This is the age of great expectation. Though the pathway of man is filled with horrors and nightmares, many people are continually looking for a paradise which they think is just somewhere around the corner. Though filled with distress, man hope against hope — with an expectation — that the coming year would be a better one. Yes, many people are expecting a better tomorrow.
In the realm of Christianity there is always the dialogue about the soon return of Christ for the Christians within this closing century. I believe that the true saints of Christ — the Elect, the Bride — who understand and have seen the Second Parousia of Christ, in this century, need to be stirred and be pulled closer to the Lord in this closing hour. The Bride must realize that she is not a part of the Religious Church World even though the system has a purpose in God's Plan.
Throughout the centuries the True Blood-born Church of Christ has always been persecuted and trespassed upon by the world. Now, the Living Bride has a great expectation that something tremendous will soon take place to bring a release to her travailing. The Organized Church has never travailed for she is a part of the world — being born of unholy wedlock. She is religious, but she is not filled with the Holy Spirit. However, the saints need to know what God requires of them and how they ought to dwell in the Word, to walk in Its light, and be ready for the translation. Yes, one of these days there will be a final blast from the trumpet of God “and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess.4:16-17). But until that day dawns, we need to learn to lean on Jesus, and move on from glory to glory, that we may be transformed into His image.
Our texts for this message are 2 Corinthians 3:18 and Mark 9:1-3:
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
“And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.
And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.
And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.”
The following day after six days is the seventh day.
Now Peter, James and John certainly had no idea of what they were about to experience that very day when the Master called them out from among the twelve disciples. Undoubtedly, the twelve must have reminisced about what Jesus had mentioned about a week ago but, like many other times, their understanding of the “kingdom” was no where near the reality of what Jesus meant. No doubt, like all Jews, they were looking for a physical kingdom that the Messiah of their God would restore to them before all of them would die. So, when our Lord Jesus spoke of “the kingdom of God come with power”, their hope was centred on that physical kingdom in their mind. Even after Christ's resurrection and return to spend some forty days with them, they were still harboring that desire. (Read Acts chapter 1.) However, Jesus was speaking of a spiritual kingdom in which the Spirit of God would work within men. Because the Holy Ghost was not yet given, they could not fully understand all that Jesus had spoken.
When Peter, James and John were all alone with the Lord Jesus upon a high mountain, they witnessed a stunning vision. Christ was transfigured before them. The transfiguration on the mountain was “the kingdom of God come with power”. The glory of the Mighty God in His Son and the transforming power of His Spirit within the Kingdom that was to be established were revealed to the three elected disciples. What the disciples had experienced (before their death) was a foretaste of the majesty (2 Pet.1:16) that was to come when the Holy Spirit of God would establish Himself in the hearts of His people to bring about a transformation of life for the Eternal Age. Though the “Kingdom of God” is within the believers, God has ordained Seven Church Ages to bring about the perfection and the glory of that Kingdom. The dispensation of the Seven Church Ages is a Grace Age of about 2000 years. It is shown in the Scriptures as the “Kingdom of Heaven”. And the “Kingdom of God” would be fully revealed and established forever in the Second Advent of Christ.
We are living at the closing hours of the “seventh day” of the Grace Age. (Now, I know that there are Christians who do not believe in types and shadows of the Bible. But this message is for the true worshippers who believe the Word.) Christ Jesus has been working among His believers over the last six Church Ages. And it is now the Seventh Church Age. This is the age that shall see a great event take place for the true worshippers of the Living God just before the Son of God comes in His glory to translate His Bride. In the twinkling of an eye, a transformation, a change, will take place. The dead in Christ shall put on incorruption and the living saints shall put on immortality (1 Cor.15:51-53), and then they shall be whisked away to the Father's House. And seven years after receiving their rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor.5:10) and feasting at the table of the Great Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev.19:7,9), the spiritual and glorified “Kingdom of God” shall return to earth with King Jesus and rule the earth. That will be the hour of the manifestation of the sons of God (Rom 8:19). The Glorified Saints will be displayed to the world in their true and full glory. This age will be an age of regeneration (Matt.19:28) where the “saved” but unregenerated mankind shall come under the iron rule of the Holy Sceptre of the Son of God for a thousand years (Matt.19:28; 25:34; Isa.11:6-9; Rev.20:1-8).
WATCH AND PRAY
Many Christians, all over the world, are waiting for the Rapture. They are waiting for their bodies to be changed. It has been widely taught that the Rapture will take place suddenly for all Christians. However, the opposite is true. The coming great event will not take place in a sudden. There are Scriptures which clearly support this view. Read 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:9 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5. Also, the Rapture will not be for every one who claims to be a Christian. Neither will it be for those so-called Christians who are not watchful and prayerful in their daily walk with Christ.
“Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.
Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.
But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”
– Mark 13:28-37
But what does “watch and pray” mean? Does it mean to constantly look at the sky and watch for any sign of the clouds rolling back like a scroll as one prays? Certainly not.
To watch means to be on the alert, to observe and to study. To pray is to supplicate and to worship. And all these can only be accomplished by walking in the Spirit and the Word of the Lord. Let's read 1 Thessalonians 5:6-11.
“Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”
It is easy to read what is written in the Scriptures, but it is not easy to do what is written therein. Many Christians are caught up in the religious world of so-called “Christian Faith”. They attend church services, pay their tithes and offerings and participate in religious programmes. But the Word of God has been discarded for the Work of God. There are all the talks about speaking in tongues, prophesying, healing, miracles, and many other great works being done in this denominational church and in that denominational church. And when it comes to obeying the Word, they will proudly declare “what my church has achieved for God; how much we have sacrificed to God — and (therefore) God is with us.” (What self deception!) All these are nothing but merely the lighting of candles — going through the motion of religious acts to satisfy one's soul but actually quenching the Voice of the Spirit. To ignore and reject the Word of God is being disobedient to the Voice of the Spirit, the Commandment of God. Truly, it is better to obey than to sacrifice lest we be rejected by the Lord (1 Sam.15:22-23).
