ECHOES from EDEN, PART 25

END-TIME PROPHECY – TRUTH REVEALED

BY: J. PRESTON EBY

 

KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES

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

 

PART TWENTY-FIVE

THE GARMENTS of EDEN, (continued)

 

The Atonement

The Garments fof Salvation and the Robe of Righteousness

Melchizedek = Robe of Righteousness

The Smell of His Garments

 

"And they were both naked, the man and his wife. and the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And, unto Adam and his wife did the Lord God make COATS OF SKINS, AND CLOTHED THEM." (Gen. 2:25; 3:6-10, 21)

 

"And they were both NAKED, the man and his wife." It seems to the unenlightened mind that this little statement could have been omitted. Of what importance is it whether Adam and Eve moved about in Paradise naked or clothed? Yet it is an important and necessary little statement; it uses a rather insignificant fact, as it appears to us, to show forth something wondrous in the whole economy of God. Ah, beloved, the story of Adam and Eve in Eden is far too intricate and wonderful for my little mind to fully grasp, but I am able to see that the Holy Spirit has been very faithful and remarkably specific in recording the exact state of being of man in the beginning and of us IN OUR BEGINNING!

 

Adam and Eve were both NAKED! Among all the creatures which God made, man stands out unique, stark naked, which means devoid of true wisdom and knowledge, with his inner nature revealed, opened up, exhibited, and made bare. Oh! that God may give us understanding to see that to be naked means to have THE FLESH UNCOVERED AND EXPOSED! In the typology of Scripture "the flesh" is the name by which the scripture designates our HUMAN NATURE, literally speaking of that inward nature which is earthy-minded, with its lusts and self-centeredness, its ego and I-will, which are rebellion to the Spirit. Thus, the flesh is not the outward, visible man of meat, muscle and bones, but the inward nature. This nature was in man from the beginning, and could be seen to be in him, but as long as he was caught up in God he was not aware of it, for he was "naked, and was not ashamed."

 

Then suddenly "they knew that they were naked” – they knew that their flesh lay bare and exposed – sad fruit of the tree of knowledge. No sooner does a man discover his nakedness than this knowledge gives birth to the impulse to make an effort to COVER the nakedness. Thus, in the case of Adam and Eve, the discovery of their nakedness was immediately followed by an effort of their own to cover it, – "they sewed fig-leaves together and made themselves aprons." (Gen. 3:7) This is the first record we have of man's attempt to remedy, by his own device, his condition, but this was not the single act of Adam of old, it is truly the act of each of us, yes, OUR VERY OWN! The Spirit would make it very real to your heart, dear reader, that Adam's effort to cover his nakedness was not a mere physical or moral act, it was a RELIGIOUS ACT. The nakedness in Eden bespeaks a spiritual state of being, and the attempt to cover that nakedness was indeed an expression of religiousness!

 

In an effort to appear other than he is, man sews together very wide leaves of the fig tree; that is, he tries every device he can, including multiplied religious works, to gloss over his true condition. But all the garments which men devise to hide their nakedness become mere "spider's webs" when the dazzling light of God's presence and glory shines upon them. There is nothing more obvious than the fact that leaves quickly wither and fall off and, indeed, clothed in all the dead works of religion MAN'S FLESH SHOWS THROUGH and it becomes manifest that his covering is pitifully insufficient.

 

The first thing God does is strip away all the artificial, man-made coverings, and presents His own glorious covering, the slain Lamb, the Christ of God. "For Adam also and for his wife the Lord God made long coats (tunics) of skins, and clothed them." (Gen. 3:21, Amplified Bible) In the symbolism of Garden of Eden story Adam and Eve silently watched as the Lord God selected a lamb and slew it there, fastening it to a tree before their wondering eyes, the victim then being made naked, stripped of its skin, that a covering might be provided for the naked ones. Thus, with this one wondrous act does the God of heaven introduce THE CROSS, THE ATONEMENT, and THE CHRIST AS MAN'S COVERING. When God clothed Adam and Eve in the skins of the slain Lamb, yet dripping with the precious blood, He showed that they were COVERED WITH THE LIFE OF THE LAMB. When God covers a man with the covering of His own Lamb the covering is so complete that NO FLESH WILL BE SEEN – ONLY CHRIST!

