The Dam

John Plunkett

Feast of Trumpets
October 2, 2016

One morning – as the schools’ summer vacation time began to wind down – I was walking on our local beach, when I noticed that some children had been playing there –  not surprisingly, of course! 

With their basic “construction materials” of sand and pebbles, they had built a kind of dam – for the obvious purpose of trying to block the water of a little creek from making its way down to the ocean.

Because of the uneven terrain of our local beach, hollows have been eroded into the sand so that, when the tide is out, that little creek normally flows, first, into one big hollow, creating a small pond or lake; then into a second hollow, making a second small pond or lake.  Then it finally flows into the ocean.

It was evident to me that the children’s playful efforts had been in vain.  Although they had made a valiant attempt to build the sturdiest dam that they were able to build, the water of that little creek won the day. 

Some of its water had relentlessly washed against the dam, gradually eroding away the sand “mortar” that held the pebbles together; and some of the water simply rerouted and flowed around the dam.

And then… the tide came in! 

Even though the day was relatively calm, the waves of the ocean soon swallowed up the second “lake.”  Then, as it progressed, it consumed the first “lake.”  Then the dam.  Finally, it completely swallowed up the beach part of the creek itself.

In my subsequent visits to that beach on the days that followed, I noticed that the pebbles of the dam were gradually being pulled apart by the water of the creek and by the ocean tide action, to the point where, a few weeks later, there was not even a trace of the children’s dam ever having existed.

As I sat and watched this day-after-day… (I know!  I have too much time on my hands!  But that’s retired life for you!)...  I began meditating on what was happening here and, in my own mind, I formed a symbolic picture of:

• The water of the creek symbolizing time – and God’s children – marching inexorably on toward the end of this age,

• The first “pond/lake” symbolizing the time of the prophesied "place-of-safety,"

• The second “pond/lake” symbolizing the thousand years of the Millennium,

• The huge ocean symbolizing the wonderful eternity of the Kingdom of God,

• And, although the youthful dam-builders were, of course, quite innocent – in my personal symbolism, their sand and pebble dam symbolized the vain attempts of Satan, his demons and his human supporters trying to prevent the inexorable progress of time and of God’s people in our life’s journey toward God’s Kingdom.

In this sermon today, I would simply like to encourage you, by reminding you, from God’s Holy Word that, no matter what Satan, his demons or his human allies do to try to stop them, the resurrection, the return of Jesus Christ and God’s Kingdom WILL come!

As I’m sure you know, the Kingdom of God has both a present and future aspects.  But believe it or not, it also has a past aspect! 

Let us take a look at these three aspects:

i) Past and Present Aspects

First of all, Satan and his cohorts have partially failed right from the beginning in their attempts to thwart the coming of God’s Kingdom.  

How?  Why?

Because God’s Kingdom has already partially come – with the first coming of the human Jesus Christ – as well as through the success of His mission:

Luke 17:
20:  And when He was demanded of the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God should come, He answered them and said, "The Kingdom of God comes not with observation:
21:  Neither shall they say, 'Lo here!' or 'Lo there!' for, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you."

This raises the frequently asked question about this scripture: Did Jesus really mean "within you"?  Or did He mean "among you"? 

It is not my purpose to enter into this discussion in detail today. 

But, whichever one of these options Jesus meant – or even both of them – this does not negate the fact that:

• The Kingdom of God certainly did reside in the person of the human Jesus – through the indwelling in Him of an unlimited measure of the Holy Spirit (John 3:34).

• The Kingdom of God certainly does reside today in His spiritual brothers and sisters – the members of His church – through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit.

These facts do not take away from the fact that the fullness of God’s Kingdom still must come, completely, at “the fullness of times” – which will be at some time in the future:

Ephesians 1:10:
That in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth––in Him. 

We know that the Kingdom of God was inherent within the human Jesus; and therefore, if we are now in Him and He is in us by His Spirit dwelling in us, then the Kingdom of God is inherent within us too!

Let us also take a quick look at verse 11 of Ephesian 1; because it dovetails nicely with some concepts that we’ll be mentioning shortly – the concepts of our inheritance and predestination:

11:  In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.

