The New Jerusalem

REVELATION 21:1 – 22:5


HAVE YOU EVER TRIED TO VISUALIZE A CITY FOURSQUARE, MEASURING TWELVE THOUSAND FURLONGS, AND DESCENDING TO EARTH FROM OUT OF HEAVEN? IF YOU HAVE, I BELIEVE YOU WILL FIND THIS MESSAGE TO BE VERY ENLIGHTENING. WE HAVE TAKEN IT VERSE BY VERSE, AND TRIED TO SHOW THE SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CITY DESCRIBED BY THE APOSTLE JOHN IN REVELATION, CHAPTERS 21 & 22. PLEASE READ IT PRAYERFULLY, AND STUDY THE SCRIPTURE VERSES USED, FROM YOUR OWN BIBLE, AND THEN IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, OR COMMENTS, WE WILL BE GLAD TO HEAR FROM YOU.


I have had a number of people ask me questions lately, about he New Jerusalem which John wrote about in Revelation, chapter 21. It is interesting to note the various ideas and opinions which people have about this city, some believing one thing, and others, something else. It is for this reason that I feel led to publish this message, with all the details and explanations the Holy Ghost will call to our remembrance. Years ago, when I was still in the Methodist church, I too, looked upon that city as a literal city, with all its gold, precious stones, pearls, and so forth, but now we have the Holy Ghost which wrote the book, in us, to reveal its true spiritual significance; therefore we want to take this 21st chapter, and consider the things that are recorded therein. Time-wise this chapter picks up after the great White Throne judgment has been completed, and all fallen mankind, and every evil spirit has been judged. Whatever, and whoever is left alive after that judgment, will live in the 8th day, which is the eternal day. Everything will be restored back to what it was in the 1st day, before Adam sinned. This 8th day will not be broken up into dispensations as the other 7 days, or 7000 years have been. Though it is hard for our finite minds to grasp the reality of such a thing: It will be an endless eternity of bliss, in the presence of the Great God of all ages. The apostle Paul wrote, in 1 Cor. 13:12, “Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face.” I only use this verse, here, to call attention to the fact that we do not yet see all things as clearly as we will later. To see through a glass, darkly, does not mean that we do not see anything. It simply means that we do not see clearly, the profile, or image that we are looking at. However, I do believe we are living in a day when it is scripturally reasonable to expect the Holy Ghost to clear up the picture for us, as we are endeavoring to take on the mind of Christ.


RESTORATION


In 1 Corinthians 15:24-26, we find the apostle Paul referring to the beginning of the 8th day like this, “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered (speaking of Jesus Christ) up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He (Christ) must reign, until He hath put all enemies (sin and death) under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” In other words He will rule and reign for 1000 years, on earth: then when His millennial reign is concluded, and the last judgment is all over with, it will be time for the New Jerusalem to descent from heaven. Before going into our subject of the New City though, I want to clear up some of the misunderstanding about the millennial age. I have had many people come to me and say, “Bro. Jackson: If Jesus is going to be ruling with a rod of iron, and the devil is going to be bound: how come there still seems to be death present through the millennium?” It is very simple. These very questions prove that people have not been taught what is written in the word of God. It is not that sin is raging during that time, as we know it now, but that inherited nature to sin is still present in those mortal beings that pass from this age into the millennium. That is why Jesus Christ will rule with a rod of iron: it is to be a disciplinary age. The Millennium age is not the perfect age, but His rod of iron rule over the national subjects will produce a people that can be passed into the perfect age. At the same time He will be releasing the animal kingdom, so that the enmity between man and beast will cease to be. It will be just like the old song, “Peace in the Valley,” the animal kingdom will lie in peace, and be at peace with man. Then the earth will yield her full increase. All of this is written in the Old Testament. In Isaiah 11:6-9, we read, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like an ox. And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, (venomous viper) and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice den, (another of the reptile family). They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” When? After the Millennial rule has had time to have its effect. That is when the whole earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord, as the Psalmist wrote.


DEATH, IN THE MILLENNIUM


When we speak of the eighth day, please remember, the eighth day is the first day, just like our calendar. It is a new beginning, with everything restored back as it was before the fall of man in the garden. In Isaiah 65, we find that the prophet was actually looking through the Millennium, to the eternal age. Look at verse 20, “There shall be no more thence, an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.” Now in our present day, with our life span being an expected 70 years, more or less, we look upon an person who is a hundred years old, as an old person, but in the Millennium when longevity of life is restored, looking at it from a percentage standpoint: a hundred year old person, then, would be as a seven year old child is, to us. Death, then, will not be from tuberculosis, heart trouble, cancer, nor any of those physical diseases; it will be strictly a disciplinary tool in the hands of God, and it shall be administered to those who have had ample time to be corrected. In other words, a child born in the Millennium; being born of mortal parents who have passed from this age into that age, still having the nature to sin and rebel, would be warned and worked with for 100 years, giving him, or her, that much time to submit to the righteous rule of Christ, before death would be administered. In that same verse where Isaiah says, “There shall be no more THENCE (from the beginning of the eternal age and onward) an infant of days,” he also says, “Nor an old man that hath not filled his days,” meaning of course, that if he has been allowed to pass into the eternal age, he has already been tried, tested, judged and found to be worthy, or he would not be there. Saints: Do you realize that if we are living as close to the end as we believe we are: there is a people living, right today, that will live forever. This is not speculation. Either we believe the Bible or we do not. If we believe the Bible, it will bear these things out. Like we said before: the Millennium is not the perfect age. It is a period of time in which God is repopulating the earth, a period when divine government is restored, as well as divine knowledge. The earth will be beautified, and the animal kingdom will again be at peace with man. “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain.” This mortal realm of people will still have the same inherited nature, which will pass on down to, and through all of their offspring. That is why Zechariah 14:16-17, states, “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.” Verse 17, shows what the result will be for those who refuse to do so. “And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.” In verse 18, he goes on to give an illustration, using Egypt as an example. “And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the Lord will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. 19, This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.” This is the effect of that rod of iron. Every individual will have to submit to discipline and come under the law of that age, or death will be the means of getting rid of them. I have my serious doubts that there will be any need for a lot of undertakers, and I do not believe there will be a need for a large casket manufacturer, for I believe those things will be few and far between. Nevertheless, when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be loosed from his prison, and shall go out to deceive all whom he can of those millions born in the Millennium. If you can get the picture here; you will see that a just God could not let those millions of people pass into the eternal age without first being tempted by the old adversary, the Devil. He will not be allowed to corrupt the earth again, as before, but he will have his opportunity to gain a following of people who will think to gather for battle, as they compass the camp of the saints, and the city of Jerusalem, but fire comes down out of heaven to devour them. That is when the devil that deceived them will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are. There is one thing sure though, he will never touch one of the immortal saints of God that have been ruling with Christ during this time. He can only tempt those who were born in the peaceful atmosphere of the Millennium while he was bound. Carnal minded people will say, “Bro. Jackson, do you mean to say we will be here, and we will see all of what is going on. Well, I just would not want to be here at a time like that. You are not there yet. When that time comes, if you are there, you will think differently than you do now. Immortality will make a great difference in the way we see things.


NEW HEAVEN, NEW EARTH – WHERE?


Just think, the bride of Christ will rule with Christ in the Millennium, executing the affairs of the kingdom, with the same authority that Jesus rules with. Then when it comes to a close, and Satan has been loosed for a little season, until his efforts are stopped by the fire of God, the 2nd resurrection will bring up the spirits of all degenerate men, from Cain all the way down to the end of the Millennium. There will be no more hell in the heart of the earth. This is the time for verse 13, of Revelation 20 to have its fulfillment. “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14, And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” There will be no more graves, no more dead bodies to mar the beauty of the replenished earth. This will be the last phase of redemption for the earth itself. The planet will be clean again, for the first time since sin was introduced. This climaxes what Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 15:25-26, “For He must reign, until He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” Jesus said, I AM the resurrection and the life. This means that at the sound of His voice the wicked dead will rise, just as simple as the righteous do before the Millennium. I am so thankful that those apostles could write, or speak, as the Holy Ghost moved them, for if they had been confined as some men are today, that is, if they had only been allowed to say what Jesus said, we would not have 1 Thes. 4:16-17, nor 1 Cor. 15:12-58, which help us to know what is ahead for us in the plan of God. Then we have the apostle Peter’s words which declare, (3:13) “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” It is the same planet earth, but it is made new through redemption. We are not looking for new galaxies in the heavens, but a new atmosphere within the same realm of space that you and I are already familiar with. In other words, everything that man has been associated with, will be made anew through redemption. Do not ever think that we are going to be carried off somewhere, to some other planet or something. That is a completely wrong viewpoint. You say, “But, Bro. Jackson, doesn’t the Bible say that the heavens and earth shall melt with fervent heat? Let us read that verse in 1 Peter 3:10, and I am sure you will understand that it is the works of man that are going to be burned up. Verse 10, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” If that verse stood alone in the Bible, it might leave room for some question, but it does not stand alone. Look in verses 5-7, of the same chapter, to see how the same man referred to the destruction by the flood, in the days of Noah. “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world THAT THEN WAS, being overflowed with water, PERISHED: But the heavens and the earth, WHICH ARE NOW, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” You need only ask yourself the question, “Is this the same planet earth that Noah and his generation lived on? The Bible makes it very clear that it is, but the writer, here, says that the old world PERISHED in the flood. When we reconcile scripture with scripture, we realize that these judgments are only a cleansing process, by which the Lord cleanses the earth of the works of man. You could ask the question like this, “If the heavens, and the earth, perished in the flood, how can they still be here to be burned?” Man’s works will be burned up, but the rocks, the dirt, the mountains and the water will still be here, when the burning is finished. As in the days of Noah, when the flood was abated, they stepped out of the ark and found that the earth was made new. There was not a hut, nor any trace of the works of man, to be found anywhere. It was a new, fresh beginning. Everything had to be started all over again. Therefore, if we connect these pictures together, it will help us to better approach our subject, on the new city.


WHY HOUSES?


When the great white throne judgment is completed, and the earth is completely free from all traces of sin and corruption, then Jesus will turn the kingdom, the government, the rulership of the planet back over to God, that God may be all in all. In other words, it will be God, Elohim, Eternal Spirit, placing himself back within his creation, as in the beginning. He will be able to fellowship His redeemed family in the full expression of His glory and presence, as when He walked in the garden in the cool of the day, talking to Adam. God does not need a house to dwell in, for He is omnipresent, (present in all places at all times) and He never gets cold, wet, hungry nor uncomfortable. Every drop of rain that falls, falls in Him. He doesn’t need man, nor anyone to advise Him, for He is omniscient, (with infinite awareness, understanding, and insight, and has complete knowledge of all things, at all times). Such a God as He, has need of nothing that we could do for Him, personally, but He does desire to have fellowship with His creation. I will say, also, if sin had never entered into the garden, this whole planet would be a beautiful, garden-like place, with perfect climate, beautiful towering trees, shrubs, flowers, rivers, brooks and streams with trout and other fish leaping in them. The animal kingdom would have continued to be at peace with man, and there never would have been any need for man to build his 40, 50, and 60 thousand dollar houses. He would not have needed them. Houses were only necessitated by the fact that nature began to work against man, and the animal kingdom began to express itself against him, causing him to begin to devise ways of secluding himself. The farther he went, the fancier he got, until we come to the day we are living in. All this has been man’s efforts of trying to gain a measure of security, when all the time, his only security was in the Lord. Brothers and sisters: we are secure in Him. Our comfort lays in Him, and without Him, we can do nothing.


WHY NEW?


As we try to bring our attention back to the announced subject, let us be aware that what we are going to talk about cannot be understood with our natural, everyday kind of thinking and reasoning. We will be dealing with something that carries our thinking into the eternal age, when all of these familiar things will have passed away. Paul spoke of it in Ephesians 3:21, as world without end. Let us begin now, by reading the 1st verse of Rev. 21, where John wrote, “And I saw a new heaven, and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” Remember now, John was given the privilege of viewing THIS planet in its redeemed state. Why would Christ rule and reign on this planet for one thousand years, redeeming and restoring it back as it was before, only to wipe it all out and start with another one, when He had accomplished His purpose? We just do not interpret the scriptures like that. John was looking at this old world as it will appear in the eternal age. Naturally it looked new to him. It will look new to us when we get there. Well, what about the heavens, or the new heaven? We must think of heaven in this particular instance, as the atmosphere around the earth. According to the scriptures, the atmosphere around the earth (or the heavens, as it is commonly called) is the environment, or habitation of devils, or demons, or evil spirits, which ever term best helps to get the thought across. They all pertain to the same thing. Paul referred to our former days, as following the course of this world, walking according to the prince of the power of the air. Those evil spirits are out there battling against righteous angels who seek to minister to mankind for his earthly benefit. The devil and his angels are constantly trying to get man to defile the earth. The filthier it gets, the better they like it. Why? Because it is completely contrary to God’s final plan for this old world, and Satan will go to any extremes in an effort to hinder or prevent the plan of God. Well, what about the part that says there was no more sea? There again, we must settle the fact that it does not mean, there will be no water. There has always been water, and there will be plenty of water then, but I do not believe that two-thirds of this planet will be covered by it then. I might add also, there is no more water today than there ever was. It is just that somehow this planet is not in its proper relationship to the sun. Some of you have heard me say before, why I believe we have 365 1/4 days in our solar year, when it is scripturally clear that a perfect year was to have 360 days, twelve months of 30 days each.


PERFECT YEAR


I am not a scientist, but I believe with all my heart that when God let the fountains of the deep open up, and it rained for 40 days and 40 nights, collecting all that water together, it changed the relationship between the earth and the sun. That would account for the extra 5 1/4 days per year that it takes to complete the cycle of orbits. A perfect year, with 12 perfect months of 30 days each, would have one new moon for each month. Since the earth revolves around the sun, it would mean that the earth would need to be a little closer to the sun in order to complete its year of orbits in 360 days. If the earth were to be moved back a little closer to the sun, much of the earth’s waters would be out here in space like a barrier around the earth, which would produce a perfect climate. You would never have a cloud in the sky, and at night the air would cool off and cause the earth to sweat. That is exactly in line with what the scriptures say about how it was in the beginning. With such a condition you would have a perfect climate all the time, never too cold, and never too hot. With so much of the earth’s water moved out into space to form a protective belt around the earth, it would leave a lot more room for people, or I should say, for the earth’s inhabitants. If you had been viewing the world with all its oceans, rivers, seas and so forth, then suddenly you were shown a picture of that earth with all of that extra land showing, you would probably proclaim, as John did, that there is no more sea. Remember what period of time John’s vision was of. As this chapter 21 opens up John is seeing a vision of the cleansed and replenished earth as it is entering into a new age, or into the eternal day which is without time limitations. Now notice in verse 2, John did not say, I saw us going to the new Jerusalem in the heavens, but what did he say? 2, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, (out of space, out of the atmosphere) prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Notice his description of the new Jerusalem, and remember, Jesus only has one bride. As we assemble ourselves together, believing that we are in the true church of the Living God, that shall one day be presented to the Lord Jesus Christ as His bride, we wait with great expectancy, and the things that the apostle John wrote about are of special interest to us. That great marriage supper of the Lord is just ahead of us, then we believe, according to the Bible, that we will come right back here to rule with Christ for 1000 years, over a mortal realm of people who will pass into that age from this one, and also, over the offspring that they bear. We will be the wife of the Lord Jesus Christ, dwelling in immortality, having bodies just like the body Jesus appeared to his disciples in, after his resurrection.


HOLY CITY – BRIDE – TABERNACLE


In verse 3, John speaks further of this holy city, which is prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Read it carefully for it holds part of the key to a proper understanding of this terminology. “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, (remember this word, TABERNACLE, and what the word means) and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” This absolutely links up with what Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 15:24-28, which we have read already. Christ will rule until the last enemy is destroyed, and redemption is completed. Then He will turn all rule and authority back to the great omnipresent, Eternal Spirit, the Father of all creation, that He may be all in all. Listen carefully now. As John saw this city coming down, he heard a great voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, the TABERNACLE of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Tell me, did John actually see a literal tabernacle coming down? All he said was, that, he heard a great voice declaring it. I want to show you a scripture further on in the chapter that will prove John did not see a tabernacle descending out of heaven, along with the new city. This is where many people become confused, and get tangled up in their carnal interpretations of these chapters. We want to consider all the details that are given concerning this city, and get it settled once and for all. Was the city that John saw coming down out of heaven, actually a literal city of literal gold, and so forth, or is this a language of the Spirit, describing something else? As we move on down through the chapter, we find John describing the city in it’s dimensional makeup, as well as of what sort it is; then in verse 22 he says, “And I saw no temple therein: (NO TEMPLE) for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” We all know that mortal men have always associated the two words, TABERNACLE, and TEMPLE, with a materialistic building or structure where the presence of God could be found. First it was a tabernacle in the wilderness, made of skins, and mobile. When the people moved on toward the promised land, the tabernacle was moved to be where the people were. The tabernacle was later superseded by the temple Solomon built on Mount Zion. Nevertheless, the tabernacle, and the temple have always been associated with the presence of God. Now I want us to look at 2nd Cor. 6:16, and see what Paul said about this temple of God. “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For YE are the TEMPLE of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell IN THEM, and walk IN THEM: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Is that not what John heard the great voice utter, as he watched the holy city descend toward earth? Before going back to Revelation 21, I want us to read Ephesians 2:19-22, and catch some more of the apostle Paul’s revelation of what John saw and heard in A.D. 96, when he was caught up in the spirit while on the Isle of Patmos. Verse 19, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; In whom all the BUILDING fitly framed together groweth unto an holy TEMPLE in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an HABITATION of God through the Spirit.” Did you catch the language Paul used here, BUILDING, TEMPLE, HABITATION OF GOD, all these references referring to believers? If we can accept the fact that the true church is a building of God, a temple where the Lord dwells, then we ought not think it strange to be referred to as a city also. With these scriptures and explanations before us, I hope every one of you are able to see that there is no contradiction between verse 3, which declares that there was no temple in the holy city, the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb being the temple of it. Certainly there is no contradiction; it is just the way some people are prone to look at it.


NEW THROUGH REDEMPTION – NOT CREATION


Brothers and sisters: do not be expecting to view this scene from an earthly standpoint. Those who make up the true church of the living God will be a part of that city which John saw coming down out of heaven. Verse 4, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” This verse well establishes the fact that this scene is after the Millennium reign, for it states that there will be no more death, and we have already proved by the scriptures that death will be used in a disciplinary way throughout the Millennium. 5, “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” Remember now, John is in a vision, and he is seeing, and hearing things that are to come to pass many years beyond his time. As we have stated already, all things are made new through a redemptive act, rather than a creative act. God is a creator. That is how this planet got here in the first place, by a creative act of God. But there is the redemptive side, or attribute of God that must be expressed, and we should be able to tell the difference between the two. 6, “And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7, He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.” Praise God, when the reality of that age dawns, it will be exactly as it was in the original beginning, back in the garden of Eden. It was, and is, His desire to be God to every son and daughter of His. He wants to be in His people, and He wants to have a Father and son relationship with them. That does not exclude the feminine side (woman) from the picture. You will find the human race spoken of, as man, all through the Bible. Now verse 8, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Now, just to test your memory, when will this take place? When will all these wicked spirits, along with all degenerate mankind, be cast into the lake of fire? At the close of the Millennium, before entering into the eternal age. John saw all this in a vision, and I have heard of people on their deathbed having similar visions. The have actually been privileged to see some of these heavenly scenes before passing from this life. Abraham, the scripture says, sojourned in a strange land, but he looked for a city which had foundations, whose builder and maker is God, knowing that the city he was looking for, was eternally in the heavens. Therefore, in actuality, what was Abraham looking for? He was looking for a place of refuge, for that is what a city was to those ancient people. When their enemies invaded their land, they would head for the city.


A PLACE OF REFUGE


Many of you have been with me on a tour to Israel; you have seen the city that is built on top of Mount Zion (Jerusalem). About 4 square miles around that city, is a wall. Its geographical outer circumference has been changed from time to time, through wars and earthquakes, but all through the history of Israel, since they have been in that land, when the land was invaded by their enemies, Jerusalem was the stronghold for the people. As the alarm was sounded, that the enemy was approaching, all the people living in those little villages around about, would gather up their personal belongings, put them on an old cart, get their donkeys and oxen, and head for Jerusalem, their city of defense. You may have wondered why they built such huge walls and why they were so deep in the ground. That is why; they were built to give the inhabitants of the land a place of refuge, a place of security and comfort. For thousands of years men built their cities with the main emphasis being placed on the fact that the walls furnished them a certain measure of protection from their enemies. Besides being a stronghold, the major cities were capitol cities, and the people came to those walled cities to worship their gods, whatever deity they worshiped, and the cities were crossroads of communication, and social activity. With those things in mind, Abraham looked for an eternal city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God, and he was not necessarily looking for a city built with eternal rocks, stones, and such like, for I will show you why. Turn with me to the 12th chapter of Hebrews, where we will begin reading in the 18th verse. Paul is talking to those precious Hebrew saints, encouraging them to lay aside anything, and everything, that would hinder them in running the race for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. He tells them to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. He says, consider what he endured at the hands of sinners, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds, for ye have not yet resisted unto the shedding of blood, striving against sin. He goes on to speak of the chastening hand of God, for their own good, reminding them of Esau’s great sin, where he sold his birthright for one meal when he was hungry. Then we come to verse 18, where he says, “For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, (He is reminding them, for they, in former days, had lived so devotedly to the law, received by their ancestors at Mt. Sinai. He is reminding them of how it was before the gospel of grace was purchased at Calvary), nor unto blackness, and darkness, (that is how the top of the mount looked to their forefathers who stood there) and tempest, And the sound of a trumpet, and voice of words; which they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: for they could not endure that which was commanded, and if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart; And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake.” In other words, as the children of Israel stood there at the foot of Mt. Sinai, while Moses was on top of the mountain talking with God, the mountain became black, and shook, as the voice of God echoed down to them. The people because fearful and turned away to stand afar off. Later they came to Moses saying,  “You speak to us; we will hear you; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” Just the sound of the voice of God scared them half to death. Paul is using these things to remind them that they have not come to that kind of a mountain in their new found relationship to God. It just shows how helpless mortal man really is, in the presence of Almighty God. He then, goes on to say to them in verse 22, “But ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn.” That is exactly what the church is: the city of the living God. You have heard me say before, in regards to this verse of scripture, I have never made a trip to Mount Zion, the literal city, in order to obtain salvation. You haven’t either. But we have come to Mount Zion spiritually, to the city of the living God. We have reached our place of safety, and refuge. We can say as the Psalmist did, 91:2, “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God; in him will I trust.” Hallelujah! Though the church of the living God is scattered over the whole face of this earth, it is still (in its spiritual makeup) the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven.


PILLARS IN THE TEMPLE


If you can begin to get a picture in your mind, of the terminology used in connection with the body of Christ, the church, it will help you better understand what God showed John in connection with the false church, Roman Catholicism, which He referred to as Mystery Babylon. Men have fled into that city, seeking a refuge for their souls, only to learn, too late, that instead of being a spiritual refuge for their soul, it is a cage for every unclean and hateful bird, a habitation of devils, and a hold of every foul spirit. Instead of being a sanctuary, that city is an unclean, unholy prison from which, only a few have escaped. Praise God, Paul says, “Ye have come to Mount Zion, which is the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. Ye have come to an innumerable company of angels. Ye have come to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven. Ye have come to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect; and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” Some of you are thinking, “Bro. Jackson, you have my head spinning with all of this; what does it mean?” I am showing you these things in an effort to lay a foundation for what we are going to say about the New Jerusalem, about its foundations, its wall, its gates, etc. We must first be convinced that the words, city, temple, building, refuge, and such like, do not always pertain to a literal, and tangible object, in order to approach the study of this heavenly Jerusalem, with an open mind. Let us turn to Revelation, chapter 3, for another example of what we are talking about. In the letter to the church at Philadelphia, the church that corresponds with the age of Methodism, God promised something that is so beautiful, something that enhances the harmony of the scriptures, and adds more light to our subject. Verse 12, HIM that overcometh will I make a PILLAR in the TEMPLE of my God.” Now I do not expect to be turned into a piece of marble, do you? Nevertheless, we do have these scriptures to deal with; therefore we must look at them from a spiritual standpoint. The Lord spoke of these things in spiritual terminology; they were recorded in spiritual language, and must be understood likewise. In Galatians 2:9 Paul is speaking of Peter, James, and John, and says that they seemed to be PILLARS in the church at Jerusalem. Now I want us to read all of verse 12, in Revelation 3, and I will show you what you are up against if you try to literalize everything you read. 12, “HIM that overcometh will I make a PILLAR in the TEMPLE of my God, (a pillar is a post, or column that holds up a structure) and HE shall go no more out: and I will WRITE UPON HIM (the overcomer) the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will WRITE UPON HIM MY NEW NAME.” Do you now see what the picture will look like if you make the new Jerusalem a literal city? If you literalize the city; you must literalize all that is said about the whole setting, so what do we have? Every overcomer would be a post, or column in a literal temple, (John said he did not see a temple in the new city) and would be stationary, for it says that they go no more out. Then, that overcomer would have the name of God, the name of the new Jerusalem, the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, literally written upon him. I believe you are beginning to see what I am getting at. You, Y-O-U, make up the city of the living God. You make it up, yourselves, Hallelujah! I want you to understand; when John saw the vision of the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven, he heard a voice speak these words, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men,” but there was no visible, tangible tabernacle or temple in that city, for he plainly says so, in verse 22, (as we have already pointed out) and he tells us why, in the same verse, “For the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” Otherwise, how could Jesus be in us, and we be in him, and all in God? It is altogether a spiritual environment. We will still be many individual bodies (immortal bodies) but our spirits, our soul, Praise God, can be in Him, and He in us. That makes up the environment for the inner man. What we have now is the earnest (a token) of that which is to come later, 2 Cor. 1:22, 5:5, Eph,. 1:14. In the mind of God, we already are, what we are still looking forward to being later. He sees everything, from beginning to end, in one picture. He just drew back the curtain and allowed John to see these things, as He sees them. But for now we must be content to keep this old mortal body under subjection to the Spirit of God, while we await our change.


NEW BODY – NEW NAME


We have a lot of people running around, these days, worrying about what our new name will be; wondering when we will get it. Let me say this to you, for whatever it may be worth, “When you get a new body, then, and only then, will you be able to handle a new name. In the meantime, this mortal flesh is still subject to a carnal mind that sees everything in a natural setting. That is why, if we do not keep our body under subjection to the Holy Ghost, we will be ruled by the five senses. Now that I have said that, let me read four verses from 2 Corinthians. The apostle Paul did not break his letter up into chapters, and verses, when he wrote it; that was done later; therefore I will read the last two verses of chapter 4, and the first two verses of chapter 5, straight through. 17, “Four our light affliction, which is but for a moment, (a moment, percentagewise, compared to eternity) worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the THINGS WHICH ARE SEEN, but at the THINGS WHICH ARE NOT SEEN: for the things which are seen are temporal; (they will pass away) but the things which are not seen (with the natural eye) are eternal (these are the things we desire to see with the eye of our spirit) For we know (by faith) that if our earthly HOUSE of this TABERNACLE (our fleshly bodies) were dissolved, we have a BUILDING of God, an HOUSE not made with hands, ETERNAL in the heavens, (eternal house, but John saw it coming down out of heaven) For in this (our earthly house) we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our HOUSE which is FROM HEAVEN.” Paul says so much in those few verses; it just sort of throws new light on the subject of our text, and at the same time, makes us a little anxious for what we have up ahead. When we get our new body, then we will be able to see the city of the living God, as it really is. Our sanctuary is in Jesus Christ. No wonder Paul could say, “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the HOUSEHOLD of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the CHIEF CORNERSTONE; (meaning He is the beginning of all surveyed dimensional measurements of this TABERNACLE of God) In whom all the BUILDING fitly framed together groweth unto an holy TEMPLE in the Lord: In whom ye also are BUILDED together for an HABITATION of God through the Spirit,” he had a revelation of the plan of God for the Gentiles. (See Ephesians 3:1-6).


ABOUT THE GARDEN


We talk about the Millennium being the age of restoration, and we naturally, are trying to visualize how it was before sin entered into the garden of Eden. We talk also, of how God drove the man, Adam, from the garden, and I wonder how many ever ask themselves the question, “Where did God drive him to?” Did He send him a thousand miles away from where he was? Now, let us shake ourselves, and think seriously for a few moments. Do you realize, there is hardly a square mile, or acre of ground anywhere on this earth, that man has not set his foot upon at one time or the other, so I ask you: what kind of garden did He drive the man from? I must answer the question like this, I believe it was the presence and glory of God that man was driven from. Of course there was a certain geographical area of the earth where Adam dwelt, but somewhere in that, was a presence and glory of God that far superseded any natural, earthly beauty. It was that presence of God that enabled Adam and Eve to be both, natural and spiritual, equally, so that they could move freely in either realm. On the natural side they had the five senses just as we do. With their EYES they could see where they were walking, what was around them and etc. Their EARS allowed them to hear the sounds of their environment, the things that acquainted them with earth. Their NOSE allowed them to smell the wonderful fragrance of a rose, and all the other scents of natural life. They had TASTE and TOUCH which, with the others make up the five senses natural man is guided and ruled by. But besides that they had a nature, an inner makeup that made them like God. They could see just as clearly in the spirit world as you and I can in our natural environment. They could see the angels of God just as clearly as we see an automobile, cow or horse, until Adam forfeited his authority to rule over the earthly creation of God. From then on, they were earthbound, just as man has been ever since. You know the story; God drove them from the garden, from His presence, and placed cherubim and a flaming sword to guard the way of the tree of life. Saints, please do not try to picture that garden as a beautiful place, with a wrought iron fence, and beautiful gates with stone archways. That is a carnal picture. I grant you, there was a particular place, geographically, where Adam and Eve lived. It had to be someplace in the Middle East, but keep in mind, the fact, that God did not place cherubim before a literal garden gate, guarding a tree of plant life, called the tree of life. We have covered this subject so thoroughly in other messages, I feel it is sufficient just to say, the cherubim and the flaming sword were to keep the man from entering back into that eternal presence of God. As far as the natural surroundings are concerned, they remained the same. The rivers, the trees, the other plant life which was associated with the garden are still in the earth today. They may have been rearranged somewhat by earthquakes and other disturbances, but the earth itself is the same size as it has always been, no smaller, and no larger. Men, no doubt, have traveled right through the geographical area which the Bible refers to as the garden of Eden, for centuries, but the presence of God is no more there, than it is anyplace else, since Adam disobeyed God. Men have searched the world over, ever since that day God withdrew his presence from Adam , looking for a fountain of youth, when the only true fountain of youth is to be in the presence of Almighty God. Praise His wonderful name, Hallelujah! I am so thankful that every once in a while God lifts the carnal veil just enough to allow his people to get a little glimpse into that heavenly realm. As I said earlier, dying saints, lying with their eyes closed, have been known to have a smile come across their face, to be followed with such a beautiful description of what they were seeing in the spirit world, or in the life beyond this natural realm. Many have spoke of seeing a beautiful city, beautiful flowers, angels, and many other things. What was it? What were they seeing? They were allowed to have a little glimpse into the realm that Adam and Eve had complete access to before the fall, into the realm that we are looking anxiously to have opened up to us. When? After the Millennium. All of the old prophets have been given little glimpses into that heavenly realm, and they wrote about it, without ever having very much understanding as far as God’s complete plan of redemption and restoration goes. Every little preview that God has allowed man to have down through the ages, has caused him to grope for more of the reality of his creator. That is why there were so many ways, and places, where man had tried to contact God, while he continued to drift farther and farther away from the kind of communion that Adam and Eve had with Him. That inner man kept crying out, longing, searching for something to satisfy while four thousand years rolled by, then God moved upon the scene with His plan of redemption.


JESUS – THE GOD MAN


At a time when man, with his own carnal ways, had so corrupted every ordinance and law that was designed to give him a certain relationship with his creator, that creator veiled himself in human flesh and began working out His plan of redemption, that He had settled in His own mind before the world was ever created. The little baby that was born to the young virgin, Mary, who was espoused to a man named Joseph, was the means by which God would work out His beautiful plan to restore to man that which Adam forfeited. The little baby, which was given the name, Jesus, through a dream Joseph had before he was born, looked just like any other little baby. He grew up much like all the other little boys in that day, but Mary detected, and hid in her heart many things that she observed, which made Him stand out from the other little boys around their neighborhood. Then one day, when He had reached the age of thirty, he appeared on the banks of the Jordan river where John was baptizing, and asked to be baptized. John forbade him saying, “I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” Jesus answered by saying, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him.” (Baptized him.) When Jesus went up out of the water, the heavens were opened unto Him, and the Spirit of God descended like a dove, lighting upon Him. Then a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Now some of you may say, “Why was it necessary for Him to be baptized, since He never committed any sin? His baptism served a two-fold purpose. He was ready to enter into a ministry, whereby He would be in the capacity of High Priest, for He is referred to as the Apostle and High Priest of our profession. He also was the Lamb of God, to be offered up as a sacrifice for the sins of all people, of all ages; therefore since He was to be the sin offering, as well as the Priest who would offer up the sacrifice to God, His baptism served a two-fold purpose in fulfilling the righteousness of the law of washing. (Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness.) He was washed by John, to fulfill the law of washing for the priest, as well as to fulfill the law of washing for the sacrifice that was offered. (They were still under the law of Moses.) When the washing was completed, and the voice from heaven put His approval on it, Jesus was led up into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. There, as He fasted forty days and became weak and hungry, was where He was tempted in every area that you and I are tempted in, but He overcame the tempter by that which was written in the word of God, truly setting an example for us who would be tempted later.


INNER MAN SINNED


Some have tried to dramatize the occasion of Jesus’ baptism, pointing out that many who stood by, actually saw a dove come down and light on His shoulder, and heard a voice thunder out of heaven that caused many to fall prostrate, trembling, and afraid, for they thought all heaven had suddenly fell upon them. Brother, I want you to know, just beyond the five senses of this human flesh there is a presence of God that would scare the outer man out of his skin, but the inner man, at the same time, realizes that if he is to ever have security, comfort and protection for his soul, he must find his way back into that presence. No natural city will ever be sufficient to give sanctuary to the soul that cries out for that which is beyond this mortal realm. Therefore, the city which John saw coming down out of heaven, was in reality, the glory and presence of the Eternal God, Elohim, coming down to earth, resting on His redeemed people. It is the glory and presence of God, being joined back with his sons and daughters on earth, forming an inseparable union that shall not be broken by sin and rebellion as before, for all these will have been tested, and will have overcome. It was the inner man that sinned; not the outer man, but the outer man had to pay, or suffer the penalty of physical death because of it.


LET DEAD BURY DEAD


I was asked by a young man some time ago, ‘What did Jesus mean when He said, let the dead bury their dead,” Luke 9:60. This was spoken at a time when various ones were making excuses for not following Him. One particular person came to Him and said, “Lord, I will follow thee; but first let me go and bury my father.” In other words he wanted to stay around home as long as his father was still living, but Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.” Meaning let those who are spiritually dead, knowing nothing about eternal life, nor the power of God, take care of those matters, but you go on and preach the gospel. Brothers and sisters, there are ever so many excuses why this one, or that one is not serving God, but be assured of this one thing, those who make up the holy city that John saw, are those who put all those excuses behind them and run the race to win the prize. They will never have to be concerned for any of those chores again, when the glory of God is resting upon them. There will never be another icicle, snow flake, nor another winter like we have had here for the past 2 years. There will never be another need for a gas stove, nor for a 40 or 50 thousand dollar house to pay taxes on. Everything will be new, the heavens, the earth, the atmosphere, and the purpose and motive of the people. In that city there will be no need for the sun, nor the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God will lighten it, and the Lamb will be the light thereof. (Rev. 21:23.) This very verse has caused some to say there will be no sun nor moon, in that age. That is not what it says at all; it says there is no need for the sun nor the moon to lighten that holy city. Why? That city is people, and the glory of God is their light, but please remember, there was a sun, and a moon, in the days before Adam sinned, so why would God wipe them out in restoration? Besides that, the prophet Isaiah said, the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be seven times brighter, in that day. Hallelujah! No wonder there will be no more night, with the moon shining brighter than the sun we are used to seeing. Do not ever try to put one verse, or passage of scripture against another one, when it looks like there could be a contradiction. Just remember, this is the inspired word of God, and what we need is a revelation of what it means. Since we are endeavoring to look beyond the veil of our five senses, and view this new city with John, we naturally, must depend upon the Holy Ghost to open up the spiritual significance of these things to us. If they could have been understood with the natural mind they would not have been a mystery to natural man for so many centuries. We are looking ahead to a time when man’s relationship to God is exactly as full and complete as the relationship Adam and Eve had with Him before the fall. In this age up ahead God will have many full-fledged sons and daughters thru the second Adam, the redeeming Adam, as he would have had thru the first Adam if he had not fell from his created place. Christ, who is the first begotten among many brethren, and who is our Lord and Savior, will in that day, be our elder brother in the full sense of its meaning. Having the full rights of heirship, as the first born, He willingly makes us joint heirs with him, of God. He shares His inheritance with us.


TREE OF LIFE PLURAL


To every person who will hear this message on tape, or read it in the paper, let me say this, John first viewed the holy city, New Jerusalem, seeing it in its external profile as it descended from God out of heaven, but when he was allowed to look within, there was everything that was in the original garden of Eden, and we do not hear him say, “I saw streets lined with houses and palaces, nor mansions,” but what did he say? He saw a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river was there the tree of life. The tree of life is now referred to in the plural, and also in the feminine gender instead of the masculine. Now I want to leave that right there and come back to the 21st chapter, verse 1, where John saw a new heaven and a new earth, the first being passed away. 2, “And I saw the holy city new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” It speaks of a bride, right? The city is prepared as a bride adorned, decked, clothed, robed for her husband. That was John’s observation, but now let us drop down to verse 9, “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee THE BRIDE, THE LAMB’S WIFE.” Think seriously now saints. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God will never have but one bride, wife, and that is the church, the people He has purchased with His own blood. Isn’t it wonderful how these various scripture writers were all led to write with such compatibility, using words to describe the church as being a building, a habitation of God. In this grace age, God is dwelling in us, but not in the fullness of His glory and presence, as it will be in the eternal age. What we have now, (as I said before) is the earnest, (the first installment, or down payment) of what we will, one day have in its fullness. In the day when our bodies are changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, then they become immortal, for a greater indwelling of the presence of God, to fulfill the purpose of the Millennium. I am sure most of you know the word millennium is not found in the scriptures, but one thousand is found in there, and millennium is a word that is used for one thousand. Christ will rule with his immortal wife, the Gentile church redeemed by His own blood, for one thousand years, on earth, restoring divine law, divine authority, divine knowledge back to the earth, conquering the effects of all the devil’s devises, propagated through man for 6000 years. So we see that the New Jerusalem, the city itself, is the redeemed church from the Gentile age of grace, and not a city of material matter. But Bro. Jackson, what about the walls of that city, and why were walls necessary in such an age when all traces of evil have been abolished? All of God’s dealing with mankind must be represented and accounted for in the eternal age. Since the city itself only pertains to the Gentile bride, that still leaves a great host of other people to account for. You have heard me say before, the church of the living God is the highest calling a mortal being can ever be lifted to. Then some have said, “Bro. Jackson, aren’t we all going to be equal in that day?” Listen carefully! All will be equal, only from the standpoint of God’s love, but not from the standpoint of position and authority. To feel that God is unfair in making a difference in such, only goes to reveal jealousy and carnality on your part. God made some of us to have blue eyes, other brown eyes, green, grey, black; some 5 feet 2 inches tall, others 6 feet 7 inches, etc., but His love for us is not measured by that. Regardless of our race, color, height, or station in life, if we could just be thankful and grateful unto God, realizing that we are not all equal or alike in any way except our opportunity to walk with God, we would realize that those things are not important. The only thing that is important, is that we are acceptable with God.


