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"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
THE BINDING OF SATAN
once read a story stemming from the Middle Ages at which time the Christians
were in control of
pope began his discourse by moving his arms in a big circle. Then the rabbi responded by pointing to the
ground. Immediately following that, the
pope held up three fingers, to which the rabbi responded by holding up one
finger. To that, the pope pulled out a
chalice and held it up, at which the rabbi pulled from his robe an apple and
held it up high. Seeing all this, the rabbi
then threw his arms up in the air and concluded, “The Jews stay!” The cardinals overheard the verdict, ran into
the chambers, and pulled the pope aside.
They requested the details of the debate. Why had he allowed the Jews to stay? The pope said to them, “I threw my arms in a
big circle to say that God is everywhere.
The rabbi responded by pointing to the ground, to say that I was right
but that God was also here. I then held
up three fingers saying that God is three persons. The rabbi responded by holding up one finger
clarifying that God is also one person.
At that, I pulled out my chalice to share with him the idea that we
believe in the blood of Jesus Christ as our grace and our union with God. He then pulled out an apple referring to the
original sin of
rabbi’s council had also come into the meeting.
They asked their leader to explain what had been said in the
debate. The rabbi obliged them saying,
“The pope swept his arms in a circle saying that we must all leave. I pointed to the ground saying that we would
not; we would stay because this is our homeland. So he held up three fingers
The above story illustrates the great truth that if you interpret what you see and hear about the great things of God with the natural understanding — the carnal mind — you will miss the point altogether and will, along with most Christians, arrive at erroneous and absurd conclusions. And assuredly this is no more true anywhere than when we come to the symbolisms of the visions of John in the book of Revelation!
we understand how a machine works, then the most intricate
mechanism in the world is simple, but if we lack this understanding, even the
simplest device can bewilder us. Well do
I remember my fascination as I listened to a friend who at that time worked at
same thought of understanding was in
the heart of the apostle
of the world have told me that the things recorded in the Bible are ridiculous,
and I suppose to them they are, since God has declared, “it is foolishness to
them.” I do not hesitate to say that
although the mind and heart of each and every child of God has been quickened
by the Spirit of God, yet, in our spiritual immaturity we have oft times
understood only a minute portion of the
things that pertain to the vast and marvelous realm into which we have been
As we approach chapter twenty of the Revelation there are four primary scenes presented in the chapter. As the curtain rings up, the first scene is the chaining of the dragon. “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him…” (Rev. 20:1-3). In the vision John sees an angel descending out of the heaven with a great chain in one hand and the keys of the abyss in the other. He lays hold on the dragon, fetters him, throws him as it were bodily into the pit, clamps down the lid, seals it shut, and shut it remains for a thousand years. The question follows — is John seeing and portraying literal fact or is it a spiritual truth stated figuratively in the form of a drama?
was a Jew, and to a degree a Greecianized Jew.
He lived in a Greek world and used the Greek language. Ancient
people, however, have ever thought of taking the story of Prometheus literally.
It is a story, a drama, embodying a moral truth. And if anyone insists on interpreting this
twentieth chapter of the Revelation literally, then literal he must be from
beginning to end. The angel, the dragon,
the chains, the keys, the abyss, the lid, the seal, and the thousand years must
all alike be taken literally. ALL must
either be literal, or
the preceding chapter we saw the beast and the false prophet captured and
vision starts out with these words, “And I saw an angel come down from heaven having
the key to the bottomless pit and a
great chain in his hand.” The Greek word
used for angel is aggelos and simply
means messenger. The usage of this word throughout the New
“angel” is none other than the Christ — the Living Word! No other can bind Satan and restrain his
power and liberty. Even a great angel
like the one sent to strengthen Daniel beside the river Hiddekel, was unable to
come at once to Daniel’s aid when he (the angel) was obstructed by one of the
satanic “princes” sent to monitor the affairs of the
we come to a different work, for not only is the dragon cast out of our heavens (Rev. 12), but now he must be bound in our earth! So the symbolic angel possesses the key to
the abyss, and carries a great chain, and
moves swiftly with omnipotent power and authority in our earth realm,
for he has come to our earth out of the heavens of the spirit, to lay hold upon
the dragon; he binds him firmly with the chain, casts him into the abyss, and
locks and seals him in, that he may no more deceive the nations for a thousand
years. What a picture! This, of course, signifies the work of God now
wrought within the life of each and every member of God’s elect, and eventually
in the life of every man and woman of
THE JUDGMENT AND DESTRUCTION OF THE DRAGON
“And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled” (Rev. 20:2-3). And then later we read, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are…” (Rev. 20:10).
chapters seventeen and eighteen we see the dramatic and cataclysmic judgment
and destruction of the soulical system of Mystery
has given all His judgments to us for our redemption,
us consider with care that this vision opens
with the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is also the Devil, and Satan, being
arrested and put in a maximum security prison for a time — symbolically one
thousand years to be exact. But yet, the
dealing of God with Satan is not finished at this point — a
SATAN — A SPIRIT!
