ECHOES from EDEN, PART 17

END-TIME PROPHECY – TRUTH REVEALED

BY: J. PRESTON EBY

 

KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES

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

PART SEVENTEEN

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." (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:8)

 

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, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, HATH SHINED IN OUR HEARTS, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (II Cor. 4:6) And again, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (II Cor. 5:17)

 

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: "Let there be light!" and there IS light. It is when God says, "Let there be light," that the Spirit illumines our minds with the light and the glory of Himself, and it is only when the blessed Holy Spirit moves upon our lifeless souls that we are suddenly awakened from our long sleep of death in sin and life springs forth within. Then, step by step, from one stage of development to another, the creative processes of God continue in the apprehended ones until as a new creation in Christ the new man within us is brought to maturity and rules every faculty within and every power without.

 

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 humble faith will discover realms of wisdom and knowledge and glory as complete and wondrous in the Word, as science with all her researches has found in the material universe.

 

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 Eph. 2:6-7: God "hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might SHOW (reveal, exhibit, put on display) the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Jesus Christ." God's GRACE PUT ON DISPLAY in countless ages yet to come! People foolishly talk about the ending of the grace of God, or the ending of age of grace. You might as well speak of the DEATH OF GOD as to speak of the ending of His grace! WE have been saved entirely BY HIS GRACE; why, then, should we confine His power, or for one moment think that it cannot bless the inhabitants of the ages yet to come? Truly, as the scripture affirms, HIS MERCY IS FOREVER.

 

In order to understand God's ultimate purpose for man we must return to His original order. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: so God created man IN HIS OWN IMAGE." (Gen.1:26-27) In this text the fall is shown not to be man's normal state. Man today, like Adam, may be far off from God, yet in his heart, as in Scripture, a witness will be heard, saying that this distance is through self-will. He may live in sin and sorrow; but deep in his conscience he knows that such a life is in opposition to the will and purpose of his Creator. Therefore is God's creation, in His image, shown BEFORE THE FALL, to confirm the voice that speaks to every human heart, and which declares that though all men walk as Adam, sin and death are not part of God's eternal order, but a mere temporary arrangement in the working out of God's great plan. Man's proper place is seen IN CHRIST, the last Adam, prefigured by the first Adam before he fell. Adam, ruling all creatures, and all things, is the type of man in Christ, as God makes him.

 

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, “Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness: and let them have dominion.” Man therefore is not only the most important creature on the earth, but the most important creature anywhere in the universe. Can we not see by this that Adam stood in the midst of the vast creation as the revelation of God to it all. In man in God’s image the invisible God became visible to the material creation. God’s purpose was to reveal Himself to His creation and bring everything everywhere into intimacy of fellowship and vital union with Himself.

 

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 what no sage, scientist, or naturalist could do today. He found himself surrounded from the beginning with vast kingdoms of living things – fish, birds, animals. These were brought to him and at the command of God he gave them names. In the typology of scripture a name denotes a nature. Make no mistake about it, my friend, Adam did something greater for them than merely classifying all the creatures which God had created in the world. When he “named” these creatures the wonderful truth is that he “natured” them – that is, he spoke creatively the nature that his mind of wisdom and knowledge conceived. Sovereignty and authority rested like a crown of glory upon the head of Adam. He was made the Lord over all the creation of God to rule and reign. As the visible expression of the invisible Creator. In him God was to be seen and known and touched by everything everywhere.

 

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. “God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him THE NAME that is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth…” (Phil 2:9, Amplified) The name of Jesus is higher than any other name in heaven and in earth – higher than Elohim, higher than Yahweh, higher than El Shaddai, higher than El Elyon – the only name before whom all things should and must and shall bow. So we say to creation, “Come and let us introduce you to God. His name is Jesus.” But you cannot mean that seriously, you say. You don’t honestly think that a Galilean peasant could really reveal to men and angels and demons the Creator of the world? Surely this sort of talk belongs to a bygone age, an age when man lived in a little world with small ideas of space and time? Look up at the stars, and think of them in terms of modern astronomy and you will see how absurd this is. The calling of the Creator by a pet name, is like trying to domesticate Mount Everest. That sort of thing was all very well before science came and taught us the real nature of the universe, and disclosed to us its unfathomable immensities; but surely now it is absurd? Knowing what we do, why should we suppose that we matter more to God than a colony of ants matters to us, or that He cares any more for our troubles, sins, sicknesses, sorrows and death than we care for the squabbles of puppy-dogs upon the hearthrug at our feet?

 

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 God revealing the Father to creation, what, I ask, shall be the result when a vast company of sons shall be brought to rule and reign in His glorious image and likeness over all the earth and throughout the vastnesses of infinity forevermore. ah! what an Eden of God’s glory it will be when judgment is given (to the saints) of the Most High, when all the (overcomers) out of all the ages (sit with the Christ of God in His throne) even as He overcame and is set down with His Father in His throne, when SAVIOURS shall come up on MOUNT ZION to judge the HOUSE OF ESAU (flesh) and the KINGDOM SHALL BE THE LORD’S (Obadiah 21). Then shall the earth be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. Then shall all things in heaven and in earth be reconciled and gathered together into one in Christ. Then shall God be all-in-all.

 

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: "Let us make man in our image 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." (Gen. 1:26) In this shadowy type we behold a vivid portrait of God's purpose for man, that when man comes fully into GOD'S IMAGE he shall be, first, the ruler of things beneath, the lowest realms of the bottomless, typified by the fish swarming in the depths of the seas, and the creeping things; next, the things upon the earth, typified by the cattle, and all the earth; and lastly, the things of heavens also, typified by the fowl of the air. One may find it difficult to embrace so great a truth from so small and insignificant a type, but it was upon this very Edenic type, as reiterated by the prophet David in the eighth Psalm, that the writer of the book of Hebrews enlarged when by the Spirit he wrote, "For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, what IS man, that Thou art mindful of him? Thou madest him (man) a little lower (Gr: for a little while lower) than the angels; Thou crownest him with GLORY and HONOR, and didst set him over the works of Thy hands: Thou hast put A-L-L T-H-I-N-G-S in subjection under his feet. For in that He put ALL in subjection under him, He left N-O-T-H-I-N-G that is NOT put under him!" (Heb. 2:5-8)

 

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, "Whom He hath appointed Heir and lawful Owner of all things, also by and through Whom He created the worlds and the reaches of space and the ages of time – that is, He made, produced, built, operated and arranged them in order. He is the sole expression of the glory of God – He is the perfect imprint and the very image of God's nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the UNIVERSE by His mighty word of power, taking a place and rank by which He himself became as much superior to angels as the glorious Name which He has inherited is different from and more excellent than theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, You are My Son, today I have begotten You, that is, established You in an official Sonship relation, with kingly dignity?" (Heb. 1:2-5, Amplified Bible) And again, "Who is the image of the invisible God. by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers. and ye are complete IN HIM WHICH IS THE HEAD OF A-L-L PRINCIPALITY AND POWER." (Col. 1:15-17; 2:9-10)

 

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 – "We see not yet all things put under him (man). But we see Jesus. CROWNED WITH GLORY AND HONOR." (Heb. 2:8-9) Verse ten shows that Jesus is the Captain, the Leader, the One who goes before leading the way – bringing many sons to the very same glory that God has crowned Him with!

