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 THRONE
THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST
If you believe in the traditional literalist interpretation of the book of Revelation, there are some serious issues you are going to have to face. Teachers like Hal Lindsey and scores of others tell us that the whole book is fulfilled in the brief span of 1260 days, or three and one half years. They tell us that in the days of the Great Tribulation there issues a world-wide famine from which one billion people die, believers are martyred in incredible numbers, a nuclear war takes place, one third of the worldís vegetation is destroyed, one third of the worldís oceans are turned into blood, one third of the worldís drinking water is so polluted that to drink it kills people, horrible locusts (maybe helicopters!) plague the worldís unbelievers for a solid five months, and then 200,000,000 Chinese communists, with perhaps Japanese allies, march on Israel, and on their way they kill nearly one billion more people.
By the time these armies reach Israel, the worldís oceans have all been turned into blood, the worldís drinking water, all of it, has been turned to blood, as the blood of a dead man; there is a world wide epidemic of ulcers and skin cancers under a global heat wave. There is no fresh water to drink anywhere on the planet, and there is going to be a great run on Coca Cola, but even the stores of bottled drinks give out. Then, while there is no water, and no food, and no health, and no ability to work or earn a living, weíre going to have this great battle of Armageddon involving 200,000,000 invading soldiers! Now the scene gets even more bizarre! With billions dead or dying, with war and famine and disease and trouble and torment everywhere, if you take the mark of the beast you are given the liberty to buy and sell! Buy and sell what? I ask. Thereís no water, itís all blood. There are no trees, no grass, no agriculture; there is world war, devastating earthquakes, broiling heat, and nuclear destruction; and while these 200,000,000 soldiers are attacking Israel, there are 200 pound hailstones falling on them!
Iím not trying to be cynical, friends, but it seems to me that anyone with one eye and half sense could see that the logistics of this scheme transcend absurdity ó they are impossible! There is no geographical space for 200,000,000 soldiers with tanks, trucks, airplanes, supplies, and all the rest in the valley of Megiddo ó not counting the armies of Russia, the United States and their allies who are all supposed to gather there. Hear me, my brother, my sister ó it ainít going to happen! These armies canít fight ó there is no geographical space in all of Israel for so many people to even stand properly. So we have a problem! When you calculate the effect of all these events, if they are literal, and all happen at the same time during three and a half years, you really have a contradictory, unreasonable, illogical, ridiculous absurdity. May the blessed spirit of truth help all who read these lines to think soberly, and righteously, and spiritually about what is portrayed here!
The question follows ó What do all these things mean? Ah, itís all GOOD NEWS! Our heavenly Father is not some kind of angry, vindictive, psychotic, sadistic monster who is grinning and kind and merciful for two thousand years and then suddenly throws a temper tantrum, becomes vicious and vengeful, turning on that portion of the human race that just happens to be living at that time, pouring out wrath and spewing forth judgment that makes Adolph Hitler look like Santa Clause, and the Second World War appear as a church picnic. IS THAT THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST? IS IT? Is that the revelation of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world? Is that what Jesus Christ is all about? Is that the final word of the One who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to redeem it? Is that the true, hidden nature of the One who has presented Himself as Love, who has posed as the all-merciful, caring, compassionate, Saviour of all men? Is it? Lynn Hiles calls preachers who peddle the foolishness I have spoken of above spiritual terrorists! They scare people to death with a revelation that is supposed to be the unveiling of Jesus Christ! If that is the unveiling of Jesus Christ, then please keep the lid on Him! In my younger years the things I heard taught out of the book of Revelation would send tingles up your spine and make your hair curl. Thank God! Now we know it is the REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST, Godís wonderful, gracious, loving, redeeming, saving, transforming, life-giving Son!
Christ is revealing Himself! The scriptures clearly reveal four stages in the revelation of Christ. First, He reveals Himself to us. Then He reveals Himself in us.. Third, He reveals Himself as us. And finally, He reveals Himself through or out from us. Those are the four dimensions of the revelation of Jesus Christ!
When Christ reveals Himself to us, He seems to us as an external Christ, the man Jesus who walked the shores of Galilee, who died on a cross, was buried, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. In the beginning of our walk in God there is a revelation to us of Jesus Christ, that He was Godís Son, born of a virgin, that He lived and walked here upon this earth for thirty-three and a half years, was baptized by John in the river Jordan, the heavens were opened to Him, the Holy Spirit came upon Him, the Father witnessed by a voice from heaven that this was His beloved Son, and He went about doing good, healing all that were oppressed of the devil, casting out devils, raising the dead, for God was with Him.