What scientists have discovered makes it relatively easy to believe in the existence of worlds, or spheres of life, beyond the comprehension of human senses. In the realm of sound, for example, we know that the human ear is quite limited, that sounds which are very real are inaudible to us if they are below or above a certain range of frequency. And the same is true of sight. The existence of radio waves, gamma rays, ultra-violet light rays, etc., also helps us to realize the power of invisible forces which are beyond our comprehension. In Ephesians 2:2 Satan is described as “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” The Amplified Bible states it this way, “At one time…you were following the course and fashion of the world…following the prince of the power of the air. You were obedient to him and were under his control, the demon spirit that still constantly works (Greek: energeo, energizes) in the sons of disobedience…for we are not wrestling with flesh and blood — contending only with physical opponents — but against despotisms, against the powers, against the master spirits who are the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (spiritual) sphere” (Eph. 2:2,6-12).
message is clear — we have had the FALSE GOD in us! It came as a revelation to me when I saw that
the Holy Spirit lives and moves and energizes
in those who have been “begotten of God” and “born of the Spirit” —
regenerated. The spirit within us that
is born of God is renewed and raised up within us in the image of God. But
then I read that if the Holy Spirit is working in the children of God, there is
also a spirit energizing within the
children of the Devil. “The spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.” Who can dispute the poignant words of the
apostle John, “Ye are of God, little children…because greater is HE that is IN
YOU, than HE that is IN THE WORLD” (I Jn. 4:4).
Then two verses later John clearly identifies these two spirits which are in the people of God and the people of the
world: “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God
heareth not us. Hereby we know the spirit
of truth and the spirit of error.”
gives us a most wonderful understanding of the workings of spirit. Spirit, like
everything else in nature, has its opposites — positive and negative, good and
evil, light and darkness. The negative
power, Satan, is an invisible spiritual influence — energy — which exerts
itself upon the mind, desires, emotions, and will of men. We must certainly realize that what we call
“flesh” and the “
fact that a thing is “spirit” does not necessarily make it equal to or of the
same character as God. God is not God,
in fact, because he is spirit — neither is that which is spirit necessarily of
the same mind and expression of God just because it is spirit. There must be something more than that to
make it qualify for godhood. Using the
physical body as an example, let us note that although it is flesh from the very moment of its
conception, it could not be said that everything that is “flesh” is HUMAN! Thus it is that man’s substance is flesh, but his being
is much more!
am sure that it would be correct to conclude
that in the physical world a man’s substance
is flesh, but his being is much
more! So it is with God. His substance
is spirit — but His being is
MUCH MORE THAN THAT! In connection with
this truth I am deeply impressed to share the following thoughts from a letter
I received from a friend of many years.
She writes, “It is on this account that I say that God is not God
because He is spirit. God is, rather,
God because He is LOVE! He is God
because He is UNIFIED! God is spirit — that is His substance.
God is love — that is His being!
The very fact that God is —
as a state of being — love speaks of
His plurality, for, without that plurality, God could not be love as a state of
being. He could only have love for that
which is outside Himself. God I-S LOVE —
and love is UNITY — because love is cohesive.
When the holy men declared, ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is ONE
LORD,’ they were announcing the unity within the Godhead — the love and
cohesive force among Elohim.
This love, of course, is far more than a sentimental
virtue. Love is a very real power and is
re-iterate: God’s substance is spirit — but His being is love. ‘God is
love (unity, cohesiveness), and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in
God, and God in Him’ (I Jn. 4:16). By
the same token, whatever is not dwelling in love is not God though it be constructed of the same substance — namely spirit.
Where there is still ego, dividing
a man’s spirit from the whole, there is not God but
us meditate deeply upon this word — spirit.
The English word is from the Latin spirare, meaning “to
one cannot live without air and
It will greatly aid our perception of the activity of the Holy Spirit once we understand the simple truth that all spirit is energy. Energy has many forms, but it is not something that you can see or hold in your hand. You can think of energy as something that can make things change. For example, a moving object has energy because it can change things by crashing into them. Heat is another form of energy. Heat energy can change ice by melting it into water, and heat it more, changing it into vapor. It can run the engine of an automobile, jet plane, or rocket. There is another kind of energy, called chemical energy. It is in the coal or oil that heats buildings. It is in the food that nourishes your body and keeps you active. There is atomic energy which can be set free from the atoms of some materials. And there is the energy carried by light waves, called electromagnetic energy. It is the electromagnetic energy in sunlight that warms the earth. Light waves, streaming out of the sun, carry energy to us across nearly a hundred million miles of space. When the energy of the light hits the earth, part of it changes to heat. Some of it is stored in plants as chemical energy.
kind of energy of which we, the people of God, are aware is SPIRIT ENERGY. In physics energy is known as the capacity
for doing work. The Greek noun for
energy is energeo and its verb form
is energeia. These words are used in the Greek New
Testament several times. Because of the
association between “doing work” and “energy,” the words are generally
translated into English as “work” or “working.”