Actually, the "within you or among you" question/argument is something of a moot point.  Why so?  Because God’s Kingdom certainly did not originate with the conception, or birth, of the human Jesus.  Rather, it was actually originated, planned, and prepared millennia prior to Jesus’ human lifetime. 

As the YHVH and the Logos, He and God the Father began preparing their Kingdom way back in prehistory – at the time that God’s Word calls “the foundation of the world”:

Matthew 25:34: 
Then the King
{Jesus} will say to those on His right hand, "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

Notice again the mention of the word "inherit" in this context.  But before we move on to the inheritance discussion, let us read another scripture showing that God’s Kingdom on earth was planned “from the foundation of the world”:

Hebrews 4:3:
For we who have believed do enter that rest
{that seventh thousand-year "Sabbath" rest day"}, as He has said: "So I swore in my wrath, 'They shall not enter my rest,'" although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 

God the Father and Jesus had completed the major part of their preparation work for their earthly Kingdom eons ago!

ii) Future aspect

So we have seen that the Kingdom of God has both a present-tense aspect and a past-tense, historic aspect – actually a pre-historic aspect.

The Kingdom of God was in the human Jesus through the indwelling in Him of an unlimited measure of the Holy Spirit (John 3:34); and it is in Jesus’ brothers and sisters through a smaller portion – an earnest or down-payment – of that same Holy Spirit (II Corinthians 1:22; 5:5).

The present-tense aspect for God’s human children is inextricably associated with both the past-tense and the future-tense aspects, in that, through the indwelling of that very same Holy Spirit that was in the human Jesus, we are co-heirs or co-inheritors of the riches that are going to come to us from God the Father:

Ephesians 1:
10:  That in the dispensation of the fullness of times
{referring to some future time!} He {God the Father} might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him: 
11a:  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance… 

Please the tenses here – "are in heaven" and "are on earth."  Present tense.

But the verb "have obtained" in verse 11 is actually past tense.  Therefore this means that we have this inheritance now, and that our ownership of the inheritance is present tense!  Yes.  The inheritance and its associated blessings are as good as ours now!  That is, of course, as long as we do not give up and quit; we must still endure and overcome! 

Continuing in verse 11:

11b: … Being predestinated {there again is the pre-history part of the promise} according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will: 
12:  That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. 
13:  In whom you also trusted, after you heard
{"after you first heard" is implied past tense!} the Word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after you believed {"after you first believed" is implied past tense}, you were sealed {past tense!} with that Holy Spirit of promise, 
14:  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption
{future tense} of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory. 

At some time in the future, the complete fulfillment of this redemption – “the earnest of our inheritance” – will blossom into its entire fullness. 

What is the promised inheritance?  What will we be heirs of?  What will we inherit?

Galatians 3:29:
And if you are Christ’s, then you are
{present tense} Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. 

It doesn’t matter if you are physical Gentiles or Israelites, "You are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise."

But again, what was promised?  What is the promise?  What will the promised benefits be?

The answer is beyond the wildest dreams of most of humanity. They have no idea!

Romans 8:
16:  The
{Holy} Spirit itself bears witness with our {human} spirit that we are {present tense} children of God, 
17:  And if children, then heirs – heirs of God
{the Father} and joint-heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him {present tense}, that we may also be glorified together {future tense}

So then, benefit number one is being glorified as joint-heirs with our elder Brother Jesus.

We might ask, "Really?"   And God's Word answers, "Yes!  Really!"

But how glorious?  And what does "glorious" even mean?  Let’s see how the apostle John explains it: 

I John 3:
1:  Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called "the sons of God": therefore the world knows us not, because it knew Him not.
2:  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He
{Jesus} shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.

So we are going to be like Him, as He is.  What does Jesus look like now?

Revelation 1:
13:  And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
14:  His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire;
15:  And His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters.
16:  And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shines in his strength.

When the sun came up this morning, could you look up at it?  No, you couldn’t.  I am not sure whether we are going to have sharp, two-edged swords going out of our mouths.  But basically, that is John's best description of what Jesus looks like now.  We will inherit that appearance!  That is part of "benefit number one" of our inheritance.  So, what else will we inherit?