Jesus testified of Himself, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me" (Jn. 14:6). Again Jesus proclaimed, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture" (Jn. 10:9). He is the Son of man and He is Jacobís ladder, the bottom of which stands upon the earth and the top of which reaches into the heavens and the angels of God ascend and descend upon Him. He went to the cross of Calvary and there tasted death for every man. God raised Him from the dead, thus declaring Him to be the Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness. When one encounters this glorious Christ of God, when we receive Him into our heart and life, our spirit being quickened by His Spirit, in that blessed moment we receive a supernatural revelation of the life, reality, glory and power of this exalted One and our redeemed spirit bows before Him in adoration and praise as we behold with awe and holy reverence the divine mystery of Godís love, redeeming grace, and omniscient purpose in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. This is the beginning of the revelation of Jesus Christ to us! Millions of saints, and thousands who now read these lines, bear unimpeachable witness to the wonder of that magnificent moment when Christ the Lord was revealed to them! And I do not hesitate to tell you that I have no time for those who would depreciate, lower, cheapen, detract from, belittle, minimize, discredit, or in any way make light of this precious firstborn Son of God, the Captain of my salvation, the Author and Finisher of my faith, the Forerunner who by Himself has opened up the way into the Holiest of all for every son of God to follow! May He in all things forever have the preeminence, may His name be praised and exalted throughout all ages, world without end! We owe everything to Him!
By the revelation of Jesus Christ in us we discover another dimension of Himself. We find experientially that Christ is not out there beyond the Milky Way someplace ó He is right here within our very own reality. Oh, Heís out there alright ó but not out there for us. God is everywhere, God is omnipresent, but He is not just everywhere to us! We are the temple of God and the body of Christ! And it is there within that temple which we are that we have truly learned to know Him as He is!
Then follows the revelation of Jesus Christ as us. You, precious saint of God, are a location where God has chosen to break forth to express and manifest Himself in personality. You are an extension and projection of the invisible God! He has integrated Himself into your life, not as a separate entity within your personality, but in the union of life He has become the essence of being within you. Incredible as these words may appear to some who read them, it was to Paul that the Holy Spirit gave the understanding of the transcendent significance of Christ in his life, and this is what the beloved apostle said: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" (Gal. 2:20). When Paul explained, "Nevertheless I live; yet not I," he was setting forth by divine wisdom the fact that he lived, but the life within him was not his own; it was, in very fact, the life of another, even Christ ó the anointed Son of God! Can we not see by this that Christ not only lived in Paul ó Christ lived as Paul! The personality of Jesus Christ had now replaced and become the personality of Paul the apostle. This, in my opinion, is the only true reincarnation in the universe! The body of Christ is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ the Son of God! Behold what unspeakable honor this is, and consider well what inexpressible, ineffable glory! Why should I seek any other reincarnation!
Finally, the revelation of Jesus Christ through us and out from us reveals us to creation as the Corporate Son of God in the earth! The whole creation is standing on tip-toe, earnestly expecting and waiting with great anticipation the manifestation of Godís sons! The sons of God are the sons of love, for God is love. The manifestation of the sons of God is the full and complete expression of the love of God through a many-membered body throughout the whole earth. Some today are trying to sell us a bill of goods, teaching that the present measure of the expression of Christ in His people is the manifestation of the sons of God. Donít buy that bill of goods, my friend, for it will rob you of your inheritance. Some who have wearied with the waiting for manifested sonship have watered it down, and would settle for something less, calling the measure of Christ we have seen for two thousand years ó sonship. I exhort the saints of God to be not deceived by that which would entice you to sell your birthright for a mess of porridge! I tell you the truth, my beloved, when manifested sonship comes on the scene the world cannot say, "No," to it ó they will not be able to resist the manifestation of unconditional omnipotent love! Unconditional, omnipotent love is irresistible! It breaks down every barrier, it climbs over the walls and goes in at the windows, it conquers every will and melts every heart. There has never been such a people on this planet! For three and a half years there was one! But God is raising up the life of His Son in a people in this new Kingdom Day. He is bringing this life to maturity in the sons of God! When His wonderful work in His called out elect is complete, all phoniness will be gone, all hypocrisy will be put away, all religiosity will be renounced and purged by the all-consuming fire of God, all self-righteousness will be abandoned, all selfishness will be forsaken, all ulterior motives will be discarded, all gimmickry will cease, every manifestation of the flesh and of the carnal, religious mind will forever disappear from the life of each and every son of the Most High; the Lord alone shall be seen in that day in all of His unsurpassable beauty, in all His boundless glory, in all His omnipotent power, through the transformed lives of the manifested sons of God! Some disparagingly refer to these truths as "classical sonship." Let me tell you something. I say it kindly, but I say it with holy boldness and unrelenting firmness. That which they undervalue by this cynical term "classical sonship" is, in all truth, the only true message of manifested sonship God has sovereignly and supernaturally birthed in the earth! Every other edition I have seen has been either altered, corrupted, distorted, or diluted. We are at the hour in history when we must not settle for anything less!
All creation will respond to this universal outpouring of Godís love, goodness and grace. Every man that has ever lived, does live, or shall ever live, will come into Godís great and eternal kingdom ó sooner or later! The furniture store says, "Pay now, or pay later." We say, "Come now, or come later." That will be the ultimate and eternal accomplishment of THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST!
THE REVELATION WHICH GOD GAVE UNTO HIM
"The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him..." (Rev. 1:1).
