Gospel of the Kingdom
(Draft Manuscript - 1997)
You can read a short summary of the prophetic Gospel of the Kingdom here.
This overview is my first successful attempt to put forth a complete summary of the new truths I have received over the last year and a half. Together, they illuminate God's blueprint for the end of the age. None of them were known to me, in this context, before the fall of 1993. The first truth revealed during the Feast of Tabernacles, 1993, was the overall timing and strategy as found in Gen. Chapter 41 (#2, The New Commission). There is a certain special 'beauty' to the fact that the 'key' to the 'end' is found in the 'beginning'. Isn't that just like God? From a God who claims to know the end at the beginning, one would expect the beginning to reveal the end. And so it does. Genesis 41, the story of Joseph, is also the masterfully camouflaged doorway into the glorious treasure-trove of end of the age truth. Hidden in Pharaoh's dreams is the prophetic framework into which all end of the age prophetic events find their context. Without this context, prophetic events are at the wish and whim of eager expositors - never to be fully understood. Like a series of dominos, one by one, week after week, each succeeding truth fell into place. The last truth, #1, The Changing Environment, was discovered in January 1995. Collectively they appear to provide a complete framework for the end of the age. Time will tell whether or not that is true.
A Statement of Conclusions
To make this overview as short as possible it is largely a prophetic statement of conclusions. I will not attempt to justify most of the conclusions presented here with Scripture, etc. That will come later. But be assured that there is strong argument for each conclusion. This is the big picture, the forest. One should strive to comprehend the big picture before making tiny judgments.
The Final Conclusion - Massive Change
If one believes that Christianity, as it is expressed today, can fulfill its full mandate on earth without major change, than this article can be dismissed outright. Its conclusions are quit different. As will be discussed, the overriding character of the end of the age is the coming of TRUTH. If truth is coming, than we have no other choice than to conclude, that relative to the truth that is coming, truth is not here now. It is hard to perceive something that cannot be perceived. It is hard to perceive just what we will be, only a few years hence, but we will be like Christ before this age is over. A portion of humanity is destined, for a glorious transformation.
Needed - The Spirit of Wisdom & Revelation
This article is intended to stir hungry hearts and minds, and to open discussion on a new view of the end of the age. It is written with very broad strokes and not couched in traditional Christian language, so many truths may seem strange at first. They are spiritual truths that require the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to discern them. After all, God has intentionally hidden his end day 'treasures'. If it was easy to understand at first glance, it would have been uncovered long ago. They were designed to be invisible to the unprepared mind and heart, but they are so beautiful even the unlearned can comprehend them once revealed. Pray for the Spirit of revelation, and, especially in the early stages, freely exercise your innate faculty of truth detection - your sense of beauty.
More than a Model - a Language
The prophetic model presented here not only has real value as truth, in and of itself, but the language or prophetic techniques used to develop it are just as important. Nothing in this model was received by 'special revelation'. Therefore, it is not dependent upon the author - it is not of 'private interpretation'. It was arrived at through a well developed discipline of interpretation, thought and study. That is so important. If the model is correct, than even more importantly, the language used to uncover it is correct. The implications are awesome. It is not just a meal of 'truth', but the basis for comprehending 'all truth'. The kingdom is new truth. Jesus talked about this new truth treasure,
He said to them, "Therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old." Matt. 13:52
New treasure? We need to ask ourselves, "what is new treasure?" In short, this is prophetic treasure Jesus is talking about here. Prophetic truth is time based, it is valid, or fulfilled, at a given moment in time. If your definition of 'new treasure' could have been valid for 2000 years it is not prophetic, so it is not the new treasure Jesus is talking about. Prophetic truth is meant for instruction, as in a road-map. If we installed the sign "Hollywood Exit" on every exit of the Florida Turnpike, it would be worthless as a 'prophetic instruction'. This article deals with new treasure - truth, timed to explode, and create the end of the age.
An Odd Prophetic Message
It should be noted that this is an odd prophetic presentation. Nowhere in this discussion is the traditional end time key topics discussed at any length; Daniel's 70th week, antichrist, 666, Armageddon, rapture, the European Economic Community, Russia or the Arabs, etc. etc.. Even Israel, God's special focus of prophetic interest, only plays an unwitting supporting role. Many events will swirl around the Jews and the land of Israel and there are some particular surprises, but Israel's leadership role will begin again in the opening days of the millennium, when Messiah returns to earth, and not before. The church is God's instrument of leadership until then. Of course the true church is comprised of both faithful Jews who come out of Judaism and faithful Gentile who come out of cultural Christianity, and will look very much like a 'spiritual' Israel. This neo-church will join in support for Israel and all Jews around the world and will keep them as their first concern during the dark days ahead. The other traditional prophetic events must all be discussed some day, and properly fit into the larger context, however, they should not be at the center of the end day model. Singular external events, however spectacular, should never be our focus. The real spectacular event, and our overriding passion, should be to see the first human 'attain to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ'. That is what prophetic truth should lead us to.
Confirmation and Challenge
The newness of this model requires it to be put before men and women of God for their study and examination. That is the object of this article - to offer enough evidence of inspiration and truth so as to motivate them to take it seriously. With the flood of new ideas filling our world it is easy to see how one might too quickly reject something this different. It is hoped that this model would be compared against any number of alternative end time prophetic models - and ones own conclusions formed.
The Personal Goal
It should be made clear right from the beginning that this presentation has very real and concrete goals. Hopefully it is more business plan than theology. It provides for tangible manifestations of spiritual realities. For whatever the reasons, Christianity has taken on a very slick but dangerous form of double-speak when it comes to goals. Words and concepts have lost their meaning and power. Let's take what most Christians would admit is a personal goal as an example - conformity to Christ. Almost universally, Christians would acknowledge that their personal 'model' is Jesus Christ. That isn't just because he is so adored or revered as the founder of Christianity. No, it is actually a doctrine intrinsic to Christianity, put forth in the NT, that each Christian should be 'like Jesus'. Here are two examples of Apostolic injunction. First, as John stated it from his perspective 2000 years ago:
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when [by the time] he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. 1 John 3:2
or as Paul states it even more specifically:
It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Eph 4:11-13
"Mature" (perfect), "whole measure", "fullness", not much wiggle room in those objectives. These founding fathers of Christianity are saying that there is a spiritual growth process, similar to the natural life-cycle, whereby the end result, the goal, will be that other men will be exactly 'like Jesus'. That seems simple enough in theory. But just to be sure we break through Christianity's clichés lets make a few statements that assign real actions to this goal:
1. we will live sinlessly (perfect) - like Jesus
2. we will minister perfectly - like Jesus
3. we will be a perfect testimony to our world - like Jesus
In plain language, these are the results of being 'like Jesus', and that is precisely what this article proclaims. The difficulty of such a belief is not minimized. In a human, historical sense it is mission impossible. But in God's economy, sensory conclusions often clash with reality (the Word). That is the essence of faith, and this goal is the ultimate of faith challenges. Today it is impossible! But God has made a way in the wilderness of human weakness, he has provided for a banquet in the valley of disbelief. For those who hunger and thirst for righteousness - they shall be filled. This article points to a day, and a way, that it can happen - in this age. This is a 'conformity based' prophetic scenario; that is, 'all events contribute to the goal - conforming to Christ'. This is a 'road map' of the transformation of Christianity from childhood to adulthood, from mere men to the very image of Messiah.
The concise goal statement below builds upon 'conformity' in a panoramic view of the end of the age. In the pages that follow, the incredible plan and purposes of God will be described in great detail. It is a glorious adventure never before told. God will not be undone by Hollywood's most creative geniuses. This picture will win the 'Eternity Awards'. He has saved the best for last.
The Kingdom Is Coming!
The Kingdom is coming! After 6000 years in absentia the kingdom is returning to earth. Creations travail and estrangement from its creator is nearly over. The end of the consequences of sin; sickness, hatred, violence, heart break, poverty, war and death is almost within our reach. God's Sabbath rest is about to dawn. What more could we hope for, what more could we live for? Hallelujah!
The kingdom is the perfect society. The perfect balance of freedom and responsibility, giving and receiving, harmony and melody. It is corporate paradise. A place where humanity recognizes the rightness of God's claim of King of the Universe. Where humanity rests, with absolute confidence, in the goodness and justice of his ways, pledging their eternal allegiance to him. The kingdom is a place where the power struggle is over, God and man, men and woman, master and steward, all conclude God's rules are right, his purposes are clear, the benefits are for all. Oh, that the kingdom were here now! Today, several billion people on earth would say, "Amen", to this proclamation. But before we superficially pray "thy kingdom come", we should really know what we are saying.
The kingdom is God, face to face. It is his rules imposed without compromise. It is his holiness, pure and penetrating to every dark corner of the soul and universe. This is something few, if any, humans have ever wanted. It is the death of a billion personal kingdoms in preference to one. Man on his own would never, ever, long for such a thing. But the Spirit of life within us will overrule those dark tendencies of self preservation, and do the unthinkable - seek the kingdom of God. Are we really ready to let go of this world, are we honest enough to admit failure, to admit that the experiment with life apart from God has ruined us? That our freedom has not brought freedom. We have seen it for ourselves, "there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." Enough tears, enough death, "Lord, thy kingdom come."
Comprehending The Kingdom
While there is widespread anticipation and speculation of earth changing events ahead, only Christianity and Judaism posses any truthful detailed knowledge about this coming kingdom. But even within these bodies there are wide ranging views of what this new kingdom will actually look like, and how the transition to it will actually happen. It is to their credit that at least they would both contend that their views were based on the Holy Scriptures, the written Word of God.
But what is this mysterious new world called the 'kingdom'. Is it simply the presence of God? Is it heaven? Is it national Israel? Is it king Jesus ruling form Jerusalem, imposing today's Christianity upon all inhabitants of earth? Is it a dual kingdom with a Jewish kingdom in Israel, and a Christian kingdom throughout the rest of the world? Is it simply everyone on earth being 'saved'? Even among God fearing people these issues are not clear. One has to wonder how God could have left such an important issue so vague. Did he intend for mankind to know? Can we comprehend the kingdom in any meaningful way? Will what I know about the kingdom make any difference in the end-of-the-age drama?
It might be nice if we could ignore the issue, letting king Messiah resolve it when he comes to set up the kingdom. That might be nice if the kingdom was just a theological doctrine or a general term for 'doing the will of God', with no prophetic (unique time and place) impact on the average laymen. But as we see in the verses quoted below, the kingdom and the gospel of the kingdom are hardly trivial issues. Jesus, Christianity's Messiah, commands his followers to seek the kingdom first - above all else. And that the gospel of the kingdom is a special 'testimony' delivered to the whole earth before the end can come. No, we can't wait for Messiah to come before we comprehend the kingdom. Those that will obey Messiah must first bear testimony, with words and deeds, about this kingdom - and then the end can come.
Spectators or Players?