THREE REALMS OF MANKIND


I have said many times, God does things in threes. If you will try to follow what I am saying, I want to show you that (in the eternal age) there will be 3 realms of mankind, the bride of Christ, (his wife) being the highest of the 3 realms. Next will be those saints from the pre-flood days along with all the rest of the Old Testament saints, and those tribulation saints from the closing of this age. Then, in the 3rd realm, or category, you have the realm of people from all nations who were carried into, or were born in the millennium. This will be those who were not deceived by Satan when he is loosed for a little season to tempt and test them at the end of the one thousand years. They are the National subjects who will bring their glory and honor unto the city of the living God. In the Millennium, the church sits as kings and priest, ruling and reigning with Christ as His bride until everything, and everyone is brought under subjection, or destroyed, but in the eternal age the picture will be quite different. No longer will there be a need for a rod of iron rule; therefore the picture takes on a much more beautiful brilliance. Christ will no longer be looked upon as the conquering king sitting upon a gigantic throne, yet we do see that there will be a throne there. This throne is more to symbolize a place where worship is offered, rather than a place where authority is delegated from. Jesus will still be the central head of the whole family of God, and I know this cannot be grasped with the natural mind, but I say again and again, this is not a literal, tangible city. I can hear some of you saying, but does the Bible not say in John 14:2, In my Father’s house are many mansions? Yes, it does say that, but have you ever thought that the word mansion, or mansions, comes from a Greek word that could have just as well be translated, ABODES, or RESTING PLACES? Look it up for yourselves if you like, then you will see that every true son of God is an abode of His. He dwells there. The house of God is no more a tangible building than the house of Jacob, or the house of Abraham, or the house of David. The house terminology is the same; the only difference is that God is Spirit, and therefore able to take up residence in every member of His house. In other words, the house of God is the family of God. Anyone who has a revelation that Roman Catholicism, the false church which is described in chapters 17 and 18, of Revelation, is referred to as a woman, then as we read on we find that the woman is a system made up of people and referred to later, as a city, ought to be able to see that the city of the living God is people also. The Devil has a city, and God has a city. Satan has his city decked with natural gold, silver, and precious stones which have material value, but the city of God is decked with His Shekinah glory, and the stones of it are not carnal, but spiritual stones. We are talking about God’s spiritual city now, not the Jerusalem in the land of Israel.


GATES – TRIBES


Let us take a look at the other description of the city as John sees it, 21:11. He sees it coming down, “Having the glory of God; and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” (Bro. Jackson: I thought it was a city of Gold.) It is gold, but it is not the kind you and I are associated with; its beauty, its light, its glory was like unto a jasper stone, clear as crystal. That means you could see through it. It reflects something. In verse 12, we see it taking on dimensional form, “And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.” Now, if that is not a natural city, with a natural wall, then what does all that mean? It simply signifies that the way into that city was set forth in types and shadows in the age when God dwelt with the children of Israel, which was a nation with twelve tribes. We all know that the way into any city is through its gates, and the way into this age of grace, and the church of the living God was all typed out, or set forth in types and shadows in the law age. Let us take that back to what Paul said in Hebrews, concerning the tabernacle Moses was commanded to build in the wilderness. God said, “See that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed thee in the mount,” the pattern of the heavenly tabernacle which was pitched by the Lord. Think of this Saints, if there was a heavenly tabernacle, it has to be the blueprint of the church of the living God. That earthly tabernacle, in its natural structure and dimensions, was to type what the church would be in its redeemed state, and relationship with God. Alright now, there were three gates on the east three on the north, three on the south, and three on the west, “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations.” The foundation of a wall (in building terms) is called a footing. That which holds up the wall giving it a solid foundation, is called a footing, and I have never yet heard of a wall having more than one footing, regardless of how thick or how high it may be, but here, in this spiritual wall, we have 12 foundations. Why? Why have 12 foundations? Praise the Lord, this takes on real significance here; for in those foundations were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. John saw his name there as his eyes passed over those layers of the foundations. Can you imagine how his old heart must have leaped within him? Probably, there was a big teardrop run down his face about that time, as his head jerked back to take another look.


APOSTLES – FOUNDATIONS


Let me ask you a question now. Did the apostle Paul carry any earthly material up there while he was alive? Did Peter, James, or John carry anything up there to lay in the foundations of the wall of that city? We all know better than that; therefore those foundational layers portray the life and ministry of those apostles, and the revelation that they held in their bosom as they went forth under the leadership of the Holy Ghost, being inspired of Him to preach the gospel to every creature. Of course it all began with the Jews, and it is true that the apostle Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles, but according to church history, each and every one of those apostles ministered, at times, to the Gentile congregations as time moved on. It was all in the plan of God for them to be instruments, by which, He would lay a sure foundation for his church. We will talk about this more, as we come to verse 19, but now, let us look at the dimensions of this city. Verse 15, “And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth four square, (we are getting in to the mathematical language of it now) and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.” I am a poor mathematician, and know very little about it, but I do know when you start talking about foursquare in mathematical terms, you are talking about a cube. I know this also; you cannot add to, or take away from a cube. If you have twelve thousand this way, twelve thousand this way, and twelve thousand this way, you have a cube. If you only had 11,900 on one side it would not be a cube, would it? I see that God used mathematical language here to show the climax, or completeness of something that would be of the total plan of redemption for the whole human race. It is all symbolized right here so beautifully. To the natural mind it looks like such a natural setting, but to the spiritual mind that already has that question settled, it presents a beautiful picture of completeness. If you try to change its form, you automatically uncube it, and it becomes an incomplete revelation. Any time you change the dimensions of a cube, you lose your cube, and the only way you can get it back is to put back what you took away. Is that not what we read in the last few verses of Revelation? It tells us what will happen to anyone who adds to, or takes from the words that are written in the prophecy of this book. We must accept it just like it is, for what it says, no more, and no less. Verse 17, “And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. 18, And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: (John evidently used the word jasper in an attempt to describe something that was too beautiful to be described with human words) and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.” The peculiarity of the description of this gold should tell us something. We all know that pure gold, in the natural, is not clear as glass, no matter how refined it is. We know that gold is either white or yellow; therefore we are made to understand that this is a spiritual term applied to pure, undefiled faith. This symbolizes the fact that the souls of the redeemed church are abiding in perfect faith, the faith they had in this earthly life, which was tested and tried by fire. What did Jesus say to the church at Laodicea? “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire.” Surely we do not think He is going to give us natural gold; what spiritual good would natural gold be to a people that were lukewarm spiritually? If we can see then, that the gold referred to is faith, we can easily see that the city of gold symbolizes the perfected state of that faith. Some will say, I did not know that the Lord Jesus would give us faith; and others are continuously praying for more faith. In each situation there needs to be some direction. The scriptures teach us that to every man is given a measure of faith. If that faith is exercised in believing God’s word, it brings an increase in faith back to us according to God’s law of sowing, and reaping with increase. Faith and revelation go hand in hand. We are given a measure of faith; then through that faith we receive a revelation of who Jesus Christ is (the incarnate God, Himself) and that revelation increases our faith sufficiently to believe the other things that are set forth in the Bible, but not without trials and tests along the way. Every revelation we receive has to be tested by the fires of ridicule and persecution; that is what determines whether it was a revelation or just an idea. A genuine revelation becomes a part of you that no amount of persecution can cancel out. Turn to 1 Peter 1:3-9, for just a few minutes, and we will see what the apostle Peter added to the subject of faith, gold and fire. 3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an INHERITANCE incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are KEPT by the POWER OF GOD THROUGH FAITH unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness THROUGH MANIFOLD TEMPTATIONS: (why?) THAT THE TRIAL OF YOUR FAITH, being much more precious than of GOLD that perisheth, though it be tried with FIRE (why did Peter use such an illustration if he was not making a comparison between our faith, – GOLD – and natural – GOLD – ?) Might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet BELIEVING, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your FAITH, even the salvation of your souls.” I believe these words of Peter more than establish the fact that our Faith is likened unto pure GOLD, and the reason John described it as being like clear glass is because the bride (the city) is pure and clean with nothing left to defile or corrupt her. In this verse the CITY is pure GOLD, and in verse 21 he said the STREET of that city was pure GOLD. Brothers and sisters, I would rather have this kind of gold to cherish in my soul than all the other you could load on a burro’s back. This gold isn’t heavy. It will not get you all humped over, carrying it. As a matter of fact, it will have a reverse effect on you; it will make you stand up straight and hold your head high. It will cause you to look up to heaven and say, THANK you, Lord, as you realize just how blessed you are. The devil has worked hard at his task of getting people to look at these scriptures from the standpoint of natural reasoning, and he has had a tremendous amount of success in his program, but bride saints must be able to look beyond the natural realm, and see the beautiful plan of God unfolding in those last days.


FOUNDATION STONES


Let us continue on now with verse 19, “And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was JASPER; the second, SAPPHIRE; the third, a CHALCEDONY; the fourth, an EMERALD; the fifth, SARDONYX; the sixth, SARDIUS; the seventh, CHRYSOLITE; the eighth, BERYL; the ninth, a TOPAZ; the tenth, a CHRYSOPRASUS; the eleventh, a JACINTH; and the twelfth, an AMETHYST.” Each stone is to typify the beauty and splendor of the life of that apostle, as he went forth carrying the gospel to the ends of the earth. His ministry and relationship to the people, reflected as the beauty of these stones as he went forth planting seed of revelation in their souls. Those apostles were pointing the way through the gates of that city where people could find rest and refuge for their weary souls, an eternal rest from their adversary, which is the devil. Watch this next verse now, 21, “And the twelve GATES were twelve pearls; (signifying something pure, which is exactly what was portrayed through the age of the law, in types) every several GATE was of one pearl: and the STREET (SINGULAR) of the CITY was pure GOLD, as it were transparent glass.” As you walk down the STREET of that CITY, you are walking in the eternal realm of perfect faith, faith that has been made pure and clean through redemption which God worked through Jesus Christ. Think of it, the CITY, and its STREET was of the same substance. A city is not just a street, but the street certainly IS part of the city. It goes to show that this city, with all of its splendor, referred to as the Lamb’s wife, the bride of Christ, is completely, and wholly, in every aspect of its makeup, souls that have been redeemed and made perfect through faith which is in Jesus Christ. Speaking of the gates of pearl in the wall of that city, and for whatever it may be worth, it is interesting to note, that the Collier’s Encyclopedia, 1963 edition, lists 12 colors, or shades of pearl. Then as we consider how a pearl is formed, by calcareous concretion, built layer upon layer, to protect the pearl oyster from whatever irritant caused the process to begin in the first place, we can see how this parallels with the lives of the people who made up the twelve tribes of Israel. The substance which forms into a beautiful pearl is already present in the oyster shell, in the oyster, but of little or no value gem-wise, until an intruder enters the picture. Reaction to the intruder forms the substance into beautiful pearls. Is that not how it was with the children of Israel? Their character, and stature was molded as they reacted to the intrusions of their enemies, which were enemies of God, who is the source of all substance. God does not need protection for Himself, but it was His enemies that brought out the best, of the children of Israel.


TEAR THIS TEMPLE DOWN


As we come to verse 22, it calls our attention back to verse 3, which we spoke of already, where a voice from heaven spoke saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men.” When John heard those words he was viewing the city from an outside position, but as we come to verse 22, John is seeing within the city, and that is when he said, “And I saw no TEMPLE therein.” What does that mean? It means he did not see any kind of a building within the city where a person could go to and say, This is where God is. In the natural Jerusalem which is built on top of Mount Zion, there stood a temple, the place where God chose to place His presence, His Shekinah glory. That city also had a wall around it, and gates in the wall, and buildings within; many buildings, but God only chose to place His presence in one of those buildings, the temple, which was a type, to foreshadow the very thing that God has given to you and I. Anything that was to foreshadow the bride of Christ, in her perfected state would, of necessity, have to be a thing of beauty for the eyes to behold. It was the beauty of it that the disciples of Jesus were taken with. They came to Him one day just to call his attention to the beauty and splendor of the temple, but Jesus surprised them by saying, Matt. 24:2, “See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” That was a surprise to the, but they were even more surprised the day He said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” That is when the Jews became indignant saying, “Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?” Every Jew standing there thought He was blaspheming against their most sacred holy place, but naturally, He was speaking of the temple of His body, the place where God has always desired to place His eternal presence, (in the body of His true people) since the day He created Adam. With such a revelation as this, it is no wonder the apostle Peter referred to believers as lively stones, built up into a spiritual house, and Paul referred to that house as a holy temple in the Lord. For a parallel thought let us consider a natural setting, using the temple in the natural city, (Jerusalem) where God place His presence. Like we said already; there were many buildings in the city, but only one where God had chosen to place His presence. Just suppose that while God’s presence was in that natural temple, all the other buildings of the city had been erased from the picture, leaving the wall around the city, but nothing inside the wall except the temple of God: you may consider this to be a poor example of illustration, but inside the wall of that new city, the spiritual Jerusalem, there will be nothing except the bride of Christ, the Lamb’s wife. Even though there will be many, separate, individuals making up the bride, they are all referred to as one body, one building which is the house of God. The whole city inside the wall is one building of God, one building, but with many individual abodes within that one building. That is why John had to say, “I saw no temple therein: because God’s eternal presence was in every building (immortal body) of that city.” It may sound like the picture gets a little twisted when John says, “For the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it,” but remember what Jesus prayed for in John 17:20-23, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word: That they ALL may be ONE; (one body) as thou, Father, art IN ME, (Father-eternal Spirit-in the Word-the Son) and I IN THEE, (Son-the Word-in the Spirit) that they also may be ONE IN US: (one body in God who is Word and Spirit) that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that THEY MAY BE ONE, (one body) EVEN AS WE ARE ONE: (Spirit and Word-one God) I IN THEM, (the Word in the body) and THOU IN ME, (the Spirit in the Word which is in the body) that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” Now you can see that, even though we are the temple of God, and He is in us, we also are in Him; therefore it is not strange for John to say that God is the temple of the new city. Verse 3, The tabernacle of God is with men, (He is in us) and verse 22, The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it, (we are in Him) go together to show complete oneness between God and His redeemed family. With Him in us, and us in Him, it becomes a beautiful picture. That is exactly as it was in the garden, in the beginning. Adam’s natural body was made to give him contact with the earthly realm, but his spiritual body (the inner man) which was made in the image and likeness of God, enable him to move freely in fellowshipping God at any moment. He had free access to both worlds, or realms of habitation. With redemption and restoration fully completed, it will be God in His people, and His people in Him, a perfect union.


NO SUN – NO MOON


Now we will take a closer look at verse 23, “And the city had no need for the sun, neither of the moon, to shine IN IT: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” My, what a beautiful picture that is: a city that has no need of the sun, nor of the moon, the glory of God being the light of it. Remember what I said earlier though, do not run off and say there will be no more sun or moon in the eternal age, for that is not what it says at all. It only says that the CITY (the bride) had no need of the sun and moon to lighten it; the natural world will have the same need for the light of the sun and moon that it has always had. The big difference will be in the fact that the sun will be seven times brighter than before, and therefore the moon reflecting such brightness will cancel out all darkness; there will be no more night. Just as there will be no night, or darkness in the city, (the redeemed church) there will be no darkness over the whole face of the earth. There will be light everywhere. Now some of you are sure to say, But how could men stand for the sun to be 7 times brighter? Would it not scorch them to death? No, you are thinking in terms of the way it is now. I assure you of this: if everything else stayed the same, and the sun was made 7 times brighter, we would not last ten minutes in it, but when God has completed His redemption process, He will have a perfect climate all the time. It will never be too hot, nor too cold again. The earth will be back in its perfect orbit again, and all the water will be back in its original place, much of it forming a protective belt around the earth. I realize it is hard for us, because of our present environment, to visualize a perfect environment, but we must remember that every unpleasant thing that we know anything about is a result of sin. It was not like that in the beginning, and therefore will not be like that when redemption is completed.


SAVED PEOPLE


Let us read these last four verses now to complete chapter 21, “And the nations of them which are saved (as we said earlier, this will be the mortal realm of people that pass from the millennium into the eternal age after their testing by the devil who is loosed for a little season) shall walk in the light of it: (the light of the bride) and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there, (the gates of the natural city, Jerusalem, were closed at night to keep out intruders, vandals, bandits, murderers, and such like, but there will be no need for any such in the eternal age) 26, And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” Do you get the picture here? It is a picture of the large host of saved, (yes they are saved) natural people from all nations bringing their glory and honour to the BRIDE realm of God’s redeemed people. All these had their names written in the Lamb’s book of life from before the foundation of the world, because of the foreknowledge of God. He knew who would accept His offer of eternal life, and also who would reject it, before He ever created the first man, Adam. Election, predestination, and foreknowledge of God have been bo-gey subjects among denominational church people, all down through the ages, chiefly because of carnal reasoning. People who reject teaching on these subjects, say, “If God knew ahead of time that man would sin, why did He go ahead and create him in the first place?” Or they will say, “Why did He not create a man that would not sin? Could He not have done that?” Yes, He could have done that, but then, He would have had a family of robots. Where would He have received His honour, His praise, His worship? He is a God of many attributes, or abilities which He chose to express through His creation, many of which could never have been expressed if man had not sinned, such as forgiveness, mercy, longsuffering, patience, redeemer, and an endless list of other things. Some even say, “That sounds cruel,” but remember, God did not force man to sin; He created him with a will of his own, so that he could choose what he would do, (he was in the image of God) but God knew what choices he (the man) would make. Then, through this process, as the redemption process comes to a climax, God has a family of people that have counted their fellowship and communion with Him to be more precious than all of what Satan has to offer; therefore they worship Him by their own choice, after having known about all of Satan’s enticing offers. These are they whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life through the foreknowledge of God.


LET ME EXPLAIN


There are some things in chapter 22, for us to consider, as John continues his description of what he sees inside the new city, but first I want to say something to you, of a little different nature. When a preacher stands in the pulpit telling people what he is looking at, and declaring it to be truth, then he should be allowed to do his utmost to prove by the scriptures, to all interested parties, that what he is seeing is not just mere assumption, even if it requires repeating certain things over and over again. I have found that most people do not catch all of what is said, the first time they hear it anyhow. Therefore; as we go on into chapter 22, I will be repeating some of what has been said already, and I pray that it will be helpful and meaningful to each of you. I have never been a person that enjoyed probing around in things unless I felt like, when I got through, something worthwhile had come out of it. I do not like to poke around in something, and then have to back out of it, feeling that all my efforts have been in vain, still just as mystified as before I started. I realize that certain things in the scriptures have been shut up to man’s understanding until a certain time, and those things were to be left alone until we felt like we had something concrete to start with, establishing what we are talking about. I realize also, that because of our traditional teaching, in denominations, many times, when we start touching on certain subjects which tear down traditional ideas, it is sort of like a wrecking crew going out to tear down certain old landmarks of a particular area; all kinds of reasoning is brought to bear upon the subject. You hear statements like this, “It is a shame to tear down something that required so much effort to build, or, why tear it down, it isn’t hurting anything?” As you start tearing off the fancy trim, revealing the skeleton, hearts are saddened; then when those last 2×4’s are torn down you have nothing but a pile of rubbish, which, if left like that would be a distasteful situation, but when the rubbish is cleared away, and something more beautiful is built in its place, those same hearts are made to rejoice. That is what we desire to do with this message; tear down tradition which we have carried around with us, and build in its place, something of revelation truth that will help us in these last days. In approaching this subject, my purpose has been to try and give each of you something that would cause you to question your own mind, could it really be like this, or should it be, or can it be? In other words I want you to be thoroughly convinced when we have finished, that what we are talking about is right. Up to this point we have tried our best to show you, by the scriptures, that this city John saw coming down out of heaven is not to be looked upon as a tangible city of literal stones and such like, but rather, it is to be seen as the redeemed body of Christ, the church, and now as we come to chapter 22, where we find John giving a description of the internal setting of the city, we cannot help but notice that it is a description of a garden setting. That lets us know that this is God’s way of bringing us back to what we (in Adam) were driven out of in Genesis, chapter 3, six thousand years ago. There was no way we could look back through the scriptures, and even begin to get a proper picture of what the garden of Eden was like, for we have been walking away from it ever since that day, but here in the end of the Bible, at the end of the account of all God’s dealing with mankind, we find a description of what the garden of Eden was like in the day when man was first placed there.


RIVERS – WELLS – SPRINGS – FOUNTAINS


Let us consider John’s description of what he saw in the new city, chapter 22, verse 1. “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” This is a picture of God placing His throne, his eternal presence, right in the hearts of mankind. Let me say this, all the natural water this planet will ever have is cycled right here on earth today, and there is not one ounce of eternal life within any of it. Do you catch the picture? Every natural tree that will ever be here, is here already, but not one of them is the tree of life. This should speak to some of you who are still not quite convinced that the tree of life in the garden of Eden was not a natural tree of plant life. Remember, John saw this city coming down from God out of heaven. It was descending to earth, for the voice said, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men,” then he looked inside and saw this river of water of life proceeding out of the throne of God. It grant you; it does sound like John was seeing a natural river, but be assured, it is not a natural river of water flowing there; rather, it is something that typifies the ever present flowing of the Spirit of God to the souls of His redeemed people. Even in this age Jesus spoke of the Spirit of God, the Spirit of eternal life, in terms of water. We read it in John 7:37-39, “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, AS THE SCRIPTURE HATH SAID, (your believing must be according to revelation of the scripture, instead of denominational ideas) out of his belly shall flow RIVERS OF LIVING WATER.” (This spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) Various translations render it differently. Some have it rivers of living water, others, fountains, springs, or wells of living water, but regardless of what words the translators may have used, they all pertain to the Spirit of eternal life, the very presence of God in a measure, which He has placed in every true believer since the day of Pentecost. That LIVING WATER is not for the flesh to live on; it is for the soul to feed upon. He doesn’t take up, or make His abode in us only after we are perfect; He comes in when we truly believe and surrender our lives to Him. Then, from within, He bubbles up like a well, or fountain of water, leading us to perfection. That is the only thing our soul has to feed from, it cannot survive from natural water alone. Now, what are we saying? Simply this, God, who is Spirit, (John 4:24) and not matter, (material substance that occupies space and has weight) is that tree of life which was in the garden of Eden. There are many ways to express it, none of which are sufficient for the soul which is able to receive revelation of the scriptures. The cherubim, and flaming sword which turned every way to keep the way of the tree of life, in simple terms, were set between God and Adam, to keep Adam, who was created in the image and likeness of God, with free access into the spirit world, into the very presence of God, from being able to enter back into His eternal presence, as he (Adam) had been able to do before he sinned. Before man could have access into God’s eternal presence again, as Adam had the privilege of before the fall, all traces of sin and rebellion had to be blotted out. That is what God has been working out through His redemptive process for the past 6,000 years, but saints, be assured, the fulfillment of Revelation 21, doesn’t have very much more than the Millennium and the 70th week of Daniel, standing between then and now, if you get what I mean. Please do not say that I have declared the grace age to be closed out already; I did not say that. I will leave that in the hands of God, but I will say this to you, “Please do not try to push it way off in the future somewhere, for it is definitely a time for the bride of Christ to be watching the scriptures being fulfilled, almost daily. Jesus said, Matt. 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and THEN shall the END come.”


STREET – TREES – FRUIT


Alright, we were talking about a river of water of life, clear as crystal, which John saw proceeding out of the throne of God, in that new city, the holy Jerusalem, “And in the MIDST (same word as Gen. 2:9) of the STREET of it, and on either side of the RIVER, was there the TREE OF LIFE.” You will notice the wording of this verse 2; it speaks of the tree of life in plural terms (on EITHER SIDE of the river was there the tree of life) and to the natural mind, it says there will be two trees of life in that city, but the spiritual mind that is capable of taking on the mind of Christ, sees only one tree of life, which is the very presence of God (OMNIPRESENT) in the whole area of that city. The natural type setting, the river, the tree of life, and the street, are to typify the believer’s walk, and approach to God. We mortals must have a description of heavenly things in terms that we are able to relate to, then God, by revelation, can take that natural setting, and allow us to make a spiritual application of what we see. In other words, if the tree of life back there in the garden of Eden was not a natural tree, (and we know it was not) then the tree of life in the new city is not going to be a natural tree either; but let us consider the remainder of verse 2, which takes on a feminine gender. Take it right from the beginning now, and read straight through. “In the MIDST of the STREET of it, and on EITHER SIDE of THE RIVER, was there the TREE OF LIFE, which BARE TWELVE MANNER OF FRUITS, and yielded her FRUIT every month: and the LEAVES of the TREE were for the HEALING of the NATIONS.” The feminine gender here speaks of the church, which is always spoken of in the feminine, rather than the masculine, being the bride of Christ. The church is referred to as a woman all through the scriptures. She has been redeemed back to God, purchased with His own blood, and as a glorious result of that redemption, she has inherited that eternal life which is in Christ, which is in God. In this life the church is to bear 9 fruits of the Spirit, LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONGSUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITH, MEEKNESS, and TEMPERANCE, but the, after immortality has been swallowed up by mortality and carnality, to those nine will be added three more, in the eternal age, WISDOM, KNOWLEDGE, and VIRTUE, which we have not possessed in this life, but only tasted of, as God permitted from time to time. Now, we see through a glass darkly, (or faintly) but then, face to face. When we are able to see face to face, then we will know, perfectly, also, for wisdom and knowledge are kinward; they go together. If you can just keep in mind that this whole message is built around the new city, holy Jerusalem, and remember that everything in that city is something that speaks of the church and its relationship to God, it will be easier to make spiritual application as we continue on here.


TREE LEAVES – HEALING – THREES


Since John only saw one street in such a city, it ought to be easy to see that it is to have spiritual application, even if there was nothing else to look at, for such a city in the natural would have many streets. Think of this also; since the city is four square, (the height, the length, and the width all equal) it would be necessary to have levels or layers with streets on each level, if it were a natural city, Right? Some of you who have no trouble reconciling the fact that it is a spiritual city may wonder why we go into so much detail in establishing our point on the subject. To you I will say this, if you could hear some of the questions people ask about this city, you would understand why we want to give them everything we possibly can, to look at, as they study the subject. Getting back to the subject of the 12 manner of fruits the tree of life is to bare in that age, it says she yielded her fruit every month, and like I said earlier, I believe God will have this old planet back on its perfect 360 day to the year orbit by then, so that each month will start at the rising of the new moon. We do not have the time to go into every detail of it, but the Hebrew calendar runs like that. Remembering what the 12 fruits are, we know it will be continuous bliss, especially when we consider what the last part of that verse pertains to. “The leaves of the tree (catch that, THE TREE, singular) were for the healing of the nations.” Bro. Jackson, what does that mean? Will they use them to make medicine for the natural people? No, that is not what it means at all. Think of a park or garden setting. The leaves of those trees are mainly for shade and shelter. Try to catch my thought now; they shelter you from the heat of the sun and provide a more comfortable atmosphere. But Bro. Jackson: I thought you said we would have a perfect climate then. That is right. We will, but remember, we are not talking about a natural tree; we are only using natural trees to help us make a spiritual application here. The leaves of a tree cast a shadow, a covering, and under the covering of that tree is where men like to sit and talk. You do not see men going out into an open field to sit and talk. No, they go sit under the shade, or shadow of a tree someplace. There is something about it that creates a desirable environment. Where did Abraham talk with God? Or if you prefer; where did God talk to Abraham? Under the oak tree. That is where men have had some of heir closest fellowship. Therefore the leaves of this tree are to symbolize the casting of a shadow of fellowship among all nations of people. Remember, these are natural people who repopulated the earth during the Millennium, and in times past, (like in our age) there were many nations that did not fellowship, or have friendly relationships with each other. Not so in the eternal age, for then all breaches will be healed. Verse 3 says, “And there shall be no more curse.” Every curse that has been added through the ages will have been removed, done away with, so that there will be nothing to hinder or prevent people in that age from having perfect fellowship with each other. The people of the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city, presenting themselves to the bride, the bride being the highest calling of God, that men can attain to. There will be nothing of any defiling nature present in that day. All will be clean and pure in that city. “But the throne of God and the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him: And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” We have already covered the part about the sun, and also the moon, in dealing with verse 23, in chapter 21; therefore I feel it should be sufficient just to say, it could not possibly be dark at night with the moon shining as bright as the noon day sun, Isa. 30:26. Then we have the verse, “His servants shall serve Him: And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.” You just heard me say, the bride church is the highest calling of God in His redemptive work, but I hope you can see that God completes certain works in the number 3. Just for a few examples, we know that there are three office works (not three persons) of the one God, FATHER, SON, and HOLY GHOST. There are three phases of the first resurrection, WHEN CHRIST AND OTHERS AROSE, WHEN THE BRIDE IS RESURRECTED AND CAUGHT UP WITH THE LIVING ELEMENT BEFORE THE GREAT TRIBULATION, and third, WHEN THE TRIBULATION SAINTS ARE RESURRECTED, AFTER THE TRIBULATION HAS CLIMAXED. Then for another example we can look at God’s angelic family. He has CHERUBIM, ARCH ANGELS, and the LESSER ANGELS who are referred to as MINISTERING SPIRITS for the HEIRS OF SALVATION, (that is, for you and I) making 3 realms of angels. There are many other illustrations we could use, but I believe this should be enough to establish the fact, and say that, in the eternal age there will be three realms of sainthood. But there will not be one bit of envy nor jealousy from any of the least of the redeemed. Just as there is no striving among God’s angelic family, neither will there be any among God’s family of redeemed mankind. This does not leave any room for argument as to whether all men are equal or not. It is obvious that in the whole scope of God’s redeemed people, they are not, but they are all equally loved by God, their creator. We ought to be thankful to God for what He has revealed to us, and for the privilege we have; He could have let us be born in the Millennium, you know.


REVIEWING


Now we have just about covered the verses which deal with the new city, holy Jerusalem, so let us review a little in the hope that we can collect it all together in our memory. After all, our mind is the doorway to our spirit; therefore every revelation we receive comes in through the mind where it must pass the scrutiny of the five senses. When it gets past there, into our spirit, we have a revelation which is then a part of our makeup. The devil cannot get it away from us after it becomes a revelation. Alright, 21:1, John saw a new heaven and a new earth which in reality are the same one we know, made new through redemption. 2, Then he saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. We carry that over to verses 9 and 10, and we are told that this city is the Lamb’s wife. The Lamb only has one wife, and that is His Gentile bride, the church. Verse 3, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men.” This shows us that in the eternal age God will place His full eternal presence back in the midst of His people, just as it was before the first man sinned. Verse 4 shows complete redemption, with all former things passed away. Verse 5, John’s attention is being directed to the fact that he is seeing things as they will be when God has finished His redeeming process. Verse 6 identifies the Eternal One, who is the beginning, and the end of all things, as the one who is doing the speaking up to this point, promising eternal life to all who are thirsting for it, (not all men are) and by revelation we know His name. His redemption name is Jesus, the Christ. Verse 7, shows us that there is some overcoming for us to work out in order to inherit all of what God has made available to us. Verse 8 gives us a look at who will be cast into the lake of fire, along with the devil, the beast, and the false prophet which are already in there, to completely cleanse the earth from everything that has defiled it since the garden of Eden affair. Verses 9 and 10 have already been covered, and verse 11, shows us that the city is saturated with the glory and presence of Elohim, the self existent one, the eternal God, which is her light that reflects as clear as crystal.


PRAISE – SALVATION – HOLINESS


When we come to verse 12, we find a great, high wall which is symbolic of perfect security and safety, the wall having twelve gates with the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel written on them, signifying that the way into this walled city was worked out in types and shadows through these Israelites in the law age. Verse 13, with three gates on each of the four sides of the wall, speak of the fact that the city is made up of redeemed saints that have come from every direction on the face of this old globe. Between verses 13 and 14, let me say this, Isaiah gives us another set of three’s, 60:18, violence shall no more be heard in thy land, wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shall call thy WALLS SALVATION, and thy GATES PRAISE. Then in 62:9 it speaks of the COURTS OF MY HOLINESS. Now when you connect PRAISE, SALVATION, and HOLINESS together, you see a threefold redemptive work accomplished in the saints of God. Alright now, we connect the praise with the children of Israel which pointed the way through the gates into that city of God’s redeemed. The wall of that city, verse 14, had 12 foundations with the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb in them. It was the apostles of the Lamb that laid the foundation for the faith of our salvation, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone. Remember, the wall, or walls of that city are called salvation. Why? They symbolize the fact that the bride, the church, has found the security, that place of safety and protection, in Christ in God, which men in the natural, in days of old, sought from the protective walls of natural cities. Walls, in our day of modern warfare, are of little significance, since they cannot protect anyone from a nuclear attack, but they are symbolized in the scriptures dealing with this spiritual city because of the salvation (deliverance from enemies) they furnished to men in days of old. The reason Ezekiel 38 refers to the people of God who dwell in safety in unwalled cities, is because it is referring to the people in this age that have been brought back to the land of Israel in fulfillment of the scriptures, and God Himself, is their wall, their protection, their defense, for the simple reason that a wall around the natural city of Jerusalem could not protect them against an attack from Russia and her allies when it comes. We see that verses 15, 16, and 17, all go together, for they pertain to the measurements of the city, the gates and the wall. The twelve thousand furlongs of the city, and the hundred and forty-four cubits of the wall seem to speak of the vastness of the city itself. One thing we do want to notice though is that the city is four square. In other words, equal in every direction (cubed) pointing to a finished work. When something is cubed, you cannot add to, or take from, without marring the picture. That is why it could not be pictured as a pyramid the way some people think; the language here rules out any such thought. Four square, the length, the breadth, and the height being equal, could not be represented in a pyramid. No, this foursquare terminology definitely represents the fact that God’s redemption process is a completed work, and that the bride, (which is the city itself) is made up of saints that are all perfected. There are three realms of sainthood in God’s redeemed family, but the bride saints themselves are all those who were perfected in this life. Verses 18, 19 and 20 go together in their description of the wall, its foundations, and the stones which garnished them with beauty. The city of God speaking of the perfect faith of the bride church, is explained in detail earlier in the message, and remember these stones are to represent the life and ministry of the various apostles they apply to. In other words the twelve apostles of the Lamb which carried the gospel to all nations, laying the foundation stones of the church of the living God. Some stones (we are told) are formed by tremendous pressure, others by tremendous heat and so forth; therefore God used these different stones to symbolize the life and ministry, and character of those apostles. Verse 21, speaking of the twelve gates being twelve pearls, each gate of one pearl, remember, these gates represent the 12 tribes of Israel, which speak of the way into the city, how God worked it out in types and shadows in the law age, and the pearl which has its formation perfected because of an intruder, (an enemy) lays perfectly in line with what the children of Israel suffered at the hands of their enemies. The street of pure gold, even as transparent glass speaks of the fact that the faith of the church, which is more precious than gold, tried in the fire, has come forth so pure that there is not a speck of anything left to mar that faith or keep her from approaching God. The way to perfect fellowship with God is faith, faith which has been tried in the fires of ridicule and persecution, and come forth pure and spotless. 22, “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God and the Lamb are the temple of it.” In other words the city itself is made up of people. There are no natural buildings, and every immortal body there has the same measure of the presence of God; therefore there is no certain place designated as the place where the omnipresent God would place His presence. He will be in us, and we in Him; therefore He IS the temple of the CITY. 23, “The city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” The city itself, (the people) had no need of these lights, but the planet will still have the sun and moon to shine on it. 24, The nations of natural people will walk in the light of that city; in other words, in the light of the revelation of the bride, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory and honour to the church, the bride which is the city. 25, The gates of the city shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. This simply means that since the moon will be as bright as the sun, there will be no darkness, and the fact that the gates are never closed, speaks of the fact that the natural people of the nations will have constant access into the presence of the church, the bride saints. It speaks also, symbolically, of the fact that there is no more evil present, no robbers, no murderers and therefore no necessity or reason to close the gates. Every reference here, furnishes us with many avenues of thought, once we get a glimpse of the fact that everything man has associated with in this life, is represented symbolically, in this city with its wall and 12 gates. Verse 26, goes with verse 24, and verse 27 shows that every defiling thing has been cut off, and only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life remain.


NO MORE CURSE


You remember now that the pure river of water of life represents, symbolically, the very life and presence of God that is in the midst of His redeemed family. The tree of life in the midst of the street and on either side of the river is that eternal presence of God that the cherubim have kept guard on, ever since the day man was driven from the garden. The tree of life will bear 12 manner of fruits. Wisdom, knowledge, and virtue will be added to the nine fruits of the spirit that the church has had through the age of grace. Yielding her fruit every month speaks of a continuous condition of bliss, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. In other words, this symbolizes the fellowship that men have as they sit in the shade of natural trees. In that day all breaches will be healed between the nations, and there will be perfect fellowship between all people, from all nations; so the leaves are symbolic of casting a shadow of fellowship, creating a peaceful environment. The curse will be removed and everything that has kept men of various cultures from fellowshipping each other will no longer exist. Verse 3 also speaks of the fact that the servants of God will serve Him. Those servants will be people in the natural realm, people who have passed through the Millennium. They shall see his face; (remember, men in that day will be as Adam was before the fall) and His name shall be in their foreheads. There will be no night, because of the brightness of the sun, and the moon, and they shall reign for ever and ever. (We are going to print a message very shortly, that will deal with this tern, for ever and ever, also the words eternal and everlasting.) Verse 7, promises a blessing to those who keep the words, or sayings of the prophecy of this book. We are reminded here of something we read in the very first chapter of the book, verse 3, “Blessed is he that READETH and THEY THAT HEAR the words of this prophecy, and keep those thinks which are written therein.”


BROTHER BRANHAM SAID


Now I realize that we could never say enough to convince some people that John was not seeing a literal city, but before I close, there is something else I want to say. Some of you believe it is a natural city, a city of material matter that is constructed according to the measurements in chapter 21, verse 16, twelve thousand furlongs, and foursquare. It is bad enough for people who are supposed to be revelated, to believe that, but at least you have some scripture to look at. What is really hard to digest is the fact that there are others who believe it will be a natural city of material matter, constructed in the shape of a pyramid, all because of something Brother Branham said. They do not have the first verse of scripture for that idea. Let me tell you something else that Brother Branham said; it will line up with the scriptures, and it will lay right alongside this message. I will quote Bro. Branham; these are his very words, “I have never believed that heaven was a place where there was a bunch of buildings, where there was a bunch of houses up there, made with mortar, doped up with paper, paint on the walls. I have never believed that a supernatural being would have to live in a literal house. I believe, when Jesus spoke, in John 14; saying, in my Father’s house are many mansions, He meant, a body, a dwelling place, for the scriptures verify the same thing and say; ‘If this earthly tabernacle be dissolved we have one already waiting.’ It meant, mortal beings are the only ones who live in mortal habitations; immortal beings live in immortal habitations.” I could go on and on, but I feel that this should be enough to cause those who desire to follow truth, to shake themselves, and find out if they are really in the faith. There is no salvational merit in anything that anyone says, unless that which is said lines up with scriptures; God does not contradict Himself. Let me say this also; if you are unable to get a picture in your mind of how it was on earth before the fall of man, then you will probably have difficulty visualizing the eternal age, when earth has been redeemed and returned to its former state. Remember, the first Adam, the beginning of the old creation, brought sin, death and corruption to the earth through his disobedience, but the second Adam, the Lord of glory, in the form of flesh, has perfected a complete redemption for all of God’s creation through His perfect obedience. He did not come to create another tree, another blade of grass, nor anything else. His work was to redeem and deliver back to God, that which has already been created.


CONCLUSION


We have read these verses already, but I want to conclude this message by reading them again, 1 Corinthians 15:21-26. “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23, But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming. 24, THEN COMETH THE END, (there is more than three thousand years of time covered in verse 23, for verse 24 brings us up to the beginning of the eternal age) when He (Christ) shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, (eternal Spirit) even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and authority and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” We await that glorious day, Amen.

