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© 2010 Jasper Life Publications 1st Edition in English – October 2010 1st Edition in Portuguese – May 2009 The Promise of Life and the Reward of the Kingdom Translated from Portuguese with permission of Editora Árvore da Vida All rights reserved by Jasper Life Publications Inc. Jasper Life Publications 725 Viscount Road London, Ontario, Canada N6J 4G9 Phone: (519) 472-6620 www.jasperlife.com info@jasperlife.com ISBN 978-0-9739285-9-4

All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version® is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000.


CONTENTS Preface................................................................ 5 1 The Reestablishment of God’s Authority on Earth.......................................................... 7

2 The Gospel of God........................................... 21

3 The Gospel of the Kingdom............................. 37

4 Regeneration and the Entrance into the Kingdom............................................. 49

5 The Promise of the Life that Now Is and of that Which Is to Come.......................... 59

6 And Then the End Will Come......................... 73

7 The Full Sonship and the Reward of the Kingdom............................. 87

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PREFACE Dear reader, if you consider yourself spiritually immature—far from where you should be in your Christian life—and thinking you better give up running this race because this is not for you, you could not be more mistaken. God is longsuffering toward us and His desire is that we may come to repentance and grow in His life (2 Pet. 3:9). In the book The Promise of Life and The Reward of The Kingdom, Dong Yu Lan shows us that the gospel of God, which is His good news, includes you. You can be an overcomer! After reading this book you will realize that the life you received when you believed in the Lord Jesus contains a promise. Such promise is for today and also for the future, when the Lord comes back (1 Tim. 4:8). Besides, this promise is not only for a few spiritual giants, but for all those who have been born of God. The promise for the future refers to the reward, which will also be for those who fear the name of God, both small and great (Rev. 11:18). May the reading of this book encourage you to respond positively to God’s yearning. He is longing for His children to grow spiritually in His life and to recover 5


His authority on earth. May we always be in His presence, confirming our growth in His life day by day, month by month, and year by year. Our growth in the divine life today will determine the measure of the reward that we will receive in the kingdom. S達o Paulo, April 2009 The Editors

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CHAPTER ONE

THE REESTABLISHMENT OF GOD’S AUTHORITY ON EARTH We give thanks to the Lord for He has given us the opportunity to have fellowship regarding the theme of this book, The Promise of Life and the Reward of the Kingdom. In the first Epistle to Timothy, the apostle Paul mentions the promise of the present life and the promise of the coming life (4:8). But what does he refer to? We will approach this subject throughout the following chapters of this book. Before doing so, we would like to clarify a few principles conveyed in the Bible regarding the importance of reestablishing and maintaining God’s authority on earth, thereby allowing our Christian life today to be more and more enjoyable and full of freshness and reality. In the end, we will receive the reward which is to come, the one prepared by God for the overcoming believers.

GOD’S AUTHORITY AND SATAN’S REBELLION When God created the universe, He had authority in heaven and on earth. But at a certain point, Satan challenged 7


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His authority. In the book of Job, we see that when God laid the foundations of the earth, the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy (38:4‑7). This testifies that the angels had been created before the foundation of the earth. The origin of Satan is described in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. He was one of the angels, or rather, the highest archangel, the head over all the angels. He was called “the morning star”—from the Latin Lúcifer, the one who brings light (lit.). Lucifer was designated a covering cherub by God. He had authority over many things and he is described in the Bible as “the seal of perfection”. As a covering cherub, he was anointed and his place was in the holy mountain of God. This means that he was like a prince at that time. However, because of his pride and ambition, he desired something more, which was to exalt his throne and become like the Most High. Unrighteousness was found in him, for because of his beauty his heart was lifted up and by reason of his brightness his wisdom was corrupted. God then decided to intervene in that situation. The order of the universe persists because of the authority of God. He has absolute authority over the universe and His glory cannot be given to anyone (Isa. 42:8). Satan tried to threaten the authority of God and for that reason he was cut down to earth. This indicates that whoever opposes the divine authority will never stand. One third of the angels followed Satan in his rebellion (cf. Rev. 12:4, 9) and together they corrupted the earth and the creatures (before the creation of man there were creatures on the surface of the earth). The entire earth was involved in this rebellion. God then judged the planet with water and the pre‑Adamic creatures 8


