ZION MINISTRY - BIBLE PROPHECY
THE SEVEN CHURCHES IN PROPHECY
By Neville V. Stevens
New International Version used throughout unless otherwise stated.
The message of the entire Scriptures that Christ used (called the Old Testament today) is about a battle for real estate. This real estate is the land that God gave to His friend Abraham. This land is the center of the earth (as it once was), and when everything is restored, it will be again.
The Churches of God have given the most important things low priority. These things are those that are dear to Gods own heart. Tearing the Holy Land away from those who seek to control it is one of those things. It is Gods purpose to establish a kingdom on earth in the City and the land that He proposed for this. All Bible students will understand that the time will come when God will gather all nations against His Holy Land and His City, and the Mighty Commander Himself will fight against them (Zech 14:3).
In many ways, the Churches of God are like foolish, silly children who have forgotten what their Heavenly Father requires of them. For years theyve been honouring themselves rather than the One who gave them life. Because of limited knowledge theyve failed to understand Gods overall purpose. God plans to test them and refine them. And as they filter into Gods Kingdom, they too will have offspring to guide and nurture. But between now and the fulfillment of these things there is a very big time gap.
God intends to show them who their mother is the woman that loves and nurtures them as her offspring. This woman knows what God requires of them, and she knows what God requires of her. And their roles are vastly different. Like a lioness or an eagle, this woman will turn on whole nations to rescue her offspring. At that time the whole world will know they are fighting God. Presently, the Churches refuse to acknowledge their mother. They glean satisfaction from the myopic view that has been taught them.
Just as there was nothing effeminate about Jesus the Christ, so there is nothing effeminate about this woman. Few people would dare to take the cubs away from a lioness. They would understand the consequences of such an act. Jesus exhibited qualities of mercy and compassion on all those who sought to honour His Father. But at the same time, He made it clear that He was the Christ the Mighty Commander who would execute all the might and power of His Heavenly Father, and this might and power would be fully implemented in the Day of Wrath. The wrath of God will be directed against those who fail to honour the Father. All those who think they have done their duty by accepting Jesus as their personal Saviour and nothing else are in for the shock of their lives literally!
The Bible is full of accounts of terrible trauma where men were faced with great odds in the field of battle. Many others faced severe trials in persecution, others bore losses of liberty and possessions but continued to honour God because they realized that service to God did not always ensure peace and safety. Then Jesus Christ appeared on earth and ultimately suffered the humility and loss of everything, including His own life. In this He set us the example of obedience and faithfulness. God gave His Son the option to withdraw at any time from the fate that awaited Him. He didnt have to do it: Matt 26:53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and He will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way? But had He failed then He would not have been entrusted with everything under the Father, and God would have erased all life from the face of the earth. The life and death of this one Man was a life and death struggle for the whole earth. The stakes were high with the winner taking all and Christ triumphed! His triumph was not over human beings, but over the rulers and authorities of the heavenly realm. These spirits presently rule over everyone and everything but only insofar as God allows them. The earth and everything in it belongs to God! The present rulers are worthless stewards who have failed miserably to uphold justice and mercy. Their tenure is about to be forcefully interrupted.
God allotted these rulers of the heavenly realm just six thousand years. And of course, the arch-rebel of the universe is not about to relinquish his rulership without a fight. God knows that and has told us so. And this really is the crux of the whole matter. Even in human terms, people cling to life.
Generally, the Churches of God believed and taught that Christ was the King of Peace (Salem) and that He would continue in this role. It was quite an undertaking for the writers of the Book of Hebrews to convince the scattered House of Israel that the man Jesus they had heard so much about was indeed the same One who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings.
When Christ stated His position with the words Before Abraham was born, I AM! (John 8:58) His enemies wanted to stone Him. Christ was saying I will be what I will be (Ex 3:14 see margin), and in this instance, He was a lamb who was led to the slaughter. Christ also said these words: John 8:54 Jesus replied, If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the One who glorifies me. Though you do not know Him, I know Him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.
In the Book of Hebrews we are told that figuratively speaking Isaac received back his life from the dead (Heb 11:19). In this regard, Abraham saw Christs day when He too, would receive His life back from the dead. But this is not all that Abraham saw! Before this an account begins in Gen 14:11 The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah and all their food; then they went away. They also carried off Abrams nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom. One who escaped came and reported this to Abram the Hebrew. It may seem inconsequential that Abraham is described here as a Hebrew, and the Book that describes the events to follow is called the Book of Hebrews, but throughout the Bible God has done this again and again. These are markers that God has placed there for our benefit.
We know that Abraham reacted immediately to this news and set out with his 318 men in pursuit of the four kings (V14). This tiny, fledgling army, led by Abraham, slaughtered them, and they returned to be greeted by the King of Peace: V18 Then Melchizedek King of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was Priest of the Most High, and He blessed Abram saying, Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand. Most priests bring out animals as offerings, but this Priest of the Most High brought out bread and wine a practice that would be established in perpetuity by this same High Priest at a later time. And note that Melchizedek appeared to Abraham in His capacity as Priest of the Most High.
The Book of Hebrews sets out to establish the bona fides of the One who became the Christ. In the opening chapter this Book clearly establishes Christ above the angels. No created being can ever be greater than the One to whom God says: You are my Son; today I have become your Father (Heb 1:5, Psalm 2:7). Abraham had many sons, one to Hagar, and another six to Keturah (his wife after Sarah died), but God says that only Isaac, the son of Sarah, was Abrahams one and only son (Heb 11:17). And Christ also is identified as Gods only begotten Son (John 3:16). When God says Today I have become your Father He is referring to the Alpha the beginning the day when it all began the first millennium. And this Son walked in the Garden of Eden. This Son was the craftsman by Gods side, and on this occasion He created Adam, who is also called the son of God (Luke 3:37) by virtue of his creation. And Adam lived just seventy years short of a full millennium.
Adam was given a role similar to Christs. In fact, Christ is called the last Adam: 1Cor 15:45 And so it is written: The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam a life-giving spirit. When God created Adam, he was made in the likeness of the Son of God. What Adam was, Christ became a mere human being but still the Son of God! And Adam was given dominion over everything and the power to subdue the whole earth. It was his wife Eve who was deceived, and later his own son Cain. 1Tim 2:13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. And it was Cain who didnt want to be ruled by Adam, the son of God. He became the first despot and a murderer. He was one of the rulers of the heavenly realms a point that Christ made to the rulers that existed in His time on earth (Matt 23:35). Like righteous Abel, Cain had the opportunity to bring offerings in righteousness, but chose his own way of worship. He rejected Gods way. He became a murderer and a liar and pretended he knew nothing of the death of his brother. The ruler of the heavenly realm that reigned from within Cain was called Death, and he reigned from Adam to Moses: Rom 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned for before the Law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no Law. Nevertheless, Death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the One to come. Adam trespassed (as some versions put it) into an area he was forbidden to go. In writing these verses, Paul was stating a truth from the book of Wisdom which says this: Wisdom 2:24 But by the envy of the devil, Death entered the world, and they who are in his possession experience it. Dont be too alarmed that Wisdom is quoted here. Most of Christianity happily quotes all sorts of quotations from people who have no qualifications to teach Gods Way. And they do it without any qualms or conscience whatsoever even if it directly contradicts God.
But the Father of Heavenly Lights made it known through His Son that Death would reign again: Rev 6:7 When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, Come! I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death James taught the same principle that those who are in the possession of Death will experience death: James 1:13 When tempted, no-one should say, God is tempting me. For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Dont be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the Heavenly Lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the Word of Truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created.
Death has no power over those who dont give birth to it, yet its given to all men once to die even Christ! In dying, Christ has given us that assurance that we will live again, just as He was raised from the dead. And just as assuredly, those who give birth to Death will die! And they will die forever. When sin enters our lives and we nurture it until it is full-grown (as many people have done), it will no longer be sin to them, but virtue and they have given birth to Death. Of course, God gives us the alternative: birth through the Word of Truth!
