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"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
THE THREE ANGELS’ MESSAGES
“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the gospel of the ages to preach unto them that rule over the earth-realm, and over every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come” (Rev. 14:6-7).
now come to what seems to us perhaps a strange, sad, woeful message, and yet is
the good news of the ages, which an “angel
flying in mid-heaven” proclaims to the whole church throughout the entire
world. And this is what his voice
declares: “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment
is come!” How strange,
We are living in a time when the truth about
God’s judgments is missed by many of the Lord’s people, misunderstood by
others, and misinterpreted by multitudes.
The announcement of divine
judgment is intended to be GOOD NEWS.
Yet many people react in fear to the very thought of judgment, for they
associate it with the end of the world, which to them means complete
disaster. The picture most people have
of “the judgment” is vividly portrayed in
subject of judgment is a large one in the Bible, running through scripture from
Genesis to Revelation, and it is so manifold in meaning, purpose, and
application that it eludes simplification.
The judgments of God run deep and are so vast and multi-faceted that
they lie completely beyond the comprehension of the carnal mind and beyond the
grasp of mortal man. As exclaimed by
the cunning of the adversary, and the foolishness of the carnal mind, both the
popular church and the world have been robbed of the blessed assurances of the
time when God’s RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENTS
There are many who preach what they call the “end-time message” who capitalize on this emotion of fear: “Christ is coming to judge and you are not ready!” That message sounds like something exasperated mothers shout as they shake their disobedient children: “You just wait until your Daddy comes home!” Many souls have been scared into the altars and have lived in dread of the end of the age, the coming to the Lord, and the horrors of great tribulation, the wrath of God, and the antichrist ever since. One day, they expect, they will suddenly be yanked up from their world of ease, taken to that great woodshed in the sky, and given the spanking of their eternal life. The threat of the Lord appearing as Judge is somehow supposed to produce righteous living among the saints. Yeah, “JUST YOU WAIT UNTIL YOUR DADDY (JESUS) COMES HOME!”
The vast majority of churches and Christians believe and teach that judgment is punishment. As Ray Prinzing has pointed out, because they view God as a Tyrant, out to “get them,” and they are afraid that He will punish them without mercy for every little mis-deed, they shudder with a superstitious fear because of the misconceptions resulting from all the erroneous doctrines and traditions which they have been taught. But let us think sober and godly thoughts about these things. If Jesus was the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world; if God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; if Jesus is indeed the Saviour of all men, and the Saviour of the world; if by one man death passed upon all men, and if by one man the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life; if Jesus truly “paid it all” and bore the sins of all mankind in His body on the tree; then how could God legally be punishing any man, or any nation, or the whole world for their sins? To all the above scriptures the members and ministers of the church systems will give a hearty “Amen!” But then by making men pay for their sins with punishment for them, either in this world or in the world to come, they repudiate the all-inclusive redemptive price already paid by the Redeemer of the world!
“Jesus paid the price for all your sins,” the churches proclaim, “but God is going to punish you for them!” Something’s wrong with this picture. Are they telling me that human beings on this earth are more just and honorable than God? I make a contract with someone and I pay the price for an acre of land. The person I purchase it from can’t come back and take it away from me, can he? These folks are telling me that humanity is more just and honorable than God because He’s going to come back and demand payment (punishment) for the sins of the world after the “iniquity of us all” has been “laid upon Jesus”! Not so! No way!
— this doesn’t mean that there is no judgment in God! It becomes clear, however, as we compare
spiritual things with spiritual things that judgment and punishment
are NOT THE SAME THING!
Punishment, on the one hand, is a penalty,
a sentence, one’s just deserts for an offence
committed. God, under the new covenant
of grace, is not in the punishment business!
