Brought Forth From Above
By Arlen L. Chitwood
Saved for a Purpose
A Purpose that has to do with Regality
Man has been, is being, and will be saved for a revealed purpose. There is a revealed goal in view, and, relative to salvation, that goal is always the same in Scripture, regardless of what aspect of man’s salvation is in view. That goal is the same for the whole of man’s salvation — spirit, soul, and body. That goal has to do with man being placed back in the position for which he was created in the beginning, and that position will be realized during the Messianic Era.
(This is the manner in which Scripture presents salvation throughout, with the unchangeable foundational pattern set in the opening verses of Genesis.
The inhabited world to come will not be placed in subjection to angels, as the present world [Hebrews 2:5]. This is the message seen throughout Scripture. A new order of Sons is about to be brought on the scene [Romans 8:18-23] — Christ and His co-heirs. And, from a Scriptural standpoint, man’s salvation centers on that coming day when this new order of Sons will hold the scepter and rule the earth.)
Man invariably deals with salvation in relation to eternity and going to heaven, while seldom mentioning salvation in relation to the Messianic Era and the kingdom of the heavens. Scripture, on the other hand, presents the matter in a completely inverse fashion.
Scripture invariably deals with salvation in relation to the Messianic Era and the kingdom of the heavens. Heaven (the present dwelling place of God) and the ages beyond are mentioned at times, but not relative to salvation in the same sense that man relates them to salvation.
Man is not going to spend either the Messianic Era or the eternal ages that follow in the place known today as heaven. And, in relation to the eternal ages that follow the Messianic Era, God is not going to dwell in this place either. God is going to dwell on the new earth throughout the ages comprising eternity.
And even when Scripture does deal with saved man in heaven (e.g., Christians following death, or Christians following the rapture) matters are always completely consistent with the way Scripture elsewhere deals with saved man. If future time comes into view, reference is made to things surrounding the Messianic Era, not the ages beyond (though in several instances the Messianic Era is connected with and seen as the first of these ages, though separate and distinct from them [e.g., Luke 1:33; Ephesians 2:7]).
The Messianic Era, Ages Beyond
During the Messianic Era, man will dwell both on a restored earth and in the heavens above this restored earth, with there being a Jerusalem above and a Jerusalem below (capital cities both over and on the earth, with Christians [along with certain Old Testament saints] inhabiting the city above, and Israel inhabiting the city below). During this era, there will be a rule from the heavens over the earth. And this rule, as today, will originate with God in heaven and progress through rulers placed in the heavens in relation to this earth.
Today, this rule progresses from God through Satan and his angels (though rebel rulers), who reside in the heavens above the earth. But during that coming day this rule will progress from God through His Son and His Son’s co-heirs, who will reside in the new Jerusalem above the earth.
A rule of the preceding nature, from the heavens over the earth, must continue during the Messianic Era, for this is the manner in which God established the government of the earth in the beginning. Such a rule must continue as long as the earth remains, which will be until the end of the Messianic Era — to the full end of the seven days, the 7,000 years, set forth in the foundational type at the beginning (Genesis 1:1-2:3).
A rule from the heavens over the earth (one province in God’s kingdom) is not only the way in which God originally established the government of the earth but the way in which He evidently established His government throughout all other parts of the universe as well (all other provinces in His kingdom). And this can never change in relation to any one province, for “the heavens do rule” (cf. Daniel 4:25, 26).
Thus, God’s Son, with His co-heirs, must rule throughout the Messianic Era in exact accord with the way God established the government of the earth in the beginning. Such a governmental rule will have to continue during this time, for the present earth will not pass out of existence until the end of the Messianic Era (Revelation 21:1-5).
God’s Son, with His co-heirs, will rule over the earth for 1,000 years — the earth’s coming Sabbath, foreshadowed by the seventh day in Genesis 2:1-3 (cf. Exodus 31:13-17; Hebrews 4:1-9). They will rule for 1,000 years to effect order where disorder has prevailed for millennia in one province in God’s universe. And once order has been restored, the kingdom will be delivered up to God the Father, that God might be “all in all [i.e., permeate all, be everything in all things]” (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).