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died. Their spirits became unclean spirits, which are the demons. The fallen angels that followed Satan became the principalities and powers, the rulers of this terrifying world (Eph. 6:12). This whole situation caused the establishment of a clandestine, illegal, and usurping government. Such rebellion happened during the period between the first and second verses of Genesis chapter one: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was1 without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” According to what we have discussed previously, the book of Job says that when the foundations of the earth were laid, the angels of God shouted for joy and rejoiced. This indicates that the earth was something beautiful (38:47; cf. Isa. 45:18). After the rebellion of Satan, however, God condemned the earth and it became without form, void and darkened. In Genesis one from the third verse on, we see God’s recovery and re-creation. This indicates that He did not give up on fulfilling His eternal purpose despite the harm caused by Satan. This recovery actually began in the end of verse two, which says that the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Later on, between the first and the sixth day, we see the preparation for the creation of man. Before the creation of man, no created being could express or represent God. All four-footed animals can multiply and fill the earth, but God cannot enter into them. They do not have the spirit and they were not created to contain Him. 1 “Was” in Hebrew can also be translated “became” (Strong’s Dictionary of the Words in the Hebrew Bible) 9


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God was not satisfied with such a situation. That is why He created man at the end of the sixth day. Hallelujah! God created man with the intention of bringing His kingdom and His authority to the earth.

GOD’S INTENTION IN CREATING MAN Reestablishing His Dominion on Earth Human beings were created in a very special manner, unlike any other creature. Genesis 1:26a says, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” God created man in His image and according to His likeness. Moreover, man received the commission of having dominion over the created beings: “Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (v. 26b). God created man and put him in the exact place from which the divine government had been usurped. He did so because He wanted man to recover His kingdom. Therefore, God’s intention in creating man was to use him in order to subdue His enemy and reestablish His kingdom on earth. Let us now see how God created man: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (2:7). God used the dust of the ground as raw material to make the human body. That is why we have the same chemical elements in our body as the dust of the ground. But still, man was merely an inactive puppet made of clay. God then breathed into his nostrils the breath of life which 10


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became the spirit of man. The Hebrew word for breath in the phrase breath of life is neshama, and it is translated spirit in Proverbs 20:27 which says, “The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord.” Thus, when God breathed the breath of life into the nostrils of the “puppet”, that breath of life became the spirit of man. Through this first breath, God made the human spirit and man became a living being. The human body received the bios life and the soul received the psyche life. The soul of man is according to the image of God and it is divided in three parts: emotion (1 Sam. 18:1; Psa. 42:1; Isa. 61:10), mind (Psa. 139:14; Lam. 3:20), and will (Job 6:7; 7:15). God has a good pleasure, a plan, and a will, which is His ministry. Each part of the human soul was created to match God: the emotion of man was created to contain the good pleasure of God and to love what God loves; the mind of man was created to understand the plan of God; and the will of man was created to accept and receive the will of God. However, to God, the most important part of man is his spirit. Zechariah 12:1b says, “Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him.” Here we see that the human spirit is so important that the word of God mentions it as being equivalent to the heavens and the earth. The spirit of man is also composed of three parts: intuition (Mark 2:8; 1 Cor. 2:11), fellowship (John 4:24; 1 Cor. 6:17; Eph. 6:18), and conscience (Rom. 8:16; 9:1). When God wants to speak to us, He does it directly through our intuition so that His will may be perceived by us. The fellowship in our spirit, in turn, is the means by which we 11


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can communicate with God and vice-versa. However, the main part of the human spirit is the conscience. God created the conscience as a link between man’s spirit and soul. The function of the conscience is to help the three parts of the soul to lean toward the will of God (Heb. 9:14b). Furthermore, the heart of man is a composition of his conscience and the three parts of his soul. The conscience helps the heart to turn itself to God, to love Him, and to follow Him. The Triune God has a good pleasure, a plan (purpose), and a will (Eph. 1:9). He created man in order to fulfill His good pleasure and to make His counterpart. When God created Adam, He said that it was not good for man to be alone, and that He would make him a helper comparable to him. Just as He created Eve to be Adam’s counterpart, He also created us to become His counterpart. When God created man, He gave him freedom of choice. However, His desire was that man would receive Him as life. When someone does, God enters into his spirit in order to dwell in it. From there, He can spread into the soul, through which He expresses Himself and will reestablish His dominion over the earth.

