BEHEADED FOR JESUS
By Dan Luehrs
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years" (Revelation 20:4 NAS).
This is an interesting piece of scripture that most of us have always thought we have known the correct interpretation to because of its seemingly simple understanding, that is, if we look at it in the natural. But if we interpret it spiritually as we should, we will see that John is talking about something completely different then the literal cutting off of people's heads. As I have stated before, for the most part the things in the book of Revelation are types and shadows of things going on in the spirit world. Yes, there will be some destruction going on in the natural, but this is only because of what is happening in the spirit realm.
Firstly, who are "they" that sit on the throne and are beheaded? "He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne" (Revelation 3:21 NAS). The Bible always answers its self in one manner or another. This is none other then the overcomers of Revelation 3:21, the bride of Christ, and the armies of God; He is the Lord of hosts (armies)! "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready" (Revelation 19:7 NAS). Notice, as soon as the bride has made her self ready, she is now prepared to go into battle with Jesus against all unrighteousness. "And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses" (Revelation 19:14 NAS).
The overcomers are the ones who have been beheaded! Or rather those who have been spiritually beheaded from their own headship/leadership and the headship of man's Babylonian systems. People call their church denominations as "headquarters," this is where their church leadership/headship controls power over the people, and is where the people get their orders in what to do next. Jesus is not their head, the mind of man is, and this is why it is called Babylon (confusion)! "He (Jesus) is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything" (Colossians 1:18 NAS). Notice how Jesus is the head of the body. If there is a head, there must be a body that needs a head to lead them. This is why Jesus said in Matthew 8:20, "And Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." Jesus is still looking for a place to lay His head. Have you died to self? That is, are you following Jesus wherever He goes as your head, and not being lead as you would please yourself? Then you have been beheaded for Christ's sake, because those who reign with Jesus must have been totally beheaded, for there can only be one head. The body is to be now one with the Head! Hallelujah!
Notice again why these in Revelation 20:4 were beheaded, "Because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God." John said he was on the island of Patmos for the same reason as these were beheaded. "I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos, because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus" (Revelation 1:9 NAS). Obeying Jesus will bring us into the greatest tribulation of our life that will cause us to be beheaded. We will need great patience (patience is the willingness to suffer) to stay in the paths that He is leading us into, this suffering in itself will change us from living for self!
Those under the altar in Revelation 6:9 were also slain for the same reason, "And when He broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained." I believe these under the altar to be the same as the overcomers, the bride, and those beheaded. They all have died to self and have been given white robes. "He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments…" (Revelation 3:5 NAS). -- "And there was given to each of them a white robe…" (Revelation 6:11 NAS). -- "And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean…" (Revelation 19:14 NAS). These all have paid a great price to follow the Lamb and are given the true holiness and purity of God's nature.
As these overcomers partake of the first resurrection blessing, the thousand-year reign with Christ, they are given life. That is, they are not just given life to live and breathe upon the earth again, they are given the eternal life of God that He has promised us. "And this is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life" (1 John 2:25 NAS). This is not just life that goes on and on, but it is the very life giving power of God that we are to reign with and restore the earth (see Rom. 8:21).
"Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years" (Revelation 20:6 NAS).
Notice the wording, "Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection." These overcomers have a high and holy calling to have "a part" in the first resurrection, "They will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years." I believe the correct translation to this should be, "They will be priests "TO" God and "TO" Christ, and not just "OF" God. These will have the high calling of ministering directly to God, these are none other then the Zadok Priesthood of Ezekiel 44:15. "But the Levitical priests, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the sons of Israel went astray from Me, shall come near to Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer Me the fat and the blood," declares the Lord GOD." These are the ones, "Who kept charge of My sanctuary." The words, "kept charge" means to, "protect and guard the sanctuary of God from the enemy." Even as Adam and Eve were to keep and protect the garden from the enemy and did not (see Gen. 2:15). Our heart is the garden/sanctuary of God today, it is not some building or garden in the Middle East! We are to keep this sanctuary clean, unspotted from the world, and as a house of prayer. Then we will be those who will minister to God and not like the rest of the church that has been more in love with the world than it is with Jesus. The Lord says to the unfaithful ones, "And they shall not come near to Me to serve as a priest to Me, nor come near to any of My holy things, to the things that are most holy; but they shall bear their shame and their abominations which they have committed" (Ezekiel 44:13 NAS).
This Zadok priesthood has qualified themselves by their righteous acts, "And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints" (Revelation 19:8 NAS). God will reward us for our deeds done in obedience and righteousness.
THE ARMIES OF GOD
"And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty" (Revelation 19:14-15 NAS).
Why do the armies of God return with Jesus, to destroy men's lives? No, Jesus came not to destroy sinners, but to deliver them from their sinful nature (see John 3:17). "And from His mouth comes a sharp sword (the word), so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty" (Revelation 19:15). If Jesus has killed the nations with His word, whom will He rule over with a rod of iron? Jesus is coming back with His armies to restore the earth back to its former purity before the curse. But before He restores the earth, God's enemies must be placed under His body's feet. "But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet" (Hebrews 10:12-13 NAS).
There is one last battle that must be fought and it is not against Satan, Satan is not God's great problem, it will only take one angel to bind him and throw him into the pit. God's great enemy is this man of sin; we call the "flesh!" God has been battling him ever since the time of Adam's fall, even Moses had to deal with him in Exodus 17:16, "The LORD has sworn; the LORD will have war against Amalek from generation to generation." Amalek is prophetically known as the spirit of sin in the flesh of mankind, God has had to deal with him from generation to generation. All of Israel's natural enemies are our spiritual enemies which Jesus already destroyed on the cross, but now we the body of Christ must put them under our feet triumphing over them through the power of the cross as Jesus leads His armies into battle to restore mankind. But before mankind can be restored he must have his flesh eaten off.
"In order that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great" (Revelation 19:18 NAS).
God allows "the flesh of all men," to be eaten off by the demonic powers they serve. "For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty" (Revelation 16:14 NAS). God gave Satan and his demons this right to eat the flesh/dust of man when man fell in the Garden of Eden. What are we made of? Dust! Satan has every right to eat the flesh off of us when we choose to walk in sin, but now the final battle has come and all sin must be destroyed because only righteousness will reign in the new earth. "Thou hast removed all the wicked of the earth like dross; Therefore I love Thy testimonies" (Psalms 119:119 NAS). In order for this to happen it will bring great trials and stress to the people of the earth for this to be done, it takes great heat to remove dross from metal. God will do this in His timing and then throw Satan into the pit after he has fulfilled God's will.
