“ON EAGLES” WINGS MINISTRIES”
“See how I bare you on eagles’ wings and brought you unto myself.” Exodus 19:4
Royce Kennedy ◊ 909 Whistling Duck Drive ◊ Largo, MD 20774
“A Study of The Last Day Salvation.”
Back in June 2009 the study of the last day salvation was published to my mailing list, but was not posted on my website, so I am doing what could rightly be called a “reprint” and this study was meant to be a sequel to “The Earnest of our Inheritance” already posted.
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 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 .1 Peter 1:1-5.
To add a little more clarity to this passage, let us borrow from the New English Bible (N.E.B) translation. “Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us new birth into a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead! The inheritance to which we are born is one that nothing can destroy or spoil or wither. It is kept for you in heaven, and you, because you put your faith in God, are under the protection of his power until salvation comes—the salvation which is now in readiness and will be revealed at the end of time.”
If we were to take all of what we just read at face value, meaning, if we take it as written, we are bound to end up with contradictions or at the very least, a bunch of questions. Based upon Peter’s salutation we must conclude that he was greeting people who were already “saved” for he said they were sanctified and had the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ, and were called “elect.” At the very least, in today’s lingo we would say they had a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. But right after acknowledging that fact, we notice that another salvation is in readiness to be revealed at the end of time. Obviously the salvation in question was not readily available; not until the end of time.
As we expressed in another letter, instead of settling down to enjoy what we have already, we are exhorted to look forward to a greater revelation of what can be characterized as “God’s Full Salvation.” In the letter entitled, “The Earnest of our Inheritance” we explained that salvation has two vital parts, namely, the buying back which was spontaneous at Calvary, and the bringing back which is a gradual process beginning first with the salvation of our spirit, then our soul, and finally our body; the latter being called, “The redemption of the purchased possession” as Paul indicated in Ephesians 1:14. The multitudes that decorate the mountainsides of Christendom, who have experienced being “born again,” are hardly willing to admit that there is a greater dimension to our salvation provided by the Lord himself, and this salvation is reserved for the end of time. In the early days of the Apostolic Church that began on the day of Pentecost, just about all of the prominent disciples and apostles thought that Jesus would return in their day.
The record said that they sold all they had and brought the proceeds to the apostles and all men had all things common. “Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or homes sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold and laid them down at the apostle’s feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” Acts 4:34,35.
The general consensus among believers is that this kind of benevolence was prompted by a new found love and brotherhood that resulted from the Pentecostal experience of a few days before. But here is another possibility for us to consider. At the feast called the Last Supper, Jesus told his disciples as he broke bread with them, “As often as you eat this bread and drink this wine, you do show forth my death until I come.” With these words still fresh in their mind, they went from house to house breaking bread and daily in the temple. Then folks began selling all that they possessed and parting with the cash they earned. I think the mentality was simply that if Jesus would be returning very soon, what need was there to hoard material things.
Back in the 1970s I attended a revival service in Portsmouth, Virginia, being conducted by a dynamic preacher from New York City. During his sermon he emphasized that the return of Christ is imminent and could occur before he was through preaching. But after the sermon was over he formed a number of lines for lifting the offering. One line was for all those who could give $100 each; the other was for those who could give $50, and the third line was for those who were going to put $25 each in the offering basket. I silently mused to myself that the minister really did not believe what he said about the return of Jesus. It was nothing more than a catchy phrase, and a popular sentiment being echoed by others of his contemporaries. It is like politicians inventing catch phrases designed to appeal to our emotions yet has nothing to do with policy.
From the very first century the return of Christ continued to dominate believers’ thinking, and as the first thousand years approached, preachers became more possessed with a gospel of fear—fear of what would happen next. They espoused the theory that the world was about to end and that Christ’s return was at the very door. In response, a large number of pilgrims sold their possessions and made their way to Jerusalem to await Jesus as he enters the city. Terror filled them at every storm, comet, and other events of nature. They fell to their knees at every crack of thunder, expecting the earth to open and give up its dead. Every meteor over Jerusalem brought Christians into the streets to cry and pray.
During the great plague of Europe (1348-1352) the prophets of that time said the end was at hand and that Christ would appear in 10 years. John Wycliffe a 14th century reformer said the Catholic mass was Daniel’s abomination of desolation. Martin Luther (1483-1546) believed the church’s final conflict with evil will pit it against the Turks and the pope. In every century since Christ was taken up from Mount Olivet, believers have undertaken that task of predicting his return, even to this day. Ministers have publicly set dates for the return of Christ, the year 2000 being the most abused in recent times.
