RULING AND REIGNING WITH GOD
October 30, 2020
In order to pick up with the train of thought with which we were finishing last week’s discussion, I’m repeating the last paragraph. That said, let’s get right to it.
Satan's effort 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)
Jesus' answer established the Throne of God for all who would come into relationship with Him; and it established the foundation for the Throne of the Lamb, which would become evident in time to come. He made it crystal clear that any and all thrones -- be they the thrones of this world, or the Throne of the Universe, be they physical power and authority, or spiritual power and authority -- are established in righteousness (a right relationship with God); and that righteousness is established in worship.
He also made it abundantly clear that the only real worship is the Worship of God. Some time later, as you will recall, the Samaritan woman cornered Him at the well and engaged Him in a discussion on worship. His answer to her was,"God is a spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit, and in Truth!" Once again, He made a point of the fact that all relationship with the Lord is based in worship -- in the realm of the Spirit.
Some years ago, I distributed an article entitled, "The Purpose of Ekklesia." In it I addressed the tendency in our midst to become so focused on the methodology of our spontaneous worship that we lose sight of our calling to the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me add a little to what has already been stated. When Earle and Marcia Treend, Della and I first began to gather daily for worship in Anchorage some thirty years ago, there was life springing forth in our midst constantly. As time went on and the move to Trails' End occurred, that Ekklesia grew and our worship music took on a much larger scope. Our experiences in the midst of this worship took us into vast realms none of us had ever before considered in our wildest dreams.
At the same time, the frequency of our gathering together diminished from a daily basis to two and three times a week, then to once a week, and then to whenever we could get together. Our travels and varying schedules became such that we did well if we got together once or twice a month. All of us experienced "withdrawals," feeling as if a major part of our existence was missing. Things haven’t changed much, have they?
In that same letter on the purpose of Ekklesia, I shared the strong sense that there was going to be a major shaking within our group. There has been. Shaking is a natural part of how Holy Spirit keeps God’s people from getting too stuck in a rut. I believe that it is ordered by the Holy Spirit for the purpose of reorienting our focus.
Methodology tends toward becoming the objective rather than the Lord. The visions, supernatural experiences with the audible voice of God, the sounds of angelic voices in our midst and the sounds of added instruments being played by angels as we were worshipping, so awed us that for a time our gathering together became the objective instead of ministry to the Lord. We were in danger of developing an "us four and no more" mentality, with an arrogant spirit of exclusivity. The other side of this coin was the evolving of a "preference" for being with certain ones in our midst.
This is a trap of Satan. If he can get us sidetracked with "gathering daily," or coming together so we can hear angels in our midst, or for the purpose of experiencing any supernatural manifestations, we have lost it! If we prefer the fellowship of certain ones to the exclusion of others, and focus our attentions on a select few, we immediately bow before the feet of Satan, succumbing to the Fear of Man. The immediate result for us is the loss of our place on the Throne.
Please don’t mistake what I’m saying. The concept of David’s Tabernacle and 24-hour, seven-days-a-week gathering for praise and worship is still an objective.
Trying to go back to the way we did things all those years years ago because of the way in which we were brought into the presence of the Lord back then, turns it into a worship of the methodology instead of worshipping the Lord. Again, we yield the Throne to the Enemy. Anytime the focus shifts away from the Lord to the peripheral events which occur normally as a part of being One with Him, we get sucked into a trap. Our objective is not hearing angels.
Our objective is not in the gathering together. Even Ekklesia is not our objective. (Ekklesia is the Holy Spirit's paradigm and framework for our processing -- not the other way around. We can't build Ekklesia, and we can't pick and choose those whom we will "allow" the Holy Spirit join to us. It just isn't our prerogative.)
Our objective is not to keep the Ekklesia together in "the way it has been." This has been the downfall of many in each move of God, in every previous generation. We cannot afford the luxury of wanting things to go on "the way they used to."
Let me drop another little tidbit on you. The realm of the supernatural is not going to go away just because we don't gather together in person as frequently. Change is taking place in our midst -- necessary change. The preeminence of the Lord Jesus Christ and our worship of Him will continue as THE focus of our existence.
At the same time our "tent stakes" are being moved out so as to encompass others whom the Lord is bringing into this realm. The focus of the place of our gathering together is also changing.
