ENCOURAGEMENT

COMFORT FROM THE BOOK OF ISAIAH

Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., Pastor, Grace Bible Church of Costa Mesa, California

Copyright 1995-2014 Rev. Thomas Tyree, Jr., All Rights Reserved



 

COMFORT FROM THE FOUNDATION OF ISRAEL

Chapters 51-53 of the Book of Isaiah are great chapters of the Word of God dealing with encouragement, comfort, consolation and challenge. These truths are all wrapped up in the Biblical word "comfort." The first subject is comfort from the foundation of Israel. Great comfort and encouragement can be gleaned from an understanding of the founding of the Jewish race.

"Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; (Isaiah 51:1)

Isaiah 51:1 is a challenge to concentrate on the Word of God. God is saying emphatically to "listen up!" In the Navy they say, "now hear this!" In the Air Force they say, "now get this!" This is a very strong attention getting device in the original Hebrew. Righteousness should be the object of every believer's pursuit. We cannot earn or deserve the righteousness of God that was imputed to each of us at salvation. We should all strive to have a right relationship with the Lord. We should be squared away with His Word. We want a spiritual life based on integrity. Integrity is loyalty to the teachings of the Word of God. This integrity causes us to take on the characteristics of virtue. True virtue is Christian character based on the thinking of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, and produces a very honorable life and lifestyle.

How do we pursue righteousness? We pursue righteousness through consistent positive volition to God's Word and plan for our lives. We come to the Cross and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. When we do so, the justice of God is free to bless us. The justice of God is our point of contact with the Lord, not the love of God. Pentecostalism and emotional Christianity go overboard on the love of God. They try to make God's love and His sovereignty our points of reference with Him. Neither is correct. This erroneous belief is called Hyper-Calvinism.

Some denominations and churches believe that people are eternally saved because God capriciously chose them. He saw the individual, He wanted him to believe, so He elected him, predestined him to go to heaven, and there is nothing he can do about it. For everyone else, God predestined them to hell. God, in His perfect justice and fairness does not do this! The believer's volition is of absolute importance to God. God's plan for mankind is such that the sovereign will of God coexists with the free volition of each and every one of us! This is the basis of the Angelic Conflict and why mankind has been placed on this earth.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

The absolute fairness of God, His perfect justice, which is the function of His divine integrity could never coerce the free will of man. God's holiness in the Bible means integrity combined with His divine righteousness. The function of that integrity is divine justice. What the righteousness of God demands, the justice of God provides or executes. The righteousness of God demands that we have a righteousness equivalent to His to be qualified to live with Him forever. The justice of God imputes His very own righteousness to every person the moment that they believe in Christ as Savior.

If anyone were to die right now and stood before God and was asked what he had done that would qualify him to enter heaven, what could he rely on? He could say he had lived a good life and had kept his nose clean. He had gone to church 553,000 times. However, God regards all of this as insignificant and is called relative righteousness. Anything you can do cannot qualify you for heaven! There are always those that are better and there are those who are worse. What they all lack is God's perfect righteousness. They only have human good and relative righteousness. They can never get into heaven based on relative righteousness.

We must have a righteousness equivalent to God's righteousness. How can that be? God is perfect. How can we possibly measure up to God's perfect righteousness? There is nothing we can do to ever become sinlessly righteous or sinlessly perfect. The Christian will stand before heaven's portals knowing the only thing that he has done to qualify for entrance into heaven is his belief in Jesus Christ as his Savior. The Bible says that is all we have to do. The Bible teaches that is all we can do.

In heaven, the mature believer receives rewards based on the divine good he accomplished on earth. What type of rewards are there in eternity? The Bible does not list them, but it does state they are above anything we can ask or think with our limited frame of reference. Maybe the mature believer will have a gold Cadillac. Maybe the backslidden believer will have to ride around in a Model-T throughout eternity. These are just illustrations of the fact that there will definitely be visible differences. There will be blessings and rewards and different degrees of rewards in heaven.

In terms of salvation, what qualifies a human being to get into heaven? Receiving Christ as Savior frees the justice of God the Father to impute or to give you His very own righteousness. His righteousness is imputed to everyone who receives Christ as Savior. God loves His own righteousness. Therefore, He can love the believer eternally and unconditionally. This means that believers are eternally members of His family. We cannot pursue that righteousness! We can only receive it without merit at the moment of our salvation.

However, we are commanded to pursue righteousness after salvation. We pursue it by learning the Word of God and growing spiritually. This frees the justice of God to give great blessings to the maturing believer in time. That blessing in time is imputed to His righteousness resident in the believer. That is how to pursue righteousness as a believer. The result is a right kind of life and lifestyle. This means to be squared away with the Word of God and to do the right things at the right time and for the right reasons. Doing the right thing is confessing sins whenever necessary, getting with the Word on a daily basis and growing up spiritually. Doing the right thing is applying the Word of God and having a capacity to love the Lord and others. This fulfills God's plan and purpose for our lives. All of this results from pursuing this blessing imputed to God's righteousness. Pursuing righteousness simply means to pursue the maturity adjustment to the justice of God.

The justice of God is free to impute blessing in time to His divine righteousness in the mature believer. This is one of the greatest problem-solving devices in life. You must realize that no matter what the difficulty, heartache, adversity, disasters, or testings in life might be, we have the promise of blessing in time. Pursuing righteousness filled with the Spirit means we have experiential righteousness. This is a progressive and advancing righteousness where we do the right thing, make the right decisions by spiritual growth inside the fellowship sphere for time. By doing so, we keep our eyes on the goal of blessings in time that have been imputed to the righteousness of God within our souls. That is the target or attraction for all blessing in time.

There are many blessings that God wants to give the believer. They include the blessing of having someone to share life with within the divine institution of marriage. A successful marriage and winning at marriage come from pursuing virtue, not your right kind of man or right kind of woman. Virtue is strength of character that comes from a sense of integrity. This integrity is loyalty to the Word of God. This is pursuing righteousness. Those who have a capacity for love from virtue-love are going to make their relationships work despite all of the ups and downs, heartaches, and failures that are a part of any marriage. All of this is a part of the application of pursuing righteousness.

Positive volition means seeking the Lord. It is not that God is hiding somewhere. He is not going to appear in some vision and tell us what to do, how to really seek Him, or how to pursue His righteousness. You can only pursue it through His Word. Remember the Bible is the Word of God. Your positive volition to Bible truth is the basis of seeking the Lord. Positive believers seek righteousness and the resulting grace perspective. The grace perspective is seen in Isaiah 51:1.

"Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn; (Isaiah 51:1)

This is a reference to born-again Jews. Isaiah was a spiritually mature Jew who was communicating Bible doctrine to fellow Jews within the northern kingdom of Ephraim. The Lord Jesus Christ is the rock of Israel. He is the foundation of the Jewish race. The beginning of the Jewish race occurred when the Lord Jesus Christ, in one of His Old Testament manifestations, came to the earth and gave the Gospel to Abraham. Abraham was from the family of Ur of the Chaldees. His whole family had been involved in idolatry, paganism, and worship in the phallic cult. His father was a high priest in the phallic cult in the third dynasty of Ur. The Lord Jesus Christ gave the Gospel to Abraham. The Bible says, in Galatians 3:6, that Abraham believed on the Lord and his belief was the basis for God the Father's imputation of His righteousness to him.

Consider Abraham: "He believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." (Galatians 3:6)

This was the beginning of the Jewish race. It was a grace beginning. There was no goodness in Abraham. Yet he was the beginning of the greatest race of all time. From one man came the greatest race that has ever lived in human history. The Jewish race has contributed more of a positive and beneficial nature to all of civilization than any other race that has ever lived. This is a small minority race. This is a brilliant race. This is a genius race. This is the race that brought the Lord Jesus Christ into the world. This race had a grace beginning. The Lord Jesus Christ came to Abraham in grace.

Nahor was Abraham's brother. The Gospel was given by the Lord Jesus Christ to both Nahor and Abraham. Abraham said yes and received Christ as Savior. Nahor said no and did not become a part of the Jewish race. Sarah was Abraham's wife. She is called Sari, which means contentious. After her salvation and spiritual growth, she finally becomes Sarah which means the princess before the Lord. From this union came the beginning of the Jewish race. The Jewish race was founded upon regeneration.

Regeneration did not start with Abraham deciding to change his life in Ur of the Chaldees. He did not set out and go on a search for God and come into a relationship with Him. He did not have the power or the ability to seek out God and to be saved! No one has ever been able to reach God apart from salvation! All man can do is desire a relationship with God at the moment of God-consciousness. When Abraham came to that point of God-awareness, there was that desire to know the true and living God. Maybe he was a child when he came to God-consciousness. That desire was always there although it was clouded for many years because of his involvement in religion. When he heard the Gospel, something happened. He remembered that he wanted a relationship with God. He then believed upon Jesus the Messiah and Savior of the world. This was Jesus Christ as He was revealed in Old Testament times.

You have to remember the entire beginning of the Jewish race was a grace beginning. Abraham said yes. Nahor said no. Abraham and Sarah were both believers. It is possible that Hagar was a believer, but her son Ishmael said no to the Lord. Isaac said yes. Jacob said yes. The patriarchs said yes. The result was Jesus Christ as the son of Abraham, Isaac, and David. This continuous positive faith belief continued all the way down through the tribe of Judah. Judah was one of the 12. Through the tribe of Judah and the family of David we have the Lord Jesus Christ.

God's grace provides great comfort from the fact that every promise that God has made to you will be fulfilled. There are conditional promises such as "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." You are saved on the condition of believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. There are also unconditional promises after you have received Christ as Savior such as sustaining grace blessings that are imputed to divine righteousness in the believer.