Can we not see that punishment is inflicted only under law? Judgment, on the
other hand, is God’s action to correct what is wrong. Because Jesus paid our debt, taking our
penalty upon Himself, God now has a claim upon our life. He has purchased us for Himself! In order to enforce His claim upon us, He
brings His judgments into our lives,
and these judgments are not punishment — they are remedial, redemptive disciplines — it means that the time of restoration, of correction unto righteousness has come. Punishment merely pays one back for a wrong,
giving him what he deserves. But all
scriptures reveal judgment to be a process unto correction,
as there is a world of difference between God’s dealings with His people under
the old covenant of law and the new covenant of grace, so is there a vast
difference in God’s dealings with the nations
of mankind under the administration of law and His attitude toward the
nations under the administration of grace.
For remember, “He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s
only, but also for the sins of the whole
world” (I Jn. 2:2). These words are
far too potent and full of meaning to be carelessly read over or ignored. Do they not tell us that as God’s attitude
and dealing is toward His people, so is His attitude and dealing also toward
the whole world? Under Old Testament
economy God called peoples and nations to account for their actions and
executed His punishments by bringing destruction upon them. The best known of these is the world-wide
was sent upon the seven nations inhabiting the
conducted a legal case against
us consider now whether God is dealing in that same way with cities and nations
in this dispensation of grace. Nothing
is more evident in the scriptures than the fact that God has a great and
wonderful plan which He is working out among the nations of earth. Many saints recognize that God has a
predestined purpose in the life of each of His called and chosen elect, an
appointed end for
From the first dawn of human history God has had the formation, development, and destiny of nations in mind and purpose. The present nations of earth had their origins in the early days following the Great Flood. In Genesis chapter ten is found a most remarkable and comprehensive list of the descendants of Noah who became the heads of the families and tribes which subsequently developed into nations. Even so-called higher critics have often admitted that the tenth chapter of Genesis is a remarkably accurate historical document. There is no comparable catalog of ancient nations available from any other source. It is unparalleled in its antiquity and comprehensiveness. You would do well to read the entire chapter. Here is the one link between the historic nations of antiquity and the prehistoric times of Noah and the antediluvians. The grandsons and great grandsons of Noah are listed, each of whom is identified with the city or country established by his descendants. It has been possible in many cases to identify the names in Genesis 10 with peoples and nations known to antiquity, especially as revealed by archeology. Thus this chapter provides the link between recorded history and the period of “prehistory” which is, except for the Bible, preserved only in ancient traditions.
interesting verse is found in Genesis 10:25.
“And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; FOR IN HIS DAYS WAS THE EARTH
DIVIDED; and his brother’s name was Joktan.”
As one has pointed out, Peleg — or
rather, the event associated with his name — is of special interest at this
point. “In his days was the earth divided.”
Evidently this was a most memorable event, and Eber named his son in
commemoration of it. The name Peleg
means division. Almost nothing else is said about Peleg
apart from mention of his family line and how long he lived. The fact that the earth was divided in his
days seems the only possible item of distinction that can knowingly be attributed
to Peleg himself. The important thing
concerns the meaning of this
descendants of Noah migrated over the whole face of the earth, forming tribe
after tribe, city after city, and nation after nation. Let all men know that it is the Almighty God who is the
designer and architect of all the nations in the world! The time periods and localities in which
nations flourish have all been pre-arranged by the will of Him who “worketh all things after the counsel of His own
will” (Eph. 1:11). The truth of this
cannot be made any plainer than it is by Moses in Deuteronomy 32:8, “When the most
High divided the nations their inheritance, when He separated the sons of
plain it is that it was GOD who, from the beginning, set the bounds of
habitation or the national boundaries of all nations. These boundaries were established in relation
it was David, the sweet singer of
