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God Makes a Covenant Distinction in the Church

By Donald P. Moss

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Series Introduction

Foreshadows Introduction

Volume 1 -THE GARDEN OF EDEN - Adam's Creation and His
Spiritual and
Physical Environments

Volume 2 - NEW BEGINNING AND NEW WORLD ENVIRONMENT

Volume 3 - JOSEPH, EPHRAIM AND MANASSEH - A Foreshadow of God's Agenda for Jew and Gentile

Volume 4  - CROSSING THE JORDAN RIVER - A Foreshadow of Salvation for Jew and Gentile

Volume 5 - THE BOOK OF REVELATION - God's Agenda for the End Time

Volume 6 - THE SEVEN LETTERS TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES

Volume 7  - CHRIST IN THE TABERNACLE - A Foreshadow of Redemption

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Bible Lessons

This quick study is a sub-topic validation for the foreshadows in Volume 7 - CHRIST IN THE TABERNACLE - A Foreshadow of Redemption

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God Makes a Distinction Between His People and the People Outside the Covenant

Knowing that God has made a distinction between His covenant people and people outside the covenant is integral to covenant faith and hope for the future. This distinction is made known to each believer by faith in His Word with signs and wonders following. In delivering His people from Egypt, God used the plagues to make a distinction between the people of God and the people of Egypt.

Exodus 8:22-23 (NIV) - "'But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the LORD, am in this land. (23) I will make a distinction between my people and your people."

This distinction separates God's people from the rest of the world. The rest of the world will eventually know that the true God is with the Israelites and at a later time, that Christ Jesus is Lord of all. There are many scriptures that reveal this distinction.

Such as -

Rahab's statement to the spies Joshua sent into Jericho - Joshua 2:8-11(NIV) - Before the spies lay down for the night, she went up on the roof (9) and said to them, "I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you. (10) We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed. (11) When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone's courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.

Such as -

Nebuchadnezzar's response to Daniel's interpretation of his dream - Daniel 2:46-47 (NIV) - Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. (47) The king said to Daniel, "Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery."

Eventually, everyone who has ever lived will acknowledge Christ as Lord - Philippians 2:9-11(N IV) - Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, (10) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (11) and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

In the End Time God Makes a Distinction in the House of God

The book of Malachi, being the last book of the Old Testament, offers an important Messianic prophecy. Malachi was a prophet or messenger of God who lived in the time of Israel having returned from Babylonian exile under Nehemiah. The temple had been re-built and the Israelites were expecting God's Messiah to return to His temple with majesty and power to exalt His kingdom in the presence of the nations. But, Messiah tarried. The Israelites began to doubt God's covenant love, they no longer trusted His declarations of justice and they began to lose hope. They began to no longer take the law seriously. Malachi rebukes their doubt and unfaithfulness.

Malachi 3:1 (NIV) - "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty.

"Send my messenger " - The Israelites may have believed Malachi was the Messianic messenger, the name Malachi means "messenger". Thus, they may have been expecting Messiah to come to His temple soon after this prophecy was spoken by Malachi. But, it appeared God was tarrying because Messiah did not come as soon as expected. On the other hand, this prophecy was actually concerned with John the baptist, who was the messenger proclaiming the arrival of Messiah.

"Suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple" - the arrival of Jesus will be sudden and He will come to His temple. "His temple" is a Messianic proclamation.

"Messenger of the covenant" - John the baptist is God's messenger of the covenant and Jesus is the finisher of the covenant.

"Whom you desire" - Jesus is the Messiah of Israel, whom they have longed to see arrive to deliver them from their enemies.

Malachi 3:2-4 (NIV - But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. (3) He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, (4) and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.

"But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears?" - Messiah will arrive to bring division between the righteous and the unrighteous, between things that are common to man and things that are holy. By faith each believer must endure this division between good and evil in his heart.

