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 KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES

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

The Heavens Declare

Book One

By J. Preston Eby

Table of Contents

Chapter                        Title                                                 Page

1                                   The Heavens Declare                                             3

2                                   The Heavens Declare (cont.)                                    15

3                                   The Heavens Rule                                                  27

4                                   A Tabernacle For The Sun                                    40

5                                   Virgo – The Virgin                                                   52

6                                   Virgo – The Virgin (cont.)                                          64

7                                   Virgo – The Virgin (cont.)                                          76

8                                   Virgo – The Virgin (cont.)                                          88

9                                   Libra – The Scales                                                  100

10                                 Libra – The Scales (cont.)                                         113

11                                 Libra – The Scales (cont.)                                         125

12                                 Libra – The Scales (cont.)                                         136

13                                 Libra – The Scales (cont.)                                         148

14                                 Libra – The Scales (cont.)                                         160

15                                 Scorpio – The Scorpion                                        173

16                                 Scorpio – The Scorpion (cont.)                                184

17                                 Scorpio – The Scorpion (cont.)                                200

18                                 Scorpio – The Scorpion (cont.)                                215

19                                 Scorpio – The Scorpion (cont.)                                229

20                                 Scorpio – The Scorpion (cont.)                                242

21                                 Sagittarius – The Archer                                      258

22                                 Sagittarius – The Archer (cont.)                               273

23                                 Sagittarius – The Archer (cont.)                               285

24                                 Sagittarius – The Archer (cont.)                               301

25                                 Sagittarius – The Archer (cont.)                               316

26                                 Sagittarius – The Archer (cont.)                               332

27                                 Sagittarius – The Archer (cont.)                               348

 


 

Chapter 1

The Heavens Declare 

Our Creator is a God of super-abundant generosity. Look at the universe and the world around you. His generosity is evident. He has given us more than enough air to breathe. He has given us water to waste. He has given us an earth with resources vast and unlimited. We have the moon to stimulate our romantic impulses and to decorate the night sky. In addition to the sun and moon, God has provided the dazzling planets for our wonder. Then He unselfishly filled the shimmering heavens with myriad's and multitudes of countless twinkling stars. He could have given only a few hundred stars, but our super-abundant God MORE than filled the vast entities of space with them.  

From time immemorial, man has been fascinated by the beautiful and awesome spectacle of the stars of heaven and has sensed that they tell a tale of might and power far beyond the scope of human reason. Centuries before the birth of Jesus, the sweet singer of Israel penned these words of inspiration and truth: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork" (Ps. 19:1). "Listen," he says with eyes upraised, "the stars are talking!" Can you not picture him now as he gazed upward and watched Orion, the hunter, climb over the hills of Moab on the eastern horizon, followed soon after by his dog, in which shone brilliant Sirius, the most luminous star in the heavens. Poet and plowman, astronomer and artisan, civilized and savage have alike agreed that there is a testimony in the fact of the heavens that reason cannot refute.  

Long millenniums ago, God said, "Let there be light!" With that command a universe of raging infernos called stars came into existence, and have been transferring their energies into limitless energy-containing systems ever since. Even today, the seeming myriads of stars and nebulae continue to be a breathtaking and inspiring panoply. When you go out and look up to the sky on a clear dark night, when the heavens look like dark blue velvet, and the stars like diamonds, it seems as though there were no end to the number of twinkling points of light. You would think that it was quite impossible to count the starry hosts, and that it would be just about as easy to count the grains of sand on the seashore. Really, however, there are not really so many stars to be seen with the unaided eye as you would imagine. They have often been counted, and the result is that the number of stars that an ordinary eye can see at any one time is somewhere about 2,000. If you have very keen eyes, you may be able to see another 500 or so; but there are not many people who can see 2,500 stars, and if you can see 2,000 you do fairly well.  

By contrast, the Bible states in Jer. 33:22 that "the host of heaven CANNOT BE NUMBERED." During the thousands of years before Galileo's invention of the telescope, such a statement was considered to be either false or at least a gross exaggeration. The stars uncountable? The universe, they said, was too small to contain that many stars! However, using such giant telescopes as the "200 inch" on Mount Palomar in California, astronomers have estimated that there are billions of billions of stars in the visible universe. More specifically, astronomers estimate that their number is equal to 1,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000 or one sextillion. Is this an uncountable number? That is the number that can be seen through the telescopes! But as far as man can see the universe stretches on and on into infinity- he has never discovered its outer perimeter. We therefore conclude that the term "uncountable" is indeed a very appropriate description of the number of stars in the universe. Yet in Ps. 147:4 we read that "GOD telleth the number of the stars; HE calleth them all by their names." God is not only able to number the stars- these billions of billions of blazing suns- but He calls each of them by name--He has ascribed a nature, a power, a purpose to each!  

To get some idea of the vastness of the universe...the star known as "Alpha Hercules" is more than 2,400,000,000 miles across. It is so huge that our own sun, together with the earth (at its distance of about 93 million miles from the sun) could be placed 25 times IN A ROW across the middle of this super giant star. To fly through this star from one end to the other (if it were possible!) at 25,000 miles per hour your rocket would take 11 years! What distances! What a GOD! Psalm 19 well says, "The heavens declare the glory of God." The stars shine on in their glory as in the beginning. Millenniums and cycles have gone by, kingdoms have arisen and slowly passed away. Yet the stars' brightness is not dimmed, nor their force abated. The dew of youth still seems fresh upon them. No faltering motion reveals the decrepitude of age. These shine on in undiminished glory through all the ages of time.

THE HEAVENS SPEAK  

During those star-studded nights above the plains of Judea, David looked into the heavens and there beheld the vast glittering band of stars making up our Milky Way. He was awed and knew there had to be boundless power, intelligence, and purpose behind it all. He was transfixed. He so identified with that purpose that it became his passion. Everywhere he looked he could see the stamp of the divine Creator. He exclaimed in words of inspiration that sprang up from within his spirit: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world (Ps. 19:1-4).  

The italicized words "there is" and "where" in verse three are not in the original manuscripts. While the King James Version says, "There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard," the translators added these words supposedly to improve the meaning of the text. The marginal reference reads, "Without these their voice is heard." In other words, although there is no audible voice or sound, the message is so clear that all may recognize it. Rotherham correctly translates the passage, "There is no speech, and there are no words- unheard is their voice! Yet through all the earth hath gone forth their voice, and to the ends of the world their sayings."  

What did David know of the heavens and how they express the glory of God? What does David mean when he says that every day speaks to him and to us? What does he mean when he declares that every night is a showing forth of knowledge? To whom does he refer when he says that there is no place on earth where the language or speech of man is spoken that "their voice is not heard"? Surely there is something more indicated here than a mere wonder on David's part evoked by the immensity and grandeur of the star-lit sky. When we read the whole passage and mark its structure, and note the words employed, we are emphatically told that the heavens contain a revelation from God; they prophesy, they teach knowledge, they tell of God's glory, and set forth His purposes and counsels. The heavens do not speak English, yet they speak to every Englishman and every American. The heavens do not speak French, but they speak to every Frenchman. They do not speak Spanish, yet they speak to every Spaniard. They speak in every language to every people. And they speak and reveal the majesty of God's great plan and purposes to His creation. Upon the blue sapphire of the firmament is spread a sheet of royal paper written all over with the wisdom and power of God. This book of creation is not sold in bookstores, but it is to be read by everyone who lifts his eyes up to heaven.  

The Companion Bible tells us that all the verbs in the second half of Ps. 19 are ASTRONOMICAL in nature. Furthermore, it points out that "declare" means to "rehearse" and the Hebrew verb implies repetition, thus indicating to "continually rehearse." "Uttereth" means to "continually pour forth, to tell forth, or PROPHESY." "Line" means "rule or direction." "Words" is from a Hebrew word used most often in the book of Job and means "instruction." A free translation goes like this: "The heavens continually rehearse the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day pours forth, tells forth, and prophesies, and night unto night shows, imparts and teaches knowledge. There is no speech, and there are no words- their voice is unheard- yet their rule and direction is gone out through all of the earth, and their words, their teaching, their instruction to the end of the world." Yes, precious friend of mine, the starry heavens are constantly telling and prophesying their message to man. They reveal marvelous knowledge, and their testimony is universally heard, yet without a spoken word. All this indicates something far beyond the simple wonder of the stars as dazzling objects twinkling majestically against the inky blackness of the night sky.  

May God almighty grant the spirit of wisdom and revelation unto all who read these lines. PICTURES speak in every language, and this significant fact was recognized by the Psalmist as in spirit he stated that the heavens declare a Divine meaning, in universal language, to all people, everywhere. Almighty Lord! in whom dwelleth the wisdom and knowledge of the universe, may our hearts be filled with the holy assurance that the starry hosts shining in the night skies above us are like a glorious PICTURE BOOK which God has placed wide open above us. It is full of wonderful things, glorious beyond words, for us to see and learn about Himself and His great and stupendous plan for us. Truly we are "made in His image and likeness" (Gen. 1: 27), and are destined to "grow up into Him in all things" (Eph. 4:15), developing the same qualities of character and the same capacity of wisdom and know1edge and power as He Himself possesses. The star-studded heavens at night and the blazing sun shining by day are in fact GOD'S BIBLE IN THE SKY visible from every land and nation over the world. Over the whole earth and from ships on the far-flung seas people can peer at this marvelous book and seek to discover the lost meanings now almost forgotten by mankind. Day by day and night by night they beam down upon us from the Father of lights- our heavenly Father' s Lesson Book-describing His character and the unspeakably glorious plan of creation and redemption which from the dawn of history He has ordained for the world.  

THE SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS  

Important perspectives are founded in the starry host of heaven, and, scripturally rooted in Gen. 1:14. Some years ago our daughter took an aptitude test to discover her career abilities, or what she is best at. She came across questions that were expressed in this way: "A group of four things are set before you; three of them have something in common and one of them seems out of place. Find the one that does not belong." How about a little test right now. In the first chapter of the Bible we read, "And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also" (Gen. 1:16). Again, "And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (Gen. 1:14). Of the four things set before us in this verse did not one of them seem strangely out of place? Some one is asking, "What four?" Notice again: "...and let them be for SIGNS, and for SEASONS, and for DAYS, and YEARS." Does one of them seem out of place? It would be obvious to everyone with even an elementary knowledge of astronomy that the heavenly bodies have a great deal to say about our YEARS, our DAYS and our SEASONS. But what about the relationship of the celestial bodies to that word SIGNS? How are they SIGNS? What is a SIGN? Perhaps the best way to answer our question is by answering another question first. What precisely is the purpose of a "sign"? Is it not to bear a message? To give information? To tell a story which is of importance to the one who put up the sign? If so, then let us observe that this verse is saying that God placed the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens to tell a story, to declare a word of utmost importance.  

The word for "signs" as found in Gen. 1:14 is OTH in the Hebrew. A sign is a mark to indicate something greater than the mark itself. Musical notes are symbols, or signs, to the pianist sitting at his instrument. If the pianist interprets the notes together in proper sequence, then the audience hears what the creator of the music intended when he wrote the composition. Likewise, the heavens are signs, as notes on a sheet of music. If we interpret the signs in the heavens correctly, then we can understand and appreciate the symphony of God's creation from the beginning to the end. Signs in the heavens can also be compared to notes of music in another way. As the pianist plays a concerto, the music, like a constant revelation, is heard in its proper sequence. Similarly, "signs" in Gen. 1:14 mean that the heavens are the unfurling of God's revelation to man. In other words, the heavens tell the story of things to come--they PROPHESY!  

To SPIRITUALLY comprehend the creative record, we must admit that God intended these orbs of light as expressions of some special teaching; something different and higher far than what is naturally deductible from them. Stop there for just a minute. Ask yourself what the inspired Psalmist means when he says that every day SPEAKS to him and to us. What does he mean when he declares that every night is a showing forth of KNOWLEDGE? From the dawn of the ages God almighty, omniscient, and immutable, charted the course of ALL THINGS. The heavens in their grandeur and majestic purposes were all designed as a fiery script by the moving finger of God. The increasing light and revelation of each one was planned with infinite care to display its own part in the spectrum of eternal truth that heaven and earth and things under the earth might rejoice together in the ENDS OF THE AGES BECAUSE OF THE EVERLASTING FULLNESS OF HIM who everywhere fills the universe with Himself. Glory to His name! 

THE PICTURES IN THE HEAVENS  

It is my deep conviction that these "signs" were designed as a pictorial presentation of the great plan and processes of God in creation and redemption--a symbolic portrayal of the grand drama of history as it unfolds through the dealings of God with mankind throughout the vast ages of time. Are there indeed "pictures" in the heavens? There exists in the ancient writings of virtually all nations on earth a description of the major stars or constellations in the heavens which are known as the "signs of the Zodiac," of which there are twelve. Historians have delved into the history and origin of the Zodiac and none has discovered its beginning. Whatever source we go to--whether it be Indian, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Persian, Arabic, Chaldean--the same signs were held throughout the world--and the farther back we go, they are always there! It predates all other sciences, all political systems, and all religions. It is older than the Flood, the Great Wall of China, the Egyptian Pyramids, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Law of Moses, the temples of Greece, the tablets of ancient Babylon, or the Ark of the Covenant. Regardless of how far you go back, there is a remarkable phenomenon: All nations had the same twelve signs, representing the same twelve things, placed in the same order. Archaeologists, historians and antiquarians have searched the dustiest libraries, uncovered the oldest tablets, ciphered the most difficult hieroglyphics, and have failed to discover how it is that in nations all over the world the same signs exist. The Persian and Arabian traditions all ascribe the Zodiac to Adam, Seth and Enoch. Josephus in his writings asserts that the Zodiac originated in the family of Seth, the righteous line from Adam to Noah. He also writes that Adam, Seth and Enoch made two pillars of stone on which they described the whole prophecy of the stars. This they did to preserve this revelation from being destroyed in the flood (Book 1, Chap. 1-3).  

Just what is the Zodiac? It is a band of stars that appears to encircle the earth. These stars are clustered in groups called CONSTELLATIONS. The Zodiac consists of 12 divisions--12 constellations or groups of stars--and each group is perceived in the shape of men, women, animals, monsters, objects, etc. Each group bears a name and is called a "sign". These constellations change their positions in the heavens with the change of the seasons. If the stars could be seen in the daytime the sun would appear to move through a series of constellations, entering a new one each month. This "highway" through the sky is called the Zodiac. Modern atlases list them in the following order: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces.  

Kenneth Fleming has written: "The word 'zodiac' comes from the Greek 'zodiakos,' meaning A CIRCLE. It is often assumed that the connection is with animals (living creatures, from the Greek 'zoe', to live, and in English 'zoo', etc.). However, the root meaning of 'zodiakos' has nothing to do with living creatures, but instead comes from a primitive root 'zoad', denoting A WAY or A PATH or GOING BY STEPS. In this connection it is used of the way along which the sun appears to move through the stars in the course of twelve months. This course is repeated every year as the apparent position of the sun returns to almost the exact spot that it occupied on the same date a year before. So the path through the sky in which the sun travels (or appears to travel) is called the zodiac and is divided into twelve segments" --end quote. 

GOD AND THE ZODIAC  

Let's turn our attention to a little cluster of stars in our own galaxy sometimes called the Seven Sisters, or the Pleiades. If you have a good pair of binoculars, you will see not seven stars, but dozens and with an average telescope, hundreds of stars. Now, some groupings or constellations of stars are actually vast distances apart, but appear as a group because they are located in a common direction of the sky. But there are other star groupings which are actual star clusters, and the Pleiades form such a cluster. Now notice a very interesting text in the Bible. It is a remarkable fact that it is in the book of Job, which is the oldest book in the Bible, going back to approximately 2150 B.C., which is before the Patriarch Abraham was called; 650 years before Moses and the Law; over 1,100 years before Homer wrote his Odyssey and Iliad it is in the book of Job that we have reference to this Stellar Revelation. In chapter 38 God finally breaks in and speaks to Job and his false comforters. He says to them, "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?" (Job 38:31.-33).  

We see here a reference to the constellations of Orion, Pleiades, and Arcturus. Also in the book of Job there is reference to Cetus, the sea monster (Leviathan), and to Draco, the great dragon. And remember--this is GOD speaking! And the almighty Creator speaks of the "sweet influences" of Pleiades, the "bands" of Orion, the "seasons" of Mazzaroth, the "ordinances" of the heavens, and the "dominion" of these constellations in the earth! Each of these powers and influences of the constellations over the earth are indicated by God Himself as FACT! I would draw your attention to Job 38:32 wherein we have one of the most unusual key words in all of scripture. The word itself is found only in Job 38:32 where Yahweh asks His upright servant, "Canst thou bring forth MAZZA-ROTH in his season?" Mazzaroth is a Hebrew word which means THE CONSTELLATIONS OF THE ZODIAC! Blessed be God! the scriptures are not silent concerning the antiquity and authenticity of the Zodiac and its constellations. And God did not leave it to others to speak for Him--He authenticated them Himself. Long before the mysteries of Babylon, the myths of ancient Greece, or the gods and goddesses of the pagans, God almighty, omniscient and immutable acknowledged His glorious plan and power set forth in the heavens! The Amplified Bible reads, "Can you bind the chains of the cluster of stars called Pleiades, or loose the cords of the constellations of Orion? Can you lead forth the SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC in their season? Or can you guide the stars of the Bear with her young? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish THEIR RULE upon the earth?" The constellations of the Zodiac are also mentioned in Job 9:9, Isa. 13:10. Amos 5:8, etc.  

The Zodiac is the earliest revelation to mankind from his Creator. Each of the twelve signs pictorially represents a prophetic event--an aspect of the progressive unfolding of the dealings, plan and purpose of God in the grand scheme of creation and redemption. Each sign portrays a dimension of SPIRITUAL REALITY wrought out, first of all, in the life of our blessed Forerunner and Head, Jesus Christ; secondly, in the life of each individual believer; and finally, collectively and corporately in the people of God.  

For example, the first sign is Virgo. This group of stars is associated with the picture of a young woman with an ear of wheat in one hand and a branch in the other hand. In Hebrew she is called BETHULAH, which means "virgin," just as VIRGO, from Latin, means "the virgin." The wheat and the branch in her hands denote fruitfulness- offspring. It will not be difficult for any man to see that this is a picture right out of the Bible--A VIRGIN BRINGING FORTH A SEED! In that long ago Eden the almighty Father spoke the first promise of a Redeemer to the erring man and his wife when He gave the blessed assurance, "And I will put enmity between thee (the serpent) and the woman, and between THY SEED and HER SEED; IT shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel" (Gen. 3:15). This "seed of the woman" is the first prophecy of the coming into the world of the Saviour who would "bruise the head of the serpent." Historically this is Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, living, dying, and rising again in triumph over death, hell and the grave, opening up the wellspring of eternal salvation to all who would believe. Spiritually it is the Son of God birthed in us, brought forth unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ out of our own "virgin" relationship with God.  

"For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present YOU as a CHASTE VIRGIN to Christ" (II Cor. 11:2). To be a virgin means to be pure, undefiled and separated unto our Lord. God is creating the desire in a people in this hour to be truly VIRGIN in their desires toward Him. We have known what it is to be conformed to the course of THIS WORLD. Then we have known what it is to trust Christ as Saviour while remaining entangled in all the wretched defilement of a corrupt babylonish church system. But God is calling forth in these days a glorious body of Christ who, because of the quickening of the Holy Spirit, is desiring to be VIRGIN--separated only and completely unto her glorious Lord, unto intimacy of fellowship and vital union with Him. How lightly we sometimes take the purposes of God in us! It is one thing to be washed in the blood, freed from all our past sins, and quite another thing to truly be VIRGIN in our desires to keep ourselves only unto the Lord for union with Him. As we follow on to know Him separation comes from everything of the flesh, the world, and the devil, and from every vestige of entanglement with the harlot system of religious Babylon, the abomination of the earth.

Glorious indeed and full of wisdom and creative design is the fact that your relationship to Christ as a "virgin" is ordained to forerun your manifestation to the world as a "son". As in the natural, so in the spiritual; the virgin relationship bears the feminine characteristics of modesty, gentleness, tenderness, love, sensitiveness, dependence and obedience, whereas the sonship relationship bears the characteristics of the masculine nature, aggressiveness, boldness, strength, valor, authority, power and dominion are among the traits of the masculine sex. Hence the Lord calls the CHURCH a virgin, but to the OVERCOMER He says, "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My SON. To HIM will I give POWER over the nations: and he shall RULE them with a rod of iron. 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. 21:7; 2:26-27; 3:21). The mighty, eternal and indisputable truth is that THE S-O-N IS ALWAYS BORN OF THE V-I-R-G-I-N! Just as the blessed firstborn Son was born of a virgin, so is it through the vehicle of a PURE AND UNDEFILED SOUL (virgin) that the MIGHT AND DOMINION OF THE SPIRIT (son) is manifested, expressed and revealed unto creation. This is a true principle in God that I hope no earnest saint of God who reads these lines will miss! I cannot emphasize too forcefully, or too carefully, that the power and glory of SONSHIP will never come forth from the man or woman of God who has not first become truly VIRGIN in their soul life.  

Now since we have seen that HISTORICALLY the virgin bringing forth the Son is Jesus born of Mary, the virgin of Nazareth; and SPIRITUALLY it is the Son of God (spirit) birthed (brought into manifestation) out of the transformed life through the virgin soul; let us also see that PROPHETICALLY it points to the manchild of Revelation 12, that glorious company of the corporate, many-membered Christ, the MANIFESTED SONS OF GOD for whom all creation is in travail and who shall deliver the creation from the bondage of corruption.  

The risen and ascended Lord descended in a vision of glory on the lonely isle of Patmos, and there meeting His startled disciple, John, gave him a communication concerning the Church, commanding him to write it in a scroll and send it to the seven Churches in Asia. With wondering eyes John stood transfixed as in spirit he saw a great wonder in heaven, "A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And she bought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne" (Rev. 12:1-2,5).  

As John beheld and pondered this divine mystery, soon thereafter he beheld another wonder altogether as startling as the first. "And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy...and the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: and upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH" (Rev. 17: 1-5).  

"Come hither; I will show unto thee..." These words take on new depth of meaning when we understand that in the book of Revelation the word "come" always signifies AN INVITATION TO REVELATION. The whore and the sun-clad woman are two women; the invitation goes forth to come and see by the spirit what they mean; and I do not hesitate to tell you that it requires a REVELATION FROM GOD to see either! The Church of Christ is called a MYSTERY. She is presented as a virgin. She is called a bride. Finally, she is presented as a city, the New Jerusalem, the city of peace and righteousness and divine order. This scarlet clad woman is called a MYSTERY. She is not a virgin, she is an harlot. She is not a promised wife, she is the paramour and mistress of the kings of the earth. Finally, she is that great city which is called Babylon, the city of confusion and filthiness and the denial of divine order. As to Babylon, John adds, "When I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I WILL TELL THEE THE MYSTERY OF THE WOMAN...the seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. The waters are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues...and the woman which thou sawest is that great city (a corporate people), which reigneth over the kings of the earth" (Rev. 17:7).  

These prophecies present two broadly contrasted WOMEN, identified with two broadly contrasted CITIES, one reality being in each case, doubly represented, as a WOMAN, and as a CITY; the harlot and Babylon are one; the glorious sun-clad woman and the heavenly Jerusalem are one. May the Spirit of the living God enlighten the eyes of all who read and give understanding, giving abundantly of the spirit of wisdom and revelation that each may be enabled to discern and easily differentiate between that VIRGIN CHURCH without spot or wrinkle, which Jesus Christ is preparing for Himself, and that filthy HARLOT SYSTEM, full of names of blasphemy, with her multiplied sects and denominations, who seduces the inhabitants of the world with the unspeakable lie that she is, herself, the bride of Christ. One would certainly think that God's people would respond to the invitation to revelation whereby the Spirit says, "COME HITHER, and I will show you," and that they would look with anointed eyes and readily see the difference between the virgin and the harlot, but such is not the case. Would God that all men could now see the hidden mystery of Christ and the Church! Would God that all men could see the hidden mystery of the virgin sun-clad woman who delivers the man child! Would God that all men could see that this hidden mystery has nothing to do with that tradition-ridden system which all men everywhere believe to be THE CHURCH.  

Three are three companies. The Scarlet-Clad Woman (harlot), the Sun-Clad Woman (virgin) and the Manchild (sons of God). Some precious people, because they have separated from some Babylonish denomination and come out of the church systems SUPPOSE that this was the "mother church" birthing them into sonship. This, my beloved, is WRONG! The "mother" of the manchild is NOT THE HARLOT CHURCH SYSTEM but that VIRGIN CHURCH made up exclusively of a people clothed with the glory of Christ (sun), crowned with the stars of God's governmental authority, and having the cold, imitative, reflective light (moon) of ceremony, ritual, tradition and doctrine put under foot. When the Spirit calls, "Come out of her, My people" this is not His call to sons. This is His call urging a people to come out of the defilements of Babylon and be CLEANSED--that they might by the washing of regeneration become a VIRGIN unto Christ. And it is this VIRGIN COMPANY that shall deliver to this sin-cursed world a MANCHILD, a MALE CHILD, a full redemption company of saints, overcomers, partakers of the divine nature, grown up into the fullness of Christ, filled with His pure and holy nature, imbued with His glorious mind, invested with His omnipotent authority and power, the many-membered "seed" of the many-membered "woman" which shall "bruise the head of the serpent" as he conquers death, dethrones Satan, blesses and rules the nations and liberates the whole vast groaning creation from the bondage of sin, sorrow, corruption and death. And should some unenlightened reader still entertain the mistaken notion that Jesus Christ alone is the "seed of the woman" who "bruises the head of the serpent" I would point you to the wonderful promise of the Lord Jesus Himself through His apostle Paul, "And the God of peace shall BRUISE SATAN UNDER Y-O-U-R FEET shortly" (Rom. 16:20). Jesus is the Head of that promised seed, even as we are the body.  

Aratus, in 270 B.C., in one of the lines of his poem says, "Beneath Bootes' feet the virgin seek." This is a reference to the constellation Virgo, and everywhere in every language, it is very clear that is not merely a woman, but a virgin. On the Zodiac she is bound beneath the feet of the constellation Bootes. In one hand she holds a branch and in the other hand a sheaf of wheat. As the spirit of revelation and understanding floods our minds, we are left without question as to the meaning of all of this. Our Lord Jesus said, "I am the vine, YE are the BRANCHES: He that abideth in me and I in him, the same BRINGETH FORTH MUCH FRUIT" (Jn. 15:5). A number of times in the scripture the many-membered body of Christ is called "the Branch": "Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH" (Zech. 6:12). So we have a two-fold testimony: the virgin is going to bring forth the Branch which will be the Seed of the woman; and also, I think, a confirmatory of this, that the brightest star in Virgo is called Al Zimach, which means in Arabic, "the branch"--a picture of the coming of Christ and the sons of God!  

It is a most blessed thing that the word "seed" is used of the Redeemer. Why did the Lord tell the ancient serpent that the SEED of the woman would bruise his head? Why did He use the word seed? Why did He not say simply that the man who should come from the woman would bruise the serpent's head? But it was to be "the seed," the seed of the woman. The truth is that seed is not only the product of some other life before it, but seed is also that which REPRODUCES ITSELF and its kind many fold from generation to generation. What the Lord was really saying is this: When men would see Jesus the Saviour come forth into the world from the body of the virgin Mary, at that time they would see only Jesus the Christ, but there would be more, MUCH MORE to Christ than what men would see in that day. A multitude as the sand of the sea and the stars of heaven was to follow in His likeness, born of the same seed, matured into the same image and stature, who would be the "sons of God" even as He is a Son of God, and these would not be merely many sons, but many sons to form ONE CHRIST, each one having the seed of life in himself. Jesus Himself prophesied of this "many-membered seed" when He said, "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).  

My hope is that as you go out and look at the starry skies above, you will be impressed anew and afresh. As we proceed with this series, you will become amazed at the God  who hath writ on high these things for all the world to see. For surely His voice hath gone unto the ends of the earth, and the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are plainly seen, as God has placed these constellations which He brings forth with His own hand in its season, pictures of the great creative and redemptive plan of God wrought out through the ages. Can we not see by the Holy Spirit that God has given from the very beginning, the story of His salvation from which all ancient mythologies and ancient traditions have come. They are describing the salvation that would be wrought by Christ Jesus and ministered through His body of sons, which was given by God to Adam in the Garden of Eden. The very beginning of the revelation of Jesus Christ to the world is called the PROTO EVANGELIUM, or the first evangel, the first Gospel, which was that the Seed of the woman would destroy the seed of the serpent. "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; so that they are without excuse" (Rom. 1:20). Yes, the heavens declare the glory of God! Their words, their teaching, their instruction, their message go into all the world. That message is found in the star-pictures, the gallery of the heavens which God gave.  

Someone says, "But isn't the Zodiac PAGAN? Isn't it the basis of heathen astrology and associated with the false gods and goddesses of Babylon and Greece?" My brother and sister, the Zodiac indeed BECAME corrupted, as the hand of sinful man ever corrupts every blessed thing that comes forth from the hand of God pure, holy and undefiled. As I have pointed out, the Zodiac pre-dates Babylon and Greece and all the gods and mythologies of the pagans. There can be no question but that the Gospel glows in these heavenly constellations with all the glory of the stars themselves. Every sign and symbol, with the progressive unfolding of their wisdom and truth, is deeply rooted in the pages of God's other divine witness- the holy scriptures. It is evident that after the original meaning of the constellations became lost, the nations in their ignorance invented stories and meanings from their imaginations. The heathen, in their blindness, could not understand the celestial story and did not know how to interpret the foreshadowing. But in the light of God ' s revelation in the scriptures, and through Christ and the quickening of the Holy Spirit of Truth, we are now able to understand the meaning of it all.  

It is true that astrology uses the signs of the Zodiac in a corrupted form and on a lower plane, but it is not true that astrology invented them or originated them. Most of the error in the religious realms is merely the high and holy truth of God brought down to a lower level, understood carnally rather than spiritually. The failures and sins of men do not disannul the truth of God, neither do their misuses and perversions of His gifts disprove their divine source or holy intent. The perversion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ into the blinding darkness of static creeds, dogmas, ritual, ceremony, and tradition comprising the abominations of the harlot church system does not prove Jesus of Nazareth an imposter nor the testimony of His holy apostles and prophets undivine or untrue. And if the ancients in like manner have perverted these primeval records in the stars, and turned their portrayal of God's beautiful plan of redemption into an instrument of damning superstition, and developed a bloody paganism out of a primitive revelation, what is it except the depravity of the carnal mind, but by no means discrediting the wisdom and love and glory of God in the divine original?  

The MAZZAROTH--the signs of the Zodiac--are bought forth each night by the skillful hand of God. These constellations were sprinkled by His hand across the sky as He garnished the heavens and created the figures which we now know as the figures of the Zodiac. They tell a glorious tale of creation and redemption, a glorious revelation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He has written this with His own hand; He has created the stars; He has named and numbered and ordered them. As there are twelve Patriarchs and twelve tribes of Israel and twelve apostles of the Lamb and twelve gates and foundations in the New Jerusalem, so there are twelve chapters in the celestial story-book. The WORD which begins in SPIRIT, in the invisible realm, was spoken to create the "things which are made" and to leave these created things as a visible testimony that the natural man may find God, and to call men, as the prophets did, to the knowledge of God and the abundance of life, glory, and victory in Him. The reality that lies behind what is commonly known today as horoscopes and behind the common signs of the Zodiac is an original revelation designed by God --a revelation not of pagan mythology or superstitious powers, but of the wonderful truths of God's grand and glorious plan of the ages through His anointed Christ, written in the very stars of heaven. In these twelve celestial signs we have enshrined for us like jewels in a precious display, the twelve great heavenly laws or principles which we are to pass through and master while we walk our fore-ordained path on this planet. Each one of the twelve signs embodies a Kingdom of Heaven principle taught in symbol and ritual under the Old Testament administration. It points to a wonderful progression as we begin in Genesis with the promised seed of the woman (Virgo) and end in the book's Revelation with LEO, the conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah! Just as the sun passes through each of the twelve signs in the course of a year, so must we experientially partake of the reality of each sign in our progressive transformation into His likeness.  

Do you know that one reason God' s children do not hunger and thirst after righteousness and follow on to be conformed into the image of the Son, is because they have not taken the steps that went before? With the things of God, there is a progression just as there is in any school; and if we do not take the first steps, we shall not take the last steps. Every lesson we skip or neglect, we shall have to go back and learn before we shall be able to go on; for every advance step is a foundation for the next advance step. The reason that many of God's children have never advanced into higher realms in the Spirit is because they have not taken the steps as they came to them. They have not perfectly endured or appropriated that which God called them to pass through, in order that they might reach this place of perfection and glory and power in Him. Some of God' s people try to leap into the full strength and dominion of Leo; but if they have this experience granted them, it is only when they have taken the first steps of cleansing, death to self, judgment, obedience, overcoming, praise, etc. set forth under the signs that go before. Ah, this is the Zodiac- the WAY, the PATH, the journey into the fullness of God BY STEPS!  

We have often chuckled over the humorous predicament of the captain of a small sailing vessel who made a voyage with one green hand. Alert and willing, this embryonic sailor was induced to steer the schooner the first night at sea. Before retiring to his cabin below, the captain pointed to a star and said to his amateur helper, "Keep that star right in front of your mast and you will be on the course. If anything happens call me." Some time later he was awakened by a pounding on the deck and he hastily arose to see what the trouble might be. As he thrust his head up the companionway, the inexperienced sailor called buoyantly, "I say, captain, pick me out another star, we passed that one !"  

There have perhaps been other people both before this man and since, who thought that they had gone beyond the signs and portents that God had set for their guidance, but like this simple fellow, they were merely off their course. If men do follow the stars, they have guides that never waver. They mark the highway back to Father's house, back to the throne room from whence we came, onward and upward into God. Praise His wonderful name!    

THE TWELVE SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC DEPICTING GOD'S PLAN AND PROCESS OF REDEMPTION  

1. VIRGO, the Virgin: A young woman bearing a branch in her right hand and an ear of corn in her left. The "seed" of the woman is to bring the Saviour. Christ (spirit) birthed out of the virgin soul. The sons of God brought forth from the sun-clad woman, the virgin bride of Christ. As Mary brought forth her first-born Son while still a virgin, so the virgin bride brings forth the manchild company before her ultimate consummation of marriage.  

2. LIBRA, the Scales: the figure of a pair of balances, with one side up and the other down, as in the act of weighing. All creation is deficient, lowered, subjected to vanity, lacking a little from Elohim. The ministry of reconciliation restores all things into balance (harmony, oneness) in Christ. 

3. SCORPIO, the Scorpion: the figure of a gigantic, poisonous, and deadly insect, with its tail and sting uplifted in anger, as if striking. The sting of sin and death via the carnal mind that infects every man. 

4. SAGITTARIUS, the Archer: the figure of a horse with the head of a man with a drawn bow and arrow pointed at the Scorpion. Christ coming into the life as Warrior, conquering and to conquer. The commencement of the process of overcoming. 

5. CAPRICORNUS, the Goat: the figure of a goat sinking down in death, with the hinder part of its body terminating in the vigorous tail of a fish. Redemption through death and resurrection. Life out of death. The fellowship of His suffering leading to the power of His resurrection. 

6. AQUARIUS, the Water-bearer: the figure of a man with a large urn, the contents of which he is in the act of pouring out in a great stream from the sky. The Sent One who would pour out waters of blessing, the life of the Spirit on the earth in the former and latter rain. Rivers of Living Water from the innermost part of our being. The outflow of His life. 

7- PISCES, the Fishes: the figures of two large fish in the act of swimming. Christ, Head and body, the two fish that would be multiplied, a symbol of God' s grace going out to all the world. 

8. ARIES, the Ram or Lamb: the figure of a strong sheep, with powerful curved horns, lying down in easy composure, and looking out in conscious strength over the field around it. The Lamb in the midst of the throne; the nature of the Lamb perfected in the enChristed, overcoming all things. 

9. TAURUS, the Bull: the figure of a powerful bull, in the attitude of rushing and pushing forward with great energy. Christ coming in judgment, as a refiner's fire. The righteous judgments of God  committed to the saints of the Most High. 

10. GEMINI, the Twins: two human figures closely united. The Son and the sons. The King of kings and Lord of lords. The lords of the Lord and the kings of the King. Christ reigning in and through His body. 

11. CANCER, the Crab: the figure of a crab, in the act of taking and holding on with its strong pincer claws. The power of the Kingdom of God. The glory of being "in Christ." The little flock secure in Him attaining the goal of His fullness. 

12. LEO, the Lion: the figure of a great rampant lion, leaping forth to rend, with his feet over the writhing body of Hydra, the Serpent, which is in the act of fleeing. The Lion of the tribe of Judah prevails. The Serpent defeated. Christ in us is Victor. The Serpent flees. The battle ends. Victory is secure!

 


Chapter 2 

THE HEAVENS DECLARE

( continued ) 

During those star-studded nights above the plains of Judea, David looked into the heavens and there beheld the vast glittering band of stars making up our Milky Way. He was awed and knew there had to be boundless power, intelligence, and purpose behind it all. He was transfixed. He so identified with that purpose that it became his passion. Everywhere he looked he could see the stamp of the divine Creator. He exclaimed in words of inspiration that sprang up from within his spirit: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world" (Ps. 19:1-4).  

What did David know of the heavens and how they express the glory of God? What does David mean when he says that every day speaks to him and to us? What does he mean when he declares that every night is a showing forth of knowledge? To whom does he refer when he says that there is no place on earth where the language or speech of man is spoken that "their voice is not heard"? Surely there is something more indicated here than a mere wonder on David' s part evoked by the immensity and grandeur of the star-lit sky! They speak in every language to every people. And they speak and reveal the majesty of God's great plan and purposes to His creation. Upon the blue sapphire of the firmament is spread a sheet of royal paper written all over with the wisdom and power of God. This book of creation is not sold in bookstores, but it is to be read by everyone who lifts his eyes up to heaven.  

The names of the constellations with their stars reveal the divine truth that was later written in the Bible. The written scriptures began with Job some forty-one centuries ago, but the truth of God was recorded in the starry heavens from the distant dawn of creation, untold ages before Abram journeyed from Ur of the Chaldees or Moses trod the burning sands of the Sinai. This is the great truth of Psalm 19. The first six verses speak of the truth recorded in the heavens, while the next five concern the truth written in the scriptures. The star-studded heavens at night and the blazing sun shining by day are in fact GOD'S BIBLE IN THE SKY visible from every land and nation over the world. Over the whole earth and from ships on the far-flung seas people can peer at this marvelous book and seek to discover the lost meanings now almost forgotten by mankind. Day by day and night by night they beam down upon us from the Father of lights --our heavenly Father' s Lesson Book- describing His character and the unspeakably glorious plan of creation and redemption which from the dawn of history He has ordained for the world.  

Paul illustrated this wonderful truth of God revealed in the heavens when he wrote, "The invisible things of God, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made" (Rom. 1:20). Here we are told that the invisible truths of God have been before us and visible for us since the foundation of the world, because they are seen, or illustrated, in the things that are made. Invisible truths are pictured in visible things. Or invisible, spiritual truths or laws of God are set before us in the image of the natural and visible laws. When God created the heavens and the earth, He made everything that is visible a symbol of spiritual truth. Everything that is natural, a type of that which is spiritual. This is why the Bible uses seed, for instance, as a symbol of the Word of God, water as a symbol of the Holy Spirit, serpent as a symbol of the devil, sowing as a symbol of the preaching of the Word of the Kingdom, and the stars as symbols of the rule of the heavens accomplishing God's great plan of creation and redemption. Not just because the Holy Spirit decided at some point in time that these would make good symbols, but because the omniscient mind of God created them from the beginning as the object lesson about the truths of God and His Kingdom.  

Tell me! did you ever get quiet enough to sit alone for an hour with God on a clear starlight night, and look up into the stars? Did the silence of those mighty orbs that are rolling in space at an inconceivable rate of speed, a rapidity that is breathless, ever get into your soul? Did you ever look at them and see how your earth was rolling around, and star after star, and constellation after constellation, was appearing and disappearing? Tell me, have you ever been alone with God and the stars? Have you any knowledge of the wonderful planets that revolve around this central sun? Do you know that these other stars are suns and have planets which are invisible revolving around them? Did you ever get the calm silence of God into your heart? The great majority of men cannot bear to sit down for an hour of Divine inspection, and be still, and let the light of God shine into their hearts, and listen to what God says.  

The prophet Amos pointed to the constellations and beyond to the God who ordained them and designed their revelation when he said, "Seek Him that maketh the seven stars and Orion" (Amos 5:8). The book of Job is the oldest book in the Bible, older even than Abraham or Moses. It is in this book of Job that we first have reference to this Stellar Revelation. In chapter 38 God finally breaks in and speaks to Job and his false comforters. He says to them, "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?" (Job 38:31-33).  

The power and rule of the Pleiades, Orion, and all the stars and planets of the heavens extend far beyond a mere announcement of the seasons. The awesome influence of these heavenly constellations is set forth in scripture in connection with the rushing serpent, the fugitive snake, or Leviathan the sea monster (Isa. 27:1; Job 41:1; Job 26:13; Ps. 104:25-26); Venus (Isa. 14:12); Saturn (Amos 5:26); the Pleiades (Job 9:9; 38:31; Amos 5:8); Orion (Job 38:31; Amos 5:8); Arcturus (Job 9:9; 38:32); and the twelve signs of the Zodiac (Job 38:32-33; Isa. 13:10; Judges 5:20).  

There was a day in the times of the Judges when Deborah the judge, filled with the spirit of wisdom and courage from the Lord, and Barak the general took the army of Israel to war against the leader of the Canaanite armies, Sisera, and his mighty forces. The inspired record of that extraordinary battle states, "And they showed Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor. And Sisera gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon. And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the Lord gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him. And the Lord discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet. But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left" (Judges 4:12-16).  

God fought on the side of Israel, and gave them the victory. Josephus relates that, just as the battle began, a violent tempest came on with a great downfall of rain, and a hailstorm, which, driving full in the faces of the Canaanites, so blinded and benumbed them with cold, that they could neither use their bows with effect nor even hold their swords. As soon as the battle was concluded victoriously, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Deborah and Barak and they began to sing the song of the Lord, that majestic Ode recorded in chapter five of the book of Judges. A portion of it describes the triumph of Barak's army over Sisera and his forces in these words:  

"Because the elders took the lead in Israel, 

Because the people offered themselves willingly, 

Bless ye the Lord.  

Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; 

I, even I, will sing unto the Lord; 

I will sing praise to the Lord, the God of Israel.  

The kings came and fought. 

Then fought the kings of Canaan, 

In Taanach by the waters of Megiddo. Gain of booty they did not take.  

FROM THE HEAVENS THE STARS FOUGHT, 

FROM THEIR COURSES THEY FOUGHT AGAINST SISERA. 

The river Kishon swept them away, 

That ancient river, the river Kishon. 

0 my soul, march on with strength.  

So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord; 

But let them that love Him be as the sun, 

When he goeth forth in his might."  

It is time to stop, look, and listen. Hear it! ye sons of the Most high. "They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera" (Judges 4:20). Can any read these significant words uttered in the spirit of prophecy and wisdom of the Holy Ghost, and still doubt that the constellations of the heavens RULE in the affairs of men and nations? Would it not seem to be divine sense, human sense, and common sense that Sisera's fate that day in the long ago was "written in the stars" and there was no hope for him when the natural forces allied themselves with Israel under the guiding hand of the Almighty to assure his defeat? Someone may respond that the stars in this case are symbolic, and I doubt not that they are on some plane, however I am constrained to point out that not one other thing in Deborah's song is used figuratively- the battle was a very real battle, the horses were actual horses, the chariots were real chariots of iron, the plain is to this day an existing geographical location, Mount Tabor is a literal mountain just east of Nazareth, and the river Kishon was an actual river winding its way through the plain. Deborah and Barak and Sisera were real people. With all emphasis I must conclude that it was the LITERAL STARS AND CONSTELLATIONS OF THE HEAVENS IN THEIR COURSES which were arrayed against Sisera and significantly contributed by their cosmic influence and decree to his overwhelming defeat. The triumph of Israel was by the design of the Lord God of Israel of whom are all things, by whom are all things. and unto whom are all things, blessed be His wonderful name.  

ASTROLOGY AND HOROSCOPES  

Are you "Capricorn" or "Scorpio"? Should you make a trip today? Should you marry Richard, or Joe, or Sam? Is this a bad day to start a new job? Should you hold an important meeting in the morning or afternoon? What do the stars and planets indicate? Millions of people daily check their horoscopes to find out. Contracts are signed, employees hired, business ventures started, life-styles changed, occupations chosen, friendships altered, diets formulated, bets made, trips planned, babies named--yes, as we now know, sometimes, even government policies and political decisions arrived at--all based on various astrological readings. Even if you yourself do not believe in astrology, you may still be directly or indirectly affected because of the decisions others in all walks of life make under the influence of Zodiac charts. What is astrology? Briefly put, adherents claim astrology is a method of anticipating or foretelling events by calculating the effect the sun, moon, stars and planets have on human activities. Supposedly, the relative positions of the heavenly bodies at the moment of a child's birth influence the child's character and personality. Plotting the movements of those heavenly bodies, it is thought, reveals an individual's destiny.  

Astrology is the study of the relative positions of the planets and stars in order to predict the future. The Greek word HOROSKOPOS literally means observer of the hour of one's birth. Thus a horoscope is a chart correlating the time of a person's birth with the position of the planets. This practice supposedly reveals the future and is used as a way to make decisions. Many people who do not seriously believe in astrology, nevertheless, read their daily horoscope and think it is harmless fun. "It is the stars, the stars above us, govern our conditions," are the words Shakespeare puts in the mouth of Kent in KING LEAR. In ancient times no king in his right mind would think of venturing out into battle without first consulting his court astrologer. No maiden would set the date of her marriage until she had discovered which date would be the most auspicious for that happy event. Mortals dared not make decisions without the help of these guardian gods of the heavens.  

Joseph Goodavage wrote, "Science has now begun to demonstrate direct linkages between celestial movements and the behavior of animals and men. Biologist Dr. Frank Brown of Northwestern University showed that oysters sense the position of the moon and regulate their activities by it. Ordinarily, oysters open and close their shells in phase with ocean tides. Dr. Brown wanted to see what oysters would do if there were NO tides. He hauled some out of the sea off New Haven, Connecticut, shipped them to Evanston, Illinois, and put them indoors in a tank of sea water at even temperature under a steady, dim light. For two weeks they continued to open and close their shells in phase with the tides at their old ocean home. Then abruptly they changed their rhythm. Their shell-opening cycle slipped into phase with the tides that would have existed if there had been an ocean covering Illinois! Dr. Brown's oysters were obviously responding to the location of the moon which triggered some mysterious reaction inside their 'biological clocks'. Here was an entirely new mystery for scientists. No one knows what the connecting link is between stars and planets and the earthly events with which they so often correlate. Men and women aren't oysters, but celestial forces have definitely been shown to affect human behavior. The American Institute of Medical Climatology in Philadelphia, working with the police and fire departments, major hospitals and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, conducted a three-year study of human reactions to the phases of the moon. Conclusions: cases of murder, rape, aggravated assault and arson are, most common during Full Moon periods. Much of human life, if not most of it, seems to be governed...influenced by these forces science is now beginning to detect, the forces on which astrologers base their predictions" --end quote. In addition to these remarks it is also interesting to note that modern physiologists now realize that man is a completely responsive element in the cosmos, that he interacts with his environment, both terrestrial and celestial. Astrology is the study and application of the effect on man of the forces reaching earth from surrounding space--his celestial environment.  

Many years ago a friend who was deep into astrology made a "professional" horoscope for me based on the exact hour of my birth. It was incredible (uncanny! to be exact) how accurately descriptive it was of my nature, personality traits, abilities, ambitions, life-style, etc. Some characteristics revealed existed only in the form of inward thoughts, desires, propensities, intents, motives, purposes, etc. not fully discerned even by those closest to me. In all honesty I must admit that even the prophets of God in most cases have not prophesied my character more precisely than did this horoscope! In understanding the influence of the stars and celestial bodies upon our physical being, influencing our moods, emotions, actions, etc. --which also are being dealt with by the Lord for our OVERCOMING--it is clear that the children of the world are in this area wiser than the children of light, for they see, while the children of light grope about without understanding of these things, often ignorantly hostile to the very idea that the heavenly constellations have any influence over the earth and earthly things at all. But the sure word of prophecy asked the penetrating question: "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth (the twelve signs of the Zodiac) in his season? KNOWEST THOU THE ORDINANCES OF THE HEAVEN...?" (Job 38:31-33). DO we know? Can we see the truth in these things? Can we acknowledge that GOD is the almighty Ordainer of all cosmic powers and laws, and that His own Word authenticates their reality? Or do we naively relegate it all to ancient superstitions and pagan mythology, summarily dismissing such things from our enlightened consideration?  

The highest truth of God is gloriously recorded in the blazing constellations of the heavens; yet on a lower plane, these same constellations exert a mundane influence over every created thing on earth in the same way that the scriptures marvelously reveal the glory of God, the majesty of His Christ, the wisdom of His purposes and His wondrous gift of life, while on a lower level the very same scriptures, in the form of the letter of the law, minister condemnation and death; just as the scriptures on one level are anointed to "make us wise unto salvation" (II Tim. 3:15), while on the lower plane they judge, condemn, and minister death; SO the signs of the Zodiac proclaim on a higher dimension the wisdom of God's creative and redemptive plan of the ages, while on the lower level of natural cosmic energy they influence the carnal man in his earthly and temporal sphere of life.  

BEYOND THE STARS  

If there be indeed a truth in the rule of the natural heavens (and there must be, else the physical heavens could not in scripture serve as the TYPE of the rule of the spiritual heavens), the question follows: What is really wrong, then, with casting horoscopes or consulting astrologers? Let us now acquaint ourselves with the truth as it is in Jesus, for when we learn the truth I now affirm, many things which heretofore have been an inscrutable mystery will begin to come clear to our understanding. Let us then stand assured of this marvelous fact: THERE IS A POWER B-E-Y-O-N-D THE STARS! I must here emphasize the great truth that above everything that exists and behind it all standeth GOD, omniscient, omnipotent, immutable. The great God made and controls everything on earth and throughout the unbounded heavens and His omnipotent hand stretches forth high above and far beyond the vaunted powers of the heavens, for He is the great Cause, while they are the effect; He is the almighty Creator, whereas they are but the creation, the work of His hands.  

I do not hesitate to tell you that the vast majority of astrologers and those who adhere to astrology have changed the truth of God into a lie and worship and serve the CREATION more than the CREATOR, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Rom. 1:25). The carnal mind is the great deceiver who has deceived people into trusting in the SIGN rather than the thing God has signified by the sign--the revelation of Jesus Christ. In the same way God created the Church to proclaim the gospel. However, millions of people trust in the Church for their salvation! They want to find the "right" Church, one which will save them. But the simple truth is that NO Church will save anyone! The Church points to Jesus Christ who is the only Saviour of man. Likewise, God from the beginning of the creation displayed the gospel in the stars. Instead of trusting in the Christ to which they point so gloriously, these people trust in the stars themselves.  

Furthermore, there is no doubt whatever that astrology can inform you of the cosmic influences and instruct you concerning the earthly conditions marked out by the stars. But it can never in a million years EMPOWER you to OVERCOME those influences, or teach you how to be TRANSFORMED. Astrology is a rigidly fatalistic science, pointing you to the problem, revealing the circumstances, but possessing absolutely no power to CHANGE the situation nor one iota of authority to ENABLE you to rise above it. That, my beloved, is just the difference between astrology and Christ--Christ delivers, changes, empowers, quickens, transforms and perfects! Truly the glorious Christ of God has ALL POWER in heaven and in earth, whereas astrology has SOME POWER, and only on earth, and not redeeming power at that.  

Astrology can analyze your case, but is impotent to save or deliver you. The world today is filled with confusion and trouble. Any system which claims to look into the future gathers adherents by the millions. Astrology numbers its followers by multitudes and its financial income in the billions of dollars and more. People are investing heavily in tomorrow. They are eager to pierce the veil of the future and gaze into the strange land where mysterious science reigns. Someone may say: "But they told me many things which came true." This is doubtless true. But listen to some startling words from God's prophet, Jeremiah. "Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the SIGNS OF THE HEAVEN; for the heathen are dismayed at them" (Jer. 10:2). For "the signs of heaven," the margin read, "signs of the Zodiac." In other words, do not be dismayed, disturbed, concerned about the omens portended by your horoscope! The prophet Isaiah proclaimed the sure word of the Lord to the ancient kingdom of Babylon which was ruled by astrology: "Persist then with your enchantments and the multitude of your sorceries in which you have labored from your youth, and see if perhaps you will be able to profit, if you may prevail and strike terror! You are wearied with your many counsels and plans. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and make known to you and save you from the things that shall come upon you. Behold, they are like stubble, the fire consumes them; they cannot even deliver themselves from the power of the flame. This is no coal for warming, or fire before which to sit!" (Isa. 47:12-14, Amplified). Take heed astrologers and monthly prognosticators! Take heed Jeanne Dixon, and all the rest! The word of the Lord makes it very clear that these shall not be able to deliver even themselves in the day of calamity, much less those who harken to their words.  

It may come as a shock to some who read these lines, but the Holy Spirit declares with divine certainty that YOUR fortune and future are NOT astrologically determined. I mean by this that even though most people's fortunes can be traced to astrological influences, YOURS CANNOT. You belong to a special category of people to whom NONE of the known laws of the universe apply. The laws that govern other people do not apply to you. You are in a class all by yourself. One of the greatest truths ever kept hidden from the eyes of the natural man is this: "If any man be in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION" (I Cor. 5:17). It should be plain to anyone having eyes to see that the physical and psychical influences exerted by the constellations of the Zodiac are part and parcel of the OLD CREATION. The destiny of most people, of all natural and fallen men, is linked to the stars; try as they will they cannot escape it. If the star under which they were born says they should be poor, they will be poor. If it says they should be rich, they will be rich. If it says they are high-strung and naive, they will be nervous and unsuspecting. If it says they are charming, confident, and successful, they will be just that.  

This is the case for most human beings, all human beings, in fact, who live and have their being in the OLD CREATION MAN. But, blessed be God! AN EXCEPTION TO THIS RULE EXISTS. The Master Architect of the universe saw fit to create a special category of people who are of an entirely NEW CREATION. New creation people are blessed with the ability to live their lives without having to pass through the stars or planets. Bypassing all physical barriers they receive directly from the Source. There exists a higher power than the stars- and it is that higher power that has touched the life of every re-generated man and woman on the face of the earth. Indeed, dear elect saints of God, it is this higher power that has been guiding your footsteps all along. No longer do you need to look to the stars for an answer. You have found the answer that will unlock all the mysteries of Being--or the answer has found you--right here--right now! 

So many people are taken up with astrology today and the question is often asked, "What sign were you born under?" One person, when asked what sign he was born under said, "I was born under the sign of the cross." Now, that is a good sign to be born under. But an answer that would be much closer to the truth and which might elicit a more interesting conversation is this, "I have a slight problem when you ask me what sign I was born under --because I was born twice!" Ah, my beloved, all who have been BORN OF GOD have been born again under the star-sign of the MORNING STAR! Those born of the Spirit are, one and all, born under the star-sign of the DAY STAR which now arises in their hearts! You will never understand the power and glory of the new birth until you thoroughly understand that it is indeed a birth from ABOVE.  

Let all who read these lines clearly understand that God's heaven is not the inexhaustible universe of stars and suns and planets- swirling nebulae. Heaven has nothing whatever to do with the time-space continuum or matter in any form. The true heaven is beyond it all, above it all, before it all. Heaven is that high and holy and invisible realm of SPIRIT, the pure and divine and eternal and incorruptible realm of GOD HIMSELF, which existed before ever a star or a planet appeared. Heaven, therefore, can only be entered BY THAT WHICH IS SPIRIT. Let every man know for a certainty that heaven is not a geographical or astral location with their limitations, but a dimension, a sphere of existence, a state of being- that spiritual existence, being and habitation in which God eternally lives. Natural eyes cannot pierce the invisible realm of spirit. Natural minds know nothing of that realm, for we perceive only those physical things recognizable by the senses. Natural ears are unable to hear that which is spoken in the realm of spirit, for spirit vibrates on a frequency higher than and superior to the low vibrations of earth. Heaven is all around us but we must be raised out of our natural consciousness in order to touch it. But the dimension of heaven is ten thousand times MORE REAL than this gross material realm to which our mortal form has been subjected.  

The highest realm known to man is called HEAVEN, and all who have been born again from above by the Spirit of God have had opened to them a realm higher far than the heavens perceived by astronomers and astrologers. These know nothing of heaven at all! Paul tells us that we are to "seek those things which are ABOVE, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things ABOVE, not on things on the earth" (Col. 3: 1-2). The man or woman who is born from that bright glory world above becomes an entirely new creation in Christ Jesus. And from that time forward, He lives for God. His chief delight is in spiritual things. His affections are set above and not on things below. His citizenship is in heaven. Before his eyes there is opened up a kingdom which is beyond his full articulation or expression. He has only glimpsed some of the ineffable glories that God has, is, and will reveal to him. He is now part of a kingdom so vast in scope and so enduring in quality that the things of this world seem tawdry, mean, narrow, and insignificant by comparison.  

Have you ever thought of the meaning of the name ascribed to God, the MOST HIGH? 

Why the Most High? Does this not indicate that there are other high authorities in existence, and that He is the Most High: the highest of them all? We often talk about Jesus, his death on the cross, His resurrection, and His ascension. We say that after He was raised from the dead He ascended up to heaven. What do we think of when we make such a statement? Do we visualize Him going somewhere away beyond the stars, millions of miles out into space, to a place we call Heaven? The scriptures say that when He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. He ascended up ON HIGH. What does this mean? High above what?  

I want to draw your attention to a few scriptures that will make the truth crystal clear. In Heb. 7:26 we read these words concerning Jesus: "For such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made HIGHER THAN THE HEAVENS." This doesn't say that He merely ascended up to heaven, but that He was made HIGHER than the HEAVENS. Here we have the word heavens in the plural. What does it mean, "made higher than the heavens"? Let us look at some other passages along this line. "He that descended is the same also that ascended up FAR ABOVE ALL HEAVENS" (Eph. 4:10). Now this language is somewhat different than saying that He ascended up to heaven. He is made higher than the heavens, and ascended up far above all heavens. We can be certain that such terminology indicates that there is not just one heaven as many think, but there are many heavens, and Jesus was raised and made higher than them all. Wonderful statements like this are also found in the Psalms. "Be thou exalted 0 God, ABOVE THE HEAVENS; let Thy glory be above all the earth" (Ps. 57:5,11). "Let God be exalted ABOVE THE HEAVENS" (Ps. 108:5). Not just in heaven, but exalted ABOVE ALL HEAVENS.  

Paul tells us something about this high and exalted realm. "I...cease not to give thanks for you, making 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, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the HEAVENLY PLACES, F-A-R A-B-O-V-E ALL PRINCIPALITY, AND POWER, AND MIGHT, AND DOMINION, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come" (Eph. 1:16-21).

In verse 20 of this beautiful passage we have the Greek phrase "en eois epouran-iois," translated into English as "in heavenly places." "...He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES." The word for heaven in the Greek New Testament is OURANOUS, only in this passage we have something added to it. And the compound word thus formed is of such great import to us that we must consider it very, very carefully. We have the Greek word EPI, which means SUPERIMPOSITION, or in plain speech, ABOVE, HIGHER THAN, OVER. And when joined to OURANOUS, it becomes EPOURANIOIS. These two words joined together mean ABOVE HEAVEN or THE HIGHEST HEAVEN or HIGHER THAN ALL HEAVENS--SUPERIMPOSITION! This word is found twenty times in the New Testament.  

Our Lord and Saviour when on earth, even though He had humbled Himself and had descended to the depths of the realm of death and had borne our sins, was still the exalted One. He was still in heaven (Jn. 3:13). But then He arose the conquering Christ! And not only that, but He ASCENDED victor over all the powers of darkness, having brought in eternal redemption for a lost world and redeemed all things unto God. "Wherefore God hath HIGHLY EXALTED HIM, and given Him a name which is ABOVE EVERY NAME." Or as Paul tells us in Eph. 4:10, "He...ascended up FAR ABOVE ALL HEAVENS." Or, let us note carefully, God has set Him "at His own right hand IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES." And the word which is mistranslated here as "heavenly places" is EPOURANIOIS, meaning HIGHER THAN HEAVENLY. It is ABOVE HEAVEN, HIGHER THAN HEAVEN, FAR ABOVE A-L-L HEAVENS! Thus we read, "He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand IN EPOURANIOIS--FAR ABOVE ALL PRINCIPALITY~ AND POWER, AND MIGHT, AND DOMINION, AND EVERY NAME THAT IS NAMED...and has put ALL THINGS under His feet" (Eph. 1:20-22).  

So the heavens He has been raised far above are the Principalities and Powers, and Might and Dominion, that inhabit and dwell in all the heavens. God has given Jesus an exalted position, far above all other Principality and Power, good and bad, and given Him a name (nature) that is above every name that is named throughout the vastnesses of infinity. He has put all other Power and Authority everywhere under His feet, and made them all His footstool, that before His glorious name, that wonderful name of Jesus, every knee should bow, yes, every knee, of the inhabitants of the heavens as well as those on the earth and things under the earth; and every tongue shall confess, the tongues of those in the heavens, of those on the earth, and those in the underworld; every one of them shall proclaim Him Lord, to the glory of God the Father. It should be plain to even the simplest mind that this authority and power over all the powers of the heavens certainly includes the "sweet influences" of Pleiades, the "bands" of Orion, the "ordinances" of the heavens and their "dominion" in the earth (Job 38:31-33). It is a realm far above and beyond the beggarly influences of the stars and planets- of Capricorn and Scorpio and Jupiter and Mars! And let demons rage. Let fools and unbelievers hang their heads in shame. We quote once more from the incomparable Word of God. "BUT GOD...HATH raised US up together, AND MADE US SIT TOGETHER IN HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST JESUS" (Eph. 2:4-677. And this "heavenly places" where WE NOW SIT with the firstborn Son is this same super-heaven, or epour-aniois, the same position which He holds "far above all heavens"! Ah, we who have come the way of the cross, we whose spirits have been quickened by His Spirit, we in whom the mighty power is working which God wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand far above all heavens- are enthroned with Him in this super-eminence N-O-W. Christ is enthroned in the higher-than-all-heavens and WE HAVE BEEN QUICKENED AND RAISED UP AND GIVEN JOINT-SEATING WITH HIM IN THE UNION OF HIS DIVINE LIFE! And yet Christians in ignorance sing, "When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be!" Heaven for those who have been born from above is not a future hope. It is a PRESENT REALITY. It is the realm far above all other forms of natural and spiritual life that inhabit God's vast universe and far above all power and might and dominion of any order; not above them geographically, but above them in RANK, in QUALITY OF LIFE, in EMINENCE and POWER and AUTHORITY and NATURE and GLORY! All the elect sons of God must find their existence and experience enthroned with Christ in the higher than all heavens. They must find all their source and reality of being IN SPIRIT. Oh! sons of God--let us arise and live the heavenly life! Let our ministry be one that will lift people out of an earthly consciousness into a heavenly (spiritual) consciousness. Truly all creation has been lowered into the bondage of corruption, the consciousness of the earthly and temporal, but not without a hope of restoration into a full God-consciousness and state of being again. This is what salvation is about. This is why God's purpose in this hour is to perfect, to raise us and bring us into the consciousness of God which is the full awareness of the realm of the SPIRIT--the power and substance of life within OUR SPIRIT!  

The new creation people are those who fulfill the injunction of the prophet Amos, "Seek HIM that maketh the seven stars and Orion" (Amos 5:8). Because you are seated in Christ in the higher-than-all-heavens, you draw energy from a realm much farther up than the natural man. While others are meted out the tiniest morsels from the stars, you supersede that level and receive directly from HIM that MADE the constellations! If you have touched the wisdom that is higher than the heavens, you don't need to be wasting precious time making star charts. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in Christ, and your life is hid with Christ in God far above all heavens. Astrology might be interesting, there may be truth in cold, hard facts about the influence of the stars upon the earth realm and the men who dwell therein, but there is nothing so refreshing as to step into the breathless stillness of the night and lift up our spirit in rapturous communion with the One who formed it all. There the heavenly architect in accents rare begins to reveal to the inner heart that it was from those realms of glory that we came, and our coming to this world was by reason of God's great intention, that we should be prepared to reign in Christ's image over all the marvelous works of His hands from galaxy to galaxy unto the uttermost reaches of the vastnesses of infinity. Why settle for less than the best? Astrology, even in the time of Babylon, couldn't hold a candle to the wisdom of God by the Spirit. It still can't. As sons of the Most High you have direct access to knowledge and power which transcends the stars. There is nothing in the starry skies that holds anything for us anymore. The following words of truth are taken from a prophecy which came to my desk some time ago, and which I believe to be inspired by the Spirit of God. "Know thou, that regardless of what comes upon the earth, THOU ART NOT OF THE EARTH, nor of the night. For thou art of the Spirit, and of the day. Fear thou not what comes upon the earth, and upon the earth man, but look thou unto the Lord thy God. For in Him is thy safety, and in Him is thy joy. And thy joy, even the joy of the Lord, shall be thy strength."

Except a man be born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. He who dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Sonship comes about by dwelling and abiding in the overshadowing presence of the Holy Spirit, walking, living, and breathing IN HIM. Astrology, on the other hand, is concerned only with EARTHLY THINGS. One astrologer said, "I discovered that all the 'in-depth' psychological studies, all the psychiatric know-how and all the aptitude testing ever devised can't compare with the answers a good astrologer can obtain from an exact horoscope. I learned about people with wasted talents (some of them potential millionaires) who lead a humdrum 9-to-5 life because they have never investigated their true 'birthright'. I saw people who considered themselves failures at lower echelon jobs but who could have been magnificently successful at the head of an important enterprise. I've written articles about people who have used the advice of astrologers in timing their key moves--people who became rich by working in harmony with cosmic tides!" (Joseph A. Goodavage in ASTROLOGY: THE SPACE AGE SCIENCE).  

Is it not incredible that there is no spiritual life --but everything is viewed, like the preacher in Ecclesiastes, as man sees it "under the sun," and not as God sees it from ABOVE THE HEAVENS. The influences of the stars are upon the earthly things, but those who have been raised up and made to sit with Christ in the higher-than-all-heavens do not set their affection on things on the earth, nor do they gaze up into the stars.    

THEY LOOK DOWN UPON THE STARS. 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 hast given Me I have given them." A person might say, I cannot attain this now. I answer, I belong to the glory now; I possess His life now in glory, and I am changed into the same image by the Spirit. I belong to the glory.  

Sundar Singh, the Indian prophet, told of an occasion when he was traveling in the Himalayas, and there was a storm, with violent thunder and lightning. He got frightened that the lightning might fall upon him and he would be killed. So he moved higher and higher upon the peaks of the mountain until the lightning was down below where it could not jump up to reach him. Thank God! there is a realm HIGH ABOVE THE STARS where none of their influences reach, where all is peace, joy, and righteousness in the Holy Ghost and power and victory and stability.  

Hannah Hurnard relates the transformation that came to her life at the discovery of this higher reality. "Little by little everything in my circumstances altered. It was as though I had really moved into another country--a heavenly one, where I was surrounded by things that I found more delightful than anything that I had experienced in the past. Even more wonderful than that, I actually began to feel as though there were angels and heavenly beings coming and going all the time, and, for a very matter-of-fact and practical person like myself, this was a most wonderful and awesome experience. All sorts of spiritual influences and inspirations were given to me which seemed to 'open the eyes of my understanding', so that I seemed to have been born into a new world and universe altogether, or to have escaped from the prison-house world of what my physical senses alone could perceive, into a vast and glorious world perceivable only through newly developing spiritual senses. Not through psychic senses, which enable people to see what is going on elsewhere in the world, or what is going to happen in the future, but through spiritual understanding of truths which had been hidden from me up till then--and which now began to reveal a world of REALITIES and experiences and contact with higher powers, such as I had never before envisaged" --end quote.  

I am constrained to share a couple more quotations with you from precious saints to whom God has granted wisdom and understanding. Norene Nicholls wrote, "The moon plays such a significant part in our lives. We know it regulates the tides of the oceans by its gravitational pull, but science is now finding out that its gravitational pull affects the liquids of our bodies even as it affects the oceans. This means that the fluids, such as, blood, lymph, bile, urine, etc., are pulled upon by the phases of the moon. This is particularly so at full moon and new moon, and more so when these particular phases coincide with the equinoxes and the solstices, which are the turning points of the year and the beginning of the seasons. Full moon and new moon exert such a gravitational pull upon the fluids of the body, that irritableness. nervousness, physical disabilities and even mental problems show up at this time. The term LUNACY even comes from the word LUNA meaning MOON, so those in olden days recognized such possibilities of the moon's power. Ten years ago when I was going through some very strange experiences, the scripture kept coming to me, "The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the MOON by night." ] pondered it often, wondering what was involved in this, and then began to realize that the phases of the moon were affecting me drastically. Then it was that I began to withstand its power by the truth of the Word that it could not SMITE me, and the word SMITE even means to KILL. Every force is trying to kill us, but we believe that it cannot, for we are called to an everlasting priesthood" --end quote.  

And finally, from the ready pen of Dora Van Assen, "'Who gave Himself for our sins, ~ that He might extricate (rescue) us out of this present wicked (evil) eon (world order) according to the will of God' (Gal. 1:4). Notice this word EVIL spells LIVE backwards. The whole course of this evil world is running in reverse, thus bringing death and decay instead of life. Peter calls it an 'untoward generation' (Acts 2:40). That is, a generation turned away from (untoward) God. And Paul declares we are to shine as lights in this 'crooked and perverse (turned around) nation' (Phil. 2:15). We cannot resist these negative influences (of the heavens) in our own strength. Even if we could keep the whole law of God, it would not give IMMORTAL LIFE. We would still grow old and die We need the LIFE OF CHRIST WITHIN to overcome the law of sin and death operating in our body which brings age, decay and final dissolution to this natural man. Only the Christ within can destroy and reverse this natural. That is why we must be born again! in our complete man, spirit, soul and body! O wonderful plan of God! Jesus Christ has come to deliver us out of this evil world order, both within and without, our total being set free. He told His disciples, 'Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (cosmos' (In. 16:33). Since He has overcome, we shall also overcome. Because He lives free from all the negative influences of this universe, we now can live in this glorious realm also. All we do is believe and apply His deliverance in our lives!" --end quote.

Dearly beloved saints of God, the future of God's elect will not be decided by prognostications of our horoscope. It will be determined by the faith of God in our heart imparted by the sovereign and infinite purpose of OUR FATHER. Never mind about Aires or Taurus or Gemini. Fret not about Cancer or Leo or Virgo. Forget about Libra and Scorpio and Saggitarius. For neither these nor Capricorn nor Aquarius nor Pisces nor any other principality or power or dominion influence one whet the destiny of the man or woman or child whose life is hid with Christ in God. Look upward...yes...but not to the stars. Look BEYOND THE STARS. By the light that the Spirit brings look into the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ and you will find yourself being wondrously changed into the same image from glory to glory. And there the stars have no control. And what about the future? Must I listen to Jeanne Dixon or some dark psychic interpret the pale flicker of distant stars? Is this the light I want? Who needs horoscopes? THOSE WHO HAVE NOT BEEN QUICKENED BY THE POWER OF THE LIVING CHRIST OF GOD, for He, and He alone is the true light, that lighteth every man that cometh into the world (Jn. 1:9).  

The regenerated spirit becomes a component factor in the sweet harmony of God's spiritual Kingdom. And what a Kingdom! And what a harmony! In duration it is from everlasting to everlasting. The granite hills shall melt away; the earth shall leave its orbit and fall into the chaos of crashing worlds; Orion, Arcturus, and Pleiades shall ,cease to travel the holy aisles of heaven; the sun shall be turned into darkness; the heavens shall be rolled back as a scroll, and as a vesture they shall be folded up; but beneath the scepter of the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, our Father, the Kingdom of Heaven shall still remain and move on in sweetest harmony with His holy will. For in this high and holy Kingdom no forces ever clash, no laws ever fail, no truth ever goes astray, no beauty ever fades, no light ever loses its luster, no good ever grows less, no life ever gets old. no love ever becomes cold, no joy ever ceases, no harmony ever has a discord. From the time when the morning stars sang together and the sons of God first shouted for joy rhythm and rapture have rolled upward and onward through all the boundless and eternal spiritual universe as the sweet expression of the mind and will of almighty God. This universe, this higher-than-the-heavens universe, this Kingdom of Heaven, is the home and heritage of every son of God. He belongs to it, and it belongs to him. He is in it, and it is in him. He holds himself in harmony with it, and it fills his soul with its songs. He apprehends its truth, enjoys its beauties, and partakes of its holiness. There is no place in it where he may not feel at home--no place where he has not a right to be; for it has been the Father' s good pleasure to give him the Kingdom. His life is not measured by years, but by its possibilities and expansiveness. Divinity and eternity are born within him. Now he is a child of God, but it doth not yet appear what he shall be.

 


Chapter 3

The Heavens Rule 

In the first chapter of the Bible we read, "And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also" (Gen. 1:16). Again, "And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for SIGNS, and for SEASONS, and for DAYS, and for YEARS" (Gen. 1:14). It should be obvious to everyone with even an elementary knowledge of astronomy that the heavenly bodies have a great deal to say about our YEARS, our DAYS and our SEASONS. But what about the relationship of the celestial bodies to that word SIGNS? How are they SIGNS? What is a SIGN? Perhaps the best way to answer our question is by answering another question first. What precisely is the purpose of a "sign"? Is it not to bear a message? To give information? To tell a story which is of importance to the one who put up the sign? If so, then let us observe that this verse is saying that God placed the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens to tell a story, to declare a word of utmost importance. The heavens are the unfurling of God's revelation to man, the heavens tell the story of things to come--they PROPHESY!  

It is in the book of Job that we first have reference to this Stellar Revelation. In chapter 38 God speaks to Job and his false comforters. He says to them, "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth (the twelve signs of the Zodiac) in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances of the heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?" (Job 38:31-33). The MAZZAROTH--the signs of the Zodiac--are brought forth each night by the skillful hand of God. These constellations were sprinkled by His hand across the sky as He garnished the heavens and created the figures which we now know as the figures of the Zodiac. He has written this with His own hand; He has created the stars; He has named and numbered and arranged and ordered them. Remember--this is GOD speaking! And the almighty Creator speaks of the "sweet influences" of Pleiades, the "bands" of Orion, the "seasons" of Mazzaroth, the "ordinances" of the heavens, and the "dominion" of these constellations in the earth! Each of these powers and influences of the constellations over the earth is indicated by God Himself as FACT!  

