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



Part 4







            Hear the instructive words of the apostle Paul as he reveals the source and origin of faith in the lives of the saints: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17).  Living faith is a response produced in you or me by the revealed character or nature of being of another person.  Faith in God, then, is that attitude of heart in response to what God reveals Himself to be.  We should always be fervently aware that faith comes always and only by revelation.  The words of Paul above set forth the great truth that the Holy Spirit would now make real in the hearts of His apprehended ones — the Word of God is the agent by which God ministers faith to us!   


            It is doubtful if in all the scriptures any subject is more pronounced and yet so little understood by the vast majority of God’s people as the truth concerning faith and the Word of God.  For many years as I have walked with God and searched the mind of the Spirit for understanding He has little by little pulled aside the veil that surrounds the mystery of this precious truth and I have seen that there are five distinctively progressive steps in the unfolding revelation of God by His Word.  They are:


1.      The Creative Word

2.       The Spoken/Written Word

3.       The Manifested Word

4.       The Living Word

5.       The Corporate Word


            In this chapter we shall consider the faith that comes via the CORPORATE WORD of God.  By “Corporate Word” we signify that Word of God which is embodied in, and expressed through, the body of Christ that is walking in the Spirit of God.  Paul speaks of this Corporate Word when he writes to the saints in Colosse: “Ye are called in one body…let the WORD OF CHRIST DWELL IN YOU richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (inspired prophetic songs), singing with grace in your hearts unto the Lord” (Col. 3:15-16).  Have you considered the truth that lies hidden in these meaningful words of the apostle?  There is, he tells us, a Word of Christ which dwells in the anointed  body of Christ and speaks and is expressed through the actions and state of being of that body here on earth.


            We have pointed out in previous chapters that Jesus Christ is the Word of God.  In the same epistle to the Colossians Paul says of Jesus, “Now He is the exact likeness of the unseen God…for it has pleased the Father that all the divine fullness — the sum total of the divine perfection, power, and attributes — should dwell in Him” (Col. 1:15,19, Amplified Bible).  The King James version says simply, “It pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell.”  It is not difficult to understand that all of God quantitatively does not dwell in Jesus, for God is omnipresent spirit, and how remarkably true it is that even “the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him.”  But God has most assuredly invested in Jesus all He is QUALITATIVELY.  Let me illustrate.  The earth is covered by vast oceans of salt water.  The saline content of these oceans varies from about 2% to 12% depending upon the section of the globe where the ocean is located.  Another common agent in sea water is the element called iodine.  This is perhaps one of the most universal drugs known to man.  These oceans cover a total of one hundred and forty-five million square miles of the earth’s surface and contain untold billions of trillions  of gallons of water containing the various ingredients in ocean water.  Now you can take just one drop of water from those vast oceans and in that one drop of sea water you have contained EVERYTHING SEA WATER IS!  You don’t have all the ocean in that one drop of water but you do have all the ocean IS in that one drop.  Every element present in sea water is found, in equal proportion, in that one drop.  This is what the Spirit conveys to us when He says that it pleased the Father that in Jesus should dwell ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD!  When Jesus trod the dusty roads of Galilee it is obvious that all of God, quantitatively, was not in Him.  Otherwise there would have been no God anywhere in all the vast expanses of infinity except in the precise spot where Jesus walked.  Yet, the Father indwelt Him fully!  It was not that all of God was in Christ, but all God is was in Him!  How clearly we see this now in the words of the apostle, “For it has pleased the Father that all the divine fullness — the sum total of the divine perfection, powers and attributes — should dwell in Him.”  Oh, the mystery of it!    


            Let us proceed to another wonderful truth.  In John 1:16 we read, “And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for (upon) grace.”  And not only have we received of (out of) His fullness, but Paul further reveals that God has made Jesus head over all things to the church “…which is His body, THE FULLNESS OF HIM that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23).  The Amplified Bible states it in these words, “…which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all  in all…for in that body lives the FULL MEASURE of Him who makes everything complete, and who fills everything everywhere with Himself.”  May the spirit of truth enable every reader of these lines to see clearly what are the transcendent implications of this blessed truth that our Lord Jesus Christ is indeed the fullness of God and that we, the body of Christ, are in turn the FULLNESS OF CHRIST!  Armed with the holy knowledge that Christ Jesus Himself is the Word of God, it follows that the members of His spirit-empowered body are THE FULLNESS OF THAT WORD WHICH HE IS.  That, my beloved, is the Corporate Word.  The corporate body of Him who is the Word of God is in the truest sense the Corporate Word of God.  That is the mystery!


