FROM the CANDLESTICK to the THRONE, PART 136
THE WOMAN and the MANCHILD, (continued)
BY: J. PRESTON EBY
KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
PART ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-SIX
Christ Formed in US
The Travail of the Woman
“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun...and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.” (Rev. 12:1-2)
We have pointed out that the temple and the two witnesses are figures of a progressive unfolding of the Lord in and through His people. The ministry of the two witnesses issues forth out of the temple, and the two witnesses are caught up to heaven, into a high realm in the Spirit, following which they are seen as the “temple of God in heaven.” The temple of God is then opened in the heavens of the Spirit and the Ark of the Covenant (Christ in you) is seen in God’s temple. Immediately John sees a “great wonder” in heaven — a woman clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, a crown of twelve stars upon her head, travailing in birth to be delivered of a manchild. The two-witness-temple-ark people are now seen under yet another figure, that of the woman bearing the manchild! Now, can you not see that the “ark” that was seen “in the temple of God” when the temple was “opened” answers to the manchild that is obvious in the belly of the travailing woman, ready to come forth into manifestation!
The deep mystery the Holy Spirit would make real to us here is that it is the union of the two witnesses — the spirit and the word within us — that conceives the manchild within us, making us the woman ready to be delivered of the manchild. In nature every child is conceived through union of male and female, of sperm and ovum. If there be no union, no joining of two, there will be no conception of life. God has revealed this profound mystery of union bringing forth life within His very own nature!
In the increasing light with which God is filling the hearts of His elect, this scripture, “Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is ONE Lord,” bears a depth of meaning greater far and deeper than the surface truth that there is only one true person of God. That this passage may become clearer to our minds, scintillating in heaven’s light like the ray which is broken into many prismatic hues, consider now the glorious things concealed in this mighty word of the Lord. A clear understanding of this truth will bring us back to the significance of the conception and birth of the manchild. The Lord our God is ONE. One, in the numerology of scripture, means UNITY, UNITED, UNDIVIDED, UNFRAGMENTED. One is the primary number, denoting beginning or source. Unity being indivisible, and not made up of other numbers, is therefore independent of all others, and is the source of all others. “One,” excludes all difference, for there is no second with which it can either harmonize or conflict. One means unity and unity comes from the word “unit.”
In reference to His substance, God is SPIRIT. In reference to His state of being, God is ONE. That which is ONE is that which is UNITED, UNDIVIDED, UNFRAGMENTED. Oneness speaks of unity, harmony, singleness, concord, solidarity. God is ONE! The fact that there is one God must not be confused with the truth that God is one. Surely HE alone is God! But this one God, furthermore, IS ONE WITHIN HIMSELF. In all the facets of His being He is united, undivided, and unfragmented. His nature, state of being, mind, will, and purpose cannot in any way be influenced, affected, persuaded, moved, frustrated, changed, altered, damaged, destroyed, made discordant, or set at variance in any way. The character of God is eternal, changeless, unaffected. The love, joy, peace, righteousness, wisdom, justice, power, and will of God do not rise and fall, rise and fall, rise and fall. Matters not what happens nor what men or devils say or do, the love of God, the purpose of God, the power of God are steadfast, unmoved, unquenched, unaffected, without fluctuation. He is Yahweh, the SELF-EXISTENT ONE. He is ONE. No power in the universe can cause any deviation whatsoever in God’s nature, will, or action.
There can be no doubt that each aspect of God’s being moves in perfect harmony with every other part of His being. Here in the physical world there a re-contradictions in our value system because there are contradictions in moral philosophy, limited by finite and faltering human nature and reason. What is the ultimate contradiction in moral philosophy? In moral philosophy, the ultimate contradiction is between justice and mercy. The judge, if he is a good judge, will be just. He will not let somebody get off, without paying their dues. Moral justice demands that evil be punished. Because if evil goes unpunished, then the judge is a participant in the crime, by letting it go unchecked. Justice is one side of the coin. The other side, the other value is mercy. Mercy says, “I want to forgive you, when you don’t deserve it. And the more undeserving you are, the deeper my mercy runs.” This is a contradiction! How can you possibly combine these two creatively?
Justice and mercy can only be harmonized by making them ONE. And this can be done only in the realm of the God who IS ONE! Every facet of God’s nature is unified, so that His justice is not warring against His mercy, neither is His judgment set against His grace. Herein lies the mystery and the wonder of it all — there is no conflict in God, no contradiction! In God, and in God alone, we see the contradictions combined, and justice and mercy kiss each other. Christendom has spoken of God’s justice being satisfied, as if He were an incorrigible tyrant that must somehow be appeased. They speak of eternal punishment as a self-evident result of God’s eternal, unchanging nature of infinite justice. Apparently, according to this crude theory, one is to think of two parallel lines, divine mercy and divine justice, two divine properties, running close beside each other but diametrically opposed to one another, each in its own right, continuing on into infinity. Not only love, but also justice must run its full course, and thus justice and mercy are isolated from each other endlessly. In this view God is both INFINITELY JUST and INFINITELY MERCIFUL at the same time — but never the twain shall meet! This crude theory is responsible for the ridiculous doctrine of eternal life for some and eternal torture for others.
