Note: J. Preston Eby, in order to continue to devote his full energy to writing, no longer works in the office and does not receive email. He does, however, respond to any urgent correspondence via snailmail.
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"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE
CHURCH IN EPHESUS
“To him that overcometh will I give to eat
of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God” (Rev.
Of all the dreams the heart of man has ever entertained, none has been
more desirable, precious, and worthy of attainment, regardless of the cost, than
the dream of immortality. Let’s
be honest; if there was an elixir that was invented guaranteed to give
immortality to our physical bodies, we would all buy it and drink it! Kings and emperors who have conquered the world would gladly
have exchanged all they had gained for immortality.
But all the wealth of all the nations that lay prostrate before their
victorious swords, even combined with all the riches amassed in their vast
treasure houses, could not buy them so much as one single second’s extension
There is a tree of Life!
This tree of life is in the paradise
of God! Our English word
“paradise” comes to us from ancient Persian by way of the Greek language.
Paradise is the transliteration of the Greek word paradeisos which, in turn transliterates the old Persian term paridaeza. This paridaeza
denoted an enclosed park, beautifully landscaped with floral and fruit trees
planted along a spring-fed stream, belonging to the king and his nobles.
It is described in some of the ancient historical writings which tell of
the idyllic beauty of the orchards of the king’s forests, grazed by sheep, and
guarded at the entrance by two soldiers whose task it was to see that intruders
and spoilers were kept out. Only
those who were friends of the monarch were given the pleasant privilege of
passing peacefully through its gates to enjoy the sweet waters of the stream and
the delicious fruit of the trees.
It is generally supposed by most professed Christians that the words
“paradise” and “heaven” are essentially synonymous and that in the Bible
they are both used to describe a literal park-like place on a far-away planet
which is the “eternal home” of the “saved.”
There is an old tradition, moreover, one of the many “doctrines of the
Pharisees” taught by the Rabbis in the time of Christ, that there was a realm
of the world of the dead, called Sheol
in Hebrew and Hades in Greek, located
deep in the heart of the earth. Out
of the discussions and theories of the Rabbis, there grew a popular belief
that Sheol or Hades was divided into two compartments, the lower and the
upper, Gehenna comprising the lower, the region of the damned with its flames
and torments; the upper being Paradise, the intermediate place of bliss and rest
into which, at the time of death, the spirits of the righteous entered to await
the resurrection day at “the end of the world.”
The earnest prayer within my heart is that God’s apprehended ones may
turn away from all such carnal-minded traditions, myths, folklore, and fables!
Jesus warned His disciples, “Take heed and beware of the leaven
(teaching) of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees…then understood they how He
bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine
of the Pharisees and the Sadducees” (Mat. 16:6,12).
Paul also admonished, “Not giving heed to Jewish
fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth” (Tit. 1:14).
There is only ONE PARADISE to be found in all the pages of God’s
blessed Book, and that is the glorious Paradise in Eden from which Adam was
banished — now opened once more to every son of Adam’s race by the
redemption of Jesus Christ. And the
Lord’s promise to His elect is: “To him that overcometh
will I give to eat of the tree of life,
which is in the midst of the paradise of
God.” This paradise is not,
nor has it ever been, in the heart of the earth!
Such ideas are mere inventions of carnal-minded men!
All the important revelations of the book of Revelation are taught by
symbols. The symbols used in the
Revelation, and, in fact, throughout the entire Bible, are things and
circumstances concerning which we, as humans, have at least some knowledge;
otherwise the symbolic language of the Bible would have no meaning to us. There are things we know about the sun, the moon, the stars,
about sheep and goats, wheat and tares, rivers and trees, storms and
earthquakes. So when the Bible uses
these as symbols, certain spiritual
lessons are conveyed to us.
In chapters two and three of the Revelation, seven wonderful promises are
made to the Lord’s called out people, the overcomers of this present age.
All these promises are illustrated by things with which we have at least
some acquaintance. Thus we read,
“Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown
of life” (Rev. 2:10). No
child of God possessing a spiritual mind supposes that he will be wearing a
literal crown in some far-off heaven someday!
A crown signifies rulership, and the overcomers are destined to share in
the highest form of life in the universe, the divine and incorruptible life of
God. To receive a “crown of life” means to rule and reign in
the power and nature of the divine life!
And then we find, “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden
manna, and I will give him a white
stone, and in the stone a new name
written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it” (Rev. 2:17).
The expression “hidden manna” takes us back to the tabernacle in the
wilderness. In the Most Holy Place
of this tabernacle was the Ark of the Covenant.
In this was placed a golden bowl of manna. While the manna collected daily by the Israelites corrupted,
bred worms, and stank, that which they placed in this golden bowl was preserved
by the power of divine life. This,
then, reveals the wonderful truth of incorruptibility
— the inward nature or state of being beyond
the possibility of being debased, perverted, adulterated, polluted, warped,
contaminated or prostituted. No
spiritually enlightened person supposes that the overcomers will one day go to
heaven and eat literal manna from a literal golden bowl!
