Note: J. Preston Eby, in order to continue to devote his full energy to writing, no longer works in the office and does not receive email. He does, however, respond to any urgent correspondence via snailmail.
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studies in end-time revelation
THE TWO HANDS OF GOD
Almost all Churches and most Christians are not aware of it, but for the most part we have made God to be a one armed or one handed Being. Of course we realize that God is spirit and has no body of material substance and consequently no arms or hands such as we have. But spirit is real, God is real, and the eyes of God are omnipresent spirit eyes, His universal ability to see by the Spirit, and the arms and hands of God are likewise omnipresent spirit arms and hands, His universal ability to act, touch, and perform by the power of His Spirit. The thought of God having a right hand and a left hand should not be strange to us, although the preachers have so often presented God as a one handed Being. In the Scriptures we find the right hand of God mentioned a great many times, and the left hand of God is mentioned on a number of occasions. A great deal has been said as to the meaning of the right hand, but few have seemed to have any understanding or revelation of the significance of the left hand.
First, let us look at the meaning of these two words, right and left. The word "right" as used with "hand" is generally the Hebrew word "yamiym" meaning STRONGER, MORE DEXTEROUS. The word for "left" is "smowl" meaning DARK. From the meaning of these two words it is very easy to understand that God's right hand is His strength and dexterity, or His wonderful ability to do all things. The implication is that the right hand of God is the GOOD HAND of God, doing GOOD things. The Psalmist confirms this when he says, "In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your RIGHT HAND are PLEASURES for evermore" (Ps. 16:11). Again, "The voice of REJOICING and SALVATION in the tabernacles of the righteous: the RIGHT HAND of the Lord does valiantly. The RIGHT HAND of the Lord is exalted" (Ps. 118:15-16). To which the prophet Isaiah adds his inspired testimony, "Fear not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will STRENGTHEN you; yea, I will HELP you; yea, I will UPHOLD you with the RIGHT HAND of My righteousness" (Isa. 41:10).
But, as we have noted, the left hand in the Old Testament means DARK, and from this we can readily understand that it signifies the opposite - what we call bad or evil. The left hand represents the DARK SIDE OF GOD. This is the hand of God so little understood. The distinctive work of these two hands is graphically portrayed in the wonderful parable Jesus told of the sheep and the goats. How sobering are these meaningful words of truth, "When the Son of man shall come in His glory ... before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and He shall set the sheep on the RIGHT HAND, but the goats on the LEFT. Then shall the King say unto them on His RIGHT HAND, Come, blessed of My Father ... then shall He say also unto them on the LEFT HAND, Depart from Me, you cursed!" But just what or who are these TWO HANDS OF GOD? The two hands of God clearly represent two aspects of God's dealings, two ways in which He moves and acts to accomplish His purposes. We can readily see from the parable of the sheep and the goats that God deals through both POSITIVE and NEGATIVE forces. In this article we want to pursue this truth and show in greater depth how the right hand of God bespeaks God moving and acting through POSITIVE FORCES, while the left hand of God denotes God moving and acting through NEGATIVE FORCES.
A LYING SPIRIT
That there is both the bright side of God and the dark side of God, manifested through the works of His two hands, in blessing on the one hand and in judgment on the other, is strikingly illustrated in an extraordinary story found in I Kings chapter twenty-two. The wicked king Ahab is persuading the good king Jehoshaphat to go to battle with him and all the false prophets of Ahab have prophesied they should go to battle, that the Lord will give them victory. But Jehoshaphat asks for a prophet of the Lord and Micaiah is brought with instructions to prophesy like the rest, but he refuses. Micaiah at first mocks Ahab, by prophesying in just that way, but Ahab knows it is not right, and commands him to prophesy in the word of the Lord.
So in verse nineteen Micaiah begins thus: "Hear therefore the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him ON HIS RIGHT HAND AND ON HIS LEFT. And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? and one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. There came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him. And the Lord said unto him, wherewith? And he said, I will go forth AND I WILL BE A LYING SPIRIT IN THE MOUTH OF ALL HIS PROPHETS. And He said, You shall persuade him, and prevail also: GO FORTH AND DO SO." Now this is God's Word as He sought a way to cause Ahab to be defeated. Out of the heavenly realm came such a spirit, who made himself to be a lying spirit in the mouth of the false prophets with the consent and the authority of God! He caused the false prophets to prophesy falsely and bring about the fall of Ahab, even as he was given commandment of God. We do not always understand some of God's workings, but they are in the Scriptures, and we cannot build a pathway around them, for ALL Scripture is given bv inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine.