This is where the kingdom first confronts us in a personal way, "are we spectators or are we players." This is where the gospel of the kingdom first 'testifies' about our state of faithfulness. The kingdom divides men! Are we servants or are we wise managers? Our response to that question can make all the difference. If we are simply servants, who are deliberately given only small parts in the end time drama to test our faithfulness to God, than we will comprehend the kingdom as it comes, and our current ignorance is not a serious concern. But if we are the directors and managers of this end time drama, than our lack of comprehension, of single-mindedness, is cause for serious concern and faithful intercession. We are standing in the crossroads of destiny. Some, by their actions, will treat their birthright with contempt. But just as God granted to David the honor of fathering the Royal House of Israel because he was sensitive enough to fulfill God's desires, might we also be found worthy of God's special favor for understanding his heart in this critical hour? The testimony of Scripture is that God always uses men and women who are prepared to act in faithfulness to fulfill his desire. He may test us as servants, but we will serve him as ministers. He may test us with partial truth, but 'partners' need all truth. A minister comprehends his ministry. The kingdom is not imposed upon servants, it is apprehended forcefully by friends of God. The kingdom is the new frontier. It finds root in the seekers, and than flows out to conquer all of humanity. This is dominion at its finest. Ask yourself this question , "Do I have any significance in establishing the kingdom." If your answer is "no", your right. If your answer is "yes", you are also right, gloriously right. It is a self-fulfilling prophesy. This is mankind's second and final chance to steward God's creation. We may not feel equipped for such ministry, but in our weakness he is strong. In our dependence upon him, we will find him dependable. It is God's honor at stake, not ours. He will complete what he began. Our first step is willingness.
Resources, Are They Adequate?
The kingdom, in one sense, does not require territory. In one sense there is a 'spiritual' kingdom. And in that sense the kingdom will be fully realized in this age. Is that 'mission impossible', or has God actually provided the resources to obtain it? There are remarkable promises that are given to us about the end of the age. We are told that the Holy Spirit will 'tell us what is yet to come', he will also lead us into 'all truth', we will 'ask anything and it will be given', and many more such promises that indicate we will be well equipped for ministry. That should encourage us to press on in obedience to Jesus' command. These, and many more, are all kingdom promises. An important part of that program is the concept of 'prophetic sufficiency' - that God, acting in divine, fore-knowledge, has pre-deposited into our account everything we need to conduct our end of the age operation successfully. Being adolescents, we may not have access to them all yet - but we will. We are assured of success. It is our privilege to live in this generation, to be entrusted with these treasures of God, and to testify about the kingdom. Typical of God's call, the responsibilities that lay ahead of us are insurmountable, but with God's help, all things are possible.
Discovering The Master Plan
To summarize, the kingdom is coming; we will comprehend it; it must get first priority; we are managing partners of the transition; and we have all the resources that we need. If we assume these conclusions, where do we go from here? The obvious response is, "Lord, give us the details." Yes, the details of the 'master plan'. We may have not consciously been in on the planning of creation, but from here on out, God's elite, the faithful saints, are part of the ruling class of the universe, co-heirs with Christ of all creation, the eyes, ears, mouth, hands, heart and mind of God. We must master the master plan of the end of the age. As King David testified about the Temple,
All this," David said, "I have in writing from the hand of the LORD upon me, and he gave me understanding in all the details of the plan
Revelation of the big plan is possible, in fact, it's consistent with the Father's will to reveal all things to us;
[From ancient times] "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him"-- but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit
There are many questions and scary 'giants' in our kingdom, but this author assumes that there is an answer to them all, and more important to each of us, we are expected to discover them. God's people are the managing partners in the coming transition to the kingdom and the kingdom is forcefully advanced by forceful men.
The plan, the operational orders, have already been written and distributed in ciphered form. There will be no deliveries via Michael, the Arch Angel, or any other heavenly messengers. Beside avoiding the dangers of such a tactic, it glorifies God, and confounds his enemies, that God should have designed and described detailed plans thousands of years before the fact. From the garden of Eden to the Babylonian exile, God's kingdom builders will distill, extract and decipher hundreds of prophetic maps and blueprints to guide the saints from task to task, battle to battle. God's modern prophets (and they are coming) will primarily have a special revelatory gift to read these blueprints out of Scripture rather than receive 'special revelation' as they did in days of old. The kingdom model described herein is based on this new deciphering technique - patternistic prophetic technology. God is always one step ahead of his enemies. The world, and sadly, even portions of the church, having failed to properly prepare with study and 'truth seeking', will seek after 'special revelation' to 'save' them in the troubling days ahead. They will look for easy answers and quick fixes from modern 'prophets' operating in the mode of Old Testament prophets. God is largely finished speaking like that, the plan is already written and sealed. Some may not be comfortable, or adept at, working with what is revealed in the written Word of God, but it will be dangerous to look elsewhere. The gospel of the kingdom starts in the first chapter of Genesis and continues through Revelation. Looking anywhere else will bring deception, and many will fall into this trap.
God has used Israel to rehearse on the stage of history, every chapter and verse of the coming end of the age operation. Jesus said, "For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John." (Matt 11:13). There are two stages of prophetic history - 'record' and 'playback'. Jesus and John began the 'playback' portion of history. We are still in that mode today. Like Jesus, we also will fulfill, or 'playback' a role written and rehearsed for us in the 'record' portion of history. God will prove to the world that he knows the beginning from the end, and that his written Word is sufficient, even for the most complex tactical operation ever conducted on earth. Between the Word, and the Holy Spirit, we have all the resources and the power required to faithfully represent God on earth. There is no record of Jesus ever receiving 'special revelation'. He functioned only within his Spirit enlightened humanity to fulfill his ministry. He is our model, the Word and the Spirit were enough for him, and they are enough for us. Through the resurrected life of Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, and the empowering work of the Sprit we will comprehend the kingdom, we will comprehend the truth.
The Revelation Trail
The Holy Spirit is God's 'approved' truth messenger. Through the Spirit's normal work of revelation the master plan for the end of the age will be delivered to the body at the proper time.
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. John 16:13
This is just one of many places God promises to 'unseal', 'reveal', 'guide us into', 'teach', us the mysteries of the end of the age. The Body does not know the plan today, but it will KNOW! That is a fact we must take by faith. The Bible often refers to this coming truth as 'treasure', and those rightly prepared, as treasure seekers. It is interesting to note that just recently a new archeological find was discovered in Egypt's Valley of the Kings. A new 'entrance' was uncovered in Ramses II's tomb. It lead into a large section where it is believed 52 of his sons were buried. This valley contains the tombs of many other kings and it has been thoroughly searched and explored. It was thought that all such tombs had been discovered, but to the explorers delight a major section had remained concealed. An interesting note concerning this discovery, is that this is believed to be the Pharaoh of the 'exodus' and one of the sons discovered in the tombs is believed to be Pharaoh's first born. Tests are even now being done to determine the circumstances surrounding this sons death.
End of the age revelation is much the same. It has defied discovery by previous generations, in spite of much 'digging' and 'exploration'. God's intriguing manner of concealment may be the greatest miracle of all. No discovery has ever been more sought after than the revelation of the events surrounding the end of the age. God has fueled that passion for discovery. He has declared, 'The treasure is there, in the written Word'. It's hard to resist a challenge like that. But then he adds, 'But I have concealed it until its time has come.' He didn't say we shouldn't search for it till the end, he only said we won't find it till the end. But every honest seeker has probably contributed to its eventual find. Many details, many theories, each a clue in the continuing mystery. Many wrong conclusions, some right, but in the end, they all add to the knowledge base of prophetic truth. Nothing is wasted in God's economy.
Nevertheless the whole plan, the big picture, has resisted discovery. Many claim that their particular prophetic scenario is the whole plan. Some may be wondering why this book maintains that we do not have a clear view of the end of the age and the coming kingdom. They would agree that many are wrong, but if we select one of the four or five basic scenarios, add and subtract a few minor details, and behold, a correct prophetic picture. Yes, they may have a 'correct' one, and the next person also has a 'correct' one - both coming to different conclusions of course. Today there is a prophetic plan for every taste and inclination. Perhaps the multiplicity of views could be understood if there was just one clearly genuine scenario, surrounded by a lot of obvious counterfeits. The world is a big place and no one can be sure of what God may be doing in some secluded quiet corner, but as of this writing, none appear to fulfill prophetic requirements. This is not an absolute fact - it's as much of a challenge, as a statement of fact.
Why is this so? Is there a way to unravel this prophetic tangle? Is there a way to truthfully evaluate all scenarios for validity? Good news! It appears that God is giving the Body the 'technology' to do just that. Contained within this prophetic scenario is a new approach to prophetic study - a new spiritual 'technology'. It seems to have a 'truth test' so powerful that an honest seeker, after instruction, will be able to detect true from false prophetic conclusions. That may seem impossible, but think about it for a minute. Won't God have to give us something like that if we are ever going to know the truth? The logic seems simple: is there an end of the age plan hidden in the Word of God? - YES; does the Body have it today? - NO; then we will have to be given some revolutionary straightforward technique to decipher the plan.
After serious and careful consideration, see if you don't agree that the approach put forth herein warrants, at minimum, a 'worth further study' rating. The techniques used to formulate this scenario can be loosely gathered into a discipline called, to coin a new term, 'prophetics'. Prophetics has value in that its systematic interpretive techniques can contribute to the continued development and refinement of the whole prophetic plan. Central to prophetics are two concepts:
Patterns and Beauty
Lets take a quick look at each one:
PATTERNS: Prophetic patterns are high level views of a number of events or incidents tied together with deliberate context.
BEAUTY: The perfection of form resulting from the harmonious combination of diverse elements in unity
The revelation trail of this prophetic scenario is a fascinating one, worthy of much longer discussion someday, but this is a quick tour of this prophetic 'treasure' as it stands now, June, 1995.
Stepping back to consider all prophetic knowledge, there appears to be three levels of revelatory content. Graphically this could be presented as a pyramid where each successive level is more concise and presents a simpler more coherent view (see diagram below). Each level will be discussed in general terms here, but the two top levels represent the next two chapters in this book.
God said he'll show us the plan, but there is not enough information in the Bible to directly piece it together.
Now we have come to the single most important theme of the end of the age - TRUTH. Truth is the first and absolute indicator that we have arrived at the very threshold of the end of the age. Truth is the small cloud on the horizon, that quickly envelopes the whole land. It is the naval and air bombardment immediately before the troops storm the beach. Truth is the leading indicator of immanent change. The end times cannot come until truth comes. It is what we should be actively expecting and praying for.
This truth is not a philosophical exercise. It is not a frustrating attempt to determine truth, as man has done throughout history. No, this is the final revelation of truth - directly from the source of truth - God. This truth has the very real power to transform humanity into the likeness of God. There is a clear and very real path in the pursuit of this truth, and we will follow it all the way into the very presence of God. But one step at a time. First let's look at the definition of truth:
Definition of Truth: Conformity to fact or reality. Conformity to rule, standard, model, pattern or ideal. Conformity to the requirements of one's being or nature. Being that which is the case rather than what is manifested or assumed.
Reality, that is the value of truth. As a Christian, that is the goal, conforming to reality, conforming to the model of humankind - Jesus Christ. What beautiful but awesome implications.
In a very practical way, truth is simply new ideas - ideas that reflect reality - God's reality. Christianity will learn and live by new concepts. We will learn new concepts so powerful they will activate our faith, cause us to draw upon the resources of the Holy Spirit, to ask specifically in prayer for power to walk in perfect obedience with the purposes of God, causing us to separate completely from the world - as a perfect testimony. The world will know that God sent his son Jesus and that he loved him just as he now loves us.
Truth Triggers the End
Truth is the trigger event. Truth is the central theme - not Israel, not the revived Roman Empire, not the antichrist, not the mark of the beast, not earthquakes, floods, and famines, not wars, tribulation or rapture, not even the final harvest of souls - but truth. The people of the kingdom will be initiated, constructed and finished, by truth. Truth should be the focus of the end of the age. That is where God would want prophesy students to spent most of their time - pursuing truth, uncovering reality.
