Kingdom come the final v.., p.5
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       Kingdom Come: The Final Victory, p.5
 

         Part #13 of Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye

  “In the first month, on the first day of the month, you shall take a young bull without blemish and cleanse the sanctuary. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, you shall observe the Passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten. And on that day the prince shall prepare for himself and for all the people of the land a bull for a sin offering.”

  Rayford only hoped he wouldn’t have to wait a thousand years to know the mind of God. He knew the Lord’s ways were beyond finding out for a mere mortal, but still he longed to know why Jesus was so specific about all the sacrifices required of His chosen people.

  Rayford saw the door of the temple; there was water flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east.

  Jesus said, “This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes. Fishermen will stand by it from En Gedi to En Eglaim, spreading their nets. Their fish will be of the same kinds as the fish of the Great Sea, exceedingly many.

  “This land is holy to the Lord. The rest shall be for general use by the city, for dwellings and common-land; and the city shall be in the center. Its produce shall be food for the workers of the city, who shall cultivate it.

  “I have made a covenant of peace with My people, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I have set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. The nations also will know that I, the Lord, have sanctified Israel, now that My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore. The name of the city from this day forward shall be: The Lord is There.”

  Rayford, amazed and confused, found himself gazing upon the great temple from afar. Had Jesus not done away with the sacrifices by His own death?

  The Lord said, “The sacrifices My Father required long ago were but a shadow of these good things to come. These same sacrifices, which My chosen ones are to offer continually year by year, cannot make those who approach perfect. But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year, just as the celebration of My supper is in remembrance of the price paid of My body and of My blood. The blood of bulls and goats could never take away sins. You have been sanctified through the offering of My body once for all. And every priest daily offering repeatedly the same sacrifices can never take away sins. But after I offered one sacrifice for sins forever, I sat down at the right hand of My Father, waiting till My enemies were made My footstool. For by one offering I perfected forever those who are sanctified. My chosen ones must continue to present memorial sacrifices to Me in remembrance of My sacrifice and because they rejected Me for so long.”

  THREE

  CAMERON WILLIAMS was convinced that in a thousand years he would never get used to the bizarre supernaturalism of everyday living now. He and Chloe had traversed the paved temple causeway with Abdullah “Smith” Ababneh from their Tribulation Force days. Cameron and Chloe and Abdullah’s wife, Yasmine, possessed glorified bodies, as did the Ababnehs’ two beautiful children—daughter Bahira and son Zaki—who were now, of course, fully grown.

  The former Jordanian fighter pilot and eventual convert—after he lost Yasmine and their children to the Rapture—quickly told Cameron of the glorious reunion with his family. “And, as you know, marriage is not the same as it was before all this. Which, in our case, is fortunate.”

  Bahira was a beautiful, tan-faced girl who took after her mother; Zaki was darker, like Abdullah, and seemed shy, if not aloof. They were fourteen and thirteen in real years, but their new bodies reminded Chloe of how her little brother, Raymie—twelve at the time of the Rapture—looked now, as though he were in his midtwenties.

  __

  When Jesus had begun showing everyone the new temple, Cameron was primarily drawn to the vast geographical changes that had wholly recast the landscape.

  “I have opened a fountain for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem,” Jesus said. “The time is now, when the moon shines as the sun and it is neither day nor night, but at evening it is light. I have caused living waters to flow from Jerusalem, half toward the eastern sea and half toward the western sea. In both summer and winter this shall occur.”

  To the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea! Cameron wondered what this divine freshwater supply would mean to the Dead Sea, having long been so salt laden that nothing could live in it and the heaviest humans floated in it.

  “The water that flows toward the eastern region goes down into the valley,” Jesus said, “and when it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. Every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes. But its swamps and marshes will not be healed; they will still be given over to salt. Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and they will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.”

  The idea of so much water in this desert fascinated Cameron. He had spent a lot of time in this region during the Tribulation and had often wondered what it would look like if there had been enough irrigation.

