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God's Morning Stars

In the dead of winter at Christmas time, much of the world celebrates the traditional day of the birth of a King. They preach of his humble yet noble birth; they sing of his royalty; they laud his never-ending rule.

In the spring in so-called Easter services, much of the same world celebrates the traditional days of the death and resurrection of that same King.

While many may sing praises at the birth of the Messiah, they seldom seem to preach the rest of the story. All right, we agree. The adult Christ is destined to be King; but King of what and over whom does he rule? Just what do you know about the world-encompassing Kingdom of God?

While those who celebrate the Christmas and Easter holidays may not know the rest of the story, God does reveal the ultimate destiny of humanity through his appointed Holy Days. The Day of Firstfruits or Pentecost marks the beginning of the New Testament Church of God, established by that Great King. God's Holy Days reveal, in the age to come, there will be a 1,000-year Sabbath of rest for our present war-torn world. It will be an age of peace and prosperity; a time of safety and achievement; a time of renewal and restoration after the worldwide savagery that will have destroyed much of our societies. We have all witnessed in recent years how rapidly and dramatically our world conditions and our lifestyles can change. In 1 Thessalonians 5:2, the apostle said it would be so.

(1 Th 5:2-3 KJV) For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. {3} For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

Abundance will Follow Devastation

So, even while we might, from time to time, feel temporarily at peace and secure, we have been forewarned that there is sudden destruction coming upon the world. We are secure in the knowledge, however, that beyond the destruction there will be a renewing of the earth. Indeed, the coming millennial rest will be a time of rebuilding the desolate places spoken of by the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 4:3.

(Isa 4:3-6 NASB) And it will come about that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy-- everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem. {4} When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning, {5} then the LORD will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory will be a canopy. {6} And there will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain.

Again in Isaiah 51, the prophet tells of the restoration of the scattered exiles to their homeland of Israel and the reformation and beautification of the land.

(Isa 51:1-11 NASB) "Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, Who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were hewn, And to the quarry from which you were dug. {2} "Look to Abraham your father, And to Sarah who gave birth to you in pain; When he was one I called him, Then I blessed him and multiplied him." {3} Indeed, the LORD will comfort Zion; He will comfort all her waste places. And her wilderness He will make like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the LORD; Joy and gladness will be found in her, Thanksgiving and sound of a melody. {4} "Pay attention to Me, O My people; And give ear to Me, O My nation; For a law will go forth from Me, And I will set My justice for a light of the peoples. {5} "My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth, And My arms will judge the peoples; The coastlands will wait for Me, And for My arm they will wait expectantly. {6} "Lift up your eyes to the sky, Then look to the earth beneath; For the sky will vanish like smoke, And the earth will wear out like a garment, And its inhabitants will die in like manner, But My salvation shall be forever, And My righteousness shall not wane. {7} "Listen to Me, you who know righteousness, A people in whose heart is My law; Do not fear the reproach of man, Neither be dismayed at their revilings. {8} "For the moth will eat them like a garment, And the grub will eat them like wool. But My righteousness shall be forever, And My salvation to all generations." {9} Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; Awake as in the days of old, the generations of long ago. Was it not Thou who cut Rahab in pieces, Who pierced the dragon? {10} Was it not Thou who dried up the sea, The waters of the great deep; Who made the depths of the sea a pathway For the redeemed to cross over? {11} So the ransomed of the LORD will return, And come with joyful shouting to Zion; And everlasting joy will be on their heads. They will obtain gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.

While prophesying to the separate northern ten tribes of the Kingdom of Israel in Amos 9.9, the often-overlooked prophet also spoke of a coming time of peace and prosperity.

