DEATH BEFORE THE CROSS
DEMONSTRATIONS AT THE JORDAN
IDENTIFICATION IN RESURRECTION
THE MEANING OF SOUL
DEATH BEFORE THE CROSS
The religious attainments of man have resulted in various translations of the Bible, verse by verse expositions, and many encyclopedias and dictionaries. These are made by people who were already associated with religious denominations. A cascade of teaching mixed with the traditions that have accumulated over the years, has come down to us.
There is only one truth, one Spirit, one Lord, one baptism, and one hope of our calling. This hope has foundation and has assurance. As sons of God, we have the hope of being regenerated into true witnesses in the earth.
The purpose of the ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers is to mature the saints so that the body of Christ is edified and brought into a unity of faith. (Eph. 4:11-12) We need to understand that these ministries are really Christ in operation; they are not human attainments, nor are they man's office. Therefore all the glory belongs to God!
People have various beliefs regarding salvation and God's plan for the future. Some believe that they are forgiven, that heaven will one day be their home, and that Jesus is returning physically; some believe that, although they are forgiven and born again, they are still sinners; some believe they are sons of God; some believe that the manifestation of the sons of God, the millennium, and the holy city coming down, are future events. There are also those who know that they already are the temple of God and the tabernacle of witness in the earth.
A perfect man has to be a true image of God - one who represents the exact, unadulterated image of who God is. Only Christ is that! That is why we have to grow in the knowledge of Christ, the Son of God! Those who are in Christ are in the Son of Man while they live in earthy temples. They have been born from above, and their true nature is the nature of the Son of God. As their true nature emerges, they will be true witnesses of God and Christ in the earth. They will witness to the fact that God is their Father and Christ is their life. They receive revelation that their new life is really Christ, and that He is the Word of God! They are edified by Him!
The many wrong teachings and
Being baptized into Christ means being baptized into His death. Christians are not agreed upon whether this is a spiritual baptism or a water baptism. Paul said that there is only one baptism. So then water baptism is only a representation of the real baptism - which is spiritual.
"Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life."
Notice that Jesus died two deaths: He died to sin, and He died physically on the cross. He was put on the cross by the hands of wicked men; He was rejected and killed because people wanted Him out of the way, but His baptism into death was a voluntary act. When we are baptized into His death to sin, we are not baptized into the death He died on the cross. Our burial in water signifies that we are now dead to the old nature and to our identification with the law.
The law leads us just as it led Jesus. After the law has done its work in us and has shown us the uselessness of our own efforts, it causes us to repent. It led Jesus to John's baptism of repentance, and it leads us to repentance. Christ's burial was the burial of His identification with the law.
The Spirit of Christ was the foundation for the law; it was the foundation for Christ's baptism, His being raised again, the heavens being opened, His anointing and hearing the Father's voice, and finally being crucified. The cross did not come at the beginning of His ministry. We do not belong at the foot of the cross, for we were crucified together with Him. The word witness means martyr. As we are true witnesses of Jesus Christ we will be martyred either verbally or physically - or both.
The cross cannot be experienced unless we have first received the new life that accompanies the baptism into Christ's death and burial with Him. This is none of our doing; it is what Jesus Christ does and has done! He is those things in us when He comes to us in the Spirit.
He is the spirit of the law; He is our death to sin; He is our new life; He is our anointing; He is the heavens opened to us; He is our new consciousness, and He is our new testimony of who we are in the earth! He teaches us that the physical body has been redeemed, so that we can now be His true witnesses. He hears heavenly things and passes them on to us.
"For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection."
We plant a seed of that which we want to harvest. Spiritually, there is only one Seed and that is the Word of God. It is a single seed and always bears the same fruit; it always bears the same Son, and it births the Christ in us. The sonship of Jesus Christ was manifested after He came to the Jordan and there was filled with the Spirit.
"Knowing this, that our old self" (humanity - Concordant) "was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin."
The body of sin does not refer to our physical body. It is the accumulation of deception, lies and ignorance that comprises the nature of the Adamic man. He is ignorant of spiritual things and has a consciousness of separation from God. Since the natural man can't hear the things of the Spirit, he cannot hear spiritually. He can only hear whatever comes into his natural mind. So this is what he preaches. Those who cannot hear spiritually, like it, for that is all they want.
"For he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him."
"For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus...present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God."
"For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died."
Jesus was raised from among the dead. This is mentioned about 17 times in the New Testament. Most translations have incorrectly left out the word among. Jesus lived among those who were dead in their trespasses and sins. In His identification with humanity, He went into the waters of baptism as one who was dead, was buried, and then raised into a new life.
Jesus said that God is not the God of the dead but of the living. He also said,
Most people only understand the death that causes physical life to pass away. But people are dead before they die physically. This was true of Adam and it is true of every man who is in Adam. The flesh has a union with Adam, and it produces death. The death of Jesus demonstrated humanity's separation from God.
It says that
Jesus is the last Adam. Everyone who is in Christ has been generated and born from above. Our union with Christ is also a union with God, for Christ and the Father are one.
Our problem is that we have misunderstood Christ's death on the cross. Humanity sees His death as a substitutionary death. It thinks that the natural person can now go to heaven, and his body will be raised out of the grave, and God will breathe life into it again. But this is not going to happen!
