THERE IS ALWAYS MORE IN CHRIST:
"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; 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 exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come" (Ephesians 1:17-21).
Consider what 'Much More' He purchased for us! Much more than Just salvation from spending eternity in hell!
What is gradually becoming increasingly clear world-wide is that the Lord is allowing the rise of anti-Christian governments and legislation whose desire is to close down biblical values wherever possible. This will bring about a great tribulation and persecution of the genuine church. Thankfully, a few vestiges of Christianity remain, at the present time, amongst certain celebrities and parliamentarians, but even in my own state of Victoria (Australia) a nebulous overly broad bill was passed on the 4th February 2021 that will make it a criminal offense to attempt to advise people or to vigorously preach from the Bible what today's rebellious society doesn't want to hear.
Despite assurances from the Justice Department that this bill is only aimed against a few unfortunately forceful practices regarding gender, this bill places parents and Christian schools into a most difficult situation where the largely ungodly courts will be open to rule any way they wish if they consider that emotional harm was done. My personal experience is that some children are prepared to lie and exaggerate if they angrily resent any godly advice that goes against their will. Emotionally unstable and insecure people are prepared to discredit others no matter who they may be (Romans 1:30). The penalties, if ruled upon unfavourably, will be a fine of almost $10,000 or 10 years in Jail. Imagine that!
During the Iron Curtain era the Russian Orthodox Church was allowed to survive. However, priests were government appointees who had been groomed on what they could and could not say, and were regularly spied upon in secret by select members of the congregation.
The motive behind it all is to suppress anything that would undermine societies’ values of the majority of the populace. They represent very vocal bodies whose utmost desire is to legitimise ungodly values so as to willingly numb their consciences which God has planted indelibly into everyone’s heart. Thus no one will have an excuse on the Day of Judgement. They will be judged according to their own and consistently deliberate choices.
Strangely enough, it is therefore God’s will that the ungodly should become more ungodly and that the godly should become more righteous towards the end so that our light would become more and more prominent against the backdrop of darkness that is enveloping the world (2Timothy 3:12-13; Revelation 22:1). People will be forced to make final choices about their eternal fate more than ever before. But rest assured that the Lord will shine His glory through you! We should therefore not be dismayed but recognise that God is in control at all times and has already won us the victory through Jesus Christ.
"Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen on you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples but the Lord shall rise on you and His glory shall be seen on you. And the nations shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your dawning" (Isaiah 60:1-3). What greater glory would you want from the Lord in this present life but His presence in you?
It would also do us well to remember the political climate under which Jesus was born. The Herods were a murderous dynasty as was the Jewish Sanhedrin. Though the Romans had some noble laws, which they strictly obeyed with an iron hand, they were often capable of plotting a betrayal of some form and showed no mercy to any who would oppose their rule.
The church was born under fierce opposition and then suffered much under the persecution of Saul of Tarsus, prior to his "Road to Damascus" experience, but what the enemy meant for evil God used for good. It has always been so and shall be so until the end. Even in the church God allows the tares to grow up alongside the wheat until the final harvest so as to not disturb those who He is determined to save (Matthew 13:29). It is not His will that any should perish. This may not align with our human wisdom but it is God’s.
He will certainly give us more in the way of spiritual gifts and angelic help at times like this but what I really wish is for my readers to take the message home as to what He is storing up for us in the heavens if we have faith and obey. Have you noticed that all promises in the Bible are conditional?
WHAT MORE IS THERE TO THE "MORE" IN CHRIST?
The book of Revelation forbids anyone to add to or subtract from the Scriptures (Revelation 22:18-21). Yet the Word itself promises that there always will be more for God to reveal to His people. He promised that there will be the prophetic word, dreams and visions to encourage and lead us on (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17) and that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth (John 16:13). None of these are to usurp the Scriptures of course. God treasures His written word ("It is written" is quoted by Jesus eight times in the gospel of Matthew alone).
Taking the words of one of the YouTube evangelistic ministries, I would have to partially agree with Mario that true prophets rightly couple the victorious promises of God with a call for the Church to repent. In general, false prophets speak as if we are entitled to God’s promises already and have to do nothing to change our lives. False prophets resisted Jeremiah's prophesy of a traumatic destruction of Jerusalem, but fall it did. Jeremiah pleaded with the people to change their hearts but they did not. God spared Nineveh even though Jonah prophesied that God would destroy it within 40 days. They repented in dramatic fashion that we don't see these days (Jonah 3:4-5).
