END-TIME PROPHECY – TRUTH REVEALED
BY: J. PRESTON EBY
KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
DOMINION in the GARDEN
The Dominion of Man
Subduing all Things
Walking in Dominion
Preparation for Universal Dominion
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them HAVE DOMINION over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. and God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and SUBDUE IT: AND HAVE DOMINION. and the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed."
More and more we are becoming aware of the wonderful fact that the book of Genesis deals largely in typical representations, that is, figures of spiritual realities, brought forth in the language and form of the physical world, the old creation, but pointing to that which is higher and grander, the NEW CREATION IN CHRIST JESUS. One cannot read Paul's epistles under the illuminating light of the Spirit without perceiving that he saw far more in Genesis than the mere letter. The creation with him is the figure of another work, which God accomplishes in every man who experiences the redeeming, transforming power of Christ. Says Paul,
It should be clear to all who have the eyes of their understanding enlightened that the apostle is showing how, just as God began to work upon this earth, when all was dark and without form and void, and worked upon it, step by step, bringing order out of chaos, light, warmth, life – vegetation and animal forms – until finally the image of God, the man created in righteousness, was seen to rule it all; so it is in the life of man, darkened, unconverted, unregenerate, without form and void, lacking understanding and order, living out his life in emptiness and spiritual destitution, without God and without hope in the world. What form or shape can be given to such purposelessness as a life lived without the Lord? Darkness hangs like a shroud over the soul that is dead in trespasses and sins, and man stumbles blindly through life knowing neither from whence he came nor where he is going. But then! comes the life-giving wind of the Spirit of God, breathing upon the void, and the Word of God pierces the darkness with this command:
Though many have a vague notion that Genesis contains types, few have any idea of the immense extent or depth of this hidden wisdom. The student of history reads Genesis in the understanding of the natural mind and finds it interesting and informative, historically; the faithful Christian finds in it that which blesses and strengthens his faith and righteousness; but the overcomer in Christ finds it to be the greatest of all books as the portrait of his own spiritual unfoldment into the fullness of God. But it must be read in the Spirit if the reader is to get the lesson it teaches. It is the will of God that the eyes of our understanding should be enlightened, that we might know what hope God had when He formed us. And in this book of Genesis, diligence and prayer and God's Spirit will bring to light worlds of truth infinitely beyond the conception of the carnal mind; and
THE DOMINION OF MAN
Genesis, like all the other books of the Bible, has its own unique purpose in the revealing of God's plan. Its first and foremost object is to show us GOD'S ORIGINAL THOUGHT AND PURPOSE in creation. In the letter we are shown a physical man given dominion over the physical earth. In the spirit we see a spiritual man given dominion over the spiritual world. The burning desire within the heart of God is that we might know what purpose He had when He called us. He desires that we know the rich inheritance He has in His saints, and that we may grasp the greatness of the power He manifested toward us when He raised up Jesus Christ from the dead to set Him at His own right hand, PUTTING ALL THINGS UNDER HIS FEET. It is God's will that we should know that He has quickened us and made us alive in Him that we might share His glory and sit with Him in heavenly places, far above every principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named, both in this age and in the ages to come. It is God's will that we should know that this magnificent display of grace has been manifested toward us so that we who have now been made partakers of it may in the ages to come show forth the exceeding riches of His grace to all those who as yet have not partaken of it. For this, I avert, is the meaning of the words of the apostle in
In order to understand God's ultimate purpose for man we must return to His original order.
By such rulership committed to Adam we get some idea of what sort of beings we are. One might be so impressed with the majesty of the silent, speechless mountain that lifts its white peak high above the clouds as to worship in silence at its altar; so suggestive is it of the infinite. But what is a mountain, or a star for that matter, or billions of galaxies of stars and suns and planets and moons as compared with a man? They think not, speak not, neither do they feel or hope or love or plan or build or have a duty or a destiny. Man is God’s image and likeness! It is interesting to note that the almighty Creator fashioned and formed everything of nature throughout the unbounded heavens and into the depths of the earth then, after completing and ordaining all, He gave us the true estimate of man’s greatness and purpose when he said,
Adam was God’s special gift to the entire creation. He came not from the brute ancestry, nor from the muck of some primordial sea, nor from the mire of the jungle but from the hand and spirit and breath of the Divine Creator. Time will not allow us to dwell on the glories of man in God’s image, but Adam was perfect, pure and powerful. He was without spot or stain, taint or tarnish. Pure in character, perfect in holiness, powerful in personality. He was the embodiment of all wisdom and knowledge. He was able to do on the morn of creation
We are never told how long Adam lived in that wonderful Garden where the glory of God was revealed through him in dominion and blessing to creation but that glorious reign of wonder and peace under the direction of a son in the image of God was but a dim figure of the day when a whole company of sons in God’s image would reign in splendor over all things in all realms throughout all worlds and all things in heaven and in earth would be gathered together into union with God in His life and purpose. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the first and Head of this glorious company, and as typified and shadowed by the first man Adam He is the connecting link between God and creation – the revelation of the invisible Father to the physical worlds. A God who is unseen and unknown, or who is only the product of inferences from creation, or providence, or the mysteries of history, or the wonders of my own inner life, the creature of logic or of reflection, is very powerless to sway and influence men or to affect creation. The limitations of our physical faculties and the boundlessness of our hearts both cry out for a God who is nearer to us than that, whom we can see and love and know. The whole world wants the making visible of Divinity as its deepest want.
Christ meets this need. How can you make wisdom visible? How can a creature see love or purity? How do I see your spirit? By the expression and deeds of your body! And the only way by which God can ever come near enough to the material creation to be a constant power of eternal life and light and love is by creation seeing Him at work in a man who is His image and revelation. Christ’s whole life is the making visible of the invisible God. He is the manifestation to the world of the unseen Father. Jesus Christ in all His words and in all His works is the perfect instrument of the heavenly Father, so that His words are God’s words, and His works are God’s works; so that, when He speaks, His gentle wisdom, His loving sympathy, His melting tenderness, His authoritative commands, His prophetic threatenings, are the speech of God, and that when He acts, whether it be by miracle, by wonder, by transforming grace, by creative energy, what we see is God working before our eyes as we never see Him in any other creature or thing anywhere in the whole universe.
I do not hesitate to tell you that the name of God is Jesus.
But let us pause here. The grand fact is that this Jesus of Nazareth, by the sheer force of His personality, has so impressed Himself upon mankind, and upon human history, and upon principalities and powers in the heavens, and upon spirits in the darkest underworld, and continues to impress Himself, that the only adequate description we can give of Him is that He is Emmanuel – God with us; that in the man Jesus dwelt and dwells all the fullness of the Godhead, under bodily conditions. In Him all we can ever know of the invisible Creator becomes concrete, and therefore becomes powerful to save. And if all this has been effected by one son of
Man in Christ, man in God's image, is God's government in the Kingdom of God. Was not this magnificent purpose burning in the heart of the Most High when on the sixth creative day He proclaimed the wonderful decree:
You won't quite grasp that at first. Its too overwhelming! To be crowned means to be given KINGLY RULE. To be crowned with GLORY and HONOR is to be given such rule as Christ Jesus has NOW, and of that rule we read,
All who come to God's image are destined to share that awesome dominion, seated together with Him, far above all principality and power. But –
The reason so many people fail to attain to the great heights of the Spirit is because they are unable to see God's purpose, and therefore they have no particular incentive to seek the great heights that are in Him. So many Christians are far too taken up with carnal ideas and childish notions about mansions in the skies and harps and white night gowns and sitting on clouds eating pork chops with nothing to do and all eternity to do it in, to be able to see the true purposes of God!
SUBDUING ALL THINGS
That man should bear the image of God and have dominion over all things is the first announcement of God's intention regarding man and the first announcement of His purpose, and locked up in that wonderful
The word "subdue" here is the Hebrew word KABASH which means "to tread down; conquer; subjugate; bring into bondage."
