ECHOES from EDEN, PART 27
END-TIME PROPHECY – TRUTH REVEALED
BY: J. PRESTON EBY
KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
THE GARMENTS of EDEN, (continued)
The Two Tabernacles
The Flesh of the Son of God
Except a Grain of Wheat Die
"And they were both naked, the man and his wife. and the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And, unto Adam and his wife did the Lord God make COATS OF SKINS, AND CLOTHED THEM."
"Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will CLOTHE THEE WITH A CHANGE OF RAIMENT. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and CLOTHED HIM WITH GARMENTS."
If you in spirit will stand "as in the beginning" with your all-wise heavenly Father, you will behold the unfolding of an infinite purpose. You will see the unveiling of God's divine intention in Eden's lovely Garden. Your heart will throb with unspeakable joy as you hear the words,
THE TWO TABERNACLES
In the vast storehouse of truth embraced by the Holy Scriptures
The desire of the man who is begotten of God, whose spirit is a living body born from above, is that he should be clothed with a body at all times, and the apostle assures us that
In the verses we have quoted Paul speaks of the human body as a "tabernacle" or "tent" or "clothing" to be discarded and laid aside. In I Cor. 6:19 the apostle again refers to the body as a "tabernacle" or "temple," saying, "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God?" Peter, also, in making reference to his imminent death described that event in this manner:
In a manner peculiar to God all truth is clothed in mystery. The greater and more important the truth the greater the mystery it unfolds. Even in the natural realm the human body is undoubtedly among the most profound mysteries of the universe. Its hidden secrets are so great that I know not how any doctor or scientist could ponder its composition and intricate complexities and physiological marvels and yet fail to see the master mind of an omniscient Creator. But in the Scripture above we see that the Spirit of the Creator declares that not only is there this PHYSICAL BODY of the earth realm, but there is also the SPRITUAL BODY of the heavenly realm. Furthermore, He depicts both the physical and spiritual bodies not only as garments with which we are clothed, but as TABERNACLES in which we dwell – and in which He dwells.
As we meditate upon the wonderful truth of these TWO BODIES, these TWO GARMENTS, these TWO TABERNACLES, the natural and the spiritual, the earthly and the heavenly, I would draw your attention to the blessed significance of the TWO TABERNACLES spoken of in the book of Hebrews.
The truth is conveyed to us in these verses is briefly summed up as follows: (1) there were TWO TABERNACLES in the wilderness: the Holy Place and the Holiest of All (2) the veil between these two tabernacles signified that the way into the second, the Holiest of All, was not yet manifest, while the first tabernacle was still standing (3) Christ is a priest of good things to come by a GREATER AND MORE PERFECT TABERNACLE, not of the physical creation (4) this greater tabernacle is HEAVEN ITSELF, or that which is spiritual and heavenly as contrasted with that which is physical and earthly.
The one thing the writer wishes to direct our attention to is the difference and the relation between the two compartments into which the tabernacle was divided, and the meaning of the veil that separated them. The inner sanctuary was called the Holiest of All, or, as it is in Hebrew, the Holiness of Holiness. It was the highest embodiment there could be of holiness; it was the place where God Most Holy dwelt. His holy presence and power and life filled it. No man might enter there on pain of death but the high priest, and even he only once a year. In the Holy Place, separated from the Most Holy by a heavy veil, the priests entered and served. The truths embodied in the house thus made after a heavenly pattern were very simple. The two tabernacles are the symbols of two stages of life, two planes of experiencing God. The epistle teaches us that Christ knew this difference in His own life experience, and, entering into and opening up the higher one for us, passed through the lower. He entered into the Holiest THROUGH THE GREATER AND MORE PERFECT TABERNACLE, through the experience of that spiritual reality of which the tabernacle was a shadow. The Holiest is God's immediate presence and glory, the state of being in which God is all that He is without mixture, limitation, or
Christ came down in human form, took upon Him the form of sinful flesh, took upon Him humanity, God dwelling Himself within the limitation of a human body, THIS IS THE REALM OF THE FIRST TABERNACLE, the Holy Place. He became obedient unto death, and by death HE PASSED THROUGH THE FIRST TABERNACLE, as a spiritual experience in reality. Because flesh and blood CANNOT ENTER THE KINGDOM OF GOD (the Most Holy Place), it was necessary that Jesus enter by a "greater and more perfect tabernacle" – a resurrected, glorified, heavenly body. That ministry, however, could not be made manifest "while as the first tabernacle (flesh and blood body) was yet standing." Yes, Jesus passed from the Holy Place of His sanctified human body and nature into the Most Holy Place of His glorified body. When He died the veil was rent in twain; the way was opened up into the Holiest. Then through His resurrection and ascension He entered Himself into the SECOND AND GREATER TABERNACLE, not of this physical creation.
