While leading his flock through the wilderness, Moses came upon Mt. Horeb, the mountain of God. An angel appeared to him there and issued a call of God upon his life and a plan for deliverance of the children of Israel. (Ex. 3) Moses was never the same again. He began to understand life and destiny from God’s perspective and no longer given over to his own ideas and strength. He discovered God had a master plan, filled with His own calling and purpose, for a people He could call His own…Israel. It would be an earthly fulfilment of God’s covenant made to Abraham and to his descendants to become a great nation. He would become a living part of it. It would all press towards a fulfillment of this covenant to an earthly people of the seed of Abraham (Israel,) with earthly blessing, a promised land, and physical kingdom.
Some 1,500 years later, another angel accompanied the apostle John as he was carried away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain. From this vantage point, he would see something glorious, a special people who would become His Son the Lamb’s bride, envisioned as a great city, a heavenly Jerusalem—a culmination of His master plan. (Rev. 21:9-11) It is a master plan that would begin with a spiritual family of God’s own children, born of the seed of Christ. Under this New Covenant, this spiritual family of God, would have “all the spiritual blessings in heavenly place,” be part of a spiritual kingdom not of this earth, and destined to eternally share in this Kingdom as the Bride of Christ. Both Israel and the Bride were to have a share in a kingdom, one earthly and temporal, one heavenly and eternal.
Ultimate clarity comes when one begins to see life from another’s view, especially if it be God’s own perspective. The creative element in man that enables him to choose, to plan, to bring about something can be quite powerful. Dynasties and kingdoms are built, world-wide corporations formed, and even gods, or other heavenly entities, are all too often created with religions formed by people based upon their own world-views. They desire a god molded after themselves, their conception of good and evil, and especially a god to meet their needs and fulfill their hopes. It is like the Israelites who, when Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, said to Aaron, “Come, let us make us gods that shall go before us…” (Ex. 32:1) Dare I say that even the God of the Bible, the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, are reshaped in the minds of many believers to be something they are not, but to be something the believers want them to be. These are gods formed and fashioned after their own hearts to where the One God is no longer the only true God. Concepts of heaven and the destiny of man are perverted and become fables and wishful thinking. The Israelites remolded God to the shape of a physical golden calf. Today, He is reshaped in a spiritual way in the minds of His people. Both are idols.
Do we continually strive forward to understand, with clarity and truth, the plan and purposes of God without injecting or reflecting our own philosophies and selfish motives, ambitions and personal feelings of what we may think we or society needs? Man has his own sense of moral goodness brought about by life relationships and personal learning experiences. He has eaten freely from the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” since being a child and his world around him has eaten from this tree for all its generations. From this base, a part of society is godless and man-centered and another part is polytheistic with many different gods and codes of behavior. Like a cancer, it has even spread its roots into professing Christians perverting the nature and essence of the only True God and His ultimate intent for His creation.
It is written,
|“who (God) has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our own works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.” (2 Tim. 1:9)|
Clearly there is a saving by grace of believers in Christ. Note that the word “saved” in our text is in the past tense. There is a new beginning. From that point forward, there is a holy calling upon the life of the believer. This calling is something progressive and goal-oriented. The term holy does not necessarily mean something pure or without stain, but rather means being separated to God (from self and the world) to a walk and an eternal hope according to His high purpose which He proposed since the foundation of the earth. It is a divinely-planned destiny. As it is clearly stated by Jesus to Nicodemus in John 3, unless one is born again of the Spirit of God, he cannot see nor enter into this Kingdom. Once entered, however, eternal purposes and an upward call are before the child of God.
The opening account of this master plan and purpose was given to Moses on Mt. Horeb (Sinai), a mountain in the Sinai Desert of the Middle East. It was a plan for deliverance of His people Israel from the bondage of Egypt and passage through a wilderness to possession of a land of their own. Their kingdom would have at its center a holy city, Jerusalem, and with the most holy temple of God at its core. Yet we see the culminating chapter of this plan is revealed as in a mirror, as the highest spiritual reality, to the apostle John on a great and high mountain in the heavenlies. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (Jn. 3:6) Though our feet are on this earth and we sense some kind of connection or identity with Moses and the children of Israel, our minds and hearts are caught up into the heavenlies where we long to be a part in the forming of the spiritual family of God as a holy habitation of God, and of the Bride of Christ. This is the reality of the kingdom of God. Though the believer is in the world, just as Jesus was in the world, neither he or she nor Christ are of the world. (Jn 17:16) It is as Jacob’s vision of the ladder described in Genesis 28. The base of the ladder is firmly planted on the earth but its top reaches to heaven. It was there where Jacob became Israel, as he was set apart unto God, called according to His purpose.
Trilogies of the Kingdom
The centrality of Christ and the grace of God remains forever the core of the Gospel. To understand this is chief and foremost for the foundation of our spiritual lives. The absolute foundation of Christ and grace will never diminish as the keys to regenerated lives and eternal hope for believers. Yet the Gospel does not end there. The call to “let us go on to perfection (maturity, wholeness)” (Heb. 6:1) lies before us—as in God’s master plan. All things in the Kingdom are not automatic. Even grace, made available to all, must be acted upon by faith. God’s love for the world provided for salvation of man from sin, but God also set forth provision for a Godly transformation within man. With both, salvation and transformation, Christ remains the focus and grace the provision to be acted upon…by faith.
