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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KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST
Every man needs the spirit of revelation from God. I do not mean that childish spirit found among many who aspire to be sons of God that is always striving to come up with some new and far-fetched idea that they can call a revelation. As George Hawtin once said, "It is not a flurry of fantastic fancies that we need, but a great spirit of wisdom and understanding given by God that will unfold to us the immutable almighty omniscience of God’s eternal purpose." The blessed book of Revelation is not a series of fantastic fancies, but it is the heart of the Father giving to His elect the ability to receive and understand the purpose of His divine mind which has been planned from before the foundation of the world.
THE BONDSLAVES OF JESUS CHRIST
"The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass..." (Rev. 1:1).
During the historical period in which the King James Version of the Bible was translated, the word servant carried the same meaning as our word slave does today. The Greek word doulos, rendered servant is better translated slave or bondslave. In olden times a household servant was chattel. He was like a horse or cow in the sense that he was owned "lock, stock, and barrel" by his lord and master. He could not determine his destiny in this world any more than a Southern slave before the Civil War. Douloi were the property of their masters and their calling was to obey the will of the one who owned them.
It is remarkable to notice the frequency with which the New Testament writers insist on the use of that word "bondslave" as describing their relationship to Jesus Christ! It is the favorite designation of the apostle Paul who began a number of his epistles with these words, "Paul an apostle and bondslave of Jesus Christ..." He even gloried in wearing the bondmarks of the slavery of Jesus! The apostle Peter describes himself in the very same terms. And the book of Revelation rings with the word, touched by heavenly light, transfigured and glorified! This wondrous book is prepared for bondslaves — they are the ones for whom is reserved the unveiling of Jesus Christ! The bondslaves are the ones who are shown "the things which must shortly come to pass!" They are the ones sealed in the forehead with the Father’s name! They are the ones who receive the rewards! They see God’s face! Heaven takes our most dreaded terms, and makes them sparkle in its own celestial light, till what had seemed the synonym of terror becomes the goal of our fondest hopes in the kingdom of God! The bondslaves of the royal house of Christ are the kings and priests upon God’s throne! That is what the book of Revelation reveals. Oh, the mystery of it! Oh, the wonder of it!
In that old Hebrew world which lies so far back in the dim twilight of the past, there is one custom given to the people by Yahweh Himself which claims our attention and scintillates beneath the light of the Spirit’s words as the snow upon the mountains when smitten by the rising sun. God made provision that if an Israelite, through the disaster of bad fortunes and disappointing harvests, were to fall into deep debt to some rich neighboring creditor — so much so that he owed him more than even the land of his inheritance was worth — he was permitted to deed his property over to his creditor until the year of Jubilee. But, in addition, if the debt were larger still, he could deliver even himself up to his creditor to be his servant, his slave, so as to work off his debt. In such a case he was required to serve his master for six years. He was to go free in the seventh year.
It must have been a painful and heart breaking thing for that land owner to say farewell to his cherished homestead and beloved possessions, upon which his forefathers had bestowed their diligent labor, to go away into servitude to another. Tearful and heart touching must have been the farewell walk around his beloved home, which he and his might not ever claim again during his lifetime. But yet there was blessing out of the sorrow — freedom from anxiety and foreboding, no more struggling to make ends meet and to keep their heads above water, no more fear of the creditor breathing down his neck each year, confronting his inability to pay. All responsibility for food, clothing, shelter, and the welfare of himself and his wife and children was now transferred to the shoulders of another.
So the appointed years passed away. When the debt was satisfied, the master would call the slave into his presence, to give him his release. But a wonderful provision was made if the man feared to again try to make it on his own — if he truly loved his master, if he enjoyed the labor he had done, if he was pleased with the master’s provision for him and his wife and children. He could at that moment bind himself to that master’s service forever! If he decided to leave, he could only take what belonged to him before he became a slave. Whatever was given to him by his master stayed behind. If he was married when he became a slave, his wife went out with him when he left. However, if his master had given him a wife and she had given birth to sons or daughters, they could not accompany him.