It seems to me that if Adam was to guard the Garden against something, there surely must have been things that were not in harmony with man in God's image. Would not divine sense, or human sense, or common sense indicate that if Adam was to tread down and conquer and subjugate things upon earth, there were things that were overtly hostile to him. It should be crystal clear that we have had a false notion if we have been among those who assume that in the beginning EVERYTHING WAS HARMONIOUS in God's creation. How could they have been when we read of one, that ancient serpent, which is the devil and satan, who was already in the earth IN THE BEGINNING, of whom it is written,
I must confess that I used to believe, as many folks do, that in the beginning Adam walked upon earth surrounded by the beasts of the field, the lions, tigers, dinosaurs, cattle, dogs, snakes, scorpions, and creeping things – and that all these were so naturally peaceful and docile that Adam was able to romp and tussle playfully with them all, without hostility or fear. Not so! These are but typical representations, figures of spiritual things, but the principles in the earthly things must correspond in nature to the spiritual things. Adam was told to SUBDUE the animal kingdom, to CONQUER and SUBJUGATE the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, and everything that moves upon the earth! If the tigers just naturally ambled up to Adam, wagging their friendly tails, affectionately licking his face, what need would there have been to subdue them? If the serpents were not poisonous nor the scorpions dangerous, why would it have been necessary for Adam to guard against them or tread them down? If the lions were not wild or ravenous, how could Adam conquer and tame them? If the dogs were not ferocious, why the command to subjugate them?
And beyond all this, it is evident that in nature all creatures are not savage by nature. But even the domestic animals must be trained and guided. Proofs abound on every hand that God's creation needs rule, like
Ah! let us meditate deeply upon the power and authority that God has given to the body of Christ. I make no apology for declaring to you the truth that each creature of the earth typifies a reality in the realm of SPIRIT – good or bad, positive or negative. This can be seen clearly in the words of Jesus when He says in
Spake He of the serpents and scorpions of the fields? Nay, my brother, He spake rather of spirits possessing the nature typified by serpents and scorpions, hidden and cunning, slithering about in the lowest realms of man's earthiness, in the thoughts and desires and ambitions of the carnal mind, full of deadly venom. There is a revelation in all nature, in light and darkness, summer and winter, rain and drought, in fruits and harvest, in storms and sunshine. There is revelation in the lives of men, yea, even in beasts and birds and creeping things, each saying something TO US, and OF US. Every law and wonder of nature speaks to our souls of other higher things, and as the growth of seeds was to the spiritual eye of Paul a witness of development of the CHRIST LIFE WITHIN US, so the serpents and scorpions and beasts and birds of earth and heaven above witnessed of higher things to Jesus, all figuring some of the countless forms of NATURES.
The dove is the well known figure of meekness, purity, perception, love and constancy, and so was a fit symbol for the HOLY SPIRIT who at Christ's baptism came "like a dove" and abode upon Him. The other fowls of heaven, as the Law of Moses shows us, clean and unclean, each bespeak a kind or quality of nature, expressing those characteristics that originate in the spirit realm. Hence, in the scriptures unclean birds are a type of evil nature, as John the Revelator shows in
Man was created for the Holy Spirit to indwell, to bear the image of God, but not all spirit is Holy Spirit, and all these unclean spirits – the spirit of the devil, and the myriad spirits which characterize the kingdom of darkness – find expression in man as he FAILS TO EXERCISE DOMINION OVER THEM. There is one more thought that should be mentioned here. The birds of heaven represent those spirits which have to do with the UNDERSTANDING, the mind of man.
All these, hostile to the image of God in man, Adam was commanded to SUBDUE, TO TREAD DOWN, CONQUER AND SUBJUGATE! The Spirit today is teaching us that when the Bible speaks of something being "under our feet," this is a symbolic phrase meaning that the thing has been put in subjection to us, we rule over it, it does not rule over us. We find that there have been so many attitudes and dispositions which have ruled within us – and as His Kingdom takes its rightful place in our lives, these are subdued and brought to naught. In the soul-realm we have the dominant spirit of self-will, impulses of evil which rise up out of the heart, emotions of fear, anger, hostility, bitterness, hurt, pride, etc. which usurp unlawful sway over our lives. In the body realm we have the fleshly appetites and desires, carnal passions. And then there are those religious spirits of iron-clad dogmas and creeds, traditions, sectarianism, and commandments of men.
“Behold, I give you power to TREAD on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you."
WALKING IN DOMINION
I now wish to share with you what I believe to be the most startling statement in the Word of God, and doubly startling because Jesus Himself said it. In the tenth chapter of John, Jesus was preaching and He got along very nicely until He came to this point:
On what ground did Jesus reason when He said to those sinful Jews,
The startling thing in Jesus' statement is not that Jesus said it to those who were His disciples, who accepted Him as their Messiah and Lord, who had experienced the power of His salvation, but these words were spoken to those who rejected Him and hated Him. To such Jesus said:
Man was made to reign. That kingly being was created in the image and likeness of God. He was created on terms of equality with God, and he could stand in God’s presence without any consciousness of inferiority. Hear the words of the prophet in
In the first five chapters of Genesis, Elohim is the name for God. Man, then, was made in the likeness of Elohim. He was made with the life of God in him. God formed man’s body out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life. The Hebrew word translated “breath” is the same word translated “spirit” all through the Old Testament. The animal kingdom is also said to posses a “breath of life.” But there is a difference. The animal creation did not receive their “breath” directly from the mouth of God. God only “breathed” into the nostrils of man. Man’s breath of life did not come from the air nor the atmosphere of earth. It is something more than the oxygen one takes into his lungs. It is the very same breath of life that God has! It is God’s spirit. God took something of Himself, which was spirit, the life of God, and exhaled it into man. You see that life manifested in man.
If we want tangible evidence of the wreckage that sin made in the world, we do not have to go further than our own selves to discover that when the CHRIST DOMINION is gone, there follows the unleashing of every carnal and devilish thought, attitude, and action. A king without a kingdom, a king without kingliness of character, a king robbed of his power. Man fell from his high place, from his glorious position; he lost his dominion. Man has been weakened to such a degree that instead of ruling the animal world, the ANIMAL NATURE rules within him! The elements rule him, control him. Sin and self choke the virtue from his soul, and satan mocks and laughs him to scorn, while unclean spirits parade about upon the stage of his mind and body. Because of the weakened state of our being through sin, we have become subject to the varied laws of nature about us. We get in a draft and catch cold. We develop pneumonia. The waves toss us about, we get sea-sick. The terrors of life frighten us, the pressures fray our nerves, and our hearts fail. And further – by what stretch of the imagination can we say that man today has the slightest dominion over the oceans of fish? or over the fowls of the air? or over the beasts of the earth? To be sure, we capture some of them and we kill them; but so do many birds and animals! Capturing and killing has nothing to do with “dominion” which is subjugation. Only when the lion lies down with the lamb and children play around the hole of the rattlesnake will such “dominion” be realized. And beyond this – man has not done a very good job of managing the Lord’s creation. We have polluted the earth and its environment. Man has not governed the world in justice and righteousness, nor has man handled the economic affairs of this world with equity. Man has been a poor administrator and has done a miserable job of managing the planet. And man has certainly not represented the Lord and His Kingdom very well. ALL OF THIS THROUGH JESUS CHRIST WAS MEANT TO BE REVERSED, AND IN CHRIST IT IS REVERSED. By Christ's indwelling, man is restored to his former state. Oh, no, we haven't experienced it all yet, but this is what salvation is – a progressive deliverance from sin and self, and limitation and bondage, and the kingdom of darkness – unto the mind and dominion of the Christ. Christ, coming into a man's life by the Spirit, exalts his nature into divine dominion. The rulership of God and the power of Christ in his life makes him once again God's prince and king in the world.
