People of The Living God

Psalms 150

 

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OUTSIDE THE DOOR

Harry R. Miller

INTRODUCTION

“As it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Luke 17:28-30).

        Lot escaped the judgment of fire. So, also, in this last day God will provide a way of escape. He who is wise will seek for the “strait gate” and the “narrow way” that he might be saved from the terrors of earth’s last days.

        As the Spirit of the Lord prepared a place of safety in the days of  Noah, so, also, is He preparing a place in this end time. In the parable of the ten virgins, the wise virgins “WENT IN” (Matt. 25:10) to a place prepared for them. In the parable of the wedding supper the Lord calls this place “My house” (Luke 14:23) where people are bidden to “COME IN.”

        “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our GATHERING TOGETHER UNTO HIM … that day shall not come, except there      come a falling away first” (II Thess. 2:1-3).  The second coming of Christ, “the end of the world,” and the “gathering together” are major events of the last generation. These three are closely related chronologically; they swiftly follow one another.

        Do you know that God is now making up His jewels? “In that day when I make up My jewels; … I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him” (Mal. 3:17).  These “jewels” are the “wheat” which the Father is gathering into His “barn”:  “gather the wheat into My barn” (Matt. 13:30).  John the Baptist said He (Jesus) would “gather His wheat into the garner” (Matt. 3:12).

        His “barn,” His “garner,” “the wedding chamber,” of Matthew 22 and 25, and the “place in the wilderness” of Revelation twelve all speak of the same place: the realm of safety HERE ON EARTH.

        “Seek the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness; it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger” (Zeph. 2:3).  “Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Luke 21:36).

OUTSIDE THE DOOR

        “They that were ready went in … and the door was shut (Matt. 25:10).  A door is a movable barrier fitted into an enclosure which separates one place from another.  It opens or closes a passage through the structure, and provides a means of entry or exit to the separated areas.  It is behind such a barrier, in a PLACE, here upon earth, that this “marriage supper” will be held.

        “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her PLACE, (Rev. 12:14); “In the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion” (Psalm 27:5); “Come, My people, enter into THY chambers, and shut THY doors about thee … until the indignation be overpast” (Isa. 26:20);  “As the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matt. 24:37).  God shut the door to the ark which He had instructed Noah to build (Gen. 7:16).  So also shall the Master of the house shut the door of the PLACE of His people: “When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are” (Luke 13:25).

        The “marriage supper of the Lamb” will be a most heavenly affair; but it will not take place in heaven, for the text demands that it will be held right here upon the earth.  The kingdom-of-heaven-wedding parable of Matthew twenty-two should make it very clear that all kinds of people shall attend: “both BAD and good” (Matt. 22:10).  It stands to reason that the “bad” people could not possibly be “caught up in the clouds” with the saints.  This chapter is most frustrating to those who believe in the secret “rapture” doctrine.

        Numbers of other parables and plain statements of Scripture add further proof that the marriage supper will take place somewhere here on the face of the earth.  The four classes of people to be found outside the door add their testimony to this conclusion; as, consider the following:

1 - “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you,  I know you not of whence ye are:  Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.  But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity” (Luke 13:24-27).  These “workers of iniquity” dare to claim friendship with Him because of certain familiarities they have enjoyed with Him: “We have eaten and drunk in thy presence.”  This sounds as though they had partaken of the Lord’s Supper – and of course they recognized that Christ had “taught in their streets.”

        The practice of iniquity has many forms, but the context of the Scripture from Luke(13:24-27), indicates that the kind of iniquity practiced by the class of people mentioned here is STUBBORNNESS.

        Those who will make the final effort to “enter in at the strait gate” will be professing Christian believers; however, they are what might be called “half-hearted believers.”  Like millions of present-day professing Christians, they hear the words of the Master, but they do not obey: “They hear thy words, but they will not do them” (Ezek. 33:31).

        At no time in the history of the human race have so many people been privileged to hear the words of the Lord – yet the percentage of true believers is “as it was in the days of Noah.”  The “strait gate” and “the narrow way” are not compatible with the millions who claim Christ as their Savior.

        The iniquity of stubbornness is the most dominant sin among the masses who claim the Christian faith.

2 - “Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh  shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them” (Luke 12:37); “But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 24:48-51).

        This sort of character was a servant, but he procrastinated: he rather resembled many present-day believers who “eat and drink with the drunken”’ or, was similar to those who have let “the “CARES OF THIS LIFE” (Luke 21:34) OVERCHARGE their hearts; or was like the “foolish virgins” who just slept instead of making preparation for His (the Lord’s) coming. These are actually professing Christian believers who shall hear the Master make this statement: “I know you not” (Matt. 25:12).  This shall be spoken to those who stand outside the shut door (verse 10).