"But if the slave shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free..." (Ex. 21:5). And if his master was also pleased, they could call for the elders of the city, and there solemnly before the judges, his master bored his ear through with an awl to the doorpost, creating the mark upon the slave that sealed his relationship to his master forever (Ex. 21:6). From the moment that the ear of the slave was pierced he was a marked man! The ornament which was usually inserted in the hole of the lobe of his ear bore testimony that he was the slave of another by his own choice, and, furthermore, that he had a desirable master! It declared that his owner took better care of him than he could of himself. His pierced ear was a way of saying that his lord had his ear, which meant that he willingly chose to obey his master’s voice! From henceforth he no longer served his master to pay off any debt — he served him willingly out of a heart of love! He had stood meekly and voluntarily at his master’s door, and gave himself in love to serve him forever! And from that day forward he was no longer merely a slave — he was a bondslave, a loveslave!
These things bear faithful witness to the great truth that now we, the elect of the Lord, by such a love and commitment have become the bondslaves of Jesus Christ! How significant are the words if the slave plainly says! Alas, believers say many things with their lips which they do not really mean with their hearts. On the way to Jerusalem, a man came up to Jesus and said: "I will follow you wherever you go." But the Lord saw through the man’s words and replied, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay His head" (Lk. 9:57-58). On another occasion a young ruler ran up to Jesus and, falling at His feet, asked, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" But when told what to do, his countenance fell, and he went away sad and dejected (Mk. 10:17-22). Only if the slave plainly said, "I love my master, my wife, and my children," was he allowed to become a slave for life. Love for his master had to supersede all other loves! The slave’s giving up of his freedom had to be the result of genuine love for his master, and not of any sense of duty or obligation for favors or benefits received. The piercing of his ear against a doorpost was done before God in the presence of the witnesses and confirmed that he was now a slave of love. Those whom God has called to the Kingdom will only be confirmed in their calling if they, like the Hebrew slave, are willing to give up all their rights and as bondslaves of love are disposed to be subject to Jesus as absolute Lord and King of their lives!
Is that how you feel about the Lord? Then the book of Revelation is addressed to you! If you’re a bondslave and love your Master, and you’ve made the choice, "I want to serve you forever. I’m not leaving your house, nothing else in the world holds any attraction for me, there is nothing for myself I wish to fulfill or accomplish, I want to stay in your house, hear and obey your voice, do all your will, abide there forever because I love my Master," then you have to have your ear nailed to the door! Beloved brethren, is this not what the Lord means when He admonishes time and again throughout the book of Revelation, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Through the dealings of God revealed in the book of Revelation our ear is nailed to the door! Jesus said, "I am the door," and it is to Him that the ear of every son of God has been nailed that we might hear only His voice and serve Him forever, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of the eternal Spirit! All the voices of the world have passed away, every voice of the church systems of man have been turned aside, the voices of our own will, hopes, plans, ambitions and desires have been hushed! John himself was the one who put his ear to the door for it was he who leaned upon the breast of Jesus. He knew His heartbeat, He knew His heartthrob, He knew what He was feeling, He had heard His voice and His heart as none other had heard it, his ear was nailed to the door and he received a revelation of Jesus Christ! John represents all of God’s elect who have had their ear pierced by the awl of Jesus! I tell you today, I love my Master! I love my Master’s family! My Master takes better care of me than I could ever do for myself! I refuse to go out free! My ear has been bored through, I live only to hear my Master’s voice, to do my Master’s will! I am committed unrevokebly, fully and eternally to the high purposes of His Kingdom!
A further exhortation along this line has been found in a writing received many years ago from our friend Connie Asbill. She wrote, "We find, then, that God has called us out of bondage and into bondage! The Word says, of course, that God has called us to liberty! And so He has. The seeming conflict between the two thoughts is cleared up when we consider Paul’s explanation to the Romans. Hear it! ‘Know ye not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey his servants (Greek: slaves) ye are to whom ye obey: whether of sin unto death or of obedience unto righteousness? ... Being then made free from sin, ye became the slaves of righteousness...for when ye were slaves of sin, ye were free from righteousness...but now being made free from sin, and become slaves unto God, ye have your fruit unto holiness and the end life everlasting’ (Rom. 6:16-22).
"Did you hear it? ‘Ye were slaves of sin — but have become the slaves of God.’ Beloved, that slavery is a nature, and we were once slaves to a nature. Now, however, we are becoming slaves again — to a new nature! God has called us unto liberty, but He has said that when you are a slave to sin, you are free from God! When, on the other hand, you are a slave to God, then you are free — free from sin! Free from Adam! That is why Paul said, ‘The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law (nature) of sin and death!’ Are we grasping the significance of this? We must see that in order for the spirit to be free, the flesh must be bound. There cannot be liberty for both the flesh and the spirit, for the two are enemies and will create continual warfare if both are free. If we would have a freedom of spirit, there must come a bondage to the flesh. When the flesh is free, the spirit is bound, and when the flesh is bound, the spirit is free! Oh, can we pray with the songwriter, ‘Set my spirit free that I may worship Thee,’ though we realize that in the asking we plead with God for a bondage to be placed upon the flesh man, Adam? There are many forms that the nature of bondage God is working into us will manifest itself. If we are to respond to Him in every circumstance, we must settle beforehand that we do not want to be free!
