by Bill Nugent
All Jews were commanded to be perfect Jews. All of the Jews were commanded to keep the Old Testament law perfectly yet only one Jew kept the law perfectly. In the fifteen centuries from Moses to John the Baptist only one Jew was fully obedient and that Jew was the manifested Son of God: Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus was the perfect Jew. Jesus kept all 613 commands of the Old Testament law perfectly. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for their legalistic Sabbath rules yet Jesus kept the Sabbath perfectly. Jesus kept the Sabbath the way God wanted it kept. Jesus walked in sinless perfection.
The Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi, contains hundreds of prophecies of a coming Messiah. Only two of these messianic prophecies contain the word “Messiah.” Those two are Psalm 2:2 and Daniel 9:25. All of the other messianic prophecies refer to the coming Messiah by other names or titles or just by implication. Jesus fulfilled more than 300 messianic prophecies in His first coming and He will fulfill more in His second coming.
It should not surprise us to realize that there are many prophecies in the New Testament that predict the coming of a perfect church. The Old Testament prophesied the coming of a perfect man. The New Testament prophesies the coming of a perfect company of men. The Old Testament foretold the coming of the Son of God and the New Testament foretells the coming of the manifested sons of God. The most obvious prophecy of the manifested sons is Romans 8:19 “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” There are many other New Testament passages that refer to the coming manifestation of the sons of God. The other prophetic passages are not as clear or direct as Romans 8:19.
Let me start out by saying that every Christian is commanded to be a perfect son or daughter of God. Matthew 5:48 says: “Be ye therefore perfect.” Every one of us is commanded to obey God perfectly from the day we are born-again to the day we die. We often forget that. We are so accustomed to sinning and confessing our sins and then sinning again that we think it is normal to commit sin! Every Christian is commanded to apprehend full sanctification in spirit, soul and body from day one of his walk. We can’t sanctify our selves. Only God can fully sanctify us and He does it by drawing us to a deeper experience of the cross day by day.
The manifested sons message has been preached since the 1950s, flowing out of the Latter Rain and Voice of Healing revivals of the late 40s and early 50s. Some preached it in earlier decades of the 20th century, including John G. Lake who was highly criticized for it.
I’m sad to say that the sonship movement has often strayed into elitism and doctrinal error. There has been a strong tendency by many sonship preachers to over allegorize the scriptures. This over allegorization of the scriptures has led many sonship teachers to not see the importance of Israel. I contend that the restoration of national Israel is an important part of God’s end-time plan. There has also been a tendency of some extreme sonship preachers to believe that they have attained manifested sonship just because they see the sonship message in the scriptures and they teach the sonship message.
The sonship message is the true full Gospel message. The term “full Gospel” usually refers to Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians. But Pentecostals and Charismatics have only 2/3 of the gospel. They have salvation (Passover) and the gifts of the Spirit (Pentecost). Pentecostals and Charismatics, including myself, haven’t yet apprehended the fully sanctified, fully empowered, maturity of manifested sonship (Tabernacles).
The perfect church that is coming will be a mega-church. A mega-church is usually defined as a church with a thousand or more members. The coming perfect mega-church will have 144,000 members. “And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred and forty four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.” I don’t presume to know if 144,000 is a literal number or not. It could be more or it could be less than that exact number. Some say that the 144,000 are all Jews because of what is written in Revelation 7:4-8. My position is that the 144,000 will likely include some Gentiles who are grafted in to Israel and who love Israel.
The First five verses of Revelation fourteen describe the overcomer company, which is the perfect church; the manifested sons. They are “not defiled with women; for they are virgins”(Rev. 14:4). This could be literal and limit the son company to unmarried men but I tend to think it would mean that the members of the overcomer company are virgins in the sense that they are not corrupted in their souls. The overcomer company, in my view, could be males and females that grow to the point of complete sanctification in their souls.
