God's Kingdom Ministries
Serious Bible Study



Chapter 10: The Restoration of All Nations

In the second chapter of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had a prophetic dream about a huge image having a head of gold, arms of silver, belly of bronze, legs of iron, and feet of iron mixed with clay. Daniel interpreted the dream, telling the king that the different parts of the image represented earthly kingdoms. The head of gold represented Babylon itself, which was the current world power at the time. Later, the kingdom of Medo-Persia was to arise and conquer Babylon. This new kingdom was prophesied by the two arms of silver.

After this, the bronze belly nation of Greece, led by Alexander the Great, would conquer Medo-Persia. Still later, the iron empire of Rome became the dominant world empire. Rome was later divided into two sections, East and West. The Eastern Roman Empire was ruled from a city in Asia Minor called Constantinople, often called "New Rome." The Western Roman Empire was, of course, ruled from "Old Rome" in Italy.

The Western Roman Empire fell in 476 A.D. and the power vacuum was largely filled by the Bishop of Rome, ruling first by the power of religion, and later also by political and military might. It is generally understood that the feet of iron mixed with clay had to do with the time of the middle ages and the rule of the Roman Church as an extension of the Western Roman Empire itself. The Eastern Roman Empire gradually lost power to the Saracens and Ottomans until finally, Constantinople itself fell in 1453 A.D.

While there are diverse views regarding the precise fulfillment of Nebuchadnezzar's dream, it is clear that the various metals represent the different political phases of a succession of world empires. The fact that all these empires are depicted in a single image in the dream tells us how God views them. They are different empires, certainly, yet they represent a unified period of time with a beginning and an end.

At the end of the time of these empires, a stone was to be cut out of the mountain that would hit the image on its feet and begin to grind the entire image to powder. Man's system of world empires would then blow away in the wind, leaving only the stone, which grows until it fills the whole earth. Some say that the stone represents Jesus Christ, but Daniel 2:44 interprets the stone to be the Kingdom of God.

{Daniel 2:44} 44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.

In other words, the day is coming when the Kingdom of God will replace the kingdoms of men. The earth will be ruled in righteousness by the laws of God, rather than by the injustices and often arbitrary and contradictory laws of men. Revelation 11:15 speaks of a day when all these earthly nations will be annexed by the Kingdom of God.

{Revelation 11:15} 15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever."

All Nations Will Turn to God

So often we read the Psalms without really understanding the meaning of these words or their prophetic significance. Having in mind the Biblical vision of all nations in submission to Jesus Christ in His Kingdom, let us look at some of these Psalms, beginning with Psalm 66:4,

{Psalm 66:4} 4 All the earth will worship Thee, and will sing praises to Thee; they will sing praises to Thy name. Selah.

Psalm 67 is magnificent as well:

{Psalm 67:1} 1 God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us-Selah. {Psalm 67:2} 2 That Thy way may be known on the earth, Thy salvation among all nations. {Psalm 67:3} 3 Let the peoples praise Thee, O God; let ALL the peoples praise Thee. {Psalm 67:4} 4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for Thou wilt judge the peoples with uprightness, and guide the nations on the earth. Selah. {Psalm 67:5} 5 Let the peoples praise Thee, O God; let all the peoples praise Thee. {Psalm 67:6} 6 The earth has yielded its produce; God, our God, blesses us. {Psalm 67:7} 7 God blesses us, [in order] that all the ends of the earth may fear Him.

Psalm 72:11-19 says,

{Psalm 72:11} 11 And let all kings bow down before him, All nations serve him. . .{Psalm 72:17} 17 May His Name endure forever; May His Name increase as long as the sun shines; And let men bless themselves by Him; Let all nations call him blessed. . .{Psalm 72:18} 18 Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, Who alone works wonders. {Psalm 72:19} 19 And blessed be His glorious name forever; And may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen, and Amen.