A very big problem with truth is the tendency to 'religious -ize' this term. To make truth a cliché, to kill it with 'niceness', such as, "Of course we need more truth, we always need more truth." This is worse than outright rejection, because it accepts an 'inoculation dosage' - just enough to prevent one from getting the full-blown 'disease' (reality). It should be clear, and stated very forcefully, that the truth that is coming is not 'nice' truth. It will devastate many well developed and closely held doctrines of faith, many views of God, and his purposes, many personal 'fortresses' of defensive truth. That is what is coming - nothing less. That means that the truth that is coming will bring today's Christianity (and each of us) to its knees. It will be explosive, divisive, 'heretical', radical truth. That is the only kind that will work. This is not an intellectual debate, it is the radical transformation of earth's civilization. To accept the fact that new truth is coming, one must assume that a great deal of un-truth is here now - taking up space in the Christian mindset. Truth will have an uphill, upstream battle, but it is coming and it will transform the Body of Messiah.
Were it not for the Word of God, these kind of changes would be dangerous (and impossible). We are talking about wholesale doctrinal reform - in a few short years. But the Word is so clear and so powerful, we need not be afraid. We must go on, carefully, but confidently, step by step. Ground zero for God's end of the age truth is simple and clear, when revealed by Apostle John. The verse below, the heart and center of Jesus' last prayer, is the cornerstone of end of the age truth:
Sanctify them by the truth;
This verse lays a foundation by which we can begin constructing the kingdom of God. This is the end of the age in five short words. Everything else extends out from here. Everything else is framed and leveled by this phrase. God has given us a 'north star' to navigate by, a guide that will not fail us. In all the commotion and dissertation regarding the end of the age, these five words will act as a lighthouse in stormy seas. Remember them, use them to gauge the prophetic compass of any who will come purporting to have prophetic truth.
Lets dissect this phrase into its components:
TRUTH will produce people who are SANCTIFIED thus:
TRUTH è SANCTIFICATION
SANCTIFICATION can be thought of in two aspects. One aspect involves a process of 'separating', or 'setting apart', which we could call DIVISION and a second aspect which involves purity, or right-acting which we could call HOLINESS thus:
So we see the coming of TRUTH has a dual effect, DIVISION, and HOLINESS. Both of these aspects of sanctification have their own separate set of forces and activities that surround them. Both have their own story, and each story must be developed individually to understand it. We are beginning to build the context in which the kingdom will come. Line upon line, precept upon precept, this is all building towards the complete story of the end of the age. Truth requires mental effort on our part, we shouldn't be impatient with the process. Now lets deal with each one separately, we'll begin with HOLINESS.
The Holiness Story
The coming truth will transform the Body of Christ. What has been veiled from believers by erroneous (but sovereignly allowed) doctrine, will now be seen clearly. God's purposes in history, his purposes with Israel and the church, his purposes with law and grace, all will become clear and obedient believers will change their minds, reflecting these new realities. Holiness will finally be obtainable. Truth will produce HOLINESS, thus:
TRUTH è HOLINESS
Based upon other Scriptures we begin to see the net result of this newly desired and acquired holiness. There are real benefits to holiness, new privileges. Holiness clears the way for another kingdom treasure. First truth, than holiness, than:
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
These words discreetly hide the unmistakable promise, that holiness through obedience will bring a very special, almost unthinkable privilege - power. So now we see the relationship:
TRUTH è HOLINESS è POWER
The foundations of the spiritual temple are being laid; truth, than holiness, than power. But there is one last critical issue that must be addressed lest we again become inoculated with just enough kingdom to prevent us from 'catching' the full 'disease'. That issue is degree. To what degree do we receive truth, which produces what degree of holiness, which permits what degree of power. Its the degree that makes the kingdom. To some degree we have all these things today. Yes, and to some degree we have the kingdom today. But we aren't talking about degrees of the kingdom when we refer to the end of the age. No, that's the point of the end of the age, it's no longer degree, its no longer a residue, the kingdom comes - absolute kingdom, shocking, startling kingdom. God face to face, that's the point. In the kingdom we arrive, we reach the destination. We no longer journey, we rest. That is very important. The kingdom no longer permits degree, or grace, it demands absolutes. In a universe permeated by Almighty, Sovereign God, grace is knowing him to a degree. In man's fallen state, too much God is uncomfortable, perhaps fatal. But soon Christianity will enter the kingdom, to do so, it must be transformed, it will have to change its thinking - it will have to have the mind of Christ. That is what truth comes to do - give us the mind of Christ, a mind that can deal with absolutes. So, we are not talking about a comfortable dose of TRUTH, HOLINESS, and POWER but absolute, filled to the top, ALL.
Do we find such absolutes in the Scripture? Of course. We can start with truth:
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. John 16:13a
than holiness, which is also spoken of as righteousness, or perfection, as in Jesus' first sermon, when he clearly set the seemingly impossible destination.
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Mat 5:48
Perfection, holiness filled to the top, is all holiness. There are many other verses and even whole books (Hebrews) that deal with perfection. And finally we return to the verse quoted above to find absolute power:
ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
who could mistake that for anything but absolute, all power? If we can ask God for whatever we wish, and it is done, that is all power. So now we have the amazing truth behind the holiness side of sanctification.
The process couldn't be any clearer or more beautiful. Anyone should be able to understand this simple truth about truth. Truth comes first, the changes it demands produces holiness, which than permits God to bestow power. This Adding a sense of timing, we can diagram these three kingdom ALL's as such:
It's important not to under estimate this truth about truth, if that were possible. This is not just a side issue, a nice insight, a byproduct of more important events. No, as noted above, this is the end of the age for the believer. This is the highest purposes of the end of the age. This is the priority, all events and forces converging at the end of the age are designed to produce a people comfortable with God's absolutes. Capable of containing the mind, the presence, and the glory of God. If we are not prepared for God's ALL's, we should not kid ourselves that we are prepared for the realities of the kingdom. This is the spiritual manifestation of the kingdom, all the outward activities are there to produce these inner qualities. That inner, or spiritual, work is what we must keep in focus. This inner spiritual reality could be called the "truth context". It was this 'truth context' that Jesus always focused our attention to, as he did in this example:
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. John 4:23
Worship has and should have many proper outward manifestations, but the important thing to grasp is the spiritual, or invisible, inner framework of truth. If we keep that correct we can never go wrong in outward expressions. That is no different with the end of the age. Before we can successfully comprehend all the many events, we must maintain a clear understanding of the 'truth context' that is running invisibly behind it. That is the master plan, that is what the director must always keep in mind, the overall strategy - the truth context.
Jesus always prefaced his end of the age messages with the admonition to 'not be deceived'. The greatest source of deception will be right in the midst of Christianity, with many well meaning believers. We must develop truth tests that will reveal any deceptive practices and concepts. Truth is an acid test. Any teaching or prophetic scenarios that do not adequately account for truth are at best incomplete and at worse dangerously deceptive. The end of the age is the final phase of redemption, truth is the transforming agency in that final redemptive process. For the insiders (believers), messages that have, as their cental tenants, warnings of judgment, shortness of time, self preservation, or fear, are false and deceptive messages. They may be well intended, or they may not, but they are not advancing the kingdom. The reason these are false messages is that they are based upon ignorance and the unknown. They are masterfully presented by 'experts' truly knowledgeable in end of the age 'information', but sorely lacking in truth. Truth is the one to look for. Deceptive prophetic ministries will be knowledge based, not truth based. We need to practice discerning the difference. God's ordained prophetic office will rise to the occasion and protect the Body from deception.
The Division Story
The other half of the sanctification process is division. Truth produces division.
TRUTH è DIVISION
In fact, the glorious truth of the kingdom ALL's described above, are not for everybody. They are only for the faithful - believers who respond to the call of God's Sprit to break camp and move. They will not come to anyone by default. In a sense we must go to them, they are not coming to us. It will take active faith to move into that special place made available to us. Many will go, most will not. That is the effect the kingdom has on humanity - it divides.
Jesus' Goal - Peace or Division?
The character of the end of the age is one of harvest. It's designed to 'ripen' ones real nature. The environment and circumstances will be such that the true nature of our being will be manifested and fixed. That truth alone should cause many to seek the only source of salvation and life - God's Messiah. Through the atoning work of Messiah, we receive the Spirit of Truth and the promises of grace and mercy. Only by the Spirit of Truth will we be drawn toward the light and eternal safety. Everyone will be drawn down one path or another. There will be a bewildering number of alternative paths that we could follow. The concepts of life and reality that we hold will have a great impact on each decision. Tradition, peer pressure, religion, education, self preservation, pride, fame, fortune, etc., will all influence decisions we make in the days ahead. Each decision will bring us closer in line with the reality of the kingdom, or further out of sync with the kingdom. Paul warned that there would be a great call for 'peace and safety' during the time of the end. Peace is certainly a desirable goal. It would seem likely that the road to the kingdom, would be down the path of peace and safety. Like never before, there is something within all humanity that hungers for peace and safety - especially in these uncertain times. However, the carnal mind of man is easily deceived into a path of false peace. It is the truth of God, as found in the Holy Scriptures, that gives us discernment to find the road to genuine lasting peace. Ironically, the path to true peace is down a path called 'division'. Division is a central theme of the end times and the true kingdom.
Division is the final goal of Jesus' ministry. Jesus is generally known to the world as a man of peace. A man of peace, yes, the source of all peace, yes, but with a mission of war. Peace can never bring peace in the face of lawlessness. Anyone who promises that is a deceiver. True peace can only come when lawlessness is uncovered, isolated and eliminated. That was the mission of Jesus. He said:
"I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. Luke 12:49-51
Jesus here indicates his two primary assignments, his two ministries - to undergo his 'baptism' and than to divide humanity. He fulfilled his baptism on the cross 2000 years ago, but the dividing assignment has waited for the end. For 2000 years God has graciously waited, in the face of great lawlessness, for man to voluntarily enter his kingdom. Who can deny he has been more than patient? But rebellion must be separated from allegiance. Everyone on earth must be confronted with a clear and pure message of the kingdom and given the right to choose. Everyone must be given the opportunity to examine the kingdom in which he will spend eternity. Some will accept it by faith, others by expediency, and others not at all. Six billion people must choose before the end can come.
So division must come before peace. But the process of division is more complex, and much more realistic, than Christianity has understood it. The first step in understanding this division is to understand the kingdom groups. There are three and only three groups. Every human who has ever lived or will live must enter one of these kingdom groups. There are different entry requirements and conditions for each group. Two of the group designations are very familiar and we commonly refer to them as 'heaven' or 'hell'. The Scriptures don't emphasize the hereafter, but it generally reveals two destinations that have been active since creation. The faithful enter heaven eventually, and the unfaithful, hell. (this is a slight oversimplification but the point is made.) The heaven group needs a great deal of clarification, but the real mystery group is the third group. One reason it has remained nameless and faceless is that it appears to be activated only during the division process at the end of the age. [Scripture does not seem to confirm the possibility, but there is a plausible scenario which may make this third group the destination of 'faithless salvations'. Faithless salvations are those who are granted eternal life without a faith decision - unborns, children, and probably some 'unreached'] This third group, the 'citizens' as defined below, begins to fill when the 'ruler' group is complete. There may be an overlapping time when both groups (all three) are active. The Kingdom Model #2, The New Commission, reveals more details about the surprising process God has designed to accomplish this final division.
As complex as this may sound, the division goal must be carefully and cleraly defined. We can evaluate end time events by how they contribute to the formation of these groups. No end of the age scenario can be considered complete or correct until it can describe how each group is formed and shaped. Of particular significance is the ability to resolve the formation of the kingdom's citizen group.
So we see that all the events of the end of the age will largely serve to induce humanity to migrate into one of the appropriate groups. Putting the kingdom first will help us avoid deception and uncover the truths that can conform us to the kingdom, preparing us for ministry to the world. In its simplest for, a kingdom is not hard to understand. Any kingdom must have the following components.