 

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 declaration is a universe of meaning that does not reach the eye and that the mind has never understood. Furthermore, after God announced that man should have dominion over all realms, He then commanded the man, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply (reproduce the image of God), and replenish the earth and SUBDUE IT." (Gen. 1:28) God instructed man to “subdue” the earth, and to “have dominion over… every living thing that moveth upon earth.” These are military terms – first conquer, and then rule.

 

The word "subdue" here is the Hebrew word KABASH which means "to tread down; conquer; subjugate; bring into bondage." Allow me to stir up your pure minds to think for a moment – what was there in the earth that needed to be TREADED DOWN, CONQUERED, SUBJUGATED, and BROUGHT INTO BONDAGE to Adam? When the Lord gave Adam this command to TREAD DOWN and CONQUER, sin had not yet entered into man's experience, nor any of sins results. There was no sin, sickness, trouble, sorrow, nor limitation. There was no death. What, then, was there for Adam to conquer? Now, notice further the responsibility laid upon Adam in Gen. 2:15, "And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it to KEEP it." The word "keep" here is the Hebrew word SHAMAR which means "to guard," as you can see in chapter 3:24 where this same word is used of the Cherubims which God placed at the east of the garden to guard it from man’s presumptuous entrance after he sinned. "So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword, which turned every way, to KEEP (or guard) the way of the tree of life."

 

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, "The devil sinneth FROM THE BEGINNING. He was a murderer FROM THE BEGINNING, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a falsehood, he speaks what is natural to him; for he is a liar AND THE FATHER OF LIES." (I Jn. 3:8; Jn. 8:44, Amplified Bible)

 

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 "the horse, or the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee." (Ps. 32:9) Good as the ox is to labor, he needs a lord; man, therefore, is given to subdue and guide him. Dogs, tame and friendly as they may be, need a leash and the restraining hand and command of man. Have weak children never been knocked down and injured by friendly dogs? Can it not be seen by this that God committed to Adam the wisdom, power, and responsibility to RULE over the kingdoms around him? Before him lay the whole earth, the seas, the heavens, all filled and swarming with creatures, myriad life forms, each declaring by type and shadow that man was to exercise dominion over every realm BENEATH AND ABOVE that God had created, and as creation bowed in obedience to his godly mind, and the dominion in his spirit, that glorious reign of wonder and peace under the direction of a son in the image of God was but a prefiguring of the day when a whole FIRST-FRUIT COMPANY OF SONS IN GOD'S IMAGE would reign over THE REGIONS BENEATH, and over ALL THE EARTH, and over THE HEAVENS ABOVE until everything everywhere, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers, would be in submission to their godly minds and omnipotent wills.

 

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 Lk. 10:17-19, "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name. And He said unto them, I beheld satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give you power to TREAD ON SERPENTS AND SCORPIONS, and over all the power of the enemy."

 

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 Rev. 18:2, "And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of DEVILS, and the hold of every FOUL SPIRIT, and a cage of every UNCLEAN AND HATEFUL BIRD." I know the Lamb, the meek and sacrificial nature of the Son of God, which is oppressed and afflicted, and yet openeth not its mouth; but I have known also the nature of the beast, wild and ravenous, that spirit, so obvious in the world, which stomps and rends and breaks in pieces and devours, of whom Peter warns us, saying, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a ROARING LION, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." (I Pet. 5:8)

 

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. "If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not." (II Cor. 4:3-4) The beasts of the earth are those spirits affecting the WILL of man. Serpents, scorpions, and the creeping things of earth represent those spirits connected with the EMOTIONS of man. "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In My name they shall cast out devils. they shall take up serpents." (Mk. 16:17-18) Then follows the lowest realm of all, the dragons, fish, and sea creatures, those spirits finding lodging and expression in the BODIES of men.

 

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." (Lk. 10:19) The promise belongs to YOU and to ME, for it is the Kingdom of God that the Lord has given authority and power over the power of satan's kingdom. It is a wonderful day for a believer when he becomes conscious that God NOW GIVES HIM DOMINION in Jesus Christ that he may become an overcomer over ALL!

 

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: "Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from My Father; for which of those works do ye stone Me? The Jews answered Him, saying, For a good work we stone Thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that Thou, being a man, makest Thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I SAID, YE ARE GODS? If He called them gods, unto whom the Word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of Him, whom the Father hath sanctified. Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?" (Jn. 10:31-36)

 

On what ground did Jesus reason when He said to those sinful Jews, "I said, YE ARE GODS. and the scripture cannot be broken." This takes us back to the creation of man when God said, "Let us make man IN OUR IMAGE, AFTER OUR LIKENESS," when God breathed into man the breath of life, and the living Spirit of God came into his life and nature, when dominion over sin, sickness, demons, and death was native in the life of man.

 

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: "Ye are gods." That reveals the divine potential in man, to be ultimately realized. If you are going to quarrel with anyone about that statement, you will have to quarrel with the Lord! Jesus said, "Ye are gods." And the scripture in Heb. 2:7-8 says of man, "Thou didst set him (man) over the works of Thy hands: Thou hast put ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET." And the original man, clothed in the likeness of Christ, was ruler in earth, and sea and sky. There was a dominion in his spirit that even the animal kingdom recognized, that the birds knew and the fish understood, and all powers, visible and invisible feared. Man was God's king – God's king upon earth.

 

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 Ps. 8:4-5: “What is man that Thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that Thou visiteth him? For Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.” In some translations there is a number or letter by the word “angels” in this text. If you look in the margin you will find that the Hebrew word here is ELOHIM – the same word or name for God. “In the beginning God (Elohim)…” The Hebrew Bible actually says (talking about man-mankind), “Thou hast made him a little lower than God.” But there is more! This passage from the Old Testament is quoted in Hebrew 2:7 and the wording of the Greek text says, “Thou has made him for a little while lower…” For a little while! Man, because of sin and the fall, has been made for a little while lower than God! How awesome. That means that God has made us the same class of being that He is Himself. 