This series of teachings is termed: “Trilogies of the Kingdom.” Throughout my studies, I have found that while attempting to understand God’s calling and purposes, very frequently I am brought to first understand important distinctions within some Biblical concepts. Once understood, a light goes on—aha! Many of these concepts occur in groups of threes, but are intricately linked together as one. The “Divine Trinity” being composed of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is one example. Jesus Christ is God just as the Father is God, and the Holy Spirit proceeds from God; yet important distinctions among the three must be made to more fully understand the fullness of God and each one’s role in relationships. Equally, further distinctions must be made in our understanding of man—who is spirit, soul, and body, and of time—which is past, present and future. To understand these three concepts alone (i.e., god, man and time) is vital to our understanding of God, His calling, plan and purpose, and of our response to that calling and the destiny that lies before us. Yet there are just as important other trilogies as will be described below.
Biblically, the number three always speaks of “wholeness,” “completeness,” and “fullness.” The term perfection is frequently used, especially in the KJV, to emphasize this idea of maturity, consummation, completeness—as in Hebrews 6:1, “…let us go on to perfection,” and James 1:4, “…that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” The very reason God sent His Son Jesus to suffer and die on the cross and resurrect is that man need not remain in his broken, incomplete, and darken state, but that he might be given the opportunity to become whole…in spirit, soul, and body. Some may feel we are who we are and that this completeness or wholeness will explode upon the scene at the end of time when God consummates all things in Christ. Others, such as myself, believe that a foretaste of this wholeness begins in this life, as we read in 2 Cor. 3:18, “But we all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by Spirit of the Lord.” This salvation is reflected in the trilogy of man. It comes first to the spirit of man receiving the zoe life of God. The soul of man transforms daily as it is delivered from the bondage of sin and self and is progressively set apart for the Lord God. The body will even find its redemption in the resurrection.
The term trilogy comes from the Greek words tri, “three,” and logia, “discourse.” It comprises a set of three works. Numerous volumes may be written on reoccurring scriptural themes of three. Examples follow.
|Examples of Biblical TrilogiesGOD – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Mt. 28:19)TIME – Past, Present, and Future (Rev. 1:18)MAN – Spirit, Soul, and Body (1Thes. 5:23)KINGDOM – Righteousness, Peace, and Joy (Rm. 14:17)OT FEASTDAYS – Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles (Lev. 23)WISDOM – Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption (1 Cor. 1:30)FAITH – Reckon, Believe, and Hope (Rm. 5 & 6)REALMS – Heaven, Earth, Under-the-Earth (Phil. 2:10)TABERNACLE – Outer Court, Holy Place, Most Holy Place (Ex. 26 & 27)DIVINE ADMINISTRATION – Gifts, Ministries, and Operations (1 Cor. 12:4-6)WORLD – Lust of Flesh, Lust of Eyes, Pride of Life (1 Jn. 16)PASSION – Death, Burial, and Resurrection (Rm. 6)RITES – The Cross, Baptism, and Holy SpiritLOVE – (Gk.) Eros, Phileo, and AgapeLIFE – (Gk.) Bios, Psuche, and Zoe And, ….WORSHIP – Faith, Spirit, and truth. (Jn. 4:23-24)|
It is important to note, it is not the intent of this teaching series to simply write about trilogies for the sake of explaining the significance of each one in detail…even though each trilogy is interesting and informative in its own merit. Rather, the overarching goal is to reveal the importance of several of these trilogies in order to bring both understanding of this “wholeness” and “fullness” called for, and provided for, the believer with a clearer picture of the ultimate goal, when the consummation of all things are brought about. These writings are thus ordered as a foundational series with a two-fold goal:
- The Master Plan. Once someone asked, “just what is this high call of God in Christ? This message of the Master Plan endeavors to explore a clearer understanding of God’s ultimate purpose and calling in man’s redemption. Is central theme and reason is for his spiritual maturity or wholeness.
- The Experiential or Practical Outworking. To explore the realm of spiritually experiencing, or walking in these truths in a practical way. All too often knowledge of various teachings and doctrines are gained and we become as it were a Biblical encyclopedia. Knowledge alone in insufficient. There must accompany this new understanding an outworking of its truth, an experiencing of its reality.
In closing, there is a Psalm I would like to cite:
“I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem.” (Ps. 122.1)
In this Psalm, there is a company of believers pressing on in their upward call of God. They call out to those standing within the gates of the city, “Let us go…” In my heart, it is fearful to become stagnant in the faith, to become routine in spiritual matters. There is an emptiness that comes with complacency. That which was once living and active becomes a religious practice. God forbid. I can very much identify with those who hear from the passer-byer to “come let us go into the house of the Lord…” It is a joy to hear this call, and a delight to join such a company of believers. I find in myself a struggle to singularly press on. But in such body of believers, where every joint supplies, each having the same vision of this upward call, it becomes as one floating in that river of life that proceeds from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Come, “Let us go!”