In the upcoming months and few short years, a great move of God is going to take place. God's people will witness mighty acts: the gathering of the "Elect from the Four Winds;" the restoration of the government of the Church according to the biblical pattern; the ministry of the Two Witnesses; the coming together of God's people in "the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ;" the grafting in again of the Jews into their olive tree; and the return of our Lord and Savior to marry His Bride, the Church, and to rule and reign for a thousand years.
|Brother Milton A. Tomlinson at the Arise, Shine marker at the |
Fields of the Wood during Bible Training Camp, 1952.
A couple of years ago, some of the youth from a Pentecostal church in Springfield, Mass., said, "We expect Jesus to return in about 200 to 300 years." It seems impossible that we should still be so far away from the return of our Lord, if one observes the signs of the times. Of course, some ministers are teaching, "We are not living in the time of the signs, so we don't have to watch for the signs of the times." As absurd as it seems that any Bible-believing Christian would say that, I heard it with my own two ears spoken by a preacher over the radio last month.
The signs of His coming are truly all around us, but some things which are required by prophecy to precede His return are not yet fulfilled.
In the secular world, all the prophetic elements are coming to fulfillment that must occur before the return of our Lord. The Beast that is the United Nations is gaining world dominance. The apostate Catholic Church is seated firmly upon it, having a seat in the U.N.'s General Assembly, in fulfillment of Rev. 17. The prominent, policy-setting nations which make up the Beast's seven heads and ten horns continue to lead the U.N. down its prophetic path to its ultimate demise at the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ, the King of kings.
Israel is in the throes of the 42-month period of terror of Rev. 11:2, that will bring its future as a nation, and of Jerusalem as its capital, into question.
But one of the greatest prophetic requirements must yet come to pass.
God's glory was on the Early Church. The earth shook where they prayed, and a cloud could be seen over their places of worship. When Paul and Silas came to town, it was said of them, "These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also." Great healings and miracles took place. Marvelous accounts of deliverance from the hand of the oppressors were recorded. The Book of Acts is a wonderful declaration of the blessings of God upon a people functioning in the unity of the Spirit.
But, as foretold in the Old Testament historical allegory of the temple, the Church was to fall and be rebuilt in the last days. Solomon built the temple, but it was destroyed. In the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, it was restored.
Solomon's temple was famous for its beauty and majesty. People came from all over the known world just to look upon it. The Bible tells us of one, the queen of Sheba, who had heard of Solomon's fame and went to see for herself if the rumors were true. 1 Kings 4:4-5 records, "And when the queen of Sheba had seen all Solomon's wisdom, and the house that he had built, And the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance of his ministers, and their apparel, and his cupbearers, and his ascent by which he went up unto the house of the LORD; there was no more spirit in her." She was in such amazement at Solomon, his court and the temple that he had built. Not only was she convinced of the verity of what she had been told, but she said, "Behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard" (1 Ki. 10:7).
In spite of the indescribable beauty and majesty of the temple that Solomon built, it would pale beside that of the restored temple. God spoke by the prophet Haggai concerning the rebuilding of the temple, "I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the LORD of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts" (Hag. 2:7-9).
The glory which God bestowed upon the Early Church was awesome. The "former rain" which is described in the pages of the New Testament, particularly the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, was truly wonderful. But God promises that the "latter rain" will be even greater, and the glory that shall be upon the Latter Church will outshine even that which we read about in the Bible. The Early Church was the "flock of slaughter" and a majority of those saints were martyred. Those that were not killed saw the Church overcome by apostasy. Paul said, "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember ..." (Acts 20:29-31). By the time of Jude's ministry as God's Anointed, Paul's prophecy had come to pass. "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance ..." (Jude 3-5).
The Latter Church, however, will witness the fulfillment of the scripture, "When they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it. When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people; He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes; Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm" (1 Chr. 16:18-22; Psa. 105:11-15).
God was a great defense for His people when He brought them out of Egypt and into the promised land. In the grace age, deliverance on that scale has never been seen. Conversely, for 2000 years, Christians have customarily had to stand for God, though it usually meant suffering unto death. The stories of martyrdom are countless, even those occurring throughout the world today. To be sure, there will continue to be martyrs as the Scriptures have said - even here in the "land of the free."
However, something new is on the horizon. Even as God defended the children of Israel against their enemies, God is set for a great deliverance of His elect in these last days. Once again, as the adversaries of God's people encompass the saints of God, He will stand up and say, "Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm." Once again will God's people stand out as a distinct body of believers, about whom will be said, "They are an holy people unto the LORD their God, and the LORD hath chosen them to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth," and the glory of the Lord will be seen in all the earth.
Unto the Latter Church will be granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, and the Bride shall have made herself ready unto the coming of the Bridegroom, the Lord of glory. She shall have gone on unto perfection, by permission of God, and not one spot, nor one wrinkle, neither any such thing will mar her glorious appearance.
As the Holy Nation is rebuilt, it will be done "after the pattern." This pattern was the blueprint for the construction of the Tabernacle of Witness and the Temple. It was revealed in the structure of the predominantly Jewish Early Church, as described in the pages of the New Testament. The ministries and governmental system of the Early Church will be restored among the Gentiles (Acts 15:15-17), with 12 apostles, 70 prophets, and Seven deacons full of wisdom and of the Holy Ghost. Besides these, many other apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers will come together to make up the other elements of the pattern, to make up the spiritual mount Sion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.
Then shall Jesus return. We shall be changed and the dead raised. The Early Church and the Latter Church will be united according to the Word of the Lord, and we shall rule and reign with Christ for 1,000 years. Glory to His name!
All these things must be fulfilled - not in the next 2 or 3 centuries, or even in the next 2 or 3 decades - but in the next few short years. God's word cannot fail, and we must fixate ourselves on His word to know it and to assimilate it into our lives. Let us seek His face, that we might be partakers in the great work before us, and show forth the praises of Him, who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.