It is commonly believed among Christians that the Lord Jesus is our righteousness.
By this we mean we have no righteousness of our own and so God has assigned to us the righteousness of Christ, the righteousness of the One who kept the Law of Moses perfectly. As we press forward past the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Passover and begin to enter the feast of Tabernacles we discover we have been playing volleyball with God. You do that and I will do this. We no longer are attempting to get God to do something, we are trusting Him and no longer are afraid. The Lord Himself has become our strength.
The Lord Himself has become our song. The Lord Himself has become our salvation. This does not mean we no longer pray or seek the Lord or cease asking for our desires. We have not arrived as yet in the perfect rest of God where His will and our will have become one. We are pressing toward the mark. Our desire is that Christ Himself live in us, for this is the fulfillment of the new covenant and the rest of God.
Many of us have been as far as the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Passover. This is to say, we have received the blood atonement and have been born again of the Spirit of God. Others of us have come to the feast of Pentecost. We are entering life lived in the Spirit of God.
Now we are being called to the third feast, the feast of Tabernacles. Do you feel that calling today? It is the third great work of grace. Ask Jesus into your heart in a greater way than you have known. When the Lord Himself becomes our righteousness then the light of the moral Nature of Jesus will be revealed in us. People will see our good works and glorify God. To be fully redeemed is to be brought out from the presence and all the works of Satan into total conformity to the image of Christ and untroubled rest in the Father through Christ. We Christians have Christ in our heart.
But there is much, much more for us. Because we are entering a morally dark period of history, God has prepared for us a fullness of Divine life that will make us more than conquerors through Christ. And yet the Apostle Paul prayed for them. The days in which we are living are increasingly filled with malice and every form of perversity and wickedness. Perhaps you have already encountered such evil and are becoming bitter and angry because of the injustice of it all. God has something better for you than anger and bitterness. God has promised in His Word that if we will keep the commandments of Christ, God will love us and will come in His Fullness and dwell with us.
Then when Satan and his helpers come knocking on our door we have Someone who will answer for us—Someone who has all power in Heaven and on the earth. All things work together for good for those who love God. The spiritual darkness that is increasing will serve only to make the light of Christ, who is the glorious image of God, shine ever brighter. Focus on the Lord Jesus Christ. He sits as King of the flood of your life. You will yet sing and dance in the heights of Zion when the lawlessness surrounding you is creating desolation. Yes, we are.
God is! But fretting about evil will lead us only into sin. All God requires of any of us is to perform with all diligence that which God has given him or her to do, in the meantime seeking the Presence and will of the Lord each day. If we will do this we can rest in God, knowing we have done what we could to aid our generation.
Be encouraged in the Lord! Think only about what is pure, peaceable, and lovely. Refuse to pay attention to Satan as he bangs on his pots and pans seeking your attention. Ignore the evil unless the Lord directs you to do something about it. We are not to fret ourselves concerning the evil. To do so only destroys our confidence and trust in Christ. To overcome means to conquer an adversary, to conquer someone or something that is seeking to prevent the Christian from attaining his or her objective.
The objective of the believer in Christ is to be in the moral image of Christ and to be resting in untroubled union with Christ in God. The first enemy is the spirit of this present world. Let us come out of the world and spend time with God. The first temptation of man has to do with finding survival and security in the world rather than in the Lord. The second enemy is the sin that dwells in our flesh. Satan uses these weaknesses in us as entrances. When we are burning with lust or violence or covetousness we do not behave as Jesus behaves.
We refuse the gently flowing waters of Shiloah. There are no green pastures in which to lie down, only the passions of the flesh that give no rest. The second temptation of man has to do with finding joy and worship in Satan and our flesh rather than in the Lord. Adam and Eve had a problem with this one. The third adversary is our self-will. We do not have to create our own heaven and earth.
Our task is to find the plan of God for our life. The third temptation has to do with jumping off the gable of the Temple. How do we conquer the world, our flesh, and our self-will? By seeking God continually. By praying and obeying. By meditating each day in the Scriptures. By entering the Holy of Holies and receiving grace so we may be able to resist Satan and have fellowship with God. God could have made things so we had nothing to overcome. But God is preparing rulers who will prevent future rebellions against His will.
