ECHOES from EDEN, PART 29
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)
Male and Female
Transcending the Curse back to Eden
MALE AND FEMALE
The book of Genesis gives two accounts of the creation of man. As I have studied the Word of God, many things have become very evident, one of which is that there are two distinct creations, or works of God revealed in chapters one and two of Genesis. CHRIST is the image of God, the scripture says. I know these words may seem to be incredible but they are truth – the very first mention of the "image of God" is applied, not to Jesus Christ, but to our forefather ADAM. "And God said, Let us make MAN IN OUR IMAGE, after our likeness: and let them have dominion, so God created MAN IN HIS OWN IMAGE, in the IMAGE OF GOD created He him." (Gen. 1:26-27) As we consider the wonderful advent of man created "in the image of God" we can only conclude that this is a SPIRITUAL MAN brought forth out of the very spirit-substance of God Almighty, and bearing His own divine nature, character, power, and attributes. The image of God is the nature of God reproduced in man. Thus, man is the true image of God.
Notice now, what God says in Gen. 1:20-25: “And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day. And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” And then in verse 26: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” This says plainly that the waters brought forth the whales, the fish, and the fowl of the air. Then the earth brought forth cattle, creeping things, the beasts of the earth. And the record further states that God made whales after the whale kind; cattle after the cattle kind; chimps after the chimp kind – but God made MAN after the GOD kind! That’s what it says! This reveals clearly, beyond dispute, that man is not an animal! Man was made in the image and likeness of God – in the very form and shape and substance of God. Man was first and foremost created a spiritual being to have a relationship to God.
It would, I think, be almost impossible to read the Creation story and pass unnoticed these words: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; MALE AND FEMALE created he them” and “… and blessed them, and called THEIR NAME ADAM, in the day when they were created.” (Gen. 1:27, 5:2) The man of Genesis One is not formed out of the earth; he is a man from heaven, a heavenly man, a spiritual man. This man was created. Of what was he created? He as created of the Word. It does not say that he was formed out of something; it does not say the earth brought him forth, as it says of the animals; He was created. “And God said, Let us make man in our image and after our likeness… and God created man in His own image, in the image of God created he him…” The divine nature image and glory was best and fully expressed in the man Christ Jesus who shed upon mortals the truest reflection of God and lifted man's sights higher than their poor thought-models would allow. Jesus revealed to men their true origin, heritage and destiny. He came to show man what man really is, was intended to be, and through redemption shall be – THE IMAGE OF GOD. Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. In Jesus Christ you see man as he was in the beginning and as he ever shall be world without end – THE IMAGE OF GOD. Of Him it is written, "He is the expression of the glory of God – the Light-being, the out-raying of the divine – and He is the perfect imprint and very image of God's nature…” (Hebrews 1:3 Amplified) Christ, and humanity in Christ, is like a ray of light which comes from the sun-man the outcome of God, reflects God.
Contrary to popular teaching man has never LOST the image of God, although the image has been obscured, distorted, marred and corrupted by the usurpation of the carnal mind, the outer man. A lost image is NO image. The true likeness cannot be lost in divine reflection. It would be like fire without light. The out-raying image of God is like the Word of God. To destroy the Word of God you would have to destroy God Himself, for God and His Word are ONE. To destroy the image of God would necessitate the destruction of God, for God and His image are ONE. The apostle Paul confirms man 'I', as God's image in his remarkably significant words to the saints in Corinth: "For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he I-S THE IMAGE AND GLORY OF GOD." (I Cor: 11:7)
The very fact that the scripture states that Adam “became” a living soul, reveals that was a process of descending from pure spirit existence, into a lesser realm. In Gen. 1:26 we see the wonderful advent of man created "in the image and likeness of God," a SPIRITUAL MAN brought forth out of the very SPIRIT-SUBSTANCE of God Almighty and bearing His own divine nature, character and attributes. God first called man ADAM – meaning RED, or SHOWING BLOOD IN THE FACE – when He created him a SPIRITUAL MAN. In Gen. 2:7 we find that in God's inscrutable wisdom the dark hour came when the creature was MADE SUBJECT TO VANITY (Rom. 8:20). Of this man who had been created as pure spirit in the image of God, it is now stated, "And the Lord God FORMED MAN OF THE DUST OF THE GROUND, and breathed into his nostrils the breath (spirit, the spiritual man) of life; and man (then) BECAME a LIVING SOUL." The man who had been spirit now "became" a LIVING SOUL – manifest in the earth realm. Adam – red, showing blood in the face – BECAME a living soul, revealing that there was a PROCESS of descending from pure spirit existence, into a lesser realm.
The point of special interest to us here is the fact that God first called man ADAM, or RED – SHOWING BLOOD IN THE FACE – when He created him a SPIRITUAL MAN. Man did not "become" Adam when he was "formed of the dust of the ground" – it was not the earthly man who was first characterized as red, or showing blood in the face – but the heavenly man! And this Adam was not formed of the dust, but was created "in the image and likeness of God." No poet or philosopher or prophet could possibly describe the glory and eminence of THIS MAN! I have long known that the "face" in symbolic terms bespeaks of the outward expression and revelation of the deepest inward parts of man's being – the heart. All that a man thinks and feels and is inwardly is written and expressed outwardly upon the countenance, known and read of all men. Blood bespeaks LIFE. To "show blood in the face" is to show life in the countenance – the OUTWARD REVELATION OF THE INNER CONDITION OF L-I-F-E!
The contrast between the heavenly man and the earthly man has been beautifully drawn by Lloyd Ellefson in his publication THE GOOD SEED: “Before we can get there, we have to pass through both the created Man (who is… the spiritual man) and the formed man (who is the carnal or earthly man). We have two men, and the one in Genesis One we say is created, and the one in Genesis Two as formed out of the dust of the earth. … In Genesis 2:5 we read that God had no man to till (or to work, serve, cultivate) the ground. Yet in Genesis One God had already created man. That is the first difference. The first man was not made to work the soil; he was a heavenly man. The second man is formed out of the ground, to work the ground, to be earthly, or to produce an earthly concept of God which is not a correct image, but only a temporary image that will eventually be done away with. In Genesis One, he was created as an image. In Genesis Two he was not created as an image. He was formed out of the creation or out of the dust of the earth. It does not say that about the first man.”
Let us just note a few more of the differences between these two men. The first man was created from the Word of God; the second man was formed out of the existing creation. Since the first man was created in the image of God, he must be spiritual; the second man was from the dust of the earth, earthy. God breathed into him, and he became a living soul (i.e. he became aware). The same word is used for the beasts of the field, but it is not said of plants. The first man was created male and female, and not divided. The second man was also created together, but was later divided.
To the first man God said, “Subdue the earth and have dominion.” Dominion was not given to the second man. As a matter of fact, he was restricted. He was put into a garden and told to cultivate it. This is not said of the first man. The first man was given every plant bearing seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed, for food. The second man had a restriction placed upon him. There was one tree of which he was not to eat. After the second man was made, it does not say that all was very good, as it says after the first man was created. Nor does it say that the first man was divided and put to sleep, like the second man was. The second man was also sent out of the garden.
We see then that we have two humanities in these two chapters. One of them is the spiritual man. The other is the natural man. So we have here two images of God. From our present viewpoint in time, consciousness and experience that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual (I Cor. 15:46). From our conscious experience in this life the natural man was first and as we were quickened by the Spirit and united to Christ the spiritual man arose in us. That’s according to our perspective and understanding. However, looking at them the way God sees them, we see that the first man was obviously spiritual, and the second man was the one formed of the dust. Man sees the natural image first, then the spiritual. But God saw the spiritual man first, then the earthy. When we are re-generated it is the quickening or re-surrection of the spiritual image. The prefix “re” means back, again, anew, to reappear. Thus re-birth means to be born again. To re-generate means to generate anew. To re-surrect means to stand up once more. Regeneration is the raising up again of the spiritual image in man. If the spiritual image had not once existed in man, prior to earthy image, there is no way it could be re-generated, re-surrected, or re-stored. So there are two men. One is the generation of the Spirit, or the heavens, and the other is the generation of the earth, or the flesh.
When the spiritual man was lowered into the form of the earth man, the scripture explains that “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.” (Gen 2:7) From the Greek the statement reads, “The first man Adam was made a zoe psuche (living soul).” (I Cor. 15:45) The wonderful simplification of this statement is missed by nearly all who read it or comment upon it. There are two primary words that are translated “life” in our English Bibles – zoe and psuche. Turn your concordance and you will find the Greek word zoe translated life as many or more times than you will find psuche so translated. And zoe is the word that is always translated “eternal” or “eonian” life. The reason for this, as distinguished from psuche (not, animal life) is that zoe is always used to denote spiritual, or everlasting life. Zoe is the life of God. (Jn. 1:4). “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of Zoe; and man became a living soul.” (John 5:26) Psuche is natural soul life. This life, Zoe, is the life Jesus promised to give to man when He said, “I give unto them eternal life (Zoe), and they shall never perish.” Psuche on the other hand, is the life Jesus said we must lay down or lose in order to gain Zoe life. “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Mat. 16:24-25) In the Hebrew text the statement reads, “… and behold, man became a nephesh chaya.” The Hebrew word nephesh means “spirit,” while chaya, which is derived from the root chai meaning “life,” is the generic term for “animal” or “creature.” Only man embodies both earthly and divine characteristics which are combined together in such a unique and majestic manner.
It should now be obvious to all who read these lines that when Adam became a living soul (psuche) he was not only a physical being fashioned from the dust of the earth, but also a being infused with divine, spiritual, heavenly life. Man is a “divine” being, “breathed into” by God Himself. He is of infinite value for he possesses a part of the divine himself. But there is another significant expression in the Genesis record that we do not want to miss. “And God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life…” The word “life” is in the Hebrew plural, literally, lives. The breath of lives! The moment we understand that man in the beginning was created a spiritual man or race, both male and female, and that male and female IS the image of God, then we can understand for the first time the nature of the “lives” that God breathed into the earthen form.
When he that readeth can grasp the truth that God bears within Himself both the characteristics of male and female, of Father and Mother, then he can better understand the divine word spoken “in the beginning” when God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: so… in the image of God created He him; Male, Female. Both Adam. Both man. Both in the image of God! Those who read these lines should meditate deeply upon the wonder of man’s primordial glory – male and female – set together in splendor over the works of God’s hands. All creation being set in order, one was needed to take the headship, to bring the authority and blessing of God’s Kingdom over all things. “And God said, Let us make man in our image and after our likeness; and let THEM have dominion… so God created man in His own image… male and female created He THEM. And God blessed THEM, and God said unto THEM, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and HAVE DOMINIOIN over… every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Gen. 1:26-28) Universal dominion was not given to the male alone, it was not said, “let him have dominion,” but “Let them have dominion.” How clear that the spiritual man was not a single entity – they were male and female! God called their name Adam. The man’s name wasn’t Adam. The woman’s name wasn’t Adam. But their name was Adam. They were more than one. And there – male and female – were ordained to be fruitful and multiply and populate the earth realm. Can we not see by this that the “lives” breathed by God into the earthy form were (the male and female spirits in this image of God – the pre-existent spiritual man!) and is not this the mystery that Moses and Aaron understood when they fell upon their faces and cried unto the Lord, saying “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh…” (Num. 16:22) It is my deep conviction that every spirit of man inhabiting a flesh body is derived from those primordial spirits of the spiritual male and female in the image of God.
You were there and so was I…
The seed of Great “I AM”,
We were extensions of Himself
So He called our name “Ad-AM”.
Thus out of God we did proceed,
Projected into time,
In innocence and purity,
A state of bliss sublime.
He breathed us in a body
That He had made of dust,
Male and Female Adam,
Both in body thrust.
- Lora Huston
Thus the spiritual family of man (male and female) was lowered into the clay form of the earth man. The first image of God was concealed or veiled in the flesh or the humanity of the second man. I think that this spiritual man, the spiritual image of God, has been in man all the time, but concealed or veiled by the fleshly man and his testimony. Our spirits were with God in the beginning of the creation. Long before we existed in this form of dust, or of flesh and blood, we were with the Father. To those who can receive it there is a blessed and divine answer in the New Testament to the question put by the Almighty to Job in that long ago: "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:4, 7) O that men might see that there was a day in which God established in the heavens His great plan of creation and redemption. In that of the early councils of the Elohim there erupted such an harmonious symphony of rejoicing and praise and the morning stars formed a celestial choir which broke forth into a rhapsody of song while all the sons of God filled the unlimited vastnesses of infinity with their shouts of joy and expectation as they with wonder beheld the end of Father's glorious plan.
There is a chord far away in the depths of my spirit today that still vibrates to that wondrous shout of joy. There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that in that long forgotten past we were there with Him in spirit, and there is an inward sense of assurance that much of the truth we now possess was known to our spirits since that early beginning. The call to sonship was placed within our spirits at that time, for the scripture with divine certainty testifies that it was those whom the Father FOREKNEW that He also predestinated to be conformed into the image of His Son (Rom. 8: 29), according as He hath chosen us in Him BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of sons by Jesus Christ to Himself (Eph. 1:4-5). Paul Mueller wrote some time ago that all that has taken place in our lives, from the cradle to the grave, was at that time programmed into our spirits, and we are now walking out the path that Father ordained for us in that pre-dawn hour. To which my spirit shouts a hearty "Amen!"
The truth written in this message is glorious beyond compare, because it contains the truth concerning the FULLNESS OF OUR SALVATION – RESTORATION TO THE IMAGE AND GLORY OF GOD that was ours before ever the worlds were framed.
Hans Christian Anderson was a great storyteller. He could spin a yarn and tell a tale with the best of writers. He also recognized a greater writer, the storyteller of life. "Every man's life is a fairy tale," he wrote, "written by God's fingers." When do our tales begin? Many say, "Why, at birth, of course, when the cord is cut and the child draws its first breath and sees the light of day." God, the storyteller of life, tells us His "fingers" were busy long before that. Long before your conception in a physical world, you existed, because you are the children of the Father in heaven. If you did not exist before your conception, then, my friends, you have no SPIRIT within you, and God, the Father of spirits, the Father in heaven, is not the Father of the spirits of all men. The question begs an answer: From whence came your spirit? From God? From the devil? Did God by a special act of creation form it at the moment of your conception or birth? Was it pro-created in the physical union of sperm and ovum? If you did not exist before your conception you do not belong to the family of God, nor are you the sons of God, nor did Jesus descend from the heavenly realms to redeem you, and there is not much I can tell you that will do you any good.