            It is well to note here for some who are new to these beautiful truths that the word “Christ” is not a proper name and is not really a translation.  “Christ” is the transliteration of the Greek word christos which is the Greek word for “anointed.”  And instead of referring peculiarly to our Lord, it refers instead to that whole body of sons of God in particular, of which our Lord Jesus is the head.  So we read, “But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as THE SAME ANOINTING teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him” (I Jn. 2:27).  Only the Holy Spirit Himself can make these words real and powerful within your heart.  Even as the holy anointing oil was poured upon the head of Aaron the high priest and ran down over his body even unto the soles of his feet (Ps. 133:2), so the anointing of the fullness of the Spirit of God which was poured out upon Jesus, our glorious Head, is even now running down over His body thus making us in all truth THE BODY OF THE ANOINTED ONE.   This great truth of the Christ, or the Anointed, being a group and not a singular person is unmistakably clear in the words of Paul in I Corinthians chapter twelve.  Here the apostle compares this body or group which is Christ to our physical body.  He states that as our physical body is one body composed of many members, “so also is Christ, for by one spirit are we all baptized into one body” (I Cor. 12:12-13).  This is what Paul calls “the mystery of Christ” (Eph. 3:4; Col. 4:3).  It is the mystery of all the sons of God being one anointed body or group of Christs…Anointed Ones.  Many appearances of the word “Christ” in the New Testament refer wholly to this body — the CORPORATE SON.  Many more references refer wholly to certain individual members of this body.


            Let us now take special heed to the teaching found in the epistle to the Hebrews.  The writer says, “Wherefore when He (Jesus) cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not, but a BODY HAST THOU PREPARED ME” (Heb. 10:5-7).  What resources of riches are contained in this significant passage, and especially in the statement, “A BODY hast Thou prepared me.”  To speak of the flesh body of the man Jesus, that body born of the virgin, brings reference to that which was  offered up for us upon the cross — the Sacrifice.  And that body was  indeed sacrificed!  Thus HE “was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:7-8).  But did not this One Himself who was offered up utter the enigmatic statement, “SACRIFICE AND OFFERING Thou wouldest not.”  In other words, the sacrifice was not the real thing God was after.  That sacrifice, of itself, did not please the Father’s heart nor did it consist of His aims.  It was not His end, merely a means toward that end.  So a further meaning must be indicated by the words, “…but a BODY HAST THOU PREPARED ME.”  Ponder for a  moment, dear saint of God, that which pertains  to the body  of Christ, the fullness of Him who is Himself the fullness of GOD!  For many years and long centuries we have been taught that the church is the “mystical body” of Christ.  Men have not stopped to consider that the word “mystical” means “symbolic” or “allegorical.”  Webster’s dictionary defines an allegory as something that is not real within itself, something visionary, such as a fable or parable.  What an insidious insult it is to our Father and to our Lord Jesus Christ to say that that anointed many-membered body in which He has chosen to personally dwell in all fullness is only a symbol, an allegory, a FABLE!  The truth is, in no place do the scriptures refer to the mystical body of Christ.  That is church tradition fashioned by carnal-minded theologians, but it is not the word of God.  The simple statement of the Holy Spirit of Truth is just this: “Now ye are THE BODY of Christ.”  “A BODY Thou has prepared me.”


            None of us individually are THE CHRIST.  That is the great error Jesus spoke of when He said, “Take heed that no man deceive you.  For many shall come  in my name, saying, I AM CHRIST; and shall deceive many” (Mat. 24:4-5).  Any man who proclaims that he himself is the Christ is a liar and a deceiver.  My finger cannot rise up and say, “I am J. Preston Eby,” for my finger, in its individuality and singularity, is not me — it is merely a member of the body of J. Preston Eby.  Preston Eby is a corporate body of many members — all the members together are Preston Eby.  SO ALSO IS CHRIST!  




            “And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God” (Rev. 19:13).


            My heart leaps within me for joy as I contemplate this beautiful theme — The Word of God.  It is an instructive thing to know that God has never been silent.  God is a talker!  This truth is basic to  spiritual understanding.  Had God remained silent, we would either not exist at all, or our situation would be desperate.  If God is a talker, then we had best be listeners.  “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son…by whom also He made the worlds” (Heb. 1:1-2).  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…all things were made by Him” (Jn. 1:1-3).  “And God said, Let there be…and there was” (Gen. 1:3).  God has always been a talker; but the writer to the Hebrews tells us that all God has ever spoken is now embodied in Christ.  “God hath spoken unto us by His Son.”  The Amplified Bible says, “But in the last of these days He has spoken to us in the person of a Son…”  The Greek text, however, reads simply, “God has spoken to us IN SON.”  IN SON!  Or, God spoke to us in One who has the character that He is a SON, revealing the realm or the relationship of sonship to God.  It means more than the idea that God spoke through His Son; it signifies that God spoke in Son, that is, SONSHIP IS THE MESSAGE!  God spoke in Christ’s sonship.  “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”  Sonship is the revelation of the Father.  Therefore, it was more than the words that Jesus spoke; it was the life He lived!  HE was the message!  HE was the word!