On the other hand, there have been true prophecies whose fulfilment had little to do with the will of man and could not have been judged or even understood at the time they were given; such as the 574 verses in the Old Testament that somehow point to or describe, or reference the coming Messiah. Prophecies of the 2nd Coming fall into the same category. We believe these by faith. Only the passage of time can tell. As I am writing this Proverbs 3:5 came to mind “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding”.
We have to be wary of contemporary prophecies of any sort and put on godly filters so as not to throw out the baby with the bathwater when a prophecy comes that we distrust. Sometimes He may allow us to swallow some bathwater in order to refine our filters and teach us a lesson. I think that I have had my fair share of those. Biblical prophecies, however, have proven themselves to be 100% reliable.
In my case the immediate lesson has been to take my eyes off politics and individuals and to focus on the Word of God. God wants us to live in reality. He never said we would have it easy. Remember what Jesus and the apostles had to go through. Our hope is enthroned in righteousness and in the city of the New Jerusalem that is waiting for us. This was Abraham’s vision also. He looked for a city whose maker and builder was God. His vision of goodness ahead was shattered by the revelation that his descendants would be enslaved for 400 years (Genesis 15:3) yet he was to keep His eyes on God’s promises and not be shaken by what was lying immediately ahead. He was to offer himself as a living sacrifice to God no matter what.
SO WHAT HAVE I FOUND "MORE" IN CHRIST?
God has ‘fattened’ the Bible for me with visions and dreams that I have published in my Kindle book on Amazon for the reason that it is readily available in a cheap form world-wide. Because of their lack of proper Bible teaching on shadows and types some struggle with concepts that I bring forward in the latter part of the book. All I ask is that the reader persevere and pray for illumination from the Lord. Hebrews 9:24 gives an example of a shadow,
"For Christ has not entered into the Holy of Holies [and the Holy Place] made with hands, which are the figures of the true [shadows of the true] , but into Heaven itself [the heavenly temple], now to appear in the presence of God for us" (KJV in green, Hebrews 9:24). The square brackets are mine. In other words, that which we shall behold and posses in heaven has been shown as but a poor shadow in the Old Testament so that by faith we would see what really awaits us in heaven.
My visions and dreams have made me aware that God wants us to reach higher and higher for the exceeding and unimaginable riches that await us in Paradise (Romans 9:23). Too many Christians settle for less or are just satisfied by getting into heaven by the ‘skin on their teeth’. What we decide on now is what we will reap in heaven (Luke 1:38). Don't miss out on what God wants to give to you (Ephesians 2:7).
The Rev Hal Oxley, of Chirnside Park in Melbourne, Australia, in his book on “End time Prophecy", published in 2020 shortly before his death at the age of 103, states that too many decide to camp out early on their pilgrimage and then be satisfied with a comfortable Christian life and more or less passively rely on God’s continued blessings. In my two personal and lengthy encounters with Hal at his home he told me that he was always seeking for more from God. In particular, he wanted to know more specifics about the inhabitants of the city of New Jerusalem in Paradise where there are also other cities; a mystery about which Jesus gave a clue to those with an open heart (Luke 19:11-19; Revelation 20:9).
In this regard, think about the layout of the Church in the wilderness, which was but a shadow of Paradise, with the tent of the Tabernacle at the center but at a distance from the closest of the tents of the Israelites (Acts 7:36; Numbers Chapter 2; Exodus 33:7). The following diagram is by Pastor Ralph F. Wilson:
Note that the Aaronic priesthood was located closest to the dwelling place of God in the Holiest of Holies and so it will be with a selection of the redeemed in the city of the New Jerusalem, the 'capital city' of Paradise. The placement of every tribe was specified by God at the time of Moses so as to be revealed to us in the time of the end. Those who served as priests were in the heart of the camp, in the heart of the cross (shown in blue in the diagram of the cross given below). Would that describe you? Are not all true disciples kings and priests (Revelation 1:6; 5:10)? The church in the wilderness was a symbolic shadow of the layout in Paradise. How close would you want to be to the Lord?