Very importantly, Revelation 14:4 says: “These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.” The overcomers are those who follow the Lamb fully to the cross to receive the full sanctification of spirit, soul and body. The apostle John was the only apostle present at the crucifixion of Christ. John is a type of the overcomer company. John followed Jesus to Calvary. Jesus entrusted Mary, His mother (who prophetically represents the church), into John’s care. In John 21:22, Jesus gave John a cryptic promise that John would survive until the second coming. John didn’t literally remain until the second coming but the implication is that the overcomer company, whom John represents, will.
In Isaiah 53:2 it is foretold that the Messiah would be as a “root out of a dry ground.” Likewise, the perfect church will be a church that springs out of dry, lukewarm end-time Christianity. Matthew 3:13-17 describes the epiphany of Christ. “Epiphany” means “reveal” or “manifest.” When John the Baptist baptized Jesus the heavens opened and God spoke the affirmation that Jesus is His Son. This is when Jesus became a manifested Son of God and He walked under an open heaven, receiving clear revelation from the Father for the rest of His life.
The perfect church will also have an epiphany. There will be a time when the heavens will open up above the overcomer company and they will walk in pure revelation and minister without failure. Can you imagine one man in our day who would have a miracle ministry and healing ministry just like Jesus? How long would it take for your town to be converted to Christ with such a man ministering in it every day? Can you imagine 144,000 people, including resurrected saints from past generations, ministering in the power of Christ and in even greater power as Christ promised in John 14:12? How long do you think it would take to convert all the nations into disciples of Christ?
The church has been given a supreme mandate. This supreme mandate is the Great Commission which is to make disciples of all nations. One consequence of fulfilling this mandate is the takeover of all of the governments on earth. When 70% of Russia is converted to Christ do you really think they will have a secular government? What about when 80% of Russia is converted? I don’t necessarily predict that 100% of all people on earth will be saved but I contend that we are commanded to work toward that end!
An obvious question arises at this point and that question is: “Is the second coming of Christ before, during or after the manifestation of the sons of God?” I don’t know for sure but I believe the sons will be manifested before the second coming.“The Son of man cometh at an hour when you think not” (Luke 12:40). Our part is to take up the cross daily (to receive sanctification in the soul) and to do the work that Christ commanded us and to be ready for the second coming.
We have been commanded to make disciples of all nations. A command is not optional. We must go about doing the great commission and not stop doing it until every person in all the nations is converted. The only way to do that is to be recipients of the grace of God to such an extent that we become fully sanctified and grow to full stature in Christ and experience the epiphany or manifestation of the sons of God and walk under an open heaven and receive perfect revelation and a healing ministry that does not fail. I hope that one day I’ll be a part of the overcomer company of manifested sons. How about you?
I’ve written two other Defending the Faith Special Issue (DTF SI) articles on the sonship message. These articles are DTF SI #7 titled “The Manifestation of the Sons of God and the Resurrection of the Dead” and DTF SI #14 titled “The Perfect Jew: A Picture of the Perfect End of Our Age.” They are available for free download from my website at www.bnugent.org. They are in the DTF Special Issue archive on the website.
My book on sanctification and sonship is titled “The Cross, Self-Denial and the Manifestation of the Sons of God.” It is also available for free download from my website. I take a very conservative scriptural approach to the truths of sonship and I see the importance of Israel in God’s end-time plan. I teach that men and women of God are processed and prepared for the manifestation by taking up the cross daily and receiving sanctification in the soul. The spirit of a born-again Christian is already perfect. The human spirit was regenerated into a sinless state at the new birth. The soul is sanctified gradually during our lifetime walk with Jesus as we take up the cross daily and follow Him. The body will be fully sanctified at the resurrection of the dead.
Steps to salvation:
Jesus said “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).
Prayer to receive salvation:
“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
To receive the salvation that Jesus purchased for us at the terrible cost of His suffering and death on our behalf I invite you to pray this simple prayer:
“Dear heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Jesus, the promised Messiah, to die for my sins. I admit that I am a sinner. I repent of my sins and I ask for your forgiveness on the basis of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I ask you to fill me with your Holy Spirit to empower me to serve you under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, Amen.”
If you prayed this prayer in the humble sincerity of your heart then you have received everlasting life, which includes power to live right in this life and entrance into heaven in the afterlife!