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

Philippians 4:19 is an unconditional promise. The conditional promise is fulfilled when the believer gets with Bible doctrine and grows up spiritually. Wonderful blessings beyond sustaining grace are promised to the believer who reaches spiritual maturity. This provides a life of great purpose, meaning, and definition whether in a prosperity peak or a suffering slew. It is still going to be a great life because of occupation with the person of Christ and sharing God's very own happiness. All that you have in life is grace. You cannot earn it or merit it. You cannot work for it or deserve it. Great comfort and encouragement can be obtained from understanding this fundamental principle of grace.

Blessing does not come to us because of who or what we are. It comes to us because of God's grace and mercy. This keeps the believer from getting down on himself during times of failure. God's grace continues despite his faults, failures, sins, and shortcomings. God is always there - ready to forgive. We should never be down on ourselves. We should never be involved in anything contrary to Biblical self-respect and a healthy spiritual self-esteem. We should recover our fellowship status and keep moving through the grace of God. God's grace is not a license to sin, but a license to come to know, love, and serve our Lord Jesus Christ.

Life is full of purpose and meaning and definition when we live by grace. We will find great comfort and encouragement in that! There is challenge in the fact that the grace fulfillment of divine promises does not depend on who and what we are. It always depends upon who and what the Lord is. If we utilize His Word, take it in, apply it, and obey it, this produces self-control and self-discipline within your life as you grow spiritually. This takes a lot of self-discipline and self-control, which comes from the enabling power of the Holy Spirit when the believer is filled with the Spirit.

Everything gets back to who and what the Lord is. He is sovereignty and absolute righteousness. He is perfect integrity. He is perfect justice or fairness as the function of divine integrity. He is perfect love. He has a character of love. He has divine unconditional love for the entire human race, and divine personal love for those who come into a relationship with Him through His plan. He is eternal life. He is omnipotent or all powerful. He is omniscience or all knowing. He is omnipresent and is, therefore, present everywhere simultaneously. He is immutable and is, therefore, unchangeable. He can never fail you no matter how often you fail Him. There is encouragement here because this means that He is always faithful in keeping His promises. He can never be unfaithful because God is also perfect veracity or absolute truthfulness. He can never fail us because He can never go back on His word.

This also relates to the future of Israel, not just the foundation of Israel. The Iraqis, Arabs, Egyptians, Iranians, Jordanians, Lebanese or any other Arab group will never be able to destroy the Jews. God has a future for the Jews. The Arab world hates the Jews. The exceptions to this historical fact are those Arabs with a correct sense of establishment thinking, common sense, a relaxed mental attitude toward the Jew, or they are believers with Bible truth. The Arabic peoples base their lives on Islam. Their religion teaches hatred for the Jews. Their religion teaches destruction of the Jews. However, they will never destroy the Jews because God has promised a future for the Jews.

God is the basis of the foundation of Israel. The grace of God is the cornerstone and the foundation stone of the nation of Israel and they do have a future. You should find encouragement in that because you have a future. You have a destiny. Every believer should have a fantastic sense of destiny from his personal love relationship with Jesus Christ. We should realize that we can share the happiness of God right now and have wonderful blessings and rewards that go on forever and ever.

There is comfort from the foundation of the Jewish race. It is comfort from the grace of God. Everything depends on God. Nothing depends on us. You should realize that under God's grace plan, you will have purpose, meaning, and definition in your life. You have great privilege, opportunity, and responsibilities that are absolutely awesome. You have great spiritual self-esteem when you have grace orientation to life. That depends on the principle of grace and the grace fulfillment of divine promises. This again brings into the picture the principles of the immutability and veracity of God.

Look to Abraham, your father, and to Sarah, who gave you birth. When I called him he was but one, and I blessed him and made him many. (Isaiah 51:2)

The greatest race in human history came from one man - Abraham. According to Isaiah 51:6, that was grace and it all depended on God. Abraham was saved by grace, became spiritual by grace, and grew up spiritually on the basis of God's grace. This is the future of the Jews as stated in Isaiah 51:3. This is the same way they will be established again as a client nation unto God during the Millennial Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing. (Isaiah 51:3)

A brief review of the future that God has for Israel is in order. The Holy Spirit descended to the disciples in 30 A.D. to begin the formation of the Body of Christ and the beginning of the Church Age. We are a part of the Body of Christ and the Church Age. The Church Age began with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit that first took place in 30 A.D. and will end with the Rapture of the Church. We are a part of the Body of Christ on the earth. We will be a part of the Bride of Christ in heaven. The Rapture will occur when the last person of the Body of Christ believes in Christ. The Body will then be complete. The Rapture will occur at exactly the moment the last believer receives Christ as Savior and becomes a part of the Body by trusting Christ for salvation. The Bible does not tell us when this will be or exactly how many believers will make up the Body of Christ - only God knows that.

Church Age believers will not be here to see the Battle of Armageddon because the Battle of Armageddon begins in the middle of the Tribulation Period. There will be seven years of tribulation on the earth. We will return with the Lord Jesus Christ at His Second Advent at the end of the Tribulation. We will be heirs of God and joint heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ, ruling and reigning with Him during the Millennial Kingdom, which is simply the first 1,000 years of the eternal rulership of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a future picture of the Middle East.

The Garden of Eden was right in that area of the world that is Iraq today. It was in the "fertile crescent." It was between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. In the Millennium, Zion will be the capital of the entire Millennial Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jerusalem will be the most beautiful garden spot of the Millennium and the whole area of Israel itself. The promised land extends east from the Nile River to the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, south to include all of the Arabian Peninsula, and north to include all of what is Turkey today. Most all of the Middle East will be the Garden of Eden in the Millennium. It will be the most beautiful spot in all of the perfect environment of the Millennium.

When you share the happiness of God, you will have gratitude and thanksgiving. You will be encouraged and refreshed in your relationship with the Lord and in proper relationship with fellow believers. The mature believer has a continual attitude of gratitude. That should encourage you. How could you possibly be bummed out and discouraged when you are constantly thankful? The mature believer is thankful not for all things, but in all things. In any and every circumstance of life, the mature believer has that continual attitude of gratitude.

COMFORT FROM THE WORD OF GOD

The intake and application of Bible truth in the life of the advancing believer are always sources of comfort and encouragement. They are indicators of spiritual growth. What is your response when someone tells you some bad and distressing news? Do you start dumping on them to try to get sympathy or encouragement from them? Or, do you immediately give comfort, consolation, and encouragement to them? If you are growing spiritually, you take the initiative. You are there to give the comfort, the consolation and the encouragement. This comfort is always to be based on the application of Bible truth.

Perception and application of God's Truth are the basis for becoming spiritually independent. It never means you are independent of your church and your pastor-teacher. You will become spiritually self-sustained and will live your life as unto the Lord. This spiritual independence enables the mature believer-priest to solve his own problems using divine problem solving devices.

God's problem-solving devices are available to all Christians. Personal problem solving relies on the function of the faith-rest life and the possession of virtue. This virtue is motivated by a personal love of God. Biblical self-respect and the operational virtue of unconditional love toward everyone occur simultaneously with spiritual growth. We become spiritually self-sustained and have the divine and eternal perspective of life. We should keep our eyes on the righteousness of God which was imputed to our soul at salvation. If we do, we will receive the blessings that God has promised to us as we advance spiritually. The result is that we begin to live with eternity's values in view. Keeping eternity's values in view is to keep our eyes on the consistent intake and application of His Word which allows Jesus Christ to convey to us the rewards that God the Father set aside for every one of us for the eternal future. This causes us to realize that even the most intense of suffering and heartache is just a drop in a bucket compared to the ocean of eternity.

"Listen to me, my people; hear me, my nation: The law will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations. (Isaiah 51:4)

The Hebrew word for "law" in Isaiah 51:4 is TORAH. The word TORAH does not simply refer to the Mosaic Law or the Ten Commandments. It refers to the teachings and principles found in the Books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. This is the Torah or the Law. The rest of the Old Testament is called the Prophets. No one could write any part of the Old Testament without the gift of prophecy. Similarly, no one could write any part of the New Testament without the gift of apostleship. The word "law" refers to Bible truth, Old Testament doctrine or theology. Theology is the study of God and God's plan for the human race.

Israel and the Northern Kingdom were client nations during Isaiah's day. Today the United States of America is a client nation to God. Born-again believers are the ones called to be the salt of the land and the light of the world to our client nation. We are always to be supportive through our voice and vote of the principles of the laws of divine establishment. Our country should support missionary activity and evangelism and should always be a haven to the Jews. These are the characteristics of a client nation.

The word "law" in Isaiah 51:4 also refers to the laws of divine establishment which God has established to preserve the human race on the earth. This verse applies directly to the time of the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. God's justice or His absolute fairness is the basis of the administration of the Millennial Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. Everyone will get a perfectly fair shake having his "day in court" during the Millennium. There will be no injustices. Laws will be perfectly interpreted and evenly administered. There will be perfect justice - Jesus Christ's perfect justice.

Today, we see cases taking up to ten years to prove guilt. It should not take ten years to prove guilt. If there is no proof of guilt, the individual should be exonerated. The United States Constitution says that every citizen is entitled to a fair and speedy trial. This exemplifies the principle of justice and fairness. You cannot have a fair trial without a speedy trial. Not a rush to judgment, but enough time taken to either prove the person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt or not. If guilt cannot be proven, they must be released. They can be as guilty as sin, but they are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. People cannot be prosecuted without proper evidence. The perfect justice of Jesus Christ will rule during the Millennium.

Mature believers are blessed by the Lord in many magnificent ways. Part of their reward in heaven will be ruling over Gentile nations. Mature believers may be judges on the bench and called upon to render judgment. Christ will be the ruler of the earth in the Millennium, and the Church Age believer who fulfills God's plan for his life on earth will rule and reign with Him.