Many are also waiting for the physical return of Jesus. But that is not the way He returns. He is spirit and He returns in the Holy Spirit; He is to be seen in you and me - in people who are born from above! They know that they are sons, and they are bearing witness of the life of Christ - not of the Adam man. If people do not see Christ in us, they are not going to see Him. Just as the Father sent Christ, so He now sends us. (Jn. 20:21)
Jesus also said,
No man can come to Christ unless he has learned from the Father. The baptism of Jesus demonstrated that He had been taught by the Father. The Father taught Him that the law is the ministration of death. The law of
The law is incredibly important, but we cannot become good by obeying the law. God did not give the law for that purpose. The law is fulfilled in Christ Jesus. He is the spirit of the law - not the spirit of death.
Is being in Christ a restoration to what Adam lost? If we think we are only going to be restored to what Adam lost, we are still as vulnerable as Adam was. Adam had everything going for him in the garden, and he failed; Jesus had everyone against Him in the world and He overcame! Jesus Christ has already overcome this world!
There is a difference between overcoming the world and changing the world. Overcoming means to be victorious, to overcome obstacles; changing means to make different or alter. It is useless for us to try to change the world, because it won't happen.
The kingdom of God is not of this world! Jesus said that we can rejoice because He has overcome the world! We are to overcome as He overcame. He overcame by letting His Spirit overcome the god of this world - the desires of the flesh, the ways of the world, the ignorance, darkness, and lack of knowledge of God. By living in Christ we overcome the world that is in us. To overcome the world we simply need to abide in the Spirit that is in Christ! This does not require going anywhere or bringing in laws of morality.
The question that now comes to us is whether the Son of God can die. If we think of death as annihilation, or a passing away forever, we are thinking of it in connection with the flesh. The flesh is not going to come out of the grave again. Adam was formed from dust and his body is destined to return to dust - to the creation from which he came.
Christ is the new creation man, the heavenly man, the spiritual witness, the spiritual reality. He is the Son of God! If God had killed His Son, He could kill any son. Jesus was not killed by God, but by the hands of wicked men. Jesus experienced His greatest hardship in Gethsemane because He knew the time had come for Him to be killed by man. He knew this had been in their hearts for a long time, but now the time had come - He was going to be separated from God and be in the darkness of human nature for a while. He struggled with that.
Jesus knew that He Himself had to lay down His soul, for no man could take it from Him. He also knew that He could take it up again. (John 10:17-18) Although many translations say that He laid down His life, the correct translation is soul. Man's ego rules him until the Word of God comes and takes that wrong foundation out from under him. When we are ruled by our ego, we are dead.
"And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked..."
People think they are capable of governing themselves, but they are not. Man is not an entity that can correctly discern what is false and what is truth, what is death and what is life. He lives in the destructive fallacy that he can make right choices.
"In which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience."
This world is filled with people who are unregenerate - with children of disobedience. They are being led by a spirit that is causing them to disobey God. This shows that we do not belong to ourselves; we are not an entity in ourselves. We do not have the ability to make right choices, because we are either being led by a spirit of disobedience - which is Satan with his delusion, ignorance and lies, or we are being led by the Spirit of God - which is truth and life.
"Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus."
Let's look at
Our attitude toward God is either for or against. Jesus said that if we are not gathering with Him, we are scattering. He does not give us any options; we are to be either hot or cold. Those who are lukewarm will be spewed out of HIs mouth. Being lukewarm is being half warm and half cold - half rejecting and half accepting truth. Lukewarm people cannot speak for God and for Christ, because they are in deception.
Paul was not talking about the cross when he said,
Jesus was put on the cross because of His testimony! He testified, "If you have seen Me you have seen the Father...The Father and I are one". The people did not want to kill Him because of His good works, but because He had called God His Father. So they crucified Him. The crucifixion of Christ is going on all the time; the world is continually putting the Son to death by its unbelief and rejection.
Just as Jesus didn't testify of Himself, so we don't testify of ourselves. He testified of the Father, so obviously He spoke as the Son. And the Father testifies of the Son. If we testify as Jesus testified, we will also be put on the cross.
Reconciliation is wonderful! Forgiveness is the basis for reconciliation. However, forgiveness and reconciliation do not make us new creatures. Our spirit needs to be regenerated by being birthed from above! When we receive the Holy Spirit, we receive a new nature, and the Spirit makes us conscious of it. That is what it means to be saved by His life!
Since we have been made new, we are not returned to the Adamic nature. If we were, we would again be vulnerable to separation from God, just like Adam was. After Adam died spiritually, he continued to live on this earth until he died physically. In Adam all die; there is no exception! Sin came into the world through one man, and death came into the world through sin. Before Adam sinned, death was not present in the world. Neither man nor animal died.
God is the only life there is! Only God has self-existent life. The only way we can have true life is in Christ. He brings us into union with God, and we become partakers of His divine nature. He does not give us life in separation from Himself. His life only belongs to us in union with Him! It is not ours to do with as we please. We do not have self-existence; that is why we need God's life! We need His life before and after physical death.
Jesus had God's life before He went to the cross, and before He passed away. Therefore He knew He could survive the grave. This knowledge is also given to us, so we can know that we will survive the grave. Being in Christ gives us the hope, assurance and faith that everything will be all right! It also takes us out of the hell that unbelievers experience on this earth.
Jesus is the last Adam - in Jesus Christ, Adam ceased to exist. Adam is not a fleshly body, but the avenue through which sin entered the world. Evil comes into the world because of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.
The end of Adam can only happen in Christ, because He Himself is the last Adam. The earthy conceptions and the reasoning and delusions that were in Adam, end in Jesus Christ because He is the true witness.