"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver" - Messiah will bring fire to purge sin and self-righteousness from the Israelites.

"Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness" - Tithes and offerings will be brought to the Lord in righteousness, with a willing heart (without expecting anything in return). Selfish motivation (seeking righteousness through sacrifice) will not be a part of righteous men, who bring offerings to the Lord.

Malachi 3:5-7 (NIV) - "So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty. (6) "I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. (7) Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you," says the LORD Almighty. "But you ask, 'How are we to return?'

"I will come near to you for judgment" - Jesus will come to judge those under the covenant, including the Gentiles because they are grafted into the covenant. His judgment will begin with the house of God (1 Peter 4:17).

"But do not fear me" - Judgment will be against those who mistreat others, deprive them of justice and do not revere God (love God).

"So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed" - Although Israel is judged and refined, God will not destroy them.

"Return to me, and I will return to you" - This time of judgment and refinement is to give the Israelites an opportunity to return to God and be made whole though their acceptance and faith in Messiah.

'How are we to return?' - The Israelites will return to God through their faith in Messiah and righteously make their tithes and offerings because they love God, not because they are seeking to gain by God's intervention. Their focus will be on the Giver, not the gift.

Malachi 3:8-12 (NIV) - "In tithes and offerings. (9) You are under a curse - the whole nation of you - because you are robbing me. (10) Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. (11) I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty. (12) "Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land," says the LORD Almighty.

"Because you are robbing me " - Tithes belong to God, else it would not be robbery if the Israelites fail to bring the tithe to God. Tithes do not belong to the Israelites. Taking the tithe to God is an act of stewardship over what belongs to God. Therefore, the Israelites cannot give the tithe to God. How can the Israelites give to God what already belongs to Him? Offerings are also God's, because freewill offerings are an expression of love and devotion to God. Freewill offerings are a part of their relationship with God, apart from stewardship.

"Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house " - The tithe is used by God in the ministry of grace and mercy to those in need and to sustain the priesthood who are called by God for this purpose.

"Test me in this" - God challenges His people, who are not seeking selfish gain, to test this principle of being a steward of His tithe.

"And see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit" - In reference to taking the tithe to the storehouse, God's blessing does not preclude the tithe. The blessing follows the tithe. Tithes brought into the storehouse by believers, who see the tithe as belonging to God and their part is one of stewardship, is the correct understanding. In their hearts the tithe belongs to God, it is not a gift or freewill offering. Their stewardship is a heart perspective and an act of obedience.

Malachi 3:13 -18 (NIV) - "You have said harsh things against me," says the LORD. Yet you ask, 'What have we said against you?' "You have said, 'It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty? (15) But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.'" (16) Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name. (17) "They will be mine," says the LORD Almighty, "in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. (18) And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.

"You have said harsh things against me" - God is offended by the Israelites' words which are motivated by a selfish attitude of personal gain (righteousness through sacrifice).

"It is futile to serve God " - This scripture is directed at those in the House of God who serve the Lord for selfish reasons.

"What did we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty?" - This is a statement implying legalism. The Israelites serve God for personal gain of self-righteousness.

"Certainly the evildoers prosper" - Self-righteousness sees the prosperity of the unrighteous and cannot understand why they prosper. What have they done to serve God? Even today there are those in the House of God who desire that God only prosper those who serve Him and merit His favor. God loves the righteous and unrighteous - Matthew 5:44-45 (NIV) - But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, (45) that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

"Even those who challenge God escape" - Self-righteousness sees those who challenge God as deserving of His punishment. Self-righteousness has difficulty seeing the mercy and love of God for those who challenge Him. I am reminded of Jonah who did not want to obey God to go and preach to the Ninevites because he did not think they were worthy of God mercy and grace.

"Those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard" - Those who revered the Lord came together and discussed this matter. Hearts were changed and repentance is apparent, a scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name. This scroll contains names of the "men who will bring offerings in righteousness".