THE HEAVENS RULE 

Throughout history, there have been those anointed of God who have seen some connection between stars and angels- the messengers of God. This connection can easily be made because both the stars (Deut. 4:19; II Kings 21:3; Isa. 34:4; Jer. 8:2; 33:22; Zeph. 1:5) and the ministering spirits (I Kings 22:19-22; Lk. 2:13) are called "the host of heaven" in the Bible. There are several beautiful passages which provide the indisputable link between the two, of which I will cite only one. "Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from the HEAVENS: praise ye Him in the heights. Praise ye Him, all His ANGELS: praise ye Him, all His HOSTS. Praise ye Him, SUN and MOON: praise ye Him, all ye STARS OF LIGHT. Praise Him, all ye HEAVENS OF HEAVENS" (Ps. 148: 1-4).  

A person who speaks only the English language can take a book, written in French, and while he may not be able to read it, except with much hesitation and mispronunciation, still he can struggle through it, after a fashion. Occasionally he will come to a word which closely resembles the English, with which he is familiar. But, because he knows nothing of the meaning of French words, no matter how well he can read the text, it means nothing to him until he learns what each individual French word means. Even so, Christians who read Bible prophecy, or study God's Bible in the sky--the signs of the Zodiac, if they do not understand prophetical language, are confronted with a similar problem. Prophecy is invariably written in spiritual and prophetical terms, and unless one understands the meaning of each individual term, though he may be able to read the text fluently, yet he has no understanding of what he reads. So, before one can understand prophecy, he first must receive a revelation of the prophetic language. Fortunately, the Word furnishes us with the KEYS to prophetical terms by which we may, through consistent study. and the illumination of the blessed Spirit of Truth, become proficient in the prophetic language.  

in Matt. 24:29 we read, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken." In this significant passage Jesus sets forth several prophetical terms. Some of the prophetical terms are: SUN, MOON, STARS, HEAVEN. Let us take a look at these!  

The natural sun, is the brightest luminary in the natural heavens. And to help us in correctly interpreting the meaning of the prophetical sun, Gen. 1:16 informs us that God made "the greater light to RULE the day, and the lesser light to RULE the night." Here we first have the idea expressed of both the sun and the moon being RULERS. Then we find that God, the supreme Ruler, is called in the Word a "Sun." "For the Lord thy God is a SUN and a shield" (Ps. 84: 11). Also, our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings, is in Mal. 4:2 called "the Sun of Righteousness." He rules. Furthermore, we find, in reference to men, that II Sam. 23:3-4 reads: "He that RULETH over men...shall be as the light of the morning, when the SUN ariseth." And in II Sam. 21:17 we find David the king called "the LIGHT of Israel." This same meaning is found in II Kings 8:19 where we, read: "Yet the Lord would not destroy Judah for David His servant's sake, as He promised him to give him always A LIGHT." This is exactly the same promise that we find in Jer. 33:17 where the Lord says: "David shall never want a man to SIT UPON THE THRONE of the house of Israel." David's offspring were! to be the "suns," or RULERS of Israel, the source of light, influence, and direction. In Mat. 13:43 we find, concerning saints who are to be Kings and Priests and rule with Christ (Rev. 3:21; 5:9-10), that they are compared to the sun: "Then shall the righteous SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the Kingdom of their Father." Of these same ruling saints Jesus says, "And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations and he shall RULE them with a rod of iron..." Then He hastily adds: "And I will give him the MORNING STAR" (Rev. 2:26-28). that is, "I will give him power over the nations -- rulership --and I will give him the POSITION AS THE MORNING STAR to give direction to mankind." Now consider these meaningful words of Daniel the prophet wherein he foretells the manifestation of the sons of God in the end of the age: "And they that be wise shall SHINE AS THE BRIGHTNESS OF THE FIRMAMENT; and they that turn many to righteousness as the STARS forever" (Dan. 12: 3) .  

Then we find in Dan. 4:26, "the HEAVENS DO RULE." God's heaven is His throne. "Heaven I-S M-Y T-H-R-O-N-E" (Isa. 66: 1). Heaven in the spiritual terminology of prophecy is the seat where the SUN, the mighty God sits and RULES. And as God's heaven is His throne, so the prophetical heavens include all the governmental realm THROUGH WHICH GOD RULES, and He is LORD OF ALL. That the prophetic "heaven" is the governmental realm, including the thrones of men through which God rules over men, is demonstrated quite clearly in Dan. 4:22, where Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar, "thy greatness is grown, and REACHED UNTO HEAVEN." He had just become the most exalted monarch of earth: the sun. And in Isa. 5:30, describing the casting down of earthly kings from their thrones, the prophet says, "THE LIGHT IS DARKENED IN THE HEAVENS THEREOF." This statement is most meaningful when compared with all the foregoing scriptures, and finally compared with the statement in Mat. 24:29: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the SUN BE DARKENED, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken."  

The sun in prophecy is the most exalted ruler of any order, the moon second, while the stars are other governmental authorities. The heavens are the thrones which these rulers occupy. The earth is that which is ruled by the heavens- that which looks to the sun, the moon, and the stars for its light and direction. There is an order of human government now, but all these are soon to pass away, be darkened, fall from heaven, and a new order shall be inaugurated. In the Kingdom of God the SONS OF GOD shall constitute the heavenly bodies (sun, moon, stars) that shall RULE THE EARTH. When we read of the stars falling from heaven, we are simply reading that the so-called "big shots" are coming down! We are being made to know that all that has been giving light in the past, and that has ruled in the past, is going out and is darkened forever. But in Mat. 24:27 we read that God's Christ shall come "as the lightening (sun) cometh out of the east and shineth even unto the west." The glorious CHRIST COMPANY shall TAKE THE PLACE of all the former sun, moon, and stars. A NEW HEAVENS and a NEW EARTH--hallelujah!  

The truth of the constellations of the heavens includes many wonderful examples of that which is taking place in the realm of the Spirit. The stars of the heavens exist in a realm where God is absolute Sovereign and Lord, where His life prevails. Therefore, in their highest meaning, in their spiritual meaning, the stars are used to represent HEAVENLY, SPIRITUAL RULE AND DOMINION. Can we now open the eyes of our understanding to behold the wondrous truth that God's elect sons ARE THE CONSTELLATIONS OF THE SPIRITUAL HEAVENS, THE LUMINARIES AND RULERS IN GOD'S SKY! As the glory of the Lord arises upon His chosen ones they pierce the gloom of the dark night of sin and sorrow and bring deliverance, life and order out of the chaos of man's failure and despair. In the light of Daniel's startling prophecy (Dan. 12:3) I am compelled to say to the elect of the Lord: Y-O-U ARE THE TRUE SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC IN GOD'S SPIRITUAL HEAVENS!  

In that long ago primordial beginning the sun, moon and stars were given as SIGNS. A sign is something that points to something else. The sign itself can be a reality. But as a SIGN, it is a reality that points to A REALITY THAT IS BEYOND AND GREATER THAN ITSELF. If you see a sign in a building that reads, "EXIT," you do not for a moment think that the sign itself is the way out. You know that it is an indicator pointing you in the direction of a door or opening nearby. The scriptures declare that our Lord Jesus Christ was just such a reality, for it is written that He was a SIGN. "Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a SIGN. Behold, a virgin shall conceive .and bear a SON and ye shall call HIS name IMMANUEL (God with us)" (Isa. 7: 14). It was not the virgin birth that was to be the sign. It was THE SON THAT WAS BORN OF THE VIRGIN that was the sign. Therefore when the infant Jesus was brought to Simeon and Anna in the temple, again it was prophesied that the SON was a SIGN, for Simeon said, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many...and FOR A SIGN which shall be spoken against'' "Lk. 2:34). 

Jesus was a SIGN! He was also a "stumbling block". People stumbled over the sign because they could not comprehend its meaning! They spoke against it because it was beyond their understanding. They resisted it because they perceived it with carnal, rather than spiritual, eyes. But Jesus was a Sign, a fact that He Himself told us when He said, "The things concerning Me have an END" (Lk. 22:37). That word "end" is in the Greek TELOS, meaning "consummation." In other words, Jesus was something to be FULFILLED. He was a reality in and of Himself, but He was also a reality that pointed to a reality greater than Himself. What reality was that? As the FIRSTBORN among MANY BRETHREN, He was the SIGN that pointed to a many-membered Christ, a whole company of Saviours (Ob. 21), who shall be HIM revealed in His many-splendored glory!  

Here I would share a most illuminating and instructive word from the pen of George Hawtin. "One of the greatest truths ever kept hidden from the eyes of man is this: that JESUS CHRIST, THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD, was from His birth to His resurrection the greatest SIGN that God has ever given to the world. Everything about His life and His ministry, His birth, His death, His resurrection was a clear distinct SIGN of things that are to come. We may have overlooked the fact that no less an authority than Jesus Christ Himself made the clear definite statement that 'as Jonah was a SIGN to the Ninevites, so also shall the SON OF MAN be to this generation' (Lk. 11:29-30). This passage tells us that Jesus was a sign to this generation in the same way that Jonah was to his generation. When I meditate upon the experience of Jonah as he went into the whale' s belly and felt the bars of hell close about him, then to come forth from that hell to experience the glory of a resurrection, it seems small wonder that his preaching so mightily affected the Ninevites that in forty days one hundred twenty thousand souls turned to the Lord. Jonah's experience was a sign to the Ninevites of wonderful things to come when Christ would go into death and hell and then lead forth in triumph an innumerable company of captives from the pit itself (Eph.4:7-10). But we dare not stop here. The glorious victory of Christ in descending to hell and leading forth a host of captives is in itself a sign of the day when the sons of God will unlock the gates of hell, for the gates of hell shall not prevail against them" --end quote. 

May God grant unto all who peruse this message eyes to see that this glorious first-born Son of God, begotten of the Father by the Holy Ghost, was a SIGN SON. He was a sign of a great COMPANY OF SONS who would also be born of the Spirit and nurtured unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ through the centuries stretching between Bethlehem and the end of this age. This is the truth that illumined Paul's mind as he exultantly wrote, "Whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the IMAGE OF HIS SON, that HE might be the eldest in a VAST FAMILY OF BROTHERS" (Rom. 8: 29). Well, if He was a sign, those who are joined to Him in spirit- truly joined to Him in spirit, of His mind, of His attitude, of His thought--WILL ALSO BE SIGNS! That is why it is written in another place, "Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given Me are for SIGNS AND WONDERS in Israel from the Lord of hosts" (Isa. 8:18; Heb. 2:13). "I and the children..." That is Christ and His members! 

 Jesus was a sign and you and I, my beloved, are given for signs. The sun, moon and stars were set in the diamond-studded heavens to be for signs and to rule over the earth. Jesus was a sign, and He is the Sun of righteousness set in the heavens of God's vast spiritual universe, and He is the Creator of the world, and its Ruler. The bride of Christ is the moon in God's spiritual and governmental heavens, for as the sun represents the positive, masculine, life-giving principle, so the moon symbolizes the passive, feminine, receptive side. The elect sons of God are for signs and they shall shine as the brightness of the firmament and as the STARS forever. "Do all things without murmurings and disputings, that ye may become blameless and harmless, sons of God , without blemish in the midst of a crooked and darkened generation, AMONG WHOM YE SHINE AS LIGHTS IN THE WORLD" (Phil. 2:15). This word here translated "lights" is the Greek word PHOSTER, and it means luminary, light container, or simply star. The sons of God, then, are the stars of God to shine in this darkened world.   

To what purpose is this beautiful figure given? Let us recall that Moses said of the stars that they were for SIGNS. Many a weary wanderer, lost in the blackness of a darkened night, has thanked God when the storm was lifted, so that he might see the stars, and find his way back home to safety and to peace. The stars are for signs, and that tells the whole tale of God's expectation of us. Christ Jesus our Lord is a sign and He is a sun and Christ is King, He rules, and not another. He has been given power over "ALL flesh" (Jn. 17: 2). Before He ascended He stated, "ALL power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth" (Mat.28:18). "All power" means "all power" and leaves no room for Satan to have some power. And this unbounded power is not a mere recent acquisition, for in Jn. 17:5 we read that before ascending Jesus petitioned the Father to glorify Him with the glory which He had before the world was. So the glory and power which He now possesses, He also possessed in Old Testament times, and even before time began. And by the wisdom of God and the revelation of His Spirit, we have come to understand that our spirits, too, 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!"  

Jesus Christ is Himself the "bright and the morning star," but this assurance I have from the Spirit of Truth within, that a vast company of MORNING S-T-A-R-S intoned that glorious celestial song of creation and redemption on that primeval occasion ere the foundations of the earth were laid. And just as Jesus Christ came into this world as a Sign-Son, so all the sons of God are given for signs and wonders in Israel. In the same wonderful way that the heavenly constellations of the signs of the Zodiac rule by cosmic energy the men of earth, so do the heavenly, spiritual sun, moon and stars rule over the earth realm by the spiritual authority and power of the Kingdom of God. The physical Zodiac in the natural heavens of the material universe is but a faint shadow of the true and spiritual and heavenly Zodiac composed of the blessed Sun of righteousness, and the moon, which is the bride of Christ and the Queen of heaven, and the brightness of the stars constituting that vast family of the sons and daughters of the Most High. Some teach that the "morning stars" represent only the daughters of God, but it is my deep conviction that we must bear in mind that Jesus Christ, the SON of the living God is Himself T-H-E BRIGHT AND MORNING STAR.  

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the S-I-G-N OF THE SON OF MAN IN HEAVEN: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Mat. 24:29-30). I have quoted this portion of our Lord's teaching that we might be assured that by using the symbols of the sun, moon, stars, and the powers of the heavens, Jesus reveals the total and complete collapse and destruction of this present World-order. Then He shows that after all the lights of the human governmental systems go out, when one would expect only darkness and anarchy, A VERY IMPORTANT EVENT OCCURS. The SIGN of the Son of man will appear in THE HEAVEN.  

"And THEN shall appear the SIGN of the Son of man in heaven." In examining this statement we must first note a grievous error that is made by most people who study it. The unthinking masses skip over it lightly, misinterpreting it as "the COMING of the Son of man in heaven." That is not what the text says at all. We need to pay particular attention to all the words. they all mean something. The verse does not say that the Son of man will appear in heaven, rather, "the sign" will appear: the SIGN of the Son of man. A sign is a far different reality from that which it points to. You cannot ride in a road sign advertising a certain make of automobile. The sign merely tells you where to find the man who sells that car. So the SIGN of the Son of man is not the Son of man. But going to the Greek we find the word for sign is SEMEION which means a miracle, sign, wonder or signal. And the text also tells us where this wonder, or signal will appear. In the previous verse we saw the sun, moon, and stars fall from heaven: from their thrones. And then we saw these heavenly or exalted powers themselves pass away and go into oblivion. They are no more. And the Word of God tells us that upon the burning of the Babylonian heavens, there will arise a new system, a new governmental arrangement, a new heaven and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness (II Pet. 3:12-13) And that is where we find this "sign" or wonder or signal of the Son of man. It appears "IN HEAVEN." And heaven in prophecy means thrones, the governmental realm, that which is established for rulership. The sun, moon and stars of Mat. 24:29 "fall from heaven," from their place of dominion, and in verse 30 we see the sign or signal of the Christ ascending the SAME THRONES or taking away their place. The old order passes away. This is a new day. And Christ is King. He reigns. And His will shall be done in earth as it is done in heaven!  

Let us turn now to chapter 12 of Revelation, that most wonderful, symbolic unfoldment of God's plan for the time now present and the days just ahead. The chapter opens with this cryptic statement: "And there appeared a great WONDER IN HEAVEN." It is necessary to pause here and note that the word "wonder" in this passage is the same Greek word SEMEION which, in Mat. 24:30 is translated "sign". In other words, "there appeared a great SIGN IN HEAVEN." Now compare this with the statement of our Lord in Mat. 24:30: "And then shall appear the SIGN of the Son of man IN HEAVEN." This comparison makes it crystal clear that what Jesus spoke of, and that which John saw, are indeed ONE AND THE SAME THING! So --what is the SIGN that John saw "in heaven"?  

"And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered...and she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne" (Rev. 12:1-2,5). Some tell us that the woman in this chapter is Mary, or Israel, and that the man-child is Jesus. But we do a serious discredit to the Word of God when we ignore the fact that John the Revelator was being shown things which "must be hereafter" (Rev. 4:1) and not events which had transpired many years before he trod the burning rocks of Patmos. It should not be difficult for any to understand that just as Mary, the typical woman, brought forth the first-born Son, the SIGN-SON, so the Bride of Christ is here pictured as a symbolic woman in the closing days of this dispensation. Some tell us that the sons come forth in this age, and the bride is perfected in the next age; but who ever heard of a son being born without a mother! That would indeed be a "wonder" far greater than what John was shown on Patmos! Just as Mary was a virgin, and brought forth her Son before her marriage was consummated, so is the bride of Christ a virgin, and brings forth her many-membered son before her marriage is consummated.  

This glorious sun-clad woman is the same woman of whom Paul spoke in II Cor. 11:2, "For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." Paul again speaks of this woman in Eph. 5:31-32, "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 T-H-E C-H-U-R-C-H." Nothing in all the pages of God's blessed Book can be plainer than the fact that THE CHURCH IS THE BRIDE OF CHRIST. If it is not, we will have to tear the above quoted verses from our Bibles and cast them into the fire. It is the end-time Church, not the wanton harlot who calls herself the Church, but the true Church of the living God in the end of this age which as a virgin people is clothed with the sun, even the Sun of righteousness, the glory and splendor of the Lord Jesus Christ; she shall be crowned, brought under the submission to the divine authority of God, for twelve is the number of divine government, this government being symbolized by the stars of the twelve Patriarchs of the Old Testament and the twelve apostles of the Lamb in the New Testament. Since the primary figure in this instance is the woman, the moon, in this case, bears a different connotation, representing that this spirit-filled and spirit-led woman has put the cold, reflective light of ritual and ceremony under her feet, to walk in the brilliance of the glory of the living Son of God. And it is from this virgin company, this espoused bride, this sun-clad woman that the man-child, the manifested sons of God shall be birthed. This CORPORATE SON is destined to rule all nations with a rod of iron, and shall be caught up to God and to His throne. This should help us to understand the fathomless depths of meaning in the words of Jesus, "And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to HIM will I give POWER OVER THE NATIONS: and he shall RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON" (Rev. 2:26-27). This overcoming company, my beloved, is the man-child who is caught up to God and to His throne, who rules all nations with a rod of iron.  

With the foregoing truths in mind, let us see with divine clarity that the "sign" of the Son of man in heaven, and the "wonder" John saw in heaven both portray the very same reality. That "sign" is simply the coming forth in the earth of a company of fully overcoming, victorious SONS OF GOD who are to take the reins of the government of this world and RULE ALL NATIONS in the blessed age to come. When these sons of God begin to come forth in the earth in the GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITY of the Spirit of God, then shall the SIGN of the Son of man be seen--for these sons ARE THE SIGN! Methinks that I have stood in God's bright today, as John stood in vision in that long ago, and with my eyes have beheld this SIGN OF THE SON OF MAN IN HEAVEN. In my brief span of years upon this fair planet I have been privileged to be a firsthand witness to this woman heavy with child, and pained to be delivered. Within the depths of my own soul have I experienced the piercing pain of her travail for the dominion of the Christ Spirit to come forth into manifestation and ascend the throne of my own being to rule in life and victory and authority over every vestige of sin, carnality and death. I have beheld with my own eyes the wonder of the incorruptible nature of God's pure and holy Son being formed in a people that has embraced the Cross of Christ. I have the assurance of the Holy Spirit that in due time these shall be raised to the incorruptible, heavenly sphere to reign in absolute righteousness, perfection and incorruptibleness, free forever from sin, limitation, and the curse. 

This present time is, therefore, the most important of all the periods of earth. It is the time to which patriarch and prophet looked forward with longing to see. We are truly a privileged people, in that we have been favored to live to see this day. It is the great day of the Lord, bringing in the Sabbath, the day of rest, when God's saints will have rest and rejoicing, and deliverance from all the bondage of the past. And it is the day of defeat, and darkness, and bondage, and humiliation for all our enemies (Amos 5:18-20). It is the day when the first shall be last, and the last first: when those who have been despised and reproached for the truth' s sake, out of all the ages, will be brought to honor and glory, and all the proud and haughty who now reign will be abased and brought low.   

Therefore, my beloved, if you desire to see a "sign" of the coming of the Lord, look not to the depressing, negative, corrupted conditions in the earth today. Wickedness, licentiousness, violence, war, and ever-increasing sorrows are NOT signs of the Lord's appearing, as the ministers of Babylon mistakenly proclaim. Those negative conditions are merely signs that we have reached the crisis, the turning point in the long night of man' s rebellion and misrule. But the "sign" of the SON OF MAN IN HEAVEN is the sign of the birth of God's manchild, the maturity of the enChristed, the coming upon the scene of the overcoming sons of God who hold within their experience the answer, the solution to the ills and despair of sin-cursed humanity. Keep your eye on GOD'S ELECT, my friend. As full maturity, perfection, strength, and the Glory of the Lord arise upon them- a GREAT WONDER SHALL APPEAR IN HEAVEN. A new RULING GOVERNMENT of Christ IN HIS BODY shall appear on the scene, authority and power in the prophetic "heavens". "The saints of the Most High shall TAKE THE KINGDOM, and possess the Kingdom for ever...and the Kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the Kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to THE PEOPLE OF THE SAINTS OF THE MOST HIGH...and all dominions shall serve and obey Him. Hitherto is the END of the matter" (Dan. 7:18, 27-28).  

This earth is but a proving ground for those who shall reign with their Lord over the endless vastnesses of infinity. They have proven faithful over few things. In due time 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. And as 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, brothers by birth: to be like Him in nature, name and being. We are all "out of ONE: for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren" (Heb. 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 from the throne of His heaven, over all the endlessness of His unbounded dominions. AMEN!

A TABERNACLE FOR THE SUN  

From the finger tips of our almighty heavenly Father worlds glide forth in their orbits, and mighty stars as numerous as the sands of the sea circle for incalculable ages in their courses with the sweet precision of a diamond watch. The inspired Psalmist penned these words of beauty and truth: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork. IN THEM HATH HE SET A TABERNACLE FOR THE SUN. Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof" (Ps. 19:1,4-6).  

In the days when David wrote these expressive words the word "tabernacle" carried an altogether different connotation than it does in our modern usage. When we were in Israel we saw dotting the landscape the black "tents of Kedar" mentioned in the Song of Solomon, the goat-skin tent habitations of the nomadic tribes which follow their flocks over the hills of Judea. We are accustomed to think of a tabernacle in terms of a temple or other grand and imposing edifice, whereas in the east where the books of the scriptures were written, tabernacles were tents, and so was the House of God, the Tabernacle of God in the wilderness. We view our sturdy houses as places of security and protection from the blazing sun, the chilling cold, the ravaging winds, and the treachery of men; but in the east the tent was the place of habitation, the position of dwelling.  

In God's tabernacle or habitation it was not a matter of protecting God from the influences of the external elements, but a matter of a place to draw attention to the fact that He was there. It was the place of His abode, His manifestation, His activity, that His people might behold Him and know that He dwelt amongst them. He inhabited the tabernacle in order to presence Himself with them, not in order to have a shelter for Himself. This concept of the tabernacle as being a DISPLAY to EXHIBIT the glory of God is the thought of the Holy Spirit in Psalm 19. The sun is not contained within the strong walls of some celestial fortress--if it were it would be hidden. It is not concealed, it is put on display for all creation to behold in all of its brilliance and majesty. "In them (the heavens) hath He set a tabernacle for the sun."  

There is no truth within the pages of God' s blessed Book more certain than the fact that God is creating a new heavens and a new earth, and the constellations of the new heavens are not made up of the physical stars which comprise the signs of the Zodiac, but of living stars of God's sons formed and fashioned into an order and image through which to influence creation and rule over all things. Beyond question this is the allegory proclaimed by the Lord to the prophet Isaiah, "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). In commenting on this instructive passage Ray Prinzing wrote: "When God has thoroughly planted His people in the heavenlies, they will be in a settled place, firmly secured by His grace, to DWELL IN HIM, established in His love and grace, no more to be lost or wandering in the emptiness of selfhood. 'But God...hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might show (display) the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus' (Eph. 2:4-7).  

"Andrew Jukes brings out that this expanse above us is called 'heaven,' that is THE ARRANGER, so called, because this heaven, in ways above our thoughts, is the great agent in arranging everything, and that the word comes from the root 'to set or place.' And there is reference made to the effects ascribed to attraction, gravitation, etc. along with the repulsion, electricity, evaporation, and so on. While we are more acquainted with the effects, than understanding the underlying forces or power which cause these effects. I might also point out how the ancient Greeks derived their word THEOS for 'God,' from the word TO SET OR PLACE, for the same reasons. HE is the DIVINE ARRANGER, PLACER. In His planting the heavens, God has purposed to bring into ONENESS WITH HIMSELF a people that shall become 'arrangers, placers,' that with Him they might establish His righteousness upon the earth. To be, as Paul brings out so very clearly, 'laborers together with God' (I Cor. 3:9). 

"Furthermore, as Paul pointed out, we are made to 'SIT TOGETHER,' or, literally, TO SIT DOWN WITH HIM in the heavenlies. There is a DIVINE PLACEMENT where we are FIXED in Him. Not running or wandering all over the heavens, roaming about here and there, causing havoc by the exercising of spiritual power where it ought not to be placed. We are not to be 'wandering stars' blazing across the sky in some brilliant display attracting attention, but we are to be placed in our fixed orbit, to be SEATED IN HIM--abiding in the calling wherewith we are called, to fulfill that for which we have been apprehended. God has a place for every one in His great purpose.  

"'Thus saith the Lord, He that created the heavens, and stretcheth them out' (Isa. 42:5). Note the word 'created' from the Hebrew BARA with a threefold meaning: to form, fashion, prepare. It covers the whole realm of processing from the initial forming, through the development, until it is fully prepared, brought forth a newly made finished product. Begun, continued, climaxed. And He does it all, as well as totally controlling the time element. That which we read of the vast cosmic order about us, is also applicable for this new spiritual order which is being prepared. 'The Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; BY UNDERSTANDING hath He established (prepared) the heavens' (Prov. 3:19). Understanding, from the Hebrew TEBUNAH meaning: skillfulness, discretion, wisdom, understanding. What tremendous wisdom and care, what skill and glorious handiwork is revealed as He marks out, chooses, plans and prepares His elect to be PLANTED IN THE HEAVENLIES. Furthermore, we read, 'I, even MY HANDS, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded' (Isa. 45:12).  

"'He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people. Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice. And the HEAVENS SHALL DECLARE HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS: for God is judge Himself' (Ps. 50:4-6). Declare,--here we have a different Hebrew word from that used in 'The heavens declare the glory of God,' which is meant to recount, to tell with praise, or to celebrate. But now it is the Hebrew word NAGAD meaning: to be in front, thus, TO MANIFEST, by bringing to light, to declare, i.e. to solve, to explain an enigma. All the hidden secrets of His righteousness will be revealed through those whom HE has planted in the heavens. What a union, what a oneness with Him, that HE shares the mysteries of His righteousness with these processed ones, and then places them in position to declare that righteousness. Not just by words, not just by some form of preaching or teaching, but by their OWN TRUE STATE OF BEING. They, themselves, shall be all righteous, and thus become a living declaration of His righteousness. Words fail us to express the wonder of this glorious truth which begins to gleam in our spirit with hope and joy" --end quote.  

Again I would emphasize the fact that the Psalmist establishes the position of the sun in the heavens. Of the heavens He says, "IN THEM hath He set A TABERNACLE FOR THE SUN." In the Old Testament as well as in the New, the glorious sun that lights our day is set as a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God. This fact is evidenced clearly by the prophet Malachi, who writes: "But unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings" (Mal. 4:2). The sixtieth chapter of Isaiah contains some of the grandest poetry that was ever written in any tongue. The song of Israel's redemption and triumph in this chapter reaches its climax in these beautiful words: "The sun shall be no more thy light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee, but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God shall be thy glory. The sun shall no more go down, neither shall the moon withdraw itself, for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended" (Isa. 60:19-20). In exquisite words of wondrous promise, the beautiful future of the Lord's people is portrayed. In language surpassing mere human vocabulary, the Lord, who is Jesus the Christ, is portrayed as the sun and the light of His people, and the everlasting light of His radiance is to shine upon the path of the nation, as they behold Christ in His unveiling. This thought is continued in John's description of the New Jerusalem, where the revelator says: "And the city hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine upon it, for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof" (Rev. 21:23). How sublime is this truth of which we speak, and wondrous beyond articulation the knowledge that this mighty Sun, this glorious Christ is found WITHIN OUR SPIRIT. On the individual plane, is it not within the heavens of our own redeemed mind that God has set a tabernacle for the sun!  

The shining constellations spreading across the enormous expanse of the heavens represent the Lord's dwelling place in the Kingdom of His new creation people. God  has set a tabernacle for the Sun (Christ) in the heavens--in the midst of His star-sons. Other passages confirm this truth, such as Isa. 40:22, which states that the Lord "stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out AS A TENT TO DWELL IN." In the constellation of Sagittarius we find the Sign of Ara, which is the altar of the heavenly tabernacle. In fact, all of the symbolisms of Israel's Tabernacle in the wilderness are found pictured in the signs of the Zodiac. Therefore, the heavens represent the Lord's spiritual tabernacle symbolically displayed. Travel back in our ancestral history, to that awesome day when Moses was given precise and explicit instructions by the Lord regarding the design and construction of the Tabernacle of His presence in the midst of His people. This "centerpiece" of the encampments of Israel was a tent, and it was within this tent that Yahweh made His presence known. It was this tent, this tabernacle in the midst of the congregation, that the Most High filled with His glory. We are informed that "the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys" (Ex. 40:38). How wonderful, how blessed this must have been! God arranged the order, the encampments of His people, and in the midst of them HE SET A TABERNACLE FOR HIS PRESENCE AND GLORY!  

God has set a tabernacle or tent in the heavens in the which the sun runs its course, a tabernacle speaking of a particular order and the sun's course denoting certain prescribed limits. Furthermore, the Lord states that its geometrical form is a CIRCUIT or circle, and this is further clarified in likening the sun to a strong man running a race which historically was normally done on a race track in the shape of a circle. "His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his CIRCUIT unto the ends of it" (Ps. 19:6). It is now concluded by leading astronomers that the sun, with the entire solar system, actually DOES move through space--it races, in fact, through the heavens at the tremendous speed of 600,000 miles per hour- and not in a straight path, but in such a gigantic circuit, or circle, that it requires over two million centuries to complete it. The sun's circuit IS from one end of the heavens to the other! What a wonderful book is the Bible! Long before astronomers discovered these things they were revealed to God's holy prophets by the Spirit.  

God has set a circular tabernacle or circuit for the sun, indicating a certain work is to be accomplished within those prescribed limits. This is but a faint shadow of the reality established in the spiritual heavens, typified also in the Tabernacle in the wilderness. For example, the Tabernacle in the wilderness was of a certain size and shape for a specific work, carried forth by the priestly ministry appointed to it. As the High Priest made his ceremonial "rounds" in the tabernacle, moving in priestly function from the Outer Court to the Holy Place and finally into the Holiest of all and out again, so the sun in its heavenly tabernacle makes its circuit from one end of heaven to the other, all the while fulfilling day by day its illuminating and life-giving service.  

Around the tabernacle were twelve tribes, each had a standard or ensign. If you walked around the tabernacle, passing through each of the twelve tribes, you would pass through twelve standards or ensigns. This parallels the twelve signs of the Zodiac, for the twelve ensigns of the twelve tribes of Israel correspond to the configurations of the twelve signs of the Zodiac in the heavens. The signs of the Zodiac are the circuit the sun passes through as it moves through the skies. "Tabernacle" means tent or house, hence the signs of the Zodiac are called the "houses" of the sun, because in them He moves, dwells, and fulfills all His circuit. Hear me! The sun, moon and stars are for SIGNS; Jesus the Sun of righteousness is a SIGN; and the sons of God are likened unto the stars and are for SIGNS and wonders. YOU ARE THE PEOPLE THE SUN (SON) OF GOD PASSES THROUGH UNTIL HIS DAY IS ACCOMPLISHED AND HIS PURPOSES FULFILLED IN ALL CREATION. The heavens are the people of the Spirit. The study of the Zodiac is the study of the "house" in the heavens. The sun goes through each of the signs of the Zodiac AND THE SAINTS ARE THOSE SIGNS. This spiritual race is the circuit, and HE is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the goal and the prize. As the Lord arises upon His people and completes His circuit in the heavens, so He accomplishes His plans and purposes concerning ourselves and the universe. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, but is always moving ahead through His circuit, working and moving toward His ultimate purpose, the redemption and restoration of all back into Himself again. And just as" there is nothing hid from the heat" (Ps. 19:6) of the sun, so the Lord ministers to His people in compassion, faithfulness, and all-sufficiency. The sun of heaven is the Lord. The light of heaven is the divine truth, and its heat the divine love; both proceeding from the Lord as a sun. Our omniscient Father sees ALL of your circumstance and need, precious friend of mine, and He will not pass you by without tenderly touching your life with His redeeming, delivering, healing, quickening, restoring rays.  

By observing the course of the sun through the signs of the Zodiac, we can understand our current, daily walk, with the outworking of God's processing's in us and in creation. There are various "houses" in God's great house into which and through which the Sun moves on its circuit. Is it not true that there are many mansions, many levels of spiritual life and attainment in God's great Kingdom? Have we not identified with various of these spiritual realms in our forward walk in God? Some of us have camped for a season in the "salvation" house, then in the "deliverance" house, the "grace" house, the "faith" house, the "Holy Spirit" house, the "gifts" house, the "New Testament Church Order" house, the "death to self" house, the "sonship" house, the "reconciliation" house, etc. The Sun (Son) ascended and moved forward in its circuit through each of these houses! We experienced the glory of His arising there, the symbolism of the sign was fulfilled within us spiritually, and there followed a true and glorious ministration of His life from each of these realms to creation--and there still is! He is running His race as a strong man, starting from the distant skies and racing through all the expanse of the heavens, just as we are experiencing Him in this world. Thank God for the tabernacle for the Sun, praise Him for each and every "house" of this tabernacle, how we rejoice in His progressive circuit through the heavens of OUR EXPERIENCE! 

The reality that lies behind what is commonly known today as horoscopes and behind the common signs of the Zodiac is an original revelation designed by God -- a revelation not of pagan mythology or superstitious powers, but of the wonderful truths of God's grand and glorious plan of the ages through His anointed Christ, written in the very stars of heaven--this fact being attested to by the faithful testimony of the scriptures "which are able to make thee wise unto salvation" (II Tim. 3: 15)  

In these twelve celestial signs we have enshrined for us like jewels in a velvet case the twelve great heavenly laws or principles which we are to pass through and master while we walk our foreordained path on this planet. Each one of the twelve signs embodies a Kingdom of Heaven principle taught in symbol and ritual under the Old Testament administration. It points to a wonderful progression as we begin in Genesis with the promised seed of the woman (Virgo) and end in the book of Revelation with LEO, the conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah! Just as the sun passes through each of the twelve signs of the Zodiac in the course of a year, so must we experientially partake of the reality pictured by each sign in our progressive transformation, into HIS likeness.

 


Chapter 4 

A Tabernacle for the Sun 

The natural sun is the brightest luminary in the natural heavens. And to help us in correctly interpreting the meaning of the prophetical sun, Gen. 1:16 informs us that God made "the greater light to RULE the day, and the lesser light to RULE the night: He made the stars also." Here we first have the idea expressed of both the sun and the moon being RULERS. Then we find that God, the supreme Ruler, is called in the Word a "Sun." "For the Lord thy God is a SUN and a shield" (Ps. 84:11). Also, our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of kings, is in Mal. 4:2 called "the SUN of righteousness." He rules. Furthermore we find, in reference to men, that II Sam. 23:3-4 reads, "He that RULETH over men...shall be as the light of the morning, when the SUN riseth." And in II Sam. 21:17 we find David the king called "the LIGHT of Israel." This same meaning is found in Kings 8:19 where we read: "Yet the Lord would not destroy Judah for David His servant's sake as He promised him to give him always A LIGHT." This is exactly the same promise that we find in Jer. 33:17 where the Lord says, "David shall never want a man to SIT UPON THE THRONE of the house of Israel." David' s offspring were to be the "suns" or RULERS of Israel, the source of light, influence, and direction for the nation. In Mat. 13:43 we find, concerning saints who are to be Kings and Priests and rule with Christ (Rev. 3:21; 5:9-10), that they are compared to the sun: "Then shall the righteous SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the Kingdom of their Father." Of these same ruling saints Jesus says, "And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations and he shall RULE them with a rod of iron..." Then He hastily adds: "And I will give him the MORNING STAR" (Rev. 2: 26-28). That is, "I will give him power over the nations- rulership and I will give him the POSITION AS THE MORNING STAR to give direction to mankind." Now consider these meaningful words of Daniel the prophet wherein he foretells the manifestation of the sons of God in the end of the age: "And they that be wise shall SHINE AS THE BRIGHTNESS OF THE FIRMAMENT; and they that turn many to righteousness as the STARS forever" (Dan. 12:3). Then we find in Dan. 4:26, "the HEAVENS DO RULE." God's heaven is His throne. "Heaven I-S M-Y T-H-R-O-N-E" (Isa. 66:1). Heaven in the spiritual terminology of prophecy is the seat where the SUN, the mighty God sits and RULES. And as God's heaven is His throne, so the prophetical heavens include all the governmental realm THROUGH WHICH GOD RULES, and He is LORD OF ALL. Individually, the SPIRIT WITHIN YOU is God' s SUN of dominion in your personal universe.  

Earthly tongues and natural images can but dimly describe things that belong to heavenly realms, but this great truth of the stars being RULERS is also set forth in Job 38:31-33. "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth (the twelve signs of the Zodiac) in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances of the heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?" Here the almighty Creator speaks of the "sweet influences" of Pleiades, the "bands" of Orion, the "seasons" of Mazzaroth, the "ordinances" of the heavens, and the "dominion" of these constellations in the earth! Each of these powers and influences of the constellations over the earth is indicated by God Himself as FACT! The truth of the constellations of the heavens includes many wonderful examples of that which is taking place in the realm of the Spirit. The stars of the heavens exist in a realm where God is absolute Sovereign and Lord, where His life prevails. Therefore, in their highest meaning, in their spiritual meaning, the stars are used to represent HEAVENLY, SPIRITUAL RULE AND DOMINION. Can we now open the eyes of our understanding to behold the wondrous truth that God's elect sons ARE THE CONSTELLATIONS OF THE SPIRITUAL HEAVENS, THE LUMINARIES AND RULERS IN GOD'S SKY, of which the signs of the Zodiac, sprinkled by the hand of God across the night sky, are but the dim type.   

There is no truth within the pages of God' s blessed Book more certain than the fact that God is creating a new heavens and a new earth, and the constellations of the new heavens are not made up of the physical stars which comprise the signs of the Zodiac, but of living stars of God's sons formed and fashioned into an order and image through which to influence creation and rule all things. Beyond question this is the allegory proclaimed by the Lord to the prophet Isaiah, "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). The sons of God are the promised STAR-SEED of the Kingdom. "Do all things without murmuring and disputing," says the apostle, "that ye may become blameless and harmless, SONS OF GOD, without blemish in the midst of a crooked and darkened generation, AMONG WHOM YE SHINE AS LIGHTS IN THE WORLD" (Phil. 2: 15). The word here translated "lights" is the Greek word PHOSTER, meaning luminary, light container, or simply star. The sons of God, then, are the STARS of God to shine in this darkened world. In the same wonderful way that the heavenly constellations of the signs of the Zodiac rule by cosmic energy the men of earth, so do the heavenly, spiritual sun, moon and stars rule over the earth realm by the spiritual authority and power of the Kingdom of God. The physical Zodiac in the natural heavens of the material universe is but a faint shadow of the true and spiritual and heavenly Zodiac composed of the blessed Sun of righteousness, the Lord Jesus Christ; and the moon, which is the bride of Christ and the Queen of heaven; and the brightness of the stars constituting that vast family of the sons and daughters of the Most High.  

The inspired Psalmist penned these words of beauty and truth: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork. IN THEM HATH HE SET A TABERNACLE FOR THE SUN. Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof" (Ps. 19:1,4-6). The shining constellations spreading across the enormous expanse of the heavens represent the Lord's dwelling place in the Kingdom of His new creation people. God has set a tabernacle for the Sun (Christ, Spirit) in the heavens- in the midst of His star-sons. The position of the sons of God among the stars is revealed in the fact that they are declared to be citizens of heaven, or as Moffat so beautifully translates, "We are a colony of heaven" (Phil. 3:20); their home center or citizenship has been moved there from the earth. Their names would, therefore, appear only among the celestial beings, in any true census of the universe. These are the same morning stars which sang and the sons of God who shouted for .joy in that long ago when the foundations of the earth were laid (Job 38:4-7).  

All the signs of the Zodiac are placed in a massive circle in the hemisphere. The path of the sun passes through one of these signs (houses) each month. This shows forth His glorious plan of redemption as the SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS WITH HEALING IN HlS WINGS passes through the heavens. The sun is but a type of the true Son of God. He, as THE HEAD of this GLORIOUS SONSHIP COMPANY, is coming out of His chamber in the bosom of the Father to run a race on the great race-track of the heavens. He passes through every sign (house), seeking His elect from the four winds of heaven, heralding the rise of their influence and rule in the heavenly Kingdom of God. I hear a Voice, my brother, my sister, bidding me to distinguish between the "dwellers on earth" and the "dwellers in heaven." "Therefore rejoice, YE HEAVENS, and YE THAT DWELL IN THEM. Woe to the INHABITERS OF THE EARTH... for the devil is come down unto you..." (Rev. 12:12). In the thirteenth chapter of Revelation we are told that the "dwellers in heaven" are the TABERNACLE OF GOD, which is the tabernacle for the Sun. The tabernacle of God is that blessed company of the overcomers- the sons of God. Ah, YOU, precious saints of God, ARE THE PEOPLE THE SUN (SON) OF GOD PASSES THROUGH UNTIL HIS DAY IS ACCOMPLISHED AND HIS PURPOSES FULFILLED IN ALL CREATION.  

Twinkle, twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are;
Far above the earth so high,
Like a diamond in the sky...
Ah- you are a son of God,
Once to walk on earthen sod;
Now transformed by His great hand
To reign forever o'er the land. 

THE DWELLERS IN THE HEAVENS 

The revelation of Mazzaroth (Job 38:31-33) is the revelation of the power and glory of the heavens--God's spiritual Zodiac, His sons and daughters of LIGHT, REVELATION AND POWER. Heaven does not have a present significance in the mind and spirit and understanding of vast numbers of God's people. Somehow the churches relegate heaven as an aftermath, something beyond this life, the category that awaits us after death. And that is to the great detriment of the church. The church is, by definition, a heavenly institution on earth and in time--NOW. Those who dwell in heaven (spirit) are required to bring the dimension of heaven into their present experience and expression. So if we save the word heaven for the future we are striking a death-blow at the very nature and character of the Kingdom of Heaven and God's purpose in His people as a heavenly people presently in time. We need to become alive to heaven; heaven needs to become vital; it must be made real; it needs to have substance within our hearts, our lives, our speech, our thoughts, our convictions, and our manifestation. In a word, we need to be made HEAVENLY MINDED!  

Everything in the world militates against this kind of consciousness in the world. Everything in modern civilization, everything in the scientific, educational, medical, industrial and social institutions of the world is calculated against heaven, against eternity, against SPIRIT. They want to delude the masses of mankind to believe that this is it--this temporal, spatial, physical and visible world is the sum and substance of REALITY. That is the wisdom of the world, the wisdom of this age that undergirds and permeates the entire kingdom of corruption and death. The world operates on the supposition and premise that everything of value is now, in time, material, the things that are seen, tangible, felt and held, and that when this life passes it is over. Therefore, eat, drink and be merry; therefore fornicate; therefore aggrandize; therefore grasp; therefore get all you can get and enjoy all you can enjoy, for this is all there is. And that is a LIE! The world is living in a lie. And the church world is living in another (and just as serious) LIE. The churches tell us that heaven is a future hope--beyond the grave. They understand not that heaven and spirit are synonymous--you cannot have SPIRIT without having HEAVEN. And the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS W-I-T-H-I-N Y-O-U!   

What is wanting is a people that are in consciousness so in the heavenly dimension now, presently, are so alive to the things that are eternal, the things that are SPIRIT, that even without them speaking this explicitly, their very presence exudes the atmosphere of life and the fragrance of eternity. God is after a people, a heavenly and celestial race, set in time. "...and 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..." (Eph. 2:6-7). This is meaningless prattle unless the Spirit opens our understanding. We have been warned by the carnal minded of this age about the danger of being so "heavenly minded" until we are "no earthly good." That is what the world says, and what should you expect from the world but to controvert and to take the wisdom of God and so distort and pervert it until it appears ridiculous and absurd to have mankind believe exactly the reverse! But these words are being written to show that we have no choice, no option as to whether we will be heavenly minded or not; for the truth is, IF WE ARE NOT HEAVENLY MINDED IT IS I-M-P-O-S-S-I-B-L-E TO BE OF ANY EARTHLY GOOD! It is only as a power from above reaches down and touches earth that it can be raised and quickened, transformed from the image of the earthly into the image of the heavenly. And Paul, the apostle of apostles, through whom the sacred secrets of God were revealed by the grace of God, defying the empty and inane cavilings of men and their fruitless doctrines and meaningless traditions, admonished those who would be the sons and daughters of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the HEAVENLY CALLING... if ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are ABOVE, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things ABOVE, NOT ON THINGS ON THE EARTH. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God" (Heb. 3: 1; Col.3: 1-3).  

It is when we are quickened to the realm of SPIRIT, to the heavenly and celestial, to that bright glory world where alone can be perceived eternal truth and reality, that we hear our heavenly Father speaking from the throne of eternity, long before the ages were formed and before cosmos appeared out of the wastes of chaos, there in the glory and wonder of His presence, from out of the depths of His omniscient mind, His purpose for the ages, the dispensations, the worlds, and for eternity itself was laid down upon the infinite blue-print, plan by plan, purpose by purpose, age by age, so that each eonian purpose and every divine decree shall be guided and controlled by His omnipotent hand to grow and mature from glory to glory until His vast family of beloved sons shall deliver up to Him all things in perfection that God Himself might be all in all. The very idea that one could in some way become so "heavenly minded" that he would be "no earthly good" reveals the incredible darkness and deluded stupidity of the carnal mind and its pitiful inability to comprehend things that belong to heavenly realms. Oh that the wisdom of man which is foolishness with God might be torn from our hearts that we might see beyond the mists and theories of time and tradition right into the very heart of the eternal where is found the infinite wisdom that teaches us how it is that until one becomes truly HEAVENLY MINDED he CANNOT be of any EARTHLY GOOD! The fact is, the only reality in the universe is S-P-I-R-I-T. The things which are seen are TEMPORAL, says the Lord, and the things which are not seen are ETERNAL. This is the wisdom of God in a mystery. Until one learns how to live and have his being OUT OF SPIRIT, out of the invisible realm, out of his very innermost being, he will continue to be held captive by the corruption of the flesh and dwell in the shadow of death.  

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS IN HEAVENLY PLACES in Christ," the inspired apostle wrote. In the Old Testament the blessings of the people of God were temporal and physical in nature. They were seen in financial prosperity, the multiplication of the herds and the sheep and the goats, in many children, in servants and in wealth. That was because they were a people of another age and God had to make His blessings visible to their eyes so that their faith could comprehend and grasp it. In the New Testament we move to a higher plane and see that our blessings that God bestows upon us are primarily spiritual blessings in heavenly places. We might have physical blessings in this world, and God does pour them out upon us in the overflow--He does help with many physical needs of finances, healing, and answers to prayer, but all these things have a problem. They are like that gourd on the vine under which Jonah sat in Nineveh! A worm came up and ate the gourd and it rotted and corrupted. So it is with all the physical blessings of the physical life. They all have a worm in them and when the day of withering is at hand, soon they shall have corrupted. When we face the blasts of eternity, if we have nothing but the temporal blessings of this world, we shall face those blasts naked. 

He who writes these lines testifies to those who read them that all who live after the flesh, out of the flesh, and for the flesh are earth dwellers, and woe! unto them that dwell upon the earth, for the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abideth forever. All who by faith live after the spirit, out of the spirit, and for the spirit have now become PART OF THE ETERNAL. Neither can they die anymore. Death's cruel sting, filled with its venom of sin, has passed away, and victory has been snatched from the yawning jaws of the tomb. We have passed from the realm where all is death to the realm where all is life. Our citizenship in this present age has been revoked and we have had a new citizenship conferred upon us from the eternal and undying realm. And just as the stars influence and control the destinies of earth, so does the power of the SPIRIT quicken and metamorphose all natural things and even our mortal bodies as we live out of the high and eternal realm of the Spirit. We are not citizens of earth, we are the true SPACE PEOPLE. Neither are we to be governed by the laws of earth. We are to be governed by the laws of heaven, for we are citizens of that realm. In the realm of heaven there is life more abundant, incorruption and immortality. There is fullness of joy, peace, love and righteousness. There is no lack of anything, for all is out of God (spirit) and GOD IS ALL IN ALL. Even the natural world is blessed and made fruitful and quickened and raised when it comes under the rule of the heavens. Jesus was showing us this principle when He fed the five thousand from five loaves and two small fish, when He turned the water into wine, when He sent Peter to catch a fish in whose mouth was clenched the money to pay their taxes, and when He healed the sick and raised the dead to life again. Jesus lived out of spirit, He knew God the Spirit as the source and substance of all things, He knew the power and reality of the Father who dwelt within Him, and all supply came out of the realm of spirit rather than from the limited and perishable capacity of the flesh. 

When the day of Pentecost was fully come, and the Spirit was shed forth, Peter stood up with the eleven. Consider the scene that day! There was Peter, a fisherman, a little man, an uncouth and apparently inconsequential man. But on that day of the outpouring of the Spirit, when he rose to testify and proclaim that Jesus was resurrected and ascended to the heavens, this little man was in a position higher far than the most exalted rank of earth. The greatest and highest on this earth could not compare with Peter and those standing with him. Why were they so high? How could such as them be so exalted? It was because at the very moment their spirits were quickened by HIS SPIRIT they were in the ascended Christ. They were not men on this earth; they were men in the heavens. By the power of the Spirit these disciples were resurrected people, new creation people, people in the heavens. They transcended everything on this earth. The high priest, the rulers, the kings and the emperor were all under their feet. They surpassed the highest rank of man because they were seated in the heavens in God's Christ. They were living in Him, walking in Him, talking in Him, manifesting out of Him. They were living on this high plane and in this exalted realm of the Spirit. 

Living, experiencing, and expressing out of the heavenlies is not a matter of geo-graphics, not a question of physical location at all. It is a matter of experience and consciousness. Our citizenship IS in heaven. We do not move in and out of heavenly realms at our whim. But according to the positive declaration of the scripture, we exist constantly in the heavenlies. This is a state of constant spiritual existence, but because our outer man is still in this flesh realm, we are not always AWARE or CONSCIOUS of the greater privileges of our heavenly existence. We must continually heed the admonition of scripture: "Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the RENEWING OF YOUR MIND" (Rom. 12:2). Transformed by the renewing of the mind! Almighty Father! what words are these which instruct us to be transformed by the way we THINK and PERCEIVE! I am sure that as the Holy Spirit illumines these significant words to your understanding you will find them among the most revealing and deeply meaningful and most powerful and life changing of all inspirations. In the beautiful words of the chorus, the Lord bids us...  

Come into this place--Ascension,
Where no death can enter in.
My own life through resurrection,
Qualifies this Corporate Man.
I AM ready now to speak as
I am righteous evermore--
New Ascension brings authority,
And I've opened up your door.
by Charlotte Torango 

REIGNING FROM THE HEAVENS 

The heavens are the realms of spirit where the Lord now rules with absolute authority and dominion. How do we know this to be true? Because of the words of Jesus, when He taught us to pray, "Our Father...Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN." These words lead us to the certainty that GOD'S WILL IS DONE IN THE HEAVENS; and, if you can discover a realm or a person anywhere where God's will is perfectly done, such is a heavenly place and a heavenly person. The will of the Father is being done in heaven, in the realm of spirit, and it is our expressed desire that His will shall also be done in earth, the realm of the physical, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. There is no sin in heaven, for the will of God is done in heaven, and where the will of God is done there is no sin. There is no foul, loathsome disease in heaven eating away at the vitals, weakening, crippling and destroying the life, for the will of God is done in heaven, and where the will of God is done there is no sickness. There is no sorrow nor pain in heaven, for the will of God is done in heaven, and where the will of God is done there is no grief. There is no death in heaven, no crepe on the door-knob, no winding funeral processions, no weeping and wailing of heartbroken, disconsolate mothers, fathers, and children, no silent, waxen forms lowered into the cold stillness of earth, for the will of God is done in heaven, and where the will of God is done there is no death. My Father and my God! Guide me to that place where Thy will shall be done in me upon this earth, as Thy will is done in heaven! The heavens declare the GLORY of God, for the heavens are His eternal domain. His throne occupies the heavens, and the earth is His footstool (Acts 7:49). Our Lord Jesus Christ rules all the heavens having ascended "far above all heavens, that He might fill all things" (Eph. 4:10). Throughout the vast and boundless expanse of the heavens, the will of God is expressed and fulfilled. How our hearts cry, "Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven!"  

God rules and God speaks from heaven. If you will but listen, you can hear God speaking from heaven, even the Kingdom of Heaven that is within you. There is a secret to hearing His voice. It will not be heard above the excited babble of the multitude. He will not boom and thunder to drown out other voices that clamor to be heard. He waits until all other voices are hushed and you have put away from your heart and mind all your own striving, and the uproar of the throng that shouts for your attention has completely died away. 

You must become insensible to the demands of all other voices and hear only the Voice of the Holy Spirit speaking out of your spirit. "Be still and know that I am God." When your soul is agitated to a turmoil and your flesh demands with insatiable desire that its claims be met, and the outer world evokes utter confusion and despair with its myriad exasperating problems, it is time for silence, repentance, and listening to the voice of Christ.  

God is always speaking. In the February, 1990 issue of THE LIVING WORD Paul Mueller wrote the following words which carry this truth home powerfully to the heart. "The heavens declare the glory of God because God  speaks from that realm and sends forth His word which is heard through all the earth, and to the ends of the world. Within the last few months, God spoke words of freedom, liberty and deliverance from His heavenly sanctuary. Those words of liberty and freedom were sent into the hearts of millions of East Europeans, causing them to send up a shout and demand for freedom that is bringing down the whole communistic system. And what did God  do to bring an end to the oppressive governments of Soviet domination? He simply sent a word out of His heavenly sanctuary, and the work was done. The Lord accomplished this unbelievable task without the help of man and with the simplicity of the power of His Spirit. When God speaks from His heavenly sanctuary, that message goes out to find lodging in the hearts of those to whom the message was directed. Thus, when the Psalmist described this heavenly, spiritual activity, he said, 'Day unto day pours forth speech, and night unto night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; yet their voice goes forth through all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world (Ps. 19:2-4, Smith Goodspeed). The Lord' s message of liberty and freedom shall accomplish the will of God, according to His omnipotent purpose. There is no speech, nor words, nor voice of man, yet His message is received to the ends of the world. The Lord thus bypasses all human instruments to fulfill His word. Just as His word cannot fail, so the heavens cannot fail to send forth that word with all the life and energy of the realm of the Spirit.  

"God's word, sent forth from His heavenly sanctuary, cannot fail to accomplish His purpose. If He wants to eliminate the whole communistic society, He will do so by simply sending a word of liberty into the hearts of the multitudes, just as He has done. Mighty armies of hundreds of thousands could not have accomplished what the Lord has done in a few months, though they might have fought for many years in constant struggle and intense warfare. The blood of multiplied thousands of men has been spilled over the world in two bitter world wars for far less than this. Instead of bringing a deliverance, those wars resulted in greater oppression and bondage. The very fact that the communistic empire is falling should cause every child of God to renew their faith and trust in God, and to believe for the fulfillment of the remainder of all His holy word of truth.  

"These are truly exciting days. This is a day like no other in the history of the world. God has taken to Himself His great power and is reigning in all the universe. This is the day of the Lord. It is the very day of which the prophet prophesied, when he said, 'For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of My redeemed is come' (Isa. 63:4). It is the day of the Lord's vengeance upon all disobedience and unrighteousness, and it is also the time designated as 'the year of My redeemed.' Just as the Lord spoke a word of liberty and freedom from His heavenly sanctuary, and sent that word to the oppressed peoples of Eastern Europe, so He will speak a word from His heavenly sanctuary that will impart new life to His elect, thus raising us up in resurrection life to be transformed thereby. All He needs to do is speak a word, and it will be done. This truth is being demonstrated now before our very eyes as He dismantles the communist system. And when He speaks that word of Life to His elect that word will not fail to accomplish the divine purpose, so that all of us shall be changed.  

"I hereby charge all who read these lines to remember what our omnipotent Lord has already done in Eastern Europe. Remember that He has sent a word out of His heavenly temple that has reverberated throughout the world, and has brought down a portion of the Soviet empire. The fact that the Lord has begun to dismantle man's kingdoms should encourage us to believe for this complete dominion over all things everywhere in the fullness of time, including His dominion over death. 'The mighty God, even the Lord, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before Him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about Him. HE SHALL CALL TO THE HEAVENS FROM ABOVE, AND TO THE EARTH, that He may judge His people. Gather My saints together unto Me; those that have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice. AND THE HEAVENS SHALL DECLARE HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS: for God is judge Himself. Selah. ' (Ps. 50: 1-6).  

"We will learn a great truth when we learn, with full understanding, that the Lord accomplishes His purposes by speaking a word from His heavenly temple. He spoke from heaven, 'and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.'

The Lord shall shine out of Zion. How shall He shine out of Zion? By the effulgent glory of the manifestation of His Spirit. When the Lord chooses to .judge His people, He sends forth the spirit of judgment by calling 'to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that He may judge His people.' When He has concluded His purpose in the judgment of His saints, 'the heavens shall declare His righteousness: for God is judge Himself.' Thus, we are righteous, not because of our good works, but because the Lord spoke forth His righteousness into our hearts to make us righteous. Just a word from His heavenly sanctuary is all it takes to make us righteous, or to accomplish anything else" --end quote.  

In 1983 the Lord spoke to me in a dream. In the dream I was standing on a wide boulevard at a busy intersection in a large city in the Soviet Union. In my consciousness I presumed the city to be Moscow. At this intersection was a large vacant lot, and erected on this lot was a tall pole at the top of which were affixed crucifixes and religious emblems of the type used by the Russian Orthodox Church. I stood in transfixed wonder, astonished that in a nation ruled by an atheistic government which harshly suppressed outward expressions of religion, this religious symbol should be planted in such a prominent place with no connection to any nearby church edifice. As I marveled, I turned and saw to my left a vast throng of people coming--marching down the boulevard. The street was completely flooded with this crowd of demonstrators, and those at the head of the parade held out in front of them a great number of crucifixes and religious emblems identical with those on the pole. Again I was amazed that in an atheistic nation where public demonstrations of religion were forbidden, this multitude of people should be uninhibitedly parading their religious symbols through the thoroughfares. At that moment I started across the side street, but the demonstrators turned toward me and I found it necessary to run in order to keep from being trampled.  

Immediately the scene changed. I was in the same city, but found myself in a store-front building. There was nothing in the large room where I stood except a number of folding chairs. I was aware that this building was used by certain believers who met for prayer, counsel, preparation and planning; for from this place teams of ministry were sent forth through out the length and breadth of the Soviet Union. Suddenly I was transferred to a small room at the back of the building. The room was furnished with only a single cot with a small table at its head, upon which lay a book with a dark purple cover, and embossed across the front in gold letters was this title: THE UNITED STATES IN PROPHECY. The next scene was back in the larger room where several people had congregated. I knew that a meeting was soon to begin, with prayer and a strategy session for sending out the ministry teams. In connection with this activity I was shown a massive intervention of God 's power accompanied by a dramatic move of the Holy Spirit across the. Soviet Union, by which the nation would be stirred with the manifestation of the glory of God. With this electrifying knowledge planted within my consciousness, I awoke. 

Upon awaking the interpretation of the dream flooded my spirit. It was clear that a new condition of RELIGIOUS LIBERTY was to come to the people of the Soviet Union. Remember- this was 1983. At that time Yuri Andropov was in power and Mikhail Gorbachev was unknown to the Western world. We had not yet heard the words GLASNOST and PERESTROIKA. The Spirit revealed to me that the advent of religious liberty would be followed by an unprecedented move of the Holy Spirit which would shake the nation to its very foundations. It seemed to me a thing neither incredible nor impossible--though not explicitly revealed- that this move of God would effect the demise of Marxism in Russia and the breaking up of the atheistic communist malignancy. I was made to understand that the book -- THE UNITED STATES IN PROPHECY- indicated that American ministries were destined to play a pivotal role in the move of the Spirit in Russia, in terms of ministry, and the impact of the Kingdom of God.  

in 1984, first at a Convention in Daytona Beach, Florida, I commenced to proclaim the word the Lord had given me; following that in meetings in El Paso, Texas and in other parts of the! country. Beginning in March, 1985 with the ascendancy of Gorbachev to power, reports began to come, and continue to come, to us of actual changes taking place in the Soviet Union involving increased religious freedoms, release of most religious prisoners, public harassment relaxed, thousands of new churches opening, the Lord has opened doors---tremendous avenues for the Gospel. Teaching services in Soviet churches are now diverted to evangelistic messages in deference to the masses of unbelievers (most first-time attendees) flooding the meetings. Invited by friends or attracted by a printed invitation, many Soviet people come to churches seeking an answer to their great spiritual hunger. Evangelical churches in the Soviet Union are filled with new inquirers, and many newcomers are converted to Christ. Most have dramatic and emotional salvation experiences- all are life-changing. Excitement permeates Soviet churches as believers have the joy of leading unbelievers --people who have never prayed before in their lives- to the Lord. And there is a very significant revival in the cities, especially among the young.  

Late in 1989 as I watched the NBC Evening News, suddenly- THERE IT WAS! The reporter was giving a report from Moscow. Down the broad Avenue I saw them coming...a vast throng, literally hundreds of Christian believers marching on foot...and at the forefront of the crowd strode the Russian Orthodox Priests holding out the crucifixes and icons- the exact scene I had witnessed in my dream six years prior! I shouted through the house to my wife, "Honey, come, look! That's it! There is the procession I saw in my dream!" But--much that is happening in Russia today is taking place within the precincts of Babylon. The sovereign move of God in miracle working power that the Lord showed me in 1983 HAS NOT YET BEGUN- but it looms on the horizon. Without a doubt, strange, unforeseen events are taking place in that land. The groundwork is being laid. The preparation is in progress. The stage is being set. And regardless of what events, positive or negative, may yet transpire, the mighty God, in due time, will send His word from the heavens and great shall be the sound of abundance of rain. The truth is- throughout the ages, just when the opposition seemed too formidable--when all seemed hopeless- GOD stepped in! God has stepped in the Soviet Union. Daniel prophesied of an hour such as this when he interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream. He saw the final collapse of all world governments- CRUSHED BY A STONE CUT OUT OF A MOUNTAIN WITHOUT HANDS- rolling out of the eternal cosmos- crushing the clay feet and toes of the great image, and becoming a Kingdom which fills the whole earth. Our God is rolling as this great stone over Eastern Europe and Russia. The Russian leader is but a pawn in God' s hand- he is doing what the mighty God is making him do, just as God stirred the tent of king Cyrus (Ezra 1:1). God is crushing the governments into powder. The clay is crumbling! God is opening the doors, pulling down all the walls, crushing the curtain- in preparation for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon ALL FLESH. The word of the Lord is being fulfilled before our very eyes, "And the Lamb SHALL OVERCOME THEM" (Rev. 17: 14).  

The sons of God are soon to arise on the world scene. It will be MORE than revival this time, my beloved, IT WILL BE THE KINGDOM OF GOD WITH POWER! There is yet another move of the Spirit and work of God that transcends by far anything that has ever been seen or known. We are nearing the hour of the manifestation of the sons of God. The long, long awaited liberation from the bondage of sin, sorrow and decay is near at hand. The greater works which Jesus, our eider brother, told us of are soon to begin on the earth. The hour is at hand when the GOVERNMENT SHALL BE UPON HIS SHOULDER and the enduring Kingdom of God which shall never be destroyed shall consume and destroy forever all other kingdoms. The sons shall reign in the power and authority of the Spirit over all dominions from pole to pole and from sea to sea, and all nations shall know and serve the Lord. There shall be peace on earth and goodwill to men, with justice and judgment and equity and LIFE ABUNDANT FOR ALL.  

Even now God's apprehended ones, His heavenly and spiritual constellations of star-sons, are reigning from the heavens of the Spirit. Through prayer and the spoken word the satanic influence over men and nations has been broken and the heavens opened and the Spirit poured out from on high. How we cry out to be participators in the outflow of HIS LIFE! The celestial influence of God' s star-sons over affairs on earth is graphically illustrated in an experience shared some years ago by Ralph Mahoney. He related that "a missionary friend of mine was carrying on a ministry of literature evangelism in a little town situated on the border of Uruguay and Brazil. He had been ministering in Uruguay for some time and was much concerned that the people had been so unresponsive to the Gospel. His experience and ministry in Brazil had been quite limited but he heard the stories from other missionaries of thousands of people turning to Christ each month. Sweeping revival had transformed many cities of Brazil. He was puzzled why he wasn't having similar results in Uruguay. The main street of this little town sat right on the border of the two countries with the international boundary cutting right through the center of the main street. No one paid much attention to the border as this was a rather insignificant rural area. Neither country restrained the people from crossing back and forth.  

"My missionary friend was on the Uruguayan side of the main street offering attractive gospel leaflets to the Saturday morning shoppers. As usual, they would refuse or, if accepting the literature, might discard it a few steps down the street. Mid-morning he crossed over to the Brazilian side of the main street and began offering the same literature to the shoppers there. To his amazement, the people eagerly accepted the gospel leaflets and would often pause to start reading them before moving on down the boardwalk. Thinking that perhaps his mind was "playing tricks" on him, he passed back to the Uruguayan side of the street. The people still showed little or no interest. With a non-committal attitude they might accept the literature to discard it a short time later.  

"He thought, 'I am going to test this.' He offered literature to a woman who refused the tract. Immediately after, she crossed to the Brazilian side of the street and began walking slowly past the windows of the stores casually observing the items for sale. The missionary, noticing this, walked a half block ahead in the direction she was moving and to his amazement, when he offered the same gospel leaflet, the woman eagerly took it and thanked him with several enthusiastic 'Gracias! Gracias!' This process was repeated several times with the same results each time it was tested. As the missionary pondered and prayed about this phenomenon, the Lord brought back to his mind an incident that had taken place in Argentina some years before when, as a teacher at a Bible School, he was part of an extended intercessory prayer ministry that had resulted in the spiritual release of that nation. The weeks of intense crying and intercessory tears culminated in a prophetic proclamation, 'Weep no more, the Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed. The STRONG MAN of Argentina hath been BOUND. In this country you shall know that your God reigns. "'  

Through faith and prayer and prophetic decree the STRONG MAN'S influence over Argentina had been broken, and the nation was released for a massive response to the Gospel and the power of God. Ralph Mahoney continues, "Great healing and miracle crusades packed the largest stadium in the country (seating capacity over 200,000) and in the cities everywhere people were responding by the thousands to the invitation to receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour. But Uruguay had not known this 'purging of the heavens' of the covering of darkness. Here, ten years after the great Argentine revival, people were still unresponsive to the Gospel. Meantime Brazil had also had mighty sweeping visitations of the Holy Spirit with God's power and glory displayed in almost every sector of the nation. The heavens over Brazil had been opened. Under the release from the covering of darkness the people in Brazil found themselves responsive to the good news about Jesus. This, concluded the missionary, was the reason for the great difference in the people on one side of the street from the other. In crossing that street they were passing out from under the covering of darkness in Uruguay into a country which had experienced, in part, the removing of this covering." --end quote.  

Can you comprehend, dear reader of these lines, what effect you can have upon creation by REIGNINC FROM THE HEAVENLIES? There is no need to board a great airliner and fly to far-away nations with strange-sounding names and quaint customs in order to bless the world. I have never set foot on the soil of the Soviet Union, yet I do not doubt for one instant that the declarations of God's word through my mouth aided in some mysterious and divine way the amazing events that are unfolding in that land. The apostle Paul instructed the young Timothy, "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, SUPPLICATIONS, PRAYERS, INTERCESSIONS, AND GIVING OF THANKS be made for A-L-L M-E-N... for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who WILL HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus; who gave Himself a RANSOM FOR A-L-L, to be testified (proven, demonstrated, fulfilled) IN DUE TIME" (I Tim. 2:1-6). 

You will note that the command to pray for all men is rooted in the fact that God W-I-L-L HAVE A-L-L MEN TO BE SAVED. The prayers of the saints! Prayer, precious friend of mine, is not a useless exercise, it is part of God's cosmic purpose. I don't pretend to understand it, but when Jesus was going away He said, "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name, from now on you will ask the Father in My name, and whatever you ask the Father I will do it." Ah, we have missed the importance of prayer in the redemptive and reconstructive and restorational purposes of God! Our prayers ARE important! Don't ask me to explain the mystery of the apparatus, but they are important. You'll find yourself praying, you'll find yourself desiring to pray, and that's the Holy Spirit urging you to do what is necessary to enable things to happen the way they are supposed to happen. There is a relationship between the decrees of God and the response of God's people! God created all things by a Word. God SAID, "Let there be...and it was so." That's a CREATIVE WORD! Prayer is a participation in the creative Word of God, speaking the new creation into existence. It's a mystery I don't fully understand, but there are times when I have to pray, there are times when the altar of my soul is full of clouds of holy incense as I send up to God petitions, as I decree a Word, not for myself, but for others, and when I can't articulate them in English I send them up in an unknown tongue. And there is that deep inner consciousness that somehow I am participating in a great tableau and drama of history.  

What power pertains to those who are seated with Christ in the spiritual constellations of the heavens! And you, dear saint of God, are seated with Christ in the highest of the heavens! And you are not seated there to sing and shout and dance all over God' s heaven. You have been placed there in the heavenly constellations to RULE, to REIGN OVER THE EARTH. "...Thou hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God KINGS AND PRIESTS: and we shall REIGN ON THE EARTH" (Rev. 5:9-10). 

Simply speaking, to reign is to exercise authority for God- to rule all things. God's one intention from the beginning has been that He may make man in His image and likeness and GIVE HIM DOMINION- that he may reign for Him in the universe. Although this matter of reigning will not be completely realized until the manifestation of the sons of God, yet today God wants it to have a beginning on earth. If any believer has not yet reached the degree of reigning for God, he has missed God' s purpose in creating man. There must be such people prepared by God that through them the authority of God can be executed and the Kingdom of God can come upon earth. 

The Lord says, Behold, I have given you AUTHORITY to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the POWER of the enemy: and nothing shall in any wise hurt you" (Lk. 10:19). True, the King James Version states that Christ has given us "power" to tread on serpents and scorpions, but the Greek word is "exousia" meaning AUTHORITY or JURISDICTION. When Jesus speaks of the "power" of the enemy, however, He uses a different word, "dunamis," meaning POWER. Our English words dynamite and dynamo come from that Greek word. Praise God , all that the adversaries of this present age have is POWER- but what the Lord gives us is AUTHORITY. This shows that authority is over power and can control power; therefore authority is greater than power. The Lord gives us authority in order to deal with all the power of the enemy. We may illustrate this by an automobile moving along the road. Although it is full of power, yet a traffic policeman has authority over it. When he blows his whistle the mighty engine must slow to a whisper and the car must stop. Again, it is like an army. Although it has great power with its men, guns, tanks, airplanes, and bombs, yet the General has the authority. When he gives an order, the army must obey. He has authority over the power. Authority is over power and can control power, therefore authority is greater than power. The Son of God has given us AUTHORITY over all the POWER of the enemy! Rejoice, YE STARS! Exult and shout, YE CONSTELLATIONS OF THE HEAVENS!  

As the "sweet influences" of Pleiades, how sweet shall be the influence of God ' s beloved sons! How precious the positive force of God's spiritual energy--Holy Ghost nature and Holy Ghost power, ministering His life, His love, his joy, His peace, His righteousness, His victory unto creation. 

These shall not only declare His Word, but have authority and ability to see it established in the earth. When the power of God arises in all fullness in His body of sons, and He is exalted in the people He has prepared, how unspeakably glorious and honorable He will be in the eyes of His creation!  

Truly, "The heavens declare the GLORY of God!"

 


Chapter 5 

VIRGO--THE VIRGIN 

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world" (Ps. 19:1-4). "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth (the signs of the Zodiac) in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?" (Job 38:31-33).  

The names of the constellations with their stars reveal the divine truth that was later written in the Bible. The written scriptures began with Job some forty-one centuries ago, but the truth of God was recorded in the starry heavens from the distant dawn of creation, untold ages before Abram journeyed from Ur of the Chaldees or Moses trod the burning sands of the Sinai. This is the great truth of Psalm 19. The first six verses speak of the truth recorded in the heavens, while the next five concern the truth written in the scriptures. The star-studded heavens at night and the blazing sun shining by day are in fact GOD'S BIBLE IN THE SKY visible from every land and nation over the world. Over the whole earth and from ships on the far-flung seas people can peer at this marvelous book and seek to discover the lost meanings now almost forgotten by mankind. Day by day and night by night they beam down upon us from the Father of lights--our heavenly Father's Lesson Book--describing His character and the unspeakably glorious plan of creation and redemption which from the dawn of history He has ordained for the world.  

As Kenneth Fleming has pointed out in his book GOD'S VOICE IN THE STARS, the word Zodiac comes from a primitive Greek root "zoad," denoting A WAY or A PATH or GOING BY STEPS. In this connection it is used of the way along which the sun appears to move through the stars in the course of twelve months. This course is repeated every year as the apparent position of the sun returns to almost the exact spot that it occupied on the same date a year before. So the path through the sky in which the sun travels (or appears to travel) is called the Zodiac and is divided into twelve segments.  

The reality that lies behind what is commonly known today as horoscopes and behind the common signs of the Zodiac is an original revelation designed by God- a revelation not of pagan mythology or superstitious powers, but of the wonderful truths of God's grand and glorious plan of the ages through His anointed Christ, written in the very stars of heaven- this fact being attested to by the faithful testimony of the scriptures "which are able to make thee wise unto salvation" (II Tim. 3:15).  

In these twelve celestial signs we have enshrined for us like jewels in a velvet case, the twelve great heavenly laws or principles which we are to pass through and master while we walk our foreordained path on this planet. Each one of the twelve signs embodies a Kingdom of Heaven principle taught in symbol and ritual under the Old Testament administration, and now fulfilled spiritually in God's elect. It points to a wonderful progression as we begin in Genesis with the promised Seed of the woman (Virgo) and end in the book of Revelation with LEO, the conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah! Just as the sun passes through each of the twelve signs of the Zodiac in the course of a year, so must we experientially partake of the reality pictured by each sign in our progressive transformation into HIS likeness.  