Mystery Woman of Revelation 12

REVELATION CHAPTER 12


THE WOMAN IN REVELATION CHAPTER 12 HAS BEEN A GREAT MYSTERY TO SAINTS OF EVERY AGE, AND THIS LAST AGE SEEMS TO BE NO EXCEPTION. VERY FEW PEOPLE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO SEE THAT WOMAN AS THE NATION OF ISRAEL, BUT IF YOU WILL READ THIS MESSAGE, I BELIEVE THE PICTURE WILL CLEAR UP SOMEWHAT FOR YOU. WE WILL SHOW YOU WHAT THE SUN REPRESENTS, THAT SHE IS CLOTHED WITH, ALSO THE MOON THAT IS UNDER HER FEET. WE WILL ALSO SHOW YOU WHY ISRAEL CANNOT COMPROMISE WITH THE REST OF THE LEADERS OF THE WORLD WHO ARE CALLING FOR HER TO PULL BACK FROM THE LAND THAT SHE DID NOT OCCUPY BEFORE 1967. WE WILL ALSO ENDEAVOR TO ANSWER SOME OF THE QUESTIONS THAT HAVE COME IN TO US ON THESE VARIOUS SUBJECTS THAT PERTAIN TO THIS AGE. FIND OUT WHY THE WOMAN CANNOT BE THE CHURCH, AND THE REST OF THE CHAPTER WILL BE MUCH EASIER TO UNDERSTAND. FIND OUT WHAT, OR WHO THE DRAGON IS, AND YOU WILL KNOW MORE ABOUT WHAT TO LOOK FOR AS THIS AGE WINDS TO A CLOSE.


We have this message in print already, but there are a few thousand people on our mailing list now that did not receive our first mailing in 1969; therefore because of the many questions we still receive concerning the mystery woman in the 12th chapter of Revelation, and because of the many things that are being taught in various circles, I feel led to reprint the article with the addition of certain scriptures that will prove beyond any shadow of doubt who the mystery woman is. We will deal with the entire chapter, but our first concern will be to prove the identity of the woman who is clothed with the sun, having the moon under her feet, and a crown upon her head having twelve stars. There are people teaching things from this chapter that no right-thinking Holy Ghost child of God could possibly believe if they would just study the scriptures; yet confusion and projections are still running rampant on every hand. My desire is to furnish you with enough scriptural proof to put to rest once and for all, any questions that might still be in your mind. I ask you to give close attention now as we begin reading our text scriptures.


WONDER IN HEAVEN


Let us begin reading now with verse 1, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his head.” You will see as we progress in the message, that this is the same beast that is described in Chapter 13. Chapter 12 gives the heavenly scene of it, while Chapter 13 is the earthly fulfillment. We will talk about that later, but right now we want to read about two more verses. 4, “And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a MAN CHILD, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne.” I do not see how many Gentile Christians could read that 5th verse and think it is a picture of the church, the bride of Christ, giving birth to an element of overcomers who will rule the world with a rod of iron, but there are a lot of people believing that, these days. Even in this following (these who supposedly are following the teaching of Bro. Branham) you will find certain preachers standing in the pulpit teaching that the bride of Christ will come out of the church, when actually, the bride of Christ IS the church. The apostle Paul never applied the term, CHURCH, to anyone other than the bride. When you begin to talk like that, you are walking right out of the scriptures. When the apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Ephesian church, the church that typed the first church age, he called the church the body of Christ. Even though you will not find the church referred to as the bride of Christ anywhere in the New Testament letters, Paul did say in his letter to the Ephesians, that Christ is the head of the church, showing the same relationship between the natural man and his wife. Then he goes on to say (Eph. 5:25) “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it: 26, That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of the water by the word, 27, That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Then in the 19th chapter of Revelation, verse 7, we find that same group referred to as the Lamb’s wife, the group that was to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, which was revealed to be the righteousness of saints. As we go on over to chapter 21, verse 9, we find the Lamb’s wife, and bride terminology used in connection with a certain group of overcomers. All of this ties together to present us with a beautiful picture of the relationship between Christ and His church, but there is no place in the whole New Testament where you will find the church referred to as being expectant with child, but rather, the reference is to the fact that she (the church) is a chaste virgin. When Paul wrote the second letter to the Corinthian church he said to them, (11:2) “For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy; for I have ESPOUSED you to one HUSBAND, that I may present you as a CHASTE VIRGIN to CHRIST.” Brothers and Sisters; we need to stick with the scriptures. When you begin to play with words in order to please people; you have just walked away from whatever calling God may have placed on your life. God is not a compromiser. It is as Paul said in his letter to the Galatians, (5:11), “And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? Then is the offense of the cross ceased.” He was persecuted for preaching Christ, and what took place on the cross at Calvary, because it was not compatible with Judaism, and that crowd of mediocre persons who just played along on the borders of Christianity. They had them in that day, and we have them in our day. We have a bunch of mediocre preachers (the reason I refer to them like that is because they just play along on the borders of the truth without ever taking a stand for anything that would bring them any persecution) running around these days who just play along with this message of truth. They will never take a stand in respects of restored truth, to declare where they stand on controversial issues. Any issue that tends to divide people is taboo to them; they back away from it, claiming never to have studied it. I think it is high time some of them begin to study the Bible once in a while, instead of statements made by God’s prophet messenger to this age. Many of them will say “I don’t think God wants us to see all these deep things anyhow.” That will get them in trouble with the very scriptures that set the pace for Christianity. Look what Paul said to the Ephesians, (3:17-19). “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to COMPREHEND with ALL SAINTS what is the BREADTH, and LENGTH, and DEPTH, and HEIGHT; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the FULLNESS of GOD.” That means we are all to comprehend what He is revealing and giving understanding of in our age. Certainly we are never to put knowledge ahead of love, but this feeble excuse we hear all the time about it being more important to love each other, than to understand and teach things that divide, is a far cry from the way Jesus talked in the 10th chapter of Matthew. I know I have read this scripture to you many times before, but it is still in the Bible, and it still means the same thing; if you stand for truth, there will be some that will hate you. Let us read it again; Matthew 10:34-38. “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I come not to send peace, but a sword. (SWORD OF THE SPIRIT) 35, For I am come to set a man at variance against his father (you will find trouble everywhere you go when you stand for revealed truth.) And the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: (Who was He? The Word made flesh, John 1:14) and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” If a man is to put the word of truth above peace with his own family, where do these compromisers get the scripture for their love talk anyway? Love is truth; Love is corrective, and God is love, but He will not avoid truth to spare feelings. It is time some people begin to realize that. Love is the avenue we walk in, but I assure you, you will walk right into the mysteries of the word of God, the things that God has prepared for those that love Him. You remember how Paul expressed it in 1 Cor. 2:9-10, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that God has prepared for them that love Him. 10, But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” Now, did you notice that verse? The Spirit searcheth all things, and they are revealed unto us by the Spirit. Right before that, Paul said, “I did not come to you with excellency of speech or of wisdom (speaking of the natural wisdom of man) declaring unto you the testimony of God.” I will paraphrase it like this. “Brethren, I came to you speaking only what was revealed to me by the Spirit of God, for it is not right for your faith to stand only on the wisdom of men, but rather, it should be grounded by the wisdom that is spoken to you through the spirit.” In verse 7, he says, “But we speak the wisdom of God ordained before the world unto our glory.” I will have to say, (and I want you to hear me well) the deep things of God are not for the denominational church world. Neither are they for those who just want to play around with something. The deep mysteries of God are for those who have received a revelation of His name, been baptized properly, and determined in their hearts to walk with Him in truth, no matter what comes as a result of it. God will allow them to look in every closet and feast upon those things that are hidden to the world. The mysteries of the word of God are for our glory. They are stepping stones that enable us to get a glimpse into the world to come. Let me read a few verses from 2 Thessalonians, 1:6-10, where Paul is writing to saints who have suffered persecution because of the truth they have stood for. Picking up in verse 6, he says, “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to they that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; when he shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” In other words he is saying to them, “Though it may be a little rough right now because of opposition, there is coming a day when you who have suffered for truth’s sake, will be able to rest with us while the Lord repays those who have troubled you.” That is why it is better to stand for truth now, for we know that God will vindicate truth, and repay those who have opposed it for one reason or another, with tribulation. Then to take it one step farther, I will say this, “If you do, truly, have the Spirit of God in you, how can you fight against truth, and those who stand for it? Think on that while we get on with the announced subject.


A MAN CHILD – FROM THE GENTILE CHURCH?


For the sake of truth now let me say once agin (as I have many times before) the woman in Revelation, chapter 12, is not now, and never has been the church. It never has been the church, and it never will be the church; it is a panoramic picture of the nation of Israel. John was allowed to have a little glimpse of God’s complete dealings with the nation of Israel, from the very beginning of her history, all the way to her millennial glory. You all know the story, how God called Abraham from the land of the Chaldeans, made a covenant with him, and promised him a son by his wife, Sari, who was past the age of child-bearing. That promised son, Isaac, begat a son whom he named Jacob, and Jacob begat the 12 patriarchs who fathered the entire nation of Israel. God allowed circumstances to carry them into the land of Egypt where their families multiplied into the millions, and the hand of their oppressors was heavy upon them. Then God raised up Moses from their midst and anointed him to be their deliverer. From there the great scene of God’s dealing with her as a nation of people takes on a more personal relationship. God brings them back into their land and begins to deal with the nation as His wife. Therefore the woman, (Israel) the wife of Elohim, Jehovah, the eternal Spirit (God) is expectant with child. Nowhere in the scriptures will you find that there is to come forth from the Gentiles, one who will rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but we see this woman bearing such a child as we go down in the chapter. To me it is so clear, that there should be no question as to who the woman is, but it is obvious that not everyone sees it that clearly; therefore, there remains the great controversy: Is it the church? Is it this? Is it that, or something else? Let us examine verse one for just a little while. “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; (John was seeing this in a vision) a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” Now we all know that the moon which hangs out here in space and gives us light at night, is a reflection of the sun. It gives no light of its own. The moon in this reference is a type of the law age of Israel (the woman) went through, an age of types and shadows that pointed to something that was to come later. Now there are some who believe, rightly so, that this woman is the nation of Israel, but they err in the fact that they believe the sun that she is clothed with is the gospel of grace. It definitely is not the gospel that she is clothed with. That is a scriptural impossibility. Some of you will surely say, “Bro. Jackson, you are getting terribly independent and dogmatic about this.” Let me tell you, I have to. I learned a long time ago that you can never get anywhere with truth as long as you just play around with the scriptures. Those who do so, automatically fall into a category, and of necessity, must fellowship with those of like faith. It is just like a bunch of boys who hang together all the time. Before long, whatever one does, they all do. If you hang around with boys that smoke, drink, gamble, and such like, it will not be long until you will be just like them. By the same token, if I start compromising with preachers who just want to play around with this word of God, very soon; people will begin to say, “He is just another one of them.” Brothers and Sisters, it is too late for a thing like that; we must stand for truth, and seek to be a Holy Ghost revelated people as this age closes out. It isn’t that I do not love them; I do; but the principles of truth take the preeminence. The devil doesn’t like it, but I am not trying to please him, are you? Alright then, let us settle it; the sun that the woman is clothed with, pictures her (the nation of Israel) in her millennial glory. Did it ever occur to you as a Gentile, that the reason Israel failed to recognize Christ in His first advent was because they looked only for their Messiah and the kingdom age? Looking for a king who would be able to solve all their problems, they could not recognize nor accept the humble Nazarene who rode a donkey into Jerusalem, as anyone of any significance.


TWO ADVENTS OF CHRIST


Those of you who will hear this will not be able to see our visual illustration, but we are going to use these two chairs to represent the two advents of Christ which were foretold in the Old Testament. Then we are going to prove to you with every scripture reference, that this woman is Israel. Let me say this also, Israel is getting ready to experience some of the hardest birth pains that she has ever known throughout time. The political world is trying to inject a serum that will deaden the pain, and keep her quiet, but it will fail. The birth pains are coming very soon, and I love this word of God which declares it. I do not rejoice in their suffering; I rejoice in the accuracy, the preciseness, of the word of God. Now, John saw the woman clothed with the sun, a picture of the nation of Israel shining for 1000 years throughout the kingdom age, which all her prophets spoke of. God will be ruling on earth in human form. The Godman, Jesus, who took Peter, James and John upon a mountain with Him one day and gave them a preview of what the glory of God in the nation of Israel will be like in that day, will be ruling with a rod of iron and the nation of Israel will be shining throughout the whole time. But Bro. Jackson, I thought the Gentile bride was to have the number one spot with Him in the Millennium. Yes, that is right, but His glorified presence will be in the land of Israel as He takes the throne of David to rule and reign, and she, (Israel) will have the distinct honor of being the nation of people through which the Messiah came. All that she (as a nation) has ever looked forward to, will be realized in that day. You realize of course, that there were many Jews who believed the gospel of Jesus Christ, and became the first of all those who would make up the bride of Christ. Some of them were apostles, some were prophets, some pastors, evangelists, and teachers, and I am sure that some of them taught things that the other did not teach, but you can be sure of this one thing, Phillip was not down there in Samaria, criticizing Peter for the deep things he was teaching in Jerusalem. Shame on people who do such things just to get recognition. They have their reward already. The only recognition I desire, is to be recognized by the author of this book, the one who is able to make us understand the deep things of Jesus Christ, and solve every problem we may have. I never want to gamble with the souls of mankind, as some are doing in these days. Now the woman had a crown of twelve stars, and that speaks of her national identity. She is a nation of twelve tribes, and when God fulfills all that the prophets have prophesied about her, she will be over in the Millennium with all 12 tribes restored. As we said already, God allowed John to see a panoramic vision, covering the full scope of Israel’s history. The moon under her feet represents the fact that she has risen above the law age which she was subject to for more than 1900 years. To the Jews, the law reflected the glory of the kingdom age. They never did see the age of grace in any of the prophecies given out by her prophets. That is where the mix-up comes in; Gentiles read the prophets and try to make everything fit the age of grace and the church, but they make a terrible blunder when they call this woman of Rev. 12, the church, for this woman is with child. That means one of two things. Either this woman is married, or she is guilty of fornication. We have already proved by the scriptures that the church (the bride of Christ) is a virgin, and could not possibly be expectant with child. Therefore we can be dogmatic in saying that the woman is Israel, the wife of Jehovah. Remember now, John saw this picture in heaven, and what he saw was a complete picture, but down here on earth the process that must be worked out to form that complete picture in reality, takes many centuries, and involves many details. Each generation has contributed their part in filling in the details of what John saw. We can best describe the vision as a heavenly blueprint of what God is working out down here on earth. You who are familiar with blueprints, know that the blueprint shows the complete building or project, in every detail, and the place where the blueprint is first seen, is not the place where the building will take place. Furthermore, we will add this; what is seen on the blueprint will involve a process of time and effort to materialize it. So is it with what John saw as a complete picture. Israel still has a very great trial ahead of her, before she can be seen literally, as John saw her in the vision. He saw her with a crown upon her head, symbolizing the fact that she (Israel) is the queen of nations. An ordinary housewife does not wear a crown upon her head, but a queen does, and Zechariah 14 confirms for us that Israel will be the queen of nations in the Millennium. Verse 16, reads like this, “And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.” Certainly, Israel will be shining in the kingdom age, when her national identity has been completely restored so that she is represented by all of her twelve tribes. You realize of course, that this 12th chapter of Revelation does not incorporate all of the millions of Jews that are upon the face of this earth; it pertains only to the spiritual element of the twelve tribes, those who are loyal to Jehovah.


BIRTH PAINS – TRAVAIL – DRAGON


As we look into verse 2, we find that the woman being with child, is travailing in birth, paining to be delivered. Who is the woman? ISRAEL. What is she impregnated with? The word of God, spoken by the prophets, concerning a Son that would be born, who would rule all nations. God’s prophetic word was the seed, and the minds of the people, we will say, was the womb, and Israel (as a nation) pained to be delivered. They looked for a Son who would ultimately be their deliverer. Now, just as it involves a process of time, to work out all the details of what John saw concerning the woman; it also involves a process of time for Satan to fulfill the complete picture of what John saw him to be. Verse 3, In the heavenly vision, John saw a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. Brothers and Sisters, we all know that this is a description of the Roman Empire, motivated by the devil, which is the very spirit of that ungodly beast, but do you know that at the first advent of Christ, even though Rome was the beast, it did not yet have seven heads and ten horns. Daniel saw this beast come up out of the sea when it only had one head. It evolved into a beast of seven heads and ten horns through a progression of time, and the heavenly scene which John viewed, was a panoramic scene of the whole Roman Empire; not in the days of the first advent of Christ, but in the days leading up to His second advent; we are living in those days right now. When John was taken up into heaven (Rev. 4:1) he was shown things that would take place in the distant future, and the picture he saw of the Roman Empire is just now coming into focus literally. It is true that the Roman Empire ruled the holy land in the days of Christ, but the climax of what John saw is in the future yet. Israel has been travailing, in one sense, all the way through her history of recorded time, but her greatest hour of travail is just ahead, and the great red dragon with seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns upon his head represents that Roman beast that is motivated by the spirit of Satan, that destroying and conquering spirit that devours its adversaries.


BIRTH BEFORE TRAVAIL


God began to foreshadow the dark hour in Israel’s future, way back in the 6th and 7th centuries B.C., when he inspired Isaiah to write about it, but what we really want to see and understand from these scriptures is that, Israel’s great time of travail and birth pains, is not for the purpose of bringing forth the man child to rule all nations, but for the rebirth of the nation. We will see that as we read two verses from Isaiah, Chapter 66, (speaking of Israel). 7, “Before she travailed, (did you catch that? BEFORE SHE TRAVAILED) she brought forth; BEFORE HER PAIN CAME, she was delivered of a MAN CHILD.” This was written at a time when the ten northern tribes had already been carried away into captivity: Leaving only the two southern tribes, Judah and Benjamin, which were called by the name of Judah the predominate tribe in the south. It was out of the tribe of Judah that the messiah was to be born. That is why Jesus was referred to as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Therefore, Isaiah speaking in the spirit, referring to something that is to take place, not among the ten northern tribes which were still to be in captivity, but among the southern tribes which would be back in the land, says, “Before she travailed, and before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child.” Let me break that down for you. We all know it is contrary to physical nature for a child to be born, and then, birth pains come later. Is that not right? In the natural process of birth, as the pains intensify, travailing sets in. I have read, and heard, of a few cases where a woman would give birth to her child with very little, or no pain, and then, later, would have a time of muscle convulsions. We would have to call that after-pain. That is the picture we have here of Israel, as we read verse 7, but let us read the next verse and notice how the picture clears up. Remember now, this was written more than 700 years before the book of Revelation was written, and it is speaking of a time when Israel will be delivered of a man child before her travailing hour arrives. When is her travailing hour then? It is when God is fulfilling all the other prophecies concerning her re-gathering, her re-birth. What will be after pains as far as the man child is concerned, will be birth pains for her re-birth and restoration, naturally, getting her ready for the second advent of Christ, her Messiah. Now let us read verse 8, “Who hath heard such a ting? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or SHALL A NATION BE BORN AT ONCE? (That is exactly what happened) For as soon as ZION TRAVAILED, she brought forth her CHILDREN.” Did you catch that? Remember, this is prophecy. Notice now, when she travails it is not to bring forth the man child, but rather, her children. Her children consist of the remnant of the house of Israel that will be brought back into the land for her last day role in Bible prophecy. Now, can you see that her travailing is to bring forth children, not a man child, but children? You must understand that her travailing is to bring her children back from out of dispersion, into the home land in the age of the end. That will fulfill the scripture regarding the birth of a nation.


ABOUT CHRONOLOGY


I must re-emphasize the fact that these scriptures are not recorded in chronological order of fulfillment. That is why we published the Chronology of Revelation in two of our volumes last year; to help you understand that what John saw in a heavenly vision, covered a span of many years, and he just recorded what he saw, without giving details about the order of fulfillment on earth. Furthermore, those who lived in ages past, would not have benefitted very much by the revelation that God has given to his church in these last days. What God is revealing now, is to get the living element of the bride of Christ, dressed up, and ready for His return.


WHEN DID ISRAEL’S TRAVAIL BEGIN?


Since we are living in the generation that shall see the fulfillment of all these scriptures, I want to take a little time right her, to bring us up to date on some of the details that God worked out in order to get the woman (the nation of Israel) back in a place where her travailing pains could begin. Please keep in mind that travailing is not just one pain. Some precious women have laid for hours and hours in agony, with pain after pain, almost unbearable. That is the picture I want you to get, of Israel: how that she has been in travail for months and years already. Hear me now. I do not want you to get the idea that I am referring to a period of two or three hundred years. That is not the picture at all. Her travailing will cover a period of time comparable to one human generation, fulfilling what Jesus said in Matthew, chapter 24, and bringing all scriptures into complete continuity. Try to catch the revelational side of this now as we proceed. In World War 2, six million Jews were slaughtered, mercilessly, and innocently. Why did God allow such a thing? It was for the same reason that God allowed the Egyptians to treat their ancestors as they did 3500 years earlier. There had to be some situation drastic enough to put a desire in their hearts to go home, back to the land that God gave Abraham and his descendants for an everlasting inheritance. When the war was over, those Jews who were left alive were displaced and scattered. There began to be a cry among them (birth pain No. 1) that caused the United Nations, in one night’s time, to come to a vote giving them a portion of their ancestors’ home land. As far as they knew then, that was all the land they would ever get, but God had other plans which we will go into later, but right now I want to go back a few years and look at some events of what is now history to us, just to bring our thinking up to date.


LEAGUE OF NATIONS – UNITED NATIONS


There is no doubt in my mind that, at the beginning of the twentieth century, as God looked down upon this world, the Gentiles having had the gospel for almost 1900 years, He set in motion certain things for the purpose of fulfilling His word. The Jews having been scattered to the four corners of the earth in the years since 70 A.D. when the Romans over-ran them, had very little thought about going back to the land of their forefathers, but let us watch a chain of events that will change all of that. By the year of 1914, Europe was being shuffled and shook, and prepared for war. This was to set the stage and prepare certain things for a future condition. Space will not allow me to go into detail, but notice what took place during World War No. 1; it disturbed and disrupted the Middle East, and Europe. When that was over they formed a unity of nations which they called, The League of Nations, its principal objectives being the preservation of peace, and improvement of human welfare. I do not know much about it, but I do remember reading about it as a little boy in school. It was formed in 1920, and during the years of its existence the United States, and Saudi Arabia were the only two, of the considerable nations, that never did become members at any time. Financially it did not hold up very long, but the history of its decline and fall was marked by its failure to resolve major crises between powers, and by the time World War No. 2 began to be fought the League was virtually powerless. Even though it made some impact on humanitarian issues, its ability to preserve peace in the world was never realized. Why? Time for the Gentiles was running out, and the world in general was asleep, even the church world; therefore it was time for the world to be stirred agin, and that is exactly what World War 2 did. It was a war that reached completely around the globe. American troops were scattered from the jungles of Africa through Europe, and into the islands of the Pacific, and the world was shaken. By the time that war was over Jewish people all over Europe were crying, “We want to go home; let us go back to our homeland.” By this time the leaders of the nations had gotten their heads together once again, and we had another peace-keeping body called the United Nations which first began to be planned as early as 1941 by President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, and by 1943 was a functioning body with a determination that World War 2 should be the last war. I will never forget, sitting on an old clay bank in Okinawa, after the war was over, and along comes a Lieutenant with a hand full of papers that had been sent down from Washington. It was obvious that he did not know much more about what was in them than we did, but he looked them over real good and began to say, The United States government wished to thank each one of you for your loyalty, energy, time and devotion, contributed to the well being of your country. You are going home now, and we are supposed to inform you that the nations of the world are forming a charter of nations called, the United Nations, which will work together to help foster peace in the world. We want you each to know that we believe this war was a war to end all wars. As a young fellow sitting there on that old clay bank, I thought to myself, that is not what the Bible says. Nevertheless, this was the second time the world had adopted a unity of nations plan, for the preserving of peace in the world. We all know about Korea, and Vietnam, and all the other conflicts in this old world since the organizing of the United Nations, but what is really important is that the nation of Israel has been born, politically, in a night’s time, marking a generation of people that shall live to see the end of all that the prophets of old have foretold. Since that time God has sent a prophet to this Gentile church world, with a message to call the bride of Christ out of Babylon (spiritual Babylon-confusion) and back to the revelated word of God. Just as God (by His Spirit) is calling the Jews back to a geographical spot of land, (which is their inheritance) He is calling His church to come back to the word of God. It does not matter whether we are in America, Africa, Asia, Europe, or some other place, if we are filled with the Spirit of God, we are all looking to God, through Christ, not as Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, nor any of the other titles we have been called by, but as Christians. We will not have 101 different ideas about the same scriptures, but rather, by revelation, we will all see the same thing. Just as every Jew was to pray towards the same spot, no matter where he was, so is every one who is truly baptized with the Holy Ghost, supposed to see Bible truth the same way. They did not pray towards the hill of their choice. They prayed towards the hill of God’s choice. That ought to tell people who are always harping about going to the church of your choice, and believing whatever you want to, something, if they have any revelatory capacity about them. God is moving (by His Spirit) to place the Jewish people back in all the land that is rightfully theirs, and He is moving (by His Spirit) to place the Gentile bride in all the revelation of the scriptures, that is rightfully hers.


RESULT OF A DELAYED TELEGRAM


As I said before, up until 1967 the Jewish people did not know but what the little bit of land given to them by the U. N. was all they would ever have, but at least they were glad to have that. I marvel at the way God allows the devil to work situations, whereby the result will fulfill His word. The devil working through those Arab people, (I am not belittling the Arab people. We have stayed in their hotels and found them to be nice people, as individuals, but we are dealing with a plan of God; therefore sympathy must fade into the background as God unfolds His plan) the people who were telling the Jews, We are not going to let you stay there on that land, brought about a situation in 1967 that enabled Israel to take the Old City. Nasser said, “We are going to push you into the sea,” and Israel only fought for survival. Little did Nasser know that in a few short days these Gentile flags would come down in the Old City, and the Star of David would take their place. Actually, the Old City was taken as a result of a delayed telegram sent by Israel to King Huessein of Jordan, not to enter the war against them. Israel had no intention of fighting those Jordanians, but because the telegram was delayed and Jordan did not get the message in time, they opened fire on Israel. That was an open invitation for God to say to Israel, “Go on in and take the Old City.” I was told by a military man in Israel, that the reason they suffered so many casualties in taking the Old City was because of the antiquity of the city: with all its many religious sacred places, they would not use anything except small arms against the Jordanians. Nevertheless, they took the city, raised the Star of David, and declared, we are back at last, never to give up our city again. This absolutely fulfilled Luke 21:24, which speaks of Jerusalem being trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. That ended the times of the Gentiles. There is still one little spot of ground there, that Israel must have. That is the temple ground where the Moslem Mosque stands. They still have the temple ground, but they do not hold the city. I will say this, in the light of the scriptures, if Jerusalem was ever surrendered up again, it would put her back under the times of the Gentiles. Believing that 1967 ended the times of the Gentiles, we know that it can never come back under siege of the Gentiles again. Of course some will say, “What about the time when the Antichrist sits in the temple as God? Is that not a time of the Gentiles?” No, you cannot associate what the Antichrist will do as being again the times of the Gentiles. The times of the Gentiles was that long period of time that ran all the way from the time of Babylonian captivity, down to 1967 when Jerusalem was back under the sovereign control of Israel for the first time. The war of 1967 ended that long period of Gentile lordship over Jerusalem. What happens in Revelation chapter eleven, and the other events associated with the time of the Antichrist are only for a short period of 3 ½ years, then it will be all over. Now if we will let the scriptures talk to us, we will know that the very fact that the Gentiles are not in control of the city now, proves beyond any shadow of doubt that Luke 21:24 is fulfilled, so I say to you, What are all these politicians negotiating? They are endeavoring to make world conditions go contrary to Bible prophecy. That is like playing with fire. God will not allow them to run His clock backwards. Truly, the world is crying for peace, but there will be no lasting peace until the Prince of Peace comes to rule and reign on earth.


THIS GENERATION SHALL SEE


Let me clear up a question that some of you may have on your minds right now. No, we are not talking about the fullness of the Gentiles, spoken of in Romans 11:25. This verse in Romans is dealing with the time when the Spirit of God will not longer be convicting Gentiles for the purpose of leading them to a salvation experience, while the verse in Luke (21:24) is referring strictly to Gentile dominion over the city of Jerusalem. I grant you, we are drawing close to the time when the fullness of the Gentiles will be a very present reality, but the two terms definitely apply to two different situations. I have said, many times lately, that we are close to the end, and I don’t mind saying it again, for we are the generation that has lived to see many of the things Jesus spoke of in the Gospels, come to pass, and He said, “This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” I realize that certain people have predicted the end in every generation, but they did it without the fulfillment of the necessary scriptures. We have those scriptures fulfilled, and we see ungodliness prevailing on every hand. Our schools and colleges have become incubators for every kind of filth and corruption. Alcohol and dope are the two dominant spirits that are paving the way for every other spirit that Satan has turned loose on this society, and our law enforcement agencies are powerless to do anything about it. Do you ever ask yourself the question, Why? I will tell you why; it is because God is slowly withdrawing His convicting and restraining presence from the Gentiles, getting ready to move upon the Jews once again. As the Spirit of God withdraws, the devil moves in, and we are seeing a society of drop-outs, become wandering drifters, with no constructive purpose in life, many of them so doped up they don’t even know what day it is. As we look at all these things, we certainly should be able to recognize that the fullness of the Gentiles is drawing nigh. When God had touched that last soul with His gospel of grace, and showed that person the way of eternal life, this Gentile church world in general, will be just like an old dried up corn stalk in the fall of the year. You could go out there and pour a bushel of fertilizer around that thing and water it every day, but I want you to know, you will never make it green again, because the law of death has already struck it. It will have to die. That is what we must realize about this Gentile church world; no matter how much charismatic fertilizer you pour on it, nor how much charismatic water you may pour on it, it cannot be revived, the law of death has struck. I do not know when the last one will be brought in, but God does, and He knows exactly where that person is right now, whether in the jungles in Africa, or in the desert of some far continent, it matters not, when he answers the gospel call, the Gentile clock stops, salvationwise. This I do know though, we are approaching the climax. It is almost time for this old world to be shook again. When it happens, you will see another great peace keeping unity of nations formed, but this time it will be different, different because the Antichrist will be the head man in it all. Now do you see how it all lines up to give us a picture of God working out His plan for the ages? World War One gave the world the League of Nations. World War Two gave the world the United Nations which swallowed up the League of Nations. In the year of 1946, the League of Nations turned its remaining physical assets over to the United Nations, and since that time we have heard much about the United Nations, but it is obvious by now that the next great world conflict is at hand, and the U.N. is powerless to do anything to stay it off. Why? There has to be something to cause the world to fulfill Daniel 9:27, in signing a great peace covenant, which we know will last for a very short time, and THEN comes the war that will end all wars ARMAGEDDON. When that one is finished the Prince of Peace will be on earth, and the world will be at peace for the first time since Adam disobeyed the word of God in the Garden of Eden.


GOD’S TRUE PROPHETS – WHAT THEY SAW


Let us come back to what we were saying about Israel travailing in birth. When those Jews began to cry and travail, and the U.N. gave them a certain amount of ground, this was the beginning of her birth process. This was not complete birth, but it was the beginning of the birth process. Remember, the nation will have to be reborn, naturally, before it can be reborn spiritually. She will get her spiritual rebirth when chapter 11 of Revelation is being fulfilled under the ministry of those two witnesses that are to prophesy for three years and six months before being killed by the beast. I want to go to the book of Micah now for a couple of verses, Micah 5:2-3. Micah was a prophet that stood between the carrying away of the ten Northern Tribes to Assyria in the 7th century B.C. and the two Southern Tribes which were still in the land at the time of this prophesy; therefore, his prophesy is to the two Southern tribes. We will pick up verse 1 for it shows what God is going to do with these two Southern tribes in about 100 years. This verse is referring to the coming invasion of the Babylonian army against them. Verse 1, “Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops; he hath laid siege against us: (God used the Babylonians to fulfill this prophesy) they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.” Now here comes the verse that was referred to in Matthew 2:6, when Herod the king asked of the chief priests and scribes where Christ should be born. Micah 5:2, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” That was Jesus the Christ, born in Bethlehem, marking the first advent of His coming. That was Israel, giving birth to the man child before her travailing hour. Remember, her travailing is to bring back all twelve tribes to her homeland in preparation for the 2nd advent of Christ. I heard a story about a woman who went to bed, expectant with child. While she slept her baby was born, completely without any pain. That is exactly what happened with Israel when Jesus was born. I hope you get this; it will help you. Those 10 Northern tribes were out of the land, never to return until the last days, but the two Southern tribes which were in the land at that time were enough to constitute the birth of the man child, but there was no travail, and therefore; they did not recognize what had happened. Now in the natural, when the woman wakes up she immediately knows what has happened, but the fact that Israel did not recognize Him goes to prove that she was asleep. Isaiah 66:7 was fulfilled when Jesus was born. Not only was He born of the tribe of Judah, but he was born in the little town of Bethlehem, which was in the jurisdictional territory of the tribe of Judah. Therefore, His lineage, fleshwise, went back to Judah, and the little city where he was born, called the city of David (Bethlehem) fulfilled verse 2, but look at verse 3. It brings us right up to our generation in its scope. 3, “Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth; Then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.” Do you see how perfectly this fits into the picture? She (Israel) brought forth a man child without travail, fulfilling Isaiah 66:7, and this verse 2 here in Micah, and because she did not recognize Him, God gave them up to captivity, and they were sold on the slave markets and scattered all over the world. That is exactly where the apostle Paul placed his revelation about the fulness of the Gentiles in Romans 11:25. He says, “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that BLINDNESS IN PART is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.” That blindness can only be laid actually, to the two Southern tribes, for the ten Northern tribes were not in the land at that time. God had prophesied to them by His prophet Hosea that He would scatter them to the uttermost parts of the earth, and that they would remain there, or out of the land, until the last days, so they were not responsible for failing to recognize their Messiah when He came. They, however, were responsible for the gospel they heard preached by Paul as he went to many of the places where they were, but that was on an individual basis, like it is with the Gentiles.


1900 YEARS BETWEEN VERSE 5 & 6


Alright now, we have taken you through these different prophecies to show you that nothing which has happened with Israel was a surprise to God, for he had already spoken of each event through his prophets. Therefore, as we come back to Revelation, chapter 12, we can see that, timewise, we are living between verse 5, where the man child (Jesus) was caught up unto the Throne of God, (His resurrection and ascension) and verse 6, which shows the woman (Israel) which gave birth to the man child, fleeing into the wilderness. Naturally, that reference is to be applied to the time of the end when Israel will have to flee from the beast into a place that God will have prepared for her, and she will be cared for throughout the whole three and one-half years of the great tribulation. You must place nineteen hundred years, which is the Gentile grace age, between verses 5 and 6 to get the picture straight in your minds. God had spoken through His prophet, Hosea, (you can read it in chapter one) that in the place (time) where it was said unto them (the two Southern tribes) “Ye are not my people, (because they rejected their Messiah) there it shall be said unto them, (the Gentiles) Ye are the sons of the living God.” There is your 1900 years of grace to us Gentiles in that verse 10, and then when you read verse 11, you will see that it applies to a time, after the grace age, when all twelve tribes will be gathered together, back in the land of their fathers, being ruled by one head, with no more Northern and Southern division; that is just ahead. The woman is in travail, and it is for the birth of her children. She will travail until all twelve tribes are back in the land. That will constitute the birth and fulfill Micah 5:3. We are living in a time when it seems like the main problem, for practically the whole world, is Israel. She is in travail and must soon be delivered. World leaders have great stacks of papers on how and what should be done with Israel, but it seems that none of them will look into the one book (the Bible) that would show them exactly what must be done with Israel. That does not mean that all 16 million of the world’s Jewish population will return to Israel, but there will be enough of them from each of the twelve tribes go back to fulfill the scriptures. We are made to realize, also, that not all of those who go back will be saved, for there will be a great number of them that will fall right in line with the Antichrist, and come under the wrath of God when He comes to take vengeance on them that know not God, spoken of by the apostle Paul in 2nd Thessalonians. Paul’s revelation was that a remnant of Israel would be saved. We do not know how many that remnant will include, but we are confident of this one thing, God knows every last one of them right now.


ABOUT THE 144,000


Some have asked me at various times if the 144,000 which are sealed with the Spirit of God are all that will be saved, and others have asked me if the 144,000 are raptured like the bride, since the scriptures refer to them as being redeemed from among men as first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb. Then others will ask if they are killed by the beast in the week of Daniel. I will try to answer all three of these questions in mind. I will begin by saying, No, they will not be the only Jews that will be saved; they are the servants of God who will preach the everlasting gospel around this old world during the last half of that 70th week of Daniel. As we pick up verse 6, of our text chapter, we see the woman fleeing into the wilderness. This is a spiritual remnant that has been awakened by the ministry of the two witnesses, whose primary function was to seal the 144,000 servants of God in their foreheads. Naturally, their preaching, or prophesying, will not be heard only by the 144,000 and as a result, you have another large element of Jews who will be sealed with the Holy Ghost along with the 144,000. These will hide while the 144,000 servants will preach the everlasting gospel, Rev. 14:6. Actually, by that time, you will have four distinct, elements of Jewish people. First, we will say, is the 144,000 men, then secondly, the spiritual remnant (the woman in 12:6) made up of men, women, and children of all ages. These are they who will be carried into the Millennium for the purpose of repopulating the Jewish race of people. Thirdly, there will be the political element among them, who, having no feelings toward God will co-exist with the Antichrist and be damned. They will be interested only in politics and finances, and therefore, the mark of the beast will be a very small thing to them. Revelation, chapter 16, tells of their fate, along with all the rest who have ignored God’s warnings to repent. Then, as we said earlier, all the Jews in the world will not go to Israel, so there remains, at that time, millions of Jews in dispersion. From this group comes the tribulation saints who, along with the Gentile foolish virgins, will give their lives in Martyrdom, rather than to take the mark of the beast and be damned. Naturally, from that fourth element there will only be a certain percentage that will recognize God; the rest will perish with all the other ungodly men. We have actually answered two parts of the three part question about the 144,000 men who are sealed in their foreheads, but let me say this, the fact that the Bible says they were redeemed from among men does not mean that they were taken up, as the bride of Christ will be. It only means that they are set apart from other men, redeemed in the same sense that we are redeemed. We readily confess that we have been redeemed, but we are still here. These men are set apart for service to God, and protected from the wrath of the beast. It is necessary for us to catch the revelation of these things, for it is just like the apostle Paul said in Colossians speaking of the Gentile Christians, or perhaps I should say bride saints; nevertheless, he said, we have been delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of His dear son. That is what our redemption has accomplished for us, but we are still right here on earth, doing many of the same things we were doing before we were redeemed from among men, or called out for service to God. As to whether these servants of God are killed in the tribulation hour, let me remind you once again; they will be going back to the nations from whence they came, preaching to their brethren which never returned to the homeland. Their message will be Fear God, give glory to Him, and worship Him, who has made heaven and earth and all that is there-in. At the same time, they will be pronouncing judgment upon spiritual Babylon, and warning all men not to have anything to do with the beast or his image. They will be protected from all harm by the power of God, and they will move right on into the Millennium with Christ when the judgment of God upon degenerate mankind is finished. Some will say, “Bro. Jackson, where do you get the scripture for that?” First let me say this, in the 9th chapter of Revelation , when the bottomless pit was opened, and hell turned loose upon earth for the purpose of tormenting unregenerate men, it was commanded them (the demons) that they should not hurt anyone who had the seal of God in their foreheads. All who had believed the testimony of God’s two prophets; and been filled with the Spirit of God were protected from harm when those demons were turned loose upon the earth. That comes under the sounding of the fifth trumpet angel, and is referred to as the first woe. We cannot take the time to go into the three woes, but we mentioned this only for the purpose of showing that these evil forces cannot touch or harm those who have the seal of God upon them. Then, as we deal with the part about the 144,000 servants of God preaching the everlasting gospel to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people, we will go to the 14th chapter, verses 1-10. I will not read them; you can do that later. In this chapter we find this 144,000 men, with the Lamb’s Father’s name written in their foreheads, following the Lamb withersoever He goeth. This means that they have a revelation of who Jesus Christ is, they have accepted Him as their Messiah, and the fact that they follow Him wherever He goes, lets us know that they are led by the Spirit of God. It is not a literal picture of a great host of men following along behind a lamb. That was only for the purpose of recording the vision so that, by revelation, we could understand its message later. In verse 6 we read, “And I saw another angel fly through the air, or in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.” Now you say, “But Bro. Jackson, that says an angel was flying in the midst of heaven with everlasting gospel, why do you say the 144,000 servants will preach it?” The answer to that is very simple. God has never, at any time, had angels preaching the gospel. That has always been done by men. If God was ever going to use angels to preach he gospel, He would have always used them for it. No, this is spiritual terminology, and it can only be understood by revelation. The natural mind cannot understand such things. When is this taking place? In the last half of Daniels 70th week. Who is being tormented by the demons that are loosed from the bottomless pit? Unregenerate mankind, those who have accepted the mark of the beast, and worshiped the Antichrist as God. Where is the woman (Israel) that brought forth the man child, without birth pains, at the time of these events? She is hiding from the wrath of the beast in the place that God had prepared for her (Rev. 12:6) until after the battle of Armageddon is fought, and the Lord Jesus, himself, is on earth in bodily form once again to prepare for the Millennium. Naturally, the temple will have to be cleansed, and consecrated before Jesus will take His place in it, after its defilement by the Antichrist, but that will be only a short transition period, and then Christ will take His throne to rule and reign for one thousand years.