 

THE ATONEMENT

 

What a blessed and thrilling revelation it has been to have the Spirit unfold the wonders of the Garden of Eden! All that now pertains or shall ever pertain to man's relationship with God is there unveiled to the wondering eyes of our understanding. The first mention of "clothing" or "covering" is in Gen 3:21. The idea expressed in this covering of man's flesh is the same as that contained in the Old Testament word "atonement." The Hebrew word most commonly translated "atonement" and which most perfectly expressed its Biblical meaning is kaphar, and means "to cover."

 

This word occurs for the first time in Genesis 6:14, where we read concerning God's instructions for the building of Noah's ark: "Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch." It is a very interesting fact to note that the word translated "pitch" is the word for "atonement." Noah was to pitch the ark within and without with pitch. The words used are kaphar and kophar, the first being the verb, and the second the noun. Literally, therefore, we can read Genesis 6:14 as, "thou shalt atone it within and without with atonement." This gives the Old Testament picture of atonement. It means "to cover." The pitch, the "atonement," was designed to keep out the waters of judgment and to make Noah safe within. It held back and restrained the judgment from reaching the occupants in the ark, and made them safe in spite of the fact that judgment was destroying the world outside.

 

This is what the "blood of the atonement" in all the Old Testament sacrifices did. "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul." (Lev. 17:11) The blood of atonement held back and restrained the just judgment of God from totally consuming the people. But this blood of atonement of sacrificial offerings and beasts did not actually, and could not actually "take away" sin, for the blood of bulls and goats could not effect a reconciliation. So the blood of the atonement in the Old Testament, as shed in the tabernacle and temple services, only temporarily "covered" the people until the life of God's perfect Lamb could be provided, and then the atonement would be perfect, complete and eternal. The blood of the Old Testament atonement deferred the judgment temporarily until the coming of Christ, and then the judgment was fully paid, and for this reason the sacrifices in the tabernacle were never finished, they were to be repeated day after day and year after year. When Christ came, HE BECAME OUR ATONEMENT, OUR ETERNAL COVERING, as pre-figured by Eden's “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." (Rev. 13:8)

 

In the book of Exodus we have one of the most unique and remarkable happenings in the world's history. It is a part of the same pattern as the life and work of Jesus Himself. The Lord had come down in a thick cloud to speak with Moses in the sight of the people. There was given him the substance of the law. But then, by command of the Lord Moses went up into the mount and into the cloud, and remained there in the presence of the Lord for forty days and forty nights. At the end of that time of communion, the Lord gave Moses two tables of stones upon which was written the Law of the Lord by the finger of God. So, robed in the spiritual splendor of the Holy One, he returned to the people.

 

In Exodus chapter 32, we read that the people had fallen into idolatry during these forty days of waiting. They had made a golden calf to worship and to lead them. In this was the essence of their idolatry: the turning to SELF to satisfy self in all its demands, the desire to establish a power and a good of their own choosing to be followed after and worshipped rather than God. The wickedness was in turning from God to the idols of their own flesh and corruption. They made and worshipped the image of a beast, and the fact of the matter is that the beast was but a representation of THEIR OWN BESTIAL NATURE which they were pursuing with all their carnally-minded vigor. Then comes a most enlightening statement: "And Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies)." The people were NAKED! Ah! beloved, it was not that the people had discarded their outer garments of linen and wool to stalk about under the scorching desert sun in a state of nudity; it was that Aaron, in appeasing their carnal murmurings and reasonings, had caused their inner natures to be revealed, their inner state of being to be opened up, brought to light, manifested, exhibited – their FLESH WAS EXPOSED!

 

It seems evident to me that this is the meaning of the scripture, for when Moses saw on his return what was taking place, he threw the two tablets of stone down upon the rocks and broke them to pieces. Then on the morrow Moses said to the people, "Ye have sinned a great sin; and now I will go up unto the Lord; peradventure I shall make AN ATONEMENT FOR YOUR SOULS." (Ex. 32:30) "Atonement" means a covering – a protective covering. The Hebrew word kaphar (pronounced KAW-FAR') has come down to us through the long centuries in the English word "cover." You will note that they are nearly the same in sound. Kaphar is used in the Old Testament as the distinct word for atonement for sin. Sin is a NAKED STATE OF THE SOUL, the denuding of our "self" with all its self-love, self-confidence, self-righteousness, self-admiration, self-effort, self-pity, self-expression, self-aggrandizement and self-development. Atonement is the COVERING, protective covering of the Lord's mercy, presence, and life upon the redeemed soul. Moses returned to the Lord in the mount to seek a means to atone for, to COVER THE PEOPLE'S SOULS. My earnest prayer is that those who read these lines may quickly see that the covering provided for the people was a SPIRITUAL COVERING for the inner realm of the soul; therefore, the nakedness of the people was likewise a SPIRITUAL NAKEDNESS of the soul.