It is a blessed day for any man when he discovers that what the Bible calls "heaven" is in fact and in truth the REALM OF THE SPIRIT. It is not a place on some far-away planet, nor a figment of man's imagination, but a realm of reality where saints of God  may dwell here and now. These things are hard to utter, because the vast majority of Christians cling tenaciously to the dark understanding of the carnal mind, and it is almost impossible for them to believe that heaven is an abiding and eternal reality. It is even harder for them to comprehend that the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS W-I-T-H-I-N M-A-N, and that in spirit we possess the fullness of its more excellent glory. To most of the Lord's people the outer, physical, and natural realm, including the supposed golden streets of that great "city in the sky," is the realm of REALITY while the spiritual realm, the unseen Kingdom within, is the realm of shadows, mists, visions, dreams and UNREALITY. But just the opposite is the truth. The natural man (and most believers are pathetically natural) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned.  

If you would understand the scope and magnificence of the mighty working of God in your life, my beloved, consider the message of the radiant constellations of the illimitable heavens above and know that all the power and glory and wisdom and working so marvelously illustrated in their shining configurations is in fact and in truth wrought out in the deepest recesses of your own being. If you will give prayerful consideration to the statement of our Lord that the Kingdom of the Heavens is within you, you cannot avoid the conclusion that man is a copy in miniature of the universe, and everything that exists or takes place in the vast expanses of the cosmos, also exists and takes place in the inner constitution of man. The powers and forces and laws that make up the nature and constitution of man are the same as the powers and forces and laws that on an infinitely larger scale are called the universe, and every reality in the heavens expresses itself in the consciousness of man, and reflects itself in the experience of man, enabling man to know the universe by himself, and himself by the universe.  

Scientists are probing into two unseen worlds. One is a world too vast and far away to be seen by the eye and the other is a world too small to be observed by the eye. I want to give you three words in this connection, together with their meanings. First, we find the word MICROCOSM. This word means a little world: anything regarded as a world in miniature: man, viewed as an epitome of the universe. This word comes from two words in the Greek. One is MIKROS which means little or miniature. The other is COSMOS meaning world. Thus we have the meaning of LITTLE WORLD. The word MACROCOSM, on the other hand, means the great world, or the universe. It also comes from two words. One is MACROS meaning great and the other is COSMOS meaning the world. We noted above that the word MIKROS carried the meaning of "man viewed as an epitome of the universe." This word EPITOME means, among other things, A CONDENSED REPRESENTATION of something. The word MICROCOSM then gives us the meaning that man is a CONDENSED REPRESENTATION OF THE WHOLE UNIVERSE! Thus, man is the CONDENSED REPRESENTATION of all the universe, or man is all the universe in miniature. After the original creation, God then began to move to bring the whole vast creation into fellowship and harmony with Himself. In order to accomplish this God made man in the image of the creation, but also in the image of Himself. Man is therefore the bridge or connecting link between God in His spiritual existence and the creation in its visible and material constitution. God put both Himself and the whole universe into man in miniature--a microcosm of the macrocosm! His purpose is that by and through man all things shall be brought into subjection to the mind of the Lord. We read in Hebrews that we do not as yet see all things put into subjection to man, but WE DO SEE JESUS who was, we may safely say, as the second man and the last Adam, a CONDENSED REPRESENTATION of God, the universe, and all mankind. In other words, what was done in and through the singular Man, Jesus the Christ, will also be done in and through corporate man, but on an enlarged scale, for Jesus said we would do even greater works than He did. There is no stagnation in God, for He continually moves ahead. And as He moves we move with Him, advancing according to His pre-determined plan. What wonders lie ahead of us in this majestic pathway!  

The seventeenth century German mystic, the simple shoe cobbler from Golitz, Jacob Boehme, penned the following words which are just as revolutionary and up-to-date as the space age. "Now, dear reader, observe: If you want to know about Heaven and what Heaven is and where it is, you do not need to cast your thoughts many thousands of miles off, for that place, that heaven thousands of miles away, is not your Heaven. The true Heaven is not a created place but an uncreated place, and it is not found in a particular place but everywhere, even in the very place where you are standing and going. For when your spirit within yourself is able to penetrate inward through and beyond your own flesh and life, and is able to catch hold of the innermost moving of God, then you are clearly in Heaven. Moreover, if your eyes were but opened, you should see God everywhere in His Heaven, for Heaven is found everywhere. For instance, when Stephen saw Heaven open and the Lord Jesus at the right hand of God, his spirit did not suddenly transport itself into outer space, but rather Stephen's spirit had moved inward, within, into the innermost place where Heaven is found everywhere. So you must realize that this world with all its physical properties is in union with the vast vistas of the heavenly spaces above the earth. There is only one Heart, one Being, one Will, one God, All in all.  

"I urge you to open the eyes of your spirits and your hearts, for I want earnestly to show to you the true and proper way to the gates of God's Heaven. Behold! God is the True, the One, the only Being out of whom you yourselves were created, and within whose Life you are living even now. Therefore, Oh child of man, when you behold in your flesh the depths of the universe, the stars and the complexity of the earth, and all that is in heaven and earth, you are in fact truly in the presence of God. For He is All, and in Him you live and have your being; and that same God reigns and rules over you as well, because He is your King and Creator It is from this God that you receive even your senses and your ability to have consciousness and to know and think and express yourself. Don't you see? You are a part of Him, and your entire being is a derivative of Him. You are His offspring, you came from Him, and you truly exist in Him. If this were not true, you would never have been. 

"And so little children, if you now want and desire to draw near by faith to the Life of God, Listen! You must enter inward to the depths within yourselves wherein Christ dwells- not without. For within you there exists an eternity, even as there is an eternity within Him. So you must go in to the depths of the hidden secret place within you, to the very depths of the Eternal Willing in the Father. For it is within this Will or Desire that Wrath and Love eternally struggle against each other, and in which Love is the eternal victor out of the fiery dark wheel of selfishness, through the eternal cross in God's Heart, into regeneration bursting forth as the eternal glorious light of God's nature. His nature is Light, Gentleness, Mercy, Wisdom and Love forever, and it is expressed to us by His Voice, the Word, the Son, our Lord, Saviour, and God. And out of this eternally immense depth of God's Desire, there forever streams forth the Light and Love which is the uncreated glory. And this is the true Heaven. 

"For in this depth within you, God eternally rules in Holiness in His uncreated Heaven. And His Willing within you expresses itself as the willing to all goodness, not wrath, and this willing ever reigns in everlasting dominion, the Sovereign God of Love in victory through the eternal cross on which was slain the Lamb of God before ever a single atom was created. And when you comprehend this, that is, the tragedy which forever occurs in the eternal depths of the Heart of God, and when you know that our God is safe forever, True forever, Merciful forever, and the Being of Love forever (because He forever dies to Himself on the cross in His own heart to all wrath and selfish desire), then my brothers and sisters, you will have crossed through and penetrated into the very and holy heart of God. 

"And when you comprehend this, you shall know that within this Heaven within you, you are in Christ Jesus, always in union with God. And since you are in oneness with Him, you also shall experience in your flesh, soul, and spirit the same eternal struggle in which you shall forever die to wrath and to self, and through the cross, always being crucified with Him, you shall eternally flash brilliantly with the fire of new Life and Love, as you by faith, hope, and love replace wrath with love, evil with good, and the negative with the positive in all aspects of your life. You too shall, as He did, surely fill the gap and take up the office of High Priest with Him ever living to make intercession for others; and then you shall walk on this earth bringing peace into the midst of the storms that shall always come in this life as long as the present world remains. And when this is done, then God, whose very being is for others and who has now forever made you to be His Sons for others, shall truly reign and control in oneness with you in your regenerated being. Then my friend, you shall be as God is who Himself is heaven, earth, stars, the molecules and atoms. All in all, and for all. Hallelujah! Amen!" --end quote. 

In Andrew Jukes' book, THE RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS, he says, "And when I think of the change which can be wrought in us, --when I see that man contains all worlds, and is indeed the hieroglyphic of the universe,- that not only the seen and unseen matter and spirit, time and eternity, but hell and heaven, and the life of each, as well as the life of earth, ALL ARE IN HIM (MAN)..." What a powerful statement! Hieroglyphic writing was an early form of Egyptian writing, consisting of pictographic inscriptions in the form of symbolic characters. According to Webster hieroglyphic also means a figure or symbol having a hidden meaning. Man is a figure or a symbol CONTAINING A HIDDEN MEANING. Therefore all that God is, is in man, and all that the universe is and is to be is in man. In other words, God has put His complete self IN THE NEW CREATION MAN, and in Himself lies the destiny and development of the universe.  

WHERE DO WE BEGIN?  

The twelve signs of the Zodiac as originally ordained by God were a prophetic outline of the progressive unfolding purpose of God in creation and redemption. In order to decipher this wondrous Heavenly Scroll, we must discover just where to begin reading the names of the constellations and their starry hosts, for God is said to have both NAMED AND NUMBERED them. This means that there is a divine order as well as naming. These signs are in the form of a circle. Now a circle has no beginning and no ending. Where is the beginning and where is the end of this circle through which the sun is constantly moving? When we endeavor to read the story of the signs, obviously, if we begin at the wrong place, our efforts must yield a meaningless result. Where are we to break into this circle and say, "This is the commencement," and at what point are we to say, "This is the end, the conclusion." Modern astrology begins with Aires, the ram or lamb. But how do we know that that is the place to begin? Since everything else about the Zodiac has been corrupted by pagan mythology perhaps this is corrupted also. The fact is, it is! So how are we to know where to begin?  

What I am about to say may surprise you, but the ancient Sphinx in Egypt actually holds the key to the riddle and unlocks the mystery of the Zodiac. All have heard of the Sphinx. Most people know that it was a figure with the head of a woman and the body of a lion. But what this creature actually stood for, or was intended to represent, has been lost from history and has always been an open question. It is what is spoken of as the unknown and insoluble mystery-- "the riddle of the Sphinx." Neither the ancient religion of Egypt, nor mythology, nor yet astrology has the answer to the riddle of the Sphinx. When Napoleon was in Egypt he was told that if he could solve the riddle of the Sphinx he would know the way to eternal life. After the nations had lost the original meaning of the signs of the Zodiac, they invented a mythological meaning out of the carnal imagination of the thoughts of their own hearts. How clear that just as the truth of the Zodiac antedated the mythological interpretations of those signs, just so the truth contained in the great Sphinx lies far back beyond even the knowledge of ancient Egypt! And it is intricately connected with the truth of the Zodiac. Confirmation of this is found in one of the very old Zodiacs dating back to 2000 B.C. or before. It is called the Zodiac of Dendereh and was found on the ceiling of an ancient portico in Egypt. In this Zodiac there is placed between the signs of Virgo and Leo a picture of the Sphinx. Its woman-like face gazes upon the sign of Virgo, and its lion-like body and tail point to Leo, telling us that we begin with the Virgin and end with the Lion. Furthermore, by the very formation of the Sphinx with its woman' s head and lion's body --IT BINDS TOGETHER IN ITSELF THE BEGINNING AND THE END OF THE GREAT CIRCLE OF SIGNS. The head of the Sphinx, the woman, is Virgo the virgin, whereas the body and tail of the Sphinx, the lion, is Leo the lion. The circle is thus seen to begin at the woman (Virgo) and to end with the lion (Leo). The word "sphinx" is taken from the Greek word SPHUNGO which means "to bind closely together." It is, therefore, designed to show where the two ends of the Zodiac were to be joined together and where the great circle of the heavens begins and ends. 

There is yet another point of utmost importance. A comparison of the prophecies in the heavens with that which was afterwards written in the scriptures clearly shows that Virgo is the starting point in the divine promise concerning the Seed of the woman in Gen. 3:15, and Leo is the only point at which we can logically conclude with the climax of scripture in the triumph of the Lion of the tribe of Judah in Rev. 5:5. The great drama of redemption started with the sign of Virgo in the promise of the Seed of the woman in the first book of the Bible. In the promise of the triumphant Lion in the last book of the Bible we reach the final scene in the last act in the great tableau of history. Oh, the wonder of it!  

VIRGO--THE VIRGIN 

The first sign, as we have noted, is Virgo. The sun occupies Virgo for forty-three days, passing through it from September 14th to October 29th. This group of stars is associated with the picture of a young woman with an ear of wheat in one hand and a branch in the other hand. In Hebrew she is called BETHULAH, which means "virgin," just as VIRGO, from Latin, means "the virgin." Everywhere her name is the same. However, you can study the stars in Virgo until you turn blue and they would never look like a woman! But the picture which has gone with them down through the ages, in every nation and culture of the world, is the picture of a woman. The fact that the signs of the Zodiac bear little resemblance to the pictures associated with them should mightily confirm the faith of all who know the living God. The fact that every single ancient culture which had any knowledge or tradition concerning the stars recognizes the same twelve star groups and the same names and pictures! Cultures as far away and diverse as China, Egypt and the Indians of Central America ALL gave the same pictorial meanings to the constellations. There is only one explanation to such an incredible phenomena- there was one original Source who identified the constellations with their meanings BEFORE THE DISPERSION OF THE PEOPLES OF THE EARTH. And GOD, my friend, is that Source!  

The greater wonder is that MOTHERHOOD attends the virginity of this glorious woman. The wheat and the branch in her hands denote fruitfulness --offspring. It will not be difficult for any man to see that this is a picture right out of the Bible--A VIRGIN BRINGING FORTH A SEED! In that long ago Eden the almighty Father spoke the first promise of a Redeemer to the erring man and his wife when He gave the blessed assurance, "And I will put enmity between thee (the serpent) and the woman, and between THY SEED and HER SEED; IT shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel" (Gen. 3:15). This "seed of the woman" is the first prophecy of the coming into the world of the Saviour who would "bruise the head of the serpent." Historically this is Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, living, dying, and rising again in triumph over death, hell and the grave, opening up the wellspring of eternal salvation to all who would believe. Spiritually it is the Son of God birthed in us, brought forth unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ out of our own "virgin" relationship with God.  

"For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present YOU as a CHASTE VIRGIN to Christ" (II Cor. 11:2). To be a virgin means to be pure, undefiled and separated unto our Lord. God is creating the desire in a people in this hour to be truly VIRGIN in their desires toward Him. We have known what it is to be conformed to the course of THIS WORLD. Then we have known what it is to trust Christ as Saviour while remaining entangled in all the wretched defilement of a corrupt babylonish church system. But God is calling forth in these days a glorious body of Christ who, because of the quickening of the Holy Spirit, is desiring to be VIRGIN- reserved only and completely for her glorious Lord, unto intimacy of fellowship and vital union with Him. How lightly we sometimes take the purposes of God in us! It is one thing to be washed in the blood, freed from all our past sins, and quite another thing to truly be VIRGIN in our desires to keep ourselves only unto Christ in the spirit, purged from all the aspirations and dictates of the carnal mind and the outward sense realm. As we follow on to know Him separation comes from everything of the flesh, the world, and the devil, and from every vestige of entanglement with that vile harlot system of religious Babylon, the abomination of the earth.  

Glorious indeed and full of wisdom and creative design is the fact that your relationship to Christ as a "virgin" is ordained to forerun your manifestation to the world as a "son." As in the natural, so in the spiritual; the virgin relationship bears the feminine characteristics of modesty, gentleness, tenderness, love, sensitiveness, dependence and obedience, whereas the sonship relationship bears the characteristics of the masculine nature. Aggressiveness, boldness, strength, valor, authority, power and dominion are among the traits of the masculine sex. Hence the Lord calls the CHURCH a virgin, but to the OVERCOMER He says, "He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My SON. To HIM will I give POWER over the nations: and he shall RULE them with a rod of iron. 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. 21:7; 2:26-27; 3:21). The mighty, eternal and indisputable truth is that THE S-O-N IS ALWAYS BORN OF THE V-I-R-G-I-N! Just as the blessed firstborn Son was born of a virgin, so is it through the vehicle of a PURE AND UNDEFILED SOUL (virgin) that the MIGHT AND DOMINION OF THE SPIRIT (son) is manifested, expressed and revealed. This is a true principle in God that I hope no earnest saint of God who reads these lines will miss! I cannot emphasize too forcefully, or too carefully, that the power and glory of SONSHIP will never come forth from the man or woman of God who has not first become truly VIRGIN in their soul life.  

Now since we have seen that HISTORICALLY the virgin bringing forth the Son is Jesus born of Mary, the virgin of Nazareth; and SPIRITUALLY it is the Son of God (spirit) birthed (brought into manifestation) out of the transformed life through the virgin soul; let us go on to see that PROPHETICALLY it points to the manchild of Revelation 12, that glorious company of the many-membered Christ, the MANIFESTED SONS OF GOD, birthed out of the mother Church, the pure virgin bride of Jesus Christ, for whom all creation is in deepest travail and who shall deliver the creation from the bondage of corruption.  

Hannah Hurnard relates how in the Jewish religious writings there is a tradition from earliest times that the twelve tribes of Israel represented, down here on earth, the twelve signs of the Zodiac in the great Bible in the Sky. Each tribe had the privilege and challenge to manifest one of the heavenly lessons in a special way. The names of the twelve sons of Jacob show which sign each son represents. The name Reuben means, "Behold a son." In Gen. 49:3-4 we find the tribe of Reuben does seem especially to represent the FIRSTBORN SONS OF GOD who have been aroused from the sleep of death. Jacob said of the tribe of Reuben, "Reuben, thou art my first born, my might and the beginning of my strength and the excellency of power." What an overwhelmingly awesome fact this is! We are, in Jesus Christ, first-born sons, God's first-fruit company, destined to assist all the younger brothers and sisters in God's vast creation to grow up into the full stature of Jesus Christ, restoring all into God again. This is the fullness of the SEED OF THE WOMAN who shall bruise the very head of the serpent!  

THE SEED OF THE WOMAN  

A hundred years before Christ an altar was found in Gaul with this inscription: TO THE VIRGIN WHO IS TO BRING FORTH. According to the first promise of God in Gen. 3:15 there is coming the "seed of the woman." This is an unusual term. Always elsewhere in the scripture we are told that someone is the "seed of a man"--that it is a man that brings forth and begets. All through the record we are told that a person was the son or daughter of this man or that man. But in Genesis we have this unique and singular example of someone who is to be the seed of a woman. This is clearly VIRGIN MOTHERHOOD, and hence one born of a miracle, one begotten of divine power, the Son of God. His great task is to be bruised in the heel by the seed of the serpent, and yet He is to bruise the serpent's seed in the head and thus destroy him. That was the original revelation.  

The seed of the woman has been generally accepted as fulfilled in the birth of Jesus Christ, as conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, triumphing over death, satan, hell and the grave by His death and resurrection, which is surely correct beyond a shadow of a doubt. Yet there is always in God's economy a larger fulfillment or a further fulfillment, the harvest from the original seed planted, and there is a constant unfolding of the many-faceted wisdom and truth of God until it becomes resplendent with the glory of its eternal increase and revelation. We do not belittle the fact that Jesus Christ fulfilled this promise of Gen. 3:15, but let us not stop there and fail to see the further unfoldings of fulfillings, for the truth is like a pebble dropped into the ocean of knowledge that begins with a small ripple but continues with ever-widening waves until it reaches the vast shores of infinite wisdom.  

The Virgin holds a sheaf of wheat and that seed of wheat Christ appropriates as a symbol of Himself. It seems a most singular thing that in that long ago Eden the Lord God told the serpent that THE SEED of the woman would bruise his head. Why did He not say that the MAN that should come from the woman would bruise the serpent's head? Why did He refer to that man as HER SEED, the seed of the woman? It will be a great blessing to your heart to understand the vital truth that "seed" is not only the product of some other life before it but seed is also that which possesses the power to REPRODUCE ITSELF and its kind many thousand fold from generation to generation. Seed is thus that which stands for INCREASE.  

On a certain day some Greeks approached the disciples of Jesus with the request, "Sirs, we would see Jesus." This request was promptly carried to Jesus by Andrew and Philip, to which our Lord gave this strange and very remarkable reply: "The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn (grain) of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit" (Jn. 12:23-24). In this cryptic statement Jesus likened Himself to a seed, a grain of wheat, which was to fall into the ground and die. He would be sown as a seed into the earth and be raised again. Not only would He be raised in glorification, but in centuries yet to come THIS SEED, which was Jesus Christ, would produce a vast harvest of many sons of God in His exact image and likeness. NO SEED is raised from the earth as just a singular seed, there is always an increase, the natural law of progression being "first the blade, then the ear, then the FULL CORN IN THE EAR." Only one seed was planted in the earth, and the Christ who came out of that Palestinian tomb was not the harvest- merely the blade breaking the ground. The multitude that will appear in the time of harvest will be THE SEED of THE SEED, the increase, every one bearing the image and likeness of that CHRIST SEED which was planted in death. 

I am certain that the Lord's reply was an enigma to those men to whom He spoke. The Greeks looking for Jesus could hardly be expected to comprehend a mystery so deep and eternal. They made their earnest request, "Sirs, we would see Jesus," and He responded with His mysterious dissertation. We are not told whether Jesus ever consented to have these Greeks interview Him, but in answer to their request He gave the oblique reply, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." His message to them was simply this: If they saw Jesus at that time they would see only one seed, one grain in the image of God--the man Christ Jesus. But there would be more, much more to CHRIST than appeared to them that day! A whole universal field of ripened grain was to follow in His likeness, born of that original seed, imbued with the very same life, raised in the same resurrection, who would be the "sons of God" and "the Christ" even as He is a Son of God and the Christ of God. The many sons would form ONE CHRIST, Head and body, each having the seed of life in himself.  

THE SUN-CLAD WOMAN  

The risen and ascended Lord descended in a vision of glory on the lonely isle of Patmos, and there meeting His startled disciple John, gave him a communication concerning the Church, commanding him to write it in a scroll and send it to the seven Churches in Asia. With wondering eyes John stood transfixed as in spirit he saw a great wonder in heaven, "A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne" (Rev. 12:1-2,5).  

In the book of Revelation there are three great wonders mentioned- the great wonder of the sun-clothed woman (Rev. 12:1), the great wonder of the great dragon who stands before the woman (Rev. 12:3), and the great sign or wonder of the seven angels with the seven last plagues (Rev. 15: 1). The word "wonder" or "sign" comes from the Greek word SEMEION which means an "indication" or "mark" or a "signification." A wonder is something that arrests, and surprises, and astonishes. A wonder is something unexpected, unprepared for, unprecedented, and surpassing all our experience. The whole world is full of wonder to a child. But a wonder is more than that. It is a symbol, a prophecy of the reality that it represents. The purpose of a wonder is to call attention to a person or thing as special or supernatural, to so get the attention as to declare something important and special as indicative of a particular circumstance or time and as confirmation of truth.  

The "great wonder" that John saw in heaven was not heaven itself, wonderful as heaven itself was. It was a WOMAN--a glorious woman--giving birth to a remarkable man-child. Who is this woman, and where is she today? Some have said that she signifies Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus. Others have said that she stands for the nation of Israel. But according to the scriptures this woman can neither be Mary, the mother of the Lord, nor can she be the fleshly nation of Israel. This is a vision of things destined to transpire after John's experience on Patmos (Rev. 4:1), not a history of events which had already taken place. So it cannot be Mary bringing forth Jesus, her firstborn Son. Furthermore, there is nothing in the history of Mary corresponding to the other events in the drama- the persecution of the woman by the dragon; her flight into the wilderness after the ascension of her Son; the flood of water cast out by the serpent to destroy her; and the war made upon "the remnant of her seed." The woman in Genesis is destined to bring forth the "seed" that will crush the serpent's head (Gen. 3:15); the woman in the New Testament is the body of Christ, the Church (II Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:22-32); and now this woman in Rev. 12 reveals the things at the end time.  

John the Revelator, in his marvelous vision on the isle of Patmos long ago, saw the ultimate seed coming forth, when he saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, a crown of twelve stars upon her head, and she brought forth a manchild who was caught up to the throne of God to rule all nations with a rod of iron. In order to fully understand this awesome scene, one needs to understand the mysteries of the heavenlies, that is in the Word of God. When understood by the spirit of wisdom and revelation, the Bible reveals that the physical heavens in their every aspect are only a type of a revelation of God's spiritual heavens here in the earth, which spiritual heavens We are.  

The sun is a type of Jesus. Just as the sun is the light of the world, so Jesus is the light of God's Kingdom. In the light of HIS GLORY we enter the DAY of the Lord. "At midday, O king, I (Saul of Tarsus) saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me...and I said, Who art thou, Lord? And He said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest" (Acts 26: 13-15). "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it unto THE DAY OF JESUS CHRIST" (Phil. 1:6). "Ye are all the children of LIGHT, and the children of the DAY: we are not of the night, nor of darkness" (I Thes. 5:5). We are children of THE DAY and not of the night! We are of the Day because the light of Christ, the blessed "Sun of righteousness" has dawned upon us and risen in our hearts. Therefore anytime you find the term sun in the New Testament it is never talking about the literal sun, but Christ the light of life. When John saw this woman clothed with the sun, his vision indicated that this woman is clothed with all the light and truth and glory that her husband Jesus had while He was here. Nothing is clearer in the book of Revelation than the fact that the OVERCOMERS who are to rule the nations with a rod of iron (Rev. 2:26-27) are birthed out of the CHURCH to whom the letter is addressed and unto whom it was sent (Rev. 1:4, 19-20; 2:1,8,12,18; 3:1,7,14). 

 Norene Nichols has shared some interesting and edifying insights into this important theme. "The garbling of the woman of Rev. 12 is unusual in that she is CLOTHED WITH THE SUN. On the surface one might refer to this as being clothed in light or understanding which it is, but there is much more meaning lying under the surface of these words than most of us realize. With the help of the Lord may we ponder this matter a little further and see some of what is involved. In the Greek there are two words used for CLOTHED, one is ENDUO and the other is PERIBALLO. In this particular case the word PERIBALLO is used, and realizing that every word is important in respect to where and how it is used by the Spirit of God in the scriptures, we know that PERIBALLO is distinctly illuminative. ENDUO means to GO INTO CLOTHING which infers that the clothing is of a certain size and specification into which a person must fit. In other words, a person up to a particular size could fit into a certain garment, but over that size it would be impossible to get into it. On the other hand, PERIBALLO means to CAST AROUND ABOUT which would infer some sort of a garment that can be put on and cast around a person and made to fit the person rather than the person fit the garment. For instance, Lk. 24:49 speaks about 'being ENDUED (endue--clothed) with power from on high referring to the infilling of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Here the word used means to be CLOTHED with power in the sense of GOING INTO CLOTHING, or having the garment of a particular size into which the person must fit. We have seen much in times past of people who claimed so much because of the enduing of power, when in reality they fitted as best they could into that garment. Thus I have seen many trying to do great wonders and signs in a garment they are in but which is too big for them, into which they have not grown up, and which drags in the dust realm (carnality), bringing a reproach and criticism from many looking on.  

"On the other hand, the word PERIBALLO used of the sun-clothed woman infers that this full-grown woman has a covering of the sun that is CAST ABOUT her in such a manner that the garment fits her rather than her trying to fit into the garment. This woman is a mature woman--matured in God, matured in love, matured in understanding--and God grants her the clothing that fits her maturity. Her clothing is comprised of one thing: the sun. The sun is the light and warmth of our solar system and rises upon the just and the unjust alike. It is no respecter of persons. The planets revolve around it and are benefited thereby. Thus this woman is clothed with the light (understanding, revelation) and warmth (effect, blessing) of Him who is 'the Sun of Righteousness.' She does not withhold her light and warmth from anyone either just or unjust, but beams alike upon all. In other words, her light of understanding is dispersed abroad, not by words, but by BEING, EVEN AS THE SUN SPEAKS NOT BUT IS WHAT IT IS BY VIRTUE OF ITS NATURE. She claims nothing for herself--no position, no gifts, no power, no ministry--but simply IS what she IS by the grace of God. The sun does not have to say, 'I am the sun!' It is that by reason of its being, and this woman is what she is by reason of her being who she is, and as a result, her light and warmth are shed abroad without stint" --end quote.  

Not only is this woman clothed with the sun, but she has the moon under her feet. The moon is a type of the fleshly Israel under the law. Just as the moon has no light of its own, but only reflects a small portion of the light of the sun in the earth, so the fleshly people of God under law had no light of their own, but reflected by their laws, self-effort and carnal works, ceremonies, rituals, sacrifices, ordinances, feast days, tabernacles, temples, priesthood, etc. a faint glimmer of the glory of Christ in the earth. Any time you find the word moon in the New Testament it is never talking about the literal moon, but it is talking about the realm of reflected spiritual light cast back by types, shadows, symbols, rituals, external ordinances, commandments, etc. None of those things possess any light of their own, they merely figure in a feeble way the life and reality of the SPIRIT.  

When John saw this woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet, his vision indicated that this woman is being clothed, not with the dim light or revelation that the fleshly Israel had, or that the old-order carnal church system has even to this day, which stands in carnal programs, static creeds, empty rituals, lifeless ceremonies, and outward ordinances, but she is being clothed with all the blazing spiritual light and truth of her husband, Christ. Having the moon under her feet means that she has come through all the types and shadows of the law, and the external ordinances religion imposes on the outer flesh man, with all their reflected glory. She is lifted up to a higher plane of light and truth, of experience and being, of reality, life and glory!  

There is yet another remarkable feature about this sun-clad woman--she wears a crown composed of a certain number of stars upon her head--TWELVE. Twelve is the number of DIVINE GOVERNMENT, and wonder of wonders! the true Church of the Lord Jesus Christ has much to do with the establishment of divine government in the earth, and otherwise. This may seem like a strong and exalted position for a woman, for we often think of divine government only in terms of the masculine, the promised kings and priests who shall rule and reign with Christ. Nevertheless, what is a King without a Queen? So in the eventuality of God's plan this woman becomes that Queen that is described in Psalm 45 who stands on His right hand, the place of power and authority, attired in gold of Ophir. Ah--she is the true QUEEN OF HEAVEN! She brings to that dominion the feminine characteristics of tenderness, gentleness, sensitiveness, concern, nourishment and love, counterbalancing the masculine qualities of boldness, strength, valor, authority, power and dominion exerted by the sons of God. What a Kingdom!  

This crown of twelve stars, as nothing else, positively identifies this woman as Virgo, the virgin of the Zodiac. The astronomer, Professor Thorley, has shown that there are exactly TWELVE STARS surrounding the head of Virgo as we view them from the earth. If one will look at Norton's Star Atlas, twelve visible stars will be seen around Virgo's head. They are, according to astronomical terminology: (1) Pi, (2) Nu, (3) Beta, (4) Sigma, (5) Chi, (6) Iota--these six stars form the southern hemisphere around the head of Virgo. Then there are (7) Theta, (8)Star 60, (9) Delta, (10) Star 93, (11) Beta, (12) Omicron--these last six form the northern hemisphere around the head of Virgo. The apostle John saw the scene when the sun "clothes" or "adorns" the woman. This surely indicates that the position of the sun in the vision was located somewhere mid-bodied of the woman- between the neck and the knees. The sun could hardly be said to clothe her if it were situated in her face or near her feet. This "clothing" of the woman by the sun in the heavenly constellation of Virgo occurs for a twenty-day period each year. And here is a fact of surpassing wonder- at the time of the new moon at the feast of trumpets (John's vision of the sun-clad woman appears under the seventh trumpet in the book of Revelation). THE SUN, IN ITS RELATION TO VIRGO, IS IN THE UTERINE POSITION AND THE MOON IS SEEN UNDER HER FEET! Coincidence? NO WAY! Thus, the description of this wondrous woman in heaven by John on Patmos is graphically confirmed to be the very same woman portrayed from antiquity in GOD'S BIBLE IN THE SKY --Virgo, the virgin! 

The woman with a crown of twelve stars is a great WONDER IN HEAVEN. In other words, the manifestation of the glory and power of God upon this virgin bride of Christ PRECEDES THE MANIFESTATION OF THE SONS OF GOD, for the woman is manifested to the heavenly sphere, though it is quite evident that she is right here on earth at the time. Paul spoke of this wonder of the woman in heaven in these words, "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in the heavenly places might be known BY THE CHURCH the manifold wisdom of God" (Eph. 3:10). We have rejoiced to see that she is clothed with the sun and has conquered the moon, but let us take into further consideration that her head is crowned with twelve stars and she is crowned BEFORE the manchild is ever born, not afterwards. She has authority given her BEFORE he comes to birth, and she is a glorious Church without spot or wrinkle, and her dominion is not given because her child is born as the manifested sons of God, but is given her of God BEFORE the sons are manifested, while they are still hidden in the womb. There shall be manifested great anointing, power and glory upon God's true virgin end-time Church ere the sons of God arise to reign and restore all things back into the life of God again.  

Again I would share some beautiful insights from the pen of the late Norene Nichols. "Before considering the crown of stars, let us delve a bit into the meaning of the word 'head' upon which the crown rests. It comes from the Greek word KAPHALE which comes from the root KAPTO which means TO SEIZE, or that the head is the part most readily taken hold of. How apt! Is it not the head or the MIND that satan seeks to captivate and take hold of? By the same token, it is the head or mind that the Spirit of God wants to seize and lay hold of that the mind of Christ might be fully manifest therein. There can be no spiritual nor bodily changes in anyone without there being a changing of the mind and thought patterns (consciousness). Have you not read that we are TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWING OF THE M-I-N-D??? What a battle has been waged to keep the mind in subjection to bondage and darkness and ignorance, but contrariwise, there is also a battle whereby liberty comes to the mind to bring it enlightenment and renewal. It is thus upon a renewed mind that the crown rests.  

"Furthermore, from this same Greek word we get another form--KEPHALIS, which is translated as VOLUME, 'Then said I, Lo, I come (in the VOLUME of the book it is written of me,) to do Thy will, O God' (Heb. 10:7). The word VOLUME means a HEAD or KNOB which is placed on the end of the roll upon which the scroll is rolled. Is not this interesting? In other words, the inference is that the head, or mind, is to be inscribed and ingrained with truth. Has He not promised that He would write His laws in our hearts and MINDS? Therefore the crowning can only take place upon the head that is girdled with truth, filled with truth, open to the Word of God, a mind that is a channel for HIS THINKING and His inscribings. 

"Another form of this same Greek word is KAPHALAION which means SUM, especially a sum of money, though it also means a sum of knowledge. How does this fit into the fact that it is upon the woman's head that the crown rests? If the head or mind is renewed and ruled by the mind of God (truth), then it also stands to reason that the head is the SUM. A sum of money in the natural is a medium of exchange, and its spiritual counterpart is FAITH which is the spiritual medium of exchange. Not only is the Head to be filled with truth, but that truth generates faith which looks not at the things which are seen (sense realm) but at the things which are not seen (spirit) and CALLS THEM INTO EXISTENCE. Therefore this woman is a woman of faith, and her faith tops or heads all impossibilities. Here is a mind of faith! And furthermore, KEPRALAION not only means a sum of money, but it means also the SUM OF KNOWLEDGE. 'Now of the things which we have spoken, this is the SUM...' (Heb. 8:1). Paul proceeds then to sum up the vast knowledge he has been giving regarding our High Priest, as related to Melchizedek, which priesthood has been so misunderstood and therefore not-understood. He brings that knowledge to a head, to an understandable amalgamation of truth and revelation" --end quote. My beloved, God is in these days SUMMING UP or CROWNING His divine truth and revelation upon the HEAD or MIND of His elect, in consciousness and in faith. What a work!

 


Chapter 6 

VIRGO--THE VIRGIN

 (continued) 

The reality that lies behind what is commonly known today as horoscopes and behind the common signs of the Zodiac is an original revelation designed by God -- a revelation not of pagan mythology or superstitious powers, but of the wonderful truths of God's grand and glorious plan of the ages through His anointed Christ, written in the very stars of heaven--this fact being attested to by the faithful testimony of the scriptures "which are able to make thee wise unto salvation" (II Tim. 3:15). In these twelve celestial signs we have enshrined for us like jewels in a velvet case, the twelve great heavenly laws or principles which we are to pass through and master while we walk our foreordained path on this planet. Each one of the twelve signs embodies a Kingdom of Heaven principle taught in symbol and ritual under the Old Testament administration, and now fulfilled spiritually in God 's elect. It points to a wonderful progression as we begin in Genesis with the promised Seed of the woman (Virgo) and end in the book of Revelation with LEO, the conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah! Just as the sun passes through each of the twelve signs of the Zodiac in the course of a year, so must we experientially partake of the reality pictured by each sign in our progressive transformation into HIS likeness.  

The first sign, as we pointed out in our last Study, is Virgo. The sun occupies Virgo for forty-three days, passing through it from September 14th to October 29th. This group of stars is associated with the picture of a young woman with an ear of wheat in one hand and a branch in the other. In Hebrew she is called BETHULAH, which means "virgin," just as VIRGO, from Latin, means "the virgin." Everywhere her name is the same. The wheat and the branch in her hands denote fruitfulness --offspring, motherhood. It will not be difficult for any man to see that this is a picture right out of the Bible --A VIRGIN BRINGING FORTH A SEED! In that long ago Eden the almighty Father spoke the first promise of a Redeemer to the erring man and his wife when He gave the blessed assurance, "And I will put enmity between thee (the serpent) and the woman, and between THY SEED and HER SEED; IT shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel" (Gen. 3:15). HISTORICALLY this is Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary, living, dying, and rising again in triumph over death, hell and the grave, opening up the wellspring of eternal salvation to all who would believe. SPIRITUALLY it is the Son of God birthed in us, brought forth unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ out of our own "virgin" relationship with God, conquering the sin, sickness, sorrow and death is us. PROPHETICALLY it points to the manchild of Revelation 12, that glorious company of the many-membered firstfruits Christ, the MANIFESTED SONS OF GOD, birthed out of the mother Church, the pure virgin bride of Jesus Christ, for whom all creation is in deepest travail and who shall deliver the creation from the bondage of corruption.  

VIRGO means the VIRGIN, or the untouched one, the one of undefiled soul. Mary the mother of Jesus, was a virgin when she conceived and bore her divine Son, although she was betrothed (espoused, engaged) to Joseph and under the law of those times was considered his wife. Of the true Church Paul said, "I have espoused (engaged) you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste VIRGIN to Christ" (II Cor. 11:2). Why was Paul so jealous that this little virgin keep herself pure? Ah--Paul had a revelation that from this woman, or virgin Church, the Lord was going to bring forth His seed. Even in the natural a man cannot bring forth a child apart from a woman, so also in the spiritual. God must have a woman that He can plant His life in. She is going to bring forth in these last days, a many-membered manchild that will grow up to the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ, and shall be caught up to the throne. And during that blessed age of the Kingdom of God these sons shall be manifested as that ultimate promised seed that God told Abraham would come forth, who would rule and reign in the earth, solve all the world's problems and bring perfect blessing and life abundant to all the families of the earth  

Just as Jesus was born of a betrothed virgin, so will the manchild company of the manifested sons of God be birthed out of the betrothed, yet virgin, Church. This Church is the pristine bride without spot or wrinkle, not some conglomeration of all so called churches and all believers. May the Spirit of the living God enlighten the eyes of all who read and give understanding that each may be enabled to discern and easily differentiate between that VIRGIN BRIDE without spot or wrinkle, which Jesus Christ is preparing for Himself, and that filthy HARLOT SYSTEM, full of names of blasphemy, with her multiplied sects and denominations, who seduces the inhabitants of the world with the unspeakable lie that she is, herself, the very bride of the Lamb. Such cannot be, for the Bridegroom says of this little virgin bride, "Thou art all fair, My love: there is no spot in thee...thou hast ravished My heart, My sister, My spouse...how fair is thy love, My sister, My spouse! How much better is thy love than wine! And the smell of thine ointments is like the smell of Lebanon (S. of S. 4.7 11).  

In the book of Revelation we have two women described, one is the glorious sun-clad woman of whom we now write and the other is Mystery Babylon riding upon a beast, gorgeously decked with all manner of precious jewels, with rich gaudy apparel and precious stones, having a golden cup in her hand full of "The Wine of Babylon." She has a name on her forehead, "Mystery Babylon, the Great." Notice the difference between these two women in the vision of John. One is clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars upon her head. See how closely she is associated with heaven, and those things of heaven that bless, guide, and quicken mankind. Clothed with the sun, representing light, illumination, understanding, revelation, truth, vision, warmth, life, reality, growth, transformation and blessing of every kind! The wanton harlot, on the other hand, is decorated with worldly apparel, the things that attract those who love earthly things, temporal things, external things of the sense realm, the treasures of the carnal mind. She is decked with unrealities, riding upon the beast of the carnal nature, the antithesis of the righteousness, peace and joy of the Kingdom of God.  

When John was shown the great city, Mystery Babylon, we read, "And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters" (Rev. 17:1). Again, when John was shown the New Jerusalem Bride we find, "And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials...and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife" (Rev. 21:9). In each instance the very same angel came and delivered the very same challenge to the astonished Seer of Patmos, "Come hither; I will show unto thee..." These words take on new depth of meaning when we understand that in the book of Revelation the word "come" always signifies AN INVITATION TO REVELATION. The whore and the sun-clad woman are two women; the invitation goes forth to come and see by the Spirit what they mean; and I do not hesitate to tell you that it requires a REVELATION FROM GOD to see either!  

One would certainly think that God's people would respond to this invitation to revelation whereby the Spirit says, "COME HITHER, and I will show you," and that they would look with anointed eyes .and readily see the difference between the virgin and the harlot, but such is not the case. Would God that all men could now see the hidden mystery of Christ and the Church! Would God that all men could see the hidden mystery of the virgin sun-clad woman who delivers the manchild! Would God that all men could see that this hidden mystery has nothing to do with that tradition-ridden system which everywhere calls itself THE CHURCH and CHRISTIANITY! The glory of the sun-clad woman represents the pure, unadulterated TRUTH of God permeating and overwhelming the soul. When the soul is truly overwhelmed and subdued by TRUTH, the seed of Christ (spirit) begins to take form within. Think of this, dear reader, for it will lift the sackcloth from your eyes, and you will behold the white-winged dove of SPIRITUAL REALITY descending upon you. Come hither! Arise from the lowlands of ignorance, false consciousness, and mistaken identity; from the harlot Babylon, the soul encumbered with lies, misconceptions, misrepresentations, falsehoods, error, sense-knowledge, tradition, and static creeds and doctrines of men. Arise until you become conscious of THE TRUTH AS IT IS IN JESUS, THE ETERNAL REALITY OF THE SPIRIT, THE OMNISCIENCE AND OMNIPOTENCE OF THE CHRIST WITHIN, and are caught away IN SPIRIT where you can see the New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, the city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God, the city of TRUTH and LIFE and REALITY built into a living form and expression through a people who live out of the heavenlies of the SPIRIT. When one ceases to live out of the blindness of the carnal mind and commences to live and move and have his being in the reality of THE SPIRIT he has been transported, as was John, from the glitter of Babylon to the glory of the City of God. Oh glorious City of God! City of Celestial Reality! The description of the city as "foursquare" has a profound meaning. The four sides of our city are: Life, Light, Love and Truth, "and the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there." All who would bring forth the manchild, the manifestation of the Son of God, must dwell there, and walk in this light. Its gates open towards light and glory both within and without, for nothing can enter that city, which "defileth...or maketh a lie." The sons of God shall be born of a chaste, virgin Church, without contradiction, the greatest mother that God has planted on the face of the earth, the Jerusalem which is from above. This Church is not going out with a whimper or a limp. It shall conclude this age victorious, with joy unspeakable and full of glory, and riding a river of peace and blessing and life and power. It shall arise in freedom from all bondage and limitation, with its feet on the neck of every enemy, and the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. The tempter's power shall be broken. God's people shall be holy, strong, anointed, transformed and glorious. Yes--she will be a great WONDER IN HEAVEN! Virgo the Virgin shall be seen exalted in her magnificent splendor by all the inhabitants of the earth! The heavens declare it!

THE MANCHILD  

"And she was with child; and she cried out, travailing in birth, and in pain to be delivered" (Rev. 12:2). What does it mean to be with child? It means that a child is in the mother's womb, and the child and the mother are united in one body. When the mother eats, the child is nourished. What the mother eats, good or bad, is transferred to the child. The condition of the mother is the condition of the child. On the other hand, however, this child is different from the mother; it is another being. If you say that they are one, it is truth, for the child receives life from the mother. Yet, as far as his future is concerned, he is different. His future is entirely distinct from that of his mother. Immediately after he is delivered, he is caught up to the throne of God, while his mother flees into the wilderness for testing and proving, as was Job who was declared by God to be a PERFECT MAN, yet was untried and unproven. While the woman is with the child, all that can be seen is the mother; the child is hidden. Outwardly, it appears that there is only the mother. The child assuredly does exist, but he is hidden with the mother; he is included in the mother. While the individual application of this truth is precious, pointing to the Son, the Spirit, concealed within the womb of the soul, ultimately to come forth in power and glory to reign even over the soul and all things, yet it is to the corporate truth that I would now draw your reverent attention. For many years God's end-time body has been in preparation. There is a people that has come to the Kingdom for such a time as this. And hidden within this body is a group of people among them. This group is a portion of the whole, a part of the many chosen for this hour. This is the manchild to be brought forth by the woman. This means that the manchild is not a single individual, but a composition of many saints. In comparison with the mother, this manchild appears to be small. When this group is compared with the whole, their number is in the minority. But God's plan is fulfilled in them and His purpose rests upon them. As the mother is the final glory of the Church age, the manchild is the firstfruits--the glory and power of the greater and more glorious age to come. The woman gathers within her the harvest of this age at the end of the age, whereas the sons of God inaugurate and establish the new order of the Kingdom of God for the coming age.  

This is the revelation of Jesus Christ--that God be manifested in the totality of His divine nature, wisdom and power in a company of sons born from this virgin Church, into the measure of the stature of the FULLNESS of the Christ. The Church will come to perfection in its realm. God will see to it that the Holy Spirit brings her to perfection. There is approaching the day when she comes into her glory and fulfills her perfect work, but she will never be the sonship company nor do his work. In spite of the fact that she will finally be brought to perfection, she is not God's final revelation of Jesus Christ. A sonship company must be born out of this Church. Then in the union of the masculine and the feminine nature of God shall be seen the full revelation of Godhood. Great is the mystery!  

The woman is "clothed" with the sun, the blazing glory of Jesus--divine Truth. But notice, precious friend of mine, the manchild does not "wear" the glory of Jesus as a garment--he IS by very nature and being the glory of Jesus, caught up to His throne! This one has discovered the ALL-SUFFICIENT SPIRIT WITHIN to constitute the sum and substance of his reality and has ceased to see reality as something apart from or without himself, thus developing to live completely in and by the plenitude of God within. These have life within themselves even as the Father has life in Himself. THESE ARE THE SONS OF GOD! Oh, that the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God may enable all who read these lines to comprehend the difference! Can we not see by this that the virgin Church realm is the SOUL CLOTHED UPON WITH CHRIST (TRUTH), SUBMITTED TO CHRIST, OBEDIENT TO CHRIST, YET THE SOUL OPERATING IN ITS OWN PERSONALITY UNDER THE ANOINTING AND HEADSHIP OF THE CHRIST. BUT THE MANCHILD IS THE S-P-I-R-I-T I-T-S-E-L-F BURSTING OUT OF THE WOMB OF THE SOUL TO BECOME THE O-N-L-Y LIFE, WISDOM, TRUTH, REALITY AND PERSONALITY!  

I would say to you that the life of Christ, the life of sonship, is not something outside ourselves. The idea is not that Christ is in heaven, or standing by us, or worn as a garment, so that we stretch out some mysterious faculty and touch Him there. This is the vague form in which babes in Christ conceive the truth, but it is contrary to Christ's teaching and to the analogy of nature. Vegetable life is not contained in a reservoir somewhere in the skies, and measured out spasmodically at certain seasons. Animal life is not bottled up somewhere in the blue beyond and dropped down to earth now and then when it is time for an embryo to be formed. The life is IN every plant and tree, every animal and fish and fowl, inside its own tissue and cells, and works there as a mighty power to form even that which is contained within the life. The life is permanently fixed and rooted in the organism. Life is not one of the homeless forces which promiscuously inhabit space, or which can be gathered like electricity from the clouds and dissipated back again into space. Life is definite and resident; the Spiritual Life is not a visit from a force, but a resident tenant of Being. "The Kingdom of Heaven is like a...seed, which a man took, and SOWED IN HIS FIELD." The life of son-ship is not derived from the occasional touch of Jesus as He "passes this way," nor from the weekly refreshing that comes to our weary souls as we gather in our Church meetings.  

Thank God for the fellowship and encouragement of those of "like precious faith," but I declare to you that the life of sonship can only be known as we turn INWARD, to discover and know the living and eternal REALITY OF THE CHRIST WITHIN, conscious of His voice speaking, His hand guiding, His power generating, His life producing, from within, ALL THAT YOU NEED, and the image of God. With my poor and puny ability I cannot make the potential of GOD'S INDWELLING LIFE to be a living, transforming, all-sufficient reality to your heart. None but the Spirit of God can perform this wonderful and divine act of illumination. He alone can take the things of God and show them unto you.  

There was a day in which Jesus and His disciples had made it to Jacob's well in Sychar and decided to stop for lunch. Jesus sat in the shade of the well's shelter while His disciples went into the nearby town for food. Through the shimmering heat haze, a woman with a water pot on her shoulder approached the well. She came to where Jesus was sitting, and He asked her for a drink. Her response was brittle with the hatred between the two peoples: "How is it that you, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?" (Jn. 4:9). Jesus was unruffled, offering her the gift He had come to give all men: "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that says to you, Give Me a drink, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water" (Jn. 4:10).  

You see, Jesus is saying, "You're the one that needs the water, don't you know that?" She responded by saying in so many words, "You don't have a water pot. How are you going to get water? Why, this well is deep, and how are you going to draw from this well? Have you got some water that doesn't come from this well? Are you greater than our father Jacob who dug this well?" She's a little provoked with this Jew that is speaking to her. Then Jesus tells her a principle that she understands all too well in the natural. He said, "You've been drinking this water all your life, and YOU HAVE TO KEEP COMING BACK EVERY DAY. You know what a wearisome thing it is to walk back and forth through the heat and the dust with that water pot on your head. I do have some water, and if you drink of the water that I give you, you'll never thirst again. Take a drink of this water and it will BECOME IN YOU AS A WELL, a never-ending INTERNAL SOURCE!  

Jesus spoke to this woman of a truth more wonderful and glorious than the vast majority of Christians have ever grasped. How many of the Lord's people STILL COME TO THE WELL! How many of us still have our well, our water, our supply, our source of life, ON THE OUTSIDE! We are still trying to pray something down from heaven, or work something up in a meeting, or always looking for some ministry, some prophet, some healer, some experience from which we can DRAW LIFE! And after all our running to and fro, from well to well, from water pot to water pot, we're still thirsty! We're still singing, "Fill my cup, Lord!" We're still conscious of our need! So we keep looking for a well from which to draw to quench our thirst and meet our need. Some even think it is NORMAL to always be thirsty, to ever be coming to the well, drinking again and again.  

Jesus shared with the Samaritan woman one of the most profound and blessed truths of the ages. He said that He has water to give you, and if you once drink this water, you can throw away your water pots, because this water becomes a mighty artesian well WITHIN YOU. As long as the well is on the outside, as long as our source of life is without, then we have to go to the well and get water to satisfy our thirst. And any time you have to go to the well to drink you are going to be thirsty again! And if you stay away from the well very long you will become famished! Is this not a spiritual thermometer by which one can determine just how mature he is? So Jesus asked the woman, "How would you like to have the well on the inside? No more water pots, no more drawing, no more walking back and forth, no more thirst, no more effort and sweat." Let me ask you, dear reader, What would you think if you had the well on the INSIDE? This is what this thing of sonship is all about! It is the well on the inside: "Christ IN YOU the hope of glory. Sonship, maturity, overcoming, perfection, the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, life and immortality--all this is found in that blessed realm where we finally know that we do indeed HAVE LIFE IN OURSELVES even as the Father has life in Himself. This is the well on the inside! And it is high time that we drink until we get the well on the inside! It should be clear to every thinking heart that once you have the well on the inside, not only do you not need to draw from a well without, but you BECOME A SOURCE of life for all about. THIS is sonship!  

What an exciting hour in which to live! For some years now the Holy Ghost has witnessed in every city and hamlet across the length and breadth of the land that the manifestation of the sons of God is at hand--the next order of business on God's schedule of things. Great things are happening! God is moving in a wonderful way among His people. The night is far spent, THE DAY is at hand. This is not just another day, it is THE DAY of the Lord. It is the day when the sons of God are going to be manifest; those whom God has been working with; trying them, testing them, taking them through the fire of His dealings; making them perfect through sufferings; changing them from natural beings into spiritual ones; bringing forth the image of Christ, the reality of SPIRIT. The time is at hand for God to remove the veil and reveal His sons. The great day of the restoration is at hand. What anticipation this evokes within! It is the day all creation has been travailing for, and even now "the whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own" (Rom. 8:19, Phillips).  

ULTIMATE FAITH  

I pray that the Holy Spirit will impress upon the minds of all who treasure the beautiful hope of sonship two important factors about the birth of this manchild seed that need to be burned deeply into our hearts. The first is that this manchild is going to be birthed supernaturally, and the second is that it is going to be through faith. First I want to state with the greatest possible clarity and authority that this manchild is going to be born supernaturally, therefore naturalism cannot and will not have anything to do with the manifestation of the sons of God. One of the most subtle tricks the carnal mind- ever since that fateful day in long ago Eden--is continually playing on God's people is injecting naturalism--carnal means and methods- into their vision, their revelation, their worship, and their walk in God. Because of their lack of faith and patience, the carnal mind (serpent) is continually convincing them that God is going to fulfill His promises somehow through the normal processes of nature, through natural law, natural wisdom, natural knowledge, natural means and formulas.  

The Word of God clearly teaches that the manifestation of the sons of God at the close of this age brings FULL SALVATION, which, of course, includes the BODY OF INCORRUPTION- salvation for spirit, soul and body. The purpose of this manifestation is twofold: first, to bring full redemption to God's elect; second, to bring deliverance to all peoples, kindreds, tongues and nations, to those now living as well as to the vast multitudes who have lived and died throughout the ages, until sin, sickness, sorrow, darkness, pain and death shall exist no more anywhere in God' s unbounded universe, worlds without end. Let us notice how the apostle Paul reveals this purpose of God in the following words: "For even the whole creation waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God's sons to be made known--waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their son-ship. For the creation was subjected to frailty--to futility, condemned to frustration -- not because of some intentional fault on its part, but by the will of Him who so subjected it. Yet with the hope that creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption and gain an entrance into the glorious freedom of God's children. We know that the whole creation has been moaning together in the pains of labor until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves too, who have and enjoy the first fruits of the Holy Spirit -- a foretaste of the blissful things to come --groan inwardly as we wait for the redemption of our bodies from sensuality and the grave, WHICH WILL REVEAL OUR ADOPTION, OUR MANIFESTATION AS GOD'S SONS" (Rom. 8: 19-23, Amplified).  

When Paul by inspiration penned these blessed words of hope he did not have in mind another great "revival" of the kinds we have experienced in many localities and nations throughout this age of grace. The creation is not groaning for another evangelistic campaign, nor for another healing service, nor for more gifts of the Spirit, nor for more apostles and prophets and teachers, nor for more signs, wonders and miracles, nor yet for 144,000 flaming evangelists just like Jesus when He walked the shores of blue Galilee. In two thousand years none of these things has ever produced a perfect Church, nor have they ever brought the fullness of the Kingdom of God, and not even one of them or all of them put together ever delivered the creation from its bondage to corruption! It is not just another "patch-up" job we want, but a full and complete and eternal deliverance from the whole dreadful realm of corruption in spirit, soul and body!  

How we praise God and bless Him unceasingly for every blessing so lavishly bestowed by His bountiful grace. We rejoice exceedingly in His provision of our daily need, for those healings which have preserved alive these mortal bodies unto this day, for each sign and wonder that has quickened our faith and given assurance of His wonderful love, faithful care and gracious presence. We would not minimize the blessedness of any of these things, yet are aware that none of these is that for which creation, with ourselves, groans and travails. We cannot --dare not- be satisfied until we AWAKE IN HIS LIKENESS! Christ shall minister the fullness of HIS ETERNAL AND INCORRUPTIBLE LIFE to a firstfruits company of sons who shall in turn in part that same life and glory to the creation. These SONS are alive and in the world today. They may at this present time be fathers, and mothers, and sons, and daughters...they may be carpenters, or plumbers, or nurses, or technicians, or truck drivers, or housewives, or store clerks...or they may be apostles, or prophets, or elders, or deacons. But it is in their ultimate fashioning as SONS that they shall become the LIBERATORS that God has in mind for a world in darkness and bondage.  

I stated earlier that this manchild shall be born supernaturally and through faith, and naturalism cannot and will not have anything to do with the birthing of this man-child. The scriptures make very clear, using the experience of Abraham and Sarah, who birthed Isaac, the first manchild of promise that was to come into this world, completely by-passing the processes of nature, and who was a type of not only Jesus, the manchild that was born two thousand years ago, but also a type of this many-membered manchild that is going to come forth from us in these last days, that naturalism is not going to have anything to do with it. It is very important that all of God's people who are in the flow of God's dealings and revelation today have this truth deeply implanted into their minds and hearts. For, wherever people are moving in the revelatory Word and present truth, the Kingdom message, sooner or later they are going to be visited by so-called "Kingdom Ministry," who will begin presenting to them natural, fleshly, legalistic, letter of the law means by which they can go on to perfection in Christ, and this man-child can be brought forth from within them.  

Many of us who have contact with God's elect across the land and around the world, already have run into these so-called apostles who are teaching these things. They will come into your midst with their juice blenders advising you that the way God has provided to heal everybody's diseases and perfect everybody's health and bring the sons of God into longevity and eternal life is by eating health foods. They will come with their vitamin pills and whole wheat bread, and wheat germ and herbs and all kinds of things grown out of the earth and the water, bought from the health food stores, and teach you that the way into health and longevity and sonship is by ceasing to eat anything that can be bought from the local supermarket, and going on to eat only those foods that can be bought from the health food stores.  

They will tell you that the only way that we can go on to perfection is by keeping perfectly the legalistic letter of the Old Testament dietary laws: touch not, taste not, handle not, don't eat pork, don't eat meat, if there is a literal animal that chews the cud, but doesn't divide the hoof, then that meat is unclean to you before God. And before they are finished they will bring you into a bondage of legalism and naturalism that will separate you completely from the leadership of the Spirit of God, and God's new creation life, and make you in the end to bring forth an Ishmael, a child of the flesh, through the processes of nature just as Hagar did long ago. Hear me! Any ministry which teaches you that God's means for you fulfilling His will perfectly is to fulfill the letter of God's Word, by keeping typical laws of it, particularly the laws and statutes of the Old Testament, is deceived by deceiving spirits, ministering in a deceiving spirit, and bringing you under bondage to a deceiving spirit. Every law and every statute that God gave in the Old Testament has a spiritual fulfillment in this New Testament age that is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. It is that spiritual fulfillment in reality that God wants to bring forth in us.  

Now, don't misunderstand me! I do not mean that it is healthy to put any and every kind of food into your body. I am by no means opposed to health foods, proper nutrition, or obeying the natural laws of God established in the physical realm. In fact, I am personally supportive of these things. I have learned experientially that the human body is the most amazing and marvelously constructed mechanism in God's physical universe. It is completely self-constructing, self-preserving, self-defending, and through the mighty power and intelligence put into it by the almighty Creator, it is totally self-cleansing, self-repairing, self-restoring and self-healing. The body is designed to MAINTAIN ITSELF in perfect health, completely free of disease, if its needs are correctly met, and it is not polluted and clogged with all kinds of poisons and contaminating debris. Foremost among these needs are fresh air, pure water, rest and sleep, and a diet to which our bodies are biologically and constitutionally adapted, namely, fresh raw fruits and vegetables with some raw nuts and seeds. Volumes could be written on this subject, were that the call of God upon my life. I have personally been speedily and dramatically healed of seven different physical ailments simply by converting to the diet our bodies were designed for. And I know for a fact that thousands of people have been delivered from practically every disease known to mankind simply by fasting and adapting to the diet to which humans are creatively adapted- fresh, raw, natural foods. But I can also tell you without fear of contradiction that all the fruitarians and vegetarians of all previous generations now lie silent in their graves, for no NATURAL SUBSTANCE possesses one iota of power to impart to spirit, soul or body the elements of spiritual or ETERNAL LIFE. How can corruption minister incorruption? Proper nutrition will enhance the performance and extend the life-span of the earthly, mortal organism, but it has absolutely nothing to do with the nature of God, spiritual life, divine power, the mind of Christ, perfection, incorruption or sonship!  

Beloved, no natural formulas, no natural foods, no laws of nature, and no teaching that God is going to use the natural things to produce this supernatural manchild is going to have anything to do with the birthing of this manchild. It is going to be done supernaturally by the operation of the Spirit just as Isaac was birthed supernaturally by the operation of the Spirit, and the only thing that this manchild can eat that is going to enable him to come forth is the Word of God, which produces faith, for he is going to be born and brought forth and manifested by faith.  

Another delusion that the carnal mind has foisted upon many who seek after sonship is the notion that divine enlightenment and incorruptible life comes by the quickening and re-activation of the PINEAL GLAND, a small cone-shaped gland located at the base of the brain, having no proven function, but believed to be a vestigial sense or endocrine organ. Some teach that this gland ceased to function at the time of Adam's transgression in Eden, thus cutting him off from the flow of wisdom and life from God, resulting in darkness and death. Today God is supposed to be re-activating the pineal gland which stores energy in tiny crystals which compose the gland, so that it acts as a receiver and transmitter, receiving electromagnetically messages from the Spirit of God, and transmitting these through the nervous system into the mind and body of those apprehended to sonship, thus effecting their transformation into life and immortality. I must speak a word against that. I testify to all who read these lines that any "gland" is merely a PHYSICAL BODY ORGAN by which certain constituents are separated from the blood for use in the body or for ejection from it, or by which certain natural changes are produced by the blood or lymph. There is no such thing as a NATURAL, PHYSICAL GLAND infusing the mind with spiritual enlightenment or the body with the properties of eternal life! The only elements affected by a natural and physical gland secreting natural and physical hormones etc. are the physical, temporal and mortal constituents of the flesh-body. Revelation is by THE SPIRIT and God speaks FROM SPIRIT TO SPIRIT. "The SPIRIT ITSELF bears witness with OUR SPIRIT, that we are the sons of God" (Rom. 8:16). The Word cannot he broken: "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). Let me present this Tree of Life, this one and only Tree of Life: Christ, risen, glorified and exalted above all heavens! Christ enthroned in the glory He had with the Father before the world was! Christ dwelling IN YOUR HEART (spirit) by faith! HE is the Tree of Life in the paradise of the Kingdom of Heaven within you! And you, dearly beloved, have been translated out of the kingdom of darkness (ignorance, carnal mind, material consciousness) into the Kingdom of God's dear Son! The leaves (truths) of this Tree of the SPIRIT OF YOUR SONSHIP are for the healing of the nations. With ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD RESIDENT WITHIN Y-O-U-R S-P-I-R-I-T- who needs a PINEAL GLAND?  

As we have previously pointed out, the birthing of the first supernatural child of promise, Isaac, makes this very clear to us. When God came to Abraham and Sarah, and gave them a promise saying, Behold Sarah shall have a son, there was no possible way that this child could be born through the laws of nature or any natural process. Sarah was already so old that her womb was dead. She had passed the time of women, there was no possible way that this manchild could be born from her through the natural processes of nature according to the manner of natural women. There was no natural means by which Abraham could help Sarah to bring forth this manchild. He had no pill, no doctor, no scientist to give him some foolish promise by which Sarah's dead womb could be restored to life. He had no juice blenders, no natural health foods, God didn't give him any dietary laws by which if Sarah kept on the right diet, this manchild could be born. There was only one thing that Abraham could do to help Sarah bring forth this manchild, and that was to BELIEVE THE PROMISE OF GOD.  

The inspired record in Gen. 21 tells us that when, after twenty-five years of waiting in faith, the promised manchild was finally born, it was not because nine or ten months before the birth God suddenly livened up Sarah's womb, or re-activated her pineal gland, and through the natural processes, and according to the laws of nature, Sarah finally birthed the child. But Genesis 21 tells us that at the set time GOD VISITED SARAH… the manchild was born, not through the natural processes of women, but by the sovereign visitation of the Spirit of God. A sovereign anointing came upon Sarah and she was enabled to birth a supernatural child of promise. And so it is going to be with this little Virgin Woman, the Bride of Christ, that is being clothed with the light of the sun, and prepared to bring forth a manchild. NATURALISM IS NOT GOING TO HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT! You can count on that. It isn't going to come through any naturalistic formulas preached by preachers, including baptisms, confessions, or any of the rest, but it shall happen supernaturally by faith.  

At the Father's set time when our faith has been tried and proven, there will come the sovereign operation of God by His Spirit upon this Virgin Bride, and through that sovereign operation of the Spirit of God there shall come an anointing upon us, a sovereign anointing of God, that will bring forth and manifest this incorruptible manchild.  

The second thing that we need to have impregnated deeply into our consciousness is that not only is this thing going to be done supernaturally, but it is going to be done by faith, and through faith, yea, by and through nothing else. The scriptures make it very clear that there was absolutely nothing Abraham could do in the natural to help Sarah bring forth this son, except believe the promise of God. It was through twenty-five years of believing God's promise and firmly embracing and clinging to God's promise, and through much testing that this manchild was finally born.  

In that wonderful fourth chapter of Romans is revealed to us the great faith that Abraham had when it proclaims that HE STAGGERED NOT AT THE PROMISE OF GOD, but was STRONG IN FAITH, giving glory to God, and the Lord imputed his faith to him for righteousness and the manchild was born. The divine record states that Abraham staggered not at the promise of God. This is the problem with many saints today, they stagger at the promises of God. The promises seem so high and glorious that they do not have the faith to take hold of them. Particularly as God is speaking to His elect in this day, that there is coming an hour when right here as we stand upon our two feet many of us shall be suddenly and gloriously changed from corruptible to incorruptible. This promise is not only in the written Word, but is quickened to us by the Spirit of God, that it shall be fulfilled in a people in these days at the close of the age. It is so high and so glorious that it staggers the mind of those who try to grasp the things of God with their intellect instead of by the spirit. But Abraham staggered not at the promise of God, and was strong in faith, giving glory to God. Even during his whole twenty-five year period of testing, he simply went about as we are today, praising and glorifying God for the wonderful promise, saying, Thank you Lord, I know you are going to do it; praise God! I know your promise will not fail. And for no other reason than this manifested faith, the sovereign visitation of God came and the manchild was born.

I would earnestly exhort the elect of God in this momentous hour that the faith of yesterday and yesteryear is not sufficient for today. The admonition of the inspired apostle is especially meaningful for God's apprehended ones at this time, wherein he says, "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment" (Heb. 6:1-2).  

The King James Version here instructs us to leave the "principles" of the doctrine of Christ. The Moffat translation says, "Let us pass on then to what is mature, leaving ELEMENTARY CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE BEHIND..." The Weymouth version reads, "Therefore leaving ELEMENTARY INSTRUCTION ABOUT the Christ, let us advance to mature manhood..." The Amplified Bible renders, "Therefore let us go on and GET PAST THE ELEMENTARY STAGE in the teachings and doctrine of Christ. ..advancing steadily toward completeness and perfection that belongs to spiritual maturity." So what we are instructed to leave behind is the FIRST ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES of the doctrine of Christ and these are enumerated to us as: (1) Repentance from dead works (2) Faith toward God (3) Baptisms (4) Laying on of hands (5) Resurrection of the dead (6) Eternal (eonian) judgment.  

In spite of such a plain admonition the sad fact is that not one believer in a million ever gets beyond these first stepping stones- these elementary rudiments of the doctrine of Christ. The Spirit declares that ALL these elementary rudiments of the doctrine of Christ pertain to the realm of LITTLE CHILDREN- babes in Christ. In the verses immediately preceding the passage under consideration the apostle says, "For every one who continues to feed on milk is obviously inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness, that is, of conforming to the divine will in purpose, thought, and action, for he is a MERE INFANT --NOT ABLE TO TALK YET! But solid food is for full-grown men, for those whose senses are trained..." (Heb. 5:13-14, Amplified Bible). It is very easy to spot a spiritual babe, for he will always be dwelling around one or more of these ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES...laying and re-laying that foundation. It is one of the great marvels of the universe, and perhaps the eighth wonder of the world, that the family of God has not completely disappeared from the face of the earth, for it is crystal clear to any who have eyes to see that the preachers and leaders of the church world today are altogether as INFANTILE as the church members! They are one and all, according to the criterion of our text, merely spiritual infants. These slobbering, sputtering, dribbling infants are in charge of the care and feeding of the whole congregation of infants. Truly it is the phenomenon of the ages that they have not all starved to death or died in their own purulence. 

Now there is nothing wrong with laying these elementary foundations for those that need them, but the immature babes in Christ will always be known by the fact that they will continue to minister these things over and over to God's people who should long ago have passed on to higher things. But those believers sit there in those meetings week after week and service after service drinking that same diet of MILK. And those same preachers, day after day, and year after year, continue to USE MILK and minister milk to the people of God. No wonder they NEVER GO ON TO PERFECTION! And these babes, from the pulpit to the pew, are busily engaged in defending these "fundamental" and ELEMENTARY PRINCIPLES of the doctrine of Christ. That's all they know. Start to talk about perfection, sonship, immortality, the Melchizedek Order, the army of God, bringing in the Kingdom and other things related to God's great Kingdom purposes and you are as a Barbarian to them--they have not the foggiest notion what in the world you are talking about !  

Oh! that once and for all we might clearly see that for us too, NEARLY EVERYTHING WE HAVE EXPERIENCED UP TO NOW has its existence in that realm of elementaries! And it is from HERE that we are exhorted to GO ON TO PERFECTION. You don't go into the first principles in order to go on to perfection. You leave them! The fullness of God in Christ lies beyond all these. If you choose to remain there you simply will never arrive at spiritual maturity in God. The elementary principles are just GRAMMAR SCHOOL for those who would be sons indeed. They constitute the "in part" realm in which we move before that which is PERFECT is come. LET US GO ON TO PERFECTION is the present call of the Spirit.  

In Hebrews 6:1-2 the Holy Spirit lists FAITH among the elementary principles of the doctrine of Christ. But let us note that it is not simply FAITH of which the Spirit speaks, but FAITH TOWARD GOD. This distinction is important. The word "toward" is the translation of the Greek word EPI which means "upon," "to," or "toward." The Greek Interlinear New Testament which I have at hand renders this as "faith upon God." The thought is of a faith which turns one in a specific direction and THRUSTS HIM UPON GOD. This faith is directed totally TOWARD God and bears along the one identified with it so that he in turn is directed toward and cast upon God. The Amplified Bible comes very close to expressing the correct thought from the Greek: "Let us not again be laying the foundation of...the faith BY WHICH YOU TURNED TO GOD." Thus, this elementary faith, this faith toward God, is that first ministration of faith to our hearts which turns us around from our stumbling in ignorance and blindness, causing us to trust in the living God who is the Saviour of all men. If you lay again and again that foundation you will in the consciousness of your weakness and sin, continually be turning again and again to repentance, getting "saved" over and over, never overcoming the flesh, the world, or the devil, but ever "turning" again and again to the Lord for mercy and salvation. Elementary faith is first and foremost the faith that reconciles and saves us --which also appropriates the many elementary blessings and benefits of our redemption such as forgiveness, healing, material provision, gifts of the Spirit, answers to prayer, etc.  

We must not, however, dwell here in this realm of elementary faith for it is the faith of our babyhood walk in God. We are commanded to LEAVE this dimension of faiths and go on to perfection, even PERFECT FAITH. It is required, therefore, that we press on to a HIGHER AND GREATER FAITH which will lay hold upon BETTER THINGS...embracing BETTER PROMISES...revealing the ULTIMATE PURPOSES of God...a faith that will bring the body of Christ into the completion and perfection of God's eternal purpose in the elect. This is why the Spirit is sounding the trumpet across the land, thundering the Kingdom message from one end of the earth to the other! There are those who hear the trumpet sounding for the next great move of God in the earth, and they pull up their tent stakes, get their eyes on the forward moving cloud of His presence and glory, and faith is being evoked in them to literally WALK OUT each and every dealing of God in their lives until they fully and completely qualify to receive a Kingdom and Glory that far transcends any glory yet revealed unto the sons of men.  

There is a most significant passage of scripture in Rom. 1:17: "For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." The full import of this verse is beautifully brought out in the Amplified Bible: "For in the gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both SPRINGING FROM faith and LEADING TO faith --disclosed through the WAY OF FAITH which AROUSES TO MORE FAITH. As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright SHALL LIVE AND SHALL LIVE by faith!" Ah, the gospel reveals a righteousness which both SPRINGS FROM FAITH and LEADS TO FAITH. The righteousness of God in us springs from the elementary faith God ministers to us when we are saved, turned toward God, reconciled. But once the work of God has commenced within us His objective is to cause His inworking in us to LEAD US ON TO FAITH--that is, from one degree of faith to another! This is the "WAY OF FAITH, that AROUSES TO MORE FAITH." The unfolding of God's revelatory truth in this hour is leading the body of Christ into an understanding of God's ULTIMATE PURPOSE in them--GOD MANIFESTED IN THE FLESH. And in keeping with this expanded vision the Spirit is INCREASING OUR FAITH FROM ONE REALM OF FAITH TO ANOTHER until finally that PERFECT FAITH, yea, that ULTIMATE FAITH shall have been evoked within and we shall apprehend that ultimate purpose of God.  

It is ULTIMATE FAITH realized in God's ULTIMATE PEOPLE that shall bring to pass in the earth God's ULTIMATE PURPOSE. Let us go on to perfection!

 

 


Chapter 7 

VIRGO -- THE VIRGIN

 ( continued ) 

"And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for SIGNS, and for seasons, and for days, and years" (Gen. 1:14).  

The word for "signs" as found in the passage above is OTH in the Hebrew. A sign is a mark to indicate something greater than the mark itself. Musical notes are symbols, or signs, to the pianist sitting at his instrument. If the pianist interprets the notes together in proper sequence, then the audience hears what the creator of the music intended when he wrote the composition. Likewise, the heavens are signs, as notes on a sheet of music. If we interpret the signs in the heavens correctly, then we can understand and appreciate the symphony of God's creation from the beginning to the end. Signs in the heavens can also be compared to notes of music in another way. As the pianist plays a concerto, the music, like a constant revelation, is heard in its proper sequence. Similarly, "signs" in Gen. 1:14 mean that the heavens are the unfurling of God's revelation to man. In other words, the heavens tell the story of things to come--they PROPHESY!  