I am constrained by the Holy Spirit of God to cry out against such a blasphemous absurdity! Our God is not schizophrenic, He does not have a split personality! He is not both INFINITELY MERCIFUL and INFINITELY VINDICTIVE! The Lord our God is ONE, all the attributes and powers of His Being are working together in perfect accord, each harmoniously synchronized in the same purpose and toward the same end, without any contradiction. In the scriptural view, HIS JUSTICE is linked inherently to HIS SALVATION. “There is no God else beside me, a JUST God and a SAVIOUR; there is none beside me.” (Isa. 45:21) May I add, He is a SAVIOUR because He is also JUST! His righteous nature requires that He be our Saviour. “He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust,” and He knows right well that “the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope.” (Rom.8:20) Does God’s justice only demand punishment? No way! How truly the apostle wrote, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and JUST to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I Jn. 1:9) The justice of God demands that He forgive us! Thus, He is a just God and a Saviour! Isn’t it wonderful!
Yes, He will correct us, and by this very correction make the necessary changes in us, and then He will bring us in to the fullness of salvation. In Him “mercy and truth are met together; righteousness (justice) and peace have kissed each other.” (Ps. 85:10) These are never to be viewed as opponents to each other, they are gloriously working together to fulfill God’s redemption in us. Where mercy alone cannot produce the needed change, God applies His judgment. And when judgment has accomplished its full work, “in wrath He remembers mercy.” (Hab. 3:2) His wrath and His mercy thus cooperate one with the other, both designed to play their role in bringing man to the one expected end: reconciliation to God and deliverance from sin and death! There is no conflict between the two — the objective of each is redemptive, not vindictive. If we have a concept where the judgment of God is pitted against His mercy, or where the justice of God becomes greater than His love, or where wrath triumphs over grace, then we have a distorted concept of God. We have not yet learned this one simple but sublime truth: THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE!
None of us has stood perfectly in that unfragmented nature of God. We have in our emotions, nature, and experience been fragmented, at times swinging to one side and again going to the opposite extreme. We have known turmoil, agitation, confusion, and warfare within ourselves. The flesh has warred against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh. We have had within us conflict between good and evil, between law and grace, between the letter of the word and the spirit of the word, between mercy and judgment. Some people are grace people who condemn no one for anything, while others are law people who damn to hell everyone who doesn’t measure up to their standard of righteousness. Everything has been out of balance! But in God there is unity. In the nature of God every attribute is harmonized and balanced. That’s why the kingdom of God is Paradise! In Paradise there is beauty, harmony, peace, love, glory, and power, for in God’s Paradise the wolf lies down with the lamb and the lion eats straw with the ox.
Few people have understood the great truth that every natural thing is a picture and parable of spiritual realities. The scriptures abound with these analogies. Paul the apostle tells us that as the human body has many members, yet is only one body, so also is Christ. The human body is therefore a figure of the spiritual organism of the body of Christ. When we consider our bodies we see a picture of another body that is not natural or earthly at all! We understand that. Furthermore, every organ and part of our body portrays the deep mysteries of God in the spiritual operation of His life within us. I could write many pages setting forth what the word of God has to say about the heart, the mind, the kidneys (reins), the blood, the ears, the eyes, and so on.
In his little epistle the apostle James makes this meaningful observation, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8) Let us look for a moment at the mysterious structure and function of the human brain — the seat of human mind. For many years it has been known that the brain has two parts called “hemispheres” — a left and a right. A picture of the brain reveals that there are indeed two “halves” of the brain joined together by a bundle of fibers known as the corpus callosum. In his book The Magnificent Mind Gary Collins points out that once split brain surgery had been successively done with humans, scientists were able to investigate something that had been suspected for decades: that the two halves of the brain are not duplicates of each other as had once been assumed. In hundreds of clinical cases, it had been found that injury to the left side of the brain produced symptoms that were different from those that appeared when the right side was damaged. With the split brain people it was possible to see that there really are differences between the two brain sides.
The left brain. The research has shown that the left side of the brain tends to handle logical thought, language, abstract thinking, analysis of details, and one’s ability to do mathematics. The left hemisphere controls the ability to speak and write — so much so that people with left brain damage often are unable to use language. More recent research has suggested that the left side is associated with happiness, positive feelings, and even the ability to spell.
The right brain. In contrast to the left side of the brain, the right brain deals with the ability of people to appreciate and produce art, to be oriented in terms of space, to be creative, to be coordinated in sports or mechanical abilities, and to be able to appreciate anything visual. The right side has been called the “sad hemisphere” because some depressed people tend to have abnormal brain waves on the right side and when people are deep in reflection or unhappiness they tend to gaze left as the right side of the brain is stimulated.
People differ in their styles of thought, outlook, and personality, depending on which half of the brain is dominant. The great danger lies in that abnormal condition where one side of the brain becomes too dominant — producing, for instance, either deep depression or unnatural, unbridled euphoria. Healthy brain function is when the two sides of the brain interact, counter-balancing one another, each complementing the other by contributing something to every action a person takes. Can you not see the spiritual picture here of the Lord our God who is ONE?
