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KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES

"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."

Echoes From Eden

Book Two  

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Chapter                         Title                                Page

17                     Dominion In The Garden                                          3
18                     Conscience In The Garden                                       27
19                     Obedience of Sons                                                40
20                     A Sabboth in Eden                                                  56
21                     A Sabboth in Eden (cont.)                                    
  69
22                     A Sabboth in Eden (cont.)                                        82
23                     A Sabboth in Eden (cont.)                                        94
24                     The Garments of Eden                                            106
25                     The Garments of Eden (cont.)                                 118
26                     The Garments of Eden (cont.)                                 130
27                     The Garments of Eden (cont.)                                 144
28                     The Garments of Eden (cont.)                                 156
29                     The Garments of Eden (cont.) Male and Female      167
30                     Male and Female          (cont.)                                 205                  

 

                  

 

Chapter 17

DOMINION IN THE GARDEN

"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them HAVE DOMINION over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. and God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and SUBDUE IT: AND HAVE DOMINION. and the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed" (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:8).

More and more we are becoming aware of the wonderful fact that the book of Genesis deals largely in typical representations, that is, figures of spiritual realities, brought forth in the language and form of the physical world, the old creation, but pointing to that which is higher and grander, the NEW CREATION IN CHRIST JESUS. One cannot read Paul's epistles under the illuminating light of the Spirit without perceiving that he saw far more in Genesis than the mere letter. The creation with him is the figure of another work, which God accomplishes in every man who experiences the redeeming, transforming power of Christ. Says Paul, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, HATH SHINED IN OUR HEARTS, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (II Cor. 4:6). And again, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Cor. 5:17).

It should be clear to all who have the eyes of their understanding enlightened that the apostle is showing how, just as God began to work upon this earth, when all was dark and without form and void, and worked upon it, step by step, bringing order out of chaos, light, warmth, life – vegetation and animal forms – until finally the image of God, the man created in righteousness, was seen to rule it all; so it is in the life of man, darkened, unconverted, unregenerate, without form and void, lacking understanding and order, living out his life in emptiness and spiritual destitution, without God and without hope in the world. What form or shape can be given to such purposelessness as a life lived without the Lord? Darkness hangs like a shroud over the soul that is dead in trespasses and sins, and man stumbles blindly through life knowing neither from whence he came nor where he is going. But then! comes the life-giving wind of the Spirit of God, breathing upon the void, and the Word of God pierces the darkness with this command: "Let there be light!" and there IS light. It is when God says, "Let there be light," that the Spirit illumines our minds with the light and the glory of Himself, and it is only when the blessed Holy Spirit moves upon our lifeless souls that we are suddenly awakened from our long sleep of death in sin and life springs forth within. Then, step by step, from one stage of development to another, the creative processes of God continue in the apprehended ones until as a new creation in Christ the new man within us is brought to maturity and rules every faculty within and every power without.

Though many have a vague notion that Genesis contains types, few have any idea of the immense extent or depth of this hidden wisdom. The student of history reads Genesis in the understanding of the natural mind and finds it interesting and informative, historically; the faithful Christian finds in it that which blesses and strengthens his faith and righteousness; but the overcomer in Christ finds it to be the greatest of all books as the portrait of his own spiritual unfoldment into the fullness of God. But it must be read in the Spirit if the reader is to get the lesson it teaches. It is the will of God that the eyes of our understanding should be enlightened, that we might know what hope God had when He formed us. And in this book of Genesis, diligence and prayer and God's Spirit will bring to light worlds of truth infinitely beyond the conception of the carnal mind; and humble faith will discover realms of wisdom and knowledge and glory as complete and wondrous in the Word, as science with all her researches has found in the material universe.

THE DOMINION OF MAN

Genesis, like all the other books of the Bible, has its own unique purpose in the revealing of God's plan. Its first and foremost object is to show us GOD'S ORIGINAL THOUGHT AND PURPOSE in creation. In the letter we are shown a physical man given dominion over the physical earth. In the spirit we see a spiritual man given dominion over the spiritual world. The burning desire within the heart of God is that we might know what purpose He had when He called us. He desires that we know the rich inheritance He has in His saints, and that we may grasp the greatness of the power He manifested toward us when He raised up Jesus Christ from the dead to set Him at His own right hand, PUTTING ALL THINGS UNDER HIS FEET. It is God's will that we should know that He has quickened us and made us alive in Him that we might share His glory and sit with Him in heavenly places, far above every principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named, both in this age and in the ages to come. It is God's will that we should know that this magnificent display of grace has been manifested toward us so that we who have now been made partakers of it may in the ages to come show forth the exceeding riches of His grace to all those who as yet have not partaken of it. For this, I avert, is the meaning of the words of the apostle in Eph. 2:6-7: God "hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might SHOW (reveal, exhibit, put on display) the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Jesus Christ." God's GRACE PUT ON DISPLAY in countless ages yet to come! People foolishly talk about the ending of the grace of God, or the ending of age of grace. You might as well speak of the DEATH OF GOD as to speak of the ending of His grace! WE have been saved entirely BY HIS GRACE; why, then, should we confine His power, or for one moment think that it cannot bless the inhabitants of the ages yet to come? Truly, as the scripture affirms, HIS MERCY IS FOREVER.

In order to understand God's ultimate purpose for man we must return to His original order. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: so God created man IN HIS OWN IMAGE." (Gen. 1:26-27). In this text the fall is shown not to be man's normal state. Man today, like Adam, may be far off from God, yet in his heart, as in Scripture, a witness will be heard, saying that this distance is through self-will. He may live in sin and sorrow; but deep in his conscience he knows that such a life is in opposition to the will and purpose of his Creator. Therefore is God's creation, in His image, shown BEFORE THE FALL, to confirm the voice that speaks to every human heart, and which declares that though all men walk as Adam, sin and death are not part of God's eternal order, but a mere temporary arrangement in the working out of God's great plan. Man's proper place is seen IN CHRIST, the last Adam, prefigured by the first Adam before he fell. Adam, ruling all creatures, and all things, is the type of man in Christ, as God makes him.

By such rulership committed to Adam we get some idea of what sort of beings we are. One might be so impressed with the majesty of the silent, speechless mountain that lifts its white peak high above the clouds as to worship in silence at its altar; so suggestive is it of the infinite. But what is a mountain, or a star for that matter, or billions of galaxies of stars and suns and planets and moons as compared with a man? They think not, speak not, neither do they feel or hope or love or plan or build or have a duty or a destiny. Man is God’s image and likeness! It is interesting to note that the almighty Creator fashioned and formed everything of nature throughout the unbounded heavens and into the depths of the earth then, after completing and ordaining all, He gave us the true estimate of man’s greatness and purpose when he said, “Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness: and let them have dominion.” Man therefore is not only the most important creature on the earth, but the most important creature anywhere in the universe. Can we not see by this that Adam stood in the midst of the vast creation as the revelation of God to it all. In man in God’s image the invisible God became visible to the material creation. God’s purpose was to reveal Himself to His creation and bring everything everywhere into intimacy of fellowship and vital union with Himself.

Adam was God’s special gift to the entire creation. He came not from the brute ancestry, nor from the muck of some primordial sea, nor from the mire of the jungle but from the hand and spirit and breath of the Divine Creator. Time will not allow us to dwell on the glories of man in God’s image, but Adam was perfect, pure and powerful. He was without spot or stain, taint or tarnish. Pure in character, perfect in holiness, powerful in personality. He was the embodiment of all wisdom and knowledge. He was able to do on the morn of creation what no sage, scientist, or naturalist could do today. He found himself surrounded from the beginning with vast kingdoms of living things – fish, birds, animals. These were brought to him and at the command of God he gave them names. In the typology of scripture a name denotes a nature. Make no mistake about it, my friend, Adam did something greater for them then merely classifying all the creatures which God had created in the world. When he “named” these creatures the wonderful truth is that he “natured” them – that is, he spoke creatively the nature that his mind of wisdom and knowledge conceived. Sovereignty and authority rested like a crown of glory upon the head of Adam. He was made the Lord over all the creation of God to rule and reign. As the visible expression of the invisible Creator. In him God was to be seen and known and touched by everything everywhere.

We are never told how long Adam lived in that wonderful Garden where the glory of God was revealed through him in dominion and blessing to creation but that glorious reign of wonder and peace under the direction of a son in the image of God was but a dim figure of the day when a whole company of sons in God’s image would reign in splendor over all things in all realms throughout all worlds and all things in heaven and in earth would be gathered together into union with God in His life and purpose. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the first and Head of this glorious company, and as typified and shadowed by the first man Adam He is the connecting link between God and creation – the revelation of the invisible Father to the physical worlds. A God who is unseen and unknown, or who is only the product of inferences from creation, or providence, or the mysteries of history, or the wonders of my own inner life, the creature of logic or of reflection, is very powerless to sway and influence men or to affect creation. The limitations of our physical faculties and the boundlessness of our hearts both cry out for a God who is nearer to us than that, whom we can see and love and know. The whole world wants the making visible of Divinity as its deepest want.

Christ meets this need. How can you make wisdom visible? How can a creature see love or purity? How do I see your spirit? By the expression and deeds of your body! And the only way by which God can ever come near enough to the material creation to be a constant power of eternal life and light and love is by creation seeing Him at work in a man who is His image and revelation. Christ’s whole life is the making visible of the invisible God. He is the manifestation to the world of the unseen Father. Jesus Christ in all His words and in all His works is the perfect instrument of the heavenly Father, so that His words are God’s words, and His works are God’s works; so that, when He speaks, His gentle wisdom, His loving sympathy, His melting tenderness, His authoritative commands, His prophetic threatenings, are the speech of God, and that when He acts, whether it be by miracle, by wonder, by transforming grace, by creative energy, what we see is God working before our eyes as we never see Him in any other creature or thing anywhere in the whole universe.

I do not hesitate to tell you that the name of God is Jesus. “God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him THE NAME that is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth…” (Phil 2:9, Amplified). The name of Jesus is higher than any other name in heaven and in earth – higher than Elohim, higher than Yahweh, higher than El Shaddai, higher than El Elyon – the only name before whom all things should and must and shall bow. So we say to creation, “Come and let us introduce you to God. His name is Jesus.” But you cannot mean that seriously, you say. You don’t honestly think that a Galilean peasant could really reveal to men and angels and demons the Creator of the world? Surely this sort of talk belongs to a bygone age, an age when man lived in a little world with small ideas of space and time? Look up at the stars, and think of them in terms of modern astronomy, and you will see how absurd this is. The calling of the Creator by a pet name, is like trying to domesticate Mount Everest. That sort of thing was all very well before science came and taught us the real nature of the universe, and disclosed to us its unfathomable immensities; but surely now it is absurd? Knowing what we do, why should we suppose that we matter more to God than a colony of ants matters to us, or that He cares any more for our troubles, sins, sicknesses, sorrows and death than we care for the squabbles of puppy-dogs upon the hearthrug at our feet?

But let us pause here. The grand fact is that this Jesus of Nazareth, by the sheer force of His personality, has so impressed Himself upon mankind, and upon human history, and upon principalities and powers in the heavens, and upon spirits in the darkest underworld, and continues to impress Himself, that the only adequate description we can give of Him is that He is Emmanuel – God with us; that in the man Jesus dwelt and dwells all the fullness of the Godhead, under bodily conditions. In Him all we can ever know of the invisible Creator becomes concrete, and therefore becomes powerful to save. And if all this has been effected by one son of God revealing the Father to creation, what, I ask, shall be the result when a vast company of sons shall be brought to rule and reign in His glorious image and likeness over all the earth and throughout the vastnesses of infinity forevermore. ah! what an Eden of God’s glory it will be when judgment is given (to the saints) of the Most High, when all the (overcomers) out of all the ages (sit with the Christ of God in His throne) even as He overcame and is set down with His Father in His throne, when SAVIOURS shall come up on MOUNT ZION to judge the HOUSE OF ESAU (flesh) and the KINGDOM SHALL BE THE LORD’S (Obadiah 21). Then shall the earth be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Then shall all things in heaven and in earth be reconciled and gathered together into one in Christ. Then shall God be all-in-all.

Man in Christ, man in God's image, is God's government in the Kingdom of God. Was not this magnificent purpose burning in the heart of the Most High when on the sixth creative day He proclaimed the wonderful decree: "Let us make man in our image. and LET THEM HAVE DOMINION over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (Gen. 1:26). In this shadowy type we behold a vivid portrait of God's purpose for man, that when man comes fully into GOD'S IMAGE he shall be, first, the ruler of things beneath, the lowest realms of the bottomless, typified by the fish swarming in the depths of the seas, and the creeping things; next, the things upon the earth, typified by the cattle, and all the earth; and lastly, the things of heavens also, typified by the fowl of the air. One may find it difficult to embrace so great a truth from so small and insignificant a type, but it was upon this very Edenic type, as reiterated by the prophet David in the eighth Psalm, that the writer of the book of Hebrews enlarged when by the Spirit he wrote, "For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, what IS man, that Thou art mindful of him? Thou madest him (man) a little lower (Gr: for a little while lower) than the angels; Thou crownest him with GLORY and HONOR, and didst set him over the works of Thy hands: Thou hast put A-L-L T-H-I-N-G-S in subjection under his feet. For in that He put ALL in subjection under him, He left N-O-T-H-I-N-G that is NOT put under him!" (Heb. 2:5-8).

You won't quite grasp that at first. Its too overwhelming! To be crowned means to be given KINGLY RULE. To be crowned with GLORY and HONOR is to be given such rule as Christ Jesus has NOW, and of that rule we read, "Whom He hath appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time – that is, He made, produced, built, operated and arranged them in order. He is the sole expression of the glory of God – He is the perfect imprint and the very image of God's nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the UNIVERSE by His mighty word of power, taking a place and rank by which He himself became as much superior to angels as the glorious Name which He has inherited is different from and more excellent than theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, You are My Son, today I have begotten You, that is, established You in an official Sonship relation, with kingly dignity?" (Heb. 1:2-5, Amplified Bible). And again, "Who is the image of the invisible God. by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers. and ye are complete IN HIM WHICH IS THE HEAD OF A-L-L PRINCIPALITY AND POWER" (Col. 1:15-17; 2:9-10).

All who come to God's image are destined to share that awesome dominion, seated together with Him, far above all principality and power. But – "We see not yet all things put under him (man). But we see Jesus. CROWNED WITH GLORY AND HONOR" (Heb. 2:8-9). Verse ten shows that Jesus is the Captain, the Leader, the One who goes before leading the way – bringing many sons to the very same glory that God has crowned Him with!

The reason so many people fail to attain to the great heights of the Spirit is because they are unable to see God's purpose, and therefore they have no particular incentive to seek the great heights that are in Him. So many Christians are far too taken up with carnal ideas and childish notions about mansions in the skies and harps and white night gowns and sitting on clouds eating pork chops with nothing to do and all eternity to do it in, to be able to see the true purposes of God!

SUBDUING ALL THINGS

That man should bear the image of God and have dominion over all things is the first announcement of God's intention regarding man and the first announcement of His purpose, and locked up in that wonderful declaration is a universe of meaning that does not reach the eye and that the mind has never understood. Furthermore, after God announced that man should have dominion over all realms, He then commanded the man, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply (reproduce the image of God), and replenish the earth and SUBDUE IT" (Gen. 1:28). God instructed man to “subdue” the earth, and to “have dominion over… every living thing that moveth upon earth.” These are military terms – first conquer, and then rule.

The word "subdue" here is the Hebrew word KABASH which means "to tread down; conquer; subjugate; bring into bondage." Allow me to stir up your pure minds to think for a moment – what was there in the earth that needed to be TREADED DOWN, CONQUERED, SUBJUGATED, and BROUGHT INTO BONDAGE to Adam? When the Lord gave Adam this command to TREAD DOWN and CONQUER, sin had not yet entered into man's experience, nor any of sins results. There was no sin, sickness, trouble, sorrow, nor limitation. There was no death. What, then, was there for Adam to conquer? Now, notice further the responsibility laid upon Adam in Gen. 2:15, "And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it to KEEP it." The word "keep" here is the Hebrew word SHAMAR which means "to guard," as you can see in chapter 3:24 where this same word is used of the Cherubims which God placed at the east of the garden to guard it from man’s presumptuous entrance after he sinned. "So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword, which turned every way, to KEEP (or guard) the way of the tree of life."

It seems to me that if Adam was to guard the Garden against something, there surely must have been things that were not in harmony with man in God's image. Would not divine sense, or human sense, or common sense indicate that if Adam was to tread down and conquer and subjugate things upon earth, there were things that were overtly hostile to him. It should be crystal clear that we have had a false notion if we have been among those who assume that in the beginning EVERYTHING WAS HARMONIOUS in God's creation. How could they have been when we read of one, that ancient serpent, which is the devil and satan, who was already in the earth IN THE BEGINNING, of whom it is written, "The devil sinneth FROM THE BEGINNING. He was a murderer FROM THE BEGINNING, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a falsehood, he speaks what is natural to him; for he is a liar AND THE FATHER OF LIES" (I Jn. 3:8; Jn. 8:44, Amplified Bible).

I must confess that I used to believe, as many folks do, that in the beginning Adam walked upon earth surrounded by the beasts of the field, the lions, tigers, dinosaurs, cattle, dogs, snakes, scorpions, and creeping things – and that all these were so naturally peaceful and docile that Adam was able to romp and tussle playfully with them all, without hostility or fear. Not so! These are but typical representations, figures of spiritual things, but the principles in the earthly things must correspond in nature to the spiritual things. Adam was told to SUBDUE the animal kingdom, to CONQUER and SUBJUGATE the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, and everything that moves upon the earth! If the tigers just naturally ambled up to Adam, wagging their friendly tails, affectionately licking his face, what need would there have been to subdue them? If the serpents were not poisonous nor the scorpions dangerous, why would it have been necessary for Adam to guard against them or tread them down? If the lions were not wild or ravenous, how could Adam conquer and tame them? If the dogs were not ferocious, why the command to subjugate them?

And beyond all this, it is evident that in nature all creatures are not savage by nature. But even the domestic animals must be trained and guided. Proofs abound on every hand that God's creation needs rule, like "the horse, or the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee" (Ps. 32:9). Good as the ox is to labor, he needs a lord; man, therefore, is given to subdue and guide him. Dogs, tame and friendly as they may be, need a leash and the restraining hand and command of man. Have weak children never been knocked down and injured by friendly dogs? Can it not be seen by this that God committed to Adam the wisdom, power, and responsibility to RULE over the kingdoms around him? Before him lay the whole earth, the seas, the heavens, all filled and swarming with creatures, myriad life forms, each declaring by type and shadow that man was to exercise dominion over every realm BENEATH AND ABOVE that God had created, and as creation bowed in obedience to his godly mind, and the dominion in his spirit, that glorious reign of wonder and peace under the direction of a son in the image of God was but a prefiguring of the day when a whole FIRST-FRUIT COMPANY OF SONS IN GOD'S IMAGE would reign over THE REGIONS BENEATH, and over ALL THE EARTH, and over THE HEAVENS ABOVE until everything everywhere, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers, would be in submission to their godly minds and omnipotent wills.

Ah! let us meditate deeply upon the power and authority that God has given to the body of Christ. I make no apology for declaring to you the truth that each creature of the earth typifies a reality in the realm of SPIRIT – good or bad, positive or negative. This can be seen clearly in the words of Jesus when He says in Lk. 10:17-19, "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name. And He said unto them, I beheld satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give you power to TREAD ON SERPENTS AND SCORPIONS, and over all the power of the enemy."

Spake He of the serpents and scorpions of the fields? Nay, my brother, He spake rather of spirits possessing the nature typified by serpents and scorpions, hidden and cunning, slithering about in the lowest realms of man's earthiness, in the thoughts and desires and ambitions of the carnal mind, full of deadly venom. There is a revelation in all nature, in light and darkness, summer and winter, rain and drought, in fruits and harvest, in storms and sunshine. There is revelation in the lives of men, yea, even in beasts and birds and creeping things, each saying something TO US, and OF US. Every law and wonder of nature speaks to our souls of other higher things, and as the growth of seeds was to the spiritual eye of Paul a witness of development of the CHRIST LIFE WITHIN US, so the serpents and scorpions and beasts and birds of earth and heaven above witnessed of higher things to Jesus, all figuring some of the countless forms of NATURES.

The dove is the well known figure of meekness, purity, perception, love and constancy, and so was a fit symbol for the HOLY SPIRIT who at Christ's baptism came "like a dove" and abode upon Him. The other fowls of heaven, as the law of Moses shows us, clean and unclean, each bespeak a kind or quality of nature, expressing those characteristics that originate in the spirit realm. Hence, in the scriptures unclean birds are a type of evil nature, as John the Revelator shows in Rev. 18:2, "And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of DEVILS, and the hold of every FOUL SPIRIT, and a cage of every UNCLEAN AND HATEFUL BIRD." I know the Lamb, the meek and sacrificial nature of the Son of God, which is oppressed and afflicted, and yet openeth not its mouth; but I have known also the nature of the beast, wild and ravenous, that spirit, so obvious in the world, which stomps and rends and breaks in pieces and devours, of whom Peter warns us, saying, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a ROARING LION, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (I Pet. 5:8).

Man was created for the Holy Spirit to indwell, to bear the image of God, but not all spirit is Holy Spirit, and all these unclean spirits – the spirit of the devil, and the myriad spirits which characterize the kingdom of darkness – find expression in man as he FAILS TO EXERCISE DOMINION OVER THEM. There is one more thought that should be mentioned here. The birds of heaven represent those spirits which have to do with the UNDERSTANDING, the mind of man. "If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not." (II Cor. 4:3-4). The beasts of the earth are those spirits affecting the WILL of man. Serpents, scorpions, and the creeping things of earth represent those spirits connected with the EMOTIONS of man. "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In My name they shall cast out devils. they shall take up serpents" (Mk. 16:17-18). Then follows the lowest realm of all, the dragons, fish, and sea creatures, those spirits finding lodging and expression in the BODIES of men.

All these, hostile to the image of God in man, Adam was commanded to SUBDUE, TO TREAD DOWN, CONQUER AND SUBJUGATE! The Spirit today is teaching us that when the Bible speaks of something being "under our feet," this is a symbolic phrase meaning that the thing has been put in subjection to us, we rule over it, it does not rule over us. We find that there have been so many attitudes and dispositions which have ruled within us – and as His Kingdom takes its rightful place in our lives, these are subdued and brought to naught. In the soul-realm we have the dominant spirit of self-will, impulses of evil which rise up out of the heart, emotions of fear, anger, hostility, bitterness, hurt, pride, etc. which usurp unlawful sway over our lives. In the body realm we have the fleshly appetites and desires, carnal passions. And then there are those religious spirits of iron-clad dogmas and creeds, traditions, sectarianism, and commandments of men.

Behold, I give you power to TREAD on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Lk. 10:19). The promise belongs to YOU and to ME, for it is the Kingdom of God that the Lord has given authority and power over the power of satan's kingdom. It is a wonderful day for a believer when he becomes conscious that God NOW GIVES HIM DOMINION in Jesus Christ, that he may become an overcomer over ALL!

WALKING IN DOMINION

I now wish to share with you what I believe to be the most startling statement in the Word of God, and doubly startling because Jesus Himself said it. In the tenth chapter of John, Jesus was preaching and He got along very nicely until He came to this point: "Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from My Father; for which of those works do ye stone Me? The Jews answered Him, saying, For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I SAID, YE ARE GODS? If He called them gods, unto whom the Word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of Him, whom the Father hath sanctified. Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?" (Jn. 10:31-36).

On what ground did Jesus reason when He said to those sinful Jews, "I said, YE ARE GODS. and the scripture cannot be broken." This takes us back to the creation of man when God said, "Let us make man IN OUR IMAGE, AFTER OUR LIKENESS," when God breathed into man the breath of life, and the living Spirit of God came into his life and nature, when dominion over sin, sickness, demons, and death was native in the life of man.

The startling thing in Jesus' statement is not that Jesus said it to those who were His disciples, who accepted Him as their Messiah and Lord, who had experienced the power of His salvation, but these words were spoken to those who rejected Him and hated Him. To such Jesus said: "Ye are gods." That reveals the divine potential in man, to be ultimately realized. If you are going to quarrel with anyone about that statement, you will have to quarrel with the Lord! Jesus said, "Ye are gods." And the scripture in Heb. 2:7-8 says of man, "Thou didst set him (man) over the works of Thy hands: Thou hast put ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET." And the original man, clothed in the likeness of Christ, was ruler in earth, and sea and sky. There was a dominion in his spirit that even the animal kingdom recognized, that the birds knew and the fish understood, and all powers, visible and invisible feared. Man was God's king – God's king upon earth.

Man was made to reign. That kingly being was created in the image and likeness of God. He was created on terms of equality with God, and he could stand in God’s presence without any consciousness of inferiority. Hear the words of the prophet in Ps. 8:4-5: “What is man that Thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that Thou visiteth him? For Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” In some translations there is a number or letter by the word “angels” in this text. If you look in the margin you will find that the Hebrew word here is ELOHIM – the same word or name for God. “In the beginning God (Elohim)…” The Hebrew Bible actually says (talking about man-mankind), “Thou hast made him a little lower than God.” But there is more! This passage from the Old Testament is quoted in Hebrew 2:7 and the wording of the Greek text says, “Thou has made him for a little while lower…” For a little while! Man, because of sin and the fall, has been made for a little while lower than God! How awesome. That means that God has made us the same class of being that He is Himself.

In the first five chapters of Genesis, Elohim is the name for God. Man, then, was made in the likeness of Elohim. He was made with the life of God in him. God formed man’s body out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life. The Hebrew word translated “breath” is the same word translated “spirit” all through the Old Testament. The animal kingdom is also said to posses a “breath of life.” But there is a difference. The animal creation did not receive their “breath” directly from the mouth of God. God only “breathed” into the nostrils of man. Man’s breath of life did not come from the air nor the atmosphere of earth. It is something more than the oxygen one takes into his lungs. It is the very same breath of life that God has! It is God’s spirit. God took something of Himself, which was spirit, the life of God, and exhaled it into man. You see that life manifested in man.  It is in his spirit. Man was master. Man lived in the realm of God. He lived on terms of equality with God. Man lost his place by disobedience – adolescent rebellion against God. He lost his dominion over all the worlds of God’s hands. He lost his omnipotence in the fall. With the fall went his dominion even over his own soul and body. But, precious friend of mine, one knows universal man has ever yearned for the return of his lost dominion. Here is a tremendous fact none can deny: There never has been a primitive people upon the face of the earth who have not yet yearned for dominion. Not a single primitive people has been found who did not have in their traditions a golden past where they had dominion, and a golden future where dominion was going to be restored. That is the universal tradition of man. The reason for that is, man was created to have dominion, and the memory and hope of it lingers yet in the mysterious mists of his subconscious mind. Man has aspired to gain mastery over physical loss, over mental and emotional loss, and over spiritual loss. This primeval desire to gain the lost dominion is seen in his offerings, in his drinking blood, and in the priesthoods he has appointed. If you study history, you will find that human blood was never actually desirable to any people. Why did they drink it? They drank it to be like God. They drank it that they might become eternal or immortal. The desire for immortality in the physical realm lies in the heart of universal man. And for that reason, men drank it.

If we want tangible evidence of the wreckage that sin made in the world, we do not have to go further than our own selves to discover that when the CHRIST DOMINION is gone, there follows the unleashing of every carnal and devilish thought, attitude, and action. A king without a kingdom, a king without kingliness of character, a king robbed of his power. Man fell from his high place, from his glorious position; he lost his dominion. Man has been weakened to such a degree that instead of ruling the animal world, the ANIMAL NATURE rules within him! The elements rule him, control him. Sin and self choke the virtue from his soul, and satan mocks and laughs him to scorn, while unclean spirits parade about upon the stage of his mind and body. Because of the weakened state of our being through sin, we have become subject to the varied laws of nature about us. We get in a draft and catch cold. We develop pneumonia. The waves toss us about, we get sea-sick. The terrors of life frighten us, the pressures fray our nerves, and our hearts fail. And further – by what stretch of the imagination can we say that man today has the slightest dominion over the oceans of fish? or over the fowls of the air? or over the beasts of the earth? To be sure, we capture some of them and we kill them; but so do many birds and animals! Capturing and killing has nothing to do with “dominion” which is subjugation. Only when the lion lies down with the lamb and children play around the hole of the rattlesnake will such “dominion” be realized. And beyond this – man has not done a very good job of managing the Lord’s creation. We have polluted the earth and its environment. Man has not governed the world in justice and righteousness, nor has man handled the economic affairs of this world with equity. Man has been a poor administrator and has done a miserable job of managing the planet. And man has certainly not represented the Lord and His Kingdom very well. ALL OF THIS THROUGH JESUS CHRIST WAS MEANT TO BE REVERSED, AND IN CHRIST IT IS REVERSED. By Christ's indwelling, man is restored to his former state. Oh, no, we haven't experienced it all yet, but this is what salvation is – a progressive deliverance from sin and self, and limitation and bondage, and the kingdom of darkness – unto the mind and dominion of the Christ. Christ, coming into a man's life by the Spirit, exalts his nature into divine dominion. The rulership of God and the power of Christ in his life makes him once again God's prince and king in the world.

Real salvation is not mere forgiveness of sins or the baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. Christ's salvation is intended to bring again into the nature of man that which was lost through sin. Once again through the divine operation of the Spirit of God, ministered in our hearts by Jesus Christ, His overcoming Son, the divine Spirit that rules in the soul of Jesus now rules in the hearts of those who are being joined to Him as sons of God, bringing dominion. And lest we be discouraged in observing that thus far WE HAVE NOT ATTAINED TO THE FULLNESS OF THIS DOMINION, Paul calls our attention to the fact in Heb. 2:8 that though “We see not yet ALL THINGS put under him (man), WE SEE JESUS CROWNED with glory and honour” (Heb 2:9). What help is that? Cries an objector: “of course He is crowned with glory and honor, since He is the Son of God. What has Jesus got to do with the question, What is man?” But notice, this is the crown wherewith His Father crowned Him in the day of the gladness of His heart, when, as man, He came forth from the last wrestle with the powers of sin, darkness and death. He is, from among men, the one overcomer, who in the limitations of a man conquered and entered again into the divine fullness of God’s estate for man, becoming to man forever God’s divine inspiration and pattern OF A REAL MAN AND A SON OF GOD.

By way of illustration, let us suppose a man has the rough material to make a great number of machines; he first finishes off one of the machines and gets it perfectly adjusted in every part, as a pattern to go by in finishing the rest. You go into his factory and see this great mass of material and you ask, “What are you making?” The artisan replies, “All that you see is only rough material; come this way and I will show you what I am making,” and he takes you to the machine he has finished off. “There,” he says, “that is what I am making.” You would have no difficulty in understanding what he meant. You would see at once that the finished machine was a prototype – a sample or pattern of what the others would be when the material was all worked up.

So the apostle points to Jesus in just the same way. “What is man?” he asks. A poor, wretched slave to sin, darkness and corruption. Yes, that is true. But God’s purpose for him is to make him the noble lord of all creation, perfect and complete in the image of God. But now we see not yet this great work accomplished except in the case of one individual, Jesus Christ. He has passed through the entire process of creation, and been finished, perfected. Hence, He is “the beginning of the creation of God.” Now if you wish to know what man is, what is his destiny, LOOK UNTO JESUS, the finished man, the only finished man, and you will see a perfect pattern of the perfect man. He is the great representative man, the “forerunner,” the “beginning,” the “firstfruit,” and “if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy, and if the root be holy, so are the branches.” The subject is not, “what is the church,” or “who are the saints,” but “what is MAN?” As goes Jesus – so goes the race! Thus the ever blessed Book gives us a grand and cheering answer to this greatest problem of life, What is man?

“We see not yet ALL THINGS put under him (man), but WE SEE JESUS CROWNED.” And so we find out just what this word crowned means. Jesus was received in the upper world, exalted, glorified, made to sit at the Father’s right hand, put far above all rule and authority, with a name greater in the sweep of its power than any other, with all things in all realms put in absolute subjection under His feet. “For He hath put all things under His feet. But when He saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him” (I Cor. 15:27). This is the simple, direct meaning of the sentence – Jesus is crowned. He is crowned because He overcame the servitude of man. All through His earthly life He fulfilled the ancient ideal of man. He was God’s image; and those who saw Him saw the Father. He was Sovereign in His command. Winds and waves did His bidding. Trees withered at His touch. Fish in shoals obeyed His will. Disease and death fled before His word and devils owned His sway. But He was more fully realized when He was about to return to His Father, and said, in a noble outburst of conscious supremacy, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” We see Jesus! Behold Him, my brother, my sister! The wreaths of empire are on His brow. The keys of death and hell swing at His girdle. The living creature in the midst of the throne attest that He is worthy. All things in heaven and earth, and under the earth, and in the seas, worship Him. Angels, glorious in power, and principalities throughout the universe, bow before Him.

Oh, the wonder of it! HE IS BUT THE PROTOTYPE! He is there as the type and specimen and representative of redeemed men. We, the whole race, are linked with Him in indissoluble union, for He is the Saviour of all men (I Tim 4:10; Rom. 5:18). Through Him we shall get back our lost empire. We too shall be crowned with glory and honour. The day is not far distant when we shall sit at His side – joint heirs in His empire; comrades in His glory, as we have been comrades in His sorrows; beneath our feet all things visible and invisible, thrones and principalities and powers, galaxies and worlds and creatures for ever and for ever. Oh, destiny of surpassing glory! His perfection is the type of our perfection, for “we shall be like Him.” His triumph is the pledge of our victory. The human race is God’s masterpiece, the crowning glory of His creation, and as a sculptor takes a piece of marble and first gives it to an ordinary workman to block out the statue in the rough, and then with his own skillful fingers fashions the stone into a figure that almost seems to breathe and to speak, so God, the Great Master Workman, gets man out in the rough first, using many agents to hew and hack the obdurate material; then He finishes him with an infinitely skillful hand, molding and fashioning him until He makes him the fac-simile of Himself. My heart is longing these days, since God commenced to teach me of His wonderful purpose by the Spirit, that you and I in very truth begin to lift up our heads knowing that OUR REDEMPTION DRAWETH NIGH, even the full and complete inworking of HIS TRIUMPH!

This is my conception of the life of sonship. This is what my heart reads in the blessed Word of God. This is the way my spirit interprets the indwelling Spirit of Jesus Christ. This is the revelation Jesus brought from heaven for a world that is down. Rise, saints, rise up to victory! You are destined to RULE!

"And oft there cometh the wise Lord God, Master of every trade,
And He tells men tales of His daily toils, and of Edens, newly made,
And they rise to their feet as He passeth by, Gentlemen, unafraid."

PREPARATION FOR UNIVERSAL DOMINION

The dominion intended for man is a UNIVERSAL DOMINION. David, speaking by the Holy Spirit, asked, "When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; what IS MAN, that Thou art mindful of him?" (Ps. 8:3-4). Then in answer to his own question he continues, "Thou madest him to have dominion OVER THE WORKS OF THY HANDS (the heavens, the moon, and the stars in vs. 3): Thou hast put ALL THINGS under his feet" (Ps. 8:3-6). In Heb. 2:8 we see that all things are NOT YET under man because MAN IS NOT YET READY. He is now in the process of coming into the image of God. He is in the process of coming into SONSHIP, and when that process is complete, he will take his place of lordship and dominion to carry the will of God into all the universe. We are on our way to His glory, not to strum harps and sit on clouds and walk on golden streets shouting hallelujah, but in God's image and likeness to take our place as lords of God's creation, carrying His almighty will into the uttermost universe.

Since the dawn of history, man has marveled at the mystery and grandeur of the heavens. On a clear night, our own galaxy, the Milky Way, can be seen as a star-studded ribbon circling the sky. But what secrets lie hidden in the celestial realm of outer space? Consider the awesome size and complexity of the cosmos that is revealed by modern science. Our earth is a massive sphere some 8,000 miles in diameter; yet our star, the sun, has a diameter 100 times larger than the earth. Viewed from afar, our solar system – the sun and nine revolving planets – would appear as a disc in space nearly eight thousand million miles across. Already such numbers stagger our imagination.

Perhaps we can better visualize such incredible distances by an analogy: If we compressed our solar system so that our sun (which is actually over 800,000 miles in diameter) was reduced to the size of a quarter (one inch in diameter), then Pluto, the most distant planet in our solar system, would be the size of a grain of sand located over 400 feet away! And the nearest star? Again on a scale where our sun is the size of a quarter, the nearest star, Alpha Centauri, would be another quarter 500 miles away! And in between would be the vast emptiness of space. Yet our sun and Alpha Centauri ARE ONLY TWO OF 100 THOUSAND MILLION STARS in the giant pinwheel of stars known as the Milky Way, and our entire galaxy could be easily lost in the endless expanses of space, for far beyond our Milky Way are additional THOUSANDS OF MILLIONS OF GALAXIES – as common as blades of grass in a meadow! As man reaches out to explore the heavens, will he ever find the end? So far, using the largest and most sophisticated telescopes, astronomers have probed the universe to a distance of over one hundred thousand million million million miles. If we could ride on a beam of light at the speed of 186,000 miles a second, it would take some ten thousand million years to travel this distance! Still, astronomers have been UNABLE TO FIND THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE. Perhaps it is endless; no one knows. With this in mind, how great are the words of the prophet: "Of the INCREASE OF HIS GOVERNMENT and peace THERE SHALL BE NO END" (Isa. 9:7).

Such all-embracing majesty is far too vast for my feeble understanding, yet I know by the Spirit that man was created for the explicit purpose of RULING IT ALL. Rulership over the universe does not mean merely the visible, physical universe of stars, planets, and galaxies. It is a dominion over ALL THINGS contained in that universe: every creature, every being, every order of angels, devils, principalities, powers, thrones and dominions. "Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" (I Cor. 6:3). We are children of the universe. We are universal children and we are not to be confined to any spot or place in the universe. Even as now our minds roam over the vast expanses of God’s universe, even so shall we ourselves follow our minds and fill all things. THIS IS PART OF OUR HERITAGE. We are not bound to this earth. God yet has an obligation to all of the creation and it will be by and through us that He is going to fulfill that obligation. The sons have not yet come to manifestation to bring deliverance to the creation and that is the first thing to be accomplished, for it is only after that that the work of making the universe will begin.

One world is not enough for a human being. It may be for a chipmunk. It is not for a human being, because man is altogether too big in his spirit, which is his real self. To be a real man, he must reach out into the future, and grapple the powers of the world to come, and compel them to gird him with strength to successfully meet the Herculean tasks assigned him here. If you wish to be dwarf men, stunt them, cut them down, and bring on a race of Lilliputians, and then have them live in holes as gophers do, proclaim the doctrine of man being limited forever to earth. But God made us on no such diminutive, low-down scale as that. He made us so big that unless we can lift up our spirits, and breathe the airs of eternity, our spirits will break, and we will crawl. The Son of God comes and irradiates us with the glory of transcendent hopes. As ancient warriors put on their brows burnished helmets, so the Son of God puts on our brows the gleaming helmet of the hope of salvation from everything that is adverse, corrupting, dark, and limited. He begets within us a lively hope, which, like leaping and dancing flames, lights up all that is within us. Oh, what a glory our Saviour wraps mortal man in, when He enfolds him in the radiance of immortal hopes, which shine so brightly when all earthly hopes are swallowed up in the black night of death.

In this hour when our whole universe is becoming our backyard, there are some in whose minds the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is also shrinking. Such as these look at the smallness of our planet in comparison with the solar system and the universe, and have great difficulty understanding why our little earth, small and limited as it seems, is the divine stage whereon God is enacting His magnificent plan for the government of all things. The inference seems to be that the Kingdom of God cannot be so great when the place chosen for its chief events is comparatively so insignificant.

This error arises from a failure to discern the difference between a seed plot, where the seeds are planted, and cultivated, and grown, and the immeasurable acreage in which those same seeds are afterward sown. The great mistake in our thought is that this world is the whole theatre of God’s great redemptive and Kingdom activities. OUR PLANET IS ONLY THE PLACE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SEED. Christ is the Seed, yes, He is the wondrous Seed-Corn that fell into the ground and died and rose again and ascended into the heavens of universal dominion and glory. There it is! His destiny is our destiny, for in Him we die and rise and ascend! Because our planet is one of, if not the smallest in our universe, it was chosen for the same reason our Saviour and Redeemer was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in a stable, and laid in a manger. He condescended to the lowest, that He might lift us to the highest. This planet, to the best of my knowledge, is the only place in the universe where God could reach the lowest, in order to lift man to the highest. It is God’s universal seed-plot for sons.

The apostle Paul by inspiration writes that we are the sons of God, and if sons, then heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:17). But heir of what? The writer to the Hebrews answers, “God… hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed HEIR OF A-L-L T-H-I-N-G-S, BY WHOM ALSO He made the worlds…” (Heb. 1:1-2). The universe is His inheritance, and therefore ours. What an inheritance! But what does a person do with an inheritance? Buy it, sleep on it, store it, hide it? No – we get excited if we receive an inheritance. Now there is something we can use – it is a new opportunity for us, it can be developed. So that means that if the universe is our inheritance, we are owners, managers, and developers of it. What a destiny! All heaven shall be ours. Every world that floats in space shall be brought under our care and rule, as we range the broad fields of the boundless universe. But it immediately spells vast responsibility! We can only manage something if we are fit to manage it. And what can make us adequate managers and owners of God’s universe? Just this – our putting on the glorious mind of Christ, being conformed into His wonderful image.

We do not know what other races of creatures there may be, but I think it is no stretch of the imagination to believe that, as this world is only one speck in the creation of God, there may be millions of other races in the countless worlds around us, and all these will be invited to behold the wonders of redeeming love as manifested in the sons of God in the day of the Lord. I seem to see these intelligences encompassing the sons of God with wonder, and in rapt vision beholding in them the image and wisdom and power and glory of their Creator. As they learn of the wisdom and purpose of the One by whom are all things, and for whom are all things, the great plan of creation and redemption shall move from the seed-plot of earth into the vast harvest fields of the cosmos. At last the visible creation will behold the Man who was created to reveal to them the invisible Creator. For the first time creation shall see God. What songs! What shouts shall arise from all these to the praise of the ever blessed God! What an orchestra of adulation will the universe become! From star to star the holy hymn shall roll, till all space shall ring out the hosannas of wondering spirits.

You must not think that when you are done working in God’s great Kingdom here that the Master will say, “I have discharged you from My service. Go and sit on a heavenly mount, and sing yourselves away forever and ever.” No! I am but learning how to preach now; I shall be able to preach by-and-by. I am only learning to prophesy now; I will be able to prophesy by-and-by. I am only learning to love and redeem now; I shall love and redeem unnumbered worlds throughout vast ages yet unborn. Yes, unto angels, and principalities, and powers, and intelligences in celestial realms we shall make known the manifold wisdom of God. All those stars, those worlds of light, who knows how many planets originating their sphere are inhabited? It is my deep conviction that there are some regions beyond our imagination to which every son of God shall become an everlasting illumination, a living expression and revelation of the love of God in Jesus Christ. The people in those far distant lands could not see Calvary as we have seen it; but the Christ who came down from the highest heavens and was made flesh on earth died for all realms from the highest to the lowest. This precious truth explains the deep mystery of why it was necessary for a Man from heaven to come down and merge with humanity in order to be creations’ Redeemer. As One from heaven He died for all in the celestial realms. As One from earth He died to redeem the world into which He as born.

The highest glories of the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, are revealed to us in Paul’s epistle to the Colossians. In the beginning He was “…the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist” (Col. 1:15-17). Can the UNIVERSALITY of Christ’s creation be more forcibly expressed? In every case the word ALL is used WITHOUT ANY LIMITATION whatever. The heavens and the earth with all that is in them, visible and invisible, include ALL creation.

The verses that follow continue to express the UNIVERSALITY of Christ’s glories in the present and the future. “And He is the Head of the body, the Church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to RECONCILE ALL THINGS unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” The supremacy of God’s Son depends on the UNIVERSALITY or TOTALITY of His many honors. How extraordinary is the emphasis laid on this vital fact in this short passage! Within the compass of five verses we read no less than eight times that the glory given the Christ is all-inclusive and all-pervading. He is the firstborn of EVERY creature. ALL is created by and in Him, and ALL is created through and for Him. He is before ALL. ALL is bound together by Him. In ALL of ALL, dwells in Him. He reconciles ALL through the blood of His cross. And on two occasions this is amplified and defined as ALL that is IN THE HEAVENS and ALL that is ON THE EARTH. It is said to include both visible and invisible. What more could be said to impress us with the universal scope of the Son’s activities?

Oh, what a vast and all-inclusive statement that is! All the Principalities and Powers in heaven and earth are included in the reconciliation effected by the blood of His cross. Oh, what a mighty redemption! Oh, what a universal reconciliation! Oh, Church of the Living God, unto you is the Word given, “To make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that NOW UNTO PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS IN HEAVENLY PLACES MIGHT BE KNOWN BY THE CHURCH THE MANIFOLD WISDOM OF GOD, According to the purpose of the ages which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:9-11).

This word that we bear came to us by revelation, though it is plainly written across the pages of God’s Word, and completely sealed us to the knowledge that everything, and we mean EVERYTHING, everyone, even ALL creatures that God ever created, are to be brought into unification with God through the blood of the cross of Jesus Christ.

This earth is but a proving ground for those who through grace will reign with their Lord and Saviour over the endless vastnesses of infinity. They have proven faithful over few things. Now they will be made ruler over many things: over all His possessions (Mat. 24:45-47). And these possessions are beyond number. We are able to see a few of them in the starry heavens above, but there are others besides these, and they all belong to our King. He made them. They are His very own. He shares His Kingdom with His brethren. Out there in the blue is a Kingdom whose Main Street is the Milky Way, whose inheritor is our elder Brother; and He loves us. He has given us His glory (Jn. 17:22), because we are brethren, bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. We are of common parentage, like Him in name, nature and being. We are all “out of One: for which reasons He is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb. 2:6). He has raised us up to sit with Him in the “higher than heavenlies” (Eph. 2:6). Hence we belong on His throne. And the place which He has been preparing for each one is not only a world, and a Kingdom of life and light, but a position, a place of eminence at His side, ruling with Him over the eternal endlessness of His unbounded heavens.

Of this we may be sure: we who are redeemed have entered a progressive institution, a Kingdom in which stagnation will never enter. We will ever go on “from glory to glory.” We will never come to the place where we may sit down with folded hands and say, “This is the end.” “Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end” (Isa. 9:7). We, who have been born into the heavenly realm, have entered a stage of action, we have become active agents in the greatest development program ever conceived. A whole universe awaits our human touch and divine guiding hand. There is a universal Kingdom of life and light and love for every one, to explore and develop and perfect. And if ever, in all the countless ages to come, that Kingdom should become too small or overcrowded for its citizens, let us remember that we, being as He is, are therefore, one and all, the very same kind of Beings as He who simply spoke the word, and lo! the present worlds appeared. Being like Him, we will also be creators, one and all, and not destroyers, as in our present state. “WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM.”

The real reason behind the present gigantic efforts of man to explore the universe in this space-age is that there lies buried within the subconscious mind of man the hidden knowledge that he was created to rule the universe. Out of this subconscious awareness has evolved today's technological world, and now, unregenerated men are shooting rockets to the moon and Mars and farther planets, boasting that he is going to use these as a launching pad to soar to the systems beyond. But man is simply getting in too big a hurry! He is striving to take over and rule what he has not fitted himself to manage. Man has not yet proved his ability to rule this planet, much less worlds beyond. Man with his history of greed, lust, strife, treachery, wars, bloodshed, deceit, and perversion has now stockpiled enough nuclear weapons to not only blow this earth to smithereens, but twenty more just like it! And man has never yet devised a weapon of war that he has not used. Shall the Creator commit into the hands of corrupt, depraved FALLEN HUMAN NATURE the rulership of the universe? No. Man is reaching out to rule that which he has not qualified himself to rule – and before it has been made lawfully his! But what man does not know is that IF, through Christ, he first QUALIFIES for the trust, it has been God's intention all along to place not only the moon and Mars and Venus, but THE WHOLE VAST, LIMITLESS UNIVERSE under his jurisdiction!

How can a man rule universe if he cannot RULE HIS OWN SPIRIT? "He that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a city" (Prov. 16:32). A fit preface; for in a universe, or in a world, or in a man the work is the same; and, indeed, man is himself a world, a universe, with realms within him vast and abundant. Darkness and light, and a great deep, and earth and heaven and hell, and principalities and powers, thrones and dominions, as in him. Passions move him as the storms, volcanic fires rage or smolder in him, wars are fought, battles rage, kingdoms rise and fall – ALL WITHIN MAN. That we might understand this world, this universe, which lies within man, God has written the same design on the giant canvas of the outer world. This is man's proving ground. When he has learned to rule his INNER WORLD, he then qualifies for ruling the OUTER WORLD. The man who conquers himself is the greatest conqueror of all. He has the key of power and has gained the mastery when he is rescued from himself. From thenceforth, no power or tie of earth can hold him. Self is the devil man has to be released from.

So God, omniscient and omnipotent, has established here upon a School for the training of those destined to be the future rulers of the universe. This School is known as "the body of Christ." None shall ever rule who have not graduated from this School! Consider this. A college graduation exercise, at which students receive diplomas for work accomplished, is called a Commencement. The reason for this is that the graduating students are not really graduating – they are only commencing to put their studies into practice. Their graduation is in reality a beginning rather than an ending and a commencement rather than a termination. Graduation from God’s School of Dominion ushers into the commencement of the great ministry of ruling and reigning with Christ. And what a great Teacher we have! The educators of this world have discovered some vital principles in teaching. They have learned, for instance, that a student remembers far more of what he sees than he does of what he hears. That which falls upon the eye leaves a greater impression upon the mind than does that which strikes the ear. Therefore, the increased emphasis today on visual education. But there is another principle greater yet which declares that a person retains more of what he learns from experience than he does of what he learns by the seeing of the eye. This great fact lies behind the old adage: EXPERIENCE IS THE BEST TEACHER!

I cannot overestimate the extreme value of experience. How do we know, really know, any emotions of any sort whatever? Only by experience. You may talk forever about feelings, and you teach nothing about them to those who have not experienced them. The poets of the world have been singing about love ever since the world began. But no heart has learned what love is from even the sweetest and deepest refrains. Who that is not a father can be taught paternal love by words, or can come to a perception of it by any effort of the mind? And so with all other things. Only the lips that have drunk the cup of sweetness or of bitterness can tell how sweet or how bitter it is, and even when they, made wise by experience, speak out of their deepest hearts, the listeners are but little wiser, unless they too have been scholars in the same school. Experience is our only teacher in matters of feeling and emotion, as in the lower regions of taste and appetite. A man must be hungry to know what hunger is; he must taste honey or wormwood, and in like manner he cannot know sorrow but by feeling its ache, and must love if he would know love. Yes, experience is the best teacher, and her school-fees are heavy!

George Hawtin has written: “After fifty years of serving the Lord I am thoroughly convinced that nothing is ever fully learned but by experience. Talk as we may about suffering, tribulation or any subject we wish, our words will be little more than idle philosophy until the Lord has caused us to walk with Him through the valleys of death, the paths of tribulation, the place of betrayal by false brethren, the unreasonableness of unfilial children, the despair of paternal neglect, and a thousand other stormy seas. Those who have suffered with Him understand by reasons of their experience. There is no doubt that troubles are educational. We learn things in the midst of troubles that we never learn in any other place. I have heard many of God’s saints who have come out of the furnace of affliction saying that there God spoke to them and they heard Him as they had never heard Him before. Indeed, we have been told that necessity is the mother of invention and we can see that in the necessities of life and in the trials and afflictions of life we learn many lessons. We learn lessons in the night season that we will never learn while the sun is shining brightly and the brooks are bubbling. It has been said that the stars come out only at night. And if you would know the sweet influence of the Pleiades, the influence of God’s higher revelation, you will know it in the night seasons of sorrow” (end quote).

God, the greatest of all Teachers, understood this principle of teaching by experience long before man discovered its truth. I have learned a great fact about God's method of teaching: He teaches about five-percent by THUS SAITH THE LORD and about ninety-five-percent by EXPERIENCE. I do not mean to minimize the Word of God, nor the Spirit of Prophecy, but I do not hesitate to declare to you, beloved, that you will never become a son of God, you will never in a billion years learn HOW TO RULE by hearing the Word of God alone. The Word must be inworked, and in God's School of Dominion you can only learn to rule by experientially LEARNING TO RULE!

One begins in God's School of Dominion in the first grade. You start with the ABC's. God opens the class and says, "Now children, we are going to learn how to rule. To rule means to govern, to control, to be master over the thing that is ruled. You can never rule anything until first you overcome it WITHIN YOURSELF. To "overcome" means to come up over that which is over you. When, within yourself, you rise up above the circumstance, the problem, so that it no longer controls you, you are then ready to begin to control it, to no longer be the victim of circumstances, but the master of them. Now, little ones, let us learn how this works!"

At this point our Teacher takes us from the classroom to the workshop. What a wonderful Teacher He is! He puts us right to work, thrusting us into a situation where we can apply the principle we just learned about "overcoming." How gracious He is! To begin with He doesn't give us a really big problem, just a little one: a difficult boss, or a nagging wife, or an obstinate husband, or some unpaid bills, pressures, kids, broken down car, hateful neighbors, gossiping brethren, sickness. From time to time everyone finds himself in difficult – indeed, miserable – circumstances. The job is too demanding, the relationships on the job are difficult, trouble is brewing in the home, money is tight, you have lost your job, you dislike the community in which you live, sickness strikes, the children are fighting, or other pressures mount. When one or more of these things happen, we are plagued with the malady that I call THE GRASS IS GREENER SYNDROME.

How many times in these problems I hear people say, "If it wasn't for this nagging wife of mine, I could really have the victory," or "If it wasn't for this drunken husband, I believe I could really walk in the Spirit," or "If I didn't have to work on this job where everyone drinks and tells dirty jokes and fornicates, I could really be spiritual," or "If I just lived in a Christian Community where everyone is spiritual I could really be a son." Indeed? This is nothing but THE GRASS IS GREENER SYNDROME. You see, if ever we are to walk as sons of God with dominion we must first RECOGNIZE GOD AS THE AUTHOR OF ALL CIRCUMSTANCES AND LIFE SITUATIONS and see that all of them are the proving ground for these appointed to rule and reign with Christ! How can we rule if we never learn to RULE! How shall we rule out there in coming ages if we cannot rule here and now in our petty every-day problems? How can we overcome DEATH, SATAN, AND THE DARKNESS OF THE CARNAL MIND if we cannot overcome right where we are in our daily distresses? No, every dark situation may not immediately change, every problem may not be instantly solved, every adverse circumstance may not be altered, but we can COME UP ABOVE THEM in the Christ-mind, into the pure air of God's presence and power, and there is a blessed realm there where the things of earth do not rule us, depress us, upset us, frustrate us, anger us, control us, defeat us, nor AFFECT US IN ANY WAY, for CHRIST BECOMES OUR LIFE!

Learn this and you will know a great truth: Christ is not depressed, upset, anxious, frustrated, nor defeated. And CHRIST IN YOU is not either! And YOU IN CHRIST are not either! This is the first step in overcoming: To rise up above the problem in the CHRIST SPIRIT until the problem is no longer a problem to you by virtue of the indwelling of His love and joy and peace.

Man's first instinct under pressure is to run, to extricate himself from the situation. When we run from the problem we immediately FLUNK THE TEST. When we fail to overcome "in" the problem, our nature in that area is left weak, undisciplined, and undeveloped. Oft time, so they can appear "spiritual," men divorce their wives, wives divorce their husbands, parents abandon their children, people move from place to place, from job to job, from church to church. Often people pray like this: "Lord, deliver me from this job where everyone is so filthy and the boss so hateful; give me a job with the Full Gospel Business Men where everyone is spiritual and praise God and speaks in tongues!" Ah, we seek an "environment" that is "conducive" to our "spirituality," little realizing that in that environment where all is so beautiful and harmonious we only appear to be spiritual because there is nothing to cross us, nothing hostile, in short NOTHING TO OVERCOME! You can run from the problem, my brother, you can seek an environment where nothing is adverse to you, my sister, you can even have faith where God will just "solve" all your problems and pour down the healings, prosperity, and blessing; yes, you can do all this and be a Christian, even a good Spirit-filled Christian; but I do not hesitate to tell you that you cannot do this and BECOME A RULER!

There are steps to the throne. Your next step to the throne is before you, right where you are, in your present situation, problems and life circumstances. All the pressures upon you will either rule you, dominating your mind, attitudes, emotions and actions, causing you to be depressed, frustrated, upset, negative etc., or you can utilize the OVERCOMING SPIRIT OF SONSHIP WITHIN to soar up above the problems, putting them under your feet, transformed into STEPPING-STONES TO THE THRONE! Ah, beloved, a blessed secret I have discovered: The things I once saw as liabilities in my walk in Christ I have now begun to recognize as assets – glorious opportunities to LEARN HOW TO RULE, blessed provisions of God by which I may appropriate the triumph of the life of the Son of God within.

You can never rule anything until you first overcome it within yourself. To "overcome" means TO COME UP OVER THAT WHICH IS OVER YOU. The term implies the existence of obstacles in the pathway of the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Kingdom of God. When, within yourself, you rise up above the circumstance, the problem, so that it no longer controls or harasses you, you are then ready to begin to control it, to no longer be the victim of circumstances, but the master of them. Come up over what the religious systems have fed you. Come up over your own pride and inherent weaknesses. Come up over your desire to build a reputation for your name. Come up over the myriad pressures from within and without. Come up over the world of confusion and turmoil about you. You are called to be an OVER-COMER. Come over that wall! Come over into the Kingdom of God and a realm of complete victory. If we cannot come out victoriously over ourselves and over the little temptations and frustrations here, how can the Lord trust us to reign over that which is without? What kind of warriors would we make? How much could He depend upon us? He will give us the place for which we are prepared and qualified; we must set our faces to be overcomers if we are to sit with Him upon His throne and reign with Him.

As sons of the Most High, we have access to the same strength that enabled Jesus to live an overcoming life—and to conquer even death. He has given to us that same authority and power that gave Him victory over sin, death, hell and the grave. Have you ever wondered what would happen if Jesus would come and transfer places with you? If suddenly He would come to dwell in your body. I have often wondered what He would do if He had my circumstances, my weaknesses, my lusts, my pressures, my problems. If the Master came to me and said, "Move over, I am coming to live in your house for a season," I do not doubt that in a short period He would have all my problems straightened out and all of my weakness and turmoil under control. He would overcome all of the things that I struggle with. But the wonderful truth is, my beloved, HE HAS COME! HE DOES LIVE IN MY BODY! "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me…" (Gal. 2:20). "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His" (Rom. 8:9). The problem lies in the fact that we fail to yield to Him totally.

I do not believe that any man can experience the victory of Christ except WHERE HE IS. I do not want to distress any soul, but you must know Him where He is. I have union with Christ where He is, in the higher than all heavens. You cannot live in the reality of overcoming if you have not gotten into that region of calm. Why talk of coming up over that which is over me if I do not do it in union with the resurrected and ascended Christ? Practically we have to learn what the frigate bird does. When a storm comes on it gets above the region of storms, above the clouds, where there is none, and there it stays even for days until the storm is over. I am placed beyond the reach of storms; I am a frigate bird, for I am with Christ in a scene where there is no storm and no clouds. I am united to an ascended Christ. The Lord says, "The glory which Thou has given Me I have given them." A person might say, I cannot get this now. I answer, I belong to the glory now; I possess Him now in glory, and I am changed into the same image by the Spirit. I belong to the glory. This is where we fully come up over all that is over us. There is a beautiful promise to the elect of God in Rom. 16:20. "And the God of peace will soon bruise satan under your feet." Stronger words than these are not to be found! Greater words than these do not exist! The greatest and best thing of all about these words is that they are true. If satan is bruised under your feet, dear reader, it does not mean that he no longer exists. It does not mean that the negative realm is destroyed and has no more power to mislead, damage, or dominate. That satan is crushed under your feet signifies that you have risen up above him, gained the mastery over him, assumed the authority of the Christ within. When this becomes a personal life-giving light in the very depth of your being, then sin and satan and darkness and death has lost its power over you. He still exists – under your feet! Crushed under your feet! It is Christ in you who does the crushing. And He does it as you yield fully to the victory HE IS within you.

A pastor by the name of Barnhouse at one time met a member of his congregation and asked him how he was. The member responded, "Well, pretty good under the circumstances." Barnhouse turned sharply and said, "What do you mean under the circumstances? What are you doing under the circumstances? Don’t you know that you are seated with Christ in the heavenlies – way above the circumstances? What are you doing down there?" The man was obviously quite startled. And yet, a great truth is there for us to consider. I am reminded of the story I read once of Spurgeon, the great preacher of another day from London. He was very discouraged at one time in his ministry. He paid a visit to one of the elders with him in the church, who was a farmer. He shared his struggles with this supportive elder. When he had finished the farmer said, "Look, pastor, do you see what that cow is doing?" Spurgeon looked out over the lush English field. A cow was standing by one of the picturesque stone walls that criss-crossed the countryside. Spurgeon answered, "Well, she’s looking over the wall." And then the farmer asked, "Why is she looking over the wall?" the pastor replied, "I don’t know." "She’s looking over the wall, because she can’t see through it." There will be times when you won’t be able to see your way through a difficult experience. When that happens, stop trying to look through and begin to look over! There is always a way out of every weakness, problem or circumstance. The way out is always OVER! There is also the story of the stubborn old Chinese man who had a little shop. One day, a developer bought up all the other shops, but this little old man in the middle didn’t want to sell, He wanted to keep his shop just the way it was. The developer threatened him, "If you don’t let us buy you out, we’ll squeeze you out." So they bulldozed everything on each side of him and built two huge, modern department stores, filled them with the best merchandise, and hung the sign across the front, GRAND OPENING. The little Chinese man didn’t let these huge department stores overwhelm him. He had a special sign painted and hung it across his store. In big bold letters it said: MAIN ENTRANCE. Ah, there IS a way to come up over that which is over you! The wisdom of God will show you the way.

As I have stated previously, one can never become an overcomer while running from the battle. I never cease to be amazed at the number of believers who want to go through life without ever coming up over the things that are over them. Every time a hard place comes, the carnal mind drags them further and further into spiritual, emotional and mental bondage. They look for a way out. These folk will run to the next town, the next church, the next job, the next friendship… whatever is convenient. They refuse to mature. Anything negative that crosses their will is avoided with scheme after scheme energized by the fleshy mind that is hostile toward God. Some of you are running. Do you know what you will find when you stop. The thing which you have tried to escape is STILL THERE. You carried it with you. It is within you.. The moment you stop running and face the issue, the wisdom of God is going to catch up with you and help you become an overcomer. Turn to God with sincerity, and let Him help you and deal with you. The great tests or trials that we endure are not necessarily what bring about our development as New Creatures. The little things, the everyday experiences, the nitty-gritty where the rubber meets the road, are where the real trials, the true testings, take place. By way of example, perhaps not many of us remember the era back in the late ‘20’s or early ‘30s, when the in thing was for men to do things that were unusual or bizarre. Some of you may remember the name, Barney Oldfield. He was considered an outstanding automobile racer of that time. He set a speed record from Los Angeles to New York, driving his racer across country about 50 miles an hour – extremely fast for the 1920’s! There were also other accomplishments. There was a man who rode a bicycle for the first time clear across the country. And that was the era when they had dance marathons – young couples wanted to prove they could dance the longest amount of time. There was one man who walked across the country from Los Angeles to New York. It took him quite a while, but when he finally finished his journey he was given quite a welcome in New York. When he was interviewed he was asked how he had managed to endure all the hardships. "What was the hardest thing for you to endure? Was it when you were out in the desert and it was so hot – 100 to 120 degrees?" "No," he said, "that was very hard, but I managed to survive that." "Was it when you went through the mountains and it was so cold and the high peaks were difficult to climb?" "Well, that was tough too," he said, "but I endured that." "Well, just what was the worst part of the whole trip?" He said, "The hardest part of the whole trip was that I had to endure having sand in my shoes." A little thing, but so constant and irritating! And thus it is with us also; the hardest thing we have to endure is the "sand in our shoes" – the little, unavoidable, grating experiences of everyday living. And that is the reason we have a wonderful and sympathetic High Priest, our Forerunner into the Holiest of all, the One to whom we can turn for grace to help in every time of need. He understands the "sand in our shoes" because He suffered the same small, persistent trials—and overcame!

Many people, if they do not run from or evade the problem, seek "deliverance" from it! There is a vast difference between what the present religious realms call deliverance, and the Kingdom principle of overcoming. What most people call deliverance today is an effort to escape out of their pressure and problem, not an overcoming. Overcoming means to GAIN THE VICTORY OVER THE SITUATION. In deliverance God takes something away from you, as you would take a knife from a child. But in overcoming God’s sons are being processed, so that they will know the cause and deal with the root of the trouble within themselves. The knife is not taken away – you learn how to use the knife! The dealings and processings must be thorough, until HIS IMAGE be formed in us. If your car has difficult climbing a hill, you can do one of two things: (1) make the hill less steep, or (2) increase the horsepower of the car. God usually wants to change us, not the hill. How many of my readers have had a battle with a bad temper? No need to raise your hand! Temper in balance is a godly emotion, God Himself possesses the emotions of hatred, jealousy, vengeance, anger, etc. Jesus was angry with a holy anger when He took a whip and overturned the tables of the money changers and drove them from the temple. Anger and emotion was part of the original equipment man was given to give him an aggressive drive so that he can accomplish worthwhile things in this life. For example, controlled, temperate, balanced anger will neither ignore a child’s misbehavior nor abuse him. It will correct in the proper spirit of firmness and sternness – tempered with love. "Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth" (Heb. 12:6) Eph. 4:26 says, "Be ye angry, and sin not." In simple terms this means, "Be angry – but let it be a controlled, balanced anger will act effectively, not destructively." For you see, anger out of control is vicious, destructive, and often deadly. Uncontrolled or misdirected anger can devastate one’s life. But let me make one thing very clear – God has absolutely no desire to "deliver" you from your temper! Anger is not on God’s agenda for deliverance. He intends for you to OVERCOME it. God does indeed deliver people from things over which they have no control, or which they are ill-equipped to handle. God does take knives from children! But for sons emotion is not to be "cast out" like a demon; it is to be overcome and brought into its proper place in our lives in the mind of Christ. How many things believers seek God to deliver them from that He has ordained them to overcome! So many of us are like Helga in a story I heard. Helga and Henry were a Swedish couple. They were married for sixty years. They fought like cats and dogs every day of their lives. Finally, on their 60th wedding anniversary they began the morning with a terrible spat. They argued all day long. At the end of the day, Helga said to her husband, "Henry, tonight I think ven ve pray, ve better pray for peace. Ve been fighting each other for sixty years, Henry. May the Lord give us peace. So tonight, I think I’ll pray that the Lord will take you home and I’ll go live with my sister Olga."

True men never seek escape from the difficulties of the way, whatever the issue may be. Someone has said that difficulties faced are half conquered. At any rate one who evades the pathway of the will of God discovers greater difficulties, as the prophet Jonah soon realized. The world’s greatest acclaimed men not only faced difficulties but conquered them; the pioneer fathers not only hewed their way through the trackless forests, but laid the foundations of what we today enjoy; Columbus not only sailed the stormy and uncharted seas, but he opened the gateway to hitherto unknown continents where, later, men might come and find their homes; Carey and Judson and Livingstone not only fought their way through the opposition of their friends, but also laid the foundation stones of all modern missions; Luther not only refused the advice of his friends to win a personal victory, but he set all Europe free in a religious reformation; George Washington and Abraham Lincoln faced tremendous odds, but steadfastly they went forward until a new nation was born and age-long wrongs were righted. It is how we learn to handle our challenges that separates the boys from the men – the children of God from the sons of God.

Some of you who read these lines and are facing severe problems today, are feeling frustrated, at this point, by my apparently trivial treatment of circumstances that tower so ominously and menacingly before you. You think I don’t understand just how bad your situation really is, or how many times you have failed. Listen! I would not make the solution so simple, if it were not simple. These are principles I have proven in my own experience through years of walking with God. The answer lies so near – right there within you. The difference lies in whether you view your situation as a problem or a challenge. "What difference does it make whether I call it a problem or a challenge," you say. The difference is all important! Here’s why: If you perceive an obstacle in your path as a problem, you will nurture negative emotions in respect to it – like anger, frustration, despair, hopelessness, and depression. These emotions are like gravediggers - they carve out the pit of failure and death in which to bury you! On the other hand, if somehow the Holy Spirit can give you the revelation of it, if you can see by the inspiration of the Almighty that the obstacle is God’s challenge – you have received the spiritual attitude in which spiritual emotions are released – like faith, hope, confidence, peace, rest, joy, thanksgiving, encouragement, wisdom, knowledge, understanding and power. These positive emotions, the fruit of the Spirit, will energize you and propel you through and over and out of and above the obstacle, bringing strength and triumph! You see, precious friend of mine, the only problems in the world are problems that are perceived as problems. When the problem ceases (in your mind) to be a problem to you, you have risen above it, come up over it, OVER-COME IT! Who cares how high a mountain is when he is flying high above it!

You may have heard the old parable of the two frogs, both of which fell into a container of cream. The frogs tried to leap out but could not make it. One frog was a fatalist. He began to think defeatest thoughts and the acids of futility spread through his mind. He said to himself, “I won’t get out of here, so why knock myself out trying?” In despair and resignation he sank into the cream and died. The other frog was an optimist. He was made of sterner stuff. He had the character of an overcomer. He said to himself, “Sure, I could die here, but if I do, believe me, I shall go down with every flag flying.” He swam around, thrashed about, beat the cream, made a great stir. Gradually, he began to feel solid footing.  His legs, whipping like little pistons, got traction, and finally he leaped victoriously from the container, the contents of which he had churned into solid butter. Ah, yes, my beloved, OBSTACLES ARE STEPPING STONES!

During World War II, a young bride from New Jersey followed her soldier husband to a U.S. Army Camp on the edge of the California desert. Her husband had advised her against going because he knew that living conditions would be primitive, at best. But she wanted very much to be with him and he was unable to change her mind. When the couple arrived at the desert camp, the only housing they could find was a run-down shack near an Indian village. The heat was unbearable: up to 115 degrees in the shade. The wind blew constantly, spreading sand all over everything. And, for the young bride, the days were long and boring. Her only neighbors were the Indians, none of whom spoke English. When her husband was ordered farther into the desert for maneuvers, the loneliness and wretched living conditions got the best of her. She wrote to her mother: "I can’t take any more of this. I want to come home!" Several days later she received a reply. In it, the mother reminded her of the old family sampler on which the familiar lines were embroidered:

Two men looked out from prison bars,
One saw mud, the other saw stars.

The daughter read these lines over and over again. She began to feel ashamed of her response to the situation she was in. She really didn’t want to leave her husband, and so she said to herself, "All right, I’ll look for the stars." In the days that followed she began to make friends with the Indians. She began to take lessons in weaving and pottery from them. She became fascinated by their culture and history – everything about them. Moreover, she began to study the desert. In the process, she saw it wonderfully transformed from a desolate, forbidding place to a marvelous expanse of beauty. She studied the various forms of cacti, the yuccas, and the Joshua trees. She collected seashells that had been deposited there perhaps millions of years before when the sands had been an ocean floor. Later, she became such an expert on the area that she wrote a book about it. A remarkable transformation had taken place. But what had changed, really, to make that possible? Not the weather. Not the desert. Not the lack of modern conveniences. Not the long days without her husband. Not the Indians. What had changed was her own attitude. Simply by changing her own attitude – "All right, I’ll look for the stars," she said – she had transformed a miserable life situation into a highly rewarding experience. THIS IS THE PRINCIPLE OF THE DOLPHIN – THE BREAKING OUT OF A LOWER WORLD TO VIEW THE HIGHER. This principle is redemptive, restorative, creative. It works on the natural plane, as in the story just shared, but in that higher dimension of the Kingdom of God it is the key to the overcoming life – the way to the throne! Hallelujah!

I have some good news for you, my friends! As soon as you conquer the situation you are in right now, God has a bigger mess arranged for you! Oh, yes, this is God's School of Dominion, remember? In this School we learn to rule by RULING. So God places us in His great Workshop and gives us the required circumstances in which to rule! He is a great Teacher. Ultimately we shall rule over all things. And how shall we learn to rule over all things? Simple. By learning to rule over A-L-L T-H-I-N-G-S! Each adversary must be faced – and conquered. There is no other way! Jesus did not conquer temptation by cloistering Himself in a monastery, shut up from those things that could temp Him. Jesus conquered temptation by being tempted in all points like as we are and putting each one under His feet! He overcome satan by facing satan. He triumphed over death by grappling with it in the faith and power of God. In short, He subdued all things by SUBDUING ALL THINGS. Glory!

The journey to the throne of the universe begins in that small and undistinguished place where you are. It is impossible to over-emphasize this foundational and fundamental truth: The Kingdom is within you. It is here, Oh child of the Most High, that the magnificence of the all-encompassing, all-enduring, everlasting Kingdom of God has its beginning. God Almighty, full of wisdom, longsuffering, and faithfulness is preparing a people in the lowly estates of this present evil world who will reign with Christ in His throne, first from sea to sea, then from planet to planet, and finally from universe to universe. Make no mistake about it, my beloved ones! These present hours of preparation in the lowest parts of the earth are fraught with infinite importance and eternal significance. It is HERE AND NOW that preparations are to be made! The enchristed who are to reign in glory with Him are being prepared. Think not in your heart, my friend, that you may pass your life here, careless, indifferent to the purposes of God, suddenly to awake one fine morning to find yourself sitting with Christ governing the universe, because such a thing will not be.

As I have previously pointed out, this present time is but a proving ground for those who through grace will reign with their Lord over the endless vastnesses of infinity. He is raising us up to sit with Him in the higher than heavenlies. And the place which He is preparing for each one is not only a world to come, and a Kingdom of life and light, but a place IN HIM, bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, Spirit of His Spirit, nature of His nature, life of HIS LIFE!

 


Chapter 18

CONSCIENCE IN THE GARDEN

 

"And they were both naked, the man and his wife, AND WERE NOT ASHAMED. And the woman took of the fruit, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they KNEW THAT THEY WERE NAKED; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons" (Gen. 2:25; 3:6-7).

The first chapters in the Book of Genesis stand unmoved and immovable, as a record which is still more up to date than ALL modern human wisdom and knowledge. The first three chapters of Genesis are stupendous miracles of TRUTH. The entire plan, purpose, and economy of God are as visible there as the stars which come to the view of human eyes in the darkness of night. The word "genesis" of course means "origin" or "beginning," and the Book of Genesis gives the only true and reliable account of how ALL THINGS and ALL CONDITIONS and ALL STATES OF BEING came into existence. Gen 1:1 reads, "In the beginning God created." Yes, in the plural number – "beginnings." There were many things begun all at the same time, as the manifold wisdom of God found expression in innumerable ways to bring forth into the realm of visibility the majestic purposes of God.

This truth forms the springboard for the thoughts we would share in this study concerning the CONSCIENCE. It is not difficult to understand the conscience. The word "conscience" is translated, in the Bible, from the Greek word "suneidesis" meaning, CO-PERCEPTION or A KNOWING WITH ONESELF. The root from which it comes means "to understand, to be aware, to see completely." When the Scripture says of Adam and Eve, "The eyes of them both were opened, and they KNEW THAT THEY WERE NAKED," it means that the eyes of their carnal understanding, sense knowledge, were opened and suddenly THEY KNEW THEMSELVES. Ones conscience indicates the nature of what he understands and perceives. To perceive right from wrong is one function of the conscience. To condemn or justify is another one of its functions.

THE ORIGIN OF THE CONSCIENCE

Let us now look at the origin of the human conscience. When did it first exist, and how did it come into being? The word "conscience" is used 32 times in the New Testament, but does not appear at all in the Old Testament. This does not mean that the Old Testament has nothing to say about the conscience, merely that it is spoken of in terms other than the actual word, for man's conscience is clearly one of the myriad things that had its beginning in the first three chapters of Genesis.

"And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. and the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, THEN YOUR EYES SHALL BE OPENED, and ye shall be as gods, KNOWING GOOD AND EVIL. And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And THE EYES OF THEM BOTH WERE OPENED, and they KNEW THAT THEY WERE NAKED; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons" (Gen 2:25; 3:2-8).

There is no doubt as to the innocence of Adam and Eve when they were first created. As man stood in the garden, he was neither holy nor unholy, he was innocent, brought forth by the hand of God, pure, innocent, undefiled, and to be sure, very unproven and untried. I know that most theologians will tell us that Adam was holy, but there is nothing in the Bible to indicate that. Holiness, as you know, is one of the attributes of God, eternal, unchangeable, and indestructible. If Adam had truly been holy by nature he could not have sinned! No, my brother, God did not create Adam holy, He created him innocent, without self-consciousness before God or the creation; the one thing Adam was conscious of was GOD and only of himself in relation to the One Whose will he was to fulfill, the main trend of his life was towards God. Man before the fall was in a primeval state, like a newborn babe. At that time he was not ashamed of his nakedness anymore than a day-old infant is ashamed. This proves that within man there was NO CONCEPT OF GOOD AND EVIL, right or wrong, showing that there was neither the feeling nor the function of the conscience. A little child is in no moral or spiritual struggles.

Then the command was given, "But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, ye shall not eat of it, lest ye die." Now we have a law – the command is clearly stated – will we obey, or disobey. Sin is the transgression of the law. Obedience is under trial. God set up a law, and this law was a TEST for the creature. It spake of death in the midst of life. Strange, solemn sound! Adam's life was suspended upon his strict obedience. The link which connected him with Lord God was obedience. And here he failed. He had not known experientially any such thing as wrong. In this world, if we were only innocent (na´ve) and did not know right from wrong, it would not be but a few hours until some thief or co artist would take all that we have and betray our innocence. An innocent person is suspecting of no one or any wrong doing. He has no knowledge of evil. This was man’s state when the serpent appeared in the Garden that day long ago.