PICTURES speak in every language, and this significant fact was recognized by the psalmist in Psalm 19 as in spirit he stated that the heavens declare a Divine meaning, in universal language, to all people, everywhere. Almighty Lord! in whom dwelleth the wisdom and knowledge of the universe, may our hearts be filled with the holy assurance that the starry hosts shining in the night skies above us are like a glorious PICTURE BOOK which God has placed wide open above us. It is full of wonderful things, glorious beyond words, for us to see and learn about Himself, our selves, and His great and stupendous plan for us. They speak in every language to every people. And they speak and reveal the majesty of God's great plan and purposes to His creation. Upon the blue sapphire of the firmament is spread a sheet of royal paper written all over with the wisdom and power of God. This Book of Creation is not sold in stores, but it is to be read by everyone who lifts his eyes up to heaven.  

To establish the message of God's Bible in the sky, the Lord selected three of the most godly and eminent of men at the beginning of history--Adam, Seth and Enoch. It is not our purpose to go into the wearisome trail of historical evidence in support of the fact I have just stated--but it does exist. According to Arabic tradition the signs came from Seth and from Enoch. This is the same tradition that the Greeks have, only they knew Enoch as "Atlas." This is the same tradition the Egyptians have, only they knew Enoch as "Hermes." But all these go back to the grandson of Adam and say that Enoch and his father Seth were the founders of this ancient understanding of the heavens. In the divine record of the fourth creative day the sun, moon, and stars were arranged as lights in the sky, and these lights were designated to be for SIGNS, so that night after night, year after year, in the purple depths of the midnight sky, those burning suns show forth and silently but ceaselessly proclaim the Great Revelation. There is only one system in the universe where STARS and SIGNS are united together and that is in the SIGNS OF THE ZODIAC, also called the Celestial Signs and the Twelve Signs. Ancient and modern civilized nations have called them Signs. The renowned Jewish historian, Josephus, mentions Seth as the first astronomer, or arranger of the Zodiac. The ancient Egyptians said SET (Seth) was the inventor of astronomy--and astronomy in ancient times was by the study of the Signs of the Zodiac. And according to Gen. 4:25-26 it was directly through the ministry of Seth that MEN BEGAN TO CALL upon THE NAME OF YAHWEH. The method by which Seth taught the knowledge of God was by the stars of heaven, for there was no written scripture in that early time. Seth gave a name to each star group, designating them by the attributes of Yahweh and the characters and events involved in the great scheme of redemption. He named the first sign VIRGO--for the Redeemer of the world would come forth as a child, born of a Virgin. The last sign he named LEO--the figure of a great rampant lion, leaping forth to rend, with his feet over the writhing body of Hydra, the Serpent, which is in the act of fleeing. The Lion of the tribe of Judah prevails. The Serpent of that long ago Eden is defeated. Christ IN US is Victor. The conflict ends, the warfare is brought to a successful conclusion, all strife ceases. Sin, error, sickness, pain, sorrow and death forever flee away. Victory is secure! All things are restored! Man lives again tall and magnificent in the image of God!  

At the time of the building of the tower of Babel, under the rebellion and apostasy of Nimrod, who introduced idolatry into the world, this glorious truth of God was corrupted into pagan mythology, whereby instead of these being signs of God and His salvation, by which men should know the Lord, and understand His wonderful plan of the ages, they were changed into deities themselves and people began to worship the host of heaven: the sun, the moon, the planets and the stars. These became the great gods of Babylon, Assyria, Greece and Rome. How plain it is--even a child can understand!--all false religion, even from the distant dawn of history, is but a PERVERSION OF THE TRUTH!  

THE DECANS  

In ancient times there were more constellations recognized than the twelve signs of the Zodiac. Each of the twelve signs has three other constellations grouped around it. Thus, altogether there are twelve Zodiacal signs with 36 additional constellations. These secondary constellations are called "Decans," from the Shemitic term DEK, meaning a "part" or "piece." The Decans are therefore "sidepieces," indicating that they belong to the sign and that their message is a part of that sign's message. As previously pointed out, each Zodiacal sign has three Decans, or three secondary constellations grouped about it. These three additional constellations are a part of that sign's revelation. Therefore, to fully comprehend the significance of each sign we must examine not only the major sign, but also its three Decans. The sign of VIRGO has its three Decans: the constellations of Coma, Centaurus, and Bootes. Before proceeding to the next major sign let us consider the three Decans or other pieces of Virgo's house.  

COMA  

The first is called Coma. It depicts a woman sitting in a chair holding a child in her arms, which she is contemplating and admiring. The name Coma means "the desired" or "the longed for"--the very word which Haggai the prophet uses where he speaks of the coming Messiah as "THE DESIRE of all nations." "And I will shake all nations, and THE DESIRE of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts" (Hag. 2:7). The ancient Egyptian name for this constellation was SHES-NU, meaning THE DESIRED SON! The woman in Virgo, and the woman in this first Decan of Virgo, as well as the sun-clad woman in Rev. 12 are one and the same; and the infant here is everywhere identified with the Seed and the Branch. Historically this is Jesus the Christ. But prophetically it is the manchild of the manifested sons of God--the complete Christ, Head and body. Oh, the mystery of it! How this precious child is DESIRED!  

"For even the whole creation waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God's sons to be made known--waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship. For...the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption and gain an entrance into the glorious freedom of God's children" (Rom. 8:19,21). When Paul by inspiration penned these blessed words of hope he did not have in mind a manifestation of God's sons after the order of which Jesus was manifested while on earth. Jesus glorified the Father on the earth plane, and so do we; but this is not the glory yet to be revealed that we anticipate, neither is it the hope for which the whole creation is in travail. The glory to which we are called as sons of God is not the glory Jesus had on earth, but the glory for which He prayed when His earth-walk was completed: "And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was." Paul wrote, "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall YE also appear WITH HIM IN GLORY" (Co1. 3:4). And Peter declared, "But the God of all grace...hath called us unto HIS ETERNAL GLORY by Christ Jesus" (I Pet. 5:10).  

I can assure you, precious friend of mine, that this resurrection glory, this incorruptible glory, this eternal glory is the HOPE OF ALL CREATION. We rejoice in the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit, in prophecies, visions, healings, miracles, temporal blessings and provisions, but I must confess that I am saddened to see the Lord's people continually following after mere TEMPORAL SIGNS and PHYSICAL, MATERIAL, MORTAL BLESSINGS. It is a distress to my soul to see my precious sick brethren (as well as myself) healed by the power of God, only to behold them smitten later by some other debilitating disease. What sorrow it brings to the human heart to see the precious men and/women of God who have walked in the Spirit, and proclaimed the revelation of God, and have so mightily blessed God's people finally grow old or be struck down by some loathsome disease and pass from our midst into the silence of the grave. I grow tired of healing the sick only to see them sick again. It is frustrating to pray for the same saints over and over again for the same problems and weaknesses. I say it reverently, but I am weary of seeing the dead raised just to watch them aging and weakening on their way into death again. I tire of signs and wonders which cater only to the flesh, and minister solely to the physical man on the plane of mortality: food, raiment, money, and all the rest of the corruptible things of earth. I am deeply discontented with that which blesses men in the natural but then leaves them to carry on their lives in corruptible bodies and natures. There is NO ETERNAL GLORY nor is there any release from THE BONDAGE OF CORRUPTION in any of these things. How expressive the word which the Spirit selected when He inspired the apostle to write: "For in this (our earthly house) we groan, EARNESTLY DESIRINC to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven... that mortality might be swallowed up of life" (II Cor. 5:1-5). Paul says that the whole creation GROANS and EARNESTLY AWAITS the manifestation of the sons of God, and we ourselves ALSO GROAN, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. This incorruptible race of the manifested sons of God is the "desired son"--COMA! The "greater works" of which Jesus spoke will appear when this corruptible has fully put on incorruption and the sons of God are put on display in the fullness of His divine life and Glory. When we consider the transcendent majesty and power of the glory of a ministry beyond limitation, death, and the curse, it seems but little wonder that such deliverance and reality is indeed THE DESIRE OF ALL NATIONS. With what anticipation do we wait for this glorious manifestation!  

CENTAURUS  

The second constellation of Virgo is Centaurus. It is depicted as a centaur, which in ancient times was a creature having the head and torso of a man, with the body and legs of a horse, and thus a dual-natured being. Centaurs were believed to be heaven-begotten. They were born of the clouds; they were sons of the gods. But they were despised, hated and abhorred by both gods and men. They were fought, driven to the mountains, and finally exterminated. The Centaur in the Decan of Virgo is pictured going forth as a hunter, with a spear he is slaying a beast which is called the VICTIM, and the whole scene appears in the heavens against the back-ground of the Southern Cross or Crux. The name of this constellation in Arabic, Chaldaic and Hebrew was BEZEH, meaning "the despised one"--just the opposite of Coma, "the desired." Yet--they are one and the same! This title BEZEH, meaning "the despised one," is found several times in Hebrew Old Testament. Most commonly known of the passages in which it is to be discovered is Isa. 53:3 where it appears twice in one verse. Referring to the rejection of Israel's Messiah by that nation, the prophet cries, "He is DESPISED (BEZEH) and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and we hid as it were our faces from Him; and He was DESPISED (BEZEH) and we esteemed Him not."  

Let us summarize the scene. Here is a double-natured being, out of the heavens, yet in the likeness of men, who, to men is repulsive and despised, yet really great, powerful and beneficent, pushing with his spear at the heart of some victim, and moving all the while over the constellation of the Cross. What a picture! Historically this is Jesus, the man who is the Lord from heaven, but made in the likeness of sinful flesh, humbling Himself to be despised and rejected of men, yet great, powerful and glorious with words divine attended by signs, wonders, miracles, and authority and grace such as men had never witnessed, yet laying down His life, slaying Himself, as a Victim, over a cross, as a sacrifice, a sweet smelling saviour unto God.  

The message which beams from this awe-inspiring picture like the blazing rays of the noon-day sun is one of SACRIFICIAL LOVE--REDEEMING LOVE. The truth of love in Jesus Christ was that He loved without retaliation for evil, a love that suffered long, even to the agonies of the cross, and then was kind enough to pray: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Lk. 23:34). And I declare to you that regardless of what other sins those wicked men may come into judgment for, they will never stand in the judgment condemned for killing the Son of God, for HE AND HIS FATHER FORGAVE THEM! This truth of the love of God in Jesus Christ must also be true in us, the younger sons of God. Jesus did not love people because He loved Himself, as it was under the law. It was the Father's unconditional and all-surpassing love flowing through Him, surging as a mighty river out to humanity, overflowing redemptively, so that He could say, "Let your love for others not be based on love for yourself, but on what was true in Me: If the Father could love Judas through Me, and love Peter through Me, and the people that crucified Me, then let the Father's love so find expression through you."  

In years past we have sung a chorus that goes like this: "His love has no limits, 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." This is a lovely chorus and I love to sing it and I say it is true. In Jesus Christ, there is NO LIMIT to His love, NO MEASURE to His grace, and NO BOUNDARIES to His power for He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and His mercy endureth FOREVER. If I say that there is one sin, one condition, one creature, one place, one age or group of ages unto which His love and His grace shall not reach then I LIE and know not the truth. Jesus loved His friends, His enemies, the man who betrayed Him, the man who denied Him, the men who nailed Him to the cross. There just was no limit to His love! You could never find a place where you could say, "So far would He love, but no farther." Is that love true in us? Or do we say, "Well, I will only stand so much, I will only forgive so long, I will only trust so far, and that is the end of it." It is God's purpose that His love should find no limit in us, His grace no measure in us and His power no boundary in us.  

God is preparing a people who, when they stand up and say, "God is love," are not talking about God's love in heaven, or God's love in Jesus; no, they will be expressing the love of God in their own person. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son" (Jn. 3:16). Everyone likes a verse like that. But how many would like a verse like this: "God still loves the world so much that He would like to give His sons, right now." We do not like that. We like to be sons if God will keep us, if He will bless us, if He will take us to His bosom and not let us go. But what does God do with His sons? Why, He GIVES THEM! Jesus said, "As the Father has sent Me, even so send I you." What did Jesus also say? "This is My flesh, My B-O-D-Y, which I GIVE for the life of the world." If we are His body, then will He not give us for the life of the world? "Oh," someone says, "I do not like the kind of religion where I do not get something." Well, my brother, my sister, that is how it starts, by receiving, but it must not end there. We must come to the place where God can give us, where we can lie down and become a channel, a river--the River of Life poured out into humanity!  

This is the high drama of the double-natured Centaur carrying the spear and slaying the Victim--for those elect sons of God represented by this Centaur are both human and divine, earthly and heavenly, and they are both Centaur and Victim. It means the laying down of the life for the world. It is the receiving of heaven's life into earthen vessels, but not for our sakes, but for creation's sake, that there shall be an out-flowing of God into men's lives. If you have been trying to prove something out of the Bible, let it be proved out of your life instead. Let us say, "Father, make your truth to be reality and life in me and through me." This is sonship! This, beloved, is the Victim dying, not in the place of mankind, but FOR or ON BEHALF of mankind, universally pouring out his life unto all. This is God IN us, God AS us, God LIVING THROUGH us, God FLOWING OUT of us, loving through us, redeeming through us, reconciling and restoring all by us. Amen. So be it!  

THE FOOLISH FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY  

There is a truth enunciated by the apostle Paul in I Cor. 1:26-29 that should hold us spellbound once we grasp its meaning. The statement is very simple and, like so many profound truths, it is easily missed, going completely unnoticed. But you, O people of God, partakers of the heavenly calling and sharers together with Christ Jesus in the sonship for which all creation groans, should give continual meditation and consideration to these words. Paul, having stated that Christ is both the wisdom and power of God, and that the FOOLISHNESS OF GOD is wiser than men and the WEAKNESS OF GOD stronger than men, says, "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the FOOLISH THINGS of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the WEAK things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and BASE things of the world, and things which are DESPISED, hath God chosen, yea, and things which ARE NOT, to bring to naught things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence."  

There are five powerful ministries listed in this remarkable passage--a FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY. Many men have aspired to be a part of God's great five-fold ministry set forth in Eph. 4:11. Who wouldn't covet the ministry of an apostle, a prophet, an evangelist, a pastor or teacher? The world has been turned up-side down by such ministries! But the five-fold ministry revealed in I Cor. 1:27-28 has nothing to do with these ministries at all. Rather, it is what I have termed GOD'S FOOLISH FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY. These five ministries are just as real and far more powerful, effective and far-reaching than the more popular five-fold ministry. The five ministries mentioned in Eph. 4:11 are exclusively for the body of Christ, for the perfecting of the saints, but the five superlative ministries set forth in I Cor. 1:27-28 are universal in scope, Kingdom in character, subduing all things unto God. This powerful and effective five-fold ministry shakes empires off their hinges, subdues kingdoms, confounds the wisdom of the mighty, and brings to naught all the things that are. All those blessed ones apprehended to sonship will share in this invincible ministry. In spite of their surpassing glory and irresistible power we do not desire them, but they come to us just as surely as day follows night. They come to us unannounced and unsolicited. None of us would invite these God-ordained ministries to come our way! But God in His great wisdom and unsearchable ways sends them to us that we may know Him as He is and learn the strange but wonderful WAYS OF HIS KINGDOM. Now that we see how important and powerful these ministries are, let me present them to you:  

1.  foolish things
2.  weak things
3.  base things
4.  despised things
5.  things which are not 

We need not look to the great men of this age, nor yet to the esteemed religious leaders of this age, nor the wise men after the corrupt wisdom of this age to be the ones who will bear the government of the Kingdom of God in the age and ages to come. It remains then, for us to see that "GOD HATH CHOSEN the FOOLISH things of the world to confound the wise (that is, the things which the WORLD CALLS FOOLISH); and God hath chosen the WEAK things of the world to confound the things that are mighty (that is, the things that the world deems weak); and the BASE things of the world, and the things which ARE DESPISED, hath God chosen, yea, and the things which ARE NOT to bring to naught the things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence."  

Seeing, then, that God has rejected the wisdom and power and honor of this world and its vain system and has chosen instead a people that the wisdom of the world considers foolish, stupid, weak and of no account, we should readily see that divine wisdom has chosen those who for His name are despised, who glory not in the wisdom of men, but who glory in the hidden wisdom of God revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption, according as it is written, "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord" (I Cor. 1:31).  

It is interesting to note that the word FOOLISH is from the Greek word MOROS meaning "dull, stupid, heedless, blockhead, absurd." Furthermore, this Greek word is the word from which we get our English word MORON. Ah--God has chosen a company of dull, stupid, nit-witted, heedless, absurd, moronic blockheads (by this world's standards!) to confound the irrational wise ones of this world's system! The word CONFOUND means "to put to shame or disgrace." Well did Ray Prinzing write: "God hath chosen what the world calls foolish, to confound the world's wisdom. Among all the descriptive phrases used by Paul, one especially stands out, when he says, 'and base things...' The Greek word for 'base' used here is: AGENES. The letter 'a' when placed in front of a word, reverses its meaning, either from negative to positive, or from positive to negative. Here it is in the latter case, and it provides for us this thought: God is going to have the ones who have boasted in their 'genes' as of royal lineage, to be confounded by those of ignoble, or common birth. Not many mighty, not many noble, are called. Thank God for those that are--but they soon learn that they have nothing to boast of in the natural, for it is only HIS LIFE IN US that is of real value. And HE can take the weakest, and the basest, and use them to BRING TO NAUGHT, to make useless, to down-idle, the things wherein men once trusted" --end quote.  

There is absolutely no need for any of us to try to search out the ways, means and methods that God employs to bring His purposes to pass. For God has declared and written that He will destroy the wisdom of the wise and will even bring to nothing the wisdom of the prudent. And, as we have seen, the FOOLISHNESS of God, is WISER than men. Or this thing that appears to be so foolish to the carnal mind (the Christ and His work) is actually the WISDOM OF GOD. Not a great many wise men, after the flesh, are called of God. They are left to follow the plan prescribed for them, and in God's due time and according to His plan, they will be brought to a knowledge of God. Their wisdom, which is nothing but foolishness, will drop from them, light will shine upon their path and they will be brought to understand at last what true wisdom is.  

"For though He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God" (II Cor. 13:4). "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Phil. 4:13). In becoming WEAK IN HIM, brought to obedience unto the death of His cross, we are also brought to the end of our self-life, in its carnality, perverted consciousness, distorted understanding, and deceptive illusion. But rather than being destroyed by this process, there is a new and glorious living by the power of God out of our own reality of SPIRIT-LIFE. There is a revelation in weakness that few have comprehended. The purpose is to magnify the supremacy of the SPIRIT, the power of the divine life released through us, while discouraging completely the strength, wisdom, and reality of the OUTER MAN. Again I would share an enlightening insight from the able pen of Ray Prinzing: "Regardless of Paul's natural stature, be he a short man, or otherwise, I do envision him standing before men and speaking with power and authority because of the revelation of God which he possessed, and because of the anointing upon his message. His boldness, his free-spokenness was IN GOD, not as the result of being psyched up by his own ego. The natural world today relies heavily upon this self-psyched state. Athletes will win or lose a game according to the degree they mentally 'jack themselves up' until they feel themselves to be superior to all the athletes in contest with them. On the energy-force of this mental state, combined with a physical body that has been toned and prepared for this hour, they emit a self-confidence that is used to intimidate their opponent. However this self-induced state cannot be maintained, and they will 'peak out,' burn up their resources, and afterwards have a 'let down' and be unable to continue any immediately stressful conflict. How OPPOSITE is the way of the child of God, who knows that 'in himself he is nothing,' and then, relying solely upon the power of God, can move forth in divine confidence. Thus, at the same time Paul was speaking forth the truth by the power of the Spirit, yet he was conscious of his own weakness, that in his flesh (outer man) dwelt no good thing (Rom. 7:18). Be there any sufficiency at all, it would have to be BY THE POWER OF GOD. Nor did Paul desire that people put their trust in him--this would be building a kingdom of man, which man would have to maintain. There must be a BALANCE, for while we have a 'consciousness of our weakness,' we must not develop a WEAKNESS COMPLEX. For though it is true, I AM WEAK, yet it is also true, I CAN DO ALL THINGS! Thank God when He imparts to us a real understanding and comprehension of our own weakness--we should not despair because of it, because it becomes the arena wherein He can show forth HIS POWER. 'Out of weakness were made strong...' (Heb. 11:34)" --end quote.

 

In the physical universe we have the example of the atom. The tremendous power which we fear in our world is not the flow of great rivers or the floods which they cause. It is not the might of the tide as it pushes the millions of tons of water forward and then draws them back again. It is not the flash of the lightning or the crack of the thunder. It is something so small that we cannot see it. It is the atom which we fear, and it is the atom which has the unlimited power to blow the world apart. What would seem to be the weakest thing in the world is in reality an unbelievably powerful force. So it is that God in His dealing with humanity uses, not the great spectacular things which worldly rulers use, but the insignificant things which men despise  

One of the unique workings of God in the earth is that He has always delighted to use small instances to launch mighty movements. Divine wisdom has never been particular about the condition or position from which He selects His privileged sons who were to change the ages. God has His failures. His Kingdom cannot do without them. These failures are His men and women of promise, weak in themselves and the wisdom of this world, often walking the way of defeat, failure, humiliation, and resignation--unto glory. Did God choose ancient Israel because they were more or better or stronger than anybody else? If you had to choose a people to lead the rest of the world you probably would select the greatest and strongest on earth. But that is not how God works. Almighty God, in His infinite wisdom, works JUST THE OPPOSITE. God is the great miracle worker. He makes something out of nothing, and somebodies out of nobodies.  

Pharaoh thought that by slaying all the Hebrew male infants in Egypt that he could further oppress the people of God, but the very edict he sent forth opened the door for little Moses to slip right into his own house and be raised as his own son, finally overthrowing his throne and scattering the Egyptian tyrant and his armies upon the rocky depths of the Red Sea. Thus was the wisdom of Egypt confounded. Ah, the weak things! What was weaker than Moses' rod? God sent Moses against the mightiest empire of the world. Egypt then ruled the world. When Moses was wanted for God's service he was found on the back side of a mountain feeding sheep. God found him with just a shepherd's stick, and said, "What is that thou hast in thy hand?" and he answered, "A rod," and God said, "Throw it on the ground," and when he had done so it became a serpent, and Moses was afraid of it, but God said, "Take it by the tail," and he trusted God and took it by the tail, and it became a rod again. He stretched that rod over Egypt ten times, and ten times the heavens parted and God sent judgment on that people. With that rod he smote the waters of the Red Sea and they parted. With that rod he struck Jacob's rock at Horeb, and a vast Mississippi River sprang forth, enough for three and a half million famished souls, and all with flocks and herds. God chose the WEAK THINGS.  

God chooses the foolish things. It must have seemed very foolish to the people of Jericho for the army of God, 600,000 men, to march around Jericho with no weapons but ram's horns! Think of it. What artillery! What cannonading can they do? To the military wiseacres this was worse than nonsense; but still the 600,000 men marched and did nothing but blow ram's horns until the time came to shout, and when they shouted the echo of their shout was answered by the roar and crash of the falling walls of the doomed city. The thing that seemed foolish proved the greatest triumph possible.  

The Lord spoke to, and dealt with Gideon so encouragingly, when he was hidden in the winepress beating out wheat. The angel saluted him with: "Yahweh is with thee, thou mighty man of valor." Gideon did not appear to be either a mighty man or a man of valor, for he was hidden away for fear of the enemy. But it was not anything in Gideon that made him mighty; it was because of the Mighty One in the midst of him. And the Lord led him on until His gentleness made Gideon great, and he really became a mighty man of valor. How preciously God woos us on; and as we yield that He may work in us, He ascribes to us the fruit of His own working upon and within us, for HE IS MIGHTY IN US. What could be weaker than Gideon's three hundred, and what were their weapons? Nothing but lamps and pitchers, and the lamps would not shine until the pitchers were broken. The earthen pitcher represents the majority of believers today whose consciousness of their identity in the outer flesh-life has never been smashed to pieces by the inward power of the Holy Spirit. But when the pitchers were broken the inner light shone out with such brilliance that three hundred men with NOTHING BUT LIGHT were enough to scatter the hosts of the enemy and give victory. If our military generals are going to fight a battle they would want more men than that. But when God wants to fight a battle He delights in getting hold of the SMALLEST THING HE CAN FIND. He knew how to tumble a cake of barley-meal down into the camp of the Midianites, and have it confuse them so that they fell to slaying themselves, and the victory was the Lord's. In like manner ONE WORD from the realm of SPIRIT is enough to confuse and put to flight all the forces of sin, sickness, sorrow and death from the carnal mind.  

What was weaker than David's sling? It was just such a sling as any boy could make. David slipped down to the brook and picked up five stones, and gained a victory for God that all the army of Israel had failed to gain. Oh yes, God not only uses the foolish things, and the despised things, He also uses the ARE NOTS to bring to naught the things that are. Years after the slaying of Goliath David gathered around him 400 men who have been called DAVID'S MIGHTY MEN. But just who were these "mighty men"? These were the men out of Israel who were in distress, in debt, misfits, and discontented. They were a motley crew of FAILURES! But David under the leadership of the Holy Spirit took that weak and base and despised army and made them expert in war.  

Note how rare it is that a prophet ever comes forth from the ranks of privilege in either Church or State. Your mighty Elisha comes from the plough; it is seldom that he comes from the conventional school of the prophets. It seemed very foolish for Jesus in choosing disciples to ignore Jerusalem with the Sanhedrin and all its culture. There was no shortage of trained religious professionals to choose from--priests, scribes, lawyers, Pharisees, and Sadducees --but Jesus bypassed them all for a group of nobodies. How strange--to the natural man--that He ignored Rome--Rome that ruled the world, and was in the height of her splendor! The Son of God goes down to the shores of Galilee and gets twelve men. Here comes a young, unheard-of itinerant preacher from Nazareth, the "place of no good thing." He has only a collection of bedraggled, uneducated, untutored, unschooled, unlettered, unsophisticated men around Him who smell of fish. This is His corporate board of directors. Yet He claims it is going to triumph over Rome! When the hour arrives for Jesus to inaugurate His Church, the Pastor (Jesus Himself) was being executed between two thieves. The chairman of the board (Peter) was out cursing and swearing that he had never even met the Master. The treasurer (Judas) was committing suicide after embezzling funds. Most of the rest of the board members (the apostles) had run away. A few ladies from the Women's Fellowship were about the only ones who showed much faithfulness. Talk about a bunch of "ARE NOTS"! Shortly thereafter He leaves His followers with an assignment to preach the Word of His Kingdom in the uttermost parts of the earth. Little did those simple fishermen know that their work would one day extend to Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro, Lagos, London, and even Moscow! But when He had chosen them and filled them with fire out of the skies, the wisdom of this world was not able to resist the power with which they spake. “Foolish things" hath God chosen! "It pleased God," Augustine beautifully says, "in His infinite mercy, to save philosophers by means of fishermen, and not fishermen by means of philosophers."  

What was ever so weak as Christ? "He was crucified through weakness" (II Cor. 13:4). When God said, "Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness, and let them have dominion," it seems that God made a mistake. When He lowered that man into this gross material realm, made of dirt, of the dust of the ground, and formed him with the kind of human body we have, flesh and blood, soul and body, with all the appetites, desires and weaknesses we have, all the frailty, all the ability for twisting, warping, and spoiling things, when He created us like that and then thought that in such a physical, human, natural, earth-made body HIS IMAGE COULD BE MANIFESTED, it seems that God was mistaken. Could that human creature limited like us, rule the world, and judge angels, and subdue and control all the unbounded heavens unto the unlimited vastnesses of infinity? So God said, I will invade humanity and come down in the person of My Son, limit Myself to a human, physical body just like man has, with all its appetites, hunger, weakness, sorrow and death, and I will demonstrate the character, the life, the love, and the power of God on the human level. THE INCARNATION WAS GOD MANIFESTING HIMSELF WITHIN THE LIMITATION OF A HUMAN BODY. Christ could not fly like a bird, He could not see further than anybody else, He could not run faster than the other young men in His day, He got as tired as anybody else, He got hungry and thirsty, fell asleep, they could spit on Him and finally kill Him. Yet in Jesus Christ you have the perfect expression of God and the demonstration of the ultimate triumph of THE SPIRIT over all the weakness of the flesh.  

What is the importance of God in Christ Jesus? It means that the Spirit of God, the Son of God, the inner man, God Himself, can live and express Himself in a physical human body. When God invaded humanity in the body of Jesus Christ, took upon Himself human nature and limitation, was made in the likeness, not of glorified flesh, but of sinful flesh, and for thirty-three and a half years lived, walked, slept, and died in that body, manifesting God in the scope of humanity, it meant that God can by His Spirit of life within you, my beloved, live in these human bodies of ours, living in us, loving in us, reigning in us, speaking in us, blessing in us, and manifesting Himself in the absolute fullness of His Godhead. Being mocked, God was living in Him. Asleep in the back of a boat, God was living in Him. He goes to a tree and finds nothing on it, and God is living in Him. When He was weary, persecuted, hated, spit upon, nailed to the cross, God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.  

Do you see what God did? He made it possible for Himself to be at home in human bodies. "The tabernacle of God is with MAN" (Rev. 21:3). Not with angels, with man. "We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (Jn. 1:14). The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you," is the inspired admonition (Col. 3:16). This is not God in Jesus, this is God in YOU! That is not just a figure of speech, in your physical body is the tabernacle, the dwelling place of the eternal God. In man dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. "That you might be filled with ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD" (Eph. 3:19). God demonstrated this will of God for all mankind in the person of Jesus Christ, GOD manifest in the flesh. "The Father and I will...make our abode--be at home--with you" (Jn. 14:23). "Abode" means not to be a visitor but to settle down, without conflict. The SPIRIT will abide with you forever, so that the mind of the Spirit flows through your mind normally and naturally. The word of God shall flow out of your mouth normally and naturally. It seems some so-called prophecy cannot come forth unless the speaker starts to shake or change his tone of voice. Don't you know that God was speaking through Jesus all the time?  

It is a wonder when we think of the method that God used to accomplish the redemption. It was not that He appeared as some blazing flame of fire from the heavens. No! He came as "a little tiny baby thing that made His mother cry." God in swaddling clothes! A wonder indeed to behold! God as a teenager, God as a carpenter, God as the wandering peasant preacher who proclaimed a new message which startled men. Everywhere He went He caused people to wonder, "What manner of man is this?" In one moment He is wearily lying in the back of a ship and in the next He says, "Peace, be still," and the waves cease their roaring and the winds die at His command. "What manner of man is this?" "Whence hath He these things, seeing that He never learned?" Here the wisest man that ever lived astounds the doctors and the lawyers and the theologians with the depth and profundity of His wisdom. It is a wonder by the principle on which it operates, a principle which is so foreign to anything we know in this world. It is a principle which most people have never even dimly grasped--that God is Spirit, that God tabernacles in human flesh, that man is basically spiritual, not physical, that we can live out of the Spirit so that out of the greatest weakness is revealed the greatest strength, God manifest in the flesh! It is the principle that GOD HATH CHOSEN THE FOOLISH, WEAK, BASE, AND DESPISED THINGS of the world to confound the wisdom of the wise and the power of the mighty.  

The meaning of the incarnation is that God could drink out of a bottle if Jesus drank out of a bottle, God in Him learned to crawl before He learned to walk, God learned a language and stumbled over the words before He got it straight, for God limited Himself to the limitation of man that He might increase in man to the unlimited capacity of the Spirit. When God dwells in us and Christ is living in us, it is not something foreign that has invaded us. Paul did not say, "For me to be spiritual and shake and fall out under the power is Christ." He said, "For me to LIVE is Christ" (Phil. 1:21). Living for Paul did not mean those supernatural moments when he was seeing visions and hearing voices and being caught up into the third heaven. It meant for Paul to walk from one town to another on the dusty streets with Christ walking in him and as him. It was for Paul to sew tents, with Christ making tents through him. It was speaking to people and manifesting the love of God, with Christ manifesting that love through him. THE LIVING OF HIS LIFE WAS CHRIST. So now God can be at home in us, without any strangeness or abnormality. God can live in us, manifest His life in us in the office, in the shop, in the home, in every relationship of life. At all times, in all places, under all circumstances it is God manifest in the flesh, the Spirit living out through the soul and body. As one brother said, "I drive my car in the Spirit--if you don't believe it you should see the spirit some people drive their cars in!"  

As great as was the mighty apostle Paul, yet he said that he was the "chief of sinners," the "off scouring of all things," "contemptible" in the eyes of so many, "for they say, His letters are weighty and impressive and forceful and telling, but his personality and bodily presence are weak, and his speech and delivery are utterly contemptible of no account" (II Cor. 10:10). It should not surprise us that those whom the Lord has chosen and is preparing to PROMOTE to the highest rank for His own pre-determined purposes will be those that seem most unlikely and unfit for such a "high calling" according to human estimates and values. And it should not seem strange to us that God has deliberately chosen for the firstfruits company of the sons of God, those typified by Jacob the schemer and trickster, by Joseph misunderstood, hated, sold into slavery and condemned to years of misery and oblivion in an Egyptian dungeon, by David the young shepherd boy, who was the least likely candidate for becoming king amongst his seven brothers, by the dark-skinned Shulamite maiden (a native shepherdess) of the Song of Solomon, who was so dark and uncomely and common, of peasantry rather than royalty! I do not hesitate to tell you that those precious saints who walk in the Spirit, love the truth and embrace the promises--who by any religious standards would be voted the most UNLIKELY TO SUCCEED in any spiritual endeavor--will in fact be God's Kings and Priests for the age and the ages to come!  

The following words penned by George Hawtin add a dimension of fullness to the truth I now share. "Thus is the door of sonship SLAMMED SHUT in the face of the rich, the mighty, the famous, and the great, but OPENED WIDE to the poor, the humble, and the unknown. 'For He hath shown strength with His arm; He hath SCATTERED THE PROUD in the imagination of his heart. He hath PUT DOWN THE MIGHTY from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath FILLED THE HUNGRY with good things, and THE RICH He hath sent EMPTY AWAY' (Lk. 1:51-53). Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are they that mourn, blessed are the merciful, blessed are the pure in heart, blessed are the peacemakers, and blessed are the persecuted, for they shall be called God's sons and they shall be the children of the Kingdom of God. Is it any wonder then that those mighty shall be ashamed who come saying, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name, and in Thy name done MANY WONDERFUL WORKS,' for they shall hear Him say, 'I NEVER KNEW YOU!' It is a sadness to my heart that the world today is filled with such men. You hear them and see them everywhere. They clamor to be rich and honored of men, but they shall be ashamed. Let the humble who have faithfully prayed, suffered persecution, been misunderstood and unnoticed as they cast their mite into the treasury of the Lord, rejoice, for HE HATH REGARDED THE LOWLY ESTATE of His handmaiden, and the rich He hath sent away empty" --end quote.  

As we approach the more excellent ministry of the sons of God and that greater glory of the age of the Kingdom of God, I must confess that in the face of my own weakness and the seeming insignificance of those elect of God scattered across the face of the earth today I feel a bit like the little boy in a story I heard one time. The little boy called at a house selling picture post cards for a dime a piece. He was asked what he was going to do with the money he was earning. He said, "I'm raising $100,000 for our new school building." The startled customer replied, "Do you expect to raise it all by yourself?" He answered with a straight and serious face, "Oh, no sir. There's another little boy helping me."  

That, precious friend of mine, is just the glory of CENTAURUS--"the despised"--who lays down his life, bringing redemption to all mankind! Centaurus is the epitome of those foolish, weak, base, and despised are nots who bring to naught the powers that are. Glorious victory! Hallelujah to the Lamb!  

Brother, sister, do you feel neglected, unnoticed, unhonored, unseen, and unsung? Do you seem to those who know you, as being a little peculiar, as one who certainly isn't doing much for God--separated from all the religious activities, soul saving crusades, not involved with the great and grandiose programs of the church systems of the world? Surely you are judged as having little or nothing, for your strong foundations, laid down during a long period of processing, are hardly noticeable to those who pass by. "Nevertheless THE FOUNDATION OF GOD STANDETH SURE, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His!" (II Tim. 2:19). As someone has written, "You may be so unlearned that you cannot recite the alphabet, so unwise that you could not make one right decision, so weak that all men would oppress you, and so dishonored that none would associate with you, but if your spirit has beheld these things which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, then you have attained a wisdom which this world knoweth not. God did not choose you because you were better or greater than someone else, but because God chose you and ordained you that He might commit unto you the word of reconciliation for the age to come when all men, through the ministry of God's sons, shall be brought to the fullness of the knowledge of God. There was nothing in us that we deserved to be chosen. The God of Jerusalem said to her, 'Thy birth and thy nativity is in the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite. And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all nor swaddled at all. None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee...' (Eze. 16:3-5). We were chosen rather for weakness than for strength and for our foolishness rather than our wisdom, for GOD HAS CHOSEN the weak things to confound the mighty and foolish things to confound the wise, and things which are not to bring to naught the things that are that no FLESH should glory in His presence."  

Welcome, my beloved, to GOD'S FOOLISH FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY!

 


Chapter 8 

VIRGO--THE VIRGIN

(continued) 

In last month's Study on the Signs of the heavens we considered the three Decans, or three secondary constellations grouped about the Sign of Virgo. The first is called Coma. It depicts a woman sitting in a chair holding a child in her arms, which she is contemplating and admiring. The name Coma means "the desired" or "the longed for" -- the very word which Haggai the prophet uses where he speaks of the coming Messiah as "THE DESIRE of all nations." "And I will shake all nations, and THE DESIRE of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts" (Hag. 2:7). Historically this is Jesus the Christ. Prophetically it is the manchild or the manifested sons of God--the complete Christ, Head and body. How this precious child is DESIRED!  

The second constellation of Virgo is Centaurus. It is depicted as a centaur, which in ancient times was a creature having the head and torso of a man, with the body and legs of a horse, and thus a dual-natured being. Centaurs were believed to be heaven-begotten. They were born of the clouds; they were sons of the gods. But they were despised, hated and abhorred by both gods and men. The Centaur in the Decan of Virgo is pictured going forth as a hunter, with a spear he is slaying a beast which is called the VICTIM, and the whole scene appears in the heavens against the back-ground of the Southern Cross or Crux. The name of this constellation in Arabic, Chaldaic and Hebrew was BEZEH, meaning "the despised one"--just the opposite of Coma, "the desired." Yet --they are one and the same! This title BEZEH, meaning "the despised one," is found several times in the Hebrew Old Testament. Most commonly known of the passages in which it is to be discovered is Isa. 53:3 where it appears twice in one verse. Referring to the rejection of Israel's Messiah by that nation, the prophet cries, "He is DESPISED (BEZEH) and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and we hid as it were our faces from Him; and He was DESPISED (BEZEH) and we esteemed Him not."

Let us summarize the scene. Here is a double-natured being, out of the heavens, yet in the likeness of men, who, to men is repulsive and despised, yet really great, powerful and beneficent, pushing with his spear at the heart of some victim, and moving all the while over the constellation of the Cross. What a picture! Historically this is Jesus, the man who is the Lord from heaven, but made in the likeness of sinful flesh,. humbling Himself to be despised and rejected of men, yet great, powerful and glorious with words divine attended by signs, wonders, miracles, and authority and grace such as men had never witnessed, yet laying down His life, slaying Himself, as a Victim, over a cross, as a sacrifice, a sweet smelling saviour unto God.  

The message which beams from this awe-inspiring picture is also enunciated by the apostle Paul in I Cor. 1:26-29. "Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty...that no flesh should glory in His presence." And so it has been, even as the apostle declared, that the Lord rarely calls the mighty ones of this world. No, He calls the lowly, the meek, the humble; those possessing a simple, childlike faith; those who in their hearts are humbly and truly seeking Him, "if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him" (Acts 17:27). To these, and these alone, He reveals the glorious MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM.  

This, indeed, is a miracle of the ages; it is one of the most thrilling of all the Lord's arrangements for His people. For, to know and understand these precious truths is a confirmation of our sonship; it is assurance that the seed has fallen on good ground and that it is being received into good and honest hearts. It is evidence that the great God of the universe has begun a good work in us, that He has called us and is dealing with us as His children. Is this not a marvelous arrangement! And so we can say with the apostle that "we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew" (I Cor. 2:7-8). But we have the mind of Christ, and He has revealed these things to us by His Spirit. For unto us, unspeakably, amazingly, "it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God."  

To those who have not eyes to see the grand and glorious purposes of God He appears to do some very foolish things, and to exhibit a lot of weakness for One who is supposed to be the omnipotent Creator of the universe. The wonder of His ways is revealed in the fact that it is in these very things that God is pleased to reveal His glory, His wisdom and His power: to baffle the wisdom of the wise, and to bring to naught the counsels of the mighty. As George Warnock once wrote: "Therefore, in the midst of the apostasy of modern day Christianity, and the hypocrisy and artificiality of modern day religion, we who know somewhat of God's ways can rejoice in the fact that it is just like God, in times like these, to rend the heavens and come down in power and great glory...and yet in ways that will seem strange and foolish in the eyes of the world. We are confident that the darkness and gloom about us will once again become the fitting background for the display of the gems of His glory. Some good Christian people are trying to set the stage for God to work, but God always has to by-pass these efforts, for He has prepared the stage upon which He will reveal His sons who are moving in harmony with His will. For it is consistent with God's character and way, and with the jealousy of His Glory, that the greater the work He will perform in the earth--the greater will be the measure of weakness and foolishness that He will cause an unbelieving world to behold."  

God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. As far back as Isaiah God said that He would cause the wisdom of the wise to perish or disappear. It will be made to disappear, not by a mighty act or work of God, but by some foolish thing of the world. Foolish means something which is dull or stupid. Ah, the weakness of God is stronger than the might of man! God will take a thing in the world that man looks upon as stupid or dull and use that to cause the wisdom of the world to perish or disappear. The dull or stupid thing, so regarded by the "enlightened" religious world, will confound, disgrace, or "put to the blush" the wisdom of the wise. The wise man of the religious world will be put to shame by that which he considers to be stupid, yet is chosen of God. God is choosing that which is weak, which has no strength of itself, to confound, to disgrace, to make to blush those things which are mighty in the world. To know the mind of God we must have the mind of Christ. And the mind of Christ is this, that He emptied and humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death. This humility was His capacity, His fitness for rising to the throne of God. This mind must be in us if the hidden wisdom of God is to be revealed in us in power. This is the mark of the spiritual, the perfect man.  

Dearly beloved, consider Jesus! The popular notion is that the death of Christ was His cruel death upon the cross of Calvary. The truth is far greater than that, for the Christ in fact died three times, or shall we say that His death was three-fold, having three dimensions. We read in Isa. 53:9, "And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death." It is interesting to note that in the Hebrew the word death is plural--"deaths." Is that not rather curious? "In His deaths!" Did Christ die more than one death? The plural, "deaths," intensifies the force; as of Adam it is said, in the Hebrew, that "dying thou shalt die" (Gen. 2:17), that is, Adam would enter into a DEATH PROCESS in which he would pass from one realm of death to another and die and die and continue to die until the process was completed and he was totally dead (separated from the consciousness of life) in every aspect, spirit, soul, and body; so the Christ experienced a reverse PROCESS OF DEATH that lead Him from death to death until He had died to all the negative in every realm and could live only unto God in the Spirit forevermore. He made His grave with the wicked and with the rich in His DEATHS.  

Paul clearly sets forth the scope of Christ's sacrifice when he says, "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich" (II Cor. 8:9). This passage points to the fact of the pre-existence of our Lord and clearly identifies His sacrifice. The sacrifice He made did not happen AFTER His incarnation, but BEFORE. He left the "GLORY that He had with the Father BEFORE THE WORLD WAS" and His boundless "RICHES in glory" and entered into this gross material realm, being "made in all points like unto His brethren." Ah--before ever the babe appeared in Bethlehem's manger, the Christ had DIED TO ALL THAT HE WAS AS GOD in order to become a man! When Jesus came and was numbered with the transgressors, He cut every tie binding Him to heaven. He burned every bridge behind in His course of action. With this in mind we can appreciate the magnitude of His sacrifice set forth in these words of inspiration: "Let this same attitude and purpose and humble mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus. Let Him be your example in humility--who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God (possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God, God), did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained; but STRIPPED HIMSELF of all privileges and rightful dignity so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born as a human being. And after He had appeared in human form He abased and humbled Himself STILL FURTHER and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross!” (Phil 2:5-8, Amplified). Truly, He DIED TO ALL THAT HE WAS AS ALMIGHTY GOD, He emptied Himself and became poor, becoming a MAN. THAT WAS HIS FIRST DEATH. When He laid down His divine consciousness and entered into the charnel house of this fallen world, "He made His grave with the wicked," and when He died physically, He was laid in the tomb of the wealthy Arimathaean and thus made His grave "with the rich."  

When Christ left the glory and riches of celestial life and was "made flesh," what sort of a condition did He enter into? He was not spared the lowliest kind of birth. Humanly speaking, Jesus was not born to the purple. Into the arms of a peasant maiden He came, in a stable rough-hewn out of the hillside, yonder in a little land whose light seemed to have gone out and whose people were the helpless subjects of a foreign power. If one has walked in Bethlehem and walked in Rome, he surely must be impressed with the contrast. Jesus might have been born in Rome, in the palace of the Caesars, an imperial establishment with such a range of wealth and extravagance that even the mules of the royal stables were shod with silver. But He was not thus born. And for reasons good enough. He came to found an empire of which Rome, with her pride and tyranny, could never be the symbol. He came to win an allegiance that no legions in shining armor could ever compel. That empire is the empire of LOVE and that allegiance the response that men can make to that which they know to be love and which, because it is love, rules their lives by winning their hearts. So down this costly way of unsparing love Jesus came, His delivery room a barn, His cradle a manger, and His lot in life cast among the poor.  

Handel H. Brown tells us in his extensively researched work, WHEN JESUS CAME, that "the inns, or khans, were usually quite crude affairs. They consisted of a series of thatched rooms built around a central courtyard. Often they were no more than covered porches. The travelers brought their own food for man and beast. They brought the pot in which to cook it on an open fire in the yard. They brought their bedding, and often their firewood. They looked to the innkeeper for water and shelter. When Mary and Joseph reached Bethlehem, no one took any notice of them. They were lost in a milling crowd of nameless ones. None of them had wanted to come. Like most of the men, Joseph wore crude sandals which were made of castoff rope. They were the badge of the poor. Mary was barefooted. The innkeeper took one look at them, and when he said, 'No room,' he meant it. The innkeeper turned them away. Joseph had to lead the weary donkey to a common stable. Those who have seen an Eastern byre, retch at the thought. There was no trace of the sapphire mist, or the scent of sandalwood, of which sentiment is so fond. It was full of insects with shrill voices. The loathsome blue flies gorged themselves on offal. Neither door nor curtain covered the opening of the cave. When Mary 'brought forth her firstborn son' in all the discomfort and inconvenience of a stable, she 'wrapped him in swaddling clothes' (Lk. 2:7). Then Mary laid Him in 'a manger.' This was a feeding trough used by animals. It was probably a hollowed-out stone. It was heavy enough so that the cattle could not push it around or upset it.  

"The angel said to the shepherds that star-lit night, 'THIS is the SIGN unto you: Ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger' (Lk. 2:t2). This probably shook them more than anything else. Had they heard correctly? Surely the least they could expect for THE SIGN of such an event would be an outstanding miracle. It would be a sign at least comparable to the rod of Moses turning into a serpent (Ex. 4:2), or the sundial of Ahaz being reversed to convince king Hezekiah that God would heal him (II Kings 20:8). Yet they were not even granted the miracle of a star hovering over 'where the young child was' (Mat. 2:9). The problem was not that the sign was commonplace. It was worse than that. Babies were common enough, but who, except the outcast or the poverty-stricken, would put a baby in a manger? That was a place for cattle fodder. 'A babe...lying in a manger.'  

"But for the forewarning of the angel, this was the only child in Bethlehem they would have passed by without a second glance! The manger would have been an insurmountable stumbling block to them. They were looking for a SAVIOUR. The angel had spoken of CHRIST--the anointed of God for the redemption of the world. He had used of Him a title which really belonged to Almighty God Himself--the LORD. Who would look for 'the Anointed Lord' in a manger? Yet this was THE sign. They would recognize Him, not in spite of, but because of, His low estate. They would find Him, of whom all the prophets had spoken, in a MANGER. It is difficult to grasp such condescension. It is also hard to imagine a bigger difference between what the shepherds expected and what they received. The contrast between the glory of the heavenly host and the meanness of the stable cannot be exaggerated. When they inhaled the fetid air of the polluted den, these sons of the great outdoors must have wondered, 'Do angels come to speak of such things?"' --end quote. The message is clear--God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak, base, and despised things of the world to confound the things which are mighty! It is the law of His Kingdom.  

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.. 50:10,12), 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 rightist 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 into 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.  

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!"  

CHRIST CRUCIFIED  

But we must go further. When Jesus came into the world He died to all that He was as God  to become a man. After thirty years, reaching full manhood, He came to the Jordan and there died to all that He was as a man to be the Son of God with power--God manifest in the flesh. Finally He came to Calvary where He died to all that He was as the Son in I order to redeem and restore all men back into the image of God--the Spirit. "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32). Jesus was not spared in His birth, nor was He spared in His life, nor was He spared in His death. Look at Him, precious friend of mine, as they lay rough hands on Him and lead Him away. Never before has such an One marched to the condemnation of death; never since. "He that spared not His own Son..." Now the unsparing process moves swiftly and painfully. He is "delivered up for us all." Delivered up to the kiss of the betrayer! Delivered up to the infuriated mob! Delivered up to the hammer and the nails! Delivered up to die, His heaven-piercing cry, "My God, My God, Why hast Thou forsaken Me!" fading out in the hush of its own dying echoes.  

I pray that the Holy Spirit will impress upon the hearts of all who follow after sonship the deep mystery of CHRIST CRUCIFIED. It is the power of an EXCHANGED LIFE, the laying down of the human life (identity, consciousness) to take up the divine life. Jesus fully and completely did this for us, that BY HIM we may follow in His footsteps. This beautiful truth is wrapped in the arms of one single verse in Isa. 40:31. This is what it says: "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." The key word is "renew." "They that wait upon the Lord shall RENEW their strength." The word actually means "exchange." What the prophet is saying is, "They that wait upon the Lord will exchange strength." It means that, as we wait upon the Lord, refusing to either recognize or demonstrate any ability of our own, our strength will be taken away and exchanged for His strength. It is not a matter of combining our strength with His, or asking Him to bless and increase our strength, but a complete removal of our strength, and a putting on of His. God says, "If you're strong, if you can do it yourself, you don't need Me." But of course our strength is limited, imperfect, insufficient, finite, mortal, corruptible. His strength, on the other hand, is unlimited, perfect, all-sufficient, infinite, immortal and incorruptible. WHAT AN EXCHANGE!  

You will never understand the deep mystery of the cross until you grasp this principle of the EXCHANGED LIFE. What a cross it takes to bring to death our ways, our thinking, our ideas, our perceptions, our plans and purposes, our abilities and efforts! God would bring all who long for sonship and life to a place of complete and total dependence on HIM, THE SPIRIT WITHIN, so that He can live out His life IN US. We are His disciples, having taken a position against our outer selves by saying, "Lord, I renounce my wisdom, my strength, my ability, my (supposed) spirituality," for our trouble lies in the belief: "I am capable, I can work for God, I am holy, I am spiritual, I know something." That is our soul-life, the life of the flesh, the outer man. God wants that whole realm crucified and in its place Christ ruling and reigning within. Jesus Himself set forth the pattern, "being put to death in the FLESH, but quickened in the SPIRIT: by which (the Spirit) He went and preached..." (I Pet. 3:18-19). He was put to death in the flesh, all that was of earthly mind, self, error, mortality, limitation, and not of God delivered up to crucifixion, that He might live only in and by the Spirit, heavenly mind, truth, incorruption.  

"They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh..." (Gal. 5:24). "I am crucified," says Paul. The "I" is the soul, the life of the outer man. In its place comes another self which is Christ. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" (GaI. 2:20). This Christ-self will now be manifested out of your spirit. While you in your own self have renounced all wisdom and power, Christ becomes the wisdom of God and the power of God in you. Paul was not, like some of the other disciples, an ignorant and unlearned man. His was the best education available in his time. His speech to the men of Athens, on Mars Hill, is still recognized as one of the best classics of persuasive debate, and of homoletical and literary arrangement. His background, training, and reputation among his fellows was such that he could declare, "I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more" (Phil. 3:4). But Paul turned it all aside. He was willing to decrease. "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ" (Phil. 3:7). Although, as we have seen, Paul was capable of eloquent speech, he wrote the Corinthians, "My speech and my preaching was NOT with enticing words of man's wisdom, BUT IN DEMONSTRATIONOF THE S-P-I-R-I-T AND OF POWER" (I Cor. 2:4). In the next verse he tells us why he had laid aside his natural talents to depend upon the power of God and that alone. "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God." If the power of GOD WITHIN were given its rightful place today, more people's faith would stand in the power of God. Not so many would be trusting in their "church" for salvation and security, not so many would be carried away by some preacher's personality, so that they are of no use to God nor man unless they can work under his leadership.  

There is a greater manifestation of strength when in yourself you have no strength at all. Is that not a strange paradox? "I am crucified...nevertheless I live; yet not I" --not the old I- "but Christ liveth in me." Why then should there not be power and wisdom and grace and authority and victory manifested in us? Christ lives in you and HE is victorious. Out of your innermost being shall flow rivers of living water, a flow of revelation and victory and power and triumph out of weakness and death. This is the ministry of the SPIRIT. Even though we renounce our wisdom, the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are manifested in us, for they are hid IN HIM IN US --THE SPIRIT! Nothing of spiritual value comes out of the shallow well of the outer man or out of the stirring of our soulish ability. We have to settle for it that what is going to bring humanity to God in these last days will be that which out of weakness is made strong, out of death and nothingness brings life.   

Christianity today has no need greater than the need to know the power and glory of the CHRIST WITHIN. 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. The divine nature 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 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)  

After having created the SPIRITUAL MAN (man in God's image) in Gen. 1:26, we find a further work wrought upon this man in Gen. 2:7. "And the Lord God FORMED MAN OF THE DUST OF THE GROUND, and breathed into his nostrils the breath (spirit) of life; and man BECAME a living soul." Reading this passage we have the definite assurance that, as man has first been "created" on the sixth day a spiritual man, the image of God, a further work is being carried forth by the same almighty Creator and the man is now being "formed" into another expression: "FORMED of the dust of the ground," and so BECOMING a "living soul" -- manifest in the earth realm. The first is the "created" man, the second the "formed" man. The first is a "spiritual" man, the second a "physical" man. The first bears the image of the "heavenly," whereas the second bears the image of the "earthly." The first is known unto God in the SPIRIT, the second is manifest to creation in the MATERIAL WORLD. But I do not hesitate to tell you, my beloved, that both of these men are but aspects of the very SAME MAN!  

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 door of 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.  

Now to come back to our original thought--CHRIST CRUCIFIED. Our Lord died to all that He was as God to become a man. He died to all that He was as a man to become the Son of God--TRUE MAN! And He died to all that He was as a Son to bring us to God. His crucifixion was the continual laying down of SELF, and the outpouring of LIFE. It meant dying to everything in every realm that was anything LESS THAN GOD. For us it pioneered the pathway of VICTORY OVER THE FLESH, which is also victory over sin, sickness, limitation and death. The cross and the resurrection are the supreme examples of what Paul means when he says, "But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: THAT NO FLESH SHOULD GLORY IN HIS PRESENCE. But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is MADE UNTO US wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, LET HIM GLORY IN THE LORD" (I Cor. 1:27-31). 

Strength, my friend, springs out of weakness! Life emerges out of death! Victory is secured in the heat of battle! These are the laws of the Kingdom, and it is the lesson of the Centaur in the heavens! This is the high drama of the double-natured Centaur carrying the spear and slaying the Victim--for those elect sons of God represented by this Centaur are both human and divine, earthly and heavenly, and they are both Centaur and Victim. It means the laying down of the life for the world. It is giving ourselves to the triumph of heaven's life in our earthen vessels, but not for ourselves alone, but for creation's sake, that there shall be an outflow of life to touch men and quicken them again to the realities of the Spirit--the Paradise of God. This is sonship! This is God IN us, God AS us, God LOVING THROUGH US, God FLOWING OUT of us, loving through us, redeeming through us, reconciling and restoring all by us. Amen. So be it!

 


Chapter 9 

LIBRA--THE SCALES 

The immutable testimony of the Holy Spirit bears faithful witness to the fact that our omniscient and omnipotent God created and designed the scintillating splendors of the heavens with their Zodiacal configurations, displaying therein the wisdom, ways and purposes of the Lord unto His people who are able to receive the message communicated for their instruction and edification. "It is God who removes the mountains, they know not how, when He overturns them in His anger; who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble; who commands the sun not to shine, and SETS A SEAL UPON THE STARS; who alone stretches out the heavens, and tramples down the waves of the sea; WHO MAKES THE BEAR, ORION, AND THE PLEIADES, and the chambers of the south; who does great things, unfathomable, and wondrous works without number" (Job 9:5-10, N.A.S.).  

All that is to take place in the earthy, literal realm has first been fulfilled in the spiritual realm. The heavens cast their shadow upon the earth, or shall we say the earthy IS THE SHADOW of the heavenly. The inspired writer to the Hebrews referred to "the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith He, thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount" (Heb. 8:5). The pattern which was shown to Moses in the mount was according to "the example and shadow of heavenly things." The tabernacle was first created in the heavenlies, and was later made on earth. The plan and purpose of God was first recorded in the heavens, and was later written in the Bible. Likewise, as the Lord has set a seal upon the stars of the heavens, so has He sealed His servants, the Sons of Light, in their foreheads (Rev. 7:1-8). These facts clearly reveal that all that has been displayed in the constellations of the heavens shall be spiritually fulfilled in God's elect saints here upon earth in due time. The truth of God is as vast and expansive as the measureless distance of the unbounded sidereal above. Consider the fathomless expanses of the innumerable galaxies sprinkled through the universe, and you will realize that we have barely scratched the surface of divine truth. And the truth that is yet to be revealed to us, in us, through us and AS US cab only be received and experienced by a divine revelation and an impartation of that truth by the Spirit of God. The Lord Himself is the great architect of the Kingdom of Heaven. He is revealing His purposes to us by His Spirit, and is leading us to walk out the necessary steps that establish His truth as reality and life within.  

LIBRA--THE SCALES  

Having previously dealt with Virgo, the Virgin, we now come in our series to the second house or constellation in the Zodiac: Libra, the Scales. The Zodiac consists of the twelve Signs that are around the ecliptic of the heavens, as well as the 36 Decans or pieces which go with them. There is a major Sign and three Decans, or minor Signs, in each of the houses or mansions, or "tabernacles for the sun," as Psalm 19:4 describes them. We now turn our prayerful attention to the major Sign in the second house which is LIBRA. In Latin it means "the scales" and in Hebrew it is MOZANAIM, "the scales weighing." Libra is always pictured as a pair of old fashioned balances or scales which work like a seesaw, an instrument with a beam or lever supported exactly in the middle, having two scales or pans of equal weight suspended from its two ends. When a certain weight is placed in one scale, then a corresponding amount must be placed in the other scale, if it is to be in balance. It is the most accurate kind of scale. They were used by the Egyptians thousands of years ago, to weigh things like wheat. The wheat would be placed in one large pan or basket and a stone in the other. The stone usually weighed about fourteen pounds. When the lever was balanced, it meant that there were fourteen pounds of wheat in the basket. This figure pictures the idea of being IN BALANCE, neither lacking nor being overweighed on the other side. It bespeaks of a state of sufficiency, equilibrium, correctness. When there is more weight on one side than the other, it is unequal and out of balance--so that which is lacking needs to be ADDED until a balance is achieved again.  

In Greek mythology Libra commemorated Mochis, the inventor of weights and measures. Libra also represented the balances of Astraea, the goddess of Justice, in which the fate of all mortal men must eventually be weighed. The Egyptians identified Libra with the scales in which the human heart is weighed after death. In India, Libra was also known as a balance, shown in their Zodiac as a kneeling man holding up a pair of scales. It is associated from very ancient times, by every nation under the heavens, with the patrons of justice and order. For this reason even today scales are often used as a symbol on buildings housing courts of law and justice where trials are held, accusations and disputes are settled, and the awards of justice declared and given.  

In Libra the scales are NOT BALANCED--one side is high and the other is low. The figure of the scales found in all the Eastern and most ancient Zodiacs has the low side hanging toward the deadly Scorpion (the serpent; satan). In some instances the pan on the low side was held by the Scorpion's claws. In Libra there are two bright stars with spiritually significant names. The first is called ZUBEN AL GENUBI meaning "the price is deficient." The second is called ZUBEN AL CHEMALI meaning "the price that covers." All this clearly shows that this Sign of the Zodiac has reference to some great adjustments relating to deficiencies, defaults or defects, involving prices and payments. Obviously, we begin with a DEFICIT which is later ADJUSTED--from "the price is deficient" to "the price that covers." It is the picture of man, weighed in the balances and found wanting; man missing the mark; man lacking a little from Elohim; man face to face with divine justice weighing the demerits and awards of self, sin, carnality and death on the one hand, and the commensurate price and infinite power of REDEMPTION AND RESTORATION on the other. In our journey from the natural to the spiritual realm we are continually faced with our dreadful sense of LACK and the need to apprehend the necessary restoration to WHOLENESS IN GOD. This profound sense of lack, with the corresponding dealings of God to meet that deficiency and bring our state of being into completeness and balance, are wrought out under the spiritual influences signified by the Sign of Libra--the place of weighing.  

Some time ago a sister in Christ was carried in vision into a revelation of this place and process of divine weighing. She wrote: "There are many places in God, and each one is different from the others; in fact, all things are in Him. Today He took me to a new place of great severity and cold exactitude, where the balances of God weigh, with inflexible vigor, all things from the smallest to the greatest. Although the sense of warm, flowing love is absent, it is, nevertheless, the background against which the severity of His balances operates. Here there is tremendous exactitude and perfection of harmonic distribution where nothing, not even the smallest atom, is out of place, for all things are located in exact positions. Although nothing moves from its designated place, nevertheless, all things are greatly moved upon by the tremendous operations of these powers of great severity. In this place of weighing which is in continuous and ceaseless operation, all things are examined and weighed to utmost perfection; not one thing, no matter how small, is ever overlooked. In this judging place which is impartial, inflexible, solemn and severe, the atmosphere is not like that of a tribunal or court of justice. It is more like that of a school principal's office, where a disobedient chili is brought for correction, or a godly home, where the sole purpose of the wise discipline of an upright father is to bring a rebellious child to right paths."  

BEFORE THE WORLDS WERE FRAMED  

It is my deep conviction that all of God's sons are standing today in the place of weighing. We are at the end of this dispensation. That which we must do must be done now, and what we are to be we must become now. Therefore "let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty on high.” 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; 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 testings 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).  

WEIGHED IN THE BALANCES  

In Libra we see two scales, one of the scales is tipped down, the other is up revealing an imbalance, deficiency, lack--showing the failure of man to be weighed properly in the scales of God. Some glad morning, the dawn of which methinks I now behold, when the processings 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.  

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!  

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 processings 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.  

Eve was deceived in this realm by a half-truth--it is not that the devil has no truth--even the truth he has is a lie--for it is truth out of balance, partial truth, a half-truth, which, though it contains an element of truth, is not truth at all, but a lie. In the true and eloquent words of a friend: "The serpent in the garden of Eden used an argument that is correct IN FORM, but because it was ONLY FORM and had lost its ESSENCE, Eve was deceived by it. What was the argument that he used that was 'correct in form but actually invalid?' Hear it! 'God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof your eyes shall be opened!' That was truth--and 'ye shall be as gods' was also a truth, for after the man and the woman had eaten, the Lord God Himself verified the serpent's statement as being absolute truth. 'Behold, the man is become as ONE OF US to know good and evil,' God said (Gen. 3:22). He was saying that Adam had become a god himself! "Ye shall be as gods,' the serpent had said, and that he told the truth is confirmed in the words, 'The man has become as one of us' --he has become AS A GOD! In FORM, then, the serpent had a truth. He had, in fact, drawn on the very Word of God itself to tempt Adam and Eve, for the Lord had said, 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.' What the serpent failed to reveal, however, was the ESSENCE of the form which is that INDEPENDENTLY OF GOD man can NEVER be a partaker of the divine nature! This should have been self-evident truth, but man failed to see it. Man became a god, alright, in the eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil--but he became a god in the wrong realm, for at the same time that God acknowledged man's 'deity' He also CAST HIM FROM THE GARDEN--cast him from the consciousness of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth--and set him in the earth 'to till the ground from which he was taken.' Thus, we find that Adam truly became a 'god' --as the serpent promised and the Lord confirmed--but he was not an heavenly god. He became, rather, the 'god of THIS WORLD' (II Cor. 4:4). It is one thing to be 'a partaker of the divine nature' and it is quite another thing to be the 'god of this world.' In the former, there is contained the thought of TOTAL DEPENDENCE -- in the latter, the principle of INDEPENDENCE" --end quote.  

Independence--separation--fragmentation--imbalance--these terms each bespeak of that which has come OUT OF God into a state of division, disunion, thus lacking wholeness. As we pointed out earlier, all sin, evil, darkness and death is the result of an IMBALANCE or LACK. "For all have sinned (missed the mark) and COME SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD" (Rom. 3:23).  

One of the great principles of the universe is the principle of BALANCE. If the earth were a few miles closer to the sun, it would be an inferno. If it were a few miles farther away, it would be a desolate, frigid desert. But in its present location, balanced at an ideal distance from the sun, our planet is in a perfect condition to sustain an exciting proliferation of life forms. None of the other planets in our solar system can accommodate life because they are all unbalanced in their relationship to the sun. Disease is the product of imbalance in the physiological system. Cancer is one of the most dangerous and most dreaded of all diseases. In cancer, some of the cells of the body become disorganized and begin to grow so fast that they choke off organs of the body that our lives depend on. When those organs can no longer work, the person dies.  

Many things that are good for us can become threats to our well-being if they get out of hand. Water is good, but too much causes a flood. Cars provide efficient transportation, but too many of them in one place can cause a traffic jam. We need food every day, but if we eat too much, it shows up in the wrong places--our hips and waistlines. Things like these we must keep under control. The most important form of control is self-control, which originates within our hearts by the spirit. To exercise self-control, we must be moderate--temperate--balanced--we must restrain the impulses of the flesh and the emotions and desires of the carnal mind. "Now the fruit of the SPIRIT is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, fidelity, tolerance, SELF-CONTROL--against these there is no law" (Gal. 5:22-23, KJV & Phillips). Interesting, isn't it, that self-control is a fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT! The Lord our God is ONE Lord -- united, undivided, unfragmented, BALANCED in all His attributes and Being. Nothing is out of control, nothing unbalanced, no lack or over abundance anywhere, no contradiction or conflict. That is just the problem with man--he is OUT OF BALANCE! Man has been weighed in the scales of Libra--and found wanting!  

It is possible even in our walk in God and our apprehension of truth to be OUT OF BALANCE. Recently a most beautiful article was received from brother Ray Prinzing titled A BALANCED WALK IN AN UNBALANCED'WORLD. I would quote just a portion of it which I found supremely edifying. "There have been some precious, yea, awesome revelations imparted by the Spirit. Men have caught a glimpse of a certain truth, and then leaned heavily upon that one revelation, until it threw their walk out of balance. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in what is termed 'the faith message.' Faith for healing, faith for prosperity, etc. Open the Book and you find these truths from cover to cover--and they are precious truths, BUT they often are taken clear out of balance.  

"'Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature...and beside this, giving all diligence, ADD to your FAITH virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ' (II Pet. 1:4-8). First we have the emphasis upon the Word--exceeding great and precious promises. BELIEVING THE PROMISES, we are made partakers of the divine nature. One would surely think that was enough, but then Peter writes on, 'Giving all diligence, ADD TO YOUR FAITH...' The inference becomes clear, the 'faith message' alone is not balanced. Place it on one side of the scale, and then START ADDING on the other side, until it balances out.  

"We speak of faith for financial prosperity--and we hear some testimonies of great happenings. So we think to exercise faith in that dimension, and it doesn't work the same, and we wonder what is wrong. Haggai 1:6 speaks of the man that earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.' He needed to hear more than a faith message for prosperity, he was in desperate need for WISDOM, to understand what the will of the Lord is. Fast as the man prayed in the money, out it went through the bag with holes. God would purify your desires, your priorities, until HE COMES FIRST, and His will is your will, then for whatever He provides He will also control its outgo.  

"We speak of faith for healing, but conveniently forget to ADD TO YOUR FAITH TEMPERANCE, i.e. self-control. It was not the devil that made us sick, it was our own eating habits, junk food, etc. and after spending years in destroying our bodies with wrong eating, drinking, smoking, overworking, etc. we suddenly decide we need faith to be healed. Thank God He often mercifully does heal us. But we also find that He would have us ADD TO OUR FAITH those qualities which would bring us into BALANCE" --end quote. 

We are all sailing the sea of life. All are mariners, spiritual voyagers. We might profitably use the following illustration. Tom Smith and John Jones both presumably own sailing vessels. They agree to race to a certain point in the Pacific Ocean one hundred miles due west from Los Angeles harbor. The first few hours out all goes well. Fair and constant winds enable them to keep their course at a steady rate of speed. But then foul winds are encountered, and a storm drives them far off their course and separates them from each other. The following morning breaks with each one alone on a vast ocean on which there are no road signs and no mileposts. There is nothing as far as the eye can see but blue water. Somewhere on that ocean is a spot which is exactly one hundred miles due west from Los Angeles harbor. But in which direction is it? Both boats have lost their bearings. They know not how far they have sailed, nor in which direction. In other words, they have no knowledge of where they are. So, until they take their bearings, and learn their exact positions, it is positively impossible for them to know in which direction or how far away their destination is. They might be one hundred miles from it, or it might be only five miles distant. And so, until they learn exactly where they are now, it is impossible for them to know what the next mile will be.  

Each and every son of Adam is a navigator on the sea of life. And the voyage upon which we all embarked at birth is one for which none of us was fully prepared or equipped; we were thrust out upon a tempestuous sea, there to maneuver our tiny bark to another shore. Winds, tides, and currents swept us out to sea, and carried us on alone. Humanity, at present, is divided into a thousand fragments both individually and collectively. We are fragmented, separated--LOST! But I have good news for you, my friend--it is possible to discover exactly where we are now--and how to get back on course to that bright and beckoning harbor ahead--for our heavenly Father has sent One to search for us and SHOW THE WAY!  

There is one image that is perfect: the blessed Son of God, the visible manifestation of the Father, the only One who has ever walked upon this planet who sums up the totality of DIVINE BALANCE. He is the only whole, united, balanced, UNFRAGMENTED MAN! In Jesus Christ a Man has stepped forth who came from God without any lack, so that He could make this astonishing declaration: "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me" (Jn. 14:9-11). Jesus Christ is the One who shows us just where we are--and opens up the way for our return into the fullness of God. Our heavenly Father demands that all men should follow the example of our Lord and Master. In order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, 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, as by faith we are led to prove for ourselves and demonstrate to those about the authority of the SPIRIT OF LIFE WITHIN over the law of sin and death in the flesh.  

Christ Jesus is perfectly balanced and united in all His faculties, and IN HIM all things are restored into oneness, wholeness, balance. "He that is joined unto the Lord is ONE SPIRIT" (I Cor. 6:17). "That they all may be ONE; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be ONE IN US...and the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made PERFECT IN ONE; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me" (Jn. 17:21-23). "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male or female: for ye are all ONE IN CHRIST JESUS" (Gal. 3:28). "That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might GATHER TOGETHER IN ONE ALL THINGS IN CHRIST, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even IN HIM" (Eph. 1:10).  

One of the most challenging passages in all the Word of God is found in Eph. 4:15. "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up INTO HIM in all things, which is the Head, even Christ." The key words are: GROW UP I-N-T-O HIM...WHICH IS THE HEAD. Grow up into ...the Head! Who ever heard such a thing? Who has ever seen a body grow up into a head? The body grows, and the head may grow somewhat, but the body remains a body and the head remains a head. But in the progressive development of the many-membered Christ, the Elohim Company, the door has been opened for some members who will GROW UP I-N-T-O T-H-E H-E-A-D. It signifies a transference from one part of the body to another, from the torso, up into the Head. Oh, the mystery of it! It means that these grow up into the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ, sharing ALL that He is. These are the sons of the MOST HIGH. And this is the ultimate high heritage of each and every son of Adam's race, for ADAM IS THE IMAGE OF GOD.  

This bespeaks of a realm where you do not draw your life from without, from others, but you have life in yourself, life for yourself, and life for others. You are not a receptacle but a source. Jesus unfolded this realm when He proclaimed, "The Son of man CAME NOT TO BE MINISTERED UNTO, but to minister, and to give His life..." (Mat. 20:28). Jesus did not come to receive life for HE WAS LIFE. He came not to receive life but to GIVE LIFE. He HAD LIFE IN HIMSELF even as the Father had life in Himself. Within that life was contained every element of victory, righteousness, wisdom and power He could ever need. All the infinite resources of God were within Him. WITHIN HIM! No one could add anything, no one prayed for Him, laid hands on Him, counseled Him, prophesied to Him, encouraged Him. His disciples received from Him but not one gave to Him. They asked of Him, but none contributed anything to Him. He prayed for them, but they never had to pray for Him. If He needed power, the power was in the life within. If He needed encouragement, the encouragement was in the life. If He needed wisdom, this wisdom was in the life. ALL was in the Father, and the Father was IN HIM. This is a nature and a life that is not dependent upon anything without, for it is a self-existent life, demanding no sustenance, underived, inherent, drawing not from anything or anyone. ALL SUFFICIENT, ABUNDANT, GLORIOUS AND UNCHANGING LIFE! No lack, the scales are perfectly balanced.  

You can always tell when people are growing up into the Head. They no longer need to BE MINISTERED TO. They aren't waiting for a healer to come to town and lay hands on them, for they have grown up into that measure of His fullness where they discover the HEALER WITHIN, and are now able to appropriate FOR THEMSELVES the faith of God within to gain the victory over sickness and disease. They are not searching for a prophet to give them a word, to tell them where to go or what to do, to reveal the will of God in their life, for they have learned to know HIS VOICE, communing freely with the PROPHET WITHIN, flooded with wisdom and understanding. These don't talk about their problems, or lament about the devil, or plead for help, for the joy of the Lord is their strength and the peace of God rules in their heart. They don't ring up the elders, friends, or the saints requesting prayer for this and that need in their life, for they have discovered the river of God flowing out from the threshold of their own reality, life full, abundant and triumphant! Oh, yes, they may ask prayer for others, but not for themselves. These are always ministering, encouraging, helping, strengthening, blessing, lifting; but do not stop to be ministered to. This company is BECOMING ONE IN HIS FULLNESS, even those who HAVE LIFE IN THEMSELVES. These have beheld the fullness of God in Christ, and have arisen to apprehend that level of life in Him where one no longer "lacks a little from Elohim." The development of CHRIST IN US balances the scale of our deficiency, becoming in us "the price that covers." Hallelujah!  

The manifested sons of God are not little fragments of God, but each grows up to be complete in the totality of the Father of spirits. Just as Jesus Christ is the personal embodiment of the fullness of God, and would be such EVEN IF WE DID NOT EXIST, so each and every son of the Highest MUST become the reproduction of the Father in the totality and completeness of Himself. The ONENESS, the WHOLENESS of God's nature must be fully developed in each son until there be no fragmentation, lack or imbalance. Thus shall sin, limitation, sickness, sorrow and death be swallowed up of life!  