SHEKINAH GLORY COMES BACK


What has happened to the people of Israel in the years between verses 5 and 6 would require many volumes to record, but for the sake of our understanding this chapter, it is necessary that we see verse 5 as pertaining to the ascension of Christ after His resurrection, and verse 6 as pertaining to the woman (Israel) who produced the man child, at a time when she was travailing in birth until the nation has been completely reborn, both naturally and spiritually, with the Grace age in between, or the rest of the chapter cannot be understood. Confusion comes in trying to place the events of the book of Revelation in the order that John recorded them. Brothers and Sisters, her spiritual rebirth will take place as a result of the ministry of the two witnesses, but they cannot come on the scene until she has every square inch of her land back under her control. Her last great birth pains will come in the last half of the 70th week of Daniel, a time referred to as Jacob’s trouble, when the Antichrist with all his armies will be making one last attempt on the behalf of the devil to completely rid the world of all the seed of Jacob. She must travail a while yet, but I want you to know that she will look up one day to see the heavens darkened and the moon turned to blood. Then she will see Jesus, her long awaited Messiah, her King, coming in power and glory, to rule and reign. That is when she can jump for joy, for His feet will not touch this earth in New York, Chicago, nor London, England; He will stand upon the Mount of Olives, right where Ezekiel saw Him in a vision of the Spirit way back in the 6th century B.C.. He saw the evil that had come among the Jewish religious society and the corruption among the priesthood. He saw the morals of the people of Israel as they declined continually, and the Lord allowed him to witness the glory of the Lord departing from the temple to return no more until the Millennial temple is ready to receive him. The Jews who came back under the leadership of Haggai and Zechariah to build the temple that stood at the first advent of Christ, never did see the light of God’s Shekinah glory in that temple. There was a reason why; the first day that Jesus came to the temple in the spring of the year following His baptism in the fall, He took a whip and drove out the money changers and overturned the pigeon coops, and drove out the sheep and oxen from the temple, saying to those that sold those things, “Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.” Do you know what that was? That was the Shekinah glory of God coming back, but the sad part of it was that it came in form of a man, and they did not recognize it. He preached for three long years after that, coming to Jerusalem, (for the first six months of his ministry was in Galilee) then when He rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey that day and went into the temple casting out those who bought and sold in the temple for the third time, that ended His ministry. He came to them just as Zechariah had prophesied 9:9 riding on a colt, the foal of an ass, meek, coming right back over the Mount of Olives to the temple, but they were asleep, and did not recognize Him. He still came from Bethany to Jerusalem for the next two or three days and preached, waiting to be arrested and crucified, but His main ministry was climaxed when He came to them exactly according to the word of their prophets and they did not recognize Him.


GREEN TREE – DRY TREE


I want to call your attention to a beautiful type that was set, on one of those mornings as He left the house of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, coming to Jerusalem. As He came over the Mount of Olives He noticed a beautiful fig tree standing there before Him. He was hungry and would have eaten, but when He came to the tree, it had nothing on it but leaves; therefore (now catch this, the fig tree was a symbol of Israel) He looked at the tree and said, “Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever, and presently the fig tree withered away.” That lets us know that after three years of preaching to them, there was still no fruit. Just a few days after that, He was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane, half-way between where that fig tree was, and the Eastern Gate. He said to them, “Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled.” I have to put these things in the message to show you why those two Southern tribes were asleep, completely, during the birth and ministry of the man child. Walking toward Calvary to die, He heard all those people who were screaming because of what was taking place, and turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” Catch the symbolic language now? He is not referring to Himself as a green fig tree; He is a green tree of life, and the dry, or barren tree, is the Antichrist which has no life. In other words, if they have come to this in three and one-half years when they had a green tree of life in their midst, what will they do when they have the dry, or barren tree for three and one-half years? They could have eaten from the tree of life, but they did not, and when the barren tree comes, he will bring about the climax of Rev. 13, Luke 21, and Matt. 24. Jerusalem shall be compassed, not necessarily as it was in 70 A.D., but it will be filled with soldiers during the last half of Daniels seventieth week when the Antichrist is sitting in the temple in Jerusalem. You talk about spiritual drought; they will have one when that man is in control. Jeremiah saw every man bent over in anguish, as a woman in travail. Let us read a few verses from Jeremiah, chapter 30, beginning with verse 4, “These are the words that the Lord spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. (That covers all twelve tribes). For thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether A MAN DOTH TRAVAIL WITH CHILD? Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it; it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” He was looking at the nation of Israel having her final birth pains in that great tribulation hour of time.


HEAVENLY WARFARE


We want to get into the 7th verse of our text chapter now; actually 7-10, where we learn of a war which is taking place in heaven. That great warfare between Michael (the archangel) and the devil is taking place right now in the spiritual world. It is a battle for supremacy, and the people down here on earth can only act out that great heavenly play that is taking place among the spiritual forces. As Mr. Begin and Mr. Sadat have their meetings with Mr. Carter, they are just acting out, down here on earth, a scene that is taking place in the spirit world between Michael and his angels, and Satan and his angels. No sooner did the United Nations give Israel that little portion of land in May of 1948, then the devil began to get into those Arabs, and cause them to determine to drive Israel out of the land. Therefore, we see that the effects of verse 7 have been shaking this old world for quite a few years now. You know what happened in 1948, but did you know how God went about stripping France and England of their old colonial hold in the Middle East? I believe it was in the month of October of 1956, when Israel sent a mechanized force on a destroying mission into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula up to the Suez Canal. They had taken most of the Peninsula, captured 6000 Egyptians, and seized a great amount of equipment in just a few days. Great Britain and France called upon Israel and Egypt to each retreat 10 miles from the canal and to let them occupy the intervening zone. Israel accepted, but Egypt refused, and British-French military occupation of the zone began as a result. The United Nations Security Council, the United States, and the Soviet Union put pressure on Britain and France to withdraw from the Zone, which they did, and from that time on, they have been losing out, all over the world. That marked the end of the old colonial hold in the Middle East. Israel drew back also, but from that time on, she has had constant harassment from the Arabs. All she wanted was to be left alone, but they would not leave her alone. That lets me know that Michael and the devil have still been clashing swords up there in the heavenly realm, all this time. Verse 8 tells that the devil will lose the battle and be cast out of heaven, but we know that battle up there must continue until time for that 70th week of Daniel to begin. However close we are to the start of that week, is how close we are to the fulfillment of verse 8. Once time one earth corresponds with what is taking place there, and the devil is cast out, you can rest assured that men on earth, in the political structure, will have been so affected by the pressures of that heavenly battle that they will have revived the old Roman Empire. Rome will again be the chief city from which world leadership will come. It will take that to fulfill Daniel’s prophecy. Europe will be tied right back to Rome as it was in the days of old. I do not know whether it is true or not, but while I was in Norway a man told me that it is believed that Europe already has a Common Market currency printed up, just awaiting the hour to use it. If that is true, then I will say, the poor old American dollar has just about reached the end of its road. In the past, the American dollar has been used as one of the most stabilizing monetary structures in the world, in our present day monetary setup. If we have been watching the trend, we know that a different monetary system is at hand, for in the past few years, as we have seen the break up of these great colonial powers in Europe. As they release these various territories, and come back home, their own currency begins to be shook and affected. That is what is causing Europe, especially the heads of the economic structure to begin to work out plans for the future. Very soon now, America will not be able to underwrite it anymore. Much of our destiny (as a nation) hinges on what our leaders do in connection with the complete rebirth and restoration of Israel to her full identity. The devil does not want Israel restored, and we know why, he knows when that takes place, his days are short.


FALSE PEACE


When we come to verse 9, we see that this angelic battle process has reached its climax. “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” As that battle process ends in heaven, it will be time on earth for that beast system to come into full bloom. Notice why I say that; the dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which DECEIVETH the whole world. He was cast out into the earth, and all his angels with him. When all of that takes place, you can rest assured, there will be an embodiment of those spiritual forces here on earth. On earth will be the only place where Satan can reenact what has taken place in heaven. The affects of verse 10, will not reach its climax until the middle of the week arrives, but what I want to show you is that, once that spirit is cast out of heaven, he only has one week of time (7 years) to do what he is going to do. He begins his diabolical plot by ushering in a great peace covenant. Remember now, we are talking about this devil which DECEIVETH the whole world. How is he going to deceive the whole world? Through a false peace pact that the whole world is crying for in this very hour. Remember, Judas was one of the disciples of Jesus, chosen by Him, to be one of the twelve apostles, and he naturally, had the respect and confidence of the people who followed the ministry of Jesus. Who would have suspected that Satan would be able to enter into that man who, up until that time, had stood for the word of God, along side Jesus and the other eleven apostles? Who, (except the revelated people of God) will ever suspect that the pope of Rome could be incarnated by that same spirit that entered into Judas, causing him to betray the very God-man Himself. We are watching with great expectancy as the Roman cardinals gather once again to elect a successor to John Paul, who held the office for such a short time. Naturally, the question uppermost in our minds is, can this be the one who will fulfill Daniel 9:27, the Antichrist who will cause Israel and the world to go through its darkest hour ever? If he is the one, the bride will know it very soon, for she has been taught from the word of God, and she knows what signs to look for. Therefore, we will say, when the peace covenant is confirmed, it will not be the peace that the word of God promised to those who believe His word. It will be a short term peace, planned by Satan, that great deceiver, to throw the whole world off guard, and allow that wicked beast system an opportunity to move into complete control of all politics and economics. In the middle of the week, 3 ½ years from its initial beginning, the Roman Pope, who has been elected by world leaders as the mediator, or final voice in their peace arrangements, will become so provoked by the Orthodox Jews who will not give him the respect his position demands, Satan will completely take control of him. That is when he will break the covenant with Israel, drive the Jews out of their temple, and set himself up in it to be worshiped by the great host of deceived mankind. Right here is where verse 10 of our text chapter has its fulfillment. 10, “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, (what brethren? Jewish brethren) which accused them day and night before our God.” In other words, when the tribulation hour arrives, in the middle of the week, it will bring into focus the real saints of God, those who can stand and face the trials and tests of what is taking place. When the devil is cast down, and allowed by God, to start that persecution process, God will not have to listen to him anymore up there. I hope you can see, Brothers and Sisters, that as long as that poor Jewish nation is scattered among the Gentile nations, the devil can run to the throne of God and accuse them day and night. He has been doing that for hundreds of years now. He is not confined to just accusing Jews before God, but this prophecy is basically to the Jewish nation. Even though the prophecy is pointed toward the Jews, we know that there are definitely some foolish Gentile virgins tied to the picture. We begin to pick that up in verse 11, let us read it. “And they overcame him (SATAN) by the blood of the Lamb, (That is Gentiles, who have the blood of the Lamb) and by the word of their testimony; (that is Jews who believe in Jehovah, and have a testimony that they do, but have not believed the gospel of Jesus Christ) and they loved not their lives unto the death.” It is not the Gentile foolish virgins that make this chapter stand out. It is the Jewish people suffering their last travailing pains, that makes this chapter stand out. They will travail in that last pain until it brings or manifests the coming of Jesus Christ, their long-awaited King. Once that final hour of persecution starts, it will not let up before there have been thousands of Jews and Gentile foolish virgins martyred. When it says, They overcame him: THEY means people, not just Jews. They did not overcome him in a battle and keep on living; no, they overcame him by refusing to renounce their God, even though it meant their sure death. That is what the last part of the verse pertains to: “They loved not their lives unto the death: They chose to die rather than to renounce their God.” To further clarify it let us say this, they refused to accept the mark of the beast, in order to gain the offered privileges. We will say also, the reason many of them were not taken off guard by such gross deception, was because the 144,000 servants of God had already warned them not to have anything to do with that horrible beast system. The message of the three angels in Revelation 14:6-10, is in actuality, what the 144,000 preachers take to the inhabitors of the earth, Jews and Gentiles alike. Verse 12, in the 14th chapter, lets us see who was spared from the wrath of God, recorded in verse 11. We call your attention to these verses, mainly to show that they pertain to both, Jews and Gentile foolish virgins. 12, “Here is the patience of the saints. (Tribulation saints) Here are they that keep the commandments of God, (that is the Jews) and the faith of Jesus.” There is the foolish virgins. When we take this thought right on over to the 15th chapter where we see the spirits of those martyred saints standing on a sea of glass mingled with fire, we find the same distinct reference made to both elements. 15:2, “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.” The description of what they had gotten the victory over, marks the hour of their martyrdom, for there has never been another hour in the history of mankind when men were faced with taking a mark, or with an image to the beast, except in the last week of Daniel, which is just ahead. Now in verse 3 we find them singing a song that identifies, or I should say separates the Jews from the Gentiles. 3, “And they sang the song of Moses the servant of God (Jews) and the song of the Lamb, (foolish virgins).


JEWS – FOOLISH VIRGINS – WHITE ROBES


Coming back to verse 11, in the 12th chapter now, I want to answer a question. The question is this, Bro. Jackson, how do you know verse 11 applies to the tribulation saints, and how do you know it applies to both Jew and Gentile? Most of the question has already been answered, but I want to call your attention back to the 6th chapter, and the words pertaining to the 5th seal. Verse 9, “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the alter, (or at the foot of the alter) the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” Please notice that, before anything else was said, white robes were given to every one of them, and it was said unto them that they should rest yet for a LITTLE SEASON, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. Notice why they had been killed. They had been martyred for the word of God, not the word of their testimony, but for the testimony that they held. Their testimony was the word of God from the Old Testament. In other words, their testimony was not that they believed in Jesus Christ, that He was their Messiah, and the Savior of the whole human race. No, their testimony which they held was that they believed the word of God according to the law of Moses. Therefore, if they had a testimony, then the word of their testimony is what identifies them as being Jews. Gentiles who have a testimony must testify of their experience through the blood of the Lamb, and therefore, have their white robes already. This group was given white robes after they were slain. Therefore, as we come back to 12:12 and pick up the word which John heard, Listen! “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them, Woe to the inhabitors of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” Some people are prone to believe that conditions just exist for a period of time, and then all of a sudden, something is done to change conditions. Prophecy does not work like that. There is always an introduction period. That is why I say Satan is cast out of heaven at the beginning of the week. There must be time for him to embody himself in that beast system before the middle of the week arrives. Furthermore, if he only came down it the middle of the week, you would have a lot of unexplained events in the first half of the week, a period of time when I believe he is setting the stage for one last great thrust at God through persecution of the saints of God, and the very nation that produced the man child, which he knows to be the rightful ruler of this world. We will see this in the next verse. 13 “And when the dragon saw that he was cast out unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.” Naturally, that reference takes us back to verse 5, which we have already proved by the scriptures, to be the first advent of Christ, (the man child) and the woman that bare Him to be the nation of Israel. We will see also, as we read verse 14, that it is a repeat of verse 6, with a little more elaboration on the details of her flight. 14 “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, (one year) and times (two more years) and half a time (six months, making a total of 3 ½ years, as stated in verse 6 by a number of days) from the face of the serpent.” Now, why is he persecuting the woman? It is because she brought forth the man child, and it is this persecution that brings her last travailing pain. Her last pain will bring Christ back again, and this time He will not be caught up from the earth as before. He will be back to take the throne of David for a reign of true righteousness. We find in this verse that the woman is given two wings of a great eagle that she might fly into the wilderness, into HER place. Verse 6 tells us that God has prepared a place in the wilderness where she will be fed for 1260 days. Do not ask me where that place is; I do not know. It will not be a wilderness, as we think of a wilderness. That simply means, in spiritual language, a place where she can hide from the devil which is incarnated in that beast system, headed by the Antichrist, which will be the Roman Pope in that hour. For the benefit of you who may not know, John saw that beast coming up out of the sea, having seven heads, and ten horns. When we go to Revelation 17; we learn that instead of using the word sea in connection with the great whore, the word waters is used. Then in verse 15 of that chapter, waters is explained as being people, multitudes and nations, and tongues. Therefore, the beast of Rev. 13:1, which came up out of the sea, is something that rises up from the midst of people. I don’t intend to go into that fully now, for we have other messages in print which go into full details on the subject, and you may have them just for the asking, but I do want to say that the beast with seven heads and ten horns and ten crowns upon his heads, is nothing but the old Roman Empire. We have watched it come back into prominence for a number of years now, in the forming of the Common Market nations of Western Europe. These Common Market nations make up the horns of the beast, and the fact that it is seen having seven heads, is nothing else but the seven forms of Roman government that the nation passed through from the days of the old Caesars, until the day that the government wound up with the Bishop of Rome sitting in the seat of the Caesars. That same system is being revived and will furnish Satan with all the embodiment he needs to carry out his diabolical deeds of persecution and murder. Therefore, the woman (Israel) will be hiding from that Roman beast, the same beast that crucified Christ at His first advent. In chapter 12 the beast is described as having seven heads and ten horns, and SEVEN crowns upon his head, but in chapter 13, he is described as having seven heads, and ten horns, and TEN crowns upon his heads. The seven crowns pertain to the seven forms of Roman dictatorial rule, and the ten crowns point to the ten nations which are the horns of the beast, and each of them having a king, or ruler. We see that old beast coming into focus for its last day role in the fulfillment of prophecy, and we have watched the horns spring up to take their place, in the past few years, therefore things are almost ready for that little horn to make its move. The little horn which Daniel spoke of in chapter 7 of his prophecy, came up from among the other horns, and plucked up three of the first horns by the roots. This little horn had eyes like a man, and a mouth speaking great things. Daniel says that he watched that beast until the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit. In other words, Daniel was allowed to see a vision of the whole scope of time that this beast would rule; he saw it materialize as the fourth great dictatorial kingdom upon the earth, and he says that he watched it until the Ancient of days did sit. He was still watching when the great white throne judgement took place, and the books were opened. He saw the beast when it was cast into the lake of fire. That little horn that rose up, did not put eleven horns upon the beast, for it was that ecclesiastical head (the Bishop) that just moved right into the seat of the old Caesars, so that he came to be looked upon as SOVEREIGN, IMPERIAL, UNIVERSAL RULER, which is blasphemy, for God Himself is the only sovereign one. In verse 21, of Daniel, chapter 7, Daniel says, “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints and prevailed against them,” and in verse 25, it says, “And he shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until (now watch, here is the same language that the apostle John used in Rev. 12:14, more than six hundred years later) a time, (one year) and times (two more years) and the dividing of time” (six more months) making a total of 3 ½ years, which is the time of great persecution, called the great tribulation. You will notice that he (the little horn, the Antichrist, which is to be the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church) made war with the saints of the Most High, and wore them out. Remember now, in this vision Daniel saw the millions of Christians that were slaughtered at the direction of the Popes all down through the ages; but this last reference in verse 25, pertains to the great tribulation hour. There is much that could be said about this horrible beast, and about the great whore, which is the Roman Catholic church, that is seen sitting upon this beast, by the apostle John, and recorded in Revelation 17, but let us get back to verse 14 of our text chapter. “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness.” Most of you have heard me say before, that the two wings of a great eagle given to the woman, was the message of the two prophets, (or witnesses) of Revelation 11, that preached Jesus Christ to her, and instructed her as to where to go when the fury of the beast would be turned loose later. Prophets are commonly referred to as eagles because of their far vision, their ability to fly high, and see afar off, we will say. For a confirmation of this terminology we will go to Exodus 19:4, God speaking to the children of Israel by Moses, says, “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on EAGLES WINGS, and brought you unto myself.” Now some of you may say, “But HE only brought them out of Egypt by one, Moses. Where do you get the plural, WINGS?” Read the whole verse again and you will see that it encompasses the whole journey from Egypt all the way to the promised land, for He said, “brought you unto myself.” We know God was with them all the time, in the cloud by day, and in the pillar of fire by night, but the reference, brought you unto myself takes in the whole trip, and we know that they were led into the promised land by Joshua, after Moses had passed off of the scene. The same angel (Michael) that was with Moses, stood right there across the Jordan river, and Joshua looked him right in the face. That same angel said to Joshua, “Be of good courage,” did he not? They did not inherit the land until Joshua led them over, so do not say it was just one, it was two, and it will be two the next time. It was Moses and Joshua that led them from Egypt to the promised land, but it will be Moses and Elijah that will lead them in the seventieth week of Daniel. I do not mean to infer that it will be the literal Moses and Elijah of old; it will be two modern day Jews with the same anointing that was on Moses and Elijah. That seems a more sensible way to look at it, for the simple reason that, if Moses and Elijah came back in this modern age, they would be very out of place. They would not know an airplane from a railroad boxcar. No, this will be two modern day Jews who have the revelation of Jesus Christ burning in their bosoms, and a great desire to share it with their Jewish brethren, therefore when God has everything else in order, He will bring them on the scene in Israel for a short term ministry that will last only 3 ½ years, but in that span of time the spiritual element of Israel will be reborn. The 144,000 servants of God will be selected, and sealed with the Holy Ghost, and in the process of that, there will be a great host of others who will hear the message, believe, and receive the seal of God, which is the Holy Ghost. As we said already, this other element of the nation of Israel constitutes, or makes up the woman that is given two wings of a great eagle, to flee the wrath of the beast. There are some who disagree with our teaching on who the two prophets will be, saying that because the Bible says, “It is appointed unto man once to die, and after that the judgement,” it is necessary for those prophets of old, to come back and be killed, since they were translated without seeing death. That is very foolish. A close look at what they will be doing during the days of their ministry (disturbing the elements, turning the waters to blood, scorching the earth with fire, burning up trees and green grass, and making the waters bitter Rev. 8:2-13 and 11:3-6) lets us know that these men have the same anointing on them that was on Moses and Elijah, for they are using the same signs. That being the case, if it had to be the Moses and Elijah of old, Enoch would still be left out of the picture for you cannot possibly identify him with any of these signs that the prophets of Revelation are using, and yet he was translated. When will he be killed, if you want to teach it like that? I would ask you also, what about the living element of the bride of Christ that will be translated; when will they be killed to fulfill your private interpretation? No, we must keep our revelation in line with the scriptures as a whole. We cannot build a revelation off of one verse of scripture that stands alone. It is very necessary that we begin to get these messages straightened out, so that we know what they are, and also what they are not. I want to tell you for sure, if you do not know who this woman of Revelation, chapter 12 is, then you are hung up on chapter 14. If you are hung up on chapter 14, you will also be hung up on the 70th week of Daniel, and if you do not get that straightened out, you absolutely will not know where chapter 11 fits in timewise. You can be sure of this though, Jesus will not come while those two prophets are lying dead, in the streets of Jerusalem. That would break the whole continuity of the scriptures. In connection with those two prophets, let me say this, their forerunners, Moses and Elijah, had the greatest anointing, and expressions of God, that were ever expressed in the earth, except for Jesus Christ Himself, and that is the anointing that will rest on those two prophets of Rev. 11, for a period of 3 ½ years.


THREE AND ONE HALF OR SEVEN?


There are some in this following who still hold to the thought that these two prophets will prophesy in the last three and one-half years of the week of Daniel. This is the same group that claims Jesus was cut off in the middle of that week. You talk about messing up the continuity of the scriptures, when you teach it like that. We will start with chapter 11, verse 3, “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.” What is their prophesying to accomplish? Number one, we will say it is to awaken the nation of Israel to the fact that their Messiah has already come, and was rejected because their ancestors did not recognize Him, and seal the 144,000 servants of God in their foreheads. Secondly, they will warn their brethren of the great tribulation hour that is just ahead, of the deception of the antichrist, the great peace leader, and instruct them on how to protect themselves from the fury of the beast when he turns loose on them. Verse 7, shows that it is the beast that kills the two witnesses after they have prophesied for 3 ½ years, and verse 8, shows us where they are killed, for Jerusalem is the city that SPIRITUALLY, is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. When we go to chapter 12:6, 14; we see that the spiritually awakened woman element of the nation is fleeing into the wilderness from the wrath of the beast, and verse 14, makes it clear that it was the message of the two prophets that prepared her for her flight. Do you begin to see what kind of situation you will come up with if you try to harmonize all this with your 3 ½ year revelation? In other words, you would have Israel (the woman) fleeing for her life in the same 3 ½ years the two prophets are prophesying to her. They would have to chase her through the wilderness in order to preach to her, and to seal the 144,000 servants of God. You would also have the battle of Armageddon raging during the last few months of their ministry, for by the end of that week of Daniel, Armageddon will have run its course, and the Lord Jesus, Himself, with His heavenly army will come to climax that battle. When you come right down to scriptural facts, a person would have to be spiritually blind to believe that all these happenings could be crowded into the last 3 ½ years of the 70th week of Daniel. There just simply is no such thing as a special revelation that would enable you to explain all of this into a twelve hundred and sixty day period.


FLOOD OF WATER


Let us turn back to chapter 12 now, and look at the 15th verse, “And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.” We have to convert these words into a spiritual revelation. Many people read that verse, and try to picture a serpent belching out a stream of water against the woman. When we look back to verse 9, we see that the serpent is also called, Satan, the Devil, as well as the dragon, and when we look back to verse 3, we see that the dragon has seven heads and ten horns, so that lets us know that the serpent in verse 15, is the dragon of verses 3 and 9. We have already explained that the dragon was that old beast, Rome, (the 4th great world kingdom of the earth) filled with the spirit of the devil, and set to devour Christ, the man child, as soon as He was born. There is a 1900 year interval between verse 4, where that old Roman beast was standing ready to devour the man child, and verse 15, where that same old beast is trying to get rid of the woman that produced Him. But the question is, What is the flood that is cast out of the mouth of the serpent, (beast)? Remember, the waters are people, (17:15) and the beast system is made up of people, and the beast man, singular, is the Antichrist. If you can keep this picture in your mind, you will see that the waters that are cast out against the woman, is excessive hatred from the people who make up the beast. The flood, is that great flood of persecution that is cast against her. Satan hates the woman because she brought forth the man child, and because she recognizes and worships God. The Antichrist, who, up until this hour, as the Pope, the head of the Catholic church, has been looked upon as the Vicar of Christ, and reverenced by people all over the world, is no more of a politician than a spiritual leader with Christian principles. We are talking about the hour of this great persecution, and excessive hatred of the woman. Most of you know that these Western European nations have in the past, been mostly Roman Catholic, as far as their affiliation with religion goes, and we are talking about those which make up the ten horns (horn signifies power) of the beast, but in the past few years we have watched communism creep in little by little until it is becoming very obvious that, by the hour of the great tribulation, all of Western Europe that is a part of this beast will have a form of communism all their own. By that time the communistic spirit of that beast will have swallowed up the ecclesiastical element to the point where it will fulfill chapter 17:16, which says, “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, (the whore is the Roman Catholic Church that has rode those poor people for centuries. A church is always referred to in the feminine gender, and this is not the true church of the living God, but rather, is referred to as a whore) and shall make her desolate (void of any spirituality) and naked, (her shame shall be exposed) and shall eat her flesh, (in other words, communism just swallows up the religious element that is left) and burn her with fire.” That will be the fire of persecution and hatred. It is a known fact that communism and religion will not mix. Communism is against religion in every form. That is why the prophet of the age said that communism is a tool in the hands of God, for the destruction of Catholicism. Now you can see that this beast, in that hour, will be motivated by a communistic spirit which will hate everything and everyone that is in any way associated with religion. That is why all those poor Gentile foolish virgins will be martyred; they will hold to their faith in Christ, and refuse to be aligned with the world system.

 

 

EARTH OPENS HER MOUTH


Alright, so the serpent will cast out a flood of persecution and excessive hatred against the woman, but verse 6 lets us know that the woman will be helped by the earth. We will read it. “And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.” Did you notice that verse 15 calls the pursuing one, the serpent, while verse 16 refers to him as the dragon. This very thing was prefigured during World War II, when Hitler put out a decree, that all the Jews in Denmark must wear the Star of David. Hitler was determined to wipe the Jews from the face of the earth. He hated them with a passion, and this decree was just another way to mark them for assassination, but the earth helped them then, just as verse 16 says it will in that day. How were they helped? Well, the story was told that every Danish man wore the Star of David, as if to say, Hitler, if you take them, you will have to get us all. They had taken hundreds of these Jews into their homes where they hid them, and fed them, for the remainder of the war. I believe that is exactly what will take place when the devil tries to annihilate the Jews in the time of the great tribulation. There will be people on this earth who will have a sympathetic feeling toward the Jews, who will do exactly as those Danish people did. I believe that set a little type for us. Many people have said, I do not see how people could hide and survive for a period of 3 ½ years. That period of the war lasted just about the same length of time, and those people survived. There is no way we could go into details, telling you exactly how it will all work out, for time itself will work out the details as the situation demands. This we can say though, there will be enough of those people spared and kept alive, to repopulate the Jewish race in the Millennium. Of course when I mention that there will be babies born in the Millennium, that opens up another subject for my critics. There are ever so many preachers running around these days who refuse to accept that as a fact. Their excuse is that the prophet did not say anything about it. For me, the prophet did not have to say anything about it, for it was already written in the Bible. When you look at Isaiah, chapter 11, speaking of the Millennium, verse 6 says, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the SUCKLING CHILD shall play on the hole of the asp, and the WEANED CHILD shall put his hand on the cockatrice’s den.” This should be enough to convince anyone who is open to truth, but you can still turn to Isaiah 65, and read more along these lines. Brothers and Sisters, I want you to know that the hour is coming, and very soon, when every one of these messages will set off an avalanche. These people will either wake up and begin to search the depths of God’s word, or they will perish in their rebellion. Please tell me what difference it makes, whether the prophet to this age spoke on a certain subject or not, if the Bible furnishes us with sufficient scripture to establish it? This old world is right on the brink of something that is going to leave no individual untouched by the impact of it; therefore it behooves us to seek all the truth that is available to us while we still have the freedom to do so.


I just read an article the other day which stated that the reason President Carter took the initiative in getting Prime Minister Begin and President Sadat together in an effort to bring about a peace treaty between their people, was because he had learned through intelligence sources, or maybe I should say, he believed, from what he had learned through intelligence sources, that Mr. Begin had ordered a build-up of his military forces, looking for Mr. Sadat to start another war. I want you to know, if this thing breaks down, there will not be one thing that President Carter can do to stop it. God is going to fulfill his word whether Mr. Carter cooperates willingly or not. I will say though, because of the line up of Russian satellite nations, those that will side with Russia against Israel, recorded in Ezekiel 38, I am prone to believe that Egypt will find a neutral position before that battle is fought.

 

 

THE WOMAN HAS TWO SEEDS


We have one more verse in this chapter 12 which we have not read, verse 17. “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, (I want you to notice something here now as we read the rest of this verse, the dragon is making war with the remnant of the woman’s seed) which KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD, (JEWS) and HAVE THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS CHRIST, (GENTILE FOOLISH VIRGINS.) This lets us see why the foolish virgins are martyred right along with those Jews, and why you have that great mixed multitude which no man could number, from all the nations, kindred and peoples of the whole earth in chapter 7, verse 9, which are revealed in verse 14 to be those who were martyred during the great tribulation hour. You say, but how did the Gentile foolish virgins get to be the seed of the woman, which we know is Israel? Alright, I will tell you. When God led Abraham up that day and told him to look North, South, East and West, He made a covenant with Abraham, who was the pregenerator of the Jewish race of people, and gave him a promise, God said, I will give you all the land that you can see. It will be to you and to your seed forever. God also told him that his seed would be as the dust of the earth, and as the stars of heaven for number, and that in him and his seed would all the families of the earth be blessed. You can read that in Genesis 13:14-17, 15:1-5, and 28:14. When God made that promise to Abraham, he did not even have a seed, and his wife, Sari, later called Sarah, was well past the normal age of child bearing, but Abraham believed God, and the scriptures declare that God imputed righteousness to him because he believed. Here is how the promise to Abraham is fulfilled in the woman, When God told Abraham that his seed would be as the stars of heaven for number, He gave him a dual promise. Notice, “And in thee and thy seed, shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” There is where the spiritual seed line (those who believe the word of God from every nation) was included. Therefore, when the dragon goes to make war with the remnant of the woman’s seed, he will be killing everyone that in any way identifies with God. That will take in all the Gentile foolish virgins as well as every Jew who trusts in Jehovah. The devil is trying his best to completely annihilate the Jewish race of people, hoping to put to silence forever, all this talk about the Jews having a Messiah, or king, that will rule the world with a rod of iron for a thousand years. The foolish virgins will be in sympathy with the Jews, knowing the promise of God to them, and will therefore partake of that universal blood bath as the decree goes forth to imprison or kill all who will not cooperate with the world system, which would mean that they would be required to renounce faith in God. The devil will have a free hand to do as he desires, for God’s restraining power will no longer be holding back the forces of evil, as He has through this grace age. The devil will be free to do as he sees fit during that hour, with one exception, he cannot lay a finger on anyone who has the seal of God in their foreheads. This will be those who believed the message of the two prophets, and were sealed with the Holy Ghost. God will be watching over them. Contrary to what many people believe, God is still running His own affairs. He has not, and will not, raise a white flag and surrender to the forces of evil. The scriptures declare that God is able to put it in the hearts of men to fulfill His will. For six thousand years God has allowed Satan to pervert, tangle and twist men’s minds, and cause them to rebel against their creator and His righteous ways, but if you will look closely, you will discover that God has still been in control all along, for every prophesy recorded in the scriptures has been fulfilled right on time up to our present day. Therefore, we believe that God (who is the one that actually keeps time on these events of prophecy) will be right on time with what is still left to be fulfilled. He has everything portrayed so beautifully, if we will just allow ourselves to see it. I would like to show you something if you will just turn back to Ezekiel with me for just a moment. Starting with the 24th verse, we will read it. I would like for us to read it along with verses 1-4 of Revelation, chapter 11, which tells of measuring the temple of God, and the alter, and them that worship therein. It tells of the two witnesses that prophesy for 1260 days, prophesying to those who have been brought back from among the heathen (the Gentile nations) into their own land. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth, and it is through their ministry that God accomplishes what is recorded in Ezekiel 36:24-36. Now let us read it. “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.” That is what God has been doing for the past 30 years. It is a slow process, but I say it will all be over with, in one generation. Brothers and Sisters, I hope that everyone of you will realize that we are living in those days right now. Just think, these words were recorded more than 2500 years ago, and think of all the generations that have read them, and we are the people that God has ordained to see them fulfilled. Oh what a privilege we have bestowed upon us by our God. Even now we know that Israel is soon to have another great travailing pain when Ezekiel 38 and 39 are fulfilled. Then very shortly after that, the two prophets will move on the scene, and the remainder of chapter 36 will begin to have its fulfillment. Remember, God’s promised blessing upon the Jews is only effective when they are in their own land. I will remind you of one other thing, and then we will read some more. Israel does not yet have all the land that God gave to Abraham, back in her control, but she soon will regardless of what the rest of the world may think about it. Now verse 25, This will be accomplished through the ministry of the two witnesses of Rev. 11. “Then (in the first half of the last week of Daniel) will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.” The clean water is the prophetic gospel delivered by the two witnesses. Remember, it was because of their entanglements with idols, that God drove them out of the land in the first place. They built idols when they should have been worshiping Jehovah at the temple. 26 “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.” Stony heart seems like odd language unless you have had occasion to walk into a Jewish store on Monday morning, as dad and I used to do years ago, when we raised sheep, and took the wool to their store to sell it. We would walk in there and two or three of them would be cursing each other for all they were worth, letting each other know where to go. You would think they were mad enough to kill at any moment, and you would wonder if such people had any heart in them, but that is just their way. I do not say that to cast any reflection on them; they are like that because of the way they have been dealt with through all the years of their dispersion among Gentile nations. Furthermore, when God gets through with them, they will not act like that any more. 17 “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgements, and do them. 28 “And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.” Just think how perfectly God fulfills His word, and then we have all these politicians yelling that Israel ought to give up certain portions of the land that she has already taken back. She cannot give it up; she must take more. You say, “But maybe it isn’t time yet.” If it isn’t time, there will be a stalemate, but if it is time, then some body had better look out. 29 “I will also save you from all your uncleanliness: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you:” The consummation of that is in the Millennium, but it is actually going on right now. Those of you who went with us to Israel last November, can surely testify to the fact that God’s blessing is already on their farm lands. It seems that almost everything they grow is of huge size and plentiful, like the verse indicates. 30 “And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine among the heathen.” Now we know that the two prophets will smite the land for a short period of time to establish their ministry, as that of God, and there will be a drought for a period of time, but that is to bring them to the condition of the next verse as we will read. 31 “Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loath yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations. 32 Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you: be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.” That word is not just to the two Southern tribes, it is for the whole house of Israel, all twelve tribes. 33 “Thus saith the Lord God, In the day that I shall have cleansed you from all your iniquities I will also cause you to dwell in the cities, and the wastes shall be builded.” No wonder the government of Israel has just announced that they will build five more villages in the occupied territory. As soon as the Western world leaders heard it they began screaming, “You can’t do that.” She can do it. God said so. “You shall build the waste places.” Yes, “And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. 35 And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; (HALLELUJAH!) And the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become FENCED, and are inhabited.” In 1968 when we were over there, I remember the Jordan valley was a desolate looking area, but we showed you the little movie film we made over there last year, how that the land is now so fertile. Anywhere they can level it off enough to till it, they are growing big cabbage, cauliflower, and all kinds of vegetables that are beautiful to look at. No wonder it is said that the land is become like the garden of Eden; this is just the beginning. Another thing we noticed was the everyone of those little villages had a fence around it. That is verse 35, “the ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.” Now look at verse 36, and you will know why it cannot be stopped by all the big powers of the world. 36 “Then the heathen that are left round about you shall know that I THE LORD BUILD THE RUINED PLACES, AND PLANT THAT, THAT WAS DESOLATE: I THE LORD HAVE SPOKEN IT, AND I WILL DO IT.” Praise God! Ezekiel 36 is being fulfilled right before our very eyes, and the world in general knows not that it is God doing it, therefore He will have to fall upon them, and crush them because of their stubbornness. You noticed in verse 35 that they are fenced cities. I will just say this, the fences are only put there to keep out the guerrillas. Otherwise they could slip in at night. These fences are electrified for that reason.