Psalm 86:9 and 10 says,

{Psalm 86:9} 9 All nations whom Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord; and they shall glorify Thy name. {Psalm 86:10} 10 For Thou art great and doest wondrous deeds; Thou alone art God.

The day is coming when all nations will see that the path to liberty, peace, and prosperity is in making Jesus Christ their King and adopting the divine law as the law of the land. One by one, all nations on earth will do this, until His Kingdom fills the whole earth like the great mountain range foretold by the prophet Daniel (2:35). Isaiah foresaw this day as well when he wrote in Isaiah 2:2-4,

{Isaiah 2:2} 2 Now it will come about that in the last days, the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains [i.e., nations], and will be raised above the hills; and all the nations will stream to it. {Isaiah 2:3} 3 And many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways, and that we may walk in His paths." For the law will go forth from Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. {Isaiah 2:4} 4 And He will judge between the nations, and will render decisions for many peoples; and they will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war.

This will be the great Sabbath Millennium upon the earth, where God declares a time of rest from the labor imposed upon all nations because of Adam's sin. The purpose of a Sabbath is not to be a time of idleness, but to free us to be about our Father's business. It is the time of learning the ways of God, not merely a few individuals or small groups of Churches here and there, but for the whole earth.

The Fall of Jericho

The story of the fall of Jericho is a prophetic type of the fall of Babylon. That is, the story of Jericho's fall is prophetic of the fall of the great Babylon in Revelation 17-19. The similarities are striking when one studies them. In Joshua's conquest of Jericho, God told him to march around the city six days, blowing rams' horns. On the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times, and then shout against the city. When they did so, an earthquake struck the city, the walls fell, and the city was conquered.

In the book of Revelation we find that the city of Babylon was to fall in like manner. There are seven seals, and the seventh seal is comprised of seven trumpets. There are seven trumpets, and the seventh trumpet is comprised of seven bowls, or vials. Only then does Babylon fall, conquered by the Kingdom of God.

It is obvious that the overthrow of man's oppressive and arbitrary systems of law and government are a divine declaration of a Jubilee. The main purpose of a Jubilee is to set people free from every form of bondage. So it is self-evident that the fall of Babylon in the book of Revelation is a Jubilee.

The seven seals represent the seven church ages that comprise the Pentecostal Age. The seventh seal is the final "day" of the fall of Babylon (or Jericho). During that final "day," there are seven trumpets. In the law God instructed the priest to blow the trumpet on every new moon, the beginning of each month, to mark the calendar and count the months. And so the seven trumpets properly represent the seven months leading to the seventh month on the Hebrew calendar.

In the seventh month is the Feast of Tabernacles, during which time the priest poured out a drink offering of the new wine as a firstfruits offering to God (Num. 29:16). Since the Feast of Tabernacles was a seven-day feast, there were seven bowls, or vials, of wine poured out as an offering to celebrate this feast in the seventh month. And so we see that the Hebrew calendar forms the basic framework of the book of Revelation. The Feast of Tabernacles carries a prophetic undertone, depicting the fall of Babylon that will set the nations free.

This also explains why God instructed the priests to sacrifice seventy bullocks during the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles (Num. 29:12-34). Seventy is the universal number, representing all the nations of the earth. Alfred Edersheim says on page 277 of his book, The Temple,

"There were seventy bullocks, to correspond to the number of the seventy nations of the world."

In Genesis 10 the sons of Noah are said to father the beginnings of the various nations, and the list mentions seventy nations in all.

We conclude, then, that the Feast of Tabernacles was prophetic of the work God would do with regard to all nations of the earth. The book of Revelation explains in great details how to interpret the law regarding these seventy bullocks at Tabernacles. Even as the sacrifice of the lamb was fulfilled in Christ, the true Lamb of God, on our behalf, so also the slaughter of the bullocks was fulfilled in Christ on behalf of the nations of the world. Essentially, it prophesies the restoration of all things.