This revelation was given to Jesus Christ and through Jesus Christ! The reality of sonship to God was first revealed to Jesus, then in Jesus, afterwards as Jesus, and finally through Jesus. Now, unto the saints it is revealed by Jesus within His body, and unto creation through His many brethren. The firstborn Son was given a message for all the sons who would follow. Yea, He IS HIMSELF the message!
The origin of this revelation is God. God gave it to Christ ó that is, God appointed and anointed His Son to unveil Himself to mankind. This is the revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave unto Him from the time of His birth in Bethlehem, on to the time when His mind began to understand as a young child, until He went forth in His ministry at thirty years of age, until He died, rose, and ascended up far above all heavens as King of kings and Lord of lords. This is the revelation that God gave to Him as the knowledge and understanding of the path of sonship!
When Jesus came into the world He possessed a dual identity. In His spirit He was the mighty God and the everlasting Father! But according to His flesh He was a man, made in all things like unto His brethren. When Jesus was growing up as a boy in the understanding of who He was, He could have chosen one of two ways. He could identify with His spirit, or He could identify with His flesh. Jesus was born in a difficult situation, for no one knew who His Father was. I do not doubt for one moment that as a small child Jesus identified with His flesh. He was just a little boy like all other little boys, and His parents were Joseph and Mary. But in the early years God came to Jesus and gave Him something special in His understanding. It was an unveiling of who He was! It seems clear that this unveiling began in His life somewhere before or around the age of twelve. From that time, throughout the eighteen years of silence when we have no credible record of Him, Jesus was awakened to His true heritage.
When Jesus was a boy twelve years old, He was taken up to the feast of Passover, and then for the first time He saw the holy city Jerusalem and the temple of Yahweh on mount Moriah. Young as He was, His spirit was stirred as He walked among the courts of the temple and saw the altar with its smoking sacrifice, the priests in their white robes, and the Levites with their silver trumpets. Though a boy, Jesus began to sense within Himself that He was the Son of God and that this was His Fatherís house! His heart was so filled with the worship of the temple, with the words of the scribes or the teachers whom He heard in the courts, and with His own thoughts, that when it was time to go home to Nazareth, He stayed behind, held fast by His overwhelming love for the house of the Lord. The company of people who were traveling together was large, and at first He was not missed. But when night came and the boy Jesus could not be found, His mother was alarmed.
The next day Joseph and Mary left their company and hastened back to Jerusalem. They did not at first think to go to the temple. They sought Him among their friends and kindred who were living in the city, but could not find Him. On the third day they went up to the temple with heavy hearts, still looking for their boy. And there they found Him, sitting in the company of the teachers of the law, listening to their words and confounding them with His questions! Everybody who stood near was surprised to find how deep was the knowledge and understanding of this boy in the word of the Lord! His mother spoke to Him a little sharply, for she felt that her son had not been thoughtful of His duty. She said, "Child, why have you treated us this way? Do you not know that your father and I have been looking for you with fearful hearts?" "Why did you seek for me?" said Jesus. "Did you not know that I must be around my Father ó about His business?" They did not fully understand these words, but Jesus was saying to Mary, "I know who my Father is, Mama! My fatherís not Joseph. My Father is God! Itís time for me to learn about my inheritance, my destiny!" From twelve years to age thirty He learned. God gave Him an unveiling of Himself, revealing Himself to Himself.
"The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him." These words should speak to every saint of God a great truth ó Jesus did not come into the world knowing who He was or what His purpose was ó Jesus had to be taught of the Father just as you and I have had to be taught! God gave unto Him an unveiling of His identity and purpose. This unveiling came to Jesus so that Jesus could show it unto His servants. "The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants..."
We have thought that the revelation was given on the isle of Patmos, and indeed it was given to John for the churches at that time and in that place. But this is the revelation that God gave to Jesus, and that was given a long time before Patmos! It is the revelation of God in Christ, the mystery of godliness, when God was manifest in the flesh. The revelation that was given to Jesus is the pattern for every son of God that is brought to His glory! The same ministry Jesus had for three and a half years is the ministry of every manifested son of God! His virgin birth prefigures the birth of the manchild! As He grew during His years in Nazareth in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man, so we are growing up into Him in all things! His overcoming in the flesh is the guarantee of our overcoming in the flesh! His triumph over Satan foreshadows the triumph of His many brethren over every satanic thing! His wisdom, understanding, compassion, love, mercy, and power are even now being wrought out in the life of every person who has received the call to sonship! As He went to the cross so are we crucified with Him, so do we know Him in the fellowship of His sufferings, and so do we take up our cross and follow Him! As He died, so we love not our Adamic life unto the death! As He rose from the dead, so has He quickened us together with Him, so that we be risen with Christ; and so shall every son of God step out of the mortality of this physical realm to put on incorruption and immortality! "For we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed!" As He ascended up to His Father in heaven so has He raised us up and made us sit together with Him in the higher than all heavens!