The serpent enters with a bold question as to divine revelation, "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" This was Satan's crafty inquiry; and had the Word of God been dwelling richly in Eve's heart, her answer might have been direct, simple, and conclusive, as was that of the Lord Jesus in the hour of His temptation in the Wilderness of Judea. So the serpent continued his harassment, "God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Let us now inquire how far Adam and Eve realized the serpent’s promised advantage. This inquiry will lead us to a deeply important point in connection with the fall of man. God has so ordained it THAT IN AND BY THE FALL, MAN SHOULD GET WHAT HE PREVIOUSLY HAD NOT – A CONSCIENCE, a knowledge of good and evil. This, man could not have had before. He could not have known naught about evil as evil had never been experienced. He was in a state of innocence, which is a state of ignorance of evil. Let all who read these lines meditate deeply upon this great fact: Man in the image of God was NOT CREATED WITH A CONSCIENCE; the conscience is A PRODUCT OF THE FALL!

Well has George Hawtin written: The things all Christians seem to have forgotten, if indeed they ever knew it, is simply this: The almighty Lord of the universe said, “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness.” The initial step in the plan, which would take ages to complete, was to make a man in God’s likeness, but not wholly so, for the man He made was to begin in innocence. Intelligent as he was, he was woefully ignorant of good and evil, sin and death, and vanity. Have you ever heard people affirm that it is wrong to spank a child? You should reason with him, they try to tell you. The real truth is that you cannot reason with a child because a child has neither experience nor basis from which to reason. In his innocence he must learn to obey or suffer the pain of correction, and later on he will understand the reason for your demand. The foolish restraint of parents in sparing the rod is the one basic cause above all others for the dreadful wave of disobedience, hate, and rebellion among the young people of our day. A child does not know good from evil, neither does he understand right from wrong any more than Adam understood it. Don’t waste your time reasoning with children who as yet have no basis from which to reason. All they will do is “pull away the shoulder” and purposely break your heart. – end of quote.

As soon as man fell by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, we read, "And the EYES OF BOTH OF THEM WERE OPENED, and they KNEW THAT THEY WERE NAKED. and Adam and his wife HID THEMSELVES FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD GOD amongst the trees of the garden." There is bitter pathos in this scene. Two people, conscience stricken, overwhelmed with a sense of sin and shame, furtively slink away into the shadows to hide from God! "The eyes of them both were opened," no doubt about it; but, alas! to what a sight! – it was only to discover their own nakedness and shame. They had gained knowledge but had lost peace of soul and mind. No human tongue could possibly describe the awful nightmare that must have scared their souls when they awoke to their nakedness, unclothed, nude, undraped, disrobed, bare – BEFORE GOD! It was not any fresh knowledge of heavenly excellency they had attained, no fresh beams of divine light from the pure and eternal fountain of life and glory – alas! no; the very first knowledge that came was the shocking discovery that they were naked – followed swiftly by a chilling fear!

Where conscience is permitted to speak, the pain of conscience will be experienced in all its gradations, from almost imperceptible restlessness to peacelessness, fear, anxiety, horror, and wildest despair. Suicides bear witness to the fact that the pangs of conscience can become greater than even the dread of death itself.  It is these terrible and unending pangs of conscience also which compel the criminal to make confession of crimes, which the police have not been able to solve. He prefers any kind of punishment to the torments of his conscience, which he feels he can no longer endure. As every psychiatrist knows, people in our mental institutions are there primarily because of guilt. People have wrestled with the guilt they cannot bear up under, until finally their minds snap, and forms of mental illness develop. Nothing contributes so much to a negative self-image than a deep feeling of guilt. We read about it in literature: After committing murder Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth exclaims: “Oh, all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand!” All of us have had enough experience with unresolved guilt-feelings of our own to know what they do to our self-image: We begin to despise ourselves, to feel utterly worthless, and are likely to plunge into a nightmare of despair. Guilt is a function of the conscience.

It was the pangs of conscience – guilt – that sent Adam fleeing from God, hiding from Him. He did not insolently confront God, but when he heard God’s voice in the Garden he hid from Him. Adam’s reaction was not one whit different from man’s response today. How quickly the small boy who has stolen the tarts hides when he hears his father’s voice, not only for fear of punishment, but from shame of his own condition and at disobeying a loved one. What a strange delusion of Adam’s, both then and today, to think that he could hide from God, as though the world were opaque to God! But in the throes of conscience-pangs he could not flee fast enough. “Adam, where are you?” With this word God calls Adam forth out of his conscience. God speaks to him, He stops him in his flight. “Come out of your hiding-place, from your self-reproach, your self-covering, your secrecy, your self-torment, from your vain remorse, do not lose yourself in despair.” God calls Adam forth out of his conscience and presents to him the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world to reveal the Creator’s forgiveness and His power to cleanse from all unrighteousness.

Do not forget for one moment, dear ones, that God, omnipotent, omniscient, PLANNED ALL THIS. Adam was intended by God, ere the morning stars sang, and the sons of God shouted for joy, to take part in his own development unto perfection by a series of moral choices, with ensuing failure, sorrow, redemption, and discipline, whereby He would transform him FROM INNOCENCE INTO HOLINESS!

THE WORK OF THE CONSCIENCE

Now, it is well to understand how the conscience works. Some students of scripture have divided the Bible into seven dispensations: the dispensations innocence, conscience, human government, promise, law, grace, and the kingdom. The first three dispensations are categorized according to the principle of government. In the dispensation of innocence we see the principle of GOD'S RULE; in the dispensation of conscience, the principle of SELF-RULE; and in the dispensation of human government, the principle of MAN'S RULE. Of the three kinds of government, the one which is under the rule of SELF is the one related to the CONSCIENCE. Before the fall, no sin barrier existed between God and man. This was the so-called dispensation of innocence, when man was ruled directly by God. He lived before God and was responsible to God. Man failed under God's rule in innocence and became sinful within and without: so the holy and righteous God drove man out from the realm of the Kingdom of God.

Consequently, from the time of Adam's expulsion from the Garden of Eden to the time of Noah's departure from the Ark, God established the conscience within man to represent Himself in ruling over man. This is the so-called dispensation of conscience. In this period man was ruled by his own conscience and was responsible to his own conscience. Before this God had been personally present with the primal pair in the Garden. He was no stranger to the Voice of God. Often he would be awakened by its tones calling him to fellowship; and climbing some verdant hill he would talk to God as a man talketh with his friend. When the evening shadows began to lengthen it was with deep, awful ecstasy that he repaired to some sweet glade, where he would ask his questions and received answers that guided him in his destiny. He was like a grown-up child, no memory, for there were no childhood experiences to look back on. No past experience to guide him – no books, no science – but all he needed came in converse with God from whom streamed all wisdom and knowledge. Thereafter this close fellowship and sustaining life-flow was broken. God withdrew. He gave no law to guide them. They and their offspring were left to themselves. All that they had was the knowledge of good and evil – the consciousness that the works of the flesh were displeasing to God – that is, conscience. This was the fragile link that connected them to God. It was the underlying principle of His dealings with them. Under this self-rule, man again failed. He ignored the rebuke and control of the conscience, and God judged this dispensation by the flood. Paul writes of this rule of the conscience in Rom. 2:14-15: "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another." The conscience represents God in ruling over man. Just as a nation governs its people through the police force, so also God governs the fallen man through the conscience. God set up the conscience within fallen man that man might govern himself according to the principles and laws of the knowledge of good and evil. If anyone acts contrary or is about to act contrary to this knowledge of good and evil, his conscience immediately condemns him and restrains him from going further astray and falling into corruption. Therefore, the major function of the conscience is to govern man.

Our conscience can really be compared to a judgment seat. A judgment seat never has legislative authority over men’s lives; it has judicial authority only, that is, it can only state whether the action of the accused is punishable according to the law of the land or not. Its duty is to examine the deed in relation to what the law says, and then decide whether the deed conforms with or violates the law. This is also what the conscience does. It compares our deeds or our words or thoughts or our nature with the law of the knowledge of good and evil and then pronounces judgment, deciding whether we are in conformity or in conflict with it. The conscience acts as both judge and jury, as well as the key witness in the case! In this realm of the knowledge of good and evil whatever a man does, as far as he does it from conscience, so far is it lawful, for his conscience is formed of all those things which he thinks to be true, and so thinks to be lawful.

LIVING ABOVE THE CONSCIENCE

There are man sacred realms of the revelation where I often fear to tread, not because I doubt their truth or fear to embrace the wonders which their truths portray, but I fear those reprobate souls who would with roughshod feet and unbowed head stomp in to gaze with unsanctified eyes at the burning bush of God's sacred revelation, and who, like those men of whom Jude wrote, with corrupted hearts turn the truth of God into a lie and the grace of God into lasciviousness. I now proceed to write of these sacred truths with godly fear and much prayer to God that He might safely hide the deep things of God from the carnal heads of the "wise and prudent" men and reveal them unto babes who walk in the love and fear of the Lord.

We have already noted how the first three dispensations of innocence, conscience, and human government reveal the principles of government: in the dispensation of innocence we see the principle of God's rule over man in the blessed realm of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth; in the dispensation of conscience, the principle of man's self-rule by the inner knowledge of good and evil; and in the dispensation of human government, the principle of man's rule over man by force.

Before returning to the rule of the conscience, there are a few things I should like to mention concerning human government and the principle of man's rule. After the flood, God told Noah, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed (Gen. 9:6). Because man was neither subject to God's rule nor obedient to self-rule, God authorized man to represent Himself in ruling over man. Therefore, not long afterwards there was the beginning of nations; there came into being among the human races the rule of political authorities, police and military authorities, the power of society and laws, and the control in the family. For example, in the nation there are the president, the officials, and the police; in a factory, the supervisors; and in a family the parents. These are authorities set up by God to represent Himself in ruling over fallen man. This is why Rom. 13:1-2 says, "Let every person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God – by His permission, His sanction; and those that exist do so by God's appointment. Therefore he who resists and sets himself up against the authorities resists what God has appointed and arranged. And those who resist will bring down judgment upon themselves – receiving the penalty due them" (Amplified Bible). This is the dispensation of human government, by which man is ruled by man and is responsible to man. All those who live under human rule are living before man. They dare not do many things because of the fear of man. Whenever they are not under man's jurisdiction and observation, they do as they please!

Sadly, the condition of many Christians today is the same! Their behavior STILL REQUIRES THE RULE OF MAN. Students must be controlled by their teachers, children by their parents, churches by their Headquarters, ministers by their bishops, and believers by their pastors and elders! If that rule is not there they don't know what to do, nor how to walk, and their spiritual lives become disoriented and weak. This proves to a great degree that THEY ARE STILL LIVING IN THE FALLEN CONDITION OF BEING RULED BY MAN! We praise God for every Spirit-anointed ministry that God has set for the encouragement and strengthening of the body of Christ, they are examples to the flock, and we rejoice in that flow of life that emanates from each one, but I do not hesitate to declare to you, beloved brothers and sisters, that if you still need a man to RULE OVER YOU AS A LORD, whether apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher, or elders, then you know nothing yet as you ought to know of what it means to be a son of God led by the Spirit. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, THEY ARE THE SONS OF GOD" (Rom. 8:14).

But, let me ask you, is the principle of self-rule, of living by the conscience, superior in any way to the rule of man? I declare to you that it is not! Conscience means A KNOWING WITH ONESELF, and is, simply, the carnal consciousness of WHAT WE ARE. Many are astray as to this; they think that the conscience will bring us to God. Did it operate thus in the case of Adam and Eve? Assuredly not! In the very moment when their conscience sprang into life within their bosoms, the first thing they did was run from God and try to hide from Him! There is not one sinner in the whole of the universe who has ever come to God by his conscience. Millions have come to God by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, certainly, but not one has been brought by his conscience! How can they? How could the sense of what I AM ever bring me back to God, if not accompanied by the faith of what HE IS? Impossible. It is necessary, therefore, for God to reveal Himself to man. Man's conscience will testify only of his shame, remorse, fear and self-reproach. It was acquired in and by the fall, it only proves that he sees himself, naked, and it drives man away from God. It was conscience that drove Adam behind the trees of the Garden, but it was THE REVELATION OF GOD WALKING AND SPEAKING that brought him forth from his hiding place into the presence of God. The consciousness of what he was terrified him; the revelation of what God was tranquilized him. The reality of what I am is met by the reality of what God is, and here is salvation!

 Since man has been degraded from God's rule to self-rule and human rule, God, in saving man, and bringing him into the Kingdom of God, must recover man not only from human rule but also from self-rule, that man may once more live before God in simplicity and under His direct authority. In salvation God is not restoring us to the rule of the human conscience, but to the rule of GOD HIMSELF BY THE SPIRIT, that we may now pass through the conscience realm and live in the presence of God! Consider now how great are the words of the Lord Jesus, and with bowed head and yielded heart listen as He explains the wonder of an eternal life, saying, "And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent" (Jn. 17:3). The loss of the knowledge of God was death; but the knowing of God is life. Conscience is the knowing of self, and this knowing brings death. This necessarily makes life a thing outside of ourselves, and dependent upon what God is. Let me arrive at whatever amount of self-knowledge I may, it is not said that this is life eternal that I might know myself – but that I might know HIM! To know God AS HE IS is life eternal, blessed be the name of the Lord!

Self-rule and God's rule differ greatly. Self-rule means that a man lives by the feelings of conscience, being responsible to his conscience; whereas God's rule means that man lives BY THE REVELATION OF THE SPIRIT, being responsible to GOD. We know that God by the Holy Spirit lives in our spirit, and as new creatures in Christ Jesus we are now putting on THE MIND OF CHRIST. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST" (I Cor. 2:14,16).

The conscience has only the feeling of right or wrong. It condemns all that is wrong and justifies all that is right and good. But THE MIND OF CHRIST is above right and wrong, good and evil. The mind of Christ is above wrong and also above right; it is above evil and also above good! It condemns all that is wrong and all that is evil, but it does not necessarily approve all that is right and all that is good. It accepts not only that which IS OF GOD, OF THE SPIRIT, AND OF LIFE.

Let me illustrate: Lying is condemned by the conscience while truthfulness is approved. If we live by the conscience, all is well as long as we do not lie, but tell the truth. However, if we live in the mind of Christ, walking by the sense of God, then not only can we not tell lies, but also we cannot always tell the truth. We have to ask: Are these words of God or of my self? God does not want us to lie, but neither does he want us to speak the truth. What God desires is that we speak HIS WORDS, WORDS THAT ARE OF HIM, OF THE SPIRIT, AND OF LIFE; not our own words, even if they are the truth! Therefore, when one is ministering the Word, whether he is speaking the truth or not will be witnessed to by the conscience. But as to what he should minister, what God is in mind for him to speak – this only can be witnessed by the Spirit. The conscience is unable to do anything in this respect. Only through the mind of Christ can one touch the mind of God and led by God to speak His words. These differences between the conscience and the mind of Christ are also the differences between self-rule and the rule of God! We have all had the experience of hearing someone give a good teaching, minister a good word, yet knowing by the Spirit that they had missed the mind of God and were not giving the word for that occasion. I have heard many so-called prophecies over the past years that were good so far as what they were saying, I could find no fault with the content, the words, yet I knew by the Spirit that they proceeded out of zeal, not out of anointing; out of the intellect of the speaker, not out of the mind of God. The saints judged the prophecy by the sound of the words, the truth of its message, and all shouted amen! never realizing that GOD HAD NOT SPOKEN ANYTHING.

Our knowledge of good and evil can prevent us from obeying the Voice of the Spirit. Put yourself in the place of Abraham. What if God told you to go out and sacrifice your only son – the son God Himself gave you. Most of us would immediately dismiss the Voice as being from satan – our conscience would render the logical verdict – it is wrong to make human sacrifice! Our knowledge of good and evil would prevent us from obeying God. Beyond that, we like to make little rules for ourselves, such as “it is always good to give” or “it is always wrong to deceive.” Do you see what we are doing? Once we say that we will always do this or we will never do that, God can no longer lead us in any area of our lives. Our well-meaning rules take precedence over God’s leading. There are times when it glorifies God to share and times when it is sin – God commands us not to give to some apparently worthy cause. Jesus deceived men on various occasions. He stood before the temple in Jerusalem and declared, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again,” fully knowing that the people would mis-interpret the meaning of His words. And he did not correct their deception. We cannot depend on our rules or our knowledge of good and evil. We must listen to God’s voice on each occasion and do what HE tells us to do.

George Hawtin once gave this godly counsel: “In the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, cease from giving your ear to every man that clamors for attention, including the myriad voices in your own soul. In quietness and confidence give your ear to Him that you might know His voice apart from all strangers. Cease from trying to divide between sheep and goats and seek to know the one truth Shepherd. He will do the dividing for you. Cease from consulting with men about who is right and who is wrong, who is of God and who is of satan, but seek to know Him who is the only mediator between God and men.”

Today there are too few that are living completely under the rule of God! Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus, that I may be a member of that firstfruit company which shall reveal His all-surpassing glory, bringing deliverance to the creation. Many saints are living in a condition which is a combination of the three kinds of government. The greater part of their being is under human rule; they still need to be ruled by man. Another part of being is under self-rule, the rule of the human conscience. But only a small part of their being is under God's rule so that they are controlled by God directly. This is a very abnormal condition. Therefore, there is the need to have God deal with us more thoroughly so that we can, on the negative side, be delivered from the need for human rule, and from self-rule and, on the positive side, enter into God's rule to be directly under His control BY HIS SPIRIT OF LIFE WITHIN.

CLEANESED FROM AN EVIL CONSCIENCE

This brings us to a most marvelous verse of scripture in Heb. 10:22. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, HAVING OUR HEARTS SPRINKLED FROM AN EVIL CONSCIENCE." When quickened by the spirit of revelation this passage staggers the imagination with its wonder. Such things are too wonderful for me! In our fallen state while yet our eyes are dim through the ravages of sin and death and the weak and insipid rule of conscience, we can but see through a glass darkly. But now comes the word, "Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience," – having the "evil conscience" REMOVED FROM OUR HEARTS by the blood of Christ!

The heart is the center of human life, and the conscience again is the center of the heart. By his conscience man not merely realizes that he commits sin, but that he is sinful, and alienated from God. He who desires to enter into the life of God must have his heart cleansed from an evil conscience. The words are translated "our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience," but the word sprinkled indicates a cleansing. Mention is often made in the New Testament of a clean or pure heart. Jesus said, "Blessed are the PURE in heart" (Mat. 5:8). Paul speaks of "love out of a PURE heart" (I Tim. 1:5). Peter exhorts the saints to "love one another with a PURE heart fervently" (I Pet. 1:22). The word CLEANSING is also used. We read of those who are described as God's people that God purified(cleansed) their hearts through faith (Acts 15:9). The purpose of the Lord Jesus concerning those who were His was "to purify (cleanse) to Himself a people of His own possession" (Titus 2:14). As regards ourselves we read, "Let us CLEANSE ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit" (II Cor. 7:1). All these places teach us that CLEANSING is an inward work wrought within the HEART. The heart is cleansed from an evil conscience. The evil conscience is the human conscience acquired through disobedience in the fall. It is the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus that avails. The precious blood of Christ, which is HIS LIFE, will cleanse your heart, removing the evil conscience as soap and water remove a stain of dirt from a garment. The INCORRUPTIBLE LIFE in the blood of Christ must be so brought by the Holy Spirit into direct contact with our hearts that our hearts become cleansed from an evil conscience. The power of HIS LIFE WITHIN removes all self-condemnation, as well as all self-knowledge and self-rule, that we may now enter, by His life, beyond the veil, into the HOLIEST OF ALL to live, no longer unto our conscience, but unto GOD!

Little do most saints realize how "sin-conscious" we still are, when we need to be far more "GOD CONSCIOUS." We still have such an awareness, a KNOWING of corruption and sin that surrounds us, and far too little of AN AWARENESS OF GOD, A KNOWING OF HIS ABIDING PRESENCE, AND THAT HE IS IN CONTROL OF ALL THINGS. Oh, to be purged from all the "knowing of sin" and the "knowing of self" and all the discouragement and frustration that attends this, that His truth might spring forth from every avenue of our being and bear witness to the glory of God that is set before us. It was the partaking of the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil, an entering into state of duality with its consciousness of evil as well as good, which brought such a state of confusion. It is now the KNOWLEDGE OF CHRIST DWELLING WITHIN that shall bring peace and glory!

PURGING THE CONSCIENCE FROM DEAD WORKS

"How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, PURGE YOUR CONSCIENCE FROM DEAD WORKS to serve THE LIVING GOD" (Heb. 9:14). The words of this beautiful passage of scripture cast a ray of eternal hope across the gloomy pages of human tradition and ritualistic religion with its static creeds, ordinances, ceremonies and programs that for centuries have blinded men's minds and made their feet to stumble and lose their way so that they have become lost from the glorious and eternal reality of THE LIFE OF GOD IN THE SPIRIT. Oh that men might know that it is the Holy Spirit alone who makes men alive, and it is the Holy Spirit alone who must lead us into all truth and bring to fulfillment the purposes of God in our lives. Oh that men might know that we are the servants of THE LIVING GOD, and our spirits have been quickened by His Spirit that we might live by His Life. The flesh with all its slavish forms of religion and dead works, profiteth nothing. Fill your mind and life with as many doctrines, rituals, ceremonies and rules as you wish. It profits you nothing. Celebrate Mass every day of the week, if you so desire. It profits you nothing. Be baptized, join the church, attend meetings every Sunday, take communion, serve on the committees, if you like. It profits you nothing. Give all your goods to feed the poor, or give your body to be burned. It profits you nothing, for you are still dead and chained by the power of inbred sin. Tradition and forms of religion and godliness can do nothing for men except to cause them to walk in blindness. Men do not need religion. Men do not need external ordinances, rituals, rules and regulations which merely soothe the human conscience. They are one and all DEAD WORKS. Men need Christ. They need to KNOW HIM. Christ is the light of men and the light of the world, and all who follow Him will not walk in darkness but have the light of life, having their conscience PURGED FROM DEAD WORKS TO SERVE THE LIVING GOD!

I am persuaded that no man can serve his human conscience and at the same time serve THE LIVING GOD. I do not mean by this that the child of God has no conscience, but my earnest prayer to God is that all who read this message may quickly be brought to see that the true conscience of the child of God IS THE CONSCIENCE OF GOD HIMSELF and not the old HUMAN CONSCIENCE which has its existence in the fallen nature of Adam. The scriptures do, indeed, testify that saints have a conscience, but I exhort you to pay heed to what kind of conscience it is!

"I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness IN THE HOLY GHOST" (Rom. 9:1). This is a conscience which resides IN THE HOLY SPIRIT, it originates in God, being the conscience of the NEW CREATION, of the SPIRIT, not the old conscience of the soul.

"Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a PURE HEART, and a GOOD CONSCIENCE" (I Tim. 1:5). Here are two items: a pure heart and a good conscience. The pure heart is the NEW HEART, the heart of the NEW SPIRIT. "A NEW HEART also will I give you, and a NEW SPIRIT will I put within you: I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh. and I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes" (Eze. 36:26-27). The good conscience is the NEW CONSCIENCE of the new spirit and the new heart, the voice of CHRIST WITHIN, directing our lives in the righteousness and will of God.

"Holding the mysteries of the faith IN A PURE CONSCIENCE" (I Tim. 3:9). Man has three main parts in his being: spirit, soul and body. Before we were born again our spirit was DEAD – unresponsive to God – and it should be self-evident that the human conscience is not located in the unregenerate man's spirit, rather in his soul, for "the first man was made a LIVING SOUL" (I Cor. 15:45). The unregenerated man is like a car that is not running with all of its cylinders, he does not function in all three areas of being, only in two – soul and body. The regenerated man, born of Him who is made a QUICKENING SPIRIT, functions in all three parts of his being – spirit, soul and body. When one has a clear understanding of the duality of the unregenerated man, and the tri-partite nature of the regenerated man, it becomes increasingly obvious that the regenerated man possesses a set of THREE OF ALL HIS FACULTIES, while the unregenerated man possesses only a set of TWO of his faculties.

Every child of God has a three-fold conscience. Within your body is the biological conscience which distinguishes between things which are cold or hot, painful or pleasurable, bitter or sweet, pretty or ugly etc. Within your soul is the psychological conscience which judges whether things are good or bad, legal or illegal, honest or dishonest etc. This is the conscience man got in the fall. Now, within your spirit is the spiritual conscience which determines WHETHER A THING IS OF GOD OR NOT OF GOD, OF LIFE OR NOT OF LIFE. The natural man is guided entirely by his biological and psychological consciences, making all judgments upon the basis of good and evil. The spiritual man, however, judges all things by the MIND OF CHRIST and discerns WHAT IS OF GOD AND OF LIFE.

The problem with the soulish conscience is, first, that it is a product of the fall; second, it is a conscience of condemnation which can never lead you to God; and thirdly, it is totally undependable, being CONDITIONED by the external influences of the world. To understand the truth of what I now say you have only to observe the life of a child. In their first bloom of innocence children can readily develop a sense of what is right. But as they grow older, deprived of original simplicity, imbibing of the voices, concepts, and influences of the world around them - of parents, friends, teachers, television, movies, books etc. – they become affected by the values they learn from these sources and their conscience becomes CONDITIONED TO JUDGE RIGHT AND WRONG BY THE STANDARD OF WHAT THEY ARE TAUGHT. Your conscience is like a computer into which data has been fed from childhood on. Your computer gives out the information that has been fed into it!

"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; HAVING THEIR CONSCIENCE SEARED WITH A HOT IRON" (I Tim. 4:1-2). The more a person yields his mind to the sway and control of the spirit of this world, the more his conscience will become seared, insensitive to the spirit of right, and begin to lose its function. The moralistic sense of the world bends to the desires and lusts of the flesh, justifying itself, excusing itself, though generally quick to accuse others.

The conscience takes the shape of the things we feed the conscience with. If one is born in a Moslem country his conscience takes on the Moslem characteristics. A Muslim, in good conscience, without any compunction will slay an infidel. It is his guarantee of glory. He has done the will of Allah. He has acted with a clear Muslim conscience. This is the very root of all terrorism perpetrated out of the Moslem countries. If one is raised under communist indoctrination his conscience takes on communist characteristics, sensing right and wrong according to communist value. If one is raised in an ungodly home where cursing, filthy language, drunkenness, and adultery is the order of the day, then his conscience takes that shape. If one is raised in a Catholic home his conscience takes the Catholic shape. If he bends his knee in front of an image, his conscience will approve it, because that is the way his conscience has been conditioned. If another has been raised in a Baptist home his conscience is conditioned by the Baptist values and if he bows before an image his conscience will not let him sleep!

Suppose all your life had been taught that drinking coffee was wrong. Would something rise up within you if a person offered you a cup of coffee with your meal? Would a mere reminder, "But Jesus says in Mat. 15:11 that it is not that which goes into a man's mouth that defiles him," immediately free you to drink coffee? Probably not! A Hindu widow’s conscience convinces her that she should fling herself on the funeral pyre of her deceased husband. She has been brought to see this as the most noble act she can perform to appease her gods. There are places where a pagan African woman will, if she gives birth to twin girls, bury both alive. Her conscience is convinced that this is proper. Her pagan conscience constrains her to commit this act because it is the finest, most self-sacrificing step she can take. Paul, formerly the petulant, self-righteous Pharisee, persecuted the early disciples of Christ with intense hatred. In all good conscience he hounded and harried and jailed and murdered them all across the country from city to city, certain he was doing God’s will. Then he saw the bright light on the Damascus road and was given a new conscience. From all the foregoing it may be seen that a “Moslem conscience,” a “Catholic conscience,” a “Baptist conscience,” a “Hindu conscience,” and a “Pharisaical conscience” simply are not the voice of God. Rather, conscience is the way a spirit sees or perceives God to be, and what it understands and holds in view as God’s will and wishes.

Can you not now see why the apostle declares that OUR CONSCIENCE MUST BE PURGED FROM DEAD WORKS to serve the living God? The condition of the conscience is a very important thing! In my case, I was born into a Mennonite home in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. While I was still a small child my parents received the baptism in the Holy Spirit and were promptly excommunicated from the Mennonite denomination of our forefathers. As a result, I was raised in a Pentecostal home. So, upon arriving at young manhood I had acquired a PENTECOSTAL CONSCIENCE! It was shaped by the doctrines, practices, and traditions of the Pentecostal movement in the area of south Alabama where we lived. In those Churches there were many rules and traditions and practices that have changed through the years. We couldn't go to the beach to swim, it was sin. We didn't attend the County Fair, it was worldly. If you even walked inside a movie theatre, and didn't repent, you were sure to "bust hell wide open!" The women were not allowed to wear facial makeup of any kind, lipstick was a sin. Short hair and curled hair were wicked. Women could not wear slacks and their dresses must be long, with long sleeves and high necks. Bright, splashy colors were vain. And then, no jewelry of any kind was permitted, not even a wedding band!

I remember when as a young man I wanted a tie pin to hold my tie in place. In those days I pinned my tie to my shirt with a safety pin, underneath. I thought about the tie pin for a long time and finally got up enough courage to go buy one. I purchased a rather plain, gold colored one. I will never forget the day when I put it on, stood in front of the mirror, looked at myself, and said, "Preston, you've really done it!" Then, at once my Pentecostal conscience smote me and I took the thing off! You see, my conscience had been formed in the Pentecostal tradition and I thought that was salvation! Ah, my brethren, I testify to you that if I was saved at all it was only because Christ in His great mercy was present there among all the foolishness of man's ideas and concepts.

Shortly afterward, when a fresh and marvelous moving of the Holy Spirit came and swept over my life in quickening, bringing glory and the Spirit of revelation from God, there came a new and wonderful UNVEILING OF CHRIST to my heart, and for the first time in my life I saw the bondage of tradition, the commandments of men taught as the doctrine of Christ, for the pitiful thing it is. The blessed Spirit of God turned the searchlight within and I saw that just as the sinner needs his heart cleansed from fornication, adultery, lying, drunkenness, cursing, and all the ungodly works of the flesh, so did my conscience need to be cleansed from the traditions of religion – PURGED FROM DEAD WORKS TO SERVE THE LIVING GOD!

How desperately we still need much of this purging, for in many of us our conscience yet labors under the hangover of multiplied man-made-standards, and duty-bound rituals and observances. Many who hear the call to come out of Babylon find it difficult to obey because their religion-conditioned conscience will demand that they "go to church somewhere" on Sunday morning even if they aren't fed spiritually and the place they go reeks of the mustiness of time-honored tradition and the stench of flesh. The fact it is a chore, a struggle not to be critical because of the dryness and emptiness they experience once they get there, doesn't help matters – but until every area of their conscience is purged from DEAD WORKS, these LIFELESS OBSERVANCES, many feel condemned if they don't go someplace, and we surely don't condemn them for going. It is not a question of whether we fellowship someplace or don't fellowship – it is a matter of BEING LED BY THE SPIRIT as to where to go, and how to live out every aspect of our lives, daily. If our fellowship is in some Babylonian Church System because our religion-oriented conscience dictates that we must, that is one thing; but how much better to BE WHERE THE FATHER WANTS US, DOING WHAT THE SPIRIT DICTATES. The defiled human conscience is being replaced by THE LIVING SPIRIT OF CHRIST WITHIN, HE is becoming LORD, blessed be His name!

Within the defiled human conscience are ingrained certain concepts of right and wrong, of what is acceptable to God and what is not acceptable to Him. When ever we are challenged to change one of these concepts we feel threatened. Then, when God puts His finger on some area of our lives, and we do change, quickened by His Spirit, it is hard for us to see that not everyone has to make the same changes! Our attitude is, "If the Lord deals with me about this, He had better deal with you about it!" Not so! God alone knows each of our hearts, our motives, our needs, our plane of growth and development in Him, and He works one way with one individual, and another with the next. HE ALONE knows the what, when, how and why of dealing with each one to accomplish His overall purpose and to conform each of the apprehended ones into THE IMAGE OF CHRIST. All who receive the call to sonship will be dealt with to abandon all confidence in the human conscience that they may put on THE MIND OF CHRIST.

GOD ALL IN ALL

The apostle Paul wrote of great and glorious day that is coming, "Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, THAT GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL" (I Cor. 15:24,28). The Amplified Bible expresses this so beautifully, ".so that God may be all in all – that is, be everything to everyone, supreme, the INDWELLING AND CONTROLLING FACTOR OF LIFE." Truly that is realm beyond human rule and the self-rule of the conscience – GOD the INDWELLING AND CONTROLLING FACTORS OF LIFE, GOD ALL IN ALL!

This will be the grand conclusion of the great drama of the world's history and of Christ's redemption. There will come a day – the glory is such we can form no conception of it, the mystery is so deep we cannot realize it – when the Son shall deliver up the kingdom that the Father gave Him and which He won with His precious blood and established and perfected from the throne of His glory, the Son shall deliver the kingdom up to the Father, the Son Himself shall be subject also unto the Father, "that God may be all in all." It is this that Christ died and rose again for; it is this that His Spirit is working for today in us; it is this that His heart is longing for in each of us, "that God may be all in all." And now, joined unto His as one spirit, the passion of our lives has become: Everything made subject and swallowed up in Him "that God may be all in all." What a life is ours when this becomes the vision! I am praying, and the Holy Spirit is wrestling in me with unutterable longing, "that God may be all in all – in me!"

Yes, the day shall come when throughout all the unbounded heavens, and unto the lowest hell, God shall be all in all, but now there is a company of firstfruits being called and selected to experientially know this "all in all" realm in the here and now, that it may be revealed to the rest of creation. Let us take this home to our hearts that it may rule our lives – this one thought, this one desire, this one aim, this one joy, this one faith: From henceforth I live fully, wholly, only, for this one thing, that in my life, GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL!

A little seed is the beginning of a great tree. A mustard seed becomes a tree in which the birds of the air can nestle. That great day of which the apostle speaks, when Christ Himself shall be subject to the Father, and deliver up the kingdom to the Father, and God shall be all in all – that is the great tree of the Kingdom of God reaching its perfect consummation and glory, when there shall not be a creature anywhere in God's great universe to whom He has not become EVERYTHING. What a song! the Celestial Song of Creation, when every voice intones the words, and every heart bursts with the message, "HE IS EVERYTHING TO ME!" Oh, let us take the seed of that glory into our hearts and let us bow in lowly surrender and submission, saying, "Amen, Lord; this be my one life – that the spirit of sonship within me here and now bow in submission to the Father, delivering up the kingdom in my life, surrendering all to Him, that today, and for ever, GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL."

God help everyone of us who cherish the hope of sonship. God help us all to yield ourselves to HIM, and to make it our everyday life, for His name's sake. Amen!

 


 Chapter 19

THE OBEDIENCE OF SONS

 

"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. and when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat" (Gen. 2:16-17; 3:6).

Genesis opens wondrously, first announcing a creation, then showing it marred, and then a restoration. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." As for God, His work is perfect. If He created, His work must have been good. And yet the next thing is a darkened, chaotic world. for "the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep." In some way, not revealed, God's work had been destroyed. Contrast this statement of a chaotic condition with the following from Isa 45:18: "For thus says the Lord Who created the heavens, God Himself Who formed the earth and made it, Who established it and created it NOT A WORTHLESS WASTE; He formed it to be inhabited." Is this a contradiction between Isaiah and Moses? That question can best be answered by a careful study of the first two verses of Genesis.

The first contents itself with a simple statement of a consummated act: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Not a word about the method, manner, means or procedure of creation, and nothing of its result. The second verse carries a tremendous suggestion of collapse in its touching picture of the Spirit of God brooding over the watery face of the formless void! Let us see what a careful word-study of this second verse will yield.

In the King James Version the text begins: "And the earth was." This word (and) in the Hebrew text is also translated "but," or "moreover." Thus in the Septuagint version of the Scripture the text begins: "But the earth had become." and this is the sense of the Vulgate as well. The second word to be noted is the one translated in the English Bible "was." The Hebrew language lacks a word for "became," so the word "was" is always used to carry out the sense of "became." It is so used in describing Lot’s wife, who “became a pillar of salt.” She was not a pillar of salt to begin with, but the became such by her disobedience. This phrase then literally reads, "But the earth had become. tohu v'bohu!" This Phrase, "tohu v'bohu," is translated in the American revision "waste and void." In the King James Version it reads, "without form and void," but the sense of this phrase is even stronger than that. The Septuagint says, "But the earth had become unfurnished and empty," the Vulgate says "dreary and empty," and the Aramaic makes the strongest and clearest statement of all: "And the earth had become ruined and uninhabited!" Hebrew scholars have said that this is the clearest statement of all, as the term "tohu v'bohu" literally means "desolation succeeding previous life."

The prophet Jeremiah tells us what happened to that pre-historic world, what happened to the cities, how great areas of the world convulsed, the earth rolled over, and the tops rolled over the bottom as the mountains trembled and the hills removed. “I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger” Jer. 4:23-26. Ask any geological engineer what coal beds are, how they were formed, and you will understand clearly the mighty convolutions described by the inspired prophet. A brother told of his visit down in deep mines in the Eastern part of the U.S., over a mile beneath the earth’s surface. He looked at ferns petrified in the solid coal, forty feet long, and over them are mountains of dirt and rock and stone; and they have been folded over, and the compression of the astronomical impact of the influence that came, by whole areas of the earth heaving and rolling, buried those ferns to make this coal and this coal era.

The second verse of Genesis, then, literally should read, "But the earth had become desolate, ruined and unfurnished, covered with water and shrouded with darkness. And the Spirit of God brooded over the face of the waters." Let us clearly keep in mind that all this is prior to the six days of creation. Isaiah says that God created the earth not a waste and Moses states that the earth nevertheless had become a waste. God, then, in the six days, restores that earth, not originally made dark by Him, yet now in darkness; and on this ruined earth His work proceeds UNTIL HIS IMAGE IS SEEN, and He can rest there.

This wonder – of a work of God so soon self-destroyed, meets us again in the beginning of human history, in the Garden. Scarcely is God's image seen in man, before that spiritual work is marred in Adam. The creature formed to bear God's image falls, and thus becomes the stage for another work. In each case mystery surrounds the fall. How the earth once beautiful became "without form and void and dark," is not told us. And how the man, God's image, falls, is a great deep: for great is the mystery of godliness, and not less the mystery of iniquity. But the fact is here. We see man made by the Word of God; and then we see man, AS HE MAKES HIMSELF BY DISOBEDIENCE! This same event happened to Israel – Jeremiah likens Israel to a vessel that was spoiled in the hands of the potter, and how, over and over again, the Lord God “made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it” (Jer. 18:1-6). What a comfort it is that, however dark the circumstances may be, God never gives up, and we read of how the Holy Spirit brooded over the darkness, the chaos, and the howling waste, the havoc that befell that ancient world. Light came instead of satanic darkness, order out of chaos, and beauty out of formlessness and ugliness.

George Hawtin beautifully described the scene when he wrote: Our little minds can but dimly grasp the wonderful transformation that took place when the Spirit of God began to move on the face of the deep. The water, of course, was ice because there was neither light nor heat. That was the true ice age, of which men of science often speak. But now the Spirit of God was moving upon the deep, dividing darkness from light, dispelling the bitter cold, melting the endless snows and the timeless ice, to make the dry land appear that both vegetable and animal life could spring forth at God’s command to live and thrive. Thus it is written, “Thou sendest forth Thy Spirit; they are created: and Thou renewest the face of the earth.” Psa. 104:30. What a marvelous transformation was taking place in that natural creation as old things began to pass away and all things became new! Gone was the darkness, the death, the snow, the ice, and the dreadful cold, and in its stead bustling life and bubbling song filled the whole earth. The earth, that was without form and void, and the gross and terrible darkness that covered it like a shroud is the Lord’s symbolic picture of the condition of unregenerate man. The description given in Genesis 1:2 – the earth was without form and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep – is an apt and accurate description of the spiritual condition of a man outside of Christ, unconverted, unregenerate, and not born again. The word void conveys the meaning of emptiness, destitution, unoccupied, of no effect. What more accurate picture could be given of an unregenerate man as he lives without God or hope in the world? The earth was “without form” before the Spirit of God moved upon it, and darkness – gross, outer darkness – was upon the face of the deep. O man of the world, is not this a picture of your life without God? What form or shape can be given to such an emptiness as a life lived without the Lord? Darkness hangs like a pall over the soul that is dead in trespasses and sins, and, should one gain the whole world and lose his soul, it would profit him nothing at all. Moffatt in his translation of Prov. 4:18,19 has so significantly stated, “The course of bad men lies through darkness dim. They cannot see what makes them stumble; the course of good men, like a ray of dawn, shines on and on to the full light of day.” – end quote.

In relation to spiritual life this man begins nothing, continues nothing, perfects nothing. The wondrous change wrought is by the power of the Word of God. Life and power are in the Word. “God said” – this is the means – just as God formed the first creation in that long ago, so He now fashions the new creation. In both the initiative is on God's part. When all was void and formless and shrouded in darkness and hopelessness and nothing moved, "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." In both creations the transformation is the work of the Word of God, the living and energetic Word of God. God speaks and light breaks forth upon the void. The first step in creation is the awakening of man to spiritual consciousness, the dawning of light in his mind and heart, his perception of Truth through the quickening of his spirit. Light is understanding; and the first day's work is the calling of light or understanding into expression. Light represents intelligence and life – a spiritual quality. Darkness represents ignorance and death. Symbolically these are "day" and "night." Understanding and illumination quicken and enlighten mind and heart and man comes face to face with God, transformed by His glory. Those in whom this work goes on, know that each succeeding step is entirely by the Word of God. As Andrew Jukes wrote, "From everlasting all the work had been hid in Christ, the Eternal Word. Then, in time, that which was in the wisdom of God is wrought actually in the creature. Whether light, or a heaven, or fruits, or heavenly lights, or the living creatures, or the man in God's image – each form of light and life, once hid in Christ, is reproduced, manifested in the creature to the Creator's praise. What was in Christ is step by step accomplished in the earth by the transforming power of the same Word of God. Without this no change is or can be wrought. No saint can grow or live without the Word. What was in the Word from everlasting, by the Word is wrought in us" – end quote.

In the midst of Eden's fair garden, the Lord God set up a testimony, established a law, and this testimony was a test for Adam. It spoke of death in the midst of life. "In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." Strange, solemn sound! Yet it was a needed sound. Adam's life was dependent upon his strict obedience. The link which connected him with the life of God and the image of God was OBEDIENCE, based on implicit confidence in the One who had set him in his position of dignity – confidence in His truth – confidence in His love. He could obey only while he confided, trusted, relied, believed – without questioning.

I would here suggest to my reader the remarkable contrast between the testimony set up in Eden and that which is set up now under the grace of God. Then, when all around was life, God spoke of death; now, on the contrary, when all around is death, God speaks of life! Then, the word was, "In the day thou eatest thou shalt die; now, the word is, "He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath EVERLASTING LIFE, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (Jn. 5:24). And again, "Blessed are they that DO HIS COMMANDMENTS, that they may have right to the tree of life" (Rev. 22:14). Then, in the midst of life, God spoke of disobedience and death; now, in the midst of death, God speaks of OBEDIENCE AND LIFE!

We shall briefly look at Adam's position in Eden. The Word of God teaches us that Adam was a Son of God, and as such, a type, shadowing forth "the second man, the Lord from heaven," our Lord Jesus Christ. That Adam stood in blessed relationship to God as a Son is clear, for the scripture, when tracing the genealogy of Jesus Christ, follows His lineage back to Adam through Enos and Seth, and the record states: ".which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God" (Lk. 3:38). Let us open our hearts that God may speak to us and show us how the obedience or disobedience of Adam constituted the obedience or disobedience of A SON, a fact which defies all possibility of comprehension apart from the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God. Then, the apostle Paul by inspiration reveals a little understood truth about that Son of God called Adam, explaining, "Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, WHO IS THE FIGURE OF HIM THAT WAS TO COME" (Rom. 5:14). Adam. a figure, a type, of Christ!

The word used in the original is "tupos," from which our word "type" derives. The word "tupos" comes from a verb that means "to strike." Tupos, however, did not take on the meaning "blow," but rather the meaning of what is left by a blow, that is, "impression," "imprint," "statuette" (small works of sculpture). Further the word also takes on the meaning of the "mold" with which an impression, imprint, or statuette is made. Thus it can also mean a "pattern." That Adam is called a "tupos" of Christ means that Adam and Christ are related in the same way the mold in which a statuette is cast and the statuette itself are related. The mold prefigures the statuette, and Adam is the "prefiguration" of Christ. The first man Adam, the type, was made "IN the image of God" (Gen. 1:26), but of the last man Adam, the anti-type, the reality, it is written: "Who IS the image of God. the brightness of His glory, and the EXPRESS IMAGE OF HIS PERSON" (Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3).

Some glad morning, the dawn of which methinks I now behold, when the processings of God in the lives of His firstfruits company are complete, our eyes will behold with endless joy the full glory of that heaven blest Eden, the garden in which walked Adam, the Son of God. Our eyes, long dimmed by the darkness of this carnal realm, have not beheld such glories as were there; our ears have not heard its celestial song, nor have our wildest imaginations probed the splendor of that realm of life where Adam and Eve, the Son and daughter of God, stood in God's image knowing no sin, no sorrow nor crying, no labor nor sweat, no pain nor death; for even now, in this "in part" realm of the firstfruits of the Spirit, we yet see through a glass darkly. In the secret place of Eden, the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, Adam dwelt beneath the shadow of the Almighty, for the Lord God is a sun and a shield to all who walk uprightly.

Then in God's inscrutable wisdom the dark hour came when the creature was made subject to vanity (Rom. 8:20). Stretching forth his hand in DISOBEDIENCE, he took of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil and did eat. "And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord" (Gen. 3:7-8). Surely none could have known more fully or intimately the glory of God than did Adam and Eve as they stood in His image and daily walked and talked with Him, but now their disobedience thrust them into a dreadful outer darkness that made them feel naked, ashamed, and frightened at the very thought of God's presence so that they desired only to hide themselves from Him forever.

Here, then, when Adam in disobedience and fear and shame hid himself from the presence of God, was the beginning of all our labor, sorrow and night. The image of God in man was marred, his soul became like the primeval earth, without form and an empty waste, darkened, and agitated by the angry waters of its own passions and lust and frustrations and sorrows. Thus from the brightness of God's glory all men in Adam were cast out; for there is no difference, since all have sinned and come short of the glory of God through man's transgression. Upon our eyes a veil was cast that could not be taken away until the day of triumph in which JESUS CHRIST, THE ONE PREFIGURED BY ADAM, THE SECOND MAN, rent the veil in twain and flung Eden's gates wide open that repentant, forgiven, and newborn men might come with boldness into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus – by a new and living way which He has consecrated for us through the veil, that we who have fixed our hope upon Jesus may now enter back into the glories of Eden, finding ourselves IN THE LAST MAN CHRIST.

Though we are not saved by obedience, we are saved unto obedience. God’s purpose for our lives is that we become holy, and happiness is subsidiary to that. We will never really be happy or fulfilled until we have become holy. Without holiness, no man can see the Lord and it is at His right hand that there are pleasures forevermore. This great truth that happiness comes through obedience and unhappiness, sadness, sorrow and misery come from disobedience is found throughout the scripture. We see it in the very opening of history when God instructed man that he should not eat of the fruit of the tree. But man ate. With that act of disobedience, mankind was plunged into sorrow, sin and woe. It began there and it has never changed. It ends there. In the last chapter of the book of Revelation, we read this: “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life” (Rev 22:14). In that same final book of the Bible we read: “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Rev 2:7).

In Bethlehem's stable Jesus the Christ came into this world as the second man, the last Adam, the new Federal Head of Adam's ancient race – redeemed and restored. He stood in all the dignity and splendor and wisdom and power and dominion given to man in the beginning ere sin and limitation and death passed upon him. What a man! Sinless man. Perfect man. Diseaseless man. Unlimited man. Anointed man. Crowned man. Man in the image of God. God man. Man the revelation of God to creation. Deathless man. What a specimen! What a man! And yet – don't forget this – He took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men, even Adam's benighted race. What infinite strength out of incredible weakness! He was EVERY INCH A MAN! A man who faced' – and conquered – every temptation known to humanity. A man who (though as God, He had been omnipresent) could only be in one place at a time. Although as God He had neither slumbered nor slept (Ps. 121:4), as man, He suffered weariness (Jn. 4:6) and required sleep (Mat. 8:24). He must go from place to place upon hot, weary, dusty feet – His rate of travel limited to the speed of walking, His feet which had trod the infinite spheres of the dimensions of Spirit were soiled and bruised by the dust and stones of the unpaved and filthy Oriental streets and paths of Palestine. How He welcomed the cleansing coolness of the customary foot bath before meals – when some unselfish person thought to minister to Him in this way! He suffered hunger and thirst, loneliness, weariness, and pain. He of whom it had been said, "Every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. The world is Mine and the fullness thereof" (Ps. 50:10, 2), claimed no part of it for Himself AS A MAN, but became even more poor than the foxes and birds, for He had not so much as a place to lay His head (Lk. 9:58).

When Jesus came to earth He died to all that He was as God to become a man. But when He came to the Jordan He died again – He DIED TO ALL THAT HE WAS AS A MAN to be the Son of God. When He went down into the watery grave of John's baptism to "fulfill all righteousness," He offered there all the capabilities, potentials, ambitions, desires, and talents He possessed AS A MAN, laying all upon the altar, surrendered completely to God, reserving nothing for Himself, a burnt-offering, a sweet smelling savor unto God.

Can we imagine what Jesus might have accomplished had He elected to use the wisdom and knowledge and power resident in His PERFECT MANHOOD for His own ends? He could have used His power for wealth and become the richest man in the world. He could have used His talents for power, usurped the thrones of the rulers of this world and become Emperor of the mighty Roman Empire. He might have used His powers for sensual gratification, attracting the fairest women of the world to Him, building the largest harem of the most beautiful women ever possessed by a man. He could have become the world's greatest general, or the most famous artist, or the most acclaimed orator, or the most accomplished musician, or the most brilliant scientist, or the most articulate philosopher, or the most important, distinguished, eminent, exalted, renowned, or noble of a thousand different vocations and positions. But He didn't! He could have rallied the masses and marshaled an army before which the name of Alexander the Great would pale in – to oblivion. He could have built great hospitals, schools of learning, and gold-domed cathedrals. He could have initiated wonderful programs to better society and save the world from disease, poverty, and trouble. But He didn't! He said, simply, "When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am He, and that I can do nothing of Myself; but as My Father hath taught Me, I speak these things. for I do always those things that PLEASE HIM" (Jn. 8:28-29). Yes, dear ones, He DIED TO ALL THAT HE WAS AS A MAN that He might do only and always the will of His Father. And that will led Him to Calvary and the tomb and down into hell. He was the truly and fully obedient Son.

Finally, Jesus died to all that He was as the Son of God, God manifest in the flesh, that He might live again in the glory He had with the Father before the world was – the incorruptible, eternal, unlimited dimension of SPIRIT. For when Jesus was crucified, risen and ascended, He returned to the Father or to SPIRIT and is now with the Father as SPIRIT, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. When this Christ or Anointed One was crucified, risen, and ascended, He returned to His eonian resting place – HUMANITY. He has come as the last Adam, in the place of the first Adam, assuming his position as Head of the race, in order to QUICKEN THE SPIRITS OF ALL MEN BY HIS SPIRIT that they may regain the sacred knowledge of WHO THEY ARE and from WHENCE THEY CAME – the image of God on earth. As in the first chapter of Genesis, the Spirit of God – the Christ, the Anointing – is moving upon the face of the waters, upon the faces of multitudes of people, even the whole vast world of humanity. And God is speaking into the darkened consciousness of all men the transforming fiat: "LET THERE BE LIGHT!"

When the Lord God lowered man into this gross material realm man possessed, by the spirit, the divine potential to overcome the flesh, sanctify it, transform it, infusing it with the qualities of Life – holiness and incorruption. Jesus, the last Adam, came and demonstrated for us this very principle. This potential in man to rule the natural by the spirit is shed forth in Jesus' mighty works – by His healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, casting out devils, forgiving sins, and raising the dead – He transcended by His life, words, and actions all the so-called laws of the material, mortal realm. The great significance of Jesus' mighty works will never ring clear in our spirits until we understand that He did not perform as a unique, different kind of man – all His wonderful works were the teaching of what is NORMAL FOR MAN IN HIS TRUE STATE AS THE IMAGE OF GOD. As the last Adam Jesus demonstrated all that the first Adam lost--mankind's heritage as the sons and daughters of the Most High. Little wonder, then, that He confidently and joyfully proclaimed to His disciples, "The works that I do shall YE DO ALSO; and greater works than these shall YE DO" (Jn. 14:12, Paraphrased).

By the Spirit within (the Father dwelling in Him) Jesus made nature harmonious – calming the raging of the sea, walking on the water, multiplying the loaves and fishes, turning water into wine, and making everything in nature, including the human mind and body, to be servants instead of masters. When a man's life is governed by the Spirit, his body is in submission to everlasting Life, Truth and Love. Finally, going to the cross and Himself rising from the dead He demonstrated for all men the wonderful and incontrovertible truth in the words of the apostle: "If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit which DWELLETH I-N Y-O-U" (Rom. 8:11). The truth had been lived among men, God was manifested in flesh, the image of God had come forth in the face of Jesus Christ. But until they saw that the INDWELLING SPIRIT enabled their Master to triumph even over the grave, His own disciples could not comprehend the MAGNITUDE OF THE POWER OF GOD IN MAN. After the resurrection, even the unbelieving Thomas was forced to acknowledge how complete was the great proof of the power of the divine life in earthen vessels.

By His resurrection Jesus proved the Spirit within to be OMNIPOTENT, all-conquering, all-sufficient. He met and mastered death itself by the law of the Spirit of Life. He took no drugs to allay inflammation. He did not depend upon food or pure air or vitamins or herbs to resuscitate wasted energies. He did not require the skill of a surgeon to heal the torn palms and bind up the wounded side and lacerated feet, that He might use those hands to remove the napkin and winding-sheet, and that He might employ His feet as before. Jesus vanquished every material obstacle, overcame every law of matter, and stepped forth from His gloomy resting-place, crowned with the glory of a sublime success, and everlasting victory – the second MAN, the last ADAM – the role-model for each and every man of Adam's race! Jesus' victory over sin, sickness, pain, limitation, death and the grave was for the enlightenment of all men and for the salvation of the whole world. Paul writes, "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved BY HIS LIFE (WITHIN). Rom 5:10

Glory be to God and peace to the struggling hearts, Christ hath rolled away the stone from the human door, human hope and faith through the revelation and demonstration of Life in God, the life resident in the SPIRITUAL MAN.

We have come to the most sublime of all truths. The beauty of these celestial realities is found in the fact that all Jesus did He did "for us" – not in our place, but ON OUR BEHALF. A musician demonstrates the beauty of the music he teaches in order to show the learner the way by practice as well as precept. This was the precious import of our Lord's sinless life and of His demonstration of power over the whole flesh realm, including death. Our heavenly Father demands that all men should follow the example of our Lord and Master. In order to enter the Kingdom of the Heavens, the anchor of hope must be cast beyond the veil of this carnal, dying realm into the Shekinah into which Jesus has passed before us; and this advance beyond the law of sin and death must come through the joys and triumphs of a people "led by the Spirit" who are "the sons of God" as well as through their sorrows and afflictions. It is by facing the enemy in the crucible of experience and by the authority of the Spirit that victory is snatched from the jaws of defeat. Each and every test in our lives is an opportunity to prove for ourselves and demonstrate to those about the triumph of the Spirit over the flesh. Step by step, battle by battle, victory upon victory we ascend into the heights of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Man, through self, is all that we see in disobedient Adam, debased and sunk from God and thrust out of the Kingdom of Heaven into the desolation of self-hood, from joy and glory into misery; and yet in Christ, THE SECOND MAN WHO WAS OBEDIENT, man has been, and shall be set in all the glory which the first man typified, so that Paul can say, "God hath raised us up, and blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 2:6; 1:3). Adam, sinless and ruling all things in Eden's blest domain, is the type of the man in Christ, as God makes him by the Spirit; fallen Adam, losing all through disobedience, with mind and will and body and soul devastated by the tyranny of sin, sorrow and decay, typifies man in self, as he unmakes his own nature. Adam in the image of God prefigured, with glories more than the eye can see, the wonderful hope of sonship to God which is the hope set before us who are today following Christ, which hope we have as an anchor for the soul both steadfast and sure and which entereth into that within the veil (Heb. 6:19).

THE POWER OF DISOBEDIENCE

Let us pursue a little further the thought of the effect of Adam's disobedience upon all mankind. Paul says in Rom. 5:19: "for just as by one man's disobedience (failing to hear, heedlessness and carelessness) the many were constituted sinners, so by one Man's obedience the many will be constituted righteous – made acceptable to God, brought into right standing with Him" (Amplified Bible). The word disobedience in this verse is from the Greek word parakoe which comes from a root meaning "to mishear; neglect to hear; inattention." It speaks of A HEARING AMISS, or a wrong hearing. The verse also speaks of Christ's obedience, the word for obedience in the Greek is hupako meaning A SUBMISSIVE HEARKENING. If obedience is a right hearing and obedient action thereto, then disobedience is simply a wrong hearing, a hearing amiss, and then acting in kind. It means a hearing of a voice OTHER THAN GOD'S, a LISTENING TO THE WRONG VOICE and then acting upon what is suggested. Adam and Eve listened to the voice of a stranger, the voice of the bestial spirit of this world, as represented by the serpent, and found that sin was at the door, and death by sin.

It would not have been so tragic if Adam's sin had affected himself alone, if all after him could have observed the horrible fruit of his sin and then kept themselves from the same ravaging despair; but the scriptures faithfully point out the awful POWER OF DISOBEDIENCE, revealing that it was by ONE MAN'S DISOBEDIENCE that "the many" – ALL – WERE MADE SINNERS! As Adam fell, we fall each one, for Adam lives yet in his progeny. Because Adam had the principle of sin and death imposed as an actual feature of his biological life, his descendants also have inherited a life principle which involves a built-in death principle. The moment a child is conceived the nature of disobedience is in him and the power of death – so that in the same moment he is conceived he is a sinner by nature and also begins to die; he is dying ere he is born, and eventually the death principle wins out over the life principle and he does die. And, fallen in Adam, men prove he is in them, by walking just as he walked. Adam yet relives old Adam's life in every unregenerated man, as Christ in us yet lives Christ's life. With all emphasis I must declare that at the very most, the worst offender on earth, has committed a crime WHICH IS INHERENT IN HIS OWN NATURE, and the eye of the all-seeing God sees what even we, in most cases, cannot see, that the most wicked sinner on earth IS SIMPLY DOING THAT OVER WHICH HE REALLY HAS NO CONTROL. People tell me that "man has a choice," but I declare to you that when I came into this world some 43 years ago ADAM HAD ALREADY MADE MY CHOICE FOR ME. God didn't ask me if I would prefer to be born a sinner or a saint – Adam answered that question for me in the dim and misty past! Never in my life did I have a choice until the blessed day when the Spirit of God came and illumined my mind, convincing me of sin, of righteousness and of judgment to come, and showing me the things of Christ, taking the glories of Him and unveiling them to my astonished soul; then, and not until then did I have a choice, and it did not take me long, beloved friends, to make that choice!

Until the day God intervened and apprehended me sovereignly by His Spirit I was in no way responsible for my actions and, try as I might, I could never have been different that I was, and neither could you. If this is not the case then the apostle lied when he said, "And you He made alive, when you were dead, slain by your trespasses and sins in which at one time you walked HABITUALLY. You were following the course and fashion of this world – were under the sway of the tendency of this present age – following the prince of the power of the air. You were obedient to him and UNDER HIS CONTROL, the demon spirit that still constantly works in THE SONS OF DISOBEDIENCE, who go against the purposes of God. Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in passions of our flesh – our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature; obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind – our cravings dictated by our senses and our dark imaginings. WE WERE THEN BY NATURE THE CHILDREN OF WRATH, like the rest of mankind" (Eph. 2:1-3, Amplified Bible).

Surely this explains why the day-old infant in the crib gets mad, turns red in the face, screams to the top of his lung's capacity, and the only reason he doesn't "cuss" is because he hasn't learned the words! Have you not observed that in this world children do not have to be taught to do wrong – it comes naturally! You don't have to teach little Johnny to sneak around and disobey – and then lie about it. He will do it naturally, out of his own heart and mind, without ever being taught. Johnny will steal cookies out of the cookie jar and then look you straight in the eye and swear he hasn't been near the cookie jar – while the telltale cookie crumbs around his mouth give the lie to his affirmations! Ah, children only have to be taught to do right – never wrong! Consider the following quote: “Our youths love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority – they show disrespect for their elders, and love to chatter in place of experience. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when their elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up food, and tyrannize teachers.” You may think these are the words of a speaker in New York City, Miami or Los Angeles. Actually, they were spoken by the Greek Philosopher, Socrates, in the year 400 B.C.! The message is clear – nature has not changed one whit in the past 2,400 years!

Men have, in their very blood, been saturated with sin, with lawlessness, with nervous temperaments and diseases WHICH HAVE BEEN THE DIRECT CAUSE OF THEIR TRANSGRESSION. God in His great mercy knows this, and thus it is written, "And the Lord said in His heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every living thing, as I have done" (Gen. 8:21). I do not hesitate to say that all the multiplied sins upon earth today ARE THE RESULT OF HEREDITORY WEAKNESSES – inherited from Adam! Ah, beloved, such is the unspeakable POWER OF DISOBEDIENCE, a power beyond the scope of human imagination. I now invite you to meditate deeply upon these inspired words penned nineteen centuries ago by the consecrated hand of the apostle Paul. "Well then, as one man's trespass – one man's false step and falling away – led to CONDEMNATION FOR ALL MEN, so one Man's act of righteousness leads to ACQUITTAL AND RIGHT STANDING WITH GOD, AND LIFE FOR ALL MEN" (Rom. 5:18). Can we not see by these words what a mighty power there is in both obedience and disobedience?

THE POWER OF OBEDIENCE

How shall I describe the blessing that came to my own soul when Jesus Christ revealed to me that as potent as was the power of Adam's disobedience, mightier yet is the power contained in THE OBEDIENCE OF THE SON OF GOD. All the languages and dialects of earth do not contain words meaningful enough to describe the immensity and all-embracing work of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Open wide your heart to behold the power and the glory of the CONQUERING LOVE OF GOD spoken of in these words of scripture: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through Him that loved us" (Rom. 8:35-37). To be MORE than conqueror in the face of such trials and perils as the apostle enumerated, there must come to us, yea, INTO US, a mighty power. Think of it! "We are KILLED all the day long." What kind of power is needed to be "killed all the day long" and yet remain alive – conqueror? The answer is: THE LOVE OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS. "For I am persuaded, that neither death, not life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us FROM THE LOVE OF GOD, which is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:38-39).

But now, take careful note of the truth the Spirit is here revealing. "In all these things we are MORE than conquerors." Not just a banner waving sense of personal victory that "I" am a great conqueror. No! It is not that "I" am, but that HE IS – more than conquerors THROUGH HIM THAT LOVED US. If then it is through-Him-that-loved-us, by which we have become more than conquerors, then HE IS NOT ONLY A CONQUEROR BUT MORE THAN A CONQUEROR, blessed be His name!

More. More than. My deepest prayer to God is that He may grant understanding to all who read these lines that you may see the wonderful significance of this word "more." You can never comprehend the greatness of God's love, the majesty of His purpose, nor the glories of His Kingdom and the bright ages yet to come unless your spirit can grasp this word "more." Rex Andrews once explained that "more” is that which goes beyond the limits. A pound of beans is a set limit. I pay 53 cents for a pound package of beans. But if I find in my bag a pound and a half or two pounds, that is "more." It surpasses the limits of the 53 cents. I am amazed, delighted, happy, and a sense of well-being pervades me; someone has done MORE than required or paid for. It has a language all its own. That language of MORE THAN is what the Bible is teaching from the first verse in Genesis to the last verse in Revelation. That is what GOD IS AND DOES. That is what LOVE IS AND DOES. That is what GRACE IS AND DOES. That is what SALVATION IS AND DOES!

More than! You cannot understand God nor His language apart from it. Nor can you really fellowship deeply with the Father in prayer unless you understand HIM as being "more than." Nor can you understand what His Kingdom is, nor how it shall develop, nor His plan and purpose for the ages to come, unless you understand what "more than" means. If your hope is merely something for you, and the rest of the "little flock" of saints, and not "more than," then it is not from the heart of God and is a product of self. Listen! "The love of God is broader than the measures of man's mind; and the heart of the eternal is most wonderfully kind." "More than" is something for HIM – yes, ALL for Him! More than means abundance – MORE THAN ENOUGH.

"The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. AND THE PARCHED GROUND SHALL BECOME A POOL, and the thirsty land springs of water" (Isa. 35:1,6-7). Abundance may mean: a good rain as compared with a dry season. Now if it keeps on steadily, that abundance becomes super abundance – “more than” enough. And, more-than-enough is floods (Isa. 44:3). But again the term "floods" can mean: a wonderful, wonderful abundance, almost unknown, as compared with a characteristic dryness of long, long standing. That is what "more than" means in God's Word: "FLOODS" – overflowing, super-abounding!

And what has God promised? "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it MORE ABUNDANTLY" (Jn. 10:10). LIFE – "more abundantly." The root of the word "abundant" or "abound" is the Latin "abundare" meaning to overflow; to rise in waves; that motion of which the wave is a figure – a breaking over, a going beyond limits, a flowing over." Isn't that glorious? LIFE – more abundantly. More than more-than-enough. Floods. To the uttermost! The very image of God's love and His desire and will. LIFE more-than-enough. Life to swallow up every vestige of the curse in us. Life beyond the life Adam had in the beginning. Redemption – and MORE THAN. All that Adam possessed – plus! Life beyond angelic life. The eternal, holy, divine LIFE OF GOD HIMSELF. Life floods. Floods of life; floods of God! To the dry, and thirsty, and parched ground of human hearts – FLOODS. blessed be the name of the Lord!

I suppose that all the arguments and persuasions in the world will not convince some saints of the incontrovertible truth of the words found in Rom. 5:19-20. "For just as by one man's disobedience the many were constituted sinners, so by one Man's obedience the many WILL BE CONSTITUTED RIGHTEOUS – made acceptable to God, brought into right standing with Him. But then Law came in, only to expand and increase the trespass (making it more apparent and exciting opposition). But where sin increased and abounded, GRACE HAS SURPASSED IT AND INCREASED THE MORE AND SUPERABOUNDED." The King James Version says simply, "Where sin abounded, GRACE DID MUCH MORE ABOUND."

No one will dispute that SIN abounded, or that it overflowed, spilling out of Eden's fair garden and saturating the whole earth and all men. Abound means overflow – constantly filling and running over like a spring of water or ocean wave. Ah, yes, sin overflowed, flowed all over, flooded the world, permeated the minds and temperaments and nature of all men everywhere, until the seed of Adam's disobedience has grown and increased through six long millenniums in the field of the world and has now come to horrible fullness. Wicked man and seducers are waxing worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. The grapes of wrath are not only ripe, but they are over-ripe, as the original implies in Rev. 14:15. The fullness of sin and death is such that no flesh could survive the desolation that lies ahead unless the Lord Himself were to cut the days short. We recognize this fact. Men in all walks of life recognize it. Men in high places recognize it. The hearts of men who know what the score really is in this treacherous hour are failing them for fear, as they contemplate the things that are about to come upon the world in this generation.

But what about that other seed that was cast into the earth, the second man, the last Adam, the OBEDIENT SON? Are we going to credit the disobedience of Adam with having more power and authority than the Christ? Are we going to infer that the law of sin and death has even greater potential than the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus? Are we going to believe that the law of sin and death has the power and ability to stretch forth its poisonous tentacles into every area of human-kind, to the complete perversion of body, soul, and spirit, and then at the same time draw back in unbelief at the revelation of the Word concerning the law of the spirit of life (more abundantly) in Christ Jesus? Five times in Romans 5 does the apostle Paul use the expression "much more" relative to the POWER OF GRACE OF GOD, IN CONTRAST TO THE SIN OF ADAM. Shall we not believe that there is a much greater and a "much more" potential in the redeeming grace of Christ, than there is in the law of sin and death? Is there not a "much more" effectual working of grace of God in the last Adam, than there was of the power of disobedience in the first Adam? In other words, are we going to honor the power of Adam and Satan ABOVE THE REDEEMING POWER OF CHRIST?

Our problem seems to be simply this. We believe, oh, HOW we believe! in the horrible manifestation of sin and death in Adam – because it is a matter of history in the past, and of fact in the present. But – we reject the glorious manifestation of the law of the Spirit of life in Christ because it is not too manifest in history, nor scarcely visible in this present day. Men will not believe until they see. But those called to be the SONS OF GOD, though unknown by the world as yet, are even now believing what they cannot see, and indeed the whole creation groans for their manifestation, for the creation itself SHALL BE DELIVERED from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. If the life of God is not to overflow super-abundantly to the entire creation, then the manifestation of the sons of God is TOTALLY WITHOUT PURPOSE. I do not hesitate to declare it.

Who has not been distressed by the overflowing of evil and sorrow and death? But – where sin increased and abounded, grace has surpassed it and increased the more and super-abounded. In the same place where sin and evil overflowed, grace did – do we dare to say what the scripture says here? Will not someone think that we are getting off into some heresy? Oh well, we will just happily sing it out – "where sin overflowed, grace did EXCEEDINGLY-MORE-THAN-OVERFLOW!" Where evil flooded, grace more-than flooded. Grace equaled the overflow of sin, and THEN MORE. Grace overflowed where sin did, and then became permanent floods of mercy and redemption! If the Word of God does not teach this, then I know nothing of the Word. Oft times we have sung the little chorus:

"His love has no limit, His grace has no measure,
His power has no boundaries known unto man,
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!"

The limitation of God's mercy, if it were possible, would be the condemnation of God Himself. If there are limits to His mercy, then the Word of God, which says that "His mercy endureth forever," is a lie. The limitation of God's mercy is a trick of the devil, to discredit God and to defeat His gospel. The limitation of God's mercy makes the disobedience of Adam more powerful and enduring than the OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST. I am glad for a gospel that is coextensive with, AND GREATER THAN, the devil’s work in spirit, soul and body. I am glad for a gospel that is not limited to one age, or to the three-score-and-ten years of man's frail existence, but reaches out into the ages to come until GOD IS ALL IN ALL. I am so glad for a gospel which tells me that God has made a way by which even His banished may return. The Lord Jesus, the Christ, said, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw" – how many? "ALL men." "ALL MEN unto Myself! (Jn. 12:32). If that proclamation is not true, if He is not strong enough and gracious enough to draw every man on earth, and under the earth, and throughout the universe, to Himself, then He has told a lie.

If you say that sin abounds to an extent not equaled by grace, you again contradict the Word of God. If God could eventually be defeated in the purpose for which He created man, to be an "habitation" for Himself, "in the Spirit," and if He were to abandon all effort, and permit man throughout the endlessness of eternity to be possessed by the devil, then He had better stop saying that He is God Almighty. All-wise and All-merciful. That would be failure and proof that the devil is stronger than the Christ, that sin exceeds grace, which we know is not true. You will have to tear the Bible all to pieces if you teach such doctrine.

THE WAY TO OBEDIENCE

The Lord Jesus Christ, the second Man, the last Adam, was the first perfectly obedient man. It is written of Him in His youth: "And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men" (Lk. 2:52). The expression "increasing" means to CUT A WAY THROUGH AS A PIONEER. Jesus lived making decisions as no other teenager ever had. He hacked a way through the jungle of selfishness and sin, amidst a people who lived under the curse. He made decisions and choices based on light and truth, the first of His kind. Isaiah had described this learning process centuries before: "The Lord God hath given Me the tongue of the learned that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: He wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth Mine ear to hear as the learned. The Lord God hath opened Mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back" (Isa. 50:4-5).

The writer to the Hebrews impresses upon us the intense reality of Christ's humanity – His being made like unto His brethren, His partaking of flesh and blood in like manner as ourselves, His being tempted in all things like as we are. He leads us in spirit down into Christ's humiliation in the flesh, and speaks of the wondrous mystery of the agony there, as the "second man" was prepared and perfected for the redeeming and glorifying work He came to do. Let us enter upon this holy ground with hearts bowed under a consciousness of our ignorance, but thirsting to know something more of the great mystery of godliness, the Son of God become flesh for us. "Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared; though He were a Son, YET LEARNED HE OBEDIENCE BY THE THINGS WHICH HE SUFFERED; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him" (Heb. 5:7-9).

THOUGH HE WERE A SON – the form of the expression implies that no one would have expected from the Son of God what is now to be said, – YET LEARNED HE OBEDIENCE BY THE THINGS WHICH HE SUFFERED. Gethsemane was the final class in the school where our Elder Brother, made like to us in all things, learnt His last and most difficult lesson of obedience through what He suffered. As the Son of God, one could say that there could be no thought of His learning obedience. But the first man, the one who prefigured Him, had also been a Son of God, and he had FAILED TO LEARN OBEDIENCE. But Jesus – so real was His emptying Himself of His life in glory, and so complete His entrance into all the conditions of our nature, that He did indeed need to learn obedience.

This is the very essence of the life of man, that the life and the will he has received from God cannot be developed without the voluntary giving up to God in all that He asks, even when it appears a sacrifice. Man can only attain his perfection under a law of growth, of trial, and of development, in the overcoming of what is contrary to God's will, and the assimilating of what that will reveals. In His prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, Jesus maintained His allegiance to God's will: in the wrestlings and bloody sweat He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. The deepest suffering taught Him the highest lesson of obedience: when He had yielded His will and His life, His obedience was complete, – He Himself was perfected forevermore, bless His wonderful name!

The fact that Jesus had to pass through such awesome sufferings to lead Him to obedience should teach us something about the plight of the unregenerated man and his total inability to do righteousness or even to voluntarily choose the way of the Lord. This is why Jesus came as a pioneer of obedience, to open up the way. And this is why God sent an OVERFLOWING OF GRACE to redeem poor helpless slaves to the devil. I clearly see what God takes into account when dealing with mankind in Adam. He never forgets that we are "dust," and He remembers just the kind of muck from which our souls and bodies came. Jesus Christ, our High Priest, knows what the weakness of the flesh is. He knows what it costs to conquer it, and how little, even we who have been begotten from above, are able to do it. He lives in the heavens, able to succour us; sympathizing with our weaknesses; bearing gently with the ignorant and erring; a High Priest on the throne, that we may boldly draw nigh to find grace for timely help. He lives in our life and reigns in our heart, to impart to us His own spirit of obedience, so that His Priesthood may bring us into the full reality of all He Himself has and is.

So when He had been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, because He now had that perfected human nature which He could communicate to them. And so He was appointed High Priest – a Son, perfected forever more. As Son of God, He was able to take us up into the very life of God; as High Priest, He was to lift us, in actual spiritual reality, into God's fellowship and will and glory; the way in which He was perfected through obedience was the living way in which He was to lead us; – as a Son, perfected through obedience, who had found and opened and walked the path of obedience as the path into God, and would animate us with His own Spirit to do it too; He, the perfected One, can alone be OUR SALVATION! Salvation is by grace; perfection is by obedience. But even perfection is a part of salvation, for we are SAVED FROM OURSELVES INTO THE IMAGE OF HIMSELF.

Those who will be privileged to be with the Lord, and reign with Him in His Kingdom, bringing the nations and the powers that be into subjection to the King of kings, and restoring the creation to find its one Head in Christ Jesus, will be under the command of the King. And being under His command, to do His will, and fulfill His purpose, we will have to know what unquestioning obedience is. This is what is required of a soldier, to obey the command of his superior officer without question; even though he might not think it is the right thing to do, and he may believe that he knows a better way; but he is bound to obey, asking no questions and offering no advice. So those who will reign with Christ must learn this same measure of obedience. In order to do this we have to learn to know the voice of God, and to understand what His commands and will are. This requires complete surrender and absolute submission to Him.

THE OBEDIENCE OF THE SONS

All sons must learn this obedience. "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, THEY ARE THE SONS OF GOD. For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the MANIFESTATION OF THE SONS OF GOD" (Rom. 8:14,19). WHY? "Because the creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Rom. 8:21). Because these SONS will be the living demonstration of the life intended for man before the world began, the life of the last Adam. The whole of God's creation, including every principality and power, every man who has ever lived, every realm of heaven and earth and hell, and all of nature itself, is breathlessly waiting for the time of the manifestation of the sons of God. The whole creation has been subjected to a kind of UNIVERSAL TRAVAIL. It has endured for millenniums the terrible bondage of corruption, but God has placed a hope in all creation that it will eventually be delivered from its thralldom and decay by the ministry of the sons of God, who are now being formed in the very image of Christ and will be manifested in the glory of His resurrection at the end of this age and throughout the ages to come until GOD IS ALL IN ALL.

Needless to say, such a manifestation will not include "rebellious, immature sons," who refuse to walk in the Spirit and fulfill the righteousness of God, not having overcome the lusts of the flesh and the nature of old Adam. There is a "going on to perfection," bringing to maturity this new creation life, bringing the formation of a "firstfruit company" through whom HE shall minister the life and triumph of His Kingdom, to bless all nations, and to fulfill His purpose of restoration of all things, for how shall we minister that which we do not ourselves experientially possess? And this now brings me to the conclusion that either we are going on to perfection, or we are not. It is not a case of "win some, lose some, one day God is winning, the next day the devil is winning, pray for me that I'll hold out to the end, after all I'm just human, but hope that in the hour when the sons of God are revealed I may squeak through."

