Over the last 6 months, the Lord has been teaching me a lot about the way and reason for His judgements on the Church, and the world.
One intriguing aspect of the Lord’s judgement of the Church is the fact that in this “one-of-a-kind” hour the Holy Spirit is preparing us (who are now on the earth) for transitioning to the literal, earthly reign of His Son.
No other generation has this privilege. But if we take the return of Jesus seriously (as we should), then one generation WILL necessarily “not die” (Mark 13:30) and be incredibly translated from one realm to another realm; a temporal, fallen, dim reality into an eternal, perfect and brilliant reality – in nano-seconds!
Friends. I don’t do well when I have to acclimate from the moderate temperature of the mountains of Arizona to Phoenix. How am I going to acclimate from the corruption of this age, to the glory of the next age in mere seconds??? The mere idea gives me brain freeze.
Allow me to explain: If Jesus were to return today, there is SO MUCH in my heart, soul and mind, (we get new bodies, “halleluia”) that would be unprepared to live in His eternal realm. One of the most notable would be the agreement of my will with His perfect order and will. A lot can be said here. But the fact of the matter is, our wills will not become automatically compliant to the will of heaven on that day. It will require a process; a process that will entail eternal learning, understanding and appreciating.
When Jesus returns, I dare say, there will still be a lot in me that doesn’t understand His ways. Though, I may subscribe to them as “beautiful” (Revelation 15:3), it doesn’t mean that I’ve comprehended them, and find myself in wholehearted appreciation of them.
There will even be portions of my heart and mind that so misunderstand His ways that I am “offended” or “stunned” (not quite the right words) by the way He governs the nations, and our hearts.
Case-in-point: The disciples were continually tripping over Jesus’ Words and actions and teachings. Even after Peter’s confession, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, they evidenced a marvelous capacity to be clueless about the ways of Messiah. And although growing, their heart attitudes were perpetually being realigned with the perfect heart attitude of the Son of God. (Duh.)
What will WE be tripping over when we see Him face to face? (Revelation 22:4) These issues don’t necessarily have to be “sin issues”, though, in this age, they frequently are. These issues can also be maturity issues.
Mike Bickle likes to say, “The fact that my love for God is weak, doesn’t make it insincere.”
Beloved, ALL His ways are love! We have SO MUCH to GROW UP IN (Ephesians 4:15) the way of Christ… Undoubtably, we will continue in this maturity process for all eternity. My heart, my soul, my physical being and my mind will increasingly grow, mature and develop in perfect love – for God, AND for the rest of the Church and creation.
This quality of love is synonymous with “righteousness”, which literally means “the right order and way of the King”. Righteousness is the government of heaven. One day it will fully be the government of earth. It is the way the Trinity relates to each other. (There’s a ton of room for our growth in righteousness.)
The judgements of God today, are meant to teach us righteousness (Isaiah 26:9) and to prepare our hearts to live wholeheartedly under the order of Jesus’ government. In this way, God’s judgements today, actually serve as inoculations against the rebellious disease of unrighteousness, so that we can thrive deeper and deeper in the ocean of God’s righteous ways.
An example: When we travel to other countries, foreign environments, it’s wise for us to be immunized against diseases that are found in that region of the world. These immunizations entail actually being injected with small doses of these diseases so our immune systems may build up a defense system against these diseases;. This is how the process of being immunized works. Our bodies are ostensibly “learning righteousness” through the injections of the disease itself.
When Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2 “The LORD will send them a delusion”, in essence he is describing the Lord giving the earth, and the Church small doses of unrighteousness in order to strengthen our hearts to pursue righteousness. He is actually judging/purging/preparing us (1 Peter 4:17) by giving us a context whereby we may build up a strong Christlike spirit that has the internal capacity to celebrate, rather than militate against, the ways of Christ’s rule – all in preparation for our “being like Him” (1 John 3:2) when we see Him face to face, and living with understanding and joy, under His reign in the next age.
I believe this is also what Peter is referring to when he speaks of the Church’s ability to “hasten” (2 Peter 3:12) the return of the Lord. It is also what John is referring to when he describes what he heard in heaven: “The Bride has made herself ready!”(Revelation 19:7)
Being made ready entails the Church on the earth actually learning and living the ways of Jesus’ government, now – today – in the midst of conflict, persecution, hostility, temptation, peril, disunity, unforgiveness, carnality, death, rebellion and demonic rage.
When we learn to “do righteousness” (1 John 3:7) here on earth, in unity with the whole body of Christ together, in the mind and Spirit of Christ Himself, the Lord will release the greatest harvest the world has ever seen. We will be a living witness of the government of Jesus, AND a testimony of the power of God to enact phenomenal transformation in the human soul, AND in human relationships. And because it will be a testimony that arises in the context of a world filled with unrighteousness, it will ultimately say to the enemy, and “those under the earth”(Philippians 2:10), that Jesus’ Lordship, even in the context of sin, is potent and attractive, and transformative, and has prevailed over the “gates of hell” (Matthew 16:18).
We will then also become active, intercessory participants when Jesus returns to judge the unrighteous nations with “the sword of His mouth” (Revelation 19:21). We will hail Him as the righteous, true and rightful King of the whole earth. We will rejoice in the inauguration (Revelation 11:15) of His reign with full, joyous, equipped, prepared, tested and resolute hearts – hearts that have been tried in the fires of temptation, calamity and delusion.
Until then we must submit ourselves to His definition of righteousness. We must herald and lovingly, but fastidiously champion His government of righteousness in our lives and in our world. We must let the Holy Spirit bring the body into unity in this righteousness, under the reign of Jesus’ government/Lordship. (This is so important.) And we must dialogue with each other “in truth and love” so that we come to the maturity of our collective faith (Ephesians 4:15) – the maturity that all heaven has longed for, and so, (in essence) “call back” the return of our King with one united cry on earth: “Maranatha!” (1 Corinthians 16:22)
JSB • November, 2020