But all who are apprehended to the high calling of God in Christ Jesus
are given to eat and eat and eat of the incorruptible bread of HIS INCORRUPTIBLE
LIFE until all the death of the carnal mind and the corruption of the flesh in
them has been swallowed up of His life and the day comes when in the totality of
being, spirit, soul, and body, there is nothing that can be corrupted!
How much more glorious this is!
As we overcome the doctrines of men and the traditions of men, we are
then able to begin to eat of the hidden manna.
The tree of life gives us life within, our spirit quickened by His
Spirit, but the hidden manna brings us to an incorruptible
state of being. Religious
systems, dead doctrines, static creeds, empty rituals, powerless ceremonies,
vain traditions, and soulish worship have all ministered death to the Lord’s
people and kept them in a corruptible condition.
Only as we have turned from all these have we even really begun to eat of
the hidden manna of truth and reality. There
is a place of attainment in life where we no longer experience the ups and downs
of success followed by defeat in our walk.
As we are being processed, tried, and tested, we are subject to
“falls” along the way. We catch a vision of high and holy realms in God and, in
moments of exceptional anointing, enter for a little while into those blessed
experiences, only to have the anointing lift and the vision fade.
We walk in victory over the flesh and the carnal mind in certain problem
areas of our lives, only to succumb to some other weakness in an unguarded
moment. Ah, there is a promise,
bright and blessed, that in due time the processing will be completed, the
testing will be finished, the secret inworkings consummated, the victory secured
once and for all, and those who overcome will live by the hidden manna of His
unchangeable and incorruptible life.
And there is also a place of attainment in life where we don’t have to
die, leave our body, and have our corpse buried in a grave.
Oh, my beloved! There is the
tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God!
There is hidden manna in the transforming presence of God in the Holiest
The promise is also given, “To him that overcometh will I make a pillar
in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out” (Rev. 3:12).
No overcomer will be transformed into a literal pillar in a literal
temple in heaven. This is a symbol
of a sure and fixed position in which God’s elect become not only victorious
in their own lives, but put on the strength and might necessary to become a support
to the whole economy of God! Pillars
are for support. They hold up the
whole structure. After experiencing
His overcoming power in our own lives we then become a buttress to bear up, hold
up, and maintain the kingdom purpose of God through His holy temple which will
be the meeting place between God and men in the ages yet to come!
Beloved, so should we understand the blessed promise given of eating of
the tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God.
This does not mean that the overcoming sons of God will live in an
earthly paradise, any more than the other promises mean that they will wear
literal crowns, eat manna from a golden bowl, or be turned into marble columns
in a temple in the sky. This
paradise is something far more than a piece of real estate in the Middle East!
No such place has ever been found, neither the cherubim with the flaming
sword to keep men out. The paradise of God is not a physical place located on this
or any other planet. It is a realm
in the heavens of God’s Spirit! It
is a state of being!
It is a higher existence for man than this cursed state we find ourselves
in by physical birth. It is the
realm and the state of being man was in when first he was brought forth from the
creative hand of God and placed in splendor here upon earth.
It is man in the garden of Eden, man living in the presence of God, man
eating of the incorruptible life of God, man living above sin, sickness, fear,
limitation, pain and death, man as master and lord over all things!
Blessed realities one and all! In
one sense man was the Garden. And
yet, man was in the Garden.
It was a garden within a garden, man both in a state of being and in an
environment — the two corresponding.
It is in THIS PARADISE that the overcomer eats of the tree of Life!
The following testimony by Sharon Dibenedetto is a remarkable witness to
this beautiful truth. She writes,
“On July 28th, 2002, I was in bed and was talking to the Lord.
I had been praying that He would teach me how I could walk in the
Paradisical realm and how I could walk in a higher realm all
the time. The, I fell asleep.
Around 3 a.m. I woke up and began to pray that the Lord would release me
from all the bondages of the flesh so that I could walk with Him.
“The first thing that happened was that I saw this beautiful golden
light. It was so powerful!
I knew I couldn’t look directly into the light because it was so
bright, but I could surely feel it. I cannot
describe in words this glorious light! Then
the light came very close to me and I heard a voice say, ‘Come up higher.’ I
felt as though my spirit was being lifted up in the light and now I could see
Jesus. The light had carried me
over to where Jesus was standing. I
felt so overwhelmed at seeing my Lord that, at first, I couldn’t even talk to
Him. I just stood there for some
time. I know I was praising and
singing and could also hear and see a heavenly host, singing in perfect harmony,
‘Holy, holy, most holy, Hosannah.’
“The light was becoming brighter and brighter.
Then I saw Jesus standing on the bank of this beautiful river.
It was crystal clear, clean and pure.
I exclaimed, ‘Lord, I have never seen a river like this on earth!’
He answered, ‘There is none like
this on earth. It is the same
substance that is within my people. Put
thy hand in the water.’ I did
so and was amazed to see that this river flowed in four directions.
After dipping my hand in the river, I could feel something very
different. Jesus asked me, ‘What does it feel like?’ I
said, ‘The water feels like pure energy and power.’ I had never felt anything like this before!
Then the Lord said, ‘Go deeper into the water.’
