Note: J. Preston Eby, in order to continue to devote his full energy to writing, no longer works in the office and does not receive email. He does, however, respond to any urgent correspondence via snailmail.
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the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE
WHO IS, AND WAS, AND IS TO COME
John was exiled to the isle of Patmos.
While on that island he had a marvelous experience with God!
He wrote down the revelation that came to him in that experience.
After his encounter with the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Christ
on Patmos he was released from his island prison and carried this message back
to the church. This wonderful
message has been going forth to the church for two thousand years! Not only has it been going forth, but it has been working,
accomplishing, fulfilling itself within a people gathered out of this age.
This revelation is not an ancient history, nor is it something to take
place in the future — it has been happening
ever since the time that God gave it! The
book is a prophecy, and this fact is
stated again at the end of the book (Rev. 22:19).
Prophecy for the church, the called out, is for edification, exhortation, and comfort
(I Cor. 14:3).
Many people want to make the book of Revelation correspond to, and be
parallel with, the book of Daniel. The
book of Daniel, however, was an Old
Testament prophecy. It was a
book prophesying of literal, physical, outward, earthly events transpiring in
the world of literal, physical, natural peoples and nations, the chief of which
was God’s own nation of Israel. Under
the Old Covenant God’s people was a natural people, with natural, physical,
outward, earthly laws, rituals, ceremonies, customs, priesthood, temple, and
government. They fought physical
wars with material weapons against natural armies.
Under the New Testament,
however, God’s people is a spiritual people, born from above, walking after
the Spirit and living in the Spirit. The
law of God is an internal law, written in the heart and inscribed upon the mind
by the Spirit of the living God. The
book of Revelation was not sent to God’s natural people, Israel after the
flesh. It was sent to God’s
spiritual people, His called out who are born from above, citizens of the
The book of Revelation is, therefore, a spiritual book sent to a
spiritual people, involving spiritual events and experiences in the spiritual
kingdom of Jesus Christ! The book
of Daniel ended when Jesus Christ came into the world proclaiming the kingdom of
God. It reached its final
consummation at the end of Daniel’s Seventieth Week, when the Lord turned from
the natural Israel nation to build His spiritual house and temple made of living
stones. Jesus brought a new order
into the earth, the spiritual order of the kingdom of God!
Therefore, the battles, upheavals, judgments, dealings, and everything
else written in the book of Revelation are spiritual,
for under the new order of the kingdom of God “the weapons of our
warfare are not carnal, but mighty through
God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down imaginations, and every
high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into
captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Cor. 10:4-5).
GRACE AND PEACE FROM HIM...
John begins the salutation of his letter to the churches by saying,
“John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace
be unto you, and peace, from Him which
is, and which was, and which is to come” (Rev. 1:4).
Of the many truths God has made known to His people none shine more
brightly or more frequently from the pages of God’s Word than the truth that
our salvation and calling, from start to finish, are totally and fully products
of the Grace of God.
This word grace is translated from the Greek word charis
which not only means “unmerited favor,” but really carries the deeper
meaning of “an influence that produces a result.”
Thus, grace is not merely the kindness of God in doing something for us
which we have not deserved, but it is the essence, the energy, the power and
working wrought within as HE DOES for us, to us, in us, and through us!
God’s grace, divine grace, then, is DIVINE ENABLEMENT!
In grace God does something more for us than just showing mercy or
unmerited favor — He works by His mighty power within to do in and through us
WHAT WE OURSELVES CANNOT DO! What a
blessed truth this is, and how wonderfully it reveals the graciousness of God!
Ah, yes, weak carnal men need mercy — but do you not see, my beloved,
that men need something more than mercy. They
need HELP! Mercy covers my weakness
— but divine enablement overcomes it! Mercy
forgives my sin — divine enablement conquers it and supersedes it with
righteousness! Mercy overlooks my
faults — divine enablement causes me to rise above them!
Mercy means that God will do for me in spite of myself — divine
enablement means that what He does changes me and makes me something more than I
Can we not see that when Paul said, “For I am the least of the
apostles, that am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the
church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed
upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I,
but the grace of God which was with
me” (I Cor. 15:9-10), he pointed us to the fact that his apostolic ministry
was entirely the result of DIVINE ENABLEMENT!
It wasn’t just “unmerited favor” that made Paul a great apostle, it
was something more, it was a mighty power working within him, and that power was grace!
To ever be anything in God Paul
needed more than mercy — he needed enablement,
I pray that the truth and force of these things may grip your heart!
Have you ever wondered, in the light of your own apparent weakness,
whether you could ever really, truly attain to the high calling of sonship?
