Note: J. Preston Eby, in order to continue to devote his full energy to writing, no longer works in the office and does not receive email. He does, however, respond to any urgent correspondence via snailmail.
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"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE
SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA
“What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia…the mystery of the seven stars
which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks.
The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven
candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven
churches” (Rev. 1:11,20).
The church means the “called-out.”
Church is ekklesia in the Greek
which is a compound noun made up of ek,
meaning “out,” and klesia, meaning
“called.” When joined together
we have the literal meaning in English of “out-called.” The word occurs 115 times in the Greek text.
In the King James Bible it has been rendered 112 times by the word
“church” and three times by the word “assembly.”
The English word “church” came from the Greek expression kuriakon
doma meaning “house of the Lord.” By
a long trail over Teutonic Europe came the word kirk
and finally church.
Because of this many people think of the church as a building, but the
true building or house of the Lord is the living
organism of the body of people in whom Christ dwells!
And while the word church does indicate this body or house of the Lord,
it is still not quite true to the original which means simply and only
“out-called.” Any other idea or
significance than this has been added by man.
We go back to the New Testament for the beginnings of the church; and
when once we are there it is wonderful how simple it all is! Jesus Christ comes and preaches the gospel of the kingdom,
and manifests the life of God. He
stands with His shining nature upon the hill of the truth He has to preach.
He is lifted up, by and by, in the fullness of His sacrificial death upon
the cross. Then He rises from the
dead, ascends into the heavens of God’s Spirit, and pours out this Holy Spirit
upon His disciples. Toward His light, soul after soul is drawn out of the
darkness of ignorance, sin, and death. Into
the power of His resurrection one life after another is summoned out of the
death of trespasses and sins. It is
all personal and individual at first. “As
many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.”
It is this man and that man that is summoned.
“Follow me,” “Follow me,” says the Master, and Matthew leaves his
tax-table standing in the street; and the sons of Zebedee pull hastily in from
the blue waters of Galilee to give themselves to the Lord, who has called them
from the shore. To His most
intimate disciples He gives the command, “Go and tarry in Jerusalem until ye
be endued with power from on high.” It
is all personal and individual.
And what came next? Why, the
most natural thing in all the world — that which must always come when
individual men and women believe the same truth, receive the same experience, or
share the same vision and purpose. When
did a group of scholars ever sit at the same teacher’s feet and not become a
school? When did a host of separate
men go and volunteer to fight the same enemy and not be drawn into an army?
When were a multitude of atoms ever filled with one magnetism and not
brought into magnetic communion with one another?
All the individual believers in, and followers of, Christ become one in
their common life, love, and hope. And
so out of the crowd of disciples comes the corporate expression of the
call a synagogue and what we call a congregation means simply a gathering of
people together. That is the idea
behind a club, a conference, a meeting. But
the church means something different from this!
Its members are people who have been called away — who have left something behind — who have come out of
some place, condition, or state — who are separate and even peculiar.
That is the significance of the Greek term ekklesia. It is not an “assembly” as some say, although all the
individual members are indeed a group. But
it is not the “meeting” that makes them the church — it is the fact that
they have heard the Master’s call and have been drawn out of their former
understanding, walk, condition, and purpose.
They are the “out-called”! They
are individuals who are being instructed, prepared, and trained to receive their
orders to march forth as the army of the Lord!
Yet it is not the army that makes them the ekklesia, rather, it is the fact of their out-calling that makes
them the ekklesia!
Ray Prinzing has shared an instructive word: “We speak of this as being
‘the church age,’ and so it is, for this has been a time of CALLING OUT —
out from the world, out from the flesh, out from the religious, etc. that we
might be gathered unto Him. The
church is not a building anymore than the inner sanctuary of our lives is a
building. For of a truth the called out are a people! Furthermore,
it is a very progressive calling out — out — and out some more!