The coming kingdom of God consists of each component as listed and described below:
The Kingdom Components:
Heaven Is Not Our Destination
Piece by piece we are constructing what a real Biblical kingdom looks like. Understanding the requirements and causes that form each of the component listed above, is a first step in a realistic understanding of the kingdom. An example of an unrealistic kingdom is the Christian heaven. Some may wonder how the kingdom differs from heaven? Christians are citizens of heaven because our king and his government is there. Many of our rewards are there. The souls of the saints are there. God's throne and seat of his administration is there. But all of those things are coming to earth. Nowhere are we told, or is it intended, that we 'seek first heaven'. But rather, we are told to pray, 'thy Kingdom come'. Heaven is often wrongly perceived as our destination. It is not! The kingdom rulers (above) may visit heaven briefly, but the kingdom citizens will probably never see it. The kingdom Jesus always referred to was the kingdom of heaven - on earth.
The Prophetic Truth
That was Jesus' prayer - "Sanctify them by the truth." It was prophetic, it must, absolutely, without a doubt, be answered by God - before the end of the age.
This short, succinct and poetic verse opens to us a world of prophetic truth regarding truth. It will be truth that would ultimately sanctify us or set us apart from the world as holy. It will be truth that will ultimately produce the final product - sanctified man. Did you know that? Most people would say 'the blood', the Holy Spirit', prayer, worship, obedience, faith, tribulation, the rapture, etc. All of those things have their rightful and necessary place. Many are vehicles of delivery for truth, but the end of the age is a product of truth. Truth is the one to watch for. Truth will ultimately transform us.
Do you know any new concepts that would transform and sanctify the body of Christ? Do you know how to bring oneness to the body of Christ? Does anyone know how to establish one faith? These are prophetic promises. The old ideas won't do - they don't have the power to finish the job. That means God has hidden truths just waiting to be discovered. Major new truths. That's hard for our mind to comprehend. The human mind doesn't function well in the darkness beyond the borders of his current understanding. With 2000 years of church history and study, thousands of books and scholars, several hundred denominations, and a multitude of sects, how could we have missed such major truths laying within the pages of Scripture. It does indeed seem unlikely, but that human reality is at odds with the words of Jesus - and his words must stand.
With the possible exception of the truth presented here, there is no truth or plan in the earth today that has the power to sanctify the church, and to establish the kingdom. Christianity and Judaism are expectantly waiting, and warning, but they have no plan. There are prophetic conferences that gather the best minds to describe what is supposedly about to happen to us, but no strategy of truth or conquest. If God suddenly gave his church 'all power' today, what would we do? As of today, that would only be a disaster. There is no blueprint of the kingdom to which all power could be applied. Today, all power would be a disaster - truth has not preceded it.
The Cost of Truth
Of course, we are promised that 'all truth' is coming. But it is not an easy commodity to handle. While it is given a lot of fanfare in some circles, if the real truth were to be available in the marketplace, it would not be particularly popular. Even believers must soberly contemplate what possession of the truth really means. Truth is not a play thing, it requires the setting aside of our childish ways and free and independent lifestyle. Like a young woman marrying into a royal family - her life is never the same. Every word is studied, every movement scrutinized. If we are given 'all truth' it must be contained in 'all holiness' and it will result in 'all power', just coincidentally, what Jesus also promised - '"I will do whatever you ask in my name". We must put on the robes of royalty, and the responsibility of rulership. The truth will hurt, but the alternative will kill.
The Kingdom Transition
The kingdom will not be instituted by a divine magic wand. It is not instantaneous, it does not start with a spectacular event. When God determined that the time had come to judge the world of Noah's day, he devised a 'natural' plan of judgment and transition to the 'new' world. It was an intricate plan, taking perhaps 100 years. There was much for Noah and his family to do. They would build and prepare the ark, etc. But at the right time God intervened by releasing the natural forces stored up in the water canopy over, and the springs under, the earth. So too, will be the end of this age. The saints must do their part, and God will intervene in harmony with our efforts. It is all part of a divinely designed transition. Just as one U.S. presidential administration, 'transitions' to another, so too the kingdoms of this world will 'transition' to the kingdom of our God. It is a well defined and formal process. It is in this process that we as humans will first comprehend and experience the full glory of the kingdom. This transition has a definite length - 14 years; a definite operational strategy; and a definite beginning - Passover. As we stand today, pre-Passover, 1996, the kingdom transition program has not formally begun. If the truths put forth here are correct - it could begin on any Passover. Prophetically, God's official agency on earth, the true church, must know (not be surprised) the plan before it can begin. Certainly not every detail, but enough to proclaim the phenomenon as it begins, and act accordingly. From a natural standpoint it would seem that the church is hardly ready to engage in a plan so dramatic and transforming as the one described here. Christianity seems so preoccupied with many other things. Whether Passover '96, Passover '97, or whatever Passover the end of the age begins, it will not catch us unprepared.
The transition is not the kingdom itself, but in ever increasing form the kingdom will manifest itself in purity, power and glory. The kingdom is not formally here until the king sets foot back in his territorial domain. But the church, as the kingdom's formal emissary will exemplify the kingdom and align itself in every way possible to the rules and lifestyle of the coming kingdom. The church will be the kingdom in absentia. The message contained in this overview is a message of transition to the kingdom as well as the message of the kingdom. For our purposes here, they are one and the same.
God is preparing kingdom people, before kingdom territory. God's emphasis is always people - his people. The rest is simply staging. In all the spectacular events ahead, even Satan himself is just a prop on the stage of history. He and his works get far to much attention in most end time scenarios. God's emphasis during the end of the age period are his 'rulers' and his 'citizens'. Once those groups are clearly delineated from the rest of humanity, the remaining activity is largely clean-up. On earth, the kingdom begins in people. God's kingdom exists where God's king rules. Each individual life can and should reflect the kingdom in some way, but this is not the prophetic, coming kingdom. The kingdom grows one heart at a time. Christianity has done a fairly good job of qualifying people for entry to the kingdom. But the difference between a billion 'saved' individuals and a billion member kingdom is vast and important to understand.
The New Gospel
Over the last 2000 years the distinction between the 'gospel of salvation' and the 'gospel of the kingdom' have virtually vanished. In today's Christianity we may rightly define the 'gospel' as the 'salvation message', or the 'great commission'. Since Christianity is evangelical, it actively promotes its 'faith' to all who will listen. That was the intent of its Jewish founder, Jesus the Messiah. However, much of Christianity has lost sight of its priorities, and the essence of the salvation message it shares with the world. Sharing the gospel is not the highest priority of Christianity, just as having children is not the highest priority of marriage. Reproduction, in both cases, is a byproduct of a loving and healthy relationship. Jesus realized this when he set the priorities - seek first the kingdom. The kingdom is much bigger than just spiritual reproduction. However, that is part of it. Unless one is 'saved', or 'born again', one cannot enter the kingdom. So salvation should not be minimized in importance. But to seek first the kingdom implies much more than just entry or birth.
Preaching salvation is not the same as preaching the kingdom. That has always been true, but today's Christian would be hard pressed to distinguish the two. Sometimes Christianity's witness has suffered when its zealous disciples emphasize salvation over kingdom relationships and lifestyle. But all told, Christianity has been faithful to preach the gospel to the world. But the time has come to clearly distinguish between the two gospels because the gospel of the kingdom is about to take on new life. It is in effect, a new gospel. This new gospel is specifically related to the end of the age, it is this new gospel that must be preached to the world before the end can come. The true gospel of the kingdom could not have been preached for 2000 years because it is a prophetic gospel - a specific message that is designed for a specific time. That is not true of the gospel of salvation. It can and has been preached for 2000 years. But the gospel of salvation will be superseded by the gospel of the kingdom. The gospel of the kingdom is a special prophetic gospel that true Christianity must learn and preach before the end can come. The differences between these two gospels will be discussed in greater detail latter as part of #1 - The Power Environment.
The Bottom Line - Conformity to Christ
A new gospel is just one of the dramatic changes that are coming to Christianity. Will they come without controversy and debate? Obviously not. There will be painful decisions and uncomfortable lifestyle changes by honest and obedient men and women of God, as his church is 'redone' - in his likeness. In the complexities of all the details, one who claims to be a member of the church of Jesus Christ should keep one simple truth foremost - the goal is conformity to Christ.
The components outlined above are a quick snap-shot of the end of the kingdom transition process. By the end of that process those divisions will be in place.
Now lets begin looking at that process - the forces and events that effect these divisions. That process (as it has unfolded to the author) seems to be wholly revealed in a panorama of seven prophetic 'truths'. It appears that these truths comprise the skeleton of the 'gospel of the kingdom', which is the master plan for the end of the age.
Within that plan there is a clear and final message to the world. But first, the church must uncover and digest the complete plan for itself.
A Real Kingdom
In its most basic form, the kingdom is simply God's idea of a perfect society. That society is like the Garden of Eden but with important differences. Man can never go back to the innocence and the simple life the Garden might have offered us. Man now has all truth, he has knowledge of both good and evil. That requires a new kind of responsibility and discipline. The kingdom prophetically described in the Bible reflects a perfect world much different than the Garden. Like Eden, it is paradise, but unlike Eden, it realistically confronts the new conditions mankind faces. God is real, his ways work. The kingdom is real, it will work to contain and
The Kingdom Model
That kingdom and the transition to that kingdom is 'modeled' in the narrative below. A model is simply a learning device that helps us bring a lot of details into a single cohesive view. A model is a conclusion, a small and manageable picture of the real thing. It helps us integrate hundreds of details into a workable reality. Without a single, all inclusive model we may have many seemingly compatible details, which are, in fact, incompatible with each other. A model forces us to prove our details within a much bigger picture. Until we can do that, we haven't got a workable product. Too much prophetic material is presented in tiny scenes but never woven into a whole picture. This prophetic scenario is a model, a single model of the kingdom. The seven major truths, and the hundreds of details within them contribute to this single model. The model presented here appears to be able to include, more realistically, all the traditional end of the age prophetic events within it. The chart below lists the seven components of change and transformation that is part of the kingdom model.
Seven Facets of the Coming Kingdom
1. The Power Environment
"Where is this 'coming' he promised?", the scoffers cry, "Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.". These scoffers have fallen into the lie of 'Uniformitarianism'. Uniformitarianism is a big word that comes from 'uniformity', or a 'uniform environment'. It is simply a belief that says, 'in terms of our natural environment, one day is pretty much like the next'. That the natural processes we see today, were basically the same in long ages past, and will be the same for ages to come. It says that there is no force, no God, who can, or will, intervene to change this earth's natural (or spiritual) environment. Uniformitarianism denies that God sent the universal flood in Noah's day, as recorded in the Bible. It denies that God could or will supernaturally intervene to change the earth's environment in any meaningful way. It denies that the rules could ever change.
This tendency is part of human nature. We are all lulled into a false sense of security by long natural rhythms. If we haven't had a hurricane in 30 years we subconsciously resist the likelihood that one could come this year. This happens to all of us, but as believers we are taught that God controls even the natural cycles. We thank him for every day, for every meal, as if it is entirely up to him to grant us either. We dare not take life for granted, he controls every good thing that we enjoy. It may appear that the sun continues to rise every day 'naturally', but we acknowledge that it is within God's power and right that it might not, if he so decides. This spiritual sensitivity is in direct opposition to the naturalistic dullness of Uniformitarianism described above. The Scriptures caution that we maintain a high degree of sensitivity to God. We realize that it is God who is behind all natural rhythms. That they are natural only because God chooses to operate within natural laws and patterns. This is for humanities sake. For a believer, the natural patterns teach us about the nature of God, but for an unbeliever, the natural cycles are an excuse to deny the existence of God. The truth is, God controls them all, and he may intervene to change them at any moment. And on the first 'Feast of the Lord", The Feast of Passover, he does.