Christendom is both accursed and a curse. It is full of spots and blemishes. Our present age is the most hypocritical age. Christians profess that they love the coming of Christ. But they are only paying lip service. And there is going to be a great disappointment for them. How can they really love His coming if they hate His appearing — the appearing of the Word — in this hour? The Word has come (through a son of man, William Marrion Branham) and revealed the Presence of the Son of Man, Jesus Christ. This is the beginning of the Second Parousia of the Lord's Christ. This coming of the Word is to prepare the believers. If they cannot love the appearing of the Spirit of the Word (Christ), how can they love His physical appearing? If they cannot face the Word and love It, how can they face the Man, Who is the Word and Sword, when He comes? Hypocrisy!
Most Christians are caught up in church traditions. They believe in “the teachings of the church” without a second thought. They have not “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). Those who claim they do search the Scriptures invariably restrict their studies only to the doctrines expounded by their religious organizations. They often twist the Word to suit (to dress up) their “church teachings”. Different denominations have different “church teachings”. A Christian who joins a Methodist church is taught “Methodist church teachings”. A Christian who joins an Anglican church is taught “Anglican church teachings”. And so are the individual Christians, who join other deno- minations, taught the respective “church teachings”. A Christian can never come to the fullness of the Light of God's Word until he is separated from Mystery Babylon (both the Mother and Daughters) and all its doctrines. He must look to the Spirit and the Word of God and be led into the True Apostolic ministry and teachings (cf. Acts 2:41-42; Eph.3:3-5). “God is light, and in him is no darkness [tradition, error] at all” (1 Jhn.1:5b). Jesus said:
“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”
– Matthew 15:8-9
Sad but true, the majority of Christians are caught up in a great deception — deceiving, and being deceived. Because they are so taken up with religious affairs in their lives, they are not watchful and prayerful concerning the Truth of God. That's right. There's too much trust in the mainstream religious organizations where highly educated men are looked upon as great Bible scholars and teachers. How many of these religious “Professors” and “Doctors” of Divinity and Theology are willing to give up their titles and emulate the humble life of the Apostle Paul? Saint Paul, who was once a great Saul, said:
“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;
Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.”
– Philippians 3:3-8
Amen! Let us not trust in the flesh of men, nor even in our own achievements. Carnal intellect and abilities — they are all dung. They are ordure thrown to the dogs. (To put it simply, they are nothing more than faeces. Crude, isn't it? But that is the kind of language common people understand.) Right. But let us watch the Word of God carefully and be studious as the Spirit quickens us in our supplications unto the Lord Jesus Christ. For unless we are spiritually watchful we might be caught up in the seduction of the many “last days” teachings and practices which prevail in Christianity. The great endtime apostasy that the Bible has prophesied of has already come and has caused quite a stir among the Christians since the beginning of the 20th Century. And in this last decade, leading statesmen and religious leaders have been proposing a New World Order to bring peace on earth. Unknowing to many of them, their ecumenical plan is actually fulfilling the One World Order of apocalyptic prophecy.
Let me tell you a little of the “goings-on” in Christianity. People devour the printed pages for knowledge because they believe that knowledge is power. There are tens of thousands of Christian books being printed everyday around the world for Christians. Thousands of new writings are printed every year. Christian bookshops owned by Christians of different faiths tend to cater to different groups of people. Christian bookstores owned by the Pentecostalists or Charismatics tend to stock more of those books dealing with “charismata”, deliverance, spiritual warfares, and such like. On the other end, bookstores owned by Bible Fundamentalists tend to offer an equal number of books which are against the Pentecostal and Charismatic faiths.
Because the Charismatics specialize in “glossolalia” (speaking in tongues) and “charismata” (gifts of grace), they generally lack the knowledge of Bible doctrines. They stress a great deal on their personal experiences. In the early years of the Pentecostal Movement, the Pentecostals (or Pentecostalists) were, in some ways, like the Charismatics. But they had the Light in that hour. (Today, they have lost that Light.) Both the Pentecostalists and Charismatics spend much time in praying for, and delivering of, people who need help, especially those who are demonically influenced. (Charismatics has a tendency to attribute every infirmity of the human body, including simple pain, to a certain demon.) Then there are those who raise themselves higher than others because of their “abilities” to “provide deliverance”. With such attitude they quickly succumb to misinterpreting the Scriptures. They tend to “over dramatize” the Word of God in relation to their experiences — experiences such as having open vision, a light around them or the handling of venomous snakes. Many are even putting their experiences above the Authority of the Word of God.
The Bible Fundamentalists pride themselves on having great knowledge of God's Word. Their ministers hold no less than a College degree. And with more additional years put into study courses, writing theses and holding seminars, more degrees are conferred on them. They are an intellectual lot and paper chase is a part of their lives. However, they are “too intellectual” for their own good. They may claim to be “Bible Fundamentalists” but only so in what is shown in their creeds and dogmas. They are practically doing away with what the Holy Spirit is doing in these last days of the closing of the Church Age. This is a result of their “looking” at the Pentecostal-Charismatic Movement and its teachings for the last nine decades. What they see in the movement are marked with “sensationalism” in the healing services, personality worship, exaggerated views and claims of deliverance, gimmickry and subtle blackmailing of the audience, extreme zealousness without Scriptural orderliness, preoccupation with Satan and his demons, and lastly, “new revelations”.