As I could feel the power going from my feet up my body, He said, ‘Now,
go down and cover thy head and come back up again.’
As I came up out of the water I felt a sudden change and asked the Lord,
‘What is happening?’ Jesus
answered, ‘You are being transformed. Whatever
touches this water shall be made alive. This
is your new body.’ Then the
golden light became brighter. ‘This
is your celestial body. You are in
the paradisical realm and I will teach you to walk here.’
“I cried, ‘O Lord, I want more!
I want all of my full inheritance.’
He spoke to me again, ‘One step
at a time, daughter. As you grow
higher I will bring you higher — one step at a time.’
I was praising the Lord while I was still standing in the river.
I felt wave after wave of energy going through every fiber of my being.
Then I felt the Holy Spirit upon me and I knew I was being baptized with
fire. The light was all around me
and Jesus said, ‘Walk in this light.
All must come to me and each will experience what you just had.
You are full of light and soon it will shine forth for the whole world to
see. And I will teach you how to
speak life to the world! I am
training my sons and my daughters in this day, as well as my warriors.’
“The light became brighter. At
this time I awoke. I could still
feel this golden light all around me. Even
though I was awake, I was hardly aware of anything but this glorious light.
It was about 4 a.m. I asked the Lord, ‘Was I really in Paradise with
you?’ He said, ‘Yes.’
I went back to sleep. Again
this golden light came closer and closer to me.
I was so full of joy that I was just praising the Lord.
I heard a voice say, ‘You can now walk in Paradise at will.
Practise walking here day and night without ceasing, and you will walk
victoriously.’ I asked the
Lord, ‘May I ask you to teach me how to walk in this Garden?’
Standing in the light He spoke to me again, ‘For
you to walk in my Garden you must go deep within.’
“I said, ‘Lord, how?’
As the light shone brighter, I found myself at the edge of a beautiful
Garden. In this Garden was the
River of Life and the Tree of Life. Jesus
said, ‘Take off thy shoes and follow
me. You are now walking on holy
ground.’ I cried, ‘O Lord,
I never want to leave this Garden!’ He
reassured me, ‘You can be here in this
Garden and work from this realm while your feet are still upon the earth.
There is much work to be done and there are so few willing to do my
work.’ I could feel myself
going in and out of the Garden many times.
Then this voice spoke to me, ‘Now
you can go from this realm and into the other realm at will.
You can be in Paradise and still have your feet walking and doing my will
upon the earth.’
“Again, I was awake with tears of joy running down my face. I felt so
different! I know I’ll never be
the same again. By now it was 4:15
a.m. and the sun was just beginning to rise.
I knew I had been with the Lord and felt so blessed. I knew that all I had to do was to look within and walk. My
spirit was in Paradise while my flesh was still here on earth.
I also had heard the Lord call out the names: Abraham, Noah, Jacob,
Isaiah, and Joseph — like a roll-call. I
was there too and felt like they all were a part of me”
— end quote.
We must remember that this is not merely a tale that leaves us more or
less uninvolved. Adam is mankind. Adam is humanity.
Adam is you and me
and every other man who has ever lived or shall live.
What happened to him in that long ago, happened to us.
As he was when banished from paradise, so we are as we come into this
world. His origin is our origin.
His beginning is our beginning. His
experience is our experience. His
destiny is our destiny. May the
gracious spirit of wisdom and revelation from God give enlightenment to the
spiritual eyes of all who read these lines that all may see and know of a truth
that what was happening to Adam in the Garden speaks of spiritual
realities even in the beginning of history, before history, beyond history,
and yet in history; it is we ourselves
of whom the Garden speaks; it is we
ourselves who are intended, addressed, confronted, accused, expelled,
redeemed, and restored. It is our
history, truly our own! It is the
beginning, destiny, guilt, redemption, restoration and perfection of every son
of God! What happened to Adam there
is what is happening to us here — but in reverse!
The tree of life — we are here at once taken back to the garden in
Eden. There we behold the tree of
life in the midst of that first paradise. Man,
because of his sin, was banished from that lovely paradise and shut away from
the blessings accruing from that tree. We
have not seen or heard of it since the third chapter of the Bible.
But here in the book of Revelation is the promise of it!
In the last chapter we see mankind actually participating in this blessed
reality. But it is remarkable that
after reading of the tree of life in the third of the 1,189 chapters of the
Bible we do not hear of it again until here.
It is mentioned three times in Genesis and three times in the Revelation.
So you see the Bible ends as it began — with a perfect, Edenic
condition and state of being. The book of Revelation is the only book that could,
logically, close the canon of the Bible. All
the tangled threads of prophecy, prose, poetry, history, type, shadow, and
promise find their fulfillment and consummation in the last book of the Bible
— “The Revelation.”
Let us understand the paradise
of God with the tree of life in its midst!
The tree of life is mentioned very simply in the opening chapters of
Genesis. It was IN THE MIDDLE —
that is all that is said about it! The
life that comes forth from God is in the middle.