Some of us are creatures of intuition (right side) while others of us are creatures of logic (left side). A very intuitive person tends to not be very logical about many of his or her conclusions, whereas a very logically-minded person is rarely guided by any sense of intuition. They just want the facts, Ma’am! How vastly different these people can be in their understanding of and approach to life! And this fact mirrors for us a great truth in the realm of the spirit! Some of the Lord’s people are “word” (spiritual left side) people, whereas others are “spirit” (spiritual right side) people. Some delve into the scriptures to gain a systematic, intellectual, and theological understanding of the truth of God. These major in doctrine, history, and background. Other folks can’t explain any truth of God in a systematic way, and often are unable to tell you what chapter or verse any particular statement of scripture is found in. And yet they have a clear, uncanny perception of the spirit of the word!
This latter class is one of the things that has given me blessed assurance and divine confidence that the word we are hearing from God in these days is the sure word of the Lord! Let me tell you something that may come as a shock to some who read these lines. I have a high school diploma. That is the extent of my formal education (though I have read and studied extensively my whole lifetime) except for the fact that some of my high school education was at the academy of a theological seminary where I was required to attend two hours of Bible classes daily. My high school diploma is the most prestigious certificate I possess to adorn a wall! Yet, a friend took some of my writings and ran them through a computer program to determine what academic level they are written on and the analysis defined them as college level material — the work of a scholar!
Let me tell you something else. There are many precious saints across this great land and around the world that can’t write me a letter and spell a dozen words correctly, yet they perfectly understand everything I write and knew it before I wrote it! So you have a man with a high school diploma writing on college level things that are already understood by precious little old ladies (and men) who can’t tell you the difference between a noun and an adjective! They have little education in the learning of this world, and certainly don’t know Greek or Hebrew, yet they have plumbed the depths of God by the spirit, they comprehend the deepest mysteries of God, they have explored the celestial heights of the eternal purposes of the Lord, they have tapped into the infinite wisdom of the Father, they are possessed of the mind of Christ, and their hearts and mouths are filled with the living word of God. Oh, the wonder of it!
How do these dear saints gain knowledge of such high and holy things? They know them by spiritual intuition! We all know these truths by revelation, yet I know them also on the hermeneutical and theological level where I can exegete them to those who require scriptural proof. Through many years I have met vast multitudes of God’s sons and daughters who know nothing of such high-sounding terms, yet receive marvelous revelation by the Spirit of God into the deep things of God far beyond anything I can conceive of. Everywhere I have traveled through the years I have heard such profound truths from the anointed lips of the most humble and unlearned of men and women. This is how the mind of the Lord works in His Spirit-led people! Truly, it is the mind of the Lord!
I do not believe you will be able to understand this phenomenon apart from the sacred knowledge that the mind of the Lord works on two levels — that of the spirit and the word. Just as the human brain has two sides which function by intuition and logic, so the mind of the Lord has two dimensions, two spiritual hemispheres, which function on the level of the spirit and the word. As you come to know the mind of the Lord you will know His mind in these two areas of the spirit and the word. These are the only two realms in which the mind of the Lord may be accessed!
One person may say, “I know the word. I have studied the Bible and God has spoken to me out of the scriptures, and I can teach that word.” Another may not have that vast knowledge of the scriptures, but is one of those who receive truth by the spirit. We might conclude that the first person is moving out of the left side of the mind of God, while the second person is functioning out of the right side of the mind of God. And that is certainly how it has been many times! But I now earnestly pray that the Holy Spirit will give each of us the understanding that the Lord our God is ONE LORD, in Him all attributes are harmonized, united, and unfragmented, so that nothing in God stands alone, independent of all the opposites. Judgment and mercy kiss each other! In wrath He remembers mercy! He is a just God and a Saviour! Can we not see by this that there can be no division between the spirit and the word; the two must be brought together in perfect balance, harmony, and unity, so that there is no fragmentation of the mind of the Lord. How wonderful it is that these tremendous and almost incredible principles are vehicles of the demonstration of the true nature and full revelation of the glory of God! Now consider how important is the balance and harmony between the two sides of the mind of Christ. You have probably noticed that the spirit without the word in men’s experience often leads to fanaticism, just as the word apart from the spirit quickly becomes error and often leads to legalism and
bondage. The spirit and the word must not only agree, they must find UNION, becoming ONE within us! The spirit and the word must be made one in me, the spirit and the word must become one in you, and in the experience of each of God’s elect. The reason I write this with such conviction and feel so deeply about this point is because it is the key, the secret, yea, the mystery of the bringing forth of the manchild, the birthing of the fullness of Christ out of our lives. Can you not see the mystery? It is union that produces a child!