All these things may seem to be very elementary, and on a par with the sickening nonsense taught by mainstream Christianity. But in reality, God is giving a very strong warning! Rom 8:5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of the sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to Gods Law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
Paul felt these things were very important and went on to explain them in even greater depth: V9 You, however, are controlled not by sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who also raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you. V14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
It was Gods purpose to make known the nature of His Son who is called the Word of God and by this Mighty One we must be given birth, and like Him, become sons of God. Many deceivers have arisen in this world who deny Christs Name. As to His Name, the Father couldnt have stated it more plainly! This is what He said: Rev 19:12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on His head are many crowns. He has a name written on Him that no-one but Himself knows. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His Name is the Word of God. Do we have to guess what this Name is? No! God tells us that His Name is the Word of God! But no-one knows the Word of God unless the Christ chooses to make it known to them! And without the Spirit of Christ you dont belong to Him, and you will never understand the Word of God. We have a funny situation today where some claim to live by every word of God, yet they dont know who the Word of God is, or that He became flesh and dwelt on earth for a while. Such people have never believed God, rather they believe only men!
The one who wrote down the words of the Book of Revelation prefaced the Book that bears his name with an accurate description of the Word of God. John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome [margin] it. V14 Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husbands will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Its quite funny to see the Gentile Churches (and the [present] Worldwide Church of God in particular) claiming to be born again, yet they deny being the children of Gods family! They may call Him Father but they dont believe He is their father in the sense of a real father. But then, they have never known Him! And of course, these deceivers deny that Christ is the Word of God! They hate the Word of God and refuse to obey! And the chaff and the tares believe and follow them.
And what is the basis of their faith? An unsigned contract that they themselves have written guaranteeing eternal life for doing nothing and hating everything that God has written! And they call this hatred love!
You can skirt around the fringes and discover some truths that will hold you in good stead, but you need to know that the Mighty Christ the Word of God came with a Testimony. And that Testimony reveals what He is and what He will do!
The whole world is deceived because their father is Satan the devil. Only those whose names are written in the Book of Life will not be deceived by him. The faithful people of God recoil in horror at the things that are being done through the great deceiver himself. They know where it will all lead, and those who believe his subtlety will be carried away and believe his lies.
Christ continually spoke of a brotherhood; a group of faithful people who are bound by a relationship that cannot be assailed. They are not a part of this world even though they must live in it. Its a family and they are called the sons of God.
The Book of Hebrews was written to reinforce Christs stature as the only begotten Son of God before time began, and before the foundations of the earth were laid. God is a God of the living, not the dead, and Christ is alive forever. Christ had to qualify for this position by freely giving up His life with the expectation that God would raise Him from the dead. The Book of Hebrews says this: Heb 1:8 But about the Son he says: Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your Kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. Christ was set above His companions to become God in the same manner in which the Father is God. Of course, the Son will never be greater than the Father (1Cor 15:27), but He is God nevertheless.
And the Book of Hebrews also addresses the status of the angels, and there are some mighty beings among them, and these are Christs companions. He sent one of them to give this testimony to the Churches: Rev 22:16 I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the Churches. I am the Root and Offspring of David, and the Bright Morning Star. God is the Father of the heavenly lights, and He is the Father of the Bright Morning Star that brings the dawn of a new day.
We see a clear distinction between the Bright Morning Star (also called the Sun of Righteousness Mal 4:2) and His companions, the angels. We read these words in Heb 1:4 So He became as much superior to the angels as the Name He has inherited is superior to theirs. To which of the [other] angels did God ever say, You are my Son; today I have become your Father? Or again, I will be His Father, and He will be my Son? The One who became the Christ was chosen from among His companions and given a far superior Name. A man can have many sons just like Abraham, but the heir (as in Isaacs case) is considered to be the only son. The only begotten Son of God is described like this: Heb 1:3 The Son is the radiance of Gods glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful Word.
Adam was a son of God in that he was created by God. All in Adam die, but the last Adam is a life-giving Spirit. There are other sons of God whom God has created, but none of them are of the stature of Christ and can never be. Among these is Satan the devil (Job 1:6 see margin). Satan is presently the ruler of rulers, and has been allotted six millennial days. He was formerly the Light-bringer but he decided to trespass and leave his abode and stand in the place of God.
The Bible does speak of the offspring of Christ! Their service to God is to ultimately assist in the destroying the one who holds the power of death: Heb 2:13 And again, I will put my trust in Him. And again He says, Here am I, and the children God has given me. Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death that is, the devil and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels He helps, but Abrahams descendants. Christ did not give birth to offspring by natural means when He was on earth, but children were created for Him by divine fiat, and they have become His offspring.
But prior to this, He speaks of a brotherhood: Heb 2:8 In putting everything under Him, God left nothing that is not subject to Him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to Him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because He suffered death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. So at present everything is not subject to Him! Others still rule over the earth. But Christ has been declared worthy to establish His Kingdom on earth and to destroy the works of the devil. And we see a description of these things in Rev 5:9 And they sang a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a Kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on earth. While there are some in Christian religions who claim to be priests, according to the protocol that God has established, if they are not Levites then they are not priests. We have a High Priest that is not a Levite but a Jew, which is contrary to what Moses said, but this High Priest would not be a priest if He were on earth because there are other men that serve at the altar on earth (Heb 8:4).
But God is to make priests of every tribe and language and people and nation, and they are to be a Kingdom and reign on earth! How can this be? Well, Jesus was a Jew of the Tribe of Judah, although not all Christians can claim descent from this tribe. Yet those He calls His children are considered to be begotten Jews even if grafted into the tree. But there is a priesthood that will reign on earth, and this is an exact copy, by the divine will of God, of a Priesthood that serves at the true altar of which the earthly one is just a copy. It was necessary for God to make this clear distinction.
John the Baptist was born of the Levite priesthood, yet neither he nor his followers served at the Temple that then existed. John was widely known, even as far away as Asia Minor. Yet this priesthood was to soon fade away as the true Messenger of the Kingdom came on the scene. The true Messenger brought great light to many people, but no Kingdom was established. Instead the long night continued for nearly two thousand years. All the Apostles began to speak of a new dawn that would arise at a future time. They understood, after they were empowered to understand Scripture, that the fullness of time would reflect six thousand years in accordance with Gods seven-day timetable.
The seventh day would usher in the time of the new order. It was necessary for God to clearly indicate that all the ceremonial procedures of the former order were pointing to a final conclusion. In Heb 8:10 God speaks of making a new Covenant with the House of Israel. This has not yet been fulfilled. God says this new Covenant will be made with the House of Israel and the House of Judah, and they will no longer need to ask their neighbour about Gods Laws and His Way, because they will all know the Lord, and His Laws will be written In their minds and hearts (V11).
Some might wonder why God is delaying doing this. After all, it would be a speedy resolution to everything provided Gods only purpose is to get many people saved but its not! Gods purpose is to ensure that rebellion never arises again! God plans to refine His gold and silver in the fire the furnace of purity. No-one so purified would ever want to repeat the lessons learnt. They will know and understand that there is a way that leads to death, and this way is not Gods Way, and it is certainly not desirable. Israel has not yet learnt this lesson, even though from time to time they have suffered adversity as a nation, though not the gut-wrenching, poverty and degradation of Satans brood. Throughout the generations God has shielded Israel from much of the adversity that the Gentiles have lived with.
Satan, not knowing when God would arise to act, went early to raise up a despot to destroy the sacred nation of Judah. Amid all the falderal, Hitlers primary commission was to destroy the source of Gods endtime prophets who would be like Moses. Judah and Levi dwelt together, by raking out all the Jews from the nations and killing them, endtime prophecy would fail. Satan had no idea that his objectives would be anticipated. And nor did he know that he would be fulfilling prophecy. God chose the Jewish people to be examples for the whole House of Israel. This is reflected in the words of Isa 40:1-2 immediately before the words that describe the ministry of John the Baptist (V3). Their trials will continue until the whole world turns against them, to purge them from their own land.