GENTILES WILL HELP ISRAEL


We read the scripture in Isaiah 66:7-8, about the man child being born without pain, and the travailing that brings the rebirth of the nation, but I want to read one more that establishes the fact that Gentiles will help Israel with finances, weapons and so forth. God will draw what He needs from the Gentiles to benefit Israel. The verse is Isaiah 60:16, “Thou shalt also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shalt suck the breast of kings: and thou shalt know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.” Brothers and Sisters, I hope this little message will answer some of the questions that you have had on your mind, and I invite those of you who will read it in the paper to feel free to write me if there is still a question that has not been answered to your satisfaction, and may the God of this Bible that we cherish so dearly, reveal Himself to each of you in a very personal way. Amen

Paul’s Thorn In The Flesh

APRIL 1978

2 CORINTHIANS, CHAPTER 12

 

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED ABOUT THE STATEMENT MADE BY THE APOSTLE PAUL IN 2ND CORINTHIANS, CHAPTER 12, VERSE 7, WHERE HE SPOKE OF A THORN IN HIS FLESH? WE WILL TRY TO ANSWER SOME OF THE QUESTIONS THAT MAY HAVE COME TO YOUR MIND ABOUT THIS SCRIPTURE AS WE DEAL WITH THIS MESSAGE. WE WILL JUST LET THE BIBLE SPEAK FOR ITSELF, AND TRUST GOD TO LEAD US TO THE SCRIPTURES THAT WILL MAKE THIS STUDY MEANINGFUL TO EACH OF YOU. CERTAIN SCRIPTURES ARE USED BY VARIOUS GROUPS AND INDIVIDUALS TO PROJECT CERTAIN DOCTRINES, BUT THEY ARE USED OUT OF CONTEXT AND DO NOT CARRY THE THOUGHT THAT IS PROJECTED. WE BELIEVE THE BIBLE HAS SUFFICIENT SCRIPTURE IN IT TO COVER EVERY NEED OF HUMANITY WITHOUT PULLING CERTAIN VERSES OUT BY THEMSELVES JUST TO MAKE A PLATFORM FOR INDIVIDUAL OPINIONS. WE BELIEVE ALSO, THAT GOD WILL VINDICATE HIS WORD WHEREVER IT IS PREACHED, AND THAT WE DO NOT HAVE TO HIDE ANYTHING THAT IS IN IT IN ORDER TO GET GOD TO WORK. WE ASK YOU TO READ THE ARTICLE WITH AN OPEN MIND, AND WE TRUST THAT IT WILL BLESS YOU, AND HELP YOU TO BETTER SEE GOD AS HE IS. IN OTHER WORDS, EVERYTHING OPEN AND ABOVE BOARD.

 

TEXT: 2 CORINTHIANS 12: 1-10

 

Let us enter into this message prayerfully, trusting God to open our understanding of this very controversial subject which we desire to deal with. For a title, we will just call it Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh, but it will deal with the subject of divine healing, and the questions of what Paul’s thorn in the flesh actually was. As far back as I can remember, Christians have discussed among themselves, even argued at times, about this thorn in Paul’s flesh, which he spoke of as being the messenger of Satan to buffet him, keeping him from becoming too proud and exalted as a result of the heavenly vision which the Lord had given to him. As I go into this message, I do so with the awareness that some will say, what is a man who has been in the hospital and had surgery, himself, tackling a message like this for? My answer to that is, I do not allow circumstances such as this to prevent me from preaching a message that the Lord gives me from his word. I may not use words of expression that some of you are capable of using, and some of you may have a lot more faith in some areas than I, but when it comes to establishing what the Bible has to say about a subject, then I will give no ground for any kind of a statement, sermon, or any human feelings. Ever since God led me into this Hold Ghost way of living and walking with Him, I have been concerned about this thing of divine healing, for in the Methodist church it was never taught. Neither was it taught in the Church of Christ, for they, like the Methodist, did not believe in divine healing; they claim that all of that ceased when the apostles passed off of the scene. The only kind of healing they believe in, is that which can be accomplished through doctors, and medicine. They have their confidence in medical science, and the ability of man, and I want it understood that I am not speaking against these things; I thank God for what he has enabled man to learn about this very complex human body, but we need to give God room to deal with us as he sees fit to do so. The world is full of testimonies of God’s sovereign grace in the lives of individual people, but let us try to understand that God did not write the Bible to fit your experience, nor mine, but somewhere, we will have to be able to see our experience in the Bible. That is the way we have to look at it. The truth of what God is, and what God will do for his creation, is all recorded in the book, and therefore, our experiences and ideas must harmonize with what the word of God teaches.

 

LET THE BIBLE SPEAK

 

I have read books through the years, of every sort, many of them by men who had outstanding ministries. I have read after Charles Price, Wigglesworth, F. F. Bosworth, and many others, books on how to have faith, what faith is, how to release your faith, what one must do to receive divine healing, etc., but I never did find one that actually set the scriptures straight, without leaving some verses unexplained. Therefore I would like to start with Isaiah 53, laying a foundation for our text, and endeavor to make the message clear, and meaningful to all who hear it, or read it in the Contender. This is not meant to promote any kind of a healing doctrine; it is for the purpose of trying to help people look at the word of God in a mature way, rather than to play around with it like a group of children playing musical chairs. Isaiah prophesied concerning Christ Jesus, and what he would do for lost mankind, more than 700 years before his birth. He spoke of a child that would be born, upon whose shoulders the government of the people would rest; going on to say, “And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor. The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform it.” Now we know that most of this is yet for a future date, but the child that was to be born was none other than Jesus who was called the son of Joseph and Mary according to the flesh. We know of his sacrificial death at Calvary, but I wonder if we really have fully comprehended all that was accomplished in the price that he paid when he laid down his life for the redemption of all lost mankind.

ISAIAH’S PROPHECY OF CHRIST

 

Let us turn now to Isaiah 53, and begin reading with the first verse. “Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, (talking about Jesus), and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” All of this was saying that when Jesus (the Messiah of Israel), comes, there will be nothing about his personal appearance that will be attractive to people. In other words people would not be attracted to him because of his good looks, nor by the way he dressed or combed his hair. Physically he would not look very much different than any other man around Jerusalem in those days. Certainly there was nothing about his looks that would draw a crowd, but Isaiah goes on in his prophecy to say, 3, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: (He knew what it was to be belittled, humiliated, made fun of and ridiculed by people, but his ridiculement and persecution did not come from the prostitutes, nor the criminals in jail; it came from the religious people. They had a fixed idea of what religion was to be like, and most of what he said and did was just the opposite from what they thought it should be; it did not match their seminary teaching, and therefore they could not accept him; neither could they just leave him alone; they criticized and persecuted him.) and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4, Surely he hath borne our griefs, (Have you ever just felt down in the dumps, and deeply distressed, full of anxiety and fear? I am not talking about feeling bad because we were unable to pay the electric bill, or anything like that; this word, as it is used here, comes from a Hebrew word that takes in calamity, sickness, disease, deep distress, unwholesome conditions, and anxiety, which goes far beyond our not being able to pay the bills, and that sort of thing. Jesus suffered all of this for us. That is why the apostle Paul wrote, “We have not an high priest which cannot be touched by the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.’ This takes in the rest of the verse we are reading.) And carried our sorrows.” This word, S-O-R-R-O-W-S, as used here, comes from a Hebrew word which takes in affliction, anguish, grief, pain, sorrow and sadness, and Isaiah prophesied that Jesus, the Messiah, would carry all this for us. Now let us read the whole verse straight through. “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” This was when he hung on the cross at Calvary, (SMITTEN OF GOD), and his blood was spilled on the ground, not for his sins, but for ours. There is where he was heard to cry out, MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAS THOU FORSAKEN ME? That has caused many people, in trying to separate a trinity idea from the oneness teaching, to ask the question, “How could he be none other than God himself, and still be crying out to God as he did there? It was because the sins of the whole world were laid upon his flesh; he bore our sins in his flesh, not in his spirit. Therefore, when the sins of the whole world were laid upon the flesh man, God, who is spirit, forsook him. There is no other reason, but remember, he went to that cross willingly; he was not forced to do it. With his own words he said, “No one takes my life; I lay it down willingly.” When that same vessel of clay walked on water, it was not because the virtue was in the flesh; it was because the life that was in that flesh, has power over every law of nature. When he turned the water to wine; it was not because he had some secret formula hid in the palm of his hand. No, the virtue was not in the flesh. The flesh was only a means by which the Eternal God, (which is spirit, and is invisible), could have contact with man’s senses. In the flesh of Jesus, God could be seen, heard and touched by mortal man. In the flesh of Jesus, God spoke healing to sick bodies, He spoke life back into the dead, He restored sight to the blind, walked on the water, turned the water to wine, and taught a new way of life to those who followed Him, but the virtue was not of the flesh; it was the life that dwelt in that flesh that had the virtue. Now, if God, who dwelt in that fleshly form, was on day, going to cause an innocent man to suffer for the sins of the whole world; then that man would have to be a sinless man, a perfect man, a man who had not sinful attributes within his flesh, completely without a nature to sin, yet he had to be free to make his own choices or he could not have set an example for us, he had to be tried and tested in every area of life without yielding to any of the devil’s temptations, in order to show us the way to please our heavenly Father. There was not inherited nature in him to lust, covet, lie, cheat, steal or get drunk, yet he had to be able to make the choice, or his temptation would have been a farce. It was the same with Adam and Eve; they did not have a nature within them to sin against God, but they had the choice to make when temptation was presented. It was because of the choice they made, that it was necessary for the second Adam, (Jesus Christ) to come into the world and live a sinless life of obedience to the will of God. As for his walking on the water, and turning the water to wine, and other such things, we have to look at this as him establishing the fact that He is God over His own laws. It is not natural for mortal men to walk on water, the law of gravity is absolutely against that. Man was put here on earth, and this is to be man’s natural habitation, therefore the law of gravity keeps him where God meant for him to stay through all of His redeeming process. Yes, God has certain laws in effect, but He is not bound by His laws. He proved that when He walked on earth among men in the human form known as Jesus of Nazareth, but we see this man Jesus was smitten of God and afflicted, according to Isaiah’s prophecy. Everything took place just exactly as it was prophesied to. The very man that for 3 ½ years had defied the laws of nature, even to the point of telling a storm to shut up, was now hanging on a cross with the life’s blood running out of the wounds in His flesh. Hanging there is a man that from all appearances is helpless to do anything to help himself, yet His own words were, that, even then, He could call 12 legions of angels to help Him if He chose to do so. What is this all about? Why did He not try to help Himself at such a time as this? By His own words He said, “For this cause came I unto this hour.” Even Caiaphas the high priest prophesied concerning Jesus when the council of chief priests and Pharisees were gathered together for the purpose of deciding what to do about this man who was doing all those miracles. John recorded it in this gospel, verses 49-52 of the eleventh chapter. “And one of them named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself; but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation; and not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.”

 

JESUS DIED AS A MAN – NOT AS DEITY

 

Now if it was necessary for one innocent man to die one day, for the sins of the whole world, past, present, and future, and that man was to taste death for every man, then He must not die as DEITY, He must die as a man. That is why as he hung there on that old cross, with the nails in His hands and feet, His muscles drawn, spasms wreaking through His chest, plunging away at His heart, and moments when His brain was attacked by faint, to the point where someone dipped a sponge into a mixture of vinegar and probably certain types of drugs that would have taken away all the pain if He would have taken it, He refused to partake of it, knowing that He was to suffer death for every man, woman, and child of the whole human race. He was smitten of God and afflicted. In other words, He was stripped of all DEITY powers; not in the sense that He could not have rescued Himself, but since He was ordained to die for the sins of all mankind, He had to be left to die like any other human. He had to be able to feel the pain throughout His whole being or it could not have been said that He suffered the penalty for all of our sins. The critics passed by spitting at Him and crying out, “You saved others, why don’t you save yourself.” It was all for the sake of mocking him when they said, “If he is the king of Israel let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will save him.” That sounds just like the devil, doesn’t it? The devil knew who that was hanging there. He was no stranger to Him, but there was one thing sure; it was not the second person of a trinity hanging there that day, it was none other than the very God himself, veiled in human flesh, taking upon that flesh the penalty for the sins of the whole world. While one of the prisoners that was crucified with Him hung there cursing and accusing Him, and the one on the other side was repenting, Jesus gave up the Ghost, life separated from Him and His head slumped over. “SURELY HE HATH BORNE OUR GRIEFS, AND CARRIED OUR SORROWS: YET WE DID ESTEEM HIM STRICKEN, SMITTEN OF GOD AND AFFLICTED.” He was not afflicted in the sense that He was made sick as some might think. No, His affliction was in the form of abuse and torture. Think of the almost unbearable pain as the crown of thorns was rammed down on His head. I can just see the blood run from those thorn pricks, run down on His face and dry there, also his back, where He has been beaten until it is nothing but bloody bruises and gashes. Why? Did you ever ask yourself, why? “He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities.” All of our disobedience, all of our ungodly living, all of our rebellious attitudes, and every wrong thing that we have ever done was all laid upon Him, (Jesus) at Calvary. “The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed.”

 

DIVINE HEALING IS A SCRIPTURAL FACT

 

It is a positive fact that divine healing was in the atonement work at Calvary. A person who would deny that, would have to deny the word of God. Isaiah prophesied about it, putting it in a future tense setting, but Peter wrote about it in his epistle as a finished work. In other words, it was already accomplished, right? You can read it in 1 Peter 2:24, “BY WHOSE STRIPES YE WERE, YE W-E-R-E, past tense, already healed.” Who can argue with that, without being found arguing with God? Let us go now to Psalms 103, and try to get these scriptures all together which speak so positive about divine healing. In verse 1, we read, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases.” The spirit of Christ speaking through David, the Psalmist, furnished us with the beautiful words which we have just read. Actually that is part of a song that David sung giving full expression of what the Lord is to mankind, but I want us to turn now to Exodus 15:23-26, “And when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter; therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters’ were made sweet; there he made for them a, Now listen to what God’s word says here. There he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, (that went with it) I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: FOR I AM THE LORD THAT HEALETH THEE.” I hear people quote that 26th verse often, but I never hear them mention the conditions which were set forth ahead of that promise. When God says that he will do a certain thing, if we do a certain thing, it is not right for us to expect God to do His part unless we do ours. What God told those Israelites to do went way beyond just trying to keep the 10 commandments, they were to keep all his statutes also. Very few people ever really understand just what his statutes were. You can read the Ten Commandments in Exodus, chapter 20, but you have to read Deuteronomy and Leviticus to find out what His statutes were. Now, what does that amount to in relation to the one verse of scripture which says so much? Simply this, even though he said, “I am the Lord that healeth thee,” that promise was absolutely conditional. When He said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and will do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians, He meant that their whole way of life must absolutely be centered around the entire word of God, not just two or three verses. The religious world is full of people who have grabbed two, three, or a half dozen verses of scripture which contain the promises of God for his people, and they have completely ignored the conditions set forth which must be met in order for us to come boldly before the throne of grace to receive the promise. God provided these benefits for his true children, those who would live just as true and clean after they are healed as they do before. You may say, “But Bro. Jackson, there are an awful lot of people getting healed that do not even serve God.” I still say the promises and provisions in the scriptures are for the true children of God; they are the only ones who have a legal right to them, but we do know that God is sovereign, and therefore He can bestow mercy upon who He will, then if they do not live for God, they will have to face Him in judgment. People are guilty of maneuvering the word of God to suit their own particular purpose, just like the Judiastic leaders had been guilty of doing before the first advent of Christ. The more some people study the Bible, the farther they get from the true revelation contained in it, all because they are studying it for the wrong reasons, not really seeking a holy walk with God.

 

WHAT DID PAUL PREACH?

 

I mean for us to take this message very slow, giving everyone a chance to look at the Bible, to see just exactly what it has to say on this subject. Let us turn now to 2 Corinthians, chapter 12:1-10 where we will begin to see something if we will watch closely. You must watch the man. I believe you will see something if you will just watch the man. The man is the apostle Paul who authored most of the New Testament letters to the churches. As we study the New Testament, there is not found anywhere, a sermon that Paul preached just on divine healing. You say, “Did he believe in divine healing?” He sure did, but he did not go around preaching divine healing messages, as such. This message may seem strange to some of you, but I am preaching it to clear out some of the cobwebs from people’s minds. Remember, the apostle Paul was healed at Damascus. Is that right? Therefore he had every right to believe in the act of divine healing. How is it he never preached a sermon on the subject, yet he had one of the greatest healing revivals that the Gentiles had ever heard about there at Ephesus? We read in the 19th chapter of Acts, how that God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul; so that from his body were brought unto the sick, handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. No, it was not because he was preaching divine healing; it was because he was preaching the gospel and in doing so, he made the people to see that God would meet all of their needs. He never even left Ephesus, but they came from miles around to hear this man preach, and when they did, many of them became revelated. Then, as they received personal healing, they probably began thinking about grandma or grandpa or someone else back home who needed to be healed. I can just see them as they began to get the idea to have Paul pray over, or even, just touch a handkerchief or an apron, believing that if they laid that on their sick folks they would be healed. Needless to say, God honored their faith. He healed the sick and the evil spirits went out of them, but Paul still did not preach on divine healing, and neither did he furnish the handkerchiefs and aprons; the people brought them to him. They no doubt brought handkerchiefs from the men, and aprons from the women. This was not just a ten day or two week campaign, either; this meeting lasted for about two years, giving all the people of Asia, ample opportunity to hear of the meeting, and attend the services. I will say this, also, when people came to hear Paul preach, they did not have to sit there for two hours while he took an offering from them. You know how it is in our day; these modern day evangelists will get up when it out to be time for them to start preaching and say, “The Lord showed me that there are three people in this building that should give one thousand dollars: you know who you are, now who will be first?” Then they will go right on down through five hundred, one hundred, fifty, twenty-five, and they will keep going until they get all the loose pocket change, and then they will preach a little twenty minute sermon on divine healing and call a prayer line, all in the name of the Lord. When the service is over with, the people do not know anymore about God than they did when they came in. Brothers and sisters, time is too short for us to play around with this gospel message that those early Christians loved enough to lay down their very lives for. It is time for us to hear it, and obey it the way they did. We are not going to get off the ground, in the rapture until we do.

 

PAUL DEFENDS HIS IMAGE

 

As we go into this 12th chapter of 2nd Corinthians, please remember, Paul has been criticized by the very people that he had established in the faith earlier. They had listened to a bunch of those roving preachers who drift from place to place teaching their private revelations, and their very purpose was to try to diminish Paul’s image, casting a reflection on his revelation and his character. Paul knew that he had taught the people right, and that he had not tried to make a name for himself, but now he is facing a situation that must be dealt with; therefore, in chapter 11 we hear him say, verses 2-3, “For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy; for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” He goes on to say, in verse 13, (speaking of these men who have stirred up the trouble) “For such are FALSE APOSTLES, deceitful workings, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” Now let us be sure we get the picture here, so we will understand why Paul speaks as he does of himself. These fellows are trying to change the grace of God, trying to change the revelation that God, through Paul, had delivered unto them so clearly. They have gone about it in such a way that it has, no doubt, come to a place where it is Paul’s image and character, against theirs, and even though Paul does not like to boast of himself, (and he plainly says so), he finds himself in a situation where he is compelled to glory in his flesh in order to put the others in their place. That brings us up to the place where we will start reading chapter 12, where Paul says, “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.” In other words, these other fellows must have had a very sweet, appetizing sort of revelation, but they could not hold a candle to the apostle Paul when it came to his, for there was one thing sure, what he preached ten years before, he would still preach, and if you heard him twenty years later, he would still be preaching it the same way. In verse 2 he said, “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago.” Now some will say Bro. Jackson, was he still here on earth when all this happened to him? That is not the important part. We are not here to debate that; that is like straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel. No, he said, “Whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth.” It did not matter to Paul that only God knew whether he was in the body or out of it. He just knew that when the spirit of God came on him, in this experience, he was taken up into glory; whether bodily, or visionary, it did not matter to him. He says, “Such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth);” Therefore if only God knew, and Paul did not, please do not expect me to tell you which it was. The important thing is that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words which were not lawful for a man to utter. We would say, he heard mysterious things. What he heard, were things that he knew it would not be good to talk about down here on earth among mortal, carnal minded beings. Therefore, (in the back of his mind), he just kept that which he had heard, and I am sure he spent much time recalling those words and musing over them, being thankful to God that he was allowed such a privilege, for he knew what they meant. He knew also that if they were told to anyone else it would just start a cycle of people playing with those words, and cause an endless string of questions, so he just kept all this to himself. But now the time has come for him to deal with the situation at hand and find him glorying in the experience that he had been keeping quiet about. Verse 5, “Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.” You must catch what he means here or it will sound confusing to you. What he is saying is, I will glory in the inner man; there is nothing wrong with him. Paul is in an area of dealing with the two natures of man, that which is spiritual, and that which is natural; therefore, (by the help of God) I want to explain what he is saying, in common everyday language, and try to show you what it would actually lead to if you interpret it wrong. “Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.” In other words he could glory in the inner man for he was without fault, but when it came to the outer man, (the flesh) he said, I will not say too much for him; he doesn’t look so good, meaning, of course, if he started talking about his flesh, he would be faced with how he appeared in the eyes of others. He might have been bald headed, rough skinned, snaggletoothed, and who knows what else. Remember now, as we read verse 6, this is Paul talking. “For though I would desire to glory, (Do you see? He said he would like to.) I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.” You can see here that he has dropped his whole line of thought down to a fleshly level. He says, I do not want to glory about that, realizing that it was his flesh that had been compared to these men who had caused the disturbance among these Corinthian people. No doubt these fellows had a way about them that, compared to Paul, they stood out and presented a better image in looks and personality and that sort of thing. Paul realizing just what was going on, and where he stood, he said, “For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool, for I will say the truth, but now I forbear, (or I will only go so far with it, lest some of you start thinking of me above that which you are able to see in me), or that he heareth of me.” To see him, and to hear him, was to know him after his natural makeup, and it was Paul’s desire for them to hear, “Thus saith the Lord,” without having the human vessel exalted. You know yourselves, that some very ordinary looking people (as far as the flesh is concerned) can go around talking of their spiritual experiences in the Lord, to the point where some will begin to look upon them as something special. They will begin to exalt them above other people, and at times, look upon them as deity, even to the point of bowing down to worship them. Paul avoided anything, and everything that could lead to a situation like that. He certainly did not want any glory that belonged to God, therefore he refrained from entering into any kind of boasting that might have caused some to stumble.

MESSENGER OF SATAN

 

Now as we go into verse 7, we find another thought opened up, a thorn in his flesh. I said earlier that this is a very controversial subject, therefore I want us to go into it thoroughly with the thought of getting our minds settled once and for all as to what this thorn in his flesh was. Let us read verse 7, “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, (not in his soul, it was in his flesh), the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.” I will never forget reading what one man wrote on this subject. In his reasoning he made this statement, “If Paul’s thorn in the flesh was a physical affliction as some say, just imagine him being so boastful, so disobedient that God would have to deal with him in that way.” Now I just want to leave that statement right there for now, and deal with what Paul said about it. In verse we find him saying, “ For this thing I sought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.” I believe with all my heart that at least three times he had shut himself away, no doubt, with fasting and prayer for a number of days, where he cried out to God for deliverance from this thing. I believe it was more than just a little bedroom prayer at night. This was something that hindered him, and he felt that he should be rid of it, but look what the answer of God was to him, 8 “And he (God) said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for MY STRENGTH is made perfect in weakness.” What was sufficient? God’s grace. God did not deliver him from this thing, He just gave him sufficient grace to go ahead and do whatever he had to do. Brothers and sisters, consider this, the thing that plagued Paul to the point where he sought deliverance from the Lord had to be in only one of three particular areas, namely, PHYSICAL, SPIRITUAL OR MORAL; there is no fourth area for it to fall in. It was something that reminded him of himself, and no doubt, drove him to prayer many times during the course of his ministry. I am sure you know that I could just make a flat statement as to what I believe this thorn in the flesh was, but many of you would not be satisfied with that, therefore, we are going to look at this from every logistical standpoint, giving you the opportunity of discovering for yourselves just what the scripture makes clear to us. We will finish verse 9, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” This word infirmity or infirmities, did not mean that he was such a sick man that he had to be carried around on a cot all the time. Though this word infirmity is used in the plural, we still must remember that the word THORN is singular, and by this we know that he had one particular thing that was constantly flaring up to give him trouble. We would say it was a pricking sort of reminder that he had his limitations. It was something that would gouge at him from time to time, and he has come to the place of recognizing why God allowed such a thing to be, so he has learned to trust in the grace of God without constantly feeling sorry for himself. 10, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” Did you notice as we read that verse, that he mentioned many things that do not even fall in the category of infirmities? They are identities of God’s dealings, and of Satan’s harassment and accusations thrown against him. Some of these things do not even pertain to the flesh. The term, reproaches, for instance, that probably had to do with people telling lies about him. Who could say that was a thorn in the flesh? They lied about Jesus too. After reproaches, he mentions necessities. I hope you realize, Paul was not a rich man, material wise; he found himself broke many times, during the course of his travels. We can see that in some of the letters he wrote to other churches. He speaks of persecutions here, and certainly we have no trouble finding where he had persecutions. Every time he went into a Jewish synagogue, when he would get a little too deep in the word for the, and talk about the Messiah from his present day viewpoint, sure enough they would grab him, and his companions, whoever they might be, and out the door they would cast them. That was not infirmities: that was just plain persecutions. Unwelcome, unaccepted, unrecognized and hated by many, he continued to do what God had called him to do. I might say also that some of his persecution turned out to be exceedingly rough on the flesh, but it still did not fall into the category of infirmities. On one particular occasion they waylaid him and Silas and took them before the magistrates making accusations against them because of what they taught, and the result was that, after they had laid many stripes on them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely. Do you know what they did? At midnight Paul and Silas began praying and singing praises to God. They did not have any fancy guitars, nor amplifiers, nor any kind of public address equipment; all they had was just two plain old crude voices, probably singing about the amazing grace of God, giving praise to him who is able to grant them victory in every situation. The more they sang, the happier they got, and the happier they got, the louder they got, until they could be heard throughout the whole area. The other prisoners got to listening, the angels got to listening, and it sounded so sweet in heaven, do you know what happened? The Lord sent an angel to shake those prison doors until they swung open, and at that time everyone’s bands were loosed. I know what some of you are thinking, but Bro. Jackson, the Bible says it was an earthquake that shook that prison. You have heard me say it before, but I will say it again, whenever you find God intervening in the affairs of man, you will always find him working through angels, then when we look into the scriptures, we find many places where an angel came down, and there was a great earthquake.

 

GOOD NEWS FOR THE JAILER

 

I am sure most of you have recognized by now that we are talking about the events recorded in the 16th chapter of Acts, and we find that after the earthquake had shook all the doors of the prison until they swung open, and all the prisoners were loosed from their restraining bands, the old jailer awakened from his sleep, and discovered what had happened. At that, he drew his sword and would have killed himself, knowing that if he had allowed all those prisoners to escape, he would be killed anyhow, but the apostle Paul spoke just at the right time, saying, “Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.” That was the best news the old jailer had heard for a long time. He called for a light, and came running down the corridor until he reached the cell where Paul and Silas were, then he rushed in and fell at their feet trembling. When he regained control of himself, he brought them out and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? He knew who they were, and he knew why they were in there, and he had heard and seen enough to know that they had God on their side. They answered him, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

 

PRAYING FOR YOUR FAMILY

 

Right here is a good opportunity for me to answer a question that is often asked, “Bro. Jackson do I have a right to claim my household for the Lord?” Yes, claim them, hold them up before God in prayer, and do everything you can to set a Christian example before them, but remember, every last one of them is personally responsible to God for their own salvation. You cannot answer to God for them. Therefore if you see circumstances farther on down the road that makes it appear that God is not going to work on behalf of one or two of them, do not become discouraged to the point where you throw up your hands in defeat. Remember God is sovereign, and he works according to his own council, but if you will claim your family members, and hold them up before God in prayer, you will have that special feeling toward them that will care for them and set a proper example before them. Nevertheless, I am persuaded that Paul answered the jailer as he did because of divine inspiration. It was not standard procedure for one member of a family to believe, and obligate God to save the whole family. I am thinking of what Jesus said in the 10th chapter of Matthew, “A man’s foes shall be those of his own household.” On the other hand we do have scriptural examples such as the household of Cornelius, where the whole house was saved, but it was because each and every one of them believed the gospel, and personally accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their savior. It was the same way here in Acts 15; God had the scene already set up, and he inspired Paul to answer the jailer as he did, but they preached the gospel to the whole family, and they baptized every one of them because they everyone believed. You will find that in the 34th verse; he believed in God WITH his whole house. Now let me admonish you, trust God, let your request be made known to him, and pray for your whole family, but do not find fault with God if everything does not go as you would have it to. Remember the words of Paul, spoken to the Romans, “Shall the thing that is formed, say unto him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour and another unto dis-honour?” Yes, God will work out his plan for the ages, and he will do it with, or without, our individual cooperation, but I will go so far as to say this, If you are in the plan of God and you refuse to cooperate, you can expect Him to slap you around until you do start cooperating with Him. You say, “Will God do that?” I talk like this to get your attention; not to be silly, nor foolish, but God does know how to get your attention. When I was knocked off of my tractor by a drunken driver, and later, lay in that hospital with my head and face split open, I did not need anyone to tell me that God was trying to get my attention. It took that for him to get it, and I have been carrying the scar ever since, but I will say this, when God gets finished talking to you after an ordeal like that, you do not have any trouble remembering. I imagine Paul (if he was still alive) would testify to that. He could never have forgotten his experience on the Damascus road that day. I will only testify for myself on this next statement. When I came to my senses, there in the hospital, I did not need to ask anyone why that had happened; I asked them what had happened, but not why. When I became conscious enough to think, it was like a small voice deep inside me saying, “I know why this has happened; it is to bring my heart to God.” Then I am reminded of the scripture that says, “And we know all things work together for good to them that love God, (not to the whole world, but to them that love God), to them who are the called according to his purpose.” As we meditate on the things that have happened along life’s journey, this scripture will, many times, give us new courage to face the challenge of life.

 

A THORN GOUGES THE FLESH

 

Now, back to Paul, back to the thought of his infirmities, and the thorn in his flesh. I have said many times before, there are only three categories for this to be fitted into; it must be one of the three. He refers to it as a thorn in his flesh. How many of you have ever had a briar stuck deep down in your finger? You who have will remember that, after it has been in there awhile, if you do not rub it the wrong way, it doesn’t feel too bad, but every once in awhile you would pick up something in a way that would put pressure on the spot and you would feel the prick or gouge. At that you would think, “I wish I could get that thing out of there.” The reason he spoke of this as a thorn in his flesh was because a thorn is a gouging thing; it gouges the flesh. You might say, he had to be careful how he conducted himself, for every so often he would feel a gouge, and he said God gave it to him. You may say, “I thought the devil was always the one who does things like that.” The devil is only the instrument; look at the reason why it was given to him and you will know that it was God ordained. Verse 7 tells us that it was to keep him from being exalted beyond what he should be as a result of the heavenly vision which he had received.

 

PHYSICAL – SPIRITUAL – MORAL?

 

Remember now, in the beginning of the message I said, “watch the man.” As we reason this thing out by the scriptures, remember Paul wrote these letters, and he is the one who preached divine healing to the Gentiles as he preached the gospel to them with all of its benefits. If this thing was not a physical condition that flared up ever so often, then we ought to be able to establish by the scriptures just exactly what it was. Let us say, for the sake of exploring every avenue, that this was something that pricked his spirit every so often. His spirit in his soul, and we all know that a thing like that can be hid; it is not necessary for others to know of something that is not visible. Deep inside your heart you may be pressed down, burdened, very grieved; something may have your inner being in a turmoil, but that does not mean that others have to know. I know you have met, and probably could name someone right now that carries such a burden, but at the same time, that person, if asked, “How are you today,” might say, “Just fine, never been better.” Now, not everyone has that kind of victory, but the point I am making is this, if Paul’s trouble had been in his spirit, it would not have been openly obvious to those he preached to. He would have kept it hid from them. We will consider this some more later, but right now I want to open up the third area of man’s trouble, and see if we can lay Paul’s thorn there. If it was not a physical condition, nor a spiritual problem, that leaves only one other area that it could be; there is no fourth area for consideration. If it was not one of the first two, then it would have to be a moral problem, something that pertained to his fleshly nature. It would have to be a human weakness that he was not able to overcome; something like a drinking habit, or some other human weakness. If it was something like that, then the other two categories are eliminated. We have to settle it by the scriptures; therefore we will read some other scriptures to see what we can learn.

 

WHY GO BACK INTO BONDAGE?

 

You probably know that Corinth and Galatia were not too far apart, and that the Galatian letter and the Corinthian letters were written fairly close together, so let us turn to Galatians and read what Paul wrote to them concerning the same problem that he has been writing to the Corinthians about. The Galatian letter was written first. It seems that some one had gone behind Paul and perverted his teaching, telling these Galatians that now that they had believed, they could only be made perfect by keeping the law. He, or they, which ever the case was, had them trying to keep the law of Moses, and observing certain days, and so forth, which caused Paul to write to them using some very strong words. In the first chapter he said, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” We will hold those verses in our minds and go over to the 4th chapter where we will begin to read, starting with the 8th verse. Listen to what Paul says, “Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, (meaning, when they were still pagans, before they had the gospel preached to them), ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. (In other words, you served all those pagan deities.) But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, (This is Paul’s way of reminding them that it was his revelation that had introduced them to God, or made known to them who God really is, and how that they, even as pagans, could be reconciled to that God by grace, through the Lord Jesus Christ.) How turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” Paul is taking this opportunity to remind them of who, and where they were, before he brought to them the gospel of grace. He is reminding them that they were just pagans, serving other gods which were not really gods at all. He calls their former ways, the weak and beggarly ways, and questions them for turning back to such, after having a revelation of the true God presented to them. He says, “Ye observe days, and months, and times, and yeas. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.” In other words all these things are vain, for those who have been accepted into God’s plan of grace and mercy. He was trying to get them to see that they were placing themselves under bondage, and that all such effort is vain. But, after all of this admonition he still refers to them as brothers in faith. 12, “Brethren, I beseech you, (or I beg you), be as I am; for I am as ye are: (now notice this next statement), Ye have not injured me at all.” Paul had received word that, because of these other teachings he was no longer highly esteemed as a great man of God. His image had been cut down to about 8 inches tall. Whoever those other characters were, they had purposely conducted themselves in such a way, as to diminish Paul’s image, and influence on these Galatians, but Paul is telling them that they have not injured him. Praise God, he knew where he stood with God regardless of what had been said about him. He is the one who said, “I know in whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him, against that day.” This man knew what he was talking about. He told them right in the very beginning that the things he had taught them did not come by another mortal man, for he had been taught by the resurrected Christ himself. A man like that does not change his teaching every few weeks. You could hear him ten years later, and he would still hold to what he had taught the first time. Hallelujah! That is revelation. That is why he could say to them, If any man, or even an angel ever preaches anything contrary to what we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. He was absolutely sure that what he had preached was right; therefore he was not the least bit hesitant to reach all the way into the heavenlies and include angels in what he had to say.

 

PREACH THE WORD

 

We will now read verse 13, and I want you to notice exactly what he has to say in these next verses. 13, “Ye know how that through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.” Now he said, “THROUGH INFIRMITY OF THE FLESH, I PREACHED THE GOSPEL UNTO YOU,” and some will say, “Now wait a minute, Bro. Jackson, if you preach like that, it will not stimulate faith in those who need healing.” I beg your pardon; what I am saying is truth, and Paul taught it, and those Galatians saw his difficulty, or infirmity, and God still honored his ministry. You just do not change the word of God to make it fit someone’s expectations; you preach the word just like it is, regardless of circumstances, and God, who is sovereign, will see that it does not return unto him without accomplishing His will and purpose. Whatever God has done in our individual lives will never change his word; the word always remains the same. We have to find ourselves in the word; that is the important thing. Now, if someone should ask the questions, “Do you people at Faith Assembly believe in divine healing?” Absolutely, but we do not have to hide any of the word of God in order to have faith for it. We want to understand one thing: if we believe in divine healing, we want to get it straight, as we see it portrayed, and demonstrated, and lived, through the entire book, and not try to work it off of 2 or 3 verses of scripture. The fact of divine healing is established throughout the entire book. Here we find Paul reminding these Galatians that they knew of the infirmity of his flesh from the very first time he came to them: which takes us back to something I said earlier. If Paul’s thorn had been in his spirit, why was it so plain for everyone to see, and know about? Why was he reminding them in this letter? If he had a spiritual problem, he certainly could not help anyone by constantly harping about it, but on the other hand, if it was an obvious infirmity of the flesh, it could not be hid, and therefore it would be alright to talk about it when deemed necessary.

 

PAUL’S THORN – EYE TROUBLE

 

I will ask you another question, if Paul’s trouble was a moral problem, how could he speak to others with such boldness, and confidence, in dealing with moral issues, such as the one in 1 Corinthians, chapter 5, where a man was living with his own father’s wife? He spoke as a man who was blameless before God, in dealing with every problem in the churches. Now we find him speaking of an infirmity of the flesh. Is that a sin? Should he feel guilty because of it? Of course not. You all know better than that. Now listen to verse 14. “And my temptation, (or testing), which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.” You all know how some people are; they will say, “I don’t want a sick man praying for me.” Shame on any brother or sister that would talk like that. That is being childish. Actually, it is very carnal. What has my infirmity got to do with the grace of God working on your behalf? Are you trying to get a free ride on some other person’s faith? If you have your faith anchored in the finished work at Calvary, it will not matter what kind of infirmity the minister might have; that will not hinder God in the least. Paul said, (to use my own words), “Even though I have this trouble physically, when I came to you the first time, that did not make any difference at all. You even accepted me as though I were Jesus Christ himself, and in so doing, you gave me your full approval.” Then, in verse 15, he says, “Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? For I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me.” Why? Why would they have been willing to pluck out their own eyes and give them to Paul? We all realize that this could have been just a figure of speech; there is no argument there, but, on the other hand, if this thorn in his flesh was occasional blindness, that would explain some other verses of scripture: one of which I will read to you from the 16th chapter of Romans, verse 22. “I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.” Do you see what I am getting at? This man Tertius, says he wrote the epistle to the Romans, yet it is written in the very verbal speech of the apostle Paul. Why did not Paul write it himself? He was there. I believe it was because the apostle Paul was blinded when the Lord met him in the form of that great light on the road to Damascus, and how that for three days he could not see until a man named Ananias put his hands on him and prayed for him to receive his sight and be filled with the Holy Ghost. Now, I know some of you will say, “But Bro. Jackson, if the Lord healed him, why would you think he still had trouble with his eyes? I will answer a question like that, with this. I believe that God healed him so that he never went blind again, but there could have been a lingering weakness that would flare up from time to time, causing Paul to refer to it as a thorn in the flesh, something that would gouge him from time to time. Ananias prayed for him to receive his sight, and he received it, and as far as we know, he was never blind again, but that would not mean that he did not suffer some weakness in his eyes, causing him to have other men do his writing. It was not because he could not write, for you will remember, he was a member of the Sanhedrin Court, the supreme council of the Jews, during post-exile times. He described himself as a Pharisee of the Pharisees, and blameless, as far as keeping the law of Moses. It would be ridiculous for anyone to think he was not capable of doing his own writing, except for some physical hindrance. He went on to say that even though he had so many things to his credit, he counted them all as dung (animal waste) that he might win Christ. In other words, even though his education had more or less gone to his head, in former days, he now considers obedience to Christ to be the most important of all.