Real salvation is not mere forgiveness of sins or the baptism in the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. Christ's salvation is intended to bring again into the nature of man that which was lost through sin. Once again through the divine operation of the Spirit of God, ministered in our hearts by Jesus Christ, His overcoming Son, the divine Spirit that rules in the soul of Jesus now rules in the hearts of those who are being joined to Him as sons of God, bringing dominion. And lest we be discouraged in observing that thus far WE HAVE NOT ATTAINED TO THE FULLNESS OF THIS DOMINION, Paul calls our attention to the fact in Heb. 2:8 that though
By way of illustration, let us suppose a man has the rough material to make a great number of machines; he first finishes off one of the machines and gets it perfectly adjusted in every part, as a pattern to go by in finishing the rest. You go into his factory and see this great mass of material and you ask, “What are you making?” The artisan replies, “All that you see is only rough material; come this way and I will show you what I am making,” and he takes you to the machine he has finished off. “There,” he says, “that is what I am making.” You would have no difficulty in understanding what he meant. You would see at once that the finished machine was a prototype – a sample or pattern of what the others would be when the material was all worked up.
So the apostle points to Jesus in just the same way. “What is man?” he asks. A poor, wretched slave to sin, darkness and corruption. Yes, that is true. But God’s purpose for him is to make him the noble lord of all creation, perfect and complete in the image of God. But now we see not yet this great work accomplished except in the case of one individual, Jesus Christ. He has passed through the entire process of creation, and been finished, perfected. Hence, He is “the beginning of the creation of God.” Now if you wish to know what man is, what is his destiny, LOOK UNTO JESUS, the finished man, the only finished man, and you will see a perfect pattern of the perfect man. He is the great representative man, the “forerunner,” the “beginning,” the “firstfruit,” and “if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy, and if the root be holy, so are the branches.” The subject is not, “what is the church,” or “who are the saints,” but “what is MAN?” As goes Jesus – so goes the race! Thus the ever blessed Book gives us a grand and cheering answer to this greatest problem of life, What is man?
“We see not yet ALL THINGS put under him (man), but WE SEE JESUS CROWNED.”
Oh, the wonder of it! HE IS BUT THE PROTOTYPE! He is there as the type and specimen and representative of redeemed men. We, the whole race, are linked with Him in indissoluble union, for He is the Saviour of all men (I Tim 4:10; Rom. 5:18). Through Him we shall get back our lost empire. We too shall be crowned with glory and honour. The day is not far distant when we shall sit at His side – joint heirs in His empire; comrades in His glory, as we have been comrades in His sorrows; beneath our feet all things visible and invisible, thrones and principalities and powers, galaxies and worlds and creatures forever and forever. Oh, destiny of surpassing glory! His perfection is the type of our perfection, for “we shall be like Him.” His triumph is the pledge of our victory. The human race is God’s masterpiece, the crowning glory of His creation, and as a sculptor takes a piece of marble and first gives it to an ordinary workman to block out the statue in the rough, and then with his own skillful fingers fashions the stone into a figure that almost seems to breathe and to speak, so God, the Great Master Workman, gets man out in the rough first, using many agents to hew and hack the obdurate material; then He finishes him with an infinitely skillful hand, molding and fashioning him until He makes him the fac-simile of Himself. My heart is longing these days, since God commenced to teach me of His wonderful purpose by the Spirit, that you and I in very truth begin to lift up our heads knowing that OUR REDEMPTION DRAWETH NIGH, even the full and complete inworking of HIS TRIUMPH!
This is my conception of the life of sonship. This is what my heart reads in the blessed Word of God. This is the way my spirit interprets the indwelling Spirit of Jesus Christ. This is the revelation Jesus brought from heaven for a world that is down. Rise, saints, rise up to victory! You are destined to RULE!
"And oft there cometh the wise Lord God, Master of every trade,
And He tells men tales of His daily toils, and of Edens, newly made,
And they rise to their feet as He passeth by, Gentlemen, unafraid."
PREPARATION FOR UNIVERSAL DOMINION
The dominion intended for man is a UNIVERSAL DOMINION. David, speaking by the Holy Spirit, asked,
Since the dawn of history, man has marveled at the mystery and grandeur of the heavens. On a clear night, our own galaxy, the Milky Way, can be seen as a star-studded ribbon circling the sky. But what secrets lie hidden in the celestial realm of outer space? Consider the awesome size and complexity of the cosmos that is revealed by modern science. Our earth is a massive sphere some 8,000 miles in diameter; yet our star, the sun, has a diameter 100 times larger than the earth. Viewed from afar, our solar system – the sun and nine revolving planets – would appear as a disc in space nearly eight thousand million miles across. Already such numbers stagger our imagination.
Perhaps we can better visualize such incredible distances by an analogy: If we compressed our solar system so that our sun (which is actually over 800,000 miles in diameter) was reduced to the size of a quarter (one inch in diameter), then Pluto, the most distant planet in our solar system, would be the size of a grain of sand located over 400 feet away! And the nearest star? Again on a scale where our sun is the size of a quarter, the nearest star, Alpha Centauri, would be another quarter 500 miles away! And in between would be the vast emptiness of space. Yet our sun and Alpha Centauri ARE ONLY TWO OF 100 THOUSAND MILLION STARS in the giant pinwheel of stars known as the Milky Way, and our entire galaxy could be easily lost in the endless expanses of space, for far beyond our Milky Way are additional THOUSANDS OF MILLIONS OF GALAXIES – as common as blades of grass in a meadow! As man reaches out to explore the heavens, will he ever find the end? So far, using the largest and most sophisticated telescopes, astronomers have probed the universe to a distance of over one hundred thousand million million million miles. If we could ride on a beam of light at the speed of 186,000 miles a second, it would take some ten thousand million years to travel this distance! Still, astronomers have been UNABLE TO FIND THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE. Perhaps it is endless; no one knows. With this in mind, how great are the words of the prophet:
Such all-embracing majesty is far too vast for my feeble understanding, yet I know by the Spirit that man was created for the explicit purpose of RULING IT ALL. Rulership over the universe does not mean merely the visible, physical universe of stars, planets, and galaxies. It is a dominion over ALL THINGS contained in that universe: every creature, every being, every order of angels, devils, principalities, powers, thrones and dominions.
One world is not enough for a human being. It may be for a chipmunk. It is not for a human being, because man is altogether too big in his spirit, which is his real self. To be a real man, he must reach out into the future, and grapple the powers of the world to come, and compel them to gird him with strength to successfully meet the Herculean tasks assigned him here. If you wish to be dwarf men, stunt them, cut them down, and bring on a race of Lilliputians, and then have them live in holes as gophers do, proclaim the doctrine of man being limited forever to earth. But God made us on no such diminutive, low-down scale as that. He made us so big that unless we can lift up our spirits, and breathe the airs of eternity, our spirits will break, and we will crawl. The Son of God comes and irradiates us with the glory of transcendent hopes. As ancient warriors put on their brows burnished helmets, so the Son of God puts on our brows the gleaming helmet of the hope of salvation
In this hour when our whole universe is becoming our backyard, there are some in whose minds the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is also shrinking. Such as these look at the smallness of our planet in comparison with the solar system and the universe, and have great difficulty understanding why our little earth, small and limited as it seems, is the divine stage whereon God is enacting His magnificent plan for the government of all things. The inference seems to be that the Kingdom of God cannot be so great when the place chosen for its chief events is comparatively so insignificant.
This error arises from a failure to discern the difference between a seed plot, where the seeds are planted, and cultivated, and grown, and the immeasurable acreage in which those same seeds are afterward sown. The great mistake in our thought is that this world is the whole theatre of God’s great redemptive and Kingdom activities. OUR PLANET IS ONLY THE PLACE FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SEED. Christ is the Seed, yes, He is the wondrous Seed-Corn that fell into the ground and died and rose again and ascended into the heavens of universal dominion and glory. There it is! His destiny is our destiny, for in Him we die and rise and ascend! Because our planet is one of, if not the smallest in our universe, it was chosen for the same reason our Saviour and Redeemer was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in a stable, and laid in a manger. He condescended to the lowest, that He might lift us to the highest. This planet, to the best of my knowledge, is the only place in the universe where God could reach the lowest, in order to lift man to the highest. It is God’s universal seed-plot for sons.