I remember quite vividly how a minister from Texas back in November 1999 looked into the television cameras and declared; “After January 1, 2000, do not look for me on earth, for I won’t be here. I will be in heaven with Jesus having been caught up in the Rapture with Jesus.” Of course this gentleman is still in Texas, and we are still waiting for him to return before the television cameras and admit his mistake. But don’t hold your breath; these ministers, both male and female in their pomp and pride will not admit when they are wrong. And quite frankly, I am always a bit suspicious of any minister who seems to have all the answers, who never have to say, “Let me check on that and I will get back to you later.” Their ego will not permit such humility and penitence.
The Sunday, June 8, 1981 issue of the San Diego Union featured an article by the Associated Press. The main subject was about Bill Maupin out of Tucson, Arizona. This brother said; “I am 1,000% convinced today (June 8, 1981) is the day he and his followers will rise up to heaven. Maupin explained that there’s always the possibility with human error on this, but I am 1,000% convinced. There’s no other day it can happen the way the Bible laid it out. We’re just going to take off into the air. It’s going to be like turning a bunch of balloons loose with helium. Maupin says there are four things that are required before rapture, according to his interpretation of scriptures: Israel must establish its borders, the Sinai Desert will be returned to Israel, and Damascus, the Syrian Capital, and Lebanon both will be taken by Israel.
The reporter noted: “As the day of rapture approached, there was no indication any of these things occurred. No, but they’ll be done by Sunday, Maupin said. The reason we know they’re going to is the Bible. He predicted those who do not ascend to heaven will face the fury of the antichrist who will rule from December 2, 1984 to May 14, 1988. Maupin and his followers are so confident of going to heaven that many sold their homes and belongings. One young man, a house painter, said he didn’t plan to start a new job scheduled for yesterday so he would leave no breach of contract. Folks!! All of this happened in America, as late as 1981. Some televangelists got together to predict 1988 as the year simply by counting certain feasts of the Jews, beginning with the Passover in Egypt the night before Israel’s exodus.
Back in the early post-Pentecost days, the disciples truly believed that Jesus would return in their day, and as we stated before, this belief caused them to dispose of all their material goods including all their money, that the apostles used to benefit the entire body of believers. Let us look on the subject in retrospect so we can glean some substantial facts from the likes of Peter, James, John, and the notable apostle Paul. If we can tap into their thoughts, we will better understand the reason behind some of the sentiments expressed in their epistles.
To begin with, these men embraced what they thought Jesus meant in what he said, especially within the last couple of days in his life on earth. It is no wonder that as they approached mount Olivet, the disciples asked Jesus, “Wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom again to Israel?” This question sounds so much like the statements we are currently hearing on radio and television being made by those who cling to the idea of Israel being God’s chosen people, and that Jesus will soon return to Jerusalem to sit on David’s throne. Let us visit each of our prominent writers to gain their perspective.
Listen to Paul’s teaching at a certain point in his ministry: “Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.”
What was the apostle’s rational behind this sort of thinking? You cannot get along with your wife and both of you live like cats and dogs, fighting and clawing at each other day in and day out, “but don’t seek to be loosed from her” Why? Here is the answer! “But this I say, brethren, the time IS SHORT: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy as though they possessed not—for the fashion of this world passeth away.” 1st Corinthians 7:27-31.
Think about this! Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians was written approximately A.D.55, just twenty two years after Christ ended his ministry. Also think on this! In just the few short years that elapsed, Paul is saying to the Church at large that time is short, and the fashion of this world passes away. Listen to Paul in what has become the bedrock of the rapture theory. “Then WE which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to MEET the Lord in the air.” 1st Thessalonians 4:17.
The first item of interest in this verse is that Paul included himself as a participant in this great event. Because at that particular time, he thought these events would occur in his day. The second point of interest is that we are to meet Christ, and nowhere does it say that we go back with him to heaven. “Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to MEET him, and escort him back to where the wedding will convene. Here is another example of Paul’s thinking back then.
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Heb.10:25. In other words, do not neglect to gather with the saints because the very day you stay away could be the day Jesus returns. In fact, as a young man back in my little country village, our ministers used to emphasize this very concept, and sure enough, we were always there every time the door of the church was opened for worship and bible study. Now, we turn to Peter, another of the “Big Four” in this study.
“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” 1st Peter 4:7. What has James got to contribute to this study? “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. Moving on, we now borrow from the words of our brother John.