When you have the spirit without the word, or the word apart from the spirit, you are moving in an incomplete, unfulfilled, and unbalanced dimension — it is like having a man without a woman, or a woman with no husband. In the natural I can do many things a woman usually does. I was raised in a home with three brothers and no sisters. So I learned how to cook. I know how to wash dishes. I know how to clean a house. I could do a pretty good job of all those things before I was twelve years old! On the other hand, my wife is more mechanically inclined than I, and at times does things that the man normally would do. Lorain might say, “Well, I can do all those things a woman does as well as the things a man can do — I am a complete person within myself, I have no need of a man!” Would that make her life complete? Not at all! Yet — the Lord our God is ONE, united, in union within Himself. Anytime people try to live in only one side of their reality — they may fake it, they may endeavor to raise up the façade that they don’t need the other side, they are self-sufficient within themselves — I can assure you that somewhere down the road their incompleteness will be manifest. It may show up in their children in abnormal personality traits and issues resulting from being raised without a father or without a mother, or in some other way, but the incontrovertible truth is that the image of God in mankind is male and female in union!
The great truth the Holy Spirit would make real to His called and chosen elect in this significant hour is the truth that the spirit and the word in union within ourselves IS THE SECRET MYSTERY OF LIFE! Only through union is love known in its profoundest depths, and only by union are children conceived. In that long ago beginning the Word spoke and the Spirit moved (vibrated) so that out of that union creation was brought forth (Gen. 1:1-3). “God said, Let there be...” “ And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the deep...” God said and the Spirit moved! These two can never be separated. If God would have spoken apart from the Spirit moving there would have been no creation. Should the Spirit have moved apart from the Word of God commanding, nothing would have appeared. God spoke, the Spirit moved, and there was. This is the divine law of creation!
The life of God within each of us is both spirit and word, for we have been born again of the Spirit (Jn. 3:5-6) and by the incorruptible Word of God which liveth and abideth for ever (I Pet. 1:23). The Lord is now bringing the spirit and the word into union within each of us, so that we do not walk in the word apart from the spirit, or in the spirit apart from the word. When these two truly are united within us we become that glorious sun-clad woman of Revelation twelve bearing within ourselves the seed of Christ, the manchild who is to rule all nations with a rod of iron! If, on the one hand, we seek to be a “word” person apart from the spirit, we will not conceive within our womb the manchild, the fullness of Christ. If, on the other hand, we pride ourself in being a “spirit” person, walking in the spirit with no “counter-balance” from the word, we likewise can never bring forth the manchild. One can walk in the spirit without the word, but he will not produce any life. When the word (ovum) within us is so quickened by the spirit (sperm), so energized by the spirit that it becomes a LIVING WORD, there will be the issue of life!
I meet many people who have received revelation and it is revelation as a word without spirit. It is mere head-knowledge, intellectual understanding, information, doctrine. They can mouth all the right terminology and expound to you all the correct concepts of the kingdom of God, reconciliation, and sonship, yet there is not one ounce of spirit-life in it! There is no anointing. There has been no inworking of the truth. It has not in one iota changed them or transformed them. They have the doctrine of reconciliation, but no spirit of reconciliation. They know the truth of sonship, but have not the spirit of the Son. They are high-minded, opinionated, critical, carnal, and often offensive and sometimes abusive. They understand truth with their minds, but it has never been fertilized by the spirit, becoming a living reality within. It is impossible for them to bring forth the manchild in that state!
The sun-clad woman finds herself pregnant in this heavenly or spiritual realm. The great truth is that the revelation of Christ will plant a seed in you that will produce something! In these days there is a fresh overshadowing of the Holy Spirit over the elect of the Lord that has caused it to receive seed. Lynn Hiles once said that the reason we have been going through such spiritual mood swings, and the reason we sometimes have such a voracious spiritual appetite so that we want to eat every revelation that comes our way, while in the next moment we’re vomiting up everything we were taught before, is because we have symptoms of being pregnant! Those who have received the call to sonship are about to give birth to something greater than the church or the world has ever witnessed!
CHRIST FORMED IN US
The firstborn Son of God came in a woman. Hidden but growing, He came. So today the seed of Christ has come in a people. He is hidden in them as He was hidden in Mary. He is growing in them as He grew in Mary. He is taking form in them as He took form in Mary. As He came forth out of Mary, so is He now coming forth out of our flesh to be visibly seen, manifested right here on the earth! He will be revealed coming out of the womb of the Virgin Church, a people in whom Christ has been formed! When you begin to see by the spirit of revelation and know, not only, that Christ was conceived in the womb of a virgin, but that you are now that virgin, and that He is more truly, spiritually, conceived in your heart, so that you feel the babe beginning to move and kick within you; when you feel Jesus Christ alive in your womb, and stirring to be born, and brought forth within you; when you begin to sense and see and feel all those mighty, powerful, and wonderful actions done in you, which you read He did in the flesh, then you know of a certainty that you are a virgin and that Christ, that same Christ, the Son of God with power, that was then upon the earth, is now spiritually conceived in us, growing and increasing, until He comes forth in us in the fullness of His sonship, speaking the same words, doing the same works, and performing the same miracles within us. Ah, my beloved, here is a Christ indeed, that will save you! Here is a Christ, a real Christ, that will raise up His victory in you with authority over all things and power over sin, sickness, sorrow, and death! This is the Christ of the Father’s sending, which indeed alone and only will qualify you as a manifest son of God!