I turn to the passages of scripture which with divine certainty relate this. In Eph. 1:4-5 we find, "According as He hath chosen us IN HIM BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children (placement as sons) by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will." Blessed be God! The apostle Paul informs us that God chose and predestinated a company of sons BEFORE the foundation of the world. The word "before" translates the Greek word PRO meaning "to go before, to precede." Hence, the Father's act of choosing the firstfruit-sons preceded the laying the foundations of the world. How, I ask, could God choose you IN CHRIST and predestinate you in that long ago eternity IF YOU DID NOT THEN EXIST? Now, therefore, when I talk to you, I am talking to a household of God's sons and daughters; I am talking to a celestial race, a divine household; and these are the people of whom the apostle spoke when he wrote to the saints in Rome, saying, "For whom He did FOREKNOW, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Rom. 8:29) Yes – the Father in heaven FOREKNEW YOU, my beloved brother, my precious sister in Christ. And that can mean nothing else but that He KNEW YOU BEFORE and at that time when He KNEW YOU BEFORE He predestinated you to enter this earth-experience and thereby be conformed to the image of first, unique, and preeminent Son, Jesus Christ.
Never were words more sublime uttered by sage or prophet than those spoken by King David when he lifted up his heart to God in a prayer of thanksgiving and adoration saying, "Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God." (Ps. 90:1-2) It is my deep conviction that every man of Adam's race had his beginning in God and existed in Him in eternity past before ever we came to this earth to be enriched and perfected by the experience of temptation, sin, death, redemption and restoration. Our coming to this earth was with the purpose that through the desperate furnace of trials in this charnel house of sin and death we should come to the knowledge not only of good and evil and the holiness of God, but to the sacred understanding of the mystery of godliness – of WHY the wages of sin is death; WHY when any creature of God sows to the flesh he reaps of the flesh only corruption; WHY when a man sows to the spirit he of the spirit reaps life everlasting. Having gained this sacred knowledge of the law of Being we shall not stand in God's image and glory like robots programmed to function in divine nature inherently incapable of being anything less, but we are brought to the spiritual appreciation of the principles of Divine Being and by our perfection in knowledge and experience stand before our Lord at last in an ETERNAL CHOOSING to abide in a perfection like unto His own.
As poor Job sat on the ash heap in the midst of trial and suffering the Lord commanded him to stand up like a man and respond to the questions He, the Lord, would put to him. The Lord then asked forty questions, none of which Job could answer. Among the questions was this one: "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:7) Job was speechless, for he had no idea where he was in that time of long ago, but the truth, it seems to me, was that Job was there among the company of the sons of God, beholding with wonder the plan of God on earth with its sufferings and testiness and the glory that should follow. These sons of God who shouted for joy on that primeval morn understood the wisdom of a plan by which they should gain the enlightenment of perfection by experience instead of perfection by creations guided only by divine instincts, and that the sufferings of this world are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to follow as a result of them, and so awesome was the prospect that they shouted for joy in holy expectation. We do not shout unless there is something to shout about. The message is clear--there was a time before the foundations of the earth were laid; there were sons of God who already existed in that ancient time; and those young sons of God lifted their voices with the morning stars in contemplation of the marvelous purpose they were to fulfill. It is precious to know that God's first Son, our own Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, is named the Bright and Morning Star.
In the ninetieth Psalm referred to above, the prophet David assures us with great plainness of speech that the Lord has been our dwelling place in all generations. Even before the mountains were brought forth or God had formed the earth, from everlasting to everlasting He is God and in Him we dwelt and from Him we came. Our spirits were with Him before the creation of the earth, for the Father was then our dwelling place. We were sent to this earthly realm for a wise and glorious purpose – for testing, learning, instruction, training, discipline, and perfection--preparation for our part in that magnificent work of deliverance of the whole creation from the tyranny of darkness, decay and death. The Psalmist said, "Thou turnest man to destruction (this realm of sin and death, of flesh and blood); and sayest, Return, ye children of men." (Ps. 90:3) The Lord turned man to destruction, which is to say, He sent us down to this earth realm of dust, sin and death, and then said to us, "Return! ye children of men." What a revelation that is!
During our sojourn in this life, we (the firstfruits) have heard our Father's call to return to Him. And so we are returning in obedience to His call and in the strength and anointing of His quickening Spirit. I do not believe our heavenly Father will leave us in this realm of destruction one day longer than is necessary. When He who in eternal wisdom turned us to destruction sees that all the lessons have been fully and eternally learned and that destruction's work has been fulfilled, then He says, "Return, ye children of men," and we return. When our Lord says, "Come," we come. Matters not how far we have wandered in our sin or how low we have gone in degradation. When the day comes for the Lord to say RETURN YE CHILDREN OF MEN He puts into our hearts the desire to return and we return. At the end of our sojourn in this earthly realm we will have learned the truths Father wanted us to learn and experienced His ways unto perfection. We began in God, we are walking out our predestined path in this life, and will return to the Father as fully manifest sons of God, equipped to set creation free from the curse of sin and death.
Far away in the depths of my spirit today there is a chord that still vibrates to that wondrous shout of joy before the foundations of the earth were laid, when, in that long forgotten past we were there with the Father in spirit, and there is an inward sense of assurance that much of the truth we now possess was known to our spirits since that early beginning. Because the spirit is burdened down with the earthly and visible, man has come to the place in his experience where the inner sanctum wherein God lives in man's spirit is veiled by the flesh and his spiritual consciousness is imprisoned by this gross material realm. We remember not the things of old – until that heaven-blest day when Christ comes in quickening power and touches the mind of our spirit, restoring the memory of those former things. For lack of true understanding we call this restored memory "revelation". When by the eyes of spirit we see Jesus, crowned with glory and honor, the powerful attraction kindled in our hearts for Christ and reality is, in fact, just the beginning of the wonderful RENEWING OF THE MIND to recall again the things of that high and holy realm from whence we came. The "renewing" of the mind can be nothing else but the restoration of the mind to a realm of knowledge and understanding previously enjoyed.
There is an ancient folk-tale about a tiger that was brought up with a herd of goats. From the day his eyes opened, all he saw was a goat's life so it became his style of life too. The tiger munched grass with the rest, butted heads with the younger goats for recreation, and learned to bleat in an odd sort of way a sound that resembled, so he thought, the goat's voice. Once in a while there was a nagging voice inside him that said, "You don't belong to this life!" But always he put it aside as a fantasy, some disturbing intrusion from the world of dreams. If this didn't satisfy him, he just marked it off as the discontent that always hovers around the edges of any life style. So he, a tiger, chose to stay with a goat's way of life because he believed that was the way life had to be. Then one day a tiger came into the clearing. He was all tiger, having grown up knowing who he was. He looked into the clearing and spotted the goats. He roared the earth-shaking roar of his species, bounded out and made his kill. The goats fled in terror and so did the tiger who had grown up with them. At first he wanted to stay. The roar from the edge of the forest had stirred some lost memory in his soul. He flexed his great muscles in a kind of automatic reflex to the challenge from the forest edge. For a moment he could have been a tiger too, but he could not believe in the sound he heard, the challenge it brought. He couldn't believe in himself, in the instincts that had lain dormant so long. For a brief moment, he could have been a tiger. He wanted to try, but then the goat's life was all he knew so he turned and fled. He could have grasped a new and greater life, but then he fell back to being a goat for the rest of his days. The tiger at the edge of the forest of your existence is JESUS, unique, divine, glorious and powerful. He will not fail – He will draw ALL unto Him! He is all you should be. He is all man was created to be. He is all you were destined to be. He is what God intends. He is THE SON as you are predestined to be sons and daughters of the Most High. You cannot avoid Him. You cannot resist Him. Something deep within stirs. Deep calleth unto deep. The tiger calls to the tiger in you! The God in Christ calls to the God in you!
"But God who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus for we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath BEFORE ORDAINED that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2:4-10)
Some glad morning, the dawn of which methinks I now behold, when the processing's of God in His firstfruits are complete, our eyes will behold with endless joy the surpassing glory of that celestial realm in which walked Adam, the son of God. Our eyes, long dimmed by the darkness of this carnal realm, have not beheld such glories as were there; our ears have not heard its heavenly song, nor have our wildest imaginations probed the splendors of that realm of life where Adam stood in God's image and likeness having no sin, no sorrow nor crying, no labor nor sweat, no bondage nor limitation, no pain nor death; for even now, in this "in part" realm of the firstfruits of the Spirit, we yet see through a glass darkly.
Lowered into the earth realm, becoming a living soul, man sank even lower. The bright and glorious spirit ruled in the man and woman of flesh until that dreadful hour in which they partook of the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Then and there their eyes were opened to see their OUTWARD FORMS. The outraying spirit of glory that had reigned within them dimmed beneath the newly discovered consciousness of the OUTER and they knew the shame of their nakedness before the Lord. Truly the "nakedness" consisted in their sense-consciousness of the lack of reality in the realm of the flesh. In this state they knew the grief of sustaining their bodies by sweat and travail. Man was lowered from the realm of spirit, into the realm of the soul; then in disobedience, drawn away of his own lust and enticed down into the flesh, so that at last God said of man, "He is BECOME FLESH." (Gen. 6:3) He was lowered from spirit to soul, and fell from soul to "flesh." The spirit of man is the image of God – GOD consciousness. The soul is the seat of SELF-consciousness, and the body is the seat of SENSE-consciousness. In spirit Adam was God-conscious. In soul man was both God-conscious and Self-conscious. But ruled by his five senses, fulfilling the desires of the flesh, conscious of the outward world about him, seeking his experience, existence and identity in that low realm, he was a FLESHLY MAN. Having made the transition from the celestial to the physical, we died to the spiritual and became alive to the natural, under the throes of the carnal mind, to have "our conversation, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, by nature the children of wrath, even as others." (Eph. 2:3)
I would point out, that Adam had already "fallen", as it were, before he partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was BECAUSE he had already been lowered from a higher realm that he DID partake of this tree. One of the outstanding texts which shows this "lowering" of man and his subsequent LACK is Ps. 8:4-5 wherein we read, "What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him? For thou hast MADE HIM a little LOWER than the angels." The word "angels" in this passage is from the Hebrew ELOHIM and is always the Old Testament word for GOD. "In the beginning GOD (Elohim) created." (Gen. 1:1) The phrase "made a little lower than the angels" would more literally be translated from the Hebrew text, "Thou hast caused him (man) to LACK FROM ELOHIM." When God would execute the purpose of the ages He laid hold of His ELOHIM COMPANY and stripped from them some of that glory, that fullness, that oneness and caused them to lack, for He subjected us to the bondage of vanity and corruption, emptiness and nothingness, not willingly on our part, but by reason of HIM who subjected us in hope – hope, in the words of another: "...that out of all its travail and processing's would come forth a company that would redound to His praise, that the inherent glory of our pre-existent state in God, and the acquired glory through the contact with evil, and the overcoming thereof, would combine their effulgence and the latter state would be greater than the former; so that all we once had, plus all that is wrought out through the processing will combine their effulgence, and redemption's glory will shine out to His praise and all the universe shall throb anew with wonder of the power and the inworking grace of God" – Gospel Echoes.
But in the meantime we were made to lack, lowered from that pure spirit existence in the image of God. "Thou hast made Him a little lower than Elohim," the spirit was lowered it was made to lack from the realm of fullness, so that some of the counterbalancing qualities which promote order and righteousness were missing. This immediately made man vulnerable to any temptation that might come his way and so he fell into the delusion of sin. The very moment the spirit was made to lack man fell into the power of death. This in turn produced a change in even the body of man and he became helplessly subject to this realm of gross materialism as we know it now. And so, when we come to Adam in the garden, when the Lord God formed him of the dust of the ground and placed him in the garden to dress it, guard it, keep it, and take care of it, Adam was ALREADY SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD! He had already been lowered, had already "fallen", as it were, and been MADE TO LACK. He did not have sufficient resources to fulfill the command of God. And God planned it this way!
The moment you understand this truth, it is a simple matter to grasp the fact that all sin--with the whole realm of vanity, darkness, evil and death--is the fruit and manifestation of an IMBALANCE, a LACK, a DEFICIENCY, a FRAGMENTATION.
What is man? Brain, heart, blood, bones, etc., the material structure? If the real man is in the material body, you take away a portion of the man when you amputate a limb; the surgeon destroys manhood, and worms annihilate it. But the loss of some physical member has betimes become the quickener of manhood as in the crucible of suffering there appear the virtues of humility, thankfulness, patience, compassion, drawn from the rich resources of INNER SPIRITUAL STRENGTH. The unfortunate cripple may present more nobility of true manhood than the dashing athlete – teaching us that the man on the inside is of far more enduring substance than the man on the outside! Take away the physical and take away the outer worldly elements of wealth, possessions, fame, social recognition, which weigh not one jot on the scales of God, and in what remains we get a clearer picture of man as God made him. Let goodness, mercy, justice, purity, health, holiness and love – the Kingdom of heaven – reign within us and the outer is found to be of no consequence. The real man is SPIRIT, not dust. The true man is IMMORTAL, not dying. The inner man is the IMAGE OF THE HEAVENLY, not the image of the earthly as perceived by the physical senses.