But does it not seem incredible that the Holy Spirit should take such care to record that all the spirits making up "the host of heaven" were standing at God's RIGHT HAND and His LEFT HAND, if this fact is not extremely pregnant with meaning? Beloved reader, ponder, if you will, this weighty consideration: From which of the two hands of God came the lying spirit which brought judgment to king Ahab? After many years of reverent meditation upon this challenging question my heart is satisfied with this answer: The lying spirit came from the LEFT HAND of God - of course!
THE WRATH OF GOD
Many of the Lord's precious people have great difficulty in reconciling a God of LOVE with the atrocious accounts of His actions in the Old Testament which included various plagues, famines, earthquakes, floods, massacres of women and children and indeed all the sordid and bloody episodes of violence and destruction that He imposed. Even in Jesus Himself, there was not always the sweet, gentle, kindly attitude that most of us have come to appreciate and expect; for in His confrontations with the Pharisees, the Chief Priests, Elders, and teachers of the law, and when in anger He made a whip of small cords and drove the money changers out of the temple, overturning their tables, and pouring out their money ... the OTHER HAND OF GOD becomes manifest!
"And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the WRATH OF GOD upon the earth" (Rev. 16:1). There will be manifestations of HIS WRATH, HIS energy forces set in motion to correct and bring forth righteousness - "for the wrath of God IS revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men" (Rom. 1:18). "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (II Thes. 1:8). VENGEANCE IS ESSENTIAL. The Greek word for vengeance is "ekdikeo", a compound word, ek - meaning OUT OF, and dikeo, meaning JUST or RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore we conclude that OUT OF HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS God will bring forth those judgments, corrective measures, which will bring an end to ungodliness, and restore men into His righteousness again. In Rev. 6:16 it is called "the WRATH of the LAMB". What an amazing divine paradox! The "Lamb" of God who "takes away the sin of the W-O-R-L-D" on the one hand, and the "wrath" of the "Lamb" on the other hand! The Lamb - precious embodiment of the very character of innocence, patience, meekness, gentleness, sacrifice and redemption - coming upon the world for which He died in the hot fury of wrath! The very thought seems incongruous. The two ideas seem completely incompatible and hopelessly unreconcilable - and they are until we understand the PURPOSE of the LAMB'S WRATH. The Lamb does not suddenly undergo some fundamental change, laying down His Lambhood, transformed into something altogether opposite, now Himself an executioner instead of a Lamb. Nay! It is not the wrath of One who has shed His Lamb nature, for it IS the very W-R-A-T-H OF THE L-A-M-B! This wrath, therefore, is strikingly unique - not unappeasable rage spewing unrepairable destruction upon mankind - but CORRECTIVE, REDEMPTIVE JUDGMENT to break the rebellion of men, and RESTORE ALL UNTO HIMSELF AGAIN. That is Divine Vengeance! It is not a "dooms day", it bespeaks a work of discipline and restoration - however severe the process might be required to end the way of degeneration, and begin the regeneration THE MINISTRY OF THE LAMB IS UNTO SALVATION. We do not minimize the workings of wrath, but we do rejoice in the beautiful BALANCE between the work of God's LEFT HAND and that of His RIGHT HAND - both leading to righteousness.
These are wonderful truths. These are unspeakable words almost unlawful to utter. We stand amazed in the presence of the omniscience and omnipotence of our God who IS LOVE. The great PURPOSE behind all His judgments is beautifully expressed in these prophetic words of Zephaniah, "Therefore wait upon Me, says the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for My determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them Mine indignation, even all My fierce anger: for all the earth shall be DEVOURED WITH THE FIRE OF MY JEALOUSY. For THEN will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may ALL call upon the name of the Lord, to SERVE HIM WITH ONE CONSENT" (Zeph. 3:8-9).
I know that the theologian does everything he can to break down the expression "the jealousy of God" and tries to say that it really does not mean jealousy. My beloved, it does mean JEALOUSY! Sometimes you hear a wife say this, "You know, my husband is not jealous of me." I have news for her. He does not love her if he is not jealous of her - or else he is just sure that no one else would be interested in her. It is one of the two reasons, you may be sure of that. God's Word says that He is jealous, and I cannot conceive of a love that would not have that quality in it. It is not the jealousy of an Othello that is being spurred on by an Iago! This is jealousy of One who loves us, and wants nothing to come into our lives that is going to hurt or harm us. He will do anything in the world to direct us in the paths of redemption and restoration. "For God so LOVED the WORLD..." - and He still does! Even in judgment, dear ones, GOD IS LOVE!
