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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THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
THE CHURCH IN
“Thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those
days wherein Antipas was my faithful
martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth” (Rev. 2:13).
In this Study we come to Antipas, the Lord’s faithful martyr.
Is Antipas a symbol, or was Antipas an actual individual in the church in
Pergamos? There is no historical
evidence for a person named Antipas who was martyred in Pergamos.
So let’s analyze the word. Antipas
is a compound word made up of the prefix “anti” meaning “opposed to” or
“instead of,” and in this sense is similar to the word “anti-Christ,”
denoting that which is opposed to, or takes the place of, Christ.
Now the name becomes very strange! The
second half of the name is “pas” which most scholars agree is a Greek
abbreviation for “pater” which means “father.”
So — just as “anti-christ” signifies that which is against or
instead of Christ, so “anti-pas” bespeaks of that which is opposed to, or
takes the place of, Father! It is a
description of something that takes place in the lives of God’s chosen elect!
It is my conviction that we find here a double meaning — a meaning
within a meaning.
The question follows — if Antipas is one who stands in opposition to,
or usurps the place of, THE FATHER, how could he then be called “My faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.”
This is indeed a mystery! Yet
— is it not true that before any man can become a martyr of the Lord, all that
is opposed to the Father, and all that
usurps the place of the Father, must
be slain in him? Antipas was martyred where
Satan’s throne is! He is,
typically, slain in the realm of religion — right where practically all
of the Lord’s martyrs have been slain! You
see, my beloved, Antipas is a type of the sons of God.
What is contrary in most believers is the carnal mind and the religious
spirit that usurps the place of CHRIST. That
is the spirit of anti-Christ! But
what is contrary in this Antipas class of people is not merely contrary to
Christ, but stands in opposition to, and usurps the place of, THE FATHER.
It is anti-Father! This should help us to see that this identifies them as sons.
What is slain in the sons of God is all that hinders their sonship to
God, separating between them and the Father.
The great purpose of Christ in our lives is to bring us to the Father! “No
man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Anything
that frustrates our pure relationship with the Father must be purged out of
everyone called to sonship! All
that interrupts our fellowship with the Father, all that prevents the knowledge
of the Father, all that diminishes the glory of the Father, all that hinders our
walk with the Father, all that thwarts our doing the will of the Father,
all that short-circuits our obedience to the Father, all that prevents us
from hearing the voice of the Father — all this must go
to the cross!
The name Antipas identifies, not those becoming Christians, but those
becoming mature sons! First, all
that is contrary to the way of the Father must be slain
in us, before we are able to
present ourselves as a spiritual martyr for the kingdom of God.
Those in whom everything that is antagonistic to the mind, nature,
purpose, and will of the Father has been brought to HIS CROSS, are then able to
take up THEIR CROSS and follow Him! Can
you not see the mystery? The divine
implication is that Antipas is the symbol for THE WORK OF THE CROSS IN THE LIVES
OF GOD’S SONS!
Antipas is characterized as “my faithful martyr.”
I used to think that the physical martyrs who laid down their human lives
were certainly greater in the kingdom and more qualified to reign with Christ
than I could ever be. I did not
understand in those days that scripturally and spiritually a martyr is one who
is faithful in life, as much as in death — he may never be killed and still be
a martyr! Most Christians
mistakenly hold to the notion that all saved people will, by the grace of God,
rule and reign with Christ in His kingdom.
One great cause of this error among almost all classes of believers is
the failure to understand the words of the Spirit in Revelation 20:4.
“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto
them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded
for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped
the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their
foreheads, or in their hands; and they
lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”
Many try to make this include all saints!
Others think it means just all martyrs!
Unfortunately, the Greek word here rendered “beheaded” in our King
James Bible, is not fully understood. It
appears nowhere else in scripture, except this one passage.
But one fact stands out clearly. It
cannot allude only to those who died
as martyrs, for the scriptures are clear that some who die natural deaths will
reign with Christ upon His throne! Furthermore,
there were multitudes of believers who were violently tortured and abused in the
early days of the church, as well as throughout church history.
In the first three centuries alone, three million martyrs gave their
lives for Christ! They were sewn
into sacks with vipers. They were
plunged into boiling oil. They were
covered with pitch and placed on sticks and lighted to illuminate the gardens of
Nero for His debaucheries. They were turned out to the lions and devoured.
They were crucified upside down. They
were placed on red hot beds of iron. Read
the history of the church!
Are all these to be excluded from this company that comes to life and
reigns with Christ in His kingdom just because they were not “beheaded”?
Only a few have been beheaded! Is this few
the only ones that are granted to reign with Christ? Do you see the mystery?
Ah, those who reign with Christ upon His throne are the sons
of God! It is the manchild
who is caught up unto God and to His throne (Rev. 12:5). In our Lord’s messages to the seven churches, He says that
the overcomers are granted to sit with
Him on His throne (Rev. 3:21). Are
the overcomers only those who are literally and physically “beheaded” for
the testimony of Jesus, and the word of God?
