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"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."


Part 237





            “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.  And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful” (Rev. 21:4-5).


            Even though we sometimes speak casually about mortality, we are never ready to meet death face to face.  Death is a cold thief.  A preacher may say that a young boy now sings in heaven’s choir, but his parents are grief stricken, angry, and perplexed, and they feel cheated.  All their joy has been stripped from them.  An elderly woman may be tired of her husband’s nagging and quirks, but she’d rather have that than the lonely life of a widow.  Death takes us to the moment of greatest struggle.  Like Job, we are torn up inside and tempted to point an accusing finger at God: “Why have you made me your target” (Job. 7:20)?  No matter how we try to dress it up and stress the positive side of it, we sense somehow that death is not normal.  We know that we were created to enjoy life!  Just as Job did, we turn our hearts and thoughts to heaven, demanding an adequate answer.


            Death and tears and crying are all inextricably related.  Human hands are poor at drying tears.  Neighbors may help, friends may sympathize, and ministers may seek to console with words of comfort and wisdom, but in the end only God can heal the heart and stop the fount of tears.  And God will not trust this task to either men or angels, for God Himself “shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”  And then, “…no more death.”  What words are these!  What blessed anticipation!  Death has had a fearful reign.  Almost every home has its vacant chair; every village has its cemetery; every small newspaper carries its obituary list; while countless tons of earth’s bronze and marble are fashioned into gravestones.  Death has blasted hopes and broken hearts; turned loving wives into weeping widows, and helpless children into homeless orphans.  Death is harsh and cold and heartless.  But death has met defeat; a tomb has been opened from the inside, and death itself in that first victorious life has ceased to exist.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death!  And the Christ Himself is the guarantee!


            Imagine this headline in today’s newspaper: Cure Found for Death!  Newspapers would soon be sold out.  Every television and computer would be tuned to the news channels.  Everyone would be scrambling to find out what this fantastic announcement had to say.  But suppose the article or news report under the headline reported that a traveling teacher has announced that he personally is the cure for death — he has not made a scientific discovery, nor a new medical breakthrough, nor found some secret fountain of youth — but by revelation he has proclaimed himself as the source of life and immortality!  We might begin to suspect that he’s just another religious teacher who has gotten carried away with delusions of self-importance, even if he has raised a few dead people back to life.  And when we  read about his claim that the only way to escape death is to believe in him, we’d say, “How preposterous!”  Perhaps its not surprising that relatively few people take Jesus’ bold statement seriously — “He who believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (Jn. 11:25-26).  After all, it’s probably the most startling claim that anyone has ever made!  Why should anyone believe it?  We should believe it, not because Jesus raised Lazarus after he had been dead for four days, but because Jesus Himself arose after He died for us — and because He still lives today!  The Lamb that was slain is in the midst of the throne, and He has sent forth from the throne the very spirit of His life into us by the power of the Holy Ghost!  It is a glorious fact, for we have received it!  Christ alone has the credentials to claim that He can  give life and immortality to men!


            Death takes in this whole dreadful realm of sin, weakness, fear, sorrow, pain, heartache, rebellion, strife, war, sickness, sadness, torment, and trouble in which men walk without the peace and joy and transforming power of God in their lives.  Men need to know that they are dead even while they walk about in a body that appears to be alive; a Christless death in which they are dead to God, dead to Christ, dead to virtue, dead to truth, dead to purity, dead to righteousness, dead to peace, dead to joy, dead to reality, dead to promise, dead to hope, dead to the bright world of the spirit.  A man abides in this death throughout all the decades, centuries, or millenniums of his existence until he is awakened by the voice of the Son of God.  It was this very truth that Jesus was making clear to us when He said, “He that hath the Son hath life, but he that hath not the Son of God hath not life…”   Though such a one should live in the extreme fullness of earth’s pleasures, yet HE IS DEAD while he lives, a stranger to Christ, a stranger to the realm of eternal realities, a stranger to that higher world of spiritual things, and an enemy of God.


            I know many people who are quite intelligent, some highly educated, accomplished in their fields, civil, polite, personable, courteous, and caring in an earthly kind of way; and yet, when the subject of spiritual life, spiritual realities, and heavenly things is introduced into the conversation, suddenly the true nature emerges and the true antipathy the person has toward the living God and His Christ will come forth.  They are dead to God, and in truth an enemy of God!  The condition of a man outside of God is a condition of complete and utter helplessness, and, insofar as his ability to help himself or lift himself out of the world of darkness he dwells in is concerned, his condition is also one of utter hopelessness.  That which is dead is both helpless and hopeless!  Such a one stupidly stumbles through this mortal existence working, playing, sleeping, without ever knowing or caring what life is really about, why he is here, or where he is going.