  Jesus said, “I will give the rain for seeds sown and bread of the increase of the earth. It will be fat and plentiful. Cattle will feed in large pastures. There will be on every high mountain and on every high hill rivers and streams of waters. Waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water.”

  Tsion Ben-Judah felt particularly privileged as one of the chosen people and a tribulation martyr. Of most interest to him on this day at the cusp of the Millennium was to try to understand how the Old Testament law would mesh with the work of Christ on the cross. How thrilling to learn that the glory of the Lord would fill the temple and that the Mosaic laws would be observed—even the sacrifices. Every year they would observe both Passover (the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread) and the Feast of Tabernacles. No lamb would be slain at Passover, thus making plain and memorializing annually that Jesus had been the perfect and once-for-all sacrifice for the sins of the world. And for these observances, even the Gentile nations would be required to have representatives sojourn to the temple.

  Tsion was dizzied when Jesus specified how the land was to be allotted: “These are the borders by which you shall divide the land as an inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel.” He spoke of His having long ago raised His hand in an oath as to who should occupy certain regions. Using the names of the cities of old, he outlined where the Jews should settle. “They will divide it by lot as an inheritance for themselves, and for the strangers who dwell among them and who bear children among them. The strangers shall be as native-born among the children of Israel; they shall have an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. In whatever tribe the stranger dwells, there he shall be given his inheritance.”

  It seemed strange to Cameron to realize that he, along with all other Gentile believers, was the stranger here. And yet we worship the same God.

  Jesus said, “The Lord is King over all the peoples of the earth. The Lord is one, and His name one.”

  And yet it soon became clear that Jesus, while the ultimate sovereign, would not be ruling alone. He began calling out from the multitudes counselors from each tribe who would adjudicate all matters among the citizens. These would serve as judges who would report to the ultimate judge of each tribe, one of the twelve apostles. Cameron thrilled to see these heroes of his faith take their places with Jesus in the temple.

  Then the Lor
d explained that the judges would report to the king of Israel—in this case, Jesus’ prince, David himself.

  Tsion kept his eyes peeled to see this great biblical hero, the one who had slain the giant, subdued a lion, conquered kingdoms, and been a man after God’s own heart.

  And yet the plain-looking, medium-sized man who emerged from the throng at Jesus’ beckoning looked nothing like a prince, let alone a king, and certainly not a hero. His gait was tentative, his posture timid. When he came within twenty feet of Jesus, he fell prone, hiding his face and crying out, “Unworthy! I am unworthy! Behold, I am unclean! Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done evil in Your sight. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.”

  “David, My prince, stand. For I long ago heard your cries and judged you and created in you a clean heart, renewing a steadfast spirit within you. I did not cast you away from My presence, and I did not take My Holy Spirit from you. Your sin is separated from you as far as the east is from the west and will be remembered no more, so delight in the joy of your salvation. I will uphold you by My Spirit that you may teach transgressors My ways, and sinners shall be converted to Me. I have delivered you from the guilt of bloodshed, so sing aloud of My righteousness.”

  David, standing now, shoulders back, chin raised, reached for Jesus’ embrace. “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; you do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise. I praise You for Your good pleasure to Zion and for rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness.” David washed and anointed himself and went into the house of the Lord.

  Rayford wished he could take notes to remember all that the Lord was imparting this day. It was as if He had waited until all were assembled to explain the wonders and mysteries of the coming thousand-year reign.

  “The mountain of My house is established on the top of the mountains,” Jesus thundered, “and shall be exalted above the hills; and nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and My word from Jerusalem. I shall judge between many peoples and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.

  “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play by the cobra’s hole, and the weaned child shall put his hand in the viper’s den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

  “Now the deaf shall hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness. For I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn. Hear My word, O nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, ‘He who scattered Israel has gathered him, and keeps him as a shepherd does his flock.’ For the Lord has redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of one stronger than he.