We have already considered the mighty power released by ADAM'S DISOBEDIENCE and the super-mighty power contained in CHRIST'S OBEDIENCE. The languages of earth simply do not contain words that are able to express the VAST IMPORTANCE of THE POWER OF OBEDIENCE AND DISOBEDIENCE. At one time King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon caused a great image to be made and to be covered with gold. This image he set up as an idol to be worshipped on the plain of Dura. At one moment in this pagan service before the image all the trumpets sounded, the drums were beaten and music was made upon musical instruments of all kinds, as a signal for all the people to bow down before the idol. There were in Babylon at that time three young Hebrew men, servants of the Most High God. They stood up and would not bow down! Nebuchadnezzar was filled with rage that anyone should dare to disobey his words. He sent for these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and ordered them to worship the god of Babylon. Filled with holy zeal and with the Spirit of God they answered, "Oh King, we are ready to answer you at once. The God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the fiery furnace, and we know that He will save us. But even if He doesn't deliver us, even then you may understand, Oh King, that we will not serve your gods nor worship the golden image that you have set up." The answer made the King more furious than before. He said to his servants, "Make a fire in the furnace hotter than it has ever been before, as hot as fire can be made, and throw these men into it." Then soldiers of the King's army seized these three servants of Yahweh, tied them with ropes, dragged them into the mouth of the furnace, and threw them into the fire. The flames rushed from the open door with such fury that they burned even to death the soldiers who were holding these men; and the men themselves fell down bound into the middle of the furnace. King Nebuchadnezzar stood and looked into the open door. As he looked he was filled with wonder at what he saw; and he said to the nobles around him: "Did we not throw three men bound into the fire? How is it that I see four men loose, walking in the furnace, and the fourth man looks like a son of the gods!" He came near the door of the furnace, and called out to the three men within: "Ye who serve the Most High God, come out of the fire and come to me!" They came out and stood before the King, in the sight of all the princes and nobles and rulers; their garments had not been scorched nor the hair singed, neither was there the smell of smoke upon them. The King said before all the rulers of his kingdom: "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent His angel, and delivered His servants that trusted in Him. Therefore I make a decree, that EVERY PEOPLE, NATION, AND LANGAUGE, WHICH SPEAK ANYTHING AMISS AGAINST THE GOD OF SHADRACH, MESHACH, AND ABEDNEGO, SHALL BE CUT IN PIECES, AND THEIR HOUSES SHALL BE MADE A DUNGHILL: BECAUSE THERE IS NO OTHER GOD THAT CAN DELIVER AFTER THIS SORT."

Every nation and people and tongue to honor the God of Heaven! Why? Because of the OBEDIENCE OF THREE MEN OF GOD. Nothing else. They did not conduct an evangelistic campaign, they passed out no tracts, they did no healings nor miracles, they sent no armies against the King of Babylon; they simply OBEYED; and by their obedience every nation under heaven was brought to honor God. This should help us to understand THE POWER OF OBEDIENCE!

And what shall I more say? for the time and space fail me to tell of Gideon, and David, and Solomon, and Daniel and the prophets who by their OBEDIENCE shook and subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness and filled the earth with the glory of the Lord. Daniel OBEYED and found himself in the lions den, but God sent His angel and shut the lion's mouths. When Darius, King of the Medes and Persians, called Daniel forth from the den of lions it is written: "Then King Darius wrote unto ALL PEOPLE, NATIONS, AND LANGUAGES, THAT DWELL IN ALL THE EARTH; Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, that in every dominion of my kingdom MEN TREMBLE AND FEAR BEFORE THE GOD OF DANIEL, FOR HE IS THE LIVING GOD, and steadfast forever, AND HIS KINGDOM THAT WHICH SHALL NOT BE DESTROYED, AND HIS DOMINION SHALL BE UNTO THE END." What a word! What a type is Daniel of those sons of God who shall pass through the tribulation of these final days of the kingdoms of this world and who shall, BY THEIR OBEDIENCE ALONE, bring in that more glorious age of the Kingdom of God. If by the grace of God this holy vision can burst upon you, you will perceive what a mighty earth-shaking power is THE POWER OF OBEDIENCE. The hour is at hand when a vast company of sons shall stand in the obedience of Christ and the government shall be upon His shoulder to order the whole world in justice and judgment, peace and equity, redemption and transformation for the glorious Kingdom age. At this very moment the kingdoms of this world are falling apart at the seams and collapsing, but God is preparing an enduring Kingdom that shall never be destroyed, ruled over by the SONS OF OBEDIENCE.

We have thus far considered the power of Adam's disobedience, the power of obedience revealed through the lives of men of faith, and the transcendent power of CHRIST'S OBEDIENCE. Let us now meditate upon the power contained in the obedience of the sons of God. There is indeed a wonderful fruit to be borne out of our obedience, as Paul explains in II Cor. 10:4-6. "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST; and (Christ) having in a readiness to REVENGE ALL DISOBEDIENCE, WHEN YOUR OBEDIENCE IS FULFILLED." The Amplified Bible reads: "Being in readiness to punish every insubordinate for his disobedience, WHEN YOUR OWN SUBMISSION AND OBEDIENCE ARE FULLY SECURED." The great soul-gripping truth is that all disobedience in every stronghold of the spirit realms and the lofty reasoning's of the carnal minds of men shall be revenged, punished, and SUBJECTED TO CHRIST, WHEN OUR OBEDIENCE IS FULLY SECURED AND COMPLETE!

As we have already pointed out, all creation is groaning in travail and waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, for in them lies the embodiment of creation's hope for its deliverance. Now, as the sons betoken the hope for creation, it is THE SON who is the hope of the sons, for it is in our Lord Jesus Christ that all our hope for restoration lies resident. Now when we say that the hope of the world is found in the Sons, that does not exclude our Lord – we are only emphasizing the point that these sons, when they are fully conformed to His image, become the manifestation of HIMSELF to the world, and thus Christ is glorified and lifted up in measures hitherto unknown. The world shall behold THE CHRIST revealed through the CHRISTED-COMPANY, with the Sons being the many-splendored manifestation of Himself. The price of becoming a part of this manifestation is simply that of being a partaker of the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death, until it is no more I, but CHRIST. Our identity erased, His alone to be revealed. Thus it is not taking way from His glory, but only an adding, enlarging, intensification, multiplying of it, increasing the platform of HIS OBEDIENCE unto the subduing of all things. And it is this obedience, now being personified in a people, THE FIRST-FRUITS OF HIMSELF, that becomes the HOPE of creation, for if God, omnipotent and glorious, gracious and merciful, can transform such as us – we become the hope, yea, the proof – that He can and shall do so for the rest of Creation!

 


 Chapter 20

A SABBATH IN EDEN

"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and HE RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY from all His work which He had made. And God BLESSED THE SEVENTH DAY, AND SANCTIFIED IT: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made" (Gen. 2:1-3).

In Genesis we have the Book of Beginnings. To its first three chapters we are specially indebted for divine light shining on the many questions to which human wisdom never could find the answer. In our search after the fullness of God, and a separation unto Him and His purposes, we are led thither too. The great reality of being separated unto God, of being conformed to His image, to be holy as He is holy, perfect as He is perfect, is there revealed. In the whole book of Genesis the Hebrew word for "holy" or "sanctified" occurs but once. But that once is so profound and dramatic, opening to us the secret treasure house in which we discover all that the Bible has to teach us of this heavenly blessing of being SEPARATED UNTO GOD. The full meaning of the precious word the Spirit would now unveil to our hearts is disclosed in what is here written of that wondrous act of God, by which He completed His creation work, and revealed how wonderfully it would be brought into relationship with Himself and His purpose in it gloriously fulfilled. When God BLESSED THE SEVENTH DAY AND SANCTIFIED IT, He lifted it up above other days, and set it apart to a work and revelation of Himself, excelling in glory all that had preceded. In this simple expression, "and God sanctified," scripture reveals to us the character of God as the Holy One, who MAKES HOLY, and the way in which He makes holy – by entering in and RESTING.

God sanctified the Sabbath day. He made it holy. Of the previous six days the keyword was, from the first calling into existence of the heavens and the earth, down to the making of man: God created. Suddenly a new word and a new work of God is introduced: God sanctified. Something higher than creation, that for which creation is to exist, is now to be revealed; God, omnipotent in might and power, is now to be known as God Most Holy. And just as the work of creation shows His Power, so His making holy the seventh day reveals His Character as the Holy One. And just as He alone is Creator, so He alone is Sanctifier; to separate unto Himself and make holy is His work as truly and exclusively as to create. Blessed is the child of God who truly and fully believes this!

God had pronounced all His works, and man the crown of them, very good, exceedingly good. And yet, they were not holy. The six days work had naught of defilement, sin, or death, and yet it was not holy. Man stood in the image of God – but in innocence, not holiness, brought forth by the hand of God, pure, innocent, undefiled, but to be sure, very unproven and untried. Had Adam been truly holy by nature he would not have sinned! No, my brother, God did not create Adam holy, He created him innocent, as a new-born babe, to be dealt with and eventually made holy. The seventh day needed to be specially set apart and MADE HOLY, for the great work of making holy the man, who was already good.

In Exodus, God says distinctly that He sanctified the Sabbath day, with a view to man's sanctification. It is altogether impossible to overemphasize the truth of this inspired word: "Truly you shall keep My Sabbaths, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the Lord, do SANCTIFY YOU – SET YOU APART FOR MYSELF" (Ex. 31:13). Thus God sanctified a DAY to declare that He would sanctify a PEOPLE; the day and the people are not merely related – the day and the people so become ONE that the people BECOME THE DAY. The seventh day was made holy by God, separated from all others unto oneness with Himself, as a pledge that He would make man holy and separated from all else unto ONENESS WITH HIMSELF AS ONE SPIRIT. In the ages that preceded the seventh day, the Creation period, God's Power and Goodness had been displayed. But the age to come, the seventh day period, was designed to be the dispensation in which God takes His creation and raises it into an infinitely higher realm, the realm of sanctification unto Himself, to become ONE SPIRIT IN HIM, even His Sabbath, His Holy Day, HIS RESTING PLACE.

THE SEVEN DAYS OF GOD

The word "day" is one of the mysteries of scripture, unlocked only by the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God. The word Moses used in the Hebrew is yowm, pronounced, yome. This word appears in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament one thousand four hundred and eighty different times and is translated into the English by not less than fifty-four different words! To get the matter even more clearly in our minds, let us look at the different ways yowm is translated in the King James Version: 1181 times as "day" (this covering several meanings); 67 times as "time"; 30 times as "today"; 18 times as "forever"; 10 times as "continually"; 6 times as "age"; 4 times as "life"; and 2 times as "perpetually".

The word yowm, or "day," in Scripture, frequently means a solar day as we understand it, an earth time made up of 24 hours. Again, the word sometimes means a period of time, of greater or lesser extent, generally of indefinite duration. Such a time period is found in Isaiah the second chapter, where the prophet says: "For there shall be a day (yowm) of Jehovah of Host upon all that is proud and haughty. and Jehovah alone shall be exalted in that day (yowm) in that day (yowm) men shall cast away their idols." (Isa. 2:12,17,20). All through the prophecy of Isaiah this meaning is given in many instances to the word "day," and without presenting too many instances, see the fourth chapter, where the prophet again says: "And seven women shall take hold of one man in that day (yowm), saying, We will eat our own bread and wear our own apparel, only let us be called by thy name. In that day (yowm) shall the branch of Jehovah be beautiful and glorious." (Isa. 4:1-2). So, then, the word "day," or yowm, is sometimes used in a figurative sense, a time period being intended. There are many such passages where this is so.

The term “day” in scripture can refer to a twenty-four hour day, or it can mean a YEAR, or it can mean 1,000 YEARS. For instance, in Eze. 4:6, “… I have appointed thee each DAY for a YEAR.” Thus many prophetic days involved prophetic years on the day to a year ratio. Then, there is the layer ratio of a day to a thousand years as given in Psalm 90:4, “For a thousand years in Thy sight (are but) as yesterday…” The two words ARE BUT are in italics in the King James Version meaning they were supplied by the translators. Thus the true rendering would be, “For a thousand years as yesterday.” This is confirmed by II Peter 3:8, “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that ONE DAY is with the Lord as a THOUSAND YEARS, and a THOUSAND YEARS as ONE DAY.” It is this ratio of a day to a thousand years or a thousand years to a day that gives rise to the doctrine of the “millennial” reign of Christ. The term “a thousand years” in the book of Revelation is, however, merely a symbol standing for THE DAY OF THE LORD. The sons of God reign with Christ in the illumination, glory and power of THE DAY OF THE LORD! Through the life-giving ministry and righteous reign of God’s sons the illumination and release of God’s eternal day will be communicated to the earth’s teaming billions of every kindred, tongue, tribe and nation, bringing all under the dominion of the Kingdom of God.

In other instances the word "day" means time itself. Thus we read in Gen. 4:3, "And in process of time (yowm) it came to pass." In Gen. 26:8 we read again, "And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time." and once more this word yowm appears, but this time instead of being translated day it is translated "a long time." So also we read in Num. 20:15, "And we have dwelt in Egypt a long time." the word yowm here translated "a long time," meaning "a long DAY," this "day" covering a span of four hundred and twenty years! Yet this is the same word that appears in the first chapter of Genesis as the creative period, and is called, there, "day." Thus we see that in the first chapter of Genesis the story of creation is given in seven yowm, or days, or time periods. That these seven days are not twenty-four hour days is evident for in Gen.2:4 we read: "These are generations of the heaven and the earth when they were created, in THE DAY (yowm) that Jehovah made heaven and earth." Here we have the day (yowm) embracing in its meaning ALL THE SIX DAYS of the first chapter, yet without doing violence to the meaning of the word.

In view of the wide scriptural use of the term "day," it is strange anyone should conclude that the creative days of Genesis were only twenty-four hours in length – especially since Gen. 2:4 refers to the entire creative period as ONE DAY. It is the so-called fundamentalist viewpoint of Genesis which is in sharp contrast with the well-established facts of science. This viewpoint, simply stated, is that approximately six thousand years ago the sun, moon, and stars, together with our own planet, Earth, were created in just six twenty-four-hour days. Such a view cannot be substantiated in the light of science today. But this does not mean that the Bible itself, surveyed in the light of its own revealing testimony, is not scientifically correct! There is absolutely no conflict between the scriptures and science! The only conflict lies between science and what religion says the Bible says! The conflict is between scientists and what they think the Bible says – the faulty information fed them from the ignorant preachers and teachers of the religious world. If science can prove that millions of years elapsed during which this earth came into being as a shapeless, empty mass, well and good. The scriptures neither deny nor affirm these guesses of the scientists, but state simply that “in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Nothing is said as to whether that beginning was thousands or millions or billions of years past. And what is even more important for the student of God’s Word to note is that the six days of Genesis chapter one, during which the earth, already created, was undergoing stages of gradual preparation for human habitation, were not short periods of twenty-four hours. They were, rather, epochs of time sufficiently long to permit the accomplishment of the work assigned to each. Furthermore, the Bible speaks of "the day of temptation in the wilderness" which was forty years long – a forty-year day! Not only in the Bible, but outside of it as well, the term "day" often relates to a period of time longer than twenty-four hours, as well as to CONDITIONS and STATES OF BEING. We speak, for example, of Washington's day, of Lincoln's day, of the day of the horse and buggy, of the day of the Roman Empire, of the day of the great depression. These denote not only time periods but the conditions which existed during those time periods. My prayer to God is that all who read these lines may be quickened by the blessed Spirit of Truth to see clearly and understand fully that when God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it, He did far more than bless a certain twenty-four period of time; rather, He blessed THE REALM OF HIS OWN REST AND GLORY, setting it apart for man, that man might know it and have entrance into it, experiencing and abiding in union with God in the high and holy and blessed realm of HIS LIFE, REST, JOY, PEACE AND VICTORY.

It is the will of God that we know what hope God had when He blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it, and rested from all His labors. It was that He might make us to know that He, the Lord, does SANCTIFY US, setting US apart unto Himself, to dwell with Him in His own day (realm) of rest and fullness, to be one spirit in Him.

The seventh day, God's Sabbath of rest, is an eternal day in which God is still abiding, a day eternally accessible to man! Of each of the creative days it is written, up to the last, "There was evening, and there was morning, a first day," and so on. But when we come to sixth day, the Hebrew text says, "The evening and the morning were the sixth day," the definite article appearing for the first time, indicating the absolute end of the entire creative process (Gen. 1:5,8,13,19,23,31). OF THE SEVENTH DAY THERE IS NO SUCH STATEMENT! The seventh day has no "evening" and no "morning." Does this not speak to us that the record of the seventh day has not yet been made; God abides in it yet, we are living in it now, it is there for the entering, God's own day of rest and blessing and fullness.

God sanctified the Sabbath day because in it He rested from all His work. The rest is something real. In creation, God had, as it were, gone beyond Himself to bring forth something new; in resting He now returns from His creating work into Himself, to rejoice in His love over the creation He has created, and to communicate Himself to it. In God we see two distinct stages to His work. The first was that of creation – until He had finished all the work which He created and made. The second, His rest when creation was finished, and He rejoice in what He had made, now to begin the higher work of COMMUNICATING HIMSELF TO THE CREATION AND SECURING ITS SANCTIFICATION AND PERFECTION. Oh! that God may give us eyes to see and hearts to understand how it is that God's seventh-day rest is a rest from work which is now finished, for HIGHER WORK TO BE CARRIED ON! It should not seem strange to us that God should rest from one kind of work by engaging in another. Do not the men of this world, business executives and the like, "rest" from their toil of the day by engaging in a game of golf? Who would contend that there is no "work" involved in playing golf? But while one "works" at the game, is he not relaxed and refreshed by having "ceased from all his labors?"

In like manner God is now resting from all His works wrought in the external, physical creation. There is no evidence in either the Bible or science that God is now actively engaged in creating worlds, suns, stars, solar systems, galaxies, or living creatures, anywhere in all the unbounded heavens. He is today resting from all that work; but let it be thoroughly known that God is NOW ACTIVELY WORKING in the bringing forth of a higher and spiritual work – a NEW CREATION. As Adam was the crown of the first and physical creation and all men were fashioned in his likeness, so now Christ is the beginning of a NEW CREATION. Rev. 3:14 states that Jesus Christ is "the beginning of the creation of God." Adam was the beginning of the creation of man. Jesus Christ is the beginning of the creation of God, and those who believe on Him become members of a new creation, the creation of THE LORD'S DAY, a new race of people, even the children of God, having one blood, the blood of Christ; one spirit, the Holy Spirit; one Lord, the God and Father of all; one faith, the faith of Christ; and one baptism, the baptism into His body, which is the true church (Col. 1:18). HE is the beginning of THE CREATION OF GOD, the new creation, the firstborn from the dead, not a product of the labor of the six days of Genesis, but the outraying and effulgence of the GOD WHO RESTS IN HIMSELF IN HIS OWN DAY, and it is IN HIM that man is brought to cease from all his own labors and strivings and enter into GOD'S REST and glory.

It is a wonderful fact that GOD WORKS on His Sabbath day – a higher work, a new creation. The Lord declares in Isaiah 46:9-10, “I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times THE THINGS THAT ARE NOT YET DONE, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.” I used to believe, as do many, that all God’s creative works had been finished. We believed that God had done everything He was going to do, and now was just sitting on a throne in some far-off heaven somewhere, waiting for all things to work out as best they can. But from the passage above we can see that God is still creating, and other passages just as clearly show that God is still resting. It is a divine paradox – but GOD WORKS OUT OF HIS REST! The on-going creation of God is revealed again in Isaiah 48:7, “They are CREATED now, and not from the beginning: even before the day when thou heardest them not; lest thou shouldest say, BEHOLD I KNEW THEM.” And yet again, “For, behold, I CREATE new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind” (Isa. 65:17). “And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful” (Rev 21:5). The Lord Jesus Himself confirmed this beautiful truth: “And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to FINISH HIS WORK” (Jn. 5:16-17; 4:34).

Jesus Christ is the firstborn of every creature and all creation. When the Holy Spirit says that Christ is the firstborn of all creation, He is emphasizing that new creation, the seventh-day creation, of which the believer is a member. Christ Himself was the first to rise from the dead, rising out of the limitation of the old creation, possessing immortality. He is the Head of His body, the church, because He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, the first to ascend out of the dominion of the physical creation of the six days, into the higher and transcendent glory of the God of the seventh day. As Christ arose in resurrection life, putting off the bondage and limitation of the earthly realm of the six creative days of Genesis, so shall we also be quickened, already in spirit, and now in soul and body, raised up to dwell with Him in His eternal day of rest and glory.

THE DAY WITHOUT END

I have shown how that on each of the six days of God's labor there was an "evening" and a "morning" marking the beginning and the conclusion of the work and purpose of God in each day. On the seventh day we read of no evening or morning, for the seventh day bespeaks a COMPLETED CREATION, God resting in Himself, the never ending day of the fullness of the glory of the Lord.

But further, the "evening and morning" mark the duration of a day, a work accomplished, a purpose fulfilled; and each new evening and morning indicates a "going on" to another work, which work will also ultimately end, to give way to yet another work. Each day begins and ends. Typically, this reveals to us how each moving of God's Spirit accomplishes His purpose for that time and then becomes history. God marches on. I am convinced that one of man's great faults is that he always expects the future to be just a repetition of the past. If God moved in a certain way once, they were sure the next move would be in the same manner and form, so they called their all-night prayer meetings and implored, "Oh, God, do it again!" I do not hesitate to declare to you that such a prayer is utterly void of understanding and can never be answered, for God does not repeat the work of a first day, or a second – He marches on! As one has so ably pointed out, God does move in His appointed cycles, but each season of refreshing has a totally NEW element in it as well as some of the age-abiding truths which were revealed in former moves. Thus we have the paradox of how God's moves are both OLD and NEW, and no man can say he already knows what's coming, because there is that new part which has never been uncovered before, being reserved for this special hour. And there is that abiding part from former days, so that we are able to relate to the new from our past experience enough to have confidence that GOD is in it. Thus God moves onward in a progressive working, from age to age, from revelation to revelation, from dealing to dealing, from one moving of his Spirit and outpouring of His glory to another, until finally His image is brought forth and He can rest.

Let all who hear the call to Sonship know that every "day" of the Lord's "labor" ends, the way God has moved in your life in former times will end, all the old orders are ending, the glory of former revivals and movings of God's Spirit are passing away, all the religious institutions organized into powerful kingdoms out of bygone times of refreshing are crumbling and ready to collapse. And – let something else be equally clear, God has a new order arising, a NEW DAY is dawning, there is a growing consciousness that we are standing on the threshold of a glorious new moving of the Spirit in the earth, TOTALLY UNLIKE ANYTHING WHICH HAS BEEN SEEN IN PAST AGES. I do not say that a revival shall break out! A revival means the reviving of that which was once alive, but has died and needs reviving. This new day is far more than the reviving of some old order, including the old order of the "New testament Church." It is a NEW DAY, the birthing of a NEW ORDER, the unveiling of a NEW GLORY, for HIS KINGDOM SHALL COME and His will shall be done in earth as in heaven as the power of His endless and incorruptible life becomes manifested in full and complete redemption through a firstfruit company – even those who break through into His seventh day of DIVINE FULLNESS!

The "early church" with all its gifts and glory and power did not bring in the Kingdom of God, nor did it deliver the groaning creation from the bondage of corruption. Its glory was eclipsed, giving way to that which even secular history records as the Dark Ages. The Reformation in Martin Luther's day was unable to defeat satan, deliver the creation from the bondage of corruption, or bring in the Kingdom. All the mighty revivals of church history failed to deliver the groaning creation. The Pentecostal and Charismatic movements have not done so either, neither shall they. All the methods and programs of religion, all the missionary and evangelistic crusades, all the deliverance ministries and healing campaigns, have in turn failed to turn this old world around from its pathway to destruction. The Bible Societies, the door-to-door witnessing, the tons of gospel tracts, the satellite television networks, the prayer meetings, and all the other feverish activity by the world's churches have not gotten the job done. None of the six days of labor, nay, all of them together, have not brought the blessedness of God's rest to creation. How unmistakably accurate is the prophecy spoken by our omniscient Father when speaking of man's rule over the earth He said, "Six days SHALT THOU LABOR." All man's grandiose efforts, works, programs, schemes and endeavors to convert the world and bring in the Kingdom of God have not only been an incredible failure but, if for an instant we may descent to baseness of speech, have been a colossal "flop," for sin and sinners abound more today than at any time since the days of Noah.

We have passed through many "days" of God's dealings, revival after revival, move after move, revelation after revelation, and blessing upon blessing. Each has had its evening and morning. Each has come and gone. Thank God, the first rays of the light of A NEW DAY are even now painting the eastern sky! Thank God! a few of His chosen ones have arisen in the Spirit to behold the glories of the dawn and to drink in the intoxicating freshness of the morn! This is a day of days, as the six days of the old creation were but one day of creation, so this seventh day has been preceded by "days" of unfoldment, yet it is but one day in which God brings mankind into rest with Him in His glory. This seventh day is not like any other day in one important way. We have seen that God's Sabbath has no evening or morning. All the days of "labor" have this evening and morning, for they need it, and good as are the days when God's work goes on within us from evening to morning, cycle after cycle, while yet we need them, FAR MORE BLESSED IS THE ETERNAL DAY OF REST IN HIS GLORY WHEN HIS WORK IS COMPLETED AND WE AWAKE IN HIS LIKENESS.

This blessed realm of His fullness, of perfection, is the day of which John prophesied in the Spirit, saying, "And there shall be no night there" (Rev. 21:25). No night! No darkness, no dusk, a day filled with the effulgent glory of the Lord. No night! An eternal day, a day with no end. Of this day it has also been revealed: "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be there. and they shall see His face: and His name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there. for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev. 21:3-4; 22:3-5). Ah, beloved, such is the seventh day, a walk with God, uniting earth to heaven in blessedness, God and man dwelling and resting together, joined in one Spirit. If we know it not, let us wait for it: to those who wait with patience and faith, it will surely come, and will not tarry.

When the fullness of God in His seventh day is realized in the body of Christ, then shall be fulfilled that which was spoken by the prophet, saying, "Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles (nations) shall COME TO THY LIGHT, AND KINGS TO THE BRIGHTNESS OF THY RISING" (Isa. 60:1-3).

The seventh day is not merely a period of time; the seventh day is the REALM OF GOD'S REST, and finally, the seventh day becomes A PEOPLE. In Gen. 2:3 it is stated of the seventh day: "And God BLESSED the seventh day, and SANCTIFIED IT." He did this because in it HE RESTED. When God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it, He set it apart unto Himself and lifted it up above all other days, specifically above all the days of "labor." But in Ex. 31:13 God identifies the day with a people, showing how the one prefigures the other, and how the twain are one. "Verily, MY SABBATHS SHALL YE KEEP (ye shall rest in My rest): for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth SANCTIFY YOU." Here the DAY and the PEOPLE are BOTH SO SANCTIFIED TO GOD that they become as ONE. As we enter into God's rest, so that His rest becomes personified within us, WE BECOME HIS REST, HIS HOLY DAY, HIS SABBATH. A Sabbath of rest, applied to us, would be a STATE OF BEING, for we are not just keeping a period of time, a date on the calendar. Unless we have been CHANGED into a state of being which IS REST, our own restlessness would turn any day, or any celebration, or even heaven itself into a hell, and bring about more chaos and disruption.

God is bringing forth a SABBATH PEOPLE, a people who ARE HIS REST in the earth, even a DAY OF THE LORD PEOPLE, a people who ARE HIS LIGHT. Jesus said, " YE are the light of the world" (Mat. 5:14). That is the same as saying, "YE are the DAY OF THE LORD!" As God brings His rest into us, and brings us into His rest, causing His rest to be personified in us, even righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, let the nations rage, let the people imagine a vain thing; let the storms of trouble blow, let sorrows spread as a cloud over the land, let the kingdoms of men tremble and fall, let the whole economic and political structure collapse and darkness cover the earth. God's SABBATH PEOPLE ARE AT REST and unafraid, because they DWELL IN HIM. They are upheld by His mighty hand, and they shall become a beacon of light to those who stumble in darkness. When men's hearts fail them for fear in looking after those things that are coming upon the earth, these shall remain calm, cool, and collected, ready to give an encouraging word to him that is afraid. These saints so become ONE WITH HIS REST that they are not disturbed by the pressures without. While many are running to and fro throughout the earth trying to find some "safe place" to hide in the terrible days which are before us, God is preparing His DAY PEOPLE who shall stand in the midst of the land and many shall come to the brightness of their rising. Isaiah looked forward to this day and described the dawning of God's glory, saying, "Then shall THY LIGHT BREAK FORTH AS THE MORNING, and thy health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the GLORY OF THE LORD SHALL BE THY REWARD" (Isa. 58:8). Solomon wrote prophetically of this army of the Lord: "Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, CLEAR AS THE SUN, and terrible as an army with banners" (S. of S. 6:10).

WE ARE HIS WORKMANSHIP

The work of creation, whether the old or new, is wholly and entirely OF THE LORD. "For we are HIS WORKMANSHIP, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). No truer word of prophecy was ever penned by the hand of holy apostle or prophet than that written by Paul when he wrote: "For he that is entered into God's rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His" (Heb. 4:10). There is no more beautiful truth portrayed in all God's Word than that of MAN RESTING WITH GOD. God's last day is man's first day. God did all His work and in the end of the sixth day man was brought forth, the image of God, to crown and rule it all. Of what does this "image of God" speak? It is the mind and nature of God, for Christ is that mind and nature to rule in us. God's work in the first creation but typifies His higher work in the new creation. Adam, in the image of God, prefigured Christ, the perfect mind of God. When man stepped fresh from the hand of his Creator, the image of God had come to rule all things. Oh the depth that opens here!

God made the heavens, and yet He rested not; He made the sun, the moon, and the stars, and yet He rested not; He made the earth, and yet He rested not; He made the herbs, and fruits, and the moving creatures of sea and land and air, and yet He rested not. But He made man, His image in the earth, and then He rested. But wonder of wonders, and marvel of marvels – MAN RESTED WITH HIM! God's last day was man's first day. Man's first day of life was lived out in God's seventh day. God rested from all His work, but man who had never worked began, not by working six days, but by RESTING WITH GOD! This is why the scripture states: "And to whom swore He (God) that they should not enter into His (God's) rest, but to them that believe not? For he that is entered into HIS REST (God's), he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His" (Heb. 3:18; 4:10).

Let us SEE! Man did not make Himself, but he rested with the God who did. It was not man's, but God's rest. Man had done no work from which to rest. Open wide your heart and drink deeply of this fountain of truth: Man entered into God's rest! In this man became ONE WITH GOD, dwelling with HIM, resting in HIS accomplishment, without striving to produce anything out of his own labors. In this hour God is calling a company of sons into His Kingdom Realm, which is the realm of constant Peace, an everyday Sabbath, the realm of undisturbed and unending Rest. It is the realm of His “millennium” of the Spirit – of a continuing Sabbath that never ceases. That realm is in Christ. He is calling a company of sons into Christ, that He might become their total Rest. It is rest from external religious labors. It is entering into Him and finding themselves COMPLETE IN CHRIST.

"And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will continue developing that good work and perfecting it and bringing it to full completion in you" (Phil. 1:6, Amplified Bible). These words of Paul teach us a much needed and most blessed truth – that just as it was God who moved and worked and created in the physical creation, so is it God who moves and works and creates in the new creation. There is nothing that will so help root and ground the members of God's firstfruit company in Christ as this faith: "GOD will perfect that which concerneth me." How many precious ones who cherish the hope of sonship can witness that this faith is just what they need! They continually mourn over the variableness of their spiritual life, up one day, down the next; victorious one day, defeated the next; overcoming today, but swept away by the emotions of the soul tomorrow. Sometimes there are hours and days of blessed experience of the grace of God to triumph over the flesh, but how little is needed to mar their peace, to bring a cloud over the soul! And then, in a moment of weakness, how their faith is shattered! All efforts to press on to "overcome all things" appear utterly fruitless; and neither solemn vows, nor watching and prayer, avail to bring them into a place of constant victory over self, sin, and failure.

Could they but understand how it is that THEIR OWN EFFORTS ARE THE CAUSE OF THEIR FAILURE, because it is God alone who can perfect us in Christ Jesus. They would see that just as in the new birth they had to cease from their own working, and to accept in faith the promise that GOD would give them life in Christ, so now, in the matter of their perfection, their need is TO CEASE FROM STRIVING THEMSELVES TO PERFECT THE LIFE OF GOD WITHIN, AND TO ALLOW GOD TO DO IT. "Now He which established us with you in Christ, IS GOD" (II Cor. 1:21). What these need is the simple faith that the establishing in Christ, day by day, is GOD'S WORK – a work that He delights to do, in spite of all our weakness and unfaithfulness, if we will but trust Him for it.

What peace and rest, to know that there is a Husbandman who cares for the branch, to see that it grows stronger, who watches over every hindrance and danger, to see that fruit is borne! What peace and rest, fully and finally to give up our spiritual unfoldment into the care of GOD, and never have a wish or thought, never to offer a prayer or do any thing in connection with it, without first having the glad remembrance that what we do is only the manifestation of what GOD IS DOING IN US! The perfecting in Christ is His work, but this He can do with power only as we cease interrupting Him by our self-working, as we accept in faith the dependent posture which bows low before Him, and honors Him, and opens the heart to let Him work. How such a faith frees the soul from care and responsibility! In the midst of the rush and bustle of the world's activity, amid the subtle and ceaseless clamoring of the emotions of the soul, amid the daily cares and trials that so easily distract and lead to failure, how blessed it is to be a son of the Father – always abiding in Christ, in the realm of His life and peace and victory! How blessed even to have the faith that one can surely become it – that the attainment is within our reach!

Dear child of God, the life of sonship is indeed within your reach. He that established you with us in Christ IS GOD. What I want you to take in is this – that believing this promise will not only give comfort and good hope, but will be the means of your obtaining your desire. You know how the scripture teaches us that in all God's leadings of His people faith has everywhere been the one condition of the manifestation of His power. But contrary to what the so-called "faith preachers" tell you, faith is never centered in what "we" can do or accomplish in God. Faith is the ceasing from all nature's efforts, and all other dependence; faith is the putting ourselves quietly into God's hands for HIM TO DO HIS WORK. What you and I need now is to take time to meditate deeply, until this truth stands out in all its spiritual brightness: It is God Almighty, the Faithful and Gracious Creator and Father, who has undertaken to perfect us in Christ Jesus!

Listen to what the Word teaches you: "For it is GOD WHICH WORKETH IN YOU both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Now to Him who, by the action of His power that IS AT WORK WITHIN US, is able to carry out His purpose and do superabundantly, far over and above all that we dare ask or think" (Phil. 2:13; Eph. 3:19-20, Amplified Bible). Ah, beloved, let us take time to listen, in simple childlike teachableness, to these words as the truth of God, and the confidence will surely come: As surely as I am apprehended in Christ Jesus, I shall also, day by day, be conformed to His image, transformed into His likeness – and GOD SHALL DO IT!

LABOR TO ENTER INTO REST

Man's first blessed experience of rest with God was soon marred by sin – the sin of man's own anxiety about his inner life and development into the fullness of God – as he broke God's Sabbath rest with his own FLESHLY WORK, the carnal self-effort to MAKE HIMSELF LIKE UNTO GOD! "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. And when the women saw that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof. and gave also unto her husband" (Gen. 3:5-6). In this act man's fellowship and relationship with God in the blessing of holy rest was cut off. When Adam was banished from Eden's fair garden, he was cut off not only from the tree of life, but also shut out from participation in God's Sabbath rest, as it is written, "And unto Adam He said, Because thou hast harkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; IN THE SWEAT OF THY FACE shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground." (Gen. 3:17-19). Alas! what tragedy, the man who had RESTED WITH GOD IN HEAVEN BLEST EDEN is seen now toiling and struggling and sweating through six long days of sorrowful labor. There had been no labor nor toil in Eden; no struggle for existence, no disease, no pollution, no calamities of earthquakes or floods, no imbalance or lack of harmony, no disorder, no tears nor sorrow, no crying nor pain, no heartache, no sin and, above all, NO DEATH! Such was the ineffable glory of GOD'S REST in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth!

The fourth chapter of Hebrews makes it plain that God's Sabbath is not just a Mosaic law concerning one day in the week, nor is it the natural land of Canaan that the people of Israel look forward to entering, nor is it just the thousand year Kingdom age we are about to enter. The Sabbath Day is a relationship to God, a place where HE IS ABSOLUTE LORD and where the fullness of God is manifested in His people. It is the place of full redemption, release from the curse, where man is again admitted to the Garden of Eden, the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, forever free from the slavery and toil of sin, sickness, sorrow and death.

In Heb. 4:1-11 the shrouds of heaven are drawn aside and our wondering hearts bow in holy awe before the things that are there revealed. The apostle penned under inspiration of the Holy Spirit these blessed words of divine instruction: "Now since the same promise of rest is offered to us today, let us be continually on our guard that none of us even looks like failing to attain it. For we too have had a gospel preached to us, as those men had. Yet the message proclaimed to them did no good, because they only heard and did not believe as well. It is only as a result of our faith and trust that we experience that rest. For He said: As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter into My rest: not because the rest was not prepared – IT HAD BEEN READY SINCE THE WORK OF CREATION WAS COMPLETED, as He says elsewhere in the scriptures, speaking of the seventh day of creation, And God rested on the seventh day from all His works. In the passage above He says, "They shall not enter into My rest." It is clear that some were intended to experience this rest and, since the previous hearers of the message failed to attain to it because they would not believe God, He proclaims a further opportunity when He says through David, many years later, "today," just as He had said "today" before. Today if ye shall hear His voice, Harden not your hearts. For if Joshua had given them the rest, we should not find God saying, at a much later date, "today". There still exists, therefore, A FULL AND COMPLETE REST FOR THE PEOPLE OF GOD. And he who experiences HIS REST is resting from his own works as fully as God did from His. Let us then be eager to know this rest for ourselves, and let us beware that no one misses it through falling into the same kind of unbelief as those we have mentioned" (Phillips translation).

In these words "enter into My rest," is the revelation of a deep spiritual mystery and a prophecy of what Christ should bring. The statement, "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God," would be better translated "There remaineth therefore A KEEPING OF THE SABBATH UPON THE SABBATH" (see Greek-English lexicons). The word "rest" is translated from the Greek sabbatismos – Sabbath. This Sabbath is spoken of as remaining in contrast to both the weekly sabbath and the rest of Israel in Canaan. Those were mere shadows and symbols; the real Sabbath rest remained, waiting its time, till Christ the true Joshua should come, and open it to us by Himself entering into it, and enabling us by the impartation of His own victory to also enter in. Heb. 4:8 makes it plain that if God's Sabbath was that land of rest that Joshua brought them into when he took them over Jordan, then David would not have prophetically spoken of another day. Israel abode in that land for multiplied centuries and during most of that time their laws were strict concerning the weekly seventh-day sabbath. Yet, these people HAD NOT ENTERED INTO GOD'S SABBATH REST, and verse nine tells us that at this time there STILL REMAINS A REST TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD. Verse ten goes on to tell us that anyone who is still working at his own works, in his own power, operating by the natural mind, has not yet entered into God's rest or God's Sabbath. Then we have a solemn warning in verse eleven, "Therefore," he says, meaning, because of what we have just been saying, "let us labor to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief." Those Israelites that wandered forty years in the wilderness have provided us with a vivid example of how we also can miss the glorious and eternal reality of the Kingdom of God if we exhibit the same kind of unbelief. "LABOR to enter into His rest.” How strange the wording of that statement! How can we labor to enter into rest? How can we work toward coming to the place where we stop working? Phil. 2:12-13 says: "WORK OUT your own salvation with fear and trembling, for IT IS GOD WHICH WORKETH IN YOU both to will and to do of His good pleasure." When you try to lay down your own labors, when you attempt to turn loose of the control of your own life and give it over into the hands of God, when you cease to try to perfect yourself and put on the mind of Christ by your own initiative and energy, you will find it to be THE HARDEST WORK THAT YOU HAVE EVER DONE! Yet, this is what the Spirit is calling for. This is how the Spirit is leading and directing us. Labor to enter into rest!

We labor and strive and struggle to be what God wants us to be. We labor to be perfect, to overcome, to grow up into Christ, to put on the mind of Christ, to do the will of God, to break through into immortality and incorruption, to be a son. We labor to come out of the bondages of religious Babylon, to break her traditions and hold over our minds and hearts. Ah, beloved, how we labor to do everything except what God has commanded us to do! We are to LABOR TO ENTER INTO REST. We are to labor to stop laboring and LET GOD WORK. And in the new creation of the seventh day HE WORKS BY RESTING IN US, by communicating Himself to us in sweet fellowship and blessed relationship. Would you have God work mightily within you? Would you be changed, transformed, made holy? Don't work at it! Rest with God. Enter into His holy presence and abide there in intimacy of fellowship and vital union and you will discover by wonderful experience how it is that God works by entering in and resting within you. As you cease from your own labors and rest in trusting faith He comes in to dwell in the power of a divine life – to be what He is IN YOU.

THE GLORY OF GOD'S SABBATH

God's Sabbath of rest is the realm of His own rest in divine fullness. There is no toil nor work there for all, it is complete and full and abundant, nothing is lacking, nothing can be added. In entering into God's rest man regains all he lost in the fateful day when he was banished from Eden. Thus, God's rest brings us freedom from the curse, an entrance into a full and complete redemption – spirit, soul, and body. His rest brings the quickening of our spirit by His Spirit, deliverance from the carnal passions and emotions of the soul, and victory over the corruption of the body. Dear child of God, do you long for such complete redemption, the fullness of your sonship to God? Then hear this word: "TODAY if ye will hear His voice." This is where God's Sabbath is: "TODAY! It is still TODAY. God's Sabbath Day, His seventh day, is an eternal day, ever accessible to man for the entering. If he can believe. And the heritage remains unconquered, and yet to be possessed.

Both Paul and Peter were quite aware of a greater fullness to come in the last time. Paul says, "The night is far spent, the DAY IS AT HAND" (Rom. 13:12). Again, "The God of peace shall bruise satan under your feet shortly" (Rom. 16:20). Peter speaks of "times of refreshing" that shall precede the coming of the Lord (Acts 3:19). He speaks of the present world as a "dark place," but he also speaks of darkness and light, and in that order. "a dark place. until the DAY DAWN, and the day-star arise in your hearts" (II Pet. 1:19). This REST, this DAY, this SEVENTH DAY still remains unfulfilled, but available. And "Some must enter therein." In what day? In this day, this TODAY of God's promise, if we can hear his voice!

There was a generation of Israelites that said it was alright to go in and spy out the land of Canaan – and they enjoyed the luscious sample of the grapes and the figs and pomegranates immensely – but they did not want to go in and POSSESS THE WHOLE LAND. I do not hesitate to tell you that we also live in such a day! It is alright, they would tell us today, to speak in tongues, or receive gifts of the Spirit, or heal the sick, or perhaps raise the dead occasionally, or prophesy, or sing in the Spirit – these things are alright. But they do not want to hear any of this talk about Christ appearing in His saints, about Christ BEING FORMED IN A MANY-MEMBERED BODY. And as for a people entering into the fullness of God, as for a people overcoming sin and death, as for the "manifestation of the sons of God," that is definitely not for this day and age. True, they will admit, God has it for us; it is part of our heritage; but not for NOW. That will take place at the rapture, at the resurrection, or in the Kingdom age. We cannot now possess the land; there are too many giants in the way. There are cities with high walls surrounding them, fearful enemies riding in iron chariots. It is positively ridiculous to suggest that we can take the land – NOW!

It is alright, these declare, to enjoy the blessing of the Spirit occasionally, when the revival is going on at the church; but it is impossible to really enter into the realm of the Spirit so fully that you LIVE there constantly. It is alright to be healed, but not to enjoy divine health of divine life to such an extent that your days are lengthened without pain or feebleness or the abatement of your natural faculties, or until mortality is swallowed up of life and this corruptible puts on incorruption. It is alright to get deliverance from tobacco, alcohol, or other habits, or to conquer your temper, but not to be so positively freed from the carnal mind and nature until "sin hath no more dominion" over you. That would be perfection and, they say, you cannot have perfection until you die and go to heaven! It is alright to fight satan here on this earth and cast out a few devils, but you cannot ascend up in the Spirit into "the heavenlies" and literally knock satan off his throne and walk in the realm of power and authority "in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." You can receive thoughts from God occasionally, and speaks His words from time to time, but you cannot have the mind of Christ in such a degree of fullness that you actually think His thoughts, say His words, do His will, perform His works, and live out His very life. We don't mind tasting the grapes of Eschol, and the figs and pomegranates which the spies have brought back, BUT WE REFUSE TO MAKE ANY ATTEMPT AT CONQUERING THE WHOLE LAND!

The whole question resolves itself into this: Are we going to remain in the condition of those who have been saved and baptized with the earnest of the Spirit? Or are we going to arise from the dusty sands of this great and terrible wilderness and follow our Joshua across Jordan into real, triumphant, overcoming power of the Spirit of God? "TODAY, if ye will hear His voice. there REMAINETH A REST TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD. let us therefore labor to enter into that rest, lest any man fail after the same example of UNBELIEF."

The Holy Ghost saith, TODAY. God is the eternal One. With Him there is no yesterday, neither is there any tomorrow. What we call past and future are with Him an ever-present Now; His life and His rest and His glory dwells in an ever-blessed, never-ending TODAY. God's Sabbath day is without evening or morning, an eternal day ever existing in the Now. TODAY! It is a wonderful word of promise, yea, a solemn command. It tells us that Today, this very moment, the wondrous love of God is for thee – it is even now waiting to be poured out in thy heart; that To-day, all that Christ has done, and is now doing, and shall ever do, He is able to do in thee – this very day it is within thy reach, if thou shalt believe. Even now Christ within you speaks that wondrous note of hope – TODAY!

For years the saints have been singing about what they are going to do when the battle is over. They are going to be with Christ, in heaven, enjoying the peace and rest of their inheritance. They are going to shout and dance over the hills of glory, drink at the eternal fountains, eat of the tree of life, and there shall be no more struggle, neither limitation, nor sorrow, nor curse, nor death. But the truth of the matter is simply this: the fruits of the land, the glories typified by the tree of life and the fountains of waters, are glorious and eternal realities to be appropriated HERE AND NOW, gained one by one, as the battle rages, and the saints of the Most High triumph over the enemy! Why fight if you don't intend to win? Each victory will carry a step further into the Kingdom of God. No, I cannot display all the victory of this land nor all the rest of God's Sabbath right now. But – I LABOR TO ENTER IN, pressing toward the mark for the prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus. TODAY! if you will hear His voice. TODAY! the hills are literally flowing with milk and honey; the river of life is gurgling and springing up within thy soul; and Christ who is our life has been impregnated as divine and incorruptible seed within the womb of thy believing heart. TODAY! let us arise and enter into Canaan, into the Garden of God, in to the Sabbath of the Lord our God!

 


Chapter 21

A SABBATH IN EDEN

(continued)

"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and HE RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY from all His work which He had made. And God BLESSED THE SEVENTH DAY, AND SANCTIFIED IT: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made" (Gen. 2:1-3).

When God BLESSED THE SEVENTH DAY AND SANCTIFIED IT, He lifted it above other days, and set it apart to a work and revelation of Himself, excelling in glory all that had preceded. In this simple expression, "and God sanctified," scripture reveals to us the character of God as the Holy One, who MAKES HOLY, and the way in which He makes holy – by entering in and RESTING.

The seventh day is not merely a period of time; the seventh day is the REALM OF GOD'S REST, and ultimately, the seventh day becomes A PEOPLE. In Gen. 2:3 it is stated of the seventh day: "And God blessed the seventh day, and SANCTIFIED IT." He did this because in it HE RESTED. Then in Exe. 31:13 God identifies the day with a people, showing how the one prefigures the other, and how the twain are one. "Verily, MY SABBATHS SHALL YE KEEP: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth SANCTIFY YOU." Here the DAY and the PEOPLE are BOTH SO SANCTIFIED TO GOD that they become as ONE. As we enter into God's rest, so that His rest becomes personified within us, WE BECOME HIS REST, HIS HOLY DAY, HIS SABBATH. God is bringing forth a SABBATH PEOPLE, a people who ARE HIS REST in the earth. As God brings His rest into us, and us into His rest, causing His rest to be personified in us, even righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit – let the nations rage, let the people imagine a vain thing, let the storms of trouble blow, let sorrows spread as a cloud over the land, let the kingdoms around us tremble and fall, the whole economic and political structure collapse and darkness cover the earth – God's SABBATH PEOPLE ARE AT REST and unafraid, because they DWELL IN HIM. Hallelujah!

THE THREE-FOLD SABBATH

I have shown in the previous Study on this subject that the Sabbath in Gen. 2:2-3 was not a twenty-four hour period of time, in which God rested from the labor of six other twenty-four hour periods of time. The Sabbath following the six days of creation is an eternal day of rest in which God still abides, a day eternally accessible to man, for man is still enjoined to "enter in to His (God's) rest" (Heb. 4:1-11). How could it be possible today, six millenniums after Adam dwelt in Eden, for man to "enter into GOD'S REST," if God's rest had come to an end? This blessed Sabbath of God is THE ETERNAL REALM OF HIS OWN REST AND GLORY, sanctified and set apart for man, that man might have entrance into it, to know God there, to experience God there, and forever abide in union with God in the high and holy and blessed realm of HIS LIFE, REST, JOY, PEACE, RIGHTEOUSNESS AND VICTORY.

This realm of God's rest is three-fold as it pertains to man, for man has three main parts in his being: body, soul, and spirit. The Spirit today is teaching us how great is the necessity for each of these three faculties of our being to "enter into His rest," that we might know the fullness of the rest of God provided for THE WHOLE MAN. God has not given us a Sabbath merely for the body, nor just for the soul, nor only for the spirit. The simple truth of the matter is this: When the omniscient, immutable, omnipotent, and eternal God said, "They shall enter into My rest," He intended the whole man to enter into that rest, spirit, soul, and body. Behold how great and complete a provision God has made for His people! Concerning the three-fold dimensions of the Sabbath-rest, let us note:

There is a rest that is given – it is for the body.

There is a rest that is found – it is for the soul.

There is a rest that is entered – it is for the spirit.


A SABBATH FOR THE BODY

When Adam walked out of the Garden of Eden, he brought with him two institutions which have immeasurably blessed the life of mankind ever since – the institution of the home and one that was even older, the institution of the Sabbath, the first blessing which God gave to mankind. The benefit that has come to the human race through the gift of the Sabbath can hardly be overestimated.

Among the special dealings of God with His people Israel, we find one which the Spirit would focus attention upon these days, and that is concerning the "body Sabbath," that our bodies might know a rest provided by the Lord. In Neh. 9:13-14 it is declared: "Thou camest down also upon mount Sinai, and spake with them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, and true laws, good statutes and commandments: and madest known unto them THY HOLY SABBATH." When the Lord commanded Israel to keep the Sabbath day holy, we read in Ex. 20:9-10: "Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it THOU SHALT NOT DO ANY WORK, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates." The word "Sabbath" means "to cease; to terminate; to abstain; to be at an end." God declared that every form of labor was to cease. There were absolutely no exhortations of any kind to engage in worship, meetings, or other kinds of spiritual activity. On the contrary the command to Israel was to stop all activities of all sorts! In short they were to give their physical bodies a full day's REST after six days of hard labor. The word "Sabbath" on the natural level has nothing devout or holy in it. It is a word about time, denoting the non-use thereof, what we usually call wasting time or doing nothing. Israel physically rested on the Sabbath day. It was not inaugurated under Moses as a time for gathering together for worship, but rather as a time for staying at home to rest. Worship was another issue. God told Moses to tell the people to stay home on the Seventh day. "See! The Lord hath given you the Sabbath, therefore He giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day" (Ex. 16:29-30). So to keep the Sabbath, one remains at home. It is not enough merely not to work. One also has to rest. In the context of the cited verse, which tells people not to go out into the fields on the Sabbath to collect manna, it follows that people are not supposed to engage in all kinds of activities on that day. I am to remain in my place. What it means to "remain in my place" is that I am to enjoy rest in my own home or locale. And I can tell you, my brethren, if Sunday is the Sabbath – if a day of meetings, dinners, and visitation is what we do on our so-called Sabbath – we have desecrated the Sabbath with our fellowship and worship! It is my long standing experience that I am more physically exhausted on Sunday evening than on any other day of the week!

Another point I would mention in passing – the Word of the Lord is that "the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God." Now, which day is the seventh day? We must keep in mind that calendars and the reckoning of time have changed at various points in history. There was no Roman Gregorian Calendar in Jesus' day, nor in the days of the Old Testament. In fact, by the calendar of ancient Israel there were only 360 days in a year, and several months had a different number of days than do our present months. For this reason some believers become confused as to which day they ought to keep as Sabbath. They forget that when Yahweh gave the Sabbath commandment to the children of Israel there was no calendar at that time like the Gregorian calendar which we use today. Days and months were not designated according to certain names as we know them today. One day of the week was designated "first day" of the week. One day was called "Sabbath." Another day was called "the day of preparation" which was the day before the Sabbath. Those week days in the calendar of Israel were designated in relationship to the Sabbath, rather than bearing certain names (usually of gods) as in the Roman Calendar. We did not have the calendar which we use today until Gregory the Thirteenth (1582), Pope of the Holy Roman Empire, which some have said was neither "holy" nor "Roman". He was the editor of our present calendar with the seven days of the week named for Roman gods.

In the Gregorian calendar, we call the last day of the week Saturday, while the first we call Sunday. Because Saturday is the seventh day of our week, some suppose that it should be made the Sabbath, "the day of cessation." But in light of all the changes in calendars and the reckoning of time through the ages there is absolutely no way of knowing that the "seventh day" we keep would be the same day as the "seventh day" in ancient times. In their wrangling over the letter of the Word – bringing into question which day the Lord's people should observe as the Sabbath, following six days of labor – the legalistic seventh day advocates have either written into the fourth commandment, or assumed it to be understood, three words – "of the week." Thus they present the commandment as stating: "Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day of the week is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God." By what authority and right are these three words added to the commandment? The Lord did not specify a particular day of the week, for the simple reason that it would be uniformly impossible to keep the identical day worldwide as the Sabbath unto the Lord. He, therefore, had Moses specify that the seventh day, following six days of labor, was to be the Sabbath of the Lord. Therefore, regardless of where your six days of labor may begin – the seventh day, following the six days of labor – is the Sabbath. In this light all the changes in the calendars and the reckoning of time become utterly irrelevant, whether our seventh day corresponds historically to any other peoples' seventh day matters not at all. And today, when it is Saturday on one side of a time line, it is Sunday on the other side, and yet it is exactly the same day. By what right or reason can the Sabbatarian on his side of the line condemn the Sunday observer of the Sabbath on his side of the line, when both are observing the same day as their Sabbath following six days of labor? We have often said it would be interesting for the Sabbatarians to start at a given point on the earth, with one going east and the other west, each observing Saturday as their Sabbath. When they meet on the other side of the earth, they would be observing different days as their Sabbath but each calling the day "Saturday!"

Our omniscient Father and Creator, full of wisdom, knowing every need of His creatures, has made gracious provision for the whole man, not only for the inner man, the spirit and soul realms, but He also gave His people a day of physical rest. I realize that immediately there are those who will rise up in indignation and reject any thought of a day of rest for the physical body, for they claim that they are walking by the grace of God and are able to go on day after day without rest. But I would point out that as long as we have a flesh and blood body of the physical creation, until we have been thoroughly changed, and clothed upon with our house which is from above; until this body of humiliation has been transfigured, fashioned "like unto His body of glory," this body, like it or not, admit it or not, is subject to the LAWS OF GOD which govern the physical order.

The entire universe is governed by law. All of life operates according to law. When we observe these laws, we get definite beneficial results. When we disregard them, we get certain evil consequences. In the realm of agriculture, the farmer knows from experience that laws govern his crops. He who sows wheat reaps the same, and so with all other grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, etc. Crying, screaming, and praying for a field that has been sown with oats to come up into stalks of corn will only reveal the folly of the fool. There is a law. God's law. and it cannot be broken. We, in disobedience, merely break ourselves over it. There is a law, unwritten but positive, that says that, if you jump into a fire, you will be burned; if you leap from a precipice, your bones will break and your flesh and blood will spatter; if you expose your body to the frost, you will get frost-bite; if your breath is cut off, you will perish. Ah, beloved, we are in the midst of a universe that God has made, and we have to think as God thinks regarding even natural laws. If a man thinks otherwise than God has thought about electricity, electricity will soon knock him out. A 400 pound weight impends over a man's head and is about to fall. He is warned to get out of the way, but he refuses and says that he doesn't believe in the law of gravitation, and anyhow, he isn't under any law for he is walking in the grace of God. Soon the man doesn't think anymore. When the 400 pound weight falls, his thinking machinery is forever smashed.

And there is a law which declares that if you work seven days a week, month after month, year after year, there will surely come the time when physical exhaustion takes over, because you have not joyfully received God's precious gift of a Sabbath for the body. The French revolutionaries decided that Moses was not wise in insisting on a Sabbath day of rest, so they decided they could not afford to spend one day in seven, and adopted the decimal system with rest every tenth day. And what happened was this. The donkeys began to break down. The scientists came together and asked: "What is the matter with the donkeys?" When they looked into it they found that the donkeys, and all other animals like them, man included, have this peculiarity about them. The physical body is so constructed that the pulse is feebler on the seventh day after six days of work and stress, and if work continues long enough beyond this point it will break down altogether. The donkeys thus broke down and the French revolutionaries had to go back to the Bible day of rest, because they were wise enough to take a lesson from the donkeys. We need to rest our bodies. That not only means a Sabbath, it means fewer late night movies and no late, late ones. Jesus said to His disciples, "come ye apart and rest a while." Well, a lot of us are doing the first part of that – we're coming apart! The whole country is filled with people who are burning their candle at both ends and in the middle too. It is God, gracious and wise, who has written the law of one day of rest out of every seven, into the very fabric of our being. As batteries need constant recharging, so our bodies need regular periods of rest to revitalize and restore them. "Oh, but," someone objects, "I have gone beyond that, I am now walking in the Spirit, I am in the Kingdom, I am living in a higher realm than that, I need no natural "day" of rest because Christ is my rest!" I only say to this one: Let him who says he needs no day of rest for his body, and that God has not provided one, also demonstrate: "I no longer go to bed nor sleep at night, I am now walking in the Spirit, I am in the Kingdom, I am living in a higher realm than that, Christ is my rest and I can go twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks in the year without ever getting tired!" Can any say that? I deny it. They cannot. Have such also stopped eating and drinking? Do they no longer hunger or thirst or need food for strength? Do they still wake up in the morning with "dragon's mouth" and brush their teeth? Do they drive their automobiles to get from place to place, or are they now transported by the Spirit? Do they not conform to multitudinous other laws of nature?

We sit in the glory light of our anticipation of an incorruptible, celestial plane of existence BEYOND THIS PHYSICAL WORLD to which all God's sons are destined to attain, and the transformation of our body into a body like unto HIS body of glory shall mean the fullness of what the body-sabbath is to be. But until the reality has broken through, let us not walk as fools. The laws are here – health laws, which, if they are obeyed will result in health, happiness and long life. What grief, what sorrow many have borne because they have cast away God's laws, stuffing their stomachs with unclean and unhealthy junk, and their bodies have been defiled with disease and corruption. Are you defiling your body, the temple of the Holy Spirit? If you defile your body by any nicotine poison, by the filthy vice of smoking, then you sin against the temple of God. You sow nicotine and you reap cancer; you sow nicotine in your flesh and you reap corruption in your flesh. That is in exact accordance with the law of sin and death (Gal. 6:7-8). I must talk plainly in this ministry, for God has not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness, to be the Sons of God without rebuke, in the midst of a perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.

Men cast away God's moral law, and their minds become the hold of every foul thought and imagination and they indulge their flesh in every lust and passion without restraint. Even the churches are filled with the corruption of strife, envy, jealously, covetousness, lies, deceits, foolishness, adultery, gluttonous appetites, undisciplined tempers, contentions, unbridled gossipy tongues, critical spirits, pettiness and childishness. We have cast away God's spiritual laws, and many have become entangled with every form of cultism, metaphysics, eastern philosophies, and devilish doctrines.

Let all men know that for the breaking of every law there is a result. Eat too much rich food and you will get indigestion! It's a law. If it makes no impression on a man to know that God will visit his iniquities upon him, he cannot blind himself to the fact that NATURE WILL. Do we not all know what it is to be punished by Nature for disobeying her? We have looked around the wards of a hospital, a prison, or a mental institute, and seen there Nature at work squaring her accounts with sin. And we knew as we looked that if no Judge sat on the throne of the heavens at all there was a Judgment there, where an inexorable Nature was crying aloud for justice, and carrying out her heavy sentences for violated laws.

On the other hand, there is great blessing in walking in harmony with God's laws. Normally speaking, if you would quit working every few days to take a needed rest, you might naturally expect to get behind with your work and finances. But God Himself has set in motion a great law. The law of the Sabbath says that if you will pause to rest on the seventh day, you will be so physically blessed by the rest that the work of the six days will more than make up for what you might have accomplished on the Sabbath! Do you realize what that amounts to? In one way of looking at it, God is giving us a PAID VACATION every seventh day! The world rushes on, caught up in their frenzied desire to gain material things, to build and to plant and to store up, seeking for some kind of security, but, blessed be the name of the Lord, HIS OWN can take their Sabbaths, and know that HE will provide all that is needed, and they can rest in Him!

ONE POINT I WOULD MAKE VERY CLEAR: There is positively NO SALVATION in keeping a day of physical rest, one will never be made MORE RIGHTEOUS in the eyes of God by keeping a day of rest, and one will never be brought into PERFECTION AND SONSHIP by keeping a day. It should be clear to all who read these pages that all the NATURAL LAWS were given for the benefit of the PHYSICAL MAN during this time of watching and waiting for the full manifestation of the eternal glory that is set before us, into which some must soon enter, praise God! Let all of God's apprehended ones know beyond any shadow of doubt that we will never, in a million million years, reap any particular SPIRITUAL BENEFIT from keeping a Sabbath or eating the right kinds of food. These things minister to the physical man, not the spiritual man, and no physical thing possesses any power or ability to minister anything to the inward man of the spirit. Natural laws are not given for our spiritual enrichment, rather, for our physical blessing. There are absolutely no ETERNAL SPIRITUAL BENEFITS derived from the keeping of natural laws – but – there ARE DEFINITE PHYSICAL BENEFITS for the here and now!

I explain this, beloved, and boldly declare it, for there are some who would bring God's people under bondage to the keeping of a day, as though their salvation depended upon it, as though it were a mark of deep spirituality, or as though our attainment to sonship required it. It is inconceivable to imagine any scripture or any inspired saying that could possibly make this truth more plain and understandable than these words of the apostle Paul: "To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. by what law? of works? Nay; but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified BY FAITH WITHOUT THE DEEDS OF THE LAW. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have ACCESS BY FAITH into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we THROUGH THE SPIRIT WAIT FOR THE HOPE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS BY FAITH. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, OR BY THE HEARING OF FAITH? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, ARE YE NOW MADE PERFECT BY THE FLESH? FOR THE LAW MADE NOTHING PERFECT, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God" (Rom. 3:26-28; Rom. 5:1-2; Gal. 5:4-5; Gal. 3:1-3; Heb. 7:19).

Obeying the physical laws of God will reap rich reward to the physical man on the plane of corruptible life, but if you consider with reverent honesty the above stated words of the apostle Paul, it should be clear that physical laws are powerless to produce anything in the higher realm of the Spirit. How good is our heavenly Father that He in grace and wisdom should give us a day of rest for our physical bodies, and the CONSUMMATION of this SABBATH FOR THE BODY comes with the redemption of our bodies from the tyranny of change and decay, and until then our bodies need their Sabbaths, while we carry on in this travail. "For ye are bought with a price: therefore GLORIFY GOD IN YOUR BODY, and in your spirit, which are God's" (I Cor. 6:20).

Ray Prinzing has shared this precious word of confirmation: "Paul described it this way: 'For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.' (Rom. 7:22-23, 25).

"Full well Paul knew that he had given himself to the Lord, made his surrender, and received the INDWELLING LIFE OF THE SPIRIT. But he also knew that there was a law in his members, in the flesh, which would war against this inner life and that there were only two ways to bring a cessation to the conflict, either to PUT OFF THIS BODY, or else to have this body SWALLOWED UP INTO HIS LIFE. He had no great desire to become a dis-embodied spirit, but rather longed to have this body CHANGED and fashioned anew like unto HIS glorious body, for then he would know that GLORIOUS REST FOR THE BODY.

"What conflicts – the negative says, 'This body is mine by reason of the fall, and the sin that dwells therein.' The spirit of the world adds, 'This body is mine, I give it life and nourishment – I feed its senses, tickle its emotions, stir up its impulses, etc.' But the Spirit of God within , says, 'IT IS MINE BY VIRTUE OF REDEMPTION – I shall transform it, I shall lift it into higher realms beyond all sin and corruption.' Thus we have conflict between the negative and the positive. There might be momentary pauses in the battle, but there will be no THOROUGH PAUSE, complete cessation of warfare, until we are totally changed. It is when we are ALL RIGHTEOUS, that the 'prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.' (John 14:30), that we know the rest of righteousness." – end quote.

Thank God! the change is coming where we will no longer need rest for the body, nor be subject to any physical law. When our Lord arose from the dead, He was not raised in corruption, but in incorruption. That which is incorruptible is beyond the power of corruption, decay, weakness or death. It is also beyond the power of tiredness or the need for either food or rest. Thus of the resurrection of the dead it is written, "It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown weakness; it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body" (I Cor. 15:42-44). This corruptible must put on incorruption. The body of the corruptible man is the body of death, but the body of the incorruptible man is the body of the resurrection, a body beyond the power of change or death. When our Forerunner rose from the dead, He arose incorruptible. He did not take His blood into the tomb, and when He arose He did not arise with blood flowing in His veins, He arose with a body pulsating with LIFE, the life of God, life incorruptible and eternal.

The spiritual body of glory and incorruption is the body of the resurrection. When the Kingdom of God reaches the fullness of its glory on the earth, the sons of God will be manifest to the world in the glory of their resurrection. Being children of the resurrection, they will be incorruptible beings and they will rule the world and all the nations in it as resurrected and incorruptible men. Just as Jesus had power after His resurrection to appear and disappear, to manifest Himself or to hide His identity, ascend to heaven or return to earth, so also will these incorruptible sons have power. For this the whole creation is in travail! The SPIRITUAL BODY is the CONSUMMATION of God's SABBATH FOR THE BODY – eternal rest from corruption and all the distresses of the flesh. No more weakness nor tiredness; no more disease nor limitation; no more sweating in the heat of the sun nor shivering from the cold of the wind; no more subjection to natural law.

SHADOWS OF THINGS TO COME

I have pointed out that God knows the need of the whole man, not only did He provide for the inner man, the spirit and soul realms, But He also gave His people a day of physical rest. But we praise God for that quickening of the Spirit which enlightens our minds and hearts to the knowledge that not only is there a LAW AND ORDER for the body realm, but there is that higher and more glorious LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS. All the natural laws find their fulfillment in Christ, in the law of the Spirit of life. IN HIM we find the fulfillment of the "seventh day Sabbath," for HE IS BECOMING OUR REST, body, soul, and spirit. The seventh day is far more than a period of time; the seventh day is the whole REALM OF GOD'S REST, and that rest is found in Christ.

Just as surely as Christ is our salvation, our sacrifice, our passover, our high priest, our peace, our wisdom, our righteousness, our anointing, and our life, so also is Christ our Sabbath. Is not this the plain and forceful teaching of Paul in his letter to the Colossian saints? "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: WHICH ARE A SHADOW of things to come; but the body is of Christ" (Col. 2:16-17). All the things contained in the law, good and wondrous as they are, are only shadows of things to come. A shadow falling upon the ground tells us that there is a body nearby, and if you will lift your eyes away from the dusky shadow on the surface of the ground, you will see the body that made the shadow. You will behold the reality rather than the reflection. All earthly things are but the shadow of heavenly things, and all physical things are the shadow cast by higher realities in the realm of the Spirit. Therefore Paul says, "The body is of Christ." The Amplified Bible reads: "Such things are only the shadow of things that are to come. but the reality – the SUBSTANCE, the SOLID FACT of what is foreshadowed, the body of it – belongs to Christ." If I see the shadowy image of a snarling bulldog on the ground beside me, then I can be assured there is a SUBSTANCE, a REALITY behind the shadow – and I had better move quickly! The dog is the substance, the body of the shadow. So is Christ the substance of the law. Meats and drinks and holydays and sabbaths are but shadows, lying darkly upon the surface of the ground (the earth realm), but look a little farther and you will behold the reality – CHRIST OUR SABBATH IN WHOM WE FIND GLORIOUS REST! That there is physical blessing in keeping physical laws, that there is God-ordained bodily profit in keeping even the seventh day Sabbath for the body is evident, for, if there was no value nor benefit to the physical man in meats and drinks and Sabbath days, these could not then stand as the shadow of the reality in Christ. But let us never settle for the mere shadow when God is also offering us the substance!

A SABBATH FOR THE SOUL

Next, there is also a rest for the soul – the realm of the mind, will, emotions, and desires. Our Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed this rest for the soul when He said, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find REST UNTO YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" (Mat. 11:28-30). Yes, beloved, the whole soulish realm needs to be brought into rest. As Ray Prinzing has written, "We often speak of entering into HIS REST, and we often quote the verse, 'There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labour (Greek, make haste, speed) therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.' (Hebrews 4:9-11). But it is also found that while we might lie down and give our physical body a rest, this mind of ours can remain agitated and in turmoil, thoughts upon thoughts stirred up within – and to 'find rest for your souls,' (Matthew 11:29) only comes as we LEARN OF HIM, and are RENEWED INTO HIS MIND."

Jesus encourages us to "TAKE MY YOKE UPON YOU and LEARN OF ME," for this is what will bring rest to the soul. How strange this admonition of our Lord! How exhausted we become in our minds and bodies with all the feverish activity of trying to keep pace with this world's system. There are so many pressures in the world, each one bearing down upon us and clamoring for our attention – each one presenting a problem that needs to be solved, until your head aches with all the urgency and clatter, and your nerves are frayed from the tension. And now comes the word, "Take My yoke upon you. and ye shall find rest unto your souls." Is life not hard and sorrowful enough without being fettered with yet another yoke? Then the statement, "For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."

Did you ever stop to ask what a yoke is for? Is it to be a burden to the animal which wears it? It is just the opposite. It is to make its burden light. Attached to the oxen in any other way than by a yoke, the plough would be intolerable. Worked by means of a yoke, it is light! A yoke is not an instrument of torture; it is AN INSTRUMENT OF MERCY. It is not a malicious contrivance for making work hard; it is a gentle device to make hard labor light. It is not meant to give pain, but to save pain. Christ says, "My yoke is EASY." The word easy comes from the Greek word (chrestos), literally meaning "goodness," "gracious," or "kind." MY YOKE IS GOODNESS, MY YOKE IS GRACIOUS, MY YOKE IS KIND! Take My goodness, take My graciousness, take My kindness upon you, and learn of Me. Learn what? Learn that "I am meek and lowly in heart." Meekness is the opposite of all that is hard or bitter or sharp. Meekness is one of the fruits of the Spirit.

There is perhaps none of the lovely virtues which adorn the image of God's Son, which is more seldom seen in those who are called to be the expression of Christ. There are many precious saints, in whom much love for souls, much zeal for God's will, much desire after God's glory, much hope for the call to sonship, are visible, and yet who continually come short in this. How often, when offence comes unexpectedly, whether at home, in the church, or in the world, they are carried away by temper and anger and upset emotions, and have to confess that they have lost the PERFECT REST OF SOUL IN GOD! There is no virtue, perhaps, for which some have prayed more earnestly: they feel they would give anything if in their intercourse with partner, or children, or brothers and sisters in Christ, in company or in business, they could always keep their emotions perfectly, and exhibit the meekness and gentleness of Christ. Unspeakable is the grief and disappointment experienced by those who have been stirred to long for it, and yet have not discovered where the secret to meekness lies!

For every apprehended one who longs to possess this spirit, Christ's word is full of encouragement and wisdom: "Learn of Me that I am meek." The soul that seeks to be meek, must learn that Jesus is meek. We must take time to gaze on His meekness, until the heart has received the full import of the message: HE ONLY IS MEEK: with Him alone can meekness be found. When the truth of this bursts within our souls, we next fix our hearts upon the truth: This meek One is THE INDWELLING CHRIST. All He is, all He has, is shared with His "many brethren," His meekness is to be communicated to every area of our beings. But He does not impart it, by giving, as it were from Himself, something away to us. He does not sit in the heavens and "spoon out" to us a "spoonful" of meekness! No! we must learn that He alone is meek, and only when He is known as the INDWELLING CHRIST, only as He takes possession of heart and life from within, as we spend blessed time "at His feet," His meekness is enabled to rule in our souls.

He has been exalted to the power of God from thence to reign in our hearts, to conquer every enemy, and continue in us His own victorious conquering life. Therefore, only believe! Believe that Christ dwells not in some far-off heaven somewhere, but He dwells within your life and is able to fill your soul with His own spirit of meekness. Within your own heart reverberates the message: "BEHOLD! THY KING COMETH UNTO THEE, MEEK" (Mat. 21:5). Expect Him to reveal Himself to you and in you, unto the praise of His glory. Thank God! there is a rest that can be found for the SOUL, as we take His yoke upon us, and learn of Him.

Rest. For the soul. Ah, how we yearn for it! And it comes by taking His yoke upon us. Men speak of the yoke of Christ as if it were slavery, and look upon those who wear it as objects of compassion. The mistake has arisen from taking the word "yoke" here in the same sense as in the expressions "under the yoke," or "wear the yoke in his youth." But in Christ's illustration it is not the "jugum" of the Roman soldier, but the simple "harness" or "ox-collar" used by the Eastern peasant. It is the literal wooden yoke which He, with His own hands in the carpenter shop, had probably often made. He knew the difference between a smooth yoke and a rough one, a bad fit and a good fit; the difference also it made to the patient animal which had to wear it. The rough yoke galled, and the burden was heavy; the smooth yoke caused no pain, and the load was lightly drawn. The badly fitted harness was a misery; the well-fitted collar was "easy."

And what is the "burden"? It is not some special burden laid upon the believer, some unique infliction laid upon those called to sonship, that they alone must bear. IT IS WHAT ALL MEN BEAR. It is simply life, human life itself, the general burden of life lived out in a corruptible body, on the earth plane, with all it has of problems, frustrations, pressures, weaknesses and difficulties. Christ saw that most men take life painfully. To some it is a weariness, to others a failure, to many a tragedy, and to nearly all a struggle and a sorrow. How to carry this burden of life, this burden of the creature made subject to vanity, has been the whole world's problem. It is today the whole world's problem. How men handle it can be seen in the daily newspaper, as we read of murders, suicides, divorces, lawsuits, nervous breakdowns, arguments, fights, men cursing and swearing at one another, drunkenness, dope addiction, cultism, and those who simply seek to escape from the pressures by withdrawing to the seclusion of communes and wilderness retreats.

But here is Christ's solution: "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me THAT I AM MEEK AND LOWLY IN HEART: and ye shall find rest for your souls!" He invites us: "Take life as I do. Carry it as I carry it. Look at it from My point of view. Interpret it upon My principles. Live it in the power of My life and by the energy of My Spirit. Get yoked up with Me. Stop struggling within yourself, and walk in step with Me. Listen to My voice. Yield to My will. Be conscious, every moment, of My presence within. Because you have become new creatures through the grace of God and the power of His Spirit, think of yourselves as new creatures, a new creation, and not as the old men you used to be. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me. and you SHALL FIND REST unto your souls."

"There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest" (Heb. 4:9-11). Some say, "I believe there is such a rest, but not for me." There are people who continually say, "Oh, my nature is so unstable; my will is naturally very weak; I am Irish and my temperament is nervous and excitable, it is impossible for me always to live without worry or irritableness, resting in God." Beloved brother, sister, do not say that. You say so only for one reason: You do not know what your God will do for you! Begin to look away from self and look to Christ. "Learn of ME." Take that precious word: "He brought them out that He might bring them in" (Deut. 5:15). The God who took Israel through the Red Sea was the God who took them through Jordan into Canaan. The God who converted you is the God who is able to PERFECT YOU and give you blessed provision of His life every day.

Do you believe it is possible for Christ to bring you today into the rest of God, even in your soul? Remember that word in Hebrews, "Even as the Holy Ghost saith, TODAY if ye will hear His voice. there remaineth a rest to the people of God." Let us believe even now that our Joshua leads us into the rest of God in our souls, the rest in which we are saved from self-care, self-seeking, self-trusting, and self-loving, the rest in which we do not think of ourselves, but where we know that He who is almighty will always be dwelling and working in us. When we have done that, let us know as surety that as we have sought first the Kingdom of God and God's righteousness, all things shall be added unto us. Beloved, the Kingdom of God is within you, and it is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost!

God is bringing forth a people who shall know the fullness of rest in every part of their being. They shall become the manifestation to the entire creation of what REST really is. Buried deep in the heart of every man is that desire and hunger to know God, and to find in Him their permanent dwelling place. As long as we continue to burn the candle at both ends seven days a week, our body shall not have the benefit of its God-appointed rest. As long as we remain caught up in the madness of this world's system, and fail to spend time AT HIS FEET TO LEARN OF HIM, our minds, emotions, desires and will cannot find their rest. "Let us labour therefore TO ENTER INTO THAT REST!"

A SABBATH FOR THE SPIRIT

I would draw your attention to a most wonderful and meaningful event in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, and recommend that you read the entire account in Mat. 12:1-8. Here we shall extract only two verses out of this significant story: "I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. for the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day." Read these inspired and holy statements with all diligence and prayer, and with bowed head and contrite heart ask the Spirit of God to fill your spirit with the glorious revelation contained in these words, for out of the incident in the grain field, rises two startling truths: that CHRIST is greater than the TEMPLE; and CHRIST is greater than the SABBATH. Greater than the Temple, Priests, David, or the Sabbath, is the ONE WHO IS HERE, said the Christ, when His disciples were caught with wheat in their hands which they had plucked and rubbed on the Sabbath day.