Adam's sin in eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil lay in his walking after the flesh (sense realm) instead of the Spirit. It consisted in his making the outer, physical, material, sensual man his center, identity and existence rather than the inner man of Spirit. The remarkable thing is that he perceived not that all that pertains to the material world is illusionary, transitory, and corruptible. Sensual treasures are laid up "where moth and rust doth corrupt." Mortality is their doom. Death breaks in upon them, and carries off their fleeting joys. The sensualist's affections are as imaginary, whimsical, unreal and short-lived as his pleasures. Covetousness, fleshly passions, gluttony, drunkenness, immorality, fame, fashion, vanity, worldly wisdom, political power, military might, envy, hypocrisy, revenge, hate, and so forth, pass away with the works thereof. Stripped of its coverings, what a mocking spectacle the flesh is! When the almighty Creator counseled the first man and his wife, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die," He gave precisely the same instruction in wisdom and prudence that the apostle Paul offered long millenniums afterwards when by inspiration he wrote, "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the spirit the things of the spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." (Rom. 8:5-6, 13) Life is in the SPIRIT WITHIN, and with what joy and satisfaction do we now entertain the precious promise, "therefore brethren we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh: but if ye through the spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, YE SHALL LIVE. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ." (Rom. 8:12-17)
George Hawtin has eloquently expounded on this thought, and I share a few of his valuable insights. "Well did the apostle Paul know that the vast mass of humanity was 'at home' only in the REALM OF THE BODY. They belonged entirely to an earthly realm where things are visible, audible, and touchable. Their minds seldom mounted higher than things physical, and when for a few moments they did rise to walk upon a spiritual plane, they were not really 'at home' there, but waited for the moment when they could LAPSE BACK to the NATURAL AND NORMAL, for that is where they were 'at home.' So, while men are 'at home' in the body, they are 'always absent from the Lord' (II Cor. 5:6-7), absent from the spiritual world of true reality. HEAVEN IS CLOSED TO THEM. Their minds dwell in the realm where men buy and sell, plant and build, marry and are given in marriage. They dwell in a realm of eating and drinking, of finding pleasure for the body, amusing their minds with silly things of the world, absorbing, listening to, or looking at some fictitious thing that serves only to amuse the natural man, keeping his heart away from the realm of eternal reality."
My heart burns within me and my spirit is flooded with joy unspeakable and full of glory as these sacred and wonderful truths find lodging and substance within my consciousness. With what clarity I see that when Adam stood between the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in that long ago Eden, his future condition was to be shaped by the tree-identity (consciousness) he pursued. "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the spirit the things of the spirit." (Rom. 8:5) It is all a matter of what you are AFTER! These are the two trees: spirit and flesh, life and death, truth and error. Every man who ever lived has had his center, his identity and his existence in one of these two trees. The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil are not fossilized relics from some ancient age. They are living, breathing, enduring, ever-present realities throughout all generations, and each of us in God's great today is living by one or the other of these two trees in every thought, word and deed. The tree of life (spirit) invariably ministers incorruption and immortality, whereas the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (flesh) unfailingly leads to death.
Again I would share significant and enlightening words from the able pen of George Hawtin. In his excellent paper, THE PASSING AND THE PERMANENT, he explains, "Now, since the flesh lusts against the Spirit and is at endless conflict with it, then anything that seeks to make you earthly and fleshly-minded is a great evil. The things that belong to the realm of the flesh are passing away. Even the flesh itself is passing away. Anything that is passing away is not real. It is like a bubble that floats prettily in the air only to burst never to exist again. It is like the darkness that disappears with the dawn and has no certain dwelling place. It is like a flower in the field that blooms for a moment and disappears, a vision of the night, a fleeting shadow, a moment of joy, a passing sorrow, or a sudden pain. When such things have passed by, no one knows where they came from or whither they have gone. Those, however, who indulge themselves in the things that belong to the body grow to think that nothing is true or real but what is bodily and can be touched or seen or eaten or drunk or enjoyed by the passions of men. Unwittingly they change true riches for false; things that are unseen by mortal eyes for things that are seen. They exchange things that are spirit for things that can be touched, tasted, and felt by the body. The soul now begins to think that these things which belong to the body are real and therefore becomes fleshly minded. The carnal or earthly mind is an enemy of God and an enemy of all things spiritual.
"It is small wonder then that the natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God; for all things connected with the natural belong to time and change, while all things belonging to the spiritual are eternal and changeless. So then all who would come to know the WISDOM OF GOD, and the REVELATION of the Lord, must turn their spirit from the realm of the physical and changing, the corrupt and mortal, and fly away into the realm of the pure, eternal, unchanging, and immortal. It is only there that rest and truth are found, and, abiding there in the Spirit, even the body itself begins to be lifted from corruption to incorruption and from mortality to immortality. We said a moment ago that when the soul comes into the realm of the flesh, it becomes carnal and fleshly minded because it is dragged into the realm of the body. Inversely then, when the soul and spirit dwell in the secret place with God, they lift the body till it also becomes incorruptible, immortal, and eternal. While the spirit and the body are united and dwell together, one must always be in subjection to the other. Either the body will be servant to the spirit or the spirit will be servant to the body. One will be the servant and be ruled. The other will be the master and rule. We cannot avoid this conclusion. Either the flesh will rule the spirit, or the spirit will rule the flesh. Since, however, the flesh is like the mortal and changing, and the spirit is like the immortal and unchanging, then the spirit is the one who should be the master. If the spirit is the master, it will save the flesh by lifting it to the realm of God and immortality, but if the body is master, it will ruin the soul by dragging it to the realm of the carnal, the mortal, the changing." – end quote.
When the Lord God lowered man into this gross material realm man possessed, by the spirit, the divine potential to overcome the flesh, sanctify it, transform it, infusing it with the qualities of Life – holiness and incorruption. Jesus, the last Adam, came and demonstrated for us this very principle. This potential in man to rule the natural by the spirit is shed forth in Jesus' mighty works – by His healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, casting out devils, forgiving sins, and raising the dead--He transcended by His life, words, and actions all the so-called laws of the material, mortal realm. The great significance of Jesus' mighty works will never ring clear in our spirits until we understand that He did not perform as a unique, different kind of man--all His wonderful works were the teaching of what is NORMAL FOR MAN IN HIS TRUE STATE AS THE IMAGE OF GOD. As the last Adam Jesus demonstrated all that the first Adam lost--mankind's heritage as the sons and daughters of the Most High. Little wonder, then, that He confidently and joyfully proclaimed to His disciples, "The works that I do shall YE DO ALSO; and greater works than these shall YE DO." (Jn. 14:12, Paraphrased)
By the Spirit within (the Father dwelling in Him) Jesus made nature harmonious--calming the raging of the sea, walking on the water, multiplying the loaves and fishes, turning water into wine, and making everything in nature, including the human mind and body, to be servants instead of masters. When a man's life is governed by the Spirit, his body is in submission to everlasting Life, Truth and Love. Finally, going to the cross and Himself rising from the dead He demonstrated for all men the wonderful and incontrovertible truth in the words of the apostle: "If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit which DWELLETH I-N Y-O-U." (Rom. 8:11) The truth had been lived among men, God was manifested in flesh, the image of God had come forth in the face of Jesus Christ. But until they saw that the INDWELLING SPIRIT enabled their Master to triumph even over the grave, His own disciples could not comprehend the MAGNITUDE OF THE POWER OF GOD IN MAN. After the resurrection, even the unbelieving Thomas was forced to acknowledge how complete was the great proof of the power of the divine life in earthen vessels.
By His resurrection Jesus proved the Spirit within to be OMNIPOTENT, all-conquering, all-sufficient. He met and mastered death itself by the law of the Spirit of Life. He took no drugs to allay inflammation. He did not depend upon food or pure air or vitamins or herbs to resuscitate wasted energies. He did not require the skill of a surgeon to heal the torn palms and bind up the wounded side and lacerated feet, that He might use those hands to remove the napkin and winding-sheet, and that He might employ His feet as before. Jesus vanquished every material obstacle, overcame every law of matter, and stepped forth from His gloomy resting-place, crowned with the glory of a sublime success, and everlasting victory – the second MAN, the last ADAM--the role-model for each and every man of Adam's race! Jesus' victory over sin, sickness, pain, limitation, death and the grave was for the enlightenment of all men and for the salvation of the whole world. Paul writes, "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved BY HIS LIFE (WITHIN).” Rom 5:10
Glory be to God and peace to the struggling hearts Christ hath rolled away the stone from the human door human hope and faith through the revelation and demonstration of Life in God, the life resident in the SPIRITUAL MAN.
We have come to the most sublime of all truths. The beauty of these celestial realities is found in the fact that all Jesus did He did "for us" – not in our place, but ON OUR BEHALF. A musician demonstrates the beauty of the music he teaches in order to show the learner the way by practice as well as precept. This was the precious import of our Lord's sinless life and of His demonstration of power over the whole flesh realm, including death. Our heavenly Father demands that all men should follow the example of our Lord and Master. In order to enter the Kingdom of the Heavens, the anchor of hope must be cast beyond the veil of this carnal, dying realm into the Shekinah into which Jesus has passed before us; and this advance beyond the law of sin and death must come through the joys and triumphs of a people "led by the Spirit" who are "the sons of God" as well as through their sorrows and afflictions. It is by facing the enemy in the crucible of experience and by the authority of the Spirit that victory is snatched from the jaws of defeat. Each and every test in our lives is an opportunity to prove for ourselves and demonstrate to those about the triumph of the Spirit over the flesh. Step by step, battle by battle, victory upon victory we ascend into the heights of the Kingdom of Heaven.
The thought the Spirit of God would now emphasize to our hearts is the fact that both the "created" man and the "formed" man were MALE AND FEMALE. Of the spiritual man it is written, "So God created He man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; MALE AND FEMALE created He them" (Gen. 1:27). Of the manifest man we read, "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (Gen. 2:21-24)
Long millenniums after Abraham's encounter with God Almighty, El Shaddai, the "Breasted One," John the Revelator, in exile on the barren Isle of Patmos, a place of few inhabitants and swarming with pirates, heard behind him the voice of One who trumpeted into his ears the message, "I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, which is, and which was, and which is to come, THE ALMIGHTY." (Rev. 1:8) As John turned to see the voice that spoke to him, with astonished countenance beheld the wonder of this One "clothed with a garment down to the foot, and GIRT ABOUT THE PAPS with a golden girdle." (Rev. 1:13) The word "paps" is the Greek word "mastos" used exclusively in Greek for the female breast! "And it came to pass, as He spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said Unto Him, Blessed is the womb that bare Thee, and the PAPS (mastos) which Thou hast sucked!" (Lk. 11:27) On Patmos we have the woman's dress and the woman's breast while yet the speaker is THE ALMIGHTY! It would not be possible to describe more vividly the dual nature of our God who is both Male and Female, the Strong and Mighty One, our Father, who is also "El Shaddai," our Mother, the Pourer-forth who pours Himself out for His creatures; who gives them His life-blood; who satisfies them with milk from His own bosom; who sheds forth his Spirit, and says, "Come unto me and drink:" "Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it”… who thus gives Himself and His very nature to those who receive Him, that they may grow to become HIS SONS AND HIS DAUGHTERS!
All the right and natural relationship in which human beings stand to each other are meant to reveal something in God – some relation in which He stands to us. He is as a King to His subjects, giving them laws and governing them for their good. He is as a Father to His children, providing for their needs, training and educating them in love and service as members of the great family of God. But there is something, if one may say so, deeper than even this – something that corresponds to the tenderness of a mother, especially in her gentle power of comforting the weary and wounded spirit of her child. “Although my father and my mother have forsaken me, yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child].” (Ps. 27:10 Amplified) This is the testimony of one who could no longer go home for the counsel of father and mother, he could no longer go home for home cooking, he could no longer spend time with his parents. This man says that God became for Him both father and mother. Throughout the scriptures God is presented to us in the masculine gender – He is essentially God our Father. And a father’s strength, courage, dependability, and so forth do offer precious insights into God’s nature. But there are also ascribed to him the tender affections and the loving care of a mother. “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” (Isa. 66:13) Thinking of God as both father and mother, then, expands our understanding, and we begin to see God’s nature more fully.
The motherhood of God is seen and expressed through such qualities as love, purity, compassion and tenderness, mercy, and joy. But none of us are restricted to knowing or expressing just one part or aspect of God. God is the source of all the qualities that His sons and daughters reflect. Sometimes we draw from His omnipotent and never-failing strength and stability. At other times we have a special need to know God better as Mother – to feel His “mothering” love for us. Even Jesus, though a Son, revealed this Mother Nature when He saw the spiritual condition of Jerusalem. He sat overlooking Jerusalem and cried, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!” (Lk. 13:34) The Lord Jesus likens Himself to a mother hen. “As a mother hen gathers her little ones under her wings so would I have gathered you.” He says in effect, “I would be a Mother to you!” Ah, my beloved, if God by His grace has given you a wonderful father and the love of a Christian Mother, He has given you something of HIMSELF. Yes, He has! All who read these lines who are either a father or a mother can know how God feels. God made the heart of a father; God made the heart of a mother, so that you could understand something about Him. Male and female is the image of God.
When he that readeth can grasp the truth that God bears within Himself both the characteristic of male and female, of Father and Mother, then he can better understand the divine word spoken "in the beginning" when God said, "Let us make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness: so. in the image of God created He him; MALE AND FEMALE created He them!” (Gen. 1:26-27) This man in the image of God is destined to have dominion over all the works of God's hands. He is created in God's image, MALE AND FEMALE, SONS AND DAUGHTERS, to be the revelation of both the strength and wisdom of God's Fatherhood and the tenderness and sustaining life of God's Motherhood to all creation. God makes His Sons and Daughters partakers of His own nature, that they, the firstfruits of Himself, may make others partakers of the same nature. Their separation unto Him makes them fit for their work, as He says, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, 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, saith the LORD ALMIGHTY." (II Cor. 6:17-18) Sons and Daughters! Male and Female! Thus they also become "breasted ones" and "pourers-forth". In them is fulfilled the promise of Jerusalem, that "those who love her may suck and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations; that they may milk out and be delighted with the abundance of her glory." (Isa. 66:10-11)
There is a great and wondrous reason why the darkness precedes the light in the divine order of creation. Let us begin with God. It has pleased the Lord to leave great truths obscure and well hidden from the prying eyes of the curious and the unbelieving. He shrouds His precious truths in mystery so that none but the earnest seekers who partake of the spirit of revelation are ever permitted to see beyond the outer shell of the letter, and behold the unfolding glories which lie concealed within the inner kernel. Perhaps the simplest yet most profound statement about the nature of God is found in the beautiful writings of the beloved apostle John. He says, "He that loveth not knoweth not God for God is love. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him." (I Jn. 4:8, 16) Would that my tongue were eloquent enough to explain it, or that my mind were great enough to comprehend it. But neither is sufficient. When we speak of God's attributes we may say that God is a spirit – infinite, eternal and unchangeable in His being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth. This is a very beautiful definition; but it largely defines only God's attributes, whereas the text, "God is love," tells us WHAT HE HIMSELF IS. This text reveals His nature, His state of being. For instance, in speaking of justice, we know that God has justice as one of His attributes, but He is not justice; God IS love. This fact gives us a revelation of GOD'S VERY NATURE. Our poor, lisping, faltering tongues cannot proclaim the gospel as we would like; but we have God's Word that is true for the present time and for all the times of all the ages. God IS LOVE! IS – unchangeably! IS – eternally! God is love in heaven, in earth, in hell! IS – everywhere! And the great practical consequence is for you and me to respond to that God and to that love, to become filled with that love, one with that love, the embodiment and manifestation of that love to all men in all realms. The best and most wonderful word in the universe is Love. For God is Love. And the best and most wonderful word in the inner chamber of our heart must be – Love. For the God who meets us there is Love. What is Love? THE DEEP DESIRE TO GIVE ITSELF FOR THEE BELOVED. Love finds its joy in imparting all that it has, and all that it is, to make the loved one happy and fulfilled. And the heavenly Father, who offers to meet us in the inner chamber – let there be no doubt about this in our minds – has no other object than to flood our hearts with His love.