Out of darkness into light; out of error into truth; out of the earthly
into the heavenly; out of the bondage of the systems of man, into the freedom of
the walk of the Spirit; out of religion and into a blessed relationship with
Christ. And do take note, it is not just an OUT, it is also an INTO
— INTO CHRIST. It does not
necessarily imply a coming out from the fellowship with others, unless one has
substituted meetings instead of communion with Christ, and rely only upon
‘group therapy’ for solving their problems, rather then turning first and
foremost to God Himself. If
peoples, groups, fellowships usurp HIS place in your life, then He will say
again, ‘Come out of her, my people’ (Rev. 18:4), for He is a jealous God,
and desires that we be only His” —
The truth is that the church in any age consists of a people that is
CALLED OUT. They are called out by
God, called out of the world, called out of their human, earthly identity and
consciousness, called out unto God in the Spirit. Furthermore they are called out of every religious system on
earth including those systems that have the audacity to call themselves “the
church,” but who in reality are the inventions and programs of man.
The church is the called out ones, and they are called out by
God and they are called out unto God.
Their ears know His voice and not the clamoring voices of strangers.
Well they know by the Spirit that the Babel of voices which clamor to be
heard from the pulpit, from the radio, and from the VOB television network
(Voice of Babylon) are too often the voices of strangers who seek to draw away
disciples after themselves and their grandiose programs and promotions, and not
to bring men into living relationship with Christ in the Spirit.
So churches today appear to be quite
different from what Jesus had in mind when He said, “I will build my
church.” He wasn’t talking
about building a structure, organization, or meeting — He was speaking of
building men, building lives, of building up a people into
Christ to be the habitation of God by the Spirit! “I will build my church” speaks of bringing forth spiritual
maturity in the sons of God! The
body of Christ is “built up” by spiritual growth, not by adding more and
more babes to the family, wonderful as that is.
And Christ said, “I will do
will build my church!” Again He
said, “You have not chosen me, but I
have chosen you” (Jn. 15:16). Today
people choose a church of “their
choice.” When a large
evangelistic campaign comes to their city, the evangelist may be cooperating
with any number of other churches in an interdenominational sense, and members
of many denominations may be urged to attend with their congregations. At the conclusion of an impassioned appeal, the evangelist
may invite hungry hearts to come forward and “accept Christ.”
Thus people are led to believe it is up
to them to “choose Christ,” and not up to Him
to “choose them”!
And finally they are instructed to go out and attend the church of their
The following words by Ricky Evans are so true and vital for God’s
elect today. “We are called out,
separated. The calling out, the
separation, is from the ways of the world.
These separations are of an inner nature as God separates the soul from
the spirit in us (Heb. 4:12). We
may cease to go to certain places we were accustomed to going in the past and
doing certain things that we used to do, but the true separation, calling out,
is an inner change which brings forth His life in us. We may have come out of
Babylon, but God is working to get Babylon out of us!
“Church is not something you do. Church
is not something you initiate. It
is something which happens to you independently from you.
You are called out. You
can’t call yourself out! You must
be called out by God. Abraham
didn’t just decide one day to call himself out of Ur of the Chaldees. God, the God of glory, appeared to him and called him out.
God initiated the action! God
made the first step toward Abraham. God
exposed Himself to Abraham and the appearing of God is what called Abraham out
of Ur of the Chaldees. The
appearance of the God of glory was what called Abraham out of his family, out of
his own land.
“We must free ourselves from a ‘meeting mentality.’ We have boxed God in to ‘the meeting.’ Whether it be in a building, a home, or somewhere else we
must rid ourselves of this ‘meeting mentality.’
One only needs to watch as individuals gather and the appointed time
arrives, the change which comes over people, to realize the ‘meeting
mentality’ has set in. Suddenly
people assume an air of what they deem to be ‘spiritual.’
The preacher’s voice changes to his ‘official voice.’
People try to ‘get in the Spirit’ so there will be a good
‘meeting.’ This will continue
for an hour or two, depending on the group, and then the ‘meeting’ is over
and people can relax and be themselves again until the next appointed time.
The meeting becomes all-important. The
meeting becomes the hub around which we build our lives.
“We have been separated from the world and separated unto HIM.
Anything and everything which keeps us from the Father will find itself
coming under the pruning knife of our great vinedresser.
Sad to say, much that has been called church has been responsible for
keeping people from an intimate relationship with the Father.
The upheaval within what is called church is nothing more than the
pruning knife of the Father as He cuts away that which does not bring us to
Himself. As men build their
kingdoms to revolve around themselves,
God is drawing all men unto Himself.