 

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.  It is in his spirit. Man was master. Man lived in the realm of God. He lived on terms of equality with God. Man lost his place by disobedience – adolescent rebellion against God. He lost his dominion over all the worlds of God’s hands. He lost his omnipotence in the fall. With the fall went his dominion even over his own soul and body. But, precious friend of mine, one knows universal man has ever yearned for the return of his lost dominion. Here is a tremendous fact none can deny: There never has been a primitive people upon the face of the earth who have not yet yearned for dominion. Not a single primitive people has been found who did not have in their traditions a golden past where they had dominion, and a golden future where dominion was going to be restored. That is the universal tradition of man. The reason for that is, man was created to have dominion and the memory and hope of it lingers yet in the mysterious mists of his subconscious mind. Man has aspired to gain mastery over physical loss, over mental and emotional loss, and over spiritual loss. This primeval desire to gain the lost dominion is seen in his offerings, in his drinking blood, and in the priesthoods he has appointed. If you study history, you will find that human blood was never actually desirable to any people. Why did they drink it? They drank it to be like God. They drank it that they might become eternal or immortal. The desire for immortality in the physical realm lies in the heart of universal man. And for that reason, men drank it.

 

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 “We see not yet ALL THINGS put under him (man), WE SEE JESUS CROWNED with glory and honour. (Heb 2:9) What help is that? Cries an objector: “of course He is crowned with glory and honor, since He is the Son of God. What has Jesus got to do with the question, What is man?” But notice, this is the crown wherewith His Father crowned Him in the day of the gladness of His heart, when, as man, He came forth from the last wrestle with the powers of sin, darkness and death. He is, from among men, the one overcomer, who in the limitations of a man conquered and entered again into the divine fullness of God’s estate for man, becoming to man forever God’s divine inspiration and pattern OF A REAL MAN AND A SON OF GOD.

 

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.” And so we find out just what this word crowned means. Jesus was received in the upper world, exalted, glorified, made to sit at the Father’s right hand, put far above all rule and authority, with a name greater in the sweep of its power than any other, with all things in all realms put in absolute subjection under His feet. “For He hath put all things under His feet. But when He saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him. (I Cor. 15:27) This is the simple, direct meaning of the sentence – Jesus is crowned. He is crowned because He overcame the servitude of man. All through His earthly life He fulfilled the ancient ideal of man. He was God’s image; and those who saw Him saw the Father. He was Sovereign in His command. Winds and waves did His bidding. Trees withered at His touch. Fish in shoals obeyed His will. Disease and death fled before His word and devils owned His sway. But He was more fully realized when He was about to return to His Father, and said, in a noble outburst of conscious supremacy, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” We see Jesus! Behold Him, my brother, my sister! The wreaths of empire are on His brow. The keys of death and hell swing at His girdle. The living creature in the midst of the throne attest that He is worthy. All things in heaven and earth, and under the earth, and in the seas, worship Him. Angels, glorious in power, and principalities throughout the universe, bow before Him.

 

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, "When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; what IS MAN, that Thou art mindful of him?" (Ps. 8:3-4) Then in answer to his own question he continues, "Thou madest him to have dominion OVER THE WORKS OF THY HANDS (the heavens, the moon, and the stars in vs. 3): Thou hast put ALL THINGS under his feet." (Ps. 8:3-6) In Heb. 2:8 we see that all things are NOT YET under man because MAN IS NOT YET READY. He is now in the process of coming into the image of God. He is in the process of coming into SONSHIP, and when that process is complete, he will take his place of lordship and dominion to carry the will of God into all the universe. We are on our way to His glory, not to strum harps and sit on clouds and walk on golden streets shouting hallelujah, but in God's image and likeness to take our place as lords of God's creation, carrying His almighty will into the uttermost universe.

 

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: "Of the INCREASE OF HIS GOVERNMENT and peace THERE SHALL BE NO END." (Isa. 9:7)

 

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. "Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" (I Cor. 6:3) We are children of the universe. We are universal children and we are not to be confined to any spot or place in the universe. Even as now our minds roam over the vast expanses of God’s universe, even so shall we ourselves follow our minds and fill all things. THIS IS PART OF OUR HERITAGE. We are not bound to this earth. God yet has an obligation to all of the creation and it will be by and through us that He is going to fulfill that obligation. The sons have not yet come to manifestation to bring deliverance to the creation and that is the first thing to be accomplished, for it is only after that that the work of making the universe will begin.

 

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 from everything that is adverse, corrupting, dark, and limited. He begets within us a lively hope, which, like leaping and dancing flames, lights up all that is within us. Oh, what a glory our Saviour wraps mortal man in, when He enfolds him in the radiance of immortal hopes, which shine so brightly when all earthly hopes are swallowed up in the black night of death.

 

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, “God… hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed HEIR OF A-L-L T-H-I-N-G-S, BY WHOM ALSO He made the worlds…” (Heb. 1:1-2) The universe is His inheritance, and therefore ours. What an inheritance! But what does a person do with an inheritance? Buy it, sleep on it, store it, hide it? No – we get excited if we receive an inheritance. Now there is something we can use – it is a new opportunity for us, it can be developed. So that means that if the universe is our inheritance, we are owners, managers, and developers of it. What a destiny! All heaven shall be ours. Every world that floats in space shall be brought under our care and rule, as we range the broad fields of the boundless universe. But it immediately spells vast responsibility! We can only manage something if we are fit to manage it. And what can make us adequate managers and owners of God’s universe? Just this – our putting on the glorious mind of Christ, being conformed into His wonderful image.

 

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 conviction that there are some regions beyond our imagination to which every son of God shall become an everlasting illumination, a living expression and revelation of the love of God in Jesus Christ. The people in those far distant lands could not see Calvary as we have seen it; but the Christ who came down from the highest heavens and was made flesh on earth died for all realms from the highest to the lowest. This precious truth explains the deep mystery of why it was necessary for a Man from heaven to come down and merge with humanity in order to be creations’ Redeemer. As One from heaven He died for all in the celestial realms. As One from earth He died to redeem the world into which He as born.

 

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 image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist. (Col. 1:15-17) Can the UNIVERSALITY of Christ’s creation be more forcibly expressed? In every case the word ALL is used WITHOUT ANY LIMITATION whatever. The heavens and the earth with all that is in them, visible and invisible, include ALL creation.