“Little children, it IS THE LAST TIME.” No if, maybe, or perhaps! It IS the last time, period! And what was John’s barometer used to measure these timely events? What was the “give away” clue as far as John was concerned?
“As ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even NOW are there many antichrists; whereby we know it is the last time.” 1st John 2:18. Please note that John referred not to a single antichrist, but to many that were already present in his day, and he referred to the fact that it was predicted that they would come at the end of time, so John was totally convinced that his day and time was indeed the last time. Notice that John did not allude to the antichrist as being a single individual. He said that in his day there were already many antichrists, but somehow, many end up believing in a single “Super Human” that some claim is already in hiding somewhere in Europe being trained by Satan.
John wrote emphatically that “it is the last time.” But somewhere down the road, as new revelations began to burst upon the horizon by the Holy Spirit, Peter announced that there is a salvation that was now in readiness and will be revealed at the end of time. To put this in its proper perspective, let remind ourselves that the people to whom Peter addressed his message were seen as elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father; they were sanctified through the Spirit, and they had obtained the sprinkling of the blood of Christ. As far as salvation is concerned, they occupied the upper tier of spiritual rankings. But Peter threw open the curtains to bring into focus a salvation they knew nothing about and this one is designed to accomplish more than what their present experience had wrought in them.
Can you picture yourself attending a church with a packed sanctuary, in Los Angeles, New York, London, or Rome and the preacher gets up to preach about a salvation in waiting, that none of us knows about because it is to be revealed at the end of time? Name me a single established congregation in any city, in any State or country, where pastors are actively preaching and teaching their membership about a salvation that will be revealed at the end of time!
When I first began ministering in churches here in the United States, I quickly learned the lines used by many in their testimonies. It goes like this! “Saints, I greet you in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. I thank God for my health and strength; and I thank God for sins forgiven. Today I am Holy Ghost filled, fire baptized, and I am paid up, packed up, and ready to go up.” Well, bless your sweat soul! Peter steps in and says; “Hold it! Not so fast! Hold your horses! You have not got it all! There is more, much more to be revealed later on! The masses of God’s people all across the landscape of Christendom, firmly believe that they have got it all, and there is no way to convince them that what they have is actually the “earnest, token money, or down payment” by God himself as a promise to return and redeem the purchased possession. Thank you Jesus! See my letter entitled “The earnest of our inheritance.”
What salvation are we talking about? It is a salvation that was kept in secret in prior ages, in so much that even the angels were not afforded glimpses into it. Listen to this! “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you; searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” Here is what happened! The prophets prophesied many great and wonderful things that would follow the sufferings of Christ, but they did not know to whom they were speaking. Was it to people in their own time, or was it meant for a people yet to be born? Many people have missed God’s will by misapplying prophecies. Simply because God says I will, it does not mean immediately or the next day.
After the prophets spoke the words given to them, they went back to God to obtain more details. “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us (notice how Peter included himself in this number and even so was still wrong) did they minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the REVELATION of Jesus Christ.” 1st Peter 1:10-13.
One of the most important truths for us to comprehend is at the end of the scripture text. At the revelation of Jesus Christ! Many bible teachers and scholars alike render this “revelation” as the “coming” of Jesus Christ, but I beg to differ because if he is coming and every eye shall behold him, there is no need for a revelation. Always bear in mind that a revelation alludes to the working of the Spirit. When Peter declared who Jesus was, our Lord said, “Flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto you, but my Father (Spirit) which is in heaven.” For instance, let us look at Hebrews 9: 28. “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him (not the whole world) shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” This is the last day salvation that we are discussing, and I like how J. B. Phillips renders this verse. “To those who look for him, he will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to bring to full salvation those who eagerly await him.”
When Jesus stood in a noble man’s house, he said, this day is salvation come to this house, and Titus said that the grace of God (Jesus is the embodiment of God’s grace) that bringeth salvation has appeared unto all men. Salvation cannot be had in heaven and when Jesus went to Calvary, he paid the purchase price for our redemption. When we received the Holy Spirit, it was God’s token money or down payment. Because of Calvary, we became God’s “purchased possession” but the revelation of Jesus Christ as Paul expressed in Hebrews 9: 28 signifies his revelation from heaven—not his coming to judge the world—not to deal with sin because he already settled the sin question in his body on the tree. This revelation from heaven is to bring to full salvation those who eagerly await him.