Brother Bob Torango once expressed the truth in this way: “I ministered recently to a group that the butterfly was always inside the genetics of the caterpillar, waiting for his day of revealing. He waited along with the worm the time of limitation, crawling on the ground, imprisoned to the earth until an appointed time of release and together they went into the cocoon, the worm and the butterfly, and through metamorphosis the butterfly released not just himself, but the worm also. Together they crawled into the cocoon, and together they soared away from the cocoon, only this time the worm was hid in the butterfly. Christ in us the HOPE of glory; us swallowed up into Christ the EXPRESS glory!” Some have questioned, “Is sonship the manifestation of the sons of God or is it the manifestation of God in His sons?” The answer is that it is both! “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ: if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also GLORIFIED TOGETHER. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be REVEALED IN US. For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the MANIFESTATION OF THE SONS OF GOD.” (Rom. 8:17-19)
I am always blessed by the deep spiritual insights expressed in the writings of brother Carl Schwing. Some years ago he wrote the following. “We have all heard stories of the ‘near death experience,’ of the tunnel of light, the mist, the fog, the clouds, the steps of gold, the long journey upward. The stories were beautiful, and quite detailed with the religious teachings of the old order. Our Father is loving and gracious; He only gives to one according to their understanding...according to what they have been taught. Obviously, those who have had the ‘near death experience’ believed that heaven is a far-off place located somewhere in the back of beyond. It is interesting how well their stories were received by the people of the world, and by the church-goers.
“Remember when we found Jesus and gave our hearts to Him and the joy we experienced? Remember when we were baptized with the Spirit and the anointing we experienced? Remember in ‘48’ when the fire of the Spirit fell upon the saints and the mighty signs and wonders that followed? Remember when the Lord called us out of the church systems and drew us unto Himself? Remember the first time you entered your ‘closet of prayer’ and had spirit converse with the Father? Remember the first time you were seated with Christ in the heavenly places? Remember when you started your journey into the depths of Jesus Christ? My dearly beloved, these are just some of our profound and sacred experiences in Christ...they were, so to speak, our ‘NEAR LIFE EXPERIENCES.’ And, they will become richer and fuller as we are drawn closer to the life we had with our Father, and His Christ, in the Beginning. The people of the world say we are crazy. The church-goers would say we are backsliders and heretics. But, hallelujah, the Father would say: ‘These are my beloved sons in whom I am well pleased!’
“There is infinitely more to the kingdom of God than pen could write, or learned men could teach, or pious prophets could foretell. Only the Spirit of the living God can roll back, like a scroll, the heavens of our heart and reveal the full revelation of the kingdom of God. Only the Spirit of the living God can manifest the wonder of it all! It all began when the Spirit took a small seed of the Kingdom and planted it in the rich soil of our longing hearts. There it rested as the warm light of the Spirit brought forth the first tender blade. And our heart rejoiced for its first glimpse of the kingdom of God within. And it continued to grow regardless of the many obstacles that life, the flesh, and religion placed in its way. It continues to grow in the peaceful environment of the garden of our heart...slowly, gently, and lovingly taking possession of our inner most being. Every day our Beloved walks through our garden...pruning, trimming, and feeding the precious blades that shall one day cover the earth with the glorious kingdom of God. And, my beloved, we are the sons of our Father’s kingdom!
“There is nothing and no one that can stop the birthing process that is taking place today. The power and might of the heavenlies are moving in the perfect timing of the Spirit. The Father is receiving His sons unto Himself. Their minds are being renewed and their lips are being opened, and the first words of the Everlasting Gospel are being spoken. A glory of transcendent magnitude is falling as a holy anointing upon them. The things that were ‘unlawful to speak of’ are being revealed to those who have taken refuge in the depths of the Father’s greatness. The Day of the Lord is hastening on as the fullness of the Father expands into His vast family of sons filling them with unfading light, ageless truth, and undying love.
“The creation is on tiptoe, waiting and longing, perhaps even sensing that the time is at hand for the Manifestation of the Sons of God. The world and its people are crying out for freedom; proclaiming the dawn of a new age...yet, how little they know of what THE DAWN shall bring! Far greater is the rising of the sons than the sunrise of the morning. They bring with them the fulfillment of all that the creation has moaned for: Justice, Peace, Equality, and the Liberty of the sons of God. When they appear the long night will be over...the ways of man will be gone forever, and the dead in Christ shall live again. They are the City of our God, the place where the sun never sets...where light began, where truth was born, where love and mercy met...and grace came forth. They are the many-membered Christ. The kingdom is rightfully theirs, the rule of the universe and of the ages is theirs...and the souls of all mankind. This is the covenant the Father made and sealed with the Lamb’s Blood..” — end quote.