This means that God, the source of life, is in the middle. In the middle of the realm in which Adam lived and the world
over which he was given dominion was not Adam himself, but the wonderful tree of
God’s very own eternal and incorruptible life.
Adam’s life was to come from the middle which was not Adam himself, but
God in him. This means, simply,
that with God as his center man would
have Life! Man was created with the
capacity of living in the Spirit or
of walking after the flesh. He
was free to eat of the tree of life, or to eat of the tree of the knowledge of
good and evil. One of man’s
inherent potentials was to know God in the Spirit as the center and source of
But — like the tree of life — the other tree also
STANDS IN THE MIDDLE! In the
Within! In man’s very
nature. One of man’s inherent
potentials was to know Self as the center and source of his life.
But Self would not bring life, it would mean death.
Man could make the world, the outer physical realm, his bodily senses and
appetites, his center. Death dwelt
in that center! How do we know that
sin is “in the middle” just as life is “in the middle”?
Jesus understood it! He
explained it! “There is nothing
from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
For from within, out of the heart
of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts,
covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride,
foolishness: all these evils come from
within, and defile the man” (Mk. 7:15,21-23).
These inspired words carry us right back to the garden of Eden!
There were two trees in the middle.
Life and death were in the middle!
Two trees in the midst of the garden of man’s experience and being.
“For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but
they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
For to be carnally minded is death;
but to be spiritually minded is
life…” (Rom. 8:5-6). Two
minds — in the middle!
In the two trees of life and death in man’s middle the Holy Spirit
points out man’s LIMIT. In these
two trees is contained the BOUNDARY set by God upon man from the beginning.
This LIMIT declared how low a man could fall and how
high a man could rise. Man
could fall as low as the tree of death, the carnal mind, the realm of the flesh
could carry him — unto the whole dreadful realm of darkness and death in which
is contained every sorrow, tragedy, pain, trouble, sickness, hatred, strife,
heartache, ignorance, fear, and torment known to man; or, he could rise as high
as the spiritual mind, the realm of the spirit could carry him — unto the
eternal and incorruptible life of God in which is contained all the joy, peace,
righteousness, love, faith, wisdom, glory, and power of GOD HIMSELF!
What fathomless bounds are contained in this LIMIT!
Man, by walking in the Spirit, can rise as high as God in the realm of
His life, or, by walking in the flesh can sink as low as the devil in the world
of darkness and death. What a
LIMIT! And man was destined to fall
as low as he could fall and rise as high as he could rise.
The totality of man’s experience is to be found within this limit
established by God for man. All that both death and life are would ultimately be
experienced, known, and demonstrated by man.
This is his limit. This is
his territory. This is his destiny.
Both realities are in the middle! Within
man. One or the other is every
man’s center, the sphere of his existence.
But mark it well — both
cannot be the center of any man’s life! He
who eats of the tree of life will find that the death realm has no more dominion
over him. And he who eats of the
tree of death will discover that he becomes alienated from the tree of life.
Thus, both trees, both realities are in
the center of man’s life, but both cannot be
the center of his life! “For
if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the spirit do
mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” “Rom. 8:13).
“This I say then, Walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the
lusts of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).
The tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God was truly “in the
world” but not “of the world.” The
life of this tree was right within man, the life of God in his spirit, and
man’s spirit was not of this world, not formed of the dust of the ground, but
breathed into his nostrils by the Father of spirits.
“God breathed into his nostrils the spirit
(Heb.) of life.” The glorious
life of Christ on earth is the essence and reality of the tree of life in the
midst of the paradise of God. This
tree of life within man had absolutely nothing to do with the realm of
earthiness of man’s soul and body, for it was heaven’s own divine life
breathed into man. In the tree of
life God invited man to find Him as the source and center of life.
As George Hawtin once pointed out, by the tree of life man would be full
of light, abounding in heavenly wisdom and knowledge, fearful in power and
dominion, ethereal as a spirit and shining in the image of God. The fruit of this wonderful tree would indeed make man
radiant with the resplendent glory of God as was Jesus, the second man and the
last Adam, at the transfiguration, whose face shone as the sun and his raiment
was as the light. In this tree of
life the effulgent perfumes of the heavenly realm would be fragrance and life to
man’s nostrils. He would taste
spiritual realities and touch heavenly things.
The wisdom and power of God Himself would be wide open to him and he
would walk in the presence and glory of celestial realms.
The gates of that realm would never be shut by day or by night.
Man would need to eat of no other tree nor drink of any of the waters of
earth. Man would have “meat to
eat” that no other creature in heaven or earth knew of and “water to
drink” that none other had ever tasted. The
heavens would be opened over his head and he would walk in the glory of the
presence of God the Almighty.
This was the glory of the tree of life in Eden!
And what was that glorious tree? “In
the beginning was the Word, and
the Word was with God, and the Word was God…in HIM WAS LIFE; and THE LIFE was
the light of men” (Jn. 1:1,4). This
life-giving tree, the living word of God,
even Christ, was from the beginning the life and the light of man. When Eden’s gates clanged shut behind our banished
foreparents, man was shut up in the realm of the flesh and that blessed tree of
divine life was never again seen by the wondering eyes of mortal men until the
day in which Jesus stood in the earth and declared, “I
am the LIVING BREAD which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this
bread, he shall live forever: and the bread which I will give is my
flesh, which I will give for the LIFE OF THE WORLD” (Jn. 6:51).