Let me tell you, my brother, my sister, not only has the Father saved you
by His kindness, and called you by His own sovereign choosing, He now giveth more
grace, more and more and more of His DIVINE ENABLEMENT to bring you unto His
purpose! As we consider the
tremendous challenges, battles, prunings, purgings, processings, victories,
glories and spiritual heights of attainment outlined in the book of Revelation,
how fitting that John should preface this great revelation with these words: “Grace
be unto you!”
And then follows peace.
To be filled with God’s peace, to be fully at peace with God, with
ourselves and others, to have peace in every situation and circumstance of life,
and with everything else in this world and throughout the unbounded heavens is
the goal of sonship! You will never
get through the experiences of the book of Revelation without peace!
So John begins, “Peace be
unto you!” That is what the
kingdom of God is all about in our lives! If
there is any one thing, within or without, that troubles us and denies us His
peace, then the kingdom of God is not fully established within us. The Lord is now establishing peace among His elect in Zion.
He is now publishing peace and salvation in Zion, and is bringing good
tidings of great things to us, by His Spirit.
“Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful
garments, O Jerusalem...how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him
that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace;
that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto
Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isa.
In Hebrews 12:22 we read that we are now come unto mount Zion.
To correctly unlock the great revelation and reality of this mount Zion
we need to go back and look at the shadow.
Israel was God’s land, the whole nation of His people. In
Israel there was the city of Jerusalem, the capital city, the seat of government
comprising all the ruling class. Yet
in Jerusalem there was only one who, with his household, dwelt on mount Zion.
He was the king! Mount Zion is the highest mount in Jerusalem, and David the
king established his throne there. His
was the highest pinnacle of glory attainable.
But that Zion was only a shadow of the true mount Zion to which we are
come in the Spirit. David was king
over natural Israel. Christ is king
over spiritual Israel. David dwelt
on the natural mount Zion. Therefore
Christ dwells on the spiritual mount Zion.
And this spiritual Zion is composed of those who in union with Christ the
Head have reached the very highest pinnacle attainable in the heavenly
Jerusalem, those who have followed the Lord all the way to His throne. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my
throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne”
In Revelation 14:1-5 we find a company of 144,000 standing with the Lamb
upon mount Zion. By the grammatical
structure of the Greek we are assured that not only is Jesus the Lamb, but the
144,000 are lambs! There are
144,000 lambs standing with the Lamb on mount Zion! This
company standing with their Lord can represent nothing other than those who have
followed the Lamb all the way from death on mount Calvary to the glory and
exaltation of mount Zion! They are
lambs, and if there is any characteristic that identifies a lamb, it is peace!
That is the lamb nature! “He
was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so
opened He not His mouth” (Acts 8:32).
God has but one throne, and those who share that throne share it in the
heights of the spiritual mount Zion! All
who are dwelling in the high and holy realm of Zion, are hearing the voice of
the Son of God! Good tidings of
great things, of full salvation, of perfection of holiness and power, the reign
of Christ, and the peace of the kingdom of God are now being declared in Zion.
“For the Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation.
This is my rest forever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.
There will I make the horn (kingship) of David to bud: I have ordained a
lamp for mine anointed. His enemies
will I clothe with shame: but upon Himself shall His crown flourish” (Ps.
132:13-14,17-18). When that word
becomes life to us by the Spirit, the Lord then fills us with the joy, peace,
holiness and power of mount Zion. Then
those qualities, including His peace, shall flow out of us to fill, first, the
city of God, then the whole land of God’s own people, and finally the whole
earth and all nations. Haggai
prophesied, saying of the glory of the latter house, the spiritual temple of
living stones, each stone a quickened, living son of God, “And in this place
will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts” (Hag. 2:9).
When the peace of God has filled the house of the Lord, His peace shall
then flow out of the house, bringing true and lasting peace to all the peoples
and nations of the world!
The peace of God can only be ministered to the inhabitants of earth by
the authority of Christ in the glory and power of His kingdom of sons and
daughters. Another prophet
prophesied, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of
Jerusalem: behold, THY KING COMETH unto thee...and He shall speak peace unto the
nations, and His dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even
to the ends of the earth” (Zech. 9:9-10).
Christ our King rules from the top down, from the height of His throne in
the heavenlies down to the lowest valley and the deepest hell.
Our King comes first to mount Zion, the sons of God; then to Jerusalem,
the whole church, the bride of Christ; next to the land of Israel, that is, all
the people of God on whatever spiritual level they may be; and finally to the
rest of mankind in the ends of the earth. To
all realms His word is peace!
“Peace from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come...”
HE WHO IS, AND WAS, AND IS TO COME
“Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him
which is, and which was, and which is to come” (Rev. 1:4).
In the realm of the Spirit the past, present, and future co-exist.
It is high and lifted up in the throne realm that we are given the
ability to see the past, the present, and the future all at once.