And so begins the greatest event since creation itself - the 'End Of The Age' or 'The Day of the Lord' - the focus of all human history. The climax of heavens great efforts and resources. The greatest spiritual contest of eternity. God, creator, architect of heaven and earth, the author of law and order, enters the arena to do battle with his primal adversary, the kingdom's supreme rebel leader - Satan. God, limiting himself by his own law, must prove to creatures he himself created, that his way is right, that his Word is true, that his judgments are just. The set time has come, rehearsed in type and shadow for thousands of years, humanity is now as consenting adults, able to comprehend, able to respond in love, able to choose which lover and king they will have, whose house will they dwell in, whose promises do they trust, whose laws will they keep? This consensual generation must decide, this vicarious 'generation' can now stand for all mankind (including those who came before), and within it are eternal oceans of unborn humanity. It's the ultimate Election Day, each decision is private, but the effect is eternal. There are no more delays.
The end of the age has begun. No fireworks, no trumpets, no confrontations, just stark reality. Unexpected reality. No more special favor, no more childhood amenities. Manna must be replaced by grain, tents by solid walls, spiritual garments with a perfect lifestyle, desert sand with the beautiful land. God's royal house of faith now stands in its promised land. The journey is over, the promised destination is now before us.
There was no trumpet sound - this was the quiet coming. The kingdom just slipped in, almost unnoticed. As Paul says,
"the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. But you brothers are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you."
Also, in the book of Daniel the words of an angel again indicate this quiet coming,
"Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. Daniel 12:9,10
This phenomenon is seen typologically in Joshua Ch. 5, as Israel begins its 14 year conquest of Cannan on Passover. Here we can see the end of the unnatural environment that sustained them during their wilderness journey. In effect it is the reverse of what happened 40 years earlier on Passover/Pentecost as they left Egypt. For us to understand the exact nature of this change, we may have to wait until after the fact, but there is enough evidence to piece together a pretty clear picture of what is coming. This is where continued study and meditation will likely bring a clearer picture of this important 'opening' event. As with any mystery, the solution comes in two parts; first to examine the evidence, and than to draw conclusions. The journey / destination pattern is the primary source of this truth, but we have to link that with Pentecost and our knowledge of the work of the Holy Spirit. Also the pattern of Noah and the flood may give more clues. It is a fascinating search and by faith we will know all we need to know by the time it happens. The account given here is the first attempt to describe this amazing phenomenon that triggers the end of the age.
But to begin to understand this change, we must look prophetically at the spiritual environment that exists today and how it came to be. Today, like the children of Israel in the wilderness, we are enjoying spiritual life in a womb of grace. A warm, protective, and nourishing environment. Today, since Pentecost, we enjoy what can be described as an 'atmospheric' Holy Spirit. That is, the Spirit is like a wind that covers the earth. That wind warms men's hearts to repent and receive the free gift of salvation. It freely blows over the righteous and unrighteous, and each receive benefit. If one responds to the subtle call of repentance from sin and receives God's provision for salvation, that personal act of faith is acknowledged by God with a grant of a small deposit of his Spirit into our lives. We are then born-again, the act of spiritual birth. With God's Spirit within us we have a 'sustenance deposit' or 'connection' to the life of God. Like a mother sustains an infant, so the Spirit gives us spiritual food and water, healing and protection, and makes few demands on us. We are like spiritual 'air plants', receiving nourishment right out of the 'air'. This is the beginning of spiritual life, our personal 'Passover' experience. And just like natural life, we begin a journey - a journey to maturity. Salvation is not the destination, it is the beginning of the journey.
But just as there is a personal journey, there is also a corporate journey. As a corporate body, like Israel, Christianity too, began its journey on Passover/Pentecost some 2000 years ago. Israel's journey helps explain our journey. The provisions provided by God to Israel, such as manna, water, clothes that didn't wear out, etc., relate to provisions God is giving his church today, through the Holy Spirit. It is easy to see a direct correlation in both experiences. That was God's intention, that is the purposes of prophetic patterns. We synchronize with those parts of the pattern that we have both completed, and thereby we receive revelation from the parts we (Christianity) have not completed. Christianity is soon to complete its journey phase and enter the destination phase - that is the beginning of the end of the age.
Israel's experience as it entered its promised land, is Christianity's prophetic treasure.
So, we look again at this phenomenon as related in Joshua 5. Here we see two very subtle but prophetically charged events. The first event recorded, is the beginning of 'compliance' to the covenant. Full compliance, as evidenced by circumcision, had been suspended during the wilderness journey, but now we see this special 'grace' end, and full compliance begin. This compliance to Abraham's covenant is another very critical truth, but it will be covered in #3, The Perfect Universal Lifestyle.
But it is in the second event, the end of the special 'sustenance environment', that we find the tiny entrance to this prophetic treasure-trove. That event, transposed symbolically to Christianity, indicates an end of whatever began at Christianity's Pentecost. The 'atmospheric' Spirit is going to end one mode, and begin a new mode of operation. This will come as a shock to Christianity. The Holy Spirit has been Christianity's custodian all these years through its journey (like Israel). It has become accustomed to the Spirit's 'wilderness / journey modus-operandi. We love the Holy Spirit and the presence of God the Spirit gives us. While we know that the Spirit cannot leave us or end its vital work in the Body of Messiah, here we see a clear change of the rules of operation. So what is God up to? What conclusions do we draw from this mysterious development? We would expect that if God was ending a certain phase of the Spirits work, he would replace it with something else - something even more powerful. If, by faith, we are anticipating all truth, all holiness and all power to perform greater works than Jesus, we will certainly need the full power of the Spirit in our lives. If we are destined to be conformed to Christ, we can hardly hope to do that without the full anointing of the Holy Spirit that Christ also had. Somehow our 'deposit' of Spirit, adequate for the journey, must be replaced with a full charge. God must be preparing us for the end of Pentecost I and the beginning of Pentecost II, the fullness of God's presence and power. These all seem to be reasonable assumptions, given the prophetic goals the Word of God clearly indicates. By faith, we reach for the impossible, by grace God opens the storehouses of his kingdom for us. We will be like Jesus.
But has God provided additional patterns to help us understand this phenomenon better? Since Jesus likened the end of the age to Noah, it would seem reasonable to look for some complimentary patterns in the account of the flood. We know that in Noah's day, before the flood, a water vapor canopy covered the earth, producing a greenhouse effect that allowed for such things as 1000 year life-spans and dinosaurs in a worldwide Eden like environment. It would seem quite natural to compare this vapor canopy enveloping the earth, as a natural 'type' of our present 'atmospheric' spiritual canopy provided by the Holy Spirit. On the day the flood began, it was from this water vapor canopy that the rain began to fall. Rain like this had never fallen before. Before the flood the earth had been watered by dew, mist and spring of water, but no rain. We know that the end of the age is associated with the 'latter rain'. This rain seems to have great spiritual significance and may add to our understanding of the 'environment change' revealed in Joshua Ch. 5.
The way that rain is formed is very revealing. Essentially rain is the condensation of water vapor into liquid. One drop of rain is equivalent to many cubic feet of water vapor. In other words rain is highly condensed water vapor. The implication spiritually is that God is going to cause the Spirit, which is currently in an 'atmospheric' or 'vaporous' or 'deposit' state of presence, to 'condense' into a 'liquid' or 'full power' state. Just what we need for the end of the age. But there is even more truth in this natural analogy of rain. Rain doesn't just condense haphazardly or randomly, it condenses around a 'condensation nuclei', which is sometimes called a seed. This nuclei can be a speck of dust or an ion. What a beautiful picture of the Spirit of God 'condensing' around the 'specks of dust' he has redeemed out of the earth. We who are made of dust, powerless, unworthy, now clothed and engulfed in the splendor of his presence. What we enjoyed in vaporous form, we now have in full intensity. It doesn't take much to consider the possibilities. All truth, all holiness and all power - for those that thought they were impossible in this age, perhaps its time to reconsider. Perhaps Christianity has succumb to Uniformitarianism, one day is just like the next. No, God has a special day coming, the rules change, what was impossible the day before, is now possible - just as God said. What he began to do, he will finish, we will be like Jesus.
So, the spiritual canopy covering and protecting the earth and its people is about to fall as rain. Now we must ask, "what effect will that have on us, believers and unbelievers?" First lets look at the unbelievers. Whether they know it or not the unbelievers of this world benefit greatly from the Holy Spirit, even in their unbelief. At Pentecost the Holy Spirit's power was reconstituted to be as effective as possible for 'seed sowing'. This was the 'early rain', the sowing of the good news to the whole world. The Spirit softened men's hearts to receive new birth, and than to nurture them through their adolescence. The Spirit enveloped everyone in an atmosphere of the life and presence of God. This was not a natural state, for the world it was a state of grace. For an unbeliever who responded to the call of God, a seed of divine life was planted into their life and they became a living spirit. But for unbelievers who do not respond, the Spirit is still, as of today, surrounding them with the warmth and presence of God. This may not be appreciated by many until one realizes the true condition of a world without this influence of the Spirit. As mysterious as the Holy Spirit's work that began on Pentecost is, even more unknown is the counteractive work of Satan. Somehow, in what appears to be a legal demonstration of fairness, God extended to Satan the same opportunity to influence the world. In what might be called equal 'rules of engagement' God allowed Satan to send forth his spirit at the same time the Holy Spirit began his work. The Bible refers to this evil work as the 'mystery of iniquity' and the 'antichrist spirit' (2 Thes Ch. 2). It implies that the influence of the antichrist spirit is being 'held back' by the presence of the Holy Spirit. At some point the Holy Spirit is 'taken out of the way', permitting the full force winds of this anti-christ spirit to rage over the earth. This 'taking out of the way' of the Holy Spirit has been hotly debated within Christianity, and it has widely been interpreted as the Rapture. That interpretation is wrong. We now have the truth. The Holy Spirit is simply going to centralize his power in men that have the seed if God. The Spirit will no longer hold back the influence of the antichrist spirit in the lives of general humanity. The unbeliever will no longer have his unseen spiritual defender, he will be spiritually defenseless. When the Holy Spirit 'falls' out of the 'atmosphere', the spiritual 'atmosphere' will turn dark and dangerous. Satan will roar like a lion, first deceiving, than devouring all unprotected humanity. The hearts of humanity will begin to harden, those who don't run for the protection of the 'ark' will perish in the 'flood' of evil that is coming. This is part of the division process, the righteous get more righteous and the evil get more evil. Polarization, no middle ground any more.
The story may be even worse for the unbelievers. They may not just be more vulnerable to evil influence, evil may take on new forms of power and manifestations. Just like the antichrist spirit followed the Holy Spirit out into the world at Pentecost, so too he will now follow the Holy Spirit in the manifestations of concentrated power. This concentrated power will permit 'Christ-like' humans for those that yield to the Holy Spirit, but on the negative side, it will also permit 'Satan-like' humans for those that yield to the antichrist spirit. Yes, today we certainly are living in an age of grace. The unbeliever especially should be thankful for that. Little have we understood the nature of the real world around us. If that isn't enough bad news, the flood account may offer even more evidence of danger. The flood was caused by two sources of water - rain falling from the 'floodgates of heaven' and water from 'springs of the great deep'. If the rain from heaven indicates the falling of the Holy Spirit, than the great deep likely indicates a flood of new demonic beings. For the unbeliever, the spiritual environment change indicated in Joshua Ch. 5, will eventually prove to be fatal. Like a spiritual AIDS, evil will infect all of humanity, within 14 years everyone will perish who has not sought refuge in God's ark of safety. The stage is being set for the end of the age. Today is truly the day of salvation.