As sons of God we have been given the mind of Christ. His mind enables us to hear truth - to hear spiritual realities. So this is what we are going to speak. These words will undo the traditions and ignorance of religious men who call themselves Christians, religious organizations, and that of many Bible teachers and biblical scholars.
We have to hear beyond the natural. We have to hear Moses and understand the death to self-effort that is produced by the law. We must understand how it worked in Jesus Christ, and how it works in us. Christ's death to sin works in us, and His life becomes our life! Both are the product of Jesus Christ. He who hears the voice of the Son of God lives. We need to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church. We cannot be Christians in our own strength. We are led either by the forces of this world or by the Spirit of God!
DEMONSTRATION AT THE JORDAN
Dramas are often interesting and enjoyable. In our absorption and enjoyment of the production, we do not think of everything that is taking place behind the scenes. Yet the backstage activity and support are essential and important. Without its support the drama could not unfold. Similarly, at the baptism of Jesus Christ a lot of things were happening behind the scenes.
The Christ, the Son of God, was always with God! When He took on the likeness of human flesh, He demonstrated some of the things that have happened and were completed with God ever since He rested in Genesis 2:2.
"Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him."
Matthew 3:13-17 and Luke 3:21-22 contain the record of the baptism of Jesus. In Luke 3:23 we read that Jesus began His ministry at about 30 years of age, just after His baptism in the Jordan River. According to Old Testament law, those who were of Aaronic descent and eligible for the
Jesus was fulfilling the law as He came to be baptized at the age of 30. His anointing was not for the Aaronic priesthood, but for the Melchizedek priesthood. He came as a man, born of a woman, born under the law.
It is important to understand the scriptural meaning of adoption. Word meanings often change over the years, and the word ADOPTION is no exception. In v.6 Paul clarifies the meaning of ADOPTION by saying,
In John 16:23 Jesus said that in the day when He would see them again, they would not ask Him any questions, but they would ask the Father for the things they needed. Then He goes on to say that so far He has spoken in figurative language, but that will change. Instead of figurative language, He will speak plainly of the Father! (v.25) The coming of the Holy Spirit brings this change! When the Holy Spirit comes, He cries, "Father". He teaches us in language that is understood by us.
As Jesus grew up, He grew in wisdom and in favor with God and men. At the age of 12 He already understood that God was His Father, for He said to His parents, "Didn't you know that I had to be in the things of My Father." I think this knowledge came to Him because of His mother's teaching. She most likely put Him on her knee and told Him about the wonders of the Spirit coming to her, His miraculous birth and that God was really His Father. So even at the tender age of 12 Jesus was manifesting His identification with His true Father. Since an angel of the Lord had also appeared to Joseph several times, he did not doubt the veracity of Mary's word about God being the Father of Jesus.
As prophesied in Isaiah 40, John the Baptist was the forerunner who prepared the way of the Lord. John's father was of Aaronic descent, so John could have become a priest. But God had other plans for him! He called him into the desert, into the wilderness, and there John was taught to listen to the Spirit's teaching. God told him that
Jesus was born under the law, was circumcised, and obediently fulfilled the requirements of the law, even appearing in Jerusalem for the various feasts. So when Jesus wanted his cousin John to baptize Him, John
Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Change does not take place in Him! He is always the same! So nothing that happened to Christ Jesus as the Son of God while He was in His physical body ever changed Him. The Christ of the New Testament was the same Christ who was in the prophets of the Old Testament. Since He does not change, we have to be changed into what Christ is! The things that happen to us do not change who we are in Christ, for we are becoming what He is! Christ is the representation of God and we are all to be conformed to His image while we are still in this world.
God gave the law to show us that our own righteousness could not measure up to His standard. The recognition of our dilemma was to lead us to Christ. The law came through Moses, and was one of the stages of redemption; it showed us why we were estranged from God, and why we were dying. The law could not bring life, for it is a ministration of death. A dead man needs to be buried. The burial of the old man consists of putting away all the thoughts and acts of the flesh - the man who is just concerned with self! God doesn't deal with sins as such now; He is dealing with the man through whom sin came into the world.
As long as we are under the law we are servants; in Christ we are sons! So when we come out of the law, we come into sonship! We need to see the difference between resurrection and redemption. Resurrection is the work of the Spirit; it takes us out of the death of our carnal mind and places us into the life of Christ; it is a regeneration.
Jesus came to the Jordan in His identification with humanity. In this identification He came as one who was dead in Adam and under the law. The baptism of Jesus heralded the way for man to go. He did this as the Son of Man for us. Everything was done for the glory of God; He did not do anything for His own glory.
When Jesus went to the Jordan He took the penalty of the law. The penalty of the law is death - not hell. In taking on the penalty of the law, He had to consider Himself dead, or separated from God through the flesh. So He came to be buried.
Jesus' coming to the Jordan reminds us of the time Israel came to the Jordan River on their way from Egypt to the
Notice the progression of God's redemption when Jesus was baptized. We know that Christ was in all those who typified the various stages of redemption from Noah to the coming of Jesus. When Jesus came to the Jordan, He was the sum or completion, and the fulfillment of all that God had been typifying in the natural - through every shadow and type, including the temple and priesthood.
