Our Great and Precious Promises

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2Pe 1:4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Eph 1:3  Blessed [ be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [ places] in Christ:
Eph 1:4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Eph 1:5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Introduction

If you’ve seen the Ladders. com commercials on TV, then you know that Ladders is where you go if you are seeking a person who expects to be paid 100,000 dollars per year or more. When a company is hiring employees, the leaders of that company want to attract the very best employees they can find to represent and to further the welfare and the image of their enterprise. No company is going to pay you 100,000 dollars per year, if you are not making that company much more than 100,000 dollars. So the stage is set for convincing the personnel department that you are worth that 100,000 dollars per year, and the company has already decided what benefits it will offer its perspective employees if they decide to hire this person. Companies can offer health care, vacation time, and even bonuses to someone they think is capable of generating income for the company.
Rookies will not be considered.

Mat 24:19  And woe unto them that are with child [ Greek, are infants], and to them that give suck [ the suckling] in those days!

No CEO is going to hire a person for such a responsible position if that person has no experience and has no resume to demonstrate that he is educated, trained and capable of helping to make this company more money per year then he is being paid. So any well paid employee must, of necessity, first be capable of proving himself as an asset to the company and not a liability. No one is ever given responsibility who has not first proven himself to be responsible. Even if a company does invest in educating you, then that company has every right to expect that you will use that education to return that investment back to the company with interest. Here is how the scriptures say all of this.

Luk 12:47  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.
Luk 12:48  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: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

Now God is using men as a type of Himself in this 48th verse. God is not “a hard man… reaping where He has not sown.” He has invested Himself in us by way of His Son as Christ demonstrates for us in His parable of the talents, given to three servants.

Mat 25:14  For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own [ three] servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
Mat 25:15  And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

If you know what is the spiritual significance of the number ‘three’, then you will get much more out of this parable than will the average reader. Three, throughout scripture, signifies the process of judgment, and a process requires time. So we read:

Mat 25:19  After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
Mat 25:20  And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
Mat 25:21  His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Mat 25:22  He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
Mat 25:23  His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Mat 25:24  Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
Mat 25:25  And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

So judgment is a process which requires “a long time”, from the perspective of the servants who are being judged. It is after the “reckoning with them” over what they had done with what their Lord had invested in them that the Lord gives rewards to his servants. When is that time of reckoning? Is it before their Lord left, or is it when He comes back to receive the fruit of His vineyard and the increase of His talents? It is the latter.

Mat 21:37  But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
Mat 21:38  But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
Mat 21:39  And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
Mat 21:40  When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
Mat 21:41  They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
Mat 21:42  Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
Mat 21:43  Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

Our natural man tells us that you and I have never ever said “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.” You and I have never so much as thought of “casting him out of His own vineyard, and slaying him”. It would take some very wicked greedy, self- serving husbandman, like that tax collector over there, to do a thing like that.
As long as we think in those terms, the kingdom of God will never be taken from our old nation and given to our new nation, “the kingdom of God within” (Luk 17:20-21). As long as we think in those terms we will not be the recipients of the exceeding great and precious promises ” by which we might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

What does God offer those He is calling to be His employees?

Here it is. Here are just some of the “exceeding great and precious promises” which we are given in Christ.

Rev 2:7  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Rev 2:11  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
Rev 2:17  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it
Rev 2:26  And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
Rev 3:5  He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Rev 3:12  Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
Rev 3:21  To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Rev 21:7  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

So there it is. Those are but a few of the things which are placed before those who would apply for a position in the employment of our God. No, I am not saying that you choose Christ, any more than Christ is saying any such a thing when he tells us to “open the door” to Him.

Rev 3:20  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

There, that is another promise we are given if God decides to choose us for His employee.

It’s all in the book written in advance but kept secret

Now unlike the person who “the ladders. com” brings to the company which is seeking someone who is qualified to make $100,000/ year, there is no negotiating with the God of the universe. However, God does give us this promise.

Amo 3:6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?

This is Amo 3:6, a verse with which we should all be very familiar. What is “the city”? We have just been told that we are that city in which the Lord blows His trumpets: ” I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God:” We must live by both of these verses (Mat 4:4). Here now is the promise which accompanies this verse.

Amo 3:7  Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

Wait just one minute! Doesn’t that verse contradict these verses?:

Gen 22:13  And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
Rev 1:10  I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
Rev 1:11  Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
Rev 1:12  And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;

No, there is not one word of contradiction in those verses. “Surely the Lord God will do nothing but He reveal it unto His servants the prophets,” is not a promise that you and I will always first be forewarned of the details of anything the Lord does, good or bad, before it happens. We are specifically told the exact opposite.

Jas 4:13  Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
Jas 4:14  Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
Jas 4:15  For that ye [ ought] to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
Jas 4:16  But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

The word ‘first’ does not appear in Amo 3:7. What Amo 3:7 is telling us is simply this:

Mat 24:34  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Mat 24:35  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

So what is it then that is the evil that is to be done in the city which the Lord warns us of by “His servants the prophets,” which we can expect if we first “count the cost” and hire on as employees of the God of this universe? Here are some of the things which an employ of our Lord can expect if He qualifies to be the recipient of all of those promises.

Mat 10:22  And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
Mat 10:25  It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
Mat 10:36  And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

Mat 24:9  Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.

Those words are the “trumpet blown in the city” which makes any natural man afraid. Except the days of those words were shortened no flesh would be saved, but for the elect’s sake those days are shortened, and we escape having our name blotted out of the book of life, by having it restored to that book. We escape every trial by going through the fiery furnace and the lion’s den, and we escape death by falling into the ground and dying.