The Jubilee Trumpet at Jericho

In the story of the fall of Jericho, hidden five times within the text of Joshua 6, is the Jubilee. It is usually overlooked because the translators have mistranslated the Hebrew word, yobel, "rams' horns" instead of "Jubilee."

{Joshua 6:4} 4 Also seven priests shall carry seven trumpets of rams' horns [yobel, "Jubilee"] before the ark; then on the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets.

{Joshua 6:5} 5 And it shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, [yobel, "Jubilee"] and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people will go up every man straight ahead. . . .

{Joshua 6:6} 6 So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, "Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests carry seven trumpets of rams' horns [yobel, "Jubilee"] before the ark of the LORD."

{Joshua 6:7} 7 Then he said to the people, "Go forward, and march around the city, and let the armed men go on before the ark of the LORD."

{Joshua 6:8} 8 And it was so, that when Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams' horns [yobel, "Jubilee"] before the LORD went forward and blew the trumpets; and the ark of the covenant of the LORD followed them. . . .

{Joshua 6:13} 13 And the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams' horns [yobel, "Jubilee"] before the ark of the LORD went on continually, and blew the trumpets; and the armed men went before them, and the rear guard came after the ark of the LORD, while they continued to blow the trumpets.

These verses literally tell us that the priests carried the seven trumpets of the Jubilee. It is most unfortunate that the translators did not see the importance of conveying the concept of the Jubilee in their translations. It would have shown the Church that the ultimate fulfillment of the Jubilee is not a single day or a single trumpet, but a time of seven trumpets over a period of seven days. The Jubilee trumpet was supposed to be sounded on the Day of Atonement, but the Jubilee itself was merely the preparation day for the Feast of Tabernacles, which was a seven-day feast. The story of the fall of Jericho, combined with the book of Revelation, shows us their prophetic significance.

It appears that we today are at the end of the Pentecostal Age and are in the time of the seventh trumpet. The seven bowls are being poured out at the beginning of this Tabernacles Age. Even though the walls of the city are yet standing firm, the day will soon come when God's great earthquake will shake all things, and nothing will be left standing that is not part of His Kingdom. (Haggai 2:6, 7; Heb. 13:26-28).

God Wants All the Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Iron

In Joshua 6:19 the Israelites were given instructions regarding the spoils of war when God delivered the city into their hands.

{Joshua 6:19} 19 But all the silver and gold and articles of bronze and iron are holy to the LORD; they shall go into the treasury of the LORD.

God required all the gold, silver, bronze, and iron for His treasury from the city of Jericho. These metals signify all the nations of the earth, even as they do in the book of Daniel. This requirement in Joshua 6 prophesies that all the kingdoms of this world will come into God's "treasury," that is, His Kingdom (Rev. 11:15). This law of gold and silver and its significance is repeated in Haggai 2:8 and 9,

{Haggai 2:8} 8 "The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine," declares the LORD of hosts. {Haggai 2:9} 9 "The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former," says the LORD of hosts, "and in this place I shall give peace," declares the LORD of hosts.

Jesus Christ is destined to be King of kings and Lord of lords. He is destined to be worshipped by "every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them," (Rev. 5:13).The purpose of God's judgment is to correct and refine these metals, in order that God may bring even His enemies into His treasury, thereby abolishing death itself and becoming all in all.

Jericho Devoted to God

Joshua 6:17 (NASV) also tells us that the city of Jericho and all of its inhabitant were "under the ban." The King James Version says the city was "accursed." The margin says it is "devoted." To understand the significance of Jericho's devotion, we must first pause to study the law of devotion.

The Hebrew word is cherem, which is from the root word, charam. These words are difficult to translate into English. It means that it is to be given to God and cannot be purchased or redeemed out of His possession. It was to be used for God's purposes alone. The law regarding things "devoted" is found in Leviticus 27:28 and 29:

{Leviticus 27:28} 28 Nevertheless, anything which a man sets apart to the LORD out of all that he has, of man or animal or of the fields of his own property, shall not be sold or redeemed. Anything devoted to destruction is most holy to the LORD. {Leviticus 27:29} 29 No one who may have been set apart among men shall be ransomed; he shall surely be put to death.