THE DARK SIDE OF GOD
We have previously pointed out that in the Old Testament the word "left" as used with "hand" means DARK, so in reference to God's left hand becomes the DARK HAND OF GOD. You might get the impression, upon reading the multiplied judgments of God sent upon Israel and the nations in the Old Testament, that God hates His people and His creation. You would think that He is vindictive in His judgment; that He is cruel, brutal, and unfeeling as He moves forward against mankind. Perhaps the liberal, who a few years ago made the statement that the God of the Old Testament is a big bully, had read only the first half of the story. I wish he had read all of it. He would have found that the God of the Old Testament is not a big bully, but that we are shown the DARK SIDE OF HIS LOVE. We have also noted that with His left hand God moves and acts through NEGATIVE FORCES such as Satan, wicked men, false prophets, calamities, etc. to accomplish His purposes. It comes as a startling revelation to some that GOD USES the wicked, even such as Nebuchadnezzar and the king of heathen Assyria, to discipline and correct His people. They are HIS instruments in HIS hand, and they serve HIS purpose. "Behold ... I have created the waster to destroy" (Isa. 54:16). For "the Lord has made all things for Himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil" (Prov. 16:4). "O Assyrian, the rod of MINE ANGER, and the staff in their hand is MINE INDIGNATION" (Isa. 10:5). The more we come to understand the SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD, the more we realize that HE ALONE controls the interplay of good and evil, and works all things after the counsel of His own will. We shall not rail against His instruments, but learn to submit to the disciplines until we are turned fully to Him, to cleave to Him with our whole heart and fulfill all His will.
Long milleniums ago God called Abram out from the world and promised him a land, an inheritance. As Abraham walked with God he was justified by his faith and his descendants, out of all the peoples of earth, became God's Church (Acts 7:38). In Egypt God took His Church and made a nation of them (Gen. 46:3; Deut. 26:5). And then He led them out of Egypt with many infallible signs and wonders and miracles. He divided the sea for them: the same sea in which their enemies perished. He gave them a tabernacle and sanctuary, patterned after the true Sanctuary on High, and there He condescended to have His very presence dwell among them continually. He gave them a perfect set of national laws written by the finger of God Himself on stone. He showed them His power. He fed them with manna from heaven. He preserved their clothing and shoes throughout the whole period of forty years of wanderings in the wilderness. He spoke comfortingly to them and promised that if they would hearken unto Him they would be blessed above all people, that He would make them high above all nations in praise, in name and honor. And yet, in spite of God's manifest love and care, their very first act, when Moses left them to go up into the Mount of God, was to make a golden calf and fall down to it. Read the account of their sojourn in the wilderness. Read the accounts of their idolatry after they entered their own land! Yes, the first thing they did upon coming into their promised land was the exact opposite of what God commanded them. Instead of destroying their enemies completely, they began making covenants with them. No wonder God says concerning them, "But the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness: they walked not in My statues, and they despised My judgments" (Eze. 20:13). No wonder God says, "I have called and you refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded; but you have set at nought all My counsel, and would none of My reproof ... they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord" (Prov. 1:24-29).
So God decreed JUDGMENT! "Therefore I am full of the fury of the Lord; I am weary with holding in: I will pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of young men together: for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with him that is full of days. And their houses shall be turned unto others, with their fields and wives together: for I will stretch out MY HAND upon the inhabitants of the Land, says the Lord" (Jer. 6:11-12). "You have forsaken Me, says the Lord, you art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out MY HAND against you; I am weary of repenting. And I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children, I will destroy My people, since they return not from their ways" (Jer. 15:6-7). "Therefore ... thus says the Lord God; Behold, I will raise up your lovers against you ... and I will bring them against you on every side; the Babylonians, and all the Chaldeans ... and all the Assyrians ... and I will set judgment before them, and they shall judge you according to their judgment" (Eze. 23:22).