Friends, there has not been a Christian “revival” or “movement” in history that has not been plagued with the “extremes” and the “extremists”, and the “false” and the “fakers”. But then there are also the “truth” and the “true worshippers”. Just because the former exists a Bible believer should not “throw the book” at everything that is in the movement. One does not throw away the whole chicken pie just because there are pieces of chicken bones in it.
The so-called Bible Fundamentalists have the fear of “new revelations” because those “revelations” are not listed in their creeds and dogmas. They find the “revelations” hard to assimilate because they are just “too strange”. True, many “revelations” are unscriptural and some are even “devilish”. “Revelations” that are Scriptural are few and far between and they tend to be ignored. It takes just a little more effort on one's part to spiritually discern and rightly divide the “revelations” according to the Word of God and not according to one's traditional view of what is considered right or wrong. Many traditional Christians are narrow-minded as opposed to the liberal Charismatics. Both extremes are equally bad.
However, even the few Scriptural “new revelations” have been misinterpreted through time in one way or another by different preachers insomuch that the true men of God, through whom the original “revelations” came, were accused of being the propagators of the “false”. The Bible Fundamentalists love to use this statement when they speak about such things: “the teachings have their roots in so-and-so preachers of the early twentieth century revivalism”. I wonder whether they would speak of the same concerning the “revelations” of the Old Testament Prophets and New Testament Apostles (whose writings we call the Sacred Scriptures) whose “revelations” have been misinterpreted in one or more ways by Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and practically every denominational cult?
ONE WITH THE WORD
There is so much schism in Christianity today. Every effort has been attempted to bring the churches together as one in fulfillment of the prayer of our Lord Jesus:
“And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: 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, even as we are one.”
– John 17:19-22
Of course, this is not an easy task. In the carnal eyes, “oneness” means unity. But the Lord's “oneness” means oneness with His Word — Him! “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jhn.1:1). The Word and God are One, not Two. It's God in Christ (the Anointed Word), and Christ in God. Therefore, for the Christians to be one, they have to be one with the Word also.
The Word is a Sword. Therefore it is not hard to see why “oneness” among the 2,000 different groups of churches (including the Endtime Message churches) simply will not work without compromising the Word. Truth and error are separated by the Sword. Those who are Word-conscious will not drop the Sword. But they will use It to cut through chaos and confusions, and will have no part in Satan's sorcery to bring about an ecumenical spirit among the people. Then again, the Word-conscious Bible believers should not be like the Pharisees and the Sadducees in their attitudes toward others who are not of their camp. Without love and understanding, they are nothing more than loud sounding cymbals. Many have failed in this respect for they love only their own. And it is not difficult to see why. The flesh is skin deep and full of pride. And the flesh is death.
Now, one cannot judge the works of the Holy Spirit by what God had done in the past ages. God's way is not limited to what He had done. He declared in Isaiah 48:6: “Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.” (Read also Isaiah 43:19.) Yes, new things, hidden things! God is still alive and will perform more wonders. His endtime prophecies are being fulfilled and His hidden things for this age are being unfolded to His very elect to get each of them ready for the translation.
If we cannot believe the promises and the works of God in our generation, we would be like the children of Israel who could not believe that they were able to possess the Land of Canaan. Is it hard to believe that God would judge us the way He judged those who heeded the evil report of the ten spies? God does not contradict His own Word. “Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men” (Psa.82:6-7a) if you reject the Word of the Lord for the hour.
“For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor.2:16). So learn Christ.
CALLED AND CHOSEN
Now, Peter, James and John were only three of the chosen twelve disciples of our Lord Jesus. Of course, there were other disciples, but the twelve were the ones specially chosen by the Lord. They learned of Him and often followed Him wherever He went in His ministry. Yet, He took only Peter, James and John to be witnesses of His transfiguration. Were the rest not worthy? You think about it.
Now, many had heard Christ's preaching and teaching. Many were healed and believed on the Son of God. It would not be presumptuous to say that there were several thousand “disciples of Christ” at that time. But how was their relationship with the Word of the Lord? Did they accept what they felt were radical demands of Christ in His teachings? Sure, Christ's teachings contradicted what they had learned in the Sabbath Schools of their Synagogues. Nevertheless, our Lord's message always demands a respond. He is the WORD. And what about the chosen twelve? Was not one of them “a devil” (Jhn.6:70)?
Study Mark chapter 4 and Matthew chapter 13 carefully. At this point in Jesus' ministry (the ending of His second year), He began to concentrate on private teaching of His disciples rather than public preaching of the Word. Why? I believe it was the foreknowledge of God. Though God would that all might come to the faith of the Gospel and be saved, yet not all have that faith. Thousands had heard the Lord Jesus preach the Word. Only a few had the faith to believe. The rest did not understand, and thus, they failed to believe and become converted.
God knew the heart of the individuals before the foundation of the world. In Isaiah 66:2, the Lord declares, “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.” One who is humble in heart and contrite in spirit will find favor in the eyes of the Lord as he diligently seeks Him. Like a babe, such a person will accept God's Word into his heart without any personal or religious restraint and conflict. Such is the person who “has ears to hear” the Truth — Truth that is hidden from the general public, who “may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding” (Mk.4:12). Amen. Friend, if your heart is hard you will never be able to receive the Truth of the Lord. In fact, a person's volitional blindness and deafness will only push him further away from the Lord. Remember, Jesus said these words, “O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight” (Matt.11:25-26).
Now, Peter was the “most dedicated”, James was the “most concerned”, and John was the “most beloved”. I believe God used them as a representation of the qualities that Christ looked for in a believer. They had a special relationship with THE WORD GOD GAVE. They formed the circle within the circle of twelve. Certainly, they were but a very small number of disciples who witnessed the transfiguration. Likewise there will only be a small number of believers who will witness (and experience) the transformation of their vile bodies into immortality and meet the Lord Jesus Christ in the air in the Rapture.