When our Lord Jesus Christ died, Roman soldiers cast lots for His vesture and one of them took away the seamless robe in which He had walked and taught and healed. His naked, mortal body was then wrapped in linen cloths, which the Bible speaks of as grave clothes, and then wrapped in cloth He was laid away in the tomb. But wonder of wonders, when upon the glorious resurrection morning Peter and John went into the tomb, they found not the body of the Lord Jesus, but the grave clothes, His only covering, were found lying in the exact position He had lain while in the state of death, just as though our Lord had vanished out of them, for that is exactly what He did. Special mention is made by John that the grave clothes lay exactly as though the Christ were still in them, yet He had disappeared out of them. The grave clothes represent the body of death, the first tabernacle, the earthly house – and this one fact alone speaks the truth more eloquently than the blast of a trumpet. Jesus laid aside, slipped out of, and forever passed beyond the mortal realm into His building of God, the house not made with hands, eternal and incorruptible and immortal in the realm of the Spirit – the spiritual body.
In order to grasp fully what the Spirit would now convey to our hearts, we must realize that the Holiest of All does not pertain to anything in this earth realm. It is, rather, clearly identified as the HEAVENLY REALM, for the writer to the Hebrews said of it:
Should you find difficulty in perceiving this necessary point of truth, may I direct your attention to a most enlightening statement by the apostle Paul in
A clear distinction is drawn for us by the Holy Spirit between the two types of flesh. Of that flesh which is born of the earth, Paul had this to say,
As we praise this thought of the two kinds of flesh I should mention my deep indebtedness to my friend and sister in Christ, Connie Asbill, for the role she played in sharing these powerful concepts with me. A portion of what I shall share along this line is gleaned from her writings and personal correspondence with her over the years.
THE FLESH OF THE SON OF GOD
Our little minds are far too limited to grasp heavenly realities. We are limited in our thinking to earthly interpretations and understanding. We can only conceive of the "flesh" of the animal kingdom, and of fish and fowl and creeping things of earth. But it should not seem strange to discover that all flesh is not the same flesh and that there are bodies terrestrial AND bodies celestial. The flesh of the Son of God is not that flesh upon the bones of Jesus as He walked the earth for thirty-three and a half years. It is not that flesh born of Mary, which suffered hunger, weariness, weakness, and death. That human flesh was just that: HUMAN flesh. Human flesh is DEAD FLESH, for the Holy Spirit calls our human bodies "mortal (dying) bodies." That which is dying can only produce that which is dying. Adamic flesh is doomed from the moment it is conceived in the womb, and in that flesh can be found no hope whatever of eternal life. The law of creation is that everything produces
My sincere prayer to God is that He may give my readers eyes to see and hearts to understand this simple but sublime truth: ALL FLESH IS NOT THE SAME FLESH! ALL BODIES ARE NOT TERRESTRIAL BODIES! There is a flesh that is corruptible and there is a flesh that is incorruptible. There is a flesh that is a shame and there is a flesh that is a glory. There is a flesh which if a man eats of it, brings death. But blessed be the name of the Lord! there is a flesh that, if a man eats thereof, brings ETERNAL LIFE.