As men try to fill our lives with their programs and activities, our
Father longs to fill us with Himself. Is
it not the very desire of our Father that we all know
Him? (Heb. 8:11). Are not our gatherings meant to bring forth a greater
reality of our Father’s presence with us? (Mat. 18:20).
Yet we find pastors preparing all week for one or two ‘meetings.’ They prepare their ‘message.’
They plan how they can orchestrate that time called ‘church’ so as to
create a utopia which will attract more people to their building.
When meetings don’t seem to do the job, they create programs and
activities, something that will draw the people and keep them active.
Fill their lives with busyness so they won’t realize or feel the void
“Preachers prepare ‘messages,’ traveling from meeting to meeting
trying to excite the crowds, getting the people emotionally
stirred so they will come back to the next meeting with their friends.
People live from meeting to meeting.
They run to get their fix! Another shot in
the arm of Jesus, hoping that will keep them till the next meeting, hoping it
will ease the pain of life until the next fix.
When Sunday and Wednesday are not enough, they look for another
meeting. Perhaps Tuesday or Friday,
or both. All the above is simply
“We would not negate the fact that there are those pastors and
traveling ministries who spend time before the Lord and have a word for the body
of Christ! These do not spend their
time trying to create ‘messages,’ these are those who have been with the
Father and the Father has spoken a word into their lives.
The word has become a part of their lives and not just a ‘message.’
They have a responsibility to feed the sheep and may spend hours studying
and praying, but they are not looking for a message.
They are hearing from the Father and their time is spent searching and
seeking a better understanding of that which the Father is saying.
Their time is spent allowing the Father to work the truth He is speaking
into their heart, into the very fibers or their lives.
“By no means would we demean our gatherings or their importance.
But friend, there has to be a change from the present system of things!
We find ourselves standing in the midst of an over-lapping period as we
change from Shiloh (form) to Zion (life). Those
who want life will come out from the lifeless forms of Shiloh and climb the
heights of Zion! The life of the
Father is pulsating in our lives! The
Christ is manifesting Himself in our midst!
It’s not the meeting we long for, it is the Father who is now
manifesting Himself in our midst. Oh,
we must see the voice in the midst! We
must see the Christ declaring the Father in our midst!
It is not ‘meetings’ that change lives, it is the ‘one in the
midst’ who changes lives! When we
read in the book of Acts how the early believers gathered daily from house to
house or in the temple, it was not because they were preached at to ‘be
faithful to come to the meeting and God will bless you.
If you’re not faithful God will get you.’
They had come into contact with the Christ!
They weren’t told they had to gather together — they wanted to!
Christ was becoming more and more real in their midst.
The life within was growing. The
kingdom of God was flooding and overflowing their very being.
There was no need for threats to persuade them to gather together.
Christ was their reason! Are
you not beginning to hear a song echoing from deep within your being?
Does it sound like an old familiar song that you can’t seem to
remember? Is this not the song
which the morning stars sang together and caused the sons of God to shout for
joy? (Job 38:7). Friend, this is
none other than the Son declaring the name of the Father in the midst of His
brethren! The Son is singing
praises to the Father in the midst of your being!
The Son is walking through our midst singing praise to the Father!”
— end quote.
When God speaks of the church, He means the called-out ones wherever they
may be found or for whatever reason they may have been called out.
Oh, how we pervert this word in our everyday conversation!
We talk to people about “going to church.”
What “church” do you belong to?
Why don’t you come to our “church”?
Or, if the meeting is going exceptionally well, with blessings all
around, we say, “Now we’re really having
church!” We use phrases like,
“That is a Baptist church, that is a Pentecostal church.”
We have changed the true meaning of the word church from a calling
out to mean a building, an organization, or a meeting.
Thus in our minds the meaning is lost, the reality covered up.
An article which came across my desk, and bears the name of no author,
has beautifully articulated this great truth in these words: “There are groups
of God’s people everywhere, each in different stages of growth and experience.
Some people are called out of the world but do not believe in any further
experience or revelation. Others
are called out from those who have embraced salvation to a further experience of
sanctification. From the sanctified
people are called out a Spirit-baptized people.
From the baptized people are called out a gifted people. From the gifted people are called out a fruitful people.