The apostle Paul by inspiration writes that we are the sons of God, and if sons, then heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:17). But heir of what? The writer to the Hebrews answers,
We do not know what other races of creatures there may be, but I think it is no stretch of the imagination to believe that, as this world is only one speck in the creation of God, there may be millions of other races in the countless worlds around us, and all these will be invited to behold the wonders of redeeming love as manifested in the sons of God in the day of the Lord. I seem to see these intelligences encompassing the sons of God with wonder, and in rapt vision beholding in them the image and wisdom and power and glory of their Creator. As they learn of the wisdom and purpose of the One by whom are all things, and for whom are all things, the great plan of creation and redemption shall move from the seed-plot of earth into the vast harvest fields of the cosmos. At last the visible creation will behold the Man who was created to reveal to them the invisible Creator. For the first time creation shall see God. What songs! What shouts shall arise from all these to the praise of the ever blessed God! What an orchestra of adulation will the universe become! From star to star the holy hymn shall roll, till all space shall ring out the hosannas of wondering spirits.
You must not think that when you are done working in God’s great Kingdom here that the Master will say, “I have discharged you from My service. Go and sit on a heavenly mount, and sing yourselves away forever and ever.” No! I am but learning how to preach now; I shall be able to preach by-and-by. I am only learning to prophesy now; I will be able to prophesy by-and-by. I am only learning to love and redeem now; I shall love and redeem unnumbered worlds throughout vast ages yet unborn. Yes, unto angels, and principalities, and powers, and intelligences in celestial realms we shall make known the manifold wisdom of God. All those stars, those worlds of light, who knows how many planets originating their sphere are inhabited? It is my deep
The highest glories of the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, are revealed to us in Paul’s epistle to the Colossians. In the beginning He was
The verses that follow continue to express the UNIVERSALITY of Christ’s glories in the present and the future.
Oh, what a vast and all-inclusive statement that is! All the Principalities and Powers in heaven and earth are included in the reconciliation effected by the blood of His cross. Oh, what a mighty redemption! Oh, what a universal reconciliation! Oh, Church of the Living God, unto you is the Word given,
This word that we bear came to us by revelation, though it is plainly written across the pages of God’s Word, and completely sealed us to the knowledge that everything, and we mean EVERYTHING, everyone, even ALL creatures that God ever created, are to be brought into unification with God through the blood of the cross of Jesus Christ.
This earth is but a proving ground for those who through grace will reign with their Lord and Saviour over the endless vastnesses of infinity. They have proven faithful over few things. Now they will be made ruler over many things: over all His possessions (Mat. 24:45-47). And these possessions are beyond number. We are able to see a few of them in the starry heavens above, but there are others besides these, and they all belong to our King. He made them. They are His very own. He shares His Kingdom with His brethren. Out there in the blue is a Kingdom whose Main Street is the Milky Way, whose inheritor is our elder Brother; and He loves us. He has given us His glory (Jn. 17:22), because we are brethren, bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. We are of common parentage, like Him in name, nature and being. We are all
Of this we may be sure: we who are redeemed have entered a progressive institution, a Kingdom in which stagnation will never enter. We will ever go on “from glory to glory.” We will never come to the place where we may sit down with folded hands and say, “This is the end.”
The real reason behind the present gigantic efforts of man to explore the universe in this space-age is that there lies buried within the subconscious mind of man the hidden knowledge that he was created to rule the universe. Out of this subconscious awareness has evolved today's technological world, and now, unregenerated men are shooting rockets to the moon and Mars and farther planets, boasting that he is going to use these as a launching pad to soar to the systems beyond. But man is simply getting in too big a hurry! He is striving to take over and rule what he has not fitted himself to manage. Man has not yet proved his ability to rule this planet, much less worlds beyond. Man with his history of greed, lust, strife, treachery, wars, bloodshed, deceit, and perversion has now stockpiled enough nuclear weapons to not only blow this earth to smithereens, but twenty more just like it! And man has never yet devised a weapon of war that he has not used. Shall the Creator commit into the hands of corrupt, depraved FALLEN HUMAN NATURE the rulership of the universe? No. Man is reaching out to rule that which he has not qualified himself to rule – and before it has been made lawfully his! But what man does not know is that IF, through Christ, he first QUALIFIES for the trust, it has been God's intention all along to place not only the moon and Mars and Venus, but THE WHOLE VAST, LIMITLESS UNIVERSE under his jurisdiction!
How can a man rule universe if he cannot RULE HIS OWN SPIRIT?
So God, omniscient and omnipotent, has established here upon a School for the training of those destined to be the future rulers of the universe. This School is known as "the body of Christ." None shall ever rule who have not graduated from this School! Consider this. A college graduation exercise, at which students receive diplomas for work accomplished, is called a Commencement. The reason for this is that the graduating students are not really graduating – they are only commencing to put their studies into practice. Their graduation is in reality a beginning rather than an ending and a commencement rather than a termination. Graduation from God’s School of Dominion ushers into the commencement of the great ministry of ruling and reigning with Christ. And what a great Teacher we have! The educators of this world have discovered some vital principles in teaching. They have learned, for instance, that a student remembers far more of what he sees than he does of what he hears. That which falls upon the eye leaves a greater impression upon the mind than does that which strikes the ear. Therefore, the increased emphasis today on visual education. But there is another principle greater yet which declares that a person retains more of what he learns from experience than he does of what he learns by the seeing of the eye. This great fact lies behind the old adage: EXPERIENCE IS THE BEST TEACHER!
I cannot overestimate the extreme value of experience. How do we know, really know, any emotions of any sort whatever? Only by experience. You may talk forever about feelings, and you teach nothing about them to
God, the greatest of all Teachers, understood this principle of teaching by experience long before man discovered its truth. I have learned a great fact about God's method of teaching: He teaches about five-percent by THUS SAITH THE LORD and about ninety-five-percent by EXPERIENCE. I do not mean to minimize the Word of God, nor the Spirit of Prophecy, but I do not hesitate to declare to you, beloved, that you will never become a son of God, you will never in a billion years learn HOW TO RULE by hearing the Word of God alone. The Word must be inworked, and in God's School of Dominion you can only learn to rule by experientially LEARNING TO RULE!
One begins in God's School of Dominion in the first grade. You start with the ABC's. God opens the class and says, "Now children, we are going to learn how to rule. To rule means to govern, to control, to be master over the thing that is ruled. You can never rule anything until first you overcome it WITHIN YOURSELF. To "overcome" means to come up over that which is over you. When, within yourself, you rise up above the circumstance, the problem, so that it no longer controls you, you are then ready to begin to control it, to no longer be the victim of circumstances, but the master of them. Now, little ones, let us learn how this works!"
At this point our Teacher takes us from the classroom to the workshop. What a wonderful Teacher He is! He puts us right to work, thrusting us into a situation where we can apply the principle we just learned about "overcoming." How gracious He is! To begin with He doesn't give us a really big problem, just a little one: a difficult boss, or a nagging wife, or an obstinate husband, or some unpaid bills, pressures, kids, broken down car, hateful neighbors, gossiping brethren, sickness. From time to time everyone finds himself in difficult – indeed, miserable – circumstances. The job is too demanding, the relationships on the job are difficult, trouble is brewing in the home, money is tight, you have lost your job, you dislike the community in which you live, sickness strikes, the children are fighting, or other pressures mount. When one or more of these things happen, we are plagued with the malady that I call THE GRASS IS GREENER SYNDROME.
How many times in these problems I hear people say, "If it wasn't for this nagging wife of mine, I could really have the victory," or "If it wasn't for this drunken husband, I believe I could really walk in the Spirit," or "If I didn't have to work on this job where everyone drinks and tells dirty jokes and fornicates, I could really be spiritual," or "If I just lived in a Christian Community where everyone is spiritual I could really be a son." Indeed? This is nothing but THE GRASS IS GREENER SYNDROME. You see, if ever we are to walk as sons of God with dominion we must first RECOGNIZE GOD AS THE AUTHOR OF ALL CIRCUMSTANCES AND LIFE
Learn this and you will know a great truth: Christ is not depressed, upset, anxious, frustrated, nor defeated. And CHRIST IN YOU is not either! And YOU IN CHRIST are not either! This is the first step in overcoming: To rise up above the problem in the CHRIST SPIRIT until the problem is no longer a problem to you by virtue of the indwelling of His love and joy and peace.