Titus 3:7:
That having been justified
{past tense} by His grace, we should become heirs {present tense} according to the hope of eternal life {future tense}

We see all three tenses here!  Benefit number two then, is eternal life.  This means that, even if the first death gets us –  which it probably will if Jesus doesn’t return soon – the second death will not:

Revelation 2:11: 
He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death.

Revelation 20:6:
Blessed and holy is he that has 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.

Eternal life is a fabulous benefit!  The author of the book of Hebrews calls it by another name: salvation:

Hebrews 1:14 (NKJV):
Are they
{angels} not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? 

The English words “will inherit” as translated here in Hebrews 1:14 from the Greek verb mello-kleronomeo make it sound like it is in the future tense; but it is actually in the Greek “active present” tense; and therefore it might be better rendered, “those who are inheriting salvation.”  

Again, as long as we do not give up, that inheritance of salvation is something that we have now.  Nevertheless, even with human inheritances, the fullness of the inheritance does not come to the heir immediately upon him or her becoming an heir.  The actual receiving of its benefits comes later – sadly, of course, at the death of the testator.  (We read more about that in Hebrews 9:15-20)

Being heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, the total inheritance has not been fully given to us yet.  If you doubt this, please take the "hat-pin test" and you'll quickly discover that you don’t have eternal life yet!  Just an earnest of it.  Just a down-payment of the fullness of the Holy Spirit and of the associated blessings that we will receive in the future:

Hebrews 6:17:
Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise
{us!} the immutability {indisputability} of His counsel {purpose}, confirmed it by an oath. 

I hope that these scriptures are encouraging to you, because this is what it's really all about!  But once again, what exactly is the inheritance?   What is promised to us?  What was sealed or confirmed by this oath?

James 2:5:
Listen, my beloved brethren: has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 

Heirs of the Kingdom!  So benefit number three is a part of God's Kingdom and a role in that Kingdom.  These last two verses prove that, as well as being an inheritance, God’s Kingdom is also a firm promise to us from God!  And God does not break His promises!  This one was even sealed by an oath!  

Yes.  God’s people were chosen before the foundation of the world to receive this priceless inheritance and promise:

Ephesians 1:
3:  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 
4:  Just as He
{the Father} chose us in Him {Jesus who was the LORD/YHVH of the Old Testament era and who was the Word/Logos of pre-history} before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. 

This is exactly what the term “predestination” refers to!  It goes all the way back to the time before the foundation of the world.  That's when all this was planned.

Of course, as these verses clearly state, in order for us to receive the benefits of this inheritance, we must endure and overcome to the end!  We must be continually repentant; and therefore, as Paul wrote here, we have to be continually "holy and without blame."  We must maintain our holiness and our blamelessness until the end, and we must stay well away from all unrighteousness and works of the flesh.

Does this then mean that God’s promises then are conditional?  On an individual basis? Depending on what each of us does with them?  Or is it a case of "once saved, always saved"?  Has Jesus done it all for us?  Or does it matter what we do for the remainder of our Christian lives?  Yes, it most certainly does matter!  God's Word is very clear on this:

I Corinthians 6:
9:  Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived.  Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 
10:  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God. 

Unless they repent, such people will not be there!  They will not inherit God’s Kingdom.  They will be cut out of the promise!  They will be literally "out of the will"!  Here it is again – in even more detail:

Galatians 5:
19:  Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 
20:  Idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 
21:  Envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 

So yes! Our inheritance is conditional!  God’s promises to us are conditional!  That is what a covenant is.  That is what the New Covenant is!  It is a two-way agreement.  We must fulfil our side of the bargain, and we can be absolutely one hundred percent sure that God will most certainly fulfil His side.  In fact, as we have already seen, He and Jesus have already fulfilled the greater part – the hardest part of their side of the covenant and have set the remainder of their covenant responsibilities into exorable motion. 