For the believer the story is quite different, although not without danger. As mentioned above, at Pentecost the Holy Spirit's power was reconstituted to be as effective as possible for 'seed sowing'. The Spirits work directly aligned with the early churches 'great commission'. And so it has remained through Christianity's journey of 1900 plus years. But the end of the age signals a change in the Spirit's modus-operandi. The primary emphasis is no longer 'sowing' but 'harvesting'. The 'latter rain' is provided to mature the crop for harvest. The harvest is not a harvest of souls, although that certainly will be part of the end of the age, but a 'harvest of righteousness', perfection, Christ-likeness. The environment change is the Spirit's change from 'journey mode' to 'destination mode'. The Holy Spirit's power is reconstituted to produce a human race in the likeness of Jesus, able to live a perfect life, finally overcoming sin, self and Satan. Able to be a testimony to the world of Messiah's atoning work, able to finish the perfect ministry of Messiah to the world, including 'greater works' than Jesus. This new concentrated power is the reason for the environment change.
The environment change, the quiet coming, is a coming of consecration - the blind spot of prophetic study. It is this spiritual transformation that will permit faithful people to consecrate themselves for service ahead. For the believer who is part of the true Body, a new and wonderful power source is activated, replacing his 'atmospheric' life source. But where in Scriptures do we see a picture of this new 'harvest' or 'destination' mode of operation? We know it relates intimately with Messiah and it offers concentrated power. In John Ch. 15 we find just such a new power source. (John Ch. 14-17 is the N.T's mother lode of prophetic truth) A direct connection to Jesus. This direct connection is expressed by Jesus in verses 1-8 as, "I am the vine...", "I am the vine; you are the branches..." And than the promise we have all been waiting for, the impossible dream, the stuff of mythology come true - all power...
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
Is it really possible? Are we hearing Jesus correctly? We can ask whatever? We will be like God with this kind of power! Precisely! Maybe we are starting to get the picture - we are going to be like God. That's what 'conforming to Christ means'. That's our objective, our promised land - in this age.
We have skimmed over these treasures of truth for so many years that much of Scripture has become meaningless. With a new prophetic eye, we must reread Scripture, especially the N.T. dividing verses into 'journey' and 'destination' verses. When put in the proper context verses like that above begin to really mean something tangible, and they really are coming true. They should generate hunger and faith in our spirit, and realistic expectations of the days ahead.
So now the picture is coming clearer. The spiritual environment must be adjusted to accommodate these new realities. The Holy Spirit, when the end of the age begins, will make available to believers concentrated power, power like Jesus himself had, and many OT prophets wore for brief moments. This new environment will be more like the OT than any thing else we've seen. The Spirit will rest powerfully upon a few individuals (the Body) rather than lightly upon all the world. Now the Body is empowered to prepare itself first, to consecrate itself, and then to do grater works than Jesus. We cannot ignore the first part of the sentence above, "If you remain in me and my words remain in you." No, all power doesn't, can't, come before all holiness. Holiness is what we should focus on, perfection must be the central theme of any end of the age scenario - it is of this one.
These changes will have a dramatic affect on the church. A call to attention, order, discipline, and conquest. A new pattern will emerge as a spiritual blueprint of the changes that must come to the church. The church will become a temple. We should not confuse the difference between the two. The church is the 'journey' concept, while the temple is the 'destination' concept of the body. The church is a congregation of 'called out' believers, a temple is the revelation of God. The universal church will become a universal temple. This temple is a blueprint for the division of function and service within the body. The temple describes ceremony and worship, it offers provision and protection, it defines order and relationship, executes discipline and judgment, it is a testimony and the singular voice of God to the world. Local congregations will take on personalities or characteristics that reflect various spiritual functions of the temple. The more obvious functions are typified in the seven articles of the temple: the alter, laver, menorah, table of show-bread, etc. A temple judicial system (the Apostolic office), similar in character to the Jewish Sanhedrin, will form to administer universal justice within the body. A common ceremony, worship and doctrine will coalesce. The still mysterious function of 'storehouse' will be accommodated in the temple. The 90 storehouses, in three levels, reveal the temple is a type of Noah's ark, and will function in that capacity to literally feed the world during the worldwide famine that will come (see #2, The New Commission). The high priesthood will begin to function. Eventually, at the end of seven years of consecration, the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement will bring full reconciliation to the Father, and the full glory of his presence will come to his temple. Redemption is complete (see #6, Transfiguration) ministry can begin. The temple is a magnificent pattern of kingdom organization.
For the church, the 'destination' truths revealed by the changing environment will induce the desire and need to correct many of its most closely held doctrines. A reexamination of all doctrine will cause a total rewrite of Christianity's theological handbook, producing 'one faith' and 'one body' (see #5). As mentioned earlier, the gospel of salvation will be replaced by the gospel of the kingdom. This new gospel will be a gospel of works as well as faith. The gospel of non-compliance (grace) is over, as seen in Joshua Ch. 5. Faith must now be combined with works to be valid. The essential gospel message is no longer, BELIEVE, but COVENANT. A faith decision will no longer be made apart from a covenant decision. The gospel of the kingdom is the gospel of Abraham's covenant. The kingdom lifestyle (essentially the lifestyle of Jesus) will be adopted by all true believers (see #3, The Perfect Universal Lifestyle). Mass evangelism as we know it today, which is possible because of the atmospheric work of the Spirit that began on Pentecost, will probably be over. Mass evangelism, but not the final great harvest of souls. The pure and powerful living testimony of the church will draw millions to repentance and into covenant relationship and lifestyle within the local church. Being born-again will only be by connection, plugging into the local body of believers and coming into covenant. The days of the non-covenanted believer will end, everyone will be a disciplined member of the body or they won't survive. Stragglers will commit or perish. The list of changes could go on and on. Sections 3-6 below detail the internal, corporate structural changes that will happen as the transition to the kingdom continues.
This changing environment phenomenon formally announces the beginning of the kingdom transition period of 14 years. It sets the stage for what is about to come. The patterns show that it is largely a spiritual change, subtle, probably undetectable to those who are not sensitive to spiritual things. Whatever the external evidences may be, from this point on the rules change dramatically for everyone, believer and unbeliever. This is the catalyst that can produce the effects that seem impossible at the present. That's what scoffers aren't counting on. They don't acknowledge a God who can, at will, alter the worlds environment, who can change the rules. God can and will, just as he has revealed in his word. As Jesus said "the night comes when no man can work." All moral restraints will be thrown off. The effect may start slow, and for the first 7 years this will contribute to world wide prosperity as the world expresses its new found freedoms. The party will be short lived, however, and judgment is coming, the world will be caught unprepared (see #2, The New Commission).
The changes described above may produce a new world reminiscent of a world long ago - the world before the flood. There is great fascination about that world, a world of dinosaurs and giants. That was a much different world, a world of exaggerations and extremes. In total, the prophetic Scriptures describe just such an 'unreal' (actual the real) world. So unreal, that even many Christians scoff at the literal interpretation of much of prophetic Scripture. "How can this be literal?", they say. "How can such exaggerated events be real?" The answer is simple but unexpected - the world changes. It changes to reflect the real world - a world we have long since forgotten, and assumed would never be again. We are on the threshold of an adventure even Hollywood would be hard pressed to create.
The beauty of this story is undeniable, the work of a master designer, it rewards the wise and faithful, it achieves the impossible goal. Nothing else known to modern Christianity can realistically account for the transformation described by prophetic Scripture. This is the power that even faith-lacking Christians had not counted on - power for perfection as promised. As Daniel's angel had plainly stated, "many will be purified, made spotless and refined." Perfection is the primary theme of the New Testament and yet most of Christianity denies it to this day. Perfection is the church's promised land. With but his finger, God will prove his Word true. Unfortunately, 'all truth' will come, but many will still not believe.
It all makes beautiful sense, it answers all the difficult questions, and it is clearly described in the Bible. It is the beginning of the end of the age, with a precise time and strategy running. Once started, it will not be interrupted until the spectacular second coming of Messiah. But the quiet coming begins on Passover. Which Passover? At this point that is not known, but enough is known so that prophecy can now be fulfilled, "But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief."
2. The New Commission
Virtually overnight the world has silently changed. There may not be great outward signs. The Bible indicates the world will not understand the things that are going on around them. But for the church the kingdom has come. The Holy Spirit is now available with new power to transform millions of men into the image of Christ. Those with hearts prepared will now receive the mind of Christ. This transformed mind will now comprehend the second ministry of Messiah - the last half of Jesus' ministry. The pattern of conquest which revealed the environment change described above will now be complimented with the second major kingdom pattern - Genesis 41/47. This pattern reveals another 14 year period of activity in great detail. It reveals the strategy God will use to accomplish the division of mankind as outlined above. This pattern will say to the church, 'you've got seven years to construct and fill an 'ark' of safety'. The pattern of this ark is added to by another powerful pattern - the temple. The NT clearly confirms that the church is being built into a living temple, which is also a type of Noah's ark. These patterns are actually the blueprints for mankind's survival. The responsibility will bring focus and dedication to both the internal order of the church (see #3,#4,#5,#6) and the actual work of preparing for the coming famine.
The Joseph pattern in Gen. 41/47 reveals that the last 14 years will be divided into 7 years of storing up, followed by 7 years of distribution during the famine that will come upon the world. Joseph, the wise manager who is put in charge of the kingdom for Pharaoh, administers both the storing up and the distribution. He represents the Body of Christ as it performs its ministry during this 14 years period. Jesus is unmistakably referring to this end time Joseph ministry of 'giving food at the proper time' in Matt. 24:45 & Luke 12:
The Lord answered, "Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. Luke 12:42-44
These passages are often wrongly referred to as parables, but this is an error. This is one case where 'truth is stranger than parable'.
This is the background strategy of wisdom that God has designed for his rulers to 'buy-back' the world from those who stole it. God had put man in charge of this earth - "to have dominion over it." But man stumbled in his charge. Now God is giving man a chance to 'redeem' himself from the mistake he made in Eden. Who would of thought of such a thing? It is a brilliant plan to both transfer the material wealth of the world into legal possession of the church, and to divide mankind into the kingdom groups. And all without lifting a sword. This is God's answer to Satan's 'victory' in the Garden of Eden. Through corrupted wisdom Satan gained possession of the earth from man, and it will be through man, infused with the wisdom of God, that Satan is defeated and all his ill gotten gain returns to the rightful stewards. This strategy produces any number of related events all contributing to the coming kingdom.
Humanity must be tested and divided; all prophetic Scripture must be fulfilled, Israel must be prepared for leadership in the Millennium, and so on. It will truly glorify God that he could orchestrate such a complex chain of events with a strategy hidden in the Word of God.
This Joseph strategy of 'store-up / use-up' corresponds with the other 'store-up / use-up' pattern Jesus linked to the end of the age - Noah. This is not a strategy of power, but one of wisdom. The ever loved but never understood phrase in Zechariah 4 is often quoted, not realizing its prophetic significance. It is a banner declaration of God's end time strategy:
"This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit (of wisdom),' says the LORD Almighty. Zech 4:6
The nature of the end will not be a 'star wars' theme - God and Satan battling it out with great spectacular fireworks. There may be some fireworks but that is not the nature of the end. It is a wisdom war. Those that don't understand this will be thrown off guard in their efforts to comprehend the end of the age. It was with corrupted wisdom that Satan gained control of this earth, therefore it only fits that God would use wisdom to defeat him and regain possession of the earth. In Genesis 47 we see the last seven years played out. Here Jesus' wise managers use food to 'peacefully' 'buy back' the entire world. Here we see -the division of mankind and how it happens. This is the only strategy in the Bible that can accommodate all prophetic Scriptures - and so beautifully. Within this strategy the rest of the kingdom model fits perfectly.