In other words, once something has been "devoted" to God, it can never be taken away from Him, nor will God ever sell it or exchange it for any money or property. For example, Jesus spoke of such people in John 10:27-29,

{John 10:27} 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; {John 10:28} 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. {John 10:29} 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.

These sheep belong to Jesus, given to Him by the Father. They are "devoted" to Him; therefore, they cannot be snatched out of His hand. They are consecrated to Him. They are part of His Bride, because the Hebrew word, charam, is where the word "harem" is derived. They are not devoted to death and destruction, but unto life. They are the ones who have died voluntarily to their own self-will out of love for Him. Like Jesus, they are a lamb company; they have the character of the Lamb of God, who laid down His life willingly for others.

With this background in the law of devoted ones, we see the underlying meaning of Jericho's devotion to God. The city was devoted to destruction, but God claimed all the gold, silver, bronze, and iron. These metals represent the people who are citizens of the kingdoms of this world. They are to be devoted to destruction, certainly, but it is the destruction of the flesh, so that the people might be saved and go into God's treasury. The unbelievers are devoted to the lake of fire, in order that they might be tried and purified seven times and made fit for God's use in His Temple.

Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Daniel 2 pictures this devotion to destruction in terms of the stone grinding the image to powder. Joshua pictures it as being devoted to the treasury of God. The book of Revelation says the kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. If we look at all these themes in the various ways they are portrayed, we will see that they all point to the restoration of all things, where all nations come to worship Jesus Christ. This occurs at the fall of Babylon, after they are set free by the Jubilee in the Age of Tabernacles.

The Achan Doctrine

During the battle of Jericho, a man named Achan took silver, gold, and a Babylonish garment from Jericho and buried them in the ground under his tent (Joshua 7:21). He stole that which was "devoted" to God. As a result, Israel lost the next battle against the city of Ai, and 36 men of Israel were killed. Joshua prayed to know why this disaster had befallen them, and God told him that there was sin in the camp. He investigated the matter and found that Achan had not given God all the devoted things. Joshua 7:25 and 26 says,

{Joshua 7:25} 25 And Joshua said, "Why have you troubled us? The LORD will trouble you this day." And all Israel stoned them with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones. {Joshua 7:26} 26 And they raised over him a great heap of stones that stands to this day, and the LORD turned from the fierceness of His anger. Therefore the name of that place has been called the valley of Achor ["trouble"] to this day.

The Achan Doctrine is the idea that these "enemies" of God, the citizens of Jericho or Babylon, ought to be annihilated, buried in the ground, or burned in hell in punishment for their sins. Achan buried the gold and silver under his tent. This was stealing from God, because God has laid claim to all the spoils of this war. Furthermore, Achan also stole a Babylonish garment. This, too, has prophetic significance. It indicates that Achan desired to retain a part of Babylonish thinking. He preferred the Babylonish garment to the garments of salvation mentioned in Isaiah 61:10 and 11.

{Isaiah 61:10} 10 I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. {Isaiah 61:11} 11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, And as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise To spring up before all the nations.

This is the same chapter from which Jesus quoted at the beginning of His ministry to indicate His calling to set the captives free. The chapter is part of Isaiah's commentary on the law of Jubilee. It is, therefore, linked to the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles, or "Booths." The Hebrew word translated Booths or Tabernacles is sukkoth. Its root is sukka, which is also a bridal canopy. It represents the clothing of righteousness that is the ultimate reward of the believer, portrayed in Jesus' transfiguration.

Achan was a type of man who would give up the reward of transfiguration in the Feast of Tabernacles, rather than give up his Babylonian garment-the doctrine that God should not have all the gold and silver (people) of the world.