Jesus came to the Jordan as the last Adam - made under the law. The law and the prophets were there in type. Jesus came to the Jordan River because His tutor, Moses or the
Jesus was fulfilling these types. Judgment was fulfilled in his actions. The death penalty was enacted upon the old Adam, and that is why Jesus is the last Adam. The priesthood was also fulfilled, because John was there as an Aaronic priest, and Jesus received the baptism in the Holy Spirit or the Anointing - the anointing that produced a new priesthood. The anointing He gives us makes us priests of God!
Jesus did all these things in His identification with humanity. In our identification with Him, everything He did becomes ours! We were buried with Him in baptism - and only the dead are buried. We were also raised with Him!
Baptism typifies burial.
It was at this time that Jesus came out of the government of the law and received the government of the Spirit. This was His adoption. He came out of the servitude of the law, and God spoke from heaven declaring His Sonship!
Let's take a closer look at the death that took place. We were crucified with Him, yet when He died on the cross, no physical person died with Him. The thieves were crucified at the time He was crucified, but they did not die with Him. This death brings an end to our identification with the carnal mind in the Adamic man, the earthy image of God. This man opposes God and is the man of sin, the body of sin, and the body of death that Paul talks about in Rom. 6 and 7.
God began the process of redemption from the disruption of the world. It was announced to Adam and Eve, and runs like a thread all the way through the law and the prophets. Since Christ was in the law and the prophets, He was in submission to the flesh and was being put to death the whole time.
But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His own Son, and He came preaching the kingdom. He said,
So when we are born again, we are born in Him. Our death and burial also takes place in Him. I believe the manchild was born at the Jordan. In Revelation 11:19 it says that the temple of God, which is in heaven, was opened and the ark of His covenant appeared. After the baptism of Jesus, the heavens were opened and He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and He heard God speak to Him. The heavens being opened was something new. The ark in heaven represents the presence of God. Jesus Christ is the Spirit of the new law; He is the Spirit of adoption, the Spirit of the Son. He is the Spirit of everything that happened in the natural at the Jordan.
We may think that this experience was just for Jesus - but it is also for us. Jesus gave the keys of the kingdom to Peter, and he used them to open the door of the kingdom for the Jews and the Gentiles. So the church now has them.
In Gal. 4:23-26 it says that Hagar and Sarah, are covenants, and they represent the present Jerusalem and the Jerusalem above. These two Jerusalems are covenants. In Rev. 21, the
In Isaiah 66:8 it says that a nation is born in one day. We know that in Christ we are a royal nation, a royal priesthood and the new temple; we are partakers of the divine nature, partakers of the promises, partakers of His inheritance, and we become the Lord's Christ or the Lord's anointed ones!
It is important that we understand the difference between the new birth and the anointing. Many people think that they are the same. Forgiveness of sins is not the anointing. Peter states this quite clearly in his first message. He said that on the basis of repentance and the forgiveness of sins (which makes us a new man), we will receive the Holy Spirit, the anointing. The natural man cannot receive the Spirit, for spiritual things are meaningless to him!
Those who are not in Christ receive everything in parables because they cannot hear spiritually. (Matt. 13:13) So if we see spiritual realities only in natural fulfillment, we are only seeing them in parables, because the reality of all things and the fulfillment of all things is in Christ! Christ does not give us reality in separation from Himself; He gives us Himself and in Him we have reality! By being in Christ, we are joined to the reality that is in Christ! By being put into the body of Christ we can receive the spiritual realization of sonship. So we see that the sum of all things is Christ; He is the consummation of the ages!
Jesus began His ministry by saying,
As we function in the spiritual realm, we begin to understand what God is doing in the Spirit - not what the world is doing or what God is doing in the world. The world lacks the Spirit of God and therefore lacks the kingdom rule in the Spirit. It is ruled by the carnal mind. The things that are happening in the world reflect its lack of God's rule in the Spirit. At one time we were living in the world - on the other side of the cross. Now we are living on the other side of natural things! Christ has become our life! We are no longer a part of the world, even as Christ was not of the world.
I fully and completely believe in the message that we have in Christ Jesus! His resurrection is our resurrection! We fully believe Jesus was resurrected, but it is another thing to believe that we were raised from the dead
However, those who are outside of Christ cannot see spiritually; they can only see naturally. They need to be delivered and released from sin and death. This does not happen progressively in the things He does for us. It happens in the progression we make in Jesus Christ. Spiritual understanding can only be received in the Spirit. For instance, if we are really born of the Spirit, we understand that we are a new creature in Christ Jesus. The new creation is in Christ Jesus!
The new creation man has nothing to do with the old Adamic man! The latter will never be made better; nor will this world be made better.
In Christ we live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God for it is the bread of life. We grow by the Word of God, which comes in the Spirit. We want to keep hearing what the Spirit is saying to the church, and grow up into the head, which is Christ. Our growth brings us deeper relationship and greater understanding. Therefore we don't wait for something to happen to us externally. We are not waiting for this world to end, etc., because Christ is the end of the law for righteousness! He is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. The old ends in Christ!
It is difficult for us to testify to these things because the natural man cannot understand them and neither can those who are still babes in Christ. Paul could not speak to the Corinthians as to spiritual men, but only as to men of flesh, as to babes in Christ. (1 Cor.3:1) Their minds had not yet been renewed. When our witness to these spiritual realities is not accepted, and we are rejected because of it, we are being crucified with Christ. It is a spiritual crucifixion because they are putting to death the testimony about sonship, about God being our Father and the newness of life we have in Him. This is the testimony Christ had. He was crucified because of His witness, not because of His sinlessness and the miracles He performed.