            Ah, dear heart, look at His sonship, and then look at the whole realm of sonship; look at all the enChristed ones who make up the vast family of His “many brethren,” and IN THEM you see the message God is sending to the world!  When you see the sons, the mature ones, at last you see what God is like.  In the publishing world, it is sometimes said that a particular book is a definitive work.  In other words, the book is a standard by which all future work will be judged or compared.  Sonship is the definitive revelation of God, the standard for all time.  Jesus is the firstborn of this Word Company, and the pattern and prototype of all that it says.  HE is uniquely and supremely THE WORD.  If someone asks what is revealed in this definitive revelation, we could say, it’s all  in the little preposition  “with.”  He is “God with us,” in union with us, one with us.  It’s more than simply being present — it’s our state of being!


            An abundance of scripture points to the fact that Christ, the Word, was before Bethlehem.  He is just as real in the Old Testament as He is in the New Testament.  The great difference, of course, is that in the New Testament He became flesh.  “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.”  And that One who dwelt among us was “called the Son of God.”  John tells us that “In the beginning was the Word,” but he does not say “In the beginning was Jesus,” because Jesus wasn’t in the beginning.  It was not until the eternal Word became flesh that He was Jesus.  In the whole of the Old Testament, except in one instance, there is no mention  of the Son of God or of Jesus the Christ.  Those who walked with God from Adam all the way down to John the Baptist did not know Him as the Son, they knew Him only as the Word.  All through the Old Testament, in hundreds of passages, we read, “And the word of the Lord came unto him saying…”  They knew nothing about the Son, nothing about Jesus, but they had experience with the Word of the Lord coming unto them and speaking to them.


            The truth is just this — In the beginning was the Word — and there was no Son of God until the Word became flesh.  People talk about the “eternal” Son of God.  The Bible speaks of no such thing.  The Word is eternal, not the Son.  The Word was already there in the beginning and was with God and was God.  But of the Son the Father says, “Thou art my Son, this day have I BEGOTTEN THEE.”  The Son is always spoken of as begotten, but never the Word.  Nowhere do we read that on a certain day the Word was begotten.  Oh, no!  Rather, the eternal Word is a Begetter.  “Being born again by the Word of God…”  When the Word becomes flesh — then you have the Son!  The Son is the Word, yes, but the Son is more than the Word — the Son is the Word  in another form — made flesh!  John speaks of the eternal Word of God and then shows how the Word became flesh.  From that moment on he never speaks again in his Gospel about the Word, he calls Him Jesus.  Isn’t that amazing?  Before Bethlehem He was the Word, He was God; but when He came to earth and took upon Him flesh He became Jesus, the Son of God.  This is precisely the message the angel gave to Mary that blessed day in Nazareth, “Behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name Jesus.  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest” (Lk. 1:31-32).  


            Let us consider now the beautiful words of the apostle Paul as he writes to the saints in Ephesus.  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world…having predestinated us unto placement as sons by Jesus Christ unto Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:3-5).  These words tell us that as sons of God we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of he world.  And that is gloriously true!  But at that long ago time when we were chosen in Him He was not the Christ — He was the Word!  The wonderful truth is that we were chosen in the Word, not in the Christ, not in the Son as we know Him now.  How could you be chosen “in Him” before the foundation of the world unless you were actually there “in Him” before the appearing of the worlds?  Nothing can be plainer than that!  Now here is the blessed reality to which this all points.  We must pause here for a moment with bowed head and unshod feet, for the ground upon which we stand is holy ground.  Oh, may our almighty Father give us eyes to see and hearts to understand that before ever the earth was formed or the stars were blown  by the breath of God through the vastnesses of infinity you were there, precious child of God, in that Word which was with God and was God.  In due time you came into this world as a word out of The Word. The truth is just this: if we were chosen in Christ before the world began, then we were chosen IN THE WORD! In the beginning was the Word — and we were  chosen in that Word from long before that auspicious “beginning”!  To be “born of the Word” is indeed to be a word out of The Word!  Can you not see the mystery?  Just as the Word became flesh to become Jesus the Son, so the Word must become flesh within us, that is, become substance — reality, concreteness, solidity, form — thereby revealing our sonship!  Being  born of the Word we shall speak, emanate, and express truth because we have become truth. 