Mat 10:39  He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
Mar 4:26  And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;
Mar 4:27  And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.
Joh 12:24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
1Co 10:13  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [ is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

What is our way of escape?

2Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

So what is His secret which will not be done “but He reveals it to His servants the prophets”? How do we partake of this “divine nature”? Here it is. Here is the greatest secret of all time, and it is revealed in and to only the Lord’s prophets, and it is revealed to them only as they “hear behind them His voice”, and only as they “turn to see that voice behind them”

Col 1:26 Even the mystery [ Greek, secret] which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: [“His servants the prophets” (Amo 3:7)]
Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery [ secret] among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
Col 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect [ Greek, mature] in Christ Jesus:

Here is this section of scripture from another version:

Col 1:26 For ages and ages this message was kept secret from everyone, but now it has been explained to God’s people.
Col 1:27 God did this because he wanted you Gentiles to understand his wonderful and glorious mystery. And the mystery is that Christ lives in you, and he is your hope of sharing in God’s glory.
Col 1:28 We announce the message about Christ, and we use all our wisdom to warn and teach everyone, so that all of Christ’s followers will grow and become mature.
Col 1:29 That’s why I work so hard and use the mighty power he gives me. (CEV)

When it is finally given to us to know, and to understand, that all “men must live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Mat 4:4), then our eyes will be opened and we will perceive what we have just read. Only then we will realize that the purpose for our “exceeding great and precious promises [ is] that by these[ promises] we might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust”. Only then we will realize that the reason God has given us these “exceeding great and precious promises is ” so that all of Christ’s followers will grow and become mature… in this present age“.

Tit 2:11  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Tit 2:12  Teaching [ Greek, chastening] us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world[ Greek, aion – age];

It requires a certain degree of maturity to receive the Truth that it is we who must first be the servant who receives the one talent which we hide in the ground during all that “long time” our Lord is “in a far country”, and then we angrily give it back to our Lord as we condemn Him as a “hard man who reaps where He has not sown.” Then in God’s grace we become the servant who is given two talents, which he doubles, and is then given to rule over two cities. We certainly do not rule all the cities of the kingdom of God within us right from the very beginning of our walk. These blessing are promised us at the time of our “reckoning with our Lord”, and in the day of our judgment. When, exactly, is our day of judgment when our Lord gives us this rulership?

Mat 25:19  After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
1Pe 4:17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

The scriptures nowhere say ‘After a ten- second sinner’s prayer the Lord gives us His kingdom in all of its glory.’ It is only “after a long time that the Lord of those servants comes and reckons with them.” It is the Lord’s own “husbandmen” who kill His Son. That is why it takes a “long time” for the Lord to even begin to judge His own house.

Gen 15:12  And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.
Gen 15:13  And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
Gen 15:14  And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.

How are God’s people, His own husbandmen afflicted?

Psa 78:49  He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.

And what does this cause God’s own anointed to do?

1Sa 18:10  And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.
1Sa 18:11  And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice.

It is “afterward” that His servants are given “great substance” in a land that now is theirs. What is that “land that is not theirs?”

Gen 15:14  And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
Heb 11:13  These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
1Pe 2:11  Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims [ on earth], abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

The land that is not ours is our life in this world, “on the earth.” If we are to consider ourselves as strangers and pilgrims “on the earth”, and the Old Testament patriarchs and prophets “did not receive the promises”, then where is our inheritance, and when do we receive the promises?

Rom 4:13  For the promise, that he [ Abraham and his seed] should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.

Conclusion

As we have already seen, it is in judgment that we are finally given five cities over which to rule. It is we who “must live by every word”. We do not live only those words at the beginning, or those words dealing only with the end. We live by the first and the last words, and all the words in between the first and the last, because we are “in Christ and He is in us”.

Joh 14:20  At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.

What does that mean? Does the fact that “we are given exceeding great and precious promises”, mean that is all we are promised? No, That is not all that we are promised and given. Here are a few more verses of the sum of God’s Word concerning all the things which we are promised, along with the exceeding great and precious promises by which we escape the corruption that is in the world. It is by these verses that we see that we are promised to be King Saul, the symbol of God’s rejected anointed, before we become King David, the symbol of the “man after God’s own heart”. Here are a few more verses which help us to see how it is that we live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, and that, in reality, we are promised “all things”, the good and the bad.

1Co 3:21  Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours;
1Co 3:22  Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours;
1Co 3:23  And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.
Ecc 9:2  All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.

“At that day” (Joh 14:20) is not the day after that resurrection which is called “the redemption of the purchased possession”. “That day” is the “day of the Lord” in which “judgment first begins at the house of the Lord” (1Pe 4:17). It is then that we are given to begin dying to our flesh, and begin being resurrected from among the dead” in “the holy spirit of promise.”

Gal 2:20  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Rom 6:1  What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Rom 6:2  God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
Rom 6:3  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Rom 6:4  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: t hat like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Rom 6:5  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

That had better be the day that we come to believe that “Christ is in His Father, and we are in Him, and He is in us”, because if we wait until “the redemption of the purchased possession, we will miss out on that “blessed and holy first resurrection.”

Mat 24:42  Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come [ both within, .
Mat 24:43  But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
Mat 24:44  Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
Mat 24:45  Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
Mat 24:46  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
Mat 24:47  Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

Rev 20:6  Blessed and holy [ is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

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