THE MARRIAGE SUPPER OF GOD
“And he said to me, "Write, 'Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.' And he said to me, "These are true words of God" (Revelation 19:9 NAS).
Just the sound of the words, “The marriage supper of the Lamb” brings me great joy, excitement, and anticipation to my heart, as it should to every true believer. Almost every wedding is a time of joy and celebration, which includes a meal of one kind or another. We use food and drink to celebrate everything from birthdays, promotions, graduations, and of course weddings. Food is not what we celebrate and it does not matter what the food is, except that it tastes good! Depending on how wealthy the families are is what kind of food would be eaten at the celebration. I can tell you this for sure that Father God will give His Son the greatest banquet ever given to a son or a daughter’s wedding and money will not be an object whatsoever to Him! This wedding has been planned from the ages and will literally change heaven and earth from that day onward.
The cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the two greatest events in world history and it changed the dates of the world from BC and AC to define when these events happened. But what I tell you is true words of God, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” I believe that the marriage of Jesus Christ to His bride will be the third greatest event in world history because it to will change the world as we know it from being unrighteous to righteousness.
Let me tell you in a nutshell what I believe the Bible teaches us about this marriage. This union of Christ and His church is not so that they can live happily ever after on some cloud and have an eternity long honeymoon. Oh no, it is a great mystery that is hidden in the pages of the Bible that we are to search out and know.
“Because we are members of His body. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:30-32 NAS).
When we are married in our physical body we become one with our spouse even though we are still living in separate bodies, yet we are still considered one because we are to become one in heart and purpose. So it is with Jesus and His bride! I tell you this as plainly as I can; the coming of the Lord or the return of Jesus Christ, is the marriage of the Lamb! This is when Jesus will change us into His likeness and glory. Why, so that we can go to heaven? A thousand times, No! It is so that we can be with Him and fight in His triumphant return to destroy the enemy in the earth that lives in the flesh of mankind! The whole picture of this is found in Old Testament when God saved and called Israel out from under the hand of the Egyptians. Why did God call them? Just to live happily ever after in the wilderness? NO! But to destroy the enemy of God! One of God’s names is “The Lord of hosts.” This means “the Lord of the armies!” Israel was to be the army of God, which He would use to defeat the enemy within God’s Promised Land. “From twenty years old and upward, whoever is able to go out to war in Israel, you and Aaron shall number them by their armies” (Numbers 1:3 NAS). Israel was to be a worshipping army, “Warshippers” if you would! Worship is not just people who sing and raise their hands to God but that their life is caught up in serving God in all that they do. They are so in love with Jesus that He fills their every thought and His presence surrounds them like a cloak of light to keep away the darkness that is overcoming many. “Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the (marriage) mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life” (Jude 21 NAS). Staying in love with Jesus will keep us until the wedding day. If you don’t know how to may I encourage you to spend lots of time with Him for that is how we fell in love with our spouse and that is how we will stay in love with Jesus!
"Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready." And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:7-8 NAS).
God’s army is clothed in white. Think of that? What army in the world would do such a thing? The worlds army’s dress in camouflage to hide from their enemy so that they will not be killed but God’s army dresses in the most brilliant white to be seen! This people will be able to be seen from miles away and still will not be scratched by one bullet from the enemy! For the very light that shines from them is their armor. “The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:12 NAS). Please understand the Bible is not talking about a worldly army with guns and rockets but one that is more powerful! “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses” (2 Corinthians 10:4 NAS). The power we have is the word, the blood, and the name of Jesus. The glory of God within is what causes us to shine like the sun to defeat the enemies of God for nothing is greater in strength than Him.
Jesus promises us that if we will overcome in our lives He will clothe us in His white garments. “He who overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels” (Revelation 3:5 NAS). The question herein lies, what is an overcomer? I believe it is a person that does not quit in their quest to know God! It does not matter what their life may look like on the outside, but that they have God’s transformation in their heart. This is what matters, and only God can judge that!
“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NAS).
Jesus tells us in Revelation 3:18 to buy from Him white garments. “I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself...” Jesus is wanting us to pay the price in following Him so that we may become like Him. Gold is symbolic to the nature of God and that is what God wants us to become like, but in order for us to become pure gold we must go through the fires of refining. This is paying the price! This is why we are told in Revelation 19:8, “And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” It’s not that we can earn anything from God by our good works but that we continue on with the Lord in our trials and pay the price of following Him so that we are changed into His likeness. Staying faithful to God in our tribulation is considered as a righteous act and it is through the trial we become overcomers.
It is written very clearly that the bride, the wife of the Lamb is also His army of son’s that will fight the great final battle of all times to defeat the enemy. When we start reading from chapter 19 after the marriage takes place to the end of the book of Revelation we find that the devil and all the works of the flesh are finished for this period of time. By that I mean, the devil will be loosed from the pit for a short time once again to test the nations after a time of bliss without his evil presence in the earth. My friend if you get nothing else from this writing, please understand this very clearly, chapter 19 is your calling and destiny to be a chosen, called son of God! “He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son” (Revelation 21:7 NAS). We are the bride of Christ because we have intimacy with Him and He is the Lover of our soul. We are sons because we have overcome and are called to rule and reign over the nations with a rod of iron when the marriage takes place. “And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and he (the overcomer) shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father” (Revelation 2:26-27 NAS).
Many of God’s people are discouraged because they are not ministering to others like they would like to be. Or maybe they’re at the end of their lives and they have not fulfilled the vision that God has given them. Be encouraged my friend the last chapter has not yet been fulfilled! Your calling and destiny is found in Revelation chapter 19, this needs to be your focus; “His wife has made herself ready.” We are being tested and tried with trials and tribulations to prepare us for our one true ministry with Him. This is when Jesus comes to slay the flesh of mankind with the sword of His mouth, which is the word of God that we have become like. “And He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood; and His name is called The Word of God” (Revelation 19:13 NAS). We will then have become like Him in all His glory and power. “Who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:21 NAS).