            The portrait of spiritual death is physical death.  God gave us physical death merely as a type to convey something of the awfulness of the true death of which all men have been made partakers.  Speaking of physical death, Charles Spurgeon once said, “The time will come, ere long, when these shining orbs by which I look out upon you and through which you look into my very soul, will become a carnival for worms; that this body of mine will be inhabited by loathsome things, the brother of corruption, the sister of decay.  These cheeks now flushed with life will soon be sunken in death.  Beneath the skin there will be going on such activity that, could we look upon it, we too would recoil in horror.  The same death of the body is the condition of our soul and  our spiritual life as we come into this world.”


            Jesus raised three people from the dead during His years of ministry, and each of these stands as a picture of the condition of those who are raised out of the death of the carnal mind into the life of the Son of God.  First, there was Jarius’ daughter.  Do you remember the story?  Jesus came into the house and she  was still upon her bed.  She had just died.  She still wore the garments of sleep.  Her mother was still holding her hand and moistening her brow with kisses.  Her father looked upon her lovingly but she was dead.  And Jesus raised her with these simple words, “Talitha cumi.”  Her eyes opened!  She sat up and was alive again! 


            Then there was the funeral procession that took place  in the town of Nain where a widow of Nain had lost her only son.  He was no longer in the home; he no longer wore the clothes of sleep but was wrapped in the cerements of the cemetery.  He  was already laid out upon his bier and was being conveyed  to his tomb.  Jesus did what He always did.  He stopped the funeral — because that is why He came — and He said, “Young man, I say unto thee, arise!”  He sat up and Christ returned him to his mother.


            Then there was that notable instance of Lazarus of Bethany.  When Jesus arrived, Lazarus was no longer in his home; he was no longer in procession; he was already in his tomb.  Neither the bed nor the bier but the tomb now contained him and Jesus said, “Roll away the stone.”  Martha said, “Lord, he has been dead four days and now he stinketh.”  Jesus said to her, “Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?”  And so they rolled away the stone.  No doubt there issued forth from that open cavern those noxious smells of the grave.  Jesus having lifted up His eyes to God in prayer, cried, “Lazarus, come forth!”  and life pulsated through his body again.  Still wrapped in the grave clothes he  shuffled out of the darkness into the light.  Jesus said, “Loose him, and let him go.”


            Each of us, as we come into this world and continue along our path, unless OUR SPIRIT has been quickened and renewed by HIS SPIRIT, are in some such condition as one of these three.  There are some who are young and tender; they are still in their mother’s home; their faces are fair and their cheeks are flushed; they are the adorable objects of their parent’s love; the world is before them and yet they are dead.  They are dead in trespasses and in sins; dead to God, dead to truth; dead to reality; for this is how they have been born into this world.  Though physically, intellectually, and emotionally alive, they are dead spiritually.  They are unconscious of, and unresponsive to, the spiritual life and the spiritual world of reality.  They have not had time for sin to run its course and to effect its devastating changes.  Like Jarius’ daughter, they still look alive — why she looks as though she sleepeth!  Her eyes are simply closed in  sleep.  And yet she is dead!


             And there are those like the son of the widow of Nain who have left their father’s home and are now out in public.  Some years have passed and already the flush has left the cheek and the results of sin are beginning to make themselves seen.  Our land is filled with these today!  Unlike Jarius’ daughter, their sins are no more secret, a matter kept at home, but now they are out in public and known to many.  Without shame they expose their sins willfully, flaunting them before all the world to see; they call it “coming out of their closets;” they have no sense of guilt or shame because their sin and death has proceeded thus far.  And yet they are still accepted by society.  They are glorified by the media.  Some are even active in the churches.  They are not like Lazarus, who has been put away, where death has come to such a state that the corruption has progressed to such a degree that now he stinketh and none can bear to be in his presence.  And so there comes a time in some men’s lives when even  their loved ones can say, “Put away my beloved from out of my sight.  Bury him in some jail or in some hospital or in some gutter of depravity.”