Only one of the first apostles
is believed to have been beheaded! The
others, with the exception of John, all died violent deaths of martyrdom, but
were not beheaded. Must all of us
put our heads on a literal chopping block to be beheaded in order to rule and
reign with Christ? No, a thousand
times no! The very suggestion is
absurd. That is not the testimony
of scripture. Like everything else
in the book of Revelation, the “beheading” is a symbol!
Antipas is a symbol! His martyrdom
is a symbol!
In the book of Revelation a martyr is not necessarily a physical martyr
any more than a beast is a literal beast, a dragon is a literal dragon, a horn
is a literal horn, or the Lamb is a four-footed barnyard animal.
The interpretation of this verse is clearly a spiritual one!
That is the mystery. And
when the blessed spirit of wisdom and revelation from God opens our eyes to
comprehend the great truth of our spiritual beheading, we will have found the
key to the very life of Christ. It
refers to those who live as martyrs! A
martyr’s grave was very often but a release from persecution, an easy way out.
Martyrdom in the spiritual sense does not necessarily mean an untimely
death. The way into glory is
through death: death to self, death to the flesh, death to the world, death to
the carnal mind, death to the Adamic consciousness, death to the ego, death to
our own way and will, death to the religious spirit — living
the crucified life! It is
the death process within us that removes from us all that is not of God.
Isn’t it wonderful!
This beautiful truth has often been missed because we have not understood
that the New Testament word “witness” is
from the Greek martus which is
translated “martyr” in Revelation 2:13 and 17:6.
When we think of “witnesses” we do not think of people who are being
killed! But neither can we think of
them according to the old religious idea of someone who goes door to door
passing out tracts or one who makes it a point to speak about the Lord to
everyone he meets. Such are often
guided more by religious zeal than by the leading and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.
Scripturally and spiritually a witness is one who gives his life for the
testimony he bears! And I dare say it requires an enduement of the Holy Spirit to
enable us to so lay down our life for the message we declare that WE BECOME THE
MESSAGE, OUR WHOLE LIFE SWALLOWED UP IN THE MANIFESTATION OF THAT MESSAGE.
A state of being that proclaims the truth regardless of whether we speak
it or explain it or not. To witness
to the truth is to give your life to that truth, to become
The sons of God are becoming kings, priests, and judges by the authority
of the Spirit of the Lord and by being beheaded, or losing their heads.
The King James Bible says beheaded, those who have their heads cut off.
In some of the newer translations, one says they were executed for their
testimony, another says they were cut with the ax.
As I looked to the Lord about this I was reminded of the words of Jesus
when He told His chosen disciples, “Whosoever shall lose His life for my
sake…shall save it.” The head
of every man, to begin with, is the old self, the ego, the carnal mind, the
Adamic consciousness, the flesh. When
I went to school we were taught that self preservation is the first law of
nature. And how we do try to take
care of this natural, flesh man! We
live for him, for his needs, his desires, his perceptions, his wants, his
demands. These are the things the
carnal mind is most concerned about, what self wants, what the flesh desires.
As we progress in God to become sons of God, this old head must be
chopped off, and a new head take his place!
This old self must be put to death, with his wills and desires, and Jesus
have complete Lordship over our beings. Merely
believing on Him does not produce this, and just claiming by faith the
“finished work” does not bring an end to the Adamic mind.
How very simple it would be if that worked!
Paul would never have needed to say, “Mortify
(put to death) therefore your members which are upon earth,” if the finished
work did it all. It requires
complete and absolute surrender to the Christ within, the “putting off” of
the old man and the “putting on” of the new!
Christ Himself must become the new head.
This is what it means to be beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and the
word of God. Christ can only
testify out of our life as the living word of God when His Headship is
established in our life!
Through the intense preparations of the Spirit, we are being delivered
from the carnal nature and mind, delivered from the rule of self, and are
receiving the mind of Christ! Truly,
we are being “beheaded” for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God! This means we are “losing our head,” delivered of the
carnal mind, released from the headship of the natural man, and are now under
the true headship of Christ. All
who are truly called to sonship have abandoned the wisdom and judgment of our
own mind, our earthly and mortal perceptions, our opinion, our own will, and
that of any fleshly or religious thing that has influenced, motivated, or
controlled us, and we are now receiving His mind, His truth, His Headship, to do
only His perfect will. We have
indeed been beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God!
Isn’t it wonderful!
We no longer worship the beast of man’s carnality and ego, or the pomp
and pride of the fleshly religious realm, nor do we have that “mark” on our
foreheads. We have been beheaded
— decapitated! We have given up
our head, lost our life, surrendered our selfhood, our carnal mind, to receive
the mind of Christ. By His mind we
shall do the will of the Father just as Jesus did.
The words Jesus spoke and the works Jesus wrought were never His own.
The Anti-pas within Him, anything that was opposed the Father, was slain
within Himself. He became Himself
the faithful and true witness — the faithful and true martyr!
And so it is with the sons of God! We
are learning to speak only when He speaks and act only when He acts.
