RULING AND REIGNING WITH GOD
October 23, 2020
We’ve been talking about the parallel between the seven nations that occupied Canaan and the seven letters that were addressed to the body of Christ in Asia Minor by John under Holy Spirit’s direction. I remind you that the events described in Revelation begin with John’s statement that “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.”
Anyone who tries to reason out the events in Revelation using normal logic and reasoning, and comparing them to other Scriptures based on academic reasoning fails miserably to understand what the Lord is saying and what He is after in His people. Yes, there are comparisons between certain events in Revelation and Daniel’s visions, but when one tries to reason them out, setting dates and time frames to them, they miss entirely what God is trying to get at in us. Jesus is coming for a people clothed in white! He is coming for a people who’ve been tried in the fire. He’s coming for a people who have come to know His heart! He is NOT coming for a people who have an escape mentality, a people who want to escape “the Great Tribulation.”
The tribulation is
nothing more than the experience of pressure, andis something we must
experience. It is trial by fire. The
apostle Peter put it like this:
I Peter 4:12-14:Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
Anyway, on to picking up where we left off last week.
We have come to the place of dwelling perpetually in His presence. The promise of the onoma of "the city of My God, the new Jerusalem" is the guarantee that we are now a certified part of the Bride of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only that, the overcomer receives His new onoma.
The seventh letter, written to the Ekklesia in Laodicea, identifies a struggle we have all seen. Their battle was with the Spirit of the Canaanites. They had overcome the other six spirits, and had come into a place of extraordinary blessing and prosperity. In the midst of this great blessing, they fell into a series of traps laid for them by the Spirit of the Canaanites.
When individuals experience prolonged struggles and battles in the realm of the spirit, there is a weariness which lays hold of them. It taps them at the core of their very being. In that place of weariness, there is a tendency -- when one experiences great victories, and when the blessings of the Lord begin to be outwardly bestowed and manifested -- to just sit back and relax, to feel like they have "arrived," to feel like it is okay to quit battling for a while.
It is at this point that this particular spirit steps in to deceive God's people -- and particularly, the Bride -- into believing that they need to "cash in" on some of the revelations they have received and the talents which have been given to them, and to utilize the place of authority they have to benefit their physical well being -- in other words, to enjoy a few "creature comforts." It is a lie! It happens with the Throne of God before you! ....Except that you are oblivious to that throne.
People become tempted to sell, or to merchandise, the word of the Lord, the blessings and revelations, the truths received in exchange for money, for recognition, for esteem, for power -- or for whatever their long-subdued flesh screams out for. They quit fighting. They stop with the revelation they have already received. They become content with the wonderful growth they have already experienced. And they become lukewarm.
Because this is such a crucial and determining place, the Lord drew an astounding picture for them -- one they could not possibly miss. The Ekklesia in Laodicea was well aware of Jesus' parable of the ten virgins. They were well aware of the significance of the readied virgins entering the bride chamber with the Bridegroom, the door being shut, and the foolish virgins returning to knock on the door wanting to come in. They clearly understood that the foolish virgins were excluded from being a part of the Bride.
Within this framework of understanding, then, Jesus says to this Ekklesia, "Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with Me." Thus, He was putting them in the bridal chamber, and showing Himself as being the rejected Bridegroom, standing outside on their wedding night. There was no way they could miss the significance of this picture. They were not worthy of being in the bride chamber. It was a startling way of expressing His love and desire for them. His promise, therefore, to those who overcame the Spirit of the Canaanites was, "He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, even as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." (see Revelation 3:20,21) NASB
Now do you get it? The progression -- from the first letter to the seventh -- begins with the Tree of Life, and ends with the Throne.
Notice that Jesus clearly states, "I also overcame, and sat down with My Father on His throne." Everything that was written in the seven letters to the seven Ekklesias was a picture of what Jesus overcame. I obviously don't have room in a letter like this to demonstrate for you each of the successive areas in which He overcame, but consider for a moment the temptation by Satan immediately following His forty days of fasting in the wilderness.