“Only a small number of Christians to be transformed?” You may question. Yes, I believe that will be so. Simply consider these examples. What was the number of souls that went into the Ark in the days of Noah? Of the great multitude that came out of Egypt, how many crossed Jordan River into Canaan? Beginning with the angelic visitation to the parents of John the Baptist up till the moment Christ Jesus was anointed in River Jordan, count the number of those whose relationships with God were truly dedicated, concerned and beloved, who were given the revelation on the First Parousia of Christ?
At this juncture let me relate a dream I had one night in the month of June 1975. The night vision came to me in this manner. There was a call. I heard a great voice sounded, “The Lord is coming! The King is here!” Immediately, I ran towards that voice. I noticed myself running on top of a plateau and sidestepping the crevices and rocks to avoid being tripped. [The life of a Christian is a high calling and his way is filled with pitfalls laid out by Satan.] A valley cut across the plateau and there were many people in the valley. Some were moving towards the calling but they were not running. They appeared not to know the urgency of it. The majority were busy with their works or were occupied with something in their lives. I saw men and women in their business attire, engaged in trading with one another. I saw housewives busy with their chores, and young men and women immersed in their studies. [The verse of Joel 3:14 came to mind: “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision”.] However, across the valley and on the other side of the plateau, I could see only a handful of people running in the same direction that I was running. When I reached the place of the call, I saw a figure standing right in front of me. It was my Lord Jesus. He was all shining brightly and brilliantly white. I could not see His face because of the radiant brightness. I went straight up to Him and hugged Him, and asked a very personal question, “Lord, can I overcome?” He replied, “You shall overcome.”
When I stepped back from Him, the figure of Christ faded off and some one stood in His place. He was a slightly smaller man wearing a Western type suit. There was a visible aura of light around his head that prevented me from seeing his face. But I knew who he was. It was the messenger of God to this Church Age, William Branham. [Read John 6:28-29 concerning the work of God with regard to one who is sent.]
The next instant a voice rang out, “The number for the Rapture is almost up!” I turned to the voice and asked, “What is the number?” The voice answered, “A hundred and twenty.” Then I asked again, “How many more are left?” The reply was, “Eleven.” With that I turned away and ran to seek out my mother and siblings, and found them still busy and preoccupied with things in their lives.
When I awoke I sought the Lord for the interpretation to those two numbers. (The dream was not difficult to understand.) He did not show me the meaning until the 7th of April, 1990, while I was ministering in the Philippines. And this is the meaning of those two numbers. According to Bible Numerics or Theomatics the first number – 120 – signifies a divine appointed period of waiting (3 x 40) as well as the perfect order of appointment (10 x 12). In the Book of Acts, there were about 120 believers waiting for the coming of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, in an upper room (Acts 1:15). Remember that there were many more who believed the Gospel in the days of Jesus Christ when he came to preach. The second number – 11 – signifies a fall short of the number 12 which represents perfect government. This “fall short” number – 11 – points to the “chosen” disciples who supped with Christ at the Communion Table when Judas Iscariot was gone from among them to carry out his plan of betrayal. These 11 disciples walked very close with Christ, the Word of God made flesh. They communed often with Him. They supped often with the Word of Life.
With these revelations I was made to understand then that there was a large number of Christians who were “called” for the Rapture but, because of the “falling away” in these last days, not “many more are left”. As the Scripture in Matthew 22:14 verifies: “For many are called, but few are chosen”. Hence, only a small percentage of Bible Christians are actually going to make it to the Rapture. They are the “chosen” ones out of the many who are “called” to receive the Gospel as well as the revelation of God's Message for this endtime.
Beloved, it is not the hearers of the Word but the doers of the Word that will make it.
Now, surely the “few” is the privileged number that will make the Bride. They will bypass natural death and escape the Great Tribulation and see the Glory of God come with power. They are the ones whose hearts are fully drawn to Christ, the Word of the Living God. They are the “most dedicated”, the “most concerned” and the “most beloved” among the living Christians. The Word is alive to them. They do not walk in the traditions of religious orders of Christendom. Religious tradition is spiritual darkness. They do not even hold to the faith of any Christian denomination. They are not members of it. Their names are not found in their so-called Register “Book of Life”. For in those things lies only the permissive will of the Spirit of God. The Perfect Will of God is not in religions and religious things. He is Light and He dwells in Light (1 Tim.6:16). “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But 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” (1 Jhn.1:5-7). Therefore, if you would be one of the “few” to make the Bride, you would do what the Word requires you to do before you could be changed into the same image of Christ as Paul says:
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
– 2 Corinthians 3:18
DEATH AND DYING TO SELF
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”
– Hebrews 9:27
It has been said that if a man is born twice he will die only once. But if he is born once he must die twice. How true that is. Unless a man is born again of the Spirit of God, he will have to face the second death. Yet, there will be a group of Bible people in this endtime whose bodies will not be destroyed by skin worms (cf. Job 19:26). They shall not face physical death for they will be translated at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Though they will not die physically, they must “die daily” to self — the carnal nature (cf. 1 Cor.15:31).
Carnality can easily kill the spiritual man. It brings forth death (cf. Rom.7:5). For that reason alone our carnal self must die daily. As spiritual people, we need that Spirit of Life within us to take control of the outer man.
“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”
– Romans 7:18
“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
– Romans 8:5-6
“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
– Romans 8:13
“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom.8:8). That's right! Hallelujah! Amen! Did not the Apostle Paul say “that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption” (1 Cor.15:50)? There is death in the flesh and blood because of sin. In other words, though we are alive we are actually dying. Our flesh and blood are corrupt because of the Serpentine nature. As he is, the Adamic Man is full of iniquities and overshadowed by death. He is a living sewer. He is a stench in the nostril of God. He cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.
“Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” To confirm this statement, let's read Luke 24:36-39:
“And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”
Jesus was raised from the dead with a spiritual body not as a spirit “for a spirit hath not flesh and bones”. He was resurrected with a spiritual body. It was a body of flesh and bones, but with no blood. If there was no blood, where was the life coming from? It came from the Spirit of Life Himself. Hallelujah! (Natural blood sustains the life of the natural flesh – Lev.17:11,14. It has nothing to do with the spiritual life.) Though it was a body of flesh and bones it was not a natural body. It was a Glorified Body. It was a transformed body. It was a supernatural body. It was, therefore, not governed by the laws of the three-dimensional natural world.
Jesus came “in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom.8:3). Hallelujah! He came to identify with us in order to die for us! Amen! He poured out His soul unto death and His blood onto the dust of the earth (“for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” – Gen.3:19b) like a river of living water to cleanse “whosoever” that will come to partake of His Life. The Saviour gave up His glory and poured out His Life that was in His Blood to purge you and me completely of all the stench of sins and death that were in our blood.
He was sinless. His Blood was pure. And He had to pour out every drop of His Holy Blood for you and me. Why? The Eternal Spirit of Life that was in His Blood would give us eternal life. Praise the Lord! By the transforming power of the Spirit of the Living God our spirits are quickened to become partakers of the Kingdom of God. We are now bone of His bones and flesh of His flesh. We are His body. We are His Word-Bride. We possess the Spirit and the Life. Christ came to redeem our whole man — spirit, soul and body.
“(For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:) That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.”
– Psalm 49:8-9
“For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”
– Acts 2:25-27
One of these days God's elect will put on incorruption and come forth out of their graves. When their Celestial Bodies (Word Bodies, Theophany Bodies) appear they will be transformed. They will have Glorified Bodies. Likewise, the living saints will also be changed. When their Theophany Bodies hit them, the blood in their bodies will be gone and they will have new Spiritual Bodies. Read 1 Corinthians 15:35-57 and 2 Corinthians 5:1-4.
Praise the Lord! The Bride will not face death because she is dedicated to her Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. She has the Word. She carries the Word. That's why Satan always disputes over the BODY that has the WORD. He disputed over Moses' body (Jude 1:9). He disputed over Christ's body (Matt.22:31-32; Lk.4:9; Rev.1:18). He will dispute over any BODY that has the WORD. Amen. That's the truth.
MIND AND HEART
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
– Romans 12:1-2
“With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
– Psalm 119:10-11
The mind of man is the seat of Satan. Satan uses intellectual reasoning to influence the mind. Carnal man believes only what he can see. The Holy Word means nothing to him. What he cannot see he cannot believe. Hence, faith is something foreign to him.
The heart of man is the seat of God. God dwells in and speaks to the heart by revelation. Spiritual man believes what the Word says, and sees the truth of the Word by the revelation of the Spirit of God. Hence, faith is a revelation to him.
When a child of God is careless in his walk and opens his mind to Satan's subtle influence, the Spirit of God on the Throne in the heart of the saint will go to his rescue to fight against the evil one in the battle field of the mind. And as long as the saint keeps himself close to the Spirit of the Lord and feeds on Him, the battle will invariably be won. Otherwise, the struggle will be long and drawn out. Apostle Paul warned us, who have learned Christ, not to walk in the vanity of our mind for we could very easily have our feelings given over to the evil works.
“This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
But ye have not so learned Christ.”
– Ephesians 4:17-20
There are Christians who simply believe, without any revelation, everything they read, or hear, out of the Holy Bible and call it “faith in God's Word”. Believing God's Holy Word without revelation can hardly be called faith. True faith, which is sown in God's Word, will reap a revelation to the spiritual man. In turn that soul will act in accordance with what is revealed to him.
Faith without an understanding from God has caused many to stray from the truth of God. One good example is the commandment in Matthew 28:19: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”. Many have and are still making the grave mistake in baptizing converts in the triune titles of the Godhead (instead of the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ – Acts 2:38; 10:48; 19:5) and calling it faith. That is simply “blind faith” because real faith is not blind to the revelation of God and His Word. Even many Endtime Message people are guilty of it. They believe word for word the teachings of William Branham without checking the Word of God as to whether the teachings are true (because they are taught against doing it believing that a prophet cannot be judged). Without the revelation of God, it is impossible to understand God's Word and please Him.
Now, does not the Holy Book say that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb.11:1)? And that “through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Heb.11:3)? We know by faith, not by sight. See? God is “a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Heb.11:6b). “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph.2:8). True worshippers please Him by their faith and He rewards them with revelation — of Truth, understanding, evidence, et cetera. So, have the faith of God, the truthfulness of God; He never fails to keep His Word.
Amen. We are not reprobates (cf. Rom.1:28). “But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor.2:16b). We are not blind in our faith and our understanding is not darkened for we have the Life of Christ. Therefore let's learn Christ, even more of Him with each passing day.