Moslem nations control the energy resources through OPEC. Right now, in the year 2000, they are flexing their muscles and driving up oil prices. Its a powerful bargaining chip and a virtual sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of the western world. If the demands continue for the Holy Land, then the House of Israel will cave in to favour the Moslems over the tiny nation of Judah (Israel). It will be a betrayal that will not be well-received by God! For this act of treachery, the whole House of Israel will drink from the same cup (to use the Bible terminology).
And then the whole House of Israel must be dragged back kicking and screaming to acknowledge all of Gods Ways, and His divine purpose in establishing the Temples, His Laws, and the procedures that governed Temple worship.
In the next chapter of the Book of Hebrews (chapt 9), we find it begins with a description of the Temple procedures (V1). And it says this in V5 Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the place of atonement. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now. (Notice that the Glory is capitalized to reflect a name.) The writers state that they cannot discuss these things in detail now and they state this because the time was not right.
Continuing in Heb 9:8 The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not been disclosed as long as the first Tabernacle was still standing. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshipper. They are only a matter of food and drink and ceremonial washings external regulations until the time of the new order. The writers speak of the time of the New Order in Heb 8:10. This is the time when God will set His hand to redeem the whole House of Israel, and give them minds and hearts to acknowledge His Laws! Unfortunately, this will not happen until God literally grinds their faces into the dirt. The things of God presently mean nothing to them while they are full and fat and have need of nothing.
But the sacred things of God mean everything to the Levites. They alone are burning with zeal for the Almighty God and His Precious Name. There is nothing on this earth that is sacred to them in the absence of Gods Honour. They uphold His Honour above their own lives. And this is where Christianity comes a poor second. Generally speaking, they are only interested in saving their own lives, and they will do so, even if it means desecrating the Way of God.
Its kind of amusing that there is so much preoccupation with finding the lost Ark of the Covenant. The true Ark is already here! But perhaps you dont believe that! See Jer 3:14 Return, faithless people, declares the Lord, for I am your husband. I will choose one of you from every town and two from every clan and bring you to Zion. Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land, declares the LORD, men will no longer say, The Ark of the Covenant of the LORD. It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honour the Name of the LORD.
Already lying deceivers have arisen that claim to have gained access to the labyrinths under the Temple Mount and to have found the Ark of the Covenant. The lying fraud who fabricated this lie paid with his life, but not before he also claimed Mount Sinai is really in Saudi Arabia. Another lie, which is easily disproved from the Bible. For instance, did Moses and the six hundred thousand men and their families and all their livestock reach the Gulf of Aqaba in two days? Or was it the Red Sea? Its beyond belief that any sane person would believe such a man! But Christians love to be titillated with lies, and will believe anything, even if it conflicts with what God has said.
The Hebrew word for Ark is Aron; notice the phonetic similarity to the name Aaron. There was only one Aaron, and there will be only one Ark. All these things were illustrations for the present time until the time of the New Order. The New Order will usher in the Order of Melchisedek; a point that is strongly made in the Book of Hebrews (Heb 7:12). And this High Priest of the Order of Melchisedek will honour those who return from the slaughter of kings as in the days of Abraham. And the Way to the Most Holy Place will be disclosed (Heb 9:8).
God speaks of only one messenger who will precede the True Messenger of the Covenant (Mal 3:1). He begins by speaking of Levi (Mal 2:8), but later describes this same messenger as Elijah a combination of two names of God: Eli and Jah. God says there will only be one endtime Elijah, He will not reproduce another, and if this one fails, He will strike the earth with utter destruction (Mal 4:6).
The True Messenger of the Covenant whom you are seeking and whom you desire will come suddenly to His Temple (Mal 3:1). And then the purifying process will begin; firstly a nation of Levites who will bring offerings in righteousness (V3), and then vast hordes will be purified in the furnace of fire. The Temple itself is just a Rock on the Temple Mount which will be fitted with layer upon layer of the Holy Structure to form a complete building. Eph 2:10 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow-citizens with Gods people and members of Gods household, built on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief Cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a Holy Temple in the Lord. And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.
I know its fashionable to put a spiritual spin on this, and to conclude that the Church is the only Temple required. But the Church is merely a shadow of the reality, and the reality is the Building where God will dwell forever! Eze 43:6 While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me from inside the Temple. He said, Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites for ever. The House of Israel will never again defile my Holy Name . Just as Jesus spoke of the Temple that existed during His time on earth as My Fathers House, so will this Temple be the Fathers House.
If you have a preoccupation with finding the lost Ark of the Covenant, then you are wasting your time. Read Ezekiel chapters 40-48 which describes the Temple that will be built, and which the High Priest of the Order of Melchisedek will return to. It doesnt mention a wooden Ark. When everything on the Temple Mount is Most Holy, the Way will be opened up to the faithful people of God. Only the sons of Aaron had the right to enter the Most Holy Place, but God made provision for others to enter: Heb 10:19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living Way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a Great Priest over the House of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another and all the more as we see the Day approaching.
Those that Christ purchased with His blood can have the confidence to enter the Most Holy Place. Entering the Most Holy Place meant certain death to those not authorized to do so. Even under the order of Aaron, the priests were only permitted to enter once a year and never without atonement for themselves first. The old order will soon pass away and will be replaced with the New Order. Christ is the Mediator of a New Covenant for those who are called only!! Heb 9:15 For this reason Christ is the Mediator of a New Covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised inheritance now that He has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first Covenant. The first Covenant defined what sin is, and if it was done away at the cross (as some liars claim), then no-one has committed any sins since, since without any laws there can be no transgressions. All the 12 Tribes of Israel are still under the first Covenant, including all of Christendom, until they are called to service. God defines what that service is! And anyone who is not serving God according to the Word of God has not been called!
All that the Levite priesthood indicated with the sacrifices and offerings will become the reality. Not just for the sheep, but for the bulls and the goats also. The U.S. and Britain have gored nations to the ends of the earth like a bull! But the U.S. (Ephraim) was destined to be greater than his older brother Manasseh (Britain and her English-speaking territories). God says of Ephraim: Hos 13:1 When Ephraim spoke, men trembled, he was exalted in Israel. We have seen this fulfilled in our own time. The might and power of Gods son Ephraim strikes fear into the hearts of all who oppose him. The rulers of the nations are greatly restrained for fear of awakening the giant. These rulers know they could never defeat such a formidable opponent, but they are well aware of Balaams way, the fifth-column tactic of destroying from within. To them, the U.S. is the enemy that must be destroyed.
How willing are the broad masses to drink from the cup of Satan the devil! For years these activists have been chiseling away at the structure that made America great. The nation is crawling with faggots and every other variation of perversion imaginable. The media have been conscripted to sanitize every evil that was formerly hated by a God-fearing people. But the wine from Satans cup was not enough, hes inflicted the nation with drugs to send them mad, and condition them to accept his directions. Already the nation is reeling under this satanic influence, and their judgment has faltered. The stage is set for destruction.
God in His mercy is giving ample warning of His devastating great power. Earthquakes, famines and disasters are intensifying all around the world. Those who get caught up in these have a healthy respect for the power of them, and they will realize just how vulnerable they are. From the comfort of your own homes you can see the disasters virtually on a daily basis now, but most believe that disasters will not overtake them. Since Christ predicted a time when a fire would be kindled, its incumbent upon those who believe Him to observe the increasing prevalence of uncontrolled fires.
But what of the Churches? Its time they came to the realization that they are not really that important unless they are willing to follow Gods instructions. Unless you are prepared to be the servants you were called to be, then the distinction between you and the true servants will be very obvious (Mal 3:16). The servant doesnt have the right to dictate to the Master! The servant either does as he is told or the Master will order him cast out into utter darkness: Matt 25:28-30 Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw the worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The problem with worthless servants is they think they are spiritual enough to get them over the line. They are self-centered and concerned only with the things that are important to them.
