Ministry Update and Vision for the Future
Jul 13, 2018
I need to give you an update on the progress of our ministry itself.
This week we have completed construction on our video studio. When we get the computer ready and can both record and livestream, then the hard part begins—training me on how to do it! I need a course on Livestream for Dummies. But we will get there soon.
The plan is to learn the basics on recording video teachings. We put up a whiteboard behind me (in the studio), so that I can better teach the more complicated timelines from Secrets of Time. When I feel like I have a good handle on this, then I hope to do livestream sessions occasionally, where you can post questions and comments, and we can have a group conversation. That will be fun. But that will take some coordination with the off-site tech crew.
Finishing the Commentaries
I have also been working to get the commentaries done on First and Second Corinthians, so that they can be ready for distribution by the time of the September conference. There will be four books on First Corinthians and just one long book (about 160 pages) on Second Corinthians.
The first two on First Corinthians are completed and now await printing. The last two books are still in the proofing stage.
I am about two-thirds of the way through Second Corinthians, refining and polishing the book so that I can give it to the proofers. The commentary on First John will be next. If I can, I would like to have that done by the conference as well, but it is too early to know if that will be possible.
Once those are completed, then all that remains will be the commentary on Amos, which I am currently doing in the monthly bulletins. I estimate that I should finish that book by the end 2018. Then the commentary phase of writing will be done, at least for the foreseeable future.
The Entry-Level Course of Study
These commentaries are necessary for the Bible School that we are planning. We have been preparing for this for a long time. The only remaining part of the curriculum, then, will be the entry-level (or first level) course of study. I am working on that now, as you know. The tract, God’s Promise to You, is probably the first part of this course of study. This and other related studies that I am now writing will lay the foundations to allow a person to interpret and understand the rest of Scripture.
The series of tracts that I am writing will probably be put into a booklet for use in the School’s first-level course of study. These will be simple enough to allow much discussion. That is where teachers/facilitators will be needed, because they will have to know these topics thoroughly in order to lead discussions and allow people to discover these truths for themselves.
People need to understand the implications of God being the Creator in Genesis 1:1. The Creator has certain unalienable rights, based on the laws of labor. He owns His labor, and He respects our own right to own our own labor as well. Owners have legal responsibility as well, according to each person’s level of authority. God, being sovereign, has the ultimate responsibility for all that He owns by right of creation. But we too have a level of responsibility, based on our God-given authority.
People need to see the difference between authority and free will. Scripture tells us that God gave man authority, but nowhere does it tell us that He gave man free will. Authority is biblical; free will is man’s philosophical attempt to explain things, as he tried to retain sovereignty over his own life. I have found that the best approach is not to take away people’s free will, but to replace it with a better concept—authority—and then to explain the difference between authority and sovereignty.
These fundamental concepts are based upon the laws of God as expressed in the universe. I never would have understood these things without first studying the laws of God. My studies in the law began in earnest in 1978, and the first real breakthrough came in the mid-1980’s when I discovered how the laws of God applied in the heavens as well as on the earth. It took some years of spiritual warfare to see these spiritual applications.
The Foundation of Truth
The capstone, I think, was when the essential difference between the two covenants was revealed to me in a simple statement: “The Old Covenant is man’s vow to God; the New Covenant is God’s vow to man.” With that revelation, I believe I hit bedrock, and I discovered that I had moved from complexity to simplicity. Simple truths are easily understood, and for this reason they have an inherent power of truth that sets people free.
I may be wrong, but I believe that this revelation of the two covenants is the truth that will be driven home by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the time ahead. Every genuine move of the Holy Spirit in past centuries has injected some particular revelation and truth into the church, or some portion of the church.
Signs and wonders have often accompanied those truths, which are all good, but the real underlying purpose of such Holy Spirit moves has been to inject some lost truth back into the church. Many, of course, focused upon the signs and wonders, and many rejected the truths that the Holy Spirit was revealing. So new denominations sprang up, while the existing denominations were unable to progress in their wilderness journey to the Promised Land.
Our revelation of God’s sovereignty, based on Genesis 1:1, the two covenants, and the goal of history to restore all things under the feet of Christ, have not been well understood by very many people in the past. Universal Reconciliation was the majority belief of the church in the first five centuries, but having lost the foundation of understanding the law, cracks soon formed, and unscrupulous churchmen who conducted Church Councils after the year 400 A.D. were able to stamp out this truth.
(See my small booklet, A Short History of Universal Reconciliation.)
In the 1700’s the basic idea of Universal Reconciliation was restored to parts of the church, but they based their views mainly on New Testament statements about it. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but to my knowledge they did not dig down far enough to hit bedrock. So they were unable to lay solid foundations upon the more basic concepts set forth in the books of the law.
