ECHOES from EDEN, PART 33
END-TIME PROPHECY – TRUTH REVEALED
BY: J. PRESTON EBY
KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
THE SERPENT, (continued)
The Serpent – A Spirit
Get Thee Behind Me – Satan!
The Dragon in the Sea
The Bottomless Pit
The God of this World
His Majesty the Devil
“Now the SERPENT was more subtel than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made... and the SERPENT said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die... and the Lord God said unto the SERPENT, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.” (Gen. 3:1, 4, 14-15)
The ancient serpent, having beguiled Eve, became the recipient of the FIRST CURSE in history. Most students of the Word know that the woman was cursed, the ground was cursed, and the earth was cursed, but few remember that before all this the serpent was cursed. The curse is first mentioned in Gen. 3:14. “And the Lord God said unto the SERPENT, Because thou hast done this THOU ART CURSED above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.” The serpent, called before the tribunal of the Almighty, received a two-fold curse, recorded here in strong figures of speech which sternly emphasize the power of the judgment: UPON YOUR BELLY SHALL YOU GO and DUST YOU SHALL EAT.
This is a symbol and the Deceiver, Satan, that old serpent, has to eat dust! What is the dust? Not the dirt of the ground! In the passing of the judgment-sentence, God began with the serpent and said, “DUST shalt thou eat.” Then to the man, God said, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for DUST THOU ART, and UNTO DUST shalt thou return.” So that first Adam, sinful, fallen, and sentenced is declared by the counsel of the Lord TO BE DUST. Said the Psalmist, “For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that WE ARE DUST.” (Ps. 103:14) That we are DUST! By the very nature of things, when the serpent eats, he seeks to SATISFY HIS APPETITE and GRATIFY HIS DESIRES. Originally he found pleasure in higher things and had access to higher realms, but the curse of “eating dust” limits the object of his devouring. Today, the sphere of Satan’s activity is earth, and the object of his devouring is the man of the earth. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking WHOM HE MAY DEVOUR.” (I Pet. 5:8)
There is also the sentence: “Upon your belly shall you go.” This judgment speaks of infinitely more than a literal snake slithering along upon a literal belly of flesh and blood. The very fact that God states that the serpent was now to crawl upon his belly, which obviously he had not done before, reveals that there was a DESCENDING from one realm to another, from a higher to a lower, from a greater to a lesser. Previously he walked in loftier realms, his sphere of activity extended to higher domains, but he is now lowered into the dust realm, into the sphere of man, confined to the earthy, limited to action upon and expression through THE MAN OF THE DUST. Thus we read in Eph. 2:2, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, THE SPIRIT THAT NOW WORKETH IN THE CHILDREN OF DISOBEDIENCE.” Ah, yes, this evil spirit is IN MAN!
It is not difficult for us to acknowledge that GOD was manifest in the flesh through the incarnation of Jesus Christ. What we have often failed to perceive is that there has also been AN INCARNATION OF SATAN IN THE FLESH. Just as God was manifested in the flesh through Jesus, the last Adam, and now through His body, so it is becoming knowledge to us that Satan has been manifested in the flesh of the first Adam, and now in his posterity!
THE SERPENT – A SPIRIT!
Oriental imagery is never more graphically displayed in all its eloquence than in the use of the biblical word SERPENT as a figure of Satan, the Devil. This symbol, along with a number of other word pictures, is very expressive of his nature and activity. I make no apology for declaring to you the truth that each and every creature of earth typifies a higher reality in the realm of SPIRIT – good or bad, positive or negative. This can be seen clearly in the words of Jesus when He says in Lk. 10:17-19, “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name. And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven (the realm of SPIRIT). Behold I give you power to TREAD ON SERPENTS AND SCORPIONS, and over all the power of the enemy.” Spake He of the serpents and scorpions of the fields? Nay, my brother, He spake rather of SPIRITS possessing the nature typified by serpents and scorpions, hidden and cunning, slithering about in the lowest realms of man’s earthiness, in the thoughts and desires and ambitions of the carnal mind, full of deadly venom. Even the fowls of heaven, as the law of Moses shows us, clean and unclean, each bespeak of a kind or quality of nature, expressing those characteristics that originate in the spirit realm. Hence, in scripture unclean birds are a type of evil natures, as John the Revelator shows in Rev. 18:2, “And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen and is become the habitation of DEVILS, and the hold of every FOUL SPIRIT, and a cage of every UNCLEAN AND HATEFUL BIRD.” We know the Lamb, the meek and sacrificial nature of the Christ within, the Son of God, gentle, kind, compassionate, redemptive, blessing all He touches; but have we not known also the nature of the beast, wild and ravenous, that spirit, so obvious in the world, which stomps and rends and breaks in pieces and devours, of whom Peter warns us, saying, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Pet. 5:8)
Some teach that in all the universe there is but ONE SPIRIT – the Holy Spirit of God. I solemnly tell every person who reads these lines that the scriptures are clear, and give us a wonderful understanding of the workings of SPIRIT. SPIRIT, like everything else in nature, has its opposites – positive and negative, good and evil, light and darkness. As was pointed out in our previous message on this subject, spirit is not good – neither is spirit evil. Spirit is just a type of thing, just as flesh is a type of thing. For that matter, flesh is neither good nor evil. It is just there. Flesh becomes evil when its use is perverted. Flesh is good when it is properly used as the temple of God or when it is used to give visible manifestation to the nature of God. As Paul said, “There is nothing impure of itself.” Jesus displayed the wonder of glorified flesh when He appeared to His disciples following His resurrection and said, “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see Me have.” (Lk. 24:3) Spirit, then, like anything else is neither good nor evil until it is expressed through usage. Only then does it take on a holy and righteous or an evil and unrighteous character.
Let us mediate deeply upon this word--SPIRIT. The English word “spirit” is from the Latin SPIRARE, meaning “to breathe,” the words respiration, expiration, and inspiration all being derived from the same source. The word “spirit” in the Old Testament is the translation of the Hebrew word RUWACH, the primary significance or root-meaning of which is WIND. Similarly the New Testament Greek word for “spirit,” PNEUMA, comes from PNEO, meaning “to breathe or blow,” the primary significance or root-meaning being WIND. The English word “ghost” used in the King James Bible, though now somewhat obsolete and not in general use, is derived from the Greek PNEUMA – meaning a blowing or a wind. But let no one hastily conclude that we are about to attempt to prove that the Holy Spirit is a holy wind, for nothing could be farther from our thought. Since one cannot live without air and breathing in the realm of the physical, wind and breath are used symbolically of the Holy Spirit, apart from whom there can be no life in the realm of the divine. The Holy Spirit is God’s breath, God’s out-breathing, God’s ENERGY FORCE by which He accomplishes His purpose and executes His will. Many times we have thought of the Holy Spirit as power, and certainly He has power, but power is basically the ability or capacity to act or do things and it can be latent, dormant, inactively resident in someone or something. Force, on the other hand, more specifically describes energy projected and exerted on persons and things, and may be defined as “an influence which produces or tends to produce motion, or change of motion.” Power might be likened to the stored energy in a battery, it is there, but inactive. Force, however, could be compared to the current flowing from the battery, starting the car. Force, then, more accurately represents the sense of the Hebrew and Greek terms relating to God’s Spirit, and this is borne out in a consideration of the scriptures.
It will greatly aid our perception of the activity of the Holy Spirit once we understand the simple truth that all spirit is ENERGY. Energy has many forms, but it is not something that you can see or hold in your hand. You can think of energy as something that can make things change. For example, a moving object has energy because it can change things by crashing into them. Heat is another form of energy. Heat energy can change ice by melting it into water, and heat it more, changing it into vapor. It can run the engine of an automobile, jet plane or rocket. There is another kind of energy, called chemical energy. It is in the coal or oil that heats buildings. It is in the food that nourishes your body and keeps you active. There is atomic energy which can be set free from the atoms of some materials. And there is the energy carried by light waves, called electromagnetic energy. It is the electromagnetic energy in sunlight that warms the earth. Light waves, streaming out of the sun, carry energy to us across nearly a hundred million miles of space. When the energy of the light hits the earth, part of it changes to heat. Some of it is stored in plants as chemical energy.
Another kind of energy of which we, the people of God, are aware is SPIRIT ENERGY. In physics energy is known as the capacity for doing work. The Greek noun for energy is ENERGEO and its verb form is ENERGEIA. These words are used in the Greek New Testament several times. Because of the association between “doing work” and “energy,” the words are generally translated into English as “work” or “working.” Since so much has been learned about energy in recent years it would now be far better to translate the words for just what they mean – energy or energizing. Let us look at a few scriptures. “That ye may know... what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working (energeia) of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead.” (Eph. 1:18-20) Yes, it was energy, God’s energy, which RAISED CHRIST FROM THE DEAD! And the record further states that He was raised up by the SPIRIT of God! And not only did Paul say that it was God’s energy (His invisible power-force) which raised Christ up, but he went on to say in Eph. 3:7 that it was the same energy of God which transformed his own life and made him a minister of Jesus Christ. “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working (energeia) of HIS POWER.’ Then on top of this Paul declares that it is this SPIRIT ENERGY of God which is WORKING WITHIN US to bring us unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Chris ‘From whom (Christ the whole body fifty joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working (energeia) of every part, maketh increase of the body...’ (Eph. 4:16) And furthermore he states that ‘He that is joined unto the Lord IS ONE SPIRIT’ (2 Cor. 6:17). ONE SPIRIT! ONE ENERGY SOURCE! ONE ENERGY FORCE! YOU AND THE LORD! ‘Them is one body, and ONE SPIRIT.’ (Eph 4:4) You will know a great truth when you understand the simple fact that in the Kingdom of God there is ONLY ONE SPIRIT. In union with the Lord you are that one spirit. All spirit is energy, exerting a force, or influence upon creation. GOD is the supreme source of energy, the highest and purest form of energy, and the wonder of it is beyond comprehension, but in union with God Y-O-U ARE THE ENERGY SOURCE FOR ALL THINGS! All creation stands on tip-toe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God pouring fourth the energy of divine spirit love, joy, peace, righteousness, provision and power! Through this ministration ALL THINGS SHALL BE C-H-A-N-G-E-D! ‘Behold, I make all things new’ (Rev. 21:5)
The Holy Spirit is God’s ENERGY FORCE. It is God’s energy force projected and exerted upon creation. It i1s God’s motion, action and influence in one measure or another upon, in, and through man. Yahweh accomplished the creation of the universe by means of His Spirit or ENERGY FORCE. Regarding the planet earth in its early formative stages, the record states that “The Spirit (energy force) of God was moving to and fro over the surface of the waters.” (Gen. 1:2) Psalm 33:6 says, ‘By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath (spirit) of His mouth.’ Like a powerful breath or living wind, God’s Spirit can be sent forth to exert power even though there is no bodily or visible contact with that which is acted upon. Where a human craftsman would use the force of his hands and fingers to produce things, God uses His Spirit. Hence that Spirit is also spoken of as God’s ‘hand’ or ‘fingers.’ Jesus told the Pharisees, ‘If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God is come unto you.’ (Mat. 12:28) But Luke, in recording the same event, expresses it thus: “If I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the Kingdom of God is come upon you.” (Lk. 11:20) The Spirit of God is the finger of God, the working, the activity of God usward. How great is His working!
There are two basic characteristics of the wind which qualify it to so fittingly serve as the supreme symbol of the Holy Spirit. The wind is first of all a powerful force, and secondly it is Invisible. “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, or whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the spirit.” (Jn. 3:8) You cannot see the wind, and yet you are aware of its reality because of its power with the visible effects of that power manifested all around you. In earlier times the wind was used broadly as a source of energy. Man has always known how to use sails on a boat or ship. Later, he learned to use the same principle to construct a windmill, using the force of the wind to turn grindstones, pump water, and do many other kinds of work.
Because the wind is both invisible and powerful; the biblical words RUWACH (Heb.) and PNEUMA (Gr.), meaning wind, gradually took on much wider meanings, and came to represent any invisible power or influence, good or bad. And since God’s power, within or without, is exercised through channels and by agencies beyond human sight or perception, therefore this word ‘spirit’ came more and more to be applied to all of the Lord’s dealings and operations. The invisible and powerful INWARD ENERGY FORCE which motivates and transforms our lives into the image of God is the HOLY SPIRIT. Only by the Holy Spirit are we guided beyond the outer senses, and beyond the letter of the Word, into the glorious and eternal reality of ‘the deep things of God,’ even all those things which God has in reservation for them that truly love Him, which the human eye hath not seen, the human ear hath not heard, neither hath entered into the human heart to understand and appreciate.
That spirit is a proper term for nature, ideas, thoughts, attitudes, desires, mind, will, and all such characteristics is illustrated by a story I read one time. An eider was telling of a young lad in a certain congregation. This boy was a devotee of baseball. He was a little leaguer. When the world series ran he came to the meeting of the church dressed in a baseball outfit, a glove on one hand and a small transistor radio in the other. His pocket was stretched by a ball. He didn’t hear the ministry that came forth in the meeting. His ear was glued to that radio. He refused to miss one word of the announcer’s description of the game. Now, that boy was FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT OF BASEBALL. He thought baseball. He talked baseball. He even took his bat to bed. It was all he cared about. He was filled with it. It was his life!
As I am writing, equal rights are still an issue in our land. There are people filled with the spirit of equal rights. They don’t have time for anything else. They are consumed with a desire to petition, lecture, organize, march. Nothing else matters. They eat, sleep and dream equal rights. Their money, time, talents and energies are exhausted as they pour themselves into the struggle for equality. They are FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT of equal rights for all people. These people are filled with an attitude, a mind, a disposition, a will, a passion, and all these characteristics produce a tremendous INFLUENCE upon the thinking, attitudes and actions of multitudes of citizens. Perhaps now we can understand what it really means to be FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT means to not only be filled with the consciousness of the Person and presence of the Holy Spirit of God, but with all the characteristics within that Spirit: His nature, will, mind, ways, virtues, disposition, purpose, etc. How many believers settle for something far less than this! We are living in an hour when it is popular, the ‘in thing,’ to be a “Spirit-filled” Christian. But truly I say to you that multitudes have settled for a superficial experience of ‘tongues,’ or some ‘gift,’ or ‘feeling,’ and have never even dreamed of what it means to become literally filled with each and every characteristic of the divine nature and power of God! Becoming filled with the Holy Spirit must do far more for us than cause us to repeat some foreign syllables suggestively whispered in our ear, or to become ecstatic in our emotions. To be Filled with the Spirit means to be filled with ALL THE SPIRIT IS. It means that the life and nature and power of the indwelling Spirit must control and swallow up completely soul and body until there is no manifestation but of the Spirit Jesus, that blessed firstborn Son, was so filled, for He possessed the Spirit ‘without measure.’ And Paul prayed for the saints that they might be ‘FILLED WITH A-L-L THE FULLNESS OF GOD.’ (Eph. 3:19) This measure is reserved for all who will go all the way with God, to be sons even as Jesus was ‘the Son of God.’ Sonship is the hope of creation, and the SPIRIT WITHOUT MEASURE is the hope of the sons! It is there that sin, sickness, limitation and death are swallowed up, and the wisdom, nature, life, power and glory of the living God is revealed through His people.
Let us take a closer look at some of the characteristics of the Holy Spirit. He is variously defined as – ‘The Spirit of God,’ ‘The Spirit of Christ,’ ‘The Spirit of Holiness,’ ‘The Spirit of Truth, and Spirit of a Sound Mind,’ ‘The Spirit of Liberty,’ ‘The Spirit of Burning,’ ‘The Spirit of the Father,’ ‘The Spirit of the Son,’ ‘The Spirit of Promise,’ ‘The Spirit of Meekness,’ ‘The Spirit of Understanding,’ ‘The Spirit of Wisdom,’ The Spirit of Glory,’ ‘The Spirit of Counsel,’ ‘The Spirit of Grace,’ ‘The Spirit of Adoption,’ ‘The Spirit of Prophecy,’ ‘The Spirit of the Lord,’ etc., etc. These various titles, repeated many times, and used interchangeably, give us a full. proper assurance that they are related to the same HOLY SPIRIT – indeed, frequently the word ‘Holy’ is added in, combined, as for instance, ‘The Holy Spirit of God.’ ‘The Holy Spirit of Promise,’ etc. These various expressions are descriptive of the spirit, nature, disposition, power and glory of one God, the Father; and also the spirit, nature, disposition, power and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, because He is the expression of the Father; and also it is the spirit, nature, disposition, power and glory of all who am truly the Lord’s in proportion as they have been made ONE IN HIM. “He that is joined unto the Lord is ONE SPIRIT.” (I Cor. 6:17)
Each of these characteristics is a form of the energy of God. This energy is transmitted from the spirit into soul and body to produce its power within us, just as electricity is transmitted from a battery to an engine to make it function in a certain way. When the ‘Spirit of Holiness’ is transmitted into our lives and consciousness we begin to function in our personality in that characteristic of God’s holiness, thus becoming holy. When the ‘Spirit of Wisdom’ is transmitted into our consciousness we cease from our own natural reasoning and commence to act in accordance with the higher wisdom of God. When the ‘Spirit of Life’ permeates our being even our bodies shall be quickened by His life within until this corruptible shall have put on incorruption and this mortal shall have put on immortality. Then shall be fulfilled the word which was spoken, “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed” (I Cor. 15:51)
Our failure to see that the Holy Spirit of God is not the only form of spirit in the world leads us into all manner of error and misunderstanding. There is another spirit mentioned frequently throughout the Word of God, and in opposite terms, namely, ‘The Spirit of Fear,’ ‘The Spirit of Bondage,’ ‘The Spirit of the World,’ ‘The Spirit of Error,’ ‘The Spirit of Antichrist,’ ‘The Spirit of Jealousy,’ ‘The Spirit of Slumber,’ etc., etc. These terms signify the WRONG SPIRIT--the spirit, nature, disposition, power and will which has its chief exemplification in Satan, the Devil, the Serpent, the Adversary; the same spirit manifesting itself in all who walk in and live out of the carnal mind. Sin, error, darkness and death are all characteristics of the SPIRIT OF THE NEGATIVE REALM, even as holiness, truth, love, life, etc. are all characteristics of the one Holy Spirit.