"This was the law of the Hebrew slave who had served his master for six years and the time came for his dismissal. But he loved his master and did not want to go out free! If the slave plainly said, ‘I love my master...I will not go out free,’ then his master brought him to the doorpost and bored his ear through with an awl; and he served him forever. Here we see a beautiful picture of our own relationship to our Master, Jesus Christ. Bought with His blood, the slave is brought into bondage for ‘six years.’ Six is the number of the flesh, and this time element, therefore, represents the length of time that, though bought with His blood, we live in the bondage of the flesh. As the slave allows Christ, however, to chasten, to discipline, to bind and to bring him into servitude to Himself, he is, in that six years being changed from glory to glory until there comes an end to the fleshly appetites, an end to the rule of the ego-man inside, an end to the ‘six years.’ The Lord will then declare to him, ‘Now you are free! You have overcome!’ The slave is free to go — to live his own life — to be his own man — but so thoroughly has the Master’s way of life become his own that he finds at the end of that time he is bound by a greater bondage than the law of commandments which held him for six years, for now the slave says, ‘I LOVE!’ Hallelujah! Something has been worked into him. ‘I LOVE MY MASTER! I LOVE MY MASTER’S FAMILY! I WILL NOT BE FREE!’
"Ah, he knows the price of such a declaration! ‘Then his master shall bring him unto the judges...and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve him forever!’ It was of this slave that the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, ‘The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back’ (Isa. 50:5). The true hearing of the word of God will work a death in a man and will bring him into the bondage of the obedience of faith. This slave was a hearing one, for it was the hearing that brought him to the place of such love that he would deliberately choose bondage rather than liberty. He received, then, the eternal seal of a hearing one, scarred for life through the wounding of the master’s tool, having his ear circumcised to hear only that which the Father is speaking! Jesus said, ‘The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself...but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things’ (Jn. 14:10; 8:28). This is that final bondage to which the slave came in the piercing of his ear. Do we desire that bondage, and can we pray...
I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem,
Restrained by His holy word.
Though I’m freeborn, I’m a bondslave son,
Bound by the Spirit of the Lord!
Bind me with fetters from above,
Let Thy rod now fall on me.
Kept in chains by Father’s love,
Thy slave-son I would ever be!
"Let us yield ourselves to His discipline, allow Him to work that bondage into us, lay that rod upon our flesh, for we will find, in the end, that it has been HIS OWN NATURE that we have received! There is no place, now, for self. We must submit ourselves, yea, even seek out, the restraining influence of the Spirit and the Word. Do we love our Master?" — end quote.
Would you remind me that you are a son and not a servant? Some say this as though being a son is a higher calling! But I would kindly remind you that Jesus, the firstborn Son, "Being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a slave, and was made in the likeness of men: and being in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil. 2:6-7). And we are counseled in the verse just preceding these to "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus!" Don’t think for one moment, beloved, that there is any conflict between being a son and being a bondslave! The inspired statements above show clearly that though Jesus was, as a Son, in the form of God; though He was not robbing God in any way by His own equality with God; yet, He made Himself of no reputation, He willingly and voluntarily took upon Himself the form of a slave, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto the death of the cross!
I would draw your attention to the fact that these are all things JESUS DID TO HIMSELF! Just as the Hebrew slave willingly stood at the doorpost to be made the bondslave of His master, so the Lord Jesus willingly walked this earth as the bondslave of His Father! A true slave lays down all self importance and recognition. He surrenders without reservation to the master’s plan. Jesus of His own volition became obedient to all the word, way and will of His Father. Now hear me! Herein lies the difference between being a son and being a bondslave. A son is what the Father makes us! Sonship is the work of God! We have not called ourselves to sonship! The Father Himself has birthed us and laid His hand upon us! We have no other option! "According as He (the Father) hath chosen us in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world...having predestinated us unto the placement as sons by Jesus Christ unto Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will" (Eph. 1:4-5). On the other hand, a bondslave is what we make ourselves! "Paul, a bondslave of Jesus Christ..." (Rom. 1:1). Today we may also cry with the apostle, "From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear branded on my body the slave marks of the Lord Jesus!" "Mine ear hast Thou bored!" "Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God!" And the response comes resounding from the heavens of God’s Spirit, "The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His bondslaves things which must shortly come to pass!" You want to be a son, but not a bondslave? Then forget the book of Revelation! If we are one of His servant-slaves, the secrets contained in this book are ours to understand, appropriate, and apprehend! They are our possession! They are our destiny! The revelation of Jesus Christ belongs to His bondslaves!