And finally there is a calling out of those who have reached the maturity
of sonship. The particular body of
people with whom you identify undoubtedly was called forth at one time from some
other group of God’s people! Around
your present revelation of truth, therefore, you are the called-out assembly.
There is therefore a church within a church; a wheel within a wheel.
“In Gideon’s army there was a special chosen company of three
hundred; an army within an army. In
David and his four hundred men there was an Israel within Israel who finally
took the kingdom. Israel was called
‘the church in the wilderness’ (Acts 7:38).
They were God’s called-out ones. They
were called out of the bondage of Egypt. Many
stages of consecration may be witnessed even amongst natural Israel.
There was a company called ‘the mixed multitude’ that went up out of
Egypt with Israel and then there was Israel in general who were called to a
greater measure of consecration as the people of the Lord.
Then from amongst them there was a tribe of the priesthood called to a
still closer walk with the Lord in a still greater measure of consecration. Of all that came out of Egypt by Moses, Joshua and Caleb
alone, with the younger generation, were called to a still newer experience of
entering the promised land. All
these companies were called-out ones, but some were called to go where others
refused to go. The New Testament
church called forth by the apostles was called forth from what remained of the
church in the wilderness (Israel) with the addition of the Gentiles who were
called out through the ministry of the apostle Paul.
This proves that one church or called-out people can come forth from
another church or called-out people.
“From the formal and sectarian ranks and the confusion of Babylon a
church is now coming forth: a church of spiritually endued saints, called out to
attain the maturity of sonship. God
is now raising up the builders to build this new body who will be a habitation
of God through the Spirit, and they in turn will perfect all the others who are
called out, and raise their experience from the glory where they now reside unto
the glories that are above them. This
will continue until all believers have been raised to perfection, until the
entire church will be a glorious church without spot or wrinkle or any such
thing. God recognizes all believers
as being His children, but He does not recognize them all as being of one
stature. He sees some as babes,
some children, some young men, and some fathers”
— end quote. Let us always
remember that regardless of which company of called out ones we pertain to, ALL
of the Lord’s people, on whatever level of growth and experience they have
attained to, are on some plane God’s called-out or His church!
churches in the book of Revelation are seven realms to overcome, seven
opportunities to be victorious. What
is the church? You are the church.
I am the church. We are all the church. So
we are the seven churches!
You are the seven churches! I
am the seven churches! We are all
the seven churches! Just
as the seven spirits are but one spirit in fullness, so the seven churches are
but one church in its completeness. All
the characteristics of the seven churches may be found in each of us
individually as well as in every local body and also in the whole universal
church collectively. In each of our
experience there is the capacity to partake of everything that the seven
churches represent. I, you, all of
us may be tested in each area of its negatives or excel in each aspect of its
positives. The seven churches are seven realities and seven
potentialities within ourselves. The
seven churches are within you, my beloved, or else we are of all men most
miserable, for none of us is the whole church nor are all of us those seven
churches that existed in Asia in that long ago. If the whole reality is not within each one of us, then the
promises to the overcomers are not fully available to us. We would each be able to attain to only one — the one pertaining to the church we identify with!
If the seven churches represent seven church
ages, as many teach, then we have a problem! You would be able to appropriate only the promises to the
overcomer that belong to the church age you live in. Furthermore, if we are now in the Laodicean church age, as
many assert, the only promise we can claim is that of throneship.
To the church of Laodicea the Lord says, “To him that overcometh will I
grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with
my Father in His throne” (Rev. 3:21). That
is a beautiful promise and a wonderful calling!
But if this is the Laodicean church age, we would be denied the promise
of eating of the tree of life, given to the church in Ephesus; we would be
refused the promise of not being hurt of the second death, given to the church
in Smyrna; we would be prevented from eating of the hidden manna, and receiving
a white stone and a new name, as promised the overcomers in the church at
Pergamos; we could by no means be given power over the nations to rule them with
a rod of iron, for that promise was made only to the overcomers in the church in
Thyratira; we would be prohibited from partaking of the promises to the
overcomers in Sardis of being clothed in white raiment, and that our name will
not be blotted out of the book of life; nor could we in any way become a pillar
in the temple of God, or have written upon us the name (nature) of our God, or
the name of the city of our God, or the new name of God’s Christ — for those
promises could only be experienced by those overcomers out of the Philadelphia
So, when we see by the spirit of wisdom and revelation that all the
saints of the entire church age are the
seven churches, that you and I today are the seven churches, that the seven
churches are within each of us, and that God has given this revelation in a
mystery that the carnal mind cannot comprehend, then we are filled with the
secret wisdom that comes only to the mature
in Christ. My hope in Christ is
that I may lay hold upon all the
overcoming promises of my Lord and find that abundant entrance into the
everlasting kingdom of Jesus Christ the Son of God!