Love has been described as AN ETERNAL WILL TO ALL GOODNESS. This is THE ONE ETERNAL, IMMUTABLE GOD that, from eternity to eternity, changeth not, that can be neither more nor less, but an ETERNAL WILL TO ALL GOODNESS that is in Himself and come from Him, so that as certainly as He is Creator, so certainly is He the blesser of every created thing, and can give nothing but blessings, goodness, fulfillment, and holiness from Himself, because He has in Himself nothing else to give.
The words of the following poem strike poignantly at the deep meaning and sublime purpose of God in creation and redemption.
Why did God make the universe, the earth and the sky above?
Scripture gives the answer when it says that "God is love.
Before God made the universe He worked a master plan,
He knew how everything would end before it all began.
He made mankind so He could have an object of His love,
But, man was blind and did not see -- it came from above.
So God created evil as He had created night,
So man could see the good in Him -- in darkness we see light.
He made the "blackboard" very black, with evil, sin, and woe.
He made an adversary to be His cunning foe.
He made the earth to be a "stage" to show the hosts above,
By all of our experiences, His wisdom and His love.
He locks up all in stubbornness to make His mercy clear;
Lets satan lure all men away, so He can draw all near.
He gives His only firstborn Son to die and save us all;
Yet each in his own class we read; we're blind until our call.
You ask me why God made the earth, the glittering stars above!
The scriptures give the answer when they say that GOD IS LOVE!
— Author Unknown
It is very important that we grasp the deep message in the words of this inspired poem, because, once we understand it, we comprehend as never before the eternal mystery of creation and redemption. It will be a wonderful day for you, dear one, when first your soul becomes enthralled with the revelation that God, before ever the world began or ever the ages were formed, looked forth from His temple of wisdom and omnipotence to chart with resolute care the course and purpose of every age. Your heart will throb as you read the opening proclamation of scripture, "In the beginning – GOD!" In the beginning of what? Not in the beginning of God, certainly, but in the beginning of His creation of all things, in the beginning of time as we know it, in the beginning of the orderly procession of the divinely destined ages. In the beginning stands God, omnipotent and omniscient, creating, sustaining and guiding all things and all people and all the ages of time according to the purpose of His own will. No purpose ordained by God from the beginning can possibly go astray or be hindered by the efforts of devil or man. Oh, for the hour when all creation will grasp the beautiful message, "From Him everything comes, by Him everything exists, and in Him everything ends!" (Rom. 11:36)
If God be the Creator of ALL THINGS, then it must of necessity follow that GOD IS THE SOURCE OF ALL THINGS. We read the passage quoted above from the Emphatic Diaglott, "because out of Him, and through Him, and for Him are ALL THINGS, to Him be the glory for the ages, Amen. All things are out of God, all thing are through Him, all things are for Him, and all things are unto Him, ending in Him. The clearest possible rendering is given by Goodspeed, "For from Him everything comes; through Him everything exists; and in Him everything ends! Glory to Him forever! Amen." The Bible opens with the simplest and yet most profound statement ever recorded by human hand. "In the beginning – GOD" The sweet singer of Israel declared of Him, "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, THOU ART GOD." (Ps. 90:2) Our God was the great active force, the cause of all that began to happen "in the beginning." How awesome the thought that there was a "time" when there was nothing – absolutely nothing – but God! There was no blue-green orb called earth, no silver-shimmering moon, no diamond-studded heaven of stars and planets, no angels, no devils, no man – nothing but GOD HIMSELF. There were not even the 100 elements out of which everything in the universe is constructed – there was only God. Paul caught something of the sublimity of this eternal and Self-existent One and wrote, "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. 1:16-17)
Let me emphasize this wonderful and important truth: "He is before all things." This can mean nothing else but that God is not one of the "things." He is BEFORE all things. He is before A-L-L THINGS! And just as majestic is the truth that "by Him ALL THINGS CONSIST." Now let us soar down through the corridors of time to the consummation of all things. "For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL." (I Cor. 15:25-28) GOD ALL IN ALL – this will be the grand conclusion of the whole vast universe and of Christ's redemption. There will come a day – the glory is such we can form no conception of it, the mystery is so deep we cannot realize it – when the Son shall deliver up the Kingdom that God gave Him in His rulership over ALL THINGS – that God may be all-in- all. ALL IN ALL – such is the grand goal of our God! But I must point out that before that long-ago beginning God was NOT all-in-all. He was simply A-L-L. There was nothing else. No "thing" beside Him. There was not even space – for God was ALL. Oh, the mystery of it! This raises an interesting and important question. If God was "before all things," then OUT OF WHAT did He CREATE all things! If there was only God, and absolutely no thing other than God who was all, what kind of material did God have at His disposal from which to construct the all things? If you were standing completely alone, with nothing outside your own being existent, what material would be available for making something other than yourself? The answer is, of course, NOTHING! YOU WOULD HAVE TO MAKE THE "THINGS" OUT OF YOURSELF! And friend, this is precisely what God did. Now we can understand the full import of those words inspired by the blessed Spirit of Truth through the apostle Paul: "Because BY HIM were the all things created: and Himself is before all, and the all things I-N H-I-M HAVE CONSISTED." (Col. 1:16-17)
Now let us return to the nature of this God who was ALL. We must clearly see that God is all-inclusive, and that He lacks nothing whatsoever. And God is love – all goodness. Having said that God is complete and therefore good, we can now go on to describe the attribute through which we are aware of His existence – His desire to share. This is the consequence, the effect of His goodness. Some have said, and I have said it too, that God created man because He was alone and yearned for fellowship – for creatures of like kind with which He could commune. But this falls short of the absolute nature of God which is the nature of love. Love does not give because of the desire to receive; rather, love gives purely out of the desire to bless. The desire for fellowship is the desire to receive – not give! Now God possesses that attribute also, as we shall presently see, but God is first of all love – the pure and unmixed desire to impart. Here we have the first principle of creation – God's infinite desire to impart led to the creation of a vessel to receive His blessings. The creation of this vessel (the cosmos) was the beginning and the end of creation. He therefore created the universe with all the hosts thereof, and this world with its inhabitants. Thus the Creator could now bestow upon the creation His infinite love and inexhaustible abundance. God is the Lover, creation the beloved! "For God so loved the world."
We have shown that the Creator's nature is sharing or imparting; however, there can be no sharing unless there is some agent that can receive. So God's infinite desire to impart implies a desire to fulfill every possible dimension and quality of desires to receive. Can we not see by this that God's infinite desire to give demands AN AGENT WITH THE DESIRE TO RECEIVE! The very nature of God requires CREATION! To impart or share with others, on any level, can only by considered noble or kind when the recipient desires and enjoys that which is offered to him. When the recipient rejects the gift yet the donor continues to insist on its acceptance and finally forces him to accept, one can hardly consider this an act of giving – much less of love. All who read these lines know by experience that the mere mechanical act of giving is, in itself, unsatisfactory and unfulfilling. We do not give advice to the mountains, nor do we offer money to animals. Clearly there must be a desire to receive on the part of the recipient, a knowledge of what the gift entails and signifies, before we can say we are truly giving. It follows that God could never give anything to anyone without an active desire to receive on their part. So the first step in creation was to bring forth the manifestation of the DESIRE TO RECEIVE! This desire is inherent in creation, although some are so blinded by sin and benumbed by death that they seek for the answer to their craving in all the wrong places, even rebelling against the glorious Giver. But God has a plan for all these, to bring them to repentance (a change of mind and desire), so that they can desire properly and discover the true source of life and blessing. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that ALL SHOULD COME TO REPENTANCE.'' (II Pet. 3:9)
Armed with the knowledge that there was only God – and no "thing" apart from Him, God was ALL – it readily follows that because of His nature to give God must create an instrument with both the capacity and desire to receive. The only way to accomplish this was for God to withdraw Himself, to remove Himself, that there would be a place or condition where HE WAS NOT. God is light, the scripture declares, and in Him there is no darkness at all. Therefore, let it be clearly known that darkness is naught but the ABSENCE OF GOD! "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep." (Gen. 1:2) You will understand a great mystery when you see how it is that the creation was brought forth in the domain of darkness, the realm from which, though created by God, God had withdrawn Himself! "For the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope. Because the creation itself shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." (Rom. 8:20-21) Not only was darkness (the absence of God) the first state of creation, it remains the condition of the Adamic creation unto this day. The command, "Let there be light," is not merely an historical event, but a prophecy of the glorious reality that would be birthed out of the darkness of the first creation. The work begins with darkness. God said, "Let there be light," and at once light shone where all before was dark. It is only when the Word of God pierces the dense darkness of our alienated, carnal mind with the divine fiat, "Let there be light!" that our darkness displeases us and we are turned to the light. In that blessed moment the shroud of ignorance and death is removed from our heart and the light of life shines in to illuminate, quicken and transform that world which we are. "The people which sat in darkness saw a great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up." (Mat. 4:16) "I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (Jn. 8:12) "Giving thanks unto the Father which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son." (Col. 1:12-13)
God's method in His going-forth cannot be better understood than by the use of a somewhat uncommon word – parsimony. We may say that God's method of realizing Himself in creation is by parsimony. To use an illustration – if we desire to understand the composition of the great white rays of light, we break them up into their constituents and see them as crimson and purple and gold. To break up the composition of the white light we hold a portion of it back. This is what takes place when we pass it through a prism or through stained glass. Part of it is held back and we see the remainder. This is parsimony. To change the figure, those who love little children often act upon the same principle. We have to shed a portion of our experience, dispense with a part of our resources, yield up a measure of what we are, and become children ourselves if we are to understand and relate to children. We isolate some of our persona, as it were. Your little boy or girl knows you as father, but perhaps your fellow citizens know you as professor, banker, lawyer, doctor or proprietor. You have a larger life than the little child knows anything about, and yet to live your fatherhood properly you have to shed the other persona in the presence of your child and live as a child. What is this but parsimony! Part of your nature is dismissed, or withdrawn, or held back, that the other part lived in the home may become to you a richer experience. Many know me as a man of God, a preacher and teacher of the Kingdom of God, and there is a certain esteem of the ministry the Lord has favored us with; but my little five year old grandson knows me as someone to play cars with! This principle of parsimony helps us to live our life truly. When we get home we shut the world out; when we are at business we live in that as though there were nothing else to live for. To understand character we go forth and prove it, and going forth we insulate or restrict portions of our being.
It is not difficult to see how to apply this to God's great principle of creation. God withdrew Himself creating darkness and void – this is the self-limitation of Deity; or to state it in other words, God retained, or held back, His full resources in order that there could be formed outside of Himself and beyond Himself and yet within Himself the desire to receive. This is righteous, purposeful, divine parsimony. The desire to receive is the basic mechanism by which the world operates, the dynamic process at the base of all manifestation. The desire to receive affects all creation because it is the basis of all creation. As we view the animate creation we find a remarkable physical dependence upon the external world for survival culminating in man, who has the greatest desire to receive of all creation -- not only for physical things, but also for psychological things like peace, happiness and satisfaction, and above all, the deep inner craving for spiritual life, the insatiable hunger after reality. When God created man male and female in His image He revealed that He is Himself male and female in His nature and attributes. God would never have known the action of giving and receiving had He not known them as characteristics inherent within Himself. The masculine nature is the nature of the Giver. Aggressiveness, boldness, strength, valor, authority, power and dominion are among the traits of the masculine sex. And it is the man who supplies the sperm for the creation of a new life. Thus, man is the Giver. Modesty, gentleness, tenderness, sensitivity and dependence are attributes of the feminine sex. And it is the woman who receives the sperm in the act of procreation. Woman is therefore the Receiver. The realm of her reception is in darkness – the new life, the new creation, the product of her union is formed in the seclusion and darkness of the womb – space. In its beginning the new life is without human form and darkness is upon the face of the deep. What marvelous things are wrought in darkness! Said the Psalmist: "I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from Thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in Thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them." (Ps. 139:14-16)
I find myself too confined to set forth this truth as I should do, but let us request of God's Spirit the ability to see that it is in darkness that the embryo is created, and in that long ago beginning it was in a great darkness that creation was formed. God the Giver withdrew Himself from Himself creating space, and within that space He brought forth creation – the Receiver. In darkness the Receiver existed in a state of lack, made to lack a little from Elohim. It was a region of rayless darkness. Deepest night rested over it. It was without from, utterly shapeless in all its parts. It was void, that is, unfilled up. It knew nothing of God who was to become its fullness. In none of its parts was there any reception or filling up. Then the Spirit of God began to move upon the face of this deep. This activity of the Holy Spirit is called that of "moving" over the face of the waters. The word "move" is from the Hebrew RACHAPH and occurs only three times in the Old Testament, the other two being translated "shake" (Jer. 23:9) and "fluttereth" (Deut. 32:11), respectively. Some commentators relate the word particularly to the hovering of a mother hen over her chicks. In any case, the idea seems to be mainly that of a rapid back and forth motion. In modern scientific terminology, the best translation would probably be "vibrated." If the universe is to be energized, there must be an Energizer. If it is to be given life, there must be a Life-giver. The vibrating of God over the creation in darkness is not unlike the movement of the male at that precise moment when he inseminates the female with the seed of life. It is most appropriate that the first impartation of energy into the universe is described as the "vibrating" movement of the Spirit of God Himself – the injection of His life as divine seed into creation! This movement is immediately followed by the divine fiat: "Let there be light!" and into the darkness the light shone. In that blessed moment God and creation began their long journey into union, oneness. The Giver began to give and the Receiver began to receive. The heart of the Father was pleased. Now there was an object to Receive out of His infinite desire to Give! The law of creation was begun.