As the Greater-than-the-Temple is CHRIST IN YOU, so the Greater-than-the-Sabbath also is CHRIST IN YOU. Jesus said, "The Son of man is LORD. OF THE SABBATH DAY." If He is LORD of the Sabbath day, He is then GREATER than the Sabbath day. If He is LORD of the SABBATH, the Sabbath then finds its fulfillment IN HIS LORDSHIP. Can we not see that the Sabbath is the place where Christ IS ABSOLUTE LORD within.

WE BECOME THE SUBSTANCE OF THE SHADOW as He rests in us, and we rest in Him. When the rest of HIS LORDSHIP becomes personified within us, WE BECOME HIS REST, HIS HOLY DAY, THE SABBATH OF THE LORD OUR GOD! If we are going to enter into the rest, we must enter into Christ. But where is Christ today? We answer that He is in our spirit, for "He that is joined unto the Lord IS ONE SPIRIT, and if Christ be IN YOU, the body is dead because of sin; but THE SPIRIT IS LIFE because of righteousness" (I Cor. 6:17; Rom 8:10). Ah, here is where God's Sabbath is rooted, in the area of our spirit. If we join our spirit to the spirit of the world, it will work destruction within. A spirit of restlessness, rebellion, fear and hopelessness has gripped the whole world in this hour and all nations are being driven to chaos. It is the spirit of the wicked one energizing and agitating the peoples in their riots, terrorism, revolutions, lawlessness and sensuality, and it is this same spirit of destruction that is driving the nations toward terrible judgment.

Praise God! our spirits have been quickened by God's Spirit, and there is a rest deep within our bosoms, birthed by the Spirit of Him who is rest. Well may they be troubled who know not God and have no confidence in the indwelling Christ. He who KNOWS HIM says within his heart, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof" (Ps. 46:1-3). The heathen may rage and the kingdoms of earth be moved. Tyranny may sweep across the land as a dark and furious storm. We may be imprisoned for our faith in Christ, our sons and daughters may shed their blood in the streets, our women may be ravished cruelly before our eyes. The earth itself may melt at the voice of the Lord, yet, to those who DO KNOW THEIR GOD, "The God of Jacob is our refuge." They who find this kind of rest in God speak from the midst of the fire, saying with joy, "There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The Lord of hosts is with us; Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations He hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; He burneth the chariot in the fire. BE STILL (at rest), AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD!" (Ps. 46:4-10).

There is a rest in the spirit of every child of God which is a source of mighty peace and victory in the midst of earth's trying circumstances. Dear ones, do not be distressed by the confusion around you at home, on the job, in the nation. Today you are a kernel of wheat in the tumult of the threshing floor. The weeds, chaff, and straw are being blown about by the wind, but you are being gathered into the garner. Do not be disturbed about the present disorder, deception, violence, weakness and vacillation of our national leaders, confusion in the religious world, hatred, war, disease, famine, pestilence, moral breakdown of society, or the specter of persecution. Do not run away and hide. Do not worry. If you are worrying, then you are not trusting. Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though SOME STRANGE THING HAPPENED TO YOU: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy (I Pet. 4:12-13). The fiery trial is for our purification that we may be qualified to rule and reign as overcomers in the Kingdom of God. It is necessary that offences come. It is necessary that you have problems at home, troubles in the family, trials at work, testings in your finances, distresses in the flesh, confusion around you and pressures on every hand. It is necessary that saints be tried. It is the fierce heat of the furnace that separates the gold from the dross. It is the seven-fold heat that purifies the gold, and we must not be amazed or troubled by it.

WITHIN YOUR SPIRIT, my brother, my sister, has been planted the incorruptible seed of Christ and therein is a reservoir of THE PEACE OF GOD that passeth understanding. As this peace grows in stature and strength within to RULE IN YOUR HEARTH, you are transformed into God's SABBATH PEOPLE, a people who ARE HIS REST in the earth. God's SABBATH PEOPLE ARE AT REST and unafraid, because they dwell in the secret place of the Most High and they abide under the shadow of the almighty. These saints so become ONE WITH HIS REST that they are not disturbed by the pressures without. When Paul wrote to the saints at Thessalonica, he told them of many dreadful things that would come upon the earth. He warned them not to be shaken in mind or troubled, and then gave this beautiful assurance, "And to you who are troubled, REST WITH US, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty messengers, when He shall come to be GLORIFIED IN HIS SAINTS and to be ADMIRED IN ALL THEM THAT BELIEVE in that day" (II Thes. 1:7,10). Yes, God is preparing a SABBATH COMPANY, not only to have rest, but to bring rest, to minister peace, joy, and righteousness to the troubled peoples of earth in the distressing days which lie before us, praise HIS wonderful name! If you want to be raptured off to heaven and sit on a cloud eating pork chops, go ahead; as for me and my house, we choose to remain on the battle field until we see His Kingdom a great mountain THAT FILLS THE WHOLE EARTH.

This rest of the spirit had its inception on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples. Jesus had promised: "And, behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high" (Lk. 24:49). On the day of the feast of Pentecost "they were all FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT and began to speak with tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4). This was a fulfillment of prophecy! Six centuries before the prophet Isaiah had proclaimed: "For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people" (Isa. 28:11). And what was this all about? Isaiah continues: "THIS IS THE REST WHEREWITH YE MAY CAUSE THE WEARY TO REST; and this is the refreshing" (Isa. 28:12). This is the rest. This is the refreshing, this glorious baptism in the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in other tongues! I do not hesitate to declare to you that the infilling of the Holy Spirit effects the initial quickening of our spirit, releasing within the spiritual refreshing of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. It has been my observation through many years, and I have learned as I have been taught by the Spirit of God, that though a believer may be justified by faith, as Abraham was justified by faith before the Spirit was given, the believer's spirit is not quickened by God's Spirit UNTIL HE RECEIVES THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Regardless how many years you may have walked as a justified believer in Christ, I believe that all who read these lines will agree with me that you never truly became ALIVE UNTO GOD, QUICKENED IN SPIRIT, until you received the "baptism in the Holy Spirit." This is where spiritual life starts, this is where reality in Christ begins, this is where the rest of God finds its first expression, ultimately to swallow up the whole being into the fullness of GOD'S REST.

"For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people. THIS IS THE REST wherewith ye may cause THE WEARY TO REST; and this is the refreshing." It means simply this: If you have not received God's precious gift of the Holy Spirit; if you are not walking in the Spirit – YOU ARE A SABBATH-BREAKER! The baptism in the Spirit is merely the "earnest," the "down payment" of this Sabbath rest, and, praise God, the fullness is surely becoming reality within as we FOLLOW ON to know the Lord in deeper measures.

Oh, the goodness and greatness of the purposes of God! How wonderful and wise His ways! How almighty His acts!

 


Chapter 22

A SABBATH IN EDEN

(continued)

"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and HE RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY from all His work which He had made. And God BLESSED THE SEVENTH DAY, AND SANCTIFIED IT: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made" (Gen. 2:1-3).

In the two previous Studies on this subject of A SABBATH IN EDEN I have pointed out that the Sabbath in Gen. 2:2-3 was not a twenty-four period of time, in which God rested from the labor of six other twenty-four hour periods of time. The Sabbath following the six days of creation is an ETERNAL DAY OF REST in which God still abides, a day ever accessible to man, for man is still enjoined to "enter into His (God's) rest" (Heb. 4:1-11). How could it be possible today, six long millenniums after Adam dwelt in Eden, for man to "enter into GOD'S REST," if God's rest ended at the close of a twenty-four hour day thousands of years ago? This blessed Sabbath of God to which the Spirit now points us is THE ETERNAL REALM OF GOD'S OWN REST AND GLORY, sanctified and set apart for man, that man might have entrance into it, to know God there, to experience God there, and forever abide in union with God in the high and holy and blessed realm of HIS LIFE, REST, JOY, PEACE, RIGHTEOUSNESS AND VICTORY.

This hallowed realm of God's rest is three-fold as pertains to man, for man has three main parts in his being: body, soul, and spirit. The Spirit of God is today teaching us how great is the necessity for each of these three faculties of our being to "enter into His rest," that we might know the fullness of the rest of God provided for THE WHOLE MAN. God has not given us a Sabbath merely for the body, nor just for the soul, nor alone for the spirit. The simple truth of the matter is this: When the omniscient, immutable, omnipotent, and eternal God said, "They shall enter into My rest," He INTENDED THE WHOLE MAN TO ENTER INTO THAT REST, spirit, soul, and body. Behold how great and complete a provision God has made for His people! In this present article we shall pursue further the thought of a three-fold Sabbath for man.

A SABBATH FOR THE SPIRIT

Praise God! our spirits have been quickened by God's Spirit, and there is a rest deep within our bosoms, begotten by the Spirit of Him WHO IS REST. Here is where God's Sabbath is rooted, in the area of our spirit. "He that is joined unto the Lord is ONE SPIRIT" (I Cor. 6:17). There is a rest in the spirit of every begotten child of God which is a source of mighty peace and victory in the midst of earth's trying circumstances. WITHIN YOUR SPIRIT, my brother, my sister, has been planted the incorruptible seed of the Christ life and therein is a reservoir of THE PEACE OF GOD that passeth all human understanding.

 

 

A SABBATH FOR THE SOUL

"And He brought us out from thence, that He might bring us in, to give us the land which He swore unto our fathers" (Deut. 6:23). God's purpose in delivering us from our sins and quickening us in our spirit is that He should bring us into our heritage in Christ. The one is not complete without the other. He died that we might be delivered from the power of sin and death and rose again that we might live in the realm of His more abundant life. We thank God for what He has done in saving us and making us His people. One thing remains: "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief" (Heb. 4:9,11). That means possessing our possessions; and that is exactly what God bids us do. God wants us to receive that divine enablement whereby we shall be "able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3:18-19).

Rest for the soul! Rest for the mind and emotions, rest from the warrings of the will and desires of the flesh. Soul weariness can't be healed through sleep or relaxation, as can body weariness, and it can actually rob us of sleep. It involves tension, fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, the disturbing of our inner peace, the deep unrest of mind and heart that saps strength from the center of our being. While in this world, no matter how much we try, things are constantly happening that batter away at our soul. These battles take their toll, and as a result, our soul needs to be rested. If we try to fight in our own strength against the things that assault our souls, we will just heighten the problem. Temptations that we have to resist, arguments in which we find ourselves embroiled, misunderstanding between friends, family, and brethren, rumors that we somehow get caught up in, accusations that are hurled toward us, the multiplied pressures on the job and at home, all the activities of trying to keep pace with this world's system – these are all things that constantly beat upon the soul to wear us down.

Soul rest is a gift that comes from the God of all grace. The world fails to find rest for its soul in spite of attempts made through drugs, Eastern religions and philosophies, abnormal sexual practices, rock music, psychiatry, psychology, psychoanalysis, and countless other ways. It would be a great blessing if every man on earth could hear by the Spirit the wonderful invitation of the Christ of God: "COME UNTO ME, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I WILL GIVE YOU REST. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me: and YE SHALL FIND REST UNTO YOUR SOULS" (Mat. 11:28-29). This is the divine prescription for a soul which needs rest. People in the world who are going at ninety miles an hour in their whirl of worldly pursuits and pleasures may seem to have everything under control, but they are restless in their souls. It is as impossible for the man or woman who hasn't come to Christ and been QUICKENED BY THE SPIRIT to be rested in their soul as it is for a tom-cat to sprout wings and fly above the mountains.

Rest and Peace are synonyms. Would you like peace today? I do not mean the peace of lethargic ease or of a safe and sheltered life. Nor do I mean the peace of the motionless Stoic, who achieves calm by doing violence to his affections, and by damping down the fires of love and sorrow and pity in his heart. I do not mean that. I mean the peace that stands sentinel at the gateway of the soul, and confronts all manner of difficult things with steady eyes, the peace that holds the heart serene through crowded days and pressures and overwork and problems and all the criticisms of men. Would you like that? Well, saith the Lord, you can have it! It is not a matter of temperament: the most highly strung soul can have it. It is a matter of embracing a gift. “My peace I give unto you,” said Jesus. Notice His language. “My peace.” The peace that my heart knows. Will you think of that? Jesus did not often speak about it, but on every page of the Gospels you can feel it.

The serenity of Christ! The inner stability of the Christ! Look at the narratives. Did anyone, watching Jesus in those Galilean days, ever see Him irritated? Think what He had to put up with. Could you have stood it and remained serene? Continual intrusions upon His privacy, no respite from dawn to dark, the steady drain on His spiritual resources, inconsiderate people breaking in on His hours of quiet, the awful burden of sharing every hurt heart’s sins and sorrows, the misunderstandings, the cutting criticisms, the pettiness of the people, the viciousness of the scribes and Pharisees and religion leaders, the terrible, unremitting toil, the disappointments, the crushing load of such a life – and yet, through it all, that same serene, untroubled heart. No flurry, no sign of strain upon His face, no trace of nerves – always “My peace.” Is there anything more marvelous in the Gospels than that?

Contrast His own disciples. Their nerves sometimes gave way. There was a Samaritan village that was rude and inhospitable. “Lord,” they cried exasperated, “let us call down fire from heaven! Let us teach these boorish folk a lesson!” But Jesus? “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.” Always that strong serenity, that deep inner calm and confidence! The frail boat was being tossed one night on a murderous sea. “Master,” they shouted, all self-control flung to the winds, “Master, carest Thou not that we perish?” “Peace, be still,” said Jesus, and I think He was speaking to those panic-stricken hearts as much as to the angry waves, “Peace, be still!” always inner calm. A crowd of five thousand people followed them one day out to their secret retreat in the wilderness. “Send them away,” said the disciples, “For heaven’s sake, let us have a holiday for once!” “They need not depart,” said Jesus, “they are sheep without a shepherd, and I love them.” Always that heart at leisure from itself. Then came the end; and things went terribly wrong, or so it seemed. “Don’t go to Jerusalem,” they implored Him, “there is danger in the air – don’t go!” And when He went, and the enemy struck, their strained nerves snapped completely – they all turned in fear and fled. But Jesus? “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.” And so He died serene. Is it not marvelous? All the way from Bethlehem to Nazareth, and from Nazareth to Calvary – “My peace,” My strong, untroubled peace!

“Ah,” you say, “but that was Jesus! He was different. We are common clay. You can’t expect us to achieve that praise of soul, that spirit serene. It was lovely, it was marvelous, it was magnificent: but for us – utterly and for ever impossible!” I beg you not to be too sure of that. If I could today convince one troubled heart that this same thing – the peace of Christ, which is the peace of God that passeth understanding – is not a far-off dream, but actually within the reach of any soul who will claim it; if even one person who reads these lines were to lay aside his paper and arise quite sure of this, that whatever happens, whatever comes or goes, there is always far more in Jesus to hold a man steady and serene than there can be anywhere else in life to shake or unnerve his soul – this ministry would not have been in vain. For the real marvel is not only to hear, all through the story of Jesus from the carpenter’s bench to the cross, the deep central theme, “My peace”: the real marvel is to hear Him saying in the depths of our own spirit, as I believe He is saying now, “My peace I give to you” – to those younger sons of God who know in this life what it means to be rushed and pressured and tested and fearful and agitated: “My peace – to you!”

If we will turn our hearts away from the things of this world and from the religious vanity, the churchianity, the religious rubbish that everywhere confronts us, and turn our eyes upon CHRIST JESUS, we will find rest for our souls. All who long after HIS REST must cease from following after men to inquire of them and imbibe their vain philosophy. The carnal mind has nothing more to offer in counsel but darkness and death, for the carnal mind IS DEAD, and knows nothing at all of that which pertains to life. For the people of God to seek counsel from the counselors of this world, be they psychologists, psychiatrists, marriage counselors, or the ministers of religion in the harlot church systems, is as futile and worthless as seeking counsel from a zombie. How accurately did Paul pen the words in Rom. 8:6: "For to be carnally minded IS DEATH; but to be spiritually minded IS LIFE AND PEACE." The Amplified Bible reads: "Now the mind of the flesh, which is sense and reason WITHOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT, is death – but the mind of the Spirit is life and SOUL-PEACE both now and forevermore." How many of the world's Christians, enmeshed in the carnal system of religion commonly known as "the church," daily seek human counsel which is, in all reality, nothing more than the advice of men who are walking in unregenerate, carnal minds. As a worm looks at things through the eyes of a worm with the limited understanding of its worm mind, so carnal men see all things through carnal minds and give their counsel as carnal men, and often the counselor is in as great darkness as the counseled. Oh! that all God's people would call a halt to running hither and thither seeking after counsel and prayers and blessings from men, and in place of all their carnally-minded pursuits turn aside to BEHOLD THE GLORY OF THE LORD as His Spirit moves in their spirits like a quickening stream that they might cease from their labors and FIND REST UNTO THEIR SOULS.

Listen now, with bowed head and contrite spirit, to the heart-cry of the lovely Shulamite as she, possessed by the godly desire to enter into a closer walk with her Beloved, and to know Him in deeper measures of intimacy and union, implores, "Tell me, O Thou whom my soul loveth, where Thou feedest, where Thou makest Thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of Thy companions?" (S. of S. 1:7). All that the world or any creature can give, is as ashes to that hungry soul who is longing for a revelation of his Lord. Nothing else can satisfy, nothing else can bring peace and joy and imperishable reality. All other love is as husks, to the love and companionship of God, and to the love which He draws from the heart that is yielded to Him. The lovely Shulamite maiden in the Song of Solomon represents the elect of God. Truly has His Name become to God's apprehended ones as ointment poured forth; and their hunger for divine fellowship and communion has increased, so that they long TO BE FED BY HIM, and Him alone. They would know WHERE HE IS FEEDING HIS FLOCK, that they may join that company which follows the Lamb to Zion's holy hill and behold Him all the time.

It is absolutely amazing to see how God is drawing those who are willing to pay the price to go all the way with God in this momentous hour. His hand is upon them, and He is drawing them to Himself in increasingly deeper measures. there is no self-satisfaction with those whom God is drawing and making hungry for Himself. Though we are always satisfied with Christ, it seems that the more we feed upon Him and the more satisfied we become in our relationship with Him, the hungrier we are for Him. The more we drink of the living waters, the more satisfied we become and yet the thirstier we are. The closer we draw to God, the more Christ is revealed to us, the more satisfied we are, and yet the more fervently our hearts pant for Him. This is because a portion of our being has been satisfied, and the portion that remains desires Him all the more! The reason many of God's children are not hungering and thirsting after Him, is because they are not feeding at all, or are eating the impure, contaminated food of the carnal doctrines and programs of the church systems, and drinking lukewarm muddy water from Babylon's polluted streams.

How puny, how weak, how miserable at best, is our love for our Lord! Oh, that He would melt us down, that we might cry to Him with a voice that would go right up into His heart: "O Thou, whom my soul loveth, tell me where Thou art feeding Thy flock, that I may ever keep step with Thee: and not be lingering over food that is fried, withered, and untimely, even though it may once, in some revival or experience of the past, been fresh. Guide me, that I may walk in every ray of light and continually feed upon Thee who art the Bread of Life; feed in trial and perplexity, in pressure and trouble, in temptation and difficulty; that from Thee, who art my strength and redeemer, I may derive the quickening power for everything that comes into my life." "Tell me where Thou feedest Thy flock," is the fervent cry in the hearts of all sons of God. Their hunger and desire after HIM have increased as they search for, and follow after reality.

And now comes the promise: "I will feed My flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains, shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed" (Eze. 34:15,14). How significant that in these verses we find that first comes the FEEDING, and then follows the REST. There would be no rest if one's stomach were gnawing with hunger pangs. The internal desires must be satisfied first. We have tried in our fleshly zeal to find that which satisfies, and we have wandered through a great and vast wilderness of religious programs, rituals, ceremonies, meetings, revivals, and activities, only to discover that the shepherds of Babylon have trampled under foot the precious and glorious realities our hearts have so desperately panted after. But HE who is the GOOD SHEPHERD has promised that HE will feed, and HE will cause to lie down! It is His own sovereign work, as many can testify who have heard His voice and have followed on to know the Lord. One does not "work up" nor "shout down" the deep dealings and unfoldings of God, they have to be given by the Spirit to our spirit, and simply received and appropriated by faith and obedience. How precious is the impartation of HIS LIFE, and when it ABIDES WITHIN, you find a rest taking over within. Gone are the strivings and the multitude of works. No need, now for the flesh to conjure up a new batch of religious exercises, for the soul is at rest, divinely quickened, divinely sustained.

"Tell me, O Thou whom my soul loveth, where Thou feedest, where Thou MAKEST THY FLOCK TO REST AT NOON." How this word reveals our utter helplessness to feed ourselves or find the place where He is feeding His flock. With what intense desire do we beseech Him not only to lead us in green pastures of His Word, not only to feed us in the company which is nearest Him, but we would be so close to Him that our eyes may rest upon Him and Him alone, and that His shall be the only voice to fall upon our harkening ears. We pray that HE will open up to us all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge which are hidden in Him; that He will teach us to feed upon the Hidden Manna of an incorruptible life.

It is when the flock has to the full, that they LIE DOWN, but the shepherd is with them all the time. Thus would we have it continually in our life. When we have fed upon the Living Word of Christ so that faith has arisen in our hearts, we can then lie down upon that Word in rest and confidence, knowing that we are in the pasture of the Great Shepherd. As we eat of HIM, and LIE DOWN WITH HIM upon the promises of God, and hide away in blessed fellowship with Him, we shall find peace and rest to our souls. Is your life tossed and troubled, beloved friend, is your mind weary, your nerves frayed, your emotions erupting, agitated and distressed? I do not hesitate to say that it is because you have not sought out Him whom thy soul loveth, you have not found the place where HE FEEDETH HIS FLOCK and MAKEST IT TO REST AT NOON, you have not discovered that blessed place ALONE WITH HIM AT HIS FEET, even the secret place of the Most High.

Those who would be the sons of God in this dark hour must be diligent to feed in the green pastures of His leading, not only in the cool of the morn and at eve when the dew is upon the grass, but even in the hottest hour of the day, when the sun is beating down so fiercely, and there is no breeze stirring. Amidst all the pressures within and without we must be so nourished and strengthened by the heavenly manna of HIS INDWELLING LIFE, that the heat cannot make us faint, nor the storms dismay or make us afraid.

There is a wonderful relationship with Christ, in which we are hidden away and draw upon Him for all enabling and strength in every time of need. Not only this. There is a relationship where He causes us to lie down and rest when all is turmoil about us. When everything without is going wrong, when the toast burns, the milk spills, the brats bawl, the car won't start, the tire goes flat on the freeway, the boss curses, and the pressures reach the point of crushing the life out, even in the worse testings and the hardest things that can come upon us, HE IS ABLE TO MAKE US REST BESIDE STILL WATERS. Though the sun's rays are hot, and, in ourselves, we would be overcome; He will hush our fears and cause us to rest. He will spread His wing over us, and in its shadow we shall rest. In the covert of His INDWELLING PRESENCE will He hide us from the plottings and words of men. He will keep us secretly in His pavilion from the strife of tongues, for He is our keeper. He is our shade upon our right hand, the sun shall not smite us by day nor the moon by night. As the whole world situation crumbles around us in the days which lie ahead, HE will keep our going out and our coming in. He will keep us from all evil, for He neither slumbers nor sleeps. Those who KNOW THIS are SONS OF THE MOST HIGH GOD!

Rest for the soul! "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Mat. 11:28-29). Have you noticed how, in the original invitation of our Lord to come to Him, the promise of rest is repeated twice, with such a variation in the conditions as suggests that ABIDING REST can only be found in HIS ABIDING PRESENCE. First the Lord says, "Come unto Me, and I will give you rest." The very moment you come, and believe, I will give you rest – the rest of forgiveness and acceptance – the rest of My grace. But we know that all God gives must eventually be INWORKED into our very nature, to become our STATE OF BEING, before it is truly our own. It must be held fast, and appropriated, and assimilated into our innermost being; without this not even Christ's giving can make it experientially our very own – part of us. And so the Lord repeats His promise, in words which clearly speak not so much of the initial rest with which He welcomes the weary one who comes, but of the deeper INWORKED REST of the soul that yields completely to Him. He now not only says, "Come unto Me," but "Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me." He says, "Become My disciples, My scholars, My disciplined ones; yield yourselves to My training, submit in all things to My will, let your whole life be one with Mine," and then He promises, not only, "I will give," but "Ye shall FIND REST to your souls." The rest He gave when you came will now become something you have really found and made your own, yea, something YOU HAVE BECOME. This is the place of not only having rest, but BEING REST.

But alas! I hear someone say, it is this constant labor to bear His yoke, to learn of Him, that is so difficult, and the very effort to attain to this often disturbs my rest even more than the pressures from the world around me. What a mistake to speak thus! Does it weary the traveler to rest on the bed where he seeks relaxation from his fatigue? Or is it a labor for an infant to rest in its mother's arms? Is it not the bed that supports the traveler? Do not the arms of the mother sustain and keep the little one? And so it is with CHRIST IN OUR SPIRIT. The soul has but to yield itself to HIM, to be still and rest in the confidence that "GREATER IS HE THAT IS IN YOU, THAN HE THAT IS IN THE WORLD" (I Jn. 4:4). I stand in amazement and wonder at such words of life as these. The Christ within rejoices in them, and my own begotten spirit shouts, "Amen!" He that is within IS GREATER than all, therefore the soul who trusts in this truth finds blessed rest. This rest is the fruit of the fellowship of God's own rest, it is the peace of God, the great calm of the eternal world, that passeth all understanding, where CHRIST IS LORD OF ALL.

God wants you to know that He that is WITHIN YOU IS GREATER than he that is in the world. If He is – HE IS! It doesn't mean that He is greater IF you pray all night, IF you read ten chapters in the Bible each day, IF you fast all week, IF you praise ever so loud or long, IF you "plead the blood" every time evil presents itself, IF you go to the meeting and sing some chorus twenty-five times, or IF you have five prophecies and two seven-foot angels assuring you that He is working in your behalf. Though none of the above happen, it is still a great fact: HE THAT IS IN YOU IS GREATER THAN HE THAT IS IN THE WORLD. He IS GREATER! IS! IS! IS! Only the blessed Holy Spirit can take this word and make it real. Let us therefore humbly bow before the Lord of the universe, and acknowledge in adoring contemplation this glorious truth that He who dwells in the secret place of our quickened spirit IS GREATER than all the raging passions of the soul and all the powers and pressures that are in the world.

Twenty years ago a spiritualist sat across a room from me and told me that he could take my spirit out of my body while I slept, and bring it up to talk to him in the night. This man continually worked in occult powers, and had I not known the wonder of THE INDWELLING CHRIST there might have been reason to become alarmed, or fearful. But in those days the Spirit of God had made wonderfully real to my heart the absolute and incontrovertible truth that He that is within me IS GREATER than all. This, beloved friend, is an unalterable and eternal fact, contingent upon nothing but our simple acceptance of it as fact. No religious works of any kind will add aught to this fact, no pietistic exercises can make it any more effective – He simply IS GREATER! Calmly, I looked this spiritualist in the eye and said, "I defy you; you can never take my spirit out of my body and carry it anywhere." When I left that house I did not even pray about the matter; I did not waste time worrying or thinking about it; neither did I commence to "bind the devil," or "plead the blood," or "rebuke the spirits." I simply forgot about it. When one KNOWS THAT HE KNOWS that THE CHRIST WITHIN IS GREATER it gives blessed rest.

"For thus saith the Lord God: in rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength" (Isa. 30:15). That very night I had an experience while sleeping. I dreamed, and in my dream I saw my mother, who has moved for many years in a powerful gift of tongues and interpretation. She was standing with right hand stretched forth, speaking vehemently in other tongues, in the tone of authority and rebuke. Immediately I awoke, and the Spirit of God revealed to me that at that very moment the spiritualist was working with occult powers to draw my spirit from my body, but the dream revealed that even as I slept in confidence in the power of the Christ within, THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD HAD RAISED UP A STANDARD AGAINST HIM, and no evil on earth could touch me. Ah, beloved, this victory came not from much agonizing, praying, rebuking, or binding. It came by calm and patient ASSURANCE. Either the Christ within is greater than all, or He isn't. Through the years I have learned more and more of the certain reality of the mystery, hidden from all previous ages, "which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27). This is a great fact, and those who pray the loudest and rebuke devils the longest, have never discovered this fact, and have the least faith.

Oh! that spirit of wisdom and revelation from God may give to all who read these pages the ability to see with enlightened eyes how it is that this blessed realm of REST, PEACE, and CONFIDENCE IN THE CHRIST WITHIN is the Sabbath of the Lord our God. We are to labor to enter into this rest! We are to labor to come to the point of faith where we stop striving and calmly LET GOD BE GOD. We must believe that Christ, the Almighty One, will in every deed lead, teach, defend, keep, preserve, deal, work, transform, and sustain us all the day. Oh, my Lord and my God! If ever our hearts should doubt or fear again, as if the reality were too great to expect, or too high to attain, let us hear Thy voice to quicken our faith and obedience: "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; and ye shall find rest UNTO YOUR SOULS." When in everything you can rest in God, you have stepped into the eternal fountain of life and inexhaustible riches of Christ. There is no faith so mighty as the faith that RESTS IN GOD alone. When I pray, I never excite myself. I get excited about many things. You who heard me minister the Word know how excited I can get over the revelation of God for this hour! I have been known to get LOUD. But of all the lessons God has taught me, I think none as sweet as this, that when I pray, then I rest. I rest in God. In quiet faith we step into the fountain of God's unfailing goodness and there stand still to see the salvation of the Lord.

THIS IS MY REST

There is another truth altogether as grand as the truth of our entering into the rest of God, namely, God entering in to rest in us. "And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and HE RESTED on the seventh day from all His work which He had made" (Gen. 2:2). It is now, as it has been through all the ages of time, the Lord may work in many a house, but He can find rest in very few. So He works in many souls, and comes to bring His fullness; but few so entirely yield to Him, as to let Him rest there.

Our Lord Jesus the Christ said, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head" (Mat. 8:20). Yes, the "little foxes" that spoil the vines have holes for lodging within us, the "spirit-birds" of negative and erroneous thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs build nests in our minds and hearts and souls, but few men give THE MIND OF CHRIST a true resting-place. For Christ to rest in us means that all His labor in us is finished, the work of transformation and re-creation is accomplished, and His will is done in us as it is done in heaven. God is beheld in glory in His temple, which temple we are. We enter into rest when we cease from our labors that God can work; and HE RESTS IN US when HIS WORK IN US IS COMPLETED. God will not, cannot rest, until His will is done and His image is seen in the creation.

Would God that all the saints might see that God's purpose from the foundation of the world has been the building of a spiritual house, an holy temple, an eternal abiding place in which He can be at home and rest. It is a house made up of many living stones. Every stone is a redeemed person and every stone is a person upon whom the mighty hand of God has been laid in dealing. More than three thousand years ago Solomon built a magnificent temple of stone and precious materials. He overlaid it with gold and adorned it with silver. All manner of costly stones were in it. So wonderful was it that the Queen of Sheba stood transfixed at the sight. But the temple built by Solomon was only an ephemeral foreshadow of the living temple which Christ would build by the Spirit – a temple not made with hands(Eph. 2:19-22).

Surely it was not by accident that Solomon, the type of Christ who should build the eternal house of God, received his name. Solomon means "rest." It is interesting that Stephen, referring to Solomon and his temple says, "But Solomon built Him an house. Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool: what house will ye build Me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of My rest?" (Acts 7:47-49). The temple of God IS THE PLACE OF HIS REST, and there is only one temple recognized by the Lord, the TEMPLE OF HIS BODY, the temple which YE ARE.

"Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces" (Ps. 48:12-13). "For the Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation. THIS IS MY REST FOREVER: here will I dwell; for I have desired it. I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread. I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy" (Ps. 132:13-16). These important verses teach us that ZION IS THE PLACE OF GOD'S REST.

There was a day when, confined within the dank walls of a prison house, Paul, the beloved apostle, was caught away in spirit into a realm of revelation. There he beheld Mount Sinai, dreadful in its awesome glory, a mount that durst not be touched, where flaming consuming fire dwelt with horrible black darkness. A terrifying storm raged upon its heights, wind-blown flames and smoke pierced the sky. Out of the tempest sounded a deafening trumpet-blast, a voice speaking human words, the voice of the Almighty, so terrible, that those who heard it begged and prayed that it might say no more. Beasts straying near the mountain were instantly killed and so fearful was the spectacle that Moses himself cried out, "I am terrified and tremble!" In his spirit Paul was there at Mount Sinai with the children of Israel, trembling like a reed shaken by the wind, fearing with their fear, dreading with their dread.

Suddenly the scene changed as the Holy Spirit transported him across the ages of time to gaze with wonder upon things that were yet to come, to another, more beautiful scene. Borne by the Spirit he stood before another Mount, even glorious spiritual Zion, an eternal Mount inhabited by a spiritual race of Kings and Priests, the sons of the living God. No longer did he see an impregnable fortress within the walls of an earthly Jerusalem, but a celestial Zion, composed of the redeemed and glorified Army of the Most High. There dwells the Church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven, the spirits of just men made perfect, and Jesus Christ, the first-born of many brethren, the mediator of the new covenant, whose priceless redeeming blood speaks better things than that of Abel.

Paul's spirit is enraptured with glory, his heart is exulting in praise, as he beholds the transcendent glory of SPIRITUAL MOUNT ZION contrasted with the indescribable dreadfulness of Mount Sinai. From his mouth pours forth the prophetic pronouncement: "For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them anymore: (For they could not endure that which was commanded, and if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: and so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) BUT YE ARE COME UNTO MOUNT ZION, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, and to general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel" (Heb. 12:18-24).

What is this MOUNT ZION, the PLACE OF GOD'S REST, and what is this city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem? The best way to come to an understanding of its true meaning is to go back to the Old Testament and consider the shadow. Israel of old was God's chosen nation, His peculiar treasure above all the people of the earth. Israel was the visible expression of the Kingdom of God upon earth. Israel was the whole nation and in type represents all who, under the new covenant, are born into the Kingdom of God by spiritual birth. All who were born of the flesh in Israel were citizens of the Kingdom, mattered not their station, whether the king upon the throne, or the blind beggar by the roadside; all alike were citizens by virtue of birth. In this more glorious dispensation of the Spirit, each and every son of Adam's race who have been BORN AGAIN BY THE SPIRIT through the washing of regeneration, are alike citizens of that Kingdom which is no longer a literal dusty little country thronging with peasants and cattle who inhabit tumbledown shacks and barns, but an eternal land, a heavenly country of a spiritual order, the inhabitants of which have been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.

Israel was the whole nation; Jerusalem, the capital city. And as that old order of the flesh was but a type and shadow of the new order of the Spirit (Heb. 10:1; Col. 2:16-17), therefore the New Jerusalem is the capital city, transcendent in glory, in Israel today, which is Christ's Kingdom and of which our Lord said, it "is not of this world" (I Jn. 18:36). This is a city of redeemed persons, but persons who have not only been born as citizens of heavenly country, but have MOVED ONWARD to dwell in the capital city of that country, a realm of surpassing beauty and glory, the inhabitants of which are the embodiment of the glory of God and the light thereof.

One of the chief mistakes made by Christians of almost all persuasions is the common notion that all saved people belong to the same company or rank in God's Kingdom. Men like to imagine that ALL Christians are the bride of Christ, ALL are sons of God, ALL have the mind of Christ, ALL are "going to the same place" and so on. To assume this is to frustrate the purpose of God in your life. Do not be deceived by the senseless prattle of carnally minded theologians, nor by the childish understanding of baby Christians. There are many justified believers who have not been filled with the Holy Spirit of God. There are many Spirit-baptized believers who have not grown up into maturity. And nearly all Christians fit somewhere in between those who are just SAVED BY GRACE and those who have been completely CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF THE SON OF GOD.

It should be clear to all who have eyes to see that the JERUSALEM PEOPLE dwell in a brighter glory than do the ISRAEL PEOPLE, even as SPIRIT-FILLED PEOPLE dwell in a brighter glory than do JUSTIFIED PEOPLE. The New Jerusalem is THE BRIDE OF CHRIST (Rev. 21:2, 9-10). A bride is one who is no longer a babe, but has reached a degree of maturity, and has fallen so intensely in love that her only wish is to yield herself to high desires of her husband, giving herself completely and unreservedly to him as her lover, submitting her whole life to him as her head and lord. Oh! So many of the Lord's redeemed people know so little of what it means to BE THE BRIDE OF CHRIST! Not all who pray the sinner's prayer, who receive Christ as Saviour, and fill the pews of Churches on Sunday morning, have discovered this blessed relationship with Christ. I do not believe that I would be mistaken to say that practically none has. Only those who truly FOLLOW ON in their Christian life to know the Lord in this secret place of intense love and complete surrender, of intimacy of fellowship and vital union, ARE THE NEW JERUSALEM, the city foursquare, which is THE BRIDE OF CHRIST, having the glory of God.

And what is MOUNT ZION? To correctly unlock this prophetic expression we need to go back again and consider the shadow. Israel was the whole nation; Jerusalem, the capital city. All Israelites were alike citizens of the Kingdom, but not all Israelites dwelt in Jerusalem, the city of the great king, where stood the temple of God, the priesthood, and the glory. And while Jerusalem comprised a people of surpassing honor and glory and relationship to God, yet in all Jerusalem there was only one who, with his household, DWELT ON MOUNT ZION. He was the King. Zion is the name of the ancient citadel of Jerusalem. It was captured by David shortly after he became King. From that hill David and the Kings of Israel reigned gloriously, and the Ark of God rested there all through the reign of David which was forty years, and for several years afterward until the temple was completed by Solomon. Mount Zion, the hill of David the King, was the highest pinnacle of glory attainable in Israel. But that Zion was only a faint shadow of THE ZION TO WHICH WE ARE COME. David was King over natural Israel. Christ is King over spiritual Israel. David dwelt on the natural Mount Zion. Therefore Christ dwells upon the spiritual Mount Zion. And this spiritual Mount Zion is composed of those who reach the very highest pinnacle attainable in Jerusalem: those who, like King David of old are " a man after Mine own heart, which shall fulfill ALL MY WILL" (Acts 13:22). This Mount Zion Company is the ruling class, the overcomers of whom it is written: "To him that overcometh 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). These are the Kings and Priests unto God, after the Order of Melchizadek, those who have attained to the highest position of honor and might and true greatness in the Kingdom of God. It comprises those who are such as have gone all the way with their Lord and shall now rule with Christ upon His throne over God's infinite realm for evermore.

The apostle John was borne away on the wings of the Spirit into a realm of revelation and beheld this Zion company. "And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on Mount Zion, and with Him an hundred and forty and four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb" (Rev. 14:1,4). They are said to have His Father's name written in their foreheads, in distinction to those who, in Rev. 13:16, receive the mark of the beast in their foreheads. The mark of the beast denotes those who have subscribed to the authority, doctrines, spirit, blasphemy, idolatry and practices of the beastly system of Mystery Babylon. Practically every Christian living is in some way submitted to this religious harlot falsely called "the Church." This beastly system is so ingrained in the minds of God's people and they are so saturated with it in their very natures that they can neither think nor function apart from it. God's name is not in their foreheads. They do not have the MIND OF CHRIST, but rather they have the distorted mind of the beast. The Mark of God, the Father's name in the forehead, IS THE MIND OF CHRIST. Those who stand with the Lamb on Zion's holy hill have God's mind. They have been made conformable to His death. Nothing is left of Babylon's ways, nothing is left of their own will, but they find unspeakable joy and pleasure in this: "I do always those things that please the Father."

The only people who could possibly REIGN WITH CHRIST will be those who through death to self have become ONE WITH HIS MIND. All through the ages there have been a minute few who by the grace of God have been able to crucify self, put off the carnal mind, and become LIKE UNTO THE SON OF GOD. Would you dare say that most Christians in any age have attained to this? Ah, beloved, I can assure you that these individuals have been so few in number that if you could place them as grains of sand upon the seashores, it would take an entire life-time of searching before you discovered even one of them. This is Mount Zion!

But, let us nevermore forget, "YE ARE COME unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem." The darkened masses in Babylon's religious systems think that they will somehow, away on in the future, enter this heavenly city and ascend Mount Zion's height, with fluttering wings and wispy white nightgowns and strumming harps. Trash and nonsense! "YE ARE COME," not "will come" unto Mount Zion. Mount Zion is not a beautiful park, a celestial Disney World, away off somewhere, a billion billions miles away. It is a present reality. It is a place in God. It is an attainment in the Spirit. And "the Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation. THIS IS MY REST FOREVER: here will I dwell; for I have desired it" (Ps. 132:13-14).

God's Kingdom and Throne and Temple are all an eternal reality right now on this earth. God's Kingdom is a people, those begotten by the Word of God and born again of His Spirit. The New Jerusalem is a people, even those who have fallen fiercely in love with Christ Jesus, who abide in the hidden place of intimate fellowship and union with Him, walking in blessed submission to His Spirit, the BRIDE OF CHRIST. God's Throne is a people, those in whose hearts and lives He is ENTHRONED AS KING, having counted all else but loss, to suffer with Him. God's Temple is a people, "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you?" (I Cor. 3:16; 6:19). And Mount Zion is a people, the Kings and Priests who rule and reign with the Lamb, the GOVERNMENT OF GOD upon earth!

This Zion company is THE PLACE OF GOD'S REST. These become God's eternal SABBATH DAY, His SABBATH PEOPLE, the personification of His peace, and joy, and righteousness in the Holy Ghost. These are God's resting place because in them GOD HAS DONE A PERFECT WORK, the entire process of re-creation has been brought to its consummation, nothing remains to be accomplished to bring forth the image of God in them, God has ended all His work which He has created and made, and now IN THE BLESSEDNESS OF THIS NEW CREATION HE CAN REST.

Oh the depth that opens here! As in the beginning, God made the heavens, and yet rested not; He made the sun, the moon, and the stars, and yet He rested not; He made the earth, and yet He rested not; He made the herbs, and fruits, and the moving creatures of sea and land and air, and yet He rested not. But He made man, His image in the earth, AND THEN HE RESTED. I do not hesitate to declare to you that God has saved men, and yet he rested not; He has blessed men, and yet He rested not; He has healed men, and yet He rested not; He has given gifts and ministries unto men, and yet He rested not; He has shown marvelous revelations unto men, and yet He rested not. But when MOUNT ZION IS ESTABLISHED He declares, "THIS IS MY REST FOREVER: here will I dwell; for I have desired it!"

Do you despair, my friend, that God shall ever complete His work in your life and find in you a place to rest? I invite you to come now, lend your ear to the gentle voice of the Lord God your Creator as He whispers to His apprehended ones this precious promise: "For Zion's sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, UNTIL THE RIGHTEOUSNESS THEREOF GO FORTH AS BRIGHTNESS, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God" (Isa. 62:1-3).

Zion has already been established within to the degree that HE IS LORD WITHIN. Thank God! from dealing to dealing, from quickening to quickening, from judgment to judgment, from glory to glory shall we go as He works, until His dominion within is complete, AND GOD CAN REST IN ZION FOREVERMORE.

 


Chapter 23

A SABBATH IN EDEN

(continued)

"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and HE RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY from all His work which He had made. And God BLESSED THE SEVENTH DAY, AND SANCTIFIED IT: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made" (Gen. 2:1-3).

The Bible is the history of man. In its sixty-six books it describes in chronicle, biography, allegory, prophecy, epistle, parable, and poem, man's generation, degeneration and regeneration. It has been preserved and prized beyond all other books because it teaches man from whence he came, the meaning of life, and how to become that which God has purposed for him before the foundation of the world – to be the sons of God in the image of God. As man is a three-fold being, spirit, soul, and body, so the Bible is a trinity in unity. It is body as a book of history; soul as a teacher of morals and order; and spirit as a teacher of the mysteries of being, revealing to man the awe-inspiring wonder of the spiritual life in the realm of the Kingdom of Heaven, joined in union with God AS ONE SPIRIT.

The Spirit of God has many ways of teaching His people, but there are few methods more powerful than the method of types and shadows. The sublime importance of a truth can be clearly seen by the gradual unfolding of its message through the progression of ages and millenniums of time. Thus it is, for example, that the story of the blood runs as a scarlet thread from the opening scenes of creation when a lamb was sacrificed in Eden (Gen. 3:21; Rev. 13:8), to that hallowed drama at the closing of the ages when with the indescribable harmony of every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, the grand anthem shall fill the universe, "Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and UNTO THE LAMB for ever and ever" (Rev. 5:13). As one has stated, "The shedding of the precious blood of Christ at Calvary was not the result of passing thought. It was the product of eternal consideration." Consider with awe how this blessed theme was gradually unfolded in the worship of righteous Abel, in God's dealings with Noah when he was commanded to "eat no blood," in the account of Abraham and Isaac at Moriah, in the slaying of the passover lamb in Egypt, in the national dietary laws given to Israel, in the ceremonial laws of purification and atonement, and in the rivers of blood flowing from the sacrificial deaths of countless millions of lambs and rams and bullocks until the truth of the redeeming and life-giving blood of God's own eternal Lamb rises like a glorious crescendo trumpeting the awesome wonder of the Lamb Himself in all His transcendent glory sacrificed to deliver and quicken us all (Jn. 1:29).

So also the story of God's Sabbath develops through the pages of God's Word from the first simple statement, "And He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made" (Gen. 2:2), to the New Jerusalem descending from God out of heaven and the wondrous proclamation to all men, "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (Rev. 21:4). "There remaineth therefore a REST to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest" (Heb. 4:9-11).

Paul, speaking of the entire history of Israel, tells us that all things that happened to them happened by way of a figure, as an example to us, in whose days those past ages have reached their climax and consummation IN CHRIST. We could go through the Old Testament and cite many examples of God's rest, and show how they typify the blessed Sabbath of God to which the Spirit now points us, the ETERNAL REALM OF GOD'S OWN REST AND GLORY, sanctified and set apart for man, that he might have entrance into it, to know God there, to experience God there, and forever abide in union with God in the high and holy and blessed realm of HIS LIFE, REST, JOY. PEACE, RIGHTEOUSNESS AND VICTORY. We could speak of Noah, whose name signifies "repose," and show how the dove which he sent forth from the ark found no "resting place" for the sole of her foot; and how God smelled an "odor of rest" when Noah offered up the sacrifice on the top of the mountain. We could deal at length with the ark of the covenant, and show how it typified the presence and glory of God, and how God would direct it on ahead of the children of Israel in their wilderness journeyings, searching out a "resting-place" for the people of God. We could dwell for several articles on how David prepared a place for the ark when his kingdom was established, and pitched for it a tent – and how they invited the glory of God to come into their midst. Behold with wonder how later the magnificent temple of Solomon succeeded the tabernacle of David, and how Solomon prayed on that occasion, "Now therefore arise, O Lord God, into THY RESTING PLACE, Thou, and the ark of Thy strength: let Thy priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation, and let Thy saints rejoice in goodness" (II Chron. 6:41).

We have, in previous articles, considered the weekly day of rest given to Israel. In the wilderness of Sin, before the Israelites reached Mount Sinai, God gave them manna, double supply being given on the sixth day of the week, in order that the seventh day might be kept as a day of rest from labor. Moses said to the people, "This is that which the Lord has said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake today. and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning" (Ex. 16:23). Shortly afterward the Ten Commandments were given at Sinai. The fourth commandment enjoined Israel to "remember the Sabbath day," already given, “to keep it holy.” Everyone, including the beasts of the field, even the stranger within the gates, was to do absolutely no work of any kind to keep the day as a holy day unto the Lord. But, further, as each seventh DAY was sacred, so was each seventh MONTH, and each seventh YEAR. Concerning the seventh year, the commandment was, to sow and reap for six years, and to let the land rest on the seventh. Furthermore, Sabbath days were observed in connection with all the Feasts of the Lord. I suppose I could fill whole volumes with the unfolding of these precious types and shadows, but let us now consider one briefly, the Feast of Tabernacles.

THE FEAST OF REST

Many of the thoughts in this section are adapted from George Warnack’s inspired book THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES.

The seventh month was sacred month in Israel and that month opened with the Feast of Trumpets, and contained the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles – the last named being the most joyful of Hebrew festivals. The Feast of Tabernacles is the FEAST OF REST, of which all other Feasts were but the earnest and foretaste. To begin with it was in the seventh month, even as God "rested the seventh day from all His work." The first day of the Feast was the fifteenth, and it was observed for seven days. The last day of the Feast was therefore the twenty-first day of the seventh month, twenty-one being a triple of seven – Rest in the absolute sense, God's Rest which "remaineth" for the people of God. Then the next day was likewise a Sabbath (the eighth day of the Feast); and though it was connected in some measure with the Feast, it was not one of the seven days of their festivities. The eighth day would speak, undoubtedly, of the completion of God's purposes in His people, and the beginning of a new day.

Now consider how, as we begin to read the ordinances of the Feasts of Israel in Leviticus chapter twenty-three, the Holy Spirit first directs our attention to the weekly Sabbath, "Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest. ye shall do no work therein: it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings" (Lev. 23:3). Then immediately follows the order of the Feasts, and the seven-fold events involved in the feasts:

1. The Passover

2. The Unleavened Bread

3. The Sheaf of Firstfruits

4. The Feast of Pentecost

5. The Blowing of the Trumpets

6. The Day of Atonement

7. THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES

From these statements of holy scripture we must confidently affirm that just as the weekly Sabbath was the end of Israel's toil and labor, typifying that blessed realm where God's people cease from all their own works, and rest in the work of Christ, so the Feast of Tabernacles is the end of the saint's long season of strife, turmoil, struggle, and battle: the Feast of all Feasts, the Sabbath of all Sabbaths. It is the fullness of Christ, it is perfection, it is the Kingdom of God, where man labors no more, but forever enjoys the fruits of an abounding harvest in the "land" which he is.

The Feast of Tabernacles was celebrated at the time of harvest and ingathering of the crops. Speaking of this, God promised His people: "I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil" (Deut. 11:14). And this is that which Joel prophesied about: "Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He hath given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain, in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil" (Joel 2:23-24). This great harvest is promised in the FIRST MONTH. We must understand that Israel observed two different calendars: they had the Sacred Year which begin with the Passover in April, commemorating their departure from the land of Egypt, and their beginning as redeemed nation. But they also had what has been termed a Civil Year, or an Agricultural Year, which began in October. This, then, was the first month of the Civil Year, but at the same time it was the seventh month of the Sacred Year – the month of the Feast of Tabernacles.

Thus, the Feast of Tabernacles speaks to us of two things: abundance of fruit; and rest from our labors when the harvest is complete. All the Feasts are types of Christ. Each one, as a type, is complete and perfect in itself; but the last one, the Feast of Tabernacles, is the all-inclusive and great type. The lamb of the Feast of Passover as a type of Christ is indeed complete and perfect; yet it is a type of Christ in a much limited measure. As far as the Lord Himself is concerned, He is not limited at all, but as far as our experience of Him is concerned, there is such a limitation. When we come to the Lord and receive Him as our Redemption, the Christ we receive is whole, complete, and perfect; but as far our experience of Him is concerned, we experience Him in only a small measure, just as the little lamb of salvation. From the time we experienced Christ as the lamb, we have always been progressing and advancing; we have continually made progress in our experience of Christ and received of Him more and more. This does not mean that Christ has become greater and greater. No, Christ is the same, He changes not! But as we grow in our appropriation of Him He becomes greater and greater TO US AND IN US. Day by day in our experience Christ is becoming greater and greater! At the stage of our experience in which we arrive at the last Feast, the Feast of Tabernacles, the UNLIMITED CHRIST, Christ is unlimited to us, He becomes ALL IN ALL. The other Feasts are limited, we know Christ by measure in them, but in the Feast of the SEVENTH MONTH we know Him in all fullness and rest with Him in all His glorious and eternal abundance forever more!

All the other Feasts can be measured. There is an extent, a limit, to the features and realities of Christ they prefigure. Not so with the Feast of Tabernacles, here the harvest is complete, all the fruits of the land are gathered in, the people now rest and rejoice and eat to the full of the fruits of the land. Here Christ is known as the inexhaustible and immeasurable, and we rest from all our labors, and enjoy HIM as the fruit. In his book, THE FEAST OF TABERNACLE, George Warnock has so beautifully written of the fruit of this Feast: "'And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil.' Or, literally, 'New wine and oil,' beautiful symbols of the fruit of the Spirit in the saints. Said Paul, 'Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit' (Eph. 5:18). And the oil, as we know, is a symbol of the anointing. 'The anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you.' (I Jn. 2:27). This great ingathering is the harvest for which the Husbandman has been waiting ever since the foundation of the Church. Gifts of the Spirit are really no evidence of spiritual attainment; God bestoweth His gifts freely by His grace upon whomsoever He will. But with FRUIT it is entirely different. Fruit must grow; and God has never intended that the body of Christ should ever bring forth fruit except through continual Divine GROWTH in the Spirit of God. God will not come to us looking for gifts, but for fruits of the Spirit. He gave us His gifts freely by His grace, and all we had to do was to receive them and use them. What God wants now is FRUIT, because that is something He can RECEIVE from you. That is something which must GROW upon you by your patient and continual walk with God and your appropriation of His Spirit. Until now the Husbandman has come into His Garden, pruning, cultivating, watering – without expecting anything in return. But now the harvest time is approaching, and soon He shall visit His Garden for one purpose and for one purpose only: seeking for fruit, and trusting that His tender care over the vine has produced some genuine FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT. Let us never forget that the FRUITS of the Spirit, and not the GIFTS of the Spirit, constitute the real test of spiritual life; it is the FRUIT that is the embodiment and expression of Christ-likeness within the heart and soul. That is why Paul exhorted, 'Follow after love, and desire spiritual gifts.' (I Cor. 14:1). Gifts are absolutely necessary, for they are the means to the end; but Love is the end, the consummation, the fruit for which God is waiting. Love is the Ultimate, because 'God is Love,' and it is his purpose to conform the saints even unto 'the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren' (Rom. 8:29). Love is the End: but it is an End which knows no beginning or ending, for it is God Himself; and when we become thoroughly united with Him we are in a realm which is eternally progressive."

Oh, what a grand and glorious realm lies before us in the Feast of Ingathering, the Feast of Rest! The Day of the Fruit of the Spirit! The Day of Perfection! The full and complete experiencing of HIMSELF! The Feast of Feasts, the Sabbath of Sabbaths! I have already pointed out that the literal Feasts which God gave to Israel of old were types of the great SPIRITUAL FEASTS that God is, in this age, bringing His people into, by which we EXPERIENCE CHRIST. Of the seven Feasts of Israel, the first was Passover. We are called to the SPIRITUAL FEAST of Passover in experiencing Christ as salvation. "For even Christ OUR PASSOVER is sacrificed for us" (I Cor. 5:7). Later we are called to the great SPIRITUAL FEAST of PENTECOST in the experience of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come. they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:1-4). In Israel the Feast of Pentecost was "the feast of harvest, the FIRSTFRUITS of thy labors" (Deut. 16:9-12; Ex. 23:16; 34:22). Under New Testament economy this is the FIRSTFRUITS OF THE SPIRIT. "And not only they, but ourselves also which have the FIRSTFRUITS of the SPIRIT, even we ourselves. wait. for the redemption of the body" (Rom. 8:23).

The last great Feast of the Israelite year, as we have shown, was TABERNACLES. and startling as it might seem, THIS is the FEAST that REMAINS to be FULFILLED! "There REMAINETH therefore a REST unto the people of God." Tabernacles is called "the Feast of Ingathering, which is in the END OF THE YEAR." Pentecost is only the firstfruits of the Spirit, but Tabernacles is the full harvest – FULLNESS! And this fullness comes in the END of the year, at the completion of our walk with God, and I believe that we have not witnessed such fullness in any save our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, neither shall we until the very close of this present age. The Feast of Tabernacles could not be celebrated until Israel had left the wilderness behind, and was dwelling in Canaan. Even so, Christ is bringing a great company of apprehended ones, in this the END of the age, out of their wilderness wanderings of immaturity, blundering, error, carnality, struggle, and unbelief and on into their Canaan land – the measure of the stature of the FULLNESS OF CHRIST. Ah, yes, God shall surely, in this hour, give unto the elect sons of God the FULLNESS OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD of which we, up until this time, have only received the "earnest" or "firstfruits."

I do not hesitate to say that for the most part we are still partaking of the Feast of Pentecost. How bountifully the table has been spread with His presence and divers gifts of the Holy Spirit! But the Feast of Tabernacles, the Feast at the END of this year, is the Feast of Fullness. And BLESSED are they who are called to this great Feast, that which supersedes Pentecost, that which is the BALANCE OF THE MEAL of which Passover and Pentecost were merely first courses. And the balance must therefore come, the remainder of the meal which will give strength to the laborers to go forth and accomplish great things for the Master. And this Tabernacles Feast, being the last, will bring perfection! It will bring the consummation of our REST, spirit, soul, and body. As we leave this Feast in great strength, those who will be in control of this planet from that time forth will be abiding in the fullness of Resurrection Life and will be forever free from the curse, spirit, soul, and body. It shall mean a new day of glory for the whole earth as God turns from dealing with His people, to dealing through His people WITH THE NATIONS. Oh! blessed rest!

Tabernacles is the Feast of Rest. We have experienced God's rest in measure as we have received the Master's gracious invitation, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me. and ye shall find rest unto your souls" (Mat. 11:28-29). All who come to Him find rest, all who seek Him are refreshed. Nowhere else can a soul find rest excepting by coming to the Lord, looking to Him, and learning of Him. God is even now drawing a people BEYOND PENTECOST – to the Feast of Tabernacles, the Feast of Rest, to BECOME HIS REST for the dark and treacherous days which lie ahead. All the storms and hurricanes that come up against us, will not be able to dismay nor cast us down when we really learn to dwell in the secret place of the Most High and to abide under the shadow of the Almighty. In turmoil, when things have not gone as we hoped, when all around is crumbling, and the world passeth away and the lust thereof, how unspeakably precious it is to settle ourselves in the loving arms of God our Rest. Such sweet assurance and holy stillness floods over our souls as the voice of our Beloved speaks to the billows, He quiets us upon His own bosom; and God's peace takes the place of the tension that has held us. It is then we receive grace to say of every persecution or cause of unrest and distress, "This does not concern me; it is no affair of mine; HE WILL TAKE CARE OF IT." And as we look away from the perplexities of the flesh, and behold Him who is our rest, the rest and peace of God that passeth all understanding, enters our souls. This is the rest where we cease from our own labors and REST IN THE WORKING OF CHRIST. Mighty Christ! Triumphant Christ! How wonderful you are: ever the same. Saviour of men, seeking the lost and weary with undiminished compassion; Judge of mankind, arraigning every transgressor before your bar, pulling down that you may build, destroying that you may plant, smiting that you may heal; King of the ages, Holder of the keys of hell and of death, Vanquisher of death, Spoiler of all enemies, Worker of all things new, Head of the New Creation, unsatisfied, unconquered, and unwearied till, with its subjects penitent, subdued, coming to You, adoring, satisfied in You, You deliver up the Kingdom to the Father that God may be all in all!

FROM THE WILDERNESS TO CANAAN

"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief" (Heb. 4:1,9,11).

What is this rest? We have to look at a type in the Old Testament to discover its meaning. After the children of Israel were delivered and saved from the land of Egypt, they were brought into the wilderness with the intention that they should go on into the land of Canaan. The land of Canaan was their land of rest, a type of CHRIST. Christ Himself is the good land of Canaan, He is our rest. If we are going to enter into the rest, we must enter into Christ. The Israelites, who were delivered out of Egypt (typifying the body, or flesh realm), instead of going on into Canaan, wandered for many years in the wilderness. What does this typify? It means that many saints, after being saved are simply wandering about in the wilderness of the SOUL, in the barrenness and unfruitfulness of their OWN carnal thoughts, desires, emotions, affections and wills. The reason the book of Hebrews was written was that many believers were saved, but rather than entering in to possess for their entire being the divine reality God had placed in their quickened spirit, they were still wandering in the restlessness, variableness, confusion, and defeat of their soul life. They would not press on from the wilderness of the soul into the good land – that is, into CHRIST WHO DWELT IN THEIR SPIRIT, where there is righteousness, joy, and peace in the Holy Ghost.

Even though we may have been saved for many years, we must now ask the Spirit of God to lift the veil that is upon our minds and reveal the truth of whether we are presently living in the realm of the body (Egypt: sensuality, sin), the soul (the Wilderness: carnality, self-will, intellect, emotions etc.), or in the spirit (Canaan: divine life, light, love, victory, peace, joy, righteousness, power, etc.). With reverent heart ask the Lord to search yourself in order to be clear where you are. Frankly, many of the Lord's people are wandering day after day in the wilderness of the soul! In the morning they may have joyful countenances, but ere long the pressures of the day take their toll and they become irritable, frustrated, upset, anxious, and dismayed. Yesterday, it seems they were in the heavens, but today they are making their bed in hell, discouraged, depressed, and defeated. Yesterday they were full of faith and courage, ready to believe God for exploits, but today they are disheartened with their walk in God and fearful about the future. In the meeting on Sunday they had an overflow of joy and victory, but today in the battle, under the pressure of the problems, their emotions are erupting, their minds are weary, and nerves frayed. They are continually wandering about in the soul, the wilderness, without rest, circling in the same rut day after day, getting nowhere. They may have been walking with God for forty years, but are still going around in the same vicious circles, just as the children of Israel, who wandered for forty years with no improvement and no progress. Why? Because they are living in the soul. The soul is barren and desolate, there is no life in it. When we are in the soul we are in the wilderness.

The Word of God must pierce us so that we may know how to press on from the soul into the good land of OUR SPIRIT, WHERE CHRIST DWELLS. We must know how to bring our body and soul into the Holy Place of the Spirit so that the whole man may find blessed rest. Only God can teach us this, and He does so as we sit at HIS FEET in adoring submission. Flee, my brother, my sister, from the desolate wilderness of your soul as you would from a bear in the forest and you shall find blessed refuge in the promised land of the spirit, for there is a realm there WITHIN YOU, as close to you as the very air you breathe, as near as the heart that beats faithfully within your breast, as continuously available as the blood coursing through your veins, a sacred place within your spirit where the things of earth do not rule, depress, upset, frustrate, agitate, anger, control, defeat nor AFFECT IN ANY WAY, for CHRIST DWELLS THERE AS LIFE! Dead reader, ponder if you will, this marvelous truth: CHRIST is not depressed, driven, anxious, upset, confused, fearful, frustrated, weary, defeated, nor weak, and CHRIST IN YOU IS NOT EITHER! And YOU IN CHRIST are not either!

All things that happened to Israel happened to them for ensamples to us upon whom the end of the age is come (I Cor. 10:11). Every man who is coming into the sonship God has ordained must recognize that with Israel, after its deliverance from Egypt, there were two stages. The one, the life in the wilderness, with its wanderings and its wants, its unbelief and its murmurings, its provocation of God and its exclusion from the promised rest. The other, the land of promise, with rest instead of the desert wanderings, with abundance instead of want, and the victory over every enemy instead of defeat. These are symbols of the two stages in the believer's life. The one in which we only know the Lord as Saviour from Egypt, in the pardon and forgiveness of our sins, and the other, where He is known and experienced as the INDWELLING LORD, who, in the power of an endless life, enters in and saves completely, writes God's laws in the heart, transforms into the image of the Son, and leads us to find our eternal abiding place in THE FULLNESS OF GOD.

Some think that the land of Canaan is a type of heaven. This cannot be, because the great mark of the Canaan life was that the land had to be conquered and that God gave such glorious victory over enemies – hear it! – VICTORY OVER ENEMIES, not a "rescue" from the enemies. The rest of Canaan was for victory and through victory. And so it is in the life of the sons of God, as we learn to trust God for victory over sin, victory over the flesh, victory over soulish emotions, victory over our own wills, victory over sickness, and finally victory even over death, we possess, victory upon victory, the good land of Canaan! This is the territory of GOD'S REST which we enter, not through death, but through faith, the faith that lives in the promise and the power of God.

There is a people rising from the barren dust of the wilderness of the soul to sit together with Christ in the heavenly places of the Spirit. God dwells in your spirit, dear one, and God in your spirit is both infinite and eternal, and therefore in finding all that is available in God one must be prepared to go ever onward and upward into the vast expanses of the Spirit of God. If God is infinite, there is NO LIMIT to the experience which we might have in union with Him by the Spirit. And if God is eternal, there is NO END to the measure of grace and glory into which He would lead us by the Spirit. When our astronauts began their explorations to the moon, it was not sufficient that they should enter a rocket and pushed through the atmosphere for an hour or two. True, they were in space the hour they started. But space is vast – and they must go on, and on, and on, and on, even to the surface of the moon. If God permits, man will go on to Mars, and eventually from solar system to solar system, and from galaxy to galaxy, through the unbounded heavens!

Now, God has made us partakers of His Holy Spirit, and that simply means He has called us to explore the inexhaustible sphere of the DEEP THINGS OF GOD and the INFINITE SUMMITS of His glory, and power, and holiness. Our spirit has been quickened by His Spirit for this very purpose: "that we might know the things that are freely given us of God" (I Cor. 2:12). The natural mind cannot discover these things, hence the Spirit of God is sent into our spirit to reveal them unto us and to search out and explore "ALL THINGS, yea, the deep things in God" (I Cor. 2:10).

CONSIDER THE LILIES

How gracious and wise is our God in all His ways! The Bible is literally packed full of mysteries, parables, types, shadows, and allegories, which are only unfolded by the Holy Spirit to those who FOLLOW ON to KNOW THE LORD. Jesus once spake a parable which holds a revelation of unspeakable glory for all who would be conformed to the image of God's Son. The parable occupies just two short verses, but its message is a thing of tremendous importance to those who yearn to enter fully into His rest. Jesus said, "And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these" (Mat. 6:28-29). Some of the beautiful thoughts in the following paragraphs have been gleaned from Henry Drummond’s splendid book (out of print) NATURAL LAW IN THE SPIRITUAL WORLD.

Consider the lilies! What gives exceptional meaning to this object lesson from the lips of Jesus is, that He was not only the author of the parable, but the creator of the lilies. It is like an inventor describing his own machine. He made the lilies and He made man and He makes the New Creation – all on the same broad principle. All together, lilies, men, and sons of God, He gives life and causes to grow and develop into beauty and maturity. So Jesus points to the miracle of nature in the plant kingdom to teach us how to live a free and natural life in Christ, a life which God will unfold for us, without our anxiety or effort, just as HE UNFOLDS THE FLOWER.

These wonderful words of Jesus were not uttered to cause us to aspire to become horticulturists; we are not to consider the lilies simply to admire their beauty, to wonder at the delicate strength of stem and petal. The thing we are to consider is HOW THEY GROW – how without anxiety or care the flower woke into loveliness, how without weaving these leaves were woven, how without artist's paint or brush the flower was tinted with exotic hues, how without toiling these complex tissues spun themselves, and how WITHOUT ANY EFFORT OR STRUGGLE they slowly came created from the loom of God in their "greater than Solomon" glory. "So," the parable declares, "you toil worn, struggling, anxious children of God must grow! You, too, need take no thought for your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink or what you shall put on. For if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Every man and woman who has been begotten of God should meditate deeply upon the thoughts I now share, until the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God unveils to mind and heart how it is that our Lord spake not merely of having faith for natural things, food and clothing for the body, but His words were a prophetic prefiguring of a graver anxiety, not this time for the body, but for the inner realms of soul and spirit. For the physical life we can consider the lilies – but what about our spiritual life, the Christ-life within? How are we to grow in grace and unfoldment of THE LIFE OF CHRIST? How shall we add the necessary cubits to our spiritual stature until we come to a Perfect Man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ? How shall we put off the old man and put on the new? How shall we subjugate the carnal mind and put on the mind of Christ? How shall we crucify our own will to live only and always in the will of the Father? How shall we grow up into Him who is the Head in all things, being conformed into the image of God? Because we have not understood how such awesome realities as these can be accomplished, we have been beset by anxiety and our inner life has been filled with conflict, toil, self-effort, multiplied works, agony and an awful sense of failure. Our efforts after perfection seem continually doomed, and instead of rising into the beauty of holiness our life is a daily heartbreak and humiliation.

Now the reason for this is very clear! We have not known the parable of the lilies. Violent "efforts" to "grow" or "become God-like" are altogether understandable, but wholly wrong in principle. There is but A SINGLE PRINCIPLE OF GROWTH for the natural and spiritual, for animal and plant, and for man, body, soul, and spirit. All growth is a natural, spontaneous thing. And the principle of growing up into the likeness of Christ is once more this: "Consider the lilies, how they grow."

The lilies grow, Jesus says, of themselves; they toil not, neither do they spin. They grow automatically, spontaneously, without trying, without fretting, without thinking, without work. Applied on any level, to plant, to animal, to the body, or to the quickened spirit of the child of God the law is the same. A boy grows, for example, without trying. One or two simple conditions are met, and the growth goes on. He must eat, drink water, and exercise. But a boy does not eat to grow, he eats because he is hungry. It is natural. He thinks as little about the eating as about the growing, he fulfills the conditions by nature, and result follows by nature. Both processes go steadily on year after year without thought, worry, or effort. One would never think of telling a boy to grow! To try to make a thing grow is as absurd as to help the stars to shine or the wind to blow.

Everything grows without trying, and, on the other hand, nothing can grow by trying. No man by taking thought has ever added a cubit to his stature, nor has any son or daughter of God ever approached nearer to the stature of the Lord Jesus Christ by working at it! Jesus did not become the Son of God by working, and any who thinks to reach this blessed height by anxious effort is really departing from it. Christ's life unfolded itself FROM A DIVINE GERM, planted centrally in His nature, which grew as naturally as a flower from a bud. Only life can do that! For a seed to germinate, to sprout, to grow, change, develop into a plant of beauty and grace requires the power of an INDWELLING LIFE. Therefore the man who has within himself this great formative agent, THE LIFE OF CHRIST, contains within himself the power to become a son of God. The man who does not have this Life cannot be transformed, but the man who has it must be. The life must develop out according to its type; and being a germ of the Christ-life, it must unfold into A CHRIST. The end of the growth process is perfection, the mind of Christ, the character of Christ, the life of Christ.

The regenerated spirit is a new creature. The re-born man is a new man in Christ Jesus. He adds the cubits to his stature just as the old man does, naturally. He is rooted and built up in Christ; he abides in the vine, and so abiding, not toiling or spinning, without effort, brings forth fruit. Sons of God in short, like poets, ARE BORN not made; and the fruits of their character are not manufactured things but living things, things which have grown from the secret germ, the fruits of the living Spirit. They are not the produce of the climate of this evil world, but exotics from the CELESTIAL REALM. When a man learns this parable of the lilies, and how they grow, he will immediately ENTER INTO REST and cease from all his own works as God did from His.

Do not worry, dear ones, as to whether you seem to be making progress or not. There is nothing in the world that grows so fast that you can see it grow. Let God be judge of how much or how little you have grown. Your duty and mine is to abide in Him, RESTING IN FAITH, pressing patiently toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

A lily grows mysteriously, pushing up its solid weight of stem and leaf in the teeth of gravity and through obstacles of the soil. Oft times we have sung the words of the little chorus:

Oh, I marvel at the wisdom of my God,
Yes, I marvel at the wisdom of my God,
When I see the little lily pushing up the heavy clod,
Then I marvel at the wisdom of my God!

Rising spontaneously from the dust of earth, shaped into beauty by secret and invisible fingers, the flower develops we know not how. But we do not doubt it. Every day the thing is done; it is nature, it is GOD. We are spiritual enough at least to understand that. But when the spirit rises slowly above the world, pushing up its pure virtues in the teeth of sin, bursting forth into manifestation through the hard clods of the flesh, shaping itself mysteriously into the image of Christ, we often imagine that our own efforts and zeal have contributed substantially to the process! A strong will, we say, determination, hours of prayer, days of fasting, faithfulness in the Lord’s work, much study, Bible reading – these account for our growth. Spiritual stature is merely the product of anxious work, self-command, self-control, self-denial. We confess that the growth of the little lily IS A MIRACLE, spontaneous, instinctive, uncompelled, but the believer must fret and toil and spin. Not so! Contemplating the wonder of the lily, a wise man does not say, "There has been a great EFFORT here," but "there has been a great POWER here!" It is the power of the indwelling life.

We have now seen that the process of spiritual unfoldment is secured and maintained by a spontaneous and mysterious inward principle. It is a spontaneous principle even in its origin, for it bloweth where it listeth, it is not of him that willeth, but of God who showeth mercy; mysterious in its operation, curiously wrought in the hidden parts of our earth. The whole process therefore transcends us; we do not work, we are taken in hand – “It is GOD WHICH WORKETH IN US, both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13). We do not plan – we are "created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which GOD HATH BEFORE ORDAINED that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). If GOD is adding to our spiritual stature, unfolding the new nature within us, it is a mistake to keep twitching at the petals with our course fingers. "It is GOD which giveth the increase" (I Cor. 3:6-7). We will never know how little we have learned of the ways of the Lord till we discover how much we are all bent on helping God out with His omnipotence. IF God is spending work upon you, my brother, then learn to be still and know that it is God. And if you want to work, you will find it there – in being still! "Let us therefore LABOR to enter into REST."

Yes, there is a realm of "doing," where, like Christ, we must be about our Father's business, working the works of Him that sent us. But these are works which are the RESULT OF HIS LIFE IN US, not a means to His life. Christ is the CAUSE, works are the effect. It is when men try to make works the cause of their becoming spiritual that they have missed the mark. There is no work on earth that can make you spiritual. But His life in us will surely manifest itself in righteousness, the outward expression of the indwelling Christ, so that "If ye know that HE is righteous, ye know that every one that DOETH righteousness is born of God,” and “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that DOETH righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous" (I Jn. 2:29; 3:7).

For its growth the plant needs heat, light, air, and moisture. Does this mean that a man must go in search of these, or their spiritual equivalents, and this is his work? By no means! Does the plant go in search of the garden, of air, or sun, or rain? Nay, it is carried and planted in the garden by a power greater than itself, and all the other conditions come to the plant. It no more manufactures the heat, light, air, moisture, than it manufactures it own stem. It simply stands still WITH ITS LEAVES SPREAD OUT IN UNCONSCIOUS PRAYER, and nature lavishes upon it all these bountiful blessings, bathing it in sunshine, surrounding it with life-giving air, reviving it graciously with rain from heaven. Can we, my brethren, manufacture the conditions for our growth? When we see the haste and impatience of Christians as they drown their lives in religious activity, meetings twice on Sunday, door-to-door witnessing on Monday night, Bible study on Tuesday night, men's prayer meeting on Wednesday night, young people's meeting on Thursday night, choir practice on Friday night, and the church picnic on Saturday, with committee meetings stuck all in between, we would surely think that God had fallen asleep and left it to us to create our own environment and conditions for growth. We praise God for those times He gives us of gathering together with the saints, in corporate praise and prayer and sharing, but if you would be a son of God and know the power of that life which raised Jesus from the dead, then you must come to have great confidence in CHRIST IN YOU and know that HE continually showers upon you all that is needed to bring you to perfection.

The Lord is a Sun. He is as the Dew to Israel. He comes to us as the Rain, the former and the latter Rain upon the earth. God is Light and in Him is no darkness. It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing. A man has no more to manufacture these than he has to manufacture his own spirit. It is not only in the "meeting" that God showers upon us the elements for our growth, daily we stand surrounded by them, bathed in them, beset behind and before by them! We live and move and have our being in them. How then shall we go in search of them? The way some Christians skip around from church to church, meeting to meeting, revival to revival, seminar to seminar, seeking, searching, looking for life, but never having their hunger satisfied nor their thirst quenched should be abundant proof that God has not left it to us to seek out or manufacture the proper conditions for our development.

Become still before the God of all grace and glory and you will soon learn that you do not need to go out in search of the conditions and elements of your growth in Christ; they, rather, WILL COME IN SEARCH OF YOU! You will feel how they press themselves upon you, how unweariedly they appeal to you, how faithfully they work for you. He is not far from us. He is as near as the life within your believing heart, for He is your life and of Him are ALL THINGS. You need manufacture nothing, earn nothing; you need be anxious for nothing; your one duty is to ABIDE IN HIS PRESENCE, abide in the conditions which are of Him and in Him and from Him, and then be still therein and KNOW THAT HE IS GOD. The conflict begins and prevails in all its life-long agony the moment a man forgets this. He struggles in himself to grow instead of struggling to get back into position. He struggles to WORK, rather than laboring to enter REST. He makes sonship into a gymnasium when God meant it to be a beautiful Garden!

The life of sonship is finally simplified to this – this child of God has but to abide in Christ, to be in position, that is all. Much work may be done on board a sailboat crossing the ocean. Yet none of it is spent on making the boat go. The sailor harnesses his vessel to the wind, he puts his sail and rudder in position, and lo, the miracle is wrought. God gives the wind and the water. Man but abides in the path of the wind, fixes his sail, and is driven along effortlessly to yonder fair harbor. As God's apprehended ones hold themselves in position BEFORE GOD'S SPIRIT, all the energies of Omnipotence course within their souls. They are like a tree planted by the river whose leaf is green and whose fruits fail not. Such is the blessed lesson to be learned from considering the lily. It is the power of nature's parable trumpeting the whole evangel of Jesus – "Come unto ME, and I WILL GIVE YOU REST!"

 


Chapter 24

THE GARMENTS OF EDEN

"And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. And when the woman saw that the tree was a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. Unto Adam and his wife did the Lord God make COATS OF SKINS, AND CLOTHED THEM" (Gen. 2:25; 3:6-10,21).