THINGS WHICH MUST SHORTLY COME TO PASS
"The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass..." This passage would better be translated, "...to show unto His bondslaves things which must occur swiftly." The Greek term is "en taxes" which means "in haste — quickly or swiftly." It refers not primarily to the soonness, although it can be inclusive of that, but to the rapidity of execution once something starts. Scientists use the word as the name of a technical instrument — the tachometer — a device for measuring velocity, and is what might be called a "speed meter."
We need no greater evidence of the meaning of a word than finding where the same expression is used in other places and seeing its meaning there. Speaking of the justice the Lord measures out to those of His elect who in faith and expectation persistently cry unto Him, Jesus said, "And shall not God vindicate His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? I tell you that He will vindicate them speedily (en taxes)" (Lk. 18:7-8). When the Lord was delivering Peter from prison we read, "And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly (en taxes). And his chains fell off from his hands" (Acts. 12:7). The apostle Paul related his experience of when the Lord appeared to him in a vision, warning him to flee from Jerusalem, saying, "Make haste and get thee quickly (en taxes) out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me..." (Acts 22:18).
The Lord Jesus is showing to His bondslaves things which must speedily come to pass! It may not seem quickly to us, by man’s reckoning of time, but it is quickly by the Lord’s time! It means that when the Lord sets His hand to accomplish something in our lives, He will not rest until the work is finished! Nothing and no one can deter Him! The flesh cannot hinder Him, our own will cannot resist Him, the world cannot withstand Him, the devil cannot frustrate His activity — He will work ceaselessly, persistently, powerfully and swiftly until His purpose in us is fulfilled! When God’s work begins it runs with absolute certainty and is accomplished with great rapidity. What hope and expectation this evokes in our hearts!
Many people interpret the book of Revelation in one of several ways. Some view it as a history book outlining the rise and fall of empires with all the great world events and spiritual movements of the past 2,000 years. Most evangelicals today think that it had no relevance at all to the Christians to whom John sent it 2,000 years ago, or to any believers that have lived from that day to this — it is only a prophecy that would be fulfilled in the "end time" two millenniums later! Any man or woman who has even in the least partaken of revelation should be able to see that neither theory stands up to the words of inspiration: "To show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass!"
A brother gave a beautiful illustration of this truth. He said, "Suppose that Gary were to invite me to his house, saying, ‘My wife is going to cook some hamburgers for us,’ and I say, ‘Good, let’s go.’ I go to his house. We sit there — half an hour, forty-five minutes. Still no hamburgers. And I say, ‘Gary, check with Carol about the hamburgers.’ He comes back out and says, ‘She said they will be ready shortly.’ We sit there another half hour — and no hamburgers. He checks on her again and comes back and says, ‘She said they will be ready shortly.’ Pretty soon my wife and I get up and go to McDonald’s and buy us a hamburger because I don’t understand that kind of word, ‘shortly.’"
We may have read this beautiful passage ten thousand times, but today it holds new meaning. How it warms and strengthens my heart to read that one little word "must." "To show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass." Must! The word is important. The concern of this revelation is not with things which simply will happen, or may happen, or that depend upon some action on our part — if we pray enough, fast enough, study enough, work enough, listen to enough tapes, read enough papers, attend enough seminars and conferences, and believe hard enough. Oh, no! These are things which must happen, the outworking of the Father’s purpose! John is not writing about matters of chance, or the product of somebody’s free will, but of glorious things that God almighty will bring to pass because He has foreordained and predestinated them! If the Father has truly called you to sonship, dear reader of these lines, your heart will be greatly emboldened by these words of inspiration: "Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it" (I Thes. 5:24). Sonship is as certain as the power of God! Just as surely as He created the billions of galaxies, with their trillions of stars and suns and planets and moons, so certain is it that He will manifest His sons in this great Day of the Lord!