So our testimony is not just about being saved, forgiven, going to heaven, and telling everybody about that. The gospel is so much more than that! What I have said today is a very essential part of that.
IDENTIFICATION IN RESURRECTION
Most Christians think that a time will come when the physical body will be raised up, and they call this the first resurrection. There are several reasons why I don't think the physical body will be resurrected. God said that the body is destined to return to dust, and Paul said that mortality cannot put on immortality. Since we now have a new body, i.e., the body of Christ, we no longer need the old body - not even in a resurrected form.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is of tremendous significance to us, especially because of our identification with Him in His death and resurrection! Today we are going to look into our identification with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection! The things He experienced, we experience spiritually in our identification with Him. These things do not happen to us historically, nor do they happen to everyone at the same time. They have to be appropriated individually. Through the grace of God, we enter in by faith!
If we have died with Him, we will also be raised with Him. But to do so we must go through the same processing Jesus did. We have to repent from having been under the law just like He did; we have to be baptized into death and buried in water and be raised out of death into life, just like He was; the heavens have to be opened to us and we need to hear the Father say that we are His beloved sons, just like He did. Jesus experienced this while He was on earth in His physical body.
"Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire."
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life."
The dead are those who are dead in their trespasses and sins; this death has nothing to do with the physical body. Everyone born into the world is dead in his sins, because in Adam all die. The natural man lives in this death, but the spiritual man lives in life, for in Christ all are made alive! Christ is the spiritual Word that comes to us. He did not die as a substitute for us, but because He was identifying with us. He did not die instead of man, but with him and for him. He did not die to save us from the penalty of sin, but from sin itself! He did not die that we might not die, but to deliver us out of a death in which we were already involved!
"Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live."
This is wonderful news! Life is for now while we are in this world! If we hear the voice of the Son of God, we pass from death to life. The physical body is not involved in this passing from death to life. This takes place in the unseen, in the spirit.
"For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself."
"And He gave Him" (Christ Jesus) "authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man."
"Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment."
Two classes of people are mentioned in this passage. All hear the voice of the Son of God, but the reception varies. Those who are hearing the voice have passed from death to life. Those on whom the Word of God has no effect, remain in death, and so will be judged. Many Christians do not know the difference between knowing and hearing. They know about Christ and God, but they have not heard His voice. They have read about the Spirit, but they have not heard the voice of the Holy Spirit in their spirit.
When they arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had already been in the grave for four days. An interesting conversation took place between Martha and Jesus upon His arrival.
How does this knowledge affect our thinking? Since He is the resurrection, it cannot be a historical event. Neither can it have anything to do with physical happenings - so it is not the restoration of physical bodies. Christ is spiritual, so resurrection has to be spiritual; it is the spiritual passing from death to life. To receive resurrection we have to be put into Christ! Therefore we cannot receive resurrection apart from Him, for it cannot be separated from Himself.
Resurrection takes place while we are still on planet earth. In Adam all die. Jesus said, "Let the dead bury their dead." Those who are dead in Adam are dead in their trespasses and sins while they are living in the flesh. They are estranged from God; though their bodies are functioning normally, the mind of the flesh is death. So we know that this death is not in the seen realm, but in the unseen spiritual world. This unseen death realm feels like home to those who are living in it, for they have not experienced anything else. Those who are born of the Spirit enter into a new spiritual realm of light, and it becomes home to them - just as it was home for Jesus.
Jesus was resurrected from among the dead. His baptism was the first demonstration of this. For 30 years He had lived under the law. At the Jordan He received John's baptism of repentance; He was burying the natural man - that sense of self (the ego) that is in the flesh and in the death realm.
Romans 6 tells us that we have been buried with Christ Jesus through baptism. So we know that water is a place of burial. Our old self was crucified with Him; we are buried with Him in baptism, and raised from the dead so that we might walk in the newness of life - just like He did. Our old self is our ego - the sense of being that is rooted in the ME! In baptism we demonstrate our identification with the things Jesus did - we express our faith in the knowledge that the old self - the ego sense of being that is in our old soul - is dead, and we are ready to bury it. This is called repentance.
It is interesting to note that Jesus received the anointing of the Spirit when He came out of the Jordan River - not before His baptism or during His baptism, but after He had been baptized. This tells us that baptism not only symbolizes death and burial, but also resurrection!
Paul explains this in
Ephesians tells us that there is only one baptism. This baptism is the burial of the spiritual death that the natural man is in. To come out of that death we have to be resurrected into life. Since Jesus is the resurrection,
There is a faith, which was once for all handed down to the saints. (Jude 3) We are to live according to the faith of Jesus. Paul said,
In a sense Jesus identified with the human nature which is dead in Adam, because He went to be baptized as the last Adam. This was death to the old Adam because he was buried, and the new man who was raised up got the anointing. Peter confirms this in Acts 2 when, in His Spirit-filled message, he preached repentance and baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus to receive the remission of sins! This makes us new creatures! Then we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit - the anointing!
This is the way it happened to Jesus, and He is the way! After He was baptized, the Spirit came upon Him in the form of a dove. Although this happened to Jesus in His spirit, it was presented visually, so humanity would know that this had happened. After being anointed with the Spirit, the heavens were opened to Him, and He heard God say,
Resurrection cannot take place without a death having occurred. The death Jesus experienced was a death to sin. (Rom. 6:10) That is why He never sinned. He identified with humanity, but He Himself never sinned. In order to live in resurrection, we too have to experience the same death to sin. We are to identify with Him. We identify with His death, burial and resurrection - we died together with Him, we were buried together with Him, we were raised together with Him, and we are appearing together with Him!
