ECHOES from EDEN, PART 22
END-TIME PROPHECY – TRUTH REVEALED
BY: J. PRESTON EBY
KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
A SABBATH in EDEN, (continued)
A Sabbath for the Spirit
A Sabbath for the Soul
This is My Rest
"Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made; and HE RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY from all His work which He had made. And God BLESSED THE SEVENTH DAY, AND SANCTIFIED IT: because that in it He had rested from all His work which God created and made."
In the two previous Studies on this subject of A SABBATH IN EDEN I have pointed out that the Sabbath in Gen. 2:2-3 was not a twenty-four period of time, in which God rested from the labor of six other twenty-four hour periods of time. The Sabbath following the six days of creation is an ETERNAL DAY OF REST in which God still abides, a day ever accessible to man, for man is still enjoined to
This hallowed realm of God's rest is three-fold as pertains to man, for man has three main parts in his being: body, soul, and spirit. The Spirit of God is today teaching us how great is the necessity for each of these three faculties of our being to
A SABBATH FOR THE SPIRIT
Praise God! our spirits have been quickened by God's Spirit, and there is a rest deep within our bosoms, begotten by the Spirit of Him WHO IS REST. Here is where God's Sabbath is rooted, in the area of our spirit.
A SABBATH FOR THE SOUL
"And He brought us out from thence
Rest for the soul! Rest for the mind and emotions, rest from the warrings of the will and desires of the flesh. Soul weariness can't be healed through sleep or relaxation, as can body weariness, and it can actually rob us of sleep. It involves tension, fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, the disturbing of our inner peace, the deep unrest of mind and heart that saps strength from the center of our being. While in this world, no matter how much we try, things are constantly happening that batter away at our soul. These battles take their toll, and as a result, our soul needs to be rested. If we try to fight in our own strength against the things that assault our souls, we will just heighten the problem. Temptations that we have to resist, arguments in which we find ourselves embroiled, misunderstanding between friends, family, and brethren, rumors that we somehow get caught up in, accusations that are hurled toward us, the multiplied pressures on the job and at home, all the activities of trying to keep pace with this world's system – these are all things that constantly beat upon the soul to wear us down.
Soul rest is a gift that comes from the God of all grace. The world fails to find rest for its soul in spite of attempts made through drugs, Eastern religions and philosophies, abnormal sexual practices, rock music, psychiatry, psychology, psychoanalysis, and countless other ways. It would be a great blessing if every man on earth could hear by the Spirit the wonderful invitation of the Christ of God:
Rest and Peace are synonyms. Would you like peace today? I do not mean the peace of lethargic ease or of a safe and sheltered life. Nor do I mean the peace of the motionless Stoic, who achieves calm by doing violence to his affections, and by damping down the fires of love and sorrow and pity in his heart. I do not mean that. I mean the peace that stands sentinel at the gateway of the soul, and confronts all manner of difficult things with steady eyes, the peace that holds the heart serene through crowded days and pressures and overwork and problems and all the criticisms of men. Would you like that? Well, saith the Lord, you can have it! It is not a matter of temperament: the most highly strung soul can have it. It is a matter of embracing a gift.
The serenity of Christ! The inner stability of the Christ! Look at the narratives. Did anyone, watching Jesus in those Galilean days, ever see Him irritated? Think what He had to put up with. Could you have stood it and remained serene? Continual intrusions upon His privacy, no respite from dawn to dark, the steady drain on His spiritual resources, inconsiderate people breaking in on His hours of quiet, the awful burden of sharing every hurt heart’s sins and sorrows, the misunderstandings, the cutting criticisms, the pettiness of the people, the viciousness of the scribes and Pharisees and religion leaders, the terrible, unremitting toil, the disappointments, the crushing load of such a life – and yet, through it all, that same serene, untroubled heart. No flurry, no sign of strain upon His face, no trace of nerves – always “My peace.” Is there anything more marvelous in the Gospels than that?
Contrast His own disciples. Their nerves sometimes gave way. There was a Samaritan village that was rude and inhospitable.