Again and again in the book of Revelation, where our Lord is mentioned,
He is spoken of as He who is, He who was, and He who is to come — meaning that
when we leave the earth realm we transcend time as we know it.
Planet earth is but a tiny speck in the eye of God’s infinite
greatness. We live out our natural
lives on a virtual reality machine called Earth.
The five senses manipulate us into believing that what we see, hear,
feel, taste, and touch are real — but what you see and touch and feel are not
real, they are not objective, they are not abiding realities at all! They are merely a passing phenomenon. People often say, “I want something solid, I need to see the facts,
I need something that’s real — I’m a realist!”
In our journey from the natural to the spiritual realm we learn, however,
that were it not for a power beyond
the things we see, none of them would exist.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things
not seen. Through faith
we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things
which are seen were not
made of things which do appear” (Heb. 11:1-3).
That which we perceive as reality is temporary and passing and has been
established out of something eternal that your eye cannot see!
If we want to walk with God we must be willing to jump out of the boat of
the five senses and learn how to let our spirit gravitate into what God is, and
then bring it back down into this earth until it takes on manifestation.
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord,
which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8).
That is awesome! You see, every time Jesus is mentioned in this book He is
never mentioned in the past, or just the present, or in the future.
Every time we meet Jesus in the book of Revelation it is the Jesus who is,
and who was, and who is
to come. The reason is that the book of Revelation gives us a view of
the kingdom of God from the divine perspective — as God views it — and the
past, the present, and the future encompass the outworking of God’s purpose in
the earth through His wonderful plan of
the ages. That is what is so
powerful — in the Spirit you can see the whole plan of God from beginning to
end! The purposes of God in the
earth embrace past history, present
awareness, and future consummation.
Everything in the universe, and everything in your life, precious friend
of mine, exists in the past, the present, and the future.
Jesus was doing something two thousand years ago, Jesus was doing
something five hundred years ago, Jesus was doing something fifty years ago,
Jesus was doing something yesterday, Jesus is doing something right now, and He
will be working His great work in all of our tomorrows!
The Lord which is, and which was, and which is to come is God expressed
in the dimension of time. This is
not talking about the eternal Lord who
is without beginning or end. Certainly
God is the eternal One! But the
verb “to be” relates to time.
Was, is, and is
to come are all time expressions. You
will not find this Lord who is, and was, and is to come, in eternity! This is the God of the
ages revealed in a unique Lordship within those ages. A concept we must immediately grasp in order to understand
God’s plan of the ages is that time is a
created phenomenon consisting of past, present, and future just as man is a
created phenomenon having youth, middle age, and old age.
No, you cannot smell, touch, or feel time, but it is there, ever-present,
always marching into the future. Time
was created; it had a beginning, it shall have an end.
This Lord who is, and who was, and who is to come, is the
beginning and the end. He is
God working out His purpose and revelation in time. Time is only one thing among countless other things that are
part of the entire created universe. It
is as much a “species” of creation as, for example, rocks, elephants, trees,
and water are species of creation. Before
the creation of the universe, there was no time; at the end of the ages when the
present material universe is dissolved and replaced by a new, spiritual
universe, time as we know it shall cease to exist. It will be swallowed up into eternity just as all death will
be swallowed up into victory, and there shall be no more death!
No more time and no more death!
Time was created in the beginning, and will be dissolved at the end of
the ages. This Lord who is, and who
was, and who is to come, is the Lord we meet in time, in His purpose of the
I am compelled to state that the Bible says very little by way of a
definition of eternity, because the Bible is essentially a book of time and for
time. It was written for man who
lives in a temporal state and who is not yet a totally eternal being.
Only as we enter that state of being called eternity...only as HE who IS ETERNITY becomes
“All-in-all” within us...only as we are spiritually metamorphosed into our
eternal condition...only as eternity becomes an absolute reality to us...only
then will formerly temporal beings such as we now are, truly comprehend and
understand eternity and things of an eternal nature. This marvelous work has now begun within our spirit as our
spirit has been quickened by His
Spirit! I stated that the Bible is relatively silent about what
eternity is; that is not to say that human teachings and theology haven’t
taught us a great deal about eternity, but, alas! much of it over the past
centuries has come from the carnal minds of Babylonish theologians and not from
the mind of the Eternal One via the Holy Spirit.
Eternity is a state of absolute timelessness,
not of unending time.
Eternity is a state of being without change, fluctuation or progression, resident
in the very nature and person of God in which such concepts as past, present,
future, before, after, change, transition, growth, birth, death, beginning, end,
etc., do not exist. Do you see?