A fellow-traveler in the kingdom of God has written: “For some years many of us have preached that the manchild in the womb of the virgin has been growing and developing. But for many of us who have been walking in the move of the Spirit of God, our rejoicing is no longer that the woman is with child, but for us the hour of the birthing is at hand! Therefore the word and the anointing He is bringing forth from within us is not just truth to confirm that the woman is with child. But we are beginning to see those truths and those dealings which are going to bring forth this manchild and make him manifest. A young woman, when she first discovers she is with child in her womb, particularly when it is her first, her rejoicing is that she is with child, and she cannot refrain from glad ly sharing the news with all her friends. Usually she dons her maternity dress before it is really necessary that all might know the secret that she joyfully carries within her own breast that she is with a manchild in her womb. But after many months of carrying that child, her first joy of knowing she is pregnant begins to fade. And her rejoicing is now that the hour of birthing is at hand! And so it is with many of us who have for long years been rejoicing in the great truth that a manchild is in the womb. But now as we feel that new life within us, swelling the spiritual womb and beginning to manifest itself, our rejoicing is no more in the truth that a manchild is in the womb, for we are eagerly looking forward to the hour of the birthing. And the anointing within us is reaching out for those truths and those dealings that shall bring this manchild forth and make him manifest!” — end quote.
THE TRAVAIL OF THE WOMAN
“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun... and she being with child cried,
Travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.” (Rev. 12:1-2)
Those who in this hour yearn for the promised manifestation of the sons of God feel spiritually much like the expectant woman whose due date for “delivery” of her baby has come and gone. All the evidence is there that there is a baby — the tummy is swollen so tight it looks like it will burst; the baby is kicking; contractions are experienced; the water may have even broken — yet, it is not time for the birth. At such a time, the expectant mother may wonder if things could go on like that indefinitely. It seems almost unreal; the waiting grows unbearable, the nights long, and the emotions become heightened or depressed. Still, all signs give assurance that the hoped for event will take place. And those in attendance to her can but wait and watch for the final sign that the baby is about to be delivered.
The baby in our text is a very special and unusual child. There is something coming out of the woman that is going to do what the woman could not do. The woman is beautiful, she is glorious, she is faithful and crowned with victory and God is pleased with her, and she has been the yielded handmaid of Christ. She has done all she has been called and equipped to do. She dwells in a heavenly place, but she has not greatly impacted the world for she has never sat upon the throne nor has she ruled the nations with a rod of iron. The woman has been able to do what women do best — she has been able to nurture, to heal wounds, to encourage, wash, feed, and care for the children of God. But her ministry has not gone far beyond the nurturing of her own little family and protecting the seed growing in her womb. She has not done more than that because her authority has not extended further than that and she has not had great strength or power. But that holy thing that shall be born of her shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest and he shall ascend the throne of his Father and shall rule all nations with a rod of iron. He shall bring a new order, a greater authority, an all-conquering power, and surpassing glory into the midst of humanity and a new day shall dawn for the whole earth from pole to pole and from sea to sea. The coming to birth of the sons of God is the one, great spiritual event the whole creation is waiting for.
The woman is in great travail and excruciating pain to deliver this manchild into the earth. It is the picture of old-fashioned childbirth, not the modern means and methods. There is no C-section, no ether, no spinal injection, no pain relief, and no numbing from this birth process. There is weeping, tears, sweat, groaning, agony, and screaming as the new order of the sons of God is birthed out of the birthing canal of the virgin church. It is not a soothing, pleasant experience, but it will be effective! The Greek word for travail here is odino
which indicates a special kind of pain, the pain of a woman giving birth. John says that because of this pain she cried, signifying to cry out, to cry aloud. We have all been going through pressures, experiences, and deep dealings which make us cry out, and at times we cry aloud — groaning, weeping, writhing, as it were, in distress as well as those times of deep inner travail with groanings which cannot be uttered. Truly, these are birth pangs!
There is a vast company of saints today that is caught up in the travail of this birthing experience! These have been doing everything they know to do to bring this manchild to birth and his head hasn’t crowned yet, but the struggle tells them clearly that he is on his way! It is always painful to birth a new order in God! Ask Moses, ask Joshua, ask David, ask Jesus, ask the apostles, ask Martin Luther, ask John Knox and George Fox, ask the early Pentecostals — yet none of them ever knew the pain of birthing a full-grown male child — a man in the full stature of Jesus Christ! Oh, how painful it is! We’re going to give birth to this son, my beloved, and that secret knowledge, that which we have pondered in our hearts, that which we have cherished as a hope, that which we have dreamed of, fantasized about, preached about, prophesied of, and anxiously awaited is about to be birthed in reality into our midst! Everything will change in heaven and in earth when this takes place!
The following testimony by Elaine Cook is both inspiring and instructive to all who cherish the beautiful hope of sonship. “In the early sixties, after a miraculous healing from leukemia, my husband and I and our two children went to the mission field in Canada’s northland. I had a zeal for God, but very little knowledge of spiritual matters. Fluent prophecies had poured forth from my lips in the assembly of the saints, but I knew not how to hear my Lord’s voice speaking within saying: This is the way: walk ye in it. It wasn’t long before I realized that I MUST know the leading and guidance of His Spirit within or I would have to leave His service. Without discernment and the Lord’s leading, we were easy prey to idolatrous, witchcraft spirits in that place. We began to call upon the Lord in every decision and forsook the wisdom of the carnal mind. It was hard, but oh, so very necessary.“
After several years, the Lord spoke to one of the other missionaries that He would soon be bringing me into something ‘new.’ When it came, it was the fulfillment of Proverbs 20:12: ‘The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them.’ I began to ‘see’ things, as it were, in my mind’s eye, and to ‘hear’ the understanding of it in my spirit. It was quite a shock at first. It is with rejoicing that we see the younger generation — the eleventh hour believers — enter into this realm very quickly, as they are taught by the revelation of the Spirit. One of the first revelations given me was the fact that we would not be ‘raptured’ away, for the Lord purposed to bring His children unto perfection and to use them to bring forth a righteous kingdom on this earth. It was not hard for me to embrace this, for the ‘rapture theory’ had never been real to me, and my spirit had never embraced it as truth.