In fact, some cast aside the law, thinking it contradicted Universal Reconciliation. They thought that the law could only condemn people, and so it inherently worked against the plan of God to save all mankind. They did not understand that the law is God’s nature which He has promised to impart into us by the power of His New Covenant vow. They saw the law only in terms of commandments—not as promises.
This blindness caused many to reject the law, and in so doing, they rejected the revelation of the word itself. One cannot reject any portion of the word (or put it away) without blinding one’s self in some way. But I believe we are at the time when the great veil will be removed from all nations, ending the time of blindness (or darkness) that has covered the earth for so long.
The Kingdom of Light is coming, and even though in the age to come many will be cast out of the kingdom into “outer darkness,” there will still be a major change in the earth. The progress of the Kingdom will take a great leap forward in the great Sabbath Millennium that we are now entering. After this phase, the Great White Throne will usher in the next era in this progression toward the Restoration of All Things.
Whatever God intends to do in the future is good for us to know, but I also recognize that our understanding of it will need to be revised as time passes. It is more important that we know and understand what God is doing NOW—what some call “present truth.” But knowing present truth is not really possible without knowing where we are in the progress of Kingdom history. We need to know how we got here in order to know the direction of such progress for the future.
Ultimately, to know the end of the story, we must know the beginning. That is why I have started in Genesis 1:1 for close to 30 years. Gradually, I have come to see just how important that verse is. It is the root of all truth, if we could just understand its implications. If the root is holy, so are its branches of truth. In the end, Genesis 1:1 demands the Restoration of All Things. Once we understand the end from the beginning, we then study the Scriptures to discover HOW God intends to do this. But whether we understand HOW or not, the plan will march on, for its success does not depend upon the will of man or anyone’s understanding.
Nonetheless, we study to show ourselves approved unto God. The New Covenant revelation is the key to removing the blindness of the Old Covenant veil (2 Corinthians 3:14-18). I believe that the coming phase of God’s Kingdom will be an age of true enlightenment, and though it will not yet completely fill the whole earth, much of the earth will enjoy its light during the next “day” of a thousand years.
Our part in this, as far as I am concerned, is to flow with the plan of God and to promote the basic truth that has been revealed at this time. So far, this truth goes against the usual understanding of most church denominations, who do not really believe that God can fulfill His promise to save the world. Their blindness is based mostly on their view that man has sovereignty (“free will”) and that God is helpless to change or overrule man’s will.
We do not think God is handicapped in any way. God’s love, wisdom, and power is sufficient in every way to do all that He set out to do at the beginning. He did not devise a plan whose success depended upon the will of man. He was wiser than that. Likewise, He did not give up His power (sovereignty) to fulfill His promises. He was too loving to devise a plan that might result in saving only a tiny percentage and burning the rest in a torture pit forever.
By knowing the character of God and His plan for the earth, we are better able to align ourselves with that plan. We can use our God-given authority as He intended it to be used in the beginning. The long detour called “history,” brought about by Adam’s sin, will result in God’s total victory and restoration. To have faith in Him means to know in our hearts that God is able to fulfill His promises and that man’s rebellious will cannot stop Him from fulfilling His intended purpose for His creation.
The Law of Blindness
A blind man has reduced liability for his actions. God blinded Israel (Isaiah 29:10) and the world as a whole (Isaiah 25:7) in order to reduce their ultimate liability for their sin. By blinding them, God exercised His sovereignty and thereby took upon Himself the ultimate responsibility for man’s actions.
Jesus referred to this law of blindness in John 9:41,
41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.”
Acts 17:30 says,
30 Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent.
Ignorance is associated with blindness. Ephesians 4:18 speaks of “the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” Blindness has caused ignorance, and because of this, God “overlooked” much of what they were doing. In other words, He did not hold them fully liable, but took upon Himself the liability for their blindness.
We too have all been blind to some extent, and God gave us grace because of it. But the time has now come for the veil to be removed, so that we can see greater truth. With the removal of this blindness also comes greater responsibility. Like Israel, the church has been partially blind to the gospel of Christ, for the church has taught believers to have Old Covenant faith in their own vows, promises, and decisions to follow Jesus.
Fortunately, the law of blindness has caused God to “wink” at this (Acts 17:30 KJV) up to now. He has saved us even though we did not really understand the basis of our salvation. Yet now the veil is being removed, not only from our own eyes but also as a general unveiling that is taking place all over the earth.
Why now? Because the time has come for the next step in the divine plan to be revealed. We are coming out of Babylon, and it is time to move forward in our understanding of the Kingdom and the basic principles that stem from Genesis 1:1.
Dr. Stephen Jones