To be anointed and used of God is one of the greatest privileges a person can have in their lifetime. Out of all the experiences of my life seeing others blessed and changed by the power of God flowing through me is a great wonder and joy that I could do over and over. Not just because I see people being blessed but also because I can sense God working through me and I know that I could do nothing by my own power or calling. We may feel that God has more for us and He does; those dreams, visions, and prophecies that have not been fulfilled in this lifetime will be fulfilled when Jesus returns in us if we do not give up hope and faith in the One who has called us. It is written in Hebrews, “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:39-40 NAS). The patriarchs of old did not see all the promises of God come to pass in their lifetime and we may not either. But this I know, that even when this life is over, God’s promises are not, because He is called faithful and true. What greater ministry could we ask for then to see the force of evil done away with in the earth? People say that they wish they would have been alive on the earth when Jesus ministered but I tell you what is soon to come is going to be much greater and powerful because we will minister with Jesus throughout the earth and not just in the land of Israel.
“And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses” (Revelation 19:14 NAS).
These that are ready for His return are clothed in white because they were purified through the blood of Jesus. This is the second time this chapter speaks about their clothing being white or bright. I believe this also speaks about the light of the gospel and the glory of God that shines through them to defeat the enemy of darkness. Darkness cannot stand before the light/truth of God in them for this is the sword/word of the spirit that comes out their mouths to slay the enemy. This is what God will use to kill sin in the flesh, HIS WORD! God created the world and mankind as we know it with the spoken word and He will defeat the enemy through the same process. “And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh” (Revelation 19:21 NAS). I do not know how this will all take place but we can see how God used Jonah greatly with the power to preach with such conviction that the whole city of Nineveh repented. Jesus said that Jonah was a sign of what is to come. (See Luke 11:29). But somehow our preaching will be even greater than that of Jonah because sin or the flesh will be eaten by the demonic powers. I will say more on this later. Jesus Himself said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father” (John 14:12 NAS). Many in the church have looked for the greater works but I am for certain that these greater works will come when the kingdom manifests itself through the Lords people. For then all things will be restored. “And that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time” (Acts 3:20-21 NAS). God is not just going to wave His hand and restore all things, no His people will have the honor of doing that through His great power.
The white horse is symbolic, as are most things in the book of Revelation. For instance, a horse represents war, while a white horse is the color that a leader would ride before his troops to identify his rank. Back in John the apostle’s day the horse would be for speed and movement. And that is what the white horse could very well mean in the book of Revelation that we are riding on. Let me make this clear. Not all Christians are going to be overcomers and not all Christians will be riding white horses when Jesus returns. This is only for those who have overcome and passed the tests that He has allowed in their lives. These white horses are movements or ministries that Jesus Himself will work through to change the hearts of mankind and eventually the earth and all of God’s creation back as it was before the fall and even better. There have been a few ministries that have had such power that they shook nations where many people have been saved and delivered through their ministries. But somehow sin took down many of these great men and women and their ministries never came to its fullness that God had intended. Even Moses did not enter into the Promised Land because he sinned and he could only look at it from a distance. May God help us to enter in! I believe that God would love to give us the power to raise the dead, heal the sick, and deliver mankind from death. BUT He knows better than to do that because there is no one on earth that could possibly handle such power without being overcome by the power of the flesh. But these people on the white horses will have been changed into Jesus’ likeness and the flesh will not be able to overtake them. “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God” (Romans 8:19 NAS). Why is creation waiting? To be delivered from death! These on the white horses will deliver mankind from sin and death through power of God’s word.
“The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him” (1 Corinthians 15:26-27 NAS).
“And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war” (Revelation 19:11 NAS).
Jesus our General is the only faithful, true, and righteous one! He is a God of war against the power of the evil one and is the only one that can judge without partiality. He sees and understands all things and knows the motives of everything and everyone that He judges. He will deal out fair judgment to all but not all judgment that He hands out will be bad for there are many that have done well and these will be rewarded with His likeness and glory. The duties of a general are to hand out promotions to the soldiers and what greater promotion than to receive from our General His likeness! When we come back with Him riding on a white horse its not because we He felt sorry for us, but that we followed the Lamb wherever He lead us. It was through the process of trials and tribulations that made us like unto Him. “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10 NAS). If Jesus needed to suffer to be crowned with glory and honor how much more us? God the Father has given Jesus a name above all names because He earned through obedience to the Father. We also are called to die to the flesh upon our cross (trials) that we are carrying and we are to live in the light of His glory each day. “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:8-9 NAS).
“And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty” (Revelation 19:15 NAS).
If the teaching of the church is right about Jesus coming back to kill most of mankind then who would He be ruling over with the sword and the rod? Jesus took the wrath of almighty God on the cross for man and now He has the right to rule and rein and He does this through the power of His word. If Jesus were to kill mankind He could not rule them! Both the rod of iron and the sword in His mouth is the same and does the same thing; ruling over the hearts of mankind that need to be changed from works of wickedness to being righteous. “But with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips (the word) He will slay the wicked” (Isaiah 11:4 NAS). His words created all and it will in the end rule and change the behavior of man! For now God has allowed things to go as they are but will soon change the outcome of man because if we keep going the way we are we will destroy the earth and all that is upon it. Right now man is reaping what we have sown and we will suffer for it, but there are those who have sown good seed and these also will reap the benefit of their works of righteousness.
Jesus said, “... Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4 NAS). Notice the Bible does not say “Every word that proceeded, but every word that proceeds.” This means that God is still speaking and will be in the future for man to hear and obey. Scientists tell us that the universe is still growing at great speed. We can see that when God puts things into motion with His word it continues to grow because His word is alive? “For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power...” (Hebrews 4:12 AMP). It is the power of God’s word that keeps the earth and the universe and all that’s in working correctly because His word holds it all together! “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power...” (Hebrews 1:3 NAS). If this is so, and it is, why do we not serve Him with godly fear and trembling? One day very soon He is going to show His power and glory to all of mankind and it will seem like a rod of iron and a sword that will slay the man of sin within all of us and His word will be fulfilled within all mankind. Hallelujah!!
If people do not obey the word of God then they will not eat because judgment will come on them by having no rain to give them food. “And if the family of Egypt does not go up or enter, then no rain will fall on them; it will be the plague with which the LORD smites the nations who do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Booths” (Zechariah 14:18 NAS). This is one way that God will judge by the power of His word.