(Amos 9:9-15 NASB) "For behold, I am commanding, And I will shake the house of Israel among all nations As grain is shaken in a sieve, But not a kernel will fall to the ground. {10} "All the sinners of My people will die by the sword, Those who say, 'The calamity will not overtake or confront us.' {11} "In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David, And wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old; {12} That they may possess the remnant of Edom And all the nations who are called by My name," Declares the LORD who does this. {13} "Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "When the plowman will overtake the reaper And the treader of grapes him who sows seed; When the mountains will drip sweet wine, And all the hills will be dissolved. {14} "Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel, And they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them, They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, And make gardens and eat their fruit. {15} "I will also plant them on their land, And they will not again be rooted out from their land Which I have given them," Says the LORD your God.

Do you realize what we just read? It means the crops will be so abundant that the reapers will not have finished reaping before it's time for the new crop to be planted by the plowmen. Now those are truly abundant harvests!

In Ezekiel 38:10, even while giving a warning to the warring nations of the north in Gog and Magog, God speaks of the peace and safety that will abound in the towns of Israel when the Kingdom of God is established.

(Ezek 38:10-12 NASB) 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "It will come about on that day, that thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil plan, {11} and you will say, 'I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will go against those who are at rest, that live securely, all of them living without walls, and having no bars or gates, {12} to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.'

Becoming sons of God

We've seen glimpses in scripture of how great the times ahead of us will be in the Kingdom of God for the people of Israel but have you thought about what you will be doing under the direction of Christ in administering the Father's government? First of all, let's see how he views us as his servants. While it's true that we have each been given different gifts to use in the service of God, we see in many scriptures that our present physical differences are of no account in the eyes of God. In Galatians 3:26, Paul speaks of how we are each viewed by God.

(Gal 3:26-28 NASB) For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. {27} For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. {28} There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Talk about equal opportunity and non-discrimination! How much bolder a statement could God have made concerning the humans of his creation? As far as our hope of calling and salvation are concerned, God makes no distinction between our nationalities, our races, our ages, our sexes or our status levels in society.

That's not to say, however, that God doesn't discriminate at all because it's the Father who makes the choice of whomever he wishes to call, according to his will. At this point in time, he chooses to call some and not call others, according to his purpose and plan. Later, the others will have their chance. Once our calling is made, though, it is true affirmative action because it is opportunity for all, regardless of background; but it's equal opportunity with a catch. It requires obligation on each of our parts. We must be baptized into Christ and clothe ourselves with Christ. That means to live as Christ lived with godly lives of perfection by the standards of God the Father.

In 1 Peter 3:7, Peter also speaks of our equal opportunity in the eyes of God, whether man or woman, husband or wife.

(1 Pet 3:7 KJV) Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

Earlier in the book of Acts, in chapter 10 and verse 34, Peter had come to the same conclusion about God's standards of equal opportunity among the races and nations regarding Cornelius, the Roman Centurion.

(Acts 10:28-35 KJV) And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. {29} Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me? {30} And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, {31} And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. {32} Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee. {33} Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God. {34} Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: {35} But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

Notice Peter's first comment that he "should not call any man common or unclean." There is a modern idea that Peter's earlier dream of being commanded to eat the unclean beasts meant that all food is now clean for us to eat. We can see that Peter properly knew the interpretation of his own dream. He said in plain language, "God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean." Peter realized that there is no difference to God between Jew or gentile among those whom he has chosen to call to repentance.

Peter went on to say in verse 34 that "God is no respecter of persons: {35} But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." So, there is no difference in God's sight among the peoples of various nations. Everyone who fears God and does the righteousness of God on a daily basis is accepted by God, regardless of the nation in which he or she lives. That is such a message of resounding hope for all of God's people scattered throughout the world. That is a message of great encouragement for all of us.

In Luke 20:34, even Christ, himself, speaks of the equal opportunity and the sameness of the sexes.

(Luke 20:34-36 NASB) And Jesus said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, {35} but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage; {36} for neither can they die anymore, for they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

Look at that. Read verses 35 and 36 again.

{35} but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage; {36} for neither can they die anymore, for they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

Not only do we all begin as the same in the eyes of God, but through God's gift of salvation, we all can end up the same as sons of God by being sons of the resurrection if we are considered worthy.