If He is healing, then we step into the stream, and we heal.
If He is not healing, we keep our hands and our prayers to ourself.
If He is teaching, we teach. If
He is not teaching, we hold our peace. If
He is doing wonders, we do wonders. If
He is resting, we rest. If He is
doing nothing, we are content to do absolutely nothing, just as Jesus did in
Nazareth for thirty years! We are
being spiritually beheaded in order to be joined to Christ, and to rule and
reign with Him. We are surrendering
ourselves to Christ so that He controls our lives in the absolute sense of the
word. Isn’t it wonderful!
A few years ago Lisa Herron shared a remarkable dream with us which is
beautifully confirmatory to this present truth. I don’t think it needs any interpretation for all who see
and hear by the Spirit will grasp its wonderful message. Lisa wrote: “When I was a teenager, and still
attending the local Assembly of God (although God was dealing deeply with me
even at that time), I had a dream so real that I awoke confused. I knew it was from
God, but at that young time in my life and in my walk with the Lord, I didn’t
fully understand it. Here’s how
were in the ‘sanctuary’ of the church, having a Sunday night service.
One of the elders in the church (a man I thought much of, and looked up
to in my youth) was walking up and down the center isle, holding a long,
gleaming sword in his hand, and he was weeping.
He kept walking up and down, saying, ‘Who will be willing to lose his
head for the Lord?’ I looked
around, and no one seemed to be moving. I
felt overwhelmingly in my heart that I knew that I had to do this thing, so I
went to the center isle, hung my head over the end of the pew, and he beheaded
me. In an instant I was upon my
feet (never felt any pain) and I was looking around at the people. It felt as though my head was totally full of light — like my head was transparent, and there was only
light there. I was so full of joy
and began to implore the people, ‘Please do it.
It doesn’t hurt at all, and you’ll see things as you never did
before. It’s wonderful!
Don’t be afraid!’ But no one followed”
— end quote.
As we follow on to know the Father in sonship, the Lord is taking greater
control of our lives. He who shall
rule and reign over the earth and all the universe, must first rule and reign in
the lives of His elect. Christ is
indeed reigning in our lives, for we are aware that we are no longer in control
of our lives! Another One, Christ,
the inner son, now controls our lives according to His eternal purpose, and it
is the Lord! You will know that
Christ reigns in your life when you truly realize that you no longer control
your own life. Your destiny and
mine are fixed in God!
Christ is now reigning in us in greater and greater measures as we grow
up into the Headship of Christ.
Unless you be deceived by those who have been deceived after seeing this
truth and have received error and all sorts of false ideas about how the sons of
God will come forth, let me make it very clear to you that God has one means by
which He is going to bring forth the manifest sons of God. That is by the working
of the cross! The divine
message of the cross is God saying that Jesus is our true example in all things.
Just as He was crucified and died on a cross, coming forth as the
resurrected Son of God, so we must be crucified in order to be manifest sons of
God. Jesus died upon the cross to
save us from sin and death and hell, but until we take
up OUR CROSS and follow Him we cannot ascend His throne to reign with Him.
He did not die for us to give us His throne, He died for us to save
us. The so-called “finished work” does not secure a place
upon His throne for us! Not only is
He our Saviour; He is also our example,
that we should follow in His steps (I
Pet. 2:21). As He died, so we must
die. As He was crucified on the
cross, so our flesh-nature must be crucified.
We must come to complete death-to-self.
Our human consciousness must die so that Christ can come forth in us in
all His glory. Through this we will
be the manifest sons of God!
Some today have abandoned the message of the cross, clinging instead to
the idea that Jesus paid it all, and therefore they can reign with Him no matter
how carnal or fleshly they are; their old man is dead with Christ, so there
really is no further working of the cross for any of us. How I wish the cross had ended at Calvary!
How delightful it would be if I did not need to “deny myself”
or to “take up my cross” and
follow Him! If only the throne was
by grace! If only the finished work
took care of it all and I could just breeze into sonship and ascend the throne
on the merits of Jesus! But
Galatians 5:24 still must be fulfilled
in the life of every son of God: “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
What I crucify is upon my
cross, not His. Yet, is it not
wonderfully true that my cross is simply His cross brought effectually into my
my beloved, in spite of His cross
sons of God still have to die to self!
This is accomplished by the Spirit of God leading us through the
refining, purifying fires of testing. As
the pressures and persecutions of this
world come against those who are moving on in the Spirit of God, the very
test and fire will be our purifying fire. It
will teach us His ways and purge out our dross making us smaller and smaller in
our own eyes. As we surrender more
and more to Christ, it makes our old self die daily until he is completely dead
so that Christ can come forth in us. Some
deny that this is a process, but I have not met the man yet in whom perfection
has not been a process!
“He that loveth his life shall lose it, but he that hateth his life
shall keep it.” Did I quote that
aright? “He that hateth
his life.” Did our Lord
indeed say that? Did John
understand his Master aright when he so reported Him?