Since so much has been learned about energy in recent decades it would
now be far better, in my opinion, to translate the words for just what they
mean — energy or energizing. Let us look at a
few scriptures. “That ye may know…what
is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the
working (energeia) of His mighty
power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead” (Eph.
1:18-20). Yes, it was energy, God’s energy, which RAISED CHRIST FROM
THE DEAD! And the record
not only did
Holy Spirit is God’s energy force. It is God’s energy force projected and exerted upon creation. It is
God’s motion, action, and influence in one measure or another upon, in, and
through man. Yahweh accomplished the
creation of the universe by means of His Spirit or energy force. Regarding the planet earth in its early
formative stages, the record states that “The Spirit (energy force) of God was
moving to and fro over the surface of the waters” (Gen. 1:2). Psalm 33:6 says, “By the word of the Lord
were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the
There are two basic characteristics of the wind which qualify it to so fittingly serve as the supreme symbol of the Holy Spirit. The wind is first of all a powerful energy force, and secondly it is invisible. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, or whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the spirit” (Jn. 3:8). You cannot see the wind, and yet you are aware of its reality because of its power and the visible effects manifested all around you. In earlier times the wind was used broadly as a source of energy. Man has from antiquity known how to use sails on a boat or ship. Later, he learned to use the same principle to construct a windmill, using the force of the wind to turn grindstones, pump water, and do many other kinds of work.
Because the wind is both invisible and powerful, the biblical words ruwach and pneuma meaning wind, gradually took on much wider meanings, and came to represent any invisible power or influence, good or bad, positive or negative. And since God’s power, within and without, is exercised through channels and by agencies beyond human sight or perception, therefore this word “spirit” came more and more to be applied to all of the Lord’s dealings and operations. The invisible and powerful INWARD ENERGY FORCE which motivates and transforms our lives into the image of God is the HOLY SPIRIT! Yet — it is also OUR SPIRIT! For, joined to the Lord, we are the ONE SPIRIT! Only by this Holy Spirit within are we guided beyond the outer senses, and beyond the letter of the Word, into the glorious and eternal reality of “the deep things of God,” even all those things which God has in reservation for them that truly love Him, which the human eye hath not seen, the human ear hath not heard, neither hath entered into the human heart to understand and appreciate.
That spirit is a proper term for nature, ideas, thoughts, attitudes, desires, mind, will, and all such characteristics is illustrated by a story I read one time. An elder was telling of a young lad in a certain congregation. This boy was a devotee of baseball. He was a little leaguer. When the world series ran he came to the meeting of the church dressed in a baseball outfit, a glove on one hand and a small transistor radio in the other. His pocket was stretched by a ball. He didn’t hear the ministry that came forth in the meeting. His ear was glued to that radio. He refused to miss one word of the announcer’s description of the game. Now, that boy was FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT OF BASEBALL! He thought baseball. He talked baseball. He even took his bat to bed. It was all he cared about. He was filled with it. He was consumed by it. It was his life!
Through past decades “equal rights” of various kinds has been an issue in our country. There are people filled with the spirit of equal rights! They don’t have time for anything else. They are consumed with a desire to petition, organize, and march. Nothing else matters. They eat, sleep, and dream equal rights. Their money, time, talents, and energies are exhausted as they pour themselves into the struggle for equality. They are literally FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT of equal status for all people. These people are energized, they are filled with an attitude, a mind, a disposition, a will, a passion, and all these characteristics produce a tremendous influence upon the thinking and actions of multitudes of citizens. Perhaps now we can understand what it really means to be FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT! It means to not only be filled with the consciousness of the Person and presence of the Holy Spirit of God, but to also be filled with all the characteristics within that Spirit: His nature, will, ways, virtues, disposition, purpose, power, etc. How many believers settle for something far less than this!