If we understand how a machine works, then the most intricate mechanism in the world is simple, but if we lack this understanding, even the simplest device can bewilder us. Well do I remember my fascination as I listened to a friend who works at the nearby White Sands Missile Range explain the almost incredible performance of our missile and anti-missile systems. When I expressed my astonished admiration, he smiled and said, "Well, really it is quite simple when you understand the principle of it." Any who have received specialized training and have become proficient in their specific field, will not doubt the truth of that statement. I once watched the frustration of my nine year old daughter as she tried to connect a tire pump to her bicycle tire. Not having connected anything like that before, the harder she tried to screw the pump connector on to the valve stem the more difficulty she was in. After a short period of observation I went over and pointed out to her that it is necessary to hold the connector absolutely straight over the valve while turning it on in order for the threads to join. A very simple lesson, but how important! So whether it be a multi-million dollar missile or a three dollar pump, both are quite simple when you know how they work. The way a bumble bee flies with wings disproportionate to its body size and shape is a mystery to man, but to the bee it is merely his way of life.

The same thought of understanding was in the heart of the apostle Paul when he wrote, "I cease not to make mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the EYES OF YOUR UNDERSTANDING BEING ENLIGHTENED; that ye may KNOW what is the hope of His calling." (Eph. 1:15-18). When men earnestly seek the face of the Lord, He sends His Holy Spirit to dispel the darkness of the natural mind that ever hangs as a shroud over us that He may reveal to our spiritual minds the things that pertain to higher realm of His Kingdom. In all matters of revelation and spiritual understanding it is impossible to overestimate the importance of the Spirit, who comes to take the things of God and show them unto us. Two worlds, indeed, two realms exist all about us – the natural world and the spiritual world. The natural realm is the realm of man, but the spiritual realm is the realm of God. The natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned.

Men of the world have told me that the things recorded in the Bible are ridiculous, and I suppose to them they are, since God has declared, "it is foolishness unto them" (I Cor. 2:14). I do not hesitate to say that the Bible could be read ten-thousand times over without shedding a single ray of light on an unregenerated and unbelieving mind. The truth of the matter is that many skeptics, agnostic and atheists have read the Bible through countless times, yet, because they read depending entirely upon their natural minds, unquickened by the Holy Spirit, the Lord withholds His light and understanding from them. Thus, they find themselves more in the dark and more unbelieving afterward than they were in the beginning.

There is not the slightest uncertainty in my mind that although the mind and heart of each and every child of God has been quickened by the Spirit of God, yet, in our spiritual immaturity we have oft times understood only a minute portion of the things that pertain to the vast and marvelous realm into which we have been birthed. Like Israel of old, even in the reading of the scriptures, a veil has been over our minds and we have been limited to that which our carnal mind could interpret, so that we have seen the things of God from the limited view of human understanding rather than seeing things AS HE SEES THEM. Understand this and you will understand a great truth: Divine revelation always carries one beyond what the natural mind can grasp. Read any chapter or verse in the whole Bible, and if you can understand what you read with your natural mind then you have failed to discover the TRUE MEANING which lies hidden deep beneath the apparent meaning. If you do not see any truth above and beyond what is obvious to the natural understanding then you have not been touched by the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God and what you do understand is not a living revelation of truth to you at all, but merely a DEAD LETTER.

This is no more the case anywhere than when we approach the opening chapters of the book of Genesis with their story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The vast majority of God's people have never progressed beyond what the carnal mind beholds in that wondrous scene: An earthly paradise flourishing with fruit-laden trees, abounding with babbling brooks, grassy slopes and secluded dales; inhabited by exotic animals and one naked human couple who had nothing better to do than spend their days sampling the luscious fruit, romping and playing over the sun-kissed hills and across the valleys, bathing their flesh in the invigorating waters, and petting the animals. But can you not see, beloved friend, that if you were to give the story of Adam and Eve to the vilest sinner on earth, and to the meanest man in the country, and to the wealthiest business man you know, and to the most depraved drunk in the gutter, along with the most fundamental pastor in your city and the most lettered scholar from the seminary, after all have read and studied the story with great deliberation, ask each of these men to relate what they have learned, and one and all, having read with darkened natural minds, will have perceived precisely the same things, will have reached exactly the same conclusions, and the ungodly drunk will recite the same set of facts as the preacher!

Ah, beloved, it does not take one ounce of revelation from God to interpret the story of the Garden of Eden with the natural mind! Because God is God, because God is Spirit, and because His Book is a spiritual Book, we must expect Him to say many things and state many facts that the human mind cannot comprehend nor pry into. "It is the inspiration of the Almighty that giveth understanding" (Job. 32:8). It is a great fact that the simplest, most uneducated and unlearned among saints can comprehend the deepest things of God in that moment when divine light from above shines upon them. "Open mine eyes," said David, "that I may behold wonderful things out of Thy law" (Ps. 119:18). So you see, spiritual understanding is not given to the learned and lettered of this age, nor to any who read and study with natural minds, but to those blessed ones upon whom God has breathed the Spirit of understanding from on high.

There is one thing about which the Lord's people must be very clear. The Bible is not primarily intended to teach history, or biography, or natural science. It is intended to teach THE PURPOSES OF GOD and SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLES AND REALITIES. It deals primarily with states of being and the laws of spiritual activity; and anything else is only incidental. Each of the principle characters in the Bible represents a kind of nature, character, or state of being that any of us may experience and walk out; and the events that happen to the various characters illustrate the consequences to us of walking in such realms of nature and character, either good or bad.

May the Holy Spirit stir up our spiritual minds to see that the story of Adam and Eve is not merely the historical tale of an original pair that leaves us more or less uninvolved. Adam is mankind. Adam is everyman. Adam is you and me and every other man and woman that have ever lived or shall live. What happened to him happens to us. What he was we have been. His experience is our experience. May God now give enlightenment to the eyes of your spiritual understanding that you may see and know of a truth that what was happening to Adam in the Garden speaks of SPIRITUAL REALITIES even in the beginning of history, before history, beyond history and yet in history; it is we ourselves of whom the Garden speaks, it is we ourselves who are confronted, intended, addressed, accused, expelled, and redeemed. It is our pre-history, truly our own. It is the beginning, destiny, guilt, redemption and perfection of every one of us. What happened to Adam there is exactly what is happening to us here!

NAKED IN THE GARDEN

This is the essential significance of the Garden of Eden drama. Every detail is extremely important and instructive. The thing most Christians seem to have forgotten, if indeed they ever knew it, is simply this: The Almighty Creator of the universe said, "Let us make man in our image and after our likeness" (Gen. 1:26). The initial step in the process, which would require ages to complete, was to make a man in God's image, but not wholly so, for the man He made was to begin in innocence. Intelligent as he was, he was dreadfully ignorant of good and evil, life and death, wisdom and vanity. In respect to these weighty matters he was but a child, immature, undeveloped, inexperienced, unprepared, unfinished, and therefore incapable of assuming the authority over the creation that God has destined him to have when the process is finally complete.

Have you ever heard people say that it is "cruel and unusual punishment" to spank a child? You should "reason" with him, the psychologist tell us. But the simple fact is that you cannot reason with a child because a child has neither experience nor understanding from which to reason. He comes into the world void of either experience or knowledge, and in his innocence he must learn to obey by suffering the pain of correction when he disobeys. This is the God-ordained method by which the child eventually comes to understand the reason for your demand. The foolish refusal of parents to apply the rod of correction is the one cause above all others for the terrible wave of disobedience, disrespect, hate, delinquency and rebellion spewing forth from so many millions of our young people over the past several decades. A child does not know good or evil, neither does it understand right from wrong anymore than Adam understood it. Don't waste your time reasoning with children who as yet have no basis from which to reason. I can assure you that if you do not break a child's will, that child will break your heart.

Adam was created in innocence, then given a command, and when he disobeyed the command God did not sit down and reason with him. No! For six long millenniums Adam's race has walked under God's chastening rod as every sorrow, tragedy, pain, disappointment, heartbreak, and funeral procession has served to administer the Creator's correction to mankind. It is not my purpose in this article to go into a discussion of the ages-lasting processes of God's disciplines upon man by which he shall be finally brought from original innocence to the mature image of God, but let us note here that the first thing the Lord did in making man in His image was to make him innocent and without experience. The record states of man in his original innocence, "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed" (Gen. 2:25). Adam and Eve were both naked and were no more ashamed than a day old infant is ashamed. This proves that man was created in innocence.

"And they were both NAKED, the man and his wife." It seems to the unenlightened mind that this little statement could have been omitted. Of what importance is it whether Adam and Eve moved about in Paradise naked or clothed? Yet it is an important and necessary little statement; it uses a rather insignificant fact, as it appears to us, to show forth something wondrous in the whole economy of God. Ah, beloved, the story of Adam and Eve in Eden is far too intricate and wonderful for my little mind to fully grasp, but I am able to see that the Holy Spirit has been very faithful and remarkably specific in recording the exact state of being of man in the beginning and of us IN OUR BEGINNING! Nakedness without shame means that two people must have the ability to face each other without pretense. Usually we play games, pretending to be what we are not. In the beginning husband and wife wore no garments to conceal Truth. The inner nature, desires, thoughts and understanding of each were fully revealed to the other without feeling the “shame of nakedness.” And not alone to each other – but before God as He walked and talked with them in the cool of the day.

Adam and Eve were both. NAKED! I do not see, as some teach, that Adam walked in the Garden clothed upon and enveloped in some kind of effulgent light. There is not one verse of scripture in the whole Bible that indicates that Adam was originally CLOTHED IN HEAVENLY LIGHT, or that he lost his vesture of light when he sinned. What is stated, unequivocally, is that he was NAKED, and was not ashamed. Following the fall there was one great difference, man was still naked but, was ashamed!

Among all the creatures which God made, Adam, man stands out unique, stark naked, which means devoid of true wisdom and knowledge, with his inner nature revealed, opened up, exhibited, and made bare. Oh! that God may give us understanding to see that to be naked simply means to have THE FLESH UNCOVERED AND EXPOSED!

THE EXPOSURE OF THE FLESH

What is this "flesh" which can be "exposed," making a man "naked"? The word "sarx" is the Greek word translated "flesh" in the New Testament. Sarx means the meat of a physical body, whether it be man, or beast, or birds, or fishes of the sea; not the outer layer of skin immediately visible to the eye, but the raw meat under the skin. To physically have the flesh "exposed" in this sense would mean to have the outer skin removed, causing the raw meat underneath to be visible. Thus, the flesh speaks of more than just our physical body with its normal needs and desires for food, clothing, comfort, rest, exercise, etc. God made our body, He knoweth our frame, and remembereth that we are but dust, and there is no condemnation for being tabernacled in this body of clay. But "THE FLESH" literally speaks of that inward nature which is earthy-minded, with its lusts and self-centeredness, its ego and I-will which are in rebellion to the Spirit. Thus, the flesh is not the outward, visible man of meat, muscle and bones, but the inward nature.

The flesh is the name by which scripture designates our HUMAN NATURE – soul and body. The soul at creation was placed between the spiritual or divine and the sensible or worldly, to the end that both soul and body might be raised up into that perfect union in the Spirit which would result in man attaining his destiny – a spiritual body. When the soul yielded to the sensible (senses), it came under the power of the body – it became flesh. And now the flesh – human nature, soul and body united – is not only without the spirit, but even hostile to it: "The flesh lusteth (wars) against the spirit!" (Gal. 5:17).

As William Law has ably pointed out, in this antagonism of the flesh to the spirit there are two sides. On the one hand, the flesh lusts against the spirit in its committing sin and transgressing God's law. On the other hand, its hostility to the spirit is no less manifested in its seeking TO BE RELIGIOUS – to serve God –apart from the Spirit! In yielding to the sense realm, the soul sought itself instead of God. Self-effort, self-expression, and self-development prevailed over God's life. And now, so subtle and mighty is this spirit of self, ego, and I-will, that the flesh, not only in fulfilling its own lusts and desires and sinning against God, but even when the soul comes into contact with God, still asserts its power, refuses to be led by the Spirit alone, and, in its self-efforts to be religious, is still the great enemy that ever hinders and quenches the spirit! It is because of this deceitfulness of the flesh that there often takes place what Paul speaks of the Galatians: "Having begun in the spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" (Gal. 3:3). Unless the surrender to the Spirit be very entire, and the holy waiting on Him be followed in great dependence and humility, what has been begun in the spirit, very soon passes over into confidence in the flesh.

All the world lives after the flesh, human nature, with its propensities for good and evil. Both the depraved and religious aspects of the flesh are referred to as "the works of the flesh." Paul says in Gal. 5:19-21, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God." It should not be difficult for any man to perceive the strange mixture of bodily-sensuality and soulish-religiosity in the above listed catalog of fleshly works!

Because the natural man is so prone to magnify the "good" which he does, insisting that God should pay attention to his efforts, to offset his bad, it is only natural for man's "good" to become the enemy of God's best. How many times have you attended a funeral of an unbeliever only to hear someone say, "I know that Joe wasn't a Christian, but he surely was a good man." Then they awkwardly rattle off a list of his "good deeds" which he managed to accomplish in spite of the fact that he was unregenerate. The idea, of course, is that his good works give doubly-dead Joe a chance to be justified in God's sight! But I do not hesitate to tell you that even the great Patriarch Abraham could not count on his "works" to run up a good "score" with the Lord. Paul says, "What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; BUT NOT BEFORE GOD. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness" (Rom. 4:1-3).

As the revelation of sonship breaks upon our believing hearts we shall come to be led by the Spirit of God, and not by the flesh (Rom. 8:1-14). This means that we shall earnestly seek the face of God to direct us His INDWELLING SPIRIT in all things. We cannot any longer choose our life's occupation with the carnal mind which asks, "How much will it pay? Will it make me famous?" No, we will live to know that the Father would have us do, even if it offers us little in terms of gold or fame. The carnal mind makes its own plans, chooses its own mate, seeks it own comfort and security, fulfills its own desires, follows its own wisdom, holds its own opinions, does its own thing, and is totally alienated from the Holy Spirit of God. It cares nothing for God, or His will, or His way.

Lest I fail to make the message clear and plain, let me reiterate that even when the flesh produces a good work, humanly speaking, it is just as much "sin" as the bad which it does, because it does not bring glory to God and is not an expression of HIS LIFE. The English word "sin" translates a Greek word which comes from a root meaning "to miss the mark; to fall short." If any motive, thought, word or deed, falls short of the GLORY OF GOD it is sin. Sin is made up of anything which satisfies the SELF and glorifies the CREATURE and not the Creator. Can we not see by this that money given to any "cause" that is not CHRIST EXALTING is sin money? Can we not see by this that time spent in doing that which does not redound to the glory of the Son of God is time spent in sin? Is it not clear that any talent used to bring praise to the talented, rather than to magnify the Name of the Lord, is corrupted talent and constitutes a work of the flesh? Yes, all the good religious works of programs, meeting, ceremonies, rituals etc. which are not products of HIS LIFE are JUST AS FLESHLY AND SINFUL AS THE MAN WHO MURDERS HIS WIFE!

To be "naked" means TO HAVE THE FLESH UNCOVERED AND EXPOSED. Good flesh or bad flesh, it really makes no difference. Adulterous flesh or religious flesh, it matters not. I can guarantee you that I've been seen naked a few times! Oh, yes, I had my natural clothes on, perhaps my finest J.C. Penny suit, but I was nonetheless caught naked! Have you ever been caught naked? Have you ever had someone slip up from your blind side in a moment when you were not expecting them and you didn't reveal anything to them but what you are in your flesh, by some ungodly act, or an angry outburst, some un-Christ-like attitude, or some carnal self-assertiveness, and you could only hang your head in shame and confess that for whoever saw you, you didn't leave one ounce of witness of the life and nature of the Son of God and they did not behold the glory of God at all in you? Then dear brother, precious sister, YOU WERE CAUGHT NAKED, you were discovered with YOUR FLESH EXPOSED, you were found with YOUR CARNAL NATURE DISPLAYED! You may have had your store-bought clothes on, but you were no less naked than Adam and Eve in Eden.

It means that in that moment you inner state of being was made bare, laid open, brought to light, and men did not see the Lord's life, all they saw was your life. They beheld your nakedness and then you felt ashamed when you realized what you had revealed unto them. At times like that how conscious we are that we have dishonored THE CHRIST in our lives! In innocence there is no shame when our flesh is exposed. Before God has dealt with us and laid His requirements upon us, there is no shame. But after He speaks and deals, there is always the sense of shame when our nakedness appears before men. If you get mad, fly off the handle, blow your stack, slam the door, throw things around and yell and fuss and fume and cuss, don't tell me that is the life of Christ coming out of you, for if you do are telling me that Christ acts that way. Not so! It is only your nakedness being revealed, your inner nature being unrobed, your flesh being exposed to be gazed at by all around. We feel shame and embarrassment strikes us when our nakedness is uncovered, and that is God's divine order! GOD HIMSELF is a great "flesh exposer." And never forget, dear ones, that ministering without the anointing, serving God with human zeal and man-made methods, going through the religious motions of singing, clapping, dancing, praising, worshipping, or any ministry performed by rote rather than from the spontaneous arising of His life within – all this is as much an exposure of OUR FLESH as if we were caught in bed with our neighbor's spouse!

FIG LEAVES

One of the greatest truths to be gleaned from the Garden of Eden is the truth that Adam was first created in the very condition in which every son and daughter of Adam comes into the world – in a state of nakedness, coupled with innocence. The Lord God so ordered it, that in and by the fall man should get what previously had not, and that was, a conscience, the knowledge of good and evil. By means of the conscience "the eyes of them both were opened," but, alas! to what a sight! – it was only to discover their own nakedness. They opened their eyes upon their own condition, which was "wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked" (Rev. 3:17). Suddenly “they knew that they were naked” – they knew that their flesh lay bare and exposed, their carnal nature hanging out – sad fruit of the tree of knowledge. No sooner does a man discover his nakedness than this knowledge gives birth to the impulse to make an effort to COVER the nakedness. Thus, in the case of Adam and Eve, the discovery of their nakedness was immediately followed by an effort of their own to cover it, – "they sewed fig-leaves together and made themselves aprons" (Gen. 3:7).

This is the first record we have of man's attempt to remedy, by his own device, his condition, but this was not the single act of Adam of old, it is truly the act of each of us, yes, OUR VERY OWN! The Spirit would make very real to your heart, dear reader, that Adam's effort to cover his nakedness was not a mere moral act, it was a RELIGIOUS ACT. Our attentive consideration of what transpired in that Eden of long ago will afford us wonderful instruction as to the character of human RELIGIOUSNESS in all ages. In the first place, we see, not only in Adam's case, but in every case, that man's effort to remedy his condition IS BASED UPON THE SENSE OF HIS NAKEDNESS. He is confessedly naked, and all his "works" are the result of his being so. This can never avail! I must KNOW THAT I AM CLOTHED, before I can do anything acceptable in the sight of God.

And this, let every man know, is the difference between the walk in the Spirit of God and human religiousness. The walk in the Spirit is founded upon the fact of a man's being clothed; religion is founded upon the fact of his being naked. All that a son of God does, is BECAUSE HE IS CLOTHED; all that a mere religionist does, is a self-effort to be clothed. This makes a vast difference! When a man comes to look at these terrible realities straight in the face, by the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God, he will discover that the religion, works, traditions and observances of men is a bed too short for him to stretch himself upon, and a covering too narrow for him to wrap himself in.

Can we now open the eyes of our understanding to behold what it means when the Holy Spirit states that "they sewed fig-leaves together, and made themselves aprons"? The Authorized version does not express all that is indicated by the Hebrew word taphar, translated "sewed." The true meaning is that they tied, twisted, platted, or fastened together the leafy twigs and small branches of the fig tree, so as to form a sort of girdle, somewhat resembling the laurel wreath worn upon the head among the Romans. The same word occurs in Job. 16:15 where, although it is rendered, "I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin," it can mean nothing more than applied, fitted, and adjusted; and so in Eze. 13:18, "Woe to the women that sew pillows to all armholes." The leaf of the fig tree is large and broad and well adapted to the purpose set forth here. Note, they made "aprons," the Hebrew meaning is "things to gird about." The word strictly denotes a girdle, covering the loins of the body. Their sense of shame prompted them to hide among the trees of the Garden while they attempted to sew fig-leaves together that they might in some pitiful manner create an ARTIFICIAL COVERING for their abhorrent nakedness. What a poor, vain, fleeting device! What a temporary makeshift they would prove! Soon dried and withered, and utterly unsuited for the purpose, the leaves would fall away and leave them naked as before.

What happened to Adam happens to us. What he was we have been. His experience is our experience. Ah, child of God, may the blessed Spirit give enlightenment to your mind that you may know of a truth that what happened to Adam in the Garden IS EVEN NOW HAPPENING TO EACH OF US. Every man from Adam to this day has been naked and, at some time, in some manner, has been busily engaged in weaving together his very own fig-leaf apron to try and cover his nakedness. No one wants to appear as what he is, even though he is a thief, an adulterer, a murderer, a liar, or a religious hypocrite. In an effort to appear other than he is man sews together very wide leaves of the fig tree; that is, he tries every device he can, including multiplied religious works, to gloss over his true condition. But all the garments which men device to hide their nakedness become mere "spider's webs" when the dazzling light of God's presence and glory shines in upon them.

There is something in man’s soul that makes him substitute his own ideas for God’s. As soon as Adam and Eve sensed their guilt and fear, they devised an elaborate way of winning God’s approval. Their fig-leaf aprons are a symbolic presentation of all the religions in the world. Every human religious invention since that time has simply been an unfurling and a spinning-out of that fig-leaf theology which was invented there in the Garden so long ago. What they did was institute the first religion which could have been called “THE FIRST HOLINESS CHURCH OF THE FIG LEAF.” Are you a member of that church? Here is how you can tell. I think I might give you a bit of a fashion show. The perennial favorite in this fashion parade is probably the choicest fig leaf on the whole tree called “holiness.” But it is not God’s holiness! It is man’s holiness. Ah, you can see people dressed in it everywhere, parading up and down in the street, hiding behind that leaf. “We dress holy, our women don’t wear pants, the sleeves are down to the wrist, the neck-line is high, the skirts long, we are not adorned with jewelry or make-up, our hair is long, we don’t go to theatres, we don’t play cards, we don’t drink wine, we don’t participate in worldly things, we don’t… we don’t…” Why, you would think they were covered completely by the way they look. Haven’t you seen that fashion? It never seems to go out of style! There is always a large fig-leaf company adorned in outward works of so-called righteousness. I do not hesitate to tell you, beloved, that often there is a deceitful heart of carnality hidden just behind the fig-leaves – wagging tongues, gossip, pride, self-righteousness, bitterness, judgmentalism, harshness, vindictiveness, deceitfulness, spiritual immaturity, etc. Jesus identified the fig-leaf church of His day when He charged the Pharisees, “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited  sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” Other fig-leaf churches trust in sacraments, ordinances, rituals, ceremonies, ministries, denominations, creeds and doctrines. “Fig-leaf theology,” my friends, is very much out of style at the judgment seat of Christ! All who trust in it will find their fig leaves lying in brown curled-up remnants around their feet as they stand naked before God.

The Bible says that there in Eden, God looking upon Adam and Eve’s fig leaves, made coats of skins and clothed them. The first thing God does is strip away all the artificial, man-made coverings, and presents His own glorious covering. "For Adam also and for his wife the Lord God made long coats (tunics) of skins, and clothed them" (Gen. 3:21, Amplified Bible). We would be totally void of understanding as to what kind of victim it was that provided this blessed covering for the sinning man and his wife, were it not that the Holy Spirit has shed precious light upon this wonder, revealing that Christ is “the LAMB slain from the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8) who verily was “a LAMB without blemish and spot… foreordained before the foundation of the world” (I Pet. 1:19-20). In the symbolism of the Garden of Eden story Adam and Eve silently and sorrowfully watched as the Lord God selected a lamb and slew it there, fastening it to a tree before their wondering eyes, the victim then being made naked, stripped of its skin, that a covering might be provided for the naked ones. Thus, with this one wondrous act does the God of heaven introduce THE CROSS into Eden's lovely Garden.

I now invite you to meditate deeply upon my words. In the process of changing our garments and covering our nakedness God brings us to the CROSS, which has its base in the foundation of God before the world began. Interesting that the Lamb in Eden was slain not merely for the sinning man and woman, and not only for the naked man and woman, but for the man and woman CLOTHED IN FIG-LEAVES! The "skins" of covering from the Lamb were given to replace the fig-leaves of mans self-effort, and not only was the man himself brought to the cross but all his self-made religion of works as well! Ah, yes, the cross shall deal not only with sin and nakedness, it shall deal as well with our fig-leaves!

Hear now this remarkable statement by the apostle Paul as to what was nailed to the cross of Christ. "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, and took it out of the way, NAILING IT TO HIS CROSS. Let no man THEREFORE judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holiday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but THE BODY IS OF CHRIST" (Col. 2:13-17). Yes, beloved, God took not only man's sin and man himself to the cross in Christ, but He took the fig-leaves of EXTERNAL ORDINANCES which stand in meats and drinks and holy days and divers washings (baptisms) and rituals and ceremonies and rules and regulations and (hallelujah!) NAILED THEM ALL TO HIS CROSS! In their place He now clothes us in the covering of the blessed Lamb, a righteousness which indeed is seen externally, but is the product of THE INDWELLING LIFE OF THE LAMB!

Fig-leaves righteousness is so shallow, limited to outward observances, appearances, works, regulations, do this, don't do that, go here, don't go there, etc. But for those who have become identified with the Lamb, having discovered HIS INDWELLING LIFE which produces HIS IMAGE, who now live in the wisdom and righteousness of His LIFE-FLOW, it is no longer a matter of regulations – do this, and do that, etc. It is not a matter today of so many do's and don'ts, but entirely a matter of THE LIFE OF THE LAMB.

How vain have been our strivings about externals and our insistence upon little technicalities which we in ignorance deemed so very important! How often my own heart has been saddened as I have listened to brethren wasting their time contending over baptisms, communion, foot washing, meats and drinks, holy days, dress codes, long hair, short hair, women preachers, and petty doctrines of every kind, and when they were through with all their pietistic wrangling, they had accomplished nothing but to prove that they knew everything about the dead letter of the Word and absolutely nothing of the LIFE-GIVING SPIRIT! When I consider the vastness of God's great plan and the awesome majesty of His eternal purposes, my soul grows weary with the petty quibblings of earth-bound, tradition-ridden men who are never able to deliver themselves from their own trivial opinions about heaven and hell, what we must or must not eat or drink, what we must or must not put on, how we must observe this ordinance, that ceremony, and the other ritual, who can or cannot minister, and as a result are not able to see who God is or grasp the wonder of His ways or the ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF HIS INDWELLING LIFE. Men do not need any external ordinances, ceremonies, or regulations. They need Christ! They do not need to know doctrine. They need to KNOW HIM as their INDWELLING LIFE AND LAW.

When I know GOD AS LIFE, then, as the SPIRIT OF LIFE WITHIN leads me to eat, I will eat. When the LIFE prompts me to drink, I will drink. When the LIFE anoints me to fast, I will fast. When the LIFE quickens me to sing, I will sing. When the LIFE commands me to speak, I will speak. When the LIFE orders me to be silent, I will be silent. When the LIFE stirs me to go, I will go. When the LIFE tells me to stay, I will stay. When the LIFE directs me to work, I will work. When the LIFE guides me to rest, I will rest. When the LIFE impresses me to wait, I will wait. When the LIFE draws me aside for a season of separation, I will turn aside. When the LIFE speaks that I should go here or there, to this meeting or that gathering, I will go. When the LIFE reveals that I should give, I will give. You see, with Christ there are no regulations, no rules, only the indwelling rule of HIS LIFE. Today it is not a matter of the law, or ordinances, or observances, or tradition, or regulations, but wholly a matter of Christ. As long as the Christ life within directs, you are safe – for Christ today is the present, instant, up-to-date, indwelling LAWGIVER. Hallelujah!

"The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, LIKE UNTO ME; UNTO HIM SHALL YE HEARKEN" (Deut. 18:15). Christ is today's real Moses, and we are His followers. Christ is today's real Lawgiver, and we have Him WITHIN US and we are learning to do all things in His presence and by His life. There are no regulations today, but the real Moses. There are no external observances of ordinances, ceremonies etc., but the indwelling life. As long as I am following my Moses today, as long as I am ONE SPIRIT WITH MY CHRIST, whatever I do as a product of His indwelling life is both the will and the work of the Father. What ever I do of myself, or because I have always done it this way, or I feel some responsibility to do it, or it is traditional to do it, or my friends and family wouldn't understand if I didn't do it – I am decking myself out with naught but withering, rustling fig-leaves.

ALL must be brought to the CROSS, washed away in the life of Eden's Lamb, and replaced by the righteousness WHICH HE IS. Someone will say, "What do you mean? After doing service for God all these years, being baptized, taking communion, keeping all the rules of the church, faithfully teaching a Sunday School class, holding street meetings, jail services, youth rallies, passing out tracts, singing in the choir, serving on the church board and various committees, attending all the meetings, do you mean that all this is fig-leaves and I must now be stripped and reclothed?" I do not want to belittle or depreciate anything that has been done as unto the Lord and has brought blessing to others. Do not cast away the good that God has done in spite of our weakness and unprofitableness, but do, I pray you, cast away all self-satisfied belief that all your works have been pleasing to God and performed at His bidding. It should be self-evident that many of our works have been mere fig-leaves of our own invention, for I am confident that in the vast majority of our service, though sincere and well-meant, and successful in measure, THE FLESH HAS SHOWN THROUGH!

Human energy, soulish zeal, carnal planning, selfish ambitions, doing by rote what we have been taught and programmed by the religious systems to do, has produced a fig-leaf condition that must be dealt with, stripped away, and replaced by the living breath of God. Ah, yes, self has enjoyed the recognition that men give for our service to the Lord. And how often has our service for the Lord been natural rather than BY THE SPIRIT. We become accustomed to doing it OUR OWN WAY, and out of habit. I do not see how any child of God can ever become an overcomer and enter into Sonship by following the ordinary course of Church activity. There is something about the continual VAIN REPETITIONS of the Church systems that keeps saints in a state of spiritual infancy.

When the Jewish offerings and sacrifices got to be nothing but a ritual which they performed every week, God turned His face away in disgust and said it was a weariness to Him and a stench in His nostrils. What more is there to the wearisome repetitions into which today's church activities have entered? Do they not go through the same ceremony every week as they sing their hymns, say their prayers, give their offerings, make their announcements, preach their sermons, and wait for the benediction? This is not the WAY OF LIFE nor is it the path that leads to sonship. Ah! and how we need to watch our own little "Spirit-led" traditions! – you know: three peppy, hand-clapping choruses followed by two slow worship choruses followed by three minutes of singing in the Spirit following by two prophecies followed by teaching followed by prayer requests and personal ministry. I feel that I cannot be too strong in my earnest exhortation to all who read these pages that regardless what form our traditions may take, they are the path to stagnation and infancy.

I know whereof I speak. In my early ministry in one of the Pentecostal denominations I ignorantly practiced all the religious tomfoolery. I taught things as they came from the Bible Schools, from the Sunday School materials. I received materials from the Headquarters and put them into practice without ever asking God about them. We had a Ladies Auxiliary because that is how we were taught from the Headquarters. We had the Young People's Life-liners because that is how we were taught from the Headquarters. We taught the Sunday School class from Mat. 11:1-19 because that was the lesson in the Sunday School quarterly sent from Headquarters. Everything we did was because it came from the Headquarters! We had our name, our board, our District Conference, our State Conference, our Stationing Committee to move the pastors around like chessmen on a chess board. We never stopped to ask the Lord whether this was from Him or not! And I doubt if the Headquarters of the denomination ever stopped to ask either. We just kept going, doing the same things for years, never stopping to seek the face of God to find whether what we were doing was His will or not. So few people have ever learned that our relationship is WITH CHRIST and without Him we can do nothing. Thank God for the day when I learned this one simple but basic truth and began at last to break out of the smothering cocoon of tradition. The Spirit of God is calling you to lift up your eyes to the heavenly hills to behold a place IN CHRIST where Christ becomes ALL IN ALL. In these heavenly places in Christ Jesus there are no more chains of self-effort, man-made religion, or external observances, for here we walk with God and learn of Him, being indwelt by His life, led of His Spirit and, being thus led, we grow up into full sonship in Him.

In all the dead works of religion MAN'S FLESH SHOWS THROUGH and it is manifest that his covering is insufficient – for when God clothes a man with the covering of His Lamb NO FLESH WILL BE SEEN – ONLY CHRIST! When God clothed Adam and Eve in the skins of the slain Lamb, yet dripping with the precious blood, He showed that they were COVERED WITH LIFE. It is a wonderful day for a child of God when he becomes so conscious of the indwelling and overshadowing presence of Christ and the ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF HIS LIFE that he no longer makes any effort to cloak himself with anything that is not a product of that life. When once you know this life experientially, you no longer care one whit about silly forms, procedures, methods, external observances or regulations. The true cause of spiritual dryness and fleshliness among Christians is that they strive and contend so much for the letter of the external trappings of religion that they never discover the blessedness of His quickening life. Everywhere we see Christians busy, running here, going there, promoting this program and that project, fighting for this and that cause, doing, doing, doing, and in it all literally billions of dollars being spent on outward show, glass cathedrals, fine buildings, comfortable pews, lettered and famous preachers, popular and glamorous speakers, programs and schemes of every imaginable description. It is not difficult therefore to understand why the spirits of so many Christians are as shriveled as prunes and as dry as a hay stack. All this outward show is but a sepulcher void of life and full of dead men's bones.

Fig-leaves! Fig-leaves! Fig-leaves! Cursed covering of man's own devising! And any man with eyes to see can see the flesh shining brazenly through it in spite of all the intricate design and superficial appearance of life. Oh! how men try to conceal the corrupt flesh underneath, and indeed they may partially hide it from men, but the fig-leaf apron can never screen a man from the eye of God! But, blessed be the name of the Lord, God has reserved to Himself in our day a people who is completely different, a people who is wholly HIS, a people who dwells in the light which Christ Himself is, elect according to the foreknowledge of God, sanctified by His Spirit, obedient to their heavenly Father, sprinkled with the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, and CLOTHED IN THE GARMENTS OF THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD'S ETERNAL LAMB, who now WALK IN AND LIVE BY HIS LIFE.

 


Chapter 25

THE GARMENTS OF EDEN

(continued)

"And they were both naked, the man and his wife. and the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And, unto Adam and his wife did the Lord God make COATS OF SKINS, AND CLOTHED THEM" (Gen. 2:25; 3:6-10,21).

"And they were both NAKED, the man and his wife." It seems to the unenlightened mind that this little statement could have been omitted. Of what importance is it whether Adam and Eve moved about in Paradise naked or clothed? Yet it is an important and necessary little statement; it uses a rather insignificant fact, as it appears to us, to show forth something wondrous in the whole economy of God. Ah, beloved, the story of Adam and Eve in Eden is far too intricate and wonderful for my little mind to fully grasp, but I am able to see that the Holy Spirit has been very faithful and remarkably specific in recording the exact state of being of man in the beginning. and of us IN OUR BEGINNING!

Adam and Eve were both NAKED! Among all the creatures which God made, man stands out unique, stark naked, which means devoid of true wisdom and knowledge, with his inner nature revealed, opened up, exhibited, and made bare. Oh! that God may give us understanding to see that to be naked means to have THE FLESH UNCOVERED AND EXPOSED! In the typology of Scripture "the flesh" is the name by which the scripture designates our HUMAN NATURE, literally speaking of that inward nature which is earthy-minded, with its lusts and self-centeredness, its ego and I-will, which are rebellion to the Spirit. Thus, the flesh is not the outward, visible man of meat, muscle and bones, but the inward nature. This nature was in man from the beginning, and could be seen to be in him, but as long as he was caught up in God he was not aware of it, for he was "naked, and was not ashamed."

Then suddenly "they knew that they were naked” – they knew that their flesh lay bare and exposed – sad fruit of the tree of knowledge. No sooner does a man discover his nakedness than this knowledge gives birth to the impulse to make an effort to COVER the nakedness. Thus, in the case of Adam and Eve, the discovery of their nakedness was immediately followed by an effort of their own to cover it, – "they sewed fig-leaves together and made themselves aprons" (Gen. 3:7). This is the first record we have of man's attempt to remedy, by his own device, his condition, but this was not the single act of Adam of old, it is truly the act of each of us, yes, OUR VERY OWN! The Spirit would make it very real to your heart, dear reader, that Adam's effort to cover his nakedness was not a mere physical or moral act, it was a RELIGIOUS ACT. The nakedness in Eden bespeaks a spiritual state of being, and the attempt to cover that nakedness was indeed an expression of religiousness!

In an effort to appear other than he is, man sews together very wide leaves of the fig tree; that is, he tries every device he can, including multiplied religious works, to gloss over his true condition. But all the garments which men devise to hide their nakedness become mere "spider's webs" when the dazzling light of God's presence and glory shines upon them. There is nothing more obvious than the fact that leaves quickly wither and fall off and, indeed, clothed in all the dead works of religion MAN'S FLESH SHOWS THROUGH and it becomes manifest that his covering is pitifully insufficient.

The first thing God does is strip away all the artificial, man-made coverings, and presents His own glorious covering, the slain Lamb, the Christ of God. "For Adam also and for his wife the Lord God made long coats (tunics) of skins, and clothed them" (Gen. 3:21, Amplified Bible). In the symbolism of Garden of Eden story Adam and Eve silently watched as the Lord God selected a lamb and slew it there, fastening it to a tree before their wondering eyes, the victim then being made naked, stripped of its skin, that a covering might be provided for the naked ones. Thus, with this one wondrous act does the God of heaven introduce THE CROSS, THE ATONEMENT, and THE CHRIST AS MAN'S COVERING. When God clothed Adam and Eve in the skins of the slain Lamb, yet dripping with the precious blood, He showed that they were COVERED WITH THE LIFE OF THE LAMB. When God covers a man with the covering of His own Lamb the covering is so complete that NO FLESH WILL BE SEEN – ONLY CHRIST!

THE ATONEMENT

What a blessed and thrilling revelation it has been to have the Spirit unfold the wonders of the Garden of Eden! All that now pertains or shall ever pertain to man's relationship with God is there unveiled to the wondering eyes of our understanding. The first mention of "clothing" or "covering" is in Gen 3:21. The idea expressed in this covering of man's flesh is the same as that contained in the Old Testament word "atonement." The Hebrew word most commonly translated "atonement" and which most perfectly expressed its Biblical meaning is kaphar, and means "to cover."

This word occurs for the first time in Genesis 6:14, where we read concerning God's instructions for the building of Noah's ark: "Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch." It is a very interesting fact to note that the word translated "pitch" is the word for "atonement." Noah was to pitch the ark within and without with pitch. The words used are kaphar and kophar, the first being the verb, and the second the noun. Literally, therefore, we can read Genesis 6:14 as, "thou shalt atone it within and without with atonement." This gives the Old Testament picture of atonement. It means "to cover." The pitch, the "atonement," was designed to keep out the waters of judgment and to make Noah safe within. It held back and restrained the judgment from reaching the occupants in the ark, and made them safe in spite of the fact that judgment was destroying the world outside.

This is what the "blood of the atonement" in all the Old Testament sacrifices did. "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul" (Lev. 17:11). The blood of atonement held back and restrained the just judgment of God from totally consuming the people. But this blood of atonement of sacrificial offerings and beasts did not actually, and could not actually "take away" sin, for the blood of bulls and goats could not effect a reconciliation. So the blood of the atonement in the Old Testament, as shed in the tabernacle and temple services, only temporarily "covered" the people until the life of God's perfect Lamb could be provided, and then the atonement would be perfect, complete and eternal. The blood of the Old Testament atonement deferred the judgment temporarily until the coming of Christ, and then the judgment was fully paid, and for this reason the sacrifices in the tabernacle were never finished, they were to be repeated day after day and year after year. When Christ came, HE BECAME OUR ATONEMENT, OUR ETERNAL COVERING, as pre-figured by Eden's Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8).

In the book of Exodus we have one of the most unique and remarkable happenings in the world's history. It is a part of the same pattern as the life and work of Jesus Himself. The Lord had come down in a thick cloud to speak with Moses in the sight of the people. There was given him the substance of the law. But then, by command of the Lord Moses went up into the mount and into the cloud, and remained there in the presence of the Lord for forty days and forty nights. At the end of that time of communion, the Lord gave Moses two tables of stones upon which was written the Law of the Lord by the finger of God. So, robed in the spiritual splendor of the Holy One, he returned to the people.

In Exodus chapter 32, we read that the people had fallen into idolatry during these forty days of waiting. They had made a golden calf to worship and to lead them. In this was the essence of their idolatry: the turning to SELF to satisfy self in all its demands, the desire to establish a power and a good of their own choosing to be followed after and worshipped rather than God. The wickedness was in turning from God to the idols of their own flesh and corruption. They made and worshipped the image of a beast, and the fact of the matter is that the beast was but a representation of THEIR OWN BESTIAL NATURE which they were pursuing with all their carnally-minded vigor. Then comes a most enlightening statement: "And Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies)." The people were. NAKED! Ah! beloved, it was not that the people had discarded their outer garments of linen and wool to stalk about under the scorching desert sun in a state of nudity; it was that Aaron, in appeasing their carnal murmurings and reasonings, had caused their inner natures to be revealed, their inner state of being to be opened up, brought to light, manifested, exhibited – their FLESH WAS EXPOSED!

It seems evident to me that this is the meaning of the scripture, for when Moses saw on his return what was taking place, he threw the two tablets of stone down upon the rocks and broke them to pieces. Then on the morrow Moses said to the people, "Ye have sinned a great sin; and now I will go up unto the Lord; peradventure I shall make AN ATONEMENT FOR YOUR SOULS" (Ex. 32:30). "Atonement" means a covering – a protective covering. The Hebrew word kaphar (pronounced KAW-FAR') has come down to us through the long centuries in the English word "cover." You will note that they are nearly the same in sound. Kaphar is used in the Old Testament as the distinct word for atonement for sin. Sin is a NAKED STATE OF THE SOUL, the denuding of our "self" with all its self-love, self-confidence, self-righteousness, self-admiration, self-effort, self-pity, self-expression, self-aggrandizement and self-development. Atonement is the COVERING, protective covering of the Lord's mercy, presence, and life upon the redeemed soul. Moses returned to the Lord in the mount to seek a means to atone for, to COVER THE PEOPLE'S SOULS. My earnest prayer is that those who read these lines may quickly see that the covering provided for the people was a SPIRITUAL COVERING for the inner realm of the soul; therefore, the nakedness of the people was likewise a SPIRITUAL NAKEDNESS of the soul.

We have put so much stress on outward things, so much "carnalizing" of the Word which is "spirit and life," that when we read the scriptures we oft times overlook the real truth the Spirit is speaking. The real man who is naked is not the outer physical man. In spite of all the "dress codes" religion may impose, it makes no difference, my friend, how much you clothe the outer body – your true "flesh" will still be exposed! It should be clear to all who have eyes to see that when the scripture makes such statements as, "put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ," "put on the whole amour of God," "put on the amour of light," "buy of Me white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed," "put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem," "to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white," "blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame," these cannot be put on the outer physical man, they must be put on in the inner realms of the soul and spirit, upon the hidden man of the heart, even that NEW MAN which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

THE GARMENTS OF SALVATION AND THE ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

There is an interesting passage in Isaiah 61:10. "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels." This verse teaches us two things: (1) that God has clothed us with the GARMENTS OF SALVATION and (2) He has covered us with the ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. The Spirit here points out to us that not only is there a garment of salvation, but there is also a robe of righteousness. Jesus Christ is our salvation. We are saved by grace through faith; and that not of ourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:8-9). We are clothed with the garment of salvation in the blessed moment when they believed on Christ Jesus as Saviour and Redeemer. We are to greatly rejoice in the Lord that He has clothed us with the garment of salvation!

As soon as man sinned, God made them garments, the Bible declares. That means that God accepts men as they are, as sinful. He affirms them as fallen, as sheep gone astray, each turned to his own way. But, blessed be God! He does not expose them to one another in their nakedness: HE HIMSELF COVERS THEM. By making garments for men God shows that He first of all accepts them as they are, with their flesh. In this way He COVERS THEIR FLESH but does not destroy it. God's first action toward man is that He preserves him in his sinful state of being, with the carnal nature, giving him an "atonement," a "covering" to hide his flesh and protect him from destruction, making him "accepted in the Beloved” – until he can be changed! With the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden, having disobeyed the command of God, and partaking of the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, their eyes were opened, and they knew that they were naked and went and "hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden" (Gen. 3:8). To this day Adam's race senses their shame, and cannot stand in the presence of God without fear, UNLESS CLOTHED UPON WITH THE GARMENTS OF OUR GOD.

Gladly, therefore, do we freely acknowledge that "He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness." Realizing that all our covering garments must be of HIM, let us follow on to examine the dimensions of these garments, and their operation in our lives.

May I share with you now a revelation that has been a great blessing to me in my walk with God. First let me say that the GARMENT OF SALVATION is the righteousness of God IMPUTED TO US BY FAITH. "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose SINS ARE COVERED. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin" (Rom. 4:3-8). "Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." This word "counted" is the Greek word logizomai and means to reckon, number, account, to impute, which means to credit to one's account. Because Abraham believed God, it was imputed unto his account that he was righteous. The Amplified Bible says, "Abraham believed (trusted in) God, and it was credited to his account as righteousness – right living and right standing with God. Thus David congratulates the man and pronounces a blessing on him to whom God credits righteousness apart from the works he does." Paul continues, "Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered up for our offences, and was raised again for our justification" (Rom. 4:23-25).

This is the sphere with which most Christians are acquainted – for it is the realm which most preachers deal with, how that BY FAITH THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IS IMPUTED TO US WHEN WE BELIEVE ON OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST. While this makes good evangelistic preaching, and is the solid foundation upon which we can build, yet daily experience has revealed the fact that just because the righteousness of God is now "imputed" to you, that doesn't mean that immediately you have a complete change in your STATE OF BEING. It means that you now possess by faith, and as a free gift, the GARMENT OF SALVATION, and clothed in this garment you are saved from your sins, forgiven, acquitted, and all your past has been covered by God's matchless grace. Ah, yes, you have received all this as a gift, but you yourself have not yet been totally changed, transformed, having put on ALL HE IS.

So, while IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS gives us a clean slate before God, yet we discover by experience that this leaves us far short of the image and the glory of God, far short of PERFECTION. We still find in our nature the working of "sin and death," and all the old emotions and cravings of "the flesh." In our salvation experience we have found a covering, an atonement, by the sacrifice of God's precious Lamb, and yet, is it not true, dear child of God, that our hearts are not completely satisfied? Why? Because we know in our deepest heart that the garment of salvation has covered ALL OUR SINS, but our INNER STATE OF BEING STILL REMAINS PITIFULLY UNCHANGED.

We want more than just to pile "coverings" over our sins, we want our inherent nature changed into HIS, so that all that is contrary to Him shall be completely done away. Multitudes have received the glad news of how the righteousness of God is imputed to us by faith, and have believed, but still in their daily life they know that in themselves there remains the rudiments of sin, carnal mindedness, etc. And with repeated failure and guilt-consciousness they keep on praying day after day, "Lord, forgive us our short-comings! Forgive us our trespasses! Forgive us our many sins!" And year after year never cease praying that way. Why? Because imputed righteousness is our possession as we believe on Him, but we must go on into the second dimension of the atonement, to lay hold upon His IMPARTED RIGHTEOUSNESS, His INWORKED RIGHTEOUSNESS, becoming COVERED WITH THE ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, experiencing the inworkings of the change which results in an entirely new STATE OF BEING, making us LIKE HIM, transformed and transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor, from one degree of glory to another (II Cor. 3:18).

To be covered with the robe of righteousness means that when men look at us they SEE NOTHING BUT RIGHTEOUSNESS! We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, but being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (Rom. 5:10). It means a laying down of our lives, for when we are manifesting our life men are not seeing His life. When we lay down our life, to manifest His life, then it becomes His life that is seen. Now, if they see us they see a robe, but it is not a robe of righteousness but a covering of flesh which is a garment of death. After Isaiah speaks of our putting on the robe of righteousness, in the very next verse he declares, "For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God WILL CAUSE RIGHTEOUSNESS TO SPRING FORTH BEFORE ALL THE NATIONS" (Isa. 61:11).

God is going to spring forth righteousness until all nations see it! Hallelujah! This, beloved, can only be wrought by the power of the Holy Spirit. When people see a life and that life is beyond and contrary to any life they have ever witnessed, then the righteousness of God in Christ is revealed. When people behold us in our problems, under the pressures of job, family, and bills, in the perplexities of trouble and tragedy, and never see a reaction from us of our flesh, but only the Spirit of Christ within, then are we decked with the robe of righteousness and CHRIST IS SEEN AS RIGHTEOUSNESS in our lives. Here, nothing but HIM is revealed. When HE is revealed men will declare, "I never saw a people act like these act, I never heard a people speak like these speak; how can a person stand so calm, cool and collected in the face of such difficulties, testings and pressures – something supernatural is here!"

"Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof" (Rom. 13:14). Put on Christ! To this you are called. Seek to walk worthy of this calling. Yield yourself to the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the wonderful grace and the mighty power of His indwelling life that enables you to be clothed in a divine righteousness. Take time to realize that it is the King's own robe that you are invited to wear. It is the token that you are the man whom the King delights to honour. Take time to remember that as much as you need it in the palace, in the King's presence, and in the midst of His "many brethren," no less do you require it when he sends you forth into the world, where you are the Kings representative. Live your life daily in the full consciousness of being covered with the robe of righteousness, an object of delight and pleasure in the company of God's Sons.

Psalm 97:2 states that "Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne." His throne – means HIS RULERSHIP in our lives, as His will replaces our will, His thoughts replace our thoughts, and HIS LIFE becomes the sphere of our daily living. "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yielded the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby" (Heb. 12:11). The fruit of righteousness is the fulfilling of HIS will in us, and the filling up of our life with His rulership, His throne fixed in us, where He rules and reigns supreme.

MELCHIZEDEK – KING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

A message is filling my heart today and with it there is an unspeakable longing that the heart of every saint of God be turned to seek earnestly to be covered completely with the robe of the righteousness of the Son of God. I speak the truth when I tell you that there is a great difference between a garment and a robe. The garment of salvation is that which the Lord has already purchased for us and is freely bestowed to cover the nakedness of our flesh, but the robe of righteousness is set before us to be sought after and seized as a prize.

A person's position or state of being can often be told by his clothing. A white uniform indicates a nurse, the blue uniform identifies the policeman on his beat, filthy or torn garments are a sign of poverty, and royal robes are a sign of royal estate. The first occurrence of the word robe in the Bible is in Exodus 28:4 and 31. "And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a ROBE, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron their brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto Me in the priest's office. AND THOU SHALT MAKE THE ROBE OF THE EPHOD all of blue." The Hebrew word is subsequently translated robe in I Samuel 24:4, I Chronicles 15:27, Job 29:14. and Ezekiel 26:16, in which cases it specifies a garment worn by a king or prince. From all these uses of the word it can be seen that the robe of the ephod was a garment of special dignity – A ROBE OF OFFICE – and which gave a PRINCELY CHARACTER to the High Priest.

No material was specified for the High Priest's robe, but the color only, blue. It was the work of a weaver, Bezaleel and Aholiab having been filled with wisdom of heart to execute the fabric. This robe embodied the color of the heavens; it was all of blue. All the priests, the sons of Aaron, wore white linen garments, representing the imputed righteousness of Christ. The High Priest also wore the white linen garment when he entered into the Most Holy Place to make atonement on the day of atonement. But upon finishing that work HE THEN ADORNED HIMSELF WITH THE GARMENTS OF GLORY AND BEAUTY, these garments of glory and beauty representing the GLORY, HONOR, AND INCORRUPTION OF HIS RESURRECTION LIFE AND POWER. Chief among the garments of glory and beauty is the robe. It typifies the princely glory of our resurrected and exalted High Priest, who is typified by Aaron and pre-figured by Melchizedek, whose name means KING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.

In the book of Genesis all we know of Melchizedek is told in three short, very simple verses. A thousand years later we find a Psalm with just one single verse, in which God Himself is introduced, swearing to His Son that He is to be a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. Another thousand years pass, and that single verse becomes the seed of the wondrous exposition in the Epistle to the Hebrews of the whole work of redemption as revealed in Jesus Christ. Melchizedek was King and Priest – a thing unknown in all the history of Israel. These two ministries were always kept separated in God's people. But what was always kept asunder had, by divine wisdom and purpose, been united in Him who had been made LIKE UNTO THE SON OF GOD. It is the glory of Christ as the Priest-King that Melchizedek so wondrously pre-figures.

I have stated these things to emphasize the following truth: "Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him; Called of God AN HIGH PRIEST AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK" (Heb. 5:8-10). Our Lord Jesus learned obedience by the things which He suffered. Through this obedience He was MADE PERFECT, and became the author of eternal salvation to all that obey Him. So He entered heaven as our HIGH PRIEST, A SON, PERFECTED FOR EVERMORE.

The word "perfect" is one of the key-words of the book of Hebrews. It occurs thirteen times. Four times in regard to the Old Testament, which could make nothing perfect. (1) The law made nothing perfect (Heb. 7:19). (2) Sacrifices that cannot make the worshipper perfect (Heb. 9:9). (3) The law can never make perfect them that draw nigh (Heb. 10:1). (4) That apart from us they (the Old Testament saints) should not be made perfect (Heb. 11:40). As great as is the difference between a promise and its fulfillment, or hope and the thing hoped for, between the shadow and substance, is the difference between the Old and New Testament. The law and sacrifices made nothing perfect: they were only meant to point to something better, to the perfection Jesus Christ was to bring. With the New Testament perfection would come! Three times the word is used of our Lord Jesus, who in Himself prepared and wrought out the perfection He came to impart. The perfection brought by Christ was that which was revealed in His own personal life. He came to restore us to the sonship we had forfeited, to the life of God we had lost – a life in the love and will and glory and incorruptibleness of God. This alone is full salvation! God perfected His firstborn Son through suffering, wrought out in Him a perfect character, in which the divine life was fully united with the human will. So, when He had passed through the process and had been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, because He now had that perfected nature which He could communicate to them. And so He was appointed High Priest – a Son, perfected for evermore. As Son of God He was able to take us up into the very life of God; the way in which He was perfected through obedience was the living way in which He was to lead us; - as the Son, perfected through obedience, who had found and opened and walked the path of obedience as the path into sonship to God, and would now animate us with His own Spirit to do it too, He, the perfected One, can alone be our salvation!

Notice, now, what follows His obedience and perfection: "Being designated and recognized and saluted by God as High Priest AFTER THE ORDER (WITH THE RANK) OF MELCHIZEDEK" (Heb. 5:10, Amplified Bible). The dazzling glory of this great truth is that the Melchizedek order of Priesthood is the Priesthood of THE KING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. King of Righteousness – means HIS RULERSHIP in our lives, as His will replaces our will, His thoughts replace our thoughts, His ways replace our ways, His nature replaces our nature, and HIS LIFE becomes the sphere of all our living and moving and being, filling up our life with His dominion, His throne established in us, where He rules and reigns in righteousness within His temple, which temple we are.

Ah, the Melchizedek order of Priesthood ministers not merely an "imputed righteousness" which forgives our sins and covers over our flesh by the loving-kindness of God, but a righteousness INWORKED by God's dealings with us as sons, an obedience LEARNED by discipline and suffering, perfection ENTERED INTO as a state of being, qualifying one for ENTRANCE INTO THE PRIESHOOD REALM OF THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK. Throughout the past twenty centuries of church history most students of the Word of God have known that Christ is a Priest after the order of Melchizedek. All through the centuries there have been a minute few who by the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God have been blessed with the knowledge that OTHERS ALSO ARE CALLED OF GOD to walk the path of obedience, crucify self, put off the carnal mind, be made like unto the son of God, and FOLLOW HIM INTO THE HIGHEST REALM OF SONSHIP, THE PRIESTHOOD ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK. Ah, beloved, I can assure you that those who have understood this truth have been so few in number that if you could collect them all from the day of Pentecost until now, they would scarcely be noticed among the great multitude of the redeemed that no man can number (Rev. 7:9).

Hear now what the scripture says on this most vital subject, for I think the scripture must be the final authority for all truth. "We who have fled to Him for refuge, have mighty indwelling strength and strong encouragement to grasp and hold fast the hope appointed for us and set before us. Now we have this hope as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul – it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it – a hope that reaches farther and ENTERS INTO THE VERY CERTAINTY, WITHIN THE VEIL, WHERE JESUS HAS ENTERED IN FOR US IN ADVANCE, A FORERUNNER HAVING BECOME A HIGH PRIEST FOREVER AFTER THE ORDER (WITH THE RANK) OF MELCHIZEDEK" (Heb. 6:18-20, Amplified Bible). It is a sure hope, anchored by Christ within the veil, and He is an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. Furthermore, Jesus is a FORERUNNER, which is a clear indication that OTHERS ARE EXPECTED TO FOLLOW ON INTO THE SAME REALMS OF GLORY. He is the Captain of our salvation, He is the King, the Lord, and WITH HIM will be all the kings and lords which become ONE IN HIM, for they are all SONS OF GOD and a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD.

The Forerunner! Here we have another of the key-words of the book of Hebrews, without the right understanding of which our view of the work of Jesus as High Priest must be defective. It points us to the work He did in opening up the way, by walking in it Himself; to our following Him in that way to the place into which He has entered, not only the location, but the glory and honor and majesty and position and state of being of that realm, to which we now have access. And what is this place? "Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." We have had His name as Leader. We shall yet enter in!

He entered for us, not in our stead, but on our behalf. We are so familiar with all the blessed meaning there is in the words for us, in reference to Christ on the cross. No less it is true of Christ within the veil. It is all for us; all that He is and has there is for us; it is to be our own possession; by it and in it we are to live with Him and in Him. The veil was rent that the way through it might be opened for us; that we might have access to that which is WITHIN THE VEIL; that we might enter into a new world, a new realm, a new glory, a new fellowship, a new position, a new name, a new nature, a new dominion, a new ministry, a new state of being – “being MADE PERFECT, A PRIEST FOREVER AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK." We have yet to learn all that is contained in the Melchizedek Priesthood. But this will be its chief glory – that He is a Priest forever, a Priest in the power of an ENDLESS LIFE, a Priest who opens to us the STATE OF LIFE to which He Himself has entered in – beyond all possibility of sin, failure, limitation, corruption, or death! All that Jesus is and has is heavenly and divine. As High priest at God's right hand, He blesses with all heavenly and divine blessings. Oh, prepare thyself, son of the Most High, as the glory of His person and ministry in the heavenly places are now to be opened up to thee, to look upon it, and appropriate it all, as thy own possession! And believe that His High Priesthood not only consists in His having secured certain heavenly blessings for thee, but in His fitting and enabling thee to enter into the full experience and reality of them.

No greater tragedy can overtake a man than that, after he has been saved by God's grace, cleansed by the blood of Christ, made a partaker of God's Holy Spirit, he should be satisfied to walk in the garment of salvation and fail to realize the transcendent glory which lies before him in the ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. Meditate deeply, dear friend, upon this higher righteousness, which is the righteousness of the King of Righteousness, of the Melchizedek order, which is the ORDER OF THE SON OF GOD.

And so, "If ye know that He is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him" (I Jn. 2:29). And, "He that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God" (I Jn. 3:7,9). When that which is first imputed to us by faith is so inworked in us that we are completely changed into His image and nature then our state of being shall reveal that we are literally righteous – indeed, then we shall have been fully born of God, AND CANNOT SIN. "We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not" (I Jn. 5:18). Perhaps at the moment such a hope is yet future, but blessed be God! the hope shall become fact, and the revelation shall become reality.

"Thy people also shall BE ALL RIGHTEOUS: the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified" (Isa. 60:21). To God be the glory, HE is bringing forth a firstfruit company, the work of His hands, the branch of His planting, to BECOME ONE IN CHRIST, and of this very Christ, Head and body we read, "this is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Jer. 23:6). No more of our self-righteousness, no more stumbling and blundering and failing, but so FULLY CLOTHED WITH HIM, that our very state of being testifies "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." Certainly He shall be glorified, because HE alone shall be exalted, magnified through the revelation of His grace in the completed work of His hands. "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled" (Mat. 5:6). This desire has been implanted by God, and HE shall certainly bring about its fulfillment. We have tried to do it ourselves, but praise the Lord, He is now stripping us of all our self-effort and fig-leaf works, while the great DISCIPLINE HAND OF GOD BEGINS TO WORK, causing us to experience inworkings of one kind of righteousness after another. The result shall be A NEW STATE OF BEING, not one self-appropriated nor self-proclaimed, but the finished work of HIS HANDS, and how it shall redound to His praise!

Yes, as His life alone becomes our life, all that we do shall be righteous. There is no grand leap from the simple GARMENTS OF SALVATION to the exquisite ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, but there must be that active inworking of Himself. "May HE that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, AND INCREASE THE FRUITS OF YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" (II Cor. 9:10). Amen!

THE SMELL OF HIS GARMENTS

The skins with which God clothed Adam and Eve in Eden were the product of the life of God's precious Lamb. When they received these blessed garments upon them, they received something borne out of HIS LIFE, a very part of HIMSELF, the form and appearance of Himself generated by His life. Sweeter than the dews of Hermon descending upon the mountains of Zion is the wonderful revelation with which He now fills our hearts, showing how He now clothes us with THE LAMB'S SKIN, the Lamb's own image, likeness, and identity.

And now our heavenly King Solomon can bear witness of us, "Honey and milk are under thy tongue; and THE SMELL OF THY GARMENTS IS LIKE THE SMELL OF LEBANON" (S. of S. 4:11). When Aaron was being installed into the priestly office, he was anointed with the holy oil; and the continual incense which he burned before God, permeated his priestly robes. This perfume of the oil and the incense was ever upon him and his sons. In the Song of Solomon, God, through the Spirit, repeatedly impresses upon us that there is no spiritual fragrance outside of Christ. We are commanded to put on Christ; and as He becomes our garment, as He clothes us more and more, His perfumes will be more and more perceptible to those about us. The women of the Orient perfume their garments with costly oils and spices, so that the air about them is laden with delicate fragrance like the odors of a thousand flowers. Even the least movement of a maiden whose clothing is thus perfumed, sends out sweet odors; and she walks in a cloud of perfumed air. So should it be with us! Our walk and carriage, our appearance and manner of speech, the least movement in our lives, should be surrounded and permeated with precious spiritual perfume, like unto that of the cedars, and sweet scented trees and flowers of Mount Lebanon.

Oh, how our hearts long that, even in our most common movements and actions, the Christ-life shall be seen and discerned. As we put Him on and are clothed in Him, as we are hidden away in this Divine Robe, the smell of our garments begins to partake of the smell of Lebanon, and HE is glorified as every attribute of our lives is perfected to be like Him. No words of mine can fully reveal the wonderful glory that accrues to those who put on the robe of Christ's righteousness. Long centuries ago David prophesied of the exquisite spiritual beauty and glory and fragrance of the many-membered body of Christ, saying, "Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows. ALL THY GARMENTS SMELL OF MYRRH, AND ALOES, AND CASSIA, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made Thee glad" (Ps. 45:7-8).

Closely connected with Christ's life, death and burial, are the precious oils and costly, fragrance spices. He alone received gifts of fragrance oil and spices. The anointings He received at the hands of the women who loved Him with a surpassing love, appeared to have been more precious to Him than all else that was done for Him while He was on earth. "All Thy garments smell of myrrh." Myrrh was esteemed for its fragrance, it was used to scent garments, beds and other items. Myrrh was also one of the substances employed in preparing bodies for burial. The anointings and spices that were offered to Jesus in life and in death symbolized the wonderful work wrought in and through Him; His abandonment to do God's will; the perfection of His graces and attributes; His laying down His life; the preciousness of His atoning work.

Myrrh is not only fragrant, but it is bitter; the bitterness is an emblem of suffering. Fragrant and bitter! setting forth our identification with Him in the bitterness of partaking with Him in His death; through which bitterness we put on the fragrance of His life and attributes. If we would have our Lord dwell in our hearts and have full control, if we would have Him cover us completely as our robe of righteousness, if we would ever live in the atmosphere of His perfume and be sending forth His precious odors ourselves, we shall find that it is not all joy; but there is an entering into the fellowship of His sufferings. There is the bitterness that comes through our union with Him as we remain in the place of death, dying to all that pertains to SELF, that His life may be manifested. Only as the myrrh is crushed and pierced, does its fragrance go forth; and it is not easy to yield to the crushing and piercing process. As we partake of Him in His death, and yield to the cross at every step, HOW HIS PERFUME GOES FORTH AND REFRESHES OUR SOULS, AND ATTRACTS OTHERS.

The spices and gums used in the worship of Israel were found in the desert of Arabia and in the mountains of Palestine. With much labor they were gathered in far regions; and through many dangers did the merchantman bring them home. It was a long, arduous, dangerous undertaking, but there was great wealth in even one cargo of those spices and powders. Ah, not upon the heavenly terraces do these precious perfumes grow, for it is only in the wilderness of this earthly journey that one can gather sweet spices and perfumes of the fragrance of Christ. One cannot gather them in Egypt, nor in the easy places; but is in the hard places, that the most precious are found. The drier and more barren the wilderness, the hotter the testing and harder the path over which one goes, THE MORE PRECIOUS ARE THE SPICES ONE GATHERS AND BRINGS AWAY WITH HIM.

Are our hearts crying out for a deeper revelation of THE CHRIST, and for it to be operative in our lives? Do not look for the answer among the crowds, where the "blessings" and "prosperity" are pursued, but at the foot of the daily cross, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. Look for Heaven's perfumes in the wilderness place that no one sees nor understands, excepting Jesus who gathered the first cargo of spices to the glory of His Father!

We hear so much of the "faith message" today. How do we gather the precious Spice of "Faith"? God brings us to a desert place where EVERYBODY AND EVERYTHING FAILS US; where we must stand upon the air, as it were, with nothing under our feet. We can look nowhere but up to God, and HE LEAVES US HANGING THERE UPON THE THREAD OF FAITH, clinging and looking to Him, believing Him. As we do this without wavering, we begin to add to our cargo the faith that calls all things that are not as though they were, and opens the way into the Kingdom of God. How do you get the precious Spikenard of Humility? God lets you be despised and pushed down a little lower by each one around you, until you appear to be misunderstood and deserted by all. In this way He leads you into the deepest valleys of the wilderness, and keeps you there until you have gathered all of this costly perfume that your Lord intended you should have. This gum is found in the lowest, most barren places, and if we go far enough to gather it, on our way back to the Mount of God, we shall find all other spices and gums. Let us not be deceived by gathering human love, human joy, human peace, human humility, human faith, human patience, human zeal, or human works, which soulish things are easily cultivated and developed in the gardens of man's religion, and are only imitations of the heavenly spices and perfumes. No natural, nor human attributes will ever cross over with us into the blessed realm of sonship to God.

Let all who now read this message know that Jesus Christ is our garment of salvation and He is our robe of righteousness. Put on Christ! This work must be done each day in the inner chamber of our communion and identification with Him. No man changes clothes in public view. And how better can we put Him on than by our constant attitude of living and abiding in His presence as citizens of His glorious realm? His garments are the garments of Eden, the high and holy realm of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. It takes time to put on Christ. As our garments cover us and protect from wind and sun and cold, even so Christ Jesus will be our beauty, our defense, our joy and our victory as we draw nigh to Him in every experience and circumstance of life.

Oh soul, take time to meditate upon this wonderful truth. Just as your clothing is a necessity as you go out into the world, let it be equally indispensable for you to put on Jesus Christ and to abide in Him all the day. This cannot be done hastily or superficially. It takes time, quiet time in living in fellowship with Jesus, to realize that you have put Him on. Take the time and the trouble. Your reward will be great!

 


 Chapter 26

THE GARMENTS OF EDEN

(continued)

"And they were both naked, the man and his wife. and the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And, unto Adam and his wife did the Lord God make COATS OF SKINS, AND CLOTHED THEM" (Gen. 2:25; 3:6-10,21).

What a blessed and thrilling revelation it has been to have the Spirit unfold the wonders of the Garden of Eden! All that now pertains, or shall ever pertain to man's relationship with God is there unveiled to the wondering eyes of our understanding. With the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden, having disobeyed the command of God, and partaking of the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, their eyes were opened, and they knew that they were naked and went and "hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the Garden" (Gen. 3:8). To this day Adam's race senses their shame, and cannot stand in the presence of God without fear, UNLESS CLOTHED UPON WITH THE GARMENTS OF OUR GOD. Gladly, therefore, do we freely acknowledge that "HE hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, HE hath covered me with the robe of righteousness" (Isa. 61:10). Realizing that all our covering garments must be of HIM, let us follow on to examine the character of these garments, and their operation in our lives.

"Unto Adam also and his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them" (Gen. 3:21). These coats were for clothing as well as to hide their shame. They were not their own; not of their own invention, but made by Jehovah from skin taken off some slain victim, and placed by His hand upon the man and woman who needed them. It may be observed here that while "coats" is in plural number, "skin" is in the original in the singular number, and not plural as in the King James Version, intended by the Spirit to make the type more significant – ONE victim supplying the whole cover! Also the Hebrew word translated "skin," is derived from a root, signifying "to be naked." The victim was made naked, stripped of its skin, that a covering might be provided for the naked ones.

We would be hard pressed to determine what kind of victim it was that provided this blessed covering, were it not that the Holy Spirit has shed precious light upon this wonder, revealing that CHRIST is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8), who verily was "a Lamb without blemish or spot, foreordained before the foundation of the world" (I Pet. 1:19-20). It is important to note that this Lamb was FOREORDAINED BEFORE the foundation of the world, but He was not SLAIN BEFORE the foundation of the world, as we so often hear the verse misquoted. Not one verse of scripture in the whole Bible declares that Christ was slain before the foundation of the world, but Peter does tell us by inspiration of the Holy Spirit that He was slain from the foundation of the world, and that certainly carries us back to Eden.

The skin with which God clothed Adam and Eve in Eden was the product of the life of God's precious Lamb. When they received these blessed garments upon them, they received something borne out of HIS LIFE, a very part of HIMSELF, the form and appearance of Himself generated by His life. More wonderful than news from a far country is the wonderful revelation with which He now floods our hearts, showing how He now clothes us with THE LAMB'S SKIN – the Lamb's own image, likeness, and identity.

STRANGE APPAREL

We must once and for all settle it in our hearts that in all the world there is NO OTHER COVERING than that which God has Himself provided in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are living in days of extreme peril. The feverish activity of all the religious systems of earth is immense, but it is not motivated by the Spirit of God. This is a day of every imaginable spiritual deception. One of these many deceptions is described by the prophet Zephaniah in these words, "And it shall come to pass in the day of the Lord's sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are CLOTHED WITH STRANGE APPAREL" (Zeph. 1:8). What do we mean by "strange apparel”? Strange apparel bespeaks a covering which is strange to the Lord, not of HIS SPIRIT, but of the flesh.

We hear much these days about having a "local group for a covering," whatever that is supposed to mean. Strange apparel, indeed! This so-called "truth" usually refers to a pseudo-spiritual submission to men calling themselves elders, or shepherds, who desire to lord it over a flock or other men's lives, and tell others what they can and cannot do. They esteem themselves spiritual enough to discern for everybody else what the will of the Lord is, though they themselves are missing the point entirely. My brother, my sister, hearken to the words of the prophet Isaiah: "Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, BUT NOT OF ME; and that cover with a covering, BUT NOT OF MY SPIRIT, that they may add sin to sin" (Isa. 30:1).

COVERING! By many this term is used to mean that each believer, being a "dumb sheep," needs the "covering" or protection of a group, or fold, presided over by men who are "elders" or "shepherds". Every one is in "submission" to someone higher in the pyramid, until the whole structure becomes one vast hierarchy with just a few men or one man at the top. Each "shepherd" of a local group is "in submission" to some other higher "shepherd" and all these are ultimately submitted to an "apostle" somewhere in the world. Some rule more strictly than others over their "dumb sheep," but in general the individual believer is taught that he cannot trust his own ability to hear from the Lord, or understand the Word of God, or order his own life, but must look to his earthly shepherd to hear from the Lord for him. In many cases one dare not change jobs, move from one place to another, marry, or make any other decision without checking it out with the elder or elders. The counsel of the elder or shepherd in many cases MUST be followed! Women have often been told that they must always obey their husband's wishes, even if he requires something illegal or immoral! Some are instructed as to how much of their means to "give" to the "body".

Now, not all who teach "the covering" are that extreme, but for many of them the half has not been told. There is a great emphasis on the word "covering" as being necessary for each member, for protection from harm and deception. If we do not have this "covering" of the local fellowship, or elders, or shepherds, then, we are told, we cannot discern the will of the Lord, cannot understand the Word of the Lord, will be overcome by our adversary, will fall into sin and delusion, or the present world system will destroy us. Some groups across the country will not receive your ministry unless you reveal to them who your "covering" is.

I am frankly appalled at the shallowness, gullibility, and lack of spiritual discernment among the people of God, for they give heed continually to the voice of such strangers, but the voice of the Good Shepherd they do not know. Why are the children of God so ready to blindly accept every subtle and plausible teaching that is thrust at them, without earnestly seeking the help of the blessed Spirit WHO ALONE HAS BEEN SENT TO GUIDE US INTO ALL TRUTH. Any preacher today who can come up with some fantastic notion can corral God's people under his authority, and the more fantastic the notion the more people run after it. I do not hesitate to tell you that I know of no greater deception that has entered in among the people of God during the past twenty years than the error of the "covering" teaching.

Where, I ask, WHERE DOES THE SCRIPTURE GIVE EVIDENCE THIS APPLICATION OF THE WORD "COVERING" IS LEGITIMATE? I know of no place! Where in the Bible, I ask, is the husband called a "covering" for his wife? Where in the whole Bible are elders called a "covering" for the Church? In what place is the Church spoken of as a "covering" for believers? Where is the chapter and verse to be found that refers to an apostle as a "covering" for other ministries, elders, or shepherds? Where is the rule that a ministry should not be accepted unless he has some group or eldership for a "covering"? Ah, my friend, you may search for these long and hard, you may burn the midnight oil, you may read and study until your eyes are bloodshot and vision blurred, until you fall into fitful sleep with your Bible and reference books still open on the desk before you, and I can assure you without fear of contradiction that your most diligent and persistent efforts shall prove fruitless and in vain! We are blind readers indeed if we do not readily see that the fact of the matter is that the "covering" doctrine is foreign to the Word of God! Strange apparel, indeed! You will have to tear the Bible all to pieces if you teach such doctrine.

The time has come when people no longer endure sound doctrine but are turned to fables. Many false Christs and false prophets and false forms of religion are going forth into all the world. Some time ago a dear sister stopped to visit with us for a few hours, and during the course of our conversation she asked a most momentous question. She wanted to know, in my opinion, what is the greatest danger present among God's people in this hour. I could only reply that the greatest danger I perceive today is that of God's saints being BROUGHT INTO BONDAGE TO MEN. And I will tell you frankly that there are a thousand and one different schemes and distortions of the Word of God continually being concocted by conniving and power-hungry preachers to bring the saints into bondage to men.

I speak the truth when I say it is high time for the people of God to begin to KNOW THE LORD FOR THEMSELVES. Let God's people come out from among them and begin to seek God, and walk with God, and know God, and search the scriptures for themselves, and GOD HIMSELF will be YOUR FATHER and you will sup with HIM and He with you. Let us ask the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and before we realize it we will find ourselves digging deep in the storehouse of God's treasures of wisdom and knowledge and sitting with Him at His banqueting table. He will spread a table before us in the presence of our enemies, He will lead us through green pastures; He will reveal to us fountains of living water flowing FROM WITHIN; He will cause us to rest beside cool, still streams; and HE, the Great Shepherd of the sheep will abide with us and our cup will overflow with the unspeakable riches of His grace and the wonder of His glorious and eternal reality.

Ray Prinzing has shared the following words of wisdom and truth: Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish (Heb. Are naked).”

Same Hebrew word is used when Aaron stripped the people of their ear-rings and jewels, and forged a golden calf. They were naked, not because they had given up their physical adornments of jewels, but because they were stripped of their faith and worship of the True God, and turned to the idolatry of a golden calf.

And so it is, when the Spirit of God does not quicken to us of HIS TRUTH to be our covering, we are left naked. For our vision, our revelation is our covering until it be brought into reality – then reality is our covering. And if we are GROWING IN HIM, it becomes obvious that we need a progressive revelation to cover our increased stature, lest on some point we reveal a nakedness. It is somewhat difficult to illustrate this, but we shall try. How often we have heard a person, preacher or otherwise, try to answer a question upon which they had no revelation. They stretched themselves out into a realm for which they had no covering, and simply exposed their nakedness in doing so. An honest gaze to another direction. But if I stutter and stammer and offer some scanty answer, it only serves to emphasize that I am naked on that point. Nor does it help to proceed into the depths of study with the natural man, to come up with some researched answer of the carnal mind. Only a revelation from above can clothe us, that the shame of our nakedness do not appear.

Because of the lack of revelation, and sending their state of nakedness, many people go looking for a covering, and when they see “a goodly Babylonish garment,” (Joshua 7:21), they take it for their clothing. Achan, having seen this garment, coveted it, and could not resist taking it to himself.

The temptation remains very strong to this day. Even when God has called you onward, out of the religious systems of man, to go on with Him – and you feel so stripped of everything, and suddenly see, in somebody else’s tent, a goodly Babylonish garment, we are tempted to take it for our own clothing. But you cannot live on a borrowed revelation. This confusion of doctrine, all of the strange teachings, is only a self-evident token that we have stolen something which does not belong to us, something which we did not receive from God. We find it a constant source of amazement the “garments” which people take up with. They have not received it in a personal revelation, quickening of life from the Spirit of God, but they saw it, heard it, took it from somebody that was parading around in it, showing themselves off as a super-spiritual, clothed with a doctrine that nobody else has. They draw attention to themselves. But because it is “a covering,” people will envy them, and try to cover themselves with the same vision. Later on, if you challenge them about that so-called truth, examine it in the Light of The Word, prove it to be a product of carnal man, it adds to their shame because with its removal they again stand naked.