precious “fragments” reveal God’s ultimate purpose for mankind, when “all the
ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord, and all
kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee, for the kingdom is
the Lord’s and HE is the governor among the nations” (Ps. 22:27-28). For
most marvelous prophecy is found in Micah 4:1-3 which points to the very day in
which we are now living. “But in the
last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain (government) of the house of
the Lord (the sons of God) shall be established in the top of the mountains
(strong kingdoms, super powers), and it shall be exalted above the hills
(weaker kingdoms, third world nations); and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say,
Come, and let us go up to the mountain (government) of the Lord, and to the
house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us His ways, and we (the nations)
will walk in His paths: for the law of the Lord shall go forth of
and rejoice, O daughter of
the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the
glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings
of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. And they shall bring the glory and honor
nations into it…and there shall be no more curse” (Rev. 21:24-27;
that time they shall call
must admit that for many years I clung to the old
question is just this — Do we truly believe that? Do we really believe that God was in Christ reconciling
the world unto Himself, or did He reconcile only those who
believe? Can we clearly see that God in
Christ is not imputing the sins of the world unto them? Ah, there is the difference, the change, my
beloved, that came at
the old law it was “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” The adulterer was to be put to death. Those nations whose iniquity was “filled up”
were designated to be wiped off the face of the earth, even the women,
children, babies, and cattle were to be destroyed — nothing spared. God dealt with men and nations by law and
punishment. That was one way of
restraining evil in he world. But under the new covenant, the new
arrangement, the new order, God came in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, NOT IMPUTING THEIR TRESPASSES
UNTO THEM. The law came by Moses, but grace
came by Jesus Christ, who is THE SAVIOUR
OF THE WORLD. Therefore the law was
neither grace nor was it truth! To say
God punishes a city today for its sins is certainly not grace, and neither is it
the truth! Now — instead of wrath and vengeance upon the
nations the word is, “Go ye and preach the gospel (good news) to every
creature…disciple the nations.” God is dealing with the nations by that
man whom He hath ordained, Jesus Christ, who came not into the world to condemn
the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. This is the “good tidings of great joy which
shall be to all people; for unto you
is born this day A SAVIOUR, which is Christ the Lord.” That is the New Testament message
and I fail to see any other message as representing either God’s Christ, His
New Covenant, or His Kingdom. That is
why Jesus said to the woman taken in adultery, “Neither do I condemn thee — go
and sin no more.” Our message is not,
“Repent, for the punishment of God is at hand,” but “Repent, for the
true, nations, like
method of dealing with the world conforms to the economy of the dispensation
according to His purpose. Under law men
responsible for their sins — not only the Lord’s chosen people — but
all men and all nations! Is that not why
God both punished and destroyed heathen civilizations like the Antediluvians,
Scripture could be piled upon scripture, but these few are sufficient to show that in ancient times God dealt with His people, as well as all the nations of earth, according to their sins. He did impute their trespasses unto them! And while all men and nations still reap what they sow, according to the law of nature, God is no longer imputing the sins of mankind unto them for He has inaugurated an entirely new provision. We have been prone, in every forward step in God, to bring a lot of baggage out of our former realm along with us. I brought that “apocalyptic” baggage with me into the message of sonship, that end-time mentality of outer world events, of horrendous punishments that God was soon to unleash on a rebellious world, as though that had something to do with the kingdom God is bringing forth! You see, my beloved, I still did not understand that now judgment is given to the saints of the most High! God is not in the business today of judging nations in the sense that we think of judgment as punishment and vengeance. That was the old covenant! God is not punishing nations today under the new covenant. So if we have economic collapse, it is not the judgment of God, it is reaping what we sowed. The judgment of God is in His saints.