By the process of overcoming we develop character—the kind of character that will be necessary if we are to be royal priests during the ages to come. You cannot overcome the three enemies of man by your own strength and wisdom. But you can overcome them through Christ Jesus. Remember that. You can through Christ be more than a conqueror no matter in what condition you find yourself. The Lake of Fire has authority over specific behaviors. Until through Christ we overcome those behaviors the Lake of Fire has authority over that part of our personality.
He who overcomes shall not be harmed by the second death. A Christian by definition is a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth. Are you a disciple of the Lord Jesus? What is a disciple? A disciple is someone who views another person as his or her master. The master speaks and the disciple listens and learns.
The Lord Jesus told us that in order to be His disciple we would have to lay down our life in the present world, take up our cross, and follow Him. What does it mean to lay down our life in the present world? It means to count we have died to all we hold dear and to embark on a quest for another security, another joy, another fulfillment. This is why it is difficult for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God. They find security, joy, and fulfillment by using their money.
To die to all we hold dear does not mean we neglect our family, our job, or any other responsibility. No true Christian neglects his or her responsibilities. But we must put all on the altar so there are no idols in our life. Only then can we have peace. God gives and God takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
The reason believers have difficulty serving the Lord is they do not have the sentence of death in themselves that they should not trust in themselves but in God who raises the dead. What does it mean to take up our cross? Every would-be disciple is issued some factor in his life that acts as a prison.
He thirsts! Sometimes he must continue in a detestable situation he cannot change without breaking out of the Divine incarceration. He is shut up and cannot come forth. He remains off balance all his life because of his cross, the thorn that pierces his flesh. No person can be a disciple of Jesus if he refuses to carry his cross. The individual who makes the best of it, concentrating on the joy that is ahead instead of his pain, will find in the end his self-will has been destroyed and he is at rest in the Father through Christ.
What does it mean to follow Jesus? It means to look each moment of every day to the living Lord Jesus, listening for His voice, watching for His Presence. When we do not trust in our own understanding but acknowledge the Lord in all our ways He directs our path. We do not always hear His voice sometimes we do! The true Christian, the disciple of the Lord Jesus, does not neglect his salvation. He always is busy serving the Lord with a pure heart. We need to think more about the day of resurrection. What kind of body will we receive? Will our conduct today have any effect on the body we will receive?
We know the body we have now will be raised from the dead when the Lord returns. But what about our house that is being prepared in Heaven, the robe we will be given in that day that will clothe our resurrected body? The third chapter of Revelation speaks of our being clothed with a white robe. The same chapter also implies that if we have soiled our clothing we may not be given a white robe when the Lord appears.
The seventh chapter of Revelation tells of those who have come out of the great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. The nineteenth chapter of Revelation reveals that the Bride of the Lamb will be clothed with the white robe of her righteous deeds. In Second Corinthians, Chapter Four Paul describes the renewal of his inner man as his outer man is brought down to death. Then he mentions that his afflictions are producing an eternal weight of glory that far exceeds his comprehension.
In the next chapter Paul speaks of his house from Heaven. Since there were no chapter divisions when the New Testament was written we think that by an eternal weight of glory Paul was speaking of his house from Heaven. Paul was saying the afflictions that came on him were resulting in a resurrected inner man and also a strengthened house from Heaven, a better resurrection. In the same chapter Five, of Second Corinthians Paul reminds us that at the Judgment Seat of Christ we shall receive what we have done in our body, whether good or bad.
Putting all these ideas together we conclude that what we are doing today will directly affect the kind of resurrection we shall have, that is, the kind of house that will clothe our resurrected mortal body. All this is to say if we bury our talent we will end up in the outer darkness. If we diligently apply our talent, we will be placed in a position of rulership, receiving the approval of the Lord.
Dying will not change what you are in personality. The coming of the Lord will not change what you are in personality. Only Jesus Christ can change what you are in personality and He is ready to change you right now. Tomorrow may be too late if you are not faithful today.
This phrase has become common in America and probably in many other countries. Jesus said we must be born again if we are to see or enter the Kingdom of God. Why is it necessary to be born again? Being born again is necessary because of the nature of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God does not consist of flesh and blood people but of a new kind of humanity—a humanity that has been born of God. People are born from other people. The members of the Kingdom of God have been born from other people but also from God.