            The corruption of sin and death can reach to such a marked degree that it is seen in the person, in his acts, in his words, his dress, his face, and he becomes an outcast, the dregs of society.  There are more, I am sure, like the widow’s son.  The revelation of the death in them is only beginning to show.  There are still many like Jarius’ daughter where it is not seen at all, except by those with spiritual eyes and discernment.  They are so lovely.  “Isn’t she sweet?”  “Isn’t he handsome?”  “Oh, he is such a nice person.”  “They are such good neighbors, they would do anything for you.”  And yet, each and every one of them — the girl on the bed, the young man on the bier, and Lazarus in his tomb — were equally dead!  Dead one, dead all!


            This is the description of the land of the dead in which the whole world lives by nature.  The land of trespasses and sins in which there walk the dead.  “Wherein,” Paul says to the quickened ones, “in time past ye walked” (Eph. 2:2).  Is that not amazing?  We were dead and yet we walked; we were the walking dead, a land filled with spiritual zombies, walking, as though they live, yet dead!  Did you ever stop to think that when Jesus Christ, the firstborn Son of God, came into this world HE WAS THE ONLY LIVING MAN IN A WORLD OF DEAD PEOPLE?  The whole world lies in the hands of the wicked one and death reigns over all the earth realm, the world of carnal-minded men!  “To be carnally minded is death” (Rom. 8:6).  No wonder the scripture says that men are a stench in the nostrils of God because  spiritual death sends forth its reek and stench.  How the pure soul of Jesus must have recoiled at the state of death that was rampant over the earth.  We, the walking dead, walked according to the course of THIS  WORLD, we are  told (Eph. 2:2). 


            When Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, came into this world to reveal the LIFE OF GOD, which is true spiritual life, He came  outside the existing religious system.  He spoke the words of God and did the works of God and manifested the nature of God.  What an appalling shock to the established religious order to have this strange man speaking as one with authority suddenly appear in their midst not as a Pharisee, Sadducee, or a priest of the order of Aaron, but in the power of the Spirit of God.  What a bolt out of heaven it must have been to the hypocritical priests of Levi, so accustomed to strutting about in long robes and broad phylacteries, wearing their miters, loving to be called Rabbi and teacher as they received the homage of the people about them, binding burdens that they would not touch with the tips of their fingers on others, robbing widow’s houses and for a pretense making long prayers as they increased condemnation upon their own unforgiven sins.  What a stunning  dismay it must have been for these lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God to hear this mighty Son of God proclaiming to publicans and sinners, soldiers and priests alike, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”


            These lawyers and priests, who loved the praise of men more than the praise of God, must have been green with envy as they saw towns and cities emptying themselves of their inhabitants when  with one accord the vast assemblage swarmed to the fields and the mountain sides to hear this mighty prophet and to behold His wonderful signs and wonders and miracles.  Well did Jesus know by the Spirit of the Father within Him that these religious leaders were spots in the feasts of charity, feeding themselves with their own deceivings.  Clouds they were without water, carried about by the wind; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots.  That was the picture then and that is the picture of the religious systems today, of whatever brand or label they may be.  Sunday after Sunday thousands of ministers stand in their pulpits to preach dead sermons while untold millions of church members sing the same songs, repeat the same prayers, go through the same motions, observing lifeless forms, meaningless rituals, and empty ceremonies.  I tell you frankly that that is the way to spiritual stagnation and immaturity, which leads to spiritual death; but it is not the path to sonship and the fullness of HIS LIFE AND GLORY.  Oh! there is no death anywhere more horrible or offensive than that to be found in dead religion.  It is the land of the living dead, a land filled with spiritual zombies, having the outward appearance of being alive — and yet dead.             


            There are but two kinds of people: the dead and the alive.  If you have not been made alive by His quickening power, awakened to the world of reality in Christ Jesus, you are still dead no matter how rosy your religious cheeks may appear.  If you have been made alive may I tell you that, as assuredly as Lazarus knew that he had been raised from the tomb, so also you know that you have been quickened by God to a higher realm of life and reality, made alive, recreated, born anew by the Spirit of God, and you walk in newness of life as a son of God in the land of the living God!  Great is the mystery!


            Duane Kennedy wrote: “I saw a grim specter walking up and down, to and fro throughout the earth; and he would reach out his bony finger and touch a man or a woman.  When he touched them, in an instant, millionaires became paupers, the well became ill, the young became old, the Marathon runner, palsied; and they all died.  And I said, ‘What is the name of this specter that walks up and down amidst the earth?’  The answer came back, ‘His name is Death.’  For more than 40 centuries this grim tyrant had conducted his ghastly business, killing men and women and dragging their corpses into his cold palace.  Kings and conquerors had all fallen to his fatal touch.  There was none strong enough to withstand his approach.