*If we are not using the sword of the spirit now to defeat the enemy of our souls in our personal life how will we be able to use the word later in ruling and reining with Christ when He returns? We must understand that sin is not judged in our lives or the lives of others quickly but when Jesus come with the rod of iron and the sword, judgment unto correction will take place very quickly in the lives people. We must pray for this now to take place in our lives so that we will be a clean and purified bride with no stains or blemish on our garment.
Have you ever been driving down the road and having cars passing you one right after the other and then a Highway portal is seen and then what happens? They all slow down and stay behind the officer because they know that if they speed the will get a ticket and it will cost them dearly! Do you see that when there is accountability people straighten up really fast and so it will be when Jesus comes within His people with the rod of iron the nation will rage but they will have no other choice but to comply to God’s ways and rules. This is God’s earth and if man wants to live on earth when the kingdom comes they will have no other way but God way. So why not now submit and bring things in order in our own life to the sword (word).
“And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True; and in righteousness He judges and wages war” (Revelation 19:11 NAS).
"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34 NAS).
Many people think of Jesus as being sweet, meek, and mild and He is! But I tell you He has another side, He is a man of war! For He is coming to make war with all that defies the Father’s will on earth and for mankind. He is coming with a sword to defeat the enemy with the help of His bride. Who is the bride? Those who have become like Him so that they can rule and reign with Him over the enemy to bring lasting peace and righteousness to the earth.
The final battle that will be fought in this war will be against the man of sin that is working in all of us that no man has been able to defeat other than Jesus while in the flesh. Soon the King of kings will come and fight for us and help us defeat the man of sin within each one of us. The battle within that each one of fights everyday will soon come to an end because our great Warrior is on the march and nothing of the flesh can stand against Him.
When I read through the battles of the book of Joshua I see how Joshua won over the enemy every time, he listened to God and God fought their battles and destroyed the seven nations in the land of Canaan. It was that simple! Israel was out numbered over and over in battle and still they came through victorious because God was fighting for them. “Then the LORD said to Joshua, "Do not be afraid because of them, for tomorrow at this time I will deliver all of them slain before Israel..." (Joshua 11:6 NAS). I believe that the book of Joshua is blue print of how we are to fight the enemy and destroy the seven (complete) nations of sin that are living within us. The popular movies called The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia are prime example of what God is going to do for us in these last days with the return of the King. No enemy will prevail against us because the time has come for the King to put all our enemies under our feet. When Israel and the people in these movies were out numbered they overcame because they would not give in to their enemies but withstood them and defeated them all!
“And he said to me, "Write, 'Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.' And he said to me, "These are true words of God" (Revelation 19:9 NAS).
“And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, "Come, assemble for the great supper of God” (Revelation 19:17 NAS).
There’s are only one verse in the entire Bible that speaks about the marriage supper, yet the church has fabricated much foolishness about this great event. Such as painting pictures of an endless table with the finest of china and the best of food and drink. Oh, and don’t forget the chocolate cake for desert!
We know that the book of Revelation is a book filled with many different symbols throughout and this supper is just another symbol of what God is doing in the spirit realm. Just as the union of the bride to Jesus is to rise up a great army to fight and defeat the enemy, so is the supper of God, it’s for us to serve and not be served! When we read through Revelation chapters 19 and 20 we see that when the marriage of the Lamb takes place then the enemy of our soul is defeated and thrown into the bottomless pit. “And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:2 NAS). This all happens because of the union of Christ to His bride! God could have done this at any point in history but He did not because He wanted to share this great event with us and it all happens in just a few short verses but in reality it may take many years to play out. Oh what a great and mighty God we serve for the enemy is no match for our God!
“In order that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great" (Revelation 19:18 NAS).
“And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh” (Revelation 19:21 NAS).
These verses may sound gruesome and bloodthirsty but remember that the sword (the word) is coming out of Jesus’ month and I believe the mouths of all that are on the white horses to slay the man of sin that is within every person. The flesh or the carnal nature that has been plaguing mankind since the fall is about to be eaten by demons or in other words eliminated for good. Jesus did not come to destroy lives; He came to give it! When the disciples wanted to call down fire from heaven to slay the people that did not receive the Lord what did Jesus say to them? “But He turned and rebuked them, [and said, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them... " (Luke 9:55-56 NAS).
You still maybe wondering at what will be the meat, which is to be served at the marriage supper? I will tell you plainly, the FLESH will be served not the flesh of mankind, but that, which is of the sinful nature, the third part of mankind because we are three part beings. Spirit, soul, and body and it is the soul in man that the sin abides in, and the sin in the soul will be done away with. “But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:39 NKJV). “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22 NAS). We do not have the power to kill sin completely in the soul because it always seems to rise up again when we think we have it defeated. But a day is soon coming when the Lord Jesus will come again and change these vile minds to the likeness of His. Then the sin filled nature of man will be eaten by the demonic powers. Why? Because that is the curse that God has spoken upon them and it cannot be change or altered they eat dust and that is what we are made of! “And the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly shall you go, and dust shall you eat all the days of your life” (Genesis 3:14 NAS). We must understand that when we walk in the flesh we are giving demonic powers the right to attack us because they see the earthly, fleshly, demonic nature of man and they have this right to it because God gave it to them. James 3:15 says, “This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.” Our quest to die daily is not just another Christian saying, but has real meaning today and especially when Jesus returns or when we die physically the carnal nature will be done away with and we thank God for that!
It maybe peculiar to entitle an article called The End. Teaching on the end times seems to be a hot button topic in the church that will usually draw crowds to hear the newest revelations on what the preacher believes God has shown them. In resent years some Christian movements have come out with a different end time scenario then what has been typically taught in the church. But still most mainstream Christians believes that the end pertains to a time when all people on the earth will be destroyed by the antichrist while all the Christians being raptured out of the earth so that God can get rid of all the bad apples of mankind. While others believe that the earth will simply be annihilated by atomic bombs and life will cease to exist on earth as we know it. But will there ever be an end to life on earth? NO!