Our soul, the bride to be adorned
In garments He doth choose,
Till we are fully covered o’er, and
There’s naught to shame or bruise.

Such nakedness the world has seen,
As ritual, form, and creed
Exposed the flesh – professions failed
To hide self-thought and deed.

Men seek for covering, but not
The Christ to be their Head.
In blindness reach they out to grasp
A Babylon’s robe instead.

But there are those who seek the Lord
For garments to His praise,
His righteousness, His truth, His law
To undergird their days.

Put on thy garments, O my soul,
The hour draweth near,
The naked shall not see His face
When He doth soon appear.

 – end quote

A dear brother has so aptly written in an article received just a few days ago: "Ephesians 5:8, Williams translation, 'For at one time you were darkness itself, but now IN UNION with the Lord you are light itself. You must live like children of light.' The word of emphasis right now surely must be upon the word 'UNION', for it is only by virtue of our union with Him that He in us is light so vitally needed. And it seems that all the negative forces in the world today are arrayed against this union, so that we would turn away from Him for the allure of the world. But while they promise light and freedom, 'of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage' (II Pet. 2:19). So subtle are the devious ways of the enemy, that if you cannot be enticed into outright sin and forsaking of the way of truth, then the adversary would cause you to become so religious, working a spiritual pride, or a false humility, or perhaps the allure of one to be your shepherd, or covering, or spiritual mentor, just anything to keep you from that vital, personal UNION with Christ as your HEAD, so that in ONENESS with Him you are lead by His Spirit. If ever we LIVE like children of the light, it will be because of our UNION WITH HIM WHO IS LIGHT."

I feel to share further from another precious brother to whom the Lord has given great wisdom in this hour: "God is always faithful to send forth true leaders to bring His people into new ways in God, when the time comes for His people to enter in. And God is faithfully doing this today. That is why it is so important that the ministry, as well as the people, 'hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches,' lest the ministry on the one hand assume a place of carnal authority and leadership that has no relation to what God is doing today, and lest the people on the other hand submit to such authority under the false notion that it is the highway to the Kingdom of God. The ministry has amply fulfilled its purpose on earth if it succeeds in declaring Him, speaking about Him, and leading others INTO DIRECT UNION WITH HIM. And having fulfilled this divine objective they should be willing to just 'fade away', as it were (as Moses and Elijah faded away on the Mount of Transfiguration), that the people of God might ‘HEAR HIM,’ and see ‘JESUS ONLY’. Moses and Elijah have an important part to play, and the ministry that is sent forth from the throne as God's gift to the Church has an important role to fulfill. But they are important for one purpose only, and that is TO BRING MEN INTO CLOSER UNION WITH CHRIST, WHERE THEY CAN HEAR HIS VOICE, AND SEE HIS FACE, AND HAVE PERSONAL AND INTIMATE COMMUNION WITH HIM WHO IS THE HEAD. As the government of Christ increase in the hearts of His people, then the ministers of Christ must decrease. As the heart of a true son begins to mature and develop, then the servant (for God's true ministers are ‘servants’) must be quick and anxious to loosen the ties of allegiance that somehow may have come into being as he sought to lead God's sons into maturity; and encourage them to walk ALONE WITH GOD. (Alone, I say, because no matter how many thousands there are who are walking with you and with God, your walk with God is intended to be very individual and unique). Ministry in the Holy Place must give way to SONSHIP in the HOLIEST OF ALL, as Faith gives way to Hope, as Hope gives way to Love, as the Blade gives way to the Ear, as the Ear gives way to the Full Corn in the Ear, as bondage in Egypt gives way to a walk of discipline in the Wilderness, as the Wilderness gives way to Fruitfulness in the Land of Canaan. In other words, the ministry has fulfilled its purpose if it has been successful in bringing the people of God into direct, intimate communion with the Lord!

"The purpose of all ministry that proceeds from the exalted Christ is to so minister the Truth that the sheep of God's pasture might come into direct, unhindered personal union with the Lord. They make disciples FOR CHRIST, BUT NONE FOR THEMSELVES. In still another analogy, God's ministers are gardeners: those who plant the seed, or those who water the growing plant, or those who reap the harvest. They must not meddle with the seed, or with the growing plant. GOD is the REAL HUSBANDMAN, and He it is that giveth ‘the increase.’ ‘So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither he that watereth; BUT GOD THAT GIVETH THE INCREASE’ (I Cor. 3:7)."

Ah, yes, we do need a "covering"! The Spirit has revealed this over and over again in numerous ways, through types, and shadows, and forms, and inspired utterances through all His holy prophets since the day Adam and Eve were clothed in Eden's lovely Garden. One cannot help but notice with what emphasis the Lord declares that HE ALONE is the true covering and the true coverer: "And I have put My words in thy mouth, and I HAVE COVERED THEE IN THE SHADOW OF MINE HAND, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art My people" (Isa. 51:16). "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, for HE HATH CLOTHED ME WITH THE GARMENTS OF SALVATION, HE HATH COVERED ME WITH THE ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Isa. 61:10). "HE SHALL COVER THEE WITH HIS FEATHERS, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler" (Ps. 91:4). When our Lord Jesus Christ came forth from the heart of God He stood in the temple and wept over Jerusalem as He reproached the people with these sorrowful words: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killeth the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathered her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Mat. 23:37).

God does use His people and His ministers to teach, and to minister one to another. We are always to esteem another better than ourselves. As we walk in the Spirit of Christ we will submit ourselves ONE TO ANOTHER, in honor preferring one another. The wife is to honor and respect her husband and the husband to love and cherish his wife. In the area of ministry, we are to know those who labor among us. We praise God for every ministry HE sets in the midst of the body of Christ, They are examples to the flock, and a source of encouragement, confirmation, and strength to all unto whom they are sent, we support and esteem them highly, and take heed when they admonish us in the Lord, but they are not, and never in a million years can they ever become, our "covering". Oh, child of God, I pray that the truth of these things will grip our heart! Let every saint of God RECOGNIZE THE LORD A-L-O-N-E AS THEIR COVERING!

Why, oh why, is it not possible for the Lord's people to see that any "covering" except THE LIFE OF THE LAMB is naught but withering fig-leaves which in due time fall away and fail to cover sufficiently, leaving the flesh exposed. To say that we need MEN, or ELDERS, or ANYONE AT ALL other than the Lord Jesus Christ to "cover" us will surely bring spiritual stagnation, or worse, spiritual death. Nothing will avail but the ANOINTING OF LIFE which comes alone from the Holy Spirit as we seek the Lord with all our hearts. The authority of men over men and over women is still being fought for very, very fiercely. Men simply will not let go of wanting to RULE OVER SOMEONE, for it is built right into the fleshly nature of the SELF. Yes, we need a covering, but it is not a group of men, however spiritual or well-intentioned they may be. After nearly fifty years of ministry among Spirit-filled saints I testify to you that never, in all these years, have I witnessed a quickening flow of HIS LIFE, never have I seen saints being truly conformed into the image of Christ, and never have I beheld sons coming to glory IN ANY GROUP where MEN OR ELDERS RULE OVER GOD'S PEOPLE OR BECOME A COVERING FOR THEM. They only bring horrible bondage and spiritual stagnation to themselves.

Invariably, in the history of God's dealings, the Lord's people have grown weary in pursuing the fullness of God for themselves, and as the vision grows dim before their drowsy eyes they become impatient in spirit and are willing to turn their walk with God into the hands of others whom they deem more capable than themselves to watch for their souls. This is what happened in the early days of Israel, after they had become settled in the land of their inheritance. God had been their Lord and King from the time He called them out of bondage, and drew them apart into a special relationship with Himself. But now in the time of Samuel they began to grow weary with it all, and desired a king, like the nations about them. How this grieved the heart of God! All along, and right from the beginning, their very existence as a nation was by reason of the fact that God longed for an inheritance of His own in a people that were separate from other people, and very much UNLIKE the nations. He desired to lead them, protect them, feed them, teach them, rule over them, bringing them into union with Himself, to walk in His truth, in His ways, in His holiness, in His life, clothed upon with the indescribable majesty of Himself – ONE WITH HIM in all things. "Make us a king!" they demanded of Samuel, "someone to go out before us, and to fight our battles for us." Pursuing the vision of God, and seeking out His will for our lives has become burdensome to many people. "Give us a leader," they clamour, "someone who will tell us what we are supposed to do, someone who will preach to us, study for us, pray for us, prophesy to us, find the will of God for us, marry us, bury us."

God will let them have it! If you want a covering other than Christ, God will let you have it. If you want men to rule over you, rather than learning to walk in a personal relationship with the Lord in the Spirit, you will get it! There are many around who would just love to RULE YOU! I can direct you to quite a number who would be delighted to become your COVERING! "Jonestown," with all its horrible extreme of the dominating authority of man, should be a warning example to all Christians who give blind obedience to their leaders or who are looking to man as their spiritual authority, instead of looking to the CHRIST WITHIN as the hope of glory. Any counsel or advice or supposed "Word of the Lord" through man MUST BE CONFIRMED TO OUR HEARTS before we accept it! If someone – even one you revere as a prophet – tells you that God wants you to do this or that conceiving an area wherein you (not that someone) have the RESPONSIBILITY for the action and its outcome, then politely listen, but do NOT do what they say. Wait for God to confirm the order through someone else and, more importantly, within your own heart and spirit. If there is no witness – no knowing within yourself – forget it!

"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage, for, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another" (Gal. 5:1,13). "These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth IN YOU, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him" (I Jn. 2:26-27). Oh, yes! The enemy loves it if he can make us abide to hear from God for ourselves! Afraid to trust the CHRIST WITHIN! But, "My sheep HEAR MY VOICE (not the voice of hirelings) and I know them, and they follow ME. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall ANY MAN pluck them out of MY HAND. My Father, which gave them Me, is GREATER THAN ALL; and NO MAN is able to pluck them OUT OF MY FATHER'S HAND" (Jn. 10:27-30). I rejoice with exceeding great joy and my soul shouts unending hallelujahs, for I have found THE COVERING OF LIFE! His name is Jesus Christ, Eden's beloved Lamb, and I tell you today that HE A-L-O-N-E IS MY COVERING. I shall never seek another.

THE GARMENTS OF EXPRESSION

When Christ becomes our covering, Christ as the embodiment of God is wrought into us that we may know and experience HIM as life and as our all-in-all. The Lord must open our eyes and quicken our understanding to know these things. We cannot merely find a "church" pattern in the book of Acts, get a group of saints together, set up elders and deacons, call this the "church," and imagine God will use this contrivance to bring us into the glorious hope of sonship. First of all, this is not the church; this is an imitation of the church.

If we ask someone how he came into being and became such a tall, dark, and handsome fellow, he will tell us, "I was begotten by my father, born of my mother, I have eaten a lot of nourishing food, and I have grown up to such a height." We can manufacture a doll or a statue, but there is no way for us to manufacture a man. The church is a REAL MAN, the BODY OF THE CHRIST; no one can make a church! It must be something of new birth in the spirit and growth of life in Christ. I find that I must say again and again: Brethren, keep hands off! We should not try to form or organize or structure anything. In so many places during the past many years I have pleaded in this way, yet not many saints realize what I mean. They say. "Well, if we do not form a church, if we do not organize anything, what should we do?" We should do one thing: seek Christ, eat Christ, drink Christ, think Christ, speak Christ, sleep Christ, and live Christ! We must be swallowed up by Christ. We think we are only feeding on Him, and enjoying Him, but actually the more we feed on Him, and abide in Him, the more we are being swallowed up by Him! The life of a son of God cannot be formulated and organized, but must be born of Christ in the spirit, it must be the living body of Christ grown up with the life of Christ. Then, as a result, it will spontaneously assume a certain form, the form of THE SON OF GOD, and HE shall be seen! You do not organize the life of the Son of God anymore than you can organize the life of a pumpkin. The gardener knows that if he just plants it, waters it, and weeds the soil, somehow he discovers that the pumpkin will take on beautiful form and structure without him tampering with it in any way. Yes, the gardener has his part to play, but the whole process is governed by THE LAW OF LIFE IN THE SEED, and the pumpkin is formed from the nutrients it receives from where its roots dwell, not from the gardener.

For those apprehended to be the firstfruits unto God, being conformed to the image of Christ, no man can become their covering. If man is our covering, we will become the EXPRESSION OF MAN. Only Christ can be our covering, for every son of God must be only the expression of Christ Himself. I would point out here that all clothing fulfills three objectives for the wearer. First, the clothing covers and hides the flesh; second, it protects from the elements of sun, wind, cold, etc; third, clothing is a person's expression. What you wear on the outside expresses your personality and inner state of being. Many people spend a great deal of money, and select with great care each item in their wardrobe, paying meticulous attention to such matters as color, style, fit etc., with the one object of projecting their person in the most favorable or flattering light. One can appear either wealthy, poor, dignified, intellectual, athletic, beautiful, discriminating, business-like, seductive, or unimposing merely by the choice of clothing they put on.

Ah, Christ is to be not only our covering and our protection, but also OUR EXPRESSION! This means that if we do not have Christ as our expression, if His attributes are not manifested out of our lives, we do not have His protection or His covering. In some places it seems that the Lord's people are not covered by Christ, but rather by some kind of doctrine, for the doctrine becomes their expression. In other places the covering is a manifestation of certain gifts or manifestations – the gifts have become the expression. In other places the covering is the ministry, and the leaders impart their own spirit to the people, themselves becoming the expression, as the younger ones take on even the physical mannerisms and talk, act, teach, sing, clap, and prophesy just like their mentors! Groups of believers are either under the covering of teachings, under the covering of gifts, or under the covering of ministers – not under the covering of Christ! But the teachings and gifts and ministries can never cover our flesh, or protect us, or produce the expression of CHRIST. No doctrines, no gifts, no men are adequate to cover a single believer! Only Christ must be exalted, only Christ must be EXPRESSED AS THE CLOTHING THAT ADORNS OUR LIVES! Little wonder the scripture exhorts, "PUT YE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof" (Rom. 13:14). This is Christ as the expression of our lives.

This is a wonderful truth. It is not a matter of doctrines, organizations, New Testament Church structures, how the chairs are arranged, whether or not you have a pulpit, meetings, gifts, elderships, methods, works, techniques, rules, fellowships, or external observances, but it is CHRIST WROUGHT INTO MEN'S LIVES, and they now seek only Christ, exalt Christ, and put on Christ AS THEIR EXPRESSION. God's own precious Lamb "slain from the foundation of the world" wonderfully provides that which is of Himself, borne out of His life, as the covering for His "many brethren" – a Christ within who is full of divine comeliness, and a Christ without who bears the form, likeness, and image of the Father.

Christ becomes our expression as we enter into vital union with HIM. Through our union with Him we are able to put off the natural man and put on His attributes. The one who preaches and teaches, but does not partake of what he gives forth; who testifies to one thing and living another, has little or no influence when he attempts to share the reality of Christ. None judge our relationship with God by our knowledge of the Bible, or doctrines, or our profession and testimonies. The Christ-life must be working out in our lives, and manifested in our daily walk in the home and before those who see us the most.

When Jesus came to earth, it was that He might express the Father, that He might again show forth in its true light and beauty that glory which sin had so entirely hid from man. Man himself had been created in the image of God, that God might lay His glory upon him, to be shown forth in him – that God might be expressed in him. The Holy Ghost says, "Man is the image and glory of God" (I Cor. 11:7). Jesus came to restore man to his high destiny: He laid aside the glory which He had with the Father, and came in our weakness and humiliation, that He might teach us how to express the Father in the earth realm. And so it will be with all the holy sons of God. If here on earth we have given ourselves to have God's glory take possession of us, and God's holiness and love to dwell and shine in us, then our human nature with all our faculties, created in the likeness of God, shall have poured into and transfused through it, in a way that passes all conception, the purity and holiness and the life, the very brightness of the glory of God.

"I shall be satisfied when I awake with THY LIKENESS," so the Psalmist sung of old. Nothing can satisfy the soul but God's image, because for that it was created. Blessed are they who here long for it with an insatiable hunger; they shall be filled. This, the very likeness of God, this will be the glory, streaming down on them from God Himself, streaming through their whole being, streaming out from them through the universe! "When Christ who is our life shall be manifested, we also shall be manifested with Him in glory" (Col. 3:4). Standing between two eternities, the eternal purpose in which we were predestined to be conformed to the image of the first-born Son, and the eternal realization of that purpose when we shall be like Him in His glory, we hear the voice from every side: Oh ye image bearers of God! on the way to share the glory of God and of Christ! put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ! and be ye clothed with ALL HE IS that HE may be the expression of your life!

In the light of such ineffable glory, can it not be clearly seen that the "covering" teaching so revered by the Charismatic movement today (and, I regret to say, by some "Sonship" groups as well) is indeed "a bed shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and a COVERING NARROWER than that he can wrap himself in it" (Isa. 28:20), insufficient to cover those who trust in it or to carry them on into the fullness of God. It may be, dear child of God, that you do not like the things I write in this article, but I am constrained by the Spirit of God to state emphatically that I believe all such teachings to be heresy and a complete distortion of truth. It is a lie that "you must have a group or a ministry" as your covering! It is more than a lie, it is a monstrous blasphemy, men usurping the place that both the scriptures and the Spirit of God have GIVEN ALONE TO CHRIST.

It is interesting to note that Joseph had a coat of many colors. The word “colors” in the Bible record is actually a word that means “pieces.” Each piece could easily have been of a different color too, as in a patchwork quilt, but the real point is that several pieces were sewed together to make him a coat. So also God imparts to us truth upon truth and experience upon experience, and each has its own hue or color, but it all blends together into one identity in God. The churches of Babylon are generally each of one or two colors – one emphasizes a mode or formula of baptism, another the experience of salvation, another the baptism in the Spirit, another a particular doctrine, another some other experience, and each harps away on their one area of truth or experience. But the sons of God will, like Joseph, be clothed in a coat of many colors – all the truths and experiences in God blended together into the full and complete expression of the Christ. We need to have the truth and reality of God imparted to and inworked in us, line upon line, precept upon precept, until we have been made partakers of (His fullness).

It is the will of God that we should look only to Him and know that ALL OUR COVERINGS ARE OF HIM. I do not mean that we should not love and appreciate our brethren, or that we should not receive from those whom the Lord sets to minister to us along our journey, but we must never fix our confidence or hope upon men lest we be ashamed. We must not pin our admiration upon men, who have been sustained, but upon God, who sustained them. Neither are we admire men who have gotten the victory, but God, who gave them the victory. We must never pay homage to men who have accomplished great works, but God, who wrought through them. There exists a great cloud of witnesses who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, closed the mouths of lions, quenched the power of raging fire, escaped the devourings of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed mighty and resistless in battle, routing alien hosts; women received their dead raised to life again, others suffered the trial of mocking and scourging, and even chains of imprisonment; they were stoned, were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they went about wrapped in the skins of sheep and goats, utterly destitute, oppressed, cruelly treated, men of whom the world was not worthy. But for all the glory of their mighty works and wonderful victory we are instructed to build neither upon their personal faith nor upon themselves. All the teaching of scripture instructs us to SEEK AFTER THE GOD WHO HELPED AND SUSTAINED THEM and who is faithful to all who put their trust in HIM. Who among us can refrain from rejoicing that some have done mighty things and have gained the victory? But they would not have gained it had they been left to their own resources! Every man's sufficiency IS OF THE LORD. It is HE who is our strength, our covering, our glory, our protection, and our exceeding great reward. Let us not thereof rejoice in any MAN who has found favor with God, but in God, WHO HAS FAVORED HIM.

THE GARMENTS OF PROTECTION

Again, let us go back to the Garden we have been studying, and a further beautiful lesson will come to our souls. When the Lord God thrust our erring parents forth from the Garden they had marred, although the earthly punishment for their sin still had to be endured, of His loving mercy He clad Adam and Eve in garments of His own selection which should be to them a shield from the evil and hostile world they now had to enter. The garden fences of Eden were for them no more, but each was to be guided within a protecting sanctuary of the Lord’s providing. “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” How rich is this verse in Kingdom truths! Thank God for this protective covering that avails in every circumstance and through all ages. And how vitally significant for this climatic hour in which we stand at the overlapping of the ages.

Once the impending trouble and judgment breaks in terrifying fury upon the nations, those held captive by men, those whose trust is in men who rule over them, those who are content to have their lives ordered by others, failing to enter into vital union with the Lord for themselves; those who are comfortable in their established patterns of church life and ritual, and those who fill the pews of the beautiful buildings of the so-called churches – these will be the first to fall before the overflowing scourge. Only those who do not bear any outward show but have the heavenly beauty and divine power of Christ upon them will endure to the end and come through the valley safely, to the amazement not only of the ungodly, but the religious as well. Clothed upon with the Spirit and Power of Christ they shall be untouched by the evil around them.

God's word is sure, His promise is clear, and we shall take courage and believe what He has spoken. Yes, HE is our covering, our expression, AND OUR PROTECTION. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust. Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. BECAUSE THOU HAST MADE THE LORD, WHICH IS MY REFUGE, EVEN THE MOST HIGH, THY HABITATION" (Ps. 91:1-9). Nothing can damage or overcome the Sons of the Most High covered with such a Christ!

The Spirit bids me share a vision given to a brother on the East Coast of the United States. He relates the following experience:

"After spending a period of time in prayer in the Spirit, before daylight, I dropped off to sleep between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m. While sleeping, I was given a dream which contained a vision. I shall relate this, with the interpretation which God spoke to me after the dream. It was a time of rest and peace in the home. The sun shone brightly and happiness prevailed. Sitting in the room, looking outside at the glory of God's nature, I suddenly saw a gross, dark cloud appear on the horizon. This was not just a normal dark cloud; its very "blackness" filled me with a terrible apprehension as I looked upon it. Then to my amazement, it had no sooner appeared on the horizon, than it literally filled the sky in all directions. The rapidity with which it moved caused me great alarm, for with its coming, came a sound of a deafening noise that continued as it passed over the earth. The noise was like a thundering, guttural, whistling roar, louder than any fleet of bombers I ever heard while in the Air Force.

"As the cloud came toward me, approaching with the speed of a tornado, I became aware of something other than the increasing roar of noise as it approached. As it rapidly spread over the land, I saw tiny lights, like dancing candle flames appearing to be folded into the cloud as it sped along. The lights seemed more numerous than the darkness could contain, but the cloud was not lightened by these millions of little lights it carried with it.

"I ran out to watch its progress, for I was drawn to it by a terrible fascination. As the darkness swept past me, suddenly shimmering waves of "Light" came before me, seeming to separate me from the cloud – then it cleared and I could see clearly. Instantly came the conscious thought: 'This is a vision from the Lord: I must watch closely!' As the shimmering waves of "Light" cleared, I saw the blackness sweeping past with jet-pane velocity, yet I was neither afraid of its noise or appearance. Suddenly, the lights changed and took form. They became numbers and letters of the alphabet. They did not count or spell anything, but literally millions of them streamed by in the cloud so rapidly that I could only distinguish what they were.

"Then the sounds of explosions, rending of metal, whining of engines out of control ended in a great cloud of white-looking smoke that billowed into the air. I saw one very fat-bodied plane falling crazily to the earth, and when the smoke cleared away, the earth was littered with crumpled aircraft and debris of all sorts. I looked on in agony, sickened by the destruction, yet in a way, I was strangely unmoved. Then I noticed the insignia on the planes was that of our beloved nation!

"Again the shimmering waves of light cut off the sight of the destruction, and I woke with a start. As I pondered these things greatly, the Word of the Lord came to me saying, 'My child, the dark cloud you beheld is the wrath of God in judgment. The lights, as numbers and letters it bore along with its passing, are peoples of innumerable number, and many languages which it shall sweep before it, and carry to destruction. The speed with which it came and went upon a day of sunlight and rest is to show you how unexpected and rapid this judgment shall be. The shimmering Light which came between you and the cloud of darkness is THE GLORY OF MY PRESENCE! The lack of fear you had for yourself is to show you the condition of those WHO HAVE DWELT IN THE SECRET PLACE OF THE MOST HIGH! The planes you saw are those of America, that you might know to warn My people: JUDGMENT SHALL ALSO FALL HERE!

"'My son, think no longer upon these things, but arise, and write that you forget not! Satan would remove these things from you with doubtful disputations. Rise and write! For you must warn My people that those filled with the confidence of the flesh, and assurance of well-being shall suffer in the flesh, even as they have not sought to mortify the deeds of the flesh with the power of My Spirit! Verily I say unto you, no flesh shall glory in My sight! Thus saith the Lord: The evil day shall come upon many unawares, BUT THE OBEDIENT CHILDREN OF THE MOST HIGH SHALL ABIDE UNDER THE SHADOW OF THE ALMIGHTY."

It would be presumptuous to add anything to this vision, or seek to explain the wrath it foretells, so soon to be accomplished upon the world and our own beloved land. Nationally we have forsaken the God in whose hand is our breath to live instead after the baseness of the god of this age. In these troublous times let us lay aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and let us meditate deeply upon these significant and portentous words of the vision: MY CHILD, THE LACK OF FEAR YOU HAD FOR YOURSELF IS TO SHOW YOU THE CONDITION OF THOSE WHO HAVE DWELT IN THE SECRET PLACE OF THE MOST HIGH. THE OBEDIENT CHILDREN OF THE MOST HIGH SHALL ABIDE UNDER THE SHADOW OF THE ALMIGHTY.

There has been a cleft made in the Rock, there is a secret place in the bosom of our Saviour, for there was a rent made in His side making possible the engrafting of us all. The Spirit would reveal in the depths of our consciousness at what untold cost this place was provided for us in the cleft of the Rock of ages. What suffering and ignominy were His, as through the veil, that is to say His flesh, He opened to us a new and living way into the Holiest of all; into those eternal abiding places in the cleft of the Rock. When He cried: "It is finished!" was the Rock rent; then were those hiding-places opened up, in which we are invited to hide away from the enemy. People who see us do not know that we are hiding away in the cleft of the Rock. They only see a heavenly, supernatural calm, which abides through every storm of life; but God knows we are hiding away in the Rock. As we abide in Christ, in union with Him, truly ONE WITH HIM, we are as much hidden away as God can hide us. Those about us see our bodies walking around on earth; but they do not know that we, who live in these frail tents, are so hidden away that no man or devil can find or touch us!

If we take this place and there abide, at every step we shall prove that Yahweh is a wall of fire around us that He is the glory within. It is here that the sons of God find security from every foe and every storm. Though the storms are fierce, they cannot dismay those sons who abide IN HIM. Though the wind blows and the hurricane sweeps down upon their hiding place, they cannot come near them. In this secret place they do not fear though a host encamps against them, their hearts are confident. Though the earth do change, no fear comes nigh them. The mountains may be shaken into the depths of the seas, "howbeit the firm foundation of God standeth, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are His!" Though the waters of the sea roar and are troubled, their hearts are fixed, trusting in God; though the mountains tremble with the swelling thereof, they have set the Lord always before them, because He is at their right hand, they shall not be moved. Oh precious cleft, Oh wondrous secret place! which can only be found when new vision is given by the Holy Spirit! Oh blessed hiding-place where no one but God is with us, and no eye but His beholds us if we perfectly abide there! What strength and power, what refreshing and holy swiftness are to those who ever abide in the cleft of the Rock which our elder Brother has opened up for us through the veil!

"He shall cover us with His feathers." This word "feathers" in the Hebrew is ebrah and means - a wing, from its strength. He shall give us the covering of HIS STRENGTH, and under His wings we will trust. Now here we have a different word for "wings" in the Hebrew, it is kanaph meaning – a wing, as covering and protecting. Hidden in the Most High, in the secret place, we have both STRENGTH and complete PROTECTION. Glory!

Desperate days are upon the world and, by the time this Study is read, there will be ever increasing sorrow. There is only one place of true safety. It is not among the blinding traditions of Babylon, waiting for a rapture to whisk us away to a celestial Disneyland in the sky. Neither is it under the so-called protective "covering" of men, elderships, shepherds or fellowships. It is not in a bomb shelter, nor is it in the dens and caves of the earth. It is not in some wilderness retreat, nor is it in some fancied "safe area" blessed with advantageous air-currents and kissed by favorable winds. It is in the SECRET PLACE of the Most High. It is where saints abide under the shadow of the Almighty. There in that holy habitation, covered with that divine garment, you can abide safely. Learn to dwell in the secret place. Find time to wait on the Lord. Place the Word of God before you as you wait before Him. Let Him speak to your heart and spirit, let him unfold His mysteries to you. Abide there until you sense His overshadowing power and know the blessing of His abiding confidence within yourself. Should the glory we anticipate tarry longer, the darkness around us will greatly increase as evil men and seducers, already thick about us, increase more and more. "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ!"

 


 Chapter 27

THE GARMENTS OF EDEN

(continued)

"And they were both naked, the man and his wife. and the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And, unto Adam and his wife did the Lord God make COATS OF SKINS, AND CLOTHED THEM" (Gen. 2:25; 3:6-10,21).

"Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will CLOTHE THEE WITH A CHANGE OF RAIMENT. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and CLOTHED HIM WITH GARMENTS" (Zech. 3:3-5).

If you in spirit will stand "as in the beginning" with your all-wise heavenly Father, you will behold the unfolding of an infinite purpose. You will see the unveiling of God's divine intention in Eden's lovely Garden. Your heart will throb with unspeakable joy as you hear the words, "Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them." "Garments" is one of the most interesting words to be found in use as a Semitic symbol in scripture. Since the greater part of part of the writings of most of the Old Testament prophets is couched in figurative language abounding with Hebrew sign-words, it is not surprising that an adaptable term like "garments" or "coats" should find wide usage as a figure of speech. When the prophet sings by the Spirit: "The Lord God hath covered me with the GARMENTS of salvation," with the parallel phrase, "He hath covered me with a ROBE of righteousness," it is obvious that he is not speaking literally of a physical "garment" or "robe" to be worn upon the physical body. It is interesting, however, that the human body itself, and the glorified body of the resurrection, are both referred to as "clothing" which prevent our spirits from being found "naked". "For in this (body) we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life." (II Cor. 5:2-4).

THE TWO TABERNACLES

In the vast storehouse of truth embraced by the holy scriptures no part nor phase thereof is in any way more outstanding or clear than the truth that man was designed by his Creator to possess a body. Man is not designed to have his spirit or soul flit about through eternity without a body. The apostle Paul echoes the sense of revulsion found in the heart of every man at the thought of being found "naked" or disembodied upon physical death. Speaking of the earthly residence of the tabernacle of flesh, he writes, "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now He that hath wrought us FOR THIS SELFSAME THING is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit" (II Cor. 5:1-5).

The desire of the man who is begotten of God, whose spirit is a living body born from above, is that he should be clothed with a body at all times, and the apostle assures us that "He that hath wrought us for this very thing IS GOD." The awful doctrine of one's "soul" or "spirit," with its disembodiment personality spending eternity "naked" is unbearable. The cry of the spirit is: "Not that we should be UNCLOTHED, but CLOTHED UPON!" Man was designed by God to possess a body for all eternity – and he shall. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead assures this.

In the verses we have quoted Paul speaks of the human body as a "tabernacle" or "tent" or "clothing" to be discarded and laid aside. In I Cor. 6:19 the apostle again refers to the body as a "tabernacle" or "temple," saying, "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God?" Peter, also, in making reference to his imminent death described that event in this manner: "Knowing that shortly I must put off this MY TABERNACLE" (II Pet. 1:14). Hear now what Paul has to say concerning that glorious SPIRITUAL BODY which supersedes this mortal body of flesh and blood: "We have a BUILDING OF GOD, AN HOUSE not made with hands, for in this (the earthly) we groan. desiring to be CLOTHED UPON WITH OUR HOUSE which is from heaven."

In a manner peculiar to God all truth is clothed in mystery. The greater and more important the truth the greater the mystery it unfolds. Even in the natural realm the human body is undoubtedly among the most profound mysteries of the universe. Its hidden secrets are so great that I know not how any doctor or scientist could ponder its composition and intricate complexities and physiological marvels and yet fail to see the master mind of an omniscient Creator. But in the Scripture above we see that the Spirit of the Creator declares that not only is there this PHYSICAL BODY of the earth realm, but there is also the SPRITUAL BODY of the heavenly realm. Furthermore, He depicts both the physical and spiritual bodies not only as garments with which we are clothed, but as TABERNACLES in which we dwell – and in which He dwells.

As we meditate upon the wonderful truth of these TWO BODIES, these TWO GARMENTS, these TWO TABERNACLES, the natural and the spiritual, the earthly and the heavenly, I would draw your attention to the blessed significance of the TWO TABERNACLES spoken of in the book of Hebrews. "Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly (earthly) sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All. Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle (the Holiest Place), accomplishing the service of God. But into the second (the Holiest of All) went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: the Holy Ghost this signifying that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, BY A GREATER AND MORE PERFECT TABERNACLE, NOT MADE WITH HANDS, that is to say, NOT OF THIS BUILDING. for Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into HEAVEN ITSELF, now to appear in the presence of God for us" (Heb. 9:1-3, 6-8, 11,24).

The truth is conveyed to us in these verses is briefly summed up as follows: (1) there were TWO TABERNACLES in the wilderness: the Holy Place and the Holiest of All (2) the veil between these two tabernacles signified that the way into the second, the Holiest of All, was not yet manifest, while the first tabernacle was still standing (3) Christ is a priest of good things to come by a GREATER AND MORE PERFECT TABERNACLE, not of the physical creation (4) this greater tabernacle is HEAVEN ITSELF, or that which is spiritual and heavenly as contrasted with that which is physical and earthly.

The one thing the writer wishes to direct our attention to is the difference and the relation between the two compartments into which the tabernacle was divided, and the meaning of the veil that separated them. The inner sanctuary was called the Holiest of All, or, as it is in Hebrew, the Holiness of Holiness. It was the highest embodiment there could be of holiness; it was the place where God Most Holy dwelt. His holy presence and power and life filled it. No man might enter there on pain of death but the high priest, and even he only once a year. In the Holy Place, separated from the Most Holy by a heavy veil, the priests entered and served. The truths embodied in the house thus made after a heavenly pattern were very simple. The two tabernacles are the symbols of two stages of life, two planes of experiencing God. The epistle teaches us that Christ knew this difference in His own life experience, and, entering into and opening up the higher one for us, passed through the lower. He entered into the Holiest THROUGH THE GREATER AND MORE PERFECT TABERNACLE, through the experience of that spiritual reality of which the tabernacle was a shadow. The Holiest is God's immediate presence and glory, the state of being in which God is all that He is without mixture, limitation, or hindrance, whereas the Holy Place is a drawing near to God with a veil between. The flesh, body and soul, man's fallen nature in its weakness and its exposure to all the consequences of sin, IS THE VEIL. Christ has dedicated for us a new and living way THROUGH THE VEIL, THAT IS TO SAY, HIS FLESH. When He came in the likeness of sinful flesh, as man, that life in the flesh, with its humanity and its liability to temptation, and its weakness, and its possibility of suffering and death, with its life of faith and prayer and tears, with its need of learning obedience and being made perfect, WAS THE HOLY PLACE, the first tabernacle, through which He had to pass to have the veil rent in His death, so to enter in and appear directly before God with no separation or limitation or hindrance.

Christ came down in human form, took upon Him the form of sinful flesh, took upon Him humanity, God dwelling Himself within the limitation of a human body, THIS IS THE REALM OF THE FIRST TABERNACLE, the Holy Place. He became obedient unto death, and by death HE PASSED THROUGH THE FIRST TABERNACLE, as a spiritual experience in reality. Because flesh and blood CANNOT ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD (the Most Holy Place), it was necessary that Jesus enter by a "greater and more perfect tabernacle" – a resurrected, glorified, heavenly body. That ministry, however, could not be made manifest "while as the first tabernacle (flesh and blood body) was yet standing." Yes, Jesus passed from the Holy Place of His sanctified human body and nature into the Most Holy Place of His glorified body. When He died the veil was rent in twain; the way was opened up into the Holiest. Then through His resurrection and ascension He entered Himself into the SECOND AND GREATER TABERNACLE, not of this physical creation.

When our Lord Jesus Christ died, Roman soldiers cast lots for His vesture and one of them took away the seamless robe in which He had walked and taught and healed. His naked, mortal body was then wrapped in linen cloths, which the Bible speaks of as grave clothes, and then wrapped in cloth He was laid away in the tomb. But wonder of wonders, when upon the glorious resurrection morning Peter and John went into the tomb, they found not the body of the Lord Jesus, but the grave clothes, His only covering, were found lying in the exact position He had lain while in the state of death, just as though our Lord had vanished out of them, for that is exactly what He did. Special mention is made by John that the grave clothes lay exactly as though the Christ were still in them, yet He had disappeared out of them. The grave clothes represent the body of death, the first tabernacle, the earthly house – and this one fact alone speaks the truth more eloquently than the blast of a trumpet. Jesus laid aside, slipped out of, and forever passed beyond the mortal realm into His building of God, the house not made with hands, eternal and incorruptible and immortal in the realm of the Spirit – the spiritual body.

In order to grasp fully what the Spirit would now convey to our hearts, we must realize that the Holiest of All does not pertain to anything in this earth realm. It is, rather, clearly identified as the HEAVENLY REALM, for the writer to the Hebrews said of it: ". we have a great high priest that is passed INTO THE HEAVENS (Holiest of All)" (Heb. 4:14). Again he says, "We have such an high priest who is set on the right hand of the Majesty IN THE HEAVENS" (Heb. 8:1). It is further emphasized in Heb. 9:24 where we read, "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, BUT INTO HEAVEN ITSELF now to appear in the presence of God for us." The Holiest of All, then, is the high and holy realm of the SPIRIT, the pure and incorruptible realm of GOD HIMSELF, and it, therefore, can only be entered BY THAT WHICH IS SPIRIT. Let every man know that heaven is not a geographical or astral location with their limitations, but a STATE OF LIFE, that condition of spiritual existence INTO WHICH CHRIST ENTERED when He arose from the dead and ascended into the eternal and incorruptible and realm of the Father. Heaven itself, the Holiest of All, the plane of incorruptible and divine life, beyond the veil, without mixture, limitation, or hindrance, is now the sphere in which Christ exercises His heavenly ministry, after the order of Melchizedek and after the power of an endless life!

Should you find difficulty in perceiving this necessary point of truth, may I direct your attention to a most enlightening statement by the apostle Paul in I Cor. 15:39-44: "All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another, there is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. The mystery revealed here is that ALL FLESH IS NOT THE SAME FLESH, there are different kinds of flesh, there is a flesh that is of the earth (terrestrial bodies) and there is a flesh that is of heaven (celestial bodies). There is a BODY that belongs to the soul (natural – Gr.: "soul body") and there is a BODY that belongs to the spirit (spiritual body). Ah , dear ones, all flesh is not the same flesh! And there are bodies that are not earthly or physical! Poor limited mortals, we are inclined to imagine that only physical beings have bodies! Nonsense, my brother! "There are BODIES CELESTIAL."

A clear distinction is drawn for us by the Holy Spirit between the two types of flesh. Of that flesh which is born of the earth, Paul had this to say, "For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption: but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting" (Gal. 6:8). It was also of this flesh that he wrote when he penned these words: "If ye live after the flesh ye shall die" (Rom. 8:13), and again, "They that are in the flesh cannot please God" (Rom. 8:8). But, child of God, have you considered that different, greater, and transcendent FLESH of which Christ spoke when He declared, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. I am that bread of life. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. and the bread that I will give IS MY FLESH, which I will give for the life of the world. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye EAT THE FLESH OF THE SON OF MAN, and DRINK HIS BLOOD, ye have no life in you. He that eateth MY FLESH, and drinketh MY BLOOD, dwelleth in Me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent Me, and I LIVE BY THE FATHER: so he that eateth Me, shall live by Me" (Jn. 6:32-57).

As we praise this thought of the two kinds of flesh I should mention my deep indebtedness to my friend and sister in Christ, Connie Asbill, for the role she played in sharing these powerful concepts with me. A portion of what I shall share along this line is gleaned from her writings and personal correspondence with her over the years.

THE FLESH OF THE SON OF GOD

Our little minds are far too limited to grasp heavenly realities. We are limited in our thinking to earthly interpretations and understanding. We can only conceive of the "flesh" of the animal kingdom, and of fish and fowl and creeping things of earth. But it should not seem strange to discover that all flesh is not the same flesh and that there are bodies terrestrial AND bodies celestial. The flesh of the Son of God is not that flesh upon the bones of Jesus as He walked the earth for thirty-three and a half years. It is not that flesh born of Mary, which suffered hunger, weariness, weakness, and death. That human flesh was just that: HUMAN flesh. Human flesh is DEAD FLESH, for the Holy Spirit calls our human bodies "mortal (dying) bodies." That which is dying can only produce that which is dying. Adamic flesh is doomed from the moment it is conceived in the womb, and in that flesh can be found no hope whatever of eternal life. The law of creation is that everything produces "after its kind" (Gen. 1:11-12, 21-24). It can never be, then, that Jesus was offering us that Adamic flesh in which He was clothed, for that flesh is corruptible, dying from the day of its birth. Only that which is ALIVE can produce life, and Jesus said of Himself, "I am the LIVING BREAD which CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN," and again, "He that eateth MY FLESH, shall live." The flesh of which Jesus spoke is an incorruptible flesh, yea, a celestial flesh, and our Lord promises that those who come unto Him and eat of THIS FLESH will have ETERNAL LIFE.

My sincere prayer to God is that He may give my readers eyes to see and hearts to understand this simple but sublime truth: ALL FLESH IS NOT THE SAME FLESH! ALL BODIES ARE NOT TERRESTRIAL BODIES! There is a flesh that is corruptible and there is a flesh that is incorruptible. There is a flesh that is a shame and there is a flesh that is a glory. There is a flesh which if a man eats of it, brings death. But blessed be the name of the Lord! there is a flesh that, if a man eats thereof, brings ETERNAL LIFE. "If you live after the flesh (earthly), ye shall die" (Rom. 8:13). But Jesus declared, "Whoso eateth MY FLESH, hath eternal life" (Jn. 6:54). When these words fell upon the unspiritual ears of the disciples they were stunned, confused. "This is a hard saying," they said. "Who can hear it?" Indeed, two millenniums after these words were first uttered we may ask ourselves, "Who CAN hear it?" Only those whose ears have been quickened by the living Christ can hear it! "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." In these momentous days at the end of the age may God grant us that "hearing ear" that will bring us to the table that is set in the Kingdom of God, upon which is offered the flesh and the blood of Jesus Christ whereby the man who eats may live forever!

When Jesus spoke of this table He had just performed the miracle whereby He fed five thousand men with nothing more than five barley loaves and two small fishes. Jesus departed and the day following He and His disciples were pursued by the multitude which sought them on the other side of the sea of Galilee. One would think that Jesus would be honored by their devotion, but without mincing words He charged them, "Ye seek Me, BECAUSE YE DID EAT OF THE LOAVES AND WERE FILLED." What He was saying was, "You have no interest in the spiritual things pertaining to the Kingdom of God, your only interest is in that which feeds your flesh!" He then admonished them, saying, "LABOUR NOT FOR THE MEAT THAT PERISHES but for THAT MEAT which endureth unto everlasting life which the Son of man shall give unto you" (Jn. 6:27).

In all the world there is no greater tragedy than that which overtake the man who follows Christ primarily for TEMPORAL BLESSINGS – healing, health, prosperity, houses, lands, success, solution to problems, meeting of needs, etc., etc. As I observe the Christians today in their prayers, preaching and meetings I am more and more convinced that the vast majority of them are not seeking the Lord for that which HE IS, but for that which He can give to them. Ah, yes, we praise God for His great love and faithfulness, how bountiful His grace in supplying our daily needs, in healing our bodies, in blessing us in the hundreds of mundane things which daily touch our lives in this present earth-realm, but do you not see, beloved, that ALL THIS IS MEAT THAT PERISHES, though it be given from the hand of God? All that is lavished upon this Adamic flesh is TEMPORAL BLESSING at best, and wonderful as it is, it is entirely restricted to the plane of the physical, material, and mortal, so that when a man dies ALL THESE BLESSINGS ARE PART OF THE THINGS HE LEAVES BEHIND! Pause – and think about that!

How great is the glory contained in these words of our Lord Jesus Christ: "He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me" (Jn. 6:56-57). In another place Jesus said, "I have meat to eat that ye know not of" (Jn. 4:32). Ah, THE FATHER HIMSELF was that "meat to eat that ye know not of!" It is a well known physical law that we become what we eat. If you eat vibrant, living foods our body will be vibrant and healthy. If you eat a steady diet of junk foods your body will sooner or later begin to fall apart like a piece of junk! Beloved, Jesus Christ was eating the Father! That is why He could say, "I and My Father are one" (Jn. 10:30). In eating that CELESTIAL MEAT He became one with that meat, one with that incorruptible food, one with that eternal bread. He in the Father and the Father in Him: the mystery of a transmuted life.

Bear with me as I repeat again this great and wonderful truth: All flesh is not the same flesh, and all bodies are not terrestrial bodies. There is a flesh with which we are familiar. There is flesh about which the natural man knows nothing at all. There are bodies which are earthly, physical, visible and tangible. And there are bodies which are heavenly, spiritual, invisible, and imperceptible. The flesh with which we are acquainted is OUR FLESH. That which yet remains a mystery is HIS FLESH. The natural mind is very dark and without understanding. Only the Holy Spirit can awaken it. Only the Holy Spirit can give us eyes to see that Jesus was not offering us the flesh of His earthly tabernacle, NEITHER WAS HE OFFERING US SOMETHING WITHOUT SUBSTANCE. When Jesus said, "Eat My flesh," He was speaking of a flesh invisible to the human eye but a flesh that was and is, nonetheless, very real. Not corruptible flesh, but incorruptible. Not decaying flesh, but living flesh. Not flesh that would splatter when struck by a truck, not flesh that lives off of steak and potatoes, not flesh that uses Scope and Right Guard and Old Spice to keep it smelling good, not temporal flesh – eternal flesh! ONLY ETERNAL FLESH CAN PRODUCE ETERNAL LIFE!

The eating of divine flesh (the celestial body) of Christ produces LIFE. And what is this heavenly flesh, this celestial body? We know how the Word (logos), who had from eternity existed in the Father realm, entered upon a new stage of existence when He was lowered into the earth realm and became flesh, the Son of man. After passing through His earth experience, when He ascended to heaven, He was still the same only begotten Son of God who had been witnessed to by the Father throughout His earth life – and yet not altogether the same. For He was now also, as Son of man, the first-begotten from the dead, CLOTHED WITH THAT GLORIFIED HUMANITY which He had perfected and sanctified for Himself, as the last Adam. And now, as we receive into our lives the Spirit of the firstborn Son we receive the Spirit of the LAST MAN ADAM, the SECOND MAN FROM HEAVEN, the GLORIFIED JESUS, yes, the Spirit of the risen and exalted Christ, the bearer and communicator to us, not merely of the life of God as such, but of that divine life as it has been interwoven into the perfect manhood of the person of Jesus Christ.

Oh! the mystery of it. When the Spirit of the Son comes down not only as the Holy Spirit of the Father, but as the Spirit of the perfected and glorified God-man – most really the Spirit of God, and yet as truly the Spirit of THE LAST MAN ADAM. In and through this exalted Son we see and receive not only the kind of spirit man was intended to have, but the KIND OF FLESH, as well. Now, blessed be God! Jesus has been glorified; we can now eat of His HEAVENLY FLESH, His CELESTIAL BODY by which HIS GLORIFIED LIFE IS COMMUNICATED TO US.

Speaking of the bread and wine, Paul stated, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the BODY OF CHRIST?... are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?" (I Cor. 10:16,18). We are what we eat! If, like the fool of Eccl. 4:5 we are "folding our hands together and eating our own flesh," that is, living after the desires and claims of the Adamic flesh, we are, then mortal and corruptible. If, on the other hand, we are eating HIS FLESH, which is resurrected and glorified flesh, and drinking HIS BLOOD, the new wine of the Spirit of God, we become immortal and incorruptible, for he who eats the sacrifices of the altar becomes a partaker of the altar. He, the living Word, says, "I am the bread which came down from heaven." Him therefore we receive, and in so receiving become "bone of His bone and FLESH OF HIS FLESH" (Eph. 5:30), being so made part of that "greater and more perfect tabernacle (body), which," the apostle tells us, "is not of this (earthly) creation." His blood is the "blood of God," that is His life, and His body is the "celestial body" of the heavenly realm, which we must partake of if we are to live and dwell in Him. It is this "blood of God" which we are called to drink, and it is this "body of Christ" which we are enjoined to eat; for only by receiving Him in the glorious and eternal reality of WHAT HE IS do we acquire the SUBSTANCE OUT OF WHICH A BODY OF THE SAME NATURE AS HIS CAN BE BUILT UP. What He is is first communicated to us through the "incorruptible seed" of the Word of God; for seed, whether corruptible or incorruptible, is the very essence and substance of the blood and body. Heretofore we have been drinking of that blood SYMBOLICALLY and eating of that flesh SYMBOLICALLY in the "Lord's super," which two thousand years ago, at the Passover, just prior to His crucifixion, Jesus set as a type and shadow of the reality.

Ah, beloved, for two thousand years God's people have been eating the human flesh of Jesus Christ – knowing Him after the commandments of men, knowing Him as doctrine, knowing Him in rituals and forms, in sacraments and external observances, seeing Him as the historical Jesus, traveling to Israel to "walk where He walked," etc. But, oh! how our hearts pant and hunger and thirst after His glorious and eternal reality, that we may at last know Him AS HE IS, partaking of Him AS HE IS, and experiencing Him in all His divine fullness. And it is high time that all who are apprehended of God to follow Him in sonship should discover that the "shadows" of the bread and wine of the communion service are slipping away AS THE REALITY COMES IN UPON US!

EXCEPT A GRAIN OF WHEAT DIE

The life which Jesus gives is Himself, and the life, which He is, is imperishable. Those who partake of it cannot perish, for they have passed from the kingdom of death to the kingdom of life. "And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall NEVER PERISH" (Jn. 10:28). Jesus did not die that you might live! Jesus died that He might GIVE HIS LIFE to you. "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but, if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit" (Jn. 12:24). He is the kernel that fell into the ground and died, and, in dying, the life which He is has reappeared in the millions of those who have believed. Because His life is imperishable, they who receive Him shall never perish.

The flesh which we inherited from Adam (who was of the earth, earthy) is counted by God to be nothing more than a seed. "But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain (seed), it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him, and to every seed his own body" (I Cor. 15:35-38). I must confess that I used to believe, as many folk do, that in the resurrection the same body that goes into the grave would be the body that comes out of grave. I wonder how many of my readers have asked the question posed by the apostle in I Cor. 15:35: "But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?" Ah, how often through many years did I ask myself those very questions! I am confident that you, too, have asked. We have pondered how God would reconstruct the atoms of this flesh body and fashion it again into the likeness we once knew. We have wondered by what divine process God, the omnipotent, would gather together the elements of the bodies of men who were consumed by fire, those who were cast into the depths of the sea and eaten by sharks, or those whose bodies have been torn, mangled, crushed and scattered abroad over the face of the earth. Who among us has never questioned whether in the resurrection we will recognize our friends and loved ones, whether uncle Joe and aunt Susie will look as they did at age twenty, or thirty, or seventy five? We have debated whether in our glorified bodies we will visible or invisible to the inhabitants of the earth realm, whether we shall eat and drink, wear clothes, travel at the speed of light, and with hundreds of other such notions we have repeatedly asked the very questions the apostle declared we would ask! "But some man will say, HOW ARE THE DEAD RAISED UP? AND WITH WHAT BODY DO THEY COME?"

Paul had a word for all who raise such questions: "Thou FOOL!" The Phillips translation says, "Now that is a silly question!" The Wuest translation says, "Stupid one!" The Amplified Bible reads, "You foolish man!" And another version renders it, "You unreasonable person!" Why are these questions foolish, stupid, silly, and unreasonable? Because, the apostle explains, appealing to nature, "In your own experience you know that a seed does not germinate without itself "dying." When you sow a seed you do not sow the "body" that will eventually be produced, but bare grain, of wheat, for example, or one of the other seeds. God gives the seed a "body" according to His laws – a different “body” to each kind of “seed” (Phillips translation). Paul tells us plainly that the "body" of the harvest is not the same "body" that was planted, and calls the man a fool for even questioning whether the corn of the harvest is the same grains of corn that were planted. Let the farmer answer this!

When we really know life, when we understand our environment and the dynamics of the biological forces within it, we will surely have a clearer understanding of the laws and processes of the higher spiritual realm of the Kingdom of God. When you sow a kernel of corn in the earth of your garden, you sow it out of sight, to decay and disintegrate, that a new plant shall spring forth. The corn you receive in the fall IS NOT THE SAME KERNELS YOU PLANTED in the spring! The kernel you planted DIED, that the corn-life within might be released. The INNER LIFE springs forth and the corn of the harvest is the PRODUCT OF THAT INNER LIFE contained in the original seed. The seed's whole purpose is to die, that there may be a release of whatever life dwells within TO PRODUCE A NEW BODY. Throughout the entire chapter of I Cor. 15 Paul is writing about sowing and harvesting and applies this principal to the resurrection body. "It is sown," he says, “in corruption; it is raised (harvested) in incorruption; it is sown in dishonour; it is raised (harvested) in glory; it is sown in weakness; it is raised (harvested) in power; it is sown a NATURAL BODY; it is raised (harvested) a SPIRITUAL BODY" (I Cor. 15:35-44).

And of the heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, the heavenly is not earthly, is it? And there is nothing heavenly about that body whose foul breath you sweetened this morning by brushing its teeth, is there? There is nothing heavenly about the earthly body, and there is nothing earthly about the heavenly body. "There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body" (I Cor. 15:44). It is also written, "The first man (Adam) was made a living soul, the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven" (I Cor. 15:45-47). Is not the first man from the earth? But Christ says that HE IS FROM ABOVE! The second man is the Lord from heaven, and HIS BODY IS A GLORIOUS BODY, and He is the heavenly, spiritual man. No need for Scope or Right Guard for that body!

And Paul further tells us, "As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" (I Cor. 15:48-49) As Adam has produced for us an Adamic body in his image, so Christ is producing for us a glorious CHRIST BODY IN HIS IMAGE. Can anything be plainer? So here is an image of the earthly, and an image of the heavenly; these are TWO IMAGES, TWO BODIES, TWO NATURES, earthly and heavenly, terrestrial and celestial. So well the apostle might say, "Thou fool!" for an heavenly image is not an earthly, a spiritual body is not a natural, nor an heavenly body an earthly. So, thou fool, THAT WHICH THOU SOWEST, THOU SOWEST NOT THAT BODY THAT SHALL BE!

Can we not see by this that the spiritual body IS NOT THE NATURAL BODY RECONSTRUCTED at all, but a brand new, totally different body, the PRODUCT OF THE CHRIST LIFE CONTAINED WITHIN YOUR NATURAL BODY, THE SEED? Surely, if no other instruction were given in the Bible but these few verses, we would have a sound foundation upon which to fasten our firm understanding that the natural body does not in any way become the spiritual body, but the spiritual body is the product of the indwelling life of the resurrected, glorified Son of God! If we would heed the voice of inspiration and revelation as it speaks through these words of the apostle, we would at once see and acknowledge that the embryo of our spiritual body ALREADY EXISTS AS A PRESENT REALITY WITHIN OUR REGENERATED SPIRIT! Hallelujah! It is "a life within a life, a MAN WITHIN A MAN, and a body within a body." That MAN WITHIN A MAN, therefore, is not as we have in the past supposed, some ethereal spirit, some nebulous, vague, airy, nothingness but IS, rather, SUBSTANCE, the very resurrected and glorified CHRIST!

There are certain times and seasons when God brings to life truths that have been allowed to lie in grave clothes for ages and dispensations. As a seed lies dormant in the winter months and bursts into life in the warmth and rain of spring, so also has the truth of God been allowed to lie in death throughout the wintry night of our walk in the religious systems of Babylon now at last to burst into a fruitful harvest in the spring of God's purpose to bring sons to glory. There came a wonderful day when Christ came into our lives. "What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought, Since Jesus came into my heart," we sweetly sing. But did you ever wait in holy reverence for the Spirit to reveal the eternal truth of those words to your deepest heart? Oh yes, we received Him – as a saviour, as a thought, as an idea or an ideal, as a truth, as a presence, as an ethereal kind of spirit, something vague and intangible. The Spirit of the Lord is quickening, however, that there is SUBSTANCE to that MAN within us. When the incorruptible life of Christ was conceived within us, we must realize that He was conceived within as the EMBRYO of a SPIRIT-BODY, Not just a spirit, but a SPIRIT-BODY!

When Paul speaks, then, of being strengthened with might in the INNER MAN, he is speaking of SUBSTANCE within us. When Peter speaks of the HIDDEN MAN of the heart, he is speaking of GLORIFIED FLESH that has been born into the believer but is hidden beneath the veil of Adamic flesh. As we feed that man within with the Spirit and the living Word of God, this infant spirit-man begins to grow and when he is fully formed, he will burst forth from the womb of Adamic flesh and stand as a mature NEW CREATION MAN!

God has so beautifully provided a parable of this blessed truth in the world of nature about us. The lowly caterpillar which crawls along the ground, trod upon by the foot of man, is destined to flit on starry wings in a heavenly atmosphere no longer hampered by earth-bound things but transformed as though by God's Spirit from a creature of dust to one which has put on a somewhat heavenly tabernacle. There is planted within the very being of that worm a call to a higher life-form, and, driven by that hidden nature within (which exists as a SUBSTANCE), at the appointed time he begins to spin around himself a cocoon. Before the caterpillar ever crawled upon the earth the potential to become a butterfly lay within his being from the very moment of fertilization of the egg. When the larva had begun to form in the egg, certain little groups of cells, belonging NOT TO THE LARVA BUT TO THE EVENTUAL BUTTERFLY, had also formed, and these remained dormant, safely stored within the body of the caterpillar. At the appointed time these cells awaken to life and begin to grow and multiply. Their presence becomes dramatically evident during the six short minutes when the last larval skin is shed, and the cocoon is spun. Hanging there in his cocoon, the worm bides his time and acts out a living prophecy of the words of Job who said, "If a man die, will he live again? ALL THE DAYS OF MY APPOINTED TIME WILL I WAIT UNTIL MY CHANGE COMES!" (Job 14:4). One observing merely from the outside would never imagine the awesome work being performed within that little cocoon. On the surface, there is nothing to see, for the cocoon serves as a veil, a womb, to conceal the marvelous processes which change a caterpillar into a butterfly. As the butterfly cells grow, they completely CONSUME the form of the caterpillar, and when the process is complete the hour comes when the cocoon begins to yield to the pressure of the NEW BEING within and is burst asunder as the butterfly emerges. There is now an object of surpassing beauty which seems in no way related to the hairy worm of days before. In the process the caterpillar ceases to exist, the cocoon is discarded, laid aside, and THE NEW CREATION IS MANIFESTED TO THE WORLD!

Oh! my brother, my sister, may the Spirit of God quicken the truth of these things to your heart! As I have looked to the Lord about these precious truths, it has become increasingly clear to my spirit that Jesus did not receive the glorified body when he arose from the tomb – no more than the butterfly became a butterfly when it broke from the cocoon. The worm becomes a butterfly BEFORE it emerges from the cocoon. The thing the Spirit would teach us in this, then, is that a butterfly does not become a butterfly BECAUSE it escapes the cocoon. It, rather, escapes the cocoon BECAUSE IT HAS BECOME A BUTTERFLY! Even so, Jesus did not possess a glorified body BECAUSE He arose from the grave. He, instead, burst forth from the grave BECAUSE HE ALREADY POSSESSED A GLORIFIED BODY! What a difference! Because He was indwelt by the incorruptible life of His Father, that life being formed fully within Him. He could announce to His disciples before His death: "The third day I shall rise again." And indwelt by this resurrected, glorified Christ Paul could confidently declare: "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle (cocoon of flesh) were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, ETERNAL IN THE HEAVENS" (II Cor. 5:1).

God would have all His holy sons to know of a certainty the incomprehensible treasure which lies within them – a house, a tabernacle, a clothing from heaven is within them – and we have the confidence that even this outward body of clay shall be exchanged for that heavenly body, thus fulfilling the glorious words of victory: "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory! O death, where is thy sting! O grave, where is thy victory?" (I Cor. 15:53-55). I do not hesitate to boldly proclaim to you, beloved, that we are even now receiving our spirit-body within our flesh-body, and as we continue to PUT ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST there is an increase of the celestial body within. Indeed, we are PUTTING ON OUR HOUSE WHICH IS FROM HEAVEN! Christ Himself is that house and He is our eternal covering.

Ah, as we allow this old Adam-nature, this outer-man-body of corruption and wickedness to be put to death, to die and get out of sight, then the inner-man body of the spirit is built up in his divine life and substance. The blood of Christ (His Spirit-life) and the flesh of Christ (His celestial body) are first communicated to us through the implantation of the "incorruptible seed," which is THE WORD OF GOD; for seed, whether corruptible or incorruptible, is the very essence and substance of the blood and body. When we are babes it comes as "milk"; until we grow up in Christ it becomes "strong meat," and "flesh and blood," daily increasing our strength and growth and substance, as we can bear it.

Yes, our earthly house is this corruptible, mortal tabernacle, the body of flesh in which we now dwell. But within, in the inner realm of our spirit, even now as I pen these words, there is being constructed a BUILDING OF GOD, a house not made with hands, a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not of this creation, eternal in the heavens. Not a mansion in the sky, not a white nightgown in which to flit about over golden streets strumming a harp, as the preachers are always foolishly telling us, but a new body, a new tabernacle, a new garment, a new nature, a body of light and glory and power, a body of CELESTIAL FLESH, a body of incorruption, a garment of immortality! Then Paul states that, when this body of life has been fully put on, WE WILL NOT BE FOUND NAKED even though this present old bag of bones be laid aside!

Paul Mueller has written, “Our Lord promised that He would clothe His chosen ones. He spoke of the grass of the field, and then said, “shall He not much more clothe you?” Only God can clothe us with the proper garments of the life of the kingdom of God. He has set the standard, and knows what garments we need. The same divine, omnipotent and sovereign power that clothes the grass and the lilies of the field shall also clothe His elect. The raiment He will give us is the proper raiment, the garment of His Life and glory. And unless He clothes us, we are not fit for the kingdom of God. Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like we shall be, for our garments shall make the wise king’s raiment appear as filthy rags. Be assured, the Lord shall indeed clothe us in brilliant incorruptible raiment just like His. We are learning that we cannot do one thing to clothe ourselves with the garments of His Life. Certainly we must seek the Lord and trust Him completely.” – end quote

I never cease to be amazed at how much effort people put in trying to "immortalize" this earth body, the first tabernacle, the first man Adam. But the Holy Spirit witnesses, "There is a natural body AND there is a spiritual body." Most saints don't know the difference between these two bodies! So many of God's precious people imagine that the natural body shall some how become the spiritual body. Is that which is spiritual, natural? Is that which is natural, spiritual? Is that which is earthly, heavenly? Is that which is heavenly, earthly? Is that which is terrestrial, celestial? Is that which is celestial, terrestrial? Is that which is corruptible, also incorruptible? Is that which is incorruptible, corruptible? Ah, my friend, there are TWO BODIES, TWO TABERNACLES, TWO GARMENTS. The one must decrease, the other must increase. The one must be laid aside, the other must be "put on."

I continually meet up with brethren who believe that their earth body is the heavenly body, that their natural body is the spiritual body, that their terrestrial is the celestial body, and that therefore they shall live forever in that hunk of flesh they are carrying around! Nonsense, my brother! I must be very honest and quite frank with you, beloved. I have not one whit of a desire to live forever IN THIS BODY OF HUMILIATION. There is no more frightening thought than the idea that I might live forever in this body of limitation! The very idea of such limitation, the thought that I might have to bathe, brush my teeth, chew breath mints, and use Right Guard throughout eternity; the suggestion that I may retain this same form, with all its uncomeliness, that I shall continue to be AS I AM unendingly, falls as far short of what I comprehend as THE GREATER AND MORE PERFECT TABERNACLE, OUR HOUSE WHICH IS FROM HEAVEN, A BUILDING OF GOD, NOT MADE WITH HANDS (by the will of the flesh), ETERNAL IN THE HEAVENS as does hell fall short of heaven!

It would be amiss to conclude this article without quoting II Cor. 5:1-5 from Moffatt's beautiful translation. "I know that if this earthly tent of mine is taken down, I get a home from God, made by no human hands, eternal in the heavens. It makes me sigh, indeed, this yearning to be under cover of my heavenly habitation, since I am sure that once so covered I shall not be naked at the hour of death. I do sigh within this tent of mine heavy anxiety – not that I want to be stripped, no, but to be under cover of the other, to have my mortal element absorbed by life. I am prepared for this change by God, who has given me the Spirit as its pledge and installment."

There is a very real sense in which the withering fig-leaves of Adam's own making represent this vile body of death and humiliation, while the enduring covering of the life of God's precious Lamb bespeaks the eternal garment of THE CELESTIAL BODY OF THE CHRIST.

We shall pursue further this vital subject of the two garments, the two bodies, in next month's article, Lord willing.

 


 Chapter 28

THE GARMENTS OF EDEN

(continued)

 “And they were both naked, the man and his wife. and the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And, unto Adam and his wife did the Lord God make COATS OF SKINS, AND CLOTHED THEM" (Gen. 2:25; 3:6-10,21).

"Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will CLOTHE THEE WITH A CHANGE OF RAIMENT. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and CLOTHED HIM WITH GARMENTS" (Zech. 3:3-5).

Throughout the Word of God the contrast of God's SECONDS against the realm of God's FIRSTS is most beautiful, inspiring and enlightening. We find that these SECONDS are always higher, better, and far more glorious than the FIRSTS. "Then said He, Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second" (Heb. 10:9). The FIRSTS in God's dealings are in every instance removed, that the SECONDS may be established. There are many comparisons of the taking away of the first and establishing of the second in the scriptures. Ishmael and Isaac are perhaps the first example. "For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a free woman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the free woman was by promise. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman" (Gal. 4:22,23,30).

Later, Esau, the firstborn, was removed from the blessing and birthright and Jacob, the second-born, was established as heir of the promise in his place (Rom. 9:10-13). Saul, the first king of Israel, and all his lineage gave way to David, the second, and his seed forever as possessors of the throne of Israel, for the Lord declared, "I have rejected Saul from being king over Israel" (I Sam. 15:26) but of David He said, "I will settle him in My kingdom forever: and his throne shall be established forevermore" (I Chron. 17:14). The law of sin and death was abolished through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the law of the spirit of life being established (Rom. 8:2). The first covenant of the law of the Old Testament, which brought only death, has been done away and the second covenant of the New Testament, which brings life, has been established. "But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? For if that which is done away was glorious. much more that which remaineth is glorious" (II Cor. 3:7-11). Death by the FIRST! Life by the SECOND! Condemnation by the FIRST! Righteousness by the SECOND!

The FIRSTS are always found lacking, but God's SECONDS give forth a radiant glow of the glory and the majesty of our Omnipotent God! The Levitical Priesthood of the order of Aaron has been removed, superseded by the more glorious and eternal Priesthood of the Son of God after the order of Melchizedek. "If therefore perfection were by the Levitical Priesthood, what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchizedek, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the Priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change of the law also" (Heb. 7:11-12). The SECONDS of God's dealings always bring perfection!

With this wonderful truth in mind it should not be difficult in the least for us to understand the contrast between the two bodies spoken of in I Cor. 15:39-50. "All flesh is not the same flesh. there are also CELESTIAL BODIES and BODIES TERRESTRIAL: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another, there is a NATURAL BODY, and there is a SPIRITUAL BODY. And so it is written, the FIRST MAN ADAM was made a living soul; the LAST ADAM was made a quickening spirit. The FIRST MAN is of the earth, earthy: the SECOND MAN is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say brethren, that FLESH AND BLOOD CANNOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption."

The contrast between these two bodies – the FIRST of flesh, the SECOND of spirit – is almost too much for our weak and earthbound minds to comprehend. The natural mind and natural understanding cannot grasp it. The Holy Spirit declares that "as we have born the image of the earthy, we shall ALSO bear the image of the heavenly." There are some who do not believe that Jesus Christ in His glory at the right hand of the Father now possesses a BODY. But let us pause and meditate briefly upon the words of Paul in Phil. 3:20-21: "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto HIS GLORIOUS BODY, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself." The words "HIS GLORIOUS BODY" are more correctly translated "THE BODY OF HIS GLORY." If HE is fashioning US to have a BODY LIKE UNTO HIS BODY OF GLORY then HE MUST HAVE A BODY, yes, a BODY OF GLORY! Christ is not only the Spirit of glory, or a glorious Spirit, but He has a BODY OF GLORY. He is changing us and making us, not spirits, but redeemed beings, new creation men in spirit, soul, and body.

Bearing the image of the heavenly is not taking your natural body to heaven. That's what millions of Christians think, that one of these days their present body of flesh is going to fly away to heaven, there to strum a harp and walk up and down the streets of gold. Not so! my brother. HIS BODY is not a body of flesh and blood and bones, it is a BODY OF GLORY. A body of flesh is a body COMPOSED OF FLESH and a body of glory is a body COMPOSED OF GLORY. As it is written, "There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies, there is a natural body and there is a spiritual body."

The most comprehensive single paragraph of scripture that deals with the truth that there are two distinct kinds of bodies, or two totally different bodies, is found in II Cor. 5:1-5 where we read, "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this (the earthly) we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house (celestial body) which IS FROM HEAVEN: if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle (fleshly body) do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon (with the celestial body), that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now He that hath wrought us for this selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit."

This passage starts with assurances of absolute certainty. "For we know" is as dogmatic and definitely positive as human speech can be. The thing we thus know is that if our EARTHLY HOUSE OF THIS TABERNACLE (physical body) were dissolved, our spirit would not be "naked" or "disembodied," for there is ANOTHER BODY, a CELESTIAL BODY, a SPIRITUAL BODY, a BUILDING OF GOD FROM HEAVEN for the spirit to occupy in the celestial realm.

In veritable truth does the apostle say that in this body we groan. We groan from the hour of our birth until the time of our departure. We groan when our stomachs are empty and the pangs of hunger ravish our system. We also groan when we eat too much Mexican food and suffer the consequences. We groan when we get our teeth; we groan again when we lose them. We groan when we are children under the rule of parents, teachers etc. We groan again when we become adults and have to face the responsibilities of life. We groan because of our children and we groan when they leave home. We groan at the multiplied problems and sorrows and tragedies that fall our lot. At almost every movement of the body, we are apt to come in violent contact with some sharp object, and groan again!

We can readily see that it will not be a very great loss when we lay aside this groaning form for one that is no longer susceptible to pain, sorrow and death. So the figure of speech that is used here is the common and familiar figure of clothing. Inhabiting this earthly sphere, the spirit is clothed with a body adapted to the conditions of earth living. When the spirit has outworn and outgrown this fleshy suit of garments, it casts that suit aside for another and more glorious garment. In that heavenly realm where dwells the all-glorious Son of God the spirit does not wander naked, but the divine Tailor has already measured the regenerated spirit for a spiritual garment, a heavenly house, a celestial body prepared for it! There is a very real sense in which the withering fig-leaf apron of Adam’s own making, once fallen into corruption, represents the vile and perishing body of death and humiliation, while the enduring covering of the life of God’s precious Lamb bespeaks of and foreshadows the eternal garment of THE CELESTIAL BODY OF THE CHRIST.

Can we not see by this that the celestial body, our "clothing from heaven," is not the natural body reconstructed, but a brand new, totally different body? The words of Paul must be made very real to our hearts: "There are celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. So, is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: it is sown a NATURAL BODY; it is raised a SPIRITUAL BODY. There is a NATURAL BODY and there is a SPIRITUAL BODY" (I Cor. 15:40-44). It is plain to see that our present bodies are "natural bodies." The "spiritual body" supersedes the "natural body" and is called in the Greek a "spirit body." The natural body and the spirit body belong to two entirely different kingdoms. The first is of Adam, the second is of the Lord from heaven. The first is from earth, the second is from heaven. The first is terrestrial, the second is celestial. The first is temporal, the second is eternal. The first is visible, the second is invisible. God's FIRSTS are always lacking, and are in every case replaced by God's SECONDS. "He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second" (Heb. 10:9). God's SECOND always bring perfection! Glory!

Our "earthly house," our physical body, is characterized as a "tabernacle" or a better translation would be "tent-house." The transient character of the earthly body is thus revealed by this symbol. This house is to be "dissolved." Being one of God's FIRSTS it was never intended to remain! "Dissolved" comes from a Greek word meaning "loosened down," as the ropes of a tent are loosened and the tent is taken down, folded up, removed. The "spirit body," on the other hand, is described as a "building of God, eternal in the heavens." The metaphor changes, interestingly, from a "tent" to a "building," from that which can be "dissolved" to that which is "eternal." My beloved brethren! I have absolutely no desire whatever to have God imbue with any eternal qualities this poor, weak, imperfect, limited, restricted, humiliating, earthly, animal body! My hope of sonship does not rest in preserving forever a body that must be washed and clothed, fed and rested, groomed and manicured, and powdered and deodorized. There is another body, thank God! formed of the incorruptible life of the resurrected and glorified Christ of God and this marvelous body is from heaven even as my present body is of earth. I do not hesitate to declare to you that as a man "puts on Christ" he puts on not only the Spirit of Christ but also the RESURRECTION BODY of Christ, and this body IS OUR HOUSE FROM HEAVEN. Even as our earth body has come from the FIRST MAN ADAM, and IS ADAM'S BODY, so our spiritual body comes from the SECOND MAN ADAM and is the body of Christ's resurrection. As the pure and holy life of the Son of God is formed within us God shall also give us bodies worthy of such divine life, bodies capable of expressing all the wisdom and power of that blessed realm beyond sin and death, yea, beyond time and space and matter!

What happens when we put on immortality? What happens when we are brought into that condition or place where it is impossible for us to die? What is going to be our condition when we find death swallowed up of life and destroyed? When there just is not any more such a thing as death? No thought of it. No idea of it. No word for it. It will have disappeared entirely and there will not be the ability to die. Then what takes place?

There are a lot of so-called revelations that are set forth these days which, at first hearing sound very religious, advanced, or seemingly spiritual, but as one examines that which is set forth, there are times when we find what is being taught in some circles is not the same thing which the Spirit of God speaks into your own heart. For example, through many years I have heard a lot of folk speak of the "LIFE MESSAGE" and have been asked if I believe it. I would then have to inquire and probe into their minds and hearts to find out exactly what they meant by this term. Often I discovered that what they really meant was that they had already attained "by faith" a condition of immortality for this physical, flesh body, which they said would never die. A great number of those with whom I talked are now lying silent in their graves! I never cease to be amazed at how much effort people put into trying to "immortalize" this earth body, the first tabernacle, the first man Adam. The Holy Spirit witnesses that "there is a natural body, AND there is a spiritual body." The order in which these two bodies are experienced is also defined: "Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual" (I Cor. 15:46).

Ah, hearken! my beloved brother, thou who thinkest thou possesseth immortality in thy Adam body of flesh! Truly it is written, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me SHALL NEVER DIE" (Jn. 11:25-26). And again, "But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that age, and the resurrection from the dead. NEITHER CAN THEY DIE any more, the SONS OF GOD, being the SONS OF THE RESURRECTION" (Lk. 20:35-36). What do you expect it is like WHEN YOU CANNOT DIE? What would it be like for this flesh body if it COULD NOT DIE? Let us imagine one coming into that state of being, yet all natural laws still in force. If you CANNOT DIE, then there is no need to eat food, for you cannot starve to death. YOU CANNOT DIE. If you did choose to eat, you could eat anything, even the very strongest poisons, for YOU CANNOT DIE. Nothing would have the power to kill. You would be beyond the power of death. Therefore the natural laws requiring food or nutrition had just as well be taken off the books, they have become of no effect.

If there is still fire, you who cannot die cannot in any way be affected by the burning power of fire, no matter how great it might be. A furnace heated to seven times hotter than ever before would have no power. The fires of an atomic or hydrogen explosion can never hurt for you CANNOT DIE. There could be no pain or hurt to you, for fire could have NO effect. So the natural law of fire burning, of our power bodies being combustible, might just as well be taken off the books, for it has been made no effect. Natural law tells us that if we walk out into a body of water far enough we are going to go under the water and drown. Natural law says we cannot breathe water into our lungs and live. For all who CANNOT DIE drowning in water had just as well be removed from the books, for it does not work. It has no effect. If you CANNOT DIE, then you have NO NEED FOR ATMOSPHERE OR AIR to live, for even without air YOU CANNOT DIE. Nothing can kill you! If you do walk in air, all well and good. If you are in a place where there is no air, still well and good, FOR YOU CANNOT DIE. Should you walk through the most poisonous of gases, you would not be affected, for you COULD NOT DIE. Death would have lost its power, and not one thing could harm you. If you CANNOT DIE there need be no fear of anything. You could walk down the middle of the busiest freeway with no fear of being struck down, for you CANNOT DIE. Should you be run over by an “eighteen wheeler” you would neither crush nor splatter – or, if you were flattened into the pavement you would have merely to arise, shake yourself like “Wiley Coyote” in the cartoons, and continue your journey, for you CANNOT DIE.