Don’t you find this to be an amazing and invigorating truth that is now at our very doorstep? At one point Paul felt so strongly that all of this would unfold in his day that he wrote: And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; (complete and totally) and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1st Thessalonians 5:23. These are profound truths that we are not hearing about from our pulpits; therefore the greater masses of God’s people move forward like objects on a conveyor belt. Notice in that kind of scenario the objects remain fixed in place as they are placed on the belt; they are moving forward but only as the belt dictates. For many of God’s people, it is like going around the same mountain day after day. Only few are able to break out of that mold or setting, and discover new pasture lands filled with healthy green grass and rivers of pure clean water. For those who are taught and believe that their born again experience is all they need till they go up in the rapture, they will not be numbered among those who are eagerly awaiting his “revelation” from heaven.
Paul reminded us that “Our conversation (or citizenship) is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change or vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working (of our newly acquired body) whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Philippians 3:20,2 1.
Allow me to throw in this little caveat! Paul indicated that Christ must reign (from where is seated by the right hand of God) till all things are put under his feet. So subduing all things unto himself indicates a job being done by the effectual working of his power through human bodies that are now fashioned after his glorious body. The church world is waiting for the blast of the trumpet and instantly, we are changed and are on our way to meet him in glory. However, this change goes on in stages and is an ongoing process. Listen to how the process works! “But we all, with open face (uncovered face—uncovered from vain traditions that kept us prisoners throughout our lives) beholding as in a glass (like looking into a mirror) the glory of the Lord, are changed (or being changed) into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2nd Corinthians 3:18. Let us clarify this some! Under Moses, representing the law and salvation by works, we had a veil over our face so we could not see clearly that salvation was no more by works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ. In fact, even today when Moses is read or taught, the veil is still upon our heart. Nevertheless when it (the heart) shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. 2nd Corinthians 3:13-16.
When we look in the mirror with covered face, covered with the traditions of the elders, we see ourselves as poor retched sinners, lost and undone, and still standing on repentance ground pleading for mercy. But amazingly enough, when we lift the veil and look in the mirror (that is His Word) we see the glory of the Lord, and keeping that image in focus constantly, we slowly are changed into that same image by the Spirit of the Lord.
Doesn’t the very thought of this makes you want to shout and dance in the joy of the Holy Ghost? Just as cancer affects the body one cell at a time, in like manner, the Holy Spirit impacts and affects your body one cell at a time.
How is this accomplished? What is the formula for success in embracing this vital truth? Paul renders it this way: “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith” Ephesians 3:17.
“The life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20. “Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1.” “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death.” It is accomplished by faith because faith is substance!
Listen to Paul’s letter to the Romans: “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed.” What sort of Romans was Paul addressing? “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints. I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” Romans 1:7, 8; 13:11. It is obvious that Paul is addressing his letter to saved people; to saints of the living God. But in so doing, he refers to a salvation that is nearer than when they first believed, meaning that even as he wrote, they did not yet possess this particular salvation.
His advice is that they should awake out of sleep and put on the armor of light. In fact in verse 14 he counseled them to “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh. So Christ in fact is the armor of light that they were exhorted to put on.
In Revelation 3: 18 the Church is exhorted by the glorified Christ himself, to buy of him white raiment, that we may be clothed, and that our nakedness does not appear. We are also told that as many as are baptized into Christ, put him on, meaning that we wear him like a garment. This is significant in teaching and believing in the redemption of our body, and Paul mentioned this truth in Romans 8, that we, along with creation is waiting for the redemption of our body, indicating the loosing away from all restrictions. Jesus said we do not know the direction of the wind as it blows; so is everyone that is born of the Spirit? Meaning this is not the way one is born of the Spirit, but rather the way one moves that is born of the Spirit; and Paul alluded to this truth by indicating that we are waiting for our bodies to be redeemed or loosed even from the bondage of gravity; After all Christ’s glorious body knew no restrictions of space or objects. Oh, to be like him!
Notice the single required ingredient underscored above is what is needed to accomplish what God has already ordained and signed off on. The ingredient is FAITH! I do not wake up in the morning trying to feel right, or to feel holy, or to feel complete! I live each and every day resting upon what Christ has already accomplished on my behalf, and upon every declaration God made in his holy word as to my present status with him. I am told that I am God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus—and that settles it! I am told that I am crucified with Christ, buried in the likeness of his and took part in his resurrection—and that settles it. I am told that I was raised up with Christ and made to sit with him in heavenly places—and that settles it! I live explicitly on what is already certified in God’s Word on my behalf. As they as in politics these days, “Don’t reinvent the wheel!” I cannot live upon what others think about me, or think I should be doing. There is no need for man-made formulas to feel right! I am what I am, because the great I AM said so.
Royce O. Kennedy