Note: J. Preston Eby, in order to continue to devote his full energy to writing, no longer works in the office and does not receive email. He does, however, respond to any urgent correspondence via snailmail.
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studies in end-time revelation
THE TWO HANDS OF GOD
There are many "hidden truths" in the Word of God that for long centuries have not been understood or known by God's people. But we find that in these days God is doing a "new thing" and unto those that are looking unto Him, He is revealing Himself as never before. In I Pet. 1:5 the apostle speaks of a "salvation ready to be revealed in the Last Time." The apostle Paul in Col. 1:26 tells of "the mystery that has been hid from ages and from generations and is now made manifest, which is, Christ in you the hope of glory." Jesus spoke to the multitudes in parables, and said, "I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world" (Mat. 13:34-35). He spoke to the multitudes in parables and they didn't understand, but then He took His disciples apart, those that He had chosen, the ones who were prepared to leave everything and follow the Lamb wheresoever He went, and to them He revealed some of the "secret things". And today, beloved, He is still revealing to those who are prepared to wait on Him, these "secret things".
There is a uniqueness in the Spirit's dealings which often defies description and is exceedingly difficult to condense into words. Yet we are constrained to share with you at least in a measure some of the things which He has quickened within us - knowing that it will bring confirmation to others who are following on to know the Lord. How marvelous are His ways! There is much in the unfolding of the life of "sonship" that is not understood by those with only a casual acquaintance with the Lord. They might know Him as Jesus, their Saviour. They might even know Him as Christ, the Anointed, and the Anointer, so that they receive of His Spirit and are anointed with the oil of gladness and the enduement of power. But far too often they would limit all this to just walking in the realm of God's blessing, yielding to Him in proportion to the gifts and good things received. But, when one follows on to truly KNOW THE LORD and be conformed to the image of the Son, he finds that it brings him to the cross - to purging, pruning, stripping, refining, discipline, chastisement, humiliation and death! Then one has to sink deep into God for understanding.
There is a theme about which every Son must have a clear understanding if he is to walk in the Father's dealings in full assurance. It is the fact of the dual aspect of God's nature and His workings - the two sides of love - God's love. And in order to make this clear, perhaps we should share an illustration we recently heard from the lips of another, in which he described a most terrifying scene. We quote: "It was late at night in a suburban area of one of our great cities in America. A child lay restless in her bed. A man, with a very severe and stern look, stealthily entered her bedroom and softly approached her bed. The moment the little girl saw him, a terrified look came over her face, and she began to scream. Her mother rushed into the room and went over to her. And the trembling child threw her arms about her. The man withdrew to the telephone, called someone, who was evidently an accomplice, and in a very soft voice made some sort of an arrangement. Hastily the man re-entered the room, tore the child from the mother's arms, and rushed out to a waiting car. The child was sobbing, and he attempted to stifle her cries. He drove madly down street after street until he finally pulled up before a large, sinister and foreboding-looking building. All was quiet, the building was partially dark, but there was one room upstairs ablaze with light. The child was hurriedly taken inside, up to the lighted room, and put into the hands of the man with whom the conversation had been held over the telephone in the hallway. In turn, the child was handed over to another accomplice - this time a woman - and these two took her into an inner room. The man who had brought her was left outside in the hallway. Inside the room the man plunged a gleaming, sharp knife into the vitals of that little child, and she lay as if she were dead.
"Your reaction at this point may be, 'I certainly hope they will catch the criminal who abducted the little girl and is responsible for such an awful crime.' However, I have not described to you the depraved and degraded action of a debased mind. I have not taken a chapter out of the life of the man in cell 2455, death row. I have not related to you the sordid and sadistic crime of a psychopathic criminal. On the contrary, I have described to you a tender act of love. In fact, I can think of no more sincere demonstration of love! You see, that little girl had awakened in the night with severe abdominal pain. She had been subject to such attacks. It was her father who had rushed into the room. He had talked to the specialist about it, and when he saw the suffering of the little girl, he went to the telephone, called the family physician, and arranged to meet him at the hospital. He had rushed his little girl down to the hospital and had handed her over to the family physician. The doctor had taken her to the operating room and performed emergency surgery. Through it all, every move and every act of that father was of tender love, anxious care, and wise decision. I have described to you the dark side of love - but love, nevertheless.
"The father loved the child just as much on that dark night when he took her to the hospital and delivered her to the surgeon's knife as he did the next week when he brought her flowers and candy. It was just as much a demonstration of deep affection when he delivered her into the hands of the surgeon as it was the next week when he brought her home and delivered her into the arms of her mother, My friend, love places the eternal security and permanent welfare of the object of love above any transitory or temporary comfort, or present pleasure. Love seeks the best interests of the beloved - at any cost!" -end quote.