As devoted scholars know, nothing in the content of the Bible is there by chance. The cross-like nature of the layout was already known last century when attention was also drawn to the fact that the gate of the Tabernacle was always located facing due East in the direction of the rising Sun as per God's instructions. Bible scholars, used to imperial measures, then realized that the number of people in the camp of Judah on the East, at the foot of our schematic cross, which included Issachar and Zebulun, totaled 186,400 men. This figure may have matched the speed of light in miles per second in the days of Moses (see below). Jesus identified Himself as the light of the world which would be consistent with this divine sign.
An Australian physicist by name of Barry Setterfield claims from historical raw data and by statistical extrapolation that the speed of light (c) has been decaying since the creation, and since Noah's Flood which was a second severe judgment of the earth, in a similar way that biblical life spans have. It was decaying ever so slightly over the last century but now has flattened. The most recent and accurate speed of light in vacuum is 186,282 miles per second.
To answer criticisms on the large statistical variations, in historical values of c, Barry Setterfield published in 2008 the observed values done at Pulkovo which were all performed on the same equipment over a period of more than a century (1730's to 1940). Several of the determinations were done by the same observers over time. In these observations a decline in the speed of light is strongly in evidence. Whatever the accuracy of these measurements on c may have been the evidence on the decay of human life spans is clearly set out in the Bible (it is important to appreciate that the curse of aging only took effect the moment Adam and Eve fell into sin; they were only doomed to age and face death after the Fall).
What is your faith?
Furthermore, it is interesting to consider the joint literal meaning of the names of the three tribes camped towards the East under the banner of the lion. The Hebrew words "Judah - Issachar - Zebulun" (Praised - He is wages - Prince) carries the message "He is the praiseworthy prince who paid the price (for our sins)." All the blood was channeled down towards His feet. We surely all know the verse which says that "the wages of sin is death".
The painting of the camp under the cloud is by Robyn Uglow of Mount Evelyn, Victoria. The entrance to the Tabernacle always had to face East in keeping with God's command. "And those who pitch on the east side toward the rising of the sun shall be those of the banner of the camp of Judah, throughout their armies" (Numbers 2:3).
Matthew Cooke of Melbourne provided us with the link to the schematic diagram of the cross according to the numbers of males camped around the tabernacle of the congregation as cited in Numbers Chapter 2. (https://i.pinimg.com/474x/ee/25/2e/ee252e468667326132188d6685350a53.jpg) The profound schematic presentation of the 'church in the wilderness' (Acts 7:38, KJV) shows that according to the Bible the encampment was deliberately set up in the shape of a cross by the Lord.
Quoting from Matt "Let’s do this with Rabbinical precision. We know that only cardinal directions were allowed to be used so only North, South, East, West alignment. The Levites we know are numbered at 22,300 setup around the tabernacle with Moses to the East. Since we can only use the cardinal directions the width of the entire camp can only be proportionate to the width of the Levites camp. So the length of each of the other camps becomes proportional to the population to maintain themselves in direct cardinal alignment to the Levites". No wonder that the apostle called it the "Church in the Wilderness". Even in eternity the Focus of the New Jerusalem will always be the Lamb of God (Revelation 21:22).
Chuck Missler does a wonderful justification for the layout on youtube. https://youtu.be/q20hPuyuOxU
The plan used by Moses for the Church in the wilderness is but a poor shadow of what God has/is establishing for us in the heavens. We shall all have our specified allocations as determined by our responses on earth.
The Rev Hal Oxley also believed, as I do and as stated in his book, that the Bride of Christ is a reserved privilege for only a fraction of Christians. This makes sense. We know from scripture that at the wedding there will be friends of the groom but, as we all know, friends are not at the same level of intimacy with the groom as the Bride herself (John 3:29; Revelation Chapter 12; 19:19; Song of Songs Chapter 5; 6:9). Quoting from Hal's book "Being: What God Wants You to Be" (released in 2020), "There are several references stating that the real church of the Lord Jesus Christ will become His bride (2Corinthians 11:2). But on the examination of types in the Bible it would indicate that all Christian believers are not going to be in the Bride - e.g. the story of the ten virgins who are apparently saved, as they have the Holy Spirit,but only five of them get into the wedding and they, as guests, and not as the Bride."