How can we know if we are on the right road to worthiness? In Romans 8:9, Paul gives an answer.

(Rom 8:9-14 NASB) However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. {10} And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. {11} But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He [that's God the Father] who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit which indwells you. {12} So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh-- {13} for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. {14} For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Skip down to verse 19.

(Rom 8:19 NASB) For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.

There you have it. Those who possess the spirit of God and are leading lives led by the spirit of God can become sons of God.

In Matthew 5, we can see how Christ describes other attributes of the sons of God.

(Mat 5:9 NASB) "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Skip down to verse 43.

(Mat 5:43-48 NASB) "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR, and hate your enemy.' {44} "But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you {45} in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. {46} "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same? {47} "And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? {48} "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

You've heard it before and I'm sure you'll hear it again. "Therefore" is a summary word. The sum of the matter on the subject of becoming sons of God is clearly stated in verse 48.

"Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

Multiple sons of God.

If we know the desired end is to become a son of God, let's search the scriptures to see what we can learn about who the sons of God were, and who they are now. Look first at Job 1:6.

(Job 1:6 NASB) Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.

We can see that, even during the days of Job, there were sons of God who came together to present themselves before the throne of the Father. In Job 2:1, we can see it stated again.

(Job 2:1 NASB) Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD.

So, not only were there multiple sons of God who came to present themselves before the throne of God but we see that Satan also presented himself as a son of God subject to the power and authority of the Father.

In Ezekiel 28:12, all in one prophecy, we can read of Satan's past, present and future. God tells of Satan's former life of perfection as a true son of God; he tells of his current fallen life being what Paul refers to as "the prince of the power of the air" and "the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience." In Ezekiel 28:12, God also tells of Satan's ultimate destruction.

(Ezek 28:12-19 NASB) "Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. {13} "You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz, and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you. On the day that you were created they were prepared. {14} "You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. {15} "You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, Until unrighteousness was found in you.

So, you can see that Satan was created by the Father in a state of perfection. As we earlier read, "perfection" is a required condition to be a son of God. Continue in verse 16.

{16} "By the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence [the Hebrew word is chamas: violence and wrong], And you sinned; Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the stones of fire. {17} "Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, That they may see you. {18} "By the multitude of your iniquities, In the unrighteousness of your trade, You profaned your sanctuaries. Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; It has consumed you, And I have turned you to ashes on the earth In the eyes of all who see you. {19} "All who know you among the peoples Are appalled at you; You have become terrified, And you will be no more."'"

The fourteenth chapter of Isaiah begins by proclaiming the return of the tribes of Israel to their former land given them by God. This time, we'll read from the TANAKH, The Holy Scriptures by the Jewish Publication Society.

(Isaiah 14:1-4 TANAKH) But the Lord will pardon Jacob, and will again choose Israel, and will settle them on their own soil. And strangers shall join them and shall cleave to the House of Jacob. {2} For peoples shall take them and bring them to their homeland; and the House of Israel shall possess them as slaves and handmaids on the soil of the Lord.

Look at that! Many argue today that the land of Israel is the possession of the so-called Palestinians or the Jordanians or the Syrians but look at God's clear statement. In verse one, God will resettle the tribes of Israel "on their own soil" but we can see in verse two that the homeland of Israel is really "the soil of the Lord." It is God's land and he will give it to whomever he chooses. In verse four, God commands the Israelites to "recite this song of scorn over the king of Babylon."

The next seven verses take up a lamentation against the human king of Babylon; but the tone shifts from the physical to the spiritual in verse 12. The real power behind the physical throne is the spiritual power of Satan and he is the ultimate responsible party.