We have met some brethren in this end-time move of the Spirit who have exaggerated the bright side of the love of God out of all proportion to its other aspects. The love of God has been presented in such a way that it is a weakness rather than a strength. It has been presented on the sunny side of the street with nothing on the other side ever mentioned. There is a "love" of God preached that sounds to me like the doting indulgence of rather senile grandparents instead of the vital and vigorous concern of a Father for the best interests of a Son. They have used the shopworn cliche" "God is love, God is love, God is love" until love has become such a one-sided, mushy, gooey, syrup-sweet thing, and they have not told about the dark side of the love of God. They have watered love down, making it sickening rather than stimulating, causing it to slop over on every side like a sentimental feeling rather than an abiding concern for the object of love.
Let every man and woman who treasures the beautiful hope of sonship know that there is the DARK SIDE OF GOD'S LOVE! Ah, the Great Physician will put His child on the operating table. He will use the surgeon's knife when He sees a tumor of self-will or a deadly virus of carnality sapping our spiritual lives, or when He sees the cancerous growth of sin. He does not hesitate to deal with us severely. We must learn this fact early: He loves us just as much when He is subjecting us to surgery, as when He sends us blessings and gifts and brings us into the sunshine of His glory. Precious friend of mine, He loves us most when He is dealing severely with us, "for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives" (Heb. 12:6). "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that bears not fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He purges (prunes) it, that it may bring forth more fruit" (Jn. 15:1-2). We must remember that the Father reaches into your life and mine and prunes out that which is not fruitbearing - and it hurts! But, as some Puritan divine said years ago, "The husbandman is never so close to the branch as when he is trimming it." The Father is never more close to you, beloved, than when He is reaching in and taking out of your heart and life those things that hinder the development of HIS LIFE and the manifestation of HIS NATURE.
Consider now these profound words from the pen of one who has expressed some illuminating thoughts concerning love: "Know you not that hate sprang out of love? If there is no love, then neither can there be hatred, for hatred is the balance of power in a scheme where sin and death are manifest. It is said of God that He hates but it is also said that He is love. How can these two opposing statements be true? It is because HE IS LOVE that He can hate! It is not said that God IS HATRED. Nay! For if that be true, then hatred would be His nature, in which case He would not be Jehovah Elohim, but a fiendish despot. Nevertheless, because God is love He can manifest this love in a RIGHTEOUS hatred against all evil, that it might result again in pure love." And, let me add, this righteous hatred IS the DARK SIDE OF LOVE! Another has said, "In one sense, love is the highest vibration, hatred is the lowest vibration. God, BEING ALL RIGHTEOUS, can move on the lower vibration without perversion, using His righteous hatred to turn evil once again into GOOD. But man, being unrighteous, receives love, and by absorbing it into 'self', in turn manifests a perverted love. How we need to be 'partakers of His holiness', being made ALL RIGHTEOUS, then we will, not pervert that which is pure, but we will be able to take that which has been perverted and restore it to purity once again."
THE TWO HANDS OF GOD
This brings us to the thought we want to share in this message. Almost all Churches and most Christians are not aware of it, but for the most part we have made God to be a one armed or one handed Being. Of course we realize that God is spirit and has no body of material substance and consequently no arms or hands such as we have. But spirit is real, God is real, and the eyes of God are omnipresent spirit eyes, His universal ability to see by the Spirit, and the arms and hands of God are omnipresent spirit arms and hands, His universal ability to act, touch, and perform by the power of His Spirit.
The thought of God having a right hand and a left hand should not be strange to us, although the preachers have so often presented God as a one handed Being. In the Scriptures we find the right hand of God mentioned a great many times, and the left hand of God is mentioned on a number of occasions. A great deal has been said as to the meaning of the right hand, but few have seemed to have any understanding or revelation of the significance of the left hand.
First, let us look at the meaning of these two words, right and left. The word "right" as used with "hand" is generally the Hebrew word "yamiym" meaning STRONGER, MORE DEXTEROUS. The word for "left" is "smowl" meaning DARK. From the meaning of these two words it is very easy to understand that God's right hand is His strength and dexterity, or His wonderful ability to do all things. The implication is that the right hand of God is the GOOD HAND of God, doing GOOD things. The Psalmist confirms this when he says, "In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your RIGHT HAND are PLEASURES for evermore" (Ps. 16:11). Again, "The voice of REJOICING and SALVATION in the tabernacles of the righteous: the RIGHT HAND of the Lord does valiantly. The RIGHT HAND of the Lord is exalted" (Ps. 118:15-16).. To which the prophet Isaiah adds his inspired testimony, "Fear not; for I am with you: be not dismayed; for I am your God: I will STRENGTHEN you; yea, I will HELP you; yea, I will UPHOLD you with the RIGHT HAND of My righteousness" (Isa. 41:10).