I open wide my heart to receive of all the rebukes, admonitions,
chastenings, encouragements, commendations, and promises to all the seven
churches! They are one and all
mine, and they are yours! I am, as
you are, and as we all are, the seven golden candlesticks.
As soon as I turn and behold that great truth, as soon as I know who
I am, know my identity, know my birth, know who my Father is, know the
kingdom to which I pertain, and know my calling; as soon as I turn and behold
the seven golden candlesticks and see them lighted within my own soul and in my
spirit; then do I begin to understand in the mind of Christ what is the height
and the depth and the length and the breadth of the reality of Christ
in me the hope of glory!
The word church, as I have pointed out, is from the Greek ekklesia, meaning the “called-out.” There is a meaning connected with that word which denotes
that these called out ones are in progress, from one position to another.
They are involved in movement. Ekklesia
is not a static position! The
called out are called out from
something and unto something.
Many people believe they have been called out from the world, from the
values of the world, from the ways of the world, from the spirit of the world,
from its philosophies and concepts, and from the flesh, from sin, from death;
but they have no concept at all of what they are called unto.
They have the idea that the church itself is what they are called unto!
But the church is merely the vehicle of the calling — not the calling
itself. The church, the calling
out, denotes movement. What you
were called out from is not the church, nor is that which you are called unto
the church. The church occupies the
territory between these two things!
It is like a man who boards a train in New York City going to Los
Angeles. The train is the vehicle
of his movement and travel, to carry him from his point of origin to his
destination. The train is a
wonderful experience, but it is not his destination.
He has no plan to live permanently on the train.
By the train he is able to move from
New York City to Los Angeles.
In like manner the church is the instrument of God by which He carries
the called out from the Babylon of
this world unto the fullness of the
kingdom of God! It denotes
movement. We are called out to move
from one point to another, ever ascending from glory to glory and from realm to
realm in our experience of Christ. Sonship
and the kingdom are via the church.
But the church is neither sonship nor the kingdom!
Those who overcome within the church realm will inherit the kingdom, and
those who overcome within the church realm will attain to sonship.
Hear it! “He that overcometh
shall inherit all things; and I will
be his God, and he shall be my son”
(Rev. 21:7). The church is not our
All over the world today there is a curious people being called and drawn
to a union in the high places of the Spirit where their very nature and
existence are being changed. What
is emerging in this hour is the birth of a manchild, a life out of a life, a
people out of a people, a company out of a company, a son out of the bride, to
produce the full image of Christ Jesus in the earth again.
The fully manifest presence of His glory and power, of His life and light
and love, will mark the beginning of a transfer of the powers of this dying age
into the hands of a people that has apprehended the prize of the high
calling of God in Christ Jesus. The
whole purpose of redemption is to save, deliver, quicken, restore, and transform
mankind according to the life and truth that are in Christ Jesus.
This involves the calling out and raising up of a body of sons in His
image, filled with His wisdom, knowledge, love, grace, and power to be the
instrument through which Christ will appear on the earth again in the fullness
of Himself to liberate all men and all nations from the tyranny of sin,
ignorance, poverty, limitation, sickness, pain, sorrow, and death.
On the immediate horizon is this very emerging presence of Christ
manifest through a many-membered body called
out from every form of background of religion, nationality, and ethnicity!
“I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail
against it” (Mat. 16:18). I WILL
BUILD MY CHURCH. What wonderful
words are those of Jesus the Christ! And
He is still building that church. There
is no man or group of men who may of themselves build this church.