            Oh, yes!  GOD IS BIRTHING A WORD COMPANY, and He will perfect that which concerneth them, bringing it to a successful conclusion at His appointed time.  His elect, His chosen, His sons are to be a certain kind of firstfruits of Himself.  God is causing His Word to become flesh, substantial, to take form, to be real and powerful within us so that we do not merely speak the words of God, but that our name, as His name, should be called the Word of God!  He will finish the WORD, He will complete and fulfill His WORD by bringing forth a WORD COMPANY, a seed through whom all the world shall be blessed.  Ray Prinzing often said, “The message and the messenger must become one.”  It is not just a word which he speaks, it is WHAT HE IS.  And when we become a manifestation of the Word, it is because from this Word we are born.

            Ah, this is why  HE who IS the Word of God comes riding out of the heavens of God’s Spirit upon a white horse in righteousness to judge and make war — and the armies which are in heaven follow Him, they also ride upon white horses, clothed  in fine linen, white and clean.  Those comprising this glorious army together with Him whose name  is the Word of God HAVE THEMSELVES WITH HIM BECOME THE WORD OF GOD.  They are  the Word Company!  The message is clear — God fights His battles by His Word!  Not just a verbal declaration, but a Living Company who were chosen “in the Word” before the foundation of the world!  Yet they do speak out of their state of being.  Oh, the mystery of it!


            God is equipping His elect sons by revealing the power of words — the Word.  And please know, my beloved, we have not departed from our subject — FAITH — for “faith cometh by hearing the Word of God!”  Thus saith the scripture: “But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead.)  But what saith it?  THE WORD IS NIGH THEE, EVEN IN THY MOUTH, AND IN THY HEART…”  What Word is it that is in thy mouth and in thy heart?  “The word of faith which we preach” (Rom. 10:6-8),  It is the word of power, the word  of salvation, the word of the kingdom, the word of transformation, the word of life over death.  When you realize how powerful words are, by virtue of believing words that are God in you, and which can change and transform you, then you will understand just how “at hand” the kingdom of God really is.  You see, the Word — the speaking — is God.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God.”  And the Word still is God!  So when Jesus appeared on earth all He had to do was say, “Be made whole,” and the power of the Word worked, for His Word was God in expression and manifestation.  As we grow and mature in Christ we hear more and more that pure Word  of God within ourselves and that Word  of God EVOKES FAITH IN US TO EMBRACE AND EXPERIENCE WITHIN OURSELVES EVERYTHING GOD HAS CALLED US TO BECOME AND PERFORM AS HIS WORD COMPANY IN THE EARTH.  Isn’t it wonderful!


            J. B. Phillips beautifully translates the passage quoted above: “You need not say in your heart, Who could go up to heaven to bring Christ down to us, or could descend into the depths to bring Him up from the dead?  NO, the WORD IS VERY NEAR YOU, on your lips and in your hearts!”  All revelation springs from the indwelling Word.  Thus Peter says, “Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the spirit…being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, BY THE WORD OF GOD which liveth and abideth for ever” (I Pet. 1:22-23).  We are born of the Word, therefore the new life within, our spirit, IS THE WORD OF GOD.  Have you ever noticed that the only thing which speaks to you and brings forth fruit in your life is that which is quickened by the spirit within?  You may read a particular portion of scripture a thousand times and it never ministers anything to you until one day it is quickened by the spirit within and volumes of truth, understanding, and glory suddenly spring forth from that Word as living flames of fire.  But that which so suddenly springs forth does not leap from the pages of the Book, but from the WORD OF LIFE WITHIN!


            This is the difference between facts and truth.  How many of the carnal church systems of man hold to their cold, dead doctrines and creeds of biblical facts.  But facts are expressive only of the dead letter of the Word — and that letter killeth, the apostle assures us.  Facts can never make you free  or transform your life, but the TRUTH WILL MAKE YOU FREE!  Truth is spirit and life.  The spirit quickens, makes alive.  Paul spoke of those who read the scriptures but a veil was over their minds and hearts.  The veil  shut them up unto a dead letter — mere facts — a “ministration of death.”  But he adds: “Nevertheless when it (the heart) shall TURN TO THE LORD, the veil shall be taken away.  Now the LORD IS THAT SPIRIT: and where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (from the veil, the letter, facts, and death)” (II Cor. 3:15-17).  You may feed into your mind any amount of information via the natural senses (hearing, seeing) but it will be only so much preaching, reading, teaching, study, research, scripture memorization — FACTS — until the Spirit, the Word within, brings it forth as an essence of living power within your inner man.  Jesus said that man must live by every Word of God.  John calls it the WORD OF LIFE.  All the life you have within has sprung from the Living Word within.  All the God-Life you will ever have will come from HIS QUICKENING LIFE (WORD) WITHIN.  All else is but dead facts, useless information which perish with the using.