I believe that the words "the end" mean something much different than what we are taught to believe and the words are much greater in depth than we can even imagine at this time. We know that the end is coming because Jesus said that there is an end coming in Matthew 10:22, "And you will be hated by all on account of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved." We can clearly see that an end is coming but Jesus never said what the end is. But He did give us some clues of what the end is in Matthew 13:39, "The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels" (KJV). Jesus said quite clearly that "the harvest" is THE END! Again, church tradition teaches that the salvation of all the lost in the world is the harvest. They teach that there is one last person on earth that will be saved then Jesus will come and rapture us away to heaven so that the antichrist can kill all that he wants to in his rein of evil on earth. But they don't realize that God is waiting more patiently than they are for the harvest, which is the seed that He has planted in the hearts of His people when they were saved. The seed of Jesus is planted within every believer's heart so that it might grow up into His likeness and then be harvested.
"Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer (God) waits for the precious produce (the harvest of Christ's likeness) of the soil (us), being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains" (James 5:7 NAS).
Jesus likened us to the four types of soil found in the book of Mark 4 where Jesus explains that we need to be good soil that will bring forth a one hundred fold harvest in us where the seed is planted. But it is only when the crop permits that it is harvested, for the seed must have an end to which it was sown. And that end is the harvest, the very likeness of the seed that was sown –Jesus! So it is with the sons of the kingdom that have been sown to grow into God's likeness, when the seed is fully-grown they are to be harvested. "And the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one" (Matthew 13:38 NAS). -- "…The children of the promise are counted as the seed" (Romans 9:8 NKJV). The end is the harvest; that is the end of the seed that was sown in us. Our end is for us to receive God's eternal life, the crown of glory! When we have finished the course laid out for us we will receive our full reward, the likeness of Jesus. "But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life" (Romans 6:22-23 NKJV). Eternal life is not life that goes on and on but it's God's life given to us so that we can give it away to others just as Jesus did. Jesus said that He was the Eternal Life because the Father had given it to Him even as He freely gives it to us on our harvest day! That will be the day that we will be given authority to rule and rein throughout eternity with Jesus.
"But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come" (Daniel 7:18 NAS).
The book of Daniel is known as an end-time book. The phrase, "The end" is spoken of much in it. Many people believe that it contains the pattern for how the end will come on earth and who are the main countries that God will use to bring about His desired end. Some of what they say is true, but much of it is not! Most Bible teachers never, I mean never delve into the truth of the saints ruling because they simply do not comprehend or maybe not even believe that they are called to rule and rein with Jesus. The final decree has been written for all ages to come, "The saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom!" That kingdom is the Lord Jesus Christ in all His power and glory manifesting through His people! This cannot and will not change! Jesus said plainly in Luke 12:32, "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom." Even though we are little in numbers and power, still the Father gladly gives us the kingdom with power and glory to do a work with Him; to turn the earth from being a sinful planet, unto righteousness. This will not come about in our timing or by our power, but in God's perfect time. "… For the end is still to come at the appointed time" (Daniel 11:27 NAS). We will be given a crown (authority) to rule and rein with Jesus for overcoming in this life. However, this crown is not an earthly one that we wear upon our heads for others to see. No, it's a crown of God's authority that can be seen upon us as we go forth and minister in His glorious life to set mankind free from the bondage of sin and death. "That the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God" (Romans 8:21 NAS). These ministers of the true gospel will be the ones whom will preach in the power of the truth to destroy the man of sin, which abides in every human being. Their words will deliver mankind from the power sin.
"And he (the man of sin) will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. 'But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever" (Daniel 7:25-26 NAS).
The dominion of the man of sin in us will be taken away and destroyed forever. Hallelujah! No longer will the man of sin be able to control the human body through the sinful mind and heart because he will be no more. The Spirit of the living God will be inside of every person so that they will be yielding to Him and walking in true righteousness so that the kingdom of God will rein in and over every person upon the earth. "Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him" (Daniel 7:27 NKJV).
After this time of testing and trials in this life we will be given dominion according to our walk with God and how closely we resembled His Son. Why would God give any part of His kingdom to someone that did not have the kingdoms best interest at hand? What president would appoint an ambassador to another country that he did not fully trust to represent the United States of America abroad in good faith? He wouldn't! Just as God would not appoint a person that He could not trust with the power of His kingdom. God is rising up sons that will have the likeness of His Son through their suffering so that they can be fully trust with His power and glory to bring truth and ever lasting change to the earth. “In bringing many sons to glory (the kingdom), it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering” (Hebrews 2:10 NIV).
"And he said, "Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time" (Daniel 12:9 NAS).
"But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age" (Daniel 12:13 NAS).
Be hopeful my friend for there is an end to all the madness that you are living in or that you will ever encounter in your life-time so don’t despair. Daniel was clearly shown that what he was given would not be understood until we were at the end. Much has been revealed about the book of Daniel in our day but I believe the end started when Jesus died on the cross, for that was the beginning of the end to the man of sin within us! Not until that time were we even able to war against the sin within us, we were simply sinners without hope of ever being freed from the power of sin. I believe the New Testament and especially the book of Revelation is the book that God has given us as a key to understanding the book of Daniel more clearly. But to put it simply each of these books have an ending to the sin problem of man and it all ends in God who created all things.
Many Christians would say, “Sin is not dead in me for I was just tempted today!” We must realize that just because we are tempted that does not mean we are not saved or that the power of sin is not broken in us. When you received Jesus the power of sin and death were broken in you! You still may say, “I am still warring against my flesh daily.” That’s good because it shows you that you are saved! If you were not saved you could careless if you gave into your sinful desires but because you are saved you care and that is a true sign that you are indeed a child of God my friend! Read Galatians 5:24, “And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections (the sufferings) and lusts (strong desires)” (KJV). Do you see what this verse is saying to us? That when we are warring against sin we are suffering against the strong desires to sin from within. It is at this very time when we are crucifying the flesh and it hurts to kill our own fleshly desires when they are dying within us. This is good for us because we are becoming overcomers in this life!
Here is another great verse for you to war against the flesh with. “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh (or against the flesh), arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh (against the sinful nature), hath ceased from sin” (1 Peter 4:1 KJV). Do you see it? Our suffering in the flesh is a true sign that we have stopped wanting to sin! God is allowing us to live in this sinful nature for Him to make us in to the true nature of Christ and that only comes about when we yield to Him in our time of temptation or testing. But before we can possess all that God has for us we must allow God to possess us from within with the power of His Spirit. When we walk in the Spirit of God we will not obey the strong desires of the flesh! (See Galatians 5:16). By that I mean we are to receive our life from abiding in Jesus and from Him alone if we are going to make through to the end. We can get our life from the Spirit of God if we are drawing from Him every day and while we are at it, it might as well be every waking moment if we are going to make it to the end. We are going to get our life sustaining power from something so it might as well be from God!