My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm. (Isaiah 51:5)

The right arm of God in Isaiah 51:5 is His righteousness. The left arm of God is His justice. The righteousness of God demands perfect equity and fairness for everyone, and the justice of God makes sure that happens. In the rulership of the Lord Jesus Christ, since He is perfect and sinless and God, there will always be a fair shake for everyone. He will rule the nations with a rod of establishment. A rod of establishment will be the scepter of our Lord Jesus Christ as He rules over all of the nations. God will judge from His perfect righteousness and justice. Everyone will know that the Lord Jesus Christ in His personal rulership over the entire earth will treat all of the human race fairly because of His perfection. They will anticipate the perfect administration of the justice of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is a part of the perfect environment of the Millennium.

Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail. (Isaiah 51:6)

The principles stated in Isaiah 51:6 oppose of the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution says that the earth is constantly changing, getting better, and that all species are progressing. This is not true. The Bible says devolution is occurring which is the opposite. The earth will wear out like a garment. That is why there will be a new heaven and a new earth at the end of the Millennium. The word in the Greek is KINOS. It means brand new and previously not existing. This word is also used to describe one of the seven functions the Holy Spirit performs at salvation by giving each of us a human spirit. This spiritual life makes us a new spiritual species in Jesus Christ. This is the exact opposite of evolution. This earth will wear out and it will be destroyed at the end of the Millennium. God will create an entirely new universe.

The earth is temporal. The human race is temporal. We all have a beginning and an end, but God's deliverance will last forever. It is wonderful to be a part of that deliverance! At the moment of salvation, you were delivered from the penalty of sin. You are continuously delivered from the power of sin by living under the power of the Spirit and the power of the Word of God. You will be delivered from the very presence of sin at the Rapture of the Church or death, whichever occurs first. This deliverance goes on forever and ever. We have eternal security and have been delivered from the penalty of sin forever and ever. We can never lose this deliverance. At the Rapture of the Church, we will be delivered from the very power of the old sin nature. Resurrection bodies will not have old sin natures. We will be perfect forever and ever. This is God's grace.

"Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have my law in your hearts: Do not fear the reproach of men or be terrified by their insults. (Isaiah 51:7)

We are commanded to share the Word of God whenever we have opportunity. People can be hostile and antagonistic. They can revile you. When you give the Gospel or share divine viewpoint, people can get down on you and call you a fanatic. They want you to just keep that religion in church where, they say, it belongs. They do not want to hear anything about it. However, we are commanded to take the Gospel throughout the world and we are to do it with no fear of man's reproach. Why not fear? We have God's doctrine in the thought pattern of our soul. As we give the Gospel as unto the Lord, we know the Lord will fill our mouth with what He wants us to say. Because of this, we have courage from unconditional love toward all people. We have courage toward any circumstance in life because of our faith-rest function. We have trust and reliance upon the Lord. It does not matter if people revile you once you give the message. We are not to be dismayed at the revilings and reproach of men. Man is temporal, but we have an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ!

For the moth will eat them up like a garment; the worm will devour them like wool. But my righteousness will last forever, my salvation through all generations." (Isaiah 51:8)

After physical death, our bodies will be consumed. Our bodies are temporal. However, if you are saved, you will receive a resurrection body with eternal life forever and ever. An eternal weight of glory will go to the believer who grows up spiritually in time. You have His righteousness in your soul. That goes on forever and ever. God's salvation will go on to all generations. We have comfort from the Word of God. We must realize that the intake and application of Bible truth is always a source of comfort, encouragement, challenge, and consolation.

Your perception, metabolization, and application of Bible truth is the basis for becoming spiritually independent. Being spiritually independent or spiritually self-sustained enables the individual believer-priest to solve his own problems by using God's tremendous problem-solving devices. Think of the faith-rest life for a moment. It is a tremendous problem-solving device. The plan-of-God rationale is also a problem-solving device. Under the plan-of-God rationale you realize that you have God's righteousness in your soul and that God loves you with an eternal, maximum, infinite, and unconditional love. Keep your eyes on the target of God's very own righteousness within your soul. That divine righteousness is the attraction for all blessing in time. As we grow spiritually, God is free to bless us. As we learn and apply doctrine we gain capacity. With capacity, God can give us all of the magnificent things in time that enable us to keep our eyes upon eternity and God as the source of all blessing.

God imputes blessing in time to God's righteousness in our soul. He also imputes eternal rewards to our resurrection body. This is the divine perspective. It always goes back to the righteousness and justice of God. The same justice that gives us blessings in time imputed to God's righteousness within our souls is the same justice that imputes blessings and rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ where we are the Bride of Christ. In eternity, blessings and rewards will be imputed to our resurrection bodies. Your personal problem-solving devices function through the faith-rest life and the possession of virtue-love. Your personal love relationship with God produces Biblical self-respect. With Biblical self-respect and unconditional love toward all believers you become spiritually self-sustained.

A judicial imputation is one where there is no target, affinity, or attraction. The first judicial imputation was God imputing the sins of the entire human race to the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. This was for our salvation. In judicial imputation number two, God the Father imputes His very own righteousness to us at the point of salvation. We do not have any attraction, affinity, or target for the imputation of God's righteousness. It is a grace imputation. The moment we believe in Christ, God imputes His righteousness to our souls. His righteousness becomes the target for all blessing.

We have the potential of blessing in time, but we have to get with and stick with Bible doctrine. We are to live every day in the Word of God. We need the daily intake of Bible truth so that as we grow spiritually and have great hope or confidence. This is a confidence of blessing in time at the point of maturity when we will receive all of our blessings that will be imputed to the divine righteousness within our soul. The laws of divine establishment protect us and perpetuate our lives so we can grow up spiritually. We also have sustaining grace blessing where God provides all of our needs while we live here on earth.

God the Father imputes His very own eternal life to the newly formed human spirit created by God the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation. By this action, we are born again and now have eternal life. Therefore, we can have blessing in time. As we advance spiritually, Jesus Christ is free to impute blessing to God's very own righteousness that now resides in our soul. This gives us the potential of rewards in eternity.

Undeserved suffering is a part of blessing for the mature believer. Undeserved suffering, which serves as a laser beam penetrating the infinity of eternity and gives us the wonderful confidence of blessing and rewards. This is called an eternal weight of glory. You have to continue under the Word to live with eternity's values in view as a mature believer. All of the suffering and heartache are just temporary light afflictions. It is not going to be that way in heaven. It is going to be an eternal weight of glory under blessing and reward.

There is great comfort in the Word of God. The believer with God's doctrine will not fear the reproach or the reviling of others. Human life is temporal, but what we have as Christians is eternal. His deliverance and salvation go on forever and ever. This provides great encouragement and comfort through the Word of God.

COMFORT FROM GOD'S ESSENCE

There is great encouragement in understanding the divine essence of God and applying it to testing. The essence-of-God rationale of the faith-rest life is the one rationale that the mature believer relies on more than any other rationale in the faith-rest life. This more than anything else gives him or her doctrinal conclusions and control of the situation. This does not change the circumstances or the situation! Bible doctrine application will not change the situation for the better. This is the sovereign will of God. Control of the situation means you are not "shot down" by the circumstances of life.

There are ten characteristics of the essence of God. They are sovereignty, absolute righteousness, justice, love, eternal life, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, immutability, and veracity. God has perfect happiness. God has never been unhappy. It is blasphemy to think that God could be unhappy. He is perfect. His essence is infinite, and, therefore, He has always had a perfect happiness.

You can have happiness by realizing that as you grow spiritually you share God's happiness as a mature believer. It is encouraging to understand God's divine essence and to apply it to testing in your life. Through the essence-of-God rationale applied to the situation of any heartache, your faith reaches out through the application of the Word of God and comes to doctrinal conclusions. This gives you the ability to have control of the situation. You should not fall apart or bounce off the walls all of the time. You will have your points of worry, fear, anxiety, and pressure, but you should not be destroyed by them. The faith-rest life takes care of pressure. Unconditional love takes care of stress. This gives you both poise and courage in dealing with people and the circumstances of life. This is control of the situation without requiring change in the situation.

Most people get disillusioned with the faith-rest life because they are not taking it the way the Word of God presents it. They are not using it the way the Word of God says it should be used. There are thousands of promises within the Word of God.

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: (Psalm 37:4-5)

As Psalm 37:4-5 states, when you become a mature believer, your deepest desire is to have all the blessings that He has for you. This means you want what He has for you within His plan. He will do the work. That is God's grace. When you claim a promise, it clears the mind of all fear, worry, and anxiety so that with a clear mind you can start thinking about the doctrine that you have taken in. By reversing the concentrator and applying that doctrine to your experience, through all the rationales that we have listed, you come to doctrinal conclusions and take control of the situation. This is the divine essence applied to the situation.

Awake, awake! Clothe yourself with strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in days gone by, as in generations of old. Was it not you who cut Rahab to pieces, who pierced that monster through? (Isaiah 51:9)

How many of us need to wake up as Isaiah 51:9 says? Maybe Isaiah's congregation was a little bit on the sleepy side. Maybe this was Monday night Bible class and they had had a bad Monday. Isaiah taught every day. When the Northern Kingdom was in jeopardy of being destroyed and the Southern Kingdom was in jeopardy of coming under the fourth cycle of discipline, he got up on the city walls and taught Bible class.

The Rabshekah told the people of Jerusalem how he, the Rabshekah, had conquered every other city and how he had killed and decapitated all of the population. He showed them the heads to let them know what had happened in the last fortified city he had conquered. He told them they had to surrender or this would happen to them. Instead, the people faith-rested it on the wall and trusted in the Lord. They put their faith in God, and they relied upon Him for deliverance. They knew if it was His will to deliver them, they would be delivered. They knew that if it was not His will to deliver them, the nation would go under the fourth cycle of discipline and be destroyed.

As advancing believers, they had their eyes on the righteousness of God, which God had imputed to them, and the blessings that God had for them. They knew their lives would be perpetuated under blessing whether the nation was preserved or whether the nation was destroyed. Remember, the mature believer who loves the Lord Jesus Christ is preserved under testing. The Lord preserves the life of the mature believers.