 

We have put so much stress on outward things, so much "carnalizing" of the Word which is "spirit and life," that when we read the scriptures we oft times overlook the real truth the Spirit is speaking. The real man who is naked is not the outer physical man. In spite of all the "dress codes" religion may impose, it makes no difference, my friend, how much you clothe the outer body – your true "flesh" will still be exposed! It should be clear to all who have eyes to see that when the scripture makes such statements as, "put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ," "put on the whole amour of God," "put on the amour of light," "buy of Me white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed," "put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem," "to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white," "blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame," these cannot be put on the outer physical man, they must be put on in the inner realms of the soul and spirit, upon the hidden man of the heart, even that NEW MAN which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

 

THE GARMENTS OF SALVATION AND THE ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

 

There is an interesting passage in Isaiah 61:10. "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels." This verse teaches us two things: (1) that God has clothed us with the GARMENTS OF SALVATION and (2) He has covered us with the ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. The Spirit here points out to us that not only is there a garment of salvation, but there is also a robe of righteousness. Jesus Christ is our salvation. We are saved by grace through faith; and that not of ourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:8-9). We are clothed with the garment of salvation in the blessed moment when they believed on Christ Jesus as Saviour and Redeemer. We are to greatly rejoice in the Lord that He has clothed us with the garment of salvation!

 

As soon as man sinned, God made them garments, the Bible declares. That means that God accepts men as they are, as sinful. He affirms them as fallen, as sheep gone astray, each turned to his own way. But, blessed be God! He does not expose them to one another in their nakedness: HE HIMSELF COVERS THEM. By making garments for men God shows that He first of all accepts them as they are, with their flesh. In this way He COVERS THEIR FLESH but does not destroy it. God's first action toward man is that He preserves him in his sinful state of being, with the carnal nature, giving him an "atonement," a "covering" to hide his flesh and protect him from destruction, making him "accepted in the Beloved” – until he can be changed! With the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden, having disobeyed the command of God, and partaking of the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, their eyes were opened, and they knew that they were naked and went and "hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden." (Gen. 3:8) To this day Adam's race senses their shame, and cannot stand in the presence of God without fear, UNLESS CLOTHED UPON WITH THE GARMENTS OF OUR GOD.

 

Gladly, therefore, do we freely acknowledge that "He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation; He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness." Realizing that all our covering garments must be of HIM, let us follow on to examine the dimensions of these garments, and their operation in our lives.

 

May I share with you now a revelation that has been a great blessing to me in my walk with God. First let me say that the GARMENT OF SALVATION is the righteousness of God IMPUTED TO US BY FAITH. "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose SINS ARE COVERED. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." (Rom. 4:3-8) "Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." This word "counted" is the Greek word logizomai and means to reckon, number, account, to impute, which means to credit to one's account. Because Abraham believed God, it was imputed unto his account that he was righteous. The Amplified Bible says, "Abraham believed (trusted in) God, and it was credited to his account as righteousness – right living and right standing with God. Thus David congratulates the man and pronounces a blessing on him to whom God credits righteousness apart from the works he does." Paul continues, "Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered up for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." (Rom. 4:23-25)

 

This is the sphere with which most Christians are acquainted – for it is the realm which most preachers deal with, how that BY FAITH THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IS IMPUTED TO US WHEN WE BELIEVE ON OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST. While this makes good evangelistic preaching, and is the solid foundation upon which we can build, yet daily experience has revealed the fact that just because the righteousness of God is now "imputed" to you, that doesn't mean that immediately you have a complete change in your STATE OF BEING. It means that you now possess by faith, and as a free gift, the GARMENT OF SALVATION, and clothed in this garment you are saved from your sins, forgiven, acquitted, and all your past has been covered by God's matchless grace. Ah, yes, you have received all this as a gift, but you yourself have not yet been totally changed, transformed, having put on ALL HE IS.

 

So, while IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS gives us a clean slate before God, yet we discover by experience that this leaves us far short of the image and the glory of God, far short of PERFECTION. We still find in our nature the working of "sin and death," and all the old emotions and cravings of "the flesh." In our salvation experience we have found a covering, an atonement, by the sacrifice of God's precious Lamb, and yet, is it not true, dear child of God, that our hearts are not completely satisfied? Why? Because we know in our deepest heart that the garment of salvation has covered ALL OUR SINS, but our INNER STATE OF BEING STILL REMAINS PITIFULLY UNCHANGED.