Man's first instinct under pressure is to run, to extricate himself from the situation. When we run from the problem we immediately FLUNK THE TEST. When we fail to overcome "in" the problem, our nature in that area is left weak, undisciplined, and undeveloped. Oft time, so they can appear "spiritual," men divorce their wives, wives divorce their husbands, parents abandon their children, people move from place to place, from job to job, from church to church. Often people pray like this: "Lord, deliver me from this job where everyone is so filthy and the boss so hateful; give me a job with the Full Gospel Business Men where everyone is spiritual and praise God and speaks in tongues!" Ah, we seek an "environment" that is "conducive" to our "spirituality," little realizing that in that environment where all is so beautiful and harmonious we only appear to be spiritual because there is nothing to cross us, nothing hostile, in short NOTHING TO OVERCOME! You can run from the problem, my brother, you can seek an environment where nothing is adverse to you, my sister, you can even have faith where God will just "solve" all your problems and pour down the healings, prosperity, and blessing; yes, you can do all this and be a Christian, even a good Spirit-filled Christian; but I do not hesitate to tell you that you cannot do this and BECOME A RULER!
There are steps to the throne. Your next step to the throne is before you, right where you are, in your present situation, problems and life circumstances. All the pressures upon you will either rule you, dominating your mind, attitudes, emotions and actions, causing you to be depressed, frustrated, upset, negative etc., or you can utilize the OVERCOMING SPIRIT OF SONSHIP WITHIN to soar up above the problems, putting them under your feet, transformed into STEPPING-STONES TO THE THRONE! Ah, beloved, a blessed secret I have discovered: The things I once saw as liabilities in my walk in Christ I have now begun to recognize as assets – glorious opportunities to LEARN HOW TO RULE, blessed provisions of God by which I may appropriate the triumph of the life of the Son of God within.
You can never rule anything until you first overcome it within yourself. To "overcome" means TO COME UP OVER THAT WHICH IS OVER YOU. The term implies the existence of obstacles in the pathway of the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Kingdom of God. When, within yourself, you rise up above the circumstance, the problem, so that it no longer controls or harasses you, you are then ready to begin to control it, to no longer be the victim of circumstances, but the master of them. Come up over what the religious systems have fed you. Come up over your own pride and inherent weaknesses. Come up over your desire to build a reputation for your name. Come up over the myriad pressures from within and without. Come up over the world of confusion and turmoil about you. You are called to be an OVER-COMER. Come over that wall! Come over into the Kingdom of God and a realm of complete victory. If we cannot come out victoriously over ourselves and over the little temptations and frustrations here, how can the Lord trust us to reign over that which is without? What kind of warriors would we make? How much could He depend upon us? He will give us the place for which we are prepared and qualified; we must set our faces to be overcomers if we are to sit with Him upon His throne and reign with Him.
As sons of the Most High, we have access to the same strength that enabled Jesus to live an overcoming life—and to conquer even death. He has given to us that same authority and power that gave Him victory over sin, death, hell and the grave. Have you ever wondered what would happen if Jesus would come and transfer places with you? If suddenly He would come to dwell in your body. I have often wondered what He would do if
I do not believe that any man can experience the victory of Christ except WHERE HE IS. I do not want to distress any soul, but you must know Him where He is. I have union with Christ where He is, in the higher than all heavens. You cannot live in the reality of overcoming if you have not gotten into that region of calm. Why talk of coming up over that which is over me if I do not do it in union with the resurrected and ascended Christ? Practically we have to learn what the frigate bird does. When a storm comes on it gets above the region of storms, above the clouds, where there is none, and there it stays even for days until the storm is over. I am placed beyond the reach of storms; I am a frigate bird, for I am with Christ in a scene where there is no storm and no clouds. I am united to an ascended Christ. The Lord says, "The glory which Thou has given Me I have given them." A person might say, I cannot get this now. I answer, I belong to the glory now; I possess Him now in glory, and I am changed into the same image by the Spirit. I belong to the glory. This is where we fully come up over all that is over us. There is a beautiful promise to the elect of God in.
A pastor by the name of Barnhouse at one time met a member of his congregation and asked him how he was. The member responded, "Well, pretty good under the circumstances." Barnhouse turned sharply and said, "What do you mean under the circumstances? What are you doing under the circumstances? Don’t you know that you are seated with Christ in the heavenlies – way above the circumstances? What are you doing down there?" The man was obviously quite startled. And yet, a great truth is there for us to consider. I am reminded of the story I read once of Spurgeon, the great preacher of another day from London. He was very discouraged at one time in his ministry. He paid a visit to one of the elders with him in the church, who was a farmer. He shared his struggles with this supportive elder. When he had finished the farmer said, "Look, pastor, do you see what that cow is doing?" Spurgeon looked out over the lush English field. A cow was standing by one of the picturesque stone walls that criss-crossed the countryside. Spurgeon answered, "Well, she’s looking over the wall." And then the farmer asked, "Why is she looking over the wall?" the pastor replied, "I don’t know." "She’s looking over the wall, because she can’t see through it." There will be times when you won’t be able to see your way through a difficult experience. When that happens, stop trying to look through and begin to look over! There is always a way out of every weakness, problem or circumstance. The way out is always OVER! There is also the story of the stubborn old Chinese man who had a little shop. One day, a developer bought up all the other shops, but this little old man in the middle didn’t want to sell, He wanted to keep his shop just the way it was. The developer threatened him, "If you don’t let us buy you out, we’ll squeeze you out." So they bulldozed everything on each side of him and built two huge, modern department stores, filled them with the best merchandise, and hung the sign across the front, GRAND OPENING. The little Chinese man didn’t let these huge department stores overwhelm him. He had a special sign painted and hung it across his store. In big bold letters it said: MAIN ENTRANCE. Ah, there IS a way to come up over that which is over you! The wisdom of God will show you the way.
As I have stated previously, one can never become an overcomer while running from the battle. I never cease to be amazed at the number of believers who want to go through life without ever coming up over the things that are over them. Every time a hard place comes, the carnal mind drags them further and further into spiritual, emotional and mental bondage. They look for a way out. These folk will run to the next town, the next
Many people, if they do not run from or evade the problem, seek "deliverance" from it! There is a vast difference between what the present religious realms call deliverance, and the Kingdom principle of overcoming. What most people call deliverance today is an effort to escape out of their pressure and problem, not an overcoming. Overcoming means to GAIN THE VICTORY OVER THE SITUATION. In deliverance God takes something away from you, as you would take a knife from a child. But in overcoming God’s sons are being processed, so that they will know the cause and deal with the root of the trouble within themselves. The knife is not taken away – you learn how to use the knife! The dealings and processings must be thorough, until HIS IMAGE be formed in us. If your car has difficult climbing a hill, you can do one of two things: (1) make the hill less steep, or (2) increase the horsepower of the car. God usually wants to change us, not the hill. How many of my readers have had a battle with a bad temper? No need to raise your hand! Temper in balance is a godly emotion, God Himself possesses the emotions of hatred, jealousy, vengeance, anger, etc. Jesus was angry with a holy anger when He took a whip and overturned the tables of the money changers and drove them from the temple. Anger and emotion was part of the original equipment man was given to give him an aggressive drive so that he can accomplish worthwhile things in this life. For example, controlled, temperate, balanced anger will neither ignore a child’s misbehavior nor abuse him. It will correct in the proper spirit of firmness and sternness – tempered with love. "Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth."