Isaiah wanted his people to concentrate on the essence of God. Jesus Christ controls history. It is the omnipotence of Jesus Christ that perpetuates human history. This enables human history to run its appointed course with God achieving victory in the Angelic Conflict.

Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made a road in the depths of the sea so that the redeemed might cross over? The ransomed of the LORD will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. (Isaiah 51:10-11)

The return of the Lord in Isaiah 51:10-11 refers to the Second Advent of Christ. There will be no sorrow, tears, pain, or death in the Millennial Kingdom. The former things will have passed away. In the perfect environment of the Millennial Kingdom, no one will die except those who come under capital punishment for capital crime. Although Satan and the demons will be incarcerated throughout the Millennium, there will be unbelievers born and there will be believers in physical bodies. When you have believers in physical bodies, they still have sin natures. Unbelievers have old sin natures so it is possible, and it will be reality in the Millennium, that there will be those who rebel against the authority of Jesus Christ. And when they do, they come under capital punishment. Other than that, no one will die during the Millennium.

"I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass, (Isaiah 51:12)

The term "the sons of men who are but grass" in Isaiah 51:12 means man is temporal and has a beginning and an ending. Why fear other members of the human race? They are born and they die, but God is eternal. He has no beginning and no ending and He has given us everlasting life!

No one dies until it is God's time for them to die. When it is God's time for you to die, God takes you home. God is perfect in His wisdom. He is infinite. He has the absolute perfect time to take you unto Himself. That should eliminate the fear of death. If you have conquered your fear of death, you will have great happiness in life and even greater happiness in dying. You will not fear mankind because, as you grow up spiritually, you lose your fear of death. That is one of the great spiritual blessings given to the advancing and mature believer. Therefore, this is a tremendous basis for living a life without fear, worry, and anxiety. We are forever linked with God who is eternal.

That you forget the LORD your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the earth, that you live in constant terror every day because of the wrath of the oppressor, who is bent on destruction? For where is the wrath of the oppressor? (Isaiah 51:13)

We have seen God's power, grace, omnipotence and His eternal life. This is the essence of God in Isaiah 51:13. You, as an advancing and maturing believer, will have times out of fellowship and times of fear because of it. However, if you know that the opposite of faith is fear and what is not of the faith-rest life is sin, you will confess it as sin and be returned to fellowship. You must understand that fearfulness is a personal sin. You should not want to live a life of fear. Your belief in the Word of God regarding confession will result in being filled with the Spirit where no fear can exist. As you continue to walk in the Spirit, you will have soul confidence that means you are not plagued by fear. It is so sad that people live continually under fear. We know how easy that would be without knowledge of the Word of God.

The essence of God as declared in the Bible is what we are to apply to the situation of any heartache or adversity. Do you want to gauge your spiritual maturity? How did you handle your last time of adversity or heartache? How did you handle your last time of disaster testing which called for faith-rest? Did you automatically fall back on who and what the Lord is? Did you recall past doctrines including the essence of God that you had learned and apply them to the situation? This is so important if you are to be comforted by God. God's wonderful faithfulness comes from His immutability. There is magnificent comfort from the essence of God.

The cowering prisoners will soon be set free; they will not die in their dungeon, nor will they lack bread. For I am the LORD your God, who churns up the sea so that its waves roar--the LORD Almighty is his name. I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand--I who set the heavens in place, who laid the foundations of the earth, and who say to Zion, 'You are my people.' (Isaiah 51:14-16)

COMFORT OR ENCOURAGEMENT FROM DISASTER TESTING

The Lord uses disasters to test our momentum in the Christian life. Personal and national disaster must be met with unconditional love under people testing and faith-rest under system testing. Does this mean that if you lose your job, you are to find comfort in that? If you lose a loved one, can you find comfort in that? If you lose wealth, health, loved ones, and prosperity, will there be comfort and encouragement for you right from disaster testing itself? The answer is yes!

Awake, awake! Rise up, O Jerusalem, you who have drunk from the hand of the LORD the cup of his wrath, you who have drained to its dregs the goblet that makes men stagger. Of all the sons she bore there was none to guide her; of all the sons she reared there was none to take her by the hand. These double calamities have come upon you--who can comfort you?--ruin and destruction, famine and sword--who can console you? Your sons have fainted; they lie at the head of every street, like antelope caught in a net. They are filled with the wrath of the LORD and the rebuke of your God. (Isaiah 51:17-20)

This is invasion and destruction of a nation in Isaiah 51:17-20. This happened to the Northern Kingdom during Isaiah's day. The Southern Kingdom was brought under the fourth cycle of discipline by the Assyrian empire. The Assyrian scourge had ravished the Jewish race and client-nation Israel and many people suffered dearly. But in the midst of this, the mature believer had comfort and encouragement realizing that God uses even the intense disaster of the loss of one's nation to test our momentum in the Christian life. Personal and/or national disaster must be met with unconditional love toward others and the faith-rest life.

COMFORT FROM DIVINE DELIVERANCE

God will always vindicate the doctrine metabolized in our souls. He has not promised to vindicate who and what we are! He has not promised to vindicate us as we function under the energy of the flesh of the old sin nature. However, as we continue to walk in fellowship with Him through the filling of the Spirit in the application and obedience of His Word, we gain Bible truth in our souls. That Word which we have in our souls is the basis of His vindication. He vindicates the doctrine metabolized in our souls!

Therefore hear this, you afflicted one, made drunk, but not with wine. This is what your Sovereign LORD says, your God, who defends his people: "See, I have taken out of your hand the cup that made you stagger; from that cup, the goblet of my wrath, you will never drink again. (Isaiah 51:21-22)

The "goblet my wrath" is God’s divine discipline upon a nation. This phrase in Isaiah 51:21-22 refers to the Armageddon campaign of the future when all of the Gentile powers of the earth are bent on destroying the Jews. The Jews will be delivered, and those Gentile powers against the Jews will be destroyed. This is the future of power politics. The kings of the Book of The Revelation will be; 1) the King of the North (Russia and her allies), 2) the King of the South (the Pan-Arabic block), 3) the Kings of the Sun Rise (the Pan-Oriental powers), and 4) the King of the West (the 10 nation confederation of Western Europe). They will all be bent on destroying the Jews for the wealth of the land. The Word of God says in Isaiah 51:23 that the Jews will be delivered and all their tormentors destroyed.

I will put it into the hands of your tormentors, who said to you, 'Fall prostrate that we may walk over you.' And you made your back like the ground, like a street to be walked over." (Isaiah 51:23)

That is what happened in the ancient world when a nation was conquered. The ruler had to prostrate himself flat on his stomach and then the victorious general or the warrior-king would walk over him. That was one of the ways of unconditional surrender. This is what people have done down through the centuries to the Jews.

Do you ever feel like you are just a doormat to others? People will do that to you because people can be very cruel. The old sin nature has a cruelty lust and they will walk all over you. It happens many times in life. This does not mean that you should just resign yourself to this reality and take it. You should stand up for your rights. As you do so, you must maintain unconditional love toward those who would use you as a doormat. Certain behavior is unacceptable. You should not allow it. No one should walk all over you. You should stand up for your rights, but do so with unconditional love. There must be no jealousy, anger, hostility, implacability, or bitterness in your response. All of those mental sins just destroy your own soul and create tremendous soul blocks and soul kinks. You have to have an attitude of total forgiveness even when you have to stand up for what is right.

There have been many holocausts of the Jews in history. There have been holocausts in the Egyptian empire, the Assyrian empire, the Chaldean empire, the Greco-Macedonian monarchies after Alexander the Great, the Roman empire in 70 A.D., the German Third Reich, and there will be a holocaust in the Tribulation period. In spite of all of this, there will be regenerate Jews waiting for their deliverance at the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. They will be delivered.

You should find tremendous comfort in divine deliverance. Under the principle of divine deliverance, God will always vindicate the doctrine in our souls. Often, divine deliverance does not mean the situation will change. It is your personal control over the situation that comes through God's problem-solving devices. He does not vindicate us personally. He vindicates the doctrine. This is a wonderful principle of grace. Despite who we are, our failures, sins, and evil of the past, it does not make a bit of difference. Keep walking in fellowship with the Lord and using confession-repentance whenever necessary. If you have His Word metabolized in your soul and you are living by it, He vindicates that principle. That is the basis for divine deliverance. God keeps His word. He vindicates His Word in us.

God is veracity - He cannot lie. Imperfect mankind can relate God's perfect essence to their lives through a knowledge of His Truth - the perfect Word of God. God cannot go back on His Word because of His perfect veracity. Also, God never changes what He is or what He thinks. Regardless of what direction you see your life going, God's essence and His Truth will always be there.

This is the immutability or unchangeable nature of God. He is absolute Truth and that relates to you. He can never fail to deliver you. He can never fail to vindicate you because He vindicates His Word within your soul. That is a part of the plan-of-God rationale. As we have the doctrinal capacity, God gives blessing to His righteousness within our soul. That blessing is always the basis for our vindication. Whether a situation changes or not, you can always have that wonderful control of the situation through application of Bible doctrine.