When Jesus spoke of this table He had just performed the miracle whereby He fed five thousand men with nothing more than five barley loaves and two small fishes. Jesus departed and the day following He and His disciples were pursued by the multitude which sought them on the other side of the sea of Galilee. One would think that Jesus would be honored by their devotion, but without mincing words He charged them,
In all the world there is no greater tragedy than that which overtake the man who follows Christ primarily for TEMPORAL BLESSINGS – healing, health, prosperity, houses, lands, success, solution to problems, meeting of needs, etc., etc. As I observe the Christians today in their prayers, preaching and meetings I am more and more convinced that the vast majority of them are not seeking the Lord for that which HE IS, but for that which He can give to them. Ah, yes, we praise God for His great love and faithfulness, how bountiful His grace in supplying our daily needs, in healing our bodies, in blessing us in the hundreds of mundane things which daily touch our lives in this present earth-realm, but do you not see, beloved, that ALL THIS IS MEAT THAT PERISHES, though it be given from the hand of God? All that is lavished upon this Adamic flesh is TEMPORAL BLESSING at best, and wonderful as it is, it is entirely restricted to the plane of the physical, material, and mortal, so that when a man dies ALL THESE BLESSINGS ARE PART OF THE THINGS HE LEAVES BEHIND! Pause – and think about that!
How great is the glory contained in these words of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Bear with me as I repeat again this great and wonderful truth: All flesh is not the same flesh, and all bodies are not terrestrial bodies. There is a flesh with which we are familiar. There is flesh about which the natural man knows nothing at all. There are bodies which are earthly, physical, visible and tangible. And there are bodies which are heavenly, spiritual, invisible, and imperceptible. The flesh with which we are acquainted is OUR FLESH. That which yet remains a mystery is HIS FLESH. The natural mind is very dark and without understanding. Only the Holy Spirit can awaken it. Only the Holy Spirit can give us eyes to see that Jesus was not offering us the flesh of His earthly tabernacle, NEITHER WAS HE OFFERING US SOMETHING WITHOUT SUBSTANCE. When Jesus said,
The eating of divine flesh (the celestial body) of Christ produces LIFE. And what is this heavenly flesh, this celestial body? We know how the Word (logos), who had from eternity existed in the Father realm, entered upon a new stage of existence when He was lowered into the earth realm and became flesh, the Son of man. After passing through His earth experience, when He ascended to heaven, He was still the same only begotten Son of God who had been witnessed to by the Father throughout His earth life – and yet not altogether the same. For He was now also, as Son of man, the first-begotten from the dead, CLOTHED WITH THAT GLORIFIED HUMANITY which He had perfected and sanctified for Himself, as the last Adam. And now, as we receive into our lives the Spirit of the firstborn Son we receive the Spirit of the LAST MAN ADAM, the SECOND MAN FROM HEAVEN, the GLORIFIED JESUS, yes, the Spirit of the risen and exalted Christ, the bearer and communicator to us, not merely of the life of God as such, but of that divine life as it has been interwoven into the perfect manhood of the person of Jesus Christ.
Oh! The mystery of it. When the Spirit of the Son comes down not only as the Holy Spirit of the Father, but as the Spirit of the perfected and glorified God-man – most really the Spirit of God, and yet as truly the Spirit of THE LAST MAN ADAM. In and through this exalted Son we see and receive not only the kind of spirit man was intended to have, but the KIND OF FLESH, as well. Now, blessed be God! Jesus has been glorified; we can
Speaking of the bread and wine, Paul stated,
Ah, beloved, for two thousand years God's people have been eating the human flesh of Jesus Christ – knowing Him after the commandments of men, knowing Him as doctrine, knowing Him in rituals and forms, in sacraments and external observances, seeing Him as the historical Jesus, traveling to Israel to "walk where He walked," etc. But, oh! how our hearts pant and hunger and thirst after His glorious and eternal reality, that we may at last know Him AS HE IS, partaking of Him AS HE IS, and experiencing Him in all His divine fullness. And it is high time that all who are apprehended of God to follow Him in sonship should discover that the "shadows" of the bread and wine of the communion service are slipping away AS THE REALITY COMES IN UPON US!
EXCEPT A GRAIN OF WHEAT DIE
The life which Jesus gives is Himself, and the life, which He is, is imperishable. Those who partake of it cannot perish, for they have passed from the kingdom of death to the kingdom of life.
The flesh which we inherited from Adam (who was of the earth, earthy) is counted by God to be nothing more than a seed.