REDEMPTION  

There are two bright stars in Libra, GOD'S BIBLE IN THE SKY, which tell the whole story. The brightest star, appearing in the scale which is tipped downward, is entitled ZUBEN AL GENUBI which means "the price is deficient." It is a picture of man in the carnal mind and nature, weighed in the balance and found wanting; man ruined and condemned; man with his life added up and found wholly in vanity and illusion, existing in the realm of the corruptible and passing. But blessed be God! In the other scale which is tipped upward there is another bright star called ZUBEN AL SHEMALl which means "the price which covers." When Christ is placed in the scales, then we have that weight which raises us, bringing life, truth, reality--RESTORATION, HARMONY, WHOLENESS AND BALANCE. This is exactly what the Lord Jesus taught and demonstrated so wonderfully through His healing and delivering ministry. He spoke the words of compassion and power into the souls of all marred creatures and called them beloved children of God. He healed their diseases, forgave their sins, raised their dead and lifted them up from the mire and defilement and set them on the pathway to holiness and restoration to their lost estate that they might live again as sons and daughters of the Most High. Under the Sign of Libra we are all to learn to be SAVIOURS, giving the kiss of Life, Light and Love to all who dwell in the shadow of death, darkness and fear.  

Never forget, precious friend of mine, that Jesus came as THE PRICE WHICH COVERS, the substance in the scale that replenishes all deficiency. He shed His blood--His divine life--pouring it out for us. Life and blood are synonymous. Spirit and blood are synonymous. Spirit, blood and life are all different names for the same element. Jesus performed His mighty works by the shores of Galilee, but then He died, resurrected and returned in mighty SPIRIT POWER to be the MIRACLE WORKER WITHIN. Nothing less must become ours, than HIS LIFE--the divine life He lived in human flesh. "As I live by the Father, so he that eateth Me even he shall live by Me," Jesus said. The truth is so simple--He has poured out His blood-life to us to quicken us again to the glory of God that belongs to man. Our spirit is quickened by His Spirit and in union with Him we are brought to union with God. 

Christ gave Himself FOR US and TO US. Our spirit must be quickened by His Spirit. This is the power of His redeeming blood. That He might liberally pour His dear-bought treasures into benighted human storehouses, was the inspiration of Jesus' intense human sacrifice. Some hold not to this truth, choosing rather to believe that they are a self-sufficient god within themselves, needing no Saviour beyond their own inherent divinity. But here let me utter a note of warning. In the testimony of scripture the order is ever:  

"Unto HIM that loved US, and WASHED US from OUR SINS in HIS OWN BLOOD." And, "To as many as received HIM, to THEM gave HE power to BECOME the sons of God." Break these links and the chain is gone. Even in nature a seed, though containing the life, does not sprout of itself: it sprouts because there are "mysterious forces" BEYOND the seed -- sun, wind, rain, and the whole economy of the universe--playing upon the mysterious life in the seed. Let us never forget this. Some trust so strongly in their own divinity they need no Saviour, no sun or wind or rain from without to quicken the life within. The unwary are caught by it. All this time the blood of Christ is omitted or ignored. Not one word is said about it. The silence is ominous. Do let us understand truth clearly, for "there shall be false teachers among you who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even DENYING THE LORD THAT B-O-U-G-H-T THEM and bring upon themselves swift destruction" (II Pet. 2:1). Truth out of place is the most dangerous error--IMBALANCE.  

The love of God became a man, the love of God became human flesh, the love of God in Jesus Christ has flowed into our souls as the precious blood of Christ to wash away the veil of flesh and quicken us again to our true identity and heritage in God. "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold from your vain manner of life received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Pet. 1:18-19).  

Hallelujah for the blood!

 


Chapter l0 

LIBRA--THE SCALES

(continued) 

The first of the Decans (minor constellations) in the house of Libra is THE CROSS (CRUX), known as "The Southern Cross." It is situated beneath the feet of the Centaur. This is one of the most beautiful of the Signs in the heavens. It consists of four bright stars placed in the form of a cross. At the time of the coming of Jesus Christ this Southern Cross was visible in the latitude of Jerusalem! Since the time when the real sacrifice was offered at Jerusalem, and through the gradual recession of the Polar Star, it has become invisible there. It is found in the very lowest part of the sphere and in the darkest part of the heavens. It may be seen by those dwelling near or south of the equator. But due to the precession of the equinoxes and the way the earth gives us at different times and centuries a distinct picture of the heavens from the various latitudes, the Southern Cross is sometimes visible and sometimes not.  

In Hebrew this Decan is called ADOM, which means "the cutting off." In Dan. 9:26, we read: "After threescore and two weeks shall MESSIAH BE CUT OFF..." Here we have the connection of the Messiah with the Crux or the Cross--the "cutting off" of the Messiah. Of our Lord it is written: "And after He had appeared in human form He abased and humbled Himself still further and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross!" (Phil. 2:8, Amplified).  

Two thousand years ago, the CROSS didn't inspire religious awe or thoughts of the Messiah's redemption. Instead, the cross inspired sheer TERROR. A crucifixion was a gruesome, torturous, and shameful way of dying--the lowest form of execution, reserved for traitors and hardened criminals. It was undoubtedly one of the most barbarous and exquisitely cruel forms of torture known to man. The method used by the Romans in the time of our Lord was a refinement of this gruesome form of death devised by the ancient Assyrians. The sadistic form of crucifixion originally was IMPALEMENT of the enemy upon sharp stakes. Cutting the branches off a small but sturdy tree, these masters of torment would shape it into an upright post with a razor-sharp point. Hauling their victim to the crucifixion site they would rip the clothing off his body in the presence of his frightened associates. These strong soldiers would then lift him up in the air over the upright CROSS, poising his wildly twisting body momentarily over the sharp point in the rectal area. Suddenly, with precision timing, the powerful warriors who held him would drive his body downward with all their might. If they were especially skilled they would drive the sword-like stake through the intestines, and all the way to the diaphragm. Although strong enough to drive the cross into the heart they would stop short so that the screaming, jerking victim would gyrate long enough to burn the event into the souls of his watching countrymen. The Assyrians knew that such a memory would aid them in conquering other cities, tribes, and nations without so much as a battle.  

The Greek word used in the New Testament for "cross" is STAUROS. From the time of Alexander the Great, who also practiced the awful art of crucifixion, the term STAUROS meant "an upright stake." In respect to the Roman cross the word STAUROS referred to the upright post--the horizontal beam was called the PATIBULUM or cross-arm--for there was no word in the Greek language for "cross" as the Romans made it. The Persians who picked up the practice of crucifixion from the Assyrians were the first to change the form of execution by impalement through the bowels to impalement through the hands. Their purpose in this was not to be more humane but, rather, to cause a more lingering death to impress the vanquished with the foolishness of resisting their military might. The Persian version of crucifixion, using the crossbeam in addition to the upright post, was picked up by Alexander and his generals and carried back to the Mediterranean world.  

The Romans learned the art of torture by crucifixion and immediately set out to refine and improve it in many subtle ways. At the time of Christ the Romans made use of four cross forms. In addition to the upright STAUROS which was used alone for impalement through the bowels, there was what they called the CRUX IMISSA in which the cross-beam was located about one-third the way down the post. This is the traditional design which is usually associated with the cross upon which Jesus was slain. The third Roman cross form was called the CRUX COMMISSA in which the crossbeam was hauled to the very top of the pole, forming a T-shaped cross. The fourth Roman cross form was in the shape of the letter "X" and was called the CRUX DECUSSTA. Tradition maintains that Peter was crucified upside down on this shape of cross. The Latin word CRUX, which was the Roman term for these instruments of torture, comes into English as "cross" by way of the French CROIX.  

Regardless of the cross form used it was a slow and agonizing death--reserved for traitors, slaves and in general the SCUM of the Roman world. But the process of crucifixion involved more than the shame of a brief public hanging. First, the victim was mercilessly scourged with spiked whips, sticks and all manner of physical and verbal abuse. Then the victim was forced to CARRY his own heavy cross to the site of the crucifixion. Afterwards came the painful process of nailing his hands and feet to the cross. Finally, this slow, agonizing death was aggravated by taunts, threats and buffeting from the crowd. The terror of the cross--like the anticipation of a public hanging--is heightened by the victim's fear of the event. Most criminals were crucified immediately after their trial because the forebodings of pain were more than most mortals could handle. The crucifixion of Jesus was typical in this respect--He was crucified on the same day He was convicted. But this death sentence was no sudden surprise to Jesus. He anticipated His death by the cross throughout His three-and-one-half year ministry. As a young man growing up in Galilee, He undoubtedly witnessed a number of Roman crucifixions.  

Of all the lives that have suddenly ended in what would seem to be defeat and tragedy, none would have appeared to be more defeated or more tragic than the life of Jesus, the teacher from Nazareth. He had claimed to have power over all things, even over life and death. In fact, He had proved His claim by bringing the dead back to life, yet, to all outward appearances, He seemed to be unable to forestall His own death. Not only did Jesus die, but the tragedy and defeat seemed even worse because He died under the most shattering circumstances. According to the custom of the times, to be hanged on a tree was to be forever accursed--to have the memory of your name blotted out both in earth and in heaven. The triumph of Christ over this kind of death only adds immeasurably to His ultimate victory, because He transformed His cross--the symbol of the curse-- into the symbol of His eternal triumph. Yes, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death--EVEN THE DEATH OF THE CROSS! Oh, the wonder of it! Oh, the mystery of it!  

When Jesus hung upon the cross the heavens robed themselves in midnight mourning and bowed to the earth and wept. The rocks in their dumb grief burst, because their Creator was put to death by those whom He came only to save and bless; and the earth itself rocked with convulsive throes. As the Lord of glory hangs there--absolute silence takes the place of the noisy babble of the crowd. At length after three hours, the silence is broken, and a cry pierces the darkness, till it strikes a heaven not opened now, but closed even to Him, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"  

THE CROSS IN THE HEART OF GOD  

In spite of the awful fact of Calvary's dreadful scene I would be remiss if I failed to tell you that the CROSS OF CHRIST was not a cross of wood. The cross on Golgotha's hill was undoubtedly a wooden cross, but the cross of Christ which the apostles preached and in which they gloried and by which the world is reconciled to God was something more than a wooden beam. When in wisdom and holy expectation our Lord exhorted His disciples, saying, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up HIS CROSS, and follow Me," He was not making reference to a cross of wood, but to a cross that would bring death to one's own identity, will and ways, and identify his life henceforth with the life of Christ. The DEATH OF THE CROSS is in some mysterious and divine way the gateway to the LIFE OF THE CROSS. The wooden Roman cross on which Jesus was crucified was not actually HIS CROSS, for the cross of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe, all the handwriting of ordinances of the law were nailed to His cross, and He made peace and reconciled all things in heaven and earth unto Himself by the blood of HIS CROSS. No literal parchment was nailed to the cross of Calvary, nor does that cross even exist today.  

It is my deep conviction, and I say it with all reverence and respect to my blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, but the truth is that Jesus in the natural suffered no more on the cross than thousands of others who were nailed to a tree, or thousands of others who died on the rack during the Roman inquisition, or thousands of others who were burned at the stake, or fed to the lions, or made blazing human torches at the Circus in Rome. The physical suffering was no greater. The cross of Christ refers to a greater spiritual cross and a greater spiritual death. The cross of Christ had its beginning that day in heaven, when the Word of God, "being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of NO REPUTATION, and took upon Him the FORM OF A SERVANT, and was made IN THE LIKENESS OF MEN; and being found IN FASHION AS A MAN, He HUMBLED Himself, and BECAME OBEDIENT UNTO DEATH, EVEN THE DEATH OF THE CROSS." Fierce as was His suffering at Calvary, that fearful hour of agony and blood was but the final act of a life of the cross as step by step He descended from the majesty and glory of equality with God to the fearsome moment when in anguish He cried, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"  

Though I am sure it is impossible to plumb the shining depths and the inexhaustible riches of the meaning of the cross, I would like to endeavor to set before you the deeper meaning of the cross of Christ. We will never understand the mystery of the cross until by the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God our eyes perceive the eternal cross in the heart of God Himself. The only true and eternal life in the universe is the life of God. He alone is self-existent. He alone is reality. He alone is eternal substance. If we are to fully know and partake of that life, we must die to all that is contrary to that life. Everything that exists in the universe has its opposite--and as surely as God exists there is the opposite for all that He is. God is love--and the opposite of love is hate. God is light--and the opposite of light is darkness. God is truth--and the opposite of the truth is the lie. God is life--and the opposite of life is death. Every positive has its negative, and all the laws of the universe reveal this principle of opposites. Jesus enunciated the fundamental principle of life (spirit, God) when He said that except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone; but if it die it brings forth the increase of life. Every negative must be brought to death. Everything in the universe must die to all that is contrary to divine life and nature, being born again of the Spirit. This is the meaning of "Behold, I make ALL THINGS NEW" (Rev. 21:5). This has been the Father's plan for man--man in the image and glory of the incorruptible God.  

The principle was set in motion with the first man, Adam. Adam had to fall into darkness, sin and death, not because he was inherently evil or rebellious, but because all that is contradictory to God must be stirred up, experienced, faced, understood, repented of, overcome and eternally put to rest in man's will before the image of God can shine safely and eternally through him. In recent months my whole understanding of why the cross is the gateway to LIFE has been clarified and crystallized within my spirit. I have come to see that God Himself dies to everything but His self-giving self, which is love. God Himself dies to every dark principle that would sow selfishness, pride, strife, bitterness, trouble, pain, sorrow, chaos, disappointment, weakness, limitation or evil of any kind. The cross is the very heart of God, and the basis of why He is the ETERNAL GOD. He is eternally God just because He IS ETERNALLY all that makes Him God.  

In the increasing light with which God is filling the hearts of His elect, this scripture, "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is ONE Lord," bears a depth of meaning greater far and deeper than the surface truth we have understood with natural minds. That this passage may become clearer to our minds, scintillating in heaven's light like the ray which is broken into many prismatic hues, consider now the glorious things concealed in this mighty word of the Lord. The Lord our God is ONE. One, in the numerology of scripture, means UNITY, UNITED, UNDIVIDED, UNFRAGMENTED. One is the primary number, denoting beginning or source. Unity being indivisible, and not made up of other numbers, is therefore independent of all others, and is the source of all others. "One" excludes all difference, for there is no second with which it can either harmonize or conflict. One means unity and unity comes from the word "unit".  

In reference to His substance, God is SPIRIT. In reference to His state of being, God is ONE. That which is ONE is that which is UNITED, UNDIVIDED, UNFRAGMENTED. Oneness speaks of unity, harmony, singleness, concord, solidarity. God is ONE! The fact that there is ONE GOD must not be confused with the truth that GOD IS ONE. Perhaps, as someone has said, this is only another aspect of viewing the same truth, for God is truly one, undivided in Himself, or in His will and purpose. And surely HE alone is God! But this One God IS ONE. It is a great and blessed fact that God is ONE. He who is united, undivided and unfragmented in every aspect of His nature and state of being cannot be influenced, affected, moved, upset, frustrated, changed, altered, damaged, destroyed, made discordant or set at variance in any way. The character of God is eternal, change-less, unaffected. The love, joy, peace, righteousness, wisdom, justice, power and will of God do not rise and fall, rise and fall, rise and fall. Matters not what happens nor what men devise or devils say or do, the love of God, the purpose of God, the holiness of God, the power of God are steadfast, unmoved, unquenched, unaffected, without fluctuation. He is Yahweh, the SELF-EXISTENT ONE. He is ONE. No power in the universe can cause any deviation whatsoever in God's nature, will or action.  

But how is it that God is UNCHANGEABLE in His nature--is it because He CANNOT change or because He CHOOSES not to change? Truly God "cannot lie" and God cannot be anything other than life, light and love. But why CANNOT He be? The answer that the blessed Spirit of Truth has revealed in my heart is because HE HAS ETERNALLY DIED TO THE POSSIBILITY THAT DARKNESS CAN ARISE IN HIS LIFE! The entire principle of darkness has its foundation in the life of God, for was it not God Himself who "divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called night" (Gen. 1:5). "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil. I the Lord do all these things" (Isa. 45:7). This mystery of darkness in God's nature remains unrevealed because He has eternally WILLED to be Life, Light and Love. All the negative potential is there--the law of opposites--but there is a cross in God's heart--by which He eternally dies to all that would make Him anything less than GOD. This is ALWAYS happening in God's life, because the cross is an eternal fact. "Eternity" doesn't mean unbeginning time in the long ago or unending time in the inscrutable future. Eternity means NO TIME. Eternity is TIME-LESS. This means that the decision to die to the negative principle is not subject to review or change--it is forever settled and determined in the heart of God. That's why He says over and over, "I change not." It is not that He is intrinsically set so that He cannot change. Rather, it is that He has ETERNALLY CHOSEN not to change. It is an eternal, accomplished, irrevocable choice, born of wisdom and understanding. It is the eternal cross in His heart. Therefore He cannot change. He is forever love. He is forever pure. He is forever righteous. He is forever wisdom. He is forever Light and Life. He is forever SAFE!  

The cross is the secret of God's gift of love. It means that God does not live for HIMSELF. All the selfhood of God is forever crucified upon the cross in God's heart. Selfhood must be a vital characteristic in any life. The selfish desire that would cause God to live for Himself--to this God eternally dies. He has willed to be a self for others instead of a self for self, by eternally dying to the dark, selfish principle. Andrew Murray said that the spirit of love is AN ETERNAL WILL TO ALL GOODNESS. The best and most wonderful word in the universe is Love. For God is love. What is love? The deep desire to give itself for the beloved. Love finds its joy in imparting all that it has, all that it is, to make the loved one happy and fulfilled. 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 THE GOODNESS that is in Himself and come from Him. The creation of ever so many worlds adds nothing to, nor takes anything from, this immutable God: He always was, and always will be the same immutable WILL TO ALL GOODNESS. So that as certainly as He is the Creator, so certainly He is the Blesser of every created thing, and can give nothing but Blessing, Goodness and Happiness from Himself, because He has in Himself nothing else to give.  

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 opportunity to be more triumphant. The rebellion (selfhood) of Adam but opened up avenues for mankind to experience the incredible depths of the love of God! God IS LOVE! And His sons are of His own nature. The Sons of Love! What a blessed title! Little wonder, then, that the whole vast creation, sold under slavery and bondage to sin, sorrow, and death GROANS for the manifestation of THE SONS OF LOVE!  

From this flash-point, Life sheds forth Light and Love. The whole creation sprang out from this unselfish love, for God said, "Let there be..." and "God SO LOVED THE WORLD that He gave..." Life begins after the cross, even in the life of God. The cross is more than Calvary- it is the fulcrum or point of power in which the entire infinite might of the forces of divine desire issue in love, creation, and self-abnegation for others. This is why Jesus said, "Take up YOUR CROSS and follow Me." We carry our cross with us in our walk IN SPIRIT- the cross that God has in His heart --not to suffer physically necessarily, but to die to all negatives and all selfhood and selfishness and spring forth as rivers of living waters in life anew. So we become life and light for others. As Adam Parker wrote, "How does the sun in the sky give light? It is continually dying to produce light. We don't see the death, or the dark contracting forces in this great star. We only see the light. But death is the key to the light. And that light is the life of our world in the physical dimension. So also the Son, with the cross in His heart, is the Daystar risen in our lives. We share in His eternal death and new life, for He is our very life --and He in us is the light of the world that brings life to all men.” 

All the books in the world, though written with pens of silver and ink of gold, could never fully describe the glories of His cross, nor could all the learned tongues of men or the heavenly voices of angels explain to the mind of man how He, who was rich, for our sakes became poor that we through His poverty might be made rich. Eternity itself will not be too long to sing the praises of such a One, who came from the cross in the bosom of God to shed His life blood that all creation might find eternal life in Him.  

BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD  

We have been told many times, by the Spirit, that life can only come through death. This is one of the fundamental laws of creation. Jesus said, "Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone, but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit" (Jn. |2:24). In other words, it brings forth an abundance of life--but it is necessary that it die before a new life can be brought about. If it doesn't die, it remains alone, and nothing is brought forth. It was essential for Jesus to be made a man, of the earth earthy, with a body made of the dust of the earth, for the life of God to fall into this ground and die that He might bring forth much fruit, after His own kind. 

If Jesus Christ had not died, He would have remained the ONLY begotten Son of God. God would have had no more sons like Him, but because He did come in the likeness of men, with a body of the dust of the earth, encased in the darkness of mortal mind, to die in that body, He can now bring forth many more begotten sons like Himself; and not only that, He came to make it possible for an entirely new creation to come into being.  

There is no doubt that the Christ played a very important role in this present creation, for all things were made IN Him, THROUGH Him and FOR Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. Without Him the present creation could not have come into existence. I hope, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to enable you to see and understand His relationship to this present cosmos. If life can only come out of death, then there was a death connected with the bringing in of this present creation. If this law is true, there had to be a death associated with the birth of creation.  

I would draw your reverent attention to a few significant passages of scripture. Most Christians seem to think that the time the Christ of God left the glory above was when He was conceived in the womb of the virgin of Nazareth and born a babe in Bethlehem's stable, laying down that life that He had with the Father, birthed into our life which is a life of death, separated from the eternal glory of the Father for a mere 33 years, then laying aside that robe which was of flesh to return to the Father and take again that glory which He had with the Father until that wonderful day when the angel Gabriel was dispatched by God to Mary in Nazareth. But a close inspection of the scriptures will give us a different idea.  

In that wonderful prayer Jesus prayed on the night before His crucifixion, He said, "I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do." Then He went on to ask, "And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self, with the glory I had with Thee before the world (cosmos) was" (Jn. 17:4-5). These words certainly indicate that Christ had been away from the Father's glory for a lot longer than 33 years. He is actually saying that He left the glory BEFORE THE COSMOS CAME INTO BEING. How long ago that was I don't have the foggiest notion--but it was certainly centuries, millenniums, yea, vast and innumerable ages before our blessed Christ walked among us. Now He was asking the Father to restore to Him the glory He had forsaken before ever the cosmos came into being. In the 24th verse we read: "Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me: FOR THOU LOVEDST ME BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD."  

Why these references to the beginning, yea, before the beginning, before the founding of the cosmos? What happened away back there that He should appeal to it? Why did He speak of the Father's love for Him in that distant point of time? Did not the Father always love Him? I feel deeply within that something tremendously important happened at that time that invoked a special love from God, His Father, causing Him to love His Son in a very special way. One thing is certain--that was the time when the Christ left His pre-existent glory. Otherwise, why should He say, "Father, glorify Thou Me, with Thine own self, with the glory I had with Thee B-E-F-O-R-E THE COSMOS WAS." If He had left the glory of the Father only when He came to earth as a man, why not say, "...the glory which I had with Thee before I came to earth"? Ah--it was not in Mary's womb that He descended from the glory of the Father, it was much farther back--BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD!  

Notice now these wonderfully meaningful words penned by John the Revelator. "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him (the beast), whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb SLAIN FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD" (Rev. 13:8). Let us notice just what truth is stated here. A better rendering would be, "The Lamb that was PUT TO DEATH from the founding of the cosmos." Weymouth's translation reads, "All the inhabitants of the earth will be found worshipping him; every one whose name is not recorded in the book of Life--the book of the Lamb offered in sacrifice FROM THE CREATION OF THE WORLD." The sacrifice and death of the Christ did not start with the events surrounding Calvary; it began away back there at the beginning, and culminated on Calvary. He was the Lamb who was put to death from the beginning. Just as the cross did not begin at Calvary, so the crucifixion of Christ did not begin at Calvary. Peter expressed the fact that the cross existed as a work of God before .the foundation of the world in this manner: "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was FOREORDAINED B-E-F-O-R-E THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, but was manifest in these last times for you" (I Pet. 1:18-20). The Lamb whose offering was already a glorious and eternal reality in the heavens, remained only to cast its shadow upon the earth, on Calvary's hill. We would have thought that in calling our Lord "the Lamb" this name would have been used only in respect to His humiliation in His earthly life. However, in scripture it is most used in reference to His glory in the heavenlies. Peter saw Him as a Lamb foreordained before the foundation of the world. John saw Him as a Lamb that had been put to death from the founding of the cosmos, highly exalted, standing in the midst of the throne. Actually John saw the Lamb SLAIN IN THE MIDST OF THE THRONE! What a wonder!  

What does it mean that Christ was the Lamb slain "before the foundation of the world"? The word "world" in these passages translates the Greek word COSMOS meaning "order, arrangement, system of things." The "world" is a negative thing in relation to God. James declares, "...the friendship of the world is enmity with God, whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (James 4:4). The apostle John adds his testimony, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world" (I Jn. 2:15-16). The world is the present system of things upon this earth conceived by the carnal mind and generated by the natural man.  

The world consists of all that man has instituted that replaces God (the Spirit) in his life. The present political systems, economic systems, educational systems and religious systems are not of God, but of the world. When people, activities, or things--whether good or bad, beautiful or ugly--enslave man, they comprise the world. Anything that causes man to disregard the SPIRIT, be removed from the anointing, trust in the outer world of flesh, or be independent of God is the world. All that does not come from the Father, all that originates outside of SPIRIT, all that man institutes by his own carnal wisdom and fleshly ability is of the world, and is contrary to the life and nature of God.  

The word "foundation" (foundation of the world) translates the Greek word KATABOLE which is a compound word made up of BALLO meaning "to cast, to throw" and KATA meaning "down." When man fell from his high and holy relationship with God and was cast down into the carnal realm of consciousness, the "foundation" of the world was laid in his heart and actions. But--blessed be God! The apostle Paul informs us that God the Father elected some SONS in Christ BEFORE the foundation of the world! "According as He hath chosen us in Him BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD...unto the adoption of sons..." (Eph. 1:4-5). The word "before" translates the Greek word PRO meaning "to go before, to precede." Hence, the Father's act of choosing us in Christ preceded the fall of man and the establishment of the world system.  

These blessed ones chosen by the Father are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb "slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8), and they are the heirs of the Kingdom of God "prepared for them from the foundation of the world" (Mat. 25:34). Praise God, our sonship is assured, our victory over the world is certain, the outcome of God's plan is sure--therefore all creation is standing on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of God's sons coming into their own! The world, as a result, shall pass away and "the kingdoms of THIS WORLD shall BECOME the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ!"  

It is my earnest prayer that the Lord will give understanding to all who read these lines. Christ was lowered from the bright glory of the Father BEFORE THE WORLD WAS and He was the Lamb that was put to death from the FOUNDING OF THE WORLD. Meditate deeply upon this, my beloved, for we are looking at two different events in these two statements. He was lowered from the Father's glory before the world was. This was how this present creation was made possible. He had to make a sacrifice of Himself in order for the creation to be brought into being as He has to continue to sacrifice Himself to bring the new creation into existence.  

Life can only come out of death. The life you and I have in the natural had to be given us by the Son of God, and it has to be sustained by other things giving their lives so we can keep ours. All of the beef, fish and fowl we eat and the fruits and vegetables we consume, were at one time living things; living creatures that gave up their right to live so we could live. There are some things that are written about Jesus that are an enigma to the natural mind. One is, that He is the beginning of the creation of God. "These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, THE BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF GOD" (Rev. 3:14). Now we know that it has been said of Jesus that He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. This really means that He is everything, the beginning and the end, and everything in between; the center and the circumference, and the whole area of the sphere. And here we find that He is the beginning of the creation of God. What can this mean? Clearly it means that He was the first of the creation to be brought into being. He had to be brought forth before anything else was, if He was "with God in the beginning." This is verified in Prov. 8:23-31 where we read of wisdom personified (Christ). "I was set up from age lasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was, when there were no depths I WAS BROUGHT FORTH, when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I BROUGHT FORTH."  

If Christ was the beginning of the creation of God, what was He in the beginning? What place did He occupy in the grand and glorious scheme of creation? Let us consider the very first thing God brought forth from His creative hand. The picture we get is of a universe and an earth that was without form and void, and darkness covered the face of the deep (Gen. 1:2). Dense darkness covered the whole cosmos. The earth was dark and the heavens also, for there was no light anywhere. The first necessity was to bring the illuminating, life-giving LIGHT into a cold and darkened cosmos. So LIGHT was the first thing God brought about. "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light" (Gen. 1:3). Now what was this light? Was it the sun, the moon, or the stars as some Bible teachers are wont to tell us? It couldn't have been, for the light of the sun, moon, and stars shone not upon earth until the fourth day. This must have been some other light. If Christ was the beginning of the creation of God, He must have somehow been connected with this first light. And if He is the beginning and the end, the first and the last, was He not the light that God brought forth at this time? Let us look at the last light, in the next to the last chapter of the Bible. "And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten it, and THE LAMB IS THE LIGHT THEREOF" (Rev. 21:23). So in the end there is no need for the sun nor the moon, for the glory of God and the Lamb is the light. If He is the light in the end, can we not see that He was also the light in the beginning--for He is the beginning and the end!  

Now let us look at some of the things Jesus said about Himself. "I am THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD (cosmos); he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of Life" (Jn. 8:12). The whole cosmos was in darkness, the heavens as well as the earth, else the heavens would have shed their light upon the earth. The first and greatest need was light, and God brought that light into the dark universe, and that light was THE WORD, THE CHRIST. Jesus also said, "I am come a light into the cosmos, that whosoever believeth on Me should not walk in darkness" (Jn. 12:46). The truth He proclaimed was that HE WAS THE LIGHT THAT CAME INTO THE COSMOS, to bring light into the darkened creation. He was indeed the light, but there was more in Him coming into the darkened universe than just to be a light. There was much more to it than that! John by inspiration of the Spirit sheds additional revelation on it when he speaks of the Word being with the Father in the beginning, and how all things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. Then he goes on to say, "In HIM was life, and the life was the LIGHT OF MEN" (Jn. 1:4). From this verse we see that light and life are essentially one and the same. "The life was the light of men." So when He came a light into the cosmos, He also was the life that came into the creation, to give life unto all creatures. "The Spirit is Life," says the apostle Paul. Life and Spirit are synonymous even as Life, Light and Spirit are but three ways of saying the same thing. The Word was the Life, the Life was the Light, the Light was the Christ, the Spirit is the Life--GOD INFUSED INTO HIS CREATION--or, as we read in Job 32:8, "There is a SPIRIT IN MAN: and the INSPIRATION OF THE ALMIGHTY giveth them understanding."  

John continues, "That was THE TRUE LIGHT, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (Jn. 1:9). There never was any other light. All other lights are artificial, imitation. Only the Christ was the TRUE LIGHT, and He came a light into the cosmos. In these statements of the apostle John he speaks of the time of the beginning of the creation, when the Word was with God bringing in the creation. He is NOT speaking of the time of His birth in Bethlehem. In the beginning He was the light, and He has been the light ever since, and will be in the vast ages yet to come. And in the end there will be no need of the sun nor the moon to give light. "The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory" (Isa. 60:19).  

Light is life, darkness is death. Whenever we read of light it always speaks to us of life; when we read of darkness it is referring to death. Light is that which dispels the darkness. When one brings a light into a dark place the darkness goes, because you see, darkness is really nonexistent; it has no substance, no reality; it is just the absence of light. Provide the light and the darkness is gone. It seems strange to our natural understanding that the Light in the beginning didn't do away with the darkness; the darkness still remained. Why didn't the darkness disappear when the Light came on the scene? When you turn on the light in a dark room the darkness flees. Where did it go? It didn't go out the door or through the window. It didn't go anywhere because it is a negative, a no-thing. So why didn't the Light in the beginning dispel the darkness? The answer is, of course, that God did not at that time shine His Light into every place. He "divided the light from the darkness."  

This gross material realm was created on a level of death, and death is still a part of the creation; and as long as darkness exists death will still be around. But, blessed be the Lord! darkness and death will ultimately be done away, for the Light shall shine brighter and brighter unto the perfect day and "there shall be NO NIGHT there." When this present creation came into being, death was in the universe, for everything has its opposite, and death is the opposite of life as darkness is the opposite of light. There is even the opposite in God, which is slain by the cross in His heart, so that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all. Everything of this present creation, when it was formed, had the potential of death in it. It was a built-in factor in creation. But included in God's great and eternal purpose is the abolition of death and darkness; and God, in working out His plan, is doing just that. When He has finished there will be no darkness nor death anywhere in the universe. "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." But destroyed it shall be, and His Son, who is the Light and the Life, is the One ordained to perform this great task. And He performs it IN US. Praise His name.  

When once we understand that this present creation was formed with the shadow of death upon it, it will become increasingly clear that the Son had to leave the eternal, incorruptible glory of the Father, and enter into a level of death, in order to bring the creation into being. It was the Word of God lowering Himself to bring forth and indwell on this lower level. Thus, He was the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world. This was the beginning of God's great creative and redemptive process. So when this present creation came into existence the potential of death was in it; but thank God, the potential for life was also there, for there was both light and darkness in it from the beginning.  

The Light of Life is now being unveiled in a people into whose hearts GOD HATH SHINED. The pen of inspiration wrote, "YE are all the children of the Light, and the children of the Day, we are not of the night nor of darkness" (I Thes. 5:5). There are many other places where we read of the children of light, the sons of light, the children of the day; and the children of night or of darkness. We can be either children of the Day, or children of the Night. We can walk in light, or in darkness; it all depends on who we are following, and where our source is--flesh or spirit. The Spirit is life, and light is life. "If ye walk after the Spirit, ye shall live!"  

Christ is to God what the light-rays of the sun are to the sun. Compared to the great orb of fire blazing in the heavens the gentle sunlight which strikes planet earth seems pale and limited; yet it is the very substance of the sun and the dispensation of the sun to us. Ere it left the sun it was with the sun and was the sun, as the Christ was with God and was God. "He is the sole 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 Gods nature" (Heb. 1:3, Amplified). Light is energy, and the energy of the sun, for example, can change into other forms of energy. When light causes sugar to form in green leaves, some of the light energy is changed into chemical energy and stored in the sugar. When you look at those green leaves you see nothing that even slightly resembles the glory or brilliance of the sun. The lesson here is that the light of the sun has been LOWERED into another form, and when you eat those leaves you receive the strength of life from the energy in the sugar which is really the energy of the sun lowered into that existence.  

In like manner, the Christ was the Light and the Life of the creation, but in becoming that Light He Himself had to be limited--as the rays of sunlight are the glory of the sun by measure, so is Christ the measure of God to every man. When He left the glory of the Father to bring forth the creation and to shine upon it and live within it, He was lowered from the infinite realm of the Father, stripping from Himself some of that in order to fulfill the Father's great plan of creation and redemption. This He did BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, and this He did BY THE CROSS IN THE HEART OF GOD for only by the work of the cross could He lay aside the glory He had to shed it forth in love and blessing to creation. He was the Lamb slain from the founding of the cosmos, made subject to death with the rest of creation, that through death He might bring forth much fruit unto God.  

I hope you can see this. The glory which He had with the Father before creation was, was not the glory He brought with Him; He had left some of that behind. He had come down to a lower level, actually a level of death, in order to bring the creation into its present state. He had glory, yes, as John said, "And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (Jn. 1:14). The glory they saw in Him was the glory of the only begotten Son of the Father, but it was not the Father's glory, just as the energy in a green leaf is not the glory of the sun.  

Before the Christ could bring the new creation into existence, with the fullness the Father had planned, He had to return to the glory with the Father He had left before the cosmos was. He Himself, as the token and forerunner of humanity, had to be clothed again with the fullness of the glory of God before He could lift the creation to that level. He could not lift the creation to a higher level than the one He Himself was on.   

When He became a man, born in Bethlehem as the Son of man, this was the beginning of His return to His Father. The Father was getting Him ready for a glorious, triumphant return to the glory He had left before the cosmos was. When the time was at hand for Him to go to the cross, and He was telling His disciples about it, this is what He said: "The hour is come that the Son of man should be GLORIFIED." What a paradox! What a mystery! Here He was, facing His dreadful ordeal of being captured, taken to the Judgment Hall, falsely accused, ridiculed, spat upon, slapped, His beard plucked out, tied to a pillar and scourged until His back looked like a plowed .field, mocked by the Roman soldiers, and finally to suffer the agony of the cross; and all He said to His disciples was, "The hour is come for the Son of man to be GLORIFIED." He spoke not one word about the agony and sufferings He was about to endure; He talked only of the glory He was about to enter into. So in the seventeenth chapter of John, when He was praying to His Father, He said to Him, "Father, the hour is come; GLORIFY Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee" (Jn. 17:1). "And now, 0 Father, GLORIFY Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was" (Jn. 17:5). The glory He was about to enter so surpassed the sufferings that He thought not of the sufferings; great as they were, they were not worth mentioning. He had waited for long millenniums and through vast ages for this hour, and now it had arrived. And "for the JOY that was set before Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:2).  

I would like you to notice these words: "Father, glorify Thou Me with THINE OWN SELF." He was asking now for the glory of the fullness of the Father; not the glory of the only begotten Son, but the glory of the fullness of God; and this fullness He received AFTER He was crucified and ascended to the realms above. He is no longer in a limited state; He now possesses the fullness of deity, the full extent of the glory of God. And He has done all for us--on our behalf. HE is the forerunner, opening up the way, that we may follow Him to the place into which He has entered. A new and living way is opened for us, beloved. All that He is and has there is FOR US; it is to be our possession.  

It was when the Christ hung upon the cross before the foundation of the world, and upon the cross of Calvary, that He became the one fruitful tree. He tasted death for every man and was made perfect through sufferings that He might lead many sons to glory. It was under the shadow of His cross, that we were found and were quickened by His Spirit. It is there He found us, and it is there that we found Him, the Man who is our hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest. It was there that streams of living water were poured out in the dry place; from that moment the Rock followed us, and out of it, living streams are flowing more abundantly. It is the cross in OUR LIVES which brings the release of these living streams to mankind, for the body of Christ is the channel of His life by the extension of His cross. While we praise God for the cross of Calvary, and while the soul of man will ever love to thank Him who gave His life for us, yet I believe the triumph of the Christ began at the cross in the heart of God before the foundation of the world and ends only when the race has received from God the Father, through the Christ, Head and body, the grace, power and glory of God that makes them sons of God like Himself.  

Hallelujah for the Cross!

 


Chapter 11

LIBRA -- THE SCALES

(continued) 

We continue with our study of the first of the Decans, or minor constellations, in the house of Libra -- THE CROSS (CRUX) -- known as 'The Southern Cross.' It is situated beneath the feet of the Centaur. This is one of the most beautiful of the Signs in the heavens. At the time of the coming of Jesus Christ this Southern Cross was visible in the latitude of Jerusalem. In Hebrew this Decan is called ADOM, which means 'the cutting off.' In Dan. 9:26, we read: 'After threescore and two weeks shall MESSIAH BE CUT OFF... 'Here we have the connection of the Messiah with the Crux or the Cross -- the 'cutting off" of the Messiah. Of our Lord it is written: 'and after He had appeared in human form He abased and humbled Himself still further and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross!' (Phil. 2:8, Amplified).  

Two thousand years ago, the CROSS didn't inspire religious awe or thoughts of the Messiah's redemption. Instead, the cross inspired sheer TERROR. A crucifixion was a gruesome, torturous, and shameful way of dying ---the lowest form of execution, reserved for traitors and hardened criminals. Most criminals were crucified immediately after their trial because the forebodings of pain were more than most mortals could handle. The crucifixion of Jesus was typical in this respect --- He was crucified on the same day He was convicted. But this death sentence was no sudden surprise to Jesus. He anticipated His death by the cross throughout His three - and-one-half year ministry. As a young man growing up in Galilee, He undoubtedly witnessed a number of Roman crucifixions. According to the customs of the times, to be hanged on a tree was to be forever accursed -- to have the memory of your name blotted out both in earth and in heaven. The triumph of Christ over this kind of death only adds immeasurably to His ultimate victory, because He transformed His cross -- the symbol of the curse --into the symbol of His eternal triumph. Yes, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death --- EVEN THE DEATH OF THE CROSS! Oh, the wonder of it!  

One of the most strangely arresting statements in the Word of God is that Jesus is the "lamb SLAIN FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD” (Rev. 13:8). Well do I know that there are shining depths and lofty heights of meaning in that sublime statement, yet the central thought seems to be plain enough. It is that long ago "when the morning stars sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy" --- the purpose of creation and redemption was conceived and wrought out in the heart of God in celestial realms. The sacrifice and death of the Christ did not start with the events surrounding Calvary; it began away back then at the beginning, and culminated on Calvary. He was the Lamb who was put to death from the beginning. Just as the cross did not begin at Calvary, so the crucifixion of Christ did not begin at Calvary. Peter expressed the fact that the cross existed as a work of God before the foundation of the world in this manner: 'Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was FOREORDAINED B-E-F-O-R-E THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, but was manifest in these last times for you' ( I Pet. 1:18 -20 ). The day came .... wonderful day! --- when that love-purpose, conceived and enacted in eternity, cast its shadow into time. The fullness of time having come, God "sent forth His Son." And on the cross of Calvary the eternal purpose became an historic verity.  

Christ came into this world, humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, to bring us back to God and the glory we had with Him before the world was. That may seem a strange statement to some, but because God is God, all the wisdom and understanding of the universe dwells in Him. We must expect Him to say many things and state many facts that the natural mind cannot comprehend nor pry into. It is the inspiration of the Almighty that giveth understanding. The most unlearned and simple among men can comprehend the deepest things of God in that moment when the divine light from above shines upon them. It is a divine certainty that Christ was with the Father and loved by the Father before the worlds were made or the ages framed. 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God" (.In. 1:1-2). 

In that wonderful prayer Jesus prayed on the night before His crucifixion, He said: "Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me: FOR THOU LOVEDST ME BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD. "And .... blessed be God! --- it is no less a divine certainty that in that long ago eternity God loved and elected some OTHER SONS in Christ, as the pen of inspiration affirms: "According as He hath chosen us in Him BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD: . . having predestinated us unto the adoption of children (placement as sons) by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:4-5). “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).  

Our human minds cannot measure eternal things nor such divine love. Human love is limited to days, weeks, months, and years in duration. Fifty eight years ago I stood by my lovely, blushing bride-to-be in a marriage ceremony under the stars. A year and a haft prior to that hour we had fallen in love -- deeply, devotedly. In pledges written poetically, and in promises whispered personally, we had spoken of our love that would last forever and ever. Yet it came as a stunning, shocking, sobering reminder of the frailty of earthly love when I discovered in our marriage vows that we could only pledge our love to each other 'until death do us part.' There was a moment when our love was born -- but there would be another moment when it will cease! Not that we embrace death -- but all EARTHLY THINGS pass away whether by death or by transformation to a higher plane of existence. Not so with the love of God! God's love toward us did not begin the day we were born into this world. You may go back beyond the time when a wave beat upon a beach, or a star shone in the sky, or glorious Seraphim cried 'holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty!' and when you get back as far as the mind can reach you will know that GOD KNEW YOU THEN, GOD LOVED YOU THEN, GOD PURPOSED FOR YOU THEN, GOD PREDESTINATED YOU THEN, and the blessed Lamb of God was SLAIN FOR YOU THEN UPON THE ETERNAL CROSS IN THE HEAVENS. This is a deep spiritual truth, a mystery of the universe. Think and pray over it and the Holy Spirit will teach you.  

THE PRINCIPLE OF THE CROSS  

We have come to see that the great cross of Christ was not the wooden one upon which He was crucified. The real cross of Jesus the Christ lay in the eternal disposition of Christ --- His humility, His sacrifice, His spirit of self-denial, His laying aside His glory, His pouring out of His life, His lowering of Himself to raise all, in Him, up to God. This was no single act --- it was a constant and all - pervading nature. This is the real cross where He was eternally slain before the world was.  

After Christ was risen from the dead the apostles went out to preach His Kingdom, and what they preached was the cross. And wherever they went into the wide world they carried the cross, and the power of that cross transformed the world. It changed Saul of Tarsus from a fierce persecutor of the saints to a tender believer and a fearless apostle of Jesus Christ. Its power changed wicked men into holy ones. It shook off the bondage of paganism and altered the course of history. Its power departed when it was changed from a transforming principle in men's lives and made an outward symbol to be hung around the neck as an ornament. Paul said, 'But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world' (Gal. 6:14). Paul's GLORYING in the cross was not an IDOLIZING of the "old rugged cross", not an ornament to be worn, not a symbol to be displayed, not a magic sign to ward off evil, not a Christian fetish, not a relic to be prayed over. Again the apostle wrote, "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God" (I Cor. 1:18).  

"The preaching of the cross" . . . Here we note that the word "preaching" is actually the Greek word LOGOS --- THE WORD. The word LOGOS goes far beyond just an utterance, a spoken saying, or particles of speech -- it reaches into the very will, purpose, intent, and thought behind the words. The LOGOS (WORD) OF THE CROSS speaks to us of the full will of the cross, the full purpose of the cross, the full intent of the cross, the mighty power of the cross working in our life, which becomes in us THE POWER OF GOD. As Ray Prinzing wrote: "IT IS NOT IN THE SYMBOL, IT IS IN THE WORD --- in the outworking of the will and purpose of God through the cross, that becomes HIS POWER IN US. Or, shall we say, it is the experiential outworking of the cross in our life which becomes THE POWER OF GOD. Talking about the cross, singing about the cross doesn't do, but the inworking of this WORD OF THE CROSS becomes a marvelous thing." Not the theory of the cross, but the tremendous, heart - gripping WORD --- the REALITY of the cross is what towers in our interest.  

The principle of receiving all divine things involves giving it all up. As Abraham was told to sacrifice Isaac, and the rich young ruler was told to sell all his possessions and give to the poor, so the principle of the Cross is one of sacrifice --- forsaking and relinquishing all. A. C. Dixon wrote: 'May the Spirit of God help us now to go a little farther into this Holy of Holies, and try to realize the meaning of CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIHED, with the glory of it, the glory of giving up glory, the honor of surrendering honor, the reputation of being of no reputation, for the sake of the glory, honor and reputation of others. Seeking glory and grasping after honor may mean selfishness; but there is a higher glory than seeking glory, and a deeper honor than grasping after honor ---the glory of the sacrificial spirit which gives up glory and honor for the sake of others.  

"Let us imagine, if we can, a man in this world who is truth incarnate. In him is all truth; and I mean by truth, reality without sham --- no pretence. There is not a ring of unreality about him. A man like that would be the glory of his nation. Then imagine another man in whom all light centers. I mean by light, knowledge and understanding, light on every subject in the universe; and if you could find a man like that he would be the glory of his nation. Then look for another man in whom life is centered --- physical life, intellectual life, ethical life, spiritual life, all the life you can think of incarnate in this one man. He would be the glory of his nation. Then find another man in whom all wisdom is centered, not simply knowledge, but how to use it. He never makes a mistake, never acts foolishly. He would be the glory of his nation. Find another man in whom all power is centered, and he would be the glory of his nation. Then another man in whom all love is centered, love that is pure, love that is not flecked with lust; everything that is lovely and of good report centers in him. He would be the glory of his race.  

"Now find, if you can, a man in whom all of these things are centered --- all truth, all light, all life, all wisdom, all power, all holiness, and all love, and you would say that a man in whom all of these were incarnate was not only the glory of earth, but he is the glory of heaven. In such a man you have the glory of all worlds. Yet we have just approached the glory of the Cross. I have been describing to you our LORD JESUS CHRIST! He is the only One who ever came into this world of whom it could be said, 'In Him is all Troth, all Light, all Life, all Wisdom, all Power, all Holiness and all Love.' These things incarnate in Christ make Him not only the glory of earth but the glory of heaven. YET YOU HAVE NOT TOUCHED THE GLORY OF THE CROSS. I have just described in this faint, feeble way the glory of the incarnate God.  

"Let us go a step farther and see what the Cross means. If you can find a man in whom all truth is centered, not contending for the troth, but dying for those in error, you have reached another degree of glory. If you can find a man in whom all light is centered, light not displaying itself, but dying for those in darkness; if you can find a man in whom all wisdom is centered, not wisdom admiring itself, but dying for the ignorant; if you can find a man in whom all life is centered, not protecting itself, as a coward would, but giving itself for those who are dead; if you can find a man in whom all holiness is centered, holiness not cultivating itself, though that is a good thing, but holiness giving itself on the altar, dying for the unholy and the impure; if you can find a man that has all power, not exerting itself, but willing to be weak, restraining itself, that it may carry out its noble purpose of sacrifice for sin; if you can find a man that is all love, not simply enjoying itself, but love on the altar, love dying, love giving itself to the cross in order that the unlovely might be saved; if you can find all these, you will have some little conception of what the Cross of Christ means. Now put all into one --- O God, help us to realize it! ....all Truth, all Light, all Life, all Wisdom, all Power, all Holiness, all Love, incarnate in one Man, who gives Himself for the untruthful, for the darkened, for the dead, for the weak, for the unholy, for the unlovely and you have some conception of what the Cross of Jesus Christ is in its deeper meaning" --- end quote.  

TAKE UP YOUR CROSS  

Jesus' secret to the life of sonship was: "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever shall save his life shall lose it and whoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it" (Mat. 16:24-25). ". . . let him deny himself" --- not: protect, defend, uphold and promote himself, or feel sorry for himself. How can you love any one else if you have all of that to do? Most people would rather deny the movie theater, the liquor store, the gambling den, the Babylon church system, communism, and Fidel Castro, but the message is clear --- "If any man will be My disciple, let him . . . deny HIMSELF." Poor, sweet, innocent little SELF! A brother in Christ once asked whether there can be found in all the universe a more possessive, blinding, or deceiving devil than the devil of self. It is self, self, always SELF that stands between you and true sonship to God. It is the friendly hand of SELF that turns you away from your cross and refuses to let you take it up and follow Christ to the place of execution. Would God that all who treasure the beautiful hope of sonship would learn this divine secret: It is the SELF that stands between them and the full manifestation of the will, purpose and glory of God in their lives. It is SELF --- the outer man of sense consciousness -- that shuts us out from the vibrant and incorruptible life of the SPIRIT.  

In his remarkable book, BORN CRUCIFIED, the author, L. E. Maxwell, makes the following potent observation: 'The victorious believer will become aware of many forms of SELF which must yet be dealt with. We shall discover in our service for Christ, self-confident and self-esteem; in the slightest suffering, self-saving and self-pity; in the least misunderstanding, self-defense and self- vindication; in our station in life, self-seeking and self-centeredness; in the smallest trials, self-inspection and self-accusation; in the daily routine, self-pleasing and self-choosing; in our relationships, self-assertiveness and self-respect; in our education, self-boasting and self-expression; in our desires, self-indulgence and self-satisfaction; in our successes, self-admiration and self-congratulation; in our failures, self-excusing and self-justification; in our spiritual attainments, self-righteousness and self-complacency; in our public ministry, self-reflection and self-glory; in life as a whole, self-love and selfishness. THE FLESH IS AN ' I ' SPECIALIST. These are but a few of the multiplied forms of the flesh to be discovered and taken to the cross. In the palace of Wurtzung hangs a hall of glass. It is called the hall of a thousand mirrors. You enter. A thousand hands are stretched out to meet you, a thousand smiles greet your smile, a thousand eyes will weep when you weep; but they are all your hands, your smiles, your eyes. What a picture of selfish man! Self all around, self multiplied, and self-deceived' -- end quote.  

Why did the love of Christ lead Him to the cross? Because nowhere in Him did SELF rise up and say, ‘I have had enough of it.’ Nowhere in Him could self say, 'I should not have to suffer so much,' or 'I should not have to give so much.' When Judas betrayed Him, there was no place in Him where self could rise up and say, ‘I trusted this man to be the treasurer and now be has sold me down the river.' Or when Peter denied Him, 'I gave him the keys to the Kingdom and now be denies Me. He could truly say, 'The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me’ (Jn. 14:10). There was no ground in Him where the carnal mind could do its work. The path of sonship is truly one of denying ourselves, submitting to the cross as the Lord applies it to our lives, and following Him all the way. The road to Mount Zion passes through the hill of Golgotha. This is a WALK which requires all that we have and all that we are.  

There is no place where self is a more cunning and deceitful devil than in the realm of our SPIRITUAL LIFE. Volumes have been written on the CRUCIFIED LIFE -- the surrender of our will to God, of becoming nothing, that He might become everything. I am sure that some of my readers have sung the little chorus that expresses this beautifully:  

'Lord, take me and break me until I'm nothing,
And make me and mold me until I'm something,
Then take me and use me for Your glory,
Until all that I am is You.' 

As another has written: 'Herein is a definite inworking of the Spirit, till we recognize that in ourselves we are nothing -- as pertains to the spiritual realm. Then He will make us a 'something' -- indeed, the new creation is to become a part of HIMSELF, so we truly bear His image. And we are able to say with Jesus, ' I can of mine own self do nothing' (Jn. 5:30). Now, this we have found -- the deep inworkings of the cross do not take away our self-respect, sense of self-value that belongs to the natural realm. It is dealing with an entirely different realm. The cross is used to cancel out any self effort to become spiritual. All of the natural gifts and graces wherein we are endowed in the earthly, proper for their sphere, do not qualify us for spiritual glories. We are born into this earthly realm, receiving whatever strengths, abilities, and weaknesses, that are appointed to us. And we grow and develop to the fullest potential we are able. Likewise, we are BORN into the heavenly realm, and endowed with HIS gifts and graces, and then are to progress toward spiritual maturity. Thus we find that we have a LIFE WITHIN A LIFE. The natural has its sphere, the spiritual has its sphere. The spiritual will help you to be even a better natural person, BUT THE NATURAL CANNOT HELP YOU BE A BETTER SPIRITUAL PERSON. For 'it is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing' (Jn. 6:63).  

“The lesser (flesh) can be helped by the greater (spirit), but it is self-evident that the lesser can add nothing to the greater. Day by day we cry out to the Lord for HIS EVER PRESENT HELP, and He enables us to accomplish the task before us -- imparting wisdom and understanding even beyond our inherent abilities. He truly condescends to men of low estate, and ministers to us in the very nitty-gritty of this earthly living. Yet, when it comes to growing in spirit, that His life might fill and flood us, and that all comes under His indwelling control --- the flesh can add nothing to this. 'Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?’ (Mat. 6:27). It is HIS LIFE growing within us, ministered to by the Spirit, receiving of His grace. True, we can 'give ourselves to these things' in our yielding and seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, but we cannot BIRTH OURSELVES into His Kingdom, nor can we make ourselves more righteous -- self-effort produces self-righteousness. And that is the self which is dealt with by His cross. Spiritual life must be spiritually sustained. 

“Paul taught this to the foolish Galatians, asking them, 'Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh’” (Gal. 3:3) --- Gospel Echoes.  

The Spirit-substance that nourishes our spirit is the life of the Father within. When we live out of SPIRIT we walk in GOD-CONSCIOUSNESS and SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS has no place. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracle of God -- out of his innermost being. When one speaks the truth, when one speaks and performs what he hears from the Father, it is GOD IN MANIFESTATION, and self is there crucified upon the cross in God's heart. God is raising up a people today, sons who no longer are self-conscious. The secret of Jesus' sonship was that He paid no attention whatsoever to Himself. "Whatsoever I see the Father do, that is what I am doing, whatsoever I hear the Father say, that is what I am saying." The Father said, "You are the way, the truth and the life," so He said, "I am the way, the truth and the life." He did not say it with His eyes turned to the outer man, thinking how important He was, how vital He was to the situation. He said it because His heart was set on the Father. He said, "The Father has given Me the words I should say." And He spoke the words the Father gave Him with no self-consciousness at all.  

God is raising up sons in these days whose eyes are set upon the Father, who will be able to declare, "We are the light of the world," not out of self-consciousness, but because of a God-consciousness, who is speaking out of our innermost being, "Arise and shine, for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." The Lord said to Paul, "They will not accept thy word, turn to the Gentiles, for I have set thee to be a light to the Gentiles, thou shalt be My salvation to the ends of the earth." If Paul were diplomatic, if Paul were religious, if Paul were self-seeking, if Paul were self-saving, he would have kept the revelation to himself and just walked out of town calmly and said, "Well, they do not understand, but really, I have a deeper and greater calling, I will just go off to fulfill it." The Father said to Paul, 'I have set thee to be a light to the Gentiles, thou shalt be for salvation to the ends of the earth." So Paul said to the people, "For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth." (Acts 13:47).  

Jesus instructed His disciples: "Into whatsoever city you enter and they receive you not, shake the dust off and say to them: Nevertheless, the Kingdom of God has come nigh unto you" (Mat. 10:14; Lk. 10:11). Do not walk out of town silently, muttering to yourself, "They did not realize what we represented, that we are, in expression, the Kingdom of God, which is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. They did not realize that the Kingdom of God is working and living and expressing itself in us." There can be no self-seeking, no self-saving in these days, there can be no self-protection in the life of sonship. The sons of God cannot be self-righteous, parading the ideas of the carnal mind before men under the guise of spirituality, but neither can the sons of God be so wrapped up in self-saving that they pretend to be more humble than they are, and pretend to be what they are not. God is declaring that the creation is groaning and travailing, waiting for the unveiling of God's sons. Are we going to sell the world short in these days? Are we to deny that the Lord is saying to His elect, "As the Father sent Me, so send I you"? Are we to deny that we are the sons of God, calling ourselves, like Babylon's masses, "sinners saved by grace," "Christians," etc. Why have we not heard this word before? Because the Father did not send the babies to be the saviours of the world. The baby Jesus in the arms of Mary was not the saviour of the world. The Father sent His SON to be the saviour of the world. And there was no salvation or expression or manifestation until He began to be about thirty years of age, then it was that the Father spoke from heaven: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." And on the mount of transfiguration: "This is My Son, hear Him." When the son has come to maturity he has but one desire, to do the Father's will, to speak the Father's words, and to accomplish the Father's purpose. Jesus said: "In the same manner in which My Father has sent Me --- as a son in maturity in full commitment to His will, with the Father dwelling in Me, My eyes fastened on Him and My whole being swallowed up into Him --- as the Father has sent Me to be Light and Life and Salvation and all that creation needs --- SO SEND I YOU!”  

No man can walk this path of sonship apart from the cross. When the blessing of God comes, when the power and glory of God arise upon us, what happens? We speak either out of the life of God with no self-consciousness, or self takes the credit for what we have received and struts about like a peacock, with its tail all spread out, parading flesh before men. Self will assume the tide of “Reverend," “Head Elder,” “Senior Pastor," “Bishop,” “First Apostle,” “the Prophet,” "General Overseer,” or “God's man of faith and power for this hour,” subjecting the people to his dominion for prestige, power or gain. I do not hesitate to tell you that men who have never denied self and who know nothing of the work of the cross have been blessed by God with gifts and self has usurped these gifts and used them for its own ends -- building vast empires of flesh in the name of the Lord. These men of reprobate minds presumably serve God but are dedicated to material gain. They promote what they term a "faith message” or a "life message" with joy, peace, miracles, blessing, healing, prosperity, glory, fame, power, and anything else you can invent which would appeal to the lusts of the flesh, and make life on earth one continuous glorified "Disney World” experience. In the name of Jesus Christ, and under the banner of spiritual ministry, they separate the simple, God-fearing saints from their money. These religious racketeers, wearing the masks of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, promise blessing, healing, miracles and prosperity -BUT NOT WITHOUT A PRICE. Their “prayer request" forms are attached to their “offering” forms, subtly suggesting that if you GIVE you will GET. Their clever promises and adroit manipulations have led tens of thousands of distressed and needy souls to send in their meager incomes in hope of a miracle in return. The apostle Paul bluntly describes these crafty promoters of greed and warns the godly against their message and methods in these forceful words: “... men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that GAIN IS GODLINESS: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain . . . and having food and raiment let us therewith be content. But THEY THAT WILL BE RICH FALL INTO TEMPTATION AND A SNARE, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the LOVE OF MONEY IS THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL: which while some have coveted after, they have ERRED FROM THE FAITH, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, FLEE THESE THINGS; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness." (I Tim.6:5-11). Again, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose GOD IS THEIR BELLY, and whose glory is in their shame, who MIND EARTHLY THINGS." (Phil. 3:18-19).  

There is a work of the cross that cuts deeper in the lives of God's sons than the things of which we have been speaking. The revelation of Jesus Christ is the need of the hour. Only a present intervention of the divine mind, only a present revelation of the spirit of wisdom and power will be able to meet the need. If God does not give a special ministration and the spirit of wisdom and power to meet the need, it will not be met. There are no buttons to press to solve problems and deliver creation. The further we move in God the more helpless and totally empty we become.  

God is moving on. The higher we go in God the more refined become the testings. God is causing us to take positions and stands, not against the BAD simply, but against things that are GOOD. Of course, if you take a stand against things that are good and were started by God, formed by God, ordained by God, it will appear as if you are an instrument of the devil out to destroy the work of God. But God said once, "That which I plant, I will pluck up" (Jer. 1:9-10; 18:6-10). I rejoiced for years because I saw that "every tree which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up" (Mat. 15:13). Now, as we move on in God, we must rejoice when we see God pluck up that which HE PLANTED. God says, "That which I built, I will destroy." We are to rejoice when we see God destroy that which He built. Unless God has done a work in our spirits by the power of the Holy Ghost, we cannot believe that. Our own concept is that if God built it, the only one out to destroy it is the devil. But God says: “I will destroy." May The decade we are in now be a decade in which we are prepared to lose the good as well as the bad, prepared to see God pluck up that for which we have given our life to see it planted, where we see God break down and destroy that for which we have sold ourselves out.  

Most of us have no problem as to our bad, we know the flesh and all that it represents must go to the cross. But all of us have areas in our life which we think are good: a devotion, a commitment, a consecration, a faith, a prayer life, a knowledge, a ministry, but which are as much SELF as the bad temper, the lust, and the rest of it. God is saying that everything must go. That which is left will only be CHRIST HIMSELF formed in us. Why is this? Because when God has planted something, after a while we become idolatrous about it. Idolatry is really the self-life projecting itself into the things of God so that they turn into idols because they become the thing which is produced by our consecration, our prayers, our dying. But we do not want it to die, because it has cost us too much, and it represents a work of God in our life. We have given our whole life to see this thing come into being, and anyone that comes along to destroy it is destroying all our consecration, the prayers we have prayed, the reputation we have lost, the deaths we have died. After God has established it, you are telling me that it has to die? But that is exactly it! If it lives we will do what Israel did with the brazen serpent. We make an ephod out of it and go after it to worship it. I know people today who instead of worshipping God, worship worship. It is not the Lord they delight in, but the soulish sensation they get out of 'worship.' Others worship a message -- the faith message, the sonship message, the Kingdom message. Many worship experiences and ministries. Wherever God has brought us in previous dealings, God is progressively moving forward. Today He says: “Build it", tomorrow He says, “Destroy it." Today He says: “Plant it," tomorrow He says, “Pluck it up.” Today He says: “Get a harvest,” tomorrow He says, "Let the corn of wheat fall into the ground and die.” He who has a right to build has also the right to destroy when He is through with a thing. And, woe! unto that man who cannot discern the times.  

Unless Christ is being formed in us, unless self is firmly nailed to the cross, we will not surrender to the planting of the corn of wheat; we will not accept the destruction of the thing God has used so mightily in our life. Many who read these lines have given their lives to some realm in God, and now the Spirit speaketh expressly, “Get up and leave it.” Why did the Jews crucify Jesus? Because of His position relative to the Law. The Law represents Moses and the deliverance out of Egypt, and then one day Jesus stands in their midst and announces: "It was said by them of old time . . . but I SAY UNTO YOU!" bringing an entire new dimension of Grace. Israel knew that if you make an end of the Law, you make an end to Israel. The whole life of Israel was wrapped around Moses and the Commandments and the Law. They knew that if you take that away, it means the end of "US”, and that is what they did not want. We want "US” to continue on forever. But it is “GOD” who must continue on! No matter who we are, where we came from, what God has done for us, the time comes that we become swallowed up into God , so that when it is all over it will be God alone remaining. Not what we have been formed into remains, but the Lord alone.  

There is no clearer statement of truth in all scripture than the truth that the sons of God are the temple of God, the body of Christ, the dwelling place of the Most High. It was with an expression of wonder that Paul demanded of the Corinthians, "know ye not that YE ARE THE TEMPLE OF GOD, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, WHICH TEMPLE YE ARE' (I Cor. 3: 16-17). And again, "What agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for YE ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD; as God hath said, I will DWELL IN THEM, and WALK IN THEM.. . '(II Cor. 6:16).  

How our glad hearts rejoice and our tongues drop down their pearls of praise in the sacred knowledge that we are each a living stone in the living temple of God, rising to form a holy sanctuary in the Lord. There is, however, a holy ambition of God that transcends the form of what we are becoming in Him. Only with the mind of the Spirit can we fathom the deep mystery John the beloved encountered on barren Patmos when in vision he beheld the glorious Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven. With astonished wonder and open-mouthed amazement he cried, 'And I saw NO TEMPLE THEREIN!” What a wonder! The Bible calls us the temple of God, but one day we will cease to be the temple. “And I saw no temple therein: FOR THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY AND THE LAMB ARE THE TEMPLE OF IT" (Rev. 21:22). Think of it! The very thing that is represented by us must one day be swallowed up into GOD HIMSELF --- no longer to be a “container" of God, but SPIRIT as our total reality. As the Lord has spoken to us in times past, Christ has been doing things in us, He has been putting a devotion in us, forming a commitment, creating a character, perfecting a ministry, performing a work of grace in our life until we can say: "I am what I am by the grace of God." The Lord has worked and wrought within us until of this commitment, and of this faith, and of this consecration, and of the blessings and gifts and ministry and attainment we can say: "The Lord hath done it for me." But that is over. From now on God is not interested in what He has done FOR YOU. From henceforth it must be "When Christ who is our life shall appear..." If there is a mind in us, it must be the mind of Christ, not our religious mind that is cultivated through the years until it is religious and devoted and full of the Bible and stayed on God. From now on it must not be our mind stayed on Him, it must be HIS MIND IN US.  

What we have witnessed to for years was a work of God, His salvation in us, His peace in us, His victory in us, we had become a product of the work of God. But God's purpose is not that we shall be a testimony of the work of God, but that there shall come a revelation of A PERSON, that the revelation will BE CHRIST. It will not be a revelation of the work of God, but a revelation of the Person of God in us. God is talking to His sons about PERSONIFICATION, MANIFESTATION, REVELATION AND IDENTITY. Now you are going to PERSONIFY CHRIST as you have embodied the works of Christ. Christians represent the work of God: Saved from this, having received that, changed into something else, but it is still “ME”. What you see is a marvelous expression of the handiwork of God. But God intends that the hour should come when there shall be a revelation of the Person of God, the Identity of God, so that HE IS OUR LIFE. Not: we have life because He has wrought life in us, but "Christ who is our life shall appear" He no longer gives us peace, He becomes our peace, our righteousness, wisdom, redemption, sanctification, ALL THAT HE IS until we are no longer a witness to a work or an experience, but a witness of His Person, His Identity as our reality. Are you willing to have nothing but the Person? Are you willing for God to be your life, and you His life until HE IS ALL THERE IS? Are you willing to forget the work and the experience to bear HIS IDEN'ITYY? In our moving on into God, God is saying to us: "What I did for you yesterday, the works of God, must now become the Person of God in you. The cross must strike not only at our carnality and sin, but at all our blessings and experiences and attainments in God. While we praise God for all His mighty acts on our behalf, in and through us , it must all be slain by the cross until we no longer talk about the work of God wrought in us, for that is duality --- God and me. When men saw Jesus, the salvation of God, they saw more than a work of God; they saw the PERSON OF GOD, for, 'He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father’ (Jn. 14:9). Ultimately God's purpose is that when the cross has done its work Christ will be so formed in us, so expressed and revealed through us, until he that sees us sees the Father. There are tens of thousands of people here in Texas and tens of millions around the world today who are living witnesses to the work of God, of His handiwork, the power of the blood, the power of faith, the glory of His gifts and graces. But what is God looking for and creation groaning for that is DIFFERENT from what we have had for two thousand years? Ah --- creation is groaning for the manifestation of the sons of God, the unveiling of GOD IN HIS SONS, a people who are no longer witnesses to the work of God, but who bear the very Person of God, who bear the very Identity of God, from whom flows the life of God without limit or measure. What the Spirit is saying is that God must have a people in whom the Lord, the Spirit, is BECOMING rather than DOING. That is what the manifestation of the sons of God is, that is what the revelation of Jesus Christ is, there will never be the unveiling of Jesus Christ if all I can talk about is what He has done. His works are not Him --- HE is a Person. Paul said, “It pleased God to reveal His Son in me.” Not, “It pleased God to reveal some of the works of His Son in me and give me an experience.” And when he prayed earnestly for the saints: “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you", Paul did not mean that they should receive another healing, another miracle, another answer to prayer, another gift of the Spirit, another revelation, or die a little more death and so on. There came an hour when Paul knew that the works of the Lord would not be sufficient, but that the Lord Himself had to be put on, so that instead of having a work of faith, or a work of love, or a work of power, the Lord Himself, the spirit of life within, would BE THE FAITH, LOVE AND POWER. It looks as if you are turning your back on these wonderful experiences in God, but you needed them to bring you where you are. The lesser is swallowed up of the greater.  

If at this hour we still need God to DO for us rather than for Christ to BECOME in us, then we are not ready for any revelation or unveiling. When God sends His manchild forth, He sends them forth as those in whom Christ is so fully formed that it is not a matter of needing God to do any thing more, for these sons live entirely out of God their life within. May Christ be so fully revealed in all of us is my earnest prayer and my deepest desire, that in these coming days there will not be any longer a cry in our being, “O God, do something more for me,” for that leaves me with myself on my hands. The secret of Jesus was that for three and a half years He did not have to be more consecrated, He did not have to he more dedicated, He did not have to he more victorious, all He had to do was let the Father within live out through Him. This is sonship --- Christ fully formed in us, Christ living out all the glory of God, in all the fullness of His Life and Light and Love and Power and Victory, expressed through us, and AS US.  

Blessed Father! let it be so in us. Let Christ be fully formed in me and in all who read these lines and in all the body of Christ. Oh God! let the work of doing for us come to an end, until it shall be GOD IN US. Lord! cause Jesus Christ to become in us our Peace, our Joy, our Life, our Victory, our Mind, our Nature, our Power, our Wisdom, that from this moment on there shall be the expression of Himself, not a witness to His work, but a revelation of His own Person and Being and Nature. Oh God! may that divine nature, that divine reality of God be so fully manifested in us, that the creation that is groaning for the unveiling of God in His sons will see Him unveiled in His body, unveiled in His Church, unveiled in His ministry, unveiled in His King-Priests, that every eye shall see Him and all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him, and every knee shall bow to Him. Amen!  

There should be no need to remind those who read these pages that the cross does not end when God becomes ALL in us -- for the cross is eternal in the heart of God. Let us rehearse what is meant by the cross of Christ. Truth, light, life, wisdom, holiness, power and love all in ONE CORPORATE MAN --- the Christ, Head and body. What a character that is! Yet truth, light, life, wisdom, holiness, power and love by themselves do not make for true glory. I have heard people testify about the work of God in them and all they were doing was bragging. They were boasting and glorying in what God had done for them, in what God had given them, and all they had was centered in themselves. But truth becomes truly glorious when it goes to the cross, when it becomes sacrificial, not defending, but dying upon the cross for those enslaved by error. So with light when it goes to the cross, not displaying itself, when it is willing to give itself for darkness; when life refuses to protect itself, but goes to the cross and gives itself for those who are dead; when wisdom goes to the cross, not admiring itself, but giving itself for the ignorant; holiness, not boasting in itself, but giving itself for the unholy; power not exerting itself, but holding itself back in order that it may be sacrificed for those who are weak; love not enjoying itself, but pouring itself out for the unlovely. That is greatness, great through conforming to the death of Christ, great in that all that is good is on the altar of sacrifice for those in need. That is God, for God brought the whole vast universe, the creation, all things visible and invisible, in the heavens and in the earth, out of Himself; then He gave Himself to the creation, to live for the creation, to dwell in the creation, that He might be ALL-IN-ALL. Truly this is the heart of God and the hope of creation!  

I would close with these true and transforming words from the pen of George Hawtin. "Hear, Oh man of God, and give earnest heed, ye sons! It is now in this dreadful age of greed and selfishness, violence and spoil, that the Father all-glorious is finding a people who has nailed SELF and SELFISHNESS to the cross of Christ. He is picking them out one by one, setting them apart as sheep are set apart from goats and as wheat is separated from the tares. These are beginning to reign with Him in that kingdom of SELF-LESS-NESS, even the kingdom of God. The self and greed that has reigned in the earth for six thousand years will not exist in that wonderful day of the kingdom of God, the seventh dispensation, the day when God and all His creation will rest from the labor and travail of the past. Make no mistake about this: should one carnal mind be among the sons of God in that day, the earth would be brought to the same curse as it is now. But such cannot be, for all who will reign with Him have passed by the way of the cross, delivered forever from self. 'Not I, but Christ' is their eternal theme. THE WAY OF THE CROSS HAS LED US HOME."

 


Chapter 12 

LIBRA-THE SCALES

(continued) 

The Southern Cross is the first of three minor constellations or groups of stars which adhere to the constellation of Libra. It cannot be seen in most parts of North America, but throughout the Southern Hemisphere it is bright and easily seen. The constellation is also called CRUX, which means "cross" in Latin, and its stars form the shape of a cross. Innumerable eons before that dreadful and wonderful day when the Christ of God hung upon a cross, this most beautiful and brilliant of the Signs of the heavens scintillated against the darkness of the celestial canopy proclaiming with unerring wisdom and divine immutability the eternal cross in the heart of God.  

"The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose. The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again" (Eccl. 1:5-7). Like the waters of rivers, we have all experienced the downward journey, irresistibly drawn by the gravitation of the flesh and self, until we come to the lowest point, a raging sea of pollution and death. But there is another power, transcending the pull of the earthly, and that is the DRAWING OF THE SON, lifting us up out of the "dead sea" and raising us up again into the heavenlies, to bring us back to the glorious heights of the Spirit.  

Multitudes throng the low road, taking the path of self, sin, and death. But some, praise God, are already being irresistibly drawn upward, to take that HIGH WAY back to the image and glory of God. It has been said that the "way UP is DOWN," but to unceasingly go downward, without a way up, would create a hopeless frustration that would surely end in eternal defeat. But what is true of the cycles of nature is also true in the spiritual processes of God, there is a place in our going down process where we finally "bottom out" and begin that upward journey. Certainly HIS CROSS is that TURNING POINT, and brought to the end of self, partaking of that death process which slays the carnal mind, we find there also begins an ascending, that we might progress and return to the LIFE OF THE SPIRIT. The cross of Christ stands as the bridge between the old and the new, between the depth and the height, and there is no point so low, but that His cross has penetrated to that depth, HE IS THERE to turn us around. In the cross God Himself has descended to the lowest depth, and there abides to receive us, to redirect our course, so that from that moment on there is an upward turning. "If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; EVEN THERE SHALL THY HAND LEAD ME, and Thy right hand shall hold me," as we read in Ps. 139:8-10.  