            “Then one Passover evening there appeared a stranger outside the doors of that icy palace, a palace filled with bones, for even the chalices on the table were shining skulls.  The columns were made of bones, and the beams of the ceiling were of human bones.  Back and forth within that ghastly castle walked this tyrant who knew no fear of man.  Then  this stranger rolled back the doors and stepped within that cold palace and, unafraid, approached that mighty tyrant, grasped him with one hand, lifted him up, threw him to the pavement, and placed upon his neck the heel of triumph.


            “Then this mighty stranger, for three days and three nights, walked amidst the caverns of that castle of death.  Through the labyrinthine corridors of horror he went until he found the two main pillars which held up the whole domain.  He rocked them back and forth until the whole thing began to crumble down; and then he took up the ponderous gates, lifting them off their hinges, and marched forth with a shout of victory, ‘I am the resurrection and the life!’ (Jn. 11:25).  Our Jesus had conquered death!  And  then I saw a beautiful being walking to and fro, and up and down throughout the earth.  And this being reached out his hand and touched, first one person and then another.  At his touch the poor became rich, the sick became well, the palsied became whole, the blind saw, the deaf heard, the lame leaped for joy; and I said, ‘Who is that beautiful being who walks through the earth?’  The answer came back, ‘His name is Life.’  ‘He that hath the Son of God hath LIFE.’”    

                                                It is sad to find, from a devoted pen like Cowper’s:


                                                       “Then in a nobler, sweeter song

                                                             I’ll sing Thy power to save.

                                                       When this poor lisping stam’ring tongue

                                                             Lies silent in the grave!”


                                                How much better to sing:


                                                       “When this poor lisping stam’ring tongue

                                                              Hath triumphed o’er the grave!”


            Let us pause here to consider a point which needs to be emphasized in this significant hour.  Death is an enemy: that much is plain; for the last enemy to be destroyed is death (I. Cor. 15:26).  But let us inquire as to just which death is referred to here.  We have men who today profess to be able to attain to translation, or to put on physical immortality, or to step into a body like unto the Christ’s body of glory, or to some such state, by conquering the enemy which they delight to call the “last enemy,” through their refusing to go by way of the grave.  But we find in listening to this process of reasoning, that these folks, along with many others, do not appear to recognize more than one death, the one which their human vision causes them to detest, which death emaciates the body and results in men going to the grave.  But is this death really the enemy, or is it but the final result of a previous death?


            There are many deaths!  Eve in the garden disobeyed God and, as a result of that disobedience, came into the first and fundamental death, which is a separation from the life that is in God, that is, in the spirit.  “The spirit is life” (Rom. 8:10).  As a result of this first and fundamental death, it became necessary for God to bring into operation another death to limit the increase or restrain the workings of the first.  Therefore, if and when the first death, the real culprit and  the true enemy, is removed, then there will be no cause for the next.  The first death, the one which separated our original parents from the life of God flowing out of their spirit, and the state into which every son of Adam is born as a result of this fall, is the great enemy.  You see, my beloved, we often get the cart before the horse!  Physical death is not the cause of death!  Physical death was not the death that separated our original parents from the life of God, thrusting them into the realm of death!  Oh, no!  Physical death is not the cause of anything — it is just the end result of another, greater, more fundamental, and powerful death.  The death which results in physical death is the one Paul referred to when he wrote, “And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins…and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:1,6). 


            We were dead in trespasses and sins…and that, my friend, is the death which caused all the woe and suffering and sorrow and sickness and pain and shame.  Natural death is merely a corrective measure, a separation from the body and from the sins of the flesh and of the fleshly mind, so that the abounding of sin in the world is controlled.  Can you imagine what this world would be like today if all the wicked pagans and all the brutal tyrants and all the vile, murderous, abominable psychopaths that have ever lived were still here plying their trade among us!  The question follows — Which of these two deaths then should we fear?  The death into which all men are born, the one which they inherit through the first man Adam, is the last enemy to be destroyed.  It is the fundamental cause for all men going to the grave.  If it were not for this death, both natural death and the grave would  not follow.  If it were not for this fundamental death, then there could be no natural death, and hence no grave. 