Paul offered some good advice: Rom 13:11 And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because your salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the Day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light. Paul was concerned that they brace themselves for the reasonable service God requires of them. He wanted them to be prepared and equipped with the spiritual armour that Christ used when He went to His death. He warned that the rulers and powers of this dark world would begin to target anyone who sought to serve Almighty God (Eph 6:10-18). Paul understood that satanic forces would soon be unleashed on them to wipe them out. Early Christians suffered the full force of this merciless slaughter, but the Church survived. The gates of hell did not prevail against them even though many of them were martyred. And these faithful people refused to be delivered earnestly seeking a better resurrection (Heb 11:35).
Christ set the example, and the early martyrs followed it. Christianity today understands the extent of the martyrdom that occurred in the early days, but for reasons known only to themselves, they think the early martyrs did it all for them so they could be spared. Or perhaps they believe the martyrs, who died in faith, were evil brutes who got what they deserved. Whatever spin they put on it, the fact is that a time of persecution, unparalleled in the history of the world is soon to come, and the Churches that God mentions in the Book of Revelation are the frontline of defence. Their armour and their weapons are a little different from a standing army. They are spiritual armour and weapons, as Paul stated.
But Christ indicated that real weapons would be used eventually. He foresaw a time when His servants would fight (John 18:36), and that time will be when the Kingdom is taken from others and given to those who will bear fruit. In support of this, He ordered that some swords be found, and two swords were found, and He said it was enough. Then He forbad those servants to use them! And His stated reason was that the Kingdom was for another time a much later time!
Recall that God says this through Moses: Deut 33:8 About Levi he said, Your Thummim and Urim belong to the man you favoured. The Thummim and the Urim were the means by which the Levites enquired of God. The Levites are the rightful heirs of all prophetic understanding. The Thummim and the Urim belong to them. Most of the prophets (if not all), who were used to write the Bible, were Levites. There were, however, other prophets of other Tribes, who were given the Holy Spirit and the power of prophecy (Num 11:25-29). These were considered by God to be leaders of the Tribes.
Of course, in the Churches of God, everyone it seems, claims to be the man God favoured. They prattle on about prophecy when they obviously understand nothing! To create the link between Deut 33:8 and Mal 2:4 they claimed to have a leader called Levi. They also claim he was Elijah, Zerrubbabel and anyone else who took their fancy. Apparently in their minds, God wasnt capable of raising up a true Levite, and substituted someone else who claimed direct descent from the British royal linage. How careless they were in claiming Herbert Armstrong was both Zerubbabel and Levi. These two Bible figures are from different Tribes, but this didnt faze their fanciful notions. And neither did Armstrong burn with zeal for Gods reputation but his own!
Of course the Urim and the Thummim didnt belong to Herbert Armstrong, and by his own admission, he was not a Levite! But he wanted to be all things to all men, even if it made a mockery of what God has stated. God despises arrogance, and this man epitomized it perfectly. While he undoubtedly loved God, he couldnt bring himself to serve Him in honest and faithful obedience. But you can judge this for yourselves. But consider this: How well has he prepared you for your service to God? Did he tell you what God requires of you as a faithful and obedient servant?
No, he didnt! He happily conceded that it was necessary for Jesus to die in order for Him to triumph over His enemies, but taught that only the bad guys would be martyred, and he referred to them as Laodiceans. It was a convenient ploy because the Laodiceans are characterized as being wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked (Rev 3:16). In the following verses, Christ counsels them to correct these wrongs. He says this: V18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire; and white clothes to cover your shameful nakedness. And where would someone buy gold tried in the fire? God tells us! Hes already made provision! You should surely know that the Day of the LORD is coming and it will be difficult for many to endure (Mal 3:2). The Mighty Christ will sit as a refiner of silver and gold. V3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years. Is God only concerned with food and drink? Or are these offerings in righteousness referring to something else? The answer is found in V7 Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to Me and I will return to you, says the LORD Almighty. God is desirous of His people returning to Him, and with righteous offerings. And in order to be like Christ, they need to have something to offer (Heb 8:3-4). And this is the point that most people miss! Christ offered His body to God. Others killed Him, but His body was offered to honour God. And you too, are a living sacrifice if you are to serve God faithfully.
When an army goes to war they are offering their bodies in the service of their country. Every soldier knows he may face death. Paul likened Christians to soldiers equipped with the weapons of war, but the armour and weapons of Christians are supposed to be righteousness. The Church is not permitted to wield the sword, but there are others that must. The Kingdom of God must be taken by force, just as it was in the days of Moses, Joshua, David and others (and lets not forget Samson). And when the Church is offered, the final outrage will be complete, and the servants of God will fight! Whole nations will be crushed like ants, and Almighty God will make His Power known! The Church has the assurance that they will be rescued in life or in death provided they believe God.
The Church has long known that Christ will fight (Zech 14:3). They are less inclined to believe that Judah will also fight alongside Him and collect the spoils of war (V14). Oddly enough, many in the Church have accepted the Gentile propaganda that the Jews are the enemies of God. It would be well for the Church to tremble before the Jewish people because their hard service is almost complete (Isa 40:1-2) the Churchs service is about to begin! The Church knows that salvation is of the Jews, and they know they must become Jews in order to please God. Even Gentile converts must be grafted into the tree, and Paul counsels them not to boast because God could very easily strip them from the tree. But what do we find? We find the Church denigrating those who will play a major part in rescuing them. And the Church, just like the Gentiles, have begun to boast over the Jews.
Then there are others who claim to be Jews but are not! (Rev 2:9, 3:9). And we have seen in our own generations the service the Jewish people performed as an example for you. They were herded up and carried away to be slaughtered. They are your example in the same way that their most famous Son was also the example for the Church. Stop dreaming! God required it of His Sons own people and He will require it of you if you are to be faithful servants. Of that day, God has this to say: Zech 8:23 This is what the LORD Almighty says: In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the edge of his robe and say, Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you. Your foolish boasting will get you nowhere!
Now that you are full and fat and in need of nothing, it might be a good time to consider this! God doesnt need you! You need Him! He is able to raise up seed to Abraham from the very stones (Luke 3:7-9), how then does God need you? Even if you have done all that is required of you, you are still unprofitable servants! You are of no value whatsoever unless you do as you are commanded, and you are commanded to follow Christ like sheep to the slaughter. Only then will you be rewarded for your service. Was God unjust because He required the death of His Son? Most Christians would concede that He wasnt. Why then, is He unjust if He requires it of you?
Right now you are in training to be unprofitable servants, and when you have done all that is required of you, you must then become true servants. If you love life so much, then you will lose it. Your years of lip-service is about to be tested. Youve boasted that you were Christs, now is the time to prove it! Should God just take your word for it? Didnt God know that His faithful Son would do as He required of Him in advance? Yes, He did! But unlike in Abrahams case, He didnt send a ram as a substitute. This Glorious Offering was completed.
Perfect love casts out all fear, and that perfect love is the love of God. Increasingly, your leaders will preach their siren song and promise good outcomes. And silly women will arise who present themselves as teachers, and they will contradict God and teach disbelief in Him. All these will teach their own renditions of prophecy to beguile you and entice you to cling to the errors of the past. These are all cunning liars who dont have the love of God. And they are certainly not prophets!