How we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory in the blessed knowledge that "all these things are of God." He has planned it all. He it is, too, who has been fulfilling it. There is no place BEYOND GOD, for it is "IN HIM that we live, and move, and have our being," even though it be without a consciousness of His presence and consumed by the consciousness of our own self-will. Still we cannot get beyond Him, for matters not the extremity of our rebellion and waywardness, we shall find that HE IS THERE with His cross, waiting to deal with our self-hood, and then with HIS LIFE to restore us back into wholeness in Him again. There is, then, a divine Plan, and that plan is "the way of the cross" that LEADS HOME. A clear and profound statement of this plan occurs in Hannah's simple words in I Sam. 2:6, "The Lord KILLETH, and maketh alive." A killing process is here taking place, one which is being carried out under the direction of our Lord.  

The question sometimes annoys us --- Why does God deal with me as He does? Why is God so SEVERE? Why does He strike so VIOLENTLY?. This burning question the scripture answers very simply by saying: He KILLETH. There is something within us that must be put to death. And that something God deliberately kills, whether we understand what He is doing or not. He does not ask us for permission thus to kill. It is the old "I" which must be put to death, our mistaken identity. Our self-hood must be bruised and broken. And not our self-life in the form of egoism and self-willfulness only. That too. But what we wish to emphasize here first and foremost is that our soulish life in its relation to God must be broken. It is that confidence which I have in myself, in my own understanding of spiritual things, in my own will, in my own ability and righteousness and spirituality, that confidence in myself with which I always oppose THE SPIRIT and which is the real hindrance to the expression of HIS INDWELLING LIFE, which must be broken. To break our own inherent and deeply rooted self-confidence, and self-righteousness, which is fallen man's deepest error, is undoubtedly the most severe work that God has to accomplish within us. And when we see how He does it, we must stand before Him in awe, adoration, and thanksgiving. He breaks our old fleshly life, our carnal consciousness. This He does by driving it to exhaustion, to a point where it has spent all its energies and lies at His feet, surrendered and brought to naught --killed.  

Is it not strange that the God who thus slays us is the same God who has given us the command: "THOU shalt not kill." It would seem a double standard --- GOD can kill whom He will, and without any permission or cooperation from us, but WE are forbidden to kill! Why is this? The answer is found right within the passages which speak of His killing. We have already quoted the words of the mother of Samuel the prophet, "The Lord killeth and maketh alive," to which she adds, "He bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up." The Lord Himself declares, "See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god with Me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of My hand" (Deut. 32:39).  

As the spirit of revelation and understanding floods our minds, we are left without any question as to the meaning of all this. The KEY in each of these statements is the little conjunction "and". "The Lord killeth, AND maketh alive! .... The Lord bringeth down to the grave, AND bringeth up." "I kill, AND I make alive." "I wound, AND I heal." Thus the picture becomes clear --- no one has any right to kill that which he CANNOT MAKE ALIVE, nor to bring to the grave that which he CANNOT RESURRECT, nor to wound that which he CANNOT HEAL. God has commanded men not to kill for the simple reason that man is powerless to restore that which he slays. Death and destruction for man is final, irreversible, eternal. Only one with the power to restore, AND THE DISPOSITION TO DO SO, may be permitted to bear the sword! Infinite wisdom and divine purpose must be the sure foundation beneath all destruction and restoration. Herein lies the deep mystery of the cross .... God kills AND makes alive!  

"I am CRUCIFIED with Christ: NEVERTHELESS I LIVE; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20). Before Jesus died on the cross, men would go to a cross to die. This was the method of execution for criminals. Since Jesus died on the cross, men now go to the cross to live. The seat of death has become the source of life. Whosoever loses his life shall find it, Jesus said. That is the meaning of the cross. For years we have emphasized the work of the cross, the dying to self, the crucifixion of the "I", to be stripped of every vestige of the flesh and the carnal mind. And the more we preached death, the more conscious we became of dying, and there was nothing but death, death, and more death. But there is the death side and the life side to the cross. An over-emphasis on the death side of the cross will arrest our spiritual progress by glorifying a death process that has no end, forever dying, but never coming to the knowledge of BEING DEAD. But there is a dying to die no more, and then it is time for RESURRECTION, to become conscious of the inflow of HIS LIFE which results in our complete salvation, spirit, soul, and body. It was upon the cross that He poured out HIS LIFE to us, so that dying we might live.  

T. Austin-Sparks wrote: "The Spirit of God shows that God's ways and means are always positive and not negative. I want to say that with emphasis --- let us underline it in our minds. God's ways are ALWAYS CONSTRUCTIVE AND NOT DESTRUCTIVE; they are purposeful, not just ends in themselves. And if God's inclusive, comprehensive means is the Cross, let it be understood, once and for ever, that by the Cross He is working to an end --- a large end. The cross is never intended to end in destruction; it is never intended to end with a negative. God is working for some great thing, and He uses the Cross in a positive way. You see, the weakness in our apprehension of the Cross is largely due to a miss-apprehension of the Cross. Our idea of the Cross is that it is destructive, it is negative, it is death. We revolt against that; we don't want to be always reminded about this death of the Cross --- death, death, death. It is indeed possible so to preach the Cross as to produce death; but that is a mis-preaching. That is not God's interpretation of the Cross at all. Let me repeat: the Holy Spirit shows quite clearly that God's ways and means are always positive and not negative; they always have in view something more, and not something less; not an end, but a newness and a fullness.  

"If only we could really grasp that, it would transfigure the Cross. When the Lord confronts us with the challenge, what do we do? We revolt, we draw back --- we don't like it! Why? Simply because we have not seen that, in this application of the Cross, God is set upon securing something more in our lives, something more than there has ever been before. That is God's law. God is not a negative God. Other gods are negative gods, but our God is not a negative God. He is not working to bring things to annihilation; He has very large purposes of INCREASE before Him in all His ways and in all His means. What we really have to see is that, whatever the Cross may negative --- it is God's most positive instrument for securing spiritual, heavenly, eternal values. The Cross is God's most positive instrument for securing the enlargement --- not the annihilation --- of THAT WHICH WILL ABIDE FOR EVER. So it is very necessary for us to move onto this solid foundation, that God always comes in with a mind to create or to recover, to build and to increase. If only we could believe that of the Lord --- even on our most devastating times, when every thing seems to be taken away, and all is stripped from us; when everything seems to be going, and the end appears at hand: if only we could believe then that God is working ---not to bring values to an end, but to increase them! That must be our ground --- that He is ploughing, He is digging; He intends a harvest; He intends an increase. He understands exactly what He is doing and how --- we don't. But we can be sure of one thing: God is at work by the Cross to make things safe for Himself' --- end quote.  

The new birth is spiritual. The cross is spiritual. The life of sonship is spiritual. The well-spring of life is changed at the cross. The cross is the transition point by which we die to this carnal realm and are made alive unto God. There is a new influx of life from a heavenly source --- "born from above." This new intake of spiritual life establishes our identity as sons of God. The cross withers the old consciousness, and the Holy Spirit imparts the new. The cross is the sword, in the hand of the Holy Spirit, to make place for the new life from above. The life from beneath and the life from above are bitter enemies that will never be reconciled. As in warfare, there can be but one victor and one vanquished. This is the point where it hurts. The cross withers and dries the carnal consciousness, the self-life. There is real pain. The struggle of life against life --- or rather life against death. The old life is death --- a paradox of paradoxes. The present energy that motivates and energizes the human organism we call life, the Lord calls it death. The life that ends in death is not life, merely a mortal consciousness, a passing thought, a ripple in the sea. "If any man come to me, and hate not.. . his own life.. . he cannot be my disciple" (Lk. 14:36). The Lord hates your life, or He would never ask you to hate it. There is a place for hatred. This is very offensive --- a direct insult of the flesh. The offense of the cross must come. There are many things preached to avoid the offense of the cross, yet where there is no cross there is no life. This temporary life is a counterfeit; because it poses to be the real thing. The Lord hates this false life of ours, and He asks us to join with Him in that hatred. There is hope at this point --- real, glorious hope! The Lord Himself is that hope. Those that hurt over their own mistaken identity, their nothingness, are good candidates for the crucified life of the risen Lord. There must be a deep union with the risen Lord, that the saint and the Saviour may consciously share the same life. There was great energy that brought Him out of the grave --- resurrection energy --- greater than atomic power. This resurrection life energy is now available for the saints, for it abides right within YOUR SPIRIT. The trouble is that the life that merits only hatred is constantly blocking the way. Only the cross can remove it!  

CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST  

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" (Gal. 2:20). What is this that Paul says: "I am crucified with Christ"? What does the apostle really mean? In what sane and solid sense does he use these hitherto un-heard -of words? Saul of Tarsus, we have his own word for it, had never seen Christ in the flesh, nor His cross either. He had not been in Gethsemane with Christ like Peter, nor on Calvary with Him like John. The two thieves might have said, "We were crucified with Christ," but how could Saul of Tarsus say it? For he was still at home in his own country; he was only as yet an aspirant to Gamaliel's school when Christ was crucified; and the crucifixion of Christ was long past before Saul had set a foot in the city of the crucifixion. In what sense then can he say, and say it so often and so boldly, "I am crucified with Christ"?  

Nearly half a century ago Lloyd C. Douglas wrote a best selling religious novel called THE ROBE. Paul Rees, in reviewing the book, points out that its readers will remember that Marcellus Gallio was the Roman tribune who was supposed to have been the officer in charge of the actual crucifixion of Jesus. When Marcellus returned to his quarters after the crucifixion, he made a confession to his Greek slave Demetrius. He confessed that he felt dirty and ashamed. When Demetrius tried to console him by reminding him that he was only obeying orders given him by Pilate, Marcellus asked, "Were you out there?.. . Were you there when He called on His God to forgive us?" And the rest of the story is concerned with the strangely persistent way in which this Roman noble was haunted by his sense of guilt for having crucified the Lord. He, who was supposed to be upholding the law by executing a guilty man, was somehow condemned by that man's innocence and made to feel guilty himself. "WERE YOU OUT THERE," he asked. It is a fair question that Marcellus put to Demetrius. And the answer is "Yes." WE WERE ALL OUT THERE! Whether Roman or Greek, whether Israelite or Gentile, we WERE there when they crucified our lord.  

Yes, the Christ was crucified "for us" --- on our behalf --- but Paul goes deeper into the mystery that is Christ and says that if we want to understand the deep meaning of the cross, we shall have to see, not just Christ dying for us, but also our identification with Him, we will have to see ourselves on that cross dying with Jesus. You see, IF JESUS MERELY DIED INSTEAD OF US, then Jesus will merely rise instead of us. Selah. Pause and think about that ! The scripture declares that we are crucified with Christ so that we may rise with Christ. If there is no participation in the cross, there can be no participation in the resurrection. George Hawtin has given beautiful expression to this precious truth in his article, THE CHRIST LIFE. He writes: "Every man and every woman will have to face the cross. If there be no cross, neither will there be a crown. We will have to face it in our own lives and, if I am not mistaken, we will have to face it every day we live. 'For to me to live is Christ, and to DIE is gain' (Phil. 1:21). Death to ourselves will be the greatest death we ever die. This death will never be accomplished by our vain struggling and trying, but it will be accomplished in that blessed hour when the Holy Spirit reveals to our hearts the truth that He revealed to Paul: 'I AM CRUCIHED with Christ.' The world itself cannot contain the full truth of this precious statement, 'I am crucified with Christ.' We will never GET crucified nor will we ever have faith to crucify ourselves. We will never go to an altar and accomplish this act by faith. The lesson we must learn, my earnestly seeking friend, is simply this: Before ever there was a world or a sinner in it, God Himself by His almighty power placed ALL MEN IN HIS SON JESUS CHRIST and then, having done so, He crucified Him and, when He crucified HIM, He also crucified ME, because I was in Him. When HE crucified His Son, He crucified YOU, because He had placed you in Him. All this took place before the foundation of the world. All men died IN ADAM and, because all men died in Adam, ALL MEN live IN CHRIST, because God has placed all men in Him. 'For as in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive' (I Cor. 15:22). 'But,' you ask, 'why is it then that all men are not saved?' The truth is that all men are saved, but all men have not yet believed, because God has not yet opened their eyes. All Christians are crucified with Him, but few, oh so few, have ever been told that crucifixion is an accomplished reality ---accomplished by God Himself and left for us to accept and believe. Once the believer grasps this truth and seizes upon it by faith, then he understands that all of the old carnal realm with all its terrifying specters was a paper tiger, an alarming, petrifying panic, a phantom, a dead lion, no more real than a nightmare. My brother, my sister, in that good and glorious moment when you see God by His almighty power placing ALL MEN IN CHRIST, yea, even before the world began, and, having done so, He sent Him to the cross to be crucified, then you will know that, when Christ was crucified, YOU were crucified, for you were in Him. Then you will join with Paul and every participant of the revelation, saying, 'I AM CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST.' Then you will be able for the first time in your life to RECKON YOURSELF DEAD UNTO SIN, BUT ALIVE UNTO GOD" --- end quote.  

A most wonderful and significant event, completely passed over by the vast majority of Christians, occurred at the time of the crucifixion of our Lord. In the purposes of God extending from Paradise lost to Paradise regained, the time came when all three of the characters (God, Adam, the serpent) involved in the ancient drama in Eden MUST meet again --- this time AT THE CROSS! You will understand a great truth when you see how it is that Christ, Adam, and the serpent ALL MET AT THE CROSS. Let me unfold for you this deep and blessed mystery which transpired on the hill called Calvary. Yes, Christ, the manifestation of God in flesh, the consciousness of God in our spirit, was present there at Calvary. But Adam was also there in flesh, old Adam, the self-consciousness of man in the soul---he was not there in the flesh of Jesus (the last Adam), but represented in the flesh of one of the thieves crucified WITH HIM. Furthermore, the serpent was there, that ancient serpent, the power of the carnal mind, the law of sin and death in our members--this serpent was manifested in the flesh of the other thief crucified WITH CHRIST. Three and a half years prior to this event Jesus had encountered the serpent in the wilderness of Judea, the temptation came in these subtle words, "IF THOU BE THE SON OF GOD, command that these stones be made bread" (Mat. 4:3). And now, on mount Calvary, while drinking in obedience to the Father the last bitter dregs from the cup of suffering and death, the satanic voice is heard once more taunting Him through the lips of this jeering malefactor: "IF THOU BE THE CHRIST, save Thyself and us!" (Lk. 23:39).  

Do you imagine, my friend, that it was an accidental and inconsequential incident that Jesus was crucified between TWO THIEVES? No way! The truth of God is multi-faceted and the scriptures abound with many and varied representations of the redemptive plans, purposes, and processes of God. There are those unique passages which point to all that has been wrought and made blessed reality IN CHRIST. The prepositional phrase "in Christ", appearing some thirty-five times in the New Testament, is filled with spiritual dynamite! Vital necessity, this reality of being IN CHRIST. This has much depth and preciousness in it when we remember that Christ is made up of many members, and that they, are joined together as one, ONE MANY-MEMBERED CHRIST. There is a realm of fullness to come into, and it is IN CHRIST, until it is no longer "Christ and me" but just--CHRIST. God has chosen us IN HIM, and we are made alive IN HIM. We are new creatures IN HIM and are to walk IN HIM as we have received Him, rooted and builded up IN HIM and established in our faith. We become the righteousness of God IN HIM, we are established IN HIM, and can do all things IN HIM that strengthens us. God always leads us to triumph IN HIM, making our lives a sweet savor of Christ. IN HIM we have every spiritual blessing in heavenly places; as we abide IN HIM we are made complete IN HIM who is the head of all principality and power. 

We should direct our thoughts to yet another consideration. Wonderful as is this truth of our identification IN CHRIST, let all who read these lines know and thoroughly understand that there is another and blessed aspect of' truth to be embraced in the precious words "WITH CHRIST”. Now I believe that I am quite correct in this statement--I am certain that Paul never said that he was crucified IN CHRIST. He did say that he was crucified WITH CHRIST. Paul gave us a remarkable clue to this great mystery when he explained, "I am crucified WITH CHRIST” (Gal. 2:20), and again "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified WITH HIM, that the body of sin might be destroyed" (Rom.6:6). With these words in mind it should not be difficult to see that Paul never makes the statement or the inference that Christ DIED IN HIS STEAD. But Paul made it the sharing of a common death by saying that he was crucified W-I-T-H CHRIST. This may seem to be an insignificant and unimportant point, but it makes a whole universe of difference whether we were crucified IN CHRIST or WITH CHRIST. Every word of inspiration is meaningful and full of depth. Truly Christ died FOR US, not in our stead, precluding our dying, but on our behalf, thus enabling us to truly die and rise again WITH HIM.  

Now actually, Paul nor any of us, nor anyone else from Paul all the way down to us, was actually, physically, bodily crucified with Christ. I refer of course to that particular time of the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus the Christ was there at the crucifixion as the embodiment and manifestation of THE LIFE OF GOD IN THE SPIRIT, the pure, sinless, separate, divine, heavenly One pouring out His divine life for the world. So also did Adam, man in his self-consciousness in the soul, have a representative or a manifestation of himself there at the crucifixion. One man, a thief, was there as the representative of the living soul, of all humanity, or the representative of the first Adam, if you please. And the remaining thief, the jeering malefactor, was the representative of the serpent and his kingdom, the spirit of the carnal mind, the power of sin and death in our members. And ALL THREE DIED ON THE CROSS--TOGETHER! They all died the same natural death and not one of them was saved from it. The two thieves, above all who have ever lived, were truly and uniquely CRUCIHED WITH CHRIST.  

Turn aside with me for a few moments and meditate upon these THREE CROSSES on Golgotha's hill. We will find a very wide field of truth opened before us in these THREE CROSSES. There were THREE MEN met together there by the counsel of God that fateful day. Three, in the numerology of scripture, stands for that which is solid, real, substantial, complete, and entire. E.W. Bullinger, in his book, NUMBER IN SCRIPTURE, points out that "All things that are specially COMPLETE are stamped with this number three. God's attributes are THREE: omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. There are three great divisions completing time--PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE. Three persons, in grammar, express and include all relationships of mankind. Thought, word, and deed, complete the sum of human capability. The simplest proposition requires three things to complete it; viz., the SUBJECT, the PREDICATE, and the COPULA. Three kingdoms embrace our ideas of matter--MINERAL, VEGETABLE, and ANIMAL" To which I would add--man himself is a TRIPARTIITE being composed of SPIRIT, SOUL, and BODY. Those three parts comprise the whole man. The three crosses on that hill far away were there by neither accident nor coincidence. There is deep mystery and divine meaning in the scene!  

It is interesting to note that two of the three men there that day were THIEVES. I must emphasize that any man, message, action, or entity that brings to mankind any thing less than LIFE is a THIEF and a ROBBER! Man is spirit, soul, and body, and is it not a self-evident truth that TWO OF THESE THREE have no life of themselves and can transmit naught but corruption and death. Truly did Jesus say, "It is the SPIRIT that quickeneth (giveth life); the FLESH (soul and body) profiteth nothing" (Jn. 6:63). The apostle Paul adds his testimony in these words, "For to be carnally (fleshly) minded IS DEATH; but to be spiritually minded IS LIFE and peace. And if Christ be in you the BODY IS DEAD because of sin; but the SPIRIT IS LIFE because of righteousness. If ye live after the FLESH, ye shall DIE; but if ye through the SPIRIT do mortify (put to death) the deeds of the BODY, ye shall LIVE" (Rom. 8:6, 10, 13). Should one seek ever so earnestly for life and immortality in either soul or body, all such seeking will remain unfulfilled, for neither possesses one iota of divine life. They both, in very fact, DEPRIVE mankind of that most precious gift of all--LIFE! There is no life in the natural mind nor in the physical body, both fall dreadfully short, and should we trust in the flesh, exercise the flesh, or walk after the flesh IT WILL ROB US of the reality of the SPIRIT WHICH IS LIFE. The SPIRIT (Christ) alone possesses life, eternal life, incorruptible life, abundant life! The man or woman who lives out of any dimension other than SPIRIT will sooner or later discover to his or her chagrin that soul and body are indeed TWO THIEVES! And it was these three--spirit, soul, and body--the whole man in the totality of his reality that was crucified upon three crosses in that long ago!  

You remember that the thieves began to rail on Jesus, but one of them said, "Lord, help me!" The rulers, and the soldiers, and the people standing there derided and mocked Him, but this one malefactor asked that Jesus have mercy upon him. How foolish it seems to the natural mind for this one to ask Jesus to help him or have mercy upon him, for here are two men, both dying upon a cross, yet one requests help of another who is in no better position to help him than he is himself. Such a thing appears utterly ridiculous and because it was so absurd in the natural there MUST BE A MYSTERY HIDDEN IN THESE THINGS. All three of these died at approximately the same time, on the same day. When the soldiers came to Jesus, He was already dead and they broke the legs of the two thieves so that by shock, as we know it today, their deaths might be hastened. All were dead by sundown. So the manifestation of God in the flesh (spirit) died. The manifestation of humanity (Adam) in the flesh also died. And the manifestation of the serpent (sin, carnal mind) died. They all entered the realm of death.  

Listen now with infinite care as the drama of Calvary is enacted in that solemn hour. The thief who represents the living soul, man's self-consciousness, or Adam, turns to the thief representing the serpent, the carnal mind, the law of sin and death in us, and says, "Dost thou not fear God, seeing that thou thyself art under the same sentence of condemnation and suffering the same penalty? And we indeed suffer it justly, receiving the due reward of our actions; but this Man hath done nothing out of the way--nothing strange, or perverse or unreasonable" (Lk. 23:40-41). He then turns to Jesus, crying out, "Lord! REMEMBER ME when you COME INTO YOUR KINGDOM!" (Lk.23-42).  

With these poignant words he confessed a wonderful faith in the almighty power of Christ. It has no parallel in the Bible. There hangs the cursed malefactor with Jesus of Nazareth, and he dares speak and say, "I am dying here under the just curse of my sins, but I believe Thou canst take me into Thy heart and remember me when Thou comest into Thy Kingdom." The word "remember" means to recollect and both of these words can be broken down into two words: re-member and re-collect. The prefix "re" before them means to REPEAT OR TO DO SOMETHING AGAIN. So the malefactor was asking that when Jesus came into His Kingdom, He would remember him, or make him a member again. He was saying, "RE-COLLECT or collect me again into that Kingdom and give back to me my original place." This is re-storation, re-newing, re-demption, re-conciliation, re-freshing, and re-surection he was asking for! This was man, Adam, the living soul seeking the restoration of life, fellowship, authority and glory that he first had--in Christ! This is the soul crying out to the spirit for salvation!  

Oh. that we might learn to believe in the almighty power of the CHRIST WITHIN! The penitent thief believed that Christ was a King and had a Kingdom, and that on the other side of the cross He would take him up in His arms and in His heart and remember him, make him a part again, when He came into His Kingdom. He believed that, and believing that, he died. Dear brother, sister, you and I need to take the time to come into a much larger and deeper faith in the power of Christ, that the almighty Christ will indeed take us in His arms and carry us through this death process, revealing the power of His death in us. Christ must do it. Christ CAN do it! Now that Christ is upon the throne, now that the revelation has dawned that HE has all power and authority in heaven and in earth, would you be afraid to do what the malefactor did when Christ was upon the cross, and entrust yourself to Him to die His death and to live His life? Christ, the very Christ of God within your spirit, will carry you through the very process He went through. He will make the process of death work in you until it is complete and your soul is swallowed up into the reality of HIS SPIRIT.  

We have seen the faith of this man. Now let us consider the response of Christ to his cry. First, the Lord met him with that wonderful promise, "Today shall thou be with Me in Paradise." It was a promise of fellowship, relationship, participation with Christ--"Thou shall be WITH ME." Further, it was the revelation of the amazing and glorious and triumphant OPENING OF EDEN AGAIN, a promise of entrance back into Paradise from which walking after the flesh had cast man out---"With Me IN PARADISE." Finally, it was the heralding of a change, of the dawning of something new for all mankind, a NEW DAY, a new age, a new Kingdom, a new order, a new realm, a new glory, a new covenant, a new reality, a new identity, a new nature, a new spirit, a new heart, a new mind, a new life, a new dominion--"TODAY THOU SHALT BE WITH ME IN PARADISE!"  

Such truth as this requires deep spiritual thought and meditation. What do you think, beloved, Jesus meant when He announced the glad tidings to this poor thief dying WITH HIM, "Verily, I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be WITH ME IN PARADISE." Today--in Paradise! Do you imagine that He meant that the thief would, that very twenty-four hour day, walk with Him up and down streets of gold, strumming a harp, in some far-off heaven somewhere? Or do you suppose Jesus was telling this man that within a few short hours he would find himself in some "compartment of departed spirits" deep in the heart of the earth? Ah, I do not hesitate to tell you that the Christ spoke of things infinitely higher and grander than such time-worn traditions of men, for the blessed Son of God, the all-conquering last Adam, spoke of the amazing and wonderful and triumphant OPENING OF EDEN AGAIN. By death and resurrection Christ triumphed gloriously over the whole kingdom of sin and death; He strode boldly and fearlessly back into the Paradise of God from which man had been banished; He opened up for us all a NEW and LIVING WAY: He passed through the dominion of the Cherubim and the flaming sword keeping the way to the Tree of Life; He claimed again the dominion and the eminence and the glory which once belonged to the first Adam.  

Consider the scene! "And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the TREE OF LIFE ALSO IN THE MIDST OF THE GARDEN" (Gen. 2:8-9). "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).  

Our English word "Paradise" comes to us from ancient Persian by way of the Greek language. Paradise is the transliteration of the Greek word PARADEISOS which, in turn, transliterates the old Persian term PARIDAEZA. The PARIDAEZA denoted an enclosed park, beautifully landscaped with floral and fruit trees planted along a spring-fed stream, belonging to the king and his nobles. History tells of the idyllic beauty of the orchards of the king's forests, grazed by sheep, and guarded at the entrance by two soldiers whose task it was to see that intruders and spoilers were kept out. Only those who were friends of the monarch were given the pleasant privilege of passing peacefully through its gates to enjoy the sweet waters of the stream and the delicious fruit of the trees. In fact, the old Persian word PARIDAEZA gained such intentional popularity that it became a loan word in Aramaic and Hebrew as well as Greek. The Hebrew word for Paradise is GAN, the word used in Genesis for the garden of Eden. In the Greek Old Testament (Septuagint) the word PARADEISOS is used and Gen. 2:8 reads, "The Lord God planted a PARADISE eastward in Eden." It is not surprising that the Jew, during the Babylonian captivity, observed how many things about the paradise-parks of the king and the nobility resembled the story of the garden of Eden! There was the pure spring-fed stream, bounded by every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food. The Jew beheld the PARIDAEZA of his majesty, and thought of the flaming sword of the Shekinah and the guardian Cherubim at the entrance to the garden of the King of the universe! The Jewish captives knew of the flocks of sheep which grazed in the royal enclosure, feeding by the still waters, and thought of how beautifully they depicted Yahweh's sheep, over whom He was Shepherd as well as King! In short, the word PARADISE seemed a most fitting term for that wondrous realm where heaven met earth before Adam discovered his self-hood, and it was adopted into the Hebrew language by the post-exilic rabbis in particular to speak of the garden of God.  

Beloved, these are but symbols, shadows, word pictures of grand and glorious SPIRITUAL REALITIES. Great and precious promises are given to the "overcomer"-- the overcoming one is promised a crown, a throne, a white stone, a new name, a feast of manna from a golden bowl, the fruit from the tree of life, and the privilege of becoming a pillar in the temple of God! He is, furthermore, promised entrance into the PARADISE OF GOD. But this does not mean that the overcoming sons of God will live in an earthly Paradise, nor does it signify a mansion just over the hill-top in some bright glory world above. This Paradise is far more than a piece of real estate somewhere over in the Middle East. The Paradise of God which is promised the saints of God is not a physical place or geographical location on this or any other planet. It is a STATE OF BEING. It is the state of being man was in when first he was brought forth from the creative hand of God and placed in splendor and infinite dominion here upon earth. The Paradise of God was the place where heaven and earth met together in the very person of Adam, the son of God. It is man living in the presence of God, walking in the mind of God, clothed with the glory of the incorruptible life of God, man living above sin, sickness, fear, pain sorrow and death, man as master and lord over all things! It is in THIS PARADISE OF THE SPIRIT that the overcomer eats of the tree of life!  

During those moments of agony upon the cross, God ordained that one solitary first-fruit of Adam's race should be gathered from the world of sin and death and restored to the Paradise of God as wonderful proof that THE WAY WAS OPENED UP. It was the Spirit of God that moved upon the heart of this dying thief, causing him to turn his eyes upon the crucified Lord. There was a quickening, a rending of the veil of the carnal mind, and opening of the heavens above him, and in an instant his vision became clearer than that of all the multitude, and the soldiers, and the priests, and even the disciples. He saw in the Man hanging between him and his fellow thief, the Messiah, the Son of God, the last Adam, come to OPEN ANEW THE GATE OF THE PARADISE OF GOD.  

That is why Jesus came--to open again to man the Paradise of God. He lived and moved and ministered from that Paradise all the years of His sojourn on earth. The pure river of the water of life flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb is again accessible as Jesus said, "If any man thirst, let him come unto ME, and drink. He that believeth on Me...out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (In. 7:37). The tree of life is now within constant reach as it is written, "This is the record, that God hath given unto us eternal life, and this life is IN HIS SON" (I Jn. 5:11), and again, "He that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and he that liveth and believeth in Me SHALL NEVER DIE" (Jn.11:25-26). This tree is vibrantly and continuously bearing the fruit of His divine life in all who partake of it. The leaves of this wonderful tree are for the healing, the restoration of THE NATIONS. In this blest realm of Paradise, the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, the curse is removed, as it shall finally be in all the earth, for there shall be NO MORE CURSE. The throne of God and of the Lamb is with men--heaven and earth are united again. The river that flows from the throne of God flows from out of our innermost being, the Kingdom of God IN MAN. In this Paradise His servants serve Him, for they behold His face in the light that the Spirit brings. His name shall forever be in their foreheads, His nature reigning in their minds and hearts--only His will forever and ever. There is no night here in this city of living stones, for the never-ending day of the Lord has come. No need for the light of candies, or lamps, nor for the light of the sun or the moon, no external light of any kind is needed, for the glory of the Lord, the light of the SPIRIT floods the length and breadth of the city of God. God Himself has reconciled all unto Himself and HE GIVETH THEM LIGHT TODAY! Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise, Jesus assured the thief. Oh, the wonder of it. "Today" did not signify a particular date on the calendar two thousand years ago. The word heralded the bringing in of a NEW DAY, a NEW DISPENSATION, a NEW PROVISION, a NEW ORDER, a NEW REALM OF LIFE AND VICTORY, GLORY AND POWER! Ah, today! Paradise! In this one notable statement Jesus reveals that the Garden of Eden, the Paradise of God, the high and holy estate from which man fell, the Kingdom of Heaven on earth was at last OPENED ANEW. Thank God--we can now enter! Today is THE DAY!  

And yet, the mystery would not be complete apart from the knowledge that there is within us that which must die upon the cross NEVER TO LIVE AGAIN. The second thief died--and for him there was no repentance, no hope, no today or tomorrow, no offer of life, no promise of Paradise. He died to pass out of existence forevermore. Only by the spirit of revelation and understanding from above can we see that this bespeaks of the death of the carnal mind and of the law of sin and death in our members. The carnal mind is hopelessly blind to eternal things, pitifully helpless, and dreadfully full of death. The heart of the natural man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. The carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, NEITHER INDEED CAN BE. This explains why DEATH is necessary for our return to God. Death is the only way out of the world in which we are. It was by death to God that we fell out of God's world. And it is by death TO SIN AND THIS WORLD that we are delivered from the power of sin and death and the folly of the outer world. So--may I say-- you will never get out of this world alive!  

Can we not see by this that there is that which must die to live and there is that which must die never to live again. Christ died to give us His life. The repentant thief represents that in man which must die to receive of HIS LIFE that it may live. Death alone, without ANOTHER LIFE, is not enough to bring us back to God's world. We need death to get out of this world, but we also must have the life of God to live in God's world! The soul of man is the receptacle of His life in the Spirit--in which union man's soul is redeemed, restored to the Paradise of God. This is the first thief. This thief dies to live by receiving the life of the Christ upon the cross in the midst. But the second thief represents that serpent in us which must forever be done away, whose head must be thoroughly crushed once and for all, the BODY OF SIN which is DESTROYED. "Knowing this, that our old man IS CRUCIFIED WITH HIM, that the body of sin might be DESTROYED, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is DEAD is freed from sin" (Rom. 6:6-7). Three crosses, three men, and three deaths. Oh, the mystery of it!  

If you can see it, my beloved, the second thief is that work of the cross the apostle sets forth in Gal. 6:14, wherein he says, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." There are vast multitudes of believers in the church systems today who may have grasped the concept of the death of Christ for them, and go about glibly declaring that Jesus died for them, and yet they do not even faintly perceive the fact that this also means that THE WORLD IS CRUCIFIED UNTO THEM. When the Bible speaks of the world in the New Testament, it is not referring to planet earth nor to the created universe, not to the stars and clouds and mountains and flowers, but most always to the WORLD SYSTEM--to the corrupt system of this world order with all its evil devices, with all its vain and false and selfish and corrupt desires, its aims and goals and purposes, its self-centeredness and egotism. The "world" in scripture is this whole fleshly and carnal system that passes from father to child down through the centuries. The result of man's rebellion against the Spirit has been the establishment of a whole world system which the Spirit testifies is PASSING AWAY.  

If we are God's elect the world has been crucified to us; it is dead. It is somewhat like a man who loves a woman. He greatly loves her but one day she dies, perhaps even in his arms. He looks down at her body which just a moment ago was warm and moving. Now all is still and silent. The light has gone from the eyes. Perhaps, if he really loved her, he might even yet smother her face with his kisses. Wait but an hour or so and that body will grow cold, and a little longer and it will no longer be soft, but now stiff and cold. Wait but a few days and it will begin to rot and stink. A ,week later one would not be able to stand to go into the room with it. That is what the Lord says should be happening in every believer's life concerning this whole world system, with all its vaunted success, all of its goals, with all of its economics, politics and religion. The world has already received at the cross, its death blow. Even its king, the devil, has received a wound in his forehead from which he will utterly perish. So this system is crumbling into oblivion. Even now you can smell the putrefaction of it. For the sons and daughters of the Most High it has lost its allurement with all its baubles and successes which men in the world count of great value and of high esteem.  

Ray Prinzing commented on this passage: "While experimentally the world becomes crucified unto me-- so that we no longer have any desire for the things of the world, no lusting for friendship with the world, no latent feelings that can be awakened and stirred up by the world; to make it even more complete, 'I am crucified to the world.' Thus, as far as the world is concerned, you become dead to them also. They have no more desire for you--there is nothing in you that appeals to them, you are as useless to them as a corpse. You cease to exist in their realm. Don't be amazed, then, if they no longer seek you out or try to fellowship with you. Only those who are quickened to the same new life which you are receiving, can fellowship with you in that life. To all others you are a stranger and a foreigner."  

In the Song of Solomon the King, beautiful type of God's corporate Son, Head and body, exclaims, "Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me up to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense" (S. of S. 4:6). Myrrh in the scriptures is a figure of death, while frankincense is a figure of life, and was uniquely the fragrance of the Most Holy Place, the incorruptible realm of God. Beloved, THE CROSS IS THE MOUNTAIN OF MYRRH. It is not just a small amount of myrrh, but a great and eternal MOUNTAIN of this costly perfume. How many times we go up to the cross with our self-life as if it were mountains of grief and regret, of suffering and sighing, of rain and loss, and not a sweet and priceless fragrance unto God. How often when we take up our cross to go after Jesus, we follow Him moaning and repining at every step. All the fragrance of this precious mountain is lost when we go up reluctantly and grudgingly, or withholding something from death. Oh! let us go up with joy unspeakable and full of glory, exulting that we have been counted worthy to suffer and to follow in His footsteps, and that to us it has been granted to die to the vain spirit of this world, to the carnality, childishness and abomination of the wretched religious systems, and to have our own fleshly minds, ambitions, desires and ways firmly nailed to the cross, to be gloriously alive unto God and exquisitely conformed to the image of God's beloved Son.  

It is not enough to make an occasional trip up to the cross, for death must become a mountain to us, we must go there to stay until the day breaks and the shadows all flee away. It bespeaks of a STATE OF BEING. To BE DEAD is a STATE OF BEING. We must abide in the Lord's death. Today, many zealous Christians have the wrong concept. They believe they must fast, weep, pray, and wait on the Lord in order to die. That is all good, but it is not death. To tarry at an altar is easy; to pray for a week is easy; even to fast for a month is easy; but to stay at the Mountain of Myrrh for a lifetime is not easy. We could all fast and pray for a long time without any sleep, but to stay in the Lord's death means that we so absolutely DIE to the flesh, the world, and the devil that we simply ARE DEAD. It is only then that the day breaks eternal and shadows of this earthy realm forever flee away. Let us open ourselves before the Lord. I do believe that we all have the sense that our Day is not yet fully broken. We all realize that there are still some haunting shadows of limitation, fear, lack of understanding and fleshliness about us. Even in our bodies, the lines, the gray hairs, the weakness, reveal that our bodies have not yet caught up to our spirit. No matter how much we say that we are the elect sons of God, sons of Light, sons of the Day, kings and priests of the Most High, living in the Holiest of all and feasting at the feast of Tabernacles, there is still the sense that we are not clearly in the Day. As long as we have such a realization we will spontaneously say, "UNTIL the day break, and the shadows flee away, I WILL GET ME UP TO THE MOUNTAIN OF MYRRH, AND TO THE HILL OF FRANKINCENSE." But, praise God, the Day is at hand!

 


Chapter 13 

LIBRA- THE SCALES

(continued) 

In this Study we come to the third and final minor constellation, or group of stars, which surrounds and completes the Sign of Libra. This constellation is known as CORONA BOREALIS--the Northern Crown---or simply, the Crown. It is a lovely semicircle of twenty-one stars, most of which are of the white, twinkling kind, so that the crown is fully jeweled. This beautiful crescent is right overhead in the early summer sky. The Hebrew name for Corona is ATARAH, meaning "Royal Crown.” In Arabic, its name is AL ICLIL, meaning “an ornament” or “jewel.” This star name is found a number of times in the Old Testament, but Isa. 28:5 is one of the most significant references to the most perfect of all royal diadems: “In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a CROWN (Atarah) OF GLORY, and for a DIADEM OF BEAUTY, unto the residue of His people.” Here we are shown the great truth that the “crown of glory” and the “diadem of beauty" of the elect of God is just the Lord Himself--THE INDEWELLING SPIRIT OF LIFE.  

It is interesting to note that each sign, each mansion, each house of the Zodiac ends its final Decan with one of surpassing glory, one of resounding victory, one of eternal triumph either for Christ the Head, Christ the body, or for the whole race of mankind! In the same way we see that the Bible and the book of Revelation end with the great triumph and. victory of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. In the house of LIBRA which we are now considering, the Sign means "the scales." The scales are not balanced--one side is high and the other is low--revealing an imbalance, deficiency, lack. It is the picture of man, weighed in the balances and found wanting; man missing the mark; man lacking a little from Elohim; man face to face with divine justice weighing the demerits and awards of self, sin, carnality and death on the one hand, and the commensurate price and infinite power of redemption and restoration on the other. In our journey from the natural to the spiritual realm we are continually faced with our dreadful sense of LACK and the need to apprehend the necessary restoration to WHOLENESS IN GOD. This profound sense of lack, with the corresponding dealings of God to meet that deficiency and bring our state of being into completeness and balance, is wrought out under the spiritual influences signified by the Sign of Libra, the place of weighing.  

In solemn truth this process of restoration is wondrously wrought out along the precise lines dramatically revealed in the three Decans of Libra: the CROSS, the VICTIM, and the CROWN. The cross is the transition point by which we die to this carnal realm and are made alive unto God. There is a new consciousness of life from a heavenly source--"born of the Spirit." This new reality of spiritual life establishes our identity as sons of God. The cross withers the old consciousness, and the Holy Spirit imparts the new. The cross is the sword, in the hand of the Spirit, to make place for the new life from above. The life from beneath and the life from above are bitter enemies that will never be reconciled. As in warfare, there can be but one victor and one vanquished. This is the point were it hurts. The cross withers and dries the carnal consciousness, the self-life. There is real pain. The struggle of life against life--or rather life against death. The old life is death---a paradox of paradoxes.  

The constellation of the CROSS represents the process by which we are crucified with Christ. The second Decan in the house of Libra is called VICTIMA, meaning "the victim." It is located right below the scales, and was anciently called SURA-- a sheep or a lamb. This is our blessed Lord Jesus Christ giving His life for us and to us, "the lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8). We would have thought that in calling our Lord “the Lamb” this name would have been used only in respect to His humiliation and His earthly life and physical death. However, in scripture it is most often used in reference to His glory in heaven, the realm of Spirit. John saw the Lamb in the midst of the throne, standing as if slain, "having seven eyes which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth" (Rev. 5:6). The Spirit works as the Spirit of the Lamb. He works as a hidden, but divine power, breathing into the heart of His own people that which is the divine glory of the Lamb--His life, His nature. The Lamb is the Temple and the Light of the New Jerusalem. It is from beneath the throne of God and of the Lamb that the river of the water of Life flows. There must be a deep union with the crucified, resurrected and ascended Lord, that the saint and the Saviour may consciously share the same life. There was great energy that brought Him out of the grave--the power of an incorruptible life--greater than atomic power. This resurrection life energy is now available for the saints, for it abides right within YOUR SPIRIT. "He that is joined to the Lord IS ONE SPIRIT" (I Cor. 6:17).  

The last constellation in the house of Libra is the CROWN. This is the Crown of Life which Jesus Christ has won by His death and resurrection, as He has been highly exalted by God. The scripture says, "a CROWN was given unto Him" (Rev. 6:2). Again, "But we see Jesus....CROWNED with glory and honour...” (Heb. 2:9). The voice of omnipotence proclaims, "I have set MY KING upon My holy hill of Zion" (Ps.' 1:6). And so we rise from the Cross and from the slain Victim to that One whom God hath raised up from the dead, taken up into the higher than all heavens and caused to sit at the right hand of the Majesty on high, CROWENED with glory and honour. Christ has risen from the depths of the SOUTHERN CROSS, all the way up to the heights of the NORTHERN CROWN! His shameful Cross issued in a glorious Throne. In the light of these beautifully meaningful pictures who can deny that the great and glorious plan of the Almighty is foreshown in these starry patterns above GODS BIBLE IN THE SKY! That Southern Cross connects with the Northern Crown. There is a CROSS formed of stars, and there is a CROWN formed of stars. With what joy and satisfaction do we now entertain His precious promise, "Be thou faithful unto death (the work of the Cross); and I will give thee a CROWN OF LIFE" (Rev. 2:10). Look up into that night sky and see the Northern Crown, the CORONA BOREALIS (which, by the way, at midnight every night shines over the city of Jerusalem!) and be reminded that there is a CROWN of life and righteousness and glory and honor for all who follow on to know the Lord. This crown is that FULL SALVATION which includes the plenteousness of His incorruptible life, nature and power. It is the FULL SALVATION of spirit, soul and body. That is a glorious promise. His Word declares it. The heavens declare it. Oh, the wonder of it!  

THE CROWN  

From the dawn of time the crown has been a symbol of rule, whether by secular monarch or by sacred priest. The early form of the crown was a simple band that was first used to hold back the long hair of the wearer, not unlike our modern headband. Eventually it was adopted as a royal headdress even among peoples wearing short hair. Such bands are represented in sculptures of ancient Egypt, Nineveh, and Persepolis. Some of these bands were about two inches wide and were made of linen, silk and even silver and gold. These ancient headbands gradually developed into the more elaborate turbans encircled by a band of silk or other expensive material and decorated with diadems and other precious objects to assume the dignity represented. When a ruler conquered other countries he would sometimes signify his multiple-kingdom rule by wearing several bands of cloth or metal around his turban. An example of this is seen historically in the advent of Ptolmy into Asia Minor. When he made his entrance into Antioch, Ptolmy wore two bands or CROWNS around his headdress to advertise the fact that he was emperor of Asia Minor as well as Egypt. In the process of time, when bands of precious metal replaced the bands of cloth as crowns, "horns" were added to the royal circlets. In the Middle East, as in the Bible, a horn is a symbol of power and authority. It was natural, therefore, for the designers of crowns to use points on the bands to indicate the might of a king or ruler These bands were an artistic rendition of horns and indicated the number of countries under the rule of the wearer If his crown had three horns it meant that he ruled over three countries, five horns meant that he ruled over five countries, and so forth. But whether simple headband, turban, or the elaborate metal crowns of recent ages their message has always been the same--to declare that the wearer is SOVEREIGN!  

One of the Greek words for crown is DIADEMA which may be translated into English as "diadem." When heaven was opened to the blessed apostle banished to the wilds of Patmos, and the white horse Rider appeared in the bright skies above, the glory and eternal triumph of God's Christ was magnificently expressed in these meaningful words: "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were MANY CROWNS; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron... and He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" (Rev. 19:11-16).  

Can you not see, my beloved, that this remarkable vision, blazing and shining with its scintillating glory of power and truth, points directly to our Lord Jesus Christ who is the King of kings, and Lord of lords, ruling the universe and guiding the spheres. This reference is clearly not to the entire Christ body, but to the Head of that body. He is King of kings because He is King of all those who shall rule with Him as kings. This same book of the Revelation distinctly and markedly identifies the Lord Jesus as the King of kings. "And from JESUS CHRIST, who IS the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and THE PRINCE OF THE KINGS OF THE EARTH" 

(Rev. 1:D. The word "prince" in this verse is translated from the Greek word ARCHON which means "a first in rank or power; chief ruler; prince; ruler." So Jesus is The FIRST IN RANK of the kings of the earth! I would solemnly admonish all who read these lines, DON’T TRY TO PULL RANK ON JESUS! Ah, "HE is the Head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things H-E MIGHT HAVE THE PREEMINENCE” (Col. 1:18).  

Jesus is Lord of lords because all others who rule with Him as lords have completely and lovingly submitted themselves to His supreme Lordship. No one can promote the Kingdom of God who has not, first of all, subjected himself to the very Lordship of Jesus the Christ--for the whole objective of the Kingdom of God is to ultimately bring to pass this wonderful end: "Wherefore God hath also highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of J-E-S-U-S EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that EVERY TONGUE SHOULD CONFESS THAT J-E-S-U-S CHRIST I-S L-O-R-D to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:9-11).  

What does the word "Lord" mean? In the days of Jesus, the word "lord" (Greek: kurios--with lower case letters) was the title by which slaves addressed their masters. When the word appeared in capital letters and with the definite article --THE LORD--it meant the Caesar of Rome. In fact, when soldiers or public servants met each other they used to greet one another by calling out "Caesar is Lord," and the response came, "Yes, the Lord is Caesar!" But, you see, when Jesus came preaching the Kingdom of God He came proclaiming MORE than just forgiveness of sins and a home in heaven. He came introducing a KINGDOM. In the Old Testament the Messiah was always represented as the coming KING, the coming LORD, greater than Moses, greater than David, greater than angels. Even the great king David proclaimed of Him, "The Lord (Yahweh) said unto My Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thy foes Thy footstool" (Acts 2:34-35). And Peter said in reference to that statement, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same JESUS, whom ye crucified, BOTH LORD AND CHRIST" (Acts 2:36).  

This presented a problem for the early disciples. In the culture of their day Caesar was hailed as THE LORD. They insisted to the contrary that Jesus Christ is the Lord! Caesar didn't mind other men being called "lords" as long as the title "T-H-E LORD" was reserved for him. But when the believers gave themselves to Jesus they recognized that they were doing something far more significant than "accepting Jesus as Savior" at a revival meeting. They were pledging allegiance to a NEW KINGDOM--a new GOVERNMENT! They were being "born again" into a new realm as citizens of an entirely new order--a new age-- a new WORLD! Therefore, Jesus, to them, became not only their sin bearer but the CHIEF-OF- STATE--THE LORD! The message was: "J-E-S-U-S IS T-H-E- LORD! It is HE who possesses supreme authority over us!" That is the real reason Caesar persecuted the Christians. The gospel we find in the scriptures is a far different gospel than we have in the religious systems, the evangelistic efforts and revival campaigns of today. The gospel of today is a gospel of "easy-believism' salvation. But the gospel of the Bible is the GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD. That gospel presents Jesus as KING, as LORD, as FIRST ONE, as MAXIMUM AUTHORITY. The word LORD bespeaks of authority--the authority over all authority. Truly "we see Jesus CROWNED."  

The revelation of Christ to the human heart as King will always be subsequent to the revelation of Him as Saviour. There need not necessarily be a long interval between these two revelations, indeed the sooner the one occurs after the other the better; but the Saviour must ever be discovered first, and in the joy of that discovery the soul will be led on to find the King. When Gideon had achieved the liberation of his countrymen from the yoke of Midian, we are not surprised at hearing that they offered him a throne. It was natural that they should say, "Rule over us," when his prowess had by divine assistance rescued them from the pitiful bondage of their enemies. It is even so in the history of our own spiritual progression in God. As we make proof of HIS power to save, and earnestly desire that He should carry on His saving work to its final triumphant conclusion, we begin to feel that He will be the better able to do this, the more completely we surrender ourselves to His control. If He is merely a Saviour, called in at a moment of emergency, He will show Himself on such occasions strong to save. But if He can once become our King, then He will exert His regal power in making such transformations within the little kingdom of our own nature as shall bring us to our full rights, benefits and state of being as citizens of His glorious Kingdom.  

Thus we begin to long for His reign within; earnestly to desire that every lofty imagination may be cast down and every fleshly desire subdued, so that He may have His will, and ours be lost in His. And then we begin to find out that there is a vast difference between the conditions of the discovery of the Saviour and the conditions of the quest of the King, and oftentimes great searchings of heart will follow ere we can make up our minds at all costs and hazards to start upon this quest and to accept this allegiance. Fear not, oh, my brother, my sister! Let us not pause to calculate the consequences of His Rule. What are all these outward trails, the strippings, purgings and processings, as compared with the inward glory which the discovery of the King induces in our consecrated hearts? Surely we cannot lose by His sovereignty! If He asks us to give up all that we have in the world of appearances, it is only that He may enrich us with His VASTER ALL--the true riches, the eternal glory of the Spirit.  

The word "kingdom" is derived from the two terms "king" and “dominion"--KING'S DOMINION. It exists wherever the dominion of the Christ rules and holds sway over the hearts of men. Christ is the great King right now, ruling all things for the well-being of His subjects and bringing absolute perfection and completion to His plans which He ordained before the foundation of the world. He is the King of the ages and invincible. He shall yet arise in power and glory in His completed and perfected body---the MANIFESTED SONS OF GOD---and reveal Himself as the great conquering King, initiating the mightiest of all campaigns, bringing deliverance to the whole creation, reconciling all things unto Himself, and then shall all know the glory of His Kingdom as every tongue confesses and every knee bows, arid all in that day declare that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD. At the triumph of His Kingdom sin, sickness, sorrow, pain and death all flee away to be remembered no more in the consciousness of creation.  

He is the great King of kings and Lord of lords, crowned with glory and honor, and His Kingdom rules over ALL. And praise His name, He is even now bringing forth in the earth a KINGDOM PEOPLE-- the firstfruits of His redemption--who are discovering His Lordship over all of their lives. When all hell assails us, when the power of death all around crowds in upon us, when the pressures of this world would frustrate, vex and suffocate us, when our own soulish passions and emotions and self-will would drown us in a sea of carnality and ungodliness, HE THEN STANDS UP WITHIN US AS KING--in Kingly authority. When old Adam, the outer man, mortal consciousness in this gross material realm, would tear us apart, frustrate our lives, suffocate our inner reality, and smash our identity as sons of God upon the rocks, HE IS THERE, the still small Voice, that deep, Inward Knowing. Let us learn of the real and eternal, and make way for the reign of the Spirit, the Kingdom of Heaven, the rule of His Truth and Love and Life birthed within each one of us. "This is life eternal," says Jesus,-- IS, not SHALL BE; and then He defines everlasting life as a present knowledge of His Father and of Himself, --"This is life eternal, that they might KNOW THEE, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." To know God as Truth, as Love, as Life, as Spirit--this certain knowledge is what eternal life is composed of. Thank God, in every situation and circumstance of life HE IS PRESENT TO SUBDUE ALL THINGS unto Himself, thus reigning as King over our domain. As this victory is secured within, it is then, and only then, that truly "we see Jesus... CROWNED with glory and honour."  

We are to crown the Lord, the Spirit, as King in every place in our being, outer and inner. It was the humiliation of France, in the fifteenth century, that her king Charles VII, was not crowned in the proper city, where former kings were crowned. Joan of Arc, burning with the high resolve to remove this dishonor, and have the king crowned in Rheims, emerged from obscurity, gathered an army, drove the enemy back from one point to another, until she dislodged him from Rheims. The king came then. The crown was placed upon his brow in the right place; and the fair maiden, Joan, bowed at the foot of the throne, the tears of joy streaming down her beautiful cheeks. Where are we to crown our King? We are to crown Him in the most sacred and authoritative chamber of our nature, from whence proceed the impulses and propensities of our spiritual life. Jesus taught His disciples to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Mat. 6:10). So then the Kingdom of God originates in the realm of spirit (heaven) and finds expression in the earth-realm (physical). If you walk after the SPIRIT you will live, you receive the crown of life, the crown which IS LIFE, the dominion of life out of your spirit. The authority of life is in the Spirit, even the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus. And this Spirit of Life is in YOUR SPIRIT, AND FROM TI-IENCE HE WOULD BE CROWNED AND RULE IN LIFE OVER THE KINGDOM OF YOUR BEING.  

So, precious friend of mine, when you conduct the King to the place of crowning in your nature, you may have to escort Him down a winding passageway, intricate with illusions, fears and wild distortions of the carnal mind, dismal with sin, sickness and weakness, bare and jagged with earthly consciousness and evil tendencies, on through the gloom and grime of corruption and death, to the most sacred altar of your heart. There crown the Omnipotent Ruler--the Spirit--and implore Him to arise and cleanse and purify all your entire nature every whit. Bid Him write His laws upon your very heart, so that it cannot beat unless it beat in conformity with the TRUTH and LOVE, and RIGHTEOUSNESS and POWER and LIFE and VICTORY of God's glorious Christ!  

There is an interesting and enlightening statement in Rev. 4:11 wherein we read, "Thou art worthy, Oh Lord, to RECEIVE glory and honour and POWER: for Thou hast created all things and for Thy pleasure they are and were created." The Lord is here declared to be worthy to R-E-C-E-I-V-E POWER--as well as glory and honor. The question follows, How can God, who inherently possesses A-L-L POWER--R-E-C-E-I-V-E POWER? The 62nd Psalm says, "God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that POWER BELONGETH UNTO GOD." Fifty-six times the scriptures proclaim God to be THE ALMIGHTY. "Almighty" means "All ruling; all powerful; absolute sovereign; omnipotent." Now, how can the omnipotent, sovereign, all-powerful, all-ruling God RECEIVE POWER? It is time, beloved children of God, that every man comes to know that there is no power apart from God. Omnipotence has all-power, and to acknowledge any other power is to dishonor God. Either there is no omnipotence, or omnipotence is the only power. A child of ten should be able to understand a truth so simple, a truth so sensible.  

The truth is, of course, that although God (SPIRIT) is the supreme authority and power, and the only reality of the universe--man with his mortal mind does not so perceive Him. The carnal mind ever pursues an identity apart from God, proclaiming the ancient error: “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds: I will be like the Most High" (Isa. 14:13-14). I will...I will... I will! So man, in his distorted consciousness, rules his own life and destiny apart from the consciousness of God--yea, in opposition to God! And the inevitable result of this course is chaos, sorrow and death. How certain it is that "there is a way which SEEMETH RIGHT unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12). The power of the human will is not sovereign. The human will pertains to the material senses, the outer man who is perishing. There is no reality there.  

There are many species of insanity. All sin is insanity, in different degrees. The carnal mind is an insane mind given wholly to destructive delusions. The natural man is mentally ill beyond comprehension. The carnal mind is spared from this classification in our world, only because the vast majority of the inmates in this vast asylum called “society” is equally mad and in consonance with the delusion. There is a universal insanity of the so-called “wisdom” of this world, but the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God--the Spirit. The mortal, sinful, sick, warring, confused, sorrowing, imperfect, carnal children of men are counterfeits, to be laid aside for the pure reality--man in the image of God. This mortal, this deranged mind of old Adam, must be put off, and the new man or real man, the sane man in the precious mind of Christ must be put on.  

This brings us back to our question: If the Lord HAS ALL POWER, how is it that He R-E-C-E-I-V-E-S POWER? The answer is found in the prayer Jesus taught us which sets forth the great principles of KINGDOM PRAYER. Jesus says, “When you pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. THY KINGDOM COME. THY WILL BE DONE IN EARTH, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN” (Mat. 6:9-10). What does it mean for God's Kingdom to come? I am the king of my life; I am seated upon the throne; I make the decisions; I do according to my own will. But when THE LORD comes I must abdicate my throne and let HIM sit upon the throne! The testimony of sons in the Kingdom of God is: “Till I met THE LORD I was the commander of my life. Since I came into relationship with Him, HE COMMANDS.” “Thy will be done in earth" is something for now--not tomorrow, not in the millennium nor the ages to come. You see, when I abdicate the throne and resign from the dominion I have exercised in my life, that realm of dominion which was reserved unto myself is GIVEN TO THE LORD. The power which I once held in my own hands is YIELDED UP TO HIM and He now exercises the power and authority that I formerly exercised. Thus, HE RECEIVES POWER! He receives the RULE over my life. He never took that rule by force, but He receives the rule when I surrender it up to Him. It is when I truly recognize that there is NO POWER BUT THE LORD, THE SPIRIT, that I crown HIM Lord of ALL!  

THE VICTOR'S CROWN  

There are two different Greek words in the Greek New Testament which are translated 'crown" in English. One of them is STEPHANOS, which denotes a wreath, a "chaplet.” The other is DIADEMA, meaning a “diadem." The most common term rendered “crown” is the word STEPHANOS. The popular name “Stephen” is derived from this word, and this crown was usually a laurel wreath woven of fragrant branches, or the like. It was granted to winners in the Olympic games and also as a token of public honor for distinguished service--especially military leaders who had been victorious over their enemies on the battlefield. It was also given at marriage feasts, specially in royal families, to celebrate the joy of the bridegroom in having 'won' the maiden as his bride. This crown always denotes a VICTOR'S CROWN ---i.e. crown of an OVERCOMER-- one who has fought and WON!  

Everywhere in the New Testament world, Greek society left its mark on the culture and religion of the people. Perhaps one of the greatest contributions was that of the Olympic Games. Held every four years in Greece since its inception, the Olympic Games quickly became world renowned. There was scarcely a city in the Roman empire where mention of the games did not bring excited discussion. Many cities were anxious to host the games. Two cities in Palestine were granted this honor: Dor and Samaria. During the reign of king Herod in Palestine, he built magnificent accommodations for the games.  

The apostle Paul evidently enjoyed the games; he did not hesitate to stop and watch them and to draw lessons from them. He had been in the great coliseum in Rome. He had attended the Greek Olympics in Athens. He knew the thrill of watching the races. No doubt he had cheered with the crowds as the athletes strained their muscles and pressed toward the mark for the prize. I am sure that Paul was often caught up with the excitement of a great crowd in the sports arenas of his day. Out of his experience he penned these instructive words: "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be castaway" (I Cor. 9:24-27).  

In the passage before us, Paul likens the spiritual life unto a race. Pointing to the track runners, he said they run their race to receive a prize. The Greeks of that day presented a crown of woven green leaves to each winner. To win the crown was a great thrill, a tremendous achievement and a coveted honor. To the Greeks, athletic supremacy was the epitome of life. The Olympic victor's crown is said to have been the ancient world's most coveted, sought after prize. The victor was duly celebrated. Honors of various sorts were conferred upon him, including the erection of statues in his honor, as well as the composition, by a renowned poet, of a poem or "victory ode." Olympic heroes in many cities reportedly were even kept at public expense for the rest of their lives.  

Paul had felt the electric charge permeate the air in the arenas when the games were finished and all the winners were gathered together to receive their crowns. The trumpets sounded, the crowds cheered and the granite walls trembled as the victors knelt in the center of the arena. Suddenly, emerging from his private observation box, the king would walk in great pomp and colorful display toward the kneeling victors. A hush would come over the crowd. Silent tears dropped from happy faces. In the suppressed silence, the winners could hear their own hearts pounding with joy as the king placed the crowns on their heads one by one. When the last crown decorated the last brow, the trumpets played an anthem of victory. Amidst the deafening roar of the crowd, the athletes embraced each other while tears spilled down their faces and they talked of "next year" when new crowns would be won. Paul reminds us that the athlete trained and ran to obtain a CORRUPTIBLE CROWN. Those green leaves would soon dry up, turn to a faded brown and crumble into oblivion. The fragrant branches soon wilted and became dead and brittle. In contrast to this, oh ye saints of God, OUR STEPHANOI are INCORRUPTIBLE CROWNS which will never fade away in death--for our crown is the Crown of Life--LIFE ITSELF!  

How appropriate that we should read of the twenty-four Elders: "And round about the throne were... four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads CROWNS (stephanos) OF GOLD" (Rev. 4:4). Golden Stephanos! Golden Victor's Crowns! Gold is a symbol for the divine nature. And how true that we are only able to overcome by being made partakers of HIS DIVINE NATURE! To be "crowned" means to be given kingly authority. As the kingly authority of God's divine nature ascends the throne of our lives we are CROWNED, MADE RULERS, not after the carnal pursuits of the flesh, but in the love, truth, life and glory of God's own character.  

"And immediately I was in the spirit: and behold, a throne was set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats (thrones): and upon the seats (thrones) I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to Him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, the four and twenty eiders fall down before Him that sat on the throne...and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power...after this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and palms in their hands; and all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God" (Rev. 4:2-11;7:9-11).  

The imagery of this passage is drawn in allusion to the encampment of the children of Israel in the wilderness. God is represented as sitting upon His throne in the Tabernacle of Moses, within the Most Holy Place. The twenty-four Elders bear a special signification for they are represented as distinct from both the four Living Creatures "in the midst" of the throne and the great multitude "before" the throne. These Elders occupy a unique position described as "round about" the throne--yet UPON THRONES! In order to fully appreciate the scenery here drawn by the Spirit we need to go back and examine one particular of the order established by God among the people of Israel after thy came up out of the land of Egypt. It is important that we get a clear idea, not only of the structure of the Tabernacle of Moses, but also of the arrangement of both the people and the priesthood in relation to it. 

The Tabernacle was erected in the very center of the camp of Israel. Within the Tabernacle the Most Holy Place was uniquely the abode of the God of Israel among His people. When the Tabernacle was set up as described in Exodus chapter forty, the Shekinah, the Cloud of God's Presence, covered the Tent of the Congregation, and then the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle, resting in the Holiest of All. The Lord instructed Moses, “Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the Holy Place within the veil before the mercy seat... that he die not: for I WILL APPEAR IN THE CLOUD UPON THE MERCY SEAT" (Lev. 16:2). Isaiah testified, “O Lord of Hosts, God of Israel, that DWELLEST BETWEEN THE CHERUBIM, Thou art God" (Isa. 37:16). God was IN the Cloud, He APPEARED in the Cloud, He SPOKE out of the Cloud, He LED Israel by the Cloud, and in the Cloud He DWELT IN THE MOST HOLY PLACE. Thus, the Tabernacle was in very fact GOD'S THRONE among Israel from which HE RULED OVER THEM!  

The Most Holy Place is, then, an earthly picture of the throne of God--the realm of God's manifestation in power and dominion. The Most Holy Place prefigured CHRIST THE KING together with all those holy sons of God who reign with Him. It is the glory of KINGSHIP. Armed with the understanding that the Tabernacle constituted God's throne among His people, let us remember that there is "before" that throne a "great multitude" of people receiving the blessings and benefits of His Kingdom ministered through the typical sacrifices and ritual of the Tabernacle service. The arrangement of the Tabernacle, the Priesthood, and the Camp of Israel into three distinct divisions, sets forth the three-fold economy of God in His redemptive processes. Let us see! The Tabernacle is the dwelling place of God---His throne, His sphere of activity, the center of His power and glory and authority. The Camp of Israel, the great multitude "before" the throne, represents the whole world of mankind outside of God, estranged from the life that is in Him. But there is a third company--the CAMP OF THE PRIESTS--situated, as it were "round about the throne," directly BETWEEN the Tabernacle “throne" and the "great multitude" of the Camp of Israel “before" the throne. The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “The Israelites shall encamp each by his own tribal standard or banner, with the ensign of their fathers' houses, opposite the Tent of Meeting, and facing it on every side. Then the Tent of Meeting shall be erected, with the CAMP OF THE LEVITES (PRIESTS) IN THE MIDST OF THE CAMPS" (Num. 2:2,17). Divine infinite purpose lies behind this whole arrangement and the moment the wonderful significance of this dawns upon your spiritual understanding, you will see that God has placed a PRIESTHOOD COMPANY between Himself and the world of mankind!  

The priests made their Camp around the Tabernacle and between the Tabernacle and the great Camp of Israel. It should be clear to every thinking mind that the Priesthood camped "round about" the Tabernacle corresponds precisely to the twenty-four Elders seated "round about" the throne in Revelation chapter four. You will recall the account in I Chronicles twenty-four of how, under David, the Levitical Priesthood was divided into TWENTY-FOUR COURSES under the headship of TWENTY-FOUR ELDERS. The twenty -four courses or orders of the Priesthood were chosen by families--according to the twenty-four grandsons of Aaron the High Priest. Each course was named for one of these twenty-four grandsons and the male descendants of each grandson constituted one of the twenty-four courses throughout their generations. We are indicted to lightly pass over many profound statements of Holy Scripture. The Priesthood was divided into twenty-four orders for this stated purpose: "This was their order for coming on duty to serve in the house of the Lord, according to the procedure ordered for them by their forefather Aaron, as the Lord God of Israel had commanded him" (I Chron. 24:19, Amplified).  

The priesthood numbered thousands. Of course, all those priests could not go into the temple at one time, so they were divided into courses and assigned to work shifts, each "course" of Priests and Levites came on duty for a week, from one Sabbath to another. When a "course" was on duty, all its members were bound to appear in the temple, and the service of the week was subdivided among the various families which made up that course. The point I wish to emphasize here is this: It took all twenty-four courses to MAKE UP THE ENTIRE PRIESTHOOD OF GOD! As the Father unfolds these truths to the inner man, we become convinced that as the four Living Creatures “in the midst of the throne" reveal the glory of KINGSHIP, so the twenty-four Elders "round about the throne" reveal the glory of PRIESTHOOD. KINGS AND PRIESTS! A KINGDOM OF PRIESTS! PRIESTS THAT SIT UPON THRONES! REIGNING PRIESTS! A MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION WITH AUTHORITY AND POWER! This is the great truth revealed in the throne of God, with four Living Creatures in the midst of the throne, and the twenty-four Elders around the throne. John the Revelator summed up in three short verses the wonderful truth of which I now write: "And when He had taken the book, the FOUR BEASTS and FOUR AND TWENTY ELDERS fell down before the Lamb, every one of them having harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints. And THEY (the four Living Creatures and the twenty-four Elders) sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou was slain, and hast redeemed US to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast MADE US unto our God KINGS AND PRIESTS; and WE shall reign on the earth" (Rev. 5:8-10). The four Living Creatures---KINGS! The twenty-four Elders PRIESTS! Together they bow low before the great King of kings and High Priest of the heavens, intoning this NEW SONG---"Thou hast MADE US unto our God KINGS AND PRIESTS: and we shall REIGN over the earth!” 

Ah, beloved, those are not mere words. This passage is one of rare beauty. It is like a precious diamond, the effulgence of whose radiance dazzles the mind. It is a drop of pure distilled essence, whose fragrance fills the rooms of the heart of every man and woman who has received the call to sonship. It is a joy forevermore and challenge to all who comprehend its message. It must be engraved deeply upon every heart of God's Royal Priesthood. It exalts and glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. "THOU has MADE US!" THOU! There is so much depth to that text that I am afraid that we often do not perceive it. It is like a beautiful star-studded sky on a bright clear night and one cannot even begin to grasp the vast depth that lies above us. So it is with these marvelous words: "Thou hast MADE US TO BE KINGS AND PRIESTS!" Can you say that? As we plumb its depths a little more I hope that you will ask yourself the question more carefully, "Am I being MADE a PRIEST unto God? Is the process of transformation into the priestly nature taking place in my life?” My deepest desire for you, dear one, is that you will come to be able to experientially say these words: "Jesus Christ is MAKING ME A PRIEST!" Not in the sweet bye and bye--but HERE AND NOW!  

However clearly we see by the eye of revelation and faith the truth of this realm of Kingship and Priesthood, however earnestly we desire it, however firmly we think we grasp it by faith, all will not avail--GOD HIMSELF MUST DO IT! As the path to Priesthood, God Himself must write His law in our hearts, bring forth the new divine nature in such power of the Holy Spirit, that it is HE that works WHTHIN US both to will and to do. So often the emphasis is upon the soul submitting to the Spirit; but it is the Spirit which must subject the soul. God Himself in us must by the Holy Ghost so shed abroad His love in our hearts, that to love becomes as natural to us as it is for the dove to be gentle. God Himself in us must by the Holy Ghost so fill us with the nature of righteousness that to be righteous becomes as natural to us as breathing. God Himself in us must by the Holy Ghost so clothe us with the mind of Christ, that to think the thoughts of God becomes as natural to us as are the self-serving thoughts and desires of the unregenerated man. God Himself in us must by the Holy Ghost so make us vessels of mercy that to be merciful becomes as natural to us as the emotions of anger and retaliation are to the carnal nature.  

Consider, beloved, is it not GOD HIMSELF who has faithfully directed all your steps, who has initiated each Circumstance of your life, who has given sight to your poor blind eyes and caused you to behold the majesty of HIS PURPOSE? Is it not GOD HIMSELF who has led you out of the blinding traditions and enslaving bondage of Babylonian religion, and nurtured you and brought you to the place in which you stand in Christ today? Is it not GOD HIMSELF who placed the circumstances and experiences in your pathway which thrust you onward and upward at the crossroads of your life? I do not hesitate to tell you that no more than you can SAVE YOURSELF can you MAKE YOURSELF an overcomer, BRING YOURSELF to perfection, TRANSFORM YOURSELF into life and immortality, or OF YOURSELF apprehend the beautiful ministry of Kingship and Priesthood unto God.  

The unveiling of the sons of God is not the revelation of some people that can DO something. No, it is the unveiling of some people who have BECOME something. "To as many as received Him, to them gave He power to BECOME the sons of God" Jn. 1:12). "Thou has MADE US unto our God Kings and Priests." If Jesus IS who He IS, then certainly He can DO all things, but the doing is incidental, a by-product of the BEING. If you are BECOMING what HE IS, the signs will follow automatically, you cannot help it. But we are not following signs. We are "following on to KNOW THE LORD." Our hearts are set on HIM. We are not becoming occupied with ourselves, we are occupied with what He has said He would MAKE US, for HIS sake. "This people have I formed FOR MYSELF." "Ye shall be UNTO ME a Kingdom of Priests."  

Once God has you, it is up to Him to MAKE YOU whatever He desires you to be. He can make the vessel as it pleases Him. If He wishes to make you a healer, that is not your business. If He wants to make you an evangelist, or a deliverer, or a teacher, or a King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek, let him MAKE YOU whatever He wants to make you! And when the revelation of His calling bursts within your bosom, embrace the calling with all that is within you, yielding to the processings necessary to bring it to pass. Do not drown the high purposes of God in a flood of false humility. Set your face as a flint, turn neither to the right hand nor to the left, consider not your own weakness, (faults, inability or insufficiency) for YOUR SUFFICIENCY IS OF GOD! As with the halting and stammering Moses of old--HE WILL MAKE YOU!  

Yes, God will make us--but as we learn His ways our cooperation, yieldedness, and submission are vital to the process. He never rapes or brutalizes us. But we must surrender. The twenty-four Elders, the Royal Priesthood, have on their heads CROWNS of gold. Golden Stephanos! Golden Victor's Crowns! In the Theatre of Ephesus there was found an inscription which read: "He fought three bouts, and was crowned two times." In like manner the sons of God will soon be rewarded for their bouts with "principalities and powers" which have their rule in the darkness of the carnal mind. God is even now bringing forth an INCORRUPTIBLE people. OVERCOMERS! Who shall overcome ALL THINGS. And of them, finally, it shall be said: "They fought many bouts, and were crowned EVERY TIME!" No more weakness or failure. No more flunking two tests and winning one. Overcoming ALL THINGS! A Royal Priesthood. Priests reigning in God's own nature, love and power. Reconciling the world. Subduing all things. As Kings they are seated IN THE THRONE; as Priests they sit ROUND ABOUT THE THRONE. From thence they minister to the Great Multitude standing BEFORE THE THRONE. In their surrender to the rule of the Spirit, they themselves BECOME RULERS as the authority of God flows through them. God, the Spirit, RECEIVES POWER in their abdication of the thrones of their lives; they RECEIVE CROWNS (authority) as the dominion of God expressed through them.  

God will have a body through the earth in these days, a people filled with God, walking as God terrible as an army with banners--whose only purpose is that the Father be glorified, a people formed for Himself, through whom He can reveal and manifest Himself in all His wonderful fullness. Oh, beloved, come, let us now open our hearts wide to him. Come, and as we gaze upon this glorious ministry and its life-flow unto all the peoples of the earth, let us yield ourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may work HIS WONDROUS WORK in our lives until we am CROWNED with His life, His love, His mercy, His goodness, His glory and power unto the blessing of all the families of earth. May God grant it in these days.  

Precious elect of the Lord--we are now to run the race for the high calling of God in Christ Jesus as if there were a vast audience in a large amphitheater eagerly watching and enthusiastically cheering us on. In particular we are to look to our trainer and coach, Jesus, who has run this course before us, and been highly, completely successful. After elaborating upon the exploits of the great heroes of faith in the Old Testament dispensations, the writer to the Hebrews says, 'And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with SO GREAT A CLOUD OF WITNESSES, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 11:39-40; 12:1-2). 