They have been born a second time. This is not a figure of speech. When we come to Christ we actually receive the very Life of God into our personality. Let us say God commanded a monkey to play the piano. Perhaps after consuming a thousand bananas the monkey learned to find middle C and to push down the keys of the C major scale. This would be a remarkable achievement and worthy of a job in the circus.
But how many bananas would be required if the monkey is to learn a Beethoven sonata? So it is with us. We have been commanded to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect. Now let us imagine Beethoven is born in the monkey and each day the monkey nature is being subdued and the abilities of Beethoven are becoming ever more prominent. It will not be long before we are hearing more than the C major scale. All the monkey will need then is a body like that of Beethoven. Does something similar take place when Christ is born in the believer? Each day the Adamic nature is being subdued and the Character of Christ is becoming ever more prominent.
What occurs? You guessed it. We begin to see evidences of the Divine Nature here and there.
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All we shall need then is a body like that of Christ. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. If we are to please God we must be born again of Christ Jesus. Perhaps you are a Christian but have become discouraged along the way. Why not count that your old nature died on the cross with Christ and cultivate your new born-again nature by praying, meditating in the Scriptures, and obeying the Lord diligently in all He commands? The holy city, the new Jerusalem, is not holy because God sees the inhabitants through Christ but because Christ has made them actually holy.
We saints need to get a firmer grasp on the calling of God. The royal priesthood is not a group of people who randomly chose themselves. The members were called of God when the world was created. You may have abilities in some areas. God might lead you to be a mechanic or salesman or housewife. But your calling is to be a member of the royal priesthood. There are a variety of gifts and ministries mentioned in the New Testament but none of them has to with being a mechanic, a salesman, or a housewife.
Rather they are Divinely endowed abilities with which we are to build up the Body of Christ so that each member may be perfect as measured by the full stature of Christ. God has tremendous needs. He is calling out of the world a royal priesthood. He needs a wife for the Lamb. He needs living stones for His temple. He needs brothers for His Son. He needs rulers and judges to govern His creation. If you are a Christian, you have but one calling.
Your calling is to be a saint, a holy one, a king, a priest of God. Take your calling seriously. Come out of the spirit of the age, its lusts, its malice, its violence, its covetousness. Ask God to help you purify yourself. You will be a better mechanic, salesman, or housewife if you do.
You are being formed now. Although God has a purpose for you in the present world, your fullest witness and service will be given throughout the endless ages to come. This is why it is more critical that you live and minister in integrity now, playing by the rules of the game, than it is that you accomplish some great thing in the church world.
God has called you to be a royal priest. It is His will that you not disqualify yourself but reach the mark set before you. This you can and shall do because Christ will help you at every point along the way. If you go through life and miss the plan of Christ for you, you have missed everything of lasting value.
The floods are coming upon the world, upon the churches, upon families, upon individuals. The waves and the seas are roaring, so to speak. Everything is being shaken. The values and expectations to which we once were accustomed are shifting and changing. Surely the Lord has founded the world and its inhabitants on the seas and the waters, on that which is unstable.
Thoughtful people, people of integrity, are not pleased with a world that is constantly shifting and changing. They like to have their life, their home, their family, their moral values, solid and unchanging. These are the builders who create and hold the world together so it is not given over to bread and circus, as in ancient Rome. But where can they find a foundation to build on? Utopian dreamers throughout the centuries—philosophers, teachers, statesmen—have advanced plans to bring mankind to security and peace.
The Lord Jesus told us we would have wars and other problems. Who has proven correct? Democracy is supposed to be the answer to social oppression. Democracy is producing social anarchy as self-seeking people fill the power vacuum. Today there are politicians, teachers, psychologists who are promising a bright new world. People never seem to learn! Their well-intentioned schemes will lead only to more anarchy, more poverty, more distress and anguish as is true today in so much of the world.