You need to recognize them for what they are. God describes who serve Him and who dont (Mal 3:16-18). Do these verses describe the Church? No, they dont! They describe Levi and his begotten sons and daughters. These are the firstfruits, the good fruit that bear much fruit. These are the ones to whom the Kingdom is given and they will fight for it. Gods Covenant continues with them (Mal 2:4), and these have been credited with righteousness because they have believed Him (just like Abraham James 2:23). Yes, these men and women have believed Gods Word and the many verses that the Church has rejected. In this present era, the Church has chosen only to believe what suits their doctrine. Its these that God says He will spare (Mal 3:17), but not because they sought to save their lives, but because, like clay, they delivered themselves to God to do as He will with them. They recognized Christ as the Mighty Rock that will crush all the enemies of God, and like Abraham, they sought a Godly Kingdom and a City (Heb 11:16). Christ foresaw this day: Matt 21:42 Jesus said to them, Have you never read in the Scriptures: The Stone the builders rejected has become the [cornerstone]; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes. Therefore I tell you the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that will bear its fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed. When the chief priests and Pharisees heard Jesus parables, they knew He was talking about them. So the Kingdom of God is to be given to a people who will bear its fruit.
Christ empowered a lesser rock (Matt 16:18) to shepherd the flock in His absence (John 21:15), and to this man, Peter, the shepherd in Jerusalem, He gave the keys to the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is the territory that God promised to Abraham. The borders of this land will be extended to fill the whole earth (Isa 26:15). This is the land that God instructed the House of Israel to fight for, and to utterly drive out all the inhabitants or to put them to the sword. This is the Holy Land where the Holy City dwells, and this is the land that God promised to Abraham and his descendants forever.
The Church has a role in establishing the Kingdom of God, but it will not be given to them. They must earn the right to enter into Gods Kingdom (Matt 7:21-22). Others must fight to establish it, just as it was in the days of Moses.
God says He hasnt changed (Mal 3:6). His objectives have always been the same. What He was in the past, He will be forever. He plans to live among men, but not according to the dictates of men. His Kingdom will exist forever, and will comprise men and women who are exactly like His Son. His Son is a Mighty Commander, and He has a terrible swift sword. He has no intention of populating the Fathers Kingdom with dogs (to use the Bible vernacular). Dogs can yap all they like, but unless they offer a little more than lip-service they are considered worthless and fit only to be thrown into the fire.
It should not have escaped anyones notice that of all the families of the world, God chose only the 12 Tribes of Israel as His own (Amos 3:1). This means that all the rest of humanity belongs to someone else. And who could this be? Its Satan the devil. Theres no point in getting all-emotional over this. Those whose father is Satan the devil have their reward in this life only (Ps 17:14). And contrary to what the Churches of God are now teaching, God has no plans to resurrect everyone who has ever lived! Why would He? The resurrection is for Gods people only the seed of Abraham. All the others who have ever lived, including those who died in the great flood, were brought to ruin and God has wiped out all memory of them (Isa 26:13-14).
The Gospel or Good News is about establishing a Kingdom in the land that God gave to Abraham. The writer of the Book of Hebrews stresses this point. The Kingdom of God will be established in the final millennial day, and all who enter into it will have rest. At a time when peace and safety will no longer exist in the world, God has promised rest to those who obey Him. Notice the example given in Heb 3:16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was He angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter His Rest if not those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. Continuing in Heb 4:1 Therefore, since of the promise entering His Rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have the Gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith. Now we who have believed enter that Rest, just as God has said, So I declared on oath in my anger, They shall never enter my Rest.
And then we find the eternal link between the Sabbath God created in the Garden of Eden and the Rest that God speaks of: V4 For somewhere He has spoken about the Seventh Day in these words: And on the Seventh Day God rested from all His work. And again in the passage above He says, They shall never enter my Rest. It still remains that some will enter that Rest, and those who formerly had the Gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience.
Those who wanted to go into the Promised Land were refused for three reasons. They were disobedient, they didnt believe, and they lacked faith. If they had the same Gospel preached to them, then the eternal Gospel is about Gods Kingdom, and the territory is the land God gave to Abraham. The question remains concerning the subjects of that Kingdom. If you dont believe God then you will never enter into that Rest! If you dont believe in that literal Kingdom and Gods promises to Abraham, which He swore would be fulfilled, then you have no part of it!
Gods promises concern the descendants of Abraham the 12 Tribes of Israel! He will fulfill all that He said. His promise is absolute, and in support of this, He has marked 12,000 of each of the Tribes of Israel (except Dan a double portion is given to Joseph), and these will have all the qualities that the Tribes lacked in former times: obedience, faith, and they will believe God!
So we see the same Gospel was preached to them that still exists today. Ancient Israel was told to go in and possess the Holy Land. Their fear of the giants that were in the land was greater than their fear of God. They didnt believe God could deliver them in battle. They counted the cost and considered it too great. So they were denied entry and their bodies fell in the wilderness. Representatives from each of the Tribes (except Levi) were sent in to spy out the land (Num 13:3-15) and report back. Only Caleb (Judah) and Joshua (Ephraim) gave good reports. Now thats interesting isnt it? This was the first enactment of the Gospel but they refused it, and God refused them entry.
God is now setting the stage for the reenactment of the Gospel the same Gospel and you had better believe God! You will notice that no peace deals were proposed in the days of Moses with the occupants of Gods Holy Land. It was forbidden! They were required to go in and take it by force! They refused, and God refused them!
And yet, Christians are required to live in peace with all men, including their enemies. They are to be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves: Matt 10:16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. But be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of the Father speaking through you. So Christianity has an important job to do. Christ said He didnt come to bring peace but a sword, so while the agents of evil will be arresting you and flogging you, a sword will be fulfilling the Gospel of establishing a Kingdom. Strong and courageous men will be taking the Holy Land by forcc. Not by the might of human power, but by the Power of Almighty God.
The Churches have never believed God! They think God has changed; that He no longer has a desire to establish the Kingdom like a tiny mustard seed, which will grow to fill the whole earth. They taught that they are required to sit tight and Christ would establish the Kingdom at His return. In contrast to the holy men of God, they support the peace deals presently being made with the enemies of God. They dont desire to enter into Gods Rest, they are happy to see the snakes and wolves occupy His Holy Land. They dont burn with zeal for the sacred things of God, they burn with zeal only for the personal things that affect their well-being.
But some of them will enter that Rest. They will be taken one by one from here and there and empowered by God. All these will be seen leaving, and you will know that this is the Power of God. And then Gods servants will fight for the Kingdom exactly as Christ said (John 18:36). The Kingdom will be taken from the present Jewish leadership and given to those who will bear fruit. This mighty force will establish Davids fallen tents the House of David; the feeblest among them will be like David, and the House of David will be like God (Zech 12:8).
But now you must have the courage to believe! Or you can join the rest of the offspring of the House of David and be mercilessly pursued by the dragon (Rev 12:17). Either way, you can be in Gods Kingdom if you faithfully endure. If you dont believe God now, then you may have this option at a later time. Whichever way it goes, you must be aligned with the House of David, and you must believe that the House of David not the Church will establish Gods Kingdom on earth.
And its the Levites that prepare the Way for Christ to return to His Temple! (Mal 3:10). They will be called the Sons of Jerusalem, and the leaders of Judah will acknowledge them: Zech 12:5 The leaders of Judah will say in their hearts, The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the LORD Almighty is their God.
So the message is: Prepare yourselves to enter that rest, or prepare yourselves to die!
While it is not our prerogative to question the way God does things, nevertheless there are questions that could be raised, and perhaps should be raised. For instance, why did Christ speak in parables to cloud the true meaning? Why did God lock up within His Word so many mysteries that could not be fully understood during the passage of the past six thousand years?
Since Christ came to earth and delivered a Gospel about a coming Kingdom, and which He called The Gospel of the Kingdom of God, it remains the central part of His message. It was Herbert Armstrong that first identified the true Gospel in this endtime. He spoke of a Kingdom with territory, subjects and Laws and knew Gods intent in this matter. He was the first to clearly identify this truth in this era, yet he lacked the knowledge of how it would all be implemented. The reason being that he never understood prophecy. Nevertheless, he was the only one who presented a true Gospel.