Now hear me! The wrath of God today is called in the book of Revelation “the wrath of the Lamb.” It is a redemptive wrath. It is not vindictive punishment, but purposeful correction! It is a judgment that is unto redemption, for the flying angel says, “Fear God, and give glory to Him: for the hour of His judgment is come: and WORSHIP HIM!” And then comes the word, “Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? For all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgments are made manifest” (Rev. 15:4). Whoever heard of such a thing, of a lamb that had wrath? It is a redemptive wrath, unto salvation, and that salvation is planted in a people, in a lamb company. God is dealing with the nations today unto salvation. And it doesn’t matter what happens, God is ministering through His people in judgment and mercy and redemption unto the nations of earth. The judgment of God is the wrath of the Lamb. The judgment of God is the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. That’s where the judgment of God is! It is a spiritual work! Get your eyes off of the so-called “signs of the times.” Those outward events have nothing whatever to do with God’s judgment! All who believe that today God is judging nations for their sins and wickedness are still possessed of a legalistic mind-set and are preaching a world view that is under the law covenant rather than the covenant of grace!
the exception of a few verses in the book of Revelation which are highly
symbolic and must be understood spiritually, the New Testament has no message
of vindictive judgment by disasters and calamities upon cities and
nations! Let us now examine God’s
gracious attitude toward the nations under the covenant of grace. “And
Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is
given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and TEACH ALL
NATIONS…teaching them to observe all things which I have commanded you…” (Mat.
28:18-20). “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith AMONG
years ago when hurricane Katrina brought terrible pain, suffering, devastation,
and loss to thousands of people in the city of
judgment.” “Tsunami judgment.” “Earthquake judgment.” If you believe in such things, do you know
what that tells me? You know a lot about God, but you surely don’t know God!
If that was God’s judgment on
this connection, Mildred Garner penned some spiritually perceptive words
concerning the destruction of the
This we do know — God is love, and tragedies always present the blessed opportunity for GOD IN HIS PEOPLE to express, manifest, and demonstrate His beautiful, compassionate, caring, and redemptive nature! Let us all be sons in our attitudes and actions that the glory of God may be revealed in the earth. All creation is standing on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of God unveiled in His sons, and truly the hour of preparation is upon us as our Father raises up His kingdom in the life of each called and chosen son. He is giving us an attitude adjustment that we may unconditionally love all men and all cultures and all nations, not imputing their trespasses unto them! That is the spirit of sonship!
I could only say a hearty Amen when I read the following words from brother Carl Schwing: “Recently I was sent an article about the soon coming judgment of God upon the people of the world. The writer’s words were those of anger, wrath, and destruction. The writer touched upon the ‘manifestation of the sons of God’ but quickly adds that before that event takes place the wicked, the evil, and the unbelieving will be destroyed by the wrath of God. I have also read some of the so-called ‘prophecies’ which are being circulated today: prophecies of doom and horror. Their words do nothing for one’s spirit, they accomplish nothing, and they certainly do not edify the body of Christ. Why are these ‘prophets for profit’ sending their prophecies to the saved of the earth, or to the elect of God? They that know the Lord need not fear those who can burn cities, or plunder earthly belongings, or destroy the body…for their trust is in the Lord, and they are prepared and ready to receive all that the Father has planned. Should not these ‘prophets’ be taking their predictions to those they refer to as the ‘wicked and unsaved’ people of the world, warning them of such massive destruction and terror?”
Maybe you’ve heard the story about a boy who was tending sheep in the fields. The villagers told him to call for help in case a wolf came prowling. After some time the boy thought he would test the system. He yelled out, “Wolf!” and the villagers came running. But there was no wolf. After the boy pulled this prank a few more times, the villagers didn’t trust him anymore. Eventually a wolf really did come, and when the boy cried for help, everyone ignored his calls — with devastating results. More often than the boy in this story cried “Wolf!” when there was no wolf, the prophets of doom and gloom have throughout my lifetime cried “Judgment!” upon churches, institutions, cities, and nations, and there has been no such judgment as they described.