Let us look at our first Scripture text again: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Cor.3:18). The Word is Spirit and It is Life (Jhn.6:63b). As we learn of Christ daily we are being quickened from one stage of glory to another. (Now, I am not talking about the Christ of traditional Christianity, but the Christ of the Holy Bible. Remember that we must worship God in SPIRIT and in TRUTH.) We need to partake of the Word that God voices out for us “today” and not just the manna of yester year. Otherwise, we provoke the Lord just as the children of Israel did (cf. Heb.3:15-4:1). Therefore, as we look into the mirror of God's Word with an open heart and a sincere approach, without hiding behind any idea or tradition that we might have, I believe God will reveal more of Himself to us as we learn from Christ.It is one thing to believe in the saving power of the Cross, but it is another to partake of the fullness of the power of the Word for the change (Grk: “metamorphoo”) of the body, especially in this endtime. We should not be ashamed to look at our spiritual image in the mirror of God's Word. Christ will help us see His image in us. He will shape us unto His fullness till we come to that measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ Himself. By the Spirit of the Lord He will provide us fresh manna – fresh manna of Himself – for our spiritual growth. Every time we come to Him, diligently seeking Him in faith, and expecting a blessing, we will be fed. He will never disappoint us. We will receive from Him blessing after blessing, revelation after revelation, with ever-increasing glory to shape us into His own image.
Metamorphosis comes from the Greek word “metamorphoo” and it means “a total change in form”. The two words, “changed” and “transfigured”, in our Scripture text, are translated from the same Greek word “metamorphoo”. The Lord is telling us that we, as true worshippers of God, are being changed from one stage of glory to another just like the life cycle of a butterfly.
When a BUTTERFLY is born into the world it doesn't begin as one. In fact, it is nothing but life in an eggshell that is glued to the underside of a green leaf. That is its first birth, coming from its “mother's womb”, so to speak. It lives in a world of darkness. It is bonded to it. “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psa.51:5 cf. Rom.3:23). But freedom — life — is just a “faith” away. It has to be quickened by the light above to come forth out of its shell. Unless it is “born again” it will die in its bondage — in its world of sins and darkness. That's right! Similarly, when a man is born into this world he does not have true life. He is living in a world of darkness and dying in sin.
Now, as the “deep calleth unto deep” and “as the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God” (Psa.42:7,1). So, as God would have it, that is the desire of “whatever” is in the eggshell. If it is ordained the life of a butterfly, it has to come forth as a butterfly. Butterfly brings forth butterflies. The Son of God brings forth sons of God. Every living thing brings forth its own kind. Hallelujah! Read Genesis 1:21,24.
When the butterfly is “born again”, it does not come forth out of its eggshell as a butterfly. Yet, it is a butterfly. The world may see it as an oddball. “Why, isn't its mother a butterfly, a winged insect borne by the wind? Why this creature has no resemblance to its parent in any way?” The little CATERPILLAR (but that is a butterfly!) doesn't understand it either. But deep down in that tiny living thing is the revelation that one of these days it's going to take flight just like its mother. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb.11:1). Yes, it knows. And what more? It groans within itself, waiting for the day of its inauguration, to wit, the metamorphosis of its body (cf. Rom.8:23). Hallelujah!
FEASTING, LEARNING, GROWING
Watch the “born again” experience of this little creature we call the butterfly caterpillar. The first thing it does is to destroy its eggshell — put to death that “old man”. “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom.6:6,10,11). Amen! What an example that little crawling creature gives us! “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph.4:22-24). Yes, the “old man” must die! The carnal mind with all its thought patterns is very negative and contrary to God's Holy Word. The result is a negative feeling towards everything in life. Feelings are reliable only when they are based on the truth and the righteousness of God. Therefore, we need to fill our minds with the Word of God that we keep in our hearts so that our thinking and feelings will correspond to God's holiness. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor.10:5). “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin” (1 Pet.4:1-3).
Having put away the “old man” the “born again” caterpillar begins immediately to feast on the tender succulent “greens” of LIFE (cf. Psa. 23:2; 52:8). Notice, it practically does not stop feasting on the LIFE that is provided by its Creator. Because it has a “new” life, it has a “new” mind. The spirit of its mind is renewed and therefore its desire is to be something greater than what it presently is. It doesn't want to be just a caterpillar. It wants to be a butterfly! It knows that it will be one on its appointed day. But in the meantime it must “chomp chomp chomp” away on the food that will change the creature that it is. (It is not ashamed of being “noisy” and a “glutton” when it comes to the eating of the fresh manna the Creator has provided for it. The caterpillar is ever so grateful for the “greens” it eats that it pauses often to lift its head towards Heaven and praise its Creator.) The power of that “greens” that it absorbs into its body is working deep inside its body. The eyes cannot see it all too clearly. God works from the inside out and is changing it from “glory to glory”. There's LIFE in the “greens” and you better believe it!
Look at our Lord Jesus. When He was a child He learnt and walked in the Wisdom of God, our Heavenly Father. “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him” (Lk.2:40). “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Lk.2:52). He did not wait until He was a mature man in order to learn. Not at all. The moment we are born again of the Spirit of God and become children of God, we should start learning the Word and walk in It. Jesus learnt by being obedient to the Father. He said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (Jhn.5:19). “…I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things” (Jhn.8:28b). Therefore, it was no wonder that the Creator God was well pleased to empower Jesus with all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Matt.3:17; 17:5; Col.1:19). And “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation” (Col.1:15, NIV). Amen. Jesus is the exact representation of God's nature.
From day to day, the little crawling creature has a great time of feasting. The world watches and observes. They notice one thing. That it is growing! Of course, without its “daily bread” the caterpillar will not grow. The caterpillar moults its skin several times. Each time it does that it grows bigger. Hallelujah! Yes, beloved, we need to continually feast upon the Word of Life of God, and walk in the Light and Truth of It, and put off the “old man” — die daily! Then the world will see that there is “something” growing in us, “something” that is changing us. And we know what to expect when we are being “changed from glory to glory” if we “have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him” (Col.3:10).