COMFORT FROM THE REGATHERING AND RESTORATION OF ISRAEL

God always keeps His Word as in the unconditional covenants to Israel. In the Abrahamic Covenant, God has promised almost the entire Middle East to the descendants of Abraham, the Jews, as an eternal possession. The specific land promises of the Abrahamic Covenant are expanded in the Palestinian Covenant. The rulership of that parcel of land is seen in the Davidic Covenant. The recipients are those who come under the New Covenant to Israel. They are the regenerate Jews at the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Awake, awake, O Zion, clothe yourself with strength. Put on your garments of splendor, O Jerusalem, the holy city. The uncircumcised and defiled will not enter you again. (Isaiah 52:1)

The omnipotence of God will be manifested to the Jews in a very marvelous and miraculous way in their regathering and restoration. Their strength comes from His strength. The word "Zion" in Isaiah 52:1 refers to God's grace to the Jews. The garments of splendor are the perfect environment and perfect conditions of Palestine and the capital of the promised land, which is Jerusalem. Jerusalem is called a holy city only at the Second Advent in the Millennium. Nowhere else in the Bible is Jerusalem referred to as the holy city. The biggest blasphemy in the world is to refer to Rome as the holy city. There is no holy city. There is no geographical area that is holy. There is no part of the earth today that is holy.

We know that there are meeting places where believers gather in fellowship for the intake of the Word and they are "holy" from the sense of being set apart. They are set apart for the fulfillment of God's plan and purpose through believers assembled for the intake of Bible truth. No geographical area is considered special or unique or under a perfect environment or perfect conditions in the Devil's world. Jerusalem today cannot be considered the holy city. The Arabs and the Jews both want it, and the conflict continues that has existed in the Middle East between Arab and Jew for centuries. That conflict will continue to exist until the Second Advent of Jesus Christ.

Immediately following Jesus Christ's victory in the Armageddon campaign, He will regather and restore all Jews to the land from throughout the world. They will be regathered and restored to the land. Unbelieving Jews will be removed under the Baptism of Fire and believing Jews will remain upon the earth to go into the Millennium. They will be a part of the great rulership of the Lord Jesus Christ from the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Circumcision was a sign of God's covenant relationship with His people and their covenant relationship with Jehovah. The overt ritual of circumcision referred to the fact that the Jewish race had a miraculous beginning. Abraham was a Chaldean who became the first Jew, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He, and all of his descendants, were circumcised. This was the overt sign of their belief and their covenant relationship with God. They had a special grace contract relationship with the Lord.

In a covenant there is the party of the first part and the party of the second part. Party of the first part, God, does all the promising, has all the power, and has all of the resources to get the job done. Party of the second part, regenerate mankind, can only respond with faith and appropriate what God has provided. The New Covenant to the Church was ratified in the Blood of Christ, His spiritual death on the Cross. The Lord Jesus Christ does all of the doing in His person and work on the Cross - party of the first part. Party of the second part, unregenerate man, receives by faith what the Lord Jesus Christ has provided. This is the wonderful grace principle that is behind all of the covenants of God.

The uncircumcised refers to the unregenerate. Unregenerate, whether Jew or Gentile, will be removed from the earth at the Second Coming of Christ. These are the uncircumcised and the unclean. If you were not circumcised as a Jew, you were considered ceremonially unclean. The Bible is loaded with references to circumcision because it was the overt sign of God's covenant relationship with His special race and client nation and their understanding of their covenant relationship with the Lord. Circumcision was a sign of the relationship with God. The ritual was the sign, it did not provide salvation just as water baptism today is a sign and does not provide salvation. Communion does not save either. These are just signs of our relationship with the Lord. Regenerate Jews at the Second Advent will enter the Millennium. Those who are unclean, the unregenerate Jews, will be removed from the earth.

Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, O captive Daughter of Zion. (Isaiah 52:2)

The Jews have been conquered many times in history. Their kings, who were conquered, were forced to lie down in the dust so the conqueror can put his foot on his neck as a sign of unconditional surrender. God says in, Isaiah 52:2, this will never happen again following His Second Coming. Isaiah tells them to shake themselves from the dust. These are regenerate Jews under freedom in the Millennial Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.

For this is what the LORD says: "You were sold for nothing, and without money you will be redeemed." (Isaiah 52:3)

The Jews in Isaiah 52:3 were taken captive for nothing. The fifth cycle of discipline came and the Egyptians enslaved them. They did not have to pay anything for them to become their slaves. The same thing occurred with the Assyrians, the Chaldeans, and the Romans. When the Jews were put under the worldwide dispersion in 70 A.D., they were taken captive for nothing.

The term "without money you will be redeemed" refers to the regenerate Jews being delivered into the Millennial Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is God's grace. There is great comfort and encouragement in realizing that God always keeps His word. He has promised the Jews a future where they will have the Davidic throne. The Lord Jesus Christ, David's greater son, will rule and these regenerate Jews will be there ruling with Him. They are redeemed or delivered without money. This reminds us of our own great and incomparable salvation that we cannot earn or deserve. We cannot buy it. Peter said in 1 Peter 1:18-19 that you were not redeemed with perishable things such as silver or gold from your empty way of life (your religion handed down by your forefathers) "but with the precious (priceless, above value) blood of Christ."

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. (1 Peter 1:18-19)

His spiritual death on the Cross means that if we believe, we are redeemed or delivered from a slave market. We are all born within the slave market of sin. We all have Adam's original sin imputed to our genetically-formed old sin nature. We are born sinners and born spiritually dead. We are born without a relationship with God. We are born lost, but that does not mean we cannot be retrieved. The human race is born totally depraved and in spiritual death, which means no relationship with God. However, the human race has been given free will. God has provided the opportunity for salvation for the entire human race. Although every member of the human race was born within the slave market of sin, we are each given a volition that we can use to believe on Christ for our eternal salvation.

There is only one person who was born free and He is the Lord Jesus Christ. Because of the virgin birth, He was born outside the slave market of sin. He was born free of Adam's original sin and without the sin nature. He was born perfect and lived without committing any personal sins. He was qualified to go to the Cross in our place as our substitute. He was born on the outside and His spiritual death is the purchase price for delivering us out of the slave market of sin. This was done without any money.

We can do nothing to earn or deserve salvation. Christ paid it all on the Cross. All we can do is believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. He has loosened the shackles. When the unbeliever says no and will not receive Christ as Savior, he takes the shackles and puts them back on and sits right where he is within the slave market. This action appears ridiculous to anyone who is a believer. Jesus Christ has paid the purchase price, He has unloosed the shackles and by faith in Him for salvation we get up and walk right out of the slave market of sin. We pay nothing!

There will be millions of Jews who believe in Christ during the Tribulation period. They will be waiting for their redeemer at the Second Coming. Those who have been redeemed have been saved without money. It is because of God's grace and God fulfilling His word that these regenerate Jews will be regathered and restored to the land at the Second Coming. There is comfort and encouragement in the fact that God always keeps His Word. His promises can never fail.

For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "At first my people went down to Egypt to live; lately, Assyria has oppressed them. (Isaiah 52:4)

God used the Assyrian Empire to discipline His client nation. The Northern Kingdom went under the fifth cycle of discipline and was taken into the Assyrian Empire. But, the Assyrians went too far and practiced anti-Semitism. Assyria attacked them and enslaved them as in Isaiah 52:4. The citizens of the Northern Kingdom were not trying to remove freedom from the Egyptians or the Assyrians. The Egyptians and the Assyrians were the aggressors.

"And now what do I have here?" declares the LORD. "For my people have been taken away for nothing, and those who rule them mock," declares the LORD. "And all day long my name is constantly blasphemed. Therefore my people will know my name; therefore in that day they will know that it is I who foretold it. Yes, it is I." How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!" (Isaiah 52:5-7)

According to Isaiah 52:5-7, those who bring the Gospel are considered beautiful. The Gospel is good news. It is the good news of deliverance. The word Gospel in the Hebrew and in the Greek has the connotation of good news. This is marvelous and wonderful news to the Jews at the Second Advent that they have been regathered and restored to the land. They are born again and they are with the Word. They have survived in the Tribulation period because of their obedience to the Word of God. They are ready to be delivered into the Davidic Kingdom. All of this information concerning this deliverance is good news. Regardless of what your feet look like, if you talk to someone in your neighborhood, at work on your own time, or on campus and you give them the good news of salvation, your feet are beautiful.

Peace in Isaiah 52:5-7 is the peace of the Millennium. There will be tremendous evangelism to the Jews and by the Jews to the Gentiles during the Tribulation. They will talk about how great the Kingdom is going to be. They will tell everyone it will be here in seven years or less. They will talk about the perfect environment. They will talk about the entire Middle East coming to the Jews as their eternal possession and all of the fantastic characteristics of the Millennium. In giving the Gospel in the Tribulation they will give it with a Kingdom twist. They will not have long because the Lord will be coming soon and they will know it.

We in the Church Age do not know the day or the hour of the Rapture. Those living in the Tribulation period will know how long they have left. They will know the Book of Daniel and about Daniel's 70th week. They will know there will be only seven literal years in the Tribulation. They will not know the exact day or the hour of Christ's Second Coming, but they will know as far as years and months are concerned. They will make the Kingdom a very definite part of their evangelism. This is the peace, the blessing, and the prosperity of the Millennium.

ASHERE is the Hebrew word for happiness. It is a plural word for the many manifestations of happiness from tranquility to ecstatics. Maybe you are hurting from some adversity in your life. Maybe your heart is broken and you are suffering. Maybe you are under intense disaster testing. Maybe you have intense momentum testing in different areas. Through them all, you can still be tranquil and have contentment of soul. You will probably not be ecstatic. It would be abnormal if you did. In contrast, the believers in the Tribulation will have great overt rejoicing and tremendous manifestation of happiness at the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. The emphasis is on the essence of God. He has sovereignty. His volition or His decider is the greatest and strongest in the universe. It is perfect and infinite. Therefore, He has everything to be the perfect ruler.

Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the LORD returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes. (Isaiah 52:8)

Jews in the Tribulation period are going to be comforted. They are going to be encouraged and consoled. They are going to be challenged by their regathering and restoration at the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. This regathering depends on the sovereignty of God. There is great comfort in the sovereignty of God. To realize that everything that happens in human history and in your personal history has either been directed by God or permitted by God. He has allowed it to be reality in human history.