The reason Jesus came forth as the visible expression (His flesh) of the
Father, the tree of life re-planted, was that there might be a focusing, a
manifestation which would become a meeting
place for us to come to know God, and become one with Him, as it was in the
beginning. It is in Christ Jesus
that God and creation meet, come together, and are made one!
Christ who is our life has come
and been planted in the garden of the kingdom of heaven on earth, that all may
come and eat and drink and have Life!
There is an even deeper mystery to this tree of life and the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil. They
appear as two trees; yet in reality there was only one tree, with two sides, two
aspects, or two dimensions. It is
stated so simply in these words, “The tree of life also in the midst of the
garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen. 2:9).
There was one tree, and yet two trees.
The tree of life is Christ — the living
word of God. The profound truth
is that in Eden there were two words
— a living word, and a word of death! Christ
is the living word! But there is another
word, and this word is also from God,
but it is a word of death. Who
planted the tree of death in Eden? Why,
bless your heart, God did! “And
out of the ground made the Lord God to
grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight…the tree of life also in the
midst of the garden, and the tree of
the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen. 2:9).
Paul makes these two trees, these two words, very plain when he writes,
“Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit:
for the letter killeth, but the spirit
giveth life. But if the
ministration of death, written and
engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not
stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance…how shall
not the ministration of the spirit be
rather glorious? For if the
ministration of condemnation be glory,
much more doth the ministration of
righteousness exceed in glory” (II Cor. 3:6-9). Here we have two ministrations, two testaments, two words
— the one is “the letter that killeth” and the other is “the spirit that
quickeneth.” But both of these
words are the word of the Lord! It
was GOD who gave the law to Moses, and
it was GOD who gave us the living word
in Christ! There are two words, and
yet they are but two sides of the same
word — the WORD OF GOD!
I firmly believe that the Bible is the word of God; however, when we know
it only as the letter, it kills.
Laws, rules, regulations, doctrines, creeds, outward ordinances, forms,
ceremonies, facts, literalistic interpretations of man, natural concepts, carnal
understanding of the written word — there is no life in any of these!
There is only death. The
dead letter of the word produces dead
sermons, dead churches, dead meetings, and spiritually
dead believers. The “letter
of the word” is still the word of God!
And yet there’s no life. Moses
preached the law, the law was from God, the law was the ministration
of death written and engraven in stones, and everybody that received the law
It was the ministration of condemnation.
It had the power to condemn men, to judge them, to punish them, to tell
them what they ought to do — but it possessed no power to give them life!
It was a word of God, but it was the letter of the word.
It was a word without life. It
was a word void of reality. It was
merely a type, a shadow, a symbol of reality.
THE TREE OF
THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL IS THE LAW!
By the law, Paul says, we know sin.
The knowledge of good and evil is by the letter of the word!
All the preachers who are out there telling men what great sinners they
are, and how they need to stop sinning, are
feeding their hearers from the tree of the knowledge
of good and evil. This letter
of the word killeth, but it’s still a word of the Lord! It’s the word of the Lord on a lower level, stripped of its
life and power. But the other side
of this tree, this word, is the Word of
Life! “In the beginning was
the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…in
Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (Jn. 1:1,4).
THE TREE OF LIFE IS CHRIST, THE LIVING WORD!
There are two words, yet they are the very same
word on different levels. There
are two trees, yet they are but two sides
of the same tree! Adam’s sin and fall consisted in his choosing to live a carnal
life on the earthy plane, subject to the restraint and regulation of the
external law of a carnal commandment, instead of living the spiritual
life on the heavenly plane by the
Living Word of God!
No words could be more solemn or arresting than the statement of Jesus
wherein He said, “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me…as the Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by
me” (Jn. 6:56-57). As the natural
man must have sustenance from his physical environment to live, so the spiritual
man must have sustenance from his spiritual environment to live.
After he has gotten life you must give him food.
What food shall you give him? Shall
you feed him with knowledge, or with beauty, or with prosperity, or with
blessings, or with religious exercises, or with creeds, or with commandments, or
with gifts, or with power, or with programs, or with experiences?
No! There is a rarer luxury
than all these — so rare, in fact, that few have ever more than tasted it; so
rich, that they who have will never live on any other fare again.
It is this: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every
word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Mat. 4:4).
Nothing can satisfy the appetite of a son of God but this — he hungers
for the bread that cometh down from heaven!
Nothing else will fill him. Nothing
else will satisfy him. Everyone
knows the world is hungry. But the
hungry world is starving. They are
eating of the wrong tree! The world
has many meats and many drinks, but there is no nourishment in them.
They are but sugar-water. It
has pleasures, and amusements, and excitement, and works; but there is no
nutrition there for the immortal craving of the spirit.
It has worldly society, and worldly books, and worldly events, and
worldly knowledge, and worldly lusts. But
these things merely intoxicate!