Indeed a bright new world is coming but only through Jesus Christ. The Kingdom of God is at hand. How about you? Has the shaking caught up to you? Are you wondering why your tidy home—perhaps a Christian home—has suddenly been torn asunder? You have been a church attender and have tried to interest your children in the things of God. Now your husband is ready to run off with another believer. One son is living with an older woman. Another son is going to court because of involvement in a gang shooting. Your daughter is on drugs. Listen carefully! The Lord Jesus sits as King of the flood.
His power and love have no end. Bring your problems before Him. You do not need to know any religious formulas. The foundations of the earth will be revealed. The valleys of the sea will be uncovered. The clouds will be the dust of His feet. He will give you peace in the midst of your monumental problems. As you follow Him, He will bring light out of darkness, order from chaos.
That which seemed to have no solution will suddenly resolve. Little by little you and your loved ones will be placed on an unshakable foundation. Best of all you will come to know the Lord. And this is the greatest gift of all for you will take that knowledge past the grave into the new world of righteousness. You thought He had forgotten you.
But all this has happened that you might pass from the ranks of those who have heard about God to those who know the Lord. Two goats were used during the annual Day of Atonement. The first goat was slain and its blood sprinkled upon and before the Mercy Seat to make an atonement for the tribes of Israel. The goat remained alive and yet it was part of the atonement. The Lord Jesus is the spiritual fulfillment of both goats. The Lord Jesus was slain to make an atonement by the sprinkling of His blood. The Lord Jesus also remains alive and His Life is an important part of the atonement.
The second part of the atonement, the removal of sin from the camp, may not have been as clearly understood. Perhaps now is the time when the second part of the atonement will be preached and experienced. The Lamb of God has made an atonement for the sins of the world. Now He is ready to take away the sins of the world.
Several passages of the New Testament reveal that the program of our salvation is past, present, and future. The Bible speaks of a future hope, a future salvation to come in the last days. We are saved by hope, the hope that our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. Christ was offered to bear the sins of many. It is written that He shall come the second time without sin unto salvation. It is clear from Scripture that when the Church is presented to the Lamb it will be without spot or wrinkle.
We have faith that a glorious Day of Redemption is soon to appear in which we who have patiently followed the Lord will be like Him. We think the coming Day of the Lord is casting its shadow beforehand, that the Lord is ready to help us cast off the graveclothes of sin and self-will so we will be ready to appear with Him in glory.
Lazarus has been summoned from the dead still bound. We are not to fret ourselves when we see the maturing of the tares in the world. God will give us more grace and glory, and the tribulations and persecutions produced by the maturing of wickedness will serve to press the believers into the Person and image of the Lord Jesus. Where sin abounds, grace will much more abound. All things are still working together for good! A salvation that forgives the guilt of our sin is marvelous beyond words.
A salvation that not only forgives our sins but actually removes them is even more marvelous and beyond all we could hope or think. Be encouraged in the Lord. Forget the things that are past. Confess your sins to the Lord and see for yourself if the strength is there to enable you to turn away from them. You yet will be free from your graveclothes and will dance on the mountains of spices with the Lord! Salvation includes forgiveness and deliverance.
Forgiveness comes instantly as we call on the name of the Lord Jesus. Deliverance is accomplished over a period of time as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit. This is the basic message of the Gospel. Many soldiers of the cross have given their lives that whoever will do so might believe, be baptized, and thus be saved. Those who have embraced the phenomena of the Spirit have learned that it is only by the Spirit we can truly minister and only by the Spirit we can keep from obeying the lusts of our flesh.
But the act of salvation includes three great platforms, not just two. It is on the third day that there is a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Unlike the other creatures of God as far as we know , human beings were made in half. We are either male or female. Why were we made this way? Why were we made so vulnerable in the realm of relationships? The answer is, man was made to be the dwelling place of God and also to be the gate through which others can find rest in God.
The person who is alone, without God or other people, needs to be ministered to. It is not good that man be alone. In Pentecost we receive the wisdom and power by which we enter the Kingdom. Neither of these is the Kingdom. They are the authority and ability to enter the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints loving, governing, and blessing the creatures of God. But there comes a day when we have received double for our sins, when our warfare has been accomplished, when our iniquity has been pardoned. God tears before He binds up. He is angry and we are rebuked and chastised before His glorious Presence finds untroubled rest in us.