It is easy to anticipate, call for, and predict the manifestation of divine wrath upon men and nations. Most Christians certainly believe they deserve the outpourings of divine judgments! And it plays perfectly into our fears, as well as our vindictiveness against the wickedness of men. But it is not the spirit of the Lamb of God — Jesus Christ the Saviour! Once we adjust our perception to expect doom and gloom, religious zeal conjures up all sorts of apocalyptic visions of the “end times.” I have heard hundreds of “doom and destruction” prophecies over the past seventy-five years. For years I kept a folder full of them, checking occasionally to see whether any had come to pass. None of them have come to pass! Calamities they did not predict did happen, and the ones they prophesied failed to materialize. Why? Simply because those who said, “Thus saith the Lord,” had not heard from the Lord. They were only parroting the theories of the carnal church systems and speaking out of their own imaginations and fears. They predicted all sorts of horrors to come upon mankind, and completely missed the one great work God is doing today by His Spirit as He deals with His elect to bring many sons to glory!
prophet Isaiah prophesied of the nature of the judgment that would be
administered through God’s many-membered Christ. “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine
elect, in whom my soul
Wilkerson, though he prophesied judgments upon
is God’s strange work. We have had the
idea that if God truly “judged”
The end of divine judgment — no matter its form, no matter its subject — is to bring the whole universe into harmony with His will, nature, and glory. How optimistically did the holy prophets and apostles regard the coming of the Lord in judgment! Note the expectation in Isaiah’s voice as he announces: “Yea, in the way of THY JUDGMENTS, O Lord, have we waited for Thee…with my soul have I desired Thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek Thee early: for when THY JUDGMENTS are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world WILL LEARN RIGHTEOUSNESS” (Isa. 26:8-9). Here Isaiah assures us that the day when God’s judgments are in the earth will be a most glorious and desirable day, a day in which the inhabitants of the world W-I-L-L LEARN RIGHTEOUSNESS! How opposite to the idea entertained by many that when God’s judgments come in the earth the inhabitants of the world will be sent into oblivion or eternal damnation.
If the desire of your heart is anything like the desire of my heart, this is a blessed thought and a wonderful assurance: the inhabitants of the world WILL LEARN RIGHTEOUSNESS! How my ransomed soul yearns to behold such a thing! Every time I scan the headlines of the morning paper I am seized with an intense longing that the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. Of times as I watch the evening newscast my spirit is mightily moved within to intercede earnestly that the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. As I drive across our great land; as I walk the streets of our towns and cities, observing the condition of those about: neighbors, friends, relatives, strangers, the young and the old, my spirit groans with unutterable supplications that the inhabitants of the world will LEARN RIGHTEOUSNESS! What a marvelous provision of our all-wise and loving Father that, to this very end, He has ORDAINED JUDGMENT to come forth in the earth. Bless His name!
Speaking of the judgment of the Lord, hear the note of triumph and exultation when David speaks by the inspiration the Spirit gives, saying,
Let the heavens be glad
And LET THE EARTH REJOICE;
And let men say among the nations, the Lord reigneth!
Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof;
Let the fields REJOICE, and all that are therein.
Then shall the trees of the wood (people of the earth)
Because HE COMETH TO JUDGE THE EARTH.
O give THANKS unto the Lord, for HE IS GOOD;
For His mercy endureth forever! (I Chron. 16:31-34).
will the sea of humanity roar, why
will the fields of kindreds and tongues and peoples rejoice, why will the trees of the forest, or the people of the
earth, sing out at the presence of
the Lord, when He comes upon the scene to JUDGE THE EARTH? One would think they might weep, or shrink in
fear and consternation at the thoughts of His judgments, but why all the singing? David says that it is because God’s
judgments are an expression of His goodness and everlasting mercy,
designed to teach the inhabitants of the world righteousness! The earth shall rejoice because this
means that we have reached the turning point in our degeneration,
and have come to the times of regeneration.
This is true even now for the elect, but must ultimately reach unto the
whole world and the entire creation. His
presence, while it speaks of His utmost holiness, and will not tolerate the
continuance of evil, brings the changes needed for
What a message of hope, then, God’s “flying angel company” bears to the leaders of the church world and to all the ends of the earth: “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him!” And exactly that will be the result of the message proclaimed!
To be continued… J. PRESTON EBY
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