As mentioned previously, there are brethren who are convinced that all spirit is the same spirit and that there is only one spirit in the world, which is the spirit of God in every man. But we are constrained to take heed to the testimony of the Holy Spirit wherein He says, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but TRY THE SPIRITS WHETHER THEY ARE OF GOD: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (I Jn. 4:1) Both the HOLY and the UNHOLY spirit bear the characteristics of personality, both alike are invisible, both are powerful, both are spirit, both are energy!
It is true – for the child of God there is only ONE SPIRIT, and that is GOD in every man born of the Spirit, for ‘he that is joined unto the Lord I-S ONE SPIRIT.’ It should be equally obvious and self-evident that the man who is not joined unto the Lord is N-O-T OF THE ONE SPIRIT. Why else would the apostle differentiate between the spirit of man and the Spirit of God saying. ‘For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.” (I Cor. 2:11) Even for the redeemed, before they are brought to that full union with God, there is the distinction between the spirit of man and the Spirit of God. ‘For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, where by we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit Itself beareth witness with our spirit; that we are the children of God’ (Rom. 8:14-16) It is only when OUR SPIRIT is quickened by HIS SPIRIT and brought unto UNION WITH GOD that you have the ONE SPIRIT.
I would draw your reverent attention to some of the characteristics of the unregenerated spirit of man. Duet 2:30 speaks of a certain Sihon, king of Heshbon, of whom it was said, “The Lord thy God hardened his spirit (RUWACH) and made his heart obstinate.” Dan. 2:1 shows Nebuchadnezzar dreaming dreams ‘wherewith his spirit (RUWACH) was troubled and his sleep brake from him.’ David had this to say: “Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit is no guile.” The latter statement would indicate that there are those in whose spirits there is guile. That is why Paul had to say, ‘Cleanse yourselves from all filthiness of the spirit.” (ll Cor. 7:1) If the spirit were always a holy thing, it would not be at all in keeping with the truth for Paul to exhort us to be cleansed in our spirits. That there is filthiness in the spirit of man is testified by Job who said, ‘My breath is corrupt.’ The word “breath” is misleading, for it is the Hebrew word RUWACH – spirit ‘My spirit is corrupt’ would be a more literal translation. That is why David also said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” (Ps. 51:10) The very fact of the need for renewal speaks of a WRONG SPIRIT that needs to be set right Who can deny that the spirit of man has been contaminated?
“The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” (Ps. 34:18) On the other hand, “pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18) There is a generation with whom the Lord is not pleased, as this is His testimony against it. “They set not their heart aright and whose spirit was not steadfast with God.” (Ps.78:8) Another contrast is drawn in Eccl. 7:8 where the Holy Spirit says, “The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” It is all SPIRIT – but one is separated unto God, as seen in the fruit it bears, and the other is not. How awesome this indictment by the Lord, “Thus saith the Lord God: Woe unto the foolish prophets that follow their own spirit and have seen nothing.’ (Eze. 13:13) Malachi warns, “Take heed to your spirit that ye deal not treacherously.” (Mal. 2:15) And to cap it all off (though scripture could be piled upon scripture), James says, “The spirit (pneuma) that dwelleth in us LUSTETH TO ENVY.” (James 4:5) That cannot in any way be the spirit of the New Creation, nor can it be of the spirit of the image of God in every man. It is in this passage that James goes on to say, ‘RESIST the devil,’ and the method whereby we resist that ‘spirit within that lusteth to envy’ is shown in the following verse: ‘Draw nigh unto (be separated unto, enter into union with) God... purify your hearts... ye DOUBLE MINDED!’ (James 4:5-8)
Well did Jesus know the limitation of the spirit of man apart from the Holy Spirit? Well did He know that our understanding could not possibly ascend beyond the things of man? He did not leave us thus comfortless and confined, but promised in words that cannot fail, “When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth.” And yet again, “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me.” (Jn. 15:26) And not only is there the Spirit of God and the spirit of man, there is also a spirit in the children of the Devil, “the prince of the power of the air, the SPIRIT that now worketh IN the children of disobedience.” (Eph. 2:2) How significant and full of meaning are these words of the apostle John: “Ye are of God, little children... because greater is HE that is IN YOU, than HE that is IN THE WORLD.” (I Jn. 4:4) Then two verses later John dearly identifies these two spirits which are in the people of God and the people of the world: ‘We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby we know the S-P-I-R-I-T OF TRUTH and the S-P-I-R-I-T OF ERROR.” Paul adds to this his testimony: “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of GOD.” (Cor. 2:12)
In words fraught with eternal significance the inspired apostle exhorts, “Be renewed in the S-P-I-R-I-T OF YOUR MIND.” (Eph. 4:23) One has so aptly written, commenting on this verse: “Note that it reads: in the SPIRIT of our mind, for this is far more than just mental gymnastics of our own serf-efforts. It is the energizing of His Spirit upon our human spirit which in turn takes dominion over our mind and brings our mind into subjection to the Spirit of truth. There is beneficial results in the power of positive thinking, even on natural realms. But true transformation comes when it is in THE S-P-I-R-I-T OF YOUR MIND. Oh, it may become the norm of our life to just be thinking HIS thoughts, because of the enlargement of His Spirit force within us.” It is more than merely a renewing of the mind – it is the renewing of SPIRIT – the spirit of the mind. It is an absolute must to receive from a realm higher than Adam can give in order to have our minds renewed. The change comes from the Lord from heaven, out of the spirit realm of God, uniting with our spirit. It is the heavenly Jesus dwelling in our hearts, making us ONE IN HIM.
Elwin Roach has shared this illuminating thought concerning the transformation of the mind: – the word, renewing, is adequately rendered in Rom. 12:2; however, to be a little more accurate, the word could be translated RENOVATION (see Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance). We are then transformed by the renewing of our minds. There is only a slight difference in the two words, but when renovation is used, we get the thought of a complete house rearing, house cleaning, and then a total refurbishing. Everything old is removed and replaced with all new furnishings. God, however, does something differently in His renovation. He does it just the opposite. He does not clear out the old things and leave our minds a total void and then start filling them with new thoughts. He starts bringing in the new thoughts first, and with this the old passes away and gives place to the new – and all this is of God. Think about it!”
The activity of the mind is primarily in the realm of THOUGHTS. Thoughts are very real and alive. Thoughts are SPIRITUAL REALITIES, transmitted energy, coming upon your person via the gate of your mind. This energy (thoughts) is transmitted into your conscious mind from the unconscious to cause you to act and react in a certain way. Thoughts do not originate in mortal brain. Thoughts are invisible and powerful entities which have their origin in the dimension of SPIRIT. Thoughts do have an objective! You should know and become aware of the objectives of the thoughts that enter your mind. Every decision you have ever made or ever will make has its origin, intent and power in the INVISIBLE REALM the realm of spirit. You will never understand the mystery of life until you thoroughly know that there is a negative and a positive spirit force. The negative leads to death; the positive to life. The mind is the gateway, the channel through which these energy forces affect our lives. The thoughts that come to us bear the characteristics of the spirit force operating in us. Let us list some of the characteristics of the negative realm: “...unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, envy, debate, deceit, malignity, whispers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.” (Rom. 1:29-31) What a list. Search your mind... stop and think! Are some of your thoughts carrying these characteristics? They carry within them the power of death!
Now let us list some of the characteristics of the spirits (thoughts) which come from God. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” (Gal. 5:22-23) Thoughts carrying these characteristics come from God, the author of life. Each of these characteristics will cause you to take on and express the very NATURE OF GOD, for they are the energy producing the very power of God’s nature in the life. What frame of mind do you find yourself living in much of the time? Think now! Is it creative, holy, virtuous, joyful, confident, loving, life-giving, humble, temperate, peaceful? Or is it depressed, discouraged, uncertain, frustrated, angry, fearful, hateful, proud, self-centered, intolerant. You are what you are because of what you have been THINKING! We are constantly entertaining and being influenced and shaped by thoughts which have an origin. They are spirit. They are like the wind – they just “blow” into your mind. They are energy: motivating, directing, and compelling your actions. They are POWERFUL, INVISIBLE FORCES that shape your destiny!
Prov. 23:7 says, “For as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Well did the prophet assert: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose MIND is stayed on Thee.” (Isa. 26:3) To which is added the inspired testimony of the apostle Paul: “If ye then be risen with Christ seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections (thoughts) on things above (spiritual, heavenly), not on things on the earth (natural, carnal).” (Col. 3:1-2) And again, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, THINK on these things!” (Phil. 4:8) This we can do, praise His name, for “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; CASTING DOWN IMAGINATIONS (thoughts), and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity EVERY THOUGHT to the obedience of Christ.” (I Cor. 10:4-5)
Beyond the effect of spirit upon us and the energizing of spirit within us, there is that ability to MINISTER SPIRIT. Every child of God should seek that God would open his eyes to show him this wonderful ministry of the Spirit. Paul spoke of it in these inspired words, “Who also hath make us able ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the SPIRIT: for the letter killeth, but the SPIRIT giveth life... if the ministration of death... was glorious... how shall not the MINISTRATION OF THE S-P-I-R-I-T be rather glorious.” (II Cor. 3:6-9)
This passage contains two significant phrases: “Who hath make us able ministers of the New Testament... OF THE SPIRIT and the ministration of... SPIRIT.” The New Testament is not the black, leather covered, book called the Bible. This book is what Paul calls “the letter.” It is the law, the record, the history, the form which tells us many things about the historical man called Jesus. The twenty-seven books called the New Testament are merely the guide given to point us to the TRUE NEW TESTAMENT, Jesus, the Christ of God! “Search the scriptures,” said Jesus, “for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which TESTIFY OF M-E” (Jn. 5:39) Our scripture says that God has made us able ministers of the New Testament! To minister the New Testament does not mean to minister sermons, doctrines, laws, commandments, or facts about Jesus Christ. To minister the New Testament is to minister the very life of God which is CHRIST IN OUR SPIRIT. “He hath made us able ministers of... the SPIRIT.” The word minister implies the thought: to serve, impart, give out or wait on. As a member of the New Creation you have been called to be an able minister of the New Testament – a minister of the SPIRIT!
You may say, “Who, me? Me a minister of the SPIRIT? Why, I can’t even testify without stuttering and my knees knocking!” How can we minister spirit. We know how to minister tangible things: our hands minister food to our mouths, they wash our bodies, clothe our bodies, minister ointments and medicines to diseased or painful members, and serve others in a multitude of ways. This is not hard to understand but how can a person minister SPIRIT? We minister spirit when we minister WHAT THE SPIRIT IS within us! As we walk in the attitude and will of God, speak the words of God, act in the wisdom of God, express the character of God, manifest the nature of God, there is transmission of spirit energy to the people, events, and circumstances about us.
How can we describe that Holy Spirit which is within us? We can describe the fruit of the apple tree in terms of the characteristics of the apple, i.e., peeling, meat, stem, core, seeds, texture, flavor, etc. The characteristics make up the description of what an apple is, what it is like. Similarly, we may describe the Holy Spirit in terms of the virtues or attributes of the Spirit called “the fruit of the Spirit.” Now the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” (Gal. 5:22-23) This is the image of God, what God the Spirit is like! And the new man of our spirit is created in the image and likeness of God (Eph. 4:23-24). Here are nine individual realities which are not visible to the natural eye, yet we know they exist, for like the wind we have observed their influence and effect. They are Spirit, YOUR SPIRIT, and you can minister out of that realm!
What kind of fruit does a natural tree bear? You will answer, “Natural fruit, of course.” That is right. In nature everything produces “after its kind.” Apples produce apples, oranges produce oranges, vegetables produce vegetables, etc. If natural trees produce natural fruit, what kind of fruit should we expect from SPIRIT? The answer is simple: SPIRIT FRUIT! The fruit is of the same nature and substance as that which produced it. If God is Spirit, Holy Spirit, then it follows that the fruit of the Spirit is likewise Spirit. To minister Spirit, therefore, means nothing more nor less than to minister the virtues of the fruit of the Spirit to another person. It does not mean to minister the letter of the Word, or pronouncements of judgment, to preach sermons, or convince people through argument of a doctrine, or show people where they are wrong, ungodly, or under condemnation. NO! That is all the ministry of the letter which killeth! We are called to minister the SPIRIT WHICH PRODUCES LIFE!
God is not complicated. Spirit is not complicated. God is Spirit, and God is love. Love is not complicated. Love has no problems communicating, influencing, and ministering. When those around us are discouraged or distraught, we can minister encouragement to them by our word, attitude and action. When people are sad and sorrowful, as ministers of Spirit, we will minister joy and faith unto them. In the presence of fear we will exude and speak peace. When our enemies hate us we will love them in return. When men curse us we will do good to them, when they revile us we will bless them. When our friends are depressed, uncertain, and frustrated, we will manifest such calmness and confidence that will lift them from the shrouding gloom of despair into faith and victory.
It is a significant fact that all the virtues and characteristics of the Holy Spirit are spirit, and therefore ARE ENERGY – POWER! In the area of will, attitude, nature, mind, disposition, etc., there is always a transmission of energy. Haven’t you noticed how one person’s attitude will “rub off” on to another person? One can begin complaining and soon everyone is complaining. One begins to be argumentative and before you know it everyone in the room is in a heated argument. Or a whole group of people may feel frustrated and hopeless in a situation, and just one person can enter the room with a cheery smile, radiating the aura of confidence and assurance, speaking a positive word of encouragement and victory, and soon the whole atmosphere changes, becoming charged with this new expectation, the spirit of the whole group being raised up into hope and anticipation. What is this? It is the work of spirit invisible, intangible energy – POWER! Invisible, but very real. And very powerful! There is constantly, in this world, the definite transference of spirit energy from person to person, negative or positive. The rise and success of false religions, ideologies like nazism and communism, rock music, immorality, etc., are the direct result of negative spirit influence transmitted to the masses through faithful ministers of unrighteousness who have become FILLED WITH THE UN-HOLY SPIRIT, and consequently transmitters of the same.
Think not, dear friend, that in order to minister the Holy Spirit you must speak idle words, put on a front, or exert some self-effort to impress someone. We are not subscribing to Dale Carnegie’s concepts of HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE. Such methods are soulish pretense and carnal hypocrisy. But you do have a right to know that since your spirit has been quickened by HIS Spirit all the virtues and abilities of the Holy Spirit actually are inherent within your nature. By recognizing the reservoir of life, ability, power and nature within (our true identity) we are enabled at any and all times to appropriate it for ourselves and minister its realities to all whom we contact. And this is P-O-W-E-R – the very POWER OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD!
One thing must be very clear. There are three dimensions of spirit energy which daily touch our lives: God, the satanic, and the human. Every thought, word and action of mankind emanates from one of these three invisible but powerful sources. As sons and daughters of the Most High we are called to the high calling of being transmitters of the life-giving energy of God here upon this earth! Yes, you can minister SPIRIT – HOLY SPIRIT! Hallelujah!
GET THEE BEHIND ME – SATAN!
While earthly races vary in stature, physical features, and color, the nature of man is unvariable and universal. For the carnal nature there are no national boundaries, no aspects peculiar to a certain tribe, no ethnic group or national entity has any monopoly on the serpent that lies in the heart of man. All men of every country and every tongue and every race are possessed of the very same thoughts, impulses, desires, emotions, and state of being, for all are partakers of the collective nature of Adam. The mind of Satan is the mind that worketh in all the children of disobedience. This is the mind that inspires the ever increasing evil and confusion that today is running rampant among all nations. This is also the mastermind that dominates the religious confusion of this dark hour.
From the day of the fall in Eden even unto this hour man has borne the imprint of the satanic mind, the mark of the serpent, the mark of the beast. That mark in his mind has been manifested in everything he has set his hand to do. Politically he has filled the world with wars and rumors of wars, greed, hatred, bloodshed, and oppression. Socially he has rocked the world with every imaginable devilish perversion, and religiously he has displaced the mind of Christ with the carnal mind to bring about a form of godliness devoid of power or reality, but filled with a confusion of human ideas that would stagger the imagination.
We need not be surprised to learn that the serpent lurks in the corruption of the mind and heart of man. Can there be found in all the universe a more possessive, blinding, or deceiving devil than the devil of SELF? Over and over again in the Word of God we find this terrible truth reiterated.
Do you believe, precious friend of mine, that Satan can work in someone right there where you are, and in someone in New York City, in someone in London, in someone in Moscow, in someone in Hong Kong and in someone in Nairobi all at the same time? It is true – but how? Can he travel at the speed of light and be in that many people around the world at the same instant? Is he omnipresent? Absolutely not! He dwells IN MAN – he is right there in every man’s mind and heart and nature.
We see this principle fulfilled in the story of Job. “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.” (Job 1:6) May I reverently add that every time the sons of God present themselves before the Lord – Satan comes also among then! It bespeaks of a condition within these sons – our minds vs. His mind, our will vs. His will, our ways vs. His ways. It is a heavenly place within the sons of God wherein we must be tested to show whether we be sons indeed. This impudent Devil of self-will is in every man, and even our Lord Himself surrendered His own will to the Father’s, saying, “Father, if Thou be willing remove this cup from Me: nevertheless, not My will, but Thine, be done.” (Lk. 22:42) Until every son has been completely perfected and thoroughly tested it is not possible for the sons of God to come and present themselves before the Lord without Satan coming also among them. Does he not walk in the natural mind of every man? It is written, “And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence cometh thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” (Job 1:7) Now the Lord’s questions are never for His own enlightenment. He knew well whence Satan came. Oh, yes, Satan had been walking to and fro throughout the earth – God knew this – for he walks in our earth, even that earth which we are, from the east to the west, from the north to the south, from sea to sea and from pole to pole he walks in the earthly planes of our souls, in the secret chambers of our minds, in the fleshly motions of our bodies; he travels up and down in us from the heights of our heavens to the depths of our hells. There is not a day that he leaves us! Dust is his habitation.