THE SERPENT’S CRAFTINESS Causing Man to Become Independent from God Satan knew God’s desire; so he sought the right moment when man was vulnerable to put his plan into action. He needed to act before man could eat from the tree of life. Genesis 3:1 says, “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And 12


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he said to the woman, Has God indeed said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Satan is represented by the cunning serpent. To cause the woman to doubt the word of God was the first trap used by him to deceive her. Have you ever gone through something like this? Have you ever had doubts regarding the word of God? Has anybody ever said anything to cause you to doubt? Even though the woman tried to defend God, in the end she fell into the trap (vv. 2-3). She should not have argued with Satan. In doing so, she became vulnerable to his craftiness: “Then the serpent said to the woman, You will not surely die” (v. 4). Satan directly contradicted God’s command regarding what man should do in Genesis 2:17: “But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Not only did Satan deny what God had said previously, but he also added, “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (3:5). We will use the illustration of a car to better explain the craftiness of the serpent. The car represents our being, our soul. When God created man, the human soul was not capable of driving the car. It did not have the ability to do so because it did not know what was good and what was evil. The soul was only the passenger of the car, for the car was to be driven by the spirit of man. The conscience, as a constituent of the human spirit, was responsible for the direction of the car. If you asked the soul, “Shall we go that way?”, it would say, “I cannot drive. I need to ask the conscience.” Then, it would say, “Conscience, shall we go that way or not?” If the conscience approved the direction, 13


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it would say, “Yes, let us go that way.” But what did Satan do? Satan gave the soul a driver’s license: “You shall be like God, you shall have the knowledge of good and evil.” Satan is clever. That is why he did not speak evil of God in a direct manner, nor did he try to cause the woman to go against Him. On the contrary, he subtly caused Eve to behave according to her soul-life, without using her spirit. In doing so, she fell into Satan’s trap, causing a great accident in the universe. The proposition of the serpent was like the tree of knowledge: good for food, pleasant to the eyes, and desirable to make one wise (3:6). First, the woman was induced to want to be like God: knowing good and evil. Then, she ate the fruit and gave it to her husband, who ate it as well. When that happened, the link between the soul and the spirit broke. Even though God in His mercy kept some room for the conscience to do its work, the soul began to drive the “car” on its own, leaving the conscience aside. The soul now has an independent and autonomous life, for it knows good and evil. It no longer depends on the direction of the conscience and thus, it believes that it no longer needs God because it can drive the “car” all by itself. God created the soul, the human psyche, in order for it to be guided by the spirit. However, through the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Satan injected an autonomous life into the soul, breaking its connection to the spirit. We call this autonomous and independent life “soul-life”, which is the human “self” and “ego”. This was the subtle action of the serpent. The soul had the image of God and it was supposed to be guided by the conscience of the spirit in 14


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order to prefer God. However, the soul-life, knowing good and evil, caused man to think that he no longer needed God or his own spirit to decide what to do. For this reason, the human soul is now guided by the knowledge of good and evil. Causing Man to Serve God According to the Good Side of His Soul-life Let us now see the example of Cain, son of Adam and Eve, who cultivated the land and offered the produce of his crop to God. He obviously wanted to please God with his offering. His soul was not being evil and his actions were according to the good part of his soul. However, God did not accept his offering. He wanted man to eat from the tree of life and to serve Him according to the principle of life, depending on Him and obeying Him. Even though Cain’s intention was good, God did not accept his offering, for it was not according to God’s will, but according to what Cain considered to be good and pleasing to God. (Don’t forget that toiling on the land and the provision obtained from it were signs of the curse imposed by God—Gen. 3:17-19). When Cain heard that God was not pleased with him or with his offering, he should have repented and asked God what to do. But God’s disregard for his offering caused Cain’s soul to become dissatisfied. He must have thought, “I have spent so much time working on the land until exhaustion and God simply did not accept my offering when I presented it to Him.” Thus, Cain became angry and his countenance expressed his discontent (4:5). He did not understand 15