Against the background of the black and forbidding cloud of judgment that swept unmercifully over Israel sounded the voice of the Lord declaring, "I will stretch out M-Y H-A-N-D against you ... I will stretch out M-Y H-A-N-D upon the land, and destroy you!" MY HAND! The nations God brought against Israel were HIS HAND moving against them, His LEFT HAND, if you please, yea, His DARK HAND of judgment. The first weapon that God used against Israel was Babylon, whose armies destroyed Jerusalem, put out the king's eyes and bound him in fetters, and led the nation captive to her own land. Then Babylon was destroyed, and MediaPersia took up the rod. She ruled over Israel until overthrown by Greece, which in turn was superseded by Rome.
But all this was nothing compared to the dealing of the left hand of God that smote the nation once their iniquity was filled up to the full. Prophet after prophet had announced to them the advent of Messiah the Prince. In due time HE came. God was manifest in the flesh. He came unto His own - to this people whom for over two thousand years He had been preparing to receive Him; but "His own received Him not." They despised and rejected Him; they hated Him because He testified to them that their deeds were evil; they blasphemed the Son of God, accusing Him of deriving His power from the Prince of Devils; they took counsel together to slay the Holy and the Just; they bore false witness against Him to put Him to death; they became His betrayers and murderers; they cried, "Crucify Him, Crucify Him!" and by their wicked hands He was crucified and slain. And when the still lingering longsuffering of God sent them one more chance of repentance, and the risen Saviour told His apostles that remission of sins through His name was to be preached among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem, when the Holy Ghost in Peter and in Stephen pleaded still with the house of Judah to repent and be converted, they filled up the measure of their iniquities by rejecting this final offer of mercy. They slew Stephen, and persecuted the Church.
"The Jews both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; they please not God, and are contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins always, for WRATH IS COME UPON THEM TO THE UTTERMOST" (I Thes. 2:15-16). A few years elapsed, after those words were written, and then that wrath was poured out. Jerusalem fell, and great was the fall thereof! Signal, terrible, and unparalleled was the Jewish war, ending with the siege and capture of Jerusalem by Titus. It needs a pen dipped in fire and in blood to write the story in its true colors! The sufferings and miseries that overtook the Jewish nation in that age are all but indescribable, the very record of them is appalling. One million one hundred thousand Jewish lives were sacrificed in the siege and capture of Jerusalem alone; streams of human blood extinguished the blazing fires that destroyed the houses of the city, and heaps of the unburied corpses of those who had died of starvation during the siege, hid from the Roman soldiers the immense treasures of the temple.
From April 14th, when the siege began, to July lst, 115,880 bodies were buried at the public expense, or thrown from the walls, not including those interred by friends. Some said that 600,000 of the poorer people died of starvation; women cooked and ate their own children; the maimed and defenseless people were slain in thousands; when the temple at last fell, they lay heaped like sacrifices round the altar, and the steps of the temple ran with streams of blood, which washed down the bodies that lay about. The treasuries, with their wealth of money, jewels, and costly robes, were totally destroyed. The value of the plunder obtained was so great, that gold fell to half its former value.
After the fall of the Jewish nation, the markets of the Roman Empire were glutted with Jewish slaves; the amphitheatres were crowded with these miserable people, glad to escape the tyranny of their masters by the expeditious cruelty of the wild beasts. And in the dank underground mines hundreds were doomed to toil for wealth not to be their own. The political existence of the Jewish nation was annihilated; it was not again for 1900 years recognized as one of the States or nations of the world. Judea was sentenced to be portioned out to strangers, the capital was destroyed, the temple demolished, the high priesthood buried in its ruins, and the royal tribe almost extinct. Truly that horrible desolation and 1900 years of humiliating dispersion ensuing was, for that people, a "time of trouble such as has never been since there was a nation." In proportion to the size of the known world, the massacre represented many, many millions in our day. I do not believe that even the slaughter of the Jews in Germany could equal it proportionately.
May the Spirit of the living God lay His finger of inspiration upon these words that we may be able to see that in all these things the HAND OF GOD was made known. Babylon was a negative force, but listen to what the Lord says about that old heathen tyrant, Nebuchadnezzar: "Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, says the Lord, and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, MY SERVANT, and will bring them against this land..." (Jer. 25:9). Here God calls Nebuchadnezzar HIS SERVANT, and in Isa. 45:1 He calls CYRUS, the Persian king, HIS ANOINTED ONE. Do you understand what God was saying? Nebuchadnezzar GOD'S SERVANT, and Cyrus HIS ANOINTED? This could never be according to this day's teaching! but God's Word says so. Thank God! that is not the end of the matter.