All the other churches around the world have taught a false gospel. With sycophantic lechery, they have degraded the true Gospel to a form of emotional appeal. Their sickening sanctimony would almost make you vomit. Theyve painted Christ as a long-haired degenerate who was scarcely a man, and this is supposed to be their gospel. Because they rejected the Gospel, they dont see Him as the Mighty Christ who will subdue the nations and crush them, heaping up the dead (Ps 110:1-7). They deny that He is the Mighty Being that is described again and again in the Scriptures. Consequently, they have no interest at all in the true Gospel. Can someone be a true Christian if they dont believe the Gospel the central part of Christs message? You be the judge!
The question is why didnt God prepare the way for the House of Israel to enter the Promised Land. Why did He require the Gospel to be implemented by men? And why did He require the House of Israel to fight against the nations occupying the Holy Land? Couldnt God have done it Himself and driven them all out without human intervention?
God didnt do it then, and neither will He in the future! This same Gospel will be implemented properly and in accordance with the Scriptures Christ used, and a righteous Kingdom will be established, and He will use men to do it. Paul understood this clearly and made mention of it: 1Cor 10:5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. Now these things occurred as examples, to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. V11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. Those whose bodies were scattered over the desert were the ones who refused to establish the Kingdom. They wanted to be the recipients of the blessings of that Promised Land, but they were not prepared to fight for it.
Other men and women died in faith looking to, and seeing from afar, the country God is preparing for them. They longed to see it, but they didnt at that time. The fulfillment of the ages begins with the dawn of a new day the seventh millennial Day. This is the day in which Christ will rule, together with the saints, for a thousand years.
The vast majority of humanity doesnt think like God, nor are they interested in their Creator. For every good thing that happens, they praise themselves, but when things go wrong they blame God. Even those who once knew God are not thankful; rather they sought ways to glorify the creation of their own hands and boast over it.
God is a jealous God, and He doesnt have to put up with it. And nor will He! If He didnt spare His own Son, then why would He spare you? God gave the House of Israel two choices: life or death. Since they loved sin so much, and since they acknowledge that the wages of sin is death, they have chosen death.
The House of Israel has been very privileged. God has heaped blessings on them more than any other nation on earth. Hes delivered them in many battles, even though they never acknowledged Him. And the more He blessed them, the further they went from Him. One of the great qualities of God is His enduring patience, but patience cant last forever, particularly when God has a cast-iron schedule to meet. He made that schedule known in the Garden of Eden when He spoke of rest on the Seventh Day.
Considering the gospel that is being preached today, what possible bearing could the activities of ancient Israel have on Christianity today? Yet God says all of these activities are examples on whom the ends of the world have come. Since the Rest that God promised ancient Israel still remains on offer, who then is to establish that Rest if not the Tribes of Israel who were given this commission. Judah and Levi never doubted what God meant, but the northern ten tribes refused to believe Him or serve Him, and these were conquered and scattered, and their identity was lost. Yet Christ came with a message only to the lost Tribes of Israel. Its convenient for the lost Tribes of Israel (and Ephraim in particular) to imagine they are preaching the Gospel from the many churches within their borders, but they have failed to understand what the true Gospel is.
Even the Apostles thought that the Kingdom would be established in their time (Luke 24:21), and Peter sought to start the battle by lopping off the High Priests servants ear (no doubt he intended to lop off his head). So at this late stage in Christs ministry the Apostles were not clear about many things. Hours later, Christ confirmed that His Kingdom was not of that age (John 18:36), and Peter then knew that many generations would pass before that new age, the final Day, dawned.
Christ was told that the disciples of John fasted often, and He was asked why His disciples didnt. He said they need not fast while the Bridegroom was with them, but the time would come when they would fast. The Apostles mostly just listened to Christ and absorbed what He said, but later, they began to search the Scriptures to discover what Christ had meant in all His teachings. True servants of God become obsessed with their studies at times as they search out the precious treasure that lays hidden in them. At such times, the comforts of life, including food and drink, are of little importance. Christ confirmed this in John 4:31-34. Doing the will of the Father requires us to study His Word to determine what He requires. It was a practice that became embedded in the minds of all the disciples.
Not so today, it seems. Yet those who do, do become enriched by the wealth of knowledge the Scriptures contain. Christ spoke of the mystery of the Kingdom of God, indicating that there were truths to be discovered. He spoke of this truth as being like a pearl of great price a worthy possession to transcend all else. This pearl must be discovered because its hidden away. Now most of Christianity would disagree! They believe they have already discovered it. It turns out that this pearl is a door, which is established on the foundations laid by the Apostles and prophets.
God says certain animals are good for food. They must be killed in order to be eaten. Unless you are suffering from some sort of mental aberration you eat the meat God specified for the purpose. In the animal world, the strong kill the weak to feed their young. In the time of the present order, this is the way it is, but it will not always be this way. The present order of things is a carryover from a former time when the serpent world dominated and corrupted the whole creation.
It pleased the ruler, that then was, to promote the strong above the weak and reduce the creation to a reptilian world of terror. He saw himself as a strong leader and worthy to rule the whole creation. Lacking the godly qualities of his Father, he campaigned to draw a following after himself, and then turned on God in rebellion. But it was not the fait accompli that he had hoped for and he was soundly beaten in battle. He was sentenced to seven thousand years of imprisonment, six thousand in exile and one thousand in virtual prison. The opportunity was give him to rule over a second creation and to make amends for his conduct during the first. He was granted six thousand years to do this. God knew that the sin that was found in him would eventually have the mastery of him and he would be incapable of righteous rulership.
The situation was made more complex in that one third of the angels had supported his way, and joined him in rebellion. And after their unsuccessful bid for absolute power and rulership, they were sentenced to death. Had God carried out that sentence immediately, then there may have been doubts forever over who was really right. In that one third of all angels had rebelled, a plan had to be devised to ensure it never happened again. Though stripped of their power and glory, they were given a period of grace to demonstrate their way of doing things, and to enable the results to be viewed by all. Only this time, a new species was introduced, which was made a little lower than the angels, and this species mankind would be given the right to subdue the earth and rule over every creature. Yet they would have none of the power of Satan and his demons.
From the very outset, the serpent sought to deceive them and win them to his cause. He managed to get them kicked out of paradise the Garden of Eden and considered it a significant victory. At a later time he would be able to enlist them as his people, swelling his own ranks and preparing them to fight God.
Now most people would probably think this is absolute rubbish. They reason that God is all-powerful and could easily defeat both humans and angels and this is true! In an all-out contest, neither Satan the devil or legions of humans could hope for victory in such circumstances. Yet God foresees the time when this will happen. Every nation on earth will arraign their forces against God and His Holy City in the vain hope of victory all except the Tribes of Israel. These will have learnt a bitter lesson under the dominion of Satan and all his offspring. They will finally understand that Gods Way alone is best.
Satan is still of the impression that he can impede the progression of Gods righteousness by destroying everything that belongs to God. By virtue of his mail-fisted rule, he creates the impression that no creation proposed by God can succeed, and that only absolute dominion over lesser beings will result in a workable lifestyle. And this is the problem with despots, they see themselves as the only important part of the equation. How many of their followers perish is of no importance, provided that they themselves emerge victorious.
Mainstream Christianity has no interest in Gods Great Plan. They are narrowly focused only on themselves. Because of their slavering self-interest, they are incapable of any rational understanding of why God has permitted six thousand years of human suffering. While they expect a massive fight to occur, and even speak of the battle of Armageddon, theyve speculated that almost every major battle is or was the battle of Armageddon. God, however, describes it as the great showdown when all nations will be gathered against Jerusalem, for the express purpose of fighting God. Up to that time, the nations will believe they have a chance for victory. And who will instill within them this deception? The very agents of Satan the devil! Rev 16:12 Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its waters were dried up to prepare the way for the kings of the east. Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they will go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great Day of God Almighty.