Each area of temptation was a challenge to that which had been established in Him. We have discussed this in prior letters, but once again, listen to what Satan said as he approached Jesus. "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." OK! Now hold on! IF you are the Son of God? What's with this IF? Not six weeks before, Jesus had been baptized by John in the Jordan River. When He came out of the water, the Spirit of God had descended upon Him in the form of a dove. An audible voice of the Father had been heard speaking out of the heavens, saying, "This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well-pleased." This is precisely the same question that was thrown at Adam and Eve, that is to say, "Hath God said?" Yes! Absolutely! Without question!
So how did Jesus respond? "It is written, Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God." (see Matthew 4:1-11)
His answer was two-edged. First, He dealt with the fact that the demands of the flesh for sustenance are not the criteria by which we live. Secondly, He answered to the question of whether He was the Son of God. The Father had spoken audibly out of heaven in the presence of many witnesses, who heard Him say, "This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Those words proceeded out of His mouth. Though Jesus knew that He was the Son, and it was certainly engraved in His spirit, it was not necessary for Him to rely strictly on what He knew within because the same word in His spirit had proceeded -- audibly -- out of the mouth of God, The Father. His overcoming, therefore, began with the "Word of His testimony."
Step two followed as Satan took Him into the city of Jerusalem and had Him stand on a pinnacle of the temple. Once again, he said, "IF you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, "He will give His angels charge concerning you;" and, "On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone." Whoa! Here we go again! Never mind the fact that Jesus has just testified to the fact that God has said He is The Son, Satan is going to hit Him up by a different method. The Bible is the Word of God -- right? So let's quote some scriptures in order to support this challenge. In fact, let's quote from Moses, the Lawgiver, in the Psalms (Psalm 91:11,12). This is the word of God isn't it?
As a matter of fact -- NO! The Bible consists of words which God has spoken, and things which He has done, but it is not a substitute for Him! John later testified of Jesus, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1) Jesus, therefore, was the Word. The issue at hand was not what He had said, but what He was saying -- and it wasn't to jump off the pinnacle of the temple. Quoting scriptures to get people to disobey and/or disregard that which the Lord is saying has always been one of the primary tactics of Satan. Jesus' response hit directly at the heart of this tactic, "On the other hand, it is written, You shall not put the Lord your God to the test."
Get it? The temptation began with, "IF you are the Son of God...." No amount of scripture quoting was going to get Jesus to put the IF to the test. He was and is the Son of God, Period! End of Statement! Exclamation Mark! Then Jesus quoted a scripture in return (from Deuteronomy 6:16) to demonstrate that which God was saying, "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test." For Jesus to have acted on the basis of written scriptures in response to Satan's temptation would have been to submit Himself, as Adam and Eve had done, to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. His response to Satan restated in the most emphatic of terms that which the Father had said: namely, that He was The Son of God; that as the Son of God, He was God, and therefore Satan was in violation of that which was both spoken and written, "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test."
In so stating, He also testified to the fact that He, Jesus Christ, was "the Lord your God" as far as Satan was concerned. In other words, He was the Lord God over Satan, and Satan was as much subject to Him as he was to The Father.
Consider how Jesus has overcome up to this point.
He has overcome the undoubted screams of His natural flesh to be fed. The feeding was certainly justified. He had completed the full forty days of fasting. It would have been "good" for Him to eat at that point. The temptation of Satan was not to get Him to do anything out of the ordinary in terms of feeding Himself. The timing was wrong, however. So was the methodology. The point was not whether Jesus had the ability to turn the rocks into bread.
The point was in proving His divinity as the Son of God in order to feed His flesh. The point was in responding to a suggestion from Satan. Jesus was overcoming both His flesh (The Fear of Death), and the need to prove His Divine nature (The Fear of Man) so as to impress Satan with His great power.
Overcoming the second temptation reinforced His authority over The Fear of Death and the Fear of Man. It also established the basis for His throne as the preeminent throne, with absolute authority over Satan. The specific scriptures which Satan quoted, however, were addressing The Fear of Evil. Satan's suggestion was that He could commit a rash act under the premise that Angels were in full charge of the situation, and that He had nothing to fear by stepping off the pinnacle of the temple.