All the way to glorification this inner antagonist is present. This is why every revival God has ever sent through the ages ended in apostasy. Satan – not the Devil with horns and pitchfork – but that inward Devil of fleshly wisdom, sense-knowledge and carnal zeal – has a subtle way of identifying himself with every move of the Spirit of God, so as to corrupt it from within. Many years ago F. J. Huegel wrote: “Students of the great Welsh Revival (1900-1903) say that the wonderful stream of Divine Life little by little lost its saving efficacy, as another stream from a very different source, naturally very filthy, began to mingle with the River of Water of Life proceeding from the Throne and from the Lamb. ‘Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them.’ (Job 2:1) Beware of false fire. Beware of the counterfeit glow. When the soulish takes the place of a pure working of the Holy Spirit, you have a ‘revival’ whose fires, though they purport to be from Heaven are more likely to be from Hell. There are any number of ‘doors’ through which Satan may enter to get control of revival. An undue stressing of the emotional; excitement which grieves and suffocates the Holy Spirit who works quietly; a glorying in the evangelist rather than in the Saviour he preaches; dap-trap methods; self whatever the form in the ministry itself, obstructing Christ, veiling His cross and His glory; these are some of Satan’s keys” – end quote.
The same sad story has been chronicled for us in our generation by George Hawtin in his excellent booklet, MYSTERY BABYLON. Speaking of the events that surrounded the great Latter Rain outpouring of the Spirit in 1948, he says, “The spirit of Babylon goes much deeper than sects and denominations. It is a mystery the spirit of which seems to be deep-rooted in the heart of man. It is like an octopus with many arms reaching in all directions. If it cannot catch you with one of its arms, it will enfold you with another. It is like a demon which, being cast out, will return with seven other demons more powerful and cunning than itself. You do not have to look for the spirit of Babylon in some great and powerful denomination: you will find it in your own heart if you look close enough. Mystery Babylon is in the forehead.
“Perhaps it was a miracle. I do not think it was chance. I learned that men could be baptized with the Holy Spirit. So I sought and found this blessed new experience in God, and joys flowed like a river as the Comforter came in. But here again the arms of another daughter of Babylon began to enfold me. Was I going to join their church? Was I going to preach for them? Was I going to take out papers and credentials? This time I was persuaded, and I did, and for seventeen years thereafter I was a faithful slave of the organization, speaking its language and building its visible tower. But I was never fully satisfied, though I loved the work, I loved the people, and I loved the students of my old Bible School. Many dozens of them went out to minister far and wide and many found their way to distant and foreign lands. I am sure their rewards will be many, indeed. All the while there was a longing for a freedom which I did not know, a relationship with God that I did not have. Many times I taught the people that some day God would send a revelation of truth, but the very denomination we had so faithfully built would not be able to receive it When finally that revelation did come, they were not able to receive it, and those of us who did receive were vomited like Jonah from the belly of the denominational whale, thrown up upon dry land, for we had sickened his stomach.
“God does not leave you in a dry land for long if you are bound to be one with Him. Should my life be very long on earth, I shall never be able to forget the glory, the awe, the reverence, the holiness, and the power that came to our classroom as we waited on God that glorious 13th of February, 1948, when God began to do a new thing that was destined for a time to shake the church all over America. How we sang the songs of deliverance! How the praises of God echoed down the corridors of the soul and re-echoed among the battlements of heaven! Music of heavenly choirs on earth went sweeping up the sky steeps while angels stood at heaven’s gates and swept their harps of gold. Day after day, month after month the celestial wonder continued. Heaven came down our souls to greet and glory crowned the mercy seat. People came for thousands of miles to drink at the ever flowing fountain of life and it looked for a time as though the walls of Babylon were to be broken down and the whole church would come marching to Zion.
“But the Babylonian captivity was not over yet. As I look sadly in retrospect now, I can see with great clearness that the great and blessed move of God was not two years old before the sectarian spirit began to show its ugly head and men began to hide the Babylonish garment in their tents together with the silver and the wedge of gold. The old Babylonish garment was well hidden deep beneath the earth of the tent, but it was there nonetheless, and the whole move was becoming more and more enfolded by another tentacle of the great octopus. Stricter and more rigid became the teaching and the discipline. There was to be no fellowship with anybody who was not within the confines of our ever narrowing circle. We were the true church. We were the elect. We stood on the foundation and all other men stood on sinking sand. No man must cast out a devil unless he followed us. No teaching was worth the time it took to tell it unless it originated with us. We were the most spiritual people in the world. We were going to reign in the kingdom and even now we were beginning to reign. We had the gifts of the Spirit, and we were going to ‘call the shots’ in the tribulation. The elders were no longer fathers, but men who were to carry out the will of those who were lords over the heritage of God. Everything was cut and dried and firmly enfolded in the arms of another of the harlot daughters of the Babylonian system. We boasted of the gifts of the Spirit, but what had become of them? Where were the healings? Where were the miracles? Where was the faith, the gift of languages, the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge? The only thing that was left was prophecy and it became a weariness to the flesh, flowing continually from the mind of man and scarcely ever having any fulfillment. Prophecy that has no fulfillment comes from one of two sources: from the mind of Satan or from the mind of man, but never from the mind of God. How often I have listened to people fumble for words as they prophesied thus giving the lie to their words having been inspired of God. How is the faithful city become a harlot!” – end quote. To this faithful testimony I would add – again the sons of God came and presented themselves before the Lord, and how clearer can it be that SATAN CAME ALSO AMONG THEM!
The entire religious world is today walking in fleshly wisdom which seems so logical to the carnal mind. Fleshly wisdom always seems to “make more sense” than does the wisdom of God! Satan causes carnal wisdom to prosper because it is denial of the life of the Spirit, so that many times Christians and churches operate contrary to the Spirit with the argument, “It works!” Their method of evangelism is contrary to the ways of the Spirit, but since it works they continue in it. The “program” of the church is contrary to true spirituality, and is built generally around flesh-appeal activities of ceremonies, concerts, social activities, sports, Sunday School contests, puppet shows, movies, special speakers, sensationalism and other carnal tactics and techniques, but the organizations continue in it because “it works” and causes the “church” to prosper in numbers and in finances, while their spirits remain dwarfed and hideously shriveled and stunted, if indeed they have been quickened at all! It must be remembered that if anyone or anything prospers on principles other than the life of the Son of God, that person or thing is being prospered by the Devil and not by God!
Turn with me to two verses of scripture in Gal. 3:3 and Phil. 3:3-4. “Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” “We are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit… and have no confidence in the flesh” The flesh is the name by which the Word designates our fallen condition – Satan in man. Well did William Law write these words of keen insight: In this antagonism of the flesh to the Spirit the flesh has TWO DISTINCT STRATEGIES. On the one hand, the flesh lusts against the Spirit in its committing sin and transgressing God’s commands. This is the evil of the flesh. On the other hand, its hostility to the Spirit is no less manifested in its seeking to serve God and do His work! This is the good of the flesh. In yielding to the flesh, the soul sought itself instead of the God into whom the Spirit could have raised it. Self-effort and self-development prevailed over God’s life. And now, so subtle and mighty is this spirit of self, that the flesh, not only in sinning against God, but even when the soul learns to serve God, still asserts its power, refuses to let the SPIRIT ALONE LEAD, and in its effort to be religious, wants to serve God independent of the Spirit and is still the great enemy that ever hinders and quenches the Spirit. It is because of this cunning deceitfulness of the flesh that there often takes place what Paul speaks of to the Galatians; “Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Unless the soul is brought into absolute submission to the Spirit, the surrender to the Spirit being very entire, and the holy waiting on Him be kept up in great dependence and humility, what has begun in the Spirit, very early and very speedily passes over into confidence in the flesh.
Just where the flesh seeks to serve God, there it becomes the strength of sin. Do we not know how the Pharisees, with their self-righteousness and carnal religion, fell into pride and selfishness, and became the servants of sin and the children of the Devil? Satan has no more crafty device for keeping men out of life than inciting them to a religion, even a serving of God, in the flesh. He knows that the power of the flesh can never conquer sin nor please God, that in the flesh and the serving of the flesh no one will ever become a son of God, for those who become sons not only defeat the Devil in the wilderness of temptation, but also deny their owns souls, wills, plans, abilities, desires, ambitions, hopes and dreams to declare: “I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And He that sent me is with me; for I do always those things that please Him. The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things so ever He doeth, these also doeth the Son. The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works.” (Jn. 8:28-29; 5:19; 14:10)
If there is one lesson a son of God needs to learn it is this: If I am to deny self in my relationships with others, to conquer selfishness, anger, and lack of love, I MUST FIRST LEARN TO DENY SELF IN MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD! There the soul, the seat of Self, must learn to bow to the Spirit, where God dwells. Listen, my brother, my sister, to the voice of the blessed Spirit of God. It is confidence in the flesh that motivates men to busily and craftily work for God rather than seeking the Lord until He works. It is Self doing what the Spirit alone can do; it is the Soul taking the lead, in the hopes that the Spirit will second its efforts, instead of trusting the Holy Spirit to lead and to do all, and then waiting on Him. Oh, brethren! How we need to watch this! All that is not of life, of the Spirit, is merely the good of man – soulish. How much of our religious exercises have been soulish! I can tell you of a truth that most of the “power” in the modern “revival meeting” is nothing at all but soul power. Have you not noticed yourself that in many church services, revival meetings and crusades a kind of atmosphere is first created psychologically to make the people feel warm and excited? A chorus is repeated again and again to warm up the audience. The people are feverishly urged to “get into the spirit” of the meeting. Some stirring stories are told. Special music is sung. The people are instructed to stand up, sit down, say “Amen!” and “Praise the Lord!” When the atmosphere is thoroughly heated up, the preacher will then stand up and preach. If he does his job skillfully he can anticipate a large “altar call.” These are methods and tactics, but they are not the power of the Holy Spirit! Many preachers today think they have power (even many so-called sons of God); but they are merely employing psychological soul power to influence people and manipulate congregations. Many have become self-made experts in manipulating people and crowds. The Bible Schools of Babylon’s religions offer a course for ministerial students called homiletics. Homiletics is the art of writing and preaching sermons. The sad truth is that the vast majority of religious activities is just that – an art. You can go to school and LEARN HOW TO DO IT! How to prepare sermons. How to speak persuasively. How to use gestures. How to tell jokes. How to preach. How to stir people by the skillful use of sentimental stories about death, repentance, hell, heaven, needs, miracles, etc. This all seems so desirable, so good! But I say to you that you can learn these very same psychological techniques, apply them in the business world, and sell vacuum cleaners! The fact is, most all salesmen employ these same proven procedures of presentation, sentimentalism and pressure to sell insurance, automobiles, real estate, and thousands of other items daily! They don’t need any Holy Spirit to do that! All that is necessary is some good human personality mixed with some proven techniques and one can persuade people to buy almost anything! These are means and methods, but they are not the power nor work of the Holy Spirit. They are no more spiritual when used religiously than they are when employed commercially. In the Kingdom of God they are flesh! To which our Lord says today, as He did to Peter in that long ago, “Get thee behind Me – SATAN!”
There is no life in methods, techniques, or formulas. How much better it would be if the Lord’s servants would expend their energies, like Mary of old, at His feet, learning to know Him and to know His ways. How much better it would be were the time spent on our knees, low and humbled before God, that He might place within a deep distrust of the flesh. How I pray that God would truly reveal to all those apprehended to sonship that the one great hindrance to the life of sonship is the power of the flesh and the efforts of the self-life. Open our eyes, we pray Thee, to this snare of Satan. May we all see how secret and how subtle is the temptation to have confidence in the flesh, how easily we are led to try and perfect in the flesh what has been begun in the Spirit May we learn to trust Thee to work in us by Thy Holy Spirit, both to will and to do only those things which THOU ART DOING! Today, after hearing the Father’s call to sonship, after partaking of the deep and vital dealings of the Spirit of God, I have had to totally repudiate all such soulish wisdom of the carnal mind, all such fleshly tactics of Babylon’s kingdom to bend low before the disciplines of the Father of sons, to travail mightily that God would bend me, break me, bind my soul power, bridle my Self, and block all that would proceed from my carnal mind. If I have learned anything of the ways of the Father I have learned this one thing: He who would be a son of God must be able to discern what is done from his soul power and what is done by the Spirit of God; further, he must confess and utterly forsake all that pertains to his own soul power, nailing it to the cross of Christ, that ultimately his own faith, as well as that of his hearers, may be found to stand solely in the power of God and not in the wisdom of the flesh. This is the only route, my dear brother and sister, into the glorious reality of sonship to God. All the good works of the soulish realm can never, in a billion years, deliver the creation from its bondage to the tyranny of corruption. Only the mighty working of THE LIFE OF THE SON OF GOD can accomplish this. It is the Spirit that QUICKENETH; the flesh PROFITETH NOTHING. Therefore – “Get thee behind me, SATAN!”
Can you not see now how it is, my beloved, that when the sons of God present themselves before the Lord, Satan comes also among them? This very same experience happened to none other than our blessed Lord Jesus – the Pattern Son. Did you notice 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 of Satan, the arch enemy of all righteousness, a murderer from the beginning, and the father of lies! Ah, but it was necessary for the Son to be PROVEN, to be made STRONG, to OVERCOME in these realms before proceeding on into His glorious ministry and the agony and death of the cross.
Do you suppose the Devil came to Jesus there as a weird-looking figure, with little, evil-looking horns protruding from his temples, and a pointed tail? How often with our childish and distorted understanding, have we pictured Jesus confronted by that legendary figure in the red suit, with a pitchfork in his hands! This is naught but foolishness, for Satan is spirit, and spirit is INVISIBLE ENERGY! How many times have you been tempted by the Devil? Can you count the times? How often has he spoken to you, enticing, suggesting, compelling? Have you ever seen him? Have you ever heard his audible voice? Certainly not! And yet – you HAVE sensed his presence, you HAVE heard his voice, you HAVE felt his power! It was all in your MIND, in your EMOTIONS. And does not our Lord, the Spirit of Truth, speak to us in the same way? That still small voice, the inner urging, the inward knowing, the spiritual consciousness – all from a dimension beyond the natural senses. Because it is all in our mind and heart does not mean that it is imagination or hallucination! In the depths of my spirit I am absolutely certain that there was not some hideous spirit-being materializing before the eyes of Jesus in that Judean wilderness. Remember – Jesus was not only the Son of God, He was the Son of man. And being both He was capable not only of hearing from God, but hearing those things that be of man. So when we speak of that ancient Serpent which is the Devil and Satan, we are not talking about some mighty fallen angel, but that mind which savors the things of man – the carnal mind. The apostle James put it this way: “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (James 1:14-15) The Moffat Translation reads, “Everyone is tempted as he is beguiled and allured by his own desire, the Desire conceives and breeds sin, while Sin matures and gives birth to death.” Everyone has desires of one kind or another, and that really can be quite natural. When we see the word “lust”, most Christians think it is used exclusively in a negative, sensual, or sexual context The word simply means desire, and a person’s desires are not always evil. The Greek word EPITHUMIA is translated primarily as “lust” in the King James Bible, but the same word is also translated “desire” in Lk. 22:15 where our Lord Himself told His disciples how much He longed (desired, lusted) to eat the Passover with them. A related Greek word, EPITHUMEO, is often translated as “desire” and is used in several places in a positive context, as in desiring to know the things of God (Mat 13:17). Even in the things of the Spirit one must keenly discern between his own desire and the desire of the Spirit.
The record states that after fasting for forty days, Jesus hungered. When you’re hungry, what kind of desire do you have? You want to eat! In that crucial moment the Tempter came to Him. He began to feel the physiological pangs of hunger, and then the thought occurred to Him. Jesus dropped down from the high and holy thought of God, into the reasoning of the human mind. He descended in consciousness from the Son of God to the Son of man. He said, “I know who I am; I can turn these stones into bread.” And in His natural mind the voice cunningly suggested, “If you are the Son of God, go ahead and do it! Use your sonship to fill your belly! Use it to satisfy your own needs and desires!” But Jesus quickly discerned that wily Devil and knew how to nip that idea in the bud before it had time to blossom. He got to it before it could conceive, before it could start making a baby of sin. Jesus answered out of the depths of His spirit, “It is written – man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” (Mat.4:4) And that ended that temptation! The battle lay not with some mythical personage outside of Himself. The conflict was within. The voice was an inner voice. The suggestion was in His mind, its power in His emotions and will. God speaks to us in our mind and spirit Satan also speaks in our mind and heart. There is no monster without. There are three things in this vast world, and only three – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; briefly, appetite, avarice, and ambition. I do not think you will be able to avoid the conclusion that all the inventions, creations, and contrivances of man are in existence to cater to these three things. It was with these three things that Eve was tempted. She saw the tree was good for food (the lust of the eyes), a tree to be desired (the lust of the flesh), a tree to make one wise (the pride of life), and the temptation was not from without but from within. How remarkably the three temptations of Jesus in the wilderness parallel these three! Every temptation of the Devil comes to us through the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. There are no others. Not for Adam and Eve, not for Jesus, and not for us.
Humankind has an enemy – a wily Nemesis, an adversary, described in God’s Word as desperately wicked, deceitful above all things. This enemy has adversely affected every generation of humankind from the Garden of Eden to the present Just who, or what, is this inimical deceiver? The prophet Jeremiah unmasked this enemy in these words of inspiration, “The HEART is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked,” and he went on to ask the searching question, “who can know it?” To the enlightened mind of this prophet, the depth of iniquity of which the human heart is capable is so great that it is beyond the ability of any man to comprehend. How many times have you heard it? Someone perpetrates an unbelievably ghastly crime; like the axe murders of an entire family by a young lad barely in his teens, or the brutal murder of a father and a mother by a teenager a few years ago, who buried them in a shallow grave, and then repeatedly drove a tractor over the site, in an attempt to cover the crime – and yet relatives, close friends and near neighbors all said, in a state of bewilderment and shock, “But he was such a nice, quiet, decent boy!”