For those who cannot die, death has been done away. Therefore there would be nothing to prevent such a person from going anywhere in the universe. And there would be no need for any special preparation in the way of oxygen to breathe, spaceship, etc. Nothing could harm such a person and it would have become HIS OR HER NATURE to live under any circumstances. The time has come when we must see by the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God that THIS EARTHLY HOUSE IS NOT OUR HOUSE FROM HEAVEN, this terrestrial body is not the celestial body , this mortal body is not the immortal body, this corruptible body is not the incorruptible body, this natural body is not the spiritual body, and this FLESH OF ADAM IS NOT THE FLESH OF THE SON OF GOD! Those who walk in the BODY OF GLORY are those who have been given immortality. The BODY OF GLORY is the BODY OF THE NEW CREATION MAN, not this bag of bones of the external, visible world. Those who fully "put on the Lord Jesus Christ," who "put on incorruption," who "put on immortality," thus putting on the BODY OF GLORY – not one thing has any power to hurt or destroy these, for THEY CANNOT DIE. Nothing restricts them in any way. They are as God throughout the universe. They are the living, working, life-giving will of God. They become so one with the Lord that they are ONE SPIRIT in all things. These are the sons of God!

This is a presently UNEXPLORED AND UNKNOWN REALM OF LIFE so far as we are concerned. The natural mind cannot THINK ITSELF into such a realm of life as this by any kind of confession or positive thinking. It is only by the inspiration of the Spirit of God that we ever get even a glimpse of a realm so transcendent and glorious. No man knows the things of God, but the Spirit of God does, and as God wills we are given understanding. The curtain is beginning to open and some are seeing that which lies before us to be apprehended, praise His wonderful name!

A CHANGE OF GARMENTS

As we continue our meditation upon the wonderful truth of these TWO BODIES, these TWO GARMENTS, these TWO TABERNACLES, the natural and the spiritual, the earthly and the heavenly, I would again draw your attention to the significance of the TWO TABERNACLES spoken of in the book of Hebrews. "Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly (earthly) sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the FIRST, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread; which is called the sanctuary. And after the SECOND VEIL, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All. Now when these things were thus ordained, the priest went always into the FIRST TABERNACLE (the Holy Place), accomplishing the service of God. But into the SECOND (the Holiest of All) went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: the Holy Ghost this signifying that the way into the Holiest of All was not yet manifest, while as yet the FIRST TABERNACLE was yet standing. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, BY A GREATER AND MORE PERFECT TABERNACLE (body), NOT MADE WITH HANDS, that is to say, NOT OF THIS BUILDING (the first, physical creation). for Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true, but into HEAVEN ITSELF (the celestial realm, celestial body), now to appear in the presence of God for us" (Heb. 9:1-3, 6-8, 11, 24).

Christ came down in human form, took upon Him the form of sinful flesh, God dwelling and manifesting Himself within the limitation of a human body, THIS IS THE REALM OF THE FIRST TABERNACLE, the Holy Place. He became obedient unto death, and by death HE PASSED THROUGH THE FIRST TABERNACLE, as a spiritual experience in reality. Because flesh and blood CANNOT ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD (the Most Holy Place), it was necessary that Jesus enter by a "greater and more perfect tabernacle" – a resurrected, glorified, heavenly body. That ministry, however, could not be made manifest "while as the FIRST TABERNACLE (flesh and blood body) was yet standing." Yes, Jesus passed from the Holy Place of His sanctified human body and nature into the Most Holy Place of His glorified body. When He died THE VEIL WAS RENT IN TWAIN; the way was opened up into the Holiest of All. Then through His resurrection He entered Himself into the SECOND AND GREATER TABERNACLE, not of this physical creation.

The veil that separates us from a full and complete entrance into the second tabernacle, the realm of the Holiest of All, is the veil of FLESH. "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us, THROUGH THE VEIL, that is to say, HIS FLESH" (Heb. 10:19-20). It is interesting that the veil has two sides, the first facing the Holy Place and the second facing the Holiest of All. In the Holy Place the veil is the wall or covering of the Holy Place, while in the Holiest of All the same veil, but the opposite side of it, serves as the covering of the Holiest of All. These two sides of the veil speak to my heart of a two-fold reality. In the side of the veil facing the Holy Place I see the rending of human flesh, both Christ's and ours as our own will and way is rent and brought to death, as was Christ's. Nowhere does the scripture indicate that the veil is removed, only that it is "rent." It is not by the absence of the veil that we have an entrance into the second and greater tabernacle of HIS GLORIFIED BODY, but our entrance is "THROUGH the (rent) veil, that is to say, HIS FLESH." We pass from one kind of flesh, natural, earthly flesh, into another and higher kind of flesh, divine, celestial flesh.

It is not flesh that is being done away with, merely an exchange of flesh, our flesh exchanged for HIS FLESH! That the veil is not removed, merely rent, is further confirmed in Heb. 6:19-20 where we read: "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that WITHIN THE VEIL; WHITHER the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." The side of the veil facing the Holiest of All bespeaks HIS GLORIFIED FLESH. In order to enter into that tabernacle it is necessary that we pass through the veil of HIS FLESH and have it CLOSE IN BEHIND US AND UPON US. Thus we admonished, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and make not provision for the (earthly) flesh" (Rom. 13:14). As we enter into that flesh, HIS CELESTIAL FLESH, we are clothed upon with that flesh, for we are immersed into it. Thus are fulfilled the words of the apostle: "For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life" (II Cor. 5:4).

Christ Himself is this greater garment, the clothing from heaven. We must once and for all settle it in our hearts that in all the world there is NO OTHER COVERING than that which God has provided for us in Jesus Christ. In the two bodies, therefore, we see two types of wearing apparel, two kinds of garments. With this thought in mind I would now draw your attention to a most enlightening event in the book of Zechariah. "Now Joshua the high priest was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spoke unto those who stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And, unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with a change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a clean turban upon his head. So they set upon his head a clean turban, and clothed him with clean garments" (Zech. 3:3-5).

Prior to the crucifixion of our Lord the name "Jesus" was a common and highly favored name among the Jewish people. The names "Jesus," "Joshua," and "Jeshua" are simply the same name spelled three different ways, and all three names mean "Jehovah is salvation." As we compare scripture with scripture it becomes apparent that the Old Testament high priest, Joshua, the son Josedech, is a type of Jesus Christ the great High Priest of God's elect.

In the vision we have quoted above the high priest Joshua appears in the court of Jehovah, clad in filthy garments, and under the accusation of satan. Now, in order to understand this vision, we must think like someone from the Orient. The passage focuses attention upon the GARMENTS worn by the high priest. It is clearly seen that the garments referred to here are used as an oriental symbol. Something is being said by the action taking place. This is affirmed by Zech. 3:5 where the meaning of the change has been explained by the statement: "Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee." The high priest stands in the vision as the Representative of Israel, the people of Jehovah. Strangely enough it is he, the high priest, and not a sacrificial lamb, that is seen bearing the defilement of Israel. This, of course, means that Joshua stands as the Representative-Sin-Bearer for the people of God, as well as their priest. He is under the accusation for it is a law of God that the one upon whom the sins are laid must bear the punishment as well as the guilt and shame (Isa. 53:6; Jn. 1:29).

In the vision, therefore, the “filthy garments” are a symbol of the whole dreadful realm of sin, darkness and death. The purpose of the vision is to show the prophet (and us!) that there is a High Priest who is actually Himself the sin bearer of the people of God, for “He… His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree” (I Pet. 2:24). Clad in the garments of our humanity and mortality our Joshua was made to be the sin-bearer for us and took upon Himself not only our sin, but the whole realm of darkness, trouble, sickness, heartache, fear, mortality and death so that in the totality of what this word means, He truly “tasted death for every man” (Heb. 2:9). In all of this was He clad! But, blessed be His name, in His resurrection He came forth in NEW GARMENTS, clad in a sin-free and death-free body of incorruption and immortality! In this body He is not subject to any part of the curse. Satan is rebuked and our High Priest stands in triumph as the omnipotent resurrected Lamb who is the High Priest of our profession. Now His wonderful life is swallowing up the sin and death and curse in us, bringing to His chosen ones also a CHANGE OF RAIMENT, and the house is wonderfully near at hand when this corruptible shall have fully put on incorruption and this mortal shall have completely put on immortality. It is JESUS – Joshua – Jehovah is salvation – who is doing this!

"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood CANNOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD, neither doth CORRUPTION INHERIT INCORRUPTION. Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet (message) shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and WE SHALL BE CHANGED. For this corruptible must PUT ON incorruption, and this mortal PUT ON immortality" (I Cor. 15:50-53).

The words "put on" in these verses comes from a Greek word which means – TO BE CLOTHED UPON, to go into clothing, thus our being enveloped and completely enwrapped, in this case, with incorruption. Paul tells us that before this mortal can put on immortality or the state of deathlessness, it must lose its corruptibility, for he tells us that this corruptible must put on incorruption and then this mortal shall put on immortality. To be corruptible simply means to possess the ability to be corrupted. Corruption, according to Webster's dictionary, means – spoiled; rotten; morally debased; evil; depraved; containing alterations, foreign admixtures, or errors. And all those tendencies exist today and have always existed in humanity from the day of Adam's transgression and will continue to exist in humanity until that nature is taken away in the full process of redemption. Every living person has the ability or the possibility of at one time or another being corrupted.

This ability to be corrupted goes much deeper than just the natural fleshly body. It is the one living in the flesh body that is corruptible. I care not who they are, every one born of Adam's race is susceptible to being corrupted or turned away from that which is right and pure and holy. Religious folk, church people, tongues-speaking Christians, and saints embracing end-time truth and sonship and all others need not try to make us think they are not susceptible to this, for they are. So before anyone can fully put on immortality or deathlessness in the body realm, they will first have to be made incorruptible. They can never do this for themselves, only God can do it and will do it and is doing it even now in a firstfruit company, bless His wonderful name! Every victory you gain in your walk in God, every aspect of your old nature that is dealt with by the cross, every area in which you truly become an overcomer, each plane of growth unto maturity to which you attain bespeaks a further establishment of incorruptibleness within your nature and being. When the processings of God are complete in all the holy sons of God, though having once been corruptible, they will have been made incorruptible. They will no longer have the nature to be corrupted. Self and sin will have passed from their lives never to be thought of again. There will be no word or expression for it, for it will have passed out of existence. The people I am talking about will have lost the ability to be corrupted. There will be no such thing as temptation to them. And, blessed be God! this ability to be corrupted is going to eventually pass from all people, for the firstfruit company, the sons of God, is but the firstfruits of God creatures!

"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be made partakers of THE DIVINE NATURE, HAVING ESCAPED THE CORRUPTION THAT IS IN THE WORLD THROUGH LUST (or, through self-desire)" (II Pet. 1:4). The word "nature" means – the essential character or constitution; essence. Essence means – that in being which underlies all outward manifestation, and is permanent and unchangeable. Certainly the DIVINE NATURE includes incorruptibility, it is INCAPABLE OF BEING CORRUPTED. And this fulfills the scripture: "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin because he is born of God" (I Jn. 3:9). There is a place of incorruptibility, it is in the fullness of the DIVINE NATURE already planted deep within the life of the new creature within.

This change from corruptible to incorruptible is not obtained by one grand leap into the middle of it, for it is line upon line that the Spirit works into us the divine nature of God, leading us from glory to glory through the transition process. The climax of this changing process now being worked in us by the indwelling Spirit of God, is "that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is" (I Jn. 3:2). And if we have such an hope of change, then are we also actively engaged in purifying ourselves, "even as He is pure." "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ, "as we read in I Pet. 1:13. Yes, this corruptible shall PUT ON INCORRUPTION, and in so doing, completely put an end to the tyranny of sin and death. If there be no sin, there can be no death – the ultimate harvest of sin. When Christ, the sinless one poured out His life for us, He gave us an incorruptible seed of life, to dwell in us, work in us, and transform us into its glorious reality.

RESURRECTION LIFE

Receiving of His life we find it to be a RESURRECTION LIFE. The word "resurrection" is from the Greek word anastasis meaning – a standing or rising up. It denotes much more than our English word "resurrection" which we term to mean the re-storing to life again. The Greek word means THE WHOLE PROCESS OF ADVANCING AND RISING UP UNTIL THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE REALM IS REACHED, and our goal is nothing short than full conformation into the image of God that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him.

Resurrection is the process of STANDING UP and ADVANCING – it is arising from the dust and the low realm of the earthy, to bear the image of the heavenly. Resurrection is the process of having our life LIFTED UP from the earth, to be raised to the heavenlies, to be joined in one with the fullness of the Spirit of God. The more ONE we are WITH HIM, the more we will say with Paul, "for our conversation is in heaven" (Phil. 3:20) The word "conversation" literally means "citizenship" and MANNER OF BEHAVIOUR. What a revelation to the world when we begin to manifest the behaviour of that other realm – so foreign to the flesh.

Now, if all our life is of this earthly realm, we need a body to manifest on that level. But the more our life is lifted up into the SPIRIT, and we have our manner of behaviour directed and controlled by the Spirit of God, the more it will necessitate that we begin to be clothed upon with our house (body) which is from heaven, that we might possess a body in harmony with our heavenly life. So, while it means the denying and crucifixion of the flesh, there is a "knowing in yourselves that we have in heaven a better and an enduring substance, an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven (the realm of the Spirit) for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (Heb. 10:34; I Pet. 1:4-5). Rather than clinging to this frail body, this flesh man, the more our life is taken from the earth, and lifted up into the heavenlies, the more we find our satisfaction in CHRIST ALONE, and the things of earth become strangely dim in the light of HIS WONDERFUL GLORY.

There was a day when the disciples were still looking for a resurrection at the end of an age which would bring forth a harvest of eternal life. Martha had this same shortsightedness as she stood at the tomb of her brother Lazarus. "Your brother shall rise again," Jesus told her, to which she replied, "Yes, Lord, I know that he shall rise again IN THE LAST DAY." Jesus said unto her, "I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE. believest thou this?" Oh, saints of God, do you not see that the Father within Jesus was the resurrection? "I live by the Father," He declared. The resurrection was not some THING that happened to Jesus, not some EVENT of which He was a partaker, not some DAY marked by the calendar. The resurrection was and is A MAN! "I AM" – there it is! "I AM the resurrection and the life." To possess the Man, to put on the Man is to have the resurrection, for the Man IS the resurrection.

I hope that all my readers are tired of repeating the theories and doctrines of the resurrection and have come to the place where you want to know the power of His resurrection working within. We want to experience its power working in us here and now. Oh that we might know the resurrection in such power and glory as this – that by HIM who now lives within the seed has been planted and there is a new and incorruptible life, a new and celestial body coming up now within our beings, for He who is within proclaims "I AM" – not shall be – "I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE!" Oh that we might put on Christ and have our mortality swallowed up by His divine life! The more the carnal mind reigns, the more we have of death. The more Christ reigns, the more we have of life.

Why should it be thought a thing impossible that God should raise the dead? And why should it be thought a thing impossible that a man should live forever, his mortality being swallowed up by God's life? Men have come forth with numerous doctrines and theories concerning the resurrection. With natural minds they have arranged each event in order. They have debated and fought over whether there is one general resurrection in which all the dead, good and bad, rise at once, or a first resurrection of saints preceding the thousand year reign of Christ followed by a second resurrection of the wicked after the millennium. Some have the first resurrection neatly divided into several companies, each coming to life either before the tribulation period or during the tribulation. Others have dead being raised and judged throughout the kingdom age, while others have resurrection extending out into the ages to come. This is all very interesting material to the natural mind, but it really doesn't get you very far or bring you any closer to God. The thing the theologians and teachers have missed in their zeal is the thing they always miss, – THE MOST IMPORTANT THING OF ALL! In this case they have forgotten that the resurrection IS NOT A THING, OR AN EVENT, OR A TIME PERIOD, BUT A PERSON, and that person is Jesus Christ Himself!

Can you not hear that wonderful conversation between Jesus and Martha? Listen to them as they talk. Said Martha, "If Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know that even now whatsoever Thou wilt ask of God, God will give it Thee." Jesus saith unto her, "Thy brother shall rise again." Martha saith unto Him, "I know that He shall rise again in the resurrection AT THE LAST DAY." Jesus said unto her, "I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE: HE THAT BELIEVETH ON ME, THOUGH HE WERE DEAD, YET SHALL HE LIVE: AND WHOSOEVER LIVETH AND BELIEVETH ON ME SHALL NEVER DIE. Believest thou this?" She replied, "Yea, Lord, I believe that Thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world."

"Believest thou this?" questioned the Son of God. "Believest thou this?" He asks today. Let us answer that question with Martha. Do we also believe that HE IS THE RESURRECTION? The importance of this understanding cannot be overestimated, for herein lies the great truth of the POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION. If Jesus Himself IS the resurrection, then to have HIM WITHIN is to have THE RESURRECTION WITHIN here and now.  

Glorious beyond description is the fact that here and now, even as I pen these words, in the inner realm of our spirit there is being constructed an incorruptible life, a BUILDING OF GOD, an house not made with hands, a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not of this creation, eternal in the heavens. Not a mansion in the sky, not a cabin in the corner, not a white nightgown and wings with which to flit about over the hills of glory, as the churches so ignorantly portray, but a new life, a new nature, a new garment, a new tabernacle, a new body, a body of light and glory and power, a body of CELESTIAL FLESH, a body of incorruption, a body of immortality raised up and constructed by the mighty working of THE INDWELLING POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION! When this work has been completed we will not be found naked, even though this present wretched hunk of corruptible flesh be laid aside!

 


 Chapter 29

THE GARMENTS OF EDEN

(continued)

MALE AND FEMALE

The book of Genesis gives two accounts of the creation of man. As I have studied the Word of God, many things have become very evident, one of which is that there are two distinct creations, or works of God revealed in chapters one and two of Genesis. CHRIST is the image of God, the scripture says. I know these words may seem to be incredible but they are truth – the very first mention of the "image of God" is applied, not to Jesus Christ, but to our forefather ADAM. "And God said, Let us make MAN IN OUR IMAGE, after our likeness: and let them have dominion, so God created MAN IN HIS OWN IMAGE, in the IMAGE OF GOD created He him" (Gen. 1:26-27). As we consider the wonderful advent of man created "in the image of God" we can only conclude that this is a SPIRITUAL MAN brought forth out of the very spirit-substance of God Almighty, and bearing His own divine nature, character, power, and attributes. The image of God is the nature of God reproduced in man. Thus, man is the true image of God.

Notice now, what God says in Gen. 1:20-25: “And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” And then in verse 26: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” This says plainly that the waters brought forth the whales, the fish, and the fowl of the air. Then the earth brought forth cattle, creeping things, the beasts of the earth. And the record further states that God made whales after the whale kind; cattle after the cattle kind; chimps after the chimp kind – but God made MAN after the GOD kind! That’s what it says! This reveals clearly, beyond dispute, that man is not an animal! Man was made in the image and likeness of God – in the very form and shape and substance of God. Man was first and foremost created a spiritual being to have a relationship to God.

It would, I think, be almost impossible to read the Creation story and pass unnoticed these words: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; MALE AND FEMALE created he them” and “… and blessed them, and called THEIR NAME ADAM, in the day when they were created” (Gen. 1:27, 5:2). The man of Genesis One is not formed out of the earth, he is a man from heaven, a heavenly man, a spiritual man. This man was created. Of what was he created? He as created of the Word. It does not say that he was formed out of something; it does not say the earth brought him forth, as it says of the animals; He was created. “And God said, Let us make man in our image and after our likeness… and God created man in His own image, in the image of God created he him” The divine nature image and glory was best and fully expressed in the man Christ Jesus who shed upon mortals the truest reflection of God and lifted man's sights higher than their poor thought-models would allow. Jesus revealed to men their true origin, heritage and destiny. He came to show man what man really is, was intended to be, and through redemption shall be – THE IMAGE OF GOD. Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. In Jesus Christ you see man as he was in the beginning and as he ever shall be world without end – THE IMAGE OF GOD. Of Him it is written, "He is the expression of the glory of God – the Light-being, the out-raying of the divine – and He is the perfect imprint and very image of God's nature…” (Hebrews 1:3 Amplified). Christ, and humanity in Christ, is like a ray of light which comes from the sun-man the outcome of God, reflects God.

Contrary to popular teaching man has never LOST the image of God, although the image has been obscured, distorted, marred and corrupted by the usurpation of the carnal mind, the outer man. A lost image is NO image. The true likeness cannot be lost in divine reflection. It would be like fire without light. The out-raying image of God is like the Word of God. To destroy the Word of God you would have to destroy God Himself, for God and His Word are ONE. To destroy the image of God would necessitate the destruction of God, for God and His image are ONE. The apostle Paul confirms man 'I', as God's image in his remarkably significant words to the saints in Corinth: "For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he I-S THE IMAGE AND GLORY OF GOD" (I Cor:11:7).

The very fact that the scripture states that Adam “became” a living soul, reveals that was a process of descending from pure spirit existence, into a lesser realm. In Gen. 1:26 we see the wonderful advent of man created "in the image and likeness of God," a SPIRITUAL MAN brought forth out of the very SPIRIT-SUBSTANCE of God Almighty and bearing His own divine nature, character and attributes. God first called man ADAM meaning RED, or SHOWING BLOOD IN THE FACE – when He created him a SPIRITUAL MAN. In Gen. 2:7 we find that in God's inscrutable wisdom the dark hour came when the creature was MADE SUBJECT TO VANITY (Rom. 8:20). Of this man who had been created as pure spirit in the image of God, it is now stated, "And the Lord God FORMED MAN OF THE DUST OF THE GROUND, and breathed into his nostrils the breath (spirit, the spiritual man) of life; and man (then) BECAME a LIVING SOUL." The man who had been spirit now "became" a LIVING SOUL – manifest in the earth realm. Adam – red, showing blood in the face – BECAME a living soul, revealing that there was a PROCESS of descending from pure spirit existence, into a lesser realm.

The point of special interest to us here is the fact that God first called man ADAM, or RED – SHOWING BLOOD IN THE FACE – when He created him a SPIRITUAL MAN. Man did not "become" Adam when he was "formed of the dust of the ground" – it was not the earthly man who was first characterized as red, or showing blood in the face – but the heavenly man! And this Adam was not formed of the dust, but was created "in the image and likeness of God." No poet or philosopher or prophet could possibly describe the glory and eminence of THIS MAN! I have long known that the "face" in symbolic terms bespeaks of the outward expression and revelation of the deepest inward parts of man's being – the heart. All that a man thinks and feels and is inwardly is written and expressed outwardly upon the countenance, known and read of all men. Blood bespeaks LIFE. To "show blood in the face" is to show life in the countenance – the OUTWARD REVELATION OF THE INNER CONDITION OF L-I-F-E!

The contrast between the heavenly man and the earthly man has been beautifully drawn by Lloyd Ellefson in his publication THE GOOD SEED: “Before we can get there, we have to pass through both the created Man (who is… the spiritual man) and the formed man (who is the carnal or earthly man). We have two men, and the one in Genesis One we say is created, and the one in Genesis Two as formed out of the dust of the earth. … In Genesis 2:5 we read that God had no man to till (or to work, serve, cultivate) the ground. Yet in Genesis One God had already created man. That is the first difference. The first man was not made to work the soil; he was a heavenly man. The second man is formed out of the ground, to work the ground, to be earthly, or to produce an earthly concept of God which is not a correct image, but only a temporary image that will eventually be done away with. In Genesis One, he was created as an image. In Genesis Two he was not created as an image. He was formed out of the creation or out of the dust of the earth. It does not say that about the first man.”

Let us just note a few more of the differences between these two men. The first man was created from the Word of God; the second man was formed out of the existing creation. Since the first man was created in the image of God, he must be spiritual; the second man was from the dust of the earth, earthy. God breathed into him, and he became a living soul (i.e. he became aware). The same word is used for the beasts of the field, but it is not said of plants. The first man was created male and female, and not divided. The second man was also created together, but was later divided.

To the first man God said, “Subdue the earth and have dominion.” Dominion was not given to the second man. As a matter of fact, he was restricted. He was put into a garden and told to cultivate it. This is not said of the first man. The first man was given every plant bearing seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed, for food. The second man had a restriction placed upon him. There was one tree of which he was not to eat. After the second man was made, it does not say that all was very good, as it says after the first man was created. Nor does it say that the first man was divided and put to sleep, like the second man was. The second man was also sent out of the garden.

We see then that we have two humanities in these two chapters. One of them is the spiritual man. The other is the natural man. So we have here two images of God. From our present viewpoint in time, consciousness and experience that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual (I Cor. 15:46). From our conscious experience in this life the natural man was first and as we were quickened by the Spirit and united to Christ the spiritual man arose in us. That’s according to our perspective and understanding. However, looking at them the way God sees them, we see that the first man was obviously spiritual, and the second man was the one formed of the dust. Man sees the natural image first, then the spiritual. But God saw the spiritual man first, then the earthy. When we are re-generated it is the quickening or re-surrection of the spiritual image. The prefix “re” means back, again, anew, to reappear. Thus re-birth means to be born again. To re-generate means to generate anew. To re-surrect means to stand up once more. Regeneration is the raising up again of the spiritual image in man. If the spiritual image had not once existed in man, prior to earthy image, there is no way it could be re-generated, re-surrected, or re-stored. So there are two men. One is the generation of the Spirit, or the heavens, and the other is the generation of the earth, or the flesh.

When the spiritual man was lowered into the form of the earth man, the scripture explains that “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen 2:7). From the Greek the statement reads, “The first man Adam was made a zoe psuche (living soul)” (I Cor. 15:45). The wonderful simplification of this statement is missed by nearly all who read it or comment upon it. There are two primary words that are translated “life” in our English Bibles – zoe and psuche. Turn your concordance and you will find the Greek word zoe translated life as many or more times than you will find psuche so translated. And zoe is the word that is always translated “eternal” or “eonian” life. The reason for this, as distinguished from psuche(not, animal life) is that zoe is always used to denote spiritual, or everlasting life. Zoe is the life of God. “In Him was Zoe; and the Zoe was the light of men” (Jn. 1:4). “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of Zoe; and man became a living soul” (John 5:26). Psuche is natural soul life. This life, Zoe, is the life Jesus promised to give to man when He said, “I give unto them eternal life (Zoe), and they shall never perish.” Psuche on the other hand, is the life Jesus said we must lay down or lose in order to gain Zoe life. “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Mat. 16:24-25). In the Hebrew text the statement reads, “… and behold, man became a nephesh chaya.” The Hebrew word nephesh means “spirit,” while chaya, which is derived from the root chai meaning “life,” is the generic term for “animal” or “creature.” Only man embodies both earthly and divine characteristics which are combined together in such a unique and majestic manner.

It should now be obvious to all who read these lines that when Adam became a living soul (psuche) he was not only a physical being fashioned from the dust of the earth, but also a being infused with divine, spiritual, heavenly life. Man is a “divine” being, “breathed into” by God Himself. He is of infinite value for he possesses a part of the divine himself.  But there is another significant expression in the Genesis record that we do not want to miss. “And God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life…” The word “life” is in the Hebrew plural, literally, lives. The breath of lives! The moment we understand that man in the beginning was created a spiritual man or race, both male and female, and that male and female IS the image of God, then we can understand for the first time the nature of the “lives” that God breathed into the earthen form.

When he that readeth can grasp the truth that God bears within Himself both the characteristics of male and female, of Father and Mother, then he can better understand the divine word spoken “in the beginning” when God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: so… in the image of God created He him; Male, Female. Both Adam. Both man. Both in the image of God! Those who read these lines should meditate deeply upon the wonder of man’s primordial glory – male and female – set together in splendor over the works of God’s hands. All creation being set in order, one was needed to take the headship, to bring the authority and blessing of God’s Kingdom over all things. “And God said, Let us make man in our image and after our likeness; and let THEM have dominion… so God created man in His own image… male and female created He THEM. And God blessed THEM, and God said unto THEM, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and HAVE DOMINIOIN over… every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:26-28). Universal dominion was not given to the male alone, it was not said, “let him have dominion,” but “Let them have dominion.” How clear that the spiritual man was not a single entity – they were male and female! God called their name Adam. The man’s name wasn’t Adam. The woman’s name wasn’t Adam. But their name was Adam. They were more than one. And there – male and female – were ordained to be fruitful and multiply and populate the earth realm. Can we not see by this that the “lives” breathed by God into the earthy form were (the male and female spirits in this image of God – the pre-existent spiritual man!) and is not this the mystery that Moses and Aaron understood when they fell upon their faces and cried unto the Lord, saying “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh…” (Num. 16:22). It is my deep conviction that every spirit of man inhabiting a flesh body is derived from those primordial spirits of the spiritual male and female in the image of God.

You were there and so was I…
The seed of Great “I AM”,
We were extensions of Himself
So He called our name “Ad-AM”.

Thus out of God we did proceed,
Projected into time,
In innocence and purity,
A state of bliss sublime.

He breathed us in a body
That He had made of dust,
Male and Female Adam,
Both in body thrust.

- Lora Huston

Thus the spiritual family of man (male and female) was lowered into the clay form of the earth man. The first image of God was concealed or veiled in the flesh or the humanity of the second man.  I think that this spiritual man, the spiritual image of God, has been in man all the time, but concealed or veiled by the fleshly man and his testimony. Our spirits were with God in the beginning of the creation. Long before we existed in this form of dust, or of flesh and blood, we were with the Father. To those who can receive it there is a blessed and divine answer in the New Testament to the question put by the Almighty to Job in that long ago: "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:4,7). O that men might see that there was a day in which God established in the heavens His great plan of creation and redemption. In that moment of the early councils of the Elohim there erupted such an harmonious symphony of rejoicing and praise and the morning stars formed a celestial choir which broke forth into a rhapsody of song while all the sons of God filled the unlimited vastnesses of infinity with their shouts of joy and expectation as they with wonder beheld the end of Father' s glorious plan.

There is a chord far away in the depths of my spirit today that still vibrates to that wondrous shout of joy. There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that in that long forgotten past we were there with Him in spirit, and there is an inward sense of assurance that much of the truth we now possess was known to our spirits since that early beginning. The call to sonship was placed within our spirits at that time, for the scripture with divine certainty testifies that it was those whom the Father FOREKNEW that He also predestinated to be conformed into the image of His Son (Rom. 8: 29), according as He hath chosen us in Him BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of sons by Jesus Christ to Himself (Eph. 1:4-5). Paul Mueller wrote some time ago that all that has taken place in our lives, from the cradle to the grave, was at that time programmed into our spirits, and we are now walking out the path that Father ordained for us in that pre-dawn hour. To which my spirit shouts a hearty "Amen!"

The truth written in this message is glorious beyond compare, because it contains the truth concerning the FULLNESS OF OUR SALVATION – RESTORATION TO THE IMAGE AND GLORY OF GOD that was ours before ever the worlds were framed.

Hans Christian Anderson was a great storyteller. He could spin a yarn and tell a tale with the best of writers. He also recognized a greater writer, the storyteller of life. "Every man's life is a fairy tale," he wrote, "written by God's fingers." When do our tales begin? Many say, "Why, at birth, of course, when the cord is cut and the child draws its first breath and sees the light of day." God, the storyteller of life, tells us His "fingers" were busy long before that. Long before your conception in a physical world, you existed, because you are the children of the Father in heaven. If you did not exist before your conception, then, my friends, you have no SPIRIT within you, and God, the Father of spirits, the Father in heaven, is not the Father of the spirits of all men. The question begs an answer: From whence came your spirit? From God? From the devil? Did God by a special act of creation form it at the moment of your conception or birth? Was it pro-created in the physical union of sperm and ovum? If you did not exist before your conception you do not belong to the family of God, nor are you the sons of God, nor did Jesus descend from the heavenly realms to redeem you, and there is not much I can tell you that will do you any good.

I turn to the passages of scripture which with divine certainty relate this. In Eph. 1:4-5 we find, "According as He hath chosen us IN HIM BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children (placement as sons) by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will." Blessed be God! The apostle Paul informs us that God chose and predestinated a company of sons BEFORE the foundation of the world. The word "before" translates the Greek word PRO meaning "to go before, to precede." Hence, the Father's act of choosing the firstfruit-sons preceded the laying the foundations of the world. How, I ask, could God choose you IN CHRIST and predestinate you in that long ago eternity IF YOU DID NOT THEN EXIST? Now, therefore, when I talk to you, I am talking to a household of God's sons and daughters; I am talking to a celestial race, a divine household; and these are the people of whom the apostle spoke when he wrote to the saints in Rome, saying, "For whom He did FOREKNOW, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29). Yes – the Father in heaven FOREKNEW YOU, my beloved brother, my precious sister in Christ. And that can mean nothing else but that He KNEW YOU BEFORE and at that time when He KNEW YOU BEFORE He predestinated you to enter this earth-experience and thereby be conformed to the image of first, unique, and preeminent Son, Jesus Christ.

Never were words more sublime uttered by sage or prophet than those spoken by King David when he lifted up his heart to God in a prayer of thanksgiving and adoration saying, "Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God" (Ps. 90:1-2). It is my deep conviction that every man of Adam's race had his beginning in God and existed in Him in eternity past before ever we came to this earth to be enriched and perfected by the experience of temptation, sin, death, redemption and restoration. Our coming to this earth was with the purpose that through the desperate furnace of trials in this charnel house of sin and death we should come to the knowledge not only of good and evil and the holiness of God, but to the sacred understanding of the mystery of godliness – of WHY the wages of sin is death; WHY when any creature of God sows to the flesh he reaps of the flesh only corruption; WHY when a man sows to the spirit he of the spirit reaps life everlasting. Having gained this sacred knowledge of the law of Being we shall not stand in God's image and glory like robots programmed to function in divine nature inherently incapable of being anything less, but we are brought to the spiritual appreciation of the principles of Divine Being and by our perfection in knowledge and experience stand before our Lord at last in an ETERNAL CHOOSING to abide in a perfection like unto His own.

As poor Job sat on the ash heap in the midst of trial and suffering the Lord commanded him to stand up like a man and respond to the questions He, the Lord, would put to him. The Lord then asked forty questions, none of which Job could answer. Among the questions was this one: "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:7). Job was speechless, for he had no idea where he was in that time of long ago, but the truth, it seems to me, was that Job was there among the company of the sons of God, beholding with wonder the plan of God on earth with its sufferings and testiness and the glory that should follow. These sons of God who shouted for joy on that primeval morn understood the wisdom of a plan by which they should gain the enlightenment of perfection by experience instead of perfection by creations guided only by divine instincts, and that the sufferings of this world are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to follow as a result of them, and so awesome was the prospect that they shouted for joy in holy expectation. We do not shout unless there is something to shout about. The message is clear--there was a time before the foundations of the earth were laid; there were sons of God who already existed in that ancient time; and those young sons of God lifted their voices with the morning stars in contemplation of the marvelous purpose they were to fulfill. It is precious to know that God's first Son, our own Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, is named the Bright and Morning Star.

In the ninetieth Psalm referred to above, the prophet David assures us with great plainness of speech that the Lord has been our dwelling place in all generations. Even before the mountains were brought forth or God had formed the earth, from everlasting to everlasting He is God and in Him we dwelt and from Him we came. Our spirits were with Him before the creation of the earth, for the Father was then our dwelling place. We were sent to this earthly realm for a wise and glorious purpose – for testing, learning, instruction, training, discipline, and perfection--preparation for our part in that magnificent work of deliverance of the whole creation from the tyranny of darkness, decay and death. The Psalmist said, "Thou turnest man to destruction (this realm of sin and death, of flesh and blood); and sayest, Return, ye children of men" (Ps. 90:3). The Lord turned man to destruction, which is to say, He sent us down to this earth realm of dust, sin and death, and then said to us, "Return! ye children of men." What a revelation that is!

During our sojourn in this life, we (the firstfruits) have heard our Father's call to return to Him. And so we are returning in obedience to His call and in the strength and anointing of His quickening Spirit. I do not believe our heavenly Father will leave us in this realm of destruction one day longer than is necessary. When He who in eternal wisdom turned us to destruction sees that all the lessons have been fully and eternally learned and that destruction's work has been fulfilled, then He says, "Return, ye children of men," and we return. When our Lord says, "Come," we come. Matters not how far we have wandered in our sin or how low we have gone in degradation. When the day comes for the Lord to say RETURN YE CHILDREN OF MEN He puts into our hearts the desire to return and we return. At the end of our sojourn in this earthly realm we will have learned the truths Father wanted us to learn and experienced His ways unto perfection. We began in God, we are walking out our predestined path in this life, and will return to the Father as fully manifest sons of God, equipped to set creation free from the curse of sin and death.

Far away in the depths of my spirit today there is a chord that still vibrates to that wondrous shout of joy before the foundations of the earth were laid, when, in that long forgotten past we were there with the Father in spirit, and there is an inward sense of assurance that much of the truth we now possess was known to our spirits since that early beginning. Because the spirit is burdened down with the earthly and visible, man has come to the place in his experience where the inner sanctum wherein God lives in man's spirit is veiled by the flesh and his spiritual consciousness is imprisoned by this gross material realm. We remember not the things of old – until that heaven-blest day when Christ comes in quickening power and touches the mind of our spirit, restoring the memory of those former things. For lack of true understanding we call this restored memory "revelation". When by the eyes of spirit we see Jesus, crowned with glory and honor, the powerful attraction kindled in our hearts for Christ and reality is, in fact, just the beginning of the wonderful RENEWING OF THE MIND to recall again the things of that high and holy realm from whence we came. The "renewing" of the mind can be nothing else but the restoration of the mind to a realm of knowledge and understanding previously enjoyed.

There is an ancient folk-tale about a tiger that was brought up with a herd of goats. From the day his eyes opened, all he saw was a goat's life so it became his style of life too. The tiger munched grass with the rest, butted heads with the younger goats for recreation, and learned to bleat in an odd sort of way a sound that resembled, so he thought, the goat's voice. Once in a while there was a nagging voice inside him that said, "You don't belong to this life!" But always he put it aside as a fantasy, some disturbing intrusion from the world of dreams. If this didn't satisfy him, he just marked it off as the discontent that always hovers around the edges of any life style. So he, a tiger, chose to stay with a goat's way of life because he believed that was the way life had to be. Then one day a tiger came into the clearing. He was all tiger, having grown up knowing who he was. He looked into the clearing and spotted the goats. He roared the earth-shaking roar of his species, bounded out and made his kill. The goats fled in terror and so did the tiger who had grown up with them. At first he wanted to stay. The roar from the edge of the forest had stirred some lost memory in his soul. He flexed his great muscles in a kind of automatic reflex to the challenge from the forest edge. For a moment he could have been a tiger too, but he could not believe in the sound he heard, the challenge it brought. He couldn't believe in himself, in the instincts that had lain dormant so long. For a brief moment, he could have been a tiger. He wanted to try, but then the goat's life was all he knew so he turned and fled. He could have grasped a new and greater life, but then he fell back to being a goat for the rest of his days. The tiger at the edge of the forest of your existence is JESUS, unique, divine, glorious and powerful. He will not fail – He will draw ALL unto Him! He is all you should be. He is all man was created to be. He is all you were destined to be. He is what God intends. He is THE SON as you are predestined to be sons and daughters of the Most High. You cannot avoid Him. You cannot resist Him. Something deep within stirs. Deep calleth unto deep. The tiger calls to the tiger in you! The God in Christ calls to the God in you!

"But God who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath BEFORE ORDAINED that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:4-10).

Some glad morning, the dawn of which methinks I now behold, when the processing's of God in His firstfruits are complete, our eyes will behold with endless joy the surpassing glory of that celestial realm in which walked Adam, the son of God. Our eyes, long dimmed by the darkness of this carnal realm, have not beheld such glories as were there; our ears have not heard its heavenly song, nor have our wildest imaginations probed the splendors of that realm of life where Adam stood in God's image and likeness having no sin, no sorrow nor crying, no labor nor sweat, no bondage nor limitation, no pain nor death; for even now, in this "in part" realm of the firstfruits of the Spirit, we yet see through a glass darkly.

Lowered into the earth realm, becoming a living soul, man sank even lower. The bright and glorious spirit ruled in the man and woman of flesh until that dreadful hour in which they partook of the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Then and there their eyes were opened to see their OUTWARD FORMS. The outraying spirit of glory that had reigned within them dimmed beneath the newly discovered consciousness of the OUTER and they knew the shame of their nakedness before the Lord. Truly the "nakedness" consisted in their sense-consciousness of the lack of reality in the realm of the flesh. In this state they knew the grief of sustaining their bodies by sweat and travail. Man was lowered from the realm of spirit, into the realm of the soul; then in disobedience, drawn away of his own lust and enticed down into the flesh, so that at last God said of man, "He is BECOME FLESH" (Gen. 6:3)He was lowered from spirit to soul, and fell from soul to "flesh." The spirit of man is the image of God – GOD consciousness. The soul is the seat of SELF-consciousness, and the body is the seat of SENSE-consciousness. In spirit Adam was God-conscious. In soul man was both God-conscious and Self-conscious. But ruled by his five senses, fulfilling the desires of the flesh, conscious of the outward world about him, seeking his experience, existence and identity in that low realm, he was a FLESHLY MAN. Having made the transition from the celestial to the physical, we died to the spiritual and became alive to the natural, under the throes of the carnal mind, to have "our conversation, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, by nature the children of wrath, even as others" (Eph. 2:3).

I would point out, that Adam had already "fallen", as it were, before he partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was BECAUSE he had already been lowered from a higher realm that he DID partake of this tree. One of the outstanding texts which shows this "lowering" of man and his subsequent LACK is Ps. 8:4-5 wherein we read, "What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him? For thou hast MADE HIM a little LOWER than the angels." The word "angels" in this passage is from the Hebrew ELOHIM and is always the Old Testament word for GOD. "In the beginning GOD (Elohim) created." (Gen. 1:1). The phrase "made a little lower than the angels" would more literally be translated from the Hebrew text, "Thou hast caused him (man) to LACK FROM ELOHIM." When God would execute the purpose of the ages He laid hold of His ELOHIM COMPANY and stripped from them some of that glory, that fullness, that oneness and caused them to lack, for He subjected us to the bondage of vanity and corruption, emptiness and nothingness, not willingly on our part, but by reason of HIM who subjected us in hope – hope, in the words of another: "...that out of all its travail and processing's would come forth a company that would redound to His praise, that the inherent glory of our pre-existent state in God, and the acquired glory through the contact with evil, and the overcoming thereof, would combine their effulgence and the latter state would be greater than the former; so that all we once had, plus all that is wrought out through the processing will combine their effulgence, and redemption's glory will shine out to His praise and all the universe shall throb anew with wonder of the power and the inworking grace of God" – Gospel Echoes.

But in the meantime we were made to lack, lowered from that pure spirit existence in the image of God. "Thou hast made Him a little lower than Elohim," the spirit was lowered it was made to lack from the realm of fullness, so that some of the counterbalancing qualities which promote order and righteousness were missing. This immediately made man vulnerable to any temptation that might come his way and so he fell into the delusion of sin. The very moment the spirit was made to lack man fell into the power of death. This in turn produced a change in even the body of man and he became helplessly subject to this realm of gross materialism as we know it now. And so, when we come to Adam in the garden, when the Lord God formed him of the dust of the ground and placed him in the garden to dress it, guard it, keep it, and take care of it, Adam was ALREADY SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD! He had already been lowered, had already "fallen", as it were, and been MADE TO LACK. He did not have sufficient resources to fulfill the command of God. And God planned it this way!

The moment you understand this truth, it is a simple matter to grasp the fact that all sin--with the whole realm of vanity, darkness, evil and death--is the fruit and manifestation of an IMBALANCE, a LACK, a DEFICIENCY, a FRAGMENTATION.

What is man? Brain, heart, blood, bones, etc., the material structure? If the real man is in the material body, you take away a portion of the man when you amputate a limb; the surgeon destroys manhood, and worms annihilate it. But the loss of some physical member has betimes become the quickener of manhood as in the crucible of suffering there appear the virtues of humility, thankfulness, patience, compassion, drawn from the rich resources of INNER SPIRITUAL STRENGTH. The unfortunate cripple may present more nobility of true manhood than the dashing athlete – teaching us that the man on the inside is of far more enduring substance than the man on the outside! Take away the physical and take away the outer worldly elements of wealth, possessions, fame, social recognition, which weigh not one jot on the scales of God, and in what remains we get a clearer picture of man as God made him. Let goodness, mercy, justice, purity, health, holiness and love – the Kingdom of heaven – reign within us and the outer is found to be of no consequence. The real man is SPIRIT, not dust. The true man is IMMORTAL, not dying. The inner man is the IMAGE OF THE HEAVENLY, not the image of the earthly as perceived by the physical senses.

Adam's sin in eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil lay in his walking after the flesh (sense realm) instead of the Spirit. It consisted in his making the outer, physical, material, sensual man his center, identity and existence rather than the inner man of Spirit. The remarkable thing is that he perceived not that all that pertains to the material world is illusionary, transitory, corruptible. Sensual treasures are laid up "where moth and rust doth corrupt." Mortality is their doom. Death breaks in upon them, and carries off their fleeting joys. The sensualist's affections are as imaginary, whimsical, unreal and short-lived as his pleasures. Covetousness, fleshly passions, gluttony, drunkenness, immorality, fame, fashion, vanity, worldly wisdom, political power, military might, envy, hypocrisy, revenge, hate, and so forth, pass away with the works thereof. Stripped of its coverings, what a mocking spectacle the flesh is! When the almighty Creator counseled the first man and his wife, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," He gave precisely the same instruction in wisdom and prudence that the apostle Paul offered long millenniums afterwards when by inspiration he wrote, "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the spirit the things of the spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live" (Rom. 8:5-6,13). Life is in the SPIRIT WITHIN, and with what joy and satisfaction do we now entertain the precious promise, "therefore brethren we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh: but if ye through the spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, YE SHALL LIVE. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ." (Rom. 8:12-17).

George Hawtin has eloquently expounded on this thought, and I share a few of his valuable insights. "Well did the apostle Paul know that the vast mass of humanity was 'at home' only in the REALM OF THE BODY. They belonged entirely to an earthly realm where things are visible, audible, and touchable. Their minds seldom mounted higher than things physical, and when for a few moments they did rise to walk upon a spiritual plane, they were not really 'at home' there, but waited for the moment when they could LAPSE BACK to the NATURAL AND NORMAL, for that is where they were 'at home.' So, while men are 'at home' in the body, they are 'always absent from the Lord' (II Cor. 5:6-7), absent from the spiritual world of true reality. HEAVEN IS CLOSED TO THEM. Their minds dwell in the realm where men buy and sell, plant and build, marry and are given in marriage. They dwell in a realm of eating and drinking, of finding pleasure for the body, amusing their minds with silly things of the world, absorbing, listening to, or looking at some fictitious thing that serves only to amuse the natural man, keeping his heart away from the realm of eternal reality."

My heart burns within me and my spirit is flooded with joy unspeakable and full of glory as these sacred and wonderful truths find lodging and substance within my consciousness. With what clarity I see that when Adam stood between the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in that long ago Eden, his future condition was to be shaped by the tree-identity (consciousness) he pursued. "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the spirit the things of the spirit" (Rom. 8:5). It is all a matter of what you are AFTER! These are the two trees: spirit and flesh, life and death, truth and error. Every man who ever lived has had his center, his identity and his existence in one of these two trees. The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil are not fossilized relics from some ancient age. They are living, breathing, enduring, ever-present realities throughout all generations, and each of us in God's great today is living by one or the other of these two trees in every thought, word and deed. The tree of life (spirit) invariably ministers incorruption and immortality, whereas the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (flesh) unfailingly leads to death.

Again I would share significant and enlightening words from the able pen of George Hawtin. In his excellent paper, THE PASSING AND THE PERMANENT, he explains, "Now, since the flesh lusts against the Spirit and is at endless conflict with it, then anything that seeks to make you earthly and fleshly-minded is a great evil. The things that belong to the realm of the flesh are passing away. Even the flesh itself is passing away. Anything that is passing away is not real. It is like a bubble that floats prettily in the air only to burst never to exist again. It is like the darkness that disappears with the dawn and has no certain dwelling place. It is like a flower in the field that blooms for a moment and disappears, a vision of the night, a fleeting shadow, a moment of joy, a passing sorrow, or a sudden pain. When such things have passed by, no one knows where they came from or whither they have gone. Those, however, who indulge themselves in the things that belong to the body grow to think that nothing is true or real but what is bodily and can be touched or seen or eaten or drunk or enjoyed by the passions of men. Unwittingly they change true riches for false; things that are unseen by mortal eyes for things that are seen. They exchange things that are spirit for things that can be touched, tasted, and felt by the body. The soul now begins to think that these things which belong to the body are real and therefore becomes fleshly minded. The carnal or earthly mind is an enemy of God and an enemy of all things spiritual.

"It is small wonder then that the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God; for all things connected with the natural belong to time and change, while all things belonging to the spiritual are eternal and changeless. So then all who would come to know the WISDOM OF GOD, and the REVELATION of the Lord, must turn their spirit from the realm of the physical and changing, the corrupt and mortal, and fly away into the realm of the pure, eternal, unchanging, and immortal. It is only there that rest and truth are found, and, abiding there in the Spirit, even the body itself begins to be lifted from corruption to incorruption and from mortality to immortality. We said a moment ago that when the soul comes into the realm of the flesh, it becomes carnal and fleshly minded because it is dragged into the realm of the body. Inversely then, when the soul and spirit dwell in the secret place with God, they lift the body till it also becomes incorruptible, immortal, and eternal. While the spirit and the body are united and dwell together, one must always be in subjection to the other. Either the body will be servant to the spirit or the spirit will be servant to the body. One will be the servant and be ruled. The other will be the master and rule. We cannot avoid this conclusion. Either the flesh will rule the spirit, or the spirit will rule the flesh. Since, however, the flesh is like the mortal and changing, and the spirit is like the immortal and unchanging, then the spirit is the one who should be the master. If the spirit is the master, it will save the flesh by lifting it to the realm of God and immortality, but if the body is master, it will ruin the soul by dragging it to the realm of the carnal, the mortal, the changing" – end quote.

When the Lord God lowered man into this gross material realm man possessed, by the spirit, the divine potential to overcome the flesh, sanctify it, transform it, infusing it with the qualities of Life – holiness and incorruption. Jesus, the last Adam, came and demonstrated for us this very principle. This potential in man to rule the natural by the spirit is shed forth in Jesus' mighty works – by His healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, casting out devils, forgiving sins, and raising the dead--He transcended by His life, words, and actions all the so-called laws of the material, mortal realm. The great significance of Jesus' mighty works will never ring clear in our spirits until we understand that He did not perform as a unique, different kind of man--all His wonderful works were the teaching of what is NORMAL FOR MAN IN HIS TRUE STATE AS THE IMAGE OF GOD. As the last Adam Jesus demonstrated all that the first Adam lost--mankind's heritage as the sons and daughters of the Most High. Little wonder, then, that He confidently and joyfully proclaimed to His disciples, "The works that I do shall YE DO ALSO; and greater works than these shall YE DO" (Jn. 14:12, Paraphrased).

By the Spirit within (the Father dwelling in Him) Jesus made nature harmonious--calming the raging of the sea, walking on the water, multiplying the loaves and fishes, turning water into wine, and making everything in nature, including the human mind and body, to be servants instead of masters. When a man's life is governed by the Spirit, his body is in submission to everlasting Life, Truth and Love. Finally, going to the cross and Himself rising from the dead He demonstrated for all men the wonderful and incontrovertible truth in the words of the apostle: "If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit which DWELLETH I-N Y-O-U" (Rom. 8:11). The truth had been lived among men, God was manifested in flesh, the image of God had come forth in the face of Jesus Christ. But until they saw that the INDWELLING SPIRIT enabled their Master to triumph even over the grave, His own disciples could not comprehend the MAGNITUDE OF THE POWER OF GOD IN MAN. After the resurrection, even the unbelieving Thomas was forced to acknowledge how complete was the great proof of the power of the divine life in earthen vessels.

By His resurrection Jesus proved the Spirit within to be OMNIPOTENT, all-conquering, all-sufficient. He met and mastered death itself by the law of the Spirit of Life. He took no drugs to allay inflammation. He did not depend upon food or pure air or vitamins or herbs to resuscitate wasted energies. He did not require the skill of a surgeon to heal the torn palms and bind up the wounded side and lacerated feet, that He might use those hands to remove the napkin and winding-sheet, and that He might employ His feet as before. Jesus vanquished every material obstacle, overcame every law of matter, and stepped forth from His gloomy resting-place, crowned with the glory of a sublime success, and everlasting victory – the second MAN, the last ADAM--the role-model for each and every man of Adam's race! Jesus' victory over sin, sickness, pain, limitation, death and the grave was for the enlightenment of all men and for the salvation of the whole world. Paul writes, "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved BY HIS LIFE (WITHIN). Rom 5:10

Glory be to God and peace to the struggling hearts Christ hath rolled away the stone from the human door human hope and faith through the revelation and demonstration of Life in God, the life resident in the SPIRITUAL MAN.

We have come to the most sublime of all truths. The beauty of these celestial realities is found in the fact that all Jesus did He did "for us" – not in our place, but ON OUR BEHALF. A musician demonstrates the beauty of the music he teaches in order to show the learner the way by practice as well as precept. This was the precious import of our Lord's sinless life and of His demonstration of power over the whole flesh realm, including death. Our heavenly Father demands that all men should follow the example of our Lord and Master. In order to enter the Kingdom of the Heavens, the anchor of hope must be cast beyond the veil of this carnal, dying realm into the Shekinah into which Jesus has passed before us; and this advance beyond the law of sin and death must come through the joys and triumphs of a people "led by the Spirit" who are "the sons of God" as well as through their sorrows and afflictions. It is by facing the enemy in the crucible of experience and by the authority of the Spirit that victory is snatched from the jaws of defeat. Each and every test in our lives is an opportunity to prove for ourselves and demonstrate to those about the triumph of the Spirit over the flesh. Step by step, battle by battle, victory upon victory we ascend into the heights of the Kingdom of Heaven.

The thought the Spirit of God would now emphasize to our hearts is the fact that both the "created" man and the "formed" man were MALE AND FEMALE. Of the spiritual man it is written, "So God created He man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; MALE AND FEMALE created He them" (Gen. 1:27). Of the manifest man we read, "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Gen. 2:21-24).

Long millenniums after Abraham's encounter with God Almighty, El Shaddai, the "Breasted One," John the Revelator, in exile on the barren Isle of Patmos, a place of few inhabitants and swarming with pirates, heard behind him the voice of One who trumpeted into his ears the message, "I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, which is, and which was, and which is to come, THE ALMIGHTY" (Rev. 1:8). As John turned to see the voice that spoke to him, with astonished countenance beheld the wonder of this One "clothed with a garment down to the foot, and GIRT ABOUT THE PAPS with a golden girdle" (Rev. 1:13). The word "paps" is the Greek word "mastos" used exclusively in Greek for the female breast! "And it came to pass, as He spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said Unto Him, Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, and the PAPS (mastos) which Thou hast sucked!" (Lk. 11:27). On Patmos we have the woman's dress and the woman's breast while yet the speaker is THE ALMIGHTY! It would not be possible to describe more vividly the dual nature of our God who is both Male and Female, the Strong and Mighty One, our Father, who is also "El Shaddai," our Mother, the Pourer-forth who pours Himself out for His creatures; who gives them His life-blood; who satisfies them with milk from His own bosom; who sheds forth his Spirit, and says, "Come unto me and drink:" "Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it”… who thus gives Himself and His very nature to those who receive Him, that they may grow to become HIS SONS AND HIS DAUGHTERS!

All the right and natural relationship in which human beings stand to each other are meant to reveal something in God – some relation in which He stands to us. He is as a King to His subjects, giving them laws and governing them for their good. He is as a Father to His children, providing for their needs, training and educating them in love and service as members of the great family of God. But there is something, if one may say so, deeper than even this – something that corresponds to the tenderness of a mother, especially in her gentle power of comforting the weary and wounded spirit of her child. “Although my father and my mother have forsaken me, yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child]” (Ps. 27:10 Amplified). This is the testimony of one who could no longer go home for the counsel of father and mother, he could no longer go home for home cooking, he could no longer spend time with his parents. This man says that God became for Him both father and mother. Throughout the scriptures God is presented to us in the masculine gender – He is essentially God our Father. And a father’s strength, courage, dependability, and so forth do offer precious insights into God’s nature. But there are also ascribed to him the tender affections and the loving care of a mother. “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. (Isa. 66:13). Thinking of God as both father and mother, then, expands our understanding, and we begin to see God’s nature more fully.

The motherhood of God is seen and expressed through such qualities as love, purity, compassion and tenderness, mercy, and joy. But none of us are restricted to knowing or expressing just one part or aspect of God. God is the source of all the qualities that His sons and daughters reflect. Sometimes we draw from His omnipotent and never-failing strength and stability. At other times we have a special need to know God better as Mother – to feel His “mothering” love for us. Even Jesus, though a Son, revealed this Mother nature when He saw the spiritual condition of Jerusalem. He sat overlooking Jerusalem and cried, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!” (Lk. 13:34). The Lord Jesus likens Himself to a mother hen. “As a mother hen gathers her little ones under her wings so would I have gathered you.” He says in effect, “I would be a Mother to you!” Ah, my beloved, if God by His grace has given you a wonderful father and the love of a Christian Mother, He has given you something of HIMSELF. Yes, He has! All who read these lines who are either a father or a mother can know how God feels. God made the heart of a father; God made the heart of a mother, so that you could understand something about Him. Male and female is the image of God.

When he that readeth can grasp the truth that God bears within Himself both the characteristic of male and female, of Father and Mother, then he can better understand the divine word spoken "in the beginning" when God said, "Let us make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness: so. in the image of God created He him; MALE AND FEMALE created He them! (Gen. 1:26-27). This man in the image of God is destined to have dominion over all the works of God's hands. He is created in God's image, MALE AND FEMALE, SONS AND DAUGHTERS, to be the revelation of both the strength and wisdom of God's Fatherhood and the tenderness and sustaining life of God's Motherhood to all creation. God makes His Sons and Daughters partakers of His own nature, that they, the firstfruits of Himself, may make others partakers of the same nature. Their separation unto Him makes them fit for their work, as He says, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be MY SONS AND DAUGHTERS, saith the LORD ALMIGHTY" (II Cor. 6:17-18). Sons and Daughters! Male and Female! Thus they also become "breasted ones" and "pourers-forth". In them is fulfilled the promise of Jerusalem, that "those who love her may suck and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that they may milk out and be delighted with the abundance of her glory" (Isa. 66:10-11).

There is a great and wondrous reason why the darkness precedes the light in the divine order of creation. Let us begin with God. It has pleased the Lord to leave great truths obscure and well hidden from the prying eyes of the curious and the unbelieving. He shrouds His precious truths in mystery so that none but the earnest seekers who partake of the spirit of revelation are ever permitted to see beyond the outer shell of the letter, and behold the unfolding glories which lie concealed within the inner kernel. Perhaps the simplest yet most profound statement about the nature of God is found in the beautiful writings of the beloved apostle John. He says, "He that loveth not knoweth not God for God is love. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him" (I Jn. 4:8,16). Would that my tongue were eloquent enough to explain it, or that my mind were great enough to comprehend it. But neither is sufficient. When we speak of God's attributes we may say that God is a spirit – infinite, eternal and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth. This is a very beautiful definition; but it largely defines only God's attributes, whereas the text, "God is love," tells us WHAT HE HIMSELF IS. This text reveals His nature, His state of being. For instance, in speaking of justice, we know that God has justice as one of His attributes, but He is not justice; God IS love. This fact gives us a revelation of GOD'S VERY NATURE. Our poor, lisping, faltering tongues cannot proclaim the gospel as we would like; but we have God's Word that is true for the present time and for all the times of all the ages. God IS LOVE! IS – unchangeably! IS – eternally! God is love in heaven, in earth, in hell! IS – everywhere! And the great practical consequence is for you and me to respond to that God and to that love, to become filled with that love, one with that love, the embodiment and manifestation of that love to all men in all realms. The best and most wonderful word in the universe is Love. For God is Love. And the best and most wonderful word in the inner chamber of our heart must be – Love. For the God who meets us there is Love. What is Love? THE DEEP DESIRE TO GIVE ITSELF FOR THEE BELOVED. Love finds its joy in imparting all that it has, and all that it is, to make the loved one happy and fulfilled. And the heavenly Father, who offers to meet us in the inner chamber – let there be no doubt about this in our minds – has no other object than to flood our hearts with His love.

Love has been described as AN ETERNAL WILL TO ALL GOODNESS. This is THE ONE ETERNAL, IMMUTABLE GOD that, from eternity to eternity, changeth not, that can be neither more nor less, but an ETERNAL WILL TO ALL GOODNESS that is in Himself and come from Him, so that as certainly as He is Creator, so certainly is He the blesser of every created thing, and can give nothing but blessings, goodness, fulfillment, and holiness from Himself, because He has in Himself nothing else to give.

The words of the following poem strike poignantly at the deep meaning and sublime purpose of God in creation and redemption.

Why did God make the universe, the earth and the sky above?
Scripture gives the answer when it says that "God is love.

Before God made the universe He worked a master plan,
He knew how everything would end before it all began.

He made mankind so He could have an object of His love,
But, man was blind and did not  see -- it came from above.

So God created evil as He had created night,
So man could see the good in Him -- in darkness we see light.

He made the "blackboard" very black, with evil, sin, and woe.
He made an adversary to be His cunning foe.

He made the earth to be a "stage" to show the hosts above,
By all of our experiences, His wisdom and His love.

He locks up all in stubbornness to make His mercy clear;
Lets satan lure all men away, so He can draw all near.

He gives His only firstborn Son to die and save us all;
Yet each in his own class we read; we're blind until our call.

You ask me why God made the earth, the glittering stars above!
The scriptures give the answer when they say that GOD IS LOVE!

— Author Unknown

It is very important that we grasp the deep message in the words of this inspired poem, because, once we understand it, we comprehend as never before the eternal mystery of creation and redemption. It will be a wonderful day for you, dear one, when first your soul becomes enthralled with the revelation that God, before ever the world began or ever the ages were formed, looked forth from His temple of wisdom and omnipotence to chart with resolute care the course and purpose of every age. Your heart will throb as you read the opening proclamation of scripture, "In the beginning – GOD!" In the beginning of what? Not in the beginning of God, certainly, but in the beginning of His creation of all things, in the beginning of time as we know it, in the beginning of the orderly procession of the divinely destined ages. In the beginning stands God, omnipotent and omniscient, creating, sustaining and guiding all things and all people and all the ages of time according to the purpose of His own will. No purpose ordained by God from the beginning can possibly go astray or be hindered by the efforts of devil or man. Oh, for the hour when all creation will grasp the beautiful message, "From Him everything comes, by Him everything exists, and in Him everything ends!" (Rom. 11:36).

If God be the Creator of ALL THINGS, then it must of necessity follow that GOD IS THE SOURCE OF ALL THINGS. We read the passage quoted above from the Emphatic Diaglott, "because out of Him, and through Him, and for Him are ALL THINGS, to Him be the glory for the ages, Amen. All things are out of God, all thing are through Him, all things are for Him, and all things are unto Him, ending in Him. The clearest possible rendering is given by Goodspeed, "For from Him everything comes; through Him everything exists; and in Him everything ends! Glory to Him forever! Amen." The Bible opens with the simplest and yet most profound statement ever recorded by human hand. "In the beginning – GOD" The sweet singer of Israel declared of Him, "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, THOU ART GOD" (Ps. 90:2). Our God was the great active force, the cause of all that began to happen "in the beginning." How awesome the thought that there was a "time" when there was nothing – absolutely nothing – but God! There was no blue-green orb called earth, no silver-shimmering moon, no diamond-studded heaven of stars and planets, no angels, no devils, no man – nothing but GOD HIMSELF. There were not even the 100 elements out of which everything in the universe is constructed – there was only God. Paul caught something of the sublimity of this eternal and Self-existent One and wrote, "For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him: and HE IS BEFORE ALL THINGS, and by Him all things consist" (Col. 1:16-17).

Let me emphasize this wonderful and important truth: "He is before all things." This can mean nothing else but that God is not one of the "things." He is BEFORE all things. He is before A-L-L THINGS! And just as majestic is the truth that "by Him ALL THINGS CONSIST." Now let us soar down through the corridors of time to the consummation of all things. "For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL" (I Cor. 15:25-28). GOD ALL IN ALL – this will be the grand conclusion of the whole vast universe and of Christ's redemption. There will come a day – the glory is such we can form no conception of it, the mystery is so deep we cannot realize it – when the Son shall deliver up the Kingdom that God gave Him in His rulership over ALL THINGS – that God may be all-in- all. ALL IN ALL – such is the grand goal of our God! But I must point out that before that long-ago beginning God was NOT all-in-all. He was simply A-L-L. There was nothing else. No "thing" beside Him. There was not even space – for God was ALL. Oh, the mystery of it! This raises an interesting and important question. If God was "before all things," then OUT OF WHAT did He CREATE all things! If there was only God, and absolutely no thing other than God who was all, what kind of material did God have at His disposal from which to construct the all things? If you were standing completely alone, with nothing outside your own being existent, what material would be available for making something other than yourself? The answer is, of course, NOTHING! YOU WOULD HAVE TO MAKE THE "THINGS" OUT OF YOURSELF! And friend, this is precisely what God did. Now we can understand the full import of those words inspired by the blessed Spirit of Truth through the apostle Paul: "Because BY HIM were the all things created: and Himself is before all, and the all things I-N H-I-M HAVE CONSISTED" (Col. 1:16-17).

Now let us return to the nature of this God who was ALL. We must clearly see that God is all-inclusive, and that He lacks nothing whatsoever. And God is loveall goodness. Having said that God is complete and therefore good, we can now go on to describe the attribute through which we are aware of His existence – His desire to share. This is the consequence, the effect of His goodness. Some have said, and I have said it too, that God created man because He was alone and yearned for fellowship – for creatures of like kind with which He could commune. But this falls short of the absolute nature of God which is the nature of love. Love does not give because of the desire to receive; rather, love gives purely out of the desire to bless. The desire for fellowship is the desire to receive – not give! Now God possesses that attribute also, as we shall presently see, but God is first of all love – the pure and unmixed desire to impart. Here we have the first principle of creation – God's infinite desire to impart led to the creation of a vessel to receive His blessings. The creation of this vessel (the cosmos) was the beginning and the end of creation. He therefore created the universe with all the hosts thereof, and this world with its inhabitants. Thus the Creator could now bestow upon the creation His infinite love and inexhaustible abundance. God is the Lover, creation the beloved! "For God so loved the world. "

We have shown that the Creator's nature is sharing or imparting; however, there can be no sharing unless there is some agent that can receive. So God's infinite desire to impart implies a desire to fulfill every possible dimension and quality of desires to receive. Can we not see by this that God's infinite desire to give demands AN AGENT WITH THE DESIRE TO RECEIVE! The very nature of God requires CREATION! To impart or share with others, on any level, can only by considered noble or kind when the recipient desires and enjoys that which is offered to him. When the recipient rejects the gift yet the donor continues to insist on its acceptance and finally forces him to accept, one can hardly consider this an act of giving – much less of love. All who read these lines know by experience that the mere mechanical act of giving is, in itself, unsatisfactory and unfulfilling. We do not give advice to the mountains, nor do we offer money to animals. Clearly there must be a desire to receive on the part of the recipient, a knowledge of what the gift entails and signifies, before we can say we are truly giving. It follows that God could never give anything to anyone without an active desire to receive on their part. So the first step in creation was to bring forth the manifestation of the DESIRE TO RECEIVE! This desire is inherent in creation, although some are so blinded by sin and benumbed by death that they seek for the answer to their craving in all the wrong places, even rebelling against the glorious Giver. But God has a plan for all these, to bring them to repentance (a change of mind and desire), so that they can desire properly and discover the true source of life and blessing. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that ALL SHOULD COME TO REPENTANCE.'' (II Pet. 3:9).

Armed with the knowledge that there was only God – and no "thing" apart from Him, God was ALL – it readily follows that because of His nature to give God must create an instrument with both the capacity and desire to receive. The only way to accomplish this was for God to withdraw Himself, to remove Himself, that there would be a place or condition where HE WAS NOT. God is light, the scripture declares, and in Him there is no darkness at all. Therefore, let it be clearly known that darkness is naught but the ABSENCE OF GOD! "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep" (Gen. 1:2). You will understand a great mystery when you see how it is that the creation was brought forth in the domain of darkness, the realm from which, though created by God, God had withdrawn Himself! "For the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope. Because the creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Rom. 8:20-21). Not only was darkness (the absence of God) the first state of creation, it remains the condition of the Adamic creation unto this day. The command, "Let there be light," is not merely an historical event, but a prophecy of the glorious reality that would be birthed out of the darkness of the first creation. The work begins with darkness. God said, "Let there be light," and at once light shone where all before was dark. It is only when the Word of God pierces the dense darkness of our alienated, carnal mind with the divine fiat, "Let there be light!" that our darkness displeases us and we are turned to the light. In that blessed moment the shroud of ignorance and death is removed from our heart and the light of life shines in to illuminate, quicken and transform that world which we are. "The people which sat in darkness saw a great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up" (Mat. 4:16). "I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (Jn. 8:12). "Giving thanks unto the Father which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son" (Col. 1:12-13).

God's method in His going-forth cannot be better understood than by the use of a somewhat uncommon word – parsimony. We may say that God's method of realizing Himself in creation is by parsimony. To use an illustration – if we desire to understand the composition of the great white rays of light, we break them up into their constituents and see them as crimson and purple and gold. To break up the composition of the white light we hold a portion of it back. This is what takes place when we pass it through a prism or through stained glass. Part of it is held back and we see the remainder. This is parsimony. To change the figure, those who love little children often act upon the same principle. We have to shed a portion of our experience, dispense with a part of our resources, yield up a measure of what we are, and become children ourselves if we are to understand and relate to children. We isolate some of our persona, as it were. Your little boy or girl knows you as father, but perhaps your fellow citizens know you as professor, banker, lawyer, doctor or proprietor. You have a larger life than the little child knows anything about, and yet to live your fatherhood properly you have to shed the other persona in the presence of your child and live as a child. What is this but parsimony! Part of your nature is dismissed, or withdrawn, or held back, that the other part lived in the home may become to you a richer experience. Many know me as a man of God, a preacher and teacher of the Kingdom of God, and there is a certain esteem of the ministry the Lord has favored us with; but my little five year old grandson knows me as someone to play cars with! This principle of parsimony helps us to live our life truly. When we get home we shut the world out; when we are at business we live in that as though there were nothing else to live for. To understand character we go forth and prove it, and going forth we insulate or restrict portions of our being.

It is not difficult to see how to apply this to God's great principle of creation. God withdrew Himself creating darkness and void – this is the self-limitation of Deity; or to state it in other words, God retained, or held back, His full resources in order that there could be formed outside of Himself and beyond Himself and yet within Himself the desire to receive. This is righteous, purposeful, divine parsimony. The desire to receive is the basic mechanism by which the world operates, the dynamic process at the base of all manifestation. The desire to receive affects all creation because it is the basis of all creation. As we view the animate creation we find a remarkable physical dependence upon the external world for survival culminating in man, who has the greatest desire to receive of all creation -- not only for physical things, but also for psychological things like peace, happiness and satisfaction, and above all, the deep inner craving for spiritual life, the insatiable hunger after reality. When God created man male and female in His image He revealed that He is Himself male and female in His nature and attributes. God would never have known the action of giving and receiving had He not known them as characteristics inherent within Himself. The masculine nature is the nature of the Giver. Aggressiveness, boldness, strength, valor, authority, power and dominion are among the traits of the masculine sex. And it is the man who supplies the sperm for the creation of a new life. Thus, man is the Giver. Modesty, gentleness, tenderness, sensitivity and dependence are attributes of the feminine sex. And it is the woman who receives the sperm in the act of procreation. Woman is therefore the Receiver. The realm of her reception is in darkness – the new life, the new creation, the product of her union is formed in the seclusion and darkness of the womb – space. In its beginning the new life is without human form and darkness is upon the face of the deep. What marvelous things are wrought in darkness! Said the Psalmist: "I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in Thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them" (Ps. 139:14-16).

I find myself too confined to set forth this truth as I should do, but let us request of God's Spirit the ability to see that it is in darkness that the embryo is created, and in that long ago beginning it was in a great darkness that creation was formed. God the Giver withdrew Himself from Himself creating space, and within that space He brought forth creation – the Receiver. In darkness the Receiver existed in a state of lack, made to lack a little from Elohim. It was a region of rayless darkness. Deepest night rested over it. It was without from, utterly shapeless in all its parts. It was void, that is, unfilled up. It knew nothing of God who was to become its fullness. In none of its parts was there any reception or filling up. Then the Spirit of God began to move upon the face of this deep. This activity of the Holy Spirit is called that of "moving" over the face of the waters. The word "move" is from the Hebrew RACHAPH and occurs only three times in the Old Testament, the other two being translated "shake" (Jer. 23:9) and "fluttereth" (Deut. 32:11), respectively. Some commentators relate the word particularly to the hovering of a mother hen over her chicks. In any case, the idea seems to be mainly that of a rapid back and forth motion. In modern scientific terminology, the best translation would probably be "vibrated." If the universe is to be energized, there must be an Energizer. If it is to be given life, there must be a Life-giver. The vibrating of God over the creation in darkness is not unlike the movement of the male at that precise moment when he inseminates the female with the seed of life. It is most appropriate that the first impartation of energy into the universe is described as the "vibrating" movement of the Spirit of God Himself – the injection of His life as divine seed into creation! This movement is immediately followed by the divine fiat: "Let there be light!" and into the darkness the light shone. In that blessed moment God and creation began their long journey into union, oneness. The Giver began to give and the Receiver began to receive. The heart of the Father was pleased. Now there was an object to Receive out of His infinite desire to Give! The law of creation was begun.

Think it not strange, my beloved, when your pathway leads you down, down, down into the experience of darkness and despair. It is in the darkness that the desire to receive is first kindled within you. We flounder a bit in our understanding of these things, but as time passes by and the Holy Spirit takes the things of God and reveals them unto us, we begin to understand that in all the universe a thing is a thing ONLY BECAUSE IT HAS ITS OPPOSITE. Good without the knowledge of evil can scarcely be called good at all. Who could possibly speak of the day if night had never been known! There was no first light except there was darkness before it. What could we know of life if there were no death! What would we know of health if there were no sickness? What would we know of wealth if poverty had not spread its spectre upon the earth? No man can be trusted until he has been EXPOSED TO THE OPPOSITES, until he has been moved to desire something beyond his darkness, frustration, limitation and lack. Myriad have been the men who have inquired why God cast the noble and divine spirit of man into the earthly, sublunar plane, into bodies built of clay, where they endure sorrow, temptation, pain, sickness, and the constant trials and ruthlessness which this body of death imposes upon the soul. He might, preferably, have maintained them in His heavenly sphere where all spirits rejoice in His presence, where once the morning stars sang and all the sons of God shouted for joy, where they could merit the ineffable goodness of the divine splendor which is bestowed upon them. Ah! but first, He must create in us the desire to receive; second, He must involve us in the grand purpose of the receiving – to mature us into His image until we have thoroughly learned the great law of His Being, of His Kingdom – it is MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE! God created this world peopling it with earthly bodies through which the soul must labor and struggle. By experience and travail, through faith and patience we attain His objective of purification, wisdom, understanding and holiness; without the struggle this necessitates, we would be nothing more than idle recipients of God's blessing. It has been demonstrated time and again that that which costs a man nothing is generally unappreciated. The natural consequence of eating unearned bread, of receiving something for nothing – that is not earned by labor and travail – is folly and shame. Ah, beloved, there is purpose in affliction. There is purpose in trial. There is purpose in temptation. There is purpose in suffering. There is purpose in sorrow. There is purpose in pain. There is purpose in sickness and infirmity. There is purpose in light and darkness. There is purpose in limitation and abundance. There is divine purpose in all the inter-play between good and evil in our lives. One who grows up in a sheltered environment, who is pampered all his life, grows up a weak, spineless individual. ADVERSITY builds strength of character. If we were never exposed to trials and tribulation, we would grow up weak indeed! The more we are exposed to ADVERSE circumstances, the more we have to wrestle with our environment, the more we are challenged by the world around us, the stronger we become. Saints, if we would be the sons of the Most High (the ultimate Givers) 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 strong currents of opposition so we will become strong. 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 age and 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 opposing forces we now encounter are working together for our good – to develop the strength, character, wisdom, faith and power we must acquire? Have you noticed how strangely Matthew and Mark speak of Christ's temptation? "And immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil." (Mk. 1:12; Mat. 4:1). What a strange statement! The Holy Spirit of God drives the sinless Son of God into the wilderness to be tempted by satan, the arch enemy of all righteousness, a murderer from the beginning, the father of lies! Ah, but it was necessary for this Son to be PROVEN, to be made STRONG, to OVERCOME in these realms before proceeding on into His glorious sonship ministry and the death of the cross. Truly God creates darkness and void and uses it, too, for His glory!