"When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions."
Our first identification is with the old man - with our sins and transgressions. Since we have been made a new creation that is no longer our identification, for we know that he who has been born of God does not sin. This is a very important truth. Now that we are new creatures, we recognize that we have passed from an old sense of understanding into a new one. We are no longer dead in Adam. That death was buried in baptism. God wants us to know that we are no longer living in Adam's death; we have been raised up into a new man, and this new man has received the anointing of the Spirit! Going through baptism without receiving a spiritual realization of this, will not bring us into life!
"Having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross."
Let's continue with our identification. In Matthew 22 Jesus was talking to the Sadducees - a sect that did not believe in the resurrection. The Sadducees and Pharisees were not a part of the priesthood, and were not anointed to any office. They set themselves up as watchdogs for the priesthood, and thought their religiosity was an example for the commoners to follow. The Sadducees disappeared shortly after the death of Jesus, and the Pharisees disappeared around 70 A.D., or a little later. However, watchdogs are still prevalent in the church today.
In reply to the Sadducees' question about whose wife this woman would be in the resurrection, Jesus said,
In the resurrection we are as angels of God in heaven. Just imagine, when we have been raised together with Him, we are heavenly messengers! We are spiritual messengers! The word EVANGELISM has the word ANGEL incorporated within it. Angels are messengers. Jesus Christ is the great messenger!
"But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: `I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living."
"Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?"
It is interesting to note that the Old Testament saints have already been resurrected. God is a God of the living! He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, so we know that they have already been resurrected and are living in God. On the Mount of Transfiguration we see that Moses and Elijah have also been raised from the dead, for they are there with Jesus! The disciples could only know that through revelation, for they had not seen them before - they hadn't even seen a photo of them! This knowledge had to be revealed to them!
Everything real and spiritual that happened from Adam to the time that Jesus appeared, whether through Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, etc., is summed up in Christ! This was symbolized when Jesus was baptized. A careful study shows that almost all of them were present in the Spirit at His baptism. He became the fulfillment of all the law and the prophets!
"But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will
"Everyone in his own order." Christ is the first fruits of all those who are born of the same incorruptible seed of Christ - they all come from the same seed! "Everyone in his own order" means that those who are in the order of Adam die, and those who are in the order of Christ are made alive. In his own order does not refer to certain groups coming in at certain times. For example, it doesn't mean that a billion Chinese will come in at a certain time, then a billion people from India and Europe, etc.
Let's see what happened when Jesus was on the cross in
We must remember that on the cross, God provided an innocent, enlightened, guiltless Son of God as an offering to man that he might receive Him and become like Him! This is God's purpose for man! However humanity rejected God's provision, and looked for an opportunity to kill Him! They finally took this man Jesus, who only exhibited the love of God and the innocence of a lamb, and put Him on a cross and crucified Him. He was given into the hands of wicked men that we might receive the Spirit of God! God gave His only begotten Son as an offering so that we can receive His Life! This is a demonstration of God's marvelous grace!
Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. People did not have the power to take it from Him. In John 10:17-18
Since Jesus lived by the Father, He let the Father have complete control of His soul. The authority to lay down His soul and to take it up again was given Him by the Father! It is important for us to understand that we live by Christ's soul! He gives us His sense of being! Just as Jesus was born of the Father and lived by that sense of being, so we live by His! When God gave Jesus the authority to lay down His soul, He also gave Him the authority to take it up again! There is a great truth here! Living in the power of God's word brings life into that which has been laid down for Him! God raised Him from the dead with that same word that He was living in!
We now have the same Spirit who was in Christ Jesus. He is our guarantee, our assurance that we have passed from death to life even now at this present time. Therefore the grave holds no terror for us. We now have within us the same Spirit that was in Jesus Christ! If our physical life passes away, we know that we will not experience terror or darkness. Physical death has no power over those who are in the body of Christ. Christ's soul has gone through death and into life! So once we are put into His body, we are in Him who has triumphed over death! The Holy Spirit has made us alive in God, and death loses its power in life. Jesus demonstrated this for the purpose of taking away the fear of death from all of us.
I suppose I should say something about the body, because many persuasively teach that the body is going to be resurrected. The scriptures do not really teach that resurrection and the body are bound together. Redemption has to do with the body; resurrection has to do with the spirit. When we are made new creatures in Christ Jesus, we become part of the body of Christ. The body of Christ was there before we were put into it, and it will be there after we have been put into it!
1 Cor. 15:38
This is hard for many to believe because they cannot see it! Let's remember that Paul said,
I believe that the scriptures conclusively testify to the fact that in the resurrection Jesus Christ was not raised alone. When we understand our identification with Christ, we will have confidence and faith that we have passed from death to life, that we have been raised together with Him, and that we are new creatures in the body of Christ! This gives us a new sense of being! As we hear the voice of the Spirit, we will grow in understanding to see who and what we are! We will see the fulfillment of God's purpose for us in Christ Jesus.
May the Lord bless you! Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding. Amen.
THE MEANING OF SOUL
The scriptures differentiate between the soul and the spirit. Since both are in the unseen realm, many ideas concerning them are prevalent. Some even have the far-out notion that the soul and the spirit are going to be joined, and thus produce a new body. This, they say, will result in our vile body being changed into an incorruptible body. This is utter nonsense.