            That is what it means when the scripture says that our Lord Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power and was raised from the dead “by the spirit of holiness” (Rom. 1:4).  Oh, yes!  It wasn’t His resurrection into a glorified body that made Him the Son of God with power.  And it wasn’t His resurrection from the dead in a glorified body that made Him holy and free from sin.  Oh, no!  Rather, it was the SPIRIT OF HOLINESS that qualified Him as the Son of God with power.  It was likewise the SPIRIT OF HOLINESS that raised Him from the dead, giving Him a body of glory!  Can we not see by this that it was His victory over the first fundamental death, dead in trespasses and sins, and victory over the separation that death brought, that made Him the Son of God with power.  He was not separated from the life that was in God, for He sinned not, and therefore He could say that He lived by the Father that dwelt in Him.  No sin!  No separation!  The result?  “Raised from the dead BY THE SPIRIT OF HOLINESS!”  Jesus was the first man in whom the first fundamental death was overcome.  The natural, unavoidable result of that was the acquisition of a body of glory in which no death dwells!  If you try to somehow obtain an incorruptible, immortal body without first being clothed upon in the totality of your being with the spirit of holiness, which is the spirit of Christ’s sonship, you will be very disappointed when you finally breathe your last natural breath. 


            Here in our study of the twenty-first chapter of the Revelation we have come to the time for all death to be done away.  “And there shall be no more death.”  And here is the surprising thing that most believers have never even given a thought.  We can never arrive at that blessed state where there exists no more death as long as there remains even one sinner anywhere upon earth, or in hell, or any place else!  Just as long as the enemy death — the death of the carnal mind, the death of sin, the death of any degree of separation from the life of the spirit — retains dominion over even one soul; just as long as there remains one human being in God’s vast creation who has not experienced a full and complete salvation, being conformed into the image of the Son of God, and grown  up into the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, just that long the enemy death still holds sway over a part of God’s creation.  And just that long there still remains an enemy to be put under Christ’s feet before He can reign as undisputed Sovereign over all that which He died to redeem.  Therefore the time which we are here considering is the time when each and every son of Adam from the bright precincts of Eden all the way down to the consummation of the ages has looked to the Saviour and lives!  Only when this becomes a  glorious and eternal reality can there  truly be NO MORE DEATH!


            Paul very evidently refers to this same universal conquest of Calvary when he wrote to the Ephesians, “Having made known unto us the mystery of His will…that in the ministry of the fullness of the appointed times He might reduce under one head all things, even in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, even in Him” (Eph. 1:10).  Ah, there is a ministry that will reduce all things in heaven and on earth under one Head, and that must be a very remarkable universal moving and manifestation of God!  Come  now, with boldness, and behold the manifestation of the sons of God for which all creation is in travail!  “For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.  For the creation was made subject to vanity (futility, frustration), not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope.  Because (the hope is that) the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  And not only they, but ourselves also…even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption (placement as mature sons of God), to wit, the redemption of our body” (Rom. 8:19-23)  Nothing short of this can possibly be the means of gathering together all things in the heavens and on the earth under one head, even in Christ!




            “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 21:4).


            The natural conception of this is, “Oh, how wonderful!  My back won’t hurt anymore!”  While that is wonderfully true, there is another, higher, more glorious meaning to these beautiful words.  The key to this truth is found in Revelation 12 wherein we read, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun…and she being with child, cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered…and she brought forth a manchild, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne” (Rev. 12:2,5).  Those who in this hour yearn for the manifestation of the sons of God feel spiritually much like the expectant woman whose due date for “delivery” of her first baby has come and gone.  All the evidence is that there is a baby — the tummy is swollen so tight it looks like it will burst; the baby is kicking; contractions are experienced; the water may even have broken — yet, it is not time for the birth.  At such a time, the expectant mother may wonder if things could go on like that indefinitely.  It seems almost unreal; the waiting grows unbearable, the nights long and restless, and the emotions become heightened or depressed.  Still, all signs give assurance that the hoped for event will take place.  And those in attendance to her can but wait and watch for the final sign that the baby is about to be delivered.


            The baby in the passage above is a very special and unusual child.  There is something coming out of the woman that is going to do what the woman could not do.  The woman is beautiful, she is glorious, she is faithful and clothed with the sun of the glory of Christ,  crowned with victory, and God is pleased with her, and she has been the yielded handmaid of Christ.  She has done all she has been called and equipped to do.  She dwells in a heavenly place, but she has not greatly impacted the world for she has never sat upon the throne with Christ nor has she ruled all nations with a rod of iron.  The woman has been able to do what women do best — she has been able to nurture, to heal  wounds, to encourage, wash, feed, and care for the children of God.  But her ministry has not  gone far beyond the nurturing of her own little family and protecting the seed growing in her womb.  She has not done more than that because her authority has not extended further than that and she has not had great strength or power.  The woman is the true church in the earth, the bride of the Lamb!  She has had gifts and ministries and a message of salvation and deliverance by which multitudes of men have been redeemed and gathered unto Christ.  But that holy thing that shall be born of her shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest (the manifest sons of God) and he shall ascend the throne of his Father and shall conquer and rule all nations with a rod of iron.  He shall bring a new order, a greater authority, an all-conquering power, and surpassing glory into the midst of humanity and a new day shall dawn for the whole earth from pole to pole and from sea to sea.  The coming to birth of the sons of God is the one, great spiritual event the whole creation is waiting for!   