Think it not strange, my beloved, when your pathway leads you down, down, down into the experience of darkness and despair. It is in the darkness that the desire to receive is first kindled within you. We flounder a bit in our understanding of these things, but as time passes by and the Holy Spirit takes the things of God and reveals them unto us, we begin to understand that in all the universe a thing is a thing ONLY BECAUSE IT HAS ITS OPPOSITE. Good without the knowledge of evil can scarcely be called good at all. Who could possibly speak of the day if night had never been known! There was no first light except there was darkness before it. What could we know of life if there were no death! What would we know of health if there were no sickness? What would we know of wealth if poverty had not spread its spectre upon the earth? No man can be trusted until he has been EXPOSED TO THE OPPOSITES, until he has been moved to desire something beyond his darkness, frustration, limitation and lack. Myriad have been the men who have inquired why God cast the noble and divine spirit of man into the earthly, sublunar plane, into bodies built of clay, where they endure sorrow, temptation, pain, sickness, and the constant trials and ruthlessness which this body of death imposes upon the soul. He might, preferably, have maintained them in His heavenly sphere where all spirits rejoice in His presence, where once the morning stars sang and all the sons of God shouted for joy, where they could merit the ineffable goodness of the divine splendor which is bestowed upon them. Ah! but first, He must create in us the desire to receive; second, He must involve us in the grand purpose of the receiving – to mature us into His image until we have thoroughly learned the great law of His Being, of His Kingdom – it is MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE! God created this world peopling it with earthly bodies through which the soul must labor and struggle. By experience and travail, through faith and patience we attain His objective of purification, wisdom, understanding and holiness; without the struggle this necessitates, we would be nothing more than idle recipients of God's blessing. It has been demonstrated time and again that that which costs a man nothing is generally unappreciated. The natural consequence of eating unearned bread, of receiving something for nothing – that is not earned by labor and travail – is folly and shame. Ah, beloved, there is purpose in affliction. There is purpose in trial. There is purpose in temptation. There is purpose in suffering. There is purpose in sorrow. There is purpose in pain. There is purpose in sickness and infirmity. There is purpose in light and darkness. There is purpose in limitation and abundance. There is divine purpose in all the inter-play between good and evil in our lives. One who grows up in a sheltered environment, who is pampered all his life, grows up a weak, spineless individual. ADVERSITY builds strength of character. If we were never exposed to trials and tribulation, we would grow up weak indeed! The more we are exposed to ADVERSE circumstances, the more we have to wrestle with our environment, the more we are challenged by the world around us, the stronger we become. Saints, if we would be the sons of the Most High (the ultimate Givers) we must be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might! Our Father wants us to be strong, so He has wisely given us strong currents of opposition so we will become strong. There is a great and magnificent future ahead for the sons of God, and a great work our Father has for us to do in the age and the ages to come, and He is preparing us and making us ready for the high and holy place He has for us. Can we not see that all the opposing forces we now encounter are working together for our good – to develop the strength, character, wisdom, faith and power we must acquire? Have you noticed how strangely Matthew and Mark speak of Christ's temptation? "And immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil." (Mk. 1:12; Mat. 4:1) What a strange statement! The Holy Spirit of God drives the sinless Son of God into the wilderness to be tempted by satan, the arch enemy of all righteousness, a murderer from the beginning, the father of lies! Ah, but it was necessary for this Son to be PROVEN, to be made STRONG, to OVERCOME in these realms before proceeding on into His glorious sonship ministry and the death of the cross. Truly God creates darkness and void and uses it, too, for His glory!
You see, God only makes us Receivers in order that we may become Givers. The woman receives the seed of life from the man, but in bringing that child into the world she is miraculously transformed into a Giver! "For the man is not of the woman; but the woman (Eve) of the man. Nevertheless. . .as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman." (I Cor. 11:8-12) The Word of God bears immutable testimony to this wonderful truth. Father Abraham heard the call of God and got him out of his own country, from his father's house and his father's kindred, and sojourned to a land that God showed him. God gave to him the promise of a seed and that in this seed all the families of the earth would be blessed. After many years of experience in Canaan, this man of faith, yet without the promised seed, and seemingly without hope, was visited by the Lord and we read in Gen. 17:1-2: "When Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the ALMIGHTY GOD; walk before Me, and be thou perfect. And I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly." Now this name, GOD ALMIGHTY, is both interesting and touching. In the Hebrew it is EL SHADDAI. God (EL) means "might" or "power" and signifies the Strong One. SHADDAI is different, though it also describes power; but it is the power not of force, but of all-bountifulness, SHADDAI primarily means "breasted," being formed directly from the Hebrew word SHAD, that is, "the breast," or more exactly, a woman's breast, and is so used in various places in the scriptures. Thus SHADDAI means "the Pourer or Shedder forth" of life as a woman bears her child and then feeds and sustains it with the milk from her breast. God is the Giver out of His own life and He bears out of His own substance his offspring and then feeds and sustains and strengthens it with the "milk" of His Word. Can we not see that all natural things have spiritual counterparts? By her breast the mother has almost infinite power over the child. And how! Because of the child's one basic characteristic – the DESIRE TO RECEIVE! Some of my readers perhaps have heard the old Greek story of the babe laid down near some cliff by its mother, while she was busy with her herd of goats. The babe, unperceived, crawled to the edge. The mother, afraid to take a step, lest the child should move further and fall over the precipice, only uncovered her breast, and so drew back the infant to her. It is this figure which God Himself has chosen in this name EL SHADDAI, by which to express to us the feminine nature of His Almightiness! Male and female is the image of God, and in it is revealed the law of Giving and Receiving, the law of God's own nature. But beyond this is shown the fundamental law of God and creation – the Giver demands a Receiver, but the Receiver receives only to become a Giver! God's Almightiness is of the breast, that is, of bountiful, life-giving supply! Therefore He can quiet the restless, as the breast quiets the child; therefore He can nourish and strengthen, as the breast nourishes; therefore He can attract as the breast attracts, when we are in peril of falling away from Him. Ah, this is the ALMIGHTY who appeared to Abraham and assured him that he would be blessed according to the promise. And there is a blessed and significant aspect to God's dealing with Abraham that perhaps we have overlooked. When the Lord revealed Himself to Abraham as EL SHADDAI He said, "I am EL SHADDAI; walk before Me. . . and I will make My covenant between Me and thee." The covenant was contingent upon Abraham walking before EL SHADDAI, that is, in exposing his walk, his total being and experience, to EL SHADDAI, until he would learn the nature, ways and law of EL SHADDAI, the law of Receiving to Give. Abraham was the Receiver in the covenant, God promised to multiply him exceedingly and make him great; but then the great purpose of the blessing of the covenant was disclosed: "In thee, and in thy seed, shall ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED" In close relationship and union with EL SHADDAI Abraham would learn the one great law of creation – one Receives so that he may Give! How wonderful are these things!
The feminine Receiver in turn acquires the masculine character of Giver. This principle is seen again in the order of the life-cycle – children are Receivers, everything provided for them out of the bounty of the parents. In due process, however, the child grows up and becomes an adult – a Giver. In maturity, out of his nature to Give, the process of creation is extended. The parent creates, just as God did! a receiver, a new life, to the end that his desire to Give may find fulfillment in pouring lavishly upon the child of his love. So in all of nature the law of creation is in wonder beheld – one Receives to become a Giver; he then himself creates a Receiver in order to Give – and the process goes on from generation to generation, from age to age. Certainly this sublime truth is alluded to in the inspired words of the apostle wherein he says, "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead." (Rom. 1:20)
It might be thought that Giving, the first aspect through which Creator God is known to us, implies diminishing or loss. At times our experience in this world is that, after we have shared or given something, we are left with less than we had before. Although we have perceived it thus, if we are quickened by the Holy Spirit to have eyes to see and hearts to understand the nature of all things, we will soon discern that this is not truly the case, since giving is the prerequisite for receiving. "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." (Lk. 6:38) This is the law of the Kingdom! When we give we create the correct spiritual atmosphere for the drawing down of forces from above. Can we then say that God became diminished by His sharing with creation? Not at all! In creation God receives the increase of Himself into Himself again so that instead of diminishing there is eternal expansion. So God is a Bestower, a Father. He imparts without being in any way diminished by imparting. The miracle of the widow woman's unfailing cruise of oil, and the feeding of the five thousand from five little leaves and two fishes, with twelve basketsful of fragments left over, are parabolic illustrations of this great principle. God does not give to receive again – there can be nothing of that in the nature of God or in the law of creation. It is simply the law of creation that what one sows produces a harvest. Men sow to reap a harvest but God sows out of His pure and unmixed desire to give. In this He is the measure of the perfect Donor. We could compare this to a rich man deciding to get rid of all his money so that he can provide other people with the opportunity to make money. While he is in possession of his money, he has all that he wants, and consequently no desire to receive. It is only after he has made himself poor that he has enabled others to share of their profits with him, thus making him even richer than he was before. Out of his great love of sharing – a boundless love – comes the essence of the Creator who ceaselessly bestows His blessing by withdrawing Himself, bringing forth a creation in darkness with its lack and desire to receive, and then pouring into the creation of His Life and Light and Love, bringing eternal increase out of Himself and into Himself. Oh, the wonder of it!
Brethren, I deplore the vain prattle that is being preached today concerning so-called "seed faith." From coast to coast preachers are saying the very opposite of what I am saying here. They unashamedly tell people that the way to get out of debt and unleash an abundance of financial blessing is to plant "seed money," to give in order to get! They persuade tens of thousands of Christians that if only they will send in their "seed faith" offering to God's servant God will bless and prosper them, they will soon have all their bills paid, they will have the finest and best of all the good things the world has to offer, and an abundance of the amenities of life. My beloved, I do not hesitate to tell you that the only ones being financially blessed and prospering and getting rich out of this carnal teaching are the slick preachers who are hoodwinking God's precious people into sending them their hard-earned money. It is wondrously true – give and it shall be given unto you! But it is a monstrous farce to teach people to give IN ORDER TO GET. Giving to get is contrary to the nature of God, contradictory to the law of creation, and runs counter to the principles of the Kingdom of God. It springs not from love, but from lust. It is not of the Father, but of the world. It is not spiritual; rather it is fleshly, earthly. Still the law is there – give and it shall be given unto you! But nowhere in God's blessed Book are we exhorted to give so that it will be given. The premise is wrong. God so loved that He gave. There is the difference. His is the law of love, the pure and holy desire to bless, requiring nothing in return. You may give to receive – and God will honor it – but verily you HAVE YOUR REWARD. Your reward is the things you receive in return. It has nothing whatever to do with love, with obedience, with the desire to bless. It has nothing to do with the nature of God, no correspondence with the Kingdom of God, and there is no eternal benefit, no heavenly treasure laid up thereby. Oh, that God's elect may learn this one sublime truth – it is more blessed to give than to receive! When the Holy Spirit prompts you to give, then give out of a heart of love and obedience, but do not deceive yourself by thinking you are doing God a service when your motive is to get, when your heart and expectation is set on the increase of money and goods you will receive from your giving.
The spirit of love is not in you till it is the spirit of your life, till you live freely, willingly, universally according to it. It knows no difference of time, place, or person; but whether it gives or forgives, bears or forbears, it is equally doing its own delightful work. The spirit of love does not want to be rewarded or honored; its only desire is to become the blessing and happiness of everything that needs it. The wrath of an enemy, the treachery of a friend, only gives the spirit of love an opportunity to be more triumphant. The rebellion of Adam but opened up avenues for mankind to experience and know the incredible depths of the love of God! God IS LOVE! And His sons and daughters are of His own nature. The SONS OF LOVE! The DAUGHTERS OF LOVE! What blessed titles! Little wonder, then, that the whole vast creation, sold under slavery and bondage to sin, sorrow, and death groans and travails for the manifestation of the SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF LOVE! To know this is a wonderful help to faith. It teaches us that to love God, or the brethren, or our enemies, or the whole wretched race of men, is not a thing self-effort can attain. We can do it only because the divine love is dwelling in us; only as far as we yield ourselves to the divine love as a living power within, as a life that has been born into us, and that the Holy Spirit strengthens into action. Our part is first of all to rest, to cease from effort, to meditate deeply upon the depths of His love to us, to know that He is in us, and to give way to the love that dwells and works in us a power that is from above. The love of God reigns. The Spirit of God still waits to take possession of the heart where He has hitherto had no room. Love is timeless, eternal, unbounded. God so loved. He loves still. Though one hundred and sixty billions of men have lived and died and gone to Christless graves, HE LOVES THEM STILL. He will deal and deal in mercy and judgment until the desire to receive in them responds to Him as the one and only infinite supply. Oh, my dear friend, can you believe that? His mercy endureth forever, throughout all ages, and love will conquer, praise His name! Don't you believe for one moment the hideous lie that there are vessels created with the desire to receive that somehow will escape God's love and slip away into eternal death or everlasting torment? Such an idea is repugnant to all who know the truth and flies in the face of both the nature and wisdom of God the Creator-Giver.
When God created man in His own image he was ONE, not separated in the beginning into two persons. Thus he remained until the Lord separated the feminine from the masculine, making Adam and Eve, man and woman, to exist separately. Within the one man's nature were both masculine and feminine elements, all the possibilities of male and female, all the potential of fruit and of power, wisdom and love, strength and nurture. This spiritual man, being a son of God, possessed that perfect chaste virgin WITHIN HIMSELF and could have replenished the whole earth with his kind in God's image by a word of power.