The same teaching and learning experience God sent Jesus through, is the same thing He now brings every son through. The revelation God gave to Jesus is the revelation He is showing us! We must believe as a little child to inherit the kingdom; we must go back to the manger and begin our journey into God. We must be born of the virgin birth within ourselves, born of the incorruptible seed of the word of God which liveth and abideth forever. As Jesus was born of a woman, Mary, so is the manchild being born of a woman, the church. Paul said to some in the church, "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you" (Gal. 4:19). He said that he had come and impregnated into their virgin hearts the incorruptible seed of the word of God, and through the spoken word Christ was conceived in them. But they had allowed someone to come along and cause them to mis-carry, as they listened to a false word and began to fornicate with another spirit. Paul came and cleansed them again with a spoken word and through that cleansing he brought them to a place where they might conceive again, that the Christ-life might be formed in them. How great is the plan and mystery of God!
This is the revelation that God gave to Jesus as He walked with His Father in the earth realm, gaining from day to day and from experience to experience the understanding of who He was, why He was here, the power and glory of the Fatherís life in Him, and the mission and purpose He should fulfill as a Son. THIS WAS THE REVELATION GOD GAVE TO JESUS! And now on Patmos Jesus gave this revelation to John to show unto the churches the things that were to come to pass in the lives of all who would follow the Lamb to mount Zion! The "things which must shortly come to pass" have nothing to do with supposed events in the outer world; they have everything to do with the mighty processings and deep inworkings of God in His elect! They speak of the outworking of sonship life, victory, and maturity in the lives of the overcomers ó many sons brought to glory! That is the reality that was to "come to pass," to be raised up in the earth for the blessing and deliverance of all creation!
Through His learning, His humbling, His sufferings, His disciplines, His obedience, and the revelation the Father gave Him, Jesus attained to the glory of manifested sonship. Now in the book of Revelation we see how we must be dealt with, how we must be humbled, purged of the beast nature, stripped of the spirit of the false prophet, chastened until the flesh is subdued, instructed in all righteousness, taught, matured, and anointed with the spirit of the Father until we find ourselves in the book of Revelation as the manchild caught up to the throne! As overcomers, if we keep our works unto the end, we have wonderful promise and blessed assurance that we will be given power over the nations to rule them with a rod of iron, even as He received of His Father. There is the portion of the sons of God! Just as Jesus the Lamb is in the midst of the throne, having seven horns and seven eyes which are the seven spirits of God, so shall we share in the glory of the 144,000 lambs that stand with Him on mount Zion, having His Fatherís name in their foreheads. The book of Revelation is the revelation of the Son of God on the face of the earth, and the works that the Father wrought in Him to bring Him to the end of His ministry and onward to death, resurrection, ascension, glorification and exaltation! THAT REVELATION IS THE PATTERN FOR ALL WHO ARE PUTTING ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!
Of our Lord Jesus Christ it is written, "Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person..." (Heb. 1:3). The Amplified Bible renders this so beautifully, "He is the sole expression of the glory of God ó the Light-being, the out-raying of the divine ó and He is the perfect imprint and very image of Godís nature." Christ is the DIVINE RADIANCE of the Father! You can grasp a beautiful picture of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as you consider the sun of our solar system. The sun is the Father, the essence, being, source and origin of all. But we do not see the sun! We see only the sunís emanation, its out-raying. The light and heat and energy that flood our earth are not the sun itself, but its radiance. And yet, the radiance is the sun! It is the sun shedding itself, revealing itself! That is what Christ is to the Father, He is the Fatherís radiance, His out-raying, the Father shedding Himself, revealing Himself, imparting Himself! And then there is a mighty working of the sunís energy in our world. One of those many processes is known as photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process by which green plants make sugar and starch from water and carbon dioxide, by the power of sunlight! Can we not see by this that the sun figures the Father, the source; the Son is the radiance, the outraying of the Father; and the Holy Spirit is the mighty working or energizing effected by the light rays! The ONENESS of this is apparent, for the Father finds His expression in the son, and the Son IS because of all that the Father IS. Then the Holy Spirit is the working, energizing, creating and transforming by the power of the Father in the Son! And yet, all three are the very same God existing in three dimensions, for who can separate what is essentially ONE? And then Jesus prayed for us, "So that they all may be one just as You, Father, are in me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us" (Jn. 17:21, Amplified). The ultimate expression of the corporate man is that we might SHOW FORTH HIS GLORY! Therefore our Father is "the Father of lights (or heavenly luminaries)." Our destiny is to be celestial LIGHT BEARERS after His own kind! This is the revelation of Jesus Christ!
Let us explore a little further the things the Son received of the Father, for they are the things which the Son shows to His chosen and gives unto them. There are far too many to list them all, but as you read the Gospels you should take note of how many times the Lord used expressions such as, "Thou gavest me" and "I have received of my Father." Notice how many times, just in His wonderful prayer recorded in John 17, He speaks of receiving from the Father. "As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given Him." "I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do." "I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest me out of the world." "Now they have known that all things whatsoever Thou hast given me are of Thee. For I have given them the words which Thou gavest me." "Those Thou hast given me I have kept...and the glory which Thou gavest me I have given them." This, and more, is contained in just that one chapter! The Father gave Him power over all flesh. His followers and disciples were given to Him by the Father. The Father gave Him the word to give to those the Father had given Him. The glory He had was given Him by the Father, and He has given it unto us!