But, as we have noted, the left hand in the Old Testament means DARK and from this we can readily understand that it signifies the opposite - what we call bad or evil. The left hand represents the DARK SIDE OF GOD. This is the hand of God so little understood. The distinctive work of these two hands is graphically portrayed in the wonderful parable Jesus told of the sheep and the goats. "When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and He shall set the SHEEP on His RIGHT HAND, but the GOATS on the LEFT. Then shall the King say unto them on His RIGHT HAND, Come, blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered, and you gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and you took Me in: naked and you clothed Me: I was sick, and you visited Me: I was in prison, and you came unto Me. Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry, and fed You? or thirsty, and gave You drink? When saw we You a stranger, and took You in? or naked, and clothed You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and came unto You? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of one of these MY BROTHERS, you have done it unto Me. Then shall He say also unto them on the LEFT HAND, Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry, and you gave Me no meat ... then shall they also answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto You? Then shall He answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not unto Me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal" (Mat. 25:31-46).
There are many precious and important truths contained in this parable, but we must restrain ourselves from pursuing them at this time in order to deal briefly with two points. First, it is important to note that this separation of the sheep from the goats was brought about, not on the basis of whether one had accepted Jesus Christ as his personal saviour, but solely on the basis of WORKS. Everything depended entirely upon what the sheep or goats had DONE or had NOT DONE. There was nothing of faith or a spiritual experience connected with this separation, The sheep were set on God's RIGHT HAND because of the fact that they had done something - given meat and drink to the Lord's brethren, clothed them, visited them, and comforted them. All these things the Lord said they had DONE TO HIM. But the sheep confessed that they had never seen Him, so how could they have done these things to the Lord? He answered, "Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of one of these My brethren, you have done it unto Me." All of this is a kind of ministry unto the Lord Himself and it brought all these people into a separation unto the RIGHT HAND of God!
This meant an entrance into a kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world. This kingdom was not to be some far-off land of ivory palaces, golden streets, beautiful mansions, white night gowns, wings and harps, where there is nothing to do and all eternity to do it in. THIS IS A KINGDOM. And because it is a kingdom it denotes rulership and advancement of all kinds. It indicates the bringing of a great many people into a higher realm in the Spirit than they have ever known before. It means WORK and RESPONSIBILITY and a place of ministry and authority to bless.
But the people who had never done all these things mentioned by the Lord were separated unto the LEFT HAND of God! They received no kingdom. There were no rewards for work done or attainments reached. Rather, they were set on the dark side of God, they were put under a kingdom and under authority and they were placed in a process of fiery judgment to receive correction. There is much subtle truth in these words of Jesus: "These shall go away into everlasting punishment." The word punishment is from the Greek "kolasis" which means simply that - punishment. But it comes from the root "kolazo" which sheds precious light upon the nature of the punishment. "Kolazo", according to Strong's Concordance, bears only two shades of meaning, namely, "to curtail" or "to chastise". To "curtail" means to restrain as a person is restrained in jail or a child is restrained when he is "grounded" for a week because of some disobedience. "Chastise" has one simple meaning according to Webster's New World Dictionary: to punish in order to correct, usually by beating. It should be clear to any thoughtful mind that the subject here is not meaningless, sadistic, unending torture, but PURPOSEFUL CORRECTION.
While the King James version states that these goats go into "everlasting fire" and "everlasting punishment", that is not quite the meaning of the Greek. The Greek word here translated everlasting is "aionios", and "aionios" is the adjective form of the Greek noun "aion". "Aion" nowhere means eternal! Its simple meaning is "an age". In its plural form it means "ages". This fact can be unquestionably and incontrovertibly demonstrated from numerous New Testament passages. Now, once we understand that "aionios" is the ADJECTIVE FORM of the NOUN "aion", a simple little sixth-grade grammar lesson should once and for all establish the exact meaning of "aionios". A noun is a word that tells what you are talking about. A noun is a word that names something, a person, place, thing, quality, etc. Boy, water, tree, age (period of time), truth are nouns.