Brother Stacy Wood shared the following word which masterfully sums up the point I am making. "Two millenniums ago God began a work in His people, and in the book of Revelation He recorded it through His servant John. ‘These things,’ He says, ‘must shortly come to pass.’ The Greek word here translated ‘shortly’ doesn’t mean that these things would come to pass within a few days; it means that when they begin they will continue until they have been fulfilled or brought to completion. I am persuaded that we are in the fulfillment — we are in the days when things are ‘shortly’ coming to pass — when the purposes of God are marching forward to their fulfillment or completion. We are in the days when things are suddenly happening about us, God has set into motion events which have been progressively unfolding in His body from age to age, each age becoming brighter and brighter and better and better until finally God pulls the veil off from whom we really are and causes us to BE. God started something that He is completing, and that is where our confidence has to be!
"‘Being confident of this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ’ (Phil. 1:6). It is GOD who began the work in you, beloved. I did not begin it, it was not a preacher that began it, it wasn’t our ability to grasp hold of some light that began it. It was the Light Himself, who is the Light of our being, who dawned upon our consciousness and began a good work in us! Since He began it, we must trust Him to finish it! We may think we know what He has in mind for us, but the One who drew up the plan and began the work is the One who really knows what the finished product is all about. So we must rest upon, confide in, and trust that the One who began the good work in us will bring it to completion!
"I do want to define this term ‘good work.’ In the English language when we think of ‘good’ we relate it to that which feels good, tastes good — what we like. If we don’t like it, it’s not good. If it pleases us, it’s good. But that would be an inaccurate understanding of this word ‘good.’ A better English rendering of the word would be WORTHWHILE. God has begun a WORTHWHILE work in you! And He will complete it! The word worthwhile bears wonderful significance for me because I realize that with the good there is also the bitter and difficult, but it all works together for good. I do not look at everything that comes my way as being ‘good.’ In fact, the vast majority of things that come my way, if I were to judge it as being good or bad, I would say is bad, not good! But you see, now I’ve learned that it’s not a matter of good and bad — it’s a matter of worthwhile or worthless. I’m learning that everything that comes my way by the hand of the Father is certainly WORTHWHILE! Sometimes it’s very bitter, but it’s worthwhile. So God has begun a worthwhile work, a worthwhile endeavor — in us! And He is capable of bringing it to its fullness, its completion, unto the day of our Lord Jesus Christ" — end quote.
How that word "shortly" or "speedily" contradicts everything that most of us have been taught! We were told that, at least to John, the coming of Christ, the great tribulation, the beast, the 144,000, the New Jerusalem, and myriad other things are way out in the future somewhere! But "shortly" would indicate that these things are here upon us now! In chapter five of the Revelation we see John weeping as he received his revelation. He was weeping because the revelation was sealed with seven seals — a perfect, complete sealing. Wouldn’t it have been foolish for him to weep over things that were going to happen two thousand or more years in the future! Obviously, he was weeping over things that were pertinent to him then and there, just as they are pertinent to us today! These are great spiritual principles and realities that have been wrought out in the lives of God’s people throughout the age! Spiritual realities are eternal! Oh, that all who read these words could understand the "nowness" of God and the immediacy of all things that relate to the revelation of Jesus Christ! These events are not way out in the future — nor have they ever been! God’s remnant throughout the age has tasted of, and experienced, the deep dealings of God revealed in this book. Yes, there is a culmination, a full consummation at the end of the age! That day is even now upon us as God’s elect! It is at our very door! It is a present reality! The unveiling must come within each one of us as we experience the Lord Jesus Christ raised up within us from glory to glory! God is doing His strange but quick work within His chosen ones! The hour of manifestation is nigh at hand!