The Door of Hope

Hosea 2:15 prophesies that some day the valley of Achor ("Trouble") would become "a door of hope." The valley of Achor was the place where Achan was stoned (Joshua 7:26) for stealing the gold and silver from the spoils of Jericho. Hosea shows that the story of Achan was prophetic and had a future fulfillment. It was connected to the time of Israel's trouble, when they were to be cast out of the land by God's judgment. The door of hope was Israel's restoration to God, and this was based in part on the Noahic covenant God made with every living creature in the ninth chapter of Genesis. Hence, we read in Hosea 2:18,

{Hosea 2:18} 18 In that day I will also make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds of the sky, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, And will make them lie down in safety.

If this is the case, then we see the Achan Doctrine as an anti-restoration teaching. The second Joshua (Jesus) will come with Urim and Thummim and will identify this troubling doctrine. And when He does, the people will go to that tent and find the stolen silver and gold, and bring all things to the feet of Joshua. God has purposed to be "all in all" (1 Cor. 15:28), and no man can withstand it (Romans 9:19).

The exclusive and narrow view of salvation, the Achan of today, will be identified and destroyed by the revelation of truth. The solution to Achan in the Valley of Achor will also be a door of hope to the whole world, for all the treasures of the earth will be brought to Joshua and be restored to God's storehouse.

The Restoration of the Iron Axe Head

The prophet Elisha was the head of a school of prophets in ancient Israel. Elisha was the successor to Elijah. He had asked for, and received, the double portion of the Spirit that had been upon Elijah (2 Kings 2:9). As a consequence, whereas there are eight miracles recorded and attributed to Elijah, there are sixteen attributed to Elisha. Eight is the number of new beginnings, but sixteen is the number of love. Elijah prepared the way for Elisha, even as John prepared the way for Jesus to establish a new beginning in the earth. Yet the way is prepared so that the love of God to be extended in the salvation of all men.

One of Elisha's miracles was to restore an iron ax head that had been lost in the Jordan River. The story is found in 2 Kings 6:1-7.

{2 Kings 6:1} 1 Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, "Behold now, the place before you where we are living is too limited for us. {2 Kings 6:2} 2 Please let us go to the Jordan, and each of us take from there a beam, and let us make a place there for ourselves where we may live." So he said, "Go." {2 Kings 6:3} 3 Then one said, "Please be willing to go with your servants." And he answered, "I shall go." {2 Kings 6:4} 4 So he went with them; and when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. {2 Kings 6:5} 5 But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water; and he cried out and said, "Alas, my master! For it was borrowed." {2 Kings 6:6} 6 Then the man of God said, "Where did it fall?" And when he showed him the place, he cut off a stick, and threw it in there, and made the iron float.

{2 Kings 6:7} 7 And he said, "Take it up for yourself." So he put out his hand and took it.

I believe the iron in this story represents not only the iron kingdom of Rome, but by extension the entire Babylonian succession of empires. Even as the iron axe had cut down trees, so also the Roman Empire subdued many nations. Nations are often symbolized by trees in the Scriptures. One of the "trees" that Rome subdued was the nation of Judah. But out of that tree came forth a Branch-Jesus Christ-who would be cast into the Jordan River (death) in order to restore the iron, the kingdoms of this world.

The kingdoms of this world are devoted to destruction, even as the iron axe head fell into the Jordan River. But they are saved by Jesus Christ, represented in the story by Elisha, a type of Christ. He saves them by applying the wooden branch, or tree, to the river. This signifies the Cross, with Jesus' death being applied to the waters, which represent "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues." Revelation 17:15 says,

{Revelation 17:15} 15. . . The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

This brief story of Elisha is a beautiful picture of the restoration of all things and the subduing of all nations under the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. In that it is miracle twelve out of the sixteen that Elisha performed, it deals with the establishment of divine government in the earth.