“Ah,” you say, “but that was Jesus! He was different. We are common clay. You can’t expect us to achieve that praise of soul, that spirit serene. It was lovely, it was marvelous, it was magnificent: but for us – utterly and for ever impossible!” I beg you not to be too sure of that. If I could today convince one troubled heart that this same thing – the peace of Christ, which is the peace of God that passeth understanding – is not a far-off dream, but actually within the reach of any soul who will claim it; if even one person who reads these lines were to lay aside his paper and arise quite sure of this, that whatever happens, whatever comes or goes, there is always far more in Jesus to hold a man steady and serene than there can be anywhere else in life to shake or unnerve his soul – this ministry would not have been in vain. For the real marvel is not only to hear, all through the story of Jesus from the carpenter’s bench to the cross, the deep central theme, “My peace”: the real marvel is to hear Him saying in the depths of our own spirit, as I believe He is saying now,
If we will turn our hearts away from the things of this world and from the religious vanity, the churchianity, the religious rubbish that everywhere confronts us, and turn our eyes upon CHRIST JESUS, we will find rest for our souls. All who long after HIS REST must cease from following after men to inquire of them and imbibe their vain philosophy. The carnal mind has nothing more to offer in counsel but darkness and death, for the carnal mind IS DEAD, and knows nothing at all of that which pertains to life. For the people of God to seek counsel from the counselors of this world, be they psychologists, psychiatrists, marriage counselors, or the ministers of religion in the harlot church systems, is as futile and worthless as seeking counsel from a zombie. How accurately did Paul pen the words in
Listen now, with bowed head and contrite spirit, to the heart-cry of the lovely Shulamite as she, possessed by the godly desire to enter into a closer walk with her Beloved, and to know Him in deeper measures of intimacy and union, implores,
It is absolutely amazing to see how God is drawing those who are willing to pay the price to go all the way with God in this momentous hour. His hand is upon them, and He is drawing them to Himself in increasingly deeper measures. there is no self-satisfaction with those whom God is drawing and making hungry for Himself.
How puny, how weak, how miserable at best, is our love for our Lord! Oh, that He would melt us down, that we might cry to Him with a voice that would go right up into His heart:
And now comes the promise:
"Tell me, O Thou whom my soul loveth, where Thou feedest, where Thou MAKEST THY FLOCK TO REST AT NOON."
Those who would be the sons of God in this dark hour must be diligent to feed in the green pastures of His leading, not only in the cool of the morn and at eve when the dew is upon the grass, but even in the hottest hour of the day, when the sun is beating down so fiercely, and there is no breeze stirring. Amidst all the
There is a wonderful relationship with Christ, in which we are hidden away and draw upon Him for all enabling and strength in every time of need. Not only this. There is a relationship where He causes us to lie down and rest when all is turmoil about us. When everything without is going wrong, when the toast burns, the milk spills, the brats bawl, the car won't start, the tire goes flat on the freeway, the boss curses, and the pressures reach the point of crushing the life out, even in the worse testings and the hardest things that can come upon us, HE IS ABLE TO MAKE US REST BESIDE STILL WATERS. Though the sun's rays are hot, and, in ourselves, we would be overcome; He will hush our fears and cause us to rest. He will spread His wing over us, and in its shadow we shall rest. In the covert of His INDWELLING PRESENCE will He hide us from the plottings and words of men. He will keep us secretly in His pavilion from the strife of tongues, for He is our keeper. He is our shade upon our right hand, the sun shall not smite us by day nor the moon by night. As the whole world situation crumbles around us in the days which lie ahead, HE will keep our going out and our coming in. He will keep us from all evil, for He neither slumbers nor sleeps. Those who KNOW THIS are SONS OF THE MOST HIGH GOD!
Rest for the soul!