The book is saturated with the spirit of immediacy. Nothing is to be long deferred. The creak of the oxcart is never heard in this book! Everything moves with rapidity! Horses gallop in cavalry charge. Lightnings flash, thunders boom. Seas swallow ships at a gulp. Fire and earthquake strike suddenly. Hail crashes through the atmosphere. Pestilence flies upon the wings of the wind. Flying messengers flash their wings over earth and sea. The eonian gospel is carried swiftly through the mid-heavens by a winged angel. Everything is in rapid action. Nothing is static. Scenes are constantly shifting. The sense of rapidity is everywhere. "Delay shall be no longer." "The hour to reap is come." The "grapes are fully ripe." "In one hour thy judgment is come." "In one day her plagues shall come." "The marriage of the Lamb is come." "His wife hath made herself ready." The New Jerusalem comes down from God out of heaven. Four angels hold the four winds of the heavens until the bondslaves of God are sealed in their foreheads. Sons come up upon mount Zion. A manchild is born and immediately is caught up to God’s throne. Woes tread upon each other’s heels. Seal not the words of the prophecy, for the "time is at hand." The reaper rides a cloud. The woman who birthed the manchild escapes a pursuing dragon on the wings of an eagle. Saints, sanctuaried under God’s altar, cry out, "How long?" They are told to "rest yet a little time." The mystery of God is "finished." The devil is "cast down." Merchant princes plead for rocks to "fall" upon them. A flying eagle pronounces coming woes. Stars fall like blazing torches. Horses rush to war. Islands flee. The heavens are rolled up as a scroll. Satan, sullen of anger, begotten of defeat, moves swiftly in the earth realm because he knows his time is "short." Christ is urgent. He breaks unannounced into a scene proclaiming, "Behold, I come quickly." Everything moves with rapidity. And all these things must "swiftly come to pass!"
God is moving swiftly as this new Kingdom Day comes upon us! The manifestation of the sons of God has not yet taken place. I know there are those who have grown weary with the waiting, for God’s "quickly" does not always fit our perception of time. Some have watered down the revelation and have reduced the manifestation of the sons of God to the limited level of our present experience of Christ. A special outpouring of love, an abundance of grace, a sovereign moving of God in a situation becomes "the manifestation of the sons of God." If that is what it is, then the sons have been manifested for two thousand years! The early church had more power, more miracles, and more grace than most of us have witnessed in our life times. And yet Paul said in Romans chapter eight that the whole creation is waiting, groaning, travailing for the manifestation of the sons of God! And we ourselves are groaning within ourselves for our unveiling as God’s sons! Paul goes on to say that when the sons are unveiled, the redemption of our body will signify the adoption, our placement as sons! Then the whole vast creation of God, by the superlative ministry of a glorified, transfigured, metamorphosed, incorruptible and immortal company of sons in the power and glory of Christ’s resurrection, shall also be delivered from the bondage of corruption and brought into the glory of the liberty (from sin and death) of the sons of God! I must tell you, my beloved, that I know of no man or woman on earth today who even remotely resembles a manifested son of God! But God has meticulously laid the groundwork in the hearts and lives of those He has called and chosen, and when it does spring forth, it will spring forth speedily!
There are the "normal" workings of God — as if anything God does could be considered "normal!" But there are the on-going, day to day activities of the Holy Spirit — all of them supernatural happenings, but all of them that which we are accustomed to experiencing. The ongoing salvation of souls, the continual manifestations of gifts and ministries among the Lord’s people, the healing of sick, answers to prayer, meeting of needs, changing of lives, the progressive revelation of truth, the processes of God to conform us to the image of the Son. Then there are the "interventions" of God! The interventions of God are sudden happenings of God above and beyond the norm, in which the course of human history is literally changed because God comes on the scene in an unexpected and accelerated fashion. The scriptures usually announce an intervention of God by using the word "suddenly."
In the Gospel of Luke we read the record of the events at the birth of Jesus: "...and suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host" (Lk. 2:13). The annunciation of the Incarnation was a divine intervention. Here’s a great one: "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:1-4). There in that upper room, united in their faith in Christ and in their holy mood of expectancy, these humble disciples received their marching orders and were empowered to carry them out. They had had a long period of teaching and preparation; they had spent many hours in prayer and holy waiting. The great day came for them on Pentecost, and they were ready to march. March they did, straight into the heart of the pagan world! The Holy Spirit guided them step by step. He told them where to go, what to say, what to do. He walked in them and worked with them, confirming their word with mighty signs, wonders, and miracles. Armed with the word of God, the love of God, and the power of God, they were unconquerable and turned the world upside down and changed the course of history!
Then there was poor Saul of Tarsus, who ran headlong into a blinding suddenly. "It came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light around me" (Acts 22:6). We all know how that "suddenly" impacted the world! In Malachi 3:1-3 we read of another intervention of God, involved with the preparation of the sons of God, the royal priesthood of the Kingdom. "And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple...and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness." This is a divine intervention — when God suddenly comes to His elect in a manner different from, and infinitely more powerful and glorious than His normal workings throughout the past age.