We also find that the life Jesus had was given Him by the Father. "As the Father has life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself" (Jn. 5:26). The scriptures reveal that the kingdom has been given to Christ. "And there was given Him dominion and glory, and a kingdom" (Dan. 7:14). The Holy Spirit, the promise of the Father, was given to Him, "Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear" (Acts 2:23). The love He manifested was not His own love, it was the love of the Father, "For I am persuaded, that neither death nor life, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom. 8:38-39). The anointing He had was of the Father! "For of a truth against Thy holy child Jesus, whom Thou hast anointed" and "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power..." (Acts 4:27; 10:38). The omnipotent power and universal authority which He has now was also given to Him, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth" (Mat. 28:18). Everything Jesus had and everything Jesus was, was given to Him by the Father. It is all a part of that glorious revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants!
Jesus Christ, the firstborn Son of God, received everything He had from the Father! Many scriptures confirm that He received divine life from the Father. He received the living word from the Father. He received His sonship anointing from the Father. He received His glory from the Father. He received His ministry from the Father. He received His power and authority from the Father. He received His wisdom and understanding from the Father. He received His works from the Father. He received His name, His nature, from the Father. He received His mind from the Father. He received His judgment from the Father. He received His kingship and priesthood from the Father. He received His resurrection, ascension, glorification, exaltation and enthronement from the Father!
Beyond all this, wonderful as these things are, lies an even greater truth. All that Jesus received of the Father, He became! How awesome are the words when Jesus declared, "I am the life." He hadnít just received life, He had become the life! He had received the word from God; but He not only received it, he became the word. By receiving the word He received the truth, for "Thy word is truth." So Jesus said, "I am the truth." He received from the Father the great plan of redemption and restoration, to bring all men back to God. However, the Father did not just show Him the way, or make Him a "way-shower," as some say, for Jesus Himself became the way. "I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me."
The question came to me, "Why did the Lord Jesus say, "I am the way" first, and not, "I am the life?" Why first, the way? I will tell you why! Because HE IS THE WAY INTO EVERYTHING GOD HAS FOR US! He is the Captain of our salvation! He is the Author and the Finisher of our faith! He is the great High Priest of the priesthood! He is the Forerunner who has opened up the way into the Holiest of all! He is the Head of the body! He is Firstborn among many brethren! He is the One from whom we receive the anointing! We could never enter into truth, nor into life, nor into any other reality were He not first the way! There are various meanings for the word "way," but the one meant here is: "A means of getting from one place to another, as a road, street, highway, etc." Some time ago a friend asked me how to get to the courthouse in downtown El Paso. I gave him very specific instructions. "Just follow the I-10 freeway all the way in to the downtown exit. Get off on the exit and continue straight until you come to Kansas Street. Turn left on Kansas and drive into the downtown area until you come to Overland. You will see the courthouse there on the left." Now I knew the way and was able to tell him how to get to where he wanted to go. But I was not the way! There is a great difference between knowing the way, being able to show someone the way, and being the way.
Jesus knew the way ó the Father had shown Him. Everything He knew He had heard from His Father. But He did not come to tell us about the way to salvation, or show us the way into sonship. Oh, no! He became the way! What does this mean? Let me make this as clear as I can. Jesus didnít come to tell us about the way into the fullness of God, into our inheritance. Nor did He come to show us the way! He didnít come to take us by the hand and gently lead us to the Father! It is the purpose of "the way" to bring us to God. He came to be the way, not to tell us or show us. He is not giving us directions! He is not drawing us a map! He is not leading us by the hand! When I want to go to the store I get in my Dodge Intrepid and get on the streets that I know will take me there. When I get on the right streets I am in the way. O Lord, give us eyes to see that we are only on the way to the Father when we are in the Son! There is something more than just believing or standing on the promises! We do believe, oh yes, we do! But to come into union and oneness with the Father is more than this ó we have to be IN THE SON. He is Himself the way to the Father and we have to be in Him in order to get there! Surely it was with this very truth in mind that Jesus prayed, "That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us." Not one with us, but one in us.
There is tremendous depth here, my beloved, for this is the mystery above all mysteries. The revelation of Jesus Christ is the unveiling of the Christ life within us. It is not a word, a creed, a doctrine, a theology, a truth, or even a revelation. I pray that you would pause here to request the mercies of heaven that God would give you the spirit of wisdom and understanding in the knowing of Him that you may see the glory that is our inheritance in Christ! The great truth is that we also must become what we have received if we are to be sons indeed. We can hear the truth, we can receive the truth and know the truth; but before the truth can become effective in us, we must become the truth. The truth must become our very personality, our state of being. You see, we can hear truth, receive truth, and know truth, but still not walk in the realm of truth! We may speak truth, teach truth, and preach truth, and yet walk in ways that are not according to the truth. But when we become truth, when we are truth, the truth will be manifested out of us as the Christ who is the truth! There was nothing that the Son could do that was not truth, nor could He speak any word that was not truth, for He was the truth.