A motion picture some years ago portrayed the dual lives led by a judge, who had two families, some distance apart! He had “married” two different women, was actually living with each for a certain number of days each week; would then disappear, as if he had some important responsibilities in a distant town, when in actuality he was going to spend the remainder of that week with a second family. Obviously, each wife thought she knew this man, thoroughly! After all, just how well do you know you own spouse? Interesting, isn’t it? We feel we truly know our husbands, wives, children; our closest and dearest friends. But according to the word of God we don’t even know ourselves. We, perhaps above all people, are most often deceived by our own hearts! There is a deeper part to all of us – a part that only God knows! As a friend has so aptly written: “We should not find this so amazing a passage of scripture if it were not for one important thing. Jeremiah did not list an exception, saying, The heart is deceitful above all things except the Devil.” He merely stated that the heart is deceitful above all things, PERIOD! Since Jeremiah spake by the Spirit of God, this could not possibly have been a slip of the tongue or something uttered before it was thought through. If the heart is deceitful above all things, it naturally follows that there is nothing more deceitful. The heart of man, then, is the MOST DECEITFUL THING IN THE WORLD!
“There is no doubt whatever in my mind that Jesus had this very scripture in mind when He spoke the words recorded in Mk. 7:15-23. ”There is nothing,” He said, “from without a man that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, these are they that defile the man.‘ Having said that, He uttered the statement that so often followed His teachings when there was contained in them a mystery, ‘IF any man has ears to hear, let him hear.’ If we will be honest with ourselves, we will have to admit that we have fostered and taught for generations a concept that directly contradicts the words of Jesus Christ, for we have, indeed, declared that there IS something from without a man that can enter into him and defile him. We have called him Satan (an adversary), and so he is! We have called him a murderer and a liar, and so he is! We have had much truth about him – but the one thing we have NOT known about him is his LOCATION! We have said that he was without – Jesus said that he is within! If there is nothing from without a man (and in the Greek that reads: not one thing) that entering into him can defile him, then we must conclude the Satan’s activity is not without, but within.
“As we continue to read this passage, we hear Jesus say, ‘For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: all these things come from within and defile the man.’ Every sin category imaginable is contained in this discourse. Everything that a man could ever think or do that is evil is said by Jesus to come – not from outside of man but from within! In our consideration of this passage, there is one all-important phrase that we must be careful to note, for it is the key to the true nature of Satan and the heart of man. Jesus said, ‘For from within out of the heart of men...’ It is imperative that we notice the grammatical number of the two words here. The word ‘heart’ is singular being in the Greek in the genitive singular case. The word ‘men’ however is plural being in the genitive plural case. We have, then, ONE HEART but many men!” – end quote. This heart is the heart of the Self, the inward nature of man, one great nature shared by all the inhabitants of the world, the very heart of Adam shared with his many-membered body!
The natural mind is the mind channeling the condition of the human heart. It is not the same mind that understands how to drive your car, or lusts after someone of the opposite sex that also understands the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. Not at all! The promise is sure: “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean... a new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony (spiritually unresponsive) heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a (soft, pliable, responsive) heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statues, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.” (Eze. 36:25-27). This new creation of which the Spirit speaks is blest not only with a new heart and a new spirit but with a NEW MIND as well. For, Paul says, “Who hath known the mind of the Lord.” But WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST.” (I Cor. 2:16) There is by regeneration within ourselves, beyond the realm of our conscious knowledge, a divine life, the child of God’s Spirit, ever unwearied, ever growing and maturing, to gain control of our whole being, and transform us into the image of God.
THE DRAGON IN THE SEA
“And the great DRAGON was cast out, that OLD SERPENT, called the DEVIL, and SATAN, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth... and I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the DRAGON, that OLD SERPENT, which is the DEVIL and SATAN, and bound him a thousand years.” (Rev. 12:9; 20:1-2)
Large sections of scripture, in fact a preponderance of the prophetical books, are couched in symbolic terms, hiding much of the “mysteries” of God in figurative language. This is done quite purposely by the Lord that the unspiritual while “seeing” actually see not and “hearing” actually hear not (Mat. 13:10-17). The careful study of the key Semitic symbols, in which so much of the Word of God is given, is vitally important to the one who would “rightly divide the word of truth.” Since the book of Revelation is a “sign-i-fied” or “sign-language” book (Rev. 1:1), we should not be surprised to find that it abounds in Semitic symbols which convey the truth in figurative language.
Just as the title “serpent” in Genesis describes the Devil as wily, seductive, poisonous, and deadly, so the term “dragon” is descriptive of his great power, magnitude, and terrifying monster qualities. Hear what the scriptures say about the Serpent and the Dragon, and it will be very clear that these are one and the same. “And there appeared another wonder in heaven: and behold a great RED DRAGON, having seven heads and ten horns...and the great DRAGON was cast out, that ANCIENT SERPENT, called the DEVIL, and SATAN, which deceiveth the whole world...and they worshipped the DRAGON which gave power unto the beast... and an angel came down and laid hold on the DRAGON, that ancient SERPENT, WHICH IS THE DEVIL AND SATAN, and bound him...” (Rev. 12:9 13:4; 20:1-2) The Dragon is a fabulous mythical creature that never really existed except in the imaginations of men. They were supposed to be enormous in size, up to forty feet long. They had wings like a bird’s, scales like a reptile’s, claws like an eagle’s, and long tails like an alligator’s. They breathed fire. The Dragon always stood as a symbol of wrath and destruction. In Africa and Asia people still worship images of monsters and dragons.
As the subtle Serpent came with stealth into the Garden of Eden defiling with selfhood the hearts of the parents of the human race, making a murderer of Adam’s first son, so has he developed in mankind from that small and unimposing beginning to become a monster of gigantic dimensions filling the whole world with religious delusion and fleshly corruption. In Genesis Satan entered Eden as a cunning little Serpent, but in Revelation he has grown into a monstrous fire-belching Dragon in the earth and in the sea. In Genesis Satan is an enchanting Serpent indwelling a mere handful of people, whereas in Revelation he is a “great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns,” a composite of peoples, nations, and governmental authorities. So now the network that he runs is huge and powerful and intimidating and dominates the world and the so-called church as well. He is no longer the inconspicuous little reptile of Eden. He is the horn of worldly strength that Jesus claims makes him “the prince of this world.” How is it that Satan began as a little Serpent in Eden and ends as a great Dragon in the book of Revelation? Because he dwells in the minds of men and men have so built him up in their minds and attributed to him such power and authority that the little Serpent has been transformed into a great red Dragon! He is not some sinister creature from outer space, or a powerful, omnipresent spirit. No. He exists in the mind of man – he’s in your mind if you allow him to be! That’s why the scripture admonishes: “...neither give place to the devil.” (Eph. 4:27) How do you give place to the Devil? With your own thoughts!
When Adam and Eve departed from Eden the Serpent was in their hearts, their minds, and in their bodies. It should not be difficult for any man to see that all the unrestrained evils that are running rampant in the world today are but the out-croppings, the fruitage, the increase, yea, the manifestation of the Dragon that is now full-grown from the little Serpent in Eden. This monster dwells within each one of us. It could be explained as the accumulated genetic legacy and cosmic consciousness from hundreds of our ancestors who have lived out of and cultivated the beastly nature. After Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden it was but a short space until the Serpent in Cain slew one righteous man, whereas the Dragon that stalks the earth today in a vast multitude of billions of Adam’s posterity has slain millions on the blood-stained battlefields of every continent and nation on the face of the earth, not to mention the untold millions more who have been the victims of crime and violence of every kind, and the saints of all ages who have been viciously persecuted to death. Ah, yes, the little Serpent has become a giant Dragon, stalking and stomping about in the dust of Adam’s race!
We need not be surprised at the increase of this satanic power at the end of the age. Can we not see that in every age the degree of wickedness in the earth is proportionate to the INCREASE OF MANKIND? Of a dim and distant age it is written, “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth...God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:1,6) And of our own age it is declared, “This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, devils, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” (2 Tim. 3:1-4) Two millenniums ago the apostle Paul accurately prophesied, “But the evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” (II Tim. 3:13) May the Spirit of the Lord open wide the eyes of our understanding to see the simple and evident truth that as MEN increase in the earth – THE DEVIL INCREASES! In making this statement, I am fully aware that such a thought runs contrary to long-established views of theology, but we are not in the least concerned with the views of Babylon’s theology, for so-called theology is not really the truth of God but the ideas of men. I am concerned only with the truth of God as it is revealed in His Word in the light of inspiration and revelation.
Now we come to an amazing promise which may be hard for the natural mind to interpret, but when men seek the face of the Lord He sends His Holy Spirit to dispel the darkness of the carnal mind that He may reveal to our broken and contrite hearts the things that pertain to the eternal purposes of God. The promise is stated: “In that day the Lord with His sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent even leviathan that crooked serpent; and HE SHALL SLAY THE DRAGON THAT IS IN THE SEA.” (Isa. 27:1) The word “leviathan” means literally “a beast dwelling in the sea.” In the Hebrew the chief word for dragon is TANNIN and in meaning is synonymous with LEVIATHAN. The translators of the Greek Septuagint used the word DRAKON to render both words. DRAKON is derived from another Greek word, DERKOMAI, which means “sea serpent, serpent of the abyss.” Leviathan, the sea-serpent, and the Dragon are thus different aspects of the same being, for note, “In that day the Lord with His sore and great and strong sword shall punish LEVIATHAN the piercing SERPENT, even LEVIATHAN that crooked SERPENT; and He shall slay the DRAGON that is in the sea.” The prophetical type for the victory described in this passage is found in one of the Psalms of David. Speaking of the mighty deliverance of Israel from the troops of Pharaoh, when the Lord divided the waters to provide a passageway for His people, David sings: “Thou didst divide the sea by Thy strength! Thou didst break the heads of the serpents in the waters! Thou didst break the heads of leviathan in pieces.” (Ps. 74:13-14) Here the “serpents” plural and the “heads” of leviathan plural speak symbolically of the Egyptians who were energized by the spirit of their carnal minds to persecute and pursue the people of God. Truly, this is the SAME SERPENT THAT DWELLS WITHIN US, the DEVIL and SATAN, the BESTIAL NATURE WITHIN THE OUTER NATURE OF ADAM, that inner force which opposes the Spirit and tries always to bind us to earthly things, keeping us from seeking those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God. My soul rejoices with joy unspeakable in the blessed knowledge that God has promised deliverance for all mankind as this SEA DWELLING BEAST is slain with the mighty, strong sword of the Lord – the WORD (TRUTH) OF GOD!
Before we speak further of this, I would like to point out that throughout the scriptures the sea is a type of the raging, restless, surging masses of unregenerate humanity, tossed to and fro by the inner storms of the turbulent nature of fallen man. The prophet Isaiah penned these inspired words, “The wicked are like the troubled sea, which cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” (Isa. 57:20-21) Jude also described the carnal man when he said, “These are raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame.” (Jude 13) The beloved John, banished on the Isle of Patmos, had a vision of a great whore sitting on many waters. The angel revealed the meaning of the many waters, saying, “The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are PEOPLES, and MULTITUDES, and NATIONS, and TONGUES.” (Rev. 17:5) John also saw a vision of a beast rising out of the sea, a beast coming up out of the midst of the multitudes of raging, restless, seething humanity, the sea of man. The natural sea is a great deep, an abyss (Gen. 1:2; 7:11; 8:2; Deut 8:7; 33:13). The Psalmist wrote of this abyss of fleshly men, “They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search: both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart is DEEP (an abyss).” (Ps. 64:6) To the enlightened mind of David the depth of iniquity of which the human heart is capable is so great that it is beyond the ability of man to comprehend. The heart of man is an UNFATHOMABLE DEPTH, or, as Jeremiah observed, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it.” (Jer. 17:9) While John the Revelator saw the beast (outward manifestation) rising out of the sea (abyss, depth) of humanity (the carnal mind), Jesus expressed the same truth thus, “For from WITHIN, O-U-T O-F THE HEART OF MEN, proceed all these evil things!”
But God, blessed be His wonderful name! Has a remedy for this sea-dwelling beast, Leviathan the crooked Serpent, the Dragon in the sea, for His plan of redemption is directed toward removing this beast with His strong and mighty sword – the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word (truth) of God! The Word of the Lord declares, “thou rulest the RAGING OF THE SEA: when the waves thereof arise, THOU STILLEST THEM.” (Ps. 89:9) Many centuries ago the Spirit of God inspired these beautiful words of promise, “The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves. The Lord on high IS MIGHTIER THAN THE NOISE OF MANY WATERS, yea, than the MIGHTY WAVES OF THE SEA.” (Ps. 93:3-4) Praise God! HE rules the inner raging of the sea and He stills all its tempests! That unstable nature within, so quickly moved by the storms created by the carnal mind, the torrents of passion, the streams of vain imaginations, the waves of frustration and fear, the winds of doubt and unbelief, the turbulent emotions of body and soul – all are quieted by the Lord, the Spirit, who arises within in peace, confidence, truth and faith to RULE THE RAGING OF THE SEA. And then follows the calm, the state described by Paul, –”that we be no more tossed to and fro with every wind... but may grow up in all things into Him who is the Head, even Christ.” (Eph. 4:14-15) The Spirit of God within is great peace, overflowing joy, unfailing love, unwavering righteousness and omnipotent power. It is only necessary then to gain the conscious awareness of the presence and life of God as the essence of our being, and to know that this life is the law and substance of our reality. When your consciousness is imbued with the Spirit of Truth – not merely the letter of truth, but the Spirit of Truth – all inner and outer tempests are stilled, the sea is calmed, and the Dragon out of the sea vanishes over the horizon.
When John beheld in vision the unveiling of Christ – Christ the Head and Christ the body – he also saw “a throne set in heaven” with Christ upon the throne. “And before the throne there was a SEA OF GLASS like unto crystal...” (Rev. 4:16) As surely as the raging sea represents multitudes of restless, clamoring, surging, sinning humanity, so does the exquisite sea of glass before the throne of God represent an assembled throng of quickened and transformed saints IN WHOSE HEARTS THE PEACE OF GOD RULES. This great SEA OF REDEEMED MEN is calm and serene, tranquil and quiet, transformed “even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” The sea-dwelling beast has been dealt with. The inner nature of man has been transformed, Satan has been bound, and the sea is now calm.
The “Sword of the Lord” is the Word of God, the living and energetic Word, the almighty Word by means of which He slays the DRAGON IN THE SEA. When the bestial nature which once brought forth raging waves of the sea is conquered the sea of man is peaceful and serene, expressing the peace of the Kingdom of God. In the earth today there are two companies of “sea people” – those of the TROUBLED SEA and the SEA OF GLASS PEOPLE. Thank God, amidst all the trouble, distress, sorrow, problems and pressures of this world system there is a SEA OF GLASS, a people abiding in the peace of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth! These are “before the throne” – willing subjects of the Lordship of the indwelling Spirit. The apostle Paul greeted the Ephesian believers with this fervent prayer: “Grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 1:2) Peace! One of the beautiful titles of our Lord Jesus Christ is “Prince of Peace.” The first mark of the Kingdom of God is: Christ as King. If Christ is the Prince or King of Peace, then peace is a dimension of the Kingdom of God. There are many wonderful truths to embrace, endless revelations to inspire and thrill and transform the hearts of God’s sons, but none more meaningful or sublime than that transmitted by Paul to the Romans, “For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (Rom. 14:17) The Kingdom of God is... PEACE!
The mark of what a kingdom is, is to be seen in the King. Christ now reigns on the throne of the Father, and that throne is individualized as the power of His presence in the heart of every saint. There is an embodiment, a manifestation of the Kingdom; its power is seen in the lives of those in whom it rules. The Christ lives and dwells and rules in our hearts! The blessed firstborn Son proclaimed to those called to be His many brethren: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” (Jn. 14:27) As you acquire peace in your heart from God by the spirit of sonship, I have good news for you! You have received a dispensation of the Kingdom of God, for that is what the Kingdom is. As the peace of God reigns in your heart, in the midst of all the problems and pressures, in a world of turmoil and fear, the Prince of Peace has ascended His throne and reigns. Peace is spirit. The Kingdom of God is spiritual because God is spirit, and, never forget, my beloved – spirit is REAL! Peace is REAL! The Kingdom of God is a spiritual dimension available to men upon this earth. It is within you as the righteous, peace, and joy of the Spirit-rule in and through you. Even now God is bringing “many sons” to walk in the conscious awareness of the Kingdom and minister its glorious and eternal reality to all mankind now and in the age and ages to come.
How the world needs this peace! Men’s hearts are failing them today for fear in looking after those things which are coming upon the earth. The land is filled with violence, moral breakdown, broken homes, corruption and evil men in government, gang warfare, rebellion, sorrow and death. The world continually sinks deeper and deeper into sin and ever-increasing degradation, reveling in drunkenness, promiscuity, sodomy, blowing its minds with drugs, deafened and demented in body and soul by the raucous racket called “music”, cheating, lying, stealing, raping, murdering, until it has become a seething mass of godlessness and immorality. Ah– the TROUBLED SEA! How often the raging waves of that sea beat with fury within our own breasts in the form of doubts, fears, frustrations, anxieties, sorrows and confusion. Thank God, there is another sea, the sea of glass, the power of the Lord’s Spirit to minister the peace of God in the midst of tempest – a strong and mighty Word of the Lord with which to slay the Dragon in the sea. This is the message Jesus intended to convey when in the midst of the storm on the sea of Galilee He commanded, “Peace! Be still!” He had the peace within Himself or He never could have imparted it to the winds and the waves. The Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy, is within you, precious friend of mine, and is becoming individualized and personified within a people for such a time as this.
As we consider these thoughts, may God almighty grant that His Spirit may instruct us in the way of truth and understanding. When John beheld the Lord coming upon a white horse, followed by the armies from heaven, he saw a sharp sword going out of His mouth “that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron.” (Rev. 19:15) In the midst of all the confusion and darkness of this hour the Spirit of God is calling out a people for His name. He is training them in the school of obedience and refining them in the furnace of affliction. He is stripping them of self-interest, draining them of self-will, plucking from their hearts all the deceptive ways of Babylon, causing them to abhor the vain efforts of the flesh. These are putting on the whole armor of God, these are dwelling in heavenly places, seated with Christ; these are the army from heaven that follows the Word of God into battle. From within, out of the innermost being, is arising a strong and mighty Word, the absolute truth about God and all things, by which every enemy shall be silenced. “He cast out the spirits WITH HIS WORD.” (Mat. 8:16) This sin-weary world shall yet be governed by a glorious company of sons of God, everyone in the image of Christ, everyone a brother of Jesus Christ, every one infused with His life and invested with His authority, everyone a son given “power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy.” (Lk. 10:19) The whole earth, as Eden was, shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
These sons shall be able to raise their voices in mighty declarations of authority. This authority is rooted in their own experience. By the understanding of the Almighty they shall have conquered the Dragon of sin and limitation and death in their own lives. Then shall be fulfilled on the grandest scale ever the word spoken by the Lord, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; in My name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them, they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mk. 16:17-18) Some people have thought this meant to be able to handle poisonous snakes without being bitten. Others have supposed it meant that IF you accidentally took up a serpent, as Paul did on the island of Melita, there would be no harm. But beyond all this, let me point out to you one of the meanings of the term “take up” in this passage. Not only does the Greek word AIRO mean to “take up”, it also means to “take away.” It may just as well be translated, “They shall TAKE AWAY serpents,” not take up and handle them. The ENTIRE SERPENT KINGDOM SHALL BE REMOVED, TAKEN AWAY by these mighty believers; yea, they shall slay the Dragon that is in the sea! And it begins now, on the personal level, in our own consciousness.