“During the first few weeks on the mission field, we had a most remarkable experience and the Lord has been reminding me of it recently as if to say, Now is the time of the fulfillment of every vision — this is that. As we were sharing the evening prayer time with the other missionary couple, the Spirit spoke to us, Consider not our pillows, but seek Me all this night. We were quite surprised at this request, but we all complied and sought Him obediently. In the back of our minds we all thought we’d have a rest on the following day. No such luck! Combined, we had seven children to care for, Indians coming to the house throughout the day, and all labor was done by hand as we had no electricity. It seemed not one of us had time to catch a wink of sleep. In our evening prayers the next night, the Spirit spoke to us again the same words as the previous night. Again again, we were unable to find opportunity to rest through the day. Yet, it seemed no hardship. We found we were no more tired than if we had slept each night!
“Once again, for the third time, He required us to seek Him all the night. He gave us no special burden of intercession. He spoke not at all to us for those two nights. As the dawn approached of our third day of prayer without sleep, we felt the presence of the Lord strongly in the room. Each of us took off his shoes, and one brother turned down the coal-oil lamp. His presence was AWESOME. Then, the missionary’s wife had a vision of a woman in travail, bringing forth a manchild. The Lord showed her that this manchild would come forth at the dawning of the third day and that we would experience His resurrection life such as we had never before known. He told us He had given us a foretaste of that resurrection life by keeping us awake for three days and nights in which time we never felt weary nor faint. Each morning when I looked in the mirror I expected to see a haggard-looking image reflected there, but I looked the same as usual. We were fresh for our work each day and ready to pray again at night. The Lord reminded me of that time as if to say, The reality of what you experienced is very near” — end quote.
We can know of a certainty that none of the popular churches are the sun-clad woman of Revelation twelve — that they are not is evidenced by the fact that they are not travailing in pain to bring forth the manchild! Oh, they are travailing alright; some of them travail for souls to be saved, they travail for prayers to be answered, they travail for needs to be met, they travail for healing, they travail for gifts and ministries, they travail for the baptism in the Holy Spirit, many travail for finances, various ones travail for revival...but not one of them is in travail to bring forth the manchild! Therefore they are not the sun-clad woman.
Ray Prinzing wrote, “The forming of ‘a body’ within the corporate body of Christ, is a sovereign work of God. Man cannot gender this son company, nor take this position unto himself. God places within the hearts of individuals a desire for His fullness, the call to ‘come up higher,’ and it burns within like a fire, consuming the dross. It strips away self-will, it separates them from their brethren as being different, peculiar, alone unto God. The church in general cannot understand them, they are a burden to her. Often she is ashamed of them, for when everything is running smoothly, suddenly one of these ‘odd ones’ becomes moved on to go deeper into God, and it upsets the whole program as these hungry hearts cry out for more of Him. They express their dissatisfaction with the present realm, and the church feels condemned, as if she wasn’t able to provide enough to meet the need. Why must they always cry out for more?
“While others are enjoying the general fellowship of the meeting, these strange ones seem withdrawn, groaning and seeking for a further dimension of His grace and holiness, travailing for a move of the Spirit that would bring them into more of the reality of His life. While the church stands with upraised hands to praise the Lord for present blessings, these same non-conformists are weeping. Why? Why can’t they be more content with what God is doing all around them? So it is ‘in part’ — can’t they be thankful for what they have? NO! God Himself has placed a call within that cannot be satisfied with anything less than His fullness! Oftentimes when local groups and gatherings cannot tolerate them anymore, the Spirit simply draws these ‘apprehended ones’ from the fellowship and religious activity, and they walk alone, separated unto God. They are not backslidden, they have not lost out with God, they are only cut off from their brethren for the time being — it is part of the travail, caught in the throes of being birthed into higher dimensions” — end quote.
Our Father has conceived within His wife, those who love and obey Him above all others, the son. The firstborn Son was brought forth as a pattern. He is the first-born among many brethren! When a woman is carrying in her womb a son, though she has great joy at the prospect of becoming a mother, she also anticipates with some trepidation the birth process. While there are some helpful suggestions, there is actually no book that can truly teach one how to give birth! This fact teaches us the great truth that we are not going to bring forth the mature Son of God out of our lives on the basis of the amount of revelation we have or as a result of how much we know. You could go to Bible School, you could learn everything they could teach you about Christ, and it will not enable you to bring forth the Son of God! Oh, no! The formation and birth of the manchild comes only as a result of intimate relationship, and by the growth and development of His life within. When Christ is fully formed in us the birth pangs lay hold upon us and by travail we are brought to the hour of birthing. Have you not felt the pressure, the contractions, the urgency, the constraint, the force, the compulsion to bring forth the nature, power, glory, wisdom, and dominion of the Son of God?