The oath of Godís sons is not the oath of the court room where we swear to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." To qualify for the great task the Father has for us in restoring the whole creation to find its one head in Christ, we have to "BE the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!" Those who come to this are ready to be laborers together with God in the consummation of His great purpose to deliver creation from the bondage of corruption. We have known the revelation of Christ to us and in us, but the hour has come and now is when there shall be the revelation of the Christ as us. When we have become the life, as He is the life, we also will have life to give. We will no longer believe in life, speak life, teach life, or preach life, but we will have life to give to all who dwell in the valley of the shadow of death. The revelation that was given to Jesus is now given to us that in Him we may truly be the way, the truth, and the life for all creation! Oh, the wonder of it!
Let us then with a reverence born of the Spirit of God explore these celestial fields a little further. The writer to the Hebrews says of man, "Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all in subjection under him, He LEFT NOTHING THAT IS NOT PUT UNDER HIM" (Heb. 2:8). Then he makes a statement that appears to be a direct contradiction to all this by saying, "BUT NOW WE SEE NOT YET ALL THINGS PUT UNDER HIM!" In the first statement he says that all has been put under man, and in the next tells us that this has not yet been accomplished. But the writer says that we do see one man. WE SEE JESUS! All of our hope is in Jesus, and we have no hope of attainment outside of Him. Jesus, as the first perfect man and the first perfected son of God, is the evidence and guarantee to us that we also will be perfected as sons of God and attain to the glory of His sonship.
The writer goes on to describe the One who has been through all the pathway of sonship to God. Jesus is our forerunner, our evidence and our guarantee that God will bring us through even as He brought Jesus through! So we read, "For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings" (Heb. 2:10). Now if all things are for Him, and if all things are by Him, does this not place Jesus in a prominent and highly exalted position? No other man has ever occupied such prominence as this! There is absolutely no other person who has all things either by or for them! The apostle is actually saying in these words that because of His prominence and highly exalted position of power, dominion and glory, it was necessary that He go through all the things and experiences that all the rest of the sons of God who are partakers of flesh and blood have experienced.
Let us put it this way. If Jesus did all things that He did by reason of His being in some unique or transcendent way the divine Son of God; or by reason of the fact that He Himself was the source of power and glory, then He very definitely had some advantage over us! If such were the case, then He had access to resources that are denied us, and He possessed attributes and qualities that are foreign to us now and always will be. He was indeed the Son of God, but because of His heritage as a divine One and the fact that all things were both for Him and by Him, God put Him through just the same experiences that the children must experience and suffer. He had no advantage over us because of who He was or what He possessed! He was made as weak as us in that He said, "I of myself can do nothing."
A brother used the following example which I find wonderfully illustrative of the truth. "We see a man who has built a great business and financial empire. There may be thousands of employees, but only one son. Naturally this son is in the line of inheritance and is to receive all that the father has. This son could have the privilege of stepping into all the advantage and all the resources possessed by the father. It is rightfully his! Thus he could become the owner and head of all the father has built up, and be the one to run it. This could happen whether or not the son had any knowledge about the management of the business, or any experience in it. By right of the prominence of his position as son of the head of that great empire, this son could step into it and possess it.
"But this father has different ideas for his son! He makes conditions such that if the son desires the fatherís place, he must start from the bottom, and learn the business from the ground up. He must start at the bottom and come up through the whole business as any ordinary employee would do. He is put in a position where he cannot take advantage of the fact that he is the son of the owner or that the business is his by right of inheritance. No one could keep him from inheriting ó but the father causes him to become eligible for the supreme position by taking him over the same pathway that any employee would be expected to travel in order to reach the top. This is exactly what the scripture is telling us concerning Jesus! Because Jesus was the Son of God, and because that by Him and through Him and for Him are all things; and because all things were made by Him, He would have the right of authority to step into the position of the Father unquestioned by anyone! But God chose that this firstborn Son would not attain in that way, but He would come the way of all other sons and be one of them.
"Now consider this. A man, the head of a great business, has a son, and he gives him a thorough education, and upon graduation he brings this son right into the company and makes him president of the board without any practical experience. The employees of that company would know that the son received that position merely because he was the fatherís son! They would also understand that they knew more about this business than the son does! But because he is the son of the president, he gets this high position, for he is the heir. If Jesus steps into the throne of the Father under such conditions, he would be open to many criticisms from the principalities and powers in the heavenly places! We know that He has been exalted to the Fatherís throne for He tells us clearly, ĎTo 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 throneí (Rev. 3:21). We are called to sit in the throne and power of the Son, even as He sat down in the throne and power of the Father.
"If Jesus attained to this highest position without going through all that the children do, there would be the possibility of some saying that He attained to that position simply because He was the Son of the Father. He would not have done anything to give Him a right to it except the right of inheritance. And the children would know within themselves that Jesus had an advantage that they never possessed! The children could say that Jesus never did experience all the things they have, yet these children are expected to be sons of God just as Jesus is! The truth is that Jesus never did take advantage over any of the rest of the children because He was the Son of God. He came the same route that the rest of us have to come! We have been given the same spirit and anointing and life that indwelt Him from His birth in the hills of Judea. Because of His prominent position it was only right that he come into this death realm and share its weakness, limitation, temptation and sorrow with every man. In bringing many sons to glory, it was only right that God make the firstborn Son or the chief Son to be perfected through the things He suffered and experienced.