(Isaiah 14:12-17 TANAKH) How are you fallen from heaven, O Shining One, Son of Dawn! How are you felled to earth, O vanquisher of nations! {13} Once you thought in your heart, "I will climb to the sky; higher than the stars of God I will set my throne. I will sit in the mount of the assembly [of the gods in council], on the summit of the abode [of the gods]: {14} I will mount the back of a cloud — I will match the Most High." {15} Instead, you are brought down to Sheol, to the bottom of the Pit. {16} They who behold you stare; they peer at you closely: "Is this the man who shook the earth, who made realms tremble, {17} who made the world like a waste and wrecked its towns, who never released his prisoners to their homes?"

This passage is all about position, rank and power. Keep in mind that the "Most High" is God the Father. Satan was stripped of his position of power in heaven and "cast down" or limited to earth. God says that Satan's goal was to ascend back to heaven and raise his throne or rank of power not just back to the level of the other stars of God but to that of the Father. Satan didn't say he would make himself like a son of the Most High because he already was a son of the Most High. Satan said he would "match the Most High" and make his throne equal to that of the Father.

It's clear to see at the time of judgment, it is God who is in control. Satan was given temporary jurisdiction over the human race on earth; but there will come a day of vindication and humanity's release from the sway of Satan.

God's Host

Let's see if we can catch a glimpse in scripture of the current operations of the Kingdom of God. That might help us picture part of our future service to the Father under the direction of our Messiah.

Nehemiah had the bigger picture. In Nehemiah 9:6, he shows he understood the priorities and the proper governmental structure with the Father at the top.

(Neh 9:6 NASB) "Thou alone art the LORD. Thou hast made the heavens, The heaven of heavens with all their host, The earth and all that is on it, The seas and all that is in them. Thou dost give life to all of them And the heavenly host bows down before Thee.

Who are the heavenly host and what is their relationship with God's government?

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for host is tsaba. It is Strong's number 6635 and it means an army, war or warfare. So, we can see from numerous places in scripture that the Father's throne is surrounded by heavenly armies.

Many of the prophets of old recognized that. In 1 Kings 22:19, we can see that the prophet Micaiah understood the relationship.

(1 Ki 22:19 NASB) And Micaiah said, "Therefore, hear the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left.

In Psalm 33:6, we see that David understood both the position and the origin of the heavenly host.

(Psa 33:6 NASB) By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And by the breath of His mouth all their host.

In Daniel 4:34, even after his seven years of craziness and absence from the throne of Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar came to realize the proper order in the heavens.

(Dan 4:34-35 NASB) "But at the end of that period I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom endures from generation to generation. {35} "And all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, 'What hast Thou done?'

In the New Testament, the Greek word translated "host" is stratia. It is Strong's number 4756 and it has only one meaning: army.

Not only does the heavenly army fight battles for God, in Luke 2:10, we can see that the host sing praises to the Father.

(Luke 2:10-14 NASB) And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; {11} for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. {12} "And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger." {13} And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, {14} "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

The Morning Stars

Toward the end of the book of Job, in chapter 38, the Eternal confronted Job and spoke to him out of the whirlwind. He made Job answer for his former words of self-righteousness and self-justification. God put things in proper perspective and made Job to become aware of his true insignificance when compared to the greatness of God.

(Job 38:1-7 NASB) Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, {2} "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? {3} "Now gird up your loins like a man, And I will ask you, and you instruct Me! {4} "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, {5} Who set its measurements, since you know? Or who stretched the line on it? {6} "On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, {7} When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?

So, we can see that, at the original creation of the earth, it was such a beautiful crowning achievement that the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy. Verse seven reveals at least two things to us. It shows that even before the creation of mankind, there were multiple sons of God. That could mean hundreds or thousands or millions of sons; and they all shouted for joy at the magnificently beautiful original creation of the earth.

From Isaiah 45:18, we see that God did not originally create the earth as the waste place portrayed in the beginning of the book of Genesis. Again, we'll read from the Tanakh.

(Isa 45:18 TANAKH) For thus said the LORD, the creator of heaven who alone is God, who formed the earth and made it, who alone established it — he did not create it a waste, but formed it for habitation: I am the LORD, and there is none else.

