"ON EAGLES’ WINGS MINISTRIES"
“Will the saints rule as foretold by Daniel?” September 2013, Part 5
“But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that over cometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. And the sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 2:25-28; 5:9,10.
The scripture passages quoted above serve as a narrative of the Divine Mind, rooted in the purpose and predestinated will of God for his entire creation. The question as to the saints ruling as foretold by Daniel, Jesus Christ in his glorious brilliance of heaven’s majesty pulled the curtains back and had John serve as witness to these truths. As for us, even as we begin to discuss chapter 5 in this series, we have read enough for us to say “class dismissed” as we make our way to the front door and to our cars in the parking lot.
Basically, what the scriptures above are saying to our queries is YES! YES! Indeed we shall rule in like manner as Jesus Christ does, to the point of breaking the nations as vessels of clay. But let me quickly add that this truth is not predicated upon our whim and fancy. We need not form a new organization designed specifically for the religious elite who seem to live in the upper stratosphere of religious reality. This project and culmination of world events is not configured after those with titles and bask in the limelight as religious celebrities. The very thought of reigning with Christ quickly reminds us that: “If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him.”
At this juncture, I am reminded of this song, published by Christian Publishing Company in 1906. I must needs go home by way of the cross, There’s no other way but this; I shall ne’er get sight of the gates of light, If the way of the cross I miss. I must needs go on in the blood sprinkled way, The path that the Savior trod; If I climb to the heights sublime, Where the soul is at home with God. Then I bid farewell to the way of the world, To walk with it no more; For the Lord says, “come” and I seek my home, Where he waits at the open door.
Refrain: The way of the cross leads home, The way of the cross leads home, It is sweet to know as I onward go, The way of the cross leads home.” Listen to what the writer of Hebrews said. “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. [Outside the walls of Jewish Orthodoxy and the seat of the religious elite] Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.” Hebrews 13: 12, 13.
Can we in America realistically say that Christians, especially members of the clergy are bearing the reproach of Christ? Let us be practical in this! Members of the clergy are featured in events from the White House to Congress, and serve as headliners across the broad spectrum of society. At face value, or at first glance, there is nothing wrong with that. Even Jesus at the age of twelve after being separated from his parents for three days, was found in the temple having dialogue with the priests. But as his parents wanted to scold him for going missing, he asked if they did not know that he must be about his Father’s business.
When his disciples wondered if he wasn’t hungry after a weary day’s journey, listen to his reply. “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” John 4: 34. Even as the twilight sun began to set o’er yonder hills, and Paul knew what awaited him in Rome, here is his mindset and total resolve. [Each time I read this account, it grabs me deep within.] “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there. Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions await me.
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself [O how we cry out for people of God with more of this kind of commitment, to the charge we received of Christ when he first laid his hands upon us, and placed us in the ministry.] So that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20: 22-24.
Can we ever take it for granted that we live in a country where there is no need for “under- ground churches” no matter what kind of faith we embrace and propagate? Like in Hyde Park, in London, where there is a “speaker’s corner” people are free to set up their little soap box pulpits and preach their faith at will. Ministering in a climate of opulence, with wide open doors and standing invitations to join the “good life” is it quite easy to forget that persecutions back in the first century did not hasten the demise of God’s true church. In fact, under persecution the number of saints grew and the power of the Spirit worked effectively.
As people of God, and especially members of the clergy, we should always remember that as the wealth and popularity of the church grew, so likewise did the influence of the Holy Ghost diminish, until church leaders unseated the Spirit and took control of seeing to the well- being of the Body of Christ. Before long the light of the gospel was just about dimmed and almost completely extinguished.
From those early days, especially after Constantine made Christianity a State religion, and two levels of believers were introduced [The clergy and the laity] man in his pomp and pride has not ceased to claim the glory that rightly belongs to God. Forgive me if I err in this observation, but being involved in the ministry for many years, including those who teach and embrace the concept of Sonship and Kingdom, many leaders seem to look upon the Body of Christ as their own little kingdom and personal possession. Some groups even believe and teach that they are the only ones that will be the manifested sons upon the earth. Our mindset is a thing of vital importance, because it is out of it that our actions are measured.
Candidates for ruling and reigning with Christ will not be elected by the Board of Bishops, or the Board of Trustees, or the Deacon Board. In fact I used to say in some of my sermons [just for the fun of it] that the only time I read about “board” in the early church, is when Paul’s ship broke apart and they swam ashore on pieces of board. It is a little ironic, to say the least, but quite often, the person who is in a hurry and will do anything to lead, is most likely unqualified and unprepared to do so.
When Moses thought he was ready to lead his people out of bondage, he killed an Egyptian and had to flee. When God knew he was now ready, Moses insisted that he was not the man, and had no qualification for the job. The time has come for us to be practical and view God’s program and his master plan for creation, from a spiritual point of view, devoid of man’s vain imagination, pomp, pride, and unfettered ego. I personally avoid religious titles because on an ongoing basis, I see what it does to those who seemingly cannot get enough adoration and public recognition of candor and even being ascribed with [unholy] divinity.
Some years ago I ministered in Detroit, Michigan, Columbus, Erie, and Cleveland, Ohio. In the process I came upon a local Assembly where the bishop decides who will marry whom. He actually does the selection, and beyond that, he decides how many times per week the couple should engage in the physical side of married life. Frankly, I could not believe that I was still in America; and I wonder even more, how people can be so simple and unable to think for themselves. There is so much immaturity among God’s people that it becomes a stretch to envision us ruling and reigning with Christ upon his throne, as he is doing upon his Father’s throne.