True men never seek escape from the difficulties of the way, whatever the issue may be. Someone has said that difficulties faced are half conquered. At any rate one who evades the pathway of the will of God discovers greater difficulties, as the prophet Jonah soon realized. The world’s greatest acclaimed men not only faced difficulties but conquered them; the pioneer fathers not only hewed their way through the trackless forests, but laid the foundations of what we today enjoy; Columbus not only sailed the stormy and uncharted seas, but he opened the gateway to hitherto unknown continents where, later, men might come and find their homes; Carey and Judson and Livingstone not only fought their way through the opposition of their friends, but also laid the foundation stones of all modern missions; Luther not only refused the advice of his friends to win a personal victory, but he set all Europe free in a religious reformation; George Washington and Abraham Lincoln faced tremendous odds, but steadfastly they went forward until a new nation was born and age-long wrongs were righted. It is how we learn to handle our challenges that separates the boys from the men – the children of God from the sons of God.
Some of you who read these lines and are facing severe problems today, are feeling frustrated, at this point, by my apparently trivial treatment of circumstances that tower so ominously and menacingly before you. You think I don’t understand just how bad your situation really is, or how many times you have failed. Listen! I would not make the solution so simple, if it were not simple. These are principles I have proven in my own experience through years of walking with God. The answer lies so near – right there within you. The difference lies in whether you view your situation as a problem or a challenge. "What difference does it make whether I call it a problem or a challenge," you say. The difference is all important! Here’s why: If you perceive an obstacle in your path as a problem, you will nurture negative emotions in respect to it – like anger, frustration, despair, hopelessness, and depression. These emotions are like gravediggers - they carve out the pit of failure and death in which to bury you! On the other hand, if somehow the Holy Spirit can give you the revelation of it, if you can see by the inspiration of the Almighty that the obstacle is God’s challenge – you have received the spiritual attitude in which spiritual emotions are released – like faith, hope, confidence, peace, rest, joy, thanksgiving, encouragement, wisdom, knowledge, understanding and power. These positive emotions, the fruit of the Spirit, will energize you and propel you through and over and out of and above the obstacle, bringing strength and triumph! You see, precious friend of mine, the only problems in the world are problems that are perceived as problems. When the problem ceases (in your mind) to be a problem to you, you have risen above it, come up over it, OVER-COME IT! Who cares how high a mountain is when he is flying high above it!
You may have heard the old parable of the two frogs, both of which fell into a container of cream. The frogs tried to leap out but could not make it. One frog was a fatalist. He began to think defeatest thoughts and the acids of futility spread through his mind. He said to himself, “I won’t get out of here, so why knock myself out trying?” In despair and resignation he sank into the cream and died. The other frog was an optimist. He was made of sterner stuff. He had the character of an overcomer. He said to himself, “Sure, I could die here, but if I do, believe me, I shall go down with every flag flying.” He swam around, thrashed about, beat the cream, made a great stir. Gradually, he began to feel solid footing.
During World War II, a young bride from New Jersey followed her soldier husband to a U.S. Army Camp on the edge of the California desert. Her husband had advised her against going because he knew that living conditions would be primitive, at best. But she wanted very much to be with him and he was unable to change her mind. When the couple arrived at the desert camp, the only housing they could find was a run-down shack near an Indian village. The heat was unbearable: up to 115 degrees in the shade. The wind blew constantly, spreading sand all over everything. And, for the young bride, the days were long and boring. Her only neighbors were the Indians, none of whom spoke English. When her husband was ordered farther into the desert for maneuvers, the loneliness and wretched living conditions got the best of her. She wrote to her mother: "I can’t take any more of this. I want to come home!" Several days later she received a reply. In it, the mother reminded her of the old family sampler on which the familiar lines were embroidered:
Two men looked out from prison bars,
One saw mud, the other saw stars.
The daughter read these lines over and over again. She began to feel ashamed of her response to the situation she was in. She really didn’t want to leave her husband, and so she said to herself, "All right, I’ll look for the stars." In the days that followed she began to make friends with the Indians. She began to take lessons in weaving and pottery from them. She became fascinated by their culture and history – everything about them. Moreover, she began to study the desert. In the process, she saw it wonderfully transformed from a desolate, forbidding place to a marvelous expanse of beauty. She studied the various forms of cacti, the yuccas, and the Joshua trees. She collected seashells that had been deposited there perhaps millions of years before when the sands had been an ocean floor. Later, she became such an expert on the area that she wrote a book about it. A remarkable transformation had taken place. But what had changed, really, to make that possible? Not the weather. Not the desert. Not the lack of modern conveniences. Not the long days without her husband. Not the Indians. What had changed was her own attitude. Simply by changing her own attitude – "All right, I’ll look for the stars," she said – she had transformed a miserable life situation into a highly rewarding experience. THIS IS THE PRINCIPLE OF THE DOLPHIN – THE BREAKING OUT OF A LOWER WORLD TO VIEW THE HIGHER. This principle is redemptive, restorative, and creative. It works on the natural plane, as in the story just shared, but in that higher dimension of the Kingdom of God it is the key to the overcoming life – the way to the throne! Hallelujah!
I have some good news for you, my friends! As soon as you conquer the situation you are in right now, God has a bigger mess arranged for you! Oh, yes, this is God's School of Dominion, remember? In this School we learn to rule by RULING. So God places us in His great Workshop and gives us the required circumstances in which to rule! He is a great Teacher. Ultimately we shall rule over all things. And how shall we learn to rule over all things? Simple. By learning to rule over A-L-L T-H-I-N-G-S! Each adversary must be faced – and conquered. There is no other way! Jesus did not conquer temptation by cloistering Himself in a monastery, shut up from those things that could temp Him. Jesus conquered temptation by being tempted in all points like as we are and putting each one under His feet! He overcome satan by facing satan. He triumphed over death by grappling with it in the faith and power of God. In short, He subdued all things by SUBDUING ALL THINGS. Glory!
The journey to the throne of the universe begins in that small and undistinguished place where you are. It is impossible to over-emphasize this foundational and fundamental truth: The Kingdom is within you. It is here, Oh child of the Most High, that the magnificence of the all-encompassing, all-enduring, everlasting Kingdom of God has its beginning. God Almighty, full of wisdom, longsuffering, and faithfulness is preparing a people in the lowly estates of this present evil world who will reign with Christ in His throne, first from sea to sea, then from planet to planet, and finally from universe to universe. Make no mistake about it, my beloved ones! These present hours of preparation in the lowest parts of the earth are fraught with infinite importance and eternal significance. It is HERE AND NOW that preparations are to be made! The enchristed who are to reign in glory with Him are being prepared. Think not in your heart, my friend, that you may pass your life here, careless, indifferent to the purposes of God, suddenly to awake one fine morning to find yourself sitting with Christ governing the universe, because such a thing will not be.
As I have previously pointed out, this present time is but a proving ground for those who through grace will reign with their Lord over the endless vastnesses of infinity. He is raising us up to sit with Him in the higher than heavenlies. And the place which He is preparing for each one is not only a world to come, and a Kingdom of life and light, but a place IN HIM, bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, Spirit of His Spirit, nature of His nature, life of HIS LIFE!
ECHOES from EDEN, PART 16
END-TIME PROPHECY – TRUTH REVEALED
BY: J. PRESTON EBY
KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
DRESSING the GARDEN,
Dealings with the Holy Spirit in the Garden
The Garden of the Fields
"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed to DRESS IT AND KEEP IT."
As the pattern of things in the book of Genesis progresses, we see unfold before our wondering eyes a word which, when perceived, is seen to be one of the great Principles of the Kingdom of God. This word reveals the grand and glorious truth that just as surely as GOD PLANTED EDEN'S LOVELY GARDEN, so certain is it that He then placed Adam in the Garden TO DRESS IT AND TO KEEP IT (Gen 2:7-8,15). As surely as the planting is the Lord's, the dressing and keeping is committed to Adam. These words are far too potent and full of meaning to be read over carelessly, or considered merely as a statement of historical fact to be lightly laid aside and forgotten. Herein lies the source of a river of wisdom and understanding. This is a gate through which God's chosen ones pass on their way to the treasure house of the knowledge of God. Here are things which eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered the heart of man. Here are wonderful and priceless principles by which the Kingdom of God is developed as a living and quickening reality in the lives of God's Sons.