But alas! I hear someone say, it is this constant labor to bear His yoke, to learn of Him, that is so difficult, and the very effort to attain to this often disturbs my rest even more than the pressures from the world around me. What a mistake to speak thus! Does it weary the traveler to rest on the bed where he seeks relaxation from his fatigue? Or is it a labor for an infant to rest in its mother's arms? Is it not the bed that supports the traveler? Do not the arms of the mother sustain and keep the little one? And so it is with CHRIST IN OUR SPIRIT. The soul has but to yield itself to HIM, to be still and rest in the confidence that
God wants you to know that He that is WITHIN YOU IS GREATER than he that is in the world. If He is – HE IS! It doesn't mean that He is greater IF you pray all night, IF you read ten chapters in the Bible each day, IF you fast all week, IF you praise ever so loud or long, IF you "plead the blood" every time evil presents itself, IF you go to the meeting and sing some chorus twenty-five times, or IF you have five prophecies and two seven-foot angels assuring you that He is working in your behalf. Though none of the above happens, it is still a great fact: HE THAT IS IN YOU IS GREATER THAN HE THAT IS IN THE WORLD. He IS GREATER! IS! IS! IS! Only the blessed Holy Spirit can take this word and make it real. Let us therefore humbly bow before the Lord of the universe, and acknowledge in adoring contemplation this glorious truth that He who dwells in the secret place of our quickened spirit IS GREATER than all the raging passions of the soul and all the powers and pressures that are in the world.
Twenty years ago a spiritualist sat across a room from me and told me that he could take my spirit out of my body while I slept, and bring it up to talk to him in the night. This man continually worked in occult powers, and had I not known the wonder of THE INDWELLING CHRIST there might have been reason to become alarmed, or fearful. But in those days the Spirit of God had made wonderfully real to my heart the absolute and incontrovertible truth that He that is within me IS GREATER than all. This, beloved friend, is an unalterable and eternal fact, contingent upon nothing but our simple acceptance of it as fact. No religious works of any kind will add aught to this fact, no pietistic exercises can make it any more effective – He simply IS GREATER! Calmly, I looked this spiritualist in the eye and said, "I defy you; you can never take my spirit out of my body and carry it anywhere." When I left that house I did not even pray about the matter; I did not waste time worrying or thinking about it; neither did I commence to "bind the devil," or "plead the blood," or "rebuke the spirits." I simply forgot about it. When one KNOWS THAT HE KNOWS that THE CHRIST WITHIN IS GREATER it gives blessed rest.
"For thus saith the Lord God: in rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength."
Oh! that spirit of wisdom and revelation from God may give to all who read these pages the ability to see with enlightened eyes how it is that this blessed realm of REST, PEACE, and CONFIDENCE IN THE CHRIST WITHIN is the Sabbath of the Lord our God. We are to labor to enter into this rest! We are to labor to come to the point of faith where we stop striving and calmly LET GOD BE GOD. We must believe that Christ, the Almighty One, will in every deed lead, teach, defend, keep, preserve, deal, work, transform, and sustain us all the day. Oh, my Lord and my God! If ever our hearts should doubt or fear again, as if the reality were too great to expect, or too high to attain, let us hear Thy voice to quicken our faith and obedience:
THIS IS MY REST
There is another truth altogether as grand as the truth of our entering into the rest of God, namely, God entering in to rest in us.
Our Lord Jesus the Christ said,
Would God that all the saints might see that God's purpose from the foundation of the world has been the building of a spiritual house, an holy temple, an eternal abiding place in which He can be at home and rest. It is a house made up of many living stones. Every stone is a redeemed person and every stone is a person upon whom the mighty hand of God has been laid in dealing. More than three thousand years ago Solomon built a magnificent temple of stone and precious materials. He overlaid it with gold and adorned it with silver. All manner of costly stones were in it. So wonderful was it that the Queen of Sheba stood transfixed at the sight. But the temple built by Solomon was only an ephemeral foreshadow of the living temple which Christ would build by the Spirit – a temple not made with hands
Surely it was not by accident that Solomon, the type of Christ who should build the eternal house of God, received his name. Solomon means "rest." It is interesting that Stephen, referring to Solomon and his temple says,
"Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces."
There was a day when, confined within the dank walls of a prison house, Paul, the beloved apostle, was caught away in spirit into a realm of revelation. There he beheld Mount Sinai, dreadful in its awesome glory, a mount that durst not be touched, where flaming consuming fire dwelt with horrible black darkness. A terrifying storm raged upon its heights, wind-blown flames and smoke pierced the sky. Out of the tempest sounded a deafening trumpet-blast, a voice speaking human words, the voice of the Almighty, so terrible, that those who heard it begged and prayed that it might say no more. Beasts straying near the mountain were instantly killed and so fearful was the spectacle that Moses himself cried out, "I am terrified and tremble!" In his spirit Paul was there at Mount Sinai with the children of Israel, trembling like a reed shaken by the wind, fearing with their fear, dreading with their dread.