Paul had a word for all who raise such questions:
When we really know life, when we understand our environment and the dynamics of the biological forces within it, we will surely have a clearer understanding of the laws and processes of the higher spiritual realm of the Kingdom of God. When you sow a kernel of corn in the earth of your garden, you sow it out of sight, to decay and disintegrate, that a new plant shall spring forth. The corn you receive in the fall IS NOT THE SAME KERNELS YOU PLANTED in the spring! The kernel you planted DIED, that the corn-life within might be released. The INNER LIFE springs forth and the corn of the harvest is the PRODUCT OF THAT INNER LIFE contained in the original seed. The seed's whole purpose is to die, that there may be a release of whatever life dwells within TO PRODUCE A NEW BODY. Throughout the entire chapter of I Cor. 15 Paul is writing about sowing and harvesting and applies this principal to the resurrection body.
And of the heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, the heavenly is not earthly, is it? And there is nothing heavenly about that body whose foul breath you sweetened this morning by brushing its teeth, is there? There is nothing heavenly about the earthly body, and there is nothing earthly about the heavenly body.
And Paul further tells us,
Can we not see by this that the spiritual body IS NOT THE NATURAL BODY RECONSTRUCTED at all, but a brand new, totally different body, the PRODUCT OF THE CHRIST LIFE CONTAINED WITHIN YOUR NATURAL BODY, THE SEED? Surely, if no other instruction were given in the Bible but these few verses, we would have a sound foundation upon which to fasten our firm understanding that the natural body does not in any way become the spiritual body, but the spiritual body is the product of the indwelling life of the resurrected, glorified Son of God! If we would heed the voice of inspiration and revelation as it speaks through these words of the apostle, we would at once see and acknowledge that the embryo of our spiritual body ALREADY
There are certain times and seasons when God brings to life truths that have been allowed to lie in grave clothes for ages and dispensations. As a seed lies dormant in the winter months and bursts into life in the warmth and rain of spring, so also has the truth of God been allowed to lie in death throughout the wintry night of our walk in the religious systems of Babylon now at last to burst into a fruitful harvest in the spring of God's purpose to bring sons to glory. There came a wonderful day when Christ came into our lives. "What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought, Since Jesus came into my heart," we sweetly sing. But did you ever wait in holy reverence for the Spirit to reveal the eternal truth of those words to your deepest heart? Oh yes, we received Him – as a saviour, as a thought, as an idea or an ideal, as a truth, as a presence, as an ethereal kind of spirit, something vague and intangible. The Spirit of the Lord is quickening, however, that there is SUBSTANCE to that MAN within us. When the incorruptible life of Christ was conceived within us, we must realize that He was conceived within as the EMBRYO of a SPIRIT-BODY, Not just a spirit, but a SPIRIT-BODY!
When Paul speaks, then, of being strengthened with might in the INNER MAN, he is speaking of SUBSTANCE within us. When Peter speaks of the HIDDEN MAN of the heart, he is speaking of GLORIFIED FLESH that has been born into the believer but is hidden beneath the veil of Adamic flesh. As we feed that man within with the Spirit and the living Word of God, this infant spirit-man begins to grow and when he is fully formed, he will burst forth from the womb of Adamic flesh and stand as a mature NEW CREATION MAN!