Adam was a son of God (Lk 3:38) and was placed in the Garden of the Kingdom of Heaven to dress it and to keep it, but failing to attend to the garden of his own soul, to prune away the desires of the carnal mind, to dig up the weeds of his self-life, he became unfruitful, ready for cursing, as was the tree upon which Jesus found no fruit. Under the curse Adam withered and died, alienated from the life that is in God. Can we not see by this that the first work in the Lord's Garden, which He entrusts to us and calls upon to do, is to care for and guard our own lives and
DEALINGS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE GARDEN
The first step in the preparation of the sons of God is when we are lifted out of the vineyards of the world and planted in the Garden of God. Then, many and varied are the ways and paths by which the Lord in faithfulness processes and develops the people He has chosen. A most important aspect of this preparation is found tucked away among the priceless gems in the treasure house of truth of the Song of Solomon
A number of the thoughts I shall share concerning the winds that blow upon the Garden of the Lord, and the majesty of the palm tree in His Garden, have been either inspired by, or gleaned from, the writings of C H MacIlravy (out of print).
Let us try to understand what it means, this cry of the heart,
The word, wind, in both the Hebrew and in the Greek, is the same word that is translated, "Spirit," in other places.
The way into the Kingdom of Heaven was opened up through Christ's first advent, by His death and resurrection. When the time of His departure drew nigh, He promised His followers that He would not leave them desolate, or orphans; but that He would pray the Father, who would give them another Comforter, even the Holy Spirit; whom the world could not receive. It was not until Jesus had opened up the way into the Garden of the Lord, and was glorified, that the Holy Spirit was poured forth and began His work (Acts 2:32-33; Jn 16:8). When the clouds of sin and darkness and death and unbelief have hidden the sky,
It takes both the cold north wind and the warm pleasant south wind to bring the spices to perfection. A flower garden is more than a pretty sight. It is a place of fragrance.
May the garden of my heart, O lovely Christ
Be fragrant with the odors of thy grace;
May sweet perfume of blooming flowers
Make pleasant, Lord, Thy dwelling place.
May fruitful vines and trees abound,
Lest tares spring up to spoil or mar;
For the beauty of Thy fruitful garden
Must waft its perfume near and far.
Send heavenly mercy drops of rain
To water oft its flower and trees,
The buds and blooms shed forth perfume
With every south wind’s gentle breeze.
O let the cold north wind flow, too,
That fiercer blast may have their part
Within Thy fenced-in dwelling place,
The garden, Lord, of mine own heart.
– Eldora E. Taylor
That is the purpose of the wind – to blow upon the Garden in order that it might reach down inside the flowers and bring up the aroma, so that it might be carried to others. And that is the reason that God who holds all the wind in His hand, released one of them in your direction or mine – in order that the sweet fragrance of the divine nature might be wafted on the ether waves to others.
We are the Garden of God, and He sends the cold winds of persecution, adversity and trials, to blow upon us to help perfect the fruit in us and to disperse the fragrance of Christ. The north wind will certainly strip us – leaving a veritable picture of frustration and devastation in its wake.
The spices in the garden of life only flow out when the winds blow. No wind – no fragrance. There are rich treasures hidden within the new creation life within which would remain undiscovered forever if the blast of the winds did not disclose them. There is more power and divine life in every one of us than we ourselves know. We have not begun to explore the potentialities of the Christ within. There are latent within vast susceptibilities, boundless aspirations, intense powers of loving and working; but we ourselves are ignorant of their presence and scope until the winds blow. We wait for the breath of heaven to disengage the perfume that lies in our flowers of life; we need the north wind and the south to blow upon our garden that the spices thereof may flow out. There are some folk who adapt a sort of philosophical attitude when the north wind blows and their little world closes in around them. In
It is not the severe episodes through which we sometimes go, that are an end in themselves, but rather the means to an end. Do not magnify the means, or the wind, but meditate deeply upon the eventualities. Think of the objectives, the ultimate outworking of God. By faith look down through the vista of all God’s dealings and we see what a glorious accomplishment will have taken place.
It has been said that variety is the spice of life. The wind does not always blow with the same velocity, nor from the same direction. After so long a time there is a change. Our loving heavenly Father who holds all the winds in His hand is omniscient. He knows just when to cause one wind to cease blowing and when to turn another loose.
Blessed be God!
It is after He has come with convicting and purging power, showing us our shortage and the vanity of our confidence in ourselves and of all our efforts and abilities
The south wind melts the snow and ice. Frigidity is gone. No more icicles; no more frost. No more chill. The soft, balmy southern breeze brings about a thawing, a melting, a flowing together.
"The Garden," which both in Genesis and in the Song of Solomon has the significance of the Kingdom of God, has been set up on earth by the work of Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection. In this Garden, God has planted precious plants, stately trees, costly spices and aromatic herbs. This "Garden" is not only the universal Kingdom of the Lord, not only do we live and feed and work in this Garden, but we are part of it. Each of our lives is a little vineyard which is a part of God's great Vineyard, a little garden which is a part of God's great Garden. Thus we pray earnestly that the work which the Holy Spirit must do in our "gardens," may be done to the glory of God. Very often, we are more inclined to ask God to bless us, supply our needs, heal, perform miracles, flood our souls with glory, than we are to pray that He will deal and uncover all that is hindering Him from perfecting that which concerneth us. Ah, the blessings will come, the glory will be revealed, the fullness will break upon us, but the north wind must blow first!
Dear reader, are we crying from the depths of our hearts,
Are we praying that the Lord of the Vineyard will send the Holy Spirit, as the north wind, and strip away the false assurance that believes we have more than we have, and mistakes revelation for possession?
How little we recognize our own plans and desires, which are as suckers in our spiritual lives. How little we appreciate the place we give the flesh and our own interests, our likes and dislikes, our experiences and self-absorption, our religious activities and multiplied works, which eat the strength and life out of our relationship with God. When God sends the Holy Spirit as the north wind, He comes and uncovers our nakedness, exposing the fleshliness of our thoughts, acts and position. With a blast of conviction, He blows upon those suckers, and like a mighty wind He sweeps down upon them to try them. As they fall off, we are left apparently stripped and bare; but, in reality, we are in a better condition to bring forth blossoms and fruit to His glory than we have been before.
Can we look into His face with confidence and say: "Awake, O North Wind, and blow upon my garden?
God also sends the Spirit, as the north wind, to blow upon every relationship in our lives; upon those relations we deem harmless, but which come between God and us, sapping the spiritual life out of us, and robbing God. Upon every relationship that is not of His choosing and to His glory, He sends the wind. He separates us from everyone and everything that is harming our vineyards; He blows upon our human affections, both in us and in those who have a place in our lives; and before His north wind human love withers up. Not one thing of eternal value that has been inworked in our lives can be harmed by the north wind of God's dealing, which only blasts and withers the superficial and unfruitful; and the sooner these fall off the better. The sooner we see ourselves stripped of our self-confidence and blindness, our false hopes and delusions that we are far beyond the place to which we have really attained before God, the better.
He blows upon our involvements with religious systems, our feverish "church activity," our running hither and thither doing the so-called work of the Lord, our trotting from meeting to meeting, from preacher to preacher, from revival to revival, and before His north wind the anointing upon these avenues of service lifts and we are left with a bare branch from which the superficial beauty and fragrance has been stripped. It is the strong blasts of the north wind that drive our roots down deeper and deeper into the soil of HIS LIFE, until that which has gone down and is out of sight, is greater and stronger than that which appears above the surface. We are astonished and disheartened as we behold some of the most beautiful blossoms in our lives drop off; those in which we had placed much confidence.