 

We want more than just to pile "coverings" over our sins, we want our inherent nature changed into HIS, so that all that is contrary to Him shall be completely done away. Multitudes have received the glad news of how the righteousness of God is imputed to us by faith, and have believed, but still in their daily life they know that in themselves there remains the rudiments of sin, carnal mindedness, etc. And with repeated failure and guilt-consciousness they keep on praying day after day, "Lord, forgive us our short-comings! Forgive us our trespasses! Forgive us our many sins!" And year after year never cease praying that way. Why? Because imputed righteousness is our possession as we believe on Him, but we must go on into the second dimension of the atonement, to lay hold upon His IMPARTED RIGHTEOUSNESS, His INWORKED RIGHTEOUSNESS, becoming COVERED WITH THE ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, experiencing the inworkings of the change which results in an entirely new STATE OF BEING, making us LIKE HIM, transformed and transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor, from one degree of glory to another (II Cor. 3:18).

 

To be covered with the robe of righteousness means that when men look at us they SEE NOTHING BUT RIGHTEOUSNESS! We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, but being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (Rom. 5:10). It means a laying down of our lives, for when we are manifesting our life men are not seeing His life. When we lay down our life, to manifest His life, then it becomes His life that is seen. Now, if they see us they see a robe, but it is not a robe of righteousness but a covering of flesh which is a garment of death. After Isaiah speaks of our putting on the robe of righteousness, in the very next verse he declares, "For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God WILL CAUSE RIGHTEOUSNESS TO SPRING FORTH BEFORE ALL THE NATIONS." (Isa. 61:11)

 

God is going to spring forth righteousness until all nations see it! Hallelujah! This, beloved, can only be wrought by the power of the Holy Spirit. When people see a life and that life is beyond and contrary to any life they have ever witnessed, then the righteousness of God in Christ is revealed. When people behold us in our problems, under the pressures of job, family, and bills, in the perplexities of trouble and tragedy, and never see a reaction from us of our flesh, but only the Spirit of Christ within, then are we decked with the robe of righteousness and CHRIST IS SEEN AS RIGHTEOUSNESS in our lives. Here, nothing but HIM is revealed. When HE is revealed men will declare, "I never saw a people act like these act, I never heard a people speak like these speak; how can a person stand so calm, cool and collected in the face of such difficulties, testings and pressures – something supernatural is here!"

 

"Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof." (Rom. 13:14) Put on Christ! To this you are called. Seek to walk worthy of this calling. Yield yourself to the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the wonderful grace and the mighty power of His indwelling life that enables you to be clothed in a divine righteousness. Take time to realize that it is the King's own robe that you are invited to wear. It is the token that you are the man whom the King delights to honour. Take time to remember that as much as you need it in the palace, in the King's presence, and in the midst of His "many brethren," no less do you require it when he sends you forth into the world, where you are the Kings representative. Live your life daily in the full consciousness of being covered with the robe of righteousness, an object of delight and pleasure in the company of God's Sons.

 

Psalm 97:2 states that "Righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne." His throne – means HIS RULERSHIP in our lives, as His will replaces our will, His thoughts replace our thoughts, and HIS LIFE becomes the sphere of our daily living. "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yielded the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." (Heb. 12:11) The fruit of righteousness is the fulfilling of HIS will in us, and the filling up of our life with His rulership, His throne fixed in us, where He rules and reigns supreme.

 

MELCHIZEDEK – KING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

 

A message is filling my heart today and with it there is an unspeakable longing that the heart of every saint of God be turned to seek earnestly to be covered completely with the robe of the righteousness of the Son of God. I speak the truth when I tell you that there is a great difference between a garment and a robe. The garment of salvation is that which the Lord has already purchased for us and is freely bestowed to cover the nakedness of our flesh, but the robe of righteousness is set before us to be sought after and seized as a prize.

 

A person's position or state of being can often be told by his clothing. A white uniform indicates a nurse, the blue uniform identifies the policeman on his beat, filthy or torn garments are a sign of poverty, and royal robes are a sign of royal estate. The first occurrence of the word robe in the Bible is in Exodus 28:4 and 31. "And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a ROBE, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron their brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto Me in the priest's office. AND THOU SHALT MAKE THE ROBE OF THE EPHOD all of blue." The Hebrew word is subsequently translated robe in I Samuel 24:4, I Chronicles 15:27, Job 29:14. and Ezekiel 26:16, in which cases it specifies a garment worn by a king or prince. From all these uses of the word it can be seen that the robe of the ephod was a garment of special dignity – A ROBE OF OFFICE – and which gave a PRINCELY CHARACTER to the High Priest.