“Cloud of witnesses" means STADIUM OF SPECTATORS in Greek. In some of the more spacious amphitheaters of olden times, the spectators rose in tier above tier to the number of forty or fifty thousand; and to the thought of the combatant as he looked around on this vast sea of human faces, set in various and gorgeous coloring, these vast congregations of his compatriots must have appeared like clouds, composed of infinitesimal units, but all making up one mighty aggregate, and bathed in such hues as are cast on the clouds at sunrise or sunset by the level of the sun. And though in their day this multitude of faithful warriors received not the promise--did not win the crown at the end of their race--yet God prepared some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. From beyond the veil, in that great amphitheater of departed spirits, that vast stadium of spectators, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Noah, Joseph, Abel, Gideon, Samuel, David, Daniel, Isaiah, Jeremiah and all the ancient worthies are joyfully cheering us onward, for they all know that if we can conquer sin, limitation, and death, THROUGH US they also shall receive the promise! They are most certainly the ones who now, with us, are going to be perfected (Heb. 11:40): who are going to receive all the glorious fullness of the Lord for this new day. Have you ever considered how it is that “they apart from us shall not be made perfect”? Their perfection depends on our perfection. Our victory will be their victory. The victory we obtain shall in turn be ministered unto them. Hark! Brethren, hark! Do you not hear the deafening roar of the crowd as they cheer us onward, do you not feel the electric charge that permeates the air? Can you not hear? Have you seen--have you seen the heavenly hosts gathering from all the heavens? Can you not see the CLOUD OF WITNESSES by which we are compassed about? Let us run the race! Let us overcome sin and sorrow and pain and death! Let us win the victory over the flesh, the world and the devil! Even now the trumpets are ready to sound, the King is prepared to decorate the brows of the overcomers with the Golden Stephanos--the VICTOR'S CROWNS! Press on, saints of God, the victory is nigh at hand!

 


Chapter 14 

LIBRA THE SCALES

(continued) 

We continue with our study of the third and final minor constellation, or group of stars, which surrounds and completes the Sign of Libra. This constellation is known as CORONA BOREALIS---the Northern Crown---or simply, the Crown. It is a lovely semicircle of twenty-one stars, most of which are of the white, twinkling kind, so that the crown is fully jeweled.  

From the dawn of time the crown has been the symbol of RULE, whether by secular monarch or by sacred priest. There are two different Greek words in the Greek New Testament which are translated "crown" in English. One of them is STEPHANOS, which denotes a "wreath," a "chaplet." The other is DIADEMA, meaning a "diadem." The most common term rendered "crown" is the word STEPHANOS. This crown is usually a laurel wreath woven of fragrant branches. It was granted to winners in the Olympic Games and also as a token of public honor for distinguished service---especially military leaders who had been victorious over their enemies on the battlefield. It was also given at marriage feasts, especially in royal families, to celebrate the joy of the bridegroom in having "won" the maiden as his bride. This crown always denotes a VICTOR'S CROWN--the crown of an OVERCOMER--one who has fought and WON!  

Paul reminds us that the athlete trained and ran to obtain a CORRUPTIBLE CROWN. Those green leaves of the laurel wreath would soon dry up, turn to a faded brown and crumble into oblivion. The branches soon became dead and brittle. Have you won trophies in your lifetime? If you have lived a little while and have had a chance to look back on some of them, you have seen them begin to turn and you wonder why in the world they could have seemed so important at the time. I wonder about what Olympic stars, who spend years of grueling training working to win a gold medal, must think thirty years later when they look at that medal. What does it really amount to then ? Athletes will give themselves to incredible amounts of self-sacrifice to win some perishable crown. In contrast to this, oh ye saints of God, OUR STEPHANOI are INCORRUPTIBLE CROWNS which will never fade away in death--for our crown is the Crown of Life--LIFE ITSELF!  

The Victor's Crown is granted as a reward for faithfulness---it is the trophy earned by steadfastness, perseverance and carrying the battle onward to victory. There was once a king who had a heavy stone placed in the middle of a busy road. He hid himself and watched to see who would remove the cumbersome obstacle. Men of various walks of life approached it and went around it. As the king watched, some men openly cursed the king for allowing the road to be so cluttered. One by one they dodged the task of removing the heavy stone. At last, a poor peasant, on his way to town, approached the place. His back was laden with a load of vegetables which he was going to sell. He stopped and contemplated the stone. The king watched eagerly. The peasant laid his load on the ground. Taking a deep breath, he buffed and puffed as he rolled the heavy stone off the road. Turning around, he spied a money bag which had been laying beneath the stone. With trembling hands, he opened the bag. It was filled with a fortune in gold pieces. There was a note folded among the pieces of gold. It stated that the person who removed the stone could have the gold. It was signed by the king.  

Beneath every task that the Lord puts in the pathway of our spiritual journey, is a hidden blessing. We, like the people in the story, have a choice. We can dodge the obstacle if we wish. But we do it to our own hurt. Our King will reward us if we faithfully OVERCOME in each test. There are crowns He has prepared for the overcomer. We will receive them if we press on to victory! "Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, IF WE FAINT NOT" (Gal. 6:9). Faint in your fulfilling of the Lord's will and you will reap no reward. That is the law of sowing and reaping. "Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things WHICH WE HAVE WROUGHT, but that we receive a FULL REWARD" (II Jn. 8). The word translated "wrought" is also translated "gained." Either way, the message is clear: it is possible to lose rewards which you have gained. You must be faithful to the end of the journey, to the completion of the process, to receive a full reward.  

"Behold I came quickly: HOLD THAT FAST WHICH THOU HAST, that no man take thy crown" (Rev. 3:11). If, by faithfulness, you hold fast to the ground you have already gained, you will receive your crown. If you do not stay faithful all the way to the end, you will LOSE that crown which you have already gained! However, SOMEBODY is going to receive it! The Greek word for "take", here, is LAMBANO. It is also translated, "receive." It is not that some other person is going to snatch your crown from you . . . but God WILL HAVE A PEOPLE, a firstfruits, to display the fullness of His life to creation. Should we fail to FOLLOW ON to become that people God will raise up another generation, just as He did with the children of Israel who refused to believe Him and enter into the Promised Land. That is the law of the Kingdom.  

May God help all who read these lines to realize that if we would be overcomers we cannot be sluggards or quitters. Nothing can defeat us except our own UNBELIEF! I think of a young man whose goal (in the natural world) was to become a member of the legislature. Now that is a high goal for a man to try to reach. He strove manfully and was defeated. So he decided that he should go into business. The result was that he went bankrupt and spent seventeen years paying off the bad debts of his crooked partner. He fell in love with a beautiful woman and death snatched her out of his hands. He then decided to go into politics. He ran for congress and lost. Then he sought an appointment to a government office (the U.S. Land Office) but was rejected. Then he became a candidate for the vice-presidency, and he was defeated. If any man had reason to quit, this man did! He had a young son who was the darling of his life. And the boy died. Did he give up? No, though many a lesser man would have. Today in Washington, D.C. you can look up into his face, filled with sorrow and compassion, and yet with a certain determination as he sits there in his great white chair in the Lincoln Monument and looks down upon the Union that he saved and the slaves that he freed. He didn't quit! He became an overcomer! He prevailed! And he being dead, yet speaketh. Ah, beloved, you may feel today that you have failed every test and opportunity that God has set before you on the journey to the Throne--but arise and shake the dust from your feet, be strong and of a good courage---the race has not ended yet!  

"Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty and CONTINUE therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, THIS MAN SHALL BE BLESSED IN HIS DEED" (James 1:25). "This is a faithful saying and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to MAINTAIN good works"(Titus 3:8). "Who then is a FAITHFUL and wise servant . . .? Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when He cometh SHALL FIND SO DOING" (Math 24:45-46). "My beloved brethren, be ye STEDFAST, unmovable, ALWAYS ABOUNDING (being superior, excelling) IN THE WORK OF THE LORD!" (I Cor. 15:58). It is clearly evident. The crowns (rule in the Kingdom) will go to those saints who faithfully run the race to the finish. Quitters will not receive crowns. The faithless will be empty-handed. But the overcomers shall receive the CROWN OF LIFE.

THE CROWN OF LIFE  

The journey to the Throne carries us through the process clearly revealed in the three Decans of the Sign of Libra: the CROSS, the VICTIM, and the CROWN. The cross is the transition point by which we die to this carnal realm and are made alive unto God--the realm of SPIRIT. The cross always meant DEATH. When a man picked up his cross and headed for Golgotha, he wasn't coming back! This has never changed. The cross still means DEATH. Notice the Lord's choice of words. "If any man will come after Me, let him DENY HIMSELF and take up his cross DAILY and follow Me" (Lk. 9:23). Notice the word, "daily". This cross-bearing business is a DAILY matter. Just as we need DAILY bread (Mat. 6:11), we need DAILY crucifixion. The life of a disciple demands "dying" every day. Seven days a week. Three hundred and sixty-five days a year (366 in leap year), the true disciple takes up his cross, crucifies the outer life, the flesh man, the carnal mind, the consciousness of old Adam --and DIES! Paul said, "I die DAILY” (Col 15:31). "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts" (Gal. 5:24). If you take up your cross, it is for the purpose of being CRUCIFIED. If you get crucified, you will DIE. If you DIE, if your mortal consciousness with all its affections, lusts, and delusions are SLAIN, your SPIRIT, the inner reality of the Christ in you will LIVE and reign in righteousness, glory and victory! Now let us turn our attention to this CROWN OF LIFE. Jesus said, "Be thou faithful unto death (the completion of the work of the Cross) and I will give thee a CROWN OF LIFE" (Rev.2:10). One does not have to be a doctor of theology to see that only those who faithfully take up their crosses daily and follow Jesus into death to the outer life and the outer world of illusion, will receive a VICTOR'S CROWN OF LIFE. Truly, he that loses his life will save it!  

With the apostle Paul the life of the footstep followers of our Lord, the overcomers, is compared to a race and like a boxing match. He exhorts the brethren in Corinth to run this spiritual race of life with the purpose of being victor, and with the goal of being rewarded by Christ with the reward appropriate to that victory. The pagans, he says, strive in their carnal, natural, physical races to obtain carnal, natural, and CORRUPTIBLE crowns, but we strive for an INCORRUPTIBLE CROWN. The startling truth is that not every Christian shall automatically receive this incorruptible crown, for it is not a free gift but a PRIZE TO BE WON. Paul says, "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but ONE RECEIVETH THE PRIZE? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible" (II Cor. 9:24-25).  

James writes of this special blessedness of the one who is patient under trial and stands up under the severest testing, "Blessed, happy, to be envied is the man who is patient under trial and stands up under temptation, for when be has stood the test and been approved he will receive the VICTOR'S CROWN OF LIFE which God has promised to those who love Him" (James 1:12). "Temptation," here, is not used in the usual sense. It means "tried." The rest of the verse makes it clear. God never tempts a person to sin. In fact, the apostle goes on to make that point clear. "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot BE tempted with evil, NEITHER TEMPTETH HE ANY MAN" (James 1:15). God will not tempt you to sin, but He will TEST you in faithfulness and faith. Blessed is the man who endures testing. He will receive the CROWN OF LIFE. It is with you, as with your Lord; first the CROSS... and then the CROWN.  

To further confirm the truth of this higher realm and measure of life which is reserved for the overcomer Jesus Himself says, "Fear none of those things which thou shall suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I WILL GIVE THEE A CROWN OF LIFE. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. 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. 2:7,10-11).  

To help us understand this transcendent realm of life offered to the overcomer, let us examine the two terms "mortal" and "immortal". "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" (I Cor. 15;53-54).

 MORTALITY signifies a state or condition of liability to death; not a condition of death, but a condition in which death is a possibility.  

IMMORTALITY signifies a state or condition not liable to death;, not merely a condition of freedom from death, but a condition in which death is an impossibility.  

Many people think that "mortality" is a state or condition in which death is unavoidable. That is an altogether erroneous understanding. That which is "immortal" cannot die, but that which is "mortal" can die,--that is, in a state or condition where death is a possibility. Even if the person dwelling in mortality were to live on and on and on--endlessly--yet, at all times death would be a possibility. But with the person abiding in immortality death is an UTTER IMPOSSIBILITY. The person who is mortal may not necessarily have to die--but the possibility is always present that he can die!  

When man was lowered from the realm of pure spirit existence into this gross material realm he was placed by God in the realm of mortality. He entered into the sense-realm with only a consciousness of his outer flesh-life, the inner spirit being veiled. In this consciousness he could not have been immortal, for God said to him, "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shall surely die" (Gen. 2:17), and it is IMPOSSIBLE for an immortal person to die! But, on the other hand, it was not necessary for Adam to die, for if he would die anyway why would God have pronounced the threat or penalty of death as a result of his disobedience? If Adam would never have eaten of the forbidden tree, it is obvious that he would have continued to live for as long as that condition was met. It could have been forever! And yet he lived within the POSSIBILITY OF DEATH at any time through disobedience, proving that he was NOT IMMORTAL. The thing we want to see is, that although Adam possessed physical life in full and perfect measure, he did not possess INHERENT LIFE. His outer life was a SUSTAINED LIFE, SUSTAINED FROM W-I-T-H-O-U-T HIMSELF by "every tree of the garden."  

Many of those who read these lines have pondered the events that transpired in the Garden of Eden in that dim and distant past. Little by little fragments of truth have opened up, but the grand sum and total of it is not yet unfolded before us. In that heaven blest Garden which the Lord God planted there were all manner of trees that were good for food, and Adam and Eve were to freely partake thereof with one exception--the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now we know that eating a piece of fruit in itself was not the sin, but rather that tree represented something, and that fruit signified a SPIRITUAL REALITY.  

At the beginning of man's existence on earth we are shown Adam in a relationship with THREE KINDS OF TREES. To understand God's plan, we must be completely clear about these three kinds of trees and what they represent. The three types of trees are set forth in Gen. 2:8-9, 16-17. "And the Lord God planted a Garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground (man's consciousness) made the Lord God to grow EVERY TREE that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the TREE OF LIFE also in the midst of the Garden, and the TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL." Here are the three classes of trees which could be perceived and experienced by Adam and Eve: (1) all the trees of the Garden (2) the tree of life (3) the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  

There is a clear distinction made between a GROVE composed of "every tree of the Garden that is good for food" on the one hand, and the two trees which were in "the midst of the Garden" on the other hand-the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Thus, ALL THE TREES OF THE GARDEN (the grove) are distinct from either the tree of life or the tree of knowledge. The tree of life was not of the same nature as "all the trees of the Garden" and the tree of knowledge, likewise, was not the same as those trees. After God formed man of the dust realm He placed him before these three kinds of trees, and man's whole life was pictured as a matter of feasting upon one tree or the other. How man would live and walk depended entirely upon his relationship with these three kinds of trees. God told man plainly, "You may freely eat of ALL THE TREES OF THE GARDEN." He also said, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it." Let all who read these lines know and fully understand that there was no death in "all the trees of the Garden"--death lay only in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam could have continued to live on and on and on.. . forever . . . being sustained only by the fruit of "all the trees of the Garden." It was not necessary for him to eat of the tree of life in order to continue to live. He had only to keep on eating from "all the trees of the Garden." Yet--though he continued to live and not die he was STILL MORTAL, for the POTENTIAL for death lay with him. His life was a SUSTAINED LIFE, not an immortal life. Yes, in obedience to God he was justified--his life was secure--the sustaining elements would not be denied. Thus seen, Adam had life, and death was entirely avoidable, yet he was in such a condition that death was possible--he was MORTAL. Before long Adam did disobey and lost for himself and for the whole human race the privilege of a sustained life. Adam, and all men in him, fell into death.  

The tree of knowledge and the tree of life both were "in the midst" of the Garden. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the flesh--the carnal mind. "For to be carnally minded IS DEATH" (Rom. 8:6). "For if ye live after the flesh YE SHALL DIE" (Rom. 8:13). The tree of life is the Spirit--the mind of Christ. "To be spiritually minded IS LIFE" (Rom. 8:6). "If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, YE SHALL LIVE" (Rom. 8:13). The life-giving fruit of this tree was accessible to man but had absolutely nothing to do with the realm of earthiness. In the tree of life God invited man to discover HIM--the indwelling Spirit--as the source and center of life, that in union with Him God would be at once both the indwelling power of life and the environment in which man would live, move, and have his being. By eating of the tree of life man would be full of light, abounding in heavenly wisdom and knowledge, fearful in power and dominion, ethereal as a spirit and shining in the image of God. The fruit of this wonderful tree would make men radiant with the resplendent glory of God as was Jesus, the last Adam, at the transfiguration, whose face shone as the sun and His raiment was as the light. The mighty power of this tree would raise men up beyond any possibility of sin, corruption and death into the incorruptible divine life demonstrated by Jesus when He arose from the dead in a body of glorification. In this tree of life the effulgent perfumes of the heavenly realm would be fragrance and life to man's nostrils. He would taste spiritualities and touch spiritual things. The wisdom and power of God Himself would be wide open to him and he would walk in the presence and glory of celestial realms. The gates of that realm would never be shut by day or night. The heavens would be opened over his head and he would walk in the power and majesty of God Almighty.  

It is imperative that every saint of God understands that the first man Adam and the last man Adam are more than mere historical characters. That first man did indeed live and walk upon this earth in the long ago. The second man, Jesus Christ, likewise lived and walked upon the earth two millenniums ago. But great is the mystery of God and great is the mystery of man. The truth is that both men are STILL ALIVE AND WALKING THE EARTH. Both are here alive in their posterity and both continue to reproduce after their kind. You will never understand the mystery of God and the mystery of man until your eyes are opened to see that both men exist right there within that wonderful and complex world which is YOU. The first man was made "a living soul" and your soulish man is the offspring of that soulish man; the second man was made "a QUICKENING SPIRIT” (I Cor. 15:45) and your spirit man is the offspring of that spiritual man.  

There is a spirit in man and that spirit is THE TRUE MAN and the true personality--the image of God. The spirit can never rest satisfied until it rests in God. It ever seeks communion with God and longs with unutterable longing and unceasing desire for fellowship with the Most High. This should not seem strange, for God is the FATHER OF SPIRITS (Heb. 12:9). Therefore it is no wonder if the spirit is restless until it is one with Him. The first man is of the earth, earthy, and he is your earthiness; the second man is the Lord from heaven, and this is the true man of spirit. The beautiful, pure, and divine constitute his ancestry. His origin is not, like the outer man who is perishing, in brute instinct and material substance. Spirit has its primitive and ultimate source of being---God is his Father, and Life is the law of his being. The first man is natural; the second man is spiritual. The first man contained a "breath of life"; the second man "has life in Himself" even as the Father has life in Himself. "For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself” (Jn, 5:25). Both of these men, precious friend of mine, are Y-O-U. And you may walk after the flesh and DIE, or you may walk after the spirit and LIVE!  

We have seen that father Adam in the beginning had a conditional natural life (body and soul) which could have been sustained forever by walking in obedience to the law of God. Death came by sin, and sin is the transgression of the law. Furthermore, he could have possessed IMMORTAL life by being joined to the Spirit. Jesus came to earth in that same wonderful potential of manhood---but He not only walked in union with the Spirit, He brought His faculties into union with the Spirit until soul and body were raised up into the full immortality of God's divine life and nature. This realm of IMMORTALITY which He apprehended for the whole man has by Him been made available to all who will avail themselves of it. We have already seen that it is promised to the OVERCOMER and is a PRIZE to be gained by running for it. It is called a CROWN OF LIFE. It is the RULE OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE. Now let me be very clear--many shall attain to never-ending life as they continue to walk in faith and obedience as Adam could have--but only those who PAY THE PRICE shall actually be raised up into IMMORTALITY---completely beyond the capability of dying or ever again being corrupted either spiritually, soulically, or physically.  

I am sure that this thought that not every Christian shall in the ages to come possess the full degree of life which is IMMORTALITY will come as a shock to many. But the scriptures clearly indicate MORE THAN ONE DIMENSION of everlasting life. One is the kind of life Adam could have had, a SUSTAINED LIFE, and the other is the kind of life that ONLY JESUS has been raised up into--INHERENT LIFE. The first raises men up in redemption to the quality of life Adam knew before he sinned and the second goes far beyond "redemption" (a buying back) to the ultimate purpose of God for the NEW CREATION, expressed in the nature, image, glory and dominion of the last Adam, the Lord from heaven. One will never understand that quality of life which is a "prize" to be won until he clearly sees that the first Adam never did dwell in that dimension of life demonstrated by the last Adam. Redemption means "to buy back" and involves a return to a former condition. Redemption, therefore, does not guarantee an entrance into the full and complete glory of the last Adam, the Lord from heaven; but it does purchase for men a return to the first condition and state of man before he sinned. Redemption restores men to the Edenic state of fellowship with God, human perfection, and eternal access to a SUSTAINED LIFE. But those elect sons of God who lay hold upon the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, many sons brought to HIS GLORY, become partakers of a life which far transcends in wisdom, glory and power the sustained life of redemption's provision--even IMMORTALITY AND INCORRUPTION! The wonderful everlasting life provided by redemption is the FREE GIFF of God to all who believe on the name of the Lord, receiving Him as Saviour and Redeemer. The dimension of life which transcends redemption is a glorious PRIZE to be sought after and WON.  

Let us consider a few scriptures that speak of the life which is a FREE GIFT by faith. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (Jn, 3:16). "For the wages of sin is death; but the GIFT OF GOD is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23). "Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the FREE GIFT came upon all men unto justification of life" (Rom. 5:18).

Now we shall examine other passages that reveal a realm of life which is NOT A FREE GIFT at all. One previously quoted is James 1:12, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation (testing); for when be is tried he shall receive the VICTOR'S CROWN (STEPHANOS) OF LIFE." This "crown of life" is reserved only for the Victors --the overcomers! Consider how great is the exhortation of Paul in 1 Cor. 9:24-45, "Know ye not that they which run a race run all, but ONE receiveth the prize? So run that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an INCORRUPTIBLE. I therefore so run." "To him that OVERCOMETH (not believeth.) will I give to eat of the TREE OF LIFE, which is in the paradise of God" (Rev. 2:7).  

That the great apostle himself had not yet (in his opinion) qualified for this "crown of life" he states plainly in his epistle to the church at Philippi. Hearken to his word! "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom 1 have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may W-I-N CHRIST, and be found I-N HIM" (Phil. 3:7-9). Surely Paul did not have to go through all that sacrifice, humiliation, stripping and death in order to have Christ in his life--to be SAVED! Paul himself had explained to the Philippian jailer the simple requirement for salvation: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:31). But in chapter three of Philippians Paul continues, "That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; IF BY ANY MEANS I MIGHT ATTAIN UNTO THE RESURRECTION OF (Greek: out from) THE DEAD. NOT as though I had ALREADY ATTAINED, either were ALREADY PERFECT: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3: 10-12).  

Fortunately, Paul gives us some very vital information concerning this resurrection "out from" or "from among" the dead, without which we would be very much in the dark. He tells us just how he was planning to be included in it. He also tells us how others came to be included in the same class with him, and he states that the revelation concerning this great attainment and the way into it, is the sign of spiritual perfection (Phil. 3:11-15). But the popular teachers of this day have totally missed these great truths. Let us consider them very carefully. They are of the utmost importance. In Phil. 3:8-14, Paul informs us that he had given up the world, given up everything, that he might suffer with Christ, with his nature transformed to die even as Christ died, "IF BY ANY MEANS I might attain unto the resurrection out from amongst the dead." In our King James version this is rendered, "the resurrection OF the dead:" a pathetic, and altogether misleading translation.  

A moment's just reflection will suffice to convince the reader that the apostle is not speaking here of the broad truth of "the resurrection of the dead," inasmuch as everyone must rise again. "There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust" (Acts 24:15). In the Greek language the resurrection "of the dead" is NEKRON or TON NEKRON and is applied to all classes of people because all will be raised. But the term EK NEKRON--"out of the dead"--is not once applied to the unjust or the ungodly, or in any general sense. The resurrection of which Paul spoke was not the general resurrection of saints. Paul knew that he was a saved man, and as such knew there was positively no way he could escape the resurrection of the just. Now, if there were but one resurrection of the saved, as modern Babylon teaches, then all of his strivings were altogether uncalled for and useless. But no: Paul was not striving in vain; and unto the saints at Philippi he wrote, "But whatever former things I had that might have been gains to me, I have come to consider as one combined loss for Christ's sake. Yea, furthermore I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege--the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth and supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish in order that I may WIN Christ.. . that I may in that same way came to know the power outflowing from HIS RESURRECTION; and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed in spirit into the likeness even to His death, in the hope that IF POSSIBLE I MAY ATTAIN TO THE.. . RESURRECTION THAT LIFTS ME OUT FROM AMONG THE DEAD EVEN WHILE IN THE BODY. Not that I have now attained this ideal or am already made perfect, but I PRESS ON to lay hold of and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of me" (Phil. 3:7-12, Amplified).  

Oh! dearly beloved brethren, the resurrection "of" the dead is one thing, but the resurrection "out from among" the dead is a mightily different thing. If ALL the people in a building leave it at the same time, it is the coming out "of" the company; but if only SOME of the people present leave, theirs is a coming out "from" the rest of the company. It was for this resurrection "out from" the dead that Paul longed continually. This was the bright and blessed hope that shone upon his soul and cheered him amid the sorrows and trials, the toils and the difficulties, the buffetings and the conflicts. Every soul who dies, both saint and sinner, must be in the resurrection "of' the dead, for as in Adam ALL die, so in Christ shall ALL be made alive. There is no possible way of avoiding it. But to be a partaker in the resurrection "from among" the dead, that, Paul tells us, is a special blessing and distinction for those who FOLLOW ON TO KNOW THE LORD. These not only are clothed with everlasting life in body, soul and spirit: they are invested with such IMMORTALITY and INCORRUPTION as to be forever and completely beyond the capacity to sin or the capability of death. There's is not merely a SUSTAINED LIFE, but an INHERENT LIFE--God's own divine and eternal life in the fullness of HIMSELF!  

You will never know the power of Christ's resurrection until you know union with Him.. There are a couple verses of scripture that I would like to consider with you. If you will let these gracious inspired words speak for themselves, you will be given to understand a mystery comprehended by very few men or women who have walked the face of this planet. The following words of the apostle Paul are freighted with meaning and spiritual significance. "For our conversation is in heaven; form whence also we look for the Savior, 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" (Phil. 3:20-21). The opening statement of this beautiful passage declares that "Our conversation is in heaven." The word conversation is from the Greek word POLITEUMA meaning "citizenship." It is not our words or our talk that are in heaven, but our citizenship--our habitation and residence with full civil rights. We are citizens of heaven. Our residence is in heaven. Heaven is our place of birth, our homeland, our native sphere of habitation. We already dwell in heaven N-O-W. God is SPIRIT, and heaven is the REALM OF THE SPIRIT in which God dwells. To be born of the Spirit is to be born in heaven. To live in the Spirit is to live in heaven. To walk in the Spirit is to walk in heaven.  

It will be worth our time to examine prayerfully just what is actually stated in the passage of scripture now under consideration. "For our citizenship is in heaven, FROM WHENCE WE LOOK.. ." "We LOOK." I ask you to notice this particularly. 'From whence WE LOOK." "FROM WHENCE we look." It does not say, “from whence we SHALL look.” Nor does it say, "from whence the Lord shall come.” “From whence WE LOOK FOR THE SAVIOUR, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST: who shall change our vile body.. .” It does not at all say that the Lord Jesus Christ shall come from heaven, although that is how our superficial reading and carnal mindedness has taken it. Nothing is said here about where Christ dwells, or where He is coming from. The subject is not where Christ is, but where WE ARE and WHAT WE ARE DOING THERE. Where are we? "Our citizenship (residence, homeland) is in heaven.” This lovely passage shows the believer to be a heavenly man, positioned in the heavenlies---living out of the realm of SPIRIT. And what are we doing there? From that lofty vantage point and exalted state of consciousness we are LOOKING FOR THE SAVIOUR to change our vile body. Just as a man may sit in a fire-tower steadily looking for the tell-tale signs of smoke that alert him to a forest fire, so WE SIT IN HEAVEN LOOKING FOR THE SAVIOUR TO CHANGE OUR BODY. The message is clear--we are not on earth looking for our Saviour to come crashing down from heaven. Rather, from our exalted seating in the height of heaven we look for this change, for we know the Christ there, we belong to Him there, we are joined in one with Him there, we are heavenly because He is. He will extend the work of salvation and exaltation to the body-realm, so as to present the whole being in the power of eternal life in the true sphere and home of that life above--a spiritual body. We are to possess a fully developed body which belongs to the celestial world. This change from mortality to immortality takes place as Christ rises from within us, coming out of heaven (spirit) to manifest finally in the visible world. As we find CHRIST IN US as the source of our life, tremendous changes take place. Oh! the mystery of it. It is not from earth that we look for heaven to swoop down and change us; it is in heaven that we look for our outer man to catch up with our inner man. "FROM HEAVEN we look.. ." Hallelujah!  

This, my beloved, is that resurrection "out from among" the dead, the "crown of life" which is that FULL SALVATION that includes the plenteousness of His incorruptible life, nature and power. It is the FULL SALVATION of spirit, soul and body, a victory so complete, so powerful, so divine and eternal, that there is NO POSSIBILITY of ever sinning or dying again. And while I have called it a "salvation," it is MORE than salvation, it is something BEYOND salvation, an attainment, the P-R-I-Z-E of a quality and dimension of life the first Adam has never known! These overcomers possess the very fullness of the divine nature. They are not merely "saved by grace," but have totally laid down their own lives and completely taken up HIS. They are an INCORRUPTIBLE and IMMORTAL people spiritually, soulically and bodily. This, dear ones, is the TRUE ETERNAL SECURITY! Why is this resurrection such a PRIZE? Why is it worth giving up everything to run the race? Because it bespeaks of a REAIM OF LIFE and honor and glory and dominion in the fullness of Christ which none others shall receive. It is reserved for OVERCOMERS alone---not for the general run of Christians who have hob-knobbed with the world and taken the mark of the beast by following and propagating the doctrines of anti-christ which are cherished by the man-made churches.  

The Lord seeks to bring His overcoming remnant into THE POWER OF AN ENDLESS LIFE. It is greater than Pentecostal power. Greater than power to speak in tongues, prophesy, heal the sick, cast out devils, and do signs and wonders. It is greater than witnessing power, and even greater than power to raise the dead. Pentecostal power lies within the "in part" realm of I Cor. 13:8-10. When that which is PERFECT is come, that which is in part shall be done away! Soon, very soon, those powers will no longer be needed because the manifested sons of God shall arise in the power of the Melchizedekian Priesthood to deliver creation from the bondage of corruption. A ministry is coming where there is no limited measure of the Spirit, no "in part" manifestation of the "gift" realm. There will be no need to heal the sick, cast our devils, multiply bread and fish, or raise the dead---it will be a ministry from the IMMORTAL REALM where everlasting life will flow fully and freely to all creation. Death is not the grave or the coffin. DEATH IS THAT WHOLE DREADFUL REAIM IN WHICH MAN HAS EXISTED EVER SINCE THE TRANSGRESSION IN EDEN. Mankind groans to be delivered, not merely from sin and sickness and trouble and the grave, but out of death, out of the DEATH REALM altogether.  

We can only speculate what it will be like to be in the full power and glory of IMMORTAL life. God is moving to bring His holy remnant into the power of an indissoluble life, even now. There will be a full and complete severing from the earth realm, from the carnal mind, from the death realm and all its claims, God wants a free, heavenly, celestial people, a body of sons totally detached from all that is earthly, limited, and temporal. It is possible to move into a resurrection realm in our consciousness that places us beyond time, beyond the thinking and power of the world, beyond the bondage of health, security, and death itself. Is that not the greatest power that God can give to mankind--to make him an eternal SPIRITUAL BEING in the very glory of God? Ah, what a PRIZE! What a CROWN! "So let us run..."  

But note, precious friend of mine, I did not say that God would make us SPIRITS--but SPIRITUAL BEINGS. What God is creating is a NEW CREATION--something that has never been before! It is God (spirit), but not just God. It is man (form, image), but not just man. It is God and man brought together in a union producing a race of beings that are not God or man, yet God AND man! It is the NEW CREATION. 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 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. Speaking of the earthly 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..." (II Cor. 5: 1-5).  

There is another body, thank God! formed of the incorruptible life of the resurrected and glorified Christ of God, the last Adam, the God-man, the firstborn of the NEW CREATION species. This marvelous body is from heaven even as my present body is of earth. It is the offspring of the last Adam, just as my flesh body is the offspring of the first Adam. 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. 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 nature and power of that blessed realm beyond sin and death, yea, beyond time and space and matter! What a PRIZE! What a CROWN! This is the CROWN OF LIFE--the crown which IS LIFE ITSELF! Ah, beloved saints of God, let us PRESS ON to obtain this glorious and eternal Crown of Life!  

THE CROWN OF MERCY  

There are several crowns promised to the overcomer. In II Tim. 4:7-8 Paul says, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing." It is my duty before God to tell you that the VICTOR'S CROWN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS is not that "imputed righteousness" accredited to your account at the time you placed your faith in Christ, but an ATTAINED RIGHTEOUSNESS acquired as one's STATE OF BEING through the deep processings of God in the life. Imputed righteousness justifies you from your sins; attained righteousness transforms your nature, qualifying you to reign in righteousness in the Kingdom of God. "Behold, a King shall reign in righteousness.. ." (Isa. 32:1). "And they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years" (Rev. 20:6).  

Then there is the CROWN OF GLORY. "And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a CROWN OF GLORY that fadeth not away" (I Pet. 5:4). The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom of glory. God is called, "the God of glory” (Acts 7:2). The Kingdom on God is a family; its Father is called "the Father of glory" (Eph. 1:17). Christ, who brought this Kingdom into being is called "the Lord of glory" (I Cor. 2:8). The Holy Spirit, the energy of this whole heavenly Kingdom, is called 'the Spirit of glory" (I Pet. 4:14).  

T. Austin Sparks has written: "The crown of the incorruptible is glory. The Son, as the Lord of glory, is governing everything in relation to glory. What a glorious statement that is; how much there is gathered into that--GOVERNING EVERYTHING IN RELATION TO GLORY--the LORD OF GLORY! So we have in our Bible a whole book containing the record of the activities of the Lord of glory. Situations and positions seem at first sight all the work of the devil, all the work of devil-inspired and devil-energized people--situations so difficult that they look hopeless. And that book contains the verdict of the long run, that everyone of those situations was turned to glory, something glorious came out of every hopeless and impossible position. The LORD OF GLORY was seeing to that! Yes, there is much comfort in that title 'the Lord of glory.'  

"Glory is not some place to which we are going presently, although glory may be a sphere in which everything is glorious. Glory is for now. It is a part of the very life that we have now received. It is the essence of Christ as 'in us, the hope of glory.’ May the Lord teach us how to keep clear of this corrupted world, how to keep clear of that wretched., corrupt old man. You remember that magnificent, though so very simple, picture Bunyan has given us--the man with the muck rake, with the crown of glory over his head, but so occupied with his rake and obsessed with what is down there in the mud, that he sees not the glory, he misses it all"-end quote. Ah, beloved, that muck is our outer man, the flesh life, the carnal mind, and we are always turning him this way and that to see if we can find something good in him, some glory. May the blessed Spirit of Truth teach us now and forever that there is no glory in this outer world of appearances, and we must end all the investigations in that realm. Count it all but dung, but loss, and lift up your eyes to the Lord of glory--and you will find the way of glory, and you will be crowned with the Crown of Glory, even the Spirit of the Lord.  

Another wonderful crown is mentioned in Ps. 104:4, "Who CROWNETH thee with loving kindness and tender mercies." In the Hebrew "lovingkindness" is HHESED; "tender mercies" is RAHHAMIM, which is equivalent in power to our English word "compassions." This is the God of all grace placing a crown upon those who rule with Him. This is the God of love placing upon your head the insignia of anointing as one of His King-Priests. What IS this crown, this kingly, priestly anointing, this power and authority to rule? HHESED and RAHHAMIM --LOVINGKINDNESS and TENDER MERCIES! Or it can be stated as: mercy and compassions.  

Think of it! God's Crown, God's Ruling Authority and Power! Crowned with MERCY! Ruling by MERCY! This is truth of unfathomed depth. What kind of a crown do you have in mind when you think of "wearing a crown" in the Kingdom of God? It is my prayerful hope that these words will prove helpful in bringing many of God's precious elect into their crown-fitting. "In mercy shall the throne be established" (Isa. 16:5). "Mercy shall be built up for ever" (Ps.89:2). It is when this MERCY COMPANY has fully become, matured in the nature of God, then shall the completeness of the MERCY THRONE be revealed in the earth. Christ is now OUR Mercy Seat, and in due time God's firstfruits are to become that Mercy Seat for others--to unfold God's transforming mercy to all. In the Tabernacle in the wilderness the Mercy Seat--the Mercy Throne is what the Most Holy Place was made for. As we today are given boldness by the blood of Jesus to truly enter the Most Holy Place not made with hands-the realm of God's fullness--may we enter humbly with this knowledge, and in this spirit--the Most Holy Place is prepared and ordained... for MERCY! It is made just for the Mercy Seat. The unmerciful will never stand on this holy ground. No place here to view any man with the thought, "Does he deserve it?" We have not deserved it, any more than any man, we had no merits to claim His favor, but it was freely given to us just the same, and from this holy station we shall learn to freely give in like manner, not imputing men's sins unto them, but revealing HIS REDEEMING MERCY.  

This is often times difficult for those priests-to-be who have come out of the church system with a heavy hangover of condemnation and charging every man with guilt and shame. It was a sin to do this, it was a sin to do that, and we were so sin-conscious that we were not able to kindle any consciousness of the awesome power of HIS ABOUNDING MERCY.  

This truth might well be illustrated by the children's story of the sun and the wind. In the make-believe story, the sun and the wind discussed which of them was the strongest. The wind said he could prove that he was the strongest by blowing the coat off a man who walked on the road below. So the sun slipped behind a cloud and Mr. Wind started blowing until the man thought a tornado had come up. But the harder the wind blew, the tighter hold the old man took on his coat. Finally the wind saw that he could not blow the man's coat off, so he gave up in defeat. Then it was the sun's turn to try. The sun came out from behind the clouds and smiled kindly on the old man. Presently the warm loving rays of the sun caused the man to pull off his coat. The sun had proved that the power of love and light and kindness is stronger than fury and force!  

How we have ranted and raved and stormed at men about their sins and judgment! But it has been well said that "There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer; No disease that enough love will not heal; No door that enough love will not open; No gulf that enough love will not bridge; No wall that enough love will not throw down; No sin that enough love will not redeem. It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the problem, how hopeless the outlook, how muddled the tangles, how great the mistake, a sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all--if only you could love enough you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world."  

Ah---perhaps now we can understand something of the divine wisdom that, when it purposes to save a world gone awry, says, "FOR GOD S-O L-O-V-E-D THE WORLD, that He gave His only begotten Son ..." Then to the bearers of that love He bids, "LOVE your enemies.. ." And God in Christ has enough love to go around, praise His wonderful name! And by that love He is CROWNING His King-Priests for the age and the ages to come with lovingkindness and tender mercies! What a Kingdom! What a Throne! His Word declares it! The heavens declare it! This is the CORONA BOREALIS--the Northern Crown, the dominion of the sons of God!

 


Chapter  15 

SCORPIO--THE SCORPION 

The third scene in the great prophetic drama of GOD'S BIBLE IN THE SKY (the Zodiac) is simply fascinating as we view its related constellations as drawn on the ancient star charts. It is called SCORPIO (the scorpion) by the Romans of antiquity and is the most brilliant of the twelve Signs of the Zodiac. Unfortunately for observers in the northern-hemisphere, it cannot be properly appreciated because part of it is below the horizon. A scorpion is a most malignant insect. It is a noisome and deadly enemy that is most frightening. Its bite is not always fatal, though it can be; still it is always extraordinarily painful, and the scorpion is a dangerous pest. The star picture brings before us a gigantic Scorpion, larger than a man, with its tail uplifted in anger, endeavoring to sting in the heel a mighty man, but is crushed by the man, who has his foot placed right on the Scorpion's heart. If a little insect puts fear in the heart of a large man, how much more would a Scorpion much larger than a man!  

The Hebrew name for the constellation of Scorpio is AKRAB, which means "the conflict" or "war". The word is used of the scorpion, but is also the word for war as in Ps. 144:1 where the sweet singer of Israel intones, "Blessed be the Lord, my strength, who teaches my hands to WAR (AKRAB) and my fingers to fight." The whole scene of this constellation is one of conflict. The first Decan, or minor constellation surrounding Scorpio, is that of SERPENS -- the struggling Serpent. We see this serpent theme repeated over and over in the Zodiac. In fact, one of the great astronomers who did not understand this, said: "Why, the whole heavens are scribbled over with serpents and snakes," echoing most astronomers' disdain for astrology. The Devil is portrayed as the great antagonist is this battle. He is portrayed as a serpent; as a dragon; as a scorpion; as Cetus, the water -- snake; as Leviathan, the serpent in the sea; as Hydra, the many-headed monstrous snake. He is presented in many guises but always as a malignant, venomous and hostile creature. 

The second Decan is the picture of a great and powerful man whose name is ORPHIUCHUS, meaning "the serpent-holder." It portrays a mighty man who is struggling with a giant Serpent, trying to keep him from accomplishing what he is attempting to do. The Serpent is putting forth a mighty effort to reach up and grasp THE CROWN (CORONA), which is situated immediately over the Serpent's head. You will discover that the strong man, Orphiuchus, is restraining the Serpent while crushing the Scorpion! The man is grasping the Serpent with both hands, disabling the monster by his superior power and effectually holding him fast so that he cannot get the Crown. With one foot lifted from the Scorpion's tail as though stung and hurt, he is in the act of crushing the Scorpion's head with the other. He thus appears as the One who has power over the Serpent and over death, holding, conquering, and destroying them, though himself wounded in His conflict with them. The scene is drawn from the very heart of the Gospel -- the ages-long battle between the "seed of the woman" and the "seed of the serpent." The very heart of the message of the Bible talks about a great warfare between the forces of righteousness and the forces of evil in this world; between faith and unbelief; between truth and error; between life and death; between the carnal mind and the mind of Christ; between the followers of Christ and the followers of anti-Christ; ultimately it is the battle between Christ and Satan. The contest is for Dominion. ORPHIUCHUS is, first and foremost, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who at the cross was wounded in the heel, but in His resurrection, ascension and glorification has crushed the head of the Serpent, conquering sin, sickness, limitation and death! "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it become Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might DESTROY HIM that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Heb. 2:9-10, 14-15). In that long ago Eden the sublime message of the constellation of Scorpio was expressed prophetically in the pronouncement of the Almighty to the Serpent: "And I will put enmity between thee and woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel" (Gen. 3:15). We are told in chapter one of Genesis that God put the stars in the heavens for Signs, and these Signs convey a message. God has revealed that message to Adam and to his sons and grandsons. That message has gone into all the civilizations of the world as the Signs of the Zodiac and is passed down through the centuries. At the time of the building of the tower of Babel, this was corrupted into astrology, whereby, instead of these being Signs of God and His salvation by which we should worship the God of heaven and earth, they were changed into deities themselves and people began to worship the host of heaven: the sun, the moon, the planets and the stars. Some fail to see what the Signs of the Zodiac have to do with the Gospel or with the call to sonship. But with the Signs we have considered thus far it should be clear to every thinking mind that all the major themes of God's great plan and glorious purpose in creation and redemption are distinctly, expressly, precisely, accurately, methodically, graphically and comprehensively portrayed in the Signs of the heavens! Coincidence? Hardly!  

The third Decan in the house of Scorpio is HERCULES, and describes more fully the out-working of Christ's triumph. Because the pagan nations had lost sight of this original revelation, they began to assign different people to the various figures and the men that are portrayed in these constellations. What they really depict, in fact, is Christ in and through His body, the sons of God, accomplishing the totality of the victory which He came into this world to effect. Dr. Joseph Seiss has pointed out that "According to the mythic accounts, Hercules was the god-begotten man, to whose tasks there was scarce an end. From his cradle to his death he was employed accomplishing the most difficult and wonderful of feats laid upon him to perform, and all in the line of vanquishing great evil powers, such as the lion begotten from Typhon, the many-headed Hydra sprung from the same parentage, the brazen-looted and golden-horned stag, the Erymanthean boar, the vast filth of the Augean stables, the swarms of life-destroying Stymphalian birds, the mad bull of Crete which no mortal dared look upon, the flesh-eating mares of Diomedes, the queen of the devastating Amazons, the triple-bodied Geryones and his dog, the Dragon which guarded the apples of the Hesperides, and the three-headed snaky monster which kept the gates of hell. Some have argued that the story of Hercules is a purely Greek invention, but it certainly dates back in all its essential features, in Egypt, Phoenicia, and India, to a time long anterior to the Greeks. By their own confession the Greeks did not even understand who or what Hercules was, or what was meant by all his great labors. They took him for the sublimest of the hero-gods, as the accounts came to them, and here and there, as in so many other things, appropriated all to their own country and people. They could not make out their greatest hero, or any meaning to his works! Not with them, therefore, did the mythic story of the powerful laborer originate. its true original is in the ancient constellations of the primeval astronomy, which, like the Scriptures, pointed to the coming Seed of the woman, to bruise, vanquish, and destroy the Serpent, and everything of the Serpent born or belonging to the Serpent's kingdom" ---end quote.  

The old Hebrew name (shown on ancient star charts) for Hercules was GIBBOR, the word used of the "strong man" in Ps. 19:5, and translated as "mighty" and "mighty man" throughout the Old Testament. GIBBOR means "warrior, powerful, champion, valiant man." Hercules (Gibbor) is shown on the star charts down on one knee; in his right hand he wields a heavy club and in his left he grasps CERBERUS, the three-headed monster. He has the skin of a lion, which he has slain, thrown around him and his left foot is set directly on the head of the great Dragon. Ah, my beloved, beyond all the pagan distortions and confusions, there is the glorious revelation of the great work of our God and Saviour. How good it would be if God's elect people could comprehend the magnificent glory God has in store for us! Jesus Christ is the forerunner, the pioneer, the apostle, the first Son, the beginning, and the first born from the dead. He is the first Son to be exalted through the terrible sufferings of the realm of death and, seeing Him, we know that the promise to all others is certain, for it was not of Adam alone of whom God spoke, saying, "Let us make man in our image and after our likeness, and let them have dominion," but the promise was to ALL the sons of men, of whom the first Son, Jesus Christ, is now exalted and has taken His seat at the right hand of power. We see Jesus and by seeing Him we know the glory that is available for those who follow in His steps just as the first golden leaves of fall are the herald of millions of flaming colors and hues to follow. It is a glorious thing to see that in the unchanging stars of the heavens and the shining Signs placed there by God in the night sky, we have a gallery of Truth, a picture of the conquering Christ whose members we are. We see that the hand that made those Signs is divine. It is the same hand which had penned the revelation which we have before us in our scriptures. It is the same hand which formed and sent into this world the first born Son, the Christ of God, and led Him through His mighty works on to Calvary and the open tomb, unto the position of all power in heaven and in earth. It is the same story of creation's hope of deliverance as God declared through Paul the apostle, "All who are led by God's Spirit are God's sons. You did not receive the spirit of slavery again, inspiring terror; but you did receive the spirit of adopted sons--in which spirit we cry ABBA! FATHER! The Spirit Himself bears witness with our own spirits that we are the children of God; and if children, then heirs too---heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ; if indeed we share Christ's sufferings in order to share also His glory. Why, the sufferings of the present I deem not worth considering compared with the glory soon to be disclosed to us. All creation is yearning, longing to see the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creation was made subject to futility, not of its own choice, but by the will of Him who so subjected it; yet with the hope that at last the creation itself would be set free from the caldron of decay to enjoy the liberty that comes with the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation is moaning in the pangs of childbirth until this hour. And more than that, we ourselves, though we possess the Spirit as a foretaste of bliss, yet we ourselves inwardly moan as we wait for full sonship IN THE REDEMPTION OF OUR BODIES" (Rom. 8:14-23, Weymouth).  

These inspired statements become crystal clear once we apprehend God's purpose in His many-membered son. These members of the Christ-body are members of His flesh and of His bones. These people have drunk deeply of His Spirit, for it is in one spirit that all the members are united with the body. These are members in particular of GOD'S CHRIST, God's anointed, God's Messiah, GOD'S HERCULES, God's GOD-MAN, by whom He shall wield His victorious club, subdue all His enemies, and plant His foot on the Dragon's head--obliterating the ancient Serpent of error, sin, sickness, pain, sorrow, limitation and death. To these younger sons of God Jesus has proclaimed, "Behold, I give unto 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). "And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly". (Rom. 16:20). Of these the Psalmist David also prophesied, "Thou shall tread upon the lion and adder, the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet” (Ps. 91:13).  

"Come, Lord, and burst the captives' chains,
And set the prisoners free;
Come, cleanse this earth from all its stains,
And make it meet for Thee!
Oh, come and end Creation's groans--
Its sighs, its tears, its blood,
And make this blighted world again
The dwelling-place of God!" 

THE SERPENT  

The subject on which I now write is one of both peculiar difficulty and solemnity. Of difficulty on more accounts than one, but more particularly in view of the false, and, indeed, heathenish ideas that have been bequeathed to us from times of spiritual darkness and superstition, and the acceptance of which can only be due to a lack on the part of the Lord's people of the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God. To sweep away the dust, and cob-webs of mere tradition, or popular folly that have buried this truth, and given us a merely ridiculous parody on this subject will incur the misunderstanding and wrath of not a few sincere people.  

Hardly had the human race been called into existence, than we find a strange enemy making his attack upon it under the guise of a serpent. Although the writer of this account gives no name to this creature, except "the serpent," other scriptures leave us no doubt as to who it was. Mere serpent, mere animal, it could not possibly be; for speech is the distinctive characteristic of intelligent mind, and that this Serpent posessed the faculty of both speech and reason was and is enough to prove that someone of a higher kingdom and order than that of beasts and reptiles was acting. The preachers are always telling us that the Serpent in the garden was one of these long, slender reptiles that have backbones and ribs and scales on the outside of their bodies. Numerous pictures have been sketched of the snake dangling from a tree limb, conversing with Eve. But the inspired Word of the omniscient Creator contradicts the uninspired word of the tradition-ridden theologians! John the Revelator stood transfixed in the visions of God on Patmos and beheld in spirit the splendor of the scene which unfolded before his wondering eyes as "the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world. And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which IS THE DEVIL, AND SATAN, and bound him a thousand years" (Rev. 12:9; 20:1-2).  

Here Satan is called "that old Serpent." The word "old" is from the Greek ARCHAlOS which means "original" or "primeval". "Primeval" means FROM THE FIRST AGE OR AGES. Phillip's translation reads, "Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key of the pit and a huge chain in his hand. He seized the dragon, the SERPENT OF ANCIENT DAYS, who IS both the Devil and Satan.. ." Another version states, "And he seized the dragon, the ORIGINAL SERPENT, WHO IS the Devil and Satan." The Amplified Bible renders, "And he gripped and overpowered the dragon, that OLD SERPENT OF PRIMEVAL TIMES, WHO IS the Devil and Satan." Man says that a fallen angel, Lucifer, somehow got into the serpent and spoke through its mouth; but the almighty Father declares that that original Serpent I-S T-H-E D-E-V-I-L A-N-D S-A-T-A-N!  

Is there a Devil, a real being with personality? If so, who created him, and why does an all-powerful God of righteousness and love permit such a being to exist? Many answers have been given. On the one hand, there is the view that the Devil is a hideous looking creature in a funny red suit, with cloven hoofs and a forked tail, whose chief business is to tempt and endeavor by all devious means to destroy Christians--and to preside over the alleged tortures of the departed damned. On the other hand, some say the Devil never existed; that he is a fiction of the imagination; a crude myth or superstition. Others tell us that the Devil is dead.  

"And so they've voted the Devil out,
And of course, the Devil's gone;
But simple folk would like to know
Who carries his business on!" 

There is a story told of an aged Minster of the Gospel in a certain town who one morning was taking his usual walk by the side of a river. A young man who had been away in a distant city attending college where he had become an atheist, who used to attend this good man's ministry, and knew his habits, thought he would have some fun with the "Preacher," as he called him. Meeting the "Preacher" he said, "Good morning, Preacher." "Good morning, my son," replied the Minster. "Preacher, I have just had bad news," said the young man. "Well, what is it?” asked the Preacher. "One of your great friends is dead," replied the youth. "Oh? and who is he?" asked the old man. "It is the Devil," and he laughed long and loudly. But there was no laugh on the face of the "Preacher." Putting his hands on the young man's shoulders and looking straight into his face, he said, "Poor fatherless child, what will become of you now that your father is dead”' Well--if the Devil were dead we should not be sorry; and we shall one day join in singing a song of victory when all the works of the Devil shall be destroyed completely and forever in every man everywhere and upon the face of the whole earth. But meanwhile the Devil is not dead. He is very much alive and very, very real. He lies, he talks, he thinks, he acts, he deceives, he quotes scriptures, he promulgates religion, he tempts, and inspires every evil in society and the world. I have with me the crushing facts of a world reeking in crime and lust and war and misery; a world which in spite of science and education and culture and modernity, is causing men's hearts to fail them for fear of the things which are coming to pass; a world which according to the beloved apostle, "lieth in the Evil One."  

He is called "that old serpent the devil." He is called Leviathan, the crooked serpent. He is called the Dragon. He is called a Lion. He is called a Scorpion. He is called the Wicked One. He is called the Accuser. He is called the Adversary. But let no one imagine that in writing about the old Serpent the Devil, I am writing about the traditional Devil preached so loudly by the church systems. If there are any who have the idea that I am speaking of the "orthodox" Devil of popular religion, they will soon be undeceived.  

Oriental imagery is never more graphically displayed in all its eloquence than in the use of the biblical word SERPENT as a figure of Satan, the Devil. This symbol, along with a number of other word pictures, is very expressive of his nature and activity. Let us remember that there is much language in the scripture that is figurative and much that is allegorical. When our Lord Jesus said, "Ye are the salt of the earth," He was speaking quite evidently in figurative language. He did not mean that Christians were to be put into a gigantic salt shaker and shaken over the globe. Nobody would be so ridiculous as to believe that. And when Christ said, "I am the light of the world," He did not mean He had to be lit like a candle and put up somewhere where He would shine! There are figures of speech in the Bible. In our everyday conversations we make numerous referrals to the nature, character or personality of creatures or things, such as: "That guy is a real turkey," "He is a snake in the grass," "She can swim like a fish," "He is sharp as a tack," "She is neat as a pin." These are all figures of speech designed to express an image we are seeking to convey. All of us are accustomed to using symbolic language to communicate an analogous idea on a different plane of understanding. When Satan is spoken of as a serpent it no more means a literal snake than when Dan is so called in Genesis 49:17. "Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward." When Satan is called a serpent it no more means that he is a snake, or appeared in the form of a snake, or incarnated himself in the body of a snake, than that the Emperor Nero was a LION (II Tim. 4:17), or king Herod a FOX (Lk. 13:32), or Judah a LION'S WHELP (Gen. 49:9). It is the same figurative use of words when "doctrine" is called "leaven" (Mat. 16:6). When a figure of speech is thus employed it is for the purpose of expressing truth on a higher plane, and is intended to be a figure of something BEYOND THE LETTER OF THE WORD.  

Let all who read these lines thoroughly understand that when we discuss the Garden of Eden, the Serpent in the Garden, and the fall of man, it is not with any idea of drawing an historical sketch. The past is meaningless unless it relates to the present. It is because we see repeated all around us, day after day, generation after generation, the same carnal, fleshly attitudes and activities that brought about the original fall, and in the repetition of these attitudes and activities there is the tragic and dreadful departure from REALITY and the LIFE of the Spirit of God, even among the Lord's own people who dwell in the Garden of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. So obvious and incontrovertible is this fact that I do not hesitate to say the Garden of Eden is not so much a past event as a present and continuing event. It is a crisis leading to a process---a continuing unfoldment. This is the tragic effect of man's first departure from God. It happened back there in the past... but it continues to happen because the spirit of Adam is within us all! It is, then, for our own instruction and learning that we draw on the lessons brought to us by that past event, which though it occurred long millenniums ago, still finds a place of relevancy not only in our modern society but among all who name the name of Christ and, sadder to say, within those who have received the call to sonship and have gone "without the Camp," as well.  

"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion..." (Gen. 1:26). That man would 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).  

The word "subdue" here is the Hebrew word KABASH meaning "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 sin's 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 and 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 Cherubim 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 be 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 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 and every creature of 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 a 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 the 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 scripture unclean birds are a type of evil natures, 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. 16:21-23). 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, 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 had 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 ironclad 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 the believer when he becomes conscious that God NOW GIVES HIM DOMINION in Jesus Christ, that he may become an overcomer over ALL!  

SATAN--A SPIRIT  

What scientists have discovered makes it relatively easy to believe in the existence of worlds, or spheres of life, beyond the comprehension of human senses. In the realm of sound, for example, we know that the human ear is quite limited, that sounds which are very real are inaudible to us if they are below or above a certain range of frequency. And the same is true of sight. The existence of radio waves, gamma rays, ultra-violet light rays, etc., also helps us to realize the power of invisible forces which are beyond our comprehension. In Eph. 2:2 Satan is described as "the prince of the power of the air, the SPIRIT that now worketh IN the children (sons) of disobedience." The Amplified Bible says, "At one time . . .you were following the course and fashion of the world . . following the prince of the power of the air. You were obedient to him and were under his control, the demon spirit that still constantly works (Gr.:energeo, energizes) in the sons of disobedience . . . for we are not wrestling with flesh and blood---contending only with physical opponents---but against the despotisms, against the powers, against the master spirits who are the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (spiritual) sphere" (Eph. 2:2; 6:12).  

The message is clear--we have had the FALSE GOD in us! It came as a revelation to me when I saw that the Holy Spirit lives in those who have been "begotten of God" and "born of the Spirit." The spirit that is born of God is renewed in the image of God. But then I read that if the Holy Spirit is in the children of God, there is also a spirit in the children of the Devil. "The spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience." Who can dispute the poignant words of the apostle John: "Ye are of God, little children... because greater is HE that is IN YOU, than HE that is in the world" (I Jn. 4:4). Then two verse later John clearly identifies these TWO SPIRITS which are in the people of God and the people of the world: "We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby we know the S-P-I-R-I-T OF TRUTH and the S-P-I-R-I-T OF ERROR." Paul adds to this his testimony: "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God" (I Cor. 2:12).  

This gives us a most wonderful understanding of the workings of SPIRIT. SPIRIT, like everything else in nature, has its opposites--positive and negative, good and evil, light and darkness. The negative power, Satan, is an invisible spiritual influence--energy--which exerts itself upon the mind, desires, emotions, and will of men. "IN WHOM the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them" (II Cor. 4:4). The Spirit of God is the spirit of Truth; the spirit of the Devil is the spirit of error. "To open their eyes, and turn them from darkness (wrong understanding, perverted knowledge) to light (truth), and from the POWER OF SATAN unto GOD" (Acts 26:18). Some teach that in all the universe there is only ONE SPIRIT. And truly, in the sphere of the Kingdom of God, there is but the one Spirit, for "he that is joined unto the Lord IS ONE SPIRIT" (I COR.6:17). The question follows-What about he that is NOT "joined unto the Lord"?  

The fact that a thing is "spirit" does not necessarily make it equal to or of the same character as God. God is not God, in fact, because He is spirit--neither is that which is spirit necessarily of the same mind and expression of God just because it is spirit. There must be something more than that to make it qualify for godhood. Using the physical body as an example, let us note that although it is flesh from the very moment of its conception, it could not be said that everything that is "flesh" is HUMAN! Thus it is that man's SUBSTANCE is flesh, but his BEING is much more! Obviously, there are more than one kind of flesh. What makes a man human is not the fact that he is flesh--he is human because he takes on a particular shape and is endowed with an intellect and a certain set of emotions and capacities. Paul stated it this way, "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" (I Cor. 15:39). Learn this, O man, and you will know a great principle: ALL FLESH IS NOT THE SAME FLESH! All flesh came from the same creative hand of God, but the characteristics differ. What depth of meaning this adds to the statement of the apostle wherein he says, "Know ye not that he which is joined unto an harlot is.. . ONE FLESH?." (I COR. 6:16). Obviously, all flesh is not one flesh. The flesh of a fish and the. flesh of a dog can never be one flesh. But any flesh which is of the same nature and may be joined in a union of life with its own kind IS ONE FLESH. And may I add, though there be gods many, and lords many, to us there is but one God, the Father; and though there be spirits many, to us there is but ONE SPIRIT, and one body, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.  

I am sure that it would be correct to conclude that in the physical world a man's SUBSTANCE is flesh, but his BEING is much more! So it is with God. His substance is SPIRIT--but His being is MUCH MORE THAN THAT In connection with this truth I am deeply impressed to share the following thoughts from a letter received from a friend of many years. She writes: “It is on this account that I say that God is not God because He is spirit. God is, rather, God because He is LOVE! He is God because He is UNIFIED! God is spirit—that is His SUBSTANCE. God is love—that is His BEING! The very fact that God IS—as a state of being—LOVE speaks of His plurality, for without that plurality, God could not be love as a state of being. He could only have love for that which is outside Himself. God I-S LOVE—and love is UNITY—because love is cohesive. When the holy men declared, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is ONE LORD,” they were announcing the UNITY within the Godhead—the LOVE and cohesive force among ELOHIM. This love, of course, is far more than a sentimental virtue. LOVE is a very real power and is the very essence of the BEING of God by virtue of the cohesiveness of His plurality, and the nature that makes HIM all that He is. It is the LIFE-FORCE of God which makes Him ONE although He is MANY! 

“I re-iterate: God’s substance is spirit—but His being is love. ‘God is love (unity, cohesiveness); and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him’ (I JN. 4:16). By the same token, whatever is not dwelling in love is NOT God though it be constructed of the same substance—namely spirit. Where there is still EGO, dividing a man’s spirit from the whole, there is not God but Adam. Spirit is not good—neither is spirit evil. Spirit is just a type of thing, just as flesh is a type of thing. For that matter, flesh is neither good nor evil. It is just there. That’s all. Flesh becomes evil when its use is perverted. Flesh is good when it is properly used as the temple of God or in another manner of speaking, when it is used to give visible manifestation to the nature of God. As Paul said, ‘There is nothing impure of itself’ and, again, ‘to the pure all things are pure.’ Spirit, then, like anything else is neither good nor evil until it is expressed through usage. Only then does it take on an evil or unrighteous character. 

“Even though, the, spirit came out of God and by virtue of its substance is like unto God, still it is not God because God is LOVE AND UNITY—and the spirit of man is not even unified within himself as an individual, much less on the corporate plane of existence. God is unity—Adam is duplicity, he being that DOUBLE-MINDED MAN who is unstable in all his ways. He is a ‘son’ of God, because he came out of God, but he is a BASTARD SON (Heb. 12:8). He is an erring son, as depicted throughout scripture in the types of Cain, Ishmael, Esau, and Adam himself—and in the firstborn of David and Bathsheba who died and was superseded by Solomon. There is only ONE FATHER (Eph. 4:6) – but as seen in Abraham, with Hagar and Sara, and in Jacob with Leah and Rachel, there are TWO MOTHERS. The one is SENSE-KNOWLEDGE and she tendeth to bondage. The other is INSPIRATION, REVELATION—the New Jerusalem which is above and is the mother of us all (who are born of the Spirit). Bastard sons are born of Father-God, because mind can only issue from Him—but they are born also of the SENSE-KNOWLEDGE mother and though they are allowed to continue in the Father’s ‘house’ for a season there comes the time when the word is given, ‘Cast out the bondwoman and her son.’ Let me make it perfectly clear—the bastard son is the double-minded man: DUPLICITY-a mind divided against itself—and the son who is the heir is that which is UNIFIED. If you can receive it, duplicity is Satan; unity is Christ! Thus when man’s mind fell from that SINGLENESS that is in Christ, from that place of unity into duplicity (soul and spirit), it lost its godlike nature and became satanic. 

“In Eze. 46:16-17 there is a passage that reads this way: ‘If a prince gives a gift unto any of his sons, the inheritance thereof shall be his sons’; it shall be their possession by inheritance. But if he gave a gift of his inheritance to one of his servants, then it shall be his to the year of liberty; after it shall return unto the prince: but his inheritance shall be his sons’ for them.’ In this, I see that the gift of His (God’s) inheritance is the gift of LIFE! This is given to every man, as is testified by John in his Gospel, saying, ‘In Him was life and the life was the light of men… that was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world’ (Jn. 1:4,9). This is that ‘breath of lives’ that is breathed into Adam to cause him to become a living soul—not only in an even in the past but in an event that is ever occurring in God’s eternal NOW. We see, however, in Ezekiel’s account that this gift is merely ‘on loan’ to the servants (or bastard sons) who are allowed to keep it until the year of LIBERTY—which is the time of death. At that time, the gift returns to the prince, which is in keeping with the statement made in Ecclesiastes: ‘Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit (of life) shall return unto God who gave it’ (Eccl. 12:7).

“This gift, however, is merely ‘on loan’ to the servants becomes the PERMANENT POSSESSION of those who ‘follow on to know the Lord’ and come into mature sonship. Thus, it becomes to them ETERNAL LIFE! ‘The servant abideth not in the house ever, but the son abideth ever’ (Jn. 8:35). That is why there must be a SECOND BIRTH—for the first birth resulted in an ABORTION. Perhaps you recall that the root word for NEPHILIM (the giants; Gen. 6:4) means ‘the fallen ones’ or the ABORTED ONES! 

“When Adam (mind) was born as a son, he was an aborted son—immature—an unripe fruit, an untimely fig. In order, the, to come into that fullness and permanency of life, we must RETURN AGAIN TO THE WOMB and be born out again, this time full-grown. That is why the Greek indicates that the manchild of Rev. 12 is born a FULL-GROWN MAN. The first birth produces an ABORTED CHILD--the second birth produces a FULL-GROWN SON. The first birth gives life 'on loan'; the second birth gives a permanent inheritance. That is why it is written, 'Ye MUST be born again!'  

"This second birth involves a RENEWAL of the spirit. Paul said, 'Cleanse yourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit' (II Cor. 7: 1). If the spirit were always a holy thing, it would not be at all in keeping with the truth for Paul to tell us to be cleansed in our spirits. That there is filthiness in the spirit of man is testified by Job who said, 'My breath is corrupt.' The word 'breath' is misleading, for it is the Hebrew word RUWACH: spirit. 'My spirit is corrupt,' the original says. That is why David also said, 'Create in me a dean heart, O God; and renew a RIGHT SPIRIT within me' (Ps. 51:10). The very fact of the need for renewal speaks of a WRONG SPIRIT that needs to be set right.  

"Now, we may also see this in terms of resurrection. The spirit needs to be revived or resurrected. This, of course, presupposes that the spirit within man is dead, which it certainly is--but not dead in that it is non-existent. Dead, rather, in that it is UNRESPONSIVE to that sphere from which it fell, which is the sphere of Godhood and the realm of LOVE. Its deadness (unresponsiveness) is the result of INDIVIDUALITY in the form of EGOTISM, it having the sense of its own god-likeness apart from the recognition of the CORPORATE GOD. EGO is not in the soul, it is a matter of the spirit, and is nothing in the world but a remembrance somewhere in the depths of man of his former nature of godhood and of that lofty state from whence he fell. Ego states, 'I am God'--if not in words, at least in attitude---and in action, for it always seeks to bring the spirits of other men into subjection to itself. That is why demons are called in the Greek DEIFIED SPIRITS-- it is that godlike thing in man that wants to be god all by itself, saying, 'I am God and will therefore exalt my throne above the stars (spirits) of God and will be a god apart from fitting into my place in a corporate life.' The truth that Ego fails to see is that there is One that is greater--greater because it is plural and corporate and unified--the GREAT ELOHIM. Thus, the very state of individuality, which is divisive, has robbed us all of the nature of God and plunged us into that duplicity which separates man from himself, man from man, and man from God. So the human spirit is dead--unresponsive to that cohesiveness which is in the Godhead, unresponsive to the love principle that binds God together, unresponsive to that law which is written eternally in the heavens in the VERY BEING OF GOD HIMSELF.  

"The spirit, then, is dead--UNRESPONSIVE--but not non-existent! It is a lamp that is not lit, lacking the essence life of God. Lacking love, which is that which makes the Word alive, the human spirit is the FORM OF GOD without being the ESSENCE of God. When the light of the wicked (double-minded) was put out, Adam's spirit became a dead letter--a FORM of the Word--a knowledge of good and evil--and because his spirit is dead, it became a DEAD WORD. A dead Word is a lie because it does not contain the essence-life of the Truth. That is why the Lord said to me those many years ago now what I have only come to understand completely in the last year: SATAN IS A WORD. Jesus Christ, as the living expression of the nature of God, is THE WORD, the LOGOS, the LIVING ONE--the SPIRIT-ESSENCE-WORD. Satan, on the other hand, is A word, a fragmented, shattered, divided, scattered part of the whole--the DEAD ONE the FORM as opposed to the essence! LEGALITY instead of life! DUPLICITY instead of unity! SELF instead of love!" --end quote.

 


Chapter  16

SCORPIO THE SCORPION

(continued) 

In the great prophetic drama of GOD'S BIBLE IN THE SKY the third scene is called SCORPIO--THE SCORPION. A scorpion is a most malignant and deadly enemy. Its bite is not always fatal, though it can be; still it is always extraordinarily painful and dangerous. The star picture brings before us a gigantic Scorpion, larger than a man, with its tail uplifted in anger, endeavoring to sting in the heel a mighty man, but is crushed by the man, who has his foot placed right on the Scorpion's heart. The Hebrew name for the constellation of Scorpio is AKRAB, which means "the conflict" or "war." 

The whole scene of this constellation is one of conflict. The first Decan, or minor constellation surrounding Scorpio, is that of SERPENS---the struggling Serpent. The Devil is portrayed in the Bible as the great antagonist in this battle. He is portrayed as a serpent; as a dragon; as a scorpion; as Cetus, the water snake; as Leviathan, the serpent in the sea; as Hydra, the many-headed monstrous snake. He is presented in many guises but always as a malignant, venomous and hostile creature. The second Decan is the picture of a great and powerful man whose name is ORPHIUCHUS, meaning "the serpent-holder." It portrays a mighty man who is struggling with a giant Serpent, trying to keep him from accomplishing what he is attempting to do. The Serpent is putting forth a mighty effort to reach up and grasp THE CROWN which is situated immediately over the Serpent's head. The strong man, Orphiuchus, is restraining the Serpent while crushing the Scorpion! The man is grasping the Serpent with both hands, disabling the monster by his superior power and effectually holding him fast so that he cannot get the Crown. With one foot lifted from the Scorpion's tail as though stung and hurt, he is in the act of crushing the Scorpion's head with the other. He thus appears as the One who has power over the Serpent and over death, holding, conquering, and destroying them. Orphiuchus is, first and foremost, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who at the cross was wounded in the heel, but in His resurrection, ascension and glorification has crushed the head of the Serpent, conquering for Himself and for all creation sin, sickness, sorrow, limitation and death! 

The third Decan in the house of Scorpio is HERCULES, and describes more fully the out-working of Christ's triumph. What it really depicts, in fact, is Christ in and through His many-membered body, the sons of God, accomplishing the totality of the victory which He came into this world to effect. The old Hebrew name for Hercules was GIBBOR, the word used for the "strong man" in Ps. 19:5, and translated as "mighty" and "mighty man" throughout the Old Testament. GIBBOR means "warrior, powerful, champion, valiant man." Hercules (Gibbor) is shown on the star charts down on one knee; in his right hand he wields a heavy club and in his left he grasps CERBERUS, the three-headed monster. His left foot is set directly on the head of the great Dragon. Ah, my beloved, beyond all the pagan distortions and confusions, there is a glorious revelation of the great work of our God and Saviour. How good it would be if God's elect people could comprehend the magnificent glory God has in store for us! It is a glorious thing to see that in the unchanging stars of the heavens and the shining Signs placed there by our omniscient and omnipotent God in the night sky, we have an immense gallery of Truth, a vast and awesome portrait of the conquering Christ whose members we are. May the Spirit of God make it wonderfully real to all who read these lines that the elect sons of God are members in particular of GOD'S CHRIST, GOD'S ANOINTED, GOD'S MESSIAH, GOD'S HERCULES, GOD'S GOD-MAN, by whom He shall wield His victorious club, subdue every enemy, and plant His foot on the Dragon's head--obliterating forever that ancient Serpent of error, sin, sickness, pain, sorrow, limitation and death. To these younger sons of God Jesus has proclaimed, "Behold, I give unto 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). "And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly" (Rom. 16:20). Of these mighty sons of God the Psalmist David also prophesied, "Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder. the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet" (Ps. 91: 13).

THE SERPENT A SPIRIT!  

Oriental imagery is never more graphically displayed in all its eloquence than in the use of the biblical word SERPENT as a figure of Satan, the Devil. This symbol, along with a number of other word pictures, is very expressive of his nature and activity. I make no apology for declaring to you the truth that each and every creature of earth typifies a higher 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 (the realm of SPIRIT). 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. Even the fowls of heaven, as the law of Moses shows us, clean and unclean, each bespeak of a kind or quality of nature, expressing those characteristics that originate in the spirit realm. Hence, in scripture unclean birds are a type of evil natures, as John the Revelator shows in Rev. 18:2, "And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great 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." We know the Lamb, the meek and sacrificial nature of the Christ within, the Son of God, gentle, kind, compassionate, redemptive, blessing all He touches; but have we not 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). 

Some teach that in all the universe there is but ONE SPIRIT---the Holy Spirit of God. I solemnly tell every person who reads these lines that the scriptures are clear, and give us a wonderful understanding of the workings of SPIRIT. SPIRIT, like everything else in nature, has its opposites--positive and negative, good and evil, light and darkness. As was pointed out in our previous message on this subject, spirit is not good--neither is spirit evil. Spirit is just a type of thing, just as flesh is a type of thing. For that matter, flesh is neither good nor evil. It is just there. Flesh becomes evil when its use is perverted. Flesh is good when it is properly used as the temple of God or when it is used to give visible manifestation to the nature of God. As Paul said, "There is nothing impure of itself." Jesus displayed the wonder of glorified flesh when He appeared to His disciples following His resurrection and said, "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have" (Lk. 24:3%. Spirit, then, like anything else is neither good nor evil until it is expressed through usage. Only then does it take on a holy and righteous or an evil and unrighteous character. 

Let us mediate deeply upon this word--SPIRIT. The English word "spirit" is from the Latin SPIRARE, meaning "to breathe," the words respiration, expiration, and inspiration all being derived from the same source. The word "spirit" in the Old Testament is the translation of the Hebrew word RUWACH, the primary significance or root-meaning of which is WIND. Similarly the New Testament Greek word for "spirit," PNEUMA, comes from PNEO, meaning "to breathe or blow," the primary significance or root-meaning being WIND. The English word "ghost" used in the King James Bible, though now somewhat obsolete and not in general use, is derived from the Greek PNEUMA--meaning a blowing or a wind. But let no one hastily conclude that we are about to attempt to prove that the Holy Spirit is a holy wind, for nothing could be farther from our thought. Since one cannot live without air and breathing in the realm of the physical, wind and breath are used symbolically of the Holy Spirit, apart from whom there can be no life in the realm of the divine. The Holy Spirit is God's breath, God's out-breathing, God's ENERGY FORCE by which He accomplishes His purpose and executes His will. Many times we have thought of the Holy Spirit as power, and certainly He has power, but power is basically the ability or capacity to act or do things and it can be latent, dormant, inactively resident in someone or something. Force, on the other hand, more specifically describes energy projected and exerted on persons and things, and may be defined as "an influence which produces or tends to produce motion, or change of motion." Power might be likened to the stored energy in a battery, it is there, but inactive. Force, however, could be compared to the current flowing from the battery, starting the car. Force, then, more accurately represents the sense of the Hebrew and Greek terms relating to God's Spirit, and this is borne out in a consideration of the scriptures. 