 

The verses that follow continue to express the UNIVERSALITY of Christ’s glories in the present and the future. “And He is the Head of the body, the Church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to RECONCILE ALL THINGS unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” The supremacy of God’s Son depends on the UNIVERSALITY or TOTALITY of His many honors. How extraordinary is the emphasis laid on this vital fact in this short passage! Within the compass of five verses we read no less than eight times that the glory given the Christ is all-inclusive and all-pervading. He is the firstborn of EVERY creature. ALL is created by and in Him, and ALL is created through and for Him. He is before ALL. ALL is bound together by Him. In ALL of ALL, dwells in Him. He reconciles ALL through the blood of His cross. And on two occasions this is amplified and defined as ALL that is IN THE HEAVENS and ALL that is ON THE EARTH. It is said to include both visible and invisible. What more could be said to impress us with the universal scope of the Son’s activities?

 

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, “To make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that NOW UNTO PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS IN HEAVENLY PLACES MIGHT BE KNOWN BY THE CHURCH THE MANIFOLD WISDOM OF GOD, According to the purpose of the ages which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Eph. 3:9-11)

 

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 “out of One: for which reasons He is not ashamed to call them brethren. (Heb. 2:6) He has raised us up to sit with Him in the “higher than heavenlies. (Eph. 2:6) Hence we belong on His throne. And the place which He has been preparing for each one is not only a world, and a Kingdom of life and light, but a position, a place of eminence at His side, ruling with Him over the eternal endlessness of His unbounded heavens.

 

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.” “Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end. (Isa. 9:7) We, who have been born into the heavenly realm, have entered a stage of action, we have become active agents in the greatest development program ever conceived. A whole universe awaits our human touch and divine guiding hand. There is a universal Kingdom of life and light and love for every one, to explore and develop and perfect. And if ever, in all the countless ages to come, that Kingdom should become too small or overcrowded for its citizens, let us remember that we, being as He is, are therefore, one and all, the very same kind of Beings as He who simply spoke the word, and lo! the present worlds appeared. Being like Him, we will also be creators, one and all, and not destroyers, as in our present state. “WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM.”

 

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? "He that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a city." (Prov. 16:32) A fit preface; for in a universe, or in a world, or in a man the work is the same; and, indeed, man is himself a world, a universe, with realms within him vast and abundant. Darkness and light, and a great deep, and earth and heaven and hell, and principalities and powers, thrones and dominions, as in him. Passions move him as the storms, volcanic fires rage or smolder in him, wars are fought, battles rage, kingdoms rise and fall – ALL WITHIN MAN. That we might understand this world, this universe, which lies within man, God has written the same design on the giant canvas of the outer world. This is man's proving ground. When he has learned to rule his INNER WORLD, he then qualifies for ruling the OUTER WORLD. The man who conquers himself is the greatest conqueror of all. He has the key of power and has gained the mastery when he is rescued from himself. From thenceforth, no power or tie of earth can hold him. Self is the devil man has to be released from.

 

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 those who have not experienced them. The poets of the world have been singing about love ever since the world began. But no heart has learned what love is from even the sweetest and deepest refrains. Who that is not a father can be taught paternal love by words, or can come to a perception of it by any effort of the mind? And so with all other things. Only the lips that have drunk the cup of sweetness or of bitterness can tell how sweet or how bitter it is, and even when they, made wise by experience, speak out of their deepest hearts, the listeners are but little wiser, unless they too have been scholars in the same school. Experience is our only teacher in matters of feeling and emotion, as in the lower regions of taste and appetite. A man must be hungry to know what hunger is; he must taste honey or wormwood, and in like manner he cannot know sorrow but by feeling its ache, and must love if he would know love. Yes, experience is the best teacher, and her school-fees are heavy!

 

George Hawtin has written: “After fifty years of serving the Lord I am thoroughly convinced that nothing is ever fully learned but by experience. Talk as we may about suffering, tribulation or any subject we wish, our words will be little more than idle philosophy until the Lord has caused us to walk with Him through the valleys of death, the paths of tribulation, the place of betrayal by false brethren, the unreasonableness of unfilial children, the despair of paternal neglect, and a thousand other stormy seas. Those who have suffered with Him understand by reasons of their experience. There is no doubt that troubles are educational. We learn things in the midst of troubles that we never learn in any other place. I have heard many of God’s saints who have come out of the furnace of affliction saying that there God spoke to them and they heard Him as they had never heard Him before. Indeed, we have been told that necessity is the mother of invention and we can see that in the necessities of life and in the trials and afflictions of life we learn many lessons. We learn lessons in the night season that we will never learn while the sun is shining brightly and the brooks are bubbling. It has been said that the stars come out only at night. And if you would know the sweet influence of the Pleiades, the influence of God’s higher revelation, you will know it in the night seasons of sorrow” (end quote).

 

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 SITUATIONS and see that all of them are the proving ground for these appointed to rule and reign with Christ! How can we rule if we never learn to RULE! How shall we rule out there in coming ages if we cannot rule here and now in our petty every-day problems? How can we overcome DEATH, SATAN, AND THE DARKNESS OF THE CARNAL MIND if we cannot overcome right where we are in our daily distresses? No, every dark situation may not immediately change, every problem may not be instantly solved, every adverse circumstance may not be altered, but we can COME UP ABOVE THEM in the Christ-mind, into the pure air of God's presence and power, and there is a blessed realm there where the things of earth do not rule us, depress us, upset us, frustrate us, anger us, control us, defeat us, nor AFFECT US IN ANY WAY, for CHRIST BECOMES OUR 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 He had my circumstances, my weaknesses, my lusts, my pressures, my problems. If the Master came to me and said, "Move over, I am coming to live in your house for a season," I do not doubt that in a short period He would have all my problems straightened out and all of my weakness and turmoil under control. He would overcome all of the things that I struggle with. But the wonderful truth is, my beloved, HE HAS COME! HE DOES LIVE IN MY BODY! "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me…" (Gal. 2:20) "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." (Rom. 8:9) The problem lies in the fact that we fail to yield to Him totally.

 

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. "And the God of peace will soon bruise satan under your feet." Stronger words than these are not to be found! Greater words than these do not exist! The greatest and best thing of all about these words is that they are true. If satan is bruised under your feet, dear reader, it does not mean that he no longer exists. It does not mean that the negative realm is destroyed and has no more power to mislead, damage, or dominate. That satan is crushed under your feet signifies that you have risen up above him, gained the mastery over him, assumed the authority of the Christ within. When this becomes a personal life-giving light in the very depth of your being, then sin and Satan and darkness and death has lost its power over you. He still exists – under your feet! Crushed under your feet! It is Christ in you who does the crushing. And He does it as you yield fully to the victory HE IS within you.