 

No material was specified for the High Priest's robe, but the color only, blue. It was the work of a weaver, Bezaleel and Aholiab having been filled with wisdom of heart to execute the fabric. This robe embodied the color of the heavens; it was all of blue. All the priests, the sons of Aaron, wore white linen garments, representing the imputed righteousness of Christ. The High Priest also wore the white linen garment when he entered into the Most Holy Place to make atonement on the Day of Atonement. But upon finishing that work HE THEN ADORNED HIMSELF WITH THE GARMENTS OF GLORY AND BEAUTY, these garments of glory and beauty representing the GLORY, HONOR, AND INCORRUPTION OF HIS RESURRECTION LIFE AND POWER. Chief among the garments of glory and beauty is the robe. It typifies the princely glory of our resurrected and exalted High Priest, who is typified by Aaron and pre-figured by Melchizedek, whose name means KING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.

 

In the book of Genesis all we know of Melchizedek is told in three short, very simple verses. A thousand years later we find a Psalm with just one single verse, in which God Himself is introduced, swearing to His Son that He is to be a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. Another thousand years pass, and that single verse becomes the seed of the wondrous exposition in the Epistle to the Hebrews of the whole work of redemption as revealed in Jesus Christ. Melchizedek was King and Priest – a thing unknown in all the history of Israel. These two ministries were always kept separated in God's people. But what was always kept asunder had, by divine wisdom and purpose, been united in Him who had been made LIKE UNTO THE SON OF GOD. It is the glory of Christ as the Priest-King that Melchizedek so wondrously pre-figures.

 

I have stated these things to emphasize the following truth: "Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him; Called of God AN HIGH PRIEST AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK." (Heb. 5:8-10) Our Lord Jesus learned obedience by the things which He suffered. Through this obedience He was MADE PERFECT, and became the author of eternal salvation to all that obey Him. So He entered heaven as our HIGH PRIEST, A SON, PERFECTED FOR EVERMORE.

 

The word "perfect" is one of the key-words of the book of Hebrews. It occurs thirteen times. Four times in regard to the Old Testament, which could make nothing perfect. (1) The law made nothing perfect (Heb. 7:19). (2) Sacrifices that cannot make the worshipper perfect (Heb. 9:9). (3) The law can never make perfect them that draw nigh (Heb. 10:1). (4) That apart from us they (the Old Testament saints) should not be made perfect (Heb. 11:40). As great as is the difference between a promise and its fulfillment, or hope and the thing hoped for, between the shadow and substance, is the difference between the Old and New Testament. The law and sacrifices made nothing perfect: they were only meant to point to something better, to the perfection Jesus Christ was to bring. With the New Testament perfection would come! Three times the word is used of our Lord Jesus, who in Himself prepared and wrought out the perfection He came to impart. The perfection brought by Christ was that which was revealed in His own personal life. He came to restore us to the sonship we had forfeited, to the life of God we had lost – a life in the love and will and glory and incorruptibleness of God. This alone is full salvation! God perfected His firstborn Son through suffering, wrought out in Him a perfect character, in which the divine life was fully united with the human will. So, when He had passed through the process and had been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, because He now had that perfected nature which He could communicate to them. And so He was appointed High Priest – a Son, perfected for evermore. As Son of God He was able to take us up into the very life of God; the way in which He was perfected through obedience was the living way in which He was to lead us; - as the Son, perfected through obedience, who had found and opened and walked the path of obedience as the path into sonship to God, and would now animate us with His own Spirit to do it too, He, the perfected One, can alone be our salvation!

 

Notice, now, what follows His obedience and perfection: "Being designated and recognized and saluted by God as High Priest AFTER THE ORDER (WITH THE RANK) OF MELCHIZEDEK." (Heb. 5:10, Amplified Bible) The dazzling glory of this great truth is that the Melchizedek order of Priesthood is the Priesthood of THE KING OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. King of Righteousness – means HIS RULERSHIP in our lives, as His will replaces our will, His thoughts replace our thoughts, His ways replace our ways, His nature replaces our nature, and HIS LIFE becomes the sphere of all our living and moving and being, filling up our life with His dominion, His throne established in us, where He rules and reigns in righteousness within His temple, which temple we are.