Time is not part of eternity. Eternity
is not composed of segments of time. Eternity
is not time standing still. It is
simply not time at all! Eternity
doesn’t go on and on and on, ad
infinitum. Eternity doesn’t
go anywhere, nor does it do anything. Eternity
simply IS. It is just a glorious
experience of BEING! Eternity
simply IS, just as God simply IS. Jesus
said, “Before Abraham was, I AM” (Jn. 5:58) — not “Before Abraham was, I
WAS.” There are no past or future tenses in eternity.
There is only one eternal NOW!
Now the eternal God has injected Himself into time. “In the beginning
God created...” Since that
wonderful dawn God has been the God of His creation, the God of heaven and
earth, the God of the ages, the God of history, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob, the God of His people, the God of our salvation.
The great revelation of the scriptures is that this universe and this
world is governed by a throne, and that throne is not in London, it’s not in
Rome, it’s not in Washington — it’s in heaven, the eternal dimension.
Time is being governed by eternity!
Ultimate reality sits upon a throne and governs galaxies, solar systems,
planets, creatures, time, and history. Generation
after generation, through the rise and fall of empires, and the shifting sands
of history, God remains. He works
all His purposes in all things, but HE changes not!
Yet — God in Christ became a man!
God as man has tenses to His being: the yesterday of the past, the today
of the present, the tomorrow of the future.
This is not the eternal God,
but the God who has dispensed His eternity into time. “Jesus Christ the same — yesterday,
today, and for the ages” (Heb.
13:8, literal). “And the four
beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within:
and they rest not day and night,
saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was,
and is, and is to come” (Rev. 4:8). Day
and night do not exist in eternity nor in the heavenly realm of God’s Spirit!
Is it not clear that this scene is not set in some far-off heaven
somewhere. In the heaven the
preachers preach about there is no day and night! There
is no sun or moon or stars, and there is no
night there! This scene is set
HE is praised and extolled both DAY AND NIGHT, this God who WAS, and IS,
and IS TO COME! HE is worshipped
and adored both DAY AND NIGHT, this God of the ages, this Architect of history,
this Lord of time, this King of the universe, this Most High who “liveth for
the ages, whose dominion is an age during dominion, and His kingdom is from
generation to generation: and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as
nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the
inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What
doest Thou?” (Dan. 4:34-35, Literal & KJV).
Oh, take me not back through the long ages to a Christ that walked the
shores of Galilee, to a Christ that was!
He lives! He is here!
In my today!
I can never be alone, never grope in the dark for a hand, never be
forsaken, never lack in the hour of need, never fail in His on-going purposes,
never need a Saviour, a Guide, a
Brother, a Head, a Leader, a Captain, a Father. I have Him, He who was everything in the yesterday of the
past, and who will be everything in the tomorrow of the future, is mine today;
and in each conscious moment of my existence here, and throughout all the ages,
He is my life, my all! He is not a
far-off, untouchable God, “inhabiting eternity,” as the King James Bible
erroneously states, but a God made nigh, INHABITING THE AGES, involved in His
creation, working tirelessly and unceasingly and unfailingly until His wonderful
plan is brought to a successful conclusion and HE becomes gloriously ALL IN ALL!
The life we now have is a progressing, growing, conquering life — the life
of the ages. It is life that
has come through the quickening of our spirit by His Spirit, giving a new
beginning, and the potential to become, in due time, all He is.
I am sure my readers, with myself, must confess that there is some
progress still to be made, growth still to be experienced, transformation yet to
be wrought before we stand in Him in the fullness of that life that needs no
change, no further development, no additional experience, no fuller stature, no
added triumph, no increase of wisdom, knowledge, or power — that state of
being as unchangeable as He is unchangeable, eternal
as He is eternal! Only faintly
now do our eyes behold the splendor of that eternal
realm which lies before us, but as we approach reverently and with godly
fear, not disrespectfully and thoughtlessly as nosy children prying into some
sacred thing, the Lord of glory is meeting us and is becoming a Father unto us
and we are the sons of God in whom the Father shall unfold the fullness of His
life, mind, will, and glory. Thus
are we coming into that same image and
we shall share with Christ the glory He had with the Father before time was — ETERNAL
What Christians for centuries have called “eternal life” is in the
Greek “life aionios” — the life
of the ages! How I thank God that
my present state of being is not eternal!
There is more!
The new man in me is changing, growing, increasing, maturing unto the
measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ!
Some entertain the notion that once they have received Christ within them
they have the whole Christ in all His fullness and that’s all there is.
But in the scriptures there is the growth
and the formation of Christ in us, and
the increase of God!
To those in whom the Christ life is but a babe
within them, Peter writes, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the
word, that ye may grow thereby” (I
Pet. 2:2). To those pressing on to
maturity Paul wrote, “But speaking the truth in love, may grow
up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ” (Eph. 4:15).