The verse that struck me recently was Matthew 25:10 giving the impression that Jesus went to the door to bring the virgins into the wedding - not the sort of greeting you would expect if the bride herself was at the door to be brought in. Two translations, of the 25 or so translations that I have access to, call them 'bridesmaids' (Williams and the New International Reader's Version).
J.B. from California adds, 'Psalm 45 could also refer to this non-bridal group: "the King's Daughter is all glorious within" but then mentions "the virgins her companions that follow her." And perhaps also seen in a few other Old Testament pictures of the Bride, like Abigail's five damsels in 1 Samuel 25:42, the other virgins of Esther Chapter 2, Rebekah's damsels and Rachel (and Leah's) handmaids in Genesis, and so on. Also supporting this idea are that several Greek MSS of Matthew 25:1 (and also the Vulgate, the Syriac, Origen and Beza's versions, Moffat's translation, etc.) have the added reading: "went forth to meet the Bride and the Bridegroom." Additionally, perhaps Revelation 19:7-9 makes this distinction between the Marriage (the Bride) and the Marriage Supper (which would focus on the other attendees). Time will tell.'
Hal laid hands on me and prayed for me to continue that search. The proximity of the tents of the Aaronic priesthood to the dwelling place of God between the cherubim, I believe, aligns with the location of those in the Bride. The last third of my Kindle book deals with scriptural insights into that since my last encounter with Hal. But do be willing to grapple a little with shadows and types in the Bible. Break it down and teach it to others. May these insights be a blessing to you and may they inspire you to reach forward to your own 'prize of high calling' as did the apostle Paul.
"I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14).
The Word of God clearly promises that Jesus will come back with degrees of rewards for both 'the good and the wicked’, not for this life but in the hereafter. You may remember that, in Paul's own words, there are 'better' resurrections for some believers (Hebrews 11:35; 1Corinthians 15:40-42), just as there will be various degrees of punishment in hell (Matthew 11:20-24; Mark 6:11; Luke 10:12-14; 12:45-48). Thank God for His mercies even to those who end up in hell who don't 'deserve' the same eternal fate as the Hitlers or Idi Amins of this world. Pause and think about that. Scriptures generally reveal three major categories of rewards for the redeemed which Christians don’t seem to want to entertain because of what I would call false humility.
It reminds me of the last piece of juicy meat on a platter which nobody wants to take in case they are thought to be impolite or greedy. German humour has it that when the lights go out suddenly on such an occasion there are cries of pain when ones deciding to take the last piece find other forks stuck in the back of their hand. How often have you found yourself embarrassed when your host offers you the last piece of delicious cake you have had your eyes on all along but were reluctant to take it?
Such don’t want to be seen jostling for God’s favour or to brazenly ‘upstage’ their brothers or sisters in the Lord. This may be a case of inverted ‘pride’ or insecurity in the Lord. But, mark my words, that Jesus finds no joy in the fearful, lukewarm and unbelieving (Malachi 1:6-14; Mark 4:40; Hebrews 10:38; Revelation 21:8).
Jesus is stretching out His hands saying ‘this is what I have for you’. We shall reap what we have sown, whether good or bad, huge rewards or small rewards.
Are you willing to investigate what He has for you and daringly move closer to God under His grace? God is alive. He has infinite resources and wants to bless His children richly in eternity. Make no mistake about that. Christians don’t realise how big their Creator is and the amazing riches He is offering to bestow upon us.
I always got a real thrill whenever I had been hiding from view a very special present meant for one of my children. I was often more thrilled about the occasion than the children. That is the best picture of the deepness of the heavenly Father’s love that I can paint for you.
A FINAL THOUGHT
Meditate on the scripture, "And Jesus said to him, truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43).
If you are accustomed to reading the scriptures superficially then you would have thought that Jesus meant that the thief would be with Him in Paradise within the next 24 hours. But Jesus was in the grave for three days and only ascended to power on the third day. There are several other instances where Jesus used the word "day" in its prophetic sense, not meaning a literal 24 hours. The Old Testament is no different concerning the Hebrew word for day, "YOM".
I therefore recommend that you visit some of my other articles, and particularly those on the "True Age of the Earth", if you are indeed a follower of Christ and profess to be a seeker of truth.