Job 38:7 also shows us that there were beings called morning stars. Of course, we know the planets Mercury and Venus are known as morning stars because, during part of their orbit around the sun, they appear as points of light in the early morning when viewed from our perspective on earth. In verse seven, the term "morning stars," however, obviously could not be referring to those planets because it is said that they "sang together" at the same time that all the sons of God shouted for joy.

In Luke 10:18, Christ testified to us as being a witness at the rebellion of Satan.

(Luke 10:18 KJV) And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

We've seen, then, that Satan was numbered among the sons of God and also, at one time, had the rank of morning star. In Revelation 22:16, we can see who else has that rank of morning star in addition to being a son of God.

(Rev 22:16 NASB) "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star."

In Revelation 2, Christ addressed the Thyatiran era of the Church of God. He had several points of correction and instruction for them but he ended with the following admonition in verse 24.

(Rev 2:24-28 NASB) 'But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them-- I place no other burden on you. {25} 'Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. {26} 'And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; {27} AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father; {28} and I will give him the morning star.

So, that, too, is our destiny if we make the grade and are accepted by the Father. We are to be given authority to rule over the nations and we are to receive the morning star.

Heirs with Christ

We know that eternal life is not a right or something we earn. It is a gift from God. We've also seen, however, that if we live by the spirit of God and do the deeds of Christ and grow to become perfect as our Father is perfect, we may ultimately become sons of God and be given the morning star. Beyond that, in Romans 8:15, we can see that we can be fellow heirs with Christ.

(Rom 8:15-25 NASB) For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" {16} The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, {17} and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him. {18} For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. {19} For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. {20} For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope {21} that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. {22} For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. {23} And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. {24} For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? {25} But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

So, we see that another requirement along the road to sonship is to be willing to suffer during this life for the righteousness of God. Again, verse 17 said that we will be "fellow heirs with Christ if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with him."

In Hebrews 12:4, the author discusses our sufferings during this present age.

(Heb 12:4-7 NASB) You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; {5} and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, "MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; {6} FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES." {7} It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

In Galatians 4, Paul further expounds the implications of being an heir with Christ.

(Gal 4:1-5 NASB) Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, {2} but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. {3} So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. {4} But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, {5} in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

In 1 John 3:1-2, the apostle John also understood the glorious future.

(1 John 3:1-2 NASB) See how great a love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. {2} Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.

The Throne of God Most High

In Revelation 4:2, we can get a bird's eye view of the throne of the Father in heaven

(Rev 4:2-11 NASB) Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. {3} And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance. {4} And around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads. {5} And from the throne proceed flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God; {6} and before the throne there was, as it were, a sea of glass like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. {7} And the first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. {8} And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, "HOLY, HOLY, HOLY, is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME." {9} And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, {10} the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, {11} "Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created."

In Daniel 7:9, we can see another, more detailed view of the Father's throne. Daniel refers to the Father as the Ancient of Days.

(Dan 7:9-10 NASB) "I kept looking until thrones were set up, And the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow, And the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, Its wheels were a burning fire. {10} "A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; The court sat, And the books were opened.

Our Destiny

In Exodus 19:5, we can see God's stated purpose in establishing his covenant with our fathers in the wilderness.

(Exo 19:5-8 NASB) 'Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; {6} and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. 'These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel." {7} So Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the LORD had commanded him. {8} And all the people answered together and said, "All that the LORD has spoken we will do!" And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD.

We can see the extension of the Old Covenant in the New Testament. Notice in Hebrews 7:17 that God's stated purpose has not changed.

(Heb 7:17-25 NASB) For it is witnessed of Him, "THOU ART A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK." {18} For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness {19} (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. {20} And inasmuch as it was not without an oath {21} (for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him, "THE LORD HAS SWORN AND WILL NOT CHANGE HIS MIND, 'THOU ART A PRIEST FOREVER'").

In 1 Peter 2:9, Peter states it even more directly.