No one should kick at the changes the Holy Spirit brings about. So long as our continued focus is ministering to Him, He will take care of the people with whom we are involved and the unfolding events. The Ekklesia will not die. It will grow, and the glory of the Lord will be seen visibly as the Bride fuses together and takes on a coherence in the world.
We have previously discussed the fact that John begins his writing of the Revelation by saying, "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard..........," (Revelation 1:10) whereupon he launches into a detailed description of those things which he both saw and heard.
The revelation of the Throne of God, and the Throne of the Lamb is not one which can be known through intellectual pursuit. One does not "study" to learn about the Throne. Neither can it be perceived through an analysis of the scriptures. The Throne is a living experience, seen and revealed through and by the Holy Spirit, as we live and walk in the spirit.
The Throne is, and must be, experiential for all who will be One with Jesus Christ -- changed, conformed, and molded into His new onoma. The Throne is not some mystical, ethereal concept. It is neither a geographical place, nor physical piece of gold or marble, nor some other substance situated in a certain cosmic locale. It is the living, functioning reality of the rulership of the Most High God, in the most practical and cardinal aspect of our entire existence. It is the working of the power and the authority of Jesus Christ, our King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and Bridegroom -- our Other Self -- in us!
When Jesus cried out on the cross, uttering those final words before His death, "It is finished," He had accomplished something of such overwhelming proportions as to boggle the natural mind. He had completed a Plan ordained before the first words of Creation were ever spoken. He had legally ended Satan's hold over a species of being -- a people -- brought into existence for the sole purpose of fellowship -- at His peer level -- with Him. He had once again established His Throne in the natural or earthly realm. He had provided a means for that same people to once again be seated with Him on that Throne.
Paul described it like this, "[I pray] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the knowledge of Him; I pray that the eyes of your understanding may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ,
When He raised Him from the dead, and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all thrones and authority and power and dominion, and every onomathat is named, not only in this age, but also in that one which is to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the Ekklesia, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." (Ephesians 1:17-23) NASB and my translation.
It is important to note that Paul prays for those of us who believe to receive the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation in the knowledge of Him, and to see the greatness of His power toward us. What is the greatness of His power to us who believe? It becomes obvious in the next few phrases when he describes Jesus as being (present tense) seated at the right hand of God, "Far above all thrones and authority and power and dominion, and every onoma that is named, not only in this age, but also in that one which is to come." Then he uses the pictorial metaphor of the body, describing Jesus as its head and us as the body, making us One with Him and also seated at the right hand of God.
That's not a theory! It is reality. "Heavenly places," once again, are not some mystic place in the cosmos. This is a living, operative actuality where we function in and through and with Jesus Christ, "Far above all thrones and authority and power and dominion, and every onomathat is named, not only in this age, but also in that one which is to come." This is the Throne of God and the Lamb!
In writing to the Ekklesia in Colosse, Paul said, "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for by Him were all things created, both in the heavens, and on earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:15-17) NASB
The significance of this statement is that He did not just speak Creation into existence: He also created all thrones -- including His. Prior to Christ's death and resurrection, the thrones of His people were subject to Satan. Coming therefore in human flesh, and asserting power and authority over Satan, He redeemed access to those thrones for His people. Jesus overcame him by "the blood of the Lamb," by virtue of becoming that "Lamb that was slain." For Him, it was finished. For us, it was just beginning -- and yet it had been completed! In the realm of the Spirit, time is non-existent.
As the first-century Ekklesias emerged and grew under the auspices of the Paraklete, the Holy Spirit -- who is One with both the Father and the Son and is likewise timeless -- began to carry out His assignment, functioning both timelessly and in time. In the same way events unfolded for Esther as she was prepared for her king and the throne, the Bride began to go through the fire and be subjected to thlipsis: to pressure, to affliction, to persecution, to trials and tribulation.
As the Lord transported John out of time into eternity to see the unfolding of the Bride and her preparation for the Bridegroom, he was able to see past, present and future. He saw Jesus overcome the flesh, its frailties and diseases, all human emotions, the desires of this world, and the wiles and treachery of Satan "by the blood of the Lamb." He saw Him overcome in the realm of the Spirit and regain the throne for all those who would follow by the same path.