It is not their church, it is His church, the body of Christ, and He will build it! It is a church which is dependent
upon no ministers upon earth, however much it values those who proclaim the
word of God to its members. The
life of its members does not hang upon man-made church membership, nor upon Old
Testament style outward forms of rituals, ceremonies, types, and shadows such as
water baptism and communion, nor any other natural, outward, external
observance. Truly it was the Old
Covenant which “stood in meats and drinks, and divers washings (baptisms),
and carnal (outward, fleshly, natural) ordinances, imposed on them until
the time of reformation (change)” (Heb. 9:10).
has only one Head, one great Shepherd, one chief Apostle and Bishop — and that
is Jesus Christ. He alone, by His
Spirit, admits the members of this church.
Till He opens the door no man on earth can open it — neither bishops,
nor presbyters, nor evangelists, nor pastors, nor boards, nor convocations, nor
synods. Let a man be called,
touched, awakened, and quickened by the Spirit of the Lord, and in that
heaven-blessed moment he becomes a member of this church.
There is no church membership
in heaven or in earth apart from this. God
Himself must call you out and God Himself must set you in. Only God can do this! “And
the Lord added to the church daily
such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47). Any other form of church membership is a bare-faced sham, an
invention of man, a carnal-minded mockery of that which is true.
The moment you are born of God’s Spirit you are a member of the church
of the firstborn, whose names are
written in heaven (Heb. 12:23).
Every effort on the part of man to have you join yourself with one of the
man-made organizations falsely called
“the church” is an effort to lead you astray from your union with Christ the
Head and that divine work which the Holy Spirit accomplished when He placed you
by His power into His body, which is the true church. The misguided and false shepherds would seduce you to commit
fornication with that bawdy mother of harlots and her prostitute daughters of
many denominational names. How
cunningly and seductively do these preachers perform the work of Satan by
telling their converts to “join the church of your choice!”
God’s thought is not the church systems of man; it is not churches as
organized denominational systems; it is not propagation of denominational
teaching and enterprise. God’s
thought is to have a people in the earth in whom, and in the midst of whom,
Christ is all, and in all. That is
the church! In the thought of God
the church begins and ends with this — the life of Christ formed and
reproduced in a people! He passes
by the great institutions, the so-called “church” and He is with those who
in themselves are of an humble and contrite spirit and who tremble at His word.
God’s thought for us is that One, even Jesus Christ, who is the
fullness of God in bodily form, should be
that mankind is building is visible. The
church that the Christ is building is invisible, but it is the powerful and
all-inclusive one! The church that
men build is earthly and seeks physical, material blessings; but the church that
the Christ births out of His life dwells in heavenly places and is blessed with
all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus! Lively
stones, living stones, stones of another world, are being daily added to this
church and it is growing and becoming more powerful in the Spirit with each
passing day. The church is the
miracle of Christ’s resurrection life appearing again in a people upon the
earth! At just the right time, at
God’s appointed time, this living church will be made known to all men
everywhere, and begin to openly work to bring the whole of creation into the
fullness of God. Hallelujah!
There is a wonderful story in the Old Testament which illustrates a
beautiful spiritual truth concerning the church.
It is the story of Jacob and Rachel and Leah found in chapter twenty-nine
of the book of Genesis.
The story relates how Laban had two daughters; the name of the elder was
Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
Leah’s eyes were weak and dull looking, but Rachel was beautiful and
attractive. Jacob fell in love with
Rachel, so he said to Laban, “I will work for you for seven years if you will
give me Rachel your youngest daughter for my wife.” Laban responded, “It is better for me to give her to you
than to another man. Stay and live
with me.” So Jacob served seven
years for Rachel; and they seemed to him but a few days, because of the love he
had for her. Finally, Jacob said to
Laban, “Give me my wife, for my time is completed, so that I may take her to
Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast with
much to eat and drink. But when
night came he took Leah his daughter and brought her in the darkness to Jacob.
Jacob took her into his place and had intercourse with her.
When the morning sun arose Jacob saw his wife, and alas, it was Leah!
Jacob promptly found Laban and confronted him, “What is this you have
done to me? Did I not work for you
all those seven years for Rachel? Why
then have you deceived and cheated and thrown me down like this?”
And Laban said, “It is not permitted in our country to give the younger
daughter in marriage before the eldest. Finish
the wedding feast week with Leah, then we will give you Rachel also, and you
shall work for me yet seven years more in return.”