"When we all stand before the Father, including the Lord Jesus Himself, there can only be one cry. There can be but one message and one song, and that will be that we have all come the same way! No flesh shall ever glory in the presence of the Father! Even Jesus will not be able to stand out and apart from the other sons and say that He got to that place by His own inherent merit as the firstborn Son. Consider the words of the apostle in Romans 1:4. ĎAnd declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, BY THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD.í Jesus had to be resurrected just like any of the rest of us! We used to have the idea that He raised Himself, but He did not. For we read, ĎIf the spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you...í (Rom. 8:11). ĎWhom God hath raised up...í Many other passages, too numerous to list, bear witness to the fact that it was God, the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus was as helpless in the hand of the Father as we are! He had to be, so that He might be made like unto His brethren. And then this amazing and encouraging word: ĎFor both He that sanctifieth (Jesus) and they who are sanctified (the many brethren) ARE ALL OUT OF ONE: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethrení (Heb. 2:11). There is no denying that we all have come out from God. Jesus said that we all came from the same source and He testified that He came forth from the Father, so we also came from the Father. Jesus did not come from Adam, yet He was made in all things like unto His brethren. He came from God, but clothed in a body and life situation just like ours."
If Godís people could comprehend the fathomless depths of the book of Hebrews, they would find themselves well on the road to understanding the magnificent glories that belong to the sons of God! I would draw your reverent attention to another verse in the second chapter of Hebrews wherein we read, "I will declare Thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto Thee" (Heb. 2:12). Now I do not know what you have seen in this passage, but I know how I have understood it in the past, and to many of us, I am sure, it spoke of an expression of glory in worship and praise. We had the idea that when we gathered together and entered into the spirit of worship, singing praises unto the Father, that Jesus would come into the midst of the congregation and He, too, would lift up His voice. Many times we felt that we could actually hear a heavenly sound in our praises which we believed was the voice of the Son of God singing praise to the Father.
I do not deny that that can happen, and I know we have experienced supernatural dimensions of praise and worship unto God. We have sung the song of the Lord by the Spirit! The spirit of praise has caught us up into heavenly places! Yet, beyond that, I see in the verse we have quoted a definite, specific event taking place. There is something here of tremendous importance that is taking place! This phrase "in the midst" literally means in the middle. Also, we must bear in mind that the punctuation in the King James Bible or in any other version is not inspired. The punctuation has been put there by the translators according to their understanding of what the original is saying. Let us quote this verse in this way, "Saying, I will announce Thy name unto my brethren in the middle of the church ó I will sing praise unto Thee!" Jesus is saying that He will come in an make an announcement concerning a great reality in the middle of the church. HE WILL ANNOUNCE TO HIS BRETHREN, THE NAME OF THE FATHER! Jesus had already told us in Matthew 11:27, "Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and He to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him." Jesus Christ is the only one who knows the Father, and no one else is able to know the Father unless the Son reveals Him. "The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants..." Do you get the connection between these profound and enlightening statements? Jesus is saying that in the middle of the church He will reveal the Father to the sons, His brethren. Not to the whole church! To His brethren in the middle of the church! Surely you will have noticed that John in His heavenly vision on Patmos saw the seven churches, representing the whole church throughout the church age ó and what did he see "in the midst" or "in the middle" of the churches? Ah, he saw ONE LIKE UNTO THE SON OF MAN! Godís people are greatly hindered from seeing the truth of what John saw, because they continually confuse the traditions of the church systems with the revelation of God. It is not the Son of man that John beheld in the midst of the churches, but one like unto the Son of man! This inspired statement reveals the great truth that this one is the complete Christ, the whole Christ, the many-membered body of Christ, the corporate man, composed of all His many brethren who have been conformed to the image of the Son of God! "We know that we shall be like Him..."
This company that is like unto the Son of man, this company that is like Him, exactly like Him, is the company of "His brethren" and they are in the middle of the seven churches. "I will announce Thy name unto my brethren in the middle of the church..." There has surely come a time in this church age that is now ending when Jesus, as the first begotten Son, and the one who knows the Father, who is acquainted with the Father and has the Father fully indwelling Him, has revealed or unveiled the name, or the nature, of the Father to the sons! We can repeat a thousand times the words, "I know the Father, I know the Father." But until Jesus Christ reveals the Father in the power of the Spirit within our hearts, we do not have any true knowledge of the Father. We say, Father, because Jesus taught the disciples to pray and to begin their prayer by saying, "Our Father..." We say, Father, because of our having been instructed to do so. But when the spirit of the Son, the spirit of sonship, comes upon us we cry "Father!" from the depths of our very beings because it is the call of the Son. In the middle of the church we sing praise unto the Father! While all the baby Christians and all the carnal Christians in all the seven churches are crying, "Jesus! Jesus!" the Lord Jesus stands in the midst of the church announcing His Fatherís name and nature unto His brethren, the sons of God in the middle!