God still rules and reigns in the affairs of men. This is the providence of God. God is in the shadows overruling and watching over His own. There is great comfort in that. Nothing ever gets out of His control. Jesus Christ controls history and He controls your life. He either controls it by blessing, if you are with His plan, or He controls it by discipline if you are not with His plan. Either way He never loses control. That is one of the great things in recognizing that we have control of any situation. We are linked to the one who can never lose control of any situation. We should trust Him and depend on Him.

Burst into songs of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem, for the LORD has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem. The LORD will lay bare his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth will see the salvation of our God. (Isaiah 52:9-10)

The phrase "his people" in Isaiah 52:9-10 refers to born-again Jews. Redeeming Jerusalem refers to the removal of the fifth cycle of discipline. The phrase "The Lord will lay bare his holy arm" refers to righteousness and justice, which is His moral perfection. Everything that He does in the final victory of the Armageddon campaign is perfect. He will kill millions of people, but it will be morally perfect. It will be the absolute moral thing to do. They are enemies of the Jews and they are His enemies.

This is His victory in the Armageddon campaign. The emphasis is on the essence of God. He has the power to get the job done. He will deliver the Jews by destroying all of their enemies. The perfect environment of the Millennium will then be established. How can we really have peace, blessing and security as a nation unless we involve ourselves in warfare that is moral and correct? We can have these things by doing the right thing in destroying the enemies of freedom.

Depart, depart, go out from there! Touch no unclean thing! Come out from it and be pure, you who carry the vessels of the LORD. (Isaiah 52:11)

The importance of separation is emphasized in Isaiah 52:11. These Jews will be separated unto God and that is why they will be alive and well as born-again and spiritually advancing Jews at the Second Coming of Christ. God knows what He is talking about when He tells you to separate from people, mentally and physically. Both are necessary. This passage is quoted in Revelation 17 and 18 about born-again believers separating themselves from religious Babylon. At that time, born-again believers are to separate themselves from religious Babylon and to return to their own country from which their forefathers originally came. They will be protected when political Babylon is nuked out of existence in the middle of the Tribulation period. This is the deliverance of God. God delivers you. There is provision and protection for you from the Lord, but you have to do your part. You have to separate from sin, human good and evil.

But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the LORD will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard. (Isaiah 52:12)

Encouragement comes from knowing that God always keeps His word. The Feast of Trumpets in the Old Testament refers to the Second Advent. This is the regathering and restoration of the Jews. Today, the Jews celebrate it by meeting together. The ram's horn is blown to assemble them into their synagogues where there is a time of reflection, repentance, and asking God's forgiveness of their failures of the last year. They think that, on this first day of the Jewish New Year, God is opening the Book of Life to see how they did in the preceding year and to evaluate them and either judge or reward them on that basis. That is the religion of Judaism.

It is interesting that there is always a very definite religious connotation in the Jews' celebration. There is repentance, reflection, asking for forgiveness, and thinking that God is opening the Book of Life to see how they have done and whether He is going to bless or discipline them based on their performance in the preceding year. They then eat an apple dipped in honey to symbolize the good things that are going to come to them in the new year if they keep their religious obligations and do good works.

This is NOT what the Bible teaches about the Book of Life. When God opens the Book of Life, it is the registry of the redeemed. Their names are retained in the Book of Life because they have not died without receiving Jesus Christ as Savior. Where there is life, there is hope. A name is not blotted out of the Book of Life until the person dies as an unbeliever, whether he is Jew or Gentile. If he dies without having received Christ as Savior, then his name is blotted out of the Book of Life and is entered into the Books of Works. That will be the basis of his indictment at the final judgment at the end of the Millennium. You see that in the Jewish celebration of Rosh Hashanna (Feast of Trumpets). It is based upon one's good performance in the past and anticipation of good performance in the future. It is a time of reflection and asking God for forgiveness. It is a religious operation all the way.

As Christians, we have good deeds and good works that are not the basis of our salvation, but the result of our spiritual growth as believers. The Jews do not realize that the Feast of Trumpets and all of the feasts of the Old Testament were fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the world. Rosh Hashanna refers to the regathering and restoration of the regenerate Jews - those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Messiah and Savior and are restored to the land at the Second Advent. This is God's Word and He always keeps it. We can have tremendous comfort, encouragement, challenge, and consolation in this great doctrine.

COMFORT FROM OUR PERSONAL LOVE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD

Another source of comfort is our occupation with the person of Christ. If you have your eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ, His Word encourages you and comforts you in times of trouble and heartache. This is because of the one you are depending on. You should not have your eyes on other people because people fail you. You should not have your eyes on things because you can lose them. In contrast, you can never lose your love relationship with Christ as long as you remain positive in the intake of His Word. Do not keep your eyes on people, things, circumstances, or yourself. Keep your eyes on the Lord. This brings comfort to your soul when you are under heartache. There is comfort and encouragement in developing this wonderful social life with God. This is occupation with the person of Christ. This social life is worshiping Jesus Christ and having the capacity to love Him.

Social life with God is developed through loneliness. One of the greatest blessings in life is to be alone, but never lonely. You can have "aloneness" and still be wonderfully tranquil, happy, content, and fulfilled. You can be all alone and under terrible suffering in your life, but, like the Lord did during His life on earth, you can use the filling of the Spirit and Bible doctrine in your soul to sustain you.

The Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross was all alone. The Father had forsaken Him. It was the power of the Spirit in His life and the power of the Word that kept Him there providing our salvation. He did it all alone. He had no human assistance. All His friends and loved ones had betrayed and forsaken Him at the foot of the Cross. He said, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" Spiritual death is separation from God. He was separated from God the Father during those last three hours on the cross, from noon to 3:00 p.m. It was God the Holy Spirit who sustained Him. It was God the Holy Spirit who empowered Him. God the Holy Spirit can never sustain and empower you unless you have Bible truth metabolized in your soul for application and obedience. That is why the Lord Jesus Christ uttered the dying words on the Cross as stated in Psalm 31:5.

Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth. (Psalm 31:5)

This emphasizes the importance of divine Truth. It was doctrine through the power of the Spirit that carried Him on the Cross while He was separated from God the Father. He was all alone. The Lord Jesus Christ was alone on the Cross under the excruciating suffering of bearing the sins of the world. Although He was separated from the Father, He still had everything within His soul that He knew about the Father. He had a wonderfully perfect fellowship with the Father. It had always been perfect and uninterrupted throughout the incarnation. He had the memory of that through the doctrine that He had. The empowerment of the Spirit enabled Him to stay on the Cross and to provide our salvation. That is the great thrust of the passage in Isaiah 53.

In Isaiah 53 we have this great passage on the Cross, burial, resurrection and ascension of our Lord. The prologue to it all begins in Isaiah 52:13-15. We are encouraged and comforted from occupation with the person of Christ.

See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted. (Isaiah 52:13)

The term "my servant" refers to the Messianic title for Jesus Christ. The phrase "will act wisely" refers to the resurrection. The phrase "will be raised" refers to Jesus Christ's ascension. To be "lifted up and highly exalted" refers to His present session at the Father's right hand. Jesus Christ is our surety, our advocate, and our great high priest. He is the one who has the strategic victory in the Angelic Conflict. We share that strategic victory through our union with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Just as there were many who were appalled at him--his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness so will he sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him. For what they were not told, they will see, and what they have not heard, they will understand. (Isaiah 52:14-15)

Our Lord's face was destroyed by the repeated beatings within His seven illegal trials before He went to the Cross. It was His spiritual death on the Cross, not His physical death that paid the penalty for the sins of the entire human race. Kings will shut their mouths because Jesus Christ controls history through the pivot of mature believers and the Laws of Divine Establishment. When people speak out against establishment, they speak out against maturing believers and who and what the Lord Jesus Christ is. However, He will close their mouths in due time. They do not know Jesus Christ because of their negative volition. They did not understand divine establishment principles because of their negative volition. But they will see and they will understand. Why? At the Second Advent, "Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." We "see" His resurrection, His ascension, and His session at the Father's right hand. We see Him controlling all of human history in the interim and we see Him recognized by the entire world at the Second Coming. This is our celebrity of celebrities. We ought to keep our eyes on Him. He is perfect and infinite. He is glorified at the Father's right hand. He can never fail us, so there should never be any disappointment in Jesus.

Life has many disappointments, but there is no disappointment in Jesus. He is all that He promised to be. His love and His care comfort us everywhere. Do not get your eyes on anyone. Keep your eyes on the Lord. Do not look to others, to self, to things, or to circumstances. Keep your eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:1-3)

Jesus Christ was rejected by many people throughout His life. No one could help Him when He was alone on the Cross. The Lord Jesus Christ went through it all with only the Holy Spirit to enable Him to handle the intense physical pain and the excruciating mental pain of spiritual separation from the Father. He did all of this while paying the penalty for the sins of the entire human race! He paid for YOUR sins! He went through it as a perfectly innocent individual. You and I were the ones who deserved it, but you and I did not get it. He got it. That is God's grace in action!

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5 )

Jesus Christ bore all of the grief and sorrow connected with all personal sins for the entire human race. He was the vicarious sufferer. He was alone in OUR place - dying spiritually in our stead and bearing our sins.