God does not destroy forever, for no matter how severe the dealings of His left hand, they are BALANCED by the merciful and gracious workings of His right hand, as "in wrath He remembers mercy" (Hab. 3:2). As a friend has so aptly written on this point, "Yet for all this ... with the severity of the judgment and correctional processes needed, still - 'HE IS KIND UNTO THE UNTHANKFUL AND TO THE EVIL. Be therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful' (Lk. 6:35-36). Christendom has taught that He will have mercy on us 'sweet little saints who have faithfully served Him all these years.' And of course He will! Though not because of our works. He said, 'I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy' (Ex. 33:19). It is by virtue of His own nature and character that He shows mercy. He sends His rain on the just and the unjust. And He purposes to have mercy upon the UNTHANKFUL, even the unthankful who have gone into the depths of degradation, things that ought not to be mentioned, 'For God has concluded them ALL in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon ALL' (Rom. 11:32).
"God made it very clear to Israel, 'If he commit iniquity I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: BUT MY MERCY SHALL NOT DEPART FROM HIM' (II Sam. 7:14-15). God has His disciplines, His chastening processes, but HIS MERCY is not departing, it has not ceased. 'For I am the Lord, I change not; THEREFORE YOU SONS OF JACOB ARE NOT CONSUMED' (Mal. 3:6). HE IS A MERCIFUL GOD, and He doesn't change - He will never become an unmerciful, tyrannical despot. Men have tried to change Him, they have imputed to Him all the base and perverted emotions of men, and charged Him with all their own weaknesses, but while they have made a caricature of their God, and in their own minds He has been changed, nevertheless HE REMAINS UNCHANGED. 'With Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning' (James 1:17). It is because He doesn't change, because HE REMAINS MERCIFUL, that we are not consumed. Indeed, 'It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are NEW EVERY MORNING: great is Your faithfulness' (Lam. 3:22-23).
"'Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption' (Ps. 130:7). 'For You, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive: and plenteous in mercy unto ALL THEM that call upon You' (Ps. 86:5). PLENTEOUS in redemption, plenteous in mercy - such is our Father, and such will be all those who are 'begotten of Him' - after His kind. Sons of the Highest will be merciful as He is merciful." -end quote.
Even for Israel there would be another day, after the breaking, after the discipline, when they would be thoroughly turned to the Lord with a whole heart, restored into His righteousness, and "so all Israel shall be saved" (Rom. 11:26). The promise is sure: "Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God; I will do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for Mine holy name's sake, which you have profaned among the heathen, whither you went. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be My people, and I will be your God. And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. Thus says the Lord God; I shall yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them" (Eze. 36:22-38).
A PRESENT DAY APPLICATION
What holy assurance stirs within as the Spirit of God floods our souls with the divine understanding of truth so sublime as this: "For BY HIM were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created BY HIM and FOR HIM: and He is before all things, and BY HIM all things consist" (Col. 1:16-17). Your whole outlook on life will change from one of fear and dread to one of blessed assurance and confidence with the entrance of the understanding that ALL THINGS are vassals of His power, His dominion, and His control, and ALL THINGS are in His hands. Nothing exists without His consent. None acts without His orders or prospers without His blessing. In His omnipotent hands the nations of the earth in all their vaunted might and power are but dust upon the scales. You will not spend sleepless nights worrying about the Chinese, or the Russians, or Communism when your heart rests assured that GOD, for purposes comprehended only by those minds enlightened by the Spirit, has raised its godless head for a little moment to purge the filth and corruption of Mystery Babylon from the face of the earth.
We think of Communism being a great Challenge to Christianity, and for the harlot Church systems it is; but no system can be seriously threatened by an enemy "without" until it has been corrupted and weakened by some enemy within. While I am in no way sympathetic toward the misguided ideology or the cruel and repressive system of Communism, I must state that I am more concerned about the lack of living relationship to Christ on the part of professing Christians than I am about conspiracies, intrigues, and world-wide advancement of the Communists. Lenin once said, "Religion is a kind of a spiritual gin in which slaves of capital drown their human shape and their claim to any decent life." The sad fact is that the Russian Orthodox Church under the Czars had given Lenin and his followers absolutely NO MANIFESTATION OF TRUE CHRISTIANITY! Lenin had seen RELIGION, but he had never beheld the LIVING CHRIST in His people!