The church world is hungry, too. Starving,
in fact. Oh, it has many meats and
many drinks, but there is no nourishment for the spirit in them.
It has impressive rituals, and stirring programs, and moving ceremonies,
and splendid ordinances, and pomp, and show, and candles, and incense, and
temples, and cathedrals, and priests, and preachers, and creeds, and
organization, and out-reaches, and abundance of activity.
Its people get all involved “in the work,” and committed “to the
work,” and are faithful in “giving to the work.”
They do and do but in all this something other than CHRIST has become the
The center becomes the movement, or the message, or the organization, or
the program, or the ministry, or the experience, or the method, or the
personality, or some other thing. But
I declare to you that all these religious things and activities merely
intoxicate and millions of Christians are drunk with them and in their
inebriated hilarity think they know the living Christ.
There is no substance in them!
The divine ingredients of the celestial atmosphere of the kingdom of
heaven are missing. Sons of God cannot live on that depleted food.
So our spirit turns its eye from them all with unutterable loathing.
“Blessed are they that do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for
they shall be filled.” “Man
shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God which is proceeding from
the mouth of God.” No possibility
of suffering malnutrition or starving on this fare!
It is eternal food for the sons of God to live upon.
And notice — sons live on every word that is
proceeding out of the mouth of God. That
is how the Greek expresses it.
Is it not
dreadfully true that the vast majority of Christians are living on words that have
proceeded out of the mouth of God? They
live on a by-gone revelation, a word sent to another people at another time, a
historical creed, that which God spoke through St. Augustine, through Luther,
through Calvin, through Spurgeon, through Whitfield, through Finney, through the
Pentecostal pioneers, or through the Latter Rain prophets!
It is stale bread, spoiled meat, stagnant water, and a dead word.
It is a word that God spoke, but not the word the Spirit is speaking. It is a
word that in some ancient day proceeded
out of the mouth of God, but not the word that now is proceeding out of His mouth.
It is yesterday’s manna, and it has bred worms and stinks.
It is truth, but not present truth. But the
word which is proceeding out of the
mouth of God is His Living Word! “He
that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is
saying unto the churches.” The
living bread of the living Christ in His living revelation to His elect sons in this
day is meat that the world knows not of, meat that endures unto the life of
the ages. In spring-time it is not sown, and in summer drought it
cannot fail. In harvest it is not
reaped, yet the storehouse is ever full. Oh,
what possibilities of life it opens up!
How can we
eat of the tree of Life that is in the midst of the paradise of God?
Listen! I can tell you
because I know! I know!
There are many things I do not know.
The things that I do know would make a very small library, I am prepared
to admit, but a very precious one to me. The
things that I do not know — well, there aren’t enough books in the world to
contain them. But I know how to get
to that Tree, I know how to get the
fruit of that tree which is life abundant and everlasting, I know how to get the
leaves of the tree, and I know how to get the healing that comes from the leaves
of the tree, which are for the healing of the nations.
That is something worth knowing. Now,
I do not say that I think.
I am not guessing. It is by coming to the living Christ and eating of Christ in
The words came to me some
time ago — the startling and remarkable words Jesus spoke when He stood in the
earth and said, “I am the bread that is come down from heaven, that if a man
eat of it he shall never die. I am the living bread.
I am the bread that is come down. I
am the bread that is become personified in a body of flesh upon this earth.
I am the bread that is from heaven.”
Immediately the question presented itself to me — Why was Jesus the
bread that came from heaven?
Why did He specify from heaven? Why did He not simply say, “I am the bread of life, I am
the bread that God has provided on earth,” or some other characterization?
At once I was reminded of the manna that fell in the wilderness — the
manna that came from heaven, the
typical bread that God sent from heaven to feed the children of Israel.
Why was it bread from heaven? Why did
not God simply create it there on the ground?
Immediately the Spirit began to articulate within me the wonder of this
thing! It came to me so clearly and
powerfully as an illustration. Come
with me for a moment and let us think of a number of astronauts who are soaring
away from earth to a strange planet in some distant galaxy. Along their journey through the universe a problem develops
with their spaceship. Eventually
they are forced to land on an unknown planet in another galaxy.
They make a successful landing, but are stranded there on the planet
Timur. They don’t know this world
into which they have descended. As
they step from their ship and begin exploration of the planet, it is discovered
to have a very hostile environment. In
fact, everything there is hostile to
them! All the vegetation on Timur
is toxic to the human body. They
cannot eat or drink anything. They
cannot breathe its atmosphere, nor can they partake of anything there, for
everything in that environment is death
The supplies they have with them from earth are finite, and will soon be
depleted. So they contact earth,
and immediately a rescue expedition is dispatched.
As they are staring death in the face the second spacecraft from earth
arrives and lands on Timur. The
second group of astronauts exit from their craft and say to those who are
stranded there, “We are the men who have come from
earth. We have the bread that
is from earth! We have that bread which is not adverse to you.
We have that which is compatible with who you are, and what you are.
We have the food that is biologically
adapted to your earthly, human constitution.