We stand today in an hour not unlike the days preceding the day of Pentecost. The next great feast, the feast of Tabernacles, is about to "fully come." The Christ is among us in a fresh manifestation, there is a new message and a unique dealing of God going forth, a declaration and preparation concerning the next great step and phase of the kingdom of God on earth. The greater glory to come, the manifested sons of God upon the heavenly mount Zion, the manchild caught up to the Throne, the City Foursquare coming down from God out of heaven, the tabernacle of God among men, the new order for the new age, will be birthed suddenly and sovereignly BY GOD HIMSELF when the fullness of time has arrived. Let no man deceive you! The feast of Tabernacles has not yet begun! The revelation of it has come, just as the revelation of the promised Spirit came to Jesus’ disciples before the day of Pentecost! The hope of the new order of Tabernacles has been birthed, the preparations are in progress among a people who have heard the Spirit’s call. But all who currently are moving in the "church order" we have known all of our lives while at the same time proclaiming the arrival of the new order of the feast of Tabernacles, are in very fact still walking in the old order of Pentecost! There is no new order that transcends Pentecost in manifestation today! Some will disagree with me, and I will incur the wrath of others, but it should be very evident to all that you have only to visit the church meetings, home gatherings, conferences and conventions, with their songs, praise service, announcements, teaching, preaching, pastors, elders, traveling ministries, prophets, gifts of the spirit, laying on of hands, word of knowledge, healings, and all the rest to see that there is no new order! Ah, there is a new message! There is a new hope! There is a new expectancy! There is a new word from the Lord! There is a new dealing of God! It is true, God is purging from the hearts of His true remnant every vestige and all the ways of the old order church systems of men! And He is establishing the new order of His kingdom in our hearts! But I declare unto you that I have neither witnessed, nor received testimony of, a truly NEW ORDER any where that is saving the world or delivering creation! And don’t tell me that I am putting off into the future that which may be claimed today. Jesus could not come into the world until the fullness of time came! He could not die as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world until the evening of the Passover arrived! The Holy Spirit could not be poured out until the day of Pentecost had fully come! In the eternal realm of God’s Spirit all things exist in God’s now. But in the outworking of those things in the earth realm God has a time and a season for every work, and each will arrive right on schedule!
When the feast of Tabernacles has fully come, the Lord of Glory will suddenly appear in His temple of sons in the manifestation of incorruptible life and nature, of omnipotent, immortal power and glory — with no carnal efforts, advertising, programming, church meetings, song services, or any kind of soulish works to produce it! In the fullness of time God will suddenly change and transform us in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. He will then send forth His sons in the power of incorruption and immortality, in the sovereignty of the throne of the Father, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed before the face of all nations, tongues, tribes and peoples! The sons of God shall arise on the scene out of a sudden, powerful, sovereign, transcendental move of God! These are glorious things beyond the ability of my poor tongue and my faltering pen to describe! These are divine unspeakable things revealed in the mysteries of the book of Revelation — things which must hastily, quickly, speedily, and shortly come to pass! Whatever your stage of development, my dear brother or sister, wherever you are in the outworking of the book of Revelation, the work will be completed swiftly!
God’s people are still prone to think with carnal minds. When they hear about things that will "shortly come to pass" immediately their attention is focused on world events rather than on the things of God! This fallacy-ridden practice has given rise to what has been rightly termed "newspaper eschatology" — studying current events in the arena of "this present evil world" rather than searching the mind of the Spirit for the wisdom and understanding God gives of the true thing He is doing in the earth by His Spirit! The work of God is not currently outside of us, not out there in the world of darkness with all of its plans and efforts and shamefully fleshly and wicked activities. The work of God is within His elect! "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13). Sons of God do not derive their theology from the newspapers nor the television news casts. What you read and hear there is not what God is doing! That is not where God’s work is seen! The Holy Spirit of God has not come to show us what the world system is up to — He has come to "take the things of Christ and show them unto us!"
When the Holy Spirit gives us revelation it is not to bless us with juicy tidbits of information about Saddam Hussein or Yassar Arafat! Let us seek to abandon all such side issues and seek diligently to concentrate on Christ! Those who will possess the mind of Christ will find in Him the source of all reality and the culmination of all purpose. We hear a great deal today about many wonderful things. As we draw nearer to the manifestation of the sons of God, and the full light of God’s new day sends its illuminating rays upon our waiting souls, there will be an ever-increasing flood of light and revelation. This we must certainly expect and accept, for every new day brings new things, and new dispensations are sent to flood the world with greater light and greater experience in God. But the "new things" are God’s things — not the world’s things! The things that must shortly come to pass are spiritual things, divine things, heavenly things, supernatural things — not the things of the world, the flesh, and the devil! "As it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God" (I Cor. 2:9-10).