Thus Lenin was right when what he said about "religion" is viewed in the context of the place and the times in which he lived, and the so-called Church he had observed. The grossest darkness hung like a dense cloud over that whole religious system which reigned over the Russian people in that day. The vast majority of its priests were nothing more than well paid hirelings, twice dead in lifeless tradition, empty ceremony, and fleshly forms. Very few of them even knew Christ, much less had they been called by Him or separated by His Spirit unto the ministry of the Lord. In their gross ignorance of God and His attributes they portrayed before the people a deity who was little more than an idol. The people's hearts and spirits were buried beneath the stifling dust of useless human tradition, piled layer upon layer by scribes and pharisees, priests and bishops and canons, ritual and ceremony, blinding their eyes and numbing their minds to the glorious and eternal realities of HIM Who came that we might have life and have it more abundantly.
The cry of the hireling ministry then, as now, was for money, money, money, while her coffers bulged at the seams with gold and silver, and her poor were downtrodden and her slaves held in the prison house of ignorance and superstition. The Church in Russia was full of ignorant priests who were deceiving and being deceived, masquerading before the world as the representatives of the only true Catholic and Orthodox Church of Jesus Christ. But its recognized head was a poor, diseased, devil possessed, epileptic youth sitting upon the Czar's throne, and they pointed to this miserable creature, saying, "There, behold him, the White Czar, the Head of the Church of God!" Awesome and wonderful was the day when the Spirit of God was poured out upon a tiny remnant of faithful saints and the cry of the Spirit sounded like a trumpet blast through that dark land. The Spirit of prophecy burst forth in the midst of these righteous souls and the Word of the Lord roared out of Zion warning of impending persecution, disaster, and destruction, a swiftly approaching hour when the Church would no longer prosper, all the flocks would be scattered, and their temples torn down. Soon thereafter the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia, vast numbers of priests were murdered or jailed, the Churches were closed and their properties confiscated, the blood of millions of saints ran through the streets, and the pride and power of the State Church was destroyed.
My brethren, I must point out to you by the spirit of inspiration that there has been no country in the whole world that has sunk beneath the heel of atheistic Communism EXCEPT THAT THE PROFESSING CHURCH IN THAT COUNTRY WAS SPIRITUALLY BANKRUPT. This was the case in Russia and it has been true in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, Cuba, and in every other country where Communism has triumphed or where the Communist party is strong. Even as I pen these words (1983), many nations in Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and Western Europe are frighteningly close to a Communist takeover. In each and every case the ruling organized Church systems in those countries are apostate, spiritually dead, tradition bound, whose religion is adulterated with idolatry, watered down by secularism, and contaminated with godless humanists. Ah! I do not hesitate to declare it - the Almighty has again stretched forth HIS LEFT HAND OF JUDGMENT, GOD has Himself raised up the specter of World Communism FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS, and it is my deep conviction, witnessed by the Spirit within, that God is using the Communists to JUDGE MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT.
The following words of Scripture graphically describe precisely what is taking place in nation after nation where the Communists seize power and persecute or destroy organized religion. "And the ten horns which you saw upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall MAKE HER DESOLATE, and shall EAT HER FLESH, and BURN HER WITH FIRE. For G-O-D HAS PUT IN THEIR HEARTS TO FULFILL HIS WILL" (Rev. 17:16-17). The sins of the so-called Christian nations are now so great that judgment is inevitable - unless there is national repentance!
Has not God done this before? When God judged Israel of old He brought a wicked, godless government to bring correction to His own people. The very same situation exists today. America and Western Europe are on a money-making, pleasure-mad spree unparalleled in the history of the world. God is generally ignored and publicly ridiculed. Much of that which parades in His name professing to be the very power of God is nothing but sickening flesh and wicked abominations. How many professing Christians consider Christ, not as a life giving reality, but as a shot in the arm, a spiritual "fix" administered in a brief visit to the "church" on Sunday morning? It becomes a duty, and often a painful one, like going to the dentist, and the patient heaves a sigh of relief when the preacher says "Amen" and the weekly treatment is over. Though Lenin by no means presented the whole picture, he was right when he stated that "RELIGION is the opiate of the people" helping to dull the pain of living in a greedy, self-seeking society. Thus the greatest threat of Communism is not Communism itself, but the filthy abominations of MYSTERY BABYLON and the spiritual poverty of her inhabitants!