3. The Perfect Universal Lifestyle
With the strategy running in the background and the spiritual environment offering unimagined 'growing' conditions, God begins to bring discipline and order to the 'star' of his end of the age drama. Center stage is not for Israel, the nations, or the antichrist, it is the Bride of Christ, the church. 'Judgment begins at the house of the Lord.' The next four 'truths' deal with the internal sanctification of the Body of Christ. It spite of what most prophetic theories portray, the sanctification of the Body of Christ is the cental work of the end of the age. It is the most important work, and should never be upstaged by spectacular but lesser events. Any prophetic model that does not deal with these issues is incomplete or in error. The sanctifying work will run for the first half of the seven years, and then the ministry of the sanctified Body can fully develop in the last seven years.
The responsibilities revealed to the church as described above would be impossible to fulfill without personal purity. Holiness, perfection, or righteousness is the forgotten theme of prophetic study. The doors are now open to all the resources of heaven, a plan of conquest has been laid out, and holiness is now in sight. For believers holiness is the destination. Many believers deny perfection is possible in this world. In the 'wilderness'; on the journey; yes, but not in the promised land (the kingdom - not heaven). Perfection is now possible and on the agenda. The kingdom is not a 'faith', it is a lifestyle. In the kingdom, what we believe is not enough. It demands the integrity of perfect faith and perfect works.
But what is perfection? Many would say, "never sinning". That is true. But what is sin? Sin is breaking the law. So perfection means never breaking the law. Then we have to ask, what law? Does the church have such law? Does the church have a formal definition of perfection? Certainly not! The church has concentrated on faith. It has obeyed a very ill defined law of love. That was the way it was supposed to be - in the journey. In the journey it was released from compliance to the formal definition of love - the Torah, or law of Moses. But now our feet are in the promised land and as our Joshua Ch. 5 pattern reveals, compliance to the whole law begins in the kingdom. Ouch! Christianity wasn't expecting this. They thought they were above and beyond 'the law'. Christianity, in that regard, is wrong. The kingdom means compliance to the law of perfection - the Torah.
That the church should embrace the Torah lifestyle goes contrary to some of Christianity's most basic doctrines. However, an unbiased study will show conclusively that that is the stated will of God, according to his Word. New doctrinal evidence will show that the lifestyle lived by Jesus and the Apostles (613 commands based on Torah) was intended as the model of the kingdom lifestyle. There is a single perfect universal lifestyle. It is not firstly a Jewish lifestyle, it is a kingdom lifestyle. The Jews were simply the first to receive it. There is no other definition of a perfect life than this lifestyle. If men will one day be judged as living perfectly, it can only be based on the perfect universal lifestyle. Jesus is the kingdom's king and model, if he lived it, he sanctified it, and it will be the required lifestyle of the kingdom. The 'bride' must accommodate herself to her 'bridegroom'.
Of course, it must be stated and repeated, we are saved by faith alone. Living a lifestyle, even a perfect lifestyle, cannot save - only faith in the atoning work of Messiah can do that. However, the follow-on to faith is works - a lifestyle to match. Just because God graciously provided a period of non-compliance so we would learn the importance of faith first, the kingdom cannot come until our lifestyle matches our faith. This will be Christianity's obedience test. It has nothing to do with salvation, but it has everything to do with the evidence of true faith. Faith without works is dead. These are the 'righteous works of the saints' which will cloth them with proper wedding garments of pure white linen.
This new demand for a commitment to a ritualistic lifestyle will certainly divide Christianity. The sad fact is that even after the issue is debated and accepted as true by many, most of Christianity will reject this first test of kingdom allegiance. The division has begun - in the house of the Lord. Probably only a remnant of Christianity will enter into this vital passage to the kingdom. Christians did not count on something this demanding. and their independent nature will give many cause to resist change.
Nevertheless, this new kingdom lifestyle, delivered to this generation by faithful Jewish believers, contains the very substance of the worlds survival. These 'works' or 'mitzvahs' will fill the storehouses of the 'spiritual temple' with provisions for the 'flood' that is coming on the earth. Relating directly to the background strategy the church will store up provisions (like Noah and Joseph) for sustenance in the time of testing ahead. This is both for self preservation as well as the life of those on earth. Seeing this error, the arrogance of both Christian and Jew will be broken, new examination of Scriptural truth will open the way for massive doctrinal reform and the comprehension of 'all truth'.
4. Gender Roles
Continuing the sanctification process, one more important 'truth' must bring reform to gender roles and relationships. Without a clear understanding of gender roles no final harmony can come to the Body or the kingdom, and the full power required for ministry cannot be grasped . We can sense the importance of gender harmony when we look at the original 'fall' of mankind. The Genesis account indicates that gender roles were the vulnerable link in an otherwise perfect world before the fall. That is a clear prophetic warning about the end. Any dysfunction between male and female makes us vulnerable to attack, and short-circuits the dynamic power available in gender relationships. In fact, this lesson has not been learned, and the second 'fall' of mankind will copy the first.
The male-female relationship is the most beautiful dynamic in all creation, but it has not been clearly understood. The wonderful design and distinctive purposes of each gender must be known and exercised during the end of the age. The protection afforded those that obey God's expressed will regarding gender will be salvation in the evil days ahead. And rebellion against his design will bring disaster.
The truth about gender roles begins in the first chapter of Genesis: "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." The male and female roles issue from God. These roles weren't just created by God - they are demonstrated in God.. They are the image of God. The relational dynamic of the triune God is a male / female relationship. The male / female dynamic is the atomic relational unit of the universe, and it begins with God. Expanding from this central male / female unit, is the extended relational unit - the family. The family relational unit is also demonstrated in the Godhead. From these two relational units all other proper relationships are patterned. While Scripture loudly testifies to the existence of the Father / Son relationship, it becomes exceedingly subtle regarding the Husband / Wife relationship. There are many reasons for this, perhaps foremost, is the fact that this relationship is subtle and private. The hidden romance and truth behind the husband / wife dynamic is the almost invisible presence of the wife. She is not invisible to the husband, but to those looking in from outside she, with her power and glory, is virtually hidden mysteriously within her husband. It is the ultimate picture of oneness. "A wife of noble character is her husband's crown..." A crown may just be 'glory' but it may also represent 'authority' or 'power'. This is probably a very subtle reference to the same power the Holy Spirit possesses. A woman has been designed to function and express the Spirits subtle but powerful characteristics.
In our present world of twisted truth, invisible translates to inferior, but God's truth stands as a testimony against such a lie. The antichrist spirit has been hard at work to convince the darkened minds of humanity that equal worth can only be defined by equal things; equal authority, equal credit, equal position, equal rewards, etc. In other words, the world has redefined oneness in terms of a false equality. This is the single greatest mistake the world will make. It strikes directly at the atomic unit of the universe, nothing else will work if this atomic bond doesn't - and Satan knows it.
But the truth about gender roles goes much further. It is fairly well recognized that there is a God ordained order in gender relationships. The male has been designated head and the female subject to his authority. This is not a relationship of male dominance but one of love and intimacy and protection. Lest anyone try to pervert its true nature the NT likens it to Christ and his Bride, the church. He gave his life for her, the first rule of gender relationship. But that is not the end of it. There are other puzzling indications of something much deeper. One of those is circumcision. Why was it only the men of Israel who could enter into a covenant of faith with circumcision? Women are physically prohibited. What is God saying by this? Why are almost all leadership positions in Israel reserved for men only? Why did Jesus select only men as Apostles? Why were only men present as Jesus initiated 'communion' at the last Passover supper? These are not trivial questions, and they have a surprising answer. An answer that could mean victory or defeat in the dark days of battle ahead.
When one properly considers the many distinctions of the male /female roles, both within the Godhead and reflected in human lives, it is not hard to see that each have distinct spiritual agendas as well. Going back to Genesis again we see the first clue as to what God is up to. Eve was not part of creation. When God created man originally, Eve was hidden within Adam. Sometime latter, God decided to remove form Adam the feminine aspects of his nature, thus Eve was formed. Eve was taken 'out' of man, thus she is a type of the character traits the male must 'replace' in his life. Adam was 'deconstructed' or divided. So too, a male is incomplete, and his spiritual goal is to deposit back into his life the 'feminine' fruit of the Spirit. In his natural state a male is domineering, aggressive, opinionated and stubborn. These may seem like character flaws but in fact they are really just incomplete character traits. When mixed with fruit of the Spirit they produce a perfect male. The male is the focus of God's redemptive work. He is incomplete today, but he will be made perfect. For the female it is not the same. She simple is, she has nothing to add, although she must permit God to replace her natural character traits with eternal ones. The focus of her efforts is to offer her vital contribution, in a proper manner, to the 'construction' of the men around her. If this seems like a subservient role to some, they should first check the source of that thought (antichrist spirit), and than contemplate the activities of the divine female role model - the Holy Spirit. We should remember that God doesn't ask mankind to do anything, he himself has not already done.
With these concepts correctly in place, the male / female unit can now move on into ministry. There are prophetic purposes for male and females. Christianity has generally recognized that believers are being conformed to the image of Christ. From a distance that is a beneficial concept to reckon by. But as we come into all truth we see that Jesus Christ is a distinctly male model. Jesus functioned strictly within the Father / Son relationship. He received authority and power though a male conduit with the Father. He stood as a Priest, a King, a Lamb Slain, a Bridegroom, all male only positions. Men will conform to his image, and their kingdom ministry will also be through a male conduit to the Father.
This in nowise diminishes the role of women. To the contrary. If males are conforming to the image and ministry of Jesus, than women are conforming to the image and ministry of the Holy Spirit. This is still a mystery how this actually happens but enough can be seen to cause us to press in to the full truth. Women are models of God's divine presence, power and perfection. As vital as the Holy Spirit's quiet work in the earth is, so to will be God's women of faith. Because of woman's beautiful, powerful, but vulnerable nature she, like Eve, will once again bare the central attack of Satan.
In Christianity today there is a wide range of attitude on male-female roles. But that is today. As revealed in section #1, the Power Environment, the spiritual environment is about to change. This change will have a dramatic impact on male-female roles. The evil of that day will quickly test and destroy role definitions not firmly grounded in truth. What may have been tolerated in this age of grace will turn destructive in that day.
Christianity's uni-sex spiritual concepts will need to be redefined in gender terms. Clearly this is in direct opposition to the direction that the world or today's Christianity is going. Clear role models will be necessary in the days ahead. Powerful antichrist spirits, anticipating and fearing the power of this role correction, have developed strong defenses against it. But God will sanctify the gender roles by his truth, and his church will be victorious.
5. Corporate Oneness
Oneness is a central theme of the Bible. It is a cental theme of the kingdom. It was a central theme of Jesus' last prayer. It must come before the kingdom can come. There are three great schisms that must be dealt with before oneness can be achieved. The first schism is within the Christian church. It hardly needs to be argued any more that the Body is seriously divided by numerous denominations, doctrines, etc. In its journey of truth, Christianity has fractured a hundred times over. In humanities long search for truth, the process has caused fracture, and fracture, and fracture, until one day when 'all truth' comes. Than there is hope for oneness. This is the method God has ordained for Christianity. It may look messy, painful and distasteful to many, but it has been effective. Within God's fractured body lies the basis for all truth and oneness. Like stones that were perfectly shaped and fitted away from the temple site, they will all fit perfectly when final assembly begins - and without hammer or chisel - praise God. Fortunately there is also a great internal cry for the Body be unified. This will be helped by the 'gospel of the kingdom' and the perfect universal lifestyle, because they will form the basis of a unified 'faith' or doctrine.