We have come from earth, we
have the bread that is your bread, it
is from your world, it is from the
place of your origin, it is that which
pertains to you, and if you eat this
bread you will live!
This bread will sustain you, energize you, nourish you, and give you
expression of who you are. We are the bread that is come from
Now you see, the bread from earth was the bread from home! Once we
understand our origin, where our “home” is in the world of spirit, and how we became trapped in this realm of flesh,
which is made death to us, we will
grasp the eternal significance of why Jesus came
down from heaven into our darkness, into our ignorance, into our limitation,
into our sin, into our false identity, into our distorted perceptions.
He came down to this world of our natural life, of our carnal minds, of
our physical and mortal sense of being; and He says to us as He steps, as it
were, from His celestial spacecraft, “I am the bread that is come
down from heaven! If a man eats
of this bread, he will live and not die! I am the bread that is come from the realm that you
came from! I am from your true world, the world of the spirit, the
world of the Father, the world of divinity, the world of God, the world of
eternity. I am from that world and
I have come to speak a word into you. The
words that I speak to you are spirit
and they are life.
The word that I speak is spiritually adapted to your heavenly, spiritual
constitution. It is compatible with
who you are, and what you are. I am
the bread that is come from the heavens of God’s Spirit!
When you eat of this bread, of this word, you will live and not die!”
Christ Himself is the tree of Life!
It is not only to taste of its fruit, but
to eat and be filled with all the fruit that grows upon this divine tree;
it is to feed upon Him continually until we are filled with all the fullness of
Christ, and Christ in our spirit becomes the only reality. It is to turn from the flesh and the carnal mind and feed
upon Christ until we are strong in Him and in the power of His might.
Oh, wonderful Tree that dwelt in the bosom of the Father from eternity!
Oh, marvelous Tree planted of old in Eden’s fragrant garden!
Oh, precious Tree planted among men as the Son of the Father, planted by
the power of the eternal Spirit, and whose fruit is ours as we partake of it
through faith! Oh, eternal Tree
planted in the garden of our hearts, by which He brings many sons to glory and
brings them home to the Father’s house! How
sweet is the fruit to our taste, how satisfying and life-giving every morsel of
which we partake! And we can feed
to the full for the fruit is ever growing in the middle of our garden, ever
revealed to us, always perfect, and never passes away.
How we rejoice that we have proven there is fruit upon Him; and by
feeding upon Him and Him alone, we too bear fruit to His glory.
He is our Storehouse, He is the only fruitful Tree, and we can get
nothing outside of Him, but we can get everything in Him.
The more we feed upon Him, the more we abide in Him.
The more He feeds and nourishes us, the more He becomes manifested in our
lives to the glory of God. There is
none other like Him among the sons of men, neither among the angels in heaven!
The closer we come to the kingdom, the more do those destined sons of God
know what it is to be lifted beyond the pale of natural things to behold the
glory of the realm where God lives in the Spirit.
The mixture is even now being removed from the hearts of a firstfruit
company and many are being enabled to SEE HIM in a new and living way! It is beholding Him that changes us from glory to glory, from
corruption to incorruption. The new
spirit and the new heart are THE TREE OF LIFE, for they are naught but Christ
living within. It is the glory of
His presence and the power of His life that transforms the ragged garments of
our mortality to raiment which is white and glistering.
Fantastic changes lie ahead for all who separate themselves unto God.
Tremendous changes will transpire as soul and body come under the
dominion of Christ in our spirit, for mortality shall be swallowed up of life.
This corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on
immortality. Oh glorious victory!
The sons of God shall arise into that blessed realm beyond time, and
space, and matter, and the carnal mind, and realize and walk in the fullness of
God’s glory forevermore. Oh
glorious and wonderful realm! It is
the realm beyond the veil where we may enter and tread the highways and fields
of our heavenly citizenship. It is
the realm of the Son of God! It is
the inheritance of the sons of God! It
is the REALM OF THE TREE OF LIFE IN THE PARADISE OF GOD!
The sons of God are the “tree of life” kind of men, and these are
they who shall become healing for the nations, a government of wisdom and
understanding, of counsel and might, of knowledge and fear of the Lord.
From the life of those who enter that realm shall flow forth such glory
and blessing that the knowledge of the glory of the Lord shall cover the earth
as the waters cover the sea and nothing shall hurt nor destroy in all God’s
In the New Jerusalem city of God there is the florescent river of life.
Along this river grows the tree of life.
The tree of life in Eden, on the one hand, signifies the partaking
of divine life by man, the dispensing of God into man. The river of life, on the other hand, signifies the outflowing
of life from man who has received life, the pouring forth of life out of the
kingdom of heaven unto the barrenness of the earth realm.
All life was to be found in Eden, just as it is in the New Jerusalem —
the kingdom of heaven on earth. Eden
was constituted debtor to the whole earth to send forth the life-giving streams.
To the overcomer is given to enter into the paradise of God and partake
of the tree of life; but the river of life out of Eden is the profound
expression of God’s purpose to not only enter into the lives of His elect,
transforming them into the tree of life kind of people, but to then cause them
to become a RIVER OF LIFE COMPANY, a people out of whom the life would flow!