Some would rather ignore this growing, changing, increasing life
of the ages, somehow projecting themselves into that life which is eternal,
claiming “by faith” the finished product, while by-passing the tedious
processing that develops and matures that life.
Ah, dear ones, it doesn’t work that way!
Christ is being formed in us
and it will take “the ages,” my friend, to unfold it all.
As long as there is need for growth, change, and advancement, there is
need for time. Until redemption is
complete its work will proceed in time, but the finished work of redemption
stands at time’s end. Thank God!
There is an end — then eternity, God all-in-all! “I am the beginning
and the ending, saith the Lord, which
is, and which was, and which is to come.”
As God’s plan of the ages has progressed there has been a level of
life, a spiritual vitality, for each age. Each
age has been different. Men in
antediluvian times knew God in a certain way and received life of a particular
order. Israel, under the law, and
the ministry of the prophets, entered into another degree of spiritual life.
Perhaps I can give you a simple illustration in this way.
There is a difference between “fetus” life, “baby” life,
“child” life, “adolescent” life, and “mature” life.
There is a difference between “youthful” life, “middle age” life,
and “old age” life. Can we not
see by this that there is a continuing development of God’s
life within us, until HIS FULLNESS is attained, and there shall be a
continuing development of His life in the whole human family throughout the age
and the ages to come until God becomes all-in-all!
God is cultivating within His sons an eternal
nature! The thoughts of God’s
people are becoming boundless and eternal, no longer controlled and motivated
purely by carnal memories of the past, by present events, or by dim hopes for an
endless future in “mansions over the hilltop.” The fledgling spirits of God’s sons are fast growing up
into the limitless expanses of God’s own changeless, eternal spiritual state
of being. Yes, the whole man is
becoming a new, eternal creation, no longer limited by the space-time-continuum.
Even our present vile bodies shall be changed,
fashioned like unto His body of glory! God’s
maturing sons see the reality of a state of being called eternity, and their
hearts strain and leap upward toward that “plane” in God!
Now let us consider for a moment the Lord which IS. Who is this Lord which IS?
In what way does He differ from the Lord which was, or the Lord which is to
come? Someone says, “There is
no difference — it is all the same Lord!”
Ah, yes, it is the same Lord, but there is a difference in His administration
As startling as it may seem, this Lord which is
— is YOU! If He is not you, who are you? The
Lord which is, is the same Lord which was, but with a difference.
Let us look at the Lord who was!
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was
manifested in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels, preached unto
the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (I Tim. 3:16).
Let us look closely at what Paul is saying! Great is the mystery of godliness or God-like-ness.
God was...God was...God was...MANIFESTED
IN THE FLESH! Who is it that was
God manifested in the flesh? Why,
Jesus, of course! This is the great
mystery of God-like-ness! Was
Jesus like God? “If you have seen
me, you have seen the Father.” Why
was Jesus like God? Because He was
God! “In the beginning was
the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God” (Jn. 1:1).
Who is the God that was? You couldn’t
answer it any better than that if you tried!
And scripture could be piled upon scripture to show that God manifested
in the flesh of Jesus is the Lord which
was! “God was
in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.” Great is the mystery of God-like-ness...Jesus was
God manifested in the flesh! Hallelujah!
The Lord which was is also the
Lord which is!
The present tense of God’s manifestation in Christ is expressed by the
apostle Paul when he said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live;
yet not I, but Christ liveth in me”
(Gal. 2:20). Jesus Himself
prophesied of this manifestation of God in His people, saying, “If a man love
me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto
him, and make our abode with (in) him”
(Jn. 14:23). “God is in you.”
“God dwelleth in you.” When
we think of God manifested in the flesh we think of the man walking by the
shores of blue Galilee, walking among humanity, in His humanity, demonstrating
what humanity was intended to be. But
God has raised our vision beyond He who
was and is causing us to see Him who
is! “Now ye are the
body of Christ.” Christ is no
longer walking in that body that tread the sands of Galilee!
He is walking in another body today, in your body, in my body, in all
those sons whom He is bringing to His glory!
In the realm of Him who is we
find a glory beyond the was which
enables us to press into and participate in the is. While many still
look for the coming of the was in the
clouds, we have now experienced the One who IS COMING TO BE GLORIFIED IN HIS SAINTS!
Would God that Christians could be awakened to the glory of Him who is!
The same John who in spirit beheld the glory of the many-membered Son of
man on Patmos, penned these significant words to the children of God: “Who is
a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ?
He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: but he that
acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also” (I Jn. 2:22-23).
Now what does John mean when he speaks of denying the Father and the Son?