In Hebrews 4:12 we read that the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and it brings a division of soul and spirit, and judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Since it brings a division of soul and spirit, we know that they are not the same.
The soul is generally defined as consisting of the mind, will and emotions. I believe the soul is our consciousness of being, and our desires emanate from the mind and emotions. It may be an activity of the mind or the soul - but it is not the soul.
Our physical body sends messages to the mind, informing it of its bodily needs. Obeying the dictates of the mind is called minding the flesh. The mind itself does not have the ability to create anything out of non-existing materials. It is a receptive agency, and with the knowledge it has, it can do marvelous things in the natural realm. As it discovers the laws that have been put into nature, it can make use of them to produce new inventions, new ways of travel, new ways of exploring the universe, new ways of healing the body, new ways of destruction, etc.! This ability to reason and to produce things to meet man's natural needs, has given him a strong reliance on his mind. This has caused him to overlook his need to hear the Spirit. His trust in his own ability has not solved man's dilemma!
Christ in God is the only one who can solve our dilemma! To understand what He has done for us, we must have a basic understanding of the word soul. I believe it has great significance for us.
I personally believe that the soul is our sense of being. Our consciousness of being comes to us through our physical body. God made Adam's body out of dust - out of the creation that already existed. So this body is dependent upon, and united with the creation! This dependency and union brought an estrangement from God. When man is minding the flesh, he is not minding God; he is separated from the true knowledge of God, and so creates his own ideas of God and self. This brings him into the darkness of human thinking and the futile trust in human resources.
In our search for understanding we'll go to the scriptures. In
The Hebrew word NEPHESH, meaning SOUL, is first used in
In the KJV, NEPHESH has been translated in about 16 different ways. To illustrate how loosely it has been translated, let me just quote from Strong's Concordance: "a breathing creature, i.e. animal or (abstract) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental): any, appetite, body, beast, breath, creature, dead(ly), desire, X (dis)contented, X fish, ghost, +greedy, he, heart(y), (hath, X jeopardy of) life, (X in jeopardy of), lust, man, me, mind, mortally, one, own, person, pleasure, (her-, him-, my-, thy-) self, them, (your) -selves, +slay, soul, +tablet, they, thing, (X she) will, X would have it." So you see we are dealing with a real problem.
But soul is actually a consciousness of life or being; a conscious sense of being awake, of being alert, of being conscious. Death is often referred to as sleep in the scriptures. Jesus and some New Testament writers refer to death as sleep, and in the Old Testament it says they slept with their fathers, etc.
Since NEPHESH has frequently been mistranslated in Leviticus 17, false teachings have arisen based on this faulty translation. In some verses it has been correctly translated and in other verses it hasn't. This chapter deals with sacrifices and contains the commandment not to eat the blood of animals. This is important because eventually we are told to drink the blood of Christ. This means that we are to drink of His sense of being or consciousness, but we are not to drink of an animal's sense of being. It says that unless we drink the blood of the Son of Man we will not have life in us.
Nephesh is correctly translated in
Notice that the wrong translation says, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood." However the life of the flesh is not in the blood. The soul is in the blood; life is in the Spirit! It is the Spirit that gives life - not the blood. People still have blood in their blood vessels after death, but they do not have life - their spirit has left them. Nevertheless, people base their understanding on this mistranslation, so their wrong ideas are passed on from person to person, and from generation to generation.
"Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, `No person (soul) among you may eat blood, nor may any alien who sojourns among you eat blood.' So when any man from the sons of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, in hunting catches a beast or a bird which may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth. For as for the life (soul) of all flesh is its blood...is identified with its life (soul)."
"You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life (soul) of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off.'"
The literal translation of HE in verse 10 is SOUL.
"As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, by My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities."
When the Spirit awakens and quickens us, He begins to feed us the same character thoughts Jesus Christ had. He knew that He was God's Son, that nothing marred His relationship with His Father, that He had never sinned and that He had immortality! All these things were in Christ's sense of being - in the consciousness of His soul. This is given to us to redeem us, to buy us back from our ignorance, our darkness and our lack of understanding.
"He will bear their iniquities."
"Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the booty with the strong; because He poured out Himself (literally, His soul) to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors."
Jesus poured out His soul to death! In
Jesus Christ was the only one who correctly demonstrated this dependence. His greatest virtue lay in being able to totally subject Himself to God! He trusted God completely! He realized that God was His life, His wisdom, His sense of being and His activity. He consciously lived in God and had His being in Him. To follow Him we have to put away the mind of the flesh, and receive the Spirit and mind of Christ! This enables us to understand spiritual things.
Many people today are trying to understand who they are. They wonder whether they were entities living in ages past before they were born. If so, where were they? Since we were chosen before the disruption of the world, many think we were in God all the time, but we were unaware of it. If that is the case, we apparently did not have a soul, for the soul receives its sense of being from the body.
I don't believe we were anything. In all honesty we have to admit that we had no consciousness until we were born into this world with a physical body. Birth brought us into the consciousness of the flesh. We came into a natural existence because of our natural parents. Even as babies we were dependent upon this creation. We had to breathe, eat and drink. At first we had no consciousness of who we were. But our body told us when we were uncomfortable, wet, hungry or thirsty - even though we had no understanding of body processes.
As we grew and our senses developed, we learned to interpret our feelings, and to know our parents. We minded the flesh and lived according to its reasonings. Living in that mind is living in separation from God. Is that sinful or evil? No, it is just the way we came into this world. A lot of people live and die in that. The Spirit has never activated anything in them to reproduce the seed of Christ. Therefore we need to be born again and be taken into God's life that always is! We become a part of life that has always existed! Then we can fulfill our calling to reproduce the seed of Christ!