God has so beautifully provided a parable of this blessed truth in the world of nature about us. The lowly caterpillar which crawls along the ground, trod upon by the foot of man, is destined to flit on starry wings in a heavenly atmosphere no longer hampered by earth-bound things but transformed as though by God's Spirit from a creature of dust to one which has put on a somewhat heavenly tabernacle. There is planted within the very being of that worm a call to a higher life-form, and, driven by that hidden nature within (which exists as a SUBSTANCE), at the appointed time he begins to spin around himself a cocoon. Before the caterpillar ever crawled upon the earth the potential to become a butterfly lay within his being from the very moment of fertilization of the egg. When the larva had begun to form in the egg, certain little groups of cells, belonging NOT TO THE LARVA BUT TO THE EVENTUAL BUTTERFLY, had also formed, and these remained dormant, safely stored within the body of the caterpillar. At the appointed time these cells awaken to life and begin to grow and multiply. Their presence becomes dramatically evident during the six short minutes when the last larval skin is shed, and the cocoon is spun. Hanging there in his cocoon, the worm bides his time and acts out a living prophecy of the words of Job who said,
Oh! My brother, my sister, may the Spirit of God quicken the truth of these things to your heart! As I have looked to the Lord about these precious truths, it has become increasingly clear to my spirit that Jesus did not receive the glorified body when he arose from the tomb – no more than the butterfly became a butterfly when it broke from the cocoon. The worm becomes a butterfly BEFORE it emerges from the cocoon. The thing the Spirit would teach us in this, then, is that a butterfly does not become a butterfly BECAUSE it escapes the cocoon. It, rather, escapes the cocoon BECAUSE IT HAS BECOME A BUTTERFLY! Even so, Jesus did not possess a glorified body BECAUSE He arose from the grave. He, instead, burst forth from the grave BECAUSE HE ALREADY POSSESSED A GLORIFIED BODY! What a difference! Because He was indwelt by the incorruptible life of His Father, that life being formed fully within Him. He could announce to His disciples before His death:
God would have all His holy sons to know of a certainty the incomprehensible treasure which lies within them – a house, a tabernacle, a clothing from heaven is within them – and we have the confidence that even this outward body of clay shall be exchanged for that heavenly body, thus fulfilling the glorious words of victory:
Ah, as we allow this old Adam-nature, this outer-man-body of corruption and wickedness to be put to death, to die and get out of sight, then the inner-man body of the spirit is built up in his divine life and substance. The blood of Christ (His Spirit-life) and the flesh of Christ (His celestial body) are first communicated to us through the implantation of the "incorruptible seed," which is THE WORD OF GOD; for seed, whether corruptible or incorruptible, is the very essence and substance of the blood and body. When we are babes it comes as "milk"; until we grow up in Christ it becomes "strong meat," and "flesh and blood," daily increasing our strength and growth and substance, as we can bear it.
Yes, our earthly house is this corruptible, mortal tabernacle, the body of flesh in which we now dwell. But within, in the inner realm of our spirit, even now as I pen these words, there is being constructed a BUILDING OF GOD, a house not made with hands, a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not of this creation, eternal in the heavens. Not a mansion in the sky, not a white nightgown in which to flit about over golden streets strumming a harp, as the preachers are always foolishly telling us, but a new body, a new tabernacle, a new garment, a new nature, a body of light and glory and power, a body of CELESTIAL FLESH, a body of incorruption, a garment of immortality! Then Paul states that, when this body of life has been fully put on, WE WILL NOT BE FOUND NAKED even though this present old bag of bones be laid aside!
I never cease to be amazed at how much effort people put in trying to "immortalize" this earth body, the first tabernacle, the first man Adam. But the Holy Spirit witnesses, "There is a natural body AND there is a spiritual body." Most saints don't know the difference between these two bodies! So many of God's precious people imagine that the natural body shall some how become the spiritual body. Is that which is spiritual, natural? Is that which is natural, spiritual? Is that which is earthly, heavenly? Is that which is heavenly, earthly? Is that which is terrestrial, celestial? Is that which is celestial, terrestrial? Is that which is corruptible, also incorruptible? Is that which is incorruptible, corruptible? Ah, my friend, there are TWO BODIES, TWO TABERNACLES, TWO GARMENTS. The one must decrease, the other must increase. The one must be laid aside, the other must be "put on."
I continually meet up with brethren who believe that their earth body is the heavenly body, that their natural body is the spiritual body, that their terrestrial is the celestial body, and that therefore they shall live forever in that hunk of flesh they are carrying around! Nonsense, my brother! I must be very honest and quite frank with you, beloved. I have not one whit of a desire to live forever IN THIS BODY OF HUMILIATION. There is no
It would be amiss to conclude this article without quoting
There is a very real sense in which the withering fig-leaves of Adam's own making represent this vile body of death and humiliation, while the enduring covering of the life of God's precious Lamb bespeaks the eternal garment of THE CELESTIAL BODY OF THE CHRIST.
We shall pursue further this vital subject of the two garments, the two bodies, in next month's article, Lord willing.
To be continued