There is another, even greater, aspect of Jesus' overcoming in this temptation, however. Do you see where the temptation occurred? On the pinnacle of the temple. Satan was prophesying falsely, using "the temple" as a religious symbol. The idea being promoted was this: "This is the temple (the church). This is the house of God. This is the place of God's presence. Submit to me here, and you will be safe. So long as your act is attached in some way to the temple/church, you can do anything you want. There is safety in the structure." It was the manipulative lie later promoted under the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. It made system and structure to be God in place of a personal relationship, and justified any and all acts associated with the structure.
Jesus' overcoming of this temptation, therefore, went beyond the Fear of Death, The Fear of Man, or The Fear of Evil; He also overcame the master spirits of rebellion, control, witchcraft, false prophecy, divination -- and all that was represented in the Spirit of the Amorites and the Spirit of the Perizzites.
Satan's temptation of Jesus still had one final effort. This time Jesus was taken into a very high mountain and given a view of all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory. Consider that Jesus had overcome everything of the Enemy's tactics up to this point. Satan now says, "All these things will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Talk about blatant! At first glance, it seems ludicrous that Satan would use a frontal approach with such transparent bribery in view of his previous failures and rebuffs.
But wait! Stop for a moment and consider once again the Ekklesia in Laodicea. He did exactly the same thing with them. Here they are, having overcome all the wiles of the Enemy, having received the invitation to the wedding, having been made a part of the Bride, having been given a crown. Having reached this stage, however, they are weary and fatigued from the struggles.
For them, the blessing of the Lord has begun to bring some physical benefits -- our society today would call it "prosperity." In step-by-step fashion, the Serpent comes with his artifice and says, "You're tired. You don't have to wait until some far off future date to enjoy the benefits of your victories. You can cash in on the esteem you have received. Make compromises with the Roman Emperor. He'll cut you some slack -- I guarantee it! Then you can parlay your favor with him to gain prominent positions in the politics of Laodicea; and then use those positions to provide gainful employment for your Christian brothers and sisters. You can have a ‘Christian City!’"
And thus did Satan sell the Ekklesia in Laodicea a bill of goods. He laid before them "the kingdoms of this world, and their glory." This is precisely how it all happened. They bought into it hook, line and sinker. And in the process stopped fighting Satan. And stood still spiritually. And became rich in this world's goods. And lost their place of intimacy with the Lord. And gave up the real Throne for a very artificial and temporary throne and place of power.
Was it a ludicrous approach? Had Satan lost his marbles thinking he could sell Jesus on this idea? Take a look a Jesus' circumstances. For forty days he had fasted in the wilderness. I don't know how many of you have ever fasted for forty days, but Della and I have both done it many times. Except for a couple of very unusual circumstances in which we were supernaturally empowered throughout the forty-day period, we have mostly ended those fasts very weak and drained physically.
Several years ago, Della spent the last week of a forty-day fast in bed just struggling to hang on to some vestige of strength. I have to believe that -- in this instance for Jesus -- because He was setting the stage for the most critical phase of his earthly existence, He went through some real extremes in His flesh. The probabilities are that He was in very weakened condition physically and in a heightened state of sensitivity to the needs of the flesh. His victory, therefore, over Satan in the first two temptations must have been very energizing. His emotions would have been at a real high, and there would have been a natural tendency to rest on those laurels.
Satan's effort, consequently, would have been logical -- especially when you consider that he was eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and judging the Lord accordingly. Jesus' answer must have been a real shock to him. It was not a logical response. It was a powerful comeback in the realm of the Spirit that raised up the Throne of God; one that decimated the roots and foundations of the Tree of Knowledge, and everything that Satan had stood upon, "Begone, Satan! For it is written: You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only." (quotations from the NASB)
Next week we will show you how Jesus’ answers to Satan established the Throne of God.
In case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:30AM Pacific. That conference number is (712) 770-4160, and the access code is 308640#. We are now making these gatherings available on video usingZOOM. If you wish to participate by video on ZOOM, our login ID is 835-926-513. If you miss the live voice-onlycall, you can dial (712) 770-4169, enter the same access code and listen in later. The video call, of course, is not recorded – not yet, anyway.
Blessings on you!
Regner A. Capener
RIVER WORSHIP CENTER
Temple, Texas 76502
Email Contact: CapenerMinistries@protonmail.com
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