God desires that all who love Him abandon self-righteousness and turn to Him, bringing the tithe and offerings to Him with love and reverence.

"They will be mine" - God's favor will be theirs in the day when He makes up His treasured possession. God has become their treasure and reward because they seek Him instead of prosperity. Their eyes and hearts are fixed on Him.

"In the day when I make up my treasured possession" - The day of God making up His treasured possession is the end time separation between those who serve God and those who do not serve Him.

"You will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked" - "Again" denotes previous times when God made a distinction between the righteous and the wicked.

"Wicked" - (Strong's Concordance / Hebrew) #7563 rasha` (raw-shaw'); from #7561; morally wrong; concretely, an (actively) bad person.

Rasha' means morally wrong. This is a Christian whose thinking is wicked or twisted from the truth of God. Rasha' does not necessarily mean an evil person or one condemned.

This distinction is made In the day when God is making up His treasured possession at the pre-tribulation judgment of the House of God. This will be a day when the servants of God, whose names are written in His "scroll of remembrance" will be rewarded. The distinction will be visibly detectable by the wicked.

Note: Tithes, freewill offerings and generosity are an integral part of doing warfare with the god of mammon (love of money), re: Bishop Malcomb Smith.

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The Day When God Makes Up His Treasured Possession

The following scripture is concerned with fulfilling Malachi's prophecy of God making up His treasured possession of silver, gold and costly stones. This is the Day (Jesus) when He judges every Christian's work.

1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (NIV) - By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. (11) For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. (12) If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, (13) his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. (14) If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. (15) If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

"Each one should be careful how he builds"- This phrase emphasizes the need for Christians to careful consider what they believe is true, else they will lay an incorrect foundation for their faith and what they build will be skewed from God's truth.

"No one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ" - A true foundation is based on God's truth, not a compromised Word. What he believes to be true must be centered on Christ's message of truth. His beliefs concerning salvation, baptism, sanctification, renewing the mind, faith, servanthood, stewardship, tithing, freewill offerings, etc. must be centered on Christ, rather than a compromised Word influenced by selfish motives.

"If any man builds on this foundation" - This foundation is Jesus Christ words, His testimony.

"Using gold, silver, costly stones" - Represents building on the foundation of Jesus Christ with correct understandings of biblical truth. All scriptures will be harmonious with each other. There will be no contradictions in a person's understanding truth as revealed in the scriptures. HIs faith will be of full persuasion.

"Wood, hay or straw" - Represents building on the foundation of Jesus Christ with incorrect understandings of biblical truth. When scriptures are not interpreted correctly or compromised, then harmony between all scriptures will be compromised and truth will stumble in the heart of the believer. Likewise, his life is affected by what he believes to be true. His faith will waiver accordingly.

"His work will be shown for what it is" - The fruit of his life as a Christian will be judged by the true light of the gospel. His work will be judged by the very words of Christ -

John 12:47-50 (NIV) - "As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. (48) There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. (49) For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. (50) I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say."

"It will be revealed with fire" - Each Christian's work will be revealed with fire, a time of distress and tribulation (furnace of affliction).

"The fire will test the quality of each man's work" - When tribulation and distress comes, will the believer's faith be steadfast? Or will he waiver in his faith and doubt what the Word has spoken to him?

"If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward" - If his work survives the furnace of affliction, he will receive his reward. The following scripture is an example of the end time distress and tribulation that will come upon Jews and Gentiles to test what they believe to be true -

Daniel 3:10-29 (NIV) - You have issued a decree, O king, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, (11) and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. (12) But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon - Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego - who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up."

Note: This event is repeated in the seven year tribulation - Another decree will be issued by the anti-christ at mid-trubulation stating that all must fall down and worship the image set up on the wing of the temple. Whoever does not fall down and worship the image will be subject to death. When Christians do not fall down, the anti-christ will be furious with rage.

(13) Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, (14) and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? (15) Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?"