We shall not at this moment consider the process by which God separated the female from the male, making Adam and Eve, man and woman, but we should carefully point out that following this separation, though existing in two bodies, and two personalities, inspiration declares in both the Old Testament and in the New that the man and his wife were ONE FLESH. Husbands and wives, according to the ordinance of Almighty God, are ONE FLESH, ONE UNIT, yea, ONE PERSON. The "thus saith the Lord" concerning the matter is simply stated in these inspired words: "From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; and the TWO shall become ONE FLESH, so that they are NO LONGER TWO, but ONE FLESH. What therefore God has united - joined together - let not man separate or divide." (Mk. 10:6-9, KJV & Amplified)
It was not the burning self-desire of Adam that caused Eve to come forth, but the purpose of God. It was God Himself who initiated the whole process, for the record states, "And the LORD GOD said, It is NOT GOOD for the man to be alone; I WILL MAKE him an help meet for him." (Gen. 2:18) "Meet" is an old English word meaning "suitable, fit, proper." The whole flavor of the word "meet" is to fit, join, combine, agree, be in union, be together. No hostility here! No war between the sexes' And no division. God made a help to fit, join, combine, agree, be in union, yes, to be ONE with Adam!
When he that readeth can grasp the truth that God bears within Himself both the characteristics of male and female, of Father and Mother, then he can better understand the divine word spoken "in the beginning" when God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: so, in the image of God created He him; MALE AND FEMALE created He them!" (Gen. 1:26-27) When Eve had been built by the skillful hand of the Creator and presented to Adam, he had an immediate name for what Eve obviously was. Not her given name, Eve, as we term it in English, but what kind of creature she was. Hebrew is simpler than English, and more plainly explains exactly what a woman is: ISH is the Hebrew word for man, and ISHA is the feminine form of ISH or man. Adam said, "Now here is bone exactly like my bone, and flesh exactly like my flesh, because she was built from what was taken from me, I will call her "isha" – a FEMALE MAN! Adam merely added a single letter to the word which stood for himself, to define the quality of difference: sex. And God confirmed Adam's understanding that they were both exactly alike despite the obvious outward differences: "In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him; male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called THEIR name ADAM, in the day when they were created." (Gen. 5:13) To both God and Adam it was ONE CREATION "in the image of God."
Ish. Isha. Male. Female. Both Adam. Both man. Both in the image of God! Isha signifies, no matter how uncouth the sound to our ears, MAN-NESS. So in the old Latin the word for man is VIR and the word for woman is VIRA – a FEMALE MAN! The English word "woman" also confirms this truth, for it is a contraction of the old Anglo-Saxon term "womb-man" – a MAN with a womb! When Adam said that Eve must be called "isha," it was as though for "wife" one would say "she-man." God blessed the union of ish and isha, this ONE CREATION HE CALLED ADAM.
When Eve had been built by the skillful hand of the Creator we read that He "brought her unto the man." (Gen. 2:22) I cannot conceive of anything more explicit and meaningful than that wonderful type. I say to every soul reading these lines, Have you been brought to Christ where Christ is? If you do not know union with the Christ in your spirit, you will never know union with Him in the sky nor in any heaven anywhere in all of God's great universe. And know this, oh man, you cannot be spiritual by effort. Many seek to be spiritual by prayer, reading the Word, devotedness, attending meetings; but the only pathway to it is to be brought by the Spirit to realize union with Christ. You are spiritual by union. What was Eve's thought when her eyes first rested upon Adam? I doubt not that she was completely overwhelmed and immediately drawn by irresistible cords of love and passionate desire to find union with him.
The allegory of lover and beloved, bride and groom, union of marriage, gives to us one of the best examples of the ONENESS which we desire to share with Christ, which we desire within our own selves, the union of soul and spirit. We are weary of the realm of duality and separation. We are tired of speaking in tongues one minute and flying off the handle the next. From the time when Christ came into our lives we have battled this dualness – our mind often pulled to the direction of the flesh, our spirit yearning for that life from above which alone would satisfy. Thank God! the Spirit of Christ within is gaining the ascendancy as the soul becomes more and more subdued. But the prayer remains, "that they all may be ONE."
When in the distant mists of Eden the Creator presented Eve to Adam, he had an immediate name for what Eve obviously was. Not her given name, Eve, as we term it in English, but what KIND of creature she was. Hebrew is simpler than English, and more plainly explains exactly what a woman is. ISH is the Hebrew word for "man" and ISHA is the feminine form of ISH or "man." You merely add a single letter to the word which stands for man, making it feminine, to define the quality of difference: sex. ISH is masculine, ISHA is feminine, but both mean "man." So Adam said, "Now here is bone exactly like my bone, and flesh exactly like my flesh; because she was built from what was taken from me, I will call her ISHA - a FEMALE MAN! And God confirmed Adam's understanding that they were both EXACTLY ALIKE despite the obvious outward differences: "In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him; male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called THEIR name ADAM, in the day when they were created." (Gen. 5:1-2) To both God and Adam it was ONE CREATION "in the image of God."
There was no inequality even considered. No superiority or inferiority alluded to. No hint of Eve's being a second-class creation. Differences, yes. But differences do not make for an inferior or superior individual, they only make him a different individual. Women can have babies, men can't. That's a difference. Men generally have a stronger musculature than women – that's a difference. Trying to prove equality between the sexes by playing the other fellow's game is not wise or logical, does not make sense - and proves nothing. It is not necessary for women to become mechanics or soldiers for them to prove their equality. It is not necessary for men to become homemakers or to bear children and give suck for them to prove equality with women. When God made Eve – here now was a creature EQUAL WITH ADAM, another PERSON, a SHE-MAN with whom he could share everything!
"God created man in His own image . male and female created He THEM. And God blessed THEM, and God said unto THEM, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and SUBDUE IT; and HAVE DOMINION over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." (Gen. 1:26-28) My reader will observe the change from "him" to "them." We are not presented with the actual fact of the formation of the woman until chapter two; but even here we find God blessing "them," and giving "them" JOINTLY THE PLACE OF UNIVERSAL GOVERNMENT. All the inferior orders of creation were set under their JOINT DOMINION. Eve received all her blessings in Adam: in him, too, she got her dignity and position and power. Though not yet called into her individual identity, she was, in the purpose of God, looked at as part of the man. Universal dominion was not given to Adam alone; it was not said, "Let HIM have dominion," but "Let THEM have dominion." There was no other creature so near to Adam as Eve, because no other creature was part of himself. What affection Eve had for Adam! What nearness she enjoyed! What intimacy of communion! What full participation in his thoughts! In all his dignity, and in all his glory, wisdom and power, she was entirely ONE. He did not rule OVER her, but WITH her. He was lord of the whole creation, and she was ONE WITH HIM! THEY were the king and queen of the universe!
Then shall the True Man – the Lord from heaven, the corporate man composed of "many sons brought to glory" – take His seat upon the throne, and in companionship with His bride – the New Eve, the cleansed and perfected Church – rule over a restored creation. This church is quickened out of the grave of Christ, taken from His riven side, being thus "of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones." He is the Head and she the body, making ONE NEW MAN, as we read in the fourth chapter of Ephesians, "Till we all come, in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (Eph. 4:13) And who is this "Perfect Man"? CHRIST AND HIS BRIDE, CHRIST MALE AND FEMALE – THE LAST MAN ADAM AND THE NEW EVE!
The sons of God are the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16; Rev. 11:1-2, 19). The bride of Christ is the city of God (Rev. 21:9-11). That city is the holy city, the New Jerusalem. Every stone of that city is a living stone, a glorified CHRIST BEING. Every stone is a living, ransomed soul just as every member of the body of Christ, which is the temple of God, is a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God and precious. We cannot fully explain nor understand a mystery so awesome as this, but the eye that sees by the Spirit sees the temple as a living thing, composed of living saints. In that temple redeemed men, the sons of God, are the pillars and foundations, and Christ Himself is the chief cornerstone, from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord, in whom we also are builded to become the habitation of God through the Spirit. In holy vision the apostle John was transported in spirit to a great and high mountain, the majestic heights of the Kingdom of God, from which he was permitted to see the perfected bride of Christ in all her beauty and glory. From his lofty vantage point the eyes of John were ravished with the electrifying sight of the unequaled majesty and infinite splendor of the bride adorned for her Husband. Not a city of stone as was the Old Jerusalem, but a New Jerusalem, a living city, a bride beyond compare, a virgin pure and holy, composed of incorruptible saints brought forth out of the living substance of Christ. Words utterly fail me to describe the wonder of such unsurpassable glory, for ours are but the words of men, but that holy and beautiful city belongs to THE REALM OF THE SPIRIT. Now at last the perfection, the image of God, Sons and Daughters, Male and Female, Temple and City, of which Adam and Eve were but a frail shadowy type, has come; the many-membered Bridegroom, the last Adam, with the many membered Bride, the Holy City, Adam and Eve, the first and the last, in the image and likeness of God JOINTLY RULING OVER ALL THINGS! The nations shall walk by the light of this city and the rulers and leaders of the earth shall bring into it their glory. The tree of life is in the midst of it and the water of life flows from the throne of God in the midst of it. This is GOD, male and female, united with the image of God in man, male and female, ruling over all the endless vastnesses of infinity unto ages of ages! May the Holy Ghost unfold these things more fully and powerfully to our hearts, that we may have a deeper sense of the conduct and character which are worthy of the high vocation wherewith we are called.
There is neither time nor space to consider the myriad ghastly consequences of the fall of man, but I would draw your attention to one disastrous result. The curses reaped CAUSED THE INEQUALITIES BETWEEN THE SEXES so prominent in the history of the human family. Life became a burden and a struggle. The beauty and equality of man and woman in the garden of Eden disappeared. Strife, guilt, shame, discord, competition and pain took over – the way of the flesh held sway!
While the loss of oneness and equality between "ish" and "isha" was tragic indeed, this was but the sad fruit of DISUNITY WITH GOD which had already invaded their lives. There is a most enlightening statement by the apostle Paul, quoted earlier, wherein he admonishes, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the SIMPLICITY that is in Christ." (II Cor. 11:3) The whole purpose of the serpent's beguilement was to CORRUPT THE MIND FROM THE SINGLENESS THAT EXISTS IN UNION WITH THE SPIRIT. The word "simplicity" actually is the Greek word for "singleness," from the same root as used in the verse, "When thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light." (Lk. 11:34) We are beguiled when the spirit of the flesh, the world, or the devil draws our soul away from its unity and union with the spirit.
The dreadful fruit of disunity with God is disunity in every other realm, for "HE is our peace." (Eph. 2:14) The awful reality of this fact became apparent to Eve as the voice of God announced the dreadful judgment, the terrifying sentence, which swept like a frightening nightmare over her being, proclaiming, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and HE SHALL RULE OVER THEE." (Gen. 3:16) "Thy desire shall be to thy husband" would be better translated, "Thy desire shall be SUBJECT to thy husband," that is, thy desire shall be subjected to the will and pleasure of thy husband. One ancient translation reads, "The direction of thee shall be with thy husband." "…and he shall RULE OVER thee." Another version says, "…and he will DOMINATE you!"
Can we not see by this that the headship of man over woman CAME AS A RESULT OF THE FALL AND AS A PART OF THE CURSE? It is my long considered opinion that there is actually no particle of evidence anywhere in the whole Bible to support the notion that Adam had the headship over Eve before the fall. The dreadful sentence laid upon Eve that fateful day in Eden is if I err not, the announcement of a condition that should occur with respect to the vast majority of women through succeeding ages and dispensations – but NOT ONE THAT SHOULD HOLD PERPETUALLY, for God purposed that the day would surely come when "there shall be no more curse!" (Rev. 22:3)
The same seeds of confusion and duplicity which brought disunity with God, swiftly brought disunity in the human family, beginning with Adam and Eve, in view of which the Lord established a LAW to maintain order in the home, pronouncing to the woman, "Thy desire shall be SUBJECT to thy husband, and HE SHALL RULE OVER THEE." God allowed women to be brought down into such a place of servitude and subjection to men that at the period in which Jesus came into the world, women were held in such a low place of subjection and bondage that in many cases they were not allowed to walk down the streets beside their husbands or to sit in the same room with their husbands when their husbands had company. They had been brought into many forms of bondage. In Eastern lands, even today, we see women the slaves of men, shut away in harems and purdahs. They have no rights, no privileges. The man is able to marry other women and to divorce his wives at will, to beat and cruelly misuse them. We see how the rule of man has brought women into a state of utter misuse and bondage.
That this arrangement was not God's original arrangement nor His eternal order, is evidenced by the fact that man's domination over woman is strictly enforced by the law of Moses, of which law Paul by inspiration wrote, "Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, T-I-L-L THE SEED SHOULD COME TO WHOM THE PROMISE WAS MADE." (Gal. 3:19) Ah - when the promised seed comes, when the Christ comes, when the Bridegroom comes the law is no longer of effect! The New Testament has something to say of the headship of man over woman, but we must never forget for one moment that man is headship over woman is a mere temporary arrangement prescribed for this imperfect state while yet we walk subjected to the frailties of the flesh, and the weakness and travail of this carnal, corruptible realm, all of which is the product of the fall and part of the curse. Hearken to me, my brother, my sister! Man's headship over the woman was never part of God's original order, was not in any way related to the high and holy and eternal purposes of God, and it does not bespeak, by any stretch of the imagination, the glistering glory of the heavenly realm of the Kingdom of God in Eden where man and woman walked and REIGNED TOGETHER in the mind of Christ. Man's headship over woman pertains, rather, to the tragic, sorrowful, and sordid ORDER OF THE CURSE.
The order of things under the fall is not man's normal state. Eve in Eden was not like the women of today; her state was far better and more excellent; she and her husband were completely ONE – one flesh, one body, one soul, one spirit, one will, one mind, one desire, one hope, one purpose, one power and one position. How can one person rule over the other when the TWO ARE ONE in every way? It is high time for a people to begin to move out of the "in-part" realm of the church world today, to rise up and possess that true and eternal and divine order of THE KINGDOM OF GOD. There is a place, even in this physical dimension, where husband and wife can so become ONE in the mind of Christ until no headship or dominion of one over the other is necessary or appropriate.