During the days of His flesh Jesus had this to say about the work of the Holy Spirit within the believer: "When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come" (Jn. 16:13). And just what are those things to come that the Spirit shows to us? The very next verse plainly tells us! "And He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of mine, and show it unto you!" Some of God’s people today are being guided into all truth, and they are seeing things to come, by the Spirit! It is clear that the Holy Spirit is working within us the way Jesus said He would. Others are unaware that a new Day has come to earth, and what this new Day is all about. But Father has a chosen and elect remnant in the earth today who have ears to hear Him! They are hearing His voice and receiving His word, and are getting spiritual glimpses of some wonderful things yet to come in the kingdom of their Father!
These are challenging but glorious times! The close and consummation of God’s age-long purpose in the church is now upon us and it is time for the sons of God to be revealed unto creation. The great purpose of the bride-church has been to birth in the earth a many-membered son! We know that the church age is ending, not because of any time-prophecy in the Bible we can interpret, nor by any events in the outer world that herald this fact. We know that as the church age is ending the new age of manifested sonship is dawning because our Father has sovereignly and powerfully revealed by His Spirit to His called and chosen remnant that it is now the hour for the sons of God to be unveiled in the earth! The birth of the manchild, the sons of God, is the supreme purpose and grand finale of God’s age-long activity in the church. To love and covet sonship is to love and covet the very purpose of God from timeless ages. Just as the crowning achievement of a man and woman who have joined their lives together in marriage love is to bring forth sons and daughters in their own image and likeness, so the matchless outcome of Christ’s eternal love for the church is the birthing of the manchild.
Sonship is dearer to God’s heart than any other thing! God the Father has carefully planned this glorious consummation of the church age from before the foundation of the world. Every detail of the process by which, when the time was ripe for it, the sons would appear on the stage of history was laid down in heaven’s blueprint before there was a world, an age, or a dispensation. There has never been a people that has been so blessed as we have been, or that has come to such a high degree of maturity, by the leading of the Holy Spirit. Our Father has called us to be kings and priests after the order of Melchizedek! His Spirit is ever urging us onward and upward, that we might attain to that high calling of God in Christ for which we have been apprehended!
The firstborn Son lived, manifested the glory of His Father, and ascended to the throne of His Father on high. Now, a vast company of sons is to follow Him in His regeneration, be changed into His likeness, and conformed into His image. There is nothing static nor stagnant about our life in Christ nor in the processes by which His purpose is fulfilled in us. We must be changed! We are being changed! We must grow up into Him in all things! We must attain to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ! We must be filled with all the fullness of God! We must be fully and forever sealed in our foreheads with the mind of Christ! This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality! THESE ARE THINGS WHICH MUST SHORTLY COME TO PASS!
Oh, yes! The Holy Spirit is showing us things to come! These things have nothing whatever to do with what is happening in Washington, D.C., London, England, Russia, China, Israel, or any other place on earth. They have everything to do with who and what we are becoming in Christ! HERE ARE THINGS TO COME: A people out of whom the Father has burned, by the holy fires of His presence, all of their old empty religious works! A people that desires to do only the will of their Father! A people who overcome all things! A people that has put on the mind of Christ! A people conformed to the image of the Son of God! A people that has grown up unto a perfect man, in the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ! A people to whom is given all power and all authority in heaven and in earth! A people that sits down with Christ in His throne! A people that has become incorruptible and has put on immortality! A people that has put every enemy under their feet! A people qualified to reign over the earth and deliver the whole creation from all the power of sin and death!
What glorious things are these! They are things to come, that even now are becoming reality in God’s elect. When the blessed Holy Spirit shows us things to come; when the mighty unveiling of Jesus Christ shows His bondslaves things which must speedily come to pass, these are the "things" spoken of! It is hard to understand how the true intent of the Spirit has been overlooked and missed for so many centuries. I do not know how or why Christians came to the conclusion that the "things to come" have something to do with the events of "this world" or the "end" of the world. Thank God, the Holy Spirit of truth is now taking the things of Christ, and is showing them unto us! What a Day!
To be continued... J. PRESTON EBY
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