            May the truth be imprinted indelibly upon our hearts that the letter of the Word never produces faith — for it killeth!  And it is right there that “all we like sheep have gone astray.”  The healing evangelists have hammered and pounded into us that we are to take the promises in the Bible and then ACT UPON THEM.  “Do what you couldn’t do before!” they cry.  “God has promised healing and if you can’t raise that arm up,” they exhort, “then raise it up anyway and show your faith by your action!”  It sounds so good, so spiritually logical.  Yet how many times did we venture out to do the impossible, claiming the promise every step of the way, we ignored our aches and pains, threw away our glasses, started a project, not because faith had brought us to that 100% place of believing God had done the work, but in reality we were taking the action, and endeavoring by the action, to somehow lift  ourselves up as by our own bootstraps into the place where we could overcome our doubts and fears and persuade God to move on our behalf.  We have tried to produce faith by our actions upon a Word.  We used our works in an effort to conjure up enough faith to persuade God to honor it.  But in so doing we have had the cart before the horse!  The Word of God in the letter-of-the-Word realm will never produce life or faith — only death.  The LIVING WORD WITHIN will bring forth life and faith.  And FAITH will produce WORKS, but be assured, precious friend of mine, that WORKS will NEVER PRODUCE FAITH!  My dear friend and brother Bert Hernandez shared with me something quickened to him recently — just as “faith without works is dead” — dead faith — so also “works without faith is dead” — dead works.  When our actions spring out of the faith generated by the LIVING WORD WITHIN, there will always be results — the WORD EXPRESSED.  It is a Living Faith producing Living Works!  When our actions are a self-effort to conjure up faith to embrace and lay claim to a dead-letter-Word which has never been quickened to us by the spirit within, then frustration and defeat lie in our path.  It is a Dead Work evoking  only a Dead Faith! 


            The quickening life of His Spirit within, the Word of God as a living power in our hearts shall bring a vast company of sons of God to a position of glory and  power in the kingdom of God — God’s CORPORATE WORD COMPANY! 




            “And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne A BOOK written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals…and I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne…stood a Lamb as it had been slain…and He came and took THE BOOK out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne…and I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals…” (Rev. 5:1,6,7; 6:1).


            “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and I saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns.  And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in THE BOOK OF LIFE OF THE LAMB slain from the foundation of the world.  If any man have an ear, let him hear” (Rev. 13:1,8-9).


            And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and THE BOOKS were opened: and ANOTHER BOOK was opened, which is THE BOOK OF LIFE: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books” (Rev. 20:12).


            We have entertained such carnal notions when we come to the book of Revelation.  The Holy Spirit must teach us the very first principles of this book — the book of Revelation is a book of symbols — and no symbol is ever to be taken in its literal form.  It is significantly wonderful that the Lion of the tribe of Judah is not a four-legged lion, nor is the Lamb in the midst of the throne a wooly four-legged lamb!  This Lamb has seven horns — not literal horns, of course — for the horns are mere figures representing the seven-fold spirit of power and life which emanates from the mind and nature of the Lamb.  I am sure my readers understand the simple truth that the various beasts in the Revelation are not literal wild animals, the sea and earth out of which they arise are not an actual ocean or cavity in the earth beneath our feet, the cities are not literal cities, nor is the great harlot a single female prostitute.  One and all are but symbols and figures of deep spiritual realities, positive or negative, as the case may be.  May I reverently inject another thought?  The “dead” who “stand” before God and are “judged” out of the “books” and also the “book  of life,” are not the physically dead in the outward cemeteries, nor are the books from which they are judged such as you have in your library.  If they were the physically dead standing up to be judged out of literal books the basic principle of the Revelation’s symbology would be violated.  If the “Lamb” who opens the “book” in chapter five is not a four-legged lamb, it should not be difficult for anyone to understand that the book He opens is not a two-covered book!  And if that “book” is one of Revelation’s wonderful symbols, does it not follow that the “books” in chapter twenty are likewise word  pictures in the form of symbols?