Under the law women were not independent legal entities. Like the minor, the deaf-mute, and the idiot, they could not serve as witnesses in court; they could not inherit equally with male heirs; they could not divorce their husbands; the husband kept money earned by his wife and owned anything she gained or found by chance. In short, under the law the wife was THE PROPERTY OF HER HUSBAND and classified as inferior, being listed together with his other chattels. "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's WIFE, nor his manservant, not his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, NOR ANYTHING THAT IS THY NEIGHBOR'S." (Ex. 20:17)
TRANSCENDING THE CURSE BACK TO EDEN!
There are those ministers who insist that it is not God's order for a woman to have any place of leadership or authority in the Church whatever, and especially no place of authority or leadership over any man in the Church; no matter how carnal or unanointed that man might be, or how anointed or how spiritual the woman might be; and that God will not anoint any woman to any kind of ministry or leadership or authority in the Church, the body of Christ. Most who have written on this subject hitherto have titled their articles, WOMAN'S PLACE IN THE CHURCH, but this is by far an over simplification of the question. For one cannot come to a full understanding of the full answer to this question without coming to an understanding of woman's place in the progressive unfolding of the total plan and purpose of God for His creation that we find in the Scriptures from Genesis through Revelation. Woman's place in the total scheme of God's Divine Plan has been progressively changing: first, for the worse and then for the better, since God brought her forth here on this earth out of Adam.
In this connection Paul gives a most significant and important instruction to the church at Corinth. He writes, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.” (I Cor. 11:3-7) It is my deep conviction that in these words Paul uses a natural custom to present a spiritual truth. There is an order of authority (headship) in the universe and it is set up like this:
The first surprise in the chain of command is that Christ is subject to God the Father. He is equal with God, very God, but He is subject to the Father. In the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed, “O My Father, … not as I will, but as Thou wilt..” (Mat. 26:39) “I seek not mine own will,” Jesus said in Jn. 5:30, “but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” Even when the Christ shall have conquered all the forces of evil and shall have subdued all enemies under His feet, He will submit Himself to God: “By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” (I Cor. 15:2) Jesus, the Creator of heaven and earth, submitted Himself to God the Father. He takes His place in the chain of command.
It is no shame, no dishonor, for a woman to be under authority, if the Lord Jesus Himself is submitted to the Headship of God the Father. Position in the order of headship has nothing to do with the individual’s worth to God or capabilities in the Kingdom of God. It is not determined by one’s importance or accomplishments. The man is the head of the woman even as Christ is the head of the man. Man has a Head. Christ has a Head. Woman has a Head. It is interesting to note that just as soon as Paul establishes this order of Headships, He quickly adds, “Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.” (I Cor. 11:4) The question follows – the covering must be upon WHICH HEAD? Speaks the apostle of the physical head on a woman’s shoulders – or the head just established in the preceding verse – HER HUSBAND? Hear it! “But I would you know that the HEAD of every man is Christ; and the HEAD of every woman is the man; and the HEAD of Christ is God.” And immediately he continues: “But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.” (I Cor. 11:5) Again I ask – which “head” must be covered – the woman’s head on her shoulders or the woman’s head which is her husband? It should be obvious to all who can read and have even the slightest faculty of reason that it is her HUSBAND-HEAD that must be covered! No other “head” is introduced in the passage, not the physical head on her shoulder nor some kind of ministerial headship in the church. Paul is very plain about what “head” he is speaking about. Paul does not jump from his subject to something altogether foreign to his thought.
The word “covered” is from the Greek KATAKALUPTO meaning “to cover wholly, i.e. veil, hide” It means to be veiled or hidden from view beneath a veil. The veil in Eastern culture was a piece of cloth worn by a woman to conceal her face and cover her head. It was not a mere shawl, hat, or mesh worn upon the top of the head. An Israelite woman wore a veil at the time of her wedding. When Rebekah first saw Isaac, she put on her veil and, afterwards, they were married (Gen. 24:65-67). Jacob’s inability to recognize that Leah had been substituted for Rachel on his wedding night can be explained by the face that Leah was veiled – Jacob could not see her! Her face was hidden from him. Still today in many Eastern countries the women wear veils to conceal their faces from the gazes of all men except their husbands. Thus, the veil is designed specifically to hide, conceal or cover a woman’s face, just as the veil in the temple was to conceal the glory in the most Holy Place, and the veil on Moses’ face was to cloud the brilliance of the glory that shown from him.
Various false teachings have arisen out of Paul’s writing about the woman’s head being covered due to the careless inattentiveness to what the passage really says, as well as a lack of the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God. The teaching that all women must be spiritually “covered” by a male or a ministry is not the only error that has emerged from this portion of scripture. Others have taken these verses to mean that woman must have her head covered with some sort of wrap, such as a scarf, hat, bonnet or cap, while she is praying or ministering. In India, the churches still hold to this teaching, as well as some churches (Mennonite, etc.) here in the United States and abroad. Many of our traditional churches have a vestige of this teaching that has remained in the popular custom of women wearing hats to church on Sunday.
What is the Holy Spirit’s real meaning in these verses and what does it signify for the woman’s “head” to be “covered”? We will be greatly helped in our understanding when we clearly see that the woman’s “head,” by Paul’s own definition, is her HUSBAND! Is that not what Paul plainly says? “But I would have you know that… the head of the woman is the man… every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head (her man, husband) uncovered, dishonoureth her head (husband).” It means that when a woman PRAYS (ministers to God) or PROPHESIES (ministers from God) her husband MUST BE COVERED, HIDDEN FROM VIEW, REMOVED FROM HIS POSITION OF HEADSHIP OVER HER, so that we move up to the next order of Headship and CHRIST BECOMES HER HEAD. If her husband-head is not covered, hidden, or removed from his headship over her, then she would be required to pray through her husband! The prayer would then pass from her husband through Christ (his Head) on to God. Conversely, if her husband-head is not covered, hidden, or removed from his place of headship over the woman, prophecy would have to flow from God through Christ, then through her husband, to her. But having her husband-head covered, hidden, or removed from his position of headship over her, she approaches God directly through Christ just as her husband does and she receives divine revelation anointing and ministry directly from Christ just as does the man.
For, you see, CHRIST IS HEAD OF THE CHURCH! Christ is not Head of only the men in the church. He is Head of the entire church! He is Head of the children in the church. He is Head of the women in the church. He is Head of everyone in the church – male and female. So – in the church, that is, in the spirit man has NO HEADSHIP OVER THE WOMAN! A woman may be subject to her husband, but she can still go directly to God through Christ to ask for anything she needs or desires, and get it as quickly as if she were a man. Hear well what Paul says in Gal. 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” and when God chooses to speak through a woman He neither consults the man nor does He channel His spirit to her through the man. Once we are born into the Kingdom of God, we become new creatures in Christ Jesus. In the Spirit there is an entirely new order of the Kingdom of God – CHRIST is Lord of ALL !
To those who can receive it the following words will give help and light. We must see that there are rules for the fleshly, or earthly man, and there is a higher order for the spiritual, or heavenly man. In the Spirit, women are equal with men, and each must submit to Christ as their spiritual Head. In the flesh, in the marriage relationship, in the mundane things or mortal life, man has a headship over the woman as long as we are walking after the flesh. But women are never to submit to a man that which is the Lord’s! Most women of God experience two marriages. They are married to Christ on one level and to their husbands on another level. In the physical union of man and woman, God placed man as the head – until that physical union is caught up into the fullness of Christ. However, in the Spirit each of them is responsible to God. No man can obtain salvation or any other spiritual ministry or attainment for his wife. Nor does God respect man’s headship when He chooses to move upon or through the wife. God channels nothing to the wife through the husband and in her relationship with God that wife does not channel her prayers, praise, love, commitment, or any other spiritual thing to God through her husband. The husband is COVERED, CONCEALED, HIDDEN, REMOVED FROM HIS PLACE OF HEADSHIP IN THAT SPIRITUAL REALM. If a woman’s head (husband) is not covered, she dishonors her head, making him as grotesque figure, out of the order of God. And if a man prays or prophesies with his Head (Christ) covered, he dishonors his Head by coming to God and receiving from God apart from Jesus Christ. How simple is the truth!
God is in the process of gathering all things together into one IN CHRIST (Eph. 1:9-11). Women can rise above the curse and be restored to their original position of authority given her in the beginning before the “fall”. That position was one of equality and joint dominion with her husband. The command to have dominion over, and subdue the earth was given to both Adam and Eve. They were to rule together over the Lord’s creation. The very act of subduing something requires authority, aggressiveness and leadership. And when the woman moves in the Spirit, under the Headship of Christ – there, in Christ, her and her husband’s equality and joint dominion are restored!
Before passing on I will mention one other thing, for someone is bound to ask. When men pray, prophecy, or move in any kind of spiritual ministry they are not to dishonor their Head-Jesus. Their Head is not to be covered, hidden, or removed. Men and women alike come to God through Christ Jesus in all things. Any man who aspires to attain a place in God apart from Jesus Christ has His Head covered and dishonors his Head. Any man who is submitted to a ministry, an organization, a headquarters, or some authority other than the Christ has his Head covered and dishonors his Head. And finally, let us reverently consider the exhortation of the Spirit: “For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.” (I Cor.11:6) The hair is a symbol of the anointing. Samson’s long hair was the source of his strength, anointing, and authority. When it was shaved he was helpless, but when it grew back he was able to pull the great temple of Dagon down upon the Philistines. The Nazarites entered into a special vow of consecration and service to God and the vow included the injunction that “no razor shall come upon his head.” (Num. 6:5, I Sam. 16:22) The hair of the Nazarite was left uncut for the duration of his vow. A priest was not to make his head bald or shave the corners of his beard (Lev. 21:5). Shaving was connected with the cure from leprosy and shaving is also mentioned in various contexts in connection with mourning. The shaving of captive women (Deut. 21:12-13) is a sign of their mourning – their loss. For a woman to be shaved was a sign of shame and spiritually represents the loss for her glory – the anointing of her unique life. Behold now how meaningful are the words of the apostle Paul! “But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.” (I Cor. 11:5-6) The simple truth of the matter is this: if a woman’s head be not covered, if her husband-head is not removed when she lives in and moves by the spirit; if she submits the sacred things of God in her spiritual experience to the over-ruling authority of her husband, causing him to usurp the place of Christ and thus bringing dishonor let her also be shorn or shaven! Subjection of her spiritual life to any headship other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is equal to the shame of having her anointing taken away from her. It is an incredible disgrace, a shame to her husband, a shame to herself, a shame to Christ, and a shame to God. Any woman who subjects her life-flow to a man or to any group of men – just because they are males – dishonors the Kingdom of God. It is a humiliation. It is an insult and affront to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. It is an outrage against the Headship of Jesus Christ over the church. It is sad. It is an occasion for mourning. And further – she stands in danger of losing her anointing and standing in shame, shorn before men and in the presence of God!
This age of grace, through which the Church has passed during nineteen hundred years and more, has been a time when the Spirit of God has been working upon the body of Christ to bring each elect member of that body to the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ. During this time God has progressively been working to inwork His full redemption in our very natures, transforming us into New Creation people. With the coming of Jesus, with his pouring out His life upon the cross, the way was opened for both men and women to be cleansed and redeemed FROM EVERY EFFECT OF THE CURSE that came through the fall; so that both men and women might be born again – regenerated, recreated – and become completely NEW CREATURES with no taint of the curse of the fall upon them. Ah, dear ones, this is the glory set before the Sons and Daughters of the Most High, not just to learn how to live and conduct ourselves in this travail under the curse, but to be made free from the curse, to live and walk tall and strong and triumphant in the glorious and eternal reality of the Kingdom of God! "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." (Gal. 3:13) Therefore, insofar as the question of woman's position in relation to the man, since the redemptive work of Jesus was completed, they are redeemed completely from the curse that was laid upon them through Eve's part in the fall, and by virtue of the fact that in the New Birth the Perfect Man, the Son of God, has been conceived within them, therefore the hope is for this reality to become so experiential within, in both the man and the woman, that the two shall truly become ONE IN CHRIST JESUS.
Mr. Husband and Mrs. Wife, there is no one grand leap into the ONENESS of which I speak, no instant perfection, no short cut into the fullness of redemption purchased by Jesus, for redemption is a PROCESS. Husbands and wives do not automatically become ONE in mind, will, desire, and purpose because of a salvation experience or the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Being "born ones of God," indwelt by His Spirit, we now have the POTENTIAL to ascend into that higher plane of life, to lay hold upon the reality lost in the fall, and to experience the inworkings of the change which results in an entirely new STATE OF BEING, making us LIKE HIM, transformed in nature and restored to the glory we had "in Him" before the world was.
So many preachers and Christians get bogged down with some of the literal, letter-of-the-Word statements about man's headship and woman's submission, that they miss the point of God's overall purpose. In the distance it seems my ear can hear some of them even now hotly contesting these things I am writing, demanding to learn from me if I do not believe the statements made by Paul and others where it is affirmed that "the head of the woman is the man," "wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands in everything," and "let the wives be in subjection to their husbands." This is unquestionably the order of God for husbands and wives AS LONG AS THEY ARE WALKING IN IMPERFECTION, DUPLICITY, AND A CONDITION OF VARIANCE AND DISUNITY. When two are not one, when two are not joined in the mind of Christ in the same spirit, heart, desire, will and purpose, then it should not be difficult for us to understand that ONE MUST SUBMIT so there will be peace and order. Even the world understands that you cannot have TWO BOSSES in any business! The scriptural order for husbands and wives in the realm of imperfection and carnality is for the wife to submit to her husband in all things.
The very word "submission" presupposes variance, disagreement, division, dissention, strife, hostility, etc. Let me illustrate. If the husband wants to spend the winter in Tucson, Arizona and the wife wants to spend the winter in Miami, Florida, then you have a difference, a variance. If both are strong willed and determined to get "their way" you soon have argument, contention and strife. But, if the husband and wife are ONE MIND and BOTH desire to go to Tucson, there is no variance and THERE CAN BE NO SUBMISSION FOR THERE IS NOTHING TO BE SUBMITTED. Can we not see by this that when two are not agreed, submission is in order. I believe that I speak by the Spirit of God when I say that the highest will of God for His Sons and Daughters in this the end of age is not SUBMISSION but ONENESS.