An adjective is a word that is used with a noun to describe it. It is a word that tells you what kind, what color, etc. If you wanted to tell about the hat a woman was wearing you would describe the hat in some way. You might say that it was a large hat, an atrocious hat, or a red hat. These are adjectives, words that describe what kind, what color of hat. Some words are both nouns and adjectives, that is, the same word can be used both ways. Sometimes the adjective form of the word is identical to the noun form, while at other times the spelling is slightly different. But anyone with even an elementary knowledge of grammar (English or Greek) knows that the meaning of a noun and the meaning of the same word in its adjective form MUST CORRESPOND! It cannot have one meaning as a noun and an exactly OPPOSITE meaning as an adjective!
Let me illustrate. If we say, "John is in college," the word college is a noun. But if we say, "John has sixteen college credits," college is an adjective, modifying the word credits - telling what kind of credits. Now we all know what a college is, so we understand what kind of institution John is attending in the first sentence. Since we know the meaning of college, when we come to the second sentence we have no difficulty understanding what kind of credits John has - college credits. No one in his right mind is going to read that and conclude that John has just finished kindergarten, or that he has a diploma showing he finished sixteen lessons in leathercraft at the YMCA, or that he has $16.00 worth of credit at a department store! College as a noun and college as an adjective cannot have altogether different meanings. They mean the same in both cases!
And yet men who should know better tell us that the Greek noun "aion" means an age, or ages which is TIME, and then proceed to explain how the adjective form of the same word, "aionios", means exactly the opposite - unending, everlasting, ETERNAL! A child of ten should be able to understand that that is not so. The adjective "aionios" modifies two nouns in Mat. 25:46: punishment and life. It tells what kind of punishment and what kind of life Jesus is talking about. It is ages-lasting punishment and ages-lasting life, or the LIFE OF THE AGES. Now I can hear someone protesting, "But isn't the life we have received from God ETERNAL LIFE?" Certainly God's life is eternal life. But we have received that life injected into TIME, so that the inworking of that life through the processings of God is experienced in relation to TIME rather than ETERNITY. Let me explain. Anything that is absolutely eternal is not only unending, but is also UNCHANGEABLE. Anything that changes in any way is not eternal, for in the change some characteristic is left behind and a new one acquired. In every change something ends and something else begins, at least in form. That which dwells in an eternal state knows NO CHANGE. Change is possible only in that which is limited, imperfect, or not fully developed. The Lord declares of Himself, "I am the Lord, I CHANGE NOT" (Mal. 3:6), and the inspired apostle says of Him, "with Whom there is no VARIABLENESS, neither shadow of turning" (James 1:17). But we, in our spiritual life, are STILL BEING CHANGED! "And all of us ... are constantly BEING TRANSFIGURED (changed) into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another" (II Cor. 3:18, Amplified).
Thank God! we are being changed! But that means that the life of God within is still in a limited, imperfect, underdeveloped stage. That life as to our condition and state of being is limited, imperfect, and in some measure immature. God has dispensed that life into us in time, that through a process of time with its experiences the spiritual life may be perfected and matured, brought to the fullness of that which HE HIMSELF IS. When the process is completed and we are fully like Him and see Him AS HE IS, there will BE NO MORE CHANCE. We will then truly know what ETERNAL LIFE is! But as long as the life within is passing through the process of change, growth, and development, it is not viewed as eternal, unchangeable life, but as the LIFE OF THE AGES, life undergoing the dealings of God in TIME.
The "eternal security" of the believer is known only by the overcomers who have fully and forever conquered every vestige of the world, the flesh, and the devil, being conformed into the image of the Son. Of these triumphant ones it is written, "To him that OVERCOMES will I give to eat of the TREE OF LIFE," and again, "He that OVERCOMES... I will NOT BLOT HIS NAME OUT of the Book of Life" (Rev. 2:7; 3:5). The inference is clear ... until this "overcomer" state is attained, it is possible to have one's name BLOTTED OUT of the Book of Life. That could not be ETERNAL LIFE, for if it were absolutely eternal it could not be lost! Little wonder then, that our Lord says to the Church at Smyrna, "Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a CROWN OF LIFE" (Rev. 2:10). It is my deep conviction that He speaks not of the death that takes this old body to the cemetery, but the death that tomes by the INWORKING OF HIS CROSS until all that pertains to the realm of carnality has been completely and forever dealt with. Then, and only then, are we CROWNED WITH LIFE His life reigning within without interference or possibility of defeat.