 

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 church, the next job, the next friendship… whatever is convenient. They refuse to mature. Anything negative that crosses their will is avoided with scheme after scheme energized by the fleshy mind that is hostile toward God. Some of you are running. Do you know what you will find when you stop. The thing which you have tried to escape is STILL THERE. You carried it with you. It is within you.. The moment you stop running and face the issue, the wisdom of God is going to catch up with you and help you become an overcomer. Turn to God with sincerity, and let Him help you and deal with you. The great tests or trials that we endure are not necessarily what bring about our development as New Creatures. The little things, the everyday experiences, the nitty-gritty where the rubber meets the road, are where the real trials, the true testings, take place. By way of example, perhaps not many of us remember the era back in the late ‘20’s or early ‘30s, when the in thing was for men to do things that were unusual or bizarre. Some of you may remember the name, Barney Oldfield. He was considered an outstanding automobile racer of that time. He set a speed record from Los Angeles to New York, driving his racer across country about 50 miles an hour – extremely fast for the 1920’s! There were also other accomplishments. There was a man who rode a bicycle for the first time clear across the country. And that was the era when they had dance marathons – young couples wanted to prove they could dance the longest amount of time. There was one man who walked across the country from Los Angeles to New York. It took him quite a while, but when he finally finished his journey he was given quite a welcome in New York. When he was interviewed he was asked how he had managed to endure all the hardships. "What was the hardest thing for you to endure? Was it when you were out in the desert and it was so hot – 100 to 120 degrees?" "No," he said, "that was very hard, but I managed to survive that." "Was it when you went through the mountains and it was so cold and the high peaks were difficult to climb?" "Well, that was tough too," he said, "but I endured that." "Well, just what was the worst part of the whole trip?" He said, "The hardest part of the whole trip was that I had to endure having sand in my shoes." A little thing, but so constant and irritating! And thus it is with us also; the hardest thing we have to endure is the "sand in our shoes" – the little, unavoidable, grating experiences of everyday living. And that is the reason we have a wonderful and sympathetic High Priest, our Forerunner into the Holiest of all, the One to whom we can turn for grace to help in every time of need. He understands the "sand in our shoes" because He suffered the same small, persistent trials—and overcame!

 

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." (Heb. 12:6) Eph. 4:26 says, "Be ye angry, and sin not." In simple terms this means, "Be angry – but let it be a controlled, balanced anger will act effectively, not destructively." For you see, anger out of control is vicious, destructive, and often deadly. Uncontrolled or misdirected anger can devastate one’s life. But let me make one thing very clear – God has absolutely no desire to "deliver" you from your temper! Anger is not on God’s agenda for deliverance. He intends for you to OVERCOME it. God does indeed deliver people from things over which they have no control, or which they are ill-equipped to handle. God does take knives from children! But for sons emotion is not to be "cast out" like a demon; it is to be overcome and brought into its proper place in our lives in the mind of Christ. How many things believers seek God to deliver them from that He has ordained them to overcome! So many of us are like Helga in a story I heard. Helga and Henry were a Swedish couple. They were married for sixty years. They fought like cats and dogs every day of their lives. Finally, on their 60th wedding anniversary they began the morning with a terrible spat. They argued all day long. At the end of the day, Helga said to her husband, "Henry, tonight I think ven ve pray, ve better pray for peace. Ve been fighting each other for sixty years, Henry. May the Lord give us peace. So tonight, I think I’ll pray that the Lord will take you home and I’ll go live with my sister Olga."

 

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.  His legs, whipping like little pistons, got traction, and finally he leaped victoriously from the container, the contents of which he had churned into solid butter. Ah, yes, my beloved, OBSTACLES ARE STEPPING STONES!

 

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, Pt. 17, Dominion in the Garden [J. Preston Eby] ~ BIBLE STUDY          19

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..."

 

PART SIXTEEN

DRESSING the GARDEN, (continued)

 

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." (Gen 2:7-8, 15)

 

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 first partake of the fruit? How very important this becomes in the light of the wonderful truth that the blessed Garden of the Kingdom of God is planted eastward in the Eden of God's great and eternal domain, and from its portals shall come that many-membered MAN, the LAST ADAM, Head and body, the CORPORATE SON OF GOD, who is the image of God, whose authority and Lordship is destined to be as boundless as the heavens, for God shall put all things under His feet!  

 

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 "Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my Garden, that the spices thereof may flow out." 

 

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, "Come, O wind; blow upon my Garden.” In becoming partakers of the realities of the Kingdom of God, there is a work God does and a work we have to do. God does His work by moving us to do our work. The work of God is hidden and silent; what we do is something distinct and tangible. Conversion and faith, prayer and obedience, putting off the carnal mind and putting on the mind of Christ, forsaking the traditions of religion and walking in the Spirit, are all conscious acts of which we can give a clear account; while the spiritual quickening and strengthening and direction that come from God are secret and beyond the reach of human sight, wrought deep within the spirit of the inner man. It is the work of God to cause the believer to hunger and thirst for fuller measures of HIS LIFE AND REALITY, and this work is not effected from without, but from within, as the Spirit of God, dwelling in the quickened spirit of the child of God, stirs him from the inner depths of his being to desire a further dealing, unveiling and experiencing of God. Out of this secret and hidden moving of God bursts the heart-cry: "Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my Garden, that the spices thereof may flow out!”

 

The word, wind, in both the Hebrew and in the Greek, is the same word that is translated, "Spirit," in other places. When the rains had ended in the days of the great Flood, God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters were assuaged. Wind often serves in type of the moving of God’s Spirit.  “There came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. (Acts 2:2) Let it be clear – though the time has often seemed long in God’s dealings within us, and while the vision tarries, we have to hold steady and just WAIT FOR IT – things which the Spirit has spoken in our hearts that He will do IN and THROUGH a people – yet He knows the hour when the SPIRIT OF GOD SHALL BLOW ACROSS OUR LAND, bringing the creative power of God in victory and fulfillment in Christ.  

 

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, "The wind (or Spirit) passeth, and cleareth them. Out of the north cometh golden splendor; God hath upon Him terrible majesty." (Job 37:21-22) Thus is it with that working of the Holy Spirit, which is called the "North Wind.” He comes, blowing upon our Garden, convicting, judging, shaking, stirring, blasting, reproving, dealing. It is He who convicts us when we are not walking in the Spirit; it is He who teaches and stirs us up to press on; He shows us where we are slack and where we must put off the flesh, that we may put on Christ. He moves upon the dark clouds of the carnal mind, He moves upon the fog of man's traditions and theories and self-righteousness. Out of the north, He moves upon all that hides the truth from our vision; and as He clears the spiritual atmosphere about us, the golden splendor of the light of God shines into our lives, with the revelation of His terrible majesty, His awesome greatness!  