Husband! If you have received the call to sonship do not rule over your wife like a tyrant, do not act like she is some servant who must cater to your every whim. Seek not to rule over her at all, you who would be free from the curse, but in deep humility seek earnestly in the fear of God to be MADE ONE with your wife in everything. Wife! You who have been apprehended to the high calling of God in Christ, do not be resentful toward your husband, do not demand your rights or walk in an independent spirit. Neither should you see your role as being a sweet little wimpy, mindless, submissive wife. The Lord would impart to your spirit this high and holy vision of BECOMING ONE with your husband in the mind and nature of the Son of God! If God cannot perfect such a glorious work within us then He is not God, we are not sons, and "let us go on to perfection" is a farce!
Thank God! There is an order for us in our weakness and carnality: headship and submission. But my soul shouts unending hallelujahs that this carnal realm is not our abiding place, merely a temporary encampment while we pass through the processings of God, TRANSFORMED INTO THE IMAGE OF HIS SON. In that blest realm male and female are UNITED IN ONE to walk once more in the splendor of Eden's enchanted Garden – the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
I must tell you frankly that I have absolutely no ambition to live under the curse and RULE OVER MY WIFE, nor do I have one whit of desire for HER to be subject to ME. Ah, yes, we must yet submit ourselves to one another and, I must not shirk my responsibilities in headship to love and cherish and honor my wife, making wise judgments in the home when one must make a final decision in some matter upon which we are not agreed, and my wife must reverence my position, but this arrangement is but for a season, according to the measure that we both still find in our natures the working of carnality with all the old emotions and cravings of self-hood, variance and duplicity. But the one overwhelming desire which crieth from the depths of my regenerated spirit and pulsates continually within my breast is not for HER SUBMISSION but for OUR ONENESS. This has been attained in measure, where HIS SALVATION has been perfectly wrought out in our lives, in those areas where we have died to self and put on the mind of Christ, our minds and desires and wills have been MADE ONE IN HIS, and it is joy unspeakable and full of glory!
It is a great mystery, we know, yet in spite of such divine revelation and truth as this there comes the monstrous evil of "women's liberation" to captivate the simple minded. God's blessed provision in Eden was EQUALITY IN ONENESS. The diabolical lie in the women's liberation movement is the effort to have EQUALITY IN INDEPENDENCE. Independence! Self-hood! The devil's deception! The feminists cry, "We will be equal, liberated, and independent!" The cry of the Spirit of God is "That they all may BE ONE!" Never the twain shall meet. What fiendish evil and devilish deception it is to pretend that male and female are somehow rivals at enmity and in antagonism with each other! Male and female were ordained by God to complement each other, each having his God-given place and calling, working in harmony, for as the woman is of the man, so is the man by the woman, but all things of God (I Cor. 11:12). Dear sister, flee from the fighting, grasping, rebellious, insubordinate, intractable, contentious, combating, competitive and perverse spirit of the women's liberation movement as you would flee from a fire in the forest, for that satanic path is not the road to sonship and the mind of Christ.
Having mused with awe and delight upon the gracious purposes of an all-wise God, begun in ages past, unfolding in the present, to be carried to their ultimate and glorious intention in regenerated men and women who have been transformed by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit, with what more fitting words could I bring to close the brief study of male and female than by quoting that blessed epigram of assurance left by that masterful exponent of God's purpose, who, after reminding us that we are accepted in the Beloved, chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places, and predestinated to placement as sons of the Most High, avowed that that same grace would continue to work in all men until "according to that which seemed good to Him, which good thing He purposed in Himself, with respect to an administration of the completion of the epochs of time TO BRING BACK AGAIN TO THEIR ORIGINAL STATE ALL THINGS IN THE CHRIST, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him, in whom also we were an inheritance, having been previously marked out according to the purpose of the One who operates all things according to the counsel of His will, with a view to our being to the praise of His glory." (Eph. 1:10-12, Wuest)
Ah, hear the word of the Lord and take heed, all husbands and wives who hope to attain to God's high calling, for I declare to you that there is a HIGHER ORDER of the Kingdom of God revealed in Eden's blest Garden! This higher order of perfection and sonship requires the TWO to be so transformed by the spirit that in the pure nature and holy mind of Christ they BECOME ONE. When this union of mind, will, emotion, and spirit takes place between husband and wife there is nothing left to be "submitted," for duplicity is overcome, all variance flees away like the chaff driven with the wind out of the floor, and every disunity is swallowed up in the ONENESS OF HIS LIFE. Blessed unity! The "two" are "set at one again." Eden has been reentered. This is the glory and majesty of the Kingdom of God! "The Kingdom of God is PEACE, in the Holy Ghost." (Rom. 14:17) Kingdom peace isn't when one subdues the other, forcing an agreement which submission only brought about.
Having said all this, let us now apply this beautiful truth spiritually and internally, to Christ the Bridegroom in our spirit, and to us the bride in our soul. Spiritually, this means that as long as we walk in imperfection and duplicity THE SPIRIT IS GIVEN HEADSHIP OVER THE SOUL. The soul is commanded to be under obedience and is to be subjected under the authority of the spirit. Ah, but the headship of the man over the woman was never part of God's original order in the heavenly realm of the Kingdom of God where man and woman walked and reigned together in the precious mind of Christ. In God's grand and glorious plan, when redemption has finished its work within us, man and woman, male and female, SPIRIT AND SOUL shall both be so quickened in the pure nature and holy mind of Christ that the two shall again be one. SUBMISSION shall be swallowed up into UNITY! Glory!
The wonderful goal is not just our will, our mind, and our emotions SUBMITTED to His will and way, but ONLY HIS WILL! In the marriage union of spirit and soul there is one new creature, Christ, with one mind, one will, one emotion – HIS made OURS. Blessed union! It is not His mind controlling our mind, but it is our possessing HIS mind. This is CHRIST IN YOU the hope of glory. It is more than just a "fill me" with more of God, but a being swallowed up into Him, that henceforth it is "no longer I, but CHRIST liveth in me." (Gal. 2:20) This is what we are yearning for – that we might have a constant outflow of our true inner nature. As Paul wrote, "Stop assuming an outward expression that does not come from within you and is not representative of what you are in your inner being but is patterned after this age; but change your outward expression to one that comes from within and is representative of your inner being." (Rom. 12:2, Wuest)
Prefigured by Adam and Eve in Eden, this is the perfect man, man in the image of God, male and female, spirit and soul dwelling in the Garden of the body, united in one, given dominion over all things. These are rising from the far country of sin and self, and from the confusion and limitation of religious Babylon, to be united again as one in the Spirit of God. These shall rule and reign gloriously, first over the domain of their own individual "earth," then over that earth out there, and in due time over all the endless vastnesses of infinity forever! Dearly beloved brethren, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us and, forsaking all else, cleave only unto HIM. Then shall we hear, down the corridors of our own soul, the celestial cry of jubilation THE MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB IS COME, AND HIS WIFE HATH MADE HERSELF READY!
There is one footnote I would add to all I have shared about the fall of male and female into disunity and their glorious restoration in redemption. As we look back at the awful sentence that fell upon mankind, observe how the scriptures clearly reveal that God did not curse Adam. God cursed the ground for his sake, that it would produce thorns and thistles, causing the man to toil and earn his living by the sweat of his face. He curses Satan. He said, “you are cursed… and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.” His existence would be right on the ground right in earthliness, in the dust of that earth which Adam was. God said that Eve would suffer in childbirth because she was going to bring forth children. Why should she not suffer because she was going to bring forth this Adamic man? She would constantly bring forth one who would minister sin and perpetuate death until Christ put an end to it. God did not curse Eve, even though people often call it a curse.
There is a passage of scripture in the New Testament which, though kept obscure, throws tremendous light upon why God did not directly curse either Adam or Eve. When Paul was writing his instructions to Timothy regarding the conduct of the church, he made this most remarkable and enlightening statement, every word of which I believe. Hear well what he said: “I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed (the formed man, not the created one), then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (I Tim 2:12-14) Paul did not make this statement because he was a woman hater and this truth should never be used to condemn Eve or any other woman. The truth is, however, that Eve was taken from the flesh and bone of Adam and made separate from him in order that the transgression should be accomplished…”For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope.” (Rom. 8:20) The transgression is not a mistake! Neither God nor Adam slipped up! It is a part of God’s great plan of creation and redemption. Notice, now, how the scripture plainly states that Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. What then shall we say about the man? The truth must be that if he was not deceived, then he entered into the transgression with his eyes wide open, because he knew and thoroughly understood God’s plan – that God through temptation, suffering and death would eventually produce the finished product, not only a man in His image, but a man qualified to face and subdue every reality and potentiality in the universe and to reign with Him triumphantly over all things. I cannot believe that Adam was angry with Eve, or that he scorned her or wished himself rid of her. She was flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone, and we read in Eph. 5:29, “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth it and cherisheth it even as the Lord the Church.” But Adam’s heart must have been filled with sorrow, compassion, love, mercy and above all a consuming desire to lift his wife, his body, his flesh, out of the sin and darkness into which she had fallen. Yet he found himself powerless to save her. That ability was not given to the first Adam. There were only two courses open to Adam: go with Eve into sin and loss or forever be separated from her. What a choice! His lovely and beautiful wife had entered a lower realm through sin. Certainly he could see this would be that God would give us an insight into the sufferings of the heart of Adam! Perhaps such a thing would reveal something of the heart of the last Adam as he yearned over this “wife” in His garden, not of Eden, but of Gethsemane. Thank God, the last Adam was able to rescue and save His beloved one from the powers of evil into which she had come.
As you know the story, after they had eaten and found themselves naked, they attempted to hide from God. But God found them, or discovered them to themselves, and He called all three, Adam, Eve, and the serpent, before Him. God asked, “Adam why did you do this?” Adam’s reply was “Well, the woman you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” Of course he ate; and I am glad that he did; I honor him for it, and am proud of the primal ancestor of the race. It would have been a sorry piece of unmanliness, disloyalty and unlove if he would have refused to eat and so left the woman to bear the brunt of her error alone outside the Garden, while he remained within. I have heard countless preachers talking about Adam hiding behind the skirts of a woman, pointing the finger and blaming it all on the woman. I have no use for such distorted reasoning. Adam was actually saying to God, “God, you bear the responsibility for this. You gave me Eve, you gave me a companion to be with me, and should I not cleave to her? Would you have one desert her? Did you not sanction the law that a man is to leave his father and mother and cleave only to his wife? Do with us what you will; we share the consequences together; and Thou art the One, Thou the Creator, who has put this necessity upon me.” Truly the cry of Adam’s heart was a cry of deep and unextinguished love. It was, furthermore, the cry of a broken heart praying for strength, praying for grace and for help to bear up under the load. Adam’s wonderful and glorious world had suddenly collapsed around him. Everything that God had given the man and woman in Eden was gone. Utter despair filled his heart, as he knew he must make the decision to go into sin and death with the wife God had given him. Together with Eve, in a manner to be her protection, he must face the judgment of God. Adam was simply following out the divine pattern for all this which had happened.
Paul, writing the deepest truth to the saints at Ephesus, made these remarkable statements: “The husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.” (Eph. 5:23-24) Let those who lack understanding look only at the surface meaning here. The deeper meaning is this: as Christ is the head of the body, the church, so Adam was the head of Eve; and as Christ is the Saviour of His body, the church, so Adam was the saviour of his body, Eve. The Emphatic Diaglott reads thus: “Husbands, love your wives even as the Anointed One loves the congregation, and delivered Himself upon her behalf.” (Eph. 5:25) Note those words: “Delivered Himself up on her behalf.” Because of the intense love of the first Adam for Eve, his own body, and because he understood how the divine purpose was to be worked out he was not deceived, he delivered himself up for her who is the mother of us all and thus became the figure and type of Him, Christ, who delivered Himself up for us all. “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.” (Rom. 5:14) How beautifully in the light of these things has the scripture said: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15)
I have said all this to bring us to the knowledge that Christ knew His wife, the church, his “other body,” always. He knew her before she sinned, even as Adam knew Eve before she sinned. There was a time in the realm of Spirit when Christ knew us in that long ago beginning before man was lowered into this dense material realm, when once we existed as spirits in the image and likeness of God. “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son.” (Rom. 8:29) “According as He hath chosen us in Him (before the foundation of the world).” (Eph. 1:4) Adam could decide to go into sin and death with his wife, but that is all he could do. HE could NEVER LIFT HER OUT OF SIN AND DEATH. But what a wonderful One this last Adam would prove to be! He could go right down into a sinful world, where His wife was, and taking her out, cleanse her. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph. 5:25-27) Christ took unto Himself all of His wife’s sin and iniquity. Not only our sins, but our diseases, with all the limitation and filthiness of this present creation – all were placed upon Him, for He bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that He might purify and cleanse us.
The Christ is able to cleanse, purify and quicken His wife. He can take away the sin, carnality and death that the first Adam was impotent to do anything about. Christ Himself has walked in the midst of humanity, not high above us in holiness and incorruptibility, but in the very midst of our mortality, shame, and need. It behooved Himself to be made in all points like unto us. And even now He has not gone off and set Himself down on a celestial throne in some far-off heaven somewhere, saying, “I will do the best I can for you from a safe distance.” No! He has come to us, yea, within us, as God hath said, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (II Cor. 6:16) He became one of us in Christ Jesus, and is still one of us as He indwells us and makes His abode with us. The first law that man made was that a man should leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife and they two should become one flesh. God sanctioned that law and has now bound His Son Jesus to it. Jews must leave His Father and cleave unto His earthly wife, share her life, bear her sins in His own body, redeem her, cleanse her, and lift her up again into an equality with Himself.
The woman is the soul of man
That Adam died to keep;
Ordained of God, it was His plan
To save the wayward sheep.
Christ tasted death for every man
That He might win His bride:
“Church of the Firstborn Son of God,”
And for His church He died.
Adam knew what he was doing,
He did not believe the lie;
But Eve transgressed because she did…
And so do you and I.
Full well he knew the poison
In the cup upon that tree,
But he tasted it for her sake
‘Twas the Father’s will, you see.
He knew the truth that Christ should be
The ransom for all men;
He knew that he should surely die,
But he would rise again.
He knew the Lamb of God was slain
Before the world was founded,
And on this blessed knowledge
Was the HOPE of Adam grounded.
- Lora Huston