Thank God, this wonderful victory is even now being established in the experience of a people apprehended of God. How we long for such a day as this for all people and nations! Today we hear much of “deliverance ministries” and many go about “casting out devils” in lengthy sessions of exorcism attended by manifestations such as coughing, vomiting, etc. Some are told they have legions of devils and they are given names like “lazy devil,” “false doctrine devil,” “lust devil,” “gossip devil,” etc., etc. We praise God for all who are delivered in any measure from bondages of any kind, but often it is like a man at the mouth of the mighty Mississippi trying to bail out the river with a bucket – there seems to be no end to the masses of spirits, bondages, problems, and works of the flesh with which people contend. We find, however, that the redemptive work of Jesus Christ is not merely that which deals with the branches of the tree, but is that which essentially must “lay the axe to the root of the tree.” That is, it is that which must take action against the Adamic mind, against the Adamic nature that exists in the very root of men’s lives. That is why Paul said, “for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph. 6:12) It is interesting to note that the word “principalities” is from the Greek ARCHE meaning commencement, beginning, origin. This bespeaks not of the branches of the tree, but the root – the commencement, beginning, origin or SOURCE of the problem– not flesh and blood, but the SPIRIT which now worketh in the sons of disobedience! This is the Serpent, Satan, the Devil enthroned in the human nature!
The ultimate warfare lies in that deep inner realm where the source of all things is found. As long as we content ourselves to deal with individual “demons,” or to treat “social ills,” or to wage war “against sin,” or to struggle with the “lusts of the flesh,” all of which exist in the external realm of the tentacles, we shall find ourselves ever defeated in even these things. Do not try to reform the outer world of appearances. When you meet with thievery, drunkenness, adultery, pride, cursing, false religion, worldliness, or any form of degradation, do not look at it, but through it. Do not look with the eyes, with the natural understanding or perception – look with the spirit of wisdom and revelation. Look through the individual, beholding by the spirit the root and source of the issue – and there will flow grace to help. We do not deal with people in their outer form or with manifest problems – we deal with spirit. We are not called upon to heal a person; we are not called upon to reform a person; we are not called upon to heal some terrible disease; we are not called upon to change the outer activity of a human body. We are called upon to minister the living Presence, to impart mercy, love, grace and power. Then the hearts of men will respond! “The grace of God that bringeth salvation has appeared to all men.” That is what we are called to do. Redemption lays the axe to the root of the tree, deals with the strongman who sits enthroned in the nature, pierces the head of the octopus, automatically destroying the power of the tentacles! Speaking of the hour when the sons of God would rise to that place of authority in Jesus Christ, John the Revelator wrote, “And there was war in heaven and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not.” (Rev. 12:7-8) Men must rise to that place of understanding, consciousness, and authority in the Spirit wherein the axe is laid to the root – not to some individual manifestation, some outer expression, some external action, some pesky little “demon” – but to the ROOT ITSELF: the ADAMIC NATURE. WHERE SATAN’S SEAT IS! In dealing with the root, the tentacles will take care of themselves. This goes far beyond merely “casting out” the negative; it involves such a complete TRANSFORMATION OF CONSCIOUSNESS AND BEING until the negative HAS NO GROUND TO STAND UPON, NO PLACE TO DWELL.
THE BOTTOMLESS PIT
“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key to the BOTTOMLESS PIT and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the devil, and satan, and cast him into the BOTTOMLESS PIT, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him...” (Rev. 20:1-3)
The “bottomless pit” is certainly not a hole in the ground; it is, rather, a Semitic symbol which signifies a state or condition wherein there is no bottom, thus NO GROUND TO STAND UPON. Satan was given “ground” in man’s life when the Almighty declared to him, “Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat...” (Gen. 3:14) Praise God, when our adversary, the Devil, is cast into the bottomless pit, it means that he is circumvented to a realm where he has no ground to stand upon, no base for his activity, and no foundation upon which he can build his work. God is “pulling the rug out from under the Devil” as He renews our minds and transforms our nature, that there be no basis upon which the forces of evil can operate. This indicates such a transformation of being that not only are the works of the Devil destroyed in us, but also it is impossible for him to corrupt us again. Thus conformed to the image of the Son we can say with Jesus, “The prince of this world cometh, and HATH NOTHING (no place) IN ME!”
In those blessed sons of God, joined in Christ as one body, God is raising up a house in which He can dwell and manifest His glory without interference or conflict. When the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, he revealed a truth which lies in contrast to the picture of Satan in the bottomless pit. “...that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (I Tim. 3:15) There are three aspects of the church mentioned in this wonderful passage: the “house of God,” the “church of the living God,” and the “pillar and ground of the truth.” What does this term “the house of God” mean? When you refer to “your house,” you mean the place where you dwell, where you live, where you work out your life, where you are comfortable and at home; and that is just the meaning of the house of God. It is not an empty cliché, it is not a light or loose term. The “house of God” is the place where God dwells, where He lives, where He works out His life, where He is comfortable and at home without any strain or struggle. This house is none other than the church of the living God. Notice that the term here is not merely God, but the living God. He is living! He now dwells in the church, lives in the church, moves in the church, and works out His life, not in some superstitious religious way, but naturally and comfortably in the church. When we say that the church is the house of God, we must have a very deep realization that God DWELLS, LIVES, AND WALKS OUT HIS LIFE in this house!
The true church is not only the house of God, but it is also THE PILLAR AND GROUND OF THE TRUTH. The question follows – What is truth? Do not think that truth means doctrine! Truth is not what you believe about a thing, the truth is the very fact of the thing itself. The word truth means REALITY. Nothing is real in the whole universe, nothing is truth; everything is but a shadow. Nothing is what it appears to be. All of us could look at the same object, and every one of us might see it differently. Many who read these lines have traveled and seen in the distance a mountain having a certain form, perhaps a likeness to some other object. But as you got closer and drove around the mountain it took on altogether different shapes and the original appearance was not found there at all. Each of us interprets all things according to the finite sense of human mind, in the light of the education, environment, and background of our individual experience and knowledge. To understand that what we see represents only our concept of that which is actually there is important. Everything that can be seen, everything that can be touched, everything that can be possessed and enjoyed is not real – for creation is but the shadow of God. Only the Son is His image, His out-raying, His manifestation – all else is but His shadow. The correct understanding of the book of Hebrews makes this very clear. Whatever exists in this universe is but a shadow, not the real thing! What is the real thing? It is CHRIST – HE is the reality of everything! The food you eat is not the real food, but only the shadow of the real food. The real food is Christ! The physical life you live is not real life, but only a shadow of the real life. The real life is Christ! “I AM THE LIFE,” saith the Lord. “He that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1 Jn. 5:12) If a friend has a photograph of himself, you will say, “This is so and so. But in truth that is not so and so. It is only a picture, an image, and a false image at that. In fact, all images that are not the projection of life itself are false, for living realities are not found in images. Most of what we call images are but shadows, for a shadow is an image. All the types, all the figures, in the Old Testament, as well as creation itself are but shadows of the REALITY WHICH IS CHRIST HIMSELF. Christ is the truth, Christ is the reality of the whole universe. If you just have a doctrine about Christ, you do not have the reality of Christ. And if your spirit has not been quickened by His Spirit, you still do not have either life or reality, for the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, howbeit an unlit candle which gives no light! Christ Himself is the reality, and His Spirit is the SPIRIT OF REALITY.
The people in whom this living God dwells, lives, and moves, is the PILLAR AND GROUND upon which the reality stands. It bears the reality. Within this people the living God dwells, and upon this people the truth, the reality stands. Ah, as the nature of God’s people is changed by the Spirit of God Satan finds himself shut out, excluded from their lives, no ground to stand upon, no base for his activity, indeed, HE IS IN A BOTTOMLESS PIT! As new creation people our lives BECOME THE PILLAR AND GROUND of this universal reality, which is the Lord Jesus Christ! In the church God dwells, because the church is the house of God. And upon this people is BUILT THE REALITY OF CHRIST. Redeemed by His precious blood, justified by His grace, quickened by His Spirit, transformed by His Word, we become the base, the sure foundation upon which all the glory of God can be displayed. And on this holy ground is where the saint of God discovers that Satan is bound, securely chained, and a great seal set upon him. This is not a future event – it is an eternal reality to those who walk in the Spirit. In the story of the Pilgrim’s Progress, you will remember that “Christian” was approaching a narrow passage as he traveled toward Porter’s Lodge for the night. In the narrow passage he saw two lions but did not know that the lions were chained. Then he was afraid and considered going back, for he thought that nothing but death was before him. But the Porter at the lodge, whose name was “Watchful,” perceiving that “Christian” was about to turn back, cried with a loud voice not to fear the lions for they were chained and could do him no harm. So “Christian” warily walked into the narrow passage, trembling for fear of the lions. He heard the lions roar. He felt their hot breath on his flesh, but they did him no harm for they were, indeed, on a chain. “Christian” then clapped his hands for joy and boldly went on through the narrow passage and arrived safely at the other side. Satan, the roaring lion, is chained, my friend! Not going to be – he IS. Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, the messenger of the everlasting covenant, has chained him and set the seal upon him. And this Jesus lives and dwells and moves in you and me! Sometimes it seems as if the world is full of lions crouched for a spring – as if there are lots of terrifying things about to happen from formidable adversaries all about. But when we discover the power of the indwelling Christ, we find out that, as terrifying as those things seem to be, they are already chained by God. Springing doesn’t get them anywhere.
Hear it! All the reality of the universe is established upon the lives of God’s saints! If anyone wants to know what life is, he will see and touch it in God’s people. If someone would like to know what love is, what joy is, what peace is, what truth, faithfulness, righteousness, power, glory, wisdom or knowledge is, he will see it and touch it upon and within this people. “And the government shall be upon His shoulder.” (Isa. 9:6) “Upon the shoulder” means that THE WHOLE BODY BEARS THE WEIGHT OF IT. Jesus Christ is the Head, the mind, the leader, but the power and glory of the Kingdom rests upon His body, the PILLAR and GROUND of the TRUTH. What a day, when all nations become a bottomless pit for Satan, and he has no more ground in the nature of the human family! I can tell you, dear ones, that already Satan is finding very little “ground” to creep upon in those elect sons apprehended as the firstfruits of God’s redemption. Victory upon victory they are gaining as they are changed from men of the dust to men of the Spirit, from the image of the earthy to the image of the heavenly. The reality of His divine life is being built up in their inner man, and even now THEY ARE THE GROUND, THE BASE, THE FOUNDATION OF THE TRUTH, even Mount Zion of which it is written, “Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth (this) shall not make haste (be anxious).” (Isa. 28:16) Zion is composed of those sons in whom the Christ has been established as a sure foundation; no matter what comes, how hard the winds of adversity blow. How fierce the storm. How overwhelming the waves, how severe the pressures, these REMAIN UNSHAKABLE, FIRM, STEADY, RESOLUTE, UNDISTURBED, CONSTANT, AND IMMOVABLE, rooted in and living out of the Spirit. Upon such a people the government, the authority of God’s Kingdom rests! Through the ministry of such a people, praise God, the day shall come when throughout all the earth, in every nation and people and kindred and tribe and tongue THE DRAGON THAT IS IN THE SEA SHALL BE SLAIN BY THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, and God shall in the consciousness of every man be A-L-L I-N A-L-L. “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them (the sons of God); and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: IN THE HABITATION OF DRAGONS, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. The BEAST OF THE FIELD SHALL HONOR ME, the DRAGONS AND THE OWLS... because I give drink to My people, My chosen.” (Isa. 35:1, 7; 43:20)
Is there a Devil, a real being with personality? If so, who created him, and why does an all-powerful God of righteousness and love permit such a being to exist? Many answers have been given. On the one hand, there is the view that the Devil is a hideous looking creature in a funny red suit, with cloven hoofs and a forked tail, whose chief business is to tempt and endeavor by all devious means to destroy Christians – and to preside over the alleged tortures of the departed damned. On the other hand, some say the Devil never existed; that he is a fiction of the imagination; a crude myth or superstition. Others tell us that the Devil is dead.
“And so they’ve voted the Devil out,
And of course, the Devil’s gone;
But simple folk would like to know
Who carries his business on!”
Oriental imagery is never more graphically displayed in all its eloquence than in the use of the biblical word SERPENT as a figure of Satan, the Devil. This symbol, along with a number of other word pictures, is very expressive of his nature and activity. Let us remember that there is much language in the scripture that is figurative and much that is allegorical. When our Lord Jesus said, “Ye are the salt of the earth,” He was speaking quite evidently in figurative language. He did not mean that Christians were to be put into a gigantic salt shaker and shaken over the globe. Nobody would be so ridiculous as to believe that. And when Christ said, “I am the light of the world,” He did not mean He had to be lit like a candle and put up somewhere where He would shine! There are figures of speech in the Bible. In our everyday conversations we make numerous referrals to the nature, character or personality of creatures or things, such as: “That guy is a real turkey,” “He is a snake in the grass,” “She can swim like a fish,” “He is sharp as a tack,” “She is neat as a pin.” These are all figures of speech designed to express an image we are seeking to convey. All of us are accustomed to using symbolic language to communicate an analogous idea on a different plane of understanding. When Satan is spoken of as a serpent it no more means a literal snake than when Dan is so called in Genesis 49:17. “Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.” When Satan is called a serpent it no more means that he is a snake, or appeared in the form of a snake, or incarnated himself in the body of a snake, than that the Emperor Nero was a LION (II Tim. 4:17), or king Herod a FOX (Lk. 13:32), or Judah a LION’S WHELP (Gen. 49:9). It is the same figurative use of words when “doctrine” is called “leaven” (Mat. 16:6). When a figure of speech is thus employed it is for the purpose of expressing truth on a higher plane, and is intended to be a figure of something BEYOND THE LETTER OF THE WORD.
Let all who read these lines thoroughly understand that when we discuss the Garden of Eden, the Serpent in the Garden, and the fall of man, it is not with any idea of drawing an historical sketch. The past is meaningless unless it relates to the present. It is because we see repeated all around us, day after day, generation after generation, the same carnal, fleshly attitudes and activities that brought about the original fall, and in the repetition of these attitudes and activities there is the tragic and dreadful departure from REALITY and the LIFE of the Spirit of God, even among the Lord’s own people who dwell in the Garden of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. So obvious and incontrovertible is this fact that I do not hesitate to say the Garden of Eden is not so much a past event as a present and continuing event. It is a crisis leading to a process – a continuing unfoldment. This is the tragic effect of man’s first departure from God. It happened back there in the past... but it continues to happen because the spirit of Adam is within us all! It is, then, for our own instruction and learning that we draw on the lessons brought to us by that past event, which though it occurred long millenniums ago, still finds a place of relevancy not only in our modern society but among all who name the name of Christ and, sadder to say, within those who have received the call to sonship and have gone “without the Camp,” as well.
The various names for the Serpent are most instructive. In the word “serpent” there is the idea of cunning, of slyness, “the wiles of the devil.” It is not the thought of monstrosity showing itself in a public way, but diplomacy working under cover and carrying its point underhandedly. In the word “satan” we have the thought of the adversary merely. There is no thought of evilness, but simply opposition. From the beginning there has been that which has stood in opposition to the life of the Spirit in man, and has fully earned its reputation as the most adroit of adversaries. Paul describes it as the flesh warring against the Spirit, and the carnal mind that is enmity against God. The flesh and the carnal mind are neither inanimate objects, but living, energizing realities, truly the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience (offspring of old Adam). The word “devil” means an adversary who slanders, or an “accuser.” This title is used throughout scripture, where he is revealed as the slanderer of God and the accuser of man. In that long-ago Eden he slandered God – “Yea, hath God said! God doth know...” – and accused man –”And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked... and the Lord God said, Who told thee that thou wast naked?” (Gen. 3:1, 7, 11) The Serpent’s chatter on down through the centuries has followed exactly the same line – he has not deviated one iota from his first method of approach. More christians are defeated by accusation and condemnation than anything else. We will be the victim of a double deception if we cannot recognize either the liar or his lies!
The scriptures draw a wonderful contrast between the intercession of Christ, on the one hand, and the accusation of the Devil, on the other hand. As I have studied the Word of God and been taught by the precious spirit of Truth many things have become evident, one of which is that while intercession may be Godward, the scriptures reveal that the primary thrust of the intercession of the Christ is not Godward at all, but manward, an intercession that is to us-ward, to bring us to God, to draw us to the Father, to work mightily in us, that we might yield ourselves unto Him, to live out the revelation of the Spirit in our lives. The real truth about the intercession of the Christ has been clouded by the corrupted theology of man. I am sure that you, as I, have heard preachers try to describe His ministry of intercession. It goes something like this. Satan, our enemy and the accuser of the brethren, stands before the Father up in heaven accusing us day and night. Satan tells God about all our failings; he enumerates to God every sin we commit in thought, word, or deed. He is constantly, unceasingly, relentlessly and unmercifully accusing us of every shortcoming and weakness. The Father, on the other hand, is portrayed as greatly offended and incensed by our sins, and exceedingly wroth with sinners; a vindictive punisher, somehow obligated by His superior sense of justice to be the avenger of every little thing we do wrong. Many parents have unwittingly darkened the hearts of their little children with threats of the certain vengeance of this God who is a constant terror over the life. “Now don’t you do that because GOD will punish you!” And even much stronger things are told to little children. God becomes a mean, harsh, vindictive old man up in the sky with beady little piercing eyes possessing wonderful X-ray vision which can penetrate into the deepest recesses of mind and heart, and the thickest darkness of night, scrutinizing every thought and action. This God, moreover, is waiting, lurking about everywhere, with a punishing whip of large dimensions!