 

Ah, the Melchizedek order of Priesthood ministers not merely an "imputed righteousness" which forgives our sins and covers over our flesh by the loving-kindness of God, but a righteousness INWORKED by God's dealings with us as sons, an obedience LEARNED by discipline and suffering, perfection ENTERED INTO as a state of being, qualifying one for ENTRANCE INTO THE PRIESHOOD REALM OF THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK. Throughout the past twenty centuries of church history most students of the Word of God have known that Christ is a Priest after the order of Melchizedek. All through the centuries there have been a minute few who by the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God have been blessed with the knowledge that OTHERS ALSO ARE CALLED OF GOD to walk the path of obedience, crucify self, put off the carnal mind, be made like unto the son of God, and FOLLOW HIM INTO THE HIGHEST REALM OF SONSHIP, THE PRIESTHOOD ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK. Ah, beloved, I can assure you that those who have understood this truth have been so few in number that if you could collect them all from the day of Pentecost until now, they would scarcely be noticed among the great multitude of the redeemed that no man can number (Rev. 7:9).

 

Hear now what the scripture says on this most vital subject, for I think the scripture must be the final authority for all truth. "We who have fled to Him for refuge, have mighty indwelling strength and strong encouragement to grasp and hold fast the hope appointed for us and set before us. Now we have this hope as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul – it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whoever steps out upon it – a hope that reaches farther and ENTERS INTO THE VERY CERTAINTY, WITHIN THE VEIL, WHERE JESUS HAS ENTERED IN FOR US IN ADVANCE, A FORERUNNER HAVING BECOME A HIGH PRIEST FOREVER AFTER THE ORDER (WITH THE RANK) OF MELCHIZEDEK." (Heb. 6:18-20, Amplified Bible) It is a sure hope, anchored by Christ within the veil, and He is an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. Furthermore, Jesus is a FORERUNNER, which is a clear indication that OTHERS ARE EXPECTED TO FOLLOW ON INTO THE SAME REALMS OF GLORY. He is the Captain of our salvation, He is the King, the Lord, and WITH HIM will be all the kings and lords which become ONE IN HIM, for they are all SONS OF GOD and a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD.

 

The Forerunner! Here we have another of the key-words of the book of Hebrews, without the right understanding of which our view of the work of Jesus as High Priest must be defective. It points us to the work He did in opening up the way, by walking in it Himself; to our following Him in that way to the place into which He has entered, not only the location, but the glory and honor and majesty and position and state of being of that realm, to which we now have access. And what is this place? "Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." We have had His name as Leader. We shall yet enter in!

 

He entered for us, not in our stead, but on our behalf. We are so familiar with all the blessed meaning there is in the words for us, in reference to Christ on the cross. No less it is true of Christ within the veil. It is all for us; all that He is and has there is for us; it is to be our own possession; by it and in it we are to live with Him and in Him. The veil was rent that the way through it might be opened for us; that we might have access to that which is WITHIN THE VEIL; that we might enter into a new world, a new realm, a new glory, a new fellowship, a new position, a new name, a new nature, a new dominion, a new ministry, a new state of being – “being MADE PERFECT, A PRIEST FOREVER AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK." We have yet to learn all that is contained in the Melchizedek Priesthood. But this will be its chief glory – that He is a Priest forever, a Priest in the power of an ENDLESS LIFE, a Priest who opens to us the STATE OF LIFE to which He Himself has entered in – beyond all possibility of sin, failure, limitation, corruption, or death! All that Jesus is and has is heavenly and divine. As High priest at God's right hand, He blesses with all heavenly and divine blessings. Oh, prepare thyself, son of the Most High, as the glory of His person and ministry in the heavenly places are now to be opened up to thee, to look upon it, and appropriate it all, as thy own possession! And believe that His High Priesthood not only consists in His having secured certain heavenly blessings for thee, but in His fitting and enabling thee to enter into the full experience and reality of them.

 

No greater tragedy can overtake a man than that, after he has been saved by God's grace, cleansed by the blood of Christ, made a partaker of God's Holy Spirit, he should be satisfied to walk in the garment of salvation and fail to realize the transcendent glory which lies before him in the ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. Meditate deeply, dear friend, upon this higher righteousness, which is the righteousness of the King of Righteousness, of the Melchizedek order, which is the ORDER OF THE SON OF GOD.