3 - “And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:  And he saith unto him, FRIEND, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?  And he was speechless.  Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 22:11-13).  This is a graphic picture of a believer, a professing Christian, who will successfully get into the PLACE of the marriage supper.  He will be found by the Master, sitting among the other guests. This man is not known as an enemy; he is not classed among the workers of iniquity: the Master will call him FRIEND.

        To be merely “friendly” toward the Lord and His work is not enough.  He who is worthy to be a guest at this supper must have on the proper garments: “I counsel thee to BUY OF ME … white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear” (Rev. 3:18).  These garments must be purchased, and they must be acquired a considerable time BEFORE the call comes to enter the place of the marriage supper.

        The “oil” that the “wise virgins” BOUGHT in preparation for His coming, conveys the same idea as the payment for the marriage garments: preparation must be made previous to the meeting with the King in the supper chamber.  “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.  And to  her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints.  And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:7-9).

        To be among those who are CALLED to the supper certainly is a great honor.  However, he who fails to make his “calling and election sure” (II Peter 1:10), will be among those who are not chosen to feast at his table: all such will be bound and cast outside the door.

4 - ”And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with her seed, which keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 12:17).  The most tragic thing concerning events of “the day of the Lord” will be the suffering that shall fall upon saints OUTSIDE THE DOOR. This passage of Scripture states that a remnant who KEEP the commandments of God and have the true testimony of Jesus will be the object of the dragon’s fury.  The woman (of Revelation twelve) will be safely hidden away in the PLACE of God’s choosing, but there will be those who are genuine true saints who will miss the last call to the place of safety.  The fact that they have the “testimony of Jesus” identifies them as Christians; because they “keep God’s commandments” they must be placed in the category of all true followers of God:  They are saints.  How then can we account for them being found outside the door of the place of safety?

        Let us consider some of the factors brought out in the words that Jesus used to compose His prophecies concerning His second coming:  “Then shall He send His angels, and shall gather together His elect from the four winds … For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.  Watch ye therefore … lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping.  And what I say unto you I say unto all, WATCH” (Mark 13:27, 34-37).

        The word “watch” means to be alert.  Keep ears and eyes open; keep in tune with forces above.  Christ is here teaching that a sleeping saint is in a perilous position.  He who sleeps is not prepared for the sudden awakening that the Lord’s coming will precipitate.  As the alert is sounded those who have slept will be so startled that in their confusion and perplexity they will make the wrong moves.

        The geographical location of saints may have a terrific bearing upon their survival in the last days of tribulation.  Even in this, our day, numbers of the saints in China have gone through many of the terrors of the tribulation period.  Chinese Christian believers who lived in the “Jesus Family” communes were warned by the Holy Spirit that they should flee from China before the communists took over.  Some of these people took heed, and, forsaking all, headed west over the mountains and into India.  But others of them were not too alert, and thought that they might be able to weather the storm at home.  Many were brutally murdered, and the rest were driven underground.  A few reached Hong Kong where they are trying to keep body and soul alive.  These are good people – they are saints; but they missed their hour of deliverance.  The Holy Spirit was faithful – He warned in time, but only those who were vigilant escaped.

        When the forces of destruction are let loose upon the whole world, transportation may be a very critical problem.  Some of the saints may have been informed just where to go to the place of safety, but the physical difficulties may present impossible barriers.  How could a man with a family go on foot for many hundreds of miles without the means to buy or sell?  In northern latitudes how many could endure adverse weather during a long trek to a refuge?

        TIME is a most important factor in relation to the success of escape.  Consider these words of Jesus: “The same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.  Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed” (Luke 17:29,30).  Here is something that calls for immediate response: “When He cometh and knocketh, they may open unto Him immediately” (Luke 12:36).  So urgent will the call be that the man in the field shall not even return to his house.  The man on the housetop is told not to go down into his house to get his goods – immediate obedience will mean deliverance, but he who happens to hesitate will certainly be left.

        In the parable of the ten virgins, those who were foolish were unable to get on the other side of the shut door – yet they were “virgins.”  The Master did not tell them He never knew them; He said, “I know you not” (Matt. 25:12).  From this time on they are obliged to prove their faith in Him – IF THEY ARE TO SAVE THEIR OWN SOULS.