We are reconciled to God through the person and work of Christ on the Cross. He did it all alone on the Cross. The greatest way to develop a social life is to first develop a personal love relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ through His Word. Then, when you are all alone and under suffering and no one wants to be near you, Jesus Christ will always be with you. You are never alone. You may not have anyone else around you, but you will never be lonely. With divine viewpoint, you may be alone, but you are oriented to Bible truth that gives you a realistic perspective on life. In this way, you do not get your eyes on people, things, self, or circumstances. In your aloneness, you keep your focus on who and what the Lord Jesus Christ is. He did this. He was occupied with the Father although He was forsaken by the Father. Everything He knew about the Father and His experience with the Father was in His soul. The doctrine in His soul is what carried Him on the Cross. He was alone. Peter had denied Him and forsaken Him as had the rest except the Apostle John and the women who stayed with Him at the Cross. They would not leave the Lord that they loved.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. (Isaiah 53:6-7)

Jesus Christ was the vicarious sufferer. The emphasis is on Jesus Christ as the atoning lamb. There was oppression and false judgment. He endured false trials that were contrary to both Roman and Jewish law. He died at the age of 33. He had no wife or family. He had no tangible possessions. He was alone. He had a few friends and most of those friends had deserted Him. There were just a precious few that stuck with Him. They were the women and John the Apostle.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. (Isaiah 53:8-9 )

They were going to throw Him right out in the potter's field where they buried the poor and the criminals, but Joseph of Aramathea (a born-again believer from the Sanhedrin, a Pharisee) showed great courage. Joseph of Aramathea and Nicodemus took the body down and prepared it for burial. Jesus Christ's body was buried in the rich man's tomb. The word "death" in Isaiah 53:8-9 is in the plural for the reality of physical death as a result of His work being completed upon the Cross in His spiritual death. The Lord Jesus Christ is perfect and sinless. This is called the impeccability of Christ. Yet the sinless Lord Jesus Christ took the place of the sinful.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

How were we made the righteousness of God in Him? He has already completed His work in the Angelic Conflict. His work was completed by His spiritual death on the Cross. He then died physically, was buried, was resurrected, and then ascended to the Father's right hand. He entered His present session at that point. Once He had ascended and was glorified, He could then send the Holy Spirit in 30 A.D. to begin the Church Age. Recipients of His marvelous grace during today's dispensation of the Church Age receive the imputation of His righteousness at the moment of salvation because of His glorification. The moment we believe in Him, receive Him as our Savior and are entered into union with Him. We as believers share in His great victory.

Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. (Isaiah 53:10)

This verse refers to the rule of Jesus Christ during the Millennium. His offspring are Church Age believers. Prolonging His days refers to the Millennial rule of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the glory that should follow. Bible doctrine always advances the plan of God. The good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hands (the hand of the Lord Jesus Christ). That is why He referred to Bible truth in His final word on this earth.

Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth. (Psalm 31:5)

Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46)

It is Bible doctrine perpetuated throughout the Church Age that always advances and vindicates the plan of God. It is wonderful to realize that God vindicates His Word residing in your soul no matter how people malign or reject you and no matter what kinds of testing and adversities come your way in life!

After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. (Isaiah 53:11)

The Father will see Jesus Christ's substitutionary spiritual death for us and be satisfied. This is our Lord propitiating the Father by His spiritual death on the Cross. The glorification is based upon what He did on the Cross. It is based upon propitiation, justification and unlimited atonement.

Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:12)

The term "the great" in this verse refers to mature believers. The Lord Jesus Christ shares the plunder. We are heirs and joint-heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ. We have a share in everything that He has at the right hand of the Father. The plunder of the victory goes to you and me as members of His royal family. The term "the strong" also refers to the mature believer. The mature believer will be rewarded in eternity. He will share in the plunder of victory. Why? The offering of sin is based upon the person and work of our Savior on the Cross. There is great comfort in being occupied with this One who can never fail and has total victory in the Angelic Conflict. We share that victory through Positional Truth. We share it tactically by living our lives in the fellowship sphere for time.

COMFORT FROM PASSING SPIRITUAL GROWTH TESTING

As we grow spiritually under the intake and metabolization of the Word, one of the greatest things that God does for us is an expression of His unconditional love. He tests us. Under His permissive will and sometimes from His directive will, He brings testing into our lives. Just as in school, regardless of the subject, you will not learn or do the best that you can unless the professor tests you. The mid-terms and final exams keep you on your toes. God tests us to challenge our motivation and momentum. God tests us to see if we are going to hang in there and apply the appropriate doctrine to pass life's tests. If we pass these tests and continue our spiritual advance, we glorify our Lord Jesus Christ.

Old Sin Nature Testing

The first area of testing that can produce encouragement from the recall of Bible doctrine is application of doctrine to testing from the Old Sin Nature. The Old Sin Nature is Satan's inside agent. It is just like having a part of Satan's G-2 operation inside the believer's body - not his soul. It resides in every human being's cell structure. We receive the Old Sin Nature genetically from our father that has been passed down from Adam. We, as members of Mankind, all sinned when Adam sinned in the garden. Based on his sin, Adam's original sin is accredited or imputed to our genetically formed Old Sin Nature at the point of our physical birth. The Old Sin Nature is not a part of the soul. When you die as a believer, your immortal soul goes to heaven. Your Old Sin Nature cannot go to heaven and be in the presence of a perfect God. Therefore, it must be left behind in your temporal body.

Areas of temptation and sin come from the Old Sin Nature. They include sins of the mind based on arrogance such as jealousy, envy, implacability, vindictiveness, hostility, antagonism, guilt complex, and self-pity. They also include sins of the tongue like gossiping, maligning, fault finding, and criticizing others. There is great temptation to give in to these sins and to involve ourselves in gossiping, maligning, and running other people down. There are also the sins of overt behavior such as immorality, dishonesty, and criminality. All sin comes from the Old Sin Nature. There are also areas of soul weakness with built in trends toward sin and evil. There are also areas of strength that produce trends toward human good. All these things are from the Old Sin Nature. There is a lust pattern with approbation lust, power lust, ego lust, sexual lust, materialism lust, cruelty lust and violence-type lust. All these terrible things we see happening today come from the Old Sin Nature which is Satan's inside agent.

The strongest force in the universe is God. God decreed in eternity past that His sovereignty will coexist with the free will of man to resolve the Angelic Conflict. Therefore, man is free to decide what he wants to decide. Man can accomplish phenomenal things. The key is whether it is for good or for evil. The guardian of the human soul is volition. It has a negative and a positive pole. It can say no to the things of God, which is negative volition. It can say yes to the things of God, which is positive volition. Temptation comes from the Old Sin Nature as Satan's inside agent to solicit us to temptation toward human good, sin, and evil. Evil is any thought that is contrary to establishment, the Gospel and to Bible truth. Temptation comes to the volition of the soul which is the guardian of the soul. Is volition going to say no to the temptation or yes to the temptation? If it says yes, this is converting temptation into sin. The temptation is from the Old Sin Nature. The sin is from negative volition in the soul. Negative volition is saying yes to the temptation. Although the Old Sin Nature is genetically engineered in the human body, it gains control of the soul only through negative volition. This is control of the Old Sin Nature over the believer's life. This is called carnality or being out of fellowship.

You do not have to say yes to temptation. You can say no. You can decide not to dishonor your Lord Jesus Christ. The temptation may be very appealing and it might be fun. It could make you a lot of money, pleasure, personal benefit, and it could appeal to your arrogance. You do not have to give in to it. You can say no. When you say no to the temptation, you have rejected the temptation and you are not controlled by the Old Sin Nature. You have maintained soul control by the Holy Spirit.

The issue in the spiritual life is who controls your soul - the Old Sin Nature or the Holy Spirit. This is the big test. Free and independent volition can act independently of the plan of God or it can use its self determination to function according to the plan of God. Volition stands guard over the soul. All sin is an act of volition. There is no excuse for ignorance. Everything about sin is in the Bible. Ignorance of sin is no excuse for committing sin. If you have the motivation, desire, or determination to stay filled with and controlled by the Spirit a maximum amount each day, this is going to keep you away from sin. Sin that you know is sin and sin that you do not know is sin. If you are filled with the Spirit, your life will be characterized by love, joy, peace, longsuffering, patience, perseverance, faithfulness, self-control and self-discipline.

Negative volition converts temptation from the Old Sin Nature into sin in the soul. Negative volition allows soul control by the Old Sin Nature rather than by the Holy Spirit. What is the encouragement you receive under temptation? Temptation is not a sin! Giving in to the temptation is sin. We are all tempted and you should not feel guilty or get down on yourself because you are tempted. It is a sign that you are human.

The Bible says that the Lord Jesus Christ was tested at all points like we are and yet without sin. He never yielded to any mental attitude sin, sin of the tongue, or any overt sin. He was God, not able to sin and He was sinless man, able not to sin. We do not have that type of impeccability. There will be times when our negative volition will convert temptation into sin. As you grow spiritually, you outgrow certain areas of temptation. You take on new areas of temptation that are according to your spiritual growth. If you are still tempted and yielding and failing in the same area that you have always failed in as a Christian, it is probably a sign that you are not growing spiritually. God has better things for you in the area of temptation and testing. These are things that will bring maximum glory to Christ in the Angelic Conflict.

Whenever we convert temptation into sin, restoration to fellowship with the Holy Spirit can only occur through confession-repentance. Confession-repentance is understanding that you have sinned, changing your mental attitude toward those actions or thoughts and, because you do not want to do them again, you name or cite all of your known sins to God the Father. Here, there is a change of mental attitude concerning sinful action or thought as you recognize AND name them as sins to the Father. Based on confession-repentance, you are forgiven by God, cleansed of all sins whether known or unknown, and restored to fellowship. Under the filling of the Spirit you then can recall the doctrine necessary to pass whatever area of Old Sin Nature testing that you are undergoing.

People testing

People testing is probably the biggest test that believers face. People testing can be a source of the Old Sin Nature test. There will always be times when people give you a bad time, hurt you, and let you down. People will desert you and be disloyal to you. These things can become a temptation to respond from arrogance with self-pity, subjectivity, and revenge tactics. This is a big distraction to the Christian's momentum in spiritual growth because it is tempting to get your eyes on people and personalities through personal love or personal antagonism.

Personal love can be toward someone that you have great rapport with in romance or friendship. Personal love toward someone that you admire can be a huge distraction from your spiritual life. Especially if you put that person on a pedestal. If they fail you, you may try to tear them apart by your mental attitude sins and your sins of the tongue. This is called "the feet of clay syndrome," and it means you have failed the people test. It becomes a distraction to your spiritual life.