Let us make no mistake about this! A
little further on John enlarges on this statement so that we need not be left in
the dark. “Beloved, believe not
every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God: because many false
prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby
know ye the Spirit of God: EVERY SPIRIT THAT CONFESSETH
THAT JESUS CHRIST IS COME IN
THE FLESH IS OF GOD: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is
come in the flesh is not of God: and this
is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and
now already is in the world” (I Jn. 4:1-3).
Now let us get these statements clear in our minds! We have heard many wild speculations about who the antichrist
will be, but John declares the antichrist to be one who denies that Jesus is the
Christ, which is denying the Father and the Son. But how does he do this?
BY NOT CONFESSING JESUS CHRIST HAVING COME IN THE FLESH!
But what does this mean? It
states that we know the Spirit of God by His confessing Jesus Christ having come
in the flesh. Does this mean that Roman Catholicism is the Spirit of God?
It confesses that Jesus Christ was a man, born of a virgin.
It confesses that He came in
the flesh as a babe in Bethlehem. They
even parade Him before the world hanging upon a cross, crucified.
Millions of others around the world, representing every kind of religion
and false cult existing admit the same historical facts.
Do all of these represent the Spirit of God?
These verses have a deeper meaning!
They are not speaking of the fact of Jesus Christ having lived on earth
as a man. Almost anyone will admit
that! But the profound truth which
all of popular religion has missed, is the fact of the Christ actually coming
into this flesh, my flesh, your flesh,
and becoming an eternal and inseparable part of us!
Millions confess Him who was,
but very few in this dark age confess Him
who is! “And every spirit
that confesseth not that Jesus Christ IS (NOW) COME in the flesh is not of God:
and this is that spirit of
antichrist...ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them (the
antichrists): because GREATER IS HE
THAT I-S IN YOU (your flesh), THAN HE
THAT I-S IN THE WORLD” (I Jn. 4:3-4).
Every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ IS come in your flesh and
in my flesh, beloved, — is
Because Greater is He (Jesus
Christ) that IS IN YOUR FLESH than he (the spirit of antichrist) that IS IN THE
ADAMIC FLESH OF THE WORLD! Our
very own natural, human consciousness would deny that the Almighty God of the
universe dwells, and lives, and in all things triumphs
in us! So don’t worry
about poor old Mussolini or Henry Kissinger being the antichrist — truly he is
enthroned in our own carnal minds!
He that is in you will never leave you nor forsake you! This is the Christ from whose love no power nor creature in
heaven or earth can separate us! Paul
preached not himself, but Christ Jesus the Lord. After stating this himself, he follows on to say, “But this
treasure (Christ) we have in earthen
vessels” (II Cor. 4:7). Christ
is now being formed in our earthen
vessels! Just as God was formed in
Jesus within the womb of Mary, so is Christ being formed in the womb of our
mortal flesh! Only the complete,
mature formation of Christ within us will bring us to manifestation as sons of
God. Sonship is the actual
quickening of the Christ life who has become the new man within.
Great is the mystery of
God-like-ness! Christ in us is both
ageless and deathless, the actual Son of the God of heaven.
He is being formed in all His nature, wisdom, glory and power in this
human frame, even as He was formed in the firstborn Son, Jesus, to perform His
By personal application, if my spirit does not confess that Christ is
come in my flesh, I am antichrist. The
confession of my spirit is a much
stronger confession than might be made by my mouth.
With the mouth confession is
made unto salvation, but with the spirit
confession is made unto sonship. The confession of one’s spirit
bespeaks an expression arising from an inner
state of being, not merely a belief of the mind. If my spirit is
confessing that Christ is come in my flesh, it is confessing it by a living manifestation! As
I live out Christ in the nitty-gritty of every day experience, in every
situation and circumstance, doing all the will of my heavenly Father upon this
earth, I am confessing with my spirit that Christ is come in my flesh!
Ah, I might say with my mouth that Christ is come in my flesh, that I am
a son of God, ready to walk on water and glow in the dark, but my spirit speak
just the opposite, as the fountain of my life sends forth polluted waters.
Multitudes have a mouth confession of the presence of Christ within whose
“spirit confesseth not that
Christ is come” in their flesh!
Oh, that men might believe it! Truly,
Christ in us is our only hope of glory! HE
IS the glory! But antichrist will
hear of no such hope of glory. His
hope does not rest wholly in the Christ within, but in his own ability and
works, his own faithfulness or endurance. He
is cluttered about with laws, regulations, creeds, ordinances, observances,
rituals, ceremonies, programs, traditions, and religious exercises of this order
and that, all of which are designed to assure his right standing with God.
He is thus denying the Father and the Son, for the living
Christ alone is not his life! Anything
that adds something to the Christ life
within, to fill some place or function in our lives that is not filled by THE
LIFE OF CHRIST ALONE, — is antichrist!
The word “antichrist” is made up of the Greek preposition anti
and the word for Christ. Anti bears the meaning of that which is “opposed to” by
“supplanting” or being “instead of.”