Somehow, the current ministry of God’s word has bypassed the reality of the cross and the sufferings of Christ outside the gate. Rather, we prefer to occupy starring roles highly visible; and in many cases members of the clergy enjoy the status of Hollywood celebrities. The ministry as we know it today is jammed packed with Arc Bishops, Apostles, and Doctors of just about every persuasion.
Be that as it may, the rulers with Christ are those who suffered with him and bore his reproach. They are those who disbanded their own will and desires so that Christ can be shown in them. They have met the requirements that qualified them to be conduits through whom God’s light of life and grace can flow, to enlighten the dark and barren parts of our world. Seemingly, we quickly forgot this striking account as it pertains to Christ.
“But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.[And he stayed within that realm.] And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:7,8. Notice in the earthly ministry of Christ, that he never once put on a “side-show” or took time off to “do his own thing.” He always did the will of his Father, and in the process, never took glory unto himself. Look on the kind of rulers that Jesus failed to endorse or approve of; but seemingly the church has missed completely in her quest for earthly acclaim.
“The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.” Luke 22:25, 26. There is a song we used to sing in West Palm Beach, Florida, and it used to be played on the radio. The gist of it says: “If you want to be great in the kingdom, learn to be a servant of all.”
Instead of taking his twelve disciples to the temple and introduced them to the chief priests, with the intent of enrolling them into ministerial classes to be trained for the ministry, Jesus took them aside unto himself and began to strip and eradicate from their understanding what the concept of greatness is all about. I am emphasizing this, because if we think that God is going to walk among the religious elite and members of the clergy who live the high life of glitter and adoration, to select those who will reign with him, we’d better think again.
Jesus began early to set the tone and shape of what is expected of those who’d be great in the kingdom of God. A lady had come to Jesus with her two sons, asking Jesus to allow one to sit on his right hand and the other on his left in his kingdom. “And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. But Jesus called them unto him and said, ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But is shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20: 24-28.
I ministered around the island of Jamaica [my birth place] for a while after leaving Bible College, and garnered quite a bit of experience pertaining to the inner workings of the church. But when I came on a visit to America and began ministering up and down the eastern seaboard, I marveled that the congregation stood to receive the pastor. I was with the presiding bishop on a visit to Brooklyn, New York. When he was introduced, the congregation stood. He quickly rebuked them and told them to sit down. He said: “the next time I come here and you stand to receive me, I will turn around and return to Baltimore.” I, in turn had to do the same thing many times.
Adjacent to the main sanctuary in Baltimore, was what was called “the prayer tower” and every Sunday morning before he entered the sanctuary, the presiding bishop would enter the tower, lay prostrate on his face, and any other saint in the room would lay hands on him and pray for him to be anointed to preach the morning sermon. In other words, one would think that the presiding bishop would require that another bishop, or at least an ordained elder, would be the person to lay hands on him in prayer. His office as presiding bishop did not fill his head with pomp and pride, replacing humility and grace. He became my father in the gospel by example! To me, no other bishop that I knew could fill his shoes. Jesus worked on the mindset of his disciples, so that they would not base their work ahead upon their personal learning, experience, or abilities. The Master did not teach humility with his mouth, and lived in pride and opulence as a matter of practice. He taught by example, because we learn faster by seeing than by hearing.
As it pertains to the kingdom of God and its establishment here on earth, we must understand that there will be no need for us to amass an army, or become leading politicians in our time. We need to protest around the Capitol and outside the White House, in an effort to make way for the emergence of the kingdom of God. When Israel departed Egypt, the Lord instructed Moses to say to the people: “The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name.” Exodus 14:14; 15: 3. Listen, my friend! As the Lord said, “It is not by might, nor by power, but by mi spirit saith the Lord of hosts.” Zech 4: 6. Look at this little example of what we are talking about.
“And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! How shall we do? And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” 2nd Kings 6: 15-17.
Understand that the horses and chariots of fire did not suddenly appear when the prophet prayed. They were already there even though the young man could not see them. Isn’t that true even to this day? Don’t we have heavenly hosts around us on a daily basis? Look at another classic case of the Lord at work on man’s behalf. “And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians: and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man there. For the Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us. Wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life.” 2nd Kings 7:5-7.
Are you now getting a bigger and better picture of how it will be possible for the saints of God to assume all rule over the earth? Ladies and gentlemen, we need not sign up for military training at West Point in New York, or the Naval Academy, in Annapolis, Maryland, or boot camp at Fort Rucker, in Alabama. Let us not let go of this cardinal truth, no matter how you care to slice it, or re-package it. It is not by might, nor by power, [man’s own ability and inventions] but by the Spirit of the living God. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal—not man-made, but mighty through God. Jesus Christ already held forth for John to see, the key of hell and death, and in being exalted on high, he made of mockery of vain principalities and power, and exposed them for what they really are. Do not ask if God can do it, or if he can do it. Simply say, “My times are in thine hands, O God I will them there.” Join me and get excited my friend. It is all coming together as God intended, and not one iota is being misplaced.
training of consequence that we need to consider and learn, is to submit to the
inner workings of the Holy Spirit, and let God finish in us, the work that began
when we first answered “yes” to his call. At that point we surrendered all
rights of ownership and possession of ourselves to his who died for us and
bought us with his own blood. This is the day that the Lord hath made; let
us rejoice and be glad in it!
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