God wants to give us life by knowing Him for He has promised us His life if we will seek His will in all things. “So as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God” (1 Peter 4:2 NAS). Even as Jesus suffered against the flesh in the will of the Father, this verse clearly tells us that God wants us to suffer against the struggle of sin also. This is the will of God for us! This is how God is proving us to be found faithful in our trials; our faith then becomes more valuable than gold that perishes through the fires of life. “That the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7 NAS).
In 1 Peter 4:1 he encourages us to suffer with Jesus against sin and that we are to arm ourselves with the same mind as He was so that we can make it through the assault from the enemy. He says in chapter 4:13, “We are shares or partaker of Christ’s suffering.” We must understand that when we are suffering against sin we are being prepared by God to receive His glory, which is the very likeness of Jesus at His coming. But God uses the very thing that we hate, hardships, trials, and yes even sin in our life that God has allowed so that we will be changed into His likeness. We claim that we are so weak against the sins of the flesh and we are, but God has a master plan for us and it is His will for us to stand against sin to make us strong. “But to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation” (1 Peter 4:13 NAS). We must keep our eyes on the joy set before us and not on our cross that we are called to bare. As we rejoice in faith at these things that try us we are being changed trial by trial so why not rejoice for what are our alternatives depression, the life of sin and death? No, we have been called to a much greater hope and joy set before us, His likeness!
OUR WHITE WEDDING GARMENTS
“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:7-8 NKJV).
The Bible begins with the marriage of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis and ends with a marriage in the book of Revelation between the Son of God and His bride, the church. I believe with all my heart that we are living in such a time when the bride of Christ is going to be manifested to the world with great power and glory. But before this can come to pass she will have to put on her wedding garments that are clean and bright as the Bridegroom Himself. The Father has waited long for the preparation of His Son’s bride, “His wife has made herself ready!" When I got married I did not dress my wife, she dressed her self, and so must we prepare ourselves for our marriage to Jesus. Our spiritual wedding garments are not like a dress a bride wears in an earthly wedding, but are garments that show how she has been changed from the inside out into a life of purity and devotion to God alone. We can in no way change ourselves by our own will power; God alone must do this from within our heart!
I am not talking about some holiness doctrine here, but that our nature will have been changed from the inside out as we put on our garment of marriage with Him. When we get married in the natural we put on a covenant ring to tell others that we are married or engaged, but with God He puts on us a covenant garment for all to see His glory in and through us and to announce to the world that we are His. When we gave our heart to Jesus the engagement process begun for us with Him and as we began to know each other by spending time in His presence, we are changed into His likeness. There is a long (engagement) purifying time of sanctification that we all must go through to prepare us for our wedding day. This is what I will endeavor to write about in this short article.
OUR RIGHTEOUS ACTS
“… For the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:8).
We could tend to believe from this verse that living a sinless life is “The righteous acts of the saints.” But not if we know the Scriptures! “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags…” (Isa 64:6 NKJV). Not one of our good works can save or purify us from a sinful life because we were all sold into sin with Adam. But by the one righteous act of Christ He died on the cross to purify us from all sin forever! It is by His grace and blood that our sins are washed away daily!
So, what then are the righteous acts of the saints? We are called to pick up our cross daily and follow the Lamb wherever He goes; this is what purifies our outer garments from a fleshly lifestyle. A cross is an instrument of a bloody death! When we come to Jesus for salvation He cleanses our spirit man, but our outer shell, the flesh, the old nature is still hanging on and that is why we need to go through the process of crucifixion. These cross situations in our life causes us to die to our flesh so that we have to live by faith and trust in the Son of God. Through this process of faith we are then cleansed from our self filled lifestyle, which we call sanctification. Sanctification may take many years to be worked out in our life-time and we will probably have to retake many of the tests that we flunk. The things that we go through in our life that do not make any sense to us at all are the very things that God is using to prepare us for Himself, this will require much faith and trust on our part as we rest in Him. It probably will take our whole life-time to be prepared for the Bridegroom, so don’t get discourage after a few years of suffering as a Christian, it will be worth it, for the word promises it!
As we choose to die daily through this process of sanctification we mature more like Christ day by day, but the more we fight it, our refining and crushing goes on until we die in the wilderness as the children of Israel did. God revealed to them how to get out of the wilderness, it was through their obedience to follow the cloud of glory and defeat their enemies, but they would not do it. Their greatest enemy was FEAR! Fear kept them from going into the Promise Land and defeating the giants that were bigger than they. Fear crushed them, when the God of peace would have crushed their enemies under their feet! So God had to rise up a whole new generation after them that would obey His voice and receive the promises of God in a land flowing with milk and honey.
GARMENTS WHITE AS SNOW
“Come now, and let us reason together," says the Lord, "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18 NKJV).
There is an old song that goes like this, “What can wash away my sin, nothing but the blood of Jesus.” The song is an oxymoron to the natural mind because we do not think of blood as being a cleansing agent, but one of which makes stains that are hard to get out. But in God’s economy, only the blood of Jesus has the power to cleanse everyone’s garment darkened with sin. Even after we are saved we will still commit sin and must come to Jesus in a repentant heart and ask for forgiveness through His blood. The blood will never lose its power, that’s good news!
As Christians our spiritual garments have been symbolically made whiter than snow, but if we do not come to Jesus on a daily basis for cleansing and forgiveness our garments will be spotted by sin and shame. This is something we must take very serious or the Lord will remove our names out of the Book of Life (see Rev. 3:5). Jesus told the church Sardis, “You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments…” (Revelation 3:4-5 NKJV). Every person on earth sins, saved or unsaved, but the question is are we coming to Jesus for His cleansing blood each and everyday. Everyone has to take a physical bath or our body will begin to stink until we cannot handle the stench ourselves. Well, the same is true in the spirit; if we do not go to Christ for cleansing of our sin we will begin to stink in the spirit. Have you ever smelled a stinky Christian? Some who have gone to hell and have come back, say that it stinks so bad that they began to gag. On the other hand, people that have gone to heaven have told of the wondrous fragrance there because there is no sin. Let us keep our wedding garments beautiful and clean for our Beloved.