The life we now have is a progressing, growing, conquering life - the LIFE OF THE AGES. It is life that has come by the quickening of our spirit by His Spirit, giving a new beginning, and the potential to become, in due time, all He is. But I am sure my readers, with myself, must confess that there is much progress to be made, much growth to be experienced, much transformation to be wrought before we stand in Him in the fullness of that life that needs no change, no further development, no additional experience, no more growth, no fuller stature, no added triumph - that state of being as unchangeable as He is unchangeable, as ETERNAL AS HE IS ETERNAL! Only faintly now do our eyes behold the splendor of that ETERNAL REALM which lies before us, but if we approach softly with reverence and godly fear, not disrespectfully and thoughtlessly as nosey children prying into some sacred thing, then the Lord of glory will meet us and will be a Father unto us and we shall be the Sons of God in whom the Father shall unfold the fullness of His life, mind, will and glory. Thus shall we come into that same image and be sharers with Christ of the glory He had with the Father BEFORE TIME WAS - ETERNAL GLORY! I think I know why some become so enraged when we tell them that we do not now possess the absolutely eternal life. Is it not because they would rather ignore this "life of the ages", somehow projecting themselves into that life which is eternal, claiming "by faith" the finished product, while by-passing the tedious processing? Ah, dear ones, it doesn't work that way! God has graciously given unto us life "aionios" - the life of the ages - and how I thank God that my present state of being is NOT ETERNAL! There is MORE! I would FOLLOW ON to know Him in all fullness. And it will take "the ages", my friend, to unfold it all. We miss so much vital truth by our careless scanning of the Bible, and by clinging tenaciously to the time-worn traditions of the religious systems, mistaking them for the holy truths of God. It should be clear that if the "eternal life" of Mat. 25:41 is really the "life of the ages" then the "eternal punishment" is likewise an age-lasting correction.
The Diaglott says, "Depart from Me, you cursed ones, into that aionian fire ... and these shall go away into a cutting-off age lasting." The Bible in Modern English by Farrar Fenton reads, "And these He will dismiss into a LONG CORRECTION." Rotherham's New Testament says, "These shall go away into age-abiding correction." Young's Literal translation says, "And these shall go away to punishment age-during."
How sobering are these meaningful words of truth, "And He shall set the sheep on the RIGHT HAND, but the goats on the LEFT. Then shall the King say unto them on His RIGHT HAND, Come, blessed of My Father...then shall He say also unto them on the LEFT HAND, Depart from Me, you cursed!" But just what or who are these TWO HANDS OF GOD? The two hands of God represent two aspects of God's dealings, two ways in which He moves and acts to accomplish His purposes. We can readily see from the parable of the sheep and the goats that God deals through both POSITIVE and NEGATIVE forces. Beautiful truths come lighting like a covey of doves in my heart, begging to be expressed, but there is not room for them all in any message, so much truth will have to abide its time. In this article, however, I wish to point out that the right hand of God bespeaks God moving and acting through POSITIVE FORCES, while the left hand of God denotes God moving and acting through NEGATIVE FORCES.
A key to this vital truth is found in the words of David in Ps. 111:7 wherein he states, "The works of HIS HANDS are verity and judgment." We have already mentioned that God is not a man, He possesses not body such as we have, for He is omnipresent spirit; but God has ordained the visible realm to serve as an allegory to convey the realities which pertain to the higher realm of the invisible. So for just a moment, consider God with two hands, one of verity, and one of judgment. The word "verity" is actually in the Hebrew the word for TRUTH. Thus we see with one hand He is bringing forth truth, and with the other hand of His judgment He is moving to bring us into harmony with truth. What beautiful co-ordination in all the works of His hands! Every time God initiates a new phase of His purpose, He then brings forth the measures needed to bring us into alignment with that purpose. If He can do this through POSITIVE forces He will, in the dealing of His right hand, but if corrective measures are needed He will stretch forth even His left hand and bring negative forces into action to teach us the necessary lesson. How often we pray for God to stretch forth His right hand of VERITY, we are hungry for blessing and truth, and He graciously imparts, but it has been my experience that He does not make it a one-sided working, always piling up blessing upon blessing and revelation upon revelation until we are out of balance. In HIS LOVE, yea, the DARK SIDE OF LOVE, He takes His OTHER HAND and graciously disciplines, corrects, forms, molds and shapes, until we become one with that truth, to His glory and praise.