Enter the Son. You know as well as I do that the church system has always taught that this God of exacting justice and undiminished wrath must be appeased, soothed, turned aside from His furious vengeance, and that this feat can only be accomplished by the bold and insistent intercession of the compassionate SON, our wonderful Lord and elder brother, standing opposite Satan, before the judgment-throne of the Father, as our Advocate, our Lawyer, pleading our cause, beseeching God to be kind to us for His sake, to commute our sentence, and begging for our lives on the ground that He paid the price for the forgiveness of our sins. According to this hypothesis the anger of God can only be appeased by looking upon the bloody sweat and cruel, ugly death of His Son, as He stands there interceding for us. I do not hesitate to tell you that such a teaching is utter rubbish and the brashest sort of nonsense. It springs from the Romish tradition that likens God the Father to a fearful and offended despot, spoiling for the blood of the offenders, and it makes Christ to be the One who pleads with God on behalf of the victim until the Father is consoled and placated. And if it weren’t for our Advocate, Jesus, God would listen to the Devil’s accusations and really lay it on to us. We could even lose our salvation because of Satan’s accusations, if it weren’t that the merciful Jesus is there to prevent God from casting us into hell, by presenting His blood on our behalf. Such is a gross caricature of the truth. More than that, it is a stupid absurdity and a horrible blasphemy. Praise God, the Spirit is unfolding Truth in ever-increasing dimensions of glory which magnifies God’s glorious nature of love and mercy, His wisdom and power, His goodness and the prudence of all His plans and purposes.
It is my conviction that not even Satan is senseless enough to believe that he could approach OUR FATHER and convinces Him to condemn us because of our failures. Nowhere does the scripture state that Satan accuses the saints to God. What it does say is that “the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which ACCUSED T-H-E-M B-E-F-O-R-E OUR GOD day and night.” (Rev. 12:10) It is one thing to be accused before, that is, in the presence of, or in front of another person, and another thing altogether for the accuser to accuse you TO the other one. It should be abundantly evident that Satan does not accuse us to God, he merely accuses us before God. It is not the almighty and omniscient God, my brother, my sister, whom Satan wishes to convince of your unworthiness – it is YOU! Satan has no misconceptions about his ability to persuade God of your weakness and worthlessness, but if he can influence YOU to believe that you are unworthy, that you are a failure, that you are hopeless, that it is impossible for you to attain to the High Calling of God in Christ, that it is beyond the realm of possibility for you to lay hold upon life and immortality; or that God does not love you, leaving you condemned and helpless – he is thereby able to rob you of all your hope, faith, confidence, joy, peace and victory!
Don’t think for one moment, my beloved that this scene is set in some far-off heaven somewhere! Satan is not standing in a red devil suit before the great white throne somewhere beyond the milky way – ah, he lurks, rather, in the corruption and unbelief of our own carnal minds, in the unrelenting voice of our own distorted conscience, in the perverted reasoning and logic of our silly superstitions about God, slithering about in the lowest realms of man’s earthiness. The reason why so many saints fail when it comes to the temptations and condemnations of the Devil is that they don’t really want to resist Satan. We have been taught in the past to flee from the Serpent, that old dragon that appears as a roaring lion, and this we have been doing all along; but on this Day, this glorious Day of illumination and truth, all of us who walk in the light of this Day will discover that it has been the very Serpent that has been BRUISING YOUR HEELS all these years in your house, causing you to err, to sin and stumble day and night! And it is the very Dragon that has been ACCUSING YOU DAY AND NIGHT BEFORE GOD IN THE TEMPLE OF GOD WHICH YOU ARE! You see, Satan never comes as some hideous monster with horns, a forked tail and a pitchfork. He doesn’t blare at you through a loudspeaker. HE COMES IN YOUR OWN DESIRES! HE SPEAKS IN YOUR OWN THOUGHTS! HE TORMENTS THROUGH YOUR OWN FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS! The battle rages in the MIND, whisperings out of the dust realm, accusations that shout at you from within. And God is there, too! The indwelling Spirit of God likewise speaks from within, out of the spiritual mind, the voice of inspiration, the spirit of revelation, words of grace and wisdom drop from His tongue, the still small Voice of the Father from within His temple of clay, graciously assuring, “I love you, My beloved son; you are My very own son, and I will be a Father to you; I will strengthen you, I will uphold you, for I am the Faithful One and will complete the good work I have begun in you and present you faultless before My throne.” And there, before God in His temple – within – rises the other voice, the voice of the carnal mind, the voice of the flesh – the Accuser! It is there in the imaginations of the mind, in the heavens of that universe which you are, that Satan the Accuser must be cast down, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God within.
The Devil may accuse us, but God will never condemn. Is God for us, or against us? Is He on our side, or isn’t He? “What shall we say to all this? If God be for us, who can be against us? Who can be our foe, if God is on our side? He who did not withhold or spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, will He not also with Him freely and graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect when it is God who justifies? Who shall come forward and accuse or impeach those whom God has chosen? Will God, who acquits us? Who is there to condemn us?” (Rom. 8:31-34, Amplified) That wonderful Father! That gracious Redeemer! The most loving and faithful of all beings! He turned my heart back again and restored me into His life. God, the Father, sent Jesus -- the very fullness of His own heart – sent Him into the world to die on Calvary’s cross. God so loved the world that He gave! We did not choose Him; He chose us and ordained us! We love Him, because He first loved us! Who is he that condemns? Not God! What can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus? The answer is sure – there is not one created thing in all the vast universe that can separate us from God’s love – certainly not the accusation of the Devil!
What does it mean, that Jesus makes intercession for us? Jesus is our mediator, our intercessor and our advocate; He stands between God and us, but just what is He doing when He does this? Is He pleading with the Father to be merciful to us and forgive us? No, a thousand times no! The Greek word is ENTUCHANO meaning “to meet with, to converse with, and to entreat.” The question is just this: With whom does the Christ meet, with whom does He converse, and whom does He entreat? God, or man? God so loved the world that He gave His Son for us. God so loved! God gave the Son! Does the Father of love have to be entreated to be kind and merciful and gracious unto us? Listen! “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, NOT IMPUTING THEIR TRESPASSES UNTO THEM... now then we are ambassadors FOR CHRIST, as though GOD DID B-E-S-E-E-C-H Y-O-U by us: we pray (Greek: beg, petition, beseech, intercede) you in Christ’s stead, BE YE reconciled to God.” (II Cor. 5:19-20) Therefore, we find that HIS INTERCESSION IS TO US-WARD, to meet with us, to converse with us, to entreat us, to petition us, to intercede with us, to reveal the Father’s heart to us, to bring us back to Father, that we might be reconciled to God; working in us that we might know Him in all His glorious and eternal reality. All this attention of Christ is directed toward us. God does not have to be interceded with for us; it was the invisible and unknowable God who sent the Christ to us, to meet with us, to woo us, to draw us that we and the Father might be one again.
THE GOD OF THIS WORLD
In his first epistle, the apostle John informs us that “the whole world lieth in wickedness.” (1Jn. 5:19) “This present evil world” (Gal. 1:4) is now governed by those who obey the carnal nature, the Serpent within them. Satan, “the god of this world,” rules through carnal individuals (old Adam), thus filling this world with the wickedness and corruption so evident everywhere. The result of the Serpent’s work, through the carnal nature in mankind, is the conglomerate world system – economic, political and religious – prophetically called Babylon. The most outstanding characteristic of the Serpent is his ability to deceive. From the very opening chapters of the Bible, he is depicted as a liar and a deceiver. “The serpent beguiled me and I did eat,” was Eve’s cry, and in the closing chapters of the Bible, the fact of his deceiving nature is further emphasized in the inspired words penned by the Revelator wherein he says that he is “that old serpent called the devil and Satan, which DECEIVETH THE WHOLE WORLD.” (Rev. 12:9)
To properly understand the “wisdom of this world” which is “foolishness with God” we must first understand what is meant by the “world.” The Greek word for world is KOSMOS, which means system, arrangement, or organization. There are two things which have captured our attention, having been quickened for our consideration by the Spirit of God. These two are sin and the world. Because both are contrary to the Spirit of God, they must be dealt with and purged from all who would walk in sonship to God. However, the defilement of these two aspects differs. The contamination of sin is savage, hurtful and ugly, while the contamination of the world is cultured and refined, appealing to the intellect and the artistic in man. The contamination of sin is like dirty motor oil poured on a beautiful white wedding gown. But the contamination of the world is like a colorful pattern printed on white doth. From the human standpoint, a wedding gown with dirty motor oil splashed on it is considered filthy and undesirable, whereas a cloth with a colorful design is not dirty, but rather desirable. However, in the sight of God, BOTH ARE UNDESIRABLE! God’s standard has always been neither a stained garment nor a colorful piece of cloth, but a pure white garment. “And to her was granted that she would be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints.” (Rev. 19:8) “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment.’ (Rev. 3:5) Just as a dirty spot is not pure white, even so a colorful design detracts from the pure whiteness. Likewise, the world appears better than sin, but when related the divine nature, both are contaminating and require purging.
Furthermore, the effect of sin and the world upon man differ greatly: sin defiles and degrades man, whereas the world possesses man. It is just as serious for man’s life to be controlled and dominated by the world as to be defiled by sin. If Satan only uses sin to contaminate man, he only causes man to be perverted and shamed, but if he uses the world to possess man, then man is alienated from God into a realm of ego-centric self-sufficiency and self-deception. Sin may be defined as an act of disobedience to God, while the world may be defined as man’s organized system or kingdom by which he lives in independence from God.
A study of Genesis makes the difference apparent. Although Adam was corrupted by sin, he was still living in the presence of God. It is not until Genesis 4 that we read of Cain: “And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden... and he builded a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.” (Gen. 4:16-17) This is most significant! “Nod” is the Hebrew word for exile or vagrancy. Thus, Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, away from the life of the Kingdom of God, away from his inheritance in God, into exile, to walk totally independent from God and outside of God. This “land of Nod” or condition of exile is stated to be “on the east of Eden.” The Garden of Eden, the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, was westward, but Cain travelled eastward. Adam was driven away from the Tree of Life, driven eastward (Gen. 3:24), and now Cain continues on yet farther in an eastward direction (as all the metaphysical religions do today!) away from even the presence of God. Oh, what spiritual realities lie hidden in these simple words of Holy Writ! The Word of God clearly reveals that the route of spiritual progression is from east to west. Jesus Christ, who is the wisdom of God, is pictured by the Psalmist as a bridegroom typified by the sun who comes out of his chamber to run a race through the heavens (Ps. 19:4-6). Malachi speaks of Christ as “the sun of righteousness, arising.” (Mal. 4:2) Everyone knows, of courses, that the “race” of the sun is run from east to west. The lightning referred to in Mat 24:27 is actually the sun, for the Greek word merely means a bright shining, and lightning, as we know, does not flash from east to west, having no specific design or direction. Thus, Jesus said, “For as the bright shining (sun) cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Cain, had it not been for sin, would have been living in the Garden of Eden, which typifies the Kingdom of Heaven on earth – man dwelling and walking and living in the economy of God, the Spirit. In spite of sin, he was still able to know the presence of God, which typifies the anointing. But now Cain is rejecting even the presence of God and moving in the opposite direction of the course of the anointing, moving further and further from the life of the Spirit. His final end is that of an exile, a vagrant, living on a territory not pertaining to him, not his true inheritance or possession. There, alienated from God, and severed from the anointing, the record states Cain dwelt. He settled there. He built there. How happy is the man who clearly understands that the pathway of the anointing is ever from glory to glory, and as long as we are short of the image and incorruptible life of God we must never settle anywhere! The very condition of settling precludes our re-entrance into the Paradise of God. The man who settles is lost from the on-going purposes of God. Those blessed ones who in this hour hear and heed the call to sonship cannot settle in any zone until they stand in holy splendor with the Lamb upon the pinnacle of Mount Zion in the heavenly sphere of life and glory and dominion. But men always settle when, following the spontaneous moving and revelation of God, they begin to organize and systematize it, building walls of formulated creeds and dogmas about it, endeavoring to preserve it, as though the almighty Spirit who gave the outpouring in the first place had never commanded, “leaving... let us GO ON to perfection!” Once the move of God is creedalized and organized those within its walls are nevermore free to follow the course of the anointing, or to walk with God in His on-going unfolding of His glory.
Sin began with Adam in the Garden, for Adam sinned and was corrupted by sin and overcome by death, but he did not fall into the world at that point, neither was he possessed by the world then. The word “world,” as we have pointed out, translates the Greek word KOSMOS meaning order, arrangement, system of things. The world is a negative thing in relation to God. James declares, “...the friendship of the world is enmity with God, whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4) The apostle John adds his testimony, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:15-16) Many Christians have the mistaken notion that the world is the movie theater, the dance hall, stylish clothing, and such like. Others confuse the world with the earth. But the world is the present system of things upon this earth conceived by the carnal mind and generated by the natural man. The world consists of all that man has instituted that replaces God in his life. The present political, economic, educational and religious systems are not of God, but of the world. When people, activities, or things – whether good or bad, beautiful or ugly – enslave man and usurp God, they comprise the world. Anything that causes man to disregard the Spirit, be removed from the anointing, or be independent of God is the world. All that does not come from the Father, all that originates outside of the consciousness of God, all that man institutes by his own carnal wisdom and fleshly activity is of the world, and is contrary to the life, nature and ways of God. There is an interesting statement in Eph. 1:4. “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.” The word “foundation” translates the Greek word KATABOLE which is a compound word made up of BALLO meaning “to cast, to throw” and KATA meaning “down.” When man fell from his high and holy relationship with God and was cast down into the carnal realm of existence, the “foundation” of the world was laid in his heart and actions. But – blessed be God! The apostle Paul informs us that God the Father elected some sons in Christ “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 us in the Christ preceded the fall of man and the establishment of the world system. We are not told how many days, years or eons this choosing preceded the world, but methinks it was away back there when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy!
Since the world is in such opposition to God we must consider its origin and process of development. The world began with Cain. Cain built the first city – organized society, civilization – which typifies the worldly system of independence from the SPIRIT. The world did not exist when man was created (except in abstraction), but developed gradually after the fall, as man removed himself from the anointing and walked in his own carnal way. When man was brought forth from the formative hand of God there was already the universe, the heavens and the earth, and all created things; but the world did not exist. Following the fall, when unregenerated man began to multiply upon the earth the Serpent in man gave direction and character to the “New World Order” of man, thus the scripture speaks of the natural man as walking “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the SPIRIT that now worketh IN the sons of disobedience.” (Eph. 2:2)
There are three primary requirements for man’s existence and well-being on earth: provision, protection, and pleasure. For man to live an abundant and fulfilled life in the earth realm he needs the provision of food, clothing, shelter, etc., a means of defense to protect himself from adversaries, and a form of recreation and amusement for his happiness. Prior to the fall GOD WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR PROVIDING THESE THREE NEEDS OF MAN, and they were supplied abundantly in the Garden of Eden experience. After Cain’s departure from the anointing, the scripture describes him as “of that Wicked One.” (I Jn. 3:12) The preposition “of” is in the Greek EK – “out of” – “Cain was OUT OF that Wicked One” – the seed of the Serpent! Out of the descendants of Cain were produced the founders of man’s own system of supply for these three great needs of life. These were the three sons of Lamech. Jabal was the father of tent dwellers and cattlemen (Gen. 4:20). Tents and cattle are for the supply of man’s living and therefore belong to the category of provision. In the beginning God intended that HE should be our provision and so made Himself available to man in the Tree of Life, that in union with Him we should have all things, even the supply of God Himself. Jabal represents man’s own efforts, apart from the anointing, to make provision for himself. Spiritually, this symbolizes the carnal religious systems with their rituals, ceremonies, and ordinances designed to “feed” God into man. All religion is the invention of man in his effort to meet man’s spiritual need – apart from the anointing! Alas! they understand not that the reality of God’s life is not contained in, nor ministered through, doctrines, programs, rituals, ceremonies or ordinances. Those who live in that realm know nothing of the mighty power of the indwelling Christ of God. Man’s religion is of the world, for it is outside of God, being not of the Spirit, nor by the anointing.