You see, God only makes us Receivers in order that we may become Givers. The woman receives the seed of life from the man, but in bringing that child into the world she is miraculously transformed into a Giver! "For the man is not of the woman; but the woman (Eve) of the man. Nevertheless. . .as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman" (I Cor. 11:8-12). The Word of God bears immutable testimony to this wonderful truth. Father Abraham heard the call of God and got him out of his own country, from his father's house and his father's kindred, and sojourned to a land that God showed him. God gave to him the promise of a seed and that in this seed all the families of the earth would be blessed. After many years of experience in Canaan, this man of faith, yet without the promised seed, and seemingly without hope, was visited by the Lord and we read in Gen. 17:1-2: "When Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the ALMIGHTY GOD; walk before Me, and be thou perfect. And I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly." Now this name, GOD ALMIGHTY, is both interesting and touching. In the Hebrew it is EL SHADDAI. God (EL) means "might" or "power" and signifies the Strong One. SHADDAI is different, though it also describes power; but it is the power not of force, but of all-bountifulness, SHADDAI primarily means "breasted," being formed directly from the Hebrew word SHAD, that is, "the breast," or more exactly, a woman's breast, and is so used in various places in the scriptures. Thus SHADDAI means "the Pourer or Shedder forth" of life as a woman bears her child and then feeds and sustains it with the milk from her breast. God is the Giver out of His own life and He bears out of His own substance his offspring and then feeds and sustains and strengthens it with the "milk" of His Word. Can we not see that all natural things have spiritual counterparts? By her breast the mother has almost infinite power over the child. And how! Because of the child's one basic characteristic – the DESIRE TO RECEIVE! Some of my readers perhaps have heard the old Greek story of the babe laid down near some cliff by its mother, while she was busy with her herd of goats. The babe, unperceived, crawled to the edge. The mother, afraid to take a step, lest the child should move further and fall over the precipice, only uncovered her breast, and so drew back the infant to her. It is this figure which God Himself has chosen in this name EL SHADDAI, by which to express to us the feminine nature of His Almightiness! Male and female is the image of God, and in it is revealed the law of Giving and Receiving, the law of God's own nature. But beyond this is shown the fundamental law of God and creation – the Giver demands a Receiver, but the Receiver receives only to become a Giver! God's Almightiness is of the breast, that is, of bountiful, life-giving supply! Therefore He can quiet the restless, as the breast quiets the child; therefore He can nourish and strengthen, as the breast nourishes; therefore He can attract as the breast attracts, when we are in peril of falling away from Him. Ah, this is the ALMIGHTY who appeared to Abraham and assured him that he would be blessed according to the promise. And there is a blessed and significant aspect to God's dealing with Abraham that perhaps we have overlooked. When the Lord revealed Himself to Abraham as EL SHADDAI He said, "I am EL SHADDAI; walk before Me. . . and I will make My covenant between Me and thee." The covenant was contingent upon Abraham walking before EL SHADDAI, that is, in exposing his walk, his total being and experience, to EL SHADDAI, until he would learn the nature, ways and law of EL SHADDAI, the law of Receiving to Give. Abraham was the Receiver in the covenant, God promised to multiply him exceedingly and make him great; but then the great purpose of the blessing of the covenant was disclosed: "In thee, and in thy seed, shall ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED" In close relationship and union with EL SHADDAI Abraham would learn the one great law of creation – one Receives so that he may Give! How wonderful are these things!

The feminine Receiver in turn acquires the masculine character of Giver. This principle is seen again in the order of the life-cycle – children are Receivers, everything provided for them out of the bounty of the parents. In due process, however, the child grows up and becomes an adult – a Giver. In maturity, out of his nature to Give, the process of creation is extended. The parent creates, just as God did! a receiver, a new life, to the end that his desire to Give may find fulfillment in pouring lavishly upon the child of his love. So in all of nature the law of creation is in wonder beheld – one Receives to become a Giver; he then himself creates a Receiver in order to Give – and the process goes on from generation to generation, from age to age. Certainly this sublime truth is alluded to in the inspired words of the apostle wherein he says, "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead" (Rom. 1:20).

It might be thought that Giving, the first aspect through which Creator God is known to us, implies diminishing or loss. At times our experience in this world is that, after we have shared or given something, we are left with less than we had before. Although we have perceived it thus, if we are quickened by the Holy Spirit to have eyes to see and hearts to understand the nature of all things, we will soon discern that this is not truly the case, since giving is the prerequisite for receiving. "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again" (Lk. 6:38). This is the law of the Kingdom! When we give we create the correct spiritual atmosphere for the drawing down of forces from above. Can we then say that God became diminished by His sharing with creation? Not at all! In creation God receives the increase of Himself into Himself again so that instead of diminishing there is eternal expansion. So God is a Bestower, a Father. He imparts without being in any way diminished by imparting. The miracle of the widow woman's unfailing cruise of oil, and the feeding of the five thousand from five little leaves and two fishes, with twelve basketsful of fragments left over, are parabolic illustrations of this great principle. God does not give to receive again – there can be nothing of that in the nature of God or in the law of creation. It is simply the law of creation that what one sows produces a harvest. Men sow to reap a harvest but God sows out of His pure and unmixed desire to give. In this He is the measure of the perfect Donor. We could compare this to a rich man deciding to get rid of all his money so that he can provide other people with the opportunity to make money. While he is in possession of his money, he has all that he wants, and consequently no desire to receive. It is only after he has made himself poor that he has enabled others to share of their profits with him, thus making him even richer than he was before. Out of his great love of sharing – a boundless love – comes the essence of the Creator who ceaselessly bestows His blessing by withdrawing Himself, bringing forth a creation in darkness with its lack and desire to receive, and then pouring into the creation of His Life and Light and Love, bringing eternal increase out of Himself and into Himself. Oh, the wonder of it!

Brethren, I deplore the vain prattle that is being preached today concerning so-called "seed faith." From coast to coast preachers are saying the very opposite of what I am saying here. They unashamedly tell people that the way to get out of debt and unleash an abundance of financial blessing is to plant "seed money," to give in order to get! They persuade tens of thousands of Christians that if only they will send in their "seed faith" offering to God's servant God will bless and prosper them, they will soon have all their bills paid, they will have the finest and best of all the good things the world has to offer, and an abundance of the amenities of life. My beloved, I do not hesitate to tell you that the only ones being financially blessed and prospering and getting rich out of this carnal teaching are the slick preachers who are hoodwinking God's precious people into sending them their hard-earned money. It is wondrously true – give and it shall be given unto you! But it is a monstrous farce to teach people to give IN ORDER TO GET. Giving to get is contrary to the nature of God, contradictory to the law of creation, and runs counter to the principles of the Kingdom of God. It springs not from love, but from lust. It is not of the Father, but of the world. It is not spiritual, rather it is fleshly, earthly. Still the law is there – give and it shall be given unto you! But nowhere in God's blessed Book are we exhorted to give so that it will be given. The premise is wrong. God so loved that He gave. There is the difference. His is the law of love, the pure and holy desire to bless, requiring nothing in return. You may give to receive – and God will honor it – but verily you HAVE YOUR REWARD. Your reward is the things you receive in return. It has nothing whatever to do with love, with obedience, with the desire to bless. It has nothing to do with the nature of God, no correspondence with the Kingdom of God, and there is no eternal benefit, no heavenly treasure laid up thereby. Oh, that God's elect may learn this one sublime truth – it is more blessed to give than to receive! When the Holy Spirit prompts you to give, then give out of a heart of love and obedience, but do not deceive yourself by thinking you are doing God a service when your motive is to get, when your heart and expectation is set on the increase of money and goods you will receive from your giving.

The spirit of love is not in you till it is the spirit of your life, till you live freely, willingly, universally according to it. It knows no difference of time, place, or person; but whether it gives or forgives, bears or forbears, it is equally doing its own delightful work. The spirit of love does not want to be rewarded or honored; its only desire is to become the blessing and happiness of everything that needs it. The wrath of an enemy, the treachery of a friend, only gives the spirit of love an opportunity to be more triumphant. The rebellion of Adam but opened up avenues for mankind to experience and know the incredible depths of the love of God! God IS LOVE! And His sons and daughters are of His own nature. The SONS OF LOVE! The DAUGHTERS OF LOVE! What blessed titles! Little wonder, then, that the whole vast creation, sold under slavery and bondage to sin, sorrow, and death groans and travails for the manifestation of the SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF LOVE! To know this is a wonderful help to faith. It teaches us that to love God, or the brethren, or our enemies, or the whole wretched race of men, is not a thing self-effort can attain. We can do it only because the divine love is dwelling in us; only as far as we yield ourselves to the divine love as a living power within, as a life that has been born into us, and that the Holy Spirit strengthens into action. Our part is first of all to rest, to cease from effort, to meditate deeply upon the depths of His love to us, to know that He is in us, and to give way to the love that dwells and works in us a power that is from above. The love of God reigns. The Spirit of God still waits to take possession of the heart where He has hitherto had no room. Love is timeless, eternal, unbounded. God so loved. He loves still. Though one hundred and sixty billions of men have lived and died and gone to Christless graves, HE LOVES THEM STILL. He will deal and deal in mercy and judgment until the desire to receive in them responds to Him as the one and only infinite supply. Oh, my dear friend, can you believe that? His mercy endureth forever, throughout all ages, and love will conquer, praise His name! Don't you believe for one moment the hideous lie that there are vessels created with the desire to receive that somehow will escape God's love and slip away into eternal death or everlasting torment. Such an idea is repugnant to all who know the truth and flies in the face of both the nature and wisdom of God the Creator-Giver.

When God created man in His own image he was ONE, not separated in the beginning into two persons. Thus he remained until the Lord separated the feminine from the masculine, making Adam and Eve, man and woman, to exist separately. Within the one man's nature were both masculine and feminine elements, all the possibilities of male and female, all the potential of fruit and of power, wisdom and love, strength and nurture. This spiritual man, being a son of God, possessed that perfect chaste virgin WITHIN HIMSELF and could have replenished the whole earth with his kind in God's image by a word of power.

We shall not at this moment consider the process by which God separated the female from the male, making Adam and Eve, man and woman, but we should carefully point out that following this separation, though existing in two bodies, and two personalities, inspiration declares in both the Old Testament and in the New that the man and his wife were ONE FLESH. Husbands and wives, according to the ordinance of Almighty God, are ONE FLESH, ONE UNIT, yea, ONE PERSON. The "thus saith the Lord" concerning the matter is simply stated in these inspired words: "From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and the TWO shall become ONE FLESH, so that they are NO LONGER TWO, but ONE FLESH. What therefore God has united - joined together - let not man separate or divide" (Mk. 10:6-9, KJV & Amplified).

It was not the burning self-desire of Adam that caused Eve to come forth, but the purpose of God. It was God Himself who initiated the whole process, for the record states, "And the LORD GOD said, It is NOT GOOD for the man to be alone; I WILL MAKE him an help meet for him" (Gen. 2:18). "Meet" is an old English word meaning "suitable, fit, proper." The whole flavor of the word "meet" is to fit, join, combine, agree, be in union, be together. No hostility here! No war between the sexes' And no division. God made a help to fit, join, combine, agree, be in union, yes, to be ONE with Adam!

When he that readeth can grasp the truth that God bears within Himself both the characteristics of male and female, of Father and Mother, then he can better understand the divine word spoken "in the beginning" when God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: so, in the image of God created He him; MALE AND FEMALE created He them!" (Gen. 1:26-27). When Eve had been built by the skillful hand of the Creator and presented to Adam, he had an immediate name for what Eve obviously was. Not her given name, Eve, as we term it in English, but what kind of creature she was. Hebrew is simpler than English, and more plainly explains exactly what a woman is: ISH is the Hebrew word for man, and ISHA is the feminine form of ISH or man. Adam said, "Now here is bone exactly like my bone, and flesh exactly like my flesh, because she was built from what was taken from me, I will call her "isha" – a FEMALE MAN! Adam merely added a single letter to the word which stood for himself, to define the quality of difference: sex. And God confirmed Adam's understanding that they were both exactly alike despite the obvious outward differences: "In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him; male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called THEIR name ADAM, in the day when they were created" (Gen. 5:13). To both God and Adam it was ONE CREATION "in the image of God."

Ish. Isha. Male. Female. Both Adam. Both man. Both in the image of God! Isha signifies, no matter how uncouth the sound to our ears, MAN-NESS. So in the old Latin the word for man is VIR and the word for woman is VIRA – a FEMALE MAN! The English word "woman" also confirms this truth, for it is a contraction of the old Anglo-Saxon term "womb-man" – a MAN with a womb! When Adam said that Eve must be called "isha," it was as though for "wife" one would say "she-man." God blessed the union of ish and isha, this ONE CREATION HE CALLED ADAM.

When Eve had been built by the skillful hand of the Creator we read that He "brought her unto the man" (Gen. 2:22). I cannot conceive of anything more explicit and meaningful than that wonderful type. I say to every soul reading these lines, Have you been brought to Christ where Christ is? If you do not know union with the Christ in your spirit, you will never know union with Him in the sky nor in any heaven anywhere in all of God's great universe. And know this, oh man, you cannot be spiritual by effort. Many seek to be spiritual by prayer, reading the Word, devotedness, attending meetings; but the only pathway to it is to be brought by the Spirit to realize union with Christ. You are spiritual by union. What was Eve's thought when her eyes first rested upon Adam? I doubt not that she was completely overwhelmed and immediately drawn by irresistible cords of love and passionate desire to find union with him.

The allegory of lover and beloved, bride and groom, union of marriage, gives to us one of the best examples of the ONENESS which we desire to share with Christ, which we desire within our own selves, the union of soul and spirit. We are weary of the realm of duality and separation. We are tired of speaking in tongues one minute and flying off the handle the next. From the time when Christ came into our lives we have battled this dualness – our mind often pulled to the direction of the flesh, our spirit yearning for that life from above which alone would satisfy. Thank God! the Spirit of Christ within is gaining the ascendancy as the soul becomes more and more subdued. But the prayer remains, "that they all may be ONE."

JOINT DOMINION

When in the distant mists of Eden the Creator presented Eve to Adam, he had an immediate name for what Eve obviously was. Not her given name, Eve, as we term it in English, but what KIND of creature she was. Hebrew is simpler than English, and more plainly explains exactly what a woman is. ISH is the Hebrew word for "man" and ISHA is the feminine form of ISH or "man." You merely add a single letter to the word which stands for man, making it feminine, to define the quality of difference: sex. ISH is masculine, ISHA is feminine, but both mean "man." So Adam said, "Now here is bone exactly like my bone, and flesh exactly like my flesh; because she was built from what was taken from me, I will call her ISHA - a FEMALE MAN! And God confirmed Adam's understanding that they were both EXACTLY ALIKE despite the obvious outward differences: "In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him; male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called THEIR name ADAM, in the day when they were created" (Gen. 5:1-2). To both God and Adam it was ONE CREATION  "in the image of God."

There was no inequality even considered. No superiority or inferiority alluded to. No hint of Eve's being a second-class creation. Differences, yes. But differences do not make for an inferior or superior individual, they only make him a different individual. Women can have babies, men can't. That's a difference. Men generally have a stronger musculature than women – that's a difference. Trying to prove equality between the sexes by playing the other fellow's game is not wise or logical, does not make sense - and proves nothing. It is not necessary for women to become mechanics or soldiers for them to prove their equality. It is not necessary for men to become homemakers or to bear children and give suck for them to prove equality with women. When God made Eve – here now was a creature EQUAL WITH ADAM, another PERSON, a SHE-MAN with whom he could share everything!

"God created man in His own image . male and female created He THEM. And God blessed THEM, and God said unto THEM, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and SUBDUE IT; and HAVE DOMINION over every living thing that moveth upon the earth" (Gen. 1:26-28). My reader will observe the change from "him" to "them." We are not presented with the actual fact of the formation of the woman until chapter two; but even here we find God blessing "them," and giving "them" JOINTLY THE PLACE OF UNIVERSAL GOVERNMENT. All the inferior orders of creation were set under their JOINT DOMINION. Eve received all her blessings in Adam: in him, too, she got her dignity and position and power. Though not yet called into her individual identity, she was, in the purpose of God, looked at as part of the man. Universal dominion was not given to Adam alone; it was not said, "Let HIM have dominion," but "Let THEM have dominion." There was no other creature so near to Adam as Eve, because no other creature was part of himself. What affection Eve had for Adam! What nearness she enjoyed! What intimacy of communion! What full participation in his thoughts! In all his dignity, and in all his glory, wisdom and power, she was entirely ONE. He did not rule OVER her, but WITH her. He was lord of the whole creation, and she was ONE WITH HIM! THEY were the king and queen of the universe!

Then shall the True Man – the Lord from heaven, the corporate man composed of "many sons brought to glory" – take His seat upon the throne, and in companionship with His bride – the New Eve, the cleansed and perfected Church – rule over a restored creation. This church is quickened out of the grave of Christ, taken from His riven side, being thus "of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones." He is the Head and she the body, making ONE NEW MAN, as we read in the fourth chapter of Ephesians, "Till we all come, in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13). And who is this "Perfect Man"? CHRIST AND HIS BRIDE, CHRIST MALE AND FEMALE – THE LAST MAN ADAM AND THE NEW EVE!

The sons of God are the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16; Rev. 11:1-2,19). The bride of Christ is the city of God (Rev. 21:9-11). That city is the holy city, the New Jerusalem. Every stone of that city is a living stone, a glorified CHRIST BEING. Every stone is a living, ransomed soul just as every member of the body of Christ, which is the temple of God, is a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God and precious. We cannot fully explain nor understand a mystery so awesome as this, but the eye that sees by the Spirit sees the temple as a living thing, composed of living saints. In that temple redeemed men, the sons of God, are the pillars and foundations, and Christ Himself is the chief cornerstone, from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord, in whom we also are builded to become the habitation of God through the Spirit. In holy vision the apostle John was transported in spirit to a great and high mountain, the majestic heights of the Kingdom of God, from which he was permitted to see the perfected bride of Christ in all her beauty and glory. From his lofty vantage point the eyes of John were ravished with the electrifying sight of the unequaled majesty and infinite splendor of the bride adorned for her Husband. Not a city of stone as was the Old Jerusalem, but a New Jerusalem, a living city, a bride beyond compare, a virgin pure and holy, composed of incorruptible saints brought forth out of the living substance of Christ. Words utterly fail me to describe the wonder of such unsurpassable glory, for ours are but the words of men, but that holy and beautiful city belongs to THE REALM OF THE SPIRIT. Now at last the perfection, the image of God, Sons and Daughters, Male and Female, Temple and City, of which Adam and Eve were but a frail shadowy type, has come; the many-membered Bridegroom, the last Adam, with the many membered Bride, the Holy City, Adam and Eve, the first and the last, in the image and likeness of God JOINTLY RULING OVER ALL THINGS! The nations shall walk by the light of this city and the rulers and leaders of the earth shall bring into it their glory. The tree of life is in the midst of it and the water of life flows from the throne of God in the midst of it. This is GOD, male and female, united with the image of God in man, male and female, ruling over all the endless vastnesses of infinity unto ages of ages! May the Holy Ghost unfold these things more fully and powerfully to our hearts, that we may have a deeper sense of the conduct and character which are worthy of the high vocation wherewith we are called.

There is neither time nor space to consider the myriad ghastly consequences of the fall of man, but I would draw your attention to one disastrous result. The curses reaped CAUSED THE INEQUALITIES BETWEEN THE SEXES so prominent in the history of the human family. Life became a burden and a struggle. The beauty and equality of man and woman in the garden of Eden disappeared. Strife, guilt, shame, discord, competition and pain took over – the way of the flesh held sway!

While the loss of oneness and equality between "ish" and "isha" was tragic indeed, this was but the sad fruit of DISUNITY WITH GOD which had already invaded their lives. There is a most enlightening statement by the apostle Paul, quoted earlier, wherein he admonishes, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the SIMPLICITY that is in Christ" (II Cor. 11:3). The whole purpose of the serpent's beguilement was to CORRUPT THE MIND FROM THE SINGLENESS THAT EXISTS IN UNION WITH THE SPIRIT. The word "simplicity" actually is the Greek word for "singleness," from the same root as used in the verse, "When thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light" (Lk. 11:34). We are beguiled when the spirit of the flesh, the world, or the devil draws our soul away from its unity and union with the spirit.

The dreadful fruit of disunity with God is disunity in every other realm, for "HE is our peace" (Eph. 2:14). The awful reality of this fact became apparent to Eve as the voice of God announced the dreadful judgment, the terrifying sentence, which swept like a frightening nightmare over her being, proclaiming, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception . and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and HE SHALL RULE OVER THEE" (Gen. 3:16). "Thy desire shall be to thy husband" would be better translated, "Thy desire shall be SUBJECT to thy husband," that is, thy desire shall be subjected to the will and pleasure of thy husband. One ancient translation reads, "The direction of thee shall be with thy husband." "…and he shall RULE OVER thee." Another version says, "…and he will DOMINATE you!"

Can we not see by this that the headship of man over woman CAME AS A RESULT OF THE FALL AND AS A PART OF THE CURSE? It is my long considered opinion that there is actually no particle of evidence anywhere in the whole Bible to support the notion that Adam had the headship over Eve before the fall. The dreadful sentence laid upon Eve that fateful day in Eden is if I err not, the announcement of a condition that should occur with respect to the vast majority of women through succeeding ages and dispensations – but NOT ONE THAT SHOULD HOLD PERPETUALLY, for God purposed that the day would surely come when "there shall be no more curse!" (Rev. 22:3).

The same seeds of confusion and duplicity which brought disunity with God, swiftly brought disunity in the human family, beginning with Adam and Eve, in view of which the Lord established a LAW to maintain order in the home, pronouncing to the woman, "Thy desire shall be SUBJECT to thy husband, and HE SHALL RULE OVER THEE." God allowed women to be brought down into such a place of servitude and subjection to men that at the period in which Jesus came into the world, women were held in such a low place of subjection and bondage that in many cases they were not allowed to walk down the streets beside their husbands or to sit in the same room with their husbands when their husbands had company. They had been brought into many forms of bondage. In Eastern lands, even today, we see women the slaves of men, shut away in harems and purdahs. They have no rights, no privileges. The man is able to marry other women and to divorce his wives at will, to beat and cruelly misuse them. We see how the rule of man has brought women into a state of utter misuse and bondage.

That this arrangement was not God's original arrangement nor His eternal order, is evidenced by the fact that man's domination over woman is strictly enforced by the law of Moses, of which law Paul by inspiration wrote, "Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, T-I-L-L THE SEED SHOULD COME TO WHOM THE PROMISE WAS MADE" (Gal. 3:19). Ah - when the promised seed comes, when the Christ comes, when the Bridegroom comes the law is no longer of effect! The New Testament has something to say of the headship of man over woman, but we must never forget for one moment that man is headship over woman is a mere temporary arrangement prescribed for this imperfect state while yet we walk subjected to the frailties of the flesh, and the weakness and travail of this carnal, corruptible realm, all of which is the product of the fall and part of the curse. Hearken to me, my brother, my sister! Man's headship over the woman was never part of God's original order, was not in any way related to the high and holy and eternal purposes of God, and it does not bespeak, by any stretch of the imagination, the glistering glory of the heavenly realm of the Kingdom of God in Eden where man and woman walked and REIGNED TOGETHER in the mind of Christ. Man's headship over woman pertains, rather, to the tragic, sorrowful, and sordid ORDER OF THE CURSE.

The order of things under the fall is not man's normal state. Eve in Eden was not like the women of today; her state was far better and more excellent; she and her husband were completely ONE – one flesh, one body, one soul, one spirit, one will, one mind, one desire, one hope, one purpose, one power and one position. How can one person rule over the other when the TWO ARE ONE in every way? It is high time for a people to begin to move out of the "in-part" realm of the church world today, to rise up and possess that true and eternal and divine order of THE KINGDOM OF GOD. There is a place, even in this physical dimension, where husband and wife can so become ONE in the mind of Christ until no headship or dominion of one over the other is necessary or appropriate.

Under the law women were not independent legal entities. Like the minor, the deaf-mute, and the idiot, they could not serve as witnesses in court; they could not inherit equally with male heirs; they could not divorce their husbands; the husband kept money earned by his wife and owned anything she gained or found by chance. In short, under the law the wife was THE PROPERTY OF HER HUSBAND and classified as inferior, being listed together with his other chattels. "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's WIFE, nor his manservant, not his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, NOR ANYTHING THAT IS THY NEIGHBOR'S" (Ex. 20:17).

TRANSCENDING THE CURSE. BACK TO EDEN!

There are those ministers who insist that it is not God's order for a woman to have any place of leadership or authority in the Church whatever, and especially no place of authority or leadership over any man in the Church; no matter how carnal or unanointed that man might be, or how anointed or how spiritual the woman might be; and that God will not anoint any woman to any kind of ministry or leadership or authority in the Church, the body of Christ. Most who have written on this subject hitherto have titled their articles, WOMAN'S PLACE IN THE CHURCH, but this is by far an over simplification of the question. For one cannot come to a full understanding of the full answer to this question without coming to an understanding of woman's place in the progressive unfolding of the total plan and purpose of God for His creation that we find in the Scriptures from Genesis through Revelation. Woman's place in the total scheme of God's Divine Plan has been progressively changing: first, for the worse and then for the better, since God brought her forth here on this earth out of Adam.

In this connection Paul gives a most significant and important instruction to the church at Corinth. He writes, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.” (I Cor. 11:3-7). It is my deep conviction that in these words Paul uses a natural custom to present a spiritual truth. There is an order of authority (headship) in the universe and it is set up like this:

God

Christ

Man

Woman

The first surprise in the chain of command is that Christ is subject to God the Father. He is equal with God, very God, but He is subject to the Father. In the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed, “O My Father, … not as I will, but as Thou wilt” (Mat. 26:39). “I seek not mine own will,” Jesus said in Jn. 5:30, “but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” Even when the Christ shall have conquered all the forces of evil and shall have subdued all enemies under His feet, He will submit Himself to God: “By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain” (I Cor. 15:2). Jesus, the Creator of heaven and earth, submitted Himself to God the Father. He takes His place in the chain of command.

It is no shame, no dishonor, for a woman to be under authority, if the Lord Jesus Himself is submitted to the Headship of God the Father. Position in the order of headship has nothing to do with the individual’s worth to God or capabilities in the Kingdom of God. It is not determined by one’s importance or accomplishments. The man is the head of the woman even as Christ is the head of the man. Man has a Head. Christ has a Head. Woman has a Head. It is interesting to note that just as soon as Paul establishes this order of Headships, He quickly adds, “Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head” (I Cor. 11:4). The question follows – the covering must be upon WHICH HEAD? Speaks the apostle of the physical head on a woman’s shoulders – or the head just established in the preceding verse – HER HUSBAND? Hear it! “But I would you know that the HEAD of every man is Christ; and the HEAD of everywoman is the man; and the HEAD of Christ is God.” And immediately he continues: “But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven” (I Cor. 11:5). Again I ask – which “head” must be covered – the woman’s head on her shoulders or the woman’s head which is her husband? It should be obvious to all who can read and have even the slightest faculty of reason that it is her HUSBAND-HEAD that must be covered! No other “head” is introduced in the passage, not the physical head on her shoulder nor some kind of ministerial headship in the church. Paul is very plain about what “head” he is speaking about. Paul does not jump from his subject to something altogether foreign to his thought.

The word “covered” is from the Greek KATAKALUPTO meaning “to cover wholly, i.e. veil, hide” It means to be veiled or hidden from view beneath a veil. The veil in Eastern culture was a piece of cloth worn by a woman to conceal her face and cover her head. It was not a mere shawl, hat, or mesh worn upon the top of the head. An Israelite woman wore a veil at the time of her wedding. When Rebekah first saw Isaac, she put on her veil and, afterwards, they were married (Gen. 24:65-67). Jacob’s inability to recognize that Leah had been substituted for Rachel on his wedding night can be explained by the face that Leah was veiled – Jacob could not see her! Her face was hidden from him. Still today in many Eastern countries the women wear veils to conceal their faces from the gazes of all men except their husbands. Thus, the veil is designed specifically to hide, conceal or cover a woman’s face, just as the veil in the temple was to conceal the glory in the most Holy Place, and the veil on Moses’ face was to cloud the brilliance of the glory that shown from him.

Various false teachings have arisen out of Paul’s writing about the woman’s head being covered due to the careless inattentiveness to what the passage really says, as well as a lack of the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God. The teaching that all women must be spiritually “covered” by a male or a ministry is not the only error that has emerged from this portion of scripture. Others have taken these verses to mean that woman must have her head covered with some sort of wrap, such as a scarf, hat, bonnet or cap, while she is praying or ministering. In India, the churches still hold to this teaching, as well as some churches (Mennonite, etc.) here in the United States and abroad. Many of our traditional churches have a vestige of this teaching that has remained in the popular custom of women wearing hats to church on Sunday.

What is the Holy Spirit’s real meaning in these verses and what does it signify for the woman’s “head” to be “covered”? We will be greatly helped in our understanding when we clearly see that the woman’s “head,” by Paul’s own definition, is her HUSBAND! Is that not what Paul plainly says? “But I would have you know that… the head of the woman is the man… every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head (her man, husband) uncovered, dishonoureth her head (husband).” It means that when a woman PRAYS (ministers to God) or PROPHESIES (ministers from God) her husband MUST BE COVERED, HIDDEN FROM VIEW, REMOVED FROM HIS POSITION OF HEADSHIP OVER HER, so that we move up to the next order of Headship and CHRIST BECOMES HER HEAD. If her husband-head is not covered, hidden, or removed from his headship over her, then she would be required to pray through her husband! The prayer would then pass from her husband through Christ (his Head) on to God. Conversely, if her husband-head is not covered, hidden, or removed from his place of headship over the woman, prophecy would have to flow from God through Christ, then through her husband, to her. But having her husband-head covered, hidden, or removed from his position of headship over her, she approaches God directly through Christ just as her husband does and she receives divine revelation anointing and ministry directly from Christ just as does the man.

For, you see, CHRIST IS HEAD OF THE CHURCH! Christ is not Head of only the men in the church. He is Head of the entire church! He is Head of the children in the church. He is Head of the women in the church. He is Head of everyone in the church – male and female. So – in the church, that is, in the spirit man has NO HEADSHIP OVER THE WOMAN! A woman may be subject to her husband, but she can still go directly to God through Christ to ask for anything she needs or desires, and get it as quickly as if she were a man. Hear well what Paul says in Gal. 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” and when God chooses to speak through a woman He neither consults the man nor does He channel His spirit to her through the man. Once we are born into the Kingdom of God, we become new creatures in Christ Jesus. In the Spirit there is an entirely new order of the Kingdom of God – CHRIST is Lord of ALL !

To those who can receive it the following words will give help and light. We must see that there are rules for the fleshly, or earthly man, and there is a higher order for the spiritual, or heavenly man. In the Spirit, women are equal with men, and each must submit to Christ as their spiritual Head. In the flesh, in the marriage relationship, in the mundane things or mortal life, man has a headship over the woman as long as we are walking after the flesh. But women are never to submit to a man that which is the Lord’s! Most women of God experience two marriages. They are married to Christ on one level and to their husbands on another level. In the physical union of man and woman, God placed man as the head – until that physical union is caught up into the fullness of Christ. However, in the Spirit each of them is responsible to God. No man can obtain salvation or any other spiritual ministry or attainment for his wife. Nor does God respect man’s headship when He chooses to move upon or through the wife. God channels nothing to the wife through the husband and in her relationship with God that wife does not channel her prayers, praise, love, commitment, or any other spiritual thing to God through her husband. The husband is COVERED, CONCEALED, HIDDEN, REMOVED FROM HIS PLACE OF HEADSHIP IN THAT SPIRITUAL REALM. If a woman’s head (husband) is not covered, she dishonors her head, making him as grotesque figure, out of the order of God. And if a man prays or prophesies with his Head (Christ) covered, he dishonors his Head by coming to God and receiving from God apart from Jesus Christ. How simple is the truth!

God is in the process of gathering all things together into one IN CHRIST (Eph. 1:9-11). Women can rise above the curse and be restored to their original position of authority given her in the beginning before the “fall”. That position was one of equality and joint dominion with her husband. The command to have dominion over, and subdue the earth was given to both Adam and Eve. They were to rule together over the Lord’s creation. The very act of subduing something requires authority, aggressiveness and leadership. And when the woman moves in the Spirit, under the Headship of Christ – there, in Christ, her and her husband’s equality and joint dominion are restored!

Before passing on I will mention one other thing, for someone is bound to ask. When men pray, prophecy, or move in any kind of spiritual ministry they are not to dishonor their Head-Jesus. Their Head is not to be covered, hidden, or removed. Men and women alike come to God through Christ Jesus in all things. Any man who aspires to attain a place in God apart from Jesus Christ has His Head covered and dishonors his Head. Any man who is submitted to a ministry, an organization, a headquarters, or some authority other than the Christ has his Head covered and dishonors his Head. And finally, let us reverently consider the exhortation of the Spirit: “For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered” (I Cor.11:6). The hair is a symbol of the anointing. Samson’s long hair was the source of his strength, anointing, and authority. When it was shaved he was helpless, but when it grew back he was able to pull the great temple of Dagon down upon the Philistines. The Nazarites entered into a special vow of consecration and service to God and the vow included the injunction that “no razor shall come upon his head” (Num. 6:5, I Sam. 16:22). The hair of the Nazarite was left uncut for the duration of his vow. A priest was not to make his head bald or shave the corners of his beard (Lev. 21:5). Shaving was connected with the cure from leprosy and shaving is also mentioned in various contexts in connection with mourning. The shaving of captive women (Deut. 21:12-13) is a sign of their mourning – their loss. For a woman to be shaved was a sign of shame and spiritually represents the loss for her glory – the anointing of her unique life. Behold now how meaningful are the words of the apostle Paul! “But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered” (I Cor. 11:5-6). The simple truth of the matter is this: if a woman’s head be not covered, if her husband-head is not removed when she lives in and moves by the spirit; if she submits the sacred things of God in her spiritual experience to the over-ruling authority of her husband, causing him to usurp the place of Christ and thus bringing dishonor let her also be shorn or shaven! Subjection of her spiritual life to any headship other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is equal to the shame of having her anointing taken away from her. It is an incredible disgrace, a shame to her husband, a shame to herself, a shame to Christ, and a shame to God. Any woman who subjects her life-flow to a man or to any group of men – just because they are males – dishonors the Kingdom of God. It is a humiliation. It is an insult and affront to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. It is an outrage against the Headship of Jesus Christ over the church. It is sad. It is an occasion for mourning. And further – she stands in danger of losing her anointing and standing in shame, shorn before men and in the presence of God!

This age of grace, through which the Church has passed during nineteen hundred years and more, has been a time when the Spirit of God has been working upon the body of Christ to bring each elect member of that body to the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ. During this time God has progressively been working to inwork His full redemption in our very natures, transforming us into New Creation people. With the coming of Jesus, with his pouring out His life upon the cross, the way was opened for both men and women to be cleansed and redeemed FROM EVERY EFFECT OF THE CURSE that came through the fall; so that both men and women might be born again – regenerated, recreated – and become completely NEW CREATURES with no taint of the curse of the fall upon them. Ah, dear ones, this is the glory set before the Sons and Daughters of the Most High, not just to learn how to live and conduct ourselves in this travail under the curse, but to be made free from the curse, to live and walk tall and strong and triumphant in the glorious and eternal reality of the Kingdom of God! "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us" (Gal. 3:13). Therefore, insofar as the question of woman's position in relation to the man, since the redemptive work of Jesus was completed, they are redeemed completely from the curse that was laid upon them through Eve's part in the fall, and by virtue of the fact that in the New Birth the Perfect Man, the Son of God, has been conceived within them, therefore the hope is for this reality to become so experiential within, in both the man and the woman, that the two shall truly become ONE IN CHRIST JESUS.

Mr. Husband and Mrs. Wife, there is no one grand leap into the ONENESS of which I speak, no instant perfection, no short cut into the fullness of redemption purchased by Jesus, for redemption is a PROCESS. Husbands and wives do not automatically become ONE in mind, will, desire, and purpose because of a salvation experience or the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Being "born ones of God," indwelt by His Spirit, we now have the POTENTIAL to ascend into that higher plane of life, to lay hold upon the reality lost in the fall, and to experience the inworkings of the change which results in an entirely new STATE OF BEING, making us LIKE HIM, transformed in nature and restored to the glory we had "in Him" before the world was.

So many preachers and Christians get bogged down with some of the literal, letter-of-the-Word statements about man's headship and woman's submission, that they miss the point of God's overall purpose. In the distance it seems my ear can hear some of them even now hotly contesting these things I am writing, demanding to learn from me if I do not believe the statements made by Paul and others where it is affirmed that "the head of the woman is the man," "wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands in everything," and "let the wives be in subjection to their husbands." This is unquestionably the order of God for husbands and wives AS LONG AS THEY ARE WALKING IN IMPERFECTION, DUPLICITY, AND A CONDITION OF VARIANCE AND DISUNITY. When two are not one, when two are not joined in the mind of Christ in the same spirit, heart, desire, will and purpose, then it should not be difficult for us to understand that ONE MUST SUBMIT so there will be peace and order. Even the world understands that you cannot have TWO BOSSES in any business! The scriptural order for husbands and wives in the realm of imperfection and carnality is for the wife to submit to her husband in all things.

The very word "submission" presupposes variance, disagreement, division, dissention, strife, hostility, etc. Let me illustrate. If the husband wants to spend the winter in Tucson, Arizona and the wife wants to spend the winter in Miami, Florida, then you have a difference, a variance. If both are strong willed and determined to get "their way" you soon have argument, contention and strife. But, if the husband and wife are ONE MIND and BOTH desire to go to Tucson, there is no variance and THERE CAN BE NO SUBMISSION FOR THERE IS NOTHING TO BE SUBMITTED. Can we not see by this that when two are not agreed, submission is in order. I believe that I speak by the Spirit of God when I say that the highest will of God for His Sons and Daughters in this the end of age is not SUBMISSION but ONENESS.

Husband! If you have received the call to sonship do not rule over your wife like a tyrant, do not act like she is some servant who must cater to your every whim. Seek not to rule over her at all, you who would be free from the curse, but in deep humility seek earnestly in the fear of God to be MADE ONE with your wife in everything. Wife! You who have been apprehended to the high calling of God in Christ, do not be resentful toward your husband, do not demand your rights or walk in an independent spirit. Neither should you see your role as being a sweet little wimpy, mindless, submissive wife. The Lord would impart to your spirit this high and holy vision of BECOMING ONE with your husband in the mind and nature of the Son of God! If God cannot perfect such a glorious work within us then He is not God, we are not sons, and "let us go on to perfection" is a farce!

Thank God! there is an order for us in our weakness and carnality: headship and submission. But my soul shouts unending hallelujahs that this carnal realm is not our abiding place, merely a temporary encampment while we pass through the processings of God, TRANSFORMED INTO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON. In that blest realm male and female are UNITED IN ONE to walk once more in the splendor of Eden's enchanted Garden – the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

I must tell you frankly that I have absolutely no ambition to live under the curse and RULE OVER MY WIFE, nor do I have one whit of desire for HER to be subject to ME. Ah, yes, we must yet submit ourselves to one another and, I must not shirk my responsibilities in headship to love and cherish and honor my wife, making wise judgments in the home when one must make a final decision in some matter upon which we are not agreed, and my wife must reverence my position, but this arrangement is but for a season, according to the measure that we both still find in our natures the working of carnality with all the old emotions and cravings of self-hood, variance and duplicity. But the one overwhelming desire which crieth from the depths of my regenerated spirit and pulsates continually within my breast is not for HER SUBMISSION but for OUR ONENESS. This has been attained in measure, where HIS SALVATION has been perfectly wrought out in our lives, in those areas where we have died to self and put on the mind of Christ, our minds and desires and wills have been MADE ONE IN HIS, and it is joy unspeakable and full of glory!

It is a great mystery, we know, yet in spite of such divine revelation and truth as this there comes the monstrous evil of "women's liberation" to captivate the simple minded. God's blessed provision in Eden was EQUALITY IN ONENESS. The diabolical lie in the women's liberation movement is the effort to have EQUALITY IN INDEPENDENCE. Independence! Self-hood! The devil's deception! The feminists cry, "We will be equal, liberated, and independent!" The cry of the Spirit of God is "That they all may BE ONE!" Never the twain shall meet. What fiendish evil and devilish deception it is to pretend that male and female are somehow rivals at enmity and in antagonism with each other! Male and female were ordained by God to complement each other, each having his God-given place and calling, working in harmony, for as the woman is of the man, so is the man by the woman, but all things of God (I Cor. 11:12). Dear sister, flee from the fighting, grasping, rebellious, insubordinate, intractable, contentious, combating, competitive and perverse spirit of the women's liberation movement as you would flee from a fire in the forest, for that satanic path is not the road to sonship and the mind of Christ.

Having mused with awe and delight upon the gracious purposes of an all-wise God, begun in ages past, unfolding in the present, to be carried to their ultimate and glorious intention in regenerated men and women who have been transformed by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, with what more fitting words could I bring to close the brief study of male and female than by quoting that blessed epigram of assurance left by that masterful exponent of God's purpose, who, after reminding us that we are accepted in the Beloved, chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places, and predestinated to placement as sons of the Most High, avowed that that same grace would continue to work in all men until "according to that which seemed good to Him, which good thing He purposed in Himself, with respect to an administration of the completion of the epochs of time TO BRING BACK AGAIN TO THEIR ORIGINAL STATE ALL THINGS IN THE CHRIST, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him, in whom also we were an inheritance, having been previously marked out according to the purpose of the One who operates all things according to the counsel of His will, with a view to our being to the praise of His glory." (Eph. 1:10-12, Wuest).

Ah, hear the word of the Lord and take heed, all husbands and wives who hope to attain to God's high calling, for I declare to you that there is a HIGHER ORDER of the Kingdom of God revealed in Eden's blest Garden! This higher order of perfection and sonship requires the TWO to be so transformed by the spirit that in the pure nature and holy mind of Christ they BECOME ONE. When this union of mind, will, emotion, and spirit takes place between husband and wife there is nothing left to be "submitted," for duplicity is overcome, all variance flees away like the chaff driven with the wind out of the floor, and every disunity is swallowed up in the ONENESS OF HIS LIFE. Blessed unity! The "two" are "set at one again." Eden has been reentered. This is the glory and majesty of the Kingdom of God! "The Kingdom of God is PEACE, in the Holy Ghost" (Rom. 14:17). Kingdom peace isn't when one subdues the other, forcing an agreement which submission only brought about.

Having said all this, let us now apply this beautiful truth spiritually and internally, to Christ the Bridegroom in our spirit, and to us the bride in our soul. Spiritually, this means that as long as we walk in imperfection and duplicity THE SPIRIT IS GIVEN HEADSHIP OVER THE SOUL. The soul is commanded to be under obedience and is to be subjected under the authority of the spirit. Ah, but the headship of the man over the woman was never part of God's original order in the heavenly realm of the Kingdom of God where man and woman walked and reigned together in the precious mind of Christ. In God's grand and glorious plan, when redemption has finished its work within us, man and woman, male and female, SPIRIT AND SOUL shall both be so quickened in the pure nature and holy mind of Christ that the two shall again be one. SUBMISSION shall be swallowed up into UNITY! Glory!

The wonderful goal is not just our will, our mind, and our emotions SUBMITTED to His will and way, but ONLY HIS WILL! In the marriage union of spirit and soul there is one new creature, Christ, with one mind, one will, one emotion – HIS made OURS. Blessed union! It is not His mind controlling our mind, but it is our possessing HIS mind. This is CHRIST IN YOU the hope of glory. It is more than just a "fill me" with more of God, but a being swallowed up into Him, that henceforth it is "no longer I, but CHRIST liveth in me" (Gal. 2:20). This is what we are yearning for – that we might have a constant outflow of our true inner nature. As Paul wrote, "Stop assuming an outward expression that does not come from within you and is not representative of what you are in your inner being but is patterned after this age; but change your outward expression to one that comes from within and is representative of your inner being." (Rom. 12:2, Wuest).

Prefigured by Adam and Eve in Eden, this is the perfect man, man in the image of God, male and female, spirit and soul dwelling in the Garden of the body, united in one, given dominion over all things. These are rising from the far country of sin and self, and from the confusion and limitation of religious Babylon, to be united again as one in the Spirit of God. These shall rule and reign gloriously, first over the domain of their own individual "earth," then over that earth out there, and in due time over all the endless vastnesses of infinity forever! Dearly beloved brethren, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us and, forsaking all else, cleave only unto HIM. Then shall we hear, down the corridors of our own soul, the celestial cry of jubilation THE MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB IS COME, AND HIS WIFE HATH MADE HERSELF READY!

There is one footnote I would add to all I have shared about the fall of male and female into disunity and their glorious restoration in redemption. As we look back at the awful sentence that fell upon mankind, observe how the scriptures clearly reveal that God did not curse Adam. God cursed the ground for his sake, that it would produce thorns and thistles, causing the man to toil and earn his living by the sweat of his face. He curses Satan. He said, “you are cursed… and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.” His existence would be right on the ground right in earthliness, in the dust of that earth which Adam was. God said that Eve would suffer in childbirth because she was going to bring forth children. Why should she not suffer because she was going to bring forth this Adamic man? She would constantly bring forth one who would minister sin and perpetuate death until Christ put an end to it. God did not curse Eve,
even though people often call it a curse.

There is a passage of scripture in the New Testament which, though kept obscure, throws tremendous light upon why God did not directly curse either Adam or Eve. When Paul was writing his instructions to Timothy regarding the conduct of the church, he made this most remarkable and enlightening statement, every word of which I believe. Hear well what he said: “I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed (the formed man, not the created one), then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” (I Tim 2:12-14). Paul did not make this statement because he was a woman hater and this truth should never be used to condemn Eve or any other woman. The truth is, however, that Eve was taken from the flesh and bone of Adam and made separate from him in order that the transgression should be accomplished…” For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope” (Rom. 8:20). The transgression is not a mistake! Neither God nor Adam slipped up! It is a part of God’s great plan of creation and redemption. Notice, now, how the scripture plainly states that Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. What then shall we say about the man? The truth must be that if he was not deceived, then he entered into the transgression with his eyes wide open, because he knew and thoroughly understood God’s plan – that God through temptation, suffering and death would eventually produce the finished product, not only a man in His image, but a man qualified to face and subdue every reality and potentiality in the universe and to reign with Him triumphantly over all things. I cannot believe that Adam was angry with Eve, or that he scorned her or wished himself rid of her. She was flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, and we read in Eph. 5:29, “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth it and cherisheth it even as the Lord the Church.” But Adam’s heart must have been filled with sorrow, compassion, love, mercy and above all a consuming desire to lift his wife, his body, his flesh, out of the sin and darkness into which she had fallen. Yet he found himself powerless to save her. That ability was not given to the first Adam. There were only two courses open to Adam: go with Eve into sin and loss or forever be separated from her. What a choice! His lovely and beautiful wife had entered a lower realm through sin. Certainly he could see this would be that God would give us an insight into the sufferings of the heart of Adam! Perhaps such a thing would reveal something of the heart of the last Adam as he yearned over this “wife” in His garden, not of Eden, but of Gethsemane. Thank God, the last Adam was able to rescue and save His beloved one from the powers of evil into which she had come.

 As you know the story, after they had eaten and found themselves naked, they attempted to hide from God. But God found them, or discovered them to themselves, and He called all three, Adam, Eve, and the serpent, before Him. God asked, “Adam why did you do this?” Adam’s reply was “Well, the woman you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” Of course he ate; and I am glad that he did; I honor him for it, and am proud of the primal ancestor of the race. It would have been a sorry piece of unmanliness, disloyalty and unlove if he would have refused to eat and so left the woman to bear the brunt of her error alone outside the Garden, while he remained within. I have heard countless preachers talking about Adam hiding behind the skirts of a woman, pointing the finger and blaming it all on the woman. I have no use for such distorted reasoning. Adam was actually saying to God, “God, you bear the responsibility for this. You gave me Eve, you gave me a companion to be with me, and should I not cleave to her? Would you have one desert her? Did you not sanction the law that a man is to leave his father and mother and cleave only to his wife? Do with us what you will; we share the consequences together; and Thou art the One, Thou the Creator, who has put this necessity upon me.” Truly the cry of Adam’s heart was a cry of deep and unextinguished love. It was, furthermore, the cry of a broken heart praying for strength, praying for grace and for help to bear up under the load. Adam’s wonderful and glorious world had suddenly collapsed around him. Everything that God had given the man and woman in Eden was gone. Utter despair filled his heart, as he knew he must make the decision to go into sin and death with the wife God had given him. Together with Eve, in a manner to be her protection, he must face the judgment of God. Adam was simply following out the divine pattern for all this which had happened.

Paul, writing the deepest truth to the saints at Ephesus, made these remarkable statements: “The husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything” (Eph. 5:23-24). Let those who lack understanding look only at the surface meaning here. The deeper meaning is this: as Christ is the head of the body, the church, so Adam was the head of Eve; and as Christ is the Saviour of His body, the church, so Adam was the saviour of his body, Eve. The Emphatic Diaglott reads thus: “Husbands, love your wives even as the Anointed One loves the congregation, and delivered Himself upon her behalf” (Eph. 5:25). Note those words: “Delivered Himself up on her behalf.” Because of the intense love of the first Adam for Eve, his own body, and because he understood how the divine purpose was to be worked out he was not deceived, he delivered himself up for her who is the mother of us all and thus became the figure and type of Him, Christ, who delivered Himself up for us all. “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come” (Rom. 5:14). How beautifully in the light of these things has the scripture said: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15).

I have said all this to bring us to the knowledge that Christ knew His wife, the church, his “other body,” always. He knew her before she sinned, even as Adam knew Eve before she sinned. There was a time in the realm of Spirit when Christ knew us in that long ago beginning before man was lowered into this dense material realm, when once we existed as spirits in the image and likeness of God. “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29). “According as He hath chosen us in Him (before the foundation of the world)” (Eph. 1:4). Adam could decide to go into sin and death with his wife, but that is all he could do. HE could NEVER LIFT HER OUT OF SIN AND DEATH. But what a wonderful One this last Adam would prove to be! He could go right down into a sinful world, where His wife was, and taking her out, cleanse her. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:25-27). Christ took unto Himself all of His wife’s sin and iniquity. Not only our sins, but our diseases, with all the limitation and filthiness of this present creation – all were placed upon Him, for He bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that He might purify and cleanse us.

The Christ is able to cleanse, purify and quicken His wife. He can take away the sin, carnality and death that the first Adam was impotent to do anything about. Christ Himself has walked in the midst of humanity, not high above us in holiness and incorruptibility, but in the very midst of our mortality, shame, and need. It behooved Himself to be made in all points like unto us. And even now He has not gone off and set Himself down on a celestial throne in some far-off heaven somewhere, saying, “I will do the best I can for you from a safe distance.” No! He has come to us, yea, within us, as God hath said, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (II Cor. 6:16). He became one of us in Christ Jesus, and is still one of us as He indwells us and makes His abode with us. The first law that man made was that a man should leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife and they two should become one flesh. God sanctioned that law and has now bound His Son Jesus to it. Jews must leave His Father and cleave unto His earthly wife, share her life, bear her sins in His own body, redeem her, cleanse her, and lift her up again into an equality with Himself.

The woman is the soul of man
That Adam died to keep;
Ordained of God, it was His plan
To save the wayward sheep.

 Christ tasted death for every man
That He might win His bride:
“Church of the Firstborn Son of God,”
And for His church He died.

 Adam knew what he was doing,
He did not believe the lie;
But Eve transgressed because she did…
And so do you and I.

Full well he knew the poison
In the cup upon that tree,
But he tasted it for her sake
‘Twas the Father’s will, you see.

He knew the truth that Christ should be
The ransom for all men;
He knew that he should surely die,
But he would rise again.

He knew the Lamb of God was slain
Before the world was founded,
And on this blessed knowledge
Was the HOPE of Adam grounded.
 
- Lora Huston

 

 


 Chapter 30

MALE AND FEMALE

(continued)

 "And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness: so God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; MALE AND FEMALE created He them" (Gen. 1:26-27).

Of all the mysteries that have perplexed the people of God throughout the ages none has proved to be a source of misunderstanding and contention among saints more than the relationship between male and female. As we pursue this subject I feel it necessary to point out that all natural things have spiritual counterparts, all physical things picture and portray higher and greater realities in the spiritual realm. The shallow understanding of the church system and the superficial teaching of its unspiritual ministry are the basic causes of the gross ignorance among most Christians of the transcendent SPIRITUAL REALITIES accessible in the realm of the Kingdom of God of which all earthly things are but shadowy types. As long as people are kept ignorant of the glorious and eternal realities of that higher realm, they will continue to toddle about in the lower realms of carnal interpretations and applications of the Word of God.

By spiritual experience and revelation one can approach God and establish a relationship with the living God who is Spirit. The one who sees and understands by the Spirit makes contact with the Creator of all and therefore comprehends the true nature of all things. Thus, there are two ways of seeing. One is by the natural eye of observation by which man sees things as they are or as they appear in the physical world. The spiritual man, however, can see the way things came to be what they are, for he understands the process of creation., The first way sees the status quo, reality as it is presented to the physical senses. The other, that of the spirit of wisdom and revelation, sees beyond that which is manifest to the senses. If a rabbit is pulled out of a hat, it is astonishing only to those who did not see how he was put in. Those who see the world only as it appears to them, as the truth and the reality of things are confronted with a world that seems full of pain, sorrow, struggle, fate, and meaninglessness; to them there is a world that is real but confusing, and there is a God who is somewhere beyond it. The eyes of the spirit, however, discerning the mind, ways, and purposes of the Lord of the universe, is able to see reality in a more transcendent way. They have become aware of another sort of reality, spiritual reality, which is merely symbolized or figured by the natural realm.

In the Garden of Eden story many people seem to think that Eve symbolizes woman as a sex and that Adam somehow stands for men as a sex, but the truth goes far beyond this. It is significant to note that in most languages of earth ALL THINGS are classified in one of the three genders: masculine, feminine, or neuter. This means that not only are living things classified as male or female, but a great number of other things as well. For example, in the English language a ship is in the feminine gender and is always referred to as “she” or “her.” In the language of God, which is the language of the Spirit, everything is classified by divine revelation in one of the three genders: masculine, feminine, or neuter. For example, in Joseph’s dream of the sun, moon and eleven stars (Gen. 37) the moon stood for his mother, while the sun represented his father and the stars his eleven brethren. We learn from this that the moon in God’s economy is feminine whereas the sun and stars are masculine. In prophecy the Lord Jesus is alluded to as the Sun of Righteousness, and in the New Testament He is designated the Bright and Morning Star. In Dan. 12:13 the sons of God are presented in the brightness of the stars. A whole group of words associated with spirituality are used in a masculine connotation. The word SPIRIT, and all that pertains to the life and realm of that which is spiritual, is masculine. “When HE the Spirit of truth is come, HE will guide you into all truth.” Other words like MANCHILD, BRIDEGROOM, SON, TEMPLE, OVERCOMER, etc. bear masculine characteristics. On the other hand, the word SOUL and all that pertains to the realm of that which is soulish, is feminine. Other words like WOMAN, BRIDE, CITY, PENTECOST, etc. bear feminine characteristics. The word BODY is found to be in the neuter gender, for it may be yielded as an expression of either the Spirit or the soul, masculine or feminine.

With these principles in mind we have a better foundation from which to understand that in the Garden of Eden ADAM TYPIFIES THE SPIRIT, and EVE TYPIFIES THE SOUL. How precious and pregnant with meaning every word of the Bible becomes when seen by the spirit of revelation!

SPIRIT is masculine – the life giving force, essential being, substance, strength, as typified by Adam.

SOUL is feminine – that which proceeds out of spirit, as in the Garden we see Eve "taken out of Adam."

The King James version of the Bible says of this momentous event, "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man" (Gen. 2:21-22). One of the stories which has excited the ridicule of the critics of the Bible is the account of the creation of woman. If a rib was taken out of man to form a woman, why, we are asked, is not one still missing? Foolish are such as objection seems on the surface (for the loss of more important members of the body is not transmitted by generation) it challenges us to look into any particular reason why a rib should be chosen for this purpose. Was it really a rib, or may the word be understood of some other part of Adam’s body? It would be well, for a moment, to consider this word "rib." It is the Hebrew word tsela which appears forty-two times in the Old Testament, and this is the only place where it has been translated "rib." In every other case it has been rendered "side," or "side chamber," or simply "chamber." It is used of a side of a man, of inanimate things such as the tabernacle, altar, side chambers, cells of the temple, etc. In Ezekiel 41:9 it is the word used for the space between the two walls of the temple, intended for these chambers.

Many Hebrew scholars have affirmed that "rib" is a mistranslation. The idea that Eve was made out of one of Adam's ribs has its origin in rabbinical lore, and indeed, many, varied, and fanciful are their fables! Paul cautioned his son Titus: "Wherefore rebuke them sharply. not giving heed to JEWISH FABLES. that turn from the truth" (Tit. 1:13-14). One Rabbi said that "Eve was made out of a tail which originally belonged to Adam." Rav., the great head of the Babylonian rabbinical school, declared, "Eve was formed out of a second face, which originally belonged to Adam." Another Rabbi declares, "Instead of a rib taken from Adam, a slave was given him to wait upon him." But Rabbi Joshua, in his commentary, has given the fable which has received the widest acceptance even among Christians. Rabbi Joshua says, "God deliberated from what member He would create woman, and He reasoned with Himself thus: I must not create her from Adam's head, for she would be a proud person, and hold her head high. If I create her from the eye, then she will wish to pry into all things; if from the ear, she will wish to hear all things; if from the mouth, she will talk too much; if from the heart, she will envy people; if from the hand, she will desire to take all things; if from the feet, she will be a gadabout. Therefore I will create her from the rib, which is not even seen when man is naked." And this is the inane fable which lies at the basis of the idea that Eve was made out of Adam's rib, whereas the Bible says God took one of Adam's "chambers," or a part of Adam's INNER NATURE, out of which He "builded" her!

Let us look at a few examples of how this word tsela is translated. "And it came to pass that he (Solomon) began to build the house of the Lord, and against the wall of the house he built CHAMBERS (tsela) round about, the nethermost CHAMBER (tsela) was five cubits broad, the door for the middle CHAMBER (tsela) was in the right side of the house, so he built the house and finished it" (I Kings 6:5-9). Tsela is translated CHAMBERS ten times in the description of the prophetic temple seen in vision by the prophet in Ezekiel chapter forty-one.

The word "rib" does not adequately describe what God took out of Adam. When we think of a rib we think of a BONE in Adam's side. But if God only used a rib – a BONE – then when He brought Eve to Adam he should have said: "This is now RIB OF MY RIB!" or, "This is now BONE of my BONES." PERIOD! But Adam said, "This is now bone of my bones, AND FLESH OF MY FLESH!" Therefore, when man and woman are united in marriage they become ONE FLESH, not ONE RIB or ONE BONE!

The late Douglas Wilson shared some precious insights into this thought. He wrote, “In Adam’s body we find both the male and the female, but he was ONE BODY. Medical science tells us that for the first five or six months of the child’s development in the body of its mother, both sets of reproductive and sexual organs are present in the child. Beginning at that time, one sex takes predominance over the other and either a male or female child is born. To us this is strong proof that the body of Adam in the beginning was a combination of both female and male organs, and he was a self-perpetuating creature. He was MAN AND WOMAN IN ONE BODY. The word rib is so translated from the fact that the Hebrew word carries with it a sense of ‘curve’ and thus, we have rib. But it literally means the side, the whole side of a person or human body. Paul says in I Corinthians 7:4 that the husband nor the wife have power of his or her own body, and the very fact that the two bodies must be one to bring forth children is proof that some very vital part of Adam’s body was taken from him to be incorporated in another body, part of his own, and to be called ‘Eve.’ In other words, Eve was literally a vital part of Adam’s body. Adam could say of Eve, ‘She is my body,’ and Eve could say of Adam, ‘He is my body.’

“We have a wonderful illustration of this in Abraham and Sarah. We read in Romans 4:19, ‘And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb.’ It seems to us that Abraham’s body was dead because Sarah’s body was dead. Abraham had brought forth Ishmael and he took other wives after Isaac’s birth and continued to bring children into the world, while Isaac was the only child that Sarah brought forth. So we can see that it was Sarah (Abraham’s body) that was dead, and because of that, Abraham’s part of Abraham’s own body, was dead, and could not have the promised son until God’s time. Such a circumstance is the direct result of the dividing of the original ‘Adam body.’

“There must have been a wondrous love spring up in the heart of this first man for this first woman. She was taken out of his own body and presented to him by the Lord in that simple ceremony and Adam took Eve to himself with a word that became incorporated in the law of God for man in all time, and for Jesus Christ unto the ages. ‘Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife and they shall be one flesh.’ This then, was the dividing of Adam’s body to make of him two bodies and yet they were one flesh. So it was and so it shall ever be as in Genesis 2:23, ‘-she shall be called WOMAN because she was taken out of MAN.’ Adam was to love Eve as his own body for actually she was such. Eve was to return that love, for she was out of Adam’s body and was God’s fit and worthy help for Adam.”

If you picked up the morning newspaper and saw the headlines, “Man Gives Birth.” I’m sure you would double check to make certain you had not picked up THE NATIONAL INQUIRER, STAR, or GLOBE by mistake! Your first thought would probably be, “But that’s impossible!” or “It can’t happen – it is contrary to the laws of nature!” Yet God has revealed in His word that such a possibility actually existed in the genesis of the human race. When God formed mankind of the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life they were one, not separated in the beginning into two persons. Within that one man were all the characteristics and potentialities of male and female, all the possibilities of fruit. Still today in the human being are traces of that dual nature in most of the organs of the body (see The Sandoz Journal of Medical Science, 1967, Vol. 8, No. 2). The angels in heaven neither marry nor are given in marriage (Mat. 22:30) because they are male and female in one as was Adam before Eve was taken from him.

On that glorious sixth day of creation,, when God created them male and female, God pronounced that all He had made was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). But after lowering these primordial spirits into the one body of the man Adam the Lord said, “It is not good that man should be alone.”

Adam could have generated a heavenly kingdom out of himself, without intercourse or pain… Eve was within Adam as a pure, chaste, virginal power. He could then generate a virginal state, and procreate by means of his will, and out of his own substance. The scientific word that describes this state is androgynous from andros meaning man and gyne meaning woman. Webster defines androgynous as “Hermaphrodite: a person or animal with the sexual organs of both the male and female.” It is able to reproduce from within itself without an outside mate. There are still such things on this planet as androgynous animals and plants. For example, one of the tiny relatives of the jellyfish lives in quiet fresh-water ponds. It is only as thick as a heavy thread and as long as an eyelash. But a magnifying glass reveals its unusual shape. Its thin, hollow body is topped by a half dozen or more arms, or tentacles. The biologists call this transparent little monster hydra. There are no male and female hydras – for they are androgynous – both in one. And they reproduce out of themselves. The results of some of the experiments performed with these animals are almost unbelievable. For example hydras can be minced up into a jelly-like paste and stuffed into tiny holes drilled in a block of plastic. After a few days in a water bath, each little mass of hydra paste is ready to regenerate a new animal, complete with head and tentacles. The creatures are almost indestructible! Hydras may reproduce in another way. Sometimes a bud starts to grow out of the side of the adult. After a while the bud separates from the parent and forms a new hydra. The common earthworm is also an interesting animal. He, too, is equipped with a primitive type of internal fertilization, or union of egg and sperm within the animal’s body. You actually see a true hermaphrodite every time you plow the earth or go fishing with a cane pole!

When God separated Eve from Adam the record states: “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;” (Gen. 2:21). God could have just touched Adam and brought Eve out of his side, or spoken one word and she would have immediately stood there whole at his side, but instead He caused a deep sleep to come on Adam. Could we not say that this was the first surgery ever performed and that the Creator Himself was both Surgeon and Anesthetist? This record is one of the most remarkable of the internal evidences of the inspiration of the holy scriptures. For, you see, this ancient scene reveals the modern techniques of anesthesia long millenniums before it was discovered by medical science! My encyclopedia says that local anesthesia is the loss of feeling in only a part of the body; general anesthesia is a deep sleep in which there is no feeling at all. Since ancient times, doctors have tried to do something about deadening the pain during operations. Many kinds of drugs and medicines were tried. Almost all of them did as much harm as good. Some doctors used to get a patient drunk before an operation. Others have even knocked the patient out by beating him over the head with a club. The first real use of anesthesia by which a deep sleep was induced came during the years 1842 to 1846. These are some arguments as to who were the first men to use anesthesia successfully. Three names stand out above the others. Dr. Crawford W Long performed an operation in Georgia in 1842 and used ether as an anesthetic. In 1844 a dentist, Dr. Horace Wells, inhaled a gas called Nitrous Oxide. Another dentist then pulled one of Dr. Well’s teeth. In 1846 Dr. William T. G. Morton of Boston used ether in several operations. Since that time, many anesthetics have been discovered and many improvements have been made in anesthesia. Yet the almighty Creator knew and applied the science of anesthesiology 6,000 years before Dr. Long discovered the use of ether! And yet some scientists have the audacity to laugh at the Genesis record as being totally unscientific and mythological!

Here again we need to look behind the story of the truth God is seeking to convey to man. When Jesus died on the cross we read that the Father caused a “deep sleep” to fall on Him, too – the sleep of death. Just as Eve was in Adam from the time when he was formed of the dust of the ground, so we were in Christ from before the foundation of the world, and more especially when He came into this earth realm in human flesh. He came as the second man, and the last Adam. And just as Adam was a self contained creature, with his wife in his side, so Christ bore His wife in His side. His body was a very vital and significant thing, part of which was to become His “other body” the church or the bride of Christ. Because of this there must come to Him, as to the first Adam, the DIVIDING OF HIS BODY, that He, the second man, might become two bodies. Eve was in the body of Adam all the time. God simply brought her out of Adam’s body and gave her a body of her own. So was Christ’s wife in Him all the time and she must also be brought out of the Christ and become the church, the bride of Christ. Just as Eve was taken out of Adam’s side after a deep sleep had been put upon him, so we were born out of the blood that flowed from Jesus’ side when the deep sleep of death was put upon Him by His Father. Now today, we see how the words of Adam “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” are picked up by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians and applied to the church. “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Eph. 5:23, 25-32). Did you ever wonder why the church is call the “BODY” of Christ? That’s why – because she is His Bride and the two are joined in one flesh.

As in Adam’s body the life giving organs were retained, so they are retained in the Christ’s body – and in all the sons of God who grow up into Him to be the body of the Bridegroom – and he has life in Himself. And just as the life receiving organs were given to Eve, so the spiritual life-receiving organs are given to the church, the bride of Christ. As Eve became the body for bearing Adam’s children, so the church became the body for the bearing of the children of the Christ (Heb. 2:12-13). As neither Adam nor Eve had power of their own body, so does neither the Christ nor the church have power of their own body. As Adam’s two bodies must become one in order to perpetuate the human race, so much the Christ’s two bodies become one to perpetuate the spiritual race. This then, was the dividing of Christ’s body, to become two bodies and the joining again of those two bodies for the purpose of perpetuating the spiritual race in God’s Kingdom.

And just as Eve looked forward to the bringing forth of that one particular and special seed, the Christ, who would crush the serpent’s head and bring deliverance from sin and death to all of Adam’s race, so does the church, the bride of Christ, look forward to that particular and special seed which is the manchild, who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron and bring the Kingdom of God to pass in the earth. As one has written: “In his great vision on the Isle of Patmos, John the Revelator, as he describes it to us says: ‘I saw a woman clothed with the sun, and with the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars upon her head, and she brought forth a manchild, who was to rule all nations, who was caught up to God and to His throne.’

“To understand John’s vision you must understand that when the New Testament speaks of a woman, it is not speaking of a natural woman but is always speaking of the many-membered Woman, the Church. To understand what John meant when he said, ‘I saw this woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet,’ we need to understand the mystery of the heavenlies, that God had revealed in this end-time move of the Spirit. That is that the physical heavens in their every aspect are only a type of God’s spiritual heavens, which spiritual Heavens we are. The sun that you see in the sky each day is a type of Jesus: just as the sun is the natural light of the world, so Jesus is the supernatural Light of the world. The moon that you see in the physical heavens each night is a type of Church: just as the moon has no light of its own, but only reflects the light of the sun in the earth; so the Church has no light of its own, but only reflects the Light of Jesus in the earth.

Therefore when John said, ‘I saw a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet,’ he was not talking about the natural sun and the natural moon; but he was talking about the True Son, Jesus – and the moon, the old order denominational Church system. When he said, ‘I saw a woman clothed with the sun,’ he was talking about a segment of the woman, the Church, in this end-time move of the Spirit; who is at this hour not being clothed with the light or the truths of the Moon – the old order denominational Church system; but is being clothed with all the Light and Truth of the Son, Her True Husband, Jesus. She is being clothed with mysteries and light and Truth that have never been taught in the old order denominational Church system, the Moon. In fact, before it is over She shall be clothed with all the Light and Truth that Jesus, Himself, knew when He was here on the earth; and therefore She is being lifted up to a higher place in Light and Truth than the Moon, the Old order Church system; and therefore in these last days, the Moon is going to be under Her feet. Through being clothed with all the Light of the Sun, She is going to be brought into a spiritual union with Jesus, Her Heavenly Husband, that will grow us up to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, and change us into incorruptibility; so that out of this Woman clothed with the Son shall come forth a many-membered Manchild through whom Christ will rule and reign over this earth – Who shall have been caught up to the Throne of God, to rule all nations with a rod of iron.

“Certainly this Manchild will not be made up only of individual, natural men; but also of those members of the Body of Christ who wear dresses: but through receiving all the Light of the Son, Jesus, they will have grown up out of the natural characteristics of their woman-flesh nature, and will have taken on those spiritual attributes of the Nature of Christ, the Eternal Man: faith, spiritual strength, agape love of God, patience, long-suffering, and all those spiritual fruits which are strictly the attributes of the Spirit – the only Eternal Man – of which all individual, natural men are only a type.” – end quote.

What God actually did, of course, was to remove from Adam a VITAL PART of his being, one of the CHAMBERS of his innermost nature, and out of that which was formerly concealed within man God built an EXTERNAL EXPRESSION AND MANIFESTATION. Eve was thus "taken out of Adam," from his inner nature, from that region of the heart, where lies the seat of all that is within man, where the heart's throbs are felt, and the fount of life wells up, the conceded dwelling place of the appetites, desires, will, affections, and emotions. From thence, from within the man, came forth the woman, so that the appetites, desires, will, affections and emotions which lay hidden deep in the inner recesses of his nature now became revealed and expressed – IN EVE! This is why Eve was FIRST TEMPTED and first fell. Eve is Adam's inward and invisible constitution, character, quality, temper, disposition, mood, desire, emotion, mind, will, and affection BROUGHT FORTH INTO AN OUTWARD AND VISIBLE MANIFESTATION. Ah, yes, Eve is Adam's SOUL! We need no greater evidence than this of the certainty that Eve represents the soul, as Adam represents the spirit, for spirit is BEING and soul is EXPRESSION.

For the sake of understanding, the soul can be said to have five senses just as our physical body has the five senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. The soul comprises your INTELLECT – that is your mind with all its mental capacity for knowledge, understanding, and reason. Then you have your WILL – the mental power to choose and the forces directly urging you to action. Then there are the EMOTIONS – strong forces of personality and passion with many aspects such as love, hatred, joy, peace, grief, anger, fear, etc. Then come the DESIRES – the ability to wish or long for, to want or crave something above and beyond what is already possessed or experienced. Finally, there is the AFFECTION – heart attachments, the power to search out and cleave to that for which we have a natural feeling, passion, predisposition, or propensity.

The Greek word for SOUL is psuche, which means MIND. It is the root word from which we get all our English words dealing with the psychic, i.e. the human soul, the mind, the mental life. Psychoanalysis, psychology, psychiatry – all these words come from the same root – psuche. Proverbs 2:10 suggests that the soul needs knowledge. "Knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul." Note also Prov. 19:2 and 24:14. Since knowledge is a function of the mind, this shows that the mind is a part of the soul. All three of these verses from Proverbs tell us that we need to have knowledge in the soul. Then Ps. 139:14 says that the soul knows. "I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well." To know is something of the mind, which again shows that the mind is a part of the soul. Ps. 13:2 says the soul considers, or counsels, which refers to the mind. Lamentations 3:20 indicates that remembrance is of the soul. That is, the soul can remember things. From these verses we can see that there is a part in the soul that knows, considers, and remembers. This part is called the mind.

The second part of the soul is the will. Job 7:15 says the soul chooses. "So that my soul chooseth death rather than life." To choose something is a decision made by act of the will. This shows that the will is a part of the soul. Job 6:7 says the soul refuses. To choose and refuse are both functions of the will. I Chron. 22:19 says, "set your soul to seek." Just as we set our minds to think, so we set our souls to seek. This is, of course, the soul making a decision, which shows that the will is a part of the soul. Then in Numbers 30, "bind his soul" is mentioned ten times. When we read this chapter, we understand that to bind the soul is to make a decision. It deals with a vow that is made to the Lord. To make a decision to bind the soul is to make a vow to the Lord. Thus, it is demonstrated that the will is a part of the soul. In Ps. 27:12, 41:2, and Ezekiel 16:27 the Hebrew word for "soul" is translated "will." This again reveals that the will is a part of the soul.

The emotion is the third part of the soul. With the emotion there are many aspects: for example, love, hatred, grief, joy, peace, fear, etc. All of these are expressions of the emotion. References to the fact that the soul loves are found in I Sam. 18:1, S. of S. 1:7, and Ps. 42:1. These verses show that love is something of the soul, proving, therefore, that within the soul there is such an organ or function as the emotion. II Sam. 5:8 says, "Whosoever getteth up and smiteth the Jebusites that are hated of David's soul, he shall be chief." This passage shows that hatred is something of the soul. See also Ps. 107:18 and Eze. 36:5. Since hatred is an expression of the emotion, these verses also prove that the emotion is a part of the soul. Joy, an element of the emotion, is also a part of the soul, as seen in Isa. 61:10 and Ps. 86:4. Then there is the matter of grief, mentioned in I Sam. 30:6 and Judges 10:16. Grief is another expression of the soul.

The fourth part of the soul is the desire. We read in I Sam. 20:4, "Then said Jonathan unto David, Whatsoever thy soul desireth, I will even do it for thee." This verse shows that desire is found in the soul, making it a part of the soul. See also Deut. 14:26. This verse and many others show desire to be in the realm of the soul.

The affection is the fifth part of the soul. We read of Abraham's nephew, Lot, who, though he lived in Sodom, his heart affection was toward the Lord, and the record states, "For that righteous man dwelling among them, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds" (II Pet. 2:8). Lot vexed his righteous soul because his affection was not upon the things they were doing. From his prison cell in Rome the apostle Paul penned these immortal words, "Set your AFFECTION ON THINGS ABOVE, and not on things on the earth" (Col. 3:2). Hear now the inspired words of Jesus as He teaches His disciples, "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy SOUL, this is the first commandment" (Mk. 12:30). This quality of love – agape – means in the Greek "to have affection" (see Strong's Concordance). Thou shalt HAVE AFFECTION for the Lord thy God! What magnificent words these are, describing as they do the affection that we should have for the Lord with all our SOUL. This proves that affection is a function of the soul.

There is a constant interplay between soul and spirit in scripture so that there are times when the words seem synonymous, although they are not. This same kind of interplay also exists between blood and breath for the life is in the breath and the life is in the blood. When either breath or blood depart the body, the life-principle departs simultaneously. The interchange of terms for man as both soul and spirit are seen where Job in characteristic Hebrew parallelism says: “I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul” (Job 7:11). He cannot restrain his mouth because the totality of his inner being is distressed, and all that he is as a person cries out for relief. Paul makes a definite distinction between man’s soul and spirit. “I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thes. 5:23). Furthermore, it is stated emphatically by the writer of Hebrews that there is a divisible difference between soul and spirit. He declares that the Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword for it pierces “to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit” which are as closely related, and as distinctly different, as the joints and marrow which form parts of the skeletal structure of man (Heb. 4:12).

On a day in the long ago an apostle by the name of Paul penned these telling words: "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent BEGUILED EVE through his subtlety, so YOUR MINDS should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" (II Cor. 11:2-3). In this significant passage Eve in the garden of Eden is contrasted with two things: the bride of Christ and the mind. The mind is a function of the soul. The vision of the bride of Christ pervades the whole of scripture, from Eden onward, with ever-increasing clearness. Eve, the mother of the human race, is the first type of this great mystery. Let us not underestimate this remarkable woman from whom the whole human race has sprung!

We also read, “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies IN YOUR MIND by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled” (Col. 1:21). The final analysis will shew that all sin originates in the mind. Deeds are but thoughts expressed. And it was because “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5), that He sent the flood to bring a halt, a restraint, to this degeneration. In due time, when again the mind of man was exalting itself with the building of the city and a tower, God said, “and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” (Gen. 11:6). So He promptly confounded their language and scattered them abroad. He knew the power of the mind, the tremendous capability of the mind to scheme and imagine, and He has to constantly bring restraints against men, lest there be no end to their ways of rebellion and self-exaltation. So there is vital necessity of the RENEWING OF OUR MIND to “put on the mind of Christ.”

In that ancient shadow, on the individual plane, Adam stands as a type of the spirit, Eve is a type of the soul, and the garden of Eden is a type of the body, which Adam was to "dress and keep." Thus we see our tripartite being symbolically portrayed in the Adam-Eve-Garden story. The Garden was the earth, the land, the locale; and Adam and Eve were its inhabitants, in the same way that our spirit and soul are the inhabitants of the physical body. It is through our "Eve," our soulical desires, will and emotions, that we who have been espoused to Christ the Bridegroom in our spirit, can be "beguiled" and turned from our single and pure devotion to Christ, entering into intimate associations with the flesh, the world, the spirit of Babylon, and the devil, thus disqualifying ourselves from being presented to Christ as a chaste virgin. Paul shows that just as Eve was beguiled from her singleness to God, so those espoused to Christ can be corrupted IN OUR MINDS from singleness to Christ.

Ray Prinzing has written: "The 'spirit of man', leaving the eternal realms of HIS SPIRIT to become encased in a tabernacle of flesh became 'a living soul', literally A BREATHING ONE on this earth plane. The MIND is the connecting link between the spirit within and the flesh realm without. 'They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded (that is, minding of the flesh) is death; but to be spiritually minded (minding of the Spirit) is life and peace' (Rom. 8:5-6). As one living and breathing on this earth plane, we will either mind the flesh, or the Spirit. When we take the word 'soul' over into the Greek of the New Testament, we find it expressed in the word PSUCHE, which literally bespeaks of the mind. One is not always conscious of their inner spirit, nor are we always conscious of our flesh body – for we live in the realm of THE MIND, and it is active twenty-four hours of the day, whether we wake or sleep. The soul, mind realm, bespeaks of the mental power to reason, of those mental forces that urge us into action, of the exercise of the will. If this is directed towards the things of the flesh, it means death – for all this flesh realm shall pass away and come to nothing. If our mind is directed towards the things of the Spirit, it means life and peace, for in Him alone are the eternal realities" - end quote.

Let us meditate deeply upon the soul-bride that Eve reveals to us. I must remind every reader o