(16) Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. (17) If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. (18) But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up."

(19) Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual (20) and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. (21) So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. (22) The king's command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, (23) and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.

(24) Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?" They replied, "Certainly, O king." (25) He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods." (26) Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!"

So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, (27) and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

(28) Then Nebuchadnezzar said, "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. (29) Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way."

(30) Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were steadfastly faithful to God, even if it meant they would perish in the fire that was seven times hotter than usual. This fire was prepared to be the most intense test they had ever faced. I am reminded of the end time tribulation that is coming upon the whole world - Matthew 24:21 (NIV) - For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now - and never to be equaled again. The end time tribulation is a furnace of affliction that is a great distress, distress that is greater than any distress ever known to man. You could say that it is seven times greater than usual distress - a seven year time of great distress and tribulation. In the seven year tribulation the saints must be willing to give up their lives rather that serve or worship any god except their own, Christ Jesus. The Son of God will send His angels to walk through the end time flames with the believers. During their time in the furnace, their hands were no longer bound (representing their release from the bondage of Nebuchadnezzar. Or it might be said, Christians are released from the bondage of sin during the refining flames of the furnace of affliction). At the appointed time Christ will harvest (rapture) the saints to save them out of the flames and they will not smell of smoke, as though, they were never harmed by their past sins. They will be free and they will be a new creation of God because they passed through the flames. Then, (even as Nebuchadnezzar said) the rest of the inhabitants of the earth will say, "no other god can save in this way". Afterward, even as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were rewarded with a promotion, the saints will be rewarded with an eternal presence with the Lord, Christ Jesus.

"If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames" - He who builds using wood, hay and stubble, his work will not survive the distress and affliction that tests his faith. His faith will waver and he will lose his reward. He will still be saved, but only as one who goes through the flames of the great tribulation. He will be tested again after a short time, in which he repents and gives himself wholeheartedly to Christ. Then he will be reward, even as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were rewarded for their steadfast faith.

This judgment of every man's work is the judgment seat of Christ, when He judges the House of God. This is pre-tribulation judgment for making a distinction between works of gold, silver and costly stones and the works of wood, hay and stubble. Christians with works of wood, hay and stubble will see this distinction that Christ has made in the church and realize they have been left behind to endure the next round of tribulation and distress. This will a most influential event in bringing them to repentance. They will not miss the next harvest (rapture to come at mid-tribulation when all Israel has been saved). Christ will deliver them, along with the Jews, from the furnace of affliction during the first half of the great tribulation.

I realize there are differing opinions concerning the rapture of the church. Some believe it occurs at pre-tribulation, others at mid-tribulation and still others at post-tribulation. Because the Bible says Christians with works of silver, gold and costly stones will receive their reward and Christians with works of wood, hay and stubble will lose the reward, but are saved through the flames of tribulation and distress; I believe the end time is structured to accommodate a time for their repentance prior to their harvest or rapture. This perspective is one of Christ giving carnal Christians another chance to repent and turn to Him with a whole heart. God is a God of another chance! God will provide opportunities for Christians to repent and draw closer to Him through their faith in Him.

I believe the end time is structured to provide a pre-tribulation furnace of distress and affliction, a furnace for the first half of tribulation and a furnace for the second half of tribulation. The hottest of which is the second half furnace - the rule of the anti-christ (mark of the beast). Each furnace will refine and purge impurities from the children of God, even those with the most calloused hearts.

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Why is this Distinction Made in the Church?

In any given congregation of believers, Christians vary in spiritual maturity, knowledge and wisdom. Some have matured, trusting God to see them through the issues of life. Some have grown to be great servants of God in the ministry of grace and mercy. Others of lesser maturity are struggling with the issues of their lives and in the process of growing in their faith. Others have grown and at the early stages of serving God, but still hold on to some worldly things that are deeply embedded in their hearts.