            The woman is in great travail and excruciating pain to deliver this manchild into the earth.  It is the picture of old-fashioned childbirth, not the modern means and methods.  There is no C-section, no ether, no spinal injection, no pain relief, and no numbing from this birth process.  There is weeping, tears, sweat, groans, agony, and screaming as the new order of the sons of God is birthed out of the birthing canal of the virgin church.  It is not a soothing, pleasant experience, but it will be effective!  The Greek word for travail here is odino which indicates a special kind of pain, the pain of a woman giving birth.  John says that because of this pain she cried, signifying to cry out, to cry aloud.  We have all been going through pressures, experiences, and deep dealings which make us cry out, and at times we cry aloud — groaning, weeping, writhing, as it were, in distress as well as those times of deep inner travail with groanings which cannot be uttered.  Truly, these are birthpangs!


            There is a vast company of saints today that is caught up in the travail of this birthing experience!  These have been doing everything they know to do to bring this manchild to birth and his head hasn’t crowned yet, but the struggle tells them clearly that he is on his way!  It is always painful to birth a new order in God!  Ask Moses, ask Joshua, ask David, ask Jesus, ask the apostles, ask Martin Luther, ask John Knox and George Fox, ask the early Pentecostals — yet none of them ever knew the pain of birthing a full grown male  child — a man in the full stature of Jesus Christ!  And that’s exactly what the Greek word for “manchild” signifies!  Oh, how painful it is!  We’re going to give birth to this son, my beloved, and that secret knowledge, that which God has in recent decades revealed mightily in the midst of His saints through glorious movings and manifestations of His Spirit, that which we have pondered in our hearts, that which we embraced in faith, that which we have cherished as a hope, that which we have dreamed of, fantasized about, preached about, prophesied of, and anxiously awaited is about to be birthed in reality into our midst!  Everything will change in heaven and in earth when this takes place!  And one result for God’s called and separated elect will be just this — NO MORE CRYING, AND NO MORE PAIN!  Aren’t you glad!


            When a woman is pregnant and ready to deliver — just ask any woman who has given birth — when she is ready to be delivered she wants that child out of there!  When the time has come for the seed of Christ in us to be birthed out of the woman we have all been a part of, birthed into the full glory of sonship, we want that inner son to come forth!  And it’s not just because of the pain and travail that lead to the birth, but because of the surpassing glory of losing our identity in the woman and rising up into our identity as the manchild — the manifest son of God!  “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world” (Jn. 16:21).  Every one of us has been the woman, the betrothed bride of Christ.  The hour is fastly approaching for the son to come, and when it is time for the birth, there is nothing we can do but yield ourselves to the birthing process.  All creation is groaning, travailing together in pain until now!  We ourselves, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, do groan within ourselves and we are pained together in the intense travail to bring forth the Christ in the fullness of Himself.  That is the pain!  It costs something to bring forth this manchild, the maturity of God’s Christ.  But one glad  morning there will be great joy and NO MORE PAIN!  No more pain!  No more travail!  No  more labor!  The manchild has been brought forth!  Isn’t it wonderful!


            Pain is mentioned only three times in the book of Revelation and there are two contrasting kinds of pain presented.  We have already considered the pain of travail of the heavenly woman as she births the manchild — a pain that, thank God, will finally end in victory.  The other dimension of pain is revealed in chapter sixteen wherein we read, “And the fifth angel poured out his bowl upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and  blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores…” (Rev. 16:10-11).  Under the fourth and fifth bowls (plagues) we find two very contrasting realms, and God uses them both in His processings.  Under the fourth bowl, men are “scorched with great heat,” as the desperate leaders of Mystery Babylon “turn up the heat,” and then under the fifth bowl the meteoric blaze is passed.  Poured on the throne of the beast, darkness spreads over his kingdom, and men suffer the pain of “absolute darkness.”  It is the “outer darkness” of which Jesus spoke, where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  It is not a place  on some far-away planet somewhere, nor a pit in the center of the earth, but the inner condition of awakening to discover that the realm you dwell in, which you thought was the very tabernacle of God and the light of truth, is in fact Satan’s vast domain and his very throne, far away outside the true illumination, glory, and power of the kingdom of God!