Suddenly the scene changed as the Holy Spirit transported him across the ages of time to gaze with wonder upon things that were yet to come, to another, more beautiful scene. Borne by the Spirit he stood before another Mount, even glorious spiritual Zion, an eternal Mount inhabited by a spiritual race of Kings and Priests, the sons of the living God. No longer did he see an impregnable fortress within the walls of an earthly Jerusalem, but a celestial Zion, composed of the redeemed and glorified Army of the Most High. There dwells the Church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven, the spirits of just men made perfect, and Jesus Christ, the first-born of many brethren, the mediator of the new covenant, whose priceless redeeming blood speaks better things than that of Abel.
Paul's spirit is enraptured with glory; his heart is exulting in praise, as he beholds the transcendent glory of SPIRITUAL MOUNT ZION contrasted with the indescribable dreadfulness of Mount Sinai. From his mouth pours forth the prophetic pronouncement:
What is this MOUNT ZION, the PLACE OF GOD'S REST, and what is this city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem? The best way to come to an understanding of its true meaning is to go back to the Old Testament and consider the shadow. Israel of old was God's chosen nation, His peculiar treasure above all the people of the earth. Israel was the visible expression of the Kingdom of God upon earth. Israel was the whole nation and in type represents all who, under the new covenant, are born into the Kingdom of God by spiritual birth. All who were born of the flesh in Israel were citizens of the Kingdom, mattered not their station, whether the king upon the throne, or the blind beggar by the roadside; all alike were citizens by virtue of birth. In this more glorious dispensation of the Spirit, each and every son of Adam's race who have been BORN AGAIN BY THE SPIRIT through the washing of regeneration, are alike citizens of that Kingdom which is no longer a literal dusty little country thronging with peasants and cattle who inhabit tumbledown shacks and barns, but an eternal land, a heavenly country of a spiritual order, the inhabitants of which have been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.
Israel was the whole nation; Jerusalem, the capital city. And as that old order of the flesh was but a type and shadow of the new order of the Spirit (Heb. 10:1; Col. 2:16-17), therefore the New Jerusalem is the capital city, transcendent in glory, in Israel today, which is Christ's Kingdom and of which our Lord said, it
One of the chief mistakes made by Christians of almost all persuasions is the common notion that all saved people belong to the same company or rank in God's Kingdom. Men like to imagine that ALL Christians are the bride of Christ, ALL are sons of God, ALL have the mind of Christ, ALL are "going to the same place" and so on. To assume this is to frustrate the purpose of God in your life. Do not be deceived by the senseless prattle of carnally minded theologians, or by the childish understanding of baby Christians. There are many justified believers who have not been filled with the Holy Spirit of God. There are many Spirit-baptized believers who have not grown up into maturity. And nearly all Christians fit somewhere in between those who are just SAVED BY GRACE and those who have been completely CONFORMED TO THE IMAGE OF THE SON OF GOD.
It should be clear to all who have eyes to see that the JERUSALEM PEOPLE dwell in a brighter glory than do the ISRAEL PEOPLE, even as SPIRIT-FILLED PEOPLE dwell in a brighter glory than do JUSTIFIED PEOPLE. The New Jerusalem is THE BRIDE OF CHRIST (Rev. 21:2, 9-10). A bride is one who is no longer a babe, but has reached a degree of maturity, and has fallen so intensely in love that her only wish is to yield herself to high desires of her husband, giving herself completely and unreservedly to him as her lover, submitting her whole life to him as her head and lord. Oh! So many of the Lord's redeemed people know so little of what it means to BE THE BRIDE OF CHRIST! Not all who pray the sinner's prayer, who receive Christ as Saviour, and fill the pews of Churches on Sunday morning, have discovered this blessed relationship with Christ. I do not believe that I would be mistaken to say that practically none has. Only those who truly FOLLOW ON in their Christian life to know the Lord in this secret place of intense love and complete surrender, of intimacy of fellowship and vital union, ARE THE NEW JERUSALEM, the city foursquare, which is THE BRIDE OF CHRIST, having the glory of God.