Ephesians 5:10-21 (KJV) - Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. (11) And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. (12 ) For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. (13) But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. (14) Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. (15) See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, (16) Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (17) Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. (18) And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; (19) Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; (20) Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; (21) Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

"Sleepest" - (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words ) - katheudo #2518, "to go to sleep," In the epistles of Paul it is used as follows: (a) of natural "sleep," e. g., 1 Thessalonians. 5:7; (b) of carnal indifference to spiritual things on the part of believers, Ephesians. 5:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:6,10 (as in Mark 13:36), a condition of insensibility to divine things involving conformity to the world.

When the Lord returns to harvest the earth and separate the righteous from the unrighteous and then judge the House of God, will He find the church perfect? Or will He find a church with believer's at varying stages of spiritual maturity?

Since He will come suddenly, He will find Christians who serve Him with whole hearts and He will find others who are not as mature. He will find some who are carnally indifferent to spiritual things.

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Who will be the greatest in the kingdom and who will be the least? Both will make it into the kingdom, but the rewards will be according to their deeds while serving Him in the ministry of grace and mercy.

Matthew 20:20-23 (NIV) - Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. (21) "What is it you want?" he asked. She said, "Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom." (22) "You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said to them. "Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?" "We can," they answered. (23) Jesus said to them, "You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father."

God has prepared a special place for certain Christians who "drink the cup He drinks" and who meet the Father's criteria.

Matthew 20:24-28 (NIV) - When the ten heard about this, they were indignant with the two brothers. (25) Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. (26) Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, (27) and whoever wants to be first must be your slave - (28) just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

"Become great among you"; "be your servant" - To become the greatest among the congregation of the brethren is not a selfish ambition, but a desire to serve Christ in truth and spirit with a whole heart. Servanthood always entails serving those in the congregation who are in need of the Lord's intervention and blessing.

"Wants to be first"; "be your slave" - To be first among the congregation of brethren requires being their slave, devoted to those who are in need. Through love for those who are in need of the Lord's intervention, a bond exists between those in need and the slave (devoted servant). When they see the devotion of the servant, they will see the Lord's presence. Just as Christ gave His life as a servant to all who needed Him, even to those who rejected Him.

This is the high calling of God - To give your life for the good of others. These will be the first and greatest in the kingdom of God, even though they are the least in the world.

God will make a pre-tribulation distinction between those who serve Him and those who do not serve Him.

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The servant's attitude

Colossians 3:22-25 (NIV) - Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. (23) Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, (24) since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (25) Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.

This inheritance for silver, gold and costly stone servants is a crown reward, the same crown given to the Philadelphia Christian (Revelation 3:11) and is a distinction Christ makes in the House of God at pre-tribulation. Crowns are for those who will judge the twelve tribes of Israel during the millennium reign of Christ. Philadelphia Christians will be positioned as "pillars" in the temple of God, global representatives of Christ . They will be put in charge of governing over the people. These Christians must be Christ minded and vessels of His grace and love, priests and servants of the people.

The seven letters are intended to awaken the House of God from spiritual slumber and complacency in today's time in order to lead Christians into a higher level of spiritual maturity and servanthood. God desires the entire House of God be prepared and watchful for His second coming.

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Review:

It is prudent to have an understanding of the pre-tribulation judgment of the House of God. With this understanding of receiving rewards based on spiritual maturation and servanthood. Christians will be encouraged to know more about pre-tribulation judgment criteria. Insight to this criteria can be known by studying the seven letters to the seven churches in the book of Revelation. This is why God included the letters in the book of Revelation. He desires that all Christians know the defects He will find in the corporate church of believers (Protestants, Greek Orthodox and Catholics). With this knowledge Christians will be encouraged to repent of the things put forth in the letters so they can be rewarded at the pre-tribulation judgment. Then they will be assured they will hear Christ say, "Well done thy good and faithful servant". Amen! Amen!

Recommended reading in this series of books is Volume 6 - The Seven Letters to the Seven Churches