Another of Cain’s sons, Jubal, was the father of all that handle the harp and organ. Playing harp and organ is for pleasure and inspiration and thus pertains to the category of pleasure. This worldly aspect is fulfilled, spiritually, in the maze of social activity in religion, as well as in much of the music, programs, and sermonizing, all of which is designed to be pleasant, acceptable and entertaining to the people. I personally have little use for most of the concerts, programs, and pulpit showmanship which constitutes much of the so-called “ministry” among God’s people today, for it is, without doubt, very appealing to the carnal mind which is ever wont to feed upon soulish entertainment rather than with reverential awe and holy brokenness to drink at the fountains of living water from the throne of God. I am convinced that our faithful heavenly Father has given the ministry of the blessed spirit of Truth for the perfecting of the saints, whereas the worldly church system has given us a veritable smorgasbord of religious shows for the entertaining of the saints. Most solemnly do I declare unto you that all such ARE OF THE WORLD, and not of the Father, for their methods and means are outside of the anointing of the Spirit and can never lead God’s people beyond the husks of man’s own vanity. Thank God! a people is arising who are finding their way out of Cain’s pleasure land of entertainment and sentimentality, back to the Paradise of God, back to the Tree of Life, where they partake deeply of this sublime truth: “... in Thy presence is fullness of Joy, at Thy right hand there are pleasures forevermore!” (Ps. 16:11)
The third son, Tubal-Cain, was the instructor of every artificer in brass and iron instruments. These instruments were formed for the purpose of defense, thus referring to the category of protection. Ignorant of the power and sufficiency of the indwelling Spirit, with what pompousness do the religious systems construct about them their walls and implements of defense! Church history is replete with examples of revival after revival in which men were sovereignly caught up into heavenly places of glory and power, only to have man put his hand of flesh upon the workings of God, to control, protect and preserve it, as though the omnipotent Spirit needed man’s useless wisdom and regulations to preserve His mighty work! Out there in Cain’s world you must have the earthly braw and iron implements of Tubal-Cain – the implements of organization, denomination, creed, coverings, fellowships, rules, regulations, boards, etc., to defend and preserve the work; but, blessed be God! as one moves westward into the anointing of God’s presence and life the omnipotence of the indwelling Spirit Himself becomes our fortress and exceeding strong tower! With what deep comprehension of the ways of the Lord did the Psalmist pen the words of faith in the power of God alone when he wrote, “Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance. For THOU art the glory of their strength: and in Thy favor shall our horn be exalted. For THE LORD IS OUR DEFENSE; and the Holy One of Israel is our King.” (Ps. 89:15-18)
In these three important inventions of the sons of Cain man found within himself the answer to his need of supply, defense and amusement. Man found no need of God, of the anointing, for he set about to establish his own world, independent of God. This was the civilization produced after mankind departed from the presence of God – a godless life created by men. This present world system of things is patterned after the order of Cain. It is all outside of God. That does not mean that it is all evil. It simply is not of the Spirit! How clear that in this earth the politics, economics, education and religion is outside of God! When we have learned how the world was formed, it is easy to define the world. Originally, man was in the family of God, lived by God, relied entirely upon Him, and had at his disposal ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD. Now the Serpent, through subtlety, sophistry, the carnal mind, the wisdom of this world, has systematized the world to replace God in being all to man. Man, having forsaken his inheritance, having departed from the presence, and having lost the anointing relied upon the world and was overcome by the world. Therefore, the world consists of everything that replaces God and possesses man.
Cain built a city – as did Nimrod after him. “And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch.” (Gen. 4:17) There was no city in Eden, no fleshly system, no carnal arrangement of things. Not system, but LIFE! I wish to speak with utmost solemnity here. Throughout the centuries the religious systems have accumulated a great number of traditions, rites, ordinances, methods, institutions and practices, each of them supplanting something of the pureness and freshness and glory of the SPIRIT. These things have become so universal in the churches of the world, and in the lives of their members, that there is no thought of ever being able to “run” the church and its business without them! Generation after generation, people have been raised up from childhood in this atmosphere and have absolutely no knowledge of anything else or another way. It never even enters the minds of these people that THE CHRIST WITHIN is the Head of the church, the life of the church, and the whole sufficiency for the church, its people, its work, and its needs. Each church must be constantly creating new plans, programs and activities to keep the people busy “doing something”. The idea is to keep the people busy and to keep up the interest, so that they may be kept in that church. In the church world such a church is known as a “lively” church, and the pastor is known as one of the “successful” pastors. Spirituality has little, if anything, to do with it, for the whole group, including the so-called pastor and church leader, is simply a natural body of people, carrying on what they imagine is a church.
He who makes God’s house of living stones depend on mere outward forms; he who confounds Truth with the shibboleths of sects and denominations, or the usurpation of preachers, builds upon the baseless and shifting sands. The true and eternal church depends solely on the presence of Christ. Sweep away from your spiritual walk as much as you will the infinite cobwebs which the ambition and the ignorance of men have spun for centuries over the surface of the faith. Fling to the four winds the voluntary humility and all the vain deceits, traditions, and ordinances, which, like those of the Pharisees, are but “weak and beggarly elements.” It is not the form but the essence which constitutes true religion. Christ knew nothing of external paraphernalia, and those who follow the Lamb know nothing of it either. Distinguish between the flickering shadows of outward symbols and the verities of eternal life. Distinguish between the valueless injunctions of touch not, taste not, handle not, and the divine nature which produces love, joy, peace, righteousness of heart, and all were suddenly swept away, it would in all probability cease to function. If the churches had to drop all their rituals, forms, programs and ceremonies; all their confirmations, baptisms, and communion services; all their special singing, organ music, and altar calls, they would feel as though they had been stripped naked and could not serve God in any way. All this simply demonstrates the terrible fact that the faith and dependence of the churches is not in God, but is in the trappings they have accumulated to themselves throughout the centuries. The thought that God is perfectly able and fully willing to run His church without the aid of anything in the way of fleshly contributions, is found to be abhorrent to the average church member.
God’s true church, in contrast to the false religious system of Babylon, has never been contaminated by the world. You may be assured, my beloved, that the Father has faithfully answered the prayer of Jesus, “And now I come to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Thy Word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep ties and powers in the celestial realms, and the hope of all creation for deliverance and restoration to the Kingdom of God. Let all who treasure the call to sonship know once and for all that CHRIST WITHIN I-S s-u-f-f-i-c-i-e-n-t! all else is – the world.”
The truth that is set like a diamond in the pages of God’s Word is the absolute and total sufficiency of the Christ within. To say that the Christ Himself is not sufficient for our whole life as sons of the Most High, that the indwelling spirit of life is not enough, that there is something the outer man must do to add to, supplement, or improve on what He is within us is an insult to God and a blasphemy against our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet we see men doing this on every hand. The carnal mind is never able to take God at His word! It continually seeks to initiate some additional actions or services on the natural plane to take the place of pure spiritual reality.
When Jesus came in the flesh, He came into a world steeped in religion. He came into a condition brought about by centuries of teaching the law and the rites and sacrifices of the temple worship. Into this had been woven the traditions of the elders, an accumulation of those same centuries. It had come to include also even the washing of pots and cups, together with ceremonies of washing of hands before eating and a multitude of other practices imposed upon the people by their leaders. The temple in the city of Jerusalem was the symbol of all this to the people. Their whole life revolved around that building and the rites and sacrifices the priests offered in it. It was the sacred spot of the nation and of all Jews wherever they were in the world. Every Jew had that one desire to go to Jerusalem and worship. This system of religion was imbedded in the lives of the people, and had been for long centuries. It had become a part of their life and they endured it all with the hope perennial within their hearts that some day the Messiah would come and lift not only this yoke, but that of the Roman Empire as well. But when the Messiah came, they did not recognize Him. For here was all this great mass of law, ritual and Pharisaical teaching and tradition, while the Messiah was but an unknown man, of almost unknown origin. Jesus brought a new and revolutionary way of life. It was a way of believing, and not a way of doing. It was faith in the Christ and right relationship with God and did not consist in the doing of anything, or the keeping of external observances. It was simplicity in the highest degree, set up against organized worship of the highest degree. The revolutionary way of life which Jesus brought to the people was in exact and complete opposition to the bondage under which the people now found themselves.
The people were constantly taught and instructed that they must observe all the things the priests and Pharisees told them, or they would perish. Jesus came into their midst and said that all those things would do them absolutely no good whatever, but if they wanted life they should come unto Him and drink – merely by believing into Him! He was placing the Christ and faith in the Christ against all the accumulated tradition of the nation. He was assuring them that they would NOT LOSE A SINGLE THING by coming unto Him, and casting all else away from them. And they would gain life. But who could hear such a thing in the day of Christ. In fact Jesus Himself said that no man could come unto Him, except the Father who had sent Him, would draw that man. It is just as true today! Ah, beloved, if you were to go into any church on any Sunday and say to the people, “If you will cast aside all your form, all of your traditions, all of your rituals, all of your ordinances, all of your cherished and time-honored creeds, all of your solemn assemblies, all of your myriad activities, all of your committees, and SIMPLY COME UNTO THE CHRIST AND BELIEVE INTO HIM AND DRINK OF H-I-M, YOU WILL LOSE NOTHING, but you will gain the glorious and eternal reality of God forevermore,” what kind of reception would you receive? You would actually be asking the people to give up everything they are doing and all the things they have been given by their ministers and church orders with which to serve and worship God – exchanging it all for GOD ALONE. What an unbearable burden it would be for the people to be REDUCED TO GOD, to possess nothing but GOD HIMSELF! You would find this an almost impossible thing to accomplish. Truly Christ has been usurped by the world.
As we have pointed out, the most outstanding characteristic of the Serpent is his ability to deceive. From the very dawn of human history, as recorded in the Bible, he is depicted as a liar and deceiver. “The Serpent beguiled me and I did eat,” was Eve’s plaintive cry, and in the closing book of the Bible, the fact of his deceiving nature is further emphasized in the words of the Revelator who described him as “that old Serpent called the devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world.” (Rev. 12:9) The apostle is referring back to that significant statement in Gen. 3:1 wherein we read, “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.”
The Bible was not written in English, but Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. It is to the ancient Hebrew words we will refer, to glean the truth from this passage. From a casual view of these words comes the ancient myth of a snake wound around a tree in the Garden of Eden. However, the Hebrew word translated “serpent” is NACHASH. This word NACHASH means “to hiss, mutter, whisper; as do enchanters.” Secondary meanings are “to divine,” “enchant.” It is because of these expressions that the noun “serpent” appears. An allied Chaldean word means brass, actually polished brass, from a root word meaning to be bright. Dr. Bullinger, in the Companion Bible, says, “the Hebrew term probably includes the sense of fascinate, enchant” This element of fascination connects with the later use of Nachash as “serpent.” Satan, then, is a WHISPERER, an ENCHANTER, a FASCINATOR, and a SHINING ONE! He is a speaker, a teacher, a diviner, a creator of illusions and appearances – a deceiver!
And just how does Satan deceive? A key is found in the Greek New Testament name for Satan – the devil The Greek word is DIABOLLOS. DIABOLLOS is a compound of two words – DIA and BOLLO. DIA means “a channel of an act” and BOLLO means “to throw – either with force, or without force, yet with a purpose, or even carelessly.” Hence, the Devil is A CHANNEL SOMETHING PASSES THROUGH. The pipe through which water enters your home is a channel – a means of passage. The frequency bands assigned to a single transmitting station for either radio or television is called a channel – the frequency or means of passage of communication from the station to your receiver. Any channel is the vehicle through which a thing passes from one location or state to another. And, may I add, the Devil is the channel (DIA) through which a carnal thought, idea, concept, desire, passion, etc. passes before it reaches your CONSCIOUS MIND. This explains very well why Strong’s Analytical Concordance has rendered the compound word DIABOLLOS as “a traducer.” The English word “traduce” means “TO TRANSFER FROM ONE ORDER OF REASONING TO ANOTHER ORDER OF REASONING, as to translate from one language to another language.” Hence, the Traducer, the Devil, the Translator, the Interpreter sits enthroned in the mind of man and his primary job is to transfer or translate KNOWLEDGE!
This ancient Phoenician coin, which was minted long ago in the bustling commercial city of Tyre, bears a curious image. The coin shows a serpent entwined around a tree stump. To the left of the stump stands an empty cornucopia. To the right, a flourishing palm tree. Curious, yes. But is it significant? Amazingly, the story these symbols tell is of great relevance to our spiritual understanding!
To classical scholars, the symbols on the coin are familiar ones. They are found in the art and mythology of many civilizations through the millennia. What do they all mean? First, consider the snake. The snake on the Phoenician coin is the symbol of a powerful god whom the Romans called Aesculapius, the Greeks Asklepios. Who was this personage? Aesculapius was an ancient pagan god of healing. To his temples sick people came from all over the world. His symbol was the serpent! This symbol has come down to us today in the two snakes which intertwine the staff on the shields of the medical profession. Persons wishing healing from this god were instructed to lie down in his temple so that the tame snakes of the priests could slither over them. The sufferer who was “fortunate” enough to have this dubious honor take place was said to have been touched by the hand of the god of healing! His healing powers are reflected in the meaning of his name, Aesculapius. It means, literally, “THE MAN-INSTRUCTING SERPENT.” Now we see a significant connection! The Serpent who sought to teach mankind is mentioned, of course, in the third chapter of Genesis, where he seduced our first parents, Adam and Eve. It is none other than man’s adversary, “that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world.” (Rev. 12:9) In mythology, Aesculapius was believed to be the child of the Sun, and thus the “enlightened” of mankind. He was often represented in art by a serpent or as an old man holding a staff around which a snake is entwined.
This “Traducer,” or “Translator,” or “Enlightener,” is nothing more nor less than the spirit of your mind! Those elect saints who read these lines know that the metaphysical and occult “channelers” have no light of truth or Holy Ghost power to set men free or transform into the image of God, but how often we fail to realize that there is a MASTER CHANNELER sitting as a god right within our own minds, and how often we yield our lives into his hands of illogical reasoning – deception and delusion. The words coming from this Translator may be enticing and exciting – but only to the natural man; and, my beloved, they minister death! Hence the need to heed the apostle’s inspired admonition, “Put off the old man... and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” (Eph. 4:22-23) The simple truth is: YOU CAN’T TRUST YOUR INTERPRETER! Of him our Lord stated plainly, “There is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (Jn. 8:44) And he is “that crooked serpent.” (Isa. 27:1)
The magicians of Egypt were diviners and enchanters. God spoke unto Moses and said, “What is that in thine hand?” Moses replied, “A rod.” God said, “Cast it on the ground.” He obeyed and the rod became a serpent. This was a very important lesson to him because the symbol of the serpent to an Egyptian represented WISDOM. It did not symbolize evil, Satan, or the Devil. Remember what Jesus taught his disciples... “Be ye as WISE AS SERPENTS and harmless as doves.” God took that dry, lifeless stick and made it come alive. The lesson was plain to Moses. The rod is a type of the Christ. Isaiah spoke about a rod coming out of the stem of Jesse (Isa. 11:1). Jesus became the WISDOM of God. Later, Moses and Aaron his brother went to meet Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. They went in to Pharaoh and asked him in the name of the Lord to let the people of Israel go. And Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord? Why should I obey His commands? What sign can you show me that your God has sent you?” Then Aaron threw down his rod, and it was turned into a snake. But there were wise men, magicians, in Egypt who heard of this. They came in and threw down their rods, and their rods also became snakes. But Aaron’s rod, in the form of a snake, ran after them, overtook them, and swallowed them all; and then it became a rod again in Aaron’s hand. The message is clear – Christ, the wisdom of God, swallows up and consumes all the wisdom of this world – of the carnal mind!
Again I would quote the timely words of a friend who has shared with us her keen insight into the mysteries of God. “Paul in II Cor. 11:3 warn the church at Corinth to beware lest they fall into the same trap that ensnared Eve. I fear, ‘said he, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.’ The English here does not tell the full story. It is, therefore, to our advantage that we delve into the Greek that we might receive in greater depth that which was intended by the Spirit of God for our hearts. When it was said that the serpent “beguiled” Eve, the Greek indicates that he cheated her out of something, for the word used is a combination of the Greek word EK which means ‘out’ and the word APOTAO which means ‘to cheat.’ She was, then, ‘cheated out’ – sold short – and it was no less thing than the glory of God that she lost. That is why it is written of all mankind, ‘All have sinned and come short of the GLORY of God.’ The means by which the serpent – the Seer – beguiled Eve and cheated her out of her inheritance was through subtlety. Again, delving into the Greek, we find that the word used is PANOURGIA meaning ‘adroitness, trickery, craftiness, and sophistry.’ It is this word ‘sophistry’ that has captured our attention, having been quickened for our consideration by the Spirit of God. The English definition of this word is, ‘Reasoning that is superficially plausible but is actually fallacious.’ It is a synonym for intellectualism and has to do with sophism which is ‘an argument that is correct in form or appearance but is actually invalid.’ It is, also, ‘an argument that is used for deception or displaying intellectual brilliance.’
“We find, then, that in cheating Eve out of her inheritance, in causing her to fall from the Glory, the serpent employed the use – NOT OF AN OUTRIGHT LIE – but of a TRUTH! He used an argument that is correct in form, but because it was only form and had lost the essence, Eve was deceived by it. What was the argument, that he used that was ‘correct in form but was actually invalid’? Hear it! ‘God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened?’ That was a truth – and ‘ye shall be as gods’ was also a truth, for after the man and the woman had eaten, the Lord God Himself verified the serpent’s statement as being absolute truth. ‘Behold, the man is become as one of us to know good and evil,’ God said. In form, then, the serpent had a truth. What the serpent failed to reveal, however, was the essence of the form which is that INDEPENDENTLY OF GOD man can NEVER be a partaker of the divine nature! This should have been a self-evident truth, but man failed to see it. He was deceived by the very form of truth and was thereby brought to ruin, cheated out of the very thing that he sought. Man became a god, alright, in the eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – but he became a god in the wrong realm, for at the same time that God acknowledged man’s ‘deity’ He also CAST HIM FROM THE GARDEN – cast him from the heavenly realm – and set him in the earth ‘to till the ground from which he was taken. ‘It is one thing to be ‘a partaker of the divine nature’ and it is quite another thing to be the ‘god of this world!’ In the former, there is contained the thought of TOTAL DEPENDENCE – in the latter, the principle of INDEPENDENCE. Though the terminology is the same – that is, ‘ye are gods’ – the essence is not. ‘The man has become as one of us’ but he did not become, in his rebellion, an actual partaker of divinity. The serpent, then, through reasoning that is superficially plausible but is actually fallacious, beguiled Eve. It was through a mere intellectual grasp of the word of God that Eve was ‘cheated out’ of her inheritance in the Living One and fell into the realm of death. We must not, as we consider these things, lose sight of the fact that the apostle Paul had a fear for the church that BY THE VERY SAME DECEPTION, our minds should also be corrupted! I fear, ‘said he, lest... as the serpent beguiled Eve through SOPHISTRY (the form of truth without the essence), so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.’ May we have ears to hear!” – end quote.
The apostle Paul, in speaking of Christ as One in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, hastily adds: “And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.” The word “beguile” here is in the Greek PARALOGIZOMAI meaning “to mis-reckon, to wrongly reason.” It is a compound word consisting of PARA meaning “along side of” from which we get our English terms paralegal and paramedic. In medicine the word PARA is used to denote something disordered or abnormal. The second half of the word is the Greek LOGOS which is translated to mean the WORD OF GOD, as in Jn. 1:1. Ah – the great Traducer, the Translator, the Interpreter, the Beguiler is he who causes us to NOT REASON GOD’S WORD CORRECTLY. The deceiver adds an idea along side of God’s Word – the form added to the essence, the letter added to the spirit, the shadow promoted instead of the substance, and the results are very DISORDERED AND ABNORMAL! Eve did not correctly reason the things the Traducer communicated to her conscious mind and this whole world of illusion, deception, sin, pain, limitation, sorrow and death is the tragic result!