“Out of your innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.”
Ah, beloved, God is bringing forth His elect who live by the tree of life
but shall then be a river of life, for the spirit of life within them is an
ever-flowing wellspring of life and glory!
Wherever God flows out by the Spirit, there He is found as life and
What a picture of the life of the Holy City do we find in these words —
“In the midst of its street, and of the river, on this side and on that side,
the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, in each month yielding its fruit!”
The street of the city speaks of its movement and activity; the river
speaks of the Spirit of God as the blessed current of its life, pure in crystal
brightness; but in the midst of both the street and the river is the tree of
life! Every movement in that city
centers in Christ; He gives impulse to everything there.
And He is in the midst of the river too; the very power of all that
quickens, of all the Spirit’s flow. And
He is not only “in the midst,” but “on this side and on that side.”
Whichever way you look you see the tree of life there, and it yields its
fruit perennially. Each month —
twelve kinds of fruit! Twelve is
the number of divine government. It
means that His life within us is the power
in which we rule and reign in the kingdom!
As it is written, “They which receive abundance of grace and of the
gift of righteousness shall reign in life
by one, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17). Oh,
the mystery of it!
The scripture declares with absolute certainty that the tree of life is
accessible only to the overcomer.
The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations, but the fruit
of the tree is “to him that overcometh.” Victory
is the condition on which depends the fulfillment of that promise!
“Whosoever will” may take of the water
of life freely (Rev. 22:17). But
only He that “overcometh” may eat of the tree!
And now, all of a sudden we feel as Tantalus must have felt in his
beautiful garden, when each time he stretched forth his hand to reach the
luscious fruit with which the trees of that garden were laden, a blast of wind
blew the branch of the tree away, and Tantalus was left desolate — hungry as
before. In a similar way we
sometimes feel that the power of the incorruptible life has been withdrawn from
our sight. But, the vision is not
for everyone. It is not to all that
the tree of life offers its fruit, but only to the overcomer.
Only a specific class of people are able to put forth claims on the life
symbolized by the fruit of that tree. Don’t
give up, saints of God! Press on,
for great is your reward!
God is moving in our hearts and preparing us for a great change in which
we shall move completely out of the tripartite nature of spirit, soul, and body
to live only and forever in THE REALM OF THE SPIRIT.
There, beyond limitation and imperfection, we shall see Him as He is and
know Him even as we are known of Him. Our
vision of heavenly things has been so distorted due to our looking through
physical and soulical eyes. You
have sometimes seen a window made of fluted glass, and you know that if you look
at the street through this window everything will be distorted.
The passers-by and the automobiles will appear to be warped and distorted
in absurd and ugly ways. Nevertheless,
you know that these things are quite alright in themselves, and that the
distortion arises from your seeing them wrongly.
The pure eyes of our spirit has had to filter through the fluted shell of
our carnal minds and the marvelous things of the realm of God’s Spirit have
been distorted into myriads of carnal doctrines, traditions, natural
interpretations, childish imaginations, and religious applications of all kinds.
This distorted vision of heavenly things is really what we know as “the
church.” It is a seeing, but a
false seeing. It is a knowing, but
a false knowing. The sons of God
are arising to pass through the veil, to abide in the Holiest of all, to see all
things as they really are in the blazing light of God’s glory.
Our Leader and Forerunner opened up this path to God, in which He first
walked Himself, and then draws us to follow Him. The veil is the flesh! The
veil that has separated man from God is the flesh!
Christ came in the likeness of sinful flesh, and dwelt with us here
outside the veil. Then within
Himself He rent the veil!
Through the rent veil of His flesh, His will, His senses, His earthly
faculties, His human consciousness, yielded up to God in death, He entered
beyond the veil into the Holiest. Through
the rent veil He rose to the throne of God!
And this is the way He has dedicated for us!
He is our way. Let us arise
and follow HIM!
Elect of the Lord! Seek to
know Christ in the power of His resurrection.
Let this be the crown of your life in sonship to God.
Do not seek immortality for your body first, or only, apart from the
knowledge of Christ in all His other aspects.
But seek it truly as that unto which they are meant to lead you.
Nothing will fit you for immortality but faithfulness in every step of
putting on the MIND OF CHRIST. Seek
Him as your wisdom and the wisdom will lead you into the mysteries of complete
redemption. Seek Him as your righteousness and dwell clothed with Him in
that inner sanctuary of the Father’s favor and presence. Seek Him as your sanctification and experience His power to
make you holy. Seek Him as your
redemption, and live, even now, in the light of that glory. Seek Him as your joy until no earthly sorrow has any more
power in you. Seek Him as your
peace until you love every enemy and pray for all who despitefully use you and
persecute you, and you are disturbed, upset, and frustrated by nothing and no
one. And as you seek to experience
within yourself to the full, the power of His resurrection life, your heart will
be enlarged to see the position man has been destined to occupy in the universe,
as having all things made subject to him, and you shall for your part be fitted
to live worthy of that high and heavenly calling!
To be continued… J.
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