And what is MOUNT ZION? To correctly unlock this prophetic expression we need to go back again and consider the shadow. Israel was the whole nation; Jerusalem, the capital city. All Israelites were alike citizens of the Kingdom, but not all Israelites dwelt in Jerusalem, the city of the great king, where stood the temple of God, the priesthood, and the glory. And while Jerusalem comprised a people of surpassing honor and glory and relationship to God, yet in all Jerusalem there was only one who, with his household, DWELT ON MOUNT ZION. He was the King. Zion is the name of the ancient citadel of Jerusalem. It was captured by David shortly after he became King. From that hill David and the Kings of Israel reigned gloriously, and the Ark of God rested there all through the reign of David which was forty years, and for several years afterward until the temple was completed by Solomon. Mount Zion, the hill of David the King, was the highest pinnacle of glory attainable in Israel. But that Zion was only a faint shadow of THE ZION TO WHICH WE ARE COME. David was King over natural Israel. Christ is King over spiritual Israel. David dwelt on the natural Mount Zion. Therefore Christ dwells upon the spiritual Mount Zion. And this spiritual Mount Zion is composed of those who reach the very highest pinnacle attainable in Jerusalem: those who, like King David of old are
The apostle John was borne away on the wings of the Spirit into a realm of revelation and beheld this Zion company.
The only people who could possibly REIGN WITH CHRIST will be those who through death to self have become ONE WITH HIS MIND. All through the ages there have been a minute few who by the grace of God have been able to crucify self, put off the carnal mind, and become LIKE UNTO THE SON OF GOD. Would you dare say that most Christians in any age have attained to this? Ah, beloved, I can assure you that these individuals have been so few in number that if you could place them as grains of sand upon the seashores, it would take an entire life-time of searching before you discovered even one of them. This is Mount Zion!
But, let us nevermore forget,
God's Kingdom and Throne and Temple are all an eternal reality right now on this earth. God's Kingdom is a people, those begotten by the Word of God and born again of His Spirit. The New Jerusalem is a people, even those who have fallen fiercely in love with Christ Jesus, who abide in the hidden place of intimate fellowship and union with Him, walking in blessed submission to His Spirit, the BRIDE OF CHRIST. God's Throne is a people, those in whose hearts and lives He is ENTHRONED AS KING, having counted all else but loss, to suffer with Him. God's Temple is a people,
This Zion company is THE PLACE OF GOD'S REST. These become God's eternal SABBATH DAY, His SABBATH PEOPLE, the personification of His peace, and joy, and righteousness in the Holy Ghost. These are God's resting place because in them GOD HAS DONE A PERFECT WORK, the entire process of re-creation has been brought to its consummation, nothing remains to be accomplished to bring forth the image of God in them, God has ended all His work which He has created and made, and now IN THE BLESSEDNESS OF THIS NEW CREATION HE CAN REST.
Oh the depth that opens here! As in the beginning, God made the heavens, and yet rested not; He made the sun, the moon, and the stars, and yet He rested not; He made the earth, and yet He rested not; He made the herbs, and fruits, and the moving creatures of sea and land and air, and yet He rested not. But He made man, His image in the earth, AND THEN HE RESTED. I do not hesitate to declare to you that God has saved men, and yet he rested not; He has blessed men, and yet He rested not; He has healed men, and yet He rested not; He has given gifts and ministries unto men, and yet He rested not; He has shown marvelous revelations unto men, and yet He rested not. But when MOUNT ZION IS ESTABLISHED He declares,
Do you despair, my friend, that God shall ever complete His work in your life and find in you a place to rest? I invite you to come now, lend your ear to the gentle voice of the Lord God your Creator as He whispers to His apprehended ones this precious promise:
Zion has already been established within to the degree that HE IS LORD WITHIN. Thank God! from dealing to dealing, from quickening to quickening, from judgment to judgment, from glory to glory shall we go as He works, until His dominion within is complete, AND GOD CAN REST IN ZION FOREVERMORE.
To be continued