 

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. “Camphor with spikenard, and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices…” (S of S 4:13-14) We are not only to look good to others, but also to smell good to them. Since the seeds that the Lord plants in the garden of our hearts are of divine impartation, it naturally follows that the flowers that bloom will give forth a rich, heavenly perfume that is out of this world!  If the seeds are from out of this world, so is the fragrance. Oh, what a lovely parable God has chosen to depict the redeemed heart and life in which Christ is being formed!  Have you ever been in a store or on the street, when a girl passed by so deliciously perfumed that the air was filled with the sweet fragrance, and if you had dared, you would have asked her the name of the perfume so you could secure some for yourself. It should be the same with every child of God – we should be so saturated with divine aroma that it flows out to be noticed and enjoyed by all creation.  

 

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. “Awake, O north wind… blow upon my garden.” Who would ever pray for a North Wind?   But, whether or not you ever pray for it, it is apt to come anyway.  Hardly a day goes by in the life of any son of God that he is not visited by some contrary or stormy wind. They come unexpectedly, often leaving us upset, confused and worse. “O that I had wings like a dove!  I would fly away and be at rest; yea, I would wander afar, I would lodge in the wilderness, I would haste to find me a shelter from the raging wind and tempest. (Ps 55:6-8) We, too, would many times like to escape from these harrowing winds, but cannot. God is in the wind and His word is faithfully and powerfully wrought in us by the wind. The prophet Nahum writes: “His way is in the whirlwind and storm. (Nahum 1:3)

 

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.  But God does not send the chilly blasts against us because He is angry with us, or because He delights in punishing us. As Bill Britten has written, “These things are necessary in order to bring us to His glory. He put the gates on the north side of the City of God for a purpose.  In our reluctance to suffer, we would rather He had just built a strong wall on the north side and put no gates in it.  But His wisdom is greater than ours. Thank God, He also put gates on the south side. That lets in the blessings, prosperity, the warmth of His presence and His peace. These and many more of the good things of God are necessary also to our growth. It would be a cold hard journey if it was all trials and no blessings. Open the south gates, friends, and enjoy the goodness of God!  But do not run and hide when the northern gale blows fierce through your land.” And so it is that even though you do not pray for the north wind to blow upon your Garden, if God, in His infinite wisdom, sees that that is what is needed “that the spices thereof may flow out,” you can put it down for certain that the north wind is going to blow!  

 

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 the midst of all the turmoil and upheaval they say, “Well, I suppose God is working out something in me, doing for me something that He sees needs to be done.” “For me!”  Why can we never get beyond “me”? Me, me, me. Always thinking of “me.”  Did it ever occur to you that God has others in mind besides you?  True, He allows certain episodes to take place in your particular sphere – and there is, certainly, much to be accomplished in your life, a great deal of advancement and perfection – but, after all, there are others, too, a whole creation groaning and travailing for the manifestation, the out flowing of God from His sons. That is what both the fruit and the spices are for. The perfume is to flow out!  So when He desires to awaken a person to the power of His life, He can send the north wind upon your garden and let that other soul watch you and your reaction. He puts you, or your garden, on display, and says, “Look over there if you want to see what the grace of God can do in a life, that is processed by Me. Look at the wind blow. Look at those flowers. Do you smell that perfume? It is divine. It is out of this world!  And the fruit – it is the fruit of a divine life. Eat of it – and you, too, will live!  

 

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. “Stormy wind fulfilling His word. (Ps 148:8) Instead of becoming too preoccupied with the individual notes played by one instrument, anticipate rather the grand finale of God’s majestic symphony when all of His instruments combine to produce heaven’s harmony in one last melodious chord of glorious triumph!   Then you will be glad that the winds blew.  

 

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!  The Holy Spirit comes to God's elect, not only as the north wind, but also as the south wind. It is after the work of conviction, stripping, and purging, that the Holy Spirit comes as the Comforter. It is after man's unworthiness is uncovered, that the spirit comes as the balmy south wind. With warm rain and gentle breezes, He brings encouraging movings within us as we listen to His voice and yield to Him. As the south wind, the Holy Spirit woos us on and reveals our destiny in Christ, bringing to us a deeper apprehension of the magnitude of the grace of God, the gracious purpose of God for His entire creation, and the high and holy calling with which we are called as sons of 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 that He comes with encouragement, enlightenment and quickening and points to OUR SUFFICIENCY IN JESUS CHRIST. It is when, as the north wind, He has blasted all our self-activities; and, through a revelation of ourselves, He has brought us low in the dust of humiliation, that He comes as the gentle Spirit of consolation and faith and reveals to us that CHRIST WITHIN will do all and must be our all in all. Then He blows upon that which remains after the work of purging and pruning, He gently waters it with warm, refreshing rains, He reveals Jesus Christ as all we need; and the blossoms that are left, begin to grow and bear fruit. The spices begin to send out their fragrance.   

 

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. “And… the south wind blew softly. (Acts 27:13) “For, lo, the winter is past… the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle dove is heard in our land. The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vine with the tender grape gives a good smell. (S of S 2:11-13)

 

"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, "Awake, O North Wind"?  Are our hearts longing for Him to blow upon our gardens in stripping and dealing and testing, however hard it may be on the flesh?   Can we pray most fervently that God will send His Spirit, as the north wind, to search out the pride, to search out the self-interest and self-will, to search out the unholy passions, emotions and desires, to search out even the hidden spirit of Babylon that remains; and that He will blow upon it until it is blasted and drops off, and we are clothed in humility and righteousness and the mind of Christ?   

 

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 many times we assumed that we had entered into possession of those things that God had showed us and called us to begin to possess. How many times God has let us see the blessedness of the path in which we walk alone with Him, and we thought we were walking in it.  But when He sent the Spirit to blow upon our lives, we found that HE WAS NOT OUR ALL IN ALL; that we were yet depending upon someone else, or something else, be it our feelings, our works, gifts, ministries, meetings etc rather than upon the Lord.  

 

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?  Lord, send the testings and processings that you see I need; send the hard things that are needed to try every blossom. Blow upon the blossoms in my life that are so beautiful and look as if they would bear luscious fruit for Thy glory; blow upon my gifts, and ministries, and works, and doctrines, and plans, and hopes, and ambitions, and doings and prove them whether they will abide, or whether they have no beginning of fruit in them.” How many of God's dealings and revelations have been rejoiced in, how many of His callings to higher places in Him have made much show before our eyes, how we have reveled in the knowledge of His High calling, of sonship, of the Glory to be revealed in us, of the great and powerful ministry to come with His Fullness, of the throne to be shared in His Kingdom, but how often we have not yielded that God might make these things FRUITFUL, and they remained only dealings and revelations, head-knowledge and dreams, and never became possessions in some measure for the today’s.  