It will greatly aid our perception of the activity of the Holy Spirit once we understand the simple truth that all spirit is ENERGY. Energy has many forms, but it is not something that you can see or hold in your hand. You can think of energy as something that can make things change. For example, a moving object has energy because it can change things by crashing into them. Heat is another form of energy. Heat energy can change ice by melting it into water, and heat it more, changing it into vapor. It can run the engine of an automobile, jet plane or rocket. There is another kind of energy, called chemical energy. It is in the coal or oil that heats buildings. It is in the food that nourishes your body and keeps you active. There is atomic energy which can be set free from the atoms of some materials. And there is the energy carried by light waves, called electromagnetic energy. It is the electromagnetic energy in sunlight that warms the earth. Light waves, streaming out of the sun, carry energy to us across nearly a hundred million miles of space. When the energy of the light hits the earth, part of it changes to heat. Some of it is stored in plants as chemical energy. 

Another kind of energy of which we, the people of God, are aware is SPIRIT ENERGY. In physics energy is known as the capacity for doing work. The Greek noun for energy is ENERGEO and its verb form is ENERGEIA. These words are used in the Greek New Testament several times. Because of the association between "doing work" and "energy," the words are generally translated into English as "work" or "working." Since so much has been learned about energy in recent years it would now be far better to translate the words for just what they mean--energy or energizing. Let us look at a few scriptures. "That ye may know...what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working (energeia) of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead" (Eph. 1:18-20). Yes, it was energy, God's energy, which RAISED CHRIST FROM THE DEAD! And the record further states that He was raised up by the SPIRIT of God! And not only did Paul say that it was God's energy (His invisible power-force) which raised Christ up, but he went on to say in Eph. 3:7 that it was the same energy of God which transformed his own life and made him a minister of Jesus Christ. "Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working (energeia) of HIS POWER.” Then on top of this Paul declares that it is this SPIRIT ENERGY of God which is WORKING WITHIN US to bring us unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ “From whom (Christ) the whole body fifty joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working (energeia) of every part, maketh increase of the body...” (Eph. 4:16). And furthermore he states that “He that is joined unto the Lord IS ONE SPIRIT” (2 Cor. 6:17). ONE SPIRIT! ONE ENERGY SOURCE! ONE ENERGY FORCE! YOU AND THE LORD! “There is one body, and ONE SPIRIT” (Eph 4:4). You will know a great truth when you understand the simple fact that in the Kingdom of God there is ONLY ONE SPIRIT. In union with the Lord you are that one spirit. All spirit is energy, exerting a force, or influence upon creation. GOD is the supreme source of energy, the highest and purest form of energy, and the wonder of it is beyond comprehension, but in union with God Y-O-U ARE THE ENERGY SOURCE FOR ALL THINGS! All creation stands on tip-toe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God pouring fourth the energy of divine spirit love, joy, peace, righteousness, provision and power! Through this ministration ALL THINGS SHALL BE C-H-A-N-G-E-D! “Behold, I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5). 

The Holy Spirit is God's ENERGY FORCE. It is God's energy force projected and exerted upon creation. It is God's motion, action and influence in one measure or another upon, in, and through man. Yahweh accomplished the creation of the universe by means of His Spirit or ENERGY FORCE. Regarding the planet earth in its early formative stages, the record states that "The Spirit (energy force) of God was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters" (Gen. 1:2). Psalm 33:6 says, “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath (spirit) of His mouth.” Like a powerful breath or living wind, God's Spirit can be sent forth to exert power even though there is no bodily or visible contact with that which is acted upon. Where a human craftsman would use the force of his hands and fingers to produce things, God uses His Spirit. Hence that Spirit is also spoken of as God's “hand” or “fingers.” Jesus told the Pharisees, “If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God is come unto you” (Mat. 12:28). But Luke, in recording the same event, expresses it thus: "If I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the Kingdom of God is come upon you” (Lk. 11:20). The Spirit of God is the finger of God, the working, the activity of God usward. How great is His working! 

There are two basic characteristics of the wind which qualify it to so fittingly serve as the supreme symbol of the Holy Spirit. The wind is first of all a powerful force, and secondly it is Invisible. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, or whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the spirit (Jn. 3:8). You cannot see the wind, and yet you are aware of its reality because of its power with the visible effects of that power manifested all around you. In earlier times the wind was used broadly as a source of energy. Man has always known how to use sails on a boat or ship. Later, he learned to use the same principle to construct a windmill, using the force of the wind to turn grindstones, pump water, and do many other kinds of work. 

Because the wind is both invisible and powerful, the biblical words RUWACH (Heb.) and PNEUMA (Gr.), meaning wind, gradually took on much wider meanings, and came to represent any invisible power or influence, good or bad. And since God's power, within or without, is exercised through channels and by agencies beyond human sight or perception, therefore this word “spirit” came more and more to be applied to all of the Lord's dealings and operations. The invisible and powerful INWARD ENERGY FORCE which motivates and transforms our lives into the image of God is the HOLY SPIRIT. Only by the Holy Spirit are we guided beyond the outer senses, and beyond the letter of the Word, into the glorious and eternal reality of “the deep things of God,” even all those things which God has in reservation for them that truly love Him, which the human eye hath not seen, the human ear hath not heard, neither hath entered into the human heart to understand and appreciate. 

That spirit is a proper term for nature, ideas, thoughts, attitudes, desires, mind, will, and all such characteristics is illustrated by a story I read one time. An eider was telling of a young lad in a certain congregation. This boy was a devotee of baseball. He was a little leaguer. When the world series ran he came to the meeting of the church dressed in a baseball outfit, a glove on one hand and a small transistor radio in the other. His pocket was stretched by a ball. He didn't hear the ministry that came forth in the meeting. His ear was glued to that radio. He refused to miss one word of the announcer's description of the game. Now, that boy was FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT OF BASEBALL. He thought baseball. He talked baseball. He even took his bat to bed. It was all he cared about. He was filled with it. It was his life! 

As I am writing, equal rights is still an issue in our land. There are people filled with the spirit of equal rights. They don't have time for anything else. They are consumed with a desire to petition, lecture, organize, march. Nothing else matters. They eat, sleep and dream equal rights. Their money, time, talents and energies are exhausted as they pour themselves into the struggle for equality. They are FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT of equal rights for all people. These people are filled with an attitude, a mind, a disposition, a will, a passion, and all these characteristics produce a tremendous INFLUENCE upon the thinking, attitudes and actions of multitudes of citizens. Perhaps now we can understand what it really means to be FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT. It means to not only be filled with the consciousness of the Person and presence of the Holy Spirit of God, but with all the characteristics within that Spirit: His nature, will, mind, ways, virtues, disposition, purpose, etc. How many believers settle for something far less than this! We are living in an hour when it is popular, the “in thing,” to be a "Spirit-filled" Christian. But truly I say to you that multitudes have settled for a superficial experience of “tongues,” or some “gift,” or “feeling,” and have never even dreamed of what it means to become literally filled with each and every characteristic of the divine nature and power of God! Becoming filled with the Holy Spirit must do far more for us than cause us to repeat some foreign syllables suggestively whispered in our ear, or to become ecstatic in our emotions. To be Filled with the Spirit means to be filled with ALL THE SPIRIT IS. It means that the life and nature and power of the indwelling Spirit must control and swallow up completely soul and body until there is no manifestation but of the Spirit. Jesus, that blessed firstborn Son, was so filled, for He possessed the Spirit “without measure.” And Paul prayed for the saints that they might be FILLED WITH “A-L-L THE FULLNESS OF GOD” (Eph. 3:19). This measure is reserved for all who will go all the way with God, to be sons even as Jesus was “the Son of God.” Sonship is the hope of creation, and the SPIRIT WITHOUT MEASURE is the hope of the sons! It is there that sin, sickness, limitation and death are swallowed up, and the wisdom, nature, life, power and glory of the living God is revealed through His people. 

Let us take a closer look at some of the characteristics of the Holy Spirit. He is variously defined as – “The Spirit of God,” “The Spirit of Christ,” “The Spirit of Holiness,” “The Spirit of Truth,” “The Spirit of a Sound Mind,” “The Spirit of Liberty,” "The Spirit of Burning," “The Spirit of the Father,” “The Spirit of the Son,” "The Spirit of Promise," “The Spirit of Meekness," “The Spirit of Understanding,” “The Spirit of Wisdom,” The Spirit of Glory," “The Spirit of Counsel," "The Spirit of Grace," “The Spirit of Adoption," “The Spirit of Prophecy,” “The Spirit of the Lord,” etc., etc. These various titles, repeated many times, and used interchangeably, give us a full. proper assurance that they all relate to the same HOLY SPIRIT--indeed, frequently the word “Holy is added in, combined, as for instance, “The Holy Spirit of God.” “The Holy Spirit of Promise," etc. These various expressions are descriptive of the spirit, nature, disposition, power and glory of one God, the Father; and also the spirit, nature, disposition, power and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, because He is the expression of the Father; and also it is the spirit, nature, disposition, power and glory of all who are truly the Lord's in proportion as they have been made ONE IN HIM. "He that is joined unto the Lord is ONE SPIRIT" (I Cor. 6:17). 

Each of these characteristics is a form of the energy of God. This energy is transmitted from the spirit into soul and body to produce its power within us, just as electricity is transmitted from a battery to an engine to make it function in a certain way. When the “Spirit of Holiness” is transmitted into our lives and consciousness we begin to function in our personality in that characteristic of God's holiness, thus becoming holy. When the “Spirit of Wisdom” is transmitted into our consciousness we cease from our own natural reasoning and commence to act in accordance with the higher wisdom of God. When the "Spirit of Life" permeates our being even our bodies shall be quickened by His life within until this corruptible shall have put on incorruption and this mortal shall have put on immortality. Then shall be fulfilled the word which was spoken, "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed” (I Cor. 15:51). 

Our failure to see that the Holy Spirit of God is not the only form of spirit in the world leads us into all manner of error and misunderstanding. There is another spirit mentioned frequently throughout the Word of God, and in opposite terms, namely, “The Spirit of Fear,” "The Spirit of Bondage," "The Spirit of the World," "The Spirit of Error,” "The Spirit of Antichrist," "The Spirit of Jealousy," "The Spirit of Slumber," etc., etc. These terms signify the WRONG SPIRIT--the spirit, nature, disposition, power and will which has its chief exemplification in Satan, the Devil, the Serpent, the Adversary; the same spirit manifesting itself in all who walk in and live out of the carnal mind. Sin, error, darkness and death are all characteristics of the SPIRIT OF THE NEGATIVE REALM, even as holiness, truth, love, life, etc. are all characteristics of the one Holy Spirit. 

As mentioned previously, there are brethren who are convinced that all spirit is the same spirit and that there is only one spirit in the world, which is the spirit of God in every man. But we are constrained to take heed to the testimony of the Holy Spirit wherein He says, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but TRY THE SPIRITS WHETHER THEY ARE OF GOD: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (I Jn. 4:1). Both the HOLY and the UNHOLY spirit bear the characteristics of personality, both alike are invisible, both are powerful, both are spirit, both are energy! 

It is true---for the child of God there is only ONE SPIRIT, and that is GOD in every man born of the Spirit, for “he that is joined unto the Lord I-S ONE SPIRIT.” It should be equally obvious and self-evident that the man who is not joined unto the Lord is N-O-T OF THE ONE SPIRIT. Why else would the apostle differentiate between the spirit of man and the Spirit of God saying. “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him. Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (I Cor. 2:11). Even for the redeemed, before they are brought to that full union with God, there is the distinction between the spirit of man and the Spirit of God. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, where by we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit Itself beareth witness with our spirit; that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:14-16). It is only when OUR SPIRIT is quickened by HIS SPIRIT and brought unto UNION WITH GOD that you have the ONE SPIRIT. 

I would draw your reverent attention to some of the characteristics of the unregenerated spirit of man. Duet. 2:30 speaks of a certain Sihon, king of Heshbon, of whom it was said, “The Lord thy God hardened his spirit (RUWACH) and made his heart obstinate.” Dan. 2:1 shows Nebuchadnezzar dreaming dreams “wherewith his spirit (RUWACH) was troubled and his sleep brake from him.” David had this to say: “Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit is no guile." The latter statement would indicate that there are those in whose spirits there is guile. That is why Paul had to say, “Cleanse yourselves from all filthiness of the spirit. (ll Cor 7:1) If the spirit were always a holy thing, it would not be at all in keeping with the truth for Paul to exhort us to be cleansed in our spirits. That there is filthiness in the spirit of man is testified by Job who said, “My breath is corrupt.” The word “breath” is misleading, for it is the Hebrew word RUWACH—spirit. “My spirit is corrupt” would be a more literal translation. That is why David also said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10). The very fact of the need for renewal speaks of a WRONG SPIRIT that needs to be set right. Who can deny that the spirit of man has been contaminated? 

“The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit." (Ps. 34:18). On the other hand, “pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). There is a generation with whom the Lord is not pleased, as this is His testimony against it. “They set not their heart aright and whose spirit was not steadfast with God” (Ps. 78:8). Another contrast is drawn in Eccl. 7:8 where the Holy Spirit says, “The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” It is all SPIRIT-but one is separated unto God, as seen in the fruit it bears, and the other is not. How awesome this indictment by the Lord, “Thus saith the Lord God: Woe unto the foolish prophets that follow their own spirit and have seen nothing” (Eze. 13:13). Malachi warns, “Take heed to your spirit that ye deal not treacherously” (Mal. 2:15). And to cap it all off (though scripture could be piled upon scripture), James says, “The spirit (pneuma) that dwelleth in us LUSTETH TO ENVY!” (James 4:5). That cannot in any way be the spirit of the New Creation, nor can it be of the spirit of the image of God in every man. It is in this passage that James goes on to say, “RESIST the devil,” and the method whereby we resist that “spirit within that lusteth to envy” is shown in the following verse: “Draw nigh unto (be separated unto, enter into union with) God... purify your hearts... ye DOUBLE MINDED!” (James 4:5-8). 

Well did Jesus know the limitation of the spirit of man apart from the Holy Spirit. Well did He know that our understanding could not possibly ascend beyond the things of man. He did not leave us thus comfortless and confined, but promised in words that cannot fail, “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth.” And yet again, “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me" (Jn. 15:26). And not only is there the Spirit of God and the spirit of man, there is also a spirit in the children of the Devil, "the prince of the power of the air, the SPIRIT that now worketh IN the children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). How significant and full of meaning are these words of the apostle John: “Ye are of God, little children... because greater is HE that is IN YOU, than HE that is IN THE WORLD” (I Jn. 4:4). Then two verses later John dearly identifies these two spirits which are in the people of God and the people of the world: “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby we know the S-P-I-R-I-T OF TRUTH and the S-P-I-R-I-T OF ERROR.” Paul adds to this his testimony: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of GOD” (Cor. 2:12). 

In words fraught with eternal significance the inspired apostle exhorts, “Be renewed in the S-PI-R-I-T OF YOUR MIND” (Eph. 4:23). One has so aptly written, commenting on this verse: “Note that it reads: in the SPIRIT of our mind, for this is far more than just mental gymnastics of our own self-efforts. It is the energizing of His Spirit upon our human spirit which in turn takes dominion over our mind and brings our mind into subjection to the Spirit of truth. There is beneficial results in the power of positive thinking, even on natural realms. But true transformation comes when it is in THE S-P-I-R-I-T OF YOUR MIND. Oh, it may become the norm of our life to just be thinking HIS thoughts, because of the enlargement of His Spirit force within us. It is more than merely a renewing of the mind--it is the renewing of SPIRIT--the spirit of the mind. It is an absolute must to receive from a realm higher than Adam can give in order to have our minds renewed. The change comes from the Lord from heaven, out of the spirit realm of God, uniting with our spirit. It is the heavenly Jesus dwelling in our hearts, making us ONE IN HIM.” 

Elwin Roach has shared this illuminating thought concerning the transformation of the mind: The word, renewing, is adequately rendered in Rom. 12:2; however, to be a little more accurate, the word could be translated RENOVATION (see Strong's Exhaustive Concordance). We are then transformed by the renewing of our minds. There is only a slight difference in the two words, but when renovation is used, we get the thought of a complete house rearing, house cleaning, and then a total refurbishing. Everything old is removed and replaced with all new furnishings. God, however, does something differently in His renovation. He does it just the opposite. He does not clear out the old things and leave our minds a total void and then start filling them with new thoughts. He starts bringing in the new thoughts first, and with this the old passes away and gives place to the new--and all this is of God. Think about it!" 

The activity of the mind is primarily in the realm of THOUGHTS. Thoughts are very real and alive. Thoughts are SPIRITUAL REALITIES, transmitted energy, coming upon your person via the gate of your mind. This energy (thoughts) is transmitted into your conscious mind from the unconscious to cause you to act and react in a certain way. Thoughts do not originate in mortal brain. Thoughts are invisible and powerful entities which have their origin in the dimension of SPIRIT. Thoughts do have an objective! You should know and become aware of the objectives of the thoughts that enter your mind. Every decision you have ever made or ever will make has its origin, intent and power in the INVISIBLE REALM, the realm of spirit. You will never understand the mystery of life until you thoroughly know that there is a negative and a positive spirit force. The negative leads to death; the positive to life. The mind is the gateway, the channel through which these energy forces affect our lives. The thoughts that come to us bear the characteristics of the spirit force operating in us. Let us list some of the characteristics of the negative realm: "...unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, envy, debate, deceit, malignity, whispers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful" (Rom. 1:29-31). What a list. Search your mind...stop and think! Are some of your thoughts carrying these characteristics? They carry within them the power of death! 

Now let us list some of the characteristics of the spirits (thoughts) which come from God. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Gal. 5:22-23). Thoughts carrying these characteristics come from God, the author of life. Each of these characteristics will cause you to take on and express the very NATURE OF GOD, for they are the energy producing the very power of God's nature in the life. What frame of mind do you find yourself living in much of the time? Think now! Is it creative, holy, virtuous, joyful, confident, loving, life-giving, humble, temperate, peaceful? Or is it depressed, discouraged, uncertain, frustrated, angry, fearful, hateful, proud, self-centered, intolerant  You are what you are because of what you have been THINKING! We are constantly entertaining and being influenced and shaped by thoughts which have an origin. They are spirit. They are like the wind--they just "blow" into your mind. They are energy: motivating, directing, compelling your actions. They are POWERFUL, INVISIBLE FORCES that shape your destiny! 

Prov. 23:7 says, "For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." Well did the prophet assert: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose MIND is stayed on Thee" (Iss. 26:3). To which is added the inspired testimony of the apostle Paul: "If ye then be risen with Christ seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections (thoughts) on things above (spiritual, heavenly), not on things on the earth (natural, carnal)" (Col. 3:1-2). And again, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, THINK on these things!" (Phil. 4:8). This we can do, praise His name, for "the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; CASTING DOWN IMAGINATIONS (thoughts), and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity EVERY THOUGHT to the obedience of Christ" (II Cor. 10:4-5). 

Beyond the effect of spirit upon us and the energizing of spirit within us, there is that ability to MINISTER SPIRIT. Every child of God should seek that God would open his eyes to show him this wonderful ministry of the Spirit. Paul spoke of it in these inspired words, "Who also hath make us able ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the SPIRIT: for the letter killeth, but the SPIRIT giveth life... if the ministration of death... was glorious... how shall not the MINISTRATION OF THE S-P-I-R-I-T be rather glorious" (II Cor. 3:6-9). 

This passage contains two significant phrases: "Who hath make us able ministers of the New Testament... OF THE SPIRIT” and “the ministration of... SPIRIT." The New Testament is not the black, leather covered, book called the Bible. This book is what Paul calls "the letter." It is the law, the record, the history, the form which tells us many things about the historical man called Jesus. The twenty-seven books called the New Testament are merely the guide given to point us to the TRUE NEW TESTAMENT, Jesus, the Christ of God! "Search the scriptures," said Jesus, "for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which TESTIFY OF M-E.” (Jn. 5:39). Our scripture says that God has made us able ministers of the New Testament! To minister the New Testament does not mean to minister sermons, doctrines, laws, commandments, or facts about Jesus Christ. To minister the New Testament is to minister the very life of God which is CHRIST IN OUR SPIRIT. “He hath made us able ministers of the SPIRIT." The word minister implies the thought: to serve, impart, give out or wait on. As a member of the New Creation you have been called to be an able minister of the New Testament--a minister of the SPIRIT! 

You may say, "Who, me? Me a minister of the SPIRIT? Why, I can't even testify without stuttering and my knees knocking!" How can we minister spirit? We know how to minister tangible things: our hands minister food to our mouths, they wash our bodies, clothe our bodies, minister ointments and medicines to diseased or painful members, and serve others in a multitude of ways. This is not hard to understand but how can a person minister SPIRIT? We minister spirit when we minister WHAT THE SPIRIT IS within us! As we walk in the attitude and will of God, speak the words of God, act in the wisdom of God, express the character of God, manifest the nature of God, there is transmission of spirit energy to the people, events, and circumstances about us. 

How can we describe that Holy Spirit which is within us? We can describe the fruit of the apple tree in terms of the characteristics of the apple, i.e., peeling, meat, stem, core, seeds, texture, flavor, etc. The characteristics make up the description of what an apple is, what it is like. Similarly, we may describe the Holy Spirit in terms of the virtues or attributes of the Spirit called "the fruit of the Spirit." Now the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Gal. 5:22-23). This is the image of God, what God the Spirit is like! And the new man of our spirit is created in the image and likeness of God (Eph. 4:23-24). Here are nine individual realities which are not visible to the natural eye, yet we know they exist, for like the wind we have observed their influence and effect. They are Spirit, YOUR SPIRIT, and you can minister out of that realm! 

What kind of fruit does a natural tree bear? You will answer, "Natural fruit, of course.” That is right. In nature everything produces "after its kind." Apples produce apples, oranges produce oranges, vegetables produce vegetables, etc. If natural trees produce natural fruit, what kind of fruit should we expect from SPIRIT?. The answer is simple: SPIRIT FRUIT!. The fruit is of the same nature and substance as that which produced it. If God is Spirit, Holy Spirit, then it follows that the fruit of the Spirit is likewise Spirit. To minister Spirit, therefore, means nothing more nor less than to minister the virtues of the fruit of the Spirit to another person. It does not mean to minister the letter of the Word, or pronouncements of judgment, to preach sermons, or convince people through argument of a doctrine, or show people where they are wrong, ungodly, or under condemnation. NO! That is all the ministry of the letter which killeth! We are called to minister the SPIRIT WHICH PRODUCES LIFE! 

God is not complicated. Spirit is not complicated. God is Spirit, and God is love. Love is not complicated. Love has no problems communicating, influencing, ministering. When those around us are discouraged or distraught, we can minister encouragement to them by our word, attitude and action. When people are sad and sorrowful, as ministers of Spirit, we will minister joy and faith unto them. In the presence of fear we will exude and speak peace. When our enemies hate us we will love them in return. When men curse us we will do good to them, when they revile us we will bless them. When our friends are depressed, uncertain, and frustrated, we will manifest such calmness and confidence that will lift them from the shrouding gloom of despair into faith and victory. 

It is a significant fact that all the virtues and characteristics of the Holy Spirit are spirit, and therefore ARE ENERGY--POWER! In the area of will, attitude, nature, mind, disposition, etc., there is always a transmission of energy. Haven't you noticed how one person's attitude will "rub off” on to another person? One can begin complaining and soon everyone is complaining. One begins to be argumentative and before you know it everyone in the room is in a heated argument. Or a whole group of people may feel frustrated and hopeless in a situation, and just one person can enter the room with a cheery smile, radiating the aura of confidence and assurance, speaking a positive word of encouragement and victory, and soon the whole atmosphere changes, becoming charged with this new expectation, the spirit of the whole group being raised up into hope and anticipation. What is this? It is the work of spirit-invisible, intangible energy - POWER! Invisible, but very real. And very powerful! There is constantly, in this world, the definite transference of spirit energy from person to person, negative or positive. The rise and success of false religions, ideologies like nazism and communism, rock music, immorality, etc., are the direct result of negative spirit influence transmitted to the masses through faithful ministers of unrighteousness who have become FILLED WITH THE UN-HOLY SPIRIT, and consequently transmitters of the same. 

Think not, dear friend, that in order to minister the Holy Spirit you must speak idle words, put on a front, or exert some self-effort to impress someone. We are not subscribing to Dale Carnegie's concepts of HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE. Such methods are soulish pretense and carnal hypocrisy. But you do have a right to know that since your spirit has been quickened by HIS Spirit all the virtues and abilities of the Holy Spirit actually are inherent within your nature. By recognizing the reservoir of life, ability, power and nature within (our true identity) we are enabled at any and all times to appropriate it for ourselves and minister its realities to all whom we contact. And this is P-O-W-E-R--the very POWER OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD! 

One thing must be very clear. There are three dimensions of spirit energy which daily touch our lives: God, the satanic, and the human. Every thought, word and action of mankind emanates from one of these three invisible but powerful sources. As sons and daughters of the Most High we are called to the high calling of being transmitters of the life-giving energy of God here upon this earth! Yes, you can minister SPIRIT--HOLY SPIRIT! Hallelujah! 

THE SERPENTS MEAT 

The ancient Serpent, having beguiled Eve, became the recipient of the first curse in history. Most students of the Word know that man was cursed, the woman was cursed, the ground was cursed, the earth was cursed, but few remember that before all this the Serpent was cursed. The curse is first mentioned in Gen. 3:14. "And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, THOU ART CURSED above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life." 

It will prove most instructive to note God's order of speaking, and then the judgment, or sentence passed. The Lord called unto the man, inquiring, "Where are thou?" And Adam answered that they had hidden themselves, because of their shame as they realized they were naked. Then God said to the woman, "What is this that thou hast done?" And Eve replied that the serpent had beguiled her, and she did eat of the forbidden fruit. Then God spoke to the serpent, and said at once, "Because thou hast done this, THOU ART CURSED. Most of us have thought that he was cursed long before this! In the passing of the judgment-sentence, God began with the serpent, then to the woman, and ended with the man, reversing the order from when He first spoke to them. In the curse to the serpent, He said, "Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days Of thy life." The serpent, being called before the tribunal of the Almighty, received a two-fold curse, recorded here in strong figures of speech which sternly emphasize the power of the judgment: UPON YOUR BELLY SHALL YOU GO and DUST YOU SHALL EAT. 

Science will tell you that snakes which crawl upon the ground do not eat dust. They eat frogs, insects, rats, birds, rabbits, fish and eggs. When God inspired Moses to write Genesis the latter certainly knew that snakes do not eat dust These terms are symbolic and spiritual. This is not speaking of a literal snake dangling from a tree limb in some ancient paradise. The serpent in Eden had not only the faculty of speech, but reasoned upon matters relating to God and man; he speaks of good and evil as though possessed of a thorough knowledge of the laws of the Kingdom of God; he argues against the divine prohibition; steals upon the woman with the most alluring subterfuge, and finally persuades her to disobey the commandment of the Lord. No mere animal, it is evident, could be capable of what is here attributed to the serpent! Furthermore, loss of speech was not part of the curse; if the serpent in Eden were a literal snake his descendants crawling around on this planet today should be able to talk! 

This is a symbol and the Deceiver, Satan, that old Serpent, the Devil, has to eat dust! What is the dust? Not the dirt of the ground. Not even the dust of the frogs, rabbits, field mice, etc. In the passing of the judgment-sentence, God began with the Serpent and said, "DUST shalt thou eat." Then to the man, God said, "In the sweat of thy face shall thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for DUST THOU ART, and UNTO DUST shalt thou return" (Gen. 3:19). So that first Adam, fleshly, sinning, and cursed is declared by the counsel of the Lord God to BE DUST. Said the wise man, "For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust” (Ps. 103:14). That we are DUST! Not very flattering, not very complimentary, is it? This great gob of mud called man, strutting his superior know-it-all attitude even in the face of the Almighty! Dust! Our FRAME! DUST! What for value is a frame of dust? HE remembers that we are dust whether we do or not. 

Words are helpless, hopeless, and inadequate when necessity demands that we explain the things pertaining to the spiritual realm. Only in spirit can we understand the incomprehensible. The spirit of wisdom and revelation from God must enlighten the eyes of our understanding. Here we have a word picture describing the relationship which exists between "that old Serpent the Devil" and the realm of death. Just as "dust" speaks of a waterless soil, so the realm of the Serpent is separated from the realm of the Holy Spirit. Adam was formed of the dust of the ground, of the physical, carnal, earthly sense-realm, and as such, became the rightful food for the Serpent. This means that the Serpent--the negative spirit realm---now finds its base of operation and fulfillment of its nature, desires, and purposes in and through mankind. By the very nature of things, when the Serpent eats, he seeks to SATISFY HIS APPETITE and GRATIFY HIS DESIRES. Originally he found pleasure and purpose in higher things and had access to higher realms (of spirit), but the curse of "eating dust" limits the object of his devouring. Today, the sphere of Satan's activity is earth, and the object of his devouring is the man of the earth. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour" (I Pet. 5:8). As the creatures of the forest are constantly alert lest some other animal of prey catch them unawares and devour them, so are we admonished to be sober and vigilant--for as sure as the snake swallows the rabbit, so certain is it that Satan seeks to DEVOUR YOU! Your dust, your earthiness, your flesh, your carnal Adam-man-nature is the Serpent's meat! By feeding upon the dust-man who loves earthly things, Satan devours him - makes him part of himself. It means your whole being swallowed up into the negative spirit-realm, captive to and expressing the negative energy of that realm. This gives fresh and clear meaning to the statement of the apostle, “The whole world lieth in the Wicked One" (I Jn. 5:19). The whole world has been consumed--is captive to and living out of the NEGATIVE REALM! Who can deny it? 

The message is clear. Adam and those belonging to him are of the earth, earthy. The Holy Spirit bears witness: "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 they 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. 15:45-49). The Amplified Bible reads, 'The first man was from out of the earth, made of dust earth-minded; the second man is the Lord from out of heaven. Now those who are made of the dust are like him who was first made of the dust---earth-minded; and as is the Man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven--heaven-minded. And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, so shall we and so let us bear also the image of the Man of heaven.' 

Ray Prinzing has aptly written: "The curse was on the serpent, for deceiving, and the seed of the serpent still carries that curse, and the nature of the deception that caused it. There are two seeds which are spoken of, the woman's seed, and the serpent's seed. One bespeaks of the positive realm, the other bespeaks of the negative. However, it is to be pointed out that if the woman's seed has a literal fulfillment, personified in a man, and a people, so also the serpent's seed has to be literally fulfilled in a man, and a people. A seed line that is evidenced in those 'after his own kind.' That the serpents seed was also expressed through people is evident when we read that Cain 'was of that wicked one' (I Jn. 3:12). This is more explicit in the Greek text, where the word 'of ' is 'ek', literally OUT OF the wicked one. Then Jesus spoke of some, saying, 'Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do' (Jn. 8:44). If they are of the same spirit, then they will do the lusts of that spirit realm. Obviously Cain, who was OUT OF the wicked one, received the curse reaffirmed on him, for he slew the truth and propagated a false system. Righteous Abel fell victim to the cursed one, for a time, but there is One, whose blood now speaketh better things than the blood of Abel, and through Him victory comes. 

"It is not the creature, but the negative spirit force motivating the creature, against whom we take dominion. When the 'spirit of the world' is now energizing to disobedience, there is an immediate conflict between that spirit, and the Spirit of God dwelling within us. In some this is but a small thing, and the 'contrary spirit' is held in control by their normal, congenial disposition. But in others, this serpent spirit is so aggressive, that when you walk into their presence, or they come into yours, there is an immediate clash without either one saying a word. Our warfare is not with the various races on earth today, nor yet with men of our own lineage, but we do contest the spirit of the deceiver that motivates them. It is not the man or woman--but there are natures, spirits, curses that remain in the earth today, that the CALLED - OUT-OF-THE-LORD are facing in this conflict of the ages. That is why we need to be filled with the Spirit of God, lest we become carnal and start fighting flesh on a carnal realm" - end quote. 

Whenever we live in the earthly life of Adam, we are earthly and also on earth and fall into the sphere of Satan's activity, becoming the object of his devouring, drawn deeper and deeper into that negative realm. Dear saints, you wonder why Satan tempts you, pressures you, torments you, and you have constant battles with that realm? It is because you are still bearing at least a portion of that image of the first Adam, the man of dust. And dust is the Serpent's meat. He has the power to eat on you as long as you have that nature of Adam in you. On the other hand, whenever we live in the heavenly life of Christ, the identity of the image of God, we are heavenly and in heaven. Thus, we TRANSCEND SATAN'S SPHERE of activity and are no longer subject to his devouring. This is the son realm where no dragon abides, for he is cast out of this heaven where the manchild reigns! Would you, dear reader, like to starve that old Serpent, the Devil? Then get rid of the dust! Stop bearing the image of Adam, renounce that mistaken identity, and as Paul exhorts, "Let us bear the image of the Man of heaven." When you have been completely transformed into the image of Jesus Christ, then you will have nothing in you for Satan to feed upon, nothing to satisfy his appetite or gratify his desires. And it is there that death will be conquered! As a brother once wrote: “I can tell you, beloved, that already Satan is finding short rations and skimpy meals in some of God's sons that are pressing on to the High Calling. Victory after victory they are gaining, because they are crucifying that earthy nature. They are letting the Christ come forth in His fullness in their lives, and beginning to bear more and more of His blessed image. They have no fear of Satan or of his weapons. They could walk through the midst of hell itself, and no devil could touch them. Thieves, murderers, drunkards, gamblers, and harlot's cannot contaminate them. Filthy lucre cannot tempt them, apostate religion cannot attract them, nor fleshly methods or soulish ministry ensnare them. They are Overcomers, witnessing to the world of the image and power of the Living Christ! This is the purpose of God for His sons! It is for you, beloved...believe, and enter in!"--end quote.

Can we not see that the more we live and walk in the Spirit, the less we are disturbed by the agitations of the soulish realm, or the shenanigans of the flesh? Caught in the lowlands of the flesh, one is an easy prey for the serpents and scorpions and creeping things which inhabit that low realm. Rising up to walk in the Holy Spirit a new perspective is found, flesh is both seen and recognized for what it is, and left behind, while the horizons of the Spirit beckon onward, and upward, in the realm of the heavenly where no dragon dwells. So many of God's precious people dwell in the dust realm, and, as someone has said, there is no need to describe at length the "dust storms", we have all faced them far too often -- the jealousies, the envyings, the back-bitings, gossipings, anger, agitations, lusts, fears, bitterness, strivings, and all the other expressions of the carnal nature, the realm where the Serpent dwells and eats to the full! 

UPON YOUR BELLY YOU SHALL GO... 

It's not news to any of us that we are in the midst of a war between two kingdoms: the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. Neither is it news to us that WE are the battleground! More particularly, the major focal point of the battle is our mind. There the battle rages at its greatest intensity, because the war is a struggle for our hearts and loyalties--the very souls and lives and beings of men. This fact is highly relevant to the subject I am dealing with in this message--the Serpent that dwells within us. It is that force within us that opposes the ways of God in our lives and tries to keep us from seeking those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. 

This brings us back to the curse laid upon the Serpent in the beginning: "Upon your belly shall you go." This judgment speaks of infinitely more than a literal snake slithering along upon his literal belly, just as the word "heel" speaks of infinitely more than a location on the foot, and the word "head" speaks of something greater far than a mere physical head in the words of the next verse: "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; and it shall bruise thy HEAD, and thou shall bruise His HEEL" (Gen. 3:15). So, “upon your belly you shall go," paints for the eyes of our understanding the picture of the Serpent crawling in humiliation, prostration, limitation, and subjection upon the ground. The Psalmist uses a similar expression in Ps. 44:25, "For our soul is bowed down to the dust, our belly cleaveth unto the earth." Such denotes a prolonged prostration and a depth of subjection as could never be conveyed or expressed in normal terms. 

The very fact that God states that the Serpent was now to crawl upon his belly, which obviously he had not done before, reveals that there was a descending from one realm to another, from a greater to a lesser, from a higher to a lower. Moving on his belly limits the sphere of the Serpent's activity, now he can only creep along the ground. Previously he had access to loftier realms, his sphere of activity extended to higher domains--exalted realms of pure spirit expression--but he is now lowered into the dust-realm, into the world of man, and confined to the earthy, restricted to action upon and expression through THE MAN OF THE DUST How truly this accounts for the words of the apostle in Eph. 2:2, "And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, THE S-P-I-R-I-T THAT N-O-W WORKETH I-N THE CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE." 

Ah, yes, this evil spirit is IN MAN! When the serpent was lowered into the dust realm, man became the base of operation for his activity. I do not hesitate to declare to you, my beloved, that you will find Satan operative in NO OTHER REALM in the whole universe! You do not meet the Devil in rocks, trees, fish, mountains, rivers, clouds, birds, nor on far-away planets, in distant galaxies, in flying saucers, nor in any other object or location outside of man. You don't have to worry about the Devil stealing the keys to your car and driving off with it! But you may have to worry about the devil in men doing so! You need not fear the Devil walking into your living room with a shot gun and blowing your brains out, but the devil in men has done so tens of thousands of times! The Devil as an invisible spirit, or a hideous creature in a funny red suit will never try to seduce your wife, but the devil in some man may surely attempt it. I must tell you frankly that have not had any problem with that Devil out there someplace, but I have had a great deal of difficulty with that Devil whose countenance I behold when I look in the mirror!

 

Can we not see that under the curse God limited Satan to the dust of the earth, to the realm of the First Adam--the man of dust? Many have seen the connection between Satan and the carnal mind and , not understanding by revelation the origins of these things, have assumed that the carnal mind is Satan. The truth, however, runs deeper than that--it goes to the spirit of the mind. Through the curse Satan became one with man, the energy force of human nature, the spirit of the carnal mind, slithering about in the lowest realms of man's earthiness, in the crooked thoughts, selfish desires, distorted emotions, in the illusions and delusions of the sense-realm of the world of appearances, and in all the corrupt motions of the flesh. May God graciously give us enlightenment to see that included with Satan is the kingdom of Satan; therefore, since Satan is in man, the kingdom of Satan is also in man. Satan is the prince of this world, so the world too is included in the kingdom of Satan and is also in man. Man is the very center of the OLD CREATION in every aspect. If one would meet Satan, there is no need for him to go to any special place--by going to man he will meet Satan. If he desires to find the kingdom of Satan, there is no need to go to some distant planet, nor to some far-away hell; by going to man he will encounter the kingdom of Satan. It is the same with the world. Within man there is world, sin, Satan, death, flesh, the carnal mind---all that pertains to the negative realm, the kingdom of darkness. The first Adam is not a small man! On the contrary, he is a big, all-inclusive man! The whole vast realm of reality, positive and negative, is CENTRALIZED AND PERSONIFIED IN MAN. 

The reason why so many fail when it comes to the wiles of the Devil is that they don't really want to resist him. You see, Satan never appears as a monster with horns and a forked tail, carrying a pitchfork. HE COMES IN YOUR THOUGHTS! HE APPEARS IN YOUR DESIRES! HE COMES IN YOUR IMAGINATIONS AND REASONINGS! Some people are always saying, “I hate the Devil.” Well, you may as well say, "I hate myself." One day I asked God, “God, why don't you just kill the Devil and let it be over with?" You will never guess the answer I received. The Lord said, “If I kill the Devil, YOU WILL DIE!” And verily I say unto you, Except a man hate his own life, and will count all things but loss, and reckon himself indeed to be crucified with Christ, he will never know victory over the Wicked One. 

You will find men and women who claim to hate the Devil and all he stands for, but no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it. In so doing he gives place to the Devil. It is the flesh that lusts against the Spirit! The flesh unceasingly wars against the King and His Kingdom that is within you. Just as the religious leaders of the Jews cried, “We will not have this man to rule over us," so the flesh, your flesh, and my flesh, desperately striving to perpetuate the corrupt nature of Adam within, would push Christ from the throne of the heart and reign in his stead. The energy force and motivating power of the flesh is the ancient Serpent of Eden. Multitudes do not understand this mystery, and few will proclaim this truth. The sacred mysteries of God are revealed only by the Holy Spirit of Truth. This is one of those mysteries which I unfold before you today. It is never our striving against the evils of the world, the flesh and the Devil that gains any victory at all; the almighty Christ within us would destroy them all in one smashing defeat; but we have the wretched habit of refusing to yield our hearts to the King. Christ alone can put the adversary under foot and forever bruise his head! Our responsibility is to resist the Devil and YIELD OURSELVES UNTO GOD THAT HE MAY REIGN. 

Praise God! The heavens declare that God has a man--ORPHIUCHUS the serpent crusher- HERCULES the strong man, the mighty man, the valiant champion who slays the three-headed monster and crushes the head of the dragon. It is a glorious thing to see that in the unchanging stars of the heavens and the shining Signs placed by God in the night sky, we have a gallery of divine truth, a portrait of God's TRIUMPHANT CORPORATE MAN, THE CHRIST OF GOD. Ah, He's a wonder--this CHRIST WITHIN! Just as surely as Satan is incarnated in mankind, so is the living Christ of God enthroned within the saints! The greater, grander, transcendent truth is, beloved, that THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU! The Christ that we preach is nigh at hand. “He is not far from every one of us,” the apostle Paul says. “Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead.) But what saith it? The Word (Christ) is NIGH THEE, EVEN IN THY MOUTH, AND IN THY HEART” (Rom. 10:6-8). “Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, today, and for ever.” Unless we are sure that He is unchanged and unchangeable, that He is right here WITHIN US in every rum of life as really as He was in the body of Jesus of Nazareth, unless we live daily in the power of this, our life will never be pure, we will never see His works, we will never know His quickening, we will never conquer sin and death, and be brought to the Father. Therefore, why strain your eyes to pierce the clouds? The cloud that hides Christ from us is in ourselves, in our love of self, in our blind adherence to traditions, in our devotion to the outer world of appearances. Let us ask God to send the living wind of His Spirit from the innermost part of our being, that bloweth where it listeth, to sweep it aside, and then we will see Christ as our life at every step of the journey. You can never overcome your seducing enemy by your own wisdom or strength. Christ alone can put him under foot and forever braise his head. AND CHRIST IS YOUR LIFE! Arise, 0 ye mighty ones, and conquer--for the MIGHTY ONE I-S W-I-T-H-I-N Y-O-U!

 


Chapter  17 

SCORPIO—THE SCORPION

(continued) 

We continue with our study of the Sign of SCORPIO — THE SCORPION. This Sign of the heavens brings before us a gigantic Scorpion, larger than a man, with its tail uplifted in anger, endeavoring to sting in the heel a mighty man, but is crushed by the man, who has his foot placed right on the Scorpion's heart. The minor constellations around Scorpio enhance this scene of obvious conflict. The first is that of SERPENS — the struggling Serpent. The second is the picture of a great and powerful man whose name is ORPHIUCHUS, meaning "the serpent-holder." It portrays this mighty man struggling with a giant Serpent, trying to keep him from accomplishing what he is attempting to do. The Serpent is putting forth a mighty effort to reach up and grasp the CROWN which is situated immediately over the Serpent's head. The strong man, Orphiuchus, is restraining the Serpent while crushing the Scorpion! 

The whole scene is one of conflict — the conflict of a great and mighty man, a warrior, with the Serpent, the Monster, and the Dragon. Oriental imagery is never more graphically displayed in all its eloquence than in the use of the biblical terms SERPENT, SCORPION, and DRAGON as figures of Satan, the Devil. The Devil is portrayed in the Word of God as the great antagonist of God's people and of the Kingdom of God. He is presented as the deceiver of the nations, the perverter of mankind, the enslaver of men's lives and the destroyer of creation. He is presented in many guises but always as a malignant, venomous, hostile and dangerous creature. And his story begins right at the beginning of time, at the dawn of human history, in the drama of the opening chapters of the story of the Bible. 

The book of Genesis is probably the most important book ever written. The word "genesis" of course means origin or beginning, and the book of Genesis gives the only true and reliable account of the basic entities and conditions of the universe and of life. Genesis yields vital information concerning the origin of ALL THINGS — and therefore the meaning of ALL THINGS! Let every man know that in the whole of the universe there is no greater truth than this one sublime truth that THE FUTURE IS BOUND UP IN THE PAST. A man's belief concerning his origin will inevitably determine his belief about his purpose on earth and his eternal destiny. 

The first several chapters of the book of Genesis lay a ground-plan for the entire revelation of God's purposes in relation to man. As a piece of literature the story is sublime; magnificent in range, in profundity of design, and the unparalleled heights of spiritual revelation it attains. I can confidently say that every revelation of Himself and His purpose that God has ever given from the foundation of the world can be found in these opening chapters of Genesis. There is no revelation of scripture, spoken by holy prophet or apostle, or revealed to the spirits of worshipping men who have come into holy contact with the presence and power of God, that cannot be found in seed form as type, shadow, parable, or allegory in the book of Genesis. The entire plan of the ages is there portrayed from its majestic beginning to its triumphant conclusion. Each and every experience, situation, condition, capacity, potential and destiny of mankind, with all the principles and processes by which God shall bring man to perfection in the image of God is there set forth in awe-inspiring wonder. And nowhere is this more obviously true than in the account of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. 

The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is the greatest parable in the Bible. How shall we speak of God's great and wonderful purpose in man except in the language of parables? God prepares an exceedingly beautiful and fruitful garden for man, whom He has created with His own hands. Precious stones, rare odors, refreshing streams, trees full of fruit and splendid colors surround that first man. Who can speak of the marvelous realities there initiated except in the language of pictures? Pictures are not lies: they denote things, realities; they let the things that are meant shine through. When we come to the Garden of Eden it is evident that this is more than merely a piece of real estate somewhere over in Mesopotamia! No such place has ever been found, neither the angel with the flaming sword to keep men out. The garden of God is not a physical place located on this or any other planet. It is a STATE OF BEING. It is a higher existence for man than this cursed state we find ourselves in by physical birth and mortal consciousness. It is the state of being that man was in when he was first brought forth from the creative hand of God and placed here upon earth. It represents man in the presence of God! Man with the incorruptible life of God accessible to him! Man as master and lord over all things! Man living above sin, sickness, pain, limitation or death! Blessed realities, one and all! And yet — the Garden also represents man together with all the factors and conditions, internal and external, of being and environment, which ultimately were to lead to his ruin and alienation from God. In one sense, man was the Garden. And yet, man was in the Garden. The Bible reveals it as a "Garden within a Garden." Man both in a state of being and an environment — the two corresponding. All the conditions which surrounded man also were obvious realities within the heart of man. The original man with his nature, characteristics, capabilities and potentials is what we see in the Garden of Eden. The external conditions of man's environment corresponded precisely with man's inward nature for either good or evil, carnal consciousness or spiritual consciousness, life or death. This was man in the Garden! It is a Garden within a Garden, a world within a world, man within and without 

Against the background of this picture of the Garden of Eden it is related how man was put into this Garden in order to live in it and how two trees stood in the middle of the Garden: one the tree of life, the other the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And upon these two trees IN THE MIDDLE OF THE GARDEN the destiny of man was to be decided. There were, indeed, three kinds of trees in the Garden. There was the tree of life, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and then all those other trees denoted as "all the trees of the garden." Man began his sojourn upon earth living in the realm of "all the trees of the garden." But man's future experience and destiny were to be decided by his relationship to the two trees in the middle. 

Two trees in the middle. First of all there is the tree of life. It is clear from the context that man was not forbidden to eat of it. It was there, revealed, offered, available: LIFE, abundant, immortal, incorruptible, eternal! For this reason the tree of life is mentioned very casually in Gen. 2: 8-9. It was IN THE MIDDLE — that is all that is said about it! It was right there in man's consciousness, in man's nature. The life that comes forth from God is in the middle. This means that God, the source of life, is in the middle. In the middle of the world which is at Adam's disposal and over which he has been given dominion is not Adam himself but the tree of God's eternal and incorruptible life. Adam's life was to come from the middle which was not Adam in his self-consciousness, but in his God-consciousness. This means that with God as his center man would have life. It means that man was created and formed with the wonderful capacity to LIVE IN THE SPIRIT and WALK AFTER THE SPIRIT. "For. . . to be SPIRITUALLY MINDED is life and peace" (Rom. 8: 6). One of man's inherent potentials was to know God within as the source and center of his life. 

But, like the tree of life, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil also stands in the middle of the Garden! To this tree is attached the command not to eat of it upon penalty of death. Death in the middle. Within. In man's very nature. Thus is it declared with unquestionable certainty that man was formed with the capacity to LIVE IN THE FLESH and WALK AFTER THE FLESH. "For to be CARNALLY MINDED is death” (Rom. 8:6). One of man's inherent potentials was to know Self as the source and center of his life. But alas! Self would not bring life, it would mean death. Man could make the world of appearances, the physical realm, mortal consciousness, the bodily senses and appetites his center but death would be found to dwell in that center. Life and death were in the middle. Two trees, two realities IN THE MIDST of the Garden of man's experience and being. Both realities are in the middle — within man. One or the other is every man's center, the plane of his consciousness, the sphere of his existence. But mark it well — both cannot be the center of any man's life! He who eats of the tree of life will find that the death realm will come to have no more dominion over him. And he who eats of the tree of death will discover that he becomes alienated from the tree of life. Thus, both trees, both realities are in the center of man's life but both cannot be the center of his life! "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: 13). "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh" (Gal. 5: 16). How simple! God would at once be the limit and the middle of our existence. 

But how could Adam grasp these mighty realities? How could Adam, living as he did in the "soul realm" of "all the trees of the Garden" understand what divine life is when he had not yet tasted of the tree of life? How could Adam comprehend what death is when he had never yet experienced anything of its dread power? How could Adam even know what difference there is between life, good, evil, sin, and death, living as he did in the unblemished innocence of his child-like beginning? As well explain the mysteries of biology or astronomy to a new-born infant! Could all of this really mean anything more to Adam than empty words? No, Adam could not be expected to understand such awesome things, but under the gracious and skillful hand of God he would be instructed and taught. To this end man was placed on earth in a Garden with two trees in the middle — and with both God and a Serpent walking and talking with him! 

The drama of Adam and Eve in the Garden is of supreme importance because it explains the real nature of our life here on earth. It is the portrait of ourselves, our state of being, and how we fashion the environment in which we live. It is the Creator's instruction manual on spiritual and psychological anatomy. When you thoroughly understand the teaching of the Garden of Eden you will understand the nature of God, the nature of man, and the nature of Satan. This parable is placed at the outset of human history and in the opening scenes of God's divine record because it is the foundation of all understanding, the blueprint of man's experience on earth and his destiny in God. Adam and Eve in the Garden represent the whole of humanity in the first Adam. They represent you and me and every man and woman who has ever lived or shall live. What happened to him happens to us. What he was we are. His experience is our experience. His destiny is our destiny. May the mighty spirit of wisdom and revelation from God give enlightenment to the eyes of your 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, instructed, and redeemed. GOD HIMSELF is the One who blesses and curses. It is our pre-history, truly our own. It is the beginning, innocence, guilt, redemption and perfection of every one of us. What happened to Adam there is what is happening to us here! Adam and Eve stand for what man is, how man is, why man is. 

THE DEVIL IN MAN 

Now it was in the midst of the Garden that man first encountered the ancient Serpent. It is not news to any of us that we are in the midst of a war between two kingdoms: the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. Neither is it news to us that WE are the battle ground! More particularly, the major focal point of the battle is our mind. There the battle rages at its greatest intensity, because the war is a struggle for our hearts and loyalties — the very souls and lives and beings of men. This fact is highly relevant to the subject I am dealing with in this message — the Serpent that dwells within us. It is that force within us that opposes the ways of God in our lives and tries to keep us from seeking those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. 

This brings us back to the curse laid upon the Serpent in the beginning; "Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life" (Gen. 3: 14). These terms are symbolic and spiritual. This is not speaking of a literal snake dangling from a tree limb in some historic paradise. This is a symbol and the Deceiver, Satan, that ancient Serpent, the Devil, has to eat dust! He was cursed to this low realm of eating dust because that is exactly what he was doing when he tempted mother Eve. Adam was formed of the dust of the ground and bore the image of the earthy — and as such became the rightful food for the Serpent. The Serpent — the negative spirit realm — now finds its base of operation and the fulfillment of its nature, desires, activities and purposes IN AND THROUGH MANKIND. By the very nature of things, when the Serpent eats, he seeks to SATISFY HIS APPETITE AND GRATIFY HIS DESIRES. Today, as in Eden, the sphere of Satan's activity is earth, and the object of his devouring is the man of earth — the carnal nature. Whenever we live in the earthly life of Adam, we are earthly and also on earth and fall into the sphere of Satan's activity, becoming the object of his devouring, drawn deeper and deeper into that negative realm. 

The very fact that the Serpent was now to crawl upon his belly reveals that there was a descending from one realm to another, and man, with the Serpent in him, now grovels in the dust, trapped in the humiliating quagmire of trouble, pain, sorrow, sin, sickness, limitation, fear and death. Moving upon his belly limits the sphere of the Serpent's activity, now he can only creep along the ground, lowered into the dust-realm, confined to the lowlands of the earthy and material, restricted to expression through THE MAN OF DUST. Truly he is "the S-P-I-R-I-T that now worketh in the children of disobedience" (Eph. 2: 2). Because of this remarkable curse you will find Satan operative in NO OTHER REALM in God's vast universe! Satan is one with man, the energy force of human nature, the spirit of the carnal mind, slithering about in the lowest realms of man's earthiness, in the crooked thoughts, perverted desires, depraved emotions, in the illusions and delusions of the outer world of appearances, and in all the corrupt motions of the flesh. 

I want to tell you where everything is — everything is right there where you are — WITHIN YOU. Everything. On the positive side — God is in you, Christ is in you your hope of glory, the Word of Christ dwells in your heart by faith, your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, the glory of God has come upon you and is arising upon you from within, the wonderful mind of Christ is in your mind and the Kingdom of God is within you. On the negative side — the spirit of antichrist is in you, the man of sin sits in the temple of God which is your body, the beast rages in the ravenous emotions of your soul, the image of the beast is seen in you by your outer actions, the nature of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters (peoples) is in you, and that ancient Serpent, the Devil, and Satan is within you, the spirit that now worketh IN the sons of disobedience (Eph. 2: 2). 

Men dream of a Devil — a hideous and obscene monster in human form; a short, skinny elf in a red body suit, with impish face, horns, pointed ears, a spade beard, thin mustache, having a long forked tail and a pitchfork in his hand. If you ask one thousand church-going professing Christians to describe for you, the Devil, would not all of them describe him in the fashion portrayed above? Or would they describe him to you as a snake? Millions of professing Christians suppose they would recognize the Devil instantly. But would they, really? I do not hesitate to tell you that the Devil of Christianity is a myth. The famous preacher, Charles H. Spurgeon, was once correcting the sermons of a class of preacher boys. One young man waxed eloquent on the subject: "Putting on the whole armor of God", and dramatized each piece put on. Then when the armor was on, he cried out: "Now where is the Devil!" Mr. Spurgeon cooped both hands around his mouth, and whispered: "inside the armor." Let me illustrate. The following story has been chronicled by another. The year was 1941. Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and they began to conquer in Southeast Asia. The British were told, "Be careful. The Japanese are going to conquer Singapore, too." But the British said, "No need to worry. There is absolutely no danger of that happening. Look at all the cannons we have." Singapore, you know, is a nation at the end of the Malaysian peninsula. If you look at your hand and think of your thumb as the Malaysian peninsula, at the top of the digit, where the fingernail is, that would be Singapore. And from the hand to that first little digit, that's jungle. At the top of the thumb, Singapore is cleared of jungle. Civilized. It was well defended with guns pointed out to sea so that no ship could possibly invade. Nobody could ever attack them without running right into the British guns. That's why the British weren't worried on Dec. 7, 1941, as the smoke rose from Pearl Harbor, when they heard that the Japanese would be hitting Singapore next. The British only laughed. They felt secure. Then came February. Out of the jungle, from the hand up through the thumb came the Japanese. And when, suddenly, on Feb. 24, 1942, the British heard the crack of rifles, they turned around and saw the Japanese coming from their rear. In only ten days, Singapore fell into the hands of the Japanese. Why? Because the guns were pointing in the wrong direction. All of their guns were pointed to the sea. They were defenseless. And let me assure you, precious friend of mine, there are vast multitudes of the Lord's people in this hour, maybe even you, whose guns are pointed in the wrong direction! The guns are pointed on that hideous, monster Devil roaming about that world out there. In our minds he belongs to the Garden of Eden, spoiling life for Adam and Eve; to the plains of the East, wrecking havoc upon poor old Job; to the Judean Wilderness, tempting Jesus; to Berlin during the thirties and early forties, possessing Adolf Hitler; to the prisons and mental hospitals, possessing the criminals and mentally insane; walking up and down the isles of the church building, trying to hinder the meeting; he is always on the outside of us or possessing someone else! 

But go with me now into that long ago when Jesus walked the dusty trails with His disciples. He had asked the twelve disciples who they thought He was. Peter promptly answered, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!" Then Jesus said to him, "Peter, flesh and blood did not reveal this unto you, but My Father which is in heaven." In other words, "This understanding didn't come from your fleshly mind. You didn't think this up by yourself. This is not the product of your own nature, or the result of your reasoning and logic; this came to you from My Father." So remarkable was this revelation to Peter that the Lord said to him, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona!" So here we have an instance of the Father working in Peter, imparting His thoughts and understanding to Peter. 

Only minutes later Jesus began to introduce to His disciples the subject of His coming suffering and death on the cross. The possibility of the death of their beloved Lord was a prospect so foreign to the thinking of the disciples that they were hardly able to comprehend His presentation of this unspeakable fate. Was He not the Messiah? Was He not the Son of God? Did He not come to establish a great Kingdom? Were not they, the disciples, to reign with Him in that Kingdom? With these questions in mind, they could hardly endure the dark foreboding which grew in their minds as Christ talked about the future. Then Peter, who had just been pronounced blessed, took Him, and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Be it far from Thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee!" Ah, when Jesus mentioned the cross and dying, Peter began to rebuke Him. Where did he find the senseless courage that would dare to rebuke the Lord? The answer is disturbingly evident — far, far too clear to be a comfort to any of us! The Lord Himself gives us the answer, for He turned and said unto Peter, "Get thee behind Me, SATAN! thou art an offence unto Me; for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." What a shocking way to talk to the great apostle Peter, the one possessing the revelation of the Christ's identity, the one called blessed, the one to whom the Lord had just given the keys to the Kingdom Heaven! Attrocious to say to this man of deep revelation and keen perception, "Thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men!" Indeed, "Get thee behind Me, S-A-T-A-N!" How unthinkable! 

Hearing Peter's entreaty to the Lord, which of us would not have said that this was the language of genuine affection, tender solicitude, and loving concern? No doubt we would have chimed in and said, "How kind! How true! How good! Amen!" But Jesus replies, "Get thee behind Me — SATAN!" And our Lord was not merely on a name-calling spree when He uttered these words, either. He never uttered words in vain, without a definite meaning. Jesus did not speak merely to Satan in Peter, neither did He say, "Peter." Furthermore, He did not tell Peter that his words sounded like the words of Satan. He simply addressed Peter AS SATAN. Peter as Satan — on what basis? That he was demented, insane? That he was a medium, bringing spirits out of the supernatural sphere? No — merely that he SPOKE AS A MAN!!! "Get thee behind Me, Satan, you who think and speak like a man!" Is this not also what James was saying when he described the wisdom of man in these words: "If ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. THIS WISDOM descendeth not from above, but is EARTHLY, SENSUAL and D-E-V-I-L-I-S-H!" (James 3:14-15). Here we see that that which is earthly and sensual is that which is considered by the Spirit of God, DEVILISH! 

On the surface there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with what Peter said. It was a good thought, a kindly thought. He didn't want to see His Lord and Master suffer and die, and he said so. What was wrong with that? Wasn't that a good sentiment for him to have? What was wrong with it was that it was the product of Self, it emanated from human sympathy and not from the heart of God. Anything that proceeds from Self, by the very nature of things, is bound to be opposed to the mind and will of God, for if His thoughts, and His ways, are as far from being like ours as the heavens are above the earth, there can be no unity in them at all. Self and Satan despise and hate the cross. They will scamper wildly in any direction to avoid it. They will turn their backs upon it, dig under it, try to go around it or climb over it, but they will never embrace it. The cross is the death knell of Self, and Self is the arch enemy of the cross. The friendly sympathy of Self is the cunning mind of the Serpent. 

Again in Jn. 6: 70 we read, "Have I not chosen you twelve, and one of you I-S A D-E-V-I-L?" Here our Lord of course referred to Judas. In the scriptures we have some very plain statements to the effect that certain men WERE SATAN or DEVILS. Please, let us not forget that we are still studying the fully inspired Word of God, and not some infamous fairy tale. The Devil, about whom we are studying, hates above all else to have his real identity and location made known. The only way he can carry on his business is to deceive men and women into thinking he is what he is not. As long as we think he is some funny little man with horns and a pitchfork we can never be deceived by him! I fearlessly declare, beloved that Satan and the carnal mind are so ONE that you cannot have one without the other! Satan and Self are so ONE that they are indivisible! Satan and human nature are so ONE that they cannot be separated! Is it any wonder, then, that the friendly hand of Self, yea, the friendly hand of Satan, was so quickly extended to prevent our Lord from going to the cross? "This shall not be done unto Thee," exclaimed Peter. "You must not talk that way, Lord. You are the Christ, you can never go to the cross! You must save yourself. Don't go to Jerusalem. Don't let them lay their hands on you. We shall fight against it with the sword, if necessary, or you can call twelve legions of angels to save yourself from the cross." Save yourself, save your-SELF is the eternal cry! Escape the cross! Turn aside! Turn back! Ah, what voice is this? Truly it is the voice of Satan. But never forget for one moment, my beloved, that it is also the voice of the carnal mind. Oh yes, there must be a death to Self, that brash, ego-centric devil that would and does usurp the throne of Christ's Kingdom within. He no more wants you to go to the cross than he wanted Jesus to go. 

And now we uncover some other startling facts. The Greek word DIABOLOS is the Greek word for "devil." In all the Greek New Testament it is never used for anything or anyone else. But in three appearances of the word in the New Testament, the men who were supposed to translate that original, instead of translating it in harmony with every other use of the word rendered it in such a way as to mystify and hide the truth. When translated in harmony with the rest of the scriptures, here is what I Tim. 3: 11 actually says. It is talking about deacons. And it says this, "Even so must their wives be grave, NOT DEVILS (diabolos), sober, faithful in all things." Just imagine a deacon marrying a funny black thing with horns, a pointed tail and cloven hoofs! In Titus 2: 1-3 Paul is giving some instructions concerning the churches and the believers in those churches. And here is what he writes to Titus: "The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, NOT DEVILS (diabolos), not given to much wine, teachers of good things." In Tim. 3: 1-5 we read this: "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, DEVILS (diabolos), incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." What an indictment against human nature, and against modern religion! "In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be ...DEVILS...having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” 

Jesus, on many occasions, drew this analogy of men as serpents — devils. In my mind when Jesus uttered the following parabolic phrase, He was revealing one of the most important and foundational truths of all times. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" (Mat. 23: 25,33). John the Baptist used the same terminology. "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, 0 generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee the wrath to come?" (Mat. 3: 7). Various translations render this passage..."Ye generation of vipers," "Ye offspring of vipers," "Ye broods of snakes," "Ye serpent's brood," etc. You see, Christ and John were well aware of who and what and where the Enemy was and ever shall be. 

As in Christ's day, so today, the churches are, indeed, full of devils. And they have no more desire to go to the cross than Peter did. Well does this enemy of God, enthroned in the human heart, this adversary of redemption and of all mankind, know that, in the blessed hour when the "I" is crucified and brought to death, all his power and all his authority and sway in that life is broken forever. His appetite is denied, his desires are rejected, his base of operation is destroyed, and his work is abolished in every life that has become identified with Christ in the cross. Once a man has embraced fully the cross of Christ and Self has become forever dead with Him, then it is with him even as the firstborn Son in triumph declared: "I will not talk with you much more, for the prince (evil genius, ruler) of the world is coming. And he has no claim on Me, there is nothing in Me that belongs to him, he has no power over Me" (Jn. 14: 30, Amplified). Satan has no power at all when SELF is gone. Then he has no more power in your life or mine than he had in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. How unspeakably wonderful the hour for any man when Satan shall find nothing in him upon which he can feed or lay hold, nothing upon which he can satisfy his evil desires or his corrupt nature, nothing that responds or corresponds to him! When Self is crucified with Christ the lust of the flesh is mortified, the lust of the eyes is dead, and the pride of life is nailed to the cross. The man of dust exists no more and from then on it is NOT I, BUT CHRIST! 

OUT OF THE HEART 

Do you believe, precious friend of mine, that Satan can work in someone right there where you are, and in someone in New York City, in someone in London, in someone in Moscow, in someone in Hong Kong and in someone in Nairobi all at the same time? It is true — but how? Can he travel at the speed of light and be in that many people around the world at the same instant? Is he omnipresent? Absolutely not! He dwells IN MAN — he is right there in every man's mind and heart and nature. 

We see this principle fulfilled in the story of Job. "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them" (Job 1: 6). May I reverently add that every time the sons of God present themselves before the Lord — Satan comes also among them! It bespeaks of a condition within these sons — our minds vs. His mind, our will vs. His will, our ways vs. His ways. It is a heavenly place within the sons of God wherein we must be tested to show whether we be sons indeed. This impudent Devil of self-will is in every man, and even our Lord Himself surrendered His own will to the Father's, saying, "Father, if Thou be willing remove this cup from Me: nevertheless, not My will, but Thine, be done" (Lk. 22: 42). Until every son has been completely perfected and thoroughly tested it is not possible for the sons of God to come and present themselves before the Lord without Satan coming also among them. Does he not walk in the natural mind of every man? It is written, "And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence cometh thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it” (Job 1: 7). Now the Lord's questions are never for His own enlightenment. He knew well whence Satan came. Oh, yes, Satan had been walking to and fro throughout the earth — God knew this — for he walks in our earth, even that earth which we are, from the east to the west, from the north to the south, from sea to sea and from pole to pole he walks in the earthly planes of our souls, in the secret chambers of our minds, in the fleshly motions of our bodies; he travels up and down in us from the heights of our heavens to the depths of our hells. There is not a day that he leaves us! Dust is his habitation. 

All the way to glorification this inner antagonist is present. This is why every revival God has ever sent through the ages ended in apostasy. Satan — not the Devil with horns and pitchfork — but that inward Devil of fleshly wisdom, sense-knowledge and carnal zeal — has a subtle way of identifying himself with every move of the Spirit of God, so as to corrupt it from within. Many years ago F. J. Huegel wrote: "Students of the great Welsh Revival (1900-1903) say that the wonderful stream of Divine Life little by little lost its saving efficacy, as another stream from a very different source, naturally very filthy, began to mingle with the River of Water of Life proceeding from the Throne and from the Lamb. 'Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them' (Job 2: 1). Beware of false fire. Beware of the counterfeit glow. When the soulish takes the place of a pure working of the Holy Spirit, you have a 'revival' whose fires, though they purport to be from Heaven are more likely to be from Hell. There are any number of 'doors' through which Satan may enter to get control of revival. An undue stressing of the emotional; excitement which grieves and suffocates the Holy Spirit who works quietly; a glorying in the evangelist rather than in the Saviour he preaches; clap-trap methods; self whatever the form in the ministry itself, obstructing Christ, veiling His cross and His glory; these are some of Satan's keys" — end quote. 

The same sad story has been chronicled for us in our generation by George Hawtin in his excellent booklet, MYSTERY BABYLON. Speaking of the events that surrounded the great Latter Rain outpouring of the Spirit in 1948, he says, "The spirit of Babylon goes much deeper than sects and denominations. It is a mystery the spirit of which seems to be deep-rooted in the heart of man. It is like an octopus with many arms reaching in all directions. If it cannot catch you with one of its arms, it will enfold you with another. It is like a demon which, being cast out, will return with seven other demons more powerful and cunning than itself. You do not have to look for the spirit of Babylon in some great and powerful denomination: you will find it in your own heart if you look close enough. Mystery Babylon is in the forehead. 

"Perhaps it was a miracle. I do not think it was chance. I learned that men could be baptized with the Holy Spirit. So I sought and found this blessed new experience in God, and joys flowed like a river as the Comforter came in. But here again the arms of another daughter of Babylon began to enfold me. Was I going to join their church? Was I going to preach for them.? Was I going to take out papers and credentials? This time I was persuaded, and I did, and for seventeen years thereafter I was a faithful slave of the organization, speaking its language and building its visible tower. But I was never fully satisfied, though I loved the work, I loved the people, and I loved the students of my old Bible School. Many dozens of them went out to minister far and wide and many found their way to distant and foreign lands. I am sure their rewards will be many, indeed. All the while there was a longing for a freedom which I did not know, a relationship with God that I did not have. Many times I taught the people that some day God would send a revelation of truth, but the very denomination we had so faithfully built would not be able to receive it. When finally that revelation did come, they were not able to receive it, and those of us who did receive were vomited like Jonah from the belly of the denominational whale, thrown up upon dry land, for we had sickened his stomach. 

"God does not leave you in a dry land for long if you are bound to be one with Him. Should my life be very long on earth, I shall never be able to forget the glory, the awe, the reverence, the holiness, and the power that came to our classroom as we waited on God that glorious 13th of February, 1948, when God began to do a new thing that was destined for a time to shake the church all over America. How we sang the songs of deliverance! How the praises of God echoed down the corridors of the soul and re-echoed among the battlements of heaven! Music of heavenly choirs on earth went sweeping up the sky steeps while angels stood at heaven's gates and swept their harps of gold. Day after day, month after month the celestial wonder continued. Heaven came down our souls to greet and glory crowned the mercy seat. People came for thousands of miles to drink at the ever flowing fountain of life and it looked for a time as though the walls of Babylon were to be broken down and the whole church would come marching to Zion, 

"But the Babylonian captivity was not over yet. As I look sadly in retrospect now, I can see with great clearness that the great and blessed move of God was not two years old before the sectarian spirit began to show its ugly head and men began to hide the Babylonish garment in their tents together with the silver and the wedge of gold. The old Babylonish garment was well hidden deep beneath the earth of the tent, but it was there nonetheless, and the whole move was becoming more and more enfolded by another tentacle of the great octopus. Stricter and more rigid became the teaching and the discipline. There was to be no fellowship with anybody who was not within the confines of our ever narrowing circle. We were the true church. We were the elect. We stood on the foundation and all other men stood on sinking sand. No man must cast out a devil unless he followed us. No teaching was worth the time it took to tell it unless it originated with us. We were the most spiritual people in the world. We were going to reign in the kingdom and even now we were beginning to reign. We had the gifts of the Spirit, and we were going to 'call the shots' in the tribulation. The elders were no longer fathers, but men who were to carry out the will of those who were lords over the heritage of God. Everything was cut and dried and firmly enfolded in the arms of another of the harlot daughters of the Babylonian system. We boasted of the gifts of the Spirit, but what had become of them? Where were the healings? Where were the miracles? Where was the faith, the gift of languages, the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge? The only thing that was left was prophecy and it became a weariness to the flesh, flowing continually from the mind of man and scarcely ever having any fulfillment. Prophecy that has no fulfillment comes from one of two sources: from the mind of Satan or from the mind of man, but never from the mind of God. How often I have listened to people fumble for words as they prophesied thus giving the lie to their words having been inspired of God. How is the faithful city become a harlot!" — end quote. To this faithful testimony I would add — again the sons of God came and presented themselves before the Lord, and how clearer can it be that SATAN CAME ALSO AMONG THEM! 

The entire religious world is today walking in fleshly wisdom which seems so logical to the carnal mind. Fleshly wisdom always seems to "make more sense" than does the wisdom of God! Satan causes carnal wisdom to prosper because it is denial of the life of the Spirit, so that many times Christians and churches operate contrary to the Spirit with the argument, "It works!" Their method of evangelism is contrary to the ways of the Spirit, but since it works they continue in it. The "program" of the church is contrary to true spirituality, and is built generally around flesh-appeal activities of ceremonies, concerts, social activities, sports, Sunday School contests, puppet shows, movies, special speakers, sensationalism and other carnal tactics and techniques, but the organizations continue in it because "it works" and causes the "church" to prosper in numbers and in finances, while their spirits remain dwarfed and hideously shriveled and stunted, if indeed they have been quickened at all! It must be remembered that if anyone or anything prospers on principles other than the life of the Son of God, that person or thing is being prospered by the Devil and not by God! 

Turn with me to two verses of scripture in Gal. 3: 3 and Phil. 3: 3-4. "Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" "We are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit… and have no confidence in the flesh.” The flesh is the name by which the Word designates our fallen condition — Satan in man. Well did William Law write these words of keen insight: In this antagonism of the flesh to the Spirit the flesh has TWO DISTINCT STRATEGIES. On the one hand, the flesh lusts against the Spirit in its committing sin and transgressing God's commands. This is the evil of the flesh. On the other hand, its hostility to the Spirit is no less manifested in its seeking to serve God and do His work! This is the good of the flesh. In yielding to the flesh, the soul sought itself instead of the God into whom the Spirit could have raised it. Self-effort and self-development prevailed over God's life. And now, so subtle and mighty is this spirit of self, that the flesh, not only in sinning against God, but even when the soul learns to serve God, still asserts its power, refuses to let the SPIRIT ALONE LEAD, and in its effort to be religious, wants to serve God independent of the Spirit and is still the great enemy that ever hinders and quenches the Spirit. It is because of this cunning deceitfulness of the flesh that there often takes place what Paul speaks of to the Galatians; "Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" Unless the soul is brought into absolute submission to the Spirit, the surrender to the Spirit being very entire, and the holy waiting on Him be kept up in great dependence and humility, what has begun in the Spirit, very early and very speedily passes over into confidence in the flesh. 

Just where the flesh seeks to serve God, there it becomes the strength of sin. Do we not know how the Pharisees, with their self-righteousness and carnal religion, fell into pride and selfishness, and became the servants of sin and the children of the Devil? Satan has no more crafty device for keeping men out of life than inciting them to a religion, even a serving of God, in the flesh. He knows that the power of the flesh can never conquer sin nor please God, that in the flesh and the serving of the flesh no one will ever become a son of God, for those who become sons not only defeat the Devil in the wilderness of temptation, but also deny their owns souls, wills, plans, abilities, desires, ambitions, hopes and dreams to declare: "I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And He that sent me is with me; for I do always those things that please Him. The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things so ever He doeth, these also doeth the Son. The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works" (Jn. 8: 28-29; 5: 19; 14: 10). 

If there is one lesson a son of God needs to learn it is this: If I am to deny self in my relationships with others, to conquer selfishness, anger, and lack of love, I MUST FIRST LEARN TO DENY SELF IN MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD! There the soul, the seat of Self, must learn to bow to the Spirit, where God dwells. Listen, my brother, my sister, to the voice of the blessed Spirit of God. It is confidence in the flesh that motivates men to busily and craftily work for God rather than seeking