To every apprehended son of God who purposed in his heart to follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth, God will send the searching north wind of the Spirit that his garden may be stripped and prepared for further processings; and so that nothing of SELF may be encouraged to remain. When He has dealt with everything,
The love of God must be perfected in us; the love that suffers all things and is kind, the love that shall flow out to reconcile all things back to God, must be tried in the furnace before it comes forth as gold. Many times our love toward God and toward man is tried to the uttermost through the pressures and circumstances that crowd in upon us, but, beloved ones, the DIVINE LOVE that comes forth from the heart of God and is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, will remain and increase. And, under the testings of God, it will begin to send forth such fragrance as it has never had before.
Come smell the spices that abound in the Garden of the Lord!
THE GARDEN OF THE FIELDS
In a previous Study of this series I wrote of how there are four Vineyards or Gardens presented in the Song of Solomon, and they all portray the Kingdom of God in different aspects and stages of development. I have already pointed out some of the precious truths contained in three of these Gardens. Let us now prayerfully and reverently consider the fourth and final Garden in this magnificent book - THE GARDEN OF THE FIELDS.
"Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us go up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish; whether the tender grapes appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: the mandrakes give a good smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved."
We see that in this Garden, there is the bud and the flower, the newly ripened fruit, and the old preserved fruit.
There are many meanings connected with the palm tree, all of which wondrously set forth the attainments and beauty, the fruitfulness and strength of God's elect. The palm tree always grows beside springs of clear, living water. The weary traveler in the desert is encouraged to press on, as he sees in the distance groves of stately palm trees; even one palm tree gives him courage, for it is a sure sign of water. These palm trees of God, these trees of righteousness, give the water of life to every burdened soul that comes to them for help, BY POINTING TO THE ETERNAL SPRING WHENCE THEY DRAW THEIR OWN REFRESHMENT AND LIFE. As the palm tree beckons to the traveler in the desert, and ever points to the springs at its roots, so the body of Christ is a channel through which living streams, which have their source in the throne of God, flow out to those that are thirsty. The weary children of God who are weak and worn, who are pressed down by many cares and by the heat of the day: those that have not gone far in the spiritual journey into the fullness of God, may hasten to the grove of strong living trees, and may be refreshed and encouraged to press on.
They can lean upon those whose faith has been strengthened by many testings, for if a storm sweeps through a grove of palm trees the trees bend low to the ground, swept this way and that before the fury of the gale and so do not break. Afterwards they at once regain their upward position, unharmed, as the wind dies down and all is peace again. The weak can lean upon these whose love never fails to encourage the faltering soul to press on toward the goal.
There is not only water where the palm tree is found, but there is shade from the heat of the sun. The roots of the palm tree send out shoots that spread abroad near the ground and make grateful shade for the weary traveler, and thus shall the righteous "flourish" like the palm tree. The weary, tired soul finds rest and a quieting power with those who have entered into the rest of God, and whose lives are fed from the hidden springs that flow from their union with God. The rest of God, which is manifested in their lives, flows out to those who are wearied; and the young and the weak are led to the Fountain where they, too, are refreshed and find life more abundant.
The palm tree never grows earthward but heavenward. The date palm groves of the East inspire awe and wonder as you walk through the long trees. The trunks are uniform in height and symmetry, resembling the pillars of a great cathedral, upright from their root to the leafy capitals which spread out fanwise and from which hang large, reddish clusters of dates. No pressure or
But it shall not be thus with the sons of God!
The palm tree is one of the most stately of all trees. It does not spread out its leaves and bear its fruit near the earth, but it is in its highest branches that it spreads out and becomes strong. We lived for some time among the coconut palms in Central America, and I soon learned that if you wanted to partake of the fruit, you had better learn to climb!
How different are these PALM Tree SONS OF GOD from the crop of religious hawkers that fills the land today, bearing their fruit close to the earth, as with their carnal programs, ceremonies, rituals, denominational systems, promotions, drives, invasions, concerts, puppet shows, money raising schemes, and divers activities of fleshly appeal, they bear fruit on such a low level as to be plucked carelessly by any who pass by, without ever raising them up out of their attachment to earth into the spiritual heights of THE MIND OF CHRIST.
The so-called "gospel" of this hour is fashioned to "appeal" to the CARNAL MIND, offering men blessings, prosperity, instant solutions to all problems, rapture out of tribulation, a miracle a day, ease and comfort and all good things, but men do not have to climb very far heavenward to pluck the fruit of these earthbound bushes, for the benefits are all EARTHLY, not heavenly. I do not err when I say that if all the prayers and faith that are exercised daily for EARTHLY THINGS, blessings of money, jobs, cars, homes, clothes, physical healing, comforts, luxuries that pamper the flesh, etc were stripped from most Christian's prayers, their prayer lives would be reduced by at least ninety percent!
Yes, much fruit is borne near the earth, so appealing to the carnal mind, so easily accessible, without effort and with no heavenward climb. This "easy" gospel is presented to the poor sinner in this way: "You are a sinner; Christ died for sinners; therefore, Christ died for you; believe this, confess it and you are saved.” So easy!
I now venture to say that vast numbers of those who have embraced this "Salvation by Formula," giving mental assent to the "four things you know to be saved," even repeating the sinner's prayer, and carrying a Bible about, are not truly converted at all, but have had their conscience' soothed with the promise of such an easy escape from hell, for when faced with the prospect of hell, man's chief end is to "get off.”
Ah, beloved, salvation is far more than a passport out of hell!
There is an ever greater abomination abroad in the land today. I speak of the "Holy Spirit by Formula" delusion practiced by many in the Charismatic movement, as people are "coached" in how to receive the blessed gift of the Holy Spirit and are then "taught" how to speak in tongues by repeating some strange sounding syllables after someone else!
God has commanded us:
Long ago the Lord said to Israel,
For such an hour as this God is preparing His Garden of the Field, with its stately PALM Trees, sons of God, who grow up tall and majestically into the heavenlies, to abide in the pure air of the presence of God, there to send out strong branches that bear much fruit – heavenward!
It is not that we have no desire to have men partake of the fruit of Christ in our lives, but it is often easier to bear the fruit of God on a low level in order to make it easily accessible to men, while the fruit loses its purity and perfectness and power to lift men up into the image of God. And while it is true, HIS LOVE flowing through us will give us compassion for others, and a ministering to them, nevertheless there is a priority established in the Garden of God that,
Yes, we have a vision for the WORLD, and because we do have such a vision the emphasis becomes,
There is a cry in the hearts of God's elect in this hour, deeper desires and yearnings than ever before find expression there, the cry being that the Lord shall go forth in the gardens of our lives and accomplish all that remains that there shall be a harvest. Though the buds and the blossoms are much to rejoice over, we must watch the promises of fruit and tenderly care for them. We must not let neglect and failure to water them with our prayers, no rough handling and picking them in order to make a display, blast the fruit. Without fruit the blossoms are vain, and their beauty of no profit either to God or to us or to the world.
There now burns perennial within our breasts this desire to see the harvest, while at the same time we are learning patience to wait for the fullness of time to come. Let us rejoice when there is bud and blossom; let us thank Him when we see the little green fruit; let us humbly give Him the glory when there is ripe fruit in our lives. Let us not be discouraged if we do not find fully ripened fruit on the branch that He has just pruned, or upon the plants that our Heavenly Father has just begun to deal with. The bud must come before the blossoms; the blossoms must come before the tiny, immature fruit appears; the little green fruit must come before it can ripen and be perfected, and the fruit must be ripe and perfect before the heart of the Husbandman is satisfied, and before the fruit can be gathered and distributed as refreshing and nourishment to the hungry and needy. Have you seen the lack of fruit in your life, dear child of God?
The bud and blossom, the garden and partly ripe fruit, are all perfect if they are growing and going forward in God's way, although none of these are fit to pick except the fully ripened fruit. It is encouraging to remember that every attribute and characteristic of our divine Father along every line, must begin with the bud and blossom. Their growth is slow and imperceptible, and there is no way to FORCE THEM TO MATURE before God has fully pruned and tended them. How our hearts long that we may nourish the buds until they flower, and guard the flower until the fruit appears; that we may protect the fruit until it is ripe, and carefully gather that which will redound to the glory of God alone!