 

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.  But the very blasts of sharp conviction and dealing that destroy the fruitless blossoms, also cause the roots of the spiritual life to go down deeper INTO CHRIST; and they become firmly rooted and grounded IN HIM. Thus stripped and with our roots going deeper and deeper, we learn to take the time to wait on God long enough for HIS LIFE TO ARISE WITHIN US, long enough to hear HIM SPEAK and have Him divulge HIS WILL to our seeking hearts.   

 

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, He will send the south wind of the Spirit in wooing and encouragement, in warm showers of faith and glory, which will refresh and entice the fruitful buds to come out and develop into fruit for the glory of God. The more testings the Lord sends, the stronger the searching north wind blows upon our garden, the more spices and fruit are perfected, and the more fragrance and glory flow forth from our lives.  

 

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! ”Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…”  It is not the gentle, soothing south wind that wafts abroad these costly spices of His divine nature. It is the north wind that whips and beats it fine, that proves whether it is divine spice, or merely a "fair weather" imitation of man's soul. As the spices are bruised, the perfumes come forth, for it is the hard things that make the spices give out their odor. Let God send the north wind upon our lives until His eye sees that it is enough; and then let the south wind blow that the spices may flow out. Thus the heart of the Lord is made to rejoice as He walks through His Garden and smells the fragrance of our spices; as He beholds the fruit that is being perfected within our lives through the working of His Spirit. It is His Garden and not ours; they are His precious fruits and spices and not ours. Though they are perfected in our lives and borne upon our branches and are sometimes spoken of as ours, they are really HIS; and they are perfected in us through the work of His cross and the power of His resurrection as we come into union with Him, blessed be His name!  

 

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." (S of S 7:11-13)

 

We see that in this Garden, there is the bud and the flower, the newly ripened fruit, and the old preserved fruit.  All the characteristics of all the Gardens and Vineyards are to be found in this Garden of the Fields.  In another verse of the same chapter we learn that one of the trees in this Garden of the Fields is the palm tree, and concerning God's elect it is written: "This thy stature is like to a palm tree." (S of S 7:7) Hear now what the sweet singer of Israel sang of the chosen ones of the Lord: "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree… those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing to show that the Lord is my rock." (Ps 92:12-15)

 

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 weight, however great or heavy that is laid upon the palm tree, can bear it down or hold it near the earth. It will not be bound down, but in spite of all opposition, it keeps its face looking upward, and pursues its heavenward course. This characteristic of the palm tree brings deep conviction to our hearts as we remember how the weights of the pressures, problems, and circumstances of life have many times borne us down!  How we have grown earthward because of the pull of the flesh, the power of soulish emotions, the love of the things of the world!  How many times we have bowed down beneath the testings and pressures that have come against us, the weights that even our families and friends and jobs have fastened upon us, so that in place of growing straight upward toward the heavenlies, we have bent and have become crooked or deformed in some way.  

 

But it shall not be thus with the sons of God!  God is preparing a people, the planting of the Lord, the good seed of the Kingdom, trees of righteousness, whom no weight of earth, however heavy, shall be able to hold down or bend earthward!  Though the weight of influence and earthly love should cling to these sons of God; though the pressures and problems and perplexities of life should crowd in upon these; though the fear of man and desire to please man should strive to impede their way; though adversity, calamity, sorrow, tragedy, reversal, and trouble should howl at their heels, none of these weights shall be able to hold down, overcome, discourage, intimidate, upset, frustrate, perplex or in any way affect these who dwell in union with THE LIVING GOD, who follow on to know, experience, appropriate HIS GLORIOUS TRIUMPH as overcomers to the glory of His name. Though all hell should strive to turn these palm trees of God downward, it shall not avail; though every foe and earthly friend should conspire together, it shall but make the sons of God keep their faces more prayerfully and constantly looking UNTO HIM, their forerunner. As these look away from all else to Jesus, they grow heavenward!  Heavenward!  

 

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!  Thus is it with the sons of God!   They do not send out large, fruitful branches near the earth, so that all who pass by can pluck them off and devastate their beauty; but they mount up toward heaven, and abide in the pure air of the presence of God, and they send out strong branches that bear much kingdom fruit of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Through storms and pressures and multiplied experiences these have grown higher and stronger and have spread their branches out to a greater distance; and it is the highest branches that spread out and turn their leaves and fruit upward. It is self evident that those that pass by cannot partake of their fruit, neither can they find support in the branches that have grown up high and spread out heavenward, WITHOUT CLIMBING UP TOWARD HEAVEN!  None can pluck the fruit with which these trees are loaded, until they have been lifted up from the earthly atmosphere and gone up into the heavenly realm of their branches!  

 

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!  The disciples of this easy gospel pick a scoundrel from the streets, pass him through this plausible formula, get him to repeat the words, and turn him out a convert in the space of as many minutes as it takes to tell it. I do not hesitate to declare to you that this is nothing but SALVATION BY FORMULA! The zeal of those who propagate this easy gospel, assuredly, is not to be questioned: their instincts are right, and their work is sometimes not in vain.  But the carnal mind is always looking for that which will work automatically, easily by method, technique, formula, close to the earth. Someone will certainly ask, "But isn't it written, 'By grace are ye saved through faith,' 'not of yourselves, not of works, lest any man should boast,' and 'He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life?’ To which, however, I also answer in the words of scripture, "The devils also believe," and "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” But without seeming to make text refute text, let us ask rather what the supposed convert possesses at the end of the process. That Christ saves sinners, even scoundrels from the street, is a great fact.  But in ordinary circumstances, with no searching conviction of the Holy Spirit, nor any deep dealing of God, the person is rapidly urged through the above piece of logic, appealing to his carnal mind, four simple steps to heaven!  And then informed that all his past is blotted out, and all his future secured, by a hasty application of a FORMULA. Not so!  I do not hesitate to declare it, for it is a believing alright, a mistaken believing, the giving of MENTAL ASSENT, a believing with the MIND, but believing with the mind saves no man. Did not Jesus say, "Out of the abundance of the HEART the MOUTH speaketh," and Paul explains what this means in terms of a man's salvation, declaring, "If thou shalt confess with thy MOUTH the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine HEART thou shalt be saved. For WITH THE H-E-A-R-T MAN BELIEVETH UNTO RIGHTEOUSNESS; and with the MOUTH confession is made unto salvation." (Rom 10:9-10) In true conversion the mouth confesses what the heart, the deepest part of a person's being, believes. The heart!  Not the mind. It is deeper than mental assent, mere superficial persuasion of the mental faculties, acceptance of a formula, with no deep working of the Spirit in the inner man.  