  “Therefore come and sing in the height of Zion, streaming to the goodness of the Lord—for wheat and new wine and oil, for the young of the flock and the herd. Your souls shall be like a well-watered garden, and you shall sorrow no more at all.

  “I have turned your mourning to joy; I will comfort you, and make you rejoice rather than sorrow. I will satiate the soul of the priests with abundance, and My people shall be satisfied with My goodness. Old men and old women shall again sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each one with his staff in his hand because of great age. The streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.”

  Just what did it mean, Rayford wondered, that “the child shall die one hundred years old, but the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed”? Back on the causeway with Tsion, he sought the older man’s opinion.

  “No one born during the time of the kingdom will die before age one hundred,” Tsion said. “And when one dies, he will be considered young, for everyone else will live for the entire Millennium. And you know, Rayford, the only ones who will die will be Gentiles who do not trust Christ for their salvation.”

  “Only Gentiles? How do you know that, and how can it be?”

  “We’re living out the prophecies now, friend. And Jeremiah wrote, ‘Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them.

  “ ‘But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,” for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.’ ”

  “Amazing. But then, even among us Gentiles, how could a child born into this new world ever choose not to trust Christ?”

  “It’s a mystery,” Tsion said. “Imagine—children of the Tribulation, when they reach an age of understanding and, thus, accountability, become the only unregenerate persons alive. And each one born here—without birth pangs, according to the prophecies—still must come to a place of repentance and a decision to become a follower of Christ.”

  “Then that person would be raised in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, would live in the physical presence of Christ, and would be influenced not only by his immediate family but also by every other person with whom he comes into contact.”

  Tsion nodded. “And yet the Scriptures are clear that at the end of all this, Satan is loosed again for a little while to tempt the nations, and the army he amasses is as numerous as the sand on the seashores. So not only will there be those who choose their own ways, there will be countless numbers of them.”

  “Hard to imagine.”

  “Especially now, when everyone you see is either a believer or too young to be accountable.”

  All Rayford could think of was how ominously important was Chloe and Cameron’s ministry to children. And yet if children lived to a hundred without becoming born again, they would die. How could any rebellion against Jesus be sustained through the generations until that final conflict when Satan was loosed?

  On the one hand, Rayford was grateful that such a return to the hatred and rebellion of his former life would not occur for a thousand years. On the other, he shuddered to realize that very soon, this idyllic kingdom would begin to become populated by those who—against all odds and all reason—would eventually spawn the fire of war that the evil one would fuel.

  FOUR

  “I’M NOT gloating, Rayford,” Tsion said. “I am just smiling.”

  They walked leisurely from the vast Temple Mount on the long paved causeway back to the valley where they lodged. Irene and Raymie and many of their friends strolled nearby, everyone seeming to radiate the wonder of Christ.

  “So you like that we Gentiles are low on the totem pol
e now, huh?”

  “It amuses me. But it is simply another fulfillment of prophecy. The government now starts with the Christ and extends through His prince and king of Israel, David; the apostles, who are now judges over the twelve tribes; their princes; local judges under them; counselors; and finally you foreigners. Oh, don’t look that way, friend. You know we will not make you suffer. Think of how different is this society, this whole world, compared to what we came from.”

  Rayford could only shake his head. He always found Tsion engaging and interesting, but now he could barely take his eyes from the beauty of the new creation. The landscaping that lined the causeway was breathtaking.

  Tsion must have noticed. “You rightly admire this handiwork,” he said, “because this road—if I may be so pedestrian as to call it that—is yet another reflection of the sinless beginning to the kingdom. I dare say it will be many years before we suffer the blights of war, abortion, murder, robbery, drugs, pornography—you name it.”

  “And does this causeway reflect that?” Rayford said.

  “Isaiah the prophet foretold this: ‘The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water; in the habitation of jackals, where each lay, there shall be grass with reeds and rushes. A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it; it shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.’ ”

 
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