Have you ever watched the reaction of the butterfly caterpillar when it could not find any more tender succulent green leaves around to eat? I have. The caterpillar will search frantically by crawling up and down the branches. It appears panicky and as if saying, “If I don't get any fresh greens, I'll die.” Now, the caterpillar might eat the less tender and succulent leaves, but it will never eat those that are dry and savorless. Glory! Then again, it will never eat any other “greens” that it is not “born” on. That is to say, if it is “born” on a lemon leaf it will not eat apple leaf no matter how tender and succulent it might be. Likewise a true child of God will only eat the fresh `Manna of God' for the hour. Because he is born again of the Incorruptible Word of God, that Spiritual Seed remains in him (1 Pet.1:23-25) and he could but eat only that which is from above (John 6). He will never accept the dry and lifeless food nor the so-called `revival' buffet being dished out by religious organizations as religious “Christians” do. Amen! A true child of God will not simply eat what he sees with his natural eyes but rather what he hears with his spiritual ears and handles with his spiritual hands the Word of Life (1 Jhn.1:1-7).
We are told that “slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger. He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his ways shall die” (Prov.19:15,16 cf. 24:30-34). Saints, if the butterfly caterpillar is not prepared to lie around and die, neither do I. There is something in me, just as there is something in that little creature, that makes me want to shout, dance and live the Life of the Word of God. We have got to work while it is day. We have got to walk in the Light that is shining upon us. Working in the day and walking in the light are the commands and admonitions of the Lord (cf. Jhn.9:4; 11:9; 12:35). Such travailing, if that is so, is needful. Observe the caterpillar. It knows that it has to travail in that wretched earth-bound body until such time that its glory shall be revealed in all its beauty. Praise the Lord! The Apostles Paul and Peter admonished:
“And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
– Hebrews 6:11-12
“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”
– 2 Peter 3:18
The following words of a song: “This world is not my home. I'm just a passing through” could not be any truer. We are but citizens of Heaven. We are “heavenly beings” and we know it, for our inner beings are crying out to be delivered, to be changed — awaiting transformation! Hallelujah! We are earth-bound now, but we will take flight one of these days. “And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.” Amen. However, in the meantime we have to feast on the Word of God and let the Word do Its Work in us — His Word becoming flesh in us, having the nature of Christ. Right, even according to the words of another song: “From glory to glory, He's changing me… From earthly things to the heavenly. His likeness and image to perfect in me…” Praise the Lord! Now, take heed to the words of the Lord:
“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”
– John 15:3-7
Just as we daily come face to face with our image in the mirror we should never be ashamed to come face to face with ourselves in the Word of God. “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels” (Mk.8:38, NIV). We should confess with our mouth the Word of Life that we possess and reflect It in our life. When we look into a mirror we see our image. We do it for certain purposes. Because our physical image is important to us we correct what we do not like (what we see) about the image in the mirror. We want to present the right image of what we think we are besides the washing of dirt and smudge off our face. The same is true about our spiritual image that the world is looking at. We should have an unveiled face as we approach the mirror of God's Holy Word. We must have the desire to let the Holy Spirit guide and lead us in the Word that He may purge and cleanse us to bring us to that image of Christ Jesus our Lord. We should never say or think that we are still unworthy. We were once unworthy because we were sinners and facing the judgment of God. But Jesus came to our rescue and mercy rewrote our lives. He paid it all on our behalf and we are now worthy in His sight. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom.8:1). Therefore, let us approach God with all reverence and fear, knowing that He loves and cares for us. “And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit” (2 Cor.3:18 Amplified).
RENEWING OF THE MIND
Throughout its life as a butterfly caterpillar the little creature is daily preparing itself to be ready for that day of glory to come upon its body (Matt.24:44; Rev.19:7). As Apostle Paul wrote: “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph.4:22-24). Therefore beloved, let us take heed to the words of the Apostle Paul, and by the mercies of God, present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service — thank God, He did not ask for more than that. And that we be not conformed to Satan's standard of religious and seductive fashions of this evil world but rather be transformed by the renewing of our mind — thought, feeling and will — that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (cf. Rom.12:1-2).
As we renew our mind with the Spirit of Christ, we can call Satan's bluff and overcome him. The Spirit of Christ Who resides in the castle of our heart will come to our aid in our daily battle against the foes who beset us with the sins of the world. Satan will try to put back the mind of our “old man” in us to cause us to mind earthly things and to bring about our destruction. But as long as “our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself” (Phil.3:19-21), Satan will not be able to accomplish that. Amen.
Let us enter into the Holy Chamber of the Spirit and the Word of God, and sing this song in our heart:
Into Thy chamber, be free Holy Spirit.
Speak to me gently as You close the door.
Heavenly Lover, let Thy Presence cover.
Shekinah unending is all I long for.
Come my Beloved, be my Lord, my Master.
As I yield myself, unite me to Thee.
Let Thy Holy Word wrap 'round me I plead:
My Defence, Protection and Covering be.
SILENCE – REST & REVIVAL
Time passes. The butterfly caterpillar is now in a mature state. It has now come to the measure of the stature of the fullness for its transformation into another phase of glory in which it will have its “rest” and a “total reviving” just before its great day of jubilee when it shall be free from being earth-bound. It is changing from one stage to another. It is moving up to higher height. Yes, it has the revelation of the “deep calling unto the deep” that it is being changed from one stage of glory to another. Amen. The tender succulent “greens” that the creature has digested since its “re-birth” has been taking effect in its body — with ever-increasing splendor. Now, that LIFE in the “greens” begins to come forth (out of its mouth) and provides a covering for its body (cf. Lk.6:45; Job 29:14). The covering also provides a protection and a defence. The butterfly caterpillar is now a PUPA. It does not eat any more. It has come to its “rest”. The butterfly pupa appears tranquil (silent) but there is a “revival” going on inside just before the final phase of its transformation. O glory! Hallelujah! Saints, a butterfly caterpillar is a butterfly caterpillar regardless of its age. But the caterpillar will never reach this stage of complete maturity if it does not absorb enough “greens” into its life. In fact, the caterpillar will just die (cf. Jhn.5:39-40; 6:53). So, remember that you can never come to this phase of glory if you have not been feeding on and living by the Word. In other words, you are not mature for the change if you do not, or cannot, believe the Word and the revelation of the Word. If you can receive the Word, then you have to walk in the Light of the Word. Amen. There is no other way.