 

REVELATION COMES FROM GOD

 

Many people try to interpret the Bible to fit someone’s experience, but if we are to be scripturally realistic, we will have to interpret our experiences to fit the Bible. It is really the sovereignty of God that we read about in the scriptures; it is also the sovereignty of God that gives some people these outstanding testimonies. For instance, I read about one woman who had been taken with a disease since childhood; she had been prayed for by every Holy Ghost filled Christian that knew her, seemingly, to no avail; all the doctors had given up on her, having done all they could do. Then, God, in his sovereignty, came to her, and told her exactly what he would do, when he would do it, and that she was to let her friends and neighbors know about it. Many of them came, doubting that it would happen, but God is faithful; he does what he says he will do. That woman has traveled all over the world giving this healing testimony. Can we interpret the Bible by this testimony? Of course not; God is sovereign, the next case might be dealt with completely different from this one. One thing is sure though; the time is at hand for God’s chosen people to gain understanding of what is written in this old black book, (the Bible). When we begin to get our minds clear from those old hand-me-down, traditional ideas, we will discover that we do not have anything to boast about, for we are all subjects of God’s bountiful grace. Nevertheless, some of us need a reminder, from time to time, and that is what we want to see from this little message. As we think back to our text, in 2 Corinthians, chapter 12, why do you suppose Paul talked in such terms as this, “AND LEST I SHOULD BE EXALTED?” Why would a Holy Ghost Christian man need something to keep him from being exalted above measure anyhow? You must remember that we all have an inherited nature that will exalt the flesh if we do not keep that nature under subjection to the inner man which is renewed by the spirit. In the case of Paul, remember, he was a Jew, and Jews had always looked upon Gentiles as dogs, something unclean. Paul himself stated that in his letter to the Romans, and here he finds himself faced with the responsibility of preaching the gospel of grace to them, telling then that they also, are to be partakers of the grace and mercy of the God of the Jews. It was not the purpose of God to pick up some pagan, fill him with the Holy Ghost, school him with revelation of the scriptures, and send him to preach to the Gentiles. No, when God was ready to present the gospel to the Gentiles, he chose a Jew named Saul, struck him blind, then healed his eyes, filled him with the Holy Ghost, changed his name to Paul, took him into the desert, alone, and taught him, by the spirit, what the Old Testament scriptures was all about. None of the New Testament had been written at that time, and Paul knew what was written in the Old Testament; all he needed was understanding of what it was all about. That is the reason he spoke to the Galatians as he did, chapter 1, verses 11-18, “But I certify you brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12, For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. 13, For ye have heard of my conversion in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 14, And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. 15, But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen: immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: (meaning, he did not enroll in a seminary, nor seek instructions from any other man). 17, Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, (alone with God, and his scrolls), and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.” From these verses, it is easy for us to see how a man that had growed up from childhood, looking upon the Gentiles as common and unclean, nothing but dogs, could still have a tendency to do so if God had not dealt with him as he did. Somehow, God would not let Paul align himself with the church at Jerusalem. It would have worked for Paul’s convenience if he could have, but God had not called him to preach to the Jews in Israel. He was to go to the Jews in dispersion, and from that his ministry was to reach to the Gentiles. The Gentiles had always been a filthy people. Their morals were filthy; their religious ideas were blasphemous and filthy; therefore, every Jew looked down on them, and gouged them every chance they had, they could not help it; it was there nature to do so. For this reason we believe Paul would have done his share of gouging, especially, knowing what he did, as a result of his heavenly vision.

 

PRAY – THEN TRUST GOD

 

Now, says Paul, “And lest I should be exalted above measure THROUGH THE ABUNDANCE OF THE REVELATIONS, there was given to me a THORN IN THE FLESH, (SOMETHING THAT PRICKS AND GOUGES) the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure,” Tell me now, can we separate the thorn in his flesh from the messenger of Satan? Would we not have to say that the messenger of Satan, and the thorn in his flesh, are the same thing? If you will take a good look at verse 7, you will see that they are, and certainly, Paul is not saying that he has tuberculosis, nor heart trouble, nor arthritis, or anything like that. What he says does not mean anything like that at all. If this thorn in his flesh was the messenger of Satan, then it had to be a spirit behind some physical ailment. Paul said he had sought the Lord three times on behalf of it, and every time the Lord had answered him by saying, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” God did not need to keep him humble by dumping a basket full of various diseases upon him: just something to remind him that he could be blind, groping for someone to lead him, if it were not for the mercy of God. After God answered him as He did, (the third time), Paul reconciled himself to the fact that this was something he was going to have to learn to live with, for God said, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” This caused Paul to say, “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities.” This did not make him a Catholic taking an attitude like that; it just meant that after he had prayed about it the third time, he came to see that the very thing he was trying to get rid of was actually serving a purpose of God in his life. Now, to explain what I mean by what I said, How many times have you heard Catholic people say, “ The Lord suffered for us; therefore we ought to suffer for him?” That is a very foolish way for a person to look at his health, when the Bible declares that, “By his stripes we were healed.” If God does not show you that a certain infirmity is for a specific purpose, like He did the apostle Paul, then you have no right to take an attitude like that. I have notice also, that the people who say they believe it is the will of God for us to suffer are always going to the doctor, and taking medicine, in an effort to get rid of the suffering and be healed. Do you see any conflict there? In other words, if we really believe a thing is the will of God for our lives, then we are very foolish to fight against it in any way whatsoever. On the other hand, if we really are concerned about the will of God we ought to find out what the Bible teaches, and try our best to live by it.

 

BEING SURE

 

Brothers and sisters: I pray that we can get a proper understanding of the whole word of God, rather than just hold on to a verse of scripture somewhere. If we will examine the whole word of God, we will see how he has dealt with others; then we will be in a better frame of mind to let God work out the affairs of our lives. For, we see here that the apostle Paul could only glory in this one thing, and he knew why it was there. Realizing that this particular infirmity was given to him to keep him humble, he could say, “I will rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” He came to the place where he realized that, if a man becomes proud and puffed up, if he gets to the place where he exalts himself, he is void of the anointing of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why, (in his letter to the Galatians), he could even call angels into account. He had so submitted himself unto the Lord that there was no question in his mind, as to whether the gospel that he preached was right or not. Brother, I want you to know, when you start calling angels into account of what you are preaching, you had better know what you are talking about. Up until that hour, no man had ever talked like that before. His boldness to speak like he did to the Galatians is one of the things that causes us to rule out the fact that Paul’s thorn in his flesh was any kind of a moral problem. Now, while we are speaking of the Galatian letter, let me remind you once again of how he said to them, “YE KNOW how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.” 4:13. The thing I appreciate about the apostle Paul, is his consistent speech; if he called his condition an infirmity of the flesh in one of his letters, you can expect him to call it that in all of them. He did not have a half dozen different terms for the same thing. The only exception is in our text where he actually identified the accusing spirit that would gouge him at various times. In other words he had an infirmity of the flesh, something no doubt, that he had seen others healed of (by the power of God) when he preached the gospel to them, or maybe, when he just prayed for them, but instead of being healed himself, he had this satanic spirit constantly following him around, probably saying something like this, “If you are who you say you are, why is it that you do not get healed? Or maybe he would hear something like this, “If this God you speak of is so great, why does he not heal your eyes?” You know, people are not too likely to exalt themselves when they have a constant reminder that they are only spared by the grace and mercy of God.

 

LEARNING THE TRUTH

 

Many people have a tendency to think the apostle Paul was a sickly person because he spoke of his infirmities, but let me point out to you that the life he lived was not that of a person with many different infirmities. He did not have tuberculosis one time, heart trouble another, and arthritis another. No, he had the one thing that aggravated him at various times, and for that reason he spoke of his infirmities in plural terms. Please notice also that right after he reminded them of his testing in his flesh, he goes right ahead in verse 15 to say, “You would have plucked out your own eyes and have given them to me.” As I said before, that lets us know where his trouble was. They would not have been willing to pluck out their eyes and give them to him, if his eyes were good, and his heart was bad. That would not even make sense to talk like that. Some of you will no doubt say, (in your heart), what difference does it make anyhow? Some have said the same thing about the tree of life, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and they have asked the same question about the Seventieth Week of Daniel, and the woman of Revelation, chapter 12, and many other things which we teach, but let me remind you that the Bible is not just a book full of stories, put there to fill up space. The men who wrote these various letters of the New Testament, and prophecies of the Old Testament were inspired of God to do so, and our knowledge of God comes from that which is written in the pages of this blessed old book; therefore if we do not understand it right, we miss the picture all tegether. For too long now, people have had the idea that everyone ought to be able to interpret the Bible as each one sees fit to do so, but let me remind you that, even though the government of your particular country may grant you this privilege, God is not obligated to give you the same privilege. The word of God itself declares that there is no private interpretation of the scriptures, and 2 Timothy 3:16-17, plainly tells us that all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for DOCTRINE, for REPROOF, for CORRECTION, and for INSTRUCTION IN RIGHTEOUSNESS: That the man of God may be PERFECT, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. I will say also, the very people who say, “What difference does it make?” are usually the ones who you will find arguing the most, about these subjects. Brothers and sisters: knowing the truth about these various subjects, will enable you to move in the will and purpose of God in these areas. I have asked the question, Who wrote the book of Isaiah which speaks of the great promise of a deliverer who would bear our griefs, and carry our sorrows, and by whose stripes we are healed. The obvious answer is Isaiah, naturally. Then I asked the question, “Who wrote these letters in the New Testament that speak so clearly of the fact that Paul had an infirmity of the flesh?” You will say, “Paul, of course.” Now, my point is this, God is not a fool, and neither is he confused; if he had wanted any other image established than what you see in the book, he would have known how to get it done. If it had been the purpose of God for the apostle Paul to cover up the fact that he had an infirmity of the flesh, he would not have needed to speak of it as he did. It all boils down to the fact that he had nothing to hide; the power of God was present to vindicate the gospel Paul preached, and that is what it was all about anyway. Paul, like the others, went forth preaching the gospel, and the Lord went with him, confirming the word that he preached; therefore he did not have to hide his physical infirmity from the people in order to get them to believe. He left the believing part in the hands of God, realizing that if God was not drawing them by his spirit, it would be impossible for them to believe anyhow. Jesus made that clear in John 6:44, when He said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.”

 

A REMINDER

 

I realize that a message like this can get a little lengthy, but I would like to take a little more time to reason these things out with you, and try, by the help of God to set divine healing, and Paul’s thorn in the flesh, in their proper place. When we are dealing with a subject like this, it is most essential that we get the truth of it planted in our minds and hearts, then as God deals with our individual lives, we will find ourselves walking right down through the middle of God’s perfect will for us. I believe we have furnished enough scripture to prove beyond any doubt that Paul’s thorn in the flesh was none other than a physical condition in his body, and we have showed you why we believe it was his eyes that caused his trouble; a condition left over from the healing of them, after having been struck blind on the road to Damascus. I know some of you will say, “That just cannot be, but can you produce scripture to back up your opinion? I remember something that I heard Oral Roberts say while giving his testimony, years ago. He said that when he was a small child it was hard for him to say three words without stuttering; he just could not get the words out. We have all heard people like that try to talk; some of them go through life without ever being able to talk plain. That was not the case with Oral Roberts; God healed him, but in his testimony he told how that every once in a while he would catch himself right on the verge of stuttering. Then he said, “All I can say is, God just lets it happen for a reminder to me of how it could have been if he had not healed me.” In other words he could say, (deep down in his heart), “Lord, I thank you for what you have done; This is 100 percent better than it used to be.” I do not know if any of you have ever stuttered or not, but if you have, and if God has touched that condition, so that you no longer are troubled by it, you know how grateful a person can be for such a deliverance, even if you do find yourself right on the brink of stuttering every once in a while. There are many times that God actually heals people by a miraculous means, and yet those people, many times, will carry the symptoms of their former ailments for many years. Should we say that they are not healed just because they have a symptom every so often that reminds them of the condition they were in? Absolutely not; we do not treat the grace of God like that.

 

HARMONIZING THE SCRIPTURES

 

Let me call your attention back to a verse of scripture that we have read already, but did not finish dealing with. We have certain scriptures in the Bible that people use exclusively in an effort to establish a certain school of thought, but I want to remind you that a single verse of scripture will only carry you so far, and then you need another one to carry you the rest of the way. I do not mean to imply that God does not speak positive; he does, but we have a whole book (the Bible), that must harmonize with our understanding of each verse we like to use. Now, turn with me to Psalms 34:19, and I will show you how some people use this verse from all other verses of scripture that carry the same word, then we can use it for certain schools of thought, but that is not handling the scriptures as Paul told Timothy when he admonished him to study to show himself approved unto God, not man, but God. What, then, are we going to study in the scriptures. We realize of course, that the only thing Timothy had to study was the Old Testament; the New Testament had not been written at that time. What we are looking at now is the word affliction, (A-F-F-L-I-C-T-I-O-N) which people use to describe sickness, disease and such like. In our modern terminology the word is generally accepted to mean sickness, disease, infirmity and etc., but it was not used like that in the Old Testament. I looked up more than 30 times where the word affliction was used in the Old Testament, and every single instance, the word was used to express humiliation, debasement, ridicule, false accusations, persecutions, and so forth. Now, you say, “Bro. Jackson, you will have to prove that.” Well, that is what we intend to do. Turn back to Isaiah 53:6-7, “All we like sheep have gone astray; (That is you and I, we did not know the way, but he, the good shepherd, is the one who sought us, found us, and showed us the way. We did not seek him; therefore he used different ways to search for us and get our attention.) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.” How true that is. Every one of us, when we came into this old world, took on a mind of our own; we decided what we were going to do, and headed down the pathway of life. It is only by the grace of God that we did not destroy ourselves, but God is able to woo us, and turn us from our ways, into His ways, praise His name. In the foreknowledge of God He already knew what each one of us would do, and while mankind was running away from God, He laid on Him, (Christ), the iniquity of us all. While we were outside of His grace, the Lord Jesus Christ bore our transgressions in his flesh at Calvary; The innocent suffering for the guilty. He was our substitute; He took our place, and died for every one of us. Now, notice verse 7, (speaking of Christ), “He was oppressed, (pressed down, burdened, heavy hearted, lonely, etc.; He had to feel that way in order to know what you and I would feel like at times), and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth.” Did you catch that: He was afflicted, not sick, but afflicted. How could a man who was perfect, be sick? I believe you can see that the word afflicted, as Isaiah used it here, had no physical sickness attached to it, but for the benefit of those who may ask, “What was His affliction,” let me remind you of the times when He stood preaching, and someone would yell to Him in a way to poke fun at Him. For instance, one time when He was preaching, a fellow yelled to Him. “Hey Preacher, is it permissible for a man to put away his wife for every cause? What do you suppose that pertained to? It had been noised abroad, that He preached a message that covered marriage and divorce, (in the Beatitudes), that had upset the whole social structure of Israel in that hour. To paraphrase even farther let us say it like this, “Hey Preacher, preach us another sermon on marriage and divorce.” Those Scribes and Pharisees would do, or say, anything to gouge him publicly, trying to get the people to boo Him. Think of how many times He was accused of being an illegitimate child, and all the times that He was called a devil, or a false prophet. He was accused of being an insurrectionist, one who would not honor established authority, a trouble maker who defied the law of Moses, and such like. Those religious leaders would stop at nothing in their effort to destroy His character, belittle Him, and get Him ridiculed by the crowds that gathered around Him. Even so, you could never say that He was sick. As I said before, in our day, the word we are dealing with is commonly used in referring to sickness, disease, and infirmity, but the Bible was not written in our day; therefore we must study it with these things in mind in order to get a true picture.

 

NEW BIBLE OR HOLY GHOST?

 

I am constantly amazed at some of the modern day terminology that is being used in these liberal versions of the Bible. Many of them are detrimental to a true revelation of the original scriptures, and people do themselves an injustice when these modern versions of the Bible are all that they study. I have always maintained that a person does not need a new translation of the Bible, for what they really need is the Holy Ghost, and a mind that will submit to him. If a man is looking for an easy way, then he needs one of those modern Bibles, but if he has the Holy Ghost, and is seeking truth, the old time tested book is all that he needs. You may say, “But, Bro. Jackson, some of those words in the King James version are not translated right either.” Let me say this to you, if you have the Holy Ghost He will balance out the difference as you study different verses on a particular subject. Brothers and sisters: I could give you a long list of these scriptures dealing with the word affliction, and for the benefit of you who would like to check up on some of these I will name a few of them. Exodus 3:7, Deuteronomy 16:3, Psalm 119:50, Isaiah 30:20, 48:10, Jeremiah 4:15, Hosea 5:15, Mark 4:17. This one in Mark is where Jesus was explaining the parable of the seed sower speaking of those who fell upon the stony ground, he said, “They have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.” This is in reference to people who number into the thousands, which, when they hear the word they receive it with great joy, but when the persecution and afflictions begin to be heaped upon them they forsake their new joy and return to the world. Not because they are sick or diseased, but because they are AFFLICTED with ridicule and persecutions.

 

BONDS AND AFFLICTIONS

 

Let us turn to Acts 20:23. This is where Paul is bearing witness to something that the Holy Ghost has prophesied to him through other yielded vessels. We hear him saying in verse 22, “I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: 23, Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.” Now the Holy Ghost did not say bonds and sickness was awaiting him at Jerusalem; he already had the thorn in his flesh, but now he is finding out that imprisonment and AFFLICTIONS are ahead of him, meaning trials, tests, persecution, and all that he suffered at the hands of those who hated him. He had already learned to live with the thorn in his flesh; the messenger of Satan that buffeted him to keep him humble. One might ask the questions, “Why would God entrust such a revelation to a man that was likely to give himself over to boasting, and become a little too proud of himself?” The reason is this, Paul was called of God to be the apostle to the Gentiles, and any Jew that God would have chosen would have been subject to that same temptation, for that is the way Jews reacted to Gentiles in that day. If they were walking down the street and happened to see a Gentile somewhere, it was like they had seen a skunk; they would head for the nearest way that would allow them to avoid contaminating themselves by getting too close to him. If God had not allowed Paul to have this thorn in his flesh as a reminder of the grace of God bestowed upon him, do you think he would have given his life over to ministering to the Gentiles? They (the Jews), had the law; they had the prophets; this gave them a feeling of security which caused them to be proud and boastful, and for centuries they had looked down upon all Gentiles. Now the apostle Paul is faced with the responsibility of ministering the gospel to these dogs, these people who were looked upon as scum of the earth. He is to stand in the place of exemplifying Christ Jesus, who had suffered and died for all mankind. How could he have compassion for the people that were such a reproach to every Jew, expressing love and concern for their souls, unless God did something to humble him? If you will think upon these things, you will answer your own question. Paul was raised to observe the strictest letter of the law. He knew the law was given to the Jews, and he was very proud of his accomplishments as a Pharisee, but then he met the Master on the Damascus road. After that, God gave him a revelation that the Gentiles were to be partakers of the gospel without the deeds of the law, being saved and filled with the Holy Ghost without knowing anything about the law of Moses. When Paul got that revelation down in his soul he was ready to fight for it, and stand for it against any odds. What better man could the Lord have chosen than Paul? He was raised in a Gentile environment. He knew what their lives were like, and he knew about their heathen ways of worship. We would have to say (from a natural standpoint of course), that Paul was well equipped to fulfill the apostleship to the Gentiles. Fulfilling that office brought him much persecution from those, who formerly, were his colleagues. They would get so mad at him that they remind you of some of these steers that get mad in these feed lots. I have seen people mad myself, but I have never seen anyone so mad that they would paw the ground and throw dirt in the air. That is the way this one particular bunch reacted to Paul when he went to Jerusalem, after having received those prophecies that bonds and AFFLICTIONS awaited him there. They accused him of being a heretic, of speaking against the holy place, (the temple), and accused him of polluting the temple. This was AFFLICTION, and when they cast him into prison, there was his bonds. This bunch even plotted together to kill him while he was in custody after his arrest.

 

BEING MADE A GAZINGSTOCK

 

Turn with me to Hebrews, chapter 10, verses 31-33, where we find the apostle Paul speaking these words, “It is a fearful thing to fall in to the hands of the living God. 32, But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of AFFLICTIONS: 33, Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and AFFLICTIONS; and partly whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.” Did you notice (in those verses), when the AFFLICTIONS started? It was after they had been illuminated, meaning, revelated. He said they were AFFLICTED, and made a gazingstock. Do you know what it is to be made a gazingstock? In this particular sense, it was to be publicly ridiculed and debased until all eyes were upon them. It is the devil’s business to AFFLICT every true child of God. From the day the new birth takes place, until the Lord calls that person home, the devil puts forth every effort to make that person a gazingstock. You will hear people of the world say, (when a Christian makes a mistake), “He is supposed to be a Christian, just look at him, he did so and so. That is all designed by the devil, to make the child of God a gazingstock. Paul really broke it down in verse 33, “Partly whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by REPROACHES and AFFLICTIONS: and partly, whilst YE BECAME COMPANIONS OF THEM THAT WERE SO USED.” To me, that verse of scripture seals it up. The devil always uses people to accomplish his dirty work. He will always try to make every child of God look like a big hypocrite to every other person. His greatest delight is to humiliate Christian people, but that is where the fight comes in. Our battle is not with flesh and blood; it is with spiritual forces. That is why Paul told the Corinthians that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds. We do not use submachine guns, hand grenades, high explosives, or anything like that. The only thing we have is the sword of the spirit, and too few people know how to use that. You cannot avoid persecutions and afflictions, but if you will learn to use the sword of the spirit you will not be beat down so low that a mole can crawl over you without ever breaking the crust of the earth. Paul spoke of Moses in Hebrews 11:24-25, in this way, “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; 25, Choosing rather to suffer AFFLICTION with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.” I am sure that even though we could go on and on with these scriptural examples, we have said enough to provoke your thoughts, and cause you to examine these various scriptures that people use to establish their particular line of thought. I certainly do not have any objection to people using the word affliction, in connection with sickness and disease, and I am aware that you will find it used in such a way in the scriptures, but the point I am desiring to make is that, most of the scriptures that people quote, using that word, do not apply to sickness at all. Then, for the benefit of you who may think we are placing too much importance on our clarification, let me remind you once again, that if you read the book wrong, you will miss the mark. Every scripture must be used in the light of what it pertained to when it was uttered, and written. It is a shame the way people take the Bible and pick out certain scriptures, using them out of context to establish their own little ism, but God will not tolerate his bride people doing such things. We must realize that God is sovereign, and that he is not bound by our ideas and opinions. He can do whatever he chooses to do whenever he chooses to do it, but one thing is sure, he will not contradict his own word. Furthermore, every promise in the Bible is a positive promise on the part of God, but too many people are trying to reap the benefits of his promises, without submitting their lives to him who is the author and finisher of all things. God does not have to check with anyone when he desires to do a particular thing for someone, like healing a blind man somewhere, and allowing other blind people to remain so. For instance, the man we spoke of earlier that Jesus healed when he came to Jerusalem on one occasion, was not the only blind man around at that time. Then we notice here that His disciples were just like too many people are today; they said, “Lord, or Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?” Look how Jesus answered their question. John 9:2-3, “Neither hath this man, sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” Now, did Jesus mean that this man, nor his parents, had ever committed any sin: of course not; He was simply pointing out to them that the man was not born blind because of someone’s personal sin, yet there are people who will take a verse of scripture like that, and interpret it literally, to prove something that they want to teach. The main point I want to make from this verse of scripture though is this, even though this man was not blind because of sin in his family, there are times when people are afflicted physically because there is something wrong between them and God. If God cannot get you to pray and seek His will without it, it is not uncommon for Him to allow something to strike your physical body that will get you to pray. Please remember, the fact that I said that, does not mean that you can apply it to every case. This should be an individual thing; it is not for others to go around pointing an accusing finger. A thing like that is for self examination. Please do not ask your preacher if you are sick because of sin in your life; if there is any question in your mind about it, ask God.

 

EVERYTHING HAS A PURPOSE

 

Brothers and sisters: we are in the hand of a mighty God who does all things well, and He allows certain things for His glory. The man that was born blind was one of them. Jesus said it was that the works of God might be made manifest. Some of you will say, (at least in your heart), “Isn’t that unjust for God to allow some to suffer like that unless they need to be punished?” The apostle Paul answered your question on another occasion. In Romans 9:20 “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why has thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another one unto dishonour?” This just points to the fact that God is sovereign, and that He can do things for His own honor and glory, and we, who are partakers of His grace, and do not deserve anything except to be cast into hell, have no right to find fault with Him.

 

FULFILLING GOD’S PURPOSE

 

For another example of such, consider Lazarus, a personal friend of Jesus. When he took sick, his sisters sent for Jesus saying, Lord, he whom thou lovest is sick. Jesus answered them by saying, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” One might think that Jesus should have dropped everything and gone to help his good friend whom he loved, but what did He do? He was beyond Jordan preaching, and instead of running to Lazarus, He remained two more days where He was. Then He said to His disciples, “Let us go into Judaea again.” (Reading in the 11th chapter of John) verse 11, “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go that I may awaken him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, ‘Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.’ Howbeit, Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking a rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead.’ I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe: nevertheless let us go unto him.” Jesus waited until Lazarus was dead, wrapped in burial attire, and buried before he arrived. By that time Lazarus was stinking, but Jesus called him forth and had him unwrapped. Why? Why did He let it go that far? It was for the glory of God. Does that mean that everyone who dies is another Lazarus? Absolutely not. We have just read of a preacher who kept his dead mother in a freezer for many days, praying over her, trying to get enough faith to resurrect her, but a thing like that is not necessarily for the glory of God. Even though they said that if she could be resurrected, it would cause many others to believe, I am reminded of the rich man who was tormented in hell, and asked that the beggar who was comforted in Abraham’s bosom be allowed to return from the dead to testify to his brothers, in the hope that they would believe and avoid coming to the place of torment where he was. It was said to him, “They have Moses and the prophets, if they will not hear them, they will not hear one who has returned from the dead.” Brothers and sisters: we must check our motives first of all, and then we must make sure that they line up with the scriptures

 

Have you ever heard anyone say the reason Job got sick was because he feared the thing that eventually came upon him? I have heard people say that, but it makes me wonder if they have ever read the first chapters of the book of Job. The man was stripped of everything he had, and he, himself, was nothing more than a big running boil, sitting there in the ash heap with some old burlap wrapped around him. You might say, he was just about gone. Even his friends criticized him and found fault with him. They all told him what was wrong, or shall I say, each one tried to diagnose his case, but instead of helping him, they only made matters worse. There came a day when Job became so discouraged that he even cursed the day he was born; he wondered why he did not die in infancy. He did not know why such tragedy had befallen him, but one thing was sure, he did not turn against God because of it. This brings us to the real reason for his trouble. By the Lord’s own words, Job was a perfect and upright man that feared God and hated evil, but the devil challenged God to test Job and find out if he would remain faithful in the midst of calamity. As you will discover by reading the book, a contest was set up immediately, for the devil accused God of having a hedge around Job for his protection, giving him a good reason to pray and live for God. Satan said to God, put forth your hand and touch all of Job’s substance, and he will curse you to your face. That was the beginning of Job’s trouble, for God gave Satan permission to destroy all that Job had. Then when that was not enough to get the man to curse God, he asked for, and received permission to torment the physical flesh of Job. I call this to your attention mainly to get you to consider all of the scriptural examples before jumping to any hasty conclusions with the judgments you would pronounce upon people who are sick, diseased, or afflicted. In some cases it really is the chastening hand of God, in others, the trouble may be self inflicted through lack of wisdom, but there could also be a few cases like the one with Job, and we do not always know which one is which; therefore we had better keep our hands off, and let God handle the situation instead of us. God knows us when we are young, and He knows us when we are old; He knows everything about us all through life, and the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:28, “That all things work together for good to them that love God, (not everyone, just those that love God), to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29, For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.” Brothers and sisters, we could go on and on with this, but my real point is that we should mind our own business and leave all of these positive promises in the word of God, in His capable hands. He knows how to minister them to us; all we have to do is keep ourselves in a place spiritually, and mentally, so that God can get our attention when He desires to. Every born again child of God ought to know that the promises contained in the Bible are for those who believe.

 

ONLY GOD CAN HEAL

 

Many times when the doctors have done all that they can do, that is when God takes over and brings about a miraculous healing. Now some will say, Oh, Bro. Jackson, do you believe in doctors? It is not that I have my faith in medical doctors, but I have sense enough to know what they are put here for. Surely we all know that a doctor cannot heal us; they do not even claim to be able to do that. A person who thinks that they can is just about as foolish as he can be. I was talking to my wife about this little surgery I had sometime back; they sewed me up with some plain looking, old thread, and put a little Merthiolate on the incision. I suppose that is what it was; nevertheless, the thread is gone, and the incision is healed up perfect as it can be. What caused it to heal? Thread? Merthiolate? You all know good and well that is not what brought about the healing. The Creator set a law in your flesh, if it gets wounded, and is cared for properly, it is supposed to heal. On the other hand, if the old devil is permitted to, he will cause an infection to set up in a physical wound. The place will not heal as long as it is infected. This gives the doctors something to do for they have the means to fight infection, but the healing must come from God.

 

In former days as God began to lead us out into the light of truth, only He knows how I began to study the promises and provisions of His word. I wanted to believe it the Holy Ghost way, the way the Bible teaches it. Do not ever think that we have not tried everything that we felt the Bible would uphold. We have tried to believe everything that we felt a true child of God should believe, but through it all, we discovered that you cannot put God in a mold and expect him to do everything just exactly like you would have it done. He deals with everyone of us as individuals, and He knows just exactly what we each need at all times. I have observed through the years, as I have tried to stand for the truth of God’s word, that when God does a particular thing for some people, they immediately make a concrete mold, and that is the only way they want God to do anything for anyone else. Let me tell you: when we begin to take an attitude like that, God will not have any part of it. You can expect him to move on somewhere else, and deal in a different way with someone who will not try to tell Him how to bless them.

 

GOD MOVES IN HIS TIME

 

I am reasonably sure that we all agree on the fact that when we are dealing with an earthly doctor he may be as carnal as anyone could possibly be, but are you able to see that some preachers in our day are just as carnal as any doctor of the medical profession. As a matter of fact, a lot of them are doing a much better job of what they are called to do, than some of these modern day preachers are doing on the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ which they are supposed to be standing for. If you wonder why I said that, it was to make a point of something that I am going to mention. The word of a doctor can be wrong, but the word of the Lord will never be wrong. We all agree on that, do we not? Now we come to another point that causes some folks a lot of trouble, it is that of a prophecy which someone feels inspired to give. While some have no confidence whatsoever in a prophecy given out by a brother or sister, others will go to the opposite direction and try to make every prophecy fit into their own personal lives. I just want to say this to you, “You must leave God free to move in your lives as he sees fit; if you try to put him into a mold, you are just hindering him as he tries to work on your behalf.” Brothers and sisters, I am not going to tell the story again now, for most of you already know how we had to wait eleven years for God to fulfill a prophecy that was given to us concerning our son David. God allowed circumstances to make it look impossible for us to have any more children, (according to the doctors), yet we had this prophecy hanging there which said that we would have a son and call his name Davis. You all know the story; eleven years after the prophecy, with one daughter born to us while we were expecting a son, God saw fit to fulfill the prophecy and grant us the son. By the time you read this in the paper, he will be twelve years old. I am telling this mainly to show you that you cannot put a time limit on God. I do not mean to be preaching my experience to you, but I have learned through experience, that God fulfills His word, and His purpose, in His own time, and for His own glory.

 

SOME WERE HEALED

 

Take the case of Lazarus, who Jesus raised from the dead; we have preachers, as well as other people, that would have told Martha and Mary, If you will just believe hard enough, Lazarus will not die, but it just so happened that it was not that bunch of people that God was going to vindicate; He had a preacher over there across the Jordan that He was going to bring there, to raise him from the dead. Do you catch my point? It was God’s purpose for Lazarus to die, and then be raised from the dead four days later; therefore, all the praying and believing that anyone tried to do would not have changed that situation. However, I beg of you, please do not try to apply these words to every person who gets sick; pray for them and commit them into the hands of God, who will work all things in harmony with his word. If you, as an individual, do not know how to interpret the situation, it is better just to lay your hand on the sick person and say, “May God, in his mercy, touch you, and make you well.” On the other hand, if God has inspired you to say, “You shall not die, but you shall live and be made well,” and you know that it is God beyond any shadow of doubt, then say it; God will vindicate whatever He anoints you to speak. In that early church those men did not speak until they knew what they were to say. Peter knew exactly what to speak to Ananias and Sapphira when they came in that day, and we have no record that those words were ever spoken again. You could not conjure up another Ananias and Sapphira if you wanted to, ever so bad. God is not a vending machine that you can drop a thirty second prayer into, and make your demands. We must consider the ministry of Jesus, for a closer look at how God deals with people. He had the power to heal every sick person in the land in His day; for He was the God man, but did He do it? Look how many times He healed just one person when there were sick and infirm people all around Him. Then consider the other times when He healed the multitudes. Was He a respecter of persons? No, He was just obeying the will of the Father. You may ask, why? But let me remind you that God was working out a perfect plan. Some of those very same people that were passed up by Jesus, were, no doubt, healed by the ministry of his disciples after the day of Pentecost. Some of those who turned back from following Jesus when he said, “Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood, ye have no life in you,” probably reconsidered, and became Christians after Jesus had departed and left the ministry to His disciples. Many of them had probably wondered why Jesus had passed them up when they were just as sick as some others that He healed. That is the way people react even today. Many times, it is probably that very attitude that keeps them from touching God for their need. They come up for prayer, time after time, and still do not get healed. What is the trouble? Why do they not get healed? Is God still a healer? HE ABSOLUTELY IS, but He is not a vending machine. Remember that when you feel tempted to find fault with God. He will do what His word says He will do, but He is not obligated to cater to our whims; there are some conditions that must be met if we are to enjoy the full benefit of God’s provision. When you are reading the book, searching for the promises that God has made to believers, do not forget to look for the condition that the promise applies to. I thank God that He is the same, yesterday, today, and forever, but I know that we have a generation of people who treat God’s word just like some of these teenagers do a certain record album they like. They will play it, and request it, until it becomes No. 1, all the way to the top, then back down until it fades out of the picture. Have we not seen the same thing in religion in our day? Has God changed? No, he is not just a record that you put on and play until you get tired of him, and then get something else. He is God, and He requires the Number 1 spot in your life. If He does not get that place, He will not take any other place. If you ask me, “Bro. Jackson: are you saying that God has quit doing anything?” I will have to say, “No, but we are going to have to have more respect for what He does, and recognize Him in the little things of life, as well as the big things.” If we fail to do that, we will find ourselves, discouraged and confused to the point where we will not know where to go or what to do next. That is what comes from failing to give God His proper place in our lives, but praise God, I am not discouraged, I find every day to be full of expectation, as we draw closer to the end.

 

OBEDIENCE OR TRIBULATION

 

Let me say something personal to you who read this, for I am sure this paper will be read by many of you that I have never had the opportunity to meet and talk with. We are living in a sick old world, and it is going to get worse; therefore you had better buckle down and run this race, praying sincerely that you are not left behind when the rapture of the bride church takes place. The tribulation that follows is going to be worse than the wildest nightmare you have ever experienced when all hell is turned loose here on earth. People talk about epidemics of different kinds, but the worse that any of us has ever experienced will be mild compared to what takes place in that hour. The devil will not have any mercy for anyone when he is in full control for that allotted period of time. There will be no place found for a decent, law abiding citizen. Sickness and disease will run rampant and morally there will be nothing but filthiness and corruption, a rotten mess. Thanks be unto our blessed Lord who has made a way for us to escape all these things that are to come upon the earth; if we will live right, and walk with hin while we have opportunity to do so, we will be enjoying the marriage supper during that dreadful period of time. I have always looked at life like this, “When the lord is through with me in this life, I am going to have to leave here one way or another.” How we go is not the important part; for the important part is the sad part; too few people are actually ready to go. There is still too much of this old world hanging onto us. When we are truly ready to leave this world, in our hearts we can say, “Lord, if you take me tonight, I am ready to go.” That is when we are finally ready to start living, for it means that we no longer love life more than we love the Lord. On the other hand, if you love life, and the things of the world, more than you love the Lord Jesus Christ, Brother, he is liable to let you be tormented by a lot of things that will be just like a boomerang; no sooner than you are able to get free from one bad situation, here comes another one. After all, if you are a child of God, you are not your own, you are bought with a price. The life you live is not your own, it is His. If He cannot get you to live for Him; He will not let you go your merry way without tripping over a stone somewhere. God is faithful; He chastens His disobedient children by letting the adversary take a whack at them to keep them in line. Think of it like this, saints, even in these perilous times, life can be beautiful if we will just get our priorities lined up right. I now that some of you who read this message are likely to say, “Bro. Jackson; you sound like you are in a hurry to get out of this world.” If anything I have said has left you with those thoughts, let me say this to you, “There are two ways to look at it. From the standpoint of working toward a goal for the future, there is not much left to look forward to, for everything you set before you as a goal in life, seems to get knocked all to pieces, leaving everything in a turmoil with anguish and heartache. That is probably what the apostle Paul was seeing in his day that caused him to say what he did to the Philippians in chapter one. His desire was for Christ to be magnified in his body, whether it be by life, or by death. Then in verse 21 and following, we read this, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” He really had a desire to be with the Lord more than in the world, but he was surrendered to the will of the Lord; therefore he went ahead to say, 22, “But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I want not, 23, For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: 24, Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. 25, And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith.” He heard the cry of a people wanting help. That was all it took to make the decision for him. It was not that he had the choice of ending his life: that choice is in the hands of God. It was just one of those times when he was feeling a little homesick to be with the Lord. Most of us have times like that, but we, like Paul, leave that decision in the hands of God.

 

NEW COURAGE

 

I want to say a few words now, that I feel will furnish you with new courage for the days ahead. I have always felt, and believed in my heart, that God has an end time move of his spirit, ahead for His children, but conditions will have to be right before we see it. When He gets the conditions in the world just right, it will come, but it will not be a commercialized rat race like we have going on right now. It will be God working with His bride people the way He has purposed to do. In our day we are seeing things done under the cloak of religion, that is actually worse than the mafia tactics. The power of God is being sold and traded for everything under the sun. It seems more for a commercialized show than for the benefit of a needy people. Please do not get me wrong; I am not against advertising, and letting a certain element of the world population know what God can do, but did you know that when God walked on earth in human flesh, His most effective advertisement was to tell those who were healed not to tell it. Before too long, everyone for miles around knew what had happened. If you really want something to get around, just treat it as a secret, and before long the whole world will know about it. Brothers and sisters, you know what I mean, I would never try to hide anything that God does, but I certainly do not believe in putting on a public show with the precious things of the Lord. God has a certain way to do things that He wants done, but the devil is always forerunning Him, like in the case where Paul and his company were ministering the gospel to the people of Macedonia. Everywhere they went, there was a certain young woman that followed them, and announced that they were the servants of the most high God which had come to show them the way of salvation. As we said before, this was the truth, and to some it probably seemed like a right thing for her to do. Even Paul did not do anything about it at first, but as she continued to do it for many days, he began to realize that this did not have the right spirit of advertisement about it. It was then, that he turned to her, and said, (to the evil spirit that possessed her), I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. The spirit obeyed, and the girl was set free, but it landed Paul and Silas in jail. Now, there are two points that I want to make from this. First of all, even though what she was saying was the truth, there was a wrong motive behind it, for the scripture plainly tells us that she was demon possessed. That ought to help you examine some of the things that you are faced with right now. I say this to whoever it applies to. Then, the second point is this, even though Paul did not like what was going on, he had to wait a little while until he knew what God’s will was, before he acted to stop it. That lets me know that we ought not be too hasty about some things. We need to take time to examine them in the light of our present day understanding of the word of God.