During the Middle Ages, a man who was considered a hostile,
self-substituted, usurping Pope — one occupying the Pope’s place and
receiving his honors and exercising his functions — was called an
“antipope.” This term is
commonly used in history in this connection.
Such a “Pope” was not merely a person who was against
the Pope. Martin Luther was against
the Pope, but he was not an antipope because he never went to Rome and usurped
the Pope’s seat, making himself the Pope!
An antipope was a person who was against the Pope by attempting to take
the Pope’s place. This happened
on occasion in previous centuries. In
like manner, the antichrist is that spirit, mind, nature, personality,
consciousness, activity, enterprise, work, function, method, program or any
other thing that comes TO TAKE THE PLACE OF CHRIST in our lives — and by
so doing opposes Christ!
Therefore we find that most of the candidates for antichrist promoted by
the preachers haven’t even come close to being
antichrists! Antichrist signifies
one who sets himself up in the place of Christ, by appropriating some of the
prerogatives and attributes of Christ. That
is, antichrist appears as Christ and
by so doing is actually against
Christ — usurping the place that rightly
belongs to Christ alone! Anything
that is placed instead of Christ, is
literally antichrist. The very
moment the love of God, the truth of God, the glory of God, and the power of God
wanes from the spirits of the Lord’s people, flying out the windows of their
souls, a whole host of attitudes, ideas, beliefs, doctrines, rules, regulations,
rituals, ceremonies, sacraments, ordinances, forms, methods, organization, and
traditions stalk boldly through the door to take
the place of reality and life in the Spirit. Any little form of substitution
that supplants the ALL-SUFFICIENCY OF THE INDWELLING CHRIST LIFE — is ANTICHRIST!
Those who have truly received the call to sonship have now learned, and
learned well, that there is no need for these or myriad other religious
trappings in the walk of sonship, for CHRIST WITHIN abundantly supplies
everything they can possibly ever need! In
order for Christ to be “all in all” He must first become ALL!
God was in Christ, and God in Christ is in us! From the moment that the Father declared Christ’s sonship
the spirit of sonship moved in and through Him and His whole life became the
revelation of His Father. The
nature, mind, will and power of His Father manifested through Him, and it was
the same power of the Father in Him that raised Him from the dead!
And now a vast family of His “many brethren” have received that same
spirit of sonship, even the same spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells
within us and shall also quicken our
mortal bodies by that spirit that dwells
Beloved, if He that was is now
He that is within you, what, under
all God’s heavens, could be added to you from
without? Let us bow in holy
reverence to worship and adore, and to live and walk in the blessed reality of
such an high and holy calling! Stop
seeking anything at all from or through the myriad substitutes pawned by the countless modern day antichrists of the
church systems of man. These
external religious observances will not suffice for those destined for the
throne! CHRIST HIMSELF IS
SUFFICIENT! In the name of Jesus
Christ, divorce yourself completely and forever from all the substitutes, the
realm of the instead of. You will find absolutely nothing in any of it that will
satisfy the deepest cravings of your heart after God.
CHRIST WITHIN IS ALL YOU NEED! This
is the Lord who was Jesus of Nazareth,
but who now is the many sons of God in
the earth! God is bringing many
sons to glory and we are being conformed to the image of God’s firstborn Son.
The eternal God never changes, but this Lord who was, and is, and is to
come does change from glory to glory!
The reality of Christ in us is not a beautiful analogy nor a clever
facsimile — it is truly HIM! Bennie
Skinner once gave the following illustration.
“When they crank up that mint in Washington D.C. with the special
engraving machine, and start printing twenty dollar bills on that special paper
with the special ink, they then cut them into singles, bundle them together, and
put a band around them. You
wouldn’t take a bundle of these, hold them up, and say, ‘Why, that looks
like twenty dollar bills!’ No,
you wouldn’t say that because you can see, you know,
that they are twenty dollar bills!”
In like manner, no one will need to say of the sons of God, “These sons
look like Jesus Christ,” for all
shall surely see and know that the Lord who was
IS THE LORD WHICH IS!
What, then, does it mean when it says, “...and the Lord which is to come”? The
expression “which is to come” is from the Greek erchomai,
meaning “the coming one.” Now,
how is the Lord which was, and the Lord which is, also the coming One?
What does it mean? It means that in our consciousness, in our experience, He is
yet coming to be all that He is! That’s
what the processing is all about! “And
to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from
heaven...when He shall come to be glorified
in His saints, and to be admired in all
them that believe in that Day” (II Thes. 1:7,10).