 

And so, "If ye know that He is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him." (I Jn. 2:29) And, "He that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." (I Jn. 3:7, 9) When that which is first imputed to us by faith is so inworked in us that we are completely changed into His image and nature then our state of being shall reveal that we are literally righteous – indeed, then we shall have been fully born of God, AND CANNOT SIN. "We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not." (I Jn. 5:18) Perhaps at the moment such a hope is yet future, but blessed be God! the hope shall become fact, and the revelation shall become reality.

 

"Thy people also shall BE ALL RIGHTEOUS: the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I may be glorified." (Isa. 60:21) To God be the glory, HE is bringing forth a firstfruit company, the work of His hands, the branch of His planting, to BECOME ONE IN CHRIST, and of this very Christ, Head and body we read, "this is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." (Jer. 23:6) No more of our self-righteousness, no more stumbling and blundering and failing, but so FULLY CLOTHED WITH HIM, that our very state of being testifies "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." Certainly He shall be glorified, because HE alone shall be exalted, magnified through the revelation of His grace in the completed work of His hands. "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." (Mat. 5:6) This desire has been implanted by God, and HE shall certainly bring about its fulfillment. We have tried to do it ourselves, but praise the Lord, He is now stripping us of all our self-effort and fig-leaf works, while the great DISCIPLINE HAND OF GOD BEGINS TO WORK, causing us to experience inworkings of one kind of righteousness after another. The result shall be A NEW STATE OF BEING, not one self-appropriated nor self-proclaimed, but the finished work of HIS HANDS, and how it shall redound to His praise!

 

Yes, as His life alone becomes our life, all that we do shall be righteous. There is no grand leap from the simple GARMENTS OF SALVATION to the exquisite ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, but there must be that active inworking of Himself. "May HE that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, AND INCREASE THE FRUITS OF YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." (II Cor. 9:10) Amen!

 

THE SMELL OF HIS GARMENTS

 

The skins with which God clothed Adam and Eve in Eden were the product of the life of God's precious Lamb. When they received these blessed garments upon them, they received something borne out of HIS LIFE, a very part of HIMSELF, the form and appearance of Himself generated by His life. Sweeter than the dews of Hermon descending upon the mountains of Zion is the wonderful revelation with which He now fills our hearts, showing how He now clothes us with THE LAMB'S SKIN, the Lamb's own image, likeness, and identity.

 

And now our heavenly King Solomon can bear witness of us, "Honey and milk are under thy tongue; and THE SMELL OF THY GARMENTS IS LIKE THE SMELL OF LEBANON." (S. of S. 4:11) When Aaron was being installed into the priestly office, he was anointed with the holy oil; and the continual incense which he burned before God, permeated his priestly robes. This perfume of the oil and the incense was ever upon him and his sons. In the Song of Solomon, God, through the Spirit, repeatedly impresses upon us that there is no spiritual fragrance outside of Christ. We are commanded to put on Christ; and as He becomes our garment, as He clothes us more and more, His perfumes will be more and more perceptible to those about us. The women of the Orient perfume their garments with costly oils and spices, so that the air about them is laden with delicate fragrance like the odors of a thousand flowers. Even the least movement of a maiden whose clothing is thus perfumed, sends out sweet odors; and she walks in a cloud of perfumed air. So should it be with us! Our walk and carriage, our appearance and manner of speech, the least movement in our lives, should be surrounded and permeated with precious spiritual perfume, like unto that of the cedars, and sweet scented trees and flowers of Mount Lebanon.

 

Oh, how our hearts long that, even in our most common movements and actions, the Christ-life shall be seen and discerned. As we put Him on and are clothed in Him, as we are hidden away in this Divine Robe, the smell of our garments begins to partake of the smell of Lebanon, and HE is glorified as every attribute of our lives is perfected to be like Him. No words of mine can fully reveal the wonderful glory that accrues to those who put on the robe of Christ's righteousness. Long centuries ago David prophesied of the exquisite spiritual beauty and glory and fragrance of the many-membered body of Christ, saying, "Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows. ALL THY GARMENTS SMELL OF MYRRH, AND ALOES, AND CASSIA, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made Thee glad." (Ps. 45:7-8)

 

Closely connected with Christ's life, death and burial, are the precious oils and costly, fragrance spices. He alone received gifts of fragrance oil and spices. The anointings He received at the hands of the women who loved Him with a surpassing love, appeared to have been more precious to Him than all else that was done for Him while He was on earth. "All Thy garments smell of myrrh." Myrrh was esteemed for its fragrance; it was used to scent garments, beds and other items. Myrrh was also one of the substances employed in preparing bodies for burial. The anointings and spices that were offered to Jesus in life and in death symbolized the wonderful work wrought in and through Him; His abandonment to do God's will; the perfection of His graces and attributes; His laying down His life; the preciousness of His atoning work.