Healing the second schism is the real surprise. This is the reconciliation of God's two great peoples, the Jews (Israel) and the church. This is the spark of life that will create one new spiritual man - a complete corporate man. Christianity today considers the Jews as 'lost' because they have not acknowledged and accepted Jesus as their Messiah. Judaism considers Christianity a false cult with their belief in three Gods, and their worship of a man from Nazareth, who the Christians say vicariously died for the sins of all humanity. Each body stands intransigent in their faith that the other body is far from the purposes of God. Both are wrong. Each position is vital in the end of the age drama about to unfold. The truth is that each body reflects a different sphere of a single God. The Jews embrace the mind of God, the Christians his heart. Neither is complete in, and off, itself. Both are wrong, both are right. Each zealously defends half the truth. Apparently God saw that mankind was unable to comprehend his fullness. In our infancy, it was better to learn half a truth well, than falter over the conflicts that would arise when in possession of the whole truth. This is not so far beyond our everyday experiences. We see the same process in the child development. Adolescent children do not fully comprehend the truth of sexuality. At certain stages of growth little boys might impishly wish that all the girls would simply vanish off the earth. Little do they realize the delights that these odd creatures will bring a few years latter. That is the nature of human nature - to nullify or vilify those things outside our sphere of comprehension. Any thinking person certainly has to ponder the peculiar nature of the Jewish/Christion impasse. How could two peoples believe in the same God, and yet, even after thousands of years, remain adamantly opposed to each other's conclusions. There can be only one conclusion to this dilemma - it is part of the sovereign will of God, and its resolution will result in one of the most spectacular transformations of any group of people in history.
The conflict will turn to reconciliation. The mind and the heart finally one, powerful and mature. The blending of these two faculties is probably the greatest transformation of the end of the age. It is the trigger for so many more events. It is not hard to speculate about the effect, that 10 Christians showing up at their local Rabbi's door requesting him to teach them about the Jewish lifestyle, will have. Animosity and arrogance will vanish, 'a nation that has no understanding' will finally provoke the Jews to jealousy - a required prophetic fulfillment. This corporate man will know God as he really is, and therefore see itself as he really is - joint heirs with Christ.
Of the two bodies Jewish, and Christian, the Christian church will require the greatest and most painful changes. It will effectively embrace Biblical Judaism and its lifestyle (see #3), while faithful Jews will embrace Jesus, as their long anticipated Messiah. For one it is only a change of belief, but for the other a dramatic lifestyle change. This will produce a new church very much like the original, Apostolic church of the first century (which was lead by Jews). This is truly a faithful, spiritual 'Israel'. It should be noted that this new body is not all of Judaism and not all of Christianity. Only a remnant will come out of both. Like Paul commented about Judaism, so too "not all Christianity is Christianity". This transition process is designed to divide, and so it does. The kingdom is slowing emerging, many will enter, most will not. False religious bodies of all persuasions will likely be the most vigorous opponents of the true kingdom.
The third schism that must be ended is between this one glorious new Body and God the father. This is the ultimate requirement and privilege of the true church. This was Jesus' final prayer, "...that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us..." Individually and corporately we will truly come to know and be one with the Father. This final reconciliation with the Father is completed and acknowledged in a 'transfiguration'.
6. Transfiguration - Perfection
We are now at the half way point of the background strategy. The environment has long since changed to promote the 'ripening' of the extremes - both good and bad. The church has received and carried out the new internal transformations described above - the new perfect lifestyle, the gender corrections, and finally corporate oneness. This has precipitated a host of new situations and conditions. The Bride has faithfully 'prepared herself'. There has been great pain, division, spiritual warfare, but the true church, radically changed, purified, and mature, is now ready for the next divine intervention. The church has set itself apart from the world, there is no going back, it is at the waters edge, the enemy is at her back. The Body is at the limits of Spirit guided human effort. The Body still falters in its human frailties and limitations, but it has found favor and grace in the eyes of its loving Father and king. God never expected us to be perfect, he only expected us to faithfully believe that he could make us perfect. And that we have done. As a bride prepares herself for her husband, so a remnant of humanity has willfully chosen to deny her human origins, to see instead the deposit of divine substance granted to her, and reach for a destiny only her lover said she could have - to become like him. Forever committed to this creation, but forever to transcend it - to be like God. Not as Satan schemed to be like God, not as the rest of humanity who foolishly make themselves God, but by following every word spoken from the mouth of God. They are not thieves entering the wedding feast by some illicit means, no, they have rendered proper service, they have made themselves ready.
And once again, just like the unexpected environment change, God intervenes. God will grant his faithful church it's third and final redemptive experience. This experience is typified clearly in the Feasts of the Lord. The seven holy convocations picture the complete plan of redemption. These seven Feasts are grouped into three seasons of the year. These three seasons represent the three great steps of the redemption process. The first is Passover which represents salvation in the Christian experience. The second is Pentecost which represents the baptism in the Holy Spirit. But the great veil over Christianity's eyes is the failure to see the third great experience prophetically portrayed in the Feasts. There are many aspects to this third experience but they can be summed up in one word - reconciliation. Reconciliation to God, our Father. Salvation introduced Christianity to Jesus, Pentecost brought the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, but Tabernacles brings us the Father. It represents oneness with the Father, the fulfillment of Jesus' final prayer.
Everything is falling into place, everything is finally fulfilled. Now we can 'ask anything in his name and it will be done.' This is the Father's grant of purity, of virginity, to a Bride who has obediently prepared herself. She is now effectively without spot or wrinkle. This probably signals the beginning of the engagement to Messiah, Jesus, an act that is as binding as marriage. This may signal the end the age of faith, which means that from now on 'salvation' is not into Christ, as the Bride (the kingdom rulers), but into the 'citizen' group. (The exact 'cutoff' time between which salvation is into the ruling group or the citizen group is not clear at this point.) This event, the third experience, is rehearsed for our benefit, just as the other two Christian experiences are. The first two experiences were rehearsed by Jesus when John baptized him in the Jordan River, depicting salvation, and when the Spirit came upon him as he come out of the river, depicting Pentecost. Immediately, a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." Several years later Jesus took three of his disciples to the top of a mountain where he was 'transfigured'. It says, "His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them." Than a voice from heaven repeated the same message as before. God obviously wanted to link these two events, they are the only recorded instances of God speaking from heaven in Jesus' ministry, and they are the same message. If the first two experiences are part of every believer's life, so will the third. It is redemption's diploma. The final certificate of completion - robes dazzling white. This is not 'de jure' righteousness, the righteousness that we receive by faith in Jesus' atoning work, but 'de facto' righteousness, righteousness in fact. Real honest to goodness perfection.
Exactly how will this happen, to whom, and what will be the manifestations is not very important at this point. The important point is that it will happen, when and to whom it should. This new position in Messiah will be tested and confirmed in the seven years ahead, but this effectively completes the work (six days, 6000 years) of redemption. Those that have hungered for his kingdom and his righteousness have been filled. In seven years God has done a work in his church that could not have been conceived. There are many 'external' works that the Body has been involved in during this time, such as the last great harvest and the storing up during prosperity, but the focus has been on the 'internal' work of preparing the Body. There is approximately seven years left, the Body is pure, powerful, and complete. It is now ready to do the 'greater works', its final ministry, literally the second ministry of Messiah.
7. The Second Ministry of Messiah
With the internal work largely complete, the high priestly ministry of the church can begin. Relationships, internally, and then to God, are rightly established. Now comes the church's final role - that of representation. The world must have a perfect testimony before it can be finally judged and the end come. This is the final seven years of tribulation, of Jacob's trouble, the spectacular events that prophesy students are generally engrossed in. But without the first seven years this period can not come. The first period was the ripening - the church to glory, the world to evil. God has sent unexpected wealth and opportunity, the church has heeded the prophetic warning of famine and disaster to come, and just like Noah, they have prepared themselves for it. They have built an 'ark' of safety for them and 'whosoever will'. The world on the other hand has spent its wealth in exulting man and frivolous pursuits. But now the party ends, abruptly, as the world sees that the warnings given by the church were right. But their hearts are fatally hardened, few can draw on the grace to enter the open doors of the ark, which will remain open for seven more years (if following the pattern of Noah). The world's weather changes, the greatest famine the world has ever known begins. The world is unmistakable confronted with the reality of God. They know he exists. With their minds they can clearly acknowledge their dire situation, and God has provided a way of escape, but the majority of earth's billions consciously, knowingly refuse God's salvation. This is the final rebellion, mankind as a whole is defying God to his face. They refuse to enter his kingdom. They now elect their own Messiah - the antichrist - he is their only salvation. The world begins to make war on God.
The rulers continue their faithful message of the kingdom. The buyback phase of the strategy now begins. These wise managers now begin to offer provisions for those who 'sell all' and come under the full covenant of faith. These are the kingdom citizens described earlier. Millions come in as the famine and judgment continues. The familiar topics of prophetic study now come into play. The seals of the book of Revelation begin and follow with each successive event. War is declared on the rulers and many will be martyred, but a clear and faithful message is maintained. The rulers have all power, they are not being defeated. They could easily destroy their enemies but they won't, because they also have all truth. They fully understands, in fact, they control the events on earth. Jesus had authority to call ten thousand angels to fight on his behalf, but he didn't because that was not the Fathers will. Self preservation is not the concern of the rulers at this stage, but only the Fathers will. The church (rulers) victorious, is a perfect testimony, not only in word but in deed. It glorifies God, that the world will know that God indeed has sent his only begotten Son. Israel also becomes a target of the worlds wrath. By now the divided kingdom of Judah (Jews) and Ephraim have been reunited. The lost tribes have been found (possibly through DNA blood testing). Tens of millions of Gentiles scattered around the world discover they are really blood Israelites and join with national Israel to defend itself. God begins purging Israel of its faithless sons, preparing it to lead the citizen nations of the world when their Messiah returns.
God must certify to Satan and all the world that the atonement can indeed nullify the effects of sin. To do this he will 'seal' a representative group of the church (possibly the 144,000 in Rev.) to demonstrate a perfect life. This test will probably last three and a half years, a fair and conclusive demonstration that the atonement can produce a perfect race. This three and a half years is in effect the last half of Jesus' ministry. Jesus the Messiah only came as a testimony to the nation of Israel, but now Messiah's Body will be a perfect testimony to their world as well. 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted Messiah they will persecute the church, but the world will have its perfect testimony. The blood of Messiah will have purchased the Bride, his body will purchase the earth and its citizens. The wise strategy initiated 14 years earlier has conquered this earth without God's people raising a sword to fight. Now the end can come. Somewhere near the very end, with its mission completed, the church may be 'raptured' out of the world. The final judgment will be short and without mercy. Its purpose is to simply cleanse the earth of those that have destroyed it. Jesus will return to a conquered earth, personally destroying the defeated and disgraced antichrist by the glory of his coming. And the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our God.
The gospel of the kingdom gives hope to our inner sense of beauty that cries out "there must be more". That says, "the game can't be over yet - we haven't won". It answers the difficult Scriptures, it reveals the final conquest of self and evil, it prepares the true church for its glorification, final ministry and union with the King of the kingdom.
Remember this: the Kingdom is the model; wisdom is the strategy; truth is the transforming agent; the standard of Kingdom law and order will be raised; humanity will be confronted with decisions that will divide three groups of people into their eternal destinies; God's name must be glorified and perfectly represented to the earth; the rebellion smashed; and the King coronated.