Ah, our Lord is here speaking plainly, putting the right word, and only
the right word, upon the thing. There
is no doubt about it! Jesus
certainly said, “He that hateth his life.”
Now, do not be offended at this noble doctrine of deep hatred preached by
Christ! It is not our neighbor we
are to hate; it is not our enemy: is not even our more talented, successful, and
blessed friend: it is OUR SELF!
Our very own carnal life! We
have no hatred left for anyone else; it is all poured out upon our self.
Until we are brought to the urgency of this we cannot “take up our
cross” and follow Him! I have
heard it said that we must love ourself, and unless and until we learn to love
ourselves we cannot apprehend our sonship.
Not so! It is true that we do
love ourselves! Oh, how we do! “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
That is not a command to love yourself.
It is a command to love your neighbor!
It is simply a statement of fact that all men do indeed love
their self! That is why Jesus
emphasized that we must hate our own life and deny
ourself, taking up our cross, in order to enter into life!
All death is not the same death. Many
think that when the scriptures speak of death they always refer to the death of
the body. The truth is, in the New
Testament, death only occasionally speaks of the death of the physical body.
When Jesus says that we must take up our cross and follow Him, He does
not mean that we all must be martyrs, laying down our bodies upon a wooden
cross, to fly away to heaven. Jesus
died physically upon the cross, the figure and the pattern of the death of old
Adam. But Adam in us is not crucified by hanging on an outward,
wooden cross. Paul says, “Mortify
(put to death) therefore your members which are upon the earth…” (Col. 3:5).
He also said, “I die daily.” And
again he said, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
In each of these passages he speaks of a death that still must be
experienced within each of us, in addition to Christ’s death upon the cross. And in none of these passages is he talking about leaving
this body and going to some far-off heaven somewhere; he’s talking about dying
to that outward, external, physical, human, carnal realm of appearances of old
Adam’s life here and now as we walk upon this earth! That’s why he’s saying, “To die is gain.” There is no
gain in going to the cemetery, but to die to the carnal mind is to gain the mind of Christ. To
die to the flesh nature is to gain the
divine nature. God gives us the
opportunity every day to die! Are
we taking up our cross daily and
The death of the cross was the death reserved for criminals and for the
vilest of men. What would you think
of a person who had a gold chain about his neck with a pendant of an electric
chair on it? Or a hangman’s
gallows? Or a guillotine? Or a gas chamber? Or
a hypodermic needle? “How gross,
how repugnant, how macabre, how gruesome, how insensitive,” you say.
“How terrible to think that anyone’s mind is that death oriented!”
Let me tell you something, my beloved — in the day of Christ a cross
was an instrument of execution, no
different than the gas chamber or the electric chair today!
It was the place where criminals and the scum of the earth were put to
death. It was not a pretty or
inspiring symbol! And Jesus said we
are to deny ourselves and take up our cross — our gas chamber, our electric
chair, our hangman’s noose — and follow Him!
It’s a place of execution. It’s
the place where you are brought to your extremity, where the natural mind, the
human consciousness, the carnal life reaches its final catastrophe!
So Jesus came to reveal the cross. And
it is there at the cross that Paul says of this outer, carnal, fleshly ego man,
“I AM CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST.” You
must see that by the Spirit! If the
apostle was speaking by natural understanding he would have put it in the past
tense — “I was crucified with
Christ” because it is a great historical fact that Jesus the Christ was
ignominiously crucified on a hill outside Jerusalem two thousand years ago. If he was speaking of an historical event where twenty
centuries ago Jesus hung suspended between heaven and earth — and if in some
mystical sense we were there with Him on that cross, crucified on that cross,
and died with Him then on that cross
— he would say, “I was crucified
with Christ.” But in the Greek
text the verb is in the present perfect
tense. And while the present
perfect tense denotes an action that is completed — I have
been crucified with Christ — it may also, according to the rules of
grammar, indicate an action that is
continuing unto the present. What
the present perfect tense clearly is not
is the PAST TENSE — I was
crucified. This is why the King
James translators chose the wording, “I AM
crucified with Christ.” Thus, the
cross is not merely an historical event — it is an eternal reality! The work of the cross continues!
I hang on that cross with Christ, not on Golgotha’s hill two thousand
years ago, but in that blessed moment when by the Spirit of God I am called to
embrace it! Christ was crucified. I am
crucified. And I am crucified with
Him because the cross is an eternal reality! Oh, the mystery of it!
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 is not a cross of wood. The
cross on Golgotha’s hill was undoubtedly a wooden cross, but the cross of
Christ that the apostles preached, and that they gloried in, and by which the
world is reconciled to God, and which does its powerful work in us, is 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. If
He had meant a literal, wooden cross, then only those who are literally,
physically crucified could ever follow
Him! And can we not see by this
that if our cross is not a wooden
cross, then truly His cross was not a
wooden cross! People think such
shallow thoughts about these things. But
we are dealing with deep, eternal, spiritual realities!