When a woman is pregnant and ready to deliver — just ask any woman who has given birth — when she is ready to be delivered she wants that child out of there! When the time has come for the seed of Christ in us to be birthed out of the woman we have all been a part of, birthed into the full glory of sonship, we want that inner son to come forth! And it’s not just because of the pain and travail that leads to the birth but because of the surpassing glory of losing our identity in the woman and rising up into our identity as the manchild — the son of God! “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.” (Jn. 16:21) Every one of us has been the woman, the betrothed bride of Christ. The hour is fastly approaching for the son to come, and when it is time for the birth, there is nothing we can do but yield ourselves to the birthing process.
Don’t get ahead of God! You’re not ready yet to unveil to the world the fullness of wisdom, glory, divine nature and power. Do you suppose, my dearly beloved brethren, that you can reveal the fullness of God to creation in your present state and condition? Do you think God is going to send you to the world as you are right now with His word in you? Do you imagine that you are ready to represent God to this earth simply because you have had goosebumps and spoken a little bit of tongues? Simply because you know a little Greek, understand a few mysteries, have seen some visions, and you’ve got yourself a little tape ministry, and a little newsletter going, and you’re on the internet, and people invite you to come preach in churches — do you believe you are now qualified to speak to the rulers and great ones of the earth and go forth to set creation free from the bondage of corruption?
Just as Jesus instructed His disciples two thousand years ago to not depart from Jerusalem, but to wait there until they should receive the promise of the Father and be endued with power from on High, so the word of the Lord today instructs every son of God to wait in the Jerusalem Virgin Church until the manchild is fully formed into a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ! Not one of us is a manifest son of God at this point in time. And you cannot make yourself a manifest son! Yet, this you can do — you can wait for the time appointed of the Father. Keep on doing what you’re doing, keep on walking in the Spirit, keep on following hard after the Lord, keep on panting after Him as the hart pants after the water brooks, keep on growing in the knowledge of God’s Christ, keep on beholding the glory of the Lord, keep on being changed into His image from glory to glory! Tarry there in the womb of the virgin until the travail of the woman brings you to the moment of birth! Oh, yes!
I feel to close this message with these anointed words from the pen of Carl Schwing: “We all have an immense desire for the hour when all eyes will see what the eye s of our spirit have seen. The hour when all ears will hear what the ears of our spirit have heard. The hour when all hearts will know what our heart has always known. And that hour will surely come in our Father’s tomorrow. His tomorrow is not measured in minutes or hours, or days or years...that is why He alone knows the day and the hour we are waiting for. There are no clocks or calendars in the realm of the Eternal One. All things happen at His command. He who had no beginning...He who has no end, fills all the spaciousness and timelessness of eternities within Himself. All things remain in Him until He calls them forth. At present we live in, and are part of, our Father’s today. Therefore, let us be most sensitive to everything that is happening around us...to every hand that reaches out to us...to every voice that is crying out...to the whole creation that is moaning. Rest in the knowledge that all things will be fulfilled in our Father’s perfect will and order.
“As the sun rises above the hills, one can see the mist drifting mystically through the hollow...mist, rising from the creek like the whispered prayers of beloved saints. And rays of sunlight, like golden trumpets, announce the birth of a new day. At that moment we wonder if perchance this will be the day when our Beloved will break through the sky of our hearts to be seen and known by all mankind. Alas, the day passes and the sounds of the moaning creation, and the moaning of our spirits, continue. Yet, we of all men are most blessed...for though the Beloved tarries, and we yearn immensely for that day, we find strength in the knowledge that our Father doeth all things well. And we rejoice in knowing that we are a day closer to the appointed Day of days. As the sun sets, we give thanks to our Father...knowing that every day is the Lord’s Day. Every day the Father works wonders, seen or unseen...known or unknown. Each moment of each day serves a purpose in His marvelous plan.
“As I was still, and my spirit was yearning for the manifestation of the sons of God, this vision came to me: It was sunrise...standing in the brilliance of the sun was a messenger of the Lord. His hair was the color of a field of goldenrod in the autumn. His eyes were as blue as the cloudless sky. His garments were as white as freshly fallen snow which sparkled like diamonds in the sunlight. Upon his head was a crown of cedar. With his right hand waving toward the heavens, and his left hand moving across the earth, he beckoned God’s vast family of sons to gather. In a quickening silence they gathered...the voice of the messenger broke the silence as he proclaimed: ‘Lift up your head and rejoice, sing for your waiting is over; the time of your silence has ended. The door of your hiding place has been opened. You have been clothed with the garments of Divine Life. You are now ready for your manifestation! Go and proclaim the good news of reconciliation to all the inhabitants of the earth, setting the creation free.’ The messenger of the Lord walked into the rays of the sun...flowers, like falling rain, fell from the cloudless sky. Heavenly music filled the land...as the glory of the Lord covered the earth” — end quote.
To be continued...