In John 8 Jesus told some Jews that they were of their father the devil. They vehemently disagreed with Him and said,
Since their conception of God was formed by the law and their own mentality, it was totally wrong! They opposed Jesus and they killed Him. They were doing the works of their father who was a murderer from the beginning. He never had any light in him; he never was any good. Satan is probably the most misunderstood thing there is. He produces a sense of being in us, but it is not the sense of being we receive in Christ! So there are two consciousnesses. The first one is developed in us through our body of flesh; the second one comes to us in Christ. When we are baptized into the body of Christ, His body supplies us with our sense of being! So there can be no activity of life or sense of being before either of these consciousnesses are present.
In Col. 1:16 we read that all things have been created by Christ Jesus and for Him. That means we have been created for Him! Everything God did was for His own pleasure and His own purpose. We are here for His purpose - not for our own purposes! God does not do anything specifically for us that does not serve His purpose! Things were not created for us - they were created to serve His purpose. God's purpose for us is that we shall be an exact representation of Himself! What a high calling He has for us! To accomplish this, He has to redeem us from being a misrepresentation of God. This is His great plan of redemption!
Any activity in the flesh will always misrepresent God, for it produces a wrong image of God! That is why we have to lay down that sense of being. To try to do away with our sins without living in the sense of being we have in Christ is useless! We have become new creatures in Christ Jesus, and He has given us His mind and made us members of His body! The Spirit of Christ supplies us with a new sense of being. This is what the gospel is all about!
In Matthew 16:26 we read that a man can forfeit his soul. This occurs when we try to hang onto our sense of being - to who we are as a physical person. By doing that we will lose our soul. We lose it when our body dies, for at that time the sense of identity our body gave us, also dies. When the activity of the body ceases, the sense of being that comes from the body also ceases. Minding the flesh stops when the flesh is unable to support thoughts. The body deteriorates and returns to the creation from where it came. It will never be resurrected, for God said, "You are dust and to dust you shall return."
Jesus Christ came to give us a new realization - one that is not dependent on our physical body. Since it isn't dependent on the body, it remains when the body passes away. This new sense of being realizes that we are no longer flesh because within us we have the life of Christ. His life has passed through what we call death, and has come again to be in us.
"If that Spirit that raised Christ Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He will quicken or make alive your mortal body." This can happen to us right now - while we are living. This is the mortality that Jesus Christ was dealing with when He overcame death. It is not our flesh but the mortality that causes our flesh to die. Christ overcame that sense of separation from God, that estrangement from the presence of God and the wrong realization of God. Embedded in that death was ignorance and separation, and the self-importance and ego of man.
Jesus Christ came to produce His resurrection and redemption in us. Resurrection is not for the physical body. It means being raised from the death that is in the carnal mind. Instead of minding the flesh (which is death) we now mind the Spirit (which is life). This is passing from death to life. One is Adam, the other is Christ. Passing from Adam to Christ is resurrection!
Redemption, on the other hand, is the process by which man is being redeemed so he can be a true witness in his representation of God. Obviously man was not a true witness when Jesus came, because he killed Him. Although they were God's chosen people and had Abraham as their father, Moses as their law-giver, David as their king, and the prophets as God's mouthpiece, and had witnessed many miracles, they did not recognize Jesus as their Messiah! Instead, they took Him in their wicked hands and killed Him!
Some believe that God killed Him - but He didn't; man did! Actually the ignorance in the mind of the Adamic man killed Jesus, and continues to kill Him. Even though Jesus does not have a physical body today, He is still being crucified. We, who are part of His many-membered spiritual body, are being crucified today. In our country, our physical body is not being crucified, but we are rejected because of what we believe. Inside the soul or understanding, the battle of Armageddon rages on. Although I am involved in it, the rejection I get from people for testifying to the truth of Christ that is in me, is a comfort to me - knowing that in this I share the sufferings of Christ. The sufferings of Jesus were not due to sickness, disease, or wrongdoing. His sufferings came because of the true testimony of His relationship with God His Father.
That is also true in the natural. Once a man fathers a child, he is always a father. Once someone has been born of a father, he is always his child. Nothing can take that away. Genetically it is absolute - and this is the way it is in the Spirit. The revealing of the Father has to come through the Son - and God has given us the Son! He is the revelation of the Father's love to us!
If the law is working in us it will lead us to repentance. In repentance we undergo death to our carnal thinking and we receive a new life. Life gives us understanding of what we have been experiencing.
Jesus said that in the world we are going to have tribulation. Being burdened with anxieties is natural to those who are living in this world. So Jesus extends an invitation to them to come to Him. He alone can give us rest. This rest brings a cessation of that which has been troubling us. This rest actually means stopping, ceasing.
Jesus Christ is the Sabbath; He is our rest! The Sabbath is not the seventh day of the week that is repeated week after week. This rest does not refer to a physical rest from doing certain things. Jesus Christ Himself is our rest. He doesn't give us rest - He IS our rest. His life in us is our rest!
Meditating on who He was, will reveal the wrongs and inconsistencies that are being performed by those who claim to come in His name. It will reveal that they are coming in their own name, psyching people up, making great promises, and forecasting future events. But they never get people into the things that are available to us now.
"And YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
God bless you! Amen.