(1 Pet 2:9 NASB) But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

In both the book of Hebrews and the book of 1 Peter, we see it made plain that there has been a change in the priesthood. During the Levitical priesthood, there was a clear separation between the priestly duties performed only by the sons of Aaron of the tribe of Levi and, on the other hand, the kingly duties performed by the royal line descending from David of the tribe of Judah. That distinct separation has now been combined into one. As it was in the days of Melchizedek, who was both King of Salem and priest of God Most High, so it is again under the administration of Jesus Christ who is both King of Kings and our eternal High Priest. So it will be in the future with us, administering under Jesus Christ as both kings and priests.

Let's go back again to Daniel 7. We can see for ourselves how the rulership of the Kingdom will be given by the Father to our Messiah.

(Dan 7:13-14 NASB) "I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. {14} "And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.

Skip down to verse 18.

(Dan 7:18 NASB) 'But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.'

Skip down to verse 27.

(Dan 7:27 NASB) 'Then the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.'

Lets look to see what happens at the return of Christ. The last part of chapter 19 of the book of Revelation describes Christ's return to this earth pictured on a white horse making war with the kings of the earth along with their armies and the beast power. Continue in chapter twenty.

(Rev 20:1-6 NASB) And I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. {2} And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, {3} and threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he should not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. {4} And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. {5} The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. {6} Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.

As servants in the government of God the Father, under the administration of Jesus Christ, let's look in Revelation 1:5 to see what our duties will become.

(Rev 1:5-6 KJV) And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, {6} And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

If we are gong to be priests of God and are to reign with Christ for a thousand years, we had better know some of the duties required by God of priests and kings. We know from past readings that the priests were the sons of Aaron. They stood before God as the representatives of the Israelites. They also officiated at the sacrifices and offerings both as the representatives of the Israelites and as the representatives of God. As such, they instructed the Israelites in God's righteousness. They taught them God's laws, his statutes and his judgments. That righteous law of God they taught was known as the Torah, which means the teaching. In order to teach the Torah to the people, they had to know the Torah.

It was no different for the future kings of Israel. Kings were also commanded by God to be instructed in righteousness. In Deuteronomy 17:14, we can read the requirements God commanded to be placed on any new king who would rule over his people Israel.

(Deu 17:14-20 NASB) "When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, 'I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,' {15} you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman. {16} "Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the LORD has said to you, 'You shall never again return that way.' {17} "Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself. {18} "Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. {19} "And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, {20} that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left; in order that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.

Look at verse 18 again. We can see that not even the king was above the law. "Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law [torah] on a scroll."

What torah or teaching was Moses talking about? In the first chapter of Deuteronomy, we find that it says "On this side Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare this law." If Moses began to declare "this torah" in the land of Moab at the beginning of the book of Deuteronomy and Moses died in Deuteronomy 34, it would make sense that when Moses spoke of the king writing "this torah" on a scroll, he was speaking of the king writing for himself a copy of the book of Deuteronomy.

As sons of God, we are to be priests and kings with authority to rule the nations with a rod of iron and have the position of morning stars. It certainly is no stretch of the imagination to expect that we shouldn't be required to meet even the most minimum of God's standards for human kings.

What about it? Are you up to it? It's really not so difficult. The book of Deuteronomy is only 34 chapters long. It can be read aloud in about five hours. If you only write down one chapter per week, you'd finish your assignment in less than nine months.

Don't forget Paul's admonition in 2 Timothy 3:16. It's all the more binding on us now.

(2 Tim 3:16-17 KJV) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: {17} That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

The book of Deuteronomy is part of the scripture to which Paul referred. Make sure you know the teachings of God and can teach them to others. In the age to come as kings and priests of God, we are to teach the torah to all the nations left on earth. Make sure you know the righteous law of God.

Just remember that famous line from the I Love Lucy reruns:

You've got some 'splainin to do.

Sermon by Philip Edwards
February 12, 2007
Copyright 2007, Philip Edwards

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