are living in an hour when it is popular to be known as a “Spirit-filled”
Christian. Charismatic “
that blessed firstborn Son of God, was so filled, for He possessed the Spirit
“without measure” (Jn. 3:34). Jesus did
not go about speaking in tongues or falling out under the power, though those
are wonderful blessings, but He did go about doing the works of God and expressing the totality of the life of the
Father as the writer to the Hebrews says: “He is the sole (complete, full)
expression of the glory of God, the Light-being, the out-raying or radiance of
the divine, and He is the perfect imprint and very image of God’s nature…”
(Heb. 1:3, Amplified). And
Let us take a closer look at some of the characteristics of the Holy Spirit. He is variously defined as — “The Spirit of God,” “The Spirit of Christ,” “The Spirit of Holiness,” “The Spirit of Truth,” “The Spirit of Life,” “The Spirit of a Sound Mind,” “The Spirit of Liberty,” “The Spirit of Burning,” “The Spirit of the Father,” “The Spirit of the Son,” “The Spirit of Promise,” “The Spirit of Meekness,” “The Spirit of Understanding,” “The Spirit of Wisdom,” “The Spirit of Revelation,” “The Spirit of Glory,” “The Spirit of Counsel,” “The Spirit of Might,” “The Spirit of Grace,” “The Spirit of Love,” “The Spirit of Adoption,” “The Spirit of Prophecy,” “The Spirit of Power,” etc., etc. These various titles, repeated many times, and used interchangeably, give us a full, proper assurance that they all relate to the same Holy Spirit of God and the One Spirit that we are in Him. These various expressions are descriptive of the spirit, nature, disposition, ability, power, and glory of the one God, and of Jesus Christ who reveals Him, and of all who are born of Him and MADE ONE IN HIM. “He that is joined to the Lord is ONE SPIRIT.”
of these characteristics is a form of
of God! This energy is
transmitted from the spirit within outward into soul and body to produce its
power in our life, just as electricity is transmitted from a battery to an
engine to make it function in a certain way.
When the “Spirit of Holiness” is transmitted into our life and
consciousness we begin to function in o
Our failure to see that the Holy Spirit of God is not the only form of spirit in the world leads us into all manner of error and misunderstanding. There is another spirit mentioned frequently throughout the Word of God! This “other spirit” is spoken of in opposite terms, namely, “The Spirit of Fear,” “The Spirit of Bondage,” “The Spirit of the World,” “The Spirit of Error,” “The Spirit of Antichrist,” “The Spirit of Jealousy,” “The Spirit of Slumber,” etc., etc. These terms signify the WRONG SPIRIT — the spirit, nature, disposition, power, and will which has its chief exemplification in Satan, the Devil, the Serpent, the Dragon — the same spirit manifesting itself in all who walk in, and live out of, the carnal mind, which mind is energized by the indwelling serpent! Sin, error, darkness, and death are all characteristics of the SPIRIT OF THE NEGATIVE REALM, even as holiness, truth, love, life, etc., are all characteristics of the one Holy Spirit.
mentioned previously, there are brethren who are convinced that all spirit is
the same spirit and that there is only one spirit in the whole world, which is
the spirit of God in every man. But we
are constrained to take heed to the testimony of the spirit of
is true — for the child of God there is only one spirit, and that spirit is God
in the spirit of every man. It should be
equally obvious that most men are not living out of the spirit of God in their
spirit, but are living out of “another spirit.”
He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit, but he that is joined to
the world, or joined to religion, or joined to any other thing outside of God,
is also one spirit in that realm! That
“other spirit” is the spirit that energizes and controls and manifests through
the natural man! Why else would the
apostle differentiate between the spirit of man
and the Spirit of God, saying, “For what man knoweth the
things of a man, save the spirit of man which
is in him? Even so the things of God
knoweth no (natural) man, but the Spirit
of God” (I Cor. 2:11). Even for the
redeemed, before they are brought to that full union with God, there is a
distinction drawn between the spirit of man and the Spirit of God. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
For ye have not received the spirit
of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit
itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of
did Jesus know the limitation of the spirit of man apart from the Holy
Spirit. Well did He know that our
understanding could not possibly ascend beyond the things of man. He did not leave us thus comfortless and
confined, but promised in words that cannot fail, “When He, the Spirit of truth
is come, He will guide you into all truth.”
And yet again, “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you
from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He
shall testify of me” (Jn. 15:26). And
not only is there the Spirit of God and the spirit of man, there is also a spirit
in the children of disobedience, the very spirit of the devil, “the
prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the
children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2).
How significant and full of meaning are these words of the apostle John:
“Ye are of God, little children…because greater is HE that is IN YOU, than HE
that is IN THE WORLD” (I Jn. 4:4).
HE! Personality! Spirit! One in the saints and the other in the
world! Only two verses later the apostle
clearly identifies these two spirits which
are in the people of God and the people of the world. “We are
of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he
that is not of God heareth us
not. Hereby we know the S-P-I-R-I-T OF
TRUTH and the S-P-I-R-I-T OF ERROR.”
my beloved, we have only begun to explore the depths of the mystery of who and
what Satan is, and how he can be bound in the bottomless pit, why he should be
loosed from the pit for a short season, and the great purpose in his eventual
casting into the lake of fire and brimstone.
We shall continue this theme in our
To be continued… J. PRESTON EBY
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