The DEATH OF THE CROSS is in some mysterious and divine way the gateway
to the LIFE OF THE CROSS. The
wooden Roman cross upon 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, and that wooden cross no longer
exists, having decayed back into the dust long centuries ago; yet should you
find a piece of it there would be no magical, saving power emanating from it!
All the handwriting of the ordinances of the law were nailed to HIS
CROSS, the scripture says, but should you have been there on mount Calvary that
day when Jesus hung between heaven and earth you would not have seen the first
five books of the Bible nailed to the cross!
By HIS CROSS the world is crucified to us, and us to the world, but the
whole world is not hanging somewhere today upon that cross, being crucified to
us. Such literal thoughts are
absurdities. The whole world is
reconciled by the blood of that cross, yet not one of us has seen any physical
blood by which we were brought into fellowship with God.
That is the mystery. Ah, the
cross of Christ is something deeper, higher, grander,
more transcendental than the pieces of wood upon which Jesus hung!
It is my deep conviction, and I say it with all reverence and respect to
my blessed Lord and Saviour, 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, 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, of which the “old rugged cross” was merely the symbol.
The cross of Christ first had its manifestation 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 Himself 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?” Truly,
as the scripture testifies, He was the Lamb “slain from
the foundation of the world” (Rev. 13:8).
No wooden cross there! The
cross did not begin at Calvary!
When God brings the cross into our lives, He doesn’t bring it to us out
of two millenniums ago — He brings it out of the living reality of the
dimension of spirit right now!
When by the quickening of the Spirit you saw Christ dying, you did not
see Him dying twenty centuries ago, but in
spirit you beheld Him. God
brought Him out of that long ago into your NOW.
God brought Him into your present. And
you saw Him bleeding and dying, not two thousand years ago, but right now in
this moment you beheld Him by spirit. And
in spirit Paul exults with unspeakable joy, “I AM crucified with Christ!”
Not then — NOW! Not I was
— I AM! It is neither history nor
a future event. The cross did not
begin at Calvary, nor did it end at Calvary!
It’s an accomplished fact in the eternal NOW.
The eternal cross in the heart of God, the eternal cross of Christ, now
becomes your cross and you are crucified with Him, a participator in that same
eternal death to all that is unlike God, to all that falls short of what God has
chosen to be. I am crucified,
nevertheless I do live, yet it’s not “I” that lives, but the Christ who
lives in me! That is the power of
the cross! The outer sense realm,
the carnal, the vain, the fleshly, the passing, is placed upon that cross and
crucified in order that the inner life of the spirit might find release. We only become holy as He is holy, and pure as He is pure,
when the cross becomes an eternal reality in our lives. When the cross is no longer an historical event to be
claimed, or a doctrine, or a truth to be believed,
but the cross is forever established in our heart, effectually working in
the crucible of our experience, the cross in our heart will produce His nature
within, the nature that willingly surrenders and cancels all that is not of
Life, Light, and Love.
It is a great and glorious fact that your spirit has not been crucified.
If your spirit were crucified you could not say, “I AM crucified, and I
LIVE.” When we speak of death and
resurrection we speak of two corresponding, parallel principles in the present.
I AM crucified, and I AM alive. Those
are dual, present, and continuous realities.
I am and I am! I AM
crucified, and I AM living. But
what is crucified? Not my inward
man — but my outward man! Paul
put it this way: “Though our outward man is
perishing, yet the inward man is being
renewed day by day” (II Cor. 6:16). The
outer man, the sensual man, the soulical man, the carnal mind, the flesh — is
perishing. He is not perishing because he is getting old and ready to go
to the cemetery. Oh, no!
He is perishing because of the
work of the cross in us! This
is a spiritual work!
inward man, however, is not perishing, he is not experiencing the cross; HE IS
BEING RENEWED! “He that is joined to
the Lord is ONE SPIRIT.” The
spirit, the inward man, the real you,
is not conformed to the image of God by death, but by union! Its condition is changed by adding
an ingredient. His Spirit is added to our
spirit. When our spirit is quickened by His
Spirit we are born of the Spirit — brought alive again to God!
The inner man is receiving quickening and being renewed.
But the outer man is put to the cross and is dying!
It was on the cross that Jesus poured out His blood (life, spirit) for
the life of the world. That is the
divine paradox! It is both death
and life. I am crucified and I
live. I am perishing and I am
quickened. Something is taken away
and something is added. It is
divine chemistry! It is union by
fusion! And an entirely NEW
CREATION is the result!
“I am being crucified” is
an alternate rendering of the Greek. The
cross has very practical applications in our everyday lives. You see, my beloved, the Lord faithfully prepares the places,
situations, circumstances, and experiences whereby our self-life is brought to
the futility of itself and laid down. The
cross is painful! This is no
mystical, glorious experience by faith. The
cross is the power of God working by actual crisis’ in our lives whereby, like
the prodigal son, we come to the end of our
self, and we arise and go to the Father.