In speaking of the corrective judgment brought upon Israel by Babylon, the prophet cried, "Babylon has been a golden cup in the Lord's hand" (Jer. 51:7). God used Babylon as a NEGATIVE FORCE in HIS HAND to discipline His people. But the beloved John beheld quite another scene, "And He had in His RIGHT HAND seven stars ... the seven stars are the messengers (ministries) of the seven Churches" (Rev. 1:16-20). Again we see the working of HIS TWO HANDS. In the one hand is Babylon, a golden cup of fury and judgment, a vessel of wrath; and in the other hand we see seven stars, light bearers, positive ministries, vessels of mercy with a quickening word, through whom He shall reveal His truth and glory to all nations!
THE LEFT HAND OF GOD
That "all things are of God" is declared over and over again in the Bible. Did not the Lord say to Pharaoh, that wicked man of rebellion against all that was of God, "Even for this same purpose have I RAISED YOU UP, that I might show MY POWER in you, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth?" (Rom. 9:17). The infinite wisdom of God's mind cannot be ascertained by these carnal little heads of ours. We must banish our childish theology and bring our minds into harmony with the mind of Christ. We must begin to peer through the mighty telescope of God's wisdom as it looks through the vast universe of good and evil until heavenly light bursts with blazing brilliance upon our inquiring spirits and we see with crystal clear vision that God is in all things, and is responsible for all things, including all the so-called evil things as well as good things. Is it not a fearful thing to say that evil is of God? There is nothing fearful about this view unless the TRUTH be fearful! I would not be surprised if some of the compatriots of the prophet Amos may have thought he was speaking blasphemy when by the Holy Spirit he said, "Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be EVIL in a city, and THE LORD HAS NOT DONE IT?" (Amos 3:6). There are untold millions of Christians who do not like to believe that A-L-L T-H-I-N-G-S A-R-E O-F G-O-D - including evil. They much prefer to believe, as the harlot system has taught them, that God created good, and the devil created evil!
Why, Oh why can men not believe the simple, unvarnished Word of God? Ah, we have God's own Word for it - His positive statement that HE CREATES EVIL. "That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that THERE IS NONE BESIDE ME. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and CREATE EVIL. I THE LORD DO ALL THESE THINGS" (Isa. 45:7). God creates evil! It cannot be! But here it is in the Word. What will you do with it, beloved? "We must explain it somehow," the fundamentalist says, "surely it cannot mean that GOD creates evil, sin, sinners, devils, famines, pestilences, calamities, judgments, wrongdoing!" But the word here for "evil" is the Hebrew word "ra" which is used throughout the Old Testament to denote wickedness, sin, and all other evil things. In some five hundred passages it is so used!
It solves most all problems to realize that all the forces of good and evil are directly under the HAND and CONTROL of God. Then we can see that God has PURPOSE in it all, and that no evil forces can ever go beyond the bounds of the limits set by God to accomplish His purpose. It is not even a question of how much God PERMITS. The fact is that God creates just the right amount and kind of evil in order to bring His will to pass fully and completely in all He does. But let us UNDERSTAND! The good that God uses COMES OUT FROM GOD. The evil that God uses is CREATED by God only for the purpose that He has for it. The Bible states that God IS GOOD, IS LIFE, IS LIGHT, etc. Nowhere does the Bible say that God IS EVIL, only that He CREATES evil. There is a vast difference. Having been used of God, He then brings it to naught.
One of the fundamental laws of creation is that an OPPOSING FORCE is necessary for growth, and to produce strength, stamina, and endurance. Any living thing that grows up without any opposition is weak and powerless. God's NEW CREATION must be strong and powerful, and anything that desires to be strong, or anyone, must wrestle with a force that is contrary to them. Any man who wants to develop muscular power and be strong, must spend weeks and months and years in vigorous training doing heavy exercises, lifting heavy weights, using the OPPOSING FORCE of gravity to DEVELOP HIS STRENGTH. A plant that grows in the greenhouse sheltered from the winds and rains, pampered day after day, may grow large, but it is inherently weak, and if suddenly exposed to the elements will wither and die. But a plant that is constantly exposed to the fierce winds and pounding rains, burning heat and chilling cold, is strong and not easily destroyed.
Saints, if we would be the SONS OF THE MOST HIGH we must be STRONG in the Lord and in the power of HIS might! Our Father wants us to be strong, so He has wisely given us WRESTLING PARTNERS to wrestle with, so we will become strong. These are NEGATIVE FORCES (thank God for them!) that come from the LEFT HAND of God. Some of these adverse things are the principalities and powers in the heavenlies. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places" (Eph. 6:12). There is a great and magnificent future ahead for the Sons of God, and a great work our Father has for us to do in the ages to come, and He is preparing us and making us ready for the high and holy place He has for us. Can we not see that ALL THE NEGATIVE OPPOSING FORCES WE NOW ENCOUNTER are working together for our good - to develop the strength, character, wisdom, and power we must have?