PRAYER – SUPPLICATION – THANKSGIVING – ASK

 

In closing I want to say this, “I have said some things in this message that may have sounded a little strange to some of you, but that does not mean that I have said anything in a negative way. There are just some things in the scriptures that need to be set straight. It does not detract from what God is doing, nor take anything from what he will do. It just give us a better opportunity to see the sovereignty of God in operation. He doesn’t have to have everything all painted up, and smoothed over, in order for Him to fulfill His word. The fact that Paul had trouble with his vision at times did not keep God from healing every person that believed, when Paul preached and prayed for them. Even though I have taught this scripture as I believe God has revealed it to me, that does not mean that I believe we all should have some physical infirmity to keep us humble. We will leave that in the hands of God. I still believe Him to be a healer, and I believe He will honour faith that is based upon his word wherever he finds it, but I do not agree that we should try to cover up something that the scriptures make so clear, in the fear that it will hinder someone’s faith. Our faith ought to be grounded upon something more solid than that. As for what we said concerning the word AFFLICTION, Just use the word where it fits, but do not try to make it fit the scriptures according to your modern day understanding of its definition. Learn to weigh scriptures against scripture until you get a proper balance. Do not go to seed on one particular verse that you find comfort in at times. The Bible is full of comforting truths, and there is something in there for every need that a child of God may have. Remember Paul’s admonition to the Philippians, chapter 4, verse 6, “Be careful for nothing; (in other words, do not allow yourselves to worry, nor be fearful), but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” You will find three key words in that verse, P-R-A-Y-E-R, S-U-P-P-L-I-C-A-T-I-O-N, and T-H-A-N-K-S-G-I-V-I-N-G, and with that, remember the words of Jesus, “ASK, and ye shall receive.” He did not teach us to beg. He taught us to believe His word first of all, and then, to ask is sufficient. Regardless of what some may say, God is still the author and finisher of our faith, and He is still the God of His book. He is not dead; He is very much alive. I want to restate this also, I am not the least bit discourage, nor am I the least bit ashamed of what I have taught and stood for through the years. I am patiently waiting for God to vindicate His truth, and at the same time reveal every false witness, and deal with them as He sees fit. That is out of my hands. I am only called to stand for truth as long as God gives me the privilege to do so. Pray for us, and may He keep each of you in His love and care. Amen.

Divine Love Is Truth Lived

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ST. JOHN 14:15


THERE IS MUCH BEING SAID IN OUR DAY ABOUT LOVE. IT HAS BECOME THE MAIN THEME OF A GREAT NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO DO NOT SEEM TO BE ABLE TO RECOGNIZE BASIC TRUTH WHEN IT HITS THEM IN THE FACE. THIS WORD LOVE, HAS FURNISHED SATAN WITH A TOOL OF DECEPTION, WHEREBY, HE HAS BEEN ABLE TO LEAD A GREAT MULTITUDE OF PEOPLE INTO A PLACE OF STRONG DELUSION. YOU WILL FIND THOSE PEOPLE JUDGING OTHER PEOPLE’S SPIRITUAL STANDING BY HOW MUCH LOVE THEY ARE ABLE TO DISPLAY, YET THEIR VERY CONCEPT OF LOVE IS BASED SOLELY UPON HUMAN EMOTIONS, RATHER THAN THE NATURE OF THE SPIRIT WITHIN THEM. FOR THIS REASON, I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE A TEXT FROM ST. JOHN 14:15, WHERE JESUS SAID, “IF YE LOVE ME, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS,” AND TRY, WITH THE HELP OF GOD, TO CLEAR UP SOME OF THE MISCONCEPTIONS THAT SOME HAVE OF THE WORD LOVE.


To begin our message let me say this, DIVINE LOVE IS TRUTH LIVED. Does that sound a little strange to you? Here is what I mean by such a statement, we cannot divinely love unless we have truth in us. We may have a very meek nature and pleasing personality, but that is not divine love. There are a lot of people that each of us know who have a wonderful nature, but they do not have the divine love of god in their lives. It is scripturally impossible to have divine love radiating from your life before you experience the new birth, and furthermore, there are vast numbers of people calling themselves “born again Christians,” who have experienced nothing more than a handshake from a preacher, and had their name placed on a church membership book. That kind of an experience will not produce the kind of love that we are going to speak of in this message.


THE APOSTLE OF LOVE


It seem that the apostle John must have caught every word that Jesus spoke on the subject of love. He was the author of the gospel of St. John, and was the one who leaned on the bosom of Jesus at the conclusion of the last supper, before Jesus was betrayed by Judas. John also authored the three epistles by that name, and has been called the apostle of love, or John the beloved, by many. He was very close to Jesus in those years of Jesus’s ministering to the people. He is the one who was exiled to the Isle of Patmos because of his Christian testimony, and in A.D. 96, received from the Lord, that which we read in the book of Revelation. In his writings he had much to say on the subject of love, therefore, we want to begin our study with the words spoken by Jesus, and find out what genuine love is cultivated by and built around.


SEEING THE SPIRITUAL SIDE


In the verse we are using for a text we find Jesus speaking to his disciples, “IF YE LOVE ME, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS.” He did not mean, by that, that if they loved him they would keep the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament. Words such as this were terminology words. At other times, instead of saying keep my commandments, he said, keep my sayings, or keep my words. It all means the same thing regardless of the terminology. He is telling the, if they really love him, they will do according to his teachings. I believe we can say, in the light of the truth that was preached in the first age, love without truth is not love at all. It is just carnal, or maybe I should say natural attraction. Its foundation is human emotions. In the beginning many people followed Jesus only because they were drawn to the human side of him rather than the spiritual side. If they had been drawn to him in a spiritual way, they would never have become offended because of what he said. If they had been following him because of a spiritual revelation as to who he was, they would not have let anything separate them from that revelation. You will remember, there was quite a difference between the multitude of his disciples that became offended to the point where they turned back and walked with him no more, and the twelve who stayed with him. You will find that account in John 6:66-69, “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then Jesus said unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou has the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter had a completely different attitude about it. He was full of human weakness, and constantly displaying it, especially before the day of Pentecost when they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, but, one thing was sure, he had a revelation in his bosom, and he did not intend to let anything separate him from that. He did not bother to take a vote among the other eleven. He immediately said, “LORD, TO WHOM SHALL WE GO? THOU HAST THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE.” He, evidently, already had a revelation of something Jesus said to them in answer to a question asked by Thomas at a later time. In John 14:5-6, we find Thomas saying to Jesus, “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH… AND THE LIFE: no man cometh unto the Father, but by ME…” Even though these words were spoken much later than the occasion here in chapter 6, Peter had heard what Jesus said in verse 63, of chapter 6, where he said, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; THE WORDS… THAT I SPEAK UNTO YOU, THEY ARE SPIRIT… AND THEY ARE LIFE…” In other words, just to follow Jesus from a fleshly, human standpoint would profit a person nothing in a spiritual sense, for the gift of eternal life was wrapped up in what he had to say. He went on to say, (while speaking to the multitude before they departed), “but there are some of you who do not believe,” knowing from the beginning who they were that believed not. He then said to them, “No man can come unto me, (THE WORD), except it were given unto him of my Father.” Now, in case you may be wondering, what has all that got to do with love? Let me say this, LOVE without TRUTH is not LOVE at all, and TRUTH without LOVE is not TRUTH at all. I say it like that to get your attention. Now I will explain what I mean.


TRUTH AS A CLUB


Truth can be used as a club to promote human objectives. This has been done in many religious circles. They have used truth as a club to beat people with, and all for a selfish motive, just to build themselves an empire. People like that will use enough truth to get what they want, but the thing they build is never for the glory of God, it always turns out in a way that man gets the glory. Love itself, is the spirit of truth manifested. Therefore, it was the divine plan of God, that as truth was implanted in the hearts of people, the life of that truth could not help but be love, for God is love, and he is truth. Jesus said, “And ye shall know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH shall make you free.” You cannot separate truth and love. They go together, and those who would try to separate them will surely miss the mark. There cannot be a true objective in such.


WHAT THE CHURCH IS BUILT UPON


I hope you realize that the scriptures we are reading contain the words which were spoken in the beginning, that caused the church to be a church. In other words, it was the words spoken by Jesus that laid the foundation for the church. The church itself is made up of people who have this spirit of truth in them; it is not the large, eloquently constructed buildings with their stained glass windows. For this reason we need to get a clear picture in our minds of how and what Christianity lives on. Just what is the church, in the eyes of truth, obligated to reflect? That brings us right back to the 15th verse of chapter 14, “IF YE LOVE ME, KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS.” There is no need for a person to say that he, or she, as the case may be, loves the Lord with all his heart if he is the kind of person who, when he has an opportunity to hear truth he begins to kick and squirm, rebel and draw back. There is something wrong with a person who locks his feet and refuses to take a step forward when truth is presented to him. I have always said this, if something is presented to you that you do not understand, and there is no opportunity for you to analyze it in the light of scripture, it is better for you just to file it away and say, “Now, Lord, I have never heard that before, and I just do not understand it. Right now, I cannot see it like that.” He will not hold that against you, but file it away, do not throw it away. Then, as you walk down life’s pathway, if you are open and honest before God, so that you can say “Lord, I want to walk in all the light of truth that you have for me,” I promise you that if you do your best to walk in the light of God’s love and truth, you will reach a place in your spiritual life where those things that you did not understand before will come ringing down through the avenues of your soul, and you will say, “Why didn’t I see that a long time ago?” When truth becomes revelation to you, it seems as though you have always known it, but for those who kick and struggle, and froth at the mouth, and become so frustrated that they cannot sleep at night, it is quite a different story. I have seen Christians react like that, but it is to their own hurt, for if they are children of God, He, (GOD), will work circumstances to get them into the place where they can see more truth. It is a bad thing for Christians not to know how to look at truth, but I have observed that some are so busy fighting against false teaching, that they cannot recognize the real thing when they hear it. Brothers and sisters: we need to keep our priorities in order. Jesus went on to say, in verse 16, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; 17, Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for HE DWELLETH WITH YOU, and SHALL BE IN YOU.” Let us be thankful for the Holy Ghost that abides IN US. I am glad for the fact that he is not forty or fifty miles away from us, but instead, he is ever present, even in us, and for what purpose? For the answer to that let us read a verse or two from the 16thchapter, beginning with verse 12, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13, Howbeit when he, the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, IS COME, (Where will he be? IN THE BELIEVERS 14:17), HE WILL GUIDE YOU INTO ALL TRUTH: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and HE WILL SHEW YOU THINGS TO COME. 14, He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and SHALL SHEW IT UNTO YOU. 15, All things that the Father hath are mine; therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” Brothers and sisters: he is not, just a Comforter to soothe our hurt feelings and patch up our wounds, (spiritually speaking), but he is with us, even in us, every mile of the way through this earthly journey to reveal truth to us, that we may take on the mind of Christ, as the apostle Paul admonished the Colossians to do. HE WILL SHOW US THINGS TO COME.


I WILL COME TO YOU


Let us now return to chapter 14, verse 18, “I will not leave you comfortless; I WILL COME TO YOU.” These verses could help a person see that God is one, and not three, if that person had eyes to see. Jesus was not saying I will come to you in flesh, no; he was to come back to them in spirit form, and that is exactly what he did. We read about it in Acts 2, “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. (There is your key, they were doing what he had told them to do, Luke 24:49, “And, behold, I sent the promise of my Father upon you: BUT TARRY YE IN THE CITY OF JERUSALEM, until ye be endued with power from on high.” They loved him and believed him, and by doing what he had instructed them to do, they were in the right place, at the right time, to receive the promised benefit). 2, “And suddenly there cam a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3, And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4, And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” That was Jesus fulfilling the promise that he made to them, “I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU COMFORTLESS, I… WILL COME TO YOU.” The Holy Ghost that filled them on the day of Pentecost, was the spirit of truth, which is the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is none other than the spirit of the Great God who spoke, in the beginning, and said, “Let there be light,” Gen. 1:3, and there was light. He is TRUTH, he said, “I will come to you,” and he came. Now, verse 19, “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me; because I live ye shall live also, 20, At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, (SPIRITUALLY), and ye in me, (SPIRITUALLY), and I in you,” (Spiritually). We cannot have three persons inside us, but praise God, we can have the ONE SPIRIT inside us, which is the spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost.


A WAY OF LIFE


Verse 21, “He that HATH MY COMMANDMENTS,” now, notice this, you will recall that in the 15th verse he said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” To keep them is to pay attention to them, to observe them, put them into practice and do everything you can to allow them to become a part of your life. Christianity is not just a belief. It is a way of life. On the other hand, it is not just a way of life that will allow a person to believe anything that he might be tempted to believe, while he continues his same old routine. No, it IS… a belief, but it is a belief that will affect your life, your way of living. It is a FAITH BELIEF that opens up a whole new way of life for those that enter in. Many who profess to be Christians never do allow the principles of Christ to affect their way of life, and therefore, their ways and beliefs are from that spirit of antichrist. The devil will try first to keep a person in the beer parlors, and away from church. Then if all his efforts in that direction fail, he will them try to push that person into a trap spiritually, on other words, he will get behind them and push them 90 miles an hour, trying to get them wrecked up in the word of God. That is where so many religious cults, and organizations get their start. It is the devil’s business to try and sidetrack us if he can, but truth will prevail for those that love it.


COMMANDMENTS – WORDS – SAYINGS


Let us go back to the 21st verse, “He that HATH… my commandments, (HATH… means that he is already living by them), and KEEPETH them, he it is that loveth me.” In verse 15, he said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” and now he has turned it right around to where he says the man that already hath his commandments, and is living by the, that is the man that loves him. Then, the rest of the verse, “And he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 27, Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23, Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my WORDS…” Not just a verse or two, but all of his sayings, and teaching. 24, “He that loveth me not, keepeth not my SAYINGS…” You will notice that the terminology has changed from COMMANDMENTS…, to WORDS…, and now to SAYINGS…, which all add up to the same thing. Those that love him, will endeavor to do what he has instructed us to do. I believe we can say then, in talking about divine love, that the love which was projected from God through Jesus Christ, which was the fountain of God’s love opened up at Calvary, is a love that will definitely change lives. Calvary made a way for that love to project through every individual that would purpose in their heart to walk with God and stand for his truth. Jesus did not come into the world just to speak every kind of an idea that some might like to hear, hoping that through it all love might be cultivated. It was quite the opposite from that. He came with a mission, and that mission was to do the will of the Father, to accomplish the Father’s purpose. In the sixth chapter of John we find Jesus speaking of what that purpose was, verse 38, “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me, 39, And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40, And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which SEETH THE SON, and BELIEVETH ON HIM, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” We can see from those verses that Jesus had a definite mission in the days while he walked on earth. Then, in the 17th chapter we find Jesus praying to the Father and we hear him say, 14, “I HAVE GIVEN THEM THY WORD…, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world.” If a person really receives the WORD OF GOD, the world will hate them, and there will be no way for such a person to line up with the world. That is why the apostle Paul was inspired to write as he did to the Corinthians. In 2 Corinthians (6:14, we find these words, “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? 15, And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16, And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God: as God hath said, I will dwell in the, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17, Wherefore, COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, and BE YE SEPARATE, saith the Lord, and TOUCH NOT THE UNCLEAN THING; and I will receive you, 18, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”


FOLLOWING TRUTH


I know that some of you will say, “But, Bro. Jackson, how will we ever win the people to the Lord if we don’t fellowship with them?” Therefore I want to say this, “The devil recaptures more people in those mixed situations, than the Lord ever gets hold of as a result of any witness you might have among them.” The Bible is against this idea of taking your light and your truth, and just mixing it with everything. Jesus even said, “Cast not your pearls before swine.” Yet we realize that he also said, “Ye are the salt of the earth,” and again, “Ye are the light of the world.” Now, how do we reconcile this: We certainly cannot win anyone to the Lord by joining them in their unrighteous ways, for they will say, “If what you have is so great, what are you doing here?” All sinners know how Christians are supposed to live and conduct themselves. Therefore, what is the conclusion of the matter? It is this, we must realize that if truth is to shine and reflect, it will have to do so by being exemplified in the believer’s life in every aspect of his whole being. If every believer would allow truth and love to reflect through their every day lives the way God means for it to, they would, (by their example) make others thirsty for what they have as they travel along life’s pathway. One thing is sure though, the divine love of God has certain guidelines. It will cause you to love all mankind, but you will not love their unrighteous ways. You will pray for them, but you will not seek your fellowship among them. That goes also, for those who profess to be Christians, but will not allow truth to guide their lives, for the Bible also says, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3;) As Jesus prayed to the Father we hear him say, 17:17, “SANCTIFY THEM THROUGH THY TRUTH: THY WORD IS TRUTH.” He went on to say, “Father, I am not praying just for these that are here with me, but for them also that shall believe through their testimony, or their word. It is my desire that they be one as we are one.” Those who walked with Jesus, and stayed with him long enough to be found in the upper room, all came out of that upper room teaching the same thing. They did not have a dozen different versions of what walking with God required of a person. That is why I say, “If a person in this age is willing to follow truth and be led by the Holy Ghost, they will be led to the light that has been revealed to this age.” Every church age has had its messenger, and the people of that age were required to walk in the light of the messenger of their age. Therefore, when you hear people say, “I am not going to follow any man,” you can be sure, that person is missing the mark. God never asked us to follow any man’s flesh, but there is the other side of the picture, that is what God would have us to see. That is what we are to follow. God sent his messenger to this age for the purpose of calling the children of God from all the various denominational circles they were locked up in, and his motive and objective is that they might follow truth and have the love of God perfected in their hearts. The Bible makes it absolutely clear that divine love cannot exist in its purity and perfection, except where people walk in obedience to truth. You will hear some say, “Oh, it was a lot easier for the early church to live as they did, for they had such power with God.” Let me tell you, the key to that is found right in the 2nd chapter of Acts. They were all in one accord, and they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine. They all believed the same thing, and they had it straight. The fact that they had a common ground of faith, motivated them to go from house to house breaking bread. You have heard the old proverb, “Birds of a feather, flock together,” that is the way with those who are born again. They enjoy fellowshipping together. The true nature of God can only be expressed in an atmosphere such as that. For this reason, anytime you have a mixed group of people together, with some believing one way, and others, another; you will always have an undercurrent that will prevent divine love from reaching its peak. God’s very objective is lost in such an atmosphere, for God is truth. That is why Jesus said, “I am the WAY…, the TRUTH…, and the LIFE,” he only spoke the Father’s words. He said, “the words that I speak unto you are not my words, they are the Father’s,” meaning, the Eternal Spirit. His teaching was not designed just to please a mass of society so that they could coexist. That is what we have in our generation, but it did not come from the spirit of God. It had its beginning with the spirit of antichrist. The modern church world today has a gospel that will appease everyone who comes in, no matter what his religious background may be, or what he believes. It is all done for the sake of love and unity when you hear them tell it. They will say, “It doesn’t make too much difference whether we believe everything alike or not, just as long as we believe in Jesus, and have love for each other.” Show me that in the Bible. Nevertheless, that is the main theme of twentieth century world religion. Wherever you find a charismatic meeting, you are likely to find people there from a dozen different denominations; and, doctrinal wise, they are not too concerned about what is taught; just as long as they can hear something exciting about someone’s personal experience. Such as this, many times, has served as a bridge for people who were imprisoned in some stiff collared denomination to cross over to a place where the spirit of God could deal with them, but a person who never goes any farther than these charismatic gatherings (with God), is not seeking truth; they are only seeking an experience. Some of these people have been in the same place for 10-20 years without growing one little bit, (spiritually speaking). They may seem more spiritual, but where is the apostles doctrine, and the revelatory truths that it takes to make God’s building strong? You will not find it there, for they have got he cart before the horse. They keep the Holy Ghost testifying of Himself; and Jesus plainly said that he would not do that, (John 16:13). The Holy Ghost will lead a person to truth every time, if that person is hungry for truth, and willing to follow.


OUR TEACHER


Let us continue reading in chapter 14:24; “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings; and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” Here we have a man speaking; (a man of flesh), but he is making it very clear that the words which they hear him speaking are not words with a fleshly origin, in other words, not just human thoughts. These were divinely inspired words, sayings, teachings, instructions, exhortations that were beneficial for proper conduct, proper living, and relationship to God. 25, “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 26, But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” That is like saying, “I have not told you everything that you will need to know in this life, and much of what I HAVE TOLD YOU has already slipped your mind, but the Holy Ghost which will come to you after I am gone, will teach you all that the Father would have you know, and will cause you to remember the things which I have spoken unto you.” Brothers and sisters; the Holy Ghost is ever present to enable us to walk in the truth of God’s word. He will remind us of the right way when we are tempted to do something wrong. He is the SPIRIT OF TRUTH; He is the SPIRIT OF DIVINE LOVE. That is why we say, DIVINE LOVE IS TRUTH LIVED. When we allow the Holy Ghost to be our motivation, he will always manifest love and truth. That is why Jesus said, “By their fruits ye shall know them,” (Matt. 7:15-23). A Holy Ghost filled child of God can tell whether a person’s deeds are led by the Holy Ghost or by the spirit of antichrist just by observing that person’s life. That does not mean that you have the privilege of determining that person’s eternal destiny; that is in the hands of God alone. Our responsibility is to judge (by the person’s deeds) whether we should fellowship with that person, and be a partaker of those deeds.


ABIDING IN LOVE


Now, to keep on the subject of God’s love, and his commandments, let us go to chapter 15, verse 10, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in his love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” Notice here; YE becomes very personal, yet it is also collective for he is talking to his disciples. If YE keep my commandments, YE shall abide in MY LOVE. What is his love? It is the same love that caused him to be obedient to the will of the Father; never seeking to please himself, saying only what would express the mind of God. In such a love relationship, one does not seek to please himself, but rather the other. As he passes that on to his disciples, it is to make them an inseparable arm of God; reaching out to lost mankind with a message of salvation. Why? Because it is an inseparable love; and it is the will of God for all men to hear the gospel. Therefore, if they keep his commandments, they WILL abide in his love, for they will be living, walking, teaching and practicing what he has taught them; thereby ruling out all possibility of a separation. If they would live like that, they could not help but be one. That is why the apostle Paul admonished Eudias and Synteche to be of the same mind in the Lord; in his letter to the Phillippians. What beauty – what harmony – what bliss, when you find a group of people who are consistent in their thinking, and speak the same things, (in love), without carnal divisions. That is where God dwells. That is what God desires, among his people. Think of this; God is one, and he created the world and all things that are in it; yet when you go halfway around the world, you find that the people on the other side have another God. (I only say it like this to illustrate, or make a point. I know that we have people right in our own part of the world who serve other Gods.) We know that there is only one God, but this all goes to show what mankind in his journey through time has done; he has accumulated various deities, and built religious organizations around them until the world population is broken up into ever so many groups, all believing in a different God. This breaks the family, human relationship with the heavenly Father. God cannot be worshiped by a vast majority of the human race for the simple reason, they do not know who he is; yet we know that, for six thousand years God has been seeking to reconcile lost mankind back to himself. When we look to the Middle East we see the Jews on one hand, and the Moslems on the other; all claiming to be children (descendants) of Abraham, yet the Jews hold God to be one certain deity, and the Moslems another. Then, when we come into the Gentile realm many of them have him as something else. When we sum it all up, there cannot be but one God. The same God that created the Russians, created us. The God that created the Orientals, created the Indians also, as well as the black man, and he is ONE, not TWO, not THREE, but ONE. Many people who have their affections pointed to the one great God of all creation, still try to break him up into three persons. It is no wonder that it is so hard to find genuine love expressed in our day. It just cannot project through such a mixed up mass of confusion. The early church had it two thousand years ago. Wherever they went, preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, that love projected; and Gentiles were turned from paganism to the true God through the name of Jesus Christ. That name also separated thousands from Judaism and turned them to a life of love and truth that they had never known.


THE BIBLE – A JEWISH BOOK


The Bible has always been a Jewish book. The truth of it was given to the Jews, and various ones of them wrote as they were inspired by God to do so; thereby giving us the Bible as we have it today. We Gentiles have become the guardians or caretakers of it, but the God of that Bible is soon to return to those Jews with the message of salvation that is contained therein. God raised up this race of people from the seed of Abraham, of whom we have spoke much in other messages. It was through this race of people that God began to reveal his great plan of salvation. However, in the old testament it is seen only through types and shadows, signs and symbols, but since Calvary it has been proclaimed to the whole world of lost mankind, and by revelation of the scriptures we are able to see and understand the whole plan of God for mankind from the creation all the way to the eternal age. In this great plan for the ages, I believe it is easy for us to see that the hub of all God’s dealing with man has been love. It is like the old hymn which has the words, “LOVE IS THE THEME, LOVE IS SUPREME,” that is God. God is love, and He is supreme. All his dealings with man are in truth, and his truth is given in love. Can you now see why I said, and so say again that, DIVINE LOVE IS TRUTH LIVED? It is because man can only project divine love when the very nature of God is allowed to project through him. Man in his natural make up does not have it, and cannot possibly produce it apart from complete union with God. Do you see how it works? If you are in complete union with God, and I am in complete union with God, there can be nothing else but love and unity between us. Now, how do we get in complete unity with God? Only through truth. How do we get truth? By hungering and thirsting after God and his righteousness. Read Matthew 5:6, “BLESSED ARE THEY WHICH DO HUNGER AND THIRST AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS: FOR THEY SHALL BE FILLED” WITH WHAT? GOD, who is SPIRIT, who is TRUTH, who is LOVE, and who is righteous. That is why the early Christians of that first age conducted themselves as they did. They were filled, F-I-L-L-E-D with the Holy Ghost. God was once again being looked upon, worshiped, adored and fellowshipped as the great Eternal being that he was to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. God’s love was being perfected in the lives of humanity. No wonder the apostle Paul could write as he did to the Ephesian church which was made up of Jews, and Gentiles. Addressing his words first to the Gentile element of that congregation, he reminded them of where they had been, (spiritually), and where they had attained to in Christ Jesus. Let us read a few verses from chapter 2, beginning with verse 11, “Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world; But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometime were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For HE IS OUR PEACE, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby; and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, (Gentiles), and to them that were nigh, (Jews). For through him we both have access by ONE SPIRIT unto the FATHER. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; AND are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; In whom all the building fitly framed together growth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Some of the same words could be spoken to us. There was a time when we were without hope, (as individuals), and far from God, but now we are made nigh by the blood of Christ, and he is our peace. Furthermore, we do not look upon our brothers and sisters in Christ as foreigners if they are not natural citizens of our particular country; neither do we look at the color of their skin; for as Paul said, “Through him (Christ), we all have access by one spirit unto the Father.” We are one in him; if it be that we are in him. Look over in chapter 4, at some of the words spoken to the church at Ephesus. Remember, this church at Ephesus is set forth as the model church in this age of Grace. As we have said before, in other messages, it was from the revival fires that burned at Ephesus, that the other churches in Asia Minor got their start. Verse 1, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, FORBEARING ONE ANOTHER IN LOVE; Endeavoring to keep the UNITY of the SPIRIT in the bond of PEACE. There is ONE BODY, (made up of people from every race and culture), and ONE SPIRIT, (The Holy Ghost), even as ye are called in ONE HOPE of your calling; ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM, ONE GOD AND FATHER of all, and IN YOU ALL.” It would be impossible to have that kind of relationship, and fellowship, where you have a dozen different versions being taught on the same subject; all a result of carnal minded men trying to make a name for themselves. There are just too many self styled preachers that have not been called of God. When God calls a man into the ministry, that call is to stand for truth at any cost to the flesh. Jesus was our example for that: He stood for truth, speaking only what the Father showed him to speak, and it took him right to the cross. That is why he could say, “It is not I that doeth these things. It is the Father that dwelleth in me.” (Meaning the Eternal Spirit). Flesh should never receive any credit, or glory for that which God does. That is how many people have gotten themselves into trouble with God, and man. God began to use them a little, in some (out of the ordinary) way, and immediately, they began to take the credit, and receive honor from men. On the other hand, if a person will wait for the spirit of God to instruct him, and then give God the glory for whatever is accomplished, God will vindicate that person’s ministry.


TRUE JOY


God has given us the Holy Ghost, and He in us, should cause us to conduct ourselves in a godlike manner. When we begin to take on the mind of Christ we will begin to throw off our childish, human ideas about Christianity, and begin to see it from the divine standpoint. That is exactly why the scriptures point out, “You are a chosen people, a peculiar people.” That does not mean that we should go around just trying to be peculiar; but I will say this much, if you will allow God to lead your life as he sees fit, you WILL be peculiar to the world. To abide in him is to be peculiar, as far as the world is concerned, and beside that, in the 5th verse of this 15th chapter, Jesus said, “For without me ye can do nothing.” In other words, if we do not abide in him we are helpless anyhow. To abide in him is to live in the realm of his love and revelated word. 15. “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” Many people seem to have the idea that a person who is full of the joy of the Lord should be leaping up and down, shouting, and praising the Lord continually. That is a childish way of looking at it. The joy of the Lord is that inner feeling of confidence and security that holds a person steady even in the midst of storms and hard trials. Certainly there is a time for shouting praises to him, a time for leaping, running, dancing, or whatever the spirit of God would lead you to do, but it would seem mighty strange to find someone carrying on like that if their little child had just been struck down by a speeding automobile, or they had just received word that a close relative or friend had just passed away. Yet, in those times of trial we can still have the joy of the Lord in us.


Many people have followed preachers from one place to another because of fleshly attractions, and then when something happened to the man they were following they could be heard saying, “I just don’t know what I am going to do now that Bro. – is no longer with us.” When you are following a man because of his flesh, his flesh is all you see; you never see the truth, and for that reason you do not have anything to hold to when that man is no longer around. It happened to many of the disciples of Jesus, when he was taken from the earth. That is why he said to them, “It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” If Jesus had not departed, and sent the Comforter (the Holy Ghost), to dwell within those disciples, do you think Stephen could have faced the stones of that angry mob, calling upon God not to lay that sin to the charge of those who were killing him? Of course he could not. It was the indwelling presence of the Holy Ghost that gave him such great joy in the face of his murderers. Believe me, even though they were down cast in spirit when Jesus was taken from their presence, those disciples who received the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost never spent one minute grieving about Jesus not being with them anymore after that; for they knew that he was living inside them as he said he would be. After that, it was his joy in them (HIS SPIRIT, HIS TRUTH), that made their joy full and complete. It is like the apostle Peter said, in his first epistle; it is joy unspeakable and full of glory.


VICTORY THROUGH SUBMITTING


I know you can say, as can I; that some of the times when you have recognized that joy the most, have been times when the devil has been slapping you around to the point where it seemed like there would be no end to it; then, God enabled you to duck, just in time to miss his licks and give him one. Then you know that you have seen the hand of God working on your behalf, when the old devil goes running off, and leaves you alone. Remember what James said, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” The key to that kind of a victory is for us to SUBMIT OURSELVES TO GOD: so that we can draw from his inexhaustible strength and wisdom. It is true, the devil is a bluff; for he was defeated at Calvary on behalf of every child of God; but his attack is very real while it is taking place. God allows all this for our testing, and growth, and so we will not be going around trying to bluff the devil all the time. God is not a bluff, and he will not allow his people to be; he will let them get into situations where they have to have the real thing to get out of them. It was in the letter to the Hebrews where the apostle wrote, “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of Grace, (not proudly, boldly, there is a great difference), that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” In these trying situations that great joy is made more real to us. Our growth and stature in the Lord is not accomplished when we stay on the mountain top all the time; we have to come down to reality to find the grace of God working on your behalf.


CHURCH OF YOUR CHOICE – ANTICHRIST DOCTRINE


As we come back to verse 11 now, what does that joy depend upon? Is it going to the church of your choice that produces it? You know that is not right. Jesus never did teach anything that would give children of God that choice; neither did his apostles. That popular slogan is an antichrist diversion, but you can’t make the world believe that: for they see it as great liberty in the Lord. You point them to a church that stands for the apostolic truth of God’s word, and tell them that God is not in those denominations, and immediately you are branded as a fanatic. “I don’t want to get too close to that fellow,” they will say; well, let me say this, “Jesus was a fanatic, John was a fanatic, and so was Paul, if that makes you one. Did not Paul write to the Galatians, saying, “If any man, or even an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that we have preached, let him be accursed?” Did not John write in the little epistles, “If there come any unto you, and bring not THIS DOCTRINE, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed (SAYS GOD BLESS YOU BROTHER, KNOWING THAT HE IS NOT PREACHING THE TRUTH), is a partaker of his EVIL DEEDS?” We, as revelated children of God are supposed to be contending for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. How can we do that if we allow, or encourage those who preach something different, to minister in our assemblies, or even to come into our homes spreading their antichrist doctrine? Do not become offended at this, saints; for if it is different than what Jesus and his apostles taught, it is antichrist doctrine. We do not deny that every major denomination was originally strong in some scriptural truth that the early church taught; but where they missed the mark was in taking only the scripture that they agreed with and attributed everything else that anyone other than their particular group received, to the devil. One group believes one truth from the Bible, and another group believes another one; but they cannot get them all together. Those early Christians believed every truth in the Bible; therefore, it is no wonder they could go into the Roman Arenas to be killed, with such great joy bubbling in their soul; they knew the truth. As the apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” They went by the hundreds into the lion cages to have their flesh ripped from their bones; but they had the joy of the Lord in their soul. They could put them in jail and they would sing just as loud in jail as they did in church. At times, when some of them would wind up in jail, here would come an angel to open up the doors for them to leave. There was no magic involved in those activities; it was just the fact that they had a God who heard the joy of their hearts singing instead of feeling sorry for themselves, and he sent an angel to loose them. “THESE THINGS HAVE I SPOKEN UNTO YOU, THAT MY JOY MIGHT REMAIN IN YOU, AND THAT YOUR JOY MIGHT BE FULL.” What things? His commandments, his teachings and his words, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” The great theme of the Bible is love, all the way from Genesis through Revelation, and the world has caught the words, but they have missed the meaning. When Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you,” he was not talking about the kind of love that could be affected by human emotions; he was talking about a love that would be steadfast and consistent through every situation. When that kind of love is projecting, it makes no distinction between the rich and the poor; it is not affected by color of skin nor place of birth; neither is it affected by human weakness or bad attitudes. Remember now, when we talk like this we are talking about loving a human soul with a godlike kind of love, and loving that soul is quite different than fellowshipping the flesh. There are many that we can have that kind of love for, and still not be able to fellowship with them because of the life they live, and many times because of what they believe and stand for.


KNOWING OUR BENEFITS


When people do not know what to believe, and still have not come to the place where they will hear truth, they cannot have real joy: for just about the time that they get one little thought settled, and start trying to stand for it, the devil will hit them with something else that will be different. That kind of a person will spend much time sitting around, gloomy, and despaired; always grumbling and complaining that they just don’t know what to believe anymore. I want you to know, that believing truth is quite different than playing with it. When you believe truth you see it for what it is; then you allow it to get down in your soul and do its work in your life. The devil’s greatest delight is the keep people in confusion. He lives in confusion, and loves it, but God dwells in peace. That is why God desires for us to be in unity, and oneness of belief and purpose. There is no peace outside of it. I have heard denominational people say, when they would be confronted with truth, “We don’t want to believe a thing like that: that is just the devil trying to cause confusion in our church. Let me say, “If it is truth, inspired by the Holy Ghost, it is not the devil, and God is not the author of confusion, so where does that leave you?” It is not truth that causes confusion; it is the devil’s lie that people are holding on to that is causing confusion. Let me say also, “A person that never becomes grounded in truth is always groping, looking for some preacher to pray for them. They are in every prayer line that they can find; always hoping for a miracle, never knowing what it is to just rest upon the truth and reality of God’s word. Seemingly, such persons never grow up enough to distinguish between the blood purchased benefits that are available to every child of God, and the extra benefits that God bestows upon individuals from time to time for his own glory and pleasure; things that he does to bring about circumstances for the purpose of getting peoples’ attention, and changing traditional ideas. Through faith we can reckon unto ourselves sufficient grace for each day if we know what benefits we have available to us. For an example, let me say this, imagine an American citizen not knowing the difference between a one dollar bill, and a five dollar bill, and having to deal (in a financial way), with dishonest people every day. Do you think that person would get all that was coming to him in the financial transaction, once the other parties found out that he did not know the difference? You know he would not, the devil would see to it. The point I am desiring to make is that, in this natural life we have to reach a place where we begin to accept a certain identity, and certain responsibilities, and in doing so, we equip ourselves so that we are not completely at the mercy of the parties we are dealing with. We learn how to sell, buy, make change, get what we have paid for, and give others the same benefit. That is all a very necessary part of adult human activity. If the devil finds out you do not know a one from a five dollar bill, you can be sure he will do his utmost to keep you broke all the time; he will strip you of everything. Do you get my point? Can you catch the thought? Spiritually speaking it is the same way. If the devil finds out that you do not know for sure what the Bible teaches on a particular subject, he will do you exactly like he did Eve, (through the serpent), in the garden of Eden. God had said, “Do not eat, (or partake), of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil: for the day that you do, you will SURELY (no doubt about it), die.” God did not leave any doubt about it, he said, “if you eat, you die.” The word surely as used in Gen. 2:17, is a word that means ABSOLUTELY, Not maybe. The serpent came along and said to Eve, “Did God say that you shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Notice how the woman answered the serpent’s question, Gen. 3:23. This proved she did not understand it exactly as God had said it; for she said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the MIDST of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, (GOD SAID THAT), neither shall ye touch it (GOD DID NOT SAY THAT), LEST YE DIE.” (GOD DID NOT SAY THAT). Eve added the part about not touching the tree, and she changed the next part; for as she supposedly quoted it, she said, “LEST YE DIE.” The word L-E-S-T means, perhaps, maybe, or there is a chance you will die, but that is not the way God said it. He said you will S-U-R-E-L-Y die; no doubt about it. Right there is where the trouble for the whole human race began: the serpent saw his chance, (being inspired and led by the devil), he said, “Ye shall NOT surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” Doesn’t the words of the serpent remind you of a lot of people you know? They will say, “Aw, come on John, Jim, Bill, Susie, (or whatever your name is), you know God doesn’t expect Twentieth Century Christians to live by those old fashioned ideas; He is a good God; he will not cast you into hell just for taking one little drink to be sociable. After all God doesn’t expect us to go through life without having any fun.” Young people: you had better watch that kind of talk; that is the old serpent talking flee from it, and lay hold upon the word of God, which is able to deliver your soul. The devil is always perverting (changing), the word of God, trying to cause unsuspecting souls to miss God’s true way. He does it many times through preachers who are just trying to make a name for themselves, rather than to build something for God. That is why if you do not know a one, from a five, (spiritually), you are likely to be led down a cold trail and miss God completely.


LIVE YOUR OWN CONVICTIONS


It is up to every child of God to get this word settled in his heart, gain some convictions concerning the way you are to dress, the way you should talk, the places you are to go, or not to go, the kind of people you should fellowship with, and find out what your benefits are as a child of God. If you will do that you will not be forever looking for someone else to pray for you. When you gain your own personal love relationship with your heavenly Father, you will no longer have to walk through every mud hole that some one else might choose to walk through. You will follow him, instead of the crowd. That is where you will find real joy, even if following him (GOD), causes you to wind up in jail. You will not find any sad letters written by the apostle Paul, while he sat in jail for so many of the last years of his life. Every letter that he wrote shows just the opposite. He spoke of his bonds many times, but never in a complaining way. He even said in one place that many of his brethren in the lord had become very confident because of his bonds, so that they were much more bold to speak the word of God without fear. In other words, his bonds were sort of an example to others; that is, if they wound up in the same shape, they could still have the joy of the Lord bubbling up in their soul. Prisons and chains can never destroy LOVE, TRUTH, nor the great JOY that is experienced by those who are genuine partakers of the grace of God. These virtues are perfected in trials, and testings; on the other hand, the spirit of the world will kill love and joy that is not founded on truth. How can we say that we even have divine love for Jesus, unless we love his teachings.