The Ministry of the Conciliation

I believe that we are near to entering the Promised Land of the Tabernacles Age. The day is fast approaching and now is when our Joshua-Jesus is ready to expose the great Achan Doctrine which troubles Israel. Like those who were sent to Achan's tent to uncover the buried gold and silver, we too are called to bring these things to light and to bring the devoted things into His treasury.

There is no place in Scripture where we are called to enter a ministry where we preach eternal torment to the people. As we have seen in chapter 8, this is, in fact, the Doctrine of Achan. It is directly opposed to the ministry of the conciliation, which Paul speaks of in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.

{2 Corinthians 5:18} 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation [katallasso, "conciliation"], {2 Corinthians 5:19} 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling ["conciliating"] the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation ["conciliation"]. {2 Corinthians 5:20} 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were entreating through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled ["conciliated"] to God. {2 Corinthians 5:21} 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

You will notice that we have changed the translation from reconciliation to conciliation. This needs some explanation. There are two Greek words, both of which the New American Standard Bible has translated reconciliation: katallaso and apo-katallaso. These words are related but slightly different. You may see the correct translations by reading The Concordant Version.

If two people are enemies and are separated by some dispute, they need to be reconciled one to another. But if just one of those people takes it upon himself to drop the case and forgive the other, raising the white flag of truce, a conciliation has just occurred. A conciliation is a one-sided peace, done outside the will or knowledge of the second party. It is done by the council of his own will in the secret chambers of his governmental palace.

He who has conciliated his brother then sends his ambassador with the white flag of truce to sue for peace, to beg the other to conciliate in return. If he does so, then it is two-sided; it is a reconciliation.

In 2 Corinthians 5 (above) we find that God has conciliated the world to Himself. He laid aside his righteous and lawful case which he had against the world and conciliated the world. Then He sent us Christians into the world as His ambassadors to them to beg them to be conciliated to God in return. All who take heed and make peace with God are reconciled to Him. This is confirmed by Romans 5:10 and 11,

{Romans 5:10} 10 For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled ["conciliated"] to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled ["conciliated"], we shall be saved by His life. {Romans 5:11} 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation ["conciliation"].

While we were still sinners and fighting against God, Christ died for us. In other words, this conciliation took place BEFORE the reconciliation, because God took it upon Himself to act first. Paul uses these terms carefully. This can easily be seen in the three passages where he uses the term apo-katallaso, or reconciliation. The first is in Ephesians 2:16.

{Ephesians 2:16} 16 And might reconcile [apo-katallaso] them BOTH in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.

Paul was speaking of the "wall of partition" that had separated Israel from the "Gentiles." Since he speaks of BOTH parties being reconciled, he uses the proper word, apo-katallaso. The other two examples are in Colossians 1:20-22.

{Colossians 1:20} 20 And through Him to reconcile [apo-katallaso] all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. {Colossians 1:21} 21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, {Colossians 1:22} 22 yet He has now reconciled [apo-katallaso] you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach--

Paul simply says that God's purpose is to reconcile all things to Himself. That means BOTH parties are to make peace. In the passage above, Paul speaks to the Christians in Colosse who had in turn conciliated God; and thus there was a mutual reconciliation between them.

In 2 Corinthians 5 (quoted at the beginning of this chapter) Paul explains to the Christians that they have been called as ambassadors of Christ to a ministry of conciliation. That is, Christians have been entrusted with a message to give to the world. It is NOT a word of hellfire and brimstone. It is NOT the bad news of the damned. It is the good news "that God was in Christ conciliating THE WORLD to Himself, not counting their trespasses against THEM."

Certainly, there may be a time when God calls someone to give someone or a nation a word of warning of impending judgment. However, this is not the overall message that Christians have been called to give the world at large. And yet we often find that the gospel, which means "good news," has been altered by a misunderstanding of God's purpose and plan to both justify and reconcile all men unto Himself.