Saints, as a Spirit-filled people, we have found our “rest” in Christ (cf. Hebrews chapter 4), and also our “revival” in the feasting of the Word for this hour through the Ministry of God's Ascension Gifts (Eph.4:4-16). With regular feasting and digesting of the spiritual Word and pressing “toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil.3:14) we “are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, Who is the Spirit” (2 Cor.3:18b NIV). The Word that works in us comes forth to provide us a covering, a protection and a defence. However, there will be a short period of great “silence” — a “rest” with a “total revival” — for the Bride just before the Lord comes to take her away, in her final change, when she will have put on a glorious body. Hallelujah! When this happens it will bring about the complete revelation of the Seventh Seal (Rev.8:1). That's Thus Saith The Lord! Watching and praying, and “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb.12:2a) we, who have been feasting on and walking in the Word, will come to this “rest and revival”. We will recognize it just as soon as the Seven Thunders appear on the scene and utter the very message that was previously revealed in a vision to the Apostle John (who types the Bride) on the Isle of Patmos (Rev.10:1-7). Praise the Lord! When the fullness of time is come that which is sealed up and hidden away will be revealed to the Bride in that very hour for her translation. So, let us be still and know that the Lord is God, that He shall be exalted among the heathen, that He shall be exalted in the earth (Psa.46:10).
Observe closely the butterfly pupa. From day to day, in its “rest”, there is a “revival”. And with the “rest and revival” there comes a “travailing” — to be delivered. Something is causing that pupa to “travail”. Ever so often you will notice a spasm. What is it? There is a “healing” going on inside — in its body — growing a proboscis, or a wing where a wing should be. O glory! What a “travail” of joy — “groaning” within itself, waiting for the day of its inauguration, to wit, the final metamorphosis of its body (cf. Rom.8:23). Hallelujah! Then one early morning, when the sun rises and when a warm ray hits the pupa, it shall give a last spasm of travailing joy, its covering shall split open, and a glorious colorful winged creature — the butterfly — shall emerge.
Praise God! One of these days, after the Bride has had her brief but final great “rest”, there will be such a great “revival” in the “chamber” of the Holy Spirit of the Lord that will cause the Bride to “travail” in the Presence of the Word. Divine Love comes! And these words of our Lord Jesus: “at that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you” (Jhn.14:20) will come to its fullness in us, the Bride, while we wait “for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (Rom.8:23). The Capstone, the Headstone, is come to cap the Bride-Wife. Yes, that little “rest and revival” for the Bride will last for a short period of about 40 days (cf. Acts 1:3) when the Seven Thunders shall appear on the scene to utter the final revelation of the Lord for the saints. This is the great “silence” of the Seventh Seal. This will be the hour that a “total healing” of the Body of Jesus Christ will take place. Afflicted and impaired bodies of individual living saints will be wholly restored by the revelation of the Spoken Word of God. Arms shall grow out for those who have no arms. Eyes shall be restored to those who once had no eyes. The bodies of the saints will be completely restored before they are transformed into glory. Hallelujah! What a great “revival” that will be! And it is hidden from the world. Amen.
Then one glorious morning, just as the sun comes out (at about 6 o'clock), the “Theophany” (Word Body, Celestial Body) of the Bride shall come down from the Heavenly Word of God above and wrap her up. The Glorious Word in her, that is her covering, defence and protection, will push Its way out from her being and “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor.15:52-55). Hallelujah! Flesh and blood will give way to a glorious spiritual body!
FLY AWAY HOME
The beautiful butterfly flaps its wings and flies off with the wind into the heaven. Behold the beauty of the intricate colours that are knitted into its being! What a beautiful creature it now is compared to what it once was. It is such a joy and wonder to see it flitting about from flower to flower as she is carried by the wind. It is no longer tied down and in bondage to a place. It has been redeemed! It is free! It has total liberty! And notice: it no longer needs to eat the greens. Its diet is different. It now feeds on something far better. Manna? — What is it? It's the lovely sweet nectar within the attractive flowers created by God.
Likewise, the Elected Lady of Christ will take her flight in her glorious beautiful body to the Grand Marriage Supper of the Lamb in the Heavenly Father's Home. No longer weighed down by flesh and blood, she will fly heavenward in glorious liberty of the Spirit of Christ. She will surely be a beauty for all eyes to behold. In heaven the angels will look on in awe as she sits with her King and dines at the Great Supper Table, thousands of miles long; and during the Millennial Reign of Christ, all nations of people and creatures on earth will see the display of “the manifestation of the sons of God” as the (Bride-)Wife rules with Christ (Rom.8:19). The Written Word (Holy Bible) will no longer be her diet for she will feed on something far better. Manna? — What is it? It's the Heavenly Manna which flows directly from the Throne of the Shekinah Glory of the Living God! O glory! Hallelujah!
Saints, what God had foreordained before the foundation of the earth, He is able to perform. His Word is able to build you up and give you the promised inheritance that is in Christ Jesus. Believe the words of the Apostle Paul:
“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be con- formed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
– Roman 8:29
“He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will —
To the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”
– Ephesians 1:5-6 NIV
Finally, my brethren, take heed to the admonition of the Word of our Lord and rejoice:
“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.”
– Hebrews 10:35-37
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”
– Hebrews 12:1-2a
“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”
– James 5:7-8