            According to the Emphatic Diaglott the correct rendering from the Greek text of the words “the book of life of the Lamb” is “the book of the life of the Lamb.”  If I were to give you a book titled THE BOOK OF THE LIFE OF GEORGE WASHINGTON, you would understand at once that it is a biography or autobiography of the life of the first president of the United States, George Washington.  That book should contain everything you always wanted to know about George Washington!  Every detail of his life would be there:  when he was born, who his parents were, where he was raised, the schools he attended, the girls he dated, who he married, how he became general of the army, and finally president of our newborn nation.  In the same way, THE BOOK  OF THE LIFE OF THE LAMB is the autobiography of God’s Lamb, the record of who He is, what He is like, and what He does.  Everything you ever wanted to know about Him whose name is called The Word of God is contained in this wonderful book of the life of the Lamb!  It is not a literal book of paper and ink, certainly, for the sons and daughters of the Most High are themselves the LIVING RECORD AND REVELATION of the life of the indwelling Lamb.  It was to the apostle Paul that the revelation was given that the book of life, the book of the Lamb, the book of the Son of God who is the Word of God made flesh, is A PEOPLE.  “Forasmuch as YE are manifestly declared to be THE EPISTLE OF CHRIST ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.  Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not in the letter, but in the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (II Cor. 3:3,6).


            Paul asked these Corinthians to whom he was writing, “Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or need we, as some others, epistles of recommendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?” (II Cor. 3:1).  He refers to ministers who had arrived in Corinth bearing letters of recommendation to them from the churches in Judea.  The false teachers at Corinth had been originally introduced there by commendatory letters from abroad.  These were letters of introduction, vouching for the character, gifts, and ministerial abilities of the bearer, and were common among the Greeks, the Romans, and the Jews, as they still are today.  They were usually given to persons who were about to travel.  So these teachers came to Corinth with letters of recommendation from other churches, and when leaving that city obtained similar letters from the Corinthians to other churches.  The 13th canon of the Council of Chalcedon (A.D. 451) ordained that “clergymen coming to a city where they were unknown, should not be allowed to officiate without letters commendatory from their own bishop.”  The history (Acts 18:27) confirms the existence of the custom here alluded to in Paul’s epistle: “When Apollos was disposed to pass into Achaia (Corinth) the brethren (of Ephesus) wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him.”  This was about two years before Paul’s second epistle to the Corinthians, and is probably one of the instances to which Paul refers, as many at Corinth boasted of their being followers of Apollos (I Cor. 1:12).


            Paul says, however, that he needs no such external recommendation from or to anyone, for “YE are our epistle, written in our hearts, known and read of all men” (II Cor. 3:2).  His testimonial — his word — was the saints themselves!  This he says was written on his heart.  It was not a cold letter of recommendation, but the living proof of his ministry and the authority, power, and life of the Christ who  sent him.  “Forasmuch as YE are manifestly declared to be the EPISTLE  OF CHRIST ministered (written) by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.”  There is not so powerful a letter or sermon or book or word in the world, as a transformed, spirit-empowered life!  The proof of Christ the wisdom of God and the power of God, indeed, the Word of God, is not the Bible — it is the lives of those in whom He lives and walks and talks.  The lives of God’s redeemed people are the only spiritual books the world reads.  The nature and character of God revealed in us is the language God uses ultimately to speak to creation.  When God writes on the fleshy tables of our hearts the very essence of His love, His mercy, His goodness, His wisdom, His power — His letter to mankind is written so legibly that it can be “read by all men.”  It is not written with ink, by traces drawn on lifeless substance, or in lines that easily fade, or that can be read by only one or a few persons at a time.  This wonderful book of God’s Corporate Word can be read alike by the king on the throne, the professor at the university, the scientist in his laboratory, the common working man or woman, the illiterate man in abject poverty, or the drunk in the gutter; oh, yes, everyone can read this glorious book!  Every trace of the Spirit’s influence on the heart indelibly inscribes within our character the Word of the living God — God’s message, God’s revelation, God’s life — truly it is THE BOOK OF THE LIFE OF THE LAMB!  Ah, no hand but that of God can reach the heart, and inscribe His truth there.  It is not a dead letter, it will not molder or decay, for it is the incorruptible Word  of God that liveth and abideth forever.  Though worms should destroy this body, it will abide to the ages, to other worlds, and will stand in the day of judgment as God’s Book of Life opened for all to read.  It is the influence that shall be seen and felt throughout vast ages yet unborn until God becomes All-in-all — everything to everyone, everywhere!  Let the fact be imprinted indelibly on our consciousness that faith comes by the Word of God; and by this Word Company faith is ministered to every man who reads this Word and hears this Word by the operation of God.  Has not faith been ministered to you, dear friend, through many saints of God in whose lives you have read God’s message?  What a Word this is!