I used to be of the opinion that it was my Christian duty to convince others that they were sinners and in danger of God's wrath. After learning of God's plan to restore all men and conciliate the world, I began to share these things with the unbelievers. I was surprised at how quickly they responded to God's word and became very excited about getting to know God. I found that these people joyfully repented of their sin and turned to God out of a heart of love. They were overawed at the wisdom and knowledge of God. They rejoiced at the justice and mercy of God. Their lives were changed forever by the power of love and forgiveness.

Until the Church understands the ministry of the conciliation, it will enjoy only limited success in converting the world. Many will respond to God out of fear of hell, but vast numbers will reject God as well. Fear is a good motivator, but love is better. Even so, we are not here to discuss tactics, but to find the truth. I believe that the truth of the conciliation will be the impetus for the final great world revival that will sweep the earth in the Tabernacles Age. Jesus Christ will not need to FORCE the nations into submission, for once they come to know Him, He will prove to be "the desire of all nations" (Haggai 2:7, KJV). Revelation 15:4 poses the question,

{Revelation 15:4} 4 Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? For Thou alone art holy; For all the nations will come and worship before Thee, for Thy righteous acts have been revealed.

The Spiritual Gifts and Ministries

It is, perhaps, because of the idea of the total depravity of man, that Christians often believe that unbelievers willfully hate God. This is really not the case. For the most part, unbelievers simply do not know Him and do not know how to contact him. Even after they hear of Jesus Christ, many are afraid of Him, because they heard Him preached by a spirit of judgment and fear. This often gives people the wrong impression of Him, and they tend to think of Jesus Christ as just another tyrant to fear and to avoid if possible.

I really believe that to know Him is to love Him. When Jesus walked the earth, the people were drawn to Him by His love and concern for them. Whenever Christians have manifested that same love and concern, and especially whenever God has confirmed His word with signs following, the masses flock to hear of Jesus. Such people do not hate Jesus Christ; they simply do not know Him and are awaiting some of His disciples to show them by example the character and works of Jesus. The day is coming when this will occur on a fairly large scale. I believe this will explode upon the earth with the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles. That is when Jesus' words will be fulfilled, when He said in John 14:12,

{John 14:12} 12 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father.

When Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father, He sent the Holy Spirit in His place to indwell us and, as it says, to give us the spiritual gifts and ministries that Paul discusses in Ephesians 4:7 and 8,

{Ephesians 4:7} 7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. {Ephesians 4:8} 8 Therefore it says, "When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men."

Paul was quoting from Psalm 68:17 and 18, where we find a description of the first Pentecost under Moses at Mount Sinai.

{Psalm 68:17} 17 The chariots of God are myriads, thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them as at Sinai, in holiness. {Psalm 68:18} 18 Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captive Thy captives; Thou hast received gifts among men, Even among the rebellious also, that the LORD GOD may dwell there.

Even as Moses ascended the mount to receive the divine law as a gift to men, so also did Jesus Christ ascend into heaven and return in the form of the Holy Spirit in order to give gifts to men. He came to write His law upon our hearts, rather than on stone tablets. Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:11-13,

{Ephesians 4:11} 11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, {Ephesians 4:12} 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; {Ephesians 4:13} 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.

Psalm 68:18, quoted earlier, says that these gifts are for "the rebellious also, that the LORD GOD may dwell there." The purpose of the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost was for the benefit of the rebellious-not to confirm them in their rebellion, but so that they too would become fit for God's habitation. That is, they would begin to be cleansed and purified until they came to be spiritually mature "to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ."

The Scriptures clearly teach that man in his death-ridden state is at enmity with God and in need of reconciliation. Jesus Christ came to earth, shed His blood, and was raised from the dead in order to conciliate all nations. His blood, His power, and His love will draw all the peoples of the earth to Himself.

We are ambassadors of the greatest message the world has ever heard.