So Jacob complied and spent the wedding feast week with Leah; then Laban
gave him Rachel his daughter as his wife.
Jacob had been promised Rachel, but after the wedding, when he woke up in
the morning, he discovered he was with the wrong woman! How could a man marry a woman, take her into his tent, spend
the night with her in his bed, make love to her, and not know he had the wrong
woman? I never knew the deep
significance of that event in the life of Jacob until God shined the blazing,
penetrating light of His revelation upon my life. I woke up one day in my spiritual experience and realized
that I was not joined to Rachel. Don’t
you know that that is what has happened to us all?
Did not most of you who read these lines wake up one morning in your walk
with God and realize you didn’t have the woman you thought you married when
you received Christ? You joined
yourself to the church, thinking you were coming into union with the beautiful,
desirable, pure bride of Christ, but the woman you entered into intimacy with
was not the woman you thought you had! I
admire Jacob for the courage he had to accept what had befallen him and because
of his great love for the woman he desired he first confronted the issue, and
then he abode with Laban for another seven years.
He would not be denied!
Leah represents the church systems of man.
It is easy to settle for tradition, but you need courage to hold out for
what you want in God. I wonder how
many of us would have worked another seven years for Rachel!
It would be very easy to settle for less than God has called us to.
How very easy it would be to settle for the feast of Pentecost rather
than paying the price required to press on into the feast of Tabernacles.
It requires no effort at all to settle for the immaturity of the church
realm instead of laying hold upon sonship to God.
It takes courage, patience, and faith to go beyond the weak-eyed (lack of
spiritual vision) Leah, to leave the in-part realm of the church world behind
and blaze the trail into God’s highest and best — the beautiful hope of
fullness and maturity in God!
So much depends upon our vantage point.
Let all men know that though we desire Rachel and are willing to work
another seven years for her, the fact remains that Leah is of God. Leah is
the mother of Israel. The church
realm, the church system as we know it, is of God, regardless of how weak-eyed
it is, how grotesque it is, how organized it is, how apostate it is, how dead it
is, how fleshly and carnal it is, or how alive it is — the measure of life
that is in it is of God! Most of us
have had some degree of contentment with the church system at some time in our
life. There was a night when we
received Leah to ourselves, not knowing any better because of the great
spiritual darkness that enveloped us. There
was a night when we slept with Leah in our tent and enjoyed her pleasures, we
delighted in her programs, her rituals, her ceremonies, her methods, her
promotions, her doctrines, her ways, for we wist not who she was!
I remember well my early days in the church system, I thought I had found
the highest purpose of God in the universe.
I presumed that I had found the ultimate reality of God attainable in
this life. Now I have woke up under
the dawning rays of the new day of the glory of Christ and realize that what I
was first joined to was not what I hungered and thirsted after!
It was not what I wanted. From
the very beginning there was a sense in my deepest heart that somehow there had
to be more, there must be something
greater, fuller in God. I
discovered that I was attached to the wrong principles, the wrong expression,
the wrong spirit, the wrong doctrine, the wrong objectives, the wrong name, the
wrong hope, the wrong activities and program.
Oh, yes! In the shimmering
light of day I was able to clearly see that what I had did not measure up nor
did it satisfy. It left a great and
profound void in my life. It was
the weak-eyed Leah, but by the spirit and revelation of God we have caught a
glimpse of Rachel and been ravished in our hearts!
We have no desire to harm Leah, no desire at all to hurt her, denounce
her, ridicule her, destroy her, or even to put her away — we just cannot settle
for her! We are willing
to work another seven years, we are willing to pay
the required price to gain Rachel! We
have set our faces to go after what we want!
And Leah probably has a problem with it, but we
want Rachel. We don’t want
Leah. We are sick of Leah.
We are tired of Leah’s weak-eyed religion with no vision of God’s
great plan and purpose. We are weary of Leah churches.
We are burned out with Leah people.
We are worn out from Leah’s carnal programs and dead works.
Leah in Hebrew means dull. Oh yes, she’s dull!
That’s what the old order (elder daughter) church systems are —
they’re dull, slow-witted, dense, undiscerning, humdrum, lifeless, spiritless,
tasteless, monotonous. They hold
nothing for us anymore!