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God’s will and he probably did not pay attention to the fact that what proceeds from good and evil results in death. Only the tree of life produces life. Along with being dissatisfied and angry, Cain was jealous of seeing his brother Abel being accepted by God. In contrast with Cain, Abel and his offering were according to God’s will. Abel decided to be a shepherd, even though man did not eat meat at that time (1:29; cf. 9:3). This indicates that he knew the importance of the principle established by God, which demanded the offering of animals and the use of their skin to cover man’s nakedness (3:21). Shedding the blood of an animal and covering oneself with its skin indicates forgiveness of sins and justification which bring man closer to God and makes him pleasant to Him. Adam and Eve were not able to recognize their nakedness before eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. After eating the fruit however, their eyes were opened. They tried to cover themselves with fig leaves, which represent the human manner of covering one’s own mistakes. However, the fig leaves would dry after a while, exposing their nakedness again, so they hid themselves. When God was looking for them, He could not find them and so He said, “Where are you?” (3:9). This passage reveals that God wanted Adam’s presence. Not many people realize how much God desires to enjoy man’s presence. God knew what had happened and made tunics of skin to cover Adam and Eve. In the Bible, garments represent the righteous acts of the saints (Rev. 19:8). When God sewed tunics from animal skins 16


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to replace the ones which were made of fig leaves, He showed man that his attempts to justify himself were considered by Him as filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). God would only be pleased if man covered himself with God’s own righteousness. We may say that Abel’s offering was according to the principle established by God. He offered something that was pleasant to the Lord, for there was the shedding of blood (Heb. 9:22). When Cain saw that Abel was accepted by God while he was rejected by Him, his heart was invaded by anger. The same happens to those who do not walk in the Spirit. When they see someone doing something better than them, they become possessed with envy, dissatisfaction, jealousy, and hatred. God created man to receive Him as life. However, after eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, another nature—a nature that is independent of God— began to rule his soul. At first, before the corruption of the soul, it manifested its good side by being willing to serve God. However, after being rebuked it began to change and the death that was in it began to rule, causing Cain to kill his brother. Today, some people try to please God according to the principle of good and evil, remaining in the realm of the soul, comparing their works with the works of others and being jealous and angry against those who receive God’s blessing. Instead of doing the will of God, they try to destroy those who go in the way of Abel, whose person and work are accepted by God. The way of Cain must be a warning to us (Jude 11). Let us not remain in the realm of our reasoning, on what 17


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we consider to be right or wrong. When the word of God enlightens us, let us repent and do His will. First Corinthians 15:45-49 says, “And so it is written, The first man Adam became a living being. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from the heavens. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.” The first man, Adam, became a living being (soul). He ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and he lost the opportunity to allow the Spirit of God to enter into him. He bore many children and we all are his descendants; we all inherited Adam’s corruption. As a consequence, we not only sin, but we now live in our soul-life which is a larger problem. We were created to reestablish the kingdom of God on earth, but because the first man fell we now have a great ally of Satan inside of us: our soul-life.

THE PURPOSE OF CHRIST’S REDEMPTION Giving Life to Man, Defeating Satan, and Reestablishing God’s Kingdom on Earth Even though humanity deviated from the original will of God, He did not give up on man, nor did He give up on the purpose to use him in order to reestablish 18


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His authority on earth. God Himself came to seek him and rescue him from his condition. In order to do so He needed to redeem man. The New Testament shows us that God sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth. His goal was to bring man to Himself, to save him, and to regenerate all those who believe in Him. The Son of God is the content of the gospel, of God’s good news to man. According to what we will discuss in the following chapters, the gospel of God has two aspects and it presents a complete salvation to man. The gospel of God restores man according to His original purpose, regenerates him with His own life, grows in him, and transforms him. All of this is for the transformation of man into an overcoming believer. As an overcomer, he will defeat Satan. In the end, the kingdom of this world will become of our Lord and of His Christ (Rev. 11:15; 12:5-11). The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the new heaven and earth where His servants will serve Him and reign with Him forever and ever (Rev. 22:1-5). We must seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness while we are going through the process of salvation and growth. The divine will includes worshiping God and serving Him in our spirit, growing in life, and being fruitful and multiplying until we fill the earth (John 4:24; Rom. 1:9; 1 Pet. 2:1-2; Gen. 1:28). With this in mind, the path we must take is the path of the church in Philadelphia—loving the saints, calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus, and pray-reading His word. We can testify that we have been very much blessed for 19


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preserving this practice: the number of the children of God has been increasing through the preaching of the gospel and the divine life has been growing in us through mutual care. The spontaneous result of such living is the reestablishment of God’s authority on earth. Praise the Lord!

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