            From the beautiful phrases flowing from the pen of the ready writer to the Hebrews we have these illuminating words of understanding and glory.  “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people…in that He saith, A new covenant, He hath made the first old.  Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away” (Heb. 8:10,13).  Herein is an arrangement that will work — the old covenant was written and engraven in stone and the people were unable to keep it.  Israel began well, accepted the covenant, and promised obedience.  But there was no power to continue, to fulfill it; no  power to conquer temptation, or overcome the evil heart; to remain faithful.  Just as the old covenant was the law written and engraven in stone, and one could hold high the stone tablets and say, “Here is the covenant of our God,” so the new covenant is the law of God inscribed in the minds and hearts of a people — not merely a law, but that law inscribed in a people — so that you can point to that people and say, “There is the covenant of God!”  The people with the law  in their heart IS THE COVENANT, GOD’S LAW OF LIFE, GOD’S BOOK OF LIFE, GOD’S CONCLUSIVE WORD FOR THE AGES!


            On far-away Patmos John the Revelator penned the record of his vision: “And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals” (Rev. 5:1).  John saw the book that was written within.  He saw the new covenant that God would make with the house of Israel.  That’s what he saw.  He perceived in spirit that which is being written within.  He beheld the realm of the spirit.  He saw where you find the performance of the new covenant — not in your own strength, not in your human will, not in your fleshly ability, not in your natural way, but by the Life within.  He discovered that we would become living epistles, not of the letter, the outward, external commandments, statutes, and precepts, but of the spirit, the inward word, nature, and character, because there is Life. 


            The reason the “word” of God has bound and killed more people spiritually than it has helped is because it has been legislated outwardly on a carnal level.  Men make godliness a law rather than a life.  “God said!” they thunder from their pulpits high upon the craggy pinnacle of Mount Sinai, and then lay an outward rule and observance upon the people.  To people who have been through the trauma of a divorce  they pontificate: “You can never be remarried; God says, I hate adultery, and you can  only please God by remaining single the rest of your life.”  They kill people with the letter of the word, seeing not the spirit, the compassion of God, the love of God, the heart of God.  People have been forced to go to the world to find some judgment because they couldn’t find it in the church.  They have been compelled to go to the counselors of the world to find some understanding because the preachers had no grace, no mercy, and no wisdom from the Lord.  Christian ministers of the grace of God LEGISLATING THE LAW!  And they like it even better if they can persuade the carnal human government to pass laws enforcing that outward standard upon the citizens of the country.  What an enigma!  What a travesty!  “But the Bible says!” you contend in defense of your own pet commandments of “dos and don’ts.”  You hypocrites!  You don’t even know what the Bible says!  You do know the letter that kills!  You have never perused the pages of the blessed Book of Life of the Lamb — the Spirit that gives Life!  On the very first page of that book is the beautiful record of Jesus the Word of God who ate with sinners, who was merciful to all, who loved unconditionally, who spoke in golden tones to the traumatized woman taken in adultery surrounded by a cadre of self-righteous men with stones in their hands demanding the claims of the law: “Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more.”  The New Testament is not that black, leather-bound book we call the Bible.  The New Testament, the true Bible, the Living Epistle of Christ is the law of His life written upon the fleshy tables of the heart.  You will minister Life — not Law — when you stand in that blessed company of the CORPORATE WORD OF GOD!


            “By His own will begat He us with the Word of truth,” the record states.  He is the great and eternal God, we are His children, His offspring, the  ones who have been spawned out of the loins of His omnipotence.  God is now putting the reality of what is true in Himself into our minds.  As we walk it out, this glorious and eternal reality of God is written in our hearts, impressed into us as the nature of our being.  Was not this great and eternal purpose burning in the heart of the apostle Paul when he cried out, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you” (Gal. 4:19).  When the reality of Christ is fully put into our minds and written in our hearts there will be the revelation of the full personality of God.  You will know and express Him fully, not after a Catholic mentality, not after a Baptist mindset, not after a Pentecostal manner, but in pure GOD CONSCIOUSNESS.  You will no longer know Him in creed or doctrine, in ceremony or ordinance, in gifts and experiences, you will not know Him in anything outside your state of being.  You will know Him in spirit and in truth — you will know Him personally, intimately, fully, within yourself.  That is the mystery of the Corporate Word!