Rachel was initially barren, but Leah was fruitful.
You will find that carnal, traditional religion multiplies disciples
rapidly. People flock to these
carnal, man-centered appeals that promise naught but blessings upon the flesh.
People love to be entertained, and the popular churches are expert entertainers!
Therefore Leah bears many children, while the beloved Rachel appears
Do you know what Rachel did? She
kept her father’s flock (Gen. 29:9). She
did a man’s job. Rachel was a
shepherdess. Rachel kept her
father’s flock, she brought them out for watering, and Jacob couldn’t
believe she was doing a man’s job. His
response was, “This is my woman!” Rachel
typifies the realm of the overcomer, the realm that, though it appears as a
woman, the church, is in reality fulfilling the role of a man, the sons of God.
I want Rachel! I’m willing to wait for Rachel.
I’m willing to work, to expend all my time, all my energies, all my
hopes and dreams, to get Rachel. She
will be mine. I will be joined to
that beautiful realm of God’s glory and beauty and power. And though she bore far less sons than Leah, she became the
mother of Joseph, the bearer of the
birthright, who more than any son of Jacob serves as the type of Christ and
His body, the sons of God. As
Joseph ascended the throne of Egypt, and fed the nations in the years of
drought, so shall the sons of God be given power over the nations and shall
shepherd and feed them under the rule of the kingdom of God. Sonship is the hope of all creation. It is the hope dearest to the heart of God.
Therefore I admonish you this day — HOLD OUT FOR RACHEL, HOLD OUT FOR
THE PROMISE, HOLD OUT FOR THE BIRTHRIGHT!
Hold out, my brother, my sister, for the truth and reality and not just a
blessing. Hold out for life and
immortality, not just a healing or a miracle.
Hold out for the fullness of God, not just a touch of God.
You don’t need the traditions and programs of religion, you need Christ
manifested in your body, soul, and spirit. I’d rather be dead than reproduce
the nonsense of religion. I’d
rather be buried than dwell in Babylon again.
It’s easy to marry tradition and reproduce!
People love to say they are disciples.
People love to say that they follow Jesus.
And they do follow Him — just as the Galilean multitudes followed Him
in that long ago for the loaves and the
fishes. Men still flock to the
loaves and the fishes. And men
still walk away, flee, and forsake the Lord when He teaches the deep things of
God, when He points out the narrow road that leads to the life of the kingdom,
and when it leads to the cross.
It is easy
to marry tradition and be joined to the blessings.
I traveled and ministered for years among people who wanted me to be
joined to them in that religious state where I just tickled them, entertained
them, baptized them, prayed for them, blessed them, healed them, and taught them
a whole lot about the devil, the antichrist, the tribulation, the end of the
world. Today I have left all of
that behind. The one consuming
passion of my life is to grow up in Christ as a son of God. My desire today is to overcome all things, to be filled with
the mind of God, to lay hold upon the glory of God, to be perfected in the
nature of God, to be swallowed up by the life of God, and to apprehend the power
of God. I want to see all creation
delivered from the bondage of corruption — I’m not the least bit interested
in the limited, tired, time-worn, dead-end methods of the past.
I want Rachel! I must have Rachel! I
will pay any price for Rachel! I will
I write these things to those who are the called
out for this great day of the Lord. Truly
we have been called out by God to be about our Father’s business, to fulfill
His redemptive, restorative, and governmental purposes in the earth.
We are a people with a purpose! As
we walk in the Spirit we are receiving power and authority in the earth to
accomplish the will of God among men!
This is the work of the Holy Spirit!
Just because we assemble together at a place called “church” on
Sunday does not mean we are the Lord’s ekklesia or that we do what God calls us to do at such a gathering.
There is nothing sacred about “going to church” if the Spirit of God
has not called us together! When a
believer hears the true “calling out” it is the Holy Spirit calling him out
to Himself, revealing His will, and empowering him to accomplish His plan.
It has nothing whatever to do with going to a “church” building where
we do all sorts of things which may or may not have anything to do with the work
of God! Oh, how we have been
cheated by Leah! Let us press on,
dear ones, until we get Rachel!
To be continued… J. PRESTON EBY
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