            Darkness is the absence of light, and this fifth plague reveals to all the inhabitants of spiritual Babylon — the beast’s kingdom, the false church — that there is no true “light” in any of their carnal doctrines and man-made observances.  It is my deep conviction that through the ministry of God’s called and qualified elect there will shed forth such a mighty revelation of truth and reality until the power the doctrines of men and the traditions of the elders hold over the people will be drawn off, plunging the whole system into thick darkness.  The beast’s kingdom is worldwide, and the darkness brought in by this bowl of God’s passion is co-extensive with his empire.  From the throne to the uttermost limits of religious Babylon everything is shrouded in  the mantle of deep, dark, starless night.  Isaiah prophesied of this when he said, “Behold, the darkness shall cover the earth and gross darkness the people” (Isa. 60:2).  Joel prophesied of it when he said, “The day of the Lord cometh, a day of darkness, of gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness” (Joel 2:31).  In this great day of the Lord a dreadful pall of doom is destined to settle over the entire kingdom of the beast, which has been built up by his throne in the heights of man’s carnal mind.  This kingdom includes all the “earth-dwellers,” the carnal-minded, flesh-oriented, soulical-centered Christians — followers and worshippers of the beastly religious orders that walk not in the purity of truth nor in the power of the Spirit of the Lord.  The effect of the outpouring of this bowl of God’s dealing is the producing of such torment and anguish as can only be adequately described as the “gnawing of their tongues from pain.”


            Ah, God knows exactly what DARK CAVERN to place men in, with no outside energy which they can draw from to help maintain their state and standing.  It is the outer darkness — that region of spiritual darkness that leads away from the true spiritual light which Christ is.  Ray Prinzing pointed out, “It is significant that wherever you find reference to ‘outer darkness’ you also read of ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth,’ as if to indicate the shivering in the cold until the teeth chatter.  All this brings more meaning to the word, ‘If therefore the light that is in  thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!’  We weep for them, yet we thank God for this understanding of how He uses the COLD, THE DARKNESS to draw out this thermo energy of self-resistance, and the hour of final victory will  come, with a full restoration into God.  While the wrath of God is love’s severity, yet it remains purest love, seeking the ultimate good for creation, and so it continues to apply the strokes of chastisement.  The pain caused by this is the pain of discipline.  Repentance will come in due time, but how great is the need for the inworking of His judgments, until that submission comes”  — end quote.  Thank God — this pain (gnawing their tongues for pain) of Babylon’s darkness and delusion also shall end in victory and then the pain of discipline will no longer be needed.  There, too, “…the former things” shall have ‘passed away!”  All God’s judgments will end in a mighty correction and deliverance of all God’s precious people — and in that realm also the blessed day will come when there shall be NO MORE PAIN!  What a glorious plan!  What an unspeakably wonderful arrangement!  It is indeed wonderful!


             There is a further truth in this connection, no less glorious and awe-inspiring.  Please let us notice  one thing.  The entire scene in Revelation 21:3-5 — the tabernacle of God with men, He will dwell with men, they will be His people, and He will be their God; He shall wipe away all tears, there shall be no more death, no more sorrow, neither crying nor pain, for the former things are passed away — all these things follow immediately after the passage (Rev. 20:15) telling us of some individuals who are cast into the lake of fire.  Because of the man-made chapter division the church systems seem to have missed entirely the fact of the connection between these passages of John’s vision!  What the church has done in this instance is to separate Revelation 20:15 from Revelation 21:1-5 in order to infer and believe and teach that the conditions of suffering, torment, and pain men experience in the lake of fire will continue on forever and ever, without respite, unceasing, and unending.  So of course they must conclude and teach that death (the second death), sorrow, crying, and pain must all continue in God’s universe and in the lives of men for whom Christ died — ETERNALLY!     