In the New Testament it was a great revelation that Christ was a
many-membered body and that Christ was in them in mighty spirit power. This great truth became a glorious reality as each member of
the Christ body found his or her place within that corporate expression of the
Lord. But they also spoke of the
coming Day of Christ and the coming and revelation of the Lord in a surpassing
glory. They anticipated a
full-orbed manifestation of this Lord in the glory of manifested
sonship. “For I reckon that
the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory
which shall be revealed in us.
For the earnest expectation waiteth
for the manifestation of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:18-19).
Jesus Christ is coming again, and He is coming to be glorified in His
saints and to be admired in all those holy sons of God who by His grace have
come into His image through the ages. This
is the fullness of the Christ! Not
for the world nor all that is in it would I for one moment miss the glory which
is yet to come! To reign with
Christ and with Him usher all creation into the glory of God, which has been the
vision of the prophets, the dream of the sages, the cry of the sons, the
unrelenting purpose of God, and the longing and expectation of all
creation is a prize of far vaster worth than all the power and glory and
wealth of all the nations of earth combined.
Though God’s Christ is one, it will take the ages to come to reveal His
manifold beauties and graces. He is
the one Christ, yet His body is made up of many redeemed souls.
He is the true Vine, yet there are many branches.
He is the uniquely begotten Son of God, yet He is leading many sons to
His own glory. He is the only
Saviour, yet He is bringing a whole company of saviours up on mount Zion.
I bring you good news! YOU
ARE THE BODY OF CHRIST — not the “mystical body” as the theologians of
Babylon are wont to define it, but you are THE
BODY of Christ, making you the Lord which is to come!
Christ is in you of a truth,
precious one, to manifest the fullness of Himself.
Christ is your life.
Christ is being formed in you, and you are being conformed to His image.
In looking at a piece of petrified wood we can see this. One time it was wood, NOW IT IS ROCK. For something has happened to it! Certain minerals entered into every cell of that piece of
wood and wrought a complete change in it. This
process continued until that piece of wood had become rock.
Same shape, same size, and it has exactly the same cell structure.
But what a great change has taken place!
THIS IS WHAT GOD IS DOING IN US! Something
is happening to us! We do not
understand all about it, but we know that there is a change going on in our
innermost beings. It is God
permeating us with Himself! God is
impregnating us with Himself! God
is taking over, filling even our very cells with all He is.
This change is taking place in our inner selves, in our spirits, in our
minds, and ultimately in our bodies. This
process shall continue until we arrive at the condition of being saturated with
God. God shall so fill us, so
overwhelm us, so change us that we take on the very characteristics of God!
I think the highest privilege that scripture puts before us is surely
that Christ will be glorified in us
— that He will be admired in us.
Think of it, my brethren, so completely has the image of the earthly
passed away — so completely is the image of the heavenly gained that CHRIST is
seen, CHRIST is admired in us! It
is not the believer that is admired, glorified though he be.
It is Christ who is admired in him!
All that the saints are radiates HIS glory.
It is in HIS beauty they are arrayed — in HIS glory they shine.
The image they bear is HIS — HIS blood has bought them, HIS spirit has
transformed them, HIS hand has formed them.
They shine as the sun in that heavenly glory, but only as HIS light, and
for HIS praise. This is not the
hour for any self-exaltation, nor for the promotion of “my ministry,” nor
for the building of “my kingdom,” for it is HE who is coming to be GLORIFIED
IN US! Many think that the call to
sonship is for their glorification — but it is not so.
Little wonder that He is purging, pruning, breaking, sifting, melting,
bringing us to such absolute nothingness, so that the only one left to be
revealed is THE CHRIST. It is
Christ glorified in us who is HE WHICH IS TO COME!
God will not allow us to refuse to see the Christ in each other and then
look upon Him in some other form. Look
not for the Christ who was, and do not
cling to the Christ who is, yet know
of a surety that Christ in us is HIM all the way!
We will have to recognize Him in our brethren. God will not satisfy our carnal nature by allowing us to see
Jesus descending from heaven in clouds of glory, alone in that glory.
We shall be glorified together, the scripture says. Why would I look for Jesus
in clouds of glory while I pass by His body on earth and refuse to see
Him in them! It is this message
that is coming to us today! If I
want to see Christ I look at you, because that is where He is forming Himself,
manifesting Himself, and glorifying Himself!
The body of Christ is not something apart from Christ, not just something
that Christ has formed as a separate entity.
The body of Christ IS CHRIST in the earth!
Until I see, recognize,
love and honor Christ in you, my
brother, my sister, I would not see, recognize, love or honor one I would see
riding upon a cloud! When this
precious knowledge becomes sweet to our soul, we begin to look at one another
and BEHOLD HIM! I now see Him who is and I shall look, and look, and look until in His temple
which we are I see Him who is to come!
To be continued...
J. PRESTON EBY
Click here for Part Eleven
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