It is going to happen.  There is no stopping it.  Whether or not we individually fail to fulfil our side of the New Covenant "bargain" – whether or not we individually give up our crowns – Jesus Christ will return to this earth.  The resurrection and the Millennium will take place.  The Kingdom of God will come!  The only thing is that, if we choose to give up our crowns, we will not be there to enjoy any of those blessings and those benefits! 

Matthew 6:10:
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 

Their will will be done!  Their Kingdom will come!

It is interesting that the English word “come” here is not in the Greek future tense; but is in the “second aorist” tense.  Many modern Bible translations correctly render this as "Let your kingdom come" or "May your Kingdom come" – which gives a solid idea of its future certainty. 

God’s Kingdom will come.  Jesus, as a human being, knew that God’s Kingdom would come.  When He gave us this "model prayer," He wanted His spiritual brothers and sisters to deeply desire the coming of His Kingdom, to be relentlessly praying for its coming, and to desire that it will coming as soon as possible! 

Romans 8:
38:  For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 
39:  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

In our “ABC of Scattering” series, we’ve been thinking a lot about separation recently.  But these verses in Paul’s letter to the brethren in Rome speak of the impossibility of our separation from the love of our Lord Jesus Christ – unless, of course, we ourselves cause it.  But we may also apply these verses to the coming of God’s Kingdom.  We may say, without any doubt at all, that none of those things – not death, life, angels, principalities, powers, things present, things future, height, depth, nor any other creature – absolutely nothing can prevent the coming of Jesus Christ, the resurrections, the Millennium, the coming of God the Father, and the coming of their eternal Kingdom.

Like some of you, I was brought up in one of the major denominations of professing Christianity – in my case, the Church of England – which, as I came to discover in my mid-teens, may very well be one of the immoral daughters of the harlot mother church (Revelation 17:5).  During my years in that organization, its false ministers never taught me the truth.  They never taught me that I have the opportunity of rising in the First Resurrection.  They never taught me that Jesus Christ is going to come – that He will literally and personally return to this earth.  They never taught me that I have the opportunity of ruling with Jesus Christ as a king and a priest for a thousand years – and then on into eternity.  They didn’t tell me that even God the Father will ultimately come, and that He too will dwell with men – or rather, with Spirit-beings that once were men!  They never taught me that the eternal Kingdom of God is coming!

I don’t know whether or not those ministers even knew any or all of these truths.  If they did, they did a great job of effectively hiding them from me!   Either knowingly or unknowingly, they taught me a pack of lies.  They taught me lies about going "up there" to heaven if I was a good boy, or going "down there" to an ever-burning hell, if I was a bad boy – which, of course, was more likely!  But one of the biggest lies of the churches of this world is actually a series of big lies.  Those false churches actually vainly repeat these words every Sunday at the end of each of their vainly-repetitive prayers.  At the end of each of these prayers they repeat a refrain called the "Doxology."  The Roman Catholics and the church of England have different versions of it.  I will read you the Church of England’s version as this applies to what we are talking about here today.  At the end of each of their prayers, they say these words:

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost.

Lie number one – that God is a Trinity.

As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be,

Lie number two.

World without end.

Lie number three.


Let us just concentrate for a minute on lie numbers two and three.  Where did the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England get these ideas from?  I searched through the scriptures and I came up with a couple of verses that they seem to have twisted, like a shameless wresting of the intent of two scriptures (II Peter 3:16) – one of which is a regrettable mistranslation in the King James Version:

Ephesians 3:21: 
Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.  Amen. 

The term “world without end” in this verse was mistranslated from the Greek: “aion-aion.”  The word “aion” can be translated as ever, world, evermore, age, eternal, always, forever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity, the worlds, universe, or period of time.  The New King James Version corrects this King James Version error quite nicely:

To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

I guess whoever did that NKJV translation realized that the world would have an end.

Now here is what I believe to be the second source of this false doctrine – another scripture which the Doxology’s misinterpretation twists around to try to say the exact opposite of what Jesus clearly said here.  What they are trying to tell us is that the world is going to go on forever just the way that it is now: 

Mark 13:19:
For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. 