            In closing I would share precious gems from the pen of Ray Prinzing.  “‘And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire’ (Rev. 20:12,15).  God is bringing forth His WORD COMPANY, perfecting and maturing those who are to be an expression of His Word, His logos people.  They are His offspring, for ‘…of His own will begat He us with the Word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures’ (James 1:18).  Born of His truth, born of His will, of His thought, His purpose, His living Word.  The nature of this OFFSPRING is the nature of THE WORD, for that is what He begat us with, and these are they who were once contained in the Word in the beginning.  We are persuaded that God has a company, A PEOPLE WHOSE NAMES WERE WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF LIFE FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD.  They are a predestinated people, laid hold of by the grace of God for a specific purpose of becoming His firstfruits channel through which shall flow quickening streams of divine life to conquer death, and bring new life to all His creation.


            “AND ANOTHER BOOK SHALL BE OPENED, THE BOOK OF LIFE!  There will be books out of which men shall be judged by what they have done, their whole way of feeling and acting, their aims and endeavors, in accordance with what was written in the books.  And whatever purging and purifying is needed, whatever correctional processings must need be applied, they shall be, for these are described as the ‘lake  of fire,’ the refining fire which God Himself is, and righteousness must be established.  But it also reads, THERE IS ANOTHER BOOK THAT SHALL BE OPENED, it is this ‘another book’ that has our hearts rejoicing, for it is the BOOK OF LIFE.  It is a ministry of life, not death; of righteousness, not condemnation,  It is an outflow of love, and love, being non-coercive, sets no standards of man-made doctrines, traditions, or commandments, but moves in the glorious freedom of the ‘perfect law of liberty’ in that free flowing of His life.  Jesus walked, and talked, and dined with the publicans and sinners, because His love reached out to embrace all men.  They received Him because He received them.  He met them right where they were, without condemnation.  ‘For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved’ (Jn. 3:17).


            “‘The vision has been unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver unto one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot, for it is sealed: and the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned’ (Isa. 29:11-12).  The unlearned, the undisciplined, cannot tell you the message of LIFE, for they are unlearned, untaught in the way.  But those who are being processed, taught by the Spirit, disciplined under His rod, these cannot as yet fully declare the message either, for IT IS SEALED UP WITHIN THEM.  But when this ‘ANOTHER BOOK’ is brought forth, and opened, the message which has been sealed up within our deep shall be released, and it will flow out as a Living Word, a river of LIFE.  Seems so often now we try to share, we speak in riddles and parables, and it remains a mystery to those who hear.  But in that day there shall be an OPENING OF THY WORDS, and they will come forth in clarity and bring understanding, and thus bring  light to those who long have remained in shadows and darkness.  It will be HIS WORD coming forth, and the opening of His Word giveth light.  There is a holding forth of the Word of Life that shall answer the cry and deep inner frustrations of creation.  They shall hear this Word with clarity, and faith for a blessed deliverance shall spring forth within their hearts, for ‘…faith cometh by hearing… the Word of God.”  Praise God!


            “‘I have sworn by myself, the WORD is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear’ (Isa. 45:23).  When the Father opens His BOOK OF LIFE COMPANY, it is the sending forth of THE WORD of His mouth, in a positive, triumphant ministry that shall not cease until every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that HE IS LORD.  This is not a confession produced by coercion, for ‘no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit’ (I Cor. 2:3).  Also this confession is ‘to the glory of the Father,’ and as such is the result of that ministration when ‘I shall pour out my Spirit upon all flesh’ (Joel 2:28).  ‘And all flesh shall see the salvation of God’ (Lk. 3:6).  ‘He sent His Word AND HEALED THEM, and delivered them from their destructions’ (Ps. 107:20).  ‘And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire’ (Rev. 20:15).  Those who are drawn to Christ now, and are being purged and purified now, have their names written in that book of life, they are the message of the book, and have no fear of the severity of the refining fires to come.  ‘Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some they follow after’ (I Tim. 5:24).  Confessing our need of Him now, exposed to, and receiving the light now, takes care of the judgment.  Refusing to receive the light, our sins will follow us on to that day when the light comes to us, and then the judgments until every part has been taken care of with His purgings.


            “‘But what saith it?  THE WORD is nigh thee, EVEN IN THY MOUTH, and IN THY HEART; that is, the WORD OF FAITH…’ (Rom. 10:8).  His truth, quickened within us, to become a part of the very fiber of our being, as the message and the messenger become one — thus shall the message be made PLAIN.  This, in contradistinction to much that we see today — where one message is being preached from the pulpit, but a different message is being lived out in their every day life.  That makes for confusion!  What is in our mouth and heart, and lived out each day, will become a clear message for others to read — living epistles known and read of all men…”  — end quote. 


 To be continued…     J. PRESTON EBY



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