The chastenings and judgments of God, too, are negative, though they do bring forth a positive result. The positive work of God from the realm of His right hand lies in the inner anointing, guidance, enlightening, etc., and in the precious outward ministries, those the Lord sets in the body for our exhortation, edification, and comfort. The Scriptures speak much about these positive ministries, which are all wonderful, sweet, and of great importance in the eyes of God. However, there is the work of purging, pruning, discipline, dealing, and training which must be fulfilled in each and every one of God's Sons; therefore in the work of God there is an additional part, the negative, opposing forces, from the LEFT HAND OF GOD!
The positive work of God is wrought directly by the Holy Spirit within or by the Spirit through His anointed ministries. The negative work of God is brought about by Satan, his co-horts, his instruments, and the whole negative realm of evil. All the people, things, and happenings used in the chastening and judgments of God are of Satan's manipulation. For example, if someone is opposing us and causing us trouble, this opposition or trouble is directly the work of Satan. Again, a thief who steals our money, or a fire which burns down our house, is the work of the adversary. If someone is obstinate, rebellious and sins against God, and as a result becomes seriously ill, this sickness is a work of the devil. Therefore, all the people, things, and happenings involved in the discipline and judgment of God are measured to us by God according to our need. But the one who is manipulating and acting upon us in order to harm us is Satan. BUT - that which is acting BEHIND all the people, powers, things, and happenings is the HAND OF GOD, CONTROLLING all the play and interplay til HIS PURPOSE IS ACCOMPLISHED and HIS name is praised! The purpose of our experiencing the disciplines of the Father is that we know the fullness of HIS LIFE. If there were only the discipline, but not the manifestation of His life, it would be meaningless. Thus, the two hands of God bring beautiful BALANCE in the lives of all God's elect!
We see the left hand of God revealed in the life of Job. God had blessed this man with great wealth and a large family. He had seven sons and three daughters, He owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she-asses. His household was very great with many hired servants so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east. The only reliable testimony we have of Job's true state of being is that spoken by the Lord Himself, and HE declared that Job was a PERFECT AND UPRIGHT MAN, one that feared God and eschewed evil. Perfect yes, but UNTRIED, UNTESTED, and UNPROVEN, as Job himself witnessed in the midst of his ordeal, declaring, "He knows the way that I take: when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold" (Job 23:10). His perfection remained to be fully proven, tested, and demonstrated.
Now, what does God do but deliberately hand over this perfect man into the hands of Satan to do his worst upon him. It was because God desired to test Job that He brought forth "the smith to blow the coals upon the fire." Please note that it was not Satan's idea to persecute poor old Job! Oh, no! It was God Himself who brought up the subject! There Satan was, presenting himself before the Lord, appearing for duty, and God asked, "Where have you been?" Satan replied, "Walking up and down in the earth" (no mention of Job at all). "Well, Satan," the Lord asked, "Have you considered My servant Job? Have you noticed that he eschews evil and fears God? Have you noticed that, Satan?" You can be assured, dear ones, that Satan HAD noticed Job, but he wasn't doing anything to him.
Satan responds, saying, "Have You not made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth YOUR HAND now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face!" And the Lord said unto Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in YOUR POWER; only upon himself put not forth YOUR HAND." Having received these orders, Satan departed from the presence of the Lord. Hear it! "But put forth YOUR HAND now." What was that that Satan said? Did he ask permission to put forth his OWN HAND and touch Job? Not at all! He said, YOUR hand," or "God, you put forth YOUR HAND and touch him." He is not asking to be allowed to touch Job. But he challenged God to stretch out HIS HAND, and that if HE touched Job and took away his blessing, Job would curse Him to His face. Then the Lord said to Satan, "All that he has is in your power; only upon himself put not forth YOUR HAND." Can we not see by this that Satan was the NEGATIVE FORCE through which GOD WAS MOVING UPON JOB, and is it not clear that this was the LEFT HAND of God as He was working with Job to bring him into yet a higher place than he had occupied hitherto? Though Satan moved swiftly against Job, GOD WAS DOING THIS and His intention was to do Job good. This was not Satan acting out his own little plan in rebellion against God, but this was Satan as the LEFT HAND of God doing it!