And John saw war in the heavenlies. He was taken into the distant past before time began and saw as Satan rose up to usurp the Throne of God, taking a third of the angels with him. John saw the Archangel, Michael, stand against Satan and defeat him. He watched the transformation of Lucifer from "angel of light" to the "serpent of old," that old dragon, Satan. He saw him removed from his place in Heaven and thrown down to the earth.
Time blurred for an instant as John was transported across centuries and millennia. Then he heard a loud voice in Heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night."
Once again, he was taken forward in time to watch it happen again. This time he saw the Bride overcome the dragon. This time His testimony of the event was, "And they overcame him by and because of the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they did not react in any way to the Fear of, or threat of death." (my translation)
How was that again?
"They overcame him by (1) the blood of the Lamb, and (2) the word of their testimony." We already know what "the blood of the Lamb" represented, so what was "the word of their testimony?" They testified to the fact that they also overcame in the very same way that Jesus overcame. Not only did they overcome in the same way, but also the very same things: namely, (1) the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, (2) the lust and thirst of their minds to operate on the basis of reason, intellect, and "knowledge," (3) the cries of their flesh to be satisfied, (4) the instinctive reactions to the Fear of Death, the Fear of Man, and the Fear of Evil, (5) the inclination to cling to the "safety net" of religion, (6) Satan, his seven dominant spirits, and his armies of evil spirits, and (7) the human tendency to let down one's guard after numerous victories, and rest on one's laurels.
The Bride, therefore, overcame by testifying to her own experiential walking out of the same path of overcoming Jesus walked. Her testimony was twofold: (1) the blood of the Lamb accomplished the legal basis for her to take authority over the "Tree of Knowledge" and burn it with fire; (Jesus had already laid the axe to the root, and it only remained for the Bride to burn it as chaff with her rejection and invalidation of it as a life force to be reckoned with.) and (2) she had personally encountered each obstacle Jesus had overcome, winning those very same battles in her life.
The crowning proof to all this was John's witness that "they did not react in any way to the Fear of, or threat of death." Having overcome the Fear of Death, it no longer affected (or infected) the decision-making processes in walking that path. Jesus had overcome the last enemy of mankind, Death, taking death with Him on the cross and destroying its power. The Bride, therefore, must also have overcome death to such a degree that in the midst of her overcoming and testifying to it, death, the fear of it, and the threat of it would never be a factor. Her testimony would consequently be the mirror image of that to which Jesus testified.
(It is of significance that the cross is never mentioned in the Revelation even once. The purpose of the cross had already been fulfilled. It was never designed to be an object of ongoing attention for those who would be joined to Jesus Christ on the Throne.)
Forty times in the record of the Revelation, John sees and speaks of the Throne. No other subject receives as much attention. It outnumbers every other topic except worship by a factor of at least 2:1, and is the central theme of the message John shares. The second most-discussed subject is worship; and the third is overcoming -- often mentioned within the framework of the fourth most-mentioned item: the crown. Seen, therefore, within its proper perspective, the principal message John shares is notthlipsis(or tribulation), nor death, nor doom and gloom, but ruling and reigning.
Worship, therefore, is directly interrelated and intertwined with the Crown of the overcomer, and being seated on the Throne with our Bridegroom, Jesus Christ. It is apparent that the Throne is established in worship, and that it functions in the midst of worship.
Now, lest anyone who reads this letter draw the conclusion that I am attempting to relegate the Throne strictly to the present day and the overcoming processes of the Bride, be assured that is not so! What I have been driving at is that there can be no Throne in the future of those among God's people who do not overcome even as Christ overcame. There will be no Throne for the majority of those we so glibly refer to as “Christians.” The Throne of the future, the Throne of the thousand-year reign of peace, the Throne of the new heavens and new earth, the Throne of Forever, all are reserved for the Bride of Christ.
Those who do not overcome "all things" will not be invited to sit with Christ on the Throne of the future. This is not a legalistic criterion based on "performance." This has nothing to do with being saved, being baptized in water, being baptized in the Holy Spirit, walking in the gifts of the Spirit, etc., etc., etc. This is a place of recognition and authority given to those who learn to exercise that authority in the midst of present day situations, circumstances, temptations, and obstacles. Jesus Christ will seat no one on that Throne who has not first learned rulership as He learned rulership, who has not overcome even as He overcame. The Throne of the future is for those who have learned to rule in the present.
More next week!
In case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, ourSunday 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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