The reverent heart is made to wonder at the terrible power and effectiveness of GOD'S LEFT HAND as He moves to judge, correct, and discipline through NEGATIVE FORCES. Communism is in reality doing a much better job of disposing of the external structure of the harlot system than are the saints. It is an exasperating but undeniable fact that we in recent years have seen the President of the United States, the Prime Minister of Canada, the heads of European governments, the Queen of England, and, saddest of all, leading evangelists and officials of the Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Charismatic movements, making their journey to Rome to visit and receive the blessing of the Roman pope. Red Russia has better sense than many Christians in some respects; she is stamping out everything Babylonish where she holds sway much more faithfully than are the so-called ministers of God! God is thus using her as a weapon in HIS LEFT HAND. When He is through with her, she also will go down, as Babylon, Assyria, Rome and all the negative instruments of history have gone down to defeat and utter ruin. He who has raised it up will cast it down and break it to shivers beneath His feet when His purpose for it has been fulfilled. Then shall it, as Babylon, be as the chaff of the summer threshing floor, trodden beneath the foot of man and driven by the wind.
Are we, as Sons of the Highest, to turn our preaching and teaching and praying faculties over to an all-out FIGHT against Communism? Nay! This is neither our mission or task. I can assure you by the Word of the Lord that in due time God shall deal with the Communists. There shall be social, economic, political and military factors involved in its world-wide collapse, but beneath and above and beyond it all shall stand God STRETCHING FORTH HIS RIGHT HAND! From within and without the Communist world God is even now preparing, in the fires of testing and in the furnace of affliction, a RIGHT HAND COMPANY that shall arise at the appointed hour. There shall be a moving of HIS SPIRIT, and a demonstration of the wisdom and power and glory of the living God that shall take the world by surprise, knocking the godless Communist rulers off their thrones of power, and there shall be seen the triumph of the Kingdom of God and His Christ as the Lamb overcomes them.
What assurance fills the hearts of God's elect as they rejoice in the wonder and simplicity of the Father's plan! Abiding in the secret place of the Most High, they fearlessly await the fiery trials now falling upon the whole earth in the assurance that the TRUE CHURCH shall be purified and made white in the preparation for the glory of Christ that will encompass the whole earth as the triumph of HIS KINGDOM marches on!
Consider now these true and eloquent words penned by another: "His sharp, twoedged sword will not be stained with the blood of His enemies. It is instead that same sharp, two-edged sword which is the WORD OF GOD. With it and by its transforming power He will smite the nations, not in the bloody conflict and seething hate of war, but as He smote the people at Pentecost, bringing them to repentance and the joy of salvation. He will pierce the consciences of the people and cause them to cry, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?' He will prick them as Saul of Tarsus was pricked, and He will save them as he was saved. This is the way His righteous sword is wielded. It kills only to make alive and wounds only to heal. It kills only those things that should die and makes alive the things that should live. Thus will He rule the world through His body of Sons, with an iron rod - the rod of righteous judgment and the scepter of spiritual power and transforming grace." -end quote. This is the government of the RIGHT HAND OF GOD!
How truly the whole creation waits and groans for the manifestation of the Sons of God! How we ourselves do groan within ourselves! Does it seem that months turn into years and years pile up into decades and all things continue as they have been? Ah, my friends, I can tell you that our God shall move again! He shall come, He shall move in and through His body, the enChristed ones, in the fullness of the power and glory and authority of which His coming at Pentecost was but the firstfruits! And then "the kingdom, the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heavens SHALL BE GIVEN TO THE PEOPLE OF THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom and ALL DOMINIONS SHALL SERVE AND OBEY THEM. This was the end of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly upset me and my face changed color; but I kept the matter in my mind" (Dan. 7:27-28, Goodspeed).
THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD
Those elect saints who press forward toward the mark for the prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus are becoming related to God in His right hand. "Therefore being by the RIGHT HAND OF GOD exalted" (Acts 2:33). This speaks of Jesus Christ, the firstborn Son, our Forerunner. He is EXALTED to the RIGHT HAND of God. He is the POSITIVE FORCE of God in the universe "Who is gone into heaven (realm of government) and is on the RIGHT HAND of God; angels and authorities and powers BEING MADE SUBJECT UNTO HIM" (I Pet. 3:22). Contrary to popular theology, the right hand of God IS NOT A PLACE. I know that many have an idea here of Christ, looking like the Jesus they see in pictures, sitting beside some kind of a throne, along side of another figure who is supposed to represent. God. How unspeakably childish! The throne of the God who is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent Spirit is not a material one, but bespeaks the REALM OF HIS SUPREME AUTHORITY AND RULERSHIP; and our Lord Jesus Christ has been exalted to the glory of that rulership. The RIGHT HAND of God is a REALM OF POWER AND AUTHORITY, A POSITION OF EMINENCE, A CONDITION AND STATE OF BEING. It is an assumption of the almighty power and universal dominion of the Father. It is the dispensing of HIS POSITIVE ENERGY FORCE into His creation.