Now if you believe mainstream Christianity today, all these things are quite pointless because they believe they will be spirited away to receive their reward long before this. It they were right of course, then everything that happens subsequently is merely of passing interest. But this is not so! The judgment occurs long after this: Rev 20:4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the Word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
I suppose if someone wants to draw a following after themselves then they are going to concentrate on good news. And its easy to justify this because the word Gospel means good news. But the true Gospel is good news only to those who have set their hearts on the things of God, who welcome the Kingdom of God and live in hope of seeing this Kingdom fill the whole earth. Such people, like all the faithful men and women of the Bible who have gone before us, are prepared to do everything God requires of them even to giving up their lives. And this is the big difference! Christianity generally, draw the line at this, being willing only to pay lip-service and to promote their own self-interest. What possible use would God have for such people? In Gods eyes they are absolutely worthless!
To make matters worse, these fanciful promoters of lip-service denigrate God by implying that all He has done in the past was ill-conceived and of no importance. Does the clay have the right to judge the potter? (Isa 29:15-16).
You should have known that the God of our forefathers put to death in the flesh the dragon of the deep and gave his flesh as food for the creatures of the desert (Ps 74:13-14). And God will do it yet again, crushing his head for the final time (Isa 27:1). What he became was what he was when he was slain. Nebuchadnezzar simulated this event, but with a different outcome. He grew feathers like an eagle, and long talons on his digits he simulated the beast that he was. Because of his service to God, the beast was cast out of him, and the man Nebuchadnezzar was restored to his former glory.
There are good human beings and there are bad ones. I think everyone would be prepared to admit that. What is less understood is, that even good human beings can become bad ones when faced with certain circumstances. And what God requires are people like His Son, who will act according to the will of God in all circumstances. Those who fail to serve God in this way will be burnt up forever. And this is not an idle threat its reality! God has no intentions of populating His Kingdom with people who dont serve Him faithfully. They are of no more use than animals fit to be slaughtered. As John the Baptist said, God is able to raise up seed to Abraham from the very stones. Of what importance to God is any Christian who refuses to serve Him according to His instructions?
God has a very important duty to perform. He must bring judgment against His own son according to the Law He established and which He upholds. Its not a duty that God takes lightly. Satans thousand year sentence is sure, because this is for former violations. Its his present conduct that has spanned six thousand years for which he will be judged and according to human concepts. Gods faithful Son was judged by human concepts and put to death, and the architect of this outrage was His brother, Satan the devil. Yes, Satan is the brother of the Logos the One who became the Christ. This is why the final judgment is of such high level consideration. A lesser being would not have been important. The heavenly court could have assembled and brought judgment on a lesser being, but great reluctance is evident with a son of God. Because God upholds the qualities of a righteous Father, the violations by His son must be given exact consideration.
It raised a great dilemma. In the Bible, God speaks again and again of His reputation and His good Name. He speaks of wisdom and justice and mercy all of which are the qualities of Himself, and the qualities He instills in all others. God is the Judge in the highest order, and He must instruct the jury concerning the Law by which they must bring in a verdict against the accused. The problem is that its the Judges son that is in the dock. Therefore, every eye is upon God to see if He will uphold the Law in His instructions, or whether He will bend the Law on account of His son. In contrast to this, notice what Peter wrote: 2Pet 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but send them to [Tartarus], putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment. God didnt hesitate to imprison them, and neither were they spared. Why should He? They knew the penalty! But Gods own son must be given full recourse of the Law as royalty dictates.
God is the upholder of all the Law of the Universe, and He is the Righteous Judge. Forever into the future, the Laws of God will transcend all else, and case law will be on record should the need ever arise. Judgment will be according to the case law established during the course of six thousand years.
The trouble is, the destruction of the earth came about because of the one whom God appointed to rule the earth. On a different plane, God also used His faithful Son to set an example forever into the future, and this Son was murdered and He was murdered by His brother, the ruler of this earth. Since God was able to raise Him from the dead, God intends to use Him to replace the murderer and liar who presently rules this earth. So there is a contest going on! And Christ has emerged victorious. He has already qualified as the Righteous Ruler under the Heavenly Father.
When Christ was on earth, He said to those who enquired, Youve seen me, youve also seen the Father. Christ is the express image of the Father, but He acknowledged that the Father is greater than He. If then, Christ is the express image of the Father, how will the Father appear when He is revealed to us?
The earth is Gods preferred habitat. He confirms that He will live among men. Christ may well have said that the Father is far more awesome in appearance than He, but He didnt say that! The characteristics that are so awesome in God are the incredible qualities of Wisdom, kindness, mercy and judgments. In the regalia of His office as absolute Ruler of the Universe, God is awesome. And when God rolls back the shroud of darkness and reveals Himself, men will drop dead from fear. God says they will literally call on the rocks to fall on them to hide them from His face (Rev 6:16).
To His children, God is gentle and kind. There is a marked difference between the children of God and the children of Satan the devil. And to His children, God is a loving Father. Since we have lived in a world that exudes all the qualities (or lack of) of Satan the devil, we were born in captivity to his influence. God chose Abraham, and ordered Him to leave the territory of Babylon, and to separate from all the races of the world. Abraham obeyed. God then confirmed that through his seed, a Kingdom would be established and his offspring would inherit it. But first they had to serve the ruler as slaves, and the period of their internment would be four hundred years (Gen 15:12). And so the examples for us, on whom the ends of the world have come, began at the time of Abraham while his seed was as yet unborn. And perhaps this should sound warning bells for those who think they have already been born as the sons of God. Abraham was born a free man, and moved freely among the nations of the earth, and even divided the land and allotted it as he saw fit. In righteousness, he gave Lot the choice of land, and Lot made his choice which is binding forever. The beginning of Abrahams inheritance was decided then and there. This land became the Holy Land, which God has promised to Abrahams descendants forever.
Everyone on this earth has equal opportunity. Yes, they really do have! Those who are not of the Tribes of Israel still have the opportunity to become Gods, provided they abide by the Laws and requirements that He gave to Israel. They must become Israelites or they can never be Gods people! God made no promises to anyone else, and these words are reinforced in Amos 3:1-2 and in many other places. Those who reject Israel as the true inheritors also reject Gods promises! You can strain and pontificate all you like, but Gods promises have been established and will never be changed. Mainstream Christianity has a severe lesson to learn. Everything that has happened on earth is about rulership.
Christ referred to Jonah as a prophet; what is more, He used Jonahs example for the greatest prophecy of all that of Christs resurrection from the dead. What people dont realize is that Jonah was sent to Ninevah the virtual ruling power of the world at that time. Ninevah was the capital city of Assyria, and this city ruled all of Babylon and Persia (Iraq and Iran today). Historians reveal that Nabopolassar, the father of Nebuchadnezzar, was a general in the Assyrian army before he rebelled and led the coup that toppled them. We would be left to wonder why God went to such lengths to ensure that Jonah took a message to Assyria, particularly since the Assyrians are not the people of God.
But this is jumping way ahead of the whole story. Believe it or not, the story starts with Abraham who was born in territory, which was later dominated by the Assyrians. The account begins when Abraham explains to God that he had no heir, and that Eliezer of Damascus would inherit his estate. So God confirms the promise He made in Gen 13:15. This is what He says: Gen 15:4-8 Then the word of the LORD came to him: This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir. He took him outside and said, Look up at the heavens and count the stars if indeed you can count them. Then He said to him, So shall your offspring be. Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. He also said to him, I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it. But Abram said, O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I shall gain possession of it?
Well, the question was, How can I know that I shall gain possession of it?, and now we will see Gods answer: V9 So the LORD said to him, Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon. Abraham brought all these things to Him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away. As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. Then the LORD said to him, Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and ill-treated four hundred years. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterwards they will come out with great possessions. You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried in a good old age.
Well, theres Gods answer but what does it all mean? Theres further explanations in V17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking fire pot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day the LORD made a Covenant with Abraham and said, To your descendants I will give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites. (And incidently, it was the Jebusites that controlled Mount Moriah for centuries).