 

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.”  And those who pass through the Salvation by Formula process feel "safe.”  Their minds are worked through a chain of phrases in which the words "sin," "hell," "believe," "saved," and "heaven" are the conspicuous terms, and giving mental assent to this, applying the formula, by all logic, their future is guaranteed! They take out, in short, an insurance policy, with one easy installment, by which they are instantly and infallibly secured eternal life at death.  

 

Ah, beloved, salvation is far more than a passport out of hell!  It means DELIVERANCE; the Greek, in fact, denotes a DELIVERANCE UNTO WHOLENESS – deliverance from the whole dreadful realm of sin, darkness, bondage and death – it means a trusting in Christ, not as a fire-escape, but in order to likeness to Christ, a transformation of nature, our spirit quickened by the Holy Spirit, translated into the high and holy realm of the Kingdom of Heaven as an entirely NEW CREATION IN CHRIST. 

 

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!  Is not this one of the lying wonders of which Paul warned us in II Thes 2:11-12 by which thousands, yea, millions will be deceived?   In my mind there is no doubt about it. Cursed fruit!  I believe in speaking in tongues, and might well glory with the apostle Paul that "I speak in tongues more than you all," but I do not believe that repeating gibberish after any man is speaking in tongues by the Spirit of God. Furthermore, no man can speak by the Holy Spirit and still be a worshipper of idols and continue to pray to the Virgin Mary, light candles, count beads, exercise false gifts, and follow after the traditions and foolishness of the religious systems. The holy things of God are today made so easy to attain, so appealing to the carnal mind, as fruit borne close to the earth, to be plucked and possessed by any unclean hands or unsanctified soul that passes by!  

 

God has commanded us:  "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and YE SHALL BE MY SONS AND DAUGHTERS." (II Cor. 6:17-18) But the so-called gospel of popular religion is glamorized as Hollywood stars and popular night club entertainers intone with their unsanctified voices the sacred hymns given by the Holy Spirit to saints who walked and talked with God in the secret places of His presence. They give glowing testimonies of what Christ has done in their lives, yet they go right on with their Hollywood acting, entertaining the ungodly in the midst of the filth of the devil's strongholds in America's Sodoms and Gomorrahs. Then, if you would engage them to give their testimony at your gathering for the glory of God, you must sign a contract with their agent guaranteeing them many thousands of dollars for their brief appearance!   Cursed fruit!  Fruit borne too close to earth to lift men heavenward!  They popularize such sacred truths as the new birth, the baptism in the Holy Spirit, and the Kingdom of God and thus by carnal usage corrupt their true message and reality. As the shallow-minded worldlings applaud the smooth words with which they are entertained, the hallowed things of the heavenlies are dragged down into the deepest mire of the earth realm as fruit to be plucked by unsanctified hands, which contains no power to lift them out of their carnal minds into THE MIND OF CHRIST. Corrupted fruit!  Truth mixed with error, the holy with the unholy, the heavenly with the earthly, light with darkness, until men are unable to distinguish one from the other, and they do not.  

 

Long ago the Lord said to Israel, "Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled. Thou shalt not plow with an ass and an ox together. Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woolen and linen together." (Deut 22:9-11; Lev 19:19) Paul would have said, "Doth God take care for oxen, OR SAITH HE IT ALTOGETHER FOR OUR SAKES?   For our sakes, no doubt, this is written." (I Cor. 9:9) His argument would apply here just as it did in the case mentioned there. These things are all written for our admonition. The harlot religious movements of our day dare to defy God's explicit command, mixing the spirit of this world with the Spirit of God, mixing the clean with the unclean, the ox of sacrifice with the ass of lust, the wheat with the tares, the Christian with the unchristian, the methods, the techniques, and psychology of this world's systems with the supernatural things of the Spirit.  

 

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!  M

 

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, "we should bring forth fruit UNTO GOD." (Rom 7:4) The fruit is, indeed, FOR MEN, but it is UNTO GOD; borne not earthward, but heavenward, not to bless men in the carnal realm where they dwell, but to quicken and lift them up into the divine life of the Son of God.  In bearing our fruit heavenward, we must not become centered in the needs around us, our center must ever be IN HIM. Over the past years there has been an increasing emphasis by the Spirit, as a trumpet sounding out the message, declaring that God is first interested in our BECOMING – IN OUR STATE OF BEING IN HIM – before all our doing, before all our activities, ministries, outreaches etc. How often we have ministered so little to others because we possessed so little!   And we possessed little because we had not developed in the fertile soil of the Garden of God, being busily engaged in running around from garden to garden, doing this and that, digging here and there, tending all the vineyards, but failing to tend our own!  If we would be numbered among the FIRSTFRUITS unto God, then there must be a planting in His Garden, and a dwelling there, with the pruning and purging processes, the cultivating and fertilizing, the passing of the seasons, the blowing of the north wind, and the south, and then patience while we put down our roots and grow tall and reach the time of the bearing of fruit, that fruit may be borne heavenward, that men may be lifted up into HIS LIFE.  IIIIIIIIII

 

Yes, we have a vision for the WORLD, and because we do have such a vision the emphasis becomes, "Abide in Me, and I in you. He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit," for it is THE DEVELOPMENT OF FRUIT IN OUR LIVES that is essential, for this pure and perfect and heavenly fruit is that which shall give life to the world!   When men partake of this fully developed "first-fruits" of God's harvest, they will be lifted out of their distressing condition into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. Those who draw near these PALM Trees in the Garden of God cannot partake of their fruit while remaining bound to the earthlies, neither can they find support in their branches that have grown high, until they have left the earthly atmosphere and begun to climb up TOWARD HEAVEN.  

 

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?    Do not be dismayed!  ABIDE IN HIM, for the process requires many "seasons" to be completed. Know that you are planted in the Garden of the Lord; abide there, yield to each and every dealing of God in the place where you are, and there shall be fruit in due time!  

 

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!  Let us not try to share our leaves, buds, and blossoms with the world, for then the fruit will be lost. Let us not be so busy DOING that we fail to BECOME!  Let us BECOME that men may come and eat of WHAT WE ARE. And what we shall be transcends all that this world’s religious systems and outreaches have to offer; and men, seeing the heavenliness of the TREES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS growing by the eternal springs of HIS LIFE, shall turn aside to drink deeply from their inexhaustible supply of living water, and to scale their heights that they may be nourished by their incorruptible fruit that grows heavenward, blessed be His wonderful name!  

 

 

ECHOES from EDEN, Pt. 16, Dressing the Garden [J. Preston Eby] ~ BIBLE STUDY          10

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