DIVINE LOVE TESTED


After his resurrection, and just before his ascension, Jesus put Simon Peter to the test by asking him the same question three times. “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” There was no question about Peter’s love for him from a human standpoint, and Jesus knew that Peter had a revelation in his bosom, but Jesus gave him a chance to examine himself a little bit by asking him the same question again the third time. By the time Jesus asked him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me,” old Peter had began to be a little nervous and provoked; probably realizing that Jesus had sensed a weakness in him; a weakness that caused Peter to deny the Lord for a short time right after he was arrested, but Jesus was tempering him; getting him ready for a time that was soon to come, when he would see him in the flesh no more in this life. At that time he commissioned Peter to feed his lambs, and his sheep. However, when he was questioning Peter, in reality, what he was really asking was, Peter, do you love me so much that you will allow nothing to stand in your way, to prevent you from carrying out the responsibility that you will have when I am gone? In other words, Peter was to have the responsibility of unlocking the kingdom of God for those hungry souls that would desire to enter in, just a few days later. That would require divine love, in the face of all that had taken place since the arrest of Jesus. A carnal, natural love could not withstand the pressure; it could not reach out into a throng of people, some of which, no doubt, had been present when Jesus was crucified, and extend love, mercy, and the grace of God to them. Peter displayed natural love and loyalty to Jesus when he grabbed a sword and cut an ear off one of the men who came to arrest Jesus, but Jesus displayed divine love when he reached over and put the ear back on his enemy. That is the kind of love that Jesus was speaking of in Matthew 5:44-45 when he said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” He went on to say, “If you love only those who love you, how are you different from anyone else? Even people of the world do that.” Divine love will project, even in unlovely situations. Jesus is our example in every area of life. He showed us how to face the onslaughts of the devil when we are under attack, as he was in the wilderness. He set a perfect example of obedience to the will of our heavenly Father, and he exemplified love in every respect as he walked among men. “THIS IS MY COMMANDMENT, THAT YE LOVE ONE ANOTHER, AS I HAVE LOVED YOU. 13, Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. YE are my friends, IF ye do whatsoever I command you.” Just in case you may be one who is thinking that this does not seem like much of a way to judge friendship, (based upon whether a person does what you tell them to do or not), let me remind you that these are the very words of Jesus himself, and they reach way beyond any human understanding, (that is, grasping only with the natural mind), for only those who have the kind of love that he is talking about, can understand the depth of such a statement. What he said in verse 14 encompasses all that we have been reading and talking about in these two chapters. In other words a person could not keep his commandments unless he did have the divine love of God in him; then we turn right around and say, “If a person has that kind of love in him, he will do as Jesus said for us to do, and this automatically makes you a friend of Jesus. It is all wrapped up in one package, and the apostle John understood it, and recorded it, in order for us to benefit from it later.


REVELATION REMAINS THE SAME


Let us turn over to the little Epistles of John and see how he felt about this kind of love after more than fifty years had passed, and he was an old man. This was written somewhere around A.D. 90, when John did not have many of the old timers left who had heard it from the mouth of Jesus as he had. Let us read 1 John 2:3, and see if fifty some years of living, since hearing those words from the mouth of Jesus, has changed his revelation of them. “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS.” When you take that right back to the gospel he wrote, the revelation is exactly the same. He is actually saying, This is the way that we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments, or, as we said before, observe his teachings. 4, “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” What do you think John would have done, in his day, if some preacher got up and preached for an hour on the “blessed holy trinity?” John, that guardian of love and truth, would have been bound to reveal him as a false prophet. The very words of such a person testifies to the fact that they do not know him. What if John could live in our day, and go into one of these charismatic meetings where some big priest or bishop, with a log chain and a big cross hanging from his neck would be shaking people, slapping them on the back, and trying to teach them to speak in tongues? How do you think John would react to that? Don’t forget, John was in that upper room when the Holy Ghost fell on the disciples of Jesus for the first time. He knew that there was no one present that day to teach them to speak in tongues. I believe John would create a disturbance in such gatherings, and I believe that when he got through with those charismatic leaders, they would have to admit that they did not have what they were talking about. I say these things only for the sake of illustration, because it is truth that we are after; Otherwise we would just be playing religious games like the church world in general. The truth that God has revealed to us in our day is like jewels, precious stones, diamonds, emeralds, and all the other things that natural man looks upon as valuable. You would not think of taking a 5 carat diamond, and setting it in a cheap ten cent store mounting; no, you would carefully choose a solid gold mounting that would compliment such a stone; something that would enhance and add to the beauty of it. We know how to display natural things, but we have a great deal to learn yet about displaying the precious gifts of the spirit of God that he has so bountifully bestowed upon us. 5, “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; hereby know we that we are in him.” The love of God is perfected in those who keep his word, live by his sayings, and follow the example that he set before us when he walked in human flesh.


SALVATION – GOD’S FREE GIFT


God requires that we prove our love for him by accepting his love and truth on his terms rather than on our own. That is why some very proud folks have to be broken, so badly, when God begins to deal with them in a spiritual way. They want God to be real in their lives, but they want him on their own terms. That will not work; God is not a compromiser. There is only one way into the spiritual family of God, and all that come to him have to find that way. It matters not whether we are rich or poor, whether we are very smart or just average, and it doesn’t matter who we may or may not know. God does not care about any of that, for there is no way that we can merit the grace of God. Paul expresses it in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by GRACE (God’s unmerited favor), are ye saved through FAITH; (believing God’s word), and that not of yourselves: (You cannot earn salvation), it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.” If we could work out our salvation, (do anything to earn it in any way) then we could possibly have something to boast about, for our abilities are not all the same. Some, far exceed others in many ways. Knowing this, we ought to be even more grateful, realizing that the apostle wrote in 1 Cor. 12:13, “By one spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one spirit.” That one spirit that we have all been baptized into one body with, is the spirit of truth, and God’s purpose in doing this is that we might be made one in him. He is cultivating truth in us, and that truth will make us free. We are free from the bondage that Satan has held us in for so long. We are now members of the body of Christ, “and God has set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” (1 Cor. 12:18) Every denomination on the face of this earth has their little formula for making new members in their assemblies. We will not go into those methods in this message for we are interested in only one method; that is the one we have just mentioned. These people speak of love and many of them refer to each other as precious brother, or precious sister, but you had better not cross their doctrine, or you will find out real quick that they do not have the kind of love that they talk so much about.


INTERPRETING GOD


Through the years while people were all mixed up in Babylon, they tried to interpret the word of God, and found that they could not do it, so they began to do what they considered to be the next best thing; they began to interpret God. Now we have the Baptist, the Methodist, the Presbyterians, the Catholics, etc., who are all mixed up in Babylon, and for years they have been fighting each other, refusing to let their members go to any other church, and now, as we approach the end, we can see them all climbing into the same nest. Do you know what happened? They each one (denomination) kept noticing that all the other denominations were growing instead of diminishing, and being unable to interpret the word of God, they began to interpret God himself, in this way; they began to say, “God can be in any denomination.” They read where Peter made the statement while in the home of Cornelius that God is no respecter of persons’, and that caused them to begin saying, “God is no respecter of denominations.” Time and conditions, and the grace of God has caused people to assume things about God, and take him for granted. They take the scriptures that speak of God’s love, mercy, and longsuffering, and it makes them feel secure, not knowing that the longsuffering of God does not mean that he has accepted our ideas. What they fail to understand, is that God knows we are all weak and he gives us plenty of time to accept his (God’s) ideas, his plan, his purpose for our lives. God, in his love and mercy, will tolerate, for periods of time, the things that we are doing, but it is his plan and purpose, to bring all of his foreknown children to a place of perfect unity, all believing the same thing, with nothing left to cause divisions. Now I hope each of you will understand what we are endeavoring to point out in this little message. I am sure some of you who have been around this message of truth for quite a while may be thinking, “Bro. Jackson; we don’t need to hear all that,” but I ask you to be patient, and have consideration for your younger brothers and sisters that are still trying to find their way out of Babylon. You would be surprised at some of the questions people ask me, concerning the very things that we are talking about. Many are wondering if it is alright to go hear Bro. So and So, who doesn’t teach everything exactly like we do here, but he seems to have an awful lot of love for everyone. To that, I will have to say, as I have said before, if it is love that you are interested in, you will still have to find it in truth or it will fail you. This modern theory that claims we do not have to see eye to eye on everything, just as long as we love each other, is from the pit; that never did come from the lips of God’s anointed preachers. I will grant you this much though, up until he sent a prophet to this age, for the purpose of turning his children back to his revelated word, God did accept those honest hearted, sincere people in every system who sought him with all their heart, and walked in all the truth they had available to them in their hour. Therefore, you can stop worrying about your great grandmother, and examine the truth that is available to you in your day, that is where your salvation lies.


BE YE THEREFORE PERFECT


God has been merciful to people in every system of Babylon, just as he was to the Jews who were carried away to Babylon in the days of old. It is also like God being merciful to Jews in dispersion throughout the world, but tell me, “Did God ever give them a city anywhere except in Israel?” There is only one capital city that God will ever give to the Jews, and that is Jerusalem. God extends mercy to Jews in other places, but it is only those who return to that land, who stand in the place of inheriting that which God has promised. Therefore, if we can see how God deals with the Jews in the natural, we will better understand God’s dealing with us in the spirit. We have to leave Babylon and return to our homeland, (spiritually speaking), in order to receive our inheritance. There is a transition period, of course; God allows for that, but the ultimate goal is to return to God’s original plan. God never did change, and he has never altered his plan for the ages; it is just that man (through the ages), lost his way, and God has been longsuffering, waiting for his children to return home. Right now all signs point to the fact that we are nearing our destination, and we know that it is the purpose of God to have a people that are perfect, not in the sense of being perfect in our flesh, as some believe, but in the sense of a perfect experience with God, perfect love, perfect unity, perfect fellowship and inseparability. Do you know, I have actually heard people scoff at the idea of the children of God being perfect. It is because they are carnal in all their thinking, and void of understanding, when it comes to spiritual matters. Would Jesus have instructed his disciples to be perfect, if it were not possible for them to obtain perfection in the sense that he was speaking it? Matt. 5:48, “Be ye therefore PERFECT, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” What did he mean? We all know that we can never be perfect (flesh wise), in this life. This word PERFECT, as used here, by Jesus, comes from a Greek word which means, “to be complete,” in the sense of fullness, or oneness. Jesus has just been instructing his disciples, teaching them, I should say, about love. In the discourse he said, “I know you have heard it said, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy,’ But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute (greet, speak to), your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publican so?” He has been teaching them that the God kind of love reaches beyond the bounds of one’s own little circle, and includes even the unlovely. In other words, he said, “This is the way God is; therefore if you want to be like him you will have to conduct yourselves the same way; “then he called upon them to be perfect, even as their heavenly Father is perfect. Does that help you to relate the statement to its proper application? In this particular setting he is talking about unselfishness, proper attitude, proper conduct, and the ability to love as God loves. No doubt, John heard every word that Jesus said that day, for it seems that the subject of love burned in him like an unquenchable fire throughout all that we have recorded about him, and by him. We find recorded in Luke 6:40 where Jesus said, ”The disciple is not above his master: but every one that IS PERFECT shall be as his master.” Also, in 1 Cor. 2:6, we find the apostle Paul writing this, “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them THAT ARE PERFECT.” Then, in Colossians 4:12 we find Paul writing to that church using the same language. “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand PERFECT and COMPLETE in all the will of God.” Being perfect in the sight of God is for us to be what God has called us to be, and to live our lives according to God’s principles. Just as the Bible says that Noah was perfect in his generation, so also can we be perfect in our generation if we will walk with God. Whatever God has called you to do, do that, and do not covet your brother’s job that the Lord has called him to fulfill. For an example, just to illustrate perfection: If you had a job some place that required you to cut strings from packages that had been shipped, you might use a very small pocket knife. For that job this could be a perfect knife, for the simple reason, it is doing all that you require it to do. But suppose you have need to cut a large branch from a tree in your yard that is located in a place where it is forever in your way. Will that same little knife be perfect for a job like that? You know it will not. Your requirements for a knife will be different in this situation. Walking with God is the same way. As he shines more light for people to walk in, there is more required from those who would be perfect in his sight.


TRUTH OR LIE


As we follow John’s writings on this theme of love, let us look at 1 John 2:3-4, where he approached the subject from another direction. We have already read the scripture, but let me say this; if we believe that God sent a messenger to bring us back to an original, them we could well be living in the very hour when this scripture will hang right over our very souls. We have been restored back to the word and now we are without excuse. If we say that we love God, and then allow ourselves to deviate, even a little, from the truth, we make ourselves a liar. No one else will have to do it, for according to the Bible, we make ourselves a liar. “He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments IS A LIAR, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God PERFECTED: hereby know we that we are in him.” The days of playing around with religious theories is over for us. God tolerated that while we were still in Babylon, but he will not tolerate any such among those whom he has called out to be a part of the bride of Christ. You are going to see many people renounce every aspect of Christianity, and turn to the world, all because they have tried to hold onto some little old religious theory or idea that will fail them when they need it most. God will make sure that what you are holding onto will either cause you to grow in him, or it will be the very thing that will shake you loose from the vine. God is going to let every unclean and evil spirit of hell be turned loose to invade society, and rule apostate religion; for we are living in the age of falling away. People are going to get sick of religion. They will become almost hysterical when they finally begin to see just how apostate, religion has become. Only those who are keeping God’s truth will be spared from apostasy, from that spirit of apostasy that is pulling on the religious world. “BUT WHOSO KEEPETH HIS WORD, IN HIM VERILY IS THE LOVE OF GOD PERFECTED, (MADE COMPLETE).” We do not walk with God, ignorant of what his will is for our lives. You hear people say, “I hope this is right, or, I think this is right, or, that is what I have always been taught.” Brothers and sisters: it makes me sad to hear Christians talk like that, for it reveals the fact that they are without revelation, and that makes them an easy mark for the devil. In this hour of time, it is imperative that we come to a settled understanding of what our soul believes; for the enemy will throw everything he has at us as this age closes out. It will be his business to try and get us to throw up our hands and quit the race, but remember, “WHOSO KEEPETH HIS WORD, in him verily is the love of God perfected.” He (the Lord) is our shelter in the time of storm. It is in him that we are secure, and the way that we know that we are in him, is by keeping his word. When we keep his word, his love is perfected in us. Then we do not have doctrines to fuss about, therefore our fellowship is sweet. Now, did I say that we should not teach doctrine? Absolutely not, but we will all have the same doctrine. I want to read to you, the first 13 verses of the 2nd chapter of Titus. “But speak thou (Paul writing to Titus), the things which become sound DOCTRINE: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a PATTERN of good works: in DOCTRINE shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may ADORN THE DOCTRINE OF GOD OUR SAVIOUR IN ALL THINGS. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” It seems that the apostle Paul (in a very few words), summed up the Christian way of life, beginning, by exhorting Titus to speak the things which become SOUND DOCTRINE, and then went on to say that he should show himself to be a pattern of good works. In other words, he was to be an example before them in word and deed while he taught them sound, and uncorrupt DOCTRINE. God placed certain doctrines in the Bible for the purpose of setting a standard for those who would walk with him; however, it was never the purpose of God for some to hold to one Bible doctrine, and others to another one, causing division among believers, for as we said before, every doctrine of truth that men have found in the Bible belongs to the total makeup of every true Christian. We must keep in mind though, that God is sovereign, and that he is not obligated to deal with every person in exactly the same way as he begins to draw them into his great plan. Some think because the Bible says that God is no respecter of persons, he is obligated to give every believer the exact same experience that they, or someone else had. That only holds true in the overall benefit, or end result of each person’s experience of salvation. God deals with every individual according to each one’s particular personality and human makeup. That is why God can give you an experience that is not even like mine, and the end results of our experience will lead us both to the same place in our overall makeup.


RECEIVING THE HOLY GHOST


We hear people say many times, “Now in order to receive the Holy Ghost you must get it in such and such a way.” Such instruction is not correct. When I received the Holy Ghost I was lying on the floor, but that doesn’t mean that everyone must be lying on the floor to receive the Holy Ghost. In the upper room they were sitting when they were filled with the Holy Ghost, Acts 2:2, while others have been standing. God is sovereign; when it comes to certain experiences he will do as he pleases, but the end results will be the same. It doesn’t make any difference what position we are in when we receive the Holy Ghost; but once he is in us, remember, he is a teaching spirit; he will not teach you something contrary to what he is teaching me. He will lead us both to a true understanding of his plan and purpose. His plan includes doctrines which start at the Godhead, and come right on down through water baptism, sanctification, foreknowledge, election, predestination, eternal security of the believer, the catching away of the saints, the resurrection of the dead, the millennial reign of Christ, and many more, but he will teach each one of us the TRUTH of these DOCTRINES, for he is the spirit of truth. Now you may say, “Bro. Jackson, is it really necessary for a person to know all these things in order to be saved? No, I did not say that, but what I have said is that if what we know about these things are taught to us by the Holy Ghost that dwells within us, we will all be believing the same thing. There will be nothing to fuss about. Let me say right now, there are certain doctrines that are mandatory, for they form the framework of the Christian faith. A proper understanding of the Godhead, water baptism, sanctification, baptism of the Holy Ghost, these Bible doctrines form the foundation for your spiritual building, while others just add to your statural growth in the Lord, but my point is this, there is no two, three, or a half dozen ways, for as we have said already, God’s one way is perfect, and it will lead us all into unity and oneness when we find it. When God, by his spirit, gets us taught properly, and established in the same teaching, then we have nothing to fuss about; we can come to church and know that the brother sitting next to us has been baptized the same way we have, and that he believes the gospel just like we do, and that neither one of us have anything to brag or boast about. Just for a little illustration of boasting, I remember back to the depression days when money was scarce, and hard to get hold of, especially for little farm boys. We did not have nickels and pennies to carry around in our pockets in those days. But, once in a while when dad was a little fortunate to get an extra fifty cents from someplace, he would sometimes say, “Here Junior, you can take this penny and buy yourself a sucker today.” That was a treat for me, but at the same time other boys and girls whose families were better off financially might come to school with a sucker every day. Naturally a situation like that can cause bragging and jealously. Other little boys and girls were sometimes made to feel bad. It made you feel like, if you could just get one lick from that sucker it would sure be wonderful. Now that is the kind of thing that you expect to find among children, but it is sad to find such bragging and jealousy among the ranks of Christian adults. God is not pleased when we boast and brag, and do things that provoke jealousy. Quite the contrary, for he desires to lead us to a place in him, where we will realize that we do not have anything to boast about. Therefore, if you can understand my little illustration, you will realize that when God passes out the suckers, he makes sure that we all get one, and he makes sure that they are all just alike. We are still on the thought of doctrines; we will all understand them the same way when the Holy Ghost gets through teaching us. Jesus said, “He will take things of mine and show them unto you.” He will guide us into all truth if we have a love for truth.


LED BY THE SPIRIT


Brothers and sisters: I know most of you have heard different ones quote the verse in Romans 8:14, and apply it to the supernatural leading of the Lord, but I want you to know that the verse applies first to being led to truth. “FOR AS MANY AS ARE LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD, THEY ARE THE SONS OF GOD.” Some people quote that verse so proudly, once they have experienced the thrill of being forewarned, or guided by the spirit of the Lord. It does make you feel good, but it should not make us brag, for God, many times, will do a thing like that to get our attention, but that in itself is not God’s ultimate goal in dealing with us. His first goal is to lead us into truth, for he (the Holy Ghost), is the spirit of truth. Will you just try to imagine what it would be like to take an hundred people and try to blend them together in fellowship when every one of them is believing something different. Instead of having true fellowship together, they would each one be trying to convert the others to his particular way of thinking. True love, and true fellowship cannot be cultivated in such an atmosphere. That is not the way God leads his people to truth. That is man’s carnal way of (as many would say), witnessing for God, but let me tell you this, a true witness for God will be found leading a hungry soul to truth, instead of promoting his man made doctrine. John said, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.” How can you get them to love one another, when they cannot stop trying to force their little ideas off on the other person? It just goes to prove that there is a carnal nature in humans that, unless it is harnessed by the Holy Ghost, it will cause divisions and separations. Such is the case, not only in religion, but in politics and society in general. Some people just feel like they have to be different, and many times they refer to their being different, as being led by the spirit of God, and therefore they hold themselves up as being the sons of God. There is nothing to be said against a person being led to do certain things, as long as it does not go contrary to revealed truth, but Jesus taught that a person should not exalt himself, (Matt. 23:12, “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”) and I believe that if we are truly led by the spirit of God it should have a humbling effect upon us, rather than make us proud and boastful. There is one thing sure; time will tell who is truly being led by the spirit of God, for their life will prove it. When the Holy Ghost is permitted to lead us into truth, our lives will be such that we will be able to stand against all the fiery darts of the wicked. We will not have to throw up our hands in despair when the adversary attacks, for the truth has made us free. We are not free to be proud, haughty and high-minded, for if we are like that we are no free at all; we are still in bondage.


ENDURING TO THE END


Let us look once again to 1 John 5:2, “By this we know that we love the children of God, (How?) When we love God, and keep his commandments. 3, For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: (Now look at this next part, brothers and sisters), and his commandments are not grievous.” I do not find this blessed precious way to be hard. When the Bible says in Matt. 10:22, that, he that endureth to the end shall be saved, it does not mean, he that endureth ridiculement and persecution from the devil, brought on by the world. God has so ordained it, that we can enjoy our salvation. I find it to be wonderful. It is true many times, as we walk down the street we will notice someone looking at us a certain way. They do not say it with words to you, but they might just as well have, for you recognize by their glance out of the corner of their eyes as you walk by, and you know that look of scorn; therefore you know that something was said about you. Actions speak louder than words, but just be thankful to God if that is all the persecution you ever get; and be thankful for the truth that keeps us from being bothered by those who react to us in these ways. They think we are very odd characters, but we can truly say that salvation is something to enjoy. Praise God, his commandments are not grievous. Verse 4, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world, even our faith.” We have read many scriptures that point us to this truth, but here it is; John said it, if we are really and truly born of God, we will keep his commandments, and we will overcome the world. Now let us back up to chapter 4, and read verse 7, where we see the picture painted from the opposite side. John seemed to feel that this subject of truth and love was important enough to justify his approaching it from every angle. You just cannot separate love, as it is talked about here, from other chapters. Listen how he words this. 4:7, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” If we love God we are going to keep his teachings. Then we can say, “if we love God and keep his teachings, we will love one another, for that is part of his teaching.”


LIVE WHAT YOU PREACH


What we really need to do, in the light of all that has been said on the subject, is to examine ourselves. Can we really see each other as souls that the Lord Jesus died for at Calvary? Are we able to see the grace of God extended to lost mankind? Do we feel that we are better than someone else? If so, do we know the other person’s circumstances? Brothers and sisters: we are, what we are, by the grace of God. Let us not boast, nor be filled with pride, as the Scribes and Pharisees were in the days of Jesus’ ministry on earth. The apostle Paul said, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” What do you think he meant by that statement? Simply this, it is easy to memorize, and speak the right words, but if you, yourself, do not become a partaker of the gospel that you preach, you will wind up like some preachers that Jesus referred to in the 7thchapter of Matthew, verses 21-23, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Some of you may say, “Bro. Jackson: how can that be? How could they cast out devils, and perform wonderful works, if they are not genuine ministers of God?” Jesus said it would be that way, and the apostle Paul believed that a thing like that could happen, or he would not have said what he did. Please do not let these remarks confuse you. We are not saying that a person who is truly born of the spirit could lose his salvation. That will not happen. What we are saying though is this, if all you have is just the right words, without the experience of God’s work of grace in your heart, to give you this love that John wrote about, you cannot claim the benefits that go with that genuine born again experience. As for the apostle Paul saying what he did about being a castaway, he certainly was not concerned about losing his salvation experience with God. The main point that we should catch from what he said is that keeping our body under control is the natural thing for a child of God to do. It requires some extra attention at first, when we first become Christians, but as we walk with God from day to day, a life of godliness becomes natural for us. When we love God, we love his ways, his people, and his word.

ALL THINGS COMMON


For too long now love has been preached as a separate thing, apart from the whole teachings of the word of God. Also, for too long, people have thought that God is going to perfect those with this teaching of love, regardless of what the rest of their teachings may be. But you will not find that to be following a true pattern of the scriptures. You will find (if you care to search it out), that the early church all believed and taught the same thing. You will not find where anyone tried to build a larger congregation than anyone else had. That kind of a thing is carnal. We ought not to want anyone in our assemblies that the Lord has not brought in, and if God sets them in, then what do we have to boast about? As we look back to the book of Acts, we cannot help but realize that, in order for it to be said that they had all things common, they all had to be believing the same thing. That remained so, as long as those apostles of the Lord remained alive, and where they could hold a line on the word of God. Of course we realize that as they left the scene, the enemy (with his false teaching), moved into the churches, but in the early years of that first church age God kept it pure, and set an example for us to look back to. If anyone dared to bring a strange or contrary teaching into the church, the Holy Ghost immediately reached out to discipline and correct it. Why? Because the church of God was not to be a great body of people with a plurality of ideas. Jesus taught those apostles, and early disciples, for over three years, and he did not have to change his teaching, nor take back anything that he had taught, for he taught everything perfect the first time, and every time. God was setting in motion a plan of love, whereby he would bestow love upon all who would receive it, and they, in responding, would return love to God, and love each other. Love cannot have its liberty among a group of people where there are ever so many ideas, and opinions floating around. It is not that God cannot love. He loved us first, before we ever knew him, and as we said before, God is longsuffering but he will not tolerate people’s strange revelations forever. He is one, his word is one, and his purpose and objective is one. Therefore, when a person speaks, by the unction of the Holy Ghost, he will speak in harmony with revelated truth every time. That is why the early church all believed everything the same way. Those who taught them were unctioned by the Holy Ghost, the spirit of truth. Yes, God can love a human soul no matter where that individual may be, but the recipients of that love must allow themselves to be led out of the confusion, and into truth, or they, themselves, will never be able to genuinely express that kind of love to others. Every church group in world religion has some common ground of belief where, as long as they remain in that area they get along together alright, but when each one begins trying to teach his own interpretation of the Bible, right then, the fire begins to fly. What you see then is not divine love. It is human emotions being turned loose to battle for self. It works the same way with a bunch of gangsters and hoodlums. They can get together, and get along with each other very well as long as they stick to their common ground, (money), and only talk about how to pull off another bank robbery or a holdup somewhere, for a monetary gain, but when the job is over and human feelings begin to be expressed, they will usually wind up having a big shootout. That is the way our human, inherited nature, responds; it is self oriented. That is why we maintain that a person can only express divine love when their life is built upon, and motivated by truth. ”Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” This scripture deals with the real person that we are. We may not all like to eat the same food, or go to the same places that others may go, but we will all believe the same truth, or believe alike, about what is truth, and we will love each other regardless of our human likes and dislikes. I hope you can see the difference, for John is actually dealing with a situation where a man or woman, as far as outward signs, and actions go, has accepted his teaching, and has been faithful in church attendance and activities, yet as they come down, almost to the finish line, there are just certain people that they cannot accept. They just cannot accept them as a child of God, and will not accept them as being worth anything. They just absolutely ignore, and shun them, and will not have a thing to do with them. This is where the person that we really are, will begin to contaminate the love of God, “For he that LOVETH NOT KNOWETH NOT GOD: for God is love.” This is my illustration of what I believe John was writing about. In other words, if you are unable to love a human soul that the Lord Jesus has already died to redeem, then you have no right to be professing to know God, for if you knew God you would love as he loves: for God is love. 4:9, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10, Herein is love, not that we love God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for out sins.”


JESUS DIED FOR ALL


When Jesus Christ came into the world to take our place, and die at Calvary, he did not die, just for the good people. What I mean is, he didn’t die just for the good sinners, but he died for the crooks and thieves, the ill famed women, and the family abusers, and the lowest of the lowly. His love caused him to take the place of everyone, and he died, showing no partiality nor respect of persons, for the sacrifice that he offered up to God, covered the sins of all lost mankind from every age of time, before and after Calvary. As Isaiah was inspired to speak, “Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with is stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Yes, he loved us so much that he took our very faults and failures upon himself and bore the penalty for them to the cross. He bore them in his flesh. His spirit was undefiled. Take his disciples, (the twelve that he chose), if he had looked upon them, with all their faults and failures, the way natural humans look upon each other, (strictly from the standpoint of natural carnal nature), he would have sent every one of them back home. Look what Peter did, denied the Lord and cursed, but Jesus was looking beyond all that to the time when Peter would repent, get hold of himself, and be a genuine instrument in the hands of God. If I had been in the place of Jesus, or maybe some of you, we might have said, “I am done with Peter, a man who acts like that will never be worth anything,” but look what Peter did the moment he heard the cock crow, he went out and wept bitterly. What was he doing? He was repenting. He was not bragging about what he had done. He was crying out from the depths of his soul, OH GOD, FORGIVE ME, I am sorry for denying the best friend I ever had. He never denied him again after that. That doesn’t mean that Peter was free from human faults, but from that time on, we see him in the scriptural records, doing what Jesus had called him to do. On the other hand, if he had failed to repent, and just gone on his merry way, I seriously doubt that Jesus would have sent him word (after his resurrection), that he would meet them in Galilee. These are the things we must look at if we are to get a proper understanding of God’s personal dealings with the individual self that we are. God does not evaluate us on the basis of what we were guilty of doing when we were wallowing in the gutters of sin and debauchery. He evaluates us on our ability to receive truth, love truth, and follow truth. He knows if we will allow truth to have its perfect work in us, we will fulfill his word. 11, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” All of this is attached to the fact that, all other phases of his word are avenues that lead from the hub, which is truth and divine love. It is just like a big old wagon wheel; when you look at that wheel, the hub seems very small, compared to the whole scope of the wheel, but it doesn’t take a person very long to realize that the whole activity and usefulness of that wheel is built around the hub, so is it with love and truth. You may fly around this world a hundred times, and preach to millions, but if the center of it all is not divine love and truth, you are destined to wind up with the feeling that it has all been in vain. When the pressures of this life finally catch up with you, and you come to realize that all you have done has been with a wrong motive, and that you, yourself, do not have that essential ingredient in your own life, what will you do?

SOWING AND REAPING


We have observed through the years, that those who just never seem to get understanding of the true plan and purpose of God, usually just drift along until something grabs their attention and leads them completely away from truth. That kind of thing is not limited to the person who sits out in the pews, it happens to preachers as well. It will happen to anyone who does not cultivate truth. God has a law of sowing and reaping, working in every phase of our life in this earthly journey, and it works the same way as sowing and reaping a natural crop. We sow the seed, we cultivate the soil, and in due time we have a full grown crop, with increase. On the other hand, if we plant seed, (no matter how good the seed may be), and fail to cultivate the soil, you will usually find that the crabgrass and weeds will choke the life right out of your crop, whether it be beans, corn or whatever. Jesus expressed it in the parable of the sower, found in Matthew 13: 18-23, I will not read it all, but the 22nd verse reads like this, “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; (TRUTH) and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” There we see what Jesus said would happen to a person who received truth, and then allowed other things to keep him from following it. Without cultivation, the thorns choked it out, it could not bear fruit. On the other hand, look what he said about the person who received seed in good ground. Remember it is only good ground if it is properly cultivated. That will apply naturally, or spiritually, either one. It applies to both. 23, “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” That brings us to another point in dealing with the Christian life: that is, growth in the realm of the spirit, or spiritual side, but first, let me say this, you will notice that it is necessary for a person to understand truth, in order to grow spiritually. Now, to consider this spiritual growth, it is necessary (when we receive truth), that we cultivate the ground (this physical body), and make it a fit place for truth to abide, and bring forth an increase. When we love truth, and live truth, we gain more truth, and since we know that the scriptures declare that God is love, and God is truth, the more truth we have, the more of God we have, and when we have more of God, we have more of the Godlike kind of love. I will go ahead and say this though, there are some of you who have the idea that a person starts out as a thirtyfold Christian, and works his way up through sixtyfold to become a hundredfold. That is not true at all. A thirtyfold Christian will always be a thirtyfold Christian, and likewise, a sixtyfold will always be a sixtyfold. They will all believe the same doctrine, and the thirtyfold will have the same revelation as the hundredfold, but when it comes to bearing fruit (the fruit of the spirit), you can be sure that they will not bear fruit beyond the measure of the grace of God in their lives, and their ability to see ways to yield themselves unto God. What I am saying is this, the bride of Christ will have thirty, sixty and hundredfold Christians in it, and the hundredfold person will not be any more perfect before God than the thirtyfold, for God will not expect any more from a person than they have the ability to give. What God does require though, is that each one of us yield ourselves unto him according to our ability to do so. That is the reason Jesus said, “Unto whom much is given, much is required.” We must realize that all we are, and all that we have in this life comes from God; therefore we must make the best of what we have, and never find fault with God because we feel that we should have been given more.


MEASURING SPIRITUALITY


Remember, our greatest goal in life should be to have the love of God perfected in us, regardless of our abilities. In the 12th verse of 1 John, chapter 4, where we have been reading John says, “No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” That applies to every born again child of God, and it is not hinged on how much ability we may have to bear the fruit of the spirit. It is all hinged on obedience. It is just like the parable of the householder in Matthew, chapter 20; the laborers which were hired early in the morning had the opportunity and responsibility of working a full day, and were required to do so. On the other hand, the laborers which ere hired at the eleventh hour only had opportunity to work one hour, but that is all that was required of the; their reward was the same as all the others. They did all that they were expected to do; therefore they received equal reward, and because they received the same as all the others, some of the first bunch complained, but the householder replied that he had paid every one of them all that they had any right to expect. I find the same grumbling among Christians. Some who have been Christians for years seem to feel that they have seniority rights with God, and many times they just cannot understand how God can bestow upon a new Christian, the same gifts and benefits that they have. Instead of rejoicing because another soul has received the grace of God, many times such people will feel hurt. Brothers and sisters: that kind of attitude is carnal. Such a person ought to realize that they are actually finding fault with the Holy Ghost when they act like that. As I said earlier, some of those same people measure the spirituality of others by how much they jump, shout, dance, and speak in tongues. You will hear them say, “Bro. Or sister so and so is not very spiritual, you never see them do anything.” They seem to feel that if a person is not doing something all the time, they are just not spiritual. I would hate to think that God measured his children like that. I love to see people get happy and dance, shout, or anything else that God would be in, but that is not God’s yardstick for measuring spirituality. If God measured people like that, then he would have caused every revelation that has been restored back to the church, to come through the snake handlers; they play with snakes, lay on the floor, climb the walls, jump, dance and shout all night long, but tell me, what revelation has been restored to the church through them? You will find that spirituality lies within the life of those who are consistent in the life they live, and how they treat the word of God. Some of the time they may shout, but there may be a lot of times that they will not. We ought to learn to appreciate what God does for others, just as much as we do, what he does for us, and vice versa. I am aware of what happens to a true revelation many times, when it winds up in the midst of a people that has not learned how to conduct themselves. They will wreck it up just like a bunch of six year old’s playing with a new car out here on the highway. Before long it is so battered up that it is hard to recognize.


AS HE IS SO ARE WE


May God bless you now, as we try to bring this little message to a close. I hope that it has helped some of you to see that divine love and truth cannot be separated, for, as we said in the beginning, if you try to separate them, to take one without the other, you do not have either one. We will move on down to verse 16, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love: and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” Seeing that verse in its true meaning, we will have to say, if a soul is truly dwelling in the love of God, and God in him, then you can be sure of one thing; that soul is yearning for the truth of God’s word. 17, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” How is he? We cannot read that verse without this question coming to our minds, but first let us see who John is writing to, then we will consider the part of, how he is, and whether it applies to us or not. Let us go back to the gospel of John where I will read 4 verses from the 17th chapter. Remember, Jesus is praying to the Father (the great eternal spirit), right before he entered the garden where he was arrested. We hear him in verse 6, saying, “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy WORD. 8, For I have given unto them WORDS which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.” In these verses we find out what he has manifested to those whom the Father had given unto him, (his name and his words), and that they received his words. Then in verse 17, we find him saying “Sanctify them through thy TRUTH: THY WORD IS TRUTH.” From these verses we learn that Jesus has manifested the Father’s name to a number of disciples which were chosen before, and that he has committed the Father’s words unto them, and they have received them, and that those words were truth that would sanctify them. Now that we know what THEY received, and we know beyond any shadow of doubt that the prayers of Jesus were answered, let us see if it applies to us. Verse 20, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which S-H-A-L-L BELIEVE on me through THEIR WORD.” Now with these things in mind, let us turn back to 1 John 2:21, where John says, “I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.” In this we see that John is writing to people who know the truth, the unadulterated truth that was preached to the disciples of that first age. Therefore, if you believe that truth, (as they preached it), and you are abiding in that truth, then the things that John wrote to believers is for you. Let us read a few verses from chapter 3, “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2, Beloved now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” Notice this next verse now. 3, “And EVERY MAN (PERSON), that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”


SONS OF GOD – WHEN?


Remember now, John did not write that letter to carnal church members. They have no part in it. This letter is written to the only kind of Christians that John knew anything about, namely, those who received, loved, and abided in truth. To him, there was no other kind of Christians. Therefore, “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Jesus sought to walk in the perfect will of God, by allowing the word of God to live and dwell, and flow through him. He said nothing of himself, only the will of God. This then, caused him to be the WORD lived and expressed in human flesh, and through human flesh. As he is so are we in this world. Are we ready to try and make an application of what we have been studying? Suppose you go to one of these charismatic meetings where you have Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, and on and on we could go naming denominations that would be represented in such a gathering. We know that those who enjoy these meetings, all believe in divine healing, receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and speaking in tongues as the evidence that they have received. In those things they can usually agree, but you let some person stand up in one of their meetings, and start preaching Jesus’ name baptism in water, or the oneness of the Godhead, and ever so many other Bible doctrines that we could mention, you would have a fight on your hands. You would hear them screaming, “That is of the devil, throw him out, all he does is cause trouble and division.” Then you would have some preacher stand up, when things have quieted down enough and say, “Now brothers and sisters, we may not all believe the same, doctrinally, but that is not the important thing; what really matters is that we all love each other, for God is love.” Tell me, can you apply what John taught to such a people as that? You know you cannot. Ask yourself this question, is Jesus the Christ of this confusion? If we are to be like him, what will he be like when he comes? Out of all those denominations, who can tell me which one of them Jesus is like? “Beloved, NOW ARE WE THE SONS OF GOD.” Remember, God’s family is not divided up into groups, some believing one thing, and others something else; they are all one, with one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18, There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” When people reach a true understanding of what truth is, and how to allow truth to take their lives and cultivate in them the life of Christ, God’s love is thereby perfected.


TWO SPIRITS – ONE RIGHT – ONE WRONG


All this fuss about doctrine has caused many preachers to stop preaching and teaching doctrine altogether, but I preach it, because doctrine is to the word of God, what steel framework is to a tall building. What did Isaiah have to say about how the Jewish nation would be, leading right up to the first advent of Christ? Remember, Isaiah prophesied these things more than 700 years before Christ, but listen to verses 8, 9 of the 28th chapter. “For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean. Whom shall he teach knowledge? And who shall he make to understand doctrine? Them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.” In other words, doctrine is to be taught to those who have a desire to grow up in God. Is that not what the apostle Paul taught in Hebrews? Is that now what he taught to the Ephesians? Paul knew how to feed milk to a new convert, but after they had been converted for a while, he intended to feed them some meat of the gospel. In this day and how when the spirit of antichrist is working right in this message of truth, taking statements, phrases, and quotes, and promoting this love for the brethren, many people are being drawn away from the truth, because that spirit is so close to the truth that they have not stopped to consider the difference. Some of them are trying to use the same love that the prophet messenger to this age, projected to the denominations, to accomplish the same thing, but it is for self, and not for God. That is why I have said before, and will say again, the true children of God will understand the message, and because they understand it, they will see the right spirit, and they will love one another with the right spirit. You watch what happens where quotes and statements are pushed at people continually. You will see friction that will cause division, and form little clans, that, in the end, God will scatter them just like chaff in the wind. I do not want to be caught as chaff. I want my soul to be anchored in the word of God. Brothers and sisters: in closing, I just want to say once again, let us love God with all our hearts, and love each other with an unselfish love, giving truth an opportunity to work its perfect work in us, and before very much longer, he will come and catch us away for the marriage supper. Amen