Does this speak to your heart? Are you a seasoned Christian who suddenly is being faced with the unfathomable deceit of your own inner nature? You are moving from Pentecost to Tabernacles. When you come forth from the fire only your bondages will have been burned away.
The Son of God has been with you in the fire. We have compassed the mountain of Pentecost long enough. The goal of salvation is to be changed into the image of Christ and brought into untroubled rest in Christ in the Father. The tares are those who act wickedly and the wheat are those who act righteously. After all has been said and done, after all the scaffolding of religion has been removed, this is what it boils down to: the tares are those who act wickedly and the wheat are those who act righteously. The primary goal of every righteous person, whether he knows it or not, is to have fellowship with God.
God has given the Lord Jesus to us so we can have our sins forgiven and learn to act righteously. The wicked can never have fellowship with God for our God is a God of righteousness. In the last days which are now! God will remove the tares from His Kingdom. First, God will remove the roots of wickedness from His people. After this program has been completed God will remove the people themselves if they have not been willing to allow God to remove the evil from them.
This is what is taking place today. The Lord Jesus is moving among His people. He is knocking at the door. Can you hear Him knocking at your heart? If you will open the door He will come in and dine with you on His body and blood. He wants to remove every tare from your personality—all worldliness, all the unlawful passions and appetites of your flesh, all the self-will and striving of personal ambition found in you.
Let these go as He calls for them. They will only keep you in misery—now and possibly throughout eternity. I am not certain how unjudged sin will impact on us in the future, especially if we have had the chance to confess and turn away from it. God does have a way of giving us what we insist on! What a joy it is to have God change us like this! We are being made heirs of the new world of righteousness that is on the horizon. Let us not look back but come out of the world. Let us walk hand in hand with our Father as it was in the beginning.
He desires fellowship with you. He will forgive you through the blood of the cross and make Himself real to you. As we look about us in the world, we observe the tares of wickedness coming to maturity. Christians can see clearly that Satan is rising up in the peoples of the world. But if we will listen to the Spirit of God we will discover that God is inviting us to partake of more of Christ.
There is a greater portion of Christ for every believer who will look up to God and receive. What is the answer to the moral darkness? It is a greater forming of Christ in us and a greater portion of the Holy Spirit. God is waiting for you to ask Him for more of His Spirit to enable you to stand no matter what darkness confronts you.
Ask Him now. He will not disappoint you. You will be more than a conqueror through Christ who strengthens you no matter how dark your environment becomes, no matter how the tares abound. Taste and see that the Lord is good! The righteous belong in Heaven with God and the wicked belong in the fire with Satan. If you want to escape Hell, ask Christ to help you live righteously.
Every Christian has a talent.
The Holy Spirit divides to every believer a portion of the wisdom and power of the ascended Christ. Perhaps our talent is expressed in a tremendous, recognized gift to the Body such as the apostle or the prophet. Or it may be true that we are the custodian of the church building. The apostle and the custodian may vary widely in importance in the sight of people. But they do not vary widely in importance in the sight of God.
A custodian who does a job in utter faithfulness before the Lord is highly esteemed in the Kingdom of God. He will be issued greater responsibility. The apostle may be revealing the Scriptures with great power. The prophet may be lifting the saints into the glory of the Kingdom Age. But if the toilet begins to leak and floods the restroom the worshipers are quickly brought back down to the present world. It is not unusual for the highly gifted individual, the one with ten talents, to go about his or her ministry conscientiously.
The believer with the one talent, thinking he is of little importance in the kingdom, may become occupied with his job or family and pay little attention to his one task. Such difference in diligence can be seen in the churches. The one-talented individual who buried his talent suffered in four major ways. First, he was removed from fellowship with his angry Lord. Second, his talent was given to a more industrious person. Third, he lost his crown of rulership. Fourth, he was cast into the outer darkness. We humans would reserve such harsh punishment for the murderer, the rapist, the thief.
We do not view the timid, negligent believer as a candidate for total loss of inheritance. The Kingdom of God is at hand and will be given to those who esteem it highly enough to turn away from the world and seek it with a whole heart. The fearful, the cowardly, the negligent, the spiritually lazy, may be acceptable to us; but to God who is busily bringing forth a new world of righteousness they are a complete frustration.