Earlier I pointed out that the second half of the Greek word DIABOLLOS (Devil) means “to throw or to cast, or to cast right through.” Another word that has been quickened in my spirit is “input”. We get “input” from the negative realm of spirit – the spirit of our carnal mind. This dart throwing of the adversary refers to thoughts, beliefs, concepts, ideas, feelings, moods, desires, etc. injected into your conscious mind out of the invisible realm. Though we may be alert for danger from without, the greatest danger always lies within ourselves. Both our ability and our wisdom are but foolishness in the sight of God, and should we consciously or unconsciously set our hearts upon them, we find ourselves leaning upon our own meager resource, devoid of the Spirit of God, and abandoned to our own devices. With what holy unction does the apostle Paul exhort the saints, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand, ...above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked,” (Eph. 6:13,16)
You want to watch that crafty Translator within! In the temptation of Jesus we discover this wily adversary-coming upon the Master with Bible in hand, so to speak. “It is written!” – this was the glittering weapon, the fiery dart, the master-stroke of the Traducer. “If Thou be the Son of God, command these stones to be made bread.” “It is written!” he thundered as he offered the kingdoms of earth to Jesus if He would bow to the shrewd worldly wisdom the Traducer outlined in His mind by which He could have conquered even the might of the Roman empire. An easy way to popularity was pointed out – it was suggested that He cast Himself from the pinnacle of the temple. No harm would come to Him for God had promised to send His angels to care for Him. And the multitude, amazed, would follow Him. What gave immeasurable force to the Traducer’s suggestions was his appeal to the awful authority of God’s Word. He cast about the things he offered the glow of Divine approval. He enforced his ideas with the sacred sanction of the scriptures. It was with the Bible in hand that he approached the Son of man. “It is written!” If the Word of God supports it, if the Bible sanctions it, why it must be good. How the Traducer loves to come to us with the Bible in his hand! It casts about him such a holy air. But here is where we discover the awful depths of the Traducer’s duplicity. He is no stranger to the scriptures, and he will quote the Word when such a procedure will serve his purpose. When he deals with a chosen one of God, obviously, he must meet such a one upon the high plane on which he lives. He could get nowhere by suggesting the gross sins of the flesh to one separated unto God. It must be through the Word. It must be through a carnal, twisted, literalistic and erroneous understanding of that Word – the letter that killeth. The letter killeth, and Satan has the power of death! The tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil are the same tree in the midst – the tree of knowledge is the outer form of truth, whereas the tree of life is the spirit of truth. To be carnally minded is death, says the apostle. How much plainer can it be that the crowning work of the Traducer is to put a natural, carnal, reasoned, intellectual interpretation to the Word which is spirit and life. He takes the language of SPIRIT and translates it into the perverted, garbled dialect of fleshly wisdom and carnal understanding. People sometimes accuse me of spiritualizing away the Word of God. How, I ask, can you spiritualize something that already I-S SPIRIT AND LIFE? The danger lies not, precious friend of mine, in spiritualizing away the Word – it is, rather, in canalizing away that which is SPIRITUAL! To bring the spiritual thrust and essence of the Word down to the low lands of carnal forms of religion is the subtlety of the Serpent. Ah, what a Translator he is! What a liar and deceiver! And all the time he is quoting the Word of God and rejoicing in what a really sound “fundamentalist” he is.
There isn’t a vice you cannot justify, there isn’t a doctrine, however contrary to the heart of God, you cannot prove, there isn’t a religious methodology you cannot deify, there isn’t a Babylonian garment you cannot glorify, by appealing to the scriptures. All have an, “it is written” to fall back on. The damnedest lie can be made to appear true. All the Traducer needs to do is to quote scripture. Every dirty heresy abroad, every false cult, all find in God’s Word their foundation. “They that are unstable and (spiritually) unlearned wrest... the... scriptures unto their own destruction.” (II Pet. 3:16) I have learned that one can prove or disprove anything with scripture. Brethren sometimes write to me trying to engage me in lengthy debate over some point of doctrine – the letter that killeth. The hour is too late, the time too short, the purposes of God too urgent, my friend, to give myself and the precious time and energy Father has placed in my care to such foolish wranglings and carnal disputations. This is not a moment to jot every doctrinal “i” and cross every creedal “t”. There is a truth that runs like a golden thread throughout all the pages of Holy Writ, teaching us that the elect whom God has chosen must become aware of the abiding presence and indwelling life of the Spirit. Students of theology, poor souls, pour over their musty volumes, they learn all the arguments and proofs of the doctrines about God, but the almighty God Himself they do not know. They become ineffective and spiritually impotent because they have separated Truth from the Person, knowing the form, standing on the letter, reciting the doctrine, articulating the facts, but having no vital, living relationship with Him who alone IS THE TRUTH. A lifetime of walking with God has taught me that it is possible for one to know all the arguments and appear to have all the answers, but still be a stranger to the heart of God. I testify to every man who reads these words, however, that the moment any man begins to know Him wonderful changes take place in his understanding, for to know Him is to be like Him. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (II Cor. 3:18) His Word is SPIRIT, His Spirit is LIFE, and His Life is POWER to transform, to awaken our consciousness to the abiding reality of Himself, to raise our being up into that heavenly, eternal sphere where I AM THAT I AM.
My good friend Elwin Roach, in his PATHFINDER PUBLICATIONS, some time ago wrote a series of timely articles on this subject of The Traducer. In closing I would share a portion of the wisdom that flowed from his anointed pen.
“When we hear religious teaching and acquire knowledge, if the thoughts are not coming from the Spirit of Christ (the anointing), they are passing through this soothsayer (traducer) before reaching our minds. This is the sayer who is soothing, he is lying, and is calculating. He is the translator for the humanistic, Adamic mind. The Traducer is very accomplished at what he does. Therefore, we should become more cautious WHAT we are hearing and HOW we are hearing, as Jesus warned in Mk. 2:24 and Lk. 8:18. Men and women alike have the tendency to try and grasp any and all things with their own minds that has been so logically put together by this brilliant Traducer, but let us be reminded of this: The carnal mind cannot receive the things of God, for they are spiritually discerned, and there is nothing about it which desires the things of God, for that mind is enmity against God (I Cor. 2:14; Rom. 8:7). However, as we have already mentioned, the Traducer does make the word of God pleasing and understandable to this dusty mind. Very often, when we read the Bible, the words coming off its pages go through the channel, through the dia, that thing in the mind called the traducer, the translator. This is what has produced so many fictions, frictions and factions in the church. The Traducer has helped to form many thoughts, ideas, reasonings, imaginations, images and idols – in other words, A LOT OF WIND, A LOT OF WINDY DOCTRINES! This translator is very consistent, for he can only translate one way. He always conveys dusty thoughts and carnal revelations, because this is all that the mind of man can receive. All scriptural truth (the reality of God) comes from above, even from Jesus who is the truth, the Lord from heaven. In other words. THE TRADUCER VEILS THE TRUTH, while JESUS IS TRUTH REVEALED!”
HIS MAJESTY THE DEVIL
Down through the centuries many books have been written, many songs have been sung, many sermons have been preached, and many things have been said about the Devil. Satan has been blamed for everything from ingrown toenails to the disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle. It pains me to say it, but to most Christians Satan is their GOD ALMIGHTY, for they fear him more than they do the Lord of glory. I do not believe, as the above title suggests, that Satan is worthy of one iota of respect or honor, but none can deny that the vast majority of Christians certainly do, by word and action, ascribe to him the attribute of omnipotence. Most professed Christians do not believe in ONE GOD – they honor at least two, one good God and one evil God. And to hear them articulating their esteem of these Gods you would be led to believe that the Devil is certainly the more accomplished and the most powerful of the two, for they talk far more about the Devil, and spend more time lauding his praises, ascribing to his negative realm dread of mammoth proportions. Some continually worry that he is lurking around every corner, and when they least expect it he is going to hit them from behind with everything he has. The average testimony meeting is full of praises for the Devil. If a score were kept, the Devil would come out the winner by about two to one over the Christ, relative to what has been done. I heard the story once of this certain minister who dreamed one night that on his way down the road he met the Devil. “Alright, you old Devil,” he shouted, “I am going to kill you and put an end to you for all those nasty things you’ve been doing. I am going to let you have it, you old Devil!” As he drew near to the Devil with fists clenched, ready to smash the Devil’s face, the Devil said, “Hold it! Don’t do that! Remember – if you kill me, you will have nothing to preach about.” What a word!
The good God, according to the common testimony of church goers, is ever trying to do this and that, while the Devil is continually interfering with His plans, frustrating His purposes, usurping His instruments and defeating the issue. On some good days the good God wins, on some bad days He loses. They go about continually talking to the Devil, praying to the Devil (though they call it commanding and rebuking), and give place to him over and over again. They “bind” him in this meeting or in that situation, but, like Samson breaking the cords of Delilah, he bounces right back in full regalia at the next meeting or occasion. These “devil-worshippers” ever beat the air against him and do occasionally, they claim, win a battle against him, but the war rages on. If they do not get an immediate answer to their prayer, they are sure the Devil is hindering. If everything does not go according to plan, the Devil is interfering. If obstacles appear along the way, the Devil is fighting them. The outcome of this battle exceeds the ludicrous – it is a terrible blasphemy. Not only are most Christians constantly defeated in their spiritual life, but they actually consign to the Devil the final victory in God’s creation. The majority is thoroughly convinced that in the end the Devil wins at least 90% of humanity and carries them down with him into everlasting damnation and hell-fire. The picture drawn is of a frustrated God who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to be its Saviour, but alas! only a handful of the teeming billions of earth can be persuaded to take advantage of His gracious provision, the rest led captive by the ruthless and unrelenting grasp of the Devil. The bad God is thus far more effective in his designs for mankind than the good God. I long with intense longing that the Lord’s precious people will repent of ever having believed the insipid and useless traditions that make the almighty God seem to be a victim of the will of His own creation. It is my opinion that most of the theology of the Christian world is stupid prattle that seeks to render the almighty God impotent by robbing Him of His omnipotence. It teaches that God gave His Son that all the world through Him might be saved and then renders His sacrifice hopeless by leaving ninety-nine percent of all His creatures in the hands of the Devil for all eternity. In this view God finally gives up, throws up His hands in defeat, and says, “I’ve had enough!” He then turns the billions of souls over to the Devil, consigning them all to banishment from His presence into the unending torments of fiery damnation. The fact is, precious friend of mine, a scene such as this would be comparable to the President of a country handing the masses of his nation over to the enemy as punishment because his General lost the war – while he (God), his General (Jesus) and the army (the saints) are rewarded with peace, wealth and pleasure forevermore. Everyone becomes a prisoner, burning forever in torment, EXCEPT THE ONES WHO HAD THE RESPONSIBILITY OF WINNING THE WAR! I tell you solemnly and reverently that the God I serve is not the author of this kind of nonsense. Such a doctrine as that belittles the power and wisdom of God and does despite to the spirit of grace, the atoning work of Christ, and the precious blood that He shed so that the world through Him might be saved. Such a doctrine as that is, undoubtedly, one of the “doctrines of devils” of which Paul warned. I say that because I cannot think of anyone outside of the Devil himself who would be happy with the prospect that Calvary was such a colossal failure! But the preachers, including some who profess to be in the “Kingdom Message,” would lay down their lives for such an abominable heresy!
I say to all who read these lines that OUR GOD IS SOVEREIGN AND OMNIPOTENT. If ever there will come victory over the negative realm, the adversary, it will be when we come to KNOW THAT GOD IS GOD, AND THERE I-S - N-O - O-T-H-E-R GOD. He is sovereignly in control of all that touches our life, and of the march of history and the final outcome for all creation. The nations know not this God, nor do the professing Christians in the church systems know Him. So the Lord almighty within must bring forth those who can be His witnesses – people who have come to experientially KNOW THAT HE, and HE ALONE I-S GOD. Those whose very lives convey the message and bear the evidence that there is but ONE GOD. We have had enough of the world’s stupid witness, those who believe in a God for good, and another God for evil, and oft times it is not clear which “GOD” they are declaring, especially when they spend more time exalting the prowess of the Devil than they do proclaiming the praises of their Creator and Redeemer. Let all men know – God is even now producing His witnesses WHO KNOW that HE alone is God, that HE controls the interplay between good and evil, that all is by HIS design and at HIS word, and the evidence of this reality is demonstrated by their lives. Once Christ truly and experientially becomes LORD OF ALL IN YOU, then He will have abolished for you all Devil-consciousness and HE will be both the Center and the Circumference of your reality. In that day, my beloved, for you, THERE IS NO DEVIL ANYMORE!
I do not wonder sometimes that those who only read my writing think that I am a hard and vindictive man, especially as I warn men of the error and abominable apostasy of the nominal church systems. But if you only knew, I am one of the most peaceable and gentle men in the world. I am a very quiet man (except in the pulpit!), and believe that I am merciful and compassionate toward every sinner; I have only been a fighter because I had to fight. Was Jesus Christ not a great fighter? Is He not a great fighter still? And is He not the Prince of Peace? Is He not God’s Lion, the Lion of the tribe of Judah? And is He not the Lamb of God? God’s Lion is a Lamb! God’s Lamb is a Lion! I call God to witness and you to witness that when I have been called upon to fight – for whom have I fought?” I fought for God. I fought for Truth. I fought for reality. I fought against the false shepherds who were taking away the key of knowledge, who entered not in themselves, and them that were entering in they hindered. I fought those who withstood the right ways of the Lord, deceiving the people and holding them in bondage to slavish forms of empty religion and superstitious conceptions of God. Stephen fought the devils in the Jewish system to their very faces although he knew he would die. He saw his Master in the heavens. Do you see your Master in the heavens? Do you see that the only Reality is that which emanates from the Christ-Spirit? Do you know Him within, in the depths of your being? Do you hear His voice? Do you know what He wants you to do? He wants you to follow in His steps, to BECOME HIS SALVATION unto the ends of the earth. He wants you to grasp hold of life, and deliver His creation from sin, sorrow, death, hell and the demonic power which curses this world. The peace of God means war with sin. He that is a friend of evil is the enemy of God. This is the kind of peace Jesus left. He made warriors of men. They went forth to fight the world and the Devil, in Greece and Rome, with thirty thousand gods. They marched up the Acropolis; they marched upon the Parthenon; they threw down the altars of the boni dei, they threw down the altars of Venus; they destroyed the altars of Jove, They demolished the altars of Mercury. They smashed them, by the Spirit’s power, with the sword of TRUTH they trampled upon them; they triumphed and brought in a dimension of the kingdom of God.
Oh, that is such a sublime verse where Jesus said, “ALL AUTHORITY is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations...” (Mat. 28:18-19) Do you see that? There is a tremendous power in that “Therefore,” I am with you. I will back you. Every angel in heaven if needful will come forth and surround you. Fight! What does it matter, the puny governments and armies and courts of THIS WORLD? All authority is given to the Christ of God, and we are the members of God’s Christ! The hosts of God will troop over all the skies, ten thousand times ten thousand millions, if need be. Embrace TRUTH! Speak TRUTH! Live TRUTH! “I COMMAND... Go ye therefore, you poor fishermen, and tax-gatherers and discredited rabbis, go, I am with you.” If only we realized what power there is behind us!
God is raising up a SONSHIP COMPANY that will go for the Devil’s fortresses, to batter him, shatter him and break up his kingdom. God is even now preparing an army of OVERCOMING ONES, transformed in the spirit of their mind, triumphing over sin, error, limitation and death, who shall go forth in the power of the SPIRIT to pull down the strongholds of creed and ritual and religious foolishness and ignorance and set the captives free; who will beat down the strongholds of mis-conceptions, mis-information, mis-understanding – sin and death – and let the prisoners go free! Satan is not a God like unto the Lord my God. He does not interfere with God’s purposes nor frustrate God’s plans. ALL AUTHORITY is given to the Christ of God – in heaven and in earth! How much authority is “ALL” authority? I shall fight that battle against the lies of religion and for the supremacy of the Christ while there is a drop of blood in my body. I shall claim that every foot of this earth and every man upon this earth and under the earth belongs to Christ, for He made the earth and He made every man. He tasted death for every man, and therefore, every foot of the earth; and every man on the earth and under the earth belongs to Christ my Lord. They are His by right of creation and they are His by right of redemption. No Devil anywhere can gainsay that fact. I claim for His this great and universal Kingdom. The church has forgotten that Christ came to establish a Kingdom and that it must break in pieces and CONSUME (take into itself) every other kingdom including the Devil’s kingdom. The Gospel which Christ preached was the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The hope and aim of all His work was the establishment of the Kingdom of God. When the end shall come, He shall deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father, and in it will be everything God created, that God may be ALL-IN-ALL. We who preach this Gospel of the all-inclusive redemption of Christ preach not a Gospel of limited atonement, or of a partial Kingdom, or of a Christ who was a failure, nor of a Devil who wins the battle for souls and possesses the souls of untold billions throughout an endless eternity. Such a doctrine would be blasphemy! We preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and of the triumph of that Kingdom in every realm. We demand that every man upon this God’s earth, and under the earth, and in heaven and hell and throughout the universe, shall bow the knee and glorify God by calling Jesus Lord and serving and obeying Him with a willing heart. God shall grant it. If it takes ages upon ages, God shall grant it!
We must have it! We shall fight it out to the end, and we will win. The Christ in us shall win. Sin shall be abolished. Disease, death, pain, and hell shall pass away. This victory must be fully accomplished in the firstfruits first. The Day is at hand. Then, O Christ, and then alone, wilt Thou see the travail of Thy soul and be satisfied. Then, O Christ, and then alone, can we be satisfied; when the last rebel has bowed at Thy feet, and there is no more Fight; for there is no more Devil anywhere. Hallelujah! God shall reign forever, the reality of creation! It is a living hope; this hope that, at last, every poor sinner will have heard the glad sound, and that at last every poor spirit in earth and heaven and hell will bow before the Christ, and will own His sway, and there shall be harmony and peace and unity everywhere, for God shall be All in All. That is my hope.