I want to make this clear before we go any farther. Our garments are cleansed only by the blood of Jesus, with no efforts of our own. Yet Jesus said in Revelation 3:18 for us to buy from Him white garments. “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.” If this is true and it is, how do we go about purchasing these white garments? By paying the price to follow the Lamb wherever He goes! Our obedience is the price we pay to God that cleanses our soulish mind of our fleshly ways, for He offends the mind to reveal what is in the heart. Obeying or disobeying? These are the supreme tests which like Abraham had when he was told to sacrifice his son and he passed it. He is now given a place of honor in God throughout eternity. These are what I call spiritual sacrifices that make no sense to our minds at all, but when we obey God they release spiritual authority in the heavenlies over our lives and over demonic powers. Because Jesus was obedient unto death as a High Priest He was given a name above all names. We too must be willing to sacrifice anything for His good pleasure!
We are now priests that offer ourselves up to God as a spiritual sacrifice, which is obedience to Him in faith.
“You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5 NKJV).
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1 NKJV).
We have been bought with the blood of Christ, we are not our own, we are His and our bodies are now a living sacrifice that must be cleansed from all defects that would defile the sacrifice of God. As we offer yourselves up as a living spiritual sacrifice it will cost us everything, our name, reputation, money, and yes even our future plans! God will test our heart on whether we will or will not obey Him so that He can bring us further into all that He has for us. There is a great price for us to pay and it will cost us everything to be obedient, but if we desire to wear the pure white wedding garments it is a must for us to mature so that we will fit into the garment of His likeness. “His wife has made herself ready!" This is the price, are you willing to pay it with your life? What a great exchange, His life, for our life!
GOD’S GREAT WINEPRESS
“Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like one who treads in the winepress? “I have trodden the winepress alone, and from the peoples no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger, and trampled them in My fury; their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My robes” (Isaiah 63:2-3 NKJV).
Anna Roundtree had a prophetic experience with an angel and a winepress that she wrote about in her book called, The Heavens Opened. She says to the angel, “Why is your robe stained at the bottom and on the sleeves?” “I am called to assist in child training--the kind that squeezes the child—like being in a winepress. Theses,” he looked down on the stains, “are the visible signs of the child’s development. The more the stains, the greater the work has progressed within the child. Obedience is not learned easily, Anna. Some on earth never learn it.” -- “Buy this time in you life, my robe should be entirely stained and my face and hands dripping, but there are only stains on my hem and sleeves.” (Page 55 end of quote).
In order for us to be prepared for this marriage we will have to be circumcised or sanctified by the cutting away of our flesh, for our sin has spotted our garments. That is why we must go through many trials and tribulations to enter the kingdom of God; this is God’s winepress, our tribulations! Tribulation simply means, “Pressure, anguish, or trouble.” Grapes and olives must be crushed so its self-life is squeezed out of them, and so must we. These tribulations in our lives are not because God hates us, but because He hates the sin inside of us that is holding us in bondage, this is the enemy of God. He will search for it in us and destroy it in the winepress of our life circumstances. Its only when we go through the difficult places in life that we really know what is inside of us. God’s wrath is turned against all sin, even that which is in His own people as we see in the Old Testament. God will deal with the sins of idolatry, fear, doubt, and unbelief in all people and will allow us to go through many trials to purify us from our sin nature. I believe that this is the cause of a lot of our sufferings that we just do not understand.
“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, "Sit here while I go and pray over there." And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me" (Matt 26:36-38 NKJV).
Even Jesus had to enter into the Father’s winepress when He came into the Garden of Gethsemane. Gethsemane means, “Oil-press which comes from the word winepress.” He was sorrowful even to death. Hebrews 5:8 says that Jesus learned obedience from the things which He suffered. If it pleased the Father to crush His Son (see Isaiah 53:10), how could we not expect to be crushed also if we desire to be the bride of Christ? Jesus now crushes us in His winepress so that we may learn obedience to Him and when we have been crushed we will be used to bless others. “And whoever falls on this stone (Christ) will be broken (crushed); but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder” (Matt 21:44 NKJV).
Notice in Revelation 19:13-15 below how Jesus’ robe is dripping with blood and we His bride are clothed in white garments. How did this happen? “I have trodden the winepress alone…” “Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, and I have stained all My robes” (Isaiah 63:2-3).
“He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”
The wedding of the bride of Christ is revealed in Revelation 19; she is wearing white garments because she has come through great tribulation (the winepress) and has been purified by the dealings of God through her life-time of entering into the sufferings of Christ. “Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin” (1 Peter 4:2 NKJV). When the bride overcomes her tribulations she will have became like Him to fight in the great battle of the ages and have the right to ride with Him on a white horse. They together will trample sin under His feet into the great winepress of God’s wrath against sin; this is the calling of the bride. Jesus is not coming back to kill mankind as you might think or have been taught, but like us He is coming to trample underfoot in His winepress all those who are on the earth. We must remember all of God’s ways are redemptive. In other words, the world’s sin will be purged out of them as was ours. This is our calling; this is our destiny to ride with Him on white horses with the word of God in our mouths as a great sword to destroy sin in the flesh of all mankind. The Bible says that Jesus will rule the nations with a rod of iron, not to kill everyone, but to love them as He has loved us into His great winepress. We must thank God and praise Him for His goodness to us and for the winepress so that we could share in His glory.
“And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer” (Revelation 6:2 NKJV).
Jesus is revealed here in the book of Revelation as a mighty conqueror wearing a crown, He has a bow to shoot forth God’s truth into our hearts. He has come to us on a white horse, as a man of war to conquer the man of sin that wants to rule in the place of Himself. Once we have been conquered by Him, we too, will go forth on white horses to help Him conquer others and to reap the harvest of the earth. “So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses' bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs” (Revelation 14:19-20 NKJV). We must remember that the book of Revelation uses much symbolic language and decoding of it is necessary to understand it. We liken wine to blood when we take communion, but in order to have communion a winepress must crush the grapes like our heart must be crushed by the Lord. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise” (Ps 51:17 NAS). The same decoding is true of the horse’s bridle. A bridle is used to control a horse’s movement, in other words it makes the horse become obedient to its rider. Well, the same is true of mankind; God will crush the self-life out of us so that He can use His bridle on us and the rest of mankind. A horses inner will must be broken before it can be ridden and so must we. Our brokenness must reach to the horses bridle in order for us to be used by the Lord in obedience, it’s that simple! God’s bridle is on us when He is directing our path in our in life and when we have become obedient to Him in all things and are broken; we are then ready to be harnessed for the Lord.