Then, once order has been restored and the kingdom has been delivered up to the Father, the present heavens and earth will be destroyed. A new heavens and a new earth will be brought into existence, and the new earth will become the place in the new heavens (as the earth today, suspended at a point in the heavens) from where universal rule will emanate. God will move His throne to the new earth, the Son will sit with His Father on this throne (called “the throne of God and of the Lamb”), and saved man will exercise power from this throne as well (2 Peter 3:10ff; Revelation 21:1ff; 22:1-5).
Regality, the Earth, the Universe
Therein lies man’s destiny, not going to heaven per se. Man’s destiny has to do with regality, the earth, and the universe — first, ruling over this present earth from the new Jerusalem above the earth (during the Messianic Era); then, ruling out in the universe from the new Jerusalem on the new earth (during the ages that follow).
Salvation in Scripture is always dealt with in relation to the scope of Scripture; and Scripture deals centrally with everything moving toward a seventh day, a seventh 1,000-year period. Events during this coming day, the Messianic Era, must be brought to pass first. And therein lies the reason why Scripture deals with man centrally in relation to this time, with the ages beyond seldom being in view (regardless of which aspect of salvation is being dealt with — past, present, or future).
Only following the Messianic Era can the ages that lie beyond this era be brought into view in all their fullness. During the present time they are briefly dealt with in Scripture so that man can have some understanding of God’s plan for the ages, where the whole of the matter — 6,000 years, followed by a 1,000-year Messianic Era — will eventually lead. But only following the Messianic Era will matters move beyond that which is dealt with extensively in Scripture. Only then will God begin to open up and fully reveal that which will occur during the period that man thinks of today as eternity.
And the manner in which Scripture presents this whole matter — particularly as it relates to man’s salvation — has become very difficult, practically impossible, for most Christians to see and grasp. These Christians have been taught wrong for years — not necessarily concerning how to be saved, but concerning the purpose for salvation and that which lies ahead for redeemed man. And because this erroneous teaching surrounding salvation has become so ingrained within their way of thinking, attempts to present salvation from the correct biblical perspective usually meet with askance looks, opposition, or antagonism on almost every hand.
When that depicted by the woman placing the leaven in the three measures of meal in Matthew 13:33 occurred very early in the dispensation (which had to do with an attempt on Satan’s part to corrupt all biblical doctrine pertaining to the “word of the kingdom” [Matthew 13:19]), everything related to the “word of the kingdom” began to be adversely affected. And this working of the leaven, of necessity, would extend even into the biblical scope of salvation by grace.
This would have to be the case because of the inseparable connection salvation by grace has with the “word of the kingdom.” It is man passing “from death to life” that places him in a position where he can realize the salvation of his soul.
And matters become even more negative surrounding the relationship that salvation by grace has with the kingdom through the message of those advocating Lordship Salvation — a message widely proclaimed throughout Christendom today. Those proclaiming this message take things having to do with the “word of the kingdom” and seek to bring these things over into and apply them to the message of salvation by grace (i.e., things having to do with present and future aspects of salvation are removed from their respective contexts and applied to things having to do with past aspects of salvation). And, through this means, those proclaiming this message not only remove the kingdom from view but they do two other things in the process. They both destroy the “word of the kingdom” and corrupt the message of salvation by grace.
Interestingly enough, those who proclaim a correct salvation message per se but ignore the kingdom and those who proclaim a lordship salvation message (who, through this means, destroy one message and corrupt the other) form two major groups in Christendom today. Those from these two groups remain at almost complete odds with one another on the message of salvation by grace; but when it comes to correctly relating this message to the kingdom, it can only be said of both groups that they have been similarly, adversely affected by the same leavening process that is rampant in the Laodicean Church of today.