When we forsake trust in the flesh and the way of the flesh, that the
spirit might rule, death has been worked in us, releasing His life to be
expressed as our life. We are
crucified and we live! Aren’t you
We are moved to overcome self once the Holy Spirit powerfully reveals to
us the nature and power of self. Self
is the identity of the carnal mind. “To
be carnally minded is death,” the
inspired apostle tells us. Self,
when it is brought to its destination, then and there, self is death; but so
long as self is acting, self is quite lively, and apparently deathless; but when
self has been brought to its destination, then and there, when the cloak is
pulled off of self, you will see plainly, self is death, and self has always
been death, but has been dressed up in sheep’s garments.
overcome death by firstly overcoming self and every “self-opinionation” and
establishing our consciousness in the recognition of God’s presence, by
denying self whole-heartedly, and living in the consciousness of God’s
presence. Oh, how wonderful to
realize we can overcome self, and can do away with self, by subduing by the
spirit our selfish tendencies, fancies, and pleasures; our selfish thoughts,
ideas, concepts, and ways. When we
put away these characteristics of our human, earthly, carnal mentality, we
“mortify” or put to death self in our constitution.
We then become a NEW CREATURE in reality by walking and living after the
spirit rather than after the flesh!
Now God’s called and chosen elect have come to the place in
consciousness in this great process of salvation where we understand that the mystery of self is the mystery
of death. The way we can rid
ourselves of the last enemy, and overcome the last enemy, which is death, is by
ridding ourselves of self, by denying our self, by taking up our cross unto the
perishing of the outer man with his desires and demands, by gaining the victory
over all our self nature. When this
is accomplished completely, we will have victory over death, the last enemy!
As it is written, “For to be carnally
minded is death; but to be spiritually
minded is life…”
Ah — “If any man will come after me,” Jesus said, “let him deny
himself…” We thought it meant
deny the liquor store, deny the theater, deny the pool hall, deny the
mini-skirt, deny communism, deny the church system and the antichrist.
But ME? Sweet, precious
little Me? Deny MYSELF?
We would rather deny the liquor store and the antichrist than to deny
OURSELF! But very little will be
gained by self denial, unless we also take up our cross and follow Jesus!
There is a dimension of the cross that lies beyond the mere crucifixion
of our old nature. That is
necessary, but there is also that aspect of the cross that involves that load,
burden, pain, or sacrifice which could, if we choose, be laid aside, but which
is willingly carried or endured for the sake of the Father’s purposes and for
creation. It is that which in the
natural we would lay aside, but
spurred on by the realization that there is no other way to fulfill God’s plan
and bring deliverance to the world, we willingly endure OUR CROSS.
Jesus didn’t have to endure the cross!
“Looking unto Jesus — who for
the joy that was set before Him, ENDURED THE CROSS, despising the shame”
(Heb. 12:2). Even on the night He
was taken, He declared that He could yet, at that late hour, pray to the Father,
and He would send more than twelve legions of angels to rescue Jesus from such a
fate! (Mat. 26:53-54). The Father would have honored His prayer!
He went to the cross because He had purposed in His heart to fulfill the
scriptures, and to deliver creation from the tyranny of sin, sickness, sorrow,
limitation, and death, through the cross.
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 he has sold me down the river.” Or when Peter denied Him, “I gave him the keys to the
kingdom, and now he denies me!” He
could truly say, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me” (Jn.
14:30). 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
Until all that I am is You.”
Moses partook of this spirit when he turned away from the throne of Egypt
to identify himself with his brethren, a race of slaves, that he might through
suffering and sacrifice bring deliverance to them all.
Paul demonstrated the same determination when he left his place in the
Sanhedren to join the despised and persecuted followers of Jesus, that he might
not be disobedient to the heavenly vision, and that he might bring salvation to
the Gentiles. He was following hard
after Jesus, BEARING HIS CROSS, when he declared, “I go bound in the spirit
unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: save that the
Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.
But none of these things move me,
neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might…testify the
gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:22-24).
But taking up the cross is not enough.
It must be taken up daily!
That is what Jesus said. And
by that we know the cross is more than the crucifixion two thousand years ago!
That only lasted part of one day! The
cross must be taken up willingly, and carried faithfully, without complaining.
It is easy to make a consecration in a meeting, during the heat of an
inspiring consecration call — but that has nothing to do with taking up our
cross daily and following Jesus! Christ
never took a vacation from His cross! His whole life and ministry, from the manger to the tomb, was
a daily bearing of the burden of the call to sonship.
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, bringing all to the cross, surrendering completely to the Father,
reserving nothing for Himself, a burnt offering, a sweet smelling savor unto
God! Finally, Jesus died to all
that He was as a Son, 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, to the SPIRIT,
where He now dwells in the life that is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.
He ascended up far above all heavens THAT HE MIGHT FILL ALL THINGS!
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 a Son.
And He died to all that He was as a Son to be revealed in the glory of
the Father! 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 way of victory over the flesh, over the ego, over the human consciousness,
over the Adamic value of life, which is also victory over sin, sickness, sorrow,
limitation, and death.
cross was not an accident which came to Jesus at the end of life. He was born, and lived, and died under the shadow of the
cross. He knew it was there all the
time, but never once did He shun the cross.