 

Myrrh is not only fragrant, but it is bitter; the bitterness is an emblem of suffering. Fragrant and bitter! Setting forth our identification with Him in the bitterness of partaking with Him in His death; through which bitterness we put on the fragrance of His life and attributes. If we would have our Lord dwell in our hearts and have full control, if we would have Him cover us completely as our robe of righteousness, if we would ever live in the atmosphere of His perfume and be sending forth His precious odors ourselves, we shall find that it is not all joy; but there is an entering into the fellowship of His sufferings. There is the bitterness that comes through our union with Him as we remain in the place of death, dying to all that pertains to SELF, that His life may be manifested. Only as the myrrh is crushed and pierced, does its fragrance go forth; and it is not easy to yield to the crushing and piercing process. As we partake of Him in His death, and yield to the cross at every step, HOW HIS PERFUME GOES FORTH AND REFRESHES OUR SOULS, AND ATTRACTS OTHERS.

 

The spices and gums used in the worship of Israel were found in the desert of Arabia and in the mountains of Palestine. With much labor they were gathered in far regions; and through many dangers did the merchantman bring them home. It was a long, arduous, dangerous undertaking, but there was great wealth in even one cargo of those spices and powders. Ah, not upon the heavenly terraces do these precious perfumes grow, for it is only in the wilderness of this earthly journey that one can gather sweet spices and perfumes of the fragrance of Christ. One cannot gather them in Egypt, nor in the easy places; but is in the hard places, that the most precious are found. The drier and more barren the wilderness, the hotter the testing and harder the path over which one goes, THE MORE PRECIOUS ARE THE SPICES ONE GATHERS AND BRINGS AWAY WITH HIM.

 

Are our hearts crying out for a deeper revelation of THE CHRIST, and for it to be operative in our lives? Do not look for the answer among the crowds, where the "blessings" and "prosperity" are pursued, but at the foot of the daily cross, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. Look for Heaven's perfumes in the wilderness place that no one sees nor understands, excepting Jesus who gathered the first cargo of spices to the glory of His Father!

 

We hear so much of the "faith message" today. How do we gather the precious Spice of "Faith"? God brings us to a desert place where EVERYBODY AND EVERYTHING FAILS US; where we must stand upon the air, as it were, with nothing under our feet. We can look nowhere but up to God, and HE LEAVES US HANGING THERE UPON THE THREAD OF FAITH, clinging and looking to Him, believing Him. As we do this without wavering, we begin to add to our cargo the faith that calls all things that are not as though they were, and opens the way into the Kingdom of God. How do you get the precious Spikenard of Humility? God lets you be despised and pushed down a little lower by each one around you, until you appear to be misunderstood and deserted by all. In this way He leads you into the deepest valleys of the wilderness, and keeps you there until you have gathered all of this costly perfume that your Lord intended you should have. This gum is found in the lowest, most barren places, and if we go far enough to gather it, on our way back to the Mount of God, we shall find all other spices and gums. Let us not be deceived by gathering human love, human joy, human peace, human humility, human faith, human patience, human zeal, or human works, which soulish things are easily cultivated and developed in the gardens of man's religion, and are only imitations of the heavenly spices and perfumes. No natural, or human attributes will ever cross over with us into the blessed realm of sonship to God.

 

Let all who now read this message know that Jesus Christ is our garment of salvation and He is our robe of righteousness. Put on Christ! This work must be done each day in the inner chamber of our communion and identification with Him. No man changes clothes in public view. And how better can we put Him on than by our constant attitude of living and abiding in His presence as citizens of His glorious realm? His garments are the garments of Eden, the high and holy realm of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. It takes time to put on Christ. As our garments cover us and protect from wind and sun and cold, even so Christ Jesus will be our beauty, our defense, our joy and our victory as we draw nigh to Him in every experience and circumstance of life.

 

Oh soul, take time to meditate upon this wonderful truth. Just as your clothing is a necessity as you go out into the world, let it be equally indispensable for you to put on Jesus Christ and to abide in Him all the day. This cannot be done hastily or superficially. It takes time, quiet time in living in fellowship with Jesus, to realize that you have put Him on. Take the time and the trouble. Your reward will be great!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ECHOES from EDEN, Pt. 25, The Garments of Eden [J. Preston Eby] ~ BIBLE STUDY          10

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