Let me ask you, precious friend of mine, where were you when Jesus first announced the Fatherís name to you? At what stage of your development into Christ did the Lord Jesus begin to reveal the Father within your heart? Most of those who read these words had not yet come out of the church systems of man when the revelation of sonship burst within their hearts! The vast majority of us were right there in the middle of the church when Jesus announced the Fatherís name and nature to us! Was it not after this that we heard the call of the Spirit to "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partaker of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues" (Rev. 18:4). Which church was it in the book of Revelation that had so many sins that the Lord warned again and again, "I have somewhat against you...remember therefore from whence thou art fallen...repent...or else I will come unto thee quickly, and remove thy candlestick...repent, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against you with the sword of my mouth...behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except she repent...if therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief...repent!...because thou art lukewarm I will spue thee out of my mouth!" Every one of these inditements is made against THE SEVEN CHURCHES! Can we not see by this that it is the seven churches that become that great city Babylon that is thrown down and burned with fire! Mystery of mysteries! Yet, has it not been "in the middle" of that church that Jesus announced the name of the Father and revealed the Father to His many brethren, the sons of God! And before we left from the middle, we sang praise unto the Father in the midst of the church! Verily, the One like unto the Son of man stood in the midst of the churches, just as John saw in spirit in that long ago! Oh, the wonder of it! And it is very significant that no promise was made to any of the seven churches ó each and every promise was given to a particular company within the church, to ó him that overcometh ó the company in the middle!
It should be abundantly clear that most of the seven churches were not truly walking in the Fatherís name or nature. The overcomer, the one like unto the Son of man, in the middle, alone had taken upon him the Fatherís nature. There is much contained in that one word name. We speak of the name of the Lord, the name of Jesus, the name of the Father, and the name of God. There has been a great rift in the Pentecostal movement over the name of Jesus. Men become enemies over the use of the name of Jesus versus the titles of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Men argue and fight over what name or formula is used in water baptism. Men dispute over the various spellings and pronunciations of the name Yahweh, or whether we should use the term Lord in referring to God. I have my own thoughts on those things, but name means far more than a grouping of letters of the alphabet or a sound of utterance! We know that there are literally millions of boys and men in the world today who bear the name of Jesus. Here on the border of Mexico there are many men named J-E-S-U-S. But their name Jesus has no more meaning to God than the name Harry, Sam, or Jack. If such a man came before the Father and said, "I am Jesus," the Lord would pay no more attention to him than if he had said, "I am Bob." In the scriptures the word name indicates NATURE, CHARACTER, HONOR AND AUTHORITY.
Does not Jesus have an honor that no one else has ever possessed? Is He not honored of the Father as none other ever was? Does He not possess an authority that no one else ever had? Does He not now possess a nature and character above all the sons of men? He has received a name, a nature, a character, an honor and an authority far above all other names! And His name is the Fatherís name, for the Father has bestowed on Him the name that is above every other name in heaven and in earth. "I will announce Thy name unto my brethren in the midst of the church..." Suppose that a number of Godís people are together, and Jesus stands in their midst and says, "I am come to announce the name of my Father to you who are my brethren." Does that seem strange to you, my brother, my sister? Yet it has happened thousands of times all over the earth! He has come in our midst to reveal the nature, honor, and authority of His Father, that we may see and know the Father, and become like Him in all of our ways. We are sons because we have known the Father!
We know Jesus, we know God, we know Holy Spirit, we know Lord, and we know Master. But now we know the Father! Jesus has announced the Fatherís name to us! Most of the Lordís people know Jesus, or Christ, or the Lord, or God. But the sons know the Father! The announcement, the proclamation, the revelation has been given! Jesus said He would sing praises unto the Father. To sing praise literally means to sing an ode. An ode is a song or a poem concerning a marvelous and highly esteemed person and the deeds he has done. Some one sings this ode and they tell of his life and all his accomplishments. They extol all his good points and the great benefactor he was to mankind. Jesus said that He would stand up in the midst of His brethren in the middle of the church and SING AN ODE UNTO HIS FATHER! It is the sons who know the Fatherís nature, the Fatherís heart, the Fatherís ways, the Fatherís will and the Fatherís plan and purpose. The sons are telling of all the wonderful, glorious works of the Father! The sons are telling of all His marvelous goodness, His mercy, His grace, and His love! The sons proclaim the Fatherís power, authority and honor as He moves to set all creation free and restore all men and all things unto Himself. The sons declare the omnipotent love that the Father has bestowed upon His creation in Jesus Christ! Those who do not sing this ode unto the Father do not do so because the Son has not revealed the Father unto them! Men who cannot sing this ode do not know the Father!
The firstborn Son of God has announced the Fatherís name unto His brethren here in the close of the church age. It is a GREAT ANNOUNCEMENT! This very thing is a signal or sign that the great world-wide and universal manifestation of the sons of God is ready to begin. We have had the revelation of the Saviour, the Healer, the Blesser, the Baptizer, the Deliverer. But now it is time for the Father to be revealed!
"The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass."
To be continued... J. PRESTON EBY
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