So we are left to guess the meaning of all this unless God explains it all. Lo, and behold, we find a complete explanation elsewhere in Gods Word.
But first lets consider Abrahams view of what he saw. He must have wondered about the smoking fire pot and the blazing torch that passed between the pieces, but no further explanation was given to him. God merely told him that he would live to a good old age and sleep in the grave. Abraham knew that a great amount of time would pass before his descendants even began to approach the astral numbers God had predicted.
But sure enough, God speaks of Abrahams descendants and refers to them as a fire pot among sheafs: Zech 12:4 On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness, declares the LORD. (Recall that God speaks of horses and riders in the Book of Revelation) Then the leaders of Judah will say in their hearts, The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the LORD Almighty is their God. On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a fire-pot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume right and left all the surrounding peoples, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place.
When the leaders of Judah finally acknowledge that the people of Jerusalem are strong because the LORD Almighty is their God, their hard service will be complete (Isa 40:2) and they will be empowered to act against all the surrounding nations. Davids fallen tents will be restored and the House of David will live again as the mightiest force the world has ever known.
But what of the divided heifer between which the fire-pot and the blazing torch pass? (Gen 15:9,17). What was this all about? God was speaking of a time of slavery for the House of Israel (V12-16). Over a thousand years later, Jeremiah wrote of the same thing. The northern Ten Tribes had already gone into captivity long before, and only the remnant tribes remained, and these were under attack from the King of Babylon. Only three cities were still holding out under the onslaught. Under these conditions some of them began to ponder whether God was angry because they had not freed the Israelite slaves after seven years according to Law. So they proclaimed freedom for the slaves (Do you recall Christs words concerning this? - Luke 4:18-19), but soon took them back again and enslaved them. So God responds: Jer 34:17 Therefore, this is what the LORD says: You have not obeyed me; you have not proclaimed freedom for your fellow countrymen. So I now proclaim freedom for you, declares the LORD freedom to fall by the sword, plague and famine. I will make you abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth. The men who have violated My Covenant and have not fulfilled the terms of the Covenant they made before me, I will treat like the calf they cut in two and then walked between the pieces.
As always, these things are written as examples for those on whom the ends of the world have come. Jesus spoke of these things when He was on earth. He quoted Isa 61:1-2. Reading from this Scripture He said this: Luke 4:18-19 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lords favour. Judging by the pathetic good news or gospel that is presently being preached, it seems almost unlikely that many are going to recover from their blindness.
What Jesus quoted here from Isaiah is the famous verse where He stopped in the middle of a sentence and sat down: V20 Then He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on Him, and He began by saying to them, Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. And it certainly was fulfilled! The Gospel was preached for the poor prisoners and they began to see the hope of the coming Kingdom.
But what does the rest of the quotation from Isaiah say; the part that Christ didnt quote? Here it is in full: Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORDS favour AND THE DAY OF VENGEANCE FOR OUR GOD, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called [trees] of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendour. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. Aliens will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. Instead of their shame My people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs.
Be sure to understand that God is speaking of the release of prisoners who will be subjected to much shame. God Himself will mount the rescue bid and wreak vengeance on all those who have enslaved His people. God will bestow on Zion a crown of beauty, and these trees of righteous will distribute the oil of gladness, and the splendour of Almighty God will be displayed through them. They will have a garment of praise like some others who faithfully obey God (Rev 6:11). These will be priests and ministers for Almighty God (see all of the Book of Malachi).
Perhaps you might like to ponder why God blessed Abraham when he returned from the slaughter of the kings, and the rescue of his own (Lot and his family). At the time of the new order (Heb 9:10), the Order of Melchisedec will be proclaimed and implemented. No longer will it be necessary to quote a Scripture and stop in the middle of a sentence. All will be fulfilled exactly as it is written and in full!
Yes, the House of Israel and the Churches of God in particular will need to be rescued. That good news will reach your ears at a time when you need it most. This is the very Gospel Christ proclaimed, and its about a Kingdom being established which will have territory, subjects and Laws just as Herbert Armstrong instructed you. Herbert fell short of the mark because he never understood how it would be implemented. What he didnt understand he invented from his own imagination. Even today, the Churches believe they will swan their way into the Kingdom of God after Christ has done it all for them. Consequently, they ignore all that the Prophets recorded, and all that Christ said, and theyve reduced the Gospel to meaningless mumbo-jumbo.
God can bring howling winds against your nation and stop you dead in your tracks instantly! He is about to show you just how vulnerable you are! Suddenly, you will be confronted with the realization that you understand nothing! All your fanciful theories, all your pathetic prophecies, and all the stupidity you have generated in the name of religion will be shattered before your eyes. And when you set out to find answers to all your woes, when you search from north to east, you will not find the answers you seek. You will have left your run too late!
Amos 8:9 In that day, declares the Sovereign LORD, I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight. I will turn your religious feasts into mourning and all your singing into weeping. I will make all of you wear sackcloth and shave your heads. I will make that time like mourning for an only son (see Jer 31:9) and the end of it like a bitter day. The days are coming, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I will send a famine through the land not a famine of food or thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the Words of the LORD. Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the Word of the LORD, but they will not find it.
And God makes this point: Micah 7:4 The best of them is like a briar, the most upright worse than a thorn hedge. The day of your watchman has come, the day God visits you. Now is the time of their confusion. Do not trust a neighbour; put no confidence in a friend. Even with her who lies in your embrace be careful of your words. For a son dishonours his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law a mans enemies are the members of his own household. Remember when Christ quoted these very words? (Matt 10:34-36). Christ didnt come to bring peace but a sword (Matt 10:34). This is what the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is all about!
Christ counseled to go and learn the meaning of mercy and sacrifice: Matt 9:13 But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. With so many righteous people blowing their own trumpet, the ministry of repentance (as taught by John the Baptist) will be conducted by those who are deeply repentant and who abhor themselves for their past conduct. Such people will have given up their lives in baptism, and these will consider themselves bought with a price. They see themselves as clay to be molded and shaped to whatever God sees fit to create. Their lives mean nothing to them. Just like Abraham, they know that God can raise them from the dead, and like Christ, will fearlessly confront the enemies of God.
So what did Christ instruct us to go and learn? He was directing us to Hos 6:4-6 What can I do with you, Ephraim? What can I do with you, Judah? Your love is like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears. Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets, I killed you with the Words of my mouth; my judgments flashed like lightning upon you. For I desire mercy and not sacrifice.
Dont think that God is offering you peace just because you presently live in peace. You are merely in the calm before the storm. God is testing you, and the last call is going out. Are you feeling secure? Now might be a good time to revisit Pauls words in 1Thess 5:1 Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, peace and safety, destruction will come on them suddenly, as labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is not playing games by allowing you to suffer anymore than He was when His own Son had to suffer. But if you suffer as Christs, and as He did, then your hope of salvation will be realized. And if you dont suffer, then you are not Christs. God has a purpose in all this, and you must do as you are told.
Perhaps if you are sensible and begin to believe God, and cling to everything He has said through the Son, and the Apostles and prophets, God may record you in the Book of Remembrance (Mal 3:16) and prepare you for the greatest calling of the ages.
There are many deceivers who have gone out into the world who will refute the very Words of God and even ridicule His Words. Already many are speaking contemptuously of many verses that they dont understand. They have no answers for anything, yet they uphold themselves as authorities on everything. Theyll attempt to beguile you with shallow platitudes and promise you peace and safety. Dont listen to them, because they are the agents of death. The long passage of time since Jesus was on earth has emboldened them, and they think they can say whatever they like, and still be assured of a deathbed repentance. They cant and they wont and neither will they die in peace. For them, the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night and catch them unawares. Not one of them will escape! Their blasphemy will never be forgiven!
The final chapter of this article (chapter 7) will be deferred for a period, perhaps a few months. As Solomon said, There is a time and a season for everything (Eccl 3:1).
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