The Queen of England is on the throne of England, we say, yet we do not refer to the "royal bench", and as a matter of fact she seldom occupies it. When we say she is on the throne, we mean that she rules as the royal sovereign of England. The "right hand" signifies the chief place, position of excellence or favor, next to the chief ruler. Historically, Prince Bismarck was exalted or seated at the right hand of power, by the German Emperor; and Joseph was at the right hand of Pharaoh in the kingdom of Egypt - not literally, but after the customary figure of speech.
Some of the greatest truths of the Word of God are the ones that lie hidden like pearls of great price, unnoticed by the careless but available to all who will search beneath the uninviting surface of the ground. What wonder and glory are to be discovered in these magnificent words of our Lord spoken so long ago to Caiaphas: "Here after you shall see the Son of man sitting on THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING IN THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN" (Mat. 26:64). How the reverent heart is made to wonder! The Son of man sitting at the right hand of God and coming! The One sitting is, at the same time, COMING IN THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN! Here now we must ask the Spirit of the Lord to lift the hidden things from before our understanding and reveal the things that since the world began have been kept secret.
The words of Jesus quoted above do not refer to two separate events; it is rather two aspects of the same event. The Son of man sitting at the right hand of power comes in the clouds of heaven. The invisible One is made visible. He cannot be seen or known in that heavenly realm, but He is made manifest "in the clouds of heaven". He remains at the right hand while coming in the clouds. "Ye shall see the Son of man sitting...and coming!" It means that HE COMES IN POWER AND AUTHORITY. Listen to the words of Peter as he drives this beautiful truth home to the hearts of the multitude on the day of Pentecost: "Therefore BEING BY THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD EXALTED ... He has SHED FORTH THIS which you now SEE AND HEAR" (Acts 2:33). It is all very glorious!
Most assuredly Paul gives us the true meaning of "the clouds of heaven" when he says in Heb. 12:1, "Wherefore seeing, we also are compassed about with so great a CLOUD OF WITNESSES ... let us run with patience the race." Throughout the Bible the term "cloud" signifies witness or ministry. In II Pet. 2:17 and Jude 12 it speaks of false ministries being "clouds without water". Like the fig tree with leaves but no fruit, they give the appearance of life and ministry, but there is no life in them. Prov. 25:14 says, "Whoso boasts himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain." What a picture of some present day ministries! WINDS of doctrine (Eph. 4:14), and CLOUDS without water! Wanting only to float through the heavens to be seen of men. But no willingness to be a POURED OUT LIFE to bless God's thirsty creation!
The picture of a true life-giving ministry is found in Eccl. 11:3... "If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth." These are the kind of clouds, or witnesses, or ministries we are surrounded with. AND THESE ARE THE CLOUDS JESUS IS COMING BACK IN. A great many Christians seem to be waiting to meet Jesus on top of a cloud somewhere a few thousand feet up in the sky. They think it will be one of these big, fluffy, white cumulus clouds! But, precious friend of mine, I would have you notice that the Scriptures nowhere say that Jesus comes "TO the clouds", or comes down from heaven, "ON a cloud". The Word is careful to tell us that He comes "IN the clouds of heaven" (Mat. 24:30), "Coming IN a cloud with power and great glory" (Lk. 21:27), "sitting on the right hand of power, and coming IN the clouds of heaven" (Mat. 26:64). He is also said to come "WITH the clouds of heaven" (Dan. 7:13), "Behold, He comes WITH clouds" (Rev. 1:7). But never does the Holy Spirit tell us that Jesus returns "TO the clouds of earth", or to the natural rain clouds.
Thank God! there is a CLOUDS OF HEAVEN PEOPLE, those indwelt by the SON OF THE RIGHT HAND, daily experiencing the inworking of HIS LORDSHIP. This company IS the manifestation of GOD'S RIGHT HAND OF BLESSING in the earth today, and this right hand shall do even much more valiantly as the Sons of God press on in to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Those who dwell in the "clouds of heaven company shall not only REIGN upon the earth, but they shall RAIN upon the dry, parched earth and all peoples and nations shall be watered and given life through the gracious and bountiful outpouring of the RIGHT HAND OF GOD! Praise HIS wonderful name forever!
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