In the second chapter of Job we find all this repeated. Again the sons of God have come before God to report on their activities, and again Satan comes among them. Again Job is presented to Satan by God as a perfect and upright man. We now quote from Job 2:4-6. "And Satan answered the Lord and said, Skin for skin, yea all that a man has will he give for his life. But put forth YOUR HAND now and touch his bone and his flesh and he will curse You to Your face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in YOUR HAND; but save his life." Now Job's body will be wracked with disease and tortured with pain, and he will lose his reputation before all men. His good works will be forgotten and he will become the object of ridicule from those who were formerly his friends.
We would now draw your reverent attention to the magnificent words which reveal Job's reaction to all this. "Then said his wife unto him, Do you still retain your integrity? Curse God and die! But he said unto her, You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. What? shall we receive good at the HAND OF GOD and shall we not receive evil? IN ALL THIS DID NOT JOB SIN WITH HIS LIPS" (Job. 2:9-10). Notice! Job never did recognize any such person as Satan in all his trouble. He recognized ONLY GOD in this and said that even as he had received good from the HAND OF GOD was it not logical that he should receive EVIL ALSO FROM GOD? What faith! What marvelous UNDERSTANDING! Job actually attributes all this evil to the work of God. He doesn't even recognize Satan as doing anything, no sitting on the ash heap moaning, "The old devil has been after me all week!" It will be an appalling shock to many precious people to learn that in ALL this Job did NOT SIN with his lips! We have every right to conclude from this that Job was speaking the absolute truth when he attributed all this evil to God. What he had said was right in the sight of God. No place did the Lord rebuke Job for his words in any way. In fact, in the end of the experience God said that Job had spoken RIGHTLY of Him and ALL OTHERS HAD NOT.
Job has yet a further word on all this and let us see what it is. "Have pity upon me, O my friends: for the HAND OF GOD HAS TOUCHED ME" (Job 19:21). The hand of who? The hand of God! WHICH hand of God? Why, beloved, it was the LEFT HAND of God! Job knew that the hand of God had not been laid upon him for good, but for evil. Yet he recognizes it as THE HAND OF GOD. Prior to this experience, Job had known nothing but the RIGHT HAND of God in good and blessing, in the anointing of God. There had been no adversity. There had been no testing. No severity. Now God has begun using His left hand in His dealing with Job, yet Job still recognizes it as God's hand. What wisdom and understanding!
The nominal Church and its preachers try to make us believe that Satan conspired to do all this to poor old Job by his own design. But it was God, my friend, and Satan was only the LEFT HAND of God, or the negative means God used. These people have no knowledge at all of what they are talking about. They know nothing of the ways and the workings of God. They have exalted Satan to godhood, giving HIM the glory for all he does, and, indeed, in most things, they attribute more power to him and praise him more than they do God! Ignorantly these foolish ones talk about poor little God "trying" to do this and that, while the shrewder and smarter devil slips up on God's blind side and demolishes His whole work. Rubbish!
Dear saints of God, don't believe for one moment that anything in all God's great universe in not in the control of HIS HANDS or part of His plan. God IS GOD, He IS in full control of every sphere of activity, and Satan himself is under the province of God. May the blessed Holy Spirit enlighten our minds to perceive the truth that Satan has no power at all except that which God delegates to him. My friend, if you believe that Satan is a problem to Almighty God, then your God is entirely too small! Oh yes, those who would be Sons of God MUST OVERCOME HIM. Beloved, when that purpose is accomplished, you will have been fully dealt with by God's LEFT HAND, that you might be exalted to a place of eminence, glory, and power at GOD'S RIGHT HAND! Hallelujah!
The left hand of God is manifested through a people, those in the kingdom of darkness. The right hand of God is likewise revealed through a people, the Sons of the Kingdom. Thank God! we are not called to be a part of the left hand company. "If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, WHERE CHRIST SITS ON THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth" (Col. 3:1-2). "Him that overcomes 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. 3:21). "The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the RIGHT HAND of the Lord does valiantly, the RIGHT HAND of the Lord is exalted" (Ps. 118:15-16).
Although at this time there is humiliation and suffering, there is coming a time of exaltation, already experienced within. Although today it seems as though not much is happening outwardly, yet there is a time approaching when GOD'S RIGHT HAND COMPANY shall step forth in the fullness of the power of HIS THRONE and there shall be a manifestation of the "greater works" Jesus spoke of. When on earth, the firstborn Son suffered reproach and finally death - but where is He now? Exalted to the RIGHT HAND of the Father, far above all principalities and powers, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but in that which is to come. He passed through a season of shame and reproach, but dwells now in a glory that can never fade. And there is a place with Him and in Him for all who overcome, a place of glory and eminence and power at the right hand of God for all who move on into God!
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