        “Here is the patience (ENDURANCE) of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.  And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth:  yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them” (Rev. 14:12,13).  Here is a blessing that can be applied only to those who suffer martyrdom for the Lord’s sake.

        As the plagues of God’s wrath are poured out upon all nations, suffering will be universal – outside of the place of  refuge.  The “grievous sore” will plague all who partake of the mark of the beast, and life among the lost will soon become intolerable.  The intense heat of the sun will bring famine and death on a scale never before known.

        Food rationing will be a universal affair.  Earthly powers will demand of all men complete surrender to the authority of the state if they are to have license to buy or sell.  Woe to those who compromise and collaborate with these forces of evil: “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:  And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever:  and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name” (Rev. 14:9-11).

        “Who is like unto the beast? … And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them:  and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:4,7,8).  These are words fraught with terror.  Man’s enemy, “the dragon,”  is given authority and power to wage war against SAINTS, and he is given power to “OVERCOME them.”

        All humanity is then compelled to make a final CHOICE – either for God or for Satan.  Those who choose God will suffer martyrdom, and you can be assured that the evil spirits will see to it that all who choose God’s way will be thoroughly tried.

        Let us bear in mind that these are the days of the consummation (Dan. 9:27):  the completion, the final wind-up, the harvest time, the end of the world.  Before the wrath of God can be poured out upon the wicked, the separation of the “good seed” from the “evil seed” must be completed.  All who will heed the warnings, and who promptly obey His final call, shall escape the wrath to come, by being hidden in the places of refuge.

        In connection with this very time of the end, Jesus spoke of a certain law of justice, or equity, in this way: “And that servant which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.  But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.  FOR UNTO WHOMSOEVER MUCH IS GIVEN, OF HIM SHALL BE MUCH REQUIRED” (Luke 12:47,48).

        Knowledge has been increased, and the revelation of the will of God has been made very clear to this present generation.  At no other time in the history of the human race have human beings been offered the opportunity to participate in the glory of God to the degree which the Creator has made possible for saints today.  His sons are to be manifest to the world; His glory shall cover them, and His Spirit will actuate them.  It is this glory which qualifies each saint to be a “spared” member of the church of Christ: “And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him” (Mal. 3:17).

        To be a “jewel” requires much surrender of the individual to the will of the Spirit of God.  This is the type of person who will obey every word spoken by the mouth of the Lord, and whose life will be one of sacrifice.  Such people His angels will gather together unto Him in the places of safety: “Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by SACRIFICE” (Psalm 50:5).

        “Sacrifice” is the price which must be paid by all who become members of those groups which are brought together in the places of refuge.  But sacrifice is not the only qualification:  all must be alert, awake, ready for His call.

        But, inconceivable as it may seem, there will, in actual fact, be many real SAINTS who will not be ready.  Their chief sin will be that of sleeping: (apathy, indifference, to the commands of Christ).  Now the great God of all creation, in His mercy, will not destroy even these who have failed to apply themselves to His way of escape; but they will be thoroughly tried in order to prove that their faith in Him is genuine.  These are the people who will seal their love for Christ with their own blood: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).

        Listen to these words from the realm of those who have passed over to the other side: “I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God … and they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood … and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” (Rev. 6:9-11).  This message is speaking concerning SAINTS who will yet die for the faith of Christ.

        “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them” (Rev. 14:13).   Death will not come easy for the tribulation saints.  All of the powers of hell will be working to overthrow their faith in Christ.  Every vicious attack of the anti-Christ will be turned upon the helpless victims who are left outside the “garner.”  The dragon is “wroth with the woman”  but he cannot harm her: however, the force of his wrath will be against “the remnant of her seed who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 12:17).  If he would just shoot them down in cold blood their end would be merciful, but their agonies will be prolonged by all manner of torture.

        “And he (the “horn” which had eyes) shall speak great words against the Most High, and he shall WEAR OUT the saints of the Most High” (Dan. 7:25).  It takes time to “wear out” anything.  This certainly indicates prolonged agony.  And it is well to note that this verse says he will DO IT!  He not only tries to accomplish his purpose; he finishes it.  Some people may believe that saints who keep the commandments of God, even though they are outside "the door,” will be given supernatural power to withstand the forces of evil; but this conclusion is not confirmed by the Book:  “I beheld, and the same horn (the character which “had eyes”) made war with the saints, and     PREVAILED AGAINST THEM” (Dan. 7:21).

        Hear the admonition of Zephaniah: “Before the day of the Lord’s anger come upon you.  Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness; it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger” (Zeph. 2:2-3).