            So in the twenty-first chapter of the Revelation they suddenly change subjects, disconnect from the whole scene John has been describing, and begin something new by telling us of the new heavens and the new earth which have completely different circumstances and conditions in them than does their hell.  So what they have are two separate situations, or two separate conditions, which cannot in any way affect one another, both being unchangeable, and existing as it were side by side throughout all the ages of time and the infinitude of eternity.  Therefore, what the church systems must conclude, and do conclude, is that in  one place in the universe there is eternal death, eternal tears, eternal sorrow, eternal crying, and eternal pain.  And there, these conditions, these things never pass away.  “For the former things are passed away,” in their view, can never apply to this realm.  It is excluded.  Forever.  But at the same time they tell us of another place where all is joy and peace and happiness, where the saved ones continually and for all eternity praise and worship God with nothing else to do, and without any concern whatsoever for those less fortunate souls for whom “the former things have not passed away and will not pass away!”


            If this is true, then something must have happened to both God and the saints in heaven.  Before the death of these people, God loved them all and in many instances they loved each other, saved and unsaved alike.  In this natural realm many of those who called themselves Christians were very concerned about their “unsaved loved ones.”  And many of these loved ones died in their sins, and according to the church doctrines, went away to this hell of eternal death, eternal tears, eternal sorrow, eternal crying, and ETERNAL PAIN!  Now that the two groups are in “eternity,” God and all the people in heaven have either lost their love and compassion for their lost loved ones, or else God has brain-washed them all so that they have been conditioned into a psychopathic personality in which they have the inability to maintain deep attachments to others and consequently feel nothing, and are completely unmoved anymore for their most beloved ones who are suffering, crying, and enduring the inexplicable anguish and most excruciating pains of unending hell-fire and damnation.  Or, perhaps the heavenly mind is somehow impaired so that it cannot even remember the existence of the former loved ones!  So we see this: there was MORE LOVE and DIVINE COMPASSION in the natural world in God and the redeemed saints, than there will be in the heavenly realm.  Something catastrophic must have happened to cause God and His saints in heaven to turn from love and pity for the lost, to the obvious feeling that the lost are now only getting what they deserve and it is somehow just for them to suffer, cry, and scream  in pain for all eternity.


            What sort of a god do the church systems worship?  What kind of a god is it presenting to the world?  The church systems teach us and try to make us believe  that pain will exist forever in hell and vast multitudes of people will be tortured in that pain.  But, after several times speaking of the torment and pain of the lake of fire the Holy Spirit testifies that all these “former things” will pass away and THERE SHALL BE  N-O  M-O-R-E  P-A-I-N!  Who shall we believe, God or the church?  Who will you listen to, or what will you listen to!  Will you listen to what God says, or will you listen to what some man or some church says that God says?  It makes no difference to me how much education any man has, or how many degrees are behind his name, or how much authority and power his denomination has given him — as for me and my house, we prefer to hear what GOD SAYS!

            The church world has missed entirely the reason why God can say there is to be no more pain.  The reason they have missed this one point is the same reason they have missed practically all the teaching of God.  They have missed, in the very same passage we have been considering, the words of Him who sits upon the throne and says, “Behold (Look! Pay attention!), I  MAKE  A-L-L  T-H-I-N-G-S  NEW!  The lake of divine, Holy Ghost fire has purified those who were cast there to be purged and processed, and now the time has come for GOD TO MAKE ALL THINGS NEW.  And, contrary to what the preachers would have us believe about this statement, God is not making “all new things.”  Oh, no!  The new heavens and the new earth are not new things that never existed before — they are exactly what God says they are — they are “all things” MADE NEW!  Certainly both the lake of fire and the multitudes of men in it are part of the “all things” that ARE MADE NEW!  That is the mystery.


            If God does not make all things new, these encouraging and enlightening words should never have been written.  But not only are they written, but the specific instruction was given to the scribe, John the beloved, saying, “Write: for these words are true and faithful” (Rev. 21:5).  If the lake of fire  is  to burn and do its tormenting work forever and ever, then God lies when He tells us that He is going to make all things new.  If suffering in hell-fire is to go on through eternity, then God does not make all  things new, nor can He ever say, “and there shall be no more pain…”   NO MORE PAIN.  We must again refer to the words of God from the first chapter of Isaiah’s prophecy,  “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord” (Isa. 1:18).  “Come now, let us be reasonable!”  Let us think and see correctly and rightly.  Let us get these things straight in our understanding.  How wonderful it is in these days to know that God is uncovering the false and untrue teachings of the church systems of man and is showing not only we  ourselves, but multitudes of the Lord’s seeking, hungry people the glorious outcome of HIS FULL AND COMPLETE REDEMPTION!


To be continued…      J. PRESTON EBY



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Updated by Sharon Eby 11/02/2017 11:13:36 PM