Never once did He fail to take up His cross daily.
There was never a day that He could say, “This day is my own.
Today I will do my will. I
will go about my Father’s business again tomorrow.”
Never an experience came into His life of which He could say, “This is
mine to enjoy. The will of the
Father must wait until this is over. Then
I will continue on in my calling.” Even
in His times of sorrow He could not say, “My own grief is so great.
It is only right that now I
should be comforted! Let them
minister unto me, now.”
To the eyes of the world it would seem that it was only on that dark
night of Calvary that “He went forth, bearing His cross.” But He had been bearing His cross all His life!
He had been bearing His cross before ever His baby ears heard the lowing
of the cattle in the stable of His birth. He
had been bearing His cross in Nazareth, the place of no good thing, as there He
grew in the knowledge of the Father and His plan.
He had been bearing His cross as He went forth among the people, poor,
despised, lonely, misunderstood, ridiculed — willingly, that He might bring
many sons unto glory! He paid the
price! And we are paying the price today as we follow in His steps,
forsaking all that we might apprehend that for which Christ also has apprehended
us. The world may not see nor
understand your cross and mine. But
each of us has his own cross. And God
sees! And he that loses his
life for the sake of Christ, the same shall save
it (Mk. 8:35). This is life
more abundant — the life of SONSHIP! The
life of sublime purpose! The life
of transcendent power! The life of
Many years ago brother Bill Britton sent out a couple selected items
whose message is just as true and fresh today as it was then. I do not know who was the original author of these, but I
share them for your edification.
When you are forgotten, or neglected, or purposely set at naught, and you
don’t sting or hurt with the insult or the oversight, but your heart is happy,
being counted worthy to suffer with Christ — THAT IS DYING TO SELF.
When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your
advice disregarded, your opinions ridiculed, and you refuse to let anger rise in
your heart, or even defend yourself, but take it all in patient and loving
silence — THAT IS DEATH TO SELF.
When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, any
impunctuality, or any annoyance; when you can stand face to face with waste,
folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility…and endure it as Jesus endured it
— THAT IS DYING TO SELF.
When you are content with any food, any offering, any raiment, any
climate, any society, any solitude, any interruption of the will of God — THAT
IS DYING TO SELF.
When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record
your own good works, or itch after commendation, when you can truly love to be
unknown — THAT IS DYING TO SELF.
When you can see your brother prosper and have his needs met, and can
honestly rejoice with him in spirit and feel no envy nor question God, while
your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances — THAT IS DYING
When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than
yourself, and can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no
rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart — THAT IS DYING TO SELF!
Some unknown author wrote the following:
here I am Lord. You said, ‘Take
up your cross,’ and I’m here to do it.
It’s not easy, you know, this self-denial thing.
I mean to go through with it though, Lord. I’ll bet you wish more
people were willing to be disciples like me.
I’ve counted the cost and surrendered my life and…it is not an easy
“Do you mind if I look over these crosses?
I’d kind of like a new one. I’m
not fussy, you understand, but a disciple has to be relevant these days.
I was wondering…are there any that are vinyl padded?
I’m thinking of attracting others, you see.
And if I could show them a comfortable cross I am sure I could win a lot
more. Got to keep up with the
population explosion and all. And I
need something durable so I can treasure it always.
Oh, is there one that’s sort of flat so it would fit under my coat?
One should not be too obvious.
“Funny, there doesn’t seem to be much choice here.
Just that coarse, rough wood. I
mean, that would hurt! Don’t you
have something more distinctive, Lord? I
can tell you right now, none of my friends are going to be impressed by this
shoddy workmanship! They’ll think
I’m a nut or something! And my
family would be mortified!
“What’s that? It is
either one of these or forget the whole thing?
But Lord, I want to be your disciple!
I mean, just being with you, that is all that counts, but life has to
have a balance too… But you
don’t understand, nobody lives that way today!
Who is going to be attracted by this self-denial bit?
I want to, but let’s not overdo it!
Start getting radical like this and they’ll haul me off to the funny
farm — know what I mean?
“I mean, being a disciple is challenging and exciting and I want to do
it but I have some rights, you know! Now
let’s see. No blood, O.K.?
I just can’t stand the thought of that, Lord.
where do you suppose He went?”
One might soar high on the sweet wine of revelation and understand all
the mysteries of how the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, how
they shall sit on thrones, how they shall judge the world and angels in the age
and the ages to come, how they shall deliver the creation from the bondage of
corruption, and this is all truth, for it is a pure vision which shall be
fulfilled. But I cannot be too
forceful in my effort to show you, beloved ones, that long before a man ever
partakes of such marvelous realities, he will have been thoroughly dealt with by
the hand of God, the self-life being abased before the Lord, every rock of pride
and every root of self-ascendancy purged out, so that our only desire will be to
see the LORD glorified! Before we
share His throne we will have learned quite well what the Spirit meant when He
inspired the man of wisdom to pen these significant words: “He that is slow to
anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his own spirit than he that
taketh a city” (Prov. 16:32).