When we first got saved Jesus came into our heart with His sword and arrows to conquer us, He will do this again with all people who are reaped from the earth and put them into God’s great winepress. Just as we had to go through God’s winepress to squeeze the self life out of us, so will all nations, but we will be riding on the white horses so that their life blood will flow to Christ’s bridle (His rule and reign). This tells me that many people are about to be saved and sanctified in these next few years that will astound the mind.
WEARING OUR WHITE ROBES NOW
John saw a great multitude standing before the throne of heaven and was asked, “… Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” (Revelation 7:13 NKJV)? This is a question that must be answered by us as well if we desire to comprehend the white robes that we are called to wear. The first time we read of the white robes is in Revelation 4:4 where the twenty-four elders are clothed in white sitting on the throne. We know from Revelation 5:9 that the twenty-four elders are people who are redeemed by the blood of Jesus and are sitting on the throne of God where we are called to sit as overcomers. Just as the twenty-four elders were made kings and priests and were given white robes to sit on the throne because they were worthy to be the bride of Christ ruling and reigning with Him. “And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth" (Revelation 5:10 NKJV). For anyone to be made a king or priest we will have to go through a processing to be made overcomers. This process is sanctification, which means for us to come through great tribulations and cleansing of our outer garments.
“And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, these are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Revelation 7:14-17 KJV).
All those who have already come through great tribulation (God’s great winepress) and all who are yet to come will be shepherded by Jesus into the place of peace and rest in God. No more hunger, thirst, or stress from the heat of the day, which all means to me, no more winepresses! Take note and understand the scriptures here, our outer garments (the flesh) are made white in the blood of the Lamb through our tribulations. This is not pertaining to salvation by the blood, but the cleansing of our garments through our tribulations. We are to count it all joy when we face various trials because we are being prepared for Him! It’s through our suffering that our robes are dripping wet with the blood of Jesus that cleanses our outer garments (the flesh). When we have entered into His sufferings we can then enter into His glory. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Tim 2:12 KJV). The Lamb of God promises to feed us now spiritually and lead us to the fountains of life giving waters. Please hear me; this is not talking about us going to heaven someday. In heaven there will be no need for us to be led by Him to the fountain of living waters because we will see Him as He is and be like Him. We need to come boldly to the throne room of God because we now sit in heavenly places and are receiving meat from His hand and we can drink from the river of the Holy Spirit to satisfy all our needs.
I will try to write this in a nutshell with the understanding that I have been given in the book of Revelation.
In chapter one John introduces himself as a “… Companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ…” (Revelation 1:9 NKJV). He being the disciple that laid his head on Jesus’ breast when they were eating the last supper tells us that he was very close to the Lord’s heart. And yet we find John on the island of Patmos suffering the will of God and at the same time having been given one of the most profound messages to the church. It was through his and Paul’s sufferings that they were able to receive such revelations of God that astound the mind and heart. Jesus said of Paul in Acts 9:16, “For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake.” In our Western Christian culture we are programmed to think and fight against such preaching on suffering because of our ease of life and understanding of the Scriptures. The doctrine of suffering is found in and throughout the New Testament, but our mind and flesh don’t and can’t receive this from a loving God. We say, “How can a God of love allow us to suffer?” Yet Paul writes in Philippians 3:10, “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” How many of us really want to know the Lord in suffering and death? We may say we do with mouth service, but when we begin to suffer we start rebuking the devil! How do we know that God is not allowing suffering in our lives? This is what the book of Revelation is all about, us suffering the will of God for our lives so that we can have the full revelation of Jesus Christ in our heart. “Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19 NKJV).
Chapters 2 and 3 of the book of Revelation describes most of the seven churches as sin filled and by the time the book of Revelation ends those same churches are the overcoming bride of Christ. What happened to make her an overcomer? One word, suffering! The events that are in the middle of the book of Revelation are the “Process” that we must all go through to be made overcomers. The seven churches were in a mess when Jesus addressed them; He only commended two of them that were suffering in their tribulations, but He gave hope to all the churches if they would overcome. Jesus told the church at Sardis very clearly that He will give them a white garment if they will overcome. As we have seen in this teaching the white garment is the preparation we go through for cleansing to be ready for the marriage of the Lamb. This is no small promise!
By the time we come to chapters 4 and 5 we find the twenty-four elders who have overcome through their tribulations sitting with white robes on the throne. By John seeing them there in white robes speaks volumes to us about how the Lord keeps His promises to them and us. This tells me that if they made it there by His grace and overcoming power, so can we! Our love for Jesus is that overcoming power.
In chapter 6 the Lord comes to us as the mighty conqueror on the warring horses to overcome our old sin nature and is putting us to death with the sword of the word of God. “When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held” – “Then a white robe was given to each of them…” (Revelation 6:9, 11 NKJV). Notice, a white robe was given to them that were slain! This does not mean that they were dead physically, but that they died to their flesh, and the word of God (Jesus) had become their life with their white robes on, for the white robe is His nature. Notice in chapter 7:1 it says, “After these things…” What things? After the people of God have been conquered by the Lord they were sealed with the seal of God upon their foreheads setting them a part to stand before the throne of God. “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them” (Revelation 7:15 NKJV). So how is it that they could abide before the throne? Because they came through great tribulation and were washed in the blood!
“… These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God…” (Revelation 7:14-15 NKJV).
There is only one reason why I write these truths and that is because God has revealed them to my heart for me to understand why I am going through such sufferings in my life. And hopefully out of these writings you are able to have some understanding in your own tribulations and that this would give you some hope in believing that God has not forsaken you. Take your wedding garment seriously, for our calling is to obey God in all things and to die to our flesh so that we too might wear our wedding garment and not be found without one! You are called, now will you be chosen?
“So he said to him, “Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?” And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, “Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt 22:12-14 NKJV).