They are neither hot nor cold. We must be faithful with our few things if we are to be the rulers over many. There are great rewards for serving the Lord! What do we do about this? We attend diligently to the task set before us. Meanwhile, we ask the Lord for an increased area of service. Ask your Pastor and elders where they think you fit in the work of the ministry.
The Christian Jews to whom the author of Hebrews was writing had been saved, had been filled with the Spirit, had seen the miracles of the Apostles, and had been persecuted to the point of having their possessions confiscated. Was the writer congratulating them on their stature in Christ and encouraging them with the soon coming of the Lord to take them to Heaven? No such thing! The way the author spoke you would think he was addressing unsaved people who were rejecting the Gospel.
They knew about repentance from dead works, faith toward God, water baptism, the baptism with the Spirit of God, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. They had experienced the heavenly gift of eternal life, had been partakers of the Holy Spirit, had tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come.
Now they were being warned about neglecting their salvation, about not holding their confidence resolutely to the end, bearing thorns and thistles instead of the fruit of righteousness, not assembling together, drawing back from the program of salvation—about failing to enter the rest of God. It reminds us of the Apostle Paul who toward the end of his life was seeking to win Christ and urged us to do the same.
Our salvation is past, present, and future. When we neglect one of these aspects at the expense of the others we are risking the fullness of our inheritance as man and as a son of God. What is the rest of God? The rest of God is based on the fact that God finished all things on the seventh day of creation and we are not required to create our own heaven and earth. God is resting and we are to enter His rest. It is the land of promise, the resurrection ground where we are eternally alive in the Spirit of God.
It is the eternal Sabbath where we cease from speaking our own words and acting according to our own pleasure, choosing instead to abide in Christ to the point we are crucified and Christ is living His Life in us. The place where our greatest joy is to do the will of the Father. No human being ever will find perfect peace, perfect joy, perfect love, perfect fulfillment, until he or she is abiding in untroubled rest in the bosom of the Father through Christ Jesus.
Let us through Christ conquer every enemy until God can find rest in us and we can find rest in God. Christ can do nothing of Himself apart from the Father. We can do nothing of ourselves apart from Christ. The land of promise offered to the tribes of Israel was set forth clearly in several passages of the Old Testament. Canaan, the land of milk and honey, was the goal. How wonderful it is to embark on a quest, to be pursuing the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
A vision, a hope keeps us pressing forward in anticipation. We can carry our cross when there is joy set before us. In the Christian tradition eternal residence in the garden of God is our hope, our promised land. But as the time for the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth draws near we need to look again to the Scriptures to see if we can discover what God has said concerning the land of promise of the believer in Christ. Actually there is little said in the New Testament concerning what happens to us from the time we die until the day of resurrection.
We have preached and sung about our mansion in the sky. There is nothing at all wrong with looking forward to Paradise no matter where it is located. We have been commanded to set our affection on things above. Because Paradise was at one time on the earth, the memory of Eden can be found hidden in the subconscious of all the children of Adam. To think and dream about Paradise releases us from the drudgery of life on the earth. When we turn to the New Testament, we find our hope is to be directed toward the Day of the Lord, the return of Christ.
In that Day of all days we shall be raised from the dead and then clothed with immortality. We shall appear with Christ and restore Paradise to the earth. The meek will inherit the earth in that hour! But Adam and Eve they are living somewhere in the spirit realm cannot be brought back into Paradise with their descendants until first they all are changed—not just forgiven but changed!
And why not? The Kingdom of God is coming to the earth. The saints will return with the Lord Jesus and bring salvation and healing to mankind. This is why we are enduring rigorous training in righteousness, holiness, and obedience to the Father. The earth and its peoples are the inheritance of Christ and His coheirs. Even today the Lord may be pleased to give us some people to love and guide—and more so as the Day approaches.
He has kept the good wine until now. Look about you and see the hundreds of millions who are waiting for the royal priesthood to minister to them. Ask the Lord and He will give you the nations for your inheritance. They are your land of promise. In human thinking, the important aspect of Passover was the release of the Hebrew tribes from Egyptian slavery and their start toward the land of their inheritance. Only Christ can bring true, eternal release to human beings.