Learning to rule one’s own spirit is not easy, in fact it requires that
our spirit be joined to His Spirit, so that we are fortified and strengthened in
the inner man, and thus able to gain control
over all our impulses and emotions.
The varied dispositions of human nature are not easily bridled or broken;
the restlessness, the defensiveness, the quick reactions to pressures,
frustration, and anger; fear, worry, hurt, and self-assertion all must be
overcome, conquered, rendered inactive by the overwhelming reign of HIS LIFE
within. Many like to govern others,
issue orders, call the shots, manipulate, control what is going on about them,
in the church, etc., while they cannot bridle their own thoughts, attitudes,
moods, and emotions, nor crucify the lusts and passions of their own flesh.
The Amalekites were an ancient and nomadic marauding people who lived in
the southern part of the land God promised to Abraham. When Moses was leading the children of Israel through the
wilderness toward their promised land, the Amalekites attacked them with a
vengeance at Rephidim. The Lord
took note of their unprovoked fury poured out upon His people, and there is a
scripture that says, “The Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with
Amalek from generation to generation” (Ex. 17:16).
When the scripture says “from generation to generation” we generally
think this means it will last forever. But
just because God said “from generation to generation” does not mean that
there will not be a time when God will say, “It is over now; I will make an
end of Amalek.”
When the kingdom was ushered in and Saul was anointed king of Israel, the
Lord spoke to Saul through the prophet Samuel, saying, “Thus saith the Lord of
hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in
the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now
go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy
all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and
suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass” (I Sam. 15:2-3).
Saul gathered together a great army, attacked the Amalekites, and
conquered them. God gave a great
victory! Saul did not, however,
obey the word of the Lord. He did
indeed destroy all the people, but he took king Agag alive.
He also saved the very best of all the sheep, oxen, and lambs to offer as
a thank-you offering unto the Lord! But
the Lord was not pleased with this. He
was angry with Saul, and Samuel said to him, “Hath the Lord as great delight
in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than
sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”
Because of this disobedience the Lord wrested the kingdom from the house
of Saul and gave it to David!
Amalek represents the flesh. We
know that there must come a time in the ushering in of the kingdom in our lives
when our continual warfare with Amalek, the flesh, must once and for all come to
an end. The Amalek problem must be
settled! It is not going to plague
us forever! Yes, we have had war,
the flesh wars against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh.
Not only have we experienced this warfare within ourselves, but in every
move of the Spirit, in every fresh realm that we have moved into in our
progression into God, we found that Amalek was there, there was conflict, the
flesh rose up and sought to rule, and there has been war from generation to
generation. But there comes a time
in the ushering in of the kingdom of God when the thrones are being set up and
the Lord brings forth a kingship in His people so that the Amalek problem is
You see, my beloved, in dealing with Amalek, the flesh, it is the
preserving of the good that is the
snare! Yes, Saul destroyed all the
bad, all the vile and corrupt, but he wanted to save king Agag and the good!
May God teach us in these days that in the destruction of Amalek it is
the destruction of the good as well as the bad
that He is after! God is moving on
in this hour! As He brings us into
our sonship He is causing us to take stands and positions, not against the bad
of the flesh simply, but against things that are good. Of course, if you stand against things that are good and were
started by God, formed by God, ordained by God, and blessed by God, it appears
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 plant which my heavenly Father hath not
planted, shall be rooted up” (Mat. 15:13).
Now we must rejoice when we see God pluck up that which He has planted!
The Lord declared, “That which I build, 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 Holy Ghost, we cannot believe that.
We think that God only destroys the corrupt harlot system of religion.
But our concept is that if God built it, the only one out to destroy it
is the devil! But God says, “I
will destroy.” May these days in
which we now stand be the time when all God’s called and chosen elect 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, which is LESS THAN WHAT
GOD IS AFTER! When God has planted
something, after a while we become idolatrous about it.
Idolatry is really the self-life projecting itself into it so that it
turns into an idol, because we cherish the thing God has done in us above
obedience to God when He says it is now time to move on.
We want to preserve it, memorialize it, make it an offering unto the
Lord, because it is the very best. We don’t
understand sometimes that when we cling to what God has
done at the expense of what He is
doing, that which was started in the spirit winds up in the flesh!
It may appear to be very good flesh, but it still pertains to the kingdom of Amalek.
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 lives which we think are good: a devotion, a
commitment, a consecration, a faith, a knowledge of the word, a form of worship,
a way of gathering, which are as much “self” as the bad temper, the wrong
attitude, the sharp tongue, the worldliness, the lust, and the rest of it.
God is saying that everything must go!
All that falls short of His fullness and perfection, all that would be
immortalized and perpetuated in our lives on a realm less than His ultimate
purpose, must be brought to the cross. That
which is left will only be Christ Himself being formed in us!
To be continued… J.
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