There are all kinds of personalities. You will be compatible with some personalities and some personalities you will not. Unconditional love smooths these differences out. Unconditional love means you love everyone with the power of the Spirit and the power of Bible truth. You cannot like everyone, but if you have virtue from metabolized Bible doctrine, you can love everyone under unconditional love. This love is free from any mental attitude sins.

The reaction of the Christian without unconditional love is bitterness when a loved one has let him down. So many people are bitter. They are bitter about everyone and everything. Bitterness is followed by vindictiveness and revenge tactics. Often, a Christian reacts to a personality conflict rather than falling back on unconditional love. In reacting, they develop hostile subjectivity. This is antagonism and revenge motivation called "Operation Payback." They become intensely sensitive toward themselves and totally insensitive toward other people. All reaction uses volition to convert temptation into sin. This puts the Christian under arrogance and antagonism.

The solution to people testing is the continual function of unconditional love and continued spiritual growth so that the believer develops the ability to be spiritually self-sustained. A believer who is spiritually self-sustained with his love for the Lord, his Biblical self-respect, and his unconditional love of all the brethren is enabled to fulfill the various mandates related to the honor code of the Royal Family of God. He is inflexible where he should be inflexible. He is flexible where he should be flexible. He is inflexible toward essentials, flexible toward the nonessentials, and in all things he has unconditional love.

A pastor-teacher who is faithful in teaching the Word of God gives you the doctrine necessary to grow in grace. You must stick with your pastor-teacher despite his personality and regardless of how you gnash your teeth because of something he said or did. No matter how he might rub you the wrong way from time to time with the way that he says what he says, he is still a leadership pastor-teacher in contrast to a managerial pastor-teacher. The managerial pastor-teacher is the one who majors in a lot of Christian education, organization administration, and people relation courses in seminary. He gets a group of people together and finds out what their strengths are as far as serving is concerned and gets everyone working. He controls people by getting everyone to serve, but he does not exercise his leadership or authority in studying and teaching the Word of God. All leadership and authority in the pastorate are established by teaching Bible doctrine.

The leadership pastor-teacher, in contrast to the managerial pastor, can control some backbiting and sins of the tongue that can run rampant through a church because of people failing people testing. The leadership pastor-teacher emphasizes privacy. He tells people that it is none of their business as far as what is going on in the lives of other people. We come to Bible class with privacy, but not with snobbishness. If someone asks how we are doing, they are not invading our privacy! They are being friendly. We should not be regimented like someone in a cult. We believe in privacy, but we should greet others graciously. We should express the Bible truth in our souls by extending ourselves in encouragement and hospitality to others. This is fulfilling the believer's mandated command of ambassadorship.

Recognizing the privacy of the pastor and fellow Christians whom you should love unconditionally, means not being nosy or invading their private lives when not welcomed. You should give them room to grow spiritually and not try to control their lives. You are to regulate and control your own life under Biblical self-respect. Privacy does not mean that you become snobbish, unfriendly, and cold toward others, especially where people new to Bible doctrine or the local church are concerned.

Often our times of fellowship together tend to involve only our friends. By doing so, we neglect people new to our local church. As Spirit-filled believers with love, joy, peace, and with the fruit of the Spirit, we probably could befriend these new people and make them feel welcome. You are not invading anyone's privacy just by being friendly and outgoing, especially to new people.

The pastor-teacher should emphasize what privacy of the priesthood is and what it is not. Unconditional virtue-love eliminates the arrogance of succumbing to people testing. You understand Bible truth and function under privacy. You understand and function under unconditional virtue-love and you pass people testing. There is great encouragement in that. You are challenged and encouraged. You are refreshed and revived within your soul because of passing momentum testing. This will stimulate your spiritual growth.

Thought Testing

Thought testing is another part of momentum testing. Thought testing is related to negative volition to Bible truth no matter whether it is indifference or antagonism. This negative volition to the Word produces a preoccupation with self under arrogance. This indifference to Bible truth leads to a negative volition toward the whole of the Scripture.

Thought distraction can come from inflexibility. People often refuse to concentrate on the teaching of the Word because they do not agree with what the pastor is communicating. They feel they should like and agree with every doctrine taught in the local church. Through arrogance and negative volition to what the Holy Spirit is teaching THROUGH the pastor's spiritual gift, they desire to hear exactly what will please them. The pastor should sound like someone else that is not so direct and harsh. They then decide that they are not going to listen to the pastor. We must realize that every communicator has his own personality, given to him by God in eternity past.

If you do not like your pastor's personality, remember his personality is not the point! Bible truth is the message from God the Holy Spirit through the pastor-teacher's spiritual gift. It is NOT a personal message from the man himself, but from the Word of God. The pastor must communicate the message using the personality given to him by God at birth. You have to keep your eyes on that important Biblical principle. Do not become inflexible and refuse to listen to a pastor who is using or not using a technical vocabulary. There are many pastor-teachers with many different personalities. They are all loyal to grace and to the Truth.

The believer should supplement his or her daily Bible teaching from the local church with other grace-oriented pastors as time allows. They may listen to and appreciate other pastors who are teaching grace and Truth as a supplement to their pastor's ministry. Do not be inflexible like a cult where you listen to only one individual and accept what he says while failing to think for yourself. You become a clone of that individual. Listening to other pastor-teachers who are oriented to grace and Truth keeps you, delivers you, from this thought testing of inflexibility.

Thought distraction comes from arrogance, hypersensitivity, and from bigotry. If you think prejudice, there is no way that you can grow spiritually. You have failed thought testing. You are out of line if you have prejudice against anyone because of racial, cultural, or geographical background. Often doubts result from neglecting Bible truth. A failure to take in, metabolize, and apply the Word of God results in a breakdown of thought and divine viewpoint and is replaced by human viewpoint.

One area of human viewpoint that is destroying marriages and families in our nation today is the idea that we have to spend maximum time in our jobs or professions to pursue prosperity. The divine viewpoint says there has to be a balance of time spent between husband and wife. There has to be a balance of time mother and father spend with their children. That is totally done away with by one or both being a workaholic.

Wives can become just as much a workaholic as the husband. She should not neglect her responsibilities in the home. He should not compensate by taking off with the guys and tying one on and so forth. They should discuss the responsibilities of each in the relationship and put them ahead of other activities. They must find a reasonable balance between gainful employment and responsibilities to the marriage and family. Divine viewpoint says getting married, raising a family and building a life requires time. If you are not going to devote a lot of time to your marriage, do not get married. Many believers are not thinking divine viewpoint in relationship to marriage and family. It has often been replaced by human viewpoint.

Under thought testing, Christians try to reconcile academics to Bible truth. They try to force psychology and sociology into a Biblical motif. The Bible does not authorize any of these things. This is the so-called "Psychology of Jesus." Jesus did not have a psychology. Under His impeccability, He took in and applied the Word, and from the example of His life, He has given us all of the devices that we need to solve our problems personally as we grow spiritually. It is amazing to see the number of Christians today who do not have the faith to believe that if they stay Spirit filled, they will produce the fruit of the Spirit. They do not have the faith to believe God will control their life and they will have a resulting life of contentment and tranquility.

Christians can have a life that is very fulfilling. They can have a life where they can share the happiness of God. However, many believers do not have the faith to believe it. They wind up spending millions of dollars on the psychiatrist's couch. This a ridiculous situation. All they have to do is to take in the free Word of God and apply it to their lives. It does not cost a penny. Unfortunately, people reject the Word and the stability it can bring to their lives and run to counselors. These counselors usually counsel from psychology - not the Word of God.

Biblical principles brought to bear on people's personal problems will enable them handle those problems with their strength drawn from God's problem-solving devices. If people would avail themselves of the intake and utilization of the Word of God, there would be no need to go to a counselor. Also, counseling from mature believers with the gift of wisdom can help you far better and to a greater extent than any psychiatrist could. Psychiatry is, at a minimum, human viewpoint and often presents Satanic viewpoint. Believers under this type of counsel often try to reconcile it with Bible truth and cannot.

Young people often begin to question what the Bible has to say about the beginning of man, the nature of man, and the destiny of man. They begin to question the Biblical doctrine of creation of the earth and the universe by Jesus Christ. They entertain the erroneous theory of evolution. This is thought testing. Many of these young people are failing thought testing. They attempt to reconcile academics and unproven scientific theories to Bible truth. The solution to thought testing is always confession of sin whenever necessary and application of faith-rest. This puts the emphasis on Bible doctrine rationales. These include the confession rationale, the plan-of-God rationale, the sustaining grace rationale, and the essence-of-God rationale. The Bible presents to you what God has to say about the origin of the universe, the earth, and man. The Bible is the inspired Word of God and maintained without error in the original languages throughout the ages. This is the standard of truth by which we are to measure everything else. This includes unproven scientific theories regarding the origin of life, the universe, the earth, and everything in it.

The Bible tells you Jesus Christ's thinking about the nature of man and what is going to happen to the environment. Will man ever destroy the environment? Will man ever destroy himself? God says absolutely not! We are the custodians of God's creation, but He controls and sustains it.

The faith-rest life is very important. The sustaining-grace rationale says to not get on the panic button about what liberals say about the environment and what the liberal academia is teaching in colleges. God promises He will protect your life, preserve your life, and perpetuate your life. You will be here just as long as He wants you to be here. When God's plan for your life is finished, no one can keep you here one instant beyond it. Until God's plan for your life is finished, no one can take you out of this world.

The solution to thought testing demands the use of your free will and initiative to reestablish the daily intake of Bible truth. If you have permitted anything in academic speculation (man-centered speculation) to take you away from the Word of God, you need to get back to divine viewpoint by getting squared away through Bible truth. That is how you pass the different areas of thought testing.


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