Here we see the Doxology’s twisting of this clear statement into another blatant misreading of God’s Word which goes back to the beginnings of the Roman Catholic Church.  Their false ministers – just like the Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees and the corrupt Aaronic priesthood of Jesus’ human lifetime – were and still are deceiving the professing Christian world into believing that, at best, "our Lord is delaying His coming” (Luke 12:45) or at the very worst, that He is not coming at all.. Rather that "evil shall not approach nor fall upon us" (Amos 9:10).

With such lying words, false ministers have vainly tried to set themselves up as a kind of spiritual "dam" to try to prevent the inexorable flow and advance of the "river" of world events toward the end of this age – this age which they apparently love (in yet another barefaced contravention of God’s Word – I John 2:15), because this world and this age allow them to maintain their falsely-gained rank, status, and in a lot of cases, income.

May I recommend that you all read "The History of the True Church" by Dugger and Dodd.  I Although I don’t want to concentrate on this today, it is astounding to read how they describe what happened to the early true Church, and how the Roman Catholic Church developed from a mixture of scriptural truth and pagan error, and took over. 

But why should we be surprised?  This idea constitutes a major lie that is told to them by their father – not our Father; but the father of lies (John 8:44) – who hates with a passion the idea of the return of Jesus Christ, and the coming of the Kingdom of God.  

Why does the father of lies hate these things so much?  Basically, for the same reason that these false ministers hate the idea of the return of Christ. Because, when that day comes, Satan, his demons and all his false ministers will have their power and authority stripped from them. (We'll read more about this on the Day of Atonement next week.

This world – this age or era – is not endless.  It will end!  Jesus said so!  Repeatedly!  Both Himself personally, and through the mouths and pens of His prophets and apostles.  Things will not forever remain the same as they have been since the beginning of the human race.  Please remember that.  

Like their Israelite counterparts (both past and present), such false professing Christian ministers do not seem to care what God’s holy Word says!  They unashamedly twist the scriptures in their attempts to make them appear to support their own false doctrines.  

But God will not be mocked (Galatians 6:7)!  Messing with Jesus’ words is messing with the very Word of God!  Doubly so!  Both the written Word of God in the Bible and the personal Word of God – Jesus Christ Himself!  Doing so will bring with it a very serious penalty:

II Peter 3:
15:  And consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation––as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 
16:  As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. 

Through the apostle John, Jesus gives the same warning:

Revelation 22: 
18:  For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 
19:  And if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. 

If you happen to be one of those who believes this warning to be just against adding to or taking away from the book of Revelation, similar warnings are given in Deuteronomy 4:2 and 12:32.  In other words, He is saying, "Don’t mess with the Word of God!"

Perhaps Jesus is referring here to this very same sin – the sin of trying to deceive God’s people (and the world) into believing that He is delaying His coming, or that He is not coming at all, and that everything will continue forever the same as it always has been since the creation of mankind.  

Why do I suggest this possibility?  Because of what He tells us in the very next verse – which happens to be the second to last verse in the whole of His holy written Word – thus indicating its great importance:

20:  He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly." Amen… {So be it!!!}… Even so, come, Lord Jesus! 

So, on this Feast of Trumpets, let us all remember that the "river" of time and of world events is marching inexorably on towards all of the events that these Autumn Holy Days picture:

- The end-times,
- The great tribulation,
- The resurrection of the dead,
- The change of God’s people still living from temporary, human, 
   chemical existence to Spirit-composed children of God,
- The return of Jesus Christ,
- The temporary binding of Satan and his demons,
- The Millennium,
- Gog and Magog and the subsequent permanent binding of Satan and his demons, 
- The Great White Throne Judgment period,
- The setting up of the New Heavens and the New Earth,
- The coming of God the Father,
- The wonderful eternity of the Kingdom of God.

These are the things that we are going to be learning over and over again, in the upcoming Holy days. 

The "tide" is coming in!  These events will take place!  Nothing can stop them!  

Not a dam.  Obviously not a physical one.  Not even a spiritual one!  Not Satan!  Not the false doctrines of the false churches of this world!  Nothing!

The tide is